I may choose to ignore anonymous comments. I consider this type of anonymity dishonest. Also, I don't post regularly. I post when I have something worth writing and something worth reading. I explain all this in: Don't Let Telling Tales Trip Up Your Truthfulness.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

We Must Become Much Better Than We Are Right Now!

A group of men and women seated during institute. Accessed June 30, 2016 from the LDS Media Library
Whatever we are right now, educationally and spiritually, it is not sufficient for what we need to be! We must become much better than we are right now!

It is clear from the tantalizing tidbits and hints from Elder Kim B. Clark's recent addresses that the Church is on the verge of something big. In fact, the ground work for this effort has already been laid.

Digital tools are a big part of it, but are still just a part. Delivering both religious and secular education is being rolled out worldwide. Instead of just attending church worship services on Sunday's, meetinghouses and stake centers are delivering secular education as well. What is more, these efforts will get bigger, much bigger.

The Global Education Initiative (GEI) was formally announced by Elder Clark in the recent annual meeting for the employees of the Church Educational System (CES).

Both our religious and secular education must increase. A diploma for anything from anywhere is not enough. It cannot be the end of our formal education. It cannot be just our ticket to a lifetime of leisure and recreation outside our regular workday.

Even if you have already cashed in on your education by securing gainful employment and a secure financial future, you must gain more. Everyone must acquire more, if we are to be prepared for the Second Coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

We have a greater work to do than most of us have ever anticipated. We need to get started on it. NOW!

Global Education Initiative (GEI) Introduced by Elder Kim B. Clark
Kim B. Clark “CES: The Lord’s Educational System for His Church”

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Satan Exploits Sexual Missteps and Mistakes For His Own Ends

I was single a long time. I was in college for most of that time. I had a lot of roommates, friends and acquaintances. What follows is my observations and my theories. Don't get it mixed up with LDS doctrine. 

With that qualifier, I also want to state that I have considered this for decades. My thinking is not recent or undeveloped. I've been mulling this over for a very long time.

I knew young women who were raped and/or molested. I believed then and I believe now that they were victims in every sense.

What troubles me is that many, if not all, had some consensual sexual missteps in their past. Because of these wholly unconnected missteps, at least two problems resulted after they became victims of a sexual crime:

  1. They were reluctant to report the crime against them to anyone.
  2. They feared they would not be believed.
Being on the receiving end of these confidences has had an impact on me. The victims' extreme trauma was evident. I was troubled because I could not help them with this dilemma at all.

I was able to sympathize, although not empathize, with their trauma, having never been a victim of sexual crimes myself. From listening and thinking about what they told me, I understood why they remained quiet. I could not condemn their silence. Given the circumstances they described, I don't think I would have acted any differently.

It seemed to me then, and it seems to me now, that Satan made these young women targets because of their past. Satan exploited their past mistakes.

This is horrifying.

Satan's diabolical tactic of using someone's past against them in such a horrendous manner should make us more sympathetic to victims of this tactic.

“Throughout our lives, whether in times of darkness, challenge, sorrow, or sin, we may feel the Holy Ghost reminding us that we are truly sons and daughters of a caring Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we may hunger for the sacred blessings that only He can provide.”—Elder Robert D. Hales, “Coming to Ourselves: The Sacrament, the Temple, and Sacrifice in Service” Accessed June 9, 2016 from the LDS Media Library.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Don't Expect Spiritual Success if You Skip Serious Steps

When I was teaching college, I watched students engage in all sorts of behaviors intended to achieve success, without being conscientious about the fundamentals.

The fundamentals were coming to class, doing the assigned reading and studying.

Nothing could compensate for these basics, however much student's tried to do otherwise.

There was one student that left me a phone message about missing one of the last classes of the year. He apologized, but then remarked that he would have to just rely on reading the textbook.

I groaned inwardly when I accessed his message.

I had specifically told the students that that last class period would have no reading and they must come to class that day to get the material.

I stressed this in class and on the syllabus.

Scripture study is the foundation on which every other success in this life builds. This is true for our spiritual health; as well as our physical, social or emotional health.

If you are not studying scriptures daily, you are not experiencing the spiritual power that is available to you.

Even superficial daily study is better than nothing. However, you are not making use of all the spiritual power available to you; if you do not engage in some sort of daily, meaningful scripture study.

If you are like nearly every other person on the earth, your scripture study is inclined to stop and start suddenly, depending on whatever responsibilities and stresses are complicating your life.

Every time your life changes in any significant way, you will probably have to rethink your scripture study and how to do it. This is especially true of students; because their academic schedule is not wholly within their control.

Like any other commandment, you need to keep it before you will develop a strong testimony of it.

When you experience the spiritual power that comes with meaningful scripture study, you will naturally be more conscientious about doing it.

Build your faith of it by doing it.

Joint scripture study by spouses can help ensure you both grow spiritually and grow together as well. Any distance Satan tries to wedge between you and your spouse will be stymied, if you are studying scripture together daily.

With a scriptural foundation, your life will be on solid ground and the natural difficulties you face in mortality will be easier to address.

10 Steps to a Blueprint of Success “Establish principles to guide your life. Don’t make exceptions to your standards. Be loyal. Live so that the Lord can guide you. Serve others. Smile. Don’t complain. Always have a Church assignment. Worship in the temple. Follow the Savior’s example.”—Elder Richard G. Scott, “As You Go Forth” Accessed June 6, 2016 from the LDS Media Library.

Friday, June 3, 2016

It Is NOT Illegal For Leaders to Instruct Church Members in Church!

Mexico is facing what the United States recently faced. The federal government of Mexico is seeking to legalize same-sex marriage.

As president of the area, Elder Benjamin De Hoyos Estrada issued an official letter that local church leaders are to read over the pulpit in Sacrament meeting.

This letter reiterates the Church's long standing commitment to the principles contained in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

It also encourages citizens to make their voices known to elected leaders and participate in the democratic process that law provides. It even suggests joining with citizen groups to work toward a shared cause, especially that of religious freedom.

All of this sounds benign and it is. Critics in Mexico or anywhere else in the world will try to spin it and frame it differently, like they did in the United States.

Don't be fooled. The Church is not participating in illegal political activity. It's tax free status should not be questioned. The Church is not doing anything wrong, or even questionable.

Fundamentally, Church leaders are counseling its members in a church building, during church hours. This is the essence of religious freedom.

It should never be illegal for Church leaders to instruct Church members in Church!

Just because our critics do not like the counsel doesn't mean there is something sinister about it. Any church has the right to instruct its members.

Criticism would disappear if the Church's counsel encouraged what these critics support. In that case, they would be commending the Church for encouraging citizens to participate in democratic activity.

If you are struggling with these difficult issues, the following may be of assistance:

Élder Benjamín De Hoyos Estrada, Presidente de La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días en México. Photo courtesy of © 2016 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.