“Religion has no monopoly on moral action, but centuries of religious belief, including institutional church- or synagogue- or mosque-going, have clearly been preeminent in shaping our notions of right and wrong.” A recent statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland as he spoke to several thousand participants at Brigham Young University Education Week.
There is an unquestionable force of faith—religious influence—that has inspired many men and women. Their works in art, with the pen, and in the gift to speak have illuminated the meaning of our existence. There is a great video piece in his address (about the 38 minute mark; link below) that provides some examples.
Pure religion, practiced by pure hearts subdues evil deeds. It pushes indifference aside and brings to the forefront meaning and moral behavior. Our current environment and social arrangements call for religious practices, expressions, and beliefs to be appreciated.
Another snip it from Elder Holland’s address puts forth this admission and logic: “Not to say that individual faith groups in their many different forms and with their various conflicting beliefs are all true and equally valuable; obviously they cannot be. Nor does it say that institutional religions collectively—churches, if you will—have been an infallible solution to society’s challenges; they clearly have not been. But if we speak of religious faith as among the highest and most noble impulses within us, then to say so-and-so is a “religious person” or that such and such a family “lives their religion” is intended as a compliment. Such an observation would, as a rule, imply that these people try to be an influence for good, try to live to a higher level of morality than they might otherwise have done, and have tried to help hold the sociopolitical fabric of their community together.” (BYU Education Week Devotional Address, 16 August 2016).
If you want to better understand what religion is and why it is important, listen and ponder his address: Bound by Loving Ties.
Religious freedom has been on my mind a lot lately. I have been trying to read as many books, articles, addresses, etc… as I possible can on the subject. It is a flammable current issue but a “fundamental right of paramount importance.”
I recently reviewed an address by Elder Lance B. Wickman, general counsel for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His remarks brought an intelligent, yet cautionary perspective to the cause of promoting religious freedom. It was delivered in early July at the Religious Freedom Conference, sponsored by International Center for Law and Religious Studies at Brigham Young University. Here is a link to his address.
Promoting Religious Freedom in a Secular Age: Fundamental Principles, Practical Priorities, and Fairness for All. Continue reading
As a Middle East news correspondent in 1973, Peter Jennings was covering the war between Israel and Syria. One day an Israeli pilot was shot down and rushed to a Syrian hospital. Peter Jennings and his camera man boldly entered the hospital and without any resistance walked right into a room where a Syrian surgeon was operating on this Israeli pilot.
Mr. Jennings thrust a microphone at him and said, “How does it feel to be working on an Israeli pilot?” No comment from the surgeon. Again he asked “how does it feel to be working on an Israeli pilot? No comment. Frustrated at failing to capture a sound bite, he and his camera man exited to the hall. About ten minutes later the surgeon came out to the hall and took the two men to the window. He then said, “You see the home over there? It was bombed by an Israeli plane three days ago. My wife and children died. It could have been him. But I am a doctor.” Continue reading
My son is currently serving an LDS mission in Salvador Brazil. He left as an eighteen-year-old a few months out of high school. He has been on his mission now for 8 months. Though he is only allowed to FaceTime twice a year and correspond via email once a week, his mother and I have noticed a substantial change. His mental, emotional, and spiritual faculties are being developed and fine-tuned.
He now speaks fluent Portuguese. He speaks of service and faith in Jesus Christ. He is learning about loyalty and discipline. He is changing.
When he returns home in 16 months, will he recognize change in me? His mother? His brothers and sisters? How have I developed in my mental, emotional, and spiritual capacities? Will I be a better husband, father, and friend when he returns? Continue reading
in·clu·siv·i·ty (inklo͞oˈsivədē/): An intention or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized.
Add this word (and it’s variations) to the other three the devil has hijacked over the years: diversity, choice, and tolerance.
Picture: A depiction of Christ helping the woman taken in adultery. He was asking her to change her behavior. Today, people fail to let Christ help them change, and rather, ask everyone to accept their behavior.
There is an interesting word that shows up in the scriptures. It is “wrest.” It means to “twist, distort, or pervert, in the sense of accommodating.” In our day, people have twisted, distorted, and perverted the words of diversity, choice, tolerance, and now inclusiveness. Why? So as to get accommodation for a life that is often contrary to the nature of righteousness. These words are popular among people who support the false idea of moral relativism. Continue reading
This short video, Life’s Drama, reminded me of my friend who sees over a hundred patients a week for medical care. He said we are dealing with a growing population who are prone to say, “It’s not my fault–I don’t want to feel anything–you owe me.” This six minute video addresses the “It’s not may fault” mentality that surfaces in all of us at times.
The article, ‘We Are Buying the Lie That Feelings Trump All Else’: Christian NFL Star Reflects on ‘Bathroom Bill,’ addresses the idea of our society living by feelings rather than divine principles,
and the results if we continue to do so. This professional athlete, Ben Watson, gives some logical insights. I appreciate his stand for truth and decency.
The Lord’s invitation to His covenant people is to be “peculiar… above all the nations that are upon the earth” (Deuteronomy 14:2). Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have recently spent the last two weeks addressing how members of the Church can be peculiar, above all the nations of the earth. Two specifically addressed the refugee crisis. (See Linda K. Burton and Elder Patrick Kearon.)
There seems to be a blending of two major, but distinct issues. It may be helpful to separate the issues of illegal immigration and the refugee crisis. Nations have the right and obligation to protect their sovereignty. Citizens’ social, economic, and physical well-being should be of utmost concern to leaders of nations. I realize that many in the political sphere are concerned about the sovereignty of the United States. I’m all for reasonably securing our borders and welcoming individuals through accountability.
But the humanitarian concerns should bluntly remind all of us that the Kingdom of God on earth has no geographical boundaries. If there are 60 million refugees in the world and half of them are children, we ought to seriously consider why a mother or a father would undertake to leave their motherland in dire circumstances without any guarantee they, or their children, will survive. Continue reading
“All hell is about to break loose.” That is what I am hearing from political pundits as the presidential year unfolds. That is what I see as I watch more and more situations of lawlessness displayed, sometimes glamorized on television reports. That is what I see when terrorists attacks increase and wars and rumors of wars swell. Big screen entertainment often loads the bank on shows and images that depict all hell breaking lose.
The 1860 presidential election produced Abraham Lincoln.
Those were days of serious difficulty. Contention, division, and anger settled in many hearts. People refused to compromise and allowed their filthy stinking pride to submerge our nation into absolute bloody turmoil.
I sometimes wonder if far too many people think that current contentions, division, and anger would never lead to bloodshed, to sectionalism, to the breakdown of law and order. I think evidence is growing right before eyes. It will take a unique discernment in a leader (in national leaders).
I hope some one will come forward (maybe not on the political map yet), and the people will yet choose wisely in both parties. Brokered conventions may be the best thing that happens this political season. Especially if other undeclared candidates can be considered. Continue reading
A potluck dinner.
You may be attending one soon, or perhaps have experienced one in the past.
It is fair to say that I have been to over 100 in the last 20 years of my life. These experiences are mostly associated with congregations of my faith. Potluck dinners are an inexpensive way to feed lots of people. Each guest or family contributes foodstuff. It is a give and take situation. But not all contribute.
Which brings me to why America’s populace resembles a potluck dinner. I am going for an illustration depicting the attitude and behaviors of America’s populace. Please forgive me for exaggerating the time of arrival of some the potluck goers. I realize there are exceptions. This is just for fun. The political torrent of candidates and some of their followers are manifesting troubling attitudes and behaviors. So here I go. Continue reading