Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Scientific Method

I am a firm believer in the scientific method, I have always been very inquisitive. When I was growing up as a member of the LDS church I was encouraged to learn for myself it teachings were true. I read the Book of Mormon and I prayed about It. As with the scientific method I created a null hypothesis that nothing would happen when I prayed. however I was proved wrong. When I bowed my head to pray and asked God If the Book Of Mormon was true I was filled with peace in my heart, and a joy that exceeded anything I had ever felt. Through the years I continued to follow this pattern of "testing" the things I was taught and every time I received peace that this was the path for me to Follow, and the one true path to God. On the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith's (Founder of the LDS church and First prophet) birth I read three biographies and as much of The Prophet Joseph Smiths writings as I could find. I was impressed by the simple power of Joseph's words. It seemed to me that they were as dew from heaven. It was through his teaching that I learned of the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. I know now that my sins can be forgiven, that wrongs I have done can be rectified. I know the healing power of Christ for my own soul, when pain and grief cause me sorrow, I know Christ can give me comfort. I know that Death is not the end of life just as birth was not the beginning. What a comfort it has been through the years and losses of loved ones, to know I can and will see them again. I now Know that it is possible for my family to live together forever in the life to come. And most importantly I know that I am a loved son of God. These things have all been confirmed to me personally by the scientific method, I have tested them and found them to be true. If you really want to know if peace in this life and hope in the world to come is real, then ask the source of all truth, God Himself, if it is true. He will answer, because you are His Child and He loves you.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Moral Incongruity

As I have watch TV over the last year, it has become increasingly apparent that there is a false dichotomy being propagated by many in the media. They make it look as if people must choose: either you are a bigoted, ignorant, jerk, who lacks humanity and empathy or your are a good person who believes there is nothing wrong with homosexuality. It is concerning to me because, like most people I know, we don't believe God intended humans to be homosexual, however, we do not hate or discriminate against those who are homosexual.

I believe there is an example of how we should feel and act in regard to homosexuality. In the Bible(John 8:1-11) there is a story where the ruler of the Jews brought a woman before Jesus who had been caught in adultery. They posed the question to Jesus "Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?" In response he said "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." This teaches us an important lesson, we as children of God are not called upon to judge others and exact punishment. When all the accusers had left, convicted by their own conscience, Christ turned to the woman and said "Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?" She replied "No man lord" To which Christ replied,"Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." Once again we learn how we should approach those who we know who are not living in accordance with the teachings of the gospel. While we do not approve of the behavior we don't condemn the person. We also do not condone the behavior, thus the injunction to "go and sin no more." President Spencer W. Kimball said it very well (I paraphrase), "Love the sinner, hate the sin" This is a stance we take on all sin, no matter what it is.

This is how we can honestly say we don't support gay marriage, but we don't hate homosexuals. To understand this one must be able separate the person from the action. Parents everywhere do the same for their children. When a child is angry, disobedient, and breaks stuff, parents don't like the behavior, but they still love the child. I believe this is how God feels about his children.

Thus I believe it is possible be against gay marriage, and to believe that homosexuality is a sin, but still be a friend to those who are homosexual.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Fall of Adam

I went to a lecture today by a Christian Pastor. While I agreed with much of what he said, I was still very glad to be Mormon. It helped me realize even better the strength of our position as Latter-day saints. The first thing that impressed me is that he explained The Fall of Adam in terms of a broken world. Most strikingly he stated that God intended Adam and Eve to live in the garden of Eden forever and have a family because man was not supposed to have knowledge of good and evil. This is in stark contrast to what I believe, I believe God fully intended man to know good from evil, in fact God wants us to be like him. However, God could not force Adam and Eve into a fallen world full of sin, That would be unjust. Therefore he provided a way for them to choose of their own free will to enter a world of death and sin. By partaking of the fruit Adam and Eve became mortal(of their own free will) and also knew good from evil, with out which knowledge they could not sin. Since death and sin entered the world, man was separated from God. Man had no way to return to God. There was a need for a Savior. This is another point where Mormons differ from Christianity in general. God knew before hand(he is all knowing), that Adam and Eve would partake of the fruit. So before the world was Created God had appointed a Savior, which was Christ the Lord. We all lived with God before we were born as spirit children of Heavenly Father. We are his literal progeny. God designed the earth with this plan in mind. Man would come to earth to get a body, with this body we would be more like God since he has a body. But to get a body we must be mortal. Hence the Garden of Eden. And it would be unjust for God to force a world of sin and death upon innocent people, therefore they needed to choose to leave the Garden and choose to be mortal, they mad ethat choice by eating of the forbidden fruit. Now that God had man on the earth, in a fallen state he sent angels to teach Adam and Eve about Christ. Thus Christianity was the first religion on earth. It is simple, Man is fallen, so God sent a Savior to redeem man.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Necessity of Religious Institutions

Why do we need churches? What is the purpose of going to a meetings on sunday? Why religion? Religions have always been around ever since recorded history. So clearly there must be some advantage to having an organized set of beliefs. Religions perform some vital functions that only recently have been taken on by the government.

First religion is a source of socialization.

At church and through church service we are educated and we educate others. Those who choose to participate in a religion actively by attending are helping others. Some selfishly think they are going to church for there own benefit and can choose not to go whenever they feel like it. They forget that the education of their children is their example, Children will not pay attention to what is said as much as what is done. Consistent church attendance is imperative and demonstrates a commitment to the improvement of society as a whole. By giving time to better this and the next generation.

Second religious participation is to help relieve suffering.

When I served as a missionary I realized how blessed I was to have been raised with the set of morals that I was. I realized and saw first hand how so much of the poverty and social injustice is a result of not living the law of chastity and the word of wisdom. There is so much suffering in the world, that comes from not living the gospel. The "restrictions" imposed by religion have saved me a great deal of suffering.

Third, There really is a God Who really does love us.

God is real and he loves us, he wants us to be happy. Hence the socialization and the relief from suffering. As I have passed through my medical education, one thing has really been emphasized. The world has an inherent order. I know the author of that order, he is my Father and he loves me.

Why should we go to church?

Well, If you don't take the sacrament, your sins are not washed away and you become less sensitive to the Holy Ghost.... it doesn't matter why you aren't attending.

Second, you are missing out on great opportunity to serve others, and contribute to society.

Third, active church attendance and requires that we swallow some of our pride, and become a little less selfish... Both good things I would say.

Religion is a social necessity, as well as a spiritual necessity, peaceful societies are based on successful socialization of youth into a peaceful and service oriented society. When society drifts away from religions, they inevitably set up other organizations that attempt to fill those very needs.

Our Father in Heaven, really wants us to be happy, if you take note, all "social ills" are results of disobedience to God's commandments.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Joseph Smith Jr.

As in the bible the Lord calls prophets in our time, to lead and to guide us. This is a fundamental doctrine of the Mormon church. The Church believes in the same organization of the church as in the time of Christ. That is a Prophet (Peter) and the twelve apostles(Luke 9:1). Just like Moses and Isaiah, God has called prophets in our day. I believe that Joseph was the first Prophet called since Peter. (In a later post I will address this in more detail.) I know that Joseph Smith was called of God to preach the gospel in it's simplicity and purity. I am grateful that God in his wisdom has seen fit to once again proclaim the Gospel in it's purity. When I read the words of Joseph Smith I feel as if the dews of heaven are distilling upon my soul and pure truth is pouring in. When Joseph was just 14 years of age he, was confused about religion and he prayed to find out the truth, about religion. He went to the only source that can give a definitive answer on religion... God himself. And much to his surprise God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him. In his own words:

"I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"

Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. They called him to be a Prophet. A Prophet's job is to testify of Christ. I am grateful for Joseph Smith because he testifies of Christ. Through the teachings of Joseph Smith, I have grown closer to Jesus Christ and have better understood the gospel of Christ.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Questions and Answers with Elder Bednar (Prop 8)

Here is a great question and answer session with Elder Bednar, one of the 12 Apostles of the LDS Church:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Moral Issues in Politics (Prop 8)

Due to the unfavorable media about the recent passage of Prop 8 in California, I feel that I need to post to my blog the reasons I feel are valid for the passage of an amendment, that at first glance seems to be restricting the rights of a population of Americans.

There are two reasons I feel that legalizing homosexual marriages is not wise and why we should be concerned.


1. Homosexual marriage threatens religious freedom.


In the states where gay marriage has already been legalized churches and gay couples have already clashed, and the gay rights have trumped the right to the free exercise of religion. Here are the News Stories:
Click to Story

Click for list of institutions sued by homosexual couples

2. Homosexual marriage threatens freedom of speech.


Imagine what it would be like if teaching that marriage should only be between a man and a woman was considered the same thing as racism. How will that affect one’s ability to teach that principle. Would churches and institutions (schools) be fined for promoting heterosexual marriage? How would this affect religious clubs at public universities?


Note: Some people believe that religious freedom only affects religious institutions, that is not the case. If we look at the places and times scientific research was most restricted, it was when there was no religious freedom (think Galileo). In other words, religious freedom does not only pertain to churches, it actually protects the right to believe whatever you want. Being able to to believe what one wants is of paramount importance to science and education. Once laws are made regarding the way we can teach what we believe, the precedents leave everyone and anyone open for frivolous lawsuits.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) we believe that the right of everyone to believe whatever they want should be protected. In other words we would never discriminate against or treat a gay or lesbian person different because of their sexual orientation. In fact, religious freedom is the freedom that allows gay couples the right to be protected in the way they see the world. We respect a person's right to believe whatever they want.

One of the Basic Tenets of Mormon Theology is as follows:

"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

The legal conflict comes when a person seeks to force their beliefs on others. Tolerance is a two way street. It has been demonstrated by litigation that when it comes to homosexual marriage some of those who seek for tolerance have not shown the same tolerance for those who disagree with gay marriage. When I was a boy my father told me "Your right to swing your fist ends where you friend's nose begins". In this case allowing gay couples the right to be married is allowing them to exercise their "rights" in a way that restricts the rights of others. (See links to lawsuit already filed above.)


OFFICIAL LDS STANCE:

Official LDS website for Preserving Marriage: Click Here
LDS Church Official Stance:
Click Here
LDS Church Response after Prop 8 passed: Click Here
Catholic response to demonstrations in California: Click Here
Full list of Resources about the church’s position and why they took it: Click Here