Teachings of Pres Ezra Taft Benson – Kindle version

The Church, so far, only has a PDF version of the new PH/RS manual for 2015. It works great on large screens, but a 7″ tablet isn’t a large screen.  So, I’ve converted it over to Kindle MOBI format for anyone wanting it for their personal use.

It is available here: Pres Benson Manual

Also, I have the 2014 Oct General Conference in a PRC format (early MOBI format) available here: Oct 2014 General Conference.

Enjoy!!

The Historical Life of Jesus

Over a century ago, Albert Schweitzer wrote “The Historical Life of Jesus”, a review of the writings by German scholars from the 19th century on Jesus’ life.  In his review, he shows the various attempts by the historians and other scholars to reduce the life of Jesus to a purely historical event.  Miracles, resurrection, and eschatological teachings were all rejected and determined to be added later, or are reinterpreted. Continue reading

What Thanksgiving Means to Me

400 years ago, King James I encouraged his fellow Brits to worship in any church they wished, as long as it was the Church of England. Everyone else was persecuted.

One group, the Separatists (whom we usually call Pilgrims) left England for the Netherlands, in search of religious liberty.  In the Netherlands, they did have religious freedom, but were treated as second class citizens; they did not have economic freedom.  The Separatists decided there was only one final option: travel to edge of the world.  Obtaining financing and a charter to establish a colony in the Virginia area, 102 people set off on the tiny ship, the Mayflower.

The voyage was not an easy one. Miraculously, only two people died on the crossing. One of those was a sailor, who swore and cussed frequently. The Separatists warned him that he would bring a curse upon their ocean voyage, but he did not listen.  He was washed away during a storm.

A similar incident occurred to John Howland, my ancestor.  He was an indentured servant to John Carver. During a major storm, he was on deck trying to take a message from Governor Carver to the ship’s captain.  A large wave hit the deck and carried him overboard.  By a stroke of Providence, he was able to grab hold of a rope as he was swept overboard, and held on underwater for several minutes until the sailors could haul him back aboard.

Arriving to the Americas, the Pilgrims found the storms had pushed them further north than they planned. It was too late in the year to travel down to Virginia, and so they established a new charter for the group: the Mayflower Compact. This covenant was signed by 41 men. In William Bradford’s handwriting, the charter reads:

Transient

In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, 1620.

John Carver
William Bradford
Edward Winslow
William Brewster
Isaac Allerton
Myles Standish
John Alden
Samuel Fuller
Christopher Martin
William Mullins
William White
Richard Warren
John Howland
Stephen Hopkins
Edward Tilley
John Tilley
Francis Cooke
Thomas Rogers
Thomas Tinker
John Rigsdale
Edward Fuller
John Turner
Francis Eaton
James Chilton
John Crackstone
John Billington
Moses Fletcher
John Goodman
Degory Priest
Thomas Williams
Gilbert Winslow
Edmund Margesson
Peter Browne
Richard Britteridge
George Soule
Richard Clarke
Richard Gardiner
John Allerton
Thomas English
Edward Doty
Edward Leister
Continue reading

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

It is an amazing time to be a Mormon.  It is also a challenging time.

Why is it challenging? Because we are going through a period of inoculation. The Church sees that the Internet is full of information, both true and false, accurate and inaccurate, biased and non-biased. In the last decade, it has brought forth lots of information officially and unofficially, through the Joseph Smith Papers Project, and providing materials for books on Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Recently, they have published official papers online about the First Vision, Temple clothing, Polygamy, etc.  Many have probably seen the furor over Joseph’s 40 wives that the media has recently jumped on worldwide, as if it were previously a secret! Continue reading

Flooding the Earth via Social Media

During BYU Education Week, Elder Bednar gave a great speech on using social media to share the gospel.  Two months have passed since his talk, and while there was some talk on it, I fear that his fears may already be happening.  But let me review some of his main concepts, first.

Elder Bednar stated that it is time we use social media to flood the earth with the gospel. Right now, we are only causing a trickle to occur.  To put this in perspective, the number of gospel contacts made by the Church and its members in 2013 equated to each full time missionary companionship in the Church (88,000) to have over 100 gospel contacts per day, or 37,500 per year. 1.6 billion contacts total for 2013.

If this is just a trickle, then what would be considered flood stage? Ten times more? One Hundred times more? One thousand times more?  Continue reading