Filed under: Joseph Smith, Mormon Church, Mormon Prophets and Apostles, Mormon Videos
I am really excited to see the new version of the movie about Joseph Smith.
When I first arrived to the US (in 2001) I went several times to watch the movie The Testaments, one of my favorite movies ever. When they finally released the Joseph Smith movie I thought that it could not be better than The Testaments, but I was actually impressed by the new movie. I have not decided yet which one is better, but the few things I have heard about the new version make me feel that I will probably like it even more now.
According to LdsMediaTalk,
This is the first full-length motion picture the Church has released on the Internet. It is a revised version of the film that has been shown since 2005 in the Joseph Smith Building in Salt Lake City and in 19 visitors' centers around the world. The revisions are to make it more easily understood by a wider audience, now that it is available to everyone online.
Ron Munns, who produced the original film, said, "The first Joseph Smith film was excellent and was well received by many. However, some parts were not easily understood if you did not already know the story. Everyone comes to the film with different backgrounds and knowledge and we wanted to make sure that every person who sees the film walks away with a better understanding of the Prophet Joseph and what he did."
In the new version, "there is less focus on Joseph the man and more focus on Joseph the prophet. It's the same story, just with a different emphasis," said John Garbett, who produced the new movie. For example, a scene showing a leg operation Joseph had as a young boy was removed because it was less essential to the purpose of the film. Those who have seen the film before will notice that the revised version has a new narrator: an actress representing Lucy Mack Smith, Joseph's mother.
"We chose this device to tell the story because Lucy Mack Smith was an eyewitness to everything that happened," Garbett said. "This is a mother talking about her son in her own words."
Now, I need to leave and go take a look at the movie!
Filed under: Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, Mormon Church, Mormon Doctrine
I traveled to Italy in December, to visit family and friends with my son Luca, who had just come home from his mission in Boston. We visited Rome, among other places, and obviously the Vatican. While in Rome and in Italy in general, my eyes met several times the symbol of the catholic religion, and of other Christian churches, the Crucifix.
I then remembered the feeling I had the first time I was in an apartment of the Mormon missionaries. That day (sometimes in December of 1984) I had accepted their challenge to be baptized in the Mormon church, and my mom was absolutely contrary to that.
In fact, she had challenged me to leave her home or give up the idea of becoming a member of the Mormon church. I had then decided to leave my home but without really knowing where to go. Having in my hands a pamphlet with the address of the missionaries, I had decided to go talk with them. I arrived there around 10 pm and they offered me to stay with them for the night. The first thing I noticed in their apartment was that on the top of their bed there wasn’t a crucifix, but a picture of Jesus resurrected.
That had a profound impact on me. What a different feeling brings to you to see a picture of Jesus resurrected – in this case a representation of his Second Coming, than a crucifix. Not that in the Church we do not believe or we do not give importance to the fact that Jesus suffered for us, on the contrary, but it is important to realize that is His victory over death and sin that should be the symbol of our religion, and not his death and suffering.
I understand that many can have different taking on this matter, but for me that was another step toward understanding and accepting the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. In harmony with this experience I like the focus given in the church about not only working for our happiness in the future life, but about how keeping the commandments in this life will allow us to experience true happiness right now, and not only in the future worlds. Suffering is a “necessary evil” not the purpose of our lives here on earth.
This quote from Joseph Smith well explain this doctrine:
Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God.
Filed under: Joseph Smith, Mormon Prophets and Apostles
I have read an interesting book by Michael R. Ash, titled The Shaken Faith Syndrome. I really recommend reading this book entirely, but I particularly like the part where he discusses the unrealistic expectations of Prophets that many people have. These unrealistic expectations come from members and non-members of the Mormon Church.
Many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have heard the phrase “The President of the Church will never lead the people of the Church astray”. This seems to have caused some members to believe that prophets are infallible in their teachings at all times, since they wake up in the morning until they go to bed at night. However, Joseph Smith and other leaders clearly taught differently.
Having being raised as a Catholic, I can’t avoid laughing at this comment comparing Mormons and Catholics.
The official position of Catholicism is that of an infallible pope, yet few lay Catholics really seem to believe it, while conversely, the official position of Mormonism is that of a fallible prophet, yet few lay Mormons really seems to believe it.
However, there are specific and sad consequences when people insist to act as if they believed that a prophet can’t make mistakes, or that all he does and say must be inspired at all times. For example, many ex-Mormons insist that they left the Church because of some idea expressed by some of the prophets in the past, even if that was never the official doctrine of the Church. They do not seem to understand that prophets are not born as prophets, and that when they are called as prophets they do not become immediately “divine”. They can make mistakes. They do not live in a cultural vacuum and therefore they may have bias.
Joseph Smith made mistakes, and he knew it and never tried to conceil it. In fact, modern scriptures have several examples when the Lord reprehended Joseph for his sins and mistakes. The same prophet Joseph Smith said that a prophet is a prophet only when he acts as such.
Same people would prefer differently, perhaps because they do not want to accept their personal responsibility of praying and asking God in order to receive a confirmation of what a prophet or any other leader of the Church is teaching.
Personally, I have no problems to believe that Joseph Smith and other leaders of the past made mistakes, because I have my own personal testimony of the true of the restored gospel and of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I make mistakes and I can live knowing that prophets make mistakes.
Filed under: Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, Mormon Church, Mormon Videos
This is an interesting video where Rachel Esplin, a 20-year old Harvard junior, speaks on a panel of faith about her Mormon beliefs, upbringing, and faith in Jesus Christ and the restoration of the gospel. She does a great job of presenting what she believes and with honesty explains her feelings about the Mormon Church. Her answer cover several important beliefs of Mormons.
Filed under: Giuseppe Martinengo, Joseph Smith, Mormon Videos, Videos
Since I met the Mormon missionaries for the first time in my life, at the end of 1984, and I heard the story of the prophet Joseph Smith, I have always had a great admiration for what he did. I strongly believe that
Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fullness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum” (Doctrine and Covenants 135:3).
This is a short video about what I think and believe about Joseph Smith
This year, 2008, the American people will choose their new president. Mitt Romney, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon or LDS Church), was among the candidates of the Republican party for a while. However, even if he was one of the best candidates, the fact that he was a Mormon clearly created a strong opposition even in the republican party.
It is unfortunate that prejudice against the Mormon Church is still so strong in America. However, it was a lot worse in the past.
I was reading an interesting book by Arnold K. Garr, Joseph Smith: Presidential candidate.
Why did Joseph Smith decided to be a candidate in the 1844 presidential election? It is hard to believe that he thought he could win the election, but he was not a frivolous candidate.
Joseph Smith said on February 8, 1844:
I would not have suffered my name to have been used by my friends on anywise as President of the United States, or candidade for that office, if I and my friend could have had the privilege of enjoying our religious and civil rights as American citizens…But this as a people we have been denied from the beginning. Persecution has rolled upon our heads from time to time…. because of our religion; and no portion of the government as yet stepped forward for our relief. And in view of these things, I feel it to be my right and privilege to obtain what influence and power I can, lawfully, in the United States, for the protection of injured innocence.
Clearly, Joseph Smith was trying to gain as much influence as possible to protect his people, even if he probably knew that he could not become president. In fact, he even speculated that he could be killed because of his campaign.
Joseph Smith‘s platform was contained in a pamphlet titled General Smith’s Views of the Powers and Policy of the Government of the United States.
Among other interesting ideas, he proposed the abolition of slavery by the year 1850. His solution to the problem was to
pay every man a reasonable price for his slaves out of the surplus revenue arising from the sale of public land, and from the deduction of pay from members of Congress. Break off the shackles from the poor black man, and hire them to labor like other human beings
Was this solution economically impractical? According to Dr. Garr
…the way that ultimately the United States settled the slavery issue was through civil war – a conflict that cost more than fifteen billion dollars and more than 600,000 lives….a conflict that left the South in economic ruin and implanted bitterness and hatred in the hearts of millions…In retrospect, it would seem that Joseph Smith’s solution to the slavery was more sensible than Civil War.
Joseph Smith was killed on June 27, 1844 and obviously he never became president. The American people could not find a better solution to slavery and it went through a terrible Civil War.
I can’t avoid thinking how different could have been U.S. history if the American people has listened to Joseph Smith’s counsel.
Filed under: Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, Mormon Church, Mormon Doctrine, Mormon Prophets and Apostles
I have found something really interesting, called “The Baptist Version of The Book of Mormon – Protestant Doctrines within the Book of Mormon” by Lynn Ridenhour, a Southern Baptist Minister.
It is an amazing article. I am copying it here because I do not want to see it disappear in the future from the internet, but I recognize his authorship and commend it for what he did and his sincerity.
This is his article that currently can be found at http://www.centerplace.org/library/bofm/baptistversionofbofm.htm
“Iâ€™m a licensed Southern Baptist minister and I embrace the Book of Mormon.
That is, I believe the truths recorded in it. No, Iâ€™m not a convert to the Mormon faith, nor am I a member of any particular “spin-off” restoration group such as the RLDS (Reorganized Latter-day Saints), Hedrikites, or Strangites. Iâ€™m still a Baptist minister. To be exact, Iâ€™m “charismatic Baptist.” That is, I still embrace the “born again” experience. I still believe youâ€™re saved by grace. By the shed blood of Christ. Salvation is by faith alone in His finished work on Calvary. I still believe in the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. I believe and embrace those cardinal doctrines of Protestantism.
And you know what?â€¦
I still believe the Book of Mormon too! Read more
Filed under: Book of Mormon, God, Joseph Smith, Mormon Doctrine
Joseph Smith‘s doctrinal restoration include many principles that were lost by the world for centuries. Probably the most important was about the nature of God. Joseph Smith proclaimed to have seen God the Father and the Son in his vision.
According to Joseph Smith, they were two distinct personages and not a confuse part of a trinity. Traditional Christians were offended by such a claim, since they thought it would diminish God.
Why did they react that way? Because traditional Christianity included in its beliefs the idea that God is an amorphous essence of some kind. This idea come from Greek philosophy and not from the scriptures.
Moreover, especially those who strictly believe in the Bible, seem to have forgotten what happened do Stephen when he claimed that he saw the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God (see Acts 7:56). Clearly Stephen did also see two personages, in the form of men, in his vision.
So, I ask, why do those who claim that nothing else but the Bible can teach us about God are ignoring such evidences (Stephen) and “adding” to the Bible (Greek philosophy)?
Do they really believe in the Bible?