South African Saints have the same faith as the early pioneers, and similarly, they have challenges specific to their terrain—and their culture. Many cultural practices of Africa do not align with the gospel of Jesus Christ. In this regard, members stand out as a truly peculiar people who don’t always practice the cultural norms.
Paying a Bride Price
Paying a “bride price” or lobola is an expected tradition for many couples hoping to marry in Africa. It is the custom for the groom’s family to pay the bride’s family a certain amount of money for her hand in marriage. In African history, the lobola was paid in cows, but cash is more common now. And the expected price has most definitely gone up in modern times. This causes many young African couples to continue their relationships and have families without first getting married.
Many young LDS couples who wish to get married are part of families who still expect the lobola to be paid. And when the young man simply cannot afford it, the couple feels that they must put off a marriage ceremony. Church leaders have encouraged members in South Africa to no longer follow the tradition of lobola and to instead save money for a trip to the temple so that they may be sealed for time and all eternity. These faithful young Saints are risking the displeasure of their nonmember families by following the teachings of the prophets, but they are surely blessed for it.
“There are many stories of couples who have waited for years to be sealed,” says Van Reenen. “And then when they do eventually get to the temple, they are overcome by the Spirit and sheer joy.”
Though we believe they exist, the true nature of angels largely remains a mystery to many Latter-day Saints. Find out more about these heavenly helpers here.
We sing about them in beloved Christmas hymns. We read about them in holy scripture. We even have one of them standing triumphantly atop our temples. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we wholeheartedly believe in the existence of angels.
But . . . what are they, exactly?
Perhaps much of the mystery that surrounds angels comes from our reluctance to talk about them—and according to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, this needs to change. “I believe we need to speak of and believe in and bear testimony of . . . angels more than we sometimes do,” he said. It was in that spirit that BYU professor Donald W. Parry wrote Angels: Agents of Light, Love, and Power. Dr. Parry’s book strives to clear up misconceptions about the role and purpose of angels through an exploration of ancient and modern scripture.
The following five excerpts provide fascinating insight on the subject:
Angels do not have wings
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “An angel of God never has wings.” The widely held notion that angels have wings originated from several sources.
First, the scriptures set forth that seraphs (Hebrew, seraphim) have wings (see Isaiah 6:2). Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:9-11) and John (Revelation 4:8) envisioned living creatures with wings; these wings are probably not literal but, rather, symbolic of angels’ abilities to move about. In fact, when the Prophet Joseph inquired about this subject, he received the answer that the wings are a “representation of power, to move, to act, etc.” (D&C 77:4).
There are a few small and simple pleasures in life that only Mormons will understand.
Have you ever had a moment where you pause to take a breath and appreciate something small? These little wonders can be tender mercies in our lives. Here are 21 such simple pleasures that Latter-day Saints in particular might find in their everyday lives.
1. Knowing the scripture that a speaker is quoting
Especially if it's not a scripture mastery scripture.
2. Finding the answer to a prayer in a random scripture
Getting an answer to a prayer is always a simple pleasure. Finding it somewhere unexpected is even more touching.
3. Singing your favorite hymn in sacrament
Or any of the really inspiring hymns you love.
In the ranks of today’s Latter-day Saints, there are thousands who serve in the armed forces. Here are five ways we, as an LDS community, can best support troops and their families.
Photo from iStock. The image above is being used for illustrative purposes only and does not reflect the opinions or feelings of the models found therein.
1. Be friendly.
“Accept us as part of the ward, even if you know we won’t be there very long. Build a real friendship—that’s the biggest help,” said Lindsay Madsen. Sometimes when a military family enters a new ward, the members are slow to friendship, regarding them as transients because they may not stay. “I find that there’s a lot of support in the form of people just being my friend and being there for me, and keeping an eye out for me when they know my husband might not be around,” added Sarah Raines.
2. Invite them to dinner and holidays.
“Invite military families to your home for dinner or for special occasions when spouses are deployed,” said Miranda Lotz. On two separate occasions, the Relief Society president in Miranda’s ward invited her over for a Mother’s Day dinner because her husband was gone. “Those special times are often the loneliest, and no one wants to intrude into others’ holiday celebrations, but being invited . . . makes your holiday more bearable.”
3. Be an active home or visiting teacher.
How can your family history help you understand your own identity? Read one man's tips on how family history can be more than just genealogy.
The image above is being used for illustrative purposes only and does not reflect the opinions or feelings of the models found therein. Image from iStock.
I grew up in Utah as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so I know that my four-generation family chart has been filled out my entire life. I know the names on my family tree and have visited many of my ancestors’ graves over the years, but I never really got to know any of them. I wondered why it was so important to know who my great-great-grandparents were and why their journals were important to read. But throughout the process of growing up, as I tried to understand who I really was—and still am—I realized that knowing about my ancestors helped me a great deal. Here are three things that I learned about myself from family history work, which may help you learn something about you.
Be Proud of Who You Are
When I would introduce myself to people in my hometown by my full name, they would respond with a nod of respect and an approving smile. At my father’s funeral, one of my cousins explained this feeling as she ended her remarks. It’s something my grandfather told her to say when introducing herself: “Tell them who you are—you’re a Devey.”