Murder or defense of country

This past week some of us got talking about murder (in reference to the Casey Edwards case). We talked about whether or not, Christ forgives ALL sins including murder and especially the murder of a child. Then we went on to discuss wars. We all agreed that armed forces personnel and Police etc that are there to defend their cities and countries would probably be forgiven for their breaking of that commandment. But what of those soldiers are at war right now but NOT in their own country but in another continent. It is not their war, we are not at war with them, so are they added to the forgiveness or is this considered out and out murder?

When or if ever is that fine line drawn in the sand where it is an out and out murder with no chance of forgiveness?

Growth of Church in remote central Africa is remarkable

The growth of the Church in this somewhat remote part of central Africa is quite a remarkable story. For the previous five years, since the district was organized, there have been no full-time missionaries assigned to these villages. Each of the branches had only branch missionaries who worked under the leadership of the district and mission presidents.

via LDS Church News.

Is the church really true?

Today was Fast and Testimony Meeting, and of course among all the testimonies borne in our ward , there were many statements along the lines of “I know the church is true,” “I know the Book of Mormon,” and the like.

It seems to me though that people making these statements do so thinking the statements mean something they don’t or they are trying to convey a message that isn’t actually covered by such statements.

When you look up the word “true” in the dictionary, the definitions you get back are such as “not false; real; accurate; authentic.”

Consider the rewriting of the statement “I know the church is true” with those definitions:

  • I know the church is not false
  • I know the church is real
  • I know the church is accurate
  • I know the church is authentic

None of these statements are that meaningful. The church is not false. Whoop-de-doo. The church is real; every church is real. The church is accurate; accurate about what? The church is authentic; Christians around the world have authentic spiritual experiences.

Why then use a statement that has no clear meaning and seems so empty? What are some alternative you might ask?

How about “I know the church is lead by authority and revelation”? Or “I know the church has all the ordinances necessary for exaltation”? Or “I know the church is personally led by the Saviour”?

I believe if members of the Church sincerely pondered what the church means to them, they would find statements of affirmation that would actually resonate with others, and perhaps fast and testimony meetings wouldn’t seem so empty and superficial.

My paper on the esoteric connections within Mormonism

I took a Mormonism class this semester at the local university in an effort to get closer to finishing the bachelor’s degree I began 14 years ago. For the class, we each had to write a 10–12 page paper on an aspect of Mormonism. The first couple of classes really piqued my interested in the esoteric, so I decided to explore that connection.

Luckily, there has been quite a bit of work done in this area, and several works were available in the university library.

I was suprised to find out I received a 90% grade on it, particularly since I received only 66% on my midterm.

Anyhow, if your interested in reading Esotericsm and Mormonism, I have made it available on Google Docs.

Why I am no longer eating red meat; at least for now

I took a Mormonism class this semester. It was an interesting class taught by a non-Mormon who grew up in Magrath, a small, Mormon town in Southern Alberta. It was a balanced class that expanded my understanding of the early church and its related factions.

One thing it made me think about was the Word of Wisdom. We didn’t touch on it much, but as we reviewed it in class, I was thinking about how we as Mormons generally don’t live the Word of Wisdom in its entirety.

The most prominent component that came to mind is found in D&C 89:12–13:

Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;

And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

Most members of the LDS church interpret this to mean a restriction on meat eating, which is kind of funny since most Latter-day Saints don’t practice limited meat consumption.

Notice these verses, however, indicate not meat generally but specifically the flesh of beasts and flesh of fowl of the air. The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defines beast as “any four footed animal, which may be used for labor, food or sport; distinguished from fowls, insects, fishes and man.” I interpret fowl of the air to mean specifically birds that fly; I do not interpret this to include chicken, turkey, ostrich, and other birds that cannot fly.

What this means then is that I interpret these two verses as saying that except in times of winter, cold, or famine, the only meat we should eat comes from birds that can’t fly and from seafood.

Despite having had this interpretation for several years, I never adhered to it. Being in a class of mostly non-Mormons studying, if only briefly, the Word of Wisdom made me realize how hypocritical I was being.

As such, I resolved to make a change, and as of the summer solstice, the only meat I have eaten has been chicken and fish. I hope to continue this practice until the weather cools.

Wish me luck.