I Just Can’t Help Believing

“I hold [a] creed…which I seldom mention, but in which I delight, and to which I cling, for it extends hope to all; it makes eternity a rest.”

-Jane Eyre

I’m not politically-inclined. I’m far too interested in other, far more trivial matters. Some day when I grow up, maybe I’ll give more credence to things of consequence. Still, since I don’t live under a rock in a deep, dark cave somewhere in Siberia, it hasn’t escaped even my notice that Mormons (also called Latter-Day Saints [LDS for short] because we belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints…[exhale] )are getting a lot of limelight due to good old Mitt. I’ve never been one to broadcast my beliefs or “inflict” them on others who are not inquiring after it. But, as I’m sure more curiosity will arise as the primaries continue, I think it pertinent to paint a little picture of what Mormons stand for- not just being scared of beer and sex- in a way that is humanizing. I feel like ever since Prop 8 and our alleged “gay-bashing” (a perfect case of “certain shades of limelight ruining a girl’s complexion”) that there are quite a lot of miscreances regarding exactly what beliefs Mormons ascribe to.

Our most basic doctrines can be found in what we refer to as The 13 Articles of Faith. These were developed by Joseph Smith during the early organization of the LDS church to help delineate our beliefs. Because they were written almost 200 years ago, and if you’re not a Mormo yourself, they can be rawtha difficult to apprehend. So, I’ve quite graciously taken it upon myself to put them into Brittany-ish terms, just in case anyone who stumbles upon this here bloggity-blog is curious about Mitt and Mormo’s in general.Andddd we’re off….

1. We believe in the same Godhead that most of Christianity does. We believe that it is comprised of God our Heavenly Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. We believe that they are three separate beings, but united in their purpose to bring to pass the joy of mankind.

2. We believe that men are accountable for their own individual sins/transgressions/screw-ups, etc., and not for Adam’s decision to partake of that scintillating fruit.

3. We believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, made an atonement for all of mankind, and that if individuals choose to abide by His principles and live in accordance with how He did, that they may gain eternal joy (aka get to Heaven).4. The first basic principles of the gospel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints focus on four ordinances (sacred, formal acts). They are: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance (recognizing and making restitution for transgressions against God), baptism by immersion (meaning we are fully immersed under water as opposed to the more traditional baptismal methods of sprinkling water on the baptize-ee), and, finally, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost as a constant companion through the power of the priesthood (God’s power given to men to righteously employ on Earth for His purposes).

5. Like any organization, religious or otherwise, there are certain offices that must be held in order to accommodate the needs of it’s patrons and to ensure that it runs efficiently. In the LDS church, these offices are referred to as callings, and they are all voluntary. Callings are not mandatory and can be either accepted or given a “thanks, but no thanks”. We believe that in order for an individual to be issued a calling, that individual must be living in accordance with the commandments of God. We also believe that individuals are called to those appointments through personal revelation from God to his priesthood holders who are earnestly seeking out the needs of the congregation as a whole.

6. The officiating of the LDS church is made up of modern-day prophets and apostles. We believe that a prophet is the mouth-piece for our Heavenly Father. He prayerfully seeks counsel from God and does his best to guide the patrons of the church according to the counsel that he receives through that personal communion with God. We believe that an apostle is anyone who follows Christ, much like the disciples we read about in the Bible.

7. A fundamental aspect of our gospel is our belief that personal revelation is real. We believe that God can and does communicate with His children by and through any means in which an individual receives inspiration.

8. Contrary to popular belief, we DO believe in the Bible, as far as it has been translated correctly. We believe the Book of Mormon to be a companion to the Bible, not a replacement for it.

9. We believe that, just as He did during Biblical times, God continues to communicate with His children through personal revelation.10. We believe that Christ was born, lived, was crucified to atone for the sins of mankind, and rose to live again. We also believe that He will return to reign on Earth again (referred to as The Second Coming).

11. We believe that it is every man’s privilege to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience; though we as Latter-Day Saints choose to believe in and worship a Heavenly Father, we also believe that every human being should be able to worship how, where, and whatever they choose to worship.

12. We believe in honoring the laws of the land. (Except for anything relating to Provo Parking Enforcement. No one will ever be held accountable for any infraction committed against them, since they play for Team Satan.)

13. Brace yourself, this is a long one… We believe in being honest, in being virtuous, and in attending to the welfare of “our fellow man”. We, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, strive to seek after things that are uplifting and edifying; things that will contribute to a full life. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good-report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things. On the converse, we try to abstain from anything that is corrosive or obscene to any aspect of our well-being, albeit physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, etc. You could say that we follow Paul’s admonition to be ever-believing, ever-hopeful, and ever-enduring.
Hopefully that elucidated some of the fine-print. To me, being a member of this church simply means that in my heart of hearts, I just want to be like Him, whatever that takes. WWJD I guess. Though you’ll never, I repeat NEVER, see me rock one of those repulsive bracelets. I simply won’t do it.Peace and Love.

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