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

On Torture

imageToday someone wrote that Mormons don’t abhore torture, that they are taught it is more important to obey than to avoid immoral or evil acts. This apparently comes up because Mormons tend to vote for Republicans, and it was the Republican presidency of George Bush under which torture was used as one method of obtaining information regarding the activities of Al Qaeda. Also, there are those who have worked for the CIA and otherwise supported certain of these activities who happened to be Mormons. These critics appear not to have heard the same sermons I have heard, or read the same scriptures. These critics appear not to have learned the same history I learned. Continue reading

The Difficulty of Dialogue Without Disclosure

Many moons ago, there was a certain person that started a certain movement that included something about using civil rights tactics to make changes within the LDS church. At that time I questioned this person, on behalf of a woman thinking of joining this movement, about her [the founder’s] beliefs… and started a firestorm. But I promised to revisit the issue later. I never did.

I started to, but then gave up on it for lack of time. Time passed, the movement largely died out and lost media attention. People got sick of talking about it, and that was that. But I still had this long post that took an interview (that I had in fact, at least in part, caused to take place via my questions) on FMHW and asked questions and drew conclusions based on her own words.

And just being me, I couldn’t resist throwing in a bit of irony:

On the day that Mormons believe John the Baptist restored the priesthood to the earth, [this movement] launched their 6 discussions to promote their cause. Ironically, the question [the founder] would not answer was if she believed that John the Baptist, as a resurrected angel, restored the priesthood to the earth because it was no longer found on the earth.

Continue reading

When the temple helps, part 2

This is a guest post by Daniel Ortner.

This is the second part of my story touching on how the temple has helped me through trials and challenges in my life.

As with the first post, I hope that those reading this post will contribute to future posts by sharing those stories and experiences. For those who have been comforted in a time of crisis or received personal revelation in a moment of need, I hope that your stories will inspire and help others. For those who struggled with the temple at first, I hope you will share stories of how you eventually came to find peace and meaning in the ordinances of the temple and that your words will be a balm in Gilead for those in pain.

If you would like to share a story, please e-mail it to me at [email protected], or continue to post in the comments.

After my conversion in front of the Boston Temple, I faced a great amount of family opposition as a result of my conversion and my desire to be baptized. Because of the opposition of my father in particular, I waited ten long months before his heart was finally softened in regard to my decision to be baptized. In that time, the temple again stood as anchor to my soul. When I felt down, I would often drive to the temple and read scriptures in front of it. I deeply longed to enter into the temple and to be able to perform the sacred ordinances on behalf of my mother who had died when I was 18.

As a studied abroad in London, I was also able to visit the London Temple grounds several times and loved the incredible peace that I experienced there.

After my baptism, my attachment to the temple only intensified. The weekend after my baptism, I went to the New York temple and performed baptisms for the dead. As I entered the temple and stood in the font, the spirit again strongly testified to me that I was in the House of Lord. Each time I went to the temple, I felt transformed, and empowered to overcome trials and challenges.

Soon, I faced the challenge of deciding whether I should serve a mission. I knew that I would face strong family opposition if I decided to go. As I struggled, I spent many hours in the baptistry and on temple grounds praying. Three experiences at the temple stand out.

First, in the coldest months of winter, I had a job going door to door fundraising for non-profit organizations. As part of that job, we were working in the Belmont area. I knew the temple was nearby, but for the first couple of days did not see it. Finally, on one of the days, I walked up a small hill and in the distance saw the temple. The Angel Moroni seemed to me such an incredible beacon of light and hope that pierced through the cold New England weather.

Second, during a particularly dark and difficult period for me, we had a stake conference in the chapel by the Boston Temple. Stephen Wood, the Boston Temple President, gave an incredible talk where he talked about the story of Peter walking on Water and emphasized that all of us must face moments in our life when we must walk in darkness and beyond our comfort zone. His talk made a deep impression of me and I felt that I should try talking to him, but could not get to him during the conference. The next day, I felt strongly that I should go the temple grounds. As I walked around, I felt prompted to walk on a path that I usually did not walk on. As I did so, I ran into President Wood. I spoke to him and expressed my appreciation for his remarks. As I told him about my conversion and my dilemma, he invited me to his house and gave me a priesthood blessing to help me make the right decision.

Finally, as the deadline for me to decide whether to put my papers in fast approached, I was still deeply conflicted. One morning, I felt inspired to fast and to go visit the temple grounds. I went early in the morning as the sun was just rising. As I looked at the sun rising above the temple, I felt a feeling like fire fill my bosom. I knew that heavenly father would take care of me if I chose to serve and that serving was the thing I could do that would do the most good.

I am so grateful for the power of the temple in helping me to overcome trials and receive reassurance in times of need.

Review: Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration

imageMonday I finally sat down and watched the hour-long film, Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration.

This is a motion picture created by the Church to provide an introduction to the life and legacy of Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a nice enough film, but I could wish for a few improvements. Continue reading