The hard questions for Mormons – September 29th, 2014

I’ve found through lots of experiences that one major aspect of my life as a Mormon is the constant need to defend my religious beliefs. Somewhat unique to Mormonism is the swimming upstream sense of dealing with the objections atheists and agnostics as well as our fellow Christians about the origins and practices of the church. Here are the most common ones I’ve found myself dealing with. Joseph Smith, Origins of the Church We Mormons take Joseph Smith at his word. We believe that as a fourteen-year-old boy he was visited by God and Jesus Christ, and that they developed him into a prophet and inspired him to organize the Church of Jesus Christ, known today throughout the world as the LDS or

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Mormon Church. Critics of the Church’s origins like to pick apart the details of the Prophet’s life to discount his work. Book of Mormon Evidences Polygamy Temple Ordinances The Priesthood and Racism

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Mitt Romney: Mormon – September 26th, 2014

Something weird happened last week in South Carolina. Going into the final week prior to the Republican nomination race in South Carolina, Romney had a double-digit lead. A series of events halted that advantage. Those events surround Mitt Romney's religion. Mitt Romney Pays Tithing Biblical Christian principle: Malachi 3:8-11 If Romney didn't consecrate 10% of his income by giving them to what his religious convictions tell him are the true Church of Jesus Christ, could

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Religious Freedom: Quotations from Prophets – September 26th, 2014

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Is the Mormon Church a Cult – September 26th, 2014

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Mormonism 101: Elder Jeffery R. Holland – September 26th, 2014

Recently Elder Jeffery R. Holland, a Mormon Apostle, addressed students at the Harvard Law School. His remarks to the law students centered on how Mormons believe Christ’s ancient church has been restored as it was in Christ’s day. Elder Holland said:

“What brings me to you today is not a message of reformation but of restoration,” he said, “the restoration of that church Christ established by His hand in the meridian of time and which He has reestablished by His

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hand in this present time.”

To read what Elder Holland said click here.

Mormonsim 101

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Living Consecrated Lives as Christians – September 29th, 2013

by Richard Robbins I remember several years ago being impressed by the requirements of true Christian discipleship as they were described in the Doctrine and Covenants. Section 103:27-28 reads: 27) Let no man be afraid to lay down his life for my sake; for whoso layeth down his life for my sake shall find it again; 28) And whoso is not willing to lay down his life for my sake is not my disciple.

Jesus Christ Discipleship

Being a disciple of Jesus Christ requires a willingness to commit ones life to the Savior and his teachings.

These verses set a very high standard for any person aspiring to be one of the Savior's truest disciples. As I've measured my own life against this standard, I find that I fall significantly short of that degree of consecration. However, like each of us, I'm striving toward becoming fully dedicated to what the gospel teaches us is the primary purpose of our mortal existence: to gain experience, to learn true principles, and to use our agency wisely, choosing to become like our Father. Today I would like to discuss the topic of consecration. Latter-day Saints understand that there are things required of us that the rest of the world largely ignores. As we consciously grow in testimony and understanding, we realize that we are expected to dedicate our lives to our spiritual development. We make covenants to contribute our time and talents to building up the kingdom of God on earth. Consecration begins with our own personal development and extends to our family stewardships and outward again to our responsibilities in the Church and to society. I'd like to suggest some things that I believe members of the Church can do to more fully consecrate our lives to the gospel and thereby make the most out of this probationary period of mortality. Shortly after Nephi died, his brother Jacob addressed the Nephites regarding a problem he observed among them, explaining to them that he recognized that they were “beginning to labor in sin”. He then discussed two areas of weakness that he felt needed attention. The first issue Jacob addressed was the unhealthy materialism among his people. He cautioned the Nephites against wearing stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of their apparel. He admonished them to seek first the kingdom of God before seeking riches, and he told them that the pursuit of riches should be done “to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.” Today we can observe in our society a similar focus on worldly possessions, even among members of the Church, who often feel entitled to the best of everything the modern world has to offer, including homes, cars, technology, and other things that tend to transform themselves from wants into needs. I believe that we should have a more consecrated view of our temporal stewardship, including our attitude toward spending. Jacob's advice in 2nd Nephi is worth following. 2 Nephi 9:51: …do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. We have seen the foundation of our nation weakened because political leaders and citizens have blatantly ignored this counsel. Our families can enjoy a greater sense of peace, and we can be more capable of contributing to the welfare of others if we learn to better govern our spending habits. Can you imagine how much faster the Church could accomplish the work that needs to be done prior to the Savior's return if each family lived modestly enough to have a financial reserve and was fully prepared temporally and spiritually to contribute to some of the many needs that exist in the Church? What if your family were called to serve a 2- or 3-year mission right now? Are you ready and willing to make that kind of sacrifice? The second problem Jacob addressed was a growing trend toward unchastity among his people. The world that we live in today has almost entirely abandoned the notion that sexual relationships are sacred. Modesty is often neglected, even among Latter-day Saint women and girls. Television shows and commercials are filled with direct sexual suggestions and innuendo, and the mindset created by immoral writers often finds its way into conversations that take place among us. Church leaders have recently published material that gives evidence of their great concern that religious freedom and the right to speak out against homosexuality and same-sex marriage among other moral issues are being lost to a culture of severe societal intolerance of those who maintain Christian standards. President Packer said last year that, “with the lowering of moral standards, you young people are being raised in enemy territory.”
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Can I suggest that each of us create an individual and family plan specifically designed to reduce the influence in our homes of those who have created this “enemy territory”? Lisa and I recently made the decision to cancel our network television subscription, because we felt that it represented “spending money for that which is of no worth.” We have consciously decided not to eat at Carl's, Jr. or spend money on internet products from (even though they're cheaper than competitors) because those companies use pornography to advertise. It would be worthwhile to assess how much of society's influence we allow into our homes and into the lives of our children. If we find we have the lyrics of popular culture songs memorized, but we still haven't mastered the Articles of Faith, I'd recommend making some deliberate adjustments in what we're doing with our time so that it is more focused on the spiritual reinforcement that is necessary to overcome a progressively secularly-minded society. Latter-day Saints cannot blithely allow the influence of modern society to dominate our homes if we take our religion seriously. If we do not force these dangerous influences out of our lives, they will certainly damage our ability to live the gospel. There seem to be two fundamental levels of change that I have observed that can be used to push back against worldly influences and help us be more consecrated. Small Changes Each of us should be making incremental improvements to our lives on a daily basis. This could include the decision to stop watching a particular show or to start reading the scriptures with more regularity. We should be consistently evaluating our habits and looking for ways to make continuous progress. Lisa and I have found it useful to hold weekly and monthly planning meetings as a couple – accompanied by a whiteboard – to evaluate how our family is doing and to make adjustments. Family Home Evening is another great opportunity to analyze and adjust family habits. I have also found that the minutes I spend in personal prayer at the beginning of the day and as I report back at the end of the day are great opportunities to get feedback from Heavenly Father about how I'm doing and what changes I need to make personally and for my family. Major Changes

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There may be circumstances that warrant making major overhauls in order to foster a Christ-centered lifestyle for ourselves and our families. These circumstances may require making changes that involve a job, a career, or even moving our residence. A visit to the bishop may even be required to get help with a major course change. This type of change acts like a big reset button. If you feel like you personally or someone in your family is consistently struggling, I'd invite you to consider whether it might not be time to make this kind of critical adjustment to your life. More than 20 years ago my parents made this kind of move. Because of the difficulty their children were having, including me, living the gospel standards in the environment we experienced living in Tallahassee, Florida, my parents made the very difficult decision to uproot their family from friends, relatives, and sports teams and take us to Utah. Three weeks after they made that decision, our home was sold, our things were packed, and our friends were shaking their heads in disbelief at what they considered an irrational attraction Mormons have to living in Utah. I'm grateful my parents had the tenacity to make that decision, and I'm confident that my siblings and I were blessed because of it. I believe that when Eve made the difficult decision to partake of the forbidden fruit, she set an example for her posterity and demonstrated that we can have the fortitude to make good decisions in a world was purposely designed to test our integrity and to allow us to consider alternatives and make the best choice.

Ezra Taft Benson

Ezra Taft Benson's led the life of a true Christian disciple

One of the best ways I have found to make my own life more consecrated is to spend more time studying the lives of men and women who exemplify the lifestyle of a true disciple. One of those men is Ezra Taft Benson, whose example we appreciate enough that my wife and I named our youngest son after him. President Benson made a statement several years ago that I like to refer to when I think about the blessings of consecrating our lives to God. This is what he said: “men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life. “ I sincerely believe that this statement from President Benson is true.

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I'm a Mormon. I live it, and I love it! – October 6th, 2012

Sister Dibb's talk in General asked members of the Church to be bold in declaring their membership and commitment to the Church and its message. I created this graphic to represent the theme of her talk.

I'm a Mormon.

Sister Dibb asked members of the Church not to be timid in sharing that they are Mormons.

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Posted in Missionary Work

LDS General Conference Infographic – March 29th, 2012

This may be a first.

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I came across an infographic today that gives some information about LDS General Conference. Twice each year, members

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of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide come together either in person or through the use of technology to receive instruction from Church leaders.

This infographic was produced by the Church to give a visual explanation of the magnitude of General Conference.

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LDS General Conference infographic

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Education a Spiritual Endeavor – March 20th, 2012

One of my favorite scriptures in the Doctrine and Covenants explains the importance of learning, and places within the reach of humans a recipe for increasing intelligence.

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D & C 130: 18-19 Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the life to come.

This makes the acquisition of knowledge a spiritual pursuit. Learning through diligence and obedience places a person closer to the ultimate goal of God's offspring: becoming like He is. That's why many Latter-day Saints prefer to send their children to private schools, where teachers and curriculum are held more accountable than in public schools and closely match the learning preferences of parents. Where private schools are not practical, many LDS parents home school their kids so that they can be more involved with the learning process. They can integrate

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spiritual with secular learning, and they can ensure that their children are not

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The Purpose of Life – March 15th, 2012

Purpose of life for families

What is the Purpose of Life?

Through out history many individuals have asked questions such as what is the purpose of life? Or why do we exist? Many people have asked these questions and many have tried to answer these questions through different mediums of thought such as philosophy and science. But just like any question about life and our purpose the answers to these questions can only come from the source of all truth—a Supreme Being or in other words from God. To understand our purpose we must first understand God's purpose which is found in the Book of Moses: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.“(Moses 1:39). Everything God does and says is meant for our benefit not just in this life, but in the life after our life here on earth or in other words life on into the eternities. Knowing that about God then begs the question that is the topic of this blog post—what is our purpose in life? In the Doctrine and Covenants we learn this about our purpose: “Behold , this is your work to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength” (Doctrine and Convenants 11:20). Following the commandments given to us from God acts as a path or a guide that aids us in returning back to Him. Before we lived here on earth we lived with God. We learn in the Old Testament that God knew Jeremiah the prophet before he was born: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5). Like Jeremiah, God knew us because we lived with him before being born into this life on earth. When we were born we were born into a life that was in a fallen state because of the Fall. The Fall occurred when Adam and Eve partook of the fruit God forbade them to eat. As a result they were cast out of the Garden of Eden away from the presence of God where they faced the trials of a mortal life (Genesis 3). The very trials that all human kind face because of the Fall are to test us to see if we will keep the commandments that God has given us. God also knew, even before the Fall occurred, that we would fall short in keeping His commandments and so He provided a way back to Him by sending His Son Jesus Christ to give his life as a ransom for us all.
The Purpose of life centers on Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is the focus of life's purpose. He has a plan for the salvation of humankind.

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Jesus Christ was born in the meridian of time as the literal Son of God. He came because: “…God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting

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life“. (John 3:16). In a book of modern day scripture called the Book of Mormon, an ancient prophet named Alma teaches about what is termed as the Atonement: “…he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy… the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might blot out their trangression…” (The Book of Mormon, Alma 7:12,13). If we will place our faith in Jesus Christ and repent the Atonement can become active in our lives and we can become reconciled to God and return to live with Him again. In essence the purpose of life is to do what God wants us to do, which is to keep His commandments. When we do this we contribute to God's purpose by making correct choices. When our choices fall short of what God wants us to do, we can repent, change our beliefs or attitudes, and try again.

Jesus Teaches the Woman at the Well

“Whosever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst…” (John 4:14)

There is a way to reconcile ourselves with God through the Atonement. The Atonement becomes active in our lives when we change our behavior that goes against God or in other words when we repent. Repentance takes faith in Jesus Christ. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). At the beginning, we may not have full knowledge of the outcome when we put our faith in Christ and repent, but Christ has promised us that “…whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).

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