All religious topics, including LDS (Mormon) Christian subjects. Spiritual and life principles are addressed here as well. Please be respectful of people’s views and use un-offensive pictures and language. That being said, open debate and good, hard questioning is completely acceptable.
This article was originally written as a response to someone on FaceBook who asked about the origins of the Zionist movement, and asked why Jews have to live in Israel at all. My approach to answering this inquiry was as follows: as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe in the Bible: in its historicity, and in its doctrine. Most of my understanding of Jewish history comes from the Old and New Testaments, from modern Prophets like Joseph Smith, Jr., and from LDS Scriptures like the Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrine and Covenants. It’s from this perspective that I responded (see below).
How would you like to take my 10-hour non-accredited, diploma-less online study course in LDS American History? Here it is. I promise that at minimum, you’ll learn something new.
I’m often confronted about my political and religious beliefs and about my views on various aspects of the LDS (Mormon) church. At one online discussion forum, I found that I had written over 1,200 comments on my beliefs (totaling nearly as many pages when cut and pasted into a MS Word document). And people still weren’t done asking questions or challenging me – although a lot of their questions were sort of cyclical or rhetorical in nature.
As I’ve thought about similar experiences I’ve had since that time, I’m reminded not only that I could have probably written a few thick books instead, but also that a lot of people – even really well educated people – don’t consider context and perspective as well as they should, nor do they think beyond the immediate or near-term results of their political or religious positions. And I know that it’s impossible in many instances to have all the facts, but a lot of people don’t even try to come up with simple logical reasoning or a complete functioning paradigm – even just a simple one – for their viewpoint.
It’s in thought of those things that I’ve compiled these Web links to 8-10 hours of videos and reading that present an awesome view of our nation’s origins. Of course it doesn’t contain every variable and facet of our country or of the LDS faith, but I feel that it at least paints a simple complete picture of our nation’s origins and also provides some great insights to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and to the circumstances and environment in which the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints emerged.
These videos and resources have been helpful to me, and I hope they can be helpful to someone else too. I went to some effort to put these in the best order possible so that they build on the understanding of each other. The early pilgrims came to North America largely for religious freedom and for economical opportunities. This series of videos begins with the origins of these pilgrims, continues with the Mormon pioneers being persecuted for their religious practices, and concludes with resources about the importance of religious freedom to Americans and to people all over the world.
Below is the eMail I received shortly after the BSA voted to abandon it’s devout Christian membership in favor of LGBT youth and funding.
My response follows this letter from the BSA asking me to renew my support for the Scouting program.
To whom it may concern,
Due to the recent emphasis by the Boy Scouts of America placed on child sexuality and alternative forms of it, I have pledged to no longer support the Boy Scouts of America. I’m disheartened by the fact that accommodating and promoting deviant childhood sexual expression was valued over accommodating and promoting religious values and basic portions of the long-standing Oath and Law. In other words, you chose homosexuals over religious adherents who oppose and desire to protect their children from that behavior. You had to know that you would be trading out one demography for another. Our values are incompatible with the promotion and express endorsement of such gross immorality.
Homosexuality and other forms of “alternative” sexuality should not be tolerated or promoted within the BSA. The Boy Scouts of America is no longer the stellar organization that it once was, and no longer represents the family virtues that sustain American vitality, culture, and greatness. As a result, you no longer have my support.
I wish the Boy Scouts of America success in back-stepping out of this policy change, and look forward to the time when my values and concern for the safety of my son are held in higher esteem than this risk and immorality falsely advertised as “inclusiveness”.
Former Arrow of Light Recipient, former Order of The Arrow member, former Eagle Scout, former Cub Master, and former Boy Scout Leader,
Friends of the Boy Scouts of America, Please sign this petition to show your support for the BSA to keep its “morally straight” policy in place. Please have your friends of scouting sign it too. http://www.libertyaction.org/376/petition.asp
LGBT&P activist groups (some well funded) have been harassing the BSA for over 15 years to shut down or change its membership policy to include child and adult homosexuality. Without your active support, the efforts of those activist groups inflict great damage. In their most recent effort, they managed to raise 1.4 million signatures from activists all over the world to present to the national BSA council. Continue reading →
Because this topic is of vital importance, I wanted to share my open letter to the voting members of the national council for the Boy Scouts of America concerning the upcoming “morally straight” policy vote.
Dear voting members of the national committee,
Some advocates for changing the “morally straight” policy of the BSA insinuate that all BSA participants can find cohesion based on tolerance – extreme tolerance only exercised by all members and chartering organizations that appreciate the long-standing national policy as is.
This one-sided tolerance essentially denotes that we would embrace behavior that we’re morally compelled to resist and repel – for the direct purpose of accommodating the opposing behavior and lifestyle. It would only serve to tie our hands behind our backs so that the homosexual ideals and behavior could have a place to flourish within the organization as well as to facilitate the promotion of homosexuality to the rest of society. Continue reading →
Unemployment was on it’s way up when Barack Obama got in office, it’s true. He’s not responsible for what he inherited as president. Unemployment was at about 7.7, and hasn’t dropped below 8% since he has been president. I’m one of the 45 percent – 45% of graduates from 2009 or later who are either unemployed or are working less than full-time in a job that doesn’t require a degree.
Since my graduation in 2009 from a highly ranked business school, I haven’t been able to find long-term stable employment in my field. I have a wife and three small children (one with type-1 diabetes). To try to make ends meet, I have worked the following ways: Continue reading →
As the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon or LDS Church) enters the media spotlight more and more, especially surrounding the 2012 election of Mitt Romney, many questions arise concerning the rumors of polygamy. Did the Mormon church practice polygamy before, and does it practice polygamy now?
The short answer is that, yes, the Mormon church did practice polygamy until 1890. Since that time, the Mormons have not practiced polygamy. In fact, even in countries where polygamy is legal, polygamists cannot join the LDS Church. If a member of the LDS church is caught practicing polygamy, they are excommunicated (are no longer members). Continue reading →
In science, we are made aware of potential realities through discovery; studying; experimenting, testing, and observing; checking and interpreting results; drawing conclusions; and sharing the discoveries with others.
Add God to that process, and you have faith. The scientific method is essentially the secular version of faith.
Discovery: I may have a spiritual principle brought to my attention – usually in the form of directions from my church leaders or through my own observations. I formulate a theory about my observations.
Study: As I am made aware of a potential new truth, I can study the topic in my scriptures, find out what past and present church leaders have said on that topic, and can listen to the testimonies of other people. I can ask questions in Sunday school or can bring up the topic with friends. I begin to compile methods for testing my spiritual principle.
Experimenting, Testing, and Observing: This portion of the process is where faith truly is brought to life. In the Book of Mormon (Alma ch. 32, v.28), an ancient-American prophet explains this concept. I can view the effects of the principle in the lives of others, and I can act on the principles myself and observe my own results. Sometimes, I even write about my experiences in my personal journal.
Checking and Interpreting Results: If I’m trying to learn about a principle like the Word of Wisdom, I can check my results from observing the principle, compare my before-and-after results, and can note outside influences that could affect my results (like having type-1 diabetes, for example). I take my results and compare them with the results that I was told that I could expect from following that principle.
Drawing Conclusions: I often take my thoughts, my data, and my results to the Lord. Sometimes I fast during this process; I nearly always pray and ask my Heavenly Father if I’m right; and, when I get confirmation from multiple sources (like my bishop, the scriptures, my actions and the actions that I observed of others, the prophets, and the Spirit), then I conclude that it must be a true principle.
Sharing Discoveries With Others: In LDS language, when we share our conclusions or knowledge about spiritual principles, we call this bearing testimony. Once per month in church (in a meeting that we call Fast and Testimony meeting), we get to learn about spiritual truths that others have discovered or concluded to be true. Many times, we can know that something is truth when people bear their testimonies, and those testimonies are confirmed by the Holy Ghost.
Through faith and works, I have come to know that God truly does exist, that Jehovah and Lucifer are His diametrically opposed sons, that the Word of Wisdom is true, that the Law of Chastity is true, that keeping the Sabbath day holy truly is a commandment of God, that fasting is a true and helpful principle, that tithing is important and a correct principle, that “The Family: a Proclamation to The World” was a document inspired of God. I found that Joseph Smith truly did see God the Father and Jesus Christ in a vision, that he truly did reestablish Christ’s true church on the earth, and that I belong to that church.
When I was still a teenager, I was told that every worthy young man should serve a mission. It always flew in one ear and out the other… until one day, for some reason, it stuck in my mind. At that moment, my ears magically opened, and I heard and understood a new commandment.
I spoke with my bishop, spoke with some other people who had served missions, and prayed about it. My girlfriend also noted how important it was to her to marry a man who had served a mission for the church. I wanted to fulfill her expectations, be obedient to the commandment that I had been given, and felt that I had been blessed by God and that I owed Him one. I also thought that God loved me with or without me serving a mission, that I could sweet talk my girlfriend into marrying me anyways, and that maybe the mission requirement and associated/promised blessings weren’t for me. Was this a commandment that I needed to follow?
Well, I decided to go ahead and put it to the test. I made it a goal to serve a mission and started preparing for it.
From the sparks of thought that initially touch our minds and imaginations to the completed scholarly articles containing mind-boggling theories in the scientific journals, the process of discovery can benefit everyone: regardless of field of scientific study or a religious affiliation. Seekers of truth research, experiment and test, observe, check and interpret results, then draw conclusions, and share the resulting discoveries with others. Continue reading →
Companies often jump on board with principles such as “equal opportunity” and environmental initiatives intended to promote a certain brand or reputation among consumers. But are businesses truly obligated to maintain these reputations behind the scenes – not just ensuring a diverse workforce and using products that are biodegradable? At the same time that many companies put energy-star compliant ratings on products, they also use pornography (sex) and appeal of law breaking (speeding, stealing, etc) to excite people to buy these products.
Kaiser Permanente has dedicated substantial advertising efforts into promoting health and well-being. Kaiser also maintains non-profit status, accepts medicare/medicaid patients, and promotes service opportunities among its employees. Continue reading →