My friends are leaving the church, and it makes me sad

I just listened to a podcast of a friend of mine discussing some of her life in the LDS church. Towards the end, she mentioned that she stopped attending church. This on the heels of several other friends of mine cutting ties this year with the church.

And it makes me sad.

Continue reading My friends are leaving the church, and it makes me sad

Did Heavenly Mother introduce Jesus?

When Jesus was baptized, those present heard the following:

“And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17)

A similar event occurred when Jesus appeared to the Nephites:

“Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.” (3 Ne. 11:7)

Typically, we assign the words to Heavenly Father, although in both cases the text doesn’t indicate who the speaker is. We can certainly infer that the speaker is a parent of Jesus, given the use of “my beloved Son”.

Even the most widespread First Vision account doesn’t mention specifically that it was God the Father introducing Jesus:

“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!” (JS–H 1:17)

If the texts are silent on who the actual person was speaking, does that mean we are projecting our own biases onto the story?

What if it wasn’t God the Father who introduced Jesus on these 3 occasions? What if it was God the Mother instead? The texts certainly don’t preclude Heavenly Mother from being the speaker.

If Heavenly Mother did speak at Jesus’s baptism, if she did introduce him to the Nephites, if she did appear to Joseph Smith, how would that change our perception of her and the role she plays in the eternities?

The prohibition on praying to Heavenly Mother doesn’t make sense

I’ve been thinking about the female divine recently, although I can’t remember what prompted these thoughts.

In Mormonism, we often refer to the female divine as “Mother in Heaven” or “Heavenly Mother”. We know little about her, but we know that she is apparently equal to God. Well, except in one important way:

We don’t pray to Heavenly Mother. Continue reading The prohibition on praying to Heavenly Mother doesn’t make sense

Let your light so shine before men

A few weeks ago, I decided to start studying the Gospels for my scripture study, and earlier this week, I started the Sermon on the Mount. Then I came across Matt. 5:16:

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

This is a scripture I’ve commonly heard, particularly as a youth growing up in the church. I had always given it a superficial treatment. But when I was reading it this week, I gained a few insights I hadn’t considered before.

Take the phrase “so shine”, for example. That phrasing suggests that the way to let our light shine had been previously mentioned. Let’s look at the previous two verses:

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

I believe the latter half of the quote indicates the method by which we let our light so shine: on a candlestick. We don’t hide the light we have; we bring it into the open and share it, or—more specifically—we give it away.

And why do we let our light so shine? So others may see our good works and glorify God. I find the connection to our works interesting. When we share our light with others, they will notice our good works. Maybe that means that the way we let our light shine is through our good works. As we do what is right, they will see that light within is.

For some reason, I thought the end of the verse—glorifying God—was something for us to do, but I realized during this reading that this is something done by those who see our good works. In other words, we are encouraged to have works so good that they encourage those who see them to glorify God.

Is it any wonder then why Jesus taught that the two greatest commandments are to love God and love others. If we love others to the point that such love permeates our actions, speech, and even our thoughts, maybe it will prompt others to glorify God.

What do you think?

Someone isn’t taking the sacrament; do you judge or support?

I was recently listening to a A Thoughtful Faith podcast episode with Nathaniel Givens. Toward the end, Nathaniel discusses how the sacrament within the LDS church is an open experience, as we share it with one another. He explicitly mentions at one point that he was not encouraging others to watch for others not taking of the sacrament.

That idea of watching for others not taking the sacrament got me thinking.

It’s probably something each of us has seen: someone not taking the sacrament. Perhaps, even, we have been one of those who hadn’t taken it.

When we do notice someone not partaking of the sacrament, even if unintended, what is our first impulse? Do we start wondering to ourselves about what sin it might be that this brother or sister committed? Do we find ourselves judging them?

I wonder if, maybe, we should be mindful to taking another approach. One alternative, if we happen to notice someone not taking the sacrament, is to remind ourselves that perhaps this brother or sister is struggling with something. We should remind ourselves that they’re trying. We should ask ourselves what we can do to offer a hand of support without prying. We should take note of the covenant we’re making at that exact moment to take upon ourselves Jesus’s name and find a way to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort.

Remember, the energy we devote to judging others is energy taken away from being more like Christ.

Pope Francis says Catholic Church Should Apologize to Gays

Pope Francis has said that the Roman Catholic Church should apologise to gay people for the way it has treated them. Is this Christ-like behaviour or just a PR stunt by the great and abominable? You be the judge.

“I think that the Church not only should apologise… to a gay person whom it offended but it must also apologise to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by [being forced to] work. It must apologise for having blessed so many weapons.”

BBC News has the full story.

LGBTQ Policy Questioned in Local Media

“Our Thoughts” founder and frequent contributor, Kim Siever, was recently interviewed for a local media’s report on the Church’s new LGBTQ policy.

These positions by the church confused and deeply upset many, who feel the preachings of the faith are contradictory, especially Mormon Kim Siever.

“The Mormon Church has taken a socially conservative stance. As a result, they’ve dismissed the community. To me, it would seem they should want to embrace the LGBTQ community who are interested in the faith,” Siever said.

Here’s the full article.