Professor Christensen’s personal beliefs have had a profound impact on the way he conducts his life. He shares his beliefs with others so they may know and understand him better, and to encourage them to lead lives of greater commitment and purpose.
Why I Belong, and Why I Believe
As I have progressed through my life, my commitment to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has deepened for two reasons. The first is my reason for belonging to the church as an organized institution: because of the way the church is organized, it puts opportunities to help others in my path every day. It facilitates my efforts – and in some instances almost compels me – to practice Christianity daily, not just believe in it. The second is my reason for believing that the doctrines taught in the church are true. As I have studied the Bible and the Book of Mormon, I have come to know through the power of the Spirit of God, that these books contain the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. My conviction has deepened as I have continued to study these books and have tried to do the will of my Father in Heaven.
Why do I choose to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an organized religion, rather than attempt as an individual to live a good life? It is because the church helps me understand and practice the essence of Christianity. The mechanism by which the organization achieves this is to have no professional clergy. We don’t hire ministers or priests to teach and care for us. This forces us to teach and care for each other – and in my view, this is the core of Christian living as Christ taught it. I actually have come to feel badly for my friends who belong to faiths in which professional clergy are employed – because they don’t know how much joy they miss when they “outsource” the teaching and care of the members of their church to specially trained professionals.
Several years ago I read a story in a news magazine about flooding in several western states that resulted from the rapid spring melting of a heavy accumulation of snow. One photo showed thousands of Mormon citizens in Salt Lake City who had been mobilized with only a few hours’ notice through a call from their local church leaders. They were shown filling sandbags that would channel the flow of run-off water. The article marveled at the command-and-control precision – almost military in character – through which the LDS church was able to put its people onto the front lines of this civil crisis. Another photo in an article the next week showed a thirty-something resident of a town along a flooding stream in another state, sitting in a lawn chair reading while national guardsmen filled sandbags nearby. The author of the article attributed what he saw to the “organizational efficiency” of the LDS church, but he completely missed the point. Thousands of people instinctively showed up and went to work because they do this sort of thing all the time, week after week, in over a hundred countries around the world, as part of being Mormon. This was not an unusual event – just another week in the life of a typical Mormon.
Learn More About the LDS Church
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Decisions for Which I’ve Been Grateful – BYU Idaho
Dealing with the Dangers of Success – BYU Speeches
Listen to speech
“Mormonism in American Politics” – Boston College
Listen to speech
Read Q&A session
“My ways are not your ways” – Ensign
“Member missionary” – Ensign