Filed under: Mormon Church, Mormon Families, Mormon Prophets and Apostles
In one of the last Mormon General Conferences Elder Ballard during the priesthood session talked about the relationship that should exist between fathers and sons.
Tonight I want to talk to you fathers and sons about how you talk to each other. There is no other relationship quite like that which can and should exist between a boy and his dad. It can be one of the most nurturing, joyful relationships in life, one that can have a profound impact on who boys become and also on who dads become. Now, I understand that some of you young men do not have fathers with whom you can have these kinds of conversations. And some of you men do not have sons or have lost your sons to accident or illness. But much of what I say tonight will apply to uncles and grandfathers and priesthood leaders and other mentors who sometimes fill the gaps for these significant father-son relationships. You see, we're all on a journey. Dads are a little further down the road, but none of us has yet arrived at our final destination. We are all in the process of becoming who we will one day be. Fathers and sons can play a critical role in helping each other become the best that they can be. (Fathers and Sons: A Remarkable Relationship)
More recently Mormon Messages launched this video about how a father and a son were able to improve their relationship. In this case the story is about a step son and a step father, and those relationships are usually fraught with more challenges, but the principles taught by Elder Ballard apply to every father and son relationship.
I have found this very interesting article about a “new generation of Mormons“.
I quote a few passages from the article: (link to the full article: The rise of a new generation of Mormons)
… the Mormon church is the outstanding religious success story of the past hundred years. Approximately 1.7 per cent of the US population are LDS members, just slightly fewer than describe themselves as Jewish. Global membership rose from 250,000 in 1900 to one million in 1948, to 13 million today. The church is probably the world's richest per capita religious institution, too, with assets estimated at between $25bn and $30bn. (That's £16bn-£20bn; the Church of England's portfolio in 2009 was £4.4bn.)
Religious sociologist Rodney Stark, at Baylor University in Texas, has predicted that the LDS will in the latter half of this century become the first new world religion since Islam - just one reason that Smith, who founded the church in the 1830s, is sometimes described as the "American Mohammed". There is something special about Mormons, but what is it? The most fashionable theory regarding religious success at the moment comes from economics, drawing on approaches developed by the University of Chicago's Gary Becker. Becker, a sociologist and economist, argues that American church pews are kept full - while those in Europe empty out - because the US is unencumbered by religious monopolies (such as the Church of England or the Catholic Church), leaving plenty of room for competition and choice. And indeed, one-quarter of US Mormons are first-generation converts. The US's National Council of Churches data from 2008 rank the LDS fourth among church membership in the US, with 5.8 million members - a rise of 1.56 per cent from the previous year.
Yet growth alone doesn't explain why some religions break into the boardroom and why some don't. American Jews and Hindus stand out in socio-demographic surveys for their exceptional incomes and professional accomplishment, but this flows not from growing membership, rather from heavy investment in education and, in the case of Hindus, successive waves of immigration by highly trained elites such as doctors and engineers. Mormon success is different: unlike Hindu immigrants, the newest LDS members in America - converts - tend to be poorer and less educated than those with longer heritage in the church. ..
Perhaps the most telling sign that Mormon success springs from different roots is this fact: the church's most successful members, in terms of education and wealth, are also its most fervent. In most religions, piety and professional success mix badly. Devout Jews earn less, and tend to be less educated, than their less-orthodox brethren. American Christian evangelicals save and earn less than those from more moderate traditions.
According to the Financial Times (and my experience) it is generally true that the most successful members are also the most fervent, characteristic that is not usually found in other religions, where many of the most successful people become skeptic of their religion and distance themselves from it. But why does this happen?
An easy answer from a convert to the Church (myself) is that the reason is because what the Church teaches is true, and when we apply its teachings to our life over a period of time, our life become successful, and this success confirms and strengthen our faith, and do not destroy it.
On the other hand, those who are members of the Mormon church but do not apply the principles of their religion to their lives, are usually less successful, and they tend to lose faith in their religion because they do not receive the support they were hoping for. The problem is that some of them do not realize that their lack of success is in part due to their actions, and therefore they do not make the corrections that are needed, and end up accusing the church for their failure.
But why is that in other religions more educated and wealthy people tend to be less devout then?
I have always been interested in what we should expect to see happen right before the beginning of the Millennium, since it is the time we are living now. However, what is the purpose of the Millennium and what will happen after it? What about the “little season” after the Millennium? How long is that going to be?
Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie explains:
After the Millennium-what? Is this great day when there shall be peace on earth and goodwill in the hearts of men-is it an end in itself? Is this the day of rest and righteousness, when there is neither sorrow, disease, nor death-is it the summun bonum of all things? When Israel triumphs and wickedness ceases and the Lord Jehovah lives and reigns on earth-will we then reach the great end and goal toward which all things point? Or is the millennial era but a way and a means to prepare most of the spirit hosts of an Almighty Elohim for even greater heights of joy and peace, of glory and exaltation?
... The Millennium is simply a means to an end; it is that portion of the earth’s temporal continuance during which billions of our Father’s children will so live as to gain eternal life. Out of the millennial era will come, without question, more saved souls than will result from all the rest of the ages combined. And after the Millennium will come celestial rest and glory.
This earth is destined to be a celestial sphere. It is now in a telestial state and will return to its Edenic or terrestrial state during the Millennium. Its final destiny, in John’s language, is to be “a sea of glass like unto crystal” (Rev. 4:6), which our revelation identifies as “the earth, in its sanctified, immortal, and eternal state.” (D&C 77:1.) The inspired word also says: “The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth; but they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire. . . . The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim. This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon.” (D&C 130:6-9.)
During the Millennium, Satan is bound. Because of the righteousness of the people, he has no power over them. “And when the thousand years are expired,” John tells us, “Satan shall be loosed out of his prison.” (Rev. 20:7.) This means that once again men will begin to give heed to his enticements. Satan was bound among the Nephites during their golden era. None of the people were then subject to his wiles; all lived in righteousness, and all were saved. But in A.D. 201, “there began to be among them those who were lifted up in pride, such as the wearing of costly apparel, and all manner of fine pearls, and of the fine things of the world. And from that time forth they did have their goods and their substance no more common among them. And they began to be divided into classes; and they began to build up churches unto themselves to get gain, and began to deny the true church of Christ.” (4 Ne. 1:24-26.) Soon there were persecution, crime, murder, and evil of every sort. So shall it be at the end of the Millennium. Men will begin again, gradually, to partake of the things of this world; pride and carnality and crime will commence anew; true believers will be persecuted and false churches will arise. Satan will be loosed because he is no longer bound by the righteousness of the people.
“And when he [Satan] is loosed again he shall only reign for a little season, and then cometh the end of the earth.” This “little season” is presumed to be another thousand years. The reasoning is that Christ came in the meridian of time, which means both the high point in time and the middle of time. The millennial era will be the seventh period of one thousand years of this earth’s temporal continuance; thus an added thousand-year period is needed to place the meridian of time in the midpoint in history. But be that as it may, “he that liveth in righteousness”-at the time of the actual end of the earth-”shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and the earth shall pass away so as by fire.” This will be a second day of burning, the day when this earth becomes a celestial globe. “And the wicked shall go away into unquenchable fire, and their end no man knoweth on earth, nor ever shall know, until they come before me in judgment.” (D&C 43:31-33.)
“And again, verily, verily, I say unto you,” saith the Lord, “that when the thousand years are ended, and men again begin to deny their God, then will I spare the earth but for a little season.” The language here bears out the concept that apostasy and its consequent evil way of life will be the key that opens the prison in which Satan is bound. “And the end shall come, and the heaven and the earth shall be consumed and pass away, and there shall be a new heaven and a new earth.” There was a new earth and new heavens when the Millennium commenced. This is a second new heaven and new earth; it is the celestial earth and its heaven. The language in each instance is similar, but the meaning is different. In one instance the new earth is the paradisiacal earth; in this case it is the celestial globe. “For all old things shall pass away, and all things shall become new, even the heaven and the earth, and all the fulness thereof, both men and beasts, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea; and not one hair, neither mote, shall be lost, for it is the workmanship of mine hand.” (D&C 29:22-25.) All forms of life shall then be immortal; all shall come forth from death and live in a resurrected state forever; the resurrection applies to men and animals and fowls and fishes and creeping things-all shall rise in immortality and live forever in their destined orders and spheres of existence. (Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man, p.693-696)