Saturday, December 14, 2013

Blessings for the Sick and the Afflicted

If you or someone you know is sick, injured, or otherwise unwell, you can get a blessing for that person. If you don't know any Mormons who can help you get one, you can contact the local missionaries or a local Mormon leader by using these tools on

If using the meetinghouse locator, you can find the bishop's phone number if you click on a meetinghouse, click on a congregation that meets there, and click on the Leadership tab beside the Schedule tab.

If you just want the blessing and are worried about someone starting a discussion on beliefs, make your intentions clear. Mormons (missionaries especially) are happy to help random people just because. It's one of the main purposes of the church we belong to.

Members would not expect or wish to be paid for giving a blessing. Mormons consider it their responsibility to give freely of their time to help others, so to suggest to pay them for their service would probably make them uncomfortable. But you could probably get away with buying them a hamburger or something as a way of saying thank you if you felt it necessary.

Monday, December 9, 2013

2013 Christmas Devotional

Gotta love the lights at Temple Square and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The Church has held a First Presidency Christmas Devotional for many years now, but starting this year it will simply be called the Christmas Devotional. The name change suggests that more leaders will be given the opportunity to speak at the devotional, instead of just the First Presidency (the President of the Church and his two counselors).

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What is family home evening?

Family home evening (FHE) is ideally a meeting held once a week by a family in their own home. It's a time when the family can study the Gospel of Jesus Christ and have fun together. The details of FHE planning, such as when to hold the meeting, what activities to do, and who is responsible for what, are left up to the family to decide. The parents or guardians in the home are encouraged to seek heavenly inspiration to know what their family needs out of FHE each week.

Here's an example of what FHE might look like: After dinner Andrea loads the dishes into the dishwasher while her brother Mike puts away the leftover food. Mom is changing Joey's diaper, and Dad has just emerged from the bathroom. He sees that it's 5 minutes to 7:00pm, the time when family home evening is to begin. He checks to see if Mom needs help with Joey and lets her know that FHE is about to start in the family room. He then checks on Mike and Andrea and reminds them as well. They all gather in the family room, although Andrea arrives a little late after checking her email first. Dad makes sure that they all have prepared for their part of the meeting, and then they begin. They sing a favorite song, then they pray, and then Dad, whose role this week is to conduct the meeting, turns the time over to Mike for the lesson. He gives a short lesson about how God made the earth for us, and then Dad turns the time over to Mom for the activity. Mom has chosen three possible winter activities for the family to do, Christmas caroling, driving around looking at Christmas lights, or sledding, and she puts it to a vote. The family picks the sledding activity, so the family goes out sledding for a while. Then they come back inside and Dad turns the time over to Andrea for the treat. Mom had previously suggested to her that hot chocolate or apple cider might go along well with the activity, and Andrea had decided to pick hot chocolate. Andrea now announces that hot chocolate is the treat, and the family ends the meeting with prayer and enjoys the treat together.

Family home evening doesn't have to be as formal or structured as the one in this example was, and it doesn't have to have so many parts to it or be so long. Some families might like to invite friends to participate, and some might want to keep it family only. It all depends on what the family wants to do and what their needs are.

With all kinds of work, school, and community obligations to fulfill, it can be hard to get the whole family together each week at the same time. Some families can maintain regularly planned FHEs from month to month while others need to pick a different day or time each week. But scheduling is not the only challenge. Sometimes families struggle with participation apathy, discord between members, poor planning, or lack of resources and ideas. As a result, holding weekly FHEs is a hard goal to achieve for many families.

When families put forth their best efforts to make family home evenings a success, they can feel richly blessed. Over time, family members learn more about each other, can become more comfortable sharing their testimonies or teaching gospel principles to each other, and will probably have some fond memories of playing games, decorating cookies, or doing other fun activities with their family. The children might also have some ideas of what they would like to change or keep doing for FHE when they have their own families. Holding family home evening on a regular basis can really help a family grow spiritually and grow together.

Mormons believe that families are meant to be forever, so we believe it's important for families to have some time to spend together each week. To help families find time for family home evening, the Church doesn't schedule any activities on Monday evenings.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Overview of Mormon Culture and Beliefs

Mormons gathered to watch and listen to the General Conference of the Church last weekend. This talk (sermon) gives an excellent overview of Mormon culture and beliefs.


Come, Join with Us

Second Counselor in the First Presidency

Regardless of your circumstances, your personal history, or the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this Church.
Once there was a man who dreamed that he was in a great hall where all the religions of the world were gathered. He realized that each religion had much that seemed desirable and worthy.

He met a nice couple who represented The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and asked, “What do you require of your members?”
We do not require anything,” they replied. “But the Lord asks that we consecrate all.”
The couple went on to explain about Church callings, home and visiting teaching, full-time missions, weekly family home evenings, temple work, welfare and humanitarian service, and assignments to teach.
“Do you pay your people for all the work they do?” the man asked.
“Oh, no,” the couple explained. “They offer their time freely.”
“Also,” the couple continued, “every six months our Church members spend a weekend attending or watching 10 hours of general conference.”
“Ten hours of people giving talks?” the man wondered.
“What about your weekly church services? How long are they?”
“Three hours, every Sunday!”
“Oh, my,” the man said. “Do members of your church actually do what you have said?”
“That and more. We haven’t even mentioned family history, youth camps, devotionals, scripture study, leadership training, youth activities, early-morning seminary, maintaining Church buildings, and of course there is the Lord’s law of health, the monthly fast to help the poor, and tithing.”
The man said, “Now I’m confused. Why would anyone want to join such a church?”
The couple smiled and said, “We thought you would never ask.”

Why Would Anyone Join Such a Church?

At a time when many churches throughout the world are experiencing significant decreases in numbers, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—though small in comparison with many others—is one of the fastest growing churches in the world. As of September 2013 the Church has more than 15 million members around the world.
There are many reasons for this, but may I offer a few?
The Savior’s Church
First, this Church was restored in our day by Jesus Christ Himself. Here you will find the authority to act in His name—to baptize for the remission of sins, to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost, and to seal on earth and in heaven.1
Those who join this Church love the Savior Jesus Christ and they wish to follow Him. They rejoice in the knowledge that God speaks to mankind again. When they receive sacred priesthood ordinances and make covenants with God, they can feel His power in their lives.2 When they enter the holy temple, they sense they are in His presence. When they read the holy scriptures3 and live the teachings of His prophets, they grow closer to the Savior they love so much.
An Active Faith
Another reason is because the Church provides opportunities for doing good.
Believing in God is commendable, but most people want to do more than listen to inspirational sermons or dream of their mansions above.4 They want to put their faith into practice. They want to roll up their sleeves and become engaged in this great cause.
And that is what happens when they join with us—they have many opportunities to transform their talents, compassion, and time into good works. Because we have no paid local clergy in our worldwide congregations, our members perform the work of ministry themselves. They are called by inspiration. Sometimes we volunteer; sometimes we are“volunteered.” We see assignments not as burdens but as opportunities to fulfill covenants we gladly make to serve God and His children.
Treasured Blessings
A third reason why people join the Church is because walking the path of discipleship leads to precious blessings.
We see baptism as the starting point in our journey of discipleship. Our daily walk with Jesus Christ leads to peace and purpose in this life and profound joy and eternal salvation in the world to come.
Those who follow this path faithfully avoid many of the pitfalls, sorrows, and regrets of life.
The poor in spirit and honest of heart find great treasures of knowledge here.
Those who suffer or grieve find healing here.
Those burdened with sin find forgiveness, liberty, and rest.

To Those Who Leave

The search for truth has led millions of people to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, there are some who leave the Church they once loved.
One might ask, “If the gospel is so wonderful, why would anyone leave?”
Sometimes we assume it is because they have been offended or lazy or sinful. Actually, it is not that simple. In fact, there is not just one reason that applies to the variety of situations.
Some of our dear members struggle for years with the question whether they should separate themselves from the Church.
In this Church that honors personal agency so strongly, that was restored by a young man who asked questions and sought answers, we respect those who honestly search for truth. It may break our hearts when their journey takes them away from the Church we love and the truth we have found, but we honor their right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience, just as we claim that privilege for ourselves.5

Unanswered Questions

Some struggle with unanswered questions about things that have been done or said in the past. We openly acknowledge that in nearly 200 years of Church history—along with an uninterrupted line of inspired, honorable, and divine events—there have been some things said and done that could cause people to question.
Sometimes questions arise because we simply don’t have all the information and we just need a bit more patience. When the entire truth is eventually known, things that didn’t make sense to us before will be resolved to our satisfaction.
Sometimes there is a difference of opinion as to what the “facts” really mean. A question that creates doubt in some can, after careful investigation, build faith in others.

Mistakes of Imperfect People

And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.
I suppose the Church would be perfect only if it were run by perfect beings. God is perfect, and His doctrine is pure. But He works through us—His imperfect children—and imperfect people make mistakes.
In the title page of the Book of Mormon we read, “And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.”6
This is the way it has always been and will be until the perfect day when Christ Himself reigns personally upon the earth.
It is unfortunate that some have stumbled because of mistakes made by men. But in spite of this, the eternal truth of the restored gospel found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not tarnished, diminished, or destroyed.
As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and as one who has seen firsthand the councils and workings of this Church, I bear solemn witness that no decision of significance affecting this Church or its members is ever made without earnestly seeking the inspiration, guidance, and approbation of our Eternal Father. This is the Church of Jesus Christ. God will not allow His Church to drift from its appointed course or fail to fulfill its divine destiny.

There Is Room for You

To those who have separated themselves from the Church, I say, my dear friends, there is yet a place for you here.
Come and add your talents, gifts, and energies to ours. We will all become better as a result.
Some might ask, “But what about my doubts?”
It’s natural to have questions—the acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding. There are few members of the Church who, at one time or another, have not wrestled with serious or sensitive questions. One of the purposes of the Church is to nurture and cultivate the seed of faith—even in the sometimes sandy soil of doubt and uncertainty. Faith is to hope for things which are not seen but which are true.7
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters—my dear friends—please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.8 We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some might say, “I just don’t fit in with you people in the Church.
If you could see into our hearts, you would probably find that you fit in better than you suppose. You might be surprised to find that we have yearnings and struggles and hopes similar to yours. Your background or upbringing might seem different from what you perceive in many Latter-day Saints, but that could be a blessing. Brothers and sisters, dear friends, we need your unique talents and perspectives. The diversity of persons and peoples all around the globe is a strength of this Church.
Some might say, “I don’t think I could live up to your standards.
All the more reason to come! The Church is designed to nourish the imperfect, the struggling, and the exhausted. It is filled with people whodesire with all their heart to keep the commandments, even if they haven’tmastered them yet.
Some might say, “I know a member of your Church who is a hypocrite. I could never join a church that had someone like him as a member.
If you define hypocrite as someone who fails to live up perfectly to what he or she believes, then we are all hypocrites. None of us is quite as Christlike as we know we should be. But we earnestly desire to overcome our faults and the tendency to sin. With our heart and soul we yearn to become better with the help of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
If these are your desires, then regardless of your circumstances, your personal history, or the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this Church. Come, join with us!

Come, Join with Us!

In spite of our human imperfections, I am confident that you will find among the members of this Church many of the finest souls this world has to offer. The Church of Jesus Christ seems to attract the kind and the caring, the honest and the industrious.
If you expect to find perfect people here, you will be disappointed. But if you seek the pure doctrine of Christ, the word of God “which healeth the wounded soul,”9 and the sanctifying influence of the Holy Ghost, then here you will find them. In this age of waning faith—in this age when so many feel distanced from heaven’s embrace—here you will find a people who yearn to know and draw closer to their Savior by serving God and fellowmen, just like you. Come, join with us!

Will Ye Also Go Away?

I am reminded of a time in the Savior’s life when many abandoned Him.10Jesus asked His twelve disciples:
“Will ye also go away?
“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”11
There are times when we have to answer the same question. Will we also go away? Or will we, like Peter, hold fast to the words of eternal life?
If you seek truth, meaning, and a way to transform faith into action; if you are looking for a place of belonging: Come, join with us!
If you have left the faith you once embraced: Come back again. Join with us!
If you are tempted to give up: Stay yet a little longer. There is room for you here.
I plead with all who hear or read these words: Come, join with us. Come heed the call of the gentle Christ. Take up your cross and follow Him.12
Come, join with us! For here you will find what is precious beyond price.
I testify that here you will find the words of eternal life, the promise of blessed redemption, and the pathway to peace and happiness.
I earnestly pray that your own search for truth will impress upon your heart the desire to come and join with us. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Why is it called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

The Church is so named because:

  1. Mormons believe that this church is the same church that Jesus Christ established when he was on the earth, same organization and everything. It's his church and his doctrine. Therefore, the Church should bear his name.
  2. Mormons believe that after Jesus died, the Church began to lose the purity of the teachings of Jesus Christ (the Gospel). The Church started teaching the philosophies of men mixed with the Gospel, and so it stopped being God's true church. Christianity became divided and corrupt, and it remained in this confused state until the world was ready to receive the pure Gospel again. In New York in 1830, Jesus Christ restored his church through the prophet Joseph Smith. (See Joseph Smith ( Joseph received a revelation that God wanted the name of the church to be the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So that's what he called it. 
  3. Members of the Church are called saints because that's what members of the ancient church were called. Members today are called latter-day saints because we are living in the Latter Days, the period of time that takes place just before Jesus' second coming.
  4. The Church is often referred to as the Mormon Church, and members are commonly called Mormons, because they believe in the Book of Mormon as well as in the Holy Bible. The Book of Mormon is another witness of Jesus Christ. It recounts the history of two ancient-American nations, the Nephites and the Lamanites. The Book testifies of Jesus Christ and teaches his Gospel. (See The Book of Mormon (
The Church could have been given this name: The Church That's the Same as Christ's Ancient Church Whose Members Are Living in the Time Just before the Savior Comes Again. After that, the actual name of the church doesn't seem too long, now does it?

See also these articles: The Restoration of Jesus Christ's ChurchChrist's Church

Monday, August 26, 2013

Why do Mormons serve missions?

Why do Mormons do missionary work? If you had the cure for cancer, you would want to share it, right? Mormons believe we have something even better than that - the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

The Gospel has the power to bring us so much peace, joy, and help in our lives. We believe that God has commanded us to share His Gospel and the blessings that come from it with the world. Our faith in Jesus Christ helps us to improve ourselves and to be happy, and we want those things for our brothers and sisters throughout the world.

In other words, we serve you because God loves you and because we love you! It's amazing how deeply the missionaries can come to love the people in the area in which they serve. Missions are hard, but missionaries often say that their mission was the best two years of their lives.

See also: What does it take to become a missionary?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

This document is central to the Mormon faith. It is often referenced in church meetings, and members are encouraged to use it as a guide for their lives and for their families.
"This proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah.



WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
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.
IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further 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.
WE DECLARE the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.
HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.
THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and 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. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.
WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society."
(To go to the proclamation on, click here.)