LDS General Authorities and Ageism.

With the sorrowful passing of two Apostles, once again the subject of age of the leadership has been brought up. The calling of one Prophet or Apostle to replace another is accompanied by the term gerontocracy. This is the idea that the leadership is much older than the general population. Yes this is true, but the attitude expressed by those reporting it often has a critical tone. This criticism does at times become a mocking accusation that none of them are fit for the position. There is a thinly veiled stereotype of sickly isolated curmudgeon set in their ways.

Reporters and those outside of Mormonism aren’t the only ones who think negatively of the ages. Many critics inside the LDS Church, and especially those who want to see a more lenient or worldly moral and theological change, feel the General Authorities are too old. They argue that the higher ages stifle innovation and perhaps keep revelation to a minimum. Younger leadership, they often argue, would see things differently and more expansive.

A pastime for both the faithful and those who aren’t as orthodox is to guess how many years a General Authority has to live and then who will take their place, Whole charts have been developed to see who is oldest and youngest among them, and then make educated guesses who will make it to the Presidency of the Church. Death of the leadership has become something of an obsession. Continue reading

To Know Our Father in Heaven

Every year there is an outpouring of celebration for Mothers in the LDS Church, and rightly so because of their importance. The next month comes Father’s day that gets mentioned and quickly fades away. To be honest, current American culture sees fathers as almost unnecessary. When there are fathers represented in pop culture, they are sloven and stupid. Many of them are shown as sports fanatics and bad mechanics. Certainly for Mormons with Heavenly Father as the guide there shouldn’t be such bad stereotypes. With his son Jesus Christ as an exemplar, husbands and fathers have a great responsibility not to become what media thinks they are. They should be loving, honest, and protective of women and children.

Many complain that we don’t know anything about Heavenly Mother, and some make up theories and rituals to elevate her. If honesty is important, those who want to “graduate” the female half of Heavenly Parents must acknowledge there isn’t much known about Father in Heaven either. We know as much as we do about Him because Jesus is His representative. Ultimately it is through Jesus Christ that we get near the Father. Time and again Jesus Christ states states only in getting to know him can one know the father, (John 14:9) ” . . . he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”

When Joseph Smith had what we call the First Vision of Father and Son, Jesus was introduced and then was charged to be the spokesman:

“It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (JSH 1:17).

This is similar to when Jesus was first publicly introduced as prophet and teacher to the masses on the day of his Baptism. When John the Baptist took him back out of the water, there as the witness, “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17). We are to look toward Jesus Christ to know Heavenly Father. The Gospel writer of St. John continually emphasised this relationship, essentially making both of them a collective along with the Holy Ghost. There is the culmination statement of John 14:6-7 that, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” Every teaching and action by Jesus Christ is in parallel to what Heavenly Father had said or done in the past. Continue reading

The Great Apostasy and Today

Because of events, apostasy is once again a subject on Mormon minds. The archetypal source of a definition comes from what is know as “The Great Apostasy” when the Church was lost from the Earth, leaving no God given authority. It has been assumed that the death of the original Apostles ordained by Jesus and complete Hellenization of doctrine caused the downfall. This is merely a generalization and doesn’t actually help in discussion about what Apostasy is and how to avoid it occurring again. Besides, the term didn’t exist beyond the concept until years after the founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The explanation of how it came about was not as important for the Restoration concept as the fact it did happen. Speculation about the reasons and events leading up to this Great Apostasy were a later development. Continue reading

Brandon Flowers “The Desired Effect” Review

The_Desired_Effect There is no denying that I am a child of the 80s with music, movies, and television. Music especially was filled with variety and experimentation that anyone could enjoy while listening to the radio. Rarely was there ever such an epic time, save it be the 60s that were much darker. A person could tune to different radio stations and find something of interest every try. For me the early 90s grunge and alternative era was the best match for my tastes and pop radio, almost never having to change the channel. Yet, for absolute volume of memorable bands, styles, and songs the 80s can hardly be matched. Perhaps each generation loses interest in the new, but today’s pop is filled with board room created artists, banal lyrics, and synthetic overproduced music. There wasn’t much hope of finding new likes.

I have already written about how Mormon artists saved me from a complete musical dark ages. There is the infectious Imagine Dragons and unique self-made Lindsey Sterling as examples. The non-Mormon Evanescence was a thin thread of musical sanity that still existed for me. People would tell me there was still good music out there, but they turned out to be underground short lived bands. No one stands out as a floodgate of hope more than Brandon Flowers and his band The Killers in this current century. His Mormonism was mentioned and so I gave his band a shot; and I loved its throwback aesthetics. Curious about other Mormon artists I found . . . well, an expansion of worthwhile music. Continue reading

Future of LDS Scouting: Problems and Proposals

Slowly the Boy Scouts of America is turning its back on the core mission of raising up boys to be men, and slouching toward who knows what. Following after “no tolerance” policies of many state run schools, the Boy Scouts has banned water guns and balloons excepted for in designated areas at specific targets. They are treating them as dangerous weapons. Later there was a declaration by the BSA president Robert Gates that there should be gay scout leaders. This leadership requirements change will have to be come to a vote, but the signs are leaning toward passage. The organization is starting to morph into something that founder Baden-Powell and scouts of the past simply would not recognize or perhaps approve.

The response of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one of the main supporters of the BSA, has been silent on the water projectile issue. There really isn’t much of a moral component, but certainly there are intelligence flaws. Widespread ridicule by more conservative members has been scathing. In contrast, the few liberal news articles on the subject indicates they are supportive of the more official clarification. They quote the BSA at length on how it isn’t a new policy while mixing in quotes from ban supporters.

A different, but cautious, response was issued by the LDS Church toward the possible gay leadership acceptance:

We have noted the comments by Boy Scouts of America President Robert Gates in relation to possible policy changes in the Boy Scouts of America. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will, of course, examine any such changes very carefully to assess how they might impact our own century-long association with the BSA.

Assuming this does pass, there is a possibility the association could end. It is no secret that some members would welcome the severing of the relationship. Even a few in the BSA see the LDS Church leaving as a mutual benefit since they don’t consider how it runs scouts as proper. There are risks to both sides if such a split is to happen. Continue reading