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Hamba Tuhan

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About Hamba Tuhan

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    an isle of the sea

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  1. Thanks, Tacenda, but I genuinely think that this is just what life looks like when we make and then sincerely strive to keep gospel covenants.
  2. Oh, well then I go back to my original advice. What scares you about choosing faith? Do that!
  3. I was just about to suggest that you figure out what scares you and do it. It sounds like you already know.
  4. This feels like it somehow ended up in the wrong thread...
  5. Yep, I'm pretty clueless, but I've just tried to be guided by the scriptures and my covenants, both of which compel me to open both heart and home to whoever needs help.
  6. Thankfully, I've never known of a single instance of someone in the Church being sexually abused by another Church member. I do have a housemate who was sexually, verbally and physically abused by his entire family (father, mother, grandparents and step-mother) clear into his young adulthood. Finding the Church and being adopted into the family of the Saints has been a life-changer for him, but it takes more than that, so I took him into my home last year and, at this point, pretty much assume he's mine for the rest of my temporal life. He brings certain complications with him, but that's what happens when we get real about keeping covenants. He has told me multiple times that this is the first time in his life that he's ever felt safe, and I revel in being able to provide that security. When I was Young Men president, we had a few boys in our ward whose parents were verbally or even physically abusive. I've always maintained an open-door policy with these boys, clear into their adulthood. I remember waking up one morning to find one of them asleep next to me! It freaked me out, but then I thought, well, he must feel safe here. (My next thought was that I needed to do better at locking the door before bed.) I've been to court with a few of our boys so frequently that Legal Aid came to know me by sight and name. Usually, however, this was because they were in trouble themselves. The good news is that all three of our boys who ended up in court are currently doing OK. I had lunch with one of them two weekends ago. He and his wife are sealed in the temple and expecting their first child. This outcome was never guaranteed in the rough-and-tumble days of his adolescence. On one occasion, I drove 40km to pick him up from some bushes where he was hiding from his drunken, excommunicated father. Crazy. When I first got called as Young Men president, we had a family in our ward that I worried were using the Church as a stick to metaphorically beat their children with. I shared my concerns with our bishop, and he actually called the family in and told them to stop it. Shortly after that, the family made the decision to move. Their son refused to go with and actually hid out in a pedestrian underpass till they left him. (He was 15, which is old enough in our jurisdiction not to be forced to go with his family.) His situation was messy after that, but the parents asked me if I would serve as his legal guardian in their absence, and I did so. I helped him secure a study allowance that paid for a room he could live in. I signed all his school forms, took him to doctor appointments, etc. In fact, the first thing he had me do after his parents left was take him to a GP for a check-up. He'd been telling his mum for years that he didn't feel well, but she was a quack who completely distrusted the medical establishment and would just 'treat' him with herbs of various kinds. The doctor did blood tests and discovered that he had an iron deficiency. Supplements brought him back to life. He was so happy about that! One very cold night the cops found him in the bus interchange completely unconscious next to a bottle of vodka. They said he'd been very close to death. I picked him up from the station and took him home to my room. (I was a student at the time and shared a place with three other men.) He slept on the floor next to my bed so that I could hold a bucket for him to spew in. The next morning I begged him never to do that again, and he never did. He no longer identifies as a Church member, but we're still in contact, and last year when he found himself in trouble (missed bus late at night), he knew he could ring me for a lift even though it took an hour or so to pick him up, drop him home and then get home again myself. Again, I'm glad that he's doing fine, all things considered. Interestingly, his parents divorced, and only one of his sisters still lives with the mum. Even her own family apparently told her to stop using the Church as a tool of control, but she just wouldn't listen.
  7. No one has a 'bullet-proof' testimony. Experiences that are not repeated fade into the fog of memory and lose their immediacy. Eventually they lose their meaning altogether as we reinterpret the past. As one of my former housemates used to say, the most important revelation is never the dramatic one that happened a long time ago; it's the one that happened just this week. A number of people in this forum argue that they can't just choose to believe, but I know from personal experience that one absolutely can choose to engage in the kind of behaviour that dissipates doubts and generates faith, builds it and then makes it unshakable. Faith without works is dead specifically because faith without works dies. 'If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself'. On this point, I love the contrast between Parley P. Pratt (pre-conversion) and his brother William. Parley: 'I am going to fulfil the conditions to the letter on my part. I feel called upon by the Holy Ghost to forsake my house and home for the gospel's sake; and I will do it, placing both feet firm on these promises with nothing else to rely upon. If I sink, they are false. If I am sustained, they are true. I will put them to the test. Experiment shall now establish the truth of Christ's promises, or the truth of infidelity'. William: 'Well, try it, if you will; but, for my part, although I always believed the Bible, I would not dare believe it literally, and really stand upon its promises, with no other prop'.
  8. There are very good reasons why we remove as much clothing as possible when in water, and many of them are safety related. Putting girls in a river in clothing that will be heavy when wet and cause significant drag is stupid, in my opinion. Ridiculous! We have a few 'modesty Nazis' in our stake who insist that both boys and girls have to wear knee-length shorts and T-shirts when in water (which is, again, unsafe), but at least they're consistent in their madness. Yep. We're in deep trouble, it would seem.
  9. In public, yes. I can't post any links since I'm at work, but if you Google it, you will find verification that single-sex swimming at the Deseret Gym was traditionally without bathing suits. When I was serving as an elders quorum president in America, one of the apostles, now deceased, presided over and spoke at a priesthood leadership training meeting. During the course of the meeting, he shared with us an anecdote that related to his testimony and in which he casually mentioned an occurrence of skinny dipping with his priests quorum (including the president of the quorum and the quorum adivser). The developed world has changed dramatically in the course of just a few decades, and I personally don't like it. It seems that the more licentious people become, the more uptight they become too. I fear that it's making us all a bit crazy, especially our kids.
  10. Hamba Tuhan

    How we succeeded at sharing the gospel

    Understood. Our previous area president used to remind us that the average convert has eight previous encounters with the Church or Church members. Everyone wants to be number eight, he used to say, but we can't get to number eight without numbers one through seven. For what that might be worth...
  11. Serious question: considering that a testimony is a statement of personal experience, how could you have a 'testimony' regarding a topic you'd never heard of before? What exactly do you mean by testimony here?
  12. This is a very important point. The idea of being sexually attracted to an entire sex is, of course, an essential part of the social construct of sexual identity, but it is damaging in both of its iterations -- a point too many Saints miss because of having embraced one-half of the social construct whilst attempting to reject the other half. (An untenable position, in my opinion.) We had a missionary in our ward last year who joined me one morning doing some service for an elderly part-member family. We put up nearly 50 metres of fencing, so we had a good bit of time to just talk as we worked. I don't know quite how we got onto the topic (something about post-mission life), but he brought up his concerns that he isn't attracted to 'women' (as a collective). This had led him to worry that he isn't 'heterosexual', which is essentially correct. I then shared with him the history of sexual identity and how both homo- and heterosexuality are social constructs, unique in all known history, that were called into being near the end of the 19th century and which were only slowly adopted and eventually normalised by the emerging field of psychology -- and then only in the West -- over the first half of the 20th century. We also discussed how other societies constructed attraction in the past and -- in areas less heavily influenced by Western culture -- continue to do so. He was so relieved to realise that he didn't need to be attracted to women but could simply be attracted to a single woman at some point in the future. I assured him that that was a perfect description of my own father and of many other men throughout the broad sweep of human history. Many boys in the Church, of course, just succumb to the demand of the ascendant narrative that they be heterosexual in the fullest meaning of that term. (Was I the only one who, in the MTC, was told the damaging bull crap that if one didn't look upon a woman with lust the first time, then one wasn't a real man, but that if one looked with lust the second time, then one wasn't a real missionary?!?) For many of our more thoughtful and sensitive boys, the assumption of this identity will be a matter of self-defence -- an outward attempt to demonstrate that they are not, literally, 'queer'. These boys are doomed to spend much of their lives worrying over what is clearly wrong with them. For other LDS boys, they will embrace this man-made identity with gusto, but this too will often complicate their lives as many of them struggle with issues of fidelity to spouse later in life -- if only in thought. Interestingly, studies have shown that virtually all men are sexually aroused by erotic images of other men. Most importantly, those who most adamantly protest that they have zero attraction to other males often show more arousal than those who care less. To reach a point of stating that the male body is 'disgusting' is almost certainly a defensive posture assumed by those who don't know how to reconcile their lived experience with what they've been taught is 'normal' and therefore desirable. As recently as 75 years ago, 'normal' men even in the West were fully capable of describing another male as handsome, desirable, etc. without fear of what such language might imply. I think it is essential if we are ever to push through this particular historical moment and regain our agency. Future generations are going to look back on us and wonder why so many of us submitted our wills to this particular 'mania' for so long. Of all people who should be able to see through to reality, it should be the Saints. Our prophets certainly keep inviting us to do so.
  13. Hamba Tuhan

    How we succeeded at sharing the gospel

    Half the people I taught as a missionary started off that way. Maybe it's a good start?
  14. Hamba Tuhan

    LDS Church cancels Pioneer Day Devotional

    I feel pretty 'all in', but if I lived anywhere near Utah and had an opportunity to celebrate Pioneer Day, I don't think I'd put a devotional near the top of my list...
  15. Hamba Tuhan

    Brigham Young quote

    Elder Hanks seems not to have had one when he shared it 44 years ago (emphasis added):
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