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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Refuting the Ex-Mormon: Carrie Sheffield

The Mormon Eagle has started the Refuting the Ex-Mormon series to, in the words of Joseph Smith the Prophet, "disabuse the public mind, and put all inquirers after truth in possession of the facts, as they have transpired, in relation to . . . the Church" (JS-H 1:1).  This first refutation in this series is concerning an editorial written by Carrie Sheffield for The Washington Post, in which she lies about the Church.  Carrie Sheffield is an ex-Mormon, who has left the Church, but apparently cannot leave the Church alone.  The article she wrote is called "A Mormon Church in Need of Reform".  The Eagle will attempt to refute only some of the falsely-stated relevant lies as told by Ms. Sheffield.

"The church isn’t exactly welcoming of outsiders"
Now, true, she may be talking politically, and in that she is correct to an extent.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a Republican Church, though many more Republicans exist within the Church than do Democrats.  The Church does not endorse any politicians, nor tell its members how and for whom to vote, however.  Each individual Mormon may vote for whom he wants, as moved upon by one's own convictions, as ever he will.

In regards to being unwelcoming of outsiders in a theological sense, we have the words of President Joseph Smith, Jun., President Gordon B. Hinckley, and Nephi, respectively.  "We don't ask any people to throw away any good they have got; we only ask them to come and get more" (History of the Church 5:259).  "We say to the people, in effect, you bring with you all the good that you have, and then let us see if we can add to it" (Ensign, August 1998).  "Hath [Jesus Christ] 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 Ne. 26:27-28).

We see from the above quotations that all are welcome within The Church of Jesus Christ, provided first that they forsake those things which are wrong, and continue to do the things which are right, according to the revelations.

"The church I was raised in values unquestioning obedience over critical thinking."
This is definitely not true.  I will let President Brigham Young speak concerning Theology versus critical thinking within the Church: "Not only does the religion of Jesus Christ make the people acquainted
with the things of God, and develop within them moral excellence and purity, but it holds out every encouragement and inducement possible, for them to increase in knowledge and intelligence, in every branch of mechanism, or in the arts and sciences, for all wisdom, and all the arts and sciences in the world are from God, and are designed for the good of his people" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 193).  President Young also stated, "The religion embraced by the Latter-day Saints, if only slightly understood, prompts them to search diligently after knowledge.  There is no other people in existence more eager to see, hear, learn, and understand truth" (DBY, 247).  In addition, the LDS Church holds in its grasp four institutions of higher learning.  

In connection with critical thinking and obedience, Ms. Sheffield complains thusly, "Mormonism’s claims about anthropology, history and other subjects contradict reason and science."  This is also not true, as per a statement by that great aforementioned Prophet-colonizer Brigham Young.  Said he, "Our religion will not clash with or contradict the facts of science [or any other secular phase of learning] in any particular. . . . There is no mystery except to the ignorant.  This we know by what we have learned naturally since we have had a being on the earth" (DBY, 258–59).  Elder Dallin H. Oaks said this when he was President of Brigham Young University: "At Brigham Young University and in the other institutions of the Church Educational System, we are concerned with teaching the fundaments [sic] of spiritual and secular knowledge and with bringing those teachings into harmony in the lives of men and women in order to prepare them for a balanced and full life of service to God and fellowman" ("Strive For Excellence", October 1971 General Conference).  This all should be sufficient to throw out anything Ms. Sheffield says against the Kingdom of God.

"Many gay Mormons have been driven to suicide, deeply conflicted about whether acting on their sexuality is, as the church teaches, a sin."
Homosexual activity is a sin, for "wickedness never was happiness" (Alma 41:10).  Many a distraught person has taken his own life because he was mired in sin and thought he had no way out.  The people who committed suicide made a choice, the which choice The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had no hand in whatsoever.  President Boyd K. Packer stated, "We will hold to the principles and laws and ordinances of the gospel. If they are misunderstood either innocently or willfully, so be it. We cannot change; we will not change the moral standard" ("Cleansing the Inner Vessel", October 2010 General Conference).  However, there is always a way out, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and full, active membership within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

To Find the Truth
Now, Ms. Sheffield, the only way to find the Truth about Mormonism (or lack thereof, if you prefer), is to read the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  Through this Book one learns what Mormonism really teaches.  On the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon hangs the truthfulness of Joseph Smith's and Thomas S. Monson's testimonies of the reality of Christ and His Church.  The fact is, Ms Sheffield, that the Book of Mormon is indeed true, a work of scripture, and proof that God exists, that His Church is indeed The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that all may come and find the Truth that is Mormonism, come drink from the Water of Life, and not from the befouled and stained water offered by other religions.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

BYU ranked 2nd-most popular school in America

The following is from the article "BYU ranked no. 2 most popular school in America" by Phillip M. Volmar at ldschurchnews.com:

Brigham Young University is the second most popular national university in the country, according to rankings released by U.S. News & World Report earlier this week.

Since 2008, the magazine has ranked schools according to the percentage of university applicants accepted who actually enroll, a statistic called the "yield rate."

Last year, BYU ranked No. 1, ahead of both Harvard and Stanford, respectively.  This year, the Provo school had a yield rate of 74.7 percent, closely edging behind Harvard, which had a 75.5 percent yield.


"Clearly, the majority of our applicants are members of the Church, and they want to be here," said BYU spokesman Todd Hollingshead.  "They want to be here for the academic experience and environment where they share the same standards and values as others."

The No. 2 status comes during a time of spotlight for the Church that the media are calling the "Mormon moment."  The Church, which sponsors Brigham Young University and its sister schools in Idaho and Hawaii, is publicly known for its emphasis on honesty and family values.

"Our graduates have excellent preparation to enter the workforce with integrity," Brother Hollingshead said.

U.S. News also consistently ranks BYU among the top 20 schools for "best value."

According to the magazine, "The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal."

This year, BYU ranks No. 13 for "best value," with 32.9 percent of students receiving need-based grants and the average discount from the total cost of tuition being 33 percent.


According to BYU's website, tuition for LDS students costs $2,280, an amount that is subsidized by the Church for each enrollee, while non-LDS students pay twice as much.  The BYU website also states that "significant portions of university operating costs are paid with the tithes of Church members."

Speaking to students and others at a BYU-Hawaii groundbreaking event Dec. 17, 2011, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve said, "What you get, you get because of the contributions of people all over the world who will never get a temple or a university in their community."

Among other recognitions, BYU is also nationally known for its foreign language teaching focus, a factor largely attributed to the high population of returned-missionary students.  As students come home from their foreign-speaking missions, they often desire to continue learning the language and opt for classes that meet that need, Brother Hollingshead said.

"A significant portion of language skill acquisition at BYU comes from serving foreign missions," he said, adding that nearly 70 percent of students speak more than one language.  BYU has some 30,000 undergraduates.

In 2010, the Wall Street Journal also ranked BYU graduates No. 11 in the eyes of recruiters.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Bishop's Central Storehouse opens in Salt Lake City, Utah

A new 570,391-square-foot Bishop's Central Storehouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been opened in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Located at 5405 W. 300 S., the Bishop's Central Storehouse contains floor space for approximately 63,000 square feet of freezer/cooler/cold dock space; 23,630 square feet for Deseret Transportation, the Church's fleet of Semis used to transport aid; 18,333 square feet of administrative offices; 297,695 square feet of rack-storage space; and 210,884 square feet of bulk-storage space ("New central storehouse opens in S.L.", Deseret News, Friday 27 January 2012).

Many non-members wonder why the Church keeps a Bishop's Storehouse.  The reason for this is to answer fully the scripture which says,

And again, if there shall be properties in the hands of the church, or any individuals of it, more than is necessary for their support after this first consecration, which is a residue to be consecrated unto the bishop, it shall be kept to administer to those who have not, from time to time, that every man who has need may be amply supplied and receive according to his wants.  Therefore, the residue shall be kept in my storehouse, to administer to the poor and the needy, as shall be appointed by the high council of the church, and the bishop and his council . . .And if thou obtainest more than that which would be for thy support, thou shalt give it into my storehouse, that all things may be done according to that which I have said (D&C 42:33-34, 55).

The Church has wealth only because the Lord has ordained The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to save the world, both temporally and spiritually, both the living and the dead.  Only The Church of Jesus Christ can fulfill this mandate, because it is the only religion acknowledged by God as His own.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Prayers in the House of the Lord

Terrestrial Room of the Salt Lake Temple.  Around the Altar is performed an inspired Prayer
The Mormon Eagle at this time wishes to testify of the inspiration contained in the Prayers around the Alters of all the Houses of the Lord on this Earth.  The Prayer around the Alters at the end of the Endowment are sacred, and in every way inspired as if an Apostle of the Lord were praying.  Paul the Apostle uses the words, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (Romans 8:26-27).

Paul here mentions how "we know not what we should pray for as we ought", but that the Spirit whispers to he who is voice in the prayer what we should pray for.  This scripture was fulfilled last night, as I was in the House of the Lord at Provo, Utah.  I take this from the pages of my own Journal for Wednesday 25 January 2012:

I have had a school assignment weighing on my mind, in which I need to write a Literature Review, which compiles historians' interpretation of a particular subject.  I chose 19th Century Mormon Polygamy.  I have no idea what I need to do to make it work.  I have prayed the Lord to help me, and that topic is what was on my mind while inside the Temple tonight.  I learned in the Endowment Ceremony that: 1) I must put forth an effort before I will receive knowledge from the Lord how to do it.  During the True Order of Prayer at the Altar, the officiator prayed that the company may have a special blessing of knowledge they seek tonight.  I know the prayers at the Altars of the Temples are led by the Holy Ghost.

I used to think all the Prayers were the same, but know, through revelation, I know they are inspired from God.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The return of the "C-Word"

The anti-Mormons are at it again, this time in South Carolina.  According to the Deseret News, Reverend Huey Mills, head of the South Carolina Association of Christian Schools, will not vote for Governor Mitt Romney for President of the United States because Romney's Mormonism "is a cult, most definitely"

The Mormon Eagle need not respond to an ignorant fool such as Reverend Mills.  However, the Eagle puts forth a question to Mr. Mills: as a Christian, who are you to judge?  Have you not read the Scriptures which saith, "Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works" (James 2:18), and also, "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit" (Matt. 7:18).  We also have this passage,  

Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil. . . . For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God (Moroni 7:14, 16).

It is evident from your works that you have not applied the scriptures fully, sir.  Let us, therefore, as children of God the Father, and brethren to Jesus the Christ, treat others with mutual respect, kindness, and love, as our Savior would do.  I know Mormons are Christians, for I am one.  I know Jesus is the Christ, and therefore I am Christian in word.  I read the Bible and Book of Mormon daily, and sup from their teachings of Christ, and therefore am a Christian in deed.  Look at active Mormons and judge them as Christians by both their faith and their works, so as to not be shown as a fool.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Staying safe in enemy territory

On Sunday, 22 January 2012, President Boyd K. Packer spoke at the Seminary centennial broadcast held in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  His theme was how one stays safe in these times of such evil and wickedness.  For this article, The Mormon Eagle will quote President Packer (as found in the Deseret News of Monday 23 January 2012 on page B2), and then will add some inspiration as moved upon by the Spirit of the Lord.

President Packer said, "You are growing up in enemy territory.  When you become mature spiritually, you will understand how the adversary has infiltrated the world around you.  He is in homes, entertainment, the media, language - everything around you.  In most cases, his presence is undetected.  Pornography is just on example."  He spoke of the most desirable and worthwhile things the youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can do to stay spiritually strong.

Sensitivity of the Holy Ghost
The Spirit of the Lord is sensitive.  President Packer taught, "You cannot lie or cheat or steal or act immorally and have those [spiritual] channels remain free from disruption.  Do not go where the environment resists spiritual communication.  You can learn to seek the power and direction that is available to you, and then follow that course no matter what."

Let us take President Joseph F. Smith as an example of one whose sensitivity to the Spirit saved him from injury and possibly death.  Once President Smith was riding the train home from the eastern United States.  He was outside on the platform when he heard the Spirit say to him, "Go in and sit down."  He went back into the train, but hesitated a moment, telling himself, "Oh, pshaw, perhaps it is only my imagination."  He then heard the Spirit's voice again say, "Sit down."  Responding without hesitation, President Smith sat down.  No sooner had he done so, when the train's engine and most of the cars lurched from the track.  President Smith, however, was unharmed, although all the rail cars in front of his were smashed up.  President Smith was at this time accompanied by Presiding Bishop Charles W. Nibley, who said the train cars were "jammed up pretty badly."  Concerning the voice of the Spirit, President Smith said, "I have heard that voice a good many times in my life, and I have always profited by obeying it" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 265).

We can also take Nephi as one whose daily living allowed him to heed the promptings of the Spirit.  Concerning the trip to get the Brass Plates from Laban, he said, "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do" (1 Nephi 4:6).

Agency and Gender
President Packer said to the youth of the Church,

This matter of gender is of great concern to the Brethren, as are all matters of morality.  A few of you may have felt or been told that you were born with troubling feelings and that you are not guilty if you act on those temptations.  Doctrinally we know that if that were true, your agency would have been erased, and that cannot happen.  You always have a choice to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost and live a morally pure and chaste life, one filled with virtue. . . . You have . . . agency.  Use it wisely to deny acting on any impure impulse or unholy temptation that may come into your mind.  The key word is discipline - self discipline.  The word discipline comes from the word disciple or follower.  Be a disciple/follower of the Savior, and you will be safe (emphasis added).

The Mormon Eagle concurs with President Packer.  The evilness of homosexual relations is spreading across the world.  Currently, the issue of so-called gay marriage is making its way through the state of Washington's Legislature.  This is a travesty that the great nation of the United States and the people within it are sanctioning iniquity under the guise of tolerance.

Latter-day Saints should not, must not, and ultimately cannot tolerate wickedness.  We can be friends with the world, but we must stand strong against the Arch-Deceiver's ploy to "call evil good, and good evil" (Is. 5:20).


I know President Packer is an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, a mighty seer as was the Apostle Paul of old.  The Lord speaks to President Packer and all the other living Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ today.  I know if we follow President Packer's counsel, we will be spiritually safe, and that when the world starts destroying itself because of it's sanctioning of evil, the Mormons will be the only people on Earth not at war with anyone.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kansas City Missouri Temple open house


The open house for the Kansas City Missouri Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be held from 7-21 April 2012, excluding Sundays.  Admission is free.  On Sunday 6 May 2012, the House of the Lord will be dedicated in three sessions.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Elder Steven E. Snow to become LDS Church Historian and Recorder

 From lds.org/church/news we read, "The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently announced the call of Elder Steven E. Snow of the Presidency of the Seventy as Church Historian and Recorder, a role previously filled by Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy.

"Elder Snow will be released from the Presidency of the Seventy, while Elder Jensen will be released from the First Quorum of the Seventy and given emeritus status at the October 2012 general conference."

"Mormons in America" Pew research survey explores what it means to be a good Mormon

The following statistical information is taken from today's Deseret News.  This essay will focus on the results, and the opinion of The Mormon Eagle as to said results.  It will focus on doctrine and theology where rebuke and proper teachings are needed.  The Pew Research Center's Forum of Religion and Public Life survey details results taken from more than 1,000 people who identify themselves as Mormons.

Beliefs and Practices
According to the results published in today's Deseret News*, 77%  attend Church at least once a week; 91% believe the Book of Mormon was written by ancient prophets; 79% fully pay their tithing; 94% believe the President of the Church is a Prophet of God, believe God the Father and Jesus Christ are physically separate Beings, and believe families can be united for eternity in the House of the Lord; 83% pray daily; and 98% believe in the Resurrection of Christ.  However, this means, on the other hand, that at least: 23% do not attend Church at least once a week; 9% do not believe the Book of Mormon was written by ancient prophets; 21% do not pay a full tithe; 6% do not believe the President of the Church is a Prophet, believe God the Father and Jesus Christ are not separate Beings, and do not believe family relationships can extend beyond the grave; 17% do not pray daily; 2% do not believe in the Resurrection of Christ.

To those who do not believe the things stated above, have ye not read the scriptures, both ancient and modern?  Do they not testify of these things?  Have not the Apostles and Prophets, both ancient and modern, born sufficient witness that only active Mormons will go to Heaven, and not inactive ones?  The scriptures fully state, "Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly [not follow the teachings of the President of the Church] in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever" (1 Nephi 10:21).  Thus it is so, for the word of God must be fulfilled.

Education
In regards to education:  12% received a post-graduate education; 19% are college graduates; 33% attended some college; 29% are High School graduates; and only 7% did not graduate High School.

Social Issues
Concerning Polygamy 86% of those surveyed find it morally wrong, and 2% find it morally acceptable.
Premarital Sex:  79% think it is morally wrong, but 7% find it OK morally.
Abortion:  74% believe it morally wrong, and 4% do not.
Drinking Alcohol:  only 54% believe drinking is morally wrong, and 6% do not.
Divorce:  25% think it morally wrong, and 16% do not.

To those who find premarital sex and the drinking of alcohol acceptable in Mormonism, ye are deceived by the wiles of Satan.  Has not the Lord expressly stated, "Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy" (Lev. 19:2).  Indeed He has.  The truth is that the Lord did actually raise up Joseph Smith the Prophet, and did command him to teach that drinking alcohol (D&C 89) and premarital relations (D&C 42:22-24) are wrong in God's eyes, and those found so doing will not only lose the Spirit of God, but be cast out of His Sheepfold!  Therefore, repent of your wickedness, and come fully back into Mormonism, which is God's one and only truth.


To be a good Mormon
Certain things are essential to being a good Mormon, which means worthy to go into the House of the Lord, and therefore, live with God again:  Only 32% said not watching R-rated movies was essential (which means more than half said it was not)  Less than half (49%) said staying away from coffee and tea is essential within Mormonism, whereas an alarming 51% (at most) said breaking the Word of Wisdom in that manner was OK.  51% said regular Family Home Evening was essential; 73% said helping the poor is mandatory for good-standing Mormons; and 80% said believing in Joseph Smith as a Prophet was essential.

In regards to R-rated movies, at most 68% watch them.  This must stop, for the Prophets and Apostles in modern times have warned against it.  Said President Ezra Taft Benson in his first General Conference after becoming President of the Church and Prophet to the world, "We counsel you, young men, not to pollute your minds with such degrading matter, for the mind through which this filth passes is never the same afterwards. Don’t see R-rated movies or vulgar videos or participate in any entertainment that is immoral, suggestive, or pornographic" ("To the 'Youth of the Noble Birthright'", May 1986 General Conference).  Also, the Lord Christ hath said to "let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly" (D&C 121:45).  Is not this clear enough?

Speaking of coffee and tea, numerous Prophets have stated what is wrong and what is right.  President Brigham Young stated concerning those breaking the Word of Wisdom through drinking tea and coffee, "Darkness and blindness of mind with regard to the things of God will be their lot; they will cease to have the spirit of prayer, and the spirit of the world will increase in them in proportion to their disobedience until they apostatize entirely from God and his ways" (DBY, p. 183).  Also, he informs us what "hot drinks" mean within the text of D&C 89: "I have heard it argued that tea and coffee are not mentioned therein; that is very true; but what were the people in the habit of taking as hot drinks when that revelation was given?  Tea and coffee.  We were not in the habit of drinking water very hot, but tea and coffee—the beverages in common use" (DBY, 182).  Also, Presidents Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith taught this as well.  Said President H. Smith, "There are many who wonder what this can mean. . . . I say it does refer to tea and coffee" (Times and Seasons, 1 June 1842, p. 800).  President Joseph Smith taught, "Tea and Coffee . . . are what the Lord meant when He said 'hot drinks'" (Voice from the Mountains [Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1881], p. 12.).

I know what I have stated in regards to doctrine is true.  The results of the survey are shocking at times, but if we keep the laws of God, He will bless us.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

*"Landmark survey explores beliefs, attitudes of LDS", Deseret News, Thursday 12 January 2012, A9

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Presiding Patriarch of the Church

Yesterday was the 105th birthday of Elder Eldred G. Smith, emeritus Presiding Patriarch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  In this essay, we shall examine the duties of the office, its continuance during the 19th century into the 20th, and its discontinuance in 1979.

The Presiding Patriarch was sustained as a prophet, seer, and revelator in all General Conferences of the Church until 1979, when the office was discontinued.  His duties were to travel to the far-flung areas of the Church where there were no Stakes (and therefore no Stake Patriarchs) to give Patriarchal Blessings.  The following are the Presiding Patriarchs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Joseph Smith, Sen., father of the Prophet Joseph Smith, served from 18 Dec. 1833-14 Sep. 1840

Hyrum Smith served from 14 Sep. 1840-27 June 1844
William Smith served from 24 May 1845-19 Oct. 1845
John Smith, uncle to Joseph Smith the Prophet, served from 1 Jan. 1849-23 May 1854
John Smith, son of Hyrum Smith, served from 18 Feb. 1855-6 Nov. 1911
Hyrum G. Smith, grandson of John Smith (above), served from 9 May 1912-4 Feb. 1932
Joseph Fielding Smith, son of Apostle Hyrum M. Smith, served from 8 Oct. 1942-6 Oct. 1946
Eldred G. Smith, son of former Presiding Patriarch Hyrum G. Smith, served from 10 April 1947-4 Oct. 1979, when he was given the title Patriarch Emeritus

Monday, January 9, 2012

"There shall be a record kept among you"

The Prophet's first journal, spanning late 1832-1834
Journal writing and recording keeping are held in high esteem in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We are commanded to keep journals "for the benefit of [our] posterity that shall come after [us]" (Abr. 1:31).  Of the importance of journal writing, President Spence W. Kimball said, "Every person should keep a journal and every person can keep a journal.  It should be an enlightening one and should bring great blessings and happiness to the families.  If there is anyone here who isn’t doing so, will you repent today and change—change your life" ("Let Us Move Forward and Upward", April 1979 General Conference)?

Importance of Records
But, why is it so important to keep records, such as a journal or diary?  President Joseph Fielding Smith taught concerning the Great Judgement Day, "We are informed that the books will be opened.  One of these books will be the record of our lives as it is kept in heaven.  Other books which will be opened are records which have been kept on earth.  From the very organization of the Church the Lord has given instruction that records should be kept of the members of the Church" (The Way to Perfection, p. 342).  President Wilford Woodruff wrote, "We are living in one of the most important generations that man ever lived on earth, and we should write an account of those important transactions which are taking place before our eyes in fulfillment of the prophecies and the revelation of God.  There is a great flood of revelations fulfilling in our day, and as they are transpiring before our eyes we want a record made of them” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 4:444).  Additionally, President Kimball also taught, "Get a notebook, my young folks, a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity" ("The Angels May Quote From It", New Era, October 1975).

Even the Prophet Joseph Smith kept a journal of daily events in his life.  In the first entry of his 1832 Journal, President Smith wrote, "Joseph Smith Jr's Book for Record Baught on the 27th of  November 1832 for  the purpose to keep a  minute acount of all  things that come under  my obsevation etc.— —
oh may God grant that  I may be directed in all  my thaughts O bless  thy Servent Amen" (Journal of Joseph Smith, 27 November 1832, p. 1, spelling and spacing in original).

I have found that when I write in my journal about the day's events (whether spiritual or temporal), my thoughts are clearer, and I have more confidence in approaching God the Almighty in prayer.  Because I review how I act during the day, whether for good or evil, I can then review those just-written thoughts with my Heavenly Father during my evening personal prayer, and thus get a better idea as to what I must ask Him to bless me with in order that I might improve.  I hope we all can do better in making a record of our lives, as the Prophets and Apostles have taught.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

For those who want to Quit

From today's Deseret News, we read,

It's been 55 years since he took up cigarette smoking, which, at times, was a two-pack-a-day habit that started when he was 7 years old.  It's been 10 weeks since [Stephen] Willard, an aide at Weber Human Services mental health residential treatment facility, quit smoking. . . . He's managed to reduce his smoking to 10 cigarettes a day. . . . "I have 16 or 17 clients at any time.  In order to get the clients to get smoke-free, I need to be smoke-free, too," he said. (Marjorie Cortez, "Kicking the habit", Deseret News, Monday 9 January 2012, A1).

In order to help those wanting to kick the habit for good, The Mormon Eagle offers friendly advice, which, if heeded, will bring the Help the smoker desires into their life, greatly aiding them in their struggle.

Seek God the Almighty
Almighty God is your Father in Heaven.  As your Omnipotent Father, He is acutely aware of your desire to quit and for your repentance to be complete.  His Son Jesus Christ has said, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened" (Matt. 7:7-8).

Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught about prayer and it's power.  Said he, "Prayer changes our lives.  Through it we draw near to the Lord, and he reaches out his finger and touches us, so we never again are the same.  Prayer is a great tower of strength, a pillar of unending righteousness, a mighty force that moves mountains and saves souls” (“Patterns of Prayer,” Ensign, May 1984, p. 32).  

I know God answers prayers, and also that He speaks to us, if we will quiet our mind a hearken to His Spirit.  Prayer in my life has given me strength to get through all my trials; I know He will help you in your trial to quit smoking.

Read the Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is a volume of Holy Scripture in companion to the Bible.  It, coupled with the Bible, brings strength, power, and peace beyond mortal means and comprehension.  Concerning the Book of Mormon the Prophet Joseph Smith taught, "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).

I have read the Book of Mormon many times, and can testify to the truth of President Smith's teachings.  I know the Book of Mormon brings Divine strength because of what it teaches about Jesus Christ and His power.  The prophet Helaman taught his two sons, 

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall (Hel. 5:12).

Additionally the Lord taught, "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.  I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them" (Ether 12:27).  Like any addiction, whether it be illegal drugs, pornography, sex, pill-popping, or drinking, smoking can be overcome through faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.  I know this to be true and bear witness that He will sustain you in your struggle.

Conclusion
I know God is real, that He is our Father in Heaven.  As such, He is waiting for us to come to Him in prayer, and, in the name of Jesus Christ, petition Him for His grace to be sufficient for us, that He might heal us of our afflictions.  As the prophet Jacob saith, so I echo, "Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction" (Jacob 3:1).  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Religious apathy in America

According to The Washington Post, of people in America,

— 44 percent told the 2011 Baylor University Religion Survey they spend no time seeking “eternal wisdom,” and 19 percent said “it’s useless to search for meaning."
— 46 percent told a 2011 survey by Nashville, Tenn.-based LifeWay Research that they never wonder whether they will go to heaven.
— 28 percent told LifeWay “it’s not a major priority in my life to find my deeper purpose.” And 18 percent scoffed at the idea that God has a purpose or plan for everyone.
— 6.3 percent of Americans turned up on Pew Forum’s 2007 Religious Landscape Survey as totally secular — unconnected to God or a higher power or any religious identity and willing to say religion is not important in their lives. (Cathy Lynn Grossman, "For many, ‘Losing My Religion’ isn’t a song: It’s life", The Washington Post's "On Faith" blog).

This is alarming, but not so surprising.  Secularism is indeed growing in American society today.  Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, "As prophesied, we live in a time when the darkness of secularism is deepening around us. Belief in God is widely questioned and even attacked in the name of political, social, and even religious causes. Atheism, or the doctrine that there is no God, is fast spreading across the world" (Elder Robert D. Hales, "Seeking to Know God, Our Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ", October 2009 General Conference).  The Prophet Nephi also prophesied, 

And behold, others [the Devil] flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.  Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment" (2 Nephi 28:22-23).

The Mormon Eagle seeks to refute the misguided and erring generations of Americans who say it is OK to deny God, or cease looking for Him because they cannot find Him or prove His existence.  God does exist, and all will eventually see Him, notwithstanding the wicked and ignorant try to explain him away.  He does have a deeper purpose for all mankind, which purpose is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39).

I myself know God exists, and that all can find Him if they diligently seek Him, for, as Paul saith, "He be not far from every one of us" (Acts 17:27).  For those searching for God, His full truth and whole doctrines can be found only within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and in no other church, as both the Bible and Book of Mormon testify.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Nauvoo Pagaent 2012 Main Cast Auditions

The Nauvoo Pageant 2012 is auditioning 20 main cast roles from 18-19 January from 6-10pm at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah; 20 January from 5:30-10pm and 21 January from 9am-1pm at the Bountiful Regional Center in Bountiful, Utah.  Callbacks are from 27-28 January in North Salt Lake.

To schedule an audition, call 801-240-6492 or 800-453-3860 ext. 2-6492.