Mitt Romney's presidential campaign this year has created a groundswell of interest in his Mormon faith. As a response to that increased public interest, the church organization has assigned its local officials to host outreach sessions inviting interested public to come and learn about what many people abbreviate simply as Mormonism or LDS.
Nicolas T. Taylor, president of the church's Montrose Stake, along with other church members, hosted two outreach sessions recently, one in Montrose and another in Delta. There, Taylor explained the basic elements of their faith, and just as importantly he showed how the beliefs held by members of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints impact the way they live their daily lives.
"Unfortunately, people often abbreviate more than just our name," Taylor said. "Sometimes they represent our beliefs and practices in ways that leave important gaps in understanding."
Most people are probably aware that their friends and neighbors of the Mormon faith are among the most reliable, friendly, social, and helpful people they know. Taylor asked his audience in Delta, "Do Latter-day Saints really make good citizens, and is there a causal link between what they believe and how they behave?"
He answered that question strongly in the affirmative. Most important and most basic to the faith is that Jesus Christ "is the central figure of our church and we worship God, the Father, through his name," Taylor explained.
"There are lots of commonalities with other Christian faiths, and lots of differences," he continued. "To some, our teachings are heretical, to others our doctrine is intriguing. To us, it's inseparably connected with how we interpret being followers of Jesus Christ — specifically with the way in which we live, with our sense of purpose in life, and our concept of service," Taylor told his audience.
"The link between what Latter-day Saints believe and what they feel impelled to do with that belief is an incredibly powerful force within our faith," Taylor said. "It is rarely discussed and even more rarely appreciated." Yet it is important for people wanting to understand Mormons to realize "what it is that triggers certain common behavioral characteristics among our members." It all stems from their basic belief in Jesus Christ, he said.
There has been a substantial body of independent research done on the positive effects of Mormon's beliefs and their resulting lifestyle choices. Those positive effects have been documented in the areas of good physical health and longevity, happiness and well-being, successful family life, and educational attainment, Taylor explained while citing extensive research results.
But beyond even the positive effects that Mormon beliefs contribute to members' personal lives, those same beliefs inspire and even compel church members to high levels of community work and social service activities that contribute unmeasured value to neighborhoods, towns, and to the nations of the world.
Taylor's presentation detailed the work that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its individual members do every day on a global scale in the areas of social engagement, volunteer work, charitable giving, and humanitarian efforts. "In addition to disaster relief, the humanitarian services arm of the Church sponsors ongoing worldwide initiatives including training local doctors and nurses to resuscitate babies who fail to take their first breaths, and to provide measles vaccinations, wheelchair distributions, vision treatment, and clean water."
And even accounting for all of that, Taylor noted, "Perhaps one of our greatest struggles is being properly understood. With a membership approaching 15 million and nearly 30,000 congregations across the world, the visibility of the church and its members is growing. But visibility does not always equate with understanding."
The church's Montrose Stake encompasses 10 congregations. Of those ten, two are Delta wards, three are Montrose wards, and Cedaredge and Paonia have a ward each. There are also smaller branch congregations in Montrose, Gunnison and Naturita.
The 10 congregations of the Montrose Stake consist of 3,773 total members, 1,624 of those members in Delta County, Taylor said.blog comments powered by Disqus