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Showing posts from October, 2007

An honest search, a compelling story

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I visit lds.org most every day. I especially check the newsroom for current topics. It's been a while since I went to mormon.org but found a great story right on the opening page. Watch the video. A young woman is telling the story of what happened when she asked some thoughtful questions in her weekly bible study class.

I won't give it away but it is a compelling story. I especially like the response of her teacher who said, "you've been listening to the Mormons, haven't you?" She hadn't but she immediately called her only LDS friend to find out more about what she had been studying. You can imagine the results.

Over the past two years I have met on a regular basis with some wonderful friends from the Church of the Nazarene. We have shared many fascinating discussions together on various subjects but for the most part we discuss marriage from a Christian perspective and how to improve our own. Rarely does a theological disagreement come up but when it does…

Dealing with Same-Gender Attraction

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I loved Elder Holland's introduction in his article in this month's Ensign magazine on same-gender attraction. He was speaking with a young man in his early twenties who said, "I don’t know if I should remain a member of the Church," he said. "I don’t think I’m worthy." "Why wouldn’t you be worthy?" I asked. "I’m gay," he said. I suppose he thought I would be startled. I wasn’t. "And...?" I inquired."

The young man was surprised and asked how he could be a member of the church if he felt attracted to men instead of women. He wondered why he felt that way. Elder Holland said that same-gender attraction was not a sin and asked the young man if he had acted upon those impulses and thereby broken the law of chastity. No, he hadn't. Elder Holland then said that although he could not answer why the young man had those feelings, he could offer hope and encouragement because he was trying to keep his covenants.

Does this subject…

Headlines and FUD - fear, uncertainty, doubt

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I'm sure you know that headlines are meant to be provocative and to entice you to read the article. It has always been a pet peeve of mine that most headlines are also mis-leading. How about this headline for example: "Home Sales Plunge by 8 Percent." Why, how awful! How could such a thing happen? Those poor people trying to sell their houses. Reading the article is just as bad. It is full of words of doom and gloom like worst slump, slowest pace, weakness, pressure on sales, decline, turmoil, worries, drag, severe, fears, threats and my favorite, 'worse than expected.'

It always makes me wonder if the writers of articles like these had to take a class in how to write a pessimistic news article. Or is it perhaps just their general state of mind? You would think that at least one writer looking at the same news could have reported it this way: "Falling home prices mean more people can afford houses." Of course, anyone who has been following the housing &#…

Boy Scouts, gays and the LDS Church

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The city of Philadelphia will start charging the local council of the Boy Scouts of America $200,000 a year to use the city-owned land under the council headquarters building. Since 1928 the City had been charging the Council only $1 a year. What would make them start charging such a high amount now?

The city has made it clear that the move is designed to punish the Boy Scouts of America because it will not allow homosexuals to serve as Scout Leaders. The city says it is charging the scouts $200,000 a year because the scouts discriminate against homosexuals. But the city finds nothing wrong with their discrimination against the scouts because of the scouts' belief.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the scouts, as a private group, have a First Amendment right to bar homosexuals from membership. Philadelphia officials, in an effort to appease the homosexual activists, began searching for a way to punish the scouts. The rent increase was the vehicle to do that. Source: Philly.com

Wha…

So Cal fires: Divine punishment or natural causes?

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Tony Badillo from Dallas TX wrote: "In case the people of Malibu can't figure it out, the fire is almost certainly Divine punishment. There have been other types of punishments and there will me many more until materialistic America in love with sex, porn, riches, violence (including abortion), and deceit and lying is brought to its knees...Malibu is a symbol of individual self-serving materialism..."

Hmmm...seems a little harsh Tony. These are my neighbors. I know quite a few good god-fearing Christian people in Malibu. Let's not be too hasty in judgement. I agree that there are some very rich, foolish and worldly people who live in Malibu, many of them in the entertainment industry. But I can think of two other places that the Lord should let the angels pour the vials of destruction upon first.

One of them is the area around Folsom Street in San Francisco. I've written about them previously. The other is Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley. The majority of the …

News Flash: Mitt Romney is a Mormon!

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Quoting the Dallas Morning News: "Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, said that Mormonism is a false religion and that Mr. Romney was not a Christian. "Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and don't let anybody tell you otherwise," Dr. Jeffress said in a sermon Sept. 30. [ed: (sarcasm on) Well duh! Is this a revelation? (sarcasm off)]"Even though he talks about Jesus as his Lord and savior, he is not a Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity. Mormonism is a cult."

Some in the large crowd began to applaud as Dr. Jeffress continued with his remarks. "What really distresses me is some of my ministerial friends and even leaders in our convention are saying, 'Oh, well, he talks about Jesus, we talk about Jesus. What's the big deal?' " he said. "It is a big deal if anybody names another way to be saved except through Jesus Christ."

What a disconnect! I can't believe that otherwise intelligent people actually bel…

The United Nations is a failure

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Mitt Romney said today that the United States should get out of the United Nations. I totally agree. He pointed out that the UN Human Rights Council has repeatedly condemned Israel while taking no action against nations with repressive regimes. Yep, that's been my observation as well. He said, "The United Nations has been an extraordinary failure of late. We should withdraw from the United Nations..."

Actually he said we should withdraw from the UN Human Rights council, but the US is already boycotting that group because of its abysmal record. The council was established last year as a successor to an equally stupid UN Commission on Human Rights which elected terrorist states to lead it. President Bush said that the United States would not participate in the Council but would support it financially.

I guess that's good politics but why we do it I don't know. Maybe to appease the nations who want to feel they are doing something important. The UN has no teeth, nor d…

The future history of Israel

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Israel has a special place in LDS theology, both as a people and as a state. Part of our tenth Article of Faith states, "We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes" We believe that the gathering started many years ago and will continue to take place until the state of Israel fills the boundaries prophesied in the Bible. Obviously that will not sit well with the people who currently occupy those lands.

Genesis 15:18 - "In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates" Hmmm... The river of Egypt I know but where is the river Euphrates? Why, isn't that Iraq? Actually, it starts in Turkey, runs through Syria, then Iraq before emptying into the Persian gulf. It kind of cuts the region in two. And Israel's Northern border will extend up to the Euphrates?

Let's see, so Israel's borders will include Da…

Nobel peace prize for Al Gore? Puleease!

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What does making a phony movie about global warming have to do with promoting world peace? Someone had to really stretch to come up with an explanation. They said that his movie and touring is laying the groundwork for changes that we're all going to have to make. Therefore he is preventing the future riots that will be caused when global warming catastrophes happen. Puleease! How insulting. I just don't think there is much that man can do to cause or prevent global warming.

Mr Gore has pointed to such things as the Dec 2004 Indonesian earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean as evidence that man has done something to cause the earth to react so violently. He also said that the 2005 hurricane season was caused by man-made global warming. He has shown pictures of retreating polar ice and glaciers as additional evidence of man-made damages. The same for melting snows on Mount Kilimanjaro. Oh come on! Drowning polar bears, Lake Chad drying up, coral reef bleaching, rising sea le…

Sodom and Gomorrah on Folsom Street

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In a worldwide priesthood leadership training meeting, President Hinckley, noting the immoral conditions in the world, stated, “I do not know that things were worse in the times of Sodom and Gomorrah." He went on to say, "They and their wicked inhabitants were annihilated. We see similar conditions today. They prevail all across the world. I think our Father must weep as He looks down upon His wayward sons and daughters" ("Standing Strong and Immovable," Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 10, 2004, 20).

I wasn't going to write about this event because it is just so disgusting but it has come to my attention too many times in the last few weeks. Today it became the most popular story on Yahoo News, which described the event promotional poster that mocks the Last Supper of Jesus, one of the most precious religious occasions for Christians.

The Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco touts itself as the "crowning finale" of the city's Leather…

Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter and Rush on Faith

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One of the great things I like about my job is that I get to work from home three days a week. In the two days a week I go into the office I go in after the traffic - with a drive time of about 9:30 to 10:30. I usually travel in peace and quiet just thinking about what I plan to do that day in the office. Today I was a little bit agitated with a problem that I was going to face when I got there so I turned on the radio to quiet my mind. I was looking for Rush Limbaugh but found instead Bill O'Reilly interviewing Ann Coulter, discussing her new book and the problems Bill has had recently with Media Matters.

Now for those who don't know, Bill and Ann are two very conservative pundits. Bill is on Fox News and Ann is a publishing powerhouse, although Bill also has six books to his credit. They are both very polarizing. You either love them or hate them. I prefer Ann over Bill because I think she is more accurate than he is most of the time but they were both a delight to listen to …

Elder Ballard and my list of the Four F's

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I have been pondering Elder Ballard's talk in General Conference on Saturday afternoon about not overwhelming our friends and associates with too much information when they ask about the church out of curiosity. He said: "All members should be prepared to offer simple, direct information, in part to offset misunderstandings and false information about the church. Four subjects that may be addressed to answer such queries focus on Facts, Faith, Family and Fruits as they relate to the church. Short and concise statements on these subjects should be written down to be used when there is an inquiry." I especially like that last line. In that spirit I present a summary of my four F's here:

Facts: The Mormon church is one of the largest and fastest growing Christian denominations in the world. It was organized in 1830 and has over 13 million members worldwide. There are more members of the church outside of North America than in. The church has approximately 53,000 full-tim…

How can anyone not like Sheri Dew?

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I love Sheri Dew and I mean that in a most professional and respectful way. She is absolutely one of my favorite living authors. I love her style, her stories, her humor, her depth of understanding of the gospel and her deferential respect for the priesthood of God. I do not know her personally and have not met her, but feel as if I know her through her writing and public speaking. Carol has shaken her hand and introduced herself at one of those book sales they have at Deseret Book for the sisters during the Saturday night priesthood session of General Conference. Of course I don't expect Sheri to remember her as she has met so many thousands of people over the years. I just can't understand why anyone would suggest that Sheri Dew is arrogant or ignorant as some bloggers have commented. She is neither.

Like I have said in a previous post about another public figure who was misunderstood, Sheri Dew doesn't need me to defend her. But she is a highly visable and prominent LDS …

Mitt Romney brings attention to the LDS Church

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I hope that Mitt Romney sticks it out so I can vote for him in the California primaries on Feb 5 2008. I also hope he proves to the American people that he is a better candidate than Rudy Giuliani. I base my decision not on the fact that he is a Mormon but on his stand on values. He and I agree on just about everything that I think is important. I like Rudy Giuliani but Mitt's record on marriage is what makes the difference for me. I don't like John McCain. He seems like he is a political hack - just in it for the game. And while I like Fred Thompson, I just don't think he is a strong enough candidate. I don't know enough about the other six candidates to form an opinion yet.

I don't follow the news from the Democratic side of the ticket very closely, although it's hard to miss since the liberal press gives it so much coverage. I'm assuming that Hillary will win the nomination of her party. I don't believe Edwards or Obama can overcome the power of the C…

General Conference and Restored Christianity

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I was searching for the press release about General Conference from the church website this morning. General Conference is the semiannual gathering of members and leaders of the LDS church in Salt Lake City. It happens the first weekend of each April and October. I never did find the press release (Update: it was posted latter in the day) but I did find this interesting focus article: "Core Beliefs: Why and how are Mormons different?" It is linked from the main Newsroom page as 'Restored Christianity". The lead-in paragraph points out that journalists often ask how Mormonism compares to 'Traditional Christianity."

I like the phrase 'Restored Christianity.' Having been a member of the Mormon church all my life I am very familiar with the idea of an apostasy and restoration. The use of that phrase may not be new but it is a succinct summary of what I believe. In the same breath I can explain how I am the same and yet how I am different from the rest of…

Can a Liberal Democrat be a good Mormon?

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I confess that I have been a little bit taken aback lately by the attacks that Harry Reid has made on one of my favorite conservative talk-show hosts, Rush Limbaugh. I've already stated in a previous post that Rush Limbaugh doesn't need me to defend him. His record stands for itself and is readily available for anyone to review. But what about Harry Reid - what does he stand for and does it square with what I believe a good Mormon should espouse?

Although I have not met Harry Reid I have watched many video clips and read enough of his statements to formulate an opinion that he is not a nice man. He just seems so mean to me. It's as if he had to turn into an attack dog to keep his post as the senate majority leader. I know that position requires one to be outspoken and always in your face but why can't the senate majority leader be in my face with some good news instead of always attacking people that I like?

I don't hear many good ideas coming from this liberal Democ…

Marriage in Heaven - What do you think?

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Carol and I just finished a small marriage group series on 'Love and Respect' from Dr. Emerson Eggerichs which has enriched our life immensely. I endorse it wholeheartedly. It was one of the most eye-opening experiences for each of us to come to an understanding of the pink-vs-blue way that we each experience life. To quote Dr Eggerichs, "Not bad. Not good. Just different." We enjoyed the DVD series so much with the small group that we bought his book and are now reading it together.

The book and the series and I suppose Dr Eggerichs ministry are all based on Ephesians 5:33 - "Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." Or as Emerson quotes it from the New International Version: "However, each one of you must also love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Dr Eggerichs teaches in his seminar about the Crazy Cycle, in which we com…