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Bishops' Storehouses

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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.

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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

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.

Well, hello again.  It’s been a while since I wrote because I’ve been distracted by a number of other intensive efforts, but I’m back now.  I had some time to peruse the internet today and pursue the sometimes chancy proposition of locating enough information on a candidate to be able to tell if I like his position or not.

It’s a tough time to try to determine who might do the best job for us.  We are going to lose some things.  There is no way around it.  So it’s all about choosing what we lose.  Is it stuff that we can do for ourselves by exercising a little self discipline?  Is it something we can grow into?  Is there a way to transition smoothly without doing too much damage?

There are some things that we really can’t do without, and shouldn’t even try to do without at the Federal level.  A strong standing army is one of the Few things that we are Supposed to have at the Federal level, so downsizing that when the world is in so much turmoil isn’t very sensible.

With some candidates, of course there is enough stuff out there, but they didn’t have what I was looking for.   Ron Paul, for instance, is a very good candidate, and has several stances that I really admire, but his foreign policy smacks of isolationism.  We’ve tried that before when we were even Less connected than we are today.  It really doesn’t work well for anybody.

As for Jon Huntsman…  I like and admire him, and I love his foreign policy (as who shouldn’t), and his Utah business policy has been very good for the state of Utah, so Maybe it would also work for the nation.  Would he be a really good President?  Effective? Why do I have doubts about him?  Not because he’s a Mormon, and Not because he’s not likable.  Maybe it’s because he reminds me of someone else.  If he runs as an Independent candidate, I might have to give him another look. But I don’t think he can carry the Republican party.

So let’s get this out of the way. I don’t trust Newt Gingrich.  Not because he wasn’t constitutional enough (at least at one time), and not because he changed his mind some times, but rather, because he changed his mind about the wrong things.  At least, in my opinion, he did.

I’m not against someone who changes their mind sometimes, if the things one learns along the way seem to warrant it, that’s a Good thing.  I just prefer to see them change their mind in the same direction I would.  Gingrich didn’t do that.  He went the other way too many times.

I will dispense with discussing those candidates who are already on their way out.  Enough said already.  So that leaves me with looking again at Mitt Romney.  What does his platform say now?  Jennifer Robin’s recent post in her Right Turn blog lays it out fairly well (and I didn’t have to sign up on anyone’s site to find out).  I like his rational approach to the problems with Medicaid/Medicare, and his stance on job creation (of course, everyone is For job creation, it’s the methodology that is employed to encourage them that has us all on edge).  Mitt’s strategy to give some power back to the states is a definite plus.  The closer the decisions are to the people they affect, the better the outcome usually is (and if it isn’t, you vote out the state government and get new people).  All down the line, things seemed to click for me.  So, unless Romney’s platform changes radically between now and Election day,  I think I’ll vote for him.

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.

Once again I find that irrational hatred gets top billing.  Well, I hope that it doesn’t stay that way.  Christopher Hitchens posted a piece pretending to be an expert on Mormons and their cultish ways. All he really managed to do was to prove himself to be ridiculous.

Point one of his ridiculous rant was that the church’s supreme leader was the President/Prophet.  Wrong.  The Leader of The Church is now and has always been Jesus Christ; hence the name The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Point two of the tirade was that members could be ordered to shun someone.   Ahem…  not so.  We are not ordered by anyone.  The choice for Free agency (free will) is the paramount feature of being here in this world.  We might be asked not to pay any attention to the sad ravings of an obviously frustrated and unhappy individual, but nobody is ordered to shun anyone.  In fact, there will be efforts to address the unhappy persons needs as long as that person is willing to tolerate the visits from members.  As soon as a person tells his visitors that he or she does Not want any more visits, the members will stop bothering him or her.

As for underwear, whose business is it what underwear anyone wears but the wearer?  Frankly, Christopher sounds a little jealous there.  Does he wish that he could wear the distinctive underwear too?   I’m sure there’s some underwear out there somewhere that is special enough for him to enjoy wearing instead.

Point four seemed to suggest that members of the church are somehow superhuman in their adherence to moral and health codes.  Would that it were actually so.  Any adherence to moral or healthy food restrictions is strictly done by personal will power.  Abstinence from any practice is a personal choice, not a built-in feature.  Temptations are every bit as hard for any member of the church to resist as it is for the average Jill or Joe.  Repentance is a very real and welcome feature in the gospel.

Point five claimed that there was some word  (not indicated from where) that said leaving the church was harder than joining it.  Well, I haven’t found either one to be difficult.  I have been both in and out of The Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints (Mormon Church) and back in again.  I had the privilege of being raised inside the church where I was reminded frequently that I was a worthwhile individual, and that God cared about what happened to me.

When I made the mistake of believing that just because the Doctrine was excellent, that meant that the people were supposed to always do what I expected them to do, I walked away from the church for a while, looking for a more perfect group of people to associate with.  In five years of looking, I did not find a more perfect group of people.  The doctrines I encountered outside the church were sadly, much less perfect.  Eventually I went back to the church and was welcomed with open arms.

Point six had to do with Tithing.  Tithing is one tenth of your yearly increase.  It’s a flat tax that works, but it’s voluntary, and private.  There is no passing the plate around for anyone to see you make a contribution of any kind.  Any other monies you wish to donate for various causes is also voluntary.  In the case of those with more than enough, a Bishop may ask if you would be willing to assist a little more in something that needs more assistance, but it’s never an amount that the giver can’t afford to give even if it might be difficult. Sacrifice sanctifies the individual who makes it.  And again, it’s voluntary.

Point seven:  Hmmm….  how to answer such rubbish.  It would be more dignified Not to answer it, but this person has a rather large platform to spread his hatred with, so I’ll make the effort anyway.  Christopher claims to Know that Joseph Smith was a fraud and a conjurer.  He bases this on someone else’s book, another hater who also did not live in the same place, or time as Joseph Smith, Jr., and whose information all came from others who also hated.   I’d like to point out that a complaint against someone does not mean that an actual misdeed was performed by the person the complaint was made against.  Just because someone did not get what they wanted from Joseph, does not mean that he was a fraud or a conjurer.

As to whether you believe or not, in what Joseph presented, that is entirely between you and God.  Read the material, and then ask God what it is.  Being afraid of reading a book is just silly.  Do you not have a mind of your own?  Does not your brain function properly?  Or your heart?  To believe that reading false material and then praying to a loving God about it, that you would get an answer that will lead you astray…..  What kind of loving God would do that?  If it’s false would he not tell you that it was false?  If it’s true, would he not tell you that it was true?   That  is if you believe in a God at all.  If not, then this is not for you.

Point eight……  Where he got the idea that Joseph Smith, Jr. ever had any knowledge of the Islam, let alone the Koran is mystifying to me.  He never had any contact with that religion.  Joseph Smith never said anything of the kind.  Utter trash.   Joseph Smith and the church helped found several small cities before he was murdered. One in Ohio, several in Missouri, and one in Illinois.  They were thriving communities, very orderly and clean.  The fact that the church held together after his death should speak to anyone that there is something more to it than just the schemes of a conman.

The Church did not believe in slavery and Joseph Smith actually ran for President at one point in order to present his platform which detailed a method for reimbursing the slave owners by giving them portions of the Louisiana purchase in exchange for freeing their slaves.  The fact that the church did not hold with slavery was the real reason behind the persecution that drove them out of Missouri.  Many powerful people in Missouri wanted the territory to come in as a slave holding state, and the votes of the Mormons were seen as a possible block to that desire, especially as they were bringing in new members from England who were also against slavery.

After the church was driven out of Missouri and the powerful interests succeeded in getting Missouri brought in as a slave state under the Missouri compromise. The same interests tried the same tactics in Kansas, against those who were not members of the church.  The massacre of all the men and boys in Lawrence, Kansas rallied the rest of the territory of Kansas and it came in finally as a free state.

The rest of Christopher’s rant is equally ridiculous in it’s assertions.  Members of the church don’t pray dead people in.  Some of them do baptisms for the dead, as was done in the ancient church.  Reference the King James Bible, 1st Corinthians Chapter 15 verse 29: Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all?   Why are they then baptized for the dead?

Even in the world of the dead, those who have passed on still have their free agency.  They choose whether they wish to accept the baptism or not.  It is a physical ordinance, therefore it has to be done in the physical world, though by proxy.   The baptisms and other ordinances such as marriages, are performed by proxy in order to link family members together from this side through to the other side.  The church teaches that family is the most important structure we can aspire to.  No other success can compensate for failure in the home.  If, as some believe, that none of that is possible,that no one rises after they die, that there is nothing for us after we are dead, then  what harm does it do if someone wants to indulge in the fantasy?  At least the church is very helpful in assisting anyone who wants it with their family genealogy.

If Christopher Hitchens or anyone else does not wish to be a part of any of it, he or they will get their wish.

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