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Hi I'm Mary L.

I am a creative individual, married to a good man, and am a mother to one active and delightful son. I am also a Mormon.

About Me

Though I was born in Wyoming, I have loved living in Colorado most of my life as we clearly get to enjoy the beauty of all four seasons. I enjoy being a wife and mother. These choices have always had precedence over everything else in my life. I love serving my family. I cannot imagine anything more important than striving to be a supportive wife and loving parent. I also have career interests. After waiting 42 years, I am finally attending college. This change has introduced a rather sizeable paradigm shift in my life. It's interesting returning to school after so many years, but I am grateful for the opportunity. As I tend to be more creative in nature, I have given thought to becoming a web designer and developer. As fast as technology changes, I only hope that occupation is still available by the time I graduate!

Why I am a Mormon

My Roman Catholic parents raised all seven of their children to be faithful Catholics; and on a low income, they made great sacrifices for each of us to attend parochial schools far from home. I can still remember how our father and mother would often gather the family together and kneel in prayer. This was my priceless introduction to faith. My father died when I was eleven. I realized most of what I considered life's 'essential questions' were not being sufficiently answered for me by those who taught me at school; though I greatly respected them all. So, at an early age, I began a quiet, personal quest for 'truth.' As a teen, I had many private prayers with my Heavenly Father that often lasted for hours. On some evenings, I used to drive out to a remote, tiny airport and sit in the parking lot (in my '68 Ford Mustang - sigh!) I distinctly remember pleading with Father to lead me to the truth. I "knew" there had to be an ultimate truth from which all other realities emanated, and if I could just find that truth, I believed I would be on the correct path for my life. A few years later, as I was returning home, I saw two Mormon missionaries at the manager's door of my apartment complex. As I glanced their way, the Holy Ghost 'whispered to my mind and heart' that they were there for me, in direct response to my prayers. I ran to my apartment and waited for them. I was baptized six months later, in 1975. Eventually, I was greatly blessed to be able to serve a full-time mission; teaching others what I had found. At present, I am the only living member throughout my extended family, but I still have faith for the future. I want you to know that I believe this gospel is true, and that Jesus Christ stands as the Head of this, His restored Church, in this, "the final dispensation of the fulness of times" (see https://www.lds.org/scriptures/tg/dispensation-of-the-fulness-of-times ).

How I live my faith

I strive to live by the standards of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In this church, we voluntarily give all we can of our time and talents. Joseph Smith, the modern-day prophet who was called by the Savior Himself, to "restore" the gospel of Jesus Christ, said the following: "Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation...." We accept callings and assignments to help us serve our fellowman; particularly those within our own areas where we live. Some accept calls to serve, at their own expense, in other lands and countries. I pray to my Heavenly Father often, and strive to read from my scriptures regularly. Someone once said, "It is through prayer that we talk with God, but it is through the scriptures that we listen to Him." I like that. Each of us is given agency; to choose how we want to live. I believe however, if we strive to abide by the guidance of the Holy Ghost, we will be blessed. I am especially grateful for the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who sacrificed all for the Father that we might return to our Heavenly family. Sometimes we are assigned work to assist our worldwide communities. For years, I've been serving in our stake (larger than a parish -- slightly smaller than a diocese). at our Family History Center, indexing and arbitrating names so they are accessible to the general public researching their family histories. This work may also be done on your own computer at home. Those who volunteer (all are welcome), are taught what they need to know. Once information has cleared arbitration, it is made available to websites such as 'Ancestry.com.' This is an ongoing work of love for all mankind. If you desire, visit https://familysearch.org/volunteer and express an interest in serving as an indexer. They will help you get started, either on your PC at home or at a stake Family History Center (FHC).

Do Mormons regard the Bible as Holy Scripture and the word of God?

Mary L.
Mormons believe, revere and love the Holy Bible. We see it as a powerful, important, and sacred holy record which serves as the bedrock of all Christianity. The Bible is rich in history, doctrine, stories, sermons and testimonies, all of which witness that Jesus Christ is the Divine Son of our Heavenly Father. The Bible is the word of God and came from the writings of holy men of God as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost (see 2 Peter 1:20-21). Through the same process we have additional Holy Scripture, including the Book of Mormon, which supports and exalts the Bible. Show more Show less

What is the Book of Mormon?

Mary L.
The Book of Mormon is another witness that Jesus Christ really lived, that He was and is God’s Son. It contains the writings of ancient prophets. One of these, Lehi, lived in Jerusalem around 600 B.C. God commanded Lehi to lead a small group of people to the American continent. There they became a great civilization. God continued to call prophets among these people. The Book of Mormon is a collection of the writings of their prophets and record keepers. It is named after Mormon, one of the last of these ancient prophets. These prophets knew about Heavenly Father’s plan for His children and the mission of Jesus Christ. They recorded that Christ appeared, after His Resurrection, to the people in America, taught them His gospel, and formed His Church among them. The book contains the teachings of Jesus Christ, testifying of His Atonement and His love. It supports and verifies the Bible. The Book of Mormon concludes with a great promise that those who read it and sincerely pray about it can know by the Holy Ghost that it is true (Moroni 10:4). Show more Show less

Are Mormons Christians?

Mary L.
Gordon B. Hinckley, prior President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1995-2008), said: “We are Christians in a very real sense and that is coming to be more and more widely recognized. Once upon a time people everywhere said we [were] not Christians. They have come to recognize that we are, and that we have a very vital and dynamic religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. We, of course, accept Jesus Christ as our Leader, our King, our Savior...the dominant figure in the history of the world, the only perfect Man who ever walked the earth, the living Son of the living God. He is our Savior and our Redeemer through whose atoning sacrifice has come the opportunity of eternal life. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pray and worship in the name of Jesus Christ. He is the center of our faith and the head of our Church. The Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ and witnesses of His divinity, His life, and His Atonement.” Show more Show less

Who was Joseph Smith?

Mary L.
Joseph Smith Jr. was born in 1805 in Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, to Joseph and Lucy Mack Smith. He had 10 brothers and sisters. His parents taught him to pray, read the Bible, and to have faith in God. At age 14, as an answer to fervent prayer, Joseph saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, in his First Vision. At age 17, Joseph began to receive heavenly messengers who prepared him for his role in the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth. He was a prophet, just like Moses, Isaiah and others in biblical times. He was strengthened by God to fulfill His mission much as was Jeremiah who said, “Ah Lord God! Behold I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak” (Jeremiah 1:6-7). I came to believe that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, when I studied his story, and pondered this question in my heart. I asked the Lord if it was true. I want you to know that it was by the power of the Holy Ghost touching my mind and my heart, that I learned Joseph Smith was a true prophet. There is no greater witness than that which comes from God. Show more Show less

What are some of the ways that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints helps those around the world?

Mary L.
The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches that people should bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). Throughout the world, when communities suffer major disasters and face difficulties beyond their ability to meet, the Church is prepared to offer assistance contributed by its members. The aid helps people who are in need, without regard to religious affiliation, ethnicity, or nationality. Humanitarian assistance has reached 147 countries and is valued at tens of millions of dollars annually. Latter-day Saint Charities is a Church organization that: * Distributes food. * Provides assistance in times of disaster such as volunteers to help in cleanup, the use of chapels for shelter, as well as food, water, and medical supplies free of charge. * Funds and encourages projects that benefit stricken communities. * Teaches self-reliance. * Helps people begin small business enterprises in their own homes. Visit the Church-sponsored "Provident Living" website for additional information on the humanitarian efforts of the Church. Show more Show less

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

Mary L.
One definition listed for ‘cult’ in Webster’s Dictionary is “a religion regarded as unorthodox.” Since the roots of Mormonism are not a break off from the Catholic or Protestant churches, it is seen by some as “unorthodox.” For example, the LDS definition of the Godhead differs from the Nicene Creed accepted by most Catholic or Protestant churches. The “cult” label is usually applied by Church opponents attempting to criticize or discredit the Church. However, sometimes it’s simply a matter of characterization that has grown up over time by the lack of understanding. Such misunderstandings often vanish when people begin to realize the commonality of what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really teaches and believes. That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world whom we love and worship. When people begin to see and recognize these things about Mormons, then their opinion of the Church usually changes, and old beliefs are replaced with new understanding. Show more Show less

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

Mary L.
The Apostle Paul taught that “neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:11). In the sight of God, and in the marriage relationship, men and women are equally important. By divine design, fathers are to watch over and teach their families in love and righteousness. They are to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers should help one another as equal partners. (Taken from “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” which was written by twelve modern Apostles through inspiration from the Lord.) Both parents should be involved in the care and discipline of children. It is important to agree on family goals and be willing to work toward them with their children. If parents are not in harmony and do not have mutual respect, the children may become confused and lose confidence in their parents. Both parents should be unified and intimately involved in the upbringing of their children. Show more Show less

Why do Mormons perform baptisms for the dead?

Mary L.
Jesus Himself, though without sin, was baptized to fulfill all righteousness and to show the way for all mankind (Matt 3:13-17; 2 Nephi 31:5-12). Baptism is essential for salvation. We learn in the New Testament that baptisms for the dead were done during the Apostle Paul’s time (1 Corinthians 15:29). This practice has been restored with the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Prophet Joseph Smith 1st taught about the ordinance of baptism for the dead during a funeral sermon in 1840. He read much of 1 Corinthians 15, incl verse 29, and announced that the Lord would permit Church members to be baptized "in behalf of" their friends & relatives who had departed this life. “The plan of salvation was calculated to save all who were willing to obey the requirements of the law of God” (Journal History of the Church, 15 Aug 1840). Because all who have lived have not had the opportunity to be baptized by proper authority, baptisms may be performed by proxy, meaning a living person may be baptized in behalf of a deceased person. These are performed by Church members in temples. People have wondered if mortal remains of the deceased are somehow disturbed in this process; they are not. The person acting as a proxy uses "only the name" of the deceased. Some have misunderstood that the names of deceased persons are added to the membership records of the Church. This is not true. The Church does however, keep records of the living and deceased persons engaged in the work. Show more Show less

What is the First Vision?

Mary L.
As a boy, Joseph Smith was surrounded by various churches which, though they disagreed with one another, each claimed to teach the truth. This caused him much serious reflection. He wanted to know which church was right. One day he read a passage in the Bible which says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). Joseph decided to accept the invitation to ask God. In the spring of 1820, Joseph went to a grove of trees near his home and prayed to learn which church he should join. In answer to his prayer, Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to him. Joseph wrote: “When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” Joseph was told to join none of the churches that existed at that time as the priesthood authority and Church as Jesus Christ had organized it when He was on the earth had been lost over the centuries. Joseph Smith’s First Vision marked the beginning of the Restoration of Jesus Christ’s Church to the earth. Joseph’s written account of this event is a powerful testimony of what he saw and experienced. (visit www.lds.org and Joseph Smith’s History, chapter 1 verses 8-17.) Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about family?

Mary L.
In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” many Mormon beliefs about families are outlined. One of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ core beliefs is that family relationships can last forever—not just for this life. Just as some of life’s sweetest joys can come through family associations, the loss of a beloved family member can be a source of our deepest sorrows. But death does not need to be the end of our relationships with cherished loved ones. The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that the “same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there [in eternity], only it will be coupled with eternal glory” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:2). Family members who accept the Atonement of Jesus Christ and follow His example can be together forever through sacred ordinances performed in God’s holy temples. Jesus gave to Peter the power to have things sealed on earth and sealed in heaven (Matthew 16:19). This same sealing power was restored to Joseph Smith. Mormon’s believe that they can be “sealed” or bound together through His power enabling them to live together in eternity. Show more Show less

What is faith?

Mary L.
To have faith is to “hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (see Hebrews 11:1, and Book of Mormon, Alma 32:21). Each day you act upon things you hope for, even before you see the end result. This is similar to faith. Faith in God is more than a theoretical belief in Him. To have faith in God is to trust Him, to have confidence in Him, and to be willing to act on your belief in Him. It is a principle of action and power. The Book of Mormon prophet Alma compared faith to a seed. If you plant a seed and nourish it, if it is a good seed it will grow and eventually bear fruit (see Alma 32:28-43). It is the same with faith. If you are obedient to God’s commandments, study His word, and have a desire to believe in Christ, faith will grow inside of you. Show more Show less

Why is authority to perform a baptism important?

Mary L.
Throughout time, God has given His servants, the prophets, the authority to act in His name. This authority is called the priesthood. Jesus Christ gave the priesthood to His original Twelve Apostles by ordination (see John 15:16), and they directed the work of His Church after Jesus ascended to heaven. But after the Apostles were killed, the priesthood gradually disappeared from the earth. This introduced what was known as "the dark ages." In 1829, Joseph Smith received the priesthood authority to organize Christ’s Church from Heavenly Messengers who had held this authority anciently; including the prophet John the Baptist, and apostles Peter, James, and John. In 1830, the same Church of Jesus Christ that existed centuries ago was 'organized and restored' to the earth. The priesthood has two divisions. The lesser priesthood is called the Aaronic Priesthood, named after Aaron in the Old Testament. It includes the authority to preach the gospel of repentance and to baptize. The greater (or higher) priesthood is called the Melchizedek Priesthood, named after Melchizedek in the Old Testament. It includes the authority to preside over the Church and to perform all ordinances, including giving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

Mary L.
The prophet Joseph Smith taught ‘Therefore ye are justified of faith and works, through grace...’ (see Romans 4:16; and JST 'Joseph Smith Translation' - see www.lds.org/scriptures). The Book of Mormon teaches "For we labor diligently to write to persuade our children, and also our brethren to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace we are saved 'after all we can do’" (2 Nephi 25:23). The Book of Mormon adds ‘all that we could do [was to] repent of all our sins’ (Alma 24:11). A Book of Mormon prophet named Lehi taught, ‘There is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah’ (2 Nephi 2:8). Show more Show less

What is the purpose of the welfare services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Mary L.
The purpose of Church welfare is to promote self-reliance and to care for and serve the poor and needy. For assistance, recipients are encouraged to work (when able) so that they are blessed and can bless the lives of others. Work is a guiding principle in the Church's welfare program. 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?

Mary L.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has more than 100 operating temples around the world. Visitors are welcome to visit the temple grounds at all of these temples and attend open houses prior to dedication. However, only baptized members who are qualified and prepared are allowed to enter a temple after it is dedicated. In temples, Church members participate in ordinances designed to unite their families together forever and help them return to God. In the temple, members: * Learn eternal truths. * Receive sacred ordinances, including those that bind 'families' together for eternity (Malachi 4:5-6). * Provide ordinances such as baptism for those who have died without the opportunity to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:29; 1 Peter 4:6). Show more Show less

Is it true that Jesus appeared in North America after his crucifixion and resurrection according to the Book of Mormon?

Mary L.
The Book of Mormon tells of the "resurrected" Jesus Christ and His visit to His faithful followers in ancient America. After His visits to His disciples in the Old World, He descended out of heaven and appeared to His followers in ancient America. Over 2,500 souls witnessed this recorded event. The Book of Mormon describes how, during His visit, Jesus Christ healed their sick, taught them His gospel, blessed their children, and called twelve disciples to organize His Church in the Americas (3 Nephi 11:18; 3 Nephi 12:1-2). Show more Show less

Who is the Mormon prophet today?

Mary L.
God has called prophets to lead His Church in our day, just as He did anciently. The Head of the church is Jesus Christ. The current prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Thomas S. Monson. He is assisted by two counselors — Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uctdorf. Together, they make up the First Presidency of the Church (much like Peter, James and John after Christ’s death). All members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are apostles and prophets. The current Apostles are: * Boyd K. Packer * L. Tom Perry * Russell M. Nelson * Dallin H. Oaks * M. Russell Ballard * Richard G. Scott * Robert D. Hales * Jeffrey R. Holland * David A. Bednar * Quentin L. Cook * D. Todd Christofferson * Neil L. Andersen Show more Show less

What is the Atonement of Jesus Christ? Why was it necessary for Jesus Christ to sacrifice His life?

Mary L.
It is impossible to put into words the full meaning of the Atonement, which is the most important and most transcendent event in the history of the world. Through His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross, the Savior atoned for our sins. This is the good news for all people! We cannot fully understand how Jesus suffered for our sins; but we know that in the Garden of Gethsemane, the weight of our sins caused Him to feel such agony that He bled from every pore (D&C 19:16-17). Later, as He hung upon the cross, Jesus again felt the weight of our sins even as He willingly suffered painful death by one of the most cruel methods ever known. In the book, "Jesus the Christ," page 462 states, “It seems, that in addition to the fearful suffering incident to crucifixion, the agony of Gethsemane had recurred, intensified beyond human power to endure. In that bitterest hour the dying Christ was alone, alone in most terrible reality.” The Savior tells us: “For behold, I... have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer... even as I.” (D&C 19:16-17) Christ did what only He could do in atoning for our sins. To make His Atonement fully effective in our lives, we must have faith in Christ, repent of our sins, be baptized and confirmed by one having authority, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, obey God’s commandments, receive sacred ordinances and strive to become like Him. As we do these things through His Atonement, we can return to Heavenly Father. Show more Show less