My take on ‘Rock Center’

Bountiful Utah Temple, where Brad and I were married.

I put off watching the Mormon special on “Rock Center with Brian Williams” until Saturday night. I am the type of person who gets very emotional about things — especially related to my religious beliefs. I, like most members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, believe strongly in my faith and am proud to be a Mormon. Therefore, it’s sometimes difficult for me to watch a TV special about the church because there’s always the “Oh no, what are they going to say about us?” question in the back of my mind.

But I have to say after watching the hour-long special, I came away with mostly good feelings and thoughts.

I enjoyed the segment with former Jet Blue CEO David Neeleman and his testimony about worldly vs. temporal things. I think the line that stuck out to me the most was “God’s spiritual blessings to me are more important than the temporal blessings.”

The interview with Jeff Benedict, author of “The Mormon Way of Doing Business,” was great, too. I was so touched to hear him say, when asked why Mormons are so successful in business, that “the most powerful influence in these guys lives growing up is their mom.” He mentioned us putting our boys in music lessons and “looking at their collar” before they headed out the door. It was such a sweet way of saying “mothers matter.” It made me think about the story in The Book of Mormon, Helaman’s stripling warriors: “We do not doubt our mothers knew it.” (Alma 56:48). I never want my boys to doubt my faith, either.

I am glad they talked about our temples and the sacred ordinances that are performed there such as the marriage sealing; however, I wish they would have interviewed a member who had actually been through the temple. I feel they would have treated the topic with more sacredness and respect. Abby Huntsman is a good friend of mine, and a beautiful person. I can understand her hurt when speaking about her bishop’s concerns for choosing to marry someone outside the church. She shared some of her ideas about the temple and the temple garment. I’d like to briefly share some of mine.

When Williams asked Huntsman about why people don’t know more about the church, she responded with “I don’t think they’ve done a good enough job opening up. They’ve been very secretive.” I disagree. Secret and sacred are two very different things. In fact, not only has the church reached out in the media creating websites such as mormon.org, lds.org, and promoting the “I am a Mormon” ads and billboards, but whenever a new temple is built, the church throws its doors open to the public to come walk through. My brother and sister just had the opportunity to go see the Brigham City Temple last week. It was a wonderful experience for them.

It bothered me that Brian Williams talked about being able to go sit in St. Patrick’s Cathedral but not being able to go into the Mormon temple. He’s missing something here: Anyone is allowed in our churches. In fact, members are constantly encouraged to bring neighbors and friends of different faiths to church on Sunday to worship with us. We want people to share in our joy! The temple is different. The temple is much more sacred, where covenants are made. It is a place of worship, of peace, of learning. I will never forget my first experience going through the temple for myself. The love and holiness I feel when I am there is very special and sacred. I was taught to keep myself pure and to strive to learn and obey Heavenly Father’s commandments so that I could one day receive the blessings of this special place. It is something we as Mormons are constantly trying to do — to live worthy of our temple blessings.

I was very upset with the showing of the temple garment. When was the last time NBC showed anyone of a different faith standing in their underwear? The question Brian Williams asked Abby Huntsman about whether or not she thought a member of the faith would let him see their underwear was completely ridiculous. Yes, they are sacred. Yes, they hold special meaning. They are also our underwear! Why would you ask someone to show you that? What would he say if someone came up to him and said, “Excuse me. I’m just really curious about what underwear you’re wearing. Could you take off your clothes and show me?” Absurd.

The temple garment is a symbol of those beautiful covenants I’ve made. I don’t wear them to receive “magic powers.” They are a reminder of my commitment to keeping certain promises. For those curious about the sacred nature of the garment, there is a wonderful article on lds.org entitled “The Temple Garment: “An Outward Expression of an Inward Commitment” by Elder Carlos E. Asay.

I have never had an issue with men holding the priesthood, and so I couldn’t personally relate to Joanna Brooks and her struggles with wanting more equality within the church. Bearing children, creating a loving home environment, and raising the rising generation is responsibility enough for me. I feel 100 percent equal to my husband and am grateful he holds the priesthood, the power and authority to act in the name of God, to carry out His responsibilities here on earth. We are different in our roles, but one is not greater than the other.

I loved the segment with the interracial LDS couple, Al and Juleen Jackson from Lehi, Utah. I loved their simple, pure testimony.

When people refer to us Mormons as “living in a bubble,” I have to stifle a laugh. I wonder why people think we are immune to the rest of the world because of our religious beliefs? I have had so much life experience, met so many different types of people, traveled to many different places all over the world, and have lived a very rich life full of culture and diversity being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know what “real life” is like. I have trials. I have hardships. I’ve been through incredibly hard, soul-searching, difficult times. I am human. I’m not living in a different world, but my perspective on life is perhaps what sets me apart. I process things and deal with things differently and maybe a little easier because of the knowledge I have of my Savior and what He’s done for me.

I got a little emotional during the segments about the Bishop’s Storehouse. When Harry Smith said, “Mormon’s really believe they are their brother’s keeper,” I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. This, to me, is what life is about. Loving others. Helping them. Caring “more about others than [you] care about [yourself] and to focus on other people and what they need,” as Clark Johnson so beautifully put it.

I hope the segment has opened some doors for people with questions about the church. I encourage anyone with more questions to go to lds.org or talk to a missionary representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ. And I hope, overall, people come away with a feeling of love.

 

39 comments

  1. Carlene Lang

    I wanted to tell you I agree with your article and liked it. I was very disapointed in Brian Williams behavior but no one can say he pulled any punches. He lost me as a follower though. Sho our underwear/garments and ask to be shown them right there on TV. Bad form old boy, Bad form.

  2. Caroline Smith

    You said everything I thought with one exception: I would like to thank Harry Smith for his reporting. Every piece of reporting he contributed to the report was stellar.

  3. Brother Dave

    Carmen, I like your assessment of the TV program.

    Some points of the show were “poor” taste, however,
    the overall feel of the show did attempt to display
    the Church and its people and culture in a positive
    way.

  4. Don Olsen

    Very nicely done. Thanks to the Deserte News for seeking Carmen’s input and to her for her willingness to share it.

  5. Jillian

    Great article Carmen! It has been suggested that we should “answer questions the way in which they should have been asked.” I was disappointed in Brian Williams – but not surprised. Harry Smith had the best part of the assignment – and I was as astonished as he was! Sorry, I did not at all feel represented by the comments of Abby or Joanna. I thought the hour could have been better balanced.

  6. BobDog

    A great article! With respect to women in the Church, those with any experience in the governance of a Ward know that the Ward Council is composed of nearly 1/2 women, who fully participate in discussing policies and activities of the Ward. Moreover there is no one who talks with the Bishop more often, save his own two counsellors, than the Relief Society President. A good bishop is spiritually “joined at the hip” with the Relief Society President, and they work together meeting the temporal and spiritual needs of the Ward.

  7. Rob Lange

    Nicely written, Carmen. I admire your insight and perspective. I was a bit more critical of the choice to interview Abby Huntsman…lacking her name and good looks, I doubt she would have been interviewed…she added nothing of real value. But I share your thoughts and feelings about the other segments of the program. Thanks!

  8. Steve B

    As others have said, well done, Carmen. I agree that Abby’s choice of interviewee was not well-considered. She failed to point out that the bishop was just doing his job by raising questions about her choices. I think her problems with the Church started long before that meeting with the bishop, but she didn’t mention that.

    Like 98% of the Church membership, I was offended by the garments picture too, but thought of this: That particular depiction has probably been on the Internet for years. Maybe now the mainstream viewing population who saw it will have some curiosity satisfied and quit wondering what’s so mysterious about our “underwear.”

    Overall, it was a good piece and I will continue to watch Brian Williams.

    • Rebecca

      I completely agree with your assessment about Abby Huntsman. Since the Huntsman family has made it clear they are not weekly attenders of LDS meetings — that they prefer to attend a number of different faith services — it does not surprise me that Abby Huntsman could walk away when the bishop was only doing his job.

  9. Cel

    Very nicely put. I never watch specials about Mormons because I usually find them too hurtful. I can’t stand the mocking of things we hold sacred. As far as living in a bubble: I’ve had to drive through protestors telling me I was going to hell just to get into my church parking lot. I’ve watched the local popular pastor of a huge congregation lie about Mormons and what we believe on local tv Sunday mornings. I have Christians constantly telling me I don’t worship Christ. And those are just the attacks from other so-called Christians. If it’s a bubble, it isn’t always a nice one.

  10. Mindy

    This is exactly how I think most of us “active” and “actual” members of the church felt after watching it segment. I am thankful for a lot of the things they said, but also felt exactly the same way about all the points you brought up here. Again, it is Brian Williams. So it was expected. I do believe the man who actually went and did the reporting was touched by our members and Christ while he did his reporting. You could see it in his countenance.

    All I know if I want to learn about someones religion or church beleifs, the last thing I would do is go learn from the people who have fallen away from the the church, or don’t agree with it’s doctrine. Don’t get me wrong. All those people, still had wonderful things to say about the church, but you don’t read a Math book to learn Science if that makes sense.

    Overall it will end up being a good way for people to get to know mormons. It will be the best time to share our testimonies than any other time on this earth. Hopefully we can all bring more people the happiness and joy that we all have from our beliefs and the truth of them. We all know that there will always be rumors. I am thankful for the some of the truths that came from all of this.

    Thank you for your article.

  11. gj

    Overall I believe the church was shown in a great, positive light. The world doesn’t understand sacred things. Hopefully, knowing more about us will help the honest in heart to seek to know and feel more about sacred things. I was glad Abby was chosen. She brought to the forefront a real problem in the church about how women are treated, not that we need more power, only that priesthood leaders are not respectful of women. There needs to be a change.

    • Rebecca

      I believe you mean to say “priesthood leaders are not ALWAYS respectful of women.” I have had some respectful priesthood leaders, and some not so respectful. And there does need to be some improvement. However, not all priesthood holders are guilty as charged.

    • Audrey

      Unlike Rebecca, I have never had a priesthood leader that was disrespectful of womanhood and what we are to the church. I grew up with a great example of priesthood holders both at home and church. I also have continued to experience this throughout my life. My husband loves and respects me. I am sure they are out there, but I believe it is fewer rather than more. My experience is not limited in this either.

    • Sandee Spencer

      I don’t agree. A few years ago my youngest daughter was also dating a non-member young men. Our Bishop called her in out of genuine concern for her. He asked if she had shared her beliefs and standards with her boyfriend. She explained she had. He gave her a copy of the strength of youth pamphlet and asked her to have him read it. She did. There was nothing inappropriate about it and in hindsight she regrets the time (2 years) she spent dating the young man although he always honored her standards. She broke up with him when she left for BYU and cried for a week over the break up. And now she is thrilled to be married to a worthy returned missionary. So glad she didn’t lsoe the blessings that Abby forfeited.

  12. Kaylene Armstrong

    Well said. I, too, enjoyed pretty much the same things you did. I was disheartened that they let Joanna Brooks speak for all us women, and yet they didn’t explain anything about the leadership roles women do hold on every level of the church. I was also sad they led with the angel visiting Joseph Smith and said nothing about Jesus and Heavenly Father’s visit. Several of my convert friends noticed that right off because it is the most profound basis for the validity of the church. Anyway, thanks for your insights.

  13. David Durfee

    The issue of who can go into the temple was presented in the context of parents being forbidden to attend the marriage of their children. In light of the fact that the Church discourages concurrent civil wedding ceremonies, I think the reporting was fair. Frankly, it takes a lot of faith for even good Church members to work through the heartbreak of a parent being barred from the marriage of a child, especially if “everyone else” seems to be welcomed. For those parents and everyone else outside our Church, what we see as sacred just seems exclusive, arrogant and even mean. It’s an extaordinarily difficult issue and I thought the commentary was fair.

  14. Carrie Pitt

    I agreed with Carmen and felt her article was wonderful. The big downfall of the show was first, showing our garments “with the symbols intact”. Had they shown them with the symbols removed, they would no longer be sacred. Secondly, why ask a woman who has never been through the temple to talk it. Of course she thinks the requirements to get in are too high, she can’t get in. And why ask her about garments when she’s never worn them?
    As for us not inviting people in and try to keep people out of our church, I’m pretty sure I sent my son on a mission to invite people to come in and partake and I’m pretty sure at any given time there are over 50,000 other boys out there doing the same thing. We are there, we are asking, it is not our fault people do not open themselves to want to hear the message.
    I could say so much more but would end up with an article as long as Carmen’s. I will sum up by saying I have never felt “second class” as a woman in this church. I have always felt revered.

  15. Rosalie

    Well stated! Thank you for your insights. I also loved Harry Smith and his impressions. He was wonderful.

  16. pm

    I couldn’t agree more. Particularly the part about secret vs sacred. The world is so secular that the meaning of the word sacred means nothing to them. The covenants that I made in the temple were NOT a shock to me. I was taught to live them my whole life. It is the way they are presented that is sacred. This is something many outside the church do not understand. Until they do they will always think that what I hold sacred it secret.

    Also Harry Smith’s reporting was fantastic. Most of what I have seen of his is great reporting.

  17. Nachtmerrie_in_Brugge

    Thank you, Carmen, for a thoughtful, rational response to NBC’s report.

    Maybe if I hadn’t grown up LDS I would understand this childish fascination people seem to have with “Mormon underwear.” It is childish. These “journalists” wouldn’t have had to look very far to find “The Holy Temple” by Boyd K. Packer or the Church’s abridged booklet, in which President Packer gives what I consider to be the best explanation of Temple Garments.

    Joanna Brooks may not realize it, but through faith and prayer she (and you and all women everywhere) has just as much access to Priesthood power as do men who hold the Priesthood.

    Thanks again for a wonderful article!

  18. DuaneRHampton

    I agree with all of the previous comments. I know that journalists believe they must present a balanced view of everything. Their idea of balance in this examination of the Church was to interview committed members, former members, and non-members. The same was done several years ago when PBS showed a 4-hour documentary on the Church.
    My problem is with who they selected and what they said. An analogy would be if in a documentary on climate change they interviewed a high school student and used her commentary to explain and demonstrate evidence for climate change, and then interviewed Rush Limbaugh and other climate change deniers to provide a balanced view. In Rock Center’s story on Mormonism, they interviewed a non-member professor to describe the Church’s origins, which he got wrong, they showed only brief snippets from Elder Snow, nothing from the prophets past or present, and didn’t show converts and members who exemplify the life-transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, they did interview a nice interracial couple in Lehi so they could ask the race question, and the head of welfare services. They did interview a gay member and a gay former member. They interviewed Abby Huntsman, who is a fine young woman, but hardly able to talk about the temple since she hadn’t been endowed or sealed there and had no direct experience. In short, other than Harry Smith’s fine pieces, there wasn’t much competent journalism on display. I had hoped for more and better.

  19. Holly Valenti

    In regard to the comment about disrespectful priesthood leaders: I have never met a disrespectful priesthood leader. I have, however, met a few disrespectful men who hold the priesthood. They were not leaders, though.

  20. Christopher

    “When people refer to us Mormons as “living in a bubble,” I have to stifle a laugh. I wonder why people think we are immune to the rest of the world because of our religious beliefs?”

    Well Carmen, because those religious beliefs teach that evolution is wrong, and generally disregards any science based evidence that contradicts the LDS belief (and there is a lot of evidence). Because those religious beliefs teach that homosexuality is wrong and the LDS church puts money up (and lies about it) to stop people who are gay from marrying. Keep in mind, in no way is gay marriage ever going to interfere with the mission of the church. I don’t believe the rank and file members understand how offensive those actions were and are. By way of example imagine how LDS members would flip-out if there was a public campaign to stop missionaries from knocking on anyone’s door without a direct invitation? I’ve heard far more members excuse the LDS church for these actions than I’ve heard stand up against them.

    Sure the church has a magnificent welfare program, except that Bishops don’t just hand out welfare to people who need it, they want them to go to church. They try and make it contingent upon going to church. Getting welfare from the church is in many ways like signing a deal with the devil in which you are asked to trade your beliefs in exchange for basic sustenance. Do we want to talk about all the BPA in the LDS canned food (it’s there)? To be fair, the church is aware and they are working on it, but in the meantime there’s definitely a down side to the church welfare program. Do you and other members stand up against the church and demand immediate change, or do you allow the continued poisoning (by BPA) of the poorest people on earth?

    Your church and its members regularly step on and disrespect the faiths of others while crying about how you don’t get enough respect. Most notably this is done by baptizing dead family members of other faiths (not just Jews). Oh well, it’s just a name in a database right? Never mind how such actions hurt living people. Think about all the people in history who died for their non-LDS faith only to have the church then claim that person has now been baptized LDS. It’s shameful. Do members of the church stand up against this?

    Shall we talk about the sex scandals? How many fine Mormon mothers ‘who matter’ did nothing when their children came to them and reported abuse? It’s a major problem. Is there a Church program that adequately deals with the problem; are church members standing up and demanding a program be created to teach every member how to deal with it lawfully? Do you even acknowledge that the structure and shape of the organization creates a special vulnerably for Mormon girls and women in general?

    As you stated many members of the church have the same reaction you do, “I, like most members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, believe strongly in my faith and am proud to be a Mormon. Therefore, it’s sometimes difficult for me to watch a TV special about the church because there’s always the “Oh no, what are they going to say about us?” question in the back of my mind.”

    You see it’s that reaction that is one of the fundamental problems with your faith. It’s the same reason members don’t stand up against their church when the church takes actions that are just wrong. Not enough members stand up and say, “We are not doing enough.” We are not doing enough to be a better organization. We are not doing enough to stop the sexual abuse of children. Heaven forbid someone else stand up and say it for you, that might be embarrassing, and if there is one things Mormon’s can’t stand it’s to be embarrassed (or as you implied, “what are they going to say about us.”

    Of course as anyone mildly familiar with your faith knows, the real reason members of your church don’t speak out more often is because they are specifically instructed not to do so. You are taught not to contradict your church leaders. Members who do, who stand up and demand change suffer for speaking out.

    It is one thing to fear an unfair criticism of your church, but the fact is that the real serious and substantial criticism of the church should come from its members into the public forum without fear of reprisal. Until that happens on a regular basis you can laugh (or “stifle a laugh”) all you like, the rest of us know you live in a bubble.

  21. Jody England Hansen

    I am also apprehensive when there is any report done about the church. While there are some things I didn’t like about this one, I think overall it was good and will help start some great conversations about the church. I do think it is unfortunate that out of a 2 hour interview with Joanna Brooks, they only used a few statements, and those out of context. She talks more completely about the whole interview on her Ask Mormon Girl blog. I think it would have been very positive for the church if they had included more from her interview, and maybe less of Abby. I think all the other interviews were positive. I am very glad they showed so much about the importance of service. They really avoided showing the prominent role women play in the workings of the church, and that is poor reporting.

  22. Christina

    I think that members of other churches believe their ordinances are sacred also (for example the sacrament of marriage I’m the Catholic church). I think when LDS members emphasize sacred vs. secret they should keep this in mind. I think sometimes it sounds dismissive of the sacred practices in other religions.

  23. Carmen Powell

    Carmen, I just wanted to say that you’ve pretty much summed up the way I felt about the show. I had so many mixed emotions before it aired, and honestly wasn’t sure if I really wanted to watch it because of all of the negative and incorrect reports of the past. I think for the most part they did an okay job but was just really let down on what Brain Williams reported. I really think that an hour is just not enough time to accurately report on the religion as a whole. There are just too many facets. I was really disappointed that there were not more active member interviewed and I wasn’t happy at all that Abby Huntsman stated that the church needed to work on not being so secretive. I think that has actually been accomplished and maybe she had no clue about that because she is inactive and had separated herself from the church. Maybe one day someone will do a report worth being proud of. But at least it gives us a bit more exposure and the opportunity to spread the gospel.

  24. CCCalkins

    I don’t know whether to cringe or laugh when I hear people claim that women in the Church have no power.
    The three organizations tasked with instructing, training and setting an example for the youth of the Church are presided over by women. I doubt anyone would see that as a trivial assignment. Future generations depend upon the preparation of today’s youth.
    Having served as the president of all three auxiliaries, I can say with some authority, that I did just that – presided. I consulted with priesthood leaders when concerns for the needs of specific children arose, I kept them apprised of activities, etc., but I made decisions, chose associates, implemented activities to meet the goals of each auxiliary and insured that the programs were running smoothly.
    I believe that is arguably what a leader does. “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck”, seems to apply here.

  25. HunterSwift

    There has been much talk lately about Mormons, who they are and what they believe. As someone who is Mormon, I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss my own beliefs so that you may know what I personally believe and not rely on someone else who doesn’t know me and is either ill-informed, biased, or knows little to nothing regarding what I actually believe.

    I want to first start off by saying that I was not born into or raised Mormon. I was raised as a Protestant/Non-Denomination Christian. Growing up I frequently attended multiple Christian churches. I have always had a firm foundationalbelief in God and Jesus Christ. I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 13 years ago and since have been completely active in thechurch.

    This is what I believe. God is my Heavenly Father. He is the source of everything. He is eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving. He is holy, perfect, pure, good, and just but he is also merciful. All that he wants of me is tolove him by obeying him. He said, “if ye love me, keep my commandments”.

    Before I was born, I existed with God as a spirit, and came to earth to receive a body of flesh and blood. While on earth it is expected that I am faithful to him and to prove to him I am worthy of someday returning to live with him.

    Although I try to be obedient, because of my weaknesses I often fail. No impure or unclean thing can dwell with God. For this reason, his son and myspiritual brother, Jesus came to Earth as my savior. He set an example on how I should live and also sacrificed himself by first paying for my sins in the Garden of Gethsemane, which allows me to be cleansed of my sins through baptism and repentance. He also was crucified, and 3 days later overcame death, which will allow everyone good or bad to live again.

    I believe that Jesus established his true church when he was alive on earth, and even after his ascension into heaven, he guided his church through prophets and apostles through revelation. Shortly after the rejection of the church, persecution of the members and the killing off of the apostles, God took his prophets and the church away. All that was left were the writing of past prophets and apostles, which later became the Holy Bible, a record of the people of and around Jerusalem.

    Since these prophets were gone, people began to understand the gospel and the scriptures differently, and people began to form there own churches based on what they believed to be correct. For this reason there are millions of churches out there, all claiming to be Christ’s church, but all have different beliefs and doctrines.

    Confused by the many churches and differences in their beliefs, in 1820, a young boynamed Joseph Smith was trying to find a church to join. One day he was reading in the Bible in James 1:5 which says, “if any of us lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally.” So he decided to do just that. One day he prayed and received a visit of Heavenly Father and his son JesusChrist. After that visit, Joseph was called of God to be a prophet, like Moses or Noah, but in our days. He received revelations, and received the authority of the priesthood. Through Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ personally restored his gospel and his church to the world for the preparation of his second coming. I do not worship or adore Joseph Smith, he was just a man called of God like other prophets.

    The church is called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is Christ’s church. I am Christian! It is only because of Jesus as mentioned before that I may return to live with God. He is my truth, my light, and the path for me to follow. This church has allowed me to know, understand, and feel his love for me. All things done in my church are done in his name. Nothingoffends me more than others who claim I am not Christian.

    People know us by Mormons, because we read a book called, The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ. I know that before us lived people here in the Americas. These people were also sons of our Heavenly Father. They too had the need to know about God, his son, his plan, the commandments, etc. God used the same method of revealing theses things to them, as did he in Jerusalem, through living prophets. These prophets brought down their stories, experiences, and dealings with God, in books called scriptures, which contain the word of God, for example the Bible. The Book of Mormon contains the writing of these ancient prophets who live here in the Americas. There is even a record of Jesus after his resurrection visited the Americas. Joseph Smith translated these ancient writings into English by the power of God, and now we have The Book of Mormon. Two records from two separate continents (the Bible and the Book of Mormon) that both testify that God loves his children, that Jesus lives, and the Savior of the world.

    I have read the Book of Mormon many times. It has helped me understand betterGod’s plan for me, and to understand why Jesus is so important and helps me find answers to my questions and prayers.

    I believe that after the death of Joseph Smith, God continued to call others as prophets and even today the church is guided through revelation by a livingprophet that talks with God and receive instruction for us, and stand as living witnesses of our savior Jesus Christ.

    As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I go to church for 3 hours every Sunday. I don’t work, buy things or play on Sunday to honor keeping the Sabbath Day holy. I don’t smoke, drink alcohol or do drugs because I believe my body is a Temple. I believe in the 10 commandments. I believe in “being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men”. I seek “anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy”.

    Apart from attending church I also attend the Temple. In the Temple I go to learnmore of God, worship and to get baptized in the names of others because I believe in what the Bible says in John 3:5 that “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” By doing this ordinance I believe it allows others this opportunity. The Temple is not a place of secrets. Anyone is invited and welcomed. We just require that you are a baptized and worthy member of the church to help preserve its sanctity.

    I try hard to be obedient and be like Christ. It takes a constant reminder and determination. As some might wear crosses, or a “What Would Jesus Do” bracelet, I wear something called Garments, which are similar to boxers and an undershirt that reminds me the sacred promises I made with God to be obedient.

    I donate a 10th of my pre-taxed income to be obedient to the law of tithing as mentioned in the Bible. Tithing goes to supporting the church and welfare of others in need. The church has no paid ministry. Each member serves in someresponsibility in the church without pay that usually requires some time oreffort other than on Sunday.

    Young boys are taught at an early age about service and to begin saving for theirmission, a 2 year unpaid ecclesiastical service when they are 19 years old. It is not mandatory, but something that is encouraged.

    After I joined the church at 21, I decided to go a mission to Chile at age 24. It was two years away from your family with no TV, beaches, parties, or girls, nothing but the Lords work for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week teaching people about God and Jesus Christ, his gospel and his restored church. As a missionary I helped people use the gospel of Jesus Christ to help them with their problems. I saw many people who received a testimony of these things, and saw their whole lives change. I loved serving a mission, serving God and thinking of others more than I did of myself. It is so great to see people come into the waters of baptism. And be able to see a change in them, and to see them walk in the light of Christ. I had so many wonderful experiences from serving in the church.

    I was married in the Temple for “Time and all eternity” because I believe that marriage is a sacred ordinance and goes beyond the grave. To me, my family is most important. I work hard so that my wife and children have an example they can follow, someone they know they can count on, one who will support them and care for them.

    This is who I am. It is what I believe. I joined this church because I wanted toknow if it was true, and went to the only source of truth, God. Through prayer I asked if all of this was true and I have received many confirmations from the Spirit that it is true.

    My goal of this is not to preach but just clear up what I personally believe. If you have any other questions in regards to what I believe please ask me privately.

    Hunter Swift

  26. Todd Atkinson

    Hey Brian, how about a do over? Replace Abby with Carmen and that would have been a great program.

  27. Meghan

    I felt very similar to Carmen. You did a beautiful job expressing what so many of us were feeling. I wanted to add that the temples of the church are peaceful, sacred and special because there are only worthy members attending. Most would not allow someone they do not know to enter their home, riffle around in their drawers and cabinets and take their shoes off, put their feet on the table and turn a channel on that is inappropriate for their children. I even hate when my children’s friends come into my bedroom and plop down on my bed while chatting with me or my kids. There are places in our life that are ours, they are places that are private and deserve added respect. Allowing people into the temples would distract from the purpose of the temple; making promises and serving. It would also take away from the feeling that accompanies the temple. When everyone in the temple feels the same about being there and its importance, the feelings of peace and calm are profound. If there were people there looking for reasons to be offended or people who are solely curious and antagonistic, the solemnity that one feels upon attending the temple would change.
    And finally, thank you Harry Smith for your respect. You did a wonderful job!

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