How do Mormons celebrate Christmas

Mormons are Christians

To answer the question “how do Mormons celebrate Christmas?” you have to first look at the fact that Mormons are Christians. Another thing to think about is the fact that Mormons were a large part of the pioneer and pilgrim foundations of the Western United States.

Traditional Holiday Celebrations

Because of this heritage, and because of our belief in Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and the Savior of the world, we celebrate Christmas along with the rest of the Christian world, and in the same ways. We have trees, lights, stockings and Santa Claus. We sing the same carols, eat the same foods, and enjoy the company of family and friends.

Above all, we try to use the Christmas season as an opportunity to renew our commitment to helping those around us who may not have family, or may not have enough to meet their own needs. Christmas is a wonderful time to remember to reach out and give, especially where the need is great or for even basic items.

What does Christmas mean?

Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. When our Savior was born, the course of human history and direction was altered for eternity.  We recognize this by the simple fact that all reckoning of our cultures time is based around the events of Christ’s birth, and His death. These two events, along with the example of His life, and his suffering in the garden of Gethsemane, combine to form the most important period of time ever. Christmas is the celebration of the dawning of that important period.

Jesus Christ provides answers and perspective

Understanding the life and death of Jesus Christ can help us gain perspective, and get answers to important questions about life: where did we come from, why are we here, and where are we going? When Jesus Christ was born on this earth, He did not spring into existence; He was everlasting, and existed previously in the spirit world. Each of us was there with him, and have come here to this earth to be tested, to see if we will obey God and keep his commandments. After this life, we will return to live with God, the Father of our spirits.

If you have questions about Christmas, Mormonism, or faith in general, please do feel free to ask them here. You can also visin mormon.org, and lds.org, to read, watch videos, and learn on your own what Mormonism is really all about.

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Mormon.org expands video content

New video content answers questions about mormons

Mormon.org, and official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) has just expanded their library of video content. The videos are available and easily viewable online at this link:

Mormon.org videos

You can view videos about mormonism in these categories:

  • Our Stories
  • Beliefs
  • Family
  • News
  • Entertainment
  • Myths

If you want to share the videos, you can easily send them along or even embed them on your own website.

The church has an official news article on the updates, which you can read here:

Mormon.org Updated and Improved…

Above all, the official Mormon church websites are a great way for anyone interested to find out about Mormonism, our beliefs and practices, on their own. You can easily search on lds.org, read on mormon.org, contact missionaries online, ask questions… everything you might want to know is easily available.

Definitely visit the sites above, but if you have questions you want to ask a mormon directly, feel free to do it here as well. I’ll do my best to answer your questions directly and to the point!

Fight against LDS temple height continues

Unfortunately, the fighting continues

Even after the planning commission and city council approved the issue unanimously, I am sorry to say that the bitter fighting against the re-zoning of the North Phoenix LDS temple grounds continues. A new political action group entitled the “Phoenix Property Rights Coalition,” was formed on the first Monday in December, with hopes of gathering 15,000 signatures by Jan. 2nd to overturn the city councils unanimous vote.

Interestingly, the Mormon church already has the right to build under current zoning and under current statutes. The re-zoning will actually restrict the Mormon church more, and force them to make concessions to the neighborhood. The petition and fighting won’t stop the construction of a temple in that area, nor will it delay it. The only thing they might accomplish is restricting the temple’s main building height to 30ft instead of 40.

To me it is sad that one HOA is so embattled against a relatively small variance request in a simple re-zoning application.  The re-zoning was at the request and recommendation of the city in the first place, and the LDS church is doing everything it possibly can to make all sides happy. Short of not building our temple there, I’m not sure what would make the HOA happy.

Sadly too, even if the temple location was moved, the anti-Mormon groups who may or may not be involved in this issue (they appear to work in secrecy, and have not announced themselves at any of the meetings) would still oppose.

Mormons are committed to being great neighbors

The thing to remember in all of this political wrap-up is this: Mormons have always shown a strong commitment to family and community.  We are encouraged to donate to our communities, and to volunteer our time and efforts to make communities better. This extends to every community we can reach, and not just the ones we live directly in.

Phoenix is the same. There are countless instances of community service, organized and carried out by the LDS people in Phoenix every year. It is an opportunity for us to show our love for the Savior Jesus Christ, by helping His children here on earth.

When the Temple is built, it will be an extension of that commitment to serve the community.

Do you have questions about Mormons, Mormonism or Temples?

If you do have questions about the North Phoenix Temple, please feel free to ask them here. You can also ask using the “Joe is Mormon” link on the right-hand side, which does not require registration to post a question.

An LDS temple in Phoenix Arizona

City council unanimously approved

The Phoenix city council, led by Mayor Phil Gordon, voted unanimously to approve the simple zoning variance requested for the LDS temple in North Phoenix. The temple will be built on property the LDS church already owns, adjacent to an existing church building. The main portion of the temple will stand 40ft high, instead of the 30ft allowed by current zoning. The steeple will add height, but steeples are not regulated under current Phoenix codes.

LDS temple will be a good neighbor

Interestingly, the LDS church made several concessions during the whole zoning change and variance request process. Based on complaints from members of a neighboring HOA, the LDS church agreed to:

  • Use an exterior building color that was preferred by the neighborhood
  • Decrease lighting output to below required standards, to help maintain night views
  • Turn off key lighting at 10pm, and hour earlier than required by law, to help maintain night views

In the construction of this temple, the church is also:

  • Building the structure further from the neighboring houses than is required
  • Adding far more landscaping than is required

During each of the meetings that I attended, the church gave more and more to the HOA and neighbors. They tried to work with the neighbors to minimize the impact on the community.  The church was more than fair, it was gracious.

Mormons want to work with and support communities

During the last zoning meeting, several people made mention of the thousands of volunteer hours that the LDS church has put forth in North Phoenix communities recently, and how dedicated the LDS church is to making those communities great places to live.

Mormons want to make communities better, and more friendly for families and neighbors to work and live together. The temple that will be built will be a beautiful addition to the community, and will be well kept and maintained to the highest standards. The landscaping will be quiet and calm, and open for members of the community to enjoy on a daily basis if they wish.

Religious freedom is important, and it is threatened

The LDS church always work with local laws, leaders and communities. No matter where we are in the world, our personal conviction is to work within the law. One of our most cherished freedoms is the freedom of religion that we enjoy most pointedly in the United States of America, and often, that freedom is threatened.

It has always been that way for the Mormon church. From the beginning, opposition parties have tried to stop the LDS people from worshiping according to their faith and beliefs. This is in plain opposition to the laws of the land, which protect every individuals rights to worship. Members of any religious group should be concerned when they see the religion of another trampled on.

The members of the HOA opposed to the temple re-zoning have stated publicly that they have no issue with the Mormon religion, or their right to build a temple, but that they simply do not want a temple in their neighborhood. I hope and pray that they are sincere in that proclamation, as it is a comforting and peaceable stance to take.

It is also my sincere hope that the HOA and citizen groups involved are not associated with and do not accept funds from anti-Mormon sources bent on denying the LDS people their freedoms of religion.  Association with those vitriolic and secretive groups will bring those individuals nothing but remorse of conscience.

Healing with the community

I still believe firmly that Mormons in Phoenix are largely concerned, like myself, with the healing that can and should take place with members of the community after the temple is built. We feel strongly that those people who are currently opposed to the temple will see and understand the peace that will come from this sacred edifice once it is constructed.

I invite any and all who have questions about the temple or about the Mormon church to ask them here. I will try to answer you as directly as I can. No question is too small. I look forward to the outreach that we can make with the community, and to making Phoenix a better place.