My ward in small-town Colorado is very conservative. How conservative is it? Well, I am quite sure that less than 5 percent of ward members — and probably 0 percent — voted for Barack Obama in either the 2008 and 2012 elections. How do I know? We have a caucus system in Colorado, and I have seen a lot of people at the caucuses. In addition, they have bumper stickers on their cars. And, yes, occasionally they make political statements at church.
I have been the Gospel Doctrine teacher for more than two years. I generally avoid politics in class, but you can tell where people are coming from the types of comments people make. The legalization of marijuana in Colorado is, to many of my fellow ward members, a sign of the end times (I voted for legalization, but I don’t like contention, so when people say legal pot is a sign of the end times I mostly just smile and change the subject).
In any case, believe you me: my ward is conservative.
There are readers right now who are forming stereotypes in their minds. I can just see it. “Conservative ward, they are all probably fundamentalists, ignorant rubes, not as sophisticated as I am, etc, etc.”
Now, here’s something to ponder: most of them (perhaps all?) happily accept the idea that we do not need to take the Bible literally. They accept that Mormons are not Biblical fundamentalists. They accept that some of the Bible is perhaps allegorical. Darn them, why don’t they live up to the stereotypes liberal Mormons impose upon them?
[This post is sixth in a series about Joseph Smith and polygamy. To read the series from the beginning, go to A Faithful Joseph]
Liberty Jail by C.C.A. Christensen
We all have excuses for avoiding an overwhelming task. Despite my mind being full of trivia supporting the possibility of a faithful Joseph, I found myself dreading laying out his decade of delay. Add arctic chill, snowfall, illness, the five jobs I have at work, and my several volunteer positions. I began to be anxious indeed. In my desire to have it all go away, I sensed the merest whisper of the dread I imagine Joseph felt–faced with an impossible commandment he honestly didn’t want to obey.
I just watched “Mitt,” the Netflix documentary. This is a very personal look at Mitt Romney and his family as he suffers through the 2008 and 2012 election losses. A few quick impressions for an LDS audience:
–You get to see Mitt praying with his family and by himself several times. I was truly touched by the faith he and his family displayed. I think LDS families will feel very at home during these moments.
–At least in this documentary, you do not see Mitt surrounded by groups of handlers and advisers. His primary advisers seem to be his sons, his wife and his brother. I found this startling.
–The Romney family is simply a good group of people. They are sincere people who really wanted to help the country.
–You have to be either 1)crazy 2)a complete megalomaniac or 3)a sincere person who deeply wants to help the country to run for president. If Mitt runs again, I am going to have to consider that he is crazy, because the garbage figuratively thrown at him during both campaigns was simply not worth it.
–Regardless of your political persuasion, I recommend taking a look at this documentary simply to see another side of the often stiff LDS politician. You will likely come away seeing a much more human side to him.
I voted for Mitt in 2012, but not enthusiastically. I disagreed with his foreign policy, and I didn’t believe he would go nearly far enough in handling our fiscal crisis. Would the country be better if Romney had been elected? In some ways, yes, and perhaps in other ways, no. The economy would be better; Obamacare would hopefully be less harmful; but we might have ended up getting involved in Syria, which would have been a disaster. So, overall, I am not a Romney cheerleader.
But I do think this documentary showed Mitt as a good, honorable man and a loving husband and father and grandfather. Take a look if you have a chance and share your impressions here.
Some of my favorite friends on Facebook are posting quotations from the prophets today reminding people not to watch sports on the Sabbath. I think that is awesome.
I live in Colorado so, like almost every other person here, I will be watching the Super Bowl with my wife’s family. But I am always happy to hear what the prophets have to say, and the gentle reminder is a good one.
What can I say? I usually don’t watch the NFL on Sundays, but today is the Super Bowl, and the Broncos are playing, so I will be watching.
You can make your own choice about what you will be doing today, but thanks to my friends you will know where the prophets stand on this issue.
“My behavior on the Sabbath constitutes my sign to the Lord of my regard for Him and for my covenants with Him. If, on the one hand, my interests on the Sabbath day turn to activities such as pro football games or worldly movies, the sign from me to Him would clearly be that my devotions do not favor Him. If, on the other hand, my Sabbath activities focus on the Lord and His teachings, on the family, and on folks who are sick or poor or needy, the sign would likewise be evident to God. I have concluded that our activities on the Sabbath will be appropriate when we honestly consider them to be our personal sign of commitment to the Lord.”
~ Russell M. Nelson [Hope in Our Hearts (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2009), 154]
This is a third in a series about learning how to get the most out of the Temple.
When entering the Temple for the first time or returning, it might help to be aware of some important doctrines for better understanding. There is no “different Gospel” to be found inside that hasn’t been discussed and taught in church on Sunday. Those that say the Temple teaches new doctrine kept “secret” until entering either are ignorant on the topics or more likely exaggerating for the sake of emotional manipulation. Similar to any good literature, the content is deep with allusions, metaphors, and patching together of sometimes desperate truths for greater insight.
Because the format of doctrinal presentation is far more ritualized than typical public church activity, it might at first be hard to recognize the familiar. Even the most knowledgeable Mormon might be a little overwhelmed. Those who haven’t spent much time in personal religious study could likely feel like they are drowning. The reason is the “Plan of Salvation” taught over so many years time gets condensed into a tight presentation. The small drip becomes a flood. Try to drink in too much at one time and the mind and spirit could go into system overload. As was said before, don’t expect to understand the whole or that such will ever fully happen in this life.
Regardless of the difficulties in soaking up all that is offered, there are key doctrines that can help pave the way for inspiration and enlightenment. By no means is the following a comprehensive guide for study. In fact, there really isn’t any way to compile such a list as many things learned in the Temple are personal interpretations; like any Scripture study.
Instead of writing out long commentaries as if an expert in each area, the sections will have quotes from LDS Church leaders and Scripture. There are no better words than from the servants of the Lord. This is a quoted selection of essential readings. It is a starting point for those preparing to attend and more reflection for those having already gone. Continue reading