This is one of the most interesting and faith-promoting
videos I have watched in some time. Two women with same-sex attraction got married to each other. One had history in the Church, the other did not. Because of love from their family members, they began a journey towards full acceptance of the Gospel. Their ward and the missionaries were filled with love toward them. They then decide to get divorced, and the woman who was not a member got baptized. They describe in detail their very touching testimonies of the truth of the Gospel.
Tonight, I attended a phenomenal devotional entitled “Why I Believe” at the D.C. Temple Visitor’s Center. Thurl Bailey, a former Utah Jazz player and convert to the LDS Church, was the featured speaker alone with his wife Sindi. Two recent converts to the Church also spoke about their conversion.
Thurl’s story was particularly memorable for a couple of reasons. Thurl first spoke about his childhood and his decision to pursue a career in basketball. Even though he was over 6 foot tall at the time (now he is 6’11), he didn’t make the team the first two times. That coach told him that he had no future in basketball. Luckily Thurl persisted and tried for a third time with a different coach. That coach put him on the team and offered to mentor Thurl one on one because he saw that he had great potential. Thurl spoke about how Heavenly Father sees us with the same kind of great potential. He also spoke about those who had given him their full trust such as his wife.
Second, Sindi spoke extensively about their marriage and courtship. Her parents refused to meet Thurl and staged an intervention where they forced her to choose between them and Thurl (Thurl is African American while Sindi is white and from Southern Utah). They then cut off contact with her for five years. It was sad to hear about that degree of bigotry and intolerance. But fortunately, the Lord eventually softened their heart. And when Thurl was baptized his father in law performed the ordinance.
Third, Thurl spent a manner of years attending Church but not being baptized. His wife was loving and supportive throughout that time. Then, Thurl felt prompted to take an opportunity in Italy even though he didn’t know why. While there, alone for a time, Thurl felt prompted to call the missionaries to come visit him because he was lonely and wanted to speak to fellow English speakers. The Mission President came as well, and really connected with Thurl and was able to answer his concerns in a way that no one had before. The timing was right and the Lord had led him to where he could be converted.
Finally, Thurl spoke of a particularly meaningful experience that occurred right around that time. He would frequently cross the Border into Switzerland, and on each trip the border patrol asked him three questions: 1) Where are you coming from?; 2) What is your purpose here?; and 3) What is your destination? On one occasion, those questions pierced deep into Thurl’s soul and he stopped at the side of the road and pondered them. He realized that the Gospel gave him answers to those question he could not get anywhere else. I really appreciated his story and his powerful testimony of the restored Gospel.
Schooling and Being Schooled in Religious Education with Casey Paul Griffeths, interviewed by Stephanie Dibb Sorensen
Casey Paul Griffiths is an expert on LDS Church education and its globalization efforts.
The formal foundation of education in the Mormon Church began in 1888 when the church board of education was established. Around this time, the United States initiated a free schools program. Wilford Woodruff, president of the church at that time, became very concerned that the federal education system was exclusively secular. Starting in the 1890s, he instructed every stake to launch their own academy. In the early 1900s the academy system was discarded for the more affordable seminary model. But this led to a whole new problem — training religious instructors in a lay church. By the 1930s the the existence of professional theological scholars created tensions the church is still grappling with.
Stephanie Dibb Sorensen (in her inaugural LDS Perspectives interview) talks with Griffiths about what this first generation of scholars faced when they came back to Utah to teach after studying in the liberal classrooms of the University of Chicago, as well as how the Church’s Pathways program is continuing this legacy of uniting secular and religious education.
Stephanie Dibb Sorensen is a mother to three and teaches Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University. She blogs about finding faith in motherhood at her blog, Diapers and Divinity, and is the author of Covenant Motherhood.
The Church issued the following statement today:
It has been called to our attention that there are some among the various pro-white and white supremacy communities who assert that the Church is neutral toward or in support of their views. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the New Testament, Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-39). The Book of Mormon teaches “all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33).
White supremacist attitudes are morally wrong and sinful, and we condemn them. Church members who promote or pursue a “white culture” or white supremacy agenda are not in harmony with the teachings of the Church.
On Sunday the Church made the following statement:
It is with great sadness and deep concern that we view the violence, conflict and tragedy of recent days in Charlottesville, Virginia. People of any faith, or of no faith at all, should be troubled by the increase of intolerance in both words and actions that we see everywhere.
More than a decade ago, the late Church President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) addressed the topic of racism when speaking to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He powerfully and clearly taught this principle: “No man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ.” For members of the Church, we reaffirm that teaching today and the Savior’s admonition to love our neighbor.
Our prayers are with those who are suffering because of this intolerance and hatred. We pray for peace and for understanding. Above all, we pray that we may treat one another with greater kindness, compassion and goodness.
Bottom Line: No Mormon has any doctrinal basis for racial violence, hate speech, or in any way teaching that one racial group is somehow more beloved of God than any other. As those who love God, we ought to be active in working towards peace and reconciliation between those who are at odds.
Years ago we had a child’s history teacher over for dinner. As we talked, I mentioned that I didn’t know much about Virginia history in the last 100 years.
The teacher looked at me, then started referring to Virginia’s shameful past with respect to race.
It was a high school play in 2014 that helped me to better understand the racial strife associated with Virginia’s refusal to integrate White and Black children in schools.
Virginia is a place where many are proud to fly the Confederate flag. Continue reading