Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Women of Faith: Maddy from Chatty Maddy Helps

Welcome to the Women of Faith Series!

These women contributing have poured their heart and souls into these posts wanting to share their beliefs with you. I welcome them with open arms and I pray that you will as well.

A little about the series, I asked them all the same 12 questions to shed light on the beliefs of their faith and their personal journey. 

This is meant to be educational to expand your view of what others believe. I ask you to be respectful in any comments you leave and really start a conversation into exploring each of these faiths. Though you may not agree with their faith or beliefs, let's respect them by making this a safe place for them to share. 

I’m a Mormon! I Know It, I Live It, I Love It!

By Maddy Stutz 

Hello, my name is Maddy Stutz! I love cats, blogging…and I’m a Mormon! If you don’t know what the heck that even is, then let me tell you!

First off, “Mormon” isn’t even our name. On our church buildings, it doesn’t say, “Mormon Church.” The official name is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! As stated in the name, we believe in Jesus Christ, and identify ourselves as Christians!

Our church has a living prophet today, named President Thomas S. Monson. He’s just like the prophets of old, and we also have 12 apostles! This is set up the exact same way Christ himself established leadership in the church 2,000 years ago during his time on good ol’ earth. We also have bishops, stake presidents, mission presidents, young women presidents, relief society presidents, and about a zillion other positions that are held by both men and women.

When Christ was crucified, and then rose again on the third day, He told his servants that he must visit “sheep not of this fold” (John 10:16). 2,000 years ago, people lived all over the world, not just in the Middle East where the Bible takes place. So doesn’t it make sense that Christ would visit more of his children elsewhere? Well…that’s exactly what happened!

The Bible is a record of the Christ’s teachings and gospel on the Eastern Hemisphere, but the people of the America’s on the Western Hemisphere were scribbling away as well. They created a book, another Testament of Jesus Christ, which teachings are the exact same teachings in the Bible, and further verifies the Holy Book, and in 1827, we received it.

Joseph Smith Junior began to wonder the age-old question, what is the true religion? He traveled to many churches and listened to hundreds of sermons, but all seemed to contradict, or not make sense. In 1820 at the age of 14, his passion for knowing the truth became increasingly strong, and he looked to the Bible. He read James 1:5, which states, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

Hit with a powerful desire to ask for himself, he walked into a grove near his home in Palmyra, New York. No one better described what happened next besides Joseph Smith himself:

“After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

One of them ... said, pointing to the other—“This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”

It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—“This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”

My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home.”

Then, late one night, an angel named Moroni appeared to Joseph, and told him of a book that was written. A book that further testified of the truth of Christ’s gospel. A book written of the accounts of the saints living in the America’s in ancient times, and in 1827, Joseph Smith received these plates from a hill, and was translated and published into the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

Now, onto my personal experiences as a Mormon. This gospel has brought me the most peace anything in life could possibly bring. It gives me strength not to fear death when the time comes, for we all will be resurrected like Christ, and we will live again with him…in flesh and blood. I know my sins can be forgiven through forgiveness because of His infinite atonement…every last sin. But believing isn’t enough, for “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20). People often say all you have to do to earn God’s forgiveness is to love him, but is that really logical? After all, do you only have to love your parents to gain their forgiveness? Or do you have to work at it, show that you love them, listen to their counsel, follow their commandments and show them you are a faithful child? The same goes for our Heavenly Father. When we follow His commandments, we prove that we love Him, we have faith in Him, and with that we can be forgiven and become good people.

I love that Heavenly Father doesn’t ask us to primarily call him “master” or “king.” Yes, we call Him that sometimes, but he primarily refers to himself as the “Father.” How sweet is that? Often when I pray, I like to picture us on a daddy-daughter date, sitting on a bench in a beautiful park, maybe even drinking lemonade. We talk about everything that’s on my mind, all my fears and dreams. And I try to imagine what a loving and merciful father would say back…what He would say back. Because of this, we’re pretty tight. Two peas in a pod! He has helped me through my darkest times, and rejoiced with me through the happiest moments of my life.

Of course, I’ve questioned things at first. I mean, God and the Son coming to a 14 year-old boy in 1820? Modern day prophets and apostles like Moses of old? Another testament of Jesus Christ? You might be able to talk yourself out of it pretty fast, but it’s not so far-fetched as you might originally think. After all, why would God stop talking to us now? If He wanted us to return to Him, isn’t it logical that He would provide a prophet today to help us get there, just like before? Isn’t it logical that He would visit all his children, and they would write a book about it? Nothing about the origin of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doesn’t include things that happened in the Bible, but what happened is in the latter-days, modern days. It’s for us, it’s for me and it’s for you. He lives, He will come again, and He will wrap you in His arms and whisper in your ear, “Hello, my child. I missed you.”

For more information, check out www.mormon.org

To watch a short video about a Book of Mormon Story, check out http://www.mormonchannel.org/watch/series/mormon-messages/a-book-of-mormon-story-1

God isn’t dead.

Maddy Stutz is a Mormon blogger living in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is passionate about dissolving the stigma that surrounds mental illness, and desires to educate everyone on their divine worth, ability to love themselves, and the potential God sees inside within them. To check out more of Maddy's writings, you can visit her blog at www.chattymaddyhelps.blogspot.com.

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