“We Believe …” Friend, Oct. 1998, 9
Julie bit her lip as she walked home with her new friends. She didn’t know what to tell them about the Church.
“My dad says you Mormons are different from the rest of us and that you aren’t Christians,” Tiffany told her. “He said that you believe in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon but not the Bible.”
“That’s what I’ve heard, too,” Meghan added. She pointed to the blue book Julie had tucked under her arm. “I don’t see you carrying the Bible to school, just your Book of Mormon.”
Julie wanted to avoid an argument, but she had to stand up for what she knew was right. “Members of the Church are Christians. And I brought my Book of Mormon to school to show Miss Hall. She asked to see it after I did my history report on Joseph Smith last week.”
“See?” Tiffany smirked. “You do believe in Joseph Smith.”
“That’s right. I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I also believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior.”
“Then why aren’t you called Christians like other people?” Meghan asked. “Why do people call you Mormons?”
Julie choked back the angry words that hovered on her tongue. “I have to get home. I promised Mom I’d watch Benny while she goes to the store.”
As Julie hurried ahead, she heard whispers floating behind her. She swiped at the tears that trailed down her cheeks and wished for the hundredth time that her family hadn’t had to move here for her father’s job. It had been hard to leave her friends in California. Tiffany and Meghan were the first friends she’d made here, and now it looked as if she might lose them.
Julie wiped away the tears as she opened the kitchen door, hoping her mother wouldn’t notice she’d been crying. But her mother took one look at her and sat down at the kitchen table, gesturing for Julie to join her. Soon the whole story was spilling out.
“Maybe Tiffany and Meghan simply don’t understand,” her mother suggested.
“But why did they say that we aren’t Christians?”
“A lot of people think that. They don’t understand that just because we believe in the Book of Mormon, it isn’t Mormon’s Church. It’s Jesus Christ’s Church.”
Julie thought about it that afternoon as she did her homework. She tried to concentrate on it, but she couldn’t forget the things her friends had said. If only she could help them understand!
“Julie, what’s this?” Benny asked.
She looked up and saw the small card he held up to her. “It’s an Articles of Faith card.”
“What are Art-Arti-Articles of Faith?”
“They explain what Church members believe in.” She jumped up, crossed the room, and kissed her little brother. “Thanks, Benny—you’ve just given me the answer to my problem!”
The following day, she passed Tiffany and Meghan on the way to art class. She smiled at both of them. “See you after class,” she said.
When the bell rang, Julie found Tiffany and Meghan waiting for her in the hallway.
“Let’s walk home together,” Julie suggested.
Tiffany and Meghan exchanged looks. “OK.”
Julie waited until they were outside before beginning. “Yesterday you said Mormons are different. You were right. We are different.” She took a deep breath and began reciting the first article of faith: “‘We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.’”
“You believe they are three different persons?” Meghan asked.
Tiffany frowned. “But aren’t they all the same?”
Julie paused, praying that she could find the right words. “They are one in purpose, and They work together, but They’re three distinct persons.”
“What about Mormon?” Tiffany asked. “The man your church is named after. Who’s he?”
“The real name of the Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but sometimes we’re called Mormons because we believe that the Book of Mormon is scripture, just like the Bible. In fact, we say that it is ‘Another Testament of Jesus Christ.’ You see, Mormon lived a long time ago on the American continent, and he kept a record of his people and how they lived the gospel of Jesus Christ. His son, Moroni, appeared as an angel—”
“An angel?” Meghan interrupted. “Like a Christmas angel? In a long white robe and halo?”
Julie smiled and shook her head. “Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith and told him where the golden plates that Mormon’s history was written on were buried. Eventually Joseph Smith translated the golden plates and called it the Book of Mormon.”
“Hey, this is exciting,” Meghan said.
“Do you have any more of those things that you believe in?” Tiffany asked.
“They’re called the Articles of Faith. There are thirteen in all.” Julie reached inside her pocket, pulled out two small cards, and gave them to her friends. “Here.” She watched as Tiffany and Meghan looked over the cards.
“Do you know all these by heart?” Tiffany asked.
“Uh-huh. I memorized them in Primary.”
“It’s a little like your Sunday School. We have class on Sundays and sometimes an activity during the week.”
“Maybe I can come with you sometime,” Tiffany said.
“Me, too,” Meghan chimed in.
Julie smiled at them. “I’d like that. I’d like that a lot.”