My Personal Themes from General Conference

McConkie follow the prophetWe’re 10 days out from General Conference. I am still thinking about it and letting the lessons I learned from it percolate in my head. I hope you had your own personal theme develop for you as you listened to the speakers.

I was impressed by speaker after speaker with three themes.

First, FOLLOW THE PROPHET! Yes, I realize that’s in all caps, because yes, I am screaming that at the world. We just need to follow the prophet to find the answers to our questions, the solutions to our problems and for maximum happiness in this life. Sister McConkie taught in her talk “We heed prophetic word even when it may seem unreasonable, inconvenient, and uncomfortable. According to the world’s standards, following the prophet may be unpopular, politically incorrect, or socially unacceptable. But following the prophet is always right.” Did we get that? Following the prophet is always right, despite what is popular out there in the world.

Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the 70s also addressed following the prophet instead of following popular trends as well. He asked us, “Which way do you face?”, and challenged us to not invert the first and second great commandments. Again we were reminded, “The scornful often accuse prophets of not living in the 21st century or of being bigoted. They attempt to persuade or even pressure the Church into lowering God’s standards to the level of their own inappropriate behavior, which in the words of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, will ‘develop self-contentment instead of seeking self-improvement’ and repentance. Lowering the Lord’s standards to the level of a society’s inappropriate behavior is—apostasy.” That was the money quote for me, lowering the Lord’s standards to the level of society is apostasy. Makes you think about the things we’re interested in and advocating for. I hope we all asked ourselves if “our issues” match up with what the prophets are teaching us, and if they don’t, instead of rationalizing them away, we’re willing to change our thoughts to match the council of the prophets and the standards and doctrines of the Church.

Eyring revelation from GodMy second theme of General Conference was the importance of receiving our own witness of the teachings of the prophets. Elder Eyring’s talk specifically addressed this and the principle of “confirming revelation.” He said, “Human judgment and logical thinking will not be enough to get answers to the questions that matter most in life. We need revelation from God.” Did we hear that? We cannot rely on our own judgments, the opinions of friends, junk we see on facebook, or the latest and greatest train of thought. We must receive our own “confirming revelation” like Nephi of old.

I am heart broken to see so many friends, who are also members of the Church, cherry picking the words of the prophets to fit their agendas, rejecting the doctrines of the church, specifically those regarding chastity, morality and marriage, for worldly standards and practices. The thing is, the world is always in a constant state of flux, and revels in emotionally charged rhetoric that will surely short change us on our salvation. I’ve also been told numerous times by these same friends that they had “personal revelation” and/or a “witness of the spirit” that things like The Family Proclamation and the Church’s stand and support of traditional marriage are not true. I’ll just be bold here and state that these witnesses cannot be true. It might have been a witness, but a witness that is not inline with the doctrines of the Church and the words of the modern, living prophets is not from the Lord. The Holy Spirit is not going to give any of us a confirmation or a witness of something that goes against what the Lord has taught. The Holy Ghost will always witness the truthfulness of the Gospel and the truthfulness of the words of the prophets.
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Perpetuating Myths About Mormon Genealogy

KenneallyI was interested in the New Republic article found over in the “Worth Reading” bar. The article is titled The Mormon Church Is Building a Family Tree of the Entire Human Race, and is excerpted from Christine Kenneally’s new book, The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures.

In this excerpt, Ms. Kenneally initially seems to be praising the efforts of the LDS Church for assiduously collecting records of the human family. She writes about how knowledge of family history reduces anxiety and is correlated with other improved outcomes for children. The magnitude of the collection is many times the information contained in the US Library of Congress, with information being added at a rate similar to adding the contents of the Library of Congress every year. Kenneally notes how these efforts have driven technology.

But then the article begins to focus on the negative. Continue reading

Meet the Mormons – Review

imageMeet the Mormons spent the weekend in theaters, grossing $2.7M, which will be donated to the American Red Cross. The movie was originally intended as a feature to be shown visitors to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (formerly the Hotel Utah). However the Church decided to release the film in theaters throughout the country for one weekend.

Considering that the majority of viewers were likely Mormons, this film gives an indication of the power of the Mormon audience. The film placed 11th in terms of total box office earnings – amazing considering the film was only released in 317 theaters and most Mormons wouldn’t have gone to see it on Sunday.

As my friend and I left the theater, she commented that the film was enjoyable, but had not shown average people. And yet, I could imagine a film like that made using individuals just from our ward. Heck, I could imagine five films of similar power made just from individuals from my ward. And I imagine many of us could say the same.

For someone who isn’t a Mormon, the film introduces the unique nature of the lay ministry we take for granted, along with the lack of “career paths.” We see peaceful co-existence between Mormons and other religions, and a multi-cultural people of generosity and resilience.

Below is a summary of the film. Continue reading

The Parable of the Faithful Husband

temple-symbols

Three men were young, naive, and smitten with love. They each believed that their bride was perfect in every way. As they committed their lives to their brides, they thought to themselves (and said to others), “I make this commitment — enter this covenant — because my bride is flawless. It is for this reason that I love her, and commit to her.”

Others looked on who were older and more mature, who had been married for quite some time. These shook their heads knowingly, and with apprehension for what these men would face in the coming years ahead. Some tried to counsel the young men, assuring them that their brides were wonderful, and that nobody — not even they — were perfect. The young men repelled such talk.

But as always, the closer one gets in a marriage, the more warts one sees. These young men soon began to notice the flaws in their brides — the toilet seat covers, the laundry on the floor, the bad cooking, the cattiness towards neighbors, the snoring, etc. To these flaws, each man responded differently. Continue reading

Bigots and Fanatics

In the most recent conference, Elder Oaks said:

“today, when [followers of Christ] hold out for right and wrong as they understand it, they are sometimes called bigots and fanatics.”

I expect that from the world.  What most depresses me is that too many of those calling Mormons bigots and fanatics are, well, other Mormons.

[I also find it interesting how Oaks and Packer have switched places recently among the more progressive set of Mormons].