Sunday, October 28, 2012

Christians

Travis and I were recently asked to help teach the children's Sunday School at church. I LOVE it. It's such a good reminder of the basic principles of the gospel of Christ. We teach lessons with titles like, "I Can Be a Good Example" or "I Can Make Good Decisions."
We are currently preparing for our Primary Program (!!!), which means that the little kids sing like 6 songs during the meeting, and the entire meeting is kids taking turns to get up and say things like, "When I follow Christ, I feel happy."
It's the best and most adorable meeting of the year, and if you aren't a member of The Church of Jesus Christ, but you want to go to a meeting, GO TO THE PRIMARY PROGRAM. It's in two weeks in our congregation, and even though it's not the exact same week everywhere, it's around this time.  Track down one of your Mormon friends, and ask them if you can join them at church. I'm pretty sure they'll be psyched to oblige. There's a good chance that you'll get to see 30 little kids singing "The Wise Man built his house upon a rock."
If you want to go, but don't have any Mormon friends, find your local meetinghouse {HERE}).

Okay. Sorry that I got sidetracked, but seriously. That program will make you feel happy.

Anyway, today I was sitting in front of two  eleven-year old boys, one of whom was not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and was there with his friend. After we sang, "I'm trying to be like Jesus," I heard the non-Mormon boy (Sonny) say to a Mormon boy (Isaac), "Did you know that I'm a Christian?"
"Yeah, I am, too," whispered back Isaac.
"No," said Sonny. "I'm a real Christian. You're a Mormon."
I wanted to turn around and shush the boys, because the chorister was talking at the front of the room, but I also wanted to hear Isaac defend himself and the church. I turned and tried to sneakily watch them.
"Mormons are Christians," said Isaac. "We believe in Christ. That's what Christian means." I could see him turning in his seat, searching for confirmation that what he was saying was true. We made eye-contact and I nodded and smiled.
"We believe in Christ," he repeated. "That means that we're Christians."
Sonny slumped down in his seat and shook his head. "Mormons can't be Christians," he mumbled. "They can't. It's impossible."
"It's time to listen and be respectful," I whispered. Both boys turned towards the front, clearly feeling annoyed and confused.

Having grown-up in Minnesota, nearly everyone that I knew was religious - but they weren't members of the Church of Jesus Christ, like I am (aka Mormon) - they were mostly Lutherans or Catholics.
And they almost all believed that I was not a Christian. I have been defending myself for the last twenty years, assuring my friends, family, and even strangers that - yes, I am a Mormon. Yes, I am a Christian.
In case you are reading this, and are not Mormon and perhaps thinking, like Sonny, "Mormons can't be Christians," let me clarify:

Mormons believe that Christ is the Son of God.  We read the Bible and love and rever it as scripture. We learn about the Sermon on the Mount, we preach about the beatitudes, we paint pictures of Christ healing the lepers.  We believe that the Bible is the word of God. We believe that Christ was crucified and died for our sins. We believe that after three days lying dead in the tomb, Christ rose and lived again, and so can all people after death.
We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind can be saved.

Seriously. Why don't people believe that we are Christians?
The only reason that I can think of, is that people don't know anything about us. You have no doubt seen the "I'm a Mormon" ads by now, right? Have you watched any of them on YouTube? They're so good. Watch one right now:


That ad campaign was introduced to help misconceptions about "Mormons," because people hear the word Mormon and apparently think that we're crazy, or hate homosexuals, or we're polygamists, or that we worship someone called Mormon (we don't), or maybe they've never heard of us at all, and the "I'm a Mormon" ads are to show the world that:

1. We are Christians.

2. We are normal.
3. No. We aren't normal. We're better than normal. We're the best and coolest ever.  Okay, that's probably not a real purpose of those ads.
3. We love everybody, yo.


Also, in case you didn't know, our church is NOT called "The Mormon Church," it's called "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."
That's a long title, which is probably why we were given the nickname "Mormons." We are called Mormons, not because we worship anyone called Mormon, or because our founder was named Mormon, but because we read and believe in a book called, "The Book of Mormon." It is a book of scripture, written by and named after a prophet named Mormon.
But, just like Lutherans read "The book of Job," but do not worship Job, and just like Catholics read "The Book of John," but do not worship John, we read the "Book of Mormon" and do not  worship Mormon.
Does that make sense? (If you are interested in either reading the Book of Mormon online, or having one delivered -for free!- click {HERE})

Also, as previously mentioned, we DO believe that the Bible is scripture and the word of God. We just don't believe that it's all the scripture in the entire world.  The Book of Mormon does not contradict anything in the Bible, if anything it clarifies things. We don't believe that the Book of Mormon is a replacement for the Bible, we believe it is a companion. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ.

Because (and I cannot overstate this) We Believe in Jesus Christ. 

I believe in Christ. I know that he is the reason that my family is so happy, and that I am so happy.  I am not perfect, but Christ is and I know that he is always there to help me and teach me and lead me.
He is reason that I am strong enough to take care of two crazy little toddlers. Lately, I've been trying really, really hard to parent like Christ (I am not super awesome at this.) When my children are naughty, and I want to spank them and lock them in their room, when we are walking home from the park and they sit down in the street and scream (and I want to leave them there), when they throw their food at me, when they won't sleep at night, when they hit each other, I try out my new mantra "What if Christ was their parent? How would he deal with this?"
I am becoming stronger, calmer, kinder, more loving and understanding, and yet also - less of a pushover. I am still very far from perfect, but I know that as I try to be more like Christ, I will get better and my home will be happier.
And the really amazing thing is, I don't just have his example, I have his support. It buoys me up. It helps me keep going, and find joy in the going. Every time that I pray, I find renewed strength.  God is at the head of my family, and I love him and his Son.
So. In case you are still reading this, (did anyone make it to the end of this long post?) I just want you to know that I am a Mormon, and I am a Christian.
And, did I mention that there is a Children's Program going on in two weeks? Because there is, and you should go.  And you should bring your family.

Still have some questions about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? You should watch this video. It is pretty wonderful:




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11 comments:

Camille Spencer said...

Thank you for a good reminder. We had our primary program today. I know that grandma and grandpa had theirs last week in their ward. But they are all around the same time. It is nice to go back to basics and be reminded of the simple teachings of Christ.

Bethany G said...

This was super interesting! Thanks for posting. My husband, baby boy and I are Christians and we are going to be moving to Utah at the beginning of next year (basically because of how awesome and family friendly it seems!!). We've had a lot of questions about Mormonism, so we've done lots of research.. but, this was a super informative post. Thanks!!

Unknown said...

Becky, you rock. Thanks for all you do!

Jordan said...

Just so you know I think that post was all worth it for Bethany's comment! You make me want to be a better missionary!

Jayson and Casey said...

I loved this post! Thanks, Becky!

Polly said...

Oh Becky you amaze me daily! Thanks for this post. BTW our primary program was like a month ago so it's not the same every where.

lauraaa said...

I found this post so informative! I'm from England and have never come across Mormonism before.
Btw your family is so cute!

Angela Bailey said...

I think that the only thing I disagree with you in us the Book of Mormon. It's kind if like the fact that Catholics have the Apocrypha, which are the Intertestament books included in the Catholic Bible. I (and the Protestant church) do not recognize the Apocrypha as Canon, the same way that I do not believe the Book of Mormon to be canon. I totally respect that you believe it, but after studying/researching/praying I just don't believe it. I went to Bible College and sent away online for a Qua'ran and Book of Mormon, to study. (I feel like I need to know what other religions/denominations say about God.) The Qua'ran came in the mail. The Book of Mormon came to my lobby in the hands of two missionaries who were extremely awkward...just FYI. Haha. They had guts to come on the campus of non-denominational Christians learning how to be better ministers, teachers, etc. I was able to sit and talk with them about differing beliefs, but they could never give me real answers. They kept spouting out the same "lines" as if they had rehearsed them. It was unapealling to say the least! We invited them to hang out with us and go bowling, but they never took us up and eventually stopped coming to see me. I felt more like a lost battle to them and less like a person. I'm not saying all Mormons or Mormon missionaries are like that, but they were not a good example for me. I did my own research and spoke to my preofessors about it. It's interesting stuff, but I don't believe it to be canon, especially based on the criteria the Council of Nicea outlined when putting together the Bible.

Thanks for sharing your heart! We are sisters in Christ, even if we don't agree 100% on some minor things!

Xo,
A

Betsy Hite Reddoch said...

Yeah, like some others have mentioned the Primary Program is not all on the same day in all congregations. Ours was today and it was so totally great (though I do say so myself - I'm the chorister). Regardless, anyone that is interested can check out a meeting any Sunday, and we'd love to have you and your family join us.

Great post Becky!

The Kims said...

Beautiful.

mrs. [jeremy] bodtcher said...

hey becky, í've been stalking your blog since before you gave birth, but this is the first time I am commenting.

love this post. thanks for sharing your testimony. what a great reminder that we always have Christ's support.

because i've been reading your blog for so long, I feel like we're best friends (since I know everything about you, right?) anyways, now I have a baby of my own who's starting to get crazy attitude, I will start putting into my mantra "what would Christ do as your parent?" (haha probably not lock you in your room...)