Archive for the 'Missionary' Category

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.



“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.

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.

Continue reading ‘Philosophies of Men, Mingled with Scripture’

John Nielson (1937-2010) May he Rest In Peace

My father died today.  We had known for a while that something was not quite right with his blood, and recently found out that it was leukemia.  Apparently a very acute type.

My father spent his entire career teaching Geography at Ricks College, along with several religious classes.  He served for nine years in the Presidency of the Rexburg Idaho North Stake, along with many other callings.  He served a mission in Australia as a young man, and served another mission in Kenya recently with my mom.  He had six children.

He contributed a few posts to this blog.  He compared Mormonism to Taoism here, wrote about the atonement as a process here, and made a lengthy comparison between the gospel and chess here.  He even had an article published in Dialogue about Christ’s World Government here.

My father was an excellent example of faithfulness and duty to his family and to the church.  The older I get, it seems the more I become like him.  I will miss him very much.  My firm belief in the resurrection and the eternal nature of the family gives me great comfort.

‘Til we meet again, dad.


Valerie joined the church several years ago. She was pregnant, and came to church alone. Her husband had no interest in the church. She hoped that some day he would show some interest, and in the meantime was hoping to raise her first child in the gospel. Her parents and brother were also hopeful future recipients of the gospel.

I was fortunate to be able to help the missionaries in teaching Valerie, and was honored to accept an assignment to be her first home teacher. We taught her the new member discussions, and began the regular home teaching routine. Things went well, and then her daughter was born.

Continue reading ‘Valerie’

On Suicide

One of the full-time missionaries currently serving in our ward recently received some sad and disturbing news. His father committed suicide. It has been known that his father struggled with depression. His mother left for a few minutes to run some errands, and while she was out, his father shot himself in the head. The missionary, a brand new greenie serving in his first area, has decided to stick it out and continue his mission. I admire his willingness to continue his valuable service during a time when his heart is probably very heavy indeed.

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Not all Missionary Stories Have Happy Endings

So I thought I might throw in some missionary thoughts also. Unfortunately I really don’t have any spectacular mass conversion stories to pass along. Baptisms in my mission were modest in number. One of the experiences I remember often is teaching a family in southern Georgia. The father of this family was named Roosevelt Givens.

Continue reading ‘Not all Missionary Stories Have Happy Endings’

Another Parable of Another Sower

He that has ears to hear, let him hear.

There was once a sower who went to a foreign land among strangers to sow. Some seeds fell by the wayside and birds came along and ate them. Some seeds fell among stones on hard ground and sprang up quickly, but when the sun came up they withered and died. Some seeds fell among thorns and got choked. But some fell upon good ground and brought forth abundantly.

Continue reading ‘Another Parable of Another Sower’

On Baptizing Thousands

I served in the Georgia Atlanta Mission in the mid 80’s. We once had a visit from Elder Robert E. Wells who was a member of the Quorum of the Seventy at the time. For those who do not remember him, he had a very stern face and a big booming voice. He had a commanding presence, and could be a little intimidating.

During a meeting with a room full of missionaries, he asked a companionship that was sitting near the front to stand up. He asked them how many convert baptisms they had during the past month. They admitted that they had not had any. He asked about the previous month, and with some relief, they reported having one baptism. Elder Wells thanked them and invited them to sit down. He then posed an interesting question.

Continue reading ‘On Baptizing Thousands’

Retention and the Parable of the Sower

I do not have very many burrs under my saddle when it comes to the church, but in this case I would like to expose one in the hopes of removing it. It has to do with the retention of new converts.

Continue reading ‘Retention and the Parable of the Sower’

I Want to be a Missionary – Right Now!

I was told that a brother in our ward went out knocking doors with his young daughter last Sunday afternoon. What do you think of the appropriateness of this?

Continue reading ‘I Want to be a Missionary – Right Now!’


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