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A Brief Overview of the LDS Church – Put Preparedness in Perspective

A Brief Overview of the LDS Church – Put Preparedness in Perspective

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints exists to bless all the children of God. It was organized to bring God’s plan of happiness to humanity, to help families create a better life here on earth, and to prepare them for eternal joy in the life to come. The church is headquartered in Salt Lake City Utah, in the United States of America. Its organization is patterned after the original Church of Jesus Christ found in the Bible.

The president and prophet of the church is assisted in the work of the ministry by 2 counselors and 12 apostles. A number of other leaders called the Seventy help provide general leadership to the worldwide church. Serving as area presidents and in other capacities, the Seventy administer church activities throughout the world. The local church units are presided over by unpaid volunteer leaders called Bishops, and Stake Presidents. They work with other volunteers in serving the needs of their congregations. There is no paid local clergy. The church was organized in the year 1830 in the eastern part of the United States. There, God called a young man named Joseph Smith to be a modern-day prophet and to organize a church that restored many of the important teachings of Christianity that had been lost over the centuries since the time of Jesus Christ.

However religious persecution and oppression forced the members to flee their homes and migrate to the wilderness of Western America in 1847. These Mormon pioneers made the desert blossom, and created a thriving society in the valleys of the Rocky Mountains.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints now has over 13 million members in more than 160 nations and territories. It is the fifth largest Christian Church in United States, while more than half of its members live in other countries.

The messages taught in the church are based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. They are translated into many languages to share with all people around the world. The church provides instructional materials in 175 languages for the use of its worldwide membership. These messages strengthen individuals and families by teaching them to use Christ-like principles in their lives…

In September 1995 the church’s President Gordon B. Hinckley -whom church members regard as a modern-day prophet of God- read a general Proclamation to the World regarding the importance of families.

It says in part: “The family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of his children. We call upon responsible citizens and officers of governments everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

Wherever the Church is found, it focuses on building strong families and responsible citizens who make positive contributions to their communities. One of the principle declarations of our faith States, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates – in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law.” Another of our basic beliefs is the right of all people to worship God according to their own beliefs and convictions.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints values education highly. Our members are encouraged to take advantage of whatever opportunities for learning that are available to them. The church also owns and operates several facilities of higher education, including Brigham Young University, one of the largest private universities in the world. It also conducts a program of religious education in part-time seminaries and Institutes. These are established near public secondary schools, colleges, and universities in many nations of the world.

Many of our church members have excelled in their chosen fields of work. Through education, perseverance and the development of God-given talents some Latter-day Saints have become legislators, governors, national cabinet members and ambassadors. Others have served as university presidents, doctors, medical researchers scientists and astronauts. Still others have become great artists and performers and athletes, including many Olympic champions.

But most members live quiet everyday lives, raising their children to be happy and productive citizens and to giving service to others as taught by Jesus Christ. The Church teaches its members to be respectable law-abiding members of their communities. The leaders of many nations have acknowledged the positive contributions made by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many ambassadors and heads of state visit with leaders of the Church each year at its headquarters in Salt Lake City.

News media throughout World have featured positive stories recognizing the many achievements of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members.

Television host Mike Wallace said on the CBS TV program “60 Minutes”:

“More than a religion, Mormonism is a lifestyle – an island of morality they believe in a time of moral decay. If you believe -as a lot of Americans do- that this country is going hell in a hand-basket, spend some time as we did with the people who run the Mormon Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

The message of the Church is simple; God has provided a way through His son Jesus Christ for people everywhere to have happier and better lives, in this world and in the world to come. Our heavenly Father has also provided the means whereby husbands, wives and families can be together – not just until death but also for all eternity.

Over 100 special church buildings called “temples” have been built in many countries around the world. In these temples eternal marriages and other sacred ceremonies are performed. Because Church members believe that families can be together for eternity, they research their family histories to seek out their ancestors. The Church has assembled the largest collection of family history records in the world. These resources are made available at little or no cost to aid Church members and the general public in this type of research.

Many young people volunteer to share the Church’s message with those who desire to hear it. They dedicate one and a half to two years of their lives to serve as representatives of the Church throughout the world. They do this without salaries, supporting themselves with personal savings and with contributions from family and friends.

Some members of the church are able to contribute one or two years in later life to various forms of church-sponsored service activities throughout the world. Their efforts may be in agriculture, medicine, education, literacy or other areas where help is needed.

The church also brings its resources and manpower to the aid of communities around the world where human conflict or natural disasters have created extreme needs. For example, in 1980 when thousands were dying of famine in Africa, Church members fasted for two meals and contributed to the relief effort the money they would have spent for their own food. In less than two weeks, millions of dollars were given to provide food and supplies to starving people in Ethiopia. According to the International Red Cross, this was the largest single contribution to that famine relief effort by any organization the world.

A similar humanitarian service effort took place in 1986 when a powerful earthquake caused major destruction in Mexico City. Working together with the International Red Cross, Catholic charities and other service organizations, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has become a major means of assistance throughout the world.

The church and its members are good citizens and neighbors. We seek the opportunity everywhere to serve others and to practice the teachings of Jesus Christ that have proven throughout the centuries to bring peace and happiness to God’s children on earth.

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