Sunday, November 30, 2014

My First Adult Sacrament Talk!

A few weeks ago as I was laying in bed TRYING to fall asleep, my mind decided that it wasn't tired at all.  In fact that's every night with me.  The second the world goes quiet and I get in bed and relax, my mind wakes up and I have so many amazing thoughts!  Some nights I can't sleep unless I make myself get up and type it all out.  Sometimes I make it private and sometimes I post it here for anyone to read.  Well that night I kept thinking about one of my recent trials and how I will get through it, and I even thought about how much I've already learned and grown from this specific trial.  I don't really want to get into my most recent trial, but that night I started recalling some of the trials I had in the past.  I started thinking about how hard they were, but also how much I got out of each of them.  I started feeling so incredibly grateful to my Heavenly Father for those trials and it got to the point where I HAD to write down my thoughts- including one of my trials of the year tithing.

Fast forward to last week.  I got the opportunity last week to visit the Temple.  I don't get to go as often as I'd like so when I do I enjoy every moment.  I find the spirit to be so peaceful there and I often get answers to my prayers while I'm there while reading the scriptures, through simple thoughts that come to my mind, or whatever else- it's just a beautiful place.  Probably my favorite place on earth!

While we were at the temple, the bishop asked me if I could give a 10 minute talk during Sacrament meeting.  ME?  You want me to speak to the whole church??  I was kind of freaking out my my head.  He then said, I really would like you to give a talk on tithing!  My mind immediately went to my blog post!  I knew exactly what I wanted to share with my ward!

So I went home and prepared my lesson.  It was really stressful!  And SCARY!!  I'm NOT a public speaker my any means!  I'm kinda of awkward naturally so to talk to a whole ward- pure insanity!  I practiced and practiced, but I couldn't get rid of my racing heart.

The bishop then sent me this email:
Thank you so much for accepting this assignment to speak in Sacrament. As you follow the spirit to prepare your remarks and ask His assistance in delivering your remarks many will be uplifted and inspired to live the gospel more fully.

 Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?

Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together. (DC 50: 17-22)

I really need that reminder!  I needed to write down those thoughts a few weeks ago for a reason!  I needed to share them in Sacrament Meeting for a reason!  I knew the I could teach by the Holy Spirit and he would guide me!

So today came…
My talk went GREAT!!!  I had so so SO many people up to me after church telling me how much they loved my talk.  I felt so loved by so many!  I know that Heavenly Father knew that someone in that group needed my talk, but I think he knew that I needed it TOO!  I needed that challenge!  I needed to open up to my ward.  I was so grateful to be able to share a little piece of me to the ward.  I am so blessed to be in such a wonderful church!!  I feel closer than ever to everyone in my ward, and just so blessed!  I've been on a spiritual high all day!!  Part of that also has to do with my husband, but that story is for another day. :)

I said it in my own words so it's not word for word what I actually said, but here's the talk I gave:

Good morning brothers and sisters!  I’m Amy O’Neal.  We moved into the ward this last summer.  I’ve got to say that I absolutely love this ward!  I leave every Sunday feeling so edified and ready for the week, because of the great lesson and wonderful spirit here. 

My family has been greatly blessed by this ward and I’m so thankful.

The bishop asked me to a share a little on tithing this morning.  I don’t know if it is a coincident or not but, tithing has been on my mind a lot this year.  Tithing has been a real struggle for me in the past.  I’ve always wanted to be a full tithe payer.  I knew there were blessings that I was missing out on, but for me, personally, until I gain a testimony of something I really struggle at it. 

I feel like I'm starting to figure out how Heavenly Father teaches me personally, I’ve noticed that if he REALLY want me to know something and wants me to know it to
My core where I have a testimony of something… he gives me trials. 

I guess that’s the only way I learn, I don’t know…

When he's teaching me something, it CONSUMES me and every thought I have.  Because it's a trial in my life and for the most part it’s really, really hard and stressful, it's ALL I think about!  In the mist of that trial, I pray and pray for help, I struggle, and I constantly look for answers!  Sometimes I feel like God’s not listening, or that I’m lacking in faith.   It just really difficult.

So many of you have great stories of how tithing has blessed you, I’d like to share my story…

A few months ago we were really struggling with money, like really bad!  We had just moved here and things weren't going well.  Chris had just left the Army and he couldn't find a job, I wasn't booking any photography sessions, we couldn't find a place to live (especially since we had no income-- the list goes on.  I’m so thankful for my sister and her husband who let us live with them and helped us in any way they could!! 
It kept coming to my mind that I needed to pay my tithing, but paying tithing was just SO overwhelming! 

I had tried to be a tithe payer in the past, but I would always forget to bring the money to church, then I would forget to set it aside.  After awhile I would just become overwhelmed, give up. 

I always knew I WANTED to pay tithing and I knew I should, but I would just start later at a more convenient time… 
I didn’t have a testimony of tithing.

But then the trial came.  The more I struggled, the more tithing came to mind, the more I wanted, even needed to learn!  I started reading everything I could find on the subject.  I looked up every talk about tithing I could find, I asked all my family members and friends about tithing, I had so many questions!  But I was still overwhelmed and scared to start again and then fail. 

On a LDS FB page, someone shared an easier way to pay tithing straight from your bank through a "payee" account!  Basically I could pay my tithing right on my computer without leaving my house!!  I had no more excuses.  And I KNEW what I needed to do..

So that day I made a commitment that I would pay my tithing the DAY we got paid before anything else... and guess what?  The miracles rolled in!  I started booking sessions, Chris got his job, and we found out THAT day that Chris was going to receive VA pay every month.  It all changed!  And through that, I was blessed AND I gained a testimony of the importance of tithing.

I don't necessarily believe that if I pay tithing that we'll always prosper in funds.  I do think he rained those blessing on us to specifically teach us that lesson.  But I DO believe that as long as I pay my tithing first thing, before I use the money for anything else, even food or bills, that Heavenly Father WILL take care of us.  Maybe not necessarily financially, but the windows of heaven WILL be opened to us.

I don’t think that all the blessings from being a full tithe payer are always immediate or even that obvious! 
Elder Bednar Said,
Often as we teach and testify about the law of tithing, we emphasize the immediate, dramatic, and readily recognizable temporal blessings that we receive. And surely such blessings do occur. Yet some of the diverse blessings we obtain, as we are obedient to this commandment are significant but subtle. Such blessings can be discerned only if we are both spiritually attentive and observant

Sometimes the blessing of tithing isn’t financial help, great pay, or great job opportunities, sometimes through paying tithing you instead gain a grateful heart!  Or you may learn to do more with less!  Heavenly Father knows each of us and knows what blessings we NEED the most to come back to him.

Elder Bednar also said
Sometimes we may ask God for success, and He gives us physical and mental stamina. We might plead for prosperity, and we receive enlarged perspective and increased patience, or we petition for growth and are blessed with the gift of grace. He may bestow upon us conviction and confidence as we strive to achieve worthy goals. And when we plead for relief from physical, mental, and spiritual difficulties, He may increase our resolve and resilience.
I promise that as you and I observe and keep the law of tithing, indeed the windows of heaven will be opened and spiritual and temporal blessings will be poured out such that there shall not be room enough to receive them (see Malachi 3:10).
I testify that as we are spiritually attentive and observant, we will be blessed with eyes that see more clearly, ears that hear more consistently, and hearts that understand more fully the significance and subtlety of His ways, His thoughts, and His blessings in our lives.

I have grown to love paying my tithing.  It used to feel like a hardship or a sacrifice, but now I truly feel blessed every time I pay my tithing!  Not only do I get to go to the temple, but I also feel closer to my Heavenly Father every time I pay my tithing.  I remember the day I went to finally get my partial temple recommend renewed and Brother Farclough asked me if I’m a full tithe payer- I truly felt so happy to finally be able to say YES, I am a full tithe payer!  In a week or two I will get to say that same thing to the bishop at tithing settlement and I can’t wait! 

I tried so hard to be comfortable in my sin.  I made excuses after excuses of why I didn’t pay tithing, but as I stand here I can see that I was BLIND!  I couldn’t see the blessing and happiness that came from a VERY SIMPLE commandment.  Through keeping the commandment, my life has completely changed and this year I have seen that same change in my family. 

I am so blessed to have the knowledge that Heavenly father cares about us SO much!  He basically asks us to live fulfilling lives and make good choices and in return he SHOWERS us with so many blessings!  I have always felt blessed, but the amount of blessing I have seen in my family’s lives and my own life these past 4 years and have been innumerable…

I know that Heavenly Father knows me my name and loves me.  Through this last year I know the importance of tithing in my home.  I know that as we pay our tithing, we will come closer to Heavenly Father, become more grateful, and the windows of heaven will be opened to us! 

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Spreading the word.

    All I can say is, "AAAH!  I LOVE the Gospel!"  But seriously after listening to a talk about Sweeping the earth with his word, I got a little excited and decided to share a few religious thoughts that were on my mind.  That turned into a 60 comment conversation with a lot of back and forth about our beliefs.  I don't know what will happen with the people I was chatting with spiritually, but this conversation has changed ME!

    I felt the spirit guide me so much throughout this.  I'm very shy, especially when it comes to something I hold so dear to my hear-- my testimony, but I took that step of faith forward anyway and I am SO happy I did!  I feel more confident than ever that not only do I want to share the Gospel of Jesus Chris with others, but I want to share it with EVERYONE!  I almost feel sad that the conversation ended, because my heart and mind still has so much to say!  My heart just feels so full of love, and my conversion is even deeper now!  Sometimes, even when you're shy, you need to be brave anyone and do what Heavenly Father wants you to do.  That is something I always struggle with, because I hate contention, I'm very passive aggressive and hate to upset others, but I held strong to what I know to be true, and I'm ecstatic!  I'm definitely going to blog a lot more! 

    Anyway, here's the whole conversation.  Obviously my knowledge isn't as in depth and wide and some of the other commenters, but I did share my testimony, so I guess that's all that truly matters. :)

    Cidney Scott I absolutely believe that the church in our day has completely perverted the words of God, but the bible is clear in what it states as far as it being the only thing needed to understand God. I read the bible and only the bible and don't need anything else to make it make sense. God stated everything very clearly and it is man that has tried to use His own words against Him. I'm just curious, and only because you openly asked for people who were truly curious and I am! (I am NOT looking for a fight but rather your side of this story), why you believe we need another book to understand the bible?
    November 11 at 2:00pm · Like

    Amy Bush O'Neal Because of these things being taken out, we HAVE stumbled! His prophecy has come true. There are many churches who choose what to believe and have "changed" God overtime. I believe God knew that those parts would be taken so in his infinite wisdom he also provided a stick of Joseph (Ephram 37) that would be restored in the latter days. Basically, the Bible was all you needed, it contained all the plain and precious truths, but God knew that through the gift of free agency his gospel would be changed. He is Merciful! So he provided a way for us to get those precious parts back so we wouldn't have to stumble in confusion our whole lives! We also believe in personal revelation and I would like to challenge you to study and pray about these things!!
    November 11 at 2:34pm · Like · 3

    Cidney Scott I am constantly studying and praying but the bible is very clear in what it means. It's people with an agenda that use certain words to make sense of their life and I absolutely agree with you that that's wrong and they have completely missed it! The most common books that were twisted were the books Paul wrote and he even warned those reading that people would take them out of context but I full heartedly believe with prayer and seeking of the Spirit that you do not need any other book or mans teachings to teach you the word. But I am curious who decided that this "Stick of Joseph" got any authority to speak on God's behalf and speak of prophecies on his behalf as well, cause I'm assuming and please correct me if I'm wrong, that that's how he has some "authority".
    November 11 at 3:15pm · Like

    Sabrina D Lecumberry I have missed your blog posts! Especially those about your faith! You and another friend of mine have led me to explore my own faith and I am challenging myself to read the entire Bible.
    November 11 at 3:17pm · Unlike · 1

    Cidney Scott And I agree Sabrina! It makes me really dig in my own faith as well! It's so refreshing talking with someone who isn't defenaive about their faith and instead so open! It helps me figure out why I believe what I believe and hopefully challenge not only myself but those in conversing with! It's so biblical! It's awesome!!
    November 11 at 3:22pm · Unlike · 2

    Amy Bush O'Neal I really appreciate your thoughts And beliefs Cidney!! Through my own searching and personal revelation through the Holy Ghost I would like to share my testimony that I know that the gospel is true and I have no doubt it my heart. I have a very close relationship with my Heavenly Father and he guides me daily. I know that if you seek out the missionaries and listen to what they have to say with an open heart and mind, you will be able to feel the same spirit I have within me as I write this. I know that Through Jesus's atonement we can all be saved, he loves us so much and wants us to know HIM as he knows each of us. I truly believe that. I love chatting about this with y'all! I tell everyone that religious conversation are by far my favorite! They make my heart so happy!! I love that we all feel so passionately about God and try to put him in the center of our being!! How blessed are we!!
    November 11 at 3:31pm · Like · 2

    Amy Bush O'Neal Sabrina, I'm going to blog more! I really enjoy it!! Thank you so much for all your thoughts and comments over the years!! You are the best!
    November 11 at 3:32pm · Like · 1

    Sabrina D Lecumberry You have always been a friend and inspiration Amy! Even when you don't realize it I truly believe God has done so much good work and touched so many lives through you!
    November 11 at 3:34pm · Unlike · 1

    Amy Bush O'Neal Cidney your religion was very interesting btw! I loved your wedding and feel like the way you live is amazing!! I am very impressed with you and how you live your beliefs!!!
    November 11 at 3:40pm · Like

    Amy Bush O'Neal Sabrina thank you so much!!! You have no idea what you said means to me!!
    November 11 at 3:41pm · Like · 1

    Sabrina D Lecumberry Just know it's the truth Amy!!!
    November 11 at 6:56pm · Like

    Joshua Wiley Sims So when Jesus said, "I am the way the truth and the life, no man can know God but through me" did he forget about Joseph Smith's later gospel? To say that Smith's gospel is necessary is to make Jesus a liar. If salvation can only be found in Jesus' sacrifice, to what end are these extra truths? When people asked Jesus and the subsequent apostles "what must I do to be saved?" I'm sure the Book of Mormon wasn't mentioned. So, if that is the case, the Book of Mormon is extraneous and at best a lesser gospel if gospel at all, or all those born and died before Joseph Smith was kind enough to pen the real words of salvation, have been extinguished into the void of not having enough truth to know true salvation.

    Not being a troll, just curious. You claimed it was so simple and implied a lot, but it sounds like you were just regurgitating your book and not actually having a real opinion of your own.
    November 12 at 7:23am · Like

    Amy Bush O'Neal Yeah I wanted to quote scripture a lot because it's through my studying that I found these truths. Your question and its history is specifically addressed here, please read and let me know what you think!!

    This isn't Joseph Smith's Gospel, it's Jesus's, Joseph Smith was just a humbled confused 14 year old boy who didn't know which church to join and acquired of the Lord.

    Restoration of Christ's Gospel From Christian Dark Ages |
    Our Heavenly Father has restored the fulness of His...
    November 12 at 7:58am · Edited · Like · 1 · Remove Preview

    Joshua Wiley Sims And I can post 10 links in contrary. What do you believe? It's easy to hide behind doctrine and web links.
    November 12 at 8:02am · Like

    Brittany Goodyear Amy, thank you for sharing your testimony. It is a great example to me. And thank you for this conversation. It's very open and not argumentative. I have my own testimony of the Gospel and of Joseph Smith's words. We don't follow Joseph Smith as a Savior, but as a prophet. What he taught is in the Bible. The Book of Mormon is just another testament of Jesus Christ and His teachings. It teaches of faith, prayer, charity, and about Jesus Christ, His atonement and His resurrection. I have read The Book of Mormon and The Bible. I know these works are true. I know Joseph Smith helped restore the Gospel in full and I know that through Jesus Christ we can live with our Heavenly Father again. I know this through my own study and prayer and through the Holy Ghost. And I know that no matter what religion we are, our Heavenly Father knows and loves us and will answer the questions we have. It may not be by showing Himself to us as He did to Joseph Smith, but He will answer us when we sincerely ask.
    November 12 at 8:48am · Edited · Unlike · 1

    Amy Bush O'Neal Let me reply to you in a few hours after I wake up a little more lol, that is a big question for 8 am, especially while I'm trying to get my crazy kids ready for the day lol!
    November 12 at 8:39am · Like

    Brittany Goodyear (Sorry, hit 'enter' early and didn't finish my thoughts. Thoughts have been edited above.)
    November 12 at 8:48am · Like

    Amy Bush O'Neal I love your testimony Brittany!! I completely agree! Man it's early! I'm SO not a morning person lol. Noon is a better time for me.
    But I do want to say that questions are great!! Heavenly Father loves it when we have questions and wants us to ask him with an open heart and mind! When I was younger I did not believe in the church, or really any church, or even God for awhile. I floated around to different denominations and after awhile quit going all together. I didn't find my testimony until I started asking questions! I can share my believes all day long but at the end of the day it comes down to where your heart is, if you truly want to know, God WILL show you his way. If you're looking to cause controversy then that's what you'll find. I truly wish you'd check out that link above and ask specific questions, asking what I believe is just so vague and there's just so much. I can and will share what I believe, but it will be a long post lol!
    November 12 at 9:00am · Like · 1

    Joshua Wiley Sims So your faith is explicitly existential, "I know because I know" . . . I find it funny that the Bible expressly says that false teachers and people will come along to add to the teachings, and you guys even claim that already happened after the original 12 Apostles, but somehow Joseph Smith is excused from that because you happen to believe that his was divine and all the others weren't . . . not sure how that can be derived.

    Also, Smith is in the line of "new apostles" who's line can be traced back to Jesus . . . how come it was only in modern times, in 1979 that God finally revealed that Black people world wide were allowed to be a real part of your church. Was God's plan for all people of color to not be saved previous to this divine revelation? I don't buy into it at all . . . is God's grace not for everyone? What about the Ethiopian that asked Philip "what is preventing me from believing and being baptized?" Why was Smith not given this material 150 years prior? Was Smith's interpretation of God slightly racist back then?

    Consider me agnostic at best, I'm not sure how any of this can be real. My mind just wonders way too much.
    November 12 at 9:20am · Like

    Amy Bush O'Neal To answer those specific questions, YES I know because I know!! And because I have acquired of the Lord and through the Holy Ghost he has given me that knowledge! I know it sounds lame, but I truly hope that one day you will know too!! My husband and I were both agnostic at best for years and you should see us now!! The spirit can change a persons very nature!!

    You're right the bible talks a lot about false prophets. Those people didn't have the authority, and had too much pride to acquire of the Lord. Joseph Smith was given that priesthood authority talked about throughout the Bible. I know I probably sound repetitive, but we have been taught to never blindly believe anything or anyone. Just because Joseph Smith claimed to restore the Gospel of Jesus Christ does not mean we have to believe him! We are supposed to find out for ourselves through humble prayer and faith that that prayer will be answered! If Joe down the street claimed to be a prophet, I would not believe him, he does not have those keys or authority! I can get in deeper, but seriously, please let your mind wonder, learn, and pray! The great thing about this gospel is that a lot of people who question things a lot will find peace here, because you will find the answers you're looking for. I truly hope that you'll invite the missionaries into your home one day and ask them these questions, they have been set apart and have been given the gifts of prophecy.

    The Gospel is only on Earth when there are people on Earth who are willing to believe. During the Great apostasy there was no one who really wanted to know! They were comfortable in their sins or the beliefs they were born into, or wanted to follow the religious fads. God answers prayers, but he doesn't answer people who don't care to ask! I have a testimony of prayer, but I know that unless I knock with humility and faith, the door will not be opened to me…

    As for the black issue, there IS a difference between the gospel and the church. The Gospel IS perfect, the church has men who make mistakes. Only Jesus, himself is perfect. God teaches line upon line and precept upon precept. Even as Joseph translated the plates, he had to acquire about what he was reading. Until the Prophet acquired about blacks having priesthood, there was no questions to be answered! But once the question was asked, the answer was given! Line upon line, precept upon precept! That's how I learn too and am still learning! When I read something I don't understand, I pray about it!!

    I feel like my answers all revolve around faith and prayer and that may seem repetitive, I'm sorry. I swear by this method lol!  Oh and YES, God's Grace is for everyone!! Even those in the past who didnt get the fullness of the gospel! If you're up for it, I'd love to have you over so we can chat more maybe I'll invite the missionaries, because they add a whole other level of knowledge. There so many things I want to say, but typing it all out takes forever. The plan of Salvation is amazing and definitely worth knowing!
    November 12 at 10:08am · Edited · Like · 4

    Joshua Wiley Sims So if the church is made up of men and women who make mistakes, where does hope come from? Is there a chance that I would go to church with you and it be full of mistakes or inaccuracies? If that's the case, who/where do we get real hope from?

    Because in my mind, the 4 Gospels and the teachings of Jesus would be all we need. Meaning, there's a difference in translation accuracies and transmission accuracies. Meaning, if you tried to reword my words when telling this discussion to someone else, you can transmit the meaning differently, but if you translate it from English to Spanish, the meaning stays in tact. Which translation from Hebrew/Aramaic to English do you use when you read the Bible? From the moment Jesus ascended to heaven, people have transmitted the meaning and message of the gospels to fit all sorts of goals - truthful and untruthful, but if I read the Hebrew / Aramaic translations to English, Jesus through the Spirit can speak to me solely and very directly. If that Spirit is unable to speak to me directly, and needs 2000 years later a "new" gospel, that Spirit isn't worth following. What happens when I believe in the teachings of Jesus as read in the Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but not the Book of Mormon, can I hold onto the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus spoke so often about?

    I don't doubt that men and women can and do receive spirit led guidance, but I highly doubt in the need for one catch all book that is the rest of what God meant to tell us in the Bible. To place that revelation higher than say Confessions by Augustine doesn't make sense, you can throw Spurgeon, Martin Luther and a score of others in there too. All those men would be quick to place their words of knowledge underneath the Bible, but Smith was arrogant enough to place his of equal or greater importance - and because "God" said I'm right is not any different that what Mohammed said after his dreams and visions too.
    November 12 at 10:21am · Like

    Amy Bush O'Neal The spirit testifies to you no matter what language, culture, or background you have. Whether you read in English, Hebrew, or Arabic the spirit is the same. Just because you read in one language does not mean you do not have claim upon the spirit of God.

    The testimonies of the 4 gospels is fantastic. But because the reasons for it to be translated or used, the testimony found in the BoM needs to be there to confirm or change all the different perspectives of the bible. To me if I had a passion to know more about my Lord, then I would want to know all about him. Why cut your self short? We know so little about his life. Yet what we do know can change everyone's life for ever.

    Joseph Smith was a humble man and didn't think he was above anyone, he was just the mouthpiece of the Lord. He knew through prophecy that his name would be used for good and evil throughout this life. He went through so much persecution throughout his life, so you really think he would go through all those awful times for something he didn't truly believe in?? If I was going to endure everything he endure, I personally would have to have a LOT of faith and even some knowledge. I mean he was a kid! A not very educated one at that! Book of Mormon is a divine work! I have read it cover to cover and I have prayed throughout it and after I finished, and I know that Joseph is a true prophet of God, and the BOM is another testament of Jesus. It DOES contain some of the plain a precious parts of the bible that was changed by man! As you read both of these great works together, you will find peace and the Bible will make so much more sense!

    I do feel like you are looking for contention instead of true curiosity. I would LOVE to chat and answer any questions you have if you are truly curious, but if you're just looking to start a argument, I don't want to be apart of it. Like I said before contention is not of God.

    If you look throughout history, anyone who has claimed to be a prophet or disciple of the Lord has gained some kind of power or profit. I would recommend reading Joseph Smith's biography! There was definitely no gain for him in restoring the church. I mean he was poor his whole life and very humble, he was persecuted and turned away by many. His life was definitely interesting if you're curious.

    And my statement still stands from my previous post, I would love to get together and chat! As long as the conversation stays peaceful, I really enjoy these kinds of chats!!
    November 12 at 12:10pm · Edited · Like · 1

    Joshua Wiley Sims There's not really any contention, I am curious and I think I've asked very civil and respectful questions, but have received no real answers other than read this for yourself and you'll get it.

    Smith built a religion off of a previously established religion and added to what was already written. My real question still remains, is Jesus enough, and I think your answer remains is yes, but not without this. Can I be saved with the teachings of Jesus alone. If I grew up on an island with a Bible in my heart language, is that enough to know and live like Christ, to die with Him and Him alone, or do I need this other stuff? If I've never heard or read the Book or Mormon, can I be saved, if the answer is yes, then why care so much about Smith and his teachings, if the answer is no, then Christ was of no value to humanity. You can't have it both ways. Answer that question and I'll leave you alone. I promise 

    I really am curious of what you think. Trying to wrap my head around Mormonism.
    November 12 at 12:28pm · Like

    Amy Bush O'Neal Oops, regarding the question about hope, the answer is infallible hope comes from Jesus, who showed us the Father and the way to him. The way to life is to have obedient faith in Jesus, as he is revealed, as he commands. Jesus was revealed in his life, but also long before and after his mortal ministry. Through his servants who were given power (priesthood), we possess all scriptures through those servants -- not in a big chunk called "Bible", but century upon century. We possess Jesus' baptism through them. We possess his living commandments through them. Our decision as disciples is not how much God may reveal to us, but whether we can hear his voice in the revelations that present themselves. If Jews, Christians, and Muslims are right, and if Jesus were to stop revealing himself after having made a final, "perfect" revelation (when he has never really stopped from the beginning), it would be bad news for us -- our God would be dead, and our hope gone. God never changes and will always speak to and guide us! Especially now that so many have stumbled and the Bible has been changed so much, don't you think we need him now? I know I do!
    November 12 at 3:19pm · Edited · Like · 1

    Amy Bush O'Neal Hold on I'm writing a response to your latest comment, it may take a moment.
    November 12 at 12:38pm · Like

    Amy Bush O'Neal Yes Jesus IS enough and I truly believe that he will be judging us all on what we know and do in our lives! I do however believe the more you know, the more you will be blessed and guided through this otherwise difficult life! Through revelation we know that EVERYONE will be taught this gospel, and they can choose to accept or reject it, but they WILL be taught it. There are covenants that are required in order to return to Heavenly Father and EVERYONE will have the opportunity to do those as well. Through the questions you have, I really think you would be interested in the Plan of Salvation.

    Man I'm so bad at putting thoughts together, I know I have a great answer to your question, but I have too many thoughts, I really wish we were talking in person lol!

    The Gospel is VERY valuable to man, but someone who has received less knowledge will not be damned for that. As long as we activity follow Jesus and his teaching we will be okay. BUT it HARD to follow Jesus when you're not even sure what to believe and all the churches are teaches different, even contrary things! Which parts of the Bible are still relevant today? Can I follow this and not follow that, because we are progressive and so is God, right? That's when we start falling into a grey areas. Jesus was our example and if you actively try to live like him and face him in all your thoughts, I believe that you will be okay.
    November 12 at 2:07pm · Edited · Like · 2

    Amy Bush O'Neal As I have found my testimony and have learned more about Christ, I know that I am better for it, temporally and spiritually! I wouldn't give up my relationship with God and my knowledge for anything!
    November 12 at 1:32pm · Edited · Like · 2

    Adam D Pomeroy Amy, I really liked the post and blog and I know Katie did as well since she pointed it out to me. But if you don't mind me chiming in to help answer some of Joshua's questions and doubts about the church.
    November 12 at 3:48pm · Unlike · 1

    Adam D Pomeroy To reference "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" as Smith's gospel is the first thing I would like to talk about. Christ once told the Jews to give to Caesar that which is Caesar's and to God that which is God's. As the name of the Church states it is "The Church of Jesus Christ" the reason for the latter-day portion is because we are in the latter days. So we teach of Christ, we rejoice in Christ and we follow the Gospel of Christ.

    The sacrifice that Christ made was for our salvation but as James talked about you can have faith but without the work/effort the faith is dead. So we need to constantly move forward have by showing forth our good works/deeds which in turn grows our faith even more to the point of unfaltering. But in this day and age, as in the times of Joseph Smith, there are many faiths to be found on the Earth all teaching something a bit different than the next. So which one is true? Which one has the fullness of the Gospel of Christ? It's hard to say since well all these faiths teach out of the same book, interrupting the 4 gospels and the Letters of Paul, Peter, James, John and the Old Testament in different ways. This happened because the people turned against the apostles and killed them all and when this happened the Priesthood which Christ held and gave to his apostle's was lost. The telephone wire that connected earth to heaven was cut. Thus, man had to turn to his own devices. The Catholics started baptizing children and allowing death bed repentance. Such things is what caused Martin Luther to post his letter on the doors of the church. The Church of England was created so divorce could be possible and so on and so forth with all the churches. Yet Joseph Smith wanted to know for himself which one was the TRUE church and had ALL the Gospel of Christ and followed the counsel of James and decided to ask God himself. Through this the Priesthood was restored and once again that telephone wire that had been cut between Heaven and Earth was now restored.

    However, as you have stated the bible warns of the many false prophets that are to come in the latter days. Its why the bible gave heed as to how we can tell if that prophet is true and its through his works. Moses parted the Sea, the Staff of Joshua sprouted a flower to show he was next after Moses. Elishah parted the river Jordan and Christ (whom is a prophet and our Savior) fed thousands. But these works are not done in secret but have witnesses as well. We are told from the bible that by the mouth of two or three witnesses we shall know the truth of all things. These prophets above had dozens and thousands of witnesses to show that they were who was leading them by the direction of God. Joseph Smith was given a work, that was to show the people he had been called to be a prophet and witnesses were give so that we might all know the truthfulness of his work. This was the Book of Mormon (and the reason we are called Mormons).

    The Book of Mormon is not added truths but is a compliment of the Bible and goes hand in hand with it, so as the cover states, it is "Another Testament of Jesus Christ". Christ told his apostle that he had other sheep that he must also visit. Some of those sheep were the people of the Americas. They too had prophets that led and guided the people through revelation. These people wrote down their stories just like the Jews did in the Bible. The most important account is when Christ did visit "His other sheep" and taught them and healed them and blessed them. Isiah tells us that the "stick of Judah and the stick of Joseph would come together", this prophecy is fulfilled with Book of Mormon because in it we learn that the people in America are decedents of Joseph. But more importantly the Book of Mormon IS another testament of Christ and as stated previously we are to have TWO to THREE witnesses to know the truthfulness of things. The Book of Mormon does that by giving us a sure foundation of how we should baptize, what repentance is, and that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. But I don't ask that you believe me but do as the end of the book suggests and do as Joseph Smith did, go to the source and ask God, Himself, if the Book of Mormon and the words that are in the book are true. In doing so you will have your third witness which is the Holy Ghost, and he will testify to you the truthfulness of all things. So if the Book of Mormon is true we then know Christ really is our Savior and that He called Joseph Smith to be a prophet and restore the FULLNESS of the everlasting gospel and that he still talks to his children through prophets and apostles.

    Lastly, about how it wasn't till later in the church that Blacks were able to receive the Priesthood. To reference back to the Bible, did not Peter have a dream about pigs and other unclean foods? Did we not learn that this dream was interrupted as Peter needing to teach the Gentiles? Was this not a main reason Saul/Paul was called to be an apostle, because he was a Roman citizen and could thus teach the Romans in their own cities? If we are to go of the premise that blacks before 1979 are not saved than that too means the gentiles before Peters dream are also not saved. But it wasn't until it was revealed to Peter that he should teach the gentiles that the gospel was brought to them, it was done on God's time. As it was with Blacks receiving the priesthood, it was not done till it was revealed to the prophet on God's time. He is all knowing and gives us little by little so we can grow and strengthen the Church of Christ.

    However, just because you do not hold the priesthood does not mean you will not be saved or ever receive the priesthood. This is why "Mormon's" have temples so we can do work for the dead, for a man cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven unless he be born of both water and fire. But it cannot just be done by whomever, it must be done by the proper authority. This is why Christ showed us they way in the Bible and then taught it to the people of the America's. He was baptized by John the Baptist whom had the authority to do so and it wasn't till afterwards that he received the Holy Ghost which appeared as a dove.

    As you can see Joshua there is much confusion in the world and there are people that are seeking the truth, the complete truth. This is why it is so hopeful to know that God restored the everlasting gospel on the earth once again and it is led like it times of old by prophets and apostles. These prophets and apostles have been given the authority, thus we can be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost, and with the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost we can know of a surety that "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" is His church and it led through his guidance; we can also know through the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true and was translated by the gift and power of God by Joseph Smith and that he is a true prophet of God.

    I have read the Book of Mormon and without a shadow of a doubt I know it to be true. I know the Bible to be true. I know Christ is my Savior and that I am His son and that He knows me. I know this because I have gone to the source and asked Him will real intent and my prayers were answered by the Holy Ghost that these things are true. I know if you were to read the Book of Mormon, Joshua, and pray about it that He will answer you and that you will be given the HOPE you spoke about early.
    November 12 at 4:54pm · Edited · Like · 4

    Amy GrosJacques Flynn I have a lot more to say, and I definitely don't agree with you about a lot of it, but just wanted to say Amy you're doing great!  For someone who I'd consider to be a "baby mormon" (haven't believed, practiced, studied your whole life), you're explaining and defending your faith just fine.
    November 12 at 5:42pm · Like

    Joshua Wiley Sims Adam, I appreciate intelligent well explained responses. Here's my dilemma. I believe that I have hope through Jesus and I in my current state of knowledge don't know the sacred truths of Smith's Gospel.

    With that said, can I attain and hold onto Salvation through Jesus Christ with only the teachings of Christ, or is my Salvation entirely hinging on works that I'm unable to complete due to my lack of knowledge? Moreover, if I am willing to seek God in earnest, will He not guide me to the Book of Mormon if that is the missing piece? Not just me, but all who claim to believe, if the most true, is God not powerful enough to draw all into the LDS church? If it is the Father's Will to draw all people to himself, what about all the souls from Jesus to Joseph Smith? Why not sooner than 1840's (I think).

    I guess the question still remains, Salvation through Jesus Christ alone, or Salvation through Jesus Christ + Extra Teachings? I don't imagine it can be both, or you wouldn't be so passionate that I read the writings of Smith.
    November 12 at 7:00pm · Like · 1

    Amy Bush O'Neal Thanks for the great answer Adam, as Amy said, I'm a "baby mormon", so your input is greatly appreciated!! And thank you Amy, you always cheer me on, even when you don't agree, you're the best!!
    November 12 at 7:20pm · Like

    Amy Bush O'Neal In this situation the Holy Ghost is the only source that can be ultimately trusted. A called prophet or leader, a book, a church, a curriculum, understanding history. The whole of it, can only be trusted if the Holy Ghost teaches and confirms the truth, or you are taught directly from the Spirit. Salvation will be determined on one’s ability to both discern the spirit of truth and obey it.
    November 12 at 7:27pm · Like · 1

    Joshua Wiley Sims So Salvation isn't through Jesus, but through solely on my works with what the Spirit convicts me of when I do wrong. . . I would whole heartedly disagree. To say that, is to say that there's no Ultimate Truth, and that salvation becomes existential, "if I believe I am saved, I am" Only one person is righteous enough to Judge sin and see a blood bought covering of Salvation, that would be God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son. If Jesus Christ doesn't have the power to provide Salvation in spite of ourselves, he has no power at all and isn't worth loving or worshiping.
    November 12 at 7:32pm · Like

    Dani F Hayes Joshua, so I have a question for you. The reason why I ask is to just better understand where you are coming from. There is a poem that I love of The Blind Men and the Elephant. It starts off saying, Six men of Indostan
    To learning much inclined,
    Who went to see the Elephant
    (Though all of them were blind),
    That each by observation
    Might satisfy his mind.
    In the poem each of the six travelers takes hold of a different part of the elephant and then describes to the others what he has discovered. One of the men finds the elephant’s leg and describes it as being round and rough like a tree. Another feels the tusk and describes the elephant as a spear. A third grabs the tail and insists that an elephant is like a rope. A fourth discovers the trunk and insists that the elephant is like a large snake. Each is describing truth. And because his truth comes from personal experience, each insists that he knows what he knows.

    The poem concludes:

    And so these men of Indostan
    Disputed loud and long,
    Each in his own opinion
    Exceeding stiff and strong,
    Though each was partly in the right,
    And all were in the wrong!
    November 12 at 7:48pm · Edited · Unlike · 1

    Dani F Hayes I think before anyone can answer your question on The LDS Church's view on Salvation, we all need to understand what you are asking. I believe that many people define Salvation differently, so my question is, What are you wanting to be saved from? or What do you believe that Christ has saved us from?
    November 12 at 7:50pm · Edited · Unlike · 1

    Dani F Hayes *I edited my above posts to format them better. I always forget that by hitting enter it will submit your post. *
    November 12 at 7:52pm · Unlike · 1

    Joshua Wiley Sims That poem is ridiculous.

    What does LDS define as Salvation? All I am seeing here in the last 3-4 posts is that my faith is entirely existential and if that is the case, am I alright without the teachings of Smith.

    There's a very honest philosophical theme in my questions. None of which are answered, why is that I wonder?
    November 12 at 7:55pm · Like

    Dani F Hayes I guess my purpose in the poem was to explain that before I can answer your question based on what I believe, I need to understand what you believe and what you are asking. I feel that the term 'Salvation' gets thrown around in a lot of different denominations and not a lot of people really take the time to ask, what does it mean to be saved? If you are really wanting to know what we believe, we need to start with what do you believe Salvation is. Is it being saved from Physical Death, is it being saved from Spiritual Death, or for you does Salvation only mean not going to hell? Your view on what Hell is may be very different than my view. Just as the Blind Men all viewed the elephant differently based on what they have been exposed to.
    November 12 at 8:02pm · Edited · Like

    Joshua Wiley Sims I see your point, I think a better question is who is Jesus and what is his function in our lives?
    November 12 at 8:11pm · Like

    Dani F Hayes So lets do this. I will tell you what I believe. I don't think our intention is to argue here, so once I tell you what I believe, tell me your thoughts and then we slowly work through this question. Because by no means is it a small question. Deal?
    November 12 at 8:15pm · Like

    Joshua Wiley Sims Deal, the only thing I may suggest, you might want to lens it through the LDS church, specifically the book of Mormon and its teachings, because my question is still" can I know and love Jesus without the book of Mormon."
    November 12 at 8:18pm · Like

    Amy Bush O'Neal You know that answer Joshua, of course you can!!
    November 12 at 8:19pm · Like

    Brittany Goodyear Joshua, your questions have been on my mind all day as I've followed this conversation. This may be a little late, but I want to say this. Sorry if it's a little off your current topic.

    I have a three year old and a two month old. When my two month old throws a fit because she isn't getting what she wants I try to figure out what she needs and move on. If my three year old throws a fit because she isn't getting what she wants she gets put in time out. If every time I warned her not to throw a fit she put her fingers in her ears she would still get put in time out.

    God is our Heavenly Father, emphasis on Father. He's the perfect parent. And the perfect judge. If you are on some remote island with your own beliefs with never a chance to hear the Gospel do I think you'll be condemned to Hell? No. This is my own personal belief, but I believe God to be merciful. But at the same time no unclean thing can live with God. This is where Jesus comes in. He died to atone for our sins and our imperfections. Through Him we can become clean. But there must be effort on our part and we must do what we can with what we have.

    We believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has the fullness of the Gospel. And that with what we have been taught we will be held to higher accountability. But no, I don't believe you'll be condemned if you don't hear of the gospel. I do think you'll be judged though if you hear it and disregard it. And that's why we keep saying that you have to pray and find out for yourself. And if you pray earnestly and with real intent and feel that it is not true, then you go with that. But this is what we all feel and know to be true and that is what we will be judged upon when the day comes.
    November 12 at 8:25pm · Unlike · 3

    Dani F Hayes I like analogies because it helps make eternal and spiritual beliefs more comprehensible. So to answer the root of your question, "can I know and love Jesus without the book of Mormon." The answer like Amy said is Yes! The bible is the word of God. In no way is the Book of Mormon meant to replace the Bible. So yes you can know and love Jesus without the Book of Mormon. Now that being said (here comes the analogy) If you read the Bible and find it to be true, for me that is a lot like Choosing what Sport team you are going to be on. You are choosing to love Christ and be on his team. Now I believe that the Book of Mormon works hand in hand with the Bible. The Book of Mormon has provided us with A Game Plan. It tells us what we need to do and how we can be successful being on Christ's team. So that is where I stand on that. Now if you are really wanting to know what our Church believes the game plan is, I can break it down and that will answer your question on our view of Salvation. Does that make sense. I am not here to debate what your view is on whether or not these are false teachings, I am just letting you know what I believe.
    November 12 at 8:28pm · Like

    Amy Bush O'Neal Side note- You have definitely made today a very thought provoking and interesting day for me, Joshua! I'm truly glad you are asking these questions, even if you walk away from this conversation with nothing, I left with a sense of confidence in sharing my beliefs which is usually something I'm scared to do. I've really enjoyed it!
    November 12 at 8:35pm · Edited · Like · 2

    Dani F Hayes Joshua, I haven' heard back from you so I am going to post this and go to bed. Here is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints view on The Plan of Salvation aka the Game Plan: (This is my understanding on God's Plan for us and how we can be "Saved")
    November 12 at 9:29pm · Like

    Dani F Hayes 1.          We believe that we lived with God as spirits before we came to Earth.
    2.         We believe that God has a beautiful plan for us. He wants us to have joy and he wants us to learn how to become more like him.
    3.         We believe that just as God created the earth, and that he created our Physical Bodies so we can live and gain experience.
    4.         We believe that when Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, this created a separation between God and Man. Because they ate the fruit we believe that God’s spirit children (all of us) could come to Earth, experience physical bodies, and be proven by our daily choices. The goal of life is to experience happiness and your deepest, most lasting happiness will come from knowing God’s plan and following it.
    5.         We believe that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the process of repentance, we can be forgiven for our sins. If you want more information on what we believe about the atonement, feel free to ask.
    6.         Now because Christ atoned for our sins and sacrificed his life for us, this has allowed us to overcome PHYSICAL DEATH. It doesn’t matter if you choose to follow Christ or not, everyone will overcome physical death. And because of Christ’s death, at some point our spirit and body will be reunited (resurrected) and made perfect never to be separated again.
    Now that you know where I am coming from I can answer your question, “If I've never heard or read the Book or Mormon, can I be saved, if the answer is yes, then why care so much about Smith and his teachings” This is why: We believe that Spiritual Death is defined as separation from God. The scriptures teach of two sources of spiritual death. The first source is the Fall (Adam and Eve), and the second is our own disobedience. Spiritual death can be overcome through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and by obedience to His gospel. Our sins make us unclean and unable to dwell in the presence of God. Through the Atonement, Jesus Christ offers redemption from this spiritual death, but only when we exercise faith in Him, repent of our sins, and obey the principles and ordinances of the gospel.
    Now the key part to that is obeying principles and ordinances of the gospel. I believe that together The Book of Mormon and The Bible outline what those principles and ordinances are. Regardless of whether or not I learn God’s plan of Salvation in this life or after this life (for those who live on islands and are never taught), I know that my personal choice is to Follow God’s Plan, because I desire to not be separated from God. So in a very large nutshell that is why I care about the teachings. I feel that it is my responsibility to seek the truth out with whatever resources I have and that I will be held accountable for the decisions I make.
    November 12 at 9:29pm · Like

    Joshua Wiley Sims Here's my only real concern with Smith, the teachings and why it's necessary to call yourselves Mormons and not Christians.

    I grew up knowing and loving Jesus, as taught in the Bible exclusively. That same book, if true, warned me to stay away from additions to scripture. To know and love Jesus, even Smith had to read the Bible first. When did that book become not good enough? It seems like your faith is more hung up on denominations and their interpretations, when the Spirit should be able to give us insight about biblical truths. To say that the whole truth has been lost due to the message of the bible is a fallacy, how can the Bible be holy and simultaneously inaccurate. If the Bible gave strong warnings to not interpret it's message incorrectly, add or take away, Smith is equally as guilty as the first Pope that allowed for the sale of indulgences.

    Moreover, where is all the historical proof of the history of North America as written in the Book of Mormon.

    You're no different than the Gnostics in the New Testament who pretended to have extra information in the ways of God. I just don't see how you can build doctrines around the writings of Smith, they break down so quickly when compared to the Bible that you all seem to love and esteem so much. It just doesn't add up. Which is false, the Bible or the Book of Mormon, based on what the Bible says, they lie incongruent with each other.
    November 12 at 9:42pm · Like

    Amy Bush O'Neal I personally didn't have a good answer, atleast one that I had confidence articulating so I found this for you..

    A careful reading of the words makes it clear that the warning against adding to or taking away does not refer to the whole Bible or even to the New Testament, but to use John’s words, only to the words of “the book of this prophecy.” That is, the prophecy contained in the book of Revelation. This is substantiated by the fact that some of the books of the New Testament had not yet been written when John wrote the book of Revelation, and even those that had been written and were in existence at that time had not yet been gathered into one compilation.

    The collection of writings consisting of the sixty-six books we know as the Bible were brought together and compiled into one volume long after John wrote the prophetic book that has been placed at the end of the collection. It is clear, therefore, that the terrible judgments pronounced upon those who add to the book could not possibly apply to the whole of the Bible or even to the New Testament, but only to the book of Revelation.

    Secondly, the warning uses the words “the prophecy of this book” and also “the words of the book of this prophecy.” The word book in both instances is singular and could only refer to the book of prophecy written by John which is titled, in the King James Version, “The Revelation of St. John the Divine” and is often referred to as the Apocalypse—a Greek word which means revealed. Of necessity the word book would have been in the singular because when written it was not associated with any other book or books, and it was after many years and many ecclesiastical debates that it was added to the collection that became known as the new canon of scripture or the New Testament.

    It is also interesting to note that John himself added to scripture after writing the book of Revelation, which is generally conceded to have been written while he was on the Isle of Patmos. It was long after John left Patmos that he wrote his first epistle. This fact standing alone would be sufficient to defeat the claim that revelation was closed and that man was enjoined from adding to scripture. This adds cumulative evidence that John had reference to the book of Revelation only.

    In the Old Testament also are found similar vigorous denunciations and commands that there shall not be taken away or added to the words that were written. The first is found in Deuteronomy, written at the time Moses was exhorting Israel to live the law of the Lord. The Torah was oral law and had not been reduced to writing prior to the time of the codification of the law in Deuteronomy. Now that it had been reduced to writing by Moses prior to his death and assumed to be complete, Moses wrote:

    “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” (Deut. 4:2.)

    Later in this same book of the law, Moses repeated the admonition in similar words. He said,

    “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” (Deut. 12:32.)

    In the minds of some, these admonitions in the Old Testament raise the same question as to the Book of Mormon being an attempted addition to scripture as does the injunction and warning at the end of the book of Revelation. In effect, these passages contain the same injunction as the one at the close of the Apocalypse; and if the same interpretation and argument was applied to them as is applied to the closing verses of the book of Revelation, there would be no scripture after the writings of Moses. Such an absurdity would result in discarding the greater part of the Old Testament and all of the books of the New Testament.

    A careful reading of each of these admonitions makes it clear that man is not to make changes in the revelations of the Lord: man is not to add to or take from the words of God. There is no indication or intimation that God could not, or would not, add to or take from; nor would any reasonable person with a belief in the divine powers of God consciously believe that God would be so restricted. Without question he would have the right and power to give additional revelation for the guidance of his children in any age and to add additional scripture.

    A study of the revelations of the Lord in holy writ confirms the fact that it is continuous revelation that guides prophets and the Church in any age. Were it not for continuous revelation, Noah would not have been prepared for the deluge that encompassed the earth. Abraham would not have been guided from Haran to Hebron, the Land of Promise. Continuous revelation led the children of Israel from bondage back to their promised land. Revelation through prophets guided missionary efforts, directed the rebuilding of Solomon’s temple, and denounced the infiltration of pagan practices among the Israelites.

    Before the ascension of Christ, he promised the remaining eleven apostles, “lo, I am with you alway, Even unto the end of the world.” (Matt. 28:20.) Following his ascension, he guided the Church by revelation until the death of the Apostles and subsequent apostasy of the Church of Jesus Christ.

    A distinctive sign of the last days that will precede the eventual second coming of the Lord was seen in vision by that same Apostle who recorded the book of Revelation. He said:

    “I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” (Rev. 14:6.)

    The fact that John saw a messenger from God reveal anew a lost gospel negates the argument that further revelation could not be added to the Bible.

    We testify to all the world that heavenly ministers have already appeared in our age, bringing authority from heaven and restoring truths lost through corrupted teachings and practices. God has spoken anew and continues to provide guidance for all his children through a living prophet today. We declare that he, as promised, is with his servants always and directs the affairs of his Church throughout the world. As in times past, revelation directs missionary labors, the building of temples, the calling of priesthood officers, and warns against the evils of society that may deny salvation to our Father’s children.

    In a revelation to a modern oracle, Joseph Smith, the Lord said:

    “For I am no respecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion.

    “And also the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst.” (D&C 1:35–36.)

    The Savior is reigning in the midst of the Saints today through continuous revelation. I testify that he is with his servants in this day and will be until the end of the earth.

    May our vision not be so narrow that we would relegate revelation to only the ancients. God is merciful and loves his children in all ages and has revealed himself to this time in history.
    November 12 at 9:59pm · Edited · Like · 4

    Kristina Pearson Cersey There is a difference between salvation and exaltation. All are saved through the atonement of Christ, but only those who adhere to the commandments of Christ's full gospel will be exalted. I'd explain exaltation, but it seems as though you are content with your salvation, Joshua. Amy shared her very personal and heartfelt beliefs with her "friends," which was very brave considering she has "friends" like you. If she is happy with her beliefs and you are happy with yours then why attack her with statements such as " it sounds like you were just regurgitating your book and not actually having a real opinion of your own." and "You're no different than the Gnostics in the New Testament who pretended..."? From what I have read of this conversation, Amy has remained quite respectful while you - despite hypocritically stating the contrary - have been rather contentious. Even if I weren't LDS already I would be more likely to subscribe to her peaceful beliefs over yours solely based on how they were presented. Proverbs 13:10 "Only by pride cometh contention; but with the well advised cometh wisdom." and Proverbs 18:6 "A fools lips enter contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes." I realize I am only adding fuel to this fire which makes me just as bad as you, but Amy is one of the sweetest people I've ever met and she represents the Mormon faith well. If you have genuine questions about LDS beliefs and are open to respectfully receive answers then you should do as she says and read her links. Otherwise you actually are being a "troll." (It's late and I'll probably regret this in the morning.)
    Yesterday at 12:56am · Unlike · 3

    Joshua Wiley Sims Asking hard questions isn't contention. To assume that someone who opposes you is contentious is folly. How is stating a contrary belief structure contention, if I were to blindly except anything and everything presented to me, I'd be a fool. I don't think life can be wrapped up in a neat little churchy bow and we all feel better about ourselves. If God (any and all versions, interpretation, and religions can apply to this statement) is not big enough for my questions, insecurities, and concerns, he (or she or it) isn't worth serving, loving or respecting. That last statement would be my only singular existential thought on Faith, the rest of Faith has to come from believing in Ultimate Truth, the things that never change in spite of how I feel about this - this my digging into "is (or can) the Book of Mormon be considered Ultimate Truth.
    19 hrs · Like

    Adam D Pomeroy To reference "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" as Smith's gospel is the first thing I would like to talk about. Christ once told the Jews to give to Caesar that which is Caesar's and to God that which is God's. As the name of the Church states it is "The Church of Jesus Christ" the reason for the latter-day portion is because we are in the latter days. So we teach of Christ, we rejoice in Christ and we follow the Gospel of Christ.

    Joshua, the above should answer your question as to the fact we are Christians not Mormons. It was given to us by people not of our faith because we have The Book of Mormon. So in essence you gave us and call us by that name, not the other way around.

    Also, I have known many like you that have many questions wanting to know more. I have served a mission and can tell you that I have seen "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" change lives. You said early that if it were true is God not powerful enough to draw all into finding the LDS Church? He is and I have seen it and witnessed it while on my mission. I had found people that had searched years for the truth and when I knocked on their door and shared the Message of the Restoration they cried and thanked me and praised the Lord for having sent his servants. I have seen a man go from being a completely drunk and wanting to kill me because he thought I was destroying his family with the message I and my companion had. Yet after witnessing the baptism of his wife he hug me and asked me to teach him as well. Heavenly Father is powerful enough to draw everyone to the gospel. However, the one thing he cannot do is take away our free agency and force them to believe. I have seen as many accept the FULLNESS of the Gospel of Christ, (not Smith's gospel) as I have seen DENY the witness of the Holy Ghost about the FULLNESS of the Gospel of Christ (not Smith's Gospel). So you see He will lead and guide us to the FULLNESS of the Gospel of Christ (not Smith's gospel) but it's up to us to do with the received witness from the Holy Ghost.

    Christ was on the Earth and performed many miracles that convinced those that drew near him to believe that he was the Redeemer, the Savior, the Son of God. Yet even then there were those that used their agency to choose not to believe but instead try and find error in the teaching he did. This was the Saducees and Pharasees, (sorry about the spelling), they had their witness that Christ was the Redeemer, Savior, Emanuel, Son of God, Jahovah but they chose to reject him and try him and eventually crucify him. In the 4 Gospels there are many examples of how they tried to trick him into error but because he knew their hearts they failed; stories such as the adulteress, the apostles picking corn, and being born again. Every time they were given witness as to Him being the Christ but they refused to believe. Go back and find the stories of Nicodemus and you will see that he was a main culprit of such things and the main one wishing the death of Christ.

    So my point from above is I feel we have answered your questions but you have chosen to not see and keep in your beliefs. Such as to continue to call it Smith's Gospel when I have made clear that it is not his gospel but is the Gospel of Christ in it's FULLNESS. I have made it clear that we are not Mormons but that we are Christians, we belong to The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints, just from the name of the church you should know that we are Christians. You have been given answers that reference the Bible as to why the Book of Mormon is so important and yet you still wish to say "A bible? I already have a Bible and do not need another Bible." That's good because The Book of Mormon isn't another Bible, it doesn't replace the Bible or ADD to the Bible; it compliments the Bible and is another Testament of Jesus Christ. So I'm glad you have you're Bible both Old and New Testament, however, only one church is true not all. All churches have a bit of the truth but not the WHOLE truth. So you can chose to stay comfortable where you are at like the Saducees and Pharacees or you can truly find the answers to your questions by reading The Book of Mormon, find out for yourself what is in it and then you can find out for yourself (as every member of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" has) by asking "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 the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."

    I'm not trying to be rude but we can debate for days weeks and months, heck we can even do it in Portuguese if you like, but until you do as I, Amy, Brittany, Dani, Kristina and every other person you know who belongs to "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" then our debates will go no where. For you are set in yours and I in mine. However, in my belief and conviction I paid, not was paid, to leave my family, friends, girlfriend, and life behind for two years to solely search out those that were looking for the truth. I have received enough conviction in those two years that I will never deny my faith, to never even doubt whether or not what I am doing is wrong, and to never shy away from those that would speak evil of what I believe in. I would die for my faith if need be but if not then I will scream from the hill tops of what I know to be true and help all those that seek the truth for I KNOW, not believe, that the things I read in The Book of Mormon to be true; I KNOW, not believe, that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the ONLY true church of the Earth today and that it contains the FULLNESS OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST (not Smith's gospel), and I would exhort you to find out yourself. You can do so by going to or calling 877-537-0003 (U.S. only), if you chose not to and to keep debating then there is nothing anyone can say or do that will change your mind. You must decide on your own and in all honesty what's the worse that could happen by reading it? You either confirm your beliefs or you find out it's true; to me that's a win win. Plus, it's free and who doesn't love free stuff.

    Free Book of Mormon |
    Request a free copy of the Book of Mormon.
    18 hrs · Like · 3 · Remove Preview

    Amy Bush O'Neal You're seriously awesome Adam! So well put!!
    18 hrs · Like

    Joshua Wiley Sims I can post links too. With this, I'm done.

    I see a lot of (all) your points and counterpoints in this post. This was a curious discussion that I'm glad I had. It was fun.

    Ten Lies I Told as a Mormon Missionary
    The Bible predicts a dreadful fate for liars. For instance, while banished on the island of Patmos, the Apostle John saw...
    18 hrs · Like · Remove Preview

    Amy Bush O'Neal You can always find negative links, especially in religion. That's why testimonies and finding out for yourself is so important! We are all given freedom to choose and to find out for ourselves. I have and I'm so happy I did!
    17 hrs · Like · 3

    Adam D Pomeroy Funny how my link was just for filling out info for a free BoM. Yet yours was an attack. Oh well, refer to my previous comments for any further questions
    17 hrs · Like · 1

    Adam D Pomeroy Also, I can denounce every accusation he made. So that link is a dud.
    17 hrs · Like

    BillandMandi Dale " the philosophies of men, mingled with Scripture."
    17 hrs · Unlike · 3

    Sabrina D Lecumberry Joshua, you ask something along the lines of is that enough or do I need all this extra. I can't say that I woul call myself any specific religion. I am relatively new to religion in that I am beginning to read the Bible for the first time in my life and explore different churches. But I have always had faith. If you had asked me a few years ago what that meant, this is what I would tell you. I believe their is a higher power in whatever name you want to call it, I believe there is life after this one in some form or another and as long as we live this life in the best way we can and understand we aren't perfect we will be okay. It's only been in the last year I've started getting curious about the differences in religion, so far the one thing I have found in common, they all have faith and believe in a higher good. I think that's all you truly need. But again that's just my belief and opinion. And isn't that all religion really is? Someone's belief on what faith is?
    17 hrs · Unlike · 1

    Amy Bush O'Neal Okay sorry everyone, I know this conversation is over and done, but I really want Joshua to understand that Jesus's grace IS enough. Here's a talk that explained his grace to me in a way that I could understand it better. It's a great read if you have time.

    Christ’s arrangement with us is similar to a mom providing music lessons for her child. Mom pays the piano teacher. Because Mom pays the debt in full, she can turn to her child and ask for something. What is it? Practice! Does the child’s practice pay the piano teacher? No. Does the child’s practice repay Mom for paying the piano teacher? No. Practicing is how the child shows appreciation for Mom’s incredible gift. It is how he takes advantage of the amazing opportunity Mom is giving him to live his life at a higher level. Mom’s joy is found not in getting repaid but in seeing her gift used—seeing her child improve. And so she continues to call for practice, practice, practice.

    If the child sees Mom’s requirement of practice as being too overbearing (“Gosh, Mom, why do I need to practice? None of the other kids have to practice! I’m just going to be a professional baseball player anyway!”), perhaps it is because he doesn’t yet see with Mom’s eyes. He doesn’t see how much better his life could be if he would choose to live on a higher plane.

    In the same way, because Jesus has paid justice, He can now turn to us and say: “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19); “Keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If we see His requirements as being way too much to ask, maybe it is because we do not yet see through Christ’s eyes. We have not yet comprehended what He is trying to make of us.

    Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said, “The repenting sinner must suffer for his sins, but this suffering has a different purpose than punishment or payment. Its purpose is change” (The Lord’s Way [1991], 223; emphasis in original). Let’s put that in terms of the child pianist: The child must practice the piano, but this practice has a different purpose than punishment or payment. Its purpose is change.

    Our works, such as repentance and keeping the commandments, do not save us, but they are requirements set by the Savior to help transform us.
    The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can live after we die but that we can live more abundantly (see John 10:10). The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can be cleansed and consoled but that we can be transformed (see Romans 8). Scriptures make it clear that no unclean thing can dwell with God (see Alma 40:26), but no unchanged thing will even want to.

    The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can go home but that—miraculously—we can feel at home there. If Heavenly Father and His Son did not require faith and repentance, then there would be no desire to change. Think of your friends and family members who have chosen to live without faith and without repentance. They don’t want to change. They are not trying to abandon sin and become comfortable with God. Rather, they are trying to abandon God and become comfortable with sin. If the Father and the Son did not require covenants and bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, then there would be no way to change. We would be left forever with only willpower, with no access to His power. If Heavenly Father and His Son did not require endurance to the end, then there would be no internalization of those changes over time. They would forever be surface and cosmetic rather than sinking inside us and becoming part of us—part of who we are. Put simply, if Jesus didn’t require practice, then we would never become Saints.

    “But don’t you realize how hard it is to practice? I’m just not very good at the piano. I hit a lot of wrong notes. It takes me forever to get it right.” Now wait. Isn’t that all part of the learning process? When a young pianist hits a wrong note, we don’t say he is not worthy to keep practicing. We don’t expect him to be flawless. We just expect him to keep trying. Perfection may be his ultimate goal, but for now we can be content with progress in the right direction. Why is this perspective so easy to see in the context of learning piano but so hard to see in the context of learning heaven?

    God’s grace is divine power to help us with all of our shortcomings and is available to us at all times.
    There should never be just two options: perfection or giving up. When learning the piano, are the only options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting? No. Growth and development take time. Learning takes time. When we understand grace, we understand that God is long-suffering, that change is a process, and that repentance is a pattern in our lives. When we understand grace, we understand that the blessings of Christ’s Atonement are continuous and His strength is perfect in our weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:9). When we understand grace, we can, as it says in the Doctrine and Covenants, “continue in patience until [we] are perfected” (D&C 67:13).

    Grace is not a booster engine that kicks in once our fuel supply is exhausted. Rather, it is our constant energy source. It is not the light at the end of the tunnel but the light that moves us through the tunnel. Grace is not achieved somewhere down the road. It is received right here and right now.

    The grace of Christ is sufficient (see Ether 12:27; D&C 17:8)—sufficient to cover our debt, sufficient to transform us, and sufficient to help us as long as that transformation process takes. The Book of Mormon teaches us to rely solely on “the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah” (2 Nephi 2:8). As we do, we do not discover—as some Christians believe—that Christ requires nothing of us. Rather, we discover the reason He requires so much and the strength to do all He asks (see Philippians 4:13). Grace is not the absence of God’s high expectations. Grace is the presence of God’s power (see Luke 1:37).

    God’s grace is sufficient. Jesus’s grace is sufficient. It is enough. It is all we need. Don’t quit. Keep trying. Don’t look for escapes and excuses. Look for the Lord and His perfect strength. Don’t search for someone to blame. Search for someone to help you. Seek Christ, and, as you do, you will feel the enabling power and divine help we call His amazing grace.

    Read the whole thing, the talk is amazing!!!