Revelations in Context: D&C 134 – Of Governments and Laws

In November 2014, Smithsonian Magazine named Joseph Smith as the most influence American religious figure of all time.

This founder of the Mormon religion also ran for president of the United States during the last year of his life. Though he left a much smaller imprint on the political scene than the religious one, there is one document in our current canonized scripture that is dedicated to enumerating LDS beliefs regarding governments and laws.

Ironically, though Joseph Smith would refer to it during his lifetime, he didn’t actually author it.  What is now D&C 134 was written in 1835 by Oliver Cowdery and Sidney Rigdon and was accepted by common consent in a conference held in Smith’s absence. No leader then or now referred to it as direct revelation from God but rather a declaration of principles.

The document proved highly adaptable as it was used to protest and support the US government. It was also used in petitions to the US Congress for redress from Missouri persecutions.

As part of the Revelations in Context series, McBride shares his insights into this document and its reception and use by early Mormon Apostle Lyman Wight.

Spencer W. McBride believes that members will benefit from the study of the past. He maintains that “Mormons will better understand their own religion if they have a deeper understanding of American history, and Americans will better understand their past if they understand the smaller aspect of the Mormon world.”

The Purpose of Prayer

Albrecht Dürer - Praying Hands, 1508 - Google Art ProjectA few days ago John S. Harvey sent the M* editors a question regarding the purpose of prayer. John particularly wondered what the M* community thinks about praying for the leaders of countries throughout the world.

I’m curious *what* we should pray for?  I assume God has a plan in mind and that my asking him to change any aspect of that plan isn’t going to change the plan.  And likewise if I happen to pray in ways that are consistent with His plan I don’t think it would increase the efficacy of the plan in any way.  I assume that God is already trying to prompt leaders to do what is right (obviously many don’t).

If I pray that hearts will be changed/softened that sounds nice, but wouldn’t God already be trying to get them to do what is right?  I know we have been commanded to pray that the opportunities for missionary work around the world will increase.  And so I do that.

“At the end of the day I’m left with the question of what should I be praying for with respect to leaders of countries throughout the world?  It seems like almost any prayer is either asking for the leader’s agency to be taken away, or for God’s plan to be changed given that God would already be trying to get them to do what is right already.”

John said that praying for Church leaders is different for him. “In the case of Church leaders much of what I am praying for is to bring my will into harmony with God’s will and for the leaders to be able to understand and accomplish God’s will.  That seems to be a very different set of motivations than any of the leader’s of countries I can think of.”

What think ye? How do you envision that prayers for world leaders work?

Knit Hearts of the Past

Nauvoo has long captivated me. But it wasn’t until 2015 that I decided I wanted to move there someday.

As of this week I am the delighted owner of a brick home on Mulholland Street, within easy walking distance of the Nauvoo temple and all the businesses in town.

The home has curb appeal and the “built in 1850” note suggested historical significance. It’s been fun tracing the history of the original families to build the home as it now is. And in what was a family living in a mostly Catholic Nauvoo, I found an unexpected tie to Mormonism. Continue reading

Exploring Near Death Experiences

In 1975, Dr. Raymond A. Moody coined the term “near-death experiences” in his bestselling book Life After Life.

Mormons have latched on to this concept, which is not surprising, considering our unique doctrine regarding the afterlife.

Dr. Brent Top has researched extensively near-death experiences, especially by those outside of the LDS community.

He has identified several common elements to these experiences such as the “life review,” encountering loved ones, and spirit communication.

Far from fading as a fad, the topic is becoming more and more popular.

While Dr. Top finds his studies interesting, he warns of the danger of trying to establish doctrine through experience. He emphasizes what the LDS doctrine is regarding the afterlife rather than anecdotal experiences. He also introduces a concept he coined as the “Apocraphal Principle” to help us evaluate these stories.

Check out links to extra resources at LDS Perspectives.

Dear Hollywood, YOU created Donald Trump

Last night at the most recent “I Love Me, Aren’t I Wonderful?” Hollywood awards, Meryl Streep and others showed great disdain for Donald Trump and fly over nation’s America.

I would like to point out that it was Hollywood that created the Donald. Without Hollywood’s embrace and help, Trump would have been an unknown billionaire.

At his 2005 wedding to Melania, hundreds of celebrities showed up. This included liberals like, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Katie Couric, Gayle King, Matt Lauer, Barbara Walters, Billy Joel, Chris Matthews, etc.

Trump was popular for cameos in lots of movies and tv shows, including, Sex in the City, Zoolander, Monk, Spin City, The Little Rascals movie, Home Alone 2, the Jeffersons, etc.

And the list of the liberal celebrities that jumped to play on Celebrity Apprentice include: Piers Morgan, Khloe Kardashian, Rod Blagojevich (former gov of Illinois), Lisa Rinna, Dionne Warwick, Clay Aiken, Debbie Gibson, Arsenio Hall, George Takei, Geraldo Rivera, etc.

So, if the country has elected a crude misogynistic racist, a large reason for it is because liberal Hollywood had no problems with snuggling up to him for decades, as long as he was a Democrat.

Perhaps Ms Streep and the others should look at themselves first, and just the friends they hang around with. After all, any regular person who put classified information on an unauthorized computer would be in prison. Any regular person who scammed contributors to a “charity” that paid for personal trips, hotels, etc., would be in jail. To snuggle with Hillary Clinton is just as bad as snuggling up to Trump. You created the corrupt Clintons and you created Trump. Deal with it.

 

*By the way, I have long been  Never Trump/Never Clinton. I voted Libertarian, and speak out at which ever side is doing wrong.