Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. People sometimes call us Mormons because of our belief in the Book of Mormon. I am Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world -- and my personal Savior -- with my whole being. The Atonement -- made up of His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, His suffering and death on the cross, and His triumphant ressurrection -- allowed Christ to take upon himself every sin, pain, sickness, and trial that we experience in this life. By so doing, He is able to reach out and comfort us in our time of suffering.
The Book of Mormon is a record of God's dealings with the people in the Americas. I know that it and the Bible are the word of God. The Book of Mormon testifies of Christ. One Book of Mormon prophet wrote, "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission on their sins" (2 Nephi 25:26). The Book of Mormon teaches us plainly about God's plan for us, His children. It teaches us what we must do to return to live with Him. The Book of Mormon draws us closer to Christ.
For me, that's what being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints means. It means that I can come closer to my Savior and my Heavenly Father. My faith in God increases when I read His word from the scriptures and as I listen to modern prophets. God always calls prophets and apostles. He did in the Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon, and He continues to call prophets today. I believe in prophets. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He recieved power and authority from God, that same authority Christ gave His Apostles when He was on the earth. Prophets speak the word of God for us in our day.
Many will say that the Church places too many restrictions on individual freedom. We don't drink alcohol or use tobacco. We don't believe that it's okay to have premarital sex. To most, even that short list will seem like heavy, even antiquated, restrictions. To me, however, they are evidence of God's love for me. God gives us commandments -- don't steal, don't bear false witness, honor thy father and mother, don't commit adultry -- because He wants us to be happy. He knows better than any of us that wickedness never is complete, lasting happiness. Commandments are for our benefit. When I don't understand a commandment that Heavenly Father has given, I do my best to keep it. I accept on faith that this is what Heavenly Father wants me to do, even if it seems out of touch with the times.
My faith means everything to me. It is because of my faith and beliefs that I am going into my chosen career field. It is because of my faith that I left my family for two years to teach others about the Church and how they could come closer to their Lord and Savior. I am a Mormon because it gives me direction and purpose in my life. I know that I am a child of God, that He has a plan for me, and that I can live with my Heavenly Father, my Savior, and my family forever if I continue faithful. That brings me peace. That's what it means to me to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My name is Bryce, and I'm a Mormon.