I have thought a lot recently about posting on General Conference and the things I learned a few weeks ago. I could of course post a list of all my favorite talks and quotes on each one that I wrote down in my journal, but you could always go to lds.org and read the talks for yourself. I thought about posting my testimony and sharing how much it means to me to live a God-centered life, but somehow it didn't seem enough. I always have a lot of thoughts about the church and how I feel like I relate to the rest of the world, having been raised a "mormon".
When it comes down to it, what really spurred my decision to post today, was this video. It's a little long, but I think it's worth watching. It didn't make me upset when I watched it, only curious. And I think it's good to pay attention to.
So what do I think? Well, as a born and raised Mormon with her own free will and choice, let me tell you:
I do not live in a compound and follow a charismatic leader who tells me what to think and when to think it. My husband and I live in an apartment with our dog, and the President of our church is a witness of Jesus Christ and teaches us to follow him. We do not worship Thomas S. Monson or Joseph Smith in any way. I do not have extreme beliefs and lifestyle practices (unless you count the fact that I've never tried a cigarette, tasted alcohol, and we don't buy things on Sunday.)
The Book of Mormon, in addition to the Bible (yes, we use both) is in our canon of scripture because it acts as another testament of Jesus Christ, supporting the bible's teachings and clarifying in a way that gives a complete and full witness to the goodness of God and the relationship that we can have with our Savior. In fact, look at it this way: I live my life as to be a witness of Christ and his teachings. I live in a way that follows His example and commandments.
I testify of Him as our one and only way back into the presence of our Heavenly Father. By writing this today, I am giving another testament of our Savior to stand forever. In the same way, the Book of Mormon is a collection of testaments, written in a timeline very similar to that of the Bible, and supports the truth that God is the creator, that His son, Jesus Christ, atoned for our sins, and that reverence for life and things that are sacred are key to our Heavenly Father's eternal plan for His children. In the end, aren't there thousands and even millions and billions of testaments of Jesus Christ in the world from the beginning of time?
Revelation didn't just stop with the Bible. Heavenly Father did not just stop speaking to His children. He wants us to have guidance and direction, and he wants us to know that he is there. It's part of why I pray everyday, for personal revelation and guidance.
I know that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Say Saints are true followers of Jesus Christ and are in fact Christians who stand with the rest of the Christian world in declaring that He is the Son of God, and our redeemer. We believe that it is only through his merciful atonement that we can be brought back into the presence of our Father, and I know that he suffered and gave his life for every single one of us on Earth. Even if there had only been one person, He would have done it, because he loves us that much. We have a picture of Christ on our mantle at home, and I am reminded of that fact every day. He loves each of us. Every single one.
To quote Dallin H. Oaks, "Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten and Beloved Son of God. … He is our Savior from sin and death. This is the most important knowledge on earth."
I hope that if any of you have questions about what it is we believe in, you will just ask. I am always willing to share. And if you want to search for answers on your own, check out mormon.org. It is centered around Jesus Christ, and the people of the church around the world who live their lives as "Mormons" (which, by the way, is a nickname we're ok with - you can check out M. Russell Ballard's talk for more on that!)