Burning Bosom

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

Posts Tagged ‘Mormon’

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 »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

dilbert.gif

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.” 

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BYU, Humor | Tagged: , , , , , | 14 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.   

Read the rest of this entry »

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

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 »

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 »

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 »

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.

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

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

A Tale Of Two Missions

Posted by Shawn L on February 22, 2008

muppmission.jpgMy wife and I were out to dinner the other night with some good friends of ours who are also LDS.  As I am wont to do, I shared with them an anecdote from my long-ago mission in Guatemala.  Admittedly, the story, which detailed the unpleasant experience of being tested for intestinal parasites in a third world country, was probably inappropriate for a post-meal discussion (hint: it’s not a blood sample they want).  It got a few laughs nevertheless.   Once she recovered from yet another rash of embarrassment at my hand, my wife asked a simple question that has stuck with me:   “Was it worth it?”

I was taken aback and, I’ll admit, a bit hurt by the question.  How could my wife even think to ask such a thing?  Surely she knows how important my mission is/was to me, right?  That it means much more than a few funny stories?  But as I have mulled over her question in the past few weeks, I have come to realize that it stemmed from the fact that I tell two very different versions of my mission experience.   And for each version, my answer is a bit different.

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Posted in Missonaries, Mormon Culture | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

What Else Did God Say To Joseph?

Posted by Shawn L on February 16, 2008

jsmith2.jpg The topic of last Sunday’s Elders Quorum lesson was the First Vision. The teacher, who I like and who generally does a good job, was leading a paint-by-numbers sort of discussion (Q: “What do we learn from The First Vision”; A: “God has a body”). As usual for this topic, the lesson had its share of omissions (no mention of the other accounts) and historical missteps (“No one else in 1820 believed that God and Christ were separate beings”). All in all, it was a fairly typical meeting and, to be honest, I was zoning out.

But then, quite unexpectedly, the lesson took a decidedly more interesting turn. The instructor focused on one seemingly minor detail of Joseph’s account that, despite having read it dozens of times, came as a surprise to me: “He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time.” (JS-H 1:20) I had totally forgotten about Joseph’s private conversation with God. Of course, the notion of God forbidding his prophets from writing down something he has told or shown them is not new. But what makes this 15-word passage (which is not mentioned again in the History) particularly interesting is that Joseph never was shy about sharing what he felt had been revealed to him. Furthermore, as far as I know, he never revealed what “other things” God had told him during that experience.

The teacher then posed a question, which I now present for your consideration: what unwritten things do you think God said to Joseph at that moment?

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Posted in Joseph Smith, Mormon History | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

The Zen Of Moving Chairs

Posted by Shawn L on February 11, 2008

ZenAs a young missionary in the MTC, I expended a lot of energy worrying about the relative strength of my testimony. I was raised in the Church, my whole family (at that time, at least) was fully active, and I was excited finally to be heading out to Guatemala to serve. But I was troubled because I felt as though something was missing. For me, the issue was not whether I had a testimony, but whether it was sufficiently buttressed with spiritual experiences. Hoping to see tangible fruit borne of Moroni’s promise, I nightly prayed fervently for a sign — something physical, something remarkable — to cement my testimony, to give me the ability to state, without hesitation, that “I know the Book of Mormon is true.” I honestly believed that, if I prayed hard enough, it was simply a matter of time. I knelt in the dark for long periods after I had finished, just waiting.

And after nine weeks of this . . . nothing happened. Well, not “nothing” — my testimony did grow and I felt closer to the Lord than I ever had. But I still felt let down — why didn’t I merit a life-altering, veil-thinning sort of experience? Isn’t that my entitlement as a faithful seeker? In the many years since I left the MTC, I have often pondered the question, what do we do when we don’t receive the spiritual confirmation for which we are earnestly searching? For me, the answer has come from an unexpected, and positively mundane, source.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Missonaries, Mormon Culture, Scripture, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 8 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 »

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 »

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 »

“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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Are Mormon Men Whipped?

Posted by Andrew on December 20, 2007

The other day I was talking to an LDS friend who informed me that his wife will not “let” him go to bed wearing just his G’s; she insists that he wear pajamas. Not to get “Brokeback Mountain” on you or anything, but my friend is a good looking guy, he’s fit, and he has no abnormal hairiness or other unsightly aspect of his appearance from what I can tell (then again, I’ve only seen him with his clothes on). So it’s difficult for me to understand the insistence that he be fully clothed in bed. And while I certainly respect my friend’s demonstrable concern for his wife’s wishes, for me this was just another example that Mormon men are way too whipped these days. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Marriage & Family, Mormon Culture | Tagged: | 7 Comments »