Burning Bosom

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

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 »

Selection 2008: Is One of These Latin Americans the Next Apostle?

Posted by Andrew on February 5, 2008

med_costa_crm1.jpg

med_gonzalez_wf1.jpg

[Pictured above: Elders Claudio R.M. Costa of Brazil and Walter F. González of Uruguay, now serving in the Presidency of the Seventy.]

With Elder Uchtdorf’s calling into the First Presidency yesterday, a vacancy has been created in the Quorum of the Twelve. Will this opportunity bring us the first Latin American Apostle?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Church News, Mormon Culture | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

New First Presidency: Monson President, Eyring and Uchtdorf Counselors

Posted by Andrew on February 4, 2008

Read the Deseret News article here.

The article notes: “At age 80, President Monson is one of the youngest men to become church president in the past quarter century. President Hinckley was 84, and Presidents Howard W. Hunter and Ezra Taft Benson were 86. President Spencer W. Kimball became president Dec. 30, 1973, at the age of 78.”

With Eyring and Uchtdorf as two of the younger members of the Quorum of the Twelve, the new First Presidency is one of the younger ones we’ve had in quite some time. Uchtdorf’s inclusion in the First Presidency also has obvious significance because he is a native of Germany.

Posted in Church News | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

On Being A Mormon Democrat

Posted by Shawn L on February 1, 2008

Over Christmas break, I attended my in-laws’ ward in Logan, UT.  The Gospel Doctrine class was filled to capacity with approximately 50-60 people of all ages.  The lesson was on the Book of Revelations, which admittedly is not an easy subject.   The teacher, a young guy no older than 25, handled it in a fairly rote fashion, leading a class discussion about the “signs of the end times” seen in the U.S.’s rapidly-devolving-into-pure-evil popular culture.   He hit all of the usual suspects:  abortion, gay marriage, naughty television shows, etc.   Then, he held up a picture from the front page of the local paper showing a picture of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.  Photo in hand, he said something to the effect of, the fact that either one of these folks could lead this nation is surely sign of the latter days.  The teacher said that while he wasn’t necessarily taking a partisan stand, the scriptures make clear that, in the final days, wolves in sheeps’ clothing would rise to power and we should be on guard.  All heads nodded in knowing agreement.

This, unfortunately, was not an isolated incident.  Over the years, I have witnessed numerous other instances of Democrat/liberal bashing in Church.  You likely have seen a few yourself.   I say, enough is enough!  It is high time that those of us on the left of the politial spectrum make our voices heard.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Mormon Culture, Politics | Tagged: , | 57 Comments »

The Absolute Worst Job In The Church

Posted by Shawn L on January 29, 2008

At 35 years old and a lifelong member, I’ve been around the proverbial block a few times when it comes to Church assignments.  Callings — I’ve had them all, from Primary teacher to Elders’ Quorum President and everything in between.  I’ve moved chairs, swept floors, drained baptismal fonts via shop-vacs, picked apples on a welfare farm, hung crepe papers, put up hundreds of Christmas lights, manned the DI trailer, taken down hundreds of Christmas lights, and delivered dozens of meals to all manner of incapacitated individuals.  If you can think of an assignment, I’ve signed the sheet as it passes through Quorum meeting. 

Each of these jobs has its benefits, and we certainly can talk about them in another post.  But this week, after pondering my years of experience, I finally decided which one of all of the many responsibilities I have fulfilled is the one I dread the very most . . . .

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Mormon Culture | Tagged: | 9 Comments »

Passing of a Leader

Posted by Jon on January 27, 2008

President Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, passed away today at the age of 97. He was a beloved president who had served as Prophet, Seer and Revelator since March 12, 1995. For more information please see the official announcement from the church here.

President Gordon B. Hinkley
President Gordon B. Hinckley
(June 23, 1910 – January 27, 2008)

Posted in Church News, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 5 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 »

Church’s (Official?) Position on Biblical Interpretation

Posted by Andrew on January 25, 2008

Brother Jensen thinks the story of Jonah spending three days in a whale’s belly is not literally true, but is a beautiful metaphor of Christ’s death and resurrection. Brother Christiansen, on the other hand, insists the story is literally true, and thinks Brother Jensen is going to hell for thinking otherwise.

Brother Smith believes story of the Garden of Eden teaches true spiritual principles, but is not historically accurate. Brother Young, on the other hand, insists Mormons must believe the Bible’s history as well as its spiritual teachings.

For quite some time I’ve been trying to figure out whether the Church has an “official position” on how we are to interpret the Bible (e.g., literally or not, historically accurate or not). And I’ve been completely unable to find any such statement from the Church. Until now . . . Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Bible, Church News, Scripture | Tagged: | 7 Comments »

Extra! Extra! Sister Smith’s Geneaology Disproves Science!

Posted by Shawn L on January 24, 2008

I have been witness to an event that, if verified, has the potential to change mankind’s understanding of its origins. Let me set the stage for you, gentle readers . . .

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Marriage & Family, Mormon Culture, Uncategorized | Tagged: | 8 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 »

Mormon Priestcraft… Is There Such a Thing?

Posted by Jon on January 21, 2008

I’ve had this burning question for a long time (truth be told, I just re-read the P.D.P. post by Shawn L, and it inspired me to revisit this question): Does “priestcraft” exist in Mormon culture? If so, what qualifies as priestcraft? Is it the books or cds by Mormon authors that are being solicited to Mormons? Is it the endless trinkets with CTR or “Hold to the Rod” emblazoned across them? How about the jazzed up or even rocked out versions of primary classics such as “Give Said the Little Stream,” or “I Belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” The “Forgotten Carols?” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Mormon Culture, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 23 Comments »

MYTHBUSTERS: The “One True Church”

Posted by Andrew on January 21, 2008

There are a lot of myths both inside and outside Mormondom about the LDS claim to be the “one true Church.” That claim is difficult for people of other faiths to accept for obvious reasons. But it may also be difficult for many Mormons to reconcile that claim with their belief in a just and merciful God who loves all his children. I do not expect it will ever be “easy” to accept the “one true Church” claim. However, I think Church members sometimes make it more difficult to accept by drawing implications from the “one true Church” claim that do not necessarily follow from it.

In order to correctly understand what the “one true Church” claim truly means, we first need to understand what it does not mean. The following is my attempt to bust the myths surrounding the “one true Church” claim and its companion doctrines, the Apostasy and Restoration, using the words of Church leaders and Church publications. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Inter-Faith Relations | Tagged: , | 24 Comments »

Just Who Exactly Is The “Natural Man”?

Posted by Shawn L on January 20, 2008

Walk into any seminary classroom on any given morning and speak the phrase, “the natural man.”  In response, you’ll hear a rush of pages as students race towards King Benjamin’s admonition in Mosiah 3:19 that “the natural man is an enemy to God.”  Over the course of many, many lessons in varied fora, I have heard this scripture used to support the proposition that all men and women – that means us – are inherently evil and, by our very natures, stand in opposition to God.  The corrollary to this teaching is that unless we are ever vigilant, we inevitably will devolve into our “natural” sinful behaviors.

With all apologies to the CES instructors out there, I respectfully say . . . . Phooey!

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Book of Mormon, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | 11 Comments »

The State of LDS Film

Posted by Chris H. on January 19, 2008

I am, at the moment, attending the 7th annual LDS Film Festival taking place in Orem, Utah. I participated remotely last year, serving as a judge for the screenwriting competition, but this is my first year as an attendee. I will confess that I came to the festival with mixed expectations, having seen a long train of LDS-themed movies that were less than exemplary. If, however, what I have seen thus far represents the future of Mormon filmmaking, I think there is great cause for hope. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Mormon Culture | 7 Comments »

Sorry, this Probably Isn’t the Website You’re Looking For

Posted by Andrew on January 17, 2008

One of the joys of operating a blog is getting a daily report telling us the search engine terms that people used to find our blog that day. So for example, if you typed “burning bosom” into Google, and then clicked the link to our blog on the results page, we know about it.

We are continually amused by the search engine terms that people use to find us–intentionally or unintentionally. Here are a few of my personal favorites from just last week. To be clear, these are words people typed into a search engine, like Google, to find our website: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

The Last Kiss

Posted by Andrew on January 16, 2008

As I stared down at him laying in his coffin, my eyes were drawn to his hands. Enormous vice-grips of bone, muscle, and sinew that bespoke a man who spent his life working with his hands. Hands that baled hay, shod horses, and roped cattle. Hands that engulfed your own when you shook hands with him. His hands looked the same now as they always had, only they were an unnatural pasty white. My eyes moved up to his lifeless face, and studied the rosy makeup they’d brushed onto his dead skin to make it look alive. And for some reason, at that moment, I remembered the last time I kissed him. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Marriage & Family | 1 Comment »

Follow the Prophet… or He’ll Build Your School Elsewhere

Posted by Jon on January 14, 2008

Well, I know many of you come to this site looking for good stories that will build up or even challenge your faith. However, today I came across a post on a friends blog that I felt was too good not to reproduce on this blog.

In his post he tells the story about how Brigham Young University (BYU) came to be located in Provo, or said another way, how it didn’t end up in Draper, Utah. It is a (somewhat humorous) lesson in following the prophet, and the consequences that follow if we don’t. Here is a link to the story as abridged by Russ on his blog: BYU: The “almost” college of Draper, Utah.

Posted in BYU | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

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 »

Adventures In Apostasy

Posted by Shawn L on January 13, 2008

My “Bosom brother” Andrew has posted an interesting piece at Mormon Matters about the “10 Things Every Mormon Needs to Know” (check it out here).  I wholeheartedly agree with all of his points.  In thinking about them, however, I humbly submit that we should add one more to the list:  #11 — Full-time missionaries, although called as official representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, oftentimes have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. 

A quick disclaimer:  I love missionaries and have the utmost respect for the sacrifices they make to teach the Gospel.  I, myself, was a missionary many moons ago and I am absolutely sure I taught some pretty outrageous whoppers.  So while I can’t help but be a bit snarky in relating my experiences, I don’t mean to poke fun or belittle the Elders at issue.  In fact, as you’ll see near the end, I raise these examples to ask a couple of serious questions.  

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Missonaries | Tagged: , , , | 12 Comments »

Appreciating Other Religious Faiths

Posted by Andrew on January 10, 2008

President Gordon B. Hinckley has admonished us to cultivate “a spirit of affirmative gratitude” for those of differing religious persuasions. He has given us this counsel: “Be respectful of the opinions and feelings of other people. Recognize their virtues; don’t look for their faults. Look for their strengths and their virtues, and you will find strength and virtues that will be helpful in your own life.”[i] President Hinkley’s inclusive message echoes the words of Joseph Smith, who taught that “[o]ne of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism’ is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.”[ii] In a similar vein, the Lord instructs us in the Doctrine and Covenants to “seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom”[iii] and to “become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people.”[iv]

I’d like to share some experiences about how I’ve benefited from learning about other religious faiths, and to quote what modern-day prophets have told us about how other faiths and churches fit into our Heavenly Father’s plan. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Inter-Faith Relations | Tagged: | 8 Comments »

Mourning With Those That Mourn

Posted by Shawn L on January 9, 2008

Our ward is passing through a time of tragedy: our Bishop lost his 4 1/2 year old son on New Year’s Day in a sledding accident.  This loss was especially difficult news for our family because the son and my daughter were playmates — same co-op preschool, same Primary class, etc.  But, to my surprise, this experience has helped to shed new light on a very familiar scripture and has helped remind me of the blessings I enjoy as part of a ward family.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Reason #10,045 Why I Love Living In California

Posted by Shawn L on January 9, 2008

 The flyer says it all (click on the red link below to see it):

Stake Conference Invite

Feast upon a Double Double, then feast upon the word!

(FYI:  I’m not nearly savvy enough to figure out how to put the flyer image in the post.)

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

The Sources and Potential Results of Today’s Anti-Mormon Bigotry

Posted by Andrew on January 7, 2008

Last weekend, New York Times Magazine featured an article entitled “What Is It About Mormonism?”, which provides an in-depth examination of the sources of bigotry against Mormonism, both historically and today as highlighted by the reaction in some quarters to Mitt Romney’s candidacy.  The article was brought to my attention by esteemed reader Chris H., who had the following insightful comments to share: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Mormon History, Politics | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Inoculation, Part Deux: Ancient Versus Modern Prophets

Posted by Andrew on January 6, 2008

One of my Primary boys said one of the darnedest things on Sunday, and it got me thinking again about Shawn L’s post from a couple weeks ago, where he posed the question of how we can best approach the task of “inoculating” our youth from aspects of Mormon history or doctrine that may seem difficult to understand. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

So You Think Romney Gives Mormons A Bad Name . . .

Posted by Shawn L on January 4, 2008

Ol’ Brother Romney has nothing on Glenn Beck, CNN’s conservative windbag.*  Don’t believe me?  Then check out this video, released today, in which Beck rambles on (and on and on) about his recent medical scare.  If he was not on some serious medication at the time of taping, he should starting taking something immediately.  My issue with Beck (and his ilk), however, runs deeper. Read the rest of this entry »

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

Mormon Jeopardy Champ Responds to Anti-Mormon Mudslingers

Posted by Andrew on January 4, 2008

My friend Chris sent me an op-ed piece printed in the New York Daily News in which Ken Jennings, of former Jeopardy fame, pleads to the politicians and media pundits to stop slandering his Mormon faith.  You can read it here.  This line was my personal favorite:

“The truth, Huck, is that Mormons believe that God is the Father of us all, which does, I guess, in some sense, make Jesus and Satan brothers. And by the same logic, we also believe that Moses and Orville Redenbacher and Attila the Hun and Neil Diamond are brothers. Happy now?”

After reading his piece, tell us how you think he did.

Posted in Apologetics, Politics | Tagged: , , , | 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 »

Which God Should I Believe In?

Posted by Andrew on January 1, 2008

In the Old Testament, God is often doing things that seem grossly out of character for the God I believe I know. The God I believe I know doesn’t order “his people” to kill the elderly, women, and little children (Ezek. 9:6); he doesn’t order the death penalty for those who break the Sabbath (Ex. 31:14-15); he doesn’t strike someone dead for making a misguided attempt to help (2 Sam. 6-8); and he doesn’t send bears to tear children into pieces–not even for making fun of a prophet’s bald head (2 Kings 2:23-25). These types of stories in the Old Testament present me with a dilemma. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Scripture | Tagged: | 9 Comments »

“We disagree with what our leaders said in General Conference.”

Posted by Kerry on December 30, 2007

In the October 2007 General Conference, Sister Julie Beck gave what I initially thought was a harmless talk. I personally believe it was a great talk that was inspiring as well as supportive of the Proclamation on the Family from 1995.

Her talk was entitled “Mothers Who Know”. Here are a few selected passages to remind you of her talk: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Church News, Marriage & Family, Mormon Culture | 2 Comments »

What’s Wrong with the Mormons?

Posted by Jon on December 26, 2007

Thanks to our lively political scene with Romney and “Mormons” in one corner, and Huckabee and “Baptists” in another, a great article was debated in an article on Slate.com. I recognize Slate is not the best source for accuracy on the LDS faith, but in this case it brought up some very interesting points about the Baptist faith and the LDS faith, and why they just can’t seem to get along.

The article hit close to home as I, like many others, was persecuted by several Baptist Preachers while serving as a missionary in the Marseille, France mission (now the Toulouse, France mission). It was hard for me to see these men so vehemently lash out at me simply because I was Mormon. Never in all the years I went to church did I ever hear a bishop, ecclesiastical leader or even Sunday school teacher put down, bash or otherwise accost another faith. It is simply not an LDS practice, something I appreciate as discussions of that sort do not invite the spirit.

However, the article did get me thinking about other reasons why Baptist leaders may feel the need to warn their congregations about Mormons, one that makes sense to me in my line of work as a marketing communicator. I’ll illustrate my point with this brief story: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »