The Rome Mormon temple complex will be a magnificent tribute to our Lord Jesus Christ by His followers, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There will be an open house conducted before the dedication of the temple for higher ordinances, and when the public has the opportunity to tour the temple, they will feel the unmistakable spirit of God filling it with light and peace. The public will also be impressed with how beautiful and well-appointed the temple is, how perfect the workmanship. A Mormon temple is literally a House of the Lord, and it needs to be as close to perfect as possible. What will really amaze visitors is that no debt was incurred in the building of the Rome Temple complex. The Church of Jesus Christ believes in being debt-free. Its house is in order.
Temple building is made possible by the tithing of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ. Tithing is, by definition, an offering of ten percent of one’s income, and paying tithes has always been part of God’s kingdom on earth. No one is too poor to pay tithing, and if even the poorest person should experiment on God’s word and test the process, he would find that the Lord blesses the full tithe-payer so abundantly that by giving ten percent, the person has more than if he had withheld the tithe. In Malachi 3:10 it says,
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
Tithing goes for more than building and maintaining Mormon temples. The LDS Church builds approximately one new meetinghouse each week, somewhere in the world. Meetings all over the world are correlated — all congregations are organized the same way and use the same manuals. All materials, translated into many languages, are paid for with tithing funds.
The LDS Church has a remarkable educational system with three universities and one business college (BYU Utah, Idaho, and Hawaii, and LDS Business College) supported by tithes. Seminary for high school students and Institute for college students provide a venue for scripture study and gospel learning, plus social structure for LDS students. Often, seminary and institute classes take place in buildings constructed just for that purpose, with trained instructors — all financed with tithing.
The missionary program of the LDS Church is also funded by tithes. Even though Mormon missionaries support themselves on their missions, the Church of Jesus Christ pays to maintain the mission and necessary buildings, plus transportation and training for those who serve, plus materials costs. In the fall of 2012 there were about 58,000 Mormon missionaries, but that number will quickly swell since the qualifying age for service has been lowered.
Mormons Donate More than Tithing
As if ten percent of one’s income were not enough, Mormons continue to give (studies name them as the “givingest” people in the United States). The first Sunday of each month is called “Fast Sunday,” because Mormons fast for two meals (24 hours) and donate the value of the meals to the poor. Many Mormons give much more than the value of two meals, too. These donations go to fund the vast welfare system of the Church of Jesus Christ. The welfare program is based on self-reliance, and while temporarily helping members (and disaster victims) who are down and out, offers training and employment counseling.
At the heart of the welfare system is a recently opened facility in Salt Lake City, the Bishop’s Central Storehouse. It warehouses mountains of food and supplies, which are distributed to central storehouses in five other regions of the United States and Canada. From those five regional storehouses, food and goods are again distributed to more than 200 smaller bishops’ storehouses, to be used for the Church’s welfare system. The Bishop’s Central Storehouse also keeps emergency equipment and supplies that can be instantly dispatched whenever a catastrophic disaster occurs.
The size of the Bishop’s Central Storehouse gives a sense of scale to Mormon welfare and humanitarian efforts. Situated on 35 acres, the building’s current footprint is 570,391 square feet, with plans to add 100,000 more. The total planned capacity of the building is 65,000 pallets, and it stocks hundreds of foods—from corn, beans, and cereals to cheese, ice cream, and peanut butter—as well as toiletries, tools, and electric generators. It has its own trucking company, complete with nearly 50 tractors and 100 trailers, as well as a one-year supply of fuel, parts, and tires for the vehicles. The facility has even been built to withstand a 7.5-magnitude earthquake. 
Mormons give fast offerings to the welfare program, but they also invest their time and energy in making it work, volunteering by canning peaches, harvesting crops, etc.
The Church of Jesus Christ also has a vast Humanitarian Aid program, which due to the volunteer efforts of members, is able to give 100% of earmarked donations to real aid. The LDS Church has many ongoing projects around the world and stands at the ready to offer aid in case of disasters. Mormons are not only often the first to arrive in these cases, but the last to leave. Rebuilding projects are still going on from the 2004 tsunami in southeast Asia. Mormons may give specified donations to the HA department, but again, they also volunteer their time. There are HA projects going on all the time on the congregational level and at large events, and in the members’ own homes, where they make quilts and assemble hygiene and baby care kits and other necessities for aid.
The Church has a Perpetual Education Fund to help returned Mormon missionaries in poorer countries achieve higher education. Once they begin to earn money, they pay the fund back. There is also a general missionary fund for those who want to serve but can’t afford it, a fund to help families get to the Mormon temple once in their lives, a fund to supply Books of Mormon for the mission field. There are so many ways to give. Mormons will often give in other ways, helping missionaries in their own congregation finance their missions, helping poorer members who are also their neighbors, attending to the sick and lonely, and in addition, doing good in their community and schools. To read more about the good Mormons do, go to Mormon Church.org.
Some people say the leaders of the LDS Church live richly off of tithing funds. This is completely untrue. The leaders of the Church, called General Authorities, who serve full-time as long as they live, may choose to receive a modest stipend, though not all need it. They are called out of their chosen vocations, and many are already successful and have funds. Those who need a stipend are never paid from the tithes of the Church, but are paid from the profit-making ventures of the Church — broadcasting, publishing, and the farms and ranches that also support the welfare system.
There is no paid clergy in the LDS Church, but there are employees, again paid from profit-making ventures or other sources as warranted.
Many people are unfamiliar with what actually takes place during a worship service in a chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Research also shows that there are many people who feel that they are not welcomed inside an LDS chapel to worship with Latter-day Saints to be able to observe for themselves that Mormon worship is focused on the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is often the basis for misunderstandings among communities where Latter-day Saints live and leads many to believe that the close-knit ties of the Latter-day Saint community is both clannish and secretive. Part of this misconception may be caused by the differences between worship services in LDS chapels and temple worship. All are invited to attend services in LDS chapels, but only those members of The Church of Jesus Christ who are deemed worthy and hold a valid temple recommend are permitted to enter the sacred temple – the House of the Lord.
The infographic below is an excellent comparison of worship in an LDS chapel and temple worship.
The 13th Article of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states:
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—we believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
What is this hope that is spoken of? The dictionary defines hope as the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. However, in a day and hour when there seems to be so much chaos and confusion going on in the world, the idea of there being any real hope can seem obscure. Regardless of how dismal and hopeless things may appear to be on the surface, there is still hope, and that hope can only be found in its true source, the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Psalm 33:18-19 are recorded these words, “Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” In Psalm 43:5 the Psalmist also gives this calm assurance, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”
Many people have a tendency to put their trust and confidence in a lot of frivolous things such as bank accounts, careers, fancy cars, expensive homes, and the like, hoping that these material things will bring them lasting joy and happiness, but more times than not they discover that what they have is really a false sense of hope that never brings about any true or lasting satisfaction. The admonition given by the Prophet Jeremiah as recorded in Jeremiah 17:5-8 is befitting of these modern times:
Thus saith the Lord; cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
Only hope that is rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ is lasting hope. In the midst of all hopelessness and despair, and at times when nights seem their darkest, it is that lasting hope that sustains a person and gives him reassuring peace and comfort. It is that lasting hope that strengthens a person’s faith and gives him the courage to press forward in spite of any adversity that he may encounter.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in his message titled The Infinite Power of Hope, found in the November 2008 issue of the Ensign magazine, recounts this story from his youth of how his mother put her faith and hope into action:
Toward the end of World War II, my father was drafted into the German army and sent to the western front, leaving my mother alone to care for our family. Though I was only three years old, I can still remember this time of fear and hunger. We lived in Czechoslovakia, and with every passing day, the war came nearer and the danger grew greater.
Finally, during the cold winter of 1944, my mother decided to flee to Germany, where her parents were living. She bundled us up and somehow managed to get us on one of the last refugee trains heading west. Traveling during that time was dangerous. Everywhere we went, the sound of explosions, the stressed faces, and ever-present hunger reminded us that we were in a war zone.
Along the way the train stopped occasionally to get supplies. One night during one of these stops, my mother hurried out of the train to search for some food for her four children. When she returned, to her great horror, the train and her children were gone!
She was weighed down with worry; desperate prayers filled her heart. She frantically searched the large and dark train station, urgently crisscrossing the numerous tracks while hoping against hope that the train had not already departed.
Perhaps I will never know all that went through my mother’s heart and mind on that black night as she searched through a grim railroad station for her lost children. That she was terrified, I have no doubt. I am certain it crossed her mind that if she did not find this train, she might never see her children again. I know with certainty: her faith overcame her fear, and her hope overcame her despair. She was not a woman who would sit and bemoan tragedy. She moved. She put her faith and hopes into action.
And so she ran from track to track and from train to train until she finally found our train. It had been moved to a remote area of the station. There, at last, she found her children again.
Like President Uchtdorf’s mother, regardless of the trials that a person may face in life, he must continually put his faith and hope into action with the knowledge that the Savior will never leave or forsake him, and no matter what the outcome, everything will be alright. In the words of the Apostle Paul, a person should always be, “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer” (Romans 12:12). Paul also taught the following as recorded in Romans 5:1-5:
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
A part of enduring mortal life includes having to face trials, difficulties, afflictions, and adversities. At times it may seem that the burdens of life are too much to bear and that all hope is gone. But, hope is not gone. The gospel of Jesus Christ allows a person to find peace, comfort, and hope in any circumstances. The Savior Himself has promised, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). A person might ask, “How can there be any peace and hope given the situation that I am in?” The answer to that question is that there can be peace and hope because His perfect love casts away all doubt and fears. (See 1 John 4:18).
From Christ we learn to be obedient, even when it is painful, as it was painful for Him in Gethsemane. We learn to serve others, even when it is inconvenient, as it certainly was “inconvenient” for Him on the cross of Golgotha. And we learn to trust in the love of God, even if we might feel God has forsaken us—for when we overcome through faith, these bitter and sorrowful moments in our lives can become like steps on Jacob’s ladder, leading us into the heavenly presence of God (see Gen. 28:12–13). (Elder Johann A. Wondra; “Finding Hope in Christ”; Ensign; December 2002.)
Real and lasting hope is rooted and centered in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Savior and the Redeemer of the world. He is the Great Shepherd, the Great Provider, the Rock of all ages, and the Sustainer of life at this moment, and the Hope of all tomorrows. He gives this blessed promise, “For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee” (Book of Mormon (Another Testament of Jesus Christ), 3 Nephi 22:10.)
Temples belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which church of often misnamed the Mormon Church) seem mysterious to a good part of the world. Because admittance is limited to faithful Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”), many people of other faiths feel a suspicion of what must go on inside Mormon temples. However, the truth is that entrance is limited because these buildings are set apart and dedicated to the Lord. In Mormon doctrine, there is no more sacred place on the earth than a temple. It is literally the house of the Lord. Mormon scripture states that “no unclean thing shall be permitted to come into thy house [the temple] to pollute it” (Doctrine and Covenants 109:20). Thus, only those who are living the laws that God has set as the standard for entering His house are permitted to do so.
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I am very grateful for Mormon temples. From the time I first went through to make personal and eternal covenants with God, I have returned frequently to feel again of the Spirit of the Lord. Whenever I go to the temple, I learn something more about my true relationship to God and to His Son, Jesus Christ.
Many times I have felt the Spirit touching my heart, soul, or mind, enlightening a principle here or testifying of another principle there. I learn line upon line, precept upon precept (Isaiah 28:10) the deeper doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
After a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has gone through a Mormon temple for the first time, he or she has made covenants with God to live a higher law or standards. These covenants are made only one time. However, Mormon doctrine teaches that the ordinances available in Mormon temples are essential for every individual’s exaltation. Because Latter-day Saints also believe that these ordinances are available only in this life, it is also part of Mormon doctrine that these ordinances must be performed vicariously for those who did not have the chance to receive these ordinances in life.
Any names submitted to a Mormon temple must be submitted by direct descendants of the people whose names are submitted. Other people can then help in completing the proxy ordinance work, but only family names should be submitted. This has caused a lot of controversy in the media, because it is easy for people who do not fully understand the principles behind this work to see this as taking away a deceased person’s free will, performing these ordinances whether that person wants to accept them or not. The doctrine in this area is clear: free will is an eternal principle. No one can be baptized against his or her will. When these ordinances are performed by proxy, it is with the understanding that those people still have the freedom to accept or reject those ordinances. However, before those ordinances were performed by proxy, there was no choice at all available to the deceased.
Serving in a Mormon temple is one of the most selfless acts of service a person can perform in this life. Strictly speaking, this service does not benefit the giver of service in anyway. They are simply giving of their time to perform these ordinances so that others may have the choice of accepting or rejecting this work. Now, anyone who has had the privilege to perform these ordinances, as I have been blessed to do, realizes that there certainly are blessings for this service. That time I mentioned earlier, spent close to the Spirit offers cleansing, teaching, and comfort. This does not, in my opinion, make the service any less selfless, but I want to make it clear that any time spent in a Mormon temple will inevitably result in a person feeling closer to the Savior, whether that person is there for him- or herself or to do proxy work for someone else.
As a Latter-day Saint (“Mormon”), I feel so blessed to be able to attend Mormon temples. My time there continues to testify to me that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world. He is the literal Son of God, who atoned for the sins of the world. He gave His life to overcome the power of the grave, that each of us could be resurrected. I know that He rose from the grave and that He lives, on the right hand of God, today. I am grateful for the opportunity I have to bring this knowledge to those who have not yet been blessed to receive it.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often misnamed the “Mormon Church” by the media) teaches that homosexuality is contrary to the plan of God for His children. A modern-day revelation titled “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” explains further why homosexuality is in opposition to God’s plan:
Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose. . . .
The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife. . . .
Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.
The first principle taught here is that men and women have different, inherent, divine characteristics. These traits are eternal and are complementary. Men and women help complete one another, and together, they have the potential to become their best selves. The differences are purposeful and meaningful.
The second principle taught in the quote from this revelation is that men and women are supposed to procreate, but only within the bonds of marriage. They are meant to go together to create a family unit, which is an eternal unit. In addition, sexual acts are meant to be employed only between one man and one woman who are married to each other.
The third princple taught in this quote is that children have the right to both a father and a mother who love them and who love one another. The scriptures have always taught that the best environment for a child is a traditional family setting, and modern studies are also showing this to be true: the best possible environment for a child to grow up in is to have his or her biological father and mother, who are married to each other and love each other, raise him or her with love and values.
A woman can be a wonderful mother on her own, but she can never be a father. The same is true of a man: he can be a wonderful father, but he can never be a mother. This goes back to the first principle taught in this revelation: gender is eternal and carries its own traits and characteristics. Men and women are meant to complement each other.
Mormon doctrine teaches that families are eternal units. They can literally be together forever, if they are bound together by eternal ties available in Mormon temples. Individuals must remain faithful to covenants they make to God and to each other in order to qualify for this great blessing, but it is available to all those who desire it enough to keep their promises.
Homosexuality makes a traditional family unit impossible. This is why Mormon doctrine teaches that it is wrong. This does not mean that those who practice homosexuality are evil people. It means they are acting contrary to the wishes and laws of God. There are gay Mormons. There are people who have been raised in the LDS Church who struggle with homosexual attractions. Beyond that, there are people who absolutely believe the doctrines of the LDS Church to be true who still struggle with these feelings. Being attracted to someone of the same gender is not a sin; it is a trial. Acting on those feelings does become a sin. However, it is important to remember that Mormon doctrine also teaches it is a sin for a heterosexual couple to be intimate outside the bonds of marriage. The standard is the same for everyone, and the promised blessings are the same for all who remain obedient.
If a heterosexual individual never has the chance to marry in this life, but remains faithful to the covenants he has made, he will still receive the promised blessings in the next life. The same is true of a homosexual individual. If he struggles with this attraction, but does not act on it, and he remains faithful to his other covenants, he will have exactly the same blessings in the next life as the heterosexual individual. Mormon doctrine teaches that there will be no homosexuality in the next life, because it is not of God. So, if someone struggles with it here, he will not have those same feelings in the next life.
In a world that is changing rapidly and is advocating homosexuality and freedom more and more, Latter-day Saints, or “Mormons” are being labelled as bigots for their stand against homosexuality, particularly gay marriage. Bigotry has nothing to do with it. It is based on a fundamental understanding of and belief in God’s plan for His children and of the importance of the traditional family unit.
The Church of Jesus Christ distributes free copies of the King James Version of the Bible and the Book of Mormon. For your free copy of the Bible, go to Free Holy Bible and for a free Book of Mormon, go to Free Book of Mormon