If someone were to ask you to define your Mormon beliefs, would you find it difficult?  Where would you even begin?  I think this is a really good question to ponder.  After all, Jon Huntsman, who one would presume to have the ability to express himself articulately on just about any subject, seemed to stumble when he was basically asked this very question in a recent interview.   He responded by suggesting that Mormonism is difficult to explain.  Really?

For just a minute, lets put ourselves in his position and ask the same question.  How would we have responded?  I'm not here to necessarily be critical of Brother Huntsman, but more I'm using this scenario to help us clarify our own response.  Actually, he was asked if he was still a Mormon and he responded by saying "That's tough to define".

Again, really?

Perhaps we can help him out...

If you live the gospel in a way that others outside of our faith would notice, you've probably been asked the question -- What do Mormons believe about... ?  It could be Word of Wisdom related, modesty, Sabbath Day observance, etc...  When this happens, you immediately have a teaching opportunity.  We should always be prepared to confidently share our beliefs with others who sincerely want to understand what makes us different.

Perhaps the better question to ask ourselves is - WHY we believe?  Why we don't smoke and drink?  Why we don't wear immodest clothing? Why do we go to Church for three hours every Sunday?  Why do we go to the temple? Why do we wear funny underwear?  I could go on and on, but hopefully you get where I'm going...

As we begin to consider some of these questions, this should bring us closer to an understanding of how we can better share the gospel.  We don't want to begin our explanation (sharing our testimony) by inferring that how we act has to do with just being Mormon -- following a religious list of rules.   That's not enough and it teaches nothing.  "I don't _______ or I do ________ because I'm Mormon" is a convenient and polite response -- leaving the one who inquires flat broke.

Most people who know a Mormon can easily tell you what we do and don't do -- but few could explain the WHY.   LDS members need to be better at recognizing and taking opportunities to teach.  I realize that not every person who asks a Mormon a question about our religion is looking for a detailed explanation.  However, when we do sense a genuine interest in our beliefs, we should be prepared to share that which will allow the Spirit to confirm.

The Spirit confirms truth -- and here it is...   The reason that we, who call ourselves Mormon, have chosen to follow living prophets is because (and here's the why) we believe and accept that the original Church that Jesus Christ organized when He was upon the earth has been restored!   We boldly proclaim that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the re-established original Christian Church!  And yes, this is bold.

It is upon this foundational understanding that Mormonism exists.  The Book of Mormon was given to us, through the prophet Joseph Smith Jr., as a testimony that this is the work of the Lord.  The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion -- as firmly witnessed by many living prophets!  We can talk about forever families, modesty, the Word of Wisdom, temples, etc...  and it's all wonderful, but if these conversations lack the foundation for why we do what we do -- then our power to convert others is diminished.

Our Mormon missionaries, when given the opportunity to teach, present as the foundation upon which they will continue to build, the lesson on The Message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This lesson is presented upon the greatest foundation of all -- that God loves His children and has continually striven to be heard, by those who would listen to His messengers.

We can learn by this pattern, how to most effectively share the message of Mormonism.  If we are not comfortable discussing the apostasy and the need for a complete restoration, then we could study the lesson in Preach My Gospel.  It's an excellent resource for all members who want to study the basic doctrines and teachings of the LDS Church.   You might also appreciate a more simplified version found in the Gospel Principles Manual.

I'm not suggesting that it is necessary for you to be prepared to teach the entire lesson on the apostasy and restoration.  I am suggesting that you become familiar enough to present an understanding of this basis for the Mormon religion, as a starting point for gospel discussions.  With this introduction it is much easier to lead people to the importance and significance of the Book of Mormon.

So the next time someone asks you why you don't drink or why you don't see R-rated movies, etc...  try to avoid blaming Mormonism.  Instead, you might consider asking them if they really want to know?   And chances are they will respond in the affirmative -- opening the door to a truly informative conversation where they will go away having learned something very important about the Mormon Church!


Mormonism is The Re-established Original Christian Church

Introduction to Mormon Beliefs

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