“Mormonism is the pure doctrine of Jesus Christ; of which I myself am not ashamed.” – Joseph Smith Jr.
My name is David Ferriman, and I am a Mormon. What does that mean? The Latter Day Saint movement is very different from our sister Christian movements in that our view of Matthew 16:18, what the rock is that the Church will be built upon. The Church, of course, is you and me—all Christians.
The various Catholic traditions claim the rock is Peter. Our many, many Protestant friends claim the Bible is the rock, as our source of understanding. In the Latter Day Saint view, we see the rock as revelation, as Jesus is telling Peter that the answer given in verse 13-16 came from the Holy Spirit—through the spirit of prophecy and revelation. A Latter Day Saint or Mormon then is anyone that sees revelation as the rock that Christianity is built upon.
So why am I a Mormon? Let me tell you…
1. Jesus Christ
“I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of His salvation, and the power of His redemption.” – Joseph Smith Jr.
It should be no surprise then that direct access to God would be the first reason that I am a Latter Day Saint Christian, a Mormon. Jesus is more than my Lord and Savior, He is my friend. I do not need anyone else, or any book, to gain access to my friend. When I call for Him, He is there for me, and He sends His messengers and His angels to me in my times of need. And this is not something others need to have to receive through me. It is a free gift open to all, regardless of what branch of Christianity we feel called to. In this we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.
2. The Book of Mormon
“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” – Joseph Smith Jr.
Like the Bible, the Book of Mormon is not a perfect book. It has translation errors, printing errors, and people have misconstrued things in it to preach un-Christian and non-Mormon views from the time it was published. That said, it was given to us through the spirit of prophecy and revelation, and not only can be best understood through that same spirit, but it was brought to the world to invite all to receive of that same spiritual gift. Everyone that partakes in Moroni’s promise and receives an answer to their prayer is a prophet, and has unlocked for themselves the spirit of prophecy and revelation, just as Peter did in Matthew 16. What is Moroni’s promise? That we may go to God ourselves to learn truth:
“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost; And by by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things.” -Moroni 10:4-5
“Become a people of the Temple—those who see violence but proclaim peace, who feel conflict yet extend the hand of reconciliation, who encounter broken spirits and find pathways for healing.” -Doctrines of the Saints 2c:14 (Community of Christ DaC 161:2a)
The Latter Day Saints are a people of the temple, just as the Saints of the Bible and of the Book of Mormon were a people of the temple. Each sect that branched from the original church Joseph Smith Jr. started has their own ideas of temples, but all Latter Day Saints look to temples in some way or another. In the Fellowship of Christ, we encourage people and families to dedicate a part of their home as a temple. Temples do not need to be secret, but should be sacred, for in them we may gain greater access to God.
4. Personal Revelation
“The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching.” – Joseph Smith Jr.
As I pointed out earlier, our movement is unique in that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, regardless of sect or denomination, is based on revelation. We do not merely wrestle the scriptures, we go to God and are given scripture. We believe that humans may go directly to God for answers, salvation, and any of our needs. The Latter Day Saint movement does not require generations of traditions, trained theologians, or even physical church buildings. All we require is the Word of God; Jesus Christ.
One Eternal Round
“For [they] that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.” – Joseph Smith Jr.
If you are paying attention, you may notice that all of these are really one in the same. Jesus is both the first and the last as it is by personal revelation that I know Jesus, and it is through the power of God, that I have been given the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Likewise, the Book of Mormon points to Jesus as the Christ and temples are a place to meet with God one on one. Everything is focused on Jesus Christ. That is why this is the Church of Jesus Christ, the Fellowship of Christ, because we are the people of Christ, even Jesus.
I would love to hear your testimony in the comments below, why are you a Mormon? A Christian? A Latter Day Saint?