Throughout my many travels I'm frequently asked by persons who don't know much about Mormons, Are Mormons Christians? With a smile I always give the same answer, "Yes we are, very much so."

Mormons quite often are referred to as Latter-Day Saint Christians due to the official name of the church which is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. But it's more than just a name, Latter-Day Saints strive daily to live the life of Christ and abide by his teachings and those of his apostles.

The Bible tells us the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. (Acts 11:26) The word Christian means “a follower of Christ" but the word disciple means “student” or “pupil.” Hence a true Christian is not someone who simply says they believe in Christ but rather someone who ardently follows and studies the Savior their entire lives. Mormons do exactly that, therefore we are very much Christian in the truest sense of the word.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

'Settling the Valley, Proclaiming the Gospel' shares historical, religious insights to early First Presidency letters

(by Lauren McAgee 5-28-17)

LDS Church historian and recorder Reid L. Neilson joins with associate editorial manager for the Joseph Smith Papers Project Nathan N. Waite to write an invaluable volume for those interested in early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"Settling the Valley, Proclaiming the Gospel: The General Epistles of the Mormon First Presidency" consists of 14 general letters sent by the First Presidency of the LDS Church to its members worldwide between the years 1849-1856 into one volume.

The book begins with two essays written by editors Neilson and Waite, which provide insight into two important themes addressed by the letters, as well as providing observations and historical backgrounds of the different epistles.

Additionally, Neilson and Waite provide religious contexts for the focus for the LDS Church from its humble beginnings in New York to the mass exodus to Utah and the following years of cultivation and settlement. They also discuss how these epistles and the missionary efforts of early church members fit into the time period and Christian perspective in the United States.

The essays written by the editors are interesting and well documented by research, providing important background to help readers understand the context preceding the different letters. The essays also help readers further understand the culture of not only the early LDS Church members but also Christian theology and ideas that existed in the United States at that point in time.

The letters included are presented word for word as they were originally published. However, they are often accompanied by footnotes explaining theologies, quick biographies of important historical figures and other related events from that time period.

Overall this volume of work, written in academic style and filled with research and historical notes, provides interesting facts and insight into the early LDS Church and its members that should satisfy anyone interested in history.


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