Having lived in the Mormon Mecca of Utah from 1997-2002 and in the highly tolerant New Orleans from 2002-2007, I had forgotten just how ignorant some people can be about my religion. It's not their fault. There are all kinds of lies being spread, misinformation being disseminated, rumors passed on as God's-honest-truths, and blatant bigotry manifesting itself. In the last year, either on job searches or in talking to people in my new home, I've seen that not-too-successful attempt to hide a scowl when I tell people what church I go to. I would never ever make a face about someone's religion. Most of the time, since I press the people to explain their faces or suddenly frosty attitudes towards me, it is a matter of me stating what we believe and bearing them my testimony. Afterwards the awkwardness is usually lessened. In that same hope, I write this post. To dispell myths, hints, allegations, and things left unsaid.
A few observations for those in ignorance of the beliefs of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Days Saints:
1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.
3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
5. We do not think that Joseph Smith is the Savior, only Jesus Christ can save us from our sins.
6. We are saved by grace; after we do everything that we can to obey the commandments and to repent of our sins, the Lord's grace saves us from that which we can't repay.
7. The Book of Mormon isn't the Mormon Bible. We use the King James version of the Bible. We believe that the Book of Mormon is ANOTHER TESTAMENT of Jesus Christ. And that scripture that you're all thinking about right now in Revelations is talking about the Book of Revelations, not the Bible proper. Think about it.
8. No, I don't have or want another wife. Of all the candidates for president, Mitt Romney is one of the few who has only ever had one wife.
Jesus is the Christ. Mormons are Christian. Just because someone doesn't share your belief about Jesus doesn't mean that they aren't Christian.
One thing is for certain: trying to be like Jesus is really hard.