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!!

What does the possible normalization of relations with Cuba mean for the Church?

The Church has very quietly been growing in Communist Cuba. There are now two branches in the capital, Havana. Elder Bednar dedicated the country for preaching the Gospel in February 2012, and Elder Holland visited again this summer. The Church News quoted Elder Holland as saying: “Although we are small in number, each member is precious to us, and Cuba is precious to us.”

Elder Holland visited the site of Elder Bednar’s dedication, which overlooks Havana, and said, “the promises of the dedicatory blessing are unfolding.”

President Obama’s announcement Wednesday that he would seek the normalization of relations with Cuba seems to be coming right on schedule. It is easy to imagine that increased travel and trade with the United States would very soon lead to missionaries and strong growth of the Church in the coming years.

This story from the Deseret News has some interesting tidbits.

Though it is not registered, the Cuban department of religious affairs welcomed the church in 2004, when the first branch was established, and it and other faiths have helped the church find locations for worship.

Elder Holland also met with government officials in June.

That doesn’t mean missionary work is likely to happen quickly, Martinich added. In recent decades, the church generally has moved meticulously before opening a mission in a country where it hasn’t had one before.

“I wouldn’t imagine a mission there for a few years,” Martinich said. “What’s more likely to happen is that, when and if Cuba gives the church official recognition, missionaries would be reassigned from another mission,” such as one in the Dominican Republic.

One first already happened three years ago: A Cuban native from the Havana Branch served an LDS mission in the United States beginning in 2011.

Continue reading

The Third Sunday of Advent

The Festival of Advent is celebrated the four Sundays before Christmas. It is a time of preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ. This year, my family is celebrating Advent with activities and a devotional each Sunday night. Read about our first week HERE and our second week HERE.

Helama 14 5Last night as we were setting up our Christmas tree, my six year old son asked me if we believed in the star on the top of the tree. I thought it was a very insightful question for a six year old to ask. I said yes we do believe in the Christmas Star and asked him, what does the star symbolize? He said, “It’s Jesus’ birthday star.”

We went on to talk about the signs of Christ’s birth, specifically the signs given to the people on this continent by the prophet Samuel the Lamanite. In Helaman 14, we read:

2 And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name.

3 And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day.

4 Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born.

5 And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.

6 And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven.

7 And it shall come to pass that ye shall all be amazed, and wonder, insomuch that ye shall fall to the earth.

8 And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life.

Continue reading

Mormonism as a Model for National Policy

imageI have great regard for my ward’s PR Representative. Today he forwarded a link to an article in National Review talking about how Mormons are much more observant of their beliefs than other Christian groups, The Mormon Advantage: Leaving theology aside, what can we learn from the Mormons? by Maggie Gallagher.

Embedded within this article was a link to a 2011 thesis published by my alma mater, the Naval Postgraduate School. Intrigued by what military folks might find of interest in the religion I profess, I looked up the paper, Growing an Ideology: How the Mormons Do It, authored by USAF Maj Marshall F. Chalverus and USAF Maj Michael A. Thomas. These two intelligence officers (clearly not Mormon themselves) had decided that it would be worth studying a fast-growing religion that bucks theories regarding how religions grow to determine how it might be best to counter insurgencies in support of US National Policy. Continue reading

Videos on the “Reason for the Season”

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.