October 2014 ~ Dear Miss Mormon

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Confessions of a lifelong convert

**for all the friends who were asking for advice in regards to investigating or joining the church..This ones for you :)

Dear friend(s),
Ok, you caught me...I'm a lifelong convert.

Yes I was raised in this church

Yes I went to girls camp, EFY, and stake dances---very Mormon of me

And yes, I'm still a convert

If I sat here writing you today and said: "I know that my mom knows the Book of Mormon is true" You could close out this window of your browser and move on with life satisfied you had found a Mormon robot.

# I'mnoInspectorGadget

Trust me, blood, sweat, and tears have gone into the formation of my convictions.

And it was all worth it.

I've seen how life will give you lemons and expect you to turn it into lemonade, I've also seen the gospel become your sugar, pitcher, and ice.
So if you're thinking about joining--even a little bit--let me throw out there some pointers that have helped me and countless others I've watched go through the same process.

Conversion tip #1: Actually read the actual Book of Mormon
I love Google, really, I do. How else and I suppose to figure out my chemistry homework or the top 100 documentaries of all time? But for some things Google just doesn't cut it. Any lasting belief has to come from reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it. Simple as that.

Conversion top #2: Be specific!
Too many times I've heard friends say: "well, I'm just asking God to point me in the right direction" or "I prayed that God would show me the way and now I'm waiting".

Waiting for what?!

Now I'm not knocking any prayer, because any conversation someone has with God is a good one. The problem I foresee with those statements is that they are so general people can rarely identify God's answer. My invitation to you is when you pray, to use something similar to this language:

"Heavenly Father, is the Book of Mormon true?"

Simple, but as you listen to the feelings you get you will recognize His specific answer to your specific question.

Conversion tip #3: Go to church
Pretty straight forward. There are people there who have been where you are and are more than willing to help you on your own journey. There is a spirit at church and a reverent nature about the service that will give you the opportunity you need to commune with God. All good and essential things for receiving answers.

Conversion tip #4: Good things come to those who wait
If you don't have patience already, God may take this as an opportunity to teach you some. The Book of Mormon may be hard to understand, prayer may be foreign, and you may not get anything out of the service the first time you attend church, Don't give up.
When I was introduced to algebra it looked like a bunch of nonsense. New things can seem strange and frustrating when we don't get it right away, it doesn't mean they're wrong. Remember, your on a learning curve, so be patient with both God and yourself .

Friends, know that you will never reach a point, in this life at least, when you will know everything. God knew this from the beginning, which is probably why He's been teaching us about faith ever since. Have faith that God is aware of you, He's listening and if you're patient He will help to turn your lemons into the best lemonade you've ever tasted.

With much love,
Miss Mormon--(the convert)

Thank you Al Fox for always having cute meme's for me to express myself with :)

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hi i am 19 years old and from Kazakhstan! I got baptized last year! I have some questions to you! I am having some problems with my mom and She is a very strong muslim and she is pretty against for that I am a mormon! She does not want me to go to the church and soon I am going to study at univeristy but where i am going there is no our church and it makes me so sad! I need your advice! Thanks!

Dear friend,

First congrats on hitting your year mark as a member of the church! That's so exciting! I've seen what a hard road joining the church can be and the bravery and faith that's required, kudos to you, I'm really proud of you.

I've found that some people just don't agree with what we believe, and that's fine. Really, the gospel of Jesus Christ as I understand it to be, is not about winning the argument, or having the last word, its about finding the truth God wants us to discover and then living it to the best of our abilities.

As you hold to your standards your family and friends will at least respect you for your morals and values. As you stand firm, I think Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (the apostle) would welcome you into a circle that can only be correctly and effectively described as discipleship. In the book of Acts in the bible, chapter four; Peter and John are arrested and beaten for talking about Christ. When being released, the council "commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus and let them go." The next verse is one of my favorites, it says:

vs.41 And they departed from the presence of the council rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name"

At times in your life you may face similar "councils" or opposition, its is in those moments that you will feel Peter and John standing next to you as you stand tall and in defense of what you know to be true.

In 2004 the state of Florida was hit by 3 hurricanes in a row--yeah...3. A member of the church lived across the street from the Orlando temple. As the first hurricane hit, he peeked out his front window, curious about how the temple was doing and what damage there would be. He told me because of what he saw, he would never recommend looking outside during a hurricane. It was blacker than black, all the power was out for miles and everything looked as though it had been swallowed up in the darkness. Just then as this man looked toward the temple, one by one lights started to come on and in the midst of this terrible, awful storm the temple became a beacon of light to the world.

President Monson said recently: "If you want to give a light to others you have to glow yourself". No matter where you go or who you're with, even in the darkest of places, make sure you're doing what you're suppose to so you can be a light for others.

Read your scriptures, pray, keep all the commandments and the Lord will find ways to reach you wherever you are. You are never alone, I'll stand with you and Christ will stand with you forever and always wherever you go.

With much love,
Miss Mormon

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

An atheist's response to the first 31 pages of the Book of Mormon

Dear friends,

I couldn't help but share this from a man who felt strongly enough to write out his experience from reading the Book of Mormon. I know the Book of Mormon is true and I know that if all were to read and pray about it, they too could find their answers :)

with much love,
Miss Mormon

**Per request I thought I would fill in some background information, but I'll start by saying the name of my friend will remain anonymous to protect his privacy. As best I can though I would love to share more of the story:

October 2013 I was serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Florida, Orlando Mission. It was mid-day and my mission companion and I decided to go talk to people in a specific area. As we traveled there I saw a road off to the side that caught my attention and curiosity, I quickly turned the car down that road instead of toward our initial destination. I didn't know why then, but I do now.

 Before we got out of the car we said a prayer asking to be led to a family that we could share the Book of Mormon with, three doors later is where we found my atheist friend. He was raised Lutheran, (hence the biblical knowledge demonstrated in his letter) but later in life, due to all his questions, left it and decided there simply was no God. Luckily for us, he was still fascinated with different religions. He and his wife allowed us in, we introduced the Book of Mormon to him, and with his curiosity piqued he accepted it confidently saying he would have all the books of Nephi read by the time we returned in a week.

When we went back he presented us with this typed letter he had compiled after reading the first 31 pages. For the record, he's still not a member, but highly respects the church, our beliefs, and our claim to be Christians. For me the lesson learned was this: When read with an open heart anyone can find truths that will strengthen the faith they already do or do not have.

To [Miss Mormon],

I hope the following helps to keep you motivated and inspired. I hope it is confirmation that Mormon beliefs are justifiable, and deserve to be respected alongside other Christian denominations:

I just read the first 31 pages of the Book of Mormon, and was entranced by 1 Nephi chapters 8 and 10. I feel as thought I could almost stop there, and come away with something. That something is this:

The Book of Mormon should be read by all Christians.

As an Atheist, that's not the effect I thought the book would have on me. Nevertheless, I can imagine the amount of "push back" Mormons have to face, trying to convince a "Christian" to read it. What a shame. Because it is the most clearly written Christian Biblical Document. If Christians would be willing to read the text, compare it to what they already believe, most would not only agree with it, but would find that it strengthens their faith even further. 1 Nephi 10 provides a greater and more straight forward message than Paul's letter to the Romans. And Romans is considered to be the definitive New Testament Epistle. The Reformation was based on Romans. But Nephi chapter 10 tops it.

There are really only two hangups to widespread Christian acceptance of the Book of Mormon. The first, is the fact that, the Book of Mormon isn't already in the Bible. If the chapters of the book of Mormon were placed within the standard bible , and Christians just grew up knowing that 1 Nephi was found after Malachi and Jeremiah or Habakkuk...they would bite into it hook line and sinker. It would be accepted as biblical cannon. What could possibly make them object?

The second hangup ins that the origin of the book of Mormon is still relatively new. But they confuse the translation of Joseph Smith in the 1800's with the 600 BC time frame of 1 Nephi. If Christians could accept 1 Nephi as 600 BC writing they would accept what it says. Can you imagine the level of excitement they would have if the dead sea scrolls contained excerpts from 1 Nephi? (ignoring the continental logistical problem). If the ancient text was carbon dated to 600 BC with the quote, " six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem, a prophet would the Lord God raise up among the Jew--even a Messiah...a Savior of the world"... what christian would protest that? They would consider it the greatest confirmation of the actual existence of Christ!

And as for the "craziness" of the Mormon origin story, is it no worse than any biblical story? Christians believe that God carved and wrote the ten commandments on stone tablets. But gold plates are somehow impossible? Christians believe that God sent Daniel and St. John visions. But Nephi's father can't have visions? Saul a persecutor of Christians can play a surprise role in God's message, but Joseph Smith can't? Christians see Christ as an all powerful Savior of the whole human race. But Jesus isn't allowed to VISIT the whole human race? I just don't see and of these "Mormon" things as being anymore preposterous than anything else that is already accepted by all Christians.

Finally, it is massively ironic that, Christians reject Mormons in the same way Jews rejected Christians. Christians see Christianity as strengthening and clarifying the Jewish faith, but fail to even consider the strengthening and clarifying that Mormonism could do to their Christian faith.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Is Mormonism only an american religion?

Dear friend,

Recently I had the opportunity to view the new documentary released by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titled "Meet the Mormons". Really the best way to convey my response of when I was actually able to see it, is through my good friends Studio C. I imagine I looked something like this:

After getting done watching it I felt like this:

Meet the Mormons is a touching documentary about six individuals who live very different lives who also happen to be Mormon...go figure. My guess is that when you hear the word "Mormon" you immediately picture these six Mormon's living in one cookie-cutter neighborhood in Utah.

Not to knock cookie-cutter neighborhoods or Utah but this film has hardly any of either of these things. It was clear to me that much like Dorothy and Toto, Mormon's aren't just in Kansas anymore.

Alabama, Maryland, Costa Rica, Arizona, Nepal, and yes maybe a little Utah at the end were all spotlighted in this film as places where those interviewed live.The film showed a diversity in cultures, race, backgrounds, and families but they all had one thing in common--a strong faith in Jesus Christ and a desire to follow Him. Honestly, I left that film having laughed and cried and being filled with a renewed hope. If you have any inkling of a desire to see it for yourself check out meetthemormons.com to find locations near you or to request it, this weekend "Meet the Mormons" will be in theatres..in the meantime check out this preview!

Though the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints received its nickname "Mormon" in America its far from just an american religion. The Book of Mormon itself is printed and distributed in 82 different languages all over the world!

In fact, last year in the month of september my baby brother, now taller than me, left home for two years to share the gospel with the people of Ghana, Africa. (He's the goofy one on the right with his hand on the little Ghanaian girl)

As I've received emails and pictures, its clear to me the love my brother has for all the people of Ghana. His love reminds me that God's love is universal. Just like we are all diverse and unique, God's love is for each individual-- He is no respecter of persons. A quote I recently heard and love says: "God is the author of diversity". So we don't all live in Utah and we don't all live in cookie-cutter neighborhoods, but we do share a faith and a love of  the gospel that unites and gives us strength. We are reminded that despite the shape, size, or color we are all children of God.

With much love,
Miss Mormon
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Friday, October 3, 2014

Are Mormons trying to save themselves?

Dear Friend,
Grace. doesn't it sound so nice? Even by nature its a pretty word, it seems to just roll right off your tongue. But as a Mormon do I even know what it is?

Well, lets find out :)

I have a best friend, Emily Grace, who lives  up to her name well. Poised and classy, kind and forgiving; she's the most grace-full person I know.

But that's not the grace I'm really talking about, I'm talking about Christ's grace, the kind of grace that is sufficient to save us all (2 Cor 12:9).

I was talking to a man the other day who was convinced and hung up on this idea that Mormon's were trying to save themselves. I explained to him that no matter what I do or how hard I try, I can not save myself.

No if's, no ands, no way about it.

When people are observing Mormon's and all the things we are involved in as part of our religion it can appear that our efforts to be Christ-like are really a futile effort to be our own personal Christ's.
Let me be clear: none of my good deeds, as good as they may be, can qualify me for salvation. The efforts I make with this time on earth are simply me taking advantage of the gift of salvation that has been extended.
comprende? no? Here, I've heard it explained like this:
Your mom pays a piano teacher in order for you to take piano lessons. How will you pay her back? Money? No way, that's a lot of couches you'll have to search for loose change because if you're anything like me you're b-r-o-k-e. No, the way to pay your mom back is through practice! Her joy will come through watching you use her gift and improve.
I firmly believe Christ's gift was free, no strings attached, no fine print, free. I also believe it was given with a purpose in mind and that purpose is to give us an opportunity--or rather infinite opportunities for personal development and joy. I feel that, more important than the sum total of your growth, is the capacity you contain for growth potential. Grace allows us the time we need to access that growth potential.
Could you sit around doing nothing and still benefit from grace? Sure, but that's like playing 'Mary had a little lamb' over and over for years and years when you could be learning to play Mozart and Bach. The lessons are paid for, you might as well use them.
So for a Mormon who fails to understand grace, how did I do? I guess either way it doesn't matter...
Thank goodness for grace :)
With much love,
Miss Mormon
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