I have been pondering Elder Ballard’s talk in General Conference on Saturday afternoon about not overwhelming our friends and associates with too much information when they ask about the church out of curiosity. He said: “All members should be prepared to offer simple, direct information, in part to offset misunderstandings and false information about the church. Four subjects that may be addressed to answer such queries focus on Facts, Faith, Family and Fruits as they relate to the church. Short and concise statements on these subjects should be written down to be used when there is an inquiry.” I especially like that last line. In that spirit I present a summary of my four F’s here:
Facts: The Mormon church is one of the largest and fastest growing Christian denominations in the world. It was organized in 1830 and has over 13 million members worldwide. There are more members of the church outside of North America than in. The church has approximately 53,000 full-time missionaries who serve all over the world. To accommodate the tremendous growth a new meetinghouse is dedicated somewhere in the world an average of every day. There are over 120 operating temples where faithful members go to participate in ordinances of salvation. The church has the largest family history and genealogical organization in the world and makes it’s records available to anyone who seeks them out.
Faith: We believe in Jesus Christ. He is our Savior and Redeemer. We worship God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. We are baptized by immersion and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. We believe a man must be called of God to preach the gospel by those who have authority from God. We believe in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon, another witness of Jesus Christ. We believe in the resurrection and that men will be judged and rewarded according to their works in this life. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and that the Lord will come to reign personally upon the earth in the millennium. We believe in ‘Restored Christianity’ in which the authority of God’s priesthood was lost with the death of the Apostles and restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1829.
Family: The Mormon Church is pro-family. In fact, it is one of the most family-centered organizations on the earth. The church makes great effort to ensure that individual time spent in church activities is kept to a minimum so as to not take away from family time. We believe that happiness can best be achieved in a family setting and that we can be with our families in the life to come through the ordinances of the temple. The church is focused on helping families to achieve happiness and has many programs to assist families when they experience some of the difficulties of life. We believe that families can be together forever, that there is marriage in the eternities and that we can ensure our family being together through participation in temple ordinances performed by priesthood authority and by obedience to God’s commandments.
Fruits: Faithful Mormons on the whole tend to be healthier because of their adherence to the Word of Wisdom, abstaining from coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco and drugs. The church also teaches its member to be frugal, avoid debt, save for emergencies and continue lifelong educational pursuits. Most Mormons have a strong work ethic and a strong focus on self-reliance, depending on their own efforts and that of their families in difficult times. Mormons are known for their honesty and morality and are taught to be good citizens wherever they live. They also give of their time to the church by accepting volunteer assignments and for many, dedicating two years of their lives to serve full-time missions. The members of the church as a whole have contributed nearly a billion dollar in humanitarian aid over the past twenty years.
I could go on and on. These are just a few things that came to me without looking anything up.