Monthly Archives: September 2017

A Light in the Darkness

Add to Faith, Virtue, Walter Rane

The symbol of  light is a common theme throughout the cultures of the world. Light represents hope, home, intelligence, knowledge, warmth, family and peace. Judeo-Christian teachings further explain that light symbolizes the Savior of the World. While many religions use candles to teach this symbolism, the candle lighting on Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) is perhaps, the most meaningful to women and family.

“The job of lighting the candles is given to the woman of the home because it is the woman who most influences the spirituality there. By encouraging the study of Torah (the law of God), the meticulous performance of mitzvot, and through her nurturing presence, a woman can transform her home into a place of holiness, peace, and tranquility. It is thus fitting that she be the one to bring the extra measure of light and holiness with the Shabbat candles.”

The attached article explains this eternal role of women, “As women, Daughters of Zion, we are bearers of light. We have more influence than we realize. As we keep the light in our hearts burning, we can, and do, shape and mold the world with our lights.”

Continue Reading about this inspiring symbolism here:

A Light In the Darkness

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Responding To Revelation

This is a General Conference Odyssey post.

 

President Spencer W. Kimball gave the closing address of the April 1977 General Conference speaking on revelation. He said,

 

“How this confused world of today needs revelation from God.”

 

Now, more than ever before, we need to listen to the voice of God that warns us, shapes us, and gathers us. Satan is doing his very best to destroy us and make us miserable like unto himself. So, it behooves us to respond well to our chosen god. My choice in responding to revelation: Obedience with pure, grateful love.

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LDS Church Files Brief in Support of Colorado Baker in Supreme Court Case

Image result for jack phillips masterpiece cakeshopEarlier this year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints placed its name on amicus friend-of-the court brief in a large transgender case, citing The Family: A Proclamation to the World as a core doctrinal statement, as well as noting the unchangeable and eternal gender of men and women. Now, this week the Church joined with other religious organizations, 86 senators and representatives, legal groups and creative professionals to show support for the Colorado baker who, due to religious convictions, chose not use his professional skills to support a same-sex wedding. This case arose when Masterpiece Cakeshops’ owner, Jack Phillips, was sued after respectfully declining to decorate a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex ceremony for two men.

In a news release, ADF Legal stated that:

The Colorado Supreme Court declined to take the case after the state’s Court of Appeals affirmed a Colorado Civil Rights Commission decision from May 2014. That decision ordered Phillips and his employees to design custom wedding cakes that celebrate same-sex marriages if the shop designs wedding cakes for opposite-sex marriages. It also required Phillips to re-educate his staff, most of whom are his family members—essentially telling them that he was wrong to operate his business according to his faith. He must also report to the government for two years, describing all cakes that he declines to create and the reasons why. As a result of the ruling, Phillips has lost an estimated 40 percent of his business. (Link)

In the Colorado amicus brief, the groups argue:

  • “Forcing (Phillips) to choose between his business and his conscience is a historic means of religious persecution.”
  • “Constitution broadly guarantees liberty of religion and conscience to citizens who participate in public life according to their moral, ethical, and religious convictions.”
  • “Colorado refuses to tolerate citizens who disagree with the state-sanctioned view of marriage” and “as the state uses its anti-discrimination laws to impose crippling penalties on entrepreneurs who refuse to set aside conscience and create visual artwork that violates the owners’ faith and conscience.”
  • “By demanding uniformity of thought, belief, speech, and action concerning the nature of marriage” and “by silencing one side of a hotly contested issue,” the state of Colorado “promotes intolerance, uniformity, exclusion, and inequality… The result is an unconscionable inequality were people who hold traditional marriage beliefs are excluded from owning a public business. All of this is anathema to the First Amendment.”
  • “But some deeply religious Americans, including some of amici’s members, cannot in good conscience assist with same-sex weddings. Now that the court has protected the liberty of same-sex couples, it is equally important to protect the religious liberty of these conscientious objectors.”
  • In an appendix to the brief, the LDS Church notes its “fairness to all” approach to resolving standoffs between religious freedom and LGBT rights: “Believing in basic fairness for all, the church has openly encouraged and participated in legislative efforts to secure essential rights for LGBT citizens while protecting religious freedom.”
  • As well, in the appendix, the LDS Church affirms that its doctrine holds that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God” and that “it does not change church doctrine, teachings, practices or policies regarding marriage.”

Image result for lds marriageAlong with the LDS Church, other religious organizations that signed on to the brief are the Christian Legal Society, the Center for Public Justice, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, National Association of Evangelicals, Queens Federation of Churches, Rabbinical Council of America and Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.

According to the Deseret News, “Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, also signed on to a friend-of-the-court brief last week backing Phillips, saying it is not a public accommodations case. He called it a “compelled speech” case because the couple asked Phillips to use his talents to make a specialty cake to carry a message with which he disagrees.

“This isn’t a case in which someone refused to sell a pre-made good to someone else based on their sexuality or orientation,” the senator said. “The government cannot force you to speak where you choose to remain silent. It cannot make you make a statement with which you firmly, fundamentally disagree.” (link)

Of this case, Travis Weber, Esq., Director of the Center for Religious Liberty, said:

To understand the issue at the center of this case people first need to know that Jack Phillips, for over twenty years, happily served thousands without regard to their sexual orientation. Phillips gladly offered to make any other type of baked item for the customers in this case, but explained that he could not in good conscience make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony.

The Court should take this opportunity to settle the question of whether states can coerce people of faith into wedding-related practices with which they disagree. The answer to that question should be an obvious ‘no’ and we hope the Court makes this clear by strongly affirming that all Americans’ First Amendment free speech and free exercise rights are protected against such state coercion. (link)

Image result for supreme courtFriend-of-the-court briefs filed with U.S. Supreme Court on this case:

Jack’s story (a 3:27 minute clip)

 

My Heart Sings With Joy in the Healing of My Brokenness

 

This is a General Conference Odyssey post:

I’m curious if next year’s lesson schedule for Priesthood/Relief Society will include any General Conference address, or just the most recent. May I take a moment here to say what a blessing it is for me to go back and read some of these beautifully inspired talks that contain so much of the spirit, that I am instantly filled. If you, or anyone you know, needs to recharge or gain an attitude adjustment, simply go back and read some of the great conference talks that have been given to us. Personally, my heart sings with joy in the healing of my brokenness.

 

For this session of General Conference (April 1977, Sunday Morning), Boyd K. Packer gave one of the more well-known talks ever given, entitled, “The Mediator.” There was a video made of this talk, which is still worth viewing. But for my purposes, I just want to bear my own testimony.

 

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Signs of the Times?

A full solar eclipse, massive wildfires in the West and Pacific Northwest, growing threats over North Korea, Hurricane Harvey, the largest solar flares in 12 years, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Jose, Hurricane Katia, a “strongest in a century” 8.1 magnitude earthquake in Mexico, 260 cluster earthquakes in Idaho, the genocide and crisis in Burma, rapid moral decline, religious freedom under strenuous attack, mobs of extreme groups marching in the streets, apostasy within our membership, false teachers and false teachings. The list goes on and on. Many of these signs and wonders have been happening all within a matter of days and weeks, while others have been on the steady incline and are nearing the tipping point.

We may rightly wonder if the God of Heaven and Earth is speaking to us through “the testimony of earthquakes … and the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds” (D&C 88).

It is surreal to know we are truly in the last days. In Nephite times preceding the coming of the Savior, 3 Nephi says that “the people began to look with great earnestness for the sign which had been given by the prophet” while others had “great doubtings and disputations” “notwithstanding so many signs had been given.” As followers of Jesus Christ, we would do well to look earnestly for the signs of His coming as prophesied—both the “great and terrible.”

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Power Beyond This World

This is a General Conference Odyssey post.

 

We live in a world where money and power are flaunted around to accomplish instant glory, selfish works, and worldly praise. President Kimball spoke of “Our Great Potential,” which shows us how minuscule man’s idea of power really is. It was a beautiful exercise for me to contemplate the powers of a God.

 

President Kimball explains that the following “ordinances and administrations that must be administered beyond this world” will be given to us when we become gods. 

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Why the Godhead Matters to Us

Having grown up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the basic truths of the Godhead have been common knowledge to me. The Godhead consists of three personages: Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. They are three separate beings. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have a body, the Holy Ghost is a spirit. I have always accepted those truths without question, and because of that I have never personally dived deeper into understanding the role that the Godhead has in Heavenly Father’s Plan of Salvation. Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ April 2017 conference address “The Godhead and the Plan of Salvation” taught me how important a deeper understanding of the Godhead is for our mortal journey and our eternal salvation.

Elder Oaks’ talk was a deep doctrine talk for me. He taught a lot of things that I did not know, or hadn’t really thought about. It wasn’t like, “How could I have never been taught this before?” It was very spiritual and powerful, and one of my favorite talks from that conference.

In introducing the Godhead, Elder Oaks quoted Joseph Smith:

“Any person that had seen the heavens opened knows that there are three personages in the heavens who hold the keys of power, and one presides over all …

…These personages … are called God the first, the Creator; God the second, the Redeemer; and God the third, the Witness or Testator.

[It is] the province of the Father to preside as the Chief or President, Jesus as the Mediator, and the Holy Ghost as the Testator or Witness.”

In this teaching by Joseph Smith, I really like that the labels or positions for the individual members of the Godhead are action nouns. God created us, he is the Creator. Jesus’ mission was to redeem mankind, so he is the Redeemer. Jesus Christ’s suffering, Atonement, and resurrection makes him a mediator between us and God. The Holy Ghost witnesses to us the reality of Jesus Christ and the truthfulness of His gospel, he testifies of the truth of all things, so he is the Witness or Testator. Continue reading