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?


[] < /FONT>Andy Rooney
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!



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



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!




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



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.'



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'.

Every session of Congress begins with a prayer
By a paid preacher, whose salary has been paid
By the taxpayer since 1777.



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

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.


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

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!