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Why I am a Mormon

Updated on December 1, 2012

Born In the Faith, But Know For Myself

Members of various faiths have commonly asked if I am a Mormon because my parents are members. Undoubtedly, my parents teachings and enthusiasm inspired me, but my faith is based completely on my own knowledge and experiences. Like so many other members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have found faith by studying the scriptures, praying to ask if the scriptures and the Church of Jesus Christ are true, and then receiving an answer from God, through his Holy Spirit. Throughout the Bible, God promises to answer our prayers if we but ask. I am a witness that He does make his word good, if we are study, are patient for an answer and have faith in Jesus Christ.

How I Learned the LDS Church Is True

I was born and raised by loving parents. Both had a strong faith in Jesus Christ, and a testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ was true. Attending church was a norm in my house, but both home and church teaches the importance of knowing the Church is true for one's self. I wanted to know for myself the church was true. I recall trying to read The Book of Mormon as young as eleven years old. I felt it was important to know before I became twelve years old and recieved the Priesthood. My parents supported me, and helped me pray for answers. I did not recieve an answer if the Church was true, but through prayer I felt assured taking on the responsibilities of the priesthood as I continued to study and learn. It would be many years later, I would understand the Bible scriptures explainning, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself" (John 7: 17). My service in the church helped me to understand the mission and purpose of the Church. I have witnessed God's hand in the Church many times.

Scripture study and reading was not easy for a pre-teen and was still difficualt as I became a teenager. And though I prayed trusting the promise that the Holy Ghost would reveal truth, I was not sure how to expect an answer. With practice and parents help, the scripture language became easier for me to understand. As I studied, opportunities for serving in the church became available through out the following years. As a teenager, I was known by my peers and seminary teachers as having a great knowledge of the scriptures and of church doctrine. I remember one day in a seminary class, when I was 16-years-old, the teacher asked students to raise their hand if they had ever felt the Holy Ghost prompt them or testify to them. I'm not sure if I was the only student who hadn't raise a hand--I felt like it--however, I did catch my teacher's eyes as she scanned the room.

"You've never felt the Holy Ghost before?" she asked.

"If I have," I began to answer, trying to be as honest and accurate as I could be, "I did not recognize it."

Six years pasted since I began reading The Book of Mormon. By my eighteenth year, I had finished reading the Book of Mormon and began again. I also had read most of the Bible. Though I often wondered why my answer hadn't come yet, I never became discouraged. Finally, while I listened to a Choir singing "I Know That My Redeemer Lives," I felt and recognized the Holy Ghost testify to me that my Redeemer Jesus Christ, does in reality live. This was the first time I felt and recognized the Spirit of God testify of truth. This was the same Comforter of whom Christ promised to send his disciples after he would be crusified (John 15: 26). It was a short time later, the Holy Ghost would testify to me that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's true church, but much more subtly. I have had many experiences since that have testified to me that the Jesus Christ, His Church and His scriptures are true.

I'm a Mormon, New York Comedian, and Dreamer

Serving a Mission for the Church

I remember visiting another Mormon family with my father when I was very young. This family was excited about a package their son had sent home from his mission from Japan.

"Can we show you what our son sent us from his mission?" they asked my dad.

As they disappeared to the other room, I asked my dad what a mission was. He explained, when a young man turns 19 years old, he leaves home to teach other people about Jesus Christ for two years. In my young age, the thought of leaving mom and dad for what seemed an unending duration, was frightening.

I told my dad, "I don't want to go on a mission."

My dad smiled back at me, and replied, "You've got a long time to think about it." And I did think about it--a lot!

The more I read the scriptures, the more I wanted to share what I learned. Living the Gospel brought a joy I wanted to share with others. And hearing the mission stories of others feed my hunger to serve. And of course the more mature I became, the less frightening it was for me to leave home. In my church, the work is performed by lay ministry--which means, no one is paid to serve. As a 19-year-old missionary, this meant I had to have already saved up enough money to pay my own way to preach the Gospel for 2 years. This kind of dedication comes from a Love of my Savior and my own knowledge that He lives and His Church is True.

My mission assignment was to North Carolina. I loved serving and teaching people who already had a faith in Jesus Christ. I met many people who already loved the Bible and prayed. How excited many were to receive more of God's word, when my companions and I taught them about The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Some had already had experiences with the Holy Ghost bearing witness of truth to them, and praying to know if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true was not difficult for them. There were so many way's God answered their prayers. As a missionary I loved being a part of God's work, by helping people find peace and joy in their lives.

I'm a Mormon, Research Scientist, and Unicyclist

Scriptures Lead Us to Come Unto Christ

A woman I was teaching on my mission had been taught all the discussions and set a baptismal date that she kept pushing back. One night, my companion and I came to her in-law's home to teach her more about the gospel. I taught the lesson on scriptures, mentioning how scriptures had the power to answer any question we have. The woman seemed to thoroughly enjoy our lessons and visits, but again we got a call from her asking if she could move her baptismal date to a later time because her husband, was going out of town. Though her reason was a good one, this was the 3rd time she moved her baptismal date and she would not move it up to a day before her husband left.

While her husband was gone, a doctor called and told her that husband's tests had come in, and he a bad case of diabetes. He needed some expensive medicine immediately. Melina called her husband and when she got off the phone she began to cry. They could not afford the medication. She remembered the lesson I taught about receiving answers to questions from reading the scriptures. She found her mother-in-law's Book of Mormon and opened it up.

The first verse she read said "But before ye seek for riches seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches if ye seek them and ye shall seek them with the intent to do good... to administer relief to the sick and the afflicted" (Jacob 2: 18-19).

The woman showed the verse to her mother-in-law. "Do you know what this means?" Her mother-in-law asked.

"Yes" she replied, "It means I need to be baptized."

Just then the phone rang and it was her husband. He told his wife that he got a letter in the mail, saying that they had over paid on his lap top computer bills and received a check that would more than cover the medication.

It has been said that miracles don't make converts, only those who sincerely seek to know the truth for themselves. This women was never converted, but her family and in-laws have all joined, because of their own faith and answered prayers.

2 Nephi 29: 8

Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember on nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.

I'm a Mormon, Professional Rugby Player, and Missionary

The Book of Mormon Answers Tough Questions

One day, my companion and I showed up to a drug recovery home to do service painting. We waited on the front porch for the project manager to arrive. There were two or three residents sat on the porch with us. They were curious about where we were from, and what we were doing as missionaries. I told them were sharing discussions about Jesus Christ and inviting them to be baptized in His church. We asked them if they would be interested in hearing our discussion.

One woman said to me, "If you can answer a question I will hear your discussion." Then she continued, "I've had this question for a very long time. I have asked every pastors, ministers, and every religious leader I come across and no one can answer it to my satisfaction. Some even get mad at me for asking. Are you sure you want me to ask?"

"We would love to answer your question if we can," was my answer, with anticipation peaking.

"I just want to know, if God is our loving Father, why would he damn his children to hell? I mean, I know God says 'no unclean thing can enter heaven,' but why not if he loves them, can't he let them in?"

I opened my Book of Mormon to Mormon Chapter 9. I explained that the Book of Mormon was a volume of scriptures comparable to the Bible. . Where the Bible is a witness from the Jews in the Old World of Christ, The Book of Mormon stood as another testamony of Jesus Christ from ancient inhabitants of the American continent. Then, I handed her the book and asked her to read verses 4-5. She read:

Behold, I say unto you that ye would be more miserable to dwell with a holy and just God, under a consciousness of your filthiness before him, than ye would to dwell with the damned souls in hell. For behold, when ye shall be brought to see your nakedness before God, and also the glory of God, and the holiness of Jesus Christ, it will kindle a flame of unquenchable fire upon you.

I explained, "God does not want us to be damned to hell, but he knows we would be more miserable to dwell with him. It is because he loves us, that he is merciful to us in not permitting us into heaven."

"That makes sense!" she said emotionally. Why don't you missionaries come back and share with me your discussions." During our discussions, we were able to share more of God's plan of Salvation, or the Plan of Happiness. This plan teaches that through Christ's atonement, most will qualify to receive a degree of glory. While our goal should be to live worthy to return to our Heavenly Father's presents; But God's plan is not one of hate, but of love. It is not a gospel of "Join or burn" but of leaning to be as our Heavenly Father by coming to Christ, and receiving a fulness of joy with them. All who want it, can qualify.

Many have accused Latter-day Saints as replacing the Bible with Book of Mormon. But I have found, the Bible alone does not provide all of the Gospel Plan of Happiness God intents for us. How much a Christian would miss out, if he only read the Book of Genesis or the Book of St. John, denying any need to read from the other scriptures. So it is with the Book of Mormon, if it is true, we miss out on a large portion of what God intends for us to know.

You Are Not Alone - Conversion story of Josh Aplaca

Josh Aplaca shares his story of being lost and finding peace and hope from our loving Heavenly Father who is there for us when we need his help.

Find Out For Yourself

As a member and former missionary, a key feature of the gospel message that we believe and teach, is that each person can find out for themselves if the Church and Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. In fact, it is their responsibility. No one else is responsibile for our salvation, but ourselves. Not our parents, pastors, friends, or anyone else. We must know for ourselves.

One summer evening, I received a phone call from an associate. We had discussed religion many times and this time was no different. He had often tried to provide "evidence" to his denomination, but this time reversed his tactic.

“What if I could show you that your church is false through scientific evidence?” He asked, “Would you leave your church.”

“I would not,” was my honest reply.

Again he challenged, “but if there were undeniable evidence that your church is false, how could you blindly cling to it?”

“Man’s knowledge is too limited,” I began to explain. “My faith in the teachings of Jesus Christ, in the restoration of the gospel, and in modern day prophets did not come by way of worldly evidence, but by a witness from God—independent of man’s knowledge. Therefore, God alone can tell me I am wrong, but man has no authority, wisdom, nor evidence greater than what I have already witnessed from God.”

Over the phone I heard him sigh, “I just can’t understand that” (see 1 Cor. 2: 11-14).

A person can search his whole life studying and learning and never fully knowing (2 Timothy 3: 7). What seems true for a time often becomes an obvious misjudgement when more evidence is given. While studying it out in your mind, is an essential element to receiving revelation, when something is known from God, an omniscient being, we cannot be wrong. Each time I share the Book of Mormon with someone, I ask them to read 3 verses from the last chapter:

Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the Name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by power of the Holy Ghost.

And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

When ye shall receive these things, ask God if these things are not true.

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    • selah74 profile image
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      selah74 4 years ago

      @iwrite100: Thanks for visiting. Please let me know if I can clarify anything or answer questions.

    • iwrite100 profile image

      Maribel Forayo 4 years ago from Philippines

      It's worth to read. Triggers me to do some re-thinking. Thanks a lot for sharing

    • MBurgess profile image

      Maria Burgess 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Your testimony is wonderful! In a day and age when so many are just hateful it's refreshing to read about faith.Thanks for sharing!

    • spider11235813 profile image

      spider11235813 4 years ago

      You do an excellent job of representing the lds faith. Thank you for this inspirational lens!

    • selah74 profile image
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      selah74 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you for visiting

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Well articulated. Very impressive. I too appriciate your sharing without preaching. Keep it up this was a good lens. Personalized and very well articulated.

    • selah74 profile image
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      selah74 4 years ago

      @ruth-williams lm: Thanks for visiting and leaving your thoughts.

    • selah74 profile image
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      selah74 4 years ago

      @junecampbell: Thank you for vising. I appreciate your comment and glad you enjoyed it.

    • selah74 profile image
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      selah74 4 years ago

      @judit: Judit, thanks so much for visiting my lens. I appreciate your comment as well. I agree, there are those who do not like the thought of "restrictions" and commandments. But to me it is a blessing. There was a quote a scholar made in the 1940s, "A wall isn't a prison to those who don't want out." I love learning, studying, and living the commandments. To me they are not limits, but a road map to happiness. Like Christ said, "He who do my will, can know if I speak of myself or if they are of God." Living the commandments helps me know they are true. As they become a lifestyle, and habit, they become who I am. And they have helped me stand strong and keep hope during trying times. Some may reject the church for the limits, but I could not leave do without them.

    • selah74 profile image
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      selah74 4 years ago

      @Jenn Alex Brockma: Thank you for visiting my lens and for leaving a comment. I did not intend to make the heaven and hell description sound demeaning or "hell fire and damnation." Actually, the full Latter-day Saint perspective is (in my opinion) is very loving. Our view of Hell, is not the orthodox view of going either "up or down." Jesus said, "In my fathers house there are many mansions." We believe there are "degrees of glory." Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, most everyone will get some degree of glory, which is a part of heaven. The ultimate goal is to be worthy to live with God. Some will have a portion of glory, but not all able to live with God. But all will be their happiest where we go, and would not be any happier if they received a higher glory.

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      ikepius 4 years ago

      i like faith...I think people should believe whatever they choose to. As long as they don't badmouth other people religions and claim that there's is superior. This has been my first in depth study of Mormons, and I rather like it.

    • Jenn Alex Brockma profile image

      Jenn Alex Brockma 4 years ago

      Thank you for your likes of my lenses today. I read this because I'm not a believer of religions - faith and spirit, yes. I very much like the explanation of heaven and hell and why we can't go to heaven. It makes much more sense, though it still puts humans in the low self esteem and damning category that I take issue with in religions.

      I appreciate your sharing without preaching.

      Happy Thanksgiving.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 4 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      I am not very familiar with the Mormon religion. Your lens is enlightening. Thanks for sharing.

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      judit 4 years ago

      it is very interesting to learn about the Mormon believes, certainly is nothing wrong with,the problem is difficult for an outsider to get to love the restrictions too...because nowadays would not hurt some of these believes to be more embraced by more people.

    • ruth-williams lm profile image

      ruth-williams lm 4 years ago

      This was really interesting, thank you so much for being so honest and open. It's amazing to learn about other peoples' faiths and beliefs.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      Thank you for sharing why you believe as you do. Though I am not LDS, I believe it is important to learn why others embrace specific teachings that guide their faith, their commitments, and their actions. I appreciate those who live their convictions and respect everyone who has the courage to share what they believe and why.

    • Mr-Panda LM profile image

      Mr-Panda LM 4 years ago

      Great lens here. I am LDS as well, and I am very happy.

    • Mamabyrd profile image

      Mamabyrd 4 years ago

      Very interesting and informative lens. We had a big scandal here in Texas a few years ago with an FLDS group. The LDS church does not recognize the group but unfortunately many people associated them with the Mormon faith. It is awesome that you are helping to educate people about your beliefs.

    • shelleymax profile image

      shelleymax 4 years ago

      My sentiments are the same as Victel....It was great to be able to come to your well written lens and see your views....Good job..Thankyou

    • victoriahaneveer profile image

      victoriahaneveer 4 years ago

      This is a very interesting lens. Although I am not a Mormon myself I am not prejudiced or judgmental about other faiths and always happy to hear or read about others' beliefs. Thank you for sharing.

    • selah74 profile image
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      selah74 4 years ago

      @floppypoppygift1: Thanks for stopping by.

    • floppypoppygift1 profile image

      floppypoppygift1 4 years ago

      I have had many Mormon friends in my life. Cheers~cb