Even before the official founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormonism has been using the most up to date communication technologies to spread the gospel. A particular viewpoint has been the incredulity that a highly successful new religious tradition started in the days of the printing press. Even more amazing is that it was printing, especially in the form of a new Holy Book called The Book of Mormon that contributed to its development. This was followed by newspapers and pamphlets that contained apologetics, sermons, information for the scattered members, and even new revelations. It was an amazing achievement of audacity and organization. The same can be said about its embrace of radio and television when they became widely available.
Modern times continues forward progress with the Internet, and the LDS Church is still utilizing the most advanced methods of communication in existence. It was one of the first religious organizations to develop a fully functional web site dedicated to connecting with members and spreading its teachings. This has been recognized with some regularity by those who pay attention to such things. Despite the belief that the Internet has been eroding the faith of Mormons, factual studies have shown that the LDS Church is still growing and retains more of its membership after young adulthood than most other religions. More can be done, but that is up to individuals who have been commanded since President David O. McKay that every member should be a missionary.
when I first started blogging ten years ago, my main concern was that very few “orthodox” members had a website worthy of reading. My own Straight and Narrow Blog, now a clearing house of my posts from other sources, had a mission statement goal to be a conservative voice among a large and loud liberal “un-orthodox” bloggernacle. I had hoped to be an example to start a trend for better and more thoughtful defenders of the traditional faith views. Comparing that time to today, there has been improvements in “orthodox” Mormon blogging. Unfortunately, the majority come from those who found one another and not to a lot of growth in blog numbers. Keeping up a blog is hard and too many come and go that could have survived if given support, even though other factors do contribute. Perhaps after ten years the idea of a strong, influential, and vibrant conservative “orthodox” blogging community is of limited possibility. Continue reading
Those members less inclined to know the history of the LDS Church, especially the more complicated parts, express concerns that they were told to keep away from reading non-faithful material. They claim to have been taught to always turn to Church sanctioned material only and avoid non or anti-Mormon literature. No doubt there has been warnings of the harmful effects of the less than official sources, but an outright ban is a misreading of many lessons taught. The message isn’t always clear because opinions on just how to approach anti-Mormonism is mixed. There is no one single set of standards how to engage or respond. What is consistent over the years is the warning and how to be careful.
Learning is an essential part of growing in the Kingdom of God. The subject matter that we should focus on is very wide. We read in Doctrine and Covenants 88: 77-80 how open: Continue reading
The modern theory of marriage is that two people who are in love should join as a union. Nothing else matters and is subjected to this quality. Interesting enough, the reason to get married is less about love and more financial or legal advantages. There are tax incentives and social contractual obligations for both the couple and State. According to the law, the two become essentially one with some caveats. It also seeks to publically legitimize the relationship, opening up an acceptance of the bonding. These social, financial, and political fortunes have always been the glue that holds the concept of marriage together. Love is actually the least important issue, and history has until relatively recently recognized that fact.
Pointing out that historically there have been many reasons for marriage beyond love is not to say it wasn’t a factor until the modern era. Instead, it is a recognition that marriage is a social construct for contractual and not emotional connections. Kings and Queens married to continue ruling an Empire. The rich conspired to marry off sons and daughters to create fortunes. Religious people married as an obligation to God for the perpetuation of the next generation. Love and attraction was necessary, but secondary or less. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising at a time when “love” trumps all, that less than half the marriageable population actually ties the knot. Who needs commitment when one can (as easy divorces indicate) fall in and out of love? The rich apparently, as a NYT article (see side link) explains according to a study. Its just become expensive for especially the poor.
For Mormonism, marriage is more old fashioned than the “new” old fashion. It reaches farther back than gender roles, white picket fences, and 3 or more kids. Like the traditional religious purpose, the main factor of marriage is an obligation to God for raising up the next righteous generation. Romantic love is not discouraged, but its not required. Above all, this marriage between a man and woman to form a family is far more than a suggestion; it is a commandment of God. For this reason, anyone who is capable must get married as a religious practice. More than this, it is necessary for full Exaltation in the Eternities. Those who claim to be attracted to the opposite sex can be as equally obligated to form a proper family unit as a heterosexual, so long as they are honest about their weakness. Continue reading
Coming at the scientific community like a ton of bricks, it has been revealed that Native American’s are not of exclusively Eastern Asian heritage. As the National Geographic states, “Native American genes come from west Eurasian people linked to the Middle East and Europe, rather than entirely from East Asians as previously thought.” The discovery of 24,000-year-old Siberian youth and a second 17,000 year old human remains nearby contain a third of western Eurasians genomes related to Middle East and Europe ancestry.
Needless to say, the discovery has been shocking to scientists who have for years insisted that there was only one DNA explanation for Native Americans. In the linked article, co-author and ancient-DNA specialist Eske Willerslev, of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, says, “These results were a great surprise to us . . . I hadn’t expected anything like this. A genome related to present-day western Eurasian populations and modern Native Americans as well was really puzzling in the beginning. How could this happen?” Not that there weren’t clues that indicated things weren’t what was expected long before this discovery. According to the scientists, it answers some long standing questions and anomalies. The mysterious Kennewick Man, who to some doesn’t look either East Asian or Native American, might not be a complete anomaly. In fact, it has always been something of a puzzle why, “no contemporary East Asian populations really resemble Native Americans,” Willerslev said. The evidence is growing from genetic, linguistic, and physical evidence that America has ancient migrants from multiple peoples.
Despite all the evidence, there are some things that can be concluded and others not about The Book of Mormon and the DNA discoveries. It is not as clear cut for both sides, no matter how strong feelings are about the issues. What does this mean? That question will be answered in response to relatively standard comments already made by others. Continue reading
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. Here are some videos to ponder the birth of our Savior and all that the Son of God did for the World.
The LDS Bible videos Nativity
Popular “The Bible” clip.
A world record musical tribute.
Children tell the Christmas story.
Another good suggestion is to watch the 1977 television mini-series “Jesus of Nazareth” extended telling of the story as part of the complete production. It wasn’t included here because of length and copyright issues, but can be found on Netflix. The Nativity portion ends with the Holy Family standing together and giving a collective “amen” to the camera.