Review of Cinderella

Several members of my family decided to go see the recent Cinderella movie from Disney. We quite enjoyed it. This review is full of spoilers, so if you want to be entirely surprised by Kenneth Branaugh’s modern take on this favorite tale, (or if you simply don’t care about movies involving blonde girls) you can stop reading now. Continue reading

I Shall Not, I’m Mormon

tencommandmentsLocated at the LDS Church website is a short video and comment about The Ten Commandments given by God to Israel through the Prophet Moses. Often it seems that those who don’t know Mormons, and some who do, have this idea that the faith has too many rules and regulations. Most importantly that somehow the religion is different from all the others in the approach to ethics and commandments. Some have said there are over 100 commandments that Mormons must follow. There is some truth to these opinions because the Western World has changed over the years. What is expected of people today is far less than what was taught before the social revolutions back a generation. Yet, understanding the required behaviors for a believing Mormon isn’t that hard.

The first recognition is that Mormons are not Eastern Quakers or Catholic Nuns and Monks. It is taught that a person should live in the world, but not of the world. That means participating in life; going to work, getting married, going to school, raising children, etc. Life is not about a cloistered existence. That leaves a lot of room for what a Mormon can do in this world. As one blog noted about living the standards of the faith, ” “There may be lots of rules and guidelines but these aren’t rocket science. Its simple things like get enough sleep, wear appropriate clothing. If you ask me…. Being Mormon is easy. The world is hard!”

What are the Mormon standards they are asked to live with as a believer? It starts with a basic list that can be found in the Bible of all places. In the book of Exodus Chapter 20 the list includes:

. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).

2. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” (Exodus 20:4).

3. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (Exodus 20:7).

4. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8).

5. “Honour thy father and thy mother” (Exodus 20:12).

6. “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13).

7. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).

8. “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15).

9. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Exodus 20:16).

10. “Thou shalt not covet” (Exodus 20:17).

At the very least this list is the most basic of guidelines to be followed. In case any of the above was missed in the first reading, these 10 Commandments are found in Mosiah 13, where the question is asked why those who teach it don’t follow them? Continue reading

Commandments not a few, and revelations in their time

One doubt that I frequently encounter among those who have lost faith that this Church is being led by Christ through continuing revelation Is that we have not received a canonized revelation in several decades and that the Prophets after Joseph Smith have on the whole received very few revelations. I came across a very interesting quote in a talk given by Bruce R. McConkie to the Sperry Symposium which sheds some light on why this is so. The quote is lengthy, but I am going to quote it in full and then I will address some of the insights it provides. Continue reading

Book Review: Adam S Miller’s Grace is Not God’s Backup Plan

Grace is not something most Mormons understand well. I joined the Church in 1975 at the age of 16, and for every time I heard someone use the word “grace”, I must have heard the word “obedience” or “keep the commandments” one thousand times.  “Obedience is the first law of heaven” was a mantra back then. I got to a point in my early Mormon life where I believed that Jesus’ atonement was limited, and we virtually earned our way into heaven.

Yet we cannot save ourselves. Without grace, we cannot earn heaven. Even if we kept all the commandments, we could not resurrect ourselves nor find the path into God’s mansions. Continue reading