Saturday, June 25, 2011


Hello and Happy Saturday!

I wish to thank KV for his very interesting and enjoyable interview last week!
Thank you for sharing your faith journey with us KV!

Today we have a new post so please welcome Stephanie.
Stephanie is a Mormon and I know you'll enjoy her interview as well!

Here Is Stephanie's Introduction:

I am a 38-year-old stay-at-home mom to three children, ages 4, 6 and 8. I claim Atlanta, Georgia as home, but I also grew up in Illinois, North Carolina, Missouri and Indiana. My husband, Matt, and I have been married for 12 years and have spent the majority of our married life in North Carolina and Minnesota. He recently finished law school and we moved across the country to Utah, where we think we have settled for the long term. I have a master's degree in Spanish Teaching and taught high school and several university and college courses before we started having children. I enjoy blogging, Latin music, travel, reading, and spending time with my family. We like to camp, play games, watch sports, ski (everyone except me, that is), and work together.

I blog at Diapers and Divinty-

1) What religion do you practice?

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes known as a "Mormon." (This nickname comes from our belief in and study of the "Book of Mormon," which along with the Holy Bible [Old Testament & New Testament] make up our canon of scripture. You can read more about the Book of Mormon here.)

2) Are you a convert/revert or were you raised within this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
My parents were both LDS (Latter-day Saints) growing up, and they raised me and my siblings in the Mormon church as well. I was baptized when I was eight years old. My husband was raised by a Catholic mother and non-religious father and joined the LDS Church during his college years when he read the Book of Mormon, prayed about it and received an answer of its truthfulness.

3)Within your religion are there degrees of observance (ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal)? What are the defining differences between the degrees of observance?
There are certainly many different levels of observance, but they do not have formally assigned names. Those who attend regularly and participate in church service are usually called "active" members, while those who attend infrequently are "inactive."

4)Within your religion what degree of observance are you (ie. Orthodox, conservative, moderate, liberal)? Why did you choose this degree of observance?
I am an active member of the church, and my worship and participation are quite orthodox/traditional. I choose to participate at this level because I feel that it strengthens my life and blesses my family.

5)What is the Afterlife within your religion? For example: what happens when a person dies? Are there places for reward/punishment? (such as a Heaven/Hell concept)

Latter-day Saints have a firm belief in eternal life, which includes both pre-mortal life and life after death. We believe that the spirit lives on after death and dwells in either spirit prison or spirit paradise. After the second coming of Jesus Christ, when all men are resurrected, there will then be a final judgment where each person is assigned to a certain level of glory.

6) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?

Our doctrine is that each person will be assigned to an eternal level of glory consistent with their devotion in this life. In other words, people who have sought to be close to their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in this life, will have access to them in the next life, and eternal life with them. We follow the biblical claim that baptism and sacred ordinances are necessary to enter into highest kingdom of God. The LDS doctrine is quite merciful in its concept of "Hell," a state reserved for those who absolutely deny God and defy Him.

7) What makes your religion a good fit for you?

It is a good fit for me because both the doctrines and the practice of the religion help me to grow closer to my Heavenly Father and my savior, Jesus Christ. It encourages me to live a life full of Christ-like attributes and Christian values, which inevitably bring peace and strength to my life. My religion places a high value on families as the central unit of God's plan for his children, and these principles help me to teach and appreciate my family with greater purpose.

8) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?

We celebrate the Sabbath each Sunday by attending church and partaking of the Sacrament (bread and water as symbols of Christ's body and blood). We also join the rest of the Christian world in the celebrations of Easter and Christmas. There are no other days that we celebrate as "holy days," but traditionally Latter-day Saints, commemorate July 24th as "Pioneer Day" in recognition of the early Saint's arrival in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 after a treacherous journey to escape religious persecution.

9) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?

Absolutely. I have had many dear friends of other Christian denominations, non-Christian faiths, and friends who do not practice any religion. Mormons believe that we are all children of God, loved by God, and that we should show love and respect to one another. I believe that almost every religion has good principles in it and that we can find common ground.

10) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?

I love to learn about and understand other religious beliefs and I have visited cathedrals and mosques and other places of worship throughout the world. I am always impressed with their devotions and sacrifice. While I don't necessarily participate in the prayers or rites of these religions, I would definitely participate in their celebrations and appreciate their cultures. One of the Articles of Faith of our Church states, "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."

11) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?

(I don't know enough about it to comment on. Sorry.)

12) Are women allowed to hold religious office (priest, minister, rabbi, iman etc) in your religion and how do you feel about it?

One of the unique beliefs of the Mormon church is that we believe in modern revelation. We believe that God calls prophets and apostles today just as he did in ancient times. The general leadership positions of the Church (meaning the prophet and the twelve apostles) are filled by men, but women are called to serve as the presidents and administrators of the women's, young women's, and children's organizations of the church, directing these programs both the in the world-wide Church and in local congregations. These organizations constitute more than half of the Church's auxiliary programs, and serve the great majority of its membership.

I personally have served as a president of the young women's organization and the children's organization in my local congregation, and I know of no other church that gives women more opportunities for leadership and service or promotes such faith in the input and influence of women.

13) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?

No. The full practice and blessings of our religion are available regardless of race or gender. My parents were missionaries in South Africa, where the congregations are almost exclusively black, and I was a missionary in South America teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to people of Hispanic heritage. These experiences have only strengthened my knowledge that God sees and loves all his children the same.

14) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?

My religion is wrapped up in most of the details of my daily life. We read scriptures and pray daily in our home. We talk about our choices and try to base our decisions on gospel principles. Our family rules are built upon principles like the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule, etc. The Church's stance on family and marriage do play a strong role in my stance on abortion, gay marriage, etc. As explained in the Church's official Statement, "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," I believe that marriage and children are sacred and that our society should value and protect them.

15) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?

I will be honest. I would be disappointed because my faith has played such a prominent role in my daily life and in my children's upbringing. Regardless of that disappointment, I would still treat my child and his/her spouse with love and respect and they would always be family, no matter what.

16) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?

Not at all. In fact, as I've read biographies of some of the greatest men and women in the history of the world (from other religious traditions), I think they'll have a lot to teach me when we all meet up in heaven some day.

17) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not? Like all religions, there are faithful members and members who are misguided. The only source that can rightfully speak for the whole church is the President of the Church (our prophet) and the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors/assistants) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

18) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.

No, I have not, but the early members of our Church (in the 1800s), including Joseph Smith, the prophet who restored the Church, were attacked by mobs, driven from their homes, and murdered.

The only thing that I find offensive today is when people who are not members of my Church try to tell me what I do and do not believe. This is especially true when people claim that Mormons are not Christians. I find it disappointing that when a religion claims its belief in Jesus Christ, another person or group will try to tell you essentially "no, you don't." I can't imagine trying to convince anyone else that they don't really believe what they claim to believe, but for some reason this is a common practice among opponents to the Church. All I can say about it is that even a brief study of our religion would reveal that we do indeed believe in Jesus Christ, the son of God, (the same one that the rest of the Christian world worships) and we worship Him as our Savior and Redeemer. And despite what anyone else doubts, I know that I believe in Him.

19) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?

No, I never have. My religion teaches me that I am a child of God, and therefore an heir. My religion encourages me to be my very best and reach for the great potential that is in me, to become with God's help as great as He made me to be.

20) Does your religion give you peace of mind?

Yes. Daily. I fall back on the things that I know to be true and on my knowledge of Jesus Christ. These things are a foundation that give me stability and certainty even when life gets challenging.

21) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?

No. We believe that we are literally spirit children of our Heavenly Father and that our identity is eternal and unchanging. We do believe in resurrection.


  1. Thanks for this opportunity to share my faith. It looks like some of my links didn't work, so if anyone is interested in learning more, is a great resource.

  2. Hi Steph!

    I've been around the LDS Church for about 20 years (never converted) and have great respect for your beliefs.

    I do have one comment about something, however:

    "and I know of no other church that gives women more opportunities for leadership and service or promotes such faith in the input and influence of women."

    1. Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) whom back in the 1600s acknowleged that men and women are equal and that women can hold office of ministry. It is the Quaker women that begin the Sufferage movement with the support of their men.

    2. The Community of Christ (former RLDS) allows women to hold the priesthood (both A & M) for the same reason as RSoF: women are equal.

    LDS Church does not allow this, nor will a woman ever be President, an Apostle, etc... so I must disagree with you: there are other Churches that promote greater opportunities for women. I really hope that the LDS Church will catch up with the Quakers/CoC etc. on this issue in the future =)

  3. I can understand and appreciate your point, Cora. Perhaps it's a matter of semantics or the name of a title, but in the LDS church, women do "hold office of ministry." While they do not hold the priesthood, they minister, administer and make contributions at all levels of leadership. Even the Prophet and Twelve apostles hold committee meetings that include and seek the counsel and input of the female leaders in the Church. For these reasons, though the titles may be different, I've never felt that our opportunities to contribute are any less than those of the men in the church. I guess I see it almost as an extension of our eternal gender roles. I will never hold the title of Father in my family, but I will absolutely be a co-leader in my home, and even take charge and give direction on many points. I think this pattern is reflected in LDS church leadership.

  4. Thanks for your response, Steph =) It certainly gives food for thought, and in the end, as long as you feel fullfilled then that is all that matters.

  5. Very interesting testimony I read with pleasure. Thanks for sharing Stephanie, I definitely learn a lot. I heard about Mormons before but didn't know anything about their practice or beliefs. And I have been unfortunately driven away from the Truth by people talk about what they don't know. Till now.
    So thanks again. All the best for you and your family.

  6. Enjoying the interviews on this page!
    I was happy to do an interview with you as well, but haven't seen it published yet. Is there a schedule or an email alert so that we know when our own interviews will "air"? Thanks for a great blog that shares beliefs, ideas, and diverse fellowship. ~ Judy Dudich ~