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Hi I'm Dave

I'm a language lover, a music maker, a multicultural food devourer, a teacher of my kids and grandkids. And I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I love pulling people closer into my circle and expanding my circle to include them. I love the languages and cultures and the people of Central Asia, and I enjoy being a language administrator. Most of my co-workers are Muslim, and I love working with them as we create textbooks, multimedia materials and mobile apps for Turkic and Iranian languages. We also teach language and culture to students from academic, business, military and other governmental organizations, many of whom later travel or work in Afghanistan, Western China or various Eurasian countries. I enjoy creating music, vocal and instrumental. I also love roller coasters and stormy weather. I’ve been laid off twice. Despite trials and defeat, I have always felt a success as a parent, and as a result, I’ve felt successful in general. I love my wife. She is an organizer extraordinaire; her influence as a teacher of youth cannot be measured. We are empty nesters with six amazing adult kids, a daughter and five sons. We have a bunch of wonderful grandkids. My favorite age is the teenage years. I love having teenagers; it's when their hearts and minds kick in in full gear. Teenagerhood -- well prepared for -- is a joy. Real travel for me starts where English is not spoken and dollars are not used. I love eating international foods of all sorts and discussing them with my family. I enjoy talking to folks of all sorts; I love learning from people who aren't like me.

Why I am a Mormon

I've had people say to me with sincere interest, "Wow, I've never met a Mormon. What does being a Mormon mean to you?" Muslim friends I know well have asked me, "So, Dave, why aren't you a Muslim?" I answer these various queries the same way. I'm a Mormon because I know that Jesus is the Savior of all humankind. He isn't just a good man, a teacher or a prophet; this isn't just a good church that teaches really neat things. It is the Church of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the same church that he himself set up, reestablished in these latter days before his Second Coming. The fullness of gospel truths was lost in the centuries after the death of Jesus. He restored his gospel to all of us through the boy prophet Joseph Smith, who asked important questions with confidence that God would reveal to him the answers. Christ continues to lead his church today through a living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. That's why we call it the Church of Jesus Christ. I know this is true through the same powers of personal revelation available to Joseph Smith and Thomas Monson. Everyone on earth may know these truths for themselves, directly from God. And that's why I'm a Mormon. The entire name is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. No one is born knowing that it's true. Each of us must gain his/her own testimony that it is truly the Church of Jesus Christ. And by celestial design, that takes work. That's true for those whose parents happen to be members of the church as well as for those whose parents are not. In the economy of the Lord, there's no free lunch. But the feast at the table is certainly well worth the effort and is available to all.

How I live my faith

As my kids grew up, I knew that the unquestioning faith they had as children would be replaced by all the important questions of youth. As parents, we encouraged lots of intellectual exploring by reading widely, continually discussing and debating with our children. It helped that my wife and I are usually at opposite ends of any spectrum of opinion, so the kids grew up knowing the importance of disagreeing agreeably and of digging out answers that satisfied their individual concerns. But we united as parents as far as eternal truths are concerned, and it was important that our kids have confidence that they could get solid answers. They could get solid opinions from Mom and me, and they could get solid answers directly from God. It was especially important that they do so when it came to matters of faith, whether to live righteously, to keep commandments, to stay morally clean, or to follow the weightier matters of the law. When they were teenagers, we'd spend hours studying to master scriptures and to wrestle for gospel answers, making a game of it whenever possible. Bribing with Skittles candy made it fun -- It was a game only when the kids felt it was fun. Tackle scripture chase, anyone? In the process, our children learned not only to stand on their own but to fight for what they know is right. Generally speaking, they've made decisions worthy of any adult, even when they were teenagers. They continue to choose to keep their feet firmly planted on the strait and narrow path, teaching their families to do so as well. As a family, we each do what we can to stand with other people for that which is good, for that which we know to be right. I am delighted to find that so many of our friends share our high standards and strong faith, regardless of their communities, religious traditions or backgrounds. The feast at the table is made more rich by diverse tastes, languages, cultures, histories, national interests and beliefs.

What is the role of the husband and the wife in the family?

Dave
My wife and I usually see things from different points of view. Even though we know we are equally yoked in our responsibilities as spouses and as parents, each of us sees life through a different lens, and we focus on different things. I am the man who has the keys and she is the woman who has the influence, and together we strive to bring about the work that God wants us to do in our family and in our community. Working together with Heavenly Father allows any couple to raise children who find certainty in uncertain times. Show more Show less

What are Mormon Temples used for?

Dave
Families can be together forever. To live together as a family unit after this life, we must go to a temple to be sealed as a family by one who has the authority from God to do so. That's why, across the globe, there are so many temples in the Church of Jesus Christ. In the temple, we learn eternal truths and receive sacred ordinances, all with the purpose of bringing about the immortality and eternal life of all of us by binding our families together link to link, parent to child, across all generations and through all time. All of these ordinances, including marriages, are performed without charge by people who freely volunteer their time. Elijah the prophet returned to the earth in April 1836 to restore this sealing power to Joseph Smith (Doctrine & Covenants 110:13-16), turning the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers (Old Testament, Malachi 4:5-6). This is why we want to do family history work. Find out the closest temple under construction near you, and for a short period as it nears completion, there will be an open house for the general public. (See http://www.lds.org/church/temples/find-a-temple?lang=eng and look for "Construction" in column at right.) Anyone who wishes to tour a temple may do so during this open house. Come experience for yourself what the spirit of Elijah has in store for you! Show more Show less

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

Dave
Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of all humankind. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are two separate personages, Father and Son, and each has a physical body of flesh and bones, as tangible as man's, but glorified and perfected. We talk about the Godhead rather than the Trinity, and this doctrine causes some people to reject Mormons as Christian; unfortunately, I’ve had friends explain to me that since I don’t believe in the Christ that they worship, I cannot be Christian, and they therefore must fall out of fellowship with me. The doctrine of the Godhead may lead other people to claim that Mormons are a cult -- Indeed, others of my friends have said that if I don’t believe in the same Christ they worship, then I must be part of a cult. Regardless, I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of all the earth, that he died to atone for all our sins, and that he was resurrected three days later. He is not just a spirit but has a physical, resurrected body, and continues to live today in his resurrected body. Christ isn't just a good man or a teacher. He is not merely one who spoke in days of yore who no longer chooses to speak to man. This isn't just a good church that teaches really neat things. It is the Church of Jesus Christ, the same church that he himself set up, reestablished in these latter days before his Second Coming. He continues to speak to us today. Christ cares about each of us, is involved in our lives, and we will be truly happy if we know him and follow him. Show more Show less

Why is authority to perform a baptism important?

Dave
Authority is important not only to baptize but to do anything in the name of God. The priesthood authority of God was lost in the centuries after the death of Jesus. It was restored to the earth when the Apostles Peter, James and John appeared to Joseph Smith in order to confer on him the priesthood authority from God, just as Christ had conferred it upon the three of them. Because of this event, similarly, as the father of my family, I have the authority from God to lead and teach and persuade my family in the way that they should go, to give them a priesthood blessing, and to administer the ordinances (such as baptism) of the Church of Jesus Christ for my family and for others. All at no charge; I have received this power freely, and I choose to use it freely (see New Testament, Matthew 10:8). To request payment to act in the name of God is priestcraft, which God condemns as a clear conflict of interest. (New Testament, 1 Peter 5:2; Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 26:29, etc.) Through this same power from above, each of my sons blesses his own family, acting as God would. I know that every father, every man has this authority available to him. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe is the purpose of life?

Dave
Our purpose, the purpose of life, is (1) to become as Christ-like as we can and (2) to help others to become as Christ-like as they can. (“And when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” New Testament, Luke 22:32.) All of us will be immortal after we die -- All of us will get a renewed and perfect body, unconditionally, through the grace of God, through the atonement of Christ. And through the atonement of Christ, through the grace of God, we all have the opportunity to achieve eternal life -- But this is conditional -- If we forsake our sins and do good works among others, we can live with God after we die. (New Testament, James 2:12-26, especially Verses 17, 18 and 26.) Christ’s work is to bring about the immortality and eternal life of all of us. (Pearl of Great Price, Moses 1:39.) Show more Show less

Why is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called Mormons or Mormonism?

Dave
For any long name, it’s natural to find a shorthand term when referring to it repeatedly. Because of the Book of Mormon, people in Joseph Smith’s day started using the term “Mormons” to refer to the saints in the latter days (to refer to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). These days, we instead use “the Church of Jesus Christ” as a shorthand. This is especially important as some people continue to question whether we are Christian. Show more Show less

Who was Joseph Smith?

Dave
Joseph Smith was a boy who asked important questions with confidence that God would reveal to him the answers. In the year 1820, Joseph wanted to know which church he should join. Jesus Christ told him that he should not join any church, that "they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof." (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith-History 1:19). God said that the original church was not on the earth at the time, and then proceeded to restore the true church of Jesus Christ through Joseph. Show more Show less

Who is the Mormon prophet today?

Dave
Christ leads his church today through a living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. That's why we call it the Church of Jesus Christ. Just as Abraham and Moses had the authority from God to speak to the people on the earth at their time, President Monson has the authority from God to speak to people on the earth today. This doctrine may lead some people to claim that Mormons are a cult. Some teach that God has closed the canon of scripture and that no new knowledge may be given to man. I have learned for myself that God has an open canon of scripture, that Jesus Christ not man decides when God is done giving us new knowledge, and that the Lord continues to give us additional truths today. Each year, the counsel from God that we receive in General Conference increases the canon of modern scripture, and these words of scripture are precious to us as members of the Church of Jesus Christ. These days, as we look for answers to today's complexities, it is more important than ever that God continue to guide us. I know that he does indeed guide us, and he tells us what we need to know by revealing new knowledge to his prophet, President Monson. Show more Show less

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

Dave
They are representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As such, they’ll teach you about the Lord Jesus Christ and how we are happiest when we follow him. They’ll talk about faith, prayer and listening to the Holy Ghost. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Christ and in a powerful way helps us to learn more about him, so they’ll discuss that, too. If you read the Book of Mormon with a sincere heart and with real intent, its contents -- the gospel of Jesus Christ that you’ll find in its pages -- will help you to increase faith and to become more Christ-like. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about the nature of God?

Dave
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are two separate personages, Father and Son, and each has a physical body of flesh and bones, as tangible as man's, but glorified and perfected. The two of them are one in purpose. In contrast, the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit; he does not have a physical body so that he may testify to our mind and to our heart that God is real and communicates with us. We are created in the image of God. Just as I love each of my children, God loves each of us individually and wants the best for us. Just as we communicate with him through prayer, he hopes to communicate with us through answers to our prayers if we learn to listen and through guidance to us directly as we go throughout the day. He wants to help guide us through our lives so that we may return to him after we die. Show more Show less

Are all Mormons required to serve a mission?

Dave
Jesus Christ is the head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has asked all able young men that they prepare to serve a mission as a representative of Christ. Those who believe that and keep themselves worthy ask to be called to serve when they are 18 or 19 years old. There is no requirement, but there is a strong tradition of being quick to observe (“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations.” New Testament, Matthew 28:19.) In addition to preparing spiritually, these young men prepare financially, emotionally, physically and socially. Young women may choose to serve after they are 19 years old, and married couples may also choose to serve. Missionaries of any age love to serve and feel it is an honor to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Years ago, I was called to serve the people of Argentina. I love them, loved living there and loved seeing them come unto Christ. Each of my five sons has served a mission and feels the same way about the people whom he was called to serve. The gospel of Jesus Christ unites all people and helps us to see everyone as our equals, across all nations, peoples, social structures, stations in life, languages and cultures. Show more Show less

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

Dave
3 reasons: (1) Some people claim Mormonism is a cult because we believe that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are two separate personages, Father and Son. Some of my friends tell me that since I don’t believe in the Christ that they worship, I must be part of a cult and cannot be Christian. I have learned for myself that Jesus Christ is the Savior of all the earth and continues to live today. (2) Some claim that God no longer speaks to man, that if you accept that God gives man new knowledge today through prophets that you must be part of a cult. Throughout history, people have favored dead prophets while rejecting living ones -- It’s easy to interpret the words of old prophets to fit one’s beliefs, but it’s difficult to accept the words of a living prophet, especially if acceptance requires a change in one’s beliefs. I have learned for myself that Christ leads his church today through a living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. (3) Some claim that God has closed the canon of scripture, teaching that Mormons are a cult because we accept scriptures in addition to the Bible. I have learned for myself that God loves us and wants us to accept guidance from him, which includes new scriptures that he reveals to his prophet. I know that the Book of Mormon contains the word of God. As Mormons, we claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all people the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. Show more Show less

What is the Law of Chastity?

Dave
As with all commandments, the Law of Chastity adjusts our perspective. A little kid running excitedly toward the street may resent a parent who guides him away from his goal, but the parent sees the oncoming vehicle that the child fails to see. The Law of Chastity guides us away from any sin of a sexual nature. The basics for youth: (1) No passionate kissing. (2) No lying on top of each other. (3) No touching sacred parts of the body (with or without clothing). (4) Don’t allow others to do that to you. Basics for adults: We declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife. (The Family: A Proclamation to the World, Paragraph 4.) We may choose to see the Law of Chastity as a hindrance to what we want to be doing, as something that inhibits our passions, or we may choose to see it as God does. God gave us these passions so that we might unite as spouses and also so that we might form families. He sees chastity as a hindrance to sin, as a way to avoid things that truly obstruct our passions by damaging our spirit, our body, our soul, our families, our eternal future. I know that keeping the Law of Chastity brings lasting happiness by increasing our passions through observing the bounds that the Lord has set. Show more Show less

What are some things that tell you there is a God?

Dave
I love a quote attributed to Leo Tolstoy: “I believe in God as I believe in the rising sun -- Not that I can see it, but rather that by it, I can see everything.” Each day, there are so many things that testify that there is a God. It may not be the fashion today to recognize these things, but they don’t cease to exist due to our inattention. Our job, our mission, should we decide to accept it, is to have ears that hear, eyes that see, minds that understand, hearts that obey. May we be quick to observe, quick to hearken. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about family?

Dave
The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose. (The Family: A Proclamation to the World.) No other success can compensate for failure in the home. Most earnestly and urgently, we call upon parents to assume their full responsibility for teaching and living the gospel in the home. (President David O. McKay.) The greatest work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home. (President Harold B. Lee.) When talking to people who happen not to believe as we do, don’t let belief be a conversation stopper. Independent of the thoughts and feelings of a current dialogue partner, continue to be friendly and Christ-like. In the Church of Jesus Christ, we believe that we should keep an open conversation going. On the important topics of family, marriage and sexuality, there are such diverse opinions, and our public “town square” should be open to all. These are big topics. Let’s talk… and listen… and understand. Show more Show less

Why is self-reliance important to Mormons? Why do Mormons talk about emergency preparedness?

Dave
As with all counsel from the Lord, his instructions on provident living adjust our perspective. A little kid running excitedly toward the street may resent a parent who guides her away from her goal, but the parent sees the vehicle that the child fails to see. We may not see financial or physical calamities coming, but they are an oncoming vehicle for which God wants us to be prepared in order to reduce or even avoid the associated heartache. Just as the words of the prophet Elijah alleviated the heartache of a widow of Zarephath and her son (Old Testament, 1 Kings 17:8-24), by following the words of a modern prophet, I have been able to protect my family in hard times when I was out of work or when money was scarce. Our lives were blessed by our own private cruses of oil that never failed. For years, it was our stored mylar bags of macaroni, available in a box on our shelf month after month long after we should have exhausted the supply. More recently, our old cars have been our cruse of oil that faileth not, continuing beyond reason to function and get us where we need to go, including monthly trips to the temple two hours away. I know that these have been a gift from God, blessings from years of trying to store up against bad times. I submit that God places similar things in the life of many of us, if not all of us. What things in your life has God granted to you as a cruse of oil that never fails? We are truly grateful for such tender mercies and sacred synchronicities. Show more Show less

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

Dave
Provident living restores and sustains the confidence and self-reliance of anyone in the world. Before you may teach anyone about the gospel of Jesus Christ, they must have their basic needs met, needs such as hunger and shelter. Eternal principles of assistance teach us that one must meet his/her own basic needs based on work and not on the dole -- Handouts may give a man a fish for a moment, but to teach a man to fish is a sustainable program based on the Lord’s principles of provident living. Welfare principles help us to see the cruses of oil that never fail which the Lord places in our lives (1 Kings 17:8-24). Welfare principles of the Church of Jesus Christ also teach us first to provide care for our own so that we may quickly learn to provide care for other people around us. When we base our work on eternal principles, the work of caring assistance edifies the person who happens to offer assistance as it edifies the person who happens to receive assistance -- They are edified together (D&C 84:106-110). While to me this work is ill-suited to business, governmental or non-governmental organizations, it is well suited to community volunteers. If someone is paid to provide assistance to others, are they likely to be as effective as one who volunteers to offer this care freely? This work is to be done by people who care, neighbors who care, by caring individuals organizing their communities. I have learned for myself that this is God’s plan to care for the entire world. Show more Show less

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

Dave
Just as Isaac and Rebekah of the Old Testament put a lot of work into ensuring that their son Jacob and his future wife enjoyed the blessings of an eternal marriage, my wife and I have put a lot of work into our marriage and into raising our kids. As Isaac and Rebekah did, we want to be the man who has the keys and the woman who has the influence, working together to see that we are prepared and to bring about the work that God wants us to do, equally yoked in our responsibilities as spouses and parents. "In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers should help one another as equal partners." (Family Proclamation.) "The world does not know us, and truth...demands that we speak... We are not inferior to the ladies of the world, and we do not want to appear so." (Eliza R. Snow, 6 Jan 1870.) While women do not hold the priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ, women leaders in the Church impact all of us. “The world’s greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus the Christ.” (Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society, Page 3.) Early in her life, my wife nurtured a strong desire to be a woman of power and a woman of influence. She decided that she could do that most effectively by choosing to stay at home to raise a family. Her influence on our six adult children and on their families cannot be measured. That is influence; that is power. We are grateful for her wisdom to wield these skills in such a way as to have a true impact on society. Show more Show less

What is the priesthood?

Dave
Priesthood is what Heavenly Father uses to give us the authority to speak or act as He would. The priesthood of God is inextricably linked to fatherhood. This authority was restored to the earth when the Apostles Peter, James and John appeared to Joseph Smith in order to confer on him the priesthood authority from God, just as Christ had conferred it upon the three of them. Because of this event, similarly, as the father of my family, I have the authority from God to baptize and give priesthood blessings to others, to help and to heal, to lift and to lead, to teach and persuade my family in the way that they should go. All at no charge -- I have received this power freely, and I choose to use it freely (see New Testament, Matthew 10:8). To request payment to act in the name of God is priestcraft, which God condemns as a clear conflict of interest. (New Testament, 1 Peter 5:2; Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 26:29, etc.) God has designed it so that we use his priesthood only to bless others; for example, I cannot use the priesthood to give myself a blessing. Through me, my sons also have this authority to bless their own families and to carry on the work of righteousness as God would do himself if He were here counseling and coaching us. I have learned for myself that true strength comes from magnifying the priesthood. I know that every man has this authority available to him. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe happens to us after we die? What do Mormons believe about life after death?

Dave
Death is a sensitive topic that we often associate with pain and separation. I have worked with families of victims of an airline accident in the mountains of Colombia and witnessed death on a grand scale. As I searched the temporary morgue among the many bodies for particular lost ones, I was struck by the scope of meeting the needs of surviving family members, by how thin is the veil that separates this life from the next, by how grateful I am to have additional time on this side of the veil, and by the urgency and importance of knowing that these loved ones continue on as individuals after death. It was interesting to me to discover that I have skill in dealing with death and in helping others to deal with death. For me, this is a wonderful work; I welcome whole-heartedly opportunities as they arise to work again to meet similar needs. I understand how unusual this may be, but I love how the depth of emotions associated with the death of someone close to us can bring out the best of people at a time when that best is so sorely needed, in ways that few if any other occasions can match. I have learned for myself that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is acutely aware of each and every one of us, that his love for us knows no bounds, and that it is at times like these that his love is made manifest most clearly in our minds and in our hearts. These are times to notice the gifts of the Spirit of God in the lives of those around us who remain. May we all be quick to observe. Show more Show less

What is the Relief Society?

Dave
Established in 1842 for women 18 years old and older, the Relief Society is the oldest and largest women's organization in the world. The motto: “Charity never faileth.” President Julie B. Beck has taught us: “Relief Society should be organized, aligned, and mobilized to strengthen families and help our homes to be sacred sanctuaries from the world. I learned this years ago when I was newly married. My parents, who had been my neighbors, announced that they would be moving to another part of the world... This was before e-mail, fax machines, cell phones, and Web cameras, and mail delivery was notoriously slow. One day before she left, I sat weeping with her and asked, ‘Who will be my mother?’ Mother thought carefully, and with the Spirit and power of revelation which comes to women of this kind, she said to me, ‘If I never come back, if you never see me again, if I’m never able to teach you another thing, you tie yourself to Relief Society. Relief Society will be your Mother.’ Mother knew that if I were sick, the sisters would take care of me, and when I had my babies, they would help me. But my mother’s greatest hope was that the sisters in Relief Society would be powerful, spiritual leaders for me. I began from that time to learn abundantly from women of stature and faith.” (Daughters in My Kingdom, Pages 96-98.) I have learned that the women of the Relief Society build faith and personal righteousness and help those in need. They have strengthened my family and my home. Show more Show less

What is faith?

Dave
Simple. Life is a game of golf. A lot of us have gotten lost in the woods. Faith gets us back on course. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1.) I can choose to believe that God is a table, but if He is indeed not a table, then such a belief fails to benefit me. My belief benefits me, benefits society, only when it is based on something real. God considers my belief to be faith only when my belief is in something that indeed happens to be true. "Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” (Alma 32:21.) The cool part is that faith is testable, totally subject to the scientific method. You create a SINCERE hypothesis of faith, you experiment by living WITH REAL INTENT according to that faith, you feel your faith grow inside you, and then you see the fruits of faith (Book of Mormon, Moroni 10:3-5). We wouldn’t even get out of bed in the morning unless we had faith. Faith precedes the miracle. Often, the miracle is the change that you experience in your life. Bagger Vance said, “Some things can’t be learned. They must be remembered.” Often true of faith. Some things that are new may feel familiar to you. So reach back to the faith you had as a child. Imagine reaching back to the faith you had before you were born. Just for fun, try. Remember not just with your mind but also with your heart. You may "remember" more than you think. Show more Show less

Why did your church previously practice plural marriage (polygamy)?

Dave
God expects us to be monogamous unless he commands otherwise. In 1843, the Lord commanded some of the early saints to practice plural marriage. The Prophet Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and others were challenged by this command, but they obeyed it. In 1890, President Wilford Woodruff received a revelation that the leaders of the Church should cease teaching the practice of plural marriage (Official Declaration 1) -- The saints of God complied then, and we continue to comply. In 1870, one Latter-day Saint woman expressed the feelings of many others when she said, "There is no spot on this wide earth where kindness and affection are more bestowed upon woman, and her rights so sacredly defended as in Utah. We are here to express our love for each other, and to exhibit to the world our devotion to God our Heavenly Father; and to show our willingness to comply with the requirements of the Gospel; and the law of Celestial Marriage (plural marriage) is one of its requirements that we are resolved to honor, teach and practice, which may God grant us strength to do." One reporter who was present wrote, "In logic and in rhetoric, the so-called degraded ladies of Mormondom are quite equal to the...women of the East." (Daughters in My Kingdom, Pages 46-49.) I have learned for myself that people who lived God's laws in 1843 or in 1890 were blessed for it, just as Abraham was, just as people who live God's laws now are blessed for it. I am glad to see these blessings at work in my life. Show more Show less

What is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' attitude regarding homosexuality and same sex marriage?

Dave
The Lord’s laws on sex and sexuality adjust our perspective. A little kid running excitedly toward the street may resent a parent who guides her away from her goal, but the parent sees the vehicle that the child fails to see. God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife. Even if we don’t understand the danger, same-gender sex is an oncoming vehicle that God wants us to see and avoid. As with any sin, same-gender sex doesn’t make us bad, but it does put us at odds with God. As with any sinner, God wants us to return to him by giving it up. For years, my dad loved to drink wine – After he joined the Church of Jesus Christ, he no longer drank it, even when it was hard for him, but he always missed drinking wine. Intellectually, he understood the reasons why, but his emotions lagged behind. The temptation persisted, but he chose to refrain. Being wrong with God is no reason to hate a person. It’s wrong to hate people who say same-sex marriage is right; it’s wrong to hate people who say same-sex marriage is wrong. In the Church of Jesus Christ, we strive to hate no one, and we recognize that we all sin. Being right with God requires that we turn away from the sin, each and every time the temptation occurs, even when it is very difficult, even when we don’t understand. I know that we will be truly happy when we use our strength to choose to live within the bounds the Lord has set. 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?

Dave
In and out of the Church, Mormon women lead all the time; the influence of their leadership extends far and wide. As a global leader in the Relief Society, Sheri L. Dew taught us in Oct 2001: “Sisters, some will try to persuade you that because you are not ordained to the priesthood, you have been shortchanged. They are simply wrong, and they do not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. The blessings of the priesthood are available to every righteous man and woman. We may all receive the Holy Ghost, obtain personal revelation, and be endowed in the temple, from which we emerge 'armed' with power. The power of the priesthood heals, protects, and inoculates all of the righteous against the powers of darkness. Most significantly, the fulness of the priesthood contained in the highest ordinances of the house of the Lord can be received only by a man and woman together.” (Daughters in My Kingdom, Page 128.) John A. Widtsoe taught us that one of the Lord’s purposes in organizing the sisters into a discipleship was to provide relief that would lift them above “all that hinders the joy and progress of woman.” (Julie B. Beck, Nov 2011 Ensign, Page 112; Daughters in My Kingdom, Page 25.) I have learned for myself that women who know and live the gospel of Jesus Christ understand that "the priesthood of God is not owned by or embodied in those who hold it. It is held in a sacred trust to be used for the benefit of men, women and children alike.” (Daughters in My Kingdom, Page 127.) Show more Show less

Do Mormons only help Mormons?

Dave
We can all cite examples when people around us or when we ourselves have neglected to be as helpful as we know we should be. But that's not the point. Joseph Smith taught us that we are “to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to provide for the widow, to dry up the tear of the orphan, to comfort the afflicted, whether in this church, or in any other, or in no church at all.” (Times and Seasons, 15 Mar 1842, Page 732.) In the Church of Jesus Christ, we strive to help as the handful of women who touched the life of a young woman named Lynne when her stepfather died. Because Lynne saw these sisters help at a critical time, she was determined to take her turn to serve when she became a Relief Society sister. “A young mother in the ward, one of my friends, suddenly lost her only child, a beautiful three-year-old daughter, to an infection that took her life before the doctors were even aware of how serious her illness was. The other counselor and I went to the house as soon as we heard of little Robin’s death. As we approached the screened patio door, we heard the father (who was not a member of the Church) sobbing as he talked long distance to his mother. Looking up, he saw us and, still sobbing, spoke into the phone: ‘It will be all right, Mother. The Mormon women are here.’ My turn once more.” (Daughters in My Kingdom, Page 178.) I have learned for myself that Mormons help people around the world and even the people next door, whether they be in or out of the Church. 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?

Dave
Come and see. Go to a Mormon temple open house, a celebration for all after a temple is built. For example, Florida will soon have a temple in Ft. Lauderdale, and for a short period, they’ll have an open house for the general public. Come get a glimpse of the wonderful work we wage in the house of the Lord. To answer your questions, in a temple, we learn eternal truths and receive sacred ordinances, with the purpose of bringing about the immortality and eternal life of all of us by binding our families together link to link, parent to child, across all generations and through all time. God has designated that these saving ordinances must be done in this life. So for people who happened to have died before they had the opportunity, we do these ordinances on their behalf as part of our family history work, in order to forge family bonds forever. The result is a sense of belonging, a sense of home, a home where God resides. This work is not secret but sacred, and any worthy member may freely participate. It benefits not only those who have passed on but also those who do this work for them vicariously on this side of the veil. In the peace of the temple, we are taught and endowed, from which we emerge “armed” with power. I recently witnessed a family of friends as they were sealed together as a family unit for time and all eternity -- A couple with their four children. There are no words to express the joy we felt. This is such a great work. I'm glad that it's part of my life. Show more Show less

What is the Church’s position on abortion?

Dave
While cases exist when abortion may be advisable, in general, abortion is a devastating practice when used for personal or social convenience. Years ago, on occasion as appropriate, I would listen and learn with friends, discussing the reasons for their positions on abortion. When a friend and I discussed the reasons of her support of abortion, she added, “Because I’ve had one.” And then she burst into tears. I apologized for making her uncomfortable, and she cried for some time. This was the last time I initiated such a discussion; the underlying feelings run very deep. It’s these deep feelings that nevertheless are at the center of the issue. Part of us whispers a better answer, that this is an assault on the defenseless, which is why God is against abortion provided on demand to deal with unwanted pregnancies. If we support it, we place ourselves at odds with God. As with any sinner, God wants us to return to him and repent of the abortion, which by celestial design, is difficult but possible. While in rare cases abortion is justified to preserve the health of the mother, care must be taken to avoid justifying its use in a degenerative climate of permissiveness and immorality, with its attendant increase in cynicism against having children and a cultural harshness toward those who do have children. I know that the deepest joys in life are centered in the family and that we will be truly happy when we use our strength to choose to live within the bounds the Lord has set. Show more Show less

Why don’t Mormons have paid clergy?

Dave
Good question. Because Christ set it up that way. God's teachings adjust our perspective and invite us to come unto him. In Christ's day, leaders served without pay so that they could earn an income and still teach repentance. Throughout history, regarding people who charge money to do acts in God's name, God consistently equates such people with deceit, error, vain and foolish things, wolves in sheep's clothing, and false priesthoods. See 2 Nephi 26:29, or in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 9:18 ("that I abuse not my power"), Micah 3:11, Matthew 10:8, John 10:12-13, 1 Peter 5:2, etc. A better question is, "Why does God want unpaid clergy?" Profit motive, bad; prophet motive, good. Money for spiritual services tends to corrupt even the best of leaders, since it bears a conflict of interest. The level of righteousness waxes and wanes in any society -- If a church leader depends on money to preach, who will pay him when he must tell them that what they're doing is wrong? If a preacher is likely to lose significant income, how likely is she to continue teaching unpopular truths, even if they are truths from God? You can see why God expects his people to serve without pay. God's truths remain constant. In order to match, the principles we teach must remain constant, especially when we need to adjust our perspective. It also increases our ability to serve each other, because we all volunteer in anything we do for the Church. That's why the Church of Jesus Christ has unpaid clergy. Show more Show less

Why do you have 12 Apostles? They were just meant to be around for the time of Jesus Christ, not to be replaced with new apostles.

Dave
Good question. Because Christ set it up that way. Christ did not select apostles for his day alone; authorized church governance was as important then as it is in our day. Christ also chose 12 apostles when he visited the American continent after his resurrection in Jerusalem -- In their day, since there was no communication between the two locations, both continents simultaneously needed authorized church governance. A better question is, "Why does mankind need 12 apostles?" I have learned for myself that, for all of us, there is certainly a right path. Men and women everywhere of any age make mistakes and may wander from the path. When we get lost in the woods, faith in God brings us back. Jesus Christ has selected a prophet to help us gain and retain faith in God. It's a mammoth task, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles helps the prophet to lead all humankind back to the right path. The Lord has placed his faith, his trust, his confidence in these men to lead his Church. I have learned for myself that I may place my faith in them as well, with full confidence that they lead us as Christ himself would if he were here, because Christ in truth leads them, guides them, and tells them the way that we all should go. Christ chooses to lead them because they are the ones the Lord selected and authorized to lead his Church -- At the Savior's direction, Peter himself has passed on to them the Priesthood keys. Each person on earth may learn and know this for herself/himself. Show more Show less

Why is family so important to Mormons?

Dave
Good question. Each of us needs love and acceptance. Some families pull us in; some families push us away. Regardless of the quality of the family in which we were raised, I have learned for myself that our family can be successful. Even if our own family is a family of one, opportunities to seek happiness in families abound. We are most likely to achieve happiness in family life when we found our family firmly upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. A better question is, “Why is family so important to God?” Heavenly Father has ordained families as the smallest divine unit of society, of government, of church, of life. It behooves us then to seek the family life that he sees for us. God knows that no other success can compensate for failure in the home. (President David O. McKay.) Whatever our forever-family-togetherness score, we can teach and persuade. President McKay also taught us, “Most earnestly and urgently, we call upon parents to assume their full responsibility for teaching and living the gospel in the home.” James Michener taught us: “A nation becomes what its young people read in their youth. Its ideals are fashioned then, its goals strongly determined.” Margaret Thatcher: “The family is the building block of society. It is a nursery, a school, a hospital, a leisure centre, a place of refuge and a place of rest. It encompasses the whole of the society. It fashions our beliefs; it is the preparation for the rest of our life.” (London Times, 26 May 1988.) Show more Show less

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

Dave
Most definitely; all my senses tell me this is true. We all seek love and acceptance. Some people are single and fulfilled; some are married and lonely. Independent of our situation, the ideal remains available to us all. Every time I touch my wife’s skin, each time she holds my hand, I know yet again the importance of eternal marriage. I have learned for myself that the voice of Heavenly Father is carefully clear on this topic. It is our job to have ears to hear. The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose. (The Family: A Proclamation to the World.) I have learned for myself that Pres. Harold B. Lee sees right to the heart of the matter: "The greatest work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home." This is why God asked Elijah to return in 1836. Of all the things on my gratitude list, I am most grateful that the Savior has provided the way for me to be sealed forever to my wife and family. Show more Show less

Are Mormons Christians?

Dave
Yes. You can tell this with certainty due to the Light of Christ, what most people refer to as one’s conscience. Gladys Knight said: “During one performance [someone asked], ‘Could you please tell us…how you got that light?’ The question was direct, so I gave a direct answer: ‘I have become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’ ” Years before that and half-way around the world, my aunt, who happens to be Episcopalian, directed an art history tour in the USSR around 1990. While visiting a friend in Estonia who had helped them for years to appreciate the art in Tallinn, she was surprised to note a dramatic change in his nature and asked, “Where did you get that new light on your face? It fills your whole body.” He smiled and answered, “I have joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” That sparked an amazing discussion, and despite her negative opinions of the Church, upon her return, she shared the story with us. As Israeli officials considered the request to build the BYU-Jerusalem Center, they required that no one proselyte in Israel, with which all continue to comply. After approval, the Secretary of the Interior remarked, "We believe you. We trust you that you will not do any proselyting as a church. But when your church members are here, what will we do about the light in their eyes?" Each person on earth can find out for themselves that this is the Church of Jesus Christ by listening to the light of Christ within. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

Dave
Grace is not just for sinners. The grace of Jesus Christ covers not only sin and error but sickness, impairment, carelessness, inadequacy, bitterness, and being at odds with God. Our belief on grace confuses many people; confusion and criticism often evaporates when replaced with listening and dialogue. Gladys Knight said: “Since I joined the Church, I desire to be more and more obedient to God. As I do so, many people say to me, ‘I see a light in you more than ever before. What is it?’…During one performance at Disney world…[a member of the audience asked], ‘Could you please tell us…how you got that light?’ The question was direct, so I gave a direct answer: ‘I have become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’ ” With an over-emphasis on grace, people in and out of the Church may justify a path of a few sins, hoping to be free of harmful consequences, ignoring how God sees them, living as they see fit. God clarifies that he sees a two-part process, “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 25:23.) Also, “all that we could do [was] to repent of all our sins.” (Alma 24:11.) God teaches that his path is free of the self-doubt and loneliness associated with other paths. When he asks for a deep-inside change of heart, he asks for all of our hearts. “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

Who founded Mormonism and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Dave
Are you a milk or a meat type of person? (1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12; Doctrine & Covenants 19:22.) Milk answer: It’s possible that the answer you want to hear is that Mormonism was founded by Joseph Smith in 1830 in western New York. That’s when the Church became a legal entity in the United States, and many people are satisfied with that answer. Meat answer: This is not Joseph Smith’s church or any man’s church. It is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the current name of the same church that God established in the dawn of time. This is the gospel that Jesus Christ gave to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, that Christ and his apostles taught while he was here on the earth. Because we are prone to wander, God sends prophets to adjust our perspective and invite us to return, so that we may be happy in this life and truly happy in the life to come. In order to call the world back to the gospel path once more, God restored this original gospel to the earth through Joseph Smith. Wherever the gospel of Jesus Christ goes, the Church is careful to live within the laws of the land. Everyone on earth may know these truths for themselves, directly from God. It all depends with which answer you’re ready/willing to be satisfied. I have learned for myself that the answers that give us the greatest joy are the ones that come from God and place us firmly on the gospel path, because God's path is desirable above all others. (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 8:12). Show more Show less

Where did Mormonism and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints begin?

Dave
Do you read by oil lamp or by full light? (Doctrine & Covenants 19:22.) Reading by oil lamp: The answer you may want to hear is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began in 1830 on the Peter Whitmer farm in western New York. That’s when the founder, Joseph Smith, made the Church a legal entity in the United States. Many people are satisfied with that answer. Reading by the full light available today: This is the same church that has been around since the dawn of time. This is the gospel that Jesus Christ gave to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, that Christ and his apostles taught while he was here on the earth. Because we are prone to wander, God sends prophets to adjust our perspective and invite us to return, so that we may be truly happy. In order to invite the world back to his path once more, God restored this original gospel to the earth through Joseph Smith. Wherever the gospel goes, the Church is careful to live within the laws of the land. It spans all time and all lands, in any country which allows the Church to be established legally. (Twelfth Article of Faith: We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.) Everyone on earth may know these truths for themselves, directly from God. It all depends with which answer you’re ready/willing to be satisfied. I have learned for myself that the answers that come from God are desirable above all others. (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 8:12). Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about the Bible? Do they regard it as Holy Scripture and the word of God?

Dave
Good questions. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. (Pearl of Great Price, Eighth Article of Faith.) A better question is, “Is the Bible the only Holy Scripture that God has revealed to humankind?” The answer is no. God has an open canon of scripture. Though many Christians believe that Christ will reveal no additional truths beyond the end of the Bible, it is Jesus Christ and not man who decides when God is done giving us new knowledge. God has given us additional Holy Scripture, from Abraham, Moses and Matthew in the Pearl of Great Price, from his prophets in the ancient Americas in the Book of Mormon, and from prophets in our day in the Doctrine and Covenants and in General Conference. These words of scripture are precious to us as members of the Church of Jesus Christ. Christ continues to lead his church today through a living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. That's why we call it the Church of Jesus Christ. I know this is true through the same powers of personal revelation available to President Monson. Everyone on earth may read these Holy Scriptures and know these truths for themselves, directly from God. "And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Book of Mormon, Moroni 10:5.) Show more Show less

Are there restrictions based on race or color concerning who can join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have the priesthood?

Dave
No. Were there restrictions at one point? Yes, for years. That changed in 1978 when the Lord extended the priesthood of God to all worthy male members of the Church. Why the wait? We don't know; since Adam and Eve, God often gives us no reasons with his revelations. What we do know is this: "No man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven, who loves all of His children." (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, May 2006.) We all have stories of where we were. I was in Argentina, serving a mission with a companion from Hempstead NY, where 90% of his neighbors happened to be people of color. Another elder was from Chicago where 60% of his area happened to be Black. A sister missionary dated an African-American student at BYU. We were all thrilled, threw our arms around each other, and squealed for joy. My sister was traveling with BYU Young Ambassadors, including a fellow performer who happened to be a person of color. The director stopped the other bus and gathered everyone on the side of the road. None of them will forget the unity they felt that day. It was similar to how I see the resurrection of all of us -- After years of separation, divided for whatever reasons, it will be as if we were never apart. I am so glad for continuing revelation. Show more Show less

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

Dave
Good question. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. (Pearl of Great Price, Eighth Article of Faith.) Throughout the history of the world, since the days of Adam and Eve, God has revealed his truths to humankind through his prophets. A better question is, “Is the Bible the only Holy Scripture that God has revealed to humankind?” The answer is no. God has an open canon of scripture. The Bible contains the words of his prophets in the Eastern Hemisphere, the Book of Mormon contains the words of his prophets in the Western Hemisphere (translated in 19th Century New England by the prophet Joseph Smith), while the Pearl of Great Price contains the words of his prophets from both locations. All of these words of scripture are precious to us as members of the Church of Jesus Christ. Christ continues to lead his church today through a living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. That's why we call it the Church of Jesus Christ. I know this is true through the same powers of personal revelation available to Joseph Smith and Thomas Monson. Everyone on earth may read these Holy Scriptures and know these truths for themselves, directly from God. If you ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, God will certainly let you know these things are true. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Book of Mormon, Moroni 10:5.) Show more Show less

Do Mormons practice polygamy?

Dave
No. God expects us to be monogamous unless he commands otherwise. In 1843, the Lord commanded some of the early saints to practice plural marriage. The Prophet Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and others were challenged by this command, but they obeyed it. In 1890, President Wilford Woodruff received a revelation that the leaders of the Church should cease teaching the practice of plural marriage -- The saints of God complied then, and we continue to comply. In 1870, one Latter-day Saint woman expressed the feelings of many others when she said, "There is no spot on this wide earth where kindness and affection are more bestowed upon woman, and her rights so sacredly defended as in Utah. We are here to express our love for each other, and to exhibit to the world our devotion to God our Heavenly Father; and to show our willingness to comply with the requirements of the Gospel; and the law of Celestial Marriage (plural marriage) is one of its requirements that we are resolved to honor, teach and practice, which may God grant us strength to do." One reporter who was present wrote, "In logic and in rhetoric, the so-called degraded ladies of Mormondom are quite equal to the...women of the East." (Daughters in My Kingdom, Pages 46-49.) I have learned for myself that people who lived God's laws in 1843 or in 1890 were blessed for it, just as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were, just as people who live God's laws now are blessed for it. I am glad to see these blessings at work in my life. Show more Show less

How is the Book of Mormon different from the Bible? How did Joseph Smith obtain the “golden plates” or Book of Mormon?

Dave
The differences are in location and correctness. Location: The Bible contains the word of God to ancient people around Jerusalem; the Book of Mormon contains the word of God to ancient people in the Americas. The people in the Book of Mormon are families from the Eastern Hemisphere whom God guided to the Western Hemisphere. Correctness: We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. God spoke to men, who wrote his words as he desired. The fullness of gospel truths was lost in the centuries after the death of Jesus. After it was lost, changes were made to the Bible’s sacred texts. Some precious parts were lost; some sincere men made accidental mistakes in translation; some insincere men made deliberate changes to suit their own self-interests. We also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. God spoke to men, who wrote his words as he desired. Joseph Smith translated their words through the gift and power of God. There are teachings in the Bible of today that have strayed from what God intended. The benefit to us of the Book of Mormon is that we have the word of God free of changes in original meaning due to translation errors. God asked the Book of Mormon prophet Moroni to return to the earth years after he died to prepare Joseph Smith to translate the sacred text, preserved on plates of gold. God showed Joseph how he wanted the text translated; after years of effort, Joseph completed the translation and published the work. Show more Show less

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

Dave
Good questions. Authority to act in God's name and the fullness of gospel truths were lost in the centuries after the death of Jesus (Bible, Amos 8:11-12, 2 Thessalonians 2:3). For example, Christ established important roles for women disciples; as the Lord’s Church was lost in apostasy, this pattern of discipleship was also lost (Julie Beck, Nov 2011 Ensign). After this apostasy, people noticed inconsistencies between what the current church taught and what they read. They protested against these errors and taught the truths they saw in the Bible. Various people were inspired by God to fight against various false doctrines, and little by little, many churches moved closer to the doctrines of Jesus Christ. This process also created divisions and sects that taught a variety of conflicting doctrines. A better question is, “Is the Bible sufficient to lead us to the gospel of Jesus Christ?” Because of the divisions in Christianity, the answer is no. Joseph Smith was among many who listened, read, pondered, believed and wondered at the differences that divided congregations. Christ restored to all of us his gospel through Joseph, who asked important questions with confidence that God would reveal to him the answers. I know this is true through the same powers of personal revelation available to Joseph. Everyone on earth may know these truths for themselves, directly from God. "And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Book of Mormon, Moroni 10:5.) Show more Show less

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

Dave
Good question. Answer: No. Instead, we are encouraged to examine platforms and programs in order to vote for whom we think will be best for our community and government. The Church of Jesus Christ has a long record of supporting the separation of church and state since it would be unfortunate if the government of man were to try to dictate the conscience of man. The founding fathers of the United States experienced such abuse from the governments and state churches of Europe and fashioned the US Constitution to protect people against repeated abuse by a state church or government here. A better question: “Did the framers of the US Constitution encourage us to keep God in our lives?” Let’s explore their thoughts. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (John Adams) “For my own part, I sincerely esteem it a system, which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interest.” (Alexander Hamilton) "Can the liberties of a nation be sure when we remove their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people, that these liberties are a gift from God?” (Thomas Jefferson) I've learned that we must retain virtue and honor not only as a family but as a society at large. If we choose to be unrighteous, if we choose to place our trust in self above our trust in God, we deliberately choose by our own efforts to unravel the fabric of society. Show more Show less

What is Mormonism? OR What do Mormons believe?

Dave
Many people rely on the words of dead prophets to establish the doctrine of a faith. It confuses some that in the Church of Jesus Christ we rely more on the words that God gives us today through a living prophet, which requires a new way of thinking. "A Baptist minister...said to me, 'Bob, many of my fellow Christians have noted how hard it is to figure out what Mormons believe. They say it’s like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall! What do you people believe? How do you decide what is your doctrine and what is not?' I sensed that we were in the midst of a very important conversation, one that was pushing me to the limits and requiring that I do some of the deepest thinking I had done for a long time. His questions were valid and in no way mean-spirited. They were not intended to entrap or embarrass me or the Church. He simply was seeking information. I said, 'You’ve asked some excellent questions. Let me see what I can do to answer them.' I suggested that he consider the following three ideas."(Details in "What Is Our Doctrine?", Robert L. Millet, The Religious Educator, Vol 4 No 3, 2003, p.15, https://ojs.lib.byu.edu/spc/index.php/RelEd/article/viewFile/1950/1911.) Christ gives us living water. I have learned for myself that He asks all of us to rely on living doctrine. Words of past leaders may be misquoted, misrepresented, taken out of context, or simply not part of what God teaches the world today. All scriptures and official texts are part of His living, dynamic Church. Show more Show less

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?

Dave
No. Joseph made mistakes just as Moses made mistakes. The name of Joseph Smith continues to be considered for good or ill throughout the world. That's why dialogue is important. "I was surprised when my pastor friend then said to the group: 'Are you listening to Bob? Do you hear what he is saying? This is important! It’s time for us to stop criticizing Latter-day Saints on matters they don’t even teach today.' ...The last question asked was by a middle-aged man: 'This thrills my soul. I think this is what Jesus would do. I have lived in Utah for many years, and I have many LDS friends. We get along okay; we don’t fight and quarrel over religious matters. But we really don’t talk with one another about the things that matter most to us--that is, our faith. I don’t plan to become a Latter-day Saint, and I’m certain my Mormon friends don’t plan to become Evangelical, but I would like to find more effective ways to talk heart to heart. Could you two make a few suggestions on how we can deepen and sweeten our relationships with our LDS neighbors?' (See "What Is Our Doctrine?", Robert L. Millet, The Religious Educator, 2003, p. 15, https://ojs.lib.byu.edu/spc/index.php/RelEd/article/viewFile/1950/1911.) Joseph and Moses relied on Christ for living water. We may do so as well. Words of any past leader may be misquoted, misrepresented, taken out of context, or simply not part of what God teaches the world today. I have learned the blessings of relying on God's living prophet. Show more Show less