Category Archives: LDS

An Apostle’s Easter Message

Happy Easter everyone.

Easter is more than just bunnies, chocolate, and Easter dresses.  Like Christmas, Easter has been commercialized.  While I don’t have a huge problem with that, this commercialization has caused many to forget why we celebrate this holiday.  I hope this video will renew or strengthen in you the reason why we have Easter.

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Mormons Targeted in Anthrax Scare

Yesterday, seemingly innocent envelopes were delivered to representatives at the LDS temples in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles, the two most heavily protest locations since the passage of Proposition 8 in California.  These envelopes were filled with a white powder that was apparently harmless, but required hazmat teams to shut down the locations.

So now we are again seeing the true colors of the far-left liberals.  They love to preach tolerance and openness, kindness and peace.  But they do not believe in these things, they talk like pacifists but act like militant marxists, or dare I say Stalinists.  So what did the Mormons do to deserve the treatment they are getting?  They actively supported a bill that defined marriage between a man and a woman.  Nevermind that this bill only affected what the word “marriage” referred to. The bill does not call for any rights to be taken away or any unequal treatment.  It just stipulates that marriage is between a man and a woman. In fact the church supports equal rights under the law for gay couples when entered into civil unions.  The church agrees that they should be privy to the same tax benefits and other entitlements that married couples receive.  So while gay and lesbian couples really lose no rights whatsoever, those who profess tolerance and openness are threatening the church with anthrax scares, defacing church property, threatening LDS members, etc.  What a bunch of hypocrits.   Liberals are only keen on freedom of speech and tolerance when it benefits them or people sensitive to their opinions.   They need to grow up and act like adults instead of like a bunch of babies.  The fact anyone takes those groups seriously is a joke.

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By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them

Since starting this blog, I have discussed with many people the various theological differences between the LDS Church and Christendom as a whole.  Certainly, the differences are significant and, as has been proven many times, there are many conflicts of belief that seem will never be resolved and we often have to agree to disagree.  For the most part, the comments and conversations I have been party to have been civil and respectful.  Both sides seem to be careful to only discuss doctrinal differences while avoiding criticism of the other person’s faith as a whole and for this I am grateful.  However, there have been many times, both here and on other websites (and, I might add, that I experience just living life in an area where Mormons are few) when people have called the LDS Church the “Church of the Devil” or denigrated our Prophet (more than just question such a reality or the need/doctrinal justification for a Prophet).  We are criticized by many as leading our people to hell and blinding folks from the truth. 

I thought about these views and comments as I watched the General Conference of the LDS Church this past weekend.  It was a weekend of wise and joyous instruction, where we were given the opportunity to hear from those we consider Prophets and other leaders of our faith.  It was the first Conference to which President and Prophet Thomas S. Monson was at the helm and leading up to the Conference I was praying for a confirming feeling or impression that he was indeed called and chosen by God himself, but I will get to that later. 

The one thing that struck me about all the messages delivered this weekend was the humility, wisdom, and optimism the leaders of the Church have.  This was most apparent to me as I attended Priesthood session on Saturday night.  The concluding three speakers, taking up all of the last hour, consisted of the First Presidency.  They all spoke about staying on course and repentence, yet they all took it from very different perspectives.  Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke about the need to stay on direct course and how even a one degree deviation off course can lead to us being extremely lost, President Henry B. Eyring spoke about the doctrine of the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood and the need for we Priesthood members to be faithful in fulfilling that covenant, and President Monson spoke on obedience to duty and the need for more faithfulness.  In each of these talks we were essentially called to repentance.  But it was not a call in vanity or rebuke, but a call in love and encouragement.  It was readily apparent that one of the greatest concerns the First Presidency has is the increased prevalence of sexual sin (President Monson had an incredible quote about tolerance, but I don’t have it with me, I will do a post on a few of my favorite quotes later).   As I listened to these fine men speak, I realized that the image that critics of the Church try to paint about our Prophet is in no way accurate.  These men who lead the Church do not do so in a quest for power or to feed their vanity. One just needs to watch and listen to their speeches to understand this.  They lead because they were called by God and out of an unbending faith and dedication to him. 

The phrase “By their Fruits ye Shall Know Them” resounded regularly in my mind.  Indeed, people may criticize our faith and our leaders all they want, but they do so blindly and in vain.  I can understand one choosing not to believe our doctrines or that we are the true Church; I will not criticize one who came to such a conclusion after study and prayer.  However the childish and irrational name calling and denigration of the Church is inaccurate and contrary to all evidence readily available to one who takes the time to study and research.  Indeed, the fruits of our leaders are good and sweet.   I encourage all to take the time to read and consider the words of the Apostles and Prophets, especially if you are not of our faith.  Come and see what truths have been restored and know that Christ’s church with the same organization that existed in his time is again restored to the earth.

Now allow me to close with my testimony of President Monson.   As I said above, I came into Conference praying for a confirmation of his divine calling.  This was the first transfer of authority in the leadership of the Church that I can really remember.  President Hinckley was a giant among men and one whom I loved deeply.  I also had a great affinity for President Monson, but oddly I found it difficult to hold him up to the same pedastal that I put President Hinckley on.  Saturday night was the first talk he delivered in Conference as the head of the Church.  As soon as he stood and started speaking I felt that still small voice and confirming feeling that he was called of God and leads this Church through direct revelation. 

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D. Todd Christofferson Called as New Apostle in LDS Church; New First Presidency Sustained

Interesting, to start General Conference, following the hymn and prayer, President Uchtdorf explained how and why we sustain Church officers and the Church seems to have changed the way in which sustainings occur.   They had the First Presidency stand and sustain the President, First Presidency, and Quorum of the Twelve.  Once that was conculded they had the Twelve arise and sustain the same, then had the first and second quorum of the Seventy stand and sustain, then had the all area seventies, patriarchs, HP and Elders throughout the world stand and sustain the same, following that they had the Aaronic Priesthood arise and sustain, followed by the Relief Society, then Young Women and all other members of the Church stand and sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve as previously consitituted.  It was very interesting and the first time they have done that as I recall.   Funny how things change with the changing of a President.

D. Todd Christofferson was called and sustained as the newest member of the Quorum of the Twelve.  Elder Christofferson was born on January 24, 1945 in American Fork, Utah.  He was called as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy at the April General Conference, 1993 and in August 1998 he was called to the Presidency of the Seventy.  His latest assignment was presiding over the North America Northwest and North America West areas of the Church.  In his personal life he supported himself and his family as a lawyer.

Here is an interview Reuters did with Elder Christofersson in 2007.

The members of the Church sustained President Thomas S. Monson, Henry B. Eyring, and Dieter F. Uchtdorf as Prophets, Seers and Revelators for the first time

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LDS Church Leader Urges Caution on Immigration

It appears that the LDS Church is slowly unveiling its position on Illegal Immigration and it appears to somewhat break from the common GOP consensus.  Which consensus, I should explain, is also firmer than mine.  It seems that most GOPers (especially the average voter) is pretty hardcore in their view of illegal immigration; generally they feel that ALL illegal immigrants should be deported, often without consideration of extenuating circumstances. 

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a long time now, may remember that I broke with this common view in a piece I wrote last year.   Basically, I think deporting 12 million people is utterly ridiculous, it is an economic and logistical nightmare.  Additionally, we need to consider the impact such a move (deportation) would have on families, especially children born in the U.S. who are now citizens.

Yesterday, LDS Church historian and seventy, Marlin K. Jensen, urged that Utah’s legislature (practically all Mormon) “slow down, step back and carefully study and assess the implications and human costs involved” when confronting the issue of illegal immigration.  He added that such decisions have “significant consequences, (and) I believe a more thoughtful . . . not to mention humane, approach is warranted.” 

I couldn’t agree more.  We need to consider the human implication. 

It is important to point out that Elder Jensen is not advocating one way or another any specific legislation or even point of view regarding illegal immigration.  He is simply urging reflection and serious, realistic contemplation on the impact of various possibilities.  This is a wise course of action. 

I fear that people are so embroiled with emotion regarding this issue, that is clouds sound judgement and realistic/pragmatic thought.   Many right wingers, especially, are verging on pure racism and starting to even allow their hatred for illegal immigration with criticism of all immigration.   This is a dangerous trend.

The best antidote for such irrational movement is simply to take a deep breath, pull back from the problem, and move cautiously; all the while utilizing deliberate and realistic thought and analysis.

For the Church it will be interesting to see what kind of response is received.  There are going to be huge swaths of LDS members, especially throughout AZ, CA, and the rest of the Southwest that are going to be annoyed at best by this, others will likely be outraged.   But I urge all of you who may be upset by this move to remember the role of religion.  Religions in general (should) focus on individuals, not governments.  Thus, the LDS Church is concerned about the impact such legislation will have on individuals, and this includes illegal immigrants, legal immigrants, even all U.S. citizens.   Rational and pragmatic thought, even stepping away from the issue to get an overall view, is nearly always the wisest course.  When we move to fast and are swayed by the emotional upswell of public opinion we more often than not make poor decisions that have more dire effects in the long run.

UPDATE: Further down in the SL Trib article I read the following bit and think it is essential to add to this piece.: “Jensen noted that immigration was not strictly a political issue but a moral and ethical one. And as such, he said, he was not simply speaking for himself or even for the Quorum, a group of Mormon leaders who act as church emissaries. ‘I was assigned to come here by the First Presidency of the Church.’

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My Thoughts on the Life & Death of Mormon Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley

President Gordon B. Hinckley 

Last night the world lost one of the greatest men ever to live on Earth.  LDS Church President and Prophet, Seer, and Revelator Gordon B. Hinckley passed away.  There is no man to have lived in my short lifetime that was a greater exemplar of faith, love, honesty, integrity, and Christ-like living. 

It is difficult to put into words how I feel personally about the man.  I never had the opportunity to meet him or shake his hand.  The closest I got to him was in 1998 when he spoke in Edmonton, Alberta.   I was serving as a missionary at the time in Calgary and our Mission President allowed us all to travel to Edmonton for the occassion.   I can vividly remember the spirit he carried and brought into the conference hall where the meeting occurred.  I cannot remember what specifically President Hinckley spoke about, nevertheless, I know that I was in the presence of a holy man, a man who literally spoke with our Savior, even Jesus Christ. 

President Hinckley was one of the longest serving President’s of the Church in Mormon’s short history.  He oversaw the largest expansion of Church membership and temple growth.  He made the Temple and provident, Christ-like living the cornerstone of his service.  It was during his tenure that the Lord revealed his plan to make Temple ordinances more readily available to members throughout the world with the plan of building smaller temples that could built in areas with smaller LDS population.   This program allowed more members to receive the saving ordinances and perform such work for their kindred dead.  

President Hinckley has been one of the anchors of the LDS faith over the last half-century.  Having been an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ since the 1960’s, he has had a major role in every major decision since then.  He also largely ran the Church in the late-70’s and through the 80’s when President’s Kimble and Benson had severe health problems that limited their activities.  What a great and wonderful man, he was a kind and loving person and touched millions upon millions of people’s lives for good.

Now, President Hinckley’s death is only sad for those of us whom will miss him dearly, but it is certainly not sad for him.  Pres. Hinckley has returned to that God whom gave us life and he returned in glory and honor.  I am reminded of the closing remarks of Book of Mormon Prophet Enos, in his final statement he said the following:

 27 And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father.

Indeed, President Hinckley is rejoicing and will continue to rejoice.  He will see the Savior’s face with pleasure and will obtain a place in the mansions of our Father.  He has been faithful and dedicated in the service of the Lord and will be saved in his courts on high.

Yet, the greatest reason to not mourn, but to rejoice in the passing of President Hickley is that he is reunited with his beloved wife Marjorie.  What a blessing it is to be sealed with our spouse for time and all eternity, not just “till death do us part.”  He has rejoined his wife in heaven, there to be by her side throughout all eternity; is there any greater blessing that one can imagine that being able to spend eternity with the one that you love. 

I have a great testimony that President Hinckley was indeed a Prophet of God, on the paralell of Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, and Peter of old.  Can one think of a more important time than this in which we now live where the need for a Prophet of God was greater?  The world has changed immensly over the last 200 years, more so than any period in its previous history.  We face new challenges and evils everyday, how can it be that God has abandonded us to our own devices and own wisdom?  The reality is that he has not.  God loves us the same as he has people of old.   He continues to reveal his will, to teach us the way to follow, and how to traverse these perilous times.   What a great blessing it is to live on the earth in a time when the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth,  when the great gathering of Israel is commencing, and when we have Prophets to teach us the mind and will of God. 

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Correcting Lawrence O’Donnell’s Mormon Bash

Yesterday on the McLaughling Group, the question over Mitt Romney’s speech was brought up. After some praising of the speech by Pat Buchanan and others, Lawrence O’Donnell blew up, called it the worst political speech of his lifetime, and spent the next  5 minutes trashing the LDS Church, including blatantly lieing and spouting things that simply aren’t true.

Here is the video:

The vitriolic hatred that O’Donnell has with Republicans, Mitt Romney, and the LDS Church should come as no surprise to anyone who pays attention to politics and the media.  He has blown up many, many times before and consistently sounds like a complete buffoon.  The thing that I hope viewers realize is that when a person gets that fired up, they lose all sense of rationality and pragmatism; the person is running completely off of emotion and will say whatever comes to mind regardless of factuality.   I hope this is what happened with O’Donnell here; otherwise he was just out and out lying and that is inexcusable. (Also note that O’Donnell “plays a Mormon” on the HBO show Big Love; this must be where he gets all of his information on Mormonism).

The first claim O’Donnell makes is that the Church let go of it’s “racist” policies in 1978 for political reasons.  The policies he is referring to is the fact that the LDS Church did not give Blacks the Priesthood pre-1978.  The change in policy was far from political.  What political expediency was there?  The civil rights movement, the height of political pressure, had long since passed.  There was no LDS person running for President and no threat from the federal government for revoking it’s recognition as a church or whatever.  What it came down to is the fact that God was ready to make the change and revealed it to the church leaders, in fact nearly all of the church leaders were relieved and had been hoping for such a change for a long time.  Here is the official declaration from the Church regarding the change.

The next falsehood, and this one may be less consequential, is he claims that Blacks could not be members of the Church.  The fact is, Blacks could become members and could participate in the church and partake of the sacrament like all members. This was the case from it’s earliest days.  However, Blacks could not receive the Priesthood until 1978.

Then he brings up what he apparently thinks is our basis and doctrinal belief on where this policy stemmed from.  He said, “Black people are black because in heaven they turned away from God.”  Completely, completely false.  If this were the case and they turned away from God in heaven, those spirits never would have come to Earth, they would have been cast out with the 1/3 of the hosts of heaven that Lucifer lead away (see Revelations, etc). 

He then goes onto directly accuse Mitt Romney of racism, for firmly believing the “faith of his fathers.”   O’Donnell completely and knowingly ignores facts here.  Mitt even mentioned in his speech that his father marched with Martin Luther King, Jr.   Mitt’s father continually pleaded with the Church to overturn the policy and stridently fought for civil rights and equality.  Mitt has never done anything to remotely imply that he is a racist and O’Donnell’s attacks here are wholly unfair.

The most egregious and false claims made by O’Donnell, however, is the claim that both Joseph Smith and the Church as a whole supported slavery and racist political policies.  Nothing is further from the truth.  One of the largest reasons the Mormons were persecuted like they were in Missouri and were so hated, was that they were ardent abolitionists as a whole.  Slavery was an economic necessity to the Southerners (or so they thought) and this influx of immigrants into their area from America’s Northeat and Midwest, Canada, and England caused great apprehension and concern among the local populace in terms of political might and power.  The Mormons were seen as a political threat that would in an instant revoke the right of Slavery if given a chance.

Further, Joseph Smith ran on an abolitionist platform when running for President in 1844.  He consistently preached against Slavery his entire life.  In a pamphlet sent around the country stating Joseph’s political stances in his run for the Presidency, it was made clear that, “Joseph Smith expressed his feelings on most important issues of the day except his desire to add to the powers granted the federal government. This may have been an effort to demonstrate that he was truly aware of national problems and would not use the office of president merely to promote the interest of the Saints. Among other things he called for prison reform, abolition of slavery, economy in government, a national bank, and territorial expansion.”  I take this attack from O’Donnell to be the most offensive.   Never at any time did the Church promote slavery, on the contrary, it always seeked to abolish slavery.

I do not blame people for criticizing the Church for it’s pre-1978 racial policy.  It is fair game as far as I am concerned.  People are free to criticize as they desire.  I just ask that people be accurate in their characterizations of such criticism.  At least be truthful; and here O’Donnell was anything but.

Now, to address the present standing of the Church on racial issues.   I would submit that no faith is as inclusive to all races as the LDS Church is today.  They have vast Missionary efforts in every corner of the world.  Africa is one of the fastest growing regions for the Church; more and more wards, stakes, and missions are being created there.  The Church even has Temple’s in Ghana, South Africa, and Nigeria. 

Finally, this issue of race was discussed by the President of the Church, President Gordon B. Hinckley, in the Church’s General Conference in April 2006, here is the segment on race:

I have wondered why there is so much hatred in the world. We are involved in terrible wars with lives lost and many crippling wounds. Coming closer to home, there is so much of jealousy, pride, arrogance, and carping criticism; fathers who rise in anger over small, inconsequential things and make wives weep and children fear.

Racial strife still lifts its ugly head. I am advised that even right here among us there is some of this. I cannot understand how it can be. It seemed to me that we all rejoiced in the 1978 revelation given President Kimball. I was there in the temple at the time that that happened. There was no doubt in my mind or in the minds of my associates that what was revealed was the mind and the will of the Lord.

Now I am told that racial slurs and denigrating remarks are sometimes heard among us. I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. How can any man holding the Melchizedek Priesthood arrogantly assume that he is eligible for the priesthood whereas another who lives a righteous life but whose skin is of a different color is ineligible? 

Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven, who loves all of His children.

Brethren, there is no basis for racial hatred among the priesthood of this Church. If any within the sound of my voice is inclined to indulge in this, then let him go before the Lord and ask for forgiveness and be no more involved in such.

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