Posts Tagged 'Mormon Culture'

Dude. You Have the Scriptures on Your IPod?!

A paraphrased story from my #2 son:

We have recently moved to a small town in western Ohio.  My #2 son is one of only two young men in the local high school (as far as I know).  He is participating on the football team and just the other day the team had a meal together.  At the table where he sat, the conversation turned to the practices of Mormonism.  The report of the conversations went something like this:

“So you believe there should not be any sex before marriage.”

“Yes”, my boy said.

“Seriously?”

“Yes”

“What would you do if a pretty girl came up to you, unzipped your pants, and gave you a hand job?”

“I would probably slap her face.”

“No you wouldn’t”

“Yes I would”

“What about Adam and Eve, they weren’t married”

“Yes the were”

My son then pulls out his IPod and goes to Genesis 1 to show that Adam and Eve were husband and wife.

“Dude.  You have the scriptures on your IPod?!”

The boy seemed to handle it pretty well.  And seems to have no fear.

I Know the Church is True – Or – Epistemology of a Testimony

I know that the church is true.

This statement is repeated over, and over again on the first Sunday of every month in Fast and Testimony meetings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Members, of course, are not forced to say this, but most of them do.  This certain statement bothers a few people when they hear it.  They will often say that the ‘know’ part is to strong, and ‘true’ is a pretty strong word as well.

Continue reading ‘I Know the Church is True – Or – Epistemology of a Testimony’

Free Agency vs. Moral Agency

Mormons tend to have a very robust, though unsophisticated, belief in free will.  Most will refer to this free will as free agency.  This term agency seems to add an element of accountability to God for the choices that are made, while maintaining the freedom of the will.

There has been something of a subtle movement within the church to change the phrase ‘free agency’ to ‘moral agency’.  A few of the local members in my home ward are quite fond of pointing this out every time anyone mentions free agency in a lesson discussion.  They feel the need to correct some error on the part of the individual who uses the more common term free agency.  These good folks will point out that the phrase ‘free agency’ is not a scriptural phrase (although they never mention that the phrase ‘moral agency’ isn’t scriptural either). – [Update:  D&C 101:78 does use 'moral agency'.  I was wrong.]

But these few local members are not the only one’s getting into the act.  A search on the phrase ‘moral agency’ at lds.org will bring up several recent conference talks.  It does appear that some church leaders are beginning to prefer the term ‘moral’ to ‘free’ when describing our agency.  Why should this be, and what is at stake?

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Philosophies of Men, Mingled with Scripture

The phrase ‘the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture’ is sometimes used by Mormons to discredit some idea as a false doctrine, even if the idea has some scriptural support.  It almost always has a strong negative connotation associated with it. I imagine that people who have a background and interest in philosophy wish that this phrase, and the usual usage of it, would just go away.  I do not believe it is likely to go anywhere, and since one place this phrase is used is a narrative that is sacred to Mormons – it may be a warning to be taken seriously.

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The Gap Between Worthy and Perfect

The concept of worthiness in a somewhat unique aspect of Mormonism.  There are frequent worthiness interviews that one undergoes when fully participating in the church.  Youth get interviewed quite frequently as they progress through the youth programs and Aaronic priesthood quorums.  Adults get interviewed for temple recommends regularly as the recommends expire.  There are also interviews for church callings.  The individual conducting these interviews (particularly temple recommends and priesthood advancement) has a responsibility to determine the worthiness of the person being interviewed.

The Perfect College Football Playoff System: 2009 Version

Last year I introduced what I consider to be the perfect college football playoff system.  The BCS selections were made a couple of days ago, and while there is less national controversy this year than in previous years, there are still problems with the BCS system in 2009.  The primary problems this year include:

-  Three teams have undefeated seasons (Cincinnati, TCU, and Boise State), yet will have no chance whatsoever at the national championship.  And this year more than most I believe these teams actually have a shot.  I personally believe TCU would likely beat Texas right now for example.

Continue reading ‘The Perfect College Football Playoff System: 2009 Version’

Um, God? It’s Golf Season Again.

Heavenly Father,

Could you please help me find my golf ball?  I know it is around here somewhere.  I’ve looked everywhere, and it is time to either find the ball, or take a penalty stroke and a drop.  Could you PLEASE help me find the ball?

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Continue reading ‘Um, God? It’s Golf Season Again.’

Patriarchal Blessings and the Foreknowledge of God

 Many members of the church seem to have a contradiction in their beliefs and attitudes when it comes to patriarchal blessings and the foreknowledge of God.

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One..Brave..Priest..

My oldest son turned sixteen a couple of weeks ago.  This is the age that young men can be ordained as Priests in the Aaronic Priesthood.  This carries with it the authority to baptize, but more frequently the opportunity to bless the sacrament in our weekly worship services.  I was pleased to be able to ordain him to that office.

We live in a small and spread out ward in southern Michigan.  And we frequently will need to scramble to find people to help with the sacrament.  Sometimes we have enough young men, sometimes we don’t.  My son thought that the chances of him being asked to bless the sacrament were pretty high.  Because of this, he read over the sacrament prayers several times during the week.

Sure enough, on his first Sunday as a priest, there were no other priests on time for church.  And he was asked if he would handle the blessing of the sacrament.  He looked as white as a ghost and said that he was not ready.  I offered to go up with him, and we could bless the sacrament as father and son.  He cautiously agreed.

While we were sitting behind the sacrament table, and the announcements were being given, I began explaining how things were usually done in the blessing of the sacrament.  And I pointed out where the cards were that contained the sacrament prayers.  I explained that these prayers need to be word-for-word.  I suggested that he read really slow, and to read every word.  He then asked me what I found a profound question.  He asked, “How am I supposed to read it with my eyes shut?”

This explains why he was so nervous.  He thought that he had to have these prayers memorized perfectly, and that if he didn’t get it right he would have to try it over and over again in front of everybody.

This also explains my oldest boy.  He is a blindly obedient young man.  He has been told that you close your eyes during the prayer, and he does that, every time, without exception.

I am not sure how ‘heroic’ this all is, but when I consider his mindset going into this experience, and his willingness to go up there in spite of this, I am quite proud of him.  Well done, son.

Brain Plasticity and Pornography

There is no more frequent and stern warning given by leaders to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints than to avoid pornography. One only needs to go to lds.org and do a General Conference search on pornography to get quite a list of talks on the subject. It seemed to be of particular importance to former president Gordon B. Hinckley.

Continue reading ‘Brain Plasticity and Pornography’


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