Serving February 2013-2015

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