The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly called the Mormon Church by others) is frequently accused of not being a Christian church. This seems a bit silly if one looks at the church’s name, which itself focuses on Jesus Christ. While Mormonism as a religion does not subscribe to many of the typical Christian creeds, such as the Trinity being made up of one, incorporeal, unknowable being, Jesus Christ is truly at both the center and the head of the Mormon Church.
Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is literally the Only Begotten Son of God, which is what He proclaimed to the world He was. He was more than just a good man; He was the unique combination of mortal and immortal being that was required to bear the sins of the world through an eternal atonement. He was one with God in purpose, but was and is a separate being. He was the chosen Messiah, prophesied of throughout the Old Testament, though He came to save the world from sin and was not (at that time) the political leader the Jews looked to, to liberate them from Roman rule.
Jesus Christ was born to a wonderful, worthy earthly mother and to her husband, who acted as a father to Jesus while He was on this earth. He was raised among the Jews, but learned through the Spirit the things of God. When He was called to His ministry at age 30, He worked mighty miracles in the name of God. He healed the sick, raised the dead, brought comfort to the trodden down, and brought hope to those who were in despair. He continues to do these things and to work mighty miracles through His servants who are on the earth today who exercise the power of God through the holy priesthood.
Before Jesus Christ was crucified, He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane for the sins and sorrows of the world. Upon the cross, He completed another step in the Atonement. With His resurrection, He gained power over death and freed the rest of mankind from its grasp. All of us will be resurrected eventually, our souls being eternally reunited with our bodies. He made this possible.
When Jesus returned to His apostles after His resurrection, He spent 40 days with them teaching them, giving them the priesthood power, and instructing them in leading the church He organized. Eventually this organization and authority were both lost. The apostles were all killed, taking that priesthood power with them. Because of the wickedness of men who desired to take over the church and to incorporate worldly teachings into it, the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was lost from the earth. So many things were lost and changed over time that a new restoration was needed.
In 1820, a young man who had been chosen of God to accomplish this restoration was moved by the Spirit to enter a grove of trees to pray. He prayed to know which church he should join, because he was confused by all their different teachings. In response to his plea, he received a remarkable vision. God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to this young man, Joseph Smith, and told him that the fulness of the gospel no longer existed upon the earth. Over the next ten years, more heavenly messengers appeared to Joseph teaching him and preparing him to be instrumental in the hands of the Lord. Joseph Smith was called to be the first prophet the earth had seen in nearly two thousand years. He was given the keys of the ancient priesthood by those who had last held them: John the Baptist, Peter, James, John, and Elijah.
The Lord Jesus Christ’s hand was upon Joseph Smith for his whole life, guiding and protecting him. Joseph was led to the brass plates, which he was told to translate, also through the power of God, and which was published as the Book of Mormon. This record contained the history of some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas. These groups of people had been led to the New World by the hand of God. The record shows their dealings with Jesus Christ and is another testament that Jesus is the Son of God. It restored to the earth many beautiful, simple truths which had been lost from the Bible.
Jesus Christ is the Lord of this earth. He is the Son of God and atoned for the sins of the whole world. If we believe in Him, and if we follow His commandments, we may qualify for the cleansing and healing power of His atonement. We can become perfected in Him, through this marvellous power, but not by any another way.
Jesus Christ continues to lead His church today, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and continues to make His will known through a living prophet, the president of the church. While The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not claim to be the only church on the earth with truth, it is the only church with the fulness of the truth. It is led by the hand of Jesus Christ Himself. He lives. He will come again to the earth and will rule and reign forever.
In many religions members wear special articles of clothing as a physical indication of their relationship with God. Many Jewish men wear kipas or yamakas and many Muslim women wear headscarves, but the concept of Mormon “funny underwear” seems to excite an unusual amount of confusion and speculation.
What some people call Mormon “funny underwear” is actually garments. Garments are thin, white articles of clothing worn underneath of everyday clothes by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have been to the temple and received their endowments. This layer of clothing, worn closest to the skin, is an outward, personal reminder to the Saints of the inward commitments they have made about how to live their lives. Garments symbolize the devotion of the Saints as well as the modesty of dress, speech, and living members are expected to maintain. They also act as a symbolic armor of God to protect members from temptation.
To hear one member’s explanation of why he wears garment, watch this video:
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints follow a health law given by revelation. The health law is called the Word of Wisdom, and it disallows the use of alcohol, coffee, tea, and tobacco, and encourages healthy eating. (Read the revelation.) Mormons also live the Law of Chastity, reserving sex for marriage. Some people outside the Church see these laws as so restrictive that they assume Mormons are depressed, somber, and unable to have fun. The opposite is true. Mormons have more fun; they don’t have to worry about the consequences that come with the use of harmful substances or a promiscuous lifestyle.
How Mormons have Fun
People often question how Latter-day Saints (often called Mormons) have fun, when they do not drink alcohol, go in bars, do not have sex before marriage, do not smoke, go home late and a lot more. They see these restrictions as a limitation to happiness in life. However, it is nice to take note that fun and happiness can be experienced in everyday life through little things that they do and through keeping the commandments of a loving Heavenly Father.
The dictionary defines fun as play, pleasure, gaiety, merriment, source of enjoyment, amusement, to behave playfully, playful. Fun is often experienced in day-to-day life. It is easier to gain than what others often speak to as real joy or happiness. But choosing what fun things to do is essential in also gaining happiness. Latter-day Saints are choosing to do wholesome activities to have fun; that is why oftentimes they are not understood by people around them. However, since each person is given freedom to choose, they may still do what they want to have fun even in contrary to the teachings of the Church. Let’s take a look on how some Latter-day Saints have fun.
When asked about what they do to have fun alone or in group, some youth of the church answered the following:
“We do so eat chocolate. We have hot cocoa at parties and chocolate cake and they hand out chocolate for Halloween.
“You don’t have to drink and gamble to have fun and you certainly don’t have to have sex outside of marriage to have fun.”
“We go to amusement parks, movies, you name it, we are human too.
If you think about it, not drinking and smoking and so on are a great advantage; it helps keep us healthy and prolongs our live a bit. So does not having sex with everyone you date.”
“I have quite enough fun in my life, thank you very much. And I get to enjoy it sober – and remember it in the morning. And I have no fears about STDs, unwanted pregnancy or broken relationships. And I get to keep all my money even if the horse is slow.”
“The funniest time of the day is at Seminary… A scripture class that Mormon youth go to early in the morning before school EVERY school day, I have it 6:00 a.m…. We learn about doctrine, memorize some scriptures, and have a dang good time! Even though we are half dead because we are so tired, it is the most fun time of day!”
Keith W. Wilcox also said “the joy of being a member of the Church is found in happy, wholesome experiences that make life rich and pleasurable.”
He further shared in an interview when asked how being a member of the Church is fun:
“I quickly reminded her that the word fun can also be used to describe something that is pleasurable or enjoyable in the lives of people. Though it is seldom used to describe a church, enthusiasm for living the gospel and sharing it with others can bring lasting happiness and joy and even fun into a Church member’s life. I told her that it is a great experience to pick apples at the welfare farm, to participate in the ward choir, or to take part in the road show (a collection of 12-minute musical plays). It can be a wonderfully happy experience to teach a Primary class, to be a Scout, to go to Young Women camp, to attend a Relief Society homemaking meeting, or to serve as an assistant priest’s quorum adviser. It is—yes, fun—to help others through group service projects or through individual acts of kindness. I told her that keeping the Lord’s commandments can be a happy experience and that it is a precursor to great joy—not only now but into the eternities.
“I continue to find joy in being a Latter-day Saint. My membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has brought me more fun, more happiness, and more joy than I ever could have imagined. All of us can have these blessings. They come by devoting ourselves to the service of our Father in Heaven as we serve those around us, by keeping his commandments, by loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind, and by loving our neighbor as ourselves.” (See Matt. 22:37–39).”
Having Fun as a Mormon Family
Looking at a family that is having fun together is a great sight to behold. Indeed, there is a need to spend time as a family, and this is the best way by which a Mormon can have fun.
Choosing a recreational activity to be done as a family is a great way to have fun. Some family members may choose swimming, some a ball game, some picnicking; whatever activity was chosen, all family members were to participate together.
Elder Ezra Taft Benson said: “Thank God for the joys of family life. I have often said there can be no genuine happiness separate and apart from a good home. The sweetest influences and associations of life are there” (God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties , 178).
In general, Mormons may have fun in sports (most of the Mormon chapels have basketball courts and other sport facilities), studying the scriptures together, attending seminary and institute classes, going out with friends, cooking and baking together, appreciating nature, camping, reaching out to other people, sharing talents through singing in choirs, playing musical instruments, dancing, performing presentations and other wholesome and worthwhile recreational activities. Fun in families is also a fundamental principle of the gospel being taught to them. No matter what the circumstance is, they spend time as a family and hold home evenings together.
Having fun is not only limited to worldly things in life. It is not only seen and experienced in bars, discos, and other known places where people hang out. Fun is a three letter word that is not spelled to just mean the petty things in life. A person may have fun without breaking the commandments of the Lord. It is better to have fun within proper bounds.
“Fun and Happiness,” Claudio R. M. Costa, First Quorum of the Seventy
“It’s Great to Be a Latter-day Saint!” Keith W. Wilcox
“Lesson 26: Having Fun as a Family,” Homemaking, The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part B