Friends of the Foundation, Mormons Everywhere~
Please join us on our More Good Foundation Facebook Page as we share ways to display God’s goodness to the world through your lives and insights, as faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We’re inviting all around the world to share your photos and talks, your write-ups of activities, with us, that we can post this positive content in appropriate ways online (and anonymously or by first name to protect your privacy), on websites that deal with the theme of the respective materials you send.
See the discussion topics for ways you can become simply and effectively involved in the global conversation about who we are as members. Remember, silence is often misconstrued as consent, and it’s up to us to share our talks in Sunday meetings, our learning, our journaling online (non-private sorts of entries) with a larger audience than our own community of believers.
It’s easy to speak to ourselves about what we do, who we are, and the amazing miracles we witness in the kingdom daily. But it’s time to expand our reach and our way of thinking about messaging, about those who need to receive the messages, and engage ourselves in a natural conversation with friends of other faiths, as we tell our stories, share the activities we participate in on a daily basis, the threads of our hobbies, our talents, our connections, and God’s Hand in those, with the world. It’s time to take literally the challenge to find thousands who are ready for the truth. It’s time to be a voice online.
As Paul spoke from Mars Hill in the 1st century, where he had the greatest audience of his secular day, and in a society not unlike ours today, we likewise can take note, and in parallel fashion, go where the people are to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ through small and simple means on the Internet–the gathering place of the 21st Century. This is my witness and my encouragement to each of us…
We invite you to share this page with all you know, and to join in the conversation there and on the Internet. If you need further help or would like to receive a presentation for greater understanding about ways members can participate, please feel free to contact us.
Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, addressed a significant portion of his recent address to the BYU-Idaho student body (Mormon faith-based university) to the issue of public perception and media perception of members of the Church and Church doctrine. With vibrant illustration, he enumerated instances of misconception and lack of a knowledge base, that has precipitated some of the political pundits and the media reporters, to often make confusing and/or inaccurate comments about our faith and beliefs.
Elder Ballard referenced candidly comments circulating the Net during the former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, as indicative of the need for individuals to rise to the challenge of defending and clarifying LDS beliefs in an understandable fashion for those not affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons):
You remember Mr. (Mike) Huckabee (who was also vying to be the Republican candidate for president), who among other things said that Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil were brothers?” Ballard asked students. “Remember that? It went all over the media.
“Well they are!” Ballard exclaimed to a laughing student body.
“But they (the media and many of other faiths) don’t understand that, because they don’t have the (LDS gospel) restoration. They don’t understand the spiritual relationship that … we are all sons and daughters of God, and that Lucifer was one of those and (that) he chose to use his agency in an unrighteous way.”
Mormon apostle, Elder Melvin J. Ballard, also specifically alluded to the oft-asked question posed by reporters: “Why aren’t Mormons Christian?” or “Are Mormons Christians?” He said evangelicals have criticized that church for not being a Christian faith because the Church does not consider the 4th century Nicene Creed as valid, religious doctrine; it sees it as a construct of man. Rather, members believe in a modern restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ as Christ taught it. In sharing his approach in responding to those who make such inquiries, Elder Ballard, remarked:
(We) explain to (reporters) who our Heavenly Father is, who the Lord Jesus Christ is and who the Holy Ghost is, as revealed to us through the restoration of the gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith,” said Ballard. “It always bothered (reporters) when we would say that we just don’t believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was praying to himself when he often prayed to his Heavenly Father for guidance.”
Another frequently-addressed and surfacing issue in media circles and on and off-line is in regard to the myth that we are a “secretive” people or have secretive nature as an organization, to which Elder Ballard, in his frank and genuine apostolic manner, added:
We have almost 19,000 chapels scattered around the world, 53,000 full-time missionaries that are trying to drag people into the 19,000 chapels. We don’t understand why you would say we are a secret society,” Ballard said as he related his response to BYU-Idaho students.
The apostle commented that much of this stigma revolves around the sacredness of our temples and the fact that the Lord has placed restrictions on who may enter His holy house. In his words,
The world has no concept of what a temple is … they see our temples and think our temples are like a cathedral (and because) they can’t go into that cathedral … therefore we are a secret society….
We take great joy in explaining to them the purpose of the temple. The temple is not a meetinghouse — the temple is a house dedicated to the Lord where his children come to make sacred covenants…
Additionally, the Mormon apostle, Elder Ballard, spoke about the prevalent ignorance and darkness among many in the world of our brothers and sisters, reminding students “how tremendous a thing it is to be a member of the church and to have a knowledge of who we are and where we came from.” He added:
We understand the covenants and the commandments we need to enter into so we can go back to the presence of our Heavenly Father,” Ballard said. “We understand that as members of the church. But out there even among those that are writing in religious columns — they don’t get it.”
Elder Ballard gently suggested that members, collectively speaking, may need to learn to learn “to be more aggressive. I think we have to learn to be a little more effective in our ability to share what we know to be true with the world.” (emph. added).
Referring to correspondence and questions regarding Prop 8 and our belief in heterosexual marriage– from those within and without the Church–Elder Ballard remarked:
[Adam and Eve] had a charge to multiply and replenish the earth … That is a marvelous and glorious experience to bring up children, to have and raise a family and that is done between a husband and a wife who are married.Marriage is a vital, important doctrine of the church, and we can’t do anything about it but stand in favor of it.
While encouraging the Mormon membership to treat the topic with love and civility, he made firmly the point that the Church cannot succumb to abandoning the “great and marvelous principle of marriage between a man and a woman.”
Elder Ballard encouraged students to fortify their faith and keep their testimonies alive and strong, and to forgo a complacent and “all-is-well-in-Zion” mentality.Read More
A new widget created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) allows private websites and individual bloggers to collect donation for use in the ongoing Church Relief Effort for earthquake-ridden Haitians.
By clicking on share, on the widget below, you can find the appropriate icon for you, copy the embed code, and add it to your site.
An amazing team of volunteers have gathered to tend to the ever-pressing, dire needs of thousands of Haitians, including medical teams dispatched by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”), and planes full of supplies sent in tandem with the Islamic Relief USA and other charitable organizations.
Miracles continue to occur. Mormon return missionary from Haiti, who served as White House presidential representative in many countries, coordinated a divinely inspired effort to charter planes full of returned missionaries and medically proficient volunteers to go to Port au Prince and assist in the relief efforts. Nine meetinghouses, largely unimpeded by the quake, were set up as shelters, and operations were moving forward there, as hundreds of pounds of supplies–from purifiers, to hygiene kits, from food and water to medical supplies–were ushered into the country from Miami, Chicago, and elsewhere through Church distribution channels and those of cooperating agencies.
The miracle that the Proctors of Meridian Magazine share of bringing back a plane full of orphans, Brother Studdert’s vision, came to pass in another display of God’s intervention as hearts and minds united in prayer to help some of these emotionally-flailing, tender, wanting children to board a plane with their adoptive parent or parents and head home. See the orphan story here.
If you are a native French speaker and would like to assist at this end in the long-term solution to the problems that Haiti is facing, please contact us at email@moregoodfoundation. There are many opportunities to share your faith online in French and Creole and to create websites that can bring the Haitian people the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–to offer spiritual salvation as we work now to offer temporal help and emotional and spiritual relief.Read More
An eagerly anticipated venue for LDS or Mormon youth, and for all young adults out there who are value-driven, was newly launched by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Youth.lds.org provides an Internet community for young adults seeking to find strength and solutions to life’s challenges and opportunities through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
From video clips of youth speaking from around the globe about their faith in Christ, testimony of the restored gospel, to inspiring messages of the First Presidency and other Mormon leaders, to the contents of a Mormon youth guide written for the benefit and Strength of Youth, this site is a welcome venue for leaders and young adults 12-18 alike.
Last night, my two teenage girls and I previewed the site together, listened to Elder Uchtdorf’s message regarding our need to create, as children of God, and we captured some of the testimonies of young people from various countries affirming their faith in Jesus Christ and their knowledge of His restored gospel, as taught in its fulness in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
Additionally, there are handy links to the Church Newsroom and other Mormon resources on the site, as well as information on Scouting, and testimonials of youth committed to righteous living in a Brand New Year, 2010. A Brand New Year also includes streamed music for download, and explanations of a leader resource–the Brand New Year DVD that will be distributed to leaders of youth for use in strengthening youth everywhere.
Link to this site, take time to share it with your family and to talk about the contents and teachings it offers, and ways to apply those in your circumstances. Here’s one of the messages from a Mormon leader, a modern apostle of the Lord’s Church on earth today:
Our challenges, including those we create by our own decisions, are part of our test in mortality. Let me assure you that your situation is not beyond the reach of our Savior. Through Him, every struggle can be for our experience and our good (see D&C 122:7). Each temptation we overcome is to strengthen us, not destroy us. The Lord will never allow us to suffer beyond what we can endure (see 1 Corinthians 10:13).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormon”) is now offering the scriptures in Korean and Chinese online. Korean scriptures were recently added in October, and Chinese (traditional) has been made available in December. These online resources include translations of three books of modern revelation–the will of God for you and me in our day. This wonderful compendium of revelations were given through the Prophet, Joseph Smith, who was called of God as an instrument for restoring the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness to the earth. If you are wondering why you are here, where the truth really lies, if God is real, if Jesus is the Son of God, or what you should do with your life, we invite you to read these scriptures or those in your native language (other language texts are available as well.) These scriptures are called, The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price.
We, at More Good Foundation, a lay membership organization serving you, also have many sites to assist you, in an unofficial capacity, to learn more about the Church and its members, and to talk with members in real time. For more information, visit www.moregoodfoundation.org, click on Our Sites. An unofficial copy of The Book of Mormon in Russian is also available on bookmormon.ru, an MGF site.
Write us with your comments or questions, or ways you may be helped by these sites. We’d love to hear from you.Read More
“The jewel of the new site is the “Videos” channel, which will deliver viewers a library of videos that can be watched online, embedded into blogs, or shared through e-mail or social networks,” Wilson said. “A cutting-edge feature of the ‘share’ and ‘embed’ functionality is the option for the viewer to crop a video clip to a specific section and then share or embed just that piece.”
The new site also profiles individual Mormons’ personal experiences with the faith. The experiences shared in the videos are real and unscripted. Mormons who appear in the videos are from all over the world, representing the international reach of the Church. The majority of Church members reside outside the United States, and congregations are found in over 160 countries.
Prior to this latest release of Mormon.org, the Church implemented a chat function on the site so those interested in learning more about the Church could instantly chat with a missionary who could answer their questions, 24 hours a day. Missionaries have been conducting over 40,000 online chat sessions per month. In response to the remarkable success of the online chat, that feature has been given a much more prominent place on the new Mormon.org Web site.
Another important feature called “Worship With Us” provides a meetinghouse locator that lists the locations of thousands of Latter-day Saint chapels around world where everyone is invited to worship. Individuals interested in attending a service in their area will likely find a chapel on the site.Read More
Mormon prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often referenced by other faiths as the “Mormon Church“), announced an extension to its 3-decade mission statement which has included preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, perfecting and strengthening the members, and redeeming the dead through temple service. The statement, which is incorporated into the Church’s Handbook of Instructions will now include a fourth longstanding Church emphasis: caring for the poor and the needy. Serving has always been an integral part of each of these aspects of the Church mission, but will be enumerated to stand on its own accord as a pillar on which the gospel and membership activity rests (See Deseret News, LDS to boost emphasis on helping needy; Salt Lake Temple not closing.)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (oft inadvertently called the “Mormon Church”) is and has always been a serving organization, with members covenanted through baptism to strive continually to follow the example of the Lord who always went about “doing good.” Central to the Mormon faith and LDS religion is the tenet that “caring for the widow and the fatherless” and quietly hearing the silent pleas of those in desperate plights or needy circumstances around us, is paramount to a lived religion and consistently Christian life.
As American religion historian Jan Shipps noted, “it’s not that Mormons haven’t already been caring for the poor and needy with its humanitarian program…” However, rather than “moving it up to be one of our priorities,” it may be even more accurate to say that it simply affirms to others what has been embedded and held as integral in Mormons’ devotion to Christ, service to Him and understanding of the implications of His atonement for all.
LDS Reach Out to Poor and Needy in the World
Merry-go-Round in Ghana
In addition to Church-initiated projects, individual members are creative in their efforts to meet world needs and reach out to the poor and the needy. The motto of Brigham Young University, a Church-sponsored school, is to “enter to learn and go forth to serve.” Taken literally, thousands of students have been involved in global improvements. The photo above depicts an electricity-generating merry-go-round, created by BYU technology students and professor Charles Harrell in tandem with teachers in Essam village, Ghana. Harrell, BYU Professor from the Ira Fulton School of Technology remarks:
These villages and schools don’t have electricity. As children push the merry-go-round, it [generates] electricity that [lights] the school rooms.
The first project was completed in 2008. Markham, a retired engineer supporting the project who served in Ghana as a Mormon missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints observed:
In the rural villages the kids almost have no toys. I seldom saw the kids playing with anything other than a car tire or something else that could be used as a wheel.
In terms of the global humanitarian outreach of the Church, it is overwhelming in its scope and generosity. One of hundreds of Church initiatives worldwide includes providing wheelchairs for those 100 million people who may not have access to one or cannot afford to purchase one. “For them, going to school or getting a job may be impossible dreams.”
To help, the Church partners with community organizations serving the disabled. The local partner assesses clients, prescribes a device, and follows up with therapy and support. The Church donates wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, cushions, and other assistive devices – sometimes purchased from local workshops. When requested, teams of therapists give additional technical training to the partner.
Since 2001, the Church has distributed more than 300,000 wheelchairs in 101 countries. In 2008, the Church distributed more than 50,000 wheelchairs in 46 countries, from Armenia to Vietnam, Cambodia to Jamaica, Sri Lanka to Krgyzstan, Mexico to Malaysia. (Reaching Out to Poor and Needy: LDS Humanitarian Website)
From providing access to clean water in over 4500 communities worldwide, to shipping dolls to children in Afghanistan as part of an inter-faith cooperative effort to reach out to the poor and needy, to young single adults packing hygiene kits and women sewing quilts for the cold, there is always some outreach of some kind going on in the homes, lives, neighborhoods, wards (meetinghouses), stakes (meetinghouses covering extended geographical area), areas, and directed by the Church at large.
In Close~As Mormon Mission Statement Is Expanded
This inspired addition to the Mormons’ three-fold mission–mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints– to include caring for the poor and the needy stands to remind us all of our connectivity, our Christian commitments, and our need to listen for the spiritual cues of those among us, whose wounds may not be visible, whose hearts or minds or homes need binding up, and whose hands may need some lifting. A timely change at this Christmas season, 2009, that I shall always remember.Read More