Conservative, Liberal, and Intellectual Mormons

For most of my church life, I’ve thought of members as being either active or inactive. Nowadays, I view members as being conservative, liberal, or intellectual.

The church has always had diversity in its members. The standard works provides an interesting cast of characters to help us understand just how wide and deep the diversity of God’s children is. Whether we look at Lehi’s family or a thousand years of Jewish and Nephite history we encounter diversity and variety.

We are the Gathered of the Last Dispensation

The Lord taught, He …shall gather together his elect… Mark 13:27. We represent the gathering that has been going on from the day the Lord appeared to the prophet Joseph Smith. We’re gathered because we hear His voice, and we know Him because we followed Him before. We’re even numbered, and none that Heavenly Father has given Christ will be lost (John 10:14, 27, D&C 50:41-42).

Many, if Not All of Us, Took Substantial Risk Continue reading

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A Repentance Primer for the Average Sinner

Forgiveness of sin is possible because of the atonement of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures teach that to obtain this gift of the atonement you must make changes in your life. Whatever it is that you’re doing or have done that constitutes sin needs to be addressed.

Some sins are easily dealt with while others are more difficult. If, for example, you stole something of small value two years ago and realized that it was wrong and that you are guilty of breaking the Lords commandment, you can repent by asking in prayer to be forgiven. On the other hand, if you are guilty of sin that is addictive, like internet pornography, then you will probably need to seek out the help of your Bishop and maybe a qualified professional.

I think the most important part of repentance is to understand that the Savior is the ultimate source of forgiveness. The church and church leaders are there to help you, but the Savior is where your focus needs to be.

I know something about the process of repentance because I’ve utilized it many times and will continue to do so. With that said I would like to share with you a few things that I’ve learned along the way. Continue reading

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Valiant or Honorable

It isn’t a secret that the Mormon church is losing some of its members. The reasons for the loss of members are manifold.

Some say the reasons are complicated, others say it a matter of choice. Those who are leaving the faith talk about such things as the multiple accounts of the Joseph Smith’s  first vision or problems with the Book of Abraham. The list goes on. Those who are staying and thriving in the faith talk about testimony and spiritual experiences. The list goes on.

The scriptures address the varying degrees of faith manifest by church members. Mormons have D&C 76. This revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith by vision provides some powerful insight into what happens to church members and others on judgment day.

It gives some details about the three degrees of glory, in other words, heaven. One of the more interesting aspects of D&C 76 is the perspective given about two of the kingdoms of glory, the terrestrial and celestial. The terrestrial will be inhabited by honorable men and women while the celestial will be occupied by men and women who are valiant in the testimony of Jesus.

Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie gave a description that helps us understand what it means to be valiant: Continue reading

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Example of Faith: Marion G. Romney—Prayer Answered

The following example of faith is quoted from Elder F. Burton Howard’s biography of President Marion G. Romney:

In 1967 Sister Romney suffered a serious stroke. The doctors told then–Elder Romney that the damage from the hemorrhage was severe. They offered to keep her alive by artificial means but did not recommend it. The family braced themselves for the worst. Brother Romney confided to those closest to him that in spite of his anguished, personal yearning for Ida’s restored health and continued companionship, above all he wanted “the Lord’s will to be done and to take what he needed to take without whimpering.”

As the days wore on, Sister Romney became less responsive. She had, of course, been administered to, but Elder Romney was “reluctant to counsel the Lord about the matter.” Because of his earlier unsuccessful experience of praying that he and Ida might have children, he knew that he could never ask in prayer for something which was not in harmony with the will of the Lord.

He fasted that he might know how to show the Lord that he had faith and that he would accept God’s will in their lives. He wanted to make sure that he had done all he could do. She continued to fail.

One evening in a particularly depressed state, with Ida unable to speak or recognize him, Brother Romney went home and turned as he always had to the scriptures in an effort to commune with the Lord. He picked up the Book of Mormon and continued where he had left off the night before. Continue reading

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Wrapping Our Minds Around An Idea—Choose Your Ideas Carefully

Wrapping our minds around an idea is one of the joys of life. It is fulfilling to wrap our minds around an idea and then apply our new idea in some fashion and see the results.

However, at times the results can be unsettling. Ideas can seemingly wrap themselves around our minds and create misery for ourselves and others. The Lord told us there is opposition in all things, and this includes the pursuit of learning.

I believe it is important that we choose carefully those ideas we wish to embrace. Not all ideas are of equal worth, to test this, ask those who are on the receiving end of ideas hatched by leaders of such countries as North Korea, Zimbabwe, and the Darfur region of Sudan.

I’ve decided I like the ideas that brought forth the United States Constitution best. Even though they are not perfect, the last few hundreds of years have shown that the foundational ideas found in the US constitutional are unsurpassed for creating freedom and prosperity for humanity.

Foundational Ideas Of Faith Continue reading

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The Savior Teaches a Unique Doctrine Regarding Forgiveness Over Dinner

The scripture teach that the Savior spent time with those who were considered “unworthy” because they were not every good at keeping the commandments. He had great compassion for them and blessed, encouraged, and forgave them. On one occasion, the Savior visited the home of a Pharisee named Simeon. As an invited guest the Savior arrives and befriends a known sinner, a women and enters with her. The scripture says:

And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Luke 7:37 – 38

Try to imagine this scene by considering how you and your family would react if you were asked by your Bishop to host a dinner for a visiting apostle and he arrives with a woman known to be a pole dancer in a local bar. Can you imagine your surprise as they both enter your home, she is weeping, and singular focused on the General Authority, and in a few minutes after sitting for dinner, begins to wash his feet with tears, and wipe them with her hair, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with an ointment? What would you be thinking? Would you like Simeon say to yourself, “This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.” Luke 7:39

The Savior, and remember what the word “Savior” means, taught Simeon, using a short parable, one of the most interesting concepts or doctrines regarding forgiveness ever revealed: Continue reading

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Counseling God or Following Blindly Versus Counseling with God

The title of this post outlines three ways we can approach the Heavenly Father as we deal with the various issues of life. I’ve experienced all three ways of dealing with the Heavenly Father at different times in my life. At times I have sought to counsel Him, at other times I have followed church leaders blindly, and now I’ve learned, at least to some degree, how to counsel with the Lord. Following are a few things I’d like to share. 

Counseling God

 It is easy to slip into a mode of prayer (prayer is the usual way we counsel with the Lord, but not the only way) where we end up counseling God. I’ll mention three kinds of prayer that fit this description.

1. I’ve got to go—prayer. This is done when we hurriedly give the Lord a list of things to do and then rush off to do something “important”. I think sincerity and thankfulness are absent in this form of prayer. Directing God about the universe to do our will is the least likely prayer to be heard an answered, in my opinion (children and young adults sometimes pray this way and I believe Heavenly Father hears them, but for the average adult, I wonder). Continue reading

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O God, Wilt Thou Make Thyself Known Unto Me?

“O God…wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee…” Alma 22:18

These few words spoken by an old man, King Lamoni; in his first prayer, are full of meaning for those who desire to know God.

King Lamoni asked God to reveal Himself, he understood that to know God, God would need to reveal himself (1 Corinthians 2:11). King Lamoni also understood the need for repentance when he said that he would give away all of his sins to know God.

These two principles:

1. Faith that God will reveal Himself, and Continue reading

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Suspected Answers to Prayer

We often read or hear that faith is a decision. And so it is. Those who make the decision to be faithful also make the decision to take the Holy Spirit for their guide. I think of them as inseparable companions. We’re taught that “faith cometh not by signs, but signs follow those that believe.” One of the signs that accompany the faithful is the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Guidance of the Holy Spirit comes because of the grace of God. Another way of saying this is: it comes as a tender mercy to, “those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do”.

One of the surprising things about receiving the guidance of the Holy Spirit is that we don’t always recognize it. We may suspect it, but at times we just can’t be sure (at other times, we know prayer resulted in guidance). I’ll provide an example of a suspected answer to prayer that resulted in guidance from the Spirit.

Years ago, I was part of a group our Stake President asked to work on a filmstrip about dating. We worked on it for months. The night of the presentation, in the old Joseph Smith Building at BYU, as people started to take their seats, we realized that the screen to project the slide show on wasn’t down. Without the screen we couldn’t project the filmstrip. The room where the controls for the screen were located was locked up. We had about 10 minutes to find a solution. I took a moment and explained to Heavenly Father our predicament and asked for his help. Continue reading

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Of the Tenets Thou Shalt Not Talk

My goal in blogging is to write about those things that will help followers of Christ draw nearer to the lord. The scriptures teach, “draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you.” With that thought in mind I would like to explore the following scripture.

And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost. D&C 19:31

What is the Lord teaching Martin Harris, and the rest of us in this verse of scripture?

The way I read this verse of scripture is that the Lord is teaching His followers the importance of talking about those things that will be the most beneficial Spiritually. He says, of “tenets thou shalt not talk” (the word tenet only appears twice in the standard works). Continue reading

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