Sunday, December 20, 2015
Friday, December 4, 2015
Thursday, December 3, 2015
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
"Hey all you beautiful uninformed people who are making a big deal out of nothing but I love you anyway. READ THIS and then Shut up.
There have been a lot of posts about the recent LDS news regarding children of same sex marriages and also same sex marriages being viewed as apostasy. I'm sorry to add to those posts filling up your newsfeed but as a gay man who does not feel victimized by this decision I feel the need to share my side. I'm confused by a few things. First off, why is everyone so surprised! The church has never pretended to be anything other than exactly what it is. Their stance on same sex marriages has never changed. I also don't understand how this affects about half of the people posting about it. Over half the people posting about it are not members of the church or don't believe in the LDS church to begin with. How does this decision in anyway affect you. If you are a gay couple, were you really going to send your child to an LDS church to begin with? If you are an active LDS member posting, again, why are you so surprised!!! If you truly believe in your church, then you believe that the prophet is a prophet of God who speaks directly to him. If this is you... then have some faith and then be quiet. If you disagree with this view on same sex marriage, then by all means just choose another church. No one is forcing you to stay. I guess being from South Carolina I get confused when people act like the Mormon church is the only religion that exists, or the only religion that does not believe in same sex marriage for that matter. In South Carolina it was just another church, there to seek shelter from the storm if need be. It wasn't a cultural thing. In the LDS church, whether your parents are gay or not, you still have to have permission to be baptized either way. I'm sorry, but I don't disagree with the church when they say that it might not be in the child's best interest to be baptized into a church that does not support their parents marriage, seeing as this could cause issues in the home and could even result in the child being kicked out of the home. This is something that often happens with gay children who come out to straight parents, which is not something the church supports doing by the way. In my opinion, the church is not shunning these children but rather asking them to wait till they are 18 and can move out in hopes to prevent them from having issues at home. I'd also like to pose the question: do these children of same sex marriages really want to join a church that doesn't support their parents marriage? If they do, well then the church is not asking the children wanting to join the church to disown their parents. They just want them to understand that the church does not support same sex marriages and wants to make sure this is something they support as well before being baptized into a church that believes this. AGAIN, not something you HAVE to do! You do not have to join a church you disagree with! I don't feel children of same sex marriages are being outcast. They are still welcome to attend. But it has always been the churches policy that whether your parents are gay or straight, if your parents disagree with the beliefs of the church, you need to wait until you are of legal age to be baptized in an effort to keep the peace at home. Let's all stop victimizing people who are not being victimized.
If you still disagree. That's ok. We will have to agree to disagree."
Just food for thought.
Sunday, November 8, 2015
Then facebook exploded.
When I read the headlines, I'll admit, I was taken aback. I decided to wait until I heard from the Church itself before posting my views on my wall.
There are essentially two policies that have been updated and which really shouldn't come as any surprise. The first being that members who enter into same-sex marriages will be excommunicated. (well, duh!) The second is a little more complicated. It stipulates that children of same-sex couples cannot be baptized as members of the Church until they are of legal age, and at that point they need to accept that their parents' marriage is against the commandments of God. I found the following post more articulate than I could have presented, so I shared it on my wall:
"If your child wanted to join an organization that taught your lifestyle was immoral and wrong, and that organization wouldn't let your child join till they were 18, because they believe keeping harmony and avoiding conflict in your home is more important than another member on it's roster, would you hate that organization for trying to help your family be united despite different opinions of your lifestyle? Or would you say thank you for trying to protect my family from a source of complicated contention until my child is older and can make a more informed objective decision to join your group?"
Almost immediately, four of my friends (one of which is less-active, the other three have left the Church) started railing on me. My lanta! They scorned my post as "sugar-coating" "bull[$#!@]" and a host of other not-so-flattering adjectives. I tried to explain that the same principle applies in policy to the children of polygamists, but that didn't satisfy them (of course).
If the Church were truly as cruel as they described it, would the missionaries target the children of gay couples and attempt to turn them against their parents? Wouldn't the Church publicly condemn homosexuals to Hell? But unfortunately, in today's victimization society, people will take things too personally and attempt to reap the benefits of being a victim or a sympathizer of such.
My friend posted the following as his status:
"It's one thing to say you disagree with your parents religion and to join another religion. It's another thing entirely to say you disagree that your parents should even be together. What the new policy says is that children have to be of legal age, and to disavow homosexuality. I was a missionary once, and I never had to deal with the situation, but can you imagine two missionaries asking a minor to disavow their parents marriage? That's a tough thing, unethical even, and I would agree that such situations require a little more than just bishop or mission president approval, and that kids are probably better holding off their baptism in that situation until they are old enough to fully understand the implications of disavowing all homosexuality.
The church is not salvation. No one is being damned here. No one is claiming these children are sinners. If you disagree with the church, this policy should be a comfort to you, the church will not allow minors to disavow their parents marriage. Instead, these children must wait till they understand the implications of their actions and be of legal age before they join the church.
I'm sorry that so many feel hurt by this policy change. I sympathize with your pain and anger even though I support this policy, and consider it a necessary step to prevent abuse from both inside and outside the church."
(Again, I found that this individual worded things much better than I could)
I just hope that everyone approaches this change with the Spirit. I know that we are in fact led by a prophet of God. Following the prophet without hesitation is not blind obedience. When we know that the Prophet cannot lead us astray, that he is a mouthpiece of God, we need not doubt. We should treat treat all of God's children with civility and respect, but we also need to defend the Gospel of Christ. He loved all, but He was unafraid to call sin sin. Standing for truth does not require hatred; it requires guts.
Sunday, September 27, 2015
Sunday, September 6, 2015
Here's a blog post that adequately conveys my feelings on the Mormon Mold
Sunday, August 23, 2015
Monday, August 17, 2015
Superficially, the idea of a man using a stone to translate sounds peculiar. Why wouldn't God just tell Joseph Smith what to write? Why would he have to rely on a rock to bring to pass the great and marvelous purposes of the Supreme Creator?
The transparency of the Church's revealing of the seer stone has unsettled the testimonies of some of my friends and I imagine many others. However, any Jew and Christian should be able to process and believe this with peace and acceptance. Why?
Let's simplify the concepts. God sets apart an inanimate object and asks His servant(s), the prophet(s), to use said object to work a miracle.
Of the multiple instances throughout the scriptures in which such a situation occurred, the prime example that comes to my mind is Moses.
Moses was called to be a prophet for a people who once hated and feared him. In his encounter with the burning bush, Moses wrestled with the Lord, saying "Oh my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto they servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue" (Exodus 4:10). As evidence of this as well as a tool, the great Jehovah blessed Moses' staff and sent him into the heart of Egypt to liberate the captive children of Israel.
Through his witness, Aaron, Moses taught of the divine love of God for His chosen people. The Egyptians scoffed and scorned the brothers. To prove the reality of his heavenly appointed mission, the staff was transformed into a snake. Yet the magicians of the pharaoh's court were able to mimic the miracle. In their attempt to discredit and undermine the brothers' testimony, their snakes were consumed by the serpent of the Lord (Exodus 7:12).
This rod soon thereafter turned the Nile River to blood, decimating the fish population and contaminating water sources throughout Egypt. It summoned frogs and lice, which the sorcerers and wise men attempted to debunk through their own imitations. In desperation, they pleaded with the pharaoh to acknowledge that "this is the finger of God," (Exodus 8:19).
But the pharaoh would not listen.
Then the flies came. The cattle were smitten with plague. Due to one of the punishments of God (boils) "the magicians [literally] could stand before Moses" (Exodus 9:11).
Thunder, hail, and fire rained down from heaven. The crops were choked by pestilence. Locusts of the east wind swarmed and darkness blanketed the earth as the enemies of God and those who opposed Moses ate whatever food scraps remained.
Every now and again, pharaoh would recant and acknowledge that Moses represented divinity and would beg Moses to entreat his God to take away the fruit of His fury. However, treachery and deceit would immediately return as the pharaoh would betray the children of Israel again and again.
Ultimately, Jehovah instituted the Passover. Through a ordinance which may baffle modern observers, the children of Israel sacrificed their best lambs and witnessed their faith by marking their doorposts with the animal's blood.
After losing their eldest sons, the Egyptians allowed the followers of God to depart. Yet just when the children of Israel thought they were safe, the hosts of the Egyptian armies converged upon them in a numerous swarm of chariots.
With nowhere to turn, the Israelites were backed against their wall of faith, the Red Sea. In the potentially most widely-known miracle performed by an Old Testament prophet, Moses used the staff to part the huge expanse of water, delivering God's people and obliterating their enemies.
Back to oversimplification. God gave Moses a stick that defeated the greatest empire of the age.
An inanimate object was used by a prophet of God to bring to pass His great and eternal purposes.
So if you are a Christian or a Jew, you believe in the Old Testament, and therefore that God can use small and simple things to confound Satan and those who uphold his work. By that same token, it would not be impossible for a raccoon to have scurried up to Joseph and squeaked the transcript into his ear (can you imagine? "I Nephi, having been born of goodly parents" ...but I digress); God has already proven that He can open the mouths of animals in Numbers 22:28.
In reality, those who try to discredit the prophet Joseph Smith because he used a stone to translate the Book of Mormon are not simply trying to destroy faith in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
They are trying to harden hearts against Jehovah.
This anti-Christ propaganda will continue until the last days, when men's hearts will fail them.
However, as Elder Uchtdorf has admonished us, we must doubt our doubts before we doubt our faith. As we are asked to trust in things we don't fully understand or that may go against our better judgement (from the staff of Moses to the stone of Joseph, from the sacrifice of favorite lambs during the Passover to the sacrifice of homosexual relationships), we will be delivered from the chains and afflictions of this world.
I have to believe that if to "whom much is given much is required," then to whom much is required much will be given. God will test our faith by choosing imperfect, mortal men and other instruments to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of men.
Keep the faith.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Sunday, July 19, 2015
"If you are struggling, confused, or spiritually lost, I urge you to do the one thing I know will get you back on track. Begin again to prayerfully study the Book of Mormon and live its teachings every day, every day, every day! I testify of the profound power in the Book of Mormon that will change your life and strengthen your resolve to follow Christ. The Holy Ghost will change your heart and help you see 'things as they really are.' He will show you what you need to do next. This is Nephi’s promise to you:
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Friday, June 26, 2015
I think we all knew that this day would come. For a long time I thought that it would come about by the voice of the people, not through activist judiciaries.
As I was barraged by notifications and news clips regarding the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States, I thought back to all of the time, money, and effort that we put into protecting the sanctity of traditional marriage. We made hundreds of phone calls, staked signs throughout our hometown, and donated financially.
I also remember being bullied on camera at school by the "Gay-Straight Alliance" club for supporting Prop. 102 (the concurrent Arizona equivalent of California's Prop. 8). The amount of spite that was aimed at members of our church was unbelievable. I remember being cornered in my German class because I didn't think that the LDS Adoption Agency should be forced by law to allow same-sex couples to adopt.
Before I continue, I want to clarify that I don't think that gay people or their "allies" are all immoral, mean, cruel, crass, etc. Most aren't, frankly. Obviously those who shout the loudest are those who are heard. I find their mudslinging of their political opponents to be hypocritical. (I recently discovered that I struggle with being judgmental towards people who are judgmental towards people who they perceive as being judgmental. Does that mean I'm judgmental towards myself?)
I have often wondered why we care so much. It seems that the 11th Article of Faith, which states that we as a church believe that all mankind should have the privilege to "worship how, where, or what they may." Doesn't that belief extend to the moral decisions of others? Isn't the United States' Constitution (a document inspired of God) built on the premise that individuals should be able to choose their beliefs and behavior as long as their actions do not infringe of others to do the same?
Although the morality of the world may be rotting around us, aren't we supposed to "turn the other cheek" (Matthew 5:29) and be "patient in all [our] sufferings" (Alma 20:29)?
It occurred to me that followers of the living God have run from persecution throughout recorded history. From Egypt. From Babylon. From Athens, Rome, London, Amsterdam. From the United States. My ancestors escaped the hands of those who attempted to rule their conscience, settling in Mexico. Yet, the world continued to expand its domain. The Mormons joined the jurisdiction of the United States, the alternative potentially equivalent to suicide. We had been backed into a corner.
From that point, the morality of the world has spiraled downward, further away from the standards of God (which it had so closely followed for so long). Our Church, which was spat out of this nation only to be dragged back into it, is now infused with American society. However, we are supposed to be "in the world, not of the world."
We have no where else to run.
In my personal scripture study, I have recently reread the story of Captain Moroni and his "Title of Liberty." He campaigned throughout his people for the defense of "their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children, and their peace, and that they might live unto the Lord their God, and that they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of Christians" (Alma 46:10). A group of judges had gone against the voice of the people in pursuit of power, jeopardizing the foundation of their government and compromising the values of Christianity. Later, the sons of Helamen explained that they would not fight their brethren if they would leave them alone (Alma 56:46).
I am in no means promoting violence against those who disagree with our beliefs. We need to stand up against evil. Satan and his corrupt substitutes for love and connection will continue to try to permeate our lives, but we don't have to let him in. As Edmund Burke reportedly said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
That is why we stand. That is why we fight.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
With my mortal understanding, I can't quite comprehend the purpose(s) behind same-sex attraction. However, I know that there is a reason that God has permitted these attractions to occur. I also know that through tribulation comes growth and other blessings. I believe the harder the trial, the more glorious the triumph. I can only imagine the eternal rewards for obeying the sacred law of chastity!
Saturday, May 30, 2015
Elder D. Todd Christofferson
Where the Church stands:
The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God's children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.
Is the Church softening its position regarding same sex attraction?
There shouldn't be a perception or an expectation that the Church's doctrines or position have changed or are changing. It's simply not true, and we want youth and all people to understand that. The doctrines that relate to human sexuality and gender are really central to our theology. And marriage between a man and a woman, and the families that come from those marriages - that's all central to God's plan and to the opportunities that He offers to us, here and hereafter. So homosexual behavior is contrary to those doctrines - has been, always will be - and can never be anything but transgression. It's something that deprives people of those highest expectations and possibilities that God has for us...That being said, it's important to remember a few things that people don't always understand or remember. And that is that homosexual behavior is not the unforgivable sin. The atonement and repentance can bring full forgiveness there, and peace. And secondly, I'd say that though we don't know everything we know enough to be able to say that same-sec attraction in and of itself is not a sin. The feeling, the desire is not classified the same as homosexual behavior itself. And the third point I would mention is that when people have those desires and same-sex attractions, our attitude is "stay with us." I think that's what God is saying "Stay with me." And that's what we want to say in the Church: "Stay with us." Let's work together on this and find friendship and commonality and brotherhood and sisterhood, here more than anywhere. It's important that there be love, and that there be hope. Love is not to say acceptance or endorsement, but it is to say inclusion and not ostracism. We want to be with you and work together.
Why doesn't the Church Just Let People Be?
This is a gospel of change. Jesus Christ is asking every one of us to change, and to become better and to progress and to follow in His footsteps. His ultimate commandment is that we become as He is and as His father. And none of us are at that point. None of us have things, are free of things that we don't need to change in our lives and to improve. And the standard is always the gospel of Jesus Christ. And every one of us has to measure up to that standard because that's where our ultimate happiness is going to be found. That's where our ultimate freedom is going to come. And God being just and loving all of His children is going to help everyone who wants to progress toward that ideal, whatever they may need to do in their lives to do that.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
While I still battle shame, timidity, and despair, things have changed dramatically. This week I've told three people, and each experience has been wonderful and healing. I'm desperately trying to live my life in the way that my Heavenly Father wants. It's very difficult, because I don't know how open I should be or whom I should confide in or how people will react once they find out that I kinda like guys (a lot).
As a witness of Christ, I know that I should not be ashamed to testify of Him through word and deed. From a broader perspective, we aren't truly competing against each other. We're competing against ourselves. I truly am my worst critic (although Satan gives me a run for my money on occasion), but I know that it is better for me to struggle and cry and brush the dirty blood from my knees than to not try at all. As I keep up the fight, I give others courage to endure as well. A perfect illustration of this principle is manifest in the following quote by Theodore Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
We cannot give up. As cliché as that sounds, we will be trampled under the stampede of the adversary if we yield to his lies. So while it is excruciating to be transparent and vulnerable, we shouldn't fear the shame of the world. We chose this life. We chose to risk defeat in hopes of glory.
As children of God, we must remember whom we are trying to satisfy.
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Anyway, like most of the girls my age, I was utterly boy-crazy. Not the ideal situation for a bishop's son! When I allowed myself to dwell on these fantasies, I gave Satan power to arouse lust within my soul. As a result, I would be left shattered, empty, alone, worthless, pathetic, weak, disappointing, and unfit to live in the presence of the Holy Ghost.
After years of this struggle, I decided to take a different coping approach. I made two lists. On the first, I noted the emotions I experienced after any form of "acting out" (Some of the feelings on that list are mentioned above). On the other, I listed how I felt after I had resisted the urges of Satan. Such emotions included: worthy, whole, strong, reliable, loyal, clean, pure, loved, responsible, and free. I kept these two lists in my scriptures at all times, so whenever I opened them (at least once a day) I would see the two lists and would instantly be reminded of the emotional consequences of my actions. This paper became a symbol for the underlying truth of agency: there is a correlation between happiness and obedience to the Lord's commandments.
I am so grateful, eternally so, for parents who taught me this correlation. Without them, I would probably living a rather riotous yet meaningless lifestyle. Applicable to all sins, I know that as we remember how we feel after making a choice (whether right or wrong), we will be able to act more responsibly in the future.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
The other people in Christ's life continue this theme in the finale:
*NARRATION: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword? Nay. In all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him that loved us*