View a list of other articles
A Mormon Testifies of his Christian Faith
By ama49, August 2010
Recently, a fellow friend from another Christian faith asked me to share
my thoughts on Jesus Christ with the intention of posting it on his site in
order to help other Christians with the concept of Mormons (members of
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) being Christians.
I'll open with a quote taken from C. S. Lewis' book Mere Christianity.
When defining what a Christian is, Lewis references Acts 11:26 and
states: "the original, obvious meaning . . . Christians was first given at
Antioch to the disciples, to those who accepted the teaching of the
apostles" (p. 15).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' (LDS) Bible Dictionary
shares a similar definition of what a Christian is: "A name first given to
believers in Jesus Christ at Antioch in Syria, about AD 43 (Acts 11: 26)."
Therefore, the heart of what it means to be a Christian is first believing in
Jesus Christ and then following Jesus as His disciple.
With this definition in mind, I will move on to share my thoughts on a brief
history of Mormonism and what following Jesus Christ as a disciple, or in
other words, being a Christian, means for me as a member of the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Following Jesus Christ was the young boy Joseph Smith's most pressing
desire. In the early 1800's he was seeking truth and struggling in
knowing where to find it. He saw much truth in many Christian faiths, but
at that time, the Christian faiths were contending with each other. In
regards to this time he states the following (which can be found in Joseph
Smith's History, 1:5):
. . . there was in the place where we lived an unusual
excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the
Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that
region of country. Indeed, the whole district of country seemed
affected by it, and great multitudes united themselves to the
different religious parties, which created no small stir and division
amongst the people, some crying, “Lo, here!” and others, “Lo,
there!” Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the
Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist.
He goes on to write (1:8-11):
. . . so great were the confusion and strife among the different
denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was,
and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain
conclusion who was right and who was wrong.
My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were
so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided
against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of
both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to
make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the
Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in
endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others.
In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often
said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are
right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right,
which is it, and how shall I know it?
While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by
the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading
the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: 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.
Joseph Smith then decided to act on this scripture. He went to a nearby
forest, knelt down and prayed out loud and in pure sincerity and
earnestness. As he was praying, he received an amazing answer to
prayer and saw a vision, similar to the one Stephen had in the New
Testament. Joseph Smith says in his own words (1:16-17):
I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of
the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me . . . 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!
Through a sincere desire to follow Jesus Christ by searching, showing
faith, humility, and prayer, Joseph Smith was able to be instructed by
Jesus Christ himself as to how He wanted His church and followers to be.
One of these included bringing forth the Book of Mormon, which acts as
another witness of Jesus Christ, which the Bible states is necessary for all
truth to be established (see 2 Cor. 13:1). It is a collection of writings that
are similar to the Bible about the sermons and letters of other prophets
that believed in Jesus, but didn't live in the same area as Jerusalem,
where the Bible takes place. The Book of Mormon is necessary because it
confirms and clarifies truths about the gospel of Jesus Christ that are
found in the Bible.
For example, we read in the Bible about how to be saved through faith,
or confessing the name of Jesus, and we read about people needing to
be baptized in order to enter into the kingdom of Jesus. We read about
the Holy Ghost and we read about salvation through the grace of God
and being judged for our works after this life. For someone seeking to
follow Jesus Christ, it can be confusing to know how exactly to follow
Jesus, just as it was for Joseph Smith.
Thankfully, we have the answers in the Book of Mormon. In the book of 3
Nephi, Jesus appears to a group of his disciples after his resurrection.
This group of disciples was struggling with issues on how to follow Jesus
Christ completely. Some of what Jesus tells them is that the church
should be called by His name and that the gospel of Jesus Christ that
leads to salvation is: Faith, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the Holy
Ghost, and enduring in faith until the end (see 3 Nephi chapter 27).
I will conclude by sharing some personal experiences along with my
At a certain point in my life, I too was struggling with faith and a
testimony of Jesus Christ. Similar to the experience of Joseph Smith, I
read scripture found in the Bible and also in the Book of Mormon that
testified of Jesus Christ. I wanted to have my own personal witness that
there is a Jesus and how to follow Him. As I prayed for the first time in
sincerity to know, I was filled with a sweet, peaceful feeling that spoke to
my soul. I knew it was God speaking to me through his Holy Spirit. I
decided to embrace the Church of Jesus Christ's teachings and follow the
gospel of Jesus Christ through faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the
Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ I have made a commitment to
God through being baptized that I will be His disciple. Baptism was just
the beginning though. Being a disciple of Jesus to me means asking for
His Spirit to give me strength in following His example in all things and
repenting and asking for His mercy and grace when I fail (daily) and
enduring in faith by taking up the cross and following Him (Matt. 16:24).
Taking up the cross means that I should deny myself of ungodly things
and strive to do what Jesus would have me do as a father, neighbor,
employee, brother, husband, son, and friend. As I do this, my life is richly
blessed and so are the lives of those around me. I believe this is the
greatest contribution I can make to society to help fight the evils we see
around us today. Through the blessing of the Lord's atonement when he
suffered for me in the garden of Gethsemane and died on the cross, as I
do these things, I have faith and hope that I will sit at the feet of Jesus
someday and hear him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou
hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many
things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord" (Matt. 25:23 KJV).
Copyright © 2010 Cal Fullerton. Permission is granted, and you are encouraged, to
print the above article in hard copy form, as well as send it to your own email lists
and post it on your own websites. We only ask that you include the name of the
originating website (EvangelicalsandMormonsforJesus.com) and this copyright and