The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes inadvertently referred to as “The Mormon Church” in the media) is known for sending out missionaries throughout the world, including even the United States. There are Mormon missionaries in every land where they are allowed, speaking a multitude of languages. They are fulfilling the Savior’s admonition:
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).
Two lds.net volunteers, Alison and Eric, have shared their thoughts below about Mormon missionaries.
Young men (age 19) and young women (age 21) serve for two years teaching the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Other single adults and married couples also serve. The young men leave their homes and families for two years, and serve at their own expense. Young women go for 18 months. During the time they are away they introduce people to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Book of Mormon. Most importantly, they testify of Christ.
At the end of 2010 there were over 52,000 Mormon missionaries worldwide.
One who wishes to serve a mission puts aside more worldly pursuits (like working, going to school, dating etc.) to focus on a mission. Missionaries dedicate their lives for a period of time (generally two years) to full time preaching and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. All of a Mormon missionary’s expenses are financed through personal savings and/or help from family and friends.
Such sacrifice and dedication generally results in great personal and spiritual grow for the individual. They also have a chance to help many other people better their lives and grow closer to God.
The next time you see a pair of Mormon missionaries at your door, invite them in. They are a long way from home, and have sacrificed much to have the opportunity to talk to you about what is most important in life. Offer them something to eat or drink (especially if they look hot, cold, tired, or discouraged), and ask them a few questions about Jesus Christ. They are a long way from home, and have sacrificed much to have the opportunity to talk to you about what is most important in life. You will make their day, and perhaps make your own day, in the process.
While Jesus was walking with His twelve apostles on the coasts of Caesarea, Philippi, the Lord asked them, “Whom say ye that I am?” Without any trace of doubt or hesitation, Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15–16). His confession was genuine. That inspired declaration of faith and conviction by Christ’s chief apostle has, for hundreds of years, defined the faith of millions of Christians around the world. After the Lord’s ascension, Peter testified to the people that Jesus “was foreordained from the foundation of the world.”
“Whom say ye that I am?” That same question has generated various responses from different organizations who profess faith in the Savior. A person’s response to this soul-searching question does not only reveal how much he knows about Jesus Christ, but more importantly, it also manifests his personal testimony of the divinity of Savior and His role in the salvation of mankind.
Today, religious organizations hold different views regarding the divinity and mission of Jesus Christ. Like some people in Peter’s day, many today see Jesus merely as one of the prophets, an influential leader or philosopher. He was a carpenter, the son of Joseph and Mary, so they say. He was a great teacher. Yet, because of His teachings, many considered him the greatest offender, as both Peter and Paul later testified referring to the prophesy of the prophet Isaiah, how the Christ—“the stone which the builders disallowed”—was “made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient” (See 1 Peter 2:7–8; Romans 9:33; Isaiah 8:14–15).
John’s own testimony of the Lord shows the impact on one’s salvation of having a correct understanding of the Lord’s character: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declares in unison with Peter and other apostles of old that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He was with God from the beginning. He was the Supreme Creator, and all things were created by Him under the direction of the Father. In the great council of the Gods, he presented the Plan of Salvation whereby all of the Father’s children would have the opportunity to come to the earth, be tested, and return to their heavenly home in God’s presence.
As the only begotten of the Father, Jesus Christ was chosen from the beginning to atone for the sins of all people. He possessed all the attributes which were necessary for Him to accomplish this mission. He was a God from the beginning, yet His personal development was gradual. The scriptures testify that He grew from grace to grace until He received the fulness of His Father.
Jesus Christ was the God of Israel, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Great I AM. He appeared to Abraham, Moses, and other ancient prophets before His mortal birth. When the Lord commanded Moses to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt, He told him what he should say to the people: “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:14). During his ministry among the Jews, He declared to the arrogant Pharisees: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58).
When Paul delivered his discourse among the Jews, he declared that Jesus Christ was the God who accompanied them on their journey out of Egypt. Paul reminded them of how their fathers “did all eat the same spiritual meat and drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ“(1 Corinthians 10:1–4).
Latter-day Saints maintain that Jesus Christ offered His life to atone for the sins of mankind. Nobody could take His life against His will. The Lord said, “I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:17–18). He laid down His life out of love for His Father and for all mankind. But having power over death, He rose triumphantly the third day and ministered to the saints of the early Church. After His ascension, He appeared to His people in the Americas and ministered to them for three days as a resurrected, glorified being.
In this glorified and resurrected state, He, together with God the Father, appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820, in answer to the young boy’s prayer to know which church to join. Several years later, the Savior appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery inside the Kirtland Temple to accept the holy edifice. To this day, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declares that Jesus Christ is the head of the Church and that He continues to communicate His will to God’s children through a living prophet.
In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” a piece of modern-day revelation from God, it says, “All human beings — male and female — are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”
In the Mormon faith, women are equal to men in God’s eyes. Because the family is central to God’s plan of happiness, and because it is in the family unit where individuals learn and develop, the power women have to bare and raise children is a revered privilege and responsibility. Mormon women do not hold the priesthood as men do, but not because they are inferior in any way. Men’s role in God’s kingdom is to officiate through the priesthood in sacred saving ordinances — like baptism, blessings upon the sick and afflicted and marriage sealings — and women’s role is to usher new spirit children into the world, giving them physical bodies and teaching them the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Marriage between a man and woman is a sacred and essential part of God’s plan. Marriage partners have a responsibility to rear their children in love and righteousness and to seek inspiration from God in determining how to best divide the responsibilities of family life.
While not all Mormon women will be married or have the opportunity to become mothers, their individual qualities and talents are celebrated as means whereby God has blessed them to uniquely serve and uplift those around him.
Mormon women are diverse, and their differences are celebrated by God just as much as their common sacred womanhood. All women are daughters of a loving Heavenly Father.