What Do Mormons Believe?–Article of Faith #4

BaptismWe believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

When one accepts Jesus Christ, he is willing to follow Him and keep His commandments.  This Article of Faith tells us some of the basic ways in which we do this.  First, we must exercise faith in Jesus Christ.  To have faith in Jesus Christ means that we believe that He is the Son of God.  It also means that we trust Him.  As we keep His commandments, we will come to know that our trust in Him is well placed.  This will enable our faith in Him to continue to grow until it becomes unshakeable.

Mormons also believe that a disciple of Jesus Christ is willing to repent of his sins.  Repentance means that one has a godly sorrow for having transgressed the commandments of God.  He desires to bring his life in accordance with God’s will and is willing to do whatever is necessary to accomplish this goal.  He will confess his sins before God and before any person whom he may have injured by his actions.  He will also be willing, when possible, to repair any damage he may have caused by his mistakes.

Jesus being BaptizedAs an outward symbol that one has accepted Jesus Christ, he is willing to be baptized.  Mormons believe that the proper mode of baptism is that of immersion.  When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, Matthew 3:16 tell us that “[He] went up straightway out of the water” (italics added).  Thus, we follow Jesus Christ’s example when we are baptized by immersion.  Baptism by immersion is symbolic of the death and burial of the old man as he goes down into the water and the birth of the new man as he comes forth out of the water–one who is free from sin and willing to follow Jesus Christ by keeping His commandments.

When one has exercised faith in Jesus Christ, repented of his sins, and been baptized, he is then ready to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead who has many roles.  He is a personage of spirit whose influence is without end.  He is the comforter whom Jesus promised to send to His disciples.  The Holy Ghost also testifies of truth and can bring all things to remembrance.   When one receives the gift of the Holy Ghost through properly authorized priesthood authority, he has the privilege of having that influence always with him.  This is one of the greatest gifts we can receive in this life.

To learn more about the fourth Article of Faith and one example of showing faith in Jesus Christ, please read “The Lord’s Wind” by John H. Groberg.

Next Week:  Article of Faith #5–Mormon beliefs regarding who is authorized to administer the ordinances of Jesus Christ’s gospel.

In the meantime, Remember that 2 Plus 2 Doesn’t Always Equal 4  [And please take time to read my original post to understand Why the Title of this Blog? (Feb. 17, 2011)]

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What Do Mormons Believe?–Article of Faith #3

We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.

Mormons accept Jesus Christ as the literal Son of God and as our personal Savior and Redeemer.    We believe that because of Jesus Christ’s ability and willingness to lay down His life and then to take it up again, He has broken the bands of death and has thus provided a way for the spirits of all mankind to be reunited with their bodies at the time of resurrection.  This gift is offered freely to all mankind, both old and young, both bond and free, both wicked and righteous.  In addition, because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, which includes He having taken upon Himself the sins of the entire human race, all mankind is offered the opportunity to be forgiven of their sins and thus be worthy of eternal life (the ability to live in God’s presence).  This gift is contingent upon one’s desire to receive it as manifested by his acceptance of Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Redeemer.  It is also conditioned upon one’s willingness to keep the commandments and to repent of his sins with a broken heart and a contrite spirit as often as he transgresses.  Mormons believe that it is only in and through Jesus Christ that one can be forgiven of his sins and thereby be worthy of eternal life .

In summary, we believe that all mankind, regardless of their personal righteousness, will be resurrected.  The gift of eternal life, however, is reserved for those who are willing to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Redeemer, follow Him, keep His commandments, participate in the ordinances of His gospel, and repent of their sins.  It is Jesus Christ that makes both of these gifts possible and without Him there would be no hope of a resurrection and eternal life.

To learn more about Mormon beliefs regarding the resurrection see the article “Resurrection” by Elder Dallin H. Oaks.  Also, enjoy the short video “He Lives” found below.

Nest Week:  Article of Faith #4–Mormon beliefs regarding the basic principles of Jesus Christ’s gospel.

In the meantime, Remember that 2 Plus 2 Doesn’t Always Equal 4  [And please take time to read my original post to understand Why the Title of this Blog? (Feb. 17, 2011)]

The Return Home

I love the parable in the New Testament known as The Prodigal Son.  It is a story that all of us would do well to study whether one is religious or not.  It is a wonderful story about the love a father has for his son, even a disobedient son who in essence has mocked his father and spit in his face.  There are three main characters in this story, the father, the older brother, and, of course, the prodigal son.  I think to fully appreciate the multitude of lessons to be gleaned from it, we have to read it at least three times, for it is not enough to focus on just one of the characters.  We must read it each time imagining ourselves in the role of each one of them.  How does the story change depending on the perspective of each individual?

I would hope that each of us can relate to the prodigal himself.  It may seem strange to hope for such a thing, but I suppose that if we cannot envision ourselves in such a role, we are not being honest with ourselves, for who among us has not stood in need of forgiveness?  Who of us has not wronged another human being, even someone we love a great deal?  Who has not made a fool of themselves at some time in their life?  Who of us has not felt remorse of conscience for an unthoughtful act that has caused one we love such agonizing pain?  What does it mean to us when the one so injured is willing to accept us with open arms and doesn’t hold back any of his love?  I believe we have all found ourselves in such a position.  Our heart aches, we know we are undeserving of such acceptance, and we, with our head bowed in shame, return like the prodigal to his father.  Can you imagine the utter surprise and joy the prodigal felt as his father came running to him and embraced him with tears and kisses?   It is a thought that causes me to weep with gratitude for those who have played the role of the father in my life and for one who is my father eternally.

After imagining ourselves in the role of the prodigal, we then, perhaps, are ready to take on the role of the elder brother.  We all know he was justified in his feelings toward his younger brother.  After all, he had been a good son.  He had done all of which his father had asked him.  While his brother was out making a disgrace of the family name, wasting his inheritance, and living the ‘good’ life, he was acting responsibly.  Is it fair then that his father would welcome his younger brother back so willingly?  Of course not!  Have we not each played the role of the elder brother in our lives?  Perhaps we have seen those who in their immaturity or rebelliousness have not followed the rules.  Maybe they have wandered off in strange roads until they finally came to the realization that they were not living the ‘good’ life after all.  They finally come to know that true happiness is not in the life they supposed and they have an aching to come home.  Well, they have made their choice.  It would be unjust to allow us to be rewarded equally.  At times, it even so happens that the son who has strayed makes even more of his life than the one who had always been faithful.  Certainly this is not fair!  At times like this, I stop and ask myself, “Jeannie, do you want fair?”  When I ask myself this question, I know the last thing on earth I want is what is fair.  If life were fair, would I have the many opportunities and blessings which I enjoy?  I seriously doubt it.  I remember the times that I have been the prodigal and I rejoice that one has the ability and opportunity to come home to the embrace of loved ones whom have been waiting for their return.

Finally, we can consider ourselves as the father.  Have we not all been wronged, perhaps even mocked and betrayed by someone we love?  Perhaps it is easiest to relate to being so treated by one’s own child, but it is possible that instead of a father one might have to imagine themselves as a son, daughter, brother, sister, or friend who has been betrayed by a parent, sibling, or another person.  When this happens the pain can be excruciating.  After all, we have not only been hurt, we have been hurt by someone we love deeply.  Is it possible to fully forgive that person when they have truly come to themselves and yearn to return?  Are we like the father in that we never give up hope, that we find ourselves at times looking afar off in anticipation of seeing them approaching home?  As a parent, I can relate to how that father felt.  To see a child come to understand the errors of their ways and to have a desire to return would bring immense joy to my heart.  I, too, would run to my son or daughter with tears streaming down my cheeks and perhaps they would not understand, until they become a parent themselves, that the pain was never about what it did to me, but rather the concern I had for them.  The greatest feeling I know, is not to be loved, but rather to love.  It is that love that makes us able to embrace one that has returned and rejoice that he once again is safe in the arms of those who love him.

I submit that every one of us will find ourselves in each of these roles at some point in our life, perhaps even at multiple times.  I have learned important lessons each time I have so found myself.  I have learned how grateful I am that our past does not have to dictate our future, I have learned that thankfully life is not fair, and I have learned that love is the power that makes forgiveness possible.  I will try to remember the lessons from the past as I again play the role of one if not more of these characters.  I might even realize that I play each of these roles everyday.  Hopefully, I can improve the quality of my performance.

P.S.  Want to know some benefits of salt?  Check out this link of a video with my friend Lissa Coffey. CoffeyBuzz

Remember that 2 Plus 2 Doesn’t Always Equal 4                                                                     [And please take time to read my original post to understand Why the Title of this Blog? (Feb. 17, 2011)]