Showing posts from 2008

Gay Mormons, Evergreen Intl and Affirmation

What is it like to be a gay Mormon struggling with same-sex attraction? I don’t know but there are several websites where you can learn more if you are interested. I would like to highlight two of them in this essay. My objective in reviewing these websites is to determine which promotes faithfulness and obedience to the Lord’s commandments.

Evergreen International is a nonprofit organization based in Salt Lake City that helps people who want to diminish same-sex attractions and overcome homosexual behavior. They claim right on their front page that, “If you want to diminish your same-gender attractions and avoid homosexual behavior, there is a way out.” I find that encouraging.

Affirmation, on the other hand, states that they “reject the tyranny that would have us believe that who we are—gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender—is evil. We view our sexual and gender orientation as a blessing, not a curse.” Affirmation endorses the embracing of homosexual identity and encourages expres…

The hope of a Savior and Redeemer

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” Paul informs us in Romans 3:23. To commit sin is to willfully disobey God's commandments or to fail to act righteously despite a knowledge of the truth. Many in the world do not believe in sin or in repentance from sin. In fact, some do not even believe in God.

The central theme of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is that He is our Savior and Redeemer and that through His atonement, we can obtain forgiveness of our sins. These phrases don’t mean much to those who don’t believe in God or Christ, but they fill with hope those who understand and accept that there is sin in this world.

A Savior is one who delivers from a predicament or an unavoidable trap. Paul also taught us in Romans 6:23 that, “The wages of sin are death.” Sometimes those who are young reject the idea of spiritual death because physical death seems so far away. With maturity, they are more inclined to believe and to want to learn.

The household of fai…

Living up to ideal value standards

As we go through life, we embrace high ideals as standards that we value. I am confident that most of us do not perfectly live up to those high value standards. That can cause difficulty in our lives and can be a major form of stress. How do we deal with the discrepancy of a life lived at a level below what we would like it to be?

More aptly asked, how do we live up to those high value standards that we have accepted as being desirable and believe to be achievable? Is it even possible? The Savior taught, “Be ye therefore perfect.” Modern prophets have defined specific standards of behavior that help us reach for that perfection in our day and age.

For example, the Mormon Church has one of the highest standards of sexual purity both before and after marriage, than any other organization of which I know. The standard is total abstinence before marriage and complete fidelity after marriage. Failure to adhere to these standards is a cause for disciplinary action in our church.


Faith, Magic and a Patriarchal Blessing

Patriarchal blessings are wonderful things. They are especially wondrous when received at a young age. The promises in them almost seem magical because the idea of righteous living as a cause and effect of fulfillment of those promises is usually not understood at a young age. There is nothing magical about the blessings, just as magic is not really a part of our faith, or is it?

Magic is something that Walt Disney brought to my world when I was a young lad. I grew up in Southern California in the 1960’s when Disneyland was new and exciting and full of promise. We watched it grow over the years and visited the park almost as often as we visited the beach. Those were the days of the E ticket ride, when the Matterhorn bobsleds were the hottest thing.

The magic for me was found in the Carousel of Progress and the beautiful city of the future depicted in the scale model under glass. It was only there from 1967 to 1973 – the years in which I moved from childhood to the responsibilitie…

They will not go away

The outrage of the gay community over Obama’s choice of Rick Warren to pray at the inauguration illustrates that this issue of same-sex marriage is not going away. Apparently the radical gays hate conservative Christians like Rick Warren almost as much as they hate the Mormons who helped pass Proposition 8 in California last month.

The advocates of the GLBT lifestyle are becoming more vocal and the media has embraced their cause wholeheartedly. Their demands for full acceptance in our society grow more strident each day. Traditional Christian values of morality and marriage have become the current battleground in the fight between good and evil.

Many of those pushing the gay agenda have said that all they have to do is wait until those of my generation die out. They have made it clear in their online communications that they hate us because we are the only ones who stand in the way of letting them reach their goal. They want their sin declared acceptable.

Using the web to communicat…

Second official church YouTube Channel

I was surprised this morning to discover that the church now has a second YouTube channel. The first, from Public Affairs, is still active but hasn't posted anything in a couple of months. The new channel is called Mormon Messages and is clearly identified as an official channel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are three videos, including this Christmas message:

Hat tip to Meridian Magazine and to Seth Adam Smith.

Where there is no vision, the people perish

I have been a lifelong student of human motivation, particularly self-motivation. No, I’m not an expert and what motivates me may not motivate you. A long time ago I discovered something that drives me to action more than anything else. It is found in the scripture quoted in the title of this essay as written in Proverbs 29:18.

When I catch the vision of the way something can be that I want, I find myself willing to give untold hours to moving that vision from a dream to a reality in life. Conversely, if I have not seen myself doing something in my mind’s eye, I find my motivation lacking to do all the work that is required to accomplish a worthy goal.

This is particularly true when someone else has a vision but is ineffective in getting me to see it for myself. For example, you can tell me all day long about the great benefits of eating right and exercising regularly, but unless I see myself benefiting from good eating and exercise habits, I will always find other ways to use my t…

A Church Employment System miracle

Several years ago, my family and I faced a Christmas season accompanied with an ongoing period of unemployment. Through no fault of my own, I had been laid off six months earlier from a high-paying job that ended as a normal course of business. The manufacturing computing project I had been hired to support had been completed and my services were no longer needed.

I had been laid off before in my career and figured this job search would last about the same amount of time – three months. As a computing professional, I keep my resume up to date and am very familiar with the agencies that help people in my profession. I began right away to work the system and was having some success but no job offers. Then November arrived.

“Check back with us after the holidays,” is a common response about this time of year. Even advertised jobs seem to be put on hold until January or February. I can’t imagine what it must be like today when so many are being laid off due to the state of the econom…

Controversy and speculation do not satisfy

One of the most oft-repeated admonitions by the Lord in scripture is to read the scriptures. It is also something that we hear often from the pulpits at the Conference Center and our local ward. In meeting with any Bishop, if you ask for advice on how to feel more spiritual, closer to the Lord, stronger in the gospel and happier, what do you think he is going to counsel you to do?

And yet, how much of our time each day is spent in reading scriptures and studying the gospel? Actually, I’d like to separate those into different activities. A verse by verse, chapter by chapter reading of the scriptures is one type of activity that can bring great blessings. You can feel very satisfied at having completed a task and a sense of accomplishment as you finish each chapter.

On the other hand, gospel study is more thematic and in my opinion, closer to what the Savior asks us to do when he invites us to search the scriptures. For many members of the church the only gospel study they get is ob…

Why LDS blogging just works

I don't know this blogger and I normally don't do this, but one of the joys of blogging is reading what others have felt important to share. I feel particularly impressed with this essay shared by Memoirs of a Married Mormon Man and felt it deserved additional readership. He writes that it will be his only blog post this month but it is worth it. Here is the heart of the essay:

A Missionary in Germany

"I recognized a smartly dressed elderly gentleman as he strode toward us. He looked as if he had somewhere to be. Someplace important. As he stopped in front of us, a wide smile on his face, he said hello to me. I smiled back, astonished at the happy coincidence, and introduced my companion to him as my father.

"He then turned to my father, and in fluent, though accented English, greeted him with, 'I am so happy to meet you. I want you to know that your son stopped me on the street one day. Before we met, I had lost God. Because he talked to me, I have found God aga…

The power of the Mormon worldview

Mormons are different, really different. I know President Hinckley was emphatic in pointing out that we’re not different, or at least we’re not weird. But there are some things about us that are unique, both doctrinally and culturally and that set us apart from every other religion, Christian or not, and whether we like it or not.

It’s that Mormon worldview thing. I’m sure you’ve encountered the point of view in some LDS people that has been mistaken for arrogance. It can be summarized like this: “We’ve got all the answers and we know what’s going to happen.” That really ticks some people off. I know because I’ve experienced it many times.

A visit from the Jehovah’s Witnesses

I love it when the Jehovah’s Witnesses come to my door. I’m impressed with their courage and tenacity. When I was younger, I did for two years what they do now. They are much more active in the door to door thing because it is an ongoing part of their religion. For me, it was mostly over after two years in…