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Showing posts from February, 2008

And the stars shall fall from heaven

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From my gospel study this morning on Matthew 24:29

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

And from Rev 6:13 - "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places."

A question from Elder Joseph Fielding to Parley P. Pratt, Preston England, January 1841…

And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood

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Last week in some parts of North America we experienced another total eclipse of the moon. When the earth passes between the sun and the moon, the moon is darkened, but not completely. The brilliant white appearance of the moon is replaced with a distinctly red color caused by reflected light from the earth. This is an oft-repeated occurrence.

In case anyone is wondering, the common event of a lunar eclipse is not the fulfillment of prophecy found in Joel and elsewhere that the moon shall turn to blood. We also know that the prophets were not telling us that the moon would literally become composed of the liquid that flows through the veins of all mortal beings. That would be ridiculous.

However, it is just as inconceivable to me that Joel or any other prophet would refer to a common lunar eclipse as a viable fulfillment of this prophecy. No, I am much more inclined to believe that Joel had something more dramatic in mind when he used this metaphor. In fact, I’ll bet he was describing s…

Mormon Church is not the fastest growing

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According to the National Council of Churches, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not the fastest growing church in the United States. The National Council of Churches produces the Yearbook of Canadian and American Churches. For 2008, it lists the Jehovah's Witnesses as the fastest growing at 2.25%, while the LDS Church is listed second with a growth rate of 1.56%.

Let's take a closer look at those numbers. The Jehovah's Witnesses do not rank in the top five or even the top ten in number of members. In fact they are listed at dead last in the top 25 at just over one million members. American membership statistics for the LDS Church are 5.8 million members, making the church number four on the top of the list.

Worldwide numbers for the Jehovah's Witnesses are about 17 million, but they are very careful to only count active members - those who attended and spent ten hours witnessing each month. I wonder how the numbers for the LDS Church would look if we co…

What is this thing that men call death?

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I recently read an article in Newsweek about how others view LDS funerals. I was a little surprised at their surprise of how things usually go in our funerals. Are our funerals so very different? And from an essay found in the LDS Newsroom commenting about funerals after the funeral of President Hinckley, "What is This Thing That Men Call Death?":

"Mormon funerals are typically marked by an atmosphere of hopefulness and peace. They generally are not burdened by the inconsolable grief and despair so often seen in other funerals. Latter-day Saints who mourn the death of loved ones are lightened by the assurance and understanding that the gospel of Jesus Christ offers.

"In addition, some might be surprised by the lack of formal ritual in these funerals. The commemoration service is conducted by a lay minister and features heartfelt tributes and comforting music. Moreover, the basic format, tone and length of President Hinckley’s funeral are typical of what might be seen…

So was it good for the Mormons?

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I don't think all the press attention that has come to the church in the last year because of Mitt Romney will go away but I am fairly certain we have just entered a lull. The attention seemed to come to a high point with two recent articles in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. Even the church discussed these two pieces in particular in one of the latest press releases found in the Newsroom, part of the online church web sites.

The headline from the Washington Post was "Did Mormons Get A Bounce From Mitt?," while the headline from the WSJ was "Mormons Dismayed by Harsh Spotlight." These are two major publications, well read and referred to by many other journalists. I'm sure you know that staff writers don't always choose their own headlines. My own headline for this post was taken from a line in the Washington Post piece. Headlines are meant to get people to read the story.

I liked both of these stories. I thought they were well written, p…

Do parenting meetings cause you to feel guilty?

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I attended the Worldwide Leadership Training Broadcast this morning. It was well worth my time. I'm glad I was there. I've attended every one of them since 2003 and this was one of the best. After Elder Holland's introduction, President Packer read and expounded upon "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." It was wonderful to hear it from one of the authors.

There was then a round table discussion with Elder Holland, Elder Oaks, Sisters Julie B. Beck, Susan W. Tanner and Cheryl C. Lant, general officers representing the Relief Society, the Young Women and the Primary organizations. They modeled for us what a great ward council meeting should be like, although I don't recommend that it go so long. I like short meetings.

I took four pages of notes from that discussion and look forward to reviewing the transcript when it is posted on the church website sometime next week. I was disappointed that our satellite feed had audio problems so we had to watch it from t…

Will President Monson change Mormon doctrine?

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The Washington Post had a mostly favorable article about President Monson the other day. Actually, compared to some that I have read lately, it was very well done. Jacqueline L. Salmon, the staff writer assigned to the story, did her research and interviewed some of the usual non-Mormon experts like Richard N. Ostling (Mormon America - 1999) and Jan Shipps (Forty Years among the Mormons - 2000).

I read Mormon America long ago and was not too pleased with the product. I always ask myself why religious writers tend to focus on the 'secrets' and the 'wealth' of the Church as opposed to the miracle of the faith and the happiness that it brings the members who live it. It seems as if they are looking for some hidden sinister agenda in the leadership of the church.

I suppose it has always been that way and always will be when outsiders write about the church. Anyway, Jacqui's article was good, for which I am grateful. Thank you Jacqui. In it she quoted Dave Stewart, who ma…

Thank you Mitt Romney

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Mitt Romney gave one of his greatest speeches today at CPAC - The Conservative Political Action Conference. In that speech he announced that he is suspending his campaign for the candidacy of the President of the United States. Some pundits and commentators lamented, "Why is it that now he comes alive, just to announce he is quitting?" I think he was just happy.

If you haven't watched his great speech from earlier today I highly recommend you do. I would include an embed but it slows down the loading of the post. It was one animated, exciting speech for a guy who just admitted he got trounced in the elections two days ago. You watch him go through the issues one by one in a manner that rings true and lays them on the line. He hits on every conservative point I hold dear and tells it like it is.

Mitt has his pulse on America, or at least on conservative America. Unfortunately, as he said, the Republican Party no longer represents conservative America. That's too bad. Mc…

What is the source of this latest Mormon rumor?

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I have received emails and Google hits on my website from people looking for commentary on the rumor that President Monson was prophesied to be the Prophet when the Savior comes. I don't understand why people are so fascinated with this rumor and have written about LDS rumors before. It doesn't matter if we know in advance when the Savior comes again because we have been warned to always be prepared.

President Monson is eighty years old. Even if he lives to be a hundred I don't think that all the things that are prophesied to transpire before the Second Advent will come to pass before he dies. The Lord has said that nobody knows the day or the hour when the Savior comes, not even the angels in heaven. It is also foolish to speculate that we can make a difference as to when it happens. I do not think our prayers or righteousness or lack thereof will change Father's mind.

The Lord has said he would shorten the last days for the sake of the righteous. In other words, He wil…

Thomas S. Monson named President of the Church

Old news already and no surprise to anyone that Thomas S. Monson was named the President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this morning. We will miss President Hinckley but look forward to the direction we will receive from President Monson for many years to come. As the video reports, he was a man prepared by the Lord for our time.

Controversial subjects in LDS blogging

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I have discovered that people like to read about controversial stuff. If you take a look at the popular posts on my blog as shown in the widget on the sidebar you will see that most of them have to do with things like Mormon Feminism, Religion in Politics, Boy Scouts, Gays and the LDS Church, and of all things, Donny Osmond on Eternal Marriage. I haven't written anything about abuse, polygamy, the temple, blacks and the priesthood or ex-Mormons.

I like blogging about controversial subjects because it stimulates dialog. That is a good thing. Most of the controversy comes right from the headlines today, especially since Mitt Romney has brought so much attention to the church. In the end, all dialog should point to one place - the words of the prophets and apostles on the subjects at hand. That is always my intent - to take some headline of the day and add commentary that includes modern revelation on the subject.

I guess I'm just trying to follow the advice of an apostle to share …