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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gallup Poll reveals President Monson as tenth-most "Most Admired" man in America


A poll conducted by Gallup from 15-18 December of this year states President Thomas S. Monson is admired by 1% of America.  According to Gallup managing editor Jeffrey Jones, "It is common for the president of the Mormon Church to receive mentions, but (President) Monson is the first to make the top 10".

Congratulations to President Thomas S. Monson!  The Mormon Eagle is ecstatic that President Monson won the number 10 spot - it means The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being noticed.  But, why is the Church and President Monson being noticed so much?  Let us examine this conundrum.  Here is what the Eagle thinks.

1. The Holy Ghost
The main reason President Monson is admired so much is because of the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  Elder Parley P. Pratt of the Quorum of the Twelve taught,

[His influence] quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections; and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates and matures all the fine-toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness and charity. It develops beauty of person, form and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation and social feeling. It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being (Key to the Science of Theology, 9th ed. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1965], p. 101).

The Holy Spirit, more than anything else, gives wisdom beyond the normal understanding.  The Pharisees said of Jesus, "Never man spake like this man" (John 7:46)When Christ was twelve years old, he ministered with the Doctors and Lawyers in the House of God, and "all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers" (Luke 2:47).


2. Keep the Laws and Doctrines of God
The Laws of the Lord given through the Prophet Joseph Smith, as well as all the Prophet's teachings on doctrine, are kept only by the Latter-day Saints.  These laws, ordinances, and teachings set us apart from the world and make us holy.  The Lord hath said, "Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy" (Lev. 19:2).  Our Prophet has taught us,

Ours is the task to be fitting examples. We are strengthened by the truth that the greatest force in the world today is the power of God as it works through man. If we are on the Lord’s errand, brethren, we are entitled to the Lord’s help. Never forget that truth. That divine help, of course, is predicated upon our worthiness. Each must ask: Are my hands clean? Is my heart pure? Am I a worthy servant of the Lord (President Thomas S. Monson, "Examples of Righteousness", April 2008 General Conference, Priesthood Session)?


President Monson is indeed holy because he is led by the Holy Ghost which is in him.  He stands out on the list of the 10 Most Admired Americans because he is the only person on that list with the Gift of the Holy Ghost, as well as the only man on that list Authorized by God to speak for and with Him.  I know this is true and that President Monson is a Prophet of God.  I also know that if we keep the commandments and live so as to be led by the Holy Ghost, the world will come after us Latter-day Saints.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

"Oh, Come Let Us Adore Him"

Hymn #202 in the LDS Hymnal contains the words, "Come, and behold Him born the King of angels; Oh, Come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!"  My favorite time of the year is Christmas.  I seem to fight more with the ones I love, unfortunately, but when it all comes down to it, I am humbled when I listen to the Sacred strains praising the Son of God and His matchless life. 

During this time of year - and especially on this Christmas Day - I stand in wonder and awe at Jesus the Christ.  Am I worthy to actually come and adore the Risen Lord, let alone a Baby Boy in a Manger?  Do I hear what the "night wind to the little lamb" says, when it saith "do you see what I see?"  Do we really see the Star whom we worship in our own lives?  Is the Star's light shining from our countenances, as Alma saith, "And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God?  Have ye received his image in your countenances?  Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?" (Alma 5:14).  More straight to the point is the Word of God Himself.  Saith He, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16).

Today is Christmas, and should be about Christ.  We should give glory this day to the Newborn King, and adore Him, making Him the center of our thoughts, that our actions might bring others closer to Him and His Restored Church.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"For the Strength of Youth" booklet update

The new cover for the updated manual
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' booklet "For the Strength of Youth" has been updated with additional counsel.  The new updates will be mailed to English-speaking Wards in mid-January.

The updated counsel includes the wise use of technology, maintaining virtuous thoughts, advice on dating, importance of gender roles, and preparation for the future.  In addition to this, the manual speaks on heeding the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord, keeping of covenants, and being worthy to enter the House of the Lord.  There is a new standard titled, "Work and Self-Reliance".  The section on health has been given a new title, "Physical and Emotional Health", with an addition touching on the emotional health of the individual.  There is an increased emphasis on doctrine in each section, and also the addition of questions to invite pondering and discussion.

The new manual can be seen on you.lds.org. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

LDS Church History no. 7 - The Salt Lake Tabernacle Organ

Salt Lake Tabernacle Organ
The Salt Lake Tabernacle Organ is, according to MormonTabernacleChoir.org, an 11,623-pipe organ.  It is one of the largest in the world.  The Organ was constructed by Joseph Ridges, with (originally) 700 pipes.  The Organ has since been expanded (1915) to it's current width, and enlarged (1948) to to current pipe number.  The work of enlargement having been completed by the Æolian-Skinner Organ Co. of Boston, Massachusetts.

pre-1915 expansion
For the expansion of the Tabernacle Organ in 1915, Goodwin's Weekly wrote that "the newer, greater organ . . . would so far eclipse the old as to leave its sweetness, its majesty and its power, only as a memory.  That work is nearly finished now, and the world will again marvel at what these men of the west have accomplished" (Guy La Coste, “The Great Organ,” Goodwin’s Weekly, April 8, 1916, p. 4).

It must be noted herein the inspiration the original builders' received: the Boston Music Hall Organ, seen below.
The Boston Music Hall Organ was the first concert pipe organ installed in the United States of America.  The organ now stands in the Methuen Memorial Music Hall outside Boston.  


The Salt Lake Tabernacle Organ is a beautiful instrument.  The Mormon people have always espoused the arts as pre-eminent with them, and the example of the Tabernacle Organ is a first-rate example.  I know sacred music is important, fulfilling the scripture in which Jehovah saith, "For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads" (D&C 25:12).  May it ever be so.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

LDS Church History no. 6 - The Assembly Hall

Decorated for Christmas
The Assembly Hall on Temple Square is a Gothic-style house of worship on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  It was constructed from 1877-1882, using granite mostly discarded from the construction of the Salt Lake Temple.  When the Provo Tabernacle was being planned, Church leaders asked William H. Folsom, the architect for the Tabernacle, to pattern his design after the Assembly Hall on Temple Square.  As a result, the plans of the two buildings were similar.  The architect for the Assembly Hall was Obed Taylor, a son of President John Taylor, third President of the Church.

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Assembly Hall pipe organ
The building that stood on the Assembly Hall's footprint was the Old Tabernacle, an adobe tabernacle.  The "Old Tabernacle", as it was called, could only accommodate roughly 1,500 people, so the Salt Lake Tabernacle was constructed, which now seats 8,000.  In 1877, when President Brigham Young ordered the construction of the Assembly Hall to replace the Old Tabernacle, he told the people to "pull down the Old Tabernacle, and build a new one to accommodate about 3,000 people" (Journal History, 12 Sept. 1877).

During the 1980s, the Assembly Hall was extensively renovated.  It was rededicated on 3 April 1983.  Present at the rededication were President Gordon B. Hinckley of the First Presidency, President Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Elder Mark E. Petersen, also of the Quorum of the Twelve.  During his dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley stated, "We pray that Thy Holy Spirit may abide here, that all who enter may recognize it as a sacred place.  May it again serve as a house of worship, where faith will be taught and strengthened, where Thy word will be declared with persuasive conviction, and where Thy name and the name of Thy Son will be honored and glorified, and testimony borne of Thee and of Thy Beloved Son, our Redeemer" ("Assembly Hall is Rededicated", Ensign, May 1983, p. 87).  

My we, at this Christmas season, rededicate our lives to Christ our Savior, may all who enter upon the threshold of our lives may recognize our lives as sacred, and may we declare God's word with persuasive conviction, under the direction of the Holy Ghost.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas With the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

For the last 10 years, "Christmas With the Mormon Tabernacle Choir" has graced the airwaves of PBS broadcasts.  Each concert, which takes place at the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, has contained a different celebrity.  The Choir's most popular Christmas concert was in December 2010, which featured David Archuleta.

The Conference Center decorated for the 2011 concert
What I love most about the Choir's Christmas concert, is that every year the decorations are different.  Each year finds a new way to layout and display the trees, garlands, snow, etc., so that the display is unique.

I love the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and know that their music is the most sacred of any.  I know sacred music brings the Spirit of the Lord.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Salt Lake City voted top religious tourist destination

The National Tour Association conducted a survey in their monthly publication, Courier; the results show Salt Lake City, Utah as the top North American religious-based tourist attraction, which is also tied with Israel as the most attractive spot for faith-based travel, according to today's Deseret News.  The announcement will be published in the January edition of Courier.


This is fitting for the great City of Salt Lake, but especially for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The Prophet Joseph Smith prophesied, "I prophesied that the Saints would continue to suffer much affliction and would be driven to the Rocky Mountains, many would apostatize, others would be put to death by our persecutors or lose their lives in consequence of exposure or disease, and some of you will live to go and assist in making settlements and build cities and see the Saints become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains" (History of the Church 5:85).  Indeed have the Saints of God become a mighty people in the Valleys of Zion.

The aforementioned survey to be published in the Courier of January next helps also to fulfill a prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.  And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:2-3).  The Mormon Eagle declares that only The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have power given them by God to fulfill this prophecy.  Only that Church is Authorized by God to act in His name, and all others are pretenders.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bible Video App for iPhone and iPad now available


From newsroom.lds.org, we read the following in full:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) has released a new interactive app, which includes videos from the Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos website that launched last week.

This free app for iPads, which appeared in the iTunes app store Thursday, 8 December allows users to experience Bible stories through sight, sound and touch.  Users can explore biblical environments, watch scripture-based videos and photo slideshows and discover interesting facts about biblical accounts.  The website and app are based on accounts of Christ's life from the King James Version of the Bible.

As new videos are added to BibleVideos.lds.org each month, and as new features become available, the App Store will automatically notify users that an update is available.

Plans to expand to other tablet platforms and languages, including Spanish and Portuguese, are in the works.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

An Aware God


Christmas can be a stressful time of year.  Shopping for presents, setting up the decorations, buying those ever-so-cherished ugly sweaters, making the hot cocoa, and shoveling the snow can almost make one forget how aware the Father and the Son actually are of all that we think, do, and say.

President Joseph Smith taught that "the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard; He views them as His offspring" (History of the Church 4:595).  Additionally the Prophet taught, "God sees the secret springs of human action, and knows the hearts of all living" (History of the Church 1:317).  So, as the offspring of Deity, one's actions, thoughts, and words are known of the Great Jehovah.  If we wish to know our standing before God, we need only ask Him in humble prayer, and He will answer.  To the downtrodden soul who thinks their efforts in preaching the Gospel of the Redeemer go unheeded by others, we have the words of the Lord to Nephi III in the Book of Mormon: "as [Nephi] was thus pondering in his heart, behold, a voice came unto him saying: Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people.  And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments" (Helaman 10:3-4).  As the scriptures teach us to liken them unto our own lives, this is sufficient to show God is aware of our efforts (even unheeded by others) to preach His Word.

The Lord Christ has borne these fears upon His shoulders before us.  All He asks is for us to put our fears, doubts, and troubled upon His back.  Saith He, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30).

The world's current Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, testified on 4 December 2011, 

As we face the temptations of our times, the confusion of choice, the embarrassment of error, the pursuit of perfection, our Heavenly Father is there to listen, to love, to inspire.  Our Father to whom we earnestly pray is not an ethereal substance or a mysterious and incomprehensible being.  Rather, He has eyes with which to view our actions, lips with which to speak to us, ears to hear our plea and a heart to understand our love" (Teachings of Thomas S. Monson, p. 260).

I know God is acutely aware of all our actions, and stands with outstretched arms to receive us and help us if we will but ask.  We Latter-day Saints are a lot better than we think we are.  We can always do better, it is true, but we must not beat ourselves up because of our lack of perfection, for only One is called Perfect.  He will help us when we ask, and is ever aware of our righteous actions, thoughts, and desires.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert #1 PBS program during Christmas seasons

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the 2010 Christmas Concert
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is one of the most renowned choirs in the world.  It ranks with the Vienna Boys Choir as world-class.  The love of millions of God-fearing people throughout the United States is apparent.  President and CEO of PBS Paula Kerger said, "The Christmas concert presented by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is the No. 1-rated entertainment program on PBS during the holidays, with more than 4 million Americans tuning in to watch it each year" ("Concert growing in national popularity, Deseret News, Friday 9 December 2011, C8).

God be praised for the inspiration of President Brigham Young.  It was he who requested John Parry to organize a Choir out of a group of Parry's Welsh converts.  This he did, and the rest is history.

I love the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  I know music is powerful.  Elder Russell M. Nelson taught, "Dear brothers and sisters, please fill your minds with worthy sights and sounds. Cultivate your precious gift of the Holy Ghost. . . . As you control your thoughts, you control your actions. Indeed, worthy music can provide power and protection for your soul" ("Power and Protection Provided by Worthy Music", BYU Devotional Address, 4 May 2008).  The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is the greatest source of worthy music this world has ever seen.  I know music is powerful, and it helps control our thoughts.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Getting it right

The Mormon Eagle's motto states, "It is better to represent ourselves than to be represented by others".  Media outlets of all kinds have had their fill of Mormon stories this year, what with the high-profile candidacies of Governor Mitt Romney and Ambassador Jon Huntsman, Jun. for President of the United States.  But, alas, some still intend to feel it is right for others to represent the Latter-day Saints than for the Saints to represent themselves.

At a conference held in Washington, D.C, on Thursday, Michael Otterson, managing director for LDS Church public affairs, said, "Define us by who we are and by our central beliefs rather than who we are not or by obscure or irrelevant beliefs" ("Journalists urged to let Mormons define selves", Deseret News, Friday 9 December 2011, A1)."  He said that getting it right will be difficult, especially when covering the religions of the world.  However, he said "it is possible to get it right if we acknowledge two things: the importance of going to the source, and the pitfalls of stereotyping" (Ibid., A10).

If one wants information about who Joseph Smith really is, he should go to the Book of Mormon; if one wants to know about the inner-workings of the House of the Lord, let him go to many of the Temple Visitor Centers scattered throughout America; if one wants to know our policy on education, look no further than www.byu.edu.  And so it is with a myriad of other topics.

If one wants to know in Whom Mormons believe, the importance of making the Source of Righteousness the defining standard in our lives cannot be overemphasized.  If He is our example in all things, then our non-Mormon friends will come to the active Latter-day Saints for information concerning The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Better than mankind drink from the Fountain of Life than to drink from the sordid, misinformed, and often bigoted stereotypes of the world.

Monday, December 5, 2011

BibleVideos.lds.org


The following is found in "Church leaders offer gift of Bible videos", Deseret News, Monday 5 December 2011, p. A11.  Written by Sarah Jane Weaver:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hopes everyone will want to follow the footsteps of the Savior through the stony paths of Galilee or the narrow streets of Jerusalem.

To make this possible, church leaders have created free Bible videos that are being made available to the public this holiday season on a new web site: Biblevideos.lds.org.

"They will be a free gift to all from the First Presidency," said President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency.

President Eyring announced the project on Sunday during the First Presidency Christmas Devotional.

The high-quality videos are based on the King James Version of the Bible and are faithful to the text, President Eyring explained.

The text of the scriptures and photos also accompany the video scenes.

The church produced the videos and has made them available to the public "solely for the purpose of ehlping more people understand and appreciate the matchless life of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of the world," according to the website.

The church filmed 47 scenes this fall at its new Jerusalem movie set in Goshen, Utah County, and has plans to film more than 50 additional scenes next year.

"A free mobile app, which offers an interactive way to watch and read key accounts from the New Testament will also be available before Christmas."

The true meaning of CHRISTmas

painting of the Nativity by Carl Heinrich Bloch
The First Presidency Christmas Devotional occurred last night at 6pm in the Conference Center.  Among other things, President Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said, "I, with you, have witnessed during the past few days and weeks what has become over the years the annual commercialization of Christmas.  I am saddened to see Christmas becoming less and less about Christ and more and more about marketing and sales, parties and presents.  And yet, Christmas is what we make of it" ("Make Christmas about Christ, LDS leader urges", Deseret News, Monday 5 December 2011, A1, A11).

What CHRISTmas is about
Holy Writ saith, "And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon [the shepherds], and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:9-11).  The physician of old here tells the world that Christmas is neither about Santa, Reindeer, Elves, nor shopping.  Christmas is about the Heavenly Gift given by God to the world in the Person of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus the Christ, the promised Messiah.  

In another place, we read, 

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east. . . . lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.  And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh (Matt. 2:1, 9-11).

The Apostle Matthew here tells the story of the Magi who came to Jesus from the east.  Of the Magi, Elder Bruce R. McConkie stated that "it would appear they were true prophets, righteous persons like Simeon, Anna, and the shepherds, to whom Deity revealed that the promised Messiah had been born among men" (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 1:103).  It can most assuredly be assumed that these Wise Men, as they are now called, were either actual kings or of very high birth because of the costliness of the gifts they present the Child Jesus.  These gifts presented to the Babe were symbolic in nature: 1) Gold - referring to the price Jesus Christ would pay for all mankind's sins, and also an acknowledgement of His Kingship which carried the riches of eternity.  2) Frankincense - this aromatic resin, used to make perfume, has an odor which represents life; this is fitting, as Jesus announced Himself to be "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6).  3) Myrrh - symbolic of Christ's death, in that Myrrh was anciently used as an embalming agent on the body of the deceased.

"Light do a darkened world"
President Eyring stated, "The appearance of the long-promised Messiah brought light to a darkened world. . . . [God] gave us the gift of a Savior, His prefect Son, the Lamb without blemish" ("Make Christmas about Christ, LDS leader urges", Deseret News, A11).  Lastly, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf urged, "We, like the Wise Men of old, should seek the Christ and lay before Him the most precious of gifts: a broken heart and a contrite spirit" (Ibid.).

I know, as they say, Jesus is the reason for the Season.  Christ should be the light we hold to the world at this Christmas time.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Welfare Square: A nationwide model of economic self-reliance

Welfare Square grain elevator stands 178-feet tall in Salt Lake City, Utah
On Thursday 1 December 2011 the LDS Church's Welfare Square was toured by The Philanthropy Round Table as the last stop on a national tour highlighting the best practices in economic self-reliance.  The Round Table also toured the LDS Humanitarian Center and the Bishop's Central Storehouse.  Shannon Toronto, CEO of the Round Table, said, "We learned from our meeting today that the best programs recognize the dignity of the individual and that the highest quality of life is attained when a person becomes self reliant and can help others within her realm of influence" (Elizabeth Stuart, "Philanthropists eye LDS model of self-reliance", Deseret News, Friday 2 December 2011, B5).

This model of self reliance known as Welfare Square was founded during the Great Depression.  During this time, men would put in a whole day's work in exchange for food from the Bishop's Storehouse.  Today people "pay" for their food by completing tasks such as folding clothes at Deseret Industries thrift stores or canning food at local Bishop's Storehouses.  All this is in keeping with a revelation given through the Prophet Joseph Smith which reads, "The storehouse shall be kept by the consecrations of the church; and widows and orphans shall be provided for, as also the poor.  Amen" (D&C 83:6).  Also the words came to the Prophet thusly, "And again, let the bishop appoint a storehouse unto this church; and let all things both in money and in meat, which are more than is needful for the wants of this people, be kept in the hands of the bishop" (D&C 51:13).

Presiding Bishop H. David Burton, center; First Counselor Richard C. Edgley, left; Second Counselor Keith B. McMullin, right
The Presiding Bishopric has jurisdiction over the workings of Welfare Square and all the Bishops Storehouses, for "the office of a bishop is in administering all temporal things" (D&C 107:68).

The reason the world looks with awe and wonder upon The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is because it is run by continual revelation.  Although the world may not know this fact (and sometimes even deny it), it is nevertheless true.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

First Presidency Christmas Devotional


From the homepage of www.lds.org:

Left to right: President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Henry B. Eyring, and Thomas S. Monson make up the First Presidency, with Thomas S. Monson as Church President

The First Presidency invites all Church members and their friends to participate in this year’s First Presidency Christmas Devotional on December 4, 2011, whether in person or by viewing the broadcast.

The one-hour program will originate from the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, at 6:00 p.m. mountain standard time.  The devotional will include a Christmas message from each member of the First Presidency and music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square.

Tickets are required for this event and have been distributed by random selection.  Those with tickets should be in their seats 30 minutes before the event start time.  Standby seating for those wishing to attend in person is available on a first-come, first-served basis.  The standby line is formed at the north gate of Temple Square.

Those wishing to watch the broadcast from their homes may access it live on various broadcast, cable, satellite, and Internet television stations and broadcast, satellite, and Internet radio stations throughout the world, including Mormon Channel HD Radio.  Check local program listings for availability in your area or visit mormonchannel.org, byubroadcasting.org, or ksl.com for more information.

The devotional will also be available online at mormonchannel.org (audio only) and LDS.org (audio and video).  Audio and video archives in multiple languages will be available on LDS.org shortly after the broadcast.

The devotional will be broadcast to meetinghouses around the world through the Church satellite system in more than four dozen languages.   For those locations with significant time differences from the live broadcast, the devotional will be rebroadcast at various times over the following two weeks.

The devotional has been scheduled early in the Christmas season so that it may be recorded for use later.  Leaders may use all or portions of the devotional with local Christmas programs.

On this year's Christmas Wishlist: No more militant-Atheists

This billboard will be seen in Ohio, New Jersey, and Florida this December
It's that time of year again, folks!  During December for the last few years, The Mormon Eagle has noticed the not-so-subtle attempts by Atheist groups to bash our Savior Christ and Christmas this season (most recently the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers).  According to the Washington Post's On Faith blog, the aforementioned group has not "voiced any concern about the U.S. Air Force Academy’s new $80,000 taxpayer-funded worship center for pagans, Wiccans, druids, witches, and other 'Earth-based' religions. . . . No, their focuses remains on eradicating what they consider 'Christian' symbols from the military this holiday season." 

Therefore, The Mormon Eagle must proclaim (even before December is upon us) that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.  As the Atheists claim He is a myth, they have nothing to stand on but their word only.  We Christians, as Alma saith, "have the testimony of all these thy brethren [of the Church], and also all the holy prophets[.]  The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator" (Alma 30:44).

No matter what the Atheist says, Christ is real, His love is all-encompassing, and He mercy and justice fail not.  The Mormon Eagle bears witness to the Christ as an actual, personal Being of bodily form and substance, and as the Atoning One prophesied of by ancient Prophets and Apostles.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Why Prophets warn of evils of pornography

The evils of pornography have been spoken about over the pulpit at General Conferences of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for at least the last thirty-five years.  As many do not recognize the evil that pornography is, nor its consequences, The Mormon Eagle posts the following essay.

In the Deseret News issued on Tuesday 29 November 2011 we read the words of Ken Wallentine, the chief of law enforcement with Utah's Attorney General's office: "I believe that cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine have nothing on pornography when it comes to destroying families and destroying lives.  You cannot overstate the dangers that are there. . ." ("Link between child porn, sex abuse 'frightening, powerful'", Deseret News, Tuesday 29 November 2011, A5).  Mr. Wallentine is right - so right, in fact, that a convicted felon agrees with him.  Samuel Seager was convicted in 2008 of felony-abuse which lasted almost four years; he is serving as many as 75 years in prison for his crimes.  Seager said, "Would I have done so much with [the victim] if it hadn't been what I'd seen on the Internet?  Got ideas and really started playing with the deviant part on my mind?  With these cases, you don't know what you would have done without that influence in your life" (Ibid., A1).

The Bane of the Church
True it is that pornography is the bane of the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Prophets and Apostles have constantly warned against pornography's deadly trap.  Of pornography, President Gordon B. Hinckley strongly stated that "sin it is.  It is devilish.  It is totally inconsistent with the spirit of the gospel, with personal testimony of the things of God, and with the life of one who has been ordained to the holy priesthood" ("A Tragic Evil Among Us", October 2004 General Conference).  Elder Dallin H. Oaks stated it thus, "Some involved in pornography apparently minimize its seriousness and continue to exercise the priesthood of God because they think no one will know of their involvement.  But the user knows, brethren, and so does the Lord" ("Pornography", April 2005 General Conference).  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland warned, "The first key reason for personal purity?  Our very souls are involved and at stake" ("Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments", BYU Devotional Address, 12 January 1988, speeches.byu.edu).

"The Hope which thou Desirest"
Those of whom feel tempted to look at pornography or are actually trapped within pornography's snare need not - and especially must not - loose hope, for Jesus Christ has taken Hell itself on before you, and come forth triumphant.  President Gordon B. Hinkcley testified,

Even though the Internet is saturated with sleazy material, you do not have to watch it.  You can retreat to the shelter of the gospel and its teaching of cleanliness and virtue and purity of life. . . . Let any who may be in the grip of this vise get upon their knees in the privacy of their closet and plead with the Lord for help to free them from this evil monster. . . . How wonderful are the ways of our Lord.  How glorious His promises.  When tempted we can substitute for thoughts of evil thoughts of Him and His teachings ("A Tragic Evil Among Us", October 2004 General Conference).

President George Albert Smith taught, "If you will stay on the Lord’s side of the line, you will be under His influence and will have no desire to do wrong; but if you cross to the devil’s side of the line one inch, you are in the tempter’s power, and if he is successful, you will not be able to think or even reason properly, because you will have lost the Spirit of the Lord” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 232).  Lastly, President David O. McKay taught, "I implore you to think clean thoughts.  Every action is preceded by a thought.  If we want to control our actions, we must control our thinking" ("Preparation Brings Blessings", April 2010 General Conference).

To have clean thoughts, one must focus on the command of the Lord Jesus, which saith that we must always remember Him.  To do so, the Eagle suggests reading the Book of Mormon at least a chapter a day, but especially more if one is tempted.  The Book of Mormon is the most correct book on Earth for a reason - to receive and maintain the Spirit of the Lord.  I know the Book of Mormon is true, that it will bring the Holy Ghost as a buckler and defense against the wiles of the devil - but especially against the fiery darts of pornography.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things"



Doctrine and Covenants 59:7 reads, "Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things."  As today is our National Day of Thanksgiving, The Mormon Eagle feels disposed to list three things one should always be thankful to God for.

1. Almighty God and His Son Jesus Christ
Neither the Bible nor the Book of Mormon ever take any effort to prove the existence of God or Jesus Christ; rather, they acknowledge Their existence as an absolute.  Thus it is so.  We should be ever grateful to God for His bountiful gifts to us: the gift of sight, that we might see the Word of the Lord on the pages of scripture; the gift to hear, that we might learn the word of the Lord from the mouths of His living Prophets and Apostles; the gift of touch, that we might hold the Bible and Book of Mormon in our hands and turn their pages as we learn of Him whose Church it is; the gift of taste, that we might taste with sweetness the many foods He has given us for nourishment; and the gift of smell, that we might with reverence bask in the fragrances of the flowers at the Houses of the Lord.  I know the Lord Jesus Christ is real, that His love is infinite and all-encompassing, and that He calls Prophets and Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ in this day, as He has in the past.

2. The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is a supernal volume which, when read humbly, deliberately, and thoughtfully, opens the mind to the correct doctrines of Jesus Christ and His Gospel as found in His Church, both ancient and modern.  Well did President Joseph Smith say, "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book" (Book of Mormon Introduction).  No other volume has caused the author to weep as the Book of Mormon; no other volume will open one's eyes to how much the Lord loves him, and to how much the Lord has done for him, as the Book of Mormon.  I, Clark LeRay Herlin, know the Book of Mormon is true and that it truly brings the sincere reader closer to God than by any other book.

3. The Prophet Joseph Smith
Well did President John Taylor write,


Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.  In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain.  He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum.  In life they were not divided, and in death they were not fseparated (D&C 135:3)!

Joseph Smith the Prophet was the man, under the Lord Jesus Christ's direction, who restored the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth after the Great Apostasy spoken of by Paul and Amos (see 2 Thes. 2:3 and Amos 8:11-12 respectively).  He was a Prophet, and the Book of Mormon is the fruit of his labors.  As Jesus hath told us we shall know a false prophet from a true prophet by his fruits, it is to the Book of Mormon we must look to discern truth from error.  If, as Jesus saith, "every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit" (Matt. 7:17), then it stands to reason that if the Book of Mormon is what it purports to be (scripture in companion to the Bible), it will testify of Jesus Christ; if the Book is false, it will bring forth no good feelings to the soul.  Because the Book of Mormon is true, and is what the Lord commanded Joseph Smith the Prophet to bring forth by His power, President Smith is a Prophet of the Lord, and President Monson is God duly-ordained representative in our day.

I know what I have said is true.  If hearkened to, the Lord will bring peace to the heart, joy to the soul, and salvation to the body.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Elder Ronald E. Poelman dies at 83

From the Deseret News:

By Joseph Walker and Tom Hatch, Deseret News


SALT LAKE CITY — Elder Ronald E. Poelman , an emeritus general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and former member of the church's First Quorum of the Seventy, died Saturday at his home in Salt Lake City of causes incident to aging.  He was 83.


Elder Poelman was called to the Seventy in April 1978.  He was first counselor in the Sunday School general presidency from October 1979 to July 1981 and second counselor from August 1992 onward. 

He was in the Presidency of the Seventy from October 1986 through October 1989.
 
He also was a counselor in the North America Southeast, North America Southwest, North America Central and Utah South area presidencies.  He received emeritus status at the October 1998 general conference.

Other church assignments included managing director in the Family History Department, chairman and chief executive officer of the Development Board, chairman of the Deseret Trust Co. board of directors and director of the Deseret Gym.

At the time of his call to the Seventy, he was vice president, corporate secretary and a director of Consolidated Freightways in San Francisco.  He spent 26 years with Consolidated.

When Elder Poelman was called to the Seventy, he was the gospel doctrine teacher in the Los Altos 3rd Ward in the Los Altos California Stake.
 
"It seemed unlikely to me that a Sunday School teacher would be called as a general authority," Elder Poelman said in a Church News interview after his sustaining to the Seventy. "But when President (Spencer W.) Kimball asked me, I had no hesitation whatsoever."

"I love to teach, and I particularly love to teach from the scriptures.  The gospel doctrine class has been ideal for my church service," he told the Ensign, a church magazine.

Elder Poelman spoke in general conference six times.  In his last conference address, given at the April 1998 general conference, he said living the law of tithing is a sacred privilege.

He was born on May 10, 1928, in Salt Lake City, the eldest of six children of Hendrik Poelman and Ella May Perkins Poelman, and graduated from East High in 1945.  He received a bachelor of science in history from the University of Utah in 1953, his juris doctorate from the U. in 1955 and in 1965 graduated from the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration's Advanced Management Program.

He was a member of the Utah Bar Association.

He served a mission to the Netherlands from 1947 to 1949 and was a district president in Rotterdam.  He joined Consolidated in September 1955, serving as a salesman, then an assistant to the vice president and director of commerce before becoming a vice president.

On March 30, 1950, he married Clair Howell Stoddard in the Salt Lake Temple.  They were the parents of three daughters and a son. Clair died May 5, 1979.  He married Dr. Anne G. Osborn on June 29, 1982.

The Poelmans began their married life in Long Beach, Calif., where Elder Poelman attended Long Beach State College and was an early morning seminary teacher and Sister Poelman taught school.

In other church service, he was a bishopric counselor in the Palo Alto Ward, a high councilor in the Palo Alto Stake, bishop of the Stanford Ward and a counselor in the Palo Alto Stake presidency.

In civic life, he was a rehabilitation counselor for the American Cancer Society, active in the Boy Scouts of America and a director of Junior Achievement of Bay Area Inc.  He also has been director of the United Way of the Great Salt Lake Area and on the board of governors of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, Nov. 22, at noon at the Salt Lake Emigration Stake center, 589 E. 18th Avenue, Salt Lake City.  A public viewing will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 21, at Larkin Mortuary, 260 E. South Temple, and Tuesday morning at the stake center from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, Elder Poelman and his wife, Anne, have asked that donations be made to the LDS Church's Perpetual Education Fund.

It is Better to Represent Ourselves Than to be Represented By Others

In The New York Times of Friday 18 November 2011 we read,

Top Mormon leaders had hired two big-name advertising agencies in 2009, Ogilvy & Mather and Hall & Partners, to find out what Americans think of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Using focus groups and surveys, they found that Americans who had any opinion at all used adjectives that were downright negative: "secretive," "cultish," "sexist," "controlling," . . .  "anti-gay". . . . the biggest stigma . . . is the belief that Mormons are not Christian (Laurie Goodstein, "Mormons Use Big Ad Campaign to Counter 'Cultish' Perceptions", The New York Times, A1, A 20).

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ, we seek to represent ourselves rather than be represented by others. Therefore, The Mormon Eagle takes the liberty here to put to silence the ignorant and misinformed.

"Secretive" and "Cultish"
The word "secretive" has to do with the misconception that LDS temple rites and ceremonies are secret, and that Mormons are exclusionary.  The word "cultish" also might coincide with "secretive" in speaking of the House of the Lord and sectarianism's misconceptions arising thereform.  Nothing can be further from the truth.  The prophet Nephi wrote,

Wherefore, [the Lord] commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.  Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me?  Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price.  Behold, hath he commanded any that they should depart out of the synagogues, or out of the houses of worship?  Behold, I say unto you, Nay.  Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation?  Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.  Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness?  Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden (2 Nephi 26:24-28).

Elder Russell M. Nelson explained, "Because a temple is sacred, the Lord asks that it be protected from desecration.  Anyone may enter who is willing to prepare well for that privilege. . . . we must qualify for admission to the temple. We prepare physically, intellectually, and spiritually" (“Prepare for Blessings of the Temple,” Ensign, Mar. 2002, p. 18–19).  Thus, although the world may say the Latter-day Saints are exclusionary, we have seen from Scripture and the words of an Apostle of the Lord that they are not.

"Sexist" and "Controlling"
Many uninformed feminists complain that the Church is controlling of women because of their misinterpretation of how the Priesthood of God functions.  The Priesthood is not the men of the Church, but rather the Authority God gives to mankind to act in His name - specifically the Authority to govern.  Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained succinctly how the Priesthood is supposed to work.  Said he, "The blessings of the priesthood, such as baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, the temple endowment, and eternal marriage, are available to men and women alike.  The authority of the priesthood functions in the family and in the Church, according to the principles the Lord has established" ("Priesthood Authority in the Family and the Church", October 2005 General Conference).  In our Sacred Houses, we learn that both the woman and the man govern the family together in righteousness - through the Authority of the Priesthood - which the man and the woman covenant to honor in both the Endowment ceremony as well as in the Sealing ceremony.  Husband and wife are equal partners is raising a family up unto the Lord; none is above the other.

"Anti-Gay"
As of late, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been vehemently attacked in the national press by certain unscrupulous characters who do not understand our theology.  The LDS Church is not anti-gay, but pro-family.  The Family: A Proclamation to the World states, "We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children."  This should be enough for any literate person to understand our theology upon the subject.  In order to explain this further, we read the words of the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith concerning the marriage covenant.  The following revelation was given 12 July 1843 in Nauvoo, Illinois.  A paragraph from it reads, 

And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever (D&C 132:19).

The above quotation answers the question as to why The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fights against the homosexual agenda - namely that exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom of God can only be given to a man and a woman married within the House of the Lord, thus preserving the sanctity of the family to the fullest.

I know the words written herein are strong words, but I know they are true.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living Church upon the earth.  I know if the doctrine of the Church is heeded by the world, all troubles, wars, and contentions would cease.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sex-spread disease and the Law of Chastity

In Provo, Utah's Daily Herald of Friday 18 November 2011, we read on page A6 in full:

Cases of some common sexually spread diseases continue to increase in the United States, but the syphilis rate dropped last year for the first time in a decade.

Health officials on Thursday released their annual report on sexually transmitted disease, and found chlamydia and gonorrhea rates continued to grow last year.

More than 1.3 million cases of chlamydia were reported last year - the largest number ever reported in one year for any condition.  The number of new gonorrhea cases surpassed 300,000.

Bluntly Stated
When will the people learn that the Law of Chastity is put in force by God for a reason?  Thus saith the Lord, "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14).  I like the words of President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  He bluntly stated, "We are free to ignore the counsels and commandments of the scriptures, but when the revelations speak in such blunt terms, such as 'thou shalt not,' we had better pay attention" (Boyd K. Packer, "The Fountain of Life", Eternal Marriage Student Manual).  The Savior stated succinctly, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matt. 5:27-28).  How can it be stated more plainly than that?

Lastly, the Prophet Alma stated, 

Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost? . . . But behold, ye cannot hide your crimes from God; and except ye repent they will stand as a testimony against you at the last day.  Now my son, I would that ye should repent and forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes, but cross yourself in all these things; for except ye do this ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God (Alma 39:5, 8-9).

"Hope Which Thou Desirest"
For those who have fallen into the snare of premarital or extramarital relations, there is hope.  The Redeemer saith, "Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me" (3 Nephi 9:14).  Also in another place He urgeth, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30).

I know the Son of God's mercy covereth the whole Earth, and he who cries out to God in sincerity will be answered by a most benevolent God.  I know the Savior is real, and the laws He proclaims through His servant the Prophets - whether ancient or modern - are immutable.  I know if they are followed happiness will also, and in no other way.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Broken homes, children, and the family

The second annual "Index of Family Belonging and Rejection" was released Thursday 17 November 2011 by the Family Research Council's Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI).  The group which released the study says that family structure influences all aspects of a child's future.  Patrick Fagan, who is the director of MARRI, reports that only 45.8% of kids at age 17 are in intact married families.  The report shows Minnesota's percentage of 57%, along with Utah's 56.5%, being the two strongest States in the nation for percentage of intact married families.  Washington D.C. ranked lowest, at only 18.6%.*

If only the world hearkened more to the voice of the modern Prophets and Apostles the Lord has placed upon the earth.  The above findings are telling as to the dismal state of things.  Think-tanks like MARRI wonder how they can protect the future of the children of the United States of America, and The Mormon Eagle answers: hearken unto the word of the Lord as given by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and all the world's problems would be solved.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World states,  

The family is ordained of God.  Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan.  Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.   Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.  By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.  Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.  In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.  Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation.  Extended families should lend support when needed.

I know the family is ordained of God, and that its nurture is ever so important if our future generations are to succeed.  I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true Church, and if man would heed her doctrine, all ills would be wasted away.  I know this is true.  I pray that America will wake up to their awful situation and turn herself around.  If the people of this nation ask God for help in rearing families correctly and wisely, He will answer.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

*For a full review, please see "Broken homes harm the futures of children", Deseret News, Friday 18 November 2011, A1, A7.

Prop 8 supporters win California court ruling - Deseret News

The Eagle takes the following from the Friday 18 November 2011 issue of the Deseret News, found on pages A1 and A13:

SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that supporters of Prop 8 have the right to defend the ban on same-sex marriage in court.  The decision sends the case back to the federal appeals court to resolve the broader questions at the heart of the constitutional showdown.

Voters approved Proposition 8 in 2008, but California Gov. Jerry Brown and the state attorney general have declined to defend it in court.  Without anyone to defend it, both sides believed same-sex marriage activists would win their case and overturn Prop 8 by default.

Prop 8 supporters cheered the decision.

William Duncan, director of the Marriage Law Foundation, told the Deseret News it is important to understand that Thursday's decision is not about the constitutionality of gay marriage.  Rather it asserts government officials do not have the right to effectively veto laws they don't like.

"The Supreme Court of California has made what seems to be a simple decision...," he said, "that it is not fair to voters not to allow them to defend a law they approved."

The 2008 ballot initiative banned same-sex marriage in California, but was overturned in 2010 as unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker.  Walker imposed a moratorium on same-sex marriages in the state while Prop 8 supporters appealed his ruling.

A panel of judges in the 9th Circuit Court requested a clarification from the state supreme court about whether proponents of a ballot have the legal standing to defend their proposition in court.   Thursday's decision established they do and clears the way for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and potentially the U.S. Supreme Court, to rule on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage.

In her opinion for the court, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said, "It is essential to the integrity of the initiative process … that there be someone to assert the state's interest in an initiative's validity on behalf of the people when the public officials who normally assert that interest decline to do so,"

In the 61-page opinion, the seven justices said denying ballot proposition backers a seat at the table would effectively grant the governor and attorney general veto power over initiatives with which they disagreed, a situation the justices said would undermine the law-making powers California gave voters in 1911.

"We are delighted that the Supreme Court has clearly reaffirmed our right, as the official proponents of Prop 8, to defend over seven million Californians who amended their own State Constitution to restore traditional marriage," Protect Marriage General Counsel Andy Pugno told the Associated Press.  "This victory is an enormous boost for Proposition 8 as well as the integrity of the initiative process itself."

But lawyers for the same-sex couples said they're ready for the 9th Circuit to rule on the legality of California's gay marriage ban.

"This frees up the 9th Circuit to go ahead and decide the constitutional issues on the merits," said Theodore Olson, former U.S. solicitor general during the George W. Bush administration, in an interview with the San Jose Mercury News.  "We're anxious to get to a decision on the merits that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional."

The 9th Circuit must still resolve the legal question of whether Proposition 8 sponsors have standing under federal court rules to press the appeal, but legal experts have generally predicted the court would allow the case to proceed if gay marriage opponents secured a favorable ruling from the California Supreme Court, particularly because the federal judges themselves said they would follow the state Supreme Court's guidance.  In fact, the lawyers for same-sex couples conceded Thursday the issue is probably dead in the 9th Circuit.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fortaleza Brazil and Paris France Temples

Ground was broken Tuesday 15 November 2011 on the Fortaleza Brazil Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The groundbreaking was presided over by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Rendering of the Fortaleza Brazil Temple

Elder Bednar said that "this city will always be better and different because of the temple to be built here" ("Ground broken for 7th temple in Brazil", Deseret News, Wednesday 16 November 2011, B3).  

Also worthy of note, it has been officially announced that the Paris France Temple is underway.  According to Le Parisien, "It's now a done deal.  The city council has just given its green light by validating the building permit filed by La Fonciere des Regions on behalf of the Mormon Church" (Ibid.).







Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Elder Strong, Elder Walker, and their Ministry beyond the Veil

At the funeral service for Elder Strong, who was killed last week in a hit-and-run accident in Texas, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles comforted the family of the slain Missionary by saying, "To get through this we need to couple forgiveness with faith . . . be faithful . . . live our religion . . . and one day you will see Trevor as he is: a brother, a saint and a son of the living God" ("'He is still a missionary'", Deseret News, Tuesday 15 November 2011, B5).  Also, during the funeral services for Elder Walker up in Idaho, Elder Craig A. Cardon of the Seventy remarked, "[Elder Walker] loves his family, but he wants them to know he is happy, engaged in the work on the other side" (Ibid.).


Location of the Spirit World
Many have wondered where the spirits of the disembodied go after death.  President Ezra Taft Benson taught, "Sometimes the veil between this life and the life beyond becomes very thin. Our loved ones who have passed on are not far from us” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1971, p. 18; or Ensign, June 1971, p. 33).  President Brigham Young taught, "How frequently the question arises in the minds of the people—‘I wish I knew where I was going!’  Can you find out?  Well, you will go into the spirit world" (Deseret News: Semi-Weekly, 28 July 1874, p. 1).  He further taught, "Where is the spirit world?  It is right here. . . . Do [spirits of the departed] go beyond the boundaries of the organized earth?  No, they do not. . . . Can you see it with your natural eyes?  No.  Can you see spirits in this room?  No.  Suppose the Lord should touch your eyes that you might see, could you then see the spirits?  Yes, as plainly as you now see bodies" (DBY, p. 577).

Duties of the Righteous Dead
President Young was a masterful preacher on things of the Spirit.  He taught concerning the righteous in the Spirit World, "What are they doing there?  They are preaching, preaching all the time, and preparing the way for us to hasten our work in building temples here and elsewhere" (DBY, p. 378).  President Wilford Woodruff taught, "The same Priesthood exists on the other side of the veil. . . . Every Apostle, every Seventy, every Elder, etc., who has died in the faith as soon as he passes to the other side of the veil, enters into the work of the ministry” (Deseret News, Jan. 25, 1882 p. 818).  This is exactly what Elders Strong and Walker are doing - preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all who desire to hear them.  Their success will be far more than they ever had in Texas, because the only Church in the Spirit World is The Church of Jesus Christ.

The revealed word has come to the Latter-day Saints upon this subject, and to no other religion.  Only The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the Authority to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Elders Strong and Walker knew this, and are continuing their missionary labors diligently in the Spirit World, eager to serve Him who so loved them unto death.  I know this is true.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Repeal of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act bad news for USA


On Thursday 10 November 2011, CNN wrote, "Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to repeal the federal law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman."  For those non-Jurists, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is the body of eighteen members through which all issues to be voted upon by both the House and the Senate must first pass.  Therefore, since the majority (ten Democrats) on the Committee voted "yes" to the repeal of DOMA, it is now able to pass onto the floor of the 100-member Senate, then in to the House of Representatives.  The repeal would need a two-third majority vote in both the House and the Senate for DOMA to be repealed.

Since The Mormon Eagle exists to help promulgate and defend correct doctrine, I quote Mr. Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council.  He pointedly states why defending marriage is so important.  Since the Latter-day Saints assimilate all truth, the Eagle puts Perkins' statement in because it is true.  Said he, "Marriage is not some prize that liberals can award to a small, vocal and already well-off special interest group.  Marriage between one man and one woman was created prior to the formation of any governments and is given benefits by governments because it uniquely contributes to a productive society."

The Way of Sodom and Gomorrah
If the Federal Defense of Marriage act is repealed, its repeal effectively legalized gay-marriage nationwide, and no State's rights arguments can be used against it.  CNN writes, "Democrats said the repeal would not require states to legalize same-sex marriage or otherwise impede on a state's rights on the matter.  Republicans said the repeal would alter the institution of marriage between a man and woman, and also would increase the cost burden on the federal government by expanding the number of eligible beneficiaries."  Remember, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of the evils of homosexual relations.  The United States of America has a Divinely inspired Constitution, and has received Divine protection in the past, but only because the majority of people living within her borders kept the commandments of God.  If this nation accepts as normal, right, and proper certain things condemned in both the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon, God will no longer hold His protective hand over her, but will destroy her.

The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth, So Help You God
The Mormon Eagle must declare the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help it God.  Therefore, as an unofficial source for correct doctrine, the Eagle declares what Prophets and Apostles have always declared.  Modern Prophets and Apostles have warned,  

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children. . . . We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife. . . . The family is ordained of God.  Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. . . . We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.  We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society ("The Family: A Proclamation to the World", General Relief Society Meeting, 23 September 1995).

 
The Prophet Moroni warned what would happen if the United States rejects the commandments of God in favor of the evils of the world.  Said he,
And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them.  And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.  For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God.  And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off. . . . Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written (Ether 2:9-10, 12).

Isaiah taught, "For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory.  The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not.  Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves" (Isaiah 3:8-9).  Isaiah here declares the reason Israel as a nation would be taken into captivity nearly one hundred years after Isaiah's time (around 588 BC's Babylonian captivity).  The reason was because the people as a whole rejected the words of the Prophets, and fell into homosexuality.  
The Bible declares the consequences of the evils of homosexuality, the Book of Mormon declares what will occur if America does not think straight (pun intended), and living Prophets and Apostles warn us anew today.  I know what I have said is true, and that the Divine institution of marriage is the glue that will hold the American society together.  If it goes, so does America.  Let us heed the words of the Prophets and Apostles and all Holy Writ, both ancient and modern, so that the anger of God is not incurred upon our heads.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Two LDS Missionaries killed in Texas

Today's Deseret News reads, "Two LDS Church missionaries were killed while riding their bikes in this southeast Texas town [of Donna] Tuesday, and a third was critically injured in the same apparent hit-and-run accident" ("Two LDS missionaries killed in Texas", Deseret News, Wednesday 9 November 2011, A1").  The Elders who were killed were Elder Trevor Reinhold Strong of Taylorsville, Utah, and Elder Derek Jason Walker of Fairfield, Idaho.  The third Elder in the group, Elder ZacharyTodd Harris of Huntsville, Alabama, was taken to a nearby hospital where he is expected to have a full recovery.

The families of the slain Elders Trevor Strong and Derek Walker need not mourn, for as the Prophet hath said, "If you are called to lay down your lives, die like men . . . Should you have to walk right into danger and the jaws of death, fear no evil; Jesus Christ has died before you" ("Declaration of the Twelve, circa 1844", LDS Archives, www.josephsmith.net).  Even the Lord stated the most important things anyone could ever be doing in this life.  Saith He, "And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father.  Amen" (D&C 15:6).

The Mormon Eagle expresses its condolences to the family of the slain Elders, and declares that all will be made well.  President Joseph Smith, Jun. taught, "Those who have died in Jesus Christ may expect to enter into all that fruition of joy when they come forth, which they possessed or anticipated here. . . . All your losses will be made up to you in the resurrection, provided you continue faithful.  By the vision of the Almighty I have seen it" (History of the Church, 5:361–62).

I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and through Him all things consist, have a meaning, and the true purposes and missions of the children of men are fulfilled.  Search the scriptures, the words of the Prophets and Apostles, and pray unto God continually for comfort at the time of mourning.  The Spirit of the Lord will whisper and answer those strained prayers, questions, and desires the body has not power to express.  May the families of the slain Elders find consolation through this essay.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.