With former Utah governor Jon Huntsman and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney both believed to be gearing up for a run for the presidency, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has again found itself answering questions about what these two prominent members believe. Post reporter Sandhya Somashekhar wrote in a story published Tuesday that Mormon leaders see the ascendancy of these and other Mormons (such as convert Glenn Beck) as a sign "that the community has finally 'arrived,'" but added "researchers say there remains a deep mistrust of Mormons and that little has changed in public opinion to suggest that voters will be more open this year than they were in 2007."
If conservative Christian and Mormons share a political agenda, why do suspicions still plague Mormon politicians? Do media personalities such as Glenn Beck help or hurt the cause?
God works in mysterious ways to perform His wonders. Old Testament prophets complained about the instruments God chose, but God went on being God despite their complaints. 2012 is likely to give Americans two serious candidates for president that are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). Many conservative Christians, for good and bad, get inspiration and information from Glenn Beck, who is also a member of the Church.
Should Americans be concerned? Bluntly, no, though those of us who are not Mormon should be depressed that such a small group has outworked, out thought, and out hustled us. Mormon success should spur traditional Christians, who outnumber Mormons by tens of millions, to do better.
Sadly ignorance of the LDS Church is widespread in our culture. Despite over a century of faithful citizenship and embracing family values, stupid stereotypes remain. Magically much of the media easily remembers Glenn Beck is Mormon, but keeps forgetting that Harry Reid is as well. Sacred garments on Christians and Jews are normal, but sacred garments on Mormons?
Of course, there is a vocal fringe of Americans who think any religious person is nuts. These equal-opportunity offenders can be ignored as invincibly ignorant. They don't respect Mormons, because they don't respect Christians, Jews, Muslims, or anybody who thinks we are more than computers made out of meat.
There is another group, sadly not so tiny, that cannot be friends or co-laborers with anyone who does not share their theology or ideology. This sectarianism is the bane of any movement, but most Americans know we can learn and work with almost anyone if they share our values in some area.
There are no good reasons not to consider voting for a Mormon. Theologically, I disagree with the faith's teachings. My professional speaking has included pointed academic encounters with LDS professors about our areas of disagreement. Simultaneously, serious disagreements have not prevented our making common cause on many issues.
Studying Mormonism closely did not make me a Mormon, to the contrary, but it did give an abiding respect for certain things the LDS Church gets right. They have demonstrated things worth knowing. If this is a Mormon moment in American history, there is a reason for it. Their virtues have particular civic relevance today and their theological vices (from my point of view) do not. The LDS I know love America, urge good behavior on their members, and promote many traditional American values. If that bothers you, vote for somebody else--the LDS will fight and die in the American forces for your right to do so.
The LDS Church made North America sacred space. With Native Americans and Spanish mission builders in California, they have loved this land and made it part of their story. The Mormon revelation, whatever its origins, is centered in North America.
Part of that epic is actual Mormon history: born, bred, and thriving in the United States of America.
Mormonism is old enough by American standards to feel "ancient," but young enough to make the founding stories easy for Americans to understand. Joseph Smith received his revelations closer than four score years after the American founding. Any literate English speaker can read founding Mormon documents without the need for much translation or scholarly explanation, but knowledge of American history is vital. Most Americans look abroad for "holy land," but Mormons look here.
This gives them a passion for this place difficult for anyone else to match. Other religious groups must work harder to match this sense of place that the LDS Church has naturally.
A great weakness of our lives today is isolation and loneliness. Mormonism is one solution to that problem for many. LDS church services to members and communities are a free market model for private charity. I have personally seen LDS charity help families that were not LDS, but related to a member. The charity gave work-centered help that met needs without sacrificing dignity. The commendable community found in Mormonism should be imitated not attacked.
I am sure Glenn Beck would agree that more Americans should read that speech, even if it meant turning off his program. Oaks, a professor and judge, not Beck, represents the best civic face of the LDS Church.
If this is, as the Washington Post suggests, a Mormon moment, it is because Mormons clung to truths now unfashionable and addressed questions others ignore. They suffered exile in their own land, persecution, and the need to change important ideas to be part of the broader culture. This American experience taught them good lessons about America. Being right is powerful and most LDS are right on many of today's big issues: the nature of family, the protection of life, defense of religious liberty, and republican values.
Traditional Christians should learn from their example and patriotic Americans should celebrate their effective service.
I cannot be a Mormon, because I think they are seriously wrong in their theology, but most Mormons are not wrong about the traditional values of our republic. Mormons like Harry Reid will never get my vote, because his policy ideas do not match with mine, but a Mormon like Mitt Romney could, because I support his good ideas.
Providence works in peculiar ways and it is particularly odd for an evangelical and Orthodox Christian to be grateful for this Mormon moment in American history. But if a Biblical prophet could celebrate the pagan emperor Cyrus for being God's man to free His people, surely we can praise our Mormon countrymen for sounding a trumpet call to rally America to life and liberty.
BY JOHN MARK REYNOLDS | FEBRUARY 9, 2011; 7:29 PM ET
Throughout the last few weeks since our General Conference, where we heard council and inspirational messages from our Prophet and current apostles - I've had cause to ponder over the
"Parable of the Purse"
as many are now calling the story relayed by Elder Quentin L. Cook.
As a little refresher for those who are familiar, and an explanation for those who don't know what I'm talking about . . .
During his conference address he made reference to a group of Young Women leaders who came across a lost purse at an event, belonging to some young lady. In hopes of gaining a clue as to it's ownership . . . they began to gingerly examine the contents of the purse discovering -
A "For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet
favorite scriptures notebook
soap, lotion and brush
a handmade coin purse and some money
a cake recipe and a note to make the cake for a friends birthday
which led them to deduce that the lost owner was obedient and spiritual, had clean and soft hands, creative and prepared, thoughtful and service minded.
Which has led me to give some thought to what exactly could one assume from examining the contents of my purse???
What conclusions would you come to after taking a look at the contents of my purse?
I must have chocolate at all times
Frequently under stress
I think the Kindle is one of the greatest miracles of our time
ranking right up there with the smart phone . . .
I collect pens, pencils and receipts ???
I really don't see things very clearly without assistance
Hmmmm . . . . I think I need a purse makeover . . .
Even though I wake up pretty early each morning, usually around 6:30 am, it takes me the most of a morning to get going and feel like I am really awake and up for the day. If I actually have to be somewhere early in the morning - it's torturous, and there's no guarantee I'll show up in matching clothes, with hair and makeup done, and even matching shoes :D
I really prefer to stumble around in PJ clothing, house slippers, sipping my daily hot chocolate ala amazing,(that my husband is so sweet to fix for me each and every morning!) until about 9 am, then I drag myself out of the house with the dogs for our almost daily walk in the hills.
I just found out there is a NAME for my condition!
who would have guessed!
Sleep enertia apparently is when the problem-solving part of your brain needs time to "reboot" after sleep. So what do experts suggest??
relax in bed a while (check - no problem there!) (I suggest with a good book preferably, or check overnight email messages on your cell phone, or text your children who live far away, you get the idea . . .)
leave important decisions for later (much later I suggest . . .)
don't tackle critical tasks (like payroll and taxes, balancing the checkbook etc, deciding what to make for dinner (or breakfast for that matter) - are things that come to mind . . .)
open the blinds and switch on all the lights (WHAT?? well maybe one really dim one, but I like to open the blinds and even the windows - so I can hear the really sweet little song bird that just appeared outside my window this week . . .as I'm reading my book and checking emails)
eat a high fiber breakfast such as oatmeal (apparently it provides a steady supply of glucose, the brains main feul source - fortunantly I do LIKE oatmeal!)
sprinkle a few drops of essential oil of peppermint onto a hankie and take a whiff (REALLY?? sounds delightful! And experts say it boosts brain activity in the area that controls wakefulness - MAYBE I better carry it around ALL day!!)
(Me - trying to wake up!
and shake off that early-morning
If I look back over my life, there are a few moments and experiences that I would have to designate as life changing moments. And I must say that my evening with Nie Nie was probably one of those moments. I know that I will never see life in the same light again and hope that the spirit and feelings of the evening will long remain . . .
I have not been a follower / reader of Nie Nie in the past (unusual and rare I'm sure . . .) but nevertheless, I was very much anticipating attending our Stake Fireside for all Relief Society sisters and Young Women where she was to be the guest speaker. Probably more out of curiosity for her story is well known and amazing.
I just wanted to share a few thoughts that I took home that touched my heart. Her message is one of faith and hope, a testimony of the Savior, and I came away with a renewed vow to never take the little things in life for granted again. If you haven't seen the video below, you should watch, it is quite incredible.
It's not that the principles are new or anything I wasn't already familiar with . . . but the way she spoke with such inner strength. It was obvious she was not the person she was before her tragic experiences. Stephanie testified how significant and essential it is to have HOPE in our lives. Without hope, we cannot endure to the end. Hope and faith go hand in hand together. Hope is our KEY to direct personal revelation. Faith is a REAL power in the universe and a source of inner strength. She testified of how ESSENTIAL it is to rely on the Savior! We gain CONFIDENCE as we rely on the Savior. To live in despair is not to live. Hope is a personal quality, essential for righteous living, a Godlike quality.
Something I will remember and ponder . . . "it is an ABILITY to count your blessings".
Things I take for granted each day . . . zipping, kissing, tying shoes, a touch, a smile. Enjoy life to the fullest EACH day and be happy just to be alive and to have the gospel in our lives.
Through her testimony I gained a greater realization that through the resurrection and atonement of the Savior we will be healed of ALL scars . . . scars on the outside AND scars on the inside, and it is because and through our Savior Jesus Christ that we can each be healed. In the midst of life and our trials, survive them with grace and hold tight to the end result which is the promise of eternal life.
Yes . . . an inspiring evening. I hope I can remember . . .