How God Blesses You Even When You Don’t Believe in Him

You may not believe in God. You’re certainly not alone. Many people doubt the existence of God. I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I do believe in God.  I believe that even those who deny His existence are loved and blessed by Him. This may not make sense to you, because why would an all-powerful being want to waste His time caring about someone who doesn’t even believe He exists? The answer is simple: God loves you, whether or not you believe in Him. You are never a waste of time.

We Are All God’s Children

Children need the peace that comes from knowing they have a loving Heavenly Father - Coleen K. MenloveI believe that God created each and every one of our spirits. This means that we are literally His spirit children and that He is literally our spirit Father. Almost all parents love their children always, no matter their choices or belief systems. Why would a Father in Heaven be any different? He created us, and He loves us, more than we could ever comprehend or begin to fathom. Continue reading

Do Mormons Believe They Can Become Gods

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ (Inadvertently Called Mormons or Latter-day Saints) Believe that After Death, All Mankind Will Be Resurrected With Perfected, Immortal Bodies

Have you ever pondered how long “forever” is in relation to our mortal time here on earth?  Here is a visual that helps me “see” the big picture:  If you were to take a very long string and drape it all around your house, through every single room, then take a marker and make a small mark on the string. This small mark represents the time of our life on earth. The rest of the string represents eternity. With such an eternity, is it not conceivable that we could learn and grow and become as our Father in Heaven?

This is the paradox of man: compared to God man is Nothing; yet we are everything to GodLike other Mormons, I believe that faithful Mormon males and females can become Gods and Goddesses…eventually…after a long (almost evolutional) learning curve.  This concept is a really big one; even lifelong members of the church can have a hard time getting their heads around it. And while I no longer question that it can happen, I do understand why it seems weird to our friends of other faiths, and why some people go so far as to call  The Church of Jesus Christ a cult because of this belief.  I hope that if you are of another faith you will read through and allow me to explain a little about the doctrines of The Church of Christ as I understand them so you can see where this belief comes from. Continue reading

Mormonism Answers: How I Know God Is Real

Do you believe in God? I do. I grew up as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently referred to as the Mormon church), and for my whole life I’ve believed that God and His Son are real. You may not be so sure, however, and that’s OK. I want to share with you why I know God is real.

I Don’t Need to See Him

Your faith will not fail while God sustain it; you are not strong enough to fall aways while God is resolved to hold you.I’ve never seen or met God in this life. I believe that we all lived with Him prior to coming to earth to receive a body and that our minds have temporarily forgotten that time. Even though I have no memories of God I know that He is real. I rely on my faith to know that God exists. Some may call this foolish, but I call it trusting. In the Book of Mormon, a book of scripture complementary to the Bible, we learn that “faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (Alma 32:21).

I have faith that He is real, and my knowledge certainly isn’t perfect, but for now, it’s enough. If you’re struggling with your faith because you don’t know everything, remember that we’ll never know everything and that when we trust in our faith, God strengthens us.

God Has Proven Himself in My Life

Even though I haven’t seen Him, I’ve seen God’s influence in my life. Many times I have felt direct intervention on my behalf to guide and protect me. And I have felt God’s peace and comfort so many times I can’t even count. The peace that I have felt in times of need is far greater than anything that I could have conjured on my own. The greatest peace I have felt has come from a loving Heavenly Father.

God is aware of each of us and our needs. He knows what we’re experiencing, and He knows where we struggle. If we simply allow Him to, He will make His presence known in our lives. We need to look for it sometimes, but it is always there, sometimes where we’d least expect it.

I Have Prayed to Know

I have prayed to know that God is real, and He has answered my prayers. I feel His presence when I read the scriptures and the words of the prophets. I feel His presence when I read about Joseph Smith and the restoration of the full gospel of Jesus Christ. Every day God answers my prayers, and every day He proves Himself to me. If you come to Him with an honest heart, He will prove Himself to you as well. I know that.

God Loves You

I know that God loves you, even if you don’t believe in Him. You are His child, His literal spiritual offspring. He is always there and waiting for you to turn to Him, and if you approach Him with a pure intent, He will never hesitate to reveal His love and concern for you. I know this. If you want to know this for yourself, the Mormon missionaries can help you.

Mormonism Answers: How God Answers Our Prayers

Do you pray? Almost every religion uses prayer in some form, and even those who do not subscribe to a belief system may have found themselves uttering a desperate and heartfelt prayer. I pray, and I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently referred to as the Mormon church). In fact, I pray a lot. What do you feel when you pray? Do you feel like God hears your prayers? Does He answer them? I believe that God actually does answer each and every one of our prayers, and often those answers aren’t what we expect or even want. But He does answer them.

What Exactly Is Prayer?

Some blessings come soon some come late and some don't come until heaven but for those who embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ they comeBefore I go into what it looks like when God answers your prayers, we should establish what prayer actually is. In a Mormon reference tool called the Bible Dictionary, we learn that “prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other.” The nature of our prayers should be founded in the relationship that we have to God as His children. Because of this intimate spiritual foundation we have with Heavenly Father, prayer should be an instinctive way for us to communicate with Him. Continue reading

The Resurrection: What’s in it for You?

My husband and I are world travelers.  As we have traveled and lived in foreign countries, we have met myriads of good people, wonderful people, from every ethnicity and walk of life, of every faith.  As we travel, we often find ourselves amid throngs of people, thousands, and we wonder how many really understand who they are, how brief earth life is, and where they will go after death.  Some are focused only on this mortal life, as temporary as it is, while others are on a constant quest to answer the gnawing question, “Is this all there is?”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often inadvertently called the Mormon Church, through its open scripture and revelation to modern prophets, has more knowledge regarding God’s plan for us than any other religion or philosophy on earth.  In the Pearl of Great Price, Moses 1:39, it says,

For this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

Immortality is living forever; eternal life is living forever in God’s full presence.

You Are Eternal

I am the ressurection and the lifeYou have always existed.  You were a distinct intelligence in the universe before God the Father created a spirit-body for you.  As a spirit, you lived with God as His child in a spiritual realm Mormons call Pre-Mortal Life.  You have always had free choice, which Mormons call “agency.”  God does everything possible to guard your agency, even if the agency of others brings you trial.  This was evident in the pre-mortal realm, where a spirit named Lucifer rebelled against God, proposed a plan of coercion that would rob you of your agency, and wanted the glory for saving all of mankind.  Satan was a coward, and so were those who followed him.  Jesus Christ, through whom worlds without number were created, was willing to suffer all things for us, to guarantee us the right and opportunity to choose God.  Satan and his followers were cast out, and they are the source of every evil thing in mortality  they and the choices of evil men.  The opposition we experience has a purpose, as the prophet Lehi expressed in the Book of Mormon:

Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other….Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. (2 Nephi 2:16, 27).

God’s purpose from the beginning has been to help us progress to become like Him, to enjoy the kind of life He enjoys – eternal life.  The next step in our progress was to obtain a physically body and experience mortal life.  This earth life is the time to prepare to return to our Father in Heaven, having developed compassion, formed relationships that can be eternal, and having found faith through the Lord Jesus Christ.  We make choices which prove us to be people of character and caring.  Even those who never hear the name of Christ during their sojourn on earth can make substantial progress, if they are kind and responsible with whatever knowledge they have obtained.

At death, the spirit and body are separated, and the spirit goes to a place called the “spirit world” where we can continue to grow in knowledge, reunite with our deceased loved ones, and even repent and discover a belief in the Savior.

Then comes resurrection and an inheritance in a kingdom of heaven  even non-believers may be saved into a kingdom of heaven  with “eternal life” being the highest, or “celestial kingdom,” where God’s full presence shines.

Resurrection

One result of Christ’s atonement was to guarantee resurrection to every living thing.  This is a free gift that will come to both the righteous and the wicked.  When you are resurrected, you will be at the prime of your life, with a perfect body that is “incorruptible,” not subject to illness, injury, or death.  Your senses and your mind will be keen.  All wounds and scars will disappear, according to your choice.  Not a hair of your head will be lost.  It doesn’t matter how you died or the condition of your body after death.  Your resurrected body will be comprised of flesh and bone, but not blood, which is corruptible.  Something purer will run through your veins.

When the resurrected Lord appeared to His Apostles, He helped them understand that He had a body of flesh and bones. He said, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39). He also appeared to the Nephites after His Resurrection (see 3 Nephi 11:10-17).

 

An understanding and testimony of the resurrection can give us hope and perspective as we experience the challenges, trials, and triumphs of life. We can find comfort in the assurance that the Savior lives and that through His Atonement, “he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory” (Alma 22:14). (See lds.org/topics.)

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, described the resurrection in a Mormon General Conference talk in April 2000:

The possibility that a mortal who has died will be brought forth and live again in a resurrected body has awakened hope and stirred controversy through much of recorded history. Relying on clear scriptural teachings, Latter-day Saints join in affirming that Christ has “broken the bands of death” (Mosiah 16:7) and that “death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54; see also Mormon 7:5; Mosiah 15:8; Mosiah 16:7–8; Alma 22:14). Because we believe the Bible and Book of Mormon descriptions of the literal Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we also readily accept the numerous scriptural teachings that a similar resurrection will come to all mortals who have ever lived upon this earth (see 1 Cor. 15:22; 2 Ne. 9:22; Hel. 14:17; Mormon 9:13; D&C 29:26; D&C 76:39, 42–44). As Jesus taught, “Because I live, ye shall live also” (John 14:19). …

 

In our eternal journey, the resurrection is the mighty milepost that signifies the end of mortality and the beginning of immortality. The Lord described the importance of this vital transition when He declared, “And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation—that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe” (D&C 29:43). Similarly, the Book of Mormon teaches, “For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection” (2 Ne. 9:6). We also know, from modern revelation, that without the reuniting of our spirits and our bodies in the resurrection we could not receive a “fulness of joy” (D&C 93:33–34).

 

When we understand the vital position of the resurrection in the “plan of redemption” that governs our eternal journey (Alma 12:25), we see why the Apostle Paul taught, “If there be no resurrection of the dead, then … is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Cor. 15:13–14). We also see why the Apostle Peter referred to the fact that God the Father, in His abundant mercy, “hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3; see also 1 Thes. 4:13–18)….

 

The assurance of resurrection gives us the strength and perspective to endure the mortal challenges faced by each of us and by those we love, such things as the physical, mental, or emotional deficiencies we bring with us at birth or acquire during mortal life. Because of the resurrection, we know that these mortal deficiencies are only temporary!

Complicating the Lord’s Gospel

Once I asked gospel scholar and late Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie a question I thought was an important need-to-know in the gospel. His response was surprising. He told me “I do not know, and you can quote me on that.”

Simplicity as a Hallmark of the Gospel and Our Faith

Those who accept and live the simple light and truth of the gospel are indeed living an intelligent lifeIn my community I sometimes cross paths with clergy of other denominations at the grocery store, post office, or other public place.  I always make it a point to say hello and sometimes to even ask a question about their particular beliefs.

On one such occasion I crossed paths with Father Walt, a Catholic priest.  Every time I saw him, he was always wearing sandals. So when I saw him I asked, “Brother Walt, how come you always wear sandals?”  I was expecting a religious explanation. Continue reading

Mormonism Answers: The Ministry of Angels

Are angels real?  Do they really minister to people on earth?  Yes!

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often inadvertently called the Mormon Church, eloquently taught of the ministry of angels in times past and today.

I testify that angels are still sent to help us by Jeffrey R. HollandGod knew the challenges [His children] would face, and He certainly knew how lonely and troubled they would sometimes feel. So He watched over His mortal family constantly, heard their prayers always, and sent prophets (and later apostles) to teach, counsel, and guide them. But in times of special need, He sent angels, divine messengers, to bless His children, reassure them that heaven was always very close and that His help was always very near.

Usually such beings are not seen. Sometimes they are. But seen or unseen they are always near. Sometimes their assignments are very grand and have significance for the whole world. Sometimes the messages are more private. Occasionally the angelic purpose is to warn. But most often it is to comfort, to provide some form of merciful attention, guidance in difficult times.

I testify that angels are still sent to help us, even as they were sent to help Adam and Eve, to help the prophets, and indeed to help the Savior of the world Himself. Matthew records in his gospel that after Satan had tempted Christ in the wilderness “angels came and ministered unto him.” Even the Son of God, a God Himself, had need for heavenly comfort during His sojourn in mortality. And so such ministrations will be to the righteous until the end of time.

What Are Angels?

Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, believe that angels are divine messengers sent from God to minister to mankind on the earth.  Mormons do not believe that angels have wings.  Wings in the scriptures are symbolic of power and movement.

I love the Prophet Joseph Smith’s clarifying description of angels in Doctrine and Covenants 129:1-8:

There are two kinds of beings in heaven, namely: Angels, who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones— For instance, Jesus said: Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. Secondly: the spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory.

When a messenger comes saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you. If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand. If he be the spirit of a just man made perfect he will come in his glory; for that is the only way he can appear—Ask him to shake hands with you, but he will not move, because it is contrary to the order of heaven for a just man to deceive; but he will still deliver his message. If it be the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you may therefore detect him.

The above quote shows how familiar the prophet Joseph Smith was with heavenly messengers.  I think that if an angel were to visit me, my first thought would not be to shake his hand!

What Is The Ministry of Angels?

In the Book of Mormon, a record of the Lord’s dealings with men on the American continent, the prophet Mormon, taught that angels’

…ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfill and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him. For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness (Moroni 7:30, 31).

How marvelous that God does not leave us alone! He is ever aware of our needs and always provides a way for us to learn of Him.

Angelic Announcements

God often reveals His good news through angels. Angels announced the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ to shepherds in Bethlehem’s fields.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men (Luke 2:9-14).

I’ve often wondered about the effect that announcement had on those shepherds and their families. Of course, their experience has affected mankind for generations. I’m so grateful that Luke recorded that glorious visitation!

Angelic Warnings

The Lord also sends angels to warn or reprove His children.  One example of divine rebuke occurred in  the Book of Mormon to Alma the Younger, the wayward son of the prophet Alma. Alma and faithful members of the Church prayed to God for his son and his friends who sought to destroy the Church of God.

As they were going about rebelling against God, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto them; and he descended as it were in a cloud; and he spake as it were with a voice of thunder, which caused the earth to shake upon which they stood…

And the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith (Mosiah 27:11, 14).

Alma and his friends heeded the words of the angel, repented of their sins, and became powerful witnesses of Jesus Christ. Later, as Alma the Younger called wicked people to repentance, that same angel visited him and comforted him during that time of affliction.  Alma the Younger’s angelic visitation strengthens my faith that God truly cares about my salvation and provides the way and means necessary for each of us to learn of Him.

Angelic Blessings

After His death and resurrection, the Savior visited the people on the American continent.  As He taught the people, He called all of the children to Him.

And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones…and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them (3 Nephi 17:24-25).

Angels Minister Today

As a Mormon, I believe that the ministry of angels is a merciful witness that God loves His children and provides divine means to teach His Gospel, comfort His children and testify of Jesus Christ. “For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold, he sent angels to minister unto the children of men, to make manifest concerning the coming of Christ; and in Christ there should come every good thing” (Moroni 7:22).

Mormonism Answers: God is Love

My husband works at a ski resort. We take our kids skiing in the winter, and the ride up the ski lift is always quiet and beautiful, with the mountains in their icy glory and the snowcapped evergreens. In the summer, we ride the same chairlift up the mountain and hike around at the top. The ride up is peaceful and majestic. The mountains are alive with colorful trees and wildflowers as well as squirrels and the occasional deer running around. I can’t help but feel insignificant in the grandeur—especially with the towering evergreens on either side. I can see the hand of God in His beautiful creations. Elder M. Russell Ballard, an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—sometimes inadvertently called the Mormon Church—said:

The miracle of the changing seasons, with the reawakening and rebirth in nature, inspires feelings of love and reverence within us for God’s marvelous, creative handiwork. … Men and women in all parts of the world have a desperate need to take time from their demanding routines of everyday life and to quietly observe God’s miracles taking place all around them. [1]

Reverence for God’s Creations

Miracles are everywhere to be found when priesthood calling are magnified by Thomas S. MonsonI observe the miracle of the changing seasons in the flowerbeds in front of my house each year. We have bushes that, throughout the winter, look dead and unsightly. But every spring, these spindly sticks transform into beautiful bushes with peonies and tea roses. I am in awe at the miracle of this transformation. Only the touch of a loving Master’s hand could create majesty out of such miserable looking things. It truly is evidence, to me, of God’s love—for me and for those scrubby bushes. For me, because He knew they would bring me joy and peace. And for the bushes because He knew what they could become. Elder Ballard talks about how important it is for every human soul to see the grandeur and beauty in everything around us—and have reverence for God and His creations. Elder Ballard explains: Continue reading

Mormonism Answers: God Speaks To Us

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often inadvertently called the Mormon Church, affirms that God speaks today!

As a Latter-day Saint, I believe that God does speak to the world in general and to me specifically. Two ways I hear the voice of God speak to me are through His living prophet and personal scripture study.

When God speaks man obeys that man will always be right by Thomas S. MonsonGod Speaks To Us Through Prophets

A prophet is called by God as His mouthpiece or spokesman, who then shares prophecies, revelations, and commandments from God for all of the world. Prophets call people to repentance. Another key role of a prophet is to teach the people who God is and testify of the divinity of Jesus Christ.  As people understand God’s true nature and His plan for them, repentance becomes purposeful. Continue reading

Mormonism Answers: God’s Purpose Is To Exalt Us

The ancient prophet, Moses, recorded an experience where he was taken to a high mountain and spoke face to face with God.  God showed Moses His creations on this earth, including every person.  Then God declared, “For behold, this is my work and my glory — to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). Immortality means to live forever.  Eternal life, or exaltation, means to live forever in God’s presence and live as He lives.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often inadvertently called the Mormon Church, teaches that God is real, He is our Father, and His ultimate goal is for each of His children to return to His presence and live with Him forever.

For Behold this is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of manWhat Is the Meaning of Life?

Knowing that God’s primary objective is mankind’s immortality and eternal life gives members of the Church (Latter-day Saints or Mormons) a purpose and direction in life. First we must know God and Jesus Christ. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent” (John 17:3).  Then, we must share that message with the rest of the world, so that every one can choose to know God and Jesus Christ as well. Continue reading