The Reality of a Living Prophet

the first vision

In 1820 when Joseph Smith was visited by God the Father, and Jesus Christ, a young boy became God’s prophet.  He became a prophet like Moses, Abraham, Enoch, or Noah.  His purpose was the same–to teach all of God’s children about the reality of Christ and Christ’s mission, that the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was once again upon the earth, and that the coming of Christ was close at hand.

Prior to Joseph Smith there had not been a prophet on the earth since the martyrdom of Christ’s apostles.  As such people had departed from God’s truth.  When God does not have a mouthpiece to speak to his children, God’s children are left to their own understanding and invariably they get off track.  This pattern is repeated in the Bible–God calls a prophet, that prophet teaches God’s words, the people believe, then they stop believing, then the people fall into error and depart from God’s ways.

One might ask, “Who needs a prophet? We have the Bible, and it is sufficient!”  The Bible is the word of God, but it was God’s word to people in a different time and place.  It is absolutely still relevant today, but Moses didn’t know what a movie was, or computers. Pornography wasn’t available on every screen, and if you slept with someone you weren’t married to, you just might have rocks thrown at you until you died.  Nor did the children of Israel, or the Jews of Christ’s time have to deal with the social issues that beset us today.  Hence the need for a prophet.  He is a beacon of light in an ever darkening world.

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Many people accept Moses as a prophet, because they can read about him and think of him as if he was something out there, some force for good and “Of course, I would have followed him out of Egypt.  He
was God’s prophet!”  However, you must ask yourself a question, would you? Really?  Would you really leave all of your possessions just because he said it was time to leave Egypt?  Or how about when he said you should look at his serpent on a stick and it would heal you? Isn’t that kind of crazy? Plus “what does he know? My friends say there is no way that looking at a snake can heal you.”  Or how about Abraham?  Would you leave your favorite city–the place where your home and work was?  You would surely miss all that the big city had to offer, all of the nice restaurants, and shopping, and entertainment.  What about Christ?  Would you believe in Him, the son of your next door neighbor who is now quite possibly homeless?  The list could go on forever.  It is easy to watch a re-run of a football game and say exactly what you would do as a lazy-chair quarterback, but what if you were in the game and didn’t have a coach on the sideline, would you know what to do? 

football coach

There is a prophet on earth today, Thomas S. Monson is his name.  He stands at the head of Christ’s church and together with his counselors, and 12 other men who are Christ’s apostles, he speaks to all of God’s children and lets us know what is true and what is right. He is the coach on the sidelines and he can see what the other’s team playbook is, but we still have to listen to him to know what plays to run.  If you will listen to him, you will be guided back to live with God, just the way that Moses and then Joshua, lead the children of Israel back to the promised land.

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Question Box: How do I arrange a Mormon funeral for my mother?

Q: My mother is a Mormon, I am not.  I have been asked to get things in order.  I would like her religion to do the funeral.  Who do I see?

Great question.  The bishop (ecclesiastical leader) of the local ward (congregation) can help you.  You can find who the bishop of your mother’s ward is by going to this link, https://www.lds.org/locations?lang=eng  Click on the “find a meetinghouse” link.  From there you can input your mother’s home address and it will list which ward your mother’s address is in as well as the bishop of her ward.  Contact this man.

While you are on this website, feel free to look around.  You may find some things that you find comforting.  We appreciate your interest.  Our condolences to you and your family.

Question Box: What is the nature of God and the Trinity?

the first vision

Q: What is the nature of God and the Trinity?

We believe that the Trinity (or Godhead, as we more commonly refer to them) is composed of three separate and distinct perfect Beings—God, the Father; his Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost (Acts 7:55-56; Article of Faith 1).  We believe our Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ have a body that is made of flesh and bones just like ours (D&C 130:22); however, they have bodies and are no longer subject to death, sickness, or pain.  The Holy Ghost does not have a body of flesh and bones, rather he has a spirit body (D&C 130:22), but he looks like a normal person (1 Nephi 11:11).  All three are perfect and can be spoken of as God collectively and separate gods individually.  Their entire focus is to help each of us return to the Father, and become like Him (Moses 1:39).

 

Our Heavenly Father is the father of the spirits of all those who have, or ever will be born into this world (Abraham 3:22-23, Moses 6:51).  He is Jesus Christ’s literal father.  He oversaw and directed the creation of the world upon which we now live (Moses 1:32).  To him, we pray and He answers our prayers in his own time and in his own way.  He loves us and has provided a plan whereby, we, his spirit children, can come to earth, receive a body, experience adversity, and have the opportunity to return to Him (Abraham 3:23-27).  He knew beforehand that we would make mistakes.  These mistakes would make us imperfect and as he is perfect, we could not return to live with him again.  So, he provided a way that our mistakes could be erased.   To accomplish this he provided his son, Jesus Christ, to set right, everything that would prevent us from being perfect, our sins included (Moses 6:53-62).

 Christus

Jesus Christ, is the literal Son of God and his mother was mortal (Luke 1:28-38, Alma 7:10).  As such, Christ, was enabled to experience mortality as we do.  He suffered sickness, pain, hunger, and temptation.  Nevertheless, he lived a perfect life.  This allowed him to suffer and ultimately die for our imperfections (Alma 7:11-13).  In this way, he has the ability to set us at one with the Father again and allow us to return to live with the Father.  As a free gift, through his atonement and subsequent resurrection, he provides every person born into this world a resurrected and perfect body.  But, to return to the Father’s presence, Christ requires us to believe that He can in fact save us, repent of our sins, be baptized in his prescribed way, be given the gift of the Holy Ghost, and then endure in faith until the end of our mortal lives.  If we do this with his constant help, we will be granted a place in the Father’s kingdom (3 Nephi 27:14-22).

 

To help us find Jesus Christ, accept his teachings, and then continue in his prescribed way, God provided the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead.  He has many functions, but he helps God’s children to return to Him by helping them find Jesus Christ, teaching them truth line upon line if they desire to learn more, and ultimately purifying and refining them in their journey of being a disciple of Jesus Christ (1 Nephi 10:17-19).

 

I am grateful for these immortal perfect beings.  I know that I am the Father’s son and that he has provided a way for me to become like Him through his Son and that the Holy Ghost will help me in this endeavor.

Judge not . . .

When I was a kid I used to think that everyone was just like me and that for the most part their lives were like mine–they had a warm, safe place to sleep, more than enough to eat, and that they felt safe and knew that their mom and dad loved them.  When I got to be a teenager, I realized that that wasn’t always the case, but I erroneously thought that it was their own fault if they weren’t happy, or if they had “problems”.  In the last few years, but in particular the last few months, I have seen and heard a lot of sad stories, heart wrenching really, that have truly changed my perspective  .

I see a lot of people who have been shot, stabbed, hit by a car on their bike, run over while waiting at the bus stop,  and in one case, a drunk woman hit a van with a woman and three or four kids, killing them all and yet she lived with a broken ankle.  Meanwhile there was a husband and child, who were lucky enough to not be in the van, whose lives were changed forever that night.

We are all quick to point our fingers at the drunk lady and say, “how could she do that– drink and drive.  She should be the one who is dead.”  But, I would almost guarantee that if you were to ask this woman about her life she would have a heart-wrenching story of her own to tell, which would probably turn your stomach in knots.  I would almost bet that her life was so bad that the only way that she could deal with it was to drink until it didn’t hurt anymore.

We all do it; we all judge each other.  Christ taught, “judge not, that ye be not judged” (St. Matthew 7:1)  He was speaking with a some experience, remember He was Mary’s son, who was pregnant before she and Joseph were  married.  I am sure the young couple was the talk of Nazareth for a while.

I have thought about those seven words a lot and the more I hear these sad stories and see the scars, either emotional or physical, that people carry, the more I realize that I have no room to think, “well, if you would just . . . then you wouldn’t be like this.”  If I had to go through what some people have, maybe I would drink myself to death too.  Or how can you not be violent to others, when all you have experienced was violence from those who you are supposed to trust?

I am not advocating that people should not be punished for their actions, or that sin as defined by God’s laws is excusable, but what I am saying is that we should all have a little more compassion.  We can hate the sin, but still love the sinner (as a contributor to this website put it). We should all view people as who they really are–sons and daughters of an Eternal Father in Heaven, who have divine and unlimited potential.  So when that guy flies by you on your way home tonight and then proceeds to slam on his brakes and cut you off to get in the turn lane, take a deep breath and say, “I bet he is on the way to the hospital to see his wife who is taking her last breaths.”

Was God born according to Mormons?

Q:  Was God born according to Mormons?

Not too long ago, Bus wrote an excellent post aimed at answering this very question.  Here is the link: The Origins of God.

We do have quotes from some contemporary prophets that in more words or less say that God was once like man is now.  However, whether he was born, where it all began,  and so on, we just don’t know everything yet.  Nevertheless, we do have the promise from God that in the future all things will be made known (D&C 101:32-34).

Thanks for your question.