“I Take Up My Pen”: Florida Mission, 1962
2 hours ago
(I) talk of Christ . . . and (I) write according to (my understanding), that (my) children (and friends) may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. (2 Nephi 25:26)
You are a heterosexual man - someone who is attracted to women. Imagine what it would be like if you had been told all your life that such an attraction was wrong - and, in some cases, by some people, that such an attraction was reprehensible, disgusting, repulsive or even evil - that the very attraction itself, the very thought of having sex with a woman, was a gross abomination - that your attraction was seen by God as an abomination). Imagine if you had been told that you could overcome that attraction if you only had more faith - that, in a very real way, your attraction was a sign of your lack of faith. Imagine if you were told that you needed to marry a man and have sex with him in order to get over your attraction to women.
Now, imagine being told that all of that was wrong - that you weren't the vilest of sinners because of your attraction to others of the opposite sex. However, imagine being told that you still couldn't let anyone, ever, know about your attraction - that you couldn't hold hands with a woman, hug or kiss a woman, put your arm around a woman affectionately (no lust involved whatsoever), spend time alone with a woman in a way that someone else might think is inappropriate. Imagine being told that the expression of intimacy of any kind, in any way, had to be absent from your life - with a man, because you weren't attracted to men, or with a woman, because such things still are seen as abominable.
If we could look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance, and care.
"You know, it is a wonderful thing to be faithful, but a much greater thing to be both faithful and competent. There is no particular virtue in being uninformed, certainly no virtue in ignorance. When young people can acquire the skills, the techniques, and the knowledge of these times, and along with it have a spiritual commitment and a solid faith and cleanliness of life, there is nothing that you can’t achieve; nothing in righteousness or in reason." (Elder Richard L. Evans, from an address given on October 15, 1971)
"If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."
"That which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil. And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged. Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ."
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear."
"'Ancestor worship' is a terrible translation of what our shrines mean to us. We do not 'worship' our ancestors in the way that foreigners usually assume. We honor them for their influence on our lives - for their dedication and love and service - for the connectedness we feel long after death. Our shrines are like our personal temples, places that show our desire to turn our hearts to them and recognize that their hearts are turned to us. How much more Mormon can you get than that?"
The Savior taught us to love not only our friends but also those who disagree with us—and even those who repudiate us. He said: “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? … And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others?”
The Prophet Joseph Smith warned us to “beware of self-righteousness” and to enlarge our hearts toward all men and women until we feel “to take them upon our shoulders.” In the gospel of Jesus Christ, there is no place for ridicule, bullying, or bigotry.
A kite is not just the thing that flies through the wind; it also is the string that keeps it safely grounded.
What are commandments?
Why do we keep the commandments?
direction; order; advice; counsel; guideline; requirement
direction; advice; counsel; guideline
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
to be protected; to gain help and strength; to be happy
1. If something is proven to be true, or beyond reasonable doubt, it's simply part of the gospel. As we study the creation, and the processes whereby creation occurred, I come to be in awe of the creator. Scientific discovery does not diminish my regard for god, it enhances my understanding of the absolute miracle of god's inherent power: nature. That god works entirely through nature is part of what Joseph Smith said, at least, in section 88, one of his most important and thoughtful revelations.
2. If something true is in conflict with scripture, then we need to re-evaluate our literal understanding of the scripture. I have to recognize how scripture was written in the mind and heart of the revelator, and thus, it's going to include the revelator's worldview. Obviously, this is controversial to those who believe that scripture is literally and forever true. Scripture is the milk -- it is not the meat of the gospel. As we grow up in our understanding, we sometimes need to set aside childish things.
3. There are a host of things that cannot be proven, and we need to take an attitude of suspended judgment for these things. I don't know if we pre-existed. I think it's a very useful model as part of the Plan of Salvation, but I simply don't know. Is it imperative for me to say "I know we lived with god before this life"? I believe it, I trust in it, but I cannot explain it. I don't know how it works.
4. I should never be afraid of truth. If Joseph Smith and Brigham Young did some pretty whacked out things, then I think it important to understand their humanity. I'm not afraid of it. I can understand how once you know that JS did a number of questionable things, that it's hard to believe that he was also a 'prophet', but I don't have a problem with it. I'm sure some people think I'm intellectually dishonest as a result. Whatever; truth is truth. Judgment is entirely another matter. I think it's true that Joseph did some pretty human things. My judgment is not affected by it -- he's still a prophet. He still facilitated the restoration. I find truth in the restoration, and therefore I can only conclude that God uses imperfect humans to do his work. This should be obvious from scripture.
What truth can I learn from this - no matter the source?
Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. (2 Corinthians 12:7)
A man and his wife learn to be one by using their similarities to understand each other and their differences to complement each other in serving one another and those around them. In the same way, we can unite with those who do not accept our doctrine but share our desire to bless the children of our Heavenly Father.
We can become peacemakers, worthy to be called blessed and the children of God (see Matthew 5:9).
If neighbors [non-Mormons OR Mormons] become testy or frustrated because of some disagreement with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or with some law we support for moral reasons, please don’t suggest to them - even in a humorous way - that they consider moving someplace else. I cannot comprehend how any member of our Church can even think such a thing! Our pioneer ancestors were driven from place to place by uninformed and intolerant neighbors. They experienced extraordinary hardship and persecution because they thought, acted, and believed differently from others. If our history teaches us nothing else, it should teach us to respect the rights of all people to peacefully coexist with one another.
"There must needs be opposition in all things."