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Belief in God Importance of Religion in One’s Life Church Attendance Religious Affiliation Believe their Religion is One True Faith
71% Absolutely Certain 56% Very Important 39% Once a week 79% Christian 24% Their religion is one true faith leading to Eternal Life
17% Fairly Certain 26% Somewhat Important 33% Once/Twice per month 16% Unaffiliated 70% Many religions lead to Eternal Life
4% Uncertain 16% Not Important 27% Seldom or Never 2% Jewish 3% Neither
      1% Muslim 4% Don’t Know
      1% Buddhist  
A few things I find interesting included:
– Most of the country are Christians, yet most of the country believe in more than one way to eternal life.  I am personally under the impression that most Christians are pretty direct and cut-and-dry with who goes to heaven or not.  I’m suprised by this statistic, but also happy.  I feel God is very merciful and also just and therefore, the many mansions in heaven that await those who accept Him.  I just wasn’t under the impression that this many people were Christians.
– An overwhelming majority of the country believes in God, yet our laws dictate how we are or are not supposed to pray in public schools.  If the overwhelming majority of the country is Christian, wouldn’t you think Christian prayers would be a given for the 1% of other faiths who are in the country as well?  I think it is absurd not to allow prayers and talk of God in public places when the overwhelming majority of the country expresses belief in a Christian God.
– Finally, I’m impressed that so many people still go to church.
What stands out to you about these statistics?
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Until I started blogging about 1 1/2 years ago I hadn’t heard of a lot of the stuff that’s out there such as “Adam/God Theory” and “Blood Atonement” that many anti-Mormons spread. The accusation of “earning” one’s salvation was something new to me as well that I had never heard of.

Faith is an interesting thing because it makes up so much of what a person does and how he or she views the world. When that faith is openly attacked the natural instinct is to bristle up and throw back some more punches.

Most “anti-Mormon literature” as we like to call it, is in my opinion ridiculous and pulled from obscure quotes by various prophets and not at all what we teach today. It’s the equivalent of taking some quote from one of the Christian crusaders and using it against all Christians.

However, there are many other of our fellow Christians who are well-intended in their approach with Mormons and who sincerely want to help us. Yesterday I read a great post over at Clean Cut that summarized a speech given by Dr Craig Blomberg. (If you don’t remember who Dr Blomberg is, he co-wrote “How Wide the Divide?“, which is a book on Mormon vs. Evangelical doctrine written by a Mormon and an Evangelical). In his speech, Bloomberg speaks to a large body of Christians in a talk entitled “What would Jesus Say to a Mormon?” I’ll have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about reading it because most people point fingers at us and try to tell us why we’re wrong. Dr Bloomberg did, what I think Jesus would have all of us do. He showed a genuine love for the LDS people and acknowledged their Christian beliefs. To view a summary of the 10 points he feels Jesus would say to Mormons you can also visit this blog.

I feel that although Blomberg doesn’t believe everything Mormons do he does exactly what a good Christian should do in my opinion and he sees the good and the common ground and builds on that rather than attacking the differences.  I also feel he did a great job in his top 10 list of pointing out things we as Mormons can definitely learn from, but he also showed other Christians that in many ways Mormons aren’t so far off from what they believe as well. 

What do you think about Blomberg’s approach?

Also, how to you feel about his top 10 list?  Do you feel it’s accurate?

For us as Mormons, how can we learn from this in our discussions with fellow Christians?

5-23-09

I just read another great post related to this topic that was written last fall.  It shares Dr Blomberg’s feelings of how the Mormon/Evangelical divide is from his perspective 11 years after having written the book.  Check out the site here.

One of the key components to LDS theology is that of scripture being an open canon.  According to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Bible Dictionary, scripture is defined as follows:

The word scripture means a writing, and is used to denote a writing recognized by the Church as sacred and inspired. It is so applied to the books of the O.T. by the writers of the N.T. (Matt. 22: 29; John 5: 39; 2 Tim. 3: 15). For an account of the process by which the books of the O.T. and N.T. came to be recognized as scripture, see Canon. Latter-day revelation identifies scripture as that which is spoken under the influence of the Holy Ghost (D&C 68: 1-4).
According to this definition, this leaves things pretty wide-open as to what scripture really is and can be difficult for many people, especially those from other faiths to comprehend.  Basically anything that is spoken by someone under the influence of the Spirit can be interpreted as scripture.  However, this also places great responsibility on everyone to be in tune with the Holy Spirit so they can interpret by the spirit and know if things spoken are essentially the word of God. 
As I pondered this, I thought about the scriptures that the LDS currently use commonly called the “Standard Works.”  These scriptures include the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price.
Most Christians claim that the Bible is infallible and that every single word written therein is exactly what God wants us to have and there can be no more scripture.  This is very hard for LDS people to fathom because they believe otherwise.  Why are such scriptures as the Song of Solomon considered to be considered infallible scripture? Who was it that had the authority to declare that the Bible should be the only scripture?  If the experiences and prophecies in the Bible are the only authorized scripture, what scriptures were the apostles and prophets of the Bible using at the time?
On the other hand, Christians firmly believe that it is heretical to have any additional scripture other than what is in the Bible.  They may have questions and concerns about anyone else who claims to add scripture is a false prophet and therefore their writings and words should be avoided.
Athiests and Agnostics choose to avoid the scriptures altogether because of flaws and condradictions found within the scriptures.
As I contemplate these issues and questions, I’m very grateful for the following scriptures about the Holy Ghost:
Moroni 10:2-5
2 And I seal up these records, after I have spoken a few words by way of exhortation unto you.
  3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
  4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
  5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
John 16: 7;13
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
In the first scripture, there is a promise given that one can know if the things written in the Book of Mormon are true.  However, the promise extends further in verse 5 in that the Holy Ghost will not only help one receive a witness of the Spirit if the Book of Mormon is true, but also know the truth of all things.  Also, in the Bible Jesus says when he leaves the Holy Ghost will show them the truth of all things as well.
If one is to read certain parts of the Bible (such as the Song of Solomon) and if one is to read certain parts of the Doctrine and Covenants (such as the polygamy revelation) it can be hard to feel the Spirit confirm it as truth.  Also, Joseph Smith’s Lectures on Faith used to be “cannonized” scripture but were removed in the early 1900’s.  Furthermore, when Joseph Smith spoke about the Book of Mormon he said that it was the most correct book of scripture written.  But didn’t say it was completely flawless.  I’ve read that the Book of Mormon has been changed and edited over 4,000 times. Also, authors within the Book of Mormon acknowledge their weakness in writing
Acknowleding flaws and/or errors in scripture can be a huge thing for both LDS and Christians to accept.  They both believe that scripture is flawless. Due to the weaknesses of men in writing and translations, etc. and the LDS view of having an open cannon, it is very important–essential–that one maintains a close relationship with the Lord so they can be led by the Holy Ghost to know the truth of all things that are found in the scriptures.
However, this can lead to discrepencies and to people claiming that “the Spirit told them” to say and/or do certain things and believe certain doctrine.  The LDS comeback for this answer would be “that’s why we have prophets and apostles.”  However, the questions then arise: How are we to know if they are indeed prophets and called of God?  How can we know if what they’re speaking is truth?  The answer: the Holy Spirit.
It would take a whole other post to write about how to recognize the Holy Spirit speaking truth to you, but some posts I’ve previously written on this topic include:”Effectively Using the Sword of the Spirit,” “Learning the Mysteries of God,” and “Questions to Know if you’ve Experienced the Holy Ghost.”
I especially like this quote by Gordon B Hinckley:
How do we know the things of the Spirit? How do we know that it is from God? By the fruits of it. If it leads to growth and development, if it leads to faith and testimony, if it leads to a better way of doing things, if it leads to godliness, then it is of God. If it tears us down, if it brings us into darkness, if it confuses us and worries us, if it leads to faithlessness, then it is of the devil” (Jordan Utah South regional conference, 2 Mar. 1997)
I would like to let those who read this know that I’ve felt the Holy Spirit confirm truth to me on numerous occasions throughout my life and that I’m grateful for this.  As I’ve prayed about various scriptures I have felt the Spirit witness truths to me that are found in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and other writings both LDS and otherwise.  I know that I’ve felt the Spirit confirm that there is a God that watches over each one of us and that cares for us.  I’ve felt His love and Spirit as I’ve prayed about big and small decisions in my life and know that he will lead us into the right paths and help us find truth in all things.  I know that God will reveal the truth of all things to everyone if we ask in humility and faith.

In the book “How Wide the Divide,” Craig Blomberg from a Denver seminary and Stephen Robinson, from BYU (both have PhD’s in religion) attempt to “bridge the gap” between Evangelicals and Mormons.  The first step is to have a correct understanding of what the other believes.  The following is an excerpt from their book:

Since very few Latter-day Saints and Evangelicals are theologically bilingual, the same misunderstandings tend to be compounded over and over, which is grist for the mills of prejudice on both sides…(How Wide the Divide, page 14)

In an attempt for both Evangelicals and LDS people to learn about each other’s beliefs, both Blomberg and Robinson share a modern-day translation of “Articles of Faith” for both religions.  I will now share their thoughts.  Feel free to share yours in your comments.

LDS Articles of Faith Translated for Christians of other Faiths

  1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.  We accept the biblical doctrine that God is three and that God is also one, but we reject the post-New Testament attempts to explain how these two truths are to be reconciled
  2. We believe that humankind fell through the transgression of Adam and Eve and that humans in their present state are subject to sin, death and corruption.  However, we believe that individuals are accountable for thier own sins, not for guilt inherited from Adam and Eve.  We accept both divine justice and human accountability, but we do not believe in original sin.
  3. We believe that through the atonement of Christ, fallen humanity may be saved by accepting and obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ.  No one is predestined either to salvation or to damnation; anyone may be saved who responds appropriately to the good news of Christ.
  4. We believe that we respond appropirately to Christ and we accept his gospel by having faith in and being faithful to Christ as Son of God and Savior, that is, by accepting him as Lord and Savior and making him Lord of and in our lives.  We cannot merit salvation of ourselves, nor is it possible to “earn” the grace by which we are saved, but the obedience of faith, a godly walk and conversation, is a necessary component of faith in Christ.  Jesus will save us from our sins but not with our sins.  Beyond having faith in Christ, we must also repent of sin, consent to baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and receive the regenerating and sanctifying gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.
  5. We believe that the Christianity of the first century, New Testament Christianity, is true Christianity.  As such, it is the only standard by which to define Chrisitanity, as opposed to defining it by post-New Testament councils and creeds.  We believe that the priesthood authority, church organization, spiritual gifts, sacraments (i.e. ordinances) and doctrines of the modern church must be as they were in the New Testament church.  This obviously includes the presence of apostles and prophets who receive direct, continuing revelation for the church in the world.
  6. We accept the Bible (the King James Version) as the inspired word of God–every book, every chapter, every verse of it–as revealed to the apostles and prophets who wrote it.  We also hold the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price to be the word of God.
  7. We believe in the divine conception, subsitutionary atonement, sacrificial death, bodily resurrection and present glory of Jesus Christ and that he will return to this earth in judgment and in his glory to cleanse it from all wickedness and to establish his personal millennial reign.  Both the saved and the lost will be resurrected, the former at Christ’s coming or during his reign, the latter at the end of th millennium.
  8. We believe that the church established by Christ in the New Testament was changed by later Chrisitan intellectuals who believed the simple New Testament proclamation to be inadequate.  Feeling the language of Scripture to be unsophisticated, incomplete, vague, ambiguous or imprecise, the second, thrud and fourth-century church sougt to “improve” the New Testament gospel by the standards of Hellenistic philosophy, but compromised it instead.
  9. We believe that the Lord in preparation for his imminent second coming has “restored” New Testament Chrisitanity in the latter days through the prophet Joseph Smith.  Nevertheless, all honest Christians of whatever deonmination, not just LDS Christians, will be among the saved at the last day…(How Wide the Divide, pgs 16-17)

Evangelical “Article of Faith” or “Confession Statement”

  1. We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
  2. We believe that there is one God eternally existent in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
  3. We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and His personal return in power and glory.
  4. We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful man regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
  5. We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
  6. We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
  7. We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. (How Wide the Divide pgs 29-30)

In my last post I shared how Mormons and Evangelicals can get along.  I read on another blog somewhere about a Baptist preacher a few months ago and thought this was interesting to share.  This Baptist Preacher seems to have found a way to still believe in the Evangelical Jesus and the Book of Mormon Jesus.  The following links are very interesting:

 “The Baptist Version of the Book of Mormon

 Prophesies about the LDS church:

More about his ministry:

Staunch members of the Church of Jesus Christ may wonder how he can have a witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and not become one. On the other hand, Christians may wonder why he could believe in the Book of Mormon and still claim to be a Christian.

I can personally understand how he can opt not to become a member of the LDS church because there are many revelations that came after the Book of Mormon that are not included in the Book of Mormon.  Many of the truths found in the Book of Mormon are found in the Bible as well.

This is yet another example of how one can bridge the gap between Mormons and Evangelical Christians.

My wife and I have most recently been reading Truman G Madsen’s book entitled “Christ and the Inner Life.”  This is a very good book and some of the concepts from it I’ve written about in previous posts.

I’ll share some quotes from the book that recently caught my attention:

I say to you that when he (Jesus) said to the woman of Samaria and to others, “He that believeth on me, shall never thirst”; I say to you that when on the cross he looked down and back, under the searing sun, and said, “I thirst,” he was reflecting both the promise and the need that all of us have.  We, too, thirst until we ache.  We, too, are living and dying on deserts.

A few paragraphs later, Madsen further concludes by saying:

May God help us to walk in the light; and, when we do not feel that we have it, to walk in the memory of it with integrity.

I thought it was interesting to note that Jesus, who had stated those who follow Him will never thirst was left alone and thirsted not only physically, but spiritually on the cross when he said “Father why hast thou forsaken me?”  While his enemies scoffed and ridiculed him telling him to save himself.  At this moment Jesus didn’t feel like he had the light anymore as His father had withdrawn himself from him.  Jesus, who was all-powerful could have used his powers to save himself and destroy his enemies, but he didn’t because he had integrity.  Jesus proved to be conquerer by holding on to the memory of the light he had felt and his mission and finished his mission with integrity. 

How often do we feel like we’re alone in life?  How often do we feel the darkness of sin, doubt, or discouragement and cry out to God and feel that we are yet alone?  How often do we just simply not feel like walking with God, or doubt that He is there walking with us?  What do we do when we feel that God has forsaken us?

I like what Madsen says about walking in the memory of the light.  When all seems to be lost, the memories may be all that we have to rely on for a season.

First, we need to make sure we’re in the light. In a previous post, I shared ways to “plug” into the light throughy keeping the commandments and scripture study.  I would add sincere prayer to this as well.  We should continue to do these things even when we don’t feel like it because these are ways to stay in God’s light and feel His Holy Spirit.

Second, we need to remember.  We’re probably all familiar with scriptures relating both those who remembered and those who forgot.  I’ll share a few examples that come to mind.   

Poor examples in the scriptures include: Laman and Lemuel in the Book of Mormon, King David and Solomon, the Isrealites during Moses’ time.  In each of these individuals’ lives they had marvelous spiritual experiences.  David and Laman and Lemuel both saw heavenly beings with their eyes.  However due to negligence in keeping their eyes focused towards God, each of these individuals erred greatly and suffered because of it.  A side note is to remember that repentance is always there for us, but the further we fall from God’s light and love, the harder it is to get back.

Good examples in the scriptures of those who remembered in spite of hardship and despair include: Paul, Nephi, Moroni, and Joseph Smith.  There are of course numerous other examples, but these are the ones who come to mind. 

In 2 Nephi 4, Nephi turns to God in prayer when he feels his strength slacken, Paul states numerous times in the Bible to count it a joy to suffer for the Lord and reflects on Jesus’ sacrifice to help him “stay the course”, Moroni refuses to deny Jesus despite the fact he is the last believer left in his world.  Joseph Smith certainly wasn’t perfect by any means, but when times were hard and he felt like God wasn’t there for him anymore he didn’t give up on God, rather he turned to him in prayer and in turn received revelation.

There are numerous other means and ways given to us to remember God today.  Temple attendance and partaking the sacrament (in the prayer we promise to “always remember Him”) are two more examples. 

I know life probably isn’t easy for you, and it’s definitely not always easy for me.  But I know that life would be much harder without God in my life and the belief I have in Jesus as well.  As I’ve built memories with them, and try to further develop my relationship with them on a daily basis through scripture study and prayer as well as weekly partaking of the sacrament, I feel that life is much better.  I also believe that when we develop these habits it makes it that much easier to look back on the good feelings and spiritual strength we receive gradually over time. In addition, when we don’t feel the Spirit for a season we realize our dependance on God and become grateful for His mercy. 

When we’re down and don’t feel the light anymore I hope we can all remember to call upon God and keep walking in His light with integrity. 

A couple months back I was reading the temple study blog and he had an excersize to find temple imagery in 2 Nephi chapter 4

Recently I was reading in Hebrews as well as in Alma in the Book of Mormon and found some significant temple imagery as well.  Here are some verses that stuck out to me:

Alma 13:11,16

Hebrews 10:15-22

These are very beautiful scriptures that are filled with temple imagery (garments washed white, the veil is represents Christ’s flesh, covenants, etc.).  In addition scriptures such as Hebrews 9:5 talk about how there are certain things they can’t talk about regarding sacred things, just as LDS are told not to disclose certain sacred things about the temple.  All throughout Hebrews is excellent temple imagery and is worth a good read.

In Hebrews chapters 6-10, Paul discusses the temple ordinances conducted in the Law of Moses and in chapter ten says that through the blood of Jesus we enter into the holiest and that the veil represents his flesh. 

In Hebrews 9:12 it states that Jesus “entered into the holy place” and therefore obtained eternal redemption for us. 

Having read this, one could argue that there isn’t a need for temple ordinances anymore because Jesus already died and this has replaced the need for a temple.  Furthermore, if it is the blood of Jesus that saves us, what need is there for temple ordinances?

What are your thoughts on this?

Recently one of the members of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons or LDS) gave an excellent talk entitled “Faith of our Father.”  This talk is excellent for those in the LDS church and all Christians.  I was especially moved by the following remarks:

When my own family contemplates the phrase “faith of our fathers,” often it is the Lutheran faith that comes to mind. For generations our ancestors belonged to that denomination. In fact, my son recently discovered that one of our family lines connects back to Martin Luther himself.

We honor and respect sincere souls from all religions, no matter where or when they lived, who have loved God, even without having the fulness of the gospel. We lift our voices in gratitude for their selflessness and courage. We embrace them as brothers and sisters, children of our Heavenly Father.

We believe that it is a fundamental human right to worship “Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”4

As I reflected on these comments my thoughts turned to my sister and brother-in-law who are members of a non-denominational Christian church.  They are youth ministers and feel called to help youth know Jesus.  I’ve been touched as they’ve shared their experiences with me of miracles they’ve seen with prayer, healings they’ve witnessed, places the Lord has called them to go, etc.  It has been a great example to me of how to turn one’s heart over to the Lord and serve as He would serve.  If you want to check out their website it is under my “Evangelical” section of this blog under “Ignite.”  You can read more about their ministry and how the Lord is working in their lives.

Next, I thought about my mother who is a member of another Christian faith.  She is another great example of following her heart and following the Lord.  She is always calling me with some great scriptures she has read and something she’s heard from one of her favorite pastors on Christian radio.  I also love praying together with her and the sincerity she as a Christian shows for the Lord. She is another great example of a righteous woman who has turned her heart to the Lord.  I’m grateful for her example.

I then thought of some of my friends from other faiths who have helped me throughout my life.  Many of whom have commented on this blog from time to time.  One such friend commented in one of my earlier posts entitled “Receiving and Recognizing Answers to Prayer” when she made a comment on how prayer is a sacred conversation.  Some more of my Christian friends made some good comments and analogies on the “Making our Hearts a Manger” post a couple months ago.

Also, there are many of you who frequent this site who are at varying stages in spirituality…most are Christian and a few do not profess any faith that I have learned from and respect.  Some of you I’ve emailed personally and responded to personally and I appreciate your example of continuing to learn and grow and the desire to be closer to Jesus.  It helps me with my relationship with the Lord. 

I want to thank you personally for sharing what you have learned and continue to learn.  I feel we all are from the same God who created us and that He works through us as we are willing to learn and come to Him through prayer.  Sincere seekers of truth in all religions and faiths sharing their ideas and spiritual growth are what makes us all grow closer to God and Jesus Christ.  I hope we can all continue to learn and grow together.

In General Conference this week one of the Twelve Apostles, Jeffrey Holland said (paraphrased) that many Christians err in the verses in Revelation 22:18-19 that state:

18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

  19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book 
President Holland goes on to state that the “words of the book of this prophecy” are pertaining to only the book of Revelation and that having additional scripture such as the Book of Mormon is not adding or taking away from the book of Revelation.  He says many Christians err in that they think the “book of this prophecy” is the whole Bible and that many books in the Bible were written well after the book of Revelation was written. 
If this is the case, one could argue that even though Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon and other scripture, he did indeed add to the book of Revelation in at least five chapters which you can view here (make sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page to view the Book of Revelation translations).  One could argue that the hard life Joseph led and the imprisonments he had to face, the many babies that he and Emma had that died, and ultimately what caused his death were all part of the curses described in the book of Revelation.
The curse in Revelation doesn’t only mention adding to the book, but taking away from the book as well.  One could argue on the other hand that Joseph Smith wasn’t adding anything, but he was restoring the “plain and precious truths” that were taken out of the Bible as the Book of Mormon suggests.  One could argue that the “curses” that came as a result were persecution that has happened to other earlier Christians who translated the Bible or to those who don’t have the “fulness of the gospel.”  One could argue that Joseph Smith was persecuted because Satan was trying to thwart the work from progressing, etc. 
I can see why someone could side on the first option.  Especially those Christians who believe the Bible is all God has revealed and ever will reveal and that further revelation isn’t necessary and that throughout all the years there hasn’t been anything taken out of the Bible.  However I personally disagree with this.  I feel that continuing revelation is necessary and that many truths were indeed taken out of the Bible throughout the years.  In addition, if God had prophets and apostles before why wouldn’t he have them now?
What are your thoughts?

In the Bible, James talks about pure religion, which (summarized) is visiting the less fortunate and lifting them up.  This is the essence of humanitarian efforts throughout the world and according to James what religion should be all about.

As a member, I give 10% of my income towards tithing and an additional 5-10% towards what we call fast offerings or humanitarian efforts. During Priesthood Meeting this past Saturday, Bishop Burton gave information on the humanitarian efforts of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.   I was touched deeply as I saw the impact the LDS church has had for good in the world and felt honored to have donated a fraction of the money for such good causes.  It was also good to see that the LDS church teams up with other organizations such as the Red Cross to help those who are less fortunate in the world to have a greater impact.  I will include some highlights and information regarding the humanitarian efforts of the LDS Church. 

Humanitarian Efforts

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provides relief and development projects for humanitarian purposes in countries all over the world. Projects operate without regard to the nationality or religion of the recipients.
  • Humanitarian service may include emergency response to natural disasters, such as an earthquake or a tsunami, or man-made disasters, such as the effects of war and famine. It may also be part of a longer-term effort to meet serious and more entrenched human needs, such as the need to alleviate disease.
    • Within hours of a disaster, the Church works with local government officials to determine what supplies and food are needed. Materials are then immediately sent to the area.
    • After urgent needs are met, the Church looks for additional ways to help with the long-term needs of the community. The Church’s approach is to help people become self-reliant by teaching skills and providing resources for a self-sustained life.
    • Donations, principally from Church members but also from people around the world, are used to make relief projects possible. One hundred percent of the donations given to the Church’s humanitarian services are used for relief efforts. The Church absorbs its own overhead costs.
    • The humanitarian services arm of the Church sponsors five ongoing global projects to help people become more self-reliant. Initiatives include neonatal resuscitation training, clean water projects, wheelchair distribution, vision treatment and measles vaccinations.

Some Humanitarian Stats

  • In 2003, the Church sent its first shipment of Atmit to Ethiopia to help relieve the starvation that 12 million people were facing. The first shipment comprised 80,000 pounds of the mixture.
  • In 2006, 54,840 wheelchairs were distributed in 54 countries: Albania, American Samoa, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Barbados, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Serbia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.
  • As part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ vision treatment program, volunteer ophthalmologists assist medical care providers around the world with training and equipment to treat simple vision problems. Since 2003, the Church’s efforts have assisted 20,000 people. In 2006, training was conducted in 10 countries: Albania, Argentina, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Ghana, India, Kiribati, Mozambique and Nigeria.
  • From 1985 to 2006, the Church has shipped 54,905 tons of food and 107,061 tons of other supplies to more than 150 countries.  In 2006, the Church provided $14.9 million (USD) in cash and materials in response to the conflict in Lebanon, the earthquake in Indonesia, for refugees in Burundi, Sudan and Uganda, and 76 other disasters.
  • There are many other stats that you can view online.  Bishop Burton gave the updated statistics in his talk and I’m assuming that information should be available by the end of this week.

    How You Can Help

    If you are interested in contributing to these efforts there are numerous ways you can do so.  I know that in our church we put together emergency kits for the people in Mexico during the floods last year.  You can also simply donate money and many other opportunities as well.  For more information on how to help check out this website: http://www.lds.org/library/page/display/0,7098,6433-1-3298-1,00.html

    I am very grateful to be a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and feel the Lord has blessed me abundantly.  I am grateful and feel it a privelage to give my money and know 100% of the money is being used for helping others. 

    Cleanse your Soul with Grace for Grace “Spiritual SOAP”

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