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By Alan on Mar 20 in Blog tagged Achieving, actors, America, American culture, apostles, athletes, authors, B, Brigham Young, children, church, David O. McKay, Donny & Marie Osmond, endowment, faith, Family, fourteen million, George Romney, Gladys Knight, Glenn Beck, government, Jimmer Fredette, Latter-day Saints, LDS, leadership, learning, marriage, Marriott, missionaries, Mitt Romney, Momonizing, Mormon, Mormonism, musicians, national stage, newscasters, NFL, Olympics, organizing, Osmonds, politicians, Presidential candidate, priesthood, progressing, prophet, religious value, religious vision, Revelator, sacrament, seer, sports, Stephen Mansfield, Steven Covey, successful, temple, Temples, The Book of Mormon, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, The Osmonds, Thomas S. Monson, upward motion, well educated, well spoken patriotic, willing to serve, worldwide | 1 Comment
By Alan on Nov 13 in Blog tagged Aaronic Priesthood, baptism, crucified, Elijah the Prophet, from Jesus Christ, God the Father and Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, LDS, Melchizedek Priesthood, missionaries, Mormons, Priesthood keys of authority, prophets, resurrected, sanctify ourselves, saw a vision, second coming, Temples, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Holy Ghost, the Lord will do wonders among you, the power and authority, the Priesthood, Thomas S. Monson, to help someone, twelve apostles, video | 3 Comments
This is where that young man, Bryce Reynolds in the Video, got the authority to exercise his priesthood that helped save another’s life.
Based upon one’s worthiness, it MUST be given to him by one who has the Authority and the keys given to him that can be traced back to Jesus Christ. This ordination is done the same way that Jesus did by the laying on of hands.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
President Monson and the First Presidency of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
hold these keys today.
The Genealogy of the Keys of Authority.
For The Family
By Alan on Aug 30 in Blog tagged a commitment, faith, families will be together beyond this life, family night, I, I'm a Mormon, missionaries, Monday, mormon.org, Sarah Osmotherly, true peace | Comments Off
By Alan on Jun 12 in Blog tagged 'Book of Mormon Musical, africa, AIDS, bias, bigotry, Christian character, clean water, diseases, Doug Osmond, eye care, floods in Niger, handicapped, hate, health, Latter-day Saint view of 'Book of Mormon Musical', missionaries, Mormons, newborns, pay their own way, South Africa, The Family, theFamily, two year missions, wheelchairss | 3 Comments
Reviews of “The Book of Mormon” musical have been all over the entertainment media in the past few weeks plus 9 Tony Awards recently. According to the reviews, the play sketches the journey of two Mormon missionaries from their sheltered life in Salt Lake City to Uganda, where their training and life experience proves wholly inadequate to the realities of a continent plagued by poverty, AIDS, genital mutilation and other horrors. While extolling the musical for its originality, most reviewers also make reference to the play’s over-the-top blasphemous and offensive language.
Dealing with parody and satire is always a tricky thing for churches. We can easily appear thin-skinned or defensive, and churches sometimes are. A few members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have seen this musical and blogged about it seem to have gone out of their way to show how they can take it. That’s their choice. There’s always room for different perspectives, and we can all decide what to do with our free time.
But I’m not buying what I’m reading in the reviews. Specifically, I’m not willing to spend $200 for a ticket to be sold the idea that religion moves along oblivious to real-world problems in a kind of blissful naiveté.
Somewhere I read that the show’s creators spent seven years writing and producing “The Book of Mormon” musical. As I reflected on all that time spent parodying this particular target, I also wondered what was really going on with Mormons in Africa during those same seven years.
So I checked.
•The World Health Organization estimates that 884 million people worldwide don’t have access to clean water. This is a huge problem in Africa, not only because of water-borne diseases but because kids who spend hours each day walking to and from the nearest well to fill old gasoline cans with water cannot attend school. According to church records, in the past seven years, more than four million Africans in 17 countries have gained access to clean drinking water through Mormon humanitarian efforts to sink or rehabilitate boreholes.
•More than 34,000 physically handicapped African kids now have wheelchairs through the same Mormon-sponsored humanitarian program. To see a legless child whose knuckles have become calloused through walking on his hands lifted into a wheelchair may be the best way to fully understand the liberation this brings.
•Millions of children, meanwhile, have now been vaccinated against killer diseases like measles as the church has sponsored or assisted with projects in 22 African countries.
•More than 126,000 Africans have had their sight restored or improved through Mormon partnership with African eye care professionals in providing training, equipment and supplies.
•Another 52,000 Africans have been trained to help newborns who otherwise would never take a first breath. Training in neonatal resuscitation has also been a big project for Mormons in Africa.
•Then, of course, there is the tragedy of AIDS. A couple of weeks ago I attended a dinner where the Utah AIDS Foundation honored James O. Mason, former United States Assistant Secretary of Health. When he was working for the Center for Disease Control in 1984, a project to research the epidemiology and treatment of AIDS was established at the Hospital Mama Yempo in Kinshasha, Zaire. After visiting the hospital and examining the children and adults with AIDS, Mason described the death rate and the associated infections from AIDS as “horrific.” Mason, a Mormon, knows quite a bit about AIDS and a great deal about Africa.
•None of this includes responses to multiple disasters, like the flooding in Niger, where the Church provided clothing, quits and hygiene items to 20,000 people in six inundated regions of the country.
Of course, parody isn’t reality, and it’s the very distortion that makes it appealing and often funny. The danger is not when people laugh but when they take it seriously – if they leave a theater believing that Mormons really do live in some kind of a surreal world of self-deception and illusion.
A couple of weeks ago a review about the musical appeared at the New York Times from a Jewish writer who simply listed himself as Levi. “As someone of Jewish faith,” he began, “I take personal offense at this show….I cannot believe that New York, MY New York, where I was born and raised, would ever do such a thing. Shame on you, New York Times, shame on Broadway, and shame on all of us who stand idly by and do nothing while the faith of others is mocked. Religious and cultural Jews need not support such bigotry.”
Levi’s point was echoed by some reviewers, but by surprisingly few. So why hasn’t there been a huge outcry from Mormons?
In my opinion, three reasons. The first is that in the great scheme of things, what Broadway does with “The Book of Mormon” musical is irrelevant to most of us. In the great sweep of history, parodies and TV dramas are blips on the radar screen that come and go. Popular culture will be whatever it will be.
The second reason is related. Jesus’s apostle Paul put it rather well when he said that Christians seek out the positive and virtuous things in life. His New Testament phraseology was adapted in the early years of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this formal Article of Faith:
“We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men…If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”
Finally, if we Mormons really do follow Jesus Christ in our lives and look to him as an example, then it’s hard for us to ignore the injunction to turn the other cheek. There were times, to be sure, when Jesus roundly criticized others, but it was almost always for hardened hypocrisy. He dismissed the criticism he received personally and told his followers: “Do good to them who despitefully use you and persecute you.”
It takes strength of character to do this, but it’s the Christian mandate. Sure, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pushes back when the record needs correcting or when legal rights need defending, but the world of popular entertainment is more likely to be met with a collective shrug than by placard-waving Mormon protesters.
Meanwhile, what of those thousands of remarkable and selfless Mormon missionaries who opted to pay their own expenses during the past seven years to serve in Africa while their peers were focused on careers or getting on with life? They have returned home, bringing with them a connection with the African people that will last a lifetime. Many will keep up their Swahili language or their Igbo dialect. They will keep in their bedrooms the flags of the nations where they served. They will look up every time they hear Africa mentioned on the evening news. Their associations with the people whose lives they touched will become lifetime friendships. And in a hundred ways they will become unofficial ambassadors for the nations they served.
By: Michael Otterson
For The Family
By Alan on Jan 22 in Blog, Videos tagged alan, Alex, Apostle, ask advice, barbershop, big talks, Bob Hope, careful, choices, church, David, Douglas, drinking, drugs, feelings, fishing, future, Generation, group, growing up, harmony, home, interest, Jon, judgement, leadership, life, Like Father, Like son, listen, love, manhood, mentor, Michael, missionaries, music, Nathan, normal, Osmonds, parents, pornography, pray, relationship, role model, Russell Nelson, Scott, Second, sex, share, show, stage, Suzanne, time, troubled times, trust, Tyler, video, watch, work | 3 Comments
What a responsibility it is to be a father of eights sons and growing up especially during these troubled times with them possibly wanting to pattern their lives and careers after my own, in show business. Such was the case of my sons, The Osmonds Second Generation.
Yes, we love music and our home was filled with it. Our boys actually stated singing on their own. Suzanne and I discovered one night after returning home from a night out together and found our sons watching old videos of me and my brothers singing barbershop harmony. The funny thing was they were singing right along with the video and singing in two part harmony as well! We both looked at each other and said, oh, oh!
The next day I sat my sons down and taught them a song in two part harmony. They did it! Soon, they were trying to sing in three parts and eventually, four parts! They sang at church and a few private parties and were invited to be on the Eugene Jelesnick Talent Showcase TV Show in Salt Lake City, Utah; the same show my brothers and I did when we were young! Bob Hope saw them, put them on his National TV Special and we have been chasing after them ever since!
While they were young, we gave them piano lessons and encouraged their interests in music but Suzanne and I also knew that they needed good educations and tried to keep their music as a hobby. While maintaining somewhat normal lives and going to school, they had great opportunities and success especially in England with four top twenty hit songs with videos.
Soon, it was time for Michael, the oldest, to serve as a missionary for our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which he chose to do and left the group to serve for two years in Denmark speaking Danish. When it was time, Nathan also did the same and went to Chile. Doug went to South Africa, David to Spain. Scott served in Paraguay and Jon went to to Brazil. Alex served stateside in Atlanta, Georgia and our youngest, Tyler, is yet to be seen.
When our boys returned from their mission calls they went to college and majored in various areas of business yet became very good at entertaining with a love for music. Suzanne and I had both encouraged them to get “Real Jobs” by getting a good education, and most of them did. Still, some have pursued music careers and we now see their talent and love for music showing up n their own children!
Fathers and sons can play a critical role in helping each other become the best that they can be. As we sit shoulder to shoulder in worshiping our Lord at church as priesthood holders or ‘Side by Side’ singing together on stage, we realize that we with our families can also become part of an eternal family of God.
M. Russell Nelson, a friend and an Apostle of our church reminds us that, ”Father and sons need to talk together and possibly work together as there is no other relationship quite like that which can and should exist between a boy and his dad. It can be one of the most nurturing, joyful relationships in life, one that can have profound impact on who boys become and also who dads become. We are all on a journey with Dads a little further down the road, but none of us has yet arrived at our final destination. We are all in the process of becoming who we will one day be. Fathers and sons can play a critical role in helping each other become the best that they can be.
I know that father-son relationships are never perfect, but it is possible if you will put forth the effort to make it happen.
Young men, you are your father’s pride and joy. In you they see a promising future and their hope for a better, improved version of themselves. Your accomplishments are a joy to them. Your worries and problems are their worries and problems.
Fathers, you are the primary model of manhood for your sons. You are their most meaningful mentor, and believe it or not, you are their hero in countless ways. Your words and your example are a great influence on them.”
First, trust your father. He is not perfect, but he loves you and would never do anything he didn’t think was in your best interest. So talk to him. Share your thoughts and feelings, your dreams and your fears. The more he knows about your life, the better chance he has to understand your concerns and to give you good counsel. When you put your trust in your dad, he will feel the responsibility of that trust and try harder than ever to understand and to help. As your father, he is entitled to inspiration on your behalf. His advice to you will be the heartfelt expressions of someone who knows and loves you. Your dad wants more than anything for you to be happy and successful, so why would you not want to trust someone like that? Boys, trust your dad.
Second, take an interest in your father’s life. Ask about his job, his interests, his goals. How did he decide to do the work that he does? What was he like when he was your age? How did he meet your mother? And as you learn more about him, you may find that his experiences help you to better understand why he responds the way that he does. Watch your dad. Watch how he treats your mother. Watch how he performs his Church callings. Watch how he interacts with other people. You will be surprised what you learn about him just by watching him and listening to him. Think about what you don’t know about him and find out. Your love, admiration, and understanding will increase by what you learn. Boys, be interested in your dad’s life.
My Father and brother Wayne.
And third, ask your father for advice. Let’s be honest: he is probably going to give you his advice whether you ask for it or not, but it just works so much better when you ask! Ask for his advice on Church activity, on classes, on friends, on school, on dating, on sports or other hobbies. Ask for his counsel on your Church assignments, on preparing for your mission, on decisions or choices you have to make. Nothing shows respect for another person as much as asking for his advice, because what you are really saying when you ask for advice is, “I appreciate what you know and the experiences you have had, and I value your ideas and suggestions.” Those are nice things for a father to hear from his son.
In my experience, fathers who are asked for advice try harder to give good, sound, useful counsel. By asking your father for advice, you not only receive the benefit of his input, but you also provide him with a little extra motivation to strive to be a better father and a better man. He will think more carefully about whatever it is that he advises, and he will work harder to “walk the talk.” Young men, ask your dad for advice!
OK, fathers, now it’s your turn. Let’s talk about some things you can do to enhance your relationship with your sons. You will notice that there is some linkage between the three suggestions I am going to give you and the suggestions I just gave your sons. That isn’t coincidental.
First, fathers, listen to your sons—really listen to them. Ask the right kind of questions, and listen to what your sons have to say each time you have a few minutes together. You need to know—not to guess but to know—what is going on in your son’s life. Don’t assume that you know how he feels just because you were young once. Your sons live in a very different world from the one in which you grew up. As they share with you what’s going on, you will have to listen very carefully and without being judgmental in order to understand what they are thinking and experiencing.
Father often took us fishing. Alan, Merrill, Wayne.
Find your own best way to connect. Some fathers like to take their sons fishing or to a sporting event. Others like to go on a quiet drive or work side by side in the yard. Some find their sons enjoy conversations at night just before going to bed. Do whatever works best for you. A one-on-one relationship should be a routine part of your stewardship with your sons. Every father needs at least one focused, quality conversation with his sons every month during which they talk about specific things such as school, friends, feelings, video games, text messaging, worthiness, faith, and testimony. Where or when this happens isn’t nearly as important as the fact that it happens.
Father taught us to work but listened.
And oh, how fathers need to listen. Remember, conversation where you do 90 percent of the talking is not a conversation. Use the word “feel” as often as you comfortably can in your discussions with your sons. Ask: “How do you feel about what you’re learning in that class?” “How do you feel about what your friend said?” “How do you feel about your priesthood and the Church?”
Don’t think you have to try to fix everything or solve everything during these visits. Most of the time, the best thing you can do is just listen. Fathers who listen more than they talk find that their sons share more about what is really going on in their lives. Dads, listen to your sons.
Second, pray with and for your sons. Give them priesthood blessings. A son who is worried about a big exam or a special event will surely benefit from a father’s priesthood blessing. Occasions like the start of a new school year, a birthday, or as he begins to date may be opportune times to call upon the Lord to bless your son. One-on-one prayer and the sharing of testimonies can draw you closer to each other as well as closer to the Lord.
I am mindful that many of you fathers suffer heartache over sons who have strayed and are being captured by the world, just as Alma and Mosiah worried about their sons. Continue to do all you can to maintain strong family relationships. Never give up, even when fervent prayer in their behalf is all you can do. These precious sons of yours are your sons forever! Fathers, pray with and bless your sons.
Third, dare to have the “big talks” with your sons. You know what I mean: talks about drugs and drinking, about the dangers of today’s media—the Internet, cyber technologies, and pornography—and about priesthood worthiness, respect for girls, and moral cleanliness. While these should not be the only subjects you talk about with your sons, please don’t shy away from them. Your boys need your counsel, guidance, and input on these subjects. As you talk about these very important matters, you will find that the trust between you will flourish.
I am especially concerned that we communicate openly and clearly with our sons about sexual matters. Your sons are growing up in a world that openly embraces and flaunts early, casual, and thoughtless promiscuity. Your sons simply cannot avoid the blatant sexual imagery, messages, and enticements that are all around them. Fathers and Church leaders need to have open and frequent discussions that teach and clarify how young men of the priesthood handle this issue. Be positive about how wonderful and beautiful physical intimacy can be when it happens within the bounds the Lord has set, including temple covenants and commitments of eternal marriage. Studies show that the biggest deterrent to casual sexual activity is a wholesome attitude that connects such personal relationships with genuine commitment and mature love. Fathers, if you have not had this “big talk” with your sons, please do so, and do it soon.
And fathers, the three suggestions I made to you moments ago absolutely apply to your relationships with your returned missionary sons. Listen to them, and connect with them in regular, focused conversation. Talk with them in depth about their feelings and desires. Pray with them, and give them blessings as they face the important decisions in their future.
Alex at Temple Leaving on Mission.
Elder Ballard says to young men like mine who are returned missionaries to “trust your father. You can be closer to him now than ever before regardless of what your relationship was like before your mission. During the next few years, you will make the most important decisions of your life. Along with prayer to your Heavenly Father, advice from your earthly father can help you make those decisions concerning your education, career choice, and marriage. The most important decision you will make in this life is the decision to marry the right girl in the temple! While no one should rush this significant decision, all returned missionaries should be working on it. Be where you can meet the right kind of friends. And go on dates. Hanging out is not the way, nor is it enough! Courting seems to be a lost art. Rediscover it. It really works! Ask your fathers—they know! Do not drift to the ways of the world. Rather, maintain the dignity and the Spirit you enjoyed on your mission. The Church will need your leadership in the future.”
I have never been a father before. I have watched my father while growing up and how he handled problems, made decisions, and handled situations as I grew older. With my eight sons, I have often tried to remember those times and have applied it to my own sons. I remind them that this life is a time to make choices; that those choices that we made in heaven before we came here determined where we are in this life. And, the choices we make here will decide which mansion in heaven we go to after we die and return to our Heavenly parents. I cannot tell them who to love. I cannot tell them what you should do for a living. But what I can do is show continual love and support and be there to catch them should they fall.
For the Family
M. Russell Ballard
A Talk from General Conference