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Everything posted by Islander

  1. Unfortunately, facts are not in our favor. in practice LDS people are rather insular, withdrawn,, elitist and quite pharisaic in life style. The evidence is that in 5 years there has not been ONE baptism in my current ward. We are known for many things but not for being truly Christ-like in real life at a personal level. I was just reflecting a "testimony" by a member a month ago where went on to give thanks for "...being able to pay tithing, for fasting, for personal righteousness, for the holiness in his home..." Truly it sounded like the prayer in the temple court by the Pharisee in Luke 18:11. He left the pulpit pretty pleased with himself while completely oblivious 0ot what he had said. more importantly, what the Savior had said about the likes of him. Can you imagine of every family in the ward would pour itself out and truly loved one person and showed them the same level of care, attention, interest, love and affection they spend on themselves? If every family would bring JUST 1 person into the church in a year, the church would double in size. But that will never happen, based on what has happened in the last decade or so.
  2. And all renditions are based on available information. in the case of the Joseph Smith "translation" the rendition and narrative of the process is now known to be false as there were never plates present and Joseph relied on a stone in his hat where he placed his face in order to dictate. The curch has acknowledged that much. So, in general, renditions are rather a totally subjective and personal expression of events, people or places (when it comes to history) that often bares no resemblance to reality whatsoever.
  3. I agree with your position. I just tried to point out that these were not transient, recent converts.
  4. Recently, two families have left the church in my ward and withdrew their memberships. We were friend with one of them and just dismissing them as "loosing their testimony for lack of faith" or "they were not converted" ignores the deeper issues. These were solid, life long members of the church and esteemed brothers and sisters. We owe them time, attention and consideration. To do otherwise betrays our shallow friendship, apathy and total disregard for them. Half a dozen families have left since the publication of the Gospel Topic Essays by the church. Truth be told, there are a significant number of "historical issues" that have no plausible explanation and others where the church has either misrepresented the facts or the facts are not supported by evidence. I mean, for example, the fact that now we know that the Book of Abraham, as depicted in the POGP, is not a translation from the facsimile and bares absolutely no reference to what is reported in the text, was a blow to many. The fact that for 180 years the church depicted the translation process as Joseph running his finger over the plates and now the narrative changed to him looking into a stone in his hat and dictating from there cast a huge shadow over the truth claims of the church. We can not just write these families off. They made a decision after years of struggle and turmoil and decided that they could no longer believe given what they perceived as lies and misrepresentations. Just like the dear brother said to me with tears in his eyes: "...brother, what else is not true..." These are not fringe members, these are families with deep, multigenerational roots in the church that felt they could not remain given that they no longer believe the truth claims of the church.
  5. True. But I am more persuaded by the trials they faced without the benefit of the scriptures as we enjoy them today.
  6. Well, I have been to 28 countries and speak 4 languages, and can attest to that fact. You claim I am mistaken but offer no element to support your assertion.
  7. I agree with you. I see no reason to develop such material in order to accomplish what? The similarities between Christianity and Islam are limited to the naming of some biblical characters in the Koran. Their historical context and roles in the story line are COMPLETELY different and bare no relationship to Christianity whatsoever. Muslims are well aware of what "the people of the book" believe. After all, the Koran borrows heavily from the Bible and other literary sources. "Allah" is generic (the god), distant, impersonal, unknowable. He is the creator of all things but NOT our Father, neither the Father of Christ. Allah has no associations, relationships or love with or for anyone. He is arbitrary, allows for lying to deceive and defeat the enemy. At the end, a Muslim can never be sure if he/she will be saved given the variable and capricious nature of Allah. The most obvious difference is that Christians believe Jesus is God made man, but the Quran is so opposed to this belief that it condemns Jesus worshipers to Hell ([Qur’an] 5.72. Muslims do not recognize the Old or the New Testament. They judge the Bible muharraf, or “falsified.” So, from that standpoint, we are nothing but apostates with no other choice to repent and convert to Islam, short of that we are fair game and marked for death. Do not be deceived by the fact that the law deters them, especially in the West, from enforcing Shariah. In the Middle East that would be our fate. I fail to see the aim of the pamphlet other than political. The BoM has been available in Arabic since at least 1990. I saw a copy in Egypt in 1998 printed in SLC and dated 1995.
  8. The Savior commanded us: "...do not worry..." Trials are custom-made for us and an opportunity to test our faith, helps us draw near to our Heavenly Father, help us focus on what is important and relevant. To be content is the outcome of spiritual maturity and the evidence of the strength of our faith. In Isaiah 43:1-2 we read: "But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." We WILL cross life's rivers and endure personal fires. But the Lord promises that He will be with us. If we believe His promises and trust in His strength He will see us through. Why worry or despair? No reason to be overwhelmed by grief or sorrow and let the situation rob us of our joy. If we REALLY trust in the Lord, there is no reason to worry or fear. We face our trials like James says: "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (trials); Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." James 1:2-4 The idea of a pleasurable existence, the pursue of happiness, comfort, leisure, safety and financial security have absolutely no relationship with the Gospel of Christ. It is a pure Western concept magnified exponentially by the United States. But is has no parallel anywhere else. Unfortunately, it has infected the Church. So, people are devastated when adversity strikes and they face a headwind for a while. However, the Savior warned that "in this life you will have tribulation..." How we handle it is the true measure of our faith and spiritual fortitude.
  9. Well, the problem with BY is that nobody knows when he was just talking or when uttering the word of God. Overall, that is a very low view of scripture. Because then there is absolutely no certainty about who is actually talking, thus one can never be certain of anything when it comes to the scriptures, from that perspective. There are many things said in those early days of the church that today most would not repeat.
  10. The true heroes of the faith ARE in the pages of scripture. We are mere fallen, mortal humans.
  11. No, it is not just you. I posted recently about how insular and irrelevant the Church is becoming in the community, disengaged and even apathetic to what is happening around us. I got 20 different responses but most could be summarized as rationalizations and justifications for the current conditions of the congregations. In my field of professional endeavor failure is the norm. But iterative failure is the fastest way to success. Every failed attempt is an opportunity for tremendous learning, insights and awareness. However, any criticism, even in a constructive spirit is quickly regarded as apostasy, when it comes to the Church. I shared with a friend that in my estimation, most talks this day, at every level, are nothing but either self-aggrandizing storytelling or just commentary on commentary. The essence of the Gospel is not being preach any more. A friend I took to Church before Christmas commented on the fact that "except a few verses from your book, the rest were just personal anecdotes..." Not much I could say since that was a pretty fair assessment. I suggest there is fear and inertia at play. The sad part is that it tends to infect the whole church even though the leadership is reacting to what what is happening only in America. We can avoid the reproach and even the wrath of men but keeping quiet. I wonder if people forgot the words of the Savior when He said: "And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple...So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." The price of true discipleship is very high. For some too high, it seems.
  12. I disagree. In times of crisis what you needs are hands and boots on the scene in order to move the resources on the ground and get them to the people in need. Long term is possible that checks my help but you need a whole bureaucracy to turn a check into goods and services
  13. You suspicions are unfounded. I asked the Elders and they had no idea about any relief related activity. My post is based on first hand knowledge of the apathy and lack of social engagement of this ward. When you have a ward with zero convert baptism in 5 years you are in the presence of a dead vine. This is the second ward in 10 years where I encounter a similar situation. It is just to easy to rationalize, to assume or attempt to justify. My question is, should you stand before the all-searching eye of the Almighty God to account for your lack of response when suffering and need abounded; will yout ell Him that you were "tired", "burned out" or short on time? Do you suppose that would fly or carry any weight?
  14. I am not interested in the "corporate effort". Christ never spoke about that. I am interest in the personal effort. The sacrifice that costs US time, energy, money, effort, the tangible hand that touches the lives of others though which people can see the love of Christ flowing through us. Lots of people donate lots of money for the wrong reasons but will never lift a finger to go and do the work. In the United States is the most common form of "help". Write a check and forget about it.
  15. The local missionaries were not aware of any effort being organized. I asked.
  16. Since last week, we have experienced fires in the community that destroyed 100+ homes and displaced almost 6000 people. A neighbor of ours that is active in his local church called me two days ago to see if we had a couple of blankets to spare to donate. They have opened several churches around the communities to house temporarily those left homeless by the fire as it burned its way through the foothills development and those evacuated because of danger. We were more than happy to help. We went yesterday and helped in the kitchen there to prep meals for about 150 people that are staying in that particular church building. Today in Sacrament, not a peep about the issues affecting the community. In my view, more evidence of how disconnected, aloof and indifferent most (individual) members of our church are to what happens around them. I have argued before rather unsuccessfully, that "invisible, private faith" is no faith at all. If the work of the Spirit is not visible in terms of tangible "fruit", there is no Spirit at work in that person, regardless of whatever else the person may claim or adhere to in general. A scripture comes to mind: "And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. " James 2:16-17
  17. The phrase "only begotten" appears in John 3:16, for example. It is a fairly straight translation from the Greek original that implies the "only one. unique, unequal, brought forth by the Father Himself". The fact that Begotten has fallen in disuse in modern English should not be a reason for confusion. The significance was certainly not lost to the 1st century Christians. Jesus was the ONLY Son brought forth by the hand of God, thru the Spirit into humanity (race) and there is, nor will ever be another. Except the heresies of old across history, this is a clear concept in orthodox Christianity and not unique at all.
  18. I suggest that the most pressing issues relate to the shrinking American church. In 50 years the American church will be less tan a 1/3 of the total worldwide membership. But even in Latin America growth is slowing significantly or even halting . Some 15 years ago I served in the Bishopric at a ward in Mexico City that doubled and split in 38 months. Today, the original ward is about 20% smaller than it was. With missionary work reduced to, more or less, a retention tool, i don't think we are competing with any body at this stage.
  19. The problem is and has always been apathy. Lack of caring and disregard for the lives and needs of other. You can not institute a program that will provide what is missing. What I see is that whatever little ministering is being done is done out of "duty" rather than love.
  20. When it comes to the word of God there is no room for speculation. It is rather dangerous, if history is to be taken into account.
  21. You are simply shooting" beyond the mark". You have put forth an idea. Granted. But such idea has no biblical or historical support. The Greek manuscripts are there. There are bible commentaries on the passage and none posit your interpretation as one even entertained by anyone across history. The Greek construction is not complicated. The issue is that in the 21st century, especially in America, we have a very poor handle on the language and, to make matter worse, we have deconstructed the language beyond recognition. The deficit exists to the point that few can actually read a sentence in English and render a proper interpretation of it. It is obvious you are an advocate of female ecclesiastical leadership. But, again, the scriptures, history and revelation all point to the opposite side of the spectrum. The rest, you must admit, is just speculation.
  22. You are reading more than there is in the scripture. No bible commentary in the last 1500 years has interpreted that passage the way you do. What we think is irrelevant when it comes to the word of God and the work of God. We can speculate all we want but that's all there is; speculation.
  23. It is only in the 18th century with the appearance of "charismatic" women that the issue of women in authority has been rekindled. The admonition of Paul in 1 Tim. 2:11-12 is clear although politically not very correct in the 21st century. "...let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence..." Regardless of how we may particularly feel on the subject, God did not call women to the Levitical priesthood or the Apostleship later when Christ walked on the earth. Neither did the church of Rome when they reinvented their "priesthood" or subsequently in history. The phrase has been traditionally understood that among the Apostles, this person is held in great standing, highly esteemed. Nothing more. We must be careful to try and force our own believe, desires and novel "interpretation" onto the text. It is just not there. Although the role of women in the curch is greatly valued and important, the priesthood is not one the Lord has called the sisters to in history.
  24. I have tried to explain this elsewhere in the forum before. This is rather a recurrent theme. As an illustration, let's say that when we look at sothing, you see "red" and I see "yellow" and someone else see "purple". Soon, it no longer matters what color it is and there is no longer any certainty as to what the actual truth is. The word of God as revealed to the writers of scripture was given to a specific people, at a specific time and for a specific purpose. It is certainly for our benefit, instruction, guidance, correction and counsel but it was NOT given to us. That is the reason why there are thousands of denominations. Everybody interprets the scripture however they want and feel, some to very scary extremes. We can't "spiritualize" scripture to mean whatever we want, think or feel it means. We can draw principles from it and apply it to our particular life circumstances which is different from interpretation. In Mosiah 12, the priests of Noah quiz Abinadi about the words of Isaiah. The prophets rips them to shreds and tells them that they do not know the scriptures, in so many words, he tells them that they either have not read them or if they have, they DO NOT UNDERSTAND them. Israel of old did precisely that. They created a mountain of tradition to get around the actual meaning of the law of God. The rabbinic traditions were nothing but an attempt to reinterpret God's law so they could "appear righteous" outwardly. The Savior brings all that pretentious self righteousness crashing down when He said "you have heard...(traditions, misinterpretations, errors)...".but I say" and there comes the truth, the REAL meaning of the teaching and the principle built into the word of God as He intended. The admonition about adultery in the Ten Commandments, in the Hebrew reates to wrongful desires or appetites. Therefore when the Savior arrives in the scene, He brings the TRUE meaning and interpretation of the commandment to bear. Looking at a woman's body, ever so briefly, is to lust after her and thus committing adultery in our "heart" (mind). Most times the scriptures are quite literal and its meaning plain and transparent. At others, it is symbolic, prophetic allegoric, etc. Writers use a variety of literary devices to communicate with the intended audience of their time. The Lord sent prophets to Israel, and to His chosen people. Not to China or Babylon. Now, they could have benefited from the word of God, and at times they did (like Nineveh). but His "target audience" was Israel. In sum, this is why we have "instruction manuals" to teach every class in the church. So that teachers can bring a very specific message and meaning to the students. Again, interpretation (the actual meaning, significance, principle and precept) is different from application which relates to: "how am I going to cope with the issue facing me based on what God has ALREADY spoken? What do I know about His character and attributes as well as what He has commanded us to do ALWAYS? Our faith and trust in Him is based on what He has revealed about Himself in the pages of scripture and through the voice of His prophets. So His message is not subject to time and age, feelings or individual understanding. It is timeless and precise.
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