What Mormons believe about the fall of Adam and how I know my Savior knows me personally

Mormons or members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that the fall of Adam was necessary and not a mistake for which we will all be punished. Our second Article of Faith is “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” Choice has always been a component of our progression. If Adam didn’t choose to eat the fruit, we would not have been able to come to earth. Adam and Eve would have remained in the idyllic setting of the garden of Eden, not knowing good from evil. Because they made the choice, they fell from the presence of God. Because they made the choice, they were able to have children and to experience opposition. Because they made the choice, we are able to come to earth and receive bodies and make choices here. I love the clear truths in The Book of Mormon. Before his death, the prophet Lehi explained the fall to his family. “And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:22-25).

 

“Men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25). That is one of my favorite scriptures. In order to have joy, we have to know good from evil, happiness from sorrow, health and sickness. We make choices. In making choices we sometimes sin. We are responsible for our own sins, the wrong choices we make on this earth. But we are not lost because of those choices. Because Jesus lives, we can repent of our sins and return to live with Him. Lehi also told his children, “And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given” (2 Nephi 26).

 

When Adam partook of the fruit, he fell from the presence of God and became unclean. No unclean thing can live with God. Because of the fall, the Atonement of Jesus Christ became necessary. The third article of faith teaches what be believe about the Atonement of Christ which I will discuss next week.

 

In preparing to explain our beliefs, I often study and think for awhile about what I’m going to write. This time I hadn’t thought about it ahead of time. About a month ago I started reading again from the beginning of the The Book of Mormon and the New Testament. Today I happened to read 2 Nephi 2 which teaches about the fall of Adam and Matthew 28 which tells about Christ’s resurrection.  On the very day I needed to learn about the fall of Adam, I was reading about it. And in Matthew I read that after Christ was resurrected he said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). That is how I know the Savior knows me personally. I was given today what I needed to learn and know.

 

Because Jesus lives, we can live again. Because Jesus lives, we can repent. We can follow Him. We can be comforted by Him. His Atonement can lift us from sin and sorrow. Because He lives, we can have joy. I invite you to watch the video produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about this Easter season and Christ’s personal Atonement for you.

#BecauseHeLives

What Mormons believe about the Holy Ghost

Mormons or members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in three separate members of the Godhead: God or our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have bodies of flesh and bones. The Holy Ghost is a spirit being. The Holy Ghost’s purpose is the same as God and Jesus Christ–for mankind to return to live with them by keeping the commandments. The Holy Ghost’s assignment in bringing about that purpose is to reveal and testify of truth. Since the Holy Ghost is a spirit, His influence can be felt by countless people, but He can be in only one place at a time.

 

As Mormons when we talk about feeling the Spirit we could be talking about three ways of feeling the love and guidance of Jesus Christ. In my mind they are a succession of power and influence. The light of Christ is given to every person who is born to this earth. This might be likened to our conscience. The light of Christ can increase our understanding, tell us what is right and wrong, and uplift and ennoble us. As a preparation to receiving the Holy Ghost, the light of Christ can direct us to seek the truth. The Holy Ghost comes to man as a power and a gift. Before baptism by the proper authority, all people can feel the Holy Ghost in convincing them of the truthfulness of the Gospel and testifying of Jesus Christ. After baptism the gift of the Holy Ghost is given by the laying on of hands by those who have priesthood authority. After Christ died, the apostles directed the church. People in Samaria were baptized so Peter and John traveled there to give them the gift of the Holy Ghost. “Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost” (Acts 8:17). The gift of the Holy Ghost is also referred to as baptism by fire because it acts to cleanse us from sin. This happens as we are worthy and follow the teachings of Christ and repent.

 

What does the Holy Ghost feel like? Once a person receives the gift of the Holy Ghost, he or she must work to understand the feelings and promptings. It’s kind of like when Luke figures out how to use the force in Star Wars except it’s very subtle. Imagine being a parent at a park and all the children are yelling, “Mom. Dad.” How are you going to figure out if your child is calling you? For me the Spirit or the Holy Ghost gives me cold, happy shivers when I hear something true. Or my heart feels happy and light. Or a thought comes to my mind that clicks or makes sense. Sometimes my heart beats really fast and my face gets hot. That happens during a testimony meeting when I feel like I should give my testimony or during a lesson when I feel like I should share an experience. I also receive knowledge through the gift of the Holy Ghost as I read my scriptures and study the words of the living prophets. An idea seems right, makes sense, knits together in my mind about how it applies in my life. One of the ways the Holy Ghost has given me the most peace and direction is when I’m feeling discouraged, confused, my mind is a jumble, and my heart is heavy. Then I know something isn’t right. I need to fix something in my life, kind of like figuring out where to put the missing piece of a puzzle. I have to pray and work it out, study my scriptures, attend church, talk with my family, friends, husband, until an idea clicks into place and I feel at peace. During this time I’m not staying still. I’m moving forward. For example as we thought about moving from a smaller house to a larger house, we wanted to be in the best place for our family. So we prayed, researched, and looked at houses. We didn’t wait until the one true house popped into our minds. We applied for a loan and moved forward. And even though there were obstacles to getting our current home, as we prayed and worked, the pieces fell into peace. When I became discouraged or fearful, I prayed, and the warm comfort of the Holy Ghost lightened my heart.

 

Understanding and using the gift of the Holy Ghost is one of the tools I want my children to learn. Then I know that they will be guided in their decisions forever.

What Mormons believe about Jesus Christ

As mentioned in last week’s post, our first Article of Faith is, “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” What Mormons or members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe about Jesus Christ could fill volumes and does. In addition to what is in the Old Testament, New Testament, and modern scriptures of The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, there are hundreds of books written by LDS authors and many talks given by apostles who are witnesses of Jesus Christ. In fact in the 576 pages of The Book of Mormon, Jesus is referred to over 400 times. We do believe in Christ. We are Christians, followers of Christ.

 

Here are a few simple truths about what I believe about Jesus Christ.

 

He is the Son of God, the literal son. God or Heavenly Father is the father of Jesus’s spirit just as He is the father of our spirits. God is also the father of Jesus’s body, along with Mary. I don’t understand how the process worked, but when Jesus was born on earth, His mortal mother was Mary and His father was God. This means that when Jesus lived on earth, He was mortal and immortal. He was subject to death because He was mortal, and He was able to overcome death because He was immortal or a God.

 

Jesus is our older brother. Because God or Heavenly Father is the father of our spirits and Jesus’, we are spirit brothers and sisters to Jesus.

 

Jesus was chosen and chose to be our Savior. He loved us so much that He wanted us to be able to return to God. Because of His suffering and sacrifice, His death and Atonement, we can return to our Heavenly Father.

 

Jesus is the perfect example. He taught and showed us how to live. “Love one another. Come, follow me. Keep my commandments. Be baptized.”

 

Jesus was resurrected. After His crucifixion and death, Christ’s spirit and body were reunited. Because of Him, we will be resurrected too.

 

Jesus Christ is also God. Not our Heavenly Father, but a God. He was the God of the Old Testament, Jehovah who spoke to Moses and directed the prophets. He is a separate being from God, the Eternal or Heavenly Father, but they have the same goals, the same purposes. Jesus follows the will of the Father.

 

Jesus is our Savior, our Redeemer, our Lord. He lives. He is available through prayer to comfort us. I don’t just believe this. I know. I know because I’ve studied the scriptures, asked in prayer, and felt the love of my Savior. My belief has become knowledge.

What Mormons believe about God

Mormons or members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints use thirteen tenants or articles to explain what we believe. They are called the Articles of Faith. In 1842 Joseph Smith was asked to explain the church’s beliefs. In a letter to John Wentworth, an editor of a newspaper in Chicago, Illinois, Joseph Smith wrote thirteen basic beliefs along with the history of the church. While the account was never published in that newspaper it was printed in a church newspaper and later accepted as scripture.

 

The first Article of Faith is “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.”

 

We believe that God is our Father, the father of our spirits. In addition to God, we call Him Heavenly Father and Elohim. From Acts 17:28, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” Malachi also testified, “Have we not all one father? hath not God created us?” (Malachi 2:10). His is literally our father in heaven or our Heavenly Father because he is the father of our spirits. We are His sons and daughters.

 

We believe that God has a body of flesh and bones like us. We know this from modern revelation. Joseph Smith said, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” (Doctrine & Covenants 130:22). We also know that he created us in his image or likeness. We look like our Heavenly Father. “By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them; And that he created man, male and female, after his own image and in his own likeness, created he them” (Doctrine & Covenants 20:17-18).

 

We lived with God in heaven before we came to earth. “Man was also in the beginning with God” (Doctrine & Covenants 93:29). God presented a plan for us to come to earth to gain bodies and use our agency or choice.  To become like God, our Father, we must keep His commandments so we can return to Him.

 

On earth we communicate with God through Jesus Christ. We begin our prayers, “Dear Heavenly Father,” and end with “In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” When I pray, I imagine a loving father who wants me to succeed and return to Him. Often I feel as though I am wrapped in His loving embrace. How glorious to have two fathers who love me.

 

The source of true validation: What Mormons believe about earning points to get to heaven

I write this weekly blog for myself. My belief and testimony of gospel topics grows as I research, formulate ideas, and testify by writing and publishing it for the world. For the world—there’s the other truth of why I write this blog. I like to see if people make comments on the website or if on Facebook anyone liked, shared, or commented on that week’s blog. I like my ideas, my writing to be validated.

 

A friend of mine posted on Facebook her ideas about budgeting for groceries. When I read how she spends $400 a month for her family and does that by planning inexpensive meals and eating at home, I thought, “Yes! I do the same thing. I feel validated in how I provide food for my family.” But guess what? Most of the comments did not reflect my opinion or my friend’s. Was she wrong? Am I wrong? Are the other people wrong?

 

I find that when an idea is shared about how to parent, how to live the gospel, how to be Christ-like, or how to keep the commandments, I either agree, believe that I have to implement the idea, or become defensive. I want validation that I’m doing it the right way. I work one day a week, stay at home the rest, write, am involved in community projects, exercise, and serve in my church. Because that’s the way I do it, that should be the right balance for everyone. Right? No. Then if it’s not right, I’m wrong. No. There isn’t one right method of getting into heaven. There is a straight and narrow path that includes repentance, baptism, and keeping the commandments. But there isn’t only one way to live your life. There isn’t only one “how.”

 

While Mormons or members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that we will be judged according to our works, “Whereof they shall be judged, every man according to his works, whether they be good, or whether they be evil” (Mosiah 3:24), we also believe that “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead,” (James 2:17). Jesus Christ taught in the Sermon on the Mount that we shouldn’t worry so much about the “how,” the exact points to get into heaven. He said, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:31-33). Seek the kingdom of God. Go to your Heavenly Father in prayer and have him validate the “hows” of your life. If you are seeking first the kingdom of God, he will either tell you, “You are enough. Well done,” or, “Here’s a thought for how you can improve and I’ll help you.”

 

The next time I see a Facebook post or hear an idea in church, I will ask my Heavenly Father first if that’s a “how” I need to implement or if my current methods are aligned with his will for me. I will also continue to write this weekly blog not for validation from each of you, although that’s nice, but because I am learning and growing in my faith in my Savior Jesus Christ and his gospel.