Church of Jesus Christ Organizes Congregation in India
Mormons—the nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—recently organized the first stake in India. A stake is similar to a Catholic diocese and is a geographical region that has a number of congregations in it. Mormons attend church based on where they live, rather than making random choices of congregation. This was an exciting event for the 10,000 Mormons living in India and recognizes their hard work at sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with their neighbors.
Mormonism first entered India in 1850, when some Mormon sailors came to Calcutta and talked to local people about their faith. The next year, the church sent an official representative, Joseph Richards, who baptized several people and assigned them the role of missionaries to their people. However, the small congregation that was formed soon disappeared as converts emigrated. In the early days of the church, new converts generally moved to the United States to live near other Mormons. This, in a time of poor communication, allowed them better access to information about the church, current development, and moral and spiritual support. Today members are encouraged to stay in their home countries and to share the gospel with their neighbors, as the people in India have done.
Other efforts continued from time to time, but growth was limited by the difficulty missionaries faced in learning the language before the church began formal language training for missionaries and in the immigration of new members. In 1981, the government allowed a husband and wife, assigned as missionaries, to establish a small congregation. That same year, the Book of Mormon, which Mormons use with the Bible as a second testament of the divinity of Jesus Christ, was translated into Telugu. In 1993, when a formal mission was established in India, there were 1150 Mormons. Five years later, the membership roles contained two thousand names. Growth since that time has been outstanding and rapid.
Mormons send missionaries throughout the world, following the teachings of Jesus Christ:
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28, King James translation of the Holy Bible.)
The reason Jesus Christ taught the people to do missionary work is, as He mentioned above, so they can be baptized. The Bible says we must be baptized in order to return home to God.
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5).
Mormons know that unless a person is baptized, He cannot live with God and receive God’s highest blessings. Missionary work, then, is an act of love, one designed to show love to all of God’s children and also to God Himself. For this reason, young adults in the church frequently give up two years of their lives—years when most young people are having fun or starting careers—to serve at their own cost wherever God sends them in the world, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and inviting people to be baptized.
If you would like to know more about the Mormons or about baptism, visit a special website set up just for people who are not Mormon. It explains the essentials of the faith and allows you to read the experiences of real, ordinary Mormons in their spiritual journeys through life. You don’t have to register or give any information unless you want a missionary to contact you and bring you a free Book of Mormon. You can also choose, if you’d like, to chat with a missionary online. However, there is no obligation and no pressure. You are free to simply look around and learn.
Tags: Christ's Church, Church of latter day saints, Church of latter-days, Dallin Oaks, evangelism India, gospel in India, great commission, Jesus Christ, lds church, Lord, mission outreach in India, mormans (and all related mormon terms plus Mormon apostle), reformation vs restoration, Savior, sharing gospel, taking gospel to world
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