President Gordon B. Hinckley Has Passed Away

January 28, 2008 at 11:32 am | Posted in Church, Gordon Hinckley, Mormon | 1 Comment

Numerous others are making their comments known, and I wanted to share mine too. I appreciate all that President Hinckley has done for the church. His efforts at public relations have cast the church in a much fairer and kinder light. He has pressed for more moderation and more mainstream acceptability. He has done much to show the world that we are regular people, not fringe extremists. His efforts will never be forgotten, not his 60 some odd years of service in the church. Few can claim to have served in the church for such great lengths of time. He loved the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he did all in his power to share that love of the Gospel. He radically increased the number of temples, including the designs of smaller temples for quicker construction and more access to these eternal and sacred buildings.

Thank you President Hinckley. Rest now from all your labors.

Fast Sunday Cometh

November 3, 2007 at 11:07 am | Posted in American politics, Church, Fast Sunday, fasting, Mormon | Leave a comment

danithew on Mormon Mentality came up with a great idea to remind us to prepare for Fast Sunday. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, every first Sunday of the month is Fast Sunday, wherein we are to fast for two meals (or twenty four hours). Though it isn’t specified to fast exactly twenty four hours, many people do to show an increased faith. The last two or so hours tend to be the hardest. One time on my mission, we held a mission wide fast on the first Sunday of August in 1996. That Sunday was a particularly hot day, and those last two hours were miserable. But we were fasting to find someone that month and baptize him by the end of the month. My companion and I were the only ones in the mission to have accomplished just that. We found a young man through a member family and baptized him on August 31.

With the fast, we also provide a fast offering to the church, money to be used to help those in need. Generally the fast offering is to cover the amount we would have spent on the food we would have eaten in those two meals. It is recommended that we give a generous fast offering though. This money assists members of the ward who are in dire need, and it is definitely needed.

Fasting on the first Sundays also gives us a chance to ask of the Lord, through fasting and prayer, for assistance in some manner, whether for ourselves or for others who need the Lord in their lives. In Matthew 17 we learn an important lesson about praying and fasting:

14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,
15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.
18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

Why can’t prayer alone do it? Probably because it requires preparation. Even the Lord’s closest disciples need to prepare to be in tune with the Spirit in order to accomplish the will of the Lord. And that’s where this post of mine comes in. Fast Sunday requires preparation. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said of fasting without preparing:

We observe that in the scriptures, fasting almost always is linked with prayer. Without prayer, fasting is not complete fasting; it’s simply going hungry. If we want our fasting to be more than just going without eating, we must lift our hearts, our minds, and our voices in communion with our Heavenly Father. Fasting, coupled with mighty prayer, is powerful. It can fill our minds with the revelations of the Spirit. It can strengthen us against times of temptation.

There is no point in going fasting without praying, and there is no point in just praying if you don’t know what you are praying for, in this regard.

Fast for a purpose other than to go starving.

Elder Joseph B. Worthlin continues:

Fasting and prayer can help develop within us courage and confidence. It can strengthen our character and build self-restraint and discipline. Often when we fast, our righteous prayers and petitions have greater power. Testimonies grow. We mature spiritually and emotionally and sanctify our souls. Each time we fast, we gain a little more control over our worldly appetites and passions.

Fasting and prayer can help us in our families and in our daily work. They can help us magnify our callings in the Church. President Ezra Taft Benson taught: “If you want to get the spirit of your office and calling as a new president of a quorum, a new high [councilor], a new bishop [or, I might say, a Relief Society president]—try fasting for a period. I don’t mean just missing one meal, then eating twice as much the next meal. I mean really fasting, and praying during that period. It will do more to give you the real spirit of your office and calling and permit the Spirit to operate through you than anything I know.” 4

And that is its strength. It helps us improve. It helps us get closer to God. It helps us get further away from worldly passions and desires. These are good things to do. Our lives would improve with each fast.

So as today is the day before the fast, I recommend to all my readers to prepare for the fast. Think about the things you need from the Lord. Think about the Lord. Pray that you get closer to Him.

Why Did Ananias and Sapphira Have to Die…

October 11, 2007 at 7:34 pm | Posted in Church, Mormon | 9 Comments

if entry (and supposedly exiting) into the fold of Christ, and into the early version of the United Order was voluntary? In Acts chapter 5, we read:

1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

If entry into this system is voluntary, then why did they have to die? Was their crime really worthy of death?

Sealed at the Palmyra Temple

May 13, 2007 at 9:09 pm | Posted in Christianity, Church, Eastern Europe, Mormon, Religion, Romania | Leave a comment

Hey everybody,

Over at our family history blog I’ve written a new post about our most recent trip to the Palmyra temple, where we celebrated the sealing of Jess—Jaime’s sister—and Joe and their two lovely children. Please read it. I also wrote about who Jaime and I sealed, someone close to my heart, sealing him to his wife.

Celebrating One Year of Political Blogging

April 11, 2007 at 7:05 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Christianity, Church, conservatives, Democrats, Evangelicals, family values, Foreign Policy, George W Bush, Iraq, liberals, Middle East, Military, Mormon, neo-conservatives, Religion, Republicans, Romania, Utah, War, War on Terror, World Events | 4 Comments

One year ago, I wrote my first post on my blog. Back then it was called RHMD’s Thoughts on Politics. This was my first post: Continue Reading Celebrating One Year of Political Blogging…

On Rockefeller, Being Rich and Being Religious

April 3, 2007 at 10:52 pm | Posted in Christianity, Church, Mormon, Religion, Thoughts | 2 Comments

I am currently reading Ron Chernow’s “Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller Sr.” Mr. Chernow’s book is thought-provoking to say the least. I bought it because I wanted to know more about John Rockefeller. Continue Reading On Rockefeller, Being Rich and Being Religious…

Bowels of Mercies

December 21, 2006 at 2:21 pm | Posted in Christianity, Church, Mormon, Religion, Thoughts | 2 Comments

Okay, so I was thinking yesterday about this scripture:

Colossians 3:12 12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

I’ll quote the next few verses later, because this message is quite powerful. But I was just curious about the phrase “bowels of mercies.” Where does it come from? What is it about our bowels that seem to emanate mercy? Doesn’t mercy come from charity and the heart? What do you all think?

Here’s the rest of the message:

13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

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Why Do Mormons Still Support Bush So Strongly?

December 3, 2006 at 4:32 am | Posted in America, American politics, Cheney, Christianity, Church, Congress, Democracy, Democrats, Iran, Iraq, Israel, King George, Lebanon, Military, Mormon, Religion, Republicans, Rumsfeld, Syria, War on Terror | 12 Comments

I’m really befuddled. Why do so many Mormons still support Bush?

Just today, his departing Secretary of Defense, Mr. Donald Rumsfeld sent Bush a memo which he, no doubt, leaked to the press as well, which in effect calls the Iraq strategy a failure. One fascinating aspect about this memo is how he recommends the very same policy John Murtha recommended ONE YEAR AGO! Here is what Rumsfeld said:

Another option calls for redeploying American troops from “vulnerable positions” in Baghdad and other cities to safer areas in Iraq or Kuwait, where they would act as a “quick reaction force.” That idea is similar to a plan suggested by Representative John P. Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, a plan that the White House has soundly rebuffed.

Here is what John Murtha said one year ago:

I said over a year ago, and now the military and the Administration agrees, Iraq can not be won “militarily.” I said two years ago, the key to progress in Iraq is to Iraqitize, Internationalize and Energize. I believe the same today. But I have concluded that the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is impeding this progress.

Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency. They are united against U.S. forces and we have become a catalyst for violence. U.S. troops are the common enemy of the Sunnis, Saddamists and foreign jihadists. I believe with a U.S. troop redeployment, the Iraqi security forces will be incentivized to take control. A poll recently conducted shows that over 80% of Iraqis are strongly opposed to the presence of coalition troops, and about 45% of the Iraqi population believe attacks against American troops are justified. I believe we need to turn Iraq over to the Iraqis.
I believe before the Iraqi elections, scheduled for mid December, the Iraqi people and the emerging government must be put on notice that the United States will immediately redeploy. All of Iraq must know that Iraq is free. Free from United States occupation. I believe this will send a signal to the Sunnis to join the political process for the good of a “free” Iraq.

My plan calls:

To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.
To create a quick reaction force in the region.
To create an over- the- horizon presence of Marines.
To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq

This war needs to be personalized. As I said before I have visited with the severely wounded of this war. They are suffering.

Because we in Congress are charged with sending our sons and daughters into battle, it is our responsibility, our OBLIGATION to speak out for them. That’s why I am speaking out.

Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. IT IS TIME TO BRING THEM HOME.

This was the typical reaction from Republicans:

Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) declared: “Murtha and Democratic leaders have adopted a policy of cut and run. They would prefer that the United States surrender to the terrorists who would harm innocent Americans. To add insult to injury, this is done while the president is on foreign soil.”

Here is another conservative:

In a statement that has angered, embarrassed and humiliated Marines around the globe, one of our own — a retired Marine Corps Reserve colonel — has called for the legendary fighting force to retreat from Iraq and surrender to the terrorist organization that has killed thousands of Americans at home and abroad. He has even called for the United States to enter into negotiations with al Qaeda. This vermin’s demand for retreat, surrender and negotiations with the enemy is so committed to assisting al Qaeda in their efforts in Iraq that he has posted his unspeakable demands on his website in the form of an official statement.

The traitor, Democratic Rep. John P. Murtha, agrees 100% with Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al Zarqawi that the Marine Corps, which is mangling the enemy on a daily basis in Iraq and suffering comparatively light casualties, should lay down its arms, call it quits, and abandon the people they are defending in the fledgling democracy of Iraq.

Furious Marines from wars as far back as World War II are spitting mad at the cowardly colonel and many want his head on a stake in the middle of the Marine Corps Commandant’s lawn. Personally, I would not soil that good earth with so vile and despicable a piece of offal.

Encouraging retreat is viewed as aiding the enemy by the Marines and is a violation of Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is punishable by death. Currently serving Marines, active duty or reserve, who encourage surrender are in violation of Article 100 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, an offense also punishable by death. Because Murtha is retired, he is virtually assured of not being prosecuted.

However, he will be celebrated by al Qaeda and other terrorists around the world. At this very moment, al Qaeda communications specialists are likely prepping pieces of propaganda using Murtha’s traitorous tirade as a tool to recruit fresh killers by showing them that even an American Marine (apologies to Puller) believes his allegedly beloved Corps is so inept in battle that retreat and surrender are the Marines’ best option and perhaps should, in fact, be added for the first time to the Leathernecks’ vast, quasi-mythical repertoire of operational art and battlefield strategy.

Murtha joins the likes of traitor Clayton Lonetree, the Marine security guard who gave top-secret intelligence to the Soviets, and traitor Robert Garwood, the Marine who went over to the enemy during the Vietnam War and was involved in holding and abusing US prisoners of war in North Vietnam while wearing the uniform of the enemy.

The Marine Corps is famous for its members standing their ground and winning fights against outrageous odds. Battles with names like the Peking Legation, Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Iwo Jima, the Chosin Reservoir, Khe Sanh and Fallujah decorate the hallowed halls of Corps history. Especially repugnant is how Murtha is insisting upon surrender while the Marines are decimating the enemy en masse.

Marines should ask Murtha if Chesty Puller would order retreat and surrender before the enemy.

John “The Jellyfish” Murtha should be shunned by all Marines and, if possible, legal steps should be taken to prevent this betrayer from being buried in a national cemetery upon his demise.

And yet another:

Jack Murtha’s call for immediate disengagement took him far outside the boundaries of legitimate disagreement. He has never been able to articulate any plausible basis for his position on Iraq. There is a simple reason for that. There isn’t one.

Reasonable people cannot differ about whether or not the United States should press forward with our war against the terror masters. For the time being Iraq is inevitably the principal front in that war. A congressman who tries to duck his share of the responsibility for prosecuting that war is displaying moral cowardice. Any American who recommends retreat is injuring his own country and calling his own patriotism into question.

Almost all the Democrats in the House understand this, which is why only three of them would vote on the record for retreat.

We mark the boundaries of legitimate disagreement by the way we characterize arguments that lie outside them. What Jack Murtha did last week wasn’t just wrong. It was cowardly and disloyal. That’s the truth and Jack Murtha deserves to hear it.

But, Mr. Murtha was right. And now the departing Secretary of Defense agrees with Mr. Murtha’s recommendation. I wonder if we will hear the same venom, the same call for his head from these same people as they did to Mr. Murtha. I doubt it.

Anyways, that’s a side topic. Let’s get back to Bush. His departing Secretary of Defense released a memo that states clearly that their Iraq policy is not working. Meanwhile, Bush continues to look cheerful even as he says:

“I recognize that the recent violence in Iraq has been unsettling,” Bush said.

Unsettling? Fifty-One people just died today in three coordinated market blasts. Unsettling? Why do Mormons still back this guy?

Worse yet, no leader in the Middle East supposedly trusts the Bush Administration to get it right.

But instead of flaunting stronger ties and steadfast American influence, the president’s journey found friends both old and new near a state of panic. Mideast leaders expressed soaring concern over upheavals across the region that the United States helped ignite through its invasion of Iraq and push for democracy — and fear that the Bush administration may make things worse.

President Bush’s summit in Jordan with the Iraqi prime minister proved an awkward encounter that deepened doubts about the relationship. Vice President Dick Cheney’s stop in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, yielded a blunt warning from the kingdom’s leaders. And Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s swing through the West Bank and Israel, intended to build Arab support by showing a new U.S. push for peace, found little to work with.

In all, visits designed to show the American team in charge ended instead in diplomatic embarrassment and disappointment, with U.S. leaders rebuked and lectured by Arab counterparts. The trips demonstrated that U.S. allies in the region were struggling to understand what to make of the difficult relationship, and to figure whether, with the new Democratic-majority Congress, Bush even has control over his nation’s Mideast policy.

The Saudis are warning Cheney, Rice gets at best a cool reception in Israel and Palestine, Bush was snubbed by the man he needs desparately in Jordan, King Abdullah of Jordan warns of more civil wars in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Iran continues quietly to build their nuclear program. Syria continues interfering in Lebanon, and the world now further distrusts America.

So I ask again, my Mormon friends, why do so many Mormons still think this guy is a good guy? Do we not believe that by their fruits we shall know them? What are the fruits of President Bush? A divided America, civil war in Iraq, further civil wars possible throughout the Middle East, no one trusting Bush. Could any president have done more to weaken America’s standing in the world than Bush has these past six years? No. That’s not only bad for America, but that’s also bad for our church. I am asking that you join with me in calling for the resignation or impeachment of President George W. Bush. Believe in your conservative principles. Where’s the shrinking of the government? I’ve not seen it these past six years. Where’s the fiscal responsibility? Why are we putting our wars on credit cards for our children to pay? Why are we going to war with countries based on faulty intelligence, and then when things start going bad, we blindly, stupidly, stubbornly say we need to “stay the course,” when staying the course is the worst possible option to choose? There are so many things wrong with the Bush administration, so many ways that they act counter to Conservative principles. How can you guys still back him? Is it because he throws you a bone—whether it be gay marriage, or abortion, or tax cuts—so you stay mollified and silent while he goes counter to all your other conservative principles?

I pray that you consider my request. Before this gets even worse. Think about it, how can Bush act effectively with the rest of the world if he is no longer taken seriously by anyone?

Christians Fleeing Iraq

October 17, 2006 at 11:52 am | Posted in Christianity, Church, Iraq, Mormon, Religion | 8 Comments

Christians are fleeing Iraq in droves because of the violence. Many Mormons justified their support of this war on Iraq “opening” to the Gospel. What do you say now, my Mormon friends? Can you visualize missionaries walking around Iraq today?

If You Want Information, Don’t Torture, Inquire of the Lord!

September 28, 2006 at 3:19 am | Posted in American politics, Church, Iraq, King George, Mormon, Religion, Torture, War on Terror | 11 Comments

What is the supposed purpose and design of torture….er, for our Republican crowd, “alternative set of procedures?” It is to get information, supposedly, right? What if, instead of torturing detainees….er, using alternative set of procedures….what if we ask God to reveal the movement of the enemy for us? The Apostle James has said: “If any of ye lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to men liberally.” Why torture when God can tell you by simply kneeling in prayer? Moreover, which source of information would you trust more? A terrorist or the God of Heaven and Earth?

Continue Reading If You Want Information, Don’t Torture, Inquire of the Lord!…

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