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Showing posts from August, 2008

The day of the Lord will come quickly

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In the early days of the LDS church, there was much excitement about the idea of the imminent return of the Savior. The brethren spoke often about the signs of the times and the fulfillment of prophecy in the last days. Those who listened to their speeches would go home to discuss what they had learned, expecting that the second coming would surely be just around the corner now.

For example, on Christmas day in 1832, the prophet Joseph Smith was pondering the troubles facing the nations of the world at that time. Events in the United States were leading toward civil war and outbreaks of deadly diseases were widespread throughout the world. While he was praying earnestly on the subject, the prophet received the following in revelation:

Warning to the world

“…with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightening also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made…

Missionary work builds leadership skills

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The Mormon missionary experience has always been described as a rite of passage. It is a growing experience for most who serve. I learned that being a junior companion does not always mean submissive support. Our full participation and thoughtful contributions are needed for the success of the work of the Lord.

I shared the following as a comment on Dr. B's missionary website, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, but felt it deserved a place on my own blog as well. It describes a life-changing moment for me that occurred early on my mission. The Lord blesses his missionaries when they try to do things the way he has asked, with full purpose of heart.

A missionary in Honduras

La Colonia Kennedy in Tegucigalpa had been worked over for many, many years before we got there in 1976. It was a world of dirt roads an no cars back then. Yet the field was still white and ready to harvest. My first companion, Elder DJ Webb had lined up a half dozen baptisms the first few weeks I was there.

We t…

Death is a time of reflection

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The death of a loved one is always a time of tender feelings and reflection. We think upon the accomplishments of those who we have known but have now passed on. We marvel at their tremendous influence upon us, so constant, patient and kind.

The difficult times are forgotten, the cherished memories of sweet moments together are stirred up once again. Feelings of love are brought to our bosom as we think of the excitement of joys shared, beauty appreciated and sorrows overcome together.

We miss our loved ones. We miss their companionship and contributions to our lives. We wonder what they are doing now – who they are visiting and how they are feeling. We know the trials and pains of mortal life are over for them and are grateful.

I have finished my day’s work

Victor Hugo, the author of Les Miserables, penned these words that I find comforting. “For half a century I have been writing my thoughts in prose and in verse – history, philosophy, drama, romance, tradition, satire, ode and s…

Forgotten signs of the last days

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When considering the signs of the last days, most people are aware that they are all around us. One of the most obvious today is the sign of wars and rumors of wars. I’m sure it comes up every time a lesson on the last days is taught in a Sunday school class. We will probably not be without wars in the world until the time of the Savior’s return.

So also are Paul’s warnings in chapter three of second Timothy about the general state of human behavior. Men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good…the list goes on and on.

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences; and earthquakes in divers places. The Lord tells us to not be troubled as these things come to pass. He has told us in advance that these things must all happen. Can anyone doubt t…

Tolerance does not mean condone

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Last week The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posted a position paper in the online Newsroom entitled, “The Divine Institution of Marriage.” In the section on Tolerance an attempt is made to define the word and contrast it with the way the world uses it today – to condone – acceptance of wrongful behavior as the price of friendship.

Tolerance does not mean condone. As a gospel principle, tolerance means love and forgiveness of one another, not tolerating transgression. Just because someone practices tolerance does not imply that they accept sinful behavior. Acceptance of an individual does not necessarily mean that we approve of their behavior. We do not accept sin.

The definition of tolerance has changed over the years by those who use it in their efforts to change attitudes and prohibit practices that they define as discrimination. It has come to mean acceptance of sexual practices and orientations that are contrary to fundamental beliefs of society. We can be a tole…

In search of the undefined dream

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Disclaimer and warning: This essay is very different from my usual theological discourse. It describes a somewhat personal and difficult problem for me. It is written from a male ‘blue’ point of view. I suspect that it is not something with which my readers of the fairer sex will sympathize. I post this essay in much fear and trepidation as I am revealing a problem without a solution, at least not one that I have been able to discover.

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When I was a young man, I used to dream about being the best computer tech support person in the world. I knew what I wanted and knew the path to get it. I was confident in what I was seeking. I had a plan and I could see myself in the position that I wanted. It was my goal to have the kind of job where I knew all the answers and could be paid to dispense knowledge.

I knew I wanted to study and work in computers. I was passionate about them. I knew that I would be using them all my life and wanted to be an expert. So …

Gays, Feminists and Intellectuals…oh my!

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In May of 1993 I was working as an editor and publisher in the computer industry. My job required a lot of research and sourcing of material on the Internet. This was in the very earliest days of the World Wide Web. In fact, most of the material I obtained did not come from web pages but from mailing lists and online databases or FTP archives.

Although my job did not require it, I subscribed to a couple of LDS mailing lists. Part of my daily routine was to participate in the discussion that took place on Mormon-L. It is one of the oldest LDS lists, established in 1988 on one of the list servers at BYU. The discussions there were very similar to what we blog about today but mostly tamer.

One exception was a blow-up over an address given by Boyd K. Packer to the All-Church Coordinating Council. It can be found on several locations on the Internet. I prefer the formatting of the talk as presented on Light Planet. Without a doubt, it has been one of the most discussed and argued ab…

FAIR answers questions from LDS critics

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There are many levels of faith and testimony within members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some are lifelong members that have been recently exposed to anti-Mormon literature or have discovered an Ex-Mormon website. Others are new members that have been asked questions by their friends from their former faith.

FAIR, the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research can provide answers to some of those disturbing questions that are not always answered on the official LDS websites. It is an all volunteer organization of researchers and writers who have dealt with these age-old questions over the years in various formats and from multiple sources.

When I started blogging last year, I almost immediately began to get objecting comments from readers about some of my essay topics that they found difficult to accept. For example, I wrote about a discussion in a marriage group that Carol and I enjoyed as presented by our friends from the Church of the Nazarene in ou…

To be a special witness of Christ

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My sister works for an apostle. Obviously she sees and knows quite a lot about the men who lead this church. She has a lot of respect for their privacy and is a trusted employee. Because of that trust, she is very careful about what she shares with family members.

Oh sure, we’ll hear about family vacations and where an apostle is visiting, but really nothing other than that. I appreciate that. I don’t ask her to share more than she does. I know she appreciates that. The only thing I’ll occasionally ask for are conference tickets.

I’ve often thought about how hard it must be to serve as an apostle these days. They seem to be the lightning rod for a lot of criticism by disaffected church members. I’m not quite sure why that is. Perhaps they are looking for someone to blame for their unhappiness.

Apostles I have known

Think about the apostles you have known. Perhaps you have met one in a stake conference. Perhaps one visited your mission. Maybe one is your neighbor. Most member…

For they were all wrong

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In our Pearl of Great Price Summer Institute class this evening we studied Joseph Smith History verses one through twenty. You know the story. It’s the First Vision. We had a substitute teacher this evening, a judge from the local divorce court. He’s funny and shoots from the hip so he invited discussion. There were a lot of First Vision stories shared both from the first time hearing and the first time sharing, as a missionary.

There has been much discussion on the Bloggernacle about “The One True Church.” When we got to verse nineteen, I eagerly anticipated some discussion about The Lord’s response to Joseph when he asked which church he should join. I thought someone would bring up, as I have read in so many comments on various LDS blogs, why it is so offensive to claim that we are “The One True Church,” and that all others are wrong.

Nothing. Nobody said anything. So I raised my hand and volunteered that there was a lot of truth in other churches and a lot of good people in other ch…

Sunstone, LDS Publishing and the Signaturi

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The Sunstone Symposium is being held later this week (Aug 6-9, 2008 at the Sheraton Salt Lake City Hotel). I have never attended a Sunstone Symposium. I have never felt the need. From my contacts in LDS blogging, I know many who will be attending. What is the Sunstone Symposium, you ask? I quote from their web site:
"The Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium is an annual gathering of Latter-day Saints, scholars, and others interested in the diversity and richness of Mormon thought and experience and who enjoy pondering the past, present, and future of the unfolding Restoration.

"Hosting discussions from all disciplines and presentations of all kinds, the symposium is based upon the principles of an open forum and the trust that both the cause of truth and the society of the Saints are best served by free and frank exploration and discussion."
Sunstone meets a need for some members

Some my wonder why there is a need for an organization like Sunstone. Are the intellectual needs …