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Posts posted by SeattleGhostWriter

  1. I am always reading and looking for new information. A couple of weeks ago, I came across this article. The title definitely drew me in. Maybe out of curiosity. It is at the website (and there is a Facebook page too) called Biblical Gender Roles. Sounds quite interesting doesn't it? 

    I'm reading along and everything appears honkey dorey. I read through and realized I was a bit detached and had to take another read through. After four or five read throughs (just to make sure I was understanding and processing what I was reading), I was dumbfounded. 

    According to the website, the author (or authors as there really are no names attached to the articles) appear to take the position: 

    • The Bible apparently makes a distinct difference between the gender roles and that woman was not created after God's image and likeness
    • Women are a weaker vessel because Man is God's image bearer only
    • Women are subjugated to the authority and demands of her husband and has no right of refusal (some articles advocate Biblical right to marital rape

    Well, I had to provide a response in three separate articles of my own to address the major problems. 

    Oh, what is the article I am referencing? Why God’s Identification as Male Is the Key to Understanding Life’s Meaning

    My responses - in three separate essays: 

    An LDS Perspective on Why God's Identification as Male is the Key to Understanding Life's Meaning

    The first part of this response focused on the context and foundation of the assertion being made, the question that is being addressed and answered, and whether or not the writer has given due diligence in providing an accurate, scriptural response and answer to the question postulated. Along with this, second part of that article briefly introduced some of the main assertions that are cause for questioning and examination and how they falter in meeting true scriptural teaching on the nature of God, masculinity, femininity, and gender roles. The third part explored a more in-depth analysis of the presenting issues derived from the main points of the article itself and how a more appropriate answer is given to the misinformation of the article under review. 

    Part Two: An LDS Perspective on Why God's Identification as Male Is the Key to Understanding Life's Meaning

    In the second part, it was contended that there is a linguistic issue regarding the Hebrew and Greek languages. Namely, that all languages have masculine, feminine, and neutral aspects. From here, the third part of this article focused on understanding the nature of how the Bible has some symbolism toward a divine and sovereign feminine gender role within the Divine Council and provided evidence as it relates to a Divine council of Heavenly Parents - God, the Father, and Goddess the Mother. The response examined the nature of human gender roles in light of Divine gender roles, and the divine institution of marriage and how this is represented in the symbolism of the New Testament of Jesus Christ, his parable of the ten virgins, and the reference to Christ being the Bridegroom and the Church being the Bride of Christ. 

    Part Three: The Work and the Glory of God is to Bring to Pass Man's Eternal Life and Immortality

    In this third, and final, essay; the concept of human existence and experience involves answering the initial question - Life's meaning and purpose. The writer of the article: Why God's Identification as Male is Key to Understanding Life Meaning becomes a misnomer in answering the question it sets out to answer. 

    After reviewing the initial article (whether from a Christian or Mormon perspective) and then reviewing my responses - what are your thoughts with regard to the nature of creation of man and woman, gender roles, and how do you approach this subject from an apologetic perspective? 

    And, how do you identify life meaning and purpose from an apologetic standpoint?

  2. Don't get me wrong, I understand not teaching 14-15 year olds the Documentary Hypothesis and that the Red Sea is debated and most likely a mistranslation of the Reed Sea. However, as one matures in their studies, they should come away with a more objective sound reason about the scriptures. This is why many evangelical Christians who go to school to study the Bible and Textual Criticism come out atheists and that maybe the fear behind not really divulging the entire truths. However, it does cause more damage than just simply speaking the truth in a manner that still allows the spirit to help a person learn and grow.

  3. I had a friend that had challenged my faith in the LDS Church many years ago. He and I would debate the Bible. I did not know much about the Bible, Apologetics or anything back then. It was just a one time meeting. Yet, when I left the Church, we had crossed paths and I began learning from him. We would study the Bible together and share with one another our discoveries and debates. This was when CARM was vastly different than it is today. Slowly though, as I grew more and more in understanding the Old and New Testament and the subtle and not so subtle contradictions, inconsistencies, the divine counsel, et al., I still held onto the belief that I knew there is a Heavenly Father. However, he became more and more antagonistic toward religion, God, and now is a hardcore atheist. He got caught up in reading Farrel Till. Some here may know him from CARM as Skepticbud.

    Well, today, I am grateful for those times of studying and growing to know and understand the Old and New Testament scriptures. I see them in a different light and understand that while they are Scriptures and we can learn from them, they are still written by men, and that we do not have the originals, so we have the best assessment that we could have on what they say.

    What am I saying here? Those who learn the true nature of the Bible do experience a sense of "shaken faith" syndrome. Much like hearing about the real history of how Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. Others that our Critics twist and misrepresent to various degrees. However, it is like my loving wife keeps telling me - how does it affect your own personal salvation and living for Christ? It should not affect it at all and that is the problem, people build up their faith on objects and intellect and not on the sure foundation.

  4. Honestly, I never fully understood why FARMS changed over to the Neal A. Maxwell Institute and was a bit taken back when I tried to go to the FARMS website years ago - only to be directed toward the MI Website. I never investigated as to why this occurred, just accepted it and enjoyed most of the articles that came out of the Maxwell Institute. Having relied on both MI and FAIR, I came to a greater appreciation for the nature of modern Mormon Apologetics. Especially since one of the Articles published at MI by Russell Ball on 3 Nephi and the Destruction recorded helped bring me out of Apostasy and reconsidering the evidence of the Church and the Book of Mormon.

    Now, I am left wondering if there is going to be a new direction in Mormon Apologetics to counter the onslaught of LDS Criticism and Anti-Mormon Sentiment. It seems that a very minute group of our Critics are applauding this move and hope to see an end to "Mopologetics". In reality, if there is a demise of "Mopologetics" where will that leave our critics when the song and dance and celebritory victory is experienced? They would no longer have anything to complain about and the Anti-Mopologists would become just as dead and silent as they hope their nemesis Mopologetics would become.

  5. I published and quoted you Hamblin, as well as MI and Peterson. Someone asked me on a Facebook Group that I belong to if I had contacted Professor Peterson to do an interview. I have thought about it and with everything going on in his neck of the woods, I am not sure if he would give an interview for my column. I still sent an email and asked if he would like me to interview him or if it would be conducive.

    However, here is what I wrote for my column, the Marysville LDS Church Examiner.

  6. The New Year is a few days away. Along with this New Year, we will be experiencing a new season of life. Putting the past behind us, regardless of the good or bad, our journey will begin anew. People are most likely looking at what it is that they want to accomplish in the coming year. Some are making resolutions to lose weight and eat healthier. Some are looking to build better relationships with their family. Still, some are seeking employment in a very competitive market and are resolved to take a different approach to find suitable work. However, the Marysville LDS Church examiner would like to challenge everyone to make this the year we slow down, turn our hearts heavenward, and truly seek after the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father.

    How can we turn our hearts heavenward?

    As previously written, the current curriculum of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is studying through the Book of Mormon. From the youth to adults, we will engage in discussing the Book of Mormon, the passages, and supping from the pages of this sacred text in our personal and family devotions. Yet, the challenge is not merely to read the Book of Mormon and participate in the discussions thereof. The challenge is to turn our hearts toward a Loving Heavenly Father who has given us, through modern day revelation, a sacred book that will change our lives forever – a book that will bring us closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.

    To read more please visit the Marysville LDS Church Examiner and comment on this article as well as sharing it with your friends and family.

  7. Wow, I haven't been here for some time and things have changed. Love the new format and the way the board looks. I do miss coming around this part of the cyberwoods lol.

    Really busy with being a student, stay at home father, and writing. I have written a new article that is published over at the Marysville LDS Church Examiner entitled Why study the Book of Mormon. Already, there is a copy/paste comment from a Ron Den Boer so positive comments on the article are definitely very welcomed.

    I will be doing my best to be back and frequenting the discussion board here.

  8. I recently went to an LDS servoce where my kids were participating in the Father's Day program. My musical duties at my own church usually conflict with the time of service, but I was able to make special arrangements to attend.

    At the service, I saw a woman who had been baptized go through the LDS procedure of the laying on of hands. I also participated in singing most of the hymns on program for the day.

    "Praise to the Man" was the only song I did not participate in singing. It was the first time I had seen the lyrics and I will say it made me a bit uncomfortable. The song does seem to suggest the uplifting and praising of Joseph Smith.. at least that is how it seems to me. If uplifting someone and praising them, is an act of worship, then it would stand to reason LDS seem to have a worshipful posture when singing that song. I imagine it depends on how one defines what "worship" really is.

    I really don't know the answer to the question.

    That being said, I think something relevant regarding the OP question is this. Do LDS believe the salvation they believe they have received is due in some portion to Joseph Smith?

    I think that question is worthy of consideration when examining if Joseph Smith is part of the LDS paradigm of worship.

    Out of curiosity, did you read the actual article on Praise to the Man? It goes through and analyze what I understand and interpret what Praise to the Man is and what the lyrics behind the song mean.

  9. SGW,

    You make two assertions about evangelical critics of Mormonism for which I am issuing a CFR.

    1. The claim that evangelical critics make the accusation that "Mormons worship Joseph Smith"

    2. The claim that "many" evangelical critics "extol and praise the mob for killing Joseph Smith"

    Thank you.

    Count how many evangelical Christians make the claim that Mormons (and support that assertion) worship Joseph Smith:

    Here are some comments on a discussion over at the Facebook page “Mormon & LDS Facts” (which is an Anti-Mormon Page owned by Bob Betts, Lee Grenier, and others):

    Mormon & LDS Facts

    Should we sing praises to a man.. when we gather together to worship our Lord?

    ~ Suz


    …1) Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah! Jesus annointed that Prophet and Seer.

    Blessed to open the last dispensation, Kings shall extol him, and nations revere.

    chorus: Hail to the Prophet, ascended to heaven! Traitors and tyrants now fight him in vain.

    Mingling with Gods, he can plan for his brethren; Death cannot conquer the hero again.

    2) Praise to his memory, he died as a martyr; Honored and blest be his ever great name!

    Long shall his blood, which was shed by assassins, Plead unto heaven while the earth lauds his fame.

    3) Great is his glory and endless his priesthood: Ever and ever the keys he will hold.

    Faithful and true, he will enter his kingdom, Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old.

    4) Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven; Earth must atone for the blood of that man.

    Wake up the world for the conflict of justice. Millions shall know “brother Joseph” again.


    Psalm 9:11 Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people.

    Psalm 18:49 Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles, And sing praises to Your name.

    Psalm 27:6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.

    Psalm 47:6-7 Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with understanding.

    Psalm 59:17 To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; For God is my defense, My God of mercy.

    Psalm 66:4 All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name.”

    Psalm 68:32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth; Oh, sing praises to the Lord.

    Psalm 75:9 But I will declare forever, I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.

    Psalm 92:1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;

    Psalm 101:1 I will sing of mercy and justice; To You, O LORD, I will sing praises.

    Psalm 108:3 I will praise You, O LORD, among the peoples, And I will sing praises to You among the nations.

    Psalm 135:3 Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is pleasant.

    Psalm 138:1 I will praise You with my whole heart; Before the (false) gods I will sing praises to You.

    Psalm 146:2 While I live I will praise the LORD; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

    Psalm 147:1 Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.

    Psalm 149:3 Let them praise His name with the dance; Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.

    Revelation 5:13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

    Revelation 19:5 Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!”

    (truthandgrace.com) ~ SuzSee More

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    11 people like this.



    Justin Jones Have the DVD & love it!!!

    Sunday at 11:05am · 2 peopleLoading…


    David Fullmer Shaffer The mormon hymn #27 is blasphemy in my opinion.

    Sunday at 11:39am · 7 peopleLoading…


    Ray K. Grover In this case David, your opinion is fact…

    Sunday at 12:06pm · 3 peopleLoading…


    Linda DePeel Joseph Smith was deluded and demented, as were Jim Jones and David Koresh. I don’t know oo many people singing praise songs about them. I sing praises to the true and living God only.

    Sunday at 12:50pm · 7 peopleLoading…


    Linda DePeel I think if he were alive today, he may have been institutionalized. I truly believe he was mentally ill, as well as Jones and Koresh. I never realized it until much later in my life, but my step-dad was mentally ill, and should have been hospitalized or medicated. I don’t say this to be unkind, but he often claimed he had “visions and revelations from God” and that “God was leading” him down a certain path. But until about the last 25 years or so, mental illness wasn’t dealt with, and the person was either simply locked up and kept doped up, or allowed to “run loose” and cause problems–or jailed. And I am so glad that Warren Jeffs is behind bars. He can’t hurt another little girl, but no doubt he has men out there, who are more than willing to fill his shoes.

    Sunday at 1:44pm · 5 peopleLoading…


    Richard Tankersley Fairly blasphemous..

    Sunday at 3:17pm · 1 personLoading…


    Kevin Deegan Praise to the man claims Joe “Ascended to heaven”?

    John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

    Yes that is blasphemous.

    Christians sing praise to God – LDS sing praise to a Man

    Christians testify of a risen savior – LDS testify of gold plates.

    Sunday at 7:14pm · 4 peopleLoading…


    Sarah-Jane Melnychuk wow I just got a little grieved in my spirit when I read that hymn. … oh the idolatry and it’s really beyond me that LDS members don’t see this as idolatry??

    Yesterday at 12:40am


    Dave Kachele Guess if you’re LDS and praise man, it’s like praising god, but not God

    22 hours ago · 1 personLoading…


    Donald E. Neighbors It was not unusual in older times to sing praises to various Apostles or even saints. It’s merely something Protestants don’t do. Since “Praise to the Man” is only one hymn in the LDS hymnbook, and the number of hymns which praise God and His Son vastly outnumber that one hymn, that you think this subject worthy of discussion suggests you are trying to find a mote in the eye of LDS Christianity.

    22 hours ago · 1 personLoading…


    Mormon & LDS Facts There is no such thing as LDS Christianty.

    21 hours ago · 1 personLoading…


    Linda DePeel There are other disturbing songs that lds sing. One of them was “The Iron Rod”. I always got this gloomy picture of God, waiting to beat me up with his “iron rod”. Another one was “Put your shoulder to the Wheel.” That’s like saying, “Get busy and start working for your salvation!” Maybe it’s just me, but I prefer the more traditional hymns, that praise the true and living God, and not a man who claimed to have done more than Jesus ever did.

    20 hours ago


    Kevin Deegan Christians Worship God – LDS worshipa exalted MAN!

    20 hours ago


    Richard Tankersley Donald in 50 years, I have never heard a song praising anyone but God/Jesus in church. There have been songs ABOUT other biblical characters, but none praising them. And, I have to disagree regarding the, “mote”. The fact that it was allowed into, and has been, in a hymnal this long, is a complete deal breaker regarding the Mormon doctrine.

    16 hours ago


    Paul Tunstall I praise Joseph Smith for the great work he did as a prophet of God. I worship Jesus Christ he is my saviour. Joseph was a prophet like Moses. Jesus is Yahweh in the flesh.

    15 hours ago


    Mormon & LDS Facts Not everyday you get a so called prophet writing themselves into the Bible. I thank God for God, and that he incarnated and gave his life for our sins. We don’t need to praise anyone else. We have Jesus who gets ALL of our praise._johnny

    15 hours ago


    Paul Tunstall You don’t need to praise your kids and colleagues when they do a good job? Have you ever sung the song, “Oh he’s a joly good fellow..Oh he’s a jolly good fellow”?

    14 hours ago


    Justin Rasmussen If your praising Joesph Smith then you have made him an idol. Which the Bible says we are not to do. So only praise and worship BELONG TO GOD.

    12 hours ago


    Mormon & LDS Facts I haven’t gone to a place of worship, to a worship meeting (for God) where I worship God, and sang “he’s a jolly good fellow” to anyone. That also would not be considered a ‘hymn’. What is a ‘hymn’, exactly? A Christian hymn is a religious song, written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and addressed to God. It’s all about the setting. That is what is meant here. _johnny

    5 hours ago · 1 personLoading…


    Donald E. Neighbors Richard said:

    “Donald in 50 years, I have never heard a song praising anyone but God/Jesus in church.”

    Okay. Given that you are probably Protestant and the custom of singing praises to someone other that God or the Messiah dates from well before the Protestant Reformation, this should not surprise you.

    You continue:

    “There have been songs ABOUT other biblical characters, but none praising them.”

    I know that. we have a few of them in our tradition as well.

    You continue:

    “And, I have to disagree regarding the, “mote”. The fact that it was allowed into, and has been, in a hymnal this long, is a complete deal breaker regarding the Mormon doctrine.”

    Why should it be?

    51 minutes ago


    Donald E. Neighbors Justin said:

    “If your praising Joesph Smith then you have made him an idol. Which the Bible says we are not to do. So only praise and worship BELONG TO GOD.”

    By your logic, singing praises to the Saviour is making Him an idol.

    49 minutes ago


    Kevin Deegan ‎@Paul actually according to Joseph Smith Mormons WORSHIP THREE godS

    42 minutes ago


    Kevin Deegan The fact that LDS have Three godS they worship is not a different “TRADITION”! It is a different God and BLASPHEMY!

    40 minutes ago


    Paul Tunstall The work of Joseph Smith was key to the restoration of the truth in these latter-days. This was key to the justification and sanctification of all of the children of God. Without the restoration and revelations of Joseph Smith the priesthood of God would not be on the earth. This priesthood is keys to the saving ordinances of the gospel. We do not worship Joseph Smith. We are grateful that he stayed the course and restored the gospel. Well done Joseph!

    32 minutes ago


    Donald E. Neighbors That is not what early Christians would tell you. They knew that God is the Father, Jesus Christ is the Son, the Firstborn and Only-Begotten (the terms are not interchangeable), and that the Holy Ghost was the Comforter the Messiah promised.

    The triune God first appeared in some forms of Gnosticism and was declared heresy. The “one substance” triune God of “mainstream” Christianity is the result of Constantine’s emendation of what would become the Creed of Nicaea, and it should be remembered that Constantine was a pagan. Not all Christians agreed with the Creed of Nicaea, and the Arians and the controversy surrounding Arius’ teachings would challenge Nicene Christianity for about 200 years.

    I recommend, among other sources, the works of Justo Gonsalez, a Christian historian who happens to be a Methodist.

    32 minutes ago


    Donald E. Neighbors http://mormonapologeticstu​dies.org/2011/08/08/do-mor​mons-worship-joseph-smith/

    Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?


    One of the criticisms launched against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day …Saints is that Mormons worship Joseph Smith. There are varying statements as to the charge and to the investigator, i…See More

    31 minutes ago


    Kevin Deegan LDS have THREE count them godS – SHAME!

    26 minutes ago


    Paul Tunstall Justin, Idols in the bible represented other false gods. Joseph Smith was a prophet of the true God.

    25 minutes ago


    Kevin Deegan Maybe you sunday school teachers should consider this for primary kids? “Teaching: Praise to the Man” http://arizonaforever.blog​spot.com/2011/05/teaching-​praise-to-man-hymn-27.html​m JN 12:43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God

    21 minutes ago


    Kevin Deegan http://lds.org/friend/2011​/05/praise-to-the-man?lang​=eng This year in Primary, children will learn “Praise to the Man”

    17 minutes ago


    Kevin Deegan Wish we could get LDS to speak half as much about Jesus as they do Joe!

    16 minutes ago


    Kevin Deegan Now try Praise God!

    15 minutes ago


    Kevin Deegan http://deseretbook.com/sea​rch/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&​x=0&y=0&query=praise+god SURPRISE more Praise to Joe!

    14 minutes ago


    Kevin Deegan The second LDS president prophet & SEER said: “I am an APOSTLE OF Joseph Smith. Write it down and write it back to your friends in the east, that I am an Apostle of Joseph Smith” Journal of Discourses 3:212

    How about Rocky Hulse of Mormon Missions Outreach Ministry where he published an online article exposing Praise to the Man as being a song sung in praise to Joseph Smith. Clearly Hulse is an evangelical Christian.

    Here are a list of others. Lee Grenier of LDS/Awareness Facebook page and Apostate Mormon. Bob Betts of Mormon & LDS Awareness. Bill McKeever of Mormon Research Ministry, CARM, shall I continue with my list? Are these not satisfying enough for you? Or, do you wish to have more and more damning evidence and still deny that Christians would say such things?

  10. As a young missionary I taught investigators that prior to the Fall of Adam there was no death in the world. This concept came directly from the missionary discussions...yet I never had any investigator even question this belief. If I taught this concept today I would be laughed out of every home.

    Put in simple terms, this concept makes some sense IF Adam was a real human being who left his garden kingdom some 6,000 years ago. For if this did in fact take place...of course there would not have been death since it was Adam who through his disobedience to God brought upon us all a temporal existence and introduced death.

    But reality does not support this belief...at least not as it is taught or was taught by the church. Plus science has come a long way since I was a missionary some 30 years ago...anyone who claims a belief in a young earth is not taken seriously nor is anyone who suggests that there was no death prior to 6,000 years ago.

    Despite this fact...there still remain members of the church both believe and are taught that there was no death prior to the fall some 6,000 years ago.

    So I have two questions.

    Is there anyone here who holds to a belief of no death prior to the fall (which according to the LDS Biblical chronology took place some 6,000 years ago)

    If you do hold to this belief...how do you reconcile it with reality ie (fossil record)

    I hate to admit that I was one of those members who actually believed that the fossils were matter brought from other planets...Oh I was soooooo nieve and trusting then...

    Then the Apostle Paul is wrong:

    12Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, anddeath by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all havesinned:

    13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

    14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’stransgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

    15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

    16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

    17For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Romans 5: 12-17

    Paul apparently held to the idea that prior to the fall there was no mortal death. This is because the fall of Adam brought about both Sin and Death with it. The Genesis account also states that God told Adam and Eve would surely die if they partook of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We find out that they did die immediately, because transgression brings spiritual death (separation from God) as well as the fall bringing mortal death.

    So, if this concept is wrong, then the entire Bible is in error because it actually supports this.

  11. One of the criticisms launched against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that concerning the hymn "Praise to the Man" and the argument that this hymn is sung in extolling Joseph Smith. Meaning, because we sing this hymn, it is a form of "worshiping" the Prophet of the Restoration.

    How many of you had this question asked of you? I remember that when I had started receiving criticism from evangelical Christians, I could not find a viable response. Even after coming back to the LDS Faith from my apostasy, this stuck with me and it bothered me because it appeared that we truly were signing the hymn in a fashion that is praising Joseph Smith.

    Now that I have taken an English class where we are analysis short fictions of classic author's, poets, and even some plays, what I have done was taken the analysis from Literature to dig into the deeper construct of this beloved hymn.

    Because of this search, I have published the article at my blog where I examine the context of each stanza that is part of the hymn.

    Of course, the article begins with the writer of the Hymn - William W. Phelps. An apostate who had left the Church and falsely accused the Prophet Joseph Smith and even wrote an affidavit as a witness against the Prophet. It was not until after Phelps made a return back to the Faith, and the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, did Phelps pen this beloved hymn to a scottish folk song.

    Here is a link to the full article that discusses the importance and story that Phelps told through this hymn and how we do not sing this hymn praising Joseph Smith, but sing it to tell the story of the Prophet of the Restoration in these last days.

    Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?

    Share your thoughts here and over at the blog.

  12. I'm having trouble with the op, it looks like a big long quote??

    I wrote this up last night in preparation for the Gospel Doctrine Class that I and my wife teach on Sunday. The link to it is at the top of the OP and links to my blog where I also have this posted.

  13. This is the scrpitures that led someone to Jesus:

    Matthew 23:

    12And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.


    11For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.


    13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14I tell you, this man went down tohis house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

    What does this have to do with the topic of discussion?

  14. Friends:

    I am embarking on a project to collect short articles on subjects related to Mormon Doctrine.

    I operate http://www.mormonstudies.com and plan to post these short articles there.

    The overall goal of the project is to provide those interested in Mormonism with access a short and concise reference on the wide range of topics.

    There are a few guidelines I would like to put in place for these short articles:

    * Articles should be between 300-500 words

    * These articles should be fair and accurate. In other words, they should not be devotional nor polemical.

    * References and corresponding links to references are highly desirable.

    * The tone of the articles should be academic but also accessible.

    All contributors will be asked to provide brief bios and links to their personal blogs/websites.

    If anyone is interested in helping me edit submitted articles, please contact me. sethpayne@gmail.com

    Those of you who would like to submit articles please visit this link and input your name, email address and the topic on which you would like to write.




    Would you like to have me write some things/edit some things for you as well?

  15. "This is Life Eternal" New Testament Lesson #24

    Study outline:

    1. John 16:1-15: Jesusprepares his Apostles for the difficult times that will follow his crucifixion.He teaches them about the mission of the Holy Ghost and promises that they willreceive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    2. John 16: 16-33:Jesus foretells his death and resurrection and counsels the Apostles to “be ofgood cheer.”

    3. John 17: Jesus offers the great intercessoryprayer for his Apostles and all others who believe in him.

    Additional Scripture Reading: John 14:16-31;15:18-27;3 Nephi19:19-36; Doctrineand Covenants 132:21-24; Bible Dictionary, “Comforter”, p.648; “Holy Ghost,”p. 704

    1. Jesuspromises his Apostles that they will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost – John 16:1-15and John15:18-20

    Question: Whydid Jesus Christ strengthen his Apostles? Why did the Apostles need suchstrengthening and instruction?

    Persecution and Martyrdom will befall the Apostles. As westudy the ministry of Jesus Christ, and how he instructed the disciples, welearn that Christ referenced how the world would hate them. Not for who theywere, or their particular occupation, but the world would hate the Apostles forwhom they represent, whom they preached, and whom they call men to believe.John 15:18 states this: If the world hateyou, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. We see this evident whenwe see how the religious leaders of the day came against Jesus Christ. How theytried to trap Jesus Christ with sophistry and cunning words designed to catch Christin lies, or contradictions. In the end, we know that they were unsuccessful inevery attempt and were left with hardened hearts.

    Christ also reminded the Apostles that if they were stillpart of the world, the world would lovehis own: but because ye are not of the world, as Christ proclaimed, theworld would hate and despise the Apostles whom Christ called (See John 15:19).Furthermore, the Savior also reminded the Apostles that because those whoopposed and persecuted Jesus Christ, the Apostles would also receive the samepersecution that Christ received.

    Why would the Apostles receive persecution, even unto death?Because, as we read, Christ taught the disciples that they have not known the Father, nor me. Several times, we read inthe New Testament where Christ declared that if the religious leaders trulyknew and understood the scriptures, they would truly know who Christ is andwhom sent Jesus Christ.

    The other aspect of this is that Christ is making a trueprophetic statement here. Why would Christ make such a prophetic statement thatthe Apostles would receive persecution and even be martyred for the sake ofChrist and the preaching of Christ? Could you imagine yourself as one of theApostles, imagine yourself sitting there and hearing how Christ is describingall the dangers that will come upon you, even knowing that they would lay handsupon you and kill you for preaching something that will bring happiness and joyinto the hearts and lives of men? How many of us would decide to turn away? Howmany of us would say “no thank you, sorry, I value my life”.

    Despite how we feel, the Apostles were taught what wouldhappen to them, yet were given the promise that the comforter will come, thatthey will receive further power. We already know that the Apostles possessedthe power to heal the sick, to cast out demons, and to administer and preachthe Kingdom of Heaven (which is later known as the Gospel message) throughoutall the then known world.

    We further read that this brought sorrow to the hearts ofhis disciples, not only because they would be persecuted for preaching thereality that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of humanity, but thatChrist, their beloved leader and mentor would no longer be with them. In fact,John 16 contains two prophesies: One being that of the persecution andmartyrdom of the Apostles. The second is that which would soon come to pass andthat would be Jesus Christ’s own death. In t his sense, Christ was preparinghis disciples for what will lay ahead for them. This includes the reality thatChrist had to go in order for the Holy Spirit to come and give further powerand authority in the lives and administration of the apostolic authority theApostles already possessed.

    Here is the promisethat Christ gave his disciples:

    Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for youthat I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; butif I depart, I will send him unto you (See John 16:7).

    The Bible dictionary teaches the following about theComforter:

    Two Comforters are spoken of. The first is the Holy Ghost (John 14:16–27; Moro. 8:26; D&C 21:9;42:17; 90:11). TheSecond Comforter is the Lord Jesus Christ himself. “When any man obtains thislast Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, orappear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father untohim” (D&C 88:3–4; 130:3; HC3:381). See also Holy Spirit.

    Weknow that the Apostles had the presence of the Savior in their mist. Teachingthem, instructing them on their duties and responsibilities, the power theypossessed as given by Jesus Christ, and the instructions and commandments thatthey were to go out and teach, baptize, and make disciples of all nations.

    Yet,as we briefly mentioned, because Christ would no longer be present with them,he would send another comforter (since Christ is the first comforter) to furthergive the disciples power and authority in administering and preaching thekingdom of heaven. What then is the mission of the Holy Ghost? Here we willlist some of the things scripture relates to us:

    a. Comforts– John 14:26

    b. Teaches– John 14:26

    c. Bringstruths to our remembrance – John 14: 26

    d. Testifiesof the Savior – John 15:26

    e. Guidesus into all truth – John 16:13

    f. Showsus things to come – John 16:13 (Note:This is where personal revelation is established in scripture. As we seek thecounsel of our Heavenly Father, we are promised that through the power of theHoly Spirit, the truth will be revealed to us and we would be able to know andhave an idea of what will happen as it pertains to the kingdom and will of God,and according to our own callings, area of responsibility, and station in life.)

    g. Glorifiesthe Savior – John 16:14

    Question: Did the Apostles experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in theirown lives while Jesus dwelt in mortality, preached, and instructed hisdisciples?

    Thereis a difference between experiencing the presence of the Holy Spirit, and themanifestations of the Holy Spirit, than there is having the constantcompanionship and gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The twelve apostles experiencedthe manifestations of the Holy Ghost during the mortal ministry of JesusChrist. However, it was not until after the resurrection and subsequentascension of Christ that they were endowed with the Gift of the Holy Ghost as aconstant companion in their lives. In fact, we read in John 20:22 that Christ breathed on them, and saith unto them,Receive ye the Holy Ghost. This brings up a subsequent question: What is the difference between themanifestation of the Holy Ghost and the Gift of the Holy Ghost?

    ElderDallin H. Oaks taught the following:

    Manifestationsof the Holy Ghost are given to lead sincere seekers to gospel truths that willpersuade them to repentance and baptism. The gift of the Holy Ghost is morecomprehensive. … [it] includes the rightto constant companionship, that we may ‘always have his Spirit to be with [us]’(D&C 20:77).

    A newlybaptized member told me what she felt when she received that gift. This was afaithful Christian woman who had spent her life in service to others. She knewand loved the Lord, and she had felt the manifestations of His Spirit. When shereceived the added light of the restored gospel, she was baptized and theelders placed their hands upon her head and gave her the gift of the HolyGhost. She recalled, ‘I felt theinfluence of the Holy Ghost settle upon me with greater intensity than I hadever felt before. He was like an old friend who had guided me in the past butnow had come to stay’ (inConference Report, Oct. 1996, 80; or Ensign, Nov. 1996, 60; Emphasis Mine).

    Manyare confused as to the difference between having inspiration from the HolySpirit as opposed to feeling the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit inour lives. Prior to our conversion, one will feel the influence of the HolySpirit. The promptings, the warnings, the thoughts that would invade our own.These promptings lead true and honest seekers to the fountain of living waters,and to partake of the Tree of Life. Thereafter, when we receive the gift of theHoly Spirit, we will have this constant companionship in our lives.

    Question:Once we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, how can we ensure that we remainworthy of the Holy Ghost’s constant companionship?

    Severalscriptures address this question. Acts 5:32 shares this thought: And we are his witnesses of these things;and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.The context of this passage deals withthe reality of who Jesus Christ is. The Apostles were commissioned to testifyto the reality of who Jesus Christ is – Sonof the Living God, Redeemer of Humanity. The Holy Ghost also testifieswithin us these things as well, and gives us power and authority to testify ofthose things. Yet, it is only given to them that obey the Father. This isbecause when we obey Jesus Christ, we are also obeying the Father who had sentJesus Christ into the world to redeem humanity.

    Question:How can we recognize the influence of the Holy Ghost (Spirit) in our lives?

    Galatians5:22-23 gives us the basis to understand the influence of the Holy Spirit:

    But thefruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness,faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

    Theinfluence of the Holy Spirit transforms us from our former life, habits, andperceptions in order for us to adopt new perceptions and habits. When we beginto live after the example Jesus Christ had established in his mortal ministry,we will begin to see the influence the Holy Spirit has over our lives. It is arelationship that is ever transforming. Galatians 5:24 continues the thought byexpressing this: And they that are Christ’shave crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. And then verse 25; If we live by the Spirit, let us also walkin the Spirit. This is how we are able to recognize the influence of theHoly Spirit in our lives.

    PresidentBoyd K. Packer taught this principle:

    The HolyGhost speaks with a voice that you feel more than you hear. It is described asa ‘still small voice.’ And while we speak of ‘listening’ to the whisperings ofthe Spirit, most often one describes a spiritual prompting by saying, ‘I had afeeling … Revelation comes as words wefeel more than hear (inConference Report, Oct. 1994, 77; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 60; emphasis mine).

    TheProphet Joseph Smith, in a dream given to President Brigham Young, taught thatthe Spirit of the Lord … will whisperpeace and joy to their [The Saints] souls; it will take malice, hatred, strifeand all evil from their hearts; and their whole desire will be to do good,bring forth righteousness and build up the kingdom of God (ManuscriptHistory of Brigham Young, 1846 – 1847, comp. Elden J. Watson [1917], 529).

    Muchlike the Apostles that Christ instructed, ministered too, empowered, and givenauthority to preach, heal, baptize, call all men to repentance and makedisciples of them, he also promised the blessings they would receive when theComforter, or the Holy Spirit would come upon them and be their constantcompanion. Today, we must ensure that we are to not only ensure our ownpersonal worthiness to have the constant companion of the Holy Spirit, butlearn how to listen to the promptings, recognize the promptings for what theyare and not doubt those things. The more we listen and rely on the Holy Spirit,the more we are able to walk in the Spirit and move in all understanding ofthose things that are true and righteous – despite the persecutions we may facein today’s society.

    2. Jesus Foretells his death andresurrection – John 16:16-33

    As wepreviously discussed, Jesus Christ prophesied to his disciples that they wouldbe persecuted because Christ himself was persecuted. All but one of theApostles would eventually would be martyred because of the message they broughtforth to the then known world. Yet, Christ prepared them by informing them theywere not going to be left powerless, nor alone. That, because he would beleaving them, he would send to them another comforter, the Holy Spirit, as a constantcompanion and guide in the lives of the Apostles. Our attention now turns tothe more important prophesy of John 16 and that is of Christ’s own death andresurrection. This is contained in verses 16 through 20:

    16 Alittle while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shallsee me, because I go to the Father. 17 Then said some of his disciples amongthemselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shallnot see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I goto the Father? 18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A littlewhile? we cannot tell what he saith. 19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirousto ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said,A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and yeshall see me? 20 Verily, verily, I sayunto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and yeshall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy (John 16:16-20;Emphasis Mine).

    Afterprophesying of His own death and resurrection, instructing the Apostles, andprophesying that many of them would be persecuted, even unto death, hecomforted them by stating that Thesethings I have spoken unto you, that in me ye may might have peace (See John16:33). What we learn here, is that Christ not only foretells his impendingdeath and subsequent resurrection, he also tells the Apostles that they wouldlament his death amidst many who will rejoice in the crucifixion of the Savior.

    Thequestion we must ask ourselves here is: Whatdoes it mean to have peace in Jesus Christ? What do we learn from Jesus’ ownteachings in John 16 that help us to have peace in him?

    Writingto the Philippians, the Apostle Paul teaches us the following:

    7 And the peace of God, which passeth allunderstanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever thingsare honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever thingsare pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of goodreport; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on thesethings. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard,and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (Philippians 4:7-9;Emphasis mine.)

    When wehave peace in Jesus Christ, our hearts and minds are preserved. Amidst all theaffliction and persecution Jesus Christ received, we learn by His own examplehow he had peace. He knew why he was here, the mission he must complete, andimpending death that would soon come upon him. Yet, he was at peace withhimself, even when he suffered great affliction one could not put into words.The apostles themselves demonstrated how they had the peace of God in their ownhearts, even unto their own deaths. Doctrine and Covenants teaches that in thislife, we can receive the reward, evenpeace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come when we learn todo the works of righteousness (See D&C 59:23).

    When wewillingly obey the commandments that are taught, rely on the Holy Spirit as ourguide and companion, there is great peace that we will possess, even such peacethat surpasses all understandingbecause we know of a surety that we will have our reward waiting for us in thelife to come. This reward is eternal life as promised by Jesus Christ.

    Therefore,when we experience different trials in our lives, we ought to be of good cheer because Jesus Christhad overcome the world (John 16:33). Thus, if Christ has already overcome theworld, we have the ability and capability of overcoming the world as well.

    Question:how does the knowledge of Christ having overcome the world help us be of goodcheer when we are faced with tribulation? Furthermore, why is it important tobe of good cheer?

    Theanswer to these two questions is very simple. It involves our obedience to theteachings and commandments of Jesus Christ. Remember, he told his disciples,after he rose from the grave, that they were to go into the then known worldand: (1) Preach the Gospel; (2) Call humanity to repentance; (3) baptize thosewho repent; and (4) make disciples of those who do repent and are baptized –instructing them in all things Christ had commanded and taught the disciples(see Matthew 28:19-20).

    Overcomingthe world also involves bringing our natural desires and lusts undersubjugation to the will and desire of the Father. We do this, by forsaking oursinful nature, or as the Apostle Paul teaches – putting to death the naturalman. We no longer live according to the will of the flesh or the desires of theworld, but we now live according to the will and desire of our Heavenly Father.Throughout the course of our study in the New Testament, we learn that whenChrist taught the Beatitudes, he was teaching the steps to spiritual perfectionand progression in the life of the Believer, and the Christ-like attributes atrue disciple would possess (See Matthew 5-7). It is becoming perfect, even as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew5:48; emphasis mine).

    Finally,it is by yielding to the enticing of the Holy Spirit as we walk according tothe Spirit. As we learn to listen to the Spirit and allow him to guide ourlives, we learn to walk in truth and righteousness. In this manner, we movefrom grace to grace and from truth to truth. Are we going to face trials? Isour faith going to be tried? Yes, yet, when we hold to the rule of truth, andwe hold fast to the reality and teachings of our Savior – Jesus Christ – we learnto overcome those things of the world that may tempt us. We, in essence striveto live according to the will of our Father in Heaven.

    3. Jesus Offers the greatintercessory prayer – John 17

    John 17refers to the great intercessory prayeror the great High Priestly Prayerthat the Savior offered. Here, we learn that as Christ prayed, he interceded – or stood between us andHeavenly Father, to plead for our salvation. In our final discussion, wewill focus on the importance of this chapter and how we can liken thesepassages in our own lives, learn from them, and take way those things that willstrengthen us as we go about in the world today as witnesses of the RestoredGospel and the reality of the atonement of Jesus Christ for the sins of theworld.

    Question:How did Christ open up his prayer and describe his mission here on earth?

    Accordingto John 17:1-2, we read the following:

    1 Thesewords spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son,that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over allflesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him (John17:1-2; Emphasis mine).

    Thevery first thing we learn here is that Christ looked up to the heavens andasked that the Father glorify the Son in order for the Son to glorify theFather. At first, this seems to be an odd statement. How would the Fatherglorify the Son so that the Son would glorify the Father? To understand thisquestion, we must go back to the previous chapter (John 16) where Christprophesied of his impending death and resurrection. Having already declared tothe Apostles that he will be leaving them and that he will go unto the Fatherprovides us the reality of truth – because Christ will be resurrected with abody of flesh and bones – he will be glorified and exalted. Christfurther proclaims that the Father had given him all power over all flesh inorder to bring about eternal life to all those whom the Father had given overto the Son. Eternal life, here, represents the heart of the Gospel message. Thefull understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that humanity could notprovide the necessary sin offering, nor could humanity possess the power to laydown their own lives in order to take itup again.

    This isreferenced adequately and poignantly in the administration of the Baptismalordinance (See Romans 6) where those who repent, confess Christ as theirSavior, and are baptized by the proper authority from one who is called of Godto administer the ordinance of Baptism; that individual is dying in likeness ofChrist, being buried in the likeness of Christ’s burial (water representing thegrave), only to rise in newness of life (being resurrected in completewholeness). Therefore, in these two verses of John 17, Christ establishes thathis mission is to bring to pass theeternal life and immortality of man (Moses 1:39; emphasis mine). What wealso learn here is that Christ is also reminding the Father that he willshortly accomplish the will of the Father in complete obedience in order tobring about the necessary atoning sacrifice.

    The keypassage for the Atonement, and the Gospel message, is that our eternal life ispredicated upon knowing the only trueGod, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent (John 17:3). This passage sumsup all other doctrines and validates the mission of Jesus Christ and thepurpose behind humanities redemption.

    Question:How is knowing our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ different from merelyknowing about them? In what way can we truly come to know the Father and JesusChrist?

    Thefollowing is a sampling of how we can come to know God and Jesus Christ:

    a. Possessinga love for one another – 1 John 4:7-8

    b. Takeupon ourselves the name of Christ – Mosiah 5:10

    c. Donot transgress the commandments of God – Mosiah 5:11

    d. KeepHis name written in our hearts – Mosiah 5:12

    e. Learnto hear and listen to the Spirit/Voice of God – Mosiah 5:12

    f. ServingHeavenly Father – Mosiah 5:13

    g. ThroughPrayer and seeking out God – Alma 22:18

    h. Whenwe hear and listen to the voice of our Lord and Savior - D&C 18:34-36

    i. Whenwe abide in obedience to the commandments and principles of the Gospel – D&C132: 21-24

    Thegreatest gift is that of eternal life. Those who are baptized, have repented,and have become converted by the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, they havethe ability – through the companionship of the Holy Spirit – to keep the commandments and endure to the end(D&C 14:7). The reward will be eternal life.

    Throughour willingness and desire to serve Heavenly Father, strive to keep thecommandments, and endure to the end – despite persecution and affliction – wewill know who our Heavenly Father is and who Jesus Christ is, because we arestriving to follow the example of the Savior.

    AfterJesus Christ described the things he accomplished toward fulfilling his missionhere on earth, he also shows us the example of how we ought to report back toour Heavenly Father. As fathers, are we setting righteous examples for our sonsand daughters to follow? Are we kind and considerate to our wives and children?Are we practicing unrighteous dominion? As young men and women, are we strivingto honor our father and mother in the home and out in public? Are we fulfillingour responsibilities and callings in the home, at school, or in the work force?

    We mustremember that we will be held accountable for all things that we do in thislife. Every thought, word, and deed will be recorded. At the end of the day,when we come to prayer, are we reporting back how we are successful, or unsuccessfulin our duties and responsibilities? These questions are individual and personalquestions one must ponder and answer. Yet, the importance here is that we haveanother example of how Christ honored and glorified the Father by reportingback how he is accomplishing the mission he was called to fulfill.

    John17:4-8 shares how Christ established the example of reporting back to ourHeavenly Father:

    4 I haveglorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me todo. 5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glorywhich I had with thee before the world was. 6 I have manifested thy name untothe men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavestthem me; and they have kept thy word. 7 Now they have known that all thingswhatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. 8 For I have given unto them thewords which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surelythat I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.(John 17:4-8)

    Again,we are reminded that when we come to counsel with our Heavenly Father, throughprayer, we are holding ourselves accountable. Our Heavenly Father knows thedesires and intents of our hearts and, therefore, there is nothing we can hidefrom Him. This also helps develop a Christ-like attribute because when wefulfill those things that we are called to fulfill, we have a clear conscienceknowing that we have obeyed the counsel given. We have taken our callings andresponsibilities seriously. When a teacher gives us a project to do, a timeline to accomplish, and the parameters in order to accomplish the task, we canreport back that we have faithfully finished that which is asked of us. We knowwe put forth our best effort and did the best job we did with what we weregiven.

    Even inthe workforce, when our supervisor asks us to accomplish a specific task and weput forth the best effort to accomplish that which we are called upon tocomplete, we can report back that we have honestly done the work necessary andhave fulfilled the request honorably. Accountability develops in all aspects ofour lives. Children learn to report back to their parents in the simple tasks.Husbands report back to their wives on how they completed the tasks asked.Wives reporting back to their husbands on how they are managing and magnifyingtheir responsibility.

    Movingfrom the truth of how we ought to return and report to our Heavenly Father, wethen come to the section where Jesus Christ prayed for the Apostles. Despitethe reality of what he would soon face at the hands of men, Christ made it apoint to pray for the disciples. As we read these next passages, ponder thefollowing question – What can we learnfrom this?

    I prayfor them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; forthey are thine. … Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shallbelieve on me through their word (See John 17:9, 20).

    Here,Christ specifically prays for the Apostles. Later, he prays for those who willcome to believe on Jesus Christ through the teachings of the Apostles and thetestimony of the Apostles. The application here is that we should pray for ourfamilies. Not focus on our own struggles and trials (while they are just asimportant), but focus more on the struggle and trials others are facing. Weshould pray for those who persecute us, pray for those who misunderstand us,pray for those who despitefully use us. Not only this, we also should pray forour family, pray for our children, our fathers, our mothers, and our spouses.

    We thencome to the passage where Christ prays that the Apostles, while in the world,do not become of the world. Bear in mind that the Apostles are promised toreceive the Gift and Power of the Holy Spirit, and that this comforter willprovide them the necessary truths and companionship they need to fulfill theteachings, instructions, and commandments of Jesus Christ.

    John17:14 says: I have given them thy word;and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I amnot of the world. Verse 15, further teaches that Christ prayed that theApostles should not be removed from the world, but that they are kept from theevil of the world.

    Concerningthis, Elder M. Russell Ballard said:

    “In theChurch, we often state the couplet, ‘Be in the world but not of the world.’ Aswe observe television shows that make profanity, violence, and infidelitycommonplace and even glamorous, we often wish we could lock out the world insome way and isolate our families from it all. …

    “Perhapswe should state the couplet previously mentioned as two separate admonitions.First, ‘Be in the world.’ Be involved; be informed. Try to be understanding andtolerant and to appreciate diversity. Make meaningful contributions to societythrough service and involvement. Second, ‘Be not of the world.’ Do not followwrong paths or bend to accommodate or accept what is not right.

    “Weshould strive to change the corrupt and immoral tendencies in television and insociety by keeping things that offend and debase out of our homes. In spite ofall of the wickedness in the world, and in spite of all the opposition to goodthat we find on every hand, we should not try to take ourselves or our childrenout of the world. Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven,’ oryeast (Matthew 13:33). We are to lift the world and help all to rise above thewickedness that surrounds us. The Savior prayed to the Father:

    “‘I praynot that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldestkeep them from the evil’ (John 17:15)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 101;or Ensign, May 1989, 80).

    OurSavior understands the struggles we will face. He understands the temptationsthat will assail us. Today, we live in a morally decaying world. We arechallenged even more on the laws of chastity, marriage fidelity, and livingcourageous and moral lives. When we stand up for the things of God, for therighteousness, we are assaulted, persecuted, and called intolerant, bigots, andnarrow-minded individuals. How dare we stand for higher moral laws that bringabout honor and glory to our Heavenly Father. How dare we preach and call allmen unto repentance, warning them of the dangers of immorality and temptations.

    Again,we understand and know that Christ had already declared to his Apostles thatbecause the world (the then world and our world today) hated Christ andcrucified Jesus Christ, they also hate the Apostles and what the Apostlestaught. Today, we are hated for what we teach, what we preach, and what westand for.

    Yet, wehave the power to choose to follow Christ. With the power and companionship ofthe Holy Spirit, we are given the strength and encouragement to combat theenemy, the thoughts, the influences of the world, and have the power toovercome the world. This, of course, is through having the peace of God thatsurpasses all understanding, and by having the constant companionship of theHoly Spirit.

    All ofthis leads us to the reality of truth – by enduring to the end, by obedience tothe commandments of the Gospel, and by standing as witnesses of who JesusChrist is, bringing all men who choose to come unto Christ, we become one inunity as the Father and Son are one in unity.

    John17:21-22 teaches the most simplistic profound truth. That the Father, the Son,and the Holy Spirit, while distinct and separate beings, are one in purpose,unity, and glory. The Spirit is subordinate to the Son and the Father, and theSon is subordinate to the Father. Their oneness in purpose and effort is, again,to bring to pass the immortality andeternal life of man (Moses 1:39).

    Question:Why do we need unity with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ? With other churchmembers? Within our own families? If we are not united, how can we increaseunity in these relationships?

    Unitywith our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is summed up in the two mostfundamental commandments that Christ said are important: (1) To love the Lordour God with all our heart, might, mind and strength; and (2) To love ourneighbor as we would want to be loved. When we show forth love toward ourfamily members, toward our spouses, and toward others, we are showing forth thelove of God. Does this mean we must be tolerant of what someone does? Manymisunderstand unconditional love as being something that if you love anindividual, you must accept their lifestyle and decisions, regardless whetheryou believe it to be wrong, dangerous, or unhealthy. This is a misunderstoodconcept and does not reflect the true nature of Love. A parent loves theirchild, despite the things they do, but because the parent loves their child,they will counsel, encourage, rebuke, chastise, and discipline their children.In this sense, Godly Love is unconditional, however, it also possess mercy,justice, and discipline.

    We alsoshow unity towards one another, and in our relationship with our HeavenlyFather and Jesus Christ by not being contentious. This means, we should notdispute amongst ourselves, bicker, murmur, or pit one teaching (or teacher)over another (See Mosiah 18:21). We ought to strive for unity in our homes.Conflicts will arise. Contentions will be unavoidable. However, if we do notreason, forgive, and learn to move past those things that are causing strife,we will become bitter, angry, and despiteful towards one another. We no longerhave the capacity to show forth love toward one another and then createdisharmony in our own lives. Once we have allowed contention full reign, wewill no longer have unity – but discord. Thus, it is true that when a housebecomes divided, it cannot stand. Contention can also lead to apostasy ofindividuals.

    4. Conclusion:

    Theimpending betrayal, crucifixion, and death of Jesus Christ was coming. Inpreparing his disciples, the Savior gave His apostles two distinct prophesies.The first being that they would face persecution, even martyrdom for what theyhave been called to do. The second is that of His own death and resurrection.The Savior knew his disciples, knew that they would be sorrowful over hisdeath. He wanted to encourage them, remind them that even though they will feelthese natural emotions, he would rise up, having overcome the world, conqueredsin and death, and would take up his life anew. Furthermore, Christ promisedthe apostles that they would not be left alone, that they would have thecomforter with them, and that this comforter would further empower them, givethem a peace of mind that could only come from God, and that they would fulfilltheir respective callings.

    For ustoday, as members of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, we have taken uponourselves the name of Jesus Christ. To stand as witnesses in these last days asto the reality of who Christ is, as to the reality of who our Heavenly Fatheris, and to witness that there is power in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Wemade a covenant that we would love one another as Christ has loved us, that wewould keep the commandments that Christ has given to us. Despite thepersecution we face in the world today, despite the ridicule and mockery weface for embracing the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, there is peace in ourhearts. There is truth in our ability to walk according to the things of theSpirit. As difficult as it is today, it is more fervently important forus to rely on the Holy Spirit, to seek out our Heavenly Father, to find thatpeace and strength in our own lives.

    Forthose who are not members of the Restored Gospel, the Holy Spirit truly doeswitness and manifest the truth and reality of who Jesus Christ is. The Book ofMormon testifies that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. That Healone is our redeemer. For you, it is the power of redemption or the power ofcondemnation. Christ is calling all of us to repentance, to come unto Him, andto take upon ourselves His name so that we too can walk in freedom, knowingthat we are putting to death our old self, our old desires, and to strive tolive by His example.

    Forthose who are faced with doubts, trials, and or who have left the RestoredGospel, there is still hope. The reality for me is that I thought I had foundChrist after leaving the Restored Gospel. I thought that I had finally foundthe relationship that I never had while a member of the Church. Yet, the realityis that I never sought out our Heavenly Father. Truly never followed inobedience to those things that we are taught to obey. It is never too late tocome back, to take hold of the truths, the simplicity of the Gospel messagethat Jesus is the Christ, that by following His example, we can become one inunity with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We can come to know who ourFather in Heaven is by being obedient, showing love and compassion towardsothers, by fulfilling the things that we are called upon to fulfill.

    It is my personal testimony that to know ourHeavenly Father and Jesus Christ is to have the greatest gift ever – eternal life.

  16. If you have not done so already, come check out my column over at Examiner.com where I am the Seattle Multi-Faith examiner. I have already published six articles that are for a general readership. The twist is that much of this is coming from the LDS perspective and are very broad spectrum articles.

    I also have made some attempts to interview some pastors of local churches in the Seattle area with no success. However, I am not giving up and so would like to build up the readership. I can also be sponsored as well if those are interested (hint hint, wink wink FAIR).

    Anyway, stop on by, read, and also comment.

  17. My wife and I are looking at where we are going to put our food storage (now that we are living in a house and have room to build a good solid food storage). We have decided to put it out in the garage and are looking for information concerning the Thrive brand of Shelf Reliance. Anyone use them for their food storage? Or, do you have suggestions on who to go through for food storage ordering? This includes shelving unit, et al.

  18. Up my reputation on all of my posts and I will tell you the answer.

    There I upped your reputation now come up my reputation :-D

    Isn't that kinda like that saying? Scratch my back and I will scratch your back?

  19. I've been visiting this board for quite some time and enjoy reading the various posts. Now, I feel it's time to ask for some advice.

    My wife and I are both converts. I joined when I was 19, went on to serve a mission, etc. My wife joined a few years later when she was 19 (we didn't know each other) through her best friend and his family. We met a few years after my mission. She was inactive at the time, but working on coming back to church. I myself had gone through a rough patch and was technically active by church standards, but knew I wasn't where I wanted to be spiritually. We met through a mutual friend at church, and after a month of dating, we felt we should get married. The plan was to get sealed in the temple, but we caught flack from our families (no members), and she didn't feel fully prepared to get her endowments even though our branch pres said he was all for it. We discussed it and decided it was better to get married civilly, to appease our families, and then get sealed in a year when she was fully prepared.

    A month after our wedding, she was pregnant, and I soon found myself unemployed as the company I worked for went out of business. We moved near my parents in North Carolina where the job market was better and we could have some support from them while I looked for work. At that time we started attending our ward. As we tried to make friends with other young couples, my wife had a hard time fitting in. She's well educated and very liberal in many aspects, and she kept clashing with the other women in the ward who are ultra conservative and not quite as educated. At one RS function she spoke up when a number of the sisters were using words like "f--" and "n-----" to talk about a homosexual and an African American. One of the sisters told her to get used to it, as both are "acceptable terms" here (oddly enough the RS Pres is black, but I don't think she was there that night). Needless to say she was furious and wanted nothing to do with any of them.

    My wife continued to go to church on Sundays, mostly just to support me and my calling as ward mission leader, but she complained about everything and was extremely negative. She gave me a hard time whenever I had meetings or went out with the missionaries. It got so bad and caused so much contention between us, that I eventually asked to be released. I told the Bishop why, and he spoke with my wife who told him exactly how she felt. He said he didn't blame her, and admitted that our ward was "very different" (he's only been here a year longer than us and is from out west). So I was released, and now we haven't been back to church in over 6 months, and we never made it to the temple. She has gone back to her "old ways" of drinking coffee every morning, and occasionally going out to bars or dance clubs with co-workers. In addition to her bad feelings toward the ward members, her best friend came out a year ago and announced he's gay (although he still occasionally attends church), and two of her closest friends from singles ward when she was baptized have recently "come out" and are no longer attending church (both RM's and one a BYU grad).

    I miss church, but to be honest, all the negativity from my wife has zapped any desire I have to go. If I want to go, I have to take my overly active 2-year old with me (because my wife wants to sleep in), and sleeping an extra hour is more appealing to me than sitting by myself in the hallway during sacrament and then listening to a bunch of crazy people spout off false doctrine in sunday school. My wife refuses to answer phone calls she receives from the RS Pres or her visiting teachers, and is convinced they're not calling because they care, but because they're "supposed to." Supposedly we have home teachers, but have never received a visit or phone call. Just last week we received the Ensign in the mail (we haven't subscribed for a year or more), and I thought it was a good idea that we could read it. Turns out it includes a few articles about helping less active members, so she's convinced it was sent to us by the ward for that reason, and wanted nothing to do with it.

    So I find myself at a crossroads, wondering what I should do. I want to be a good father and raise my son in the church, but with my wife being a thundercloud of negativity, I just don't see how that can be possible. I wish I had the spiritual zeal I once did, but it's been gone for quite some time. I can't remember the last time I prayed or read my scriptures, and to be honest I have no desire to do either.

    Sorry this is so long, and many thanks to those who've read. I'm not sure what advice I'm looking for, or if I just need to vent/get this off my chest. The only friend I have from church was recently excommunicated, doesn't believe in the church, and just goes to keep his wife happy. Needless to say I don't have too many "church friends" I can talk to about this.

    Here is what my wife said to me.

    When she discovered that I posted on the other board and bad mouthing the LDS Faith, she was furious (at the time, we were living together). She wanted to go back to church. Upon her discovery (because I had my laptop open) she read what I was posting. Essentially, she flat out told me that I could not love her if I could not respect her or her beliefs. I had to make a choice, either get out or start respecting her beliefs.

    I supported her going back to church. I did not want to go back to Church. It was not until we had some good solid home teachers that came over and we started actually going to church together. We ended up getting married. A month later, we found out she was pregnant and I was out of work. Both of us did our best to make everything work.

    Where are we at today? We both serve as Sunday School teachers, we both are in a good ward with good people, and we both are working on going to the temple to be sealed.

    There are similarities between our situations, the only difference is that I did not choose to abandon my wife.

    The only advice I can give you is to work with your Bishop. Wear out your knees in prayer. Delve deeper into the scriptures, pray for your wife daily. Start going back to Church and serve in whatever capacity you can serve in.

    The end result is this: If she chooses to come back to Church, it will be based upon her own desire and will. If she does not choose to come back to Church, it is based upon her own desire and will. We are not able to predict the future. We do know what we would like to have happen, but we are not living in a perfect world. From what it sounds like here is that she is not choosing you, but choosing a life that does not include you. That is my gut instinct. She may even be regretting the fact that you guys had moved closer to your parents. I can only speculate.

    The focus here is on you going back to Church and loving her the way our Heavenly Father loves her. Forgive her the way our loving Heavenly Father forgives her. Be there for her just as our Loving Heavenly Father is there for her. Invite her out to the activities. Find out who your hometeachers are. Maybe pray and see where Heavenly Father would like you at. Maybe it is time to think about moving into a different ward, or stake.

  20. Who all has a blog? I just started a new one here. I decided to give Wordpress a try even though blogspot is my comfort zone. :P

    I actually prefer Wordpress over blogspot because there is much more you can do and it is much more user friendly than blogspot. It does get some getting used to and tweaking. I have several blogs, just check out my signature lol.

  21. Okay, so I am having my fingers delicately dance with excitement over the keyboard. The past couple of days, I have been working on a new writing project that has compelled me back into deep study of the LDS Faith. This interest focuses on the beginning of Mormonism and the cultural context of Joseph Smith. Not an epic work, but a daunting task.

    After contemplating that I am about 3/4 of the way through with the first essay, I decided to come here and start a new thread. My happy fingers tap dance along they keys with such grace and fluidity that I am lost in thought.

    Upon completion, I click attach file. Never had to use it before and decided that I would like to this time (the work is almost 6,000 words in length at the moment). I then go to have the file attached (after uploading it) and I get a page that has the wonderful error message saying that I am not allowed to attach that kind of file. It is a word file, no virus or anything, just a file so others could download it, review it, and provide feedback on the file and then send it back to me.

    So, any way of bypassing this or do I have to have a special clearance to do this?

  22. After witnessing what happens with abuse situations in my ward, I believe firmly that bishops, EQP's, Relief Society presidents, etc. should not be called to deal with people's domestic problems. Long story, but that happened with a couple I know and it is a huge mess. Bishops are not law enforcement or professional counselors. I think the police should be called and give abusers a wake up call that there will be consequences for their actions. This couple in my ward kept calling ward members to come over and help them calm down. They should not be put in that position.

    However, if we as members of the ward know that a person is being abusive and they are called to hold a calling, we do have the opportunity to oppose the sustaining of that person. It is then that we will be asked why we oppose their calling and that is where we can voice our suspicions.

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