The digital airwaves are certainly heating up over the Church's recent statement on the history of black's receiving the priesthood. In case you missed it, I blogged it on Saturday, December 14, 2013.
However, the Church recently added three other topic pages to its website that are also significant:
Hopefully, all the recent additions can put to rest much of the controversy that has swirled, and is still swirling, over our beliefs.
I don't expect it to put an end to all the false witness about it, just the unintentional false witness. I'll address false witness itself in the near future.
Sometimes we wish we had some of the great prophets still with us, like Moses, Elijah and Isaiah. It's sad to think they belong to another time and another place.
However, Heavenly Father gives us living prophets we can look to for truth and guidance. In fact, Heavenly Father Communicates To Us Through Prophets.
Someday, history may well raise the stature of current living prophets to that of past prophets. In addition, our current living prophet is someone we can know right now. We don't have to rely on just a few words that happened to be preserved across time.
We may even have personal interaction with him ourselves as young Stockton Cram did this past October.
Photo courtesy of © 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. President Thomas S. Monson shakes hands with a boy at the Saturday afternoon session of general conference, 5 October 2013.
The Church just added a new topic page to its website. Race and the Priesthood expands on the new header for Official Declaration 2 in the 2013 edition of the LDS scriptures. What this means, in a nutshell, is that the Church has documented our historical understanding of how and why blacks were denied the priesthood.
Before recollections such as my own are erased by time or dementia, I want to add what witness I can to what occurred before and after that historic day, 8 June 1978 when I was 16 years old. (Go ahead, do the math, I'm 51.)
- There was never any official reason for why blacks were denied the priesthood. We didn't know why. No one knew.
Being an inquisitive child, I always wanted to know why. I asked many people and got many explanations. It became clear to me that the various explanations were all just theories.
When I was able to pin down people that should have known, they would admit that they didn't know why and that the Church had never given an official explanation. However, that didn't stop some of them from advancing their theories. This muddied the waters, then and now. Many ordinary people and historians alike still proffer their theories as the truth.
If a 16 year old kid, like myself, could unearth the real truth, it was knowable to others, then and now.
- It was never a question of whether blacks would eventually be ordained to the priesthood. It was always a question of when.
We all knew the time would come when blacks would be allowed to have the priesthood, we just didn't know when it would occur. In 1852, Brigham Young said it would occur some time in the future. Footnote eight on the topic page gives this reference:
Brigham Young, Speeches Before the Utah Territorial Legislature, Jan. 23 and Feb. 5, 1852, George D. Watt Papers, Church History Library, Salt Lake City, transcribed from Pitman shorthand by LaJean Purcell Carruth; "To the Saints," Deseret News, April 3, 1852, 42.
Young's teaching from 1852 reached into my day. We knew it was a question of when, not if.
The other supporting source is a transcribed document from Pitman shorthand. This is a recent discovery from the Lost Sermons project. It supports what we have always known, the ban would end.
This doesn't stop critics from crediting themselves for the change. Outside LDS circles, people tend to believe the policy change came from outside pressure, not revelation. What I remember from 1978 is that the revelation came out of the blue.
I remember news commentators' astonishment, because pressure on the Church had diminished and was nearly non-existent when the change came. People had basically given up exerting pressure on the Church to change.
Photo courtesy of © 2008 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Close to 3,000 people gathered to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the June 1978 revelation that extended the Church's lay priesthood to men of all races.
Reflecting back on church activities when I was a teen causes me some regret, not because of what I did, but because of the activities themselves. Some of them just filled up time, were fun and kept us out of any overt trouble.
Much of the time could have been put to greater use. Perhaps the Church agrees, because the new Youth Activity website certainly solves all of those problems.
"When it comes to youth activities in the Church, the typical question is 'What are we going to do?'" said Mike Madsen, project manager for the new youth activity website created by the Church. "That question needs to change to 'Who needs our help?' 'What activity can we do to help the less active come to church?' or 'What do we need to do now to prepare for our future?' Activities should be based on needs and interests and planned with a purpose."
Photo courtesy of © Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that serving others and the community is one of the characteristics of the true followers of Jesus Christ. Young people in particular learn principles of good citizenship that will help make them strong members of their communities.
In following trends, I've discovered that young people don't like using their phones for actually talking. In fact, they think calling people is rude, and time consuming.
I have to agree with them on these points. It is presumptuous to expect someone to drop what they are doing and talk to you the instant you call them. I think it's rude too. Also, you can convey a simple message much faster with text messaging than with actually phoning someone.
The young prefer texting. Nearly all of them have cell phones and most of them have smart phones. A youngster once pointed to a small digital bar graph on her phone and showed me that she could text if she had a weak mobile connection (2 bars) versus talking which required a stronger mobile connection (4 bars).
Grandparents, especially, need to understand that the young prefer texting and social media. What it boils down to is this: if you want to communicate with the young, you have to communicate the way they communicate.
No, they probably won't call you. You can complain all you want and it won't change things. Texting is easier, cheaper and more convenient. So, learn how to text and be a lurker on their social networking until you learn how to interact appropriately. And, be grateful for what contact you do have with them.
The best compromise seems to be to text someone and ask when and if they are willing to talk with you. It's also good to ask what number they want to be reached at as well. People don't like letting other people use up their phone minutes.
Before cell phones and such were commonplace, my husband and I were able to obtain a 1-800 number that rang directly to our home. This meant the kids could call us anytime from anywhere. We thought this would be a boon for parent/child communication.
How wrong we were. Making communication easy for children doesn't mean there will be more of it or that it will be better quality when it does occur.
I think we share this exasperation with Heavenly Father. He has made it so easy for us to communicate with Him. We can pray anytime, anywhere.
As with most kids, we tend to largely ignore praying to our Heavenly Father. Our prayers tend to be minimal, fast and pretty self-centered. Thanking Him for blessings bestowed usually takes a backseat to pleading for more blessings from above.
Consider Heavenly Father, He has made it extremely easy for us to communicate with Him. We can pray anywhere, anytime. How often do we do it? Not very. Can you imagine how exasperated He is? How much easier could He make it for us? What else could He do?
What's more, he's always happy to hear from us no matter how long it's been since we prayed last. Can you imagine a better correspondent? I can't.
Just because our official Thanksgiving Day has passed doesn't mean the time for thanking Him has ended. So, try and keep a prayer in your heart as well as a prayer on your lips. It will make a difference, both to you and to Him.
1. Google search restricted to one domain. Without this feature I wouldn't be able to find anything on lds.org. If you haven't used this before, simply put the following into the Google search box: Your search term(s) site:lds.org This limits your search to just the Church's official website. For example, if you want to search "repentance" you would enter the following in Google: repentance site:lds.org
2. Apple TV. This was a gift so I didn't know about it before receiving it. Also, I don't understand how it compares to Roku exactly. I know Roku has a Mormon Channel on it. However, I really like being able to download church flicks onto iTunes and watching them on my television in high definition. I listen to scriptures, the Ensign and watch General Conference and anything else the Church has on video. It is simply marvelous and there are other options besides Apple TV.
3. LDS Media Talk. For keeping abreast of all church digital developments, this blog site is simply the best.
4. RSS feeds. Without them I couldn't keep up on any news at all. They simplify finding news. Instead, the news finds you.
5. Blurb.com and other self-publishing sites. I've been with 'em since 2006 and I'm still a big fan. I took one look at what they were offering and said to myself, "This is how I'm going to do my personal history!"
6. Vapor Steam Cleaners. I believe Heavenly Father helped me find this tool. I've been using a vapor steam cleaner since 2002. It helps me sanitize carpets, beds, bedding and upholstery so that my husband's allergies aren't triggered. I've got a good residential model made in Italy.
9. Camel milk. This is a wonder food without being a fad. I just wish it were more available and more affordable in the United States. It is plentiful elsewhere. For now, we have to content ourselves with camel milk powder, soap, lotion and chocolates. The old joke is that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. I don't think so. I think Heavenly Father knew what he was doing when he created camels. I'll take 'em over horses any day.
10. Bats. What a terrific animal! They do so much for us including eating insects and pollinating plants. We had a colony of bats in our backyard once. We were essentially bug free. It was great, although the eerie flapping noise at dusk sometime freaked me out. Kudos to organizations that protect and rescue them, as well as all the good folks who install bat houses and other artificial habitat for these marvelous little creatures. Heavenly Father certainly created a jewel when he created bats.
With the assistance of a makeup expert, he transformed himself into a homeless person and simply went to church. He got a few strong reactions, both negative and positive. However, most reactions weren't reactions at all. People just ignored his existence. This bothered him the most.
Bishop Musselman said. "It made me think of the category of people that ... the Savior has the most difficult time with. That's the people that are lukewarm. That really don't take a stand either way."
One of the things I most admire about the Apostle Paul is that he was no fence-sitter. Whatever side he was on, he gave it his all. No one could accuse him of being lukewarm.
What about you? What side are you on? Are you even on a side at all?
Maybe it's time for some course correction?
We can feel lonely even though surrounded by people. However, we never need to be alone, because we always have the opportunity of the Holy Ghost being with us. His influence can help us learn truth, know truth, avoid deception and feel comforted in times of trials.
The Holy Ghost is Heavenly Father's gift to us, since we cannot currently live in our heavenly home with our Heavenly Father. We can feel His influence through the Holy Ghost. He communicates through him to us.
In Spiritual Death Resulted in the Need for the Holy Ghost you can learn why the Holy Ghost was necessary. At the end of the article, a series of video clips further explain how to recognize the Holy Ghost's influence and how to feel his influence in your life.
Adam and Eve were married by Heavenly Father. As first parents they set the example for us, in this as well as in other things.
No other type of marriage is evidenced in scripture or modern revelation, not even plural marriage (sometimes called polygamy), so put your swords away.
In plural marriage, marriage was still between one man and one woman. Plural wives weren't married to other wives, they were only married to one husband.
We know that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.
By closely examining what we know of the creation of the world, the purposes for which it was created, Heavenly Father's placing of Adam and Even on this earth and the fall, we can better understand what Heavenly Father expects of us while we are here.
Photo courtesy of © 2008 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. The Church teaches of the importance of the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.
Have you thought about saying thank you?
My home was in the swath of dangerous storms to hit the Midwestern states this past weekend. There were plenty of man made structures that got damaged, but seeing the damage to nature was especially hard. Trees can't be repaired as quickly as signs can.
It was saddening to see the damage wrought by these storms, in my community, or on the news. There is so much about this physical world that is so beautiful. I hate to see it destroyed. However, it does make me grateful again for this beautiful world Jesus Christ created for us.
Photo courtesy of © 2007 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Jesus Christ.