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A Serious Matter

Bearing a religious witness is a matter I take very seriously. Doing so on the internet to unnumbered and unnamed readers is somewhat impersonal. Nonetheless, I choose to and I am pleased to do so. I hope you will recognize my sincerity.

God Almighty

I bear my personal witness that God, our Heavenly Father, is a loving and personal being. He created and controls our world and our universe. We are his spiritual off-spring. He designed a plan whereby we could obtain physical bodies and go through this earthly experience which is established to give us a chance to show our devotion to Him. I know that if we are valiant in our faith, we will be blessed to return to His presence and live with Him in eternal glory. He is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient. He has established a balance of justice and mercy to judge us when we depart this life. I hope that I will live such that I may be permitted to live with Him again.

Jesus Christ

I testify that Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God. He was known as Jehovah in the Old Testament and is the Messiah of the New Testament. He created this earth upon which we live, under the direction of God the Father. Jesus condescended by leaving His heavenly home and coming to earth to live as a mortal man. He lived a perfect life as an example for all of us. He showed us the way to return to God. He atoned for our sins in Gethsemane, died on the cross, and was resurrected. By so doing, Christ provided a way for us to be washed clean of our sins by taking upon us His name as disciples. He will return again to the earth, this time in His true character as The Son of God. This "Great and Dreadful Day of the Lord" will be great for his disciples and dreadful for evil-doers. Christ will then assume power over the affairs of the entire world and reign as its King. This Second Coming will usher in a period of 1000 years of peace and sprituality. I hope I will be accepted by Him as one of his valiant disciples.

God's Eternal Plan

Our Heavenly Father has an eternal plan which includes a pre-earth, earth, and post-earth life. In pre-earth life, we were spirit-beings who lacked physical bodies. We saw that God had a physical body and desired to be more like Him. A plan was devised whereby we could come down to this earth in a mortal condition, gain a body, and prove ourselves. Our state of mortality prevented us from living "perfect" lives and we could not have returned to God's presence on our own, as only a being free of sin can reside with God. The plan included a Savior, who would atone for our mortal inadequacies - but only if we accepted the Savior's role in our lives and tried to live by his precepts. Jesus of Nazareth was that Savior. His atoning sacrifice provided our reconciliation to God. Jesus' atonement in Gethsame atoned for our sins and His resurrection provided the means for us to someday gain immortal bodies. By accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior and becoming His disciples, the doorway is opened for us to return to our Heavenly Father's kingdom. After our earth life is completed, we will receive a judgment of our earth life, which is balanced between justice and mercy, and is to determine the condition of our existence thereafter. There are many variations of that eternal existence, which range from living with God Himself in an exalted condition ... to living in a hellish condition which is constantly agonizing and awful.

God's Kingdom on Earth

After the earth was created and humans began to dwell on it, Jehovah established an organized manner of worship for mankind. Certain individuals were chosen to be His prophets and they communicated with Him as need dictated. This continued until the Israelites escaped Egyptian domination, at which time an even more formal system of worship was established. The Ten Commandments and the associated spiritual laws guided humanity until Jehovah Himself condescended and came down to earth to live among mankind. He was then and also thereafter known as Jesus The Christ, the Savior of Mankind. Jesus presented to humanity a higher form of worship, which was known as The Gospel of Jesus Christ. It did not replace The Ten Commandments but, rather, built upon them and was much more comprehensive.

Jesus Christ established an even more organized manner of worship and named it His "Church." The Church had a well-defined structure, with various officers who had specific responsibilities and the authority to function accordingly was received from Jesus Christ himself. These men received strict directives regarding their assignments and their ministries continued even after Christ's death and resurrection. Some of these men, known as apostles were "Special Witnesses" of Christ's divinity, having received personal direction from Him for some time after His resurrection. After Christ's grand departure from earth and His return to the Heavenly Kingdom, the apostles continued to witness of His divinity, minister to Church members, and proclaim His gospel to all who would listen.

Severe persecution of Jesus Christ's disciples and the death of the apostles eventually led to a regretful departure from the original pure and simple truths in Christ's gospel. After an extended period of time, the original gospel could not be found anywhere in its pure form. Centuries passed, during which the absence of Christ's pure gospel created tremendous spiritual challenges for even those who sought to be true disciples of of Christ. This fact is clearly observed via the "compromise" of religionists which produced the Nicene Creed of 325ad. Eventually, men and women who were pure in heart, especially the early "Reformers" attempted to find and re-establish Christ's pure gospel from among the existing dogma. Their efforts, though noble, were comparable to trying to play classical music on a piano with numerous missing keys.

Thankfully, God chose to re-establish His gospel on the earth in its original and pure form, beginning in the year 1820. At this time, a young man seeking the truth amongst the numerous contests of religionists happened to read James 1:5, which states "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." This young man, named Joseph Smith, took this Godly promise to heart and, in fervant prayer, asked God which of all the churches he should join. Joseph Smith was blessed with a Heavenly visitation, as happened to certain ancient men, and was informed that he would be an instrument in God's hands to restore the original and pure gospel to the earth. As happened in ancient times on more than one occasion, God chose a young, humble, simple man of little means and standing to become His prophet. Once again, in its original state, the gospel and the Church returned to the earth with a prophet, apostles, and the other officers and positions that Christ established during His ministry on earth.

The ancient Church was restored in modern time by the Lord Jesus Christ, with its original structure and gospel, and has flourished. It is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is God's Kingdom on the earth. Under the direction of Jesus Christ, a true prophet, 12 true apostles, and other Church officers named in the scriptures preach Christ's pure gospel and administer the ordinances of His Church. This is true and I bear witness of it. I invite any person to investigate for him/herself and " ... ask of God ... " if it is true, and I promise that God will answer your prayer.

To Be Continued

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