A Mormon’s Book of Mormon – “And the one being is as precious…”

Here’s a beautiful teaching of God’s view of humankind that can easily be overlooked because it’s embedded within a longer and somewhat disjunctive verse in the Book of Mormon.

…And the one being is as precious in [God’s] sight as the other.

-Book of Jacob chapter 2, verse 21. Spoken by Jacob, a Nephite prophet, spoken to fellow-believers in the temple (between 544 and 421 B.C.)

A Mormon’s Book of Mormon – “Believe in God”

The idea behind posts titled A Mormon’s Book of Mormon is to write about key phrases, verses, or teachings that you’d find marked in a Latter-day Saint’s copy of the Book of Mormon. These particular verses will be marked not just because they seem doctrinally important, but because in most cases, the highlighted phrases would have struck a personal chord with the Latter-day Saint at one point in his or her life. Often, the phrases would have touched, inspired, uplifted, or even corrected the person. Sometimes, the phrases will resonate and help resolve a personal or family challenge. Or offer much-needed perspective about the unevenness and perplexities of life. Or guide one’s personal quest for faith and relationship with God. Or help one understand the testimony and mission of Jesus Christ.

Sometimes, the same phrase will take on significance at different times and for various reasons based on changing life experiences. In total, the posts in A Mormon’s Book of Mormon will be about these personal encounters and experiences with the text Mormons regard as scripture. And, in case it hasn’t become clear yet, these posts will come directly from the markings within my Book of Mormon, a book I’ve been reading from for over twenty years. Hopefully, these will be brief, digestible principles that can help you at least gain a flavor for what the Book of Mormon says – and it says a lot.

Today’s post for A Mormon’s Book of Mormon:

Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.

– King Benjamin’s final formal address to his people, prior to his death. Approximately 124 B.C. (Reference: Mosiah chapter 4, verse 9).

Peter’s Roof – an example of Christian service in action

Video

Here’s a short video that portrays the type of service Latter-day Saints try to offer – and most importantly, why. Favorite part is Peter talking about why Christ came to earth:

“He came from heaven, to serve, to show us the way – what we need to do to be good people.”

Mormon Definitions – Part I

Let’s define some words and phrases. This will surely be a growing list, but let’s get started with some essentials.

Mormon Church, LDS Church, or Church of the Latter-day Saints. Attempts to shorthand the formal and official name of the church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Mormon. Has a couple of meanings and uses. Mormon could refer to 1) members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; 2) the prophet-historian figure after whom the Book of Mormon is named; 3) fundamentalists who have broken off from the LDS Church. Throughout this blog, I’ll use both Mormons and Latter-day Saints (LDS) interchangeably (not to be confused with #3, which, if ever brought up, will be referred to as Mormon fundamentalists). Check out this page for some additional links and info on uses of Mormon.

Book of Mormon. Religious text held by Latter-day Saints to be scripture, comparable to the Bible. Recounts several ancient Israelite migrations to the Americas – their histories, prophecies, and rebellions and relationship with Deity. Contains an account of the resurrected Jesus Christ visiting these inhabitants. The text originated from a set of ancient metallic records Joseph Smith discovered and translated. Published in 1830 in New York.

Church. Chapel. Meetinghouse. Ward building. Stake Center. Basically, all these refer to a Mormon meetinghouses where Latter-day Saints gather on Sunday for their worship services and which are used for activities such as baptisms, socials, youth activities, athletic events, and dinners. Visitors are welcome. In June 2013, church leaders announced that LDS meetinghouses will now be open for tours during weekdays.

Temples. Temples are different from Mormon chapels, which as noted above, are designated for Sunday worship services. An LDS temple is considered to be the “House of the Lord” by Latter-day Saints. Upon dedication, temples are believed to be sacred structures where essential ordinances, ceremonial rituals and marriages are performed by Latter-day Saints for themselves and their deceased family members. The ordinances and ceremonial rituals reflect Old & New Testament themes and elements. Latter-day Saints visit and worship in temples to make promises with God and draw closer to Jesus Christ.

Ward. An LDS congregation is called a ward. Each ward is defined by a geographic area. Thus, Mormons do not necessarily select the ward they attend each Sunday, only to the extent they choose the neighborhood in which they live. Overseen by a lay bishop and two counselors.

Stake. A group of LDS congregations or wards (usually 6-10). Overseen by a lay “stake president” and two counselors.

Why Mormon In Minnesota?

Mormon in Minnesota came as a result of a simple desire to share with others a few things about my faith that I consider to be important, and which I hope others will find at least interesting and informative, if not engaging and even helpful.

Sometimes the posts will be brief, highlighting a key teaching, principle, or story from Latter-day Saint beliefs and theology. Other times, the posts will be more drawn out, attempting to answer specific questions or explaining an event in our history or practice. Along the way, I hope to provide glimpses into what it’s like being a Latter-day Saint here in Minnesota