I Was Constrained By The Spirit That I Should Vote For…

[Cross Posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

One of the important aspects of the LDS doctrine of personal revelation is that the Holy Spirit can and does sometimes instruct individuals to act contrary to our own reason and understanding.

So here is a little supposal:

Think of a presidential candidate that you do not support.  Now put the candidate’s name into the appropriate places in the following passage:

And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should support [a specific candidate] for President; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I supported a [candidate of that ideology/party/record]. And I shrunk and would that I might not support [her/him].

And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold it is the Lord’s desire that [that candidate] be President of the United States…

We spend a lot of time debating and defending our political beliefs, and comparing political candidates to our ideals. But what if, regardless of political party, or ideology, or record, or aptitude, or personality, or anything else we might use to judge our candidates, the Lord for His own reasons wants you to support a candidate different than the one you would choose?

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Original Poetry: By the Hand of Uriah

In the months I was preparing to visit Israel last year, I listened to a great deal of the Old Testament while riding my bicycle to and from work. Listening instead of reading helped me approach the scriptures in a way that prompted new insights and ideas, and I unexpectedly found that listening inspired me with some ideas for poetry to write.

Though I am not a prolific poet, the poetry I write is usually infused with gospel concepts and imagery. But I had never thought of poetry so directly inspired by scriptural narratives before.

As is usual for me, the time between when the idea for a poem occurs to me and when I actually write it is substantial. It has been well over a year, and I am now approaching the one year anniversary of my trip to Israel for Sukkot, the Feast of the Tabernacles.

This last Sunday, I sat down and wrote a draft of the first poem, and then honed it during the next day and a half. Hope you enjoy it.

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West African Mormon Missionaries Sing Called To Serve

[Cross-Posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

A few years ago my brother, Ben, visited Ghana to do some research into how music, drums, and rhythm are used in traditional practices and shamanism. While he was there he shot a lot of video and during part of the visit he got to go teach with some of the missionaries there.

Even though it’s been a while, he recently rediscovered this video he shot of a couple of Mormon missionaries from West Africa singing the LDS missionary anthem, “Called to Serve” and he just put it up on YouTube.

With all of the potential pop-cultural misperceptions of Mormon missionaries resulting from the “Book of Mormon” Musical, I thought it would be useful to share a taste of real LDS missionaries in Africa.  Enjoy and share!

Guest Post: The Church Got the Plan of Salvation Wrong

The following guest post comes from Tex Benson.

I have lived in the south-eastern United States my entire life including my mission which was in Houston Texas. God bless Texas. Currently I am in my fourth year of school studying Civil Engineering and Military Science (Army ROTC). At church I serve as the Stake Young Single Adult Representative, which I hate, and I teach Elders Quorum once a month(ish), which I love.

Ok, not the whole Church, just the Mission Department and the Church Education System. I wanted an edgy title.

I realized this while I was on my mission but wasn’t really sure how to address it and the reason I am ranting about it now is because I am ashamed of myself. Recently I attended a Young Single Adult fireside and honestly this one was quite good, however it hit on a pet peeve of mine. Towards the end the Bishop who was teaching asked for a volunteer to come up and draw the Plan of Salvation on the board with the rest of the group assisting them on what to put in. Before the young man drew the Pre-Earth Life I knew what would happen, but I let it go to see if someone said something. I had enough confidence in this bishop to think that if no one else pointed out the problem he would at the end. Sadly, my faith was in vain. The typical Sunday school Plan of Salvation was put on the board complete with Outer Darkness, the War in Heaven, and the Veil. The only time Christ was mentioned as part of the plan was when a woman said “put an A by the Earth for the Atonement”. Sadly she was shouted down by an argument about the Veil of Forgetfulness and her A was never drawn. I had a difficult decision to make, do I call out a Bishop and everyone else or do I stay silent? I chose to stay silent.

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Apostasy as Conspiracy Theory: Reason, Logic, Insanity and Mormon Intellectualism

[Cross Posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

It’s time to talk about Apostasy. Again.

In this post, however, I want to introduce a new approach to thinking about personal apostasy by drawing what I think are compelling comparisons between apostasy and conspiracy theories.

Conspiracy theories appeal to some very fundamental aspects of human nature and can wield a great deal of influence over people. I believe that a closer look at the appeal and mechanics of conspiracy theories can help illuminate some important aspects of personal apostasy from the church.

My hope is that by exposing these aspects of apostasy I can help not only those members of the church who are dealing with family or friends who have apostatized, but also give pause to those who find themselves being drawn down the path of apostasy, and raise doubts among those who are already a far distance down that path.

Ultimately this is a warning about the limits of reason and logic and the potential dangers of the rational mind.

The concept of conspiracy is deeply ingrained into our entertainment, our political discourse, and even our religion. Conspiracy theories exist among the atheistic as well as religious. They propagate among liberals as well as conservatives, and among the educated as well as the ignorant.

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