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.