We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
The Lord has designated Israel as his own people, as the “firstborn” of the world. With Abraham, He entered into a covenant and said: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” This everlasting covenant was confirmed upon Isaac and in turn, upon Jacob who was renamed Israel, whose posterity would become a mighty nation.
However, because of their iniquity, Israel was smitten by numerous oppressors, and the twelve tribes were scattered throughout the earth. The tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained in the lands of their inheritance, while the 10 remaining tribes were dispersed and were since called the Lost Tribes of Israel.
Latter-day Saints believe that the blessings the Lord has promised to the people of Israel through Abraham shall all be fulfilled, and that He shall gather once again his covenant people and bestow upon them the blessings which He has promised to their fathers. This glorious promise was declared by the prophet Isaiah:
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (See Isaiah 11:11-12.)
The Work of Gathering has Already Commenced
Speaking to the Elders of the Church in the last dispensation, the Lord declares the hour for the gathering of Israel has come:
“And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts.
Wherefore the decree hath gone forth from the Father that they shall be gathered in unto one place upon the face of this land, to prepare their hearts and be prepared in all things against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked” (Doctrine and Covenants 29:7-8).
In order to fulfill this declaration from the Lord, the Church continues to send out missionaries to gather the dispersed of Israel from all four corners of the earth. Latter-day Saints believe that the gathering will include not only the original covenant people, but also the gentiles who have taken upon themselves the Abrahamic Covenant through baptism. The Lord promised that “He will gather His elect from the four quarters of the earth, even as many as will believe in Him, and hearken unto His voice” (D&C 33:6).
Christ Shall Reign Personally Upon the Earth
When the people of Israel are prepared to receive Jesus Christ as their King, He will come to reign personally over them. The new kingdom will be established, with Jerusalem as its capital in the east and Zion in the west. Isaiah saw the glory of this kingdom, and rejoiced therein. (See Isaiah 40:9.) When that day comes, the Earth shall die and shall be quickened again (Doctrine and Covenants 88:26). Soon, there will be a “new heaven and a new earth”, and the righteous shall dwell in it (Revelation 21:1).
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.
Freedom of worship is one of the inherent and inalienable rights of every human being. It has been conferred upon man by his maker, thus, no earthly power can take it away from him without violating a divinely instituted law. While God could disapprove of some forms of worship (i.e. idolatry, spiritualism, etc.), He allows everyone to worship according to his conscience in the spirit of love and forbearance.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds that religious intolerance is unscriptural. It violates man’s freedom to choose for himself. While Mormons know what they worship and boldly proclaim that theirs is the only true Church of Jesus Christ with all its authorized doctrines and ordinances, they are taught not to regard other faiths as inferior or unworthy of respect.
Joseph Smith once reproved some members of the Church for intolerance toward the beliefs of others. He told them that even idolaters ought to be protected in their worship; that, while it is a Christian’s duty to lead such darkened minds to the truth, he would not be justified in depriving even the heathen of their freedom to worship. In the official declaration of the Church’s belief regarding governments and laws in general, Joseph Smith gave the following statement which has been included in the Doctrine and Covenants – one of the standard works of the Church:
“We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt but never suppress the freedom of the soul.” (See Doctrine and Covenants 134:4.)
Religious tolerance has been demonstrated by the Savior in numerous instances throughout his mortal ministry. Nevertheless, He has also warned the saints on many occasions to beware of antichrists and false teachers (Matthew 16:6, 7:15). His message to those who belong to the Church was to “love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you… And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”(See Luke 6:27-31.)
We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
A revelation received by Joseph Smith written in the 58th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants perfectly defines the relationship between the Laws of God and the Laws of the land:
“Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land.
Wherefore, be subject to the powers that be, until he reigns whose right it is to reign, and subdues all enemies under his feet” (Doctrine and Covenants58:21-22).
As followers of Christ, Latter-day Saints believe that governments were instituted of God for the good and safety of society. It is the government’s duty to enact laws that will secure the interest of the public and provide protection to its citizens. In return, each individual is bound to sustain the government and the laws of the country in which they reside. Disobedience to these laws is tantamount to disobedience to the laws of God.
The apostles of Jesus Christ taught the same principles to Church leaders and members during the early days of the Church. In his letter to Titus who was a bishop of the Church in Crete, Paul encouraged the Church leader to teach the saints to “be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work” (Titus 3:1). Peter exhorted new converts in the Church to do the same (1 Peter 2:12-19). Even the Savior Himself recognized and observed the law of the land by paying taxes (Matthew 22:17-22).
In keeping of the covenants they made pertaining to allegiance to civil laws, Mormons do not participate in anti-government protests and similar activities. For them, obedience to the laws of the land means obedience to the laws of God. Mormons have been counseled through modern revelation to support and promote representative government by righteous men. Sometimes, conscience and the Holy Ghost move them to stand for the right against wicked government. (Read about Helmuth Hubener of Nazi Germany.)
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
Virtue and good works are among the fruits by which true Christians may be known and distinguished from unbelievers. Latter-day Saints hold that true Christianity is more than the mere profession of beliefs and godliness. Without works inspired by genuine love for God and other people regardless of their social or economic status, profession of religion is but (as Paul said) “sounding brass and tinkling cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1). James, in his epistle to members of the Church described the characteristics of pure religion:
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).
Gordon B. Hinckley, former president of the Mormon Church, once said that the symbol of Mormonism is the lives of its members. True to this statement, Latter-day Saints conduct their lives according to the standards set by the Lord through his servants. Some of these standards may even appear strange or funny to those who are “in the world,” but could also build faith to those who want to draw closer to God. Latter-day Saints who follow the counsel of Paul to be “an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity” are a light to a world where the true meaning of pure religion is unclear.
“The Articles of Faith” by James E. Talmage
Church History in the Fulness of Times
LDS Standard Works
The Church where I grew up taught me to seek the Lord first in all my endeavors. I am referring to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which is often called the Mormon or LDS Church. At a young age, my parents taught me about the Law of Tithing which is the giving of the tenth part of one’s income to the Church for the purpose of expanding the work of the Lord here on earth. Such a law was practiced anciently by Prophets like Abraham and others. In the Mormon Church, we are taught that this is a very important commandment coming from the Lord.
At a young age while studying in Elementary school, I found myself selling candies to my classmates and eventually earning additional income aside from my allowance. I would set aside the 10 percent of my profit and give it to the Bishop during Sundays. My parents were happy to see me practice giving my tithing as a young boy. As I grew up, giving my tithing never became a burden but a blessing. It has always been a priority every time I would earn some money. I treated it as a blessing to give back to the Lord in return for the many blessings I receive from His bounteous hand. I have seen how the Lord helped me in my pursuit to find some money to help sustain myself and give a little help to my family. I believe that the Lord is bound to His promise in the Book of Malachi in the Old Testament where he said:
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).
I am a witness of the fulfillment of this sacred promise from God. There are many times in my life that I found myself in a situation where I have encountered financial hardships but the Lord did not fail in providing me with resources that are almost miracles every time they come. There have been countless blessings that I have received from the hand of the Lord because of paying my honest tithing to the Church. Still in the book of Malachi, the Lord has further promised:
“And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 3:11).
While I am not a farmer and do not own fields nor plant vines for a living, the Lord has fulfilled this promise similarly in my situation. As a Real Estate Broker, I earn by selling and dealing with real properties and hold in my care some very important documents that I process in government offices (land titles and other important paper works) which, if lost or damaged, will cost me a lot of money, much time and stress, and may even put my profession in jeopardy.
On June 20, 2008, a strong typhoon hit the Philippines, and our place was severely affected. A few days before this typhoon, I hired a carpenter to fix some parts of the wall of my little home. I gave him instructions as to what needed to be done and asked him if he had extra time, to repair a portion a little above one of the windows that needed to be covered with plywood to prevent the water from coming in, in case there would be strong winds or rain that would come. After that day, I checked all that the carpenter did and noticed that he was not able to do the “extra” repair. Since that was not part of our original agreement, I paid him in full anyway. Days passed, and the thought of the possible problem if heavy rain struck was always in my mind. The safety cabinet where I store my important documents is located just by that portion that needed to be covered, but the idea of fixing the wall myself was always postponed, because I would always arrive home late after work.
Then finally, the strong typhoon came. There was a miscalculation with the announcement from the Weather Bureau, so the people were not properly informed of the coming disaster. On the morning of June 20th, there was just light rain, but shortly after 12:00 o’clock noon, the strong winds came, and there were many workers stranded at their workplaces and college students stuck at their schools due to floods and flying billboards. I was stuck in the City downtown with my wife and witnessed many stranded and frightened people. Public transportation was almost impossible with the large number of commuters compared to a very few passenger jitneys, since a majority of the drivers preferred to go home and be with their own families. We finally got in a passenger vehicle after many hours of waiting. It was already 8:30 at night and it was very dark, because electricity was cut-off in the entire region. When we were about halfway home, the driver told the passengers that we could no longer continue because of the floods ahead. We were made to get off the vehicle, and since I have a cousin living nearby, my wife and I walked through the floods until we got to my cousin’s home totally drenched and shaking!
While we obtained safety in my cousin’s place, I thought about our home. I thought about the hole on the wall, and I thought about the very important papers stored in the cabinet. I imagined how damaged the papers might be, and I thought about the penalties that I would pay and the risk to my job for losing the papers. Then, I realized and knew that the Lord would not fail me. I prayed to Him sincerely to protect the papers and my home. I knew He promised that He will not destroy the “fruits of my field” – the papers from which I earn a living.
Morning came, and the typhoon ceased. We immediately found a way to get home, and as soon as I arrived, I checked around the house. One of the windows was forcibly opened by the strong winds that hit the night before, but it didn’t worry me as much as my fear for the important documents. I got in the house and checked the cabinet and the hole that needed repair, and to my surprise, it was fixed! My papers were completely intact and undamaged. I could not explain it. How could somebody or who would dare fix it in the middle of a typhoon? I knelt in prayer with tears in my eyes and great gratitude that the Lord provided a way to keep those papers safe. A few days passed, and I talked with the carpenter; he honestly told me that he did not do the repair. After that visit with him, I paused and expressed in silent prayer my profound gratitude to God. Although I cannot explain how the repair happened, it was a simple miracle for me. Today, that plywood on our wall is an evidence of God’s help to a child who seeks to obey His law of tithing.
Every faithful LDS member has his or her own story of the blessings of paying Tithing. This commandment comes from God, and attached to it are rewards coming from a loving Heavenly Father. I am so grateful that my Mormon parents taught me to live this law at a young age. Practice of this law has become a pillar of my faith in Jesus Christ.
In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Alma (in about 70 B.C.) once encountered a man who was claiming that there is no God. When he asked the man for his evidence for claiming such notions, he could say nothing clearly. Prophet Alma said,
“Will ye deny again that there is a God, and also deny the Christ? For behold, I say unto you, I know that there is a God, and also that Christ shall come. And now what evidence have ye that there is no God or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only. But, behold, I have all things as a testimony that these things are true; and ye also have all things as a testimony unto you that they are true; and will ye deny them? Believest thou that these things are true” (Book of Mormon, Alma 30:39-41).
And then the man was asking for a sign that would convince him that there is God.
“But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; Will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show me a sign, when ye all the testimony of all these they brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator” (Book of Mormon, Alma 30:44).
I love to go out and commune with the nature. I feel very happy when somebody would give me as a present – a cat or a dog or birds, and even if someone would let me look after their animals when they are busy. I also love to grow different kinds of plants – crotons, trees and fruit-bearing trees like mangoes, bananas, star apples, berries, jackfruit, and papaya in my backyard which give us additional food. These things were made for the benefit of man. Each of these was created by God and was part of his wonderful plan for mankind.
Knowing that God has a plan for our salvation and that He is there to guide me and that He cares for me is a great relief for the unpleasant things that are happening around us, like sudden death of love ones, calamities, and other forms of disasters. I have that great comfort which surpasses all my understanding. As I grow old, I remember how I longed for the love of my mother, who passed away when I was only six years old. I felt a great need for her in my life. Honestly, I felt very jealous sometimes of other kids, especially seeing their mothers embracing them and taking care of them. God’s plan of salvation gives me hope that through God’s graces, someday I can be with my family for eternity, if I obey his commandments.
God is the supreme Governor of the universe and the Father of Mankind. He has a glorified and perfected body. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul taught the Athenians and also to us,
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with man’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he gaveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all the nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitations; That they would seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also as your poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or a stone, graven by art and man’s device” (New Testament, The Acts 17:24-29).
It is my personal testimony that He is real. More than seeing things or signs of God’s existence is a feeling, when touched by the Holy Spirit, that matters most. Aside from the evidences we see around us as a testimony of His existence, we can learn of Him by reading the scriptures. Also, we are given the privilege of praying to Him personally to know of things which are beyond our power to understand, and we can ask for help in our daily lives to understand His plan for us. He is not unknowable but, indeed, a loving Heavenly Father who wants all of us to learn of Him and go back to his presence someday.
1) Book of Mormon, Alma 30:39-41
2) Book of Mormon, Alma 30:44
3) New Testament, The Acts 17:24-29
Missionary work of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths The Mormon Church) is probably one of my most favorite principles of the gospel. Doctrine and Covenants 4:2 says “Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.” Mormon missionary work is not something we just do as part of our plan to eternal salvation, but it is a duty to our father in heaven. Joining the church in my older years, I had to make a quick decision on whether to strive to serve as a full time missionary, while my prayers were answered that there would be time for that in life, the time for my education was now.
In the meantime, missionary work is still something I enjoy. From the time I joined the church, I knew that while full-time missionaries spread the knowledge of the gospel for the 18-24 months they serve, it was not just all up to them. As a member missionary, I know that the gospel will never be shared with everyone without everyone dedicating some of their time to missionary work.
So you probably are wondering why it is so important to me. For 27 years of my life I knew not of true happiness or what it felt like. I knew not of the gospel, not the atonement, I knew not how to obtain eternal salvation. I would have a great hole in my self to know of this knowledge and to not share of it, but to be selfish and keep happiness to myself. Therefore, I find missionary work not just a tool but a necessity for my happiness and the happiness of others.
I sometimes have the chance to go on a lesson or go tracting with our full-time missionaries, spreading and learning the words of the gospel, and gaining a better understanding as to how one day we can return to live with our Father in Heaven. Sometimes it’s something as simple as sharing my testimony with a member of the Church, so they know how the spirit speaks to us is often through others. I find it a special experience to be part of the Lord’s eternal plan and the gospel principle of missionary work.
Just over a year ago I was completely anti-religion. I did not want someone to tell me what the secret to their happiness was; I was oblivious to the fact that my best friend had been a member of the church for 6 years, and I did not know that she was. When she was given the challenge to write her testimony and her favorite scriptures in a Book of Mormon and pray who she would give it to, when she finally received revelation that it would be me, I remember thinking how crazy I thought she was. It has been close to a year now since I have joined the Church, and I think back to what I thought when she gave me my first copy of the Book of Mormon. I now know that be being a Mormon missionary is what brings love to my heart.
While I don’t know if it will be me that will one day help to plant a seed — the gift that a year ago she planted in my heart and in that of my family — I do know that it will happen. It is amazing that a year ago my family cared not to even ask me how my day at church went. They now wonder at the drastic change in my way of living — why I smile so much, what is it about the Church that has brought me so much true happiness. It is the simple questions in the minds of others that I know will always allow me to continue to be a missionary of the Church and continue to serve our Lord in his desire to make sure that all that come to Earth will know of His gospel.
In the year 1936, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon or LDS Church), formally established a Church Welfare System. The purpose of this program is to help LDS Members become self-reliant, care for the poor and the needy and to give service to others.
In the formation of this program, President Heber J. Grant, then the President of the Mormon Church said:
“Our primary purpose was to set up, insofar as it might be possible, a system under which the curse of idleness would be done away with, the evils of a dole abolished, and independence, industry, thrift and self-respect be once more established amongst our people. The aim of the Church is to help the people help themselves. Work is to be re-enthroned as the ruling principle of the lives of our church membership”(In Conference Report, Oct. 1936, 3).
The LDS Church believes that in order for its members to be able to effectively help others, they should first be self reliant on their own level. Mormons are given the direction to be responsible for their own temporal and spiritual needs, providing for their families the best that they can. However, if they have done everything to address their needs and when resources from relatives are already utilized, the Church stands ready to help.
Part of the Welfare System is maintaining self-reliance in the aspects of Health, Education, Employment, Home Storage, Finances and Spiritual Strength. These factors are the basis for a happy and well prepared Home in times of illness and economical uncertainties.
Mormons follow a code of health known as the “Word of Wisdom” that prohibits them from drinking coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages. They neither smoke tobacco nor use harmful drugs or substances that are addictive in nature, such as illegal drugs and others things which are physically and spiritually destructive. The Church upholds healthy practices and encourages its members to develop healthy habits.
The Latter-day Saints are counseled to get as good an education as possible, so they can get good employment or productive self-employment that will allow them to financially sustain their own families. With this admonition, the LDS Church assists its members by operating the “Perpetual Education Fund” (also known as PEF), a program that provides education and training funding to ambitious youth from developing countries, where quality education is beyond their reach, due to poverty and lack of financial resources. Also, the Church operates LDS Employment Resource Centers in many areas all around the world. These centers are run by employees and missionary volunteers who work full time to ensure that LDS members are assisted in their pursuit of temporal self-reliance. They also operate websites that help with employment and welfare programs such as www.providentliving.org and www.ldsjobs.org.
Presidents of the Mormon Church all throughout the ages have continuously counseled their members to maintain Food Storage at least for three months, if a year’s supply is not possible. Faithful Latter-day Saints give heed to these counsels by storing food, clothing, and basic needs that will enable them to be prepared in times of calamities and natural disasters, where immediate help for survival may not be available. Many Mormons also prepare a 72-hour Kit, an assortment of supplies such as food, water medicines and other materials that will allow them to live for 3 days where Disaster Relief Operations may not be able to respond right away.
The Mormon Church also teaches its members to avoid unnecessary debt that can ruin self-esteem and entangle a person in unpleasant financial circumstances. Furthermore, spiritual self reliance is also a priority for the Mormons. Members are encouraged to fortify their own families spiritually through regular scripture study, family prayer and wholesome recreational activities.
If an LDS member comes to the Church for financial assistance (such as for medicines, etc.) the Church, through the Bishop who is the presiding leader in a local congregation, assesses the members’ needs and administers appropriate financial help. In a Ward (local congregation), there is a group of Auxiliary Leaders known as the “Ward Council.” This council discusses ways to help the needy member overcome their burdens.
In some areas in the world, the LDS Church has established buildings which are called “Bishops’ Storehouses.” Under the permission of the members’ Bishop, they can go to the Storehouse and be provided with food and clothing that will help them in their immediate need. Aside from that, there is also the “Lord’s Storehouse.” This includes church members’ giving of their time, talents, and other resources for the poor and needy. In a revelation recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants (a collection of modern revelation), the Lord said about this storehouse:
“And all this for the benefit of the Church of the living God, that every man may improve upon His talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea even an hundred fold, to be cast into the Lord’s storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church –
“Every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the Glory of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 82:18-19).
The Mormons are not just particularly concerned about their own people but with other people as well, even from other Faiths. In natural calamities, disasters, and emergencies, the LDS Church is one of the first contributors in sending food and relief supplies and materials to distressed nations and areas. Although most of the time, not announced, the LDS Church is one of those to respond immediately to assist in these emergencies. The Mormon Church often partners with other reputable charity organizations, such as Moslem Relief, to expedite delivery of goods.
But where does the LDS Church get the funds to assist? Faithful Mormons obey the “Law of the Fast” (also known as Fasting). Every first Sunday of the month they fast by abstaining from the intake of food and water for two consecutive meals or 24 hours. The money that they would have used to buy food for themselves for the two meals is given to the Church and set aside as “Fast Offering.” This money then becomes the fund that the Church uses in assisting the needy members and non-Mormons alike. Many members contribute generously to this fund along with Humanitarian Aid donations. Mormons take happiness in sacrificing for others as the Prophet Joseph Smith taught:
“Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation…” (Lectures on Faith, p. 58).
It is one of the philosophies of Mormonism that self-reliance must be achieved so helping other people may be possible. With this guiding principle, the Mormon Church has been continually growing and becoming a positive influence in the countries where it operates, the Church itself being a “Self-Reliant” entity.
Since the time of Adam, God has been teaching and directing His children about the gospel and the purpose of life (Genesis 2:17-17). Moses he was called to receive the commandments from God as guidelines for His people. With the advice of his father-in-law, Jethro, he called men to help officiate and teach the gospel to the million-or-so Israelites, preparing them for the Messiah to come.
While Jesus was on earth He also went to places around Jerusalem, Samaria, towns in Israel and Judea teaching the gospel and healing the sick. When He was twelve years old, He spent some time in the temple sitting in the midst with the doctors both hearing them and asking them questions (Luke2:42 – 46). The first four books of the New Testament in The Holy Bible record the account of His ministry. Early in His ministry, He called other twelve disciples to be ordained as Apostles and become His witnesses. They were also commissioned to preach the gospel and heal the sick to the places where He initiated the missionary work. Eventually, The Church of Jesus Christ was organized; Jesus himself was the head of it. Because of missionary work the church began to grow in number. After the resurrection of Jesus, He showed himself to the remaining eleven Apostles, giving them His last instructions for the church. And before Jesus ascended to heaven, He gave them charge to preach the gospel to all nations, kindreds and tongues.
Missionary Work has always been a part of the church activity in The Church of Jesus Christ in the New Testament era. When the Apostles were killed one by one, people who were authorized and commissioned to lead His church were all gone but missionary work did not cease. Large populations of gentiles were converted to believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that His atonement brings about salvation and resurrection of the dead. The members of the original church, however, were left without the guidance of the Apostles, and as a result they were left to interpret the writings of the Apostles and the scriptures by themselves. Where they disagreed one with another, the splitting of the churches occurred. Many sects arose in protest to doctrines with which they could not agree. The formation of new sects were meant to reform the errors of orthodoxy. Most sects, however, have understood the call to preach the gospel to all the world.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims to be the restored church (not a renovated church). For a restoration to happen there must be a falling away, or the authority to preside in the church be taken away first, as it happened after the original apostles were killed. Its members, who are commonly known as the Mormons, received the same commission as in the original church Jesus organized in His mortal life. The leaders of the Church in these present times received divine revelations to continue missionary work — to preach the gospel to all people, kindreds, and tongues. Thus The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sends out missionaries around the world, going two-by-two from one house to another, and preaching in public places. They usually go in their white shirts and ties with name tags with the commission to preach the gospel. Thus missionary work is once again implemented.
The Mormon Church has over 50,000 missionaries in the field at any given time all over the world. These missionaries are so committed to obeying the Lord’s request to spread the gospel, that they pay their own way, and they give up school, sports, careers, family, popular music, social media, TV, and romantic relationships to serve. Men usually serve at age 19 for two years. All worthy and healthy young LDS men are encouraged to serve, but no force is involved. Young women may also serve as they are prompted by the Holy Ghost. They usually depart at age 21 and serve for 18 months. Senior couples also may serve full time. Mission presidents serve for 3 years and take their families with them. Senior couples serve from one to two years and do more than proselyte. There are humanitarian aid, education, medical, and public affairs missions, too. All missionaries engage in community service.
Mormon missionaries do not “sell” the gospel. They are commissioned to seek out and find those whom Heavenly Father has prepared to receive the truth. Many have been fervently seeking, and many have had profound spiritual experiences that cause them to either recognize the missionaries, or recognize the message they bring.
Central to the belief of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormon Church, is the role of the Savior Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind. All the other teachings, doctrines, and principles taught by the Mormons are only appendages to the greatest and grandest event that ever happened in the history of mankind –the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Atonement is the ultimate sacrifice performed by the Savior by giving His life to redeem and save mankind from sin.
Paul declared to the Romans: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sin is willful disobedience to God’s commandments, and when men commit sin, they are separated from the presence of God. Mormon doctrine explains that this separation from God because of sin is called “Spiritual Death.” This death, if not overcome, will forfeit men’s opportunity to return to God’s presence. Hence, the need of a Savior became mandatory, so repentance and forgiveness may be possible, and men and women can again be reunited with God.
The gospel of John proclaimed: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Savior of the world. He was prepared before the foundation of this Earth to come and atone for all the sins of mankind. (See Moses 4:2; Abraham 3:27.) He was sent to live a perfect life, sinless, and worthy to qualify as an eternal sacrifice that will appease the demands of justice for all the sins of men since the time of Adam until the very last person who will ever live on the earth.
Latter-day Mormon scriptures reveal that the atonement was a very hard and painful process for Jesus Christ. Even He, the greatest of all, trembled because of exceeding pain! (See Doctrine and Covenants 19:18-19.) Some Christians are offended because Mormons believe that Christ’s suffering in Gethsemane is part of the Savior’s atonement. In Gethsemane, Christ took upon Himself the wrath of God for our sins, plus all of our sorrows, shortcomings, and mistakes. This developed in Him perfect compassion, that mercy might temper judgment when Christ judges us in heaven.
Only those who properly repent and obey God’s commandments will have the full effects of the atonement of the Savior in their lives. Christ concluded the atonement by dying on the cross in one of the cruelest methods known to man. He did it out of his selfless love for the world and perfect obedience to his Father in heaven.
After His resurrection, He visited a branch of the tribe of Joseph in ancient America and declared:
“Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin.
“Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved” (3 Nephi 9:21-22).
Aside from victory over spiritual death through forgiveness, the atonement also brought triumph over “Physical Death” – the separation of the spirit from the body at death. After three days, Jesus was resurrected and became the “firstfruits of them that slept”. (See 1 Corinthians 15:20-23.) Because of that, all men who have died will be resurrected and live again to attain immortality. The spirit will be reunited to a perfect body, never to die again. This is a free and unconditional gift for all men brought by the powerful effect of the atonement. However, although everyone will be resurrected, only those who sincerely repent and obey God’s commandments will be able to return to Him and be saved.
This repentance and faith in Christ, plus participation in earthly ordinances enables us through Christ’s atonement and grace to attain eternal life, another phrase meaning eternity in God’s presence. It is important to understand, however, that most of mankind will inherit a kingdom of glory in heaven. Hell, which Mormons call “outer darkness,” is reserved for those who receive a perfect witness of Christ and then deny Him, thus in essence “crucifying Him anew.” (To read Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon’s vision of the kingdoms of heaven, click here.)
Mormons have utmost respect for the Atonement. They commemorate it every Sunday by regularly participating in a sacrament meeting, where they partake of the bread and drink of the water which symbolizes the body and blood the Savior offered for the salvation of mankind.
All over the world there are buildings owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon or LDS Church). One may wonder where this Church gets its funds to build beautiful chapels and magnificent Temples and be able to operate remarkably in so many countries around the world. The reason behind this marvelous growth is that the Latter-day Saints live the law of Tithing and give generous offerings to the Church. The word “tithe” means one-tenth, so tithing is defined as one tenth of one’s “increase.” Although everything we have comes from the Lord, He requires only an honest tithe in return in order to establish His kingdom on earth.
The law of tithing was revealed and practiced anciently, even during Old Testament times. The great Prophet Abraham gave tithes, even one-tenth of all he possessed, to the Lord through the High Priest and King of Salem, Melchizedek. (Hebrews 7:1-10). Giving of tithes and offerings has been a practice and law in God’s church throughout the ages.
In the year 1838, this commandment was reestablished through the Prophet Joseph Smith, when the Lord commanded that His people give one-tenth of their income to the Church. (See Doctrine and Covenants 119:3-4.) Today, Mormons live this law and make significant contributions to the building up of the Lord’s Kingdom on the Earth. They firmly believe that the Lord blesses them when they wholeheartedly pay tithes, assured by the promise written in the Old Testament which says:
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
“And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.
“And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 3:10-12).
Members of the Church attest to the reality and fulfillment of this sacred promise. Many lives have been blessed abundantly, health increased, and livelihood protected. Faithful Mormons treat the giving of tithes as a sacred privilege and a blessing rather than an obligation. For them, tithing is a test of faith that shapes their obedience to God’s commandments. They rejoice in the thought that through their humble contributions, the Church is able to build wonderful temples and meetinghouses, provide operating funds for its programs and materials, and move missionary work forward.
Aside from tithes, Latter-day saints also practice giving other offerings. Every First Sunday of the month is observed as a “Fast Sunday” where Mormons neither eat nor drink for two consecutive meals (usually, a 24-hour fast). The money they save from not eating and drinking is given to the Church and treated as “Fast Offering.” Fast offering funds are used to help needy members and other people all around the world such as those victims of natural disasters and calamities. Through Fasting, the Mormons are able to participate in a selfless act of sharing what they have by tenderly sacrificing their needs for the welfare of others.
Other donations given to the Church include money that is specifically set aside for Missionary work, Humanitarian Aid and the Perpetual Education Fund –a program that assists members to obtain formal education and skills training that will help them become self-reliant.
All of these offerings are treated as sacred and esteemed confidential. Members do not show others how much they have given. Offerings are placed in an envelope and given to a member of the Bishopric in a ward and becomes part of the general church funds. This high regard for tithes and offerings by the Mormons has enabled them to be a self-reliant and self-sustaining people in forwarding the work of the Lord.
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” (Isaiah 2:2, KJV)
The Salt Lake City Temple holds a special place in the hearts of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called the Mormons. The Mormons had been driven out forcibly from Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. They had walked hundreds of miles across treacherous territories and seen their loved ones die. When they finally arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, they built it into a their home, one far away from the dangers that had followed them for so long.
Within only four days of arriving in Salt Lake, the Salt Lake Temple was announced. It was over forty years and countless trials later before the building was complete. Today it stands in the center of Salt Lake, and at the administrative center of the church. It has come to symbolize a holy sanctuary where men and women can find peace and rest.
This website is devoted to helping others understand the Salt Lake Temple, as well as temples in general. Because of the sacredness of the nature of temples, they are seldom discussed by members of the Mormon church, and thus they become easy prey to gossip, slander, and lies. This site attempts to bring understanding to all about what exactly is done inside of temples in a way that is clear and easy to understand. It also hopes to show why the Salt Lake Temple is often the image that comes to people’s minds when they hear the words “Mormon Temple.”
We invite submissions of articles and images centered on the Salt Lake Mormon Temple. Send in your work to firstname.lastname@example.org.