President Kimball on Church discipline

President Spencer W. Kimball, counseling priesthood leaders, said:

“We are concerned that too many times the interviewing leader in his personal sympathies for the transgressor, and in his love perhaps for the family of the transgressor, is inclined to waive the discipline which that transgressor demands.

“Too often a transgressor is forgiven and all penalties waived when that person should have been disfellowshipped or excommunicated. Too often a sinner is disfellowshipped when he or she should have been excommunicated. …

“Do you remember what was said by the prophet Alma? ‘Now,’ he said, ‘repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment.’ [Alma 42:16.]

“Ponder on that for a moment. Have you realized that? There can be no forgiveness without real and total repentance, and there can be no repentance without punishment. This is as eternal as is the soul. …

“Please remember these things when somebody comes before you who has broken the laws of God.

“It is so easy to let our sympathies carry us out of proportion; and when a man has committed sin, he must suffer. It’s an absolute requirement—not by the bishop—but it’s a requirement by nature and by the very part of a man.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1975, p. 116; or Ensign, May 1975, p. 78.)

Thoughts from readers?

The Purpose of Prayer

Albrecht Dürer - Praying Hands, 1508 - Google Art ProjectA few days ago John S. Harvey sent the M* editors a question regarding the purpose of prayer. John particularly wondered what the M* community thinks about praying for the leaders of countries throughout the world.

I’m curious *what* we should pray for?  I assume God has a plan in mind and that my asking him to change any aspect of that plan isn’t going to change the plan.  And likewise if I happen to pray in ways that are consistent with His plan I don’t think it would increase the efficacy of the plan in any way.  I assume that God is already trying to prompt leaders to do what is right (obviously many don’t).

If I pray that hearts will be changed/softened that sounds nice, but wouldn’t God already be trying to get them to do what is right?  I know we have been commanded to pray that the opportunities for missionary work around the world will increase.  And so I do that.

“At the end of the day I’m left with the question of what should I be praying for with respect to leaders of countries throughout the world?  It seems like almost any prayer is either asking for the leader’s agency to be taken away, or for God’s plan to be changed given that God would already be trying to get them to do what is right already.”

John said that praying for Church leaders is different for him. “In the case of Church leaders much of what I am praying for is to bring my will into harmony with God’s will and for the leaders to be able to understand and accomplish God’s will.  That seems to be a very different set of motivations than any of the leader’s of countries I can think of.”

What think ye? How do you envision that prayers for world leaders work?

Knit Hearts of the Past

Nauvoo has long captivated me. But it wasn’t until 2015 that I decided I wanted to move there someday.

As of this week I am the delighted owner of a brick home on Mulholland Street, within easy walking distance of the Nauvoo temple and all the businesses in town.

The home has curb appeal and the “built in 1850” note suggested historical significance. It’s been fun tracing the history of the original families to build the home as it now is. And in what was a family living in a mostly Catholic Nauvoo, I found an unexpected tie to Mormonism. Continue reading

Exploring Near Death Experiences

In 1975, Dr. Raymond A. Moody coined the term “near-death experiences” in his bestselling book Life After Life.

Mormons have latched on to this concept, which is not surprising, considering our unique doctrine regarding the afterlife.

Dr. Brent Top has researched extensively near-death experiences, especially by those outside of the LDS community.

He has identified several common elements to these experiences such as the “life review,” encountering loved ones, and spirit communication.

Far from fading as a fad, the topic is becoming more and more popular.

While Dr. Top finds his studies interesting, he warns of the danger of trying to establish doctrine through experience. He emphasizes what the LDS doctrine is regarding the afterlife rather than anecdotal experiences. He also introduces a concept he coined as the “Apocraphal Principle” to help us evaluate these stories.

Check out links to extra resources at LDS Perspectives.