Thursday, February 27, 2014

What Is It That Makes Us Different?

So depending on exactly where you live, you have most likely heard of Mormons before. You may be friends or co workers with one. I think we're pretty cool. But that's just me, I may be a little biased.

What makes us so cool is what makes us different from any other church in the world! We are a restored church!

And it all starts with our loving Heavenly Father! I have a firm conviction that God is the father of my spirit and He sent me to this Earth for a very specific purpose. He has shown His love for me in so many ways.

This is my family. 

Again, I think we're pretty cool (cue cheesy Mom comment). But seriously, I love my family. God has shown me how much He loves me through my family. Obviously they've been there for my whole life (except for my little brother who came about 3 years after me) so they know me better than anyone else in the world (except for my big brother, Jesus, and my Heavenly Father). I am so thankful to be a part of a church that is so family-oriented.

Another pretty cool thing about us is that we have modern day prophets! Yep, you heard me right, we have prophets here on the Earth today!

This is the prophet right now, his name is Thomas S. Monson.

He's pretty awesome. I've never met him, but I love him a lot. He receives revelation for the church and teaches us about how we can follow Christ more fully.

Here's the really simple version of  how prophets work.

Prophet called, people are happy, people get less happy (we, as a race, aren't perfect unfortunately), they reject the prophet and the gospel, gospel is taken off the Earth, apostasy, a new prophet called.... etc etc....

Get it? We've had prophets on the Earth since Adam (he was the very first one!) and people have gone back and forth between liking and not liking the prophet's teachings. Luckily, whenever people chose to reject the prophets God was merciful and would give them a second chance by calling another prophet.

These periods of time when the gospel is on the Earth (while a prophet is here) are called dispensations. We're in the last one right now!

But let me tell you about my favorite prophet. I'm pretty sure you've heard of him.

I may be biased, but I love Jesus A LOT.

One of the great things Christ did for me (and all the world) was establish His church. He called apostles and set the example for us to be baptized. That same church that He set up is the church that I am a part of right now.

Then he performed the most supreme act of love ever performed in the history of ever. Jesus Christ performed the Atonement. He suffered for my sins in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was crucified on a cross and was resurrected after 3 days so that someday I can overcome physical death and enter into my Heavenly Father's presence again.

After His resurrection Christ gathered His apostles and told them to preach His gospel. They were to go out into the world and tell everyone who would listen about Christ and the sacrifice that He made for us.

Again, humans are imperfect, there were some who rejected their teachings. Eventually, the apostles were all killed. They were the only ones on the Earth at that time that held the priesthood, or power of God. When they were gone the world was in a great apostasy.

This is where it gets really interesting and I feel like I might lose some of you. This apostasy lasted until 1820 when a young boy named Joseph Smith became the first prophet of this dispensation.

Still reading? Sweet.

Joseph Smith. He was a fairly normal 14 year old boy living in New York. At that time, there were a lot of churches booming in the United States (the only country to enjoy religious freedom at the time). So, like many normal people, Joseph Smith wondered which one he should join! He was a fairly studious 14 year old (unlike me at 14) and was studying in the Bible one day. He read James 1:5 which reads "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

In short, "if you don't know, ask God."

Makes sense, right? I don't know why more people don't do it all the time!

This is exactly what Joseph Smith did, he took his question to the Lord. These are the words he wrote about the experience he had.

"I saw a pillar of light, exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun... 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."

God the Father and His Son actually appeared to Joseph Smith. They told Joseph about the church that Christ organized while He lived on the Earth, they were going to bring that church back but they needed Joseph Smith to be the prophet.

Jesus Christ, through Joseph Smith, brought back that church. It's here on the Earth today. I am serving my mission to spread this good news!

But you don't have to take my word for it. Really. I would prefer you didn't actually!

Because we were given a great gift! The Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith, using the power of God, translated the Book of Mormon into English. The Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ. It testifies of His teachings when He was in Jerusalem and tells of His teachings when He visited the American continent after His resurrection. It supports and completes the Bible. It's my favorite book in the world! I'm pretty sure I'll talk more about in another post.

You can read this book and know that it is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet and used the power of God to translate it. All you have to do is read it. Read it and ask God if it's true.

I promise you that if you ask in sincerity you will receive an answer. God will tell you if what you read is true or not. And He will tell you if Joseph Smith was a prophet and He will tell you if Thomas S. Monson is a prophet today.

I know this because I've done it. I asked God and He answered me. He told me the Book of Mormon is true.

"And I, (Sister Sparhawk), knew that God could not lie..."
Enos 1:6 (My name substituted)

Now it's your turn!

These are all the wonderful things that make my church different! We have prophets and modern day revelation, we have the Book of Mormon, we are the restored church that Christ Himself set up.

Follow this link to get a free Book of Mormon!

Happy reading!

Sister Sparhawk

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What's a Mormon?

A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a religion founded in the US in 1830 by Joseph Smith Jr.

I've been struggling with what should come after that. The dictionary definition of a Mormon, while correct, lacks the spirit and enthusiasm I feel for my religion.

I am a Mormon. I am a Christian. I am family-oriented. I am a law-abider. I am a life-long missionary. I am hopeful. I am peaceful.

All of these things and many more I account to being a member of my church. If I didn't have the knowledge that I do of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and His atoning sacrifice, I wouldn't be the person I am today. Knowing that God's Only Begotten Son cares enough about me to suffer and die for my sins has given me peace, hope, charity, and faith that I can live with my Heavenly Father again someday.

So anyways. Back to what a Mormon is. Most people in the world know us by the nickname Mormon, which was given because we believe in a book of scripture called the Book of Mormon. We are also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

That's a pretty long church name in my opinion. Let's break it down. Church of Jesus Christ, we believe in Christ and everything that He did for us. This is also the same church that Christ himself organized when He was on the Earth. Latter Day Saints refers to the fact that we live in what we call the "Latter Days" We believe that right now we are in the last dispensation, or period of time, before Christ comes to the Earth again.

There are so many things I would love to tell you all about what we believe in, why we do what we do, why we act how we act, but I don't think I could ever stop typing if I committed myself to giving a full synopsis in one post. I'll be coming back to this blog frequently and doing my very best to explain to you all why this church and gospel make me so happy. I'm not a perfect teacher, but with your patience, a little help from my companion, and a lot of help from the Spirit, I think we can make this work.

I know that the message I strive to communicate everyday is true. I know that Christ organized this church that I belong to. I know how much this church has blessed me in my life and I know that it can bless you in your life.

Sister Sparhawk

Thursday, February 13, 2014

They Send All the Cool Girls to Mesa

Here you are, you've found your way to yet another Sister Missionary's blog. 
I'm not expecting to change the world or anything, but hopefully one person will benefit from something I write.
My name is Sister Sparhawk, I'm currently serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Arizona Mesa Mission.
I am originally from Boise, Idaho. I attended one semester at BYU-Idaho before coming on my mission, studying Exercise Physiology. I love my dog, ice cream, and health food. I also collect pictures of strangers in their cars while they sit at red lights. What can I say, I live big.
Right now I'm serving in the Highgroves YSA Ward in Mesa, AZ. YSA is an acronym for Young Single Adults, so I work with everyone from 18-31 who isn't married. I don't want to brag, but I will anyways. I'm serving in the best ward in Mesa! I have been in the ward for a little over 4 months and I am not looking forward to the day I have to leave!
This is me and my companion, Sister Snyder. She's the bomb. People tell us we look like sisters all the time. Turns out, they really do send all the cool girls to Mesa! (Sister Snyder's Dad told her that)

So that's enough about me! Why am I here in Mesa? Why am I on a mission? I don't want to bore you with details, so you get the short version. 
Like many people of the Mormon faith I was baptized at 8 years old. I made the decision to make covenants with my Heavenly Father! Over the years I have grown to truly appreciate the gospel that I embraced at such a young age. I came to know that God is my loving Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ is my Savior, and through following His example I can live with Him again someday! 
I don't know about you, but I think this is pretty awesome. Awesome enough that I want to share it with anyone and everyone who will listen! So naturally I am here on a mission! As a sister, I get the opportunity to serve for 18 months. While I am here on my mission my purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ. My full time job is to tell people about Christ and everything that He did for us. 

Here in Mesa all the full-time missionaries have the wonderful (and daunting) opportunity to use social media to fulfill our purpose! I am using Facebook as a tool to spread the good word and now I am here using this blog! 

This is where YOU come in! Yes you. Yes, Mom, if you are reading this, this is for you. Yes, you, a member of the Highgroves Ward, this is for you! Yes, you, another missionary serving in any mission that uses social media. And most definitely, yes, YOU, you who are curious about what I believe in as a Mormon!

Imagine me wearing a bright colored shirt that says "Ask Me!" on it! Please, ask me questions! I will do my very best to answer them! I want to fill this blog with the answers to the questions you have or have been asked! You can email me, message me on Facebook, even comment on this very post! I would love to hear from you :)

I know that the message I am out to share is true. I know that it can bless your life in ways you never thought possible.

Sister Sparhawk