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Faith in America, From My Viewpoint

As the presidential campaign season kicks off in earnest, attacks on the faith of Latter-day Saint members has begun in earnest. This is a never ending thing with Latter-day Saints. Although we are devout Christians, other faiths claim to know better than we ourselves do, and proclaim we are not Christians. Others reach way out into fantasy land and draw comparisons between despicable current figures and ancestors of long ago. I feel the need to point some very basic things out, try to correct before things get totally out-of-control, again.

We have two Latter-day Saints, commonly known as Mormons (the faith so named by someone who was not a Latter-day Saint, but the handle stuck,) in the 2012 Presidential race, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman. As such, let's go over who Latter-day Saints REALLY are, as opposed to what people really wish we were.

We are devout Christians. Our 1st Article of Faith reads:

"We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. "

People tend to take this statement and assign it all sorts of meanings that aren't there. Yes, we believe Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are three distinct and separate personages. Yes, we believe Jesus Christ to be the literal Son of our Heavenly Father.

And yes, personally, logic dictates they are three separate beings because otherwise, how to explain "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," when Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist. Was He a ventriloquist, or was He hearing from Heavenly Father?

Moreso, who was Jesus praying to in the Garden of Eden, Himself? I submit it was a proud Heavenly Father speaking to His Son, our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I submit that Jesus Christ was petitioning His Father for the strength, courage, and endurance to survive what was He enduring at the moment, and what was to come.

And even more, I submit that as our Savior hung on the cross in untold agony, the words which came from the heavens, and He said, "My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?" He was petitioning His Father in Heaven as to why He had to suffer this alone.

But as to our Savior, Jesus Christ, what do Latter-day Saints believe?

In the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 25:26 we read:
And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.
So may I submit, as I am a Latter-day Saint and I should know, that we are indeed devout Christians who understand that Jesus Christ is our Savior, the God of this world, the literal Son of our Heavenly Father, and that there is no other path back to our Father in Heaven except through the path given us by Jesus Christ.

The other pertinent point that seems to bedevil us unceasingly, is polygamy. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not practice polygamy, nor have we done so since 1890. Those who do practice polygamy, if members of the Church, are excommunicated if they will not renounce the practice. 

There are many break-offs sects who chose to keep living a polygamous lifestyle, which has emerged into a corrupt and despicable practice often preying on the young and vulnerable. There is no comparison to the Church sanctioned polygamous marriages of history, and the predators who live among us today. I wholly, and completely, condemn polygamy in this modern day and age. It is not legal. It is not approved, condoned, or accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Like many Latter-day Saints of pioneer heritage, I had a great-great grandfather who was a polygamist. And yes, there came a point when he fled, with those who would come with him, to the colonies just south of the Mexican border to avoid being imprisoned. The great-great grandmother I descend through chose to remain in the United Sates, hence the beautiful gift I have of being born, and raised, an American.

And that brings us to Faith in America. In this time of great unease because of the actions of Barack Obama and many he surrounds himself with, faith is utmost in the minds of most Americans. Despite Obama's proclamation that we are no longer a Judeo/Christian nation, he is dead wrong. We were established as a Judeo/Christian nation, and we remain one today.

In George Washington's Farewell Address of September 1796, Washington called religion, as the source of morality, "a necessary spring of popular government," while John Adams claimed that statesmen "may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand."
"The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God." -John Adams wrote this on June 28, 1813, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson
"God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever; That a revolution of the wheel of fortune, a change of situation, is among possible events; that it may become probable by Supernatural influence! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in that event." -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, p. 237
"Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. ... Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us." -John Hancock, History of the United States of America, Vol. II, p. 229
"Here is my Creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshipped.
"That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them. 
"As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, is the best the world ever saw, or is likely to see..." -Benjamin Franklin wrote this in a letter to Ezra Stiles, President of Yale University on March 9, 1790 
So there we have George Washington, John Adams, John Hancock, and Benjamin Franklin, just to name a few of the very prominent Founding Fathers, clearly stating they are not only Christian, but that America was founded on Judeo/Christian principles and values.

For myself, I can only say that I love, worship, and adore my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I can say only that I truly follow Him and through Him will I only find eternal life. In addition, I count myself blessed beyond all measure that I was born in the United States of America, a gift which I treasure, care for, fight for, and understand the privileges and responsibilities that came with that birth as an American citizen.

America cannot, nor is it capable of, surviving without the influence of Christianity and the God of our world, Jesus Christ. Those who would malign the Founding Fathers as being atheists, clearly have not studied history enough to know that 24 of the 56 held seminary or Bible degrees. Nor have they read the writings of our Founding Fathers to discover for themselves what influences were wrought upon them as they crafted the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Atheists? I think not.


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Copyright 2011. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.
Faith in America, From My Viewpoint Faith in America, From My Viewpoint Reviewed by Candace Salima on Sunday, August 14, 2011 Rating: 5