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If you subscribe to the LDS Living magazine, you probably read the recent article on David Ciemny, who formerly managed Lady Gaga’s tour schedule. He has quite the resume and experience in the music industry and has managed to keep his morals in spite of the surroundings he has been with from being in his own band all the way up to managing major tours. When he reached the peak of success as Lady Gaga was bursting onto the scene, he could see his touring would keep him away from his family for more than a year. He decided to quit at that time and stay with his family.
I thought the article was interesting, but it was the comments below the article from readers that got me thinking. It appears that people were divided on supporting David with his career. Some people applauded him for being able to keep his morals and be a “light on a hill” or “salt of the earth” so to speak. Others criticized him for mingling with the “wrong” people. After all (those who criticize say), how can a “good” LDS guy be really that good if he is touring with the likes of Lady Gaga or opening for Metallica?
In Sunday school I teach the 16-18 year olds and we are studying the New Testament this year. Over and over Jesus is criticized for mingling with the “wrong” people such as sinners and gentiles who are not of the Jewish faith. In my opinion, those who criticize this guy for being Lady Gaga’s tour manager fall into the category of the Pharisees who judged Jesus. If David was able to keep his morals and be a good example, then he probably was planting a lot of seeds and who knows who he may have blessed?
Now it’s your turn. Cast your vote. Do you praise or criticize David Ciemny for being Gaga’s tour manager?
In the LDS faith, people are not baptized until they are at the age of accountability, which according to LDS scripture is the age of 8. According to that scripture, the parents are commanded to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to their children and baptize children when they turn 8 years old or there is a sin on the head of the parents.
When reading a post about Catholic and LDS baptisms, the writer mentions someone close to her who was baptized as a Mormon at the age of 8 and felt like he didn’t have a choice in the matter. He says he went along with it because it was the social norm and the thing to do and you “go along with it”. Therefore, the baptism is essentially meaningless for the individual.
For me, I remember my parents teaching me about being baptized and also learning about it in class at Sunday school while I was 7 years old. While I didn’t understand everything about the commitment it was (and probably still don’t for that matter!) I do remember being excited and that baptism was a good thing. I remember practicing with my Dad how to hold onto his arm and keep my hand up so water wouldn’t get into my nose. I also especially remember my baptism because I had to go under 3 times before I was totally immersed (for Mormon’s the baptism isn’t valid unless you go completely under water).
I wonder though what would have happened if I didn’t want to get baptized. Would my parents have made me get baptized? I also wonder if there are examples out there of parents who have kids who reached the age of 8 and decided not to get baptized.
What would you do if your child didn’t want to get baptized (assuming you had taught them about baptism and what it means, etc.)?
I have written some poetry and songs in the past and it is very difficult to find a way to get things out there without knowing someone. I think this company could be very beneficial for those of you who are like me. You know you have some good stuff out there, but just can’t find a way to promote it. The name of the company is Inspired Hearts and Hands and will be described in the owner’s words below:
Inspired Hearts and Hands is an online marketplace for uplifting art, music, literature, etc. Each item for sale will be posted by the artist, musician, photographer, or writer who created it. There are no fees to sell on our site, no hassles, and we want to promote each of you who have artistic talents and allow you to do what you love. I know many of you have these talents, and I know that you know many others who do as well. Please take a moment to visit the site and learn more about how it works.I know from personal experience that it is hard to market one’s personal creations, no matter how talented they are. This site exists to solve this problem, to promote individuals and their careers to higher levels, and to provide customers products that not only support up and coming artists, but are also positive, uplifting, and affordable. Please visit: www.inspiredheartsandhands.com for details.
The company accumulating items and will officially launch in June of this year. If you have something you would like to share with others that is uplifting and inspiring, or if you would like to see a wide variety of inspiring products you normally wouldn’t find in the Christian or LDS bookstore, visit: www.inspiredheartsandhands.com.
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.
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!
I thought it would be fun to reflect back on 2010 on the graceforgrace site highlighting some of the posts that stood out to me this year. I’ll break them into categorgies as follows:
Most Controversial Post
The most controversial post on graceforgrace was definitely “How Can a Christian or Mormon Vote Democrat?” I posted this shortly after the Republican candidate I was supporting lost and was still a bit heated after the loss. Mormons and Christians from both parties had a lot to say on this post and I learned a good lesson in humility and quickly wrote the follow-up post entitled “Christians and Democrats-I’m o.k. You’re o.k.”
Least Viewed Post
The least viewed post by far was my post entitled “I’m Thankful For...” with only 15 views. (click on it again and read it…see if we can bump it up to 20 : )
Most Viewed Post
For the third year in a row, the most viewed post by far is the one I wrote in 2008 entitled “10 Steps to Recover from Anxiety and Depression“. I am very glad this has helped so many thousands of people throughout the years and hope it continues to help people overcome these struggles and get their lives back.
Most Faith-Promoting Story
One of the most memorable events that brought me closer to God this year was my experience of dressing as a homeless person. I shared the story back in May on the post called “Lessons Learned from My Experience Dressing as A Homeless Man.”
I had fun writing the post on the top Christian songs you don’t usually hear in church and also hearing what other readers had to say.
Bringing Christians Together
The post I wrote highlighting Christians who believe Mormons are also Christians was very influential for many people this year. As I mention in my purpose of this blog, it is to bring people of all faiths together. I hope we can continue this trend in 2011.
As we were getting ready to celebrate the new year this evening, my wife showed me a story from her cousin’s roomate that touched me and I thought it was appropriate to share. It is a story of a young couple who chose to get married despite the fact the young bride is struggling with stage 4 cancer. I found it amazing how they have chosen to pull closer together and towards God as they fight this battle together. May we all set the goal to do the same this year.
Here is an interview with the couple on Mormon Times:
I wish you all the best this New Year. Thank you for your great energy and contribution to this site. Your testimonies have helped many people this year. I look forward to the coming year.
Five minutes until we leave for the Turkey Bowl! A bunch of couples in the area are going to brave the snow and dust off our football skills while the kids stay at grandpa’s house. Wish us luck!
I’ve been thinking about this all week and before the action all starts I wanted to get it out. So here’s the 2010 list of what I’m thankful for:
A beautiful wife both inside and out, healthy and beautiful daughter, my own health, Jesus, the Atonement, prayer, America, scriptures, all kinds of food, a nice house, good neighbors, Seahawks when they have a winning season, clothes, education, good parents, all my brothers and sisters, awesome in-laws, being an uncle, playing with kids, reading books to my daughter, kisses from my daughter (and wife), past experiences that have led me to where I am today including: a mission to Germany, living and working in Switzerland, formal education, work training, my jobs, growing up on a farm.
Looks like time’s up. I’m also grateful for all of you who have stopped by this blog throughout the years and shared your insights and testimonies of how God has blessed you in your lives. We haven’t all agreed on everything, but we have all learned and grown together.
God bless all of you this Thanksgiving!
Update: We just got back from the game and our team won! My wife caught the game-changing TD pass in double coverage in the end-zone. It was awesome!
Some things I thought about while I was gone I’m thankful for in addition to what I wrote above are the LDS Church and all the good friends I’ve made throughout the years of being a member of the church all over the world. It is truly a blessing and amazing to see how the gospel of Jesus touches the lives of so a many people all over the world and you have an instant connection almost anywhere you go.
I’m also thankful for my extended family. Cousins, uncles, aunts and especially grandparents. They have shaped who I am today and I have so many good examples of righteous family members who try their best to have a solid relationship with the Lord.
Once again, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. May the Lord bless you abundantly and may you be a blessing in the lives of others.
Most of you probably heard that the LDS church, especially Elder Packer of the Apostles were petitioned by gay rights activists last week. Below is the Church’s official response and can also be found at this website.
My name is Michael Otterson. I am here representing the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to address the matter of the petition presented today by the Human Rights Campaign.
While we disagree with the Human Rights Campaign on many fundamentals, we also share some common ground. This past week we have all witnessed tragic deaths across the country as a result of bullying or intimidation of gay young men. We join our voice with others in unreserved condemnation of acts of cruelty or attempts to belittle or mock any group or individual that is different – whether those differences arise from race, religion, mental challenges, social status, sexual orientation or for any other reason. Such actions simply have no place in our society.
This Church has felt the bitter sting of persecution and marginalization early in our history, when we were too few in numbers to adequately protect ourselves and when society’s leaders often seemed disinclined to help. Our parents, young adults, teens and children should therefore, of all people, be especially sensitive to the vulnerable in society and be willing to speak out against bullying or intimidation whenever it occurs, including unkindness toward those who are attracted to others of the same sex. This is particularly so in our own Latter-day Saint congregations. Each Latter-day Saint family and individual should carefully consider whether their attitudes and actions toward others properly reflect Jesus Christ’s second great commandment – to love one another.
As a church, our doctrinal position is clear: any sexual activity outside of marriage is wrong, and we define marriage as between a man and a woman. However, that should never, ever be used as justification for unkindness. Jesus Christ, whom we follow, was clear in His condemnation of sexual immorality, but never cruel. His interest was always to lift the individual, never to tear down.
Further, while the Church is strongly on the record as opposing same-sex marriage, it has openly supported other rights for gays and lesbians such as protections in housing or employment.
The Church’s doctrine is based on love. We believe that our purpose in life is to learn, grow and develop, and that God’s unreserved love enables each of us to reach our potential. None of us is limited by our feelings or inclinations. Ultimately, we are free to act for ourselves.
The Church recognizes that those of its members who are attracted to others of the same sex experience deep emotional, social and physical feelings. The Church distinguishes between feelings or inclinations on the one hand and behavior on the other. It’s not a sin to have feelings, only in yielding to temptation.
There is no question that this is difficult, but Church leaders and members are available to help lift, support and encourage fellow members who wish to follow Church doctrine. Their struggle is our struggle. Those in the Church who are attracted to someone of the same sex but stay faithful to the Church’s teachings can be happy during this life and perform meaningful service in the Church. They can enjoy full fellowship with other Church members, including attending and serving in temples, and ultimately receive all the blessings afforded to those who live the commandments of God.
Obviously, some will disagree with us. We hope that any disagreement will be based on a full understanding of our position and not on distortion or selective interpretation. The Church will continue to speak out to ensure its position is accurately understood.
God’s universal fatherhood and love charges each of us with an innate and reverent acknowledgement of our shared human dignity. We are to love one another. We are to treat each other with respect as brothers and sisters and fellow children of God, no matter how much we may differ from one another.
We hope and firmly believe that within this community, and in others, kindness, persuasion and goodwill can prevail.