We all have our free agency and God holds us accountable for the way we use it in thought and deed. "Kindness, compassion, and love are powerful instruments in strengthening us to carry heavy burdens imposed without any fault of our own and to do what we know to be right." Elder Dallin H. Oaks
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“Wherefore every man did cleave unto that which was his own, with his hands, and would not borrow neither would he lend; and every man kept the hilt of his sword in his right hand, in the defence of his property and his own life and of his wives and children.”Ether 14:2
“And behold, I have sent a proclamation throughout this part of the land; and behold, they are flocking to us daily, to their arms, in the defence of their country and their freedom, and to avenge our wrongs.”Alma 61:6
Nevertheless, my work shall go forth, for inasmuch as the knowledge of a Savior has come unto the world, through the testimony of the Jews, (the Bible)
… even so shall the knowledge of a Savior come unto my people. — And to the Nephites, and the Jacobites, and the Josephites, and the Zoramites, through the testimony of their fathers— (The Book of Mormon)
And this testimony shall come to the knowledge of the Lamanites, and the Lemuelites, and the Ishmaelites, who dwindled in unbelief because of the iniquity of their fathers, whom the Lord has suffered to destroy their brethren the Nephites, because of their iniquities and their abominations.
And that the Lamanites might come to the knowledge of their fathers, and that they might know the promises of the Lord, and that they may believe the gospel and rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ, and be glorified through faith in his name, and that through their repentance they might be saved. Amen.
The Lamanites (Native Americans) left Jerusalem about 600 B.C. and came to North America as recorded in the Book of Mormon. Because their fathers dwindled in unbelief and because of iniquity and in trying to destroy their brothers the Nephites, the Lord Jesus Christ made promises to them; that the gold plates would come forth and reveal the knowledge of their fathers and of Jesus Christ and that they would believe. (As contained in The Book of Mormon.)
The earliest evidence we have of human religious practice is the burial of the dead in paleolithic tombs with clothing, tools, food and other grave-goods.
The obvious implication is a belief in life after death, and that the offerings of the family of the deceased could somehow help him or her in the afterlife. This concept is more fully developed in ancient Egypt, where some of the oldest surviving religious texts in the world are tomb inscriptions describing the ongoing prayers, offerings and rituals that should be perpetually performed by special “soul priests” on behalf of the deceased.
Greeks and Romans
Greeks and Romans believed that the dead needed to be properly buried, and “fed” with sacrifices and grave offerings. In some tomb epitaphs, the dead “speak” to passersby, requesting them to remember them.
Chinese religion is also intimately connected to the veneration of ancestors, where incense and prayers are regularly offered before an ancestral tablet listing the names of the departed. Likewise, regular offerings must be given to propitiate the “hungry ghosts” (“egui”).
In Hinduism, the ashes of the cremated dead are poured into the purifying waters of the Ganges to guarantee liberation or a blessed afterlife. The soul of the deceased is also symbolically bound or sealed to his dead ancestors by the “sapindikarana” ritual. Other ancestor offerings (“shraddha”) are continued regularly thereafter.
Tibetan Buddhists engage in light offerings, mantras, sutra readings, prostrations, prayers and readings from the “Book of the Dead” in order to help departed souls achieve a blessed afterlife and rebirth.
Muslim funerals include the “salat al-janazah,” calling upon God to forgive the dead and admit them into paradise. This includes an invocation that God might “wash him (the deceased) with water … and cleanse him of sin as a white garment is cleansed of dirt.”
Some ancient Jews also practiced rituals of salvation for the dead, most notably in 2 Maccabees 12:42-45, where prayers and sacrifices are offered to atone for the sins of the deceased.
It is in Christianity, however, that rituals, prayers and blessings for the dead achieve their most fully developed form. These Christian beliefs are in part based on New Testament passages such as 1 Pet. 3: 4, 18-20, and 1 Cor. 15. But the fundamental basis for Christian belief in salvation for the dead was that the atonement of Christ — itself a vicarious act, a form of “proxy” service — was temporally universal, presenting the opportunity for salvation to both those who lived before Jesus and those who would come after him. Thus, early Christian writings such as the “Gospel of Nicodemus” describe Jesus’ descent into “hades” — the underworld where the dead dwell—to rescue the righteous dead and lead them to salvation (see J. Trumbower, “Rescue for the Dead”). This salvific descent, sometimes known as the “Descensus” or the “Harrowing of Hell,” is commemorated in many Christian icons and church murals.
Roman Catholicism and Greek Orthodoxy
Both Roman Catholicism and Greek Orthodoxy have special prayers and masses for the benefit of the souls of the departed. Saint Mark of Ephesus (d. 1445) wrote that “we can do nothing better or greater for the dead than to pray for them, offering commemoration for them at the liturgy.” Likewise, in Dante’s “Purgatorio” dead souls continually beg Dante to ask their relatives say prayers and burn candles to help them progress through purgatory. Pope Gregory the Great is said to have similarly prayed for the soul of the pagan Roman emperor Trajan, who was posthumously baptized and permitted to enter heaven, where Dante encounters him in the “Paradiso.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)
Among the most highly developed forms of Christian rites of salvation for the dead is found within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Based on 1 Cor. 15: 29 and modern revelation, Mormons regularly baptize departed ancestors by proxy—the living acting in the name of the dead — and seal them into eternal family groups. Thus the eternal brotherhood of all humankind is ritually emphasized by ever-expanding links of past, present, and future families. Although such actions are occasionally controversial in some contemporary circles, Latter-day Saints believe that these rituals are acts of devotion and love for the souls of the departed.
The fundamental religious belief expressed in all these practices is that through faith, prayer and ritual the living can aid the dead, helping them to achieve a blessed afterlife. Even the common brief blessing when mentioning the name of the departed — “may he rest in peace” — is a prayer for the soul. These are nearly universal acts of love and commemoration, honoring and blessing departed friends and relatives, binding generations together.
It is a rare moment indeed when faith denominations of all stripes unite together in common cause, and it is rarer still when that cause is a political one, with a sole piece of legislation as its principal target. But when that law eviscerates the very foundation of religious liberty in America as protected under the First Amendment, it should not be surprising that Catholics and Jews, evangelical Christians, and mainline Lutherans alike find common cause in defense of their liberties.
Such is the case with the firestorm of opposition to Obamacare and the Obama Administration’s attack on religious liberty. Under a new Obamacare mandate issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the White House is mandating that virtually all religious employers, with the exception of churches, provide health care coverage for contraception — including abortion-inducing drugs — thereby trampling upon their constitutionally guaranteed free exercise of religion. And it is this mandate that has caused a vehement response in churches and synagogues across the country.
Yesterday, the head of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue, warned that the nation’s 70 million Catholics are ready to go to war with the Administration’s dictates, saying“Never before, unprecedented in American history, for the federal government to line up against the Roman Catholic Church. This is going to be fought out with lawsuits, with court decisions, and, dare I say it, maybe even in the streets.”
Donohue’s remarks follow those of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and at least 153 Catholic bishops opposition, across the country who have weighed in with opposition to the mandate. “We Catholics will be compelled to either violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees and suffer the penalties for doing so,” wrote Bishop Alexander Sample of Marquette, Michigan. Those penalties include fines imposed by the federal government that could cost larger organizations millions of dollars per year.
The Obama Administration is beginning to feel the pressure. On Sunday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius authored an op-ed in USA Today defending the Obama Administration’s actions, claiming that a very narrow exemption to the mandate is evidence that the White House is “working to strike the right balance between respecting religious beliefs and increasing women’s access to critical preventive health services.” That exemption, though, does not apply to institutions like religious schools and hospitals. Sebelius might claim the Administration is offering grace to people of faith, but in fact it is not. In an editorial that ran the same day as Sebelius,’ USA Todayagreed with those standing on the side of religious liberty, writing that “in drawing up the rules that will govern health care reform” the Obama Administration “galloped over” the line and violated the “simple proposition that the government should steer away from meddling in church affairs.”
The Obama Administration’s actions, though entirely counter to the freedom of religion, should not be surprising given the nature of the President’s health care law.
Obamacare has given the federal government broad power over one-sixth of the American economy and thereby purports to grant Washington the power to force religious institutions to take actions contrary to their faith.
Addington writes that this kind of concentration of power “has proved to be a drastic and dangerous experiment.” America’s religious leaders and the faithful have awoken to this wolf at their door and are lashing out in defense of their freedoms. Congress, too, should act now by repealing Obamacare and restoring the religious liberty that is so central to our way of life.
First Amendment to U.S. Constitution
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The Williamsburg Charter, signed on the occasion of the Bicentennial of the Bill of Rights. The full text of the Williamsburg Charteris available here.
As we approach this sacred season of celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, may we reflect on the miracle and blessing He was and is. As I’ve pondered on His holy birth, and the circumstances around it, I am reminded again of how the Lord goes about his mighty works.
The Holy Son of the most glorified and powerful eternal being, our Father in Heaven, was not provided with a wondrous palace, security, wealth and privilege befitting his status as God’s first born son, but rather He showed his everlasting power through the simple, the meek, the lowly and the weak things of this world. His sacred Son wasn’t born amid the tumult and praise of the political, secular or religious superiors of his day, but in obscurity, vulnerability and to parents who were powerless because of their circumstances to provide much more than the most basic necessities of life at his birth.
I am reminded of how the Jews were anticipating a mighty king who was prophesied to deliver them. They presumed that God’s Son would enter this world provided with what men supposed would be needed to carry out this deliverance. Why would they not expect their deliverer to be born to parents who could provide a world-class education, money sufficient to procure status, authority and prestige so that other men would know of his leadership and knowledge and thus follow him?
Instead His Holy Child was born in a stable and lovingly laid in a manger of hay by honest, hard-working parents of common status among the Jewish throngs. Indeed, His pre-mortal status was hidden and utterly concealed from the world. How ashamed many Jews must have felt when they realized they had been looking for the wrong identifying features of this humble Son of God sent to deliver them.
In like manner some have supposed that the Nephite civilization of the Book of Mormon recording should be identified by grand features and majestic ruins, signs of an overpowering and influential people that the world can look to because of their triumphant accomplishments. Yet the Book of Mormon speaks of a humble people who obeyed the Laws of Moses, dressed in inconspicuous clothing, and built homes and temples and cities of wood. It was the unrighteous that built large and spacious palaces to demonstrate their own greatness. In contrast to impressive structures, the righteous Nephites seemed to follow the Lord’s ways in putting people as a higher priority that power; of salvation over worldly possessions.
May we, as followers of Christ, strive to emulate and understand the true power of God’s example of His Son by humbly submitting ourselves and meekly seeking His will, realizing our weaknesses and asking for his grace to attend us. This is, I believe, a most wonderful way to celebrate His birth.
. The Family Research Council (a World Congress of Families Partner) has just published “The Jewish Roots of Family Values,” an issue brief by World Congress of Families Communications Director Don Feder.
In the publication, Feder discusses the foundation for family values in Jewish Scripture – Torah and Talmud – and the way these virtues are reflected in traditional Jewish life.
He calls Genesis (from Chapter 12 to the end) “the story of a Jewish family – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, and their children and grandchildren. Here the importance of marriage and procreation for human happiness is illuminated, as well as the relationships of husband and wife and parent and child.”
Feder says the importance of childbearing to traditional Judaism may be seen in the way birthrates rise among American Jews based on their level of observance – from 1.86 children per family among all Jews, to 3.3 for modern Orthodox, 6.6 for traditional Orthodox and 7.9 for Hasidic Jews.
Finally, Feder discusses the ways in which Jewish family values came to dominate the West through Christianity. The way this commandment is kept by observant Jews may be seen in the Jewish birthrate in the United States, which rises with the level of commitment to Jewish living-from 1.86 children per woman among all Jews to 3.3 for modern Orthodox, 6.6 for traditional Orthodox and 7.9 for Hasidim–approximately twice the Mormon birthrate. Along with marriage and procreation, Judaism emphasizes the relationship of parents and children and the sexual ethic that lies at the heart of Judeo-Christian morality. “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee,” (Exodus 20:12) is uniquely placed in the Decalogue.
The first four commandments involve mankind’s obligations to God (know that the Lord is God, keep the Sabbath, etc.). The later commandments involve our responsibilities to our fellow man (don’t steal, don’t kill and so on). The fifth is often called the bridge commandment, in that it refers to our obligations to both God and man. By honoring our parents, we honor God as well. As transmitters of the Law, parents are God’s surrogates.
The sages tell us to “revere” our parents. The Torah contains a prohibition against cursing both God and our parents. The Bible prescribes the same penalty for both. In his essay, “The Family In Judaism: Past, Present and Future, Fears and Hopes,” Rabbi David Rosen notes: “That Talmudic texts also refers to Rabbi Joseph who, when he heard his Mother’s footsteps as she approached, would declare, ‘I rise before the Divine Presence which is approaching.’”
The Talmud also says there are three partners in the creation of a child–the mother, the father and God. Honor is due to parents in recognition of their role in generating life, because of their sacrifices in raising a child to maturity and for the part they play as teachers of the Law.
The Shema, Judaism’s quintessential affirmation of faith, begins: “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, with all thy might. And these words which I command thee this day shall be upon your heart. And you shall teach them diligently unto thy children…” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7).
Teach them to whom–to your neighbors, your friends, your siblings? Teach them to your children. In Judaism, learning (study) is a religious obligation More than rabbis, parents are given the primary responsibility for imparting Divine wisdom.
In the parent/child relationship, obligations flow in both directions. An old rabbinic adage holds: “A man should spend less than his means on food, up to his means on clothes, but beyond his means in honoring his wife and children, because they are dependent on him.”
Children honor their parents, and their father blesses them in turn. In traditional Jewish homes, as part of the Friday evening meal, the father gives a benediction to his sons (“May God make you like Ephraim and Menasseh,” Joseph’s sons adopted by Jacob) and his daughters (“May God make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah”). A husband also praises his wife by reciting “A Woman of Valor” (Proverbs 31). According to Jewish tradition, this was Abraham’s eulogy for his beloved wife, Sarah.
The foundation of family life is sexual morality, and here the role of Judaism was revolutionary in the ancient world.
In the pagan world into which Judaism came with its right-and-wrong, to speak of sexual morality was a non sequitur-like talking about “moral aerobics” today. Sex was about power relationships–the strong forcing themselves on the weak – and nothing else. There was no code of conduct, just a carnal law of the jungle.
By contrast, Judaism said the God of Israel is to be served by emulating Him–through righteousness and holiness. “I am the Lord who brought you out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45). Thus did the Torah introduce the idea of sexual ethics.
A Jewish circumcision, performed eight days after birth, is referred to as the covenant of circumcision. Removal of the foreskin is called a sign of the covenant sealed in the flesh. But who actually sees this “sign”? The answer is that it’s a sign for the individual himself.
In “Being Jewish: the Spiritual and Cultural Practice of Judaism Today,” Ari L. Goldman alludes to this when he writes of the Brit Milah (Jewish ritual circumcision, performed on the eighth day say after birth), “Some see in the act a message of sexual restraint.”
The rabbis said the reason the skin is removed from the male appendage (rather than another part of the anatomy, where the sign would be visible to others) is because it is with this organ that the male is most likely to sin.When a Jewish man sees the mark, he should remember the covenant and keep the law, including the mandate to “be holy.“
In his monograph “Judaism’s Sexual Revolution: Why Judaism Rejected Homosexuality,” author and Jewish lay scholar Dennis Prager explains: “Judaism placed controls on sexual activity. It could no longer dominate religion and social life. It was to be sanctified — which in Hebrew means ‘separated’ — from the world and placed in the home, in the bed of husband and wife. Judaism’s restricting of sexual behavior was one of the essential elements that enabled society to progress (by allowing the family to flourish). Along with ethical monotheism, the revolution begun by the Torah when it declared war on the sexual practices of the world, wrought the most far-reaching change in history.”
In “Kosher Sex,” available online at Judaism 101, author Tracey R. Rich observes:“Sex is permissible only within the context of a marriage. In Judaism, sex is not merely a way of experiencing physical pleasure. It is an act of immense significance, which requires commitment and responsibility. The requirement of marriage before sex ensures that sense of commitment and responsibility.”
Leviticus sets forth a series of prohibited sex acts, including incestuous liaisons, rape, bestiality and homosexuality. Again, Prager says, “The one continuous exception [to the acceptance of same-sex relations in the ancient world] was Jewish civilization–and a thousand years later, Christian civilization. Other than the Jews, ‘none of the archaic civilizations prohibited homosexuality per se,’ Dr. David E. Greenberg notes. It was Judaism alone that about 3,000 years ago declared homosexuality wrong.”
Not just wrong, but an “abomination” (or “detestable,” depending on the translation)–a term of censure the Torah reserves for the most severe transgressions, including the ritual prostitution practiced in pagan temples and child sacrifice. Moreover, the Jewish Bible identifies homosexuality as a Canaanite practice and one reason the land was taken from them. Unlike many of the Torah’s laws, the prohibition on sexual immorality, including homosexuality, applies to all of humanity, through the Noahide Code. 4
Prager goes on to say, “Judaism cannot make peace with homosexuality because homosexuality denies many of Judaism’s most fundamental principles. It denies life (not life but death comes from sodomy), it denies God’s expressed desire that men and women cohabit, and it denies the root structure that Judaism wishes for all mankind, the family.“
Some fail to appreciate how profoundly Christianity was influenced by Jewish morality. Judeo-Christian ethics is more than a catch phrase. It denotes the Jewish roots of Christian morality, which became the foundation of Western civilization.
In her Newsweek story (“He Made Us All Jews,” December 18, 2006), Lisa Miller wrote: “The Jewish family values that were prevalent in first-century Judea, the values of Mary and Joseph and the young Jesus, became the values of Christianity, and of the regions of the world in which Christianity has long been a critical force…. . And so the growing Jesus would have come of age in a world that cherished procreation, family ties and the history and theology of Israel, including immersion in the Scriptures (with their emphasis on sexual morality and holiness) and the ancient stories of God’s deliverance of his people.”
Thus did the Jewish worldview come to dominate the West.
I suppose one could say that the traditional (or natural) family is a Jewish invention. Except, it was the God of Israel, not Israel itself, who ordained the family. Here, Jews, and later the Christians, served as the Divine transmission belt.
This is one of the ways in which all of the families of the earth have been blessed through the Jews.
World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs observes: “Don’s monograph reflects the diversity of World Congress of Families. As our International Secretary, Dr. Allan Carlson, likes to say, the Congress is a coalition of orthodox believers – who don’t necessarily believe in the same thing. The WCF leadership includes Catholics, Evangelicals, mainline Protestants, Mormons, Jews, Russian Orthodox and other adherents to traditional faiths who are united in their recognition of the role of the family in the divine scheme and its centrality to civilization.”
TheFamily.com includes many families of many faiths like Catholics, Evangelicals, mainline Protestants, Mormons, Jews, Baptists, Russian Orthodox and other adherents to traditional faiths who are united in their recognition of the role of The Family in divine scheme and its centrality to civilization. Alan Osmond
In a world of turmoil and uncertainty, it is more important than ever to make our families the center of our lives and the top of our priorities. Families lie at the center of our Heavenly Father’s plan.
Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. ‘Children are an heritage of the Lord’ (Psalms 127:3).
Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.”
We need to make our homes a place of refuge from the storm, which is increasing in intensity all about us. Even if the smallest openings are left unattended, negative influences can penetrate the very walls of our homes.
Parents are to preside over their own families.
Children and youth are shown, through prophetic words and through living examples, the importance of loving and honoring their parents. Parents are taught ways of building and maintaining close family ties, both in good times and in difficult times. The good spirit will help fill your homes with warmth, love, and the strength of the gospel.
“The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.
“Light and truth forsake that evil one. …
“And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.
“But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.”
May this be our goal for enjoying the light and truth of the gospel in our homes. May our homes truly become places of refuge from the world is my humble prayer,
Here is an interesting perspective on the Mormon Church by a Washington Post writer…
The Christian Case For Mormon Values.
With former Utah governor Jon Huntsman and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney both believed to be gearing up for a run for the presidency, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has again found itself answering questions about what these two prominent members believe.
Post reporter Sandhya Somashekhar wrote in a story published Tuesday that Mormon leaders see the ascendancy of these and other Mormons (such as convert Glenn Beck) as a sign “that the community has finally ‘arrived,’” but added “researchers say there remains a deep mistrust of Mormons and that little has changed in public opinion to suggest that voters will be more open this year than they were in 2007.” If conservative Christian and Mormons share a political agenda, why do suspicions still plague Mormon politicians? Do media personalities such as Glenn Beck help or hurt the cause?
God works in mysterious ways to perform his wonders. Old testament prophets complained about the instruments God chose, but God went on being God despite their complaints. 2012 is likely to give Americans two serious candidates for President that are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Many conservative Christians, for good and bad, get inspiration and information from Glenn Beck, who is also a member of the church.
Should Americans be concerned? Bluntly, no, though those of us who are not Mormon should be depressed that such a small group has outworked, out thought, and out hustled us. Mormon success should spur traditional Christians, who outnumber Mormons by tens of millions, to do better.
Sadly ignorance of the LDS Church is widespread in our culture. Despite over a century of faithful citizenship and embracing family values, stupid stereotypes remain. Magically much of the media easily remembers Glenn Beck is Mormon, but keeps forgetting that Harry Reid is as well. Sacred garments on Christians and Jews are normal, but sacred garments on Mormons?
Of course, there is a vocal fringe of Americans who think any religious person is nuts. These equal-opportunity offenders can be ignored as invincibly ignorant. They don’t respect Mormons, because they don’t respect Christians, Jews, Muslims, or anybody who thinks we are more than computers made out of meat.
There is another group, sadly not so tiny, that cannot be friends or co-laborers with anyone who does not share their theology or ideology. This sectarianism is the bane of any movement, but most Americans know we can learn and work with almost anyone if they share our values in some area.
There are no good reasons not to consider voting for a Mormon. Theologically, I disagree with the faith’s teachings. My professional speaking has included pointed academic encounters with LDS professors about our areas of disagreement. Simultaneously, serious disagreements have not prevented our making common cause on many issues.
Studying Mormonism closely did not make me a Mormon, to the contrary, but it did give an abiding respect for certain things the LDS church gets right. They have demonstrated things worth knowing. If this is a Mormon moment in American history, there is a reason for it. Their virtues have particular civic relevance today and their theological vices (from my point of view) do not. The LDS I know love America, urge good behavior on their members, and promote many traditional American values. If that bothers you, vote for somebody else–the LDS will fight and die in the American forces for your right to do so.
TheLDS church made North America sacred space. With native Americans and spanish mission builders in California. They have loved this land and made it part of their story. The Mormon revelation, whatever its origins, is centered in North America .
Part of that epic is actual Mormon history: born, bred, and thriving in the United States of America . Mormonism is old enough by American standards to feel “ancient,” but young enough to make the founding stories easy for Americans to understand. Joseph Smith received his revelations closer than four score years after the American founding. Any literate english speaker can read founding Mormon documents without the need for much translation or scholarly explanation, but knowledge of American history is vital. Most Americans look abroad for ” Holy Land ,” but Mormons look here.
This gives them a passion for this place difficult for anyone else to match. Other religious groups must work harder to match this sense of place that the LDS Church has naturally.
A great weakness of our lives today is isolation and loneliness. Mormonism is one solution to that problem for many. LDS Church services to members and communities are a free market model for private charity. I have personally seen LDS charity help families that were not LDS, but related to a member. The charity gave work-centered help that met needs without sacrificing dignity. The commendable community found in Mormonism should be imitated not attacked.
For good and bad, Mormonism is deeply American. Born on our frontier and nurtured in our wilderness, American values are Mormon values. And yet, no LDS swaggers into the culture assuming he will be accepted. Mormons know the imperfections of American life. An American mob murdered their founder. As a result of their history, Mormons have a thoughtful and subtle take on religion in the public square. This last week Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, gave an important speech at the Chapman University School of Law in California on religious liberty.
I am sure Glenn Beck would agree that more Americans should read that speech, even if it meant turning off his program. Oaks, a professor and judge, not Beck, represent the best civic face of the LDS Church .
If this is, as the Washington Post suggests, a Mormon moment, it is because Mormons clung to truths now unfashionable and addressed questions others ignore. They suffered exile in their own land, persecution, and the need to change important ideas to be part of the broader culture. This American experience taught them good lessons about America . Being right is powerful and most LDS are right on many of today’s big issues: the nature of family, the protection of life, defense of religious liberty, and republican values.
Traditional christians should learn from their example and patriotic Americans should celebrate their effective service. Mormons like Harry Reid will never get my vote, because his policy ideas do not match with mine, but a Mormon like Mitt Romney could, because I support his good ideas.
Providence works in peculiar ways and it is particularly odd for an evangelical and orthodox Christian to be grateful for this Mormon moment in American history. But if a biblical prophet could celebrate the pagan emperor Cyrus for being God’s man to free his people, surely we can praise our Mormon countrymen for sounding a trumpet call to rally America to life and liberty .
Washington Post article written by John Mark Reynolds | February 9, 2011; 7:29 PM ET
“Vote for the Man and for the Values he stands for, regardless of his religion.”
Because it has been prophesied that hard times would come and precede the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. If anyone can turn this world around, He is The Way!
Because Jesus’s restored church is alive and ready with a living Prophet to receive our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Because this world is already so much worse than Sodom and Gomorra which was destroyed because of its wickedness that we need Jesus to come and destroy the wicked and cleanse and rule this world.
Because there are opposites in all things. When things are really bad, they are also really good. ”A Great and Dreadful day.”
Because I have hope and faith in Jesus Christ that those prophecies of cleansing the wicked and having peace on earth, with Satan and his workers being bound for a thousand years, and that it will take place while I am living withe the opportunity of witnessing it with my family.
Because these are the Last Days. How much worse can it get?
We know that Jesus will appear to the Jews and show them his nail scarred hands and feet and disclose himself as Jesus of Nazareth, whom they had reviled and whom their fathers put to death. Then will unbelief depart from their souls, and “the blindness in part which has happened unto Israel” be removed. Then they will fall down at His feet and worship Him.
After these days will come their redemption and the building of Jerusalem. They will be given their own land again, and every man will live under his own vine and his own fig tree and they will learn to love the Lord and keep His commandments and walk in the light, and He will be their God and they will be His people.
. . . and right now is at our front door!
Yes, we know how this world and it’s story ends. The scriptures will be fulfilled!
We know which way to follow! Jesus is The Way!
So, let’s fasten our seat belts, offer a humble prayer, take a deep breath and enjoy the ride!
I can hardly wait for our Lord and Savior to return and rule this world for a thousand years in peace and happiness.
If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.
“I Am God, And That I Covenanted With Abraham That I Would Remember His Seed Forever.”
“We Have Got A Bible, And There Cannot Be Any More Bible!”
What does 2 Nephi Chapter 29 teach us?
Many Gentiles will reject the Book of Mormon—
They will say, We need no more Bible—
The Lord speaks to many nations—
He will judge the world out of the books which will be written. (Written about 559–545 B.C.)
1But behold, there shall be many—at that day when I shall proceed to do a marvelous work among them, that I may remember my covenants which I have made unto the children of men, that I may set my hand again the second time to recover my people, which are of the house of Israel;
2And also, that I may remember the promises which I have made unto thee, Nephi, and also unto thy father, that I would remember your seed; and that the words of your seed should proceed forth out of my mouth unto your seed; and my words shall hiss forth unto the ends of the earth, for a standard unto my people, which are of the house of Israel;
3And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.
4But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?
5O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people.
6Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?
7Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?
8Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is awitness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.
9And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.
10Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.
11For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.
12For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it.
13And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of thelost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.
14And it shall come to pass that my people, which are of thehouse of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in one. And I will show unto them that fight against my word and against mypeople, who are of the house of Israel, that I am God, and that Icovenanted with Abraham that I would remember his seedforever.
. . . . . . . .
We are living in a “Great and Dreadful Day”! A day when “… the Gentiles do stumble exceedingly, because of the most plain and precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, which is the mother of harlots, saith the Lamb—I will be merciful unto the Gentiles in that day, insomuch that I will bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel, which shall be plain and precious, saith the Lamb.” 1 Ne. 13: 34
“I speak to the Jews” …The Bible.
“I shall also speak unto the Nephites” …The Book of Mormon.
I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel…which I have led away. … Yet to come!
I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it. …Yet to come!
So why do I publish this information to all of you? To create hate among other religions? To say that we have the truth and you don’t? NO!
I say keep the truth that you now have with whatever religion you belong and seek to find further “TRUTH and LIGHT ” to add to what you already have!
I publish this to share TRUTH and to bring you “PEACE” in knowing that our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of this World, is “The Way” and that His works will NOT be frustrated by the wicked. He remembers each and every one of us and will be returning to us once again to set this world in order and to once again bring about ZION , and will reign for a thousand years with us in peace and love.
Here is a promise from the Lord:
“Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.” D&C 1:37
As the scriptures remind us:
“And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be. 1 Ne. 13: 24
“I give thanks to my Lord Jesus Christ for restoring His Church once again on this earth and to make known the truth of all things to His latter-day Prophet, Joseph Smith, and for our living prophet today, Thomas S. Monson, with his councilors, The Twelve Apostles, and all others who lead and direct us having received the authority of The Holy Melchezidek Priesthood from Jesus Christ to guide us in these latter days!
I especially love all of those missionaries who have given and continue to give of themselves at their own cost to serve as ambassadors of Jesus Christ in taking this PEACE and GOOD NEWS to all Nations, Kindreds, Tongues and People like you and me!
As it says in our Articles of Faith, “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” Articles of Faith 1:9
Please take the time to listen, to ask questions, to read The Book of Mormon which came forth in our day to help us know of all things that we must do to return to our Heavenly Father in His highest Mansion in Heaven once again!