Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Thoughts on New Temple Clothing & Garments Video

by Seattle Jon:

(1) Surprise at seeing actual temple clothing and garments on video.
(2) Surprise at hearing the words "magic underwear" in a church video!
(3) Surprise at hearing the church state there is nothing "magical or mystical" about temple garments.
(4) Not surprised at how well done the video was, the church makes good videos!

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Seattle Jon is a family man, little league coach, urban farmer and businessman living in Seattle. He currently gets up early with the markets to trade bonds for a living. In his spare time he enjoys movies, thrifting and is an avid reader. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and the Japan Fukuoka mission field. He has one wife, four kids and three chickens.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Dream Deferred

by Eliana:

You know that poem by Langston Hughes? Even if you don't do poetry, you've at least heard of the drama A Raisin in the Sun. I've always loved it, despite it being very foreign to my existence.

The options, according to the poem: a dream can dry up (like a grape becoming a raisin) or it can explode. I may be losing some of the linguistic beauty, but that's the Cliff Notes version.

I had a dream this year, the year my youngest child started kindergarten. My dream was to write a book. It has been simmering and floating around for a long time but I knew it would need more focus than I could manage with a small person around.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Seven Tips For Giving Your Best Missionary Homecoming Talk

by Shawn Tucker:

You are excited and happy to be home. Here are some ideas that might help you give the best homecoming talk possible:

Tip #1: What We Really Want Are Your Stories
As we watch you get up to the podium, all we really want are your stories. In fact, the bulk of your talk should be you telling three mission stories. You and everyone who served a mission will know that stories are creations, narratives that have been condensed for a particular audience and purpose. They are true (or they should be true), but the real events are always more complex than any one story can convey. That is okay. Formulate and give us as clearly and honestly as possible three important stories from your mission experience.

Tip #2: Use a Simple Framework
Since you cannot just tell three stories, have a framework or over-arching theme to connect them. It could be the joy of service or how the Lord blesses our best efforts or whatnot, but have some overarching idea that links the stories together. Introduce that theme at the outset, return to it very briefly between stories, and tie all of the stories together at the end with that theme.

Tip #3: Include Scriptures Where Helpful
When you introduce your framework or over-arching theme, between stories, or in your conclusion, include scriptures that support and advance your ideas. I would suggest no more than three scriptures.

Tip #4: Be You
We are glad to see you. We love you. We are glad that you have changed and grown. Simply being you is enough. Also, you are very, very excited about missionary work. That is great. Honestly, we will smile in agreement when you tell us to study Preach My Gospel every day, but there is no way we are going to actually do that. So, if you really want us to do missionary work, just talk about the joy you felt and allow the Spirit to work on us. I say that to say this—you are becoming an adult now, so you need to know that we are all doing our best and some of us have deep, painful struggles that you don't see. When you left, you may have imagined all of us as happily on the gospel escalator taking us to heaven. By now you should know that there is no such escalator, or that the escalator is broken and everyone has to take the stairs. Many find those stairs almost impossibly steep and frightening. You need to know that there is pain in every pew. The value of knowing that is that now when you speak you can rest assured that you don’t need to tell us to do anything. We are adult children of Heavenly Parents, and your job is not to attempt to correct or counsel us. Your job is to be who you are--some who is full of joy and love and enthusiasm. That is enough for us; who you are lifts us. So just be you and share who you are.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How, When and Why Do You Give?

by Seattle Jon:

The New York Times ran an op-ed recently outlining Alicia Keys' plans to "gather an army" from her fans in support of 12 groups that further social justice causes.

Here are the groups: All Out, a gay rights organization; CARE, the aid group; Equal Justice Initiative, which combats racial inequity in the criminal justice system; the Future Project, which empowers high school students in America; Girl Rising, which supports girls' education around the world; Keep a Child Alive, which helps children affected by H.I.V. and AIDS; Moms Rising, which supports universal prekindergarten, maternal leaves and tighter gun laws; Oxfam, which fights global poverty; Partners in Health, which tackles disease worldwide; the Trevor Project, which prevents suicide among gay and lesbian youths; the Trayvon Martin Foundation, which fights racial profiling; and War Child, which supports children in conflict areas.

To get the effort started, Keys donated $1 million of her own money, released a new song related to the effort and has said she will do more to address racism, injustice and poverty in future songs.

I applaud Ms. Keys' - she is one of the world's best-known singers, and with 35 million fans on Facebook and almost 20 million followers on Twitter (MMM is close behind with 1600+ followers), I'm sure her efforts will yield impressive results and I admire how she directs her time and money to causes she believes in. Naturally, this got me thinking about where my own time and money goes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mormonism and Bigfoot

by Scott Heffernan:

As I was riding along the road on my mule I suddenly noticed a very strange personage walking beside me.... His head was about even with my shoulders as I sat in my saddle. He wore no clothing, but was covered with hair. His skin was very dark. I asked him where he dwelt and he replied that he had no home, that he was a wanderer in the earth and traveled to and fro. He said he was a very miserable creature, that he had earnestly sought death during his sojourn upon the earth, but that he could not die, and his mission was to destroy the souls of men. About the time he expressed himself thus, I rebuked him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, and commanded him to go hence, and he immediately departed out of my sight.... [Lycurgus A. Wilson, Life of David W. Patten [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1900], p. 50., quoted by Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 127-128.]
I love this story. I don’t believe it’s true, but I still find it fascinating. I initially came across it as I read Spencer W. Kimball’s The Miracle of Forgiveness on my mission (not recommended). I’m not quite sure why President (then Elder) Kimball included it in his book. It doesn’t seem to serve much purpose other than to point that murderers exist, they are evil, and Cain was (or is) one of them. I like to imagine Elder Kimball recalling the story and thinking, “This is awesome! I’ve got to find a way to work it in.”

Friday, October 10, 2014

Don't Edit Me, Bro!

by Kyle:

This past General Conference gave plenty for people* to buzz about. Whether it was speakers delivering their talks in their native language or the first black woman praying in the Women's Session. And even the Women's Session being referred to as part of the whole General Conference rather than a separate meeting.

Unfortunately it appears as though the Church has taken some action in order to walk that last point back a bit.

First, let's see how this all got started. At the beginning of the Women's Session on September 27, 2014, President Uchtdorf opened his talk to the women of the Church by saying:
"My beloved sisters, my dear friends and blessed disciples of Jesus Christ, I am honored to have this opportunity to be with you as we open another general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the coming week the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles will meet with all the General Authorities and general auxiliary leaders, and the remaining sessions of our worldwide general conference will follow on the coming Saturday and Sunday" (emphasis added).
From his remarks it is pretty clear that he considers the Women's Session the first session of General Conference. This brought much joy to many women of the church as it has been long debated whether the Women's Session (until recently the Relief Society Session and the Young Women's Session) actually was a part of General Conference, or if it was just its own meeting.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Baptists (and Mormons) on the Road to Emmaus

by Shawn Tucker:

Those who have done missionary work in the South (and perhaps other places) may be able to relate to this experience: you have a nice conversation with someone, and when you return for the follow-up appointment that person's pastor or minister is there. It is hard to know if the local leader was invited or invited herself/himself, but usually that pastor seems to view the conversation as a chance to "defend the flock." I had that experience with the missionaries working here in North Carolina. I think the local pastor already had his Bible open as we walked in the door. And I was very proud of how the missionaries responded. Usually an exchange like this is the battle of the prooftexters, or, as I like to call it in the South, "Dueling Bibles." The missionaries here addressed the questions that were raised with humility and sincerity, and refused to quibble over scriptures.

The conversation did not last very long, but before we left we spoke with them about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration. And this is how we did it: we talked about the disciples on the road to Emmaus. We talked about how Christ's crucifixion was very surprising. Many anticipated that Jesus was a Savior who would throw off Roman political rule and restore David's kingdom. When the Man that they believe would save them politically was brutally and shamefully killed, many experienced painful disappointment and confusion. Amidst this confusion, those disciples encountered a Stranger who seemed oblivious to what had transpired. The Stranger soon explained via the scriptures why all that seemed so shockingly unexpected had to happen. The disciples eventually persuaded the Stranger to dine with them, and over the course of the meal discovered Him to be the resurrected Savior.

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