April 2014 ~ Dear Miss Mormon

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What is fasting and why do it?

Dear friend,
Have you ever been so busy that when the clock struck 5 o'clock you realized you hadn't eaten all day? Well sorry, but that's not fasting. Have you ever counted weight watcher points or cut calories trying to squeeze into those old jeans? Ya, nice try, that's not fasting either. Growing up I was encouraged to fast by my parents, however, there were many times when I simply went hungry for a day instead. My pointless hunger could have all been made worthwhile if I had only understood why we fast. (**side note-- In my parents defense, it was not from a lack of effort on their part to get me to understand...being Mormon doesn't always mean you're not stubborn!) Since then, I have learned fasting is not only to go without food or drink for a period of time, but to do so combined with sincere prayer.

In the Book of Mormon, a young missionary named Alma runs into friends he hasn't seen in a very long time. As I read about their meeting, I get the sense that at first he was a little nervous about who his friends would have become after all the time they had been away as his joy was "added more" to see "they were still his brethren in the Lord". What allowed them to stay strong in their faith? "for they had many afflictions", what kept them close to the Lord? Their experience gives us an example to follow for "they had given themselves to much prayer and fasting, therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with the power and authority of God." (Alma 17:2-3,5 emphasis added)

Fasting allows us to be more sensitive to the spirit, and to give greater strength to our faith. Now as I fast I always start and end with a prayer. Throughout the day I try to reflect on the thing I've chosen to focus my fast on; whether that be a question, a person, or a struggle I may be having. I'll be honest, its hard at first to look past the hunger, but when I do, I feel the spirit more strongly and know I'm closer to it than I was before. Happy fasting!

With much love,
Miss Mormon
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Are Mormon's christian?

Dear Friend,

You'd be surprised how many times I've been told that I'm not. Even as we are talking to people about why we celebrate Easter; this question/concern has come out time and time again.

When I was younger, probably 8 or 9, I was finished playing at a friends house and my mom came to pick me up. When I got in the car and shut the door I told my mom about a conversation I had with my friend. This is, to an effect, my conversation with my mom:

me: so-and-so asked if we were christian and I told her no.

mom: (laughing) why did you say no?

me: because, I told her we're mormon!

mom: do you belive in Jesus Christ?

me: yes...

mom: do you follow what He teaches?

me: ya...

mom: (still laughing) then you're christian!

So if I didn't know I was a christian for the first 8 or 9 years of my life, I can't expect you to know either. Many other christian denominations feel we aren't to be considered christian because of our doctrinal differences. However our claim is we are christian. The only reason we differ doctrinally is because of further modern-day revelation from God. However, this revelation does not dispute nor change the fact that Christ is still our Savior. We follow Him, we are saved by Him, and we are trying to become more like Him always.

One of my favorite hymns we sing at church is titled: "Come Follow Me". In the first verse we sing:

"Come follow me",  the Savior said
then let us in His footsteps tread
for this alone can we be one
With God's own, loved begotten son.

An apostle of the Lord said: "following Christ is not a casual or occasional practice, but a continuous commitment and way of life that applies at all times and in all places."(Followers of Christ, Dallin H. Oaks, April 2013) We do not put anyone or anything above our Savior, Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father who sent Him. And we try to live our lives in such a way that displays that devotion to Him.

If you're still not sure that mormons are christian, find a mormon near you and observe their actions. Are they following "in His footsteps tread?" Are they trying to make His teachings a way of life? We aren't perfect--oh no, no, no; but we understand to some small degree where happiness comes from and "to what source [we] may look for a remission of [our] sins" (2 Nephi 25:26, Book of Mormon)

So now you know...pass it on :)

With much love,
Miss Mormon

link to quoted talk: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/followers-of-christ?lang=eng

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How do you know there's a prophet of God on earth today?

Dear Friend,
Given that this last weekend we were able to listen to the prophet, I was jazzed to answer this question! I guess it would be hard to believe that there is a modern-day Moses; a man worthy enough to speak to us for God. The other day as I was inviting a man to come and listen to the prophet he asked skeptically: if he's a prophet why haven't I heard of him? My answer: well, now you have.

For me, knowing God has called a prophet again, comes from an experience in my freshman year of high school. A temple (yes, like Solomon's) was built about an hour and a half from where I lived. In honor of this exciting event we participated in a celebratory performance right before the temple was dedicated. Now, I have to confess, I wasn't a very willing participant if my memory serves me correctly. It quickly became a chore to practice and practice and practice again each week. It was hot as we practiced every saturday in the summer and I could think of much better activities I could be spending my saturdays on rather than practicing the same dance over and over.

To say I had a poor attitude about the whole thing would be an accurate observation. Despite all that, I made it through the summer and did the perfomance.

The day of the actual performance was exciting, hundreds of Mormon youth were running around in colorful costumes excitedly meeting and laughing with one another. I have to admit, it was really fun! There was a certain camaraderie born from being with people you knew had spent a large portion of their time doing the same thing you had been doing all summer. Looking back, it must have been a nightmare for all the adults trying to coordinate everything.

There was also a sense of excitement as we waited for the prophet to arrive. We knew the prophet was coming to see our performance and we waited with great anticipation! I had never seen the prophet in person, and I didn't know what to expect. I remember when he finally walked in. The air became electric, it was something I had never felt before. In that moment I knew without a doubt that the kind, elderly man standing before me was a prophet called of God. He raised his cane in sweet salutation and tears sprang up in my eyes. I started to realize that the spirit had witnessed to me a sweet and simple truth that I have kept with me all the years that have followed.

God is real, He speaks to us today, and He has called a line of prophets to remain on the earth until Christ comes again. You hadn't heard? Well, now you have :)

With much love,
Miss Mormon
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Friday, April 4, 2014

What would you say if you met your Maker today?

Dear Friend,
 Whoa, we're going deep today. I have to admit, I've been sitting on this question for a few weeks now. Its a hard question to answer, but I'll try.

If I were to die today and stand before my Savior, in my mind's eye I can see Him and I together clear as day. In this imaginary moment I look so small, perhaps it is my feelings of humility or unworthiness to be in His presence that cause me to shrink. Either way, I look up at Him, the worry clearly displayed on my face as all my shortcomings and sins run through my mind in an instant. Why couldn't I have been better? Why did it take me so long to learn those lessons? I'm rapidly recognizing that I didn't do enough to get to where I've always wanted to go.I've strayed too many times, and learned too few of the lessons I needed to. My heart sinks and my head drops to my chest, and all I can say is: "I tried my best". I feel the tears run from my eyes and I wait for His judgement. It's then that He steps a little closer and extends His hands, palms up, exposing the prints in His hands. I look up at His face and He smiles as if to say: "It's ok, I did it for you."
 
Some friends have expressed that they feel Mormons are trying to earn their way into heaven--we all know that isn't possible. But as I imagine standing in front of my Savior, who did everything for me, I have to wonder,"how much more remorseful would I be if I didn't at least try to be better for Him?"

With much love,
Miss Mormon


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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What is the Book of Mormon and do we even need it?

Dear Friend,
This morning is a good morning. The sun is filtering through the blinds onto my desk as I sit barefoot, tipped back in my chair (like I was always trained not to) wearing my new favorite yellow dress,    quietly thinking about your question as the refrigerator hums in the background.
Pretty soon I'll get up, put on my socks and my fading black shoes, and make sure my little black badge is on straight. Just before leaving, I'll stick a copy of the Book of Mormon in my bag and head out the door.
The Book of Mormon that I put in my bag every day--the very book you're asking about, is the keystone to my religion and my life.
 The first sentence in the introduction to the Book of Mormon reads, "The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible." If you were to hold a copy of the Book of Mormon in your hands and look at the cover, under the title you would see the bold declaration: "Another Testament of Jesus Christ."
Because God, our Heavenly Father, loves us, He has provided the Book of Mormon as pure evidence of His restored truth. When Noah sent out the dove to search for land, it brought back a branch to signify its discovery. The branch was evidence that there was more out there than just water, it provided a sign from God that He had not forgotten His children. The Book of Mormon, like the branch, is a witness that there is more. Through a prophet named Joseph Smith, Heavenly Father has restored truth back to earth, the very truth Christ Himself taught when He was on the earth--and the Book of Mormon is proof of that.
there is a promise given to men and women everywhere in the last chapter of the Book of Mormon, it says:

 Behold, I would exhort [which means urge] you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how amerciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and bponder it in your chearts.
 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would aask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not btrue; and if ye shall ask with a csincere heart, with dreal intent [or willingness to act], having efaith in Christ, he will fmanifest the gtruth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may aknow the btruth of all things.

I sit here, at my desk, in my yellow dress, in the warm sunlight, happy; because I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that this morning is a good morning, because of the Spirit I feel and things that I know to be true. Friend, I invite you to accept a free gift from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, your own copy of the Book of Mormon. Read it, pray about it, and  then act on it, I can only promise you happiness from there. :)

With much love,
Miss Mormon
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