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Hi I'm Joel Kjar

I love being a Mormon and answering questions about it. Read my profile to get an idea of why I love it.

About Me

I love to ponder life. I question everything and everyone. I've done research in creativity and problem-solving because I love how the brain works and how creative acts germinate, evolve and come into existence. A colleague and friend once said, “Creativity is the highest level of human achievement" (N. Winters). I collect principles of truth from a variety of fields of study. That is my hobby. I keep a file that continually grows full of simple statements of truth that has become a goldmine over 25 years. Truth guides behavior and this hobby has deepened my understanding of God and the world. I grew up enjoying the mountains around me. I snow and water-skied, hiked, camped, played tennis, racquetball, squash, basketball, golf, baseball, football, soccer, and many other sports. I considered myself a pretty good athlete. I now have Multiple Sclerosis and my energy has been redirected to things of the mind. I love to study! I get great joy out of serving others according to my abilities and capabilities. I love to analyze, synthesis, internalize and conceptualize. I also love food and art! What a blessing is it to create and appreciate good food, good music and good art. I am sure God loves it when we use our agency to create good and uplifting things for others to enjoy.

Why I am a Mormon

I've chosen to be a Latter-day Saint (Mormon), because the gospel tastes good. I use the word taste because metaphorically, the gospel is sweet and satisfying. All the questions I've ever asked have answers--if I learn, understand and apply its principles. Only by living the principles do we find answers to our questions. Of course learning principles of truth is only the beginning. We must apply those principles, those lessons, in our daily life. I try to practice every aspect of the gospel that I understand. This "practicing" the gospel, has done remarkable things to me. I understand God's love for me. I understand his grace which enables and enlarges who I am and who I can become. I understand a bigger universe of thought and feeling. This gospel never leaves me unsatisfied, empty or parched. It is demanding, invigorating, and quenches every desire. Christ's atonement--his suffering for the sins of the world, including my sins--is meant to be understood and appreciated. Of course we'll never understand the depth of suffering, but I can show him my appreciation by emulating his example by loving others. I love Jesus Christ, the Son of God, because he has introduced me to his Father. Together, they reach out for me and I respond.

How I live my faith

My daily life is guided by principles of the gospel. As I learn I behave. As I learn more--I behave differently. I hope that if we were to meet, you would say, "Joe lives according to true principles". A great teacher once taught me that no learning has taken place if behavior has not changed. Therefore the way I live the gospel is by interacting with people, serving people, loving people and being grateful for the privilege. I love learning. I love studying, teaching, and living the gospel. I receive personal revelation about my Heavenly Father, his Son, Jesus Christ and the amazing plan of salvation which is perfect in design and perfect in its application. We, however, are not perfect in our execution of God's perfect plan, but he allows us to learn until we become perfected in small things. Then we move on to harder things to practice. I've lived in other countries teaching the gospel and bringing others to Christ because it is a joy and it makes me a better person. I have a wonderful heritage, great parents, great siblings, great kids and great grandchildren. Living the gospel, no matter where, no matter how, to the best of my ability motivates me!

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

Joel Kjar
These young people, generally, are there to declare simple truths about God. Some of these truths will be familiar to you and others will be unfamiliar. God is a Father who reaches out to his children but he doesn't force his will upon us. The missionaries are there because they have a desire to SHARE! It's like eating a great meal that is wonderful. You want to share with others what you ate, where you ate it, and the feelings you had about it. Eating a fantastic meal and not being able to tell or share it with someone is no fun at all. These missionaries have experiences in truth they've just got to share! That's why they are motivated. Because they are generally young, they are still learning, but you will feel their enthusiasm. In the Bible, God referred to them as "young lions" who thrashed the nations with truth. Their words cut through the nonsense of the world and focus on those things that are most important. If you listen with an honest heart, your life will be changed in every way for the better. You will wonder where these truths have been hiding all your life. Be careful not to fall in love with these missionaries because you will love what they bring to you and you will forever praise the name of the "young lions" who introduced you to new concepts that changed your life! Don't praise them, praise God for leading them to you! Show more Show less

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

Joel Kjar
A man "practicing" to be good is called a "father." A woman "practicing" to be good is called a "mother." God gives men and women these roles not because we're good at it, but because we are bad at it. No one starts being a great father or mother--we grow as we learn. Children come into the picture to complicate the lessons so we can learn. This practice ground, called the family, is where we learn to love, serve, understand, forgive, have fun, help and grow. God put us in groups like this to practice the principles of his gospel every day. Messing up is expected and as long as we are practicing to love, we learn even more. One day we look back and say I'm a better man, or woman, because of these lessons! I am beginning to understand the nature of my Heavenly Father! BINGO! you're getting it. It's all about learning to LOVE! Show more Show less

Why do Mormons believe in the Bible?

Joel Kjar
Because the Bible captures "true principles" of every age. These true principles are learned through stories of PEOPLE! When we see these stories played out through many generations be begin to learn some basic principles of behavior. These truths are the lessons God wants all humankind to learn. Mormons believe and love the Bible! I learn from Moses. He said he was slow of speech, yet he was able to stand up and confront Pharoah pretty well. I learn from Joseph who was wrongfully accused and thrown into circumstances he learned to improve upon. Pretty soon he was second in command in Egypt and teaching a nation to store food preemptively for a coming famine. The principles that saved Joseph will save me. I love Daniel, a prophet who stood without fear in a lion's den because he knew God was with him. I can stand without fear when I need to, because I know God is also with me. The most important thing about the Bible is its witness for who God is, who God's Son is and why he was born. All the stories, all the lessons, are but preludes to teach us about Jesus Christ. He is the perfect exemplar. Moses taught about the great Deliverer who would save all mankind not just the children of Israel. Abraham had to learn a hard lesson about sacrificing his beloved son Isaac to teach us about God's sacrifice of His own Son. Jesus Christ is the lesson. The entire Bible focuses on why Jesus is necessary for the world and especially me! Show more Show less

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

Joel Kjar
Besides the things created by God, the things declared by God to prophets tell me there is a God. God wants to be known. He wants to be "found out" for that is the purpose of his "invisibility" as Paul mentions in the Bible. God doesn't impose himself on us against our will. He wants us to FIND HIM! That requires energy, motivation, learning, testing, experimentation, examination, faith in unknown things, trust in his teachings. Little by little we come to know that God really does exist. Little by little he pulls back the curtain until we discover and know him. In the process of time, a transformation has occurred and a relationship with God becomes EVIDENCE that He exists. We have evidence of our own transformation. Our life is changed! God, our Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, are real, no longer "invisible." The other thing we discover is that God is a FATHER who loves and cares for His children. God permits wickedness only because he honors the principle of agency. There will be a judgment where we will all stand accountable before him for the use of our agency. Like a three-act play, we are caught in the middle of act two perplexed--not knowing about act one or act three. The resolution does not take place until act three--still to come. Then we will declare that God is real, loving, and just. Show more Show less

How does the Church finance its operations?

Joel Kjar
The Church finances its operations through my sacrifice as I give my "widows mite". It may not be much, but it is freely given without expectation of a return. Like the parable of the loaves and fishes, I bring what little I have and God accepts and multiplies it! What a wonderful thing to behold the miracles that can occur with many people giving 10% for tithe and various percentages to humanitarian aid. I am honored to give because it makes me better. Show more Show less

Are Mormons Christians?

Joel Kjar
Yes. We believe in Christ, preach of Christ, and declare Christ's divinity. We are not the "Christians" of the Inquisition, nor are we the "Christians" that declared an extermination order in Illinois to rid the state of the Mormons. We declare a Christianity that predates Jesus Christ's birth. Abraham, Moses, Elijah and other early prophets taught the fundamentals of faith, baptism, the gifts of the Spirit, covenants, sacrifice--all centered in the Redeemer, Deliverer, and The Lamb, namely the Messiah. We believe Jesus Christ is that Messiah and his people are not limited to the middle east and surrounding areas. The Messiah's disciples became known as "Christian" after Christ revealed himself as the Messiah. His followers are still the Covenant People of the Lord. I am a covenant follower and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am a Christian as that term was used in the first century. Show more Show less

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

Joel Kjar
Because there are things we cannot do without God helping us. I cannot rid myself of guilt caused by evil acts, but God can. Why can he? Because Jesus Christ lived a sinless life and took my sins upon him. He offered to carry that burden for me if I would follow him and keep his commandments. Our life is a school of experience. Just as our spirits will exist after life, we also existed before this life. “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7) Return! That means our spirit returns to God where we once lived. This is a three part play and we are in act two. We don’t remember act one because it is a test of our obedience. We were taught correct principles. We are separated from God (visually) in order to see if we learned our lessons and if will reach out to Him. In this school of experience God knew we would make many mistakes and He provided a Savior to help us return to Him after we’ve learned our lessons and learned to love one another. Jesus Christ is that Savior. We can’t return to God’s presence “dirty” and “stained” with sin. Jesus Christ stands between us—the dirty, and sin-soaked children—and God, Our Father who is Pure and Clean. Christ says “punish me, but let them enter Your kingdom IF they will promise to give up their sins and follow Me. I will be their Mediator.” That is why we need a Savior. Because we are stuck in our sinful state, locked out of our home without Him. Show more Show less

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

Joel Kjar
No, they endorse true principles. Political systems are about as stable as sand through your fingers. The Church stands upon fixed principles of values that do not change with time. Thou shalt do this, and thou shalt not do that, were permanently written upon stone, not with a pencil that can be erased and changed by the voice of the people. The Church will always stand for fixed principles and let people chose where they fit and how they interpret those principles. The Church's duty is to teach true principles. The individual's duty is to understand true principles and practice living them. As a person lives true principles he or she will need to be governed less and less by external forces (political systems). The person that does not learn true principles and practice them, is more susceptible to be manipulated by false principles and will need to be governed by others (political systems). They are also more likely to manipulate others--by force--to comply with their false principles. Political parties are like pockets of children clustered around a playground excluding some from their games while including others because of their favors and excluding others because of minor infractions of made-up rules. Their platforms change with the players and bullies in control. Our job should be to understand correct principles of freedom and sustain those who support it. Show more Show less

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

Joel Kjar
I have a father who would rise early every morning and read the scriptures for 1-2 hours. Dad started this practice when he was 20 and he continued until he was 88 years old. That is 67 years of dedicated study of God's word. What blessings came because of this? When I asked him point blank once, he said "I know Jesus Christ." His life reflected the teachings of the Savior. Another blessing has been that our entire family has a deeper love for the Savior because of studying the scriptures which we all practice, only not to the degree Dad did. I grew up on the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses, Abraham, and many others. I feel a kinship with them as they struggled with problems. I learned from these characters how to turn to God for help. That has been the greatest blessing of reading the scriptures. Show more Show less

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

Joel Kjar
I do believe in a modern prophet. Someone's got to hold the puzzle box cover and the Prophet sees the big picture and directs the pieces of the puzzle. We can all be participants but God always puts someone out front to show the way. Build an ark! Part the sea! Kill the giant! These people didn't know they could do those things until "God was with them." God works through chosen people whom God trains and tutors. It is our job and privilege to follow them. Then we will know how special they really are. Show more Show less

How do I become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church)?

Joel Kjar
Member sounds like a club. The Church is not a club. It is a group of people committed to follow Jesus Christ's way. First, you learn who God is, what he is like, what he desires for his children. Then you discover he has an expectation of you. He expects each of us to act in a kind way and keep his commandments. This is also the key to happiness. When we do as he expects, he provides blessings along the way to encourage us to keep following and behave nice. To become part of Christ's Church, you make a commitment to follow and be transformed into a better person. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a man-made Church. It was inaugurated by God and he invites us to join him. Baptism is the first step of commitment. Ask a member to introduce the gospel of Jesus Christ to you. Learn from the missionaries. You are in for a wonderful experience that will transform your life for good. Show more Show less

What are Mormon temples used for?

Joel Kjar
Temples are used to teach, uplift, enlighten and it does this through ordinances. Ordinances are "special" rites linking spiritual concepts with physical things in order to help teach the lesson. Baptism for instance is an ordinance, a spiritual concept, linked with water and immersion to teach the concept of new birth, burying the old man of sin and coming up new and clean. Temples are places made holy in order for God to reveal special ordinances to those prepared by living clean lives. Show more Show less

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

Joel Kjar
The atonement is the way we become reconciled to God. A man cannot atone for another, but God can. The atonement shows us that even God cannot break his word. When he says "no unclean thing" can dwell with him, he means it. But, by love he provided a way for his children who behave badly, to become clean once again. That required the death of a mediator, one to pay the price for all. That price was so high only another God could pay the price. Jesus Christ, God the Son, died as proxy for us all. We then agree to follow Christ and be obedient to his conditions in order to qualify for his help. He then lifts us to salvation by his grace. He only requires that we give our will over to him as a sign of our willingness to repay him. Then our behavior must match our proclamation of devotion. What a beautiful principle of fairness! Show more Show less

Why don’t Mormons drink coffee, tea, or alcohol? What is the Mormon Church’s law of health and proper diet?

Joel Kjar
Because God created our bodies to serve a purpose. Elements that hinder that purpose should be rejected. The Word of Wisdom is the list of basics, God has revealed to his children to keep their bodies healthy and in good working order given the conditions of the world. Another reason for following God's law of health is because our physical body affects our inner spirit. When we don't feel well physically it's hard to feel good inside. Some things cloud the mind, alter the physical state and thereby inhibit our inner spirit from communicating with God and receiving God's communications and warnings back to us. We want to avoid any possible altered state. Show more Show less

Why do Mormons perform baptisms for the dead?

Joel Kjar
Fairness. Is it fair that I was taught the gospel and they were not? God is loving and fair. Sometimes things don't look very fair. Why am I born to a great family and someone else is not? The work we do for our ancestors is to make things more fair. Their task growing up was different than mine. They laid the groundwork and planted the seeds for someone to follow. My task is to harvest and give back. We all play different roles at different times. God's gospel is for everyone--period! His plan is perfect. It involves me yearning to find out who I came from and doing things for those that have gone before. I can be a "savior" to my relatives by performing works for them they cannot perform for themselves. They are being taught the gospel in heaven but they can't be baptized in heaven so I walk into the water for them, in their name, as their proxy, so they can be baptized unto Christ. That exercise, called an ordinance, blesses my life and theirs. It unites us as family and we learn together that the commandment that everyone must be baptized to enter "in at the gate" is not idle talk but serious fairness and serious LOVE for all. Does it mean they BECOME a Mormon? No. It means they can choose to accept that baptism or not. The choice is theirs--always fair. Show more Show less

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

Joel Kjar
The Church's attitude is one of love. Love has become a very cloudy word. Love is a verb of action not an adjective of feeling. Loving another means to serve them and put the well-being of others above your own. The position of the Church supports families because a family, is the pattern of heaven led by Father and Mother, male and female. Love cannot be redefined as expressions of affection. Love is service. Families serve the purpose of creation. Service to one another is love. Perhaps people become confused because love and lust are so closely defined. Only three words distinguish the two. Love is an act of service that makes me want to sacrifice my feelings and desires for the benefit of another. Lust is an act of selfishness that makes me want to satisfy my feelings and desires at the expense of another. No wonder people confuse love with lust. The Church is just supporting the commandment set down by God. If one does not believe in God, then of course one would deny a commandment given by him. The Church cannot change a commandment they did not create. Only those who believe in moral relativity justify changing "commandments". Show more Show less