At times we need to face certain choices that may involve some kinds of risk or even danger. In my life I decided to do certain things that really seemed risky and uncertain, such as moving from Italy to go to Brazil, or even before, becoming a member of the Mormon Church in a mainly catholic country, and so on.
I remember someone telling me that certain choices would imply some degree of suffering. The person was implying that I should avoid anything that may include suffering. I am not talking about clearly wrong choices that lead to inevitable and almost useless suffering, I am talking about choices that make you grow, but that include leaving a confortable situation to face possible hardship. My reply to this kind of objection was that if the goal I was pursuing was worthy, I should move forward even if there was risk involved.
Yesterday I was reading the book In the Eye of the Storm, by Elder Groberg, where he tells the story of his mission, and I found a part that perfectly align with my thinking. Having moved from Brazil to the US, I can perfectly understand what Elder Groberg means, since this society is terribly concerned with considering all the negative implication of almost every action. At times there seems to be a complete paralysis of activity because of the fear that something will go wrong, that someone will sue us, and so on.
But this is what Elder Groberg says
One of the problems with all of the safety consciousness we have today is that it tends to cause us to hesitate to do things that we might otherwise do. I’m sure it’s good to have better information, such as weather reports, forecasting, safety inspections, and audits, but I sometimes wonder if we don’t get so filled with facts and figures and possible dangers that we do less than we should. I suppose we could all find legitimate reasons to hardly do anything because of the potential dangers involved, all the way from not going someplace because of a possible storm to not making a business decision because of a possible loss or lawsuit, to not getting married or not having children because of the possible physical, mental, social, or financial problems (p. 169-170)
I cannot agree more. Only in the US I have seen so many people worried of doing things because of possible lawsuits, or an exagerated trust in “certifications”. There are all kind of certifications that supposedly should protect us from harm. This is the only country that I know where in most activities in school they want parents to bring food bought in the store because food prepared at home can be dangerous! So, let us feed our kids with extremely processed junk food that will kill them slowly!
It is the illusion of being able to avoid all kind of dangers that makes our life so limited. I am glad the Mormon pioneers had more faith than this!
Elder Groberg explains this idea very well
As I see it, all of life is a risk, which is where faith comes in. We do what is right, and let the chips fall where they may. God will help us-I know that for sure! We will have problems with health or accidents, finances or family-at least we will have the ones God knows we need for the growth He wants us to have. If we protect ourselves from too many things, I have a feeling we may protect ourselves right out of the celestial kingdom!
By the way, it was really the plan of the adversary to avoid all kind of risk,
I remembered something about a plan and then a counterplan that supposedly removed the risk, but at the terrible price of no progress. I knew which one God chose. Even in troubled waters we make more progress if we are trying than if we wait until the dangers and discomforts are removed.
I suppose the Savior was aware of the danger that awaited Him as He entered Jerusalem that last time, but He went anyway. He may not have known the full extent of what lay ahead or exactly how He would handle it (witness His prayer in Matthew 26:39 that “if it be possible, let this cup pass” [italics added]), but His faith in His Father and His love for all mankind propelled Him forward as He willingly “finished [His] preparations unto the children of men” (D&C 19:19).
Filed under: Mormon Doctrine, Mormon Temples, News & Politics
This is really a funny story but it is reason for concern for many. According to the Salt Lake Tribune
Mormons have not only posthumously baptized President Barack Obama’s mother into their faith, but they may have performed the ritual for the president’s ancestors as well, including his father, grandfather and great-grandfather, according to researcher Helen Radkey.
I understand that it may seem something a little strange to perform baptisms for people who are deceased, unless someone does understand a little bit the doctrine and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church), and especially the spirit that permeate this work.
In the Mormonwiki we read that,
Because all on the earth do not have the opportunity to accept the gospel during mortality, the Lord has authorized baptisms performed by proxy for the dead. Therefore, those who accept the gospel in the spirit world may qualify for entrance into God's kingdom" (See Guide to the Scriptures). One thing that should be made perfectly clear about baptisms for the dead is that when a baptism is performed for a person, he has the option to accept or reject it. There is nothing in Mormon doctrine that says that the person who is being baptized by proxy must accept this ordinance. However, doing baptisms for the dead does at least give the person the ability to make a choice.
LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter had previously said that it rans counter to the faith’s policies for a member fo the church to submit names for baptism for people they are not related to. In short, we are supposed to submit only names of our ancestrals.
However, Scott Trotter reportedly said that
While the vast majority of names submitted by church members fall within applicable guidelines, it is virtually impossible to ensure that no improper submissions will be made
Mormons believe these proxy baptisms give people in the spirit world a chance to reject or accept the gospel. But the practice has created controversy in the past, particularly with Jewish organizations that have objected to the baptisms of Holocaust victims.
I know that I am a Mormon, and therefore I may be suspicious, but I have a hard time to understand why people get so upset for these proxy baptisms. I mean, when I will be dead, if some of my descendants ask a priest to perform a special mass for me, I will probably appreciate their good intentions. Since I do not believe that their ceremony has any real effect, why should I be so concerned? Similarly, if these people think that Mormons are misguided, they should simply ignore what they do, as a complete waste of time, but perhaps appreciate their good feelings of helping others. What is more important than offer salvation to people? According to Mormon doctrine, by doing a proxy baptism for a dead person (who is actually spiritually alive, and it does not look like the Pirates of the Caribbean), this person is given a chance, but not the obligation, to accept the truth. So, where is the problem? Just in case, a reasonable person would accept to have an extra chance, where nothing can be lost.
I can only understand that there is a problem if people are supersticious or if they believe in a really weird God who would allow people to “steal souls”. In fact, I was reading in a blog where the author says,
The president (Barack Obama) finds out a few months ago that the Mormons tried to steal his dead mother’s soul, and no one mentioned it?
Truly nobody can still souls, especially in the after-life. I think these guys should have a little more faith in the power of God! What would be the purpose of believing in a God who can be fouled so easily?
I am glad that President Obama is smarter than that, and accordingly there were no comments from the White House. He has more serious and real issues to worry about.
Follow a good video about what the practice of the baptism for the dead really is…so if you are curious just watch the video and you will see that there is nothing to be worried about!
Filed under: Mormon Church, Mormon Prophets and Apostles, Mormon Videos, Videos
There are many reasons why people leave the Mormon Church. Fortunatelly most people do not, but still we need to be willing to help those who are struggling. The video below is a presentation by John P. Dehlin about reasons because people leave the Mormon Church and how we can help. I found an interesting comment to the video:
Most people are under the false impression that you have to be perfect to be called of God. People accuse Brigham Young of being racist and conclude that? he could not have been a prophet of God because of his weakness. You shall know them by their fruits, not their weaknesses.
This is an interesting and true concept. At the end of our lives we will be judged by what we did and even desired to do, all the good and the evil we did or thought. So, Brigham Young did a lot of sacrifices and good for the Kingdom of God but he was still a son of his time, and he had some wrong ideas about black people. However, it should be important to remember that most Americans were racists to at least some degree at that time. But obviously, there are different degrees of racism. There is a big difference, especially in the 18th century, between someone who would treat black people like animals and someone like Brigham Young who said inappropriate things about them, because of his limited knowledge or bias.
But some may say, ” Was he not a prophet? How could he make such a mistake?” Remember what Joseph Smith said, a prophet is a prophet only when he act as such, not at all times. Moreover, the Mormon Church was against slavery when many other Christian Churches were strongly segregated. Yes, the Mormons did not give the priesthood to the blacks, but other christians Churches for a long time segregated completely blacks from white members. Is not that racism?
As I wrote previously, some people have a wrong idea of what a prophet is (see http://giuseppemartinengo.com/864/was-joseph-smith-a-true-prophet).
This is the video with more interesting ideas about why do people leave the Mormon Church
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.
In todays world, marriage is in peril and divorce is commonplace. Elder Dallin H. Oaks teaches us how we can heal from the pain of a difficult or broken marriage. It is through humility and the Atonement that we can recover and rebuild after experiencing these extremely difficult circumstances in our lives.
Filed under: Jesus Christ, Mormon Prophets and Apostles
Prophets of God have many gifts and skills. One of these is to be able to explain or reveal simple truths that when understood can make a great difference in our personal lives and in the lives of our families and our society.
I have taken several sociology and psychology classes during my life and I have read thousand of pages from different authors. But many more have been written by scholars in those disciplines, who tried to find solutions for the problems affecting humanity, at the individual or societal level. Many experiments have been done following those theories and ideas, and some of them were catastrophes (see for example the application of Marx’s theories to build a better society). Others, at best, are limited, too limited to really make a permanent difference in the life of people (for example, the behaviorist ideas in psychology).
My purpose is not to trash all the efforts that have been done by human beings who tried to figure out how to improve our lives. In some ideas and theories there is a lot of good. However, this is the key point: human beings are not able with their limited knowledge and understanding to solve these existential problems in a satisfactory way. They are at best limited and imperfect solutions, when they are not clearly going in the wrong direction and make things even worse.
On the other hand, listen to what an inspired prophet of God said, with simple and clear words, without doing any statistical analysis …
The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature (Ezra Taft Benson, "Born of God," Ensign, Nov 1985, 5).
It is true that by changing the environment we can affect change in individuals, at least to some degree, but the real change, the change that will last and will produce the desired results of happy individuals and healthy societies can only be reached through Christ and His Gospel.
Yes, Christ changes men, and changed men can change the world (Ezra Taft Benson, "Born of God," Ensign, Nov 1985, 5).
The new LDS App on Facebook allows you to include on Facebook some of your LDS interests and information.
You may decide to include or not the information on your personal profile.
These are the new features:
- Share your mission, with dates and experiences, and see other friends from your mission
- Share the temple you were married (or would like to be married). Include the date you were sealed.
- Share gospel artwork on your profile and through messages.
- Group your favorite scriptures together and share your thoughts on them.
- Play some scripture mastery games.
- Reference the help section which overviews all the features.
The LDS App was created by the More Good Foundation. The LDS App now has almost 40,000 members.