Stop the Contention

fightingI’m one of the Gospel Doctrine teachers in my ward. It’s a calling l love, but am terrified of all at the same time. Teaching the gospel to adults is very hard, especially when I feel like I’m the least experienced in the room. But it’s good to feel inadequate sometimes. It pushes me to rely on the Lord a lot more to do my calling the right way.

This year’s course of study has been The Book of Mormon and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Over the last few weeks as we’ve wound our way thru the chapters in the Book of Alma and Helaman there are stark patterns that emerge that parallel our day. Some people call it “The Pride Cycle”, but basically it’s the story of the human condition since the beginning of time. People are good, they are blessed, then become prideful and wicked. They fall, and become enslaved – either to their own vice and are destroyed , or are literally taken away as slaves to be humbled. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Sometimes the cycle repeats itself several times in the course of a year.

Right before the Savior’s visit to the Nephites in 3 Nephi, this cycle becomes particularly vicious, with the people dividing themselves up into tribes and with the Gadianton Robbers bearing down on everyone they can. At the death of the Savior, the land is broken up, there is great destruction and the Nephite civilization is destroyed, with “the more righteous part” of the people being left to pick up the pieces and start over. Continue reading

Same-sex marriage: Some chasms are unbridgeable

There’s a post by Michael Austin over at By Common Consent on the subject of same-sex marriage, the thesis of which is the heterodox but increasingly fashionable idea that the church should not discipline members who have legally married someone of the same sex.

I’ll briefly disagree before getting to the deeper issue. Michael argues that this change would not require any alteration in theology, and maybe not in fundamental doctrine either. The “line” of Latter-day Saint sexual ethics, he says, is drawn, or at least has historically often been drawn, by the phrase “legally and lawfully wedded”. Thus, a change in secular law (US law?) is a change in Mormon religious teaching. But while the phrase he refers to is part of our body of revelation, so are hundreds of instances where prophets and apostles have gone to the trouble of teaching explicitly that marriage is between a man and a woman and, of course, that sexual contact is only permissible within marriage. Let’s take them at their word, if only out of respect for their time. Continue reading

America, land of tyranny?

I was recently speaking with a friend, who just quit his job at a correctional facility. This is a place where I once worked, but was fired at, due to a new boss that believes in taking no prisoners. Since my firing 6 months ago, this boss has fired, demoted, or driven away many good people.  What once was a close-knit family with some struggles, is now a divided work place, where many people tip toe around, fearing for their jobs.

Sadly, this seems to more and more be the norm in our society. There was a time when a person was hired at IBM and stayed forever. Loyalty went both directions, up and down the chain. The boss and the worker would look out for each other.

Today, people are just resources to use up and replace, while work locations are just a temporary place to make money, with no loyalty for one another. Continue reading

Why the Hobby Lobby Decision is a Victory for People of Faith and for Society

Why the Hobby Lobby Decision is a Victory for People of Faith and for Society

Guest Post by Daniel Ortner

The recent Hobby Lobby decision has been widely praised in the conservative media and greeted with deep alarm among the left. Yet, in reality the decision was a modest one that will likely have almost no impact on the employees of Hobby Lobby or Conestoga Wood. Indeed, the most likely outcome is that the government simply offers to religiously motivated for-profits the same accommodation that they are currently offering churches and religiously affiliated hospitals whereby upon certification of a religious objection, the health insurance providers cover contraception at no cost to the employer or employee.

So why is this case nevertheless a big deal? Why should members of the LDS Church and other people of faith celebrate the ruling? The threshold question in this case was whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which congress passed in the early 90’s to protect religious people of conscience applies to religiously motivated for-profit companies as well as churches and other people of conscience.

In other words, the key question is whether individuals who form for-profit entities lose the ability to assert religious freedom claims under the RFRA. For the dissent, because “an individual separates herself from the entity and escapes personal responsibility for the entity’s obliga­tions,”[1] by incorporation, that individual cannot argue that a government requirement violates his/her individual conscience. In other words, because the law removes personal liability from most business decisions, the dissent suggests that an individual should be expected to compartmentalize or separate his faith and his business activities.
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Educational Christmas Advent for Children

NativtyThis year our family is doing a new educational Christmas Advent for the 12 days of Christmas.  This advent idea was given to me by my good friend, Yvonne Averett.  She has two girls ages 9 and 11, and made it for them.  They are a homeschool family, and this is one of the ways that they are inviting the Christmas Spirit and Christ into their homeschool this year.  I know not everyone who reads my blog is a Christian, but I am and loved this idea.  So, I thought I would pass it along.  I am always up for family learning and good homeschool ideas. Continue reading