How Change will Occur in the Church

May 8, 2008
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This post is not intended to be a historical look at changes that have happened in the church throughout the years, but more of experiential observation. Over the years, change in the Church has been much more top-down driven from the leadership to the members.  But I think, to some extent, it is changing to a more bottom up orientation and I don’t think it is overall positive for the Church.

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Theology Quiz

May 8, 2008
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Here is a fun quiz I’ve seen on other Bloggernacle sites I wanted to try out on my pals at Mormon Matters. It’s fairly quick and tells you by order of significance which theological world-view you share. Here’s my result:

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Through the Ears of a “Gentile”

May 7, 2008
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Through the Ears of a “Gentile”

“I’m so glad I was born in this, the one true church of God.” “Please bless the party leaders tonight [of the Republican Party] that they may be guided to make the right decisions.”

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A Latter-Day Tower of Babel?

May 6, 2008
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Here’s something that gives me pause: people making up creative names or nontraditional spellings of traditional names for their children. This seems to be a growing trend, with a sizable minority of new children being subjected to this, perhaps even a majority in some Utah Mormon suburbs. I know that certain black U.S. cultural groups have long done this, but I don’t know if the newer trend is just a white Utah/Idaho Mormon thing or bigger. For example, here is a list of REAL names my wife and I recently collected from a photo site for new-born Utah babies. As…

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Mormon Miracles: Seeking for a Sign

May 6, 2008
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Mormon Miracles:  Seeking for a Sign

How much does God intervene in our lives?  More than we give credit to Him or less than some would like to believe?  Why do some require evidence of God’s will in even the most mundane aspects of life?  Is this seeking for a sign?

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When Obedience Doesn’t Bring Happiness

May 5, 2008
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When Obedience Doesn’t Bring Happiness

As Mormons, we are constantly taught and reminded that obedience brings happiness. So what are we to conclude when we’re obedient but still aren’t happy?

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The Nature of God and Bible Bashing Sharing

May 3, 2008
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Like many members of the church, I believe that humankind is of the same species as God; that our Heavenly Parents are like us only on a higher level of development. To me, the doctrine is one of the most awe-inspiring and exciting aspects of Mormon theology. I have heard enough slams of Mormon theology on this issue, as well as plenty bashing the idea of the Trinity in Mormon circles. Unfortunately, I have to admit I have scoffed at the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in the past. I was amazed (to say the least) when I first read…

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Why a Testimony of the Gospel is Not Enough

May 2, 2008
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I have been under the impression over the last 26 years in the Church that if one had a pretty strong testimony of the Savior, the truthfulness of the Gospel as restored by the Prophet Joseph Smith and other essential doctrines, that if would be enough for the average member to weather the storms of doubt, social rejection and, their discovery of new information that might come along from time to time.

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The Mormon Urge to Glurge

May 1, 2008
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The Mormon Urge to Glurge

glurge (GLURJ) n. A sentimental or uplifting story, particularly one delivered via e-mail, that uses inaccurate or fabricated facts; a story that is mawkish or maudlin; the genre consisting of such stories. 

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Local Priesthood Keys – Our Religious Lynchpin

May 1, 2008
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From the devout to the skeptic to the disaffected, our experience with the Church is personally contextual. We take issue with belief systems as well as the performance aspect of the religion i.e. do we practice what we preach? Our experiences are most often influenced in the sociological atmosphere of our local church branch. Even Church theology influences us locally if we take general belief cues from our local Priesthood leadership. It dawned on me recently that our own judgments of church efficacy in practice are largely based on our experiences with local leadership.

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Raising the Bar

April 30, 2008
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Is it just my imagination, or are more missionaries returning home early? Seems like this used to be a rare event, spoken about in the same whispery voice people use to tell you someone has an embarrassing disease. Now, it happens with some regularity. In my stake in the past few years, seven or eight missionaries have returned early (and those are just the ones of which I’m aware). When I’ve asked around, my friends and relatives in other stakes report the same thing.

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Subliminal Battle for our Free Agency

April 30, 2008
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Subliminal Battle for our Free Agency

If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up to a certain point and within certain limits. – Bernays

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Mormon Coffee

April 29, 2008
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Mormon Coffee

Hi, my name is Andrew, and I’m a diet Coke-oholic.

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A Testimony of the Devil

April 29, 2008
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A Testimony of the Devil

“I know that the Devil lives in outer darkness surrounded by concourses of ghastly minions amidst weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth”. Why don’t we hear this from the pulpit in LDS testimony meetings? It’s just as much an article of faith as the existence of God, right? There must needs be an opposition in all things, as Lehi said.

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A Method to our Mormonism

April 28, 2008
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A Method to our Mormonism

As we know from JS-H 1: 8, Joseph Smith had attended various religious meetings and (in his own words) “In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them.”  So, what did Joseph Smith (as a future Mormon) see in Methodism, and what practices in our faith correspond with the brand of Methodism Joseph experienced?

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Men: The Weaker Sex?

April 28, 2008
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Men:  The Weaker Sex?

There is a common belief among LDS that wonderful women are sometimes saddled with mediocre men or sometimes no man at all, which will result in a surplus of women in the Celestial Kingdom.  So, are Mormon women really so much better than men?

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The Parable of the Merciful Judge

April 27, 2008
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I came up with the following parable to explain to a Born Again Christian friend why I felt his belief that our actions plays no role in salvation at all was setting up a false dichotomy between influence and merit. It floated like a lead balloon, of course. He didn’t even bother to comment back to me. I later reused it with a carpool of Mormons that all seemed to enjoy it quite a bit more. In case you are wondering, yes, it’s a true story too. (Note: because I’m getting questions about this, I’ll add this – this is not…

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Shabbos Yom Tov Pesach with My Friend Sam

April 26, 2008
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Shabbos Yom Tov Pesach with My Friend Sam

It was a sunny Saturday and I was sitting in the synagogue with my friend Sam…

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God’s Hit List in the Book of Mormon

April 26, 2008
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God’s Hit List in the Book of Mormon

One of the most unseemly and disturbing images in the Book of Mormon is when Nephi is commanded to cut the head off of Laban who lies drunken at his feet.  So, what did Laban do to get on God’s hit list?  Did he deserve it?  Was it necessary?  And how did some of the other deserving baddies (such as Laman & Lemuel) escape with their heads intact? 

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What if Joseph Smith Published the Book of Mormon Last Year?

April 25, 2008
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Many of you may have heard about a man named Joseph Smith that recently claimed to have found some plates of gold, shown to him by an angel no less, and then to have translated those plates “by the gift and power of God” into The Book of Mormon. This Book of Mormon purports to be a story about an ancient people living millennia ago. We at the New York Ages decided to do a review of this book with such an interesting back story. But we were disappointed to find the interesting stuff stops at the back story. We’d…

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The Sun Never Sets on the Mormon Empire: Cultural Colonialism

April 24, 2008
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The Sun Never Sets on the Mormon Empire:  Cultural Colonialism

I was talking with a French colleague at dinner about the differences between European politics and American politics, and he made a statement that left an impression. European politics are colored by their colonialist histories and how to balance a preservation of their culture while dealing with the other cultures they have essentially subordinated over time. For example, he mentioned the Muslims in France who demanded equal consideration of their separate cultural preferences in the very strict and isolationist French culture. The French people are very concerned with preserving their culture, values, and language (even governing the number of foreign…

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The Prayer of the Children

April 24, 2008
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A Case Study on Racism and Learning to Forgive: Anthony Walker’s Mother

April 23, 2008
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A Case Study on Racism and Learning to Forgive: Anthony Walker’s Mother

This is the story of forgiveness.

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Preaching in Alamo

April 23, 2008
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Preaching in Alamo

Over spring break, I preached in Alamo. No, not THE Alamo.

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From the Great Wall to the Bloggernacle With Love

April 23, 2008
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Clay Whipkey and I are in China — and visited the Great Wall 2 days ago. As we contemplated what to discuss on top of the wall — there was only one real option. We hope you enjoy. All the best to our long lost friends. We miss you.

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Eating & Drinking in Church: A New Trend?

April 22, 2008
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Eating & Drinking in Church: A New Trend?

It might just be me, but I’ve noticed an upswing in eating and drinking during the three hour block. Now, I am not talking about cheerios, fishy crackers and sippy cups, but older kids and adults.

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Laymen = Clergy: The Genius of Mormonism?

April 22, 2008
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Laymen = Clergy: The Genius of Mormonism?

When the Church of Christ was organized on April 6, 1830, none of its members were professional clergy, but all its adult male members were endowed with “priesthood.” For millennia, Christians had wrestled with defining the roles of lay people and the clergy in expressing piety. If the sacraments were the preserve of the clergy, how should pious lay people channel their devotion to God? The Mormon answer to this question would be straightforward: in the restored church, laymen were the clergy.

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Slandering the Lost Sheep

April 21, 2008
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Slandering the Lost Sheep

When I talk to Mormon friends, occasionally someone will mention a mutual friend or acquaintance who claims to have left the LDS Church because of theological differences or personal revelation. In those conversations, someone will usually say something like this: “He’s either cheating on his wife, addicted to porn, or gay.” There seems to be a strong presumption in Mormon culture that anyone who cites theological differences or personal revelation as their reason for leaving the Church is being insincere and dishonest, and that the real reason such a person leaves the Church is that he is guilty of some…

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an ad litem’s request

April 20, 2008
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The ad litem sends thanks for the input.

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Why Hollywood Should Convert to Mormonism

April 20, 2008
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Why Hollywood Should Convert to Mormonism

Very few famous Hollywood actors are Mormon, even fewer are practicing Mormons.  While there are some obvious disconnects (e.g. law of chastity, modesty, time commitments), there are some equally compelling connections between some of the basic values of Hollywood and Mormonism and other values that are close, if not quite aligned.

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Celebrating John Dehlin

April 20, 2008
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Celebrating John Dehlin

Call it what you will….call it brown-nosing in the UK & kissin butt in the US…but I felt extremely frustrated this week trying to follow in John’s shoes and it helped me to realize what an awesome guy he is and the things he might have gotten through to get Mormon Stories to us. I was glad to see him voted as the unsung hero of mormon blogging this year.

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