War Room: Prayer as a “Weapon”

Elizabeth Jordan (Priscilla Shirer) with her daughter, Danielle (Alena Pitts)WR_W5_F-74Photo credit: David Whitlow, courtesy of AFFIRM Films/Provident Films

Christian-themed film War Room is a surprise box office success in the slow summer week before the Labor Day holiday, grossing $11M during opening weekend. Predictably, has been panned by traditional reviewers, as represented by an 18% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

The title of the film led me to presume that this was actually a war film, and I likely would have skipped this film had not a good friend been thrilled to see it. War Room is the fifth movie written and produced by Alex and Stephen Kendrick of Kendrick Brothers Productions. Their previous movies include Flywheel (2003), Facing the Giants (2006), Fireproof (2008), and Courageous (2011).

War Room marks the first time the Kendricks feature a cast that is predominantly Black, bringing both great strength and some weakness to the film. The film tells how prayer transforms a family on the verge of collapse. Continue reading

Counsel of Prophets and Hot Coals

A recent post on Wheat and Tares has got me thinking. The post is titled, “Blaming Parents vs. Mourning with Those Who Mourn.”

I know people whose children have left the Church, who did “everything right.” They had scripture study, gospel conversation, family home evening, bore regular testimony, and did all this with love — and despite that, their children left the Church. I also know parents who did not do all of these things — that is, I know for a fact that they did not have family home evening, regular scripture study, and gospel topics were rarely discussed in the home except perhaps over Sunday dinner. And some of their children have also left the Church.

If I were the teacher of the fifth Sunday lesson, here’s what I would want to say. I certainly would follow the Spirit with a prayer in my heart, and I’m sure that, in the moment and facing brothers and sisters who are clearly hurting, I would probably speak these things in gentler ways than I do here, where I am at a distance and in a blog post.
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Families Can Be Together Forever

imageThe other day I was in Charlottesville with my husband, celebrating our wedding anniversary. We had good food, had fun shopping, and then we ran into the perfect people.

Missionaries!

Amid evening twinkle lights, street musicians, and folks dining al fresco, these enthusiastic folks were having a gerat time, giving out free lemonade and telling people that Families can be Forever.

Last night I had a chance to sit in on a lecture about how we use DNA to discover whether or not we are right when we are forming out family tree. As my friend talked about the research that led them to confirm two individuals were brother, and then to determine that their ancestor, Evey, was the daughter of a family that had somehow failed to document her (insufficient 1800 census and mother who wasn’t at home when she gave birth to that daughter), I was caught up in the excitement of trying to determine the answer. And I felt an echo of the excitement my friend must have felt after all the hundreds of hours of research, seemingly confirmed by DNA, when finally a letter was found, where some chatty relative had taken the time to list what had happened to all the siblings – and this one document, of all the extensive research on this 1800s family, finally listed Evey as the second child in the family and told of her marriage and children. Continue reading

Zina Diantha Huntington Young: Exploring a Confusing Legacy

Zina Huntington 1840After book group this Tuesday, one of my friends mentioned she’d been reading about the various presidents of Relief Society. Knowing of my interest in early Mormon polygamy, my friend said she wanted to talk with me sometime about Zina Diantha Huntington [Jacobs Smith Young], who served as General Relief Society President after the death of Eliza R. Snow.

Zina was one of the first women to covenant with Joseph Smith, one of the few who was told Joseph had only acted because an angel threatened him with a sword. According to other accounts, the angel had appeared to Joseph repeatedly since 1834, but it would only be in 1841 that the angel implied lethal force might occur if obedience to the commandment was not forthcoming.

Following the 1844 death of Joseph Smith, Zina would undergo a uniquely unusual marital shift, leaving the ostensibly faithful/believing father of her children to become the conjugal wife of Brigham Young.

Here is my explanation for why a married and pregnant Zina entered into a covenant marriage with Joseph Smith, and why after Joseph’s death she abandoned her believing husband to become one of the many conjugal wives of Brigham Young. Continue reading

Trying to Explain the Donald Trump Support

Let me say on the outset that I am a Ted Cruz supporter, and for me Donald Trump is a careful consideration. Another point is that the only time I have ever talked about politics here is for obvious reasons when Romney ran. This break from personal protocal is because many of my fellow bloggers have expressed concerns about Donald Trump on outside venues or some comments. They are flabbergasted why such a man with such an “arrogant demeanor ” and “past RINO” views is liked by so many conservatives. Why is it that no matter what he says, criticism only seems to bolster his popularity for a large part of the Republican electorate. Part of their confusion and fear is because they can’t get past the man and look at the political context.

Some of what he says does have me concerned because he is not very articulate or perfect, but unlike George Bush Jr. he is not boring. For those who are calling Mr. Trump a RINO, they seem to ignore that every single candidate (even Cruz) has been accused of the same. There are degrees for sure, but none are immune from the label. Some like Bush and Kasich are seen as RINOS outright by supporting illegal immigration and common core. Others like Fiorina are seen as too lenient on Islam or supported the bailouts, Huckabee a welfare big government social conservative, Carson for questioning the Second Amendment and advocating some race carding of his own, Rubio for his flip flops especially with illegal immigration, and even Cruz for a vote that he later claimed he was tricked into a yes. Rand Paul doesn’t do so hot either, at times seen as going against his libertarian ideals and endorsing Mitch McConnell. So the voters look at them all and say “he who is without political sin . . . ”

Probably the number one reason Trump is in the lead is because of Jeb Bush. He was supposed to be the anointed one. Frankly, he still could be and that is what frightens so many more than Trump winning the nomination. Bush stands for everything that Trump does not: Career politician, establishment puppet, go-along to get-along weakling, and momentary media darling. Regardless of how much one might believe Trump is just as much a RINO, he is NOT part of the establishment no matter what conspiracy theories exist. Cruz should be the one in his place, but the media and GOP establishment poisoned his well long ago. Yes, even Rand Paul should have been the one in Trump’s place, but he played the game too close to the rules while acting the outsider. Trump became more than an outsider, but an outlaw! He is the middle finger for many who want to tell the GOP and others where to go. Continue reading