Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Feeling the Spirit

by Christopher R. Greenwood
and Spiritual Atrophy


Many years ago, when I was a Deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood, I had the privilege of going home teaching with my father as my companion.  One particular month, my dad had been given a new Sister on his list who he promptly called and set an appointment.  With the appointment set, my dad approached me and told me when I would be needed.  On the designated day, my dad and I went to the home of this very elderly sister.  All my Dad and I knew about her was that she had been a member all her life, her husband had passed, she lived on a farm outside of town and had been the recipient of much assistance from others in the Ward when it came to mowing her lawn, going shopping, etc.


I remember how cordially she greeted us and brought us inside her home.  After some initial conversation, Dad began his lesson.  I remember vividly that during that lesson, this sister, who had been a member of the Church her entire life, stopped my father and in the middle of his lesson, she confessed to him that she had never felt the Spirit of the Lord or ever recalled a single experience in her life where she had felt the Spirit.  I remember how surprised my dad was at hearing that.  I also remember how silent I was, grateful that my Dad would answer this question.  I did not feel prepared to answer her question.  What did I know?  I do not remember what my Dad told her, but I do remember thinking to myself that I did not want to have that happen to me.

I have never forgotten this experience.  As time has gone on, and as I have matured in the Gospel, I often reflect on how I would respond if somebody asked me that question.  “What would I tell her now” if I was given the chance.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Using Publicity to Criticize the Church: Some Perspective for Viewing Recent Events


“This is an insult, especially, to women who have gone
through something like that [sexual assault] and really have been hurt.”
—McKenna Denson’s ex-husband (Arizona Republic)

            When accusations and denials of sexual assault are flying around in reporter’s stories, when sex and religion (especially Mormonism) are mentioned together, a media frenzy can result. The international “Me-too” movement has inadvertently created the perfect storm, offering an irresistible opening for various individuals with manipulative and unscrupulous motives, to take advantage of it and milk it for all it is worth.

            It is during episodes like these that journalistic ethics are often bent or broken, and biases exposed. Items akin to genuine fake news (there’s an oxymoron), non-news, and yellow journalism are published by some media outlets and fill (very untrustworthy) social media. It has happened many times to the Mormons in the past, it is happening now, and it will again in the future. For this reason, I hope to provide some perspective; to pull back the veil and expose the adversary’s deceptions.

Some Historical Perspective

            As I ponder various events from Mormon history in my mind, a number of instances occur to me that give me an improved over-all perspective from which to view recent events and current public clamor.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #12 - Missing the Mark/Point, as Usual


            We just concluded a truly historic general conference of the Church. The newly sustained president, Russell M. Nelson, announced some major game-changers meant to improve the lives and lift the souls of millions of members as the Lord hastens His work. President Nelson and other leaders quietly ignored the clamor of obsessed and misled activists promoted by the Tribune, As God’s prophet, President Nelson effectively (though figuratively) kicked Satan hard where it hurts. The devil has been responding by creating opposition to the church through both his spirit angels (evil spirits) and through his mortal followers (those anti-Mormon activists obsessed with the church, and disloyal, false members). The Salt Lake Tribune continues to be one of their main outlets to voice their displeasure. I think it worth pointing out, that in this latest instance, the Tribune has also missed the point over and over in their attempt to cover conference.

            Let me draw a comparison. In 1899, Bishop Orson F. Whitney’s eldest son, Race Whitney, was a talented young man who had followed in his father’s footsteps, exhibiting abundant literary talent. Recognizing his gifts, Bishop Whitney used his connections to get Race a job working as a reporter for the Salt Lake Herald. Bishop Whitney also used his personal friendship with the recently (6 mo.) sustained church president, Lorenzo Snow, to get Race included as a member of the large traveling party of church leaders and press going to St. George in mid-May for stake conference.

Along with Race, others accompanying the group were LeRoi C. Snow (Pres. Snow’s son who acted as a private secretary/assistant to his father and Deseret News reporter), Arthur Winter (official church stenographer/sermon reporter), and one or two more. Race’s job was to cover discourse content and major events that would be of interest to readers. He was fairly green at the time and so the experience was challenging, especially when Pres. Snow called on him, with no notice, to speak in one of the meetings during their journey.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #11 - Being Used as a Tool


            With general conference just hours from starting, dissident activists are working themselves into a frenzy to use the timing to get out their message. And the Salt Lake Tribune is more than willing to give them the prime-time pulpit they desire (though most faithful Mormons don’t read or like the Tribune). I would suppose that Tribune editors know they are being used by these people and are more than willing to participate. After all, people are reading their paper/website and that is what it’s all about.

            In a few days general conference will be over. Two new apostles will have been sustained; perhaps other items of noteworthy/newsworthy adjustment and change may occur. It won’t be long now until we know. But these activists will still have to live with the consequences of their actions. Those who used the Tribune as a tool to rail against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will find they have no trust or standing in the church they claim membership in. Even if they are not excommunicated for their open public opposition and slander, they have still excommunicated themselves figuratively. If they have already left the church, which is likely, their words carry even less meaning than otherwise. They have lost their integrity and sold their birthright for a mess of pottage. I am so, so, very grad I am not them; that I didn’t march against the prophets and apostles that I love; that I didn’t write a shameful public letter. Shame on them and the Tribune for printing this tripe.

Relevant Counsel from Boyd K. Packer

Some of President Boyd K. Packer’s counsel on
church leader’s weaknesses, bishop’s interviews,
and teaching about procreation and the law of Chastity

            [Compilers note: With certain issues attracting attention in various media venues today, right before General Conference, I took a few minutes and copied and pasted some relevant comments made by President Boyd K. Packer during his ministry. These are found at gospelink.com (subscription required) and are from one or two of his books. I have not bothered to provide further sourcing than that. Though spoken in decades past, these excerpts are so on-point today they could have been written this morning—a sign of prophetic inspiration during their preparation/delivery. I assembled them for any wishing to gain insight into the principles and doctrines of the gospel that keep a member steady, faithful, and unconcerned, while the world is in commotion around us. -Dennis B. Horne]

I speak to that member of the Church who struggles with a test of faith that could touch any one of us.

If I can take the arm of that one and steady him when his faith is tottering, I do not hesitate to impose upon the rest of you for just a few minutes.

At times someone has come to me, their faith shaken by alleged wrongdoings of some leader in the Church.

For instance, one young man was being constantly ridiculed by his co-workers for his activity in the Church. They claimed to know of a bishop who had cheated someone in business; or a stake president who had misrepresented something on a contract; or a mission president who had borrowed money, giving false information.

Or, they told of a bishop who had discriminated against one member, refusing to give a temple recommend, but had shown favoritism by signing a recommend for another whose unworthiness was widely known.

Such incidents as these, which supposedly involve Church leaders, are described as evidence that the gospel is not true, that the Church is not divinely inspired, or that it is being misled.

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #10 - “The Doctrines of Men and the Devil”


            Peggy Stack just won’t let it alone. She has her teeth in something most people don’t worry about and feel is being done correctly, but she has to chew on it and ruin it as a feminist activist. Her latest piece of fake Tribune news tripe: “While applauding latest changes, Mormons concede they are no cure-all. Some even ask: Why have these ‘worthiness’ interviews?” She admits as much: “Activists heralded the move [of allowing a second adult in interviews]. . . .” she wrote. But for myself, and I imagine most of my fellow regular latter-day saints, we don’t want our doctrine and practice in the church influenced by activists. Why? Because they are actively pushing their own worldly causes. And I don’t want my worship or doctrinal views dictated by someone’s mistaken personal cause; especially when they are adopted from our badly mixed up modern society. The whole concept behind being a so-called Mormon activist is that you think the church isn’t doing something it should be, according to your own set of beliefs or opinions.

We now broach an important question that all who read or agree with Stack’s tripe would do well to consider. Where do activists get their opinions when they differ from scripture?—we are told that there are only two other places: from men/women or from the devil: “that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils” (D&C 46:7). Hypothetically, even if Peggy’s doctrines were of men, and not the devil, would we rather get our doctrine from men/her, or from prophets speaking for God? This is not a hard question!—“I say unto you, that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world” (D&C 50:2). And “if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire” (3 Nephi 27:11). These truths should make the question a little easier to answer.

These activists Peggy quotes in her fake news pieces may have some joy or success in their false and deceptive causes, inspired in them by false spirits, but what does the Lord say will be their end? Again, this is just not that hard to figure out.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #9 - “Be Careful Who You Choose to Rally Around”


            Today, just before General Conference, we get another helping of tripe from the Salt Lake Tribune, in the form of righteous wrath from an obvious feminist activist. Michelle Quist uses the setting and prominence of General Conference and Easter as a prop, hoping to increase the decibels of her complaint. Her hope is to convince people to believe women when they claim they have been sexually assaulted—and her standard bearer and shining example is the (as yet unidentified) woman from Colorado who is at the center of recent publicity over a thirty plus year old assault accusation against her MTC president.

            This piece of tripe is provocatively titled: “Easter has come just in time for the Mormon church’s sex scandal.” The fact is, the Mormon Church—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—has no sex scandal. A former MTC president who made a serious mistake/sin has to deal with a scandal, and the church is appropriately investigating it in order to determine how to proceed with disciplinary measures against the offender, but there is no scandal except in the minds of many dissenters and activists, like Michelle, who are trying to pin it on the church while saying they aren’t. We should recognize all of this for what it really is and not be swayed by activist rhetoric making a mountain out of a molehill, or one individuals bad actions the entire church’s.

            If anyone wonders whether the church and its leaders take these matters gravely seriously and do all in their power to prevent them from happening, they have but to read over the recent letter and revised policies issued to priesthood leaders regarding policy changes meant to further reduce chances for problems to arise. But there is nothing they can do now to prevent something that occurred over thirty years ago.