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"We are not perfect. The people around us are not perfect. People do things that annoy, disappoint, and anger. In this mortal life it will always be that way. Nevertheless, we must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things. That is the Lord’s way. Remember, heaven is filled with those who have this in common: They are forgiven. And they forgive."—Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"We are not perfect. The people around us are not perfect. People do things that annoy, disappoint, and anger. In this mortal life it will always be that way. Nevertheless, we must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things. That is the Lord’s way. Remember, heaven is filled with those who have this in common: They are forgiven. And they forgive."
—Dieter F. Uchtdorf

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And more than chocolate too?!!

And more than chocolate too?!!

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"I imagine that every person on earth has been affected in some way by the destructive spirit of contention, resentment and revenge. Perhaps there are even times when we recognize this spirit in ourselves. When we feel hurt, angry or envious it is quite easy to judge other people, often assigning dark motives to their actions in order to justify our own feelings of resentment…
We are not perfect. The people around us are not perfect. People do things that annoy, disappoint and anger. In this mortal life it will always be that way. 
…Nevertheless, we must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things…Remember, heaven is filled with those who have this in common: They are forgiven. And they forgive.”
President Dieter F Uchtdorf

"I imagine that every person on earth has been affected in some way by the destructive spirit of contention, resentment and revenge. Perhaps there are even times when we recognize this spirit in ourselves. When we feel hurt, angry or envious it is quite easy to judge other people, often assigning dark motives to their actions in order to justify our own feelings of resentment…

We are not perfect. The people around us are not perfect. People do things that annoy, disappoint and anger. In this mortal life it will always be that way. 

…Nevertheless, we must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things…Remember, heaven is filled with those who have this in common: They are forgiven. And they forgive.”

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

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It’s the First Sunday - Time to Play “Fast and Testimony Bingo”!!!!

It’s the First Sunday - Time to Play “Fast and Testimony Bingo”!!!!

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When we give of ourselves we are blessing the life’s of others.That is what you all do for me. Thank you for blessing my life.
“Give,” said the little stream,“Give, oh! give, give, oh! give.”“Give,” said the little stream,As it hurried down the hill;“I’m small, I know, but wherever I goThe fields grow greener still.”

When we give of ourselves we are blessing the life’s of others.
That is what you all do for me. Thank you for blessing my life.

“Give,” said the little stream,
“Give, oh! give, give, oh! give.”
“Give,” said the little stream,
As it hurried down the hill;
“I’m small, I know, but wherever I go
The fields grow greener still.”

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A Mule’s Wisdom 
A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule ‘braying’ — or whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer felt sorry for the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened and asked them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.
Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back: he should shake it off and step up! This is what the old mule did, blow after blow.
"Shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up!" he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up!
You guessed it! It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! What seemed like it would bury him, actually end up blessing him. All because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

A Mule’s Wisdom 

A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule ‘braying’ — or whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer felt sorry for the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened and asked them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back: he should shake it off and step up! This is what the old mule did, blow after blow.

"Shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up… shake it off and step up!" he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up!

You guessed it! It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! What seemed like it would bury him, actually end up blessing him. All because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

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The message is simple: Love One Another.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

The message is simple: Love One Another.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

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If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest and the easiest times in life can be a blessing

It is never too late to strengthen the foundation of faith. There is always time. With faith in the Savior, you can repent and plead for forgiveness. There is someone you can forgive. There is someone you can thank. There is someone you can serve and lift. You can do it wherever you are and however alone and deserted you may feel. ~ Henry B Eyring, LDS General Conference, April 2012

If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest and the easiest times in life can be a blessing

It is never too late to strengthen the foundation of faith. There is always time. With faith in the Savior, you can repent and plead for forgiveness. There is someone you can forgive. There is someone you can thank. There is someone you can serve and lift. You can do it wherever you are and however alone and deserted you may feel. ~ Henry B Eyring, LDS General Conference, April 2012

Always Choose the Right!

Always Choose the Right!

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Fascinating look at the Standards for Youth circa 1965. If you want a laugh, check out the guidelines around when women can wear pants! 

Fascinating look at the Standards for Youth circa 1965. If you want a laugh, check out the guidelines around when women can wear pants! 

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The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet it is oft the course of the deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet it is oft the course of the deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Happy Fathers Day!

Happy Fathers Day!

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Are Mormons Christians?

Another battle in the Mormon-Christian media war has been ignited by David V Mason’s Op-Ed in the NY Times entitled, I’m a Mormon, Not A Christian. Leveraging the cultural discourse on the so-called Mormon Moment, Mason captures the essence of the debate:

For the curious, the dispute can be reduced to Jesus. Mormons assert that because they believe Jesus is divine, they are Christians by default. Christians respond that because Mormons don’t believe — in accordance with the Nicene Creed promulgated in the fourth century — that Jesus is also the Father and the Holy Spirit, the Jesus that Mormons have in mind is someone else altogether. The Mormon reaction is incredulity. The Christian retort is exasperation. Rinse and repeat.

There are two main issues I have with the whole “Are Mormons Christians” faux controversy (that was invented by the media). The first is simple: Mormons never have claimed to adopt the Nicene Creed, but that does not mean we are not Christian. When did the Nicene Creed become the litmus test for Christianity?

Let’s assume for a minute that it is. Clearly there were good Christians wandering around Europe between the time of Jesus Christ and the Nicene Creed in 325 AD, who were spreading the gospel across Europe, while bickering with each other about the nature of God and the relationship between the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. And for those same 300-odd years, these early Christians also never adopted the Creed (because it didn’t exist). So were they not Christian either?

Defining Christianity using the Nicene Creed means that the very people who composed first ecumenical council in 325 also were also not Christian.  Which begs the question: how could these heretics non-Christians determine the nature of God and construct the text that would become a doctrinal foundation for subsequent generations of Christians? {See more on the Apostasy at the end of the post}

The second issue I have is more complex. After taking the time to study the English translation of the Nicene Creed, I believe that Mormon doctrine, which forms the core beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), is copacetic with all of the Nicene Creed, with the singular exception of the survival of the Church. Let me explain…

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I know we subscribe to the entire Apostles’ Creed and much of the Athanasian Creed. A careful reading of all three creeds (also including Nicene) reveals that our LDS understanding of the Godhead is the virtually the same as that of the rest of the Christian world who also accept the tenets of the Athansian Creed (eg. the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran Church and most Protestant denominations).

Within Mormonism, our understanding of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is that we believe them to be separate and distinct individuals who are one in will and purpose. This is the same as the definition in all the creeds noted above.

Our first Article of Faith states: We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. Elder Jeffrey R Holland clarified this statement in his talk, The Only True God and Jesus Christ, Whom He Hath Sent:

We believe these three divine persons constituting a single Godhead are united in purpose, in manner, in testimony, in mission. We believe Them to be filled with the same godly sense of mercy and love, justice and grace, patience, forgiveness, and redemption. I think it is accurate to say we believe They are one in every significant and eternal aspect imaginable except believing Them to be three persons combined in one substance, a Trinitarian notion never set forth in the scriptures because it is not true.


The diagram of the ‘Shield of the Trinity found in the Wikipedia article on the Athanasian Creed used as a visual aid to facilitate understanding about what the Bishops actually agreed should also look familiar to Mormons as well:  

Each circle translates to: Pater {Father}; Filius {Son}; Spiritus Sanctus {Holy Spirit} The diagram clearly shows that each circle is NOT the other, that is to say the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are separate. Yet together, they ARE Deus, that is to say collectively they form another unit representative of all three.

As Mormons, we believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one in essence but three in substance. This is key because the traditional Christian doctrine on this point is identical to the Latter-Day Saint doctrine. How? Consider how we (Mormons) use the term “Lord” on any given Sunday:

1. In my prayers, I asked the Lord to help me {referring to Heavenly Father}

2. The atonement is a direct result of the Lord’s sacrifice for us {Jesus Christ}

3. I felt the Lord comforting me during the darkest times {Holy Ghost}

4. I know the Lord lives {The Collective Whole}

Now look back at the diagram and replace ‘Deus’ with ‘The Lord’. And then study 3 Nephi 11:27:

And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit have the divine qualities of omniscience and omnipotence that we as mere mortals cannot even begin to comprehend. What has been shared with us is that they are all-knowing, meaning one of them could not think or do something without the others instantly knowing about it. In essence, they are one.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells Philip that “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” {John 14: 6-7} Jesus goes on to explain, “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me.” {John 14: 10-11}

In the language of the LDS sacrament prayer {a weekly ordinance}, it begins “O God, the Eternal Father, we ask Thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ…” (Doctrine & Covenants 20:76-77 & 79). We do this because Jesus is our Savior; our mediator between death (physical and spiritual) AND eternal life. Jesus Christ is the one who suffered and died for us that we may be able to return again to our Father’s presence. Even the word “Atone” is a construct from “At One”. Jesus is the one in whom we are commanded to have faith, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” {John 14:13-14}

It is impossible to know, believe and love Jesus without knowing, believing and loving God - because they are one. Jesus exhibits the attributes of the Father in every imaginable way. In the 1840 account of the First Vision, Joseph Smith said that he “saw two glorious personages, who exactly resembled each other in their features or likeness" {Joseph Smith History}

Early in the post I mentioned there was only one part of the Nicene Creed that was at odds with Mormonism and it centers on the Apostasy.

Mormons believe in a Great Apostasy, during which the authority to act in the name of God was lost, but we also believe that much of Christianity survived, albeit incomplete. After the deaths of Jesus Christ and His Apostles, men corrupted the principles of the gospel, created false doctrines and made unauthorized changes in Church organization and priesthood ordinances. Much of the New Testament consists of letters by the Apostles (and others) trying to correct heresies that were  already infecting the Church.

Because of this widespread apostasy, we believe that the Lord withdrew the authority of the priesthood from the earth. During this time of darkness, people were without divine direction from living prophets and parts of the holy scriptures were corrupted or lost. Many Christian churches were established, but they lacked the priesthood power to lead people to the true knowledge of God the Father and Jesus Christ or confer the gift of the Holy Ghost.

With each church, different versions of Christianity also emerged. The early  Christians fought bitterly for nearly four centuries. In an attempt to unify the Christian church as one faith under the newly crowned Emperor Constantine, an ecumenical council of Christian bishops was called to resolve the fractured theological disputes in what would become the Nicene Creed. And yet, had there not been divisions within Christianity created by the apostasy in the first place, there would have been no Nicene Creed to define the nature of God and by extension, Christianity. 

And without the Nicene Creed, would Mormons be considered Christians today?

It would be unfortunate to have Christians and Mormons continue to believe there is so little common ground when the majority of what we collectively believe is actually very similar. 

Since Mormons and Christians believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we should follow His example by extending the proverbial olive branch to one another and then move forward in the spirit of discipleship and love to share the Gospel with the world.

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True Avengers. Real heroes.

True Avengers. Real heroes.

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“Every Cinderella has her midnight — if not in this life, then in the next. Judgment day will come for all. Are you prepared? Are you pleased with your own performance?
If any has stumbled in her journey, I promise you that there is a way back. The process is called repentance. Our Savior died to provide you and me that blessed gift.”
President Thomas S Monson

Every Cinderella has her midnight — if not in this life, then in the next. Judgment day will come for all. Are you prepared? Are you pleased with your own performance?

If any has stumbled in her journey, I promise you that there is a way back. The process is called repentance. Our Savior died to provide you and me that blessed gift.”

President Thomas S Monson