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Showing posts from July, 2008

Temple sealing is an earthly ordinance

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I find that at times, I have inadvertently offended others by the manner in which I use phrases that I have heard growing up in the church. For example, while commenting on a wonderful essay entitled I'm Okay; you're Okay by guest blogger Denae on Mormon Matters the other day, I used the phrase in my response, “We have so much more to offer the world.”

Now, I know I’ve heard that phrase used in a General Conference talk or two, by some General Authority, or maybe a prophet or two. Ah yes, here’s one recent instance…“We have so much to offer. Just think of what we have to offer. Other people do not understand the true nature of God.” That’s from President Hinckley, Feb 07 Ensign, in the section Stand taller.

And from President J. Reuben Clark in Oct 1949 General Conference, “Well, I have had so many experiences that I cannot understand why we cannot plant the truth in the hearts of our people until no outside thing or movement in the world can have any influence with them. We …

Why the church is involved in Prop 8

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In the priesthood session of the October 1999 General Conference, President Hinckley answered the question, “Why does the Church become involved in issues that come before the legislature and the electorate?” I was amazed as I re-read his answer this morning how appropriately it fits again as we approach another vote on this same issue here in California in 2008.

"...we deal only with those legislative matters which are of a strictly moral nature or which directly affect the welfare of the Church. We have opposed gambling and liquor and will continue to do so. We regard it as not only our right but our duty to oppose those forces which we feel undermine the moral fiber of society.

We are not alone in this effort

"Much of our effort, a very great deal of it, is in association with others whose interests are similar. We have worked with Jewish groups, Catholics, Muslims, Protestants, and those of no particular religious affiliation, in coalitions formed to advocate positions on …

A testimony of living prophets

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Where were you when the spirit first bore witness to you that God does call prophets in this day and that man can speak for God with authority and power from on high? Have you received that witness and testimony for yourself? I have. May I share it with you? It may sound simple in the telling, but I promise you that it was a powerful and personal answer to prayer when I was blessed to know for myself that authorized representatives of the Lord walk the earth today, speaking in his name and in his behalf.

A spiritual setting works best

It was during the October conference of 1974 – the first general conference I had ever attended in person. I was a student at Ricks College at the time and a group of us decided to drive to Salt Lake to hear the word of the Lord in person. I had watched conference on TV before, but had only once before been in the presence of a prophet. It was wonderful to sit in the tabernacle, or rather, to be squeezed in. For those who have gone and sat in the u…

The Last Days are upon us

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In our Institute class this evening we are studying Joseph Smith – Matthew from the Pearl of Great Price. This is the chapter that foretells many of the events of the last days. Of course, this is Joseph Smith’s inspired version or re-translation of Matthew chapter 24. The prophet made more corrections to Matthew 24 than to any other chapter in the New Testament. I think that tells us something about the importance of the contents therein.

The last days are a topic of great interest to many people of many faiths. I know this because it is a common search term used by those who find and visit my blog. It is a topic about which I am extremely interested and always have been. As more and more signs of the times are fulfilled and some to a greater measure than ever before, we desire to know when the Lord will return. We wonder how long things can continue like this.

The end of the world

For this essay, I would like to focus on verses 22 to 37 of Joseph Smith – Matthew. These are the…

Yes, I am a Mormon activist

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I've decided to come out and be up front about it. I am a Mormon activist. Yes, I confess, my desire is to change your way of thinking to be more in line with mine. Of course, I believe that what I espouse is truth and will be for your good. Therefore, I have no problem being very insistent that you take a minute and consider my point of view. In particular, I want you to think about the possibility that what I offer is better than what you have. Of more correctly stated, the truth I like to write about can augment the truth you already posses.

I can guess what you're thinking. You're probably saying to yourself, "How very offensive! Let's be tolerant. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If I want to think differently than you, then that's my prerogative." It's true enough that everyone is free to think and believe as they wish. But I want to be a clear voice in boldly stating my case. Let there be no misunderstanding. I will try to not be "…

Can we legislate morality?

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In between family reunions last Saturday and this Saturday, Carol and I visited several of our favorite bookstores in Utah. I know. What a crazy thing to do on a vacation. We also go to the main Church Distribution Center since the California stores are small. In the past, I have liked to visit Sam Weller's Zion Bookstore. A new one for us this year is the Deseret Book Outlet store in South Jordan.

Although we already have a huge library and keep lamenting that it seems to grow larger by itself, Carol picked up a few bargains there. Most books are overstocks available at one third the price. I resisted everything I saw until this one caught my eye: The Sex Industrial Complex, America's Secret Combination - Pornographic Culture, Addiction and the Human Brain. What a title!

As usual, I read the back cover of the dust jacket and saw an endorsement from Marie Osmond. That caused me to open it and read the inside front of the cover where I saw something else that caught my eye…

Certain souls will not be saved

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The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, "The contention in heaven was-Jesus said there would be certain souls that would not be saved; and the devil said he could save them all, and laid his plans before the grand council, who gave their vote in favor of Jesus Christ. So the devil rose up in rebellion against God, and was cast down, with all who put up their heads for him" (TPJS, p. 357).

Source: Encyclopedia of Mormonism, War in Heaven

That phrase has always intrigued me. We believe that eventually all will be resurrected and will be assigned a kingdom of glory. Does that mean that most will be saved? We teach that there are very few who will become Sons of Perdition. A simplified definition of a Son of Perdition is one who has had open visions of God and Christ and then goes about fighting against their work.

The unembodied spirits who supported Lucifer in the war in heaven and were cast out (Moses 4:1-4) and mortals who commit the unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost will in…

Risking life and limb to share the gospel

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Blogging will be light for the next week or two while Carol and I enjoy not one, but two family reunions in Utah this Saturday and next. We went and saw Les Miserables last night at Tuacahn in St. George. What a treat. Outdoor theater with a great sound system where every seat has a wonderful view!

For some reason, I thought of another traveling experience from many years ago. I guess my mind was wandering during the long hours between Ventura county and Utah. We have made this trip at least twice a year for the last 26 years. I never tire of the scenery. Here's the story from long ago:

The wild ride

We could tell there was going to be trouble when the bus driver sped up and told everyone to duck down. Rocks started crashing through windows. Women and children were screaming. Our hearts started to race but there was nothing we could do. We held on for dear life.

What were we doing down here in Central America in the middle of a revolution? We didn’t come here to fight. We …

We know the purpose of life

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In Institute class last night we studied Abraham chapter three. If you are not familiar with the Pearl of Great Price, this is the chapter that contains one of the most glorious and powerful doctrines of the LDS faith about our premortal or pre-earth life.

Somebody correct me if they know otherwise, but I believe we are unique among the Christian world in our belief in the purpose of life that is based on this chapter. We believe that we have always existed as intelligences, and were placed in spirit bodies before being born into mortality.

And we will prove them herewith
"Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;

And God saw that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast ch…

The standards are very high

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I love the story that President Packer related in General Conference in Oct of 1974 about a man who was contemplating joining the LDS church until he learned of the requirement of tithing. The local presiding authority of the church in that area met with the man and told him about a few other requirements of time and money that the missionaries had neglected to mention.

As he departed he said, “If you are turned away by a little thing like tithing, it is obvious you’re not ready for this Church. Perhaps you have made the right decision and you should not join. Have you ever wondered why people will do all of these things willingly? I have never received a bill for tithing. No one has ever called to collect it. But we pay it and count it a great privilege."

He said that the church represented the pearl of great price, which the Lord said the merchant man was willing to sell all he had that he might obtain it. He invited the man to pray about his decision. A few days later the ma…

Healing from pornography addiction

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One of the best things I like about my church is that we don't hide from the difficult issues. In fact, in my opinion, the LDS Church excels at helping individuals change. That's what the gospel is all about. Of course, the Savior is the source of healing, but our church is doing so much to reach out and help individuals and families heal from the effects of pornography addiction.

Because the majority of pornography is delivered via the Internet, and those who struggle with it are usually men alone in their own home, I hope this essay reaches you in the same way. I have had enough experience blogging now that I know there will be some who will rip apart what I am about to share. That's OK. I'm not writing to them. I writing to you who care about the Lord.

Exposure to Internet pornography

I am a computer support professional. I was first exposed to Internet pornography in 1995 when I was called by a co-worker to take a look at his computer and figure out what was w…

How the prophets define patriotism

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“Patriotism should be sought for and will be found in right living, not in high sounding phrases or words. True patriotism is part of the solemn obligation that belongs both to the nation and to the individual and to the home.

“Our nation's reputation should be guarded as sacredly as our family's good name. That reputation should be defended by every citizen, and our children should be taught to defend their country's honor under all circumstances.

“Loyal citizens will probably be the last to complain of the faults and failures of our national administrators. They would rather conceal those evils which exist, and try to persuade themselves that they are only temporary and may and will be in time be corrected."

Source: First Presidency statement on military relations

I don't know what the tradition is in your ward or stake, but here in Camarillo we gathered for a flag raising ceremony early in the morning. Hundreds of members from the three wards that meet in our buil…

Is homosexuality a sin or a biological fact?

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Although not a General Authority, Daniel K. Judd currently serves as the First Counselor in the General Sunday School Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was the chair of the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University. Brother Judd has a Master’s degree in family science and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from BYU.

He is a consultant with LDS Family Services and a member of the Know Your Religion Faculty. He has published much material and is the author of “Hard Questions, Prophetic Answers,” and the editor of "Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Religion,” as well as "Religion, Mental Health, and the Latter-day Saints (video here)."

The list could go on and on, but the point I wish to make is that I believe him to be most eminently qualified for his material that I am about to present on the very difficult subject of homosexuality. He has been a bishop and a Stake President, and has been intimately …