Monday, July 22, 2013

The Young Women Survey

I found this really interesting.

The Young Women Survey Results

As explained, this was not done officially by the church but by members within the church.

None of it surprises me although I'm sure it will surprise a good number of members.

Some really interesting results.

76% said that they were taught that their main objective was to marry in the temple yet only 58.5% said they were taught that their main objective was to have a testimony of the Savior and a relationship with Heavenly Father. Related to that, 48.9 % were taught that their value is dependent on marrying in the temple and that 53.2 % felt their value was dependent on finding a temple worthy husband.

97.1% were taught that they are a daughter of Heavenly Father (which is good and I know this is a real focus and theme of YW), however only 19.6 were taught that they are a daughter of Heavenly Mother and 48.5% felt that Heavenly Mother should never be spoken about.

47% believed that the consequences of sexual sin is that they are less value as a person. (Note, sexual sin within the church is more than just having sex outside of marriage. Even thinking about sex is viewed as sexual sin although admittedly on a lesser scale).

68% say that men and women do not have an equal say in what happens at church and 79.1 % say that men have the final say.

79.3% were taught that polygamy happened because there were more women than men and almost half were taught that polygamy was their eternal destiny.

54.9% were taught that sex outside of marriage is as bad as murder.  (This is so sad. No wonder why she feels of less value when she commits this sin. I mean, you might as well commit murder once you've crossed the sexual sin line by this way of thinking.)

55.4% do not feel equal to men.

Like I said. I don't find these results surprising. However, I do find them sad. What are we teaching our young women?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Journal of Discourses: Vol 1.1 Salvation

I'm going to attempt to read the Journal of Discourses. This is not scripture. It's a series of sermons and speeches given by latter day prophets in the LDS church.

It tends to be controversial. So I'm going to try and do a balanced look at different things in it. Not everything, there's too much. Critics use the Journal of Discourses to prove Mormonism wrong. Certainly there are things that make us go "huh?" So the church's answer is that it's not scripture. I can accept that prophets are human and say stupid things. I can also believe that sometimes they say inspired things. It's our job to figure out what to accept and what to reject.

The first one was called "Salvation" and it was a sermon given by Brigham Young delivered in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City on January 16 1853.

To be honest, I'm not a fan of BY. And he was certainly a man of his time when he writes
"the fair-skinned Christian, and the dark-skinned savage". You would think that a prophet would know better, but he didn't. We have to remember when we see things like that, that this was the American way of thinking up until the last couple of decades. All In the Family, a show in the 70's was so popular because it showed the ridiculousness of this thinking that was so prevalent at the time. 

But I didn't want to write about that. It's this gem that I wanted to comment on.

There is another thing, brethren, which I wish you to keep constantly before your minds, that is with regard to your travels in life. You have read, in the Scriptures, that the children of men will be judged according to their works, whether they be good or bad. If a man's days be filled up with good works, he will be rewarded accordingly. On the other hand, if his days be filled up with evil actions, he will receive according to those acts. This proves that we are in a state of exaltation, it proves that we can add to our knowledge, wisdom, and strength, and that we can add power to every attribute that God has given us. When will the people realize that this is the period of time in which they should commence to lay the foundation of their exaltation for time and eternity, that this is the time to conceive, and bring forth from the heart fruit to the honor and glory of God, as Jesus did—grow as he did from the child, become perfect, and be prepared to be raised to salvation? You will find that this probation is the place to increase upon every little we receive, for the Lord gives line upon line to the children of men. When He reveals the plan of salvation, then is the time to fill up our days with good works. 
Let us fill up our days with usefulness, do good to each other, and cease from all evil. Let every evil person forsake his wickedness. If he be wicked in his words, or in his dealings, let him forsake those practices, and pursue a course of righteousness. Let every man and woman do this, and peace and joy will be the result.

There are those that believe that it isn't good works that gets us saved. And to some extent that is correct. It is Jesus who saves us. Without Him, no one would be.

However, there is no point in claiming to be a follower of Christ, and then not follow Christ. It is more than just saying "I believe." We can't do evil and claim that we follow righteousness. The free gift that He gave to all, was not salvation. It was eternal life. We all get to live forever whether we want to or not. Salvation on the other hand is offered  but we need to accept it. And it's no good accepting it and then throwing it in a closet. It's like getting a guitar for Christmas and then never learning how to use it. You won't learn to play the guitar by merely having one.

BY's statement gives us tremendous power to accept Christ's offer and honor it.

It isn't important where we are on the path when Christ comes to get us. What is important is that we're on the right path, facing the right direction, and trying to get home.

To read the full sermon you can go here. Brigham Young: Salvation.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Facebook: Family First Weddings

Sometimes when I share a story on FB I end up embroiled in controversy. I end up in a debate, which annoys people because they don't want to see fighting on Facebook. Sometimes I've had people message me privately to tell me what they think because they don't feel safe to post on FB.

So I thought I would try posting some of the Facebook links here on my blog. If it's controversial I want it here so people can be free to comment, and comment at length if they choose. I don't need to have people agree with me. But I do want to take the fight off of Facebook. If they're interested enough, they can follow me here.

I will be posting some Facebook things just because I want to comment on it. But for some, like this one, I would like to just post it so people have a space to speak.

I will allow comments as long as they are respectful and don't use foul language.

So, here's the first controversy. By the way, I am in support of this and at some point I will make a comment either in this post or another one, why I am in support of people being able to ask the first presidency for changes.

Family First Weddings

I will also be calling this my Facebook Series, and you can see all the posts in the series on the sidebar, so you can comment at any time.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Learning to Not Be Tolerant

A couple of weeks ago I gave a talk in church. That was a risky thing to ask me to do since no one ever knows what I might say but perhaps they have no idea how much of an apostate I am. Okay, not really. I just find it funny that we like to throw that word around whenever someone in the church says something that doesn’t agree with what the latest leaders say.

They asked me because it was my turn. What other church has the congregation give the sermons? I think it’s great. We all have the opportunity to speak, and if once every few years isn’t enough, we have the opportunity once a month to stand up and bear our testimony in whatever way we want. No one has control over this. It’s great.  Testimony meeting is sometimes exciting because you never know what people will say. For the most part, people tow the line and say the required words, but I’m going off on a tangent. Back to what I want to write about.

I was given the topic of the 11th Article of Faith which is actually quite a nice one – they all are by the way. 

 11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

It’s a great standard. It’s too bad the world doesn’t follow this. It would be so much better if they did.

I was going to write my talk and then post it here but as it turns out, I never actually wrote a talk. I just quoted some scriptures, told some stories and gave a brief history lesson on Martin Luther, which was really the only part of the talk that I wrote. To look at my notes you would see "tell story about Narnia" (referencing my stint as the White Witch in a play), or "tell about grandfather" (which is a big long story that I don't want to get into right now. Basically it was "here's a scripture, this is what I think."

I just wasn’t in the mood to write anything, and I worried that I would fall into preaching. I didn’t want to preach. It’s not my place. So I asked the Lord to help me out and say what He wanted me to say, and not what I wanted.

I hope that’s what happened. I can’t say one way or the other if it was. I can say that I received several positive comments about my talk, but again, that could have been politeness. It’s expected when you see someone who has given the talk to say “great talk”. And you can’t tell by applause if you’ve done well, because we Mormons don’t applaud in the chapel. I guess it's felt that applause takes away from the spirit. I tend to agree. Trouble is, we never know when we can applaud at church. But I'm going off on a tangent again.

What I do want to mention in this post, is one idea that I came away with that I hadn’t thought about before giving this talk. Perhaps that is the kernel that comes from the Lord. I don’t know.

I spoke mostly about the love of Jesus, and I mentioned the world Tolerance.

It’s a word that we use a lot. We look at it as a positive word. It’s a pat on the back word. “I’m tolerant of my neighbor.”

But it seems to me what it really means is “I’m right and you’re wrong, but I’ll put up with you anyway.”

It’s filled with pride, self-righteousness and lacks understanding of the other person or their ideas.

When did Jesus teach that?

If instead of telling our children “I love you,” we said to them “I tolerate you,” what kind of message does that send them?

I don’t recall anywhere in the scriptures that we are to be “tolerant.” We are to love. We are to be compassionate. We are to help and serve. We are to try to understand. We are to live together.
But tolerant?

Now tolerance is certainly better than being hateful, and given the choice, by all means let’s choose tolerance, but we can do so much better than that. We can try and be like Jesus.

That doesn’t mean we should embrace everything that comes along nor agree with everything.

But we can disagree with our fellow man and still show love and compassion and try and understand.

In fact it seems to me that tolerance is showing allowance for serious hurtful sin that damages another, which should never be tolerated.

And it isn’t just outside of the church that we should love and accept those who are different from us, but inside the church as well. Are we calling those who we disagree with, who don’t toe the line, who don’t blindly follow everything that is being said, an apostate? Is that loving?

Perhaps we’re not, but instead we are being tolerant. We are looking down on them and saying “I’m right and you’re wrong, but I’ll tolerate you and you’re weird and completely wrong ideas, and I will continue to tolerate you even though you’re an apostate and I am filled with love and compassion because I am so much better.”

I too am guilty of tolerance, but I’m trying to do better.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Polygamy Issue Part 2: The Scriptures

I am frequently admonished by members when I say that I don’t believe that polygamy is correct that “I should read my scriptures.”

It’s an arrogant statement. It insinuates that they have read their scriptures but I haven’t read mine and therefore they know more than I do. Perhaps they do. I could be completely wrong. But it isn't because I haven't read the scriptures.

In 2012 I made a goal to read all my scriptures straight through. I read the Old Testament, the New
Testament, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. I also read the Relief Society Book, "Daughters In My Kingdom" that was published that year, and the Relief Society and Priesthood manual for that year. I accomplished this in that year.

While reading I was looking for specific instances where the Lord commands the people to practice polygamy.

Except for the one scripture in the D&C 132, I didn’t find one instance where the Lord commanded people to enter into polygamy. 

But what about Abraham, and David, and Jacob?

There is no record of the Lord commanding them to practice it, except in D&C 132 which you can read for yourself here.

For most people in the church, that one scripture is enough. After all, it's scripture.

There's a lot in that one scripture, not just plural marriage, but other things that are basic beliefs that hit close to home with the Saints. Some things sound wonderful, others are down right scary.

I have some problems with this scripture and I will explain that in another post after I've dealt with some of the other issues I will be posting about.

I want to deal with this subject as honestly as I can, and as scripturally as I can.

What I did find in the scriptures is a lot of examples of how plural marriage doesn't work. And a lot of scriptures that command monogamy. And some scriptures where the Lord condemns polygamy. In order to follow D&C 132 (the plural marriage part) you would have to ignore all those other scriptures.