An honest search, a compelling story


I visit lds.org most every day. I especially check the newsroom for current topics. It’s been a while since I went to mormon.org but found a great story right on the opening page. Watch the video. A young woman is telling the story of what happened when she asked some thoughtful questions in her weekly bible study class.

I won’t give it away but it is a compelling story. I especially like the response of her teacher who said, “you’ve been listening to the Mormons, haven’t you?” She hadn’t but she immediately called her only LDS friend to find out more about what she had been studying. You can imagine the results.

Over the past two years I have met on a regular basis with some wonderful friends from the Church of the Nazarene. We have shared many fascinating discussions together on various subjects but for the most part we discuss marriage from a Christian perspective and how to improve our own. Rarely does a theological disagreement come up but when it does it is typically about the concept of the eternal nature of marriage.

My heart aches for my good friends who have quoted scriptures to support their point of view that we are not married in heaven. How I wish I could get them to understand that they have missed such a central doctrine of the gospel. It is such a big part of my hope and happiness in this life from knowing, believing and understanding that we can indeed be together as husband and wife in the eternities.

What do these two stories have in common? I am not convinced that my friends from the Church of the Nazarene really believe what their church teaches about marriage in heaven. I believe they are people of a good and honest heart. Someday, when the occasion is right, I am confident that the opportunity will come along for them to accept the truth of this doctrine. We can be together as families forever.

I always wonder why this doctrine is so misunderstood in the Christian churches today. I can’t believe someone who truly loves their spouse will not want to be with them forever. Is this doctrine of marriage in heaven really unique to the Mormons?

Dealing with Same-Gender Attraction


I loved Elder Holland’s introduction in his article in this month’s Ensign magazine on same-gender attraction. He was speaking with a young man in his early twenties who said, “I don’t know if I should remain a member of the Church,” he said. “I don’t think I’m worthy.” “Why wouldn’t you be worthy?” I asked. “I’m gay,” he said. I suppose he thought I would be startled. I wasn’t. “And…?” I inquired.”

The young man was surprised and asked how he could be a member of the church if he felt attracted to men instead of women. He wondered why he felt that way. Elder Holland said that same-gender attraction was not a sin and asked the young man if he had acted upon those impulses and thereby broken the law of chastity. No, he hadn’t. Elder Holland then said that although he could not answer why the young man had those feelings, he could offer hope and encouragement because he was trying to keep his covenants.

Does this subject make us uncomfortable? It shouldn’t. If an apostle of God can write and speak about this and make the church’s position on this difficult subject clearer then we can and should too. Elder Holland quoted another Apostle, Elder Packer in speaking to those with same-gender attraction. “We do not reject you,” he said. “We cannot reject you, for you are the sons and daughters of God. We will not reject you, because we love you.” Isn’t that an amazing manifestation of the love of Christ being demonstrated by an Apostle of God?

This subject has received considerable attention lately and probably will for years to come. I hope that anyone who seriously investigates the Church does not misunderstand what the Lord’s servants are teaching here. Elder Oaks and Elder Wickman responded in great depth to this question in an interview posted in the newsroom on lds.org. It is unfortunate that those who are trying to push same-sex marriage are misstating the church’s position on this. They sometimes blatantly lie and claim that the church does not allow homosexuals to participate.

President Hinckley has said this about those who struggle with same-gender attraction: “We love them as sons and daughters of God…If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church.” He also said, “Our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as gays and lesbians. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God. They are welcome in the Church. It is expected, however, that they follow the same God-given rules of conduct that apply to everyone else, whether single or married.”

This is a difficult subject but one which members of the church need to understand. What do you think? Should we not talk about stuff like this or is it important to know what the Lord has taught through his servants about same-gender attraction?

Headlines and FUD – fear, uncertainty, doubt


I’m sure you know that headlines are meant to be provocative and to entice you to read the article. It has always been a pet peeve of mine that most headlines are also mis-leading. How about this headline for example: “Home Sales Plunge by 8 Percent.” Why, how awful! How could such a thing happen? Those poor people trying to sell their houses. Reading the article is just as bad. It is full of words of doom and gloom like worst slump, slowest pace, weakness, pressure on sales, decline, turmoil, worries, drag, severe, fears, threats and my favorite, ‘worse than expected.’

It always makes me wonder if the writers of articles like these had to take a class in how to write a pessimistic news article. Or is it perhaps just their general state of mind? You would think that at least one writer looking at the same news could have reported it this way: “Falling home prices mean more people can afford houses.” Of course, anyone who has been following the housing ‘crisis’ (why is everything always a crisis?) know that it was caused by home buyers getting adjustable rate mortgages with the belief that home values would go up.

When I worked in computer sales many moons ago, we used to describe a technique used by IBM salesreps as the ‘FUD’ factor – fear, uncertainty and doubt. We would invite our clients to purchase a new computer system that was not an IBM and they, in doing their due diligence would contact IBM to get a competing quote. There’s nothing wrong with that as I do that myself on large purchases. The IBM rep would invariably say to our client, “Are you sure you want to do that? What if that company goes out of business? Can you afford to make a mistake like that?” I think the same technique is used by the writers at AP and Reuters.

What a difference in the headlines when you visit the lds.org newsroom. Each headline invites the reader to learn more about some good thing that the church is doing. A large percentage of the articles focus on good works of the members. Of course you’re not likely to see a negative news article on lds.org but at least every headline I see there is truthful and actually pertains to the content of the story. Well done to the people at church headquarters who do the newsroom. They are being true to the trust that we place in them – to uplift, motivate and inspire.

What do you think of the church’s newsroom? Honest news or one-sided PR?

Boy Scouts, gays and the LDS Church


The city of Philadelphia will start charging the local council of the Boy Scouts of America $200,000 a year to use the city-owned land under the council headquarters building. Since 1928 the City had been charging the Council only $1 a year. What would make them start charging such a high amount now?

The city has made it clear that the move is designed to punish the Boy Scouts of America because it will not allow homosexuals to serve as Scout Leaders. The city says it is charging the scouts $200,000 a year because the scouts discriminate against homosexuals. But the city finds nothing wrong with their discrimination against the scouts because of the scouts’ belief.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the scouts, as a private group, have a First Amendment right to bar homosexuals from membership. Philadelphia officials, in an effort to appease the homosexual activists, began searching for a way to punish the scouts. The rent increase was the vehicle to do that. Source: Philly.com

What does the LDS church think about Scouting? President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “I love the Scouting movement. I am glad to be able to pay my respects to you who move the great Scouting program along. We would not have the kind of gang problems we have if there were more boys enrolled in Scouting, because the spirit of Scouting and the spirit of gang life are contradictory one to another. This program builds boys, builds their futures, leads them to the right path so they can make something of their lives.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints formally affiliated with the Scouting movement in the United States in May of 1913 as its first institutional sponsor, and today sponsors more Scouts and Scouting units in the United States than any other organization. Hundreds of thousands of young men are enrolled as Scouts in groups or units sponsored by the Church.

We have strong affiliations with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA); Scouts Canada; the Scouting Associations of Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain; and other associations in Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa. The vast majority of Latter-day Saint Scouting affiliations, however, are in the western and central United States and Canada. Source: LDS.org

If the Boy Scouts of America is forced to accept gays as scoutmasters, the LDS Church will withdraw from the organization and take more than 400,000 Scouts with it (12% of total enrollment and 25% of enrolled units). That’s the contention of Salt Lake City attorney Von G. Keetch, who filed a brief with the Supreme Court supporting the Boy Scouts’ ban on homosexuals on behalf of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and four other religious organizations back in 2000.

I hope that the Boy Scouts of America are never bullied into being forced to accept homosexual members or leaders. If that ever happens, it is my opinion that the church will withdraw it’s support for the Boy Scouts. What do you think?

So Cal fires: Divine punishment or natural causes?


Tony Badillo from Dallas TX wrote: “In case the people of Malibu can’t figure it out, the fire is almost certainly Divine punishment. There have been other types of punishments and there will me many more until materialistic America in love with sex, porn, riches, violence (including abortion), and deceit and lying is brought to its knees…Malibu is a symbol of individual self-serving materialism…”

Hmmm…seems a little harsh Tony. These are my neighbors. I know quite a few good god-fearing Christian people in Malibu. Let’s not be too hasty in judgement. I agree that there are some very rich, foolish and worldly people who live in Malibu, many of them in the entertainment industry. But I can think of two other places that the Lord should let the angels pour the vials of destruction upon first.

One of them is the area around Folsom Street in San Francisco. I’ve written about them previously. The other is Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley. The majority of the nation’s adult video and magazine distributors are located there. My offices are in Burbank. When we were shopping for a new high-speed internet connection I was surprised when the salesrep pointed out that I might have some contention for bandwidth in the afternoons. When I asked why he said because that’s when all the kids get out of school and hit the porn sites that are based nearby.

The Lord has forewarned us that there will be much ‘natural’ destruction in the last days. We will see more fires, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and yes, perhaps a large meteorite or two but more likely a swarm of previously unknown meteorites that bring fire with them. I just don’t think that the fires of today are specifically targeted to the people of Malibu by the Lord. Of course, I could be wrong. A lot of good people have lost their homes. So far this firestorm is not as big as the fires of 2003.

What do you think? Are today’s fires a sign of Divine punishment?

News Flash: Mitt Romney is a Mormon!


Quoting the Dallas Morning News: “Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, said that Mormonism is a false religion and that Mr. Romney was not a Christian. “Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise,” Dr. Jeffress said in a sermon Sept. 30. [ed: (sarcasm on) Well duh! Is this a revelation? (sarcasm off)]“Even though he talks about Jesus as his Lord and savior, he is not a Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity. Mormonism is a cult.”

Some in the large crowd began to applaud as Dr. Jeffress continued with his remarks. “What really distresses me is some of my ministerial friends and even leaders in our convention are saying, ‘Oh, well, he talks about Jesus, we talk about Jesus. What’s the big deal?’ ” he said. “It is a big deal if anybody names another way to be saved except through Jesus Christ.”

What a disconnect! I can’t believe that otherwise intelligent people actually believe this lie. And why was he pointing out that Mitt Romney was a Mormon as if anybody was trying to hide it? How many years will ministers of other churches put their fears on public display as they continue to claim that Mormonism is not Christianity? It never ceases to amaze me how they can call the fastest growing church in the world a cult.

The best response I can think of is to refer people like this to Elder Holland’s latest General Conference talk but it’s doubtful they would seriously consider it. “…any criticism that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not hold the contemporary Christian view of God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost is not a comment about our commitment to Christ but rather a recognition (accurate, I might add) that our view of the Godhead breaks with post–New Testament Christian history and returns to the doctrine taught by Jesus Himself.”

As Elder Holland points out that Harper’s Bible Dictionary records that “the formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the [New Testament].”

So I guess it’s true that we don’t believe in the same Jesus Christ because they have created a God that is not Biblical. Their understanding of God is based on non-authoritative creeds of men, established many years after the Lord taught the truth about Himself and His Father in the gospels. It is amazing to me that people like Jeffress can say that we claim there is some other way to be saved except through Jesus Christ.

He is either naive, has been mis-informed or simply will not accept what 13 million members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints know and teach. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. It is only through Jesus Christ that can return to the presence of God. There is no other way to be saved from the effects of our sins except through Jesus Christ. Dr. Jeffress, get your facts straight. Or do you delight in mis-representing what Mormons believe?

The United Nations is a failure


Mitt Romney said today that the United States should get out of the United Nations. I totally agree. He pointed out that the UN Human Rights Council has repeatedly condemned Israel while taking no action against nations with repressive regimes. Yep, that’s been my observation as well. He said, “The United Nations has been an extraordinary failure of late. We should withdraw from the United Nations…”

Actually he said we should withdraw from the UN Human Rights council, but the US is already boycotting that group because of its abysmal record. The council was established last year as a successor to an equally stupid UN Commission on Human Rights which elected terrorist states to lead it. President Bush said that the United States would not participate in the Council but would support it financially.

I guess that’s good politics but why we do it I don’t know. Maybe to appease the nations who want to feel they are doing something important. The UN has no teeth, nor do any of its councils or commissions. We practically pay the entire budget of the United Nations each year so they can insult and criticize us.

What do you think? Should the US get out of the UN?

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