The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

It is an amazing time to be a Mormon.  It is also a challenging time.

Why is it challenging? Because we are going through a period of inoculation. The Church sees that the Internet is full of information, both true and false, accurate and inaccurate, biased and non-biased. In the last decade, it has brought forth lots of information officially and unofficially, through the Joseph Smith Papers Project, and providing materials for books on Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Recently, they have published official papers online about the First Vision, Temple clothing, Polygamy, etc.  Many have probably seen the furor over Joseph’s 40 wives that the media has recently jumped on worldwide, as if it were previously a secret!

Such is challenging, because members are being asked online and in person about why they would belong to a church, where the church founders had so many flaws or did horrendous things?  Such occurs during times of inoculation. Member and non-member alike will feel a slight fever come along because of the inoculation against the Unknown Virus.  As with a friend of mine who recently told me he spent a couple days struggling with the knowledge of Joseph’s polygamy, the Holy Spirit reminded him of his strong testimony concerning the Restoration through imperfect prophets that were called of God. He breathed a sigh of relief in remembering his testimony, and set these things back on the shelf.  He was now properly inoculated.

It is also a great time to be a member.  Membership grows. Stakes and wards are being created. We will complete our 170th temple within the next couple years. The Church keeps having a “Mormon Moment” that keeps jumping back up onto the front page: Book of Mormon musical, Mitt Romney, I’m a Mormon campaign, Harry Reid, Meet the Mormons movie, Joseph Smith was a polygamist, etc.

I know many members of the Church who feel we are entering into a particularly interesting moment in the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times.  Prophets are telling us to “hasten the work”. Our full time missionary force has almost doubled in the last couple years. Elder Bednar asks us to take the gospel into all the world through social media – “flooding the earth” with the gospel. There’s a temple within 2 hours distance of 85% of the members.

When you consider that 160 years ago, Mormons were being driven from place to place, and a century ago the Church was nearly bankrupted by the federal government, we can say that it is truly a great time to be a member.

Now is our opportunity to share the gospel with the world. They need to not only know that Joseph had several wives, but of the great concepts of the restoration that came through him: eternal marriage, priesthood power, the Book of Mormon,  the meaning of Christ’s atonement, the Plan of Salvation, continuing revelation, living witnesses of Christ, family home evening, etc. There are many wonderful things that the Church teaches and does.  These are the things that need to be on the front page of the New York Times.  Let us share our personal witnesses of the gospel, and how it has answers and solutions for the weary world.  For those looking for a living God, ministering angels, miracles, peace and joy, we need to be the ones to tell them they need look no further. The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is here upon the earth.  And it is magnificent!

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About rameumptom

Gerald (Rameumptom) Smith is a student of the gospel. Joining the Church of Jesus Christ when he was 16, he served a mission in Santa Cruz Bolivia (1978=1980). He is married to Ramona, has 3 stepchildren and 7 grandchildren. Retired Air Force (Aim High!). He has been on the Internet since 1986 when only colleges and military were online. Gerald has defended the gospel since the 1980s, and was on the first Latter-Day Saint email lists, including the late Bill Hamblin's Morm-Ant. Gerald has worked with FairMormon, More Good Foundation, LDS.Net and other pro-LDS online groups. He has blogged on the scriptures for over a decade at his site: Joel's Monastery ( He has the following degrees: AAS Computer Management, BS Resource Mgmt, MA Teaching/History. Gerald was the leader for the Tuskegee Alabama group, prior to it becoming a branch. He opened the door for missionary work to African Americans in Montgomery Alabama in the 1980s. He's served in two bishoprics, stake clerk, high council, HP group leader and several other callings over the years. While on his mission, he served as a counselor in a branch Relief Society presidency.

9 thoughts on “The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

  1. Amen, and amen. Tomorrow (11/16) the Phoenix Temple will be dedicated, that’s the 143rd temple, and the second one in my home town this year. 🙂

  2. Great treatment, but one quick correction: there’s no such thing as “non-biased” information. Every piece of information is filtered through the bias of the person presenting it; it’s a logical impossibility for it to be otherwise.

    That being said, I agree with your assessment. I can’t believe the media furor over the fact that the Church has “finally admitted” something it’s been proclaiming for over 160 years, something that was actually a fundamental distinguishing characteristic between the Church of Jesus Christ and certain Protestant splinter groups. Get a clue, people.

  3. I so agree Rame! About time we started focusing on and talking more about the relevant issues that are the essential ones-the principles and ordinances of the restored gospel that give us hope, joy, and a very real and palpable peace. Those doctrines of the Church that are worth all the time and energy it takes to live them because they will ultimately get us to where we want to be are the ones on which our aim needs to be focused. Yet they are the very ones that seem to take the backseat, the ones that people like to ignore, sidestep, or skirt around because they don’t want to live the commandments, simple as that. Maybe these other issues regarding the past history of the Church that reflect negatively on it or its leaders give the dissenters their means for scapegoat and self-justification. All of us like to feel good about ourselves, yet there is no escaping the truth about anything. It soon catches up with everyone- each and every time.

  4. It’s a great time to be a member. I particularly liked the personal essay Brother Ahmad Corbitt’s wrote about how the Book of Mormon speaks particularly to our times, showing how the very fact that the darkness of skin that distinguished the Lamanites from the Nephites allows the Book of Mormon to show us that we are brothers, that the individuals in the Book of Mormon show how was worth their very lives at times to bring the gospel to all peoples.

    It’s a vibrant time.

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