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Hi I'm Jared

I'm a student, a musician, and a writer. I'm a missionary. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I grew up participating in a number of activities, such as drama, Speech and Debate, and music (I began to learn piano when I was young, but then switched over to guitar; I also played percussion for my middle school band and sung in various functions, as well as wrote and recorded my own music). I also love foreign languages; I've taken Spanish and Italian and am currently learning Portuguese. I'm a university student, but am currently on deferment because I'm serving a mission for the Church.

Why I am a Mormon

I was raised in the Church, and as such I was baptized when I turned eight, but I have been and continue to be a member of the Church because I have received a personal testimony of its truthfulness. When I was young, I realized that I could not rest on the words of my family and others close to me, and had to know what was right on my own account. I prayed privately to my Heavenly Father and asked Him if the Church was true. Though most people do not receive confirmation immediately, I remember feeling the Holy Ghost clearly for the first time at that very instant, filling me with an almost indescribable warmth that clearly said, "Yes!" Since then, I have had countless other spiritual experiences confirming to me the truth of the Church and its doctrines. I have also built up my "intellectual testimony" over time, as, through personal study, pondering, and prayer, I have come to understand that no argument holds up in light of the true doctrines of the Church. I have also found, both through the times I have followed the teachings of Jesus Christ and the times that I have not, that obedience to the commandments does bring true happiness like nothing else can. Ultimately, the witnesses I have received from the Holy Ghost are what mean the most for my testimony. I know that if we have a true desire to know truth, and if we humble ourselves enough to be taught by the Lord, we will be convinced and converted, and we can all know, just as I know, that the Church is true.

How I live my faith

I've been able to serve through various church callings, including several positions of leadership in our Young Men's program, where I organized activities and helped see to the needs of others in our group. As a Priesthood holder, I have been blessed with the opportunity to administer the sacrament to others, allowing them to renew the sacred covenants they made with the Lord at baptism and to help them witness their repentance before the Lord. I have also had the opportunity to baptize a friend of mine, which was an amazing experience. As a home teacher, I have visited with families in the ward, getting to know them better, teaching them the gospel, and serving them. Moreover, I have served in less formal ways on a day-to-day level, because I believe this to be crucial if I actually want to become more like Christ. Because I have been blessed with a knowledge of the truth, I see myself as having a sacred responsibility to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and thereby demonstrate through my words and actions the pure joy that the gospel brings and the truth that is there. Though I am by no means perfect in this regard, I try to be the best example that I possibly can be because I love the gospel and want others to want its blessings. Now, I have the opportunity to devote full-time service to the Lord as a missionary, which is blessing my life enormously.

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

Jared
Our eighth Article of Faith states, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly...". There was a time when the Bible contained the fulness of the restored gospel. However, when the Apostles were killed and the Christian Church continued to operate without seeking after the proper authority set up by Jesus Christ, they began to resolve questions of doctrine by councils, rather than by revelation. This led to many false doctrines, and the Bible was physically altered, sometimes simply because of a poor translation yet other times to conform to these false doctrines. Without access to the original Biblical manuscripts today, the fulness of the gospel has been lost from the Bible. It was therefore essential for another record to come forth, the Book of Mormon, and for the Church to be restored, with correct priesthood authority given to the Church and doctrine to be purified. While today members of the Church are encouraged to study the Bible because of its divinity and the powerful information it contains, we must also hearken unto latter-day scriptures, the words of the living prophets, and the promptings of the Holy Ghost to more fully understand the will of the Lord beyond what the Bible, in its current state, can give on its own. Show more Show less

What is the Word of Wisdom that Mormons talk about?

Jared
The Word of Wisdom is essentially a health code which was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1833. It specifically prohibits the use of tobacco, alcohol, and hot drinks, which is generally interpreted to refer to coffee and tea. More recently, as the use of illicit drugs has become increasingly common, these have been added to the list through modern prophets. The Word of Wisdom also gives commandments as to what we should do, such as eating wholesome herbs, grains, and meat in moderation. The Word of Wisdom promises great blessings, both physical and spiritual, to those who obey it. Because so many Church members were already addicted to the use of the substances prohibited by the Word of Wisdom, the Lord allowed a "transition period" of sorts, initially designating the revelation as good counsel rather than commandment. Gradually, the members of the Church adapted and it became a temple worthiness requirement. Over time, science has gradually validated each of the commandments in the Word of Wisdom and continues to find more and more information that supports what the Lord taught through Joseph Smith. Comparing the current recommended food pyramid with the Word of Wisdom, for instance, yields some remarkable similarities. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

Jared
We believe that faith without works is dead and that therefore we cannot be saved in the kingdom of God without putting forth an honest effort to obey His commandments. However, we will inevitably fall short, and therefore it is also true that our works do not save us; only through the grace of Christ's atonement can we be cleansed from sin and become worthy to enter the presence of divinity. When we do sin, we must repent and do all that we can to do better. Faith, works, and grace, in a sense, then, represent three legs of a three-legged stool that lifts us up from the world and into the presence of God. Though it is ultimately only the grace of Jesus Christ that truly saves us, we cannot claim that grace unless we put forth a sincere effort to strengthen ourselves in those other areas. Show more Show less

How can I know Mormonism is true?

Jared
God has throughout scripture commanded that we do not put our trust in the teachings of men, but rather in Him. How, then, could He expect us to wholly rely on what someone else tells us we should believe, especially in a time when there are so many different religious teachings in the world? In our day, we are blessed to have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ on the Earth, and our Heavenly Father has not left us alone to find its truths, leaving such knowledge up to guesswork at best. Instead, if we are worthy, humble, and sincerely truth-seeking, we are entitled to personal revelation by the power of the Holy Ghost. We must first study the Book of Mormon and ponder it, as well as pondering other Church teachings. Then, we can ask God the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, if those teachings are true and if, by extension, this is the true Church and the one you should join. If you listen closely enough, willing to open your mind and heart and to accept whatever answers God gives, and ask sincerely, with the real intent to act upon what you learn, you will know by the power of the Holy Ghost for yourself that the Church is true. Show more Show less

Are Mormons Christians?

Jared
To be a Christian is to believe and follow Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our gospel and as such our church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, bears His name. No component of our doctrine would have any relevance to us if not for Jesus Christ, who was and is our teacher, savior, and redeemer. However, some claim that to be a Christian is also to believe in many other specific and nonbiblical doctrinal concepts. If by "Christian" we mean "one who accepts Nicene trinitarianism, a closed canon, a cessation of revelation, salvation by faith alone, etc.," then we most certainly would not fall into those categories. However, a simple Google search clearly demonstrates that the Church undeniably falls into the actual widely accepted definitions of Christianity. Show more Show less

Mormons believe Jesus Christ is their Savior. Why do we need a Savior?

Jared
The Lord has blessed us with our agency, the ability to choose for ourselves between right and wrong. However, Satan, the opponent of agency, wants to enslave us. Hence, when we choose to follow Satan, he has power over us and our agency becomes increasingly restricted as we become "addicted," in a sense, to our sins. President Monson summarized it well in the October 2010 General Conference when he said, "...it is easier to keep the commandments 100 percent of the time than it is 98 percent of the time." Unfortunately, none of us is perfect, and we all make mistakes that lead us to be caught with the chains of Satan. It is therefore necessary to receive outside help through the only one who was both strong enough to physically take on the punishment for sin and wise enough to understand how to escape the chains of sin. Jesus Christ therefore acted as a mediator by suffering for our sins both so that those sins would be paid for in full and so that He would be able to help us in our quest to free ourselves from spiritual bondage. If we turn to Him and truly repent, He will show us the way and stand by our sides. Show more Show less

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

Jared
The mere definition of "cult" is actually remarkably benign. Generally speaking, common definitions regard a cult as a group of people professing the same beliefs and goals. In that sense, really, any church, political party, social club, coalition, government, nation, or community service organization could be regarded as a cult. However, over time, "cult" has deviated somewhat from its actual meaning with regards to lay public perception. It has been used to connote some ambiguous weirdness as a means to denigrate a group, such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and to label that group as "the other." It has, in turn, become a way to describe an entirely separate institution from a church, even though their meanings are almost identical. "Cult" really doesn't mean anything harmful on its own, but its use has become a hateful, derogatory way to justify arbitrary feelings of ideological superiority. Show more Show less