Thursday, December 11, 2008

Seminary, the Bosom of Abraham, and Me

Ask sleepy eyed high schoolers what "bosom" mean at 6AM and you're sure to get more than one raised eyebrow. Such was my experience this morning as we ventured into a religious discussion with co-ed freshman/sophomores on Luke 16:19-31 which covers the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. Thankfully I had done my homework (no, I'm not a seminary teacher but our teacher is sick and asked if I could cover for him) and was able to respond with some appropriate dictionary-based descriptions of what the biblical term "bosom" means. What was more interesting to most of the students was not the effects of the separation of Lazarus and the Rich Man at the end of their lives into hell and paradise but the descriptive literature found in the versus regarding the characteristics of both men. The conversation led to near nausea at the description of Lazarus and utter contempt for the waste that was the Rich Man.

What I took from the lesson was less centered on the descriptive nature of the parable but a personal insight into how easy it is to fall for veneers, facades and cloaks. People generally do not show their true selves until they feel comfortable with you on a personal level. However cool and calculating, even impersonal one individual may appear, there's always more to the story.

Recently I took a co-worker to lunch. I could sense a detachment, maybe even a bit of disdain towards me and I desperately wanted to find a connection with this individual (and the whole team for that matter). Lunch and the time away from the office, the personal connection time, presented an opportunity to break down barriers and get to know each other individually. While I'm sure some masks may still be present by either of us, the time we spent afforded us the opportunity to see each other more clearly. Like Lazarus that may have been full of sores, troubled and downtrodden, or like the Rich Man where everything seemed to be going his way with all of the riches, power and glory of the world, when stripped away and taken from this life their true identities were revealed. Hopefully our lunch was just as enlightening and the office culture that tends to hide true personas was buffeted just a bit and our connection will transcend the office hoopla.

Amazing how each time you experience scripture from reading, studying and reflecting, the meaning comes alive and is relevant in so many diverse ways. Had a recent experience with a passage of scripture lately? Share it below in the comment section.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Elder Wirthlin Passes Away

At age 91, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin quietly passed from this life into the next last night, Dec. 2nd, 2008.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Food Pantries Across the County Receive Peaches & Apricots from LDS

As the economic uncertainty looms for many across the US, food pantries, shelters and assistance ministries, whose own shelves are taking huge, depleting hits, receive a fruity stimulus from the LDS church. Regardless of faith, the LDS has given from it's excess to those that have little. As orchards in northern and southern Utah experienced bumper crops, the Church has given to those that have little, shipping enough fruit to fill 18 semi-trucks. Let the goodness roll forth from those that have to those that have little.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Self-Reliance From a Can?

OK, maybe not from a can but from a cannery. Last week I posted on the positive effects of service at the storehouse and a little on the church welfare system. This article in the Seattle Times paints a well rounded story and is a great example of accurate journalism. It's also a great showcase of the goodness of the Church's self-reliance, or Provident Living attitude.

Friday, October 31, 2008

3000-year Old Hebrew Text Found: Revealing?

An Israeli archeologist discovered a purported 3000-year old Hebrew text on a shard of pottery dating back to King David's era. The location is supposedly the site of a fortress used by David. Though the shard has yet to be translated, one must wonder what significant thoughts or messages may be encoded on the pottery. Could it be that the pottery maker disliked the King? Could it be a message to the enemies? Additional psalms? Time will tell and thanks to the site revelation time will truly tell a new story about this era.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More than Just Missionaries: Success of the LDS Church

Many individual's first contact with the LDS church is with the famed white shirt-wearing, black name tag donning, bike riding, clean cut young Elders, or missionaries. Many first reactions are to close the door (hopefully politely) or not open it at all. This pattern is not unique to the U.S. but is standard throughout the world. In a church that is one of the fastest growing religions in the world, and with a core of 55+ thousand missionaries, it's no wonder that contacts, even if just by sight alone, are made.

What is it that the missionaries are preaching and why do they do it? When Christ gave the charge to go to all the world and proclaim His Gospel (or the good news), it wasn't figurative or relative to time or convenience. The Word never changes and it's still a command that is in force today and taken very serious by the LDS Church. The missionaries proclaim Christ's message of repentance, hope, faith in Christ, salvation and baptism.

But is the proclamation of the gospel enough to build a church that adds approximately 1 million members every 3 years? It certainly helps. In an article in the Wichita Eagle, the mission of the church, beyond just missionary work, is well described. Fellowship with the saints (or members), meaningful worship, endurance and long-suffering in the Word are also beneficial. The church, as an organization, fills this purpose for each individual. Once the Word is accepted and a covenant is made through baptism, it is the responsibility of the member to continue in the faith. It is the church's obligation (read members of the church) to foster and nurture that faith through service, preaching, spiritual manifestations and love.

What has been your experience with the LDS Church?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

LDS Church Announces More Temple Locations

It's always exciting to hear announcements about new temple locations and to see urban location sites announced shows just how necessary the higher ordinances of the temple are to all peoples in all lands. Temples are becoming more accessible and this is in direct fulfillment of prophecy.

Temples announced:

  • Philadelphia, PA (USA)
  • Kansas City, MO (USA)
  • C√≥rdoba, Argentina
  • Calgary, Canada
  • Rome, Italy
Do you have a temple nearby? Which one and how far away is it from you?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Media Always Tries to Spin News In Opposition Direction From Truth

I find it interesting that most forms of media, especially news outlets, attempt to build drama in the interest of selling articles. The reality of reporters writing articles that spin seemingly indisputable facts in the opposite direction from actual truth seems to be a job description.

Case in point, the AP recently reported that LDS missionaries posed shirtless for a calendar. There were a number of seemingly accurate details in the article yet the LDS church points to some contributing details that debunk the article. While the premise was correct, the fact that LDS missionaries posing shirtless is actually false. the models were former missionaries, the calendar's creator is no longer a member of the church and the AP falsely reported the story.

Is this an isolated case? No. As readers, as members of organization where impacts may be felt, and in the interest of accepting higher quality reporting we need to express our concern with this type of lazy reporting.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

LDS Political Neutrality

In case anyone was wondering:

Political Participation, Voting, and the Political Neutrality of the Church

As citizens we have the privilege and duty of electing office holders and influencing public policy. Participation in the political process affects our communities and nation today and in the future.

Latter-day Saints as citizens are to seek out and then uphold leaders who will act with integrity and are wise, good, and honest. Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in various political parties.

Therefore, in this election year, we urge you to register to vote, to study the issues and candidates carefully and prayerfully, and then to vote for and actively support those you believe will most nearly carry out your ideas of good government.

The Church affirms its neutrality regarding political parties, platforms, and candidates. The Church also affirms its constitutional right of expression on political and social issues.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas S. Monson
Henry B. Eyring
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
The First Presidency

Standards Jeopardy

As a part of our yearly emphasis on youth standards, our bishopric took a teaching approach that was meant to be light, fun and engaging. I suggested we play a game to teach the youth and interact with them. The purpose would be to get them thinking about the doctrine and principles rather than being lectured to. We would at a minimum reach some through a medium that otherwise would have been wasted through over-the-pulpit preaching. The game: Standards Jeopardy.



As with the regular Jeopardy format, I, as the game show host, provided the answers to which the contestants supplied the question in proper question format (What is..., Who is...). The effect was a little confusing at first as apparently the game is a little antiquated for many of the youth (my own son was clueless). But after a while the excitement of the game took over and the three teams were at it, competing for points and more or less paying attention as some of the question/answers were quick and obvious.

What I noticed from planning, hosting and reviewing the event was the expectations of the event were not what I had expected. Chaos seemed to have been the theme and the planning of the teams certainly could have been more appropriate (many immature youth were teamed together rather than separated with more mature youth). I asked my son what he thought of the game, hoping for a more positive response and he admitted he didn't like it, was bored and confused.

Gratefully, the Bishop followed up the game with a set of clips from Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the LDS church, on the standards of the youth. This provided a dialog opportunity though by this point the youth had already wiggled and now were complacent, yet mostly reverent. What was meant to be an open discussion quickly turned to preaching.

So the dilemma, for which I yet do not have a good solution, is our youth are either stimulated or bored but the spiritual sensitivity is often lost unless all the elements of perfection align. Many of our youth earnestly do attempt focus on learning but many are content to text each other, side-talk, act immaturely and otherwise rather than reaching their potential.

The jeopardy of the evening was balancing between fun, a different teaching medium, preaching and spiritual enlightenment. I'm not sure we succeed in enlightening their minds last night and while it was a different approach it's not likely one we'll return to. Regardless, the standards haven't changed and hopefully the youth understand them a little more.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Are Biblical References Unconstitutional in our Courts and Government?

AGREE OR DELETE







[] < /FONT>Andy Rooney
DID YOU KNOW?
As you walk up the steps to the
Building which houses the U S Supreme Court
You can see near the top of the building a row
Of the world's law givers and each one is
Facing one in the middle who is facing forward
With a full frontal view ... It is Moses and he
Is holding the Ten Commandments!

[]

[] . DID YOU KNOW?

As you enter the Supreme Court courtroom, the
Two huge oak doors have the Ten Commandments
Engraved on each lower portion of each door.

[]

DID YOU KNOW?


As you sit inside the courtroom, you can see
The wall, right above where the Supreme Court
Judges sit, a display of the Ten Commandments!



[]




DID YOU KNOW?



[]

There are Bible verses etched in stone all
Over the Federal Buildings and Monuments in
Washington , D.C.




DID YOU KNOW?

[]

James Madison, the fourth president, known as
'The Father of Our Constitution' made the
Following statement:


' We have staked the whole of all our political
Institutions upon the capacity of mankind for
Self-government, upon the capacity of each and
All of us to govern ourselves, to control
Ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to
The Ten Commandments of God.'


DID YOU KNOW?


[]


Patrick Henry, that patriot and Founding
Father of our country said:


'It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too
Often that this great nation was founded not
By religionists but by Christians, not on
Religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ'.


DID YOU KNOW?
<>
Every session of Congress begins with a prayer
By a paid preacher, whose salary has been paid
By the taxpayer since 1777.


DID YOU KNOW?

[]

Fifty-two of the 55 founders of the
Constitution were members of the established
Orthodox churches in the colonies.


DID YOU KNOW? []
Thomas Jefferson worried that the Courts would
Overstep their authority and instead of
Interpreting the law would begin making law
An oliga rchy


The rule of few over many.


DID YOU KNOW?

The very first Supreme Court Justice, John
Jay, said:

[]



'Americans should select and prefer Christians
As their rulers.'


How then, have we gotten to the point that Every thing we have done for 220 years in this
Country is now suddenly wrong and
Unconstitutional?

Lets put it around the world and let the world
See and remember what this great country was
Built on.


[]

I was asked to send this on if I agreed or
Delete if I didn't. Now it is your turn... []
It is said that 86% of Americans believe in God.
Therefore, it is very hard to understand
Why there is such a mess about having the Ten
Commandments on display or 'In God We Trust'
On our money and having God in the Pledge of
Allegiance. Why don't we just tell the other
14% to Sit Down and SHUT UP!!!

If you agree, pass this on

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Charitable Contributions of Nominee's Well Under God's Tithing Law Percentage

According to tax records reported from up to the last decade of presidential and vice-presidential nominees from the country's two major parties, there is a serious deficiency in charitable contributions. One can look at the small percentages and see that none of the nominees, with the exception of perhaps McCain, if he contributed his tithes, are following God's law of the Tithe. God requires a tenth (10%) of income to be donated to the building up of His Kingdom. All 4 nominees are "god-fearing" individuals yet none are following this sacred law that has existed since at least the time of Abraham.

So here is my concern: in a time when leaders profess to follow God's commands and profess Christ's name, what does it say about their personal integrity when they do not follow such a basic law of sacrifice and charitable goodness? How can we expect these leaders to rule over us when they themselves do not follow the same laws they profess to uphold? What does it say about a candidate that is unwilling to contribute to charitable offerings, especially God's Kingdom, yet claim to have the answers to our nation's poverty and welfare problems?

I think it should be interesting to hear responses to their neglect in the charitable donation category especially when each are in the highest income brackets and none are struggling financially, nor will they in their lifetime. The people, us, must hold them responsible for their neglect.

What's your opinion on the obvious lack of interest in charitable contributions by our nation's nominees for the highest executive offices in the land?

Monday, September 8, 2008

What Not to Expect in a Mormon Meeting House

So yesterday was an adventure in the unexpected. For anyone that has visited an LDS church service, exciting is not a word that usually comes to mind to describes the proceedings. At times there are some unexpected comments made and I've sat through some pretty unusual witnesses of nothing in particular. But yesterday had to have topped all previously acknowledged strange experiences.

The first Sunday of each month a typical LDS congregation worships together having prepared themselves through prayer and fasting. After the holy communion, or sacrament, has been administered, lay members of the congregation bare witness of the truths or tenets of the Gospel, of the Living Christ and of the Restoration of the Church of Christ. Testimonials include baring witness of the Book of Mormon and Bible, of living prophets and apostles and of personal faith promoting experiences.

As yesterday's meeting was drawing to a close with just 10 minutes left, the members of the church (at least 2 congregations) were shockingly jolted by the piercing sounds of the fire alarm and the annoying flashing of the strobe lights (glad we don't have any epileptics). The Bishop and I bolted to the side door to find out a young feller had pulled the alarm. Without even taking a 2nd breath we bolted for the system to shut off the alarms (in retrospect I probably should have gone back to the microphone and notified the congregation that there was in fact no fire and to remain calm).

Through the remainder of the testimonies, the alarm hiccuped another 3 times, jolting the listeners to attention and forcing mass amounts of adrenaline to pump voraciously through our veins. All-in-all the meeting ended well and I'm sure we'll not soon forget the excitement we felt at the meeting as well as the calming influence of the Holy Spirit before and afterwards. Quite a contrast!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Inspiration and the Ward Calling

As I ponder how to write this entry, I realize what I'm about to write may touch a sensitive nerve with some individuals (great lead in I know). But what I attempt to do with these entries is not mask my dealings with the church but give insight and a fresh perspective. What I want to emphasize is this is just my perspective, not doctrine or nearly authoritative. It is experience, not law. It is personal, not public.

Having served in my first bishopric for the past 1.5 yrs one could say my experience as a congregation level leader is quite infantile and I would agree. Though in that period of time I have gained some experiences which I would call unique compared with some that have never served in this role. Something that I continue to learn is the church is headed by Christ, inspired through revelation to men called of God and executed by men that do all they can in a voluntary role. Was that generic enough for you? What does it really mean?

What it means is the world wide church, the kingdom of God, is lead by a living oracle, namely a prophet, which receives revelation straight from God. Not through studying the Bible alone or attending myriads of theology conferences. Direct communion with the Omniscient One. The Word travels through him and through the Apostles which are likewise prophets to the various regions of the world. On a local level the keys to exercise the saving ordinances, namely baptism and sacrament, are bestowed and exercised regularly. This authority helps the church to grow. Yet through all of this, everyone involved, from leaders to regular members, is a volunteer.

The subject of volunteerism is one I enjoy in that what you give to the effort often is what you glean from the experience. If you give very little you can hope to obtain as little or less in return. Those that serve and do so faithfully do not always fully recognize the direct correlation of blessings received in return and often do not see it as a reciprocal relationship. Yet it has been my observation that the Lord is not withholding anything from those that love and serve Him. We just need to open our eyes to those blessings.

As serving in the church is a voluntary obligation, it must also be an orchestrated exercise else chaos and disorder take over and frustrate the object of the voluntary spirit. Where this gets complicated is finding a balance between accessibility and desire on behalf of those that are called to serve. In the early days of the church timetables and schedules rarely were a factor in how one served. If asked to do so, the member would walk 50 miles to milk the widows cow, cut some wood, mend a fence and return the next day. Would this create an imposition and hardship on the member? Likely. But if the call was extended, for the most part, the faith was matched to the task and eventually the blessings were realized.

In today's growing, bustling and often overscheduled church, the member sees the opportunity to serve as secondary to the worldly responsibilities they burden. I have had individuals state that their schedule just simply did not allow for the calling to be fulfilled. At to some degree I would concede that for reasons of health or familia duty this is rightly so.

In laying all of these individual concerns out on the table in trying to make sense of the complex chaos of membership responsibility, is it any wonder that inspiration is at times mired by logic and orchestration? What of inspiration and the individual calling? I've heard many people state that "if the calling was truly inspired..." And here is what I've learned (no big secrets here, just experience).

Inspiration, or revelation, is the duty, obligation, and right for anyone serving or having stewardship for another. For leaders it is essential. I have felt it's influence and seen the fruits of it's labors. I can also say that not all callings or assignments are thought to be inspired. Sometimes we have a position that logically needs to be filled by a warm body. But we hope when extending the calling that inspiration lead us to that point and by the same hope the individual will fulfill the assignment. I can also tell you that the Lord's Spirit whispers truth through the chaos when directing the saving efforts of his children.

Did I really answer what I had set out to reveal? Who knows. For me I'm satisfied. Maybe you have more questions. Feel free to ask them. But let me state unequivocally, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is led by revelation from the top to the bottom, in varying degrees mind you, and will continue in this order until the Christ Himself reigns personally upon the earth whereby inspiration is replaced with direct knowledge from it Source.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What to Expect in a Mormon Meeting House?

The LDS church release a great news clip on what to expect if you visit a Mormon Meeting House, or chapel. The details are accurate and fair. I especially liked the following:

"Mormons tend to
have large families, so be prepared to see — and hear — a
lot of children. And though Mormon parents try to teach
their little ones to be reverent, children are also
encouraged to be involved.
"

Hit this link to read the rest.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lonely Heaven?

Were your ancestors, or even your parents, converted to the Lord? Did they profess the name of Jesus prior to death? What would your current church say about their eternal reward or punishment?

Most religions will tell you that they'll not be eligible for heaven and will be eternally punished. What does the LDS church say about this?

The article linked here is a good summary of the general belief and doctrine of the LDS church. High level, those that never had the chance at redemption or those that had no opportunity to receive Christ can still be saved. The New Testament alludes to this and modern day prophecy expounds on this eternal doctrine. Read more or go to mormon.org for more info.

Also, please feel free to comment below. I'd be interested to know what you think.

Roach Mormon to Compete in Olympics

Funny how small a world the LDS Church makes it especially through the wonders of world wide distribution of Mormon-centric news. On their newsroom site is an article (I subscribe to their RSS feed) about an Olympian that is set to compete in Beijing. Her last name is what caught my eye. Anyone with the name of Roach catches my eye as I have worked politically with that family and know of their fervor. When I read that the origin of the article was a composite from the Tacoma News Tribune and that the Roach sited was from Bonney Lake, Washington I knew I had the same family. Confirming this with the name of the husband being Dan, I knew I had worked along side Dan and had ridden back from Yakima, WA with Dan from the Washington State Republican convention as an 18 year old. Small world.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Priesthood Doubles in Hanson Home

Just posted this on the main site but it completely applies to this Church blog as well. Have a son that received the Priesthood? What were your thoughts at the time?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Witness of God's Spirit Personal Strength

This last Sunday I had an assignment to address the Relief Society and was overwhelmed by the outpouring of the Spirit prior to my announcement. I caught the tail end of the meeting and was so blessed by having sat through that quiet and still moment. When I went to address the sisters, I first witnessed of the manifestation of the Spirit and was completely overcome. The power of the witness of the Spirit is like nothing else and I'm grateful for that experience.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Youngest Son Baptized

I did a write up on my main blog about this last weekend's events, included in the post was some details of our youngest son's baptism. Hit this link for more about his baptism.

4th_and_jadenbaptism2008-07-05_11-36-14_nikon

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Urban Development Esthetically Pleasing for SLC



Salt Lake City, and particularly the LDS Church, has been on the offensive for years regarding historical and urban development decisions. From the Hotel Utah restoration to downtown revitalization, city planning has always been debatable and the Church is usually at the heart of the attacks.

The latest construction project is called City Creek Center and includes not only retail shops but offices and residences. The ecological hook of this project seems to be the flowing, though seemingly manufactured, creek through the center of the 20 acres/3 blocks. The concept of open spaces with natural creeks, shrubs, plants and trees surrounding the environment has help to target this construction project as an "exceptional faith-based environmental initiative" by the Sierra Club.

Click below for an artist's 3D rendering of this alluring landscape.







What do you think? I'm ready to take another visit.

Boston Celtic's Success Based on LDS Leadership Principles?


While the article doesn't allude to directly, one can argue that the leadership training Danny Ainge received through his lifelong service in the LDS church has greatly contributed to his management style and possibly his latest success as the NBA Champion's Boston Celtics General Manager. Having received much of the same training, myself, I can vouch for a lifelong training record by the LDS church and can assert that this has greatly influenced Ainge. From weekly meetings, to monthly training sessions, leadership is ingrained in every individual in the church. Is it any wonder that leaders of government (from national to local), corporations, entertainment and otherwise are LDS members? It's a natural extension of our lifestyle.

What LDS individuals do you know and in what position of leadership do they serve?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Do Americans Believe?

Can you believe it? According to this post, 92% of Americans believe there is a God or higher Spirit. And no surprise, Californians are low on the percentages and many believe the entertainment industry weakens the resolve of the believer.

Here's a thought: turn off the TV and be choosy on what you let into your home and spiritual self. No one is forcing you to get sucked into the Hollywood scene.

What flavor of belief do you have?

Who Exactly Are the Mormons?

Ever wonder exactly who the Mormons are and what they believe? Do they really live what they preach?

Click here for a fairly comprehensive breakdown of important lifestyle issues like values, education, worship, family, organization and community.

What did you think a Mormon really was and do you know any?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Geek Squad City Staffers Compared to Mormon Missionaries

Jump on over to my post at HansonHarmony-tech to see how CNET's Geek Gestalt writer Dan Terdiman compares the Geek Squad City Staffers to Mormon Missionaries. Nice short plug for the LDS missionary.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Argentine Soccer Star Pauses Career for Mormon Mission

I think it's great to see good press for the church and when it relates to soccer, even better. This young man is pausing his stellar career to serve the Lord on a mission for the LDS church. How many can say they would be willing to sacrifice the fame and glory, especially in soccer which is world-wide fame, for 2 years in the service of their God? Hit the link above to find out why. It's in espanol so for you english readers you may need a translator.

Bible Camp for LDS Kids?

I've posted something many outside of the south may find controversial for an LDS family. You can read more about it here.

The gist of it is my kids are enjoying camps at other churches that teach only the Bible. Is this cause for alarm? Are the Hanson's leaving the LDS church? Heavens no. My faith has not waivered nor is it. My kids are stronger for embracing the teachings (well monitored mind you) of fellow Christians in the DFW area.

A helpful spiritual diet of Book of Mormon reading and daily family prayer keeps our kids going down the path we choose to lead them. But ultimately, there will come a time in their lives when they must develop and stand on their own testimony (witness in generic Christian speak) of God, His Son, and the Church that aligns best with what the Spirit is dictating to their souls. For me, that is the LDS faith and I testify that the Spirit has borne witness to me that this is Christ's Church. As for my children, may they reach the same conclusion by the same Spirit.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Church Tolerable Despite Sprained Foot

Saturday night I sprained what I believe to be my right foot which sent alarms of discomfiture sitting through meetings yesterday at church. However, despite the pain, the services were really quite nice and I felt the Spirit take me away from my pain and helped me focus on more holy agendas. For more on how the sprain occurred, see
http://hansonharmony-soccer.blogspot.com/2008/06/barefoot-soccer-party-yields-sprained.html

For more on my church, see LDS.org

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hanson Harmony on Church

A fair amount of my posts are related to religious or church topics and I think for the sake of clarity and organization that it's time to split out my main blog into a sub-blog (if you will) for strictly church or religious related entries. Hence, the Hanson Harmony on Church blog is born. Long live the new blog.