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Home | Tag Archives: Latter-Day Saints

Tag Archives: Latter-Day Saints

Video+Story: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Announces Reminder, Not a Rebrand

In August of 2018, President Russell M. Nelson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints accounted that the Church has launched a major effort to use the full name of the Church, rather than terms such as LDS, Mormon or anything that detracts from the full name of the Church.

“The Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name He has revealed for His Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints,” said President Nelson. “We have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with His will. In recent weeks, various Church leaders and departments have initiated the necessary steps to do so.”

When President Russell M. Nelson made this announcement a style guide was released that read, in part, “Please avoid using the abbreviation ‘LDS’ or the nickname ‘Mormon’ as substitutes for the name of the Church, as in ‘Mormon Church,’ ‘LDS Church,’ or ‘Church of the Latter-Day Saints.”

On Tuesday, the Church began changing the name of Church ran websites, social media properties, mobile apps and more.

According to a statement released by the First Presidency, the following changes have gone into effect:

The name of the Church was given by the Lord Himself when He instructed: “For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Doctrine and Covenants 115:4). To be true to that charge, we are changing the names of many of the Church’s global communication channels as follows:

  • LDS.org will become ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
  • The missionary-focused website Mormon.org will be changed to ComeUntoChrist.org.
  • Church social media accounts will emphasize the name of the Savior’s Church.

Over time, many Church communication channels in English will become part of ChurchofJesusChrist.org. In coming months, Church websites and social media accounts in other languages will be adjusted following a similar pattern. More detail can be found below or at Newsroom.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

This is a complex effort in numerous global languages and much work remains. We encourage all to be patient and courteous as we work together to use and share the proper name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world.

Jesus Christ is at the center of His Church and we will be blessed as we strive to make Him the center of our lives.

Sincerely yours,

Russell M Nelson
Dallin H Oaks
Henry B Eyring

A Short History of the Name of the Church

Doctrine and Covenants 115:4 reads, “For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have always felt this was the true name, as given by Jesus Christ to Joseph Smith, at Far West, Missouri on April 26, 1838.

In the Book of Mormon, as an example, the disciples of Jesus Christ could not agree on just what to call the Church. What Jesus Christ answered was, “take upon you the name of Christ,” The Church was then organized in 1834 as the Church of Christ.

Then, in 1834, the Church adopted a resolution to change the name to the Church of Latter Day Saints in order to distinguish it from other Christian denominations of the time. Finally, in 1838, the Lord Jesus Christ revealed to Joseph Smith what is contained in Doctrine and Covenants 115.

Since the restoration of the Church, critics and others have sought to call the Church and its followers by other names – Mormon, LDS and others.

“I do like this new direction,” said Tanya Richardson of using the full name of the Church. “It will, as President Nelson said, place our focus on Jesus Christ.”

“I’m grateful that we are now focusing on the true name of the Chruch,” said Matt Gonzales, member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the one behind The Boy Who Had 7 Talks Comic Books

“Mormon was used as a derogatory term in the 1800’s which grew on all of us and became a cute nickname. But we aren’t Mormons per se. We don’t worship Mormon or Joseph Smith for that matter. We worship Jesus Christ the Son of God. He means everything to use. And, we want the world to know we are His disciples and this is His church.”

“I was at first a little bummed about the name change, but that was only because I might be the laziest person and it was only because I didn’t want to type out a long URL,” says Alexandra M Dean, a former Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who served in El Paso.

“But, I’m so completely happy we’ve finally made the change! I cannot express the piece that comes with remembering Christ and I think this change is meant for us to do just that: remember Him. I think it’ll be a good change for the world to associate us with Christ and not just with Joseph Smith or Mormon, who are both important but definitely not the founder of this Church.”

It will be hard for many, members and non-members alike, to embrace the change to the full name of the Church, but over time, it will become second nature and help keep the focus of all on Jesus Christ.

More Content: President Nelson Discusses the Name of the Church  |  First Presidency Letter: Using the Correct Name of the Church

Other changes are:

Social media: Several Church social media accounts will consolidate and give greater emphasis to the name of the Savior’s Church. These social media channels will publish content more focused on living and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • A new Facebook group has been established to build community and better inform individuals about Church news and updates. This
    group is called “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—Inspiration and News.” This group is designed to be a place
    of community and connection for Latter-day Saints.
  • The Church’s Twitter account display name will continue to be called “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” with the
    username of @ChurchNewsroom and will be the primary source on social media for news from the Church.
  • Mobile Apps: Many of the Church’s mobile apps will be renamed to align with recent direction from Church leaders regarding the naming of Church products.
  • LDS Music becomes “Sacred Music”
  • The Gospel Library app keeps the same name

Video+Gallery+Story: Expanding the Faith – Latter-Day Saints Add Temples Worldwide

All through its history, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been building temples. In January 1833, Joseph Smith received revelation from Heavenly Father that he, Joseph Smith, should build a house that is holy unto the Lord. Then, later that year,Heavenly Father spoke to Joseph Smith again.

“Yea, verily I say unto you, I gave unto you a commandment that you should build a house, in the which house I design to endow those whom I have chosen with power from on high,” Doctrine and Covenants 95:8 

The first Temple to be built was dedicated in March of 1836, in Kirtland, Ohio. Because of persecution the early Saints suffered , they were forced to flee the area and abandon the temple. Upon their departure, the temple became an ordinary home.

Last October, at the conclusion of the 188th Semiannual General Conference, President Russell M. Nelson announced plans to build 12 new temples around the world.

That announcement brought the number of temples that are operating, announced or under construction to 201.

Where are those new temples being built?

Mendoza, Argentina
Salvador, Brazil
Yuba City, California
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Praia, Cape Verde
Yigo, Guam
Puebla, Mexico
Auckland, New Zealand
Lagos, Nigeria
Davao, Philippines
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Washington County, Utah

Just before the announcement of these new temples, I began to receive emails asking me just why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints continues to build temples, and why we even need temples in modern times.

“There is nothing new,” said one email, “to be given in temples. According to scripture, all prophesy has ended, and there is nothing new to be revealed.”

“Things like this were only for the Jewish people way back when,” wrote Janice. “What’s the point of it now?”

“Why today?” asked Tamara. “Why these temples the Mormons build? You can get that from a church!”

To find answers I decided to meet with Robert Dinsmoor, a member of the Bishopric of the El Paso Young Single Adult Ward.

We’ve met with Robert to learn about the first Chapel the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints built in Texas (it was right here in El Paso) and about how Joseph Smith’s simple prayer let to the restoration of the Church.

“Why is it important that we have temples in these days? And it’s for a multitude of reasons. Number one, where our hearts are, that’s where our direction and our guidance will be. If our hearts are looking at, I want the latest Camaro, I want the latest, whatever type of vehicle want the latest truck. I want the latest, something else. I want the latest additions to the house. That’s where our minds are. That’s where our hearts are. That’s where goal is,” said Dinsmoor.

“But the temples help us to lead our direction back to Heavenly Father.”

Unlike a church or a chapel, a temple is different.

“Temples are not like ordinary chapel,” explained Dinsmoor. “They’re not a place that you go to for Sunday services. It’s a place where you go for special ordinances.”

In the time of the First and Second Temple in Israel, the temple was not a place where one went for Shabbat. You didn’t visit the Temple for your Bar Mitzvah, your wedding, or for a funeral. The Temple then, as now, was a sacred site set apart for particular ordinances.

In the Temple, the one in Israel, people would come from all over the world, wherever Jewish people were to be found, to offer sin offerings, to dedicate their first born. These were not things you could do at home or in the Shul you attend for Shabbat. No, these were acts set aside by God to be performed in His Temple.

The temple found today are no different. They exist to allow members of the Church to perform sacred ordinances such as baptism for the dead, marriage and sealings to your family, endowments and more. These are acts that have been restored to the Church and are to be performed in a place set apart. Sacred ordinances performed in a sacred space, a temple, set aside for just that purpose. (You can learn more about temples here)

“Why do they need to have a lot of them?” That’s the question Amber sent me. “They got [sic] temples all over the place, why build one on each side of the earth?”

That is a good question. I began this piece by saying the total number of temples is approaching 201. Temples are to be found on almost every continent and in almost every country. There is, however, a practical reason for that. (You can see a map of all the temples run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints here)

Imagine you are a member of the Church living in Peru. Your job may not pay you very much, and you may just be living paycheck to paycheck. You are to be married, and you want to be married in the Temple. If there were just one temple and that temple located in Salt Lake City, Utah, then a temple marriage would most likely be out of the question.

Currently, there are two temples in Peru. The first one, in Lima, Peru, was announced April 1981 and dedicated January 10, 1986, by Gordon B. Hinckley. The second temple, in Trujillo, Peru, was announced in December 13, 2008, and dedicated by Dieter F. Uchtdorf June 21, 2015.

These two temples make it easier for those living in Peru to receive temple ordinances.

“I think of Christ when he lived on the earth as a young boy when He let his parents know that he had to be about his Father’s business and he went up to the temple, and he was talking and preaching and teaching there at the temple as a young boy. And then again as a man that he was going there to the temple. His thought was we need to be doing our Heavenly Father’s business and not seeking after our own selfish desires. And that’s one thing that the temple does, is it helps us get rid of selfish desires and help our time to help ancestors, to help others, and to grow closer to Heavenly Father,” said Dinsmoor. “So I cannot think of a time in this world and the history of the world when temples are more important than they are today.”

In the end, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints continues to build temples in order to allow the members of the Church access to the sacred ordinances established by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The temples are also built, in abundance, to make it easier for
members to access and time to visit the temples.

Near to us, we have two temples. There is one in Juarez and one in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There are temples being built all over the world today. Before these temples are dedicated there is a period where members of the general public can take tours and see the temples for themselves.  (For a list of upcoming open houses click here.)

Gordon B. Hinckley said, “though I live with it, this matter of temple construction is a thing of awesome wonder to me. We are trying to build in such a way and in such places across the world that these houses of the Lord may stand and serve through the Millennium.”

I’ll give the final quote to David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “The temple is a point of intersection between heaven and earth. In this sacred place, holy work will be performed through selfless service and love. The temple reminds me of all that is good and beautiful in the world.”

***

Robert Dinsmoor, in the video above, talks about temples, their importance in history and so much more. I invite you to take the time to watch that video.

If you have any questions about the temples, their use, purpose, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in general, send me an email. Your questions will be used for future articles. You can reach me at Steven@EPHeraldPost.com

Have a story you want to share? Get in touch with Steven at the email above, or call 915-201- 0918.  Follow Steven on  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram |  Patreon

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Photos courtesy of Robert Dinsmoor  Drone footage during the last part of the video courtesy of DanesDrone

Video+Gallery+Story: A Question and Prayer – Joseph Smith and the Mormon Faith

How did the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or the Mormon Church, get its start? How did Joseph Smith conclude that he had to start a Church? When you ask around, the answers vary from person to person.

“Don’t know how they got their start,” said Maria Escalante of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. “I think it had to do with something like wanting freedom.”

“They have this thing about God having to show Himself to them,” says Bobby Tovar. “Something about God telling them to start a Church.”

Quite simply, it started with a question and prayer. It started with Joseph Smith, a fourteen-year-old boy, desiring to know which church he should join.

New York State, like most of the country, was undergoing a religious revival. In cities across the country, church membership was going up. New churches were built; ministers were going out into public squares and spaces to preach the doctrines and beliefs held by their denomination.

Each feeling they were doing the will of God and helping to expand His kingdom.

For a boy of fourteen, it was a turbulent time. “What is to be done,” Joseph Smith had often said to himself. “Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any of this be right, which is it, and how shall I know?”

It was after pondering questions such as these that a young Joseph Smith found himself reading from James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

That passage of scripture spoke to Joseph Smith in such a way that left him with clear guidance of what he should do next. Joseph decided that he had one of two choices: follow James, and ask God what he must do; or, should he remain, as Joseph Smith put it, “remain in darkness and confusion.”

There are more than a few people who have decided to throw stones at the Mormon Church, or any Church for that matter, over how they began. Each denomination, though differing in belief, all hold to a common set of scriptures, the Bible, but approach the interpretation of them differently.

During Joseph Smith’s childhood, in New York, the order of the day seemed to be one denomination saying they were right, they held all knowledge, and every other church was wrong and in error. Imagine how confusing that could be for a boy of fourteen years of age.

As part of my research for this article, I reached out to Robert Dinsmoor, who shared with us the history of El Paso’s First Ward, the first Mormon Chapel in Texas.  

“Palmyra was a town with great religious excitement,” said Robert Dinsmoor. “Great religious revivalism is going on, particularly involving the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church, and the Baptist Church.”

The town of Palmyra, during the time of Joseph Smith, and even today, is a place of deep religious roots, and sentiment. Today, as then, where the two main roads cross, there are four churches: Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, and Episcopalian.

So, what did Joseph do? He decided to pray.

Joseph Smith decided that he needed to follow the direction found in his reading of James. He took himself away from all the noise, the ministers who were clamoring for attention and membership growth and found a quiet spot in the woods. Once there, and for the first time in his life, Joseph prayed vocally unto God to know His will.

What Joseph Smith did is not all that radical, or unheard, or new. The New Testament, in Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all things shall be added unto you.”

By searching, by praying, Joseph was seeking out, first and foremost, the Kingdom of God. By seeking, by praying, he received his answer.

As Joseph Smith was in the woods, earnestly praying to Heavenly Father, he began to feel despair and darkness. To him, it seemed, the enemy had come to drag him, as Joseph Smith recounts, to ruin.

Then, “it no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound,” recounted Joseph Smith. “When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other – “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”

This is where most people I’ve spoken to begin to have problems.

“He says that God and Jesus came to him,” says Chew Lopez. “That’s never happened to anyone.”

“Who has seen Jesus?” asks May Stewart. “No one. No one has seen Jesus after his death and His going up into heaven.”

“When has God ever appeared? I’ll tell you,” said Jake Dewall when we were discussing this, “never.”

When talking about this, the beginning of the Mormon Church, God not appearing to anyone is the one objection I hear the most. To me, that is a very closed-minded, narrow approach to what has been written in the Old Testament.

Genesis 12:7 it says, “The LORD appeared to Abram…” You’ll also read this in Genesis 17:1 and 18:1.

We have God appearing in the burning bush when He was talking to Moses. We have God talking about when he appeared to Jacob in Genesis 35:1. In 1 Kings 3:5 we have the God appearing to Solomon in a dream. These citations beg the question of when did God stop appearing to people on Earth?

“God, our loving creator, has in the past, and will continue in the present, to appear to His children on Earth,” says Brother Michael, a Franciscan and teacher back in New York City.

“I will not speak beyond my scope of knowledge,” said Brother Michael, “I want to keep it to the topic of God appearing to others. Why would anyone, regardless of faith, or denominational belief deny that God is making appearances to man, like the gift of prophecy, has come to an end?”

(Brother Michael is speaking of the belief among some denominations that miracles, prophecy, and other events found in the Bible have ended, or are not found in our world today. Many denominations believe that these came to an end with the ascension of Jesus or the passing of the Apostles)

“God,” says Brother Michael, “is infinite. He is all-powerful. Who’s to say He didn’t appear to Joseph Smith? Who’s to say He’s not appearing to someone right this moment? We must not ascribe our limited abilities to a God who is not bound by limits!”

The whole reason Joseph Smith hid away in prayer was to ask of God what church if any, he should join.

The answer he received was to join none of them.

For Joseph Smith, three years would pass before he had another Heavenly visitor. During that time, Joseph would go about his daily life. Farming, working with his hands, putting food on the table. That may have been Joseph’s daily life. There was to be more, after that first vision.

During those three years, Joseph faced ridicule and persecution for saying he had seen both God and Jesus Christ in the forest. People would mock him. Others would say he was possessed. Still, others would tell him to deny what he had seen. Through it all, Joseph Smith stood fast.

Then, Joseph Smith prayed again. This time, he wanted to know his standing before God. He wanted to know, maybe, why all of this was happening to him. Why people were mocking him, and not believing him.

While praying, the Angel Moroni appeared to him.

“He called me by name,” wrote Joseph Smith, “and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.”

“Moroni,” Robert Dinsmoor said, “is the last prophet in the Book of Mormon.”

“[Moroni] repeated various scriptures to Joseph Smith, including Malachi, including dealing with the prophecies of Joel, and dealing with a matter that Joseph Smith was to do,” said Robert Dinsmoor.

Three times, throughout the night, Moroni would appear to Joseph Smith, giving him instruction on what he should do, and how he should carry out those instructions. During these visits, Moroni told Joseph Smith of the Golden Plates on which, what is now called the Book of Mormon are written.

It was during the next day that Joseph Smith to Hill Cumorah and searched out the area where the Moroni had told him the plates were buried. When he unearthed the plates, he found that he could not lift them. No matter what he did, or how he did it, he could not take them out of where they rested. He was told, in the visions of the night before, that he could not be able to take them until the time was
right.

Each year, at the end of the year, Joseph Smith would visit the place where the plates were hidden. At each visit, during those four years, Moroni would speak to Joseph Smith, and provide instruction for the what Smith was to do in the very near future.

Then, the time came for Joseph Smith to remove the plates and begin translating them. He unearthed them one final time and was able to remove them.

“People all around were hearing rumours that Joseph Smith might have some golden plates or be able to get some golden plates,” said Robert Dinsmoor. “There were people, Joseph Smith let the Methodist Minister know about his vision of Heavenly Father and Christ, so there was a lot of opposition coming towards the Smith family.”

“Prophets, as found in the Old Testament, did not have an easy lot,” says Brother Michael. “Many were despised for that special relationship they had with God. Many were accepted, yes. Many, still, were despised. Even Jesus was not all that welcome in His home city.”

Brother Michael, though not a Mormon, says it’s easy to see how Joseph Smith, nor the message he was delivering would be accepted right away.

“Jesus Christ has said that no prophet is accepted in his hometown,” shares Brother Michael. “The human condition is such that when sinful society is confronted by God, through His prophets, about their sin, they are most inhospitable.”

The same was true for Joseph Smith. As he was translating the Book of Mormon, as he was gathering those who would become the first members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he was reviled, persecuted, and hated.

“Imagine,” says Brother Michael, “if a prophet were called by God today. How would they be treated? I know the LDS Church feels that their leaders are prophets, called of God. Look at these men, how does a sinful world treat them, react towards them and their message?”

This marks the beginning of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. When Joseph Smith began to translate the plates into what would become the Book of Mormon, he began to see this as a restoration of the Church in the fullness of time.

Joseph Smith would later pray for, and receive the restoration of the priesthood, beginning with the Aaronic Priesthood. He and Oliver Cowdery would receive instruction from John the Baptist, and they would baptise each other. Temples would be founded; a migration
would begin for the Saints to move west, to Utah.

Eventually, Joseph Smith would be arrested, and martyred (what else would you call having a bunch of people, armed to the teeth, shooting at you while you are locked in a cell?)

There is so much more I could write about the beginnings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. There’s so much I left out of this article! I do invite you to take the time to watch the video above with Robert Dinsmoor.

The larger part of the video is a presentation he made that talks about the start of the Church, as well as giving you a glimpse into historic sites along that journey.
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This story is part of my Year of Faith series. If you would like to have me come out and learn about your church, call me at 915-201-0918 or send an email to steven@stillgoingsomewhere.com  Follow me on FacebookTwitter  and Instagram

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