Christine and Rocky Baronins presented on the Mormon faith on May 23 at the last Diversitas event until the fall. (LAUREN MACGILL, Morden Times)
Diversitas, the popular speaker series that aims to provide people in the region with information about different aspects of human diversity, wrapped up with its last presentation until later in the fall.
Christine and Rocky Baronins came from The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints in Winnipeg to present on the Mormon faith on May 23.
The church was founded by Joseph Smith in the 1820s, who recorded that God and Jesus appeared to him and gave him instruction over a period of several years. He recorded that in 1827 he received an ancient record on metal plates, and that text became the Book of Mormon, which Mormons consider an additional testament of Jesus Christ.
Christine said the church’s role in her life is paramount. “With all the things that are happening, the church helps us have perspective,” she said. “In this world where everything is coming at us at such an expedited rate, it’s hard to recognize priorities. The church helps me personally recognize what’s most important.”
“Having God and Jesus Christ in my life helps me to recognize the things that matter and the things that are eternal,” she added.
Rocky said the church also gives them perspective on things like death. “When we experience trials like a death in the family or something that is really a difficult life decision, it gives us perspective to have hope and move on. Not only our church, but all the churches give people a perspective on what we’re really doing here and what it really means. Without that, we’re lost.”
Rocky said that Mormons don’t believe they will be the only ones to reach the afterlife, and that belief can be reassuring.
Rocky and Christine said they expect the church, like many others, to adapt to different views on things, like environmental preservation. “It’s a natural human condition,” Rocky said. “As we become familiar with the things around us, the way we deal with them evolves. The church has grown over the last 180 years, the way we minister to the members has evolved.”
“The church might move slower than what the world would expect,” Christine added. “But we look at revelation and leadership as being inspired and for whatever reason, if it’s going to happen not in our time frame, that’s okay with us.”
The two also covered some misconceptions that people have with the Mormon church. One common question they often get asked is whether or not Mormons are polygamists.
“There’s a lot of misperceptions and I don’t realize as I’m walking around that people are perceiving that of me or of my faith,” Christine said. “As a convert I’ve had that experience as well, where I didn’t know what a Mormon even was.”
“There are still people who refer to us as a cult,” Rocky added. “We have 16 million members, it’s a big ‘cult.’ Even when we have [presentations like this] people still don’t know who we are.”
There is also often confusion about whether or not Mormons are Christians, which was a question Christine said came from a member of the Manitoba Multifaith Council. “We definitely need to have more educational informational sessions and let people know exactly what we believe.”
Mormons are of the Christian denomination, but don’t fall into the categories of Catholic or Protestant.
The Baroninses said it was encouraging to see the level of engagement they received at the event. “There were some very good questions,” Rocky said. “We weren’t sure what to expect, this is a strong faith community down here, but the questions were good, challenging in some ways but respectful.”