Burning Bosom

Theology, History, Culture, Politics & Life from a LDS (Mormon) Perspective

Archive for March, 2008

How To Get Ahead In Hollywood (aka Maybe Those Roadshows Did Have Some Practical Value After All)

Posted by Shawn L on March 31, 2008

heigl2.jpgSurely this is one of the strangest aftershocks of the so-called “Mitt Moment.”   

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Posted in Humor, Mormon Culture | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

The Parable of the Faithless Soil

Posted by Jon on March 28, 2008

In the scriptures, specifically Section 4 of the Doctrine and Covenants, we read that “the field is ripe already to harvest…” However, the experience of my own mission to France was, to put it lightly, quite the opposite… at least that’s how I felt at the time. It took a while after the mission to come to the realization that the field may have been ripe, Harvestingbut all that didn’t matter if the farmers stopped believing there is a crop (or didn’t work in the field to try and make it grow).

The beginning of this realization came a little more than a year into my mission. My zone leader invited me to a bishopric council meeting which he attended monthly. As happened every time missionaries were in attendance the missionaries were asked if we had any investigators, and where they were in the discussions.

The last straw for me happened during Bishopric’s council. The zone leader at the time invited me to attend with him that week since I was in town for the meeting (I was in a separate town where we met in a small room for “independent Sunday School” with only about 10 members in the town). The bishop asked if we had any investigators coming to church that week. Before we could answer, the Relief Society President at the time sarcastically blurted out, “Ha, yeah elders, do you have anyone coming EVER?” She laughed as she said it, and it made me furious with to see her lack of faith in our ability to succeed. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Faith, Missonaries, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Can a Mormon be a Christian?

Posted by Kerry on March 27, 2008

It’s that age-old question: are Mormons Christians? It seems like every time I read an LDS news website or happen across a Christian blog, one of the topics that always boils to the top is whether the Christian world considers Mormons as sitting inside or outside the revival tent.

This question usually comes down to how each individual party defines the word Christian. Some say it is defined as a disciple of the biblical Christ, others as a member of a protestant church, others define it as a person who has “accepted Christ as their personal Savior” (which I, as a Mormon, have done), while others say that unless you have a cross on your church you cannot be considered a Christian.

What do I say? I don’t care if they think we are Christians.

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Posted in Church News, Faith, Inter-Faith Relations, Mormon Culture, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Why Are Utahns So Depressed?

Posted by Andrew on March 26, 2008

DepressedA recent news article cites a study that portrays Utah as the most depressed state in the U.S. The article suggests Mormon culture is at least partly to blame for Utahns’ depression, and features photos of a pill bottle and a depressed-looking woman superimposed over the Salt Lake temple.

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Posted in Depression, Mormon Culture, Utah | Tagged: , , | 15 Comments »

Dilbert, Jesus & Censorship At The Lord’s University

Posted by Shawn L on March 25, 2008

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As a Christian, does this comic offend you?  Does it cross the oh-so-fine line between humor and sacrilege?  For the staff at BYU’s Daily Universe, the answer to both questions was a very definite “yes.” 

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Posted in BYU, Humor | Tagged: , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Making Peace With The Easter Bunny

Posted by Shawn L on March 21, 2008

eb.jpgAfter a year off, the Easter Bunny is scheduled to make a return visit to our home this weekend.  My wife and I, parents of three young daughters, have been mulling over this decision for the past few weeks and, quite honestly, it may change in the next 48 hours.   Last year, we decided we were giving up the Easter Bunny altogether on the notion that it unnecessarily drew attention away from the more sacred aspects of the holiday.  Not a bad idea in principle, right?  Well . . .

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Posted in Humor, Mormon Culture, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Honest Disagreement with Church Policy and Doctrine

Posted by Kerry on March 18, 2008

Last month, the Church released a statement regarding Peter Danzig’s (a member of the Church’s Orchestra at Temple Square in SLC) public disagreement surrounding same-gender marriage.[1] It appears that Peter and his wife were very active members of the Church, serving and attending in their local ward. But they disagreed with a 1st Presidency letter sent to local leaders back in 2006 “urging members to ‘express themselves’ on a forthcoming vote in the United States Senate relating to the definition of marriage.”[2]

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Posted in Apologetics, Church News, Faith, Mormon Culture, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 20 Comments »

Reflections On My First Sunstone Symposium

Posted by Shawn L on March 17, 2008

sunstone1.jpgThis weekend, I (along with my co-blogger, Andrew) attended my first Sunstone Symposium this past weekend in Claremont, California.  You’ll note from its title that this post does not aspire to be a comprehensive report of the weekend’s events.   But, in hopes of disabusing people of the same sorts of prejudices I held for so long (as explained below), let me share with you a few thoughts about my experience.   

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Posted in Mormon Culture, Mormon History, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 46 Comments »

A Little Brevity to Start the Week: Why Go to Church?

Posted by Jon on March 16, 2008

Sorry to break from the norm, but I got this from my mom and thought this forum would enjoy it (and who doesn’t enjoy a laugh on Mondays!). Disclaimer, I don’t know if it’s a true story. It probably isn’t. It’s meant to put a smile on your face as you start your week. After you read the story, I’ve included some thoughts and pointers that help me get the most out of my Sunday worship at church.

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Posted in Church Worship, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

The iConfessional: Offering Peace To The Internet-Savvy Sinner

Posted by Shawn L on March 14, 2008

ages.jpgSites where readers can share all of their dirty little secrets in sweet, sweet anonymity have long been a staple of the Internet. While blogs like Postsecret have turned such catharsis into an art form, these sites, more commonly, are places for folks simply to swap stories, brag a bit, and spill their guts. Common admissions range from the serious (“I cheated on my girlfriend” or “I did meth today for the first time in month”) to the scatological (“I was the guy who stunk up the bathroom at work today”).

Recently, these sites have given birth to a new, and odd, phenomenon: the iConfessional. Think of it as Deus ex blog . . . Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Mormon Culture | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

How Mormons Are Buddhists & Vice Versa

Posted by Andrew on March 12, 2008

BuddhaFirst VisionA few months ago, I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting in which I discussed how studying other religious faiths and their scriptures had enriched my life. When the meeting was over, a couple approached me and said they wanted a copy of the talk to give their daughter because she described herself as a “Buddhist Mormon.” The couple said their daughter couldn’t decide whether to be a Buddhist or a Mormon, so she was trying to be both. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Book of Mormon, Inter-Faith Relations, Scripture, Theology | Tagged: , | 40 Comments »

“The church must be true, or the missionaries would have ruined it by now.”

Posted by Kerry on March 11, 2008

Have you ever heard that statement? It’s kind of funny, and in some cases, probably true. I have to admit I did some pretty stupid stuff as a missionary. Good thing we didn’t have Facebook or MySpace back then. 🙂

LDS Church issues apology in missionary vandalism case

LDS Church apologizes for ‘senseless’ vandalism of Catholic church, shrine

“Olsen said the LDS Church has initiated a “thorough investigation” of the incident and has arranged for a meeting with Catholic leaders to offer apologies.

‘We are providing the names of those involved to law enforcement officials and will continue to cooperate fully with those investigating the incident as well as with officials of the Roman Catholic Church. Those missionaries who have since returned home will face disciplinary action from the church,’ the statement read. ‘The missionary who was still serving in Colorado has also been disciplined and his mission terminated.’ “

Posted in Church News, Inter-Faith Relations, Missonaries | Tagged: , , , , , | 20 Comments »

Gathering God’s Words to “All Nations”: When, Where, How, and Who Cares?

Posted by Andrew on March 10, 2008

VishnuAt a recent General Conference, Elder Oaks reiterated the Book of Mormon prophecy that “the Lord will eventually cause the inspired teachings He has given to His children in various nations to be brought forth for the benefit of all people.” [1] So inquiring minds may want to know: when, where, and how will God’s words to “all nations” be brought forth and gathered? Fortunately, I just happen to have all the answers. 🙂 Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Bible, Book of Mormon, Inter-Faith Relations, Restoration, Scripture, Theology | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

A Night At The Ward Auction (aka Bargain Shopping For A Firedancer)

Posted by Shawn L on March 9, 2008

auction.jpg

One of things I loved about Church as a kid was going to ward fundraisers.  My motives, of course, were far from altruistic.  We had a guy in our ward who owned a 7-Eleven franchise, so he always brought boxes of candy and Slurpee coupons for auction.  After 2 hours of relentless nagging from their pack of wild kids, my folks inevitably would give in and we would go home with weeks worth of Butterfingers, along with all sorts of other trinkets we didn’t really need.  These events were always great fun and served to rally us together around a specific goal, be it the youth program, a new chapel or the construction of a local temple. 

It’s been nearly two decades now since I attended such an event.  Indeed, it was my understanding that the Church prohibited ward-sponsored fundraisers when it lifted the rule requiring congregations to raise their own budgets.   Apparently, I was wrong because, last night, our ward held its first annual Ward Auction to raise money for this year’s iterations of Scout Camp and Girls’ Camp.  I am happy to report it was rousing success.

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Posted in Mormon Culture, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Rewriting My “Testimony Rules”

Posted by Shawn L on March 5, 2008

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If you have spent any time at all as a member of the Church, you undoubtedly have a few horror stories of fast and testimony meetings gone awry.  From false doctrine to racially-insensitive remarks to right-wing political “calls to arms” to just plain weirdness, I’ve have heard my fair share of, ahem, “colorful” testimonies.  [My favorite is the departing missionary who ended his testimony by saying, “In the words of the Lord, ‘it is finished,'” and then promptly sat down.]   As a result, many jaded members — and virtually every full-time missionary — can be heard, at one time or another, to say that they look upon this monthly ritual with dread, a feeling that is only exacerbated by the presence of persons unfamiliar with the practice, such as investigators.  Who knows what crazy old Sister Jones will say this month?  What if Brother Jones spends another 30 minutes bemoaning his long-haired son-in-law and the evils of cable television?

I’ll admit, I’m no different.  Over the years,  as a direct response to these instances, I developed my own set of criteria for how I thought a testimony — an honest to goodness Testimony — should sound.  Each week, of course, members broke every single one of my little rules, which drove me crazy.  Didn’t they get it?  Bearing testimony is a serious business, for goodness sake.  But through a couple of recent experiences, I have come to rethink — and now take the opportunity to rewrite — my “testimony rules.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Book of Mormon, Faith, Mormon Culture | Tagged: , , , | 10 Comments »

The Unfinished Restoration: A Global Vision

Posted by Andrew on March 5, 2008

GlobeMormons tend to think of the Restoration as a discrete series of events that began with the First Vision and concluded with the Martyrdom. Because we tend to view the Restoration as something that has already occurred, we don’t seem to talk much about whether there is something more we can and should be doing to complete it. However, there is an aspect of the Restoration that is unfinished, and which seems to be largely overlooked.

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Posted in Apologetics, Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, Mormon History, Restoration, Scripture, Theology | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Gospel Questions from an 8 Year-Old Girl

Posted by Andrew on March 4, 2008

Question MarkAs I drove to Yogurtland with my oldest daughter last night, I thought I’d use our alone time for a little Gospel Q&A to test how well her Gospel knowledge is coming along. But after asking her just one question, she turned the tables on me and started testing my own. I had just finished quizzing her on the members of the Godhead, when she threw this at me:

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Posted in Faith, Humor | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »