About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

From John Dehlin’s stake president

It is worth reminding ourselves that when somebody is brought up for Church discipline, we are only hearing one side of the story. The Church does not discuss reasons for discipline because of the charitable policy of personal privacy. Only people looking for publicity with an aim to embarrass the Church will make disciplinary councils public. So, if you have heard about the impending Church discipline against John Dehlin it is because he publicized it (with a press release, no less!).

Very often, we do not see the Church’s side of the discussion. So in the interest of fair disclosure, I would like to draw your attention to this post, which actually cites the reasons for John Dehlin’s possible excommunication. (Reminder: John Dehlin has not been disciplined yet. His council will reportedly be held on Jan. 25).

They are (in summarized form):

1. Promoting atheism/agnosticism.
2. Denying or doubting the divinity of Jesus and the reality of the Atonement.
3. Denying the Restoration of the Gospel.
4. Denying the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.
5. Denying the inspired calling of Church leaders.
6. Being ordained a minister in another faith.

That last one really is a doozy. Does anybody reasonably expect that you can remain a member of the LDS faith when you have been ordained a minister of another faith?
Continue reading

The TLC controversy and Mormons with same-sex attraction

You may have heard that TLC is planning on running a show on Mormons with same-sex attraction, some of whom are happily married to somebody of the opposite sex. As anybody could have predicted, some champions of “tolerance” are intolerantly calling for the cancellation of this show, which simply has these people telling their stories. The show is called “My Husband’s Not Gay.”

I would urge M* readers to visit this post, which has a great summary of the situation. I would also urge charity and compassion for these brave Mormons trying to balance their sexual desires with prophetic guidance. These people truly are modern-day heroes.

Here is the teaser for the show on TLC:

Can you spare some compassion for the workers?

I want to tell you about my friend Tom. Tom went to college but graduated a few years ago and could not find a good job. After months of searching, he ended up working as a bartender. He worked five days a week from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Tom didn’t like the hours of his job and he didn’t like working in a bar. But it was a job and he did his best. After tips, he made about $35k per year.

Six months ago, Tom got offered a job by an oil company. It just so happens that I live in northern Colorado, where there is an oil and gas boom of epic proportions. Tom’s starting salary? $50k per year, with the potential to make $70k within a year or so. Tom’s working hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and his company gave him a brand new truck to drive on the work site.

Tom’s story is not unique. I know literally a dozen people who are either working for an oil company or working for a company that provides services to an oil company. They all tell the same story: starting salaries are great, working conditions are great, and they feel part of something that is growing and has a future.

In Tom’s case, he recently got married, and he says one of the reasons he was able to make the commitment of marriage is that he now has a stable job making more money. He plans on buying a house soon. Importantly, he feels his marriage will be more stable if he is not working at a bar until 2 a.m. but instead is home for dinner every night.

People seem to forget that good jobs make for good families and for stable communities. From a Gospel perspective, it seems obvious to me that we should favor policies that allow the creation of new high-paying jobs in the private sector.

Unfortunately, many people seem to favor the latest left-wing cause rather than having compassion for the American worker. Make no mistake: most of these causes are favored by people who work in academia or government. Most of these causes claim to want to “save” one thing or another. But the proponents of these causes could care less about Tom and the literally millions of other people who need a good job today.

Continue reading

A decade of The Millennial Star

10 years ago a group of Mormon bloggers founded The Millennial Star, a Mormon blog dedicated to building up and sustaining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is surprising to many that we are still around.

A few thoughts:

–Finding a name for a new blog is always an adventure. I can now reveal that one of the names that was considered is “Laban’s Neck.”
–Most of the early founders of the blog no longer write here, but those of us who remain love them and welcome them.
–The blog went through some tough times in its second year, but I am happy to report that readership is higher than ever and that 2014 was a banner year for The Millenial Star. We are at record levels in terms of readership, number of posts and number of comments.

All is all, it is likely we will continue to be around for a while longer. Happy 2015 everyone!

What does the possible normalization of relations with Cuba mean for the Church?

The Church has very quietly been growing in Communist Cuba. There are now two branches in the capital, Havana. Elder Bednar dedicated the country for preaching the Gospel in February 2012, and Elder Holland visited again this summer. The Church News quoted Elder Holland as saying: “Although we are small in number, each member is precious to us, and Cuba is precious to us.”

Elder Holland visited the site of Elder Bednar’s dedication, which overlooks Havana, and said, “the promises of the dedicatory blessing are unfolding.”

President Obama’s announcement Wednesday that he would seek the normalization of relations with Cuba seems to be coming right on schedule. It is easy to imagine that increased travel and trade with the United States would very soon lead to missionaries and strong growth of the Church in the coming years.

This story from the Deseret News has some interesting tidbits.

Though it is not registered, the Cuban department of religious affairs welcomed the church in 2004, when the first branch was established, and it and other faiths have helped the church find locations for worship.

Elder Holland also met with government officials in June.

That doesn’t mean missionary work is likely to happen quickly, Martinich added. In recent decades, the church generally has moved meticulously before opening a mission in a country where it hasn’t had one before.

“I wouldn’t imagine a mission there for a few years,” Martinich said. “What’s more likely to happen is that, when and if Cuba gives the church official recognition, missionaries would be reassigned from another mission,” such as one in the Dominican Republic.

One first already happened three years ago: A Cuban native from the Havana Branch served an LDS mission in the United States beginning in 2011.

Continue reading