January 17, 2011
World Religions - Personal Religion Comparison
“The chief feature of the Mormon Church, more formally known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, that distinguishes it from the many variations of mainstream Christianity is that Mormons believe not only in the Bible but also in another scripture, The Book of Mormon” (Fisher, 2005, pp. 453-454). On April 6, 1830, Joseph Smith formally organized the church that became The Church of Latter Day Saints. Considered to be the first prophet in the end-time before the return of Christ, allegedly Smith was led by God to discover golden tablets that were the sacred word of God. After translating these tablets through the power given to him by God, he wrote what is became the Book of Mormon. Another book, the Pearl of Great Price, was also translated after much prayer. These writings make up the Doctrines and Covenants of the church they believed God founded. “Soon after the founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote thirteen Articles of Faith, which are straightforward statements of basic beliefs in the Mormon Church, many of which set the Mormon Church apart from other religious denominations” (Basic Mormon Beliefs, 2009). These revelations prove to the Mormons that God is still leading His children even today. “Mormons believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as restored on the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith, is the path to happiness in this life and life eternal. They believe that many churches, even non-Christian churches, have part of the truth that can bring us back to live with God and Jesus Christ after this mortal life is over” (Basic Mormon Beliefs, 2009). The Book of Mormon forms the doctrinal groundwork for the faith, in addition to the Holy Bible, and their Doctrine and Covenants. They believe it to be the word of God, like the Bible and has similar content and format that the Bible does. Ancient scriptures depicting the history of Israelites who journeyed from Jerusalem to America roughly 600 BC to 400 BC, it includes guidance from the prophets and accounts of different civilizations. Allegedly, the plates that Joseph Smith found were written by a man name Mormon and contain God’s dealings with the people who lived then. “Their values influence nearly every aspect of their daily lives. They live their faith daily. They teach how to strengthen and enrich marriage and family life. They believe in service to others from the example that Christ spent during his life. Their missionary work gives them an opportunity to proclaim God’s word through the neighborhood and the world. Learning and growing in understanding and faith is a lifelong lesson for Mormon brethren. It is not just a “Sunday worship” kind of church, but a life-style and a way of thinking. A Mormon does not believe in “forcing” their faith onto others, but they believe that they should give all a chance to know and understand them and their faith” (Joseph Smith: Latter-day Prophet, 2010).
Personal Church Visit
On Sunday, December 26, 2010, I attended church with a friend at a church within the neighborhood. Dividing the churches into “wards,” each community has a home church where they attend services. Members can attend services at other wards, but only in the home ward are members allowed to serve, teach, and work. The church services opened in a typical manner with a hymn and an opening prayer. Then the bishop stood up to talk about church business. Because there was not anything pertinent at that time, there was another hymn sung. The singing is done while sitting down, though. The next activity was the sacramental bread and water. Two young men, called missionaries, “broke” the bread into small serving baskets, spoke a prayer over the bread, and then deacons in the church delivered it to each row of seating. The attendance had...