“WHAT ARE YOU? Mormon?” This was a question I was asked almost in jest at a business conference after I had told this person that I had six children.
The answer, much to his surprise, was, “Yes, I am what some might call Mormon.” But to be more clear, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Why do some call members of our faith Mormons?
The simple answer is that it comes from our belief that both the Bible and The Book of Mormon are scripture or sacred writings of ancient prophets.
In 2018, President Russell M. Nelson, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ, asked members and media to avoid using the term “Mormon” when speaking of the Church, and rather use its correct name.
It’s a lot easier to say “Mormon” than the full name of the Church, so why bother? I think Nelson gave a good reason why we should avoid using “Mormon” to replace the name of the Church or its members.
He said, “Unfortunately, many who hear the term Mormon may think that we worship Mormon. Not so! We honor and respect that great ancient American prophet. But we are not Mormon’s disciples. We are the Lord’s disciples.”
There are countless misconceptions about the faith, beliefs and practices of Latter-day Saints. I would hope that anyone who knows me or knows members of our church would know that we strive to follow Jesus Christ.
We are Christians.
We believe that He is our Redeemer. We believe that we are saved through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We believe in His grace and glorious resurrection.
Those who earnestly read The Book of Mormon quickly realize that it is a sacred text which is another testament of Jesus Christ.
It’s a second witness that He is the Savior of the world.
Going to the source is always the best way to know the truth, rather than relying on dubious references from those who have ulterior motives.
For anyone curious about our faith, there is a fantastic opportunity to go directly to the source Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.
The Church will hold its General Conference, where the prophet and apostles speak. It’s almost like Ted Talks, but on spiritually-uplifting subjects. The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square always provides delightful music.
After I watch General Conference, I always feel uplifted, like my spiritual batteries have been charged. It can be watched on the Church’s website, ComeuntoChrist.org and on the Church’s YouTube channel.
That is where I would point someone who is genuinely seeking to know more about our beliefs.
Again, going to the source is always the best way to be informed.
I like what a former president of the Church, David O. McKay, said about the purpose of the gospel, “It is to make bad men good and good men better.”
Another former president of the Church, Gordon B. Hinkley said, “Bring with you all that you have of good and truth which you have received from whatever source, and come and let us see if we may add to it.”
There may be those who desire something more in their life.
Maybe it feels like there is something missing.
Often, those are the whisperings of the Holy Ghost guiding us back to connect with our Father in Heaven and bringing us closer to Jesus Christ.
As an apostle, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “We invite all of God’s children throughout the world to join us. Come and see! Come and serve with us. Come and belong!”
So while I am not Mormon, he was a prophet who compiled and wrote in the Book of Mormon, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The gospel of Jesus Christ brings me peace and joy.
It is available to everyone.
Issues of Faith is a rotating column by religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. Bishop Jason Bringhurst is the leader of the Mount Pleasant Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Port Angeles. His email is email@example.com.