A Question About What the LDS Church Officially Teaches About Priesthood

I had a long conversation with a Mormon friend on the internet in which he said something that got me curious how members of the LDS church would answer or react to certain question or questions. I am going to ask the questions using language as clear as I can, which requires the language to be a bit more blunt than you might normally want. But I do not feel it’s an unfair or unclear question as worded:

Does the LDS Church’s magisterium (i.e. what LDS members call “The Brethren”) teach that the collection of all religious or priesthood authorities (or equivalent) of all religions in the world can be split into two broad categories?:

  1. A single priesthood authority that is Divine, namely that of the LDS Church.
  2. All other religious authorities of all other religions, which are man-made.

Continue reading

Podcast: God and the Problem of Pain with David F. Holland

David F. Holland is a respected scholar and Professor of New England Church History at Harvard Divinity School. On October 29, 2016, he spoke on the topic “Latter-day Saints and the Problem of Pain” at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at BYU in Provo, Utah.

Recently LDS Perspectives host Nick Galieti interviewed David Holland about his presentation at BYU, his further explorations on the seemingly paradoxical problem of pain, as well as the role pain and suffering play in the journey of the Christian disciple.

David reflects on counsel given to his father from Elder Neal A. Maxwell, prior to an address Holland’s father gave at BYU. The counsel was to be sensitive to the unseen problems that inform the varied histories of audience members, “There are scars that go unnoticed, but you must see them. You must tread with caution on the hallowed ground of another’s suffering.”

Holland shared that two members of his New England area stake committed suicide within a week of each other. It is in this backdrop that David spoke in simultaneous roles as an admittedly amateur-philosopher and historian-scholar.

He reviewed a history of the role of pain and suffering in early American religious settings, as well as proposed answers to the questions many still carry about the relationship of pain to our mortal experiences. Answers for which the restored gospel of Latter-day Saint theology meets in rich and profound ways.

Holland elaborates on how historically religions saw pain and suffering as the voice of God declaring his displeasure with their actions. Others felt discord with the concept of a deity that only spoke when displeased.

The people of early America, when faced with this paradox of “a choice in which God could either be cruel or mute, they increasingly chose the silence.” Thus a mute God, and a rigidly closed cannon became part of how many religious Americans viewed life and religious practice.

Many today view God, or their concept of God, as the answer to pain and suffering. If there is no reprieve from pain, then there must be no God. With so many today feeling the pains of depression and other mental health issues, Holland postulates that “[Mental illness] is the next great frontier of our ministry [as Latter-day Saints].”


Tenderness is Strength

This TED talk by Pope Francis is a delight (particularly for those of us who speak Italian).

He talks of how each of us is precious and necessary. He calls for us to care for others over “things.” And he asks us to be tender with one another, following the example of Jesus Christ.

Tenderness is strength (La tenerezza e la fortezza), Pope Francis assures us.

This builds on the conversation Mauro Properzi had with Laura Hales, posted to this blog in April.

The restored gospel is required for salvation (aligned with God’s intent, or “true”), but that does not mean that there isn’t great richness to be found as we embrace our brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Reluctant Polygamist, the website

As promised, I’ve put the full text of Reluctant Polygamist up on reluctantpolygamist.com.

Not only is the text there, but I’ve added the google translate widget, so the entire thing can be read in any of 110 languages. Adding fun to function, most of the pages have a “Listen to Page” button so you can have the text read to you by a resonant UK male voice, courtesy of the Responsive Voice widget.

One of the pages I assembled was a mapping between the blog posts I’ve put up here at Millennial Star and the chapters in the book. It is now trivially simple to compare my original posts and my final text.

There’s a survey for that!

Each month, Reluctant Polygamist will run a survey sampling readers. Since the website has only just launched, the Millennial Star audience is invited to participate in the May survey. Reluctant Polygamist: May 2017 Survey. When the results are in (end of May or when the survey reaches the maximum number of respondents) I’ll report on the answers here. Continue reading

Podcast: The Power of Positive Self Talk

Growing up, Leta Greene never thought she would grow up to be a beauty consultant and motivational speaker. But she has overcome the scars of emotional and physical abuse and feelings of awkwardness and ugliness, excelling at life by choosing happiness.

Leta has developed a system of changing the way women perceive themselves through daily validation or “vanity prayers.” She has learned that nobody can give from an empty well. One of the most important things we need to nurture is our relationship with ourselves.

Through her experiences, she speaks to setting healthy boundaries to protect against emotional and physical abuse and listening to our inner compasses in our interactions. She advocates only allowing into our spheres of influence those we love, trust, and who take responsibility.

The way women perceive themselves is often the biggest “glass ceiling” they need to break in order to excel and achieve their dreams. Leta gives us some tools to begin thinking in new ways.