Book Review: A Reason for Faith

Book Review: A Reason for Faith – Navigating LDS Doctrine and Church History,
    editor: Laura Harris Hales

May 9, 2016 (4)

On February 26, 2016, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles spoke to all Institute and Seminary teachers across the world. Noting the wonderful developments in CES over the past century, he then said that he is more keenly interested in the next century of training the young minds of the Church in religious doctrine and testimony. Elder Ballard then gave an important warning and guidance on the needs of the new century:

“Gone are the days when a student asked an honest question and a teacher responded, “Don’t worry about it!” Gone are the days when a student raised a sincere concern and a teacher bore his or her testimony as a response intended to avoid the issue. Gone are the days when students were protected from people who attacked the Church. Fortunately, the Lord provided this timely and timeless counsel to you teachers: “And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”

“This is especially applicable today because not all of your students have the faith necessary to face the challenges ahead and because many of them are already exposed through the Internet to corrosive forces of an increasingly secular world that is hostile to faith, family, and gospel standards. The Internet is expanding its reach across the world into almost every home and into the very hands and minds of your students.” (Elder M. Russell Ballard, An Evening with a General Authority)

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Sodom and Gomorrah

I do not have a problem with people choosing LGBTQ lifestyles. I personally believe government should be out of the marriage business, and do not care if gays marry, or even if polygamy is legalized. I do consider traditional marriage as approved and blessed of God, but that is outside the confines liberty, IMHO.

That said, I think about what the scholar Harold Bloom wrote about Sodom and Gomorrah. The cities were not destroyed because of homosexuality. Instead, they were destroyed because they sought to impose their wickedness upon others by force, what Bloom called incivility. Continue reading

Book Review: The Reluctant Polygamist, by Meg Stout

Note: This is a book review of The Reluctant Polygamist, by Meg Stout. This book will be released within the next few weeks.  Meg has posted an offer for a limited autographed edition at a discount.

RP Cover

As a historian, I frequently find intriguing stories told by others with interesting interpretations of the data.  When there is much quality data available, most scholars will tend to agree on the interpretation of that data.

Sadly for us, the issue of polygamy in the early Church (Kirtland and Nauvoo) was often shrouded in secrecy and mystery. Most discussions regarding it were not written down until decades later, often in second, third or even fourth hand accounts. Even then, many of the accounts were filled with suppositions or only half-told hints, leaving modern historians to attempt to fill in the blank spaces. Continue reading

General Conference: Saturday Afternoon Session

General Conference: Saturday Afternoon Session

Presiding: Pres Monson
Conducting: Pres Eyring
Choir: BYU-Idaho

Hymn: Sing Praise to Him

Pres Uchtdorf presents leaders for sustaining vote. Many Area 70s released and sustained.
Primary presidency released. Sustained as new Primary presidency: Pres Joy D Jones, 1C Jean Beham, 2C Cordon.
Annual reports for finances and statistics. Continue reading

General Conference: Saturday Morning Session

General Conference: Saturday morning session

Presiding: Pres Monson
Conducting: Pres Uchtdorf

Hymn: Come Ye Children of the Lord
Prayer: Sister Linda K. Burton, General Relief Society President
Hymn: I Feel My Savior’s Love

Pres Eyring
We are under covenant to remember and serve Christ. We gather together in His name. Even with millions of disciples, he is close to each of us and in our midst, by the power of His Spirit. Call upon Christ while he is near. Seek him diligently and you will find him.

Received 2 letters from converts, who had a strong testimony. However, both were now struggling to feel God’s love. Parable of the Sower, many grow, but then wither. All of us have much in common with those who wrote, that we all have seeds to nurture. All have had faith tested, by attacks from those wishing to destroy our faith, delayed answers/blessings, sorrow, etc. Some do not see the withering of their faith. Satan is clever, and attempts to have us believe our testimonies were just delusion.

The talks and hymns of this Conference will hopefully bless us with a more fertile ground, where the word of God can grow and be fruitful. As we join in prayer, we can grow closer to Him. D&C 50 preach and receive by the Spirit of God, any other way is not of God.

Pray while listening to hymns and speakers, and the Spirit can lift our hearts and strengthen us. Listen carefully to the testimonies given in this Conference, as they convey the Spirit of the Lord. “I leave my sure witness” that God loves everyone, Jesus is the Son of God. “The prophets and apostles you will hear in the Conference speak for the Lord.” Continue reading