Saturday, February 26, 2011

Passing trends and fraud


Maybe I’m just noticing it but there are multiple sources lately making a big push to discredit Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price. So many people are completely fixated on discrediting them. My question is until you bring forth something of a religious nature that restores ancient truth and literally blesses the lives of millions of people daily across nation gender and age then what grounds do you have to call Joseph and the book he brought forth a fraud? It’d be better to just leave it alone than to accuse.

It’s interesting to me that Joseph never claimed to be the author of either The Pearl of Great Price nor the Book of Mormon. He claimed to have translated it, not authored it. We can be so hard on each other. There is a terrible lack of charity and mercy shown people who probably deserve our understanding and kindness. Are we big enough to offer that to others? Even when it's hard?

Does a 48 minute anti Jospeh Smith youtube video make the viewer an expert? The viewers are lead to believe they are now suddenly privy to some piece of information making them an expert. What’s funny is most viewers had nothing to do with coming up with the content. They are just among those totally persuaded by it is all. Have we forgotten the folks from the bible who literally had hundreds of wives, and who are credited with fathering thousands of children? Joseph Smith’s “fraud” or behavior with women is weak sauce compared with some folks from the bible. Look at David, the guy made some serious mistake covering up his adultery. That guy was king of a nation. Does the immorality of our own modern day politicians and leaders escape our notice? The immoral acts on the news involving children, some by people of religious faiths? Why are Joseph’s acts constantly berated? Aren't there enough problems in our every day life that we need to go digging? His life’s work accomplishes continuing good in the world, yet so many insist in him being a fraud when the 10pm news or pretty much every Hollywood movie show stories of people doing worse things that Joseph was ever accused of. You see how accusations of Joseph being a fraud accomplish nothing?

If something that is hundreds, or even thousands of years old stands the test of time, is testified to by thousands, can be completely discredited in your mind in 4 minutes………. it’s probably good to ask yourself if you’re being persuaded due to your own ignorance. If that’s all it took, what does that say about your foundation? Sand?

How often are Pearl of Great Price critics reading the book of Abraham instead of being sucked in and swayed by arguments against it? You see how it makes no sense to be persuaded about the credibility of a book you don’t read, and don’t plan to read? Or which you never studied in the first place? Often the critics know little else about the object in question other than criticism. Some on the other hand have truly studied and searched, and I respect that. But those who don't let others make decisions for them due to ignorance. Many are pushed and pulled by whatever new hot video dissing on Joseph Smith or religion comes along. Those are a dime a dozen. They are willing to sell in any size shape or color as long as they pull you in. But they offer absolutely nothing in return, other than a reason to judge someone you never knew personally. Does doing that sound like a good idea? I don't think it is.

The LDS church does so much good for so many people. Sure there are problems, but what does discrediting Joseph really get people? Is it really worthwhile? Does reaching their goal really accomplish anything? Does discrediting him elevate the ground we stand on? No, not really. The LDS church invites people, it's not designed to force anyone to do anything.

With all the fraud affecting our daily life in 2011 why focus on someone who’s long since passed away but yet still offers faith and inspiration to millions? Doing that just sounds foolish. We have no grounds to judge. Who of us is completely pure within our own hearts? Those who are likely do not seek to condemn others. Christ's teachings are timeless, "let he who is without sin cast the first stone". We should show mercy and respect. We’re only accountable to God for ourselves anyway. Condemning others, is not why Christ came to earth. I like His example so much I can't help but follow. I find it liberating.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Primary Stories - Follow the Prophet

I usually love primary. The doctrine is very simple and not misleading. It focuses on Christ.

I heard this story today however from the Primary 3 manual page 37, that left me a little troubled. This is word for word from the lesson.

"Show picture 3-19, President David O. McKay, as you tell the following story: When President David O. McKay was the prophet, he traveled throughout much of the world to meet and lead the members of the Church. Once when he was in Germany, he heard about a mother who was paralyzed (she could not move parts of her body) and could not come to the conference to hear him speak.

This mother had two children, and she wanted them to go to the conference and see and hear the living prophet. With great faith she said, “I know if I send my children to shake hands with President McKay, and then they come home and take my hand—if I can hold their little hands in mine—I know that I shall get better.”

Arrangements were made so that her two children were able to go to the conference. The children were thrilled and excited as they traveled to see the prophet.

At the end of the conference, President McKay shook hands with many people who were there. He knew that these two children were coming, and when he saw them, he shook hands with them and said, “Will you take this handkerchief to your mother with my blessing?”

The children took the handkerchief back to their mother. She was very happy and thanked the Lord every day for the handkerchief and the blessing which President McKay sent through her two children. Immediately after the children came home, she began to get better, and she was soon able to move her body and take care of her children. (See Cherished Experiences from the Writings of President David O. McKay, comp. Clare Middlemiss [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1955], pp. 149–51.)"

The story sounds a bit like the story from the New Testament when a woman who had an issue of blood sought to touch the garment of Jesus and was healed (Mark 5:25-34). Or a bit like a story from Acts. Acts 19:11-12 reads "And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them."

The scripture in Acts states very clearly that it was God who did the miracle. He used Paul as the means to accomplish it. The words leave no room for confusion on the matter, although I've read accounts of how such "handkerchiefs or aprons" would become objects of superstition, used for the wrong reasons, and potentially another idol to the people.  These stories can easily turn the Church president into an idol.  

Everything in the Gospel is supposed to point to Christ, yet so often there is a tendency to almost pass over that and focus on someone or something else.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Veil


Hebrews 1016This is the acovenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their bminds will I write them;
17
And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
18
Now where aremission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
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Having therefore, brethren, aboldness to enter into the bholiest by the blood of Jesus,
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By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the aveil, that is to say, his flesh;


"Through the veil, that is to say his flesh". Sounds like flesh is the veil.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The gift of service


Read this on Donna Nielsen's blog and it was so good I had to post it again. It's by Sadhu Sundar Singh, a Hindu from India and a convert to Christianity.

He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
Matt.10:39

The great gift of service is that it also helps the one who serves. Once when traveling in Tibet, I was crossing a high mountain pass with my Tibetan guide. The weather had suddenly turned bitterly cold, and my companion and I feared that we might not make it to the next village – still several miles away – before succumbing to the frost.

Suddenly, we stumbled upon a man who had slipped from the path and was lying in the snow. Looking more closely, I discovered that the man was still alive, though barely. “Come,” I said to my companion, “help me try to bring this unfortunate man to safety.” But my companion was upset and frightened for his life. He answered: “If we try to carry that man, none of us will ever reach the village. We will all freeze. Our only hope is to go on as quickly as possible, and that is what I intend to do. You will come with me if you value your life.

Without another word and without looking back, he set off down the path. I could not bring myself to abandon the helpless traveler while life remained in him, so I lifted him on my back and threw my blanket around us both as best I could.

Slowly and painstakingly, I picked my way along the steep, slippery path with my heavy load. Soon it began to snow, and I could make out the way forward only with great difficulty. How we made it, I do not know. But just as daylight was beginning to fade, the snow cleared and I could see houses a few hundred yards ahead.

Near me, on the ground, I saw the frozen body of my guide. Nearly within shouting distance of the village, he had succumbed to the cold and died, while the unfortunate traveler and I made it to safety. The exertion of carrying him and the contact of our bodies had created enough heat to save us both.

This is the way of service. No one can live without the help of others, and in helping others, we receive help ourselves.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's between you and God

"In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."

Credited to Mother Teresa .