Sunday, March 30, 2008

Accusation: Mormons follow the devil. They even sing it in their hymns

Mormons deny that they follow the devil. In their hymn book, on page 116, they declare that they do: “Is it enough alone to know that we must follow him below.” How can any Mormon deny that they follow the devil when it is in their very so-called “hymn book?”

Yet again, another marvelously misinterpreted passage, taken royally out of context. Well, I have come to expect no less from nay-sayers.

I believe quoting the rest of the verses would help shed some light on the real meaning of this hymn.

1. “Come, follow me,” the Savior said.
Then let us in his footsteps tread,
For thus alone can we be one
With God’s own loved, begotten Son.

2. “Come, follow me,” a simple phrase,
Yet truth’s sublime, effulgent rays
Are in these simple words combined
To urge, inspire the human mind.

3. Is it enough alone to know
That we must follow him below,
While trav’ling thru this vale of tears?
No, this extends to holier spheres.

4. Not only shall we emulate
His course while in this earthly state,
But when we’re freed from present cares,
If with our Lord we would be heirs.

It appears that, if our friend had read (or at least acknowledged he had) the rest of the verses, we might not have had to address this subject. It is obvious the hymn is praising Jesus Christ and expressing the importance of following the Lord (Jesus Christ) below (on earth) throughout this life.

It would well behoove our friend to take a few moments and read the March Ensign (Church Publication) as well. That might better inform him of our beliefs about Jesus Christ.

I hope to get back to my normal posting schedules (1-2/week). Suggestions for new topics are welcome.

Till next time…

Best Wishes,

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Question: Why don’t I feel the “burning” of the Spirit anymore?

I’ve also pondered this question in the past. It seems like you’re basically doing everything you’re supposed to be doing (going to Church, reading your scriptures, praying morning and night, etc…) and yet, you don’t feel that same burning of the bosom, or spiritual high that you’ve experienced before. I don’t think there is necessarily one universal answer for this question, but I will present one reason I think applies to many, if not most, in this situation.

Every week in Church, members of the Church make solemn covenants to take upon them the name of Christ, keep his commandments, and remember him. In accordance to those covenants, the faithful are promised to “always” have His Spirit to be with them. So… if we are promised we’ll always have the Spirit, and we’re doing what we can to keep our side of the covenant, why do we sometimes feel that we don’t have the Spirit with us?

I’m suggesting the answer is often that we are simply used to it. If we are really living the way we should be, and doing the things we’re supposed to, and have been for a descent amount of time, we are so accustomed to the companionship of the Spirit that it is not so striking or noticeable to us anymore. When I first joined the Church, I felt on fire every time I read the scriptures. Now, I occasionally feel a more powerful presence when I have one of those “Ah ha!” moments. Normally I just feel confident and peaceful. –What the scriptures refer to as the “rest of the Lord.”

A more poignant example comes from the experiences of Joseph Smith. When “The Vision” (D&C 76) was given to Brother Joseph and Sidney Rigdon, brother Rigdon was overcome with the Spirit and power of the manifestation. Brother Joseph smiled and said “Sidney is not used to it as I am” (Philo Dibble Recollections, Juvenile Instructor 27, 303-304). Brother Joseph was able to endure the vision calmly and collectedly, though obviously feeling the power of God.

What I tend to notice more distinctly is the absence of the spirit. A long time ago my best friend pointed out something in his family’s scripture study. Many think when we don’t feel the Spirit it is because He has left us. King Benjamin remarks that those who to contrary to the will of God withdraw themselves from the Spirit (Mosiah 2:36). At the beginning of my conversion (which all must go through) the strong presence of Spirit was striking and unusual whereas acting the way I had previously felt normal. Nine years later with a little bit of seasoning has altered things so that when I am in the wrong, the withdrawal or decreasing of the Spirit’s influence is more striking and unusual.

As we strive to live the right way, our natures change. We become “new creatures in Christ,” as Paul says (2 Cor 5:17-18). I pray that the long-suffering and loving-kindness of Heavenly Father, and the patience and refining nature of my wife will help stay me on the course.

Best Wishes,

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Online Missionary Success (Part 2)

Recently, I wrote about a friend a made on who joined the Church a while ago, but was driven out by her mother (of another faith). She always retained a deep (though tender) testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel.

She contacted me through and my blog (Truth is Restored) and asked me many questions about the Church and it’s teachings. I have been following her progress and steps backs towards the Church.

Earlier this week, I had been thinking about how she was doing and I wrote to check up on her. Following is a paraphrase of her response:

“Hey Rusty, guess what ? My mom is moving out, she just cant take it that I am LDS. I wish her all the luck!
My husband is going to church with me and said yesterday (all on his own, out of no where) that he was thinking about joining the church. He loves what he has learned so far. Our gospel principles teacher (Brother Bailey) has gone in great depth, from A to Z every thing about the church.
I’m so excited! When we are in class you can see my husband hanging on every word and nodding his head "yes" when every thing is explained.
As for my seven-year-old daughter, I have explained every thing from being spirit children to agency and the Atonement of Christ. She is highly intelligent and was asking me before we started going back to church 4 weeks ago about getting saved and baptized. On September 19th she will be 8-years-old, so I want her to understand exactly what it means to be saved and the importance of it all. Waaah-Hoooo!!! Can you believe it? My little family of Mormons!!! Gotta love it!
I just want to say thank you for all your studying and your blog, “Truth is Restored.” That was a big part in my going back to church. Now my family is going to be saved, baptized, and members of our Church.
God bless you and your wife!

-My husband, Keeley (my daughter), and me”

It is amazing how big of an impact we can make when we take a little time and apply our efforts in the cause. I would have been satisfied if my labors had done nothing more than keep some of the false and negative materials about the Church out of the top spots on web-searches. I have now had the joy of helping precious souls find the truth only found in the restored gospel of Christ.

Let’s carry on in this great cause brethren and sisters!

Best Wishes,

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