What You May Not Know About Mormons

In Parenting by Jen

I have mentioned here on JENerally Informed a few times that I am a Mormon, but today I would like to share more with all of you about this very special part of who I really am.

The first thing you may not know about Mormons is that our official church title is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.

Or for short, we refer to ourselves as LDS. The nickname of Mormon, refers to one of the authors from the Book Of Mormon. We still understand when we are referred to as Mormons and take no offense at someone using this moniker. Indeed, we use it ourselves as it helps reduce confusion for others.

The second thing many people want to know is, are we Christians?

Indeed we are. As I stated above, the official title for our church has his name in it, The Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints. We believe that the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ in a humble stable and his mission over a millennia ago here on earth was a fulfillment of scriptural prophecy. He is central to our church and all of it’s teachings.

Here is a picture of my 2 littlest girls at a recent Temple Open House.

Another question Mormons get asked repeatedly is, If you are Christian then why do you not celebrate Lent?

For Mormons, we feel it is a crucial part of our faith to personally and continually review where we are at spiritually. This review may happen on a daily basis, monthly or whenever we feel like we need to change something in order to align ourselves more closely with God and ultimately be the kind of person he wants us to be.

In addition, Mormons adhere to several guidelines for living our life. We do not drink alcohol, coffee or tea. We do not smoke and are encouraged to partake of and eat all of the good things of the earth within reason and it’s season.

I know at this point some of you may be aghast, no coffee? I have never had one cup in my life, but I do feel pretty strongly about my QT slushie drinks!

In addition, those who are old enough and feel able to, try and fast one Sunday per month as way of bringing our physical being more inline with our spiritual selves.

The next thing you may not know is that right now there are over 144 LDS Temples worldwide, with many more under construction.

Picture of Hong Kong, China Temple courtesy lds.org

If you live next to a Temple I would encourage you to visit the Visitor’s Center or tour one of them before they are opened to the members of the LDS Faith. Anyone can do this and you do not need to be a member of the church to visit before a temple is dedicated. You can visit a Visitor’s Center any time.

In my home town of Tucson, Arizona we eagerly received news that a Temple will be built soon and I plan on inviting many of my friends and family members to tour it beforehand.

Why Do LDS members keep their work within the Temple “secret”?

There is a big difference between secret and sacred.

I attend the Temple as regularly as I can. To me, it is a place of peace and one where I go to find comfort when the world around me seems crazy and insane. Within the temple walls these sacred experiences that myself and other members of the LDS faith have are not kept secret, but are rather held very near and dear to our hearts, helping us to continue on with the daily grind of living. I can tell you that by attending the temple regularly I have become a better person and that there is no experience I have had there of a lewd, vulgar or lasciviousness nature.

Photo of Washington, D.C. Temple courtesy lds.org

Why do Mormons send their children on missions?

Young men are encouraged to serve a 2 year mission when they turn 18 years old. Young women can serve at age 19 if they so choose. Even older retired senior couples and single members serve missions. Right now there are over 84,000 missionaries serving throughout the world. Sometimes these are service only missions where they are not allowed to teach in some areas of the world, but serve the people in that region in whatever capacity they can. Others, if welcomed into your home will share the full message of what we believe as Mormons.

I saw this meme last week and it made me laugh:

My husband, Jen’s Guy as he is known around here served a mission in Oklahoma. I can tell you that he went out on a mission as a boy, but returned as a man ready to start and tackle life. The majority of LDS missionaries are young people who leave home and family in order to share a message that burns deeply in their hearts and it changes them. My oldest daughter feels very strongly that she would like to serve a mission and in about 6 years chances are high that I will have both my son and oldest daughter out in tandem on a mission. So, perhaps the next time one of these young people knock on your door in the near future, they might be my children.

Photo courtesy lds.org

Mormons Believe Families Are Forever

This is one of the most basic tenets of Mormonism and is intertwined with our work within our Temples.  My husband and I were married in the Mesa Arizona Temple and we were not married until “death do you part”, but for time and all eternity. This is a special blessing to myself and other members of my faith to understand that the family is eternal and that our children and marriages surpass the here and now. It is also a reminder that we should treat those relationships with the utmost respect because they are forever.

A Legacy To Live Up To

I am the youngest child of older parents. My father was born during the depression years, my mother right at the brink of WW II. Both had ancestors who were scorned, mocked and even had to flee, leaving behind everything they owned in order to practice their chosen religion of Mormonism. My father used to sit at the knee of grandparents who would tell him these stories in order to remind him of the great shoulders upon which stood his ability to practice his religion.

Photo courtesy lds.org

As a descendent of such pioneers, I am inspired by their courage to leave everything, even traveling thousands of miles by sea, handcart and wagon in order to worship God in the way their heart found most true. This is something I hope never to forget and I will continually express gratitude for the sacrifices of those who went before me so that I could be what I am today.

A Community Of Faith

I would be remiss if I did not point out that I have also been deeply blessed by my association with other Christians and also through friendships with those of other faiths. I believe that what unites us is the desire to do good and be better people than we were the day before.

Thank you for stopping by!

Stay Happy! Stay Informed!

Love,

Jen