Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sorry, didn't quite catch that name . . .


"Say whaaa . . . .???" you think.  Yep.  It's a mouthful, but an important one.  Let's break it down a little . . . my favorite way to conquer new and complex information.  It makes it manageable, and memorable.

The Church 
of Jesus Christ 
of Latter-day Saints

From the top: 

The Church

Mostly simply, this denotes a body of believers; in this case, the "The" makes it a specific church, as defined by the words that follow.

of Jesus Christ

We believe in, follow the teachings of, and worship Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ prophesied of old, the Redeemer of all mankind, Son of the living Father, exemplar, teacher, brother, Savior; wonderful, counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.  He is the First and the Last, and in His name we are called.

of Latter-day Saints

This is usually where the "Say whaaa . . . ?" kicks in.  It's simply to differentiate our church, today, from the organized followers of Christ when He walked the earth.  Organized after the same manner as the church Christ himself organized when he first ministered to men in the flesh, we have a living prophet, who holds authority directly from God, and has stewardship over the whole earth to teach, exhort, love, and serve.  He is assisted by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the quorums of the Seventy, and numerous others.  You can read more in-depth here.

So, what does it mean to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

A lot.  

Living prophets, who hold the actual Priesthood of Aaron and Melchizedek as well as Priesthood keys (or permissions/authorities) specific to their callings as prophets, seers, and revelators.  A lay (volunteer) ministry, who are not paid for their time, and who do not request positions, but respond to calls, or invitations, to serve in various capacities during their lifetime in the church.  A patriarchal order, largely administrated by men who hold the same Priesthoods.  Ordinances, such as baptism, marriage that binds for eternity--not only until death separates, and the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.  Missionaries (I'm sure you've seen them, even if you didn't know who they were).  Temples. Tithing. Fasting.

More to come on all of those, a little at a time.

Why haven't you said much about it before?

Our church has a long history of brutal persecution . . . which I won't go into here.  You can read all about it in Church History.  Modern prejudice, still robust and blind, lives on--and it can be really hard to open your mouth about things you hold sacred when you know there's a decent chance of being slapped down. Hard.

But.

I've been thinking about that.

Early Christians did not deny their faith as they walked to the lions.  Early Latter-day Saints walked hundreds of miles, lost many close family members, gave up fortunes, left their motherland, endured incredible hardship, all in the name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  A slap-down shouldn't scare me that much. Right?

Maybe.

I'm still human.  I still crave love and want others to respect that I value something different than they do, even if they cannot respect what I hold dear.

But it doesn't matter.  Slap down or no, I'm going to do my best to set my fear aside.  Courage is the mastery of fear--not the absence of it.  And so, I'm going to try to start blogging more about my beliefs.  Sharing my thoughts, and doing my best to help dispel the cloud of misconception and blind prejudice that still surrounds the word "Mormon".  I've been challenged to do just that, and so do just that I will.

Please, if you have questions about my church, feel free to ask them.  Of course, it's important to me to keep things respectful . . . learning and conflict don't coexist . . . one always suffers as the other flourishes.  I want so much to help others understand, so if and when they run into prejudice or misconception, they can simply say: "They're not like that.  I know."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Can you stand it?


This much cuteness, in one bundle, is hard to handle. :o)

This one's for you, mom . . . love you!
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

#Trust30 Challenge: Day 1

So, today is the first day of my first attempt at something like this.  The #Trust30 challenge is a call to reflect, to write, and to broadcast, based on a spark post at www.RalphWaldoEmerson.me.

Today's quote:



Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. The force of character is cumulative. 
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Conformity, the act of "being not" genuine, obfuscates who and what you are . . . what you feel and believe . . . behind a smoke screen designed to blend with every other smoke screen out there, behind which everyone else obfuscates themselves in the name of the god of the day.  Deity of fashion, industry, style, media, ad infinitum, float amorphous in the cloud where their followers congregate, piecing together in their own minds the images constructed by the conformist projections of their peers.

I chose long ago, against tremendous odds for me, to stand in clean breeze.  To simply be and do according to my own conscience.  Me.  Fairly ordinary me. Yet, made extraordinary by virtue of that choice.  Standing where wind blows, above the pockets of fog, develops strength, sight, and retrospect. The elements in turn show their faces here, and buffet, pelt, chill and scorch.  Stepping down into the fog would provide some protection in those more sheltered spots where wind skims above the occupants' careful constructions; but a return to that strange half-life saps the strength built through stretches in craggy clarity, and serves only to confuse those whose company I value.  They have given shelter before, and will offer again, as we all in turn care for one another--those who choose transparency.