“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people…and it shall stand for ever.”
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as Mormons), witness the kingdom of God, referred to by Daniel the prophet, has been restored to the Earth. When God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to the prophet Joseph Smith, the Apostasy ended and God restored the fullness of the Gospel to the Earth.
NBC’s “Mormons in America”
Recently NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams broadcasted an hour-long documentary about Latter-day Saints (Mormons). As a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I was overall pleased with the documentary. I felt the documentary was more accurate and balanced than the earlier PBS documentary series, “The Mormons.”
Although some information was misleading (relating to the Church’s stance on homosexuality, garments, the priesthood and Joseph Smith’s First Vision), overall the documentary portrayed much of what the Church stands for- God, family and service to others.
Here are 20 things taught about Latter-day Saints (Mormons) in NBC’s Rock Center “Mormons in America.”
20 Lessons from “Mormons in America”
1) Mormons center their faith on Jesus Christ.
In the documentary, a LDS mother bears testimony of Jesus Christ. The video also shows church members praying in the “name of Jesus Christ,” and singing hymns about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
2) Mormons believe in being their brother’s keeper.
The documentary shows inside of a half-million square foot Bishop’s Storehouse near Salt Lake City. The Bishop’s Storehouse is a place where the Mormon Church stores food and supplies to be given to the poor and needy. The documentary explains nicely how LDS bishops meet with needy members in their congregation (also known as a “ward”) and can authorize them to receive free food from the local Bishop’s Storehouse.
3) Mormon families read scriptures and pray daily.
The show filmed a LDS family in Utah as they studied scriptures and prayed as a family.
4) Mormons strive to be modest and clean-cut.
One of NBC’s reporters mentioned how LDS missionaries have clean-cut hairstyles. The reporter mentioned how often those grooming habits begin at a young age. While grooming is not a moral guideline of the Church, it’s true most members strive to be clean (especially spiritually) but also physically, and try to be modest.
5) Mormons are dedicated to the Gospel.
At the conclusion of NBC’s program, Brian Williams spoke with the documentary’s main reporter. The reporter said a major impression he had of members of The Church was how dedicated they were to what they believed.
6) Mormons believe in forgiveness through Christ.
When a reporter asked a LDS mother about what would happen if one of their children slipped up, the mother explained how Mormons believe in forgiveness through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Because of the sacrifice Jesus made on behalf of us, we can all be forgiven of our sins, if we repent and exercise faith in the Lord.
7) Mormons believe all people are equal.
When a black member of the LDS church was asked if he ever felt discriminated, he said “never.” Latter-day Saints believe all people are spiritual offspring of God and have divine potential. All people are of great worth in the sight of God.
8 ) Mormons believe agency is sacred.
On a walk outside, a female reporter asked a LDS teenager if she ever wanted to break The Church’s strict moral guidelines. The girl’s response showed her desire to be virtuous of her own choice, independent of her parent’s teachings. While LDS parents strive to teach their children correct principles, they believe their children have a sacred God-given agency to choose for themselves whether or not to follow God.
9) Mormon businessmen acknowledge their mission.
David Neeleman, the founder of JetBlue airlines recognized role his two-year mission in Brazil played in his subsequent professional success. He talked about how missionaries learn to not give up despite knocking on hundreds of doors without apparent success.
10) Mormon’s tend to have lots of kids.
One of the NBC reporters mentioned how Mormons tend to have large families. Mormons tend to have lots of children because they believe the commandment God gave Adam and Eve to multiply and replenish the Earth still applies (Genesis 1:28).
11) Mormon’s believe money is a stewardship from God.
In an interview, David Neeleman stated how material possessions are stewardships given to us by God. With great possessions comes the great responsibility to serve and bless God’s children. Money is like a gift lent to us in order to serve others, not a personal possession we own. Latter-day Saints believe people cannot take possessions with them when they die- only eternal things, like one’s knowledge and relationships.
12) Mormon’s believe the temple is sacred.
Even though she is not active in The Church, the daughter of Jon Huntsman, Jr. expressed how temples have restricted access because they are sacred. In temples Mormons worship God and learn about His commandments.
13) Mormons believe family is very important.
Huntman’s daughter also expressed how The Church has a huge emphasis on family relationships. Mormons believe they can live together with their families forever if they are sealed together by the Priesthood and obey the promises they made with God.
14) Mormons believe in loving and serving others.
An actor in the broadway musical about The Book of Mormon (even though he is no longer active in the LDS Church) cried when he recalled his two-year proselyting mission. He cried as he remembered how his mission taught him compassion and love for others and seeking others’ welfare before his own. Mormons believe in the two great commandments to love God with all your heart and to love others as yourself.
15) Returned Mormon missionaries have a unique bond.
The NBC documentary mentioned how returned missionaries have a unique bond. They mentioned how this bond can serve as a network to help members advance professionally. I agree there is a unique bond shared by returned missionaries. When I meet a returned missionary (like myself), I feel a sense of trust and friendship- I know they have similar values- they want to help others and follow God. At BYU there is a unique sense of unity and friendship, partly because of the thousands of students who are returned missionaries.
16) Mormons believe it’s good and necessary to work.
David Neeleman talked about how he likes to work hard, play hard and be a good father and Latter-day Saint. One of the service missionaries at a Bishop’s Storehouse talked about how those who receive free food are encouraged to serve at the center as a way of giving back. The missionary said you shouldn’t get something for nothing. Mormons believe in working, because of the commandment God gave to Adam to work, after Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden of Eden.
17) Mormons strive to be Christ-like.
One sister missionary talked about how she liked to help people have a good day. She said some people who come into the Bishop’s Storehouse are having a really bad day, and helping them is what the Savior would do. Latter-day saints believe they should emulate the Savior in thought, word and deed. The Lord Jesus Christ is their role model and exemplar.
18) Mormon businessmen thank their mothers.
The documentary mentioned a book written about successful Mormon businessmen. The author of the book said each of the Mormon businessmen mentioned the importance their mother played in their success. Mormons have great respect for their families and strive to honor their father and mother.
19) Mormons come from all walks of life.
A NBC journalist mentioned how Mormons comprise 2% of Americans (about 6 million Americans). The reporter said it’s hard to distinguish what one member does from the next- they serve in a variety of occupations. Mormons come from all walks of life, because the Gospel teaches salvation is open unto all of God’s children. No matter what one’s background, a person may become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints if they repent, exercise faith in Jesus Christ, are baptized and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. (Learn more about becoming a Mormon)
20) Mormons believe in modern revelation.
One of the Church’s historians explained how Latter-day Saints believe in following the prophet. God reveals information to His prophets, which in turn let us know what His will is for us in our current situation. While God’s principles and doctrines never change, the Church’s application of those principles may vary according to the needs of God’s children.
“Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God.”
- Joseph Smith, Jr.
Personal Notes: I have respect for the reporters who produced NBC’s “Mormons in America.” Although they made a few mistakes, I feel they had good intent. Overall I think they did a good job. I know The Church of Jesus Christ was restored to the Earth by a modern prophet. I’m so grateful to know God lives and loves me and to have the opportunity to share the Gospel with others. I love being a member of The Church!