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sennahoj

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Hello! I'm new here!

A little introduction then, eh?

My name's Johannes.

I am not a believer. I think so at least. I am not registered a member of any religious organization at all. Again, at least I think so.

I grew up in a protestant home and a protestant congregation.

I live in Scandinavia. Growing up I had a strong faith in God, but today it's all gone away (I think!).

But then one day something interesting happened. Going on my usual youtube hunt for cool music, I stumbled on the choir. I was astonished, it was all so beautiful. But who were these singers? What were they singing?

Without checking any other sites, I just listened to much of the choir's music. Some songs were secular (I don't really get the "AMERICA!!!!"-ness of you lot, but hey, I'll try to keep an open mind :P), others were traditional hymns I had heard and sung growing up. But uniquely, some were also from the LDS movement itself. And they touched me, the words that were sung in them really touched me.

So I decided I'ddo some research. I read as much as I could about the movement, its history and teachings, but I wasn't so impressed.It just seemed very strange to me. Echoing in my head was How could anyone actually believe that?

Checking out the LDS site, I found that there was a chat there withh a missionary. I chatted with him, a very dull guy. All he did was to tell me to pray. Finding him very untalkative, I still decided, once I closed the chat window, to pray. And I did so.

Nothing "happened" more than I do remember making a note of the prayer in my diary. It was the first time for years I actually prayed (even if was halfheartedly).

MOVING ON! One day I had errands downtown. I went to the library to borrow some books, I think. And I saw two missionaries from the LDS church sit by a few computers writing stuff. Emails I think. Never mind!

Then I did something veeeery "un-me". I approached the missionaries, heh (I still don't know why!), and said hello. They looked shocked, pale, as if they'd seen a ghost.

"Uh, you guys from the Mormon church?" I stuttered. Stupid question. It was all so apparent. They even had nametags with the church's name on them. Never mind, they responded in the affirmative.

"Could we, like, uh, meet up? I'd really like to talk."

We had arranged to meet up at the local LDS church in town the day after. I was nervous. But these guys were really friendly, all smiling and all that, and we sat on the lawn behind the church. It was in the middle of August at was really hot.

We met several times after that. They did ask me if I wanted to get baptized. I told them I wasn't ready.Because I didn't believe yet. I mean, I understood, but there was nothing telling me that this wasn't just fiction. We continued our lessons and they invited me to church.

I didn't dare go to church service until just before Christmas that year (2009). But it was the great. Not the srvice itself (it was very ritualistic, it felt alien to me), but the fact that everyone were so warm, kind and welcoming. I spoke to almost everyone of that Sunday's congregation. It all ended with some traditional Christmas drinks and gingerbread.

I never went again for a service. "My" missionaries would leave and new ones would come. I didn't really connect as well withthem as I had with the first pair. Regardless, my health sucked! I went in to hospital several times in 2010 and alrgely lost contact with the church itself. 2011 is almost over, too...

I thought this was just a strange phase in my life. But then somehow the other day I began thinking of those two missionaries I met in AUgust 2009, what they told me, and everything... And I haven't been able to get those thoughts out of my head. Something wthin me wants to say something.

So I have a few questions to you people, I hope you could answer :)

Is it OK if I'm here and comment on stuff from my perspective? And ask stupid questions on things whose answers you take for granted?

Because, even though I don't believe, the message had an impact on me. The people I met had an impact on me. I am fascinated, intrigued...

Johannes.

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Feel free, questions are awesome, that they are! =D

And, I must say this... sometimes the 'stupid' questions, are actually the most brilliant and beautiful ones... don't feel worried about asking them... because they are part of what makes things special =).

I hope you do enjoy your stay here, that I do... perhaps you will find you like it here too =).

Best of Wishes,

TAO

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Hello sennahoj...

Welcome... feel free to ask your questions... and please don't feel they are "stupid." We have great patience with those who are truly interested and seeking information and answers.

Again, welcome... I think you'll like it here... lots of good people.

from the beautiful central Oregon coast... GG

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Aw, thanks everyone!

Garden girl: Oregon! Whoa, I've never been that far away. The furthest I've been from the Scandinavian peninsula must have been, uh, Kentucky! I've only been out of Europe twice. Once to the "States" and once to Morocco.

Anyway!

Here's Q number 1!

Why are there so many Mormon groups claiming to be the true church? I mean, how would I know which one is true?

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Aw, thanks everyone!

Garden girl: Oregon! Whoa, I've never been that far away. The furthest I've been from the Scandinavian peninsula must have been, uh, Kentucky! I've only been out of Europe twice. Once to the "States" and once to Morocco.

Anyway!

Here's Q number 1!

Why are there so many Mormon groups claiming to be the true church? I mean, how would I know which one is true?

Well, it's because people have different opinions on the issue. There has been fragmentation a few times in the past over certain issues (prophets and polygamy were the two main issues), and so, different churches formed. The largest one, is the one based in Utah... and it's currently 3rd largest denomination, I believe? Although there are people who debate that number based on activity numbers and whatnot. In any case, there are also some smaller ones, including the polygamous sect which gets some news coverage. However, you will find that most Mormons are part of the main one... actually, I haven't met any member of the smaller ones in person, as far as I know. In any case, one thing to keep in mind about our churches (for the main group... I don't know about the smaller ones) is that they are all connected and teach the same thing at the same time - that is you could go to another country and they would be teaching the same lesson that same Sunday. So the main group is very connected, so to say. I'm a member of this group, of course (but I think you already guessed that) =).

The way you know the true church out of any of the churches is by praying about it to God. You trust in the Holy Spirit to guide you. After all, it would be difficult to determine which church to follow out of the thousands out there with so many people saying so many different things. And so, the best thing to do is to ask God yourself, because you know that you will get an answer and that you are responsible for acting on it as God accords. This is one of the great things about the church, imo, is that not only do you get prophetic revelation, but you also get personal revelation from God to help you personally. Which is a really great blessing. =)

Best of Wishes, and I hope this helps,

TAO

Edited by TAO
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Hello sennahoj...

In the early days of the Church there were several leaders who disagreed with the prophet Joseph in some leadership and doctrinal matters... they broke away from the main Church body and started their own branch... When the main body of the Church moved westward to the Utah territory under the leadership of Brigham Young, some members (including some that didn't accept Brigham as the one to lead the Church after Joseph's death) remained in Nauvoo and formed their own branch. The "Utah saints" or main body of the Church was the only one considered to be the legitimate Church, and is considered so today. The other branches profess to be "Mormon" (including the fundamentalist LDS church that is so prominent in the news because of their practicing polygamy... which the main body has not practiced since 1890) but are not viewed as being the Church.

GG

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Thanks to both Garden Girl and TAO! :)

The things you two said generally corresponded with how I thought it'd been.

So I should pray about the matter and read the Scriptures.

So far so good.

But! All of these different groups have the same basic scriptures. They both say the same thing on the matter: "Read the Scriptures and pray."

That's what's confusing me. They all have members who believe they belong to the real church. They all have members to say that "their" prophet's the real one. Deep conviction, religious conviction...

I guess we can't reach any real answer about this, hehe, so I'll move on...

I read LDS literature, the NT and OT and the specific LDS Scriptures. They all tell me to turn to God in prayer to receive answers.

The problem is... complicated.

As I don't believe (I just can't... yet) I have no idea what the concept of "God" is, so how then can I pray to God? I try to read, but my mind won't grasp what God is.

I can't say I believe in God. In the same way I can't say I don't believe in God. Because... I have lost all track of what God actually is. The word "deity" doesn't say anything to me. Neither do words such as "worship", "divine", "holy", "sacred". They just don't mean anything to me.

Sooooo. I'm kinda lost in that area.

Cheers!

Johannes.

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The problem is... complicated.

As I don't believe (I just can't... yet) I have no idea what the concept of "God" is, so how then can I pray to God? I try to read, but my mind won't grasp what God is.

I can't say I believe in God. In the same way I can't say I don't believe in God. Because... I have lost all track of what God actually is. The word "deity" doesn't say anything to me. Neither do words such as "worship", "divine", "holy", "sacred". They just don't mean anything to me.

Do you have any specific questions about God?

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Thanks to both Garden Girl and TAO! :)

The things you two said generally corresponded with how I thought it'd been.

So I should pray about the matter and read the Scriptures.

So far so good.

But! All of these different groups have the same basic scriptures. They both say the same thing on the matter: "Read the Scriptures and pray."

That's what's confusing me. They all have members who believe they belong to the real church. They all have members to say that "their" prophet's the real one. Deep conviction, religious conviction...

Nah, this is why you pray for your own witness. You ask God which one to join. The reason we ask you to read the scriptures is to get you attuned to the spirit. The reason we ask you to pray is to get you attuned to God. And the reason we ask you to ask... is to that way, you know, yourself, that you have the right answer. As you said, they all believe they are true, but you must ask God, which one of them is true yourself. You can't take it simply because other people say it. You must find the truth on your own by asking God yourself.

I guess we can't reach any real answer about this, hehe, so I'll move on...

I read LDS literature, the NT and OT and the specific LDS Scriptures. They all tell me to turn to God in prayer to receive answers.

The problem is... complicated.

As I don't believe (I just can't... yet) I have no idea what the concept of "God" is, so how then can I pray to God? I try to read, but my mind won't grasp what God is.

Hehe... I had this same problem. I didn't know who or what I was asking. I knew he was a man... that much I could tell from the scriptures... but I didn't know all too much about him... I knew people told me characteristics he had... but I wanted to know myself. So I asked without knowing quite what I could expect. And I developed a relationship with God through prayer. And through prayer, I got to know him a ton better than I used to... and now, I know what he is... he isn't as vague to me as he was in the beginning =).

As for the spirit... you will know it when it occurs. It is different for different people... sometimes it is a sweet peace where you know things will be alright. Other time it is a roiling sensation that lets you know the truth. Other times it is much more controlled but fulfilling. You'll have to check out what it is for you, but I assure you, you will know what it is when it happens.

I can't say I believe in God. In the same way I can't say I don't believe in God. Because... I have lost all track of what God actually is. The word "deity" doesn't say anything to me. Neither do words such as "worship", "divine", "holy", "sacred". They just don't mean anything to me.

Hmmm... what about this... God... is someone who won't give up on you... who will love you, with all his heart... even when nobody else here on Earth does.

That is what he is for me. He is my foundation... that keeps me from collapsing into nothingness.

To me, God's character is the most important part of him... and he has a most wonderful character, godly and good.

Sooooo. I'm kinda lost in that area.

Cheers!

Johannes.

No worries!

Hope this helps,

TAO =)

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Hello Johannes...

It's 9:45 a.m. here on the west coast of the U S of A... a beautiful sunny fall morning.

I would like to suggest that if you have an LDS branch near you, that you might ask to talk to either the missionaries or someone who can explain our belief in what God is... and point you to scriptures, for instance...

Acts 17:28 and 29 tells us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Forasmuch then as we are the offsping of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.

Hebrews 12:9 tells us: Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subject unto the Father of spirits, and live?

Biblical scripture after scripture refers to our "Father" in heaven... LDS do indeed believe that we are the spirit children of God... that he is our Heavenly Father... that he knows and loves us... that he hears and answers our prayers... that he is mindful of us...

These are concepts that are not easily conveyed over a message board except to refer to various scriptures, etc. It would really help you, as long as you are asking questions on this LDS discussion board, if you could sit and talk with someone from your local branch or ward. I think you would find things easier to understand as far as our point of view.

But don't hesitate to continue to ask questions here... we can at least provide some answers or point you to scripture, etc.

Good luck...

GG

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To Garden Girl and TAO, many thanks! :)

From these scriptures, I get the impression that God is our creator and maker, a father if you will. When praying, Jesus lifted his head to the skies and said "Abba!" or "Father!" And we too should follow that example (he is our father) as evidenced in the model prayer (Our father, who art in heaven...).

Still this doesn't really answer my underlining question. While I can understand that this is what is to believed in an LDS setting, I just can't grasp it myself. Right now, it's not much of a problem. I keep thinking if I just study enough, it will all be enlightened to me one day... I hope I have the right mindset here.

The problem is,to know that God is true or that God is existent, we have to trust in God through prayer. But how can I address a prayer to something I cannot recognize? It's almost as if I call on the Prime Minister of Sweden here in my room and expect him to answer me why the taxes on pensions aren't lowered, while they are for wages... Heh.

As I grew up, my parents took me to this free-church (non-state church) in town. I didn't really like it.Although I believed in the Bible stories and in so, I just couldn't for my life enjoy the eucharist (do you even use that word?). I felt it was... I dunno... not wrong, but unfitting or not-for-me or even "off-bounds". It's difficult to explain it... I was young (maybe eight?) and had formed my own opinion on the rites of the church.

Even in the LDS church, I was offered bread and water, but I declined it. My childhood ghosts?

I dunno... I did pray as a kid. I remember the first spontaneous prayer I had (I think). We were in the ice-rink skating. I was really bad at this, skating you know, and had to use aids. But I reeeally wanted to cross the rink without using the aid or falling. "Good God", I prayed, "please let me be able to fix this crossing the rink".

Everynight until I was 11 or 12, my mother always prayed with me the traditional children's prayer.

Gud som haver barnen kär -

se till mig som liten är!

Vart jag mig i världen vänder

står min lycka i Guds händer.

Lyckan kommer, lyckan går:

Du förbliver fader vår.

In English a prosaic translation would be:

"God, keeping all children dear, see to me who's small. Wherever I wander in the world, my happiness (or luck) is in God's hands. Happiness comes, happiness goes, but you remain our father."

I did pray, and I did receive comfort for it.

But now... it's different. I can't pray. I have tried. It's not that it's difficult to formulate prayers, to define them, but the difficulty lies in having your heart express the words (or feelings). Whenever I pray, or join in prayer, it feels empty-hearted. In order to reach God, I would need to get this empty-heartedness out of my way.

Garden Girl, you asked me whether I could contact a ward for answering my questions. I could do that. Thanks for suggesting it. I checked the LDS site here in Sweden and there appears to be an LDS congregation some thirty kilometres from here. The problem would be how to get there, haha. Maybe I could just ring someone there? Or... I dunno. I'm completely lost.

Something that really confuses me with 'Mormonism' (if you pardon me for using that term!) is the nature of God. When I grew up, I thought that Jesus was one person in the trinitarian God ("God the Son") together with "God the Father" and "God the Holy Spirit". As I was taught, God was non-corporal, that is, he/she/it (yes, for us God was neither male nor female) lacked a body. Now, as I read and study more in the LDS-held belief, I discover more and more that God has a physical body (he even has a wife...!). This is rather strange to me. Not starnge as in "this is ridiculous", but more as in "this is a concept that I never have considered". Indeed, even considering such a thought in my younger days would constitute blasphemy and heresy. Denying the trinity was denying the faith.

Hmm... I'll stop here for now, haha. I'm getting tired. It's 21:30 and I really haven'thad anything "foodish" to eat today. Only some chocolate biscuits and a marzipan-cream-berry cake (yum!). I'll make myself something to eat, and then I'll be back.

I really do appreciate your help and assistance in this. I am very grateful.

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To Garden Girl and TAO, many thanks! :)

Hmm... I'll stop here for now, haha. I'm getting tired. It's 21:30 and I really haven'thad anything "foodish" to eat today. Only some chocolate biscuits and a marzipan-cream-berry cake (yum!). I'll make myself something to eat, and then I'll be back.

My, does that sound delicious!! Chocolate biscuits!! Marzipan cream berry cake!!! Yikes!

I love your openness of inquiry... Scriptures tell us that man is created in God's image, Christ taught that if we had seen him, we had seen the Father... and after Christ's resurrection he appeared to his apostles and told them to feel his hands and feet and observe his wounds of being crucified... as the Apostle Stephen was being stoned (Acts 7:55-56) he looked up into heaven: "And being filled with the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God."

In Hebrews 1:1-3 we are told that the Son is in the express image of the Father: "God, who at sundry times and divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir to all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high..."

These scriptures give us LDS insight into the nature and person of God and thus formulate, in addition to modern revelation, our concept of God...

I believe that the more you study the scriptures the more you will begin to understand God...

GG

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To Garden Girl and TAO, many thanks! :)

No problemo, answering questions is fun =D.

From these scriptures, I get the impression that God is our creator and maker, a father if you will. When praying, Jesus lifted his head to the skies and said "Abba!" or "Father!" And we too should follow that example (he is our father) as evidenced in the model prayer (Our father, who art in heaven...).

Still this doesn't really answer my underlining question. While I can understand that this is what is to believed in an LDS setting, I just can't grasp it myself. Right now, it's not much of a problem. I keep thinking if I just study enough, it will all be enlightened to me one day... I hope I have the right mindset here.

The problem is,to know that God is true or that God is existent, we have to trust in God through prayer. But how can I address a prayer to something I cannot recognize? It's almost as if I call on the Prime Minister of Sweden here in my room and expect him to answer me why the taxes on pensions aren't lowered, while they are for wages... Heh.

As I grew up, my parents took me to this free-church (non-state church) in town. I didn't really like it.Although I believed in the Bible stories and in so, I just couldn't for my life enjoy the eucharist (do you even use that word?). I felt it was... I dunno... not wrong, but unfitting or not-for-me or even "off-bounds". It's difficult to explain it... I was young (maybe eight?) and had formed my own opinion on the rites of the church.

Even in the LDS church, I was offered bread and water, but I declined it. My childhood ghosts?

I dunno... I did pray as a kid. I remember the first spontaneous prayer I had (I think). We were in the ice-rink skating. I was really bad at this, skating you know, and had to use aids. But I reeeally wanted to cross the rink without using the aid or falling. "Good God", I prayed, "please let me be able to fix this crossing the rink".

Everynight until I was 11 or 12, my mother always prayed with me the traditional children's prayer.

Gud som haver barnen kär -

se till mig som liten är!

Vart jag mig i världen vänder

står min lycka i Guds händer.

Lyckan kommer, lyckan går:

Du förbliver fader vår.

In English a prosaic translation would be:

"God, keeping all children dear, see to me who's small. Wherever I wander in the world, my happiness (or luck) is in God's hands. Happiness comes, happiness goes, but you remain our father."

I did pray, and I did receive comfort for it.

But now... it's different. I can't pray. I have tried. It's not that it's difficult to formulate prayers, to define them, but the difficulty lies in having your heart express the words (or feelings). Whenever I pray, or join in prayer, it feels empty-hearted. In order to reach God, I would need to get this empty-heartedness out of my way.

Ah, okay. Yeah... I understand your feeling now. That is... well... I call it a 'dampener' when I get it... for some reason, we just feel less close to the spirit... it feels far off in the distance for some weird reason. Prayer seems much more difficult, and it is becomes hard to hear the response.

There are several solutions I have found. My first suggestion is to listen to some spiritual music. They put me in a better mood, and tend to lift the dampener a bit. Some songs I really like are here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgfUHIRCNlE&feature=player_embedded

This helps me... for some reason, music reaches me much better than other things do... music makes me think in the mode I want to. I don't know if you will like those (they might not be your style), but hopefully they help.

The second thing I like to do is to remember a moment where I knew God was there. Where I knew he was watching me. And I know he is watching me now, from my memories... it is like looking at my memory of talking to him opens up a break or portal in the dampener, and then suddenly, he is right here, watching me... and I know he loves me. So in a sense, I use my memories to help myself be close to him in the present.

The third thign I like to do (and the one to use if you don't have a memory) is to look in the scriptures about his personality. I know Heavenly Father only actually speaks in the scriptures to introduce his son ("This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased"), but we can see his personality through his son, Jesus Christ, who does the Father's will. So some of my favorite chapters to read are 3rd Nephi 11, 3rd Nephi 17, and Ether 12 (definately read the second and third one, they are some of the best chapters, in my opinion). They all emphasize different bits of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ's personalities... which I love. For me, they have to have character; they have to be real people... so knowing their personalities helps me visualize and believe they are real. Nah, I don't see them actually... but I gain a sense that they are there.

The fourth and last thing you can do to help break this barrier, is of coures, to pray through it, with all your heart. This helps as well... though it takes much more time... and earnestness in order to do. You have to really humble yourself before the Lord in order to be able to feel him... but when you do... you will find praying is a natural and easy thing. You see... Father already knows what you are going to say... but by praying... you can feel what he would say to respond to you. And by struggling with words, you become humber, meek, submissive, full of grace, and true... you become his.... his child. And he will help you. It is strange, knowing what he wants you to do without actually hearing or seeing anything... but it happens like that =).

Well... I really hope one of these will help you, that I do =). I can't tell... different things work for different people... but I do hope they do =D.

Garden Girl, you asked me whether I could contact a ward for answering my questions. I could do that. Thanks for suggesting it. I checked the LDS site here in Sweden and there appears to be an LDS congregation some thirty kilometres from here. The problem would be how to get there, haha. Maybe I could just ring someone there? Or... I dunno. I'm completely lost.

Go to this map tool, search up your address, and it should link you up to the closest ward (it'll show up in a small pop-up in the upper right of the map probably). There should also be a contact number underneath it along with the time in which it meets every Sunday =). [ http://lds.org/maps/...5234375&z=2&t=3 ]

Something that really confuses me with 'Mormonism' (if you pardon me for using that term!) is the nature of God. When I grew up, I thought that Jesus was one person in the trinitarian God ("God the Son") together with "God the Father" and "God the Holy Spirit". As I was taught, God was non-corporal, that is, he/she/it (yes, for us God was neither male nor female) lacked a body. Now, as I read and study more in the LDS-held belief, I discover more and more that God has a physical body (he even has a wife...!). This is rather strange to me. Not starnge as in "this is ridiculous", but more as in "this is a concept that I never have considered". Indeed, even considering such a thought in my younger days would constitute blasphemy and heresy. Denying the trinity was denying the faith.

Hehe... are you sure you haven't researched us before ;) . Just kidding.

Yes, this is true... we don't view things the same way as the trinity... actually... it is a complex issue. The historical trinity is a bit different than the trinity taught at some churches, you see. The historical trinity says they are 'one substance'... which is a tiny bit vague... and so we may or may not fit under that. What is taught at many churches though is that they are more than one substance... that they are one person... which I think yah already know looking from what you described in your post =). As you said, we think of it a tiny bit differently... to us... there is God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. God the Father and Jesus Christ both have their own bodies and souls. And, they are one in purpose, rather than being one in body, or one in substance. So in other words... they have the same goals... and Jesus Christ is subjected to Heavenly Father... as of such, Jesus does God's will.

As for him having a wife... yes, it is probably true. We just don't know all that much about her. =). I am sure God did that for a reason though... and seeing how people abuse his name these days... yeah.

Hmm... I'll stop here for now, haha. I'm getting tired. It's 21:30 and I really haven'thad anything "foodish" to eat today. Only some chocolate biscuits and a marzipan-cream-berry cake (yum!). I'll make myself something to eat, and then I'll be back.

I haven't heard of that, but I'm sure it tastes great!

....

*sneaks hand over to grab a piece*

*gets thwacked*

[Tao's Mother] NO TAO!

*sniffles and gives big wide cat eyes*

...

Sorry, I love a tiny bit of role-play =).

I really do appreciate your help and assistance in this. I am very grateful.

No prob =). Keep the questions coming if you need more answered, and I hope this is helping you too =D.

-Best WIshes,

TAO

Edited by TAO
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Hello friends, I'm back! It's been a few busy days... Heh :)

I took your advice, TAO, to listen to music that speaks of God. Or, uh, maybe I should say "sings of God"! Haha.

Generally, much of the songs you directed me to didn't speak much to me... Sorry :( Maybe it's because I've never heard them before and they have no relationship with me. But I did listen to others! I listened to some LDS songs that I've come across the past months. ANd then some traditional Scandinavian ones. One Norwegian hymn I really like and it always moves me... It's in a very rare dialectal version of Norwegian, so I don't understand all of it, but somehow it's just amazing. Eg veit i himmerik ei borg is what it's called (lit. I know in heaven-realm a fortress/city).

Beginning with the words (and I translate roughly):

I know there's in heavenly kingdom a fortress (could also mean "city")

it shines like the clear sun

there are neither sin nor sorrow

no cries nor tears

But one verse that really helped me was the verse where where the singer ("I") declares that when the world passes away, "I" will stand before God and he's a friend that never lets you down. Uh, it sounds a lot better in the original than in English :)

Then I found at my mum's aunt an old hymn book, and as I read the lyrics of the hymns I was happy. Two hymns especially spoke to me. One was Anders Frostenson's Guds kärlek är som sanden och som gräset. I've done some googling and found the English translation (not literal, but still), I'd like to share it with you, translated by Fred Kaan:

Your love, O God is broad like beach and meadow,

wide as the wind, and an eternal home.

You leave us free to seek you or reject you,

you give us room to answer 'yes' or 'no'.

The love of God is broad like beach and meadow,

wide as the wind, and an eternal home.

We long for freedom where our truest being

is given hope and courage to unfold.

We seek in freedom space and scope for dreaming,

and look for ground where trees and plants can grow.

The love of God is broad like beach and meadow,

Wide as the wind, and an eternal home.

But there are walls that keep us all divided;

We fence each other in with hate and war.

Fear is the bricks-and-mortar of our prison,

Our pride of self the prison coat we wear.

The love of God is broad like beach and meadow,

Wide as the wind, and an eternal home.

We long for freedom where our truest being

Is given hope and courage to unfold.

We seek in freedom space and scope for dreaming,

And look for ground where trees and plants may grow.

The love of God is broad like beach and meadow,

Wide as the wind, and an eternal home.

And lastly, Tomas Boström's Trosbekännelsen ("The Credo"). It's first verse goes:

Jag tror på en Gud, en enda,

en konstnär som målar liv.

Så tar han ett ord och formar

en evighet inuti.

Or in English:

I believe in a God, one alone,

an artist who paints lives.

Then he takes a word and forms

an eternity within.

They've really helped!

Thanks to you and Garden Girl!

I will now try and get in contact with representatives of the church here in the province, but it's kinda nervous. I don't really like speaking to strangers or going to new contexts. It's creepy, and I don't know how the people will be... Will they look down on me?

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I will now try and get in contact with representatives of the church here in the province, but it's kinda nervous. I don't really like speaking to strangers or going to new contexts. It's creepy, and I don't know how the people will be... Will they look down on me?

Absolutely not. A Latter-day Saint would never look down on someone who is trying to learn more about the Church. They will be very excited to speak with you. :)

Edited by altersteve
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I hope you'll be able to find something nearby... keep us posted on how you do... and you shouldn't be afraid. They will welcome you warmly.

In the meantime, I hope you'll continue to read and post here...

GG

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Hello friends, I'm back! It's been a few busy days... Heh :)

I took your advice, TAO, to listen to music that speaks of God. Or, uh, maybe I should say "sings of God"! Haha.

Generally, much of the songs you directed me to didn't speak much to me... Sorry :sad: Maybe it's because I've never heard them before and they have no relationship with me. But I did listen to others! I listened to some LDS songs that I've come across the past months. ANd then some traditional Scandinavian ones. One Norwegian hymn I really like and it always moves me... It's in a very rare dialectal version of Norwegian, so I don't understand all of it, but somehow it's just amazing. Eg veit i himmerik ei borg is what it's called (lit. I know in heaven-realm a fortress/city).

Nah, don't worry about it, we all have different musical tastes, and mine are a bit different than most (I like piano and ambient pieces best).

Beginning with the words (and I translate roughly):

But one verse that really helped me was the verse where where the singer ("I") declares that when the world passes away, "I" will stand before God and he's a friend that never lets you down. Uh, it sounds a lot better in the original than in English :)

Then I found at my mum's aunt an old hymn book, and as I read the lyrics of the hymns I was happy. Two hymns especially spoke to me. One was Anders Frostenson's Guds kärlek är som sanden och som gräset. I've done some googling and found the English translation (not literal, but still), I'd like to share it with you, translated by Fred Kaan:

And lastly, Tomas Boström's Trosbekännelsen ("The Credo"). It's first verse goes:

Or in English:

Wow, that song looks really poetic! Quite nice... I tried finding on Youtube, but no luck, unfortunately. But that's okay, the verses are enough =). Still, quite awesome poetry to it =).

They've really helped!

Thanks to you and Garden Girl!

I will now try and get in contact with representatives of the church here in the province, but it's kinda nervous. I don't really like speaking to strangers or going to new contexts. It's creepy, and I don't know how the people will be... Will they look down on me?

Nah, they shouldn't look down on you. I mean, people aren't perfect, but usually I have found that people in the church are really nice, no matter where they are from. But I commend your bravery... I've always had a hard time with bravery myself. I do hope this works out for you though, that I do =).

Best of Wishes,

Your Friend,

TAO =)

Edited by TAO
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Amigos, amigos míos!

Here's an update: I still haven't been able to get in touch with the church here in province. Argghh. I always find it scary contacting strangers. Ah well... I will just have to do it. Unless somebody contacts me? But in order to do that I have to contact someone to contact me. Or something like that, haha.

Also! I can't say I have made much spritual progress, I suppose I am too quick to criticize things! :)

There are so many things I just don't understand or can in any way advocate. I suppose that living in a country that, I suppose in the Church's eyes, lacks any type of morals, heh, does that to you.

Socially I have issues with the status of women in the church (aren't men and women equal in all respects?) among many other things... hehehe, and theologically the "after all we can do" doctrine.

When it comes to the sex, it is more like this. Why can't a woman attain priesthood? Why can't God speak prophetically to a woman? I just don't understand it. It feels... yes it feels "wrong", but if I can receive some understanding on the issue, I will be willing to bow down :P There have historically been in the Church, I see, many points of disagreement between God and the laity, but with the laity bowing down for the sake of loving obediance to the Supreme.

The Church seems to take the position that there are only two sexes. Of course, in the absolute vast majority of all cases, a child is either born male or female, depending on how you define sex. If God defines sex by chromosomes, for example, there are many people born with chromosomes that neither correspond with the female set or with the male set.

If we don't define sex by chromosomes but by the reproductive organs, this too does at times pose problems indefining the sex of an individual. Some people lack any reproductive organs, others have both inherently male and female organs (both testes and ovaries for example).

((The KJV translation of the Bible puts it:

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." ))

Hmm.. I suppose that in the long run,this may not be an issue. It is only about one child per thousand births (or was it one child per ten thousand births?) Anyway, God's plan must, if he has one, extend to these individuals too. Are they not God's children? But the church puts these individuals, it seems, in a strange position. (Society too!)

Is the child a boy or a girl? For many outside of the church this does not have anny real implications other than implications on the legal gender of the child, but most of the implications would arise in areas of societal and social roles and expectations. Should the child wear pink? A skirt? No biggies, to be fair.

But for the church and the religion it would seem, given the defined God-ordained gender roles, to have implications. I mean, if we cannot establish whether the child is male or female, can the child be called to priesthood when a teenager?

There are also cases whereby a child thought to be male at puperty develops female sexual organs (such as clitoris, ovaries and breasts)... It's highly confusing. But these cases do appear, and they need to be addressed.

If God really holds that men and women are "seperate but equal" (a wording that in my head clings ill), then surely there wouldn't be any ambivalences? It's strange, indeed... Ah well...

Moving on!

The more serious issue for me (as this one directly affects me) is the "after all we can do" doctine. I just don't understand it. Either Jesus died for our sins or he didn't? Isn't it that simple?

If we always did what we can do, then there wouldn't be a need to have forgiveness for sins, because then we wouldn't have sinned. Right? Because we can always, I think, avoid sin.

Look, I have this legalistic definition of sin. For me "sin" (because I don't understand it in any other way) is like a crime. A crime can only be sanctioned when the perpetrator understands what he or she did goes against the law.

Sooo... if we don't know or don't udnerstand that our thoughts, deeds or words are wrong in the eyes of God, how can we then be held accountable for them? And when we do understand that they are wrong... we can avoid committing them again.

When we can avoid something and don't, that's where my problem comes.

If I, for exemple, know that it is a sin to drink alcohol, I would strive to avoid drinking alcohol. And as long as I don't drink alcohol, I can't have sinned against the commandment not to drink alcohol, right? But if I were to take a sip of alcohol (yet knowing that I didn't have to take that sip), haven't I then just broken the "after all we can do"? I mean... if we're only saved after all we can do, then how can I then be saved after taking that sip of wine? Because I could easily have avoided it?

It doesn't make sense, heh.

.....

And in other news, I've celebrated my twenty-fifth birthday these past days, been busy preparing for having family coming over in a few days :) It will be nice. I am preparing dauphinois and minute steak. I am also trying to master the skills of baking a chocolate fudge cake, haha. Wish me luck!

There will be no candles on the cake, though! :)

Tomorrow will be spent cleaning, cooking and tidying. I want the apartment spotless when my family comes! I mean, they should well know I can do things on my own ;)

Take care, friends!

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Hej, Sennahoj!

I have spent quite a bit of time in your beautiful country--mostly in Stockholm. I happened to be wandering through the Gamla Stan on the evening of 13 December 1999 and was totally entranced by the sheer beauty of all the "Lucia's" wending their way through the medieval streets. I am guessing you will enjoy watching these YouTube cuts which include a very nice Mormon Tabernacle Choir tie-in to Scandinavia via the Norwegian soprano Sissel. I apologize, if you have already seen them:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrjcqHuQUZE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWy-SZSfmE8&feature=related

Edited by Okrahomer
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Amigos, amigos míos!

Here's an update: I still haven't been able to get in touch with the church here in province. Argghh. I always find it scary contacting strangers. Ah well... I will just have to do it. Unless somebody contacts me? But in order to do that I have to contact someone to contact me. Or something like that, haha.

It's always a bit anxiety creating to meet new people. I guess we oftentimes just have to gulp it down, and do it =P. =)

Also! I can't say I have made much spritual progress, I suppose I am too quick to criticize things! :)

So am I. We just have to learn to control our own heads a bit. Or at least for me, I have a weird double-mindedness about things, and so I try and knock away the doubts when I get them. Usually, it's pretty successful. =D. But then again, I think about things in a different way than most... it goes with having Asperger's =P.

There are so many things I just don't understand or can in any way advocate. I suppose that living in a country that, I suppose in the Church's eyes, lacks any type of morals, heh, does that to you.

No, your country has morals. It's just... some of the laws have been less encouraging of certain things we consider moral in our country XD. Sweden is still a fine country, that it is =).

Socially I have issues with the status of women in the church (aren't men and women equal in all respects?) among many other things... hehehe, and theologically the "after all we can do" doctrine.

When it comes to the sex, it is more like this. Why can't a woman attain priesthood? Why can't God speak prophetically to a woman? I just don't understand it. It feels... yes it feels "wrong", but if I can receive some understanding on the issue, I will be willing to bow down :P There have historically been in the Church, I see, many points of disagreement between God and the laity, but with the laity bowing down for the sake of loving obediance to the Supreme.

Hehe... well... I'll tell you a bit about what one of my Institute teachers said. (Institute is college classes that the church has us take) In any case, one day, he came in, and asked the class, "Tell me, do you think this statement is true or false? 'Women are men are equal'." We replied it was true. And then he asked us this other question, "What about this statement, is it true or false? 'Women and men are the same'." We replied it was false. In the end, he was trying to point out to us something. Women and men may be equal, but they are not the same. That doesn't seem like much, I know... but what it means... is... we have different divine roles. Yeah, you could call them gender roles... but... at the same time... if they are meant to prepare us... should they really have that negative connotation.

Now of course, I don't want you to get the wrong idea about what those roles are... oftentimes, people assign certain things to the roles that aren't actually there. The actual divine roles are much simpler, I think. Essentially... men... their job is to earn a living for the family, and to protect their family... and to be a good example. For women... your job is to guide your children... and to raise them up to be good parents to their children. Now, this doesn't mean there isn't some leeway, of course. Women can still get jobs, and women I assure you can protect their family well. And men can also spend some time taking care of the children. However, men and women will best be preparing for the eternities, if they are able to perform their roles well.

Of course, then you have all of the political things getting into the muck. Which... they shouldn't be there. Unlike the impression that is given by many, men and women are supposed to support each other strongly and dedicate themselves to helping one another in their duties. Though they have different duties, they become one, in mairrage, and help each other with those duties. The goal is exaltation. You can only get there together.

As for the issue of the priesthood... yeah, I'm a guy, so I probably have a different opinion than girls. But this is what I think of it... truly... I compare it to when I was concerned with why people didn't receive the same trials. I was bamboozled. How could life be fair if people weren't tempted the same way, and had the same weaknesses. Wouldn't that mean that some people had to work harder? Wouldn't that mean things weren't the same.

Ultimately, I came up with an answer... yes... some people will have to work harder. Yes, people will have different trials. Yes, things won't be the same. But... I also discovered... that it doesn't matter. We were given the works we need to do for a reason. We were given the trials to challenge us, and temptations were allowed to tempt us for a reason. Things aren't the same for a reason. Ultimately... I discovered... that our differences... they don't really matter. They are mundane, they are inconsequential in the eternal look at things. All that matters, is overcoming what you are given. Because that is what the Lord would like you to do. It is his plea to us... to come follow him. He didn't say come follow me if you have a hard life, or an easy one. He said come follow me, regardless of your standing, and I will help you through your burdens, I will make them light. And that, to me, makes all the difference in the world. I follow for him. What others have, they have, but I must do with what I have. And I will do what I can, to help lead others to that very same Christ which helped me become happy, for he made my burdens light, and made me who I am =).

About the revelation thing... women can receive revelation. In fact, all of us can... it's called personal revelation... it only applies to us though. I am assuming you are talking about though why can't they receive prophetic revelation? I assume they could, if God so called them to the position. He doesn't though... and though i do not know why, I know it is good... and that, for me is enough. Oftentimes, I don't understand why God does things. But given time, I understand, that though I can't always understand why, I know he is doing the right thing. And even still, he explains why to me on some very important things already, and so, I guess you could say, I am already at his mercy in terms of having been explained why too. And yet he still does it for the things he so feels like it is the right thing to do. I guess he has a much larger view than any of us, that I do =D.

The Church seems to take the position that there are only two sexes. Of course, in the absolute vast majority of all cases, a child is either born male or female, depending on how you define sex. If God defines sex by chromosomes, for example, there are many people born with chromosomes that neither correspond with the female set or with the male set.

If we don't define sex by chromosomes but by the reproductive organs, this too does at times pose problems indefining the sex of an individual. Some people lack any reproductive organs, others have both inherently male and female organs (both testes and ovaries for example).

((The KJV translation of the Bible puts it:

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." ))

Hmm.. I suppose that in the long run,this may not be an issue. It is only about one child per thousand births (or was it one child per ten thousand births?) Anyway, God's plan must, if he has one, extend to these individuals too. Are they not God's children? But the church puts these individuals, it seems, in a strange position. (Society too!)

Ah, you are talking about the hermaphrodites. Well, I believe there is something about it in one of the handbooks. In any case, the church I believe goes by whatever is the stronger characteristics, so to say. In any case, even if it is misclassified, I am not worried, simply for the reason that God won't punish someone for what they don't know. So either way with them, I am sure that God will set things right, however that might be. He is merciful, after all, and they have gone through a tough trial... I am sure he will help them with all the mercies he can.

And of course they are still God's children. We are ALL God's children =D. And we do what we can do best... we do all we can do... and then we let Christ's mercy take us where we could never reach. Every one of us =). Including you, and, me, and everyone that we care about, and everyone we don't care about as well. God will do what he can for them, what is right, and just, and true, and I am sure he will do it with some mercy upon them as so deserving =).

Is the child a boy or a girl? For many outside of the church this does not have anny real implications other than implications on the legal gender of the child, but most of the implications would arise in areas of societal and social roles and expectations. Should the child wear pink? A skirt? No biggies, to be fair.

But for the church and the religion it would seem, given the defined God-ordained gender roles, to have implications. I mean, if we cannot establish whether the child is male or female, can the child be called to priesthood when a teenager?

We also go off the legal classification. And yes, they can be called to the priesthood.

There are also cases whereby a child thought to be male at puperty develops female sexual organs (such as clitoris, ovaries and breasts)... It's highly confusing. But these cases do appear, and they need to be addressed.

I suspect it's a similar issue, although you'd have to check with some people. I'm sure the church has some advice on it somewhere - they usually do for almost everything =).

If God really holds that men and women are "seperate but equal" (a wording that in my head clings ill), then surely there wouldn't be any ambivalences? It's strange, indeed... Ah well...

Haha, I prefer not to think "seperate but equal", but instead each "having a divine potential". They each compliment each other, and they don't look right one without the other =). It is the most beautiful creation God has created in and of all of his creations, man and women, united, one flesh.

Moving on!

Hehe, I was about to post the *'phew, done with that'* smiley, but I couldn't find it, so I'll drop this one instead, for comic relief:

:tribal:

Sorry, I just had to do that. I am a very corny person, as you can tell ;-).

The more serious issue for me (as this one directly affects me) is the "after all we can do" doctine. I just don't understand it. Either Jesus died for our sins or he didn't? Isn't it that simple?

If we always did what we can do, then there wouldn't be a need to have forgiveness for sins, because then we wouldn't have sinned. Right? Because we can always, I think, avoid sin.

Ah, let me explain, I think you misinterpreted what the verse meant a tiny bit. Let me post this verse from Mosiah, which will help explain it:

10 And he shall arise the bthird day from the dead; and behold, he standeth to cjudge the world; and behold, all these things are done that a righteous judgment might come upon the children of men.

11 For behold, and also his ablood batoneth for the sins of those who have cfallen by the transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the dwill of God concerning them, or who have eignorantly sinned.

12 But wo, wo unto him who knoweth that he arebelleth against God! For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the bLord Jesus Christ.

13 And the Lord God hath sent his holy aprophets among all the children of men, to declare these things to every kindred, nation, and tongue, that thereby whosoever should believe that Christ should come, the same might receive bremission of their sins, and rejoice with exceedingly great joy, even cas though he had already come among them.

English Link: http://lds.org/scrip...0-13?lang=eng#9

Swedish Link: http://scriptures.ld.../mosiah/3/10-13

Hehe, actually, I was just curious whether the Swedish one was online, which is why I grabbed it too, I hope you don't mind too much ^_^

In any case, so these verses talk about how Jesus died to save us all... and he will rise and stand to judge the world, that a righteous judgement may come upon the children of men. It tells us his blood atones for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam (all of us), who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them (those who never obtained the oppurtunity to choose to join the church), or who have ignorantly sinned (people with mental disorders, or those who do not have a full understanding of the gospel). Then, in the next verse, it says something which concerns us: "But wo, wo unto him who knoweth that he rebelleth against God! For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ." In other words, to us, we must do all we can do, in the sense that we must repent of our sins. That is part of doing all that we can do. In addition, we must try to keep his commandments, which he has given us. When we don't do this, we again, must repent. This is part of doing all that we can do. If we have a humble, and repenting spirit still when we die, we have done all we can do. We won't be 'hypocrites' as the New Testament calls them. That is why works are important... so that way you aren't a hypocrite. But faith is also necessary... for otherwise, you won't trust God enough to be saved by him. And so doing all we can do means that... doing what God would expect of us, and when we don't do it, repenting so that way he can forgive us of it, and our burden may be made light.

I hope that explained it a bit better. The last section of the set of verses concerns prophets, which declare these words to all kindred, nation, and tongue, so that whoever believes in Christ can come to him, and recieve forgiveness (remission of sins) and be happy (rejoice with exceedingly great joy). And I like the last bit as well... "even as though he had already come among them." That is the joy of forgiveness... it's like having God walk besides you... in a way you know you are on the right path again =D.

I guess the important thing to remember is that none of us is perfect... but we aren't required to be perfect... we are just required to keep trying as much as we can, and to endure till the end. That is what 'doing all you can do' is.

I hope I explained that well.

Look, I have this legalistic definition of sin. For me "sin" (because I don't understand it in any other way) is like a crime. A crime can only be sanctioned when the perpetrator understands what he or she did goes against the law.

Exactly! That is 100% correct. Those who do not know the law cannot be held accountable for it. They are only held accountable for what they know. And Christ's atonement covers all the rest. That is the brilliance of it, the awesomeness of it =).

Sooo... if we don't know or don't udnerstand that our thoughts, deeds or words are wrong in the eyes of God, how can we then be held accountable for them? And when we do understand that they are wrong... we can avoid committing them again.

We aren't. But the thing is... we also get impressions. You will hardly come across a man who does not know that murder is wrong in his heart. If that man murders, even though he has not heard the word from the mouth of prophets, he has heard it from his heart, and he will be held accountable to his degree of knowledge. To those with even better knowledge, murder can be even unto death of the spirit... which is a very very bad thing. I would say the worst thing, in fact. So you are held responsible according to the knowledge you have. The more you know, the more you can do right, but also, the more you can do wrong. Luckily, we all try and do right (or so I hope =P). And when we do wrong, we can truly try to ask for forgiveness, with humility, and he will forgive you faster than you'd expect, he love us so much =D.

I am a person who makes alot of mistakes myself =/. Too many in fact =(. They would haunt me, if I didn't ask for forgivenss. Through him, I can obtain rest, and peace, because I know he will forgive me when I truly humbly ask for it. That I do know, and I have a testimony of it... of forgiveness =). He is so so wonderful, really.... he gives me what I do not deserve, or so I feel, sometimes, that I get much more than I expect or even ask for. He is truly a merciful, graceful, and charitably beautiful God.

When we can avoid something and don't, that's where my problem comes.

If I, for exemple, know that it is a sin to drink alcohol, I would strive to avoid drinking alcohol. And as long as I don't drink alcohol, I can't have sinned against the commandment not to drink alcohol, right? But if I were to take a sip of alcohol (yet knowing that I didn't have to take that sip), haven't I then just broken the "after all we can do"? I mean... if we're only saved after all we can do, then how can I then be saved after taking that sip of wine? Because I could easily have avoided it?

Yes, that is correct. And you can fix that by apologizing, and asking for forgivenss. But I don't think you know all that much about the law, so I don't think your sin is quite as serious as others. You haven't obtained a testimony of the law yet. Your sin, is much more light than that of if I went out and drank, because I have a testimony of the law, I know the law is true, and I would be much more guilty than you if I went out and did that. I would be far more guilty. And I am far more guilty even for the little things. Luckily, God is forgiving enough to cover even me, even with what I know, I can still ask for repentance for doing something wrong. Eveyrone can be forgiven (with one exception, that is denying the Holy Ghost for those who have recieved a full witness, and that is a rare case indeed... you have to be as knowledgeable and testimony full as the prophets or apostles for that to actually happen).

EDIT: Continues on in next post... was too long for one post =P.

Edited by TAO
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And in other news, I've celebrated my twenty-fifth birthday these past days, been busy preparing for having family coming over in a few days :) It will be nice. I am preparing dauphinois and minute steak. I am also trying to master the skills of baking a chocolate fudge cake, haha. Wish me luck!

Congratulations!!! And I'm a bit jealous, that's so much food! It will be nice with your family though. And chocolate fudge cake... I can't help you with that... I would be able to help you with chocolate fudge... which is probably better classified as 'chocolate heart attack fudge'... but I'm not quite sure how similar that is. In any case, good luck with it, I'm sure you'll do a fine job, and even if you don't, I'm sure your family will be happy with what you have (or at least I hope so =D).

There will be no candles on the cake, though! :)

Oh no.... must... make... corny... internet joke!

"But... but... I thout the cake was a lie!"

*Joke closed*

Sorry, I just had to make it. It's a reference to a game called Portal which is popular in modern geek culture. And I guess I am a tiny bit geeky, so yeah.

Tomorrow will be spent cleaning, cooking and tidying. I want the apartment spotless when my family comes! I mean, they should well know I can do things on my own ;)

Take care, friends!

Lol! And again, good luck! I hope your party (and cake) goes well!

Best Wishes,

TAO =D.

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