A personal message from Jason Lyle Black
Over the past few years, I've produced dozens of music videos that have reached millions around the world. I now want to share something behind the music - something that motivates me in everything I do - and that is my faith in God.
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly referred to as the Mormon church or the LDS church. We are a worldwide church and believe most fundamentally the following principles:
- All human beings are God's children - we are all brothers and sisters
- Through Jesus Christ, we can return to live with God
- Families can be together forever, not just “til death do us part”
In this post, I want to answer three common questions about my faith. First, why is it important to me? Second, what makes my church unique? And third, where can you learn more?
Why faith is important to me
My happiness, my passion and love for life, and my love of people around me are all directly traceable to the gospel of Jesus Christ. What is this "gospel" that I'm talking about? The gospel is the knowledge I have that God lives and loves me. Just as I know that my friends care about me because of their actions towards me, so too I know that God lives, and loves me, due to the relationship I have with him.
The gospel also represents a hope that one day I'll return to live with Heavenly Father with my family, for all eternity. It's the hope that thanks to Christ and His sacrifice for all of us, I can live forever with God.
The gospel is also the answers to the questions we all face in life, like what is our purpose? Why is life worth living? What happens after we die? Why does God allow evil to exist? To sum it up, the gospel is why, in the words one friend of mine, we have the ability to say—even in adversity—“Isn’t life great?"
What makes my church unique?
For those readers who share a faith in and relationship with God, you may be wondering, "So what makes your church unique?" As I consider the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I feel that one distinguishing aspect really separates our church from other Christian denominations: our belief in living prophets and apostles.
Throughout the earth’s history, God has spoken to His children through prophets, such as Noah, Abraham, Isaiah, and others. Christianity, as a whole, accepts the words of these ancient prophets as scripture. When Jesus Christ, our Savior, came to earth, He organized His church and called apostles to lead the Church. Christianity also accepts the teachings of these apostles (Peter, James, John, and others) as scripture.
In contrast, however, most Christian churches do not consider their preachers or leaders to be prophets or apostles; or in other words, the teachings of your local pastor are not considered to be scripture akin to the Bible. We share that belief—the scriptures are the source of God’s word.
What makes us unique, however, is that we are also led by living prophets and apostles. We believe that God has called, once again, prophets and apostles—who have the authority to deliver scripture—to lead His church on the earth.
Stop for a minute and consider the history of the world. For four thousand years, God spoke to His children through prophets in the Old Testament. Then, even after Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, He still had apostles on the earth to teach and deliver scripture to the people. This is the New Testament. So, that direction from God—that delivery of scripture—was important both before the coming of Christ, and after.
So what about today? Do we not need direct messages from God just as people for prior millennia of the world’s history have needed it?
This is what distinguishes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We believe that God has not stopped giving direction to the world through prophets and apostles. We believe that God still speaks today—not just through personal prayer, to each of us individually, but also to the world as a whole, through prophets and apostles.
Why is this significant? Well, the world isn’t getting any easier. Why would God leave us alone in this time, if He didn’t in the past? I think it is incredibly significant to know that we can turn to prophets of God for guidance today, so that we aren’t confused by all of the mixed messages from different teachers in the world who want us to listen to their point of view.
Furthermore, I have gained a personal witness, from God, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by true prophets and apostles who represent Him. That witness came to me directly from God, and so it is more significant than anything someone here on earth could say to me.
Of course this is just one aspect of my faith. There are so many other beliefs that are deeply important to me, which I would love to share. Perhaps I will write more in the future. But, for those of you who would like to learn more now, I invite you to send me a personal message with your questions or to read more below. Also, you may be interested to know that faith is deeply important to my grandparents as well. You can actually see a picture of Christ on the wall of their home at 00:46 in the video. He is the foundation of their marriage and the source of their strength and devotion to each other. And as I mentioned, my grandparents served as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, just as I did (see below).
Where can I learn more?
Have you ever seen two young men or women walking around with special nametags and talking to people about the scriptures? While many different churches do this (called religious proselytizing), chances are you have also seen missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Eight years ago, I was one of them! In fact, musical celebrity David Archuleta was recently as well. My grandparents, who have shared their love with millions worldwide through their UP video, also served as missionaries, in Africa.
Missionaries serve the community as full-time teachers. If you are interested in learning about the church, I would love to personally answer your questions. I also invite you to meet with missionaries since they can personally visit you, anywhere in the world. Also, the missionaries can accompany you to church if you would like to visit for yourself. Visitors are always welcome at church services! You do not need to be a member of the Church to attend.
You can request a visit from the missionaries yourself here: https://www.mormon.org/missionaries
Faith truly is foundational for me in everything I do. It is part of who I am and part of my life’s work. Thank you for reading what I’ve shared, and thank you for your support of my music. Feel free to reach out to me with comments or questions. God bless!
March 30, 2016