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Hi I'm John

I am a gamer, a geek, a nerd, and I am also a an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

About Me

Working as the warehouse manager in a Furniture Store, in my spare time I enjoy Swing dancing (Lindy is the best) and reading, as well as some more unusual activities such as fighting with boffer swords, and adventuring alongside friends in games like Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Everquest II, and Guild Wars II. I enjoy playing chess, but people have grown weary of my checkmating them just when they think they have the winning endgame strategy.

Why I am a Mormon

Yes, I was born and raised in the Church, and no that does not mean that I was brainwashed. When I was about 14, I realized that while I did not have any doubts as to the existence of God or Christ, I did not have a strong confirmation as to whether Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God or whether the Book of Mormon was scripture. Logically, facts did point to it being true and sound as compared to other beliefs that I encountered, and the arguments against the Church were guilty of so many errors in citation and research, that I would sometimes go onto anti-mormon forums and show the correct citation and the quote in full just to see what their reactions would be. Senior year in High School I had an experience that confirmed to me that God DOES answer prayers, and that the doctrines taught by this Church are true and from God. I was at a week long event that was designed to break down stereotypes and prejudice in ethnic and religious diversity. I was the only Latter-day Saint at that event and the time came for me to do a presentation on my religious beliefs. As I was still unsure as to my testimony, this was a real trial for me. Thinking that my discomfort about the upcoming presentation was because I was nervous about presenting on my own, I was told the day previous to the presentation that if needed I could skip out on the presentation. That evening I left camp and went a short distance away where I basically told God that I could not do the presentation without a personal witness, and I still have a hard time describing what followed. I did not have a vision, nor did I hear any voice from heaven, but I did recieve the witness I needed. After the event, I went back, redid the presentation in under 5 minutes, and the next day represented the Church in front of about 80-90 other people, and impressed many people. Since that time I have also spent two years serving as a Missionary. Yeah, those guys in the white shirts and name tags that keep knocking on your door. Offer them a glass of water (they could definately use it) and listen to what they say. I have also seen countless times where living the Gospel have blessed my life as well as the lives of numerous other people, and witnessed too many times in other people where straying from the Faith meant heartache and suffering. I have also seen the change that comes into those who find the Church and join it, as well as the change in people coming back into the Church after they have strayed.

How I live my faith

Currently I am serving in my congregation (we call them Wards or Branches and in my case it is actually called a Branch) as the Building Cleaning Coordinator. Basically I help make sure that the Chapel stays clean. Alongside being the Building Cleaning Coordinator, I also visit some of the members in the Branch on a monthly basis, to make sure that they are doing all right. This is called Home Teaching, and is one of the reasons behind the Church being organized into relief efforts so quickly after a disaster strikes. I have also served in the past as a Sunday School President (a person with responsibilities over making sure that each class has a teacher) and Ward Clerk (a person with responsibilities over the membership records and the financial records of the Ward.) I can assure you that nobody in the local leadership in the Church gets paid, and I can also assure you that the tithing that members donate is not squandered.

Why don’t Mormons have paid clergy?

John
The short answer is that this is something that God forbids us. There are scriptural references in the New Testament about not being paid, and I personally feel that clergy who get paid for their sermons focus on how to make their sermons generate the most money, rather than focus on the spiritual needs of their congregation. In this Church we call it Priestcraft and I have seen in other churches it leading to congregations of thousands with the individual lost in the crowd. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about Jesus Christ? Do Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?

John
Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the son of Mary? So do I. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten of God? So do I. Do you believe that Jesus Christ performed miracles such as raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, the leprous to be made whole and so forth? Very nice. So do I. Do you believe that Jesus Christ suffered and died for your sins, so that it would be possible to return to God? Good, good. So do I. Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross, and on the third day was resurrected in a glorified body of flesh and bone, never to die again, and was seen of the 12 Apostles, including Thomas who felt the prints in His hands and Side? So do I. Yet another thing we are agreed upon. We also believe that Jesus Christ appeared to a group of people on the American Continent after his Resurrection, and that he also appeared to a farm boy of 14 years old named Joseph Smith. I personally believe (mind you, this is only my personal belief and may or may not be factual) that Jesus has also met with and talked with every Prophet since Joseph Smith down to President Thomas S. Monson. I do know that Jesus Christ does stand at the head of this Church, and that He does direct it in these Latter days. Show more Show less

What are Mormon women like? Do Mormons believe in equality of men and women?

John
Honestly? Mormon women run the gamut from shy and meek, to outgoing and energetic, to headstrong and not hesitating to beat you into a pulp with their several black belts in different combat techniques if you treated her inappropriately. The main difference between Mormon women and non-mormon women is that Latter-day Saints have a knowledge of their divine worth and have a higher standard of morality than you will commonly find. Equality of men and women? This is my personal opinion and may or may not reflect entirely with Church doctrine. My personal observation is that women are usually ahead of the game than us men, with a stronger innate sense of the spiritual and divine. They also in the family have the strongest influence on children and the rising generation. It is because of this that we are assigned the Priesthood, to try to put us on equal footing with women, and to teach us the spiritual traits that come naturally to women, as well as other things. This being said, I do believe that men and women have different strengths that complement each other (much as a Fighter and Wizard having different strengths, but both complement the party much better than two fighters or two wizards.) Even though men can be home makers and women can be bread winners, and even succeed in those endeavors, that is not where their greatest strengths lie. Show more Show less

Can you tell me about Mormon customs: how you dress for church, what holidays you celebrate, etc.?

John
Normally for Church, men wear white shirts and ties, and women normally wear dresses. We do try for a higher standard than what we wear the rest of the week, but this is not something to be ostentatious or flashy about. We celebrate Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween to name a few. We celebrate the patriotic holidays of the countries we live in for example, in America we celebrate Independance day, Canadians celebrate Canada Flag Day, Mexicans celebrate Cinco de Mayo and so forth. Holidays that tend to glorify debauchery Mardi Gras comes to mind we tend to stay away from.  Show more Show less

What is the difference between attending church and the temple?

John
Anyone can walk in and attend Church, which we have on Sundays. And church buildings are somewhat easy to find. Temples are much fewer in number, and only Members of the Church in good moral standing can enter a Temple after it has been dedicated. Before a temple is dedicated, anyone can visit it during the Open House. Also, in the temple we perform sacred ordinances such as weddings (we call them sealings,) and also make special promises with God (we call them covenants, and call the ordinance where we make these covenants the endowment.) Show more Show less

Does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endorse political parties?

John
No, it does not endorse political parties or candidates. Anyone who claims to be endorsed by the Church is lying through his or her teeth. That being said, the Church does emphatically encourage that we be politically active and vote, and on rare occasions where there is a moral issue that will directly impact the Church the Church will speak out. If you were to find me on Facebook, you will notice that I have very strong political opinions. Each member of the Church has their own political opinions (you will find members from all the political spectrum from Far Left to Far Right.) An example of this would be Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Glenn Beck (Conservative) are both LDS. However each member's personal political opinions do not and should never claim to reflect the Church. Show more Show less

What is a “testimony” that Mormons speak of?

John
I am answering this question on the basis that you, the reader, are a Christian. You know that burning feeling of hope and joy you feel when you hear songs about Christ or God's love and mercy, or when you witness to other people how God has been good to you? That is a Testimony. On the basis that you are not a Christian, that feeling you get when you have an AHA! moment and things seem to fit into place with you suddenly understanding a subject or knowing that what you have learned is true, truer than true. That is a Testimony. In short, a Testimony is a personal witness of Truth that brings us comfort, and becomes something cherished by us that we want to share with other people in the hopes that they can find the same joy in it that we do. Show more Show less

Do Mormons practice polygamy?

John
No. Not in over a hundred years. If I were to try it, I would be excommunicated kicked out of the Church faster than you can say "I Do." And to be honest, I can't think of anyone in their right minds who would want more than one Mother-in-Law. We did do it for a short period of time when God commanded it, and we stopped when God gave the order to stop.  Show more Show less

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?

John
Do Catholics worship Constantine, those involved in the Council of Nicea and all the Popes since? Do Lutherans worship Martin Luther? Do Methodists worship John Wesley? Do Baptists worship Roger Williams? Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith? No. In each group the worship is directed to God and Christ. However, each group has great respect and admiration for those involved in their own religious history. Each are grateful for sacrifices made or difficulties faced that today they have the beliefs that they cherish. Show more Show less

Why are only some Mormons allowed into temples? Is there something secret going on in Mormon Temples? What goes on in Mormon Temples?

John
Even in the days of Solomon down to the days of Herod, there were restrictions on who could enter what part of the temple, and requirements to be met beforehand. To help maintain the reverence, respect, and sanctity of the Temple, we strive to ensure that those who enter the temple are moral and faithful members of the Church. Before a temple is dedicated, however, we do have an Open House where anyone can come in and see the temple. Secret? No. Not secret. I supposed if you really wanted to, you could find some video online that depicts what goes on in the temples, though I highly doubt the accuracy of what you would find. A better word is Sacred. We hold the temple ordinances close to our hearts, not something to be cast as pearls before swine. You ask what goes on in the Temples? I will tell you. In the temples, we learn more about God's Plan of Salvation. We make covenants with God. We do religious ordinances on behalf of those who passed on. We marry for time and all eternity. All of which are very sacred and special to us. Show more Show less

Why do Mormons perform baptisms for the dead?

John
We believe baptism is required to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. So what about people who may never have heard of Christ, or never had the chance to be baptized? That is where baptisms for the dead come in. Now, just because the ordinance is done for them does not mean that they are automatically saved, nor does it mean that they are now Mormons in the spirit world. They still have their agency, it is up to them to accept or reject it, and it is not up to us to know if they did or not. We have simply been commanded to do it for everyone. Out of respect for the wishes and desires of the Jews living today, we don't do these ordinances for Jews killed in the Holocaust. Show more Show less

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

John
I laugh every time I hear this question. If you go by the dictionary definition of cult, you can even consider all of Christianity a cult. But to answer the question addressing the connotation implied... Look at how people would have viewed the Church when it began. You have a farm boy claiming that God and Christ spoke to him, the same farm boy later on producing a book claimed to be translated from gold plates left by some lost civilization, and starting a church over it. If that did not raise eyebrows, suddenly you have people flocking to join that church, willing to leave everything they have going for them to travel to distant destinations just to be close to this "prophet." Add to this men leaving their families to spread the message, and entire congregations leaving their churches to join this one, and people get very nervous. Especially preachers whose livelihoods are threatened by the doctrines espoused by this upstart religion. And the more that was done to try to stop it, the more it seemed to grow. I can easily understand why people then believed it to be a cult. They were scared. And people pass on that fear each generation. Now, when I hear the connotation in the question, I get an image of a very small group of people brainwashed to reject reality, with impressions of voodoo or some occultic stuff going on. A situation where people must not think for themselves or they suffer dire and painful consequences. And I also get impressions of mass suicides as well. None of this fits the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.    Show more Show less

Do you really believe there is a prophet like Moses alive today?

John
Believe... No. It is stronger than belief. I KNOW that there is a living Prophet on the earth today. You ask like Moses in comparison and I say that the only real difference is that the Prophet today does not wear robes, but suits and ties, and does not have a beard.   Show more Show less

Why was a Restoration of the Gospel needed? Haven’t we always had the Bible?

John
Even during Christ's time, there were people who turned against Him and left him. During the time of Peter and Paul there was constant struggle. There was first the Jewish Sanhedrin trying to dispose of this new breed of heretics. Then there were all those who kept trying to teach their own doctrines or pass themselves off as Disciples (Sons of Sceva or Simon the Sorcerer, anyone?). In fact, all the Epistles we have in the New Testament were the Apostles being run ragged by their constant efforts to keep the doctrines pure. Once the Apostles were killed and the Roman Govt ordered the death warrant of Christians that lasted hundreds of years, it was easy to see the confusion when we finally came out of hiding. However, by this time important doctrines had been forgotten or forsaken, and the Priesthood Authority that Christ had given Peter and the Apostles to guide the Church had been lost. The reason why we have so many different Christian Sects today is because inspired people realized that doctrines were missing in the current Churches of the day. But reforming churches to more correct doctrines still doesn't bring back Priesthood Authority. In Acts 3:20-21, Peter prophesied that all things would be restored before Christ returns in his glory. This includes the Priesthood Authority lost, which was restored by Peter, James, and John as resurrected beings to Joseph Smith in 1830. Show more Show less

What will the Mormon missionaries talk about when they visit my home?

John
We talk of Christ, we talk of families, and how they can be forever. We show how God has kept reaching out to us in ages past, and how he is reaching out to us today. We explain fully where we were before we were born, why we are here, what the meaning of death is, the promise of resurrection. We share principles of the Gospel, that if followed, bring great blessings. Show more Show less

Can a husband and wife be together forever? Do Mormons believe that families will live together in heaven?

John
Yes a husband and wife can be together forever. To those of you who are Christian, and recognize marriage as a symbolism of the Love of Christ for us and His Church, don't you agree that Christ's love for us and His Church lasts forever? Shouldn't a symbol of that love have the same eternal value? Does the Love of Christ end with death? So then should the love of a husband or wife end simply be discarded upon death? Yes a husband and wife should be together forever. What about the connection that some couples achieve after decades of marriage, where the two seem to be one person? The loss of a spouse seems to leave a hole in the other that always seems to ache and never seems to heal. I know that marriage does not seem like much nowadays. Divorce is on the rise, marriage is both ridiculed and suffering from those striving to change it into something it is not, and the family (the most fundamental unit in society) is under attack to so many fronts. But this is not what marriage and family are meant to be. They are sacred and intended to last forever, and through Temple Ordinances, and commitment to covenants, they can. Show more Show less

What is done with the tithing that Mormons pay?

John
Tithing is sent to Church Headquarters where it is budgeted for various things such as building and maintaining Temples and Chapels, printing scriptures, humanitarian aid, missionary work, and also budgets for local congregations. Show more Show less

What blessings can you receive from reading the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and other scriptures?

John
The more you read Scripture (emphasis on The Holy Bible as well as The Book of Mormon, but other scripture included) the more you will find guidance and peace in your life. The more you study about Christ, the closer you will be drawn to his presence, and the more desire you will have to pattern your life after his. Show more Show less

Why do Mormon missionaries proselyte?

John
Suppose you knew of a great party where everyone is invited. All the great food, music, games, whatever else you (the one reading this) thinks a great party needs. No limit on space, no cover fee, no need for tickets or other stuff. Wouldn't you want your friends to have fun at this party as well. Or have you had the experience of being left out of a party where all your friends went? We have found something that brings us such great joy, that we want everyone to have a chance to partake. So we go and spend 18 months to 2 years sharing the Gospel, so that no one else need feel left out. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

John
It may seem that our Church places a lot of emphasis on "works," because that is something that each of us individually can improve on. However, we do recognize that no amount of "works" will ever be enough to get us into Heaven. Grace alone is what gets us into Heaven. The Grace that comes from Christ's Atonement. I heard a an analogy a few weeks back that describe the situation almost perfectly. Parent pays a Piano Teacher for lessons for the child. All the parent asks of the child is that the child practice. Does the child practicing financially reimburse the teacher? No. Does the child practicing financially reimburse the parent? No. Why practice then? To become better a playing the Piano. Christ satisfied the demands of Justice to open the gates of Heaven for us. Could our living the commandments satisfy the demands of Justice? Not ever gonna happen. Not in this or any Eternity to follow. Does our living the commandments reimburse Christ for what he did for us? No. But living the commandments helps us become better people and draw us closer to Christ. Christ opened the doors for us, and His Grace is what will get us to Heaven. Were it not for His Atonement, there would not be any point of even existing. Show more Show less

What are Mormon church services like? Are visitors allowed at church meetings? Can I attend church?

John
Our Sabbath meetings consist of three parts that each will take up roughly an hour: Sacrament, Sunday School/Primary/Nursery, and Priesthood/Young Women/Relief Society. Sacrament will have the family together, with hymns, speakers (chosen from the congregation a few weeks in advance, so each week you will hear different people, rather than the same preacher over and over again), prayers, and also the Sacrament ordinance itself (Communion.) The Sacrament will be bread and water, you won't be compelled to partake, nor will you be forbidden from partaking. At no time will there be a plate passed around for donations. Next there will be Sunday School/Primary/Nursery. Nursery is for 18 months to 3 years, and will cover the time of Sunday School as well as the P/YW/RS. Primary is for children 3 to 11 years old, and will cover the same time as Nursery. Sunday School goes for about an hour, and is divided by age group. The third hour is divided by age group and gender, with Men age 12+ going to Priesthood, Young Women ages 12-18 in their own classes, and Women 18+ in Relief Society. Anyone and everyone are invited to attend. Show more Show less

Why don’t women hold the priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? How do Mormon women lead in the Church?

John
Again back to the D&D Analogy, a 10th level Fighter and a 10th level Wizard are different classes that complement each other, but if the Wizard had also equal levels in Fighter as the Fighter in the party did, then the contribution of the Fighter would be much less, and would even be a hindrance, as a 10 Fighter/10 Wizard would do much more than a simple 10 Fighter could even dream of. The goal is having man and woman work together as a team, not as individuals. Man and Woman cannot enter heaven by themselves. It takes both working together, each with their own strengths and weaknesses that are covered by the other. Now, women do have their own organization in the Church, called the Relief Society which I believe has about 6 million members world wide (That is an estimate and a very rough one at best.) They also have a greater impact in the Family (which is the basic unit in our Church) and have the greatest influence on the rising generations. Show more Show less