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<p>I like to consider myself a fairly open-minded guy. After all, I am studying history (particularly religious history) as my college major, which has exposed me a plethora of divergent world views. I know what it feels like to be an outsider of a religion looking in, so I often cut people slack when they approach Mormonism from perhaps not the greatest vantage.</p> <p>That said, I have some serious misgivings when someone begins <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/how-mormonism-was-founded-2012-7">an article</a> on the history of Mormonism like this:</p> <blockquote><p>And how did Mormonism come to be, anyway? Wasn&#8217;t it founded only a relatively little while ago by some dude in upstate New York? (Upstate New York?!)</p> <p>I didn&#8217;t know the answer to any of these questions.</p> <p>So, I&#8217;ve begun searching for answers.</p> <p>My first stop, which which all the information below comes from, was John Krakauer&#8217;s 2003 book <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Under-Banner-Heaven-Story-Violent/dp/0385509510">Under The Banner Of Heaven: A Story Of Violent Faith</a></em>.</p></blockquote> <p>Yikes! There&#8217;s a big red flag right there. Allow me to explain. Jon Krakauer has penned a popular, yet highly questionable book on Mormonism. The punchline to Krakauer&#8217;s book is something along the lines of: &#8220;Mormonism, an inherently violent faith, is a shining example of how religious fundamentalism is dangerous, and will lead to killing people.&#8221;</p> <p>There are so many problems with Krakauer&#8217;s book that to enumerate them here would take some considerable time. So instead I would direct the reader to this useful <a href="http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=16&amp;num=1&amp;&amp;d=530">review</a> of Krakauer&#8217;s book by Craig Foster. (Also don&#8217;t forget the Church&#8217;s <a href="http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/church-response-to-jon-krakauers-under-the-banner-of-heaven">posted review</a> on the LDS Newsroom website.)<span></span></p> <p>But enough about Krakauer. Let&#8217;s take a look at what our friend Henry Blodget has written. His comments will be quoted, followed by my own thoughts interspersed.</p> <blockquote><p>The guy who founded Mormonism, Joseph Smith, was a 24-year self-professed psychic who lived in Palmyra, in upstate New York.</p></blockquote> <p>Contrary to popular belief, prophets are not mind-readers. Furthermore, I am unaware of any place where Joseph Smith professed himself to be a &#8220;psychic&#8221;. He did proclaim himself to a prophet, seer, revelator, and an apostle of Jesus Christ. If Mr. Blodget would be so kind as to provide a source for Joseph Smith&#8217;s self-profession as a &#8220;psychic&#8221;, we would be much obliged.</p> <blockquote><p>In 1826, Smith was convicted of fraud for pretending he could use &#8220;seer&#8221; stones to figure out where a lost cache of silver was (he didn&#8217;t)</p></blockquote> <p>Actually, Joseph Smith was never &#8220;convicted&#8221; of anything. The 1826 preliminary<em> &#8220;</em>examination<em>&#8220;</em> (as the court bill terms it) was to determine if there were grounds for accusing Smith of defrauding one Josiah Stowell (one of Joseph Smith&#8217;s earliest followers, who, incidentally, testified on Joseph Smith&#8217;s behalf at the examination). And far from conviction, historian Gordon Madsen, after an exhaustive evaluation of the incident, concludes that &#8220;the evidence thus far available about the 1826 trial before Justice Neely leads to the inescapable conclusion that Joseph Smith was acquitted.&#8221; (See <a href="http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith/Legal_issues/Trials/1826_glasslooking_trial">here</a> for more details.)</p> <blockquote><p>As Smith and his followers later described it, in 1823, when Smith was 17, a few years before the fraud conviction, he was visited by an angel named Moroni, who had quite a story to tell.</p></blockquote> <p>Again, there was never any &#8220;fraud conviction&#8221;.</p> <blockquote><p>Smith had alread met Hale (and, Krakauer implies, taken a liking to her). Smith asked Hale&#8217;s father repeatedly to let her marry him. The father refused—on account of Smith having been convicted of fraud. Smith persuaded Emma to elope with him.</p></blockquote> <p>Again with the &#8220;fraud conviction&#8221; claim. And Isaac Hale&#8217;s refusal to allow Joseph to marry Emma was not because of a non-existent &#8220;fraud conviction&#8221; but because of his disbelief in Joseph&#8217;s supernatural claims to seeing angels, being given golden plates, and using a seer stone.</p> <blockquote><p>Several of Smith&#8217;s followers later said they saw and held the plates, which had &#8220;Egyptian&#8221; characters on them. The plates have since disappeared.</p></blockquote> <p>If we are going for accuracy here, as implied by Mr. Blodget&#8217;s the quotation marks, then we must insist that the plates contained &#8220;reformed Egyptian&#8221;, as per the Book of Mormon&#8217;s own claims (Mormon 9:32).</p> <blockquote><p>Smith said the angel, Moroni, had also given him special glasses that allowed him to &#8220;read&#8221; the characters on the plates. Using these magic &#8220;interpreters,&#8221; he transcribed 116 pages of the story they told. Then, a neighbor whose wife was skeptical that Smith was actually &#8220;translating&#8221; anything borrowed the manuscript to persuade her. The manuscript disappeared. The prevailing theory is that the neighbor&#8217;s wife, furious that her husband was being taken in by a con man, destroyed it.</p></blockquote> <p>Reading this passage reminds me of the wonderful <a href="http://www.unnecessaryquotes.com/">&#8220;Blog&#8221; of &#8220;Unnecessary&#8221; Quotation Marks</a>. Why the quotation marks over &#8220;read&#8221;? Yes, Joseph Smith did in fact claim to be able to &#8220;read&#8221; the characters on the plates. Why the quotation marks around &#8220;translating&#8221;, when Joseph Smith plainly said he was doing such. And it is unnecessary to put quotation marks around &#8220;interpreters&#8221; when the Book of Mormon matter-of-factly describes them as such (e.g. Mosiah 8:13, 19; Mosiah 28:20). There is nothing mysterious or esoteric about these things. Perhaps Mr. Blodget is engaging in the old &#8220;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scare_quotes">scare quote</a>&#8221; tactic. We can only surmise.</p> <blockquote><p>Smith prayed. The angel gave him another chance. The following year, 1828, Moroni gave him the plates back—but not the magic glasses. So, this time, Smith used one of his favorite &#8220;seer&#8221; stones.</p></blockquote> <p>The one place where it would have been good for Mr. Blodget to use quotation marks would have been &#8220;magic glasses&#8221;, since neither Joseph Smith nor anyone else associated with the coming forth of the Book of Mormon ever identifies the instrument used by the Prophet with such a deliberately dismissive and derisive description. It is strictly made up by second hand commentators (usually hostile or skeptical) who want to cast mockery or suspicion upon the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. (The German magazine <em>Der Spiegel</em> at least had the decency to use quotation marks around &#8220;Propheten-Brille&#8221;, or &#8220;Prophet-Glasses&#8221;, when it recently described the instrument used by Joseph Smith, the proper name of which, according to Joseph Smith&#8217;s autobiographical account of the recovery of the Book of Mormon, is the <em>Urim and Thummim</em>.)</p> <blockquote><p>The words that Joseph Smith dictated while staring at a rock in a hat became &#8220;The Book Of Mormon,&#8221; which Smith immediately self-published.</p></blockquote> <p>Besides the two obvious facts that the Book of Mormon was published almost 9 months after the translation was complete, and was published by local printer E. B. Grandin, and not Joseph Smith himself, I don&#8217;t see much to object to in this statement.</p> <blockquote><p>Smith was broke and couldn&#8217;t pay the $3,000 printing tab—so he told his neighbor that God ordered the neighbor to pay the bill. This neighbor was the one whose wife had freaked out about the original manuscript (she had since grown so exasperated that she had divorced him). Smith told the neighbor that God had threatened the neighbor with &#8220;misery,&#8221; including the &#8220;destruction of thyself and property&#8221; if the neighbor refused. The neighbor sold his farm and paid the bill.</p></blockquote> <p>This neighbor happens to have a name, namely, Martin Harris, who not only testified to his dying day that he had seen the plates and was visited by the angel Moroni, but was one of Joseph Smith&#8217;s earliest and most dedicated followers. Even when he was excommunicated from the Church for a while, and had serious disagreements with Joseph Smith on a number of matters, Harris continued to maintain his testimony of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Mr. Blodget would like his readers to get the impression that Harris was something of a sorry victim to Smith&#8217;s fraud, when in fact Harris was anything but.</p> <blockquote><p>First, although one&#8217;s first instinct is obviously to howl with laughter at the fact that an entire religion is based on a book written by a self-professed psychic staring into a hat, this &#8220;genesis&#8221; story probably isn&#8217;t all that much more ridiculous than the stories and texts involved in the founding of many other religions.</p></blockquote> <p>We again ask where Joseph Smith ever professed himself to be a &#8220;psychic&#8221;.</p> <blockquote><p>Third, Joseph Smith would later be called a &#8220;religious genius,&#8221; and if the history of Mormonism reveals anything it&#8217;s that the religion would never have had a leg to stand on if it weren&#8217;t for his vast powers of persuasion and promotion.</p></blockquote> <p>Now here is a claim we can directly test. It is common to attribute Mormonism&#8217;s early success to the charisma and charm of Joseph Smith. Entire biographies of Smith have been written with that very assumption in mind. Unfortunately, however, this claim breaks down really fast. It is true that Joseph Smith was by all accounts charismatic and a powerful leader. The problem, however, is that most converts of Mormonism in the early years of the Church did not witness that charisma until <em>after</em> their conversion. Thousands upon thousands of Mormon converts came into Mormonism from Great Britain, Canada, and vast reaches of the eastern United States based not on their exposure to Joseph Smith&#8217;s &#8220;power of persuasion and promotion&#8221;, but rather on a conviction of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon after having read the book for themselves. Joseph Smith himself did precious little missionary work. Instead, he sent forth missionaries armed with his new book of scripture and implored objective and sincere seekers of truth to read the book for themselves (something which a part of me doubts Mr. Blodget has bothered to do) and seek confirmation from God as to its divinity. The case of early Mormon leader Parley P. Pratt is instructive, who recounts in his autobiography how he converted to Mormonism after an intensive reading of the Book of Mormon. It would be several weeks after his conversion until he would meet Joseph Smith for himself. Pratt&#8217;s account is typical for most early converts to Mormonism. As such, can we really pin the success of early Mormonism on Joseph Smith&#8217;s salesmanship abilities? The weight of historical evidence strongly suggests that we cannot.</p> <p>After all of this, Mr. Blodget concludes his article with a brusque: &#8220;So that&#8217;s how Mormonism began.&#8221;.</p> <p>Well, not really. Besides the information he has omitted, such as the events surrounding the restoration of the Priesthood and the experience of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon, as we have seen, Krakauer (from whom Mr. Blodget takes his information) is a notoriously unreliable source to draw from. This account of the founding of Mormonism from Mr. Blodget is highly garbled and unnecessarily negative. We would hope that Mr. Blodget does not continue this methodology for his next installment on the history of the Book of Mormon.</p> <p>(A quick tip for Mr. Blodget would be to actually &#8220;read&#8221; the Book of Mormon itself, if he has not already done so, before he commit to providing a commentary on its contents.)</p> <p><strong>Addendum:</strong></p> <p>Since Mr. Blodget asks if there &#8220;is there an important other side to these stories&#8221; and &#8220;what should people know about Mormons and Mormonism?&#8221;, I humbly submit the following.</p> <p>1. To get a more balanced view (or, as Mr. Blodget describes it, the &#8220;other side&#8221;) of the history of Mormonism from someone other than an agnostic/atheist critic of religion (Krakauer), I would suggest the minimum are necessary sources:</p> <p>Matthew Bowman, <em>The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith</em> (New York, NY: Random House, 2012)</p> <p>Richard Bushman, <em>Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling</em> (New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005)</p> <p>Terryl Givens, <em>By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion</em> (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2002)</p> <p>That should give plenty of stuff for Mr. Blodget to work with. Of course, if Mr. Blodget is feeling especially bold, he can even go directly to the primary sources surrounding the founding of Mormonism themselves, and not have to rely on secondary commentary. For example, he could examine the handy <em>Joseph Smith Papers Project</em>, located <a href="http://josephsmithpapers.org/">online</a> and in print. There is also a very helpful collection of primary documents related to the rise of early Mormonism as collected in the volume <em>Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestation, 1820-1844</em>, ed. John W. Welch (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 2005). And let&#8217;s not forget the Church&#8217;s own unique scriptures, including the <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm?lang=eng">Book of Mormon</a>, the <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament?lang=eng">Doctrine and Covenants</a>, and the <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp?lang=eng">Pearl of Great Price</a>, all of which contain the essential information on the theology and history of early Mormonism. But wait, there&#8217;s more! The hefty historical material found in both the multi-volume <em>History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints</em> and accompanying muti-volume <em>Comprehensive History of the Church </em>is essential reading on the history of Mormonism. Add to that the scores of both primary documents and secondary commentary published by <em><a href="https://byustudies.byu.edu/">BYU Studies</a></em>, the <em><a href="http://www.mormonhistoryassociation.org/publications/">Journal of Mormon History</a></em>, and <em><a href="http://www.dialoguejournal.com/">Dialogue</a></em>, to name just a few.</p> <p>2. The most straightforward answer to Mr. Blodget&#8217;s second question would be to direct his attention to <a href="http://mormon.org/">Mormon.org</a>, where scores of Mormons tell, in their own words, &#8220;what should people know about Mormons and Mormonism&#8221;. How could he go wrong? Who better to answer this question than, ya know, <em>actual Mormons</em>?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/gAoB87foGNM" height="1" width="1" />
<p><a href="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/DanPeterson.jpg"><img title="DanPeterson" src="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/DanPeterson-300x241.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="241" /></a>In this episode of Religion Today that originally aired on July 29, 2012, Martin Tanner talks with Dan Peterson talks about what it means to be an “apologist,” what drew him to apologetics, the history of Mormon apologetics, and some of the evidences of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.</p> <p>Professor Peterson is one of the presenters at the 2012 FAIR Conference. For more information about the conference, go to<a href="http://www.fairlds.org/fair-conferences/2012-fair-conference/conf12a"> FAIRlds.org</a>.</p> <p>A native of southern California, Daniel C. Peterson received a bachelor’s degree in Greek and philosophy from Brigham Young University (BYU) and, after several years of study in Jerusalem and Cairo, earned his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Peterson is a professor of Islamic Studies and Arabic at BYU and founder and the editor-in-chief of the University’s Middle Eastern Texts Initiative (METI). He is a past chairman of the board of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) and, until very recently, served as Director of Advancement for its successor organization, the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. From 1988, when he founded it, through mid-June of 2012, he edited the <em>FARMS Review</em>, which was renamed the <em>Mormon Studies Review</em> in late 2011. He is the author of several books and numerous articles on Islamic and Latter-day Saint topics, including a biography of the Prophet Muhammad (Eerdmans, 2007). A former bishop, Dr. Peterson served in the Switzerland Zürich Mission, and, for approximately eight years, on the Gospel Doctrine writing committee for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He currently serves as a Gospel Doctrine teacher in his home ward. He is married to the former Deborah Stephens, of Lakewood, Colorado, and they are the parents of three sons.</p> <p>Listeners will note that parts of this recording were unfortunately cut out. This recording was used by permission of KSL Radio and does not necessarily represent the views of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or of FAIR.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/SP1FuJHVsp8" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F07%2F2012_07_29_religion_today.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 8.62 MB)</i></div>
<p>I<a href="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/johnsorenson1-150x150.jpg"><img title="johnsorenson1-150x150" src="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/johnsorenson1-150x150.jpg" alt="" width="150" height="150" /></a>n August of 2011, Mormon dissident John Dehlin interviewed mesoamarican scholar and non-Mormon Dr. Michael Coe about “Book of Mormon archaeology” on Dehlin&#8217;s podcast called &#8220;<a href="http://mormonstories.org/268-270-dr-michael-coe-an-outsiders-view-of-book-of-mormon-archaeology/">Mormon Stories</a>.&#8221; In response, the Mormon mesoamerican scholar Dr. John Sorenson has drafted an open letter to Micahel Coe. It points out a variety of matters where Dr. Coe’s (and Dehlin’s) characterizations of both the discipline of Mesoamerican archaeology and the Book of Mormon account are either erroneous or greatly oversimplified. After quoting statements from the podcast, the “open letter” draws attention to technical literature that contradicts or modifies faulty claims, lest the errors be repeated. Instead of being a record that can be lightly dismissed, the Book of Mormon deserves to be studied with an open mind as a primary, if unconventional, source from an early Mesoamerican setting.</p> <p>The full text of the letter can be found at <a href="http://www.fairlds.org/authors/sorenson-john/an-open-letter-to-dr-michael-coe">fairlds.org</a>.</p> <p>The opinions expressed in this letter do not necessarily represent the views of the Church of Jesus Christ of Letter-day Saints, or of FAIR.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/GWvxVfn06SI" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F07%2FAn-Open-Letter-to-Dr-Michael-Coe.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 13.92 MB)</i></div>
<p>A certain Ms. Eliza Wood has just posted <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eliza-wood/differences-between-mormonism-islam-and-christianity_b_1693095.html">an extraordinarily inept entry on Huffington Post entitled “Are Mormons Closer to Muslims or Christians?”</a></p> <p>Her answer is “No.”</p> <p>First of all, of course, the question is misconceived.  It’s rather like asking whether Fords are closer to automobiles or water buffaloes.  Fords <em>are</em> automobiles.  And Mormons <em>are</em> Christians.</p> <p>But perhaps Ms. Wood can’t really be blamed, because, quite plainly, she’s entirely unqualified even to have an opinion on the subject.<span></span></p> <p>“Islam,” Ms. Wood  says, “is about as close to Christianity as Mormonism.”</p> <p>Well, actually, no, it’s not.  And I say this as a Mormon who is, professionally, an Islamicist.</p> <p>“Both Islam and Mormonism,” Ms. Wood declares, “have teachings from the Christian Bible and believe Jesus was ‘a prophet,’ but they had prophets after Jesus that they believe to be more authentic and current than Jesus.”</p> <p>I have no idea what Ms. Wood means by “more authentic,” but I can’t really think of any significant sense in which any believing and reasonably intelligent Latter-day Saint would agree that Joseph Smith, or Brigham Young, or Thomas S. Monson, or any other modern prophet is “more authentic” than Jesus.</p> <p>“More current”?  Well, yes, but only in the trivial sense that Jesus lived out his mortal life in first century Palestine while Thomas Monson is alive right now.</p> <p>But, anyway, while Islam regards Jesus as a very great prophet, he’s still a mortal and a creature and not divine.  Mormonism, by contrast, believes Jesus to be divine, the only begotten Son of God.  That may be a small detail in Ms. Wood’s mind, but others might think that it would have been worthy of at least brief mention.</p> <p>“Jesus’ teachings,” Ms. Wood somewhat obscurely says, “were a bit archived in both because Muhammad and Joseph Smith were both visited by angels who told them to receive new orders from God. Both have respected Jesus’ messages but moved forward with other teachings and practices that are not consistent with Christianity.”</p> <p>But this is merely to say that Mormonism isn’t consistent with Ms. <em>Wood’s</em> version of Christianity, whatever that may be.  It’s rather as if, defining squirrels as non-mammals, Ms. Wood were to point to the things that distinguish squirrels from giraffes, killer whales, and Bengal tigers as “not consistent with being mammals.”  That would be not only rather eccentric but obviously circular.</p> <p>“Islam teaches that Muhammad was the last prophet,” Ms. Wood informs her audience, “and Mormonism teaches that a line of prophets extended from Joseph Smith all the way to the present with Thomas S. Monson, who is currently considered their prophet.”</p> <p>Well, yes.  But Ms. Wood doesn’t really explain how the fact that Islam believes the final prophet to have died in 632 AD while Mormonism affirms that there is a living prophet on the earth today supports her claim that the two religions are  similar.</p> <p>“While in some ways neither Islam nor Mormonism is very much like Christianity,” writes Ms. Wood, who has never actually defined <em>Christianity</em>, but who appears to believe that merely asserting that Mormonism isn’t Christian does that work <em>for</em> her, “the two faiths actually have a lot of similarities. For example, both had founding prophets who received visits from an angel, leading to revelation of Scripture. Both consider the family unit as the foundation for religious life, and both have an insistence that religion is their complete way of life.”</p> <p>Insisting that religion is a way of life is scarcely unique to either Islam or Mormonism.</p> <p>And, while both Islam and Mormonism consider family life important, their respective theologies of family bear only the most superficial resemblance to each other.</p> <p>Yes, though, both religions do really include visits from angels within their founding stories.  Among many thousands of potential similarities and differences, that’s one example.  But the stories and the roles of the angels are quite different in Islam and Mormonism.</p> <p>“Islam and Mormonism,” announces Ms. Wood, “both require fasting and ritual cleanings.”</p> <p>Fasting and ritual cleansing (e.g., baptism) are common to religions worldwide, not merely to Islam and Mormonism.</p> <p>“They both believe theirs is the original religion of Adam,” Ms. Wood writes.</p> <p>But so, historically, have mainstream Christianity and Judaism.</p> <p>“Both Islam and Mormonism,” says Ms. Wood, “allowed four wives but both forbid homosexuality and bisexuality.”</p> <p>Very few religions have traditionally celebrated homosexuality and bisexuality.  It’s true, however, that both Mormonism and Islam have allowed polygamous marriages.   Islam still does.  Mormonism does not.  But, while Islam limited men to four wives, Mormonism never did.</p> <p>“Both religions,” Ms. Wood explains, “forbid alcohol and gambling.”</p> <p>Mormonism and Islam are scarcely unique in frowning upon gambling and alcohol.</p> <p>“This may be alarming to some,” writes Ms. Wood, who very likely hopes that her readers will be alarmed, “but both Islam and Mormonism teach that marriage can extend into the afterlife.”</p> <p>It’s not at all clear that Islam teaches a continuation of marriage into the afterlife.</p> <p>“Neither worships their founding prophets,” continues Ms. Wood, “but both hold them with special respect.”</p> <p>Judaism and mainstream Christianity too venerate ancient prophets and saints.  Ever heard of St. Peter’s Basilica?  St. Paul’s Cathedral?  Santa Ana. California?  San Francisco?  There’s nothing even remotely unique about regarding prophets, apostles, and saints with particular respect.</p> <p>“Both religions heavily proselytize,” Ms. Wood writes, “and believe everyone should belong to their faith.”</p> <p>Does Ms. Wood seriously believe that Christianity hasn’t been a missionary faith from its very beginning?  Has she ever read the New Testament book of the Acts of the Apostles?  What does she think St. Paul was doing on all those trips back and forth across Anatolia and the Mediterranean?  Relaxing on the Lido Deck of a luxury cruise ship?</p> <p>“In order to lead,” claims Ms. Wood, “both Islam and Mormonism do not require formal seminary training, but take regular members and move them up into leadership roles.”</p> <p>Ms. Wood seems to presume that the Apostle Peter and his colleagues were professional clergy with seminary degrees.</p> <p>In any event, she’s wrong about Islam.  To the extent possible, Islamic clergymen are formally trained at such places as (for Sunnis) Al-Azhar University in Cairo and (for Shi‘is) the theological seminaries in Qum, Iran.</p> <p>“Oddly enough,” marvels Ms. Wood, “both religions had a split after their prophet’s death with one side believing that the faith should continue though the prophet’s descendents and the other side rejecting that. For Muslims, this caused the bloody divide between Shiites and Sunnis that we hear so much about in the press. For Mormons, this caused the divide between the Later Day Saints, which make up about 99 percent of Mormons, and others.”</p> <p>That’s <em>Latter-day Saints</em>, actually.  With two <em>t’s</em>.  And, yes, there is a curious similarity in the two schisms.  But it’s unclear that there is any real significance to it.  It’s almost certainly mere coincidence.</p> <p>“Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith were taunted for their work and driven out by locals,” reports Ms. Wood.  ”Muhammad moved from Mecca to Medina, and Joseph Smith had to move from Illinois to Missouri.”</p> <p>Actually, Joseph Smith was obliged to move from New York to Ohio to Missouri to Illinois, where he was murdered by an anti-Mormon mob.  Not from Illinois to Missouri.</p> <p>“Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith established their own city-states,” says Ms. Wood, “with Muhammad ruling Medina and Joseph Smith ruling Nauvoo, Ill.”</p> <p>Medina already existed long before Muhammad arrived.  Joseph Smith essentially created Nauvoo.  And it wasn’t a city-state.  It wasn’t independent.  It had a charter that was granted to it by the legislature of the State of Illinois.  For part of his time in Illinois, Joseph Smith served as the elected mayor of the city.</p> <p>“Both Islam and Mormonism have Scripture that can justify violence and murder,” asserts Ms. Wood, “as does the Bible.”</p> <p>The Aurora gunman evidently thought that <em>Batman</em> movies justify violence and murder.</p> <p>“While Mormons have not acted violently in the U.S. for quite some time, there was an incident back in 1857 called the Mountain Meadows Massacre, which happened on Sept. 11. The massacre was led by prominent Mormon leader John D. Lee, who was trying to exact revenge on some emigrants but when the emigrants surrendered, the militia killed men, women and children in cold blood, and then tried to cover it up.”</p> <p>The best treatment of this topic is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Massacre-Mountain-Meadows-Ronald-Walker/dp/0195160347">Ronald W. Walker, Richard E. Turley, and Glen M. Leonard, <em>Massacre at Mountain Meadows</em> (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008)</a>.  It lays out what really happened, and shows that neither Mormonism nor the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (in which John D. Lee wasn’t all that prominent a leader) had anything at all directly to do with the tragedy.</p> <p>“We don’t need to be experts on either religion,” Ms. Wood announces, “to see these similarities.”</p> <p>Truth be told, Ms. Wood’s case would be best served if no expert on either religion were within several leagues of her article, because no real expert could possibly take her superficial and cherry-picked similarities at all seriously.</p> <p>“They both have common ground with Christianity,” Ms. Wood generously allows, “and much of it.”</p> <p>Just as the bullfinch and the American border collie both have common ground with the class of mammals, and much of it.  But, in the latter case, it shouldn’t be missed that collies are mammal-like for the simple reason that they <em>are</em> mammals.</p> <p>Ms. Wood goes on to explain that “both Islam and Mormonism are at best very distant cousins of Christianity with some of the same overarching guidance.”</p> <p>It’s impossible to know what Ms. Wood means by the phrase <em>some of the same overarching guidance</em>.  But here are some facts about Mormonism that she somehow fails to mention:  Mormons believe, while Muslims do not, that Jesus atoned for our sins, that we must be baptized in his name, that he is our Redeemer, that he is the Only Begotten Son of God, that his is the only name under heaven whereby humankind has any hope of salvation, that he was crucified, that he physically rose from the tomb on the third day, that he ascended into heaven where he sits at the right hand of God the Father, that he is the second person (with the Father and the Holy Spirit) of the Godhead, and that he will return again at the last day to judge the living and the dead.</p> <p>I wonder why Ms. Wood omitted those matters.  They seem relevant.</p> <p>“Neither Islam nor Mormonism,” says Ms. Wood, “is a close enough relative to ever be confused with Christianity.”</p> <p>But she’s provided not a single actual fact to justify her position with regard to Mormonism.  (Muslims, of course, don’t <em>claim</em> to be Christians.)</p> <p>“If,” continues Ms. Wood, “a Christian of any denomination inadvertently walked into a Mormon tabernacle or a mosque, which would be fairly difficult since both allow only members of their faith to enter, there is no way the service could be recognized as a Christian devotion to Christ, but there is plenty of devotion to God going on.”</p> <p>Flat nonsense.  All Mormon tabernacles (there aren’t that many of them) are open to the public, as are all Mormon chapels, the ordinary places of Sunday worship.  As are virtually all mosques.  Ms. Wood is confusing Mormon temples, which are closed to the public, with Mormon chapels.  This is an elementary distinction that somebody presuming to lay down such judgments as Ms. Wood is offering ought to be clear about.</p> <p><a href="http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/danpeterson/files/2012/07/salt-lake-mormon-temple1.jpg"><img title="salt-lake-mormon-temple" src="http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/danpeterson/files/2012/07/salt-lake-mormon-temple1.jpg" alt="" width="480" height="360" /></a></p> <p>The Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City</p> <p><a href="http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/danpeterson/files/2012/07/images-6.jpeg"><img title="images-6" src="http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/danpeterson/files/2012/07/images-6.jpeg" alt="" width="259" height="194" /></a></p> <p>The Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City (directly adjacent to the Temple)</p> <p><a href="http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/danpeterson/files/2012/07/images-7.jpeg"><img title="images-7" src="http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/danpeterson/files/2012/07/images-7.jpeg" alt="" width="274" height="184" /></a></p> <p>A Typical Mormon Meetinghouse or Chapel</p> <p>But Ms. Wood is wrong, in any case.  Every prayer in every Mormon service and every sermon given is closed “in the name of Jesus Christ.”  Every week, the sacrament of the Lord’s supper is administered in Mormon worship services, commemorating Christ’s atoning flesh and blood.  Hymns are sung about Christ and his sacrificial atonement.  Lessons are taught and talks given about Christ.  Paintings of Christ adorn the walls of our buildings.  The name of Christ is emblazoned on their external walls:  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The Book of Mormon proclaims itself “a second witness for Christ.”</p> <p><a href="http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/danpeterson/files/2012/07/images-8.jpeg"><img title="images-8" src="http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/danpeterson/files/2012/07/images-8.jpeg" alt="" width="259" height="194" /></a></p> <p>The Christus Statue, on Temple Square in Salt Lake City</p> <p>Ms. Wood is bearing <em>false</em> witness, a sin explicitly condemned in the Bible.</p> <p>“All three of these faiths,” writes Ms. Wood, “have scores of excellent people, possibly some who would make excellent American leaders and even U.S. presidents. But, the next time you read in the press about how Mormons are really Christians, you might want to put on your critical thinking cap.”</p> <p>I hope you’ve already put it on, so that you won’t be taken in by Ms. Wood’s garbled misinformation.</p> <p>“It rarely is the religion but the candidate’s behavior that determines if she or he is a good person,” Ms. Wood concludes, “and that is what Americans really care about, but getting a bit snowed is getting a bit old, don’t you think?”</p> <p>Yes, it’s grown a bit old.  So one has to wonder why Ms. Wood is still attempting to snow people.  My suspicion, given the fact that Islam worries and even terrifies many Americans, is that she’s attempting, in a not very subtle and not very ethical way, to demonize Mormonism and to damage Mitt Romney by linking them with Muslims and terrorism.  Which, if true, is both disingenuous and irresponsible.</p> <p>P.S.  I note that, in one of her responses to the comments following her article, Ms. Wood asserts that both Muslims and Mormons consider themselves Christians.  This is absolutely, flatly, unambiguously false.  Muslims do not claim to be Christians, any more than Jews, Hindus, Buddhists or Sikhs do.  Islam, though plainly part of what might be called the Abrahamic tradition — Arab Muslims often term Judaism, Christianity, and Islam together <em>al-adyan al-samawiyya</em> (“the heavenly religions”) — is a separate and distinct faith.</p> <p>P.P.S.  A friend has written to suggest that I be explicit about my qualifications to comment on Mormonism and Islam together, and perhaps I should:  I’m a Mormon or Latter-day Saint myself, a former missionary and an ordained bishop in the Church, and a rather extensively published author on Mormon topics (including a book, <em>Offenders for a Word: How Anti-Mormons Play Word Games to Attack the Latter-day Saints</em>, on whether Mormons are Christians).  I’m also a professor of Islamic studies and Arabic at Brigham Young University, the Church’s flagship school.  I’ve lived in Jerusalem for a year and in Cairo for four years, and visit the Middle East and the Islamic world every year (twice so far this year, with at least one more trip coming next month).  I hold a Ph.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles in Arabic and Islamic intellectual history; teach courses on Arabic, Middle Eastern history, and Islam; edit a series of dual-language classical Islamic texts that is distributed by the University of Chicago Press; and, among a fairly large number of other relevant things, have published a biography of Muhammad.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/MmhD3yPO040" height="1" width="1" />

Is God a Moral Monster?

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FAIR Blog

on 2012-7-28 9:26pm GMT
<p><a href="http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/danpeterson/files/2012/07/images-9.jpeg"><img title="images-9" src="http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/danpeterson/files/2012/07/images-9.jpeg" alt="" width="194" height="260" /></a>Many people — seekers, believing Christians, even some Latter-day Saints — have problems with the portrayal of God in the Old Testament.</p> <p>Probably even more people just have problems with the Old Testament itself, because they find it hard to follow.  This is, I think, very unfortunate, both because the Old Testament is at the foundation of all Judeo-Christian faith and because, among other things, it’s a rich treasure house of history, moral lessons, inspirational stories, and literature.  But that’s a topic for another day.</p> <p>They’re bothered because, sometimes, the Old Testament God seems to be arrogant, petty, “jealous,” harsh, and violent.  The Old Testament seems to tolerate or even endorse slavery, the oppression of women, and mass murder (effectively, ethnic cleansing).</p> <p>The problem is that, for Christian believers (unless, perhaps, they follow the ancient heretic Marcion), the God of the Old Testament is also the God of the New.  How can the loving Jesus be reconciled with the often vengeful and fierce Jehovah?  (For Latter-day Saints, Jesus <em>is</em> Jehovah.)<span></span></p> <p>This is a big and serious topic, much beyond the scope of a simple blog post.  I will say, though, that I believe the contrast to be seriously overdrawn.  There is a great deal of love and mercy in the Old Testament.  And, frankly, the Jesus who carefully braids a whip to drive the moneychangers from his Father’s house isn’t quite the proto-Gandhi or flower child that some portray.</p> <p>I can’t resolve all concerns here — and, probably, not anywhere.  But I do want to recommend a book that might help.</p> <p>Paul Copan is the Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida, and a prominent Evangelical apologist.  (I know him slightly, having participated, with him, in a formal Mormon-Evangelical debate a number of years ago during an academic conference in Denver.  He is a bright and decent man.)</p> <p>Last year, he published <em>Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God</em> (Grand Rapids: BakerBooks, 2011).</p> <p>In twenty chapters bearing such titles as “The Bible’s Ubiquitous Weirdness? Kosher Foods, Kooky Laws?” and “Child Abuse and Bullying? God’s Ways and the Binding of Isaac,” and “Misogynistic? Women in Israel,” and “Indiscriminate Massacre and Ethnic Cleansing? The Killing of the Canaanites,” Dr. Copan forthrightly addresses the most troubling stories and passages in the Old Testament, comparing them with their ancient Near Eastern environment and subjecting them to careful analysis.</p> <p>Professor Copan has plainly been driven to defend the biblical texts against attacks from such “new atheists” as Sam Harris and the late Christopher Hitchens.  His first two chapters, “Who Are the New Atheists?” and “The New Atheists and the Old Testament God,” make this explicit, and a later chapter, “The Root of All Evil? Does Religion Cause Violence?” takes on one of their principal accusations.</p> <p><em>Is God a Moral Monster?</em> probably contains quite a bit more in-depth analysis than most readers will care to follow.  But those who have been seriously bothered by elements of the Old Testament’s depiction of God will, I think, find it helpful at many points.  Latter-day Saints and Evangelicals differ substantially on a number of theological issues and Latter-day Saints aren’t biblical inerrantists, but we tend to take a high view of the historicity of the Bible, including the pre-Christian part, and there is little if anything in Professor Copan’s analysis and argument that will pose any difficulties for the typical Latter-day Saint.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/LiF4UYfe7N8" height="1" width="1" />
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbRfD16WpFo&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/DbRfD16WpFo/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbRfD16WpFo&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon Helping Hands Pocatello, Idaho Wildfire</a> <br /></div> <div><span>The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Pocatello, Idaho joins with members of other faiths via the Mormon Helping Hands to deliver disaster relief for community members affected by local wildfires.</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 2439</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>29 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>02:33</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=25">News &amp; Politics</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<p><a href="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/tent.jpg"><img title="tent" src="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/tent-300x199.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="199" /></a>Some people cling to elements of their faith as if any threat to it would serve as a death blow to their eternal lives. Like proverbial sand in their hands, they hold it so tight that their grip presses the precious granules through their fingers, and they watch their shifting cargo slip grain-by-grain through their grasp until they finally consider there is not enough to hold, and they let go completely. They are left to wonder how quickly it was lost when they had held on so tight.</p> <p>A cute animated video series that pokes fun at major Hollywood movies once did a satire of the <em>Blair Witch Project</em>. A famous line from that video is often repeated by my children. In a desire to seek safety, one character implores“Quick, back to the tent!” Another responds sarcastically “Yea, the tent is safe. Nothing can penetrate the NYLON!” My boys always follow such quotes with hearty laughter, unaware of the profound realities exemplified in this humorous poke at a famous horror film. Like those who cling to the sand of faith in their hands, some of us put too much trust in the nylon fabric of some simple element of our faith. We trust in a child like perspective that is thin yet unsustainable under any real threat, seeking the sense of security it once represented for us, unaware that it provides no real protection but only hides from us from what scares us outside.</p> <p>For the past 15 years I have worked with countless people who, for one reason or another, have struggled with their faith. Some had already left in their hearts, but reached out in a desperate last attempt to regain what had already been released &#8211; like the sand that had already slipped through their fingers. Others reach out in response to someone they love who has abandoned what they had once “known”, looking for help to bolster the faith that remained, and give them answer to the criticisms that threaten them. Those who struggle are often in the throes of spiritual agony, looking desperately for the safety of the “tent” that had served as a sense of security in the past.</p> <p>In contrast, some people manage the nuances and twists and turns of critical information seemingly without the emotional and spiritual knots that become the undoing others. These seem able to navigate these challenges without the compulsion to cling to elements that slip through their fingers, or to seek safety behind a fabric of perception that brings no real safety at all. These are comfortable with the shifting sands of changing perspectives, and are comfortable knowing that, while the tent may represent security, the only real path to safety is not in returning, but in pressing forward.</p> <p>Faith is a word that by definition includes uncertainty. Alma states plainly that <em>“</em><em><a href="https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/32?lang=eng">faith</a> is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye <a href="https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/32?lang=eng">hope</a> for things which are <a href="https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/32?lang=eng">not</a> seen, which are true.”</em> (Alma 32:21). By this we learn that faith demands that we not have proof or evidence demonstrated by our natural senses, but that we persist towards that which cannot be demonstrated by the natural man. In the Lectures on Faith, we read “that faith is the assurance which men have of the existence of things which they have not seen—that is, with their natural eyes—and the principle of action in all intelligent beings.” (Lectures on Faith 1:9). Faith is the power that drives us forward to what is true despite our lack of assurance so often sought by what nature has endowed us withas our senses.</p> <p>In a similar vein, the exercise of faith, like a muscle, occurs when there is opposition to it. The muscle that is strengthened is the one that persists to perform despite the weight that works against it. This muscle of faith therefore demands that we continue in our belief and hope for that which is true even in the very presence of that which not only fails to confirm our belief, but actually challenges it!</p> <p>Consider faith in the same light as courage. Does the lion tamer, who raised the deadly giant creature, require courage when putting his head in the mouth of the feline he raised from a cub? Perhaps it requires some, but what about the little old lady in the third row? She knows nothing of the animal, and its propensities. She has only heard its roar, seen its threatening teeth, and shrunk at the glistening muscles that drive it. Ask her to do the same as the lion tamer. Which of these two will show the most courage for the very same act? It is the one who faces the greatest fear! Even so it is with our faith.</p> <p>Those who know no doubt rely upon faith, but it is exercised most greatly by those who face doubt in large and threatening ways because they actually know less. For these, persistence in behavior – being “faith full” –draws upon their reservoir of trust in God much more so than those whose personality or experience delivers no such doubts.</p> <p>When I have seen people who were otherwise stalwart in faith shrink in the face of adversity. It is usually because they cling too tightly to some element of belief that itself is not some solid monolith as they might have supposed, but turns out to have shifting elements like sand. As they increase their grip on the granules, the shifting nature lets the grains slip one by one out of their hand until there is not enough for them to hold to.</p> <p>The actual topics of conversation in this regard could be myriad. It is almost always some teaching that is culturalized such that it becomes unofficially canonized in Mormon lore, or is perhaps something that was once taught and is no longer adhered to. We see this most markedly when the Church changes a policy or decision. Two large examples include the cessation of the practice of polygamy, and the lifting of the restriction of priesthood ordination of people from African ancestry. When polygamy stopped, some people clung to practices of prior years, and could not handle the shifting sands of practice. In the case of the priesthood ban, some could not let go of faulty teachings that sought to justify it, and they abandoned their faith because of it.</p> <p>People who cling so tightly to teachings and beliefs like this which can change are generally referred to as “fundamentalists”. These are people who cannot manage threats to their faith because of changes to what they had anchored themselves to. They leave no room for ongoing revelation, presuming that what was must always remain. Rather than reconsider their own thinking or assumptions, they conclude that the Church itself has moved away from truth and they find themselves rejecting it all! It is not because they lacked spiritual confirmations of gospel truths, or genuine communication with God. Rather, it is because the changes forced them to re-evaluate their thinking, and forced them to consider their faith all over again. Their assumptions – the grains of fundamental issues in their handful of beliefs – must be reconsidered.</p> <p>Because of one element that is now questioned, they must rethink it all (or so they suppose). In the end, they find themselves exchanging what they know for the doubts they now have forced upon them! The result is the proverbial baby swirling the drain with the bath wash.</p> <p>Our friends and neighbors who seek the safety of the tent are those who look back on the naïve safety of what was really just a temporary shelter, believing they can regain the sense of security they once knew. These people have often had affirming experiences that touched them, and changed them. However, they generally failed to move on to house their faith in fundamental beliefs that has both a firm foundation and walls that cannot be shaken or penetrated. Unfortunately, some bells cannot be un-rung! When the safety of their prior perceptions are called into question, all that can be done is to press forward and leave the seeming but deceptive safety of the tent and seek that shelter that comes from a more firm foundation.</p> <p>There are many topics that can shake our faith and threaten the security of what we “know”. I need not recount them here. The topics that shake one are not an issue for another. Some people are seemingly never shaken. For those who endure, however, there is a predictable pattern that others might do well to follow. Such who endure are those who are not fundamentalist, but who focus on fundamentals. These are not those who cling to elements of belief, but who get a grip on faith!</p> <p>The fundamental issues in the restored gospel are not expansive. They are really quite simple. I tend to think of them as the following: First, the priesthood of God has been restored through Joseph Smith, a prophet of God. Second, that very priesthood persists in the Church in the leadership of a First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve Apostles, men ordained with keys which control the covenant exercise of the ordinances that bind us and our Father in commitments and promises. Third, the Lord continues to govern His church through these leaders, and the process of revelation available to them is available to me individually so that like Nephi, I can know for myself what they know. Fourth, the Lord has revealed scriptures in addition to the Bible that can help me govern my spiritual life, including and especially the Book of Mormon. Fifth, Jesus Christ loves me such that he willingly suffered what I rightly deserve to suffer for my mistakes, but he freely gives to me the opportunity to let go of my guilt such that my confidence can be regained in the presence of God and I can return to Him as His child!</p> <p>These five fundamentals I can hold to. I have had spiritual confirmations that I can rely on that affirm the same to me. These issues I need not exchange for temporary questions that arise from Church history, political commentary, or changes in practice. Virtually everything else, I need not cling to.</p> <p>When it comes down to it, I need to base myself in these fundamentals, and avoid the fundamentalism that leads me to question the leaders who are so basic to the fundamental principle of ongoing revelation. If God does indeed provide ongoing revelation, and he teaches line upon line, precept upon precept, then it leads to reason that those in the past taught things that sometime in the future may not be believed. That is OK! We need not think that because God used one infallible prophet to guide us that the next infallible prophet cannot guide us even closer to what is right. Or, that the shifting needs of time and circumstances might not call for changing actions today compared to yesterday.</p> <p>When I do encounter that which threatens my belief, the healthiest thing for me to do is return not to the thin fabric of tent of some tangential experience, but reaffirm for myself the fundamental teachings I already “know”. I don’t need to cling to the shifting uncertainty of my assumptions, but to hold simply to the basic teachings foundational in the gospel. In this light I can persist, despite my doubts, across the chasm of uncertainty until I am able to reconcile what I know with what I don’t. I do this by recalling how merciful the Lord has been with me, and with all his Children. My journal, the scriptures, and the experiences of others can remind me of the affirmations I have already received on these fundamental issues. I do this by continuing to do what I know in my heart of hearts is right so that the Spirit,who can quickly withdraw when offended, is comfortable with me in His presence. I do this by keeping close to my Father in Heaven, expressing myself to him freely, and letting him express freely to me. And, I do this by letting go of my own assumptions, and letting God guide me in wisdoms paths. In so doing, I can find the strength to persist.</p> <p>As I venture out of the deceptive safety of my thinly veiled tent, I may need to re-evaluate some of my original assumptions. This can be challenging, but necessary. Do I associate my faith with that which is not fundamental? It doesn’t really matter if the ward I attended as a youth has the deacons line up on the side of the chapel, or in the front when passing the sacrament! It doesn’t matter whether Joseph translated the Book of Mormon using a seer stone in a hat or aUrim and Thummim set in spectacles. It doesn’t matter if polygamy started with Joseph or Brigham. What matters is that I know the fundamentals, and that I have a spiritual grounding in them.</p> <p>So a brief bit of advice. As you sojourn out in the online world where “anything goes” and truth and falsehood share equal billing, don’t be a fundamentalist, but focus on the fundamentals themselves. And don’t cling to your assumptions of belief so tightly that the Lord cannot guide you through the progressive world of ongoing revelation. Rather, get a grip on your faith! Focus on the simple truths you know by staying close to the Father that loves you. Then, as you learn more, you will have the patience with your faith to cross the chasms of uncertainty you are sure to encounter. After all, if God didn’t expect you to journey through life with doubts, he would be here himself telling you what to do. No, he give us doubts so that we might exercise faith, and when we do, we become strong enough to be useful to Him and His kingdom, and earn for ourselves a seat at His marriage feast.</p> <p>This article also appeared in <a href="http://www.ldsmag.com/article/1/11174">Meridian Magazine</a>.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/K0yE265pj-0" height="1" width="1" />
<p><a href="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Welch.jpg"><img title="Welch" src="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Welch.jpg" alt="" width="170" height="229" /></a>In 1967, an ancient form of Hebrew poetry, called &#8220;chiasmus,&#8221; was discovered by a young Mormon missionary named John Welch, while he was serving in Germany. When Hugh Nibley learned of the discovery, he told Welch, &#8220;Young man, I think you have made the first significant discovery to come out of the BYU.&#8221; In this episode of Religion Today that originally aired on July 22, 2012, Martin Tanner talks with FARMS founder John Welch about what chiasmus is, how he discovered it in the Book of Mormon and some of the implications of that discovery.</p> <p>Professor Welch is one of the presenters at the 2012 FAIR Conference. For more information about the conference, and to purchase tickets, go to<a href="http://www.fairlds.org/fair-conferences/2012-fair-conference/conf12a"> FAIRlds.org</a>.</p> <p>John W. Welch is the Robert K. Thomas Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School, where teaches courses on tax exempt organizations, ancient laws in the Bible and Book of Mormon, and Joseph Smith and the law. He was educated at Brigham Young University with a B.A. in History and a M.A. in Classical Languages. He served a mission in South Germany (during which he discovered chiasmus in the Book of Mormon), studied Greek philosophy at Oxford University as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, earned his law degree at Duke University, and practiced law in the Los Angeles firm of O’Melveny and Myers.</p> <p>He is well known as the founder of FARMS (the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies) and since 1991 he has served as the editor-in-chief of <em>BYU Studies Quarterly</em>. He also was a Director of Special Projects for the BYU Religious Studies Center, the general editor of the <em>Collected Works of Hugh Nibley</em>, a member of the board of editors for Macmillan’s <em>Encyclopedia of Mormonism</em>, and on the steering committee of the Biblical Law Section of the Society of Biblical Literature.</p> <p>A number of his recent publications presenting striking discoveries concerning Joseph Smith and the law, the Sermon on the Mount, the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Trial of Jesus, King Benjamin’s speech, the Book of Mormon as a handbook of Church administration, and the nature and roles of evidence in law, science, and the nurturing of faith.</p> <p>He is married to Jeannie Sutton. They have four children and sixteen grandchildren. He has served twice as bishop and also as counselor in a stake presidency.</p> <p>This recording was used by permission of KSL Radio and does not necessarily represent the views of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or of FAIR.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/2AM-H8uBSHo" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F07%2FReligion-Today-for-Sunday-July-22.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 8.83 MB)</i></div>
<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-zQK1Y3D4XCo/UAjjkZbBCaI/AAAAAAAAAtY/04vM7W6qNGU/s1600/Spring+2012+091+too.jpg" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-zQK1Y3D4XCo/UAjjkZbBCaI/AAAAAAAAAtY/04vM7W6qNGU/s320/Spring+2012+091+too.jpg" width="174" /></a></td></tr><tr><td><span>Vinnie started Primary</span><br /><span>(This was his 1st day,</span><br /><span>reverence is <i>still</i>&nbsp;not his thing)</span></td></tr></tbody></table><br /><div><span>We've been busy!</span></div><span><br /></span><br /><span>Here's a little of what we've been up to:</span><br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-e1mc3IKNXKI/UAjkLlAK_hI/AAAAAAAAAtg/KzUBlPYZ7do/s1600/Spring+2012+172.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-e1mc3IKNXKI/UAjkLlAK_hI/AAAAAAAAAtg/KzUBlPYZ7do/s320/Spring+2012+172.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td><span>We visited the dinosaurs in Cabazon</span></td></tr></tbody></table><br /><div><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-SwGHJ-pW1Rw/UAjkYfICUwI/AAAAAAAAAto/wHXFko3ZISA/s1600/Spring+2012+136.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="150" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-SwGHJ-pW1Rw/UAjkYfICUwI/AAAAAAAAAto/wHXFko3ZISA/s200/Spring+2012+136.JPG" width="200" /></a></div><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-yXqDYj5yIjg/UAjkfIUNCbI/AAAAAAAAAtw/PuO5WfAHGKE/s1600/Spring+2012+214.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-yXqDYj5yIjg/UAjkfIUNCbI/AAAAAAAAAtw/PuO5WfAHGKE/s320/Spring+2012+214.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td><span>Gio has lost 6 teeth so far</span></td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-UgX6Qb5fTeA/UAjk0LNEw2I/AAAAAAAAAt8/CfXJtfdJTWM/s1600/Spring+2012+055.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-UgX6Qb5fTeA/UAjk0LNEw2I/AAAAAAAAAt8/CfXJtfdJTWM/s320/Spring+2012+055.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td><span>One last ride on Lucky</span></td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Bpg4ZFP8OGU/UAjk2ylQ5uI/AAAAAAAAAuE/dc1Bm8PSsjI/s1600/Spring+2012+058.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Bpg4ZFP8OGU/UAjk2ylQ5uI/AAAAAAAAAuE/dc1Bm8PSsjI/s320/Spring+2012+058.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td><span>One last ride on Athena</span><br /><span>-Horsey Grandma generously donated both Lucky</span><br /><span>&amp; Athena&nbsp;to stables that benefit special needs children</span></td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-pTB50Vb6t7Q/UAjlb9i7LHI/AAAAAAAAAuQ/8PrnO5eE2KU/s1600/Spring+2012+264.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-pTB50Vb6t7Q/UAjlb9i7LHI/AAAAAAAAAuQ/8PrnO5eE2KU/s320/Spring+2012+264.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td><span>Vinnie's love for building Frosty from <i>anything</i></span><br /><span>continues to grow tall, tall, tall</span></td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-J6akhjR7kkM/UAjmQdrgh4I/AAAAAAAAAuY/py-TOxad3AU/s1600/Spring+2012+096.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-J6akhjR7kkM/UAjmQdrgh4I/AAAAAAAAAuY/py-TOxad3AU/s320/Spring+2012+096.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td><span>The Easter Bunny visited</span></td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Z7aAvq1RLpo/UAjmYEl6cQI/AAAAAAAAAug/2PDcypoPn7s/s1600/Spring+2012+216.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Z7aAvq1RLpo/UAjmYEl6cQI/AAAAAAAAAug/2PDcypoPn7s/s320/Spring+2012+216.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td><span>Gio turned 7</span></td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-4AOCvfdxwdw/UAjmxmxGo1I/AAAAAAAAAu0/eCIQnJyFOc4/s1600/Spring+2012+131.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-4AOCvfdxwdw/UAjmxmxGo1I/AAAAAAAAAu0/eCIQnJyFOc4/s320/Spring+2012+131.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td><span>Gio switched baseball leagues&nbsp;</span><br /><span>&amp; became a Yankee</span></td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DL9n_e7OYjA/UAjnQ3dm06I/AAAAAAAAAvM/-e_TT8W8vCs/s1600/iPhone+2012+299.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DL9n_e7OYjA/UAjnQ3dm06I/AAAAAAAAAvM/-e_TT8W8vCs/s320/iPhone+2012+299.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td><span>Wendy &amp; I went to Palm Springs</span></td></tr></tbody></table><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-G90qMWOBR5I/UAjn4k41XwI/AAAAAAAAAvU/qYLV7fp2UqI/s1600/iPhone+2012+629.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-G90qMWOBR5I/UAjn4k41XwI/AAAAAAAAAvU/qYLV7fp2UqI/s320/iPhone+2012+629.JPG" width="320" /></a><br /></td></tr><tr><td><span>We went Legoland</span></td></tr></tbody></table><br /><span>.......and much, much more.......</span><br /><br /><div><span>All before the school year ended!</span></div><div><img width="1" height="1" src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/5437796834279020871-1669223672854181366?l=susieqland.blogspot.com" alt="" /></div>
<p><a href="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/NauvooTempleDuskFlag-3292_CRW.jpg"><img title="NauvooTempleDuskFlag-3292_CRW" src="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/NauvooTempleDuskFlag-3292_CRW-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a>The Nauvoo Temple was both the second and the 113<sup>th</sup> temple constructed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The temple has remained close to the hearts of members of the Church ever since the time the Saints in Nauvoo had to leave the temple behind when they fled the city and moved West. Once the temple burned to the ground in 1848, it seemed lost to history. Yet, with its iconic Sunstones, it remained an integral part of the panorama of American religious history. So in 1999, it was with great excitement that the news was received that the temple would be rebuilt.</p> <p>Steve Goodwin was the project architect on the Nauvoo Temple. In this interview, he shares his experiences researching the original design of the temple and seeing the project through to its magnificent finish. He also shares his insights regarding symbolic aspects of the temple and the way in which modern temple architects approach symbolism in their designs.</p> <p>For more information about the symbolism of the Nauvoo Temple, see the FAIR Wiki entry found <a href="http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_temples/Symbols_on_the_Nauvoo_Temple">here</a>.</p> <p>The opinions expressed in this interview do not necessarily represent the opinions of FAIR or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/mcHhPg0TwNk" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F07%2FGoodwin-on-the-Nauvoo-Temple.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 30.65 MB)</i></div>
<p>This is the second part of the interview with John Lynch and Stephen Smoot that originally aired on June 27 and is posted here by permission of <a title="K-Talk" href="http://millscrenshawdrivetimeliveschedule.blogspot.com/">K-Talk Radio</a>. The opinions expressed in this interview do not necessarily represent the views of FAIR or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/z8qXT_zmrv8" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F07%2FJohn-Lynch-Steve-Smoot-FAIR-Conf-1.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 21.63 MB)</i></div>
<p>FAIR Board Chairman John Lynch and FAIR Member Stephen Smoot appeared on K-Talk radio, in Salt Lake City, Utah to discuss the mission of FAIR, its history and to take questions from callers. Some of the issues addressed were:</p> <ul> <li>What are the core beliefs one must maintain in order to be considered an “orthodox” Mormon?</li> <li>What is the distinction between knowledge and belief?</li> <li>Why are there different versions of Joseph Smith’s first vision?</li> <li>If Mitt Romney is elected President, will he be required to adopt the political positions of the Church?</li> <li>Is the Church a racist or sexist organization?</li> </ul> <p>John and Stephen also discussed the <a title="2012 FAIR Conference" href="http://www.fairlds.org/fair-conferences/2012-fair-conference/conf12a" target="_blank">2012 FAIR Conference</a> that is being held in Utah on August 2 and 3 in Sandy, Utah.</p> <p>This recording originally aired on June 27 and is posted here by permission of <a title="K-Talk" href="http://millscrenshawdrivetimeliveschedule.blogspot.com/">K-Talk Radio</a>. The opinions expressed in this interview do not necessarily represent the views of FAIR or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/sShvEyC4Mfs" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F07%2FJohn-Lynch-Steve-Smoot-FAIR-Conf-P.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 21.44 MB)</i></div>
<p><a href="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/jesus-easter-821723-print1.jpg"><img title="jesus-easter-821723-print" src="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/jesus-easter-821723-print1-300x168.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="168" /></a>Can people really come back to life? What evidence is there for the resurrection of Christ? In this episode of Religion Today, which originally aired on KSL Radio on April 8, 2012, Martin Tanner discusses the reality of the resurrection and the hope that lies therein for all of us.</p> <p>This recording was used by permission of KSL Radio and does not necessarily represent the views of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or of FAIR.</p> <p>Note that the first part of this recording has been lost.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/5eTv3VDCxIU" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F07%2F2012_04_08_religion_today.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 8.92 MB)</i></div>
<p><a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-a-dTxQttoBc/T_PdfSKGbtI/AAAAAAAAC-0/c1CGApbty4I/s1600-h/CHS_Graduation2012_%252520028%25255B9%25255D.jpg"><img title="CHS_Graduation2012_ 028" border="0" alt="CHS_Graduation2012_ 028" align="left" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-EnVptPe5YiY/T_Pdg00cHyI/AAAAAAAAC-8/PvfN3lg212Y/CHS_Graduation2012_%252520028_thumb%25255B6%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="140" height="118" /></a>Last week was our first official week of summer vacation and we loved every minute of it! Mommy is soooo relieved to be done with school until September and the boys are loving time to play, play and play some more! </p> <p>Here are some highlights! Thursday was the last day of school and graduation and then the fun began!</p> <p><strong>Friday, June 22nd</strong> - Free Teacher Family Day at the Aquarium with G&amp;G Driggs, the Fongs and the Repettis. There were 4 teachers so we had enough tickets to get all of us in for free! :D Thad took the kids home and put them down for naps and I headed to school. I was at the point <a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-G6mVcOC03aE/T_PdjNSh_nI/AAAAAAAAC_E/DV9opMqXHec/s1600-h/TheBoys_June2012_%252520417%25255B5%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_June2012_ 417" border="0" alt="TheBoys_June2012_ 417" align="right" src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-CSY0McZohKo/T_PdjawbPWI/AAAAAAAAC_M/qCmp7ZJySlE/TheBoys_June2012_%252520417_thumb%25255B2%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="220" height="156" /></a>of “freaking out” since I had over 100 essays left to grade, said a huge prayer, and was instantly blessed with a clear mind and the ability to grade a whole period’s worth of essays in about two hours! Later on that same night Sammy and I went to see the Wizard of Oz too (already posted our date <a href="http://marcroftfam.blogspot.com/2012/06/date-night-with-mommy.html">here</a>)! </p> <p><strong><a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-mei6Aaa9wso/T_PdkeMWl1I/AAAAAAAAC_U/JHUHSiownCU/s1600-h/Nate_RelayForLife%25255B5%25255D.jpg"><img title="Nate_RelayForLife" border="0" alt="Nate_RelayForLife" align="left" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-tVdKXsaWqwU/T_PdklK9gUI/AAAAAAAAC_c/orIUmmOdXVc/Nate_RelayForLife_thumb%25255B3%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="187" height="151" /></a>Saturday, June 23rd</strong> – Relay for Life with Leo’s Club in the AM at Gahr, Family Picnic with the Richards in the afternoon, Ward Social in the evening where I was in charge of the “Latin” <a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-b0-87pOtrzE/T_PdlAwtDhI/AAAAAAAAC_k/RYPfWjq5VXA/s1600-h/Allison_Macarena%25255B4%25255D.jpg"><img title="Allison_Macarena" border="0" alt="Allison_Macarena" align="right" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-6zP_ZBbzFd8/T_PdlmT1QtI/AAAAAAAAC_s/EMqcvtjKq78/Allison_Macarena_thumb%25255B2%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="111" height="159" /></a>food and show. I couldn’t get anyone to dance so I spear headed the <em>Macarena</em> and forgot to practice before I left (it had been a super busy few days) so I forgot one of the steps but someone came up to help teach and saved the day (thanks Bro. Sepulveda!) Phew.</p> <p><strong>Sunday, June 24th</strong> – Church and family time. Nice to have a quiet day.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.ourbestbites.com/2008/05/puffed-french-toast.html"><img title="FrenchToast" border="0" alt="FrenchToast" align="right" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-ZF_Uaeq5g-4/T_Pdmmhx_AI/AAAAAAAAC_0/fGlDPmT_-Rw/FrenchToast%25255B5%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="118" height="141" /></a>Monday, June 25th</strong> – Work day (my grades were due that day) so I stayed home and made yummy <a href="http://www.ourbestbites.com/2008/05/puffed-french-toast.html">Puffed French Toast</a> for breakfast and then resumed working on the essays I still needed to finish. When Ben got up from his morning nap and I figured that I couldn’t get any more work done at home I went to work. Worked, worked and worked some more but got my grades done, uploaded, guest accounts set up for the summer school teachers on the school computers, and was home in time to make dinner. :) </p> <p><strong><a href="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-Lz3UDDWfQhk/T_Pdo7NNICI/AAAAAAAAC_8/KH6tA91ff70/s1600-h/TheBoys_June2012_%252520192%25255B5%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_June2012_ 192" border="0" alt="TheBoys_June2012_ 192" align="left" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-178GPvRhMPM/T_PdqIXLTyI/AAAAAAAADAE/oB2gxEcR1tI/TheBoys_June2012_%252520192_thumb%25255B2%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="185" height="146" /></a>Tuesday, June 26th</strong> -&#160; Celebrated that I didn’t have to go in to work! Busy day with lots of family time at the Badalamenti’s. Played in the pool and with cousins all day.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday, June 27th</strong> – Felt like a Saturday and had to look at my watch to remember what day it was. Don’t you love that? Went to Splash! for the first time this season—so much fun!<a href="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-WZYbTk8xyhk/T_PdsIr-J7I/AAAAAAAADAM/mqCg0zfSnLs/s1600-h/TheBoys_June2012_%252520385%25255B5%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_June2012_ 385" border="0" alt="TheBoys_June2012_ 385" align="right" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-aB7kcUNjalk/T_PdskmUNfI/AAAAAAAADAU/hHqzByr1mjc/TheBoys_June2012_%252520385_thumb%25255B2%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="142" height="185" /></a> Then played outside. Walked around the block too! Had hot dogs for dinner at Costco and then played outside until dark!</p> <p><strong>Thursday, June 28th</strong> – Dropped Benny off with Grandma and the big boys and I headed to Splash again!) Then lunch off the dollar menu at BK and naps. After some rest Auntie Steph planned a surprise party for Uncle Mike’s 40th at <a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-tNt-GJFM0a0/T_PdtruXL9I/AAAAAAAADAc/C-LS_QMPVHQ/s1600-h/UncleMikes40thBdayPicnic_June2012_%252520021%25255B6%25255D.jpg"><img title="UncleMikes40thBdayPicnic_June2012_ 021" border="0" alt="UncleMikes40thBdayPicnic_June2012_ 021" align="left" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-WfIOT48ATIw/T_PduxxbRaI/AAAAAAAADAk/g4LUTfvbLd0/UncleMikes40thBdayPicnic_June2012_%252520021_thumb%25255B10%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="209" height="154" /></a>the park (CPE). He figured it out while she was packing the car (before he was supposed to get up for the day) but we had a great time. Yummy food and lots of nice weather, sunshine and family for a great evening at the park!</p> <p><strong>Friday, June 29th</strong> – Boys woke up bright and early so we threw the baby in the stroller, the boys took a kid vehicle and we walked/rode/scooted to McDonald’s for $1 <a href="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-t4IkITrFW5k/T_PdwgX6pqI/AAAAAAAADAs/TP7Fqe-bbVw/s1600-h/TheBoys_June2012_%252520298%25255B5%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_June2012_ 298" border="0" alt="TheBoys_June2012_ 298" align="right" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-4G2Gwso__NE/T_PdyL4263I/AAAAAAAADA0/vvdpdI0Zpss/TheBoys_June2012_%252520298_thumb%25255B2%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="180" height="143" /></a>Sausage McMuffins. Too bad they said the play area was closed (no hours were posted) so we ate outside since we had all of our toys, walked to the store and got bananas for dessert (you can never have too many bananas) and walked home. We played outside and used lots of sunscreen!</p> <p><strong>Saturday, June 30th </strong><a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-R3VIiOzMqu0/T_PdzRY8ULI/AAAAAAAADA8/DTUsmFDJeHM/s1600-h/TheBoys_June2012_%252520701%25255B8%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_June2012_ 701" border="0" alt="TheBoys_June2012_ 701" align="left" src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-aZl1kllTm2Q/T_Pd0FUx23I/AAAAAAAADBE/QnJtAxXCcNs/TheBoys_June2012_%252520701_thumb%25255B8%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="119" height="178" /></a>– A nice, slow morning and then off to a baptism for our friend Ethan at 10 am. We had lunch with them and then came home for naps. After naps we headed over to our play day at the Carlson’s with Dashiell (6) and Brennan (4). We kept busy doing all sorts of stuff: swimming, bike riding, lego building, chalk drawing, eating BBQed hot dogs and hamburgers, <a href="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-joK8Y7s7BUs/T_Pd00fPECI/AAAAAAAADBM/vlUGikx505w/s1600-h/Benny_teeth2%25255B6%25255D.jpg"><img title="Benny_teeth2" border="0" alt="Benny_teeth2" align="right" src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-AD1GkesH3VM/T_Pd1NQINbI/AAAAAAAADBU/luao6lY1ARM/Benny_teeth2_thumb%25255B3%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="121" height="179" /></a>Jedi knight light saber fighting, bubble blowing, carnival games, and oh, and watching Cars 2 under the stars! It was an awesome Day! </p> <p>Oh and Benjamin got two teeth about a week ago and you can finally see them! ---&gt; </p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>Here is an album of the many adventures if you want to see more:</p> <div><table border=0 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=0 > <tr> <td colspan=2 > <a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=play&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!2132&amp;parid=FE4EF293063B7550!2131&amp;type=1&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos&amp;authkey=!AGa3fb4RHoQ4Uys" target="_blank" border="0"> <img border="0" alt="View album" title="View album" width="157" height="157" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-duf1LM3jpwo/T_Pd1p6ERJI/AAAAAAAADBc/k1W28oExCGs/-13281640942025BA52.png?imgmax=800" /></a> </td> <td colspan=3 > <div "margin-left:10px;top:-3%;" > <div><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=browse&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!2131&amp;type=5&amp;authkey=!AGa3fb4RHoQ4Uys&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos" target="_blank"><span defaultText="Enter album name here">First Week of Summer Vacation 2012</span></a></div> <div> <table border=0 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=0> <tr> <td><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=play&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!2131&amp;type=5&amp;authkey=!AGa3fb4RHoQ4Uys&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos" border="0" target="_blank">VIEW SLIDE SHOW</a></td> <td><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=downloadphotos&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!2131&amp;type=5&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos&amp;authkey=!AGa3fb4RHoQ4Uys" border="0" target="_blank">DOWNLOAD ALL</a></td> </tr> </table> </div> </div> </td> </tr> <tr><td><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=play&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!2133&amp;parid=FE4EF293063B7550!2131&amp;type=1&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos&amp;authkey=!AGa3fb4RHoQ4Uys" border="0" target="_blank"><img border="0" width="76" alt="View album" title="View album" height="76" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-9JPr0e2Lazk/T_Pd10Nog1I/AAAAAAAADBk/v-FPIWGh9sM/185496762739F9F081.png?imgmax=800" /></a></td><td><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=play&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!2134&amp;parid=FE4EF293063B7550!2131&amp;type=1&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos&amp;authkey=!AGa3fb4RHoQ4Uys" border="0" target="_blank"><img border="0" width="76" alt="View album" title="View album" height="76" src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-n2jXONMsXIw/T_Pd2BwJyvI/AAAAAAAADBs/Al_QcoJcaLg/185496818867E74339.png?imgmax=800" /></a></td><td><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=play&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!2135&amp;parid=FE4EF293063B7550!2131&amp;type=1&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos&amp;authkey=!AGa3fb4RHoQ4Uys" border="0" target="_blank"><img border="0" width="76" alt="View album" title="View album" height="76" 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src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-Q_NsllpyUGQ/T_Pd3r0iAXI/AAAAAAAADCI/vZ8SwAE7HRI/185496803100E3137F.png?imgmax=800" /></a></td></tr><tr><td><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=play&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!2138&amp;parid=FE4EF293063B7550!2131&amp;type=1&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos&amp;authkey=!AGa3fb4RHoQ4Uys" border="0" target="_blank"><img border="0" width="76" alt="View album" title="View album" height="76" src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-sCdFJ9BeYcU/T_Pd4-NK-fI/AAAAAAAADCQ/lnZNCSDDg9I/185496806447CC367C.png?imgmax=800" /></a></td><td><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=play&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!2139&amp;parid=FE4EF293063B7550!2131&amp;type=1&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos&amp;authkey=!AGa3fb4RHoQ4Uys" border="0" target="_blank"><img border="0" width="76" alt="View album" title="View album" height="76" 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<p>Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. I&#8217;ve ordered a set of the Constitution booklets for friends to share. On last reading of  the <em>Declaration of Independence</em>, I was deeply moved, even more than ever before, by the clarity, intent, and purpose of this exquisite document.</p> <p>In few words, our founders express our uniquely American ideal of freedom. They speak of a freedom born of unalienable rights; rights bestowed upon all people by their Creator, a Heavenly Father, a real Being, even God (This idea alone has become a foreign commodity around the globe in a secular field of fatalism and futility). And, as Keven Stratton notes well, &#8220;They speak of a government whose purpose is to protect &#8211; not grant &#8211; those rights.&#8221;</p> <p>As you prepare to celebrate the freedom you and I enjoy liberally and treasure, I invite you to reread the Declaration whose signing we celebrate this week. It only takes two minutes to do, and I promise you, it&#8217;s worth it. Please pass this on.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.</p> <p>The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,</p> <p>When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature&#8217;s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.</p> <p><img title="Wethepeople" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/Wethepeople-253x300.jpg" alt="We the People" width="253" height="300" /></p> <p>We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.&#8211;That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, &#8211;That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.&#8211;Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.<br /> He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.<br /> He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.<br /> He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.<br /> He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.<br /> He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.<br /> He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.<br /> He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.<br /> He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.<br /> He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.<br /> He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.<br /> He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.<br /> He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.<br /> He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:<br /> For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:<br /> For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:<br /> For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:<br /> For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:<br /> For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:<br /> For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences<br /> For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:<br /> For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:<br /> For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.<br /> He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.<br /> He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.<br /> He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty &amp; perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.<br /> He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.<br /> He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.<br /> In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.</p> <p>Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.</p> <p>We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/MoreGoodFoundation/~4/qcMIgNnUb9o" height="1" width="1" />

It’s a Matter of Relevance

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FAIR Blog

on 2012-7-02 11:24pm GMT
<p>Like many others, I have been watching events unfold at NAMI and have been somewhat perplexed by the various narratives that have arisen in regards to it.    I have my opinions about who is right and who is wrong (where such terms can even be said to be appropriate in such a context) but they are not relevant, or even important, to anyone but me.</p> <p>I have, however, been fascinated by one of the narratives that has come forth, that being that one of the reasons that Peterson, Hamblin, Midgley, Smith, et. al., have been let go is because they have regularly engaged in vicious “ad hominem” attacks against the various people whose works they reviewed.  Of course, the charge is nothing new.  For years, critics of NAMI (and before that FARMS) have claimed that these people engage in rampant ad hominem attacks.  I must admit, therefore, that I found it somewhat amusing when Mr. John Dehlin, of Mormon Stories fame, posted a request on his Facebook page for examples of ad hominem attacks coming from NAMI.  See  <a href="http://www.facebook.com/johndehlin">http://www.facebook.com/johndehlin</a>.  It is also quite instructive that, as of this writing, not single response of the 48+ responses that has been posted, has actually identified a single instance of an actual ad hominem attack.  One would assume that if such tactics were as common as critics often claim then such examples should be readily forthcoming.  I suspect that that the reason that such examples are not more ubiquitous is because many critics have confused sarcasm and irony for ad hominem when, in fact, they are not the same.</p> <p>Nevertheless, I suspect that a sustained search of the thousands of pages of apologetic writings, both in print and on the internet, will probably turn up some example or another of an ad hominem attack.   The question is, however, is an ad hominem attack always, and for all purposes, illegitimate?  Personally, I think not.  It is, as the title of my post suggests, a question of relevance.</p> <p>Relevancy, as the word suggests, is not an inherent characteristic of any piece of evidence but exists as a “relation between an item of evidence and a proposition sought to be proved.”  See George F. James, “Relevancy, Probability and the Law,” 29 <em>Cal. L. Rev</em>. 689, 690-91 (1941).  If a piece of evidence tends to prove (or disprove) the proposition for which it is put forth then it must needs be relevant.</p> <p>As I read some of the posts in response to Mr. Dehlin’s request, two names were often given up as examples (1) Martha Beck; and (2) Grant Palmer.   I am an attorney by profession and my thinking and approach to various subjects is informed by my education and experience in that profession.  Based on that, I have to say that I find these two examples to be particularly poor examples to flaunt as proof positive of the apologist’s “ad hominem” approach.</p> <p>Take, for example, Marth Beck.  Ms. Beck is the daughter of Hugh Nibley, one of the most respected LDS scholars of the past century and the man whom many would perceive as the father of modern LDS apologetics.   Without recounting the whole sordid mess, Ms. Beck wrote a book in which she made some extremely serious allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of her father towards her.  As can be imagined, LDS response was swift and, I’m sure Ms. Beck felt, quite personal.  The question is, however, was the response appropriate?  Was it appropriate to look at Ms. Beck’s personal history, character and reputation?  My reply is, How could it have been otherwise?</p> <p>You see, the problem with Ms. Beck’s allegations was that they were totally unsupported by any other “evidence” which could be considered.   Therefore, she made her history and character a legitimate source of inquiry by her own allegations.  She wanted her readers to take her word for the veracity of what she claimed occurred, but how can we, as her reader, do so when we know nothing about her?  In other words, her character was “relevant” to the very case that she was making.   Your character, while not definitive, is relevant to resolving probabilities of guilty.   Thus, when many of the claims that Ms. Beck made were shown to be demonstrably false, and when her siblings came forward to directly contradict her account, her reputation for veracity became subject to examination.  Moreover, would anyone really want it any other way?  Just ask anyone who has ever been unjustly accused of a heinous crime such as sexual abuse and see if they don’t want their accuser’s reputation for honesty and integrity fully vetted.   Of course, this does not mean that a serial liar cannot also be the victim of abuse; it simply means that the liar’s testimony is going to come under additional scrutiny because it seems axiomatic that the more of a penchant a person has for shading the truth, the more likely their testimony is false.</p> <p>Fortunately for all of us, allegations such as those made by Ms. Beck are rare.  That brings us to the second example that was posted on Dehlin’s board, that being the case of Grant Palmer.  At the time he published his book, <em>An Insider’s View to Mormon Origins</em>, several essays were published which took a searching look at Mr. Palmer’s career in CES and were highly critical of his time there.  Many people took offense to this penetrating look at the person of Mr. Palmer.  The question is, again, was this appropriate?  Or, better stated, was it “relevant”?  Again, I have a problem seeing how it could not be.</p> <p>As Dr. Midgley pointed out in is review at the time, both Mr. Palmer and his publisher, made much of his “insider” status.  Why?  Obviously, because it lent a sense of credibility and expertise to the argument that he made.  If a person sets himself out as an expert in some field of endeavor, his claim to expertise is, by definition, relevant.  In a legal setting, when either side calls an expert witness, the very first thing that happens before the “expert” is allowed to present any material testimony regarding the actual facts of the case, is a vetting of his alleged experience and expertise.   Why?  Because the expert is about to present evidence to jury which he wants them to accept.  It is the jury’s job to weight that evidence and make an informed decision.  The expert’s actual level of expertise is, therefore, relevant to the case being made.</p> <p>Palmer claimed, at the beginning of his book, that “for thirty-four years I was primarily an Institute director for the Church Educational System (CES)&#8221; (p. vii).  Palmer raised this issue, not his reviewers, and he used this claim to establish his credibility.  Midgley then described what he learned, <em>with Palmer’s help</em>:</p> <p>“Palmer began his CES career teaching at the Church College of New Zealand, which is the Latter-day Saint high school in Templeview (1967—70). He was hired to teach British Empire history but was eventually shifted to teaching religion classes. For health reasons, he did not complete his four-year contract. Palmer was then made the CES coordinator, his official title, for the Whittier Stake in California (1970—73), where he also taught some college-age students at Rio Hondo Jr. College and Whittier College. He then worked one year on a Ph.D. at Brigham Young University before being again assigned as CES coordinator for the Chico Stake (1975—80), where he also taught college-age students at Butte College in Oroville, California. These assignments, where he was the sole CES employee, came at the beginning of his career. He had nothing to do with LDS Institutes of Religion, as that label is commonly understood, for the last two decades of his CES career. Why? In 1980 he relocated to the Salt Lake Valley, where he taught seminary first at East High School (1980—81) and then at Brighton High School (1981—87). He ended his CES career not teaching but counseling in a jail. What the word &#8220;primarily&#8221; means is that for nine of the thirty-four years of his CES career, while supervising local seminary teachers, he was also an institute &#8220;director.&#8221; Even if one were inclined to count his counseling work at a jail as being an institute director, which I am not willing to do, his career seems to have taken a downward spiral, but neither this fact nor any of the reasons for it is mentioned by Palmer or in the Signature hype for <em>An Insider&#8217;s View</em>.</p> <p>I realize that some will complain that, by probing Palmer&#8217;s background (or beliefs), I offer a diversion from the issues he raises and that what I have presented is an ad hominem attack. This is nonsense. Palmer and his publisher have made his CES career an issue.<a title="" href="http://www.fairblog.org/Users/Lance/Desktop/It"s%20a%20Matter%20of%20Relevancy.docx#_ftn1">[1]</a>”</p> <p>And so, it turns out that Palmer misleads his audience about his CES role and experience.  How can this not be relevant?  He raised the issue, and used it to strengthen his argument, and augment his own authority.  Those who disagree must be allowed to demonstrate that the claim is misleading.  Do the critics think it right for Palmer to get away with being deceptive?  If not, how can that be remedied if reviewers cannot point out the facts—facts which Midgley acquired with Palmer’s assistance?</p> <p>Why is this relevant?  Perhaps another example, more removed LDS apologetics, can enlighten.  The PBS program Frontline recently ran a program dealing with forensic evidence and its uses in criminal trials.  A part of that program included an examination of forensic credentialing and the American College of Forensic Examiners International (ACFEI). It investigates whether certification can aid in a person’s ability to testify as an expert witness in court — and whether certain types of certification are acceptably rigorous for this role in the legal system.  In short, it turns out that ACFEI is little more than a diploma mill (you can read the report for yourself here: <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/criminal-justice/real-csi/dr-cyril-wecht-the-benefits-of-forensic-credentialing/">http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/criminal-justice/real-csi/dr-cyril-wecht-the-benefits-of-forensic-credentialing/</a>).    Do you think a jury would not be interested in this fact? Would it not affect their deliberations?  At the very least, doesn’t it affect the weight given to the evidence presented?   Dozens, if not hundreds, of people were sent to jail (and in some cases received the death penalty) based at least in part on the testimony of the “experts” certified by this organization.  It would seem that the relevancy of the education and training of the person providing the testimony should be quite clear.  Moreover, how should this not apply in a scholarly context?</p> <p>For example, if a critic of the Book of Abraham has no formal training in Egyptology, is that not relevant to the weight given to his conclusions?  If a critic of the Book of the Mormon who criticizes the Mesoamerican aspects to the book’s claims has no formal training in Mesoamerican studies, is that not relevant?   Interestingly, one of the most prevalent ad hominem attacks that I have seen come in this context, when critics dismiss the work of trained experts such as John Clark, Brant Gardner, and John Gee because “they are Mormon.”   It is a classic example of the ad hominem fallacy of trying to get people to ignore the actual argument due to a perceived flaw in the person who made the argument.  This is not to say that amateurs cannot and do not present reasoned arguments that must be dealt with.  In my profession, there are many people who believe they are every bit as capable of defending themselves as a trained attorney.<a title="" href="http://www.fairblog.org/Users/Lance/Desktop/It"s%20a%20Matter%20of%20Relevancy.docx#_ftn2">[2]</a>  Nevertheless, most people prefer to hire a person who has the training and field work.</p> <p>Another example comes to mind: In his biography of Joseph Smith, author Dan Vogel employed Family System Theory in an attempt to understand the Mormon Prophet.  Nevertheless, Mr. Vogel is not a trained psychologist, psychiatrist or even a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  How is that information not relevant?  And the corresponding review by NAMI employed a response from people with the relevant training who provided what I thought were materially damaging responses to the argument’s Vogel made.</p> <p>My whole point here is that, in many instances, an examination of the person making the argument is appropriate.  It gives us a basis for weighing and measuring the argument being made as well as understanding the context in which the argument is made.  That is not ad hominem.</p> <p>Non-LDS scholars have long realized these facts.  If (say) Vogel were to present a logical syllogism, it makes little difference whether he is trained in Family System Theory or anything else.  All that matters is the syllogism.  Unfortunately, most issues with scripture, ancient langauges, history, and all the other topics that impact “apologetics” aren’t like mathematical or logical syllogisms. One historian noted that these issues sometimes need to come to the fore if we care about the truth, even though people will get upset:</p> <p>Except with very good friends, it is considered tactless and discourteous to suggest that someone’s views are a reflection of his or her background, prejudices, or psychic needs.  We stick to the reasoned arguments advanced, even if privately we think those arguments are shallow rationalizations.  The need to behave this was in scholarly discussion is obvious, as are the costs of violating the rule.  But if, as historians of an ongoing discussion, we believe that the protagonists are in fact often disingenuous in their arguments, are following hidden agendas, and are expressing  views shaped by ‘extra rational’ factors, what kind of historians would we be if we suppressed this perception?  (Of course, the perception might be wrong, but that is quite another issue.)<a title="" href="http://www.fairblog.org/Users/Lance/Desktop/It"s%20a%20Matter%20of%20Relevancy.docx#_ftn3">[3]</a></p> <p>And yet (as in the case of Palmer, above) sometimes this type of analysis is vital:</p> <p>…an <em>ad hominem </em>argument is a device intended to divert attention from the critical examination of the substance of an argument, and to discredit that argument by dragging in <strong>irrelevant</strong> <strong>considerations</strong> having to do with the character or motives of its author.  That this is disreputable procedure is clear enough in cases where the argument itself is ‘followable’: in which those being addressed have the opportunity of addressing themselves systematically and exclusively to ‘relevant’ considerations.  The impersonal ethos of science is based on the proposition that what science offers is ‘public knowledge,’ subject to criticial examination by the scientific community.  The ‘replicable experiment’ is the prime example of this characteristic of science…. On this assumption, <em>ad hominem </em>arguments are surely an irrelevancy, and should be scornfully dismissed.</p> <p>But, are the characteristic products of historians like this?  The historian has seen, at first hand, a great mass of evidence, often unpublished, and difficult to access.  The historian develops an interpretation of this evidence based on years of immersion in the material [critics of the Church develop their views in a much shorter period of time, and with much less profundity]—together, of course, with the perceptual apparatus and assumptions he or she brings to it.  Historians employ devices, the footnote being the most obvious example, to attain for their work something resembling ‘replicability,’ the the resemblance is not all that close.</p> <p>Most historical writing is, at best, ‘semipublic’….The historian is less like the author of a logical demonstration&#8230;more like a witness to what has been found on a voyage of discovery [or in a court room].  And arguments which are illegitimate when addressed to the author of a transparently followable syllogism are quite appropriate in the case of a witness.”<a title="" href="http://www.fairblog.org/Users/Lance/Desktop/It"s%20a%20Matter%20of%20Relevancy.docx#_ftn4">[4]</a></p> <p>The same author goes on to quote a logic textbook, which tells us: “certain motives weaken our competence and our readiness to observe certain facts or to state them fairly.  Hence the existence of such motives, if such existence can be be proved in any given case, is relevant to determine the credibility of a witness.”<a title="" href="http://www.fairblog.org/Users/Lance/Desktop/It"s%20a%20Matter%20of%20Relevancy.docx#_ftn5">[5]</a></p> <p>Finally, as I noted before, I think many critics have confused sarcasm, irony and cynicism for ad hominem.  Others seem to feel that these have no place in scholarly pursuits.  I think this is wrong. A bit of well placed sarcasm can be quite effective in the context of an overall argument (conceding the fact that a response that is nothing but sarcasm isn’t very effective).   They can be used to effectively –and colorfully – point out the deficiencies in an argument.  Furthermore, while I make no claim to having read extremely wide-afield, it is my experience that virtually every form of academic writing that I have come into contact with has included sarcasm, irony and cynicism as accepted facets of the form.  To focus on these aspects, and refuse to address or even acknowledge the serious argument being made, is to commit another fallacy: the “style over substance fallacy” (<a href="http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Style_over_substance_fallacy">http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Style_over_substance_fallacy</a>).  And, critics of the Church commit this fallacy (and others) every time they complain about, say, Dan Peterson’s sense of humor (or lack thereof) without acknowledging the serious argument he is always making.  G.K. Chesterton, a Catholic apologist with a similarly sharp wit, once observed, “Mr. McCabe thinks that I am not serious but only funny, because Mr. McCabe thinks that funny is the opposite of serious. Funny is the opposite of not funny, and of nothing else.”<a title="" href="http://www.fairblog.org/Users/Lance/Desktop/It"s%20a%20Matter%20of%20Relevancy.docx#_ftn7">[6]</a></p> <p>In fine, looking at <em>relevant aspects </em>of the person making the argument is not a fallacy.  In many aspects it is essential to making an informed judgment of the argument. It’s a matter of relevance. The fact that critics have to stoop to their own invocation of <em>ad hominem </em>and the style before substance fallacy argues that they are ill-equipped to confront the arguments being made.</p> <div> <hr align="left" size="1" width="33%" /> <div> <p><a title="" href="http://www.fairblog.org/Users/Lance/Desktop/It"s%20a%20Matter%20of%20Relevancy.docx#_ftnref1">[1]</a> <a href="http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=15&amp;num=2&amp;id=514">http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=15&amp;num=2&amp;id=514</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <p><a title="" href="http://www.fairblog.org/Users/Lance/Desktop/It"s%20a%20Matter%20of%20Relevancy.docx#_ftnref2">[2]</a> We call them inmates.</p> </div> <div> <p><a title="" href="http://www.fairblog.org/Users/Lance/Desktop/It"s%20a%20Matter%20of%20Relevancy.docx#_ftnref3">[3]</a> Peter Novick, <em>That Noble Dream: The ‘Objectivity Question’ and the American Historical Profession</em> (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 11-12.</p> </div> <div> <p><a title="" href="http://www.fairblog.org/Users/Lance/Desktop/It"s%20a%20Matter%20of%20Relevancy.docx#_ftnref4">[4]</a> Novick, 219-220, bold added</p> </div> <div> <p><a title="" href="http://www.fairblog.org/Users/Lance/Desktop/It"s%20a%20Matter%20of%20Relevancy.docx#_ftnref5">[5]</a> Morris R. Cohen and Ernest Nagel, <em>An Introduction to Logic and Scientific Method </em>(new York, 1934), 180; cited in Novick, 221.</p> </div> <div> <p><a title="" href="http://www.fairblog.org/Users/Lance/Desktop/It"s%20a%20Matter%20of%20Relevancy.docx#_ftnref7">[6]</a> Gilbert K Chesterton, &#8220;On Mr. McCabe and a Divine Frivolity,&#8221; <a href="http://www.dur.ac.uk/martin.ward/gkc/books/heretics/">Heretics</a> (New York: John Lane company, 1905 [twelfth edition, 1919]).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/v7P2IteKfTI" height="1" width="1" />
<p>Joshua Johanson, a scheduled speaker at the 2012 FAIR conference on August 2-3 in Sandy, Utah appeared recently on K-Talk radio to discuss his experience as an active Mormon who experiences same-sex attraction, and who is also happily married to a woman. “Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can find happiness in following the Church’s teachings against same-sex relationships” said Joshua.</p> <p>A news article reporting on his interview can be found <a title="Yahoo News article" href="http://news.yahoo.com/gay-mormon-finds-happiness-church-teachings-221723821.html">here</a>. More information on the 2012 FAIR Conference, as well as how to purchase tickets, can be found <a title="2012 FAIR Conference" href="http://www.fairlds.org/fair-conferences/2012-fair-conference/conf12a">here</a>.</p> <p>This recording originally aired on June 27 and is posted here by permission of <a title="K-Talk" href="http://millscrenshawdrivetimeliveschedule.blogspot.com/">K-Talk Radio</a>. The opinions expressed in this interview do not necessarily represent the views of FAIR or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/OGt4qEq8Ykg" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F06%2FJoshua-Johanson-FAIR-Conf-Speaker.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 21.61 MB)</i></div>
<p>Latter-day Saints, also known as &#8220;<a href="http://hartfordmormontemple.com/114/mormons">Mormons</a>&#8221; as a result of a powerful volume of scripture witnessing of Jesus Christ&#8217;s divinity and saving power (The Book of <a href="http://www.mormonwiki.com/Mormon_theology">Mormon</a>), deliver regular inspirational devotionals and messages to the world. Here is a smattering of some new and faith-promoting Mormon messages for you to share with your social network and enjoy.</p> <p><a href="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/1.jpg"><img title="1" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/1-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="180" height="135" /></a>         <a href="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2.jpg"><img title="2" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="180" height="135" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dK4wvSLw8qI&amp;feature=em-subs_digest">Saving Your Marriage</a>                             <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ph-VLCz88SE&amp;feature=em-subs_digest">Something Important to Do</a></p> <p><a href="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/3.jpg"><img title="3" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/3-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="180" height="135" /></a>         <a href="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/4.jpg"><img title="4" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/4-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="180" height="135" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oWKezAeQQY&amp;feature=em-subs_digest">Parking Spot</a>                                             <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dddvamyOQbY&amp;feature=em-subs_digest">By The Hour</a></p> <p><a href="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/52.jpg"><img title="5" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/52.jpg" alt="" width="445" height="68" /></a><a href="http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4E784EC0770935C0&amp;feature=em-subs_digest">Mormon Messages</a><a href="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/61.jpg"><img title="6" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/61.jpg" alt="" width="447" height="68" /></a><a href="http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL295254BDC885BDB5&amp;feature=em-subs_digest">New and Popular</a><a href="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/71.jpg"><img title="7" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/71.jpg" alt="" width="447" height="68" /></a><a href="http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA088CD4F66CDB66E&amp;feature=em-subs_digest">I&#8217;m a Mormon</a></p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/MoreGoodFoundation/~4/dr6_XVmN34Y" height="1" width="1" />
<p><a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-u65fi476gDI/T-0wMB9h8vI/AAAAAAAAC9c/MKfHXw2lVJQ/s1600-h/TheBoys_June2012_%252520242%25255B4%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_June2012_ 242" border="0" alt="TheBoys_June2012_ 242" align="right" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-nfk19vX2DOc/T-0wMw0pJ0I/AAAAAAAAC9k/ykKjSJNpFDA/TheBoys_June2012_%252520242_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="200" height="260" /></a>Nathan had to go to the bathroom tonight (and EVERY night before actually falling asleep) but tonight he was <em>especially</em> full of questions. Here are a few that I remember:</p> <p>1) (Yes, <em>this</em> was first), “Why do we have toilets?” <br />2) “Why do we have underwear? “ <br />3) “What kind of underwear do I have on?” and then “ Do I have Bible underwear on?” (Mom replied no, and he said), “Well, why not?” (It sounds like a good thing to market!) <br />4) And then again, “I still don’t understand why we need underwear. If it is for protection, then why do the bad guys get protected and the good guys too?” <br />5) How do they make guitars? <br />6) How do they make the strings make music?</p> <p>AHHHH! :) Still, I love my Nathan <em>and</em> his 10,000 random questions at bedtime.</p> <div><img width="1" height="1" src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/3951023913044278684-5670801767033279947?l=marcroftfam.blogspot.com" alt="" /></div>
<p>As many are no doubt aware by now, late last week <a href="http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/about/administration.php?id=5" target="_blank">Daniel C. Peterson</a> was dismissed as editor of the <em><a href="http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/" target="_blank">Mormon Studies Review</a></em> (formerly known as <em>Review of Books on the Book of Mormon</em>, <em>FARMS Review of Books</em>, and <em>FARMS</em> Review, in that order), the flagship journal of the <a href="http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/" target="_blank">Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at BYU</a> (formerly the Foun<em></em>dation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, or &#8220;FARMS&#8221;).</p> <p>Dr. Peterson has been the editor of the <em>Review</em> since its inception and first issue in 1989. At that time FARMS was a private foundation that served as a &#8220;clearinghouse&#8221; for cutting-edge research on the Book of Mormon. It also published works of an <a href="http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/apologetics" target="_blank">apologetic</a> nature, typically reviews of books and other materials that were critical of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.</p> <p>In 1998 FARMS became part of Brigham Young University, gaining some &#8220;official&#8221; status as part of the Church&#8217;s university. Although editorial freedom was promised in this arrangement, over the years there has been increasing tension at the organization between Peterson and others who believed it should defend the Church in print, and university-appointed administrators who did not agree with this approach.</p> <p>Last week <a href="http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/about/administration.php?id=4" target="_blank">Dr. M. Gerald Bradford</a>, executive director of the Maxwell Institute, fired Peterson as editor of the <em>Review </em>via email while Peterson was out of the country. (As far as I can tell, Peterson retains his position at the Institute as editor-in-chief of the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative.)<span></span></p> <p>The other editors of the <em>Review</em> have also been let go, although none of them have (as of the time I write this) been personally notified of their dismissal by Bradford or the Institute staff. Bradford has not replied to email messages by the (now former) editors concerning their status.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/news/index.php?id=150&amp;type=news">a brief notice on the Institute&#8217;s web site</a>, the <em>Review </em>is going to take a new direction under a new editorial team, to be appointed by Bradford himself.</p> <p>Naturally, critics of the restored gospel have been dancing in the streets over this news. Dan Peterson is arguably the most prominent LDS apologist, and their delight at seeing him professionally dismembered has been boundless. In their glee, they have created a narrative to explain, supposedly, how this change at the Maxwell Institute came about. The narrative goes something like this:</p> <p><em>The general authorities of the Church are opposed to apologetics in general, and the apologetic publications at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute in particular. They believe Dan Peterson and his coauthors have been mean-spirited and resorted to </em>ad hominem <em>attacks, and so they decided to put their foot down. </em></p> <p><em></em>Specifically the rumor has been that this action was taken over a lengthy, critical essay written by Gregory Smith about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dehlin">John Dehlin</a> that was to be published in the <em>Review</em>. Dehlin is the founder and director of Mormon Stories, an online community that is centered on a podcast series of interviews conducted by Dehlin and and a few others.</p> <p>Dehlin learned about the essay from a supporter within the Institute and, without having read it, Dehlin acted to suppress its publication. He sent an email to a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy — CC:ing a number of people at the Institute — telling the Seventy that the article was not appropriate, and threatening to involve a member of the Quorum of the Twelve.</p> <p>In other words, without having read the essay or even knowing anything of its content, rather than contact Smith or Peterson directly to ask about it, Dehlin immediately contacted a member of the Seventy, and basically threatened to take it higher unless its publication was censored.</p> <p>(There is a great deal of irony in this: Dehlin himself charges the Church with “suppressing” uncomfortable facts about its history, and yet Dehlin suppresses anything that might criticize his own activities.)</p> <p>And so the rumor has spread that Dehlin&#8217;s General Authority contact ordered Peterson’s dismissal due to disapproval of an essay that neither Dehlin nor the General Authority has read.</p> <p>The truth is less exciting: The Dehlin essay wasn’t the cause of Peterson’s firing, although the essay was part of the larger apologetic effort that Bradford disliked — as it turns out, the last in a line of reviews to which he objected. There is no evidence that Peterson’s firing was ordered or orchestrated by general authorities of the Church, <a href="http://mormonscriptureexplorations.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/the-will-of-the-brethren/">as Bill Hamblin</a> (professor at BYU and former FARMS board member) <a href="http://mormonscriptureexplorations.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/the-will-of-the-brethren/" target="_blank">has pointed out</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://mormonscriptureexplorations.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/what-the-maxwell-institute-controversy-is-really-about/#comment-144" target="_blank">Dehlin and his supporters are trying to spin Peterson&#8217;s firing as a great rebuke by the leaders of the Church</a>. In politics this is known as &#8220;controlling the narrative.&#8221; Professor Lane Crothers at Illinois State University <a href="http://politicalprof.tumblr.com/post/11732709849/control-the-narrative" target="_blank">explains</a>:</p> <blockquote><p><em>At some level, the only thing that actually matters in modern politics is controlling the narrative in which events are explained. Frame this narrative to your benefit, and the battle is at least half won. Lose the framing war, and you face long odds.</em></p> <p>***</p> <p>It’s about shaping what we haven’t even thought about thinking yet.</p></blockquote> <p>Very soon these events at the Maxwell Institute will be spoken of in the past tense. The Institute and the <em>Mormon Studies Review</em> will go forward in their new direction. Daniel Peterson and others who agree with his editorial style will possibly (perhaps likely) create a new organization and publication through which they can disseminate their views.</p> <p>It is vitally important to John Dehlin and his supporters that they &#8220;write the history&#8221; of these events. Inter-departmental disagreement at BYU? Or word from On High that apologetics is mean and nasty and that Mormon Stories should be beyond criticism (after all, look what happened to Dan Peterson)?</p> <p>Until the whole story can be told — and I’m sure it will — it would be best not to believe a narrative that is told by self-interested parties, without evidence and in denial of the facts which are known.</p> <p>__________</p> <p>(<em>Update:</em> Ralph Hancock has some additional important thoughts on this subject, <a href="http://www.johnadamscenter.com/2012/06/did-john-dehlin-bring-down-the-mormon-studies-review-hint-the-answer-has-two-letters/"><strong>here</strong></a>.)</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/JJa79oMsiyI" height="1" width="1" />
<a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-LtnrVbYXT6c/T-W7Cx_8WoI/AAAAAAAAC8Q/RgV74CkSOuA/s1600-h/IMG_8438%25255B5%25255D.jpg"><img align="right" alt="IMG_8438" border="0" height="253" src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-QP3aqrqq8qQ/T-W7DuhN9lI/AAAAAAAAC8Y/A7EMe4KnZfE/IMG_8438_thumb%25255B2%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" title="IMG_8438" width="192" /></a>I’m hoping to start a tradition to do something special with each of the boys every (I’m not sure how often yet ;) ), and I hope that Thad will be able to as well, to take them out for a special night just with Mom or Dad so that they get some time to bond with us.<br />Last night Sammy and I went to see <a href="http://youth.biola.edu/theatre/" target="_blank">Biola Youth Theatre</a> perform, The Wizard of Oz, and I dare say that it was as well done and produced as the shows I’ve seen at the Pantages and other places and better than some! The actors and actresses were professional (even though they were all 18 or younger), had beautiful voices, the costumes were gorgeous and well made and it was a fun night! I would definitely like to see more shows there! Sammy loved it and it was fun since he’s seen the Veggie Tales version, The Wizard of Has because he knew the story line even if in VT they were following the Big Yellow Toad! :)<br /><a href="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-U0vsE4KIiL0/T-W7Ezln7fI/AAAAAAAAC8g/1d0ADA8WUF0/s1600-h/IMG_8439%25255B6%25255D.jpg"><img align="left" alt="IMG_8439" border="0" height="174" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-pwZ2LCTMnvo/T-W7FYETzyI/AAAAAAAAC8o/J_V8yzp4z4c/IMG_8439_thumb%25255B3%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" title="IMG_8439" width="221" /></a>We went to this specific night because one of my students, Stephanie, was playing Glinda! She did a wonderful job! What a fun night! Thanks for doubling with us Grandma and Grandpa Driggs!<br />&lt;----Sammy was too shy to stand by us!<div><img width="1" height="1" src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/3951023913044278684-6377049247750810151?l=marcroftfam.blogspot.com" alt="" /></div>
<p>The former president of the American Psychological Association says political correctness and homosexual ideology rule the organization, and that leaving the homosexual &#8220;lifestyle&#8221; is indeed a possibility, a position contrary to that of the APA. Dr. Nicholas Cummings, the man who led the movement to have homosexuality removed from the category of &#8220;mental illness,&#8221;told an interviewer with NARTH, an organization of psychology professionnals dedicated to helping homosexuals stop their self-defeating behavior, leave the  GLTB &#8220;lifestyle,&#8221; and lead productive lives as normal adults, that homosexuals can change, challenging the current stance of the APA that homosexuals cannot change.  That stance, he posits, is false.</p> <p>Quoting the piece in <em>The New American</em>:</p> <blockquote><p><strong>Cummings Latest Remarks</strong></p> <p>Psychologist Joseph Nicolosi <a href="http://josephnicolosi.com/interviews/#videos" target="_blank">interviewed Cummings</a>, APA president 1979-1980, who said it is “absurd” to say homosexuals cannot change. He flatly stated that leaving the homosexual lifestyle is quite possible.</p> <p>&#8216;I’ve experienced more than one,&#8217; he said. In the past, he has said 20 percent of the homosexuals who came to him to change did so.</p> <p>Cummings said he had to &#8216;latch on&#8217; to a patient’s determination, such as that energized by their <a href="http://www.mormonwiki.com/The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints">religion</a>. But he said the “gay rights” movement and others claim these patients should leave their <a href="http://www.mormonwiki.com/The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints">religion</a> and accept their “lifestyle.” Those who push for patients to dump their desire to stop the erotopathic, he said, do not respect the patients’ psychological needs.</p> <p>Cummings said some homosexuals leave their lifestyle and return, much like &#8216;falling off the wagon&#8217; in a manner similar to an alcoholic or drug addict. But &#8216;there are successes.&#8217;</p> <p>Cummings said: “[T]he APA has become a monolith. &#8230;The APA  has become politically correct. Political correctness rules not science.&#8217;</p> <p>In a second interview, Cummings described his resolution to remove homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses. &#8216;I made the resolution that being gay was not a mental illness, that it was characterological,&#8217; he said.</p> <p>And it passed the Council of Representatives. And that was the first issue that came up. I also said with that, that the APA, if it passes this resolution, will also vote to continue research that demonstrates whatever the research demonstrates. Unbiased, open research. It was never done.</p></blockquote> <div> Additionally, Cummings noted that the APA seemed to table or disregard compelling research regarding delinquency which bears on abortion, and politically-correct (incorrect) &#8220;women&#8217;s rights/child&#8217;s rights&#8221; issues.  He asks, rhetorically:</div> <blockquote><p>Is it because it is politically incorrect to question challenges to traditional marriage? A woman has a right to be a single mom, but do we not have an obligation to help her make an informed decision about pregnancy?</p> <p>Teenage girls who are sexually active are three times more likely to be depressed and three times more likely to attempt suicide than girls who are not sexually active. Where is the psychological research on why? Is it because it is politically correct to counsel teenage girls to use latex but incorrect to encourage them to refrain from early sex?</p></blockquote> <p>Interesting that this article mentions the fact that a mere 10% of on-university-campus-psyhology professors are believers in God. I would that we can share with them the implications in worldview between Biblical/extra-Biblical scriptural vs. the secular psychological take on human nature, man&#8217;s purpose, man&#8217;s quest, and best outcomes for happiness in life.  They are in most areas, diametrically opposed, and have served us only in undergirding a self-worshipping society and rearing a generation devoid of meaning, purpose, morality, and belief in a Moral Lawgiver and Healer.</p> <p>Bottom line: The Atonement of <a href="http://jesus.christ.org/2586/jesus-christ-peace-hope">Jesus Christ</a> is real. Not easy, not pat, but true. For those struggling with same-gender attraction or other self-defeating lifestyles, we hope Latter-day Saints are reaching out  with compassion and yet not indulging in counter-productive ways of thinking that may emotionally lock some in to thinking there is no hope for change or that gender is just a preference anyway.</p> <p>Additional Resources:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><p>&nbsp;</p></blockquote> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/MoreGoodFoundation/~4/ZX6ejeHQkgM" height="1" width="1" />
<p><a href="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Backyard-Professor.png"><img title="Backyard Professor" src="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Backyard-Professor.png" alt="" width="150" height="150" /></a>Kerry Shirts discusses how learning the history of early Christianity and the Bible can change what you assume you might think you know. The video version of this presentation can be seen <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjNYCbJ7Uo0">here</a>.</p> <p>The opinions expressed in this podcast do not necessarily represent the opinions of FAIR or of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/SQayldT-EUw" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F06%2FWrestling-with-the-Scriptures_-Infor-1.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 6.35 MB)</i></div>
<p><a href="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/PPR_MormonismCover_1.jpg"><img title="PPR_MormonismCover_1" src="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/PPR_MormonismCover_1.jpg" alt="" width="156" height="250" /></a></p> <p>Stephen Taysom, <em>The Patheos Guide to Mormonism</em> (Series Editor Kathleen Mulhern), available in e-book formats for $2.99.  For details, see this website:  <a href="http://www.patheos.com/Books/Patheos-Press/The-Patheos-Guide-to-Mormonism.html">http://www.patheos.com/Books/Patheos-Press/The-Patheos-Guide-to-Mormonism.html</a></p> <p>Remember when you were in high school, and you were assigned a five-page paper?  Oh, how you struggled to reach that goal of five pages!  If you got desperate enough, perhaps you played with fonts, margins and line spacing in an effort to cross the finish line with some hopefully-not-too-obvious space padding techniques made possible by the computer age.  What a relief it was when you finally achieved the assigned length.  Maybe you would even add an extra paragraph, so it wouldn’t look <em>too</em> obvious how much you were straining to get to five pages of text.</p> <p>Those were the days, weren’t they?  Stephen Taysom, an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Cleveland State University (and a blogger at the Juvenile Instructor http://www.juvenileinstructor.org/), was recently faced with a grown up’s inverse of this problem: He had to try to give a coherent introduction to Mormonism, a very complicated topic, in what has amounted to a mere 77 pages.  I would venture a guess that there were times during his work on this project that he sincerely wished for 500 pages to play with, rather than 77.  But the brevity of the text is a large part of its appeal (and I freely acknowledge I was much more willing to undertake a review of a 77-pager than I would have been the 500-pager), so what must have been a very challenging exercise in pruning had to be undertaken.</p> <p>Does it work?  I decided before reading it that my standard would be whether I thought I could have done a better job.  It is conceivable that I might have done a better job if I had 500 pages to play with, but it is highly doubtful that I could have improved upon this effort if I were limited to less than 100 pages.  So yes, as a very concise summary of and introduction to Mormonism, especially for those with limited prior exposure to the religion, it does indeed work, and I highly recommend it.</p> <p>All Patheos Guides follow the same basic structure of five chapters, each with five standardized subsections.  This is done purposefully to allow easy comparison of different religions using the respective Guides for those faiths.  Below is the Table of Contents to the Mormon Guide:</p> <p>CHAPTER ONE: ORIGINS</p> <p>Beginnings: First Vision</p> <p>Influences: Awakening and Restoration</p> <p>Founders: Smith and Young</p> <p>Sacred Texts: The Standard Works and an Open Canon</p> <p>Historical Perspectives: Apologists and Critics</p> <p>CHAPTER TWO: HISTORY</p> <p>Early Developments: Mobs, Murder, and Moving West</p> <p>Schisms and Sects: Challenges to Polygamy</p> <p>Missions and Expansion: From New York to the World</p> <p>Exploration and Conquest: Migration, Deseret, and Utah</p> <p>The Modern Age: A Manifesto and Statehood</p> <p>CHAPTER THREE: BELIEFS</p> <p>Sacred Narratives: From Michael to Lehi</p> <p>Ultimate Reality and Divine Beings: From Man to God</p> <p>Human Nature and the Purpose of Existence: A Training Ground</p> <p>Suffering and the Problem of Evil: War in Heaven, Choice on Earth</p> <p>Afterlife and Salvation: A Hierarchy of Kingdoms</p> <p>CHAPTER FOUR: RITUALS AND WORSHIP</p> <p>Sacred Time: From the Second Coming to Eternity</p> <p>Sacred Space: Chapels and Temples</p> <p>Rites and Ceremonies: Fathers and Priests</p> <p>Worship and Devotion in Daily Life: Sacrament, Family, and Temple</p> <p>Symbolism: Signs of Hope and Promise</p> <p>CHAPTER FIVE: ETHICS AND COMMUNITY</p> <p>Community Organization: Wards and Common Care</p> <p>Leadership: Presidency, Quorums, and Bishops</p> <p>Principles of Moral Thought and Action: Avoiding Sin and Practicing Charity</p> <p>Vision for Society: Politics, Protests, and the Apocalypse</p> <p>Gender and Sexuality: Patriarchy and Heterosexuality</p> <p>One consequence of this standardized format is a fair amount of duplication, since each chapter needs to stand on its own for comparative purposes with other Guides.  I read the book straight through, like a novel, so the duplicated explanations of things like the First Vision or visits of Moroni stuck out to me.  But that is simply an unavoidable consequence of the desired series structure, and once one gets beyond the early chapters the duplicative material quickly becomes much less common.  (One duplication that was probably unintentional was the repetition of the precise sentence “In addition, Mormons set aside Monday evenings as a period of family togetherness” a mere two paragraphs from each other in the first section of Chapter Four.)</p> <p>A couple of illustrations will show Taysom’s skill at conveying complex information in a succinct and understandable way.  First is this explanation of the First Vision from the first section of Chapter One:</p> <p>In 1820, at age 14, his prayer for guidance led to an experience that became the founding event of Mormonism and gave rise to his career as a prophet. In his accounts of this event, recorded many years later, Joseph wrote of being nearly overwhelmed by darkness and then seeing a pillar of light encircling two beings, God the Father and Jesus. He was told that he was forgiven of his sins and that he was not to join any church, since none embodied the true faith; all had gone astray.</p> <p>Second, from the first section of Chapter Three, is this explanation of the Mormon concept of Jesus Christ as Jehovah:</p> <p>Mormons take a slightly different approach to some of these stories than many other traditions, however. For example, in the Mormon version of the sacred creation narrative, Jesus Christ, who before his birth was the Jehovah of the Hebrew Bible, created the earth and all things in it at the direction of God the Father. Jehovah was assisted in this by other “noble and great” spirits, most notably the angel Michael. Michael, according to the Mormon narrative, was born on earth as Adam, the first mortal man.</p> <p>Taysom has skillfully conveyed the gist of these ideas, which normally would require pages of explanation, in but a single paragraph each.</p> <p>I liked the way Taysom put the origins of Mormonism into the broader religious context of the Second Great Awakening, and the specific revivalism of the burned over district.  I also appreciated how he easily and straightforwardly broached topics that some might consider controversial, such as treasure searching.  For instance, see how he discloses post-Manifesto polygamy in a very just-the-facts-ma’am, matter of fact way: “After years of attempting to establish their constitutional right to practice polygamy, the Mormons finally disavowed the practice in 1890, although it would continue to be practiced in some quarters until the second decade of the 20<sup>th</sup> century.”  Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?</p> <p>I personally have an interest in Joseph Smith’s use of Hebrew, and twice Taysom seems to reflect a certain doubt as to whether Joseph’s explanation of the origin of the place name Nauvoo as a Hebrew word was really correct.  (The applicable quotations are as follows: “named Nauvoo [after the Hebrew word for beautiful, he claimed]” and “Joseph Smith re-christened the town Nauvoo, which Smith suggested was a Hebrew name denoting a place of rest or refreshing.”)  This was not merely a claim or suggestion of the Prophet, but a demonstrable fact.  It is true that the word <em>nauvoo</em> is obscure, and if you ask your Hebrew-speaking friend what the Hebrew word for “beautiful” is, he surely will not say <em>nauvoo</em>.  But although the word is rare, it is also quite real.  In the beginning of Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings,” the Hebrew word rendered “beautiful” is (in modern transliteration) <em>na’wu</em>, the pilel form of the verb <em>na’ah</em>.  Joseph gives the word as <em>nauvoo</em>, using the Sephardic transliteration method he learned at the Kirtland Hebrew School, where au represents the vowel <em>qamets</em>, the v is the letter waw, and the oo represents the vowel <em>shureq</em>.  Indeed, the word <em>nauvoo</em> actually appears on p. 28 of the Joshua Seixas grammar that was used at the Kirtland Hebrew School, as one can see at this page:  <a href="http://www.fairlds.org/authors/barney-kevin/is-nauvoo-a-hebrew-word">http://www.fairlds.org/authors/barney-kevin/is-nauvoo-a-hebrew-word</a> .</p> <p>Near the end of Chapter Two we read “In 2008, Mitt Romney became the first Mormon contender for the presidential nomination for a major political party,” but as written that cannot be correct, since Mitt’s own father, George, preceded him as a one-time contender for the Republican nomination.</p> <p>The very tight space requirements do not allow much space for a discussion of nuance or development of Mormon ideas over time.  In the section on Ultimate Reality and Divine Beings: From Man to God, Taysom simply assumes the B.H. Roberts tripartite theory of the nature of man (intelligence, soul, body).  Now, if I were in his shoes I would have done the same thing, as to my eye that is the most common understanding today, but it is not something that has been universally held throughout the history of the Church.  I think it is proper to use things like this that historically have been majority views, but I do lament the lack of space for putting these ideas into a little bit more context in terms of their development over time.</p> <p>Taysom is very careful not to overwhelm the reader with in-house vocabulary that a non-Mormon would not understand, which is I think absolutely essential in a project such as this.  One small lapse in this area was in his discussion of tithing:  “Mormons also pay 10 percent of their annual ‘increase’ as tithing to the Church.”  He put the word increase in quotation marks, but gives the reader no clue what it means.  Something like a bracketed “i.e., income” would have been helpful here.  But in the context of the book as a whole, these things are mere trifles.</p> <p>Believe it or not, I actually had a dream about the first section of Chapter Four, in which Mormon worship services are described.  (How is that for my commitment as a book reviewer!)  In the dream, I was serving a mission to the Philippines (doubtless because my former bishop’s son just received his own call to that area).  I realized that we were asking people to come to Church, but we weren’t explaining to them carefully what they could expect to happen there, and no one wants to go into a strange situation without a sense of what to expect.  As they say, “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.”  So my companion and I put together a pamphlet that we had printed, that included our pictures, something about us such as where we’re from, and how to contact us.  We also put in there a picture of the local ward building, both external and internal maps, times of the different services, and then we actually explained what they could expect to happen in, say, sacrament meeting, much along the lines of Taysom’s own explanation.  (For instance, we should explain that there is no offertory; one simply cannot assume that people will know about something like that.)  I think we also threw some of our basic beliefs in there, maybe a copy of the Articles of Faith.  And of course we had great missionary success based on our little pamphlet (I did say it was a dream, didn’t I?).</p> <p>In this current Mormon Moment, when college students are taking classes in Mormonism, journalists are struggling to wrap their arms around the faith, ordinary voters are trying to figure out what it all means for their voting decision, and on and on, this book is just what the doctor ordered to give people a much needed overview of what Mormonism is all about.  I congratulate Professor Taysom on a job well done, and hope the book receives a wide audience.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/V5kDSIVIfwY" height="1" width="1" />

Recipe: Fumi Salad

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Me and my boys...

on 2012-6-19 4:41am GMT
<p><a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-AmTQYhl17CU/T-AC2SDxySI/AAAAAAAAC6U/cUWe_zbmSL0/s1600-h/FumiSalad%252520003_cropped%25255B6%25255D.jpg"><img title="FumiSalad 003_cropped" border="0" alt="FumiSalad 003_cropped" align="right" src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-ha6sgVFRmjE/T-AC3D3YCrI/AAAAAAAAC6c/61K8Cc1GMjI/FumiSalad%252520003_cropped_thumb%25255B4%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="199" height="135" /></a>It is definitely summer salad time...Thad and I have been eating this one a lot and I added some good old avocado to it and I think that it made it even better! Hooray for summer and cheap(er) avocados! YUM!</p> <p>Anyway, I thought I'd share in case you haven't tried Fumi Salad yet. </p> <p><strong><em>Fumi Salad</em></strong></p> <p>Salad + Topping: </p> <p>1 head cabbage – shredded <br />8 TBs. slivered almonds <br />8 TBS. sesame seeds, toasted <br />4 green onions – slivered and chopped <br />2 pkg. Top Ramen noodles – broken apart (I like to put them on the floor and carefully step on them with my shoes on--I used to break them apart with my fingers (ouch)--others use a meat tenderizer but I don't have one!)</p> <p>Dressing:</p> <p>4 TBS. sugar <br />1 tsp. pepper <br />1 tsp. salt <br />6 Tbs. rice vinegar <br />1 c. vegetable or canola oil</p> <p>Mix cabbage and onions. JUST BEFORE SERVING add almonds, sesame seeds, and top ramen noodles.</p> <p>Mix together sugar, pepper, salt, rice vinegar and oil to make dressing. JUST BEFORE SERVING pour dressing over salad and mix well.</p> <p>*Optional add in: 1 or 2 ripe avocados diced; stir in carefully before serving. I think that they take Fumi salad to a new level! YUM-O! <br /> <br />*Sometimes I divide both the cabbage mix AND the dressing into halves or fourths and mix only a small amount at one time since the noodles wilt if they sit in the dressing very long.</p> <div><img width="1" height="1" src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/3951023913044278684-1157462193441893478?l=marcroftfam.blogspot.com" alt="" /></div>

What’s in a name?

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Me and my boys...

on 2012-6-17 10:20pm GMT
<p>To honor our fathers and those who are important to us we have chosen very special names for our boys. </p> <p>Here are the stories behind each of them and how we chose their names:</p> <p><strong><a href="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-EHWpL7k1vQY/T95X9iRfSkI/AAAAAAAAC3Y/62cgH_OMQTk/s1600-h/Sammy_2005%25255B6%25255D.jpg"><img title="Sammy_2005" border="0" alt="Sammy_2005" align="left" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-drxLw1_NPbw/T95X-Dkv3rI/AAAAAAAAC3g/RjrLkntIK4E/Sammy_2005_thumb%25255B4%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="129" height="175" /></a>Samuel Clifford – </strong>Sam was born late into the night Friday (or early morning Saturday) but he didn’t have a name I think until Sunday. I really liked the name Samuel but really liked the name Samantha too and thought I couldn’t have both so I kept trying out names but that one seemed to fit him, along with Clifford. We also liked that Samuel was a <a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-sVVh3riwsdI/T95YAVOLqUI/AAAAAAAAC3o/PZhnZ8JwAmg/s1600-h/TheBoys_June2012_%252520004%25255B10%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_June2012_ 004" border="0" alt="TheBoys_June2012_ 004" align="right" src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-wvUxbPVdz0I/T95YAneQR_I/AAAAAAAAC3w/BxlJPwNK6gs/TheBoys_June2012_%252520004_thumb%25255B10%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="152" height="166" /></a><a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/1-sam?lang=eng" target="_blank">biblical</a> and a <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/hel/13?lang=eng&amp;query=samuel+lamanite" target="_blank">Book of Mormon</a> name. We wanted him to have a family name as well so we chose Clifford which is Daddy’s middle name and Great Grandpa Marcroft’s name. He had an grumpy old man face that reminded everyone of “grumpa” Clifford. So it fit and he became Samuel Clifford. And it just so happened that as he grew he also grew some strawberry blonde hair just like Grandpa Clifford’s. :)</p> <p><strong><a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-bGUm9hyDu98/T95YBK_gMyI/AAAAAAAAC34/X0AeqBC6FB8/s1600-h/Nathan_2007%25255B6%25255D.jpg"><img title="Nathan_2007" border="0" alt="Nathan_2007" align="right" src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-XM_ZutD0re8/T95YBXkILYI/AAAAAAAAC4A/Mw3AqZ7c5eY/Nathan_2007_thumb%25255B8%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="158" height="193" /></a>Nathanael James – </strong>Nathan was born on a Friday night as well but he came a little faster and was here by 9 pm or so. After having him lots of people had ideas for names but my sister Cathy was going through a few. One she said was Nathanael James and right away I had the feeling that <em>that </em>was supposed to be his name. I didn’t say anything right away because I wanted to decide with Thaddeus later when everyone else had gone. Later ended up being <a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-ptC6EEEnS6Q/T95YCBWS7oI/AAAAAAAAC4I/bA2Jw--TBV0/s1600-h/Disneyland_May2012_%252520017%25255B10%25255D.jpg"><img title="Disneyland_May2012_ 017" border="0" alt="Disneyland_May2012_ 017" align="left" src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-Vs-Esa4Tj_I/T95YCjznycI/AAAAAAAAC4Q/aM8qSy1iDpI/Disneyland_May2012_%252520017_thumb%25255B13%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="155" height="219" /></a>the morning and when we began to talk about names that is the only one that came up since Thad had had the same feeling about the name as well. <a href="http://classic.scriptures.lds.org/en/john/1/45-51#45" target="_blank">Nathanael</a> is a friend and disciple of Jesus in the New Testament, some even say he was an Apostle. And James is Grandpa Marcroft’s middle name so it was perfect! Now, at age 5 he is quite stubborn and tells me that his name is&#160; “just Nathan” when I call Nathanael James. Oh well. I know that it is supposed to be his name—hopefully he’ll understand one day why.</p> <p><strong> <br /><a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-zQdlbw5GPYY/T95YC5fRLYI/AAAAAAAAC4Y/31BHHi-mzoQ/s1600-h/Danny_2009%25255B5%25255D.jpg"><img title="Danny_2009" border="0" alt="Danny_2009" align="left" src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-jy2NS0Pd7Iw/T95YDffUvAI/AAAAAAAAC4c/C_S0SO8FCfY/Danny_2009_thumb%25255B6%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="141" height="219" /></a>Daniel Driggs</strong> – Daniel broke traditions a bit by being born a) in the summer instead of October and b) not on Friday, but kept with the tradition of being born on a day that was a multiple of five but I digress. His name is special because his big brothers loved <a href="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-TkASozNWFIQ/T95YDxL6WzI/AAAAAAAAC4o/Xbycty64Wb8/s1600-h/TheBoys_June2012_%252520036%25255B10%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_June2012_ 036" border="0" alt="TheBoys_June2012_ 036" align="right" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-Z72BTe1gkSU/T95YEV-6oHI/AAAAAAAAC4w/buDzGwVmiYQ/TheBoys_June2012_%252520036_thumb%25255B7%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="128" height="184" /></a>the <a href="http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&amp;locale=0&amp;sourceId=c1f9f48fa2d20110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&amp;vgnextoid=e1fa5f74db46c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD" target="_blank">stories</a> about <a href="http://scriptures.lds.org/dan/1" target="_blank">Daniel</a> in the Bible. We needed a family name for his middle name but my own father had made me promise not to use his names for any of my sons. We still wanted to honor him so we chose Driggs—we almost chose David, my paternal grandfather’s name, but wanted to save that for another boy first name. I think that it sounds nice and is a nice way to honor him! :)</p> <p><strong><a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-G0g6ZT6pSnw/T95YEgJ-0HI/AAAAAAAAC44/jbFD5dvt9Iw/s1600-h/Ben_2011%25255B6%25255D.jpg"><img title="Ben_2011" border="0" alt="Ben_2011" align="right" src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-zVmGs0ZVVVM/T95YFLQmYhI/AAAAAAAAC5A/McW6gnSQiD8/Ben_2011_thumb%25255B9%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="170" height="155" /></a>Benjamin Joseph</strong> – So many people were amazed each time I was pregnant that I never knew the names of the boys before they were born. All of the older boys’ names were chosen after they were born, but I had an <a href="http://marcroftfam.blogspot.com/2011/10/mother-of-almost-four-boys.html" target="_blank">experience</a> before Ben was born that really made me think that Benjamin would be his name but I still wanted to hold him and see if it fit before I told anyone so I only related the story to my husband. I was at a <a href="http://mormon.org/faq/ward-stake-branch/" target="_blank">stake</a> baptism (as part of my stake calling) and a family from our ward sang <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&amp;v=yD_ibxy270Q" target="_blank">“How Can I Be?”</a> and I was really touched by the lyrics. When they sang about <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/2.17?lang=eng" target="_blank">King Benjamin</a> the wise I felt a great love for him and felt that I wanted my boys to grow up to be like these men in the scriptures I was naming them after. When he was born we thought about <a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-r0_pUjskyNQ/T95YGFaCFXI/AAAAAAAAC5I/YMZhtz6kQiM/s1600-h/Baseball_May2012_%252520076%25255B7%25255D.jpg"><img title="Baseball_May2012_ 076" border="0" alt="Baseball_May2012_ 076" align="left" src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-mShOH3ivNZk/T95YGYNNAhI/AAAAAAAAC5Q/ezk3PPoLmYQ/Baseball_May2012_%252520076_thumb%25255B8%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="152" height="184" /></a>it again and played around with one other name but came back to <a href="http://classic.scriptures.lds.org/en/bd/b/39" target="_blank">Benjamin</a> who was also important in the <a href="http://classic.scriptures.lds.org/en/bd/b/39" target="_blank">Bible</a>. Then for a middle name—again, we thought of David, but wanted to keep it for a first name, and then we thought of Joseph. There are a few Josephs in the family--Joseph (his brother that goes by his second name Chris), Joseph (great grandma Marcroft’s brother who died in the war), and Joseph on my side of the family too—it was perfect!</p> <p>So there you have it. All of their names, why they fit and how they came to be!</p> <p><strong>Happy Father’s Day</strong> to all of the men who have inspired me and continue to inspire me and my family. And lots of <strong>love</strong> too! :)</p> <div><img width="1" height="1" src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/3951023913044278684-1839112180961457313?l=marcroftfam.blogspot.com" alt="" /></div>
<div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEC25F6D144BED7D3&amp;feature=plcp"><img title="fatherhood" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/fatherhood-300x264.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="264" /></a></div> <div> <div> <h4><span>Fatherhood Video Playlist</span></h4> <p>The Mormon Channel has created a special <a href="http://lds.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e04c983e0e6204bc958a50e56&amp;id=d17f427f1f&amp;&amp;=7ac0dff802" target="_blank">YouTube playlist</a> that includes 16 videos celebrating fatherhood, a timely resource for this upcoming Father&#8217;s Day. The videos include <a href="http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/">Mormon</a> Messages, interviews with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (General Authorities) and <a href="http://www.ldsresources.net/">Latter-day Saint</a> General Conference addresses.  General Conferences are bi-annual instructional meetings of the global <a href="http://mormon.org/">Church</a>, with friends of other faiths invited to participate.</p> </div> </div> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/MoreGoodFoundation/~4/6YggaDcnQaE" height="1" width="1" />
<p><a href="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/Twitter-500px.jpg"><img title="Twitter-500px" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/Twitter-500px-300x75.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="75" /></a></p> <div></div> <p>As of February 2012, according to a Pew study, some 15% of online adults use Twitter, and 8% do so on any given day. Overall Twitter new user rate reamins steady, as the 15% of online adults who use Twitter is similar to the 13% of such adults who did so in May 2011. At the same time, Pew reports, the proportion of online adults who use Twitter o<em>n a typical day has doubled since May 2011 and has quadrupled since late 2010—</em>at that point just 2% of online adults used Twitter on a typical day. The rise of smartphones might account for some of the uptick in usage because smartphone users are particularly likely to be using Twitter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>ABOUT THE SURVEY</p> <p>The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from January 20 to February 19, 2012, among a sample of 2,253 adults, age 18 and older, and from March 15 to April 3, 2012, among a sample of 2,254 adults, age 18 and older.</p> <p>Telephone interviews for the February survey were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (1,352) and cell phone (901, including 440 without a landline phone). For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points. For results based Internet users (n=1,729), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.</p> <p>Telephone interviews for the April survey were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (1,351) and cell phone (903, including 410 without a landline phone). For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points. For results based Internet users (n=1,803), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/MoreGoodFoundation/~4/rBO7mgsJ7Z4" height="1" width="1" />
<p>Mormons have been criticized for believing that they can become like God. But are they alone among all the religions of the world in this belief? In this episode of Religion Today that originally aired on March 25, 2012, Martin Tanner interviews Dr. Tom Roberts, Academic Dean, St Elias Seminary and Graduate School. They discuss the way in which the Greek Orthodox Church views the concept of deification.</p> <p>This recording was used by permission of KSL Radio and does not necessarily represent the views of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or of FAIR.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/GnVI72tW8CY" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F06%2FReligion-Today-for-Sunday-March-25.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 9.15 MB)</i></div>
I once again hate cell phone companies. Today,&nbsp;<a href="http://news.verizonwireless.com/news/2012/06/pr2012-06-11e.html">Verizon Wireless Unveils New Share Everything Plans For Basic Phones, Smartphones, Tablets And More</a>, which is a long winded way of saying that Verizon is about to charge everyone an arm and a leg for their wireless data plans while making the traditional phone costs almost a non-issue. A basic phone plan ends up costing only $40 for unlimited talk and texting. Where was this plan before I got my smartphone? Honestly, I am seriously considering dropping my smart phone plan from here on out and only using basic phones since they are finally getting everything for a respectable price. At the same time, data costs are going way up. For my current 2GB plan that costs me $30, I'll have to pay $60 under the new plan, with more and more costs as I continue to increase my data usage.<br /><br />No thank you Verizon. I'll stick with paying way too much for my home internet. At least that internet connection isn't terrible all the time. Also, an iPod Touch is way cheaper than an iPhone, so I'll just go back to only having data at certain locations.<br /><br /><a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/pengoopmcjnbflcjbmoeodbmoflcgjlk">'via Blog this'</a><div><img width="1" height="1" src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8878945926253593849-7164406883239715027?l=chimericperfection.blogspot.com" alt="" /></div>

Disneyland &lt;3

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Me and my boys...

on 2012-6-10 7:01am GMT
<p>We had been going to Disneyland (or California Adventure) after school weekly before our black out days started and here are a few fun pictures. The boys really do love going and it hasn’t been too crowded on the little guy rides. I am grateful that Disneyland has black out days because they tell us what days we <em>don’t</em> want to go because it will be busier!</p> <p align="center">Here are some pictures from the day that we finally waited in line for Toy Story Mania! Nathan’s been asking to go on this since March but the line was either too long or it was time to go home each time!</p> <p><a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-rznDrDYae-Y/T9P3ZHF3PuI/AAAAAAAAC1M/8J1I1RSKtGo/s1600-h/TheBoys_May2012_%252520076%25255B4%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_May2012_ 076" border="0" alt="TheBoys_May2012_ 076" src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-OH45WEHfI2A/T9P3ZUmnjlI/AAAAAAAAC1U/-Advcx_7KkQ/TheBoys_May2012_%252520076_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="260" height="200" /></a></p> <p align="center"><a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-oB219ut1A0k/T9P3aIRVZZI/AAAAAAAAC1c/PwCP-gTLtWY/s1600-h/TheBoys_May2012_%252520075%25255B9%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_May2012_ 075" border="0" alt="TheBoys_May2012_ 075" src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-IzWOJuzzhK4/T9P3acWYa1I/AAAAAAAAC1k/4VpYleLuaO8/TheBoys_May2012_%252520075_thumb%25255B3%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="200" height="260" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-U-cVhHaaJHk/T9P3ank7i1I/AAAAAAAAC1s/MnNLcL8_oEc/s1600-h/TheBoys_May2012_%252520072%25255B9%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_May2012_ 072" border="0" alt="TheBoys_May2012_ 072" src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-f4c_F0Yi0io/T9P3bLI4trI/AAAAAAAAC10/Qv6GyMitaU4/TheBoys_May2012_%252520072_thumb%25255B8%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="229" height="260" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-DGYXslhzogo/T9P3bmZCdTI/AAAAAAAAC18/H_Grvfp8UmU/s1600-h/TheBoys_May2012_%252520070%25255B10%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_May2012_ 070" border="0" alt="TheBoys_May2012_ 070" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-ZoCkHwpFCAY/T9P3b-ocXvI/AAAAAAAAC2E/9OTSafyzQDs/TheBoys_May2012_%252520070_thumb%25255B4%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="260" height="200" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-l4n8aZ8-1CI/T9P3uwOLbuI/AAAAAAAAC2c/Eo98251BnsQ/s1600-h/TheBoys_May2012_%252520064%25255B5%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_May2012_ 064" border="0" alt="TheBoys_May2012_ 064" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-raPiwopzcBU/T9P3vKmeCTI/AAAAAAAAC2k/EJC9s5Uo2PU/TheBoys_May2012_%252520064_thumb%25255B4%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="200" height="260" /></a></p> <p align="center">And just for fun…one of the last time we had passes in 2009! ;)</p> <a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-j0yfuv3_Sf0/T9P3cZhoByI/AAAAAAAAC2M/bLQPnHXEoQo/s1600-h/SammyNate_2009%25255B3%25255D.jpg"><img title="SammyNate_2009" border="0" alt="SammyNate_2009" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-XCc8eQ6aNBY/T9P3chU4pUI/AAAAAAAAC2U/YOsHmQMK9jE/SammyNate_2009_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="180" height="260" /></a> <div><img width="1" height="1" src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/3951023913044278684-6176052247731319172?l=marcroftfam.blogspot.com" alt="" /></div>

Here comes the sun…

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Me and my boys...

on 2012-6-10 12:43am GMT
<p>It’s been a little crazy around here (the school year is ending) so these pictures are a little late for our Memorial Day adventures or early pictures of the fun we will be able to have! :)</p> <p>We went to the annual Cerritos First Ward Memorial Day breakfast at CPE which is always fun and delicious before heading home for naps. Our new friends from church, The Woolleys, called to see if we wanted to go to the park or to the beach. We said sure and we all jumped in the van when the boys got up from naps. We headed to Sunset Beach and had a blast!</p> <p>We played in the sun, in the water, and ate yummy hot dogs, fruit, corn and more! Here are some of my favorite shots:</p> <p align="center">Daddy and Benny Boy (6 months)</p> <p><a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-hL0Jl7WU-54/T9PtoEG1g6I/AAAAAAAACyo/roKv6oN62v4/s1600-h/TheBoys_May2012_%252520009%25255B4%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_May2012_ 009" border="0" alt="TheBoys_May2012_ 009" src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-34OdI2CnVUk/T9PtoU0IUfI/AAAAAAAACyw/Iabiet2W7_g/TheBoys_May2012_%252520009_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="260" height="200" /></a></p> <p align="center">…and a little bit later when it got colder!</p> <p align="center"><a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-aHQgE5-NaLU/T9Ptp-aak2I/AAAAAAAACy4/DnsmBQ5njRU/s1600-h/TheBoys_May2012_%252520060%25255B4%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_May2012_ 060" border="0" alt="TheBoys_May2012_ 060" src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-JhOYVImZkNs/T9PtqPEYYLI/AAAAAAAACzA/0O23Di4Yc-c/TheBoys_May2012_%252520060_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="260" height="200" /></a></p> <p align="center"> Telma and Ethan Woolley (one of their three boys)</p> <p align="center"><a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-lQ48CAFLHC8/T9Ptqo3nPwI/AAAAAAAACzI/0_EEr28kEVY/s1600-h/TheBoys_May2012_%252520034%25255B4%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_May2012_ 034" border="0" alt="TheBoys_May2012_ 034" src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-JxiJOeEl0s4/T9PtqqHXJBI/AAAAAAAACzQ/CbQKpHg6qnM/TheBoys_May2012_%252520034_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="260" height="200" /></a></p> <p align="center">Nathan loved Boogie Boarding!</p> <p align="center"><a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-tmikAdNwmO4/T9PtrCDHoAI/AAAAAAAACzY/c1FQ8SRjwAk/s1600-h/TheBoys_May2012_%252520030%25255B4%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_May2012_ 030" border="0" alt="TheBoys_May2012_ 030" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-3iUV9I5mMdc/T9PtrfI2vEI/AAAAAAAACzg/CUxyRbrLYno/TheBoys_May2012_%252520030_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="200" height="260" /></a></p> <p align="center">Danny got knocked over by a wave early on when he let go of my hand but it ended up being a great thing…he didn’t wander off any more!<a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-YM0kEgXP7cY/T9Ptr7tu_hI/AAAAAAAACzo/36jbVeAlrHc/s1600-h/TheBoys_May2012_%252520016%25255B4%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_May2012_ 016" border="0" alt="TheBoys_May2012_ 016" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-SFTLnNn9YoE/T9PtsDVichI/AAAAAAAACzw/Fd3lmt4yIsE/TheBoys_May2012_%252520016_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="200" height="260" /></a></p> <p align="center">Sammy had fun boogie boarding and finding sand crabs. He barely came out of the water!</p> <p align="center"><a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-Md1hoR03HZk/T9PtstbjqQI/AAAAAAAACz4/gN1jdWL_aYY/s1600-h/TheBoys_May2012_%252520054%25255B4%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_May2012_ 054" border="0" alt="TheBoys_May2012_ 054" src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-JpZq5ezg0H0/T9Pts0FdezI/AAAAAAAAC0A/7e2Twi4vvLE/TheBoys_May2012_%252520054_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="200" height="260" /></a></p> <p align="center"><a href="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-Herus9Wq01Q/T9PttBVsUXI/AAAAAAAAC0I/T3iG0BS3oWc/s1600-h/TheBoys_May2012_%252520051%25255B4%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_May2012_ 051" border="0" alt="TheBoys_May2012_ 051" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-CckAeXaAedc/T9PttbA1JFI/AAAAAAAAC0Q/LfmNO7H1E5Q/TheBoys_May2012_%252520051_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="200" height="260" /></a></p> <p align="center"></p> <p align="center">Here are some more pictures! Enjoy! <div><table border=0 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=0><tbody><tr><td><a target="_blank" href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=play&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!2098&amp;type=5&amp;authkey=!ADfGhp4YSQL18J4&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos"><img alt="View album" title="View album" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-ERklh4zcrTA/T9PttvtkKJI/AAAAAAAAC0Y/NXX-19942l0/Memorial%252520Day%2525202012%25255B4%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" /></a><div> <div><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=browse&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!2098&amp;type=5&amp;authkey=!ADfGhp4YSQL18J4&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos" target="_blank"><span defaultText="Enter album name here">Memorial Day 2012</span></a></div> <div> <table border=0 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=0> <tr> <td><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=play&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!2098&amp;type=5&amp;authkey=!ADfGhp4YSQL18J4&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos" border="0" target="_blank">VIEW SLIDE SHOW</a></td> <td><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=downloadphotos&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!2098&amp;type=5&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos&amp;authkey=!ADfGhp4YSQL18J4" border="0" target="_blank">DOWNLOAD ALL</a></td> </tr> </table> </div> </div></td></tr></tbody></table></div></p> <div><img width="1" height="1" src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/3951023913044278684-6849362661442051087?l=marcroftfam.blogspot.com" alt="" /></div>
<p><a href="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Backyard-Professor.png"><img title="Backyard Professor" src="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Backyard-Professor.png" alt="" width="150" height="150" /></a>Kerry Shirts reviews Grant Hardy’s book, Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide. Shirts finds that Hardy’s presentation of the Book of Mormon as a narrative retelling of the story of Nephi and his family helps to illuminate the Book of Mormon in a unique and exciting way. Hardy’s book is available for purchase <a href="http://bookstore.fairlds.org/product.php?id_product=1033">here</a>, at the FAIR Book store. The video version of this presentation is available for viewing <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMgle4mmOtY">here</a>.</p> <p>The opinions expressed in this podcast do not necessarily represent the opinions of FAIR or of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/OPMnT8K6OEc" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F06%2FPart-1-Affirming-the-Book-of-Mormon-1.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 7.45 MB)</i></div>
<p><a href="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/stec.jpg"><img title="stec" src="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/stec.jpg" alt="" width="290" height="193" /></a>With the approaching Republican presidential nomination of Mitt Romney, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as its history and doctrines has been the focus of much media scrutiny. The annual <a title="FAIR" href="http://www.fairlds.org/" target="_blank">FAIR</a> Conference of scholars, apologists, and interested individuals will meet August 2-3, 2012 at the South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy, Utah. At least fourteen scholars this year will address important and potentially controversial issues that have been highlighted by the national media or are confronting Latter-day Saints, including gay marriage, the impact of California’s Proposition 8, polygamy and questions of polyandry, Black Latter-day Saints, the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, difficult issues in Mormon history, the threats to American religious freedom, and dealing with issues of faith and loss of faith.</p> <p>Among the presenters are Brian C. Hales, author of Modern Polygamy and Mormon Fundamentalism: The Generations after the Manifesto and the forthcoming Joseph Smith’s Polygamy, who will discuss new evidences relating to controversies about Joseph Smith’s sexual polyandry. Kathryn Lynard Soper, founder and editor-in-chief of Segullah, a journal of literary and visual art for Mormon women, and Neylan McBaine, associate creative director at Bonneville Communications, will both discuss issues confronting Mormon women. Hannah Smith, Senior Counsel of the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty, will discuss the unprecedented threats to American religious freedom and what Latter-day Saints can do. Joshua Johanson, an outspoken advocate for Mormons with same-gender attraction, will share insights he has gained as a faithful, married, Latter-day Saint who also experiences same-gender attraction.</p> <p>Relating to ancient scripture, Royal Skousen, editor of the Book of Mormon critical text project, will speak about whether Latter-day Saints need to make changes to the Book of Mormon text. John W. Welch, who has published extensively on issues dealing with the Book of Mormon and Mormon doctrine, will discuss chiasmus in the Book of Mormon while Don Bradley, author of the soon to be published, Lost 116 Pages: Reconstructing the Missing Contents of the Book of Mormon, will discuss those 116 pages. John Gee, a professor of Egyptology, will talk about the Book of Abraham and Rosemary Avance, a non-Mormon doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School of Communication, will discuss parallels in Mormon conversion and de-conversion stories. Hartt Wixam, a retired BYU professor and investigate reporter for the Deseret News, will give a presentation entitled “Perception and Reality: Then and Now.” And Mesoamerican scholar, Brandt Gardner, will discuss the problem of cardinal directions in the Book of Mormon.</p> <p>Rounding out the conference are popular speakers like the venerable Darius Gray, one of the founders of Genesis Group for Black Latter-day Saints and co-writer of the documentary, Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons, Ugo A. Perego who will be traveling from Rome, Italy to discuss aspects of DNA research and Mormon history, and Daniel C. Peterson who will talk about the restoration of the gospel.</p> <p>Members of the media are particularly invited to visit with these and other conference participants, as well as to attend this important and informative conference in August.</p> <p>FAIR is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing well-documented answers to criticisms of LDS doctrine, belief and practice. Along with the annual conference, which is open to everyone, FAIR also sponsors a website that includes answers to difficult questions. FAIR has an “Ask the Apologist” option where people can pose questions to apologists and FAIR also sponsors MormonVoices which responds to public discussions and comments from public figures that misrepresent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For details on the FAIR Conference, visit the <a title="2012 Conference information" href="http://www.fairlds.org/fair-conferences/2012-fair-conference/conf12a" target="_blank">FAIR website</a>. Tickets may be purchased at the FAIR online Bookstore, <a href="http://bookstore.fairlds.org/category.php?id_category=77">here</a>.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/N1FkAcT5dOI" height="1" width="1" />
<p><a href="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/whys.jpg"><img title="whys" src="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/whys.jpg" alt="" width="266" height="266" /></a>This episode of the BBC World Service program, World Have Your Say, features members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.</p> <p>The five-member panel answers questions from listeners from all over the world, including: Whether Mormons want to be recognized as a mainstream religion? What part of the Mormon faith is influenced by the Bible, and what part is influenced by the culture of its founders? Why is polygamy stereotypically linked to Mormonism? Would Mitt Romney be expected to spread the Mormon faith as a president? Why are Mormons secretive? Why are they not as open as other churches? What effect will the past ban on ordaining African Americans to the priesthood have on Mitt Romney’s ability to win over minority voters? What is the purpose of temples? What has generated the rapid spread of Mormonism? What would Christ think of a religion that teaches that it is the only true church? What is the Mormon view on the separation of church and state? What is it like to be a female member of the Church and a member of the Relief Society, the largest women’s organization in the world?</p> <p>This program is posted here by permission of the BBC. The opinions expressed in this podcast do not necessarily represent the opinions of FAIR or of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/OVAy-LOsLSU" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F05%2FWorld-Have-Your-Say.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 17.15 MB)</i></div>
As Gio &amp; I walked into the book fair after school today, Gio told a kid, "I told teacher on you!" &nbsp;The guilty kid looked up at me, then at Gio &amp; back at me before blurting out: "I told him he's dumb but I don't know if he's dumb and, and-did you get my birthday party invitation???"<div><img width="1" height="1" src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/5437796834279020871-8065255578735881152?l=susieqland.blogspot.com" alt="" /></div>
<p><a href="http://bookstore.fairlds.org/product.php?id_product=1266"><img src="http://bookstore.fairlds.org/img/p/1266-1490-large.jpg" title="No Weapon Shall Prosper" /></a><strong>Review of <a href="http://bookstore.fairlds.org/product.php?id_product=1266" target="_blank">No Weapon Shall Prosper: New Light on Sensitive Issues</a><br /> Edited by Robert L. Millett<br /> Published by BYU Religious Studies Center and Deseret Book, 2011</strong></p> <p>Rather than focusing primarily on the methods commonly used by critics as other recent books of this genre do (such as Michael Ash&#8217;s <em><a href="http://bookstore.fairlds.org/product.php?id_product=10">Shaken Faith Syndrome</a></em>, which I also highly recommend), this book contains essays that address some of the most common issues that are used to attack the faith of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is intended to help the reader gain a better understanding of these topics in a faith-promoting, but scholarly and honest environment, against the flood of misinformation available online today. Indeed, the editor notes that “The Internet is filled with thousands of pages of anti-Mormon polemic, and it is extremely difficult for people to receive an honest and fair appraisal of Mormonism without significant effort on their part” (page viii).</p> <p>Besides those by the editor, Robert L. Millett, the book contains contributions by Daniel L. Belnap, J. Spencer Fluhman, Steven C. Harper, Brian M. Hauglid, Daniel K. Judd, Kerry Muhlestein, Ugo A. Perego, Brent L. Top, and John W. Welch. They are split into four categories: Restored Christianity, Latter-day Saint Church History, Scriptural Perspectives, and Doctrinal Teachings. The topics include what it means to be a Christian, the various accounts of the First Vision, the Smiths’ involvement in money-digging and the supernatural, the Kinderhook plates, Joseph Smith’s youngest plural wife, DNA and the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, and Jesus Christ and salvation, among many others. Many of the topics are written by experts in the area – for example, a population geneticist discusses DNA and the Book of Mormon, two Egyptologists discuss the Book of Abraham, and an editor of the Joseph Smith Papers tackles the subject of multiple versions of the First Vision. I would like to concentrate on a few topics of particular interest to me in order to give an idea of the overall book.</p> <p>Kent P. Jackson’s cleverly titled “Are Christians Christians?” discusses what it means to be a Christian from the point of view of mainstream Christianity and where it came from. He examines statements from the Presbyterian and Methodist churches that declare us to be unchristian. He explains why their definition is unbiblical, and happily admits that we should not be included in it. “We, of all people, should not be offended that other churches consider our baptisms invalid and do not recognize the authority of our priesthood holders to officiate in their ordinances. Since the first days of our church’s history, we have denied the validity of the authority and ordinances of all other churches (see D&#038;C 22). We concede that we are not members of the historic Christian church that includes our Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant brothers and sisters. But to consider us not Christians on issues of belief is another matter” (page 55). He then goes on to explain that our definition of the word Christian is scriptural (although we have no official statement of such), and that by that definition we would also include those of other faiths previously mentioned.</p> <p>Steven C. Harper, an editor of the Joseph Smith Papers, wrote about the accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, saying it “may be the best documented theophany (vision of God) in history.” He finds the five different known accounts in eight statements (plus contemporary hearsay) to be “rich documentation” and “a good reason to believe him” rather than being evidence of an inconsistent and evolving story as others contend. (Page 63.) He describes how Fawn Brodie and Wesley Walters shaped the criticisms that are popular today, and did not reconsider their interpretations even when new evidence against them came to light. He points out that “those who share the skeptics’ assumptions will likely arrive at the same conclusions as the skeptics. But those who are open to the possibility that Joseph told the truth can discover other meanings from the same facts” (page 71).</p> <p>Ugo A. Perego, who holds a PhD in genetics and biomolecular sciences, handles the question of whether DNA proves or disproves the Book of Mormon. He goes into great detail explaining how DNA is used in research, the current theories about migrations into the Americas, and describes the various theories for and against the Book of Mormon based on available DNA evidence. He points out the problems with each of these theories (such as evidence showing up in the wrong time period, wrong assumptions being used, and misunderstandings of the limitations of DNA research) and arrives at the conclusion that DNA evidence can neither be used to prove nor disprove that the people in the Book of Mormon actually existed. (In fact, he points out that it can’t even be used to prove that Jesus existed.) He says that “I find no difficulties in reconciling my scientific passion about Native American history with my religious beliefs. I am not looking for a personal testimony of the Book of Mormon in the double helix. …Anyone using DNA to ascertain the accuracy of historical events of a religious nature – which require instead a component of faith – will be sorely disappointed” (page 208).</p> <p>One of the essays on the Book of Abraham is by Kerry Muhlestein, who has a PhD in Egyptology from UCLA. He begins by explaining how he got interested in the Book of Abraham, and why Egyptologists outside the church dismiss it. He also found that many members of the church who struggle with the issues involved with the Book of Abraham aren’t looking for an excuse to leave the church, but have “encountered well-written (though not necessarily well-documented or researched) arguments…and did not know how to answer the questions posed by these arguments.” He found that those publishing critical information are generally unaware that it is “based on incorrect information and bad assumptions. They are misled by the mistakes, lies, and trash put out by a few, and they unwittingly pass the information along without really looking into their sources” (page 219).</p> <p>He then goes on to debunk some of the misinformation, such as the idea that there was no human sacrifice in ancient Egypt. He also found that one of the words supposedly made up by Joseph Smith (Olishem) has been discovered in two ancient texts. He discovered that Egyptians had access to biblical stories by 200 BC (which was the right time period for the papyri), and were particularly interested in Abraham. He presented this information to a conference put on by the Russian Academy of Science and received positive reviews. He talks about evidence that what we actually have possession of today was a very small part of what Joseph had, and gives reasons why it likely was not the source of the Book of Abraham, other than Facsimile 1. He also briefly discusses the mystery of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, which were not likely to have been used in the translation process, as some critics have claimed. Another important point he makes is that “written by his own hand, upon papyrus” does not mean that the actual papyrus we have was written by the hand of Abraham, but that it is a copy of the original that Abraham would have written on much earlier. He also devotes several pages to Facsimile 1, pointing out many evidences (and some possible theories) for the authenticity of the interpretations provided by Joseph Smith.</p> <p>Overall, I thought the book was quite good, although some essays were better than others. Some of the more doctrinal ones, in particular, presented a few points as given that not all members would agree on. But such is the nature of Mormonism. The book could be used to answer questions for oneself, to help a member friend or an investigator, or for inoculation against misinformation and half-truths encountered in a hostile environment. It would be useful reading for those preparing to serve a mission, for families, and for any individual interested in learning more about these issues or defending the church.</p> <p>This book is available at the FAIR bookstore <a href="http://bookstore.fairlds.org/product.php?id_product=1266">here</a>.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/nekVCcsXbQs" height="1" width="1" />
<p>Martin Tanner discuss the reasons why some say that Mormons are not Christian and provides a response to these contentions in this episode of Religion Today that originally aired on February 12, 2012.</p> <p>This recording was used by permission of KSL Radio and does not necessarily represent the views of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or of FAIR.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/Ln9OSQdJksM" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F02%2FReligion-Today-for-Sunday-February.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 9.16 MB)</i></div>
<p>One of the most controversial verses in the Book of Mormon is <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/5.21?lang=eng#20">2 Nephi 5:21</a>, which states:</p> <blockquote><p>And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.</p></blockquote> <p>The focus of this verse has been the phrase “skin of blackness,” which is read rather literally as a change in pigmentation. It is much easier to compile a list of writers who take the phrase literally than of those who suggest an alternate reading. As a single representation of this reading, see Milton R. Hunter of the Council of the Seventy:</p> <blockquote><p>As is well-known, two peoples—a white race and those of a darker color—inhabited ancient America for approximately one thousand years’ time. The white race was called Nephites and the darker race Lamanites…. The reader may say: “Yes, we understand that there were a white race and a dark race in ancient America from approximately 600 B.C., until approximately 400 A.D., but we have understood also that by the latter date all the white people (Nephites), except Moroni, had been killed in a war with the darker people or Lamanites.”</p> <p>It is true that the Nephite nation ended toward the close of the fifth century A.D., but probably many of the white Nephites were saved from death by joining the Lamanites. These then would not be followers of Christ and would be unfaithful ones. The last great war was not fought entirely on the lines of race, but probably the determining factor was that one group allied itself with the Lamanite traditions, and the other group followed the Nephite traditions, including a belief in Jesus Christ. Thus there probably were dark and white people in each army.<a name="ftn1ref" href="http://www.fairblog.org/#ftn1">[1]</a></p></blockquote> <p>The modern cultural assumption that a <em>skin of blackness</em> must equal <em>black skin</em> is probably informed by racial issues in the United States. The 1981 change in verse <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/30.6?lang=eng#5">2 Nephi 30:6</a> from “white and delightsome” to “pure and delightsome” is therefore similarly interpreted in the context of political correctness, and an accommodation to issues of race in the United States. Of course, the fact that the change was made in 1981 obscures the fact that it was a change that Joseph Smith made for the 1840 Nauvoo edition of the Book of Mormon.<a name="ftn2ref" href="http://www.fairblog.org/#ftn2">[2]</a> While issues of race were certainly important in 1840, it is much less likely that the change was due to pressure to be politically correct in 1840 than it would have been had the change been unique to 1981.</p> <p>I have elsewhere argued that this skin of blackness was a metaphor for a spiritual state rather than a change in pigmentation.<a name="ftn3ref" href="http://www.fairblog.org/#ftn3">[3]</a> While there are arguments to be made for or against that proposition, the decision as to whether a “skin of blackness” is a description of a physical or spiritual change should be decided upon something stronger than personal preference for one reading or the other. The text is the final arbiter of such questions. What might the text tell us to help us decide?<span></span></p> <p>What would be ideal is to find a place in the text where some Nephite said something like “Oh, I see by your black skin that you are a Lamanite.” That doesn’t happen. What we do get are some situations in which a difference in pigmentation should make a difference in an event. We do have a couple of those, but what we find is that what should make a difference, doesn’t.</p> <p>One that I have noted before is found in <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/55.4-8?lang=eng#3">Alma 55:4–8</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>4 And now it came to pass that when Moroni had said these words, he caused that a search should be made among his men, that perhaps he might find a man who was a descendant of Laman among them.</p> <p>5 And it came to pass that they found one, whose name was Laman; and he was one of the servants of the king who was murdered by Amalickiah.</p> <p>6 Now Moroni caused that Laman and a small number of his men should go forth unto the guards who were over the Nephites.</p> <p>7 Now the Nephites were guarded in the city of Gid; therefore Moroni appointed Laman and caused that a small number of men should go with him.</p> <p>8 And when it was evening Laman went to the guards who were over the Nephites, and behold, they saw him coming and they hailed him; but he saith unto them: Fear not; behold, I am a Lamanite. Behold, we have escaped from the Nephites, and they sleep; and behold we have taken of their wine and brought with us.</p></blockquote> <p>Moroni’s plan requires a Lamanite. He finds one. What could a Lamanite do that a non-Lamanite could not? For most readers, conditioned by years of assumptions, the expectation is that he is darker skinned, while Nephites were “white.” However, this reason is unlikely, given the actual working-out of the plan (v. 8):</p> <p>First, Laman is not alone. Moroni has selected other men to go with him. Moroni had searched for a Lamanite and found <em>one.</em> His companions were, therefore, not Lamanites. However, they approach with the one “true” Lamanite. If skin color identified the one Lamanite, then his companions would obviously be recognized on sight as Nephites. Furthermore, the Lamanite armies are being led by a Nephite dissenter, and many of those in the city of Nephi who had ejected the people of Ammon were also Nephite dissenters. According to the record, Laman does all of the talking, and the guards immediately accept his announcement that he is a Lamanite. Thus, there is a language difference between the two groups. Clearly, this difference is not great, because Nephite dissenters easily assimilate into the Lamanite ranks. However, there must be some differences, either in dialect or accent, so that the target Lamanites identified Laman’s voice as soon as they heard it as truly “Lamanite.” As long as his companions remained silent, this ruse would be sufficient. That reading fits the evidence, and the evidence does not allow for a pigmentation difference that is sufficient that it would be noticed.</p> <p>A second event occurs in an earlier war. This particular experience is important because it specifically references the curse, mark, and dark skin of the 2 Nephi quotation that is the foundation of all of the racist assumptions. The following is <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/3.6-16?lang=eng#5">Alma 3:6–16</a>, with comments as we read:</p> <blockquote><p>6 And the <strong>skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark</strong> which was set upon their fathers,<strong> which was a curse</strong> upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob, and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men.</p></blockquote> <p>This verse gives us the three important elements and some relationship among the three. The “skins of the Lamanites were dark.” (This corresponds to the “skin of blackness” from <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/5.21?lang=eng#20">2 Nephi 5:21</a>.) Of course, we have the substitution of <em>dark</em> for <em>black</em>, suggesting that the specific color is not required. Next, this skin of darkness/blackness was set upon them “according to the mark” and it is the <em>mark</em> which is the curse.</p> <blockquote><p>7 And their brethren sought to destroy them, therefore they were cursed; and the Lord God set a mark upon them, yea, upon Laman and Lemuel, and also the sons of Ishmael, and Ishmaelitish women.</p> <p>8 And this was done that their seed might be distinguished from the seed of their brethren, that thereby the Lord God might preserve his people, that they might not mix and believe in incorrect traditions which would prove their destruction.</p> <p>9 And it came to pass that <strong>whosoever did mingle his seed with that of the Lamanites did bring the same curse</strong> upon his seed.</p></blockquote> <p>Part of the definition of becoming Lamanite was that they inherited the curse. Of course, because the definition of Lamanite was one who was an enemy to a Nephite, that seems pretty clear. The possible issue here is genetic, in that it comes from &#8220;mingling&#8221; with Lamanites. However, the opposite change to &#8220;white and delightsome&#8221; appears to happen upon conversion, so that puts this interpretation in doubt. We see in <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/3-ne/2.13-16?lang=eng#12">3 Nephi 2:13–16</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>13 And it came to pass that before this thirteenth year had passed away the Nephites were threatened with utter destruction because of this war, which had become exceedingly sore.</p> <p>14 And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites;</p> <p>15 And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites;</p> <p>16 And their young men and their daughters became exceedingly fair, and they were numbered among the Nephites, and were called Nephites. And thus ended the thirteenth year.</p></blockquote> <p>Before the thirteenth year passes away (v. 13) there are Lamanites who unite with the Nephites and become Nephites (v. 14). As part of their conversion “their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites” (v. 15). Then we have the reiteration that all of this takes place before the end of the thirteenth year (v. 16). The speed of this change precludes any naturally occurring process that changes pigmentation. Nevertheless, simply by becoming Nephites the curse is gone and their skins are no long black but are now white.</p> <p>Knowing that this change is virtually immediate becomes important as we read the rest of the story from <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/3.6-16?lang=eng#5">Alma 3</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>10 Therefore, whosoever suffered himself to be led away by the Lamanites was called under that head, and <strong>there was a mark set upon him</strong>.</p></blockquote> <p>Verse 10 reiterates that conversion from Nephite to Lamanite sets the <em>mark</em>, just as simple conversion from Lamanite to Nephite removes it.</p> <blockquote><p>13 Now we will return again to the Amlicites, for they also had a mark set upon them; yea, they set the mark upon themselves, yea, even a mark of red upon their foreheads.</p> <p>14 Thus the word of God is fulfilled, for these are the words which he said to Nephi: Behold, the Lamanites have I cursed, and I will set a mark on them that they and their seed may be separated from thee and thy seed, from this time henceforth and forever, except they repent of their wickedness and turn to me that I may have mercy upon them.</p> <p>15 And again: I will set a mark upon him that mingleth his seed with thy brethren, that they may be cursed also.</p> <p>16 And again: I will set a mark upon him that fighteth against thee and thy seed.</p></blockquote> <p>These verses are consistent. They speak of the same mingling and the same curse. Interestingly, however, the Amlicite <em>mark</em> was red on the forehead, which the Nephites linked to the scriptural mark. Thus the Amlicites are <em>marked,</em> but it is not only a voluntary marking, but one that required red on the forehead. If the Amlicites were to be <em>marked</em>, why wasn’t it with the skin of blackness? Of course, if we read “skin of blackness” as a metaphor, then they do change their hearts (we idiomatically speak of a <em>black heart</em> which is not intended literally).</p> <p>More importantly, if they really did have an immediate pigmentation change, the mark was unnecessary. Why was the mark necessary from the Amlicite perspective? The Amlicite battle plan required that they flee from the Nephites towards a Lamanite army. That Lamanite army needed to know that the fully armed warriors running full speed at them were friends. They had to know the difference between the Amlicite friends who were springing a trap and the Nephites who were falling into it. If there were a pigmentation difference, it would have been obvious. It wasn’t visually obvious, so a red mark was required to mark the ones that the Lamanites should allow to pass.</p> <p>Nevertheless, Mormon sees this marking in the context of the curse. If Mormon were familiar with the changeable skin pigmentation, he had no reason to case the Amlicite actions in the connection with that curse and mark. This even further clarifies that there was no available obvious difference that would allow someone to see that someone was Lamanite or Nephite. The “skin of darkness” is only textually consistent if read as a metaphor. It cannot be supported as a pigmentation change.</p> <div><br clear="all" /> <hr align="left" size="1" width="33%" /> <div> <p><a name="ftn1" href="http://www.fairblog.org/#ftn1ref">[1]</a> Milton R. Hunter, <em>Archaeology and the Book of Mormon</em> (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1956), 191.</p> </div> <div> <p><a name="ftn2" href="http://www.fairblog.org/#ftn2ref">[2]</a> Royal Skousen, <em>Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon</em>, The Critical Text of the Book of Mormon (Provo, Utah: The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 2005), Volume 4, Part 2,<em> </em>895.</p> </div> <div> <p><a name="ftn3" href="http://www.fairblog.org/#ftn3ref">[3]</a> Brant A. Gardner, <em>Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon</em>, 6 Volumes (Salt Lake City, UT: Greg Kofford Books, 2007), 2:117–22.</p> </div> </div> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/Mc3-FMMI5Ro" height="1" width="1" />
<p>In this episode of Religion Today that originally aired on March 4, 2012, Martin Tanner discusses some of the evidences for the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.</p> <p>This recording was used by permission of KSL Radio and does not necessarily represent the views of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or of FAIR.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/0C0aOa0FVFM" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F03%2FReligion-Today-for-Sunday-March-4.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 9.18 MB)</i></div>
<p>I was sitting at church today singing the closing hymn in Relief Society when I had a sweet, peaceful feeling and the thought “count your blessings” and a picture of my four wonderful boys come into my mind.</p> <p>I am blessed.</p> <p>I have a loving husband and we were <a href="http://marcroftfam.blogspot.com/2008/02/happy-valentines-day.html" target="_blank">sealed</a> in the Los Angeles Temple.</p> <p>I have a loving mother and father.</p> <p>I have four loving boys.</p> <p>I have a great job with wonderful students and a schedule that doesn’t allow for much time with Thad but which ensures that my kiddos are with Daddy!</p> <p>I know about the <a href="http://mormon.org/articles-of-faith?gclid=CJjl9M6p_q8CFQgJRQodfSvtEQ" target="_blank">Plan of Salvation</a> and the way to make it back!</p> <p>I have many more blessings but those are some that have come to me as I sit here typing…</p> <p>Now…everyone says that all of my boys look alike. So I decided to get pictures of them about the same age so (just for fun) I could compare. What do you think now? Do they all look alike? It will be interesting to watch them as they grow and see what they look like as adults!</p> <p>Get your pencils ready…these pictures are all around 5 months.</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p align="center">a)&#160; <a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-7e3eSU2EWPg/T7A38d_tpEI/AAAAAAAACxM/Gj07cEdBX6M/s1600-h/Danny_6months%25255B3%25255D.jpg"><img title="Danny_6months" border="0" alt="Danny_6months" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-fqDs6fXE7uY/T7A38x9_GqI/AAAAAAAACxU/WSTAz0yftCw/Danny_6months_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="260" height="227" /></a></p> <p align="center">&#160;</p> <p align="center">b) <a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-BJ4ixHBIaw8/T7A39AKcrhI/AAAAAAAACxc/E7WzUb4iaJ0/s1600-h/Sam-6mos%25255B3%25255D.jpg"><img title="Sam-6mos" border="0" alt="Sam-6mos" src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-z9gi0VQqj2g/T7A39Zf_MuI/AAAAAAAACxk/PDvjr9x-HPY/Sam-6mos_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="200" height="260" /></a></p> <p align="center">&#160;</p> <p align="center">c)<a href="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-MiGvHX_4AvU/T7A3936UIqI/AAAAAAAACxs/xAo2BFaSs_0/s1600-h/Nathan%25255B3%25255D.jpg"><img title="Nathan" border="0" alt="Nathan" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-4kdUwXEEo74/T7A3-DHh8YI/AAAAAAAACx0/yBQys4RM-8E/Nathan_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="260" height="181" /></a></p> <p align="center">&#160;</p> <p align="center">d) <a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-tE9123L-bl4/T7A3-_d9VaI/AAAAAAAACx8/I5rrpguNtPg/s1600-h/ben%25255B5%25255D.jpg"><img title="ben" border="0" alt="ben" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-aLBTVszSNkQ/T7A3_Zngt3I/AAAAAAAACyE/QnEyIgI-q1Y/ben_thumb%25255B10%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="224" height="260" /></a></p> <p align="center">Any guesses??</p> <p align="center">If you hover over their picture (with the mouse) you should see their names appear.&#160; :)</p> <p align="center">Here is a picture with me and four of my biggest blessings (and of course challenges) below taken a few weeks ago at Disneyland! I don’t have an iPhone and <a href="http://instagr.am/" target="_blank">Instagram</a> so this is the old fashioned way to do it! <img alt="Smile" src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-fIMsVHZASKg/T7A3_qlpsYI/AAAAAAAACyM/kQEFdHJVijs/wlEmoticon-smile%25255B2%25255D.png?imgmax=800" /> <br /> <br /><a href="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-XvdpzE7g4Lw/T7A4AvmBZPI/AAAAAAAACyU/J-57vojxjDo/s1600-h/TheBoys_April2012_Disneyland%25255B8%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_April2012_Disneyland" border="0" alt="TheBoys_April2012_Disneyland" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-0qmzzCQcui8/T7A4BEM98SI/AAAAAAAACyc/q_2pDlFOz1Q/TheBoys_April2012_Disneyland_thumb%25255B5%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="402" height="488" /></a></p> <p>One more thing…I wanted to share a good quote for us to remember especially when the days seem long and the nights seem short:</p> <blockquote> <p>“Thinking of the example of his own mother and that of his beloved and faithful wife, Flora, President Benson has offered ten specific suggestions for mothers as they guide their precious children:</p> <p>1. Take time to always be at the crossroads in the lives of your children, whether they be six or sixteen.</p> <p>2. Take time to be a real friend to your children.</p> <p>3. Take time to read to your children. Remember what the poet wrote:</p> <p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; You may have tangible wealth untold; </p> <p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. </p> <p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; Richer than I you can never be— </p> <p>&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; I had a mother who read to me. </p> <p>4. Take time to pray with your children.</p> <p>5. Take time to have a meaningful weekly home evening. Make this one of your great family traditions.</p> <p>6. Take time to be together at mealtimes as often as possible.</p> <p>7. Take time daily to read the scriptures together as a family.</p> <p>8. Take time to do things together as a family.</p> <p>9. Take time to teach your children.</p> <p>10. Take time to truly love your children. A mother’s unqualified love approaches Christlike love (see Ezra Taft Benson, To the Mothers in Zion, pamphlet, 1987, pp. 8–12; see also Ezra Taft Benson, Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990, pp. 32–36).”</p> </blockquote> <p>Thomas S. Monson, <a href="http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&amp;locale=0&amp;sourceId=317094bf3938b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&amp;hideNav=1">“Memories of Yesterday, Counsel for Today,” Ensign, May 1992, 4–5</a></p> <p>p.s One more thing. If you haven’t seen the new <a href="http://lds.org/bible-videos/videos" target="_blank">Bible Videos</a> the church has put out, you should. They’re really nicely done. They have one on Mary that would be extra appropriate for today!</p> <div><img width="1" height="1" src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/3951023913044278684-8717889741888001550?l=marcroftfam.blogspot.com" alt="" /></div>
<i></i> <br />Yesterday while I was reading the latest <a href="http://www.lds.org/general-conference/sessions/2011/04?lang=eng" target="_blank">conference addresses</a> during SSR at school :) I found this quote that I felt was perfect to describe me and many people like me. <br /> <br />President Boyd K. Packer said in his talk, “<a href="http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/guided-by-the-holy-spirit" target="_blank">Guided by the Holy Spirit</a>” <br /> <blockquote>A Latter-day Saint is quite an ordinary individual….We are taught to be in the world but not of the world.<sup><a href="http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/guided-by-the-holy-spirit#17-PD50028768_000_2040">17</a></sup> Therefore, we live ordinary lives in ordinary families mixed in with the general population. <br />We are taught not to lie or steal or cheat.<sup><a href="http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/guided-by-the-holy-spirit#18-PD50028768_000_2040">18</a></sup> We do not use profanity. We are positive and happy and not afraid of life. <br />We are “willing to mourn with those that mourn … and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.”<sup><a href="http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/guided-by-the-holy-spirit#19-PD50028768_000_2040">19</a></sup> <br />If someone is looking for a church that requires very little, this is not the one. It is not easy to be a Latter-day Saint, but in the long run it is the only true course.</blockquote> Isn’t that great? <br /> <br />p.s. While Daddy was at the Civil War Camp-o-ree with the scouts the boys and I ventured out tonight and went to Disneyland. We had a great time and even stayed long enough to see the World of Color which got lots of oohs and ahhhs from the boys. It was so fun and so many people were so excited to see me out with the boys and were so nice! <i>I am soooo enjoying having our passes and plan to go a few more times before the summer! </i> <div><img width="1" height="1" src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/3951023913044278684-4784710318545019347?l=marcroftfam.blogspot.com" alt="" /></div>
<p><a href="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/duty-to-god.jpg"><img title="duty-to-god" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/duty-to-god.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="117" /></a><a href="http://mormonchannel.org/">Mormon</a> youth (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) strive to follow <a href="http://dcmormontemple.com/53/jesus-christ-in-mormonism">Jesus Christ</a> and to progress spiritually in their divine nature and character.  The young men of The Church of Jesus Christ (members are nicknamed &#8220;<a href="http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormonism-101">Mormons</a>&#8220;) are involved in tracking their progress through an inspired initiative of the Church, known as<em> The Duty to God.  </em></p> <p><em></em><em>The Duty to God </em>website has been made available in <a href="https://www.lds.org/young-men/duty-to-god?lang=spa">Spanish</a> and <a href="https://www.lds.org/young-men/duty-to-god?lang=por">Portuguese</a>. In this new site, young men can create and maintain their plans online. They must first create an <a href="http://www.mormonolympians.org/mormon/mormon_beliefs.html">LDS</a> Account, which can be easily done using the birth date and Membership Record Number. The site contains videos and other materials that will help the young men complete their program requirements.</p> <p>The young women of The <a href="http://mormon.org/">Church</a> of Jesus Christ have an analogous program known as <em>Personal Progress</em>. This website in those languages will be available in the coming weeks. For more information on members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please visit Christ.org, AboutMormons.org, Mormonbeliefs.com, WhyMormonism.com, or mormonyouth.org.</p> <p>For the official Church website, please visit lds.org or mormon.org.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/MoreGoodFoundation/~4/66z3pRDM-3E" height="1" width="1" />
<p>Earlier today a well-known critic of FAIR made the following statement on an Internet message board:</p> <blockquote><p>&#8220;MI/FAIR/FARMS has a history of nasty ad hominem attacks (see the Simon Southerton adultery accusations)&#8230;&#8221;</p></blockquote> <p>We at FAIR have been asking, for a long, long time, for concrete examples of where we have engaged in <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem"><i>ad hominem</i> fallacies</a>, as we don&#8217;t really want to do so. (I know; that may seem incredulous to some. But it really is true.) This statement, by the critic on the message board, was the first concrete example I&#8217;ve noticed.<br /> <span></span><br /> To start with, I do know that Southerton was excommunicated from the Church for adultery in 2005. It was reported in the <i>Sydney Morning Herald</i> (Australia) on July 21, 2005. (An archive copy of the <a href="http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/mormons-challenge-apostate-scientist/2005/07/20/1121539032256.html">article can be found online</a>.) According to the article, it was Southerton who announced the allegation to the reporter. So the accusation is a matter of public record, placed into that record by Southerton himself.</p> <p>Even so, the fact that he was charged with adultery <i>could</i> be used as an <i>ad hominem</i> fallacy if (and only if) it is presented as a reason to disregard the arguments of a person. Such a usage would be wrong, and definitely a logical fallacy. It plainly should not be done in scholarly discourse. Was this how FAIR and FARMS had used accusations of adultery—to get people to ignore things that Southeron said? Good question!</p> <p>So I went searching.</p> <p>First, I did a search on the FARMS/MI site for the phrase &#8220;Southerton adultery,&#8221; and it turns up exactly once&mdash;in a slide used by John Butler for Education Week in 2008. (It is a tag under the picture of Southerton and says, in part, &#8220;Excommunicated in 2005 for adultery.&#8221;)</p> <p>Forgetting for a moment that John Butler doesn&#8217;t work for FARMS and that Education Week is not a FARMS venue, the phrase doesn&#8217;t come up anywhere else, and in any other publication. None.</p> <p>I then did a search on FAIR&#8217;s websites for the same phrase, &#8220;Southerton adultery.&#8221; It appears exactly once, in <a href="http://www.fairlds.org/reviews-of-dna-evidence-for-book-of-mormon-geography/section-1-dna-evidence">one of our reviews</a> of Rodney Meldrum&#8217;s material. It appears in both the short version (as just linked) and in the longer version, which is a PDF. It was used then to correct Meldrum, not to address anything that Southerton ever said.</p> <p>I think that there are a few things to consider here. First, Southerton&#8217;s book contesting the historicity of the Book of Mormon was published in 2004, and the arguments that Southerton made have been discussed long and hard in many venues. Both of the &#8220;search hits&#8221; on the FAIR and FARMS websites were for singular statements made in 2008, four years later and, honestly, after the intensity of the discussion regarding Southerton&#8217;s arguments. One of the mentions wasn&#8217;t even directed at Southerton, at all.</p> <p>Which still leaves me puzzled. Where do the &#8220;Simon Southerton adultery accusations&#8221; (as our critic states them) get hung around the necks of FAIR and FARMS? Perhaps someone with more in-depth searching skills can point out where there are any <i>ad hominem</i> statements (constituting an <i>ad hominem</i> fallacy) in this regard. I, for one, would welcome someone pointing them out.</p> <p>In fact, going back to my statement earlier in this post, we at FAIR have been asking, for a long, long, LONG time, for concrete examples of all the meanness attributed to us, as an organization. Understanding that it is possible to not see the forest for the trees, please <b>consider this an open, standing invitation</b>. If anyone can point them out to us, I&#8217;d be glad to make sure someone takes a look at what is brought up.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/Qki037K-uWA" height="1" width="1" />
<p><a href="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/mormon_internet_NEW.png"><img title="mormon_internet_NEW" src="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/mormon_internet_NEW-300x168.png" alt="" width="240" height="134" /></a>On March 29, 2012, Scott Gordon appeared at the UVU Conference on Mormonism and the Internet. In this address, he explains the mission, purpose and history of FAIR.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/OdxW_FGrUkA" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F05%2FFostering-Faith-and-Countering-Criti.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 10.06 MB)</i></div>
<p>The Church is at it again. The different accounts of Joseph Smith&#8217;s First Vision, which the Church has been sneaky enough to hide in places like the <a href="http://www.lds.org/ensign/1996/04/joseph-smiths-testimony-of-the-first-vision?lang=eng&amp;query">Ensign</a> and <a href="https://byustudies.byu.edu/showTitle.aspx?title=4839">BYU Studies</a>, continues to be suppressed and hid from unsuspecting Church members. The damning contradictions in the Prophet&#8217;s different accounts are, in fact, so damaging that the Church thought it wise to talk about them only in a place so obscure and so concealed that nobody would be able to find it without any serious effort. I am speaking, of course, about YouTube. After all, nobody watches the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/MormonMessages">Mormon Messages</a> videos produced by the Church. What better place to hide this information from Church members than in a place that certainly has never been talked about in an official Church<a href="http://www.lds.org/ensign/2011/04/in-the-news?lang=eng"> magazine</a> or <a href="http://www.lds.org/media-library/video/mormon-messages?lang=eng&amp;start=1&amp;end=12">website</a>?</p> <p>But enough talk. Let&#8217;s take a look at the video itself:<br /> <span></span><br /> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iN9_55hMzLk&amp;feature=g-all-esi">Joseph Smith and the First Vision</a></p> <p>Yikes! I do not envy Mark Ashurst-McGee. I can only image how much shame and scorn he is going to have to endure from Church members who will undoubtedly renounce him for saying such scandalous things such as there are &#8220;differences&#8221; in these accounts. I shudder at the disciplinary action this poor soul is going to weather for mentioning that the 1838 account of the First Vision &#8220;is not the only account of the First Vision that Joseph Smith ever gave.&#8221; And surely Ashurst-McGee&#8217;s mentioning of &#8220;this [the 1838 account] and three other accounts of the First Vision&#8221; won&#8217;t win him points with the ominous Brethren (cue scary music) who hold his fate in their all-powerful hands.</p> <p>At several points in the video Ashurst-McGee even dares to talk about specific differences in the First Vision accounts. The 1832 account, he tells us, focuses more on Joseph&#8217;s search for a remission of sins and only mentions the appearance of Jesus Christ. The Prophet&#8217;s 1835 account, according to our sleuth, explains that the Father appeared first and then introduced the Son. To top it off, after a blistering cavalcade of shocking revelations on the gross contradictions in the accounts of Joseph Smith&#8217;s First Vision, Ashurst-McGee explains that the 1842 account of the First Vision &#8220;provides details not found in the other accounts.&#8221;</p> <p>At this point, if the reader can compose him or herself, one may ask why the Church would do such a foolish thing as expose this deep, dark secret of Mormon history? The answer, actually, is <a href="http://www.fairblog.org/2011/07/11/a-note-on-the-first-visions-of-paul-and-joseph-smith/">quite simple</a>: the differences in the accounts of Joseph Smith&#8217;s First Vision no more contradict each other than the differences in the accounts of the conversion of the Apostle Paul do. (Or the differences in the accounts in the life of Jesus in the Gospels, for that matter.) As such, the Church is quite safe to talk openly about this issue as it has done in the past.</p> <p>Granted, critics of the Church won&#8217;t be really satisfied until the Church devises a missionary lesson in <em>Preach my Gospel</em> that extensively goes into this subject and other related controversies, such as polygamy, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and the Book of Abraham and Joseph Smith Papyri. Until that time, however, we should be content with what little things the Church will grant us in the way of Mormon historical sources. (Ya know, the simple things like the <a href="http://josephsmithpapers.org/">Joseph Smith Papers</a>.)</p> <p>Next time, however, the Church should be more discrete with these issues. Mormon Messages and the Ensign are a good start when it comes to covering-up these sorts of things by hiding them in super secret retreats, but other more obscure places of concealment will have to be used in the future. Maybe <a href="http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/10/safety-for-the-soul?lang=eng">General Conference</a> will do the trick?</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/NZGEfqjj0yw" height="1" width="1" />
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxvFjhOvyKY&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/hxvFjhOvyKY/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxvFjhOvyKY&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Dedication of Kansas City Missouri Temple</a> <br /></div> <div><span>See www.mormonnewsroom.org for more information.</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 2175</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_half_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>49 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>03:45</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=25">News &amp; Politics</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5bLrTFnuLc&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/d5bLrTFnuLc/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5bLrTFnuLc&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Kansas City Missouri Temple Cultural Celebration</a> <br /></div> <div><span>See www.mormonnewsroom.org for more information.</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 2079</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_half_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>38 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>01:39</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=25">News &amp; Politics</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<p>I led a discussion in a high priests group today about personal apostasy and how we can help by sharing the gospel over the internet. I asked for people to share their personal experiences regarding why people leave, and I shared some figures from a 1988 study that is summarized by Kevin Barney <a title="Why Do People Leave the Church" href="http://bycommonconsent.com/2009/03/15/why-do-people-leave-the-church/">here</a>. With regard to reasons people become inactive in the Church, the study reported the following:</p> <ul> <li>54% wanted to spend their limited time and resources on other interests and activities.</li> <li>40% indicated that they didn’t feel they belonged</li> <li>25% reported feeling it didn’t matter to anyone whether they attended or not.</li> <li>About a third gave contextual reasons (movement to a new community where they didn’t get involved, work schedule conflicts, etc.).</li> <li>23% reported problems with specific doctrines or teachings,</li> <li>20% reported problems with other members of the congregation</li> <li>Some said the church demanded too much of their time and money</li> <li>Others said it no longer was a help in finding the meaning in life.</li> <li>Female respondents in particular were affected by marriage to a nonmember spouse.</li> </ul> <p>As I opened it up for discussion, the idea was expressed, and I agreed, that a fundamental reason for loss of faith was a loss of the Spirit. So many of the factors listed above can be tolerated if an individual feels a strong connection with God that is associated with activity in this Church (prayer, scripture reading, Church and temple attendance, etc.)<br /> <span></span><br /> I was a little surprised, however, by the extreme position taken by one member of the group who commented to me after the lesson that he has never known a person to leave the Church who is not engaged in some serious sin. He further argued that it is not rational argument over the internet, but one-on-one ministering that converts people. Thus, our efforts on the internet are not helpful. (He later admitted that effort made on the internet might be of some use.) He entirely disregarded the findings of the study cited above and further forcefully argued that if people had real testimonies by the Spirit to begin with, they would never leave.</p> <p>I told him that his experience must simply be different than mine, and that I have known people who at one time had strong testimonies but later left, and that I have been unable to discern any “serious sin” in their lives. I do think that in each instance, if these individuals would have continued to cultivate a relationship with the Spirit, that they would not have left. But the reasons they did not continue in a close relationship with the Spirit may have been due to some combination of any of the various factors listed in the study above.</p> <p>A testimony must be nourished with great care, and should not be neglected. Otherwise, when exposed to difficulties, our testimony can slowly diminish and finally leave us. (See <a title="Alma 32:37-38" href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/32.37-38?lang=eng">Alma 32:37-38</a>.) Those difficulties may take the form of a desire to play golf on Sunday, or lack of friendship in a ward, or some doctrine or historical aspect of the Church that seems troubling. Clearly, adultery can drive a person from the Church, and such a person may even look for doctrinal or historical problems to justify leaving the Church when the root cause is actually adultery. However, in teaching a lesson on how we can help prevent people from leaving, it struck me that in forcefully (even contentiously) advancing the argument that it is serious sin, and only serious sin, that causes people to leave, this man may be creating an atmosphere in his ward that may create difficulty for someone who is struggling with a doctrinal issue and, ironically, accelerate that person’s exit from the Church. And in taking a contentious approach to his view, he may be driving away the very Spirit that is essential to building faith.</p> <p>A person should feel free to share concerns with other members of a ward regarding doctrinal or historical problems without fear that their neighbors will jump to conclusions about adultery or methamphetamine use. There are solid answers to nearly every doctrinal or historical issue I have confronted. (There are still some that make me scratch my head as I faithfully wait for further light and knowledge.) However, it is usually only on the internet, in a fairly impersonal and anonymous forum, that I am asked about these issues. I wonder how many people could be helped in a personal way by a neighbor who can follow-up and help strengthen a person who is struggling if they were not made to feel that in expressing concern, their personal worthiness would be questioned.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/GXRQESc0FvE" height="1" width="1" />
<p><strong><span>T</span>HE topic of vicarious</strong> or “proxy” baptisms performed by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has recently received a lot of attention, both positive and negative. (And both factual and lacking in accuracy, it&#8217;s fair to say.) I&#8217;m sure the topic will come up again, so even though it&#8217;s not at this moment a hot topic bouncing around the news, I&#8217;d like to share a few of my own thoughts about this issue and the way it&#8217;s been characterized as a horrible, disrespectful thing to do on behalf of the deceased.<span></span></p> <h2>Doctrinal Differences</h2> <p>Certainly, there are those who object to the practice due to a disagreement over whether the practice genuinely belongs in a Christian faith. I&#8217;ll briefly respond to this since others have already given this plenty of good coverage, including articles on the FAIR wiki and main website. We&#8217;ve always pointed to a verse from the New Testament where the apostle Paul asks,</p> <blockquote><p>Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?<a href="http://www.fairblog.org/#vb1"><sup>1</sup></a></p></blockquote> <p>Some object to this, saying that Paul wasn&#8217;t condoning the practice, but was referring to a group of heretics, not Christians. I would say that Paul isn&#8217;t discussing baptism here directly, but trying to give a convincing argument supporting the reality of the resurrection. Given that, it&#8217;s interesting that he uses baptism for the dead as something that apparently would be familiar to his audience and would provide a compelling reason to believe in the resurrection. That would be a strange thing to do if his point was to speak against—or even downplay—the practice of vicarious rites.<a href="http://www.fairblog.org/#vb2"><sup>2</sup></a> Others deny the necessity of literal water baptism as a works-based salvation heresy or even simply say that it&#8217;s pointless because people who died without a proper Christian baptism are irrevocably condemned to damnation.</p> <p>We&#8217;re used to that sort of dialog. We get that. What has been a newer experience<a href="http://www.fairblog.org/#vb3"><sup>3</sup></a> is the claim that even attempting this work is a horrific, cruel, thoughtless act, for which we should be ashamed of ourselves. Yet more proof, in some people&#8217;s way of thinking, of the depravity of Mormons is that we would <em>dare</em> to plunder the afterlife to add souls to our religion through forced posthumous conversion to Mormonism, offending their surviving relatives.</p> <p>This is honestly baffling because the characterization of the practice I just wrote, while I think fairly<br /> representative of what many in the world have been voicing on this topic, is so utterly at odds with the way the LDS approach the practice, our initial reaction is to be shocked that it&#8217;s taken that way. We see it as an offering of inclusion for any to freely accept or reject, but we&#8217;re at least offering to share all we have in the afterlife with them rather than turning our backs on them for being outside our faith.</p> <h2>Outrageous Ordinances?</h2> <p>That&#8217;s not how some see it, and it&#8217;s taken me some time and effort to (I believe) come to understand why that might be. To explain why, consider first what this means to the Latter-day Saints. Like most Christian sects, the LDS believe that acceptance of Jesus Christ as savior and atoning mediator is a necessary condition for salvation and full reconciliation with God, and the participation in the physical acts of baptism and confirmation are essential components of how that acceptance is formally entered as a covenant relationship with God. We have a rather unique answer to the dilemma of what happens to the souls of those who never had the opportunity to make that choice for themselves during their mortal lives.</p> <p>In LDS doctrine, God is universally just and requires the same entrance criteria to heaven of every human being who ever lived, but is likewise universally merciful and offers the same possibility of achieving it to every human being, and “he inviteth all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.”<a href="http://www.fairblog.org/#vb4"><sup>4</sup></a> And, I would add, “whether born in a time, place, and circumstance where they could possibly, or would reasonably, accept this covenant, or not.”</p> <p>Therefore, He provided a way for those still living to repeat the sacramental rites, (or “ordinances” to use the more familiar LDS term for them), on behalf of the deceased, standing in for them by proxy. What is important to note here is that at no point does the LDS church consider those deceased people <em>to have received baptism or to be members of the LDS church or even Christianity</em> by virtue of that act alone. All it means is that the required physical covenant-making ceremonies have been performed for them, so that <em>in the event that departed soul makes the choice on their own volition to embrace it,</em> then and only then does it have any effect.<a href="http://www.fairblog.org/#vb5"><sup>5</sup></a></p> <p>This is a crucial distinction to understand where the LDS are coming from for our part in this. The increasingly popular characterization is that we&#8217;re “stealing souls” by “converting them to Mormonism” or even “preying on the defenseless souls and robbing them of their heritage when they are powerless to resist.” As lurid as that spin makes this sound, putting it like that makes it hard for LDS to understand the point of view of those complaining, since it&#8217;s so very different from what we believe is even taking place. On one hand that complaint seems to indicate an acceptance that the proxy baptism <em>actually has a real effect</em> on anyone, which makes us do a bit of a double-take (“Wait, are you saying you believe our religion actually is <em>right</em> or has any real power in the afterlife?” If so, maybe it&#8217;s worth paying attention to&#8230; but if you don&#8217;t believe that, then you don&#8217;t believe anyone&#8217;s being affected at all by the practice anyway). On the other hand, not even the LDS believe they&#8217;re converting anyone, just opening a door for them should <em>they</em> (the deceased) choose to take it from there.</p> <p>“What right do you have to do such an awful thing to my ancestors, or members of my faith or community?” they ask, and the LDS are genuinely puzzled with why it&#8217;s awful in the first place, as well as why anyone can really take it upon themselves to stand as the spokesperson for a previous generation and assert that <em>they</em> have the right to determine the choices they would have made if still living, when all the LDS are doing is offering a choice, not presuming to force them.</p> <h2>Working Toward Mutual Understanding and Cooperation</h2> <p>I&#8217;ve read a lot of what they&#8217;ve had to say about why they&#8217;re outraged. Setting aside ranting comments by people more interested in stirring up a controversy for its own sake, there remain a number of people who seem to me to have a reasonable point to make as to why the practice makes them uncomfortable. They have gone along the general theme that it is, they feel, disrespectful to the memory of these people, that (and I&#8217;ll focus here on the Jewish people here since that&#8217;s the current controversy) it is seen as robbing them of their Jewish heritage by “turning them into Mormons or even Christians.” The one point that hit home most to me was one writer who said he was offended because this practice was essentially saying that the Jewish religion was insufficient to get their people to heaven, and so the LDS must feel they have to step in and meddle in some condescending way, and showed the anti-semitic prejudice of the LDS.</p> <p>And you know, I think I get that.</p> <p>I can respect that point of view and understand how one would hold it and feel that way about all of this.</p> <p>But if I may respond with a gentle rebuttal giving a better view of what&#8217;s going on from the LDS point of view, perhaps I can help foster a little more mutual understanding.</p> <h2>Anti-Semitism and Mormonism</h2> <p>In reality, you&#8217;d be hard pressed to find a Christian denomination more pro-Israel, one would even say philo-semitic, than the LDS. Beyond the usual association common to Christians that our religion is a continuation from the foundations of Judaism, that we hold the Hebrew scriptures among our other holy books as scripture, that we also worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and see Israel as God&#8217;s ancient covenant people, the LDS go further by taking literally the concept that the righteous people of the Gentile nations will be “grafted in” to Israel and adopted into the covenant. We speak of the church as Zion, we even go to the lengths of receiving a blessing at the hands of our patriarch, whereupon we are given the name of the actual <em>tribe</em> of Israel we&#8217;re adopted into.</p> <p>In the part of the <cite>Book of Mormon</cite> we were studying in my Sunday School class recently, there&#8217;s a passage which does as good a job as I can think of to illustrate the LDS view of the Jews. The passage isn&#8217;t directly even <em>about</em> the Jews. It&#8217;s about how people will reject the idea of more scripture (such as the <cite>Book of Mormon</cite> itself), but in addressing that, the writer pauses to throw in this sentiment about the Jewish people:</p> <blockquote><p>And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.</p> <p>But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?</p> <p>O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people.</p> <p>&#8230;</p> <p>And it shall come to pass that my people, which are of the house of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in one. And I will show unto them that fight against my word and against my people, who are of the house of Israel, that I am God, and that I covenanted with Abraham that I would remember his seed forever.<a href="http://www.fairblog.org/#vb6"><sup>6</sup></a></p></blockquote> <p>A religious sect who sent one of their leaders across the globe in 1841 to climb the Mount of Olives and offer a prayer of dedication, asking God to bless the Holy Land for the return of the Jews, is hardly anti-semitic.</p> <p>At least in the eyes of one Jewish co-worker I chatted with on the subject many years ago, LDS devotion to Israel was, she felt, somewhere between “flattering” and “a bit annoying”—much as an older child feels when their younger sibling follows them around everywhere trying to emulate everything they do. I accept that the attention isn&#8217;t always what the older sibling wants (I was the eldest in my family—I speak from experience here), but you have to admit it&#8217;s driven from love, not hatred or even disdain.</p> <p>In trying to get we LDS to understand how offensive our practice of “trying to save” our ancestors is, some have asked rhetorically, “How would <em>you</em> feel if we gave <em>your</em> ancestors, or <em>you yourself</em> a posthumous bar mitzvah, or circumcision, or if a coven of Wiccans performed a Rite of Dedication for you, or was handfasted in your name, or what if a Buddhist, or Muslim, or Hindu, or Catholic, or Baptist, performed any manner of their religious rituals on your behalf after you&#8217;re dead, <em>how would that make YOU feel, huh?</em></p> <p>Honestly? I&#8217;d be honored. I&#8217;d be grateful that you thought enough of me to offer.</p> <p>Let other groups shut them out of the afterlife they see for themselves, or consign them to a fiery doom. We aren&#8217;t even trying to push them into our vision of the afterlife. We&#8217;re just setting a place at our table with their name on it, and leaving the door open for them. The rest is literally up to them.</p> <p>And we do the same for everyone. For this, we&#8217;re told we&#8217;re insensitive monsters.</p> <p>Maybe I still don&#8217;t quite get it.</p> <p "text-align: right;margin-left: 20%"><em>As a Jew, I am less interested in what other religions teach about the fate of Jews in the next world than in how they affect the fate of Jews in this world. Rafael Medoff, a scholar of America&#8217;s response to the Holocaust, notes that Mormon leaders were outspoken supporters of efforts to rescue Jews from Nazi Europe at a time when many mainstream Christians were silent. For example, Utah Senator William King . . . strongly backed legislation that could have saved Anne Frank and her family.</em></p> <p "text-align: right;margin-left: 20%">Outraged by proxy baptisms? Count me out. As my stunted family tree attests, the Jewish people have very real, very dangerous enemies. Mormons undergoing peaceful rituals in their own temples aren&#8217;t on the list.</p> <p>—Jeff Jacoby, in his article <a href="http://townhall.com/columnists/jeffjacoby/2012/02/29/outraged_by_mormon_proxy_baptism_not_this_jew/page/2">“Outraged by Mormon Proxy Baptism? Not This Jew”</a></p> <hr /> <p><a name="vb1"></a><sup>1</sup>1 Corinthians 15:29</p> <p><a name="vb2"></a><sup>2</sup>It&#8217;s also interesting to note how differently we approach the concept of the scriptural reference. Members of Protestant <em>sola scriptura</em> traditions assume we&#8217;re just proof-texting an entire practice gleaned from a single verse fragment (“Hey, Paul mentions something called ‘baptism for the dead,’ we better get busy doing that!”) and are a little baffled by that. From the point of view of a church based on the idea of continuing revelation, we think it is cool and all that Paul mentioned it in his day, but that&#8217;s more of a supportive role. The basis for the modern practice is a modern revelation (e.g., D&amp;C 124), by modern prophets (e.g., D&amp;C 127).</p> <p><a name="vb3"></a><sup>3</sup>Of course, on this point and throughout this entire entry I&#8217;m speaking only for myself, my opinions, beliefs, and experiences. I&#8217;m no sort of spokesperson for FAIR, let alone all Latter-day Saints or anything.</p> <p><a name="vb4"></a><sup>4</sup>2 Nephi 26:33. Also, Acts 10:34 (God is no respecter of persons).</p> <p><a name="vb5"></a><sup>5</sup>In fact, nowhere in any of the rituals is the deceased person directly told anything like “I baptize you&#8230;” (as is the case for a living convert). Rather, the living person is addressed directly, and told that <em>they</em> are being baptized&#8230; on behalf of someone else. That&#8217;s not just semantics, it&#8217;s extremely significant.<br /> <a name="vb6"></a><sup>6</sup>2 Nephi 29:3–5, 14.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/l-6NK2esC9Y" height="1" width="1" />
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnSnQNGMRWU&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/dnSnQNGMRWU/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnSnQNGMRWU&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Political Neutrality - Whiteboard Animation</a> <br /></div> <div><span>The concept of political neutrality is not new for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). An explanation of the Church&#39;s position has been on MormonNewsroom.org for several years. But in an Internet age many people prefer a more immediate way to view and learn about topics and issues of the day than simply reading text. More information can be found at www.mormonnewsroom.org</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 1318</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>44 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>02:19</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=25">News &amp; Politics</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<p>Martin Tanner discusses various mesoamerican evidences for the historicity of the Book of Mormon in this episode of Religion Today that originally aired on September 4, 2011.</p> <p>This recording was used by permission of KSL Radio and does not necessarily represent the views of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or of FAIR.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/O4TlS9p0cqg" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F02%2FReligion-Today-for-Sunday-September.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 9.04 MB)</i></div>

Looking Honestly

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FAIR Blog

on 2012-5-02 8:29pm GMT
<p>On March 29, 2012, Utah Valley University hosted a fascinating conference entitled <i>Mormonism and the Internet</i>. Perhaps the most interesting exchanges, for me, were those in session five of the conference, which was a panel discussion among John Dehlin, Scott Gordon, and Rosemary Avance. UVU has <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JO6fD8M4OB0">just posted this particular conference session</a> online, and I just watched it again.</p> <p>Rather early in the panel discussion, I asked a question of John Dehlin, as a follow-up to his presentation earlier in the day. You can hear my question beginning at about 13:05 into the video:</p> <blockquote><p>People often study the same facts or issues and come to vastly different conclusions&mdash;some have their faith strengthened, while others have their faith destroyed. To what do you attribute this difference in outcome, and why do you feel that the stories of those who have suffered a negative outcome should be privileged over those with a positive outcome?</p></blockquote> <p><span></span><br /> This was John&#8217;s answer:</p> <blockquote><p>That&#8217;s a really hard question for me to answer. I&#8217;m one of the ones who have lost faith, and so my perspective is going to be really biased. What I can say is that to some degree disbelief appears to be a luxury.</p> <p>We even saw this a little bit in our data&mdash;the more income you have, the more freedom you feel to question and to be honest with parents and siblings and children, etc. You can just imagine that if you are financially independent and you don&#8217;t have to worry about losing your job and you don&#8217;t have to worry about being written out of an inheritance, you might feel the freedom to inquire without reservation a little bit more than somebody who&#8217;s got a job that may be associated with the church, and who needs that inheritance, and who can&#8217;t afford to sever social ties that the church might benefit them from.</p> <p>So, I also think that if we were to do sort of a multi-factorial analysis&mdash;what is the person&#8217;s spouse like, are they open-minded or are they kind of rigid and harsh and dogmatic? That might be a factor in whether someone&#8217;s really willing to look honestly at the data. What happens when they look honestly is a totally separate question, but I think there are factors in one&#8217;s environment that are going to make it more or less likely that they can actually look objectively at the data.</p> <p>Other factors might include&#8230; Just imagine if you are making $30,000 a year, struggling to raise your kids, maybe you&#8217;re a single mom, and your ward is just this critical social support for you&mdash;and you enjoy it&mdash;your interests in actually looking at the data objectively are going to be very different. So, I think those are sort of the barriers to just being able to look at things objectively.</p></blockquote> <p>At first I thought that John was being evasive; he didn&#8217;t really answer my question which was how people can study the same data and come to differing conclusions. (There was actually a <a href="http://www.fairblog.org/2009/02/12/same-process-different-outcome/">very good discussion</a> relative to my question a few years ago on the FAIR blog.) What John did, however, was seem to answer a different question: What do you think are roadblocks to people actually &#8220;seeing the truth&#8221; about Mormonism?</p> <p>Of course, that is not a question that I would have asked, as it presumes in its very asking that Mormonism is not what it claims to be and that if we can but remove the roadblocks to understanding, people will inevitably come to their own conclusions about the falsity of those claims. After all, John prefaced his response by recognizing his own bias as one who has lost faith.</p> <p>It seems to me that a common ailment of those who lose their faith after study is that they look at those who maintain their faith after the same study as somehow dishonest and lacking objectivity. They see in others a lack of what they imagine in themselves&mdash;after all, they have only gone where the facts have led them, and to reach any other conclusion is <i>prima facia</i> evidence of a problem or defect in the other.</p> <p>So I thought I would pose the question here that John raises in the middle of his answer; the one that he seems to obliquely answer by his own faith journey: What happens when a person looks honestly at the facts or issues of Mormonism? Does honesty demand that such questions inevitably lead to a loss of faith, or can one be honest and remain a member of the church?</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/_Z0hG9SFmXs" height="1" width="1" />
<p>An inquiry came to FAIR&#8217;s &#8220;<a href="http://www.fairlds.org/contact.php">Ask the Apologist</a>&#8221; service this morning, asking for help with the following claim on the Wikipedia article &#8220;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistics_and_the_Book_of_Mormon#Hebrew_names">Linguistics and the Book of Mormon</a>”:</p> <blockquote><p>Richard Packham has pointed out that several Biblical Hebrew names, including Aaron, Ephraim, and Levi are listed as Jaredites in the Book of Ether. He argues that these are anachronisms, since the Jaredites are supposed to have originated from the time of the Tower of Babel, and did not speak Hebrew.</p></blockquote> <p>Perennial ex-Mormon gadfly Richard Packham apparently fails to understand that the Book of Mormon is a <em>translation</em>, and translations render ancient words — including names — into modern forms that didn&#8217;t exist at the time.</p> <p><span></span>For example, in the New Testament, there are <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bd/james?lang=eng">several individuals named &#8220;James&#8221;</a>, including an apostle and a bishop of Jerusalem. However, there was no name &#8220;James&#8221; in Greek during the first century A.D.; that word is a <a href="http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=James&amp;allowed_in_frame=0">late-twelfth century Middle English form</a> of the late Latin <em>Jacomus</em>, which itself derives from old Latin <em>Jacobus</em>. All of these are translations of the Koine Greek ιακωβον (<em>Iakobos</em>), which is a Greek version of the Hebrew יעקב (<em>Ya&#8217;aqob</em>), which itself is typically rendered in English as &#8220;Jacob.&#8221;</p> <p>So Packham could also argue — erroneously — that the presence of &#8220;James&#8221; in the New Testament is an anachronism, since its Greek-speaking authors did not know Middle English.</p> <p>When Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, he naturally would have rendered ancient names into equivalent English forms that modern readers would understand.</p> <p>Once again, for the record: The Book of Mormon is a <em>translation</em>. The presence of English (<a href="http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon/Anachronisms/Language/%22Adieu%22">or even French</a>) words in it does not mean that its writers knew English; only that Joseph Smith, the translator did.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p><strong>ADDITIONAL:</strong></p> <p>A possible response to the above could be, &#8220;What about Book of Mormon names like <em>Nephi</em>, <em>Abinadi</em>, and <em>Korihor</em>? Those aren&#8217;t in the Bible and appear to be Nephite words — or at least examples of Joseph Smith <em>not </em>borrowing from the Bible.&#8221;</p> <p>To that I would answer that translation of a proper name is often left to the discretion of the translator. I have heard Spanish speakers refer to me, in Spanish, as either <em>Mike</em> or <em>Miguel</em>, depending on their preference.</p> <p>More to the point, there are numerous examples from the Bible where the translators chose to use transliterated versions of the original Greek or Hebrew name, or picked an English equivalent.</p> <p>For example, the New Testament names <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/3.1?lang=eng">Nicodemus</a> (νικοδημος / <em>Nikodemos</em>), <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/20.24?lang=eng#23">Didymus</a> (διδυμος / <em>Didumos</em>), and <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/rom/16.7?lang=eng#6">Andronicus</a> (ανδρονικον / <em>Andronikos</em>) are all pretty close approximations of the Greek original, while names like <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/4.21?lang=eng#20">John</a> (ιωαννην / <em>Ioannes</em>) and even <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/1.16?lang=eng#15">Jesus</a> (ιησους / <em>Iesous</em>) are heavily anglicized.</p> <p>The King James translators were even inconsistent on rending the same person&#8217;s name the same way: The English name <em>Paul</em> in Greek is παυλος (<em>Paulos</em>). In the KJV this is almost always rendered &#8220;Paul,&#8221; except in <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/acts/13.7?lang=eng#6">Acts 13:7</a> where it is transliterated &#8220;Paulus.&#8221;</p> <p>Likewise the name ιουδας, which is usually transliterated as &#8220;<a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/10.4?lang=eng#3">Judas</a>&#8221; in the New Testament, and is Greek version of the Hebrew <em>Judah.</em> As it so happens, <em>Judas</em> came to be infamously associated with Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of the Lord. Because of this, all other references to ιουδας in the New Testament are rendered in some other fashion, even though they&#8217;re the same Greek word: Either &#8220;<a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/mark/6.3?lang=eng#2">Juda</a>&#8221; (8×), &#8220;<a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/heb/8.8?lang=eng#7">Judah</a>&#8221; (1×), or &#8220;<a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/jude/1.1?lang=eng">Jude</a>&#8221; (1×). The latter is, of course, the title of the penultimate book in the New Testament; the author&#8217;s name is the same as Judas Iscariot&#8217;s, but, to avoid confusion, the English rendition in the KJV and virtually all subsequent English translations has been &#8220;Jude.&#8221;</p> <p>So, as a translator, Joseph Smith would have been free (or perhaps inspired) to use a transliteration of a name like <em><a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/47.13?lang=eng#12">Amalickiah</a></em>, or an anglicized equivalent of an ancient name, even one with Greek roots like <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/3-ne/19.4?lang=eng#3"><em>Timothy</em></a>.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/IhPcIE4ADwI" height="1" width="1" />
<p>What is the connection between some of the modern polygamist groups and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? In this episode of Religion Today that originally aired on February 26, 2012, Martin Tanner discusses the arguments used by some fundamentalist groups to justify their practice of polygamy, and why these arguments are inconsistent with the modern doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.</p> <p>This recording was used by permission of KSL Radio and does not necessarily represent the views of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or of FAIR.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/lM8E5Pwg_8E" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F03%2FReligion-Today-for-Sunday-February.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 9.15 MB)</i></div>
<blockquote> <p><a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-ijkNuVZH6Lg/T5I9ez5ToVI/AAAAAAAACwM/TUDZxXzAKyE/s1600-h/TheBoys_April2012_%252520128%25255B4%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_April2012_ 128" border="0" alt="TheBoys_April2012_ 128" align="right" src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-ogEBR0i3qgc/T5I9fG9p6gI/AAAAAAAACwU/jgj6GIIPYc8/TheBoys_April2012_%252520128_thumb%25255B2%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="246" height="138" /></a>Five months. I can’t believe that it has been five months since <a href="http://marcroftfam.blogspot.com/2011/11/during-this-past-week-i-kept-saying.html" target="_blank">he was born</a> and joined our family and at the same time it is hard to remember a time without him. He’s finally catching up to his brothers (well, their sizes as babies) and a month ago at his four month appointment he was already 17.5 pounds (95 percentile) and 27 inches long (100 percentile). Our boys are thick, heavy and long!</p> <p>Here are some silly pictures that I got of the boys before bed tonight. They sure do love their Benjamin!</p> <p><a href="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-FlZedMYb4Is/T5I9f1EyoAI/AAAAAAAACwc/iY41Wa1PtQ8/s1600-h/TheBoys_April2012_%252520120%25255B6%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_April2012_ 120" border="0" alt="TheBoys_April2012_ 120" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-6FFCA6dhXYI/T5I9gQnXRLI/AAAAAAAACwk/G9-ZgwBYAIQ/TheBoys_April2012_%252520120_thumb%25255B6%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="394" height="273" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-VzEt-D4-y9s/T5I9hZu6O0I/AAAAAAAACws/coPlsmwTnUY/s1600-h/TheBoys_April2012_%252520117%25255B9%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_April2012_ 117" border="0" alt="TheBoys_April2012_ 117" src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-5JEJ0e_brBk/T5I9h-Yqd5I/AAAAAAAACw0/-nO-Z8NeOro/TheBoys_April2012_%252520117_thumb%25255B6%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="391" height="305" /></a></p> <p align="center">He is a happy little guy!<a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-lcbvdEyN-VQ/T5I9jH9GdKI/AAAAAAAACw8/dZsqRsvpyus/s1600-h/TheBoys_April2012_%252520110%25255B7%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_April2012_ 110" border="0" alt="TheBoys_April2012_ 110" src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-iCdM3JVHHWg/T5I9joLnryI/AAAAAAAACxE/SrCEQAt84Fg/TheBoys_April2012_%252520110_thumb%25255B10%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="381" height="364" /></a></p></blockquote> <div><img width="1" height="1" src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/3951023913044278684-6968952754413167858?l=marcroftfam.blogspot.com" alt="" /></div>
<p><a href="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/2890511-t.jpg"><img title="2890511-t" src="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/2890511-t.jpg" alt="" width="165" height="229" /></a>This is a collection of audio clips from the 2007 movie entitled &#8220;Journey of Faith: The New World,&#8221; directed by Peter Johnson and produced by the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies.</p> <p>Thoughtful insights from 32 top scholars continue the journey into the Book of Mormon&#8217;s thousand-year span, aiding understanding of this sacred text. Mormon&#8217;s description of the land, religious history, culture, and traditions create a fascinating mosaic. Stunningly beautiful images filmed on location in Guatemala and Mexico combined with the art of Joseph Brickey illuminate the right culture of the Book of Mormon.</p> <p>The video includes audio tracks in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Special features address specific topics such as the law of Moses and the Book of Mormon, DNA and the Book of Mormon, language and the Book of Mormon, metal in Book of Mormon lands, and more.  The full video runs approximately 90 minutes and can be purchased at the <a href="http://bookstore.fairlds.org/product.php?id_product=598">FAIR Bookstore</a>.</p> <p>These clips were posted by permission of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/IYisTc2AbTY" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F04%2FJourney-of-Faith-1.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 3.85 MB)</i></div>

Spring Break 2012

-

Me and my boys...

on 2012-4-18 7:09am GMT
<p>We were sooooo ready for Spring Break this year and I think that we had a great time! I didn’t get the school work done that I should have OR the house work done that I should have but I did have fun playing Mommy!</p> <p>1) We went to the park with our cousins and friends from the neighborhood. Ben rode on the swing for the first time pushed by big brother Danny! He was so excited! <br /> <br /><a href="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-B95Ox04e1rU/T45oRULswaI/AAAAAAAACpQ/u3QpPEeDQmg/s1600-h/TheBoys_April2012_%252520065%25255B4%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_April2012_ 065" border="0" alt="TheBoys_April2012_ 065" src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-cBMXJfeQ-9Y/T45oSEXuUoI/AAAAAAAACpY/SEumkAIjCUw/TheBoys_April2012_%252520065_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="200" height="260" /></a></p> <p>2) We went to Pretend City with a friend from my school. The boys love, love, loved it! They’ve asked to go back about 10 times since then. It is a great big place in a warehouse with every thing you need to pretend to be a firefighter or a sushi maker or farmer! It is way cute and lots of fun! <br /> <br /><a href="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-GMiRFIqsgww/T45oTFDJ5MI/AAAAAAAACpg/MPe7ShO7fDI/s1600-h/Pretend%252520City%252520-%252520April2012_%252520037%25255B4%25255D.jpg"><img title="Pretend City - April2012_ 037" border="0" alt="Pretend City - April2012_ 037" src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-gw4mOmFZ-hM/T45oTrE_t-I/AAAAAAAACpo/Dw086sUNnhQ/Pretend%252520City%252520-%252520April2012_%252520037_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="200" height="260" /></a></p> <p>3) We bought mini Angry Bird kites but it wasn’t very windy but the boys loved it anyway! <br /> <br /><a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-CiqUYfY1PGg/T45oU9lB3hI/AAAAAAAACpw/w5mnG2oVnbA/s1600-h/TheBoys_March2012_%252520029%25255B4%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_March2012_ 029" border="0" alt="TheBoys_March2012_ 029" src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-0Px7U7lcHoQ/T45oVLJRKSI/AAAAAAAACp4/2Xl7UkuQLKM/TheBoys_March2012_%252520029_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="260" height="200" /></a></p> <p>4) We celebrated Easter with our families! We had two kids who were sick so we didn’t get a nice family picture taken but it was a nice day and everyone got better as the day went on! <br /> <br /><a href="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-L3NTQOJn07o/T45oWEtDIWI/AAAAAAAACqA/dP9fpAUtpSs/s1600-h/Easter_April2012_%252520028%25255B5%25255D.jpg"><img title="Easter_April2012_ 028" border="0" alt="Easter_April2012_ 028" src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-3fvtIhBWEHM/T45oWa7o_-I/AAAAAAAACqI/0lYXpMe8jPU/Easter_April2012_%252520028_thumb%25255B2%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="260" height="200" /></a></p> <p>5) We walked from our house with our cousins to get Chinese food and then ice cream cones at McDonalds. Even met up with more friends in the parking lot…it was a little crazy when we added up the number of kids but it was fun, and definitely an experience! Sammy lost a tooth there that day as well! <br /><a href="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-ZfJchWLJUME/T45oXPKXIDI/AAAAAAAACqQ/wkZ_3ek2tCY/s1600-h/Sammy_losttooth_April7%25252C2012%25255B6%25255D.jpg"><img title="Sammy_losttooth_April7,2012" border="0" alt="Sammy_losttooth_April7,2012" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-B8M2k33xFFU/T45oXQv74zI/AAAAAAAACqY/33e0IcDqucA/Sammy_losttooth_April7%25252C2012_thumb%25255B2%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="200" height="260" /></a> <br />6) We finally saved up enough to get passes to Disneyland :D and spent the day with the boys there! Sammy loved it of course but the best part was seeing Nathan (who doesn’t remember going when he was two) and Danny—as they walked around they had the biggest smiles and were soooo excited to be there! I think I was so excited I started crying three times just watching them before I even made it down Main Street. Cheesy I know. <br /><a href="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-efvmTvKfjkY/T45oYMMFAPI/AAAAAAAACqg/NsWy5Hi6R00/s1600-h/TheBoys_April2012_Disneyland%252520022%25255B4%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_April2012_Disneyland 022" border="0" alt="TheBoys_April2012_Disneyland 022" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-YsbXjjmsKTA/T45oYm46sTI/AAAAAAAACqo/HgeGyof8H2U/TheBoys_April2012_Disneyland%252520022_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="179" height="260" /></a></p> <p>7) We ate Pizza and Hot Dogs and had yummy samples at Costco. Okay this one is a normal thing we like to do but it was still fun!</p> <p>8) We went to Chuck E Cheese’s with our friends from church and played lots! Thank goodness for free tokens (I had coupons for a birthday and a half birthday that were still good!) :D</p> <p><a href="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-AmsCG937WhQ/T45oZgRpf-I/AAAAAAAACqw/cVgq9r7XC0Q/s1600-h/TheBoys_April2012_%252520086%25255B7%25255D.jpg"><img title="TheBoys_April2012_ 086" border="0" alt="TheBoys_April2012_ 086" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-fF3SS_S88GI/T45oaMckX7I/AAAAAAAACq4/mM28cOogbgQ/TheBoys_April2012_%252520086_thumb%25255B2%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="260" height="200" /></a></p> <p>9) We used a gallon of bubbles (okay some <em>did</em> spill) and a whole box of sidewalk chalk! We had angry birds (Sammy) and balloons (Danny) all over the place! Oh and boxes of TNT and “traps” by Sammy too.</p> <p>10) We had a lot of time to just be together. It was a great spring break!</p> <p>See more pictures below:</p> <div><table border=0 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=0 > <tr> <td colspan=2 > <a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=play&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!2040&amp;parid=FE4EF293063B7550!2039&amp;type=1&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos&amp;authkey=!AFjetEDJL9TA0FQ" target="_blank" border="0"> <img border="0" alt="View album" title="View album" width="157" height="157" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-dL57Y4CGoE8/T45oaqptTTI/AAAAAAAACrA/z4vvOVIB8h0/1169610194023E4086.png?imgmax=800" /></a> </td> <td colspan=3 > <div "margin-left:10px;top:-3%;" > <div><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=browse&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!2039&amp;type=5&amp;authkey=!AFjetEDJL9TA0FQ&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos" target="_blank"><span defaultText="Enter album name here">Spring Break 2012</span></a></div> <div> <table border=0 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=0> <tr> <td><a 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Vinnanigans

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Susie &amp; the Banshees

on 2012-4-16 4:11am GMT
<div><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/--jZLgXGZEpM/T4uZoJ_8m9I/AAAAAAAAAso/INHMhgGZO9A/s1600/Spring+2012+013+too.jpg" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/--jZLgXGZEpM/T4uZoJ_8m9I/AAAAAAAAAso/INHMhgGZO9A/s320/Spring+2012+013+too.jpg" width="90" /></a></div>My sweet (OK, crazy) Vinnie-Pie has&nbsp;succumbed&nbsp;to three-year-oldness. &nbsp;That's right: he's bossy. &nbsp;What's interesting is <i>how</i>&nbsp;he has chosen to express his new-found talent of being directive. &nbsp;While driving about, much to my surprise, this little guy randomly shouts out,<br /><br /><div><span>"I wanna go to&nbsp;</span><br /><span>[the park, Mickey, etc.] -&nbsp;</span><br /><span><b>TURN RIGHT!</b>"&nbsp;</span></div><div><img width="1" height="1" src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/5437796834279020871-4055753665664894527?l=susieqland.blogspot.com" alt="" /></div>

Easter 2012

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Me and my boys...

on 2012-4-13 7:16am GMT
<p>We started out the day going to church after I made some bunny shaped cinnamon rolls (from a can). We had two kids with fevers so we split the duty (I went to Sacrament and then missed Sunday school and went home so that Thad could hit the tail end of Sunday school and be there for Priesthood) so we didn’t get a nice family picture—we will have to do that another day! It was a nice meeting though and it is always good to be at church!</p> <p>The Fongs and Repettis organized an egg hunt so Nathan and Sammy and I went over there after naps while Daddy stayed with the sickly ones. We hid tons of eggs and the kids had a great time with their cousins. Grandma and Grandpa are cruising up the coast so they missed out on the fun this year!</p> <p>After the egg hunt we headed to Grandma and Grandpa Marcroft's house for Easter dinner with the cousins and an egg hunt in the back. We had delicious ham dinner and enjoyed our time with Aunt Addie, Uncle Eric and the Badalamentis!</p> <p>Enjoy the pictures…</p> <div><table border=0 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=0><tbody><tr><td><a target="_blank" href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=play&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!1986&amp;type=5&amp;authkey=!AMiPGZuRv5WYgc4&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos"><img alt="View album" title="View album" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-90OyKhcybyU/T4fNLMiT0iI/AAAAAAAACpA/FW0lczUJCho/Marcroft%252520Family%252520Easter%252520Picturef%25255B3%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" /></a><div> <div><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=browse&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!1986&amp;type=5&amp;authkey=!AMiPGZuRv5WYgc4&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos" target="_blank"><span defaultText="Enter album name here">Marcroft Family Easter Pictures</span></a></div> <div> <table border=0 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=0> <tr> <td><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=play&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!1986&amp;type=5&amp;authkey=!AMiPGZuRv5WYgc4&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos" border="0" target="_blank">VIEW SLIDE SHOW</a></td> <td><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=downloadphotos&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!1986&amp;type=5&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos&amp;authkey=!AMiPGZuRv5WYgc4" border="0" target="_blank">DOWNLOAD ALL</a></td> </tr> </table> </div> </div></td></tr></tbody></table></div> <div><table border=0 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=0><tbody><tr><td><a target="_blank" href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=play&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!2001&amp;type=5&amp;authkey=!AABzLuw1Cye5VRE&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos"><img alt="View album" title="View album" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-hZsF8xj0bb0/T4fNLZhpERI/AAAAAAAACpI/QtitZrkwdA4/album%25255B4%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" /></a><div> <div><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=browse&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!2001&amp;type=5&amp;authkey=!AABzLuw1Cye5VRE&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos" target="_blank"><span defaultText="Enter album name here">Egg Hunt with the Fongs and Repettis</span></a></div> <div> <table border=0 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=0> <tr> <td><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=play&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!2001&amp;type=5&amp;authkey=!AABzLuw1Cye5VRE&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos" border="0" target="_blank">VIEW SLIDE SHOW</a></td> <td><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=downloadphotos&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!2001&amp;type=5&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos&amp;authkey=!AABzLuw1Cye5VRE" border="0" target="_blank">DOWNLOAD ALL</a></td> </tr> </table> </div> </div></td></tr></tbody></table></div> <div><img width="1" height="1" src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/3951023913044278684-1373916710052088719?l=marcroftfam.blogspot.com" alt="" /></div>
<p><a href="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-XevoUPdQHjQ/T4TgIvUN0QI/AAAAAAAACoQ/rWjpV2eMr-I/s1600-h/IMG_0479%25255B7%25255D.jpg"><img title="IMG_0479" border="0" alt="IMG_0479" align="right" src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-rN1DJWzWVlA/T4TgJD6MElI/AAAAAAAACoY/PqfYck2BMLE/IMG_0479_thumb%25255B4%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="150" height="206" /></a> <br />Sammy who eats, breathes and dreams about Angry Birds was window shopping for Angry Birds items…the backpack was about $70 (ouch!) so I said that we could make them out of felt and glue or sew them onto t-shirts or bags. (The model to the right is younger brother Danny who liked the green bird that Nathan picked out.) <br /> <br />We tried to get felt at a few places around here but finally had to head to Joann Fabrics in Cypress and we’ve made two items so far! I even made <a href="http://www.4shared.com/office/ZGGYwjHb/AngryBirds_FeltFaces.html">patterns</a> in case there are other moms out there with too much time on their hands. <br /> <br />Sammy didn’t like it at first and was concerned that it was in pieces but was very happy with the result. He told me, “wow Mom. You’re really good at gluing! There are some Moms that aren’t so good at gluing but they’re great at sewing so it’s okay.” LOL. <br /></p> <p><img title="IMG_0451" border="0" alt="IMG_0451" src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-mXheaIbEog8/T4TgKpzS7bI/AAAAAAAACoo/qGjRK1N4bnc/IMG_0451_thumb%25255B3%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="180" height="240" />Get the patterns <a href="http://www.4shared.com/office/ZGGYwjHb/AngryBirds_FeltFaces.html">here</a>!&#160; Patterns for felt or other fabric if you want to make your own Angry Bird gear (t-shirts, backpacks, etc!)&#160; PDF file includes: Black Bird, Green Bird, Yellow Bird, Red Bird, King Pig <br /><a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-XfQ3JWqvz_4/T4TgLaab9wI/AAAAAAAACow/MIubbMDxwzY/s1600-h/IMG_0453%25255B4%25255D.jpg"><img title="IMG_0453" border="0" alt="IMG_0453" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-FUgD67MUoU8/T4TgLu3rVDI/AAAAAAAACo4/LUxR44UDwOM/IMG_0453_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="240" height="180" /></a> <br />And one more thing just for fun. Sammy loves telling stories and had me write this one down last night. I thought I’d type it in here since it is my journal too. </p> <p><strong>Ice Angry Bird</strong> by Sammy</p> <p>The Angry Birds like Angry Birds Space. The Ice Bird said, “We have to work together.”</p> <p>The black bird said, “Of course! We have to work together!”</p> <p>The ice bird was fearless and the pigs were still in their space ships flying to the Planet Freeze Brrr. The Ice Bird loved it there—that is where the Ice Bird was born. The pigs were hungry. The Ice Bird said, “We can’t quit!” </p> <p>And then the Mighty Eagle wiped out the last level of Planet Freeze Brrr. And they went back to Earth with their eggs and the Ice Bird said, “See you next time in Space, Angry Birds.”</p> <p><img src="http://thegift73.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/angry-birds-space-620x540.jpg" width="286" height="250" /></p> <div><img width="1" height="1" src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/3951023913044278684-3300222025811353725?l=marcroftfam.blogspot.com" alt="" /></div>
<p><a href="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Backyard-Professor.png"><img src="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Backyard-Professor.png" alt="" width="150" height="150" /></a></p> <p>FAIR member Kerry Shirts shares the insights he has gained into the study of the Book of Mormon as world literature as it has been made more possible through the Book of Mormon Critical Text project conducted by Royal Skousen.</p> <p>This is part of a YouTube series Brother Shirts has posted as The Backyard Professor. Brother Shirts loves to study and was first called the “Backyard Professor” by his wife because he takes his books everywhere with him. The video of this audio recording can be viewed <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZwiiVw9luQ">here</a>.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/cg5UhhtSOnQ" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F04%2FThe-Book-of-Mormon-as-World-Literatu.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 5.02 MB)</i></div>
<p><a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-cMQ5WIpgYno/T4TV3dILH-I/AAAAAAAACmw/ucZ8qQYj-Vg/s1600-h/Sammy_losttooth_April7%25252C2012%25255B12%25255D.jpg"><img title="Sammy_losttooth_April7,2012" border="0" alt="Sammy_losttooth_April7,2012" align="left" src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-26jaZt7Li6U/T4TV3_psjeI/AAAAAAAACm4/GAKpyJ8dWMk/Sammy_losttooth_April7%25252C2012_thumb%25255B10%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="225" height="279" /></a>Sammy fell the other day and his already loose tooth got even looser. Then at McDonald’s he came over with a bloody mouth and with a little twist from Sarah M. the once dangling front tooth was finally out (I say finally since it has been loose for a while and he’s had kind of a silly smile as it “floated” back and forth in his mouth!)</p> <p>Here is his picture right after losing it! Thanks Sarah for snapping it since my camera was with Thad on a scout trip!</p> <p>We stopped at Redbox for a movie (we made popcorn and had smoothies after dinner for a movie night since Daddy was gone). They had ToothFairy 2 which was cheesy but it was only $1.26, you can’t beat that!</p> <p><a href="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-FCIwumxmGso/T4TV4Un8BhI/AAAAAAAACnA/4spWMWlKSa4/s1600-h/IMG_0658%25255B6%25255D.jpg"><img title="IMG_0658" border="0" alt="IMG_0658" align="right" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-Fw1CNE-Od2k/T4TV4upAE4I/AAAAAAAACnI/dk47iLp6A98/IMG_0658_thumb%25255B3%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="200" height="260" /></a>That night I was officially in spring break mode and thought, hey, why not make a little tooth out of felt for him to put it in! I had felt leftover from the boys’ baseball banners and and I made one in under ten minutes and I think it turned out cute! :) Too bad the baby was super fussy and that I passed out after putting him down and somehow the tooth fairy <em>forgot </em>to stop by. We realized in the morning that the tooth fairy wanted Daddy to see the tooth before she took it that is why she didn’t come while he was on his scout outing. <em>PHEW! </em>Anyway…I just cut the shape out and stitched a simple stitch around the edge by hand making a little pocket. The next day I added the S and made one for each of the boys! Hooray for me!</p> <p><a href="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-qsYXtRTey1Y/T4TV6uDryjI/AAAAAAAACnQ/--eo14H_pR8/s1600-h/IMG_0657%25255B8%25255D.jpg"><img title="IMG_0657" border="0" alt="IMG_0657" src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-2Oz0jKB_D2k/T4TV7BMAtxI/AAAAAAAACnY/UZqlhoKH0KA/IMG_0657_thumb%25255B8%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="424" height="224" /></a></p> <div><img width="1" height="1" src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/3951023913044278684-6588048947474816189?l=marcroftfam.blogspot.com" alt="" /></div>
<p>It’s Spring break and time to catch up on cleaning, blog posts and lots of time to play (pics and posts later!) As I was pulling pictures off I realized hoe behind I am! Here goes the first post! :)</p> <p>March 26th was a furlough day and it was a great mini stay-cation day. It made me really excited for spring break! Here are some of the things we did that made it fun for us!</p> <p>We live really close to the train tracks and so sometimes (if we’re ready to go) if we hear the trains (especially if they’re switching) we’ll jump in the car or grab the stroller(s) and race around the corner to see the trains! The boys have always loved this and often go train chasing with Thad while I’m at school! This time was especially fun since Thad and Sammy have been riding their bikes more and they rode to the trains and then an additional 5 miles! Go Sammy boy! :)</p> <p>Here are some pictures from our walk!</p> <p><a href="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-gDY7HVidovI/T4TSWMvhX7I/AAAAAAAAClo/bC4hMvNHTxM/s1600-h/IMG_0215%25255B4%25255D.jpg"><img title="IMG_0215" border="0" alt="IMG_0215" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-wkweszhppUE/T4TSW4ZOYyI/AAAAAAAAClw/A0bfg8dyO2c/IMG_0215_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="260" height="200" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-8v5K2eS6BcY/T4TSXy9c4BI/AAAAAAAACl4/qjTsUhzRgZo/s1600-h/IMG_0212%25255B5%25255D.jpg"><img title="IMG_0212" border="0" alt="IMG_0212" src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/-anZbRmWEECU/T4TSYiuj59I/AAAAAAAACmA/oT-6NFKlm9s/IMG_0212_thumb%25255B2%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="200" height="260" /></a></p> <p>The boys and I walked around our neighborhood until they got back from their ride and then we ate at Costco. It is the cheapest place to feed our family (when we’re not at home and Mommy cooks). Hot dogs and pizza…yum! Daddy spoiled us with churros too! </p> <p><a href="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-dIfzh5iWwq8/T4TSZ1Y7VKI/AAAAAAAACmI/iUQ-yOdDSK0/s1600-h/IMG_0218%25255B6%25255D.jpg"><img title="IMG_0218" border="0" alt="IMG_0218" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-vmdDX7j3haQ/T4TSahXUaTI/AAAAAAAACmQ/dgPmNjtnYR8/IMG_0218_thumb%25255B3%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="429" height="329" /></a></p> <p>And later that same day we tried out a kite that I got for $1.26! The wind wasn’t the greatest that day but the boys loved it! Daddy got it to go way up high! <br /></p> <p><a href="http://lh5.ggpht.com/-xG4Vr-28M_U/T4TSbRrbU0I/AAAAAAAACmY/RbbnJ65cXWk/s1600-h/IMG_0233%25255B4%25255D.jpg"><img title="IMG_0233" border="0" alt="IMG_0233" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-PbIU4o5v1MU/T4TSb1t_PFI/AAAAAAAACmg/gztRDwOQwMQ/IMG_0233_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="200" height="260" /></a> <br /> <div><table border=0 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=0><tbody><tr><td><a target="_blank" href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=play&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!1963&amp;type=5&amp;authkey=!ANfT7fKHJa_zdJg&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos"><img alt="View album" title="View album" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-dj4EUMZRvk8/T4TScWSpWQI/AAAAAAAACmo/3SxVitgoJ6E/Flying%252520a%252520Kite%252520-%252520March%25252026%25252C%2525202012%25255B7%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" /></a><div> <div><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=browse&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!1963&amp;type=5&amp;authkey=!ANfT7fKHJa_zdJg&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos" target="_blank"><span defaultText="Enter album name here">Flying a Kite - March 26, 2012</span></a></div> <div> <table border=0 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=0> <tr> <td><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=play&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!1963&amp;type=5&amp;authkey=!ANfT7fKHJa_zdJg&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos" border="0" target="_blank">VIEW SLIDE SHOW</a></td> <td><a href="https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=fe4ef293063b7550&amp;page=downloadphotos&amp;resid=FE4EF293063B7550!1963&amp;type=5&amp;Bsrc=Photomail&amp;Bpub=SDX.Photos&amp;authkey=!ANfT7fKHJa_zdJg" border="0" target="_blank">DOWNLOAD ALL</a></td> </tr> </table> </div> </div></td></tr></tbody></table></div></p> <div><img width="1" height="1" src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/3951023913044278684-8719724881022880347?l=marcroftfam.blogspot.com" alt="" /></div>
<p align="center"><em>Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens</em></p> <p align="center">[Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain]</p> <p align="center">—     Friedrich Schiller, <em>The Maid of Orléans</em></p> <p>The vicarious temple ordinances performed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the “Mormons”) are back in the news.  This time, it is because someone has reportedly sealed Sally Hemings to Thomas Jefferson. (Hemings was a slave owned by Jefferson.  She bore children that have Jefferson DNA.  [1])</p> <p>As usually happens with such things, the media and the blogosphere are a-bubble.  Some are well-intentioned expressions of concern, others are ill-informed, and some seem to just want to pile on and make the Church look bad, or use this as an opportunity to push their own reforming agenda on the Church.</p> <p>The unspoken assumption seems to be that the Church can be “shamed” or at least “public-pressured” into “doing the right thing.”  In this case, the right thing would presumably be not performing vicarious sealing of slaves to former masters.  (The more hostile want temple work vastly curtailed or stopped altogether, but we’ll leave them to one side—it isn’t going to happen.)</p> <p>This is not, however, simply one more case of “Mormon institutional insensitivity” to go with performing temple rites for Holocaust victims (despite what some have suggested).  LDS policy forbids performing Holocaust victims’ temple rites.  The people who did so had to circumvent fairly significant warnings and technological obstacles to do so.  (Those obstacles have since been increased even further.)</p> <p>Likewise, it has never been LDS policy to seek out female slaves and seal them to their former masters and/or rapists.</p> <p>Now, I wholeheartedly endorse the idea of not sealing slaves to masters.  The idea is obscene.  I don’t know any sensible person that would endorse it.  And that, unfortunately, is precisely the problem—I said <em>sensible </em>person.</p> <p>Let me explain.</p> <p><span></span></p> <p><strong><span>No sensible person</span></strong></p> <p>I’ve been in the Church for nearly forty years, in two languages, on both sides of North America, in Europe, and a few other places.  I have never heard, been taught, or read that we ought to be sealing slaves to former masters.  Never.  At all.  There is no “slave and master record extraction program.”</p> <p>I also don’t know anyone else who has heard such things taught, likely for the simple reason that it never has been.  I do know of one case, however, in which a member announced that her family wanted to seal Jefferson to Hemings.  Despite the ward family history representative pointing out (with some heat) that this was contrary to Church policy, the member persisted in thinking this was a good idea.  I don’t know if she succeeded, but apparently someone of a similar bent did.</p> <p>Now, be honest: we’ve all met this person in <em>any </em>reasonably large group or organization, especially if the group is a voluntary association. He or she is part of the human condition—the one who does or says something that makes everyone else cringe and wonder, “What was he thinking?”  And, some people do this more spectacularly—or more frequently—than others.</p> <p>If you haven’t met him, please write and tell me—I might just move to your area.</p> <p>Or, you might be him.</p> <p><strong><span>Feeling Sheepish</span></strong></p> <p>I was once complaining to my father (with less charity than I ought to have had) about one particular specimen.  He told me a story.</p> <p>You see, my great-grandfather owned a farm in the foothills of Alberta.  Every summer, Dad would go there to work.  One of his jobs was herding sheep.  This summer activity gave him a slightly different twist on Jesus’ label of us as his sheep.</p> <p>The sheep my Dad tended seemed determined to conspire in their own deaths.  They were always getting lost, stuck, and according to him would have followed each other off a cliff if given half the chance.</p> <p>So, he told me, whenever he now hears Jesus’ command to “Feed my sheep,” he thinks back to the herd he had on the farm, and hears an admonition to, among other things, “Look after the dummies.”</p> <p>I don’t know if that’s what Jesus intended, but it’s a sort of “liken it unto ourselves” perspective that I’ve found useful.</p> <p>In saying this, I don’t mean to imply that these people are stupid, or intellectually challenged—they can be bright or dim, just like anyone else can.</p> <p>But, sometimes we just seem to have blinders on our common sense.  We have difficulty understanding how others will see things, and we tend to charge on blithely regardless.  We should simply count ourselves lucky if our own areas of dumbness aren’t presently on public display, causing unintended harm to the Church we love, and offense where none was intended.</p> <p>And so, this is the big problem with the expectation of some in the media and blogosphere: they seem to think that if the Church would just teach and train members better, things like sealing Sally Hemings to Thomas Jefferson would be stopped.  (Others quickly decide that nothing can be done, and the whole temple project should be shut down—which, I repeat, is never going to happen.)</p> <p>But, the problem is not that Church leaders and members don’t care about such things—almost all care very much, since doing such things contravenes policy and doctrine.</p> <p>The problem is that these things are done by a very small percentage of Mormons.  And, they are the percentage who are <em>least </em>likely to listen when told they aren’t supposed to do something—as the case I mention above illustrates.  Tell them not to do it, and some people just dig in their heels.  Maybe you or I have even done something similar when we were convinced we were right about something.</p> <p>When in this mindset, you and I are also the least likely to, say, read angry blogs about the matter, and decide we need to change our behavior.  Sometimes, people just don’t get it.[2]</p> <p><strong><span>The Body of Christ</span></strong></p> <p>One could speculate about the psychology or psychiatry involved, but that’s not the issue.</p> <p>What is important is that as members of the Church, we’re not to reject or cast people out when they do something like this and make everyone else look bad.    People are not clueless or insensitive just in matters of temple work—sadly, someone among us will struggle in just about any area of their lives.  We all do.  If you haven’t had the experience of putting your foot in your mouth, or doing something you thought was a good idea, only to have it blow up in your face—well, you just aren’t paying attention.</p> <p>But, if people with these types of troubles cannot be loved, accepted despite their faults, and welcomed in the Church of Jesus Christ, where can they be? Where can we be?  Where can I?</p> <p>Members of the Church who <em>seem</em> to “have it all together,” are much more congenial to us.  But, as Paul emphasized, in the Church we really ought to treasure the “uncomely” or “shameful” parts of the body of Christ (<a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/1-cor/12.22-27?lang=eng#21">1 Cor. 12:22–27</a>).  And, that will be all of us at some point or another.  If we’re lucky, it won’t be front-page news.</p> <p>None of us is perfect, and we’re all going to rub someone wrong at some point.  We’re all “sheep,” we all do stupid things, and we’re all dummies who need looking after sometimes.  Perhaps the greatest danger is to those who are more highly functional, because they can be tempted into a feeling of superiority, or frustration with the rest of us who don’t measure up to the standards they think people should meet.</p> <p>We have, then, no grounds for feeling or being unkind or acting superior here.  I’m trying to explain how this sort of thing happens, and will likely <em>keep </em>happening occasionally despite all the teaching, training, and policies that get put in place.</p> <p>The people who will need the message have a problem that just isn’t easily amenable to teaching, training, and policy.  If you have to be told that sealing slaves to masters is a bad idea, despite LDS policy and doctrine, you’re not likely to “get it” when you <em>are</em> told.  Or, you won’t remember.  Or you’ll think your case is an exception.</p> <p>Sadly, as LDS temple work has become more publicized, the ability of a few to alienate many has just increased.</p> <p>Besides, the dead are immune to offense or disturbance regardless&#8211;or at least I hope so.  If the Mormons are right, then the targets of misguided temple work have nothing to worry about—they aren’t bound to Thomas Jefferson or anyone else that they don’t accept with joy.  If the Mormons are wrong, then temple work is of no consequence anyway.</p> <p>Ironically, those who accuse Mormon temple work of trying to “take over” or “speak for” the dead are themselves doing just that.  The Mormons are offering an ordinance which the dead must accept for it to be of any validity at all.  And, we’d like to do it privately—we don’t do it for worldly attention, praise, or to act triumphalistic.</p> <p>Are the Mormons so potent or intrusive a force in the hereafter that our <em>faux pas</em> victimize and traumatize those who have gone before?  I suspect not—especially in the critics’ view, where LDS ordinances are of no value whatever.  It would be a strange kind of hell if the dear departed were forever at risk of being tormented or victimized by whatever random dumb thing some mortal somewhere said or did.</p> <p>Some of those doing the complaining are, by contrast, getting outraged in behalf of the dead.  They’re putting words in the mouths of the dead, and insisting that these people need to be protected.  But, protected from what?</p> <p>As for this world, and any offense caused the living, virtually all the Mormons <em>themselves</em> don’t want this sort of thing going on either.  So, why take offense when some few individuals do something forbidden by both policy and doctrine?  Those who expect perfection from humans are doomed to disappointment.  Let the appropriate Church department know if there’s a problem, but don’t assume bad faith and insensitivity on everyone&#8217;s part.</p> <p><strong><span>Apologies</span></strong></p> <p>I regret what some few of our disobedient or clueless members did.  But, apologies from people about things they didn’t do (and tried to prevent) always strike me as cheap theatre, and altogether too easy.  If I offend, I want to apologize.  But, I won’t presume to do so on others’ behalf.</p> <p>So, speaking only for myself, if you’re offended or upset, I can only say:</p> <p><em>We get it.  We’re not happy about such things either.  But, we’re not going to just boot the people responsible.  Even if we could identify them, that would be the easy, and comfortable way out. We’re going to keep working with them, because they’re our brothers and sisters too, and need help and love more than almost anyone else. And, I might need it next time around.</em></p> <p><em>I suspect technological barriers will prove the only effective way to decrease these sorts of incidents. The Church seems committed to on-going efforts to improve these strategies.  (We must remember the computer programmer’s adage, though—as soon as you make software foolproof, someone goes and invents a smarter fool.)  </em></p> <p><em>So, some few will probably still slip through. (The Hemings/Jefferson sealing may be an </em>old <em>entry, though—the problem or loophole might not even exist now. People may be upset over something that happened years ago.)  </em></p> <p><em>If you choose to be outraged each time it happens, you are going to spend a lot of time being upset over something you can’t control, caused by a miniscule fraction of LDS members.</em></p> <p><em>If you have a way to keep dummies from occasionally doing silly things, you should let us know—and then market the method, because it would make a killing in industry, government, and PTA meetings.</em></p> <p><strong><span>Conclusion</span></strong></p> <p>We’re doing our best to feed the sheep.  We know there are people doing dumb things.  Can’t be helped. We’re all labeled as “sheep,” which maybe ought to tell us something about our tendencies. But, we trust the Shepherd to get us all—member and non-member, living and dead, dummies all—safely home if we are willing.</p> <p><strong><span>Endnotes</span></strong></p> <p>[1] [10 April 2012 edit] &#8211; The original article disputed Jefferson&#8217;s paternity, based upon  Robert F. Turner, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Jefferson-Hemings-Controversy-Scholars-Commission/dp/0890890854/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1333295172&amp;sr=8-1"><em>The Jefferson-Hemings Controversy:  Report of the Scholars Commission</em></a> (Carolina Academic Press, 2011 [2001].  This was unwise, and since my footnoted addendum didn&#8217;t make this clear enough, I&#8217;ve removed the sentence from the main article&#8211;I normally try to avoid this after-the-fact revision, but don&#8217;t want readers distracted by what is a peripheral (to my argument, not to Jefferson-Hemings scholarship) point.  I apologize, but have left the comments below intact.</p> <p>[2] We also cannot ignore, I think, the possibility that at least some unauthorized entries in temple databases are the work of those who have malicious intent—they <em>want </em>the Church to look bad.  Here again, stopping them entirely is difficult if one wants to maintain a computer system that allows people all over the world to contribute to family history work and research.  Such things don’t work well in a climate of suspicion or paranoia.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/yzpT5z0-X-s" height="1" width="1" />
<h3>He is Risen: Inspirational Easter Messages of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)</h3> <p>Just in time for Easter, watch and share a new Christ-centered message,&#8221;He is Risen.&#8221; Ponder what the Savior means to all humanity—and to you personally. And then share the good news.</p> <p><strong>The Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos: He is Risen</strong></p> <p></p> <p>There&#8217;s been some waning in our secular culture of the significance of sacred days and a disappearance of reverence for or understanding of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. We live our lives on the surface of frenetic activity, quick fixes, shorter attention spams, abbreviated communications, and sometimes lose the depth of seeking and communication with the spiritual truths that matter most. This week has often been a time to slow down and ponder and remember the story of Christ, in particular, the victory over death and sin that He alone has provided for each of us! It&#8217;s a glorious time of hope and remembrance. It&#8217;s a time when new blossoms dot the tree-lined avenues and when flowers push forth from the ground, urging us to see and walk in the newness of life provided by Christ. I witness that He has provided that newness for me&#8211;and continues to refresh my life and add colors unimagined 30 plus years ago, when I first really encountered Him.</p> <p><a href="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/mormon-jesus-christ.jpg"><img title="mormon-jesus-christ" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/mormon-jesus-christ-300x240.jpg" alt="Jesus Christ resurrection" width="300" height="240" /></a>This week is special in Christianity, and among Latter-day Saint Christians particularly, since it draws our focus to the events leading up to the Savior&#8217;s crucifixion and resurrection. We reflect on this week the Savior&#8217;s final mortal week, known as Holy Week by many Christians: His willing ride into Jerusalem on a donkey as the Passover Lamb, mistaken, rejected, and misunderstood by many; His agonizing suffering for you and I in the Garden; His voluntary submission to the most barbaric and tortuous death on the cross; and His glorious and literal resurrection of the dead. With other Christians, we, as Latter-day Saints (<a href="http://www.whymormonism.org/basic_mormon_beliefs.html">Mormons</a>) attest that He lives! In spite of Resurrection Summits and deconstructionist doubters of the historical accounts, we witness personally and collectively that we know that He lives today, that He is capable of and does intercede to redeem those of the &#8216;uttermost&#8217; depths of sorrow and sin, as they come unto Him and that He has a glorified resurrected body of flesh and bones, seen personally by Mary, Cleopas, ancient and modern apostles and hundreds of those to whom He appeared in His day (<a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/heb/7.25?lang=eng#24">Hebrews 7: 25</a>; <a href="http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/acts/1.3?lang=eng#2">Acts 1:3</a>). We witness that He has also appeared in our day and that He lives!</p> <p>Recently, a living prophet of God, Thomas S. Monson addressed the world and affirmed these salient core, saving truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.In his prophetic words, The President of <a href="http://www.academic-genealogy.com/churchofjesuschristoflatterdaysaintsldsmormon.htm">The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints</a> (nicknamed &#8220;Mormons&#8221;), related his special witness of the reality of the resurrected Lord:</p> <blockquote><p>My brothers and sisters, we know that death is not the end, this truth has been taught by living prophets throughout the ages. It is also found in our Holy Scriptures. In the <a href="http://www.lds.org/topic/book-of-mormon/">Book of Mormon</a> we read specific and comforting words, “Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow” (Alma 40:11-12).</p> <p>After the Savior was crucified, His body laid in the tomb for three days, the Spirit began entered, the stone was rolled away, and the Resurrected Redeemer walked forth, clothed with an immortal body of flesh and bones. The answer to Job’s question, “if a man die, shall he live again?” came when Mary and the others approached the tomb and saw two men in shining garments who spoke to them “why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here but is risen” (Luke 24:5). As the result of Christ’s victory over the grave, we shall all be resurrected. This is the redemption of the soul. Paul wrote, “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another” (1 Corinthians 15:40).</p> <p>It is the Celestial glory, which we seek. It is in the presence of God we desire to dwell. It is a forever family in which we want membership. Such blessings are earned through a lifetime of striving, seeking, repenting and finally succeeding. Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go after this life? No longer need we these universal questions remain unanswered. From the very depths of my soul, and in all humility, I testify that those things of which I have spoken are true. Our Heavenly Father rejoices for those who keep His commandments. He is concerned also for the lost child, the tardy teenager, the wayward youth, the delinquent parent. Tenderly, the Master speaks to these and indeed to all, “come back, come up, come in, come home, and come unto me.”</p> <p>As His special witness, I testify to you that He lives and that He awaits our triumphant return, that such a return will be ours, all of us, I pray humbly in His Holy name, even Jesus Christ, our Savior and our Redeemer. Amen.</p></blockquote> <p>The Church of Jesus Christ has a series of inspirational videos and messages for you and loved ones for Easter: He is Risen is a video compilation of special Bible videos prepared by the Church for the world. To view some of these <a href="http://www.whymormonism.org/purpose_life_mormonism.html">Mormon</a> Easter messages and share these devotionals during Holy Week or Easter Sunday, please see below:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Mormon Identities: Reflections on Gethsemane, Golgotha, and the Resurrection </strong></p> <p><img title="click" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/click.jpg" alt="" width="120" height="90" /></p> <div> <p>Prepare for the Easter holiday by listening to a Mormon Channel episode of Mormon Identities, &#8220;<a href="http://mormonchannel.org/mormon-identities/48">Reflections on Gethsemane, Golgotha, and the Resurrection</a>.&#8221; Andrew Skinner, a professor of ancient scripture at BYU, expounds upon the sacredness of these holy places and events.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div> <p><strong>Mormon Messages: None Were with Him</strong></p> <p>Watch and share Elder Jeffrey R. Holland&#8217;s Easter thoughts on Christ in this <a href="http://aboutmormons.org/222/about-mormons-mormon-lifestyle">Mormon</a> Message, &#8220;None Were with Him.&#8221; One of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so.</p> <div> <p></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Stories from General Conference: The Resurrection</strong></p> <p><img title="click" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/click1.jpg" alt="" width="120" height="90" />Listen as various stories are shared from past general conference sessions about <a href="http://mormonchannel.org/stories-from-general-conference/39">The Resurrection</a>. You&#8217;ll hear President Gordon B. Hinckley and other Church leaders</p> <p>describe the miracle of the Resurrection and what it means for us.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Mormon Messages: His Sacred Name &#8211; An Easter Declaration</strong></p> <p>This Easter, remember the sacred name, life, and sacrifice of our Savior, and watch and share this Mormon Message, &#8220;His Sacred Name &#8211; An Easter Declaration.&#8221; Read President Thomas S. Monson&#8217;s full address, &#8220;He Is Risen!&#8221;</p> <p></p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/MoreGoodFoundation/~4/AP5BAX2nhww" height="1" width="1" />
<p>In 2005, a film was released titled: “The Bible vs. The Book of Mormon”. Produced by an evangelical Christian ministry, the primary purpose of the film was to present arguments against the authenticity of The Book of Mormon, a text sacred to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Members of the LDS Church believe the Bible and the Book of Mormon are authentic ancient scriptures revealed by God to prophets, and join with other Christians in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.</p> <p>This is an audio version of the video presentation produced by FAIR that addresses some of the concerns raised by the film. FAIR&#8217;s video presentation can be viewed on <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GfFTry88JM&amp;feature=plcp&amp;context=C4279fddVDvjVQa1PpcFPmZ8LIf97WBqGoSkdh3QtjNOP2VcPJpIs=">YouTube</a>.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/c2-_fCy87gU" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F04%2FEvidences-for-The-Book-of-Mormon.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 33.97 MB)</i></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnboFmIvmKI&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/QnboFmIvmKI/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnboFmIvmKI&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon April 2012 World Report (Full Version)</a> <br /></div> <div><span>See www.mormonnewsroom.org for more information.</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 2</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>7 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>39:12</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC4c_0ep0og&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/hC4c_0ep0og/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC4c_0ep0og&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon April 2012 World Report: Mormons in Australia</a> <br /></div> <div><span>For more information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Australia, see www.mormonnewsroom.org</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 3</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>0 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>05:03</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeMOcwjaus8&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/CeMOcwjaus8/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeMOcwjaus8&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon April 2012 World Report: New Bishop&#39;s Central Storehouse</a> <br /></div> <div><span>See www.mormonnewsroom.org for more information.</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 3</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>0 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>01:40</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eFzITnhFaA&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/1eFzITnhFaA/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eFzITnhFaA&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon April 2012 World Report: Bishop&#39;s Garden (Part 1)</a> <br /></div> <div><span>See part 2 here: www.youtube.com</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 4</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>0 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>03:28</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klYDFhQJc3c&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/klYDFhQJc3c/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klYDFhQJc3c&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon April 2012 World Report: Bishop&#39;s Garden (Part 2)</a> <br /></div> <div><span></span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 2</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>0 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>03:38</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvhVbVIeLQk&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/IvhVbVIeLQk/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvhVbVIeLQk&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon April 2012 World Report: Christmas Concert Features Nathan Gunn and Jane Seymour</a> <br /></div> <div><span>See www.mormonnewsroom.org for more information.</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 2</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>0 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>03:29</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZN2WL3wUhh4&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/ZN2WL3wUhh4/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZN2WL3wUhh4&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon April 2012 World Report: City Creek Grand Opening</a> <br /></div> <div><span>See www.mormonnewsroom.org for more information.</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 3</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>0 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>00:38</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtoA_sQK8SM&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/DtoA_sQK8SM/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtoA_sQK8SM&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon April 2012 World Report: Elder D. Todd Christofferson Visits Argentina</a> <br /></div> <div><span>For more information about apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, see www.mormonnewsroom.org</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 2</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>0 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>02:04</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GdeVhPW2dc&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/7GdeVhPW2dc/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GdeVhPW2dc&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon April 2012 World Report: Fiji Book Drive</a> <br /></div> <div><span>See www.mormonnewsroom.org for more information.</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 2</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>0 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>04:21</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYG53StGhmE&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/xYG53StGhmE/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYG53StGhmE&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon April 2012 World Report: Elder Russell M. Nelson&#39;s Ministry in Africa</a> <br /></div> <div><span>For more information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Africa, see www.mormonnewsroom.org</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 4</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>0 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>02:11</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldOpvMqzyb0&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/ldOpvMqzyb0/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldOpvMqzyb0&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon April 2012 World Report: Honduran First Lady Meets with First Presidency</a> <br /></div> <div><span>See www.mormonnewsroom.org for more information.</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 3</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>0 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>00:24</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzI5zeLGdvs&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/gzI5zeLGdvs/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzI5zeLGdvs&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon April 2012 World Report: Jesus Christ Bible Videos Announced</a> <br /></div> <div><span>See www.mormonnewsroom.org for more information.</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 3</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>0 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>01:29</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K30wkWoYFhU&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/K30wkWoYFhU/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K30wkWoYFhU&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon April 2012 World Report: Leadership Training Library</a> <br /></div> <div><span>For more information about the leadership training library, see www.lds.org</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 3</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>0 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>00:40</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTnbRX3-Lkc&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/xTnbRX3-Lkc/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTnbRX3-Lkc&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon April 2012 World Report: Muslim Art Exhibit at BYU</a> <br /></div> <div><span></span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 3</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>0 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>00:52</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGU8kgclcls&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/rGU8kgclcls/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGU8kgclcls&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon April 2012 World Report: Church Continues Support of Operation Smile</a> <br /></div> <div><span>See www.mormonnewsroom.org for more information.</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 3</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>0 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>00:34</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXtQhVNzHYo&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/vXtQhVNzHYo/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXtQhVNzHYo&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon April 2012 World Report: Seminary Celebrates 100 Years</a> <br /></div> <div><span>See www.mormonnewsroom.org for more information.</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 3</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>0 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>00:43</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdvIGQSN82E&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/mdvIGQSN82E/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdvIGQSN82E&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon April 2012 World Report: Senator Joe Lieberman Speaks on Religious Freedom</a> <br /></div> <div><span>See www.mormonnewsroom.org for more information.</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 2</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>0 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>01:20</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXXXfTXD3_E&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/bXXXfTXD3_E/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXXXfTXD3_E&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon April 2012 World Report: Temple Update</a> <br /></div> <div><span>See www.mormonnewsroom.org for more information.</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 3</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>0 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>05:10</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHljGy4QvQE&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/nHljGy4QvQE/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHljGy4QvQE&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Time-Lapse Video of Mormon April 2012 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session</a> <br /></div> <div><span>Taken during the Saturday morning session of the 182nd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. See www.mormonnewsroom.org for more information.</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 7624</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_half_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>54 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>00:16</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<p><a href="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/mormon-general-conference.png"><img title="mormon-general-conference" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/mormon-general-conference-300x140.png" alt="Mormon General Conference" width="300" height="140" /></a>Audio and video archives of the April 2012 general conference are now available online at <a href="http://lds.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e04c983e0e6204bc958a50e56&amp;id=91c081ee83&amp;&amp;=7ac0dff802" target="_blank">gc.lds.org</a>, <a href="http://lds.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e04c983e0e6204bc958a50e56&amp;&amp;d=088b43f756&amp;&amp;=7ac0dff802" target="_blank">YouTube</a> and iTunes. Video archives are available in <a href="http://lds.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=e04c983e0e6204bc958a50e56&amp;id=3b914eed64&amp;&amp;=7ac0dff802" target="_blank">ASL</a>,<a href="http://lds.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e04c983e0e6204bc958a50e56&amp;id=e7bf4ccfc8&amp;&amp;=7ac0dff802" target="_blank">Cantonese</a>, <a href="http://lds.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e04c983e0e6204bc958a50e56&amp;id=8866e6e288&amp;&amp;=7ac0dff802" target="_blank">English</a>, <a href="http://lds.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=e04c983e0e6204bc958a50e56&amp;id=aedc3f5324&amp;&amp;=7ac0dff802" target="_blank">Fre<wbr>nch</wbr></a>, <a href="http://lds.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e04c983e0e6204bc958a50e56&amp;id=a59eda57cb&amp;&amp;=7ac0dff802" target="_blank">German</a>,<a href="http://lds.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e04c983e0e6204bc958a50e56&amp;id=add9f9f50b&amp;&amp;=7ac0dff802" target="_blank">Italian</a>, <a href="http://lds.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e04c983e0e6204bc958a50e56&amp;id=8497e826b4&amp;&amp;=7ac0dff802" target="_blank">Japanese</a>,<wbr> <a href="http://lds.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e04c983e0e6204bc958a50e56&amp;id=39ef6792a2&amp;&amp;=7ac0dff802" target="_blank">Korean</a>, <a href="http://lds.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e04c983e0e6204bc958a50e56&amp;id=421ba2519e&amp;&amp;=7ac0dff802" target="_blank">Mandarin</a>,<a href="http://lds.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=e04c983e0e6204bc958a50e56&amp;&amp;d=690ad6ec92&amp;&amp;=7ac0dff802" target="_blank">Portuguese</a>, <a href="http://lds.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e04c983e0e6204bc958a50e56&amp;id=9147d8f78b&amp;&amp;=7ac0dff802" target="_blank"><wbr>Russian </wbr></a>and <a href="http://lds.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=e04c983e0e6204bc958a50e56&amp;id=a58c481184&amp;&amp;=7ac0dff802" target="_blank">Spanish</a>. Audio files are available in over 70 languages. Text transcripts of the talks will be available in English on Thurdsay, April 5, and in over 40 languages within the following weeks. </wbr></p> <p>Additional Resources:</p> <p><a href="http://www.lds.org/study/prophets-speak-today?lang=eng" target="_blank">Prophets speak today</a>.</p> <p>Request a free copy of the <em><a href="http://mormonendowment.com/free-book-of-mormon" target="_blank">Book of Mormon</a></em>.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/MoreGoodFoundation/~4/X5P8Z1EEf5I" height="1" width="1" />

City Creek Mall

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FAIR Blog

on 2012-3-31 12:37am GMT
<p>Salt Lake City, Utah was founded by leaders and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1847, as they arrived after a difficult overland trek to escape religious persecution. Over time, the church has grown from a small, regional group to a world-wide, thriving major religion. Likewise, the city has grown into a major center of commerce and industry, with residents of many religions. Despite the broadened scope of each, a special relationship between the Church and its headquarter city remains.</p> <p>Salt Lake City has faced many of the challenges common to cities: upper-income flight to the suburbs, aging infrastructure, an influx of low-income residents with heavier claims on public services, decreased economic vitality, and increased crime. Like many cities, Salt Lake City has sought to attract businesses in order to provide jobs for residents and prevent the degradation of the city environment.</p> <p>The Church has shared the city&#8217;s concern for economic vitality, both out of concern for the residents&#8217; livelihoods and because of the Church&#8217;s downtown Temple Square which attracts thousands of visitors annually. Were Salt Lake City to suffer urban decay, these visitors would be affected.</p> <p>In recent years the area around Temple Square in Salt Lake City looked likely to suffer exactly that fate. Many businesses had moved to other areas of the city and the area was becoming run down, decreasing the quality of life for residents.</p> <p>The Church has responded in two ways. First, through its <a href="http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormon-inner-city-project-blesses-lives">Inner City Project</a>, the Church has assigned service missionaries to provide job training, transportation, and other help to inner-city Salt Lake City residents. The hope is that the city environment will benefit from residents who are less plagued by joblessness, health troubles, and feeling hopeless to rise economically. Second, the Church has invested in the City Creek Mall as an economic development project, in hopes that the construction and other jobs will provide opportunity for residents and that the new infrastructure will stave off urban decay.</p> <p>Some criticize the church for its investment, judging that the funds could have been better spent elsewhere. (The total estimated cost of the project is $1.5 billion; it is not known how this was shared between the church and its development partner, The Taubman Company.) These criticisms ignore the merits of the Church&#8217;s strategy&#8211;the City Creek Center addresses the roots of urban decay, and the Inner City Project addresses its symptoms. There are many places in the world with greater need&#8211;and the Church&#8217;s <a href="http://mormon.org/humanitarian-aid?gclid=CKPJhaqWiK8CFSyhtgodzH0__g">humanitarian programs</a> commit significant resources to them&#8211;but the Church shouldn&#8217;t be condemned for helping its own neighbors in the city to which it has special historical ties.</p> <p>Whatever funds the Church spend on City Creek did not come from member tithes; the funds came from returns on church properties and investments. The Church owns these assets from the happy historical accident of acquiring them many decades ago and prudent management since then.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/kXGm5wMTDHk" height="1" width="1" />
<p>FAIR Questions features a question that was submitted to FAIR volunteers through the FAIR website at fairlds.org. The answer in each episode is compiled from the various responses provided by the volunteers.</p> <p><strong>And now for the question:</strong><strong></strong></p> <p>I just want to start out by saying that I have the highest respect for all church apologists. I am 19 years old and just saving up some money before I send my papers in to serve a mission. I download the podcasts from FAIR and I listen to them all the time. I just want to say, thank you so much for everything you do. After having some questions of my own answered, my testimony has been strengthened beyond words. I have also been able to help others because of what I have learned from the podcasts and books I have read. I just want to ask a question from the point of view of someone who deals with non-members and apostate members on a daily basis: What is the best advice you can give me as a prospective missionary in regards to teaching people about The Book of Mormon? I know it&#8217;s a very general question, but if you could leave one ounce of your knowledge with me it would be a blessing to me!</p> <p><strong>And now for the answer:</strong></p> <p>Thank you for your kind words. We here at FAIR are not compensated monetarily. Our only &#8220;payment&#8221; is kind words of gratitude that we get from individuals such as you.</p> <p>Congratulations on your decision to serve a mission! Although it will be challenging at times, it will be completely worth it.</p> <p>Can you think of anything the world needs right now more than the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  Unfortunately, the world is extremely divided as to what is meant by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Bible alone, as magnificent as it is, has not united the believing world under one Lord, one faith or one baptism. In fact, it seems that the Bible itself has never come under more criticism or skepticism at any time since its inception than it is today. Many around the world are concluding that the Bible is irrelevant in their lives. They say that Jesus may have been just a legend or a mere myth which, over time, transformed him into a God in the minds of a group of people who came to call themselves Christians. The very value of scripture seems to be assailed constantly.</p> <p>What if there was a record that shared a common genesis with the Biblical record, yet was maintained and revealed to us from a separate nation apart from Judea? What if another people, or several groups of people had preserved their own witness of the divinity of Christ? What would be its value to the world today? What if there was a volume of scripture, apart from the Bible, that bore witness of the foundational truths contained in the Bible? What if that volume came to us as a result of God calling a Prophet today to once again bear witness that Jesus is the very Eternal God manifesting Himself to all nations &#8211; a book that reminds us of the important promises and Covenants made long centuries ago, to a people long dead, which are being fulfilled in our day? Wouldn&#8217;t that go a long way toward showing that God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and that he remembers his covenants to the children of men, and that no matter how long it seems to take to the human mind, He has not forgotten or forsaken his ancient promises?</p> <p>The Book of Mormon was published in 1830 before Joseph Smith was even 25 years old. In a few short years you will be that same age. Even with all the educational advantages you will have between now and the time you are that age, can you imagine producing a volume like the Book of Mormon? Could you sit day after day in front of a scribe and recite endless passages of Isaiah, or even Jacob chapter 5? Could you speak for days in one long paragraph, without any double checking, without any punctuation, without any proof reading, and then submit the final product of hundreds of pages to a publisher?</p> <p>Several months before the Book of Mormon was published, Section 4 of the Doctrine and Covenants was written. It is inspiring to note that this section was given by the young Prophet to his father, who had encouraged Joseph to listen to the Angel Moroni when Joseph had confided in him about the angel&#8217;s visit almost five years previously. Looking back over the nearly two hundred years since this revelation was given, its prophetic import is astounding:</p> <p>&#8220;Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men. Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. For behold the field is white already to harvest: and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul…. Ask and ye shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto you, Amen.”</p> <p>This revelation was given in February of 1829. The Church would not be officially established for over another year. Yet the young Prophet had the temerity to predict that this effort, the Restoration of the Gospel was going to result in a Marvelous Work. You live in a day and time where over a hundred Temples dot the earth, with dozens under construction. You are going on your mission at a time when there are nearly fourteen million people around the globe who are now members of the Church established by a twenty five year old Prophet and five other men on April 6th, 1830. Before you are much older, this Church will celebrate its Bicentennial. Who would have gambled on the chances of this movement in its infancy in February of 1829? Yet that is what young Joseph did. Why? Because he told the truth. He knew that God was behind the work he had begun and nothing was ultimately going to defeat it.</p> <p>Section 5 of the Doctrine and Covenants was also written before the Book of Mormon was published. It tells us that there will be three other witnesses who will see the plates and bear witness to the world that they are real. They will affix their testimony to the volume and millions upon millions will read their words and know that they, not just Joseph, have actually seen the plates with their eyes and will bear solemn and consistent testimony that it is the work of God, and not man, as long as that work is published to the world.</p> <p>What kind of audacity would it take for a complete fraud and a forger to make such a statement before the witnesses had seen the plates he supposedly didn&#8217;t have?  Imagine after making such a prediction in the absence of real plates, that you were to actually find three people to lie for you, stand by their testimonies despite the fact that they would all become estranged from you at some point, and who would never deny their testimonies regardless of suffering, persecution, loss of reputation and cruel mockery even decades after your untimely death at the hands of a mob? Where in the world can you find an instance where a confederacy of liars ever withstood such a test? What could possibly hold these witnesses to their word under the most trying circumstances even after the ring leader of the conspiracy was long dead and could no longer hold any influence over them?</p> <p>When weighed in the balance, as incredible as it seems at first glance, the only consistent explanation for the success of this Church, and for the lives of the witnesses and most especially for the unshakeable testimony of Joseph Smith despite all the forces arrayed against him is, that the Book of Mormon is true. Every other explanation seems to wither with the test of time or persecution. No other explanation can account for the rise of this Church out of total obscurity to what it is today.</p> <p>The Book of Mormon is tangible evidence for the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith. As Hugh Nibley once said, books don&#8217;t write themselves. Somebody had to have written the Book of Mormon. The question is whether it is ancient or modern. Critics who wish to dismiss Joseph Smith as a fraud must confront this book.</p> <p>As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland recently <a href="http://lds.org/general-conference/2009/10/safety-for-the-soul?lang=eng&amp;query=safety+soul">said</a>:</p> <p>“I testify that one cannot come to full faith in this latter-day work—and thereby find the fullest measure of peace and comfort in these, our times—until he or she embraces the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it testifies. If anyone is foolish enough or misled enough to reject 531 pages of a heretofore unknown text teeming with literary and Semitic complexity without honestly attempting to account for the origin of those pages—especially without accounting for their powerful witness of Jesus Christ and the profound spiritual impact that witness has had on what is now tens of millions of readers—if that is the case, then such a person, elect or otherwise, has been deceived; and if he or she leaves this Church, it must be done by crawling over or under or around the Book of Mormon to make that exit. In that sense the book is what Christ Himself was said to be: ‘a stone of stumbling, … a rock of offence,&#8217;  a barrier in the path of one who wishes not to believe in this work. Witnesses, even witnesses who were for a time hostile to Joseph, testified to their death that they had seen an angel and had handled the plates. ‘They have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man,’ they declared. ‘Wherefore, we know of a surety that the work is true.’”</p> <p>With regard to how to teach from and about the Book of Mormon, follow the suggestions that are found in the missionary manual Preach My Gospel. If your investigators have unusual or difficult questions, you can always refer them to our FAIRwiki where many of these kinds of questions are addressed. But remember that it is the Spirit that will convert people to the gospel. And the Spirit will confirm the testimony of Christ that is found in the Book of Mormon. Remember that the Book of Mormon has the potential, if it is read, to re-convert an unbelieving generation to Jesus Christ.</p> <p>Finally, always keep in mind that our witness is primarily the testimony of Christ and his apostles, that he died, was resurrected, and ascended to heaven, and that he will come again in glory. Everything else is merely an appendage to that witness. Keep that foremost in your mind as you engage both the honest in heart as well as the rest of the world, and it should be a great help to you.</p> <p>If there is an issue that you have been wondering about, you can often find the latest answers at the FAIR wiki, found at <a href="http://en.fairmormon.org/Main_Page">fairmormon.org</a>. If you can&#8217;t find your answer there, feel free to pose your question to the FAIR apologists by visiting the <a href="http://www.fairlds.org/contact.php">FAIR contact page</a>. Occasionally, such a question will be featured on FAIR Questions. Before questions are used for this podcast, permission is obtained from the questioner.</p> <p>FAIR Questions or comments about this episode can be sent to podcast@fairlds.org, or join the conversation at fairblog.org.</p> <p>Tell your friends about us and help increase the popularity of this podcast by subscribing in <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/mu/podcast/mormon-fair-cast/id397315546">iTunes</a> and by writing a review.</p> <p>Music for this episode was provided courtesy of Lawrence Green.</p> <p>The opinions expressed in this podcast are not necessarily the views of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or of FAIR.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/P8lAkECrbYA" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F02%2FFAIR-Questions-3-Sharing-the-Book-o.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 5.42 MB)</i></div>

John Carter

-

FAIR Blog

on 2012-3-29 4:06am GMT
<p>I went to see John Carter of Mars last night (bear with me&#8230; this is actually NOT off-topic from apologetics), and the theater was gracious enough to give me a (virtually) private screening in 3D. <img src="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" /> </p> <p>Loved the movie (although apparently no one else does, and my teenage kids refused to come with me, saying all their friends hated it…). </p> <p>But (believe it or not) I actually mentioned this movie in my home teaching message earlier this month about prophets, and the role of prophets.</p> <p>Why?</p> <p>Well John Carter is really over-the-top fantasy. Mars does not look like this, as we all know. But we need to remember that the first John Carter story was written 100 years ago. This was only 20 years or so after an Italian astronomer looked through a telescope at Mars and thought he saw canali (it means channels, but it got translated into English as canals). Everyone thought that he had seen signs of civilization on Mars. This included Percival Lowell, the top astronomer in the United States at that time. So when Edgar Rice Burroughs took to his typewriter a few years later to write fantasy tales about this Mars, he was building off of the best scientific evidence of the day. It was not utter fantasy, in other words.</p> <p>And this is decades AFTER Brigham Young had speculated about men on the moon or men on the sun. So while BY may look foolish today, and generates reams of hilarity penned by the antis, he would not have looked foolish in his own day, and not for a generation or two afterward either. </p> <p>I brought all this up to my home teaching families, but then said the antis will object anyway, saying that prophets cannot make scientific mistakes like that, even if the world does not know better, because God would tell them how the universe really works.</p> <p>But would He really, I asked. Did God tell Isaiah that you cannot stop the sun and make it go backward 15 degrees? Did God tell Moses and Abraham about quantum theory? Or disabuse them of the notion that the Heavens are a dome over the world? Well, if not, what DOES he tell prophets? I answered my own question. He tells prophets how to guide the people through the perils of the day. Specifically, I mentioned the Church Presidency message on lds.org that changes several times a week, with messages on such topics as civility in politics, or generosity and moderation in dealing with immigration. This is more important than knowing whether there really are canals on Mars, and populated by beautiful Martian princesses waiting to be saved by dashing Confederate cavalry officers… <img src="http://www.fairblog.org/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" /> </p> <p>David Farnsworth<br /> Tigard OR 97224</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/OhGvr1dBoOs" height="1" width="1" />
<p><a href="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/arise-to-the-mountain.jpg"><img title="mormon-women" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/arise-to-the-mountain.jpg" alt="Mormon women" width="160" height="117" /></a><em>Arise to the Mountain</em> is a new young adult inspirational video that was shown during the 2012 General Young Women Meeting of The Church of <a href="http://jesus.christ.org/2559/jesus-christ-knows-lovesus">Jesus Christ</a> of Latter-day Saints (mistakenly called &#8220;The Mormon Church&#8221;). The video invites women of all faiths, and particularly committed young women of the Church of Jesus Christ, to be worthy to make and keep sacred covenants with the Savior and our Heavenly Father, and receive the ordinances of the temple that instruct, edify and strengthen everyone who participates in them. The sheet music for the song, as well as an mp3 version of it are available through Youth.LDS.org.</p> <p>Young women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints live exemplary lives of service, and engage in a program of personal spiritual progress, through which they grow to become wiser and holier as they strive to follow the Savior&#8217;s pattern of discipleship in these formative years.</p> <p>The annual meeting described above precedes what <a href="http://www.whymormonism.org/purpose_life_mormonism.html">Mormons</a> refer to as &#8220;General Conference&#8221;- a glorious, global conference of The Church of Jesus Christ where apostles and a living prophet as well as other leaders address those of all faiths, and those particularly, who embrace the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ today.</p> <p>We invite all to learn more about Mormons, what Mormons believe, <a href="http://hartfordmormontemple.com/129/mormon-wedding">Mormon</a> Youth, and General Conference. See Additional Resources listed below:</p> <p>Learn more about <a href="http://www.lds.org/general-conference?lang=eng">General Conference</a> at the official site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths as the &#8220;Mormon Church&#8221;).</p> <p>Learn about <a href="http://mormon.org/jesus-christ/">Jesus Christ</a>.</p> <p>Request a free copy of the <em><a href="http://oaklandmormontemple.com/whats-a-mormon/free-book-of-mormon">Book of Mormon</a></em>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/MoreGoodFoundation/~4/DKjCsAQ8cBI" height="1" width="1" />
<p><a href="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/bible-videos.jpg"><img title="bible-videos" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/bible-videos.jpg" alt="Bible videos" width="159" height="117" /></a>BibleVideos.LDS.org&#8211; a gift to the world of beautiful renderings of Christ&#8217;s ministry from The Church of <a href="http://jesus.christ.org/2564/jesus-christ-leaders-church">Jesus Christ</a>&#8211; has released two new Easter-themed videos: Jesus is Condemned Before Pilate and <a href="http://messiahjesuschrist.org/">Jesus</a> is Scourged and Crucified.</p> <p>Two new videos are scheduled to be released next week, concluding the series of Easter videos. All <a href="http://www.bartleby.com/108/">Bible</a> Videos are available at BibleVideos.LDS.org, the Bible Videos mobile app, Facebook, iTunes, YouTube, Roku and the <a href="http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/">Mormon</a> Channel mobile apps.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Additional Resources:</p> <p>Learn about <a href="http://mormon.org/book-of-mormon/">modern day scripture</a> at the official site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths as the &#8220;Mormon Church&#8221;).</p> <p>Learn more about <a href="http://jesuschrist.lds.org/SonOfGod/eng/">Jesus Christ</a> and Easter.</p> <p>Request a free copy of the <em><a href="http://oaklandmormontemple.com/whats-a-mormon/free-book-of-mormon">Book of Mormon</a></em>.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/MoreGoodFoundation/~4/Kw7NLTgbuI8" height="1" width="1" />
<p><a href="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/general-auxiliary-presidencies-to-hold-spring-2012-training-for-ward-auxiliary-leaders.jpg"><img title="general-auxiliary-presidencies-to-hold-spring-2012-training-for-ward-auxiliary-leaders" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/general-auxiliary-presidencies-to-hold-spring-2012-training-for-ward-auxiliary-leaders.jpg" alt="Mormon Church meeting" width="260" height="131" /></a>In conjunction with the April 2012 general conference, the general auxiliary presidencies will hold training sessions for stake and ward auxiliary leaders, which will be available through a live webcast in English and Spanish. Stake, ward, and branch auxiliary presidencies are invited to participate. Training sessions will be held for the Primary, Relief Society, Sunday School, Young Women and Young Men. Additional information about the dates and availability of these meetings can be found in <a href="http://www.ldschurchnews.com/">Church</a> News and Events.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Additional Resources:</p> <p>Learn about <a href="http://mormon.org/family/">Mormon families</a> at the official site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths as the &#8220;Mormon Church&#8221;).</p> <p>Learn more about <a href="http://www.lds.org/study/prophets-speak-today?lang=eng">General Conference</a>.</p> <p>Request a free copy of the <em><a href="http://oaklandmormontemple.com/whats-a-mormon/free-book-of-mormon">Book of Mormon</a></em>.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/MoreGoodFoundation/~4/abOeRXeqf0I" height="1" width="1" />
<p><a href="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/Other-Addresses.jpg"><img title="joseph-smith-papers" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/Other-Addresses.jpg" alt="Joseph Smith Papers" width="260" height="131" /></a>The Church History Department has released Histories, Volume 1: Joseph Smith Histories, 1832-1844, the latest book in the <a href="http://josephsmith.byu.edu/">Joseph Smith</a> Papers project. This is the sixth book of the project now available in print. It contains a large number of historical narratives, including accounts of Joseph Smith&#8217;s earliest heavenly manifestations and the coming forth of the Book of <a href="http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/saltlake/">Mormon</a>, the organization of the Church, among other well-known stories. Visit JosephSmithPapers.org to learn more about the project and to access supplemental unpublished documents.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Additional Resources:</p> <p>Learn about <a href="http://mormon.org/family/">Mormon families</a> at the official site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths as the &#8220;Mormon Church&#8221;).</p> <p>Learn more about <a href="http://historyofmormonism.com/">Mormon history</a>.</p> <p>Request a free copy of the <em><a href="http://oaklandmormontemple.com/whats-a-mormon/free-book-of-mormon">Book of Mormon</a></em>.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/MoreGoodFoundation/~4/Qjacepxnfk0" height="1" width="1" />
<p><a href="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/03.jpg"><img title="mormon-woman" src="http://blog.moregoodfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/03.jpg" alt="Mormon woman" width="275" height="174" /></a>The 2012 Young Women General Meeting was held on Saturday, March 24 and broadcast live in 32 languages via satellite and online streaming. Video and audio archives are now available through the broadcast website. Sister Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women General President, along with her two counselors spoke to the young women, their mothers and leaders. <a href="http://ldsnana-askmormon.hubpages.com/hub/monsonnextmormonpresidentnewprophetmormonchurchLDS">President Thomas S. Monson</a> was the concluding speaker. The music for the session and the video presentation Arise to the Mountain, shown during the broadcast, are also available for download.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Additional Resources:</p> <p>Learn about <a href="http://mormon.org/family/">Mormon families</a> at the official site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths as the &#8220;Mormon Church&#8221;).</p> <p>Learn about <a href="http://www.lds.org/study/prophets-speak-today?lang=eng">General Conference</a>.</p> <p>Request a free copy of the <em><a href="http://oaklandmormontemple.com/whats-a-mormon/free-book-of-mormon">Book of Mormon</a></em>.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/MoreGoodFoundation/~4/Nd3zpGoULII" height="1" width="1" />
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7Clk_JNw1o&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/C7Clk_JNw1o/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7Clk_JNw1o&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Elder Jeffrey R. Holland Speaks at the Harvard Law School (3/20/2012)</a> <br /></div> <div><span>See www.mormonnewsroom.org for more information.</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 303</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_full_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_half_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>58 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>16:50</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<p>In this episode of Religion Today that originally aired on March 18, 2012, Martin Tanner and Steve Densley, Jr. of FAIR discuss the recent controversy regarding the practice of baptisms for the dead as practiced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. How did this controversy arise? Why do Mormons perform this ordinance? Were baptisms for the dead really practiced in the ancient Church? These and other topics are discussed.</p> <p>This recording was used by permission of KSL Radio and does not necessarily represent the views of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or of FAIR.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/7U7m6O16vrc" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F03%2FReligion-Today-for-Sunday-March-18.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 9.14 MB)</i></div>
<div> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"><tbody><tr><td width="140" valign="top" rowspan="2"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJASxEfNzgk&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/XJASxEfNzgk/default.jpg" /></a></div></td> <td width="256" valign="top"><div><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJASxEfNzgk&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Mormon Helping Hands Service in Ishinomaki, Japan (March 2012)</a> <br /></div> <div><span>See mormonnewsroom.org for more information.</span></div></td> <td width="146" valign="top"><div><span>From:</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/WCpHqxpBcpnXiIiJOYgRYA">LDSPublicAffairs</a></div> <div><span>Views:</span> 1</div> <div><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif" /></div> <div>0 <span>ratings</span></div></td></tr> <tr><td><span>Time:</span> <span>00:57</span></td> <td><span>More in</span> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=29">Nonprofits &amp; Activism</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div>
<p>In this episode of Religion Today that originally aired on March 11, 2012, Martin Tanner and the president of FAIR, Scott Gordon, discuss the recent allegation of a Florida minister that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a &#8220;racist religion.&#8221; The minister has called on Mitt Romney to, as the minister puts it: &#8220;openly renounce his racist Mormon Religion.&#8221; Tanner and Gordon discuss the past history of racism that was pervasive in many Churches, even before the founding of the LDS Church, and the way in which some racist attitudes and myths may have crept into the thinking of some early members of the Church. They emphasize the more recent statements from the Church that &#8220;unequivocally condemn[] racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church.&#8221; (See Official Statement <a href="http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/race-church">here</a>.)</p> <p>Listeners should note that the first part of this recording was cut off. This recording was used by permission of KSL Radio and does not necessarily represent the views of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or of FAIR.</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/fairldsblog/~4/LmcZpv5b7t8" height="1" width="1" /><br /><br /><a href="#" onclick="show_enclosure(event); return false;">show enclosure</a><div style="display: none" align="center" width="auto"><p><script type='text/javascript'>embed_flv('100%', '20', 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fairblog.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F03%2FReligion-Today-for-Sunday-March-11.mp3%3Ffile_extension%3D.mp3', 'plugins/place_audio.png', 'false', 'plugins/mediaplayer.swf');</script></p><i align="center">(audio/mpeg; 8.55 MB)</i></div>
<p>Overheard in our house a week or two ago…</p> <p>Sammy: Mom, I know what I’m going to ask Santa for.. <br />Mommy: Oh yeah, what? <br />Sammy: Well, I don’t need a smart phone or anything, but I want an iPod to play angry birds on…</p> <p>So…he loves Angry Birds and up until he/we discovered it on Facebook a week or two ago only played it from time to time on someone else’s phone while waiting before/after practice. Now he has to earn time to play it by playing outside and helping out.&#160; He still loves snakes and sharks but does make lots of pictures now and scanned this one in himself today.</p> <p><a href="http://lh4.ggpht.com/-OLrnnKL_KO4/T119XSMtedI/AAAAAAAAClY/kp9bpsZHMRA/s1600-h/Sammy_KinderPic_012%25255B5%25255D.jpg"><img title="Sammy_KinderPic_012" border="0" alt="Sammy_KinderPic_012" src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/-DdgZ7ZRu08I/T119X2uOCJI/AAAAAAAAClg/0FOK1Tn6EwM/Sammy_KinderPic_012_thumb%25255B3%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800" width="429" height="333" /></a> </p> <p>And yes, I did say he scanned it in himself. He is beginning to read things very well and pretty much figured it out on his own. I did have to help him (from afar) to flip the image.</p> <p>Anyway…I know it is silly but I’d love to be able to remember these days in the future…</p> <div><img width="1" height="1" src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/3951023913044278684-3095430512291064087?l=marcroftfam.blogspot.com" alt="" /></div>