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Category Archives: Religion

Sometimes, when I am enjoying an announcement, in an article on the internet, of further growth in my church, there comes a comment from one who would throw cold water on my enjoyment.  There are some dedicated individuals, who desire to bring down this House of God (I know, such a dramatic statement). I could view this activity in a discouraging light, if I didn’t fully realize that the fact of their persistent existence is a testament in itself, to the truthfulness, and importance of this organization.

“How so!” you ask? I would answer you thus; Because, if this organization were not important, no one would bother for so long, and with such vehemence, to persist in trying to destroy it.  The Church would simply be laughed off, momentarily, and then ignored. Additionally, if it were not true, it would not have survived for so long, let alone, grown to it’s current size, without ever being a political tool of a sovereign nation, as the Catholic church, or the religion of Islam became. Both of those churches used politics, and forced conversion to grow their numbers.  The religion of Islam, even currently, uses force and the politics of nation states, to grow their religion.

But the size and age of this religion is still not enough to provide a full testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That requires personal study, and thought, and personal prayer, to discover for oneself, whether or not it is worth believing in. The personal study will come through reading, or listening to others read (such as on tapes or cd’s) the scriptures. Both the Holy Bible, and the Book of Mormon, which are companion volumes in testimony of the existence, and divinity of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of all of us, for the sins of the world.

As to one of the questions currently being raised by these individuals, I’ll give some space for an answer here.  One accusation, and question being raised, has to do with a story book that was supposedly written prior to the translation of the Book of Mormon.  The accusation being leveled is about a similarity between a short story book and the Book of Mormon.  According to the theory being proposed, Joseph would have had access to this story book, and simply made up the Book of Mormon, based on this short story book.

So, to address the questions raised here… If one has read the accounts of the translating of the Book of Mormon, one realizes that a short, 116 page section, which was a condensed version of the whole book, was given to someone who was learned, to provide corroborative proof to this gentleman, that there was a book of plates being translated.  This gentleman, to whom the condensed version was given, promptly lost them, or hid them, and claimed not to have received them at all.

Joseph was devastated that his trust was betrayed, but even more devastated that he had himself betrayed a trust, as he had been instructed Not to share those pages, and had done it anyway.  After the loss, he was further instructed not to retranslate them, as the lost pages would be used against him and the restoration of the gospel.

Now, some of you know that I am currently enrolled in school again.  I am a student at the University of Louisville, in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.  I am studying fine art, as a studio artist.  One of my areas of study has been in printmaking.  As you might be aware, printing presses of old made use of moveable type.  You set up the letters in trays (backwards) and ran pages, with ink over them, to create printed pages.  You could make any kind of written words, and images that could be duplicated, including printing dates. They could be anything you could set the type to reflect, even if it wasn’t accurate (much like things on the internet today).

So, if a person had a condensed version of a book coming out, someone could, if they so chose, create another story, based on that condensed version, and set a type-set date previous to the date of the creation of the full version of the book, thus making it seem as though the person who was creating the full version had stolen their idea from someone else.  Why does this sound so particularly plausible? Oh, because this sort of thing still happens today, all the time; Copy right laws, notwithstanding.

So, even if the story that someone is touting actually exists, which I wonder about, due to stories of that nature being printed on wood pulp, and not surviving to this day and age, due to acid, and browning, and cracking up into little tiny fragments…   No, I don’t believe the story of the story that someone is pushing on the internet, as a plausible reason for denying the testimony I have received, of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and the Divinity of Jesus Christ.  He exists, and still teaches us today, if we will ask in faith, and Listen to his response.

Of the candidates currently running, Gary Johnson reminds me the most, of Charlie Brown.  He’s a good guy.  I know, that’s hard to fathom in this day and age, but they do still exist occasionally.  What’s more important at the moment, is that Gary Johnson is a valid political candidate running for President, and his presence in the polls is on the rise.  He’s the Libertarian party candidate, which means he believes in smaller government, fewer regulations and restrictions on business, or in your personal lives, and a more autonomous citizenry.  Under this type of government, creativity and invention flourish. Businesses are started, and grow. Work becomes available for more people, and productivity increases. People are happier, because they have the freedom to indulge themselves in speculative efforts; which sometimes pay off quite well.

Now, I know that we have two, very powerful, candidates running under different party banners.  It might seem impossible to dream of having such a good guy candidate actually win, but there is a scenario in which it might happen.  If the other two candidates cancel each others’s electoral college votes out, somewhat, so that neither of them have enough, if Gary can win a state, and pull just enough votes to keep either of them from winning flat out, then the decision goes to the Hill.  It would be something like what happened when Nixon Resigned, and his Vice President was already impeached.  Our congressmen and women made the decision who would be the President until the elections happened.  That’s how Gerald Ford became President after Nixon.  So Maybe, the congress wouldn’t like either of the two powerful candidates enough and would choose Gary.

Maybe that’s what his campaign rallying cry should be. Choose Gary.

 

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Christ Jesus Mormon

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints  (Photo credit: More Good Foundation)

I read a fun little poem recently on another blog with a post called “Is the Church a Zoo” that spoke of the different types of people observed in church and how they shared traits with a variety of animals.  Different animal behaviors were exhibited by the same people over different activities.  It’s a fun poem, and a philosophical puzzle.  There were many reactions to it which agreed with the sentiment, and some even pointed out that some of those behaviors were why they no longer went to church.  There were a few commenters who stated that they observed their faith by staying home and studying and praying on their own.  This item was what gave me pause and a reason to write here again.

I cannot fault those who feel that the weaknesses of others is a good reason to not participate in church.  I have done this myself.  Having said that, I will also say, that I repent me of having done that.  Not being involved doesn’t make the others More involved.  It just deprives the body of the church of yet another person who Could have been helpful, but chose Not to be.  What is an organized church for, after all, if not to make it easier to become aware of the needs of others, and for them to become aware of our needs.  How else can we follow in the footsteps of Christ if we won’t look for and actively engage ourselves in ministering to the needs of others.  This is Not solely the job of the pastor, but of All who profess willingness to follow in His footsteps.

We are all human, however, and as such, subject to these frequent failings.  Making the mistake of thinking that removing yourself from the body will somehow send a message that the body is sick and needs healing is simply adding insult to injury.  This observation does not make me more righteous than anyone else.  It just means that I have learned my lesson on this particular point.   There are many other points I have yet to work on.  Some of them, I have at least become aware of, so I have hope that I may yet improve on them.

One of the failings that I have become aware of is that of complacency, or laziness, whichever term you prefer.  I like the little rut I’m in and don’t like getting out of it.  This leaves some of the things I Should be doing sort of hanging…..  I have to Actively move myself into a state of activity outside of my own personal zone of comfort.  My complacent state of being finds this annoying.  My Spirit tells me that I Must do more.  So I will do more (sigh).   When I get to the point that I no longer think of this as annoying, but look forward to doing more for others, that is when I will have made some serious improvement in my effort to follow Christ.

I find that what I think of as More and what I actually do as more are somewhat different things, but there is hope yet, that I will live up to my own expectations of myself.  At least, if I move a little further out of my comfort zone, perhaps I will actually be able to benefit someone other than myself, and Maybe, just maybe, pay back some of what others (who have succeeded in moving out of Their comfort zones) have done for me  (At least those who are here in this world with me).  On the other hand, I know that I will Never be able to repay Christ for what He has done for me.  And He’s OK with that.  He only requires that I do the best that is in me by being as actively engaged as I can manage.  That’s all He requires of anyone.  Even you.

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, llc 2012.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Crime Scene

Crime Scene (Photo credit: Alan Cleaver)

OK!  I’m sure I’m not the alone in reading about more than one cannibalistic killer in the world within the past three weeks.  I’m sure I’m not alone in considering this behavior to be bizarre, and even more so that there have been Several cases by Different people in diverse places.  Some readers have stated they believe that the recreational use of Bath Salts may be at fault, but there has been no confirmation of that as the cause.

Other readers have even gone so far as to draw analogies with flesh eating Zombies.  Oh if only that were what this was. If it were  Zombies that were responsible, then we could excuse the behavior as a side effect of a virus, the way that Rabies makes people and animals lose control.

But that Isn’t what is happening here.  These cannibals live in our cities, have no responsible attacking virus, and work among us all as though they were decent human beings!  This madness has even been filmed and sent to the internet as a video by one Canadian man who has since been caught, after an international chase found him in Germany.

Is This a new kind of crime wave? A more gruesome kind of depravity to look forward to in the coming years?  I thought about putting this post in my Political blog, but this isn’t a political problem.  It’s a spiritual one.  These crimes point out a deep divide between what a society Says it believes in, and what it’s actually promoting.  These crimes aren’t just about personal frustration, they are about rage, and hate, and brutality on display for a larger public viewing.

Not unlike the terrorist activity, where people in public places are killed by large explosions; these crimes are meant to be horrific, and to elicit horrified reactions, whether just from the victim, or from a larger public as well.   Even when the perpetrator of the crime is hallucinating, these reactions are still outrageous.  One would Hope that this is not the behavior that was taught as proper by whatever authority raised these persons. This behavior is still way outside what is considered acceptable, so even within a hallucination, it is Still an unacceptable reaction.

How did we get this way?  When did our society become so enamored of  graphic and outrageous behavior that this type of gruesome activity could be considered by any perpetrator?  Did it begin with the talk show circuit?  The public display of unusual and decadent behaviors by one or another of a couple?  Did it enter into the thought cycle with the advent of “Reality” shows, which are set up to be confrontational and to promote irrational behaviors for the ratings that would generate?  Was it because of the attention that international terrorist activity gets, that our usual, run of the mill criminal mind suddenly gets grandiose ideas for attention getting by this means?

Some people would say that these behaviors have always been around, and we are just seeing more of them because we have the internet, but really, these types of behaviors have made the news in other times, and have been talked about world wide as well, the way that Jack the Ripper was, or that the Boston Strangler was, or the Lindberg Kidnapping.  They made the news internationally too, and they didn’t have the internet then.  So I don’t think this behavior is always out there.  It seems to be a periodic type of behavior. The last time there was a world wide tracking of it was prior to World War I.  I hope that an increase in cannibalism is not an indicator of another world wide event of that nature.

The spread of human cannibalism (anthropophagy...

The spread of human cannibalism (anthropophagy) in the late 19th century. The text to this map: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do we turn this around?  How do we make it once again, an unacceptable, never to be thought of, let alone carried out,  crime.  What do we do as a society to get back to a stronger moral footing?  Is there something we can choose as a People, that would discourage this behavior once again?

Do we choose Not to publish this type of behavior?  How about not publishing the neighbors dirty laundry?  Maybe we should go back to rolling up the sidewalks on Sundays; no businesses open, and encourage more people to attend some kind of church service, to be reminded that there will be an accounting for our choices.  What will it take for people to Not want to consider eating each other as a form of punishment/criminal attention getting?  How has this modern society fallen so far?!

 

© Ellen M Story and EMariaEnterprises, LLC, 2012

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M. Story and EMariaEnterprises, LLC with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Quadruple Combination of the (scriptures) of...

A Quadruple Combination of the (scriptures) of – contains the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, all bound together. Ricardo630 07:45, 15 April 2006 (UTC) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Latter-day Saints believe in the resurrected J...

Latter-day Saints believe in the resurrected Jesus Christ, as depicted in the Christus Statue in the North Visitors’ Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am moving to a new area.  I have never lived there before, and I don’t have any relatives, or boyfriends, or even acquaintances there to cushion the move.  I don’t have a job waiting for me, and I  don’t have a load of income to back me up, though I do have some very good people Here who are helping to finance this move.  My daughter and I are moving there in her last year of High School to establish residency in the state that we have chosen for her to go to University in.   We are moving on faith.  We believe this is the right move for both of us to make at this time.  We are both excited about this new beginning.  Though the way forward is not clear, yet we feel good about it.  Feeling your way in the dark can be exciting.

 

The one thing I do have in the new area that is the same, is a Church that is the same denomination as the one I am leaving here.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Even though where I am moving to is a Very small town, there is a Church there.  The members on both ends of this move have already been really helpful to me.  They have helped load, and unload a twenty foot truck for me already.  I have some more moving to do, a couple of trailers worth, I believe, and some of the same friends on this end who will be helping me to load it, and unload it.  It would be horribly remiss of me to take any 0f these people for granted.  They are extraordinary.  I pray that that Good Being who set us here on this path of exploration will bless all of them in their journey, and prosper them, and help them realize their dreams.

I hope that the new course I am traveling will prove fertile.  I am changing directions; making a radical shift in my thinking, but in reality, I am also revisiting my oldest and best talents.   I so hope that the richness of experience I bring to those talents will blossom in the medium and grow beautiful creations.

Lately, I have been writing, but I am also going back to painting, and other creative, and I hope useful occupations.  I am tired, now, of attempting to contribute something useful to the world in the way of analytical and practical and meaningful only to have those efforts tossed back in my face as dross because they didn’t  fit with someone else’s agenda of power seeking and personal ego gratification.  Whether that fight is worth fighting, I will leave to others who are probably more suited to the mental maneuvering necessary to politics, and bureaucracy.  Perhaps, in my need to not get put in a box, I have only removed myself from doing those things that truly let me get out of the box.

Wish me luck, and perhaps, even if undeserved, blessings on this new leg of my journey.

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, llc  2012

. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Luciffer versus The Lord (Madach) Slovenčina: ...

Luciffer versus The Lord (Madach) Slovenčina: Lucifer proti Pánovi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When once I glanced upon a star aglow in all it’s glory,

I chanced to wonder just how far its light had traveled nearly.

And does it have a limit to how long its glow will tarry?

Or can it burn forever bright as far as light will carry?

If once it shudders and collapses is it because it’s weary?

Or can a star, rebellious, find past limits cost most dearly?

What is a black hole made of? Is it matter, anti-matter?

Or is a star intelligent, or mad as the Mad Hatter?

Once collapsed but previously, a star, so shining brightly.

Was it once an added upon of souls that traveled rightly?

Can I but dwell in righteousness, will I journey so directly?

Or maybe stop one step away, dwell first as planet, earthy.

When star was sun, did it by chance deny its truest maker?

And as result, get cast away, a swirl of Outer Darkness?

Did it refuse to operate as light source for creation?

Or was there something else that stopped its brilliant conflagration?

Did it swell with pride, its limit reach, strained to go much further,

and thus, collapse into itself, from reaching too much over.

Like Lucifer who shone so bright, and fostered insurrection,

did it try to take on too much power and end its sussuration?

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2012

. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Latter-day Saints believe in the resurrected J...

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English: Painting by an unknown painter, circa...

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Brigham Young

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Turn of the century photograph of the entire f...

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English: Portrait of Mormon polygamists in pri...
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Now I would like to address the issue of Polygamy and the numerous comments made about “Mormon” beliefs.

The practice of polygamy was instituted in the early Church to address a serious shortage of men within the church, and the fact that people had a problem with supporting the widows and orphans under their trying circumstances.

There were many individuals who felt that just taking care of their own family was already too difficult and that they couldn’t afford to assist people outside their family unit.  Obviously, this left the only feasible way to solve the dilemma, short of forced donations (which the Church has never been wont to do) as being done within a family unit; therefore, to do so and maintain righteousness, it would involve marriage.

There is some discrepancy on the reporting of the numbers, but everyone agrees it was never more than five percent of the males that had more than one wife, and some posit it as being as few as two percent.

No man could marry more than one wife without the consent of his first wife.

The wives owned the property.  If a wife wanted out, she was welcomed to do so, and she took her property with her.

The Prophet Brigham Young, who was married to 17 women, had several of them divorce him.  Not because he was a bad man, but because they didn’t become the favorite, or couldn’t get their way, or because they couldn’t get along with the rest of the family members.  In a family that large, this is not hard to imagine occurring. No one replaced the First wife.

Marrying these women was  a way to make sure of their support. There was no thought of getting around a no cheating rule.  It was not a way to have some kind of harem.

Were some plural marriages more successful than others?  Sure.  As in all relationships, the parties within the marriage were responsible for their own happiness,  If they were cheerful, and cooperative with each other, and lived righteously, there was more harmony; if not, than not so much.

When the United States passed a law, outlawing polygamy well after the civil war was over ( It was not illegal before that), then The Church, as is in keeping with the beliefs of being subject to the laws of the land, stopped supporting plural marriages in the states.  Some of the members who had had successful marriages and had lots of children, etc.  moved to Mexico so as to not be where it was illegal.

Some of the men who had plural wives at the time of the passing of the law went to jail rather than have to choose to divorce one of their wives.

Some got divorced from all but one woman, and some plural marriages came to an end through natural consequences.

It had been over forty years since the institution of this practice, and the imbalance of women to men worked itself out, for the most part.

As to the ones today who call themselves Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints….  They are Not members of  Christ’s Church, but of doctrine of their own devising.  Those who follow their doctrine do so for their own reasons, and not because it is a correct tradition.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

English: Church of Jesus Christ (Zion's Branch...

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English: Family History Library of The Church ...

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English: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day ...

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English: The Reno Nevada Temple of The Church ...

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Bishops' Storehouses

Image by Travis S. via Flickr

There have been people who complained that the reason they became non-religious, was because the people in the churches were so imperfect.  I too have seen the imperfections of humanity, and once upon a time, I too withdrew my support from official religions because I was incensed that the people weren’t more perfect.

I could have continued in this path of indifference, being perfectly right in my position of “the people aren’t perfect enough”, and it would have gotten me exactly nowhere. Nor would it have changed anything within the church except to leave it one body shorter of those who Could have been doing something to assist each other.

God saw fit to withdraw His support from me during this time (turn about is fair play).  I was allowed to suffer the full effect of the buffetings of the world.  Without His protection to keep me from harm, without His spirit to guide me in my choices, without His angels to watch over and protect me in my efforts, I became just another casualty of a dog-eat-dog world.  I met the man who would become my husband during this time.  Things went well for a while, but then, I changed jobs, and some issues which hadn’t been issues until then, suddenly became issues.

Once brought down low, and in need of assistance (no work,no money to pay bills, no food) my husband suggested that we turn to the local food banks at the local Christian churches.  When he said this, I looked at Him, and with a sinking heart I said, “If we are going to do that, we might as well go to the one that does it the best.”  He asked me what I meant by that, and I told him about The Church welfare department.

So we went to church together, and he met the congregation of people that I had left some five years before.  It was only a little changed since I had been there.  Some people had moved out, and others had moved in, but it was largely the same human family. We asked the Bishop for some food assistance.  He said gladly, but also, the ward could help us with some other bills as well, like utilities.   We were overjoyed at this blessing.  Thank you.

Even though I had told my husband about the welfare program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he was still surprised at the extent of it.  He held up a can of Chicken noodle soup and exclaimed, “They have their own canning factory?”

Actually, the members do that themselves with volunteer labor.  I have been part of groups that volunteered time in both canning chicken noodle soup, and wrapping cheese for shipping before.  It is a balance between a very efficient human chain, and a mechanical process.  It is very well managed.  The whole process is very efficient.

There are many Bishop’s storehouses scattered all over; tucked away in small industrial neighborhoods mostly. They are centers for charitable giving, both temporal and spiritual.

I am grateful beyond belief for this eye-opening experience; to have finally understood my place in the chain of service; to have been able to see, finally, that I was just as imperfect as the ones I was pointing fingers at; to understand that our imperfections are the very reason for Christ’s atonement; and the reason that we all finally stand before God with fear and trembling to work out our eternal salvation; and to know, without a shadow of a doubt that God loves even me, imperfect as I am, and that His love is so all encompassing that He will show me the error of my ways, if I am but willing to look, and set my feet back on the path to home.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

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Moses with the Ten Commandments

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This post a direct result of reading Two other blogger’s posts.  Both of them had something to say that I wanted to respond to, and did in comments, but I would like to expand on those comments here.  Rob Slavens Post was an agnostic’s view of  the Ten commandments , and the other one, was from a link in the post below that, about On Tebow, written by Grant Dawson in Remotely Nowhere.

Rob Slaven was complaining that the Ten Commandments seemed sort of Vain and common sense if not trivial, with the exception of one or two pretty decent ones.  He’s right, if you think of the Ten Commandments as the end all and be all of what God wants and expects of us; however, remember that the Ten Commandments were the Second set of plates that came down the mountain.

The children of Israel were partying pretty hard by the time Moses came down the first time. That  first set, the one that got all smashed up, were the higher law, that Moses and God decided the then current crop of children of Israel weren’t ready for yet, and so they were given the kindergarten version.  The lower law.

The first half of the Lower law lays out things you Should do.  The be good stuff.  The Second half of the Ten Commandments lays out all the Shouldn’ts.  Basically, if you can’t handle doing the good things, then for Heaven’s sake, and your soul’s sake, don’t do these other, bad things.

The Higher law is available, but people still have a hard time with the lower law, so….    Well, if you’re the sort who can handle the lower law, then maybe you’re ready for the higher one.

Remember in Matthew, chapter 22, verses 36 – 40, the pharisees asking Christ what was the Greatest law? And Christ responded, “To Love God with all your heart might, mind, and strength, and the second was like unto it; To love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these hang all the law and the prophets.”

Somewhere in there is the key to the higher law.  If we can do these things successfully…… everything else is covered.

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Let Me Help You

The Nature of Repentance

Ford Motor Company facts about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

merry christmas every one

Bearing Witness To a Truth

Mormon Cult – It Ain’t Necessarily So

Happy Christmas, painted by Johansen Viggo

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I wish to share a thought for those who are alone on this day.  Although you may not have company in a physical form, that spirit which was sent by him who’s day we are celebrating today is with you if you listen.  The Holy Ghost was sent to all as a witness and a comfort in all times, and in all places.

No matter your status, your location, or your health, he is with you. You have only to reach out with your heart and mind, and be willing to listen with your spirit in order to hear him.

You will know when you have heard him, as he always speaks peace to your soul.

With all sincerity, I wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Pain comes from disappointment.

We expected more from ourselves.

Our expectations are our enemies.

Anger comes from fear.

We fear what we do not understand the end of.

Fear is the opposite of faith.

Despair comes from giving up on yourself.

You are afraid you don’t have the right stuff.

God believes you are always worth hoping for.

If God believes it, why don’t you?

He is smarter than you.

He already knew you before you were here.

He knew there would be difficulties.

That’s why he agreed to pay the price for you ahead of time.

After everything you can do, he will do the rest.

Do everything you can.

Do what you must.

Trust him.

He will bring you home.

He is not disappointed.

He already knew what would happen.

He only wants you to let him help you.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I was angry.

Now I am not.

I was afraid.

Now I am not.

I felt despair.

Now I have hope.

There is no rational explanation for what I feel.

It just is.

Because it is what it is.

That is the nature of the challenge.

If there were no difficulties,

How would there be a test?

If there were no test,

Why bother with this type of existence?

God could make us all run on automatic with only a little tweaking.

But he doesn’t,

Because he wants the test to show us what we are, and can do, and can’t do.

Then we will be satisfied

that where we are placed is the right place for us.

We will all be happy.

Everyone will be happy.

I will be happy.

So I may as well start being happy now.

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Dear Ford Motors,
Thank you for your candor in reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  It isn’t often I see the decency that you have displayed in your summation of this faith.  You have given me another reason to shop Ford in the future.  If I were a betting person, I’d buy Ford stock about now 🙂  What the heck, it’s a sucker bet.  Buying Ford stock after the publication of this article isn’t a gamble at all.  You’re gonna get some Great business in the coming years from members of this faith.

I wrote this as a comment on another blog published by Alan Osmond (Alan, I hope you don’t mind my re-posting it here – it’s going to show up twice in my Facebook page now, as that is where I saw it first) who posted the following article:

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.

OVERVIEW

* 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.

HISTORY

* 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.

ACTIVE CONGREGATIONS

* 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.

FINANCES

* 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.

HEALTH CODE

* 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.

EDUCATION

* 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.

WOMEN

* 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.

MEMBERSHIP DISTRIBUTION

* 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.

MEMBERSHIP GROWTH

* 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.”

CHARITY/SERVICE

* 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

HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

* 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.

GRAB BAG

* 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
(click on link)
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 ( Tonga and 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.

DETROIT AREA

* 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.

A member of Ford’s Interfaith Network,
the author of this note sends out monthly interfaith notes to thousands of Ford employees who have asked to receive them.

I know you’ve all heard of repentance.  How it’s what you are supposed to do when you’ve done something wrong.  So OK. You do something and you are told it’s wrong.  You are supposed to repent.  Then you are told that to repent means that you are sorry you did what you did, and you promise you won’t do it again.  If you do it again anyway, that means that you haven’t really repented.

I would like to clarify something here.

What that really means is that you haven’t really understood that God loves you and doesn’t want you to hurt yourself.  That what you did was hurtful to you and to others, and He especially doesn’t want you to hurt others because it’s much harder to fix things that hurt others.

You haven’t figured out that when Christ suffered for your sins, and paid the price for you, it was because  He Loves you, and wants you to be able to go into the next existence without dragging a chain of suffering with you.  He wanted you to be able to start clean from the point where you understand the right things to do.  That you really are important enough to him to bother about. That he really does care about you individually, personally, and privately. And that when your life runs into a course correction, when the re-set button gets hit, that it might even be God telling you to re-think what you’ve been doing, and where your priorities are.

He’s not doing that because he hates you.  Like a good parent that swats their child when it repeatedly tries to run out into traffic, God is trying to help you survive better. He is trying to help you grow up.  If you continue to resist his efforts, if you hurt yourself, he still loves you. If you hurt others, he still loves you, but it’s harder to fix things when you hurt others.  Some things aren’t fixable, then you’ve really hurt yourself.  That is going to cost you a load of hurt, but it’s hurt you brought on yourself.  God didn’t visit that hurt on you. And he can’t save you from it.  He can only save you from things that are fixable, and only if you are willing to recognize the hurt you’ve done.  If you can’t face it, you can’t fix it, and you can’t grow.

I was trying to explain real repentance to my teen-age  daughter.   It came down to a math problem as an allegory.

In geometry or algebra or calculus, there are some fixed formulas for short cuts to do things that work for certain things every time.

Before you are taught the shortcuts, you usually have to work through the proofs, so you can see why the formulas work every time.

You could be taught just the shortcuts and then trust that they will work when you apply them in the correct situation every time.  After you do the formula, you can see the result, and will know that it works.  Sometimes you see others apply the formula, and understand at that point that it works.  Sometimes you think that it only works for them, and not for you.

Sometimes we forget the formula.  Sometimes we think the formula doesn’t apply in the situation we are in. If we don’t use the formula, then we have to work through the proof to get to the right answer.  Hopefully, we at least remember all the rules for completing the steps through the proof.  Sometimes, we don’t remember all the rules, and we keep repeating the steps going through the proof trying to get the right answer.

When we are doing a math problem, if someone comes along and shows us the area where we did the step wrong, do we throw out their advice and keep doing the step wrong?

No.  We look at it and say, “Oh.”  That’s what I did wrong.”  Thank you for showing me that.” and then we complete the step correctly.  We wouldn’t do the step over the wrong way again, once we actually understand how it’s supposed to be done.  We might need some correction on a further step, but we will get that one right after that, because we now know how it’s supposed to work.

(I will qualify this with, in the event that we aren’t dyslexic and can’t actually see the steps correctly the way they are laid out.)

The big book with scriptures in it is full of formulas.  Shortcuts for living that work every time.  Following those formulas is not a guarantee that your life will be easy, because your life is impacted by others who may not be following the formulas themselves, but it is a way to recover faster, even when that happens.  At least you won’t be hurting yourself, and you won’t be hurting others, if you are following the formulas in the book.

If you have forgotten the formula, or haven’t been taught the formula, or think that the formula doesn’t apply to you, then you will end up working through the proof whether you like it or not.  Hopefully, you will get the rules right, and won’t have too much difficulty getting the right answer, but sometimes, we miss a step, or turn a step around, or do something backwards, and we get the wrong answer.  So then we have to do the problem over again.  That’s when you see people repeating what seems like the same mistake over again.  They are working back through the proof.

Sometimes God is trying to show you what you did wrong, but if you aren’t paying attention, or think that God doesn’t care about you or you aren’t important enough for God to pay attention to you, then you just put your head down and ignore what He is trying to tell you.  Like a stubborn, prideful child, you keep on making the same mistake over again.

When you understand that God Does Love you, that you Are important enough for Him to pay attention to, and that He Wants you to learn so you can fix your mistake:  then you’ll start listening.

Once you are listening, he will show you your mistake.  Don’t be afraid of seeing your mistake.  If you can’t see it, you can’t fix it.  He wants you to be able to fix it.  He will only be sadder if you refuse to see your mistake.  You won’t be able to grow if you can’t fix it.

Doing wrong things here is defined as doing or saying things that harm you or others around you:  and further,  having a mindset that ignores saying or doing things that are beneficial to you and/or to others.

God won’t force you not to hurt yourself, and he won’t force you not to hurt others.  This the nature of the test.  You have to learn how to do things correctly for yourself, and you won’t learn if you don’t choose to do so of your own free will.

Once you are able to see your mistake, you are sad, because you finally understand the affect that you had, but you are also happy, because finally, you can fix it,  and do the step correctly.  Now you are in a position to rejoice with the angels, and when you fix your mistake, the angels do rejoice with you.

Now you won’t do it wrong again, because you finally understand what it was that you did wrong.  It won’t be a matter of having to Promise that you won’t do it again. You won’t Want to do it the wrong way again.  And That is the True Nature of Repentance.

When you truly understand what the wrong was, and you no longer Desire to do it the wrong way again.  That is true repentance.

It isn’t rote learning. It isn’t an intellectual understanding.  It is a Spiritual understanding. You will Know the right way to do it, and Why it’s the right way to do it.

This applies to every item of understanding.  You Can follow the formulas out of Faith, and learn on the other end of having done it that it is true: but if you don’t, you will work through the proofs, and learn to understand one line of the formula at a time. Sometimes, we mix things up, and do some formulas, and some proofs.  Every one has their own speed of learning.

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Is a blog an appropriate place to express ones religious beliefs?  If not here, than where would be more appropriate?

I’ll not burden my reader with any expectations of agreement.  I’m not so insecure that I need your affirmation of my beliefs to shore them up.  I believe because I feel it in my heart, because I have seen His hand at work in my life, not always pleasantly.
I tell you these things that you may know where I stand.; where my faith is, where my heart is, and in what direction my efforts lie.  I struggle here with the inexactness of my ability to communicate to you what I believe.  Or of the inability to convey the scope of this belief.  Or the utterly inconceivable scale of what  I believe God is.

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I am not a member simply because my parents were.  I have had more than enough time and experience, both in and out of The Church, to have opportunity to question and explore on my own.  My experiences with faith, and doubt, and re-newed faith are my own.  My questions were my own, but the answers I finally learned to accept were always there.  God loves me, and is aware of me, and cares about what happens to me.  He cares enough to chastise me, betimes sharply when it’s needed, but like the loving God He is,  shows forth more love again after, lest I esteem him my enemy.

God doesn’t just love me, He loves all his children alike, but not all his children are listening, or recognizing His hand in their lives.  Some, like I did, believe they are not worth enough for an all wise God to take notice of them.  They don’t give Him enough credit for His abilities, His love, or His reach.  Because the concept of a God so powerful bothering to take notice of any of us, who are so Not good, or powerful, or pure, or  whatever, is so foreign to our understanding, we fail to give Him credit, and we turn away from what He has to offer us.

He loves and has loved all His children throughout history, so much so that he has visited all of them, throughout all the isles of the seas; and left with each peoples instructions on how they should live with  and treat each other.  As he stated to His apostles in Jerusalem , John 10:16 And other sheep I have, not of this fold: Them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.  One of these accounts of his instructions is contained within the Book of Mormon which is an excerpt of a history of a people spanning a thousand years and more.

I can’t convey to you properly how well this book explains the Divinity of Jesus Christ.  Nor how clearly it explains gospel truths.  I can tell you that I find in it’s pages such a profound oneness with the Bible, that I cannot even imaging one without the other.  They are a complimentary set.  Beautiful truths contained within each one, and tragedies recounted in each, all proclaiming the sameness of God, and His certain  and unchangeable promises.

What I believe is that God and His Divine son,  Jesus Christ, have worked out a plan so complete, so intricately woven through our lives, so all encompassing, that we could not begin to fathom it all; but every once in a while, a few of the details concerning our own place in it are revealed to us, if we ask in faith.  Just enough for us to know we matter to Him, insignificant though we may seem to ourselves. and yet he notices us.  This knowledge is breathtakingly humbling.  Such joy as can be had among people will be had when it is understood how much He loves us.  We have only to turn to Him, to`a ask in faith, believing that He will answer, and listen with all our heart.  When we are willing to follow his example,; When we understand that willing and happy service to our fellow men and women is the only way to follow in his footsteps, when we fianlly understand that working for the welfare of others Is working for ourselves, and we do it because we love them, and want their joy and happiness as much as we want our own, this then is the way, the truth and the light that Christ taught.  To love God with all our heart, might, mind, and soul, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Mine is not the only testimony of the truth of this gospel.  There are Other testimonies from many places, and many voices, all understanding that the Book Of Mormon is a second witness to the divinity of Jesus Christ, and a clear set of instructions to assist in filling in the gaps of knowledge not contained any more within the pages of the Bible.  A book such as this could only have been preserved and brought forth again through the gift and power of an unchanging God, and the raising up again of a Prophet in the latter days, like unto old times.  That there are doubters…. that is like unto old times too.  That there is confusion,  likewise.  Where truth lies there also lies Satan, that deciever, waiting to trip you up, so that you cannot tell the truth from the lie; therefore, you will be needing a personal revelation from God, to affirm the truth  of His holy word, wherever it is found.  Fear not that you are not worthy of His telling you of it.  His word is worthy enough.  His desire that the truth should be made known, that the accomplishments of His son should be accepted and proclaimed throughout the world.  This is enough reason alone for Him to reveal the truth of any of His works unto even such as yourself.  That you should know the truth of a thing, and the truth shall set you free.  Free to embrace the gospel in all it’s enlightened latter day sentiment.  Free to believe His son died for your sins, that if you are willing to follow Him, and take His name upon you, that you might havehis spirit to be with you in this life, and everlasting and eternal life with Him hereafter.

And now I sound like a fanatic, but it is not so. I am just another human like yourself.  I am not perfect, far from it.  I have need daily of repentance, fighting against my nature which is indeed an enemy to God.  I am entirely too likely to want to sit and be comfortable when I should be doing something else.  Too immersed in my everyday world to take note of things that need attending to. Too caught up in my own fantasy of what I want the world to be to make room for other view points.  Too idealistic to understand that what I consider an ideal may not be the best way to handle something.  Too human to understand that not all things come in a time and a place of my choosing, but rather that of God’s choosing, for He has understanding of all things that have an impact on our lives.

I have had enough time here in this world to finally see that what I think I understand is only shadows of what is, and what I think I know is only one facet of the whole.  As was mentioned in the New Testament by the Apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians 13:12  For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

I will wait and trust in the Lord, that all things in the end will be revealed, and I will understand and know finally, what I do not understand and know now.

My brothers and sisters, for you are all my brothers and sisters, I tell you these things, my feelings, and my knowledge; such that it is, in all honesty, in the name of the only begotten of the Father, Jesus Christ, Amen.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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