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glenn beck crying
A few weeks back, I had asked our bishop (pastor) of our ward (congregation) if I could run the sacrament meeting (church service) and have it focused on missionary work. I’ve been working closely with the missionaries in our ward and also helping members of our ward with missionary work for the past 2 years as my calling (in the Mormon church everyone is asked to help out with callings under the inspiration of the bishop) and I had felt prompted by the Lord to share experiences with the congregation and also highlight all of the good they are doing in the community by bringing others to Christ.

As part of the service, I had invited some of the recent converts to share their testimonies and stories of how they became members of the church. All of them had to make great sacrifices and many have had to overcome addictions in order to become members and it has been truly inspiring working with them and helping them.

As one of the new members was sharing their story, they became emotional and overwhelmed with all of the good things they had experienced since becoming a member. I thought back over the last year with this certain individual and reflected on how when I first met them, this person was attending a different Christian church that preached a lot of negative things about Mormons and she was very critical towards our message. However, gradually she became more open to learning and allowing the Holy Spirit into her life and she had many miracles happen in her life as a result, including being baptized.

I became a bit emotional listening to her talk and I was up next. What made things even more emotional for me was that I thought of all of the people that I had met while out in the community who hadn’t ended up making as much progress as others and were still struggling with faith, drugs, emotional or physical health, and a number of other things…and feelings of compassion overcame me. Not a good sign if I wanted to “keep it together” during my talk.

Well, I didn’t keep it together. I stood up and said “There are people struggling out there…” and it was over. I was crying and it took at least a minute for me to compose myself and deliver the talk I had prepared.

Today in testimony meeting (this is a meeting Mormons have monthly where anyone is allowed to get up and share their testimony, or witness of the gospel), I noticed a lot of people crying as well. I’ve had people who visit a Mormon church for the first time make comments over the years about why we cry so much.

I can’t speak for anyone other than myself, but for me, I’ve had a lot of times in my life where the Holy Spirit softens my heart and I’m filled with compassion, gratitude, and an overwhelming sense of love. This is something that happens sometimes when I reflect on the blessings I’ve had and as I share it, my emotions take over. I can understand how weird it must be for someone coming for the first time and seeing a bunch of people getting up and crying, but if you’ve experienced the blessing of being touched by God and having a change of heart, you can understand why it happens.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mormons crying in church, I hope this sheds some insight into why it happens and I invite you to learn more. Maybe as you learn more and gain a testimony of some of the things we share our testimonies about, we’ll get to hear you share your experiences and we can all cry together!

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I recently came across an excellent conversion story from a person I don’t know who emailed me and shared his conversion story with me.

As you read this story, you will see that life hasn’t been easy for him and like all of us who choose to follow Jesus, he has had to make some sacrifices, but he has been blessed in return.

Enjoy his story:

Daniel’s Conversion Story

I was called many times and I would not hear (Alma 10:6)

 

I was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. My parents moved  to Florida when I was about 3 and a half. I was raised in a Jewish household in which Judaism played a large cultural role but a rather smaller spiritual one. We would go to synagogue for the high holiday services, and then go back home and eat shrimps and pork. My father is a very secular individual, and his lack of belief in God is rooted in the Gas Chambers of Auschwitz and multiplied by heartbreak and loss. My mother was the more spiritual of the two. She taught me to believe in God and to love the spiritual. And yet, she also believed in a God that did not know or care about the little things that we did. “God doesn’t have an IBM computer” she would tell me whenever I would ask why we didn’t keep the same commandments my orthodox friends did. I went to a Jewish private elementary school and had my Bar Mitzvah at the age of 13, but religion was not a very large part of my life.

 

Nonetheless, I had a lot of experiences that led me to spiritually wonder about the purpose of life. I remember as a small child asking my mother what happened after death, and she didn’t really have a response. She said she hoped there was something after this life, but wasn’t entirely sure. I went to the library and read books for kids about death, but didn’t find any answers there either. My grandfather died when I was 6 and my grandmother when I was 8. Death seemed like an awful force that I could not fully understand.

 

As I got older, my father who had long suffered from heart problems began to have serious health issues. One night when I was in fifth grade he got taken to the hospital by ambulance late at night. When I was 11 he had his third open heart surgery. The possibility of his death was always ever present in my life.

 

Amidst this background, I continued to search for spiritual answers that would help me understand why. After elementary school I stopped attending a Jewish Private School, and went to a public middle and high school. There, for the first time I was surrounded by people of other faiths and began to take an interest in christianity.

 

One of my best friends at the time Sarrah was a strong believer in Christ and she really helped me to learn more about him. She had a lot of light despite a life filled with darkness and trials and I was drawn to that special light. She prayed for me that I would always be surrounded by strong Christian individuals and that prayer came true in a myriad of ways. Wherever I traveled and however far I got away from God, people of faith seemed to literally find me. Thanks to her influence and that of several others, I began to more and more strongly believe in Jesus Christ. I also had a lot of personal experiences such as spiritual dreams that led me to believe in a God and in Jesus Christ. I remember reading Isaiah 53 and trembling with awe at the description of the lamb of God suffering for the sins of all mankind.

 

And yet, something held me back from fully committing to Christ. In part, it was the opposition of my parents whose heart broke as I told them about my interest in Jesus. On the other hand, there were several nagging questions that I just did not feel were settled. I wondered what would happen to the generations of my ancestors who had lived and died Jewish. They had faced the gas chambers and pogroms because of their faith. I could not accept the notion of a God that would condemn them to hell, and yet my Christian friends offered little hope. I began to slowly drift away from Christianity

 

When I was 15 my mom was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. It came as a total shock to me, because she had always been the healthier of my parents. Even though she fought valiantly, she died shortly after I turned 18. The last months were especially difficult even though her faith in the face of that trial was also inspiring. The loss was absolutely devastating to me and in time it continued to gnaw away at my faith. As I began my undergraduate at Brandeis University, I began to read Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens and fell under their spell. I didn’t know how to accept a God that would allow my mother to suffer, and so I went to the opposite extreme of denying his existence

 

Around this time, I became friends with a girl named Tatiana who I later found out was Mormon. She was one of the only two undergraduate members of the church in the whole university! She wasn’t active at the time, but she still held many of the same values. She wouldn’t drink and had a very traditional view about the role of women which stood out in a very ‘progressive’/ feminist friendly university. I became really intrigued by her values. We dated for a while, but ultimately things didn’t work out between us.

 

I spent a summer studying abroad in China, and while there had an instructor who was a strong member of the Christian community there. We began to talk about God and religion, and those lengthy conversations with him really opened me up to the possibility of a God again. I noticed the vibrant spirituality that people had in China, and I began to yearn for something more in my life. When I returned, Tatiana had decided to begin going back to church and I felt for some reason prompted to check it out. Up to that point I knew next to nothing about mormonism, but I went to Barnes and Nobles and I sat down and picked up Mormonism for Dummies and the Complete Iditot’s Guide to Mormonism and I sat down and began to read. As I read, I was really struck by the power of the doctrine I read. I began to read about the pre-earth life and the plan of salvation and it just felt right…It filled a hole in my soul. It immediately made sense to me. It answered all the question I’d had about how one could believe Christ was the way and yet also believe that those who didn’t know him could be saved. I went to my friend Tatiana and asked her if I could go to church with her.

The next day was a sunday, and I went with her to the Cambridge University Ward. We were late for sacrament meeting, so I ended up going only to Sunday School and Priesthood, but what struck me was how friendly people were. I was warned to wear a suit and tie, so it took people a while to realize I was not a member. I was asked to give a closing prayer, and when I expressed that I wasn’t a member, people were a bit shocked. Pretty quickly however they set up a meeting for me with the missionaries.

Blessed is he that believe in the word of God and is baptized without stubbornness of heart. (Alma 32:16)

The first time I met with the missionaries, I had thought through a whole bunch of questions relating to the doctrine of the Church. I asked them difficult or near impossible questions such as why are there transvestite and hermaphodidic individuals if gender is a pre-mortal trait, and what happens to those that have more than one husband or wife in this life. My poor missionaries did a great job though of deflecting the questions and inviting me to read and prayer to God sincerely.

 

Even at that early point I knew I was feeling something special. I told my friend Tatiana that she shouldn’t expect me to be baptized quickly or anything, but that I could really see myself liking the church. I had some hang ups with the Church’s conservative political position on things like gay marriage but I felt myself drawn towards it more and more

 

I began to read the Book of Mormon and I remember liking it but also finding some things about it strange. It was strange to me to think of Israelites talking about Jesus Christ, but it also made so much sense to me. It was weird to imagine that Jesus had been hid like a big secret of some sort from the people of Israel. Indeed, it made much more sense to realize that he had been taught about all along  I continued to read everything I could find about the church ( both pro and anti-Mormon) but felt drawn more and more to the church.

 

One day, I was talking to a non-member friend who is really opposed to the Church. She began to bash the church and especially focused on how awful the LDS Temple was. She had a good friend that was married in the temple and that friend’s family could not attend the wedding since they were not members. My friend was absolutely disgusted by this practice. As she spoke to me, I was pretty taken aback and wondered why that was the practice. While thinking about it, I felt strongly prompted to go to see what the temple was like in Boston.It was 9 at night, but I got into my car and drove to the temple ground.

 

When I got to the temple, I got out of my car and I felt an overwhelming spiritual presence.  I had never felt something quite so powerful. I felt it through every fiber of my being. I felt as if the God was talking directly to me. In my mind, I heard his voice telling me that the church was true and that he was there. I was stubborn, and so I got back into my car and I drove to the nearby Catholic and Protestant churches to see if I would feel the same way there. I didn’t feel anything of the sort ( in fact I felt rather negative spiritually in front of the Catholic Church). I then got back to my car and drove in front of the temple, and when I got there again I went to one of the sides and knelt down in front of one of the stained glass windows. There, I poured my heart out to God and I felt transformed by the spirit. My whole being was filled with light. In that moment, I could clearly see the person that the Lord wanted me to become. I could see my potential as his son. I knew without a doubt that God loved me and wanted me to join his church. Since that moment I have never doubted the truthfulness of the Gospel. Even in my darkest moments, that experience has been like a beacon of light.

 

I knew that I should be baptized

 

When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. (Psalms 27: 10)

 

Telling my father about my decision to be baptized wasn’t an easy thing to do at all. Luckily, soon after that, we met in New York for the Jewish high holidays. The weekend before, I had been with my ward to a camp out up in Sharon Vermont at the Joseph Smith Birthplace and I got up to bear my testimony that i knew the church was true. Telling my father of that testimony was much harder though. We walked around Manhattan near Lincoln Center, with the Manhattan temple nearby, and I finally worked up the courage to tell him. His reaction was of course quite negative as I would have expected. He strongly forbade me from getting baptized and told me that if I did he would not want to have anything to do with me.  I compromised with my father and agreed that I would wait six months before baptism so that he could know that it was a sincere desire of my heart

 

I spent the next semester studying abroad in London and it was a pretty challenging time in many ways. Throughout it all, however, I went to church every Sunday and bore my testimony each month during fast & testimony meeting. At times, I felt quite alone, but my faith in the atonement of Christ got me through it all.

 

After six months, my father was still as opposed as ever to my being baptized, and so I rather painfully ended up postponing my baptism again. Even though I was over 18, my father’s approval was ultimately very important to me and I wanted to try to respect him. I returned to the U.S. from Israel and as I was about to leave Florida to drive up to Philadelphia where I would spend the summer my father finally gave me his permission to be bapitzed. I went up to Boston then next weekend and I was baptized into the University Ward there. I still remember the joy that I felt when I was baptized. I felt cleansed from all of my sin and like an innocent child in the eyes of God. It was such a wonderful and unforgettable feeling.

 

Although there were challenges after baptism and confirmation, I felt a new energy and ability to cope with trials. My co-workers that summer were strongly critical of the Church because of its stance on gay marriage, and I struggled with internal doubts over that same topic, but I kept on striving and struggling. My ward had a trip to palmyra and while there I prayed in the sacred grove and felt the Lord confirm to me again that everything I had come to believe was true. That summer was one of great growth and development ( and I met my future wife while living in Philadelphia as well!).

 

Behold, verily I say unto you, go from them only for a little time, and declare my word, and I will prepare a place for them. (D&C 31:6)

 

Still, one of the hardest decisions loomed before me. Even before baptism, I had begun wondering whether I would have to serve a mission. I began rationalizing and telling myself that since I was older than most missionaries I wouldn’t have to do so. Nevertheless, I felt really strongly that I should serve and that service would transform my life for the better in so many ways. It was ultimately a difficult choice knowing how strong my father’s opposition would be, but I realized that whenever I thought about serving I felt incredible peace and calm, while when I thought to stay home I felt selfish and ill at ease. I felt a burning desire to share the gospel with others and to help them feel what I felt. Ultimately, I knew that I had to serve. I filled out my papers, deferred from law school, and told my father about my choice to serve.

 

Of course, he didn’t take that well and he threatened me once again with disowning. The hardest part wasn’t the threat, rather it was seeing the pain that I knew I was causing him Yet, I understood that serving would be ultimately what would secure for me an eternal family. Still, I remember feeling so physically and spiritually ill when I put in my papers. I had to remember to ‘cast not my confidence away’ and rely on the Lord. For weeks I felt discomforted and filled with despair. I was certain I’d never see my father again if I went to serve a mission. I didn’t know how I would pay for schooling once I got back. Yet, I put my faith in the Lord. When I got my call and heard that I would be serving in Novosibirsk, Russia I felt the spirit fill me with an overwhelming sense of peace and a confirmation that what i was doing was right.

 

I had the most incredible mission experience. I loved serving the Lord and I am so grateful for that experience. I know that the call was inspired of God. On my mission I gained a far deeper testimony of the savior and his church. I came to know him as I learned to love and serve his children. They were far and away the best two years I have ever spent, and I am so grateful to the Lord for the opportunity. I am thankful I was able to touch and teach some of my precious brothers and sisters and to help them enter the waters of baptism.

 

While on my mission, I felt strongly prompted to apply to law school at BYU Law. I had already been accepted and deferred at a higher ranked law school, but I still felt a strong prompting to apply there. I ended up getting offered a full scholarship and was able to come to law school without having to take upon myself massive debt. I am currently finishing up my first year of law school and absolutely loving it. I am also engaged to Jessica who I met back in Philadelphia. Perhaps most importantly of all, my testimony is still burning strongly and I am filled with conviction and the power of the Lord. I am grateful to him for all of my many blessings and for the opportunities that yet lay ahead. I know that my redeemer lives and I am so grateful to him!

I know that joining the church can be tough and that Satan often puts challenges in the way. However, I also bear witnesses that if we follow Christ and show our faith everything will work out for the better. Every good thing in my life today has come because I showed faith. Because of my faith I have a scholarship at a law school, a wonderful fiance and I had the most incredible opportunity to serve God on my mission. All the things I was afraid I would lose have not been lost. Although not perfect, my relationship with my father continues to improve and I was blessed to be able to see him again after my mission. If you have faith and not fear and follow the savior I promise that the Lord will pour down his blessings from heaven!

 

The most recent U.S. Religious Landscape Survey had some very interested statistics about religious beliefs in the United States.   The survey included categories such as how many people in the U.S. believe in God (87%), a break-down of the percentages of religions in the United States (Mormons are almost 2%), and more.

One category that I found interesting was that in the state of Utah (which has 58% Mormons) 49% of the people believe there is more than one way to interpret their religion.

I realize that some of those who participated in the survey may not have been LDS, but I assumed since there is the greatest majority of Mormons in Utah that the majority of those participating in the survey would be Mormon.

If this is true, I wonder which aspects of LDS doctrine or teachings people believe can be interpreted in various ways.

I’ve written before about the dangers in black and white thinking, and I think this survey shows others may agree with me. 

For example, the Word of Wisdom can be interpreted in many ways.  It is advised not to sleep longer than is needful, or to eat too much meat, but exactly how much is too much?  That’s up for the individual to decide. 

Other examples, at least for members of the LDS faith that many people believe should be pretty clear-cut include: faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End.  However, those can be up for interpretation as well.  One needs to have enough faith to confess Jesus as their Savior, repent for their sins, enter into the kingdom through baptism, receive the Holy Ghost, and remain faithful throughout their days.  Seems pretty cut and dry, right?  However, some people may believe they need to meet certain requirements to show faith where others feel they don’t, etc.

There could be more examples, including interpretation of attending church, serving in the church, serving one’s community, attending the temple, reading scriptures, following the prophet, interpreting scriptures, and the list goes on.

I’m curious to see what you as readers think.  Do you believe there is more than one way to interpret the LDS faith, or is it pretty cut and dry? 

 

As I read the article “Judge: College Discriminated against non-Mormons“, I reflected on my experience with the University of Phoenix.

It was about 6 years ago and I had recently graduated with my Bachelor’s degree.  I had applied for a job with the University of Phoenix and was sitting in front of my future boss.  He eye-balled my resume for a bit and asked me a few questions pertaining to my prior work experience.  He then saw that I had served a mission in Germany and started asking me many questions about my mission.  I got a bit nervous because you never know what you’re going to get from someone when they start drilling you about being a Mormon.  He then asked me if I’d been a leader in the mission field and I told him of my leadership roles I’d had.  After I shared that with him, he said “if you were a zone leader, you’ll do a great job here!  Welcome aboard, Elder!”  It turned out he was a Mormon too.

This experience appears to have been a similar occurance at UoPhx…enough so that they lost the lawsuit and had to fork out about $2 million. 

One can look at it two ways.  On the one hand, the manager wants to hire someone he/she is confident in and knows they’re good salespeople.  They don’t have really much to go off of other than a person’s word and their resume.  For a manager who has “been there done that” as a Mormon, it is a safer and more familiar risk to take hiring a Mormon over a non-Mormon. 

On the other hand, there may be better candidates but the manager doesn’t relate as well with them due to lack of similarities.  The Mormon manager may not relate to the non-Mormon.

Also, I saw especially in the comment section, a lot of non-Mormons who had felt discriminated against.  This is terribly unfortunate, but I think it is a part of the Mormon culture for Mormons to “stick together”.  We are encouraged from a very young age to only associate with those of our faith in dating situations and otherwise.  I feel that this “sticking together” attitude could be a large reason why this lawsuit came about.  How can we as Mormons break this stigma? Should we try to break this stigma?  Why or why not?

I feel that we do ourselves and others a huge injustice if we close ourselves off to the world and not “give them a chance.”  If we truly believe in a God who loves all people unconditionally we wouldn’t look at them as Christian, Mormon, Athiest, or whatever.  We would look at them as children of God…our brothers and sisters.  By doing so, we would break the stigma the Mormons stick together and only care for their own.

I read this article in Meridian Magazine and thought it was very appropriate to share.  This brother in LA has every right to retaliate, but chooses a Christ-like approach to dealing with opposition.

To read the article click here.

Being that it’s conference weekend, I thought I’d share some of my favorite conference talks from various LDS leaders throughout the years and how they’ve affected me for good.  So here are a few of them in no specific order:

The Grandeur of God  by Jeffery R Holland

Jeffery Holland gave this talk a few years back and it really helped me in understanding who God is and my relationship to Him as my Heavenly Father.  It helped me more realize how I can develop a personal relationship with Him and how He loves me no matter what.  It also helped me realize my relationship with other people in the world as my brothers and sisters.

This Thing Wasn’t Done in a Corner by Gordon B Hinckley

I was on my mission in Frankfurt, Germany when President Hinckley gave this talk.  I was filled with such enthusiasm and desire to share the gospel that I couldn’t wait to get out and go street contacting to share the message of the Book of Mormon to the Germans.

The Power of God’s Love  by John H Groberg

When Brother Groberg gave this talk it touched me deeply.  I was reminded of the love I had felt for the people I served while I was on my mission.  The people I taught and prayed with, my companions, and the fellow LDS church members I had served with.  I also thought of my time as a leader in the Elders Quorom and the young men I had served and loved and helped.  I’ve had many great experiences serving in the church, but these two times are the times I’ve felt closest to the Lord and felt His love for all of us.

Be Thou an Example Thomas S Monson

This talk is very inspiring and the words “fill minds with truth, hearts with love, lives with service” have helped me in many areas of my life as I try to stay close to what the Lord would have me do.

We Walk By Faith  by Gordon B Hinckely

I’ve written briefly in previous posts about depression and anxiety I had from separation as a child from a parent.  This effected me emotionally and when I met my now wife and was preparing to get married.  I had serious anxiety over getting married.  However, I knew it was the right thing and approved by the Lord and this talk by President Hinckley helped me take the step into the unknown.  I’m very grateful for the guidance the Lord gave me to get married and for the encouraging words of this talk during that time.  I can’t imagine life without my beautiful wife.

Models to Follow by Thomas S Monson

After I graduated from BYU in 2002, I enrolled into graduate school.  However, I started feeling promptings from the Spirit of the Lord that I needed to move to Washington and live with my grandmother.  I wanted to make sure though that this was the Lord’s will before I took this leap of faith and moved.  I prayed and fasted during general conference weekend to get a confirmation from the Spirit and during this talk by President Monson I felt a strong confirmation that I needed to move to Washington.  After I moved to Washington so many things came into place.  I met my wife, got a job that put me into the career I have now, and met so many life long friends that have helped me grow closer to the Lord and as an individual.

Beware of Pride by Ezra Taft Benson

When I read this the first time I read this I was on my mission.  I was very humbled as I read this and it helped me understand and love the German people and see them as God sees them.  This helped me understand the importance of humility and how the more humble we are, the more God can work in our lives.

Living worthy of the Girl you will Someday Marry  by Gordon B Hinckley

I was single for a good little while and I used this talk as an example of how I should try to live my life while dating.  It was a long time before I married my wife, but it was worth the wait.  My wife is such a great support and sweet person and I feel so grateful for her.

Life’s Lesson’s Learned by Joseph B Wirthlin

This talk is a very fun talk to listen to about Joseph B Wirthlin’s experiences playing football in high school and college and how he was able to use integrity while playing sports even when it cost them the game.  He shares a life-changing event that occurred on the football field that changed his life.

These are a few talks that have helped me throughout the years.  I’d be interested in hearing what some of your favorite talks have been and how they’ve helped you.  Feel free to share!

I was looking up something from Joseph Smith’s Lectures on Faith that he gave in 1835 and I came across Jerry Stokes’ website.  In his website he compares these lectures to the Word of Faith movement (which I’ve never heard of before) and says it is heretical.  I will have to agree with him that many things stated in the Lectures on Faith are heretical to mainstream Christianity, which is a given for LDS theology.  One of the things he points out as being heretical is the fact that Joseph Smith states that one of God’s main attributes is faith and that without faith He would cease to be God.  This concept is found in Lecture 1 verses 13 – 17 and is quoted below:

13. As we receive by faith all temporal blessings that we do receive, so we in like manner receive by faith all spiritual blessings that we do receive. But faith is not only the principle of action, but of power also, in all intelligent beings, whether in heaven or on earth. Thus says the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, 11:3 —

14. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God; so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

15. By this we understand that the principle of power which existed in the bosom of God, by which the worlds were framed, was faith; and that it is by reason of this principle of power existing in the Deity, that all created things exist; so that all things in heaven, on earth, or under the earth exist by reason of faith as it existed in Him.

16. Had it not been for the principle of faith the worlds would never have been framed neither would man have been formed of the dust. It is the principle by which Jehovah works, and through which he exercises power over all temporal as well as eternal things. Take this principle or attribute — for it is an attribute — from the Deity, and he would cease to exist.

17. Who cannot see, that if God framed the worlds by faith, that it is by faith that he exercises power over them, and that faith is the principle of power? And if the principle of power, it must be so in man as well as in the Deity? This is the testimony of all the sacred writers, and the lesson which they have been endeavouring to teach to man.

I can understand Mr Stokes’ concern coming from a Christian perspective.  He may be appalled to hear that Jehovah, who created the world, would need faith.  After all, the Greek meaning of the word faith is “conviction of religious truth or of God.”  If Jehovah is all-powerful and all-knowing and He is the being who we worship, what need is there for Him to have faith in Himself?  Furthermore, does this lesson God’s stature and is it blasphemous to say that God has faith just as man does?

I don’t think it is wrong to say God has faith.  By definition, faith is “the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.”  For example, we read in the first book of the Bible (Gen 1:1-2) that God created the heaven and earth and the earth was without form.  The Hebrew definition of “without form” means “to lie waste; a desolation (of surface), i.e. desert; fig. a worthless thing; adv. in vain” .  Therefore, God hoped for and had faith in himself that the earth would be made and he created the beautiful world that we live in out of chaos (or nothing depending on your belief).  This fits into the definition of faith that we just discussed. 

Now, does saying this lessen God’s stature and elevate man’s in relation to God?  Not at all.  In fact, this proves the majesty of God and shows us our relationship to Him.  We are humans and have seeds of divinity in that we have the power to have faith and create things, etc.  But no one can create a world. 

Now, I will admit that I disagree with Joseph Smith’s statement that God would “cease to exist” if He didn’t have faith.  In the scriptures we read that God is never-changing and always exsisting.  God would be God regardless of whether He created worlds or not.

Overall, I believe in Joseph Smith’s statements on faith and man’s relationship to God.  I believe that man has great potential and that we are children of God and therefore have seeds of divinity within us. 

What are your thoughts?  Do you think God has faith and is it wrong to say that He has faith?  Do you have any other examples from the scriptures where God or Jesus showed faith?

I’m sure most people have heard the news by now about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encouraging it’s nearly 1million members in California to do “all they can do” to support the initiative in November to over-turn the ruling supporting bay marriage. 

If you haven’t heard about this, you can read the following blogs:

California Saints To Get The Call

Envisioning a Politically Thoughtful Church Culture

California Mormons Won’t Be Cool With Acts of Protest At Their Chapels

Mormons in California Called to Defend Marriage by Top LDS Leaders

The letter from the LDS Prophet and his counselors encourages saints to do “all they can do” to support traditional marriages, especially in California during the upcoming vote in November. 

Someone told me of a friend of theirs who lives in California that contacted them and asked if they were supporting the Church’s call to “do all you can do” to support the ban on gay marriages.  When my friend told the person they were not supporting it, the individual got upset and self-righteously said “aren’t you going to support the Prophet?”  This in my mind is going too far and I feel that “doing all you can do” is objective and depends on the individual.  If certain circumstances cause someone to believe in gay marriage, yet they still are believing Latter-day Saints, maybe doing “all they can do” is different than someone on the opposite end of the spectrum. 

In addition, last December Elder Ballard said in an address to BYU students that the LDS Church takes a politically neutral stance.  Yet, of all the issues the LDS Church decided to go back on that statement and get politically involved with the ban on gay marriage.  Personally, I think it is fine if the Church encourages members to take a stand on what the Church feels is a moral issue, including gay marriage.  Whether or not I decided to vote for or against it is a personal choice and if it’s a moral issue I can take it to the Lord in prayer and see what I feel. 

Obviously, the two questions are:

1. What is your take on what it means to “do all you can do” to support the ban on gay marriage?

2. Should the church get politically involved?  If it gets involved with this, do you think the Church should get involved with other issues?  Why or why not?

 

So I was over at Rusty’s Blog and they have a cool website with a timeline of all the youtube videos.  I checked out the “Mormon” timeline and the very first one was Mormon Rap.  I remember when I was a kid and this first came out.  I haven’t heard it for 20 years but it brought back good memories and a smile listening to it again.  There are quite a few YouTube versions, but here’s a good one if you’re up for some reminiscing.  If you’ve never heard it before, be warned…it’s cheesy, but fun if you know the Mormon “lingo.”

Have fun!

06-24-08

I posted this just for fun the other day and who’d of thought it would be mentioned in an article by the Deseret News’ “Mormon Times” online.  If you read at the very end she links my “Mormon Rap” post to her article.

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.

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