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    Lourdes reacted to JohnsonJones in What makes you a member?   
    Which covenants is he breaking though?
    Has he been to the temple?
    If we go scripturally, no where does it say if one drinks an alcoholic drink they are going to hell.  It doesn't even say that if one drinks alcohol, coffee, or tea that they can't go to the temple.  Instead it is a matter of policy that the church enforces today.  The Lord drank wine (though I have heard many say it was instead grapejuice and there is a good argument to that matter, but the Bible does say wine).  I would imagine he is NOT going to hell (or we hope not or we all will be there together).
    Where does it say we have to go to church every Sunday?  It says to meet often as members, but I don't think it ever specifies that one has to do that via going to Church every Sunday.
    Where does it say we must read the scriptures everyday in the Bible, Book of Mormon, D&C, or Pearl of Great Price?  90% of the people of the world in the past (actually it's more than that, but I'm giving the benefit of the doubt) could not even READ, much less study books of scripture.
    Even if you do such things as drink alcohol or smoke, once you've been to the temple, if you do not feel you need to go again, you can be a faithful member for the most part and still disobey the word of wisdom.  You won't be able to pass a temple recommend (which is unfortunate for them, but it is what it is today with our policies), but there is nothing held against them within the church. 
    Now, there are other covenants and promises he made which he may be breaking, but that's not what I want to point out here.
    Many times people confuse modern traditions and policies as commandments.  Like the Pharisees we put too much emphasis on policies and cultural aspects rather than what the Lord truly tells us to do.
    We worry FAR more about others than ourselves and what is pertinent for our OWN salvation. 
    Now, this individual you mentioned seems to be very happy and thrilled with the gospel even if they are not keeping all the covenants they have made (perhaps they are doing other things such as breaking the law of chastity, or other such items which would probably not be following the Lord exactly).
    Some time ago I had a young man come to talk to me about a new member in the ward.  He had no interest in the Church itself, but did wish to try to persuade others to not be baptized.  He came in confidence and informed me that the young individual that was a new member had broken the law of chastity with him since their baptism.  I had no doubt that he was telling me the truth.  This young man believed that we should excommunicate this new member.  However, I did not punish the new member for this.  I did bring it up and tried to clarify how much the new member understood about the Law of Chastity and counseled with them, but when I considered all the things in relation to this, I felt any Church punishment at this stage for this new member would be detrimental. 
    They did not have as good an understanding of the gospel as many others.  In some ways, though they knew it was wrong, they did not realize how much of a sin it may be, especially what they were participating in.  The young man who had visited me had one intention, to drive this new member out of the church by any means possible.  Yes, the new member had been involved with sin, but they were at a different level of understanding with the gospel and the seriousness of certain sins in their life. 
    Now this may bring condemnation from some here, but I did nothing towards the new member in regards to church discipline or any other matter except discuss the issue with them privately.  I felt greatly impressed that they were still progressing and learning.
    In that same light, many new members become inactive very shortly after their baptism.  In some instances they have a great understanding of the church, but in others they do not.  In some of these instances these new members become older members that have not gone to church in decades and when they did...it was for only one or two Sundays.  However, I find with a few of them that they still have a strong testimony of the gospel.  They read parts of the Book of Mormon and were touched by the Spirit. They may be actively doing the best they can as they understand the gospel. 
    Sometimes they have other issues which they have problems with.  I knew an older lady that was committing adultery.  She was inactive.  For whatever reasons she had a difficult time getting a divorce from her husband.  From what I understand he was rather abusive towards her and at one point she had escaped to police protection at a woman's shelter.  In the intervening years she had fallen in love with another individual.  She KNEW what she was doing was not in accordance with the laws of the Lord, the covenants she made in the temple, nor the rules of the Church.  However, she actually still loved the Gospel and the Lord. 
    Now, I could have condemned her in this situation or demanded a Church court.  I did not.  She was already inactive and suffering from the consequences of her actions.  She knew others were probably judging her from it and I felt this was also a reason she was not going to church.  Once again, I took no actions in regards to Church discipline.  Instead, I got to know her better and invited her to come back to church. 
    As she felt the love and fellowship of the leadership and eventually other sisters in the Relief Society she grew in her own desire to follow the Lord more fully.  She eventually got a full divorce and marriage to the man she was living with.  She returned to full activity in the Church. 
    I feel that the Lord inspired the path we took with her as I feel it helped her far more in this instance than if we had decided to simply install Church punishment upon her. 
    I see the Church as being a vessel to deliver the gospel.  It is a way to help it's members return to their Heavenly Home.  We are here to save souls, not drown them.  In the above circumstances I did not feel as if Church discipline was the answer.  In both of these one could say that they were quite actively breaking their covenants they had made.  I know some may say I was a bad leader and condemn me for these actions.  However, in both of these I feel we did the right thing under the inspiration of the Spirit.  This is not to say this is the only way things go, I have seen many undergo Church discipline including the unfortunate situations of excommunication.  These too are done with love (though I think many in the latter circumstance will disagree at times) in the hope that such a decision will drive home the seriousness of what they are about and drive them (hopefully) to their knees in repentance and return to the Lord and the Gospel in the Church.  However, there are also times when the situations are catered more towards the individual needs rather than what a strict adherence to law and judgment may decree.
    I know another man in a similar situation as the individual you talk about above.  I love this member.  He is wonderful.  He loves everyone.  He is so charitable and friendly.  He has strengths in charity and caring that I can only dream of.  He never has a bad word for anyone and tries to help anyone who is in need if he can...including giving the clothes off his back and needing to buy more.  He is an absolutely wonderful individual in regards to loving his fellowman.
    He is also a smoker and drinks heavily.  He is not always at Church.  He acknowledges these difficulties and at times I think he has given up even trying to overcome them and has instead settled down to a life where he has decided to enjoy it while he can. 
    However, who is the better man, me or him?  I, with my judgmental attitudes (not always, but at times) and pride, or him with his more temporal problems?  I think he is probably a better person than I am.  I think the Lord loves him dearly and appreciates the great love the man exhibits.
    So, I can see how one could love the gospel and still be doing things that are not in accordance with it.  Actually, we ALL do such things. 
    This does not mean I will condone someone for drinking, smoking, inactivity, or disobeying the commandments...but that I can understand how one can love the gospel and yet be involved with activities which may not be in synch with the gospel.  I think we ALL have our own pet sins we participate in, some more visible than others, but ones that we need to overcome and work on to be perfected nonetheless.
    There is only one perfect man who has ever lived on this Earth, and that is the Lord. 
    PS: Sorry for the long reply, but I am trying to explain how one could be of this mindset and still love the gospel and love the Church.  It may have instead just made people think I am a bad judge of character and a bad leader, but hopefully at least one can understand the idea how one may not be keeping all their covenants but still love the gospel.  In fact, come to think of it, except for the Lord, we all are basically in that situation to one degree or another depending on our understanding and advancement in faith and adherence to the commandments.
  2. Like
    Lourdes reacted to JohnsonJones in What makes you a member?   
    It's hard to say who is a good "Mormon" and who is not in many instances.  The only person that we can really work on being "good" is ourselves.  We can have an idea of what our close friends and family members are like in their beliefs, but the further we go from ourselves, the harder it can get.
    Most of us in this life have our beams in our eyes that affect us in our righteousness.  Others may have motes or other difficulties, but the main focus for us should be whittling down those beams in our own eyes and perfecting ourselves so that we can be received into the Celestial Kingdom rather than trying to point out the motes in others eyes.
    The Word of Wisdom stands at a very interesting spot in many ways.  We have been commanded in our day to follow it but this was not always so.  It was a word of wisdom or advice for people to follow, but in the past it was not something they had to adhere to.  In this, it is not a longstanding commandment such as the commandment to 'Keep the Sabbath Day Holy'.
    There have been apostles and even prophets in the past that enjoyed a good brew.  One favorite among people is J. Golden Kimball.  Elder Kimball was especially known for drinking coffee and cussing.  He tended to have extremely colorful language, so much so that at times it was hinted that the prophet tried to help him overcome such things.  I think some people enjoy listening to Elder Kimball's talks even now because he was a decent speaker, but also in many ways was relatable to each of us by showing us very clearly how apostles are not necessarily infallible but are like us...struggling to overcome temptations of the world.  They have a special calling and election of which they fulfill, but they are still human and Elder Kimball was a very visceral reminder of this.
    There are things that I struggle with greatly, in fact it's many things that I struggle with.  Some would think them no big deal while others may consider them extremely bad problems.  One that I struggled with in the past and still struggle with is being good with a budget.  Many Boy Scouts from the Church would bring up the Scout Law which points to one being thrifty.  I have had difficulty with this to the point that I don't see how I can ever fully retire...I simply need to keep the money I am a prime example of not being thrifty.
    I think it is great that the man you met still had such a great feeling towards the Church.  It sounds like he, like the rest of us have things we need to work on and it would be even greater if he could overcome these things.  It seems his difficulties (though he may not see them as such) are a little more visible than many others.  It would be terrific if he could overcome some of these and attend church meetings more often (and perhaps he is aware that drinking alcohol is frowned upon and is self conscious about this and thus avoids coming to church because he feels he would be judged about it, or many other things that people stop coming to church for).  It can be hard for someone to take the first steps in this and sometimes they do not even feel they need to.  However, I feel they can still have strong beliefs in the Church and perhaps be better than us it just tends to be that their difficulties are more visible than our difficulties.
    I have another difficulty which is not so visible at first.  I KNOW I need to focus first and foremost upon myself and my own salvation, but at times I also tend to be judgmental .  This is probably why I can write a little about this because I suffer from this fallibility in my own life.  I think at times the best path is to know that we need to try to work on our own flaws and become better followers of the Lord first, and then encourage our fellow brothers and sisters in their efforts to follow the Lord.  It perhaps is hypocritical for me to say this knowing my own flaws, but at times focusing on trying to be better people ourselves can be the better path. 
    Sometimes seeing the flaws of others can help us realize our own flaws and help us to also focus on what we need to do.  We also need to try to be good examples, and if we can be good enough examples, perhaps we can help others and encourage them through our example to be able to also work on their own difficulties and overcome whatever sins they may favor or problems in following the gospel they may also have.
  3. Okay
    Lourdes reacted to dsnell in Kwaku at Payson Bible Church debate   
    This is great! I'm David Snell (the guy whose face you were looking at in that Saints Unscripted video about ghosts). So glad that video was there for you when you needed it!
  4. Love
    Lourdes reacted to priesthoodpower in Kwaku at Payson Bible Church debate   
    Thank you for posting this. I dont have fb so I went to Youtube and searched Kwaku and found him on the "saints unscripted" channel. I have three things I want to share.
    1. Two weeks ago I found a vlog on utube of a young 45 yr old man that left the JW religion after 25 yrs born and raised. Some of the things that really interests me is that he married at 18, divorced after 12 yrs of marriage, has a 25yr old daughter, lived in his car for 2 yrs, is an entrepreneur, was shunned by his parents and JW friends after leaving the religion. He shares all of his life stories unfiltered and holds nothing back, I found a lot of gems in his videos that give me courage and strength. Im obsessed with him because he is relatable. Other channels I follow religiously is Joe Rogan, ESPN (1st take, skip/shannon), NBA, NFL to name my favorites. 
    One channel I do not follow and is pretty boring to me is the churchs channel (T.C.ofJ.C.ofL.D.S.) I try to visit it maybe once a month especially when new videos come out but it seems so scripted and monotonous. I was thinking just yesterday if it was bad of me to think like that of our churchs utube channel but then I decided to look at how many subscribers it had and it shows 1.03 million out of 16 million members worldwide. Only 6.5% of our members are subscribed to the channel. I looked at a video posted 6 days ago "Joseph Smiths first vision" and it only had 17k views. That's a mere 1.7% of views from its own subscribers. Lets go back a month to find a video of president Nelson, that only has 54k views, 5%. Im not the only one that finds the content boring.
    In contrast I looked at a utube channel that my kids frequent. Norris nuts, an australian family with 3 young kids, they have 3.4m subs. Their most recent video posted two days ago and already has 2m views, thats a 64% viewing rate. How is it that a random family in australia with no talent whatsoever is more interesting than the prophet and only true church of the world? 
    2. So tonight I was sitting on the couch after dinner thinking how Im going to get an fhe/spiritual lesson going with my kids. I have been working nights the past week so tonight was the first opportunity in a long time (last fhe was 3 weeks ago). Usually when I mention fhe the kids run away or suddenly "need to shower/go to bed", they are some rebellious kids I tell ya! Being a little discouraged I decided not to mention anything of a fhe lesson and just surf on my phone with my earphones on. I came to thirdhour and saw your post Mrshorty and thats when I looked up kwaku on utube. Keep in mind that my kids dont know what im watching or listening to on my phone.
    I found the saints unscripted channel and was blown away that these young 20 something year olds were addressing mormon topics in a hip and fun way. I quickly subscribed after watching one video and then decided to watch another, considering that halloween was just a week ago I watched "Do Mormons believe in Ghosts?" which was only 6 minutes. After that I turned off my phone and then put my attention on the family and just hung out. About 10 minutes later my 13yr old daughter sitting in the corner randomly said out loud "I wonder if ghosts read people's minds", she was thinking this because her grandma passed away 5 months ago and was wondering if her grandma was reading her mind. My eyes widened as I saw an opportunity to talk religion by showing her the video "Do Mormons believe in Ghosts?", which would answer her question from a mormon stand point. I chickened out and decided not to mention the video. Then my 10yr old daughter yells out to the 13yr old "who you gonna call! Ghost busters!!". OMG, the video has clips from the Ghost busters movie. I knew this was a sign and God's hand in helping me get a religious lesson in tonight.
    So I called my 13yr old daughter to my side and told her I have an answer, put the headphones on her and played the video on my phone. She loved it, absorbed all the info and was entertained. Out of curiosity my 10 yr old asked what are you watching? I explained to her its about mormons beliefs about spirits, put the head phones on and then showed it to her. That was 2 of my 3 kids that got a religious message for the night, my 16 yr old had just gotten out of the shower and had no idea what we did, I had no intention of showing her the video so we carried on. About 15 mins later as my 16yr old was on the computer browsing pinterest something caught her attention and she said out loud "I want to see a psychic!", I smiled and invited her over to me. The video also addressed wigi boards, seance/psychics. Unbelievable!
    3. Thank you Mr Shorty!
  5. Like
    Lourdes reacted to Traveler in The covenant land   
    There is a tendency when reading scripture to apply narrow interpretations - sometimes with the excuse of literal and historical.   The great patriarch of both Israel and Islam is Abraham.  As we read in scripture as Abram rises to prominence with G-d and becomes Abraham.  The crowning jewel in the rise of Abraham before G-d is what we now call the Abrahamic Covenant.   This is very important because it lays the foundation and structure by which G-d always establishes his covenant with his chosen "children".   Within the Abrahamic Covenant are 3 distinct promises G-d makes to Abraham in the covenant.  These 3 promises are always present when G-d establishes his covenant - ALWAYS.  For the purpose of this thread and specifically your question - I will incase my understanding of one particular promise within the Covenant.  This is the promise of a Promise Land.  Without exception Biblical scholars believe the promised land to Abraham is the area currently occupied by the Jews as what is called the "Holy Land" or state of Israel - plus the land also referred to as Palestine. 
    There is something very special about the land often called the Holy Land.  We know that was the land of promise to Abraham.  But this is the very narrow and limited interpretation of scripture.  A promised land for mortals that covenant with G-d goes beyond a land to occupy while living out mortality.  A promised land is a "type" and "shadow" for an inheritance (place) to live in the resurrection to glory in the life hereafter.   The things of this earth or world are all things that can become corrupted - but the promised land of G-d to his covenant children is a eternal and everlasting covenant - which cannot be corrupted.
    Provided for us in scripture are several exoduses where G-d leads his righteous covenant children away from precious lands of the world - to a new place that G-d always calls a "promised land".  Perhaps the first is the epoch of Noah.  There are many others, including the journey of Abraham (a stranger in a strange land), the epoch of Moses, the Jews returning to Jerusalem from Babylon, the epoch of Lehi and his family from Jerusalem to somewhere in America that was called the Land of Lehi.  But the Book of Mormon has others: Nephi leaving the land of Lehi to the land of Nephi.  Then later leaving the land of Nephi to the land of Zarahemla.  There is also the Anti Nephi Lehites leaving the lands of the Lamenites and settling in what was called "Bountiful" - and also the Jaredites leaving ancient Babal to come to the Americas.  In our modern era we have the pioneers that left the United States of America and traveled west to a land known as "The Top of the Mountains".  Not so long ago I was in Taiwan and spent some time with the Saints there that were establishing a covenant land of promise in that country.
    There is a clarion call currently going on now for all G-d's righteous covenant children to gather to "stakes" of Zion that will extend to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.  All according to prophecy concerning the Last Days.  Most think in terms of such times in terms of a destruction of wicked.  Such thinking is a great miss of the mark - because this is the time and "Dispensation" of restoration and the "Fullness" of times.  All leading up to the return of Jesus Christ - at which time the entire planet will become "The Promise Land" and a land of Peace (for 1,000 years).
    Does this mean anything to you?  What will you leave and where will you go for Peace?
    The Traveler