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Latter-day Saints clarify Mormon doctrine

Special to The Battalion

Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012

Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 01:10

Tanner Garza

Elder Hicks, left, and Elder Curtis, right, hands out flyers about various off campus activities including bible studies Wednesday afternoon near Academic Plaza.

Frequently seen around Academic Plaza, a religious group is doing their part to spread their beliefs to the students of Texas A&M. Easily recognized by the white shirts, black ties and friendly attitudes are the members of the Church of Latter Day Saints, otherwise know as Mormons.

Elder Peterson, a Mormon volunteer who evangelizes on campus, said there is a lot about Mormonism that stems from Christianity.

“We are Christians. We do believe in Christ and that He came to save us all,” Peterson said.

Peterson said Mormons put heavy emphasis on faith, as well as works. It is a common practice to spend two years serving as a missionary, locally or internationally. Peterson and Elder Hicks, also a Mormon volunteer on campus, are doing their volunteer work by evangelizing on the A&M campus.

Both volunteers said Mormonism stays very close to Christianity on multiple levels, but does have some salient differences. While many Christians hold the belief that God is three — Father, Son and Spirit — but also one, Mormons believe there are three separate physical Gods.

“We have Jesus Christ, God the Father and the Holy Ghost. They are all separate entities, but share the same goal of leading people to salvation,”  Peterson said.

Another aspect that is unique to Mormonism is the idea of a modern Twelve Apostles. This idea originated from the religion’s founder, Joseph Smith, who prayed for guidance in his faith and was told to establish the Church of Latter Day Saints.

Hicks and Peterson said that Mormonism was established when Joseph Smith received the same priestly authority that Jesus Christ had given to his apostles. Smith then selected 12 other men to lead his new church. This group was the modern Twelve Apostles and were the prophets, seers and revelators of the Mormon Church.

                  Hicks said Mormonism has been subject to misconceptions held by people who have not been educated about the religion. The most common one is the idea that Mormons practice polygamy.

“We don’t have multiple wives. The practice of polygamy is forbidden in the church,” Hicks said. “People also think that we do not believe in Christ. This isn’t the case at all. We hold the belief that He is our savior and by obedience to His teachings and faith in His word, a spot in Heaven will be given.”

Elder Yu, an on-campus volunteer, said the Mormon standard of living, seen by some as restrictive, is actually liberating.

"The restrictions placed on us by our faith are actually very freeing. We are free from alcohol, smoking and sex before marriage," Yu said. "The idea of polygamy is forbidden by our faith, so the idea people have that we practice that is wrong."

                  The Mormon Church’s mission on campus is a simple one: to lead people to Christ.

“You don’t have to join the Mormon Church, we just want you to come to know Christ’s love,” Peterson said.

Elder Hicks said he stresses the idea to seek truth.

“Pray for guidance and the Holy Ghost will reveal Himself to you” Hicks said.

Mormon volunteers are on campus every Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., and again from 1 to 3 p.m.

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