Monday, September 30, 2019

We are all “Middle Way” Mormons, and none of us have completed the Covenant Path!

We are all “Middle Way” Mormons, and none of us have completed the Covenant Path.

By RB Mac.

The Orthodox Mormons sure love this new term of “Middle Way Mormon” that is being used to identify someone that is not living every single rule or procedure or believes in every single doctrine. I have seen a few times recently where the orthodox Mormon puffs out his or her chest in declaring the perceived shortcoming of another member by identifying their shortcomings on the Covenant Path or bestowing on them the moniker of “Middle way Mormon.” In the words of the Texas Forefathers “that really gets my goat” …. It seems that nowadays the standards of the temple are being applied to the chapel.  Its almost like we are saying to everyone, “if you want to be welcomed at the church, you have to be progressing on the covenant path at a pace we like, or what’s the point of serving you or welcoming you as part of our community.”
So, let’s be clear about a few things.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Oozing Patriotism

Oozing Patriotism

I am a true patriot. I always have been.

I am a red-blooded American! My patriotism doesn’t just tip-toe along as borderline corny; I am full-blown “I love America”, getting teary-eyed listening to patriotic music, standing at the position of attention during the Star-Spangled Banner, I-don’t-care-what-anyone-thinks patriotic. I don’t own t-shirts with eagles flying around carrying the American flag or anything; but if I did, I would totally rock them like every day!

My love for this country predates my time in the Marine Corps. I was raised from childhood to love and cherish the fact that I was born in such a great country. The freedoms I enjoy here--granted by the bloodshed of past military veterans and defended by current service members--are unparalleled throughout the world. I live not only in the greatest nation on Earth, but the greatest nation in Earth’s history.

I have skirted the bounds of blind devotion for just a moment to lay down for you the foundation upon which I have built my adoration for my country. Yet, I am not blindly naive to the point that I think my country is perfect. We struggle with poisonous politics, historical racism, institutionalized sexism, and other forms of bigotry being hurled from both sides of the aisle. And recently, we have seen what appears to be a move away from what I believe to be among the most important of the freedoms established by the Founding Fathers: religious freedom.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Just Be There (Happy Fathers Day!)

Just Be There
James A. Robertson

Happy Father’s Day!

I have looked over what I am to say at least a dozen times; I do not believe there is a single Dad Joke in my talk. To all of the fathers out there: I am sorry… I have failed you. To everyone else in the congregation: I noticed the collective sigh of relief--you are welcome.

I am going to begin by telling you all something that most of the congregation may have trouble believing. As I began to prepare this talk, I was literally speechless--at a complete loss for words. The one person who seems to always have something to say… had NOTHING.

I sought inspiration through fasting, prayer, and temple worship. I sought inspiration by reading the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Of course, I sought inspiration by pondering the Articles of Faith--and could only come up with the first one: We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. That’s the only one that mentions fatherhood, right?

And then inspiration struck.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Serving a mission in the Church is about to change is a BIG way…. You might want to sit down.

By RB Mac

I rarely play with predicting what is coming down the pipe from SLC. Except for general conference predictions, which are practically required in the Bloggernacle. But in this case, with the whispers in the crisp Salt Lake City air that has reached into Texas, and the fact that I have thought this was coming for a while now,  I am going to make a prediction:

Missionary calls are about to change, and the majority of Kids are not going to be serving proselyting missions, but service missions.

When I say service missions, I am talking about a whole new type of service mission.  I am talking digging water wells in Africa, Building schools in Asia and teaching in downtown Chicago.   Proselyting mission spaces will shrink for about 65k to about 20k, (I predict we will see no decrease in convert baptisms) I also predict you will not choose what kind of mission you go on.  Your stake president will write a recommendation as to what kind of service he feels you are best for, and the twelve will make the final decision. Terms of service will go from six months to a few years, but you will be able to select the maximum amount of time you can serve for.  Now the Big change, you will be able to go on more than one mission. For example, you could serve a six-month mission serving in Africa on college break, and another teaching for a year in Chicago after you finish college. And best of all I predict the cost of serving a mission will NOT go up.

That is my prediction, and I think we will see this announced before the end of the summer.

Why the change?  I think there are three reasons:

The Waiting Period to Get Married in The Temple is Over!

by RB Mac

When I heard about the change in the temple sealing policy yesterday, I was a little frustrated.  Don’t get me wrong I was happy about it, it a long overdue change. If you haven’t heard: if you have a family that cant be in the temple for the wedding, you can get married outside the temple first, then get sealed without a waiting period.  In North America, there was a one-year waiting period couples would have the wait if they got marries civilly before they could be sealed.)

But I was a little afraid of telling my wife about it. No one from her family was able to be at our wedding in the Bountiful temple, and that was really hard on us.  We talked about doing it civilly, but to be 100% upfront and honest we did not because of the social pressure and stigma associated with anon temple wedding, that by having a civil ceremony we were somehow admitting that we were unworthy of a temple recommend.  And if we did that, it would be my half of the family that would have a hard time supporting us, rather then my wife’s half of the family.   So we had to choose, which half of the family got to be offended because of where we were going to get married?

If you don't follow us on twitter you should! Here is why

by Mark G.

We have been gone for a while…  well we have actually been on twitter 😊

In the week leading up to Easter, MMM left the blog, and we hit twitter pretty hard. We enjoyed what we did, and I think it turned out really well.  In Holy week (the week before Easter) we posted the major events that happened that week on the day and time that they happened at.  There is actually a lot of data to give days and times to most of the events, and there were a few that we had to estimate.  But for me, it really bought Easter to life in a way that as a Mormon, I have never understood before. 

This was the Brainchild of RB Mac. He has been doing it at home for years. And being the old and grumpy guy that he is he snapped off how his church does not even understand or honor all the significance of Easter. I rolled my eyes at him, but after getting a flash on my phone at Wednesday at Midnight, for example, telling me that Judas just betrayed Christ, Or Thursday at three pm letting me know that Christ just died for me, really put the day of Easter into a perspective that I have never experienced. 

So thanks RB, you are old (he is actually only 43) and a bit grumpy but you hit the nail on the head most of the time, and you did for me this Easter, it was a special experience for me and a lot of our friends on Twitter. 
If you missed our Easter week, twitter posts go check them out.  ModerMormonMen@Twitter. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

2019 April General Conference Rumors.

2019 General Conference rumors.

Ok here we go, the possible changes, rumors of changes and just plain old speculation on what’s coming up for conference this weekend. Enjoy Conference Weekend!

Women getting the priesthood.
We have no doubt this is in the works.  Changes in the temple are clear precursors to the change, just as changes in the temple were precursors to the changes in Blacks receiving the priesthood. Is it going to happen this conference…? I don’t think so but it’s coming for sure and I would not be surprised to see some changes in responsibilities of the Relief Society this weekend, such as seeing them make and extending their own callings. 

Changes in who and how you serve in a proselyting mission.
The rumors are that the selection process in regards to who can and maybe who is “asked” to serve in a proselyting mission.  With the changes in status and respect of those serving service missions. Look for an increase in breadth of service missions.  Rumors are that the church is going to shift to having fewer proselyting missionaries, and might even go back to the days where you are called to serve a mission before you even apply to serve one.  This would shift proselyting missions to by “call”, rather than by volunteering.  However, look for service missions being built up to handle those who are not called to proselyting missions.

Temple building is going to Slow down.
NOPE.  Nelson is on a big push on all fronts, he is not going to slow down on building temples especially since we now know the positive economic advantages to building temple.  Members that live within a few hours of a temple are much more likely to be full tithe payers. 

Youth programs to be announced. 
I think this is going to happen this weekend.  Look for YM and YW to achieve the same “Eagle” or “Duty to God/ YW Recognition” type award.  Also look for changes in the Faith in God award.  Also, a rumor that YM and YW will meet together more often for Sunday quorum and YW Classes. 

Formal Limits and Procedures for Church Discipline of LGBTQ members.
We know some formal guidelines are in the works for this.  I don’t think they will be released in conference but we might see them talk about it.  What to look for here are rules against trying members more than once for the same situation and official lines for what behavior constitutes church discipline.  The issue has been that action by members in one ward might warrant no discipline, but the same actions in another ward can get a member excommunicated. Don’t look for everything to be spelled out, but look for a new section in Handbook 1 with a few more guidelines. 

Got any good Conference gossip?  Put it in the comments!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

LDS Church members Deserve Trained Leaders, With Background Checks.


We deserve trained leaders. Actually, we deserve trained leaders that have gone through a proper background check. 

I am just curious, when did the infallibility doctrine of Christ get applied to our church leaders. I am speaking specifically here about our stake and ward leaders, so please call off the strengthening the membership committee. 

My stake is taking all the kids 14-18 to Nauvoo this summer.  I was speaking to the stake Young Men’s president, and I asked what they were doing for Youth Protecting training for the fifty or so Adult chaperones going on the trip? The answer…. Nothing we are not in Texas there is no reason to. 

I had to bit my tongue from snapping back, “You mean there is no reason to besides, ya know, protecting the youth!” Instead, I shared with him that Illinois does indeed have laws like Texas requiring proper, training for all adults that are on overnight trips with kids longer than four days. 
To sum up his answer back…. “We really don’t need it; our leaders are so wonderful, they would never do anything wrong.”

In all honesty, when did this phase shift that our leaders can’t make mistakes happen? And it’s not just the members that view it that way; I have had frank conversations with several Priesthood leaders over the years where they are asking for advice when the leaders are claiming infallibility in anything they do as a leader.  Besides this being totally nuts. It leads to justification of completely inappropriate and often damaging behavior. So, let's dispel some common Mormon myths.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Growing up a Bastard in Mormon Culture.

by JAR

Caution: Gratuitous Use of the Word “Bastard”

It used to grind on my nerves.

Like, BAD.

No other word would incite fury in me like “bastard.” I hated it. And when people would use it in regards to me personally, I would go fisticuffs with a quickness. The repercussions for calling me a bastard were often times bloody noses or black eyes--sometimes other kids’, sometimes my own.

It took me quite a while to drill down to the underlying emotion surrounding the word “bastard.” I thought it pissed me off because it was just a mean word. But beneath everything else, being a bastard was downright embarrassing.

That was it: I was embarrassed to be a bastard.

I was embarrassed that other little kids had a dad at school functions. I was embarrassed at the looks that we would get in church. I was embarrassed that I couldn’t answer questions about my father--I still can’t, having never even met him (and only recently finding out his real name).

Embarrassment is a strong emotion. You can tell when your kids start to feel embarrassment, and it completely changes their behavior. It completely changed mine. But there’s something important that I realized as I grew older: I was not the only person embarrassed about me being a bastard.

And I was probably not the person most embarrassed about it.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

The ministering visit where my buddy was told the church would be better off without him

by Mark G.

This week I was over at a friend’s house.  It was late afternoon, normally he and I would both be at work, but he had taken the afternoon off the help me with an engineering problem my group has been struggling with.  As my friend usually does, he solved my issue in a few minutes, and as it turns out, I am glad he did.  Soon the doorbell rang, and my buddy answered the door calling the visitor by name 
Brother Smith (alias)  and welcomed him in. The man joined us in the study:

My Buddy:  How can I help you?

Bro. Smith: Well this is a hard visit to make, but I came here to rebuke you. 

My Buddy:  ok… let's get started. 

Brother Smith laid out his argument.  Specifically about how the church and its leaders including stake presidents and bishops are infallible. My friend listened kindly until a remark was about the evil of scientists and then he snapped a bit.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Food Fight Over Missionaries Calling Home Once a Week! (Yes it actually happened)

posted by the MMM Consortium

I knew one day all of us here at MMM would fight over something. Lines would be drawn and a civil war would break out. But I never thought it would come over something as seemingly meaningless as missionaries calling home once a week. 

Here is the short story: Jeff posted the change on our Slack page, and WW3 began.  There were more than a few comments about uncut umbilical cords, mean old white men, stupid antiquated opinions and if we should also start sending teddy bears to missionaries as well.  We decided to stop chatting before feelings were permanently hurt, so we meet at a restaurant called 7 Leguas in Lake Conroe, Texas that night to discuss in person. Once there, we started to discuss this somewhat civilly then a chip was thrown.  And it happened, an all-out food fight…in the middle of the restaurant.  It ended when Mark poured the queso over RB and RB answered back with the Mexican Guacamole. Few things are sacred at a Tex-Mex restaurant, queso is one of those things, and Mexican Guacamole at 7 Leguas is the best in the world, period. Ashamed that we had wasted the Queso, with heads hanging low we sat back down.  I wish I were kidding here, it was my turn to pay the bill, and I tipped less at my wedding dinner. 

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Diggin’ Up Bones

by JAR

I used to work for a power systems company that manufactured and serviced electric motors and electronic variable frequency drives for use in different industrial applications. Although the company’s main focus was on oilfield drilling controls (top drives, drawworks, mud pumps, etc.), one of the many smaller niches that we had carved out was in controlling the pumping and drilling motors on dredgers.

Dredging is the process where the sediments on the bottom of a body of water are extracted and moved elsewhere. Some dredgers use a large scoop, similar to a backhoe; most of the dredgers I worked on would actually break up the sediment with a large drill and suck it up using essentially a giant vacuum, then pump the material to another location (sometimes the shoreline, sometimes a barge). Along coastlines, this technique is used to protect the shape of the beaches. In Houston, contractors employ dredgers to keep the ship channel deep enough for the large freight ships to safely navigate to the docks. In Dubai, they excavated sand from deep seabeds in order to build a beautiful island shaped like a palm tree. However, there are many drawbacks to the process, and one major one that we will discuss here:

Whenever you dig up the bottom of a bayou, river, lake, or ocean, you never really know what you can expect to find.
Everything that sinks when discarded into a body of water has the potential to be dredged up when the floor is disturbed. That includes trash, heavy metals, toxic chemicals, bikes, cars, at least one ATM to my knowledge, and even human bodies--I understand the latter to be quite a harrowing experience, though it is one that I have not personally had to endure. Items that were long since forgotten are brought up to the surface, and can even cause issues with the dredging process itself by getting stuck in the pumps or breaking the drills. These are the risks you take when you start carving up the bed of a bayou.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Could Recent Changes In the Temple Be Hinting At Changes In LDS Priesthood Ordinations?

by RB Mac

Changes to the temple ordinances were announced a little over two weeks ago, and we really wanted to pop up a post right away, but then we saw that the Church had asked for people not to post the changes. So, we waited for a few weeks to go by so we could all find out what the changes are without us being the ones to tell you. Now that we all know what changes have been made, we can talk about all of this and there is a lot to talk about.  Is this the first time that ceremonies have been changed in the temple? What is the history of the temple ceremony? What are the doctrinal implications of the recent changes? Are there more changes to come?
Changes pertaining to the temple ceremony are more common than you might think. Significant changes were made in 1843, 1845, 1855, 1856, 1857, 1877 Jan-15, 1877 Feb-1,  1884, 1893, 1894, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1915, 1916, 1919, 1922 May-1, 1922 Sept, 1923, 1924, 1927, 1930, 1934, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1940, 1945, 1955 Nov-4, 1955 Dec-5, 1959 Mar-16, 1959 Jul-15, 1962, 1963, 1965 Jan-1, 1965 May-4, 1965 May-14, 1966 Jul-6, 1966 Aug-30, 1969 Mar-18, 1969 Oct-23, 1972, 1975, 1978 May-3, 1978 Jun-8, 1979 Jun-1, 1979 Dec-1, 1981, 1985, 1989, 1990, 2005, 2008, 2019. That’s a total of fifty-four, and I don’t consider this a complete list, I left several minor things off.  

The point being change is a governing principle of our church. Click here to read an article about the role change plays in the church. I also think it’s healthy to point this out as too often “Mormon urban legends” attempt to dictate something to be a fact when it's not a fact at all. One of those urban legends is that the temple ceremony is revealed and can’t be changed… at all. On that topic, there is only one official statement we can find: 1982, Jan 16: "As temple work progresses, some members wonder if the ordinances can be changed or adjusted. These ordinances have been provided by revelation, and are in the hands of the First Presidency. Thus, the temple is protected from tampering." -W. Grant Bangerter, executive director of the Temple Department and a member of the First Quorum of Seventy. So there you have I, it’s both revealed, and it can change.  Think of it this way we believe in the 9th article of faith, which to summarize says we believe what God says when he says it. You can change it, and it does change with the obvious caveat that it comes from the First Presidency.  Now some might say that certain small inconsequential things might change, but important items like covenants, oaths, etc. never change. Absolutely not true, just in this last change we saw changes in oaths/covenants and this recent change is much more subdued than many in the past.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Meet the Fatherless Mormon

I am a Fatherless Mormon by JAR

There is a lot of unpacking to do with that statement; let me begin by expressing my understanding of a couple of key items.

First, I understand that the Church very recently shifted away from using the term “Mormon.” Fortunately for us little people, the restrictions of having to change our vernacular are less draconian than anything published officially. Besides, “Fatherless Mormon” rolls off the tongue much better than “Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Who was Raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by a Single Mother Who was Also A Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.”

Second, I understand that nobody is technically fatherless (although it is in the Bible--just saying). Spare me the platitudes about “you always have your Father in Heaven” blah, blah, blah… That’s not much of a consolation to a young boy wondering why other kids are baptized by their dads; a deacon trying to understand what it means to hold the priesthood; or a priest struggling--and ultimately losing--to fight the temptations of the world with no righteous example of priesthood leadership in the home. True: I can look back now and understand that Heavenly Father has always been there for me; but at the moment, I found it impossible to see an eternal perspective.

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