Friday, October 08, 2010

No Middle Ground

I've been thinking about this post for several months.  Years maybe.  I have held back from writing it, mostly because I don't wish to offend anyone.  And I assure you, offense is not my intent.  But I have felt strongly, for a long time, that I needed to write this, if for no other reason than to make my position known.  I most recently felt the need to write it while listening to General Conference this past weekend.

Consider the following quotes:
"With the right of choice comes the responsibility to choose. We cannot be neutral; there is no middle ground. The Lord knows this; Lucifer knows this. As long as we live on this earth, Lucifer and his hosts will never abandon the hope of claiming our souls." (Pres. Thomas S. Monson -- Priesthood Session)
"We will hold to the principles and laws and ordinances of the gospel. If they are misunderstood either innocently or willfully, so be it. We cannot change; we will not change our moral standards. We quickly lose our way when we disobey the laws of God. If we do not protect and foster the family, civilization and our liberties must needs perish." (Pres. Boyd K. Packer -- Sunday Morning Session)
And now, consider the following quotes:
"Prop 8 overturned. It's about time. My religious beliefs shouldn't be concerned with what others are doing. Being LDS doesn't mean being a [jerk]!!" (Jazz Blogger / Person I follow on twitter)
"We believe ALL families matter and we do not believe in discrimination, therefore, our family will vote against Prop. 8."(Barbara Young -- Wife of former BYU quarterback Steve Young)
I am constantly hearing and reading statements like this.  "I'm a member of the church, but I don't agree with the Church's position on gay marriage" or "I'm a member of the church, but I don't agree with the Church's position on homosexuality."  I have heard these statements made with increasing frequency, both from people I know personally, and from people who I am not acquainted with.  President Packer's talk at General Conference on Sunday morning stirred up a whole new wave of this type of statement.  And every time I hear something like this, the first thought that enters my mind is "careful, my friend.  That is a slippery slope".

How do you suppose the Great Apostasy came about?  Do you think that all of a sudden, one day, all of the members of Christ's church just decided that they didn't believe it anymore?  Or they all died at the same moment in time, taking the truth with them?  I don't think that's how it happened.  I think that it was a gradual transition.  Little by little, bit by bit, people started to change things about the doctrine in order to make it fit better with their lifestyles.  The Apostles of the New Testament spent a great portion of their ministries traveling from city to city trying to correct these deviations from the true doctrine.  But one by one, the Apostles either died, or were martyred.  And once there was no one left to correct those who were corrupting the doctrine, it quickly deteriorated.  The plain and precious truths were lost.  All that remained were philosophies of men, mingled with scripture.  What followed was known as the "Dark Ages" -- the longest span of time during which Christ's church could not be found on the Earth.

Going on.  (If you're still with me, *kudos.)

We have been promised that the Church will never be taken from the Earth again, so we don't have to worry about another Great Apostasy.  What we DO need to guard against is personal apostasy.  And I believe that those who question, and openly criticize the Church's position on any issue are putting themselves in a very precarious position.  There are some people who I love and care about for whom I am actually quite concerned.  This is why I say it's a slippery slope.  It starts out with, "Well I agree with everything the Church teaches, except this one thing...", but can quickly become, "I agree with a lot of what the Church teaches, except for these few things...".  Where does it stop? "...and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them carefully down to hell." (2 Nephi 28:21 -- emphasis added)  This is one way that personal apostasy can happen.

President Monson made it clear when he said "there is no middle ground".  It's simple.  Either you believe he's a prophet, or you don't.  Either you believe that the Quorum of the Twelve are chosen servants of our Heavenly Father, or you don't.  Either you believe what they teach, or you don't.  We don't get to pick which parts of the gospel we believe in.  It's all or nothing.  We may not see what the harm is.  I've heard many comments -- similar to the one I posted above -- to the effect of "the church shouldn't be concerned with what others are doing" or "what harm does it do me if two gay men decide to get married?"  I don't have the answer to that.  But I don't need one.  If you always need to be told "why?", perhaps you need to work on strengthening your testimony.  I'm sure people wondered why they shouldn't smoke or drink coffee anymore when the word of wisdom was first given.  Science hadn't caught up with revelation yet.

My point is that Heavenly Father sees the big picture, and we don't.  He tells his servants what we need to know, and they relay it to us.  Do you trust Him?  It does not matter whether YOU can see the harm, or whether YOU can understand the reasons.  If you have a testimony, then hearing it from a prophet of God should be enough.

And for me, it is.

*Seriously, if you made it all the way through this soapbox, thanks.  The first thing I do when I see a blog post this long is scroll through and look for pictures.  If there aren't any, the post gets skipped.  :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Naked Church???

So, indulge me on this little hypothetical...

Suppose I didn't know which church was true. Suppose I didn't have a testimony that the church I belong to is Christ's one true church here on earth. And suppose I was looking for His church. And all of a sudden one day this* shows up hanging on the door to my apartment:


 Um...  I think I'd keep looking.

*Yes, this is real.  That is a man with his pants around his ankles on a flyer for a church.  Called "Naked Church".  And their slogan is "Taking it all off".  I am not making this up.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

HAIR POLL!!

So, I know this is kinda silly, but...

I'm trying to decide whether I want to grow my hair long again, or keep it short.  If I'm keeping it short, it's at the point where it needs to be cut.  So I've gotta make a decision.  I just thought I'd see what everyone else thinks.

Short:

(I'm the one on the right...)


Long:


Frodo, anyone?

Also, when it's long, there's always the possibility of this:

Pure Awesomeness.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

LDS Scriptures App!

Every time I've gotten a new gadget or smartphone, one of the first things I look for is some way to get my scriptures (hereby referred to as "scrips") on it.  Its nice because usually said gadget/smartphone is something I have with me wherever I am at, whereas I don't typically pack my quad around with me.  So when I got my new Android phone (the HTC Incredible -- and yes, it lives up to it's name), I set out to get the scrips on it right away.  In the past, I've used eBook readers with eBook versions of the standard works.  But this is not always very convenient.  When you're looking for a specific scripture or verse, it can be hard to navigate to it.  Usually in Sunday school, by the time I'd get to it, the teacher would have moved on.

This time, my friends, I struck gold (plates...)!

I found an app that is really amazing.  It's designed for scripture study -- not just reading.  It comes with the standard works, bible dictionary, topical guide, footnotes (complete with hyperlinks that take you right to the verse they reference), the Hymns, Manuals, Conference talks, etc., etc., etc.!  Everything you might want or need either comes with the app or is available for free via download!  It also includes features like highlighting, adding your own notes, autoscroll, and lots more.  I really like it a lot!  Screenshots:

The Android app (which is what I use, since Android is totally the best mobile OS!) costs $14.95 and is totally worth the price.  The app is also available for iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile.  Go get it!  (here)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pet Peeves

I just wanna put this out there. Here are some of the things that just really get under my skin:
  • People talking / texting on their cell phones while driving: Look, there's no way to break this to you gently. You SUCK at driving while you're talking on your phone. Yeah, YOU! Anybody. Whenever I'm out driving and someone does something stupid, 9 times out of 10 they are on their cell phone. Don't kid yourself into saying "Some people can't drive while they are on their phones, but it doesn't affect how I drive." I'm here to tell you it does. And not just a little bit. You might ask, "Well then why haven't I ever noticed any difference?" Well my friend, it is because you are distracted. "Then why don't people honk at me?" Believe it or not, they probably do! Heck, I know I do. When some bozo on his/her cell phone cuts me off, or starts going 50mph on the freeway, or any of the other dumb things they do, I definitely lay on the horn. And you know what? Most of the time the person is so oblivious to what's going on around them that they don't even notice. Therefore, don't do it. It is SO dumb.

  • The general uncleanliness of public restrooms: Ladies, I don't know what your restrooms are like, but I've gotta imagine they're better than ours. I'm asking my fellow men to help me out on this one. What is it about public bathrooms that make you just say, "Why aim? I think I'll just pee all over the floor." or "Well wouldja look at that? I got poo on the toilet seat. Oh well, not my problem." or "You know, I'm not gonna bother to flush that. I'm just gonna leave that colossal turd here for the next guy." I mean, guys, am I alone here? This situation has gotten out of hand. TP all over the place, paper towels right next to the garbage can. Oh, here's one of my favorites. When the entire counter top is all wet so that when I make incidental contact with it while washing my hands I get a nice soaked spot in a most unfortunate place. Look, I don't know who's doing it -- but if it's you, KNOCK IT OFF!

  • Teachers who try to make it impossible to get an 'A' in their class: I don't think I will ever understand this. To me, if no one is able to get an A, that is a pretty clear indication that you aren't a very good teacher. Me, I only want A's. So it's pretty frustrating when I feel like I've done everything I can do, and I don't get one. Last semester in my Financial Accounting class, I aced every quiz, aced the midterm, and got high scores on all of the assignments. Then came the cumulative final. I studied my butt off (well, not literally, although that would have been nice...), and I felt SO prepared. We got 2 hours to take the final. I sat down, opened up my test booklet... and my stomach dropped. Right off the bat, question number one, and I had no idea how to do it. It must be a fluke, I thought -- I'll skip it and come back once I'm warmed up. Question two... aw crap. Question three... seriously? And so on and so forth. Nearly every question was a trick question. She threw in little variables that we had never seen before and things that we had no idea how to deal with. Super lame. I ended up with a C+ in the class, so I must have really tanked on the final. And I was not alone. Pretty much everyone I've talked to from my class had a similar experience. Pretty lame.

  • People who ALWAYS have B.O.: Listen, I'm not trying to be rude. Really. But I mean, come on! At what point did these people just decide, "You know what? Screw hygiene." I don't get it. I feel disgusting when I come home from camping after having gone a couple days without a shower. I think some of these people may have literally gone years!

  • Cigarette smoke: Hey, speaking of foul smells! Cigarette smoke literally makes me sick to my stomach. It is disgusting. And, I'm not trying to throw out a blanket statement here, but a lot of smokers are pretty inconsiderate. Here in Utah we have a law that states that smoking is prohibited within 25 feet of an entrance to a building. That would be SUCH a great idea if anyone ever actually followed it. Even when there are signs posted reminding people of this law, there's still smokers right outside the door. It makes it so that anyone trying to enter or exit the building has to pass directly through their little cancer cloud. Smokers, do us both a favor and just quit. Yeah? Yeah.

  • Certain FaceBook-isms: I hate it when someone posts something to the effect of "I love Jesus. If you love Jesus too, you'll post this to your status. Anyone who doesn't post it either doesn't love Jesus, or is ashamed of their faith in Jesus." I recently saw one that said something like, "If you support our troops, post this to your status..." yadda yadda yadda -- you get the idea. If you've ever posted one of these, I apologize. But just so everyone knows, I am NEVER going to copy and paste your status as my own status. And don't tell me that I don't love Jesus, or that I don't support our troops.
There are lots of things that bug me. Those are just a few. Agree? Disagree? What are your pet peeves?