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Meerkat

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About Meerkat

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    Meerkat
  • Birthday 11/07/1948

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  1. Acts 17:28 Question

    I can see from your writing Josh, you are a man with great faith in Christ. Many people's lives have been transformed through faith in Jesus Christ and His blood shed for them. I believe many obtained that faith with no understanding of the Triune God as you and the various creeds describe it. Some may not even read. But they confess Christ because they have experienced the mighty change of heart. What level of importance do you believe semantics plays in the plan of Salvation? Is "Triune God" the important thing? Or is a transformed life the important thing? My view is that there are many confusing doctrines in the scriptures, such as Trune God versus one in purpose, Sabbath and baptisms. Faith in Jesus Christ which results in repentance and a transformed life trumps them all, in my opinion. There is much that is hard to understand in this life that will be resolved over yonder. Would you agree?
  2. Acts 17:28 Question

    So much straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. Christianity transforms lives from evil to good. Repentance brings about a change in behavior. I will lock arms with any good person regardless of their religion and leave the judging to God. It would be a cruel and arbitrary god who would condemn a man for following the teachings of Jesus Christ in their own life and behavior, loving God and his fellow beings. Doing so would be out of character for the merciful God I worship who has saved me from a life of sin. There are few scriptures that can be interpreted only one way (Triune versus one in purpose.) Whatever one believes on that point is minor compared to the virtuous fruits of one's life. Look at the effects of conversion in one's life and praise the Lord for it. I thank God that I love Him and my fellow beings. I owe it all to Jesus Christ. I'm happy for you Josh, if you have also found that Peace that passes understanding. I'm not here with an agenda to tear down your faith. There are many things that Paul wrote that are hard to understand. One thing you cannot deny about another person is, whereas I was blind, now I see, because Jesus Christ came into my life and opened my eyes. That is the fellowship I share with Mormons and other true followers of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Repeating the Saviors comment from an earlier post: "38 ¶ And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. 39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. 40 For he that is not against us is on our part. 41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward." Mark 9:38-41 That's a scripture that cuts both ways. The Book of Mormon clarifies the way to judge in Moroni chapter 7: "15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night. 16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. 17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. 18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged. 19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ."
  3. Reading the study an relating it to parenting, it has always been a challenge to teach children to share. My take away is that children from religious homes have more self confidence to express their wants at a young age. As their brains form and they gain empathy through experience, they become more generous. It seems logical to me the altruism learning curve would take a steep climb for the religious child during adulthood. Generalizing from my non scientific observation in news articles (Al Gore's charitable contributions, etc.) Non religious adults tend to be altruistic with other people's money.
  4. Acts 17:28 Question

    This has been my experience, and I believe is typical for Mormons who are "true believers" in the LDS religion: "10 And now I ask of you on what conditions are they saved? Yea, what grounds had they to hope for salvation? What is the cause of their being loosed from the bands of death, yea, and also the chains of hell? 11 Behold, I can tell you—did not my father Alma believe in the words which were delivered by the mouth of Abinadi? And was he not a holy prophet? Did he not speak the words of God, and my father Alma believe them? 12 And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart. Behold I say unto you that this is all true. 13 And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved. 14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? 15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body? 16 I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?" This from Alma 5 in the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is full of this doctrine. RockHopper, Mormons believe and preach that good works accompany conversion to Jesus Christ. There is a change of heart, a joy and gratitude that comes from Jesus forgiving our sins. It comes from The Holy Ghost testifying of Christ, in my opinion. The more we follow His teachings, the greater our faith and joy. Preaching the importance of good works in no way implies we can be saved without Grace. Show me your faith without your works. I'll show you my faith by my works. As you said, "By their fruits, ye shall know them." If the Christ you worship has transformed your heart of stone into a heart of flesh, with no more disposition to do evil, but good continually, I believe we are talking about the same Christ. There is a lot we don't know. My faith is pretty basic: Love God. Love my fellow beings. Do good in the world. I love my brothers and sisters of all faiths and even no faith. I agree with CS Lewis that people often worship God unaware (By their good works and kindness to their fellow beings.) I believe eventually the Holy Ghost will lead them to Jesus Christ, our Savior. And this is one statement the Savior made that I haven't seen much coverage anywhere: "38 ¶ And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. 39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. 40 For he that is not against us is on our part. 41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward." Mark 9 May the Lord bless you in your studies. Your kind voice here is refreshing and appreciated by many of us.
  5. Yes, such as the study is but one more attack on people of faith. Based on what I see regularly with regard to funds, food and services provided to those in need (for example Haiti, New Orleans, Florida, etc.,) religious contributors and volunteers are well represented. I think it is a bogus study.
  6. I now realize, based on the Church's statement, that withholding the priesthood from black men did not come by revelation. Upon hearing the doctrine, as a new member, I always believed God had his reasons, but someday the priesthood would be given to all worthy men, as stated by Brigham Young. When Christ was on earth, he went first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles. I thought maybe there was a similar rationale for delaying the priesthood to blacks. I have no doubt this was very hard for black families to swallow. (It was hard, as a new convert, to wait a year to attend the Temple.) There is also the scripture that says: "29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. 30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first." Matt. 19 That was reinforced when our friend Bob was baptized. One fast and testimony meeting about four months after baptism, he stood and testified "I don't know why I can't hold the priesthood. But I do know the Book of Mormon is true. I have assurance from the Spirit that someday I will enjoy every blessing that anyone else does, including priesthood and Temple blessings." He knew how precious the Gospel was, even waiting for the priesthood. The next year the statement came. As far as I could see up here in Washington, everyone was happy, especially Bob. We rejoiced with him. Over the years, he and his wife had eight children. Several served missions. Bob and his wife love the Gospel as much as anyone I know. His wife serves in the Temple and has been ward organist for years.. A couple years later, we had a black bishop in Tacoma. I remember it. He was such a natural, I don't think anyone gave it a second thought here, or even thought of race. In fact, I thinks that's how it is in the Church for the most part. I believe God will bring everyone to the same level of understanding before the judgment. None of us can saved in ignorance. And that statement represents the mercy and understanding of the God I worship. I'm sure those of us who once harbored or harbor prejudice today will have the opportunity to discard it, if we want to live where God lives. I'm grateful we have a living prophet. And I'm grateful the Lord comforts and sustains us regarding mistakes we and our leaders make. This is mortality. If we didn't make mistakes, we would have no need for a Savior. But we do. And His Grace and patience are what bring us through all our blunders.
  7. No matter how or when it's paid, I thank the Lord for the blessings of tithing.
  8. Yep. Low pressure. Tithing is not an end unto itself. It is just one of many obligations of discipleship. One thing I found interesting in the study was that "16.67% of Mormon respondents reported distancing themselves due to pressure to donate, while 16.67% considered switching religions due to pressure to donate." Either they made a mistake in the percentages (being the same in both cases, while other groups differed considerably,) or the 16.67% of Mormons who responded were not converted to tithing and were considered leaving the Church due to that issue. There was very little reference to Mormons in the study that I could see. And, unless I completely missed it, there was no spiritual component in their conclusions. The most enlightening part of the study was not the article itself, but the top three comments about tithing. They don't tithe because they have to. They tithe because they want to. I can tell you why many Mormons who pay tithing don't feel pressure to do so. They have experienced spiritual blessings. Their needs have been met. Their faith in God has increased. Their life is better. They are happier. Their confidence in God's ability to run to their aid is increased. Etc., etc., etc. The reason leaders don't talk much about tithing in the Church, in my opinion, is because tithing is more of blessing than a duty as most active members have experienced it. How many times have you heard anyone in fast and testimony meeting complain about tithes and offerings? They are glad to do it. They testify of blessings upon blessings. That is what you hear. Tithing is probably the easiest commandment to keep of all the "many obligations of discipleship." In my opinion, the Temple Recommend Interview is a small component in why members tithe. They do it out of love of God, their fellow beings, and gratitude for the many blessings that they can directly attribute to paying an honest tithe. Imagine how happy and blessed we would be if we could keep all the "obligations of discipleship."
  9. The blessings that come from obedience encourage further obedience. Hence many Latter-day Saints (including many here) gladly pay tithes and offerings, live the Word of Wisdom, keep the Sabbath, study the Scriptures, follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost and have joy in their lives, in my opinion. I believe that is a fact that cannot be disputed. Latter-day Saints have a well deserved reputation for being faithful and happy people. Tithing is but one reason why.
  10. When speaking for His church, yes. But on an individual basis, Revelation 19:10 states "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." I believe people in many churches are prophets, in that context.
  11. Thanks Scott! I so agree with you. I LOVE the principle of tithes and offerings. Obeying that commandment brings me peace of mind and increased faith in my loving Heavenly Father to be there for me when I need Him. When I go to God in prayer, I go in faith that He will open the windows of Heaven and give me what I need, be it comfort, inspiration, material necessities or whatever it may be. My needs have been met in all those areas, and more... and not necessarily what I thought I needed. But God knew, and He has never let me down. I can say in all sincerity that I praise God for the principle of tithes and offerings. Just as obedience to the other commandments contributes to my peace and joy, tithing is more blessing than duty or obligation. See Isaiah 58 for a more thorough explanation of why the principle brings me joy. There is nothing you could do or say that could influence me to withhold my tithing. I see tithes and offerings as a gift-- to me!
  12. Eliminating the 3 hour block

    The short answer is a resounding YES!!!!! It takes a few meetings to get comfortable with it. When it is working, the results are spectacular. It won't happen if people choose not to attend. I say it is one of the best meetings in the Church, and key to what we are trying to do for our families. It isn't what you think. The Teachers Council Meeting that some teachers are missing out on has a specific purpose. It is part of a years long roll out that may have started with Elder Ballard's book "Counselling with Councils." Then the Missionaries learned how to teach principles rather than memorization through "Preach My Gospel." The next phase was the youth Sunday School Curriculum, "Come Unto Me." Once proven as a superior way to connect with class members for discussion and learning, it was presented to the Sunday School as " Teaching in the Saviors Way," which includes a monthly teachers council meeting. In 2018, the Church is bringing this style of discussion to all adults once per month. This is NOT the old Teachers Development Program. It is a truly inspired way to teach teachers, families, and ultimately all members of the Church (including our vulnerable youth) how to teach AND LEARN in the Saviors way. That means connecting with our class members on a deep spiritual level, building Testimony. Same goes for our neighbors and friends. Most important, we learn how to connect with our family members this way. Those who don't give this meetings chance are harming themselves. We members of the Church are teaching all the time. These are inspired skills the Lord has given us to learn how to more effectively bring the Spirit and testimonies into our homes and the lives of our family members and others. Using these skills will help save our families and bring Christ into their lives. Please encourage the Teachers Council Meeting in your ward. Attend it for several months. I promise you will see improvement in your teaching. I wish I had these skills when my children were at home. Please, give it several months. It takes that long for everyone to get used to each other and see the wonderful synergy that happens when we participate. You won't regret it. It is not what you think. It is far better. In my opinion, it is another testimony that the Gospel is true and Christ is leading this Church. Thanks for your time! Meerkat
  13. Yes, Joseph Smith experienced times of deep sorrow and grief. But to a greater degree, I believe he was an optimist. He had a cheerful disposition. He said the following: "Never be discouraged. If I were sunk in the lowest pits of Nova Scotia, with the Rocky Mountains piled on me, I would hang on, exercise faith, and keep up good courage, and I would come out on top." Joseph lived and proclaimed the "Great Plan of Happiness." I believe William Clayton's great hymn, "Come, Come, Ye Saints" penned as the Saints were fleeing Nauvoo being driven from their homes by persecutions, reflects the Prophet Joseph Smith's outlook that also lifted the early Saints during their many years of adversities: "Come, Come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear; But with joy wend your way. Though hard to you this journey may appear, Grace shall be as your day..." Joseph's prayer in Liberty Jail in D&C 121 does reflect discouragement as he cried out to God. But imagine how he must have felt to hear the words "7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; 8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes. 9 Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands." I believe he was happy. This religion is a religion of happiness and optimism even in the face of deep and long lasting adversity. We have the Holy Ghost that testifies to our hearts with feelings of comfort and joy. Isaiah described the faithful struggle thus: "3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." Even the statement of Job is filled with optimism, in my opinion: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in him..." If any of us are to walk in the Savior's shoes, we will experience adversity. But we will also experience much mercy, gratitude and joy with the Saints as we traverse this mortal sphere together, in my opinion. I believe Brother Joseph was and is a happy man due to the part he played in the Restoration. I thank the Lord for him.
  14. He created a job for them out of nothing so they could preserve their character by working for what would otherwise be welfare. Then he paid them generously with what they needed the job for, to buy food. They volunteered that he paid them better than they estimated their labor was worth. Joseph saw the value of work to the human soul. That's what I would call greatness in any man. When our missionaries were teaching my wife and me, they picked blackberries and asked us to make them (and us) a pie. That small act had a spiritual component that helped convert us to the Gospel. It also endeared us to them. There is something about work and generosity that is sanctifying.
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