Thursday, October 31, 2013

The 40 Facebook Posts

My niece Maddy, who is currently serving a mission in the Alps of Austria and Germany asked if I would send her all 40 of my posts. So, here they are for anyone else who might want to read them. (And for my parents, who aren't on Facebook)….

Post #1/40 What we Believe: As part of my 40 goals 'til I turn 40, i'm going to be sharing 40 beliefs of my faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, over the next 11 weeks. I welcome any and all questions. Starting off with a basic one. We believe in God (we call Him Heavenly Father often, we believe He is the father of our spirits). We believe in Jesus Christ, as God's son -- physically and spiritually. We believe in the Holy Ghost. We believe that all three (God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost) are separate members of the Godhead. God and Jesus have bodies, the Holy Ghost is a spirit. They are three separate individuals.

Post #2/40 What we Believe: We believe in the Bible, the Old and the New Testament. We spend years studying them in our classes at church. We mainly use the King James Version, as we believe that is the most correct translation. We also believe in the Book of Mormon, as ANOTHER testament of Christ. The Old and the New testament being the OTHER testaments of Christ. They add to each other, complement each other and all together give us a more complete understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If anyone wants a free copy of any of these books, I'd be more than willing to send you one. NO STRINGS ATTACHED.

Post #3/40 What we Believe: Where did we come from? My next several posts will deal with what we refer to in the church as The Plan of Salvation or The Plan of Happiness. First, where did we come from? We believe that we lived in Heaven with Heavenly Father (God) as His spirit children. We learned about His plan, which included us leaving Heaven and coming to Earth to receive a body. When we heard about the plan, we were overjoyed, despite understanding that this life would be difficult.

Post #4/40 What we believe: What is the purpose of life? Wow. This one is a big one! After we left Heaven, we came here and received our earthly bodies. This is one of the purposes .. to get a body. But that's not all. Part of the Plan was to test us to see what we did with those bodies. We are here to learn how to make the right choices with our bodies and our minds that will lead us back to our Father in Heaven. But, life isn't just about being tested (and being tested isn't always a negative). We also believe that we are here to have JOY. The experiences we have in this life, (the good and the bad), if we choose to learn from them, will all teach us how to become who God wants us to become.

Post #5/40: What we believe. No posts about the Plan of Salvation would be complete without talking about free agency. That is just a fancy way of saying that we believe that our freedom to choose is the most valuable gift we have here on earth. We believe that we even exercised this right to choose in Heaven before we came to earth. We CHOSE to follow Heavenly Father's plan, to get a body and to be able to always chose what we wanted to do. That is one reason why we live the lifestyles we do in the church. It is not a restrictive lifestyle, as some people might think. It is actually the opposite. By not choosing things that would eventually control or even impede our freedom to choose, we wake up each day unentangled from things of the world, and free to choose once again how we want to live our lives. We believe in a God that loves us SO much that He will never force us to do anything, but allows us to choose. Then He can bless us as we have choose Him and His ways.

Post #6/40 What we believe: The Plan of Salvation has three major acts. The first act being that we lived in Heaven before we were born. The second act is our lives here on earth. The third act is where we go when we die. As Mormons, we believe we continue to exist. Our spirits leave our physical bodies and go to a place we call the Spirit World, where we can be with other loved ones who have passed on and continue to learn and progress. Eventually, we will then be resurrected (reunited with our physical bodies). Death is just a step in the wonderful Plan of Salvation. It is most certainly a painful step when loved ones leave us too soon. But the hope of knowing they are in the Spirit World, learning, loving, and watching and waiting for us brings peace to an otherwise broken heart.

Post #7/40 What we Believe: Are Mormons Christian? Yes. In fact, the actual name of our church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We firmly believe that this is the Lord's Church on the earth. And so, naturally, it should be called The Church of Jesus Christ. And it is. We believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. We worship Him. We have faith in Him. We rely on His atonement. We strive to be more like Him. We believe He will come again. The 'Latter-day Saints" part of our name is simply to distinguish us from The Church of Jesus Christ that existed in Jerusalem when Christ lived and organized it there among his followers. Today, we are simply lots closer to His second coming, and thus, are in the latter (or last) days.

Post #8/40 What we believe: We believe in personal responsibility. In a world edging closer everyday over the edge of Entitlement, we believe we are accountable for our choices, our thoughts, and our actions. One of our 'Articles of Faith' states: "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression." Fancy words, but it basically means we can't pass the blame onto anyone else for our own wrong choices.

Post #9/40 What we believe: The gospel (or good news) of Jesus Christ is the foundation on which all our beliefs rest. Essentially, it is summed up in this: We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. Heavenly Father (God) wants ALL MANKIND (which includes all womankind as well, to be PC) to return and live with him. But, only sinless, perfect people can dwell with God. So, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to atone for our sins and mistakes. This way, God can exercise the greatest amount of mercy to us (by allowing the sufferings of His Son to pay the debt of our sin and imperfection) while demanding the littlest amount of justice from us (our willingness to be obedient to the laws of ordinances (commandments, and to repent when we fail to do so). We believe this. We believe in second chances, in redemption, in being saved through the gift of Jesus Christ. Simultaneously, we must be obedient, and repent when we are not obedient.

Post #10/40 What we Believe: In 1820, during the height of religious revivalism in upstate New York, a young boy named Joseph Smith was confused about religion. He read in the Bible, James 1:5 which said to ask God for wisdom. He believed the Bible, and did accordingly. In earnest prayer, coupled with immense faith, he prayed to know which church he should join. In answer, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him. They told him the true church was no longer on the earth and that through him, Jesus Christ would restore His true church again. I have learned for myself that this happened. We encourage every one, member or not, to read about Joseph Smith, and pray about what happened. It's not just a fictional story. And when you know for yourself that it happened, it will change your life.

Post #11/40 What we believe: Do you have a Mormon friend? Next time you see them, ask them what their 'calling' is right now? We do not have a professional clergy in our church. Our bishops, children's teachers, and youth leaders are all volunteers. We are all 'called' to certain positions, by inspiration of the Holy Ghost through the local leaders (who are called to their positions by inspiration from regional leaders, etc). Active members of the Church have had dozens of 'callings' over their lifetimes. We don't get paid for the countless hours of service, teaching, training that we provide to each other. Well, we don't get paid $. We do get paid spiritually with blessing from Heaven. I've taught little kids how to sing songs; taught relationship courses on marriage and parenting; taught teachers how to teach; taught youth about the scriptures, just to name a few! For my member friends, what has been your favorite 'calling'?

Post #12/40 What we believe: "We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men;" This is just a portion of what we know as the 13th article of faith. I love all those words and phrases. Imagine if everyone lived that simple sentence, especially that last phrase,'doing good to all men'. We believe in compassion. In caring. It is part of the covenant we make when we are baptized into this Church. We promise to comfort, mourn with, and help strengthen those around us. But, our compassion is not limited to members of our church. If you are ever in need of help, temporally, emotionally, spiritually, find a member of the church and talk to them.We will help. We believe in doing good to ALL men.

Post #13/40 What we believe: We believe that we can live with our families FOREVER. That's right! It's not just until death do we part, but we are together for time and for all eternity. Our family relationships are the most important ones in our lives. Knowing they are eternal, we strive to be constantly improving those relationships. Knowing this also lessens the sting of death, as it is only a temporary separation. Families are Forever. What wonderful truth!

Post #14/40 What we believe: We believe in sharing. Not just possessions, but in sharing something infinitely more important: salvation. You've probably seen those Mormon Missionaries riding their bikes around your town, or walking up and down a street. Maybe they've even knocked on your door. Today, my nephew spoke in church, as he is preparing to leave next week for two years to go be a missionary in Bolivia. He's been preparing, spiritually, emotionally, and financially for this mission for most of his life. Our missionaries go and serve of their own will, and pay their entire way. Yep, when you see them sweating, riding bikes in 100 + degree weather, know that they chose to do that, and are paying for the privilege of being a missionary. Why? Because we believe in sharing. Next time they knock on your door. Let them in, give them a drink of cold water, and ask them why. They'll be happy to answer, in whatever language you speak.

Post #15/40 What we believe: We believe that we must be baptized. We are not baptized as infants. We must be at least 8 years old, as that is an accountable age, where we are old enough to choose and be responsible for our choices. We believe in baptism by immersion, which means we are completely covered in water and then figuratively reborn as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ. And, we also believe that the baptism must be performed by someone with the proper authority. When all these conditions are met, and we are baptized, we have taken the first step back to our Heavenly Father. My youngest was baptized earlier this year on her eighth birthday. Here is a picture.

Post #16/40 What we Believe: After we are baptized by immersion, we receive what we refer to as "the gift of the Holy Ghost". In a nutshell, this means that we have the gift of having the CONSTANT companionship of the third member of the Godhead, (the Holy Ghost) to help us throughout our lives as long as we are living worthy of its influence. This is one of the most amazing, unique, and priceless gifts we could ever receive. Having the gift of the Holy Ghost in my life ranks right at the top. It has helped me make all of the big, life-changing (and many of the small) decisions in my life. It has comforted me beyond words when nothing else could. It has protected me from danger I didn't know was there. It has witnessed to my mind and soul the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. What an immeasurable gift!

Post #17/40 What we believe: We pay tithing. This is not unique to Mormons. Not even to Christians! For our church, we pay 10% of our gross earnings (not net) to the Church. This money is used to build those beautiful temples you see everywhere, other church buildings, and to help fund other church-related endeavors. We pay tithing from the time we earn even the smallest amount of money. I remember walking up to the bishop in my ward at age 6 and handing him an envelope contains mere coins as my offering. We believe in the literal fulfilling of the promised blessing of obeying this law, as stated in Malachi 3:10 that the Lord will "open the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." My life is a witness to the truthfulness of that promise.

Post #18/40 What we believe: We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. Ironically, members of our church were persecuted, killed, and even officially 'exterminated' early on in the 1800s. That is one of the reasons the early members made the long trek to Utah, when it was just a territory far away from mobs. But, like the constitution of the United States, we truly believe in freedom of religion. We believe everyone is free to choose how or even if to worship. I'm so grateful for this freedom.

Post #19/40 What we believe: Charity never faileth. That phrase comes from the New Testament and is the motto for the largest and oldest women's organization in the world. And I'm a member of it! All female members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when they turn 18, become a member of the Relief Society. That's a funny-sounding name, but it literally is true. We provide relief to the world, one hug, one clean kitchen, one baked casserole at a time. Tonight is our annual broadcast where the leaders of Relief Society as well as living prophets will speak, inspire, and edify us. Here is a link to watch it online, or go turn on BYUtv (if you have cable or satellite, you have it), and watch it. I promise you will be uplifted and better for doing so.

Post #20/40: What we believe: Family Home Evening. Across the world, Mormons set Monday night aside as Family Home Evening. What is that? It's simply a time to be together as family without the usual distractions of every day life. We normally sing a song together, start and end with prayer. We have a lesson. We play a game. We eat treats. Tonight, my husband taught about personal revelation and living prophets and how we all need to get our own answers to prayers about what we are taught. He challenged all of us to pray about what we hear from our living prophets this weekend during General Conference to know that it is true and of God. Then, we piled in the car and had Blizzards. Some weeks are much less structured. We all (kids included take turns teaching lessons. Sometimes its not even on Mondays. But, the point is, we have a Family Home Evening. Time together. It is time well spent.

Post #21/40 (Half-way there, much-more than half-way to my b-day, thus, more frequent posts) What we believe: I am a child of God. And He (God) has sent me here. He has given me an earthly home, with parents kind and dear. My parents lead me, guided me, walked beside me, and helped me to find the way. They taught me all that I needed to do to return to live with Heavenly Father someday. Now, as a parent, my creed is also to lead my kids, guide my kids, walk beside them, help them find their way, and to teach them all that they must do to live with Heavenly Father again someday. This belief is taught perfectly in a children's song we learn to sing. One thing my parent's didn't teach me is how to link up a cool version of that song to this post. Maybe one of my friends knows how to?

Post #22/40 What we believe: Priesthood power. We believe that through the prophet Joseph Smith, the power to act in God's name was restored on the earth. This power, called the priesthood, blesses us in many ways. This morning, my father-in-law and my husband gave me a priesthood blessing before I had a minor surgery. In the blessing, I was promised that I would be calm. These blessings are dependent on our individual faith in Jesus Christ. Today I have felt pain, grogginess, gratitude, hunger, (my kids had to cut my food up for me), and discomfort. But overall, today I felt calm. How grateful I am for priesthood power.

Post #23/40: what we believe. We believe that a prophet of God lives today. Want to hear what he has to say? He'll be speaking to the world live tomorrow about 9:10 a.m. Arizona time (10:10 a.m. MST) and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. (3:30 pm MST). I guarantee a good story or two and words and counsel that will uplift your soul.

Post #24/40 What we believe: We believe the Heavens are still open. We are in the middle of our semi-annual General Conference, where, for two days, living prophets and leaders instruct over 15 million of us on what God would have us hear. These messages are as varied as are the trials and struggles going on in our lives. What are your struggles? For my members, which talk has addressed your struggles and trials? For my non-member friends, what struggles are you going through? If you want me to, I will find a specific talk from today or tomorrow and send you the link and you can see what Heaven has to say to you, personally, about your trials and your life.

Post #25/40 What we believe: We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth. Let me expound on some of the fancier words. We believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is organized the same way that Jesus Christ organized His church when He lived in Jerusalem (the Primitive Church). He had prophets and apostles. So do we. He organized the members, and called pastors (bishops), teachers, evangelists (Patriarchs) to lead the church. Today, we have the same. This IS Christ's church AGAIN on the earth.

Post #26/40 What we Believe: "Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities." This is taken from a Proclamation that living prophets gave to us almost 20 years ago. Both the family I grew up in and the family I'm now raising are witnesses to this truth. We are happier when we follow these guidelines.

Post #27/40 What we believe: The Word of Wisdom: what is this? It's the nickname the Mormons have given to their code of health conduct. You might know we don't drink alcohol or smoke. That is because our prophet received a revelation over 150 years ago that we shouldn't. But it also includes many other health guidelines, like eating lots of fruits and vegetables. In a nutshell: no coffee, tea, alcohol, no smoking, drugs, and eat all foods in moderation. But this revelation comes with tremendous promises! (Next post)

Post #28/40 what we believe: We believe that God wants to bless us. Lots. One commandment He has given is The Word of Wisdom (see my last post). When we obey this, we are promised health, wisdom, great treasures of knowledge and the ability to pace ourselves throughout life. This is more than a health code. It is a way of life that comes with promised blessings from heaven. I'll take it!

Post #29/40: What we believe. We believe in chastity. Mormons are known for their extremely high moral standards and I see that as a compliment. We believe that we are not to have any sexual relations before marriage and then complete fidelity after marriage. We are promised strong marriages, protection (both spiritually and emotionally, and from disease), confidence, true happiness, and improved ability to make good decisions. Wow! Imagine a world where everyone lived that law of chastity and enjoyed all those blessings.

Post #30/40 What we believe: We believe in Prayer. We don't have memorized prayers. We pray individually every morning and night. I pray with my husband every morning and night. I also pray with my family every morning and night. We also pray over our food (this is called a blessing). We are also commanded to always have a prayer in our hearts. I often send prayers up to Heaven throughout the day, while I'm driving, working, studying, etc. Prayer is a real connection between Heavenly Father and us. That connection is possible through Jesus Christ. It is in His name that we pray to the Father. Heavenly Father longs to hear from us and to check in with Him and ask for His help and hand in our every day lives. I KNOW He hears my prayers, no matter how simple or mundane my requests. I am so grateful for prayer.

Post #31/40 What we believe: Last week, I spent a few days in the 'happiest place on earth" (Disneyland). We stood in lines and more lines, but we did have fun. Today, I spent several hours in my personal 'happiest place on earth': the temple. This is literally The House of the Lord here on earth. There, we can feel peace and the spirit of TRUE happiness that comes from connecting with heaven. In the temple, we learn of our potential and make sacred covenants that will allow us to be together with our families forever. True happiness can be found in the temple. And, no lines!

Post#32/40 What we believe: Fasting. What is this? One the first Sunday of each month, we go without food or drink (yep, no water) for two meals. (so, about 24 hours). Normally breakfast and lunch on Sunday, but no hard rule here. We start this time with a prayer and a purpose. We dedicate this 'sacrifice' to the Lord for something we desire, either for ourselves, or for someone we care about who is struggling. We end this process with a prayer again, humbly asking the Lord to accept our fast. This is a way we can show Heavenly Father that we are able to master our natural appetites and that we know there are things more important than our most simply and human needs. It can be an incredibly spiritual experience and many, many, many miracles have resulted in my life from fasting and prayers.

Post #33/40 What we believe: We believe in testimony. That's a fancy four syllable word, but in our church, it's a commonly used one. Along with our special fasting on the first Sunday of each month, that week's 'sermon' is not planned. We are all invited to share our testimonies with the rest of the congregations. (Think open mic) From the tiniest children who are just learning to say complete sentences, to the oldest members with a lifetime of wisdom, we are edified and uplifted by each other's words. No one is forced to share. The spirit directs. We share what we believe. We share what we know to be true. We witness to each other principles of the gospel that are impacting us at that season in our lives. We testify of the reality of Heavenly Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Ghost in our lives. These meetings are always beautiful and directed by the Spirit.

Post #34/40 What we believe: Scripture study. I already referenced that we believe in both The Bible and The Book of Mormon as scripture. We are also encouraged to study them, individually AND as a family every day. Yep. Every day. Our teenagers actually use one of their precious electives every year in high school to study scriptures in a class called Seminary (if they live where there are enough members of the church). If they don't, they get to get up bright and early (i.e. before 5:30 a.m.) and attend an early-morning seminary class. For three years in high school, I took a taxi to the train station, then took the train and then walked 1/3 a mile just to get to my seminary class before a full day of school. (Note: you do NOT have to be a member to go to seminary. If you want your children to learn scriptures in school, ask a mormon about it!) Yes, we believe the scriptures are to be studied. To be understood. Applied. Lived. And read, over and over. What's your favorite scripture?

Post #35/40 What we believe: We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth. We truly believe in a real connection between earth and Heaven. God is a real part of our existence here: an essential part. He has and will bless us, individually, through His spirit in so many ways. As a missionary, I was able to communicate within months in a difficult language and teach people all about the gospel, because Heavenly Father blessed me. We believe in prophets that testify and prophecy of the future and help to prepare us for that future. I personally have had the Spirit of God reveal to me what to say to help my children. I've had my eyes open to understand my role in life. That was a vision to me. To see without the mortal shackles, even for just a few moments. I've been healed to functionality from horrible illnesses and I've been able to understand what others are saying through the help of the Spirit. So, yes. I believe God is helping me and is actively involved in my life here on earth.

Post #36/40 What we believe: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:36-40). We believe that these two commandments are the greatest ones. If we can learn to LOVE the Lord with all of us and then love all those around us (and us), ALL the other commandments will come naturally. Pick a commandment, any commandment. And see how loving God or loving your neighbors will lead you to keeping that commandment.

Post #37/40 What we believe: Forgiveness. We believe that if we are remorseful of wrongdoing and take all the necessary steps to repent, we will be forgiven through the mercy of the Atonement. However, we have been commanded, even required to forgive everyone else, with no conditions on their repentance. Here is a commonly quoted scripture that sums up this belief: "I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men." All men. That includes ourselves. How often does The Lord use the word 'required'? Not often. I think He takes our forgiving others seriously. As hard as it can be to forgive someone who has hurt us, He will help us. Because it is REQUIRED.

Post #38/40 What we Believe: Obedience. One of the most often quoted scriptures in our church comes from a young man who chooses to be obedient. His father (who also happened to be the prophet) had asked him to return with his brothers on a 3 day journey to Jerusalem to get a set of scriptures from a powerful, mean man. The father said he wasn't asking as a father, but as a prophet. This was his son's faithful reply, "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." We believe this. I believe this. If I have been asked of the Lord to do something, then He will help me accomplish that. So, we CAN always be obedient. Sometimes we choose not to, but it is because we are choosing not to, not because we aren't able to. If there is a commandment you are struggling with, simply ask God for help. If He commanded it, He will provide a way for you to obey. Simple as that.

Post #39/40: What we Believe: Love. One of my favorite scriptures teaches the true importance of love in this life. Towards the end of The Book of Mormon, the prophet Moroni is leaving some advice to those who are fortunate enough to read his words. He says, "But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ;" No matter how obedient, forgiving, righteous, law-abiding, or commandment-adhering we become, if we are lacking in charity, or love for God, for others, and for ourselves, all our best efforts will not be enough. Love matters. It is not all that matters. But it matters first.

Post #40/40 What we believe: The Atonement of Jesus Christ. This is not only what we believe, this is WHY we believe. Because of the Atonement, we will all be resurrected. Because of it, we can all repent and be redeemed from our sins. And, because of the Atonement, we can overcome any struggle, trial, or test placed before us. Its enabling power can heal us, improve us, empower us, and eventually, perfect us. Come unto Christ. The most important invitation any of us will ever receive -- the most vital one to follow -- the only reason I've been posting all these beliefs.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails