Friday, January 30, 2015

Quiz: How Well Do You Know the Miracles of Jesus?

Quiz: How Well Do You Know the Miracles of Jesus?
Danielle Beckstrom for LDS Living 29 Jan 2015

 
1. How many New Testament accounts are there of the miracles Jesus performed? a. 36 b. 22 c. 27 d. 29

Answer: a. 36. These are divided into 5 different types of miracles: 1) Power over the elements, 2) Healing of the sick, 3) Casting out devils, 4) Causing the blind to see and the deaf to hear, and 5) Raising the Dead

2. How many fish did Peter and the six other disciples catch when the resurrected Christ told them to cast their nets again at the Sea of Galilee? a. 79 b. 87 c. 153 d. 164

Answer: c. 153. Unlike the first miraculous catch of fish (recorded in Luke 5:1-11), this time the nets did not break, allowing the disciples to count the number of fishes caught. Read about the event in John 21:8-11.

3. Who was the first woman Jesus healed? a. Mary Magdalene b. Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, c. the woman with an issue of blood, d. the woman with an infirmity for 18 years

Answer: b. Simon Peter’s mother-in-law. On this same Sabbath day, in addition to healing Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, Jesus also taught in the synagogue, cast out a devil, and at sunset healed and cast out devils from a large crowd (see Mark 1:21-34, Matthew 8:14-17, Luke 4:33-41).

4. How many people did Christ raise from the dead in the New Testament? a. 1 b. 2 c. 3 d. 4

Answer: c. 3. The son of the widow of Nain, the daughter of Jairus and Lazarus. (Remember, Christ himself was resurrected, which is different than being raised from the dead.)

5. What was the last miracle Jesus performed before His death and resurrection? a. He cursed a fig tree b. He healed ten lepers c. He healed a servant of the high priest d. He healed a blind man.

Answer: c. He healed a servant of the high priest. Peter, in an attempt to protect Jesus, cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant. Jesus straightway healed him (see Luke 22:50-51 and John 18:10). The servant’s name was Malchus.

6. How many loaves of bread and fishes did Christ us to feed the 5,000? a. 5 loaves, 2 fishes b. 7 loaves, a few fishes c. 7 loaves, 2 fishes d. 5 loaves, a few fishes

Answer: a. 5 loaves and 2 fishes. This astounding feat is the only miracle besides the Resurrection that appears in all four Gospels (see Mark 6:32-44, John 6:1-14, Matthew 14:13-21 and Luke 9:10-17).

7. How many “baskets full” were left over after Christ fed the 4,000? a. 3 b. 12 c. 10 d. 7

Answer: d. 7. This number is thought to be symbolic—seven and seventy were numbers sometimes associated with the Gentile nations. The number seven, taken together with the placement of this miracle in Gentile territory (the eastern shore near Galilee), might represent how all peoples were called to feast at the table of Christ.

8. How many of Christ’s miracles in the New Testament involved fish? a. 3 b. 4 c. 5 d. 6

Answer: c. 5. 1) The disciples’ first astonishing catch of fish, 2) feeding of the 5,000 with 2 fish, 3) feeding the 4,000 with a few fish, 4) obtaining the temple tax with a fish’s mouth and 5) the disciples’ second astonishing catch of fishes.

9. How many miracles involve Christ casting out devils? a. 3 b. 4 c. 5 d. 6

Answer: d. 6. 1) The Capernaum demonic, 2) the Gadrene demonic, 3) the mute demonic, 4) the blind and mute demonic, 5) the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman and 6) the demonic or epileptic boy.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

5 Family Gospel Lessons in 5 Minutes or Less

5 Family Gospel Lessons in 5 minutes or Less
Nicole Carpenter, author of 52 weeks to Fortify your Family: 5-minutes messages for LDS Living 28 Jan 2015

            We are raising our children in a volatile world. The lines between right and wrong, good and evil continue to fade. We worry about our children and pray that they are strong enough to handle it all.
            They absolutely are. But we can fortify them even more.
            One way we can strengthen our families is to share 5-minute messages or theme-based devotionals with your family. These messages should be quick and simple, yet very powerful.
            Each week, offer a scripture, thoughtful questions, quotes, or a video. You can use each mini-devotional as a guide to engage your children in conversations that draw them closer to Heavenly Father through the scriptures. 
Although each daily devotional can be customized to your family’s needs or concerns, here are five such devotionals that you can use in your home this week:

#1: GOOD WORKS
            Greek playwright Sophocles said, “To be doing good deeds is man’s most glorious task.”  Jesus believed this, too, and taught that we should love one another. We learn in the New Testament that it is also important to show our love through service and good works. 
            1 John 3:18: “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
            As we share this scripture with our families, we can ask them what love through deeds might mean, with questions like: 
How do we show love through our deeds?
How does your heart feel when you do good things for other people?
Can you remember something someone did for you that made a difference to you?
            It’s very easy to recognize a disciple of Jesus Christ by their actions and good works. One who loves Jesus makes different choices in hard circumstances. You can see it in their countenance and in their actions—even among strangers. 
            D&C 18:38: “And by their desires and their works you shall know them.”
How are our good works really a reflection of our Savior and Heavenly Father?
Who do you know who always strives to do good things for those around them?

#2: TRUST IN GOD
            Trusting in God can often be challenging as our minds naturally seem to fill with doubt or fear. Elder Henry B. Eyring taught, “You show your trust in Him when you listen with the intent to learn and repent and then you go and do whatever He asks.”  But ‘going and doing’ is scary when we don’t know what is before us. 
            Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
            After discussing this quote and scripture with your family, you may want to ask questions like:
Do you think it is hard to trust in the Lord?
Why is it scary to do something the Lord has asked you to do?
How can we ‘acknowledge’ the Lord?
            When we trust our Heavenly Father we are not only protected but blessed.
            Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.”
What blessings have you seen in your life because you put your trust in God?
 
#3 PEACE
            Did you know that the absence of conflict is actually not enough to bring peace? Real peace felt in our souls comes from God. 
            1 Corinthians 14:33: “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.”
            Peace comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
            John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
            Ask your children what peace means to them, with questions like:
What is conflict?
What does peace feel like for you?
Can you think of a time when your life was crazy or upsetting and you still felt peace?
            No matter what challenges or trials we face in our lives, we always have the power to find peace. We get to be the keepers of peace in our lives and can choose to always seek after things that bring us peace.
            Romans 14:19: “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”
What can we do to keep the peace in our life?
 
#4 TEMPLES
            Throughout history the Lord has commanded His people to build temples. The temple is the Lord’s house on earth. 
            2 Samuel 7:5-7:  “Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build me a house for me to dwell in?”
            The first temple built in this dispensation was the temple at Kirtland, Ohio. And it was quite a sacrifice for these early saints. 
            D&C 109:5: “For thou knowest that we have done this work through great tribulation and out of our poverty we have given of our substance to build a house to thy name, that the Son of Man might have a place to manifest himself to his people.”
            As you reflect on temples, ask your children:
Why do you think temples are so important to the Lord?
Why should temples be important to us?
What things do we have to sacrifice to attend the temple? Is it a worthwhile sacrifice?
            I think it’s really important for our home to be a special place like the temple. Elder James E. Faust taught, “In addition to temples, surely another holy place on earth ought to be our homes. The feelings of holiness in my home prepared me for feelings of holiness in the temple.”

#5 SPIRITUAL GIFTS
            Spiritual gifts come from our Heavenly Father and are given to every faithful person.
            D&C 6:10: “Behold thou hast a gift, and blessed art thou because of thy gift. Remember it is scared and cometh from above.”
            As we receive these gifts, they will strengthen us and help us to bless and strengthen others.
            D&C 46:26: “And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God.”
            Sometimes our children need our help to identify their gifts. Here are some questions we can ask our family:
What are examples of spiritual gifts?
Can you think of a spiritual gift you have?
How can the Holy Ghost show us our spiritual gifts?
Why would someone seek another spiritual gift?
            It’s important that you don’t neglect your spiritual gifts. And, as a family, you can work to help each other improve their gifts.
            1 Timothy 4:14: “Neglect not the gift that is in thee…”

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Weird or Peculiar or Special People

If You Think Mormons Are Weird...Here’s Why
Greg Trimble 15 Jan 2015

            Lots of people think Mormons are weird. I actually agree with them. Let me tell you why.
            Mormons are members of the only church on the planet that attempts to incorporate the structure and ordinances that Jesus Christ established while he was on the earth. That structure is found in the New Testament.
            The thing is…people thought that members of the New Testament church were really weird as well…only they didn’t use the word “weird”. They used the word “peculiar”.
            That word “peculiar” is interesting. Interesting because even Peter (the chief apostle) used the same word to describe the New Testament Christians he was addressing. Here are a few synonyms from the thesaurus for the word “peculiar“:
            Strange, Unusual, Odd, Funny, Curious, Bizarre, Weird (There’s that word again) Abnormal, Anomalous, Out of the ordinary…
            Peculiar is just a fancy way of saying weird.
            If there was ever a time in which I was proud to be called weird…it is now. If what I hear in the General Conferences of the church is weird by the world’s standards…then we’re in some serious trouble. Have you watched a TV show lately…been to the mall…or hung out on a college campus? And people think Mormons are weird?
            Actually…to quote Peter, he said to those New Testament “weirdos“; “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, [and] a “peculiar” people. (1 Pet 2:9)
            Back in the day they used to talk about the “strange” doctrines of the Christians. They used to say that Christ, “the nobody from Nazareth” was a delusional story teller that went around tricking people. A 2nd century Greek philosopher by the name of Celsus wrote with certainty that Jesus’s father wasn’t God…but a Roman soldier named Pantera. He continued in asserting that “Jesus performed His miracles by sorcery.”
            “You’re telling me that someone walked on water and then awoke from the dead and then flew into heaven! Bizarre!”
            To the world…Christ and His church were always weird. Peter agreed.
            Mormons today are weird because they have prophets and apostles like the New Testament church of old. (Ephesians 2:20)
            The peculiarity continues as you notice that Mormons have the office of “Seventy”, (Luke 10:1) and that they send missionaries “two by two” (Luke 10:1) in order to “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matt 28:19)
            Those missionaries are oh so weird as they go around in a white shirt and tie…clean cut…and committed to Christ. Would they be less weird if they spent their days at the local frat house or bar hopping on weekends?
            I’ll bet those missionaries from a couple thousand years ago were made fun of quite a bit. Loin cloths and robes, locusts and wild honey…and a message about a carpenter that does magic tricks?
            It’s also interesting that Peter referenced the “priesthood” before calling those early Christians “peculiar”. Who really cares about the priesthood in these days anyway? Mormons do.
             On another note…Paul…what were you thinking when you said that there was “One Lord, one faith, and one baptism”, or that we could ever possibly “come in the unity of the faith” (Ephesians 4:5,13) We have over 40,000 Christian denominations on the earth today. Why aren’t they just one denomination? Was a “restoration” to primitive Christianity needed?
            Peter thought so. (Acts 3:19-21)
            And Paul…while were looking at your teachings…why did you say that you met a dude that was in a “third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4) or that there were three different degrees of glory in heaven? (1 Corinthians 15:40-42)
            Jeepers Paul. Did you also teach about baptism for the dead, while Peter was teaching that the gospel would be preached to those that were living in the spirit world? (1 Corinthians 15:29) (1 Peter 4:6) That’s crazy talk!
            In those early days there were bishops, deacons, evangelists, elders and others that were tasked with running the local branches of the church. None of those people had theological degrees or got paid for what they did. Paul had to build tents and Peter had to catch fish. That’s unusual by today’s standards.
            Then there’s that weird requirement to be baptized by immersion. You have Christ telling Nicodemus that you must be “born of water and of the Spirit, or you cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)
            John the Baptist and Jesus both understood that the word “baptize” in and of itself means to “dip or immerse”. Mormons actually believe that what took place in the river Jordan was an important part of salvation!
            But it’s not like John the Baptist held the priesthood authority to baptize did he? Wait. Yeah… he did. He was the son of Zechariah, a temple priest, and held the priesthood through heredity.
            Mormons even believe that Christ still has his body and that His resurrection was literal. They think He wanted to actually keep his body when He went to visit His Father and not float into some kind of ethereal essence in undefined space. (Luke 24:36-39) (Acts 1:11) (John 20:17) Lunacy!
            Those Mormons even believe that when Jesus went to go see His Father for the first time since being resurrected…that He actually would have been able to give His Father a hug, and that He wouldn’t have been giving himself or some kind of manifestation of Himself a hug. That a father and a son greeting each other in heaven would have looked similar to a father and son greeting each other here on earth.
            Most unbelievable is the fact that Mormons actually believe that both God and nature have testified that a man should actually marry and procreate with a woman…and not another man. (1 Corinthians 11:11) (Romans 1:26-27)
            They curiously believe that by being the children of God…it actually gives them the opportunity to become “gods” or become like God. But then again…C.S. Lewis agreed with that peculiar mindset.
            “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship” (C.S. Lewis – The Weight of Glory)
            C.S. Lewis was probably just paraphrasing Paul when he told the Romans that “…we are the children of God…And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:16-17)
            It’s so abnormal and downright obnoxious that Mormons would consider their bodies to be a “temple” and actually want to live by a strict health code like Paul directed the Corinthians to do. (1 Corinthians 3:16 & 1 Corinthians 6:19)
            I’m not sure if I missed it, but was there some sort of a revelation given to the world that said we should all depart from the original structure and teachings that Christ established in the New Testament? Maybe people were sick of being so peculiar over the last 2,000 years…because as far as I can see, no one has even attempted to mirror the New Testament church according to the record we have in the Bible.
            Weird indeed.
            I’m ok with weird
            But there’s a lot more to the word “peculiar” than most people initially realize. While the things that the early Christians did were weird to the world, Peter wasn’t calling them weird or odd or any of the other synonyms that were listed above.
            The Hebrew word for “peculiar” is “segullah” which means “special”. Peter wasn’t labeling the saints derogatorily. Peter was telling his listeners that the church and organization that was established by Jesus Christ himself was special!
            When I see all of the ways in which The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mirrors the New Testament church…I can’t think of any other way to describe it.
            It’s special!

Monday, January 26, 2015

3 Ways the Book of Mormon Stands Up to Criticis

3 Ways the Book of Mormon Stands Up to Critics by Randal A Wright 26 Jan 2015

When it comes to the origin of the Book of Mormon, there are two possibilities: either Joseph Smith translated it or he wrote it — and either way would have taken a miracle. Learn three reasons behind why.

            As Elder Mark E. Petersen observed, “The Book of Mormon is a literary and a religious masterpiece, and is far beyond even the fondest hopes or abilities of any farm boy” (“It Was a Miracle!” Ensign, November 1977, 11).     
           From its discovery to its translation and publication, the coming forth of the Book of Mormon was simply miraculous—and the book itself continues to be a miracle in the lives of people all over the world. Here are three reasons why the Book of Mormon is such a miraculous work.

Reason 1: There Have Been So Few Changes to the Text

            For years critics have pointed out the 3,913 “changes” made to the first edition of the Book of Mormon. Their implication is that the book could not be true because corrections needed to be made. But, compared to other translated works, the fact that the Book of Mormon was translated in such a short time period and required so few changes is a miracle.
            Any complex manuscript will need some corrections. For example, the Bible has undergone major revisions over the years. Speaking of the King James Version, Daniel B. Wallace, a professor of New Testament Studies noted that the Bible “has undergone three revisions, incorporating more than 100,000 changes” (“Choosing a Bible Translation,” christianity.com).
            Joseph Smith was an uneducated 23-year-old farm boy when he verbally dictated the Book of Mormon manuscript. It became a 588-page, Christ-centered book filled with thousands of original phrases, brilliant doctrinal speeches, and unique names.
            When the Book of Mormon manuscript was completed, it was basically one long paragraph with very little punctuation. The young man responsible for typesetting and punctuating the first edition was John H. Gilbert, an employee of publisher E.B. Grandin not affiliated with the Church.
            Joseph Smith did not have the advantage of skilled editors and was forced to depend on scribes and a typesetter to get the spelling, punctuation, and grammar right. In fact, a majority of the 3,913 “mistakes” counted by critics in the Book of Mormon are for minor changes, like punctuation. That the original Book of Mormon manuscript needed so few changes, even with its length and complexity, provides compelling evidence that it is of divine origin.

Reason 2: The Book of Mormon Is Too Complex to be a Work of Fiction

            The Book of Mormon is a very complex and inspiring work. And yet, many critics claim it is a work of fiction written by Joseph Smith.
            One internet critic paints Joseph Smith as an ignorant fraud and then says, “The Book of Mormon is no more complex than many other works of fiction, such as J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.” He failed to point out that it took Tolkien, an internationally renowned Oxford English professor, 12 years to write his classic book. It is believed that this brilliant professor knew up to 30 different languages in various degrees. He also associated daily with other renowned fantasy writers, one of which was his good friend C.S. Lewis. Perhaps no one was better prepared to write The Lord of the Rings than Tolkien. Despite his experience, at the time he finished his book, Tolkien said: “There were some frightful mistakes in grammar, which from a Professor of English Language and Lit are rather shocking” (Dennis Gerolt, “Now Read On,” BBC Radio 4, January, 1971).
            Joseph Smith, on the other hand, grew up on a farm and had little formal education and no professional writers to give him insight and advice. He was only 24 years old when the Book of Mormon was published, and the entire manuscript was produced in approximately 63 working days. To make the feat even more daunting, he dictated the entire manuscript verbally with no notes in front of him.
            Imagine a young farm boy who never played basketball going one-on-one against an NBA superstar. Isn’t that somewhat similar to comparing Joseph Smith with Tolkien? How inconceivable would it be to think that the farm boy could actually win the game! Both The Lord of the Rings and the Book of Mormon have over 150,000,000 copies in print. There is no doubt that Tolkien’s classic is a magnificent work of fantasy. But how many young single adults leave behind school, family, friends, and jobs to share the message of The Lord of the Rings for 18 to 24 months?
            If Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon, he should be considered one of the great fiction writers of all time. If he translated it, he should be considered a great prophet. It is interesting that he receives no credit for being either from the world. But, the overwhelming evidence points to the fact that Joseph Smith could not have possibly written this remarkable book, which means he is a true prophet inspired by our Heavenly Father.

Reason 3: Joseph Smith Is Known for Good and Evil

            When Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith on September 21, 1823, he prophesied that Joseph’s name “should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues” (Joseph Smith---History 1:33.) Throughout history, people who have risen to international fame or power are usually associated with good or evil, not good and evil. Those known for evil have, in most cases, committed horrific crimes against humanity. Those known for good have often accomplished remarkable acts of service, overcome tremendous obstacles, taught life-changing principles, or left behind invaluable inventions to bless mankind.
            What horrific crimes did Joseph Smith commit to be viewed as evil? Perhaps his “crime” was similar to that of William Tyndale, who infuriated both the religious and political authorities of his day by translating the Bible into English. Because of his actions, Tyndale was condemned as a heretic and executed.
            Joseph Smith, like Tyndale, also translated into English an ancient religious record that boldly testifies of Jesus Christ. Many political and religious leaders of his day also considered this heresy. As a result, they vehemently spoke against his character and his work, they unjustly persecuted him personally and legally, and some ultimately took his freedom and his life, fulfilling Moroni’s prophecy.
            On the other side, Emmeline B. Wells, who knew him well, said: “He [Joseph Smith] was beyond my comprehension. The power of God rested upon him to such a degree that on many occasions he seemed transfigured. His expression was mild and almost childlike in repose; and when addressing the people, who loved him it seemed to adoration, the glory of his countenance was beyond description” ("Joseph Smith, the Prophet," Young Woman's Journal, Dec. 1905, 556). Today millions of individuals worldwide honor the good name of Joseph Smith while untold others revile it, just as Moroni prophesied would happen.
           The Book of Mormon is a modern day miracle that provides compelling testimony that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. It is a book filled with evidence that convinces those willing to search its pages with real intent that it is true.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

9 More Things People Get Wrong about Mormons

This goes along with my 21 Nov 2014 post....

9 More Things People Get Wrong about Mormons
Kelsey Berteaux for LDS Living 20 Jan 2015

            As a lifelong member of the Church who’s lived in a few different geographic regions, I thought I’d heard it all. I’ve fielded questions about polygamy, pioneers, dancing and Donny Osmond. (Have I also mentioned that I’m not Amish?) But then we asked you, our readers, about misunderstandings you’ve encountered about your faith.
            I hadn’t heard the half of it.
            We were amazed by the number of stories we heard about well-meaning friends and neighbors who didn't quite have their facts about "the Mormons" straight. 
            From carbonated soda consumption to having horns and tails--and pulled straight from the real-life encounters of our readers--here are a few more things people get wrong about us Latter-day Saints.
            Remember: While some of these misunderstandings are humorous or downright strange, every time someone tells you something incorrect about your faith, it's a perfect missionary opportunity. Don't ridicule--teach. 

1. "Mormonism is a cult."

            Except that it isn’t. Most Latter-day Saints have heard this before, even if it hasn’t been said to their face. Let’s clear this error up.
            By definition, a cult is “a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous” (Merriam-Webster, emphasis added).
            There are a few problems with classifying Mormonism as a cult. First is that we’re no “small religious group.” In fact, we’re 15 million members strong—and more than half of those are outside the United States.
            Second, we are also part of a “more accepted religion”: Mormons are Christians, in that we believe in God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
            Lastly, nothing about LDS beliefs is extreme or dangerous. (Unless you count supporting families, improving our communities, and trying to be “honest, true, chaste, benevolent, and virtuous” as extreme or dangerous.)

2. "Where are your horns and tail?" 

            Well, where are yours? Actually, even though I’ve heard this before, I didn’t think anyone actually believed it—at least not today. But several LDS Living readers shared their experience with this myth:
            “Did you know that Mormons have horns? True story! Back in 1977, I was talking to a sailor at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock who honestly thought that.”
            “I'm middle-aged and heard the horns and tail story from my mother, who encountered people who wanted to see hers when she was a girl.”
            “A kid in third or fourth grade said he heard that we have horns and a tail. We apparently keep our tail hidden and file down our horns so people won't know about them. Even at 8 or 9 I found that so funny that I wasn't mad or embarrassed.”
            "I had a guy on a plane get really really surprised to realize that the person he had been chatting with for a couple of hours (me) was a Mormon, because he sincerely believed that we all had horns, and I did not. No joke--an educated businessman in the '90s who was heading to Park City to ski, and he was not kidding."
            "I moved to Oklahoma when I was in second grade. The other children in my class asked to feel my horns. I guess they thought that Mormons had horns that they had to file down to fit in. I let them feel my head, no horns."
            The important thing to remember: Mormons are people, just like everybody else. Right down to our lack of horns and tails.

3. "You can’t drink carbonated sodas."

            Don’t panic if you see me order a root beer or an Italian soda—Mormons can drink carbonated beverages. (Choose the Sprite, anyone?)
            This misunderstanding doubtless comes from some Latter-day Saints who don’t drink caffeinated sodas. While we are counseled to avoid coffee, imbibing caffeine in other drinks is left for each individual to decide for his or herself.  

4. "Mormons have to wear nametags and can only ride bicycles."

            If this were true, my commute to work would be a lot longer, but at least I’d be in a lot better shape.
            You can easily guess where this misunderstanding comes from: young elders and sisters riding two by two on their missions. Given that the missionaries are the first (and sometimes only) exposure many people have to Latter-day Saints, stories like this from an LDS Living reader might not be too surprising:
            “When I was investigating the Church, my very good friend Doug pulled me aside and asked me to not get so involved with the Mormons that I would give up driving my car. I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ He went on to let me know that Mormons have to wear nametags and can only ride bicycles. Strangely enough, for 6 months of my mission in Japan I drove a car.”

5. "You don’t read the Bible; Mormons have their own Bible."

            I’m glad you told me this—you just saved me a lot of reading. Because the truth is, Latter-day Saints do read the Bible and consider it scripture. In fact, this year, Sunday lessons around the world will be teaching about the New Testament. Last year? We studied the Old Testament.
            In addition to the Bible, though, we also study other scripture which we believe complements (and does not replace) the Bible. 
            These include the Book of Mormon (where our nickname, “The Mormons,” comes from), modern-day revelation contained in a book called the Doctrine & Covenants, additional scripture including the book of Moses that’s contained in something we call The Pearl of Great Price, and the words of our modern prophets. It’s this belief in continuing revelation from heaven that is part of what sets Mormons apart from other Christian religions.

6. "You can’t use mirrors."
            Doing my hair would certainly be a lot harder if this myth were true. Thankfully, mirrors are definitely something Mormons can use.
            This misunderstanding doesn’t actually come from confusion with a vampire legend, like you might think. An LDS Living reader who heard this myth explains:
            “It came from the person seeing missionaries backing. . .up [a car] and the assumption that they did this because they could not use their rearview mirrors or something like that. It would seem they could backup without the mirrors, but I don't think the person thought of that.”

7. "Isn't that the religion that has five wives?"

            I should say not. But as an LDS Living reader pointed out, "Most of the comments I get as a recent convert are 'Isn't that the religion that has fives wives?' Very frustrating how uneducated most people are."
            It seems like there's been a resurgence of this misunderstanding with the popularity of reality TV shows like My Five Wives and Sister Wives. Admittedly, Latter-day Saints have a history with plural marriage, but that practice officially ended in 1890. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not associated with the splinter groups that are the focus of these shows, and today we do not practice or promote plural marriage.

8. "Why are you wearing make-up?"

            Because I want to--I feel it makes me more confident and beautiful. (But to each their own.) My decision to wear mascara is an entirely personal one that has nothing to do with my religion, even if that's what some people mistakenly think:
            "In high school, I was told that if I was Mormon I was not allowed to wear makeup and that I was supposed to wear a long, black dress. When I told this girl she was mistaken, she insisted that she was right and told me, 'Go home and ask your mom.'"
            "I've also got: we aren't allowed to color our hair, paint our nails, or wear makeup, [and] we make our own clothes."
            This sort of misunderstanding doubtless stems, once again, from confusing Mormons with the Amish . 

9. "Why do you put holes in your underwear?"

            Maybe I've taken to heart the adage, "Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without." But I definitely consider underwear with holes in it "worn out!"
            Here's what one LDS Living reader had to say about this misconception: 
            "I work in healthcare, and when I was a student, one of my mentors at a fieldwork site kindly and respectfully asked me if she could ask me a question about being LDS. I said okay. Her question was that she had heard LDS people put holes in their underclothes and she was curious why! I corrected her misunderstanding, explained where I thought that misconception evolved from, and used that to teach her and educate in case she ever had an LDS patient in the future."
            But what could be the reasoning behind this "myth"? Another reader shared their experience:
            "A few months ago my Chiropractor asked me if it was true that our 'underwear' had holes in it in the same place Joseph Smith was shot."
            Myths about the temple garment are plentiful--and luckily, the Church just recently released a video to clear up misunderstandings like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkTz_NQqKA8

Friday, January 16, 2015

Christ in the Book of Mormon

101

Different names used to reference Christ in the Book of Mormon

3,925

Verses that reference Christ in the Book of Mormon

1.7

Average number of verses that pass between each reference to Christ in the Book of Mormon

3

Jaredites who saw the Savior, as recorded in the Book of Mormon

22

Total named prophets who saw the Savior in the Book of Mormon