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According to an article in the Deseret Morning News, Elder Ballard addresses that the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints need to join the global conversation and use new technology to stand up for what they believe in.
“There are conversations going on about the church constantly,” Elder Ballard said. “Those conversations will continue whether or not we choose to participate in them. But we cannot sit on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the church teaches.”
This month has brought a lot of attention, negative and positive, to the Church and it is up to us as members to take the attention as an opportunity for missionary work. There will be a lot of people with questions about our beliefs and it is up us to answer them.
LDS faithful can change perceptions of the church “one conversation at a time,” through a clear and simple message of the Restoration. Elder Ballard said the Internet is a great tool to start these conversations. In his remarks, he suggested members consider the following:
- Start a blog “and share what you know to be true.”
- Download videos from official church and other appropriate sites and send them to your friends.
- Comment on news media sites that report on the church “and voice your views as to the accuracy of the reports.”
Elder Ballard continues:
“Do not be afraid to share with others your story, your experiences as a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ,” Elder Ballard said. “We all have interesting stories that influence our identity. Sharing those stories is a non-threatening way to talk to others. Telling those stories can help demystify the church.”
I feel it is wonderful that the Church embraces technology to share the Gospel:
- The Official Church website has tons of information for members and non-members alike.
- The Church has provided us with an online Scripture Edition that is easy to use and quite frankly a necessity for myself.
- The Church Public Affairs has created an official profile on YouTube and has been releasing videos.
- The Church provides an area for News Releases, Stories, Commentary, Statistical and Background Information at their Newsroom website.
- There is even an official Technology website called LDSTech just for the Church.
Members seem to be doing their part as well with the following:
- LDS & Mormon Blogs – A non-church ran directory of LDS bloggers.
- Official Church Press Release: Apostle Urges Students to Use New Media
- Full Video of Elder Ballards Speech
Official YouTube Video:
2008 is just a few days away. Hard to believe, but true. With the change of year, most of us feel some strangely innate need to make the coming year better than the past one in some areas of our lives.
I resolve this year to consistently read the Book of Mormon. Sure, as a born and raised Mormon who served a mission, I’ve read it numerous times. I’m a religious slacker though. I have times when I read the scriptures but those times have become more rare as I’ve aged. The last time I read it was when President Hinckley challenged all members to read it in 2005.
So why should I read it again now? I’m always conflicted on what facet of the gospel or LDS church history to study. What will benefit me most at the time? Scriptures frankly bore me and are a chore to read, probably because as I was growing up, scripture study often interrupted more “fun” things I was doing. I like to read the Ensign and some books written by General Authorities so I often pass this off as my “scripture study.” But let’s be honest – lately I haven’t even done much of that type of study. Anyway, I feel now is a good time to get back to the Book of Mormon for the following reasons:
1) I need to teach my children the Book of Mormon. I don’t want them to be teenagers when I realize that I’ve never read the Book of Mormon with them and they have no idea what the book is about.
2) The LDS curriculum calls for the study of the Book of Mormon in Sunday School this year. So by studying it maybe I’ll actually be able to contribute in class.
3) I need a spiritual boost. I was remembering recently some of the spiritual experiences I’ve had in my life. These almost always occurred when I was doing the right things, studying and actively making God a part of my life.
So this is my plan for this year:
I will read the entire Book of Mormon for my personal gospel study.
I will STUDY the Book of Mormon with my wife and children. By this I mean I don’t care how much we read, I want them to learn while we’re reading it. The main thing is to establish the habit. The best time for us to read is immediately after dinner. This last year we had some times where we studied the New Testament and we would usually only read a few verses but I made sure the kids were listening and we discussed what we were reading. We will do the same with the Book of Mormon.
It’s been an interesting few weeks for the Church! With Mitt Romney going for President, there has been a spotlight on the Church and its members.
It looks like the Church released four videos touching on the subject of politics on YouTube. Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles appear in these videos and answer questions people may have on their mind.
What Does Church Political Neutrality Mean for Mormons?
“Be involved, but don’t look at the Church to direct you as to how to be involved.”
Why Should Mormons Participate in the Political Process?
“The very fundemental principal of freedom is absolutely essential for the gospel of Jesus Christ to propser.”
What is the Civic Duty of Mormons?
“The Civic Duty of any Latter Day Saint…is to be actively involved in the political process”
Are Mormon Politicians Directed By Church Leadership?
“We have a long record in the Church of not interferring with public officials…Politcal Candidates understand that. They don’t ever come to the Church and say ‘What Do I do?’”
You can see additional videos by visiting their profile on YouTube.
Yesterday in Priesthood, we had our final lesson out of the Spencer W. Kimball book. Chapter 24 was about Sharing the Gospel. It was a very good lesson. I found myself participating more than usual as I am passionate on missionary work.
The Lord promises us great blessings as we share the gospel. It is likened unto a spiritual adventure. All work pays off when even one soul expresses repentance and faith and the desire to be baptized.
An interesting point that was brought up was that the Lord has told us that our sins will be more readily forgiven as we bring souls unto Christ. The following is said in Doctrine and Covenants Chapter four:
Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men. Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work; For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul; And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work. Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence. Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen. (D&C 4)
There are many people waiting for us to teach them about the plan of happiness, the plan of salvation.
Also in this final lesson we talked about how the Lord has entrusted all members of the Church with a responsibility to serve as His messengers.
It becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor. (D&C 88:81)
I think of the feelings I had when I first came to know the truths that I know now. I hope to help someone feel the way that I did.
A few nights ago I took my family to a “Live Nativity Pageant” that one of the stakes here in town was presenting. It was free and open to the public and OUTDOORS! It was a very cold night, but staying huddled with my family kept us all warm.
The play looked very genuine and it seemed to draw a lot of people. The message it conveyed was a good one. It was about Christ and the purpose of Christmas. It told the story about Joseph and Mary, About the Three wise men and how they hid from Herod, Caesar, etc…
My favorite part was when the fog came rolling from off the top of the church building and people stood singing on top the building with a light shining on them. They looked as if they were angels in the clouds. The effects were impressive!
Afterwards, we enjoyed dinner at Denny’s (Kids ate free).
In my previous post, Romney to Explain the LDS Church in a Speech, I noted that Mitt Romney will be explaining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a campaign speech. It seems he did very little explaining and touched more on the subject of what this country was founded on: freedom. More importantly, religious freedom. Early on in his speech, Romney makes a great point that no one can deny:
Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.
I often thought about the commandments we follow, more specifically keeping the Sabbath holy. A president works twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. How can he follow keeping the Sabbath holy?
This is how.
From what I’ve been learning in Gospel Essentials class, our duty, loyalty and faith comes in the following order: God first…then everything else falls into place (family second, and career third, etc.) Think of the story of Abraham and Isaac and how he put the Lord first.
Romney clearly shows what he puts first:
When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God. If I am fortunate to become your president, I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause and no one interest. A president must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States.
He will put God first. He will put his promise to God above everything else.
Like I mentioned earlier, Romney also touched very little on explaining his faith and more about how the country is based on freedom of religion and the important role of religion in the United States. He says:
There are some who would have a presidential candidate describe and explain his church’s distinctive doctrines. To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the Constitution. No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith. For if he becomes president he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths.
He is right, no presidential candidate should describe and explain doctrine. That would be missing the entire point of electing someone to the presidential office. He is also right when he says that a president will need the prayers of the people of all faiths.
Mitt Romney also has the same opinion that I have: That most religions are some how derived from one source, which is God.
I believe that every faith I have encountered draws its adherents closer to God. And in every faith I have come to know, there are features I wish were in my own: I love the profound ceremony of the Catholic Mass, the approachability of God in the prayers of the evangelicals, the tenderness of spirit among the Pentecostals, the confident independence of the Lutherans, the ancient traditions of the Jews, unchanged through the ages, and the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims. As I travel across the country and see our towns and cities, I am always moved by the many houses of worship with their steeples, all pointing to heaven, reminding us of the source of life’s blessings.
Hearing Romney say these things confirmed to me that this country is built on blessings and faith in the Lord. I’m impressed with Romney – now it’s time to see what he politically stands for and what he can do for our country.
You can watch the entire speech here:
Mitt Romney’s Speech (part 1 of 4)
Mitt Romney’s Speech (part 2 of 4)
Mitt Romney’s Speech (part 3 of 4)
Mitt Romney Speech (part 4 of 4)
It looks like Mitt Romney will be explaining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a campaign speech at 9:30 central time from the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station Texas on Thursday December 6, 2007. This was reported on Carl Cameron’s Blog.
The issues of Mitt Romney’s being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being paralleled to the issues of John F. Kennedy being a Catholic.
Catholicism was an issue during the United States presidential election back in 1960, former presidential candidate John F. Kennedy addressed fears that his Catholicism would impact his decision-making, he famously stated:
I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters — and the Church does not speak for me.
Kennedy also brought up the point of whether one-quarter of Americans were relegated to second-class citizenship just because they were Catholic. Kennedy later went on to become the 35th President of the United States.
I am excited to hear what Romney will say about the Church and how he will address the fears of the public. Hopefully America will realize that this situation with Mitt Romney is no different than the situation John F. Kennedy was in. Mitt Romney is not the Mormon candidate for President. He is the Republican Party candidate for President who also happens to be Mormon.