When I was a little child I was baptized by a Catholic priest without my permission. Obviously I had no clue of what was going on.
Similarly, the day I die, perhaps some of my relatives in Italy will decide to ask another Catholic priest to perform a mass for me. I can already see some of them very concerned that because I am now a Mormon, and I am still planning on dying as one, I may not go to heaven, and so they will want to speed up my stay in purgatory (hopefully they will not think that I deserve a worse place than that) and pay a priest to do a mass for me.
What should be my attitude or the attitude of my children toward them?
I think that we should apprreciate their effort and offer, instead of complaining. I do not believe that a Catholic Mass when I die will do me any good, but why getting upset over that then? I should appreciate that in their mind they are trying to help me.
Similarly, I do not understand why people get so upset when they discover that someone performed a Mormon baptism for the someone – famous or not – that was member of another religion.
For example, some are upset when a Mormon baptizes a victim of the Holocaust. On one hand I understand their feelings, because we are talking about a people who suffered greatly, and about something horrible they had to go through. So, I understand their initial reaction.
However, since they do not believe in what the Mormons do, I think that they could simply ignore it, as something useless, and absolutely not dangerous or malign, and focus more on problems they may have with others who hate them and want to kill them.
It is like the Catholic Mass, that someone may perform for me when I die. What harm can it do to me? None.
Similarly, why getting so upset because someone out of love baptize them? Instead of being killed by bombs, I think that it is a lot safer to be baptized by Mormons (when you are already dead anyway)!
Filed under: Mormon Church, Mormon Videos, Videos
There is a video out there that tries to make a case for hating religion while at the same time loving Jesus. There is nothing necessarily new in that message, just the way it is presented is captivating and many people probably like it.
However, the message is wrong, because to say that we hate religion does not produce good will among men, and complete lack of religion never created a happy society.
Moreover, the author of the video does not understand that Jesus in fact established a church when he lived on this earth, and Jesus does not hate religion. If it is true that in the name of religion many atrocities have been committed, it is also true that many great things have been done because of religion. So, the problem is not “religion” but what we do in its name, and I think that the good things done in its name still outweigh the wrong one (but they are usually less glamorous).
The following video is a Mormon or LDS reply to that video, Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus. I prefer this one
Someone wrote on facebook:
There are two new entrants in the top 10 men — Buffett and Monson. Buffett and Monson have been mentioned in recent years but never made the top 10 until now. It is common for the president of the Mormon Church to receive mentions, but Monson is the first to make the top 10.
This is good news, and it is significant that someone like the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a religion that was persecuted in the beginning of its history in this country, is now among the top 10 Most Admired Men.
This being said, it is however someway puzzling that most admired men and women of all times have been mostly politicians and/or wives of politicians.
I said puzzling, but it is not really that. It is probably obvious because politicians (or those closed to them) are the kind of people who get the most coverage from the media, and they have a lot of opportunities to show what they do (good or bad).
Apparently Americans, like people in many other countries, are very influenced by what they hear day after day on TV and the radio, or now on the Internet. I wonder however, if they also think critically about the relative value of politicians versus other great contributors to our society. Or perhaps people envy those politicians, because of all the attention and power they have, and they admire them because they were able to obtain it (and they did not).
Among the most admired men, every single one was a US president, and among women, only Mother Theresa was not a politician herself or the wife of a US president.
I wonder why people complain about politicians, since they admire them so much!
However, I feel grateful that at least a few religious men have been mentioned this year, includind Billy Grahams, the Pope, and President Thomas Monson.
However, this poll mostly confirms to me that the power of the media is too great on the mind of the people!
Following is an interesting article written by Ford Motor Company for its employees.
It was presented by the ‘Ford Interfaith’ group as a message about the LDS Church .
The Ford Interfaith group promotes unity by sharing information about all faiths and features these types of articles about various religions and faiths.
QUICK FACTS & INTERESTING TIDBITS about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Fleeing continued mob attacks 158 years ago, the first Mormon
pioneers desperately started their Westward trek from Illinois in the dead of winter. Of the 70,000 who began this 1300-mile journey, 6,000 were buried along the way, including many children. The following are quick facts and interesting tidbits about this now flourishing church.
* Named “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”; informal nicknames are “LDS” or “Mormon” -named after the prophet-historian
* Believes it is the Lord’s restoration of original Christianity as foretold to occur before Christ’s Second Coming.
* Core focus is that Christ and His teachings bring happiness in this life and exaltation in the next.
* In 1820 14-yr-old Joseph Smith told of a vision of God and Christ foretelling a church restoration.
* Organized in New York in 1830, the church moved to near Cleveland, then near Kansas City, then Illinois .
* Fleeing Illinois , Mormon pioneers founded Salt Lake City in Utah and over 600 other Western communities.
SALT LAKE CITY
* Temple Square in Salt Lake has over 5 million annual visitors, more than the Grand Canyon .
* The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is the world’s most famous choir and has the world’s oldest radio program.
* The Salt Lake Temple is the most famous, but there are 128 other temples built here and around the world while
others are under construction.
* Home of the world’s largest genealogy database; visit it online or through 3,700 free branch libraries.
* Sunday services entail a three-hour block of three meetings; about 27,000 congregations exist worldwide.
* Highly vibrant programs exist for youth, children, singles, men, and women; very strong family focus.
* Everyone has a calling; some surveys show LDS have the highest U.S. attendance and service rates.
* Families receive personal fellowship visits at home from other members on a monthly basis.
* Members tithe 10 percent, plus donate generously to the needy the first Sunday of each month.
* Clergy and all other congregational positions are unpaid (however, much of the janitorial is paid).
* The church has no debt; all buildings are paid for in cash (average of two new congregations a day).
* The paid positions in Salt Lake are famously low-salaried; funds are frugally used and tightly audited.
* With a health code from 1833, LDS avoid alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, coffee, and tea (herbal tea is ok).
* This 1833 code also teaches grains (especially wheat), fresh fruits and vegetables, and sparing use of meat.
* A UCLA study showed that active LDS live longer than most Americans, men by 11 years, women by 8.
* Utah is 50th in smoking, alcohol consumption, drunk driving, heart disease, cancer, and sick days.
* With four colleges, Utah ‘s BYU with 30,000 students is the largest single-campus private college.
* BYU Independent Study with 130,000 students is North America (340 web courses, 530 via mail).
* Seminary, a daily class usually held around 6:00 A.M., serves 376,000 high school students.
* There are Institutes of Religion at 1,950 colleges worldwide that serve 367,000 college students.
* The church operates schools in parts of the Pacific Ocean and Mexico for 10,000 students.
* Utah is 50th in spending per pupil, but first in adults that graduated from high school and attended college.
* In 1842 the “Relief Society” was organized; it’s the largest women’s organization in the world.
* Wyoming was first to allow women to vote; Utah was second, two months later, in 1870.
* Women preach from the pulpit and serve as organization presidents, teachers, committee chairs, etc.
SHARING CHRIST’S GOOD NEWS
* 61,000 missionaries serve in 165 countries; 93 percent are college-age; 22 percent are female.
* Unpaid and paying their own way, most work 65 hours a week for two years, often in a new language.
* LDS are 70 percent of Utah, 30 percent of Idaho; after Catholics, LDS are the largest sect in 10 states.
* The church has 5.5 million members in the U.S., making it the fourth largest individual U.S. denomination.
* Some memberships: New Zealand 95k, Japan 115k, UK 175k, Philippines 500k, Brazil 900k, Mexico 925k.
* Worldwide 51 percent are female; about 55 percent are not Caucasian; about 70 percent are converts.
* For the last 15 years, every day an average of 800+ people worldwide joined the LDS church.
* Half of the growth is in Latin America, but the rate of growth is highest in Africa and the former Soviet bloc.
* Worldwide membership just passed 12 million, a tenfold increase in 50 years.
* In 1984 a non-LDS professor estimated 265 million members by 2080; so far growth has been faster.
* As this growth has been steady, it will be the next major world religion since Islam.”
* Members in need obtain welfare from the LDS Church (thus Utah government welfare spending is very low).
* LDS donate time at 220 welfare storehouses or canneries and about 400 farms.
* There are 210 employment centers placing over 175,000 people annually, and 64 family service centers.
* The church operates 46 thrift stores, in part to provide employment for the disadvantaged.
* The 61,000 missionaries spend half a day each week doing non-proselytizing community service.
* Over 200 million pounds of food, clothing, and medicine were donated in the last 20 years in 147 countries.
* Almost all of this help is to non-LDS; LDS charities also work with and donate to many non-LDS charities.
* Very rapid disaster relief has been given in 144 major disasters since 1986.
* Almost 3,000 welfare “missionaries” work without pay in 55 countries (farm instructors, doctors, teachers, etc…).
* LDS charities fund a wide variety of projects like drilling water wells or funding small business startup loans.
* New in 2001, members in poor areas can get low-rate college loans; 10,000 loans have been made to date.
* Utah is first in: charitable giving, producing scientists, household computers, children with two parents, and birth rate.
* Noted LDS included five senators, and other famous dignitaries the Osmonds, Gladys Knight, Steve Young, and the inventor of TV -Philo T. Farnsworth.
* LDS played a key role in the 2002 Winter Olympics; the chair was the former governor of Massachusetts .
* Hawaii ‘s #1 tourist site is the LDS Polynesian Cultural Center ( Tongaand the Samoas are one-third LDS).
* LDS have sponsored Boy Scout troops since 1913; 23 percent of all Scout troops are LDS.
* The BYU Women’s Cross Country were national champions or in second place each of the last seven years.
* The Detroit metro area has 30 congregations; the Dearborn chapel is on Rotunda by Ford’s Building #5.
* Detroit has a temple, storehouse, cannery, employment and family service office, and family history libraries.
* LDS include former Governor Romney, three former Lions quarterbacks, and hundreds of Ford employees.
The Internet is really a great tool for learning. I remember when I went to school, there was no Internet to turn to when I did not understand something in school, and the text book was not clear enough. When I needed information about something I had to go to the library and hopefully I would find something. But it was really time consuming.
How different is today. If I have a question I can probably find some kind of information online.
So it was when I first joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). The material about the Mormon Church was limited, and to find a book translated in my language (Italian) was also rare, we only had a few books. In fact, my initial reason to learn English was to be able to read Church books, including some very interesting book by Elder Bruce R. McConkie (The Messiah series).
However, now is so different, and the material available on the Internet is growing daily. For example, last week someone mentioned to me the well-known (but not well understood, including by me) principle of making our calling and election sure and asked me if I had the book Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith or Bruce R. McConkie’s Doctrinal New Testament Commentary.
I had to say that I did not have them. However, I just did a quick internet search a few minutes ago, and I found very easily what I was looking for, without the need to buy them, or even go to the library.
On page 321 of the Teaching of the Prophet Joseph Smith we read:
That which hath been hid from before the foundation of the world is revealed to babes and sucklings in the last days.
The world is reserved unto burning in the last days. He shall send Elijah the prophet, and he shall reveal the covenants of the fathers in relation to the children, and the covenants of the children in relation to the fathers.
Four destroying angels holding power over the four quarters of the earth until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads, which signifies sealing the blessing upon their heads, meaning the everlasting covenant, thereby making their calling and election made sure. When a seal is put upon the father and mother, it secures their posterity, so that they cannot be lost, but will be saved by virtue of the covenant of their father and mother.
It is a comforting doctrine for fathers and mothers who may be struggling with some of their kids. There is a lot more about calling and election made sure in the Bruce R. McConkie’s Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 3:325-353.
If you are interested in this topic, it is worthwhile to spend some time reading those pages. Below I copied just the first paragraph, to give you a taste of it.
Among those who have received the gospel, and who are seeking diligently to live its laws and gain eternal life, there is an instinctive and determined desire to make their calling and election sure. Because they have tasted the good things of God and sipped from the fountain of eternal truth, they now seek the divine presence, where they shall know all things, have all power, all might, and all dominion, and in fact be like Him who is the great Prototype of all saved beings–God our Heavenly and Eternal Father. (D&C 132:20.) This is the end objective, the chief goal of all the faithful, and there is nothing greater in all eternity, “for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation.” (D&C 6:13.)
This time was during the weekend gathering of conservatives GOP presidential candidates. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church in downtown Dallas, was asked by Summit sponsor Family Research Council to introduce Texas Governor Rick Perry. But the Texas pastor captured more headlines than the candidates themselves when, during an interview after the introduction, described Mormonism is a “cult” and said presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is “not a Christian.”
How boring these people are! And I would say they are even malicious. They cannot really have a serious discussion on some more relevant topic and therefore they simply label Mormonism as a “cult” or Mormons as “non-Christians”, and by doing it they believe that the discussion is over and they do not have to justify their statements.
They try to impress people who are not well informed and who when they hear the word “cult” immediately think of weird people performing group suicide, or human sacrifices, as in the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom movie.
They are particularly effective with people who believe whatever they are told by their pastors, and who do not make an effort to learn about what Mormonism really is.
It remembers me of the spirit of the old times, the middle ages, when people were labeled as “heretics” and then burned. In our world they cannot burn people physically, but they are following similar principles, labeling someone first, and then feeling free to get rid of him (not physically, but socially, or politically, and so on) because of that label. In the past they would burn people, now they dismiss people as not being a Christian because do not fit their own definition (that is highly questionable, by the way).
I have found a very good website that with a little bit of irony respond properly to this people.
I quote a few parts from www.mormoncult.org by Jeff Lindsey. There is a lot more than what I can use here but yes, according to that website, Mormons are a Cult!
This is the proof:
To determine if Mormons belong to a cult or not, I (meaning Jeff Lindsey) pursued the most scholarly, objective approach I could take. I know that anti-cult ministries recently have crafted their own definitions of “cult” to refer to almost anyone they don’t agree with. But before anti-cult hysteria came into play in the late 1960s and 1970s, how was the word “cult” defined? What did it mean? And did it apply to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (you know, the “Mormon Cult“)?
My first thought was to check the 1828 Webster Dictionary, the definitive early dictionary of the English language. But it did not contain the word “cult” at all. How strange. But the later 1913 edition did. 1913 was still close to the early days of the Church, and long before “cult” became the subject of so much emotion and profit-making ministries. The 1913 Webster Dictionary should give us serious food for though about what “cult” really means – objective, scholarly, unbiased by anti-Mormon hysteria. And guess what? It absolutely proves that many non-Mormon ministers were right all along: Mormons are clearly a cult, by definition – by objective, clear cut, irrefutable, unbiased definition from the most important source for understanding the language of the United States of America, where the Mormon Church / Mormon Cult was founded.
So What Does it Mean? Mormons Are a Cult!
I was shocked by my discovery. There were two definitions given for cult, and both confirmed that Mormons were a cult. Definition one includes “worship,” and definition two is “A system of religious belief and worship.” Do Mormons engage in worship? You bet they do! And do Mormons have “a system of religious belief and worship”? Yes – and there is no way for them to deny it now. In fact, the amazing thing is, they don’t deny it – not when presented with this kind of factual, objective, and scholarly evidence. I will document that in more detail below.
Therefore, Robert Jeffress was right, Mormons are a cult! But guess what? Baptists are a cult too, in fact, they are a system of worship, as the dictionary properly define it.
Look, don’t make life hard on yourself. Once you understand why Mormons are in a cult, you’ll also understand why Baptists are in a cult, why Lutherans are in a cult, why Christians everywhere are part of the “cult of Christ.” Christ was the founder of a cult – and that’s nothing to be scared about, once you understand the real definition.
Of course, there are extreme groups out there that are scary and dangerous, and these groups are often called “cults,” giving that word a more recent frightening nuance. The word is a powerful, emotionally charged tool for condemning another group…
This is the main point and where we see clearly the unfairness and even malicious intents of some of the people who label Mormons as a cult. They are playing with the feelings and impressionability of others who still have a witch-hunts mentality, a mentality that will not do any good to any country, including America, that was built on principles of religious freedom!
I am reading an interesting book by Will Durant, ‘The Reformation” and particularly a chapter that discusses the famous Papal Schism.
It was clearly a time of confusion, when politics and religion were mixed. According to Will Durant,
The Papal Schism (1378-1417)…like so many of the forces that prepared the Reformation, was conditioned by the rise of the national state; in effect it was an attempt by France to retain the moral and financial aid of the papacy in her was against England.
Because of the schism, there were two popes, or better two lines of popes both claiming to have the authority.
Will Durant comments:
…the divided Church became the weapon and victim of the hostile camps. Half the Christian world held the other half to be heretical, blasphemous, and excommunicate; each side claimed that sacraments administered by priests of the opposite obedience were worthless, and that children so baptized, the penitents so shriven, the dying so anointed, remained in mortal sin, and were doomed to hell – or at best to limbo – if death should supervene….
The Council of Pisa met on March 25, 1409. It summoned Benedict and Gregory (the two popes) to appear before it; they ignored it; it declared them deposed, elected a new pope, Alexander V, bade him call another council before May 1412, and adjourned. There were now three popes instead of two. Alexander did not help matters by dying (1410), for this cardinals named as his successor John XXIII, the most unmanageable man to mount the pontifical chair since the twenty-second of his name.
Not all popes were elected in a situation so extreme, amid so much confusion, but it is good to know that we have a simple but effective system in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when a new prophet needs to be called.
It is a system in which the senior apostle become the new prophet, so that there is no space for campaigning, confusion, or fights when it is time to decide who will be the next prophet.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed Mormon Church because his members believe in the Book of Mormon) is using the Internet always more to share his message with members and non-members of the church.
Follow a few updates.
The Church has launched an expanded website about the book Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society. The site includes information for readers and for leaders about using the book, in addition to the previously provided implementation pages for leaders.
On a page on the LDS Youth Site (youth.lds.org), Elder Russell M. Nelson gives teens ideas on How to Share the Gospel. Even though LDS young men and young women are not yet full-time missionaries, they can be member missionaries. Elder Nelson provides 7 ideas on things they can do.
Filed under: Mormon Church, Mormonism, News & Politics
It is becoming always more interesting the debate about Mormons and politics. In the next presidential elections there will be two Mormons trying to become the President of the United States, John Huntsman and Mitt Romney.
But as someone said,
one of these two guys could be our next president….the other one is John Huntsman (Colbert report).
Many Americans still do not know what Mormons believe and therefore are a little bit suspicious, but this presidential campaign is helping people to know Mormonism better, or at least it helps to put Mormon beliefs in perspective, even when this is done with a good amount of irony.
For example, again in the Colbert Report, the “weird” beliefs of Mormonism were compared to the similarly “weird” beliefs of Christianity and Judaism.
Mormons believe that Joseph Smith received golden plates from an Angel on a hill, when everybody knows that Moses got stones tablets stones from a burning bush on a mountain
Many may have never noticed how strange is Moses’ story while at the same time they attack Joseph Smith.
In another case, in an article titled ” The ultimate organization Men”, the author James Carrol does an interesting job of explaining the “organizational” propensity of the Mormon Church (and many of its members) as a consequence of Mormon theology. He writes,
For the Mormon God is not like other gods. God did not create the world out of nothing, as in other monotheistic traditions; according to the revelation given to Joseph Smith, God "organized it out of chaos.'' Drawing order out of preexisting "elements. . . [that] may be organized and reorganized, but not destroyed,'' God was working with what was already there.
But what most impressed me in this article is when the author humbly recognizes the need of correcting himself from something he had written previously.
The distinction between God as creator and God as organizer matters because the perennial religious call to imitate God made organizing a defining act of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Note to readers: In my last column, I omitted "Jesus Christ'' from the formal name of the Mormon religion – a not insignificant mistake.)
Not everybody who writes about Mormon obviously is so ready to correct their own mistakes, but this campaign will help to make Mormon beliefs better known among the public, someway forcing the media to be more careful when they talk about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some of the wrong information that was so commonly disseminated in the past will have to be more carefully reviewed before publication.
Even this article (with a video) on CNN.com is probably a consequence of the political campaign and is fair enough.
Probably what I am about to post has been posted before by others, but it is worth republishing. It helps understand the limitations of trying to prove or deny the existence of God by using our limited logics.
When someone asks me to "prove there is a God," I wonder what he means. I suppose he means, he wants me to prove it logically. But the truth can't be established by logic alone because even sound logic doesn't always yield right conclusions. In the Middle Ages some people thought the world was flat. To them that was perfectly logical; and though their logic may have been impeccable, their conclusions were false because they started from false assumptions.
As a college student, I learned that the original premise of a syllogism, or logic train, is critical. Sophisticated lines of reasoning may seem compelling at each step in the logic, but if the original premises are faulty or incomplete, the whole line of reasoning will be flawed. ( The Quest for Spiritual Knowledge – By Elder Robert S. Wood- June 2007)
The doctrine does not abuse logic, for "truth is reason," especially "truth eternal", but is more than logic alone can fully support. (See Hymns, 1985, no. 292.) It could only come from restoration by modern revelation. It was certainly not abroad in the land of America until Joseph Smith's articulations. ( Premortality, a Glorious Reality – Elder Neal A. Maxwell -Nov 1985)
In the Church most of the basic questions we ask are questions of fact. Did Joseph Smith see God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ in the Sacred Grove or did he not? This question boils down to just as much a historical fact as who won the Battle of Hastings, or how high is the highest mountain. These are questions of fact, and they do not depend on value judgment, emotion, or exercises in logic.(Things Not Seen – Don Lind- Sep 1986)
We come to know the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ not simply by the exercise of intellect or the process of logic but by acting on what we learn. Through faith and obedience, the validity of gospel doctrine can be etched upon our hearts.
If our faith is rooted in the sandy soil of reason and logic, it will be swept away by a rising tide driven by the escalating winds of opposition. A faith founded in Jesus Christ and on the rock of revelation will endure through the fiercest storms of life (see Helaman 5:12).(Coming to Know for Ourselves – By Elder Kenneth Johnson- July 2008)
Let me give you an example of how I think we ought to present it to them. This is a response from President Spencer W. Kimball, this great Christlike man, to a youth who sat in his office and said, "These are your own opinions." And then President Kimball responded, "Yes, if that were true, I would agree with you. Your mind may be broader than mine, your gray matter thicker and grayer, your logic and thinking processes may be far more alert than my own, but you have forgotten one thing: Your opinion, no matter how erudite, is matched not by mine but by the composite of the inspiration of all of the ancient prophets of at least six millennia and of the Creator himself. Your logic is hardly equal to the inspiration and revelation from the Lord that I am representing to you. Your deliberations look rather puny when compared to the knowledge and wisdom of the God who made your little mind and gave it function. God said the act is sin. Numerous prophets claim the act is sin. The act is sin. Yes, my friend, if it were your mind against mine, your logic against mine, your perception against my limited ability, then I would retire and leave you to your deliberations and conclusions. But I am expressing not my own opinion but the word of the Lord of heaven, and I am telling you God's truth. The act is sin. To compare your opinion with the Lord's proven truth might be like a grain of sand compared to the bulk of Mt. Everest."(News of the Church -Sep 1973)