The Prayer of a Doubting Missionary

Doubting MissionaryI have talked much about my youthful experience, encountering disturbing possibilities about Joseph Smith and polygamy. I have since continued my journey and have found explanations for that history (see my Faithful Joseph series).

But in 1984, I was a missionary in training who wasn’t entirely sure about the Church. However I knew God existed and knew He had told me to remain a Mormon. Though I retained a portion of doubt (a portion of doubt that would remain for decades), this is how I conducted myself. For what it’s worth, this is the only prayer I have ever written down.

il 10 aprile 1984 martedi.

What a marvelous day! It started off slowly, and there were short ups and downs, but classe w/ Sorella Moss was incredible and then ambassadorship – on having a more Christ-like attitude. It was wonderful: No Greater Love, a slide show to “As I have Love You,” and a film about a handicapped man. Then:

To Change:

1) Obedience
a) Repent
2) Sacrifice

[lead to] Consecration.

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Then choir and an absolutely incredible devotionale delivered by Elder Hartman Rector, Jr. We laughed so hard, and I know I was totally psyched to go to Italy after the two hours(!) were over. Then there was classe di pronuncia w/ Presidente Magistro. “Lasciatemi cantare…. I jazzed to that one and then there was “I vecchi.”
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When the temple helps, part 3: 20 years of temple work

This is the third post in an on-going series about how the temple helps and blesses the lives of Latter-day Saints. Millennial Star contributor, Daniel O’s first two installments are here:

When the temple helps
When the temple helps, part 2

We invite readers of The Millennial Star to submit their experiences of how the temple has helped and blessed their lives. Please see the “Submit A Guest Post” tab on the top for more information.

This installment is by Millennial Star regular, Joyce Anderson.

Mesa temple front side viewThis week I celebrated 20 years as an endowed member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1995, I entered the temple to receive my endowment as preparation for a full time mission to Bulgaria. I had no idea really of what to expect, other that I would be making sacred and important covenants with my Father in Heaven, and that I was making a very important, and big step in my progress as a Latter-day Saint. I had looked forward to going to the temple for myself for many years, but I had really desired it from the time I was about 19 years old.

Late on a February afternoon, I entered the Mesa Temple with my mom to receive my own endowment. I remember wearing a pink floral dress and that I had chapped lips from being so nervous. The Matron of the temple came out to the recorder’s office and took me back to the women’s area to begin my temple instruction. The Matron introduced me to Sister Crandell, who was going to be with me that day. Years later, Sister Crandell was speaking at a Stake Conference for young single adults. After the meeting I went up to her to introduce myself. She, of course, did not remember me, but I remembered her. I thanked her for taking me that day and helping me as I went thru the temple for the first time. As we spoke there was pure joy in her face. She told me she was to glad I had come up and talked to her, because her time as a temple worker had been her favorite calling in the Church. It was a special moment, provided to both of us because of the temple. Continue reading

The Point of Sharing the Gospel

I was really disappointed by a recent article on Mormon Mentality entitled “The Missionary Work I Didn’t Do.” The author details speaking to a neighbor who expressly told her that she was dissatisfied with her Church. Because she feels that the Church is sexist, she concluded that it would have nothing to offer her neighbor and failed to invite the missionaries or pass along a Book of Mormon.

The think this, unfortunately, completely misses the point of missionary work. We do not simply offer a social club, moving services, or opportunities for fellowship. There are lots of great places one can go to get all of those things. Instead, we offer individuals something that they can get nowhere else. We offer ordinances necessary for salvation and exaltation performed with proper priesthood authority. There is no greater blessing that we can offer our friends and neighbors.

As Elder Oaks explained: Continue reading

On Doubt

imageRecently at the adult session of Stake Conference, we had a delightful interchange about how councils can bless our families and our congregations. There were two microphones being carried through the congregation so that any who wanted to comment could be heard.

On individual who commented raised the matter of those who have had doubts, who have decided they could not remain in the faith. I think the individual’s comment was tending towards suggesting that we should make it safe to doubt in the Church.

The response was instructive. It is fine to have questions, the visiting authority (Elder Perkins) said, but it is not acceptable to doubt. Doubt, he contended, ends hope of moving forward, while questions, even if unresolved for an extended period of time, permit the individual with questions to move forward in faith.

The Definition of Doubt Continue reading

America, land of tyranny?

I was recently speaking with a friend, who just quit his job at a correctional facility. This is a place where I once worked, but was fired at, due to a new boss that believes in taking no prisoners. Since my firing 6 months ago, this boss has fired, demoted, or driven away many good people.  What once was a close-knit family with some struggles, is now a divided work place, where many people tip toe around, fearing for their jobs.

Sadly, this seems to more and more be the norm in our society. There was a time when a person was hired at IBM and stayed forever. Loyalty went both directions, up and down the chain. The boss and the worker would look out for each other.

Today, people are just resources to use up and replace, while work locations are just a temporary place to make money, with no loyalty for one another. Continue reading