Rooting our Worship in the Savior

I recently had a dear friend publicly announce that she was leaving the Church. I have known about her objections and her decision for a while, but seeing her announce it was still painful.

One of her criticisms that I have also heard others mention is that she felt that teaching in the Church was not focused enough on Jesus Christ and too focused on peripheral matters such as tithing or food storage. She felt that these matters distracted from the focus on Jesus Christ and harmed her relationship with him.

Of course, there is some merit to this critique. We should always strive to do better in tying our discipleship and everything that we do to the Savior and his Atonement. Without him all of the commandments that we keep, callings we hold, and sermons we preach would be in vain. Without his grace, everything would lack efficacy and meaning. If we lose sight of that, we lose sight of the true core of the Gospel. Continue reading

Public Faith – conversation at Wesley Theological College #publicfaith

Join the live stream as Mike McCurry (former White House Press Secretary), David Gregory (CNN), and Reverend Ginger Gaines-Cirelli talk about faith in public life.

https://www.wesleyseminary.edu/support/faith-in-a-public-vocation/?bblinkid=18305467&bbemailid=1486059&bbejrid=97920914

If you have a question, comment – I have access to index cards and am sitting in the front.

LDS church growth continues strong

The below guest post in which a writer reports that Church growth continues stirred a predictable reaction from the ex-Mormon crowd. One of the ex-Mormon boards linked the story, and we got dozens of mean-spirited comments from the nasty people who read those boards. The primary sentiment was, of course: there is no way the Church is growing because (insert anecdotal story here about all the people you know who have left the Church).

Sorry, ex-Mormons, go home, you are drunk.

This website titled “LDS Church Growth” has been chronicling the growth of the Church for many years.

So far in 2016, 54 stakes and and 12 districts have been added to the Church. Five stakes and five districts have been discontinued. Net growth: 49 stakes and seven districts in the first five months of 2016. In 2015, 67 stakes and 32 districts were added and seven stakes and 13 districts were discontinued for a total growth of 79 stakes and districts. So Church growth in 2016 has been way up from an already strong 2015.

Go check out the web site for yourselves. There are a lot of fascinating stories about Church growth in different spots around the world, and even a few anecdotes of the Church losing members in some areas.

As most readers know, the Church reports membership at April conference, and the Church reported in 2015 that there were 257,402 converts baptized and 114,500 new children of record for a total church membership of 15,634,199.

Brothers and sisters, the Church is true whether or not it is growing. There may come a time when Church growth slows down or we even lose members on a year by year basis. But the truth is that on a worldwide scale the Church is indeed growing today. It is just a fact.

Guest post: There is no exodus from the Church. In fact, just the opposite.

This is a guest post by S. Stevenson (a pseudonym).

Recently, people who support the Church have been pointing out that there has not been an exodus of members leaving.

These people are widely lampooned and pilloried by the NOM and Dehlinite crowds and those who have degrees in religious statistics from the University of Reddit. The various disaffected groups are up in arms about the change in policy toward people with same-sex attraction, which became public in November 2015. They are desperate for any signs that people are leaving the church in droves and are hoping that sooner or later the Brethren must take notice of their disaffection and change the policy.

Now this may be hard to believe because you don’t know me from Adam and I’m writing under a pseudonym, but this is to protect a somewhat delicate source that I have within the Church Administration Building. Someone who is intimately familiar with the number of resignation letters they receive (they read them all), but who also knows the number of rebaptism applications they receive.

Now given the fanfare and magnification that social media provides, one would be tempted to assume that the resignations outnumber the rebaptism applications. This is simply not so. My source told us over family dinner one Sunday that the perception that social media gives about the “exodus” is simply not representative of the Church not just globally but even within the US.

The number of folks applying for rebaptism far and away outnumbers the resignation requests. In fact going further, there have been some that resigned in the post “policy” fallout have since requested rebaptism and expressed sorrow for their hasty actions.
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Taking President Trump seriously

I have a lot of friends on social media, and one of the consistent themes I have found is that almost nobody takes Donald Trump seriously. By this I mean that they have not really stopped to contemplate what a President Trump would mean. What would President Trump actually do? And how different would he be from the other Republicans candidates we have seen lately, including Mitt Romney?

Let me start this post with the following important disclaimer: I am NOT going to vote for Donald Trump for president. As a libertarian/conservative, I oppose a lot of what Trump stands for, and my conscience will not let me vote for another person who does not understand the basic principles of liberty.

But in the interests of being somewhat of a contrarian and perhaps even literally a devil’s advocate, I would like to propose that most people have not adequately thought through what Trump would be like as president. Most of our dear readers have certainly not considered that he is not that different from the other Republican candidates out there.

Let’s consider Trump vs. Mitt Romney. In favor of raising the minimum wage: both Trump and Romney. Repealing Obamacare: Trump and Romney. Against illegal immigration: Trump and Romney. Likely to do deals with Democrats to “get things done:” Trump and Romney. Want to get “tough on China:” Trump and Romney. Want common sense tax reform: Trump and Romney. Lower the corporate tax rate: Trump and Romney. I could go on, but my point is that when it comes to the actual issues Trump and Romney don’t disagree that much.

When it comes to demeanor and style and honesty, I think Trump and Romney are exact opposites, and I definitely prefer Romney’s demeanor and style to Trump’s.

So, the Mormon love for Romney and disdain for Trump has much more to do with style than policy substance.

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