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Hamba Tuhan

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About Hamba Tuhan

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    Places Sun, Moon & Stars In The Sky

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    an isle of the sea

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  1. Hamba Tuhan

    Linear growth in church membership

    We had a senior couple in my mission whose previous mission had been at the Hill Cumorah Visitors Centre. They said a local man would hand out photocopied tracts across the street from the entry each day, warning people away from what they would be told once in the centre. One day, no visitors in the centre seemed interested at all, and nothing the missionaries said could change that. When this senior couple left for lunch, they noticed that the local 'anti' was missing. I can't remember if he was gone for just a day or maybe a few more, but he came back, and immediately interest amongst visitors picked up. The senior missionary couple asked him where he'd been, and he said he'd run out of money to make more photocopies. They then told him that if that ever happened again, to let them know, and they'd pay for his tracts since they were an essential part of their work in the visitors centre. They said he hadn't enjoyed hearing that!
  2. Hamba Tuhan

    "Why some people leave the Church"

    I grew up with seven other people in a very small, multi-generational home that had only two bedrooms. My parents slept in a double bed in one room. My grandmother and both sisters slept in another double bed in the other bedroom. We three boys (of whom I am the youngest) slept wherever suited us, but always in a pile/tangle. We had one bathroom. The door was sometimes closed but never locked. I bathed (and showered once we got a shower) with both my parents and all my siblings. One of our favourite things to do on a Saturday morning that didn't require us to be working in the gardens was to all wake up slowly and end up in Mum and Dad's bed. We could get all seven of us in there! I lived in a town/village of about 900 people. We referred to all of the adults with familial titles. At school, the toilet cubicles had walls but no doors. The dominant culture was that people who needed space/privacy were trying to hide something. I still harbour that suspicion ... This sounds like Indonesia. One is almost never not in physical contact with another person ... often many people. Handshakes often turn into just holding hands. Complete strangers fall asleep on each other's shoulders on public transport. I've been on trains so crowded that I was lifted off the floor by the press of people. If the bus is full, people ride on the outside, but the conductors (who are all acrobats, it seems!) will still come outside to collect payment, climbing across the backs of passengers with one hand, making change with the other. Unlike you, however, I don't crave empty spaces at all. I still prefer sleeping with someone, but I struggle to fall asleep if I can't at least hear another person near me. I'm grateful that one of my housemates is a snorer!
  3. Thanks. I've noted down in the register that you've made your negative rant for this thread.
  4. Hamba Tuhan

    "Why some people leave the Church"

    I have literally no sense of personal space, so I'm not sure I can even imagine a chapel being claustrophobic. When I was teaching in America, students from another class asked me to come in to be 'interviewed'. In reality, it was a social experiment into violating a person's space. The student interviewing kept moving closer and closer, and apparently I was supposed to move away instinctively, but I actually never moved, even when she got right up in my face. I sort of ruined the lesson, but then there was a good discussion about how psycho-social constructs are often culturally bound, and just because many Americans have a sense of personal space, clearly not everyone does. (I also love squeezing through very tight caves, but that's a different kind of claustrophobia, I would assume.) But yeah, there are reasons we escape to quiet places when seeking revelation. When I was studying in America, I served as the elders quorum president in my ward, and Elder Marlin K. Jensen was our area president. I remember one priesthood leadership training meeting with him when he taught us that no soul was ever saved in a sacrament meeting. That's not what they're for, he said. Primarily, weekly church meetings serve to train, cleanse and motivate us so that we can go out prepared to do the real work, which is always outside the chapel. This is why ministering is so important. Interestingly, one of my most moving experiences did occur in a chapel. I don't know how to communicate what happened because I don't actually understand what happened, but it was so significant that after the amen was said to the closing prayer, no one -- adult or child -- moved. No one made a single sound -- no squeak of a pew, cough, anything. The entire congregation was encircled by something almost electric -- as if light and love and joy and peace had all come alive and were dancing around and through us. Seriously, I don't have the ability to explain. But we all sat like that for nearly 20 minutes. I would have loved for it to go on forever, but such things don't in this world. Eventually, the stake president, who was presiding, stood at the front of the chapel, not at the microphone, and whispered to us, 'I'm sorry, brothers and sisters, to disrupt this, but we need to prepare for another meeting, so it's time to go'. Even then, we all filed out of the chapel in complete silence. I didn't feel like I could speak till we were in the car. When we were all seated and belted, the driver, with hushed voice, said, 'If everyone could experience that, they would all join the Church'.
  5. Hamba Tuhan

    "Why some people leave the Church"

    Thanks. Yeah, I'm not willing to trust census data either. The last time I was serving in a stake presidency, it was right before a national census here, and we received a letter from one of our Area Seventies asking us to encourage members to list their faith on the census form and to do it correctly. From what we were told, someone had reviewed the census spreadsheets and found about seven different ways members were writing their faith, but only one or two of them were being counted by the bureau. (I think the bureau recognises and counts 'Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' and 'Mormon' but nothing else, such as LDS, Latter-day Saint, Church of Jesus Christ LDS, etc. Each census, the top ten responses show up on the next census next to boxes that can be ticked, which really helps with accuracy for those groups. We don't come close to being on that list ... ) In addition, internal polling by the Church showed that only a fraction of active, attending members were even filling in that line since it's listed as optional, and census night is seen by many as a distraction to be rushed through. Who knows what the less-active do with that question?
  6. Hamba Tuhan

    "Why some people leave the Church"

    CFR, please, if you have any. I know people will sometimes cite estimates of global sacrament meeting attendance, but as I've before pointed out on this forum, sacrament meeting attendance does not accurately reflect activity rates. The last time I was serving in the bishopric, I kept an 'attendance roll' each Sunday for an entire quarter. The largest sacrament meeting attendance we had that whole time was around 25 per cent of ward members. (I honestly don't remember the exact figures anymore, but that's a very close approximation; it was definitely in the 20s.) At the same time, just under 60 per cent of our ward members had attended sacrament meeting over the course of those same three months. (I think it was about 57 to 59 per cent.) That's because different people are missing each week for different reasons. Some are sick. Some are away. Some are working. Some have sick kids. Some just don't attend every week. Etc. Moreover, easily more than half of our currently active ward members have been inactive at some point. In addition, I'm in the process of helping convene a disciplinary council to readmit a brother in our ward who hasn't been a member for about ten years. We literally can't know how people are going to 'end up' until, well, literally the end. To my knowledge, there are no reliable data that would back up the statement quoted above. Church reports certainly don't generate such data since attendance by name is not tracked either week to week or over the course of a person's lifetime.
  7. Hamba Tuhan

    Left Hand

    The inability to grasp what prophets are (simultaneously men and divine oracles) has, from what I can tell, always been one of the principal stumbling blocks across all dispensations, and possibly never more so than in our own. This one principle, it seems, often determines if one will stand or fall -- perhaps, in my opinion, because it can only be properly understood by one personally and intimately familiar with the processes of revelation him- or herself.
  8. Hamba Tuhan

    "Why some people leave the Church"

    Interesting. I've had a pretty balanced mix of both. Recently, a number of my most powerful experiences that have occurred when I was alone have come only after I've spent the day in the temple. One of my favourite things about having people around me when something spiritual occurs is the power of witnesses who've seen/heard/experienced the same thing.
  9. Hamba Tuhan

    "Why some people leave the Church"

    I can’t relate to this at all. But to each her/his own.
  10. Hamba Tuhan

    Left Hand

    I think the statement from the Church's newsroom, which I quoted above, is a more authoritative option.
  11. Hamba Tuhan

    Left Hand

    Probably not. The Church has used its authoritative organ to make a pretty strong statement about how to recognise what is authoritative: This seems to be a pretty clear guide on this and other similar matters. The idea that one should take the sacrament with her/his right hand has not been 'consistently proclaimed in official publications', from what I can see. But I'm open to the possibility that the Spirit might guide me otherwise. I'm also totally cool if the First Presidency and the Twelve counsel together, establish this practice as authoritative, and then proclaim it, consistently, in Church publications. Importantly, the statement above on what is authoritative is also why I'm not fussed by Pres Oaks's words to a handful of Saints in Chicago. We should actually expect Church leaders to have and share their well-considered personal opinions when they feel comfortable doing so. Either (a) howling in protest or (b) turning this into some litmus test used to determine that other Saints don't respect the apostles enough is unseemly, in my opinion, and contrary to our doctrine. Not at all ... if people understand the Church's clear teaching that I quoted above. If I'm honest, it's the reaction of some on this thread who need to turn 'a single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion' into either doctrine or a cause for offence that bothers me.
  12. Hamba Tuhan

    Left Hand

    I'm personally fine if the prophets want to teach us to use the right hand to take the sacrament. They have multiple methods for doing so: General Conference, Ensign and Liahona articles, lds.org, lesson manuals, statements read out at church, Church handbooks, and so forth. At this point, I haven't been taught anything authoritatively.
  13. Hamba Tuhan

    Left Hand

    Funny, I've always pictured you as a male for some reason ... though I guess the above is not definitive evidence that I've been wrong ...
  14. Hamba Tuhan

    Left Hand

    Some people who are inclined to demean apostles will use this as one more opportunity to do so. I'm not so inclined. At all. That doesn't mean I don't get to be bothered by 'unwritten rules' as a general concept.
  15. Hamba Tuhan

    Left Hand

    I serve as senior adviser to a member of our parliament. We are inundated every day with both email and posted communications. The junior advisers handle all of this, and the member only sees a little of what gets through. I sincerely doubt apostles are making these judgement calls themselves.
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