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One of my main purposes of this site is to unite people of all faiths into a common ground of understanding through uplifiting dialogue online.  I feel that slowly and surely we’re all beginning to come together as people of faith.  One example of this is the recent forum at Notre Dame entitled “Conviction and Compromise: Being a Person of Faith in a Liberal Democracy”.  At this forum, they had a few Christian leaders from various denominations,including: Rev. Joseph E. Kurtz, archbishop of Louisville; Rabbi David Saperstein, director and counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Rick Warren, founding pastor, Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, California; and Rev. Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, and a Mormon apostle (Dallin Oaks, pictured in the middle).

The discussion surrounded the role religion should play in our political decisions.

I thought it would be interesting to see how readers of this blog feel about the issue and thought we could have a panel of our own.

I will share the questions asked at the forum to each of the religious leaders.  When you leave a comment, share with us your religious affiliation and then answer the questions.

Panel Discussion Questions (as taken from the Notre Dame forum)

  • How can people of faith reconcile religious conviction with politics, which is often described as the “art of compromise”?
  • Should voters take a candidate’s religion into account when casting their ballot?
  • How should elected officials apply their faith when making policy?
  • How does religious diversity affect our national understanding of religion’s role in both politics and government?

I received the following from one of my old friends today:

I truly believe in the power of Prayer or otherwise I wouldn’t be posting this…. Our sweet, beautiful little angel Ashlynn is very seriously ill, we just found out today that she may have liver failure and we will be heading up to stay with her at a London Hospital to figure out what to do for her. We are completely shocked and horrified over this news. All I ask is that everyone would please say a prayer for our beautiful, beautiful baby girl, we would be forever grateful.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and his daughter.  They had to try and try to get pregnant and bring her into the world and she’s only a few months old.  Please join me in praying for the little baby and his family.  Their last name is Beutler, if you want to say a specific prayer for them.

 

As I read the article highlighting Brandon Flowers (lead singer for the Killers) and watched the video of him defending his Mormon faith on national TV, a few things came to mind.

First, I think it is awesome that he pursues his dream of being in a rock band but still living his religion so to speak.  As I watched him defend his faith while he was in leather and looking like a rock star I thought about many of the people in the Mormon faith that I have seen who think being a Mormon means you have to dress and look a certain way.  Our religion teaches us that God is no respector of persons, which means no matter our race or what our appearance is, God is there for us.

Next, how much easier would it be for him to decline opportunities to get up and share his faith and just say “I’m a Mormon, but I don’t do interviews”? Or even go so far as denouncing the religion altogether, which many stars do.  This is a great example of what Jesus said about letting our light shine for the world.

Finally, I thought about the members of his band who are not Mormons.  Obviously they respect him enough to allow him to do these interviews and as he says in this interview, he wants to promote the band professionally, but the Mormon question inevitably comes up frequently.  This is a great example of people of other faiths working together.

For those of you who may have missed the interview, I’ve included it below:

As a young child, I grew up LDS in a predominantly LDS community.  With that I saw and heard a lot of stereotypes that I have found can be typical for Southern Idaho and Utah including:

  • If you are not Mormon, you are not that good
  • God blesses active Mormons more than others
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) is the only true church
  • God only sends His Holy Spirit to those seeking truth in the Mormon Church
  • It is best not to associate with people who are not Mormons because their ways may rub off on you
  • God will bless and prosper you if you are an active Mormon more than if you’re not

Although these stereotypes are not good, I found that many Mormons felt this way.  As a result, there was a tension between all the other Christian faiths in the region and the LDS church. 

When my parents divorced and my mother joined another Christian denomination, the stereotypes I had internalized gradually broke down.  We would attend various congregations from a variety of faiths including: Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, and non-denominational.  I found that each faith had very good and honest people who believed basically the same things that I had been taught doctrinally in relation to core Christianity. 

Later in life, I felt that God led me back to Mormonism, which is where I continue to go today.  However, I have some very close family members who continue to attend other faiths and I see God blessing them just as much as me as we both strive to show our love for the Lord in our lives and witness His hand.  I feel it a blessing that I have been able to sit in both aisles of Mormonism and mainstream Christianity and as readers of this blog know, I strive to break stereotypes on both sides and build relationships between them.

It is for this reason that I highly recommend the new book called “Tongue of Fire” recently released and written by David McKnight (see image below)

This breaks down stereotypes on both sides of the aisle in a very creative and fun way.

The main character, John, is a Mormon Elder who is asked to preach for a mega-church at the new town he has moved into.  The only problem is that he doesn’t tell them he is Mormon and uses the Book of Mormon as his guide to teach his sermons.  People start flocking to the new congregation, but as he gains more popularity his relationships with his family deteriorate.

Soon word gets out that he is a Mormon and the Christians who had supported him and loved his sermons stop coming.  The stereotypes Christians have against Mormons are addressed in a dramatic way as John’s family is nearly driven out of town. 

I won’t spoil the book too much for you, but just believe me when I say that if you were interested in books such as “How Wide the Divide” that addressed the gap between Christians and Mormons in a scholarly way, you will like this book as well.  It is fun to read and also very informative on how both Mormons and Christians can work together to reach a common goal.

Click on the image of the book (see above) to order a Kindle or paperback version of the book.  It’s well worth the $5-10. 

 

Congratulations on completing both Mormon Lingo 101 and Mormon Lingo 201!  You are now ready for the advanced stage of Mormon Lingo.  These are words and phrases that the average Mormon probably hasn’t heard unless they served a mission, or have been around a Mormon affiliated university like BYU or Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho).  After completing this section, you will be ready for the final exam!

Mormon Lingo 301

MTC: The Mission Training Center.  This is a center where missionaries go to prepare before they serve on their full-time missions.  Missionaries study culture, language, scriptures, and how to teach for 3 weeks if it is a non-foreign mission and up to 12 weeks if it is a foreign mission.

GA:  Stands for General Authority.  General Authorities are the main leaders of the LDS church consisting of the Quorums of the Seventy, the Twelve Apostles, and the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors).

Flirt to convert:  I wouldn’t say this is an every-day LDS phrase, but it was one that missionaries jokingly used when on a mission.  I heard it at BYU (Brigham Young University) as well.  They used it in reference to flirting with a non-Mormon of the opposite sex to entice them to join the church. 

“I never said it would be easy…I only said it would be worth it”:  This was a phrase used in a picture with Jesus (see below) that I don’t hear much anymore, but frequently used to in the ’90s.  It is actually a quote by Mae West and is nowhere to be found in the scriptures.

“comp”:  abreviation of ‘companion’.  Missionaries are assigned to have at least one companion on their missions, which is why you see them walking two by two on the streets.

“greeny“: brand new missionary

dear john” : Letter sent to missionary from their significant other while they are on their mission letting them know they are breaking up with them.

“mish” : abreviation for mission…one would use this in the phrase “So where did you serve on the “mish”?”

“dad” : On a mission, each “greenie” recieves a trainer as their first companion.  Missionaries would refer to this first trainer as their “dad”.

“grandpa” :  The trainer of a trainer on the mission.

“AP’s or APES” :  On a mission, the Mission President has two missionaries who are his right hand men in over-seeing the 150 or so missionaries assigned to that particular mission.  They are called assistants to the mission president.  Usually, rather than saying “assistant to the president” when referring to them, missionaries will call them “AP’s”.  Occasionally, I’ve heard them referred to as APES…like the monkey.

mission mom”: The mission president’s wife

“I killed him”: Term used when your companion goes home from his mission

“I was born in…”: Area where you started your mission 

BYU: Usually people know this as Brigham Young University.  However, I’ve occasionally heard people jokingly say it actually means “breed ‘em young university” because people get married so young there.

BRT :   On a mission, when speaking with someone for the first time missionaries are trained to find common ground with them to build a relationship of trust.  The shortened accronymn for this is to simply “BRT” with a person. 

Split : The situation of a missionary companionship working with two local Elders and splitting up to cover two simultaneous appointments, also refers to the local Elders that assist in such endeavors

 White Bible: White Missionary Rule Book

Over the past year or so that I’ve been following Romney, I’ve been waiting for a moment where the real Romney stands up.  I’ve heard his experience leading businesses and of his successes.  I’ve been impressed by the amount he gives to charity.  But when watching him, I get the sense that he’s too scripted and is holding something back.  He hasn’t openly spoken of his faith and he hasn’t openly countered attacks that have come his way.  This gives me (and I’m sure others) a sense that perhaps he’s hiding something.

I feel the same as many Americans do.  I believe in God and family and hope for a better future and I feel that we’re really not better off now than when Obama took office.  However, I feel that we crave leadership and someone who can inspire confidence.

Up until now, I feel that Romney hasn’t done a good job at all of letting people know who he really is and inspiring leadership based on core beliefs he has.  I feel he has played things too safe and has talked in cliche’s.  I feel, like many, that the real Romney hasn’t stood up.  That is, until last week at the Republican convention.

While I watched his speech, I sensed that he was speaking from his heart.  He spoke passionately of his faith and family and the future of America.  He referenced God a number of times.  He praised his wife and those who went before us.  Some of his words were so inspiring that I wrote them down, which I will share below.

Top Phrases from Romney’s Speech

  • All the laws and legislation in the world will not take place of the love a parents give children.
  • If every child could fall asleep wrapped in the love of a family and God’s love, this world would be a better place.
  • When quoting his mother: “Why should women have any less decision than men when making decisions about our great nation?!”
  • Ann’s job as a mom was a lot harder than mine.  Her job was also much more important than mine.
  • The strength and goodness of America is based on the goodness of the families of America and their faith.
  • If you felt excitement of hope and change when you voted for Obama 4 years ago, shouldn’t you feel that way now that he’s President Obama?
  • You know there’s something wrong with your president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him.
  • Is it any wonder why someone who attacks success has led the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression?
  • In America we celebrate success…we don’t apologize for success!
  • This president can tell us to be patient, he can tell us to give him another 4 years to get it right…but he cannot tell us you are better off now than you were 4 years ago.
  • President Obama pledged to slow the rise of the Oceans and to heal the planet.  My promise is to help you and your family.

Finally, I feel that the real Romney stood up last week.

If you didn’t watch the speech, I’ve included a link for it below:

Mitt Romney full convention speech

Congratulations for completing Mormon Lingo 101!  You are now ready for Mormon Lingo 201!  This will include words and phrases that unless you attend a Mormon church for awhile, you probably won’t hear all on the first Sunday you visit.  Please review the list and if you add any additional indermediate Mormon phrases in the commentary, you will recieve bonus points on the final exam!

Mormon Lingo 201

The “Bish”:  I usually heard this phrase when I was attending BYU, but it is a shortened term for “bishop”.

RM:  Returned Missionary…someone who has been on a mission and has come home

EQP:  I usually heard this term referring to the Elders Quorum President (men’s leader) when I was in college as well. 

G’s or Holy G’s:  Mormon are known for wearing “holy underwear” or “magic underwear” as many in the outside world call it.  Inside the Mormon church, I’ve heard people refer to the garment as “G’s” or “Holy G’s”.  This isn’t a common term and many Mormons would probably be offended by it.  This is almost worthy of Mormon Lingo 301, which will be coming next week.

Peter Priesthood:  A “goodie-goodie” Mormon boy that never does anything wrong and plays by the rules.

Molly Mormon: Same as “Peter Priesthood” except the girl.

Jack Mormon:  A Mormon guy in name only.  A Jack Mormon probably hits the bars, drinks, parties it up hard and may or may not go to church.

Motab:  Abbreviation for “The Mormon Tabernacle Choir”

Sweet Spirit:  Someone (unfortunately usually a girl) who is very nice, but unattractive

DTR:  At BYU people who were dating, but it appeared not to be going anywhere (i.e. marriage) would sit down and have a heart to heart discussion on “defining the relationship”.  Are we just friends, make-out partners, or is this for real?  DTR is the acronymn for ‘defining the relationship’.

NCMO:  Stands for Non-commital make-out.  Happens all to often at LDS colleges.

BMW:  I’ve heard Mormons jokingly call their station wagons back in the day “BMW’s”…or Big Mormon Wagons to hold all their kids.

CTR:  This officially stands for ‘Choos the Right’ and there are cool rings that many Mormons wear to remind them to always choose to do the right thing in every situation (click here to learn about the history and see an image).  I’ve also heard Mormons jokingly refer to CTR as meaning “Chase the Rich” “Corrupt the Righteous” and “Close the Refrigerator”.

PPI: Personal priesthood interview.  Usually a leader in the Mormon church such as an Elder’s President will have an interview with members of his quorum to see if they are on track spiritually and this is abbreviated as having a “PPI”.

Mormon Standard Time:  Mormons are usually just slightly late to their meetings and this is referred to as “Mormon Standard Time”.

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