About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

Brigham Young on loving your enemies

In the “Discourses of Brigham Young,” page 272 it says the following:

Do I say, Love your enemies? Yes, upon certain principles. But you are not required to love their wickedness; you are only required to love them so far as concerns a desire and effort to turn them from their evil ways, that they may be saved through obedience to the Gospel (DBY, 272).

Discuss.

HERE is the source and some more quotations from the prophet to consider.

 

Huge number of new LDS stakes and districts being created in 2016

The constant refrain that the Church is not growing or is losing members because of policies that some people don’t like has never been less true than this year.

So far in 2016, the Church has added at least 72 stakes and 20 districts.  The Church is on pace to add more stakes and districts in 2016 than in any other recent year.

More information HERE.

I point this out because critics of the Church love to claim the opposite and will use anecdotal evidence that has nothing to do with the facts.

The usual disclaimer:  the Church is true even if it is not adding new members.  There may come a day when the Church does stop growing because we are by very definition a “peculiar people,” (i.e, different than the trends in the rest of the world).  But that day is not today.

The contrast between the on-line Mormon world and the real Mormon world

I don’t spend much time reading many Mormon blogs.  The primary reason is that it is a depressing exercise.  Don’t get me wrong — even some of the worst Mormon blogs have occasional pearls from people extolling their positive church experiences.  But such jewels usually receive few comments and little traffic.

The three primary themes of the Mormon blog world are 1)the writers are smarter/better informed/more moral/more up-to-date than the leaders of the Church or 2)the writers are much more righteous than “conservative” or “TBM” Mormons 3)Most Church members are  judgmental hicks (unlike the blog writers, of course, who are tolerant and understanding and filled with love for everybody — except for the people they really hate, ie, the other Church members).  And, really, if I wanted to spend my time reading that I could always go to some anti-Mormon web site someplace and read the same thing.

I am sadly forced to report that many Mormons who write on Mormon blogs appear to be obsessed with the faults of their fellow Saints and show no real charity toward people they should love.  The examples are too numerous to mention, and I am not going to give links to any of these blogs because I don’t think people should be reading them.  But in researching this post I looked up the most recent output from about a dozen on-line Mormon blogs, and I found out that people who go to Church are “country club Mormons” who hate gay people, want to oppress women and are overly concerned with what other people wear.  In addition, the prophets are old and out of touch, and the Church used to be better a few decades ago.  And the Church is really, really bad these days because it does not agree with all of the secular trends that the cool people like.

Sigh.

My advice is:  don’t read these blogs.  But if you are one of these people who do read those blogs I would like to give you another perspective.  This perspective comes from somebody who converted to the Church almost two decades ago, and has gone to church in Brazil, Miami and Colorado, where I live now.  I have also visited wards literally all over the world when traveling.  Because of my callings over the years, I have gotten to know hundreds of people who were inactive or who left the Church for one reason or another.  And I have obviously gotten to know thousands of members.  Please keep in mind that as a member of a bishopric and a high councilor, I have had detailed discussions with people about many different issues.

  • I can’t recall ever meeting at Church a latter-day Saint who ever expressed a serious concern over the “patriarchy” or the Church’s position on same-sex attraction.  I have met people who had questions about polygamy or the Church’s position on blacks and the priesthood.  I have met people with questions about the all-male priesthood and the Church’s position on same-sex issues, but none of these people had serious concerns.

Continue reading

New study destroys myths about gender identity and same-sex attraction

The prophets and the Proclamation on the Family are correct once again.  A major new study that you can read HERE destroys many of the myths about gender identity and same-sex attraction.  Among the findings of the study:

The belief that sexual orientation is an innate, biologically fixed human property—that people are ‘born that way’—is not supported by scientific evidence.

Likewise, the belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex—so that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’—is not supported by scientific evidence.

Only a minority of children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood. There is no evidence that all such children should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery.

Non-heterosexual and transgender people have higher rates of mental health problems (anxiety, depression, suicide), as well as behavioral and social problems (substance abuse, intimate partner violence), than the general population. Discrimination alone does not account for the entire disparity.

 

The 143-page report discusses more than 200 peer-reviewed studies and documents what scientific research does and does not show about sexuality and gender.  The report was authored by two of the nation’s leading scholars on mental health and sexuality.

The major takeaway, as the editor of the journal explains, is that “some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence.”

Go see Ben-Hur

ben-hur

The remake of Ben-Hur is easily the best of the recently produced biblically themed epic movies. It may be the best of that genre ever made. It is better than the 1959 version, and I am a big fan of that epic movie with Charlton Heston.

The acting is excellent. Jack Huston plays the title role with surprising range, handling all of the vicissitudes of Ben-Hur’s life with a believable quality. Morgan Freeman is great as the chariot owner who helps redeem Ben-Hur, and Nazanin Boniadi does excellent work as Ben-Hur’s wife Esther.

You may or may not know that the movie is the fifth film adaptation of the 1880 novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.” The story centers on Judah Ben-Hur, a wealthy Jew from Jerusalem in the first century AD. His adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell) is a Roman who ends up becoming an officer in the Roman army. The Romans have occupied the Holy Land, and Judah Ben-Hur is caught in the middle between the Jewish people who oppose Roman rule and Messala’s desire to pacify Judea for the glory of Rome.

If you have seen the Charlton Heston version, you may know that Judah gets ruined by the Romans and sent to work on a slave galley ship for five years. He is kept alive by hatred of his adopted brother and his desire for revenge. There is an epic battle scene (one of the most thrillingly realistic and gruesome battle scenes ever in the movies) and Judah survives. He ends up washing ashore and being saved by Morgan Freeman, who takes advantage of Judah’s knowledge of horses. Soon he is training for the chariot races, where he will face Messala in a climactic showdown.

The Savior is in the background in this story. Judah first meets him when he is a well-spoken carpenter in Jerusalem more than five years before his crucifixion. The Savior helps Judah when he becomes a slave by giving him water and helping him stand up when he is weak. The spiritual high point of the movie comes during the Savior’s crucifixion, which is portrayed extremely well.

Ben-Hur is a movie about forgiveness, family and the power of love and sacrifice. It is a spiritual movie without being preachy or corny. It has some of the best action scenes I have ever witnessed in the movies. Good acting. Great cinematography. I plan on watching it again soon.

Some of our biblical scholars may be bothered by the fact that the movie has Christ working as a carpenter in Jerusalem five years before his crucifixion, which contradicts the scriptures. Hey, it’s a fictional account, and the authors took a few liberties.

Another warning: the two action scenes on the galley and in the chariot races are too overwhelming and bloody for children. These scenes are why the movie has a PG-13 rating. I would not recommend that any children under 14 see this movie.

But otherwise, this movie is a rarity in a day when so many horrible movies are being made. Go see it.