Tag Archives: LDS church

Zionism and The History of The Jews

By Joseph Delli Gatti –

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).  

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Online Study Course (10 hrs): LDS American History

By Joseph Delli Gatti –

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.

If you complete the study course, please also post a comment below letting us all know how it went.

 

Mitt’s Pedigree and The True History of Mormon Polygamy

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

Science -vs- Faith and Works

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

The Facade of California’s LGBT Movement

On Flickr.com, I saw a picture of a person holding up a sign that claimed that Mormons (the LDS faith) represented 2 percent of California’s population, but constituted 70 percent of donations to the Prop 8 campaign.  It surprised me that 2 percent of California’s population appears to be so wealthy in proportion to the anti-Prop 8 campaigners, so I did some math.

If this claim were correct, every Mormon man, woman, and child would have to donate $41.76 each on average.  Large stereotypical Mormon families with an average of five children each would be donating an average of $292.33 per family.  These numbers are if every single Mormon family donated.  This would constitute amazing participation – 100 percent participation! Continue reading

The Unchangeable Definition of Marriage

by Joseph Delli Gatti

Marriage has become a hot topic, not just online, but in the news, in political campaigns, and in the courts around the country.  There seems to be a lot of confusion about what marriage is or what it can be.  I find myself somewhat amazed that five states in our nation have actually conceded that, not only is a homosexual “marriage” possible, but that the state should recognize homosexual relationships as publicly accepted marriages – to be held in the same esteem by society as a heterosexual marriage.  I certainly disagree.

A lot of explanations exist online as to why homosexual relationships should or shouldn’t be recognized as marriages.  Many articles discuss civil rights and equality for homosexuals, whether or not homosexuality is inborn, and whether or not homosexuals can control what is perceived by a majority of Americans as immoral behavior (see states that approve of/acknowledge homosexual marriages).  All of the articles that I have read on the subject erred in their focus.   Continue reading

Still More Thoughts on Prop 8: a subjective approach

By Joseph Delli Gatti

Below is a response letter that I wrote to Marc Olmsted, author of this linked article.  Marc is gay and fought to ban Proposition 8, but came to the conclusion that it was the wrong move.  He proposed an alternate solution to provide greater validation of gay relationships.  While I don’t support his suggestion, he did provide some insights to me about what a gay couple might gain from a publicly recognized and sanctioned relationship.  

I felt somewhat inspired to share my perspective on the matter from more of a subjective angle as well.  Objectivity is important, but subjectivity allows a peek into an individual and their feelings.  That’s what I hope is provided here.  Some slight modifications and edits have been made from the original.   Continue reading

Proposition 8 and Protection of The Definition of Marriage

By Joseph Delli Gatti

Until recently, marriage as a concept has slowly been eroded, and has become less and less defined by the general public.  This was recognized by various public entities, including the LDS church.  In an attempt to re-inform its own members and to re-assert it to world what marriage means, the LDS church leaders created a document entitled The Family: A Proclamation To The World (viewable at http://www.lds.org/library/display/0,4945,161-1-11-1,FF.html). Continue reading