Book of Mormon

Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon is a book I recommend to everyone living in the United States.  Mormon (member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), or not, it is a must-read book for what is going on in our nation right now.

I have Christian friends who won’t read it because they have a prejudice regarding Latter-day Saints’ view of the book and their view of the Bible.  If they would only set aside that prejudice and read the book in terms of hearing what it says about this nation, government, and its warning against secret combinations, I think they would enjoy it.  Just for once, set aside Revelations 22:19 (because you already don’t believe the Book of Mormon to be scripture), and listen to the story.

Don’t give up once you start reading it.  Remember, you’re reading it for the story line to find out what it has to say about the country we live in.  And, start with the introduction and cover page.  They will set the scene.  (This is important because it is actually several books that have been abridged by a man named Mormon, and finished by his son Moroni.  If you don’t realize this as you read, it kind of throws you for a loop when Mormon starts to speak.  His comments should be parenthetical, but parenthesis weren’t used, and that can throw you for a loop if you don’t realize this.  I know it did me the first time I read it.)

It’s written in King’s English, and that’s a bit tough for some people, but yea means yes, and nay means no.  Thee and thou means you, thine means yours, thy means your, and if you can handle that, you can handle the “est” at the end of words (like thinkest).

Pay particular attention to what it says about kings, taxes, elections and corruption.  Look for an underlying theme throughout the book.  (Oh, and it pays to know some biblical history such as the Exodus and the Babylonian captivity.)  Listen for promises.

While there is an underlying theme, there are also stories within stories.  There is also an insert, the Book of Ether, that is another entire story of another group of people.  Interestingly, their story is like a condensed version of the entire story.  I like to think of the Book of Ether as a short, “I told you so,” story.

There’s nothing in the book that’s going to corrupt you.  In fact, just the opposite.    You’ll see things like King Benjamin teaching his people that when you serve and help others in need you are in the service of your God.  That’s just one example of the good teachings contained in the book.

You can order a free copy here:  https://www.mormon.org/free-book-of-mormon  You can also ask a friend who is a Latter-day Saint for a copy.  (You can even purchase one here, but seriously, we’ll gladly give you a copy if you ask.  And, there is a free app called Gospel Library that contains the Book of Mormon.)

Scripture Study

After completing the New Testament, Elizabethe and I decided to add the U.S. Constitution to our scripture reading.  A few General Conferences back, Elder Oaks encouraged members of the church to study the Constitution so we will recognize the rights granted in the Constitution.  Today was the day we started our reading.

It is amazing how quickly we read through the scriptures by reading every morning and night.  We only read two pages each time (4 per day).  As a result, we’ve read the scriptures dozens of times over.  And, while there was a time in my life I could remember a lot of what I would read (I used to have chapters and verses memorized verbatim), as I grow older I appreciate re-reading the scriptures because my memory is waning.

Dinner

The sisters came over for dinner tonight.  I made black beans (feijoada) and cornbread.  Elizabethe finally likes cornbread!  The secret is to partially cook the cornmeal before making the batter.  It makes for a moister cornbread.

It Had to Rain

It Had to Rain

It had to rain today.  I was thinking I could go for a walk, but no, it had to rain.

There’s a lot of social media fallout from yesterday’s Supreme Court decision.  But what amazes me most is the pure ignorance regarding the commandments.  I’m amazed even more when it comes from active members of the church.  I question… don’t we sit in the same meetings?

Facebook has a “celebrate pride” app they put up to turn people’s avatar in to a gay-pride color scheme, and people are behaving like this is the greatest thing to happen.  While others are busy posting rebuttals to the ruling.  Either way, it is a ruling that is dividing the people.

One Christian man wrote about his feelings.  He said he loves the sinner, as he has been taught, but cannot love sin.  He went on to say he has several gay friends, but he cannot condone homosexuality.  A friend of his posted back asking if he knew that he was, “calling homosexuality a sin.”

Uh, yeah.

The man replied to his friend with a huge list of scriptures.  And, of course, this leads to the never ending barrage of, “well the Bible says…” and they list things like eating pork and killing certain people, and so on and so forth.

I don’t need to justify my religious convictions.  I believe in a God who sent his Son.  His Son established a church lead by prophets and apostles.  They are the only ones authorized to speak for him in our times.  They have very clearly stated that homosexual activities are sinful.  There’s no debate.

Being sinful then, there is no celebration and the only pride precedes the fall.

Traditional Marriage

Traditional marriage… well… let me state that it is disheartening that we even have to preface marriage with the word traditional.  But, traditional marriage is the only form of marriage with any future – both in God’s eyes and in society.

 

Since When Did They Expire?

Since when did the 10 Commandments expire?

As a teenager I remember the malls, stores, gas stations, etc., largely being closed on Sundays. There were some restaurants open on Sundays, but for the most part, they were the only businesses open on Sunday. And, I’m told by friends my age and older, some states had “blue laws”, that required businesses to be closed on Sunday. (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Blue+Laws) Although, I don’t agree with the concept behind laws that restrict behavior based on religious beliefs, I do think many business would close on Sunday if good Christians honored the Sabbath day…. but that’s a little off topic.

It seems that the Sabbath-day observance seemed to sneakily disappear except in Jewish quarters. (Many Jewish owned businesses are closed on holy days and the Sabbath. I very much respect them for this.) Jews and Christians both are supposed to keep the Ten Commandments.

Bit by bit, corruption has set in to society to the point where they are treated more like the Ten Suggestions than the Ten Commandments. So, I thought I’d list them as they are found in Exodus Chapter 20:3-17:

I. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

II. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

III. 7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

IV. 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

V. 12 Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

VI. 13 Thou shalt not kill.

VII. 14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

VIII. 15 Thou shalt not steal.

IX. 16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

X. 17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.

Like the Sabbath day observance, many Christians have thrown aside the 7th Commandment – Thou shalt not commit adultery (or anything like unto it). It wasn’t long ago when a couple were living together, but not married, people would say, “They are living in sin.” Homosexual acts were called sins against nature, and those acts, along with adultery were considered criminal.

In many ways, as a society, we have advanced in our civility towards each other. Racial bigotry has waned greatly since in the last generation. Yet, in other ways, be have become less civil. Television, movies and entertainment contain graphic images (both violent and sexual) that would not have been tolerated 30 years ago. As soon as someone speaks out against indecency, they are called bigots, haters (a word I loath), and are shunned on social media.

Entertainment also tries to justify the sin as a means to an end.  For example, a popular T.V. show, White Collar, is based on a con man and his criminal friends, helping the F.B.I. solve cases through breaking the law.  I’m sure many in their audience see it as entertainment and like the story of Robin Hood, when the day is over, they know Robin Hood was a criminal.  However, there are those who think the crime is an entitlement because someone was wronged.

Another show is Leverage.  High-tech modern Robin Hoods set out to right the wronged.  Laws are broken and the Leverage team gets away with things that should place them in prison.  In real life, anyone who believes in the Ten Commandments would agree both sides should be arrested and tried for their crimes.  (Thou shalt not steal.  Thou shalt not bear false witness.  Thou shalt not covet.)

One wrong doing never justifies another wrong doing.

Entertainment also bombards us with a false sense of love and security.  I would challenge anyone to watch a T.V. drama (including the two I have already mentioned), and find someone who epitomizes a good Christian.  We used to have a few of them on T.V., but that was back in the 60s.  Well, I take that back, Touched by an Angel, was a pretty decent show, and Blue Bloods shows a good Catholic family that prays together and holds to their beliefs.

Today, it seems that every show has to have someone who is outwardly gay, or a gay couple.  Two couples meeting for the first time end up having sex before the sunrises on the next morning, and people in the workplace are referred to as family and depicted as being more important that the character’s own family. (Thou shalt not commit adultery.  Honor thy father and thy mother.  Thou shalt not covet.)

There are also shows that justify murder.  The one that comes to mind is Burn Notice.  A burned CIA agent, his buddy Sam Axe, girlfriend and mom are out to find out who burned him as they leave a wake of dead bodies.  These are the heroes of the show?  (Thou shalt not kill.)

I believe intelligent adults can sift through this stuff and understand that much of what goes on in entertainment is wrong.  On the other side, there are young, impressionable children watching this stuff whose parents don’t care, whose parents do not teach them the commandments.  I worry about the kids who were raised that way, who are being raised that way, and who are raising their children that way.

The Ten Commandments are divided in to “do” and “don’t” commandments.  I do not believe that laws should be made to force the “do” commandments.  On the other hand, we have to have some governance over the “don’t” commandments.  Imagine how bad this world would get if it suddenly became legal to kill?

I think it is going to become harder and harder to be a good Christian.  Perhaps the best thing we can do is renew ourselves and vow to keep the commandments.