Burning Bosom

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

Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

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 »

Advertisements

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Rewriting My “Testimony Rules”

Posted by Shawn L on March 5, 2008

8xk6fcaam2pimca554hxucakdxhz8ca23j6w9caltg2iecau5romwcavwch3lca8j7nptcaxavxhecau2aobmcazcx15jca2apsqvca0mhih0cakhp6ytcabjlfslcayzeiu2caqyqiqgcac0uqr3cam2ae1l.jpg

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 »

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:

Read the rest of this entry »

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

In Relief Society, “No means No!”

Posted by Kerry on February 29, 2008

Like many other Burning Bosom Bloggers, my wife and I have both recently served in ward leadership positions. It was Elder’s Quorum Prez (EQP) for me and RS Prez (RSP) for my wife (still serving). I have to admit that we have both been absolutely flabbergasted, completely bewildered, and utterly SHOCKED at the behavior of some of our fellow active members of the church, regarding the acceptance of service from others.

It seems that when a person is first called to a ward leadership position, said person tries to fulfill every single service request at whatever cost, believing that “magnifying your calling” requires that. One common example would be spending an exorbitant (i.e a dozen hours) amount of time helping an unprepared family to move. Over time, however, even the sweetest of hearts becomes somewhat “hardened” and begins to understand that it is okay to say “no” to some inappropriate service requests.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Faith, Humor, Marriage & Family, Mormon Culture | Tagged: , , , , , | 34 Comments »

The Parable of the Elephant

Posted by Andrew on February 28, 2008

ElephantSometimes I recall nuggets of spiritual wisdom but cannot remember when or where I picked them up. One in particular has increasingly taken on new meanings for me as I’ve wrestled with some of life’s tougher questions. You might call it the “Parable of the Elephant.” This is how it goes, as best I remember, with a few adaptations of my own:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Faith, Inter-Faith Relations | 2 Comments »

“I Pray for Dead People”

Posted by Kerry on February 25, 2008

The other night my 6-year old daughter was chosen by the patriarch of our home to offer a blessing on the food that was sitting at our dinner table. After what started out as Food Prayer Transcript #26, she said something that at first made my wife and I giggle, but has made me think a bit. Obviously this daughter was aware of the recent passing of our Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley.

In her prayer, she sincerely mentioned:

“Please bless President Hinckley that he will have a fun time in heaven.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Faith, Humor, Mormon Culture | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Why I Am Not a Disaffected Mormon

Posted by Andrew on February 25, 2008

DisaffectedThere seem to be a number of disaffected Mormons lurking the Bloggernacle these days.

I am not one of them.

Here is why.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Faith, Mormon Culture | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

The Appropriateness of Blessings

Posted by Jon on February 22, 2008

Our two boys have been sick with the flu this week. Probably the reason I’ve been wondering how soon is too soon (if there is a “too” soon?) to give a blessing, especially for the so-called “little things” in life?

Don’t get me wrong, I love giving blessings. I love receiving blessings. I love seeing the faith of those who ask to receive blessings. I whole-heartily see blessings as a fundamental part of Mormonism and the Priesthood. But when Priesthood Blessings does it go to far? Can it go to far? After all, the power of the Priesthood was given to us to use it for righteous reasons, or so I understand it.

Still, I find myself slow to react for the little things, such as a cough, a cold or a fever. My rationale is simple: If I bless my kids when something little and that we know we can cope with, where do I draw the line?

It’s funny because I never thought I’d actually be asking myself this question. On my mission I had no problem explaining the benefits of blessings to people, and even offered (the appropriate way… not solicitation) many blessings to investigators, members or less-active members. So it’s weird that I find myself asking this question.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Faith | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

Celestial Navigation: Why Our Imperfect Guidance System is Perfect for God’s Purposes

Posted by Andrew on February 11, 2008

Imagine being an ancient mariner on an empty sea in the black of night with nothing more to guide you than a few distant lights in the heavens. Celestial navigation is an ancient skill that enables its practitioner to use the stars to determine where he is, where he wants to be, and which direction he needs to go. As a guidance system, it was woefully imperfect and had a high rate of error. Sometimes the heavens were obscured by clouds, and even when the skies were clear, the constellations were continually drifting. A sailor could easily misread the stars and end up hundreds of miles from his intended destination. Nowadays, modern mariners have GPS devices that make all the necessary calculations for them with virtually flawless precision at the push of a button. They always arrive at their intended destinations, but I wonder what would happen if one day the satellites and computers stopped telling them what to do and where to go. Would modern mariners have adequately learned in their previous voyages to guide themselves by the light of the stars?

I’ve been wrestling with the question of why God allows so much ambiguity and uncertainty to exist about him and his ways, and why he’s left us with such an imperfect guidance system to discover the answers to life’s most important questions. There are so many things that God could just come out and clearly say, so many questions he could easily answer, but he chooses not to. And I’m coming to the conclusion that the reason why has a lot to do with the above comparison of ancient and modern mariners. It has a lot to do with clouds, stars, moons, suns, and which of those heavenly bodies God wants us to become. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Faith, Mormon Culture | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Is There a Deeper Reason Why Mormons Don’t Use a Cross?

Posted by Kerry on February 7, 2008

Most modern Christian churches use the cross as the symbol of their worship. More specifically, it represents and memorializes Christ’s death for them. They place the cross on the walls of their churches, hang it around their neck, even tattoo it on their arms. To most Christians, it serves as a reminder that Christ suffered and died for them. But still, I have to admit that in today’s world, seeing a cross around a person’s neck is a gratifying sight to me, because I know that in that person’s mind the cross is one way to demonstrate their love and devotion for the Savior.

Now, for some reason I grew up thinking that the cross was bad…that people who wore it were mocking Christ…that it was a ghastly symbol that should be shunned…that we as Mormons didn’t use the cross because it represented and reminded us of His horrific death. And focusing on His suffering and death on the cross was bad. It was like I was taught to avoid all of those appalling Catholic illustrations and statues of the Savior with a crown of thorns on his head and blood running down his cheeks, to get those images out of my mind because the cross is a reminder of his suffering and death, which is something we shouldn’t focus on.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Bible, Book of Mormon, Faith, Inter-Faith Relations, Mormon Culture | Tagged: , | 20 Comments »

Physical Contact with the Emblems of Christ’s Suffering

Posted by Kerry on January 25, 2008

With credit and respect to Thomas Griffith (last I heard, a Stake President over one of the BYU stakes) for pointing out this beautiful gospel perspective, let me share a thought that has really affected me personally lately.

When the Nephites were visited by the resurrected Lord, immediately after introducing himself by saying “…I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world” (3 Nephi 11:9-10), the people responded:

When Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them.” (3 Nephi 11:12)

Remember, these weren’t a bunch of non-believers, but instead were “…the righteous remnant, those who had heeded the warnings of the prophets. They were prepared to meet the Lord.” (Griffith citation here) Yet after seeing the risen Lord and hearing him introduce himself, they fell to the earth. Why did they fall to the earth? Some of them probably recognized the Savior and humbly felt impelled to kneel, others may have not recognized Him but felt peer pressure to kneel down. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Book of Mormon, Faith, Scripture | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

“Our False Traditions and Foolish Notions”

Posted by Andrew on January 24, 2008

When it comes to the question of why we need “continual revelation,” one explanation I have heard (and given) most often is that our world circumstances are constantly changing, and therefore God needs to give us up-to-date revelation to help us adapt and adjust to our present-day situation. Good examples of these types of revelations are our “mini-temples” and additional quorums of the Seventy, which were designed to cope with new demands created by unprecedented Church growth.

Another common explanation for continual revelation is that we cannot understand greater truths until we first understand simple truths. “Milk before meat.” “Line upon line, precept upon precept.” It’s the same concept as why students start with simple addition and subtraction, then multiplication and division, etc. In other words, what’s keeping us from further light and knowledge is that we haven’t yet mastered the spiritual truths we’ve already received.

However, Brigham Young provided another interesting explanation for why we grow “line upon line,” and it might surprise you: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Faith, Mormon Culture, Mormon History | Tagged: , | 16 Comments »

Would you die for your faith?

Posted by Kerry on January 14, 2008

I received word yesterday that a former co-worker had passed away. We worked together at Synopsys in the San Francisco Bay Area.  She was a young 39 years-old, single mom, with a 10 year-old boy. Apparently, 4 weeks ago doctors discovered a blood disease (I never heard what it was, but possibly leukemia?) that would require blood transfusions to survive.

 This lady was a member of the Jehovah’s Witness faith, which prohibits any type of blood transfusion. She chose to refuse the transfusion and accept the fact that she would die in a few weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Faith, Inter-Faith Relations | 1 Comment »

Defending the “Burning Bosom”

Posted by Andrew on January 4, 2008

If you Google the words “burning bosom,” you’ll find several websites and even a video that criticize Mormons for believing that God speaks to our hearts though his Holy Spirit. In LDS scripture, God tells us that when we have a question about something, “you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” (D&C 9:8.) Thus, Mormons believe we need to: (1) use our minds and do research, such as scripture study (“study it out in your mind”); (2) pray to God for guidance (“ask me if it be right”); and (3) listen to our hearts for a confirmation of truth (“your bosom shall burn within you”). Mormons believe the burning in the bosom described in the scripture quoted above is God speaking to our hearts through his Holy Spirit.

To me, this approach to truth-seeking should not be controversial to anyone who has studied the Bible. However, apparently several people who claim to believe the Bible find the concept of the “burning bosom” to be a false and dangerous notion that can lead people astray. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Bible, Faith, Scripture | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

The Improbability of God’s Existence

Posted by Andrew on December 19, 2007

Recent photographs taken from the Hubble telescope give us views of the universe that mankind has previously never seen.  You can see the photographs here.  These new cosmic perspectives raise old questions about what may be beyond the view of mankind’s most powerful observational instruments. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Faith | 3 Comments »

Fasting and Praying for Precipitation

Posted by Kerry on December 19, 2007

I have several relatives that are in the farming or ranching industry. Many of them live in Utah, and whenever I visit their wards, it is common for public prayers at the pulpit to include pleadings for rain or other precipitation. Often, entire stakes or multiple stakes will have designated fasts for said precipitation.

This practice of asking a higher power for precipitation has probably been around for centuries (if not millenia), and quite honestly to me it feels very appropriate. These people depend on rain for their livelihood, and rain comes from the heavens.

This starts to get interesting when you learn a little more about these professions: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Faith | 3 Comments »

Faith-Promoting Doubts

Posted by Andrew on December 18, 2007

Submitted by: Andrew

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46.) These words of the Savior demonstrate that even the most faithful among us will experience times of our lives when we no longer feel God’s sustaining presence in our lives. The word “forsake” is defined as to “abandon or desert”; “to give up something formerly held dear.” How is it that Jesus Christ–the perfect Son of God, who the scriptures repeatedly describe as being “one” with His Father–could feel abandoned, deserted, and given up by God?

Perhaps this scripture ought to cause us to rethink a seemingly prevalent assumption in Mormon culture that someone who is struggling to see or feel God must be experiencing self-inflicted spiritual blindness from sin. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Faith | Leave a Comment »

The Sands of Time: What Place Does History Have in Our Testimonies?

Posted by Andrew on December 18, 2007

Submitted by: Andrew

This past weekend, two good friends of mine have told me that they are either leaving the Church or have effectively left it already. Generally speaking, the concerns that my friends say have driven them out of the Church relate to Church history. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Faith, Mormon History | 2 Comments »