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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.

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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.

Happy Christmas, painted by Johansen Viggo

Image via Wikipedia

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.

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