Blog Archives

Common Scriptures in Review: John 15:13 (Laying Down His Life)

October 27, 2008
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John 15:13 is quoted often throughout Christianity as the great example of Jesus’ willingness to die for his disciples and all who would accept him as their Lord and Savior, but I believe this singular perspective robs that verse of much of its power and actual message.  I think there is a huge difference between “laying down his life” and “dying” – and I think it is fundamental and deeply important difference in how people view Jesus and the concept of the Atonement.

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Psalms 55:22 – Cast Thy Burden Upon the Lord

October 20, 2008
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I had an interesting insight during a prayer a few months ago. In all my years as a member of the Church – in all the countless meetings I have attended and all the countless times I have read the scriptures – and in all my pondering over the years, I have not had the same thought in quite the same way. I’m sure it’s not earth shatteringly profound, but it was powerful and thought-provoking for me. I also am sure it is a direct result of the contemplation I have been doing concerning the Lord’s yoke, His grace and…

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Opposition to the Church: A Charitable View

October 10, 2008
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Just something to provide a different perspective: Perhaps most of the vocal opposition to Mormonism is produced by those who sincerely feel like we are stealing something. From this perspective, we steal members (and their attendant money) away from ministers and congregations, but we also steal souls away from Christ or tradition or family.

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The Eleventh Commandment: Honor Thy Children

October 3, 2008
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I had occasion recently to re-visit a song I heard for the first time a few years ago, performed live in a college theater auditorium.  The setting was relatively intimate for a “big name” concert, and I remember well the generally raucous and festive mood of the concert.  Until this song started.  As soon as the first words were vocalized, there was an immediate and intense hush over the entire auditorium.  It was absolutely silent for the duration of the song, except for the muffled sobs of those who heard it – and that silence lasted an unimaginably long time…

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Meetings: Striking a Productive Balance

September 25, 2008
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Mormons often joke about the 14th Article of Faith, and it often is quoted somewhat like this: We believe in holding meetings, and in asking all members to attend these meetings; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We schedule all meetings, we plan all meetings, we have endured many meetings, and hope to be able to endure all meetings. If there is any reason to hold a meeting, we seek after these things.

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Is Pornography Adultery?

September 20, 2008
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The following article is interesting and asks a fascinating question. Is Pornography Adultery? Coincidently, the following is excerpted from a post I wrote independent of the above article on my own blog two weeks ago (September 6), entitled “Becoming More Chaste in Thought and Deed“.

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Common Scriptures in Review: Mosiah 3:19

September 10, 2008
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Mosiah 3:19 was the subject of a post recently about how we view our children in the Church. I wanted to comment more extensively in that thread, but I realized it would have required a comment longer than the original post. Therefore, I decided to tackle it in this format instead.

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Spiritual Poverty vs. Spiritual Destitution: More on Matthew 5:3

September 2, 2008
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Debt is an interesting thing. On one hand, it allows us to acquire things we don’t have but need. On the other hand, it allows us to acquire things we don’t need but want. On one hand, our needs are bought and paid for – fully and completely – with no regard for our ability to reimburse our benefactor. On the other hand, our wants are purchased on credit – financed with an interest rate that can become impossible to repay. On both hands, spiritual debt has a significant impact on how we see ourselves and the world around us.…

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Open Thread on McCain/Palin

August 29, 2008
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If you haven’t heard by now, Senator McCain has chosen Sarah Palin, sitting Governor of Alaska, as his VP running mate.  Her bio is linked here.  She defeated an incumbent governor in the primary and a former governor in the general election.  She currently has an 80% approval rating in Alaska.  I just like the irony of typing “she” when talking about a Republican VP candidate. Discuss, if you so choose.  Ignore, if you don’t care.

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Common Scriptures in Review: JSH 1:19

August 27, 2008
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[NOTE: This post is slightly longer than normal, since I am commenting on multiple phrases and words throughout the verse in question. Please pardon the length; I couldn't shorten it any more than I did - except to delete this disclaimer. *grin*] Perhaps the most reviled verse among non-Mormon Christians in the entire Mormon scriptural canon is Joseph Smith History 1:19 – the words of Jesus to Joseph Smith at the beginning of the First Vision regarding why he should not join any church. This single verse encapsulates the reason why many call Mormonism arrogant and offensive and blind –…

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Unity Within the Cafeteria

August 19, 2008
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There is regular discussion among Mormon bloggers about the term “cafeteria Mormons” – those who pick and choose what they will and will not accept – who fill their plates with what they like to eat. I usually hate those discussions, since they nearly always are directed at judging what others choose to eat – labeling others as different and highlighting those differences. I’d like to take a slightly different view of this term.

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Common Scriptures in Review: The Only True and Living Church

August 12, 2008
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D&C 1:30 As the resident parser, here goes: First, here is verse 29: And after having received the record of the Nephites, yea, even my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., might have power to translate through the mercy of God, by the power of God, the Book of Mormon. Now verse 30:

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The Proper Focus of Leadership: Organizational or Individual?

August 6, 2008
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This perhaps will be the only post I write that simply is a series of questions, but these questions have enormous implication for the Church – and for how we view and discuss issues related to it. Honestly, these questions struck me as I read many of the comments on this very blog.

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Common Scriptures in Review: “Come Unto Me”

July 29, 2008
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While pondering the concept of spiritual poverty earlier this year, something struck me that I hadn’t considered previously quite in that way. I have believed the central principle for some time, but considering how salvation (being saved from something) applies to this life is something I have not put into words previously. Here is what struck me:

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Foundations of Becoming: Thoughts on Spiritual Poverty

July 22, 2008
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Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” As I was pondering the phrase “poor in spirit” recently, it hit me pretty hard that, in our modern society, we so marginalize and disdain poverty that we probably miss much of the meaning embedded in the phrase “poor in spirit” as a **desirable** trait. Therefore, I started thinking about the implications of poverty – what it means not as defined in the dictionary, but rather in practical terms. Iow, what does it mean to **BE** poor – particularly in ways that can be…

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Something the Southern Baptist Convention Can Learn from the Mormons

July 16, 2008
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The following article highlights something that the Mormon Church has been criticized by some for doing for years, but it is the Southern Baptist Convention (often the most vocal criticizers of Mormonism) that is doing it in this case.

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Common Scriptures in Review / Foundations of Becoming: The Process of Perfection

July 14, 2008
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[NOTE: This is the third post in the series, "Common Scriptures in Review", but it also is the first post in another series explained at the end of the post.] The great commandment “in the law” is, in summary, “Love God and everyone else.” However, the great culmination of Christ’s penultimate sermon (The Sermon on the Mount) is a powerful commandment outside the law – a commandment that cannot be fulfilled simply by obedience to the law. This foundational command is contained in Matthew 5:48: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which art in Heaven is perfect.”

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Common Scriptures in Review: Remembering

July 9, 2008
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As I’ve said previously, although I truly enjoy intellectual analysis, what grounds me are my experiences – things that are so vivid and unexplainable that I simply can’t let my mind move me away from them. I have experienced the truly miraculous; everything else is secondary. In that light, I submit that the core of this experiential conviction is summarized perfectly in the foundational missionary verse we too often overlook while quoting those that follow.

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Praise, Honor & Glory Be to God

July 7, 2008
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I have been struck for a long time by the different ways that people interpret and speak of praise, honor and glory – particularly how they use these terms to describe our relationship with God. Each has a distinct meaning, separate from the others, but they get conflated and used interchangeably all the time. First, consider the following foundational facts:

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“All we can hope for is for God to bring us home.” (Thanks, Stephen.)

July 3, 2008
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1) There is a man in my ward who is a dean at a major college in our area. He is a brilliant scholar in his field, and he has served as a Bishop and in a Stake Presidency. He also is one of the most humble men I have ever met. A couple of years ago, one of his adult daughters died in a freakish surgery accident – totally unexpected – leaving behind a husband and an infant daughter.

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