I believe in Jesus Christ. Our church is a Christian church. One of our main beliefs – one of my main beliefs – is that when Jesus Christ established his church, 2000 years ago when he was here on the earth, after his death there was a state of apostasy where people changed the truths. There were lots of things that were lost because of the translation of the Bible; because there wasn’t the authority to act in the name of God or with the power of the priesthood. We believe that in the year 1820, the priesthood of God was restored through a boy named Joseph Smith. He was 14 years old, lived in New York state, and he was amongst the confusion of lots of different churches because at that time there was a lot of religious confusion. So one day he prayed and asked God, “which of the different churches, if any of them, should I join?” And he received a vision where God the father and Jesus Christ told him that there wasn’t the exact church of Jesus Christ on earth. So it was through him that they restored the church of Jesus Christ as it was at the time. And also at the time this book called the Book of Mormon was translated. So we read this book alongside the Bible because we believe that they complete each other. With both of them we have the fullness of the Gospel in Jesus Christ.
My parents are of this faith. But I think, for me, I didn’t actually come to believe it until I was probably like 15 years old. That’s when I started having my own questions of “is this actually my faith or is it something that I’m just following because my family’s of this faith?” So I started reading the Book of Mormon more extensively; I started reading my Bible more extensively, and my answer didn’t come in this kind of grand vision but it was more like: the things I’m reading in this book were true and the things I was learning about Jesus Christ touched me and changed the way that I lived; changed the person that I was.
As well as Jesus Christ we believe in modern day prophets. So just as there were prophets throughout the Bible, the line of prophets was restored in Joseph Smith. And since him we’ve had a consecutive line of priesthood holders. And the most recent is Russell Nelson. And so one the things for me that’s very special is getting to hear the words of this living prophet; getting to hear the things that he teaches us.
Nobody’s perfect so…obviously what we aspire for is a life that’s as close to God and Jesus Christ as we can. [Laughing] I’m not a perfect person so does that mean I have things to change about myself? Of course. But one of the most beautiful things about the life of Jesus Christ is the fact that he atoned for our sins. And what that means for me personally is that I have the chance to change myself every day. I can be forgiven and have the opportunity to become a better person.
One thing that I think catches people off guard is that we believe in the word of wisdom. So that means that we don’t smoke, we don’t drink – alcohol or coffee or tea – and I think sometimes when we explain that to people it catches them off guard. Particularly in a town like this! But we follow it to keep ourselves healthy and to demonstrate our faith.