Debauchery on the Way to the Temple

We went to the temple yesterday to finish our last collection of initiatories. Yay! What an experience that was, and now we can focus on the endowments and sealings.

While we driving through Cardston, I saw a sign on someone?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s house that attempted to say who lived there. I do not remember the last name, but let us just use Leavitt. That is a good LDS name.

Naturally, when one wants to say there is more than one Leavitt, one would pluralise ?¢‚Ǩ?ìLeavitt?¢‚Ǩ¬ù, which would give you ?¢‚Ǩ?ìLeavitts?¢‚Ǩ¬ù. However, this sign I saw actually said ?¢‚Ǩ?ìLeavitt?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s?¢‚Ǩ¬ù. Now depending on the intent of the message the sign was to present, it may be grammatically correct. Such a label would in effect mean that the house belonged to one Leavitt.

However, since this phenomenon seems to be widespread and I have ?¢‚Ǩ?ìdebated?¢‚Ǩ¬ù this issue on more than one occasion, I can only assume that the intent of the sign was to say that Leavitts?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùmore than one?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùlive in this house.

Why is it that people simply cannot use basic grammar when they are displaying their language skills to the world? What really gets me is that not only do the owners of the sign participate in this linguistic debauchery, but so do the sign designers and makers.

Sigh. Just another one of my pet peeves.

Sexual Abuse by Wives

In Gospel Doctrine class today, we discussed the first four chapters of the book of Jacob. Naturally, much of the discussion was focused on abuse and polygamy. Of course, it wasn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t much of an insightful lesson; we simply touched on surface issues.

One comment the teacher made, however, made me think. She said something along the lines of, ?¢‚Ǩ?ìWe know that not all sexual abuse is done by the husbands. Unfortunately.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

Would she also have said ?¢‚Ǩ?ìUnfortunately?¢‚Ǩ¬ù if all sexual abuse was done by just the husbands? Why is it unfortunate that wives do it too? From my point of view, the existence of sexual abuse is unfortunate, regardless of the gender of the perpetrator.

Of course, I have been known to use an abnormal logic when interpreting others?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ comments, so perhaps this may have been one of those times. Nevertheless?¢‚Ǩ¬¶

Willing Obedience

Jeremy at Orson?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s Telescope recently posted regarding an epiphany he had will reading the Life of Pi. In particular, he gave the following quote:

There are always those who take it upon themselves to defend God, as if the Ultimate Reality, as if the sustaining frame of existence, were something weak and helpless. These people walk by a widow deformed by leprosy begging for a few paise, walk by children dressed in rags living in the street, and they think, ‘Business as usual.’ But if they perceive a slight against God, it is a different story. Their faces go red, their chests heave mightily, they sputter angry words. The degree of their indignation is astonishing. Their resolve is frightening.

These people fail to realize that it is on the inside that God must be defended, not on the outside. They should direct their anger at themselves. For evil in the open is but evil from within that has been let out. The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of the public arena but the small clearing of each heart. Meanwhile, the lot of widows and homeless children is very hard, and it is to their defence, not God’s, that the self-righteous should rush.

It made me ponder on how many religious people lead their lives, particularly Christians. I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m not prejudiced toward Christians?¢‚Ǩ‚ÄùI am one myself?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùbut I live in Canada?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s Bible Belt, so I am a little biased in my religious experience.

Why do so many Christians fight (verbally or otherwise) other Christians or believers of other faiths? Why do so many Christians tear down other faiths? Why are so many Christians abusive (verbally or otherwise) to those who do not ?¢‚Ǩ?ìobey the commandments?¢‚Ǩ¬ù? Why do so many Christians attack abortionists or homosexuals, but do nothing to Sabbath-breakers or coveters? Why do so many Christians pay lip service to God and Jesus through their praises, but do little else to live a God-like or Christian life? Why do so many Christians study the Bible, but do very little to apply its teachings?

It all reminds me of something Nephi said in 2 Nephi 31.

?¢‚Ǩ¬¶the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do. (v 12)

?¢‚Ǩ¬¶Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father? (v. 10)

How often do we focus on ?¢‚Ǩ?ìkeeping the commandments of the Father?¢‚Ǩ¬ù, but forget about doing it ?¢‚Ǩ?ìwillingly?¢‚Ǩ¬ù? Do we keep the Sabbath holy because a prophet has told us to, or because it is our will? Do we avoid sexual transgressions because w fear pregnancy or STDs or because it is our will? Do we help our neighbours because the Elders Quorum organised a service project or because it is our will? Do we get baptised because our friends were baptised or because it is our will? Do we partake of the Sacrament because others around us do or because it is our will? Do we read our scriptures because we feel guilty if we don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t or because it is our will?

I wonder what the world would be like if everyone who commits moral acts did so because it is their uttermost inner desire to do so.

Baptism Does not Wash Away Our Sins

We were discussing chapters 31 through 33 of 2 Nephi today. One thing bugged me that always bugs me.

It seems to be a popular belief that we are baptised to receive a remission of our sins, or more specifically baptism washes our sins away. The problem with this conception is that it minimises the role repentance plays in the conversion process.

Remission of sins is not granted through baptism alone or solely on the merits of baptism. Remission of sins comes as a result of our commitment to Jesus, just as it does after baptism. For our sins to be remitted we first need to exercise faith in the Saviour. We need to exercise faith that He lives, He loves us, He overcame the effects of physical and spiritual death and that his life is an ideal pattern for us to follow.

Amulek taught that following our faith will eventually lead us to repent. As our faith in Jesus grows our desire to be more like Him grows also. This in turn will convince us to both feel sorrow for and forsake our sins. This is done through repentance.

Following the forgiveness of our sins and commitment to be like Him, we feel a desire to express our commitment. We do so through baptism. Baptism serves as the manifestation of the covenant we make with Our Brother to follow Him.

Following baptism, we are baptised by fire and the Holy Ghost, which subsequently sanctifies us.

You see, remission of sins comes as a result of a process. We need to have faith in Jesus, repent of our sins, be baptised and receive the Holy Spirit. I honestly fail how leaving out the other three (whether literally or intellectually) can honestly give us a remission of sins.

Existentialism and Peace

In my History and Development of Theatre class on Monday, we started discussing the Existentialism movement in theatre. The movement is finding out the meaning of existence and grows out of response to the Second World War. However, from what I understand, the premise behind it is that its supporters felt that this meaning could not be found in religion or government because these institutions failed humanity during the war. As a result, each individual had to discover his or her own unique meaning to life.

While home teaching last night, I found a parallel between the Existentialism supporters and President Monson?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s First Presidency Message on finding peace. In part of the message, he stated:

The consequences of conflict are so devastating that we yearn for guidance?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùeven a way to ensure our success as we seek the path to peace. What is the way to obtain such a universal blessing? Are there prerequisites?¢‚Ǩ¬¶May I suggest three ideas to prompt our thinking and guide our footsteps: search inward?¢‚Ǩ¬¶?

He then goes on to talk about searching inward and the merits of self-evaluation. While his message revolves around peace for our soul searching and the existentialists promote soul searching for finding meaning in life, the two purposes are closely linked. Life is about finding peace. It?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s about finding peace with one?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s self, peace with others and peace with deity.

I fully support and encourage the idea of looking inside one?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s self?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùwhether to find peace or to find meaning in life?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùbecause the further one goes within, the closer one comes to God.

Yet Another PETA/WoW Post

US Presidential Candidate Sterling Allan wrote to the Salt Lake Tribune yesterday commenting on the PETA billboard. I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m not surprised by the letter given past conversations I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ve had with him regarding the Word of Wisdom; however, I do have some thoughts on something he said.

[The] University of Utah School of Social Work did a study about 20 years ago concerning cancer rates, and one of the findings was that Utahans are among the highest in the nation in meat consumption.

Firstly, how accurate can a twenty year old study be in portraying today?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s society? Are Utahans still among the highest meat consumers in the United States? Was this only a product of the early 80s?

Secondly, I assume Allan uses this citation to illustrate that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints eat a lot of meat. However, I would be interested to know what the proportion was at that time (and even now) of Utahans who are LDS and those who were not and the consumption of meat for each.

Lastly, did the study give meat consumption as a whole for Utah, or did it give it per capita? Does it suggest Utahans eat lots of meat because they gorge themselves or because they have large families? Did it include only citizens of Utah or all the millions of tourists who visit as well?

Sometimes it bothers me when someone interprets a study, bases an argument on that interpretation, and then expects everyone else to accept it despite the absence of all other facts.

PETA and the Word of Wisdom

Apparently, PETA has members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on their team now. A billboard ad was recently erected in Salt Lake City, UT, that has an image of God with a staff in his right hand and a handful of vegetables in the left hand (symbolical?). The caption read, “And [animals] hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.” It then gives Doctrine and Covenants 89:15 as the scriptural reference.

An article in today’s Salt Lake Tribune quotes from Sean Diener and Tom Rogers. Diener is mentioned as a spokesperson for PETA, and while the article doesn’t specifically quote him as saying the passage says what the billboard ad says it does, it does imply that.

I’m not sure why the Tribune chose Rogers. Other than being a “dairyman-turned-vegetarian”, the article gives no indication to what significance Rogers has in either interpreting scripture or even commenting on the issue. Of course any average Joe could be used to give his opinion on the issue, but if that was the reasoning, why not pick another average Joe to give an opposing opinion. Why use an official spokesperson from both sides (Diener and LDS spokesperson Mike Otterson), but only an average Joe for one side. I’ll never understand the logic in the media.

Anyhow, the end of the article has Rogers stating that LDS scripture, if taken literally, makes it pretty clear that meat should be eliminated from the diet. Using his suggestion, however, D&C 89:15?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùin reference to verse 14?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùspecifies only beasts of the field, flying fowl and wild animals. No mention of poultry or seafood. It could also be interpreted to refer to all grain. That’s literal.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The scriptures do not condone an herbivore diet any more than they condone a carnivore diet.