He Longs to Gather Us

[Reposted from Deliberate Discipleship]mama duck

In my home I have displayed an image that reminds me of just one of God’s tender mercies in my life. The image is one of a mama duck, with her 10 ducklings gathered around her at the edge of a curb. While I did not personally take this picture, it is the perfect depiction of a scene frozen in time, forever in my mind and heart.

Our family was still reeling from the heart breaking tragedy of losing a loved one unexpectedly and all the associated repercussions. Each of us was grieving. Each of us was doing our best to just make it day to day. And frankly, I was handling it all very poorly. Sleepless nights and zombie like days became the norm. There seemed to be no Balm of Gilead to soothe my heart.

It was during this time, while I was out running errands, that God presented me with a very tender lesson.

The mama duck. There she was, her 10 ducklings walking single file behind her, attempting to leave the Costco parking lot. I almost ran right over her as I, too, was trying to leave.

My first reaction was to grab my phone and start snapping pictures. It was such an anomaly that she was even there – the nearest body of water being over a mile a way and in the parking lot of all places. Just as I was about to drive away, I noticed something.

The mama duck had hopped up onto the curb. Five of the ducklings had used their siblings as stepping stools and also jumped up onto the curb.

But five of them were stuck, unable to climb over.

The mama duck was frantic.
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#LDSconf General Conference – Mar 26, ’16, Women’s Session

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Rosemary M. Wixom

President Wixom [General Primary President] will be conducting this meeting. President Thomas S. Monson presides.

President Wixom: Welcome! The First Presidency, several other apostle’s, and the presidencies and boards for the Relief Society, Young Women’s Organization, and Primary are present on the stand.

Choir of Primary girls, Young Women, and Relief Society sisters from over 50 cultures. Instead of the traditional pastels, the choir members are all wearing white shirts.

Choir and Congregation: #223 – Have I Done Any Good in the World Today?

Opening Prayer: Young Woman Continue reading

Guest post: choosing sex or God

This is a guest post by Nick Galieti. Nick Galieti is an experienced podcaster and was named the recipient of the 2015 John Taylor: Defender of the Faith Award by FairMormon. Nick is the voice of Book of Mormon Central’s “KnoWhy” podcasts, and has directed and produced two documentaries on the life of Joseph Smith Jr., Picturing Joseph, and Murder of the Mormon Prophet.

An article was released by The Atlantic with the title, “Choosing Love or the Mormon Church.” The article addresses the issues of individuals who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and whom identify as gay, or experiencing same sex attraction. Aside from being somewhat divisive (something most article titles are supposed to do by design), the title makes as the assumption that the two, Love and the Mormon Church, are mutually exclusive. A good portion of the article makes a valiant attempt to humanize both the Church and those who identify with the LGBTQ community. I appreciate the effort that was put into the article and fear that my comments may be seen as an attack, which is not my intent. At the same time, the article makes some inaccurate assumptions that would be natural for one coming from the perspective of one on the outside looking in on the Mormon Community.

I won’t spend a great deal of time attempting to redefine how people identify themselves as being gay vs. not acting on same sex impulses. Although the world at large doesn’t see much of a difference between our impulses, or attractions, as being “who we are”, I see my effort to try and change that understanding to be a losing effort. However, I hope that those reading are able to understand that at least within a majority of the LDS or Mormon community, we seek to not define people by their sins, or by their impulses, but by their acts and in the intents of their hearts, if we “define” them at all. So if a person feels attraction to a person of their same sex, or if they feel attracted to someone of a different sex, it is the same so long as they don’t act in contrary to the Church’s Law of Chastity that states that there should be no sexual relations, except between husband and wife who are legally and lawfully married.
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About that claim that the Church favored socialism in the 1930s….

Another week, another false claim about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

You may have seen this post or a meme related to it. The title claims that the Church “endorsed” socialism based on a little-read priesthood manual from 1939. Farther down in the post, the author implies that President Heber J. Grant himself “advocated for” socialism.

Let us be very, very clear: as I point out in this post, nearly every LDS prophet, including President Grant, has spoken out against systems of government-based charity. What the Church favors is voluntary, personal charity.

But let me go further: the Church was vehemently opposed to government-based welfare programs during the 1930s and reformed its own welfare system to encourage 1)more voluntary charity by latter-day Saints and 2)a private system of giving and receiving that would emphasize self-reliance.

As many readers may know, in the 1930s, most Mormons lived in the inter-mountain West. That area suffered greatly during the Great Depression. In response, the federal government and state governments set up public assistance programs. The Church was unwaveringly opposed to these programs, which they felt encouraged idleness and dependence. The Church emphasizes thrift and self-reliance, instead of what it called “the evils of the dole.” (“Dole” is a word that was used in the 1930s to refer to public welfare programs).

In General Conference in 1933, President Grant said he was worried that latter-day Saints were succumbing to what the Brethren called the “dole mentality.”

Many people have said….’Well, others are getting some (government relief), why should not I get some of it?’ I believe there is a growing disposition among the people to try to get something from the government of the United States with little hope of every paying it back. I think this is all wrong.” (Source: Conference report, Oct. 1933, p. 5).

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Nearly every LDS prophet has spoken out against statism

Some readers may have had the frustrating experience of speaking about politics to our brothers and sisters who mistakenly believe in left-wing politics and/or economics. You may say something like, “well, you know that Church leaders have spoken out against socialism,” and they will say something like, “well, not democratic socialism.”

Let us be clear, dear readers: most Socialists of the 19th century and the early 20th century would be absolutely ecstatic to see what left-wingers have achieved, even in the supposedly capitalist United States. The United States today is a country where the government absolutely dominates the economy. Social welfare spending (meaning spending on government health care, Social Security and entitlements) makes up nearly 60 percent of the federal budget. Remember that there was no such thing as federal social welfare spending as recently as the early 1930s. Meanwhile, total government spending has skyrocketed from 8 percent of GDP in 1900 to almost 40 percent today.

By any reasonable standard, we are have a socialist system in the United States with pockets of laissez faire in a few isolated industries. Yet, we constantly hear from politicians that more socialism is necessary.

Oh sorry, not socialism. Democratic socialism.

So, let’s be more precise. What we have today is, again by any reasonable standard, statism. This is a system where the government dominates political and economic life.

And this is the opposite of what modern-day prophets have repeatedly preached going back to Joseph Smith. LDS prophets have consistently and unwaveringly been in favor of personal, voluntary charity. They have been against government-based welfare systems. And the reason is that government-based welfare systems are about force.

Again and again, prophets exhort us to voluntarily give to others, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and help the helpless. They do not tell us that the government should do this for us, and in fact again and again they say that government-based charity is not God’s way.

(Note: if you still believe the United Order was a socialist system, please read this. It was not.)

Let’s hear from the left-wing favorite, President Uchtdorf, who spoke on this subject at General Conference in October 2011. President Uchtdorf clearly points out that caring for the poor is not about government sending people a check. Caring for the poor is about personal charity that involves action by both the giver and the receiver:

There are many good people and organizations in the world that are trying to meet the pressing needs of the poor and needy everywhere. We are grateful for this, but the Lord’s way of caring for the needy is different from the world’s way. The Lord has said, “It must needs be done in mine own way.”9 He is not only interested in our immediate needs; He is also concerned about our eternal progression. For this reason, the Lord’s way has always included self-reliance and service to our neighbor in addition to caring for the poor.

Let’s hear from some other prophets on the issue of statism:

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