The Point of Sharing the Gospel

I was really disappointed by a recent article on Mormon Mentality entitled “The Missionary Work I Didn’t Do.” The author details speaking to a neighbor who expressly told her that she was dissatisfied with her Church. Because she feels that the Church is sexist, she concluded that it would have nothing to offer her neighbor and failed to invite the missionaries or pass along a Book of Mormon.

The think this, unfortunately, completely misses the point of missionary work. We do not simply offer a social club, moving services, or opportunities for fellowship. There are lots of great places one can go to get all of those things. Instead, we offer individuals something that they can get nowhere else. We offer ordinances necessary for salvation and exaltation performed with proper priesthood authority. There is no greater blessing that we can offer our friends and neighbors.

As Elder Oaks explained: Continue reading

On Doubt

imageRecently at the adult session of Stake Conference, we had a delightful interchange about how councils can bless our families and our congregations. There were two microphones being carried through the congregation so that any who wanted to comment could be heard.

On individual who commented raised the matter of those who have had doubts, who have decided they could not remain in the faith. I think the individual’s comment was tending towards suggesting that we should make it safe to doubt in the Church.

The response was instructive. It is fine to have questions, the visiting authority (Elder Perkins) said, but it is not acceptable to doubt. Doubt, he contended, ends hope of moving forward, while questions, even if unresolved for an extended period of time, permit the individual with questions to move forward in faith.

The Definition of Doubt 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

Seeking Smooth Things

This is a guest post by Reid Litchfield.

nahum1

The Pesher Nahum scroll of the Dead Sea Scrolls (4Q169) makes cryptic references to a group called ‘The Seekers of Smooth Things’. The theories about who these people were have some fascinating implications for the Church today.

I enjoy biblical history and have recently been studying the transitional period between the Maccabean Revolt and its resulting Hasmonean Dynasty and the Roman takeover of Judea. Over the course of this study, I encountered a quizzical group known as The Seekers of Smooth Things. The story of this obscure sect of Judaism, and their relevance to us today, begs to be told. But first, some background [1.When possible, I have tried to use numismatics to provide faces to the names in this post.] . . .

The Transition from Persian to Greek Rule

Following the death of Alexander the Great [2.Alexander III of Macedon. This coin minted by Lysimachos is thought to have one of the most accurate likenesses of Alexander the Great

Alexander III of Macedon. This coin, minted by Lysimachos, is thought to be one of the most accurate likenesses of Alexander the Great. There was a tendency for the successors of Alexander the Great to portray themselves as looking like Alexander in an attempt to legitimize their rule. As a result, stylistically many of the obverse images on the coins of the Ptolemies and Seleucids are similar to the this coin in style and appearance.], his vast kingdom was divided up among his generals, with Ptolemy [3.PtolemyPtolemy I Soter (305 – 282 BC)] taking Egypt and Seleucus [4.Seleucus I NicatorSeleucus 1 Nicator (306-281 BC)] taking Syria. Judea found itself in the middle of territorial battles between these two quarreling Greek armies. Ultimately Judah was conquered by the Seleucids, but the Jews continued to be unapologetically Jewish in their customs and religion. This proved to be very problematic for their new Greek masters.
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The State of “Orthodox” Mormon Blogging

hands-computer-828898-galleryEven before the official founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormonism has been using the most up to date communication technologies to spread the gospel. A particular viewpoint has been the incredulity that a highly successful new religious tradition started in the days of the printing press. Even more amazing is that it was printing, especially in the form of a new Holy Book called The Book of Mormon that contributed to its development. This was followed by newspapers and pamphlets that contained apologetics, sermons, information for the scattered members, and even new revelations. It was an amazing achievement of audacity and organization. The same can be said about its embrace of radio and television when they became widely available.

Modern times continues forward progress with the Internet, and the LDS Church is still utilizing the most advanced methods of communication in existence. It was one of the first religious organizations to develop a fully functional web site dedicated to connecting with members and spreading its teachings. This has been recognized with some regularity by those who pay attention to such things. Despite the belief that the Internet has been eroding the faith of Mormons, factual studies have shown that the LDS Church is still growing and retains more of its membership after young adulthood than most other religions. More can be done, but that is up to individuals who have been commanded since President David O. McKay that every member should be a missionary.

when I first started blogging ten years ago, my main concern was that very few “orthodox” members had a website worthy of reading. My own Straight and Narrow Blog, now a clearing house of my posts from other sources, had a mission statement goal to be a conservative voice among a large and loud liberal “un-orthodox” bloggernacle. I had hoped to be an example to start a trend for better and more thoughtful defenders of the traditional faith views. Comparing that time to today, there has been improvements in “orthodox” Mormon blogging. Unfortunately, the majority come from those who found one another and not to a lot of growth in blog numbers. Keeping up a blog is hard and too many come and go that could have survived if given support, even though other factors do contribute. Perhaps after ten years the idea of a strong, influential, and vibrant conservative “orthodox” blogging community is of limited possibility. Continue reading