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Meerkat

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About Meerkat

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    Seer of Sights
  • Birthday 11/07/1948

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    South of Seattle
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  1. I disagree with the bolded statement, and believe many or most members would disagree because it implies a prideful condescention on all other religions and what God has called them to do. It also implies a "Holier than Thou" certitude that sets up the kind of exclusive club mentality you repeatedly describe. I find much to agree with in your alternative. God hasn't revealed everything. We all look through a glass darkly. I believe God has revealed some unique things to each or many churches that, if embraced, we would be better Christians for it. The statement "We MUST have certainty or Mormonism is worthless and just another denomination" is flawed. You will agree there are some things we can be certain of. We can be certain that Jesus Christ was born. We can be certain that he taught the importance of virtuous living. We can be certain that He came to save a fallen world. We can be certain, on an individual basis, that He came to save us from our sins because He revealed Himself to us personally in that act by the Holy Ghost. We can be certain that our lives have changed and we look at the world through new eyes. There is more we can be certain of, more knowledge God can reveal to each of us throughout our lives. Do we know it all? Absolutely not. The problem I have with your writing is that you are the one who appears exclusive and condescending, to me. You cannot allow that anyone has certainty about a particular thing unless you have certainty about it. And yet, you are certain about a fantastic story of God walking the earth as a man, being tortured and killed to pay for the sins of the world on condition of repentance, and taking up His body again in a glorified and perfected state that will live forever. You are probably certain, because you know your sins are forgiven, that you will also rise in a glorified state to live forever because Jesus said it, and He has done it. I am certain about Joseph Smith because God revealed to me the Book of Mormon is true and another testament of Jesus Christ and that Joseph translated it. Would I rather have remained a Lutheran? Yes I would have. Joining this church hurt my relationship with my parents and other relatives and impacted our fellowship for the rest of their lives. I have had many Christian friends over the years try to talk me out of it, explain why Joseph Smith was a false prophet, and why the Book of Mormon was plagiarized from other sources. It has not been as easy as it could have been in another "mainstream" Christian faith. The thing that has carried me through it is the certainty of the revelation I have received from God. Fantastic as it is, it is no more fantastic than the positive revelation God gave me that Jesus Christ is my Savior. Hard as you try, you can't take that away from me. It is mine. It is certain, and it is a gift God gave unworthy me because I put in the simple effort He asked of me. I read. I prayed, nothing doubting, and God answered. There is much I am not certain of about this life. But I am certain of that particular knowledge. And I am certain why the Pioneers left their homes and families to unite with the Saints, marching West, burying lived ones along the way. I have certainty why they sang "no toil nor labor fear, but with joy wend your way." There is much humble joy in this knowledge.
  2. I've been reading Givens' thought provoking book " Wrestling With The Angel." He delves into some of the creeds, philosophies, movements and Church leaders and how the Church's view of God was influenced and has evolved (maybe even is evolving.) I never did like being hemmed in by the Nicene Creed, or other creeds and confessions I couldn't understand. The idea that a council of imperfect men pulled it together, gave it their stamp of approval and made it the definition of the one true God, and that not understanding or believing it could result in damnation never did set well with me. For a people who are often criticized for thinking we have all the answers, there is so much I don't know about God, the future and how it all fits together. But I am grateful for what I do know and to have the freedom to think about it, and study creeds, philosophies and the ideas of interesting people like yourself. I don't worry about the illogical idea I will be condemned for wondering about the Godhead, or thinking about any aspect of existence. When the time is right, I believe I will know as I am known. I will tell you what I do know for sure: Jesus Christ knows me personally, and has communicated with me personally. I believe it was the Holy Ghost that acted upon my heart and gave me this knowledge. I know that the Book of Mormon is a true book because God has revealed it to me personally and unmistakably. I have no doubt. That communication also came in an action upon my heart that I believe was the Holy Ghost responding to a prayer of mine. There are some other things I believe that have to do with my marriage, authority in the church, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, modern day prophets and Temple covenants. I also believe signs will follow them that believe. It happens to my wife and me regularly. Beyond that, I don't know much. But I believe those things will get me where I want to go. They have and will continue to impact my behavior to help me become more holy, more grateful, more virtuous and more servicable to the God I worship and people I meet or associate with every day. The nature of God, and what I will someday become is currently a hope that I have. It is explained perfectly in 1 John 1:1-3, which states: "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." That is an explanation of my hope which is in Jesus Christ. I gladly and humbly wait and study, and pray to know what us beyond that. All I know is that the more I add to personal virtue, the more I feel God's Divine approval. I also feel the freedom and encouragement from Him to think and experiment on some if these ideas and hold fast to that which I can perceive is good. And that's enough for me.
  3. Meerkat

    Sam Young is Excommunicated

    Is there any chance your old friends felt disrespected by your new stance? I recall an old quotation from somewhere "Sometimes a person can be mistaken for being mad when they are only sad." No offense intended, HJW. When two family members left the Church, we tried to express our love for them. But every extension was met with incredulousness, ridicule and what seemed to be intentional rudeness resulting in many tears shed. They would say respect and friendship disappeared overnight from our side. That would not be accurate. Sadness, yes. New boundaries to protect tender feelings, yes. Continued possible misunderstandings on both sides? Yes. Shall we blame each other? Or shall we pray for peace? It's frustrating to want to support them in whatever direction they want to pursue while being criticized for the direction we want to go with our lives. What is the solution?
  4. Meerkat

    Sam Young is Excommunicated

    "29 Therefore I say unto you, Go; and whosoever transgresseth against me, him shall ye judge according to the sins which he has committed; and if he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also." Mosiah 26:29 the Lord speaking to Alma, who had been given authority over the Church in verse 8. "When we have sinned, Satan often tries to convince us that the unselfish thing to do is to protect others from the devastation of the knowledge of our sins, including avoiding confessing to our bishop, who can bless our lives through his priesthood keys as a common judge in Israel. The truth, however, is that the unselfish and Christlike thing to do is to confess and repent. This is Heavenly Fatherโ€™s great plan of redemption." Ensign, Nov. 2016 "The Great Plan of Redemption "13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." Prov. 28:13 There are many references under confession, repentance, forgiveness, etc. in the Topical Guide.
  5. Meerkat

    Sam Young is Excommunicated

    What are you talking about??? The Lord, our Savior has gone to extreme lengths to help relieve the burden of sin, guilt and sorrow that we carry when we are unrepentant. Bishops, and Missionary Zone Leaders help new members repent by helping them identify and confess serious sins. Leaders should always be sensitive in carrying out that sacred duty. They should not avoid it. Bishops help youth understand behaviors that can drive the Spirit and testimonies away. Those behaviors, including pornography and it's attendant activities, can ruin a person's life and family. Those are Gospel subjects that must not be ignored. Most bishops are kind and sensitive. Most of those subjects can be treated in a wholesome manner in Bishop's Youth Discussion. Hopefully, the youth who need to confess will respond by seeking an interview with the bishop. If they don't, the bishop still needs to reach out and find a sensitive way to ask the important questions. If the bishop fails to ask, he may be standing between the sinner and their Redeemer. I remember being interviewed as a new convert. Each sin I confessed lifted a burden. A few years later, we had a priesthood lesson on unresolved sin. I was convicted. There were things I had forgotten and not repented of that affected my peace. When I met with the bishop, he said "You've done what the Lord required of you. Now you can forget about it. That's what I'm going to do." That's all there was to it in my case, and my peace was restored. That's the Lord's way. I hope people will begin to think about how important confession is, and how important it is for each sinner to be able to confess to their bishop.
  6. Yes, as long as we act on those feelings: "12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Rev. 20:12-15 This, it seems to me, solves the problem of salvation for whose who never heard the name of Jesus Christ in this life. Everyone is born with the light of Christ in them. Our religion centers around transforming our behavior by responding to that Light and doing good to all, imo.
  7. Meerkat

    Speculations for General Conference

    Vending machines in the cultural hall.
  8. I don't know if it was mentioned that Safeco Field wasn't initially available so they reserved the Tacoma Dome, which had half the capacity. Then Safeco came available, so we got it. Then we received alerts from the Washington Department of Transportation that the main roads would have construction crews so we needed to add quite a bit of extra time to get there. Friday, WDOT sent out a message that, due to projected rain, the construction had been cancelled. When we arrived, there was a slight misting, but not enough to get anyone wet. Thousands were filing into Safeco Field, enjoying visiting with old friends from long ago. When we left, same thing. Slight sprinkling, but not enough to get wet. Overall great experience that went by too fast. It took about as long as a Sacrament meeting. President Nelson has an amazing constitution. At 94, he walked in with a spring in his step that energized me to see. The messages were wonderful. Testimonies were strengthened. Many or most left knowing we had been in the presence of a prophet of God, in my opinion.
  9. Brother Gui's notes are superb. One take away I had from President Nelson was "The Lord restored the Gospel to gather scattered Israel, wherever they live, on this side or the other side of the veil. Another is so families can be sealed forever. In terms of staying on the raft, nothing is more imoprtant than your Temple covenants. We need to be thinking and acting like God's covenant people." There is more I can do to help with the gathering on this and the other side of the veil.
  10. Pres. Eyering Explained how he received his testimony of Joseph Smith listening to prophets speak, including David O McKay. Example of people who lost property tempted to ask for more assistance than what they lost. The loss of property is less tragic than the loss of integrity. Tonight you will hear from a living prophet. (I felt we did.) The doctrine is unchanging. But we will need personal revelation to know the new way of doing things is better than the old. There is greater strength in the Church if we will seek personal revelation about changes. He said "Sometimes prayer changes my view, when I am asked to respond to the Brethren." Obedience is a key to receiving revelation. Ask, James 1:5. Ask God. John 7:17 "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." People have thanked Pres. Eyring for some insight gained from a talk he gave. Revelation is usually not from what he said, but something they heard from the Lord.
  11. We have six Meerkats in attendance. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
  12. Meerkat

    Need advice

    You are in a challenging situation. No doubt about it. The thing about misfitting though, you are in good company. We are all misfits. We all say and do things we regret. We do things wrong because we don't know the right thing to do, and sometimes we feel stupid or mad. If none of that were true, we wouldn't need a Savior. But it is, and we do. The Brethren are very aware of the struggles of broken families, and it is a priority with them. You may not see it because you are in the thick of a very hard test. They provide many resources. But when it comes down to it, you will need to dig them out and wrestle with applying what pertains to you to your life and family. LDS.org is full of resources, as is the Gospel Library app. The Church has LDS family services, ministering visitors, quorum and RS leaders and bishops. If your bishop is not available or knowledgible, he can refer you to someone who is, including professional help. I understand how hard it can be to ask for help. But ask we must. It's one of the great life lessons. I think we all appreciate you asking the question here. Here is one article from the Ensign: www.lds.org/ensign/1987/02/how-to-unite-a-step-family?lang=eng There are many more by professionals and people like you that have some pretty good advice. You may not see it yet, but your family challenges provide a wonderful opportunity to partake of the healing power of the Savior's Atoning sacrifice. If you see it as such, I believe you may be able to look back on these days with gratitude and wisdom from what you have learned. Hopefully, even joy. May you and your family experience that healing influence every day. I hope you can patiently and faithfully endure this challenge. Keep smiling! ๐Ÿ™„
  13. Meerkat

    Need advice

    Also, sometimes we don't know how to react when a new and different experience rocks our world. It may be wise to get a referral from your bishop to a reputable marriage counselor or family therapist. Some of them have a wealth of experience that may help you. It may be worth the investment. If you can't afford it, maybe a family member would help with the cost, or sell something, or maybe the bishop can help with the cost. it sounds like professional help may help shed some light on what is going on. It seems to me that your former spouse would be bound by the parenting plan, if you had any concerns about kidnapping or anything sinister. I don't doubt that your wife feels she is doing the right thing. Sometimes it may seem like force is the logical thing to do. But it may be that standing back and showing increased love may draw your daughter closer to the both of you, as she forms her own opinion of what is the best thing to do. I'm not a professional by any means. So please take my comments with a grain of salt. Probably every situation is different, and should be handled with the Spirit. With 20/20 hindsight, there were times I wish I hadn't been as forceful when our children were young. It may have been better in our case to step back somewhat, and let the Savior do His mighty work. But force was the line of least resistance. I'm not sure our feelings came across as loving or understanding. And I'm sure there were times where we, in our zeal to be good parents and save them from a bad decision, stood between our child and the Savior's waiting assistance. I'm not saying that firmness isn't called for sometimes. This may be an opportunity to up your spiritual game and draw on the powers of Heaven to help you. That's my two cents. God bless you for trying to be sensitive to your wife and daughter, and your wife for how concerned she is for your daughter, and worried about the motives of your daughter's mother. When things seem beyond our influence, prayer is a great source of peace, comfort and direction. It can't be easy for your daughter either, a child of divorce. She's probably confused, hurting and doing her best also to sort things out. Best of luck to you and your family. Maybe the Lord can help you and your wife find peace and direction in what to do. I'll pray for you all tonight.
  14. Your comments are interesting. One area that I don't see you addressing is that some things can be tested. The spouse of a ward member, a Seventh Day Adventist, could see no reason to consider investigating the Restored Gospel because she felt to do so would be hypocritical. She was a faithful member of her church. She lived it's teachings, and could identify blessings that came from living the doctrines, which she saw as a sign from God that she was on the right path. And in many ways she was. Something happened (I don't recall what it was,) that caused her to consider the possibility that investigating the Church (regardless of it's unusual history,) may be a worthwhile exercise. For her it was. I have found several things that can be tested. One is paying tithing. God tells us in the Scriptures to "Prove me now herewith..." Tithe payers will tell you they have proved the efficacy of tithing to their own satisfaction. A doubter may give very logical reasons why paying tithing doesn't add up. But it will have no influence on a faithful tithe payer who has other evidence that proves God is faithful and means what He says. The same thing goes for Sabbath observance, and blessing the lives of the poor (see Isaiah 58 for the promise.) Promises abound in the Scriptures that can be proven again and again. Joseph Smith put this one to the test: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." James 1:5-6 Just like any of the promises, such as "Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land that the Lord, thy God, giveth thee," the promises have conditions. Jesus said "Do the thing. Know the doctrine." From my point of view, there is more to it than psychology. There are unseen things we can prove. But when we endeavor to prove them, it is wise to "ask in faith, nothing wavering," in my opinion. When you share the proof of your testing and people respond "that is an unprovable claim," be prepared to sigh, and say "You may be right." ๐Ÿ˜‰
  15. I probably broke the rules, for which I apologize. Clearly people on this board have different opinions about what constitutes authority, and why that is or is not important. I enjoy most all points of view. I was expressing my belief, not realizing I was making an arrogant or outrageous claim. You mentioned Mormon exceptionalism-- our Blind Spot. I will try to remember that I should just "take it," rather than defend why I believe as I do. My defense comes across as proselytizing rather that discussing, which is against the rules. May it suffice to say we have a difference of opinion on the subject of authority to perform sacred ordinances. I still think you are a good guy. I don't want to cause contention, which I sometimes do. My apologies. On another topic, I enjoyed reading your bio. You have done much to bless God's children in many countries and areas of interest. Maybe you had something to do with the great Mennonite "Christian Light" curriculum we used in our home school. If so, nice work!
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