When the temple helps

This is a guest post by Daniel Ortner, who blogs at symphony of dissent.

Feminist Mormon Housewives has been running a series entitled When the Temple Hurts, in which members of the Church who had negative or conflicted experiences with the temple have shared their experiences. It seems to me that this has been a useful project in creating a space for individuals to share their feelings and their doubts. I have had several close friends struggle with elements of the temple, and so I know that the feeling of disappointment and disillusionment that some experience is very real. I hope not to diminish from those very real lived experiences in any way.

However, reading the series has made it apparent to me that a place is also needed for individuals to share their positive thoughts, feelings, and experiences regarding the temple. 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.

Of course, different individuals have a different understanding of what they are allowed to speak of regarding temple ordinances. Additionally, many temple experiences are so sacred that they perhaps cannot be appropriately shared outside of the temple or in a public setting. Please use your discretion and follow the promptings of the spirit in deciding what is appropriate to share.

I firmly believe in the promise of Joseph Smith’s Kirtland Temple Dedication: “That thy glory may rest down upon thy people, and upon this thy house, which we now dedicate to thee, that it may be sanctified and consecrated to be holy, and that thy holy presence may be continually in this house; And that all people who shall enter upon the threshold of the Lord’s house may feel thy power, and feel constrained to acknowledge that thou hast sanctified it, and that it is thy house, a place of thy holiness.” I feel very strongly that collecting these stories will help strengthen faith and testimonies and helping others feel the power and holiness of the Lord’s House.

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When the Temple Helps: Daniel’s Conversion

This story is part of a new series, When the Temple Helps. Please feel free to share your stories and testimonies of the temple in order to uplift and inspire others.

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Seeing Joseph Smith

Joseph
People always have the weirdest images of Joseph Smith added to their posts or dominating the covers of their books. I decided to go looking to see if I could find a picture that made me relatively happy.

In doing so, I tumbled across Kim Marshall’s blog, discussing a 2nd generation unedited photographic print copied from the original daguerreotype of Joseph Smith from 1840-1844. She clearly marks the images on her website as copyrighted, but the painting at the head of this post is obviously based on that original daguerreotype.

[Update – I now agree with those who assert that Kim Marshall’s photographic print is a photo of the painting, though a much nicer photo of the painting than the “photo” Joseph’s son submitted to the Library of Congress, the one with weirdly chopped off hair that is often used in articles talking about Joseph by those outside the faith. I don’t doubt Kim Marshall’s sincerity. However, for a fun tour of what one can do with photoshop, check out these images of Rowan Atkinson suggesting a lifespan extending centuries.] Continue reading

The Refiner’s Fire

Whew! It’s felt kind of crazy the last few days in the LDS social media world. This Mormon Messages video came at the right time for me. Some days, and especially, lately, I have felt the brunt of the world pushing up on me, as I try to do what is right. I feel like I get it right some of the time, and some of the time I am the Hindenburg going down in a fireball of catastrophe.

This video is called “The Refiners Fire” and is based off a 2011 talk, called “The Songs They Could Not Sing” given by Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles.

I hope it will lighten your burden a bit today.

Growing Evidence Links Utah Suicides to Altitude

Provo Temple nightI just read this very interesting article about the “Utah Paradox” which is that we are both the happiest state and also the one with the highest use of antidepressants. On top of that, we’ve long had a high suicide rate that many church critics have attempted to link to Mormonism. It’s also been known for a long time that Utah is part of the “suicide belt” — a group of states that all have a high suicide rate (with Utah often being the best of that belt. Since both Provo and Las Vegas are both in the belt, and have little in common culturally, the suspicion that altitude’s effects on the brain is a leading cause of suicides has floated around for decades.

Now there is growing evidence that this might just be the right hypothesis.

Unfortunately this might also mean that Mormonism might not get to take full credit for being the happiest state either. Read the article to find out why.

This is a good little fact to know, however, to deflect church critics with when they try to link all manner of church beliefs to suicide.

What You Should Know About That Mormon Gender Issues Survey

[Note: this post was co-authored by J. Max Wilson and LDS Philosopher]

rubin-and-ed

“If the answer to any of these questions is not 100% yes, then come with me right now for a free introductory seminar on power through positive real-estate.”

Regarding the “Mormon Gender Issues Survey” that you may have seen being passed around social media:

The survey was created by a group calling itself the “Mormon Gender Survey Group”, which includes in its membership well-known LDS dissenter and agitator, John Dehlin, as well as other progressive Mormon activists who have pushed for the church to ordain women and to change its doctrine regarding homosexuality.

The survey questions are worded in ways that subtly push their typical agenda. Continue reading