Filed under: Internet & Media, Mormon Prophets and Apostles
Slate magazine's annual list of the nation's most powerful people over 80 years old ranked the Mormon Prophet Thomas S. Monson as number 1.
"The top spot this year goes to 82-year-old Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the only person on the list to rule over millions of people as a prophet of God." (See 80 Over 80)
The placement of Thomas S. Monson at the top of the list is definitively a recognition of the importance and influence for good of a prophet of God. However, the article uses words that may mislead people into thinking that a true prophet of God “rules” over people or that he seeks for “power”.
This could not be farther from the truth. Thomas S. Monson served for many years in the Church before becoming its president, and differently from many politicians who get elected to public offices, he was not elected on the basis of a “new platform” or after a campaign in which he violently criticized is predecessor. On the contrary, he was chosen by God to continue what his predecessors did, in harmony with the will of God.
His power come from righteous influence and he does not “rule” over millions as a king or president, but he serves millions of people. He is not even the real head of the Church, because in spite of millions reverencing him as a prophet of God, he is the first to remember that the real head of the Church, and the real King, is the Saviour.
Filed under: Mormon Church, Mormon Families, News & Politics
My last blog was about the great talk by Elder Oaks. As suspected, I received right away a comment that was a simple insult directed to me and Elder Oaks. Obviously this guy missed completely the point of Elder Oaks’ talk. But if people do not want to see, they will never see, if they do not want to hear, they will not.
Thinking of the situation created by this debate about same-sex marriage and the non democratic actions of many, I could not avoid thinking about a few comment made by Elder Bruce McConkie:
Persecution is an essential part of the creeds of all false religions. There is an eternal law…. that truth will prevail. Left to itself true religion – though it may be delayed or hindered in its progress – must and will prevail. The only effective weapon of false religions – and it yields only momentary success – is to persecute true believers (The Mortal Messiah, 2:317).
Now, a religion does not necessarily needs to include the worship of a God. Many dictatorial political systems are very similar to false religions. But not only that, any group of beliefs organized can become a religion, even atheism is a religion, since it implies a strong belief that there is no God.
Therefore, it is unfortunate, but I am not surprised that some (or many people) are attacking the Mormons and other good people because they try to stand for what is right. Over time, if those who attack what is right and sacred prevail, we will probably see the calamities predicted by the scriptures to come on this country and many others.
The talk by Elder Dallin H. Oaks about religious freedom and its challenges in the US (and in the entire world) is a masterpiece and needs to be read in its entirety, but I want to stress a few points here.
First, the story of the 42-year-old married woman, Oyun Altangerel, who fought for religious freedom in Mongolia and then became one of the first members of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints in his country is an example for all of us that we should be anxiously engaged in making this world a better place for everybody, and that we need to be brave and defend what is right.
Second, I particularly like and agree when Elder Oaks explains the deceit that is pervasive among many who would like to silence those who oppose same-sex marriage. Elder Oaks says,
Along with many others, we were disappointed with what we experienced in the aftermath of California's adoption of Proposition 8, including vandalism of church facilities and harassment of church members by firings and boycotts of member businesses and by retaliation against donors. Mormons were the targets of most of this, but it also hit other churches in the pro-8 coalition and other persons who could be identified as supporters.
As such, these incidents of "violence and intimidation" are not so much anti-religious as anti-democratic. In their effect they are like the well-known and widely condemned voter-intimidation of blacks in the South that produced corrective federal civil-rights legislation.
Contrary to what many proponents of same-sex marriage suggested, are not the Mormons, and others who defended Prop 8, who are trying to deny the importance of civil rights: they are only trying to speak up for what they believe to be right. The real problem are the intimidations and violences of many of those who were against Prop 8. Their course of action is the real threat to the civil rights.
Finally, it is important to remember the history of the United States of America, that were founded by people who were anxious to defend religious freedom
Religious values and political realities are so interlinked in the origin and perpetuation of this nation that we cannot lose the influence of Christianity in the public square without seriously jeopardizing our freedoms. I maintain that this is a political fact, well qualified for argument in the public square by religious people whose freedom to believe and act must always be protected by what is properly called our "First Freedom," the free exercise of religion.
According to an article in the Daily Herald) were "coming fast and furious" during the recent LDS general conference. In spite of thousands of members stuffing the LDS conference center in Salt Lake City and hundreds of thousands more watching the conference broadcast, other members were pushing the event to the forefront of social media. The search term "#ldsconf" remained among the most popular on Twitter over the weekend.
There were tweets almost about every topic, but Elder Jeffery R. Holland’s direct and emotional testimony about the veracity of the church's Book of Mormon was followed by thousands of tweets about how powerful it was.
The article on the Daily Herald ends by stating that
even as the church's members streamed, tweeted, IM'd, listened and watched conference on every piece of media at their disposal, Elder Russell M. Nelson said the best kind of communication doesn't come with a cost. 'Even more amazing that modern technology is our opportunity to access information directly from heaven, without hardware, software or monthly service fees,' he said.
I recognize that it is a nice way of closing an article, but it may leave us with a false impression about using the Internet to spread the Gospel. Elder Nelson was trying to direct our attention to the importance of prayer, but if prayer is a great form of communication with God, it is someway limited when we try to talk to mortals. In fact, in spite of the fact that missionaries usually prepare themselves for their service through fervent prayer and fasting, and that prayer may open doors, missionaries still need to communicate directly with the people, if they want to make an effect. Angelic visitations as a consequence of prayers, such in the case of Alma praying for his son Alma the Younger, usually only come after the missionaries, or the parents, have done all they could to communicate with the people they were trying to reach.
Filed under: Internet & Media, Mormon Missionaries
This is the introduction of a very good article on the last Ensign, October 2009, about sharing our beliefs online by Michelle Stocking of the Church Magazines (link to the full article).
After years of harboring bitterness and anger, Derick Fitch of Indiana felt as though he had hit a dead end. He decided he had enough and wanted to change. That decision led him to do something he had never done before: search for God.
So Derick did what he typically did when he wanted to find information: he went to the Internet. Not only would that give him quick, easy access to information, it would also allow him to conduct his search privately, without making any commitments. Derick decided to begin his Internet search by looking for information on "the Mormon Church" because of a television commercial he remembered from his teenage years.
“My search led me to an LDS-related site that had exactly what I was looking for--a message board where I could confidentially post questions about the Church," Derick says. He took a deep breath and registered with the site.
Using the site's message board, Derick received answers to his questions from Latter-day Saints and learned that he could read the Book of Mormon online by clicking on a link at www.mormon.org. "The words in 1 Nephi penetrated the cold, hard shell around my heart," he says. "I started to think about my life and my relationship with God."
Soon Derick obtained a printed copy of the Book of Mormon from the local missionaries and agreed to attend church services. Less than four months after Derick had decided to search online for information about religion, he was baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"I am so thankful that I was able to start reading the Book of Mormon online," he says. "I am thankful that I was able to find LDS Web sites, ask questions about the Church, and receive wonderful answers."
For Derick and many others who have questions about the Church, the natural place to turn is the Internet. There, Derick received answers to his questions from everyday Latter-day Saints--and those answers touched his heart.
It is interesting how one thing led to another, but the Internet was a very important step in Derick’s research and conversion process. The message board he found was not an official website of the church, however, but a members’ initiative. It is an important thing for members to share their beliefs online and not be shy, to take the initiative and not to wait for some formal calling coming from the church.