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Yesterday at a work event I had a dessert that had been cooked with liquor.  My boss who was with me, knowing I was Mormon, asked if that was o.k. that I was eating that.  I hadn’t even thought about it being an issue and told him from what I could tell the alcohol was cooked out.  I guess from living in Europe where many dishes are prepared with alcohol I had become accustomed to eating food that had been cooked with alcohol.

The interesting thing was that this morning I received an email from the LDS Living magazine that had a poll asking the two questions to LDS readers: 1. Do you use alcohol in cooking? 2. How do you feel about cooking with alcohol?  The question had been answered by close to 5,000 people.  Nearly 1/2 of the LDS population that took the poll said they cook with alcohol and 75% of Mormons felt either neutral or positive about cooking with alcohol.

If you’re not a Mormon this is probably pretty trivial, but if you’re a Mormon where do you fall in line with the poll?

In one of my most recent posts, there was mention of Glenn Beck and how he has helped bridge the gap between Christians and Mormons.  Just days after I wrote that post, an evangelical member of my family contacted me about something Beck had shown the other day on end times from both a Christian and Muslim perspective.  Her exact words were “God sure is using Glenn Beck to wake up the American people”.  I decided to check out what she was referring to.

In this particular broadcast, Beck lays out end times from a Christian perspective and a Muslim perspective.  He basically points out that the individual Christians refer to as the Anti-Christ is praised by the Muslims as a prophet.  The mark of the beast Christians are warned to stay away from, is something that is welcomed by the Muslims and receiving the mark is an honor. 

To me, this is interesting but didn’t see a reason to get frantic or distressed over anything.   My perspective is that if I live my life in line with the gospel I shouldn’t worry.

It seems to me that most evangelical Christians are very well-versed in end-times prophesies and dedicate ministries to end times.  I was referred to the Olive Tree Ministries by my family member as well as Understanding the Times.  Both of these sites dedicate everything to current events and things happening that prove the end is near. 

I found it interesting that within myself I do not feel a strong sense of urgency or distress.  I wondered if that was me just being careless or if that is how it should be so I decided to look into what LDS prophets have said about the end times.  I found a great video entitled “Be not Troubled”  that is part of the lesson material from the Doctrine and Covenants manual entitled “Looking Forth for the Great Day of the Lord to Come“.  I found comfort in the scriptures and the video knowing that if I’m prepared I have no need to worry.

What are your thoughts?  Should we worry about the Anti-Christ and the end of the world?  What is your take on preparing for the Second Coming?

For the third year in a row the Jehovah’s Witness church grew significantly more than other churches (with the exception of Seventh Day Adventists, who also showed very strong growth).  According to this year’s Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, the Jehovah’s Witness church doubled its growth jumping from 2% in 2009 to 4.37% growth in 2010.  Seventh Day Adventists were very close behind with a growth rate of 4.31%.

Other churches that showed growth were the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with growth of 1.42% (down from a growth rate of 1.71% in 2009), the Catholic Church up .57% (down from a growth of 1.47% in 2009), Assemblies of God up .52%, and the Church of God in Cleveland (up .38%).

Below is a list of the top 25 churches with their growth rate.

The top 25 churches reported in the 2011 Yearbook are in order of size:

1. The Catholic Church, 68,503,456 members, up .57 percent. 

2. Southern Baptist Convention,16,160,088 members, down.42 percent. 

3. The United Methodist Church, 7,774,931 members, down1.01 percent. 

4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6,058,907 members, up 1.42 percent. 

5. The Church of God in Christ, 5,499,875 members, no membership updates reported.

6. National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc, 5,000,000  members, no membership updates reported.

7. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 4,542,868 members, down1.96 percent. 

8. National Baptist Convention of America, Inc., 3,500,000 members, no membership updates reported. 

9. Assemblies of God, 2,914,669 members, up .52 percent. 

10. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 2,770,730 members, down 2.61 percent. 

11. African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2,500,000 members, no membership updates reported. 

11. National  Missionary Baptist Convention of America,  2,500,000 members, no membership updates reported. 

13. The Lutheran Church– Missouri Synod (LCMS), 2,312,111 members, down 1.08 percent.

14. The Episcopal Church, 2,006,343 members, down 2.48 percent.

15. Churches of Christ, 1,639,495 members, no membership updates reported.

16. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, 1,500,000 members, no membership updates reported.

17. Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc., 1,500,000 members, no membership updates reported.

18. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, 1,400,000 members, members, no membership updates reported.

19. American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A., 1,310,505  members, down 1.55 percent.

20. Jehovah’s Witnesses, 1,162,686 members, up 4.37 percent.

21. United Church of Christ, 1,080,199 members, down 2.83 percent.

22. Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee), 1,076,254 members, up .38 percent.

23. Christian Churches and Churches of Christ , 1,071,616 members, no membership updates reported.

24. Seventh-Day Adventist Church. 1,043,606 members, up 4.31 percent.

25. Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. 1,010,000 members, down 59.60 percent (due in part to a new methodology of counting members).

What do you think contributes to the huge jump in growth by the Adventists (who enter the top 25  list for the first time this year) and the Jehovah’s Witnesses?  Should other churches do what these churches are doing to attract members, or do you think it matters which church people attend?

With Jon Huntsman stepping down a couple weeks ago, there has resurfaced the debate of whether or not Mormons should be in the White House as president since it appears that both Huntsman and Romney could probably be U.S. Presidential candidates.

In this online discussion, one reader lays out the covenants Mormons make in their temple to give their time, talents, and lives to building up the church.  He goes on to state that if an endowed LDS person is President of the U.S. they would be loyal to the church and not to the U.S. constitution and therefore a Mormon shouldn’t be in the white house.

Since I’m very familiar with the Mormon faith, it’s easy for me to say with confidence I do not believe there would be an issue if a Mormon became U.S. president.  However, I can understand people who may be concerned who are not familiar with Mormons.

Do you think a Mormon could be a good U.S. President?  Why or why not?

I received a forward from my cousin that I thought was funny.  I don’t think I’ve ever shared one on my blog, but I got a little chuckle from this one.  If you’ve seen this before, just delete this as you normally would.  If not, I hope you like it.  Here it is:

A Minneapolis couple decided to go to Florida to thaw out during an icy winter.  They planned to stay at the same hotel they did 20 years earlier on their honeymoon.  Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to have coordinating schedules.  So the husband flew in to Florida a day before the wifeand checked into the hotel.  He decided to send his wife an email but when he sent the email, he accidentally left out one letter. 

Meanwhile, in Houston a widow had just returned from her husband’s funeral.  The man, a minister, had just suffered a heart attack.  The widow decided to check her email to see if she had messages from family and friends.  The widow freaked out when she saw her first message which read:

To: My Loving Wife  Subject: I’ve Arrived

I know you’re surprised to hear from me.  They have computers here and you are allowed to send emails to your loved ones.  I’ve just arrived and checked in.  I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow.  Looking forward to seeing you then!  Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine.

P.S. Sure is freaking hot down here!

 

I”m sure many of you have read this one, but for some reason I hadn’t.  I decided to check Snopes.com to see if the email was legit, and it doesn’t specify if this actually happened.  It does say that many times the email goes around with an actual newspaperclipping with this story in it.

My wife found a pretty cool map on the LDS.org website. It has a satellite view of all the churches in the world.

This link shows all the LDS churches in North America.

So if you’re traveling and need to drop by a meeting, you can find one anywhere…even in Barrow, Alaksa!

While reading and preparing for a Sunday school lesson a few weeks back, I read Benedictus, more commonly called the Prayer of Zacharius.  It is the testimony he shared when he received his speech back after his Son, John the Baptist was born (see Luke 1: 67-79).

I got a little curious to see what versions of the Benedictus are out there and found quite a few, which I will share.  Take a listen and let me know which one you like best.  My personal favorite is the original.  It is very beautifully written and sung in a benedictan monk style.  However, the last two modern day versions are great as well.  The last one is sung by the Matt Maher band.

Original version:

Folk/ballad version

Modern-day English acoustic guitar version:

Modern day “inspired by” version

The “Life as a Reader” blog has an interesting post I thought I would share.  It is a testimony of a young man raised by gay parents.  The testimony he shared is compelling and passionate from his point of view.

Personally, I can understand where both sides of the aisle are coming from.  I wonder if there is a way to please both sides of the debate.  For example, what if they defined gay unions as simply “unions” instead of “marriage”?  That would allow the gay couples to have rights and also not redefine the definition of what marriage is.

What are your thoughts?

I graduated from BYU and thought it was a very rigorous program.  I never really did want to go there but ended up going there by default.  It was much less rigid than Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) was so BYU was a bit of a breath of fresh air for me.  The football games were very fun and the friends I made were great as well.

When I received this email from BYU alumni that BYU was the most popular school in the country ranked by US News, it was a bit surprising to me.  BYU even out-ranked the likes of Harvard, Standford, and many others (for a complete list of the rankings click here).

  What are your thoughts?  Does this surprise you at all?

On a side note, as you look at the list of most popular schools, my home-state of Idaho has Idaho State University ranked in the top 10 most popular schools.  This was even more shocking to me!

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