Mormon Mission Trip: A Two-Year Journey

About a month after my nineteenth birthday, while I was off at college, I received a much anticipated envelope in the mail. It was my official call and instructions to be a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

mormon missionaries
Mormon missionary men are called “elders”

Each year, tens of thousands of young men and women, as well as senior couples, embark on a mission trip, or period of missionary service (lasting up to 2 years for young men and 18 months for young women). Surprisingly to many, those who choose to serve don’t decide where they go. Rather, like I did, they submit an application to the prophet and president of the Church and he or one of the 12 apostles of the Church issues an official call.

When I received my envelope on a cold Fall afternoon, I had no idea where I was going to spend the next 2 years of my life. With excitement and nervousness, I opened my letter to discover I was asked to serve in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was some of the best 2 years of my life.

LDS Conference Center Interior
The interior of the Church’s conference center in Salt Lake City, UT
Recently, in the 182nd Semiannual General Conference of the Church, Church president Thomas S. Monson announced that the men may now begin serving missions at age 18 and women at age 19. Previously, it was age 19 for men and age 21 for women.

Missionary service is not unique to the Mormon Church. I’ve known of many people, and even some good friends of other faiths, you have embarked on some sort of missionary service or humanitarian project for some period of time. Perhaps what is different though, is the shear amount of time Mormon missionaries spend in missionary service, and some of the regulations to such service. For example, did you know that Mormon missionaries are only allowed to speak to family 2 times each year? Once on Christmas and the other on Mother’s Day. They also refrain from secular, or normal day-to-day activities, such as watching TV, attending sporting events or going to a movie theater. Church missionary service is a dedicated time to serve God and His children.

What is also unique is their message, and that of the Mormon Church. First and foremost, the message of the Church is that God lives— He is real and He loves us. Each of us is a child of God. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. Secondly, missionaries teach that prophets and apostles once again are on the earth, like in the time of Jesus, and that God has restored His true church to the earth, the same church established by Jesus centuries ago. Related is that through modern prophets, God has revealed new scripture as companions to the Bible, including the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

mexican flagThe reason all of this is on my mind is because I recently said good-bye to my little brother for 2 years. He is now serving as a missionary in Mexico. He is anxious and excited to talk to the people of Mexico about Jesus Christ and His plan of salvation. I know he will learn much about life and learn to love the people of Mexico and see them the way God sees all of His children.

Want to learn more? Read this post about Mormon missionaries. Are you visiting with Mormon missionaries? If you have any questions, visit the ask a question page and let me know.

Do Mormons Wear “Holy” or “Magic Underwear?”

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are a people that believe in being true and faithful to God. Many Mormon adults wear special undergarments as a reminder of the sacred promises they’ve made to God in the temple.

Mormons refer to these as garments or temple garments—there’s nothing magic about them. They are simple, white underwear (consisting of a top, like a t-shirt, and a bottom, like shorts) worn to symbolize and help the person remember the promises they’ve made to God, the promises to be a Christian. Here are a few videos from Mormons talking about the garment.


Are Religious Garments Unique to Mormons?

When it comes down to it, what many mistakenly refer to as “magic underwear” is nothing more than a religious garment. And when you look at it that way, Mormons are certainly not unique in their desire to wear something as a religious expression of their faith. Sometimes it’s the leaders, like in the case of Catholic priests or nuns, and sometimes it’s the members, like in the case of the yarmulke of some Jewish men, and the headwear of the Sikh.

He Is Risen! – A Video From the Mormon Church For the Easter Season

This morning we went to an Easter egg hunt at the local park. It was so much fun seeing all the kids run around and pick up their loot. It was a beautiful Spring morning. I hope you’ve enjoyed this Easter season and have a chance to be with your loved ones as well.

But may we remember the true meaning of this holiday: Jesus Christ. During Easter we remember Christ’s death for all of us; but most importantly, we remember that He lives! On the third day after His crucifixion Jesus Christ was resurrected. I know Jesus Christ lives. I know He loves us. May you find that hope and joy this Easter holiday. Visit mormon.org/easter to learn more.

Here is a video from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which is a depiction of the last few hours of the Savior’s life, his crucifixion and resurrection.

Mormon Scriptures

Mormon ScripturesDespite what you may have heard, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) read from the Holy Bible. The misconception that Mormons don’t read the Bible probably stems from the fact that they do read other sacred books and believe them to be scripture.

Below is a list of the formal Church canon of the Mormon Church along with a description about each:

The Holy Bible

Mormons read from the King James Version of the Bible, including both the Old Testament and New Testament. “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly” (see Articles of Faith 1:8). I am grateful for the Bible, particularly that we have an account of the life of Jesus Christ to help us learn from His teachings. Read More >>

Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. Just as the Bible witnesses of His divinity, the Book of Mormon stands as a second witness that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.

Mormon ScripturesWhile the Bible is a record of God’s dealings with the people of the old world (i.e., Jerusalem and that area) the Book of Mormon is a record of God’s dealings with the people of the ancient American continent. It contains stories of men and women doing their best to follow God and keep His commandments, just like the Bible. It also contains the record of the miraculous appearance of Jesus to the people after his death and resurrection. It is an amazing book that will strengthen your belief and faith in Jesus Christ. Read More >>

Click here to request a free Book of Mormon.

Doctrine and Covenants

Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are considered “ancient scripture” meaning they were written many centuries ago. The Doctrine and Covenants is different in that it is a modern record.

Continue reading “Mormon Scriptures”

Why Mormons Don’t Drink Coffee…and Other Things

Have you ever wondered why Mormons can’t drink alcohol, tea or tobacco? There are two main reasons: (1) Our bodies are sacred and (2) The Word of Wisdom.

Mormon couple

Our Bodies Are Sacred

In 1 Corinthians 6:19, Paul asked the Corinthians “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” Regardless of what your religious background is, the word “temple” conjures up some form of holiness, cleanliness or sacredness. Thus, when Paul compares our bodies to a temple, he means that they are sacred gifts from God that should be kept clean.

Mormons believe in honoring our bodies, in keeping ourselves healthy and free from addiction. So in one sense, why can’t Mormons drink alcohol and other things?—because we believe it damages the body.

The Word of Wisdom

The other reason is because of The Word of Wisdom, a law of health revealed by God to Joseph Smith in 1833.

The Word of Wisdom instructs us to:

  • eat healthy foods
  • avoid harmful substances
  • avoid alcohol, tobacco, tea and coffee
  • avoid harmful drugs in any form

So why don’t Mormons drink coffee and other things?—because we are commanded by God not to. The Lord has promised great physical and spiritual blessings to those who follow this law of health. I know I have been blessed in many ways by doing my best to live this law.