We seek consensus about the Book of Mormon. Joseph F. Smith wrote, "If you have built for a man a better house than his own, and he is willing to accept yours and forsake his, then, and not till then, should you proceed to tear down the old structure. Rotten though it may be it will require some time for it to lose all its charms and fond memories of its former occupant. Therefore let him, not you, proceed to tear it away. Kindness and courtesy are the primal elements of gentility."
Thursday, May 25, 2023
The more you know...
Tuesday, May 2, 2023
Happiness and efficiency
"Being unhappy is very inefficient."
41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. (Mosiah 2:41)
God Promises Eternal rewards to the faithful. Never Ending happiness he Promises to bestow. (Jonathan Edwards)
And if your pastor be faithful in his office, and you hearken and yield to him in that great errand on which Christ sends him to you, the time will come, wherein you and your pastor will be each others' crown of rejoicing, and wherein Christ and he and you shall all meet together at the glorious marriage of the Lamb, and shall rejoice in and over one another, with perfect, uninterrupted, never ending and never fading joy. (Jonathan Edwards)
Monday, May 1, 2023
May Day - International Workers Day
International Workers' Day, also known as Labour Day in some countries and often referred to as May Day, is a celebration of labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement and occurs every year on 1 May, or the first Monday in May.
Having lived in Europe for 8 years, I'm familiar with the celebration of May Day there. In the next few weeks, we'll be in several European countries so I made a list of May Day and International Workers Day activities in the places we're visiting.
Labour Day (Albanian: Dita e punëtorëve) is an official holiday celebrated on 1 May and thus schools and most businesses are closed.
Labour Day (Tag der Arbeit), officially called Staatsfeiertag (state's holiday), is a public holiday in Austria. Left parties, especially social democrats organize celebrations with marches and speeches in all major cities. In smaller towns and villages those marches are held the night before.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1 and 2 May (Bosnian and Serbian: Prvi Maj / Први Mај, Croatian: Prvi Svibanj) are an official holiday and day-off for public bodies and schools at the national level. Most people celebrate this holiday by visiting natural parks and resorts. Additionally, in some places public events are organized. In its capital city, Sarajevo, 12 and 13 June are also celebrated as Labour day due to its many natural parks and springs.
Labour Day is one of the public holidays in Bulgaria, where it is known as Labour Day and International Workers' Solidarity Day (Bulgarian: Ден на труда и на международната работническа солидарност) and celebrated annually on 1 May. The first attempt to celebrate it was in 1890 by the Bulgarian Typographical Association. In 1939, Labour Day was declared an official holiday. Since 1945 the communist authorities in the People's Republic of Bulgaria began to celebrate the holiday every year. After the end of socialism in Bulgaria in 1989 Labour Day continues to be an official and public holiday, but state authorities are not committed to the organization of mass events.
In Croatia, 1 May is a national holiday. Many public events are organized and held all over the country where bean soup is given out to all people as a symbol of a real workers' dish. Red carnations are also handed out to symbolise the origin of the day. In Zagreb, the capital, a major gathering is in Maksimir Park, which is located in the east part of Zagreb. In Split, city on the coast, people go to Marjan, a park-forest at the western end of Split peninsula.
Hungary celebrates 1 May as a national holiday, with open-air festivities and fairs all over the country. Many towns raise May poles and festivals with various themes are organized around the holiday. Left-wing parties and trade unions hold public rallies commemorating Labour Day.
1 May is an official public holiday and a day off work and a day out of school. It is the only official holiday from socialist times that is still officially celebrated.
In Poland, since the fall of communism, 1 May is officially celebrated as May Day, but is commonly called Labour Day. it is currently celebrated without a specific connotation, and as such it is May Day. However, due to historical connotations, most of the large organized celebrations are focused around Labour Day festivities. It is customary for labour activists to organize parades in cities and towns across Poland. The holiday is also commonly referred to as "Labour Day" (Polish: Święto Pracy).
In Poland, May Day is closely followed by May 3rd Constitution Day. These two dates combined often result in a long weekend called Majówka, which may last for up to 9 days from 28 April to 6 May, at the cost of taking only 3 days off. People often travel, and Majówka is unofficially considered the start of barbecuing season in Poland.
Between these two, on 2 May, there is a patriotic holiday, the Day of the Polish Flag (Dzień Flagi Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej), introduced by a Parliamentary Act of 20 February 2004. The day, however, does not force paid time off.
In Soviet times, streets, places, squares, parks and also factories were frequently named in honor of International Workers' Day, such as 1 Maja Coal Mine in Wodzisław Śląski
In Romania, 1 May, known as the "International Labour Day" (Romanian: Ziua internațională a muncii), the "International Workers' Day" (Ziua internațională a oamenilor muncii), or simply "1/First of May" (1/Întâi Mai), is an official public holiday. During the communist regime, like in all former Eastern Bloc countries, the day was marked by large state-organized parades in most towns and cities. After the Romanian Revolution of 1989, 1 May continues to be an official public holiday, but without any state organized events or parades. Most people celebrate together with friends and family, organising picnics and barbecues. It is also the first day of the year when people, especially those from the southeastern part of the country including the capital Bucharest, go to spend the day in one of the Romanian Black Sea resorts.
In Serbia, 1 May (and also 2 May) is a day off work and a day out of school. It is one of the major popular holidays, and the only official holiday from socialist times that is still officially celebrated. People celebrate it all over the country. By tradition 1 May is celebrated by countryside picnics and outdoor barbecues. May is marked by warm weather in Serbia. In Belgrade, the capital, most people go to Avala or Košutnjak, which are parks located in Rakovica and Čukarica. People go around the country to enjoy nature. A major religious holiday of Djurdjevdan is on 6 May so quite often days off work are given to connect these two holidays and weekend, creating a small spring break. 1 May is celebrated by most of the population regardless of political views.
In Slovakia, 1 May is an official holiday. Celebrations are held surrounding workers' day but are also connected with the commemoration of the entry of the Slovak Republic into the European Union (1 May 2004).
In Slovenia, 1 May and 2 May are public holidays. There are many official events all over the country to celebrate workers' day. In Ljubljana, the capital, the main celebration is held on Rožnik Hill in the city. On the night of 30 April, bonfires are traditionally burned.
Thursday, April 27, 2023
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Compare the fruits of good and evil
Tucker Carlson spelled it out clearly in this 6 minute excerpt from his last speech.
cleanliness (cleanliness is Next to Godliness, it's true it is).
And evil is characterized by their opposites.
So if you are all in on the things that produce the latter basket of outcomes what you're really advocating for is evil.
the terms we use to to describe what
we're watching so when I started
Heritage the presumption was and this is
a very anglo-american assumption that
the debates we're having are kind of
rational debates about the way to get to
mutually agreed upon outcomes
right so like we all want the country to
be more prosperous and free and people
to be less oppressed or whatever and so
we're going to argue about tax rates and
I think higher tax gets gets us there on
Keynesian and you disagree you're an
Austrian or whatever
but the objective is the same
and so we write our papers and they
write their papers and made the best
I I don't think that's what we're
watching now at all I don't think we're
watching a debate over how to get to the
I think that's completely wrong
and I've come to this conclusion and I
should say at the outside of an
Episcopalian so don't take any
theological advice from me because I
don't have any
I grew up in the shallowest Faith
tradition that's ever been invented
it's not even a Christian religion at
um I say with shame but
I'm just saying this is an observer of
what's going on there is no way to
assess say the transgenderist movement
with that mindset policy papers don't
account for it at all
if you have people who are saying I have
an idea let's castrate the Next
Generation what sexually mutilate
children sorry that's not a political
debate what there's nothing to do with
politics what's the outcome we're
an androgynous population is that really
what we are we arguing for that
I don't I don't think anyone could like
defend that as a positive outcome but
the weight of the government and you
know a lot of corporate interests are
behind that well what is that well it's
if you say well you know I think
abortion is always bad well I think
sometimes it's necessary that's a debate
I'm familiar with
but if you're telling me that abortion
is a positive good
what are you saying well you're arguing
for child sacrifice obviously it's not
about like oh a team you know a teen
girl gets pregnant and what do we do
about that and
victims of rape I you know I get it of
course I understand that and I have
compassion for everyone involved but
when the treasury secretary stands up
and says you know what you can do to
help the economy get an abortion
well that's like an Aztec principle
there's not a society in history that
didn't practice human sacrifice not one
even the Scandinavians I'm ashamed to
say it wasn't just the mesoamericans it
so like that's what that is
what's the point of child sacrifice well
there's no policy goal entwined with
that no that's a theological phenomenon
and that's kind of the point I'm making
none of this makes sense in conventional
political terms when people or crowds of
people or the largest crowd of people at
all which is the federal government
the largest human organization in human
decide that the goal is to destroy
things Destruction for its own sake hey
let's tear it down
what you're watching is not a political
so if you want to assess and I'll put it
in on and I'll stop with this I'll put
it in on
pull it I'll put it in non-political or
non-roth or non
-specific theological terms and just say
if you want to know what's evil and
what's good what are the characteristics
of those and by the way you know I think
the Athenians would have agreed with
this this is not necessarily just a
Christian notion this is kind of a let's
say widely agreed upon understanding of
Good and Evil what are its
products what are these two conditions
well I mean good is characterized by
calmness Tranquility peace whatever you
want to call it lack of conflict
cleanliness is Next to Godliness
it's true it is
and evil is characterized by their
violence hate disorder division
disorganization and filth
so if you are all in on the things that
produce the latter basket of outcomes
what you're really advocating for is
evil that's just true I'm not going for
a religious War far from it I'm merely
calling for an acknowledgment of what
we're watching which is not one and I'm
not certainly not backing the Republican
party I mean look
I'm not making a partisan point at all
I'm I'm just noting what's super obvious
like those of us who were in our mid 50s
are caught in the past in the way that
we think about this one side's like no
you know I've got this idea
and we've got this idea and let's have a
debate about our ideas they don't want a
those ideas won't produce outcomes that
any rational person would want under any
those are manifestations of some larger
force acting upon us
it's just so obvious
it's completely obvious
and I think two things one
we should say that
and stop engaging in these totally
where we are using the terms that we
used in 1991 when I started at Heritage
as if maybe you know I could just win
the debate if I marshaled more facts
I've tried that doesn't work
and two maybe we should all take just
like 10 minutes a day to say a prayer
I'm serious like why not
and I'm saying that to you not as some
kind of evangelist I'm literally saying
that to you as an Episcopalian the
Samaritans of our time
I'm coming to you from the most humble
and lowly theological position you can
I'm literally an Episcopalian okay
and even I have concluded it might be
worth taking just 10 minutes out of your
busy schedule to say a prayer for the
future and I hope you will
Monday, April 24, 2023
Outstanding video on unity in the Gospel
This is a powerful message for everyone, Latter-day Saint, Evangelical, or anyone else.
David Alexander's Message to Future Latter Day Saint Missionaries!
5:59 it is a very sad story actually but it has a happy ending okay because of you and because of Joseph Smith because of Brigham Young and because of the restoration that you are part of and might not even know how precious it is because you've been born and raised in it.
8:03 the sad truth is evangelical Christianity is filled with an accusatory fog.
In the Book of Mormon they call it a Mist Of Darkness but it's an accusatory fog, a fog of accusation against the most beautiful thing on earth--against a restoration--against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
There's an accusatory fog that dismisses the Latter-Day Saints as just not even being Christians, having a different Jesus a different God. You've all heard this kind of thing and and it's the unquestioned monolithic conversation of Evangelical Christianity to the point that I heard or participated in conversations of this sort hundreds of times over almost half a century.
And never once did I hear one voice raised in opposition to that fog of accusation...
Going around in circles, dying of thirst in the desert for what you have and I never even thought of visiting a Mormon a Latter-Day Saint Church.
I had all sorts of encounters with Latter-day Saints and they were uniformly, you all were like really nice but that was just proof of how really evil you were! Because if you're so evil you can appear nice, boy, that's really dangerous you know.
I mean this is, it's bizarre, it's absolutely bizarre but I'm dying of thirst in the desert and you know the Earth is being flooded with darkness and the Ark of God is right in front of me hiding in plain sight and I can't even see it
Friday, April 21, 2023
Welcoming dialogue about disagreements
Jacob Hess wrote an important article titled "Perspective: Scholarship that takes the sacred seriously: My 4 take-aways from a BYU conference exploring how it would change academic disciplines to draw upon gospel teachings as foundational"
It is well worth reading.
The excerpt below pertains to the subject of this blog; i.e., welcoming dialogue about disagreements:
3. Welcoming dialogue about disagreements
Students in various academic contexts are increasingly worried about raising religious or other views that might be perceived as controversial. Some fear that standing up for increasingly countercultural religious ideas necessarily means “driving wedges.” Professor Stephen Yanchar noted how even raising honest questions a la critical thinking “has a reputation of being an attack.”
But he insisted this work of grappling over truth on college campuses, religious or not, can all be “loving, kind and gentle — a part of relationship building.” ...
The fact that profound disagreements have become so scary at universities — the very place dedicated to hashing out different perspectives in a search for truth — highlights the unique opportunity to model a different way, perhaps especially at a place like BYU with a greater political balance than many other college campuses.
“Yes, people will disagree … and we can talk. But at least we’ll be having the discussions,” said Williams, who has spent his career encouraging a deeper conversation about unquestioned assumptions in psychology. “What could be more important than having these conversations with fellow believers in a spirit of respect and love?”
“Those who fear” this kind of searching dialogue, Yanchar suggested, “have overstated its dangers.”