Serving February 2013-2015

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Everlasting Treasures

Elder B. Jordan Falslev
9 November 2014


Good morning Brothers and Sisters of the Annandale Ward. For those of you I have not met, and for those that can't remember my tricky Danish name: I’m Elder Falslev and I am from Logan, Utah. I have been serving in this area for about four weeks now. It is indeed a pleasure to be able to serve alongside you in the marvelous work of the Lord, and especially at this time of The Hastening.


Elder Teh of the Seventy spoke in the recent April General Conference extending to us a caution; "There is no end to what the world has to offer, so it is critical that we learn to recognize when we have enough. If we are not careful, we will begin to chase after the temporal more than the spiritual."


With the Savior's eternal perspective, He taught:


“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven." (Matthew 6:19–20)


When we read this passage the first word that leaps out at us is "treasures." Treasures are simply things we value and therefore want to have. We want to find, work for, keep, and use treasures.

Now let's start with the earth. There are things on the earth that support us - food, clothing and shelter; and we work from day to day in order to have these things. Beyond the basics - in our age especially, there are other things we value and want to possess - a means of transportation; various methods of communication; all kinds of things from necessary to nice. There are these things we treasure here on the earth - we work to have them and store them up for future use.

Now Jesus says there are treasures in heaven. We are all well aware of the treasures we have on earth, the things we value and need to have for our existence. Though, there are things which are more valuable than food, clothing and shelter. There are commodities far more precious than the inventions of the world. Treasures in heaven: Things we should value and want to have, because they come from God, bring us closer to Him, make us better people and prepare us for a happy eternity after death!

The more we think about this the more obvious it all is! The treasures of earth lie in the realm of places, things, material commodities, worldly values - the tangible and temporal. The treasures of heaven lie in the realm of the spiritual - forgiveness, a relationship with God, the power of prayer, the development of character, the love of God and His Children, and the hope of living with Him again.


While preparing this talk I asked a few investigators, fellow missionaries, and members what they considered to be a treasure of the earth... It was interesting to hear many mention money.


Somebody said, “Money can’t buy happiness." And someone has pointed out that if there is anyone who can’t buy happiness with money it must be that he just doesn’t know where to shop. It is interesting to recognize that we build temples with money; we can send out missionaries with money, we can build educational institutions, operate hospitals, and pay our tithing with money. We can feed and clothe our families with money, and in many ways we can build up the kingdom of God with money.

PHOTO: Three rules to help increase your dividends

God is a very wealthy individual. We all like to inherit from a wealthy parent and what could be more exciting than to inherit from God, to get everything that He has. Heavenly Father is very thrifty; He is also very wise and very generous. To begin with, He created us in his own image and has given each of us a set of his attributes and talents. He desires that every one of us should be rich. He has said: “… the fulness of the earth is yours …” (D&C 59:16), and it pleaseth God that he has given all these things unto men to be used with judgment and thanksgiving. He has shared with us the fulness of the treasures of the earth and he desires to share with us the fulness of the treasures of heaven. He wants us to inherit the celestial kingdom. He has said that the greatest of all the gifts of God is the gift of eternal life in His presence.


Thus, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth" does not mean we are not allowed to have money or earthly possessions. In fact, in fulfilling our responsibilities to ourselves, our families, our needy neighbors and to support the Lord's cause - it is necessary to work, to have income and to be a possessor of earthly things. Nowhere in the scriptures does God tell us that it is sinful to have income, to have money and possess earthly things. Nowhere in the scriptures will you find a rich man being punished merely because of his wealth nor will you find a poor man commended simply because of his destitution.

Money is not the problem, our misuse and love of it is.

This is about WHAT'S MORE VALUABLE; what's more important - and what lasts longer! Heavenly things are so much more valuable than earthly treasure - we ought to want heavenly things and labor and treasure heavenly things far more than earthly things.

The things of this earth have no permanence; no durability ... and we cannot take them with us. Therefore it makes no sense to devote our whole heart and life to something that will soon be gone.

Thieves can break in and steal your television, your computer and your credit cards but they cannot take away your character; they cannot remove the love of Christ from your heart; they cannot take you as a hostage out of the kingdom of God! Christ is pretty much saying to us - "If your treasures are limited to this earth... I can tell you the whole story of those things in three words --> moth, rust and theft!" That's the whole trouble with the things of this world - we can be absolutely certain that someday we will lose them!

These temporary treasures never meet our real needs; there is always something missing.

Has this ever happened to you? You get something you have been craving and the moment you get it, there is a sense of disappointment! 

Earthly treasures are appealing, but they do not satisfy; they never deliver all that we expect; and besides - There is nothing as changeable and temporary as human taste. We get something, and before we have had it very long our joy in it has begun to dull, and after a while we have lost all interest in it; isn't this why we have garages and attics full of stuff? That which occupies our interest and attention this year may bore us next year. Our earthly interests are constantly fluctuating, and this is another problem when we invest all our time and energy in this world.


"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Let's think about this - just in a general way: that which we treasure has great power over us! I once saw a T-shirt with this message: If they don't have chocolate in heaven, I ain't going! Perhaps that was written to over-state a point, or simply for the sake of humor. But it illustrates what Christ is talking about - that which we treasure has great power over us. It may be a certain kind of misbehavior that we treasure. It may be our career that we treasure; a hobby; a person; a place or thing. That which we treasure has great power over us; it draws us like a magnet; it exercises a tremendous grip and influence over us.

The obvious message is - we should treasure spiritual realities far above any kind of treasure this world has to offer.

Our lives should be governed by our affection for these things made available to us through the gospel. Yes - we have to earn money and use money; we have to have food, shelter, transportation. We can have nice things and save money, but our heart ought to be controlled by the heavenly treasures - spiritual blessings which cannot be touched by the moth, the rust or the robber!

Where is your treasure? I don’t know where your heart is or what your heart is longing for or serving. Only two people know that, you and God. I know that if you are serving yourself by storing up wealth or popularity or whatever it may be, that it will come to an end. It is only temporary. But if you are serving God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, you will not be disappointed. There is an inheritance waiting for you when you return to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again. I am calling us to repent of those things and to change our minds and our behaviors. I am calling us to repent on a daily basis, as this is a continual battle we face day in and day out. We have seen the power of the gospel and repented; that must continue every day. We must see the grace of the gospel in our daily lives and its effects day in and day out. We must live by that grace, through faith, in what is to come.

It is not so important how many valuables you may have, how much property you may possess, and how many of the honors of men you may acquire, and all those things that are so desired in the world. The thing that Heavenly Father has given to you that is worth more than all the rest is the opportunity to obtain eternal life in the celestial kingdom and be together eternally with those you loved and cherished on this earth.


It is not enough for us to merely know that there will be treasures awaiting us in heaven. When we consistently follow the Holy Spirit, in a continuous, constant spirit of prayer, the world of miracles is open to us now, in this life.


I know that we are all spirit children of a Merciful and ever Forgiving Heavenly Father who awaits our return. I know that through coming to know our Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement we will be able to achieve that long awaited return. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored again to the earth. I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary and to be able to teach others these powerful truths. 

I say these things, in the name of Jesus Christ.



Saturday, August 30, 2014

Grace, Faith, and Works

...If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
Matthew 19:17
Too much on my mission, people have told me how we as a people focus too much on works...
I've put a lot of thought, prayer, and study in this and hope the things I share will help you see my understanding with 'works'.
We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
Articles of Faith 1:3
No effort required? Consider the words of Christ
Luke 9:23-24
     And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
     For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

God's will to save only a few?

Paul taught that God "will have [wants] all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4).
Further, 2 Peter 3:9 teaches that God wants none to perish but wants all  men to repent (Acts 17:30 and 2 Cor. 7:10). And Christ taught that "it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish" (Matt. 18:14).

The Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Grace He offers is the most important thing we can know while on earth. It is the core of the Gospel (our religion) and should be at the core of our lives. We must likewise know how He offers us the riches of His Grace, and what we must do to accept and partake of that Grace.
My intent is to use the scriptures to clarify the relationship between works, grace and salvation. I intend to show that the teachings of the Bible agree precisely with the teachings of the Book of Mormon and with the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I will also bring to light the two major misconceptions that have lead to much bewilderment and inaccuracy. The first untruth, is that we earn our way to heaven by keeping commandments. That is absolutely false. As we will see in a moment, it is definitely inconsistent with the scriptures and with all that is taught by the Church.
Without the Grace of Christ, nothing we did in this life would have any eternal value. All the obedience in the world cannot cleanse one of sin or conquer death - only the Grace of Christ gives us such hope.
The second untruth, one that has become surprisingly common among Christian churches, is that we are saved by grace without any effort on our part, that once we are saved we are insured salvation without the need to keep the commandments of Christ. Now the meaning of this phrase, "keep the commandments," is that we seek to obey and follow Christ, but not that we must fulfill every letter totally, for none can do that. But Christ asks us to follow Him with all our heart, and we do that by striving to obey and honor Him. Our failure to be perfect is made up by His grace, for His grace is sufficient to cover our weaknesses and imperfections if we truly strive to accept Him.
The truth is that we are saved by the grace of Christ which is offered to us through a covenant, a two-way contract: if we accept Christ and do our part, following and obeying Him, then Christ does everything else, forgiving us, cleansing us, healing us, and giving us power to return to the presence of the Father - not because we earned it, but because we accepted the terms upon which he offers his infinite grace and mercy. Even in the days of Moses, the Lord proclaimed that God "shows mercy to those that keep his commandments" (Deut. 5:10), a principle that will not change. The mercy or grace offered through a two-way covenant with Christ is implied in the Third Article of Faith.
Nephi also taught this 2 Nephi 25:23:
For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

The Book of Mormon actually makes it clear that humans are incapable of doing good on their own, due to our fallen nature, and that we must be changed by the power of Christ to be able to follow Him. This means that salvation comes through "the merits of Christ," not our own, but we still must choose Him and seek to repent of our sins with faith in Him. When we turn toward Christ, He can perfect us and make us complete.
Samuel the Lamanite, a prophet before the birth of Christ, said
(Helaman 14:13):
And if ye believe on his name ye will repent of all your sins, that thereby ye may have a remission of them through his merits.
Moroni makes a similar statement
Moroni 10:32:
Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ....



The prophet Alma explains the basics of salvation:
Alma 12:33-34
But God did call on men, in the name of his Son, (this being the plan of redemption which was laid) saying: If ye will repent and harden not your hearts, then will I have mercy upon you, through mine Only Begotten Son;
Therefore, whosoever repenteth, and hardeneth not his heart, he shall have claim on mercy through mine Only Begotten Son, unto a remission of his sins; and these shall enter into my rest.
The missionary Aaron teaches a convert that we cannot earn our way to heaven:
And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth. . . .

Mercy and forgiveness from God is a gift, but we must meet the conditions God has given to receive that gift. We must repent and humbly follow Christ.  A Book of Mormon prophet, Lehi, explained the nature of grace and mercy in one of the most deep and powerful chapters in all of scripture. 2 Nephi 2: 5-8
...And by the law no flesh is justified....
Wherefore redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah, for he is full of grace and truth.
Behold he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. flesh...can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit...

Later, Lehi's son, Nephi, also a prophet, gives more specific instructions on what we must do to partake of this Grace of Christ

2 Nephi 31: 19,20
...after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path [referring to faith in Christ, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost], I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forwards, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
A related passage of great clarity is in Mosiah 4:2-12,
And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.  
And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which king Benjamin had spoken unto them. 
 And king Benjamin again opened his mouth and began to speak unto them, saying: My friends and my brethren...  
I say unto you, if ye have come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, and his matchless power, and his wisdom, and his patience, and his long-suffering towards the children of men; and also, the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world, that thereby salvation might come to him that should put his trust in the Lord, and should be diligent in keeping his commandments, and continue in the faith even unto the end of his life, I mean the life of the mortal body--  
 I say, that this is the man who receiveth salvation, through the atonement which was prepared from the foundation of the world for all mankind, which ever were since the fall of Adam, or who are, or who ever shall be, even unto the end of the world.  
And this is the means whereby salvation cometh....  
And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.  
... I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.  
And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.

This doctrine is powerful, clear, and beautiful, and is the core doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. False doctrines teach that once we accept Christ into our heart, we are saved - guaranteed, with no risk of ever falling. Some teach that we don't really need to strive to obey God's commandments or to make our calling and election sure. Some of these false prophets, who have twisted and mangled the word of God, teach the questionable doctrine of "once saved, always saved," even if we commit murder and fight against Christ. They lull people into false security, telling them that they are saved and that no further effort on their part is needed. This is far from the plain teachings of Christ.
Our entrance into Heaven is not "earned" by keeping the commandments, but through obedience we do our part in the two-way covenant of mercy and gain access to the full Grace of Christ, or thereby "have the right to the tree of life."
As God said in Exodus 20:6, he shows mercy (grace, kindness) to those that keep his commandments. That hasn't changed.
Many stumble at the idea that we must "keep commandments," often misunderstanding the teachings of Paul. But the words of Christ are clear on the matter: though we are no longer under the Law of Moses, there are commandments that we must keep. He spoke of commandments frequently.
In Revelation 22:14, Christ said "Blessed are they that do his commandments, . . . that they may enter in through the gates of the [heavenly] city." In John 13:34,35, Christ gave his disciples "a new commandment" to love another. In John 14:15, he said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." We need to show our love for him by keeping his commandments. In John 15:13, he said, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."

In John 14:21,23, Christ said,
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him....
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

To those that disagree, I, Elder Falslev ask: Is there any hint of the doctrine of "once saved, always saved"? Is there any solid evidence for what some call a "cheap grace" that requires no effort, no obedience, no sincere repentance, no discipleship, no patience? No. Instead, we see a God who urges men to sacrifice, to take up their cross, to come and follow Him. His Sermon on the Mount is entirely focused on the works that we need to do to become his children. He warns that trees without good fruit will be cut down. He warns that the path to life is straight and narrow, not broad and easy. He commands us to become perfect in obeying Him. He teaches us that we need to forgive others to be forgiven, that we need to love others and remove hate and anger from our hearts. And he warns that even Christians who are publicly active and vocal in religion will not be saved if they do evil and do not truly follow Christ.

Matthew 7: 21-23:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Big News! Christians can and do fall from grace! That is why we must endure to the end to be saved, as Christ says in Matthew 10:22, 24:13, and Mark 13:13. That's why Christ in Revelation 2:10 said "be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." That's why Paul says there are people professing faith who deny God through their sins, their disobedience, and lack of good works (Titus 1:16). There are numerous other passages in the New Testament in which members of Christian congregations are warned of the sins that can keep them out of heaven (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:16-26; Eph. 5:3-7; 1 Thess. 4:1-7; Col. 3:5-25; Jude 1:14-25). They are told that they must be cautious and diligent and not fall. Heb. 12:15 urges us to "look diligently, lest any man fail of the grace of God." Heb. 3: 12-14 is especially clear:

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.
Can anyone read that and still believe in the lazy doctrine of "once saved, always saved" or in instant, guaranteed salvation? Christ taught that "in your patience, possess ye your souls" (Luke 21:19; Matthew 24:13). A related passage is Matthew 16:24-27, which teaches that Christ wants us to take up His cross, to live our lives for Him and to be ready to sacrifice our lives for Him, and in so doing, we will find our lives (eternal life) when Christ comes to "reward every man according to His works." Therefore, we should not be surprised that Christ counsels us to "take heed" to avoid sin and temptation and to maintain our worthiness (Luke 21:34-36; Luke 22:31,32,40,46; 1 Tim. 4:16). In other words, we must strive to enter into and stay on the straight and narrow path that leads to life (Luke 13:23-28), which is what Christ taught in response to being asked if only few should be saved.

Does commandment keeping save us? Absolutely not, though Christ tells us that we must keep (strive) His commandments if we would have eternal life. But it is by His grace that we are saved - and how we need that grace! How we need to be saved from our sins and our fallen nature.
How desperately we need a Savior! We need a Savior, a Savior to free us from our sins, our destruction of ourselves and other, to free us from death and fear and hate. We need divine strength to guide us and change our hearts, to fill us with peace and love. We need the cleansing and transforming power of the Atonement of Christ in our lives - that ultimate and infinite miracle of Grace.  This world needs a Savior, we need a Savior, I need a Savior, and there is only one: the Lord Jesus Christ. Through His Divine grace, we can overcome, we can become partakers in the divine nature, we can become strong and ultimately glorious and filled with joy, while those who reject His Grace and do not keep His commandments will find themselves weak and terrified at the weight of their own sins.

May we follow the Savior with all our heart, might, might, and strength, and feast on His word, enduring in His Grace to the end, and making His Grace and His Gospel known to others.
In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.
Elder Falslev
Quick summary if that ^ made no sense to you.
works = following the commandments of God
Faith, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I have been thinking a lot about Sabbath day observance lately.

Many people will probably think this post is to much. This is simply my opinion and my understanding of keeping the Sabbath day holy.

Because the Sabbath is a holy day, it should be reserved for worthy and holy activities. 
After all, holy means dedicated or consecrated to God, sacred.

Abstaining from work and recreation is not enough. In fact, those who merely lounge about doing nothing on the Sabbath fail to keep the day holy. It is not enough just to "rest" from our labors. We need to devote the time on the Sabbath to the Lord and His work.

President Kimball mentioned that we have "become a world of Sabbath breakers." He pointed out that while some may think the breaking the Sabbath is not a very serious sin, "to our Heavenly Father it is disobedience to one of the principal commandments." The commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy has been around since before this world. And when God created the world, He even rested on the seventh day. Moses was given the commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy in the ten commandments on Mount Sinai. This commandment was reiterated in latter day revelation as well.

Sabbath observance is eternal.

"What activities are appropriate for the Sabbath?" or perhaps, the question many ask, "What can I do on the Sabbath?"

Elder Perry said, "As we consider the pattern of the Sabbath and the sacrament in our own lives, there appear to be three things the Lord requires of us: first, to keep ourselves unspotted from the world; second, to go to the house of prayer and offer up our sacraments; and third, to rest from our labors."

In President Kimball's article, he gave several examples of communities which kept the Sabbath, and communities that broke the Sabbath. He spoke of communities where the hay balers stood idle in the field and the businesses were all closed. He spoke of other communities where people were lined up at the theater, or heading off for the hunt on the Sabbath. The Lord expects us to avoid recreation and business transactions on the Sabbath. Elder Perry called these "worldly distractions."

President Kimball clarified the problem with recreation and business on the Sabbath. "There is no criticism of legitimate recreation—sports, picnics, plays, and motion pictures… But there is a proper time and place for all worthwhile things—a time for work, a time for play, a time for worship." It is good to have one day where we remove ourselves completely from the world and simply worship. He went on to say, "Sometimes Sabbath observance is characterized as a matter of sacrifice and self-denial, but it is not so. It is merely a matter of shifting times and choosing seasons. There is time enough, particularly in our era of the world's history, during the six days of the week in which to do our work and play. Much can be done to organize and encourage weekday activities, avoiding the Sabbath." There is a time and a season for all things, and with careful planning, we can do all our work and play in the other six days of the week, and save the Sabbath for worshipping the Lord. I have discovered this counsel from President Kimball to be true. Although I am currently serving a mission to help build up the Lord's Kingdom, and I am serving and worshiping Him nearly 24/7. I still find Sunday a separate, blessed day, and look forward to it greatly. It sustains me through the week, without a shadow of a doubt. 


There are some "jobs" that we must do on the Sabbath that may actually be good to do on the Sabbath. President Kimball said, "some of the work that is truly necessary—caring for the sick, for example—may actually serve to hallow the Sabbath." Because caring for the sick, and offering that service to the feeble is something that we may do to keep the Sabbath even if it isn't our paid job, working that job can be an experience that brings us closer to Heavenly Father, and helps us honor Him. President Kimball, however, cautioned, "in such activities our motives are a most important consideration."

Elder Perry said, "The Sabbath provides us with a precious opportunity to offer up these—our sacraments—to the Lord." "Partaking of the sacrament is the center of our Sabbath day observance." The partaking of the sacrament in our Church meetings should be the most significant event of our entire Sabbath observance. 

"The Sabbath is not a day for indolent lounging about the house or puttering around in the garden, but is a day for consistent attendance at meetings for the worship of the Lord, drinking at the fountain of knowledge and instruction, enjoying the family, and finding uplift in music and song." You will see this quote again. I really like that President Kimball points out here that the Sabbath isn't just a day for us to do nothing. I think it is like the Spirit world – we will still be working in the Spirit world, but we will be allowed to rest from care and sorrow. The Sabbath is kind of like that. We still work, but the work is a spiritual work, rather than a temporal work.

The Sabbath is a day for us to worship the Lord, attending meetings and teaching each other and receiving knowledge and instruction. We go to our Church meetings so that we can be instructed in the gospel and most importantly, so we can partake of the sacrament and renew the covenants that we made at baptism.


President Kimball had a few more words to say regarding attendance at Church meetings. "But we do not go to Sabbath meetings to be entertained or even solely to be instructed. We go to worship the Lord. It is an individual responsibility, and regardless of what is said from the pulpit, if one wishes to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, he may do so by attending his meetings, partaking of the sacrament, and contemplating the beauties of the gospel. If the service is a failure to you, you have failed. No one can worship for you; you must do your own waiting upon the Lord."

^Woah. So good. I'm so applying this.

We have to prepare for our Sunday meetings by reading, studying, and praying, and most importantly by having the right attitude and spirit while we are at our Church meetings. It is not the speaker's duty to educate, edify, and instruct us. If the speaker is engaging, or the topic particularly relevant to us, or the presentation pleasing, that is fine. But no matter the speaker's abilities, we can and will receive instruction and edification from the Holy Spirit, who is the true teacher. "You must do your own waiting upon the Lord."

Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught us how to prepare for sacrament meeting. He reminded us that we are to come to the sacrament table with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. "We are seated well before the meeting begins. 'During that quiet interval, prelude music is subdued. This is not a time for conversation or transmission of messages but a period of prayerful meditation as leaders and members prepare spiritually for the sacrament.'" Our attitude toward and our behavior during the ordinance of the sacrament can set the tone for the rest of our Sabbath worship, both in our meetings and in our homes.


Elder Oaks also cautioned against being distracted during the ordinance of the sacrament. "During sacrament meeting—and especially during the sacrament service—we should concentrate on worship and refrain from all other activities, especially from behavior that could interfere with the worship of others… Sacrament meeting is not a time for reading books or magazines. Brothers and Sisters, it is not a time for whispered conversations on cell phones or for texting persons at other locations."

"When we partake of the sacrament, we make a sacred covenant that we will always remember the Savior. How sad to see persons obviously violating that covenant in the very meeting where they are making it." May we offer up our sacraments and be sincere and serious about the covenants we renew each week in sacrament meeting.

How do you prepare to offer your sacraments to the Lord? Do you find yourself struggling to get something out of sacrament meeting? Do you come to your meetings with an attitude to be taught by the spirit? Or do you rather come to be entertained?

Elder Perry said, "Sometimes we think of resting from our labors as merely letting the hay baler stand idle in the field or putting a Closed sign on the business door." President Kimball said, "Abstinence from work and recreation is important, but insufficient."

Our "work" these days is often done in the home, from the home, and sometimes it is hard to stay away from those work related activities in our homes. There are also other types of "work" we must rest from. "business activities we may accomplish from home, athletic competitions, and other pursuits that take us away from Sabbath day worship and the opportunity to minister to others." I think that Elder Perry's description of "work" can help us make our own judgments about what we should and should not do on the Sabbath. Anything that "takes us away from Sabbath day worship and the opportunity to minister to others" is probably not an appropriate activity for the Sabbath.

President Kimball warned, "Strange as it may seem, some Latter-day Saints, faithful in all other respects, justify themselves in missing their church meetings on occasion for recreational purposes, feeling that the best fishing will be missed if one is not on the stream on opening day or that the vacation will not be long enough if one does not set off on Sunday or that one will miss a movie he wanted to see if he does not go on the Sabbath." Anything that takes us away from Sabbath worship is not keeping the Sabbath day holy, for sure. Our place is in our meetings on the Sabbath day – particularly sacrament meeting, but also Sunday School and Relief Society and Priesthood meetings.

"The Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts, and if one merely lounges about doing nothing on the Sabbath, he is breaking it." What? It's breaking the Sabbath to lounge around? I thought we were supposed to "rest from our labors"?

A few months ago we studied the Gospel Principles lesson on the Spirit World and one of the characteristics of the Spirit world is that "The spirit world is a place of waiting, working, learning, and, for the righteous, resting from care and sorrow." It seems contradictory to talk about "working" and "resting" in the same sentence, but that is exactly what the Spirit world will be like – we will rest from care and sorrow (from worldly things) and yet we will be working to save souls. Do you see the parallel with the Sabbath? On the Sabbath we rest from worldly pursuits and instead focus all our efforts on spiritual pursuits.

Taking a nap to rejuvenate your body and mind is obviously very appropriate for the Sabbath, but if your nap is three hours long you are probably missing out on "the opportunity to minister to others" on the Sabbath. And if you are needing a nap or to sleep in because you were out partying all night long on Saturday, or because you stayed up late Saturday night playing videos games or watching movies, then that is not really a good reason for a nap. Our preparation for the Sabbath day begins on Saturday. Remember that Primary song? "Saturday is a special day it's the day we get ready for Sunday." I remember my Mom used to sing that song on Saturday as we did chores around the house getting it ready for the Sabbath. I also believe it is helpful to retire early on Saturday night so that we will be rested and refreshed for the Sabbath day.


How do you rest on the Sabbath day? Do you choose only activities that will allow you to attend your meetings and that will allow you to find opportunities to minister to others?

Several months ago I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is a recent convert to the Church. I mentioned something about not going out to eat on Sunday, and she said to me, "Wait, we can't go out to eat on Sunday?" My friend was sincerely wanting to learn more about the Sabbath, so we had an opportunity to talk more about the Sabbath.

The first thing that struck me when she asked, "Wait, we can't go out to eat on Sunday?" was that word "can't." To me, it's not as much about can't as it is about don't. We don't go out to eat on the Sabbath because we are too busy participating in "worthy and holy activities." President Kimball said, "The Sabbath is a holy day in which to do worthy and holy things." Of course, that leaves us with the question "What is a worthy or holy activity?"

The Family Home Evening Manual has a really good "test" for Sabbath day activities. "To determine whether a specific activity is appropriate, ask, 'Does it bring me closer to my Heavenly Father?'" This should be a pretty easy question to answer,  but the answer for this question might not be the same for every person. Each of us must ask this question about our own situation. Prayerfully ask this question, and you will probably be keeping the Sabbath day holy.

President Kimball had some suggestions for appropriate Sabbath day activities. "The Sabbath … is a day for consistent attendance at meetings for the worship of the Lord, drinking at the fountain of knowledge and instruction, enjoying the family, and finding uplift in music and song." He also said that to observe the Sabbath day, "one will be on his knees in prayer, preparing lessons, studying the gospel, meditating, visiting the ill and distressed, writing letters to missionaries, taking a nap, reading wholesome material, and attending all the meetings of that day at which he is expected."

The Church News listed some good suggestions as well.

[Families] may wish to spend some time with the family each Sunday in gospel discussion and instruction, under the direction of the head of the household. They may use the scriptures, the most recent general conference talks, family home evening manuals, Church publications, and other publications as a resource.

Other appropriate Sunday activities include (1) writing personal and family journals, (2) holding family councils, (3) establishing and maintaining family organizations for the immediate and extended family, (4) personal interviews between parents and children, (5) writing to relatives and missionaries, (6) genealogy, (7) visiting relatives and those who are ill or lonely, (8) missionary work, (9) reading stories to children, and (10) singing Church hymns.


Our situations are all different, and that is the beauty of personal revelation. The Lord can help us find, through revelation, the activities that are appropriate for the Sabbath and the things that will bring us closer to Him and help us worship Him on His holy day. Whether you are single, married with no children, a part member family, or a grandma and grandpa with many grown children, you can still put forth an effort to keep the Sabbath day holy, and the Lord will bless your efforts.

The prophet Isaiah taught;

If thou turn away … from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Isaiah 58:13-14

The Sabbath day isn't a day to deprive us of "fun" things – it is a day for us to practice putting our will in line with the Lord's will, finding the things that He would have us do, and growing closer to Him in the process.


What a blessing it is that the Lord would set aside an entire day so that we can devote all that time to growing closer to Him without having to worry about all our worldly cares!

So this Sunday, as you plan activities with your family, ask yourself, "Does it bring me closer to Heavenly Father?"

What kinds of activities do you participate in on the Sabbath? Do you have specific struggles that make Sabbath day observance a challenge?

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Exodus 20:8

The Lord has given the Sabbath day for your benefit and has commanded you to keep it holy.

Observing the Sabbath will bring you closer to the Lord and to your family. It will give you an eternal perspective and spiritual strength.

John H. Groberg offered this promise to those who honor the Sabbath:

"Does the Lord love and bless those who keep the Sabbath day holy? I testify that he does in eternally meaningful ways. I further testify that when we eventually see things through the proper perspective of eternal truth, we will be amazed at how much we were blessed in important-though often unperceived-ways through keeping the Sabbath holy; and to our sorrow we may sense how many blessings we kept from ourselves by not consistently keeping the Sabbath day holy.

There is a direct correlation between the proper observance of the Sabbath and true reverence for God, which includes obedience to his other commandments."

While out here on my mission a  few months back, we had a question come from a member of another faith.  He sincerely wanted to know why we honored the sabbath on Sunday instead of on Saturday. 

I took the matter seriously and knew that I had to really find out more.  For several days I did an in-depth study coupled with much prayer as to the 'why's' of the Sabbath and the reasons that the Lord taught us to serve Him and use the day in worship.


That question proved to be a tremendous faith-builder for me.  I researched and pondered on many things that I hadn't known before.  My understanding of the sacredness of the day and it is a protection in the last days for those who honor it - nourished the seed that was already planted in me and....taught me a tremendous amount about the Lord's reasons for his commandments.

President Kimball shared some powerful truths about the importance of the day:

"We have become largely a world of Sabbath breakers. On the Sabbath the lakes are full of boats, the beaches are crowded, the shows have their best attendance, the golf links are dotted with players. The Sabbath is the preferred day for rodeos, conventions, family picnics; even ball games are played on the sacred day. "Business as usual" is the slogan for many, and our holy day has become a holiday. And because so many people treat the day as a holiday, numerous others cater to the wants of the fun-lovers and money-makers.

"To many, Sabbath-breaking is not important, but to our Heavenly Father it is disobedience to one of the principal commandments. Moses came down from the quaking, smoking Mount Sinai and brought to the wandering children of Israel the Ten Commandments, which are fundamental rules for the conduct of life. These commandments, however, were not new. They had been known to Adam and his posterity, who had been commanded to live them from the beginning, and were merely reiterated by the Lord to Moses. These commandments even antedated earth life and were part of the test for mortals established in the council in heaven "to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them." (Abr. 3:25.)
"Sabbath-breakers, also are those people who buy commodities or entertainment on the Sabbath, thus encouraging pleasure palaces and business establishments to remain open—which they otherwise would not do. If we buy, sell, trade, or support such on the Lord's day we are as rebellious as the children of Israel, the dire consequences of whose transgressions against this and other commandments should be a permanent warning to us all."   

We do live in a day of much Sabbath-breaking.  If we heed prophetic counsel we will have promised blessings.  If we live after the manner of the world - we're not promised the same.

I came upon a message from Sister Elaine Cannon who said "When the Prophet speaks, the debate is over."  And...a message from a church speaker one day who reminded that "right is always right even if no one is doing it and....wrong is always wrong even if 'everyone' is doing it'.

I love the Sabbath day.  It provides rest and relief from long, hard weeks, and a time to rest from the cares of the world.  It's a time for reflection, renewing and rejuvenation. 

Sunday= A Holy Day, Not a Holiday

Under Mosaic law, it was a capital offense to violate the Sabbath (Exodus 31:14-15). 

Though we do not have such harsh punishments today for failure to honor the Sabbath, it is a commandment that is often still broken.  A former prophet, Spencer W. Kimball said:  "Every week we find people defiantly carrying on their work and play activities on the Lord's day. Shops and stores carry large signs: 'Open Sunday.' Factories and businesses run with 'full steam ahead.' Houses are displayed and sold. Beaches, parks, and other places of amusement enjoy their best business. Long waiting lines of people stand before ticket offices of theaters. The ball games and rodeos attract their thousands and families have their reunions in parks and canyons.

"Students study their secular lessons. Stockmen round up their cattle. People travel when unnecessary. Farmers plow and harvest and cultivate their crops. Some businessmen close their offices but spend their Sabbaths in streams, fishing, and in mountains, hunting, and in canyons, loafing. Women do their cleaning and other housework. Others explore and hike. The people, as a whole, seem to be on wheels—the highways are crowded. Half-clad men are clipping hedges, cutting lawns. Lunch stands and drive-ins work almost in a frenzy. Women in housecoats and unshaven men spend hours lazing about their homes. The socially elite hold receptions and teas, and week after week the Sabbath is desecrated and the law of God defied."

On the flip side, the blessings of keeping the Sabbath holy are numerous. Promises of protection, plenty, and spiritual power come from keeping this commandment. In my own experience, our family has found this to be true. Isaiah said the rewards of obeying this commandment are having confidence in the presence of God and attaining exaltation.

Although this commandment was given long ago, it has not been revoked or changed by God – its observance has been changed by men. Keeping the Sabbath day holy is just as important for us as it was for ancient Israel. Another former church leader,  H. Aldridge Gillespie,  said it best in October 2000: "The promises of the Lord to those who keep the Sabbath day holy are so wonderfully clear in the scriptures that they leave one asking, 'Why would anyone throw away such blessings for the tawdry, temporary pleasures of the world?' I know you will be happier, enjoy greater peace, and find your lives made glad as you witness the miracles that come to each person and family who make the sacrifice of keeping this eternal covenant."

Sent from my missionary iPad

Elder B. Jordan Falslev
Washington DC South Mission
8031 Juliet Lane Apt. 201
Manassas, Virginia 20109

Friday, July 18, 2014

If You Believe The Bible, Than You Should Also Believe The Book of Mormon

Now before some of you get too annoyed by the title, please take the time to read on and comprehend where I’m coming from. I love the Bible. If I could open it to you I think you’d believe me. It is one of the most important guiding influences in my life today. It helps me to become an improved son, sibling, missionary, and friend. But here is my problem. I am trying to figure out why people are able to so easily consider the Bible, but are reluctant to even consider the possibility that The Book of Mormon might be true as well.

If you are to ask most Christians, they will tell you that they believe the Bible to be the ‘watertight’ word of God. I almost agree with them except for the perfect part. I've usually ask someone, well…”which Bible”? There are over hundreds of translations with minor differences in each of them. Some differences are agreeable, but then…others don’t even share the same story. Many people will say, “go back to the Greek”, I then reply, “you know Greek?” They’ll say… “Well no”, but my pastor does. So I’ll say, “What is the Greek going to do for us because Jesus and the apostles spoke Galilean Aramaic.” <I learned that from one of my companions. So in actuality, no one on this planet can show us the original manuscripts for the New Testament. They are gone! All we have are duplicates of duplicates of duplicates and hundreds of prejudiced translators “trying to get it correct”. So when a “Mormon” says, “No I can’t reproduce the ‘gold plates’ for you to look at”, it’s really not to different then a person saying that they can’t reproduce the original Bible for me to look at. The lack of the original isn’t a deal breaker for me and I’m supposing it’s not for you either.

Another question I might ask is who determined the Bible was going to consist of 66 books. There are 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books in the Bible. Why? Do we really need Songs of Solomon? Who received a revelation from God that those 66 books contained everything that God wanted us to know for the next 2000 plus years? Definitely not Peter, the Bible was compiled long after Peter was gone. Most people don’t even grasp that the Bible is not in chronological order. I admit, I didn't even know that myself until my mission. Revelation was definitely not the last book that was written even though it appears last in the New Testament. What about those “lost books?” What about 3rd Corinthians (1 Cor. 5:9) or the epistle to the Church at Laodicea (Col. 4:16). What about the book of Jasher (Josh. 10:13; 2 Sam. 1:18); book of the acts of Solomon (1 Kgs. 11:41); or the book of Samuel the seer (1 Chr. 29:29)?  What took place during the 40 day ministry found during Acts 1? What if there was something in one of those books that God wanted us to know?

My point in saying all of this is…

1. We need prophets! Amos 3:7  says “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Only a prophet that receives revelation is in a rank to tell us what should and should not be included in the “Word of God”. No preacher, reformer, or scholar is in a position to make that statement no matter how well intentioned it might be. To say the canon is bolted shut would require a revelation.

2. It takes just as much faith to assert that the Bible is true as it does to make the same assertion about the Book of Mormon being true.

Let me explain.

In Exodus 14 there is a man named Moses, a prophet that parts the Red Sea. Literally…the Hebrews walk through on solid, dry ground. In Joshua 10:12, the sun stood still and the moon didn’t move. What the? This is saying is that the earth stopped rotating! In Genesis 19:24-26, Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt. In Numbers 22:28-30 a donkey speaks to his master. He pretty much tells him what’s up! In Judges 14-16, Samson kills 1,000 Philistines by himself…with a jawbone of a donkey. In Genesis 6, a man named Noah builds a ship and he and his wife, as well as 3 of their sons and their wives jump on board. Yep… along with two of every kind of animal, bird, and seed. The whole earth is afterwards flooded. In Daniel 3, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (sweet names eh?) are walking in the midst of a roaring fire and remain unharmed and unburned. In 2 Kings 2:11 Elijah is taken up into heaven on a “chariot of fire”. In Matthew 14:25-26, Jesus is seen walking on water. Even Peter takes a few steps on the water himself! To crown it all off, we have the Virgin Birth and Atonement and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 These are just a few illustrations of things that happened in the Bible that most people agree to without questioning. In Matthew 23, Christ is confused by the Pharisees and their willingness to so easily accept the teachings and stories of Abraham and Moses but are so reluctant to even consider things that He was doing and teaching them at that precise moment. “A prophet hath no honor in his own country”.

Do these seem unbelievable? Of course they do! And yet so many of us still believe. Why? Because you know as well as I know, that with God, all things are possible and who are we to doubt or limit Him in what He can or cannot do? Does it sound any more believable that God appeared to a young boy in a grove of trees and that an ancient record was buried in the earth from the ancient days?

With all of that faith…I’m just so curious…how it’s so difficult for someone to give the Book of Mormon a chance. So many people deny Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon because “there is no way that could happen” or because “my friend told me it was a fake.” Well guess what. That is what people say about the Bible too…but do you believe them? No. So why not give the Book of Mormon a chance as well?


I tell you whole heartily…that I don’t know if I could even believe some things in the Bible if I did not have a second witness in the Book of Mormon to testify of the things that took place in the Bible! Did you realize that one of the main reasons the Book of Mormon was engraved and compiled was to testify of the Bible and help people who were unsure of the accuracy of the Bible?

Look at this amazing verse of scripture I came across a while ago.

For behold, this (the Book of Mormon) is written for the intent that ye may believe that (Bible); and if ye believe that (Bible) ye will believe this (Book of Mormon) also; and if ye believe this (Book of Mormon) ye will know concerning your fathers, and also the marvelous works which were wrought by the power of God among them.
(Mormon 7:8-9)


I believe that Heavenly Father saw the day we live in and that it would be full of nonbelievers and skeptics. He knew that people would begin to doubt the reality of God and His Son and the truthfulness of the Bible and so He called a prophet, once again, to translate an ancient record similar to the Bible as another testament of Jesus Christ.

All I’m saying is that if you’re willing to accept and believe the Bible, then why not give the Book of Mormon a possibility. Both take faith, and if what happened in the Bible is possible, then what happened in the Book of Mormon is also possible. The Book of Mormon in no way refutes the Bible. Instead, it supports it in every way shape and form. It is the stick of Joseph talked about in Ezek 37:15-17 and a record of the “other sheep” that Christ spoke about in John 10:16.

Just give it a read… it's something worth exploring.

Elder Falslev

No man can say that this book (laying his hand on the Bible) is true, is the word of the Lord, the way, is the guide-board in the path, and a charter by which we may learn the will of God; and at the same time say, that the Book of Mormon is untrue; if he has had the privilege of reading it, or of hearing it read, and learning its doctrines. There is not that person on the face of the earth who has not had the privilege of learning the Gospel of Jesus Christ from these two books, who can say that one is true, and the other is false.

-President Brigham Young

I love the Bible, both the Old and the New Testaments. It is a source of great truth. That sacred and holy book has been of inestimable worth to the children of men. In fact, it was a passage from the Bible that inspired the Prophet Joseph Smith to go to a grove of trees near his home and kneel in prayer. What followed was the glorious vision that commenced the restoration of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. That vision also began the process of bringing forth new scripture [the Book of Mormon] to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Bible in bearing witness to a wicked world that Jesus is the Christ and that God lives and loves His children and is still intimately involved in their salvation and exaltation.

-President Ezra Taft Benson

Monday, July 7, 2014

I Worship A Different Jesus?

I’ve been told too many times while on my mission that I worship a different Jesus…

This is an offensive statement. There is only one Messiah, one Redeemer, one King of Kings, the Lord Jesus Christ.

You still don’t believe I worship the same Jesus Christ as you?
Please take a few minutes of your time and see what our beliefs are on Jesus Christ.
I hope the things I share below will help you see we worship the Great I AM.

Jesus Christ is the central figure of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint doctrine and practice. Every converted member of the Church should hold a firm testimony that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world, and a knowledge that only through His sacrifice in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross can mortal man be saved in the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ and His teachings are the central focus of all LDS scripture; the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.

In January of 2000, President Gordon B. Hinckley and the Twelve Apostles of the Church published The Living Christ as their testimony to the world about Jesus Christ. It reads in part:

We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.

We ‘Mormons’ are believers in the divine mission of Jesus of Nazareth and followers of His teachings. Many anti-Mormons and ex-Mormons attack the Church and claim that it is not Christian, because its teachings about Jesus differ from mainstream, traditional Christian teachings. There are, of course, differences between LDS doctrine and Protestant and Catholic teachings, just as there are differences among the various Christian denominations. Latter-day Saints teach that its doctrines were restored to earth by Jesus Himself through living prophets after many centuries of apostasy in the world. Latter-day Saints reject the various medieval and modern creeds declared by the Christian world after Christ's death, because The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has revelations from God Himself about who He is.

We teach that Jesus Christ is Jehovah, as revealed in the Old Testament. He is the Messiah who came to earth as Jesus of Nazareth, whose life and teachings are recorded in the New Testament.

He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament.

The Bible is enough to show that Jesus Christ is the same person as Jehovah in the Old Testament. "God" in the Old Testament often refers to Jesus Christ, and the term is used interchangeably to speak of God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Son.

The earth is the LORD's[i.e. Jehovah’s], and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.


[God] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.

It is clear, then, that Jesus Christ, Jehovah, created the world under the direction of His Father, our God. Jesus also declares that He gave the Mosaic Law to Israel.

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

By declaring Himself as I AM, Jesus was declaring that He was Jehovah. For I AM, as is shown by the quote below from Exodus, is a translation of the Hebrew word for Jehovah which in most English translations is rendered as LORD in all capital letters. The Old Testament further shows that Jehovah is the judge, the lawgiver of Israel, our King and our Savior:

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

For the LORD[i.e. Jehovah] is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.

Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.

Compare this with the New Testament teaching of Paul:

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

Jesus is therefore Jehovah since Jehovah (LORD) is the judge and lawgiver as Paul declares Jesus to be. Latter-day Saints worship Jesus as King, Savior, and Judge of the world in accordance with the teachings of the Bible.

Jesus is the Christ

Our teachings are consistent in asserting, as with all of Christianity, that we believe that it was Jesus of Nazareth, who was ordered to be crucified by Pontius Pilate, He was the promised Messiah, the Savior and Redeemer of mankind, even The Christ, as was prophesied by ancient prophets as recorded in the Old Testament, and then testified of by those who witnessed His life's mission in The New Testament, and taught His Gospel that He established while upon the earth. It suffices to say that ‘Mormons’ believe in the Bible and that, to quote a verse familiar to all Christians…

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life; for God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Do Mormons believe in a different Jesus?

There is only one Jesus Christ my friends. We believe in the Jesus whose acts and teachings are found in the Bible, but LDS doctrine rejects the creeds and interpretations of post-New Testament Christian theologians. We teach that to correct errors in understanding about God, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in his First Vision, and called him to be a prophet, just as prophets were called in biblical times, to teach the truth about Jesus and to call all men to repentance.

In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith on January 2, 1831, the Lord Jesus Christ declared who He was:

Thus saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, the Great I AM, Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the same which looked upon the wide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic hosts of heaven, before the world was made; The same which knoweth all things, for all things are present before mine eyes; I am the same which spake, and the world was made, and all things came by me. I am the same which have taken the Zion of Enoch into mine own bosom; and verily, I say, even as many as have believed in my name, for I am Christ, and in mine own name, by the virtue of the blood which I have spilt, have I pleaded before the Father for them.

This shows the Jesus that we worship: the great I AM, the beginning and the end, the omniscient, omnipotent Creator of the world, the Savior of the world, and man’s advocate with God the Father. The following is Joseph Smith’s testimony of Jesus Christ:

And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father--That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

It is true that we do not believe in the Trinity as most other Christian Churches do. We believe in three separate beings united in purpose, but not in material. We believe in a Godhead that is made up of three distinct personages that are one in reason and will. Jesus Christ is the Son of God the Father. The Holy Ghost is a personage of Spirit, independent from both the Father and the Son. The New Testament contains enough to dismiss the Trinitarian doctrine. Jesus declared that “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3). To know God and Jesus Christ is eternal life, so, through the grace and Atonement of Jesus Christ man can know God. This is very different from the unknowable God of the Athanasian Creed which is as follows:

[O]ne God in trinity and the Trinity in unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the divine being. For the Father is one person, the Son is another, and the Spirit is still another. But the deity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, equal in glory, coeternal in majesty. What the Father is, the Son is, and so is the Holy Spirit. Uncreated is the Father; uncreated is the Son; uncreated is the Spirit.

Jesus, on the other hand, states the nature of His unity with the Father:

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.

Jesus declares that His disciples can be one just as He and the Father are one. This oneness is clearly not that they become the same person, but rather oneness in purpose, glory, exactness, and love. This passage also shows Jesus praying to the Father, which would not make sense if He were the Father. Other passages in the New Testament show that Jesus is distinct from the Father:

At the baptism of Jesus all three personages of the Godhead—God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, were there (Matthew 3:15-17). In the great intercessory prayer recorded in John 17, Jesus prays to the Father. In the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross, Jesus again prayed to the Father and once asked His Father why He had forsaken Him. At the Martyrdom of Stephen in Acts, Stephen declares, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56).

All these passages make sense only if Jesus and God are separate individuals. In short, the rejection of Trinitarian notions is not a rejection of Jesus Christ. The original saints and Apostles neither communicated nor suggested at the doctrine in the later Creeds, and their Christianity is crucial to the claims of all Christian churches.

Jesus is our Savior

LDS doctrine clearly teaches that Jesus Christ is our Savior. The Book of Mormon states that "there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:17). We believe that Jesus Christ set the perfect example for all mankind during His mortal life.

LDS doctrine teaches that Jesus Christ died for mankind. His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross, His death, burial, and resurrection constitute the core events of the atonement which brings about the resurrection of all mankind and offers the means of salvation for those who believe and follow Him.

A hymn I love declares:

There is a green hill far away,

Without a city wall,

Where the dear Lord was crucified,

Who died to save us all.

We may not know, we cannot tell,

What pains he had to bear,

But we believe it was for us

He hung and suffered there.

There was no other good enough

To pay the price of sin.

He only could unlock the gate

Of heav’n and let us in.

("There is a Green Hill Far Away," LDS Hymns, no. 194)

Jesus is the Head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

We proclaim that Jesus Christ stands at the head of His Church, and that He reveals His commandments and teachings to chosen prophets here on earth. The Bible declares that “Jesus Christ himself [is] the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20). The Book of Mormon explains this even further. Jesus Christ appeared after His resurrection and ascension into heaven to the ancient inhabitants in America. He declared to them,

Therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name; and ye shall call upon the Father in my name that he will bless the church for my sake. And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses' name then it be Moses' church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christian

As these few quotations and scriptures have shown, the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are surely and purely of Christ, and, therefore, we are Christian in the most exact sense. Jesus Christ stands at the head of the Church and His glorious teachings and His perfect example form the core of LDS doctrine and the basis for the testimonies of all Latter-day Saints. The message we share is that Jesus Christ has called prophets in these last days to prepare the world for His forthcoming return and all are invited to ‘come unto Christ’ and be baptized by His authorized servants.

I am so grateful to have this time to be a missionary, a representative of Jesus Christ and acknowledge my beliefs and the truths I’ve learned to everyone that will give a listening ear! Please, if you have any questions, ask me.

Elder Falslev