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    Who are the Mormons and their Growth in Loudoun County
    photoThe Ashburn Ward of the Ashburn Virginia Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of LDS meets Sundays at 1 pm at 21015 Claiborne Parkway. The Chapel is located just north of Dulles Greenway exit 5 at the corner of Claiborne Parkway and Ashburn Farm Parkway in the Ashburn Farm community. The chapel has seating for 400 and a recreation hall with full basketball / volleyball court and theatrical stage. Combined seating is available for 1,400 people. In addition, the building has a genealogical Family History Center that is open to the public. Photo courtesy/ Church of Latter-day Saints.
    "By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20).


    By: Rona Scott
    Public Affairs Director
    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Loudoun County)

    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    http://mormon.org

    Loudoun County, VA - In August 2011, an article was written in the Huffington Post titled, "How Much Do You Know About Mormons?" I thought this headline to be intriguing considering there seemed to be an unprecedented level of public attention directed to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as Mormons) so far that year.

    Such notable examples of Mormons in the news include Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, who launched their 2012 presidential campaigns. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, is another Mormon frequently in the news. Additionally, a Broadway musical was introduced titled "The Book of Mormon,” which won a slew of Tony Awards and was noted to be the Best Musical for 2011.

    In spite of this national public attention, I was surprised to find out that very few locals seem to know who the Mormons are or what we believe. A few weeks ago I was introduced to Mark Gunderman of The Good Shepherd Alliance. Mr. Gunderman has spent many years involved in the faith based community and knows about every denomination in Loudoun County. After a cordial introduction he asked why he hadn't heard about Mormons in Loudoun County before. I welcomed the opportunity to share a few fundamental and important premises of our faith.

    In the content to follow, I give a brief introduction of our beliefs, a summary of the Plan of Salvation (also called the Plan of Happiness) and our faith's focus on the family unit. I will conclude by sharing how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is organized and membership in Loudoun County and its relationship in the local communities. Although it is not a complete picture of all programs practiced within the LDS Church, it is a beginning.

    Beliefs

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a restoration of New Testament Christianity as taught by Jesus and his apostles. It is not Protestant, evangelical, Catholic or Orthodox. Nevertheless, the basic values of morality, civility and family espoused by the Church are similar to those of most other Christian faiths.

    Latter-day Saints believe in a loving, personal God as our Heavenly Father. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem mankind from their sins that through His atonement, all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.

    Latter-day Saints believe in modern day revelation—that God still speaks to humankind. He has called new apostles and prophets and that revelation flows today as it did in ancient times. Latter-day Saints believe in the Holy Bible: both the Old and New Testaments. Equally, they believe many modern day revelations have been formally incorporated into new volumes of scriptures, including the Book of Mormon, which supports the Bible as another witness to the ministry of Christ and his divinity. Used together, these scriptures offer insight into such vital questions as to the nature of God, salvation and the atonement.

    The Plan of Happiness

    Mormons, like many Christians, believe true happiness comes from following Christ’s example and developing God-like attributes such as goodness, love, justice and mercy. Joy comes from serving others and helping them to follow the example and teachings of Jesus Christ. The doctrinal teachings of Jesus Christ are not only taught in Sunday worship, but are a code by which Mormons live by called the Plan of Salvation or the Plan of Happiness. This plan covers the pre-mortal state of all mankind, the reasons why God created the world, the nature and purpose of our life here and what future awaits us in the next life.

    The Emphasis on Family

    Families in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are the fundamental unit of society where a husband and wife work together for the betterment of the whole. The Church’s teachings and programs are designed to fortify the family. The time-honored virtues of charity, sacrifice, patience and forgiveness that enable society to prosper are effectively learned at home through the teachings of prayer, daily scripture reading and a once a week evening reserved for the family called Family Home Evening. This is a special time set aside (normally on a Monday evening) that brings family members together and strengthens their love for each other. Through lessons of the scriptures, messages from the Prophet, family activities and time to communicate together, families draw closer to their Heavenly Father and encourage righteous living.

    Organization

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is organized much the same way that Christ organized His church in New Testament times. It is led by a prophet who serves as president of the Church. He has two counselors, and these three leaders constitute the First Presidency.

    The First Presidency is assisted by twelve apostles, who are special witnesses of Jesus Christ to all the world. Leaders called seventies assist the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and serve in various areas throughout the world. Local congregations are led by bishops, who are lay leaders with “day jobs” like those worked by many others who live in Loudoun County.

    Membership

    More than 14 million people worldwide now constitute the LDS Church’s membership, a majority of who live outside the United States. Within the United States, the Church has the fourth-largest membership of any church.

    In Loudoun County, there are 4,500 members divided into 12 wards. Wards are organized, geographically-based congregations of about 350 - 450 members that meet frequently together for spiritual and social enrichment. Each ward is presided over by a bishop assisted by two counselors.

    Worship

    On any given Sunday, Latter-day Saints gather for worship services in more than 28,000 congregations in 177 countries, nations and territories around the world.

    The members in Loudoun County attend meetings at five church buildings located in Ashburn Hamilton, Leesburg and Sterling and near Westfields High School serving the South Riding area. Construction on a new chapel near South Riding is expected to begin in 2012 and be completed sometime in 2013.

    The wards in Loudoun County cover the following geographic areas and meet in the following buildings:

    Ashburn building
    Ashburn Ward (eastern part of Ashburn)
    Belmont Ridge Ward (includes parts of western Ashburn and Belmont Country Club)
    Brambleton Ward (Broadlands and Brambleton)

    Hamilton building
    Catoctin Ward (Round Hill, Hillsboro, Lovettsville and the western part of Loudoun County)
    Hamilton Ward (Hamilton, Purcellville, Middleburg and southwestern Loudoun County)

    Leesburg building
    Goose Creek Ward (Potomac Station, River Creek, Lansdowne, Tavistock area and eastern Leesburg)
    Leesburg Ward (southern part of Leesburg and areas southeast of Leesburg)
    Potomac Crossing Ward (northern parts of Leesburg, Lucketts and Waterford)

    Sterling building
    Algonkian Ward (Potomac Falls, Countryside and Lowes Island)
    Shenandoah Ward (Young Adult singles ages 18 - 30)
    Sterling Park Ward (Sterling area)

    Westfields building (near Westfields High School)
    Tall Cedars Ward (South Riding, Aldie and parts of Middleburg)

    Community Service

    The LDS Church and its members are encouraged to be actively involved in the affairs of the communities where they are located. In this spirit, the LDS church in Loudoun County sponsors several dozen cub and boy scout units across the county and participates actively with other church and civic organizations. Members of the church work with others in the community to staff the county’s cold weather shelter, Habitat for Humanity, and support other homeless initiatives. Individual members of the church enjoy the opportunity to work with others in PTAs, politics and HOAs to beautify and better the community and to help those in need.

    "By their Fruits"

    Historically, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ presence in Loudoun County began in the 1960s when the LDS Church was one of the largest landowners in Ashburn, owning a large part of what is now Ashburn Village. The land was used by the Church as a welfare farm where its produce was used to benefit its members and local community.

    In the New Testament, Jesus taught, “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20). Mormons and the Mormon religion can best be judged by their fruits. Describing the character of Latter-day Saints, Newsweek magazine wrote: “No matter where Mormons live, they find themselves part of a network of mutual concern; in Mormon theology everyone is a minister of a kind, everyone is empowered in some way to do good to others and to have good done unto them: it is a 21st century covenant of caring.”

    What is described in this article of Mormon theology is part of God's Plan of Happiness. True and lasting happiness comes from knowing God's plan and following it. By developing working and caring relationships in our families, neighborhoods and community, we wish to share peace and joy with all.


    photoOver 200 Mormon youth from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across Loudoun County participate in community service at the Loudoun Heritage Museum in Sterling. Photo courtesy/ Robyn DePalma.
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    continue with the the good work on the site. I like it. Could maybe use some more uaptdes more often, but i am quite sure you got better things to do like we all have to do unfortunately.


    Nobody disputes your right to be a Morman or anything else.  Nobody hates you if you choose to be a Morman.  BUT!  Christianty and Mormanism are mutually exclusive.  Just compare doctrine instead of always acting like you are being picked on.  Only God saves and only God knows who will be saved.  Study your doctrine and see how absurd it is, but don’t start crying when someone calls you on it.


    I am a Mormon. I am a Christian! I know what I am, how can others who do not know me or my beliefs point their finger and declare me otherwise? I would never judge someone so. I and my church believe that every soul has the right to worship their God in any way that they feel is correct for them. The Lord Jesus Christ is my Savior, I have a very personal relationship with Him. I believe in a Heavenly Father, and in the Holy Spirit along with Christ .  I pray to my Father in Heaven in the name of His Son Jesus Christ. I was Baptised in the name of The Father, The Son , and The Holy Ghost. I follow the teachings of Christ. I read my scriptures, go to church and try very hard to daily do those things that Christ has taught us. I diligently strive to serve my brothers and sisters on this earth as I know we are all children of God. I strive to love even those that may despise me, and to forgive others who have wronged me, that I to may be forgiven of my sins. I love and honor my Savior as best I can by living my life according to His teachings, if this doesn’t make me a Christian in some people’s eyes then I guess I will have to live with their judgement upon me.  I live to honor my Savior that is the best I can do . I pray daily to know and understand God’s plan for me. I know I am a daughter of God and that I am loved and cherished by Him, that is a great blessing in my life. I will never back down or apologize for my beliefs. I will pray that others may someday wish to look at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints otherwise known as Mormon with a true desire to know who we are.
    At be forgiven of


    Jesus had a good friend, Nicodemus, although I like to call him Nic.  Anyway Jesus and his good buddy Nic were chatting about salvation.  Jesus said to Nic that ye must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven.


    Bob, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is indeed Christian.  Our name, beliefs, organizational structure and practices are patterned after those of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Hope that helps clarify our identity as Christians.


    Brandon, the heart of Christianity is the Trinity.  You do not believe that Jesus is equal to God the father and the Holy Spirit.  They are one and the only Lord and Savior.  Jesus is God and there are no other Gods.  Also you do not advance in steps to be a God; you will never be a God.  I’ll grant that you have many Christian aspects in your religion and you have many good people in your organization; but good doesn’t get you into heaven and sorry there is only one.  Your organization has little comparison to the Bible and Christian belief as defined by the Bible.  You have many good people in your organization and many a good work; but please don’t insult me and many a Christian by claiming that your organization has anything to do with Christ the Son and the only God as defined by the trinity.  Mormonism is a completely separate and different believe than Christianity.


    Thank you for providing an overview of the Mormon faith. I found your articulation of our belief in Christ throughout the article. You described the many Christian traits we aspire to possess and strive to realize in this life. We do believe in Jesus Christ as our Redeemer and Savior. He is the only way back to our Father in Heaven. I invite any who wish to learn more about our belief in Jesus Christ and how we are indeed Christians to peruse www.Mormon.org. There, one can find wonderful examples of our Christian beliefs and living. There are so many good people here in Loudoun County who seek to live their life patterned after Christ. It is wonderful to see people come together in common service and beliefs.


    I wish you had gone a little farther in your explanation of the Mormon Church. Your members are some of the nicest people that I have ever met and at times certainly display more fruits than we Christians, but one of the reasons there is so much confusion about your church and why you stir up so much confusion in the political arena is that you are not actually Christians.  I realize that in your comments that you never said you were Christians, but also you never said you weren’t.  There are so many through ignorance that believe you are Christians and it can be very confusing.  I am in no way trying to “dis” your organization, you can run it any way you, but I’m sure you can see how frustrating it is for Christians that do not really know there own church let alone someone else’s.


    This is excellent! Thank you for sharing so much wonderful information. I didn’t know the Ashburn history of the church. Very well done!

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