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Hi I'm Erica

I live in Kyrgyzstan and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I met my husband while we were studying Arabic in the Middle East and we've been moving around ever since, living overseas several times and in many different states in the US. Islam in all its variety fascinates both me and my husband and we've learned a lot as we've studied Islam and the way Muslims practice their faith.

Why I am a Mormon

I was born in the church from a long line of Mormons, and that's certainly part of why I'm Mormon today. But that's not the only reason I am. I do have a testimony of the gospel and I am blessed to be part of it. I like to compare my testimony to learning a new language and I've had to learn a lot of them. Sometimes Mormons talk about being able to speak a language because of the gift of tongues, but for me, learning a language is hard work, and it only works if I keep at it. But some days there's a breakthrough, especially if I have an experience that helps me learn new words in a new way. I feel that way about the gospel. There are things about it that are hard and some things that don't make sense to me. But there are enough times when I learn something new and amazing that keeps me going. It's worth all the hard work and someday I hope to speak the language of the gospel fluently.

How I live my faith

Since we live in a country where the Church isn't recognized by the government or organized in any way, we worship at home. It's very different to have church at home, obviously, especially since worshiping together is such an important part of being a Mormon. Right now we aren't able to meet with any other Mormons who live in Kyrgyzstan, so we have sacrament meeting with just our family, and we have online discussions and lessons with our children's cousins every week. I also participate in online discussions about faith and religion. Our church activity is much more personal here than it would be in most parts of the world. We're also distant from the typical LDS Church hierarchy which can be difficult since we place a high value on authority in this church. Some people tell us that they think it would be difficult to have church on their own every week, but I enjoy it and it's an important part of the week.

Why is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called Mormons or Mormonism?

The name "Mormon" comes from one of our books of scripture, The Book of Mormon. Mormon was an ancient prophet who compiled and edited what is now the Book of Mormon. Some members of the Church don't like to be called Mormons, and "Mormon" isn't part of the official name of the Church. But I like to be called a Mormon after the name of that ancienct prophet. He was a faithful man. I'm happy if you call me a Mormon and I'd like that name to be a positive one. Show more Show less

Does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endorse political parties?

No, although sometimes it might seem like it does. It is true that the Church often supports conservative political positions- not parties, but positions- but recently I've been very happy to see the Church supporting more liberal immigration laws in Utah. In the US, most Mormons are Republicans, but many (like me) are not. Show more Show less

Are Mormons Christians?

Yes, I am a Christian because I believe Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer and it is only through His atoning grace that I can be saved. To me, that is the simplest definition of Christianity and the one I am most comfortable using. But no, I am not a Christian in the traditional sense. I do not believe many things that many Christians believe, such as the Trinity or original sin, and I believe some things that many Christians do not believe, such as modern-day prophets and the Book of Mormon. I think there's room in Christianity for everyone who accepts Jesus Christ as her Savior. Show more Show less

Do Mormons only help Mormons?

No and no again. I've lived in countries where there are no more than a handful of Mormons, but where the Church still does a great deal of humanitarian work. I have also seen bishops in the US give significant financial support to single mothers who are not members of the Church to help them keep their families together. If I knew my donations to the Church were going only to Mormons, I would direct them elsewhere. Show more Show less

What are Mormon church services like? Are visitors allowed at church meetings? Can I attend church?

Church services look a little different for me and my family because we live in a country where the church is not legally recognized or officially organized. When Mormons are in a situation like this, we usually have church at home, or we might attend services of other faiths or denominations. Some parts of the world have online meetings for isolated members (I try not to be jealous). In my case, my husband is able to bless the sacrament for us which is an essential part of our Sunday service. We know many women living in isolated places who don't have access to a priesthood holder which is very difficult. While I am grateful to have the sacrament every week, I wish everyone could. In addition to the sacrament, we also sing several hymns, prayer, and talk about the gospel. Sometimes we watch a movie about the church or a religious topic, or a talk from General Conference. Sacrament meetings lasts about 20-30 minutes at the most. We have other Sunday meetings in the church in addition to sacrament meeting. Again, we have to be creative with this. My husband and I talk about church history and the scriptures on Sunday evenings, and I participate in several online communities where I'm able to talk about the church and its teachings. We also have Sunday school lessons over Skype with family members in the US. It helps my children to be able to see their cousins and talk about the church. Show more Show less