Posted on February 2, 2010 by Joe O.
This post is a follow-up from “Marriage, part 1: Why difference matters.” Three more related posts will follow.
In the previous post, I argued that differences were actually essential for a spirit of charity to thrive in marriage. In seeking out and embracing these differences, we learn to love that which is other than us – and by love, I mean in part to appreciate and embrace the unique contribution made by those differences.
Charity, as Paul says, “Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth” (1 Cor 13:6). The truth is, we (husbands and wives) are different, and to have charity, we must rejoice in those differences. Doing so has the benefit of uniting us, as I discussed before. In this post, I’d like to discuss another benefit through a semi-narrative.
Imagine two people perpetually in conflict with one another. Let us say their conflicts are sometimes not particularly contentious, but do (as they must) get heated every once in a while. Now, in spite of how those conflicts play out (i.e., whether they are resolved or not), imagine that these two people also love each other with complete fidelity – that they are desperately faithful to one another. We might even see their love for one another manifested during conflicts.
Filed under: Mormon Culture, Relationships | Tagged: charity, Family, Folk Theologies, LDS, Love, love thy neighbor as thyself, marriage, Mormons, parenting | 6 Comments »
Posted on January 17, 2010 by Dennis
We had an excellent Sunday School lesson today in my ward about the Creation, which focused primarily on our stewardship for the earth and for all of God’s creations.
Here are some great quotes (most of which were distributed from my ward’s gospel doctrine teacher) that illustrate just a taste of why, I believe, Latter-day Saints should be the most environmentally friendly people on earth. (more…)
Filed under: Mormon Culture, Relationships | Tagged: air quality, Alexander B. Morrison, Brigham Young, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, creation, dominion, environmentalism, Ezra Taft Benson, Hugh Nibley, Joseph Smith, Latter-day Saints, LDS, Mormon Church, Mormons, pollution, Spencer W. Kimball, stewardship, subdue the earth | 16 Comments »
Posted on January 5, 2010 by Joe O.
I once heard it said when I was a young undergraduate that the creation accounts – particularly that of Abraham – fit very well with evolutionary accounts of creation. A casual read of Abraham seems to confirm this: earth, void; waters divided from earth; plants come up from the earth; fish and fowl; beasts of the earth; man. This sort of progression would make sense from an evolutionary perspective – creation evolves from simple to complex.
But add Moses’ account into the mix and things become a little dicier. (more…)
Filed under: Culture, Folk Theologies, Science | Tagged: creation, evolution, Faith, Good ol' Abraham, LDS, Mormon Culture, Mormon Doctrine, Moses, Philosophy, Science, Science and Religion, Scripture | 5 Comments »
Posted on November 10, 2009 by Joe O.
This site has been quiet for some time and it makes me wonder if we’ve stopped “thinking in a marrow bone.” I haven’t stopped thinking, but I’m not sure if I’m doing much thinking that’s worth anything. So instead, I’d like to issue a challenge and have you do the thinking for me: someone help me understand why so many Mormons accept evolution whole cloth without settling some of the most crucial divisions between doctrine and Darwinian dogma?
Let me reveal my ignorance by talking about things I don’t understand.
Filed under: Mormon Doctrine, Science | Tagged: "survival of the fittest", age of earth, carbon dating, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, creation, creationism, death, eternal matter, evolution, Garden of Eden, intelligent design, LDS, LDS Church, Mormons, natural selection, Resurrection, Science and Religion, Two Great Commandments | 29 Comments »
Posted on October 4, 2009 by Dennis
I always feel spiritually rejuvenated after General Conference, and this conference was no exception. Here are some of the dominant themes and highlights I noticed, along with some of my own thoughts:
1. Fresh ways of looking at the “fundamentals”
I sometimes grow tired of the way the “fundamentals” in the Church are sometimes talked about by church members: “the Sunday School answers; you gotta read, pray, and go to church; you gotta make good habits; etc.” It’s not that I disagree with the importance of the “fundamentals,” it’s that I think they are too often talked about in shallow ways.
This conference, however, had several excellent talks that can aid members in the way they think and talk about the “fundamentals” of consistent scripture study, prayer, family home evening, and worship.
Filed under: Mormon Doctrine, Scripture | Tagged: Africa, Atonement of Jesus Christ, Book of Mormon, Boyd K. Packer, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, conversion, Dale G. Renlund, Dallin H. Oaks, David A. Bednar, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Gospel of Jesus Christ, heart transplant, Henry B. Eyring, Holy Ghost, Jeffrey R. Holland, Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, Joseph W. Sitati, LDS, LDS Church, Michael T. Ringwood, mighty change of heart, Mormon Church, Mormons, Neil L. Andersen, Richard G. Scott, Richard L. Bushman, Robert D. Hales, Rough Stone Rollling, South Korea, testimony, Thomas S. Monson, Two Great Commandments, Vicki Matsumori, Yoon Hwan Choi | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 20, 2009 by Dennis
In many respects, Catholics and Mormons have similar views on abortion. In general, both churches are pro-life, although individual Mormons are probably more likely than Catholics, at least in the U.S., to be pro-life. Plus a larger number of U.S. Catholics are more likely to emphasize (Democratic) legislation and interventions to reduce abortion, rather than (merely) emphasize (with Republicans) repealing Roe v. Wade. So, on average, it is probably safe to say that individual Mormons are more conservative than Catholics on the abortion question.
However, in terms of their institutional positions, it is the other way around–the LDS church is more liberal.
These differences are relevant in light of the Catholic church’s recent automatic excommunications of the family and doctor of a nine-year-old Brazilian girl who received an abortion. The pregnancy (twins) was a result of rape from the girl’s father (the girl is not subject to automatic excommunicated because of her age). Two weeks after the decision (March 2009), the archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho (who made the ruling) stepped down, prompting some to wonder whether the Vatican disagreed. Time Magazine (above link) reports, however, that a recent Vatican publication “unequivocally confirmed automatic excommunication for anyone involved in an abortion — even in such a situation as dire as the Brazilian case.”
Filed under: Comparative Religion | Tagged: abortion, Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, automatic excommunication, Catholic, Catholic abortion position, Catholics, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, excommunication, incest, LDS, LDS Church, Mormon abortion position, Mormon Church, Mormons, Pope Benedict XVI, pregnant 9-year old, pro-choice, pro-life, rape, Vatican | 16 Comments »
Posted on July 11, 2009 by Joe O.
My five-year-old daughter came home from Primary one Sunday and told us all about her lesson the Word of Wisdom. Her teachers had creatively made pictures of things that were “bad” so the children could throw them away. They threw away images of cigarettes, alcohol, tea, and coffee – all the things that are restricted based on D&C 89 and other, later admonition from the prophets.
Filed under: Mormon Culture, Mormon Doctrine, Scripture | Tagged: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Latter-day Saints, LDS, LDS Church, LDS Primary, Mormon health, Mormons, Word of Wisdom | 5 Comments »
Posted on June 27, 2009 by Dennis
There is currently a petition to the First Presidency to apologize on behalf of the Church for “official statements, rhetoric, policy and practice” that “have been injurious to gays and lesbians and their families and friends.”
First, I should say that in many ways I respect this petition. There clearly is a self-conscious attempt to address reconciliation without demanding the Church change its moral position on homosexuality or its political position on gay marriage. There has been a genuine effort, I think, to actually try to make inroads with the Church. I especially like the line, “We believe that people of good will may have differing views about homosexuality, while maintaining amicable relationships.” Yes–let’s hope this is true.
Filed under: Politics, Relationships | Tagged: accusation, apology, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, First Presidency, gay marriage, gays, homosexuality, LDS, LDS Church, LDSApology.org, lesbians, Mormons, petition, Prop 8, reconciliation, Reconciliation Petition Request to the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, same-sex marriage | 46 Comments »
Posted on June 2, 2009 by Joe O.
I’m not usually a literalist about the scriptures, but I’m a little baffled by a verse I read today and the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 137. This section is the account of a vision Joseph Smith had of the celestial kingdom. He names Adam and Abraham, as well as his parents, as inhabitants, likely those who were saved “by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.“
And then he mentions his brother, Alvin. Joseph “marvels” that his brother Alvin is there, “seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins.” And then the great revelation that “All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God.” Of course, this revelation plays a big part in understanding why we do work for the dead in our temples…right?
Here’s my question: What was Alvin doing there in the celestial kingdom when his work hadn’t been done yet?
Filed under: Scripture, Theology | Tagged: Alvin Smith, Celestial Kingdom, Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants 137, Folk Theologies, Gospel of Jesus Christ, interpretation of scripture, Joseph Smith, Latter-day Saints, LDS, life after death, mass confusion, Mormon Church, Mormons, Resurrection, Scripture, scriptures, Temple work, temples, Theology, unanswered questions, work for the dead | 14 Comments »
Posted on May 26, 2009 by Dennis
Today, the California Supreme Court upheld Prop 8 while leaving previous same-sex marriages intact.
My question is: What difference will the Court decision have on criticism of Mormons?
Filed under: Politics | Tagged: bigotry, California, California Proposition 8, California Supreme Court, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gay marriage, gays and lesbians, Latter-day Saints, LDS, Mormon Church, Mormons, Politics, Prop 8, Proposition 8, religious tolerance, same-sex marriage | 24 Comments »
Posted on May 24, 2009 by Dennis
Imagine inviting all of your friends over for your birthday party.
And by friends, I mean just about everyone you knew in high school, your college friends, people from your ward(s), people from work, relatives, ex-boyfriends/girlfriends. In other words, this is a BIG party.
Filed under: Relationships | Tagged: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Facebook, Facebook friends, individualism, Jesus Christ, LDS, LDS Church, missionary work, Mormon Church, Mormons, relationalism, technology, Thomas S. Monson | 23 Comments »
Posted on April 2, 2009 by erincita33
I love to ponder, learn, share, and discuss. I love when people challenge my beliefs in a way that stretches me to seek more deeply for understanding and helps me gain a greater vision of the possibilities and the truth.
I have always been this way and I know it is part of why I discovered the gospel of Jesus Christ and joined His Church. If I did not desire truth and was not willing to change my mind about things, even things I deeply clung to, I would not be a member of the Church and I would not have the life I live today.
So, I appreciate when people share ideas and challenge each others’ understanding. I think it is so valuable and so important. I believe it to be necessary to truly become a Zion people.
Yet, there are some dangers that we need to keep in mind and be aware of:
Filed under: LDS blogs, Mormon Culture, Relationships | Tagged: -ites, Berkeley, Bloggernacle, Brigham Young University, BYU, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, cynicism, intellectualism, Jesus Christ, LDS, Mormon blogs, Mormons, Provo, self-righteousness, Zion | 5 Comments »
Posted on March 26, 2009 by Joe O.
Things are quiet on the blog lately, so I figure it’s a good chance to make an appearance. Perhaps few people will read this entry and then I can likely avoid being blacklisted.
I applied to teach at Messiah College in Pennsylvania recently and part of the application was affirming the Apostles’ Creed. I affirmed the Apostles’ Creed, and I did so because I agreed with all the statements that were made within the creed. However, after having done so, I couldn’t help but recall the words of Joseph Smith when discussing his First Vision: “the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight” (JS-H 1:19).
Filed under: Mormon Doctrine, Theology | Tagged: Apostles' Creed, Christianity, creeds, First Vision, God, Joseph Smith, Latter-day Saints, LDS, Mormon Doctrine, Mormons, orthopraxy, Theology, Trinity, truth | 17 Comments »
Posted on January 25, 2009 by Dennis
I’m going to say what many Latter-day Saints are thinking, but some are afraid to say: Sunday School is often mediocre.
I really don’t wish to gripe. I definitely realize that each person — teachers and students — need to do their part. I also recognize that most teachers try hard and take their callings seriously. But certainly Sunday School doesn’t have to be the mind-numbing chore that it seems to be for many members. We can do much better!
In this post, I offer ten simple tips that could radically improve Sunday School lessons. (Yes, I will be that bold.) These tips are simply suggestions from myself, a Latter-day Saint who has done a fair amount of teaching and thinking about this issue. They can be applied by virtually anyone, in my opinion.
Filed under: Faith, Scripture | Tagged: Latter-day Saints, LDS, Mormon, scriptures, Sunday School, teaching, testimony | 41 Comments »
Posted on December 27, 2008 by Dennis
This is the second of a series of short posts entitled “Meditations on Time.” In this series I will explore some of my thoughts and experiences concerning time and the gospel.
In my previous post, I talked about my childhood fear of living forever. As a young boy, I thought that living forever would be boring and even frightening. I concluded that I would simply live in the present and not worry too much about it.
What I’m aiming to do in this series is to discuss why this childhood view — simply live in the present — is problematic.
I know it’s a couple days after Christmas, but I would like to briefly talk about Ebenezer Scrooge’s resolution at the end of A Christmas Carol. After being shown his tombstone by the Ghost of Christmas Future, Scrooge pleas:
I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.
Filed under: Literature, Relationships, Religious Experience | Tagged: A Christmas Carol, alienation, Atonement, Charles Dickens, Christmas, consumerism, Cratchitt, death, Ebenezer Scrooge, eternal life, existentialism, Fezziwig, Ghost of Christmas Future, Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present, Gospel of Jesus Christ, Irvin Yalom, Jesus Christ, Latter-day Saints, LDS, materialism, Mormons, oncology, time, Tiny Tim | 3 Comments »
Posted on November 5, 2008 by Dennis
Like most things in life, this election is bittersweet.
I’m happy Obama won.
I’m sad that so many of my friends and family members are, well, not so happy.
I’m happy that so many people across this country have brighter hopes for America and for the future.
I’m sad for those who think that the end is near.
Filed under: Politics | Tagged: civil rights, Dell "Superdell" Schanze, Democratic Party, filibuster-proof, gay marriage, Jason Chaffetz, Latter-day Saints, LDS, LDS Church, McCain, Mormons, Obama, Politics, Proposition 8, Republican Party, Sarah Palin, SNL, Ted Stevens, Tina Fey, Utah County Democrats, Utah politics, Yes on Prop 8 | 35 Comments »
Posted on October 27, 2008 by Dennis
We have finally reached the end of our weekly forum on the presidential election. We have had many great discussions on a range of topics, such as character, Iraq, the economy, abortion, relationship with LDS Church, health care, faith and family values, terrorism and diplomacy, education, and political corruption. Click here to see the full list of topics.
One of the great things that has been achieved in these forums, I think, is a respectful demonstration of a diversity of political viewpoints held by faithful Latter-day Saints. This kind of conversation, unfortunately, is rare — and so I applaud everyone for making it happen.
Now is the time, for those who are willing, to declare which presidential candidate you are going to vote for (or have already voted for). Be sure to explain why. Arguments for third-party or independent tickets (or even for staying home, I suppose) are welcome. Feel free to make predictions also. Again, please keep things respectful; if you wish to bash a candidate, this is not the place.
If you feel more comfortable using a pseudonym (fake name), feel free to do so.
(By the way, this is TMB’s 100th post!)
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Filed under: Obama vs. McCain | Tagged: Latter-day Saints, LDS, LDS Church, McCain, Mormon, Obama, Politics | 46 Comments »