Flooding the Earth via Social Media

During BYU Education Week, Elder Bednar gave a great speech on using social media to share the gospel.  Two months have passed since his talk, and while there was some talk on it, I fear that his fears may already be happening.  But let me review some of his main concepts, first.

Elder Bednar stated that it is time we use social media to flood the earth with the gospel. Right now, we are only causing a trickle to occur.  To put this in perspective, the number of gospel contacts made by the Church and its members in 2013 equated to each full time missionary companionship in the Church (88,000) to have over 100 gospel contacts per day, or 37,500 per year. 1.6 billion contacts total for 2013.

If this is just a trickle, then what would be considered flood stage? Ten times more? One Hundred times more? One thousand times more?  Continue reading

LDS Church Releases Video About Temple Clothing and Garments Including Photos

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released an official video about the sacred clothing Mormons wear in the temple and the sacred garments worn by members under their everyday clothing.

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/temple-garments

The video is intended for those who are not members of the Church and are curious about this practice and includes photos of our sacred temple clothes and undergarments.

 

The video does an excellent job of contextualizing Mormon practices among other religious traditions and asks those not of our faith to speak respectfully of our sacred clothing as they would about the sacred clothing of their own or other faiths.

Book Review: “How Do I Know If I Know?” by John Byetheway.

Title: How Do I Know If I Know?How Do I Know_f
Author: John Bytheway
Publisher: Deseret Book
Genre: Devotional
Year: 2014
Binding: Softcover
Number of pages: 138
ISBN: 9781609079215
Cost: $9.99

Reviewed by Ivan Wolfe for the Association for Mormon Letters

John Bytheway has made a fairly nice niche for himself writing books aimed at Mormon youth that do quite a few things well: He doesn’t talk down to them, he avoids overly complicated language, and he presents the ideas straightforwardly.

I could see a complaint that his writing is too simplistic in handling controversial aspects of the gospel (his work is not at all like Adam Miller’s recent “Letters to a Young Mormon” which does tackle hard issues). However, such a criticism would be missing the point. Continue reading

My Personal Themes from General Conference

McConkie follow the prophetWe’re 10 days out from General Conference. I am still thinking about it and letting the lessons I learned from it percolate in my head. I hope you had your own personal theme develop for you as you listened to the speakers.

I was impressed by speaker after speaker with three themes.

First, FOLLOW THE PROPHET! Yes, I realize that’s in all caps, because yes, I am screaming that at the world. We just need to follow the prophet to find the answers to our questions, the solutions to our problems and for maximum happiness in this life. Sister McConkie taught in her talk “We heed prophetic word even when it may seem unreasonable, inconvenient, and uncomfortable. According to the world’s standards, following the prophet may be unpopular, politically incorrect, or socially unacceptable. But following the prophet is always right.” Did we get that? Following the prophet is always right, despite what is popular out there in the world.

Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the 70s also addressed following the prophet instead of following popular trends as well. He asked us, “Which way do you face?”, and challenged us to not invert the first and second great commandments. Again we were reminded, “The scornful often accuse prophets of not living in the 21st century or of being bigoted. They attempt to persuade or even pressure the Church into lowering God’s standards to the level of their own inappropriate behavior, which in the words of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, will ‘develop self-contentment instead of seeking self-improvement’ and repentance. Lowering the Lord’s standards to the level of a society’s inappropriate behavior is—apostasy.” That was the money quote for me, lowering the Lord’s standards to the level of society is apostasy. Makes you think about the things we’re interested in and advocating for. I hope we all asked ourselves if “our issues” match up with what the prophets are teaching us, and if they don’t, instead of rationalizing them away, we’re willing to change our thoughts to match the council of the prophets and the standards and doctrines of the Church.

Eyring revelation from GodMy second theme of General Conference was the importance of receiving our own witness of the teachings of the prophets. Elder Eyring’s talk specifically addressed this and the principle of “confirming revelation.” He said, “Human judgment and logical thinking will not be enough to get answers to the questions that matter most in life. We need revelation from God.” Did we hear that? We cannot rely on our own judgments, the opinions of friends, junk we see on facebook, or the latest and greatest train of thought. We must receive our own “confirming revelation” like Nephi of old.

I am heart broken to see so many friends, who are also members of the Church, cherry picking the words of the prophets to fit their agendas, rejecting the doctrines of the church, specifically those regarding chastity, morality and marriage, for worldly standards and practices. The thing is, the world is always in a constant state of flux, and revels in emotionally charged rhetoric that will surely short change us on our salvation. I’ve also been told numerous times by these same friends that they had “personal revelation” and/or a “witness of the spirit” that things like The Family Proclamation and the Church’s stand and support of traditional marriage are not true. I’ll just be bold here and state that these witnesses cannot be true. It might have been a witness, but a witness that is not inline with the doctrines of the Church and the words of the modern, living prophets is not from the Lord. The Holy Spirit is not going to give any of us a confirmation or a witness of something that goes against what the Lord has taught. The Holy Ghost will always witness the truthfulness of the Gospel and the truthfulness of the words of the prophets.
Continue reading

Perpetuating Myths About Mormon Genealogy

KenneallyI was interested in the New Republic article found over in the “Worth Reading” bar. The article is titled The Mormon Church Is Building a Family Tree of the Entire Human Race, and is excerpted from Christine Kenneally’s new book, The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures.

In this excerpt, Ms. Kenneally initially seems to be praising the efforts of the LDS Church for assiduously collecting records of the human family. She writes about how knowledge of family history reduces anxiety and is correlated with other improved outcomes for children. The magnitude of the collection is many times the information contained in the US Library of Congress, with information being added at a rate similar to adding the contents of the Library of Congress every year. Kenneally notes how these efforts have driven technology.

But then the article begins to focus on the negative. Continue reading