Today I have called in sick to my life. It's just a cold. Both kids have had it (and frankly, neither one had a "sick" day -- they were both running around the whole time), so I knew it was just a matter of time, considering how often I'm sneezed on, etc. Anyway, it's completely survivable, but I know I need a down day to get over it before I work, and my mommy comes (!). So, my big plan today is to lay around, read "Siblings Without Rivalry" (DESPERATELY need to do that, the kids are driving me insane, and I need a re-read of this book), and generally just feel the weight of my illness. :)
Last night we had the missionaries over for dinner, and while our Rhodes Rolls didn't rise at all (is it only me that they never rise on? I had them out like 6 hours -- not an inch) we had a nice FHE lesson. It was based on Elder Ballard's talk about sharing facts about our church.
I started out with some of the myths of our church:
1. We have horns. (yes, it's true -- there are people out there that believe this about Mormons)
2. We practice polygamy (having more then one wife)
3. There are Mormons only in Utah.
4. We don’t believe in Jesus
5. We don’t believe in the Bible
All of these are completely false -- fyi. :)
We then went through some of the facts that Elder Ballard mentions in his talk:
Facts about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
1. “Mormon” is only our church’s nickname, our real name is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
2. The church was started by Joseph Smith in New York, but is now headquartered in Utah and lead by President Thomas S Monson.
3. We have over 13 million members in 176 countries. We have 6 million members in the US, making us the 4th largest church in the US.
4. Our congregations (wards) are led by volunteer clergy (bishop). Women also serve in assigned leadership in the church
Information on the Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
1.We believe that our soul will live forever, and we can live with God again.
2. We accept Jesus Christ as our savior, and follow his teachings.
3. We believe we have restored the church that Jesus established on earth. We have a prophet who Jesus & Heavenly Father use to lead us today.
4. We use the bible alongside the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ.
Information on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and their families
1. We are an extremely family-centered church. We emphasize the importance of families in all aspects of our lives, and we no longer practice polygamy.
2. Families attend Sacrament meeting (worship services) together.
3. We hold Family Home Evening once a week, where our family learns values, and has fun together.
4. There are programs in the church to help youth and children.
5. Genealogy is very important to us, giving us a stronger sense of where we came from and how we belong.
Some Fruits of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
1. Mormons are healthier and live longer then the national average.
2. Mormons who attend the temple regularly have a lower divorce rate then the national average
3. We have a higher educational level then the national average.
4. We place strong emphasis on being self reliant and working hard. The church donates a lot of time, money and goods to humanitarian causes around the world.
After that we went through some questions we might be asked (my answers are in italics, but we took turns answering last night -- it was good to have the missionaries there for this part):
1. Does your dad have more then one wife? FYI, our church stopped the practice of Polygamy over 100 years ago -- in 1890. Those who are found to be practicing polygamy now are immediately excommunicated (aka, kicked out of the church). Period.
2. Do you worship Joseph Smith? Joseph Smith was the founder of our church. We think he's a pretty great man, but he's just a man -- like many men in our church who serve the church willingly.
3. Do you drink soda? Mormons don't drink Coffee, non-herbal tea (I believe it's green and black tea that we don't drink -- sometimes I'll have orange tea, or raspberry tea when I'm sick), wine or other "spirits". Mostly we stay away from things that are addicting. Some people feel fine drinking caffinated sodas, but the church has counseled that if it becomes something which consumes our life, that we can't live without -- we should stop. I think that's just good advice. So yes, we drink soda.
4. Do you ever read the bible? The Book of Mormon is "another" testament of Jesus Christ. They stand side by side and we study both. We, in fact, have 2 years devoted to the bible in Seminary (high school scripture study), and only 1 year to the Book of Mormon. I am completely inept at both -- but it's not from a lack of trying. :)
5. No one else is a Mormon, that’s a weird religion. I don't think we get this type of response as much anymore but there are plenty of people in powerful positions in society who are LDS. Look around, you'll be surprised.
6. Three hours of church is so long what do you do there? We have one hour where the entire family worships together. Members of the congregation give talks during this time, that help us become better people. Then, we split into Sunday School for one hour (organized by age group and adults meet together), and then the men and women split-up further during the 3rd hour to focus on ways to better help us in our roles as men and women.
7. Your dad must be paid pretty well if he’s in the bishopric. My dad has been both a bishop and a stake president. He was never paid, and every hour donated to the church is done voluntarily. It's amazing when you think about it.
8. Isn’t it hard not to drink coffee? Not for me -- I hate the way it smells, but it's just something we go without. Most people I know who have quit to join the church don't view it as a problem a few months down the road.
9. Can you come to my party on Monday night? On Monday nights our family has family home evening. It's devoted to sharing values, fun and of course, a treat. So, no -- I can't. :)
10. Do you worship Thomas S. Monson? He is the prophet of our church, and much like Joseph Smith (who was also a prophet when he was alive) he is a great man. There are many attributes of his that I would like to be like -- but worship, no.
I really loved this talk when it was given. There are so many misconceptions about our church out there, and I strongly believe it's our job to at least clear those things up. So often at work people find-out that I'm LDS and they say "but you're so normal." And that's what I want people to realize. We're normal people. We're the soccer mom next to you, we're in the PTA, we're making stuff for the bake sale. We're good people, with the same goals as you. No, we don't drink, we don't have premarital sex (hopefully), we have larger families (myself not being a great example of that one) and we spend a lot of time doing church stuff.... but in reality, I think that's how many people would like to be. Anyway, it was a good lesson for our family, as I'd like Conner to have a few answers already in his head about questions he might be asked.