Category Archives: General Religion and Spirituality

183rd Semiannual General Conference – Pre-conference notes

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Life has gotten in the way of my blogging over the last month and a half, but I’m definitely going to get some postings up this weekend about General Conference. It seems that most times I’m at work for one of the sessions, but this weekend I’m off, so I’m going to watch all conference sessions at home. This will also include the Priesthood Session. My father and I talked about it, and we think we’ll watch this one and April’s conference at home, and then when my son is 12 for next October’s conference, we’ll go to the Church so he has that tradition of going out with us.

I have no insight whatsoever into what will be shared this weekend, but I assume that much of the same themes we’ve heard in other meetings this year will be continued. The Work of Salvation, along with strengthening families will be hot topics for sure.

Enjoy the conference!


Read the recaps and other notes from the 183rd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

“Are you a good person?”

I work in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and each day I go for a walk along the Niagara Parkway. It is a fascinating place to be as there are A LOT of tourists around in the summer. It’s nice to see families together enjoying themselves. Since there are a lot of people around, it also attracts others who are looking to speak with a lot of people. Occasionally I come across some tracts that people have left on benches or car windshields.

I recently came across one of the best tracts I’ve ever seen. The ones I normally see are usually just messages about how evil we all are and how we need to repent. This one has that same message, but it does it in the form of a cartoon. Since it is a cartoon, it doesn’t feel quite as harsh. I’ve scanned it to a PDF if you want to download it. I’ve also included it below.

I think my two favourite panels are on page 3 and page 5. The guy with his tongue sticking out as he lusts after a woman is pretty comical. And I love the panel where the guy compares himself to Hitler, a KKK clansmen, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein and says at least he isn’t as bad as some people :-)

I wonder how effective these sorts of tracts are. Considering how ineffective door-to-door tracting can be, I would assume that handing out paper tracts or leaving them for others to pick up isn’t going to be any more effective. But I guess if they reach even one person it is worth it.

The tract ends by telling the reader to find a good church. Well, I feel that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a good church. I’m glad it’s a part of my life and that I have the truth of the gospel. I may sin more than 127,000 times in my life, but I know that the Savior died for me and that I can be forgiven. I hope others can find this out as well.

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LEGO Jesus on the cross

On Saturday we went to the Erie County Fair and had a great time. We saw lots of animals, had some good food, and enjoyed several show.

There was a building that was part antique barn, part flea market. There was a cabinet full of LEGO, and on display they had a LEGO Jesus on the cross! I assume this was something that was custom built, but it looks great.

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Hill Cumorah Draws Business and Protests To Streets of Palmyra

I’m a little late on posting this, but I still wanted to post it. A few weeks ago we went to see the annual Palmyra Pageant. It is always a fun day, and is pretty much the only time where I get to see any protestors against the Church. This article from YNN in Rochester shares a bit about this:

Jim Deferio has traveled from Syracuse and occupied the same street corner outside the bookstore for eight years.

Deferio spends the day preaching the Christian Gospel while holding a banner that says the Book of Mormon is full of lies.

“I don’t hate the Mormons, I hate their lies. I love the Mormon people because I was lost once too, so I just give them truth and I show them the contradictions in their own books,” he said.

Well, at least he doesn’t hate us :-)

I’ll share more about my trip tomorrow…

“The Church You Want”

This past Friday I was away at Girls Camp held at the Thomas S Monson Recreation Camp and then spent the weekend at a cottage right around the corner from it. We attended Church in Peterborough, Ontario. I used to live in Peterborough (my brother left on his mission from there) so it was nice to visit and see some familiar faces.

While I was there, I noticed a poem up on the wall. It has been there as long as I remember (25 years?) but I’ve never read it before this past Sunday. It’s quite nice. The main message is that Church will be what we make of it.

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Note: I couldn’t find who originally wrote it.

The Church You Want

If you want to have the kind of a church
Like the kind of a church you like,
You needn’t slip your clothes in a grip
And start on a long, long hike.
You’ll only find what you left behind,
For there’s nothing really new.
It’s a knock at yourself when you knock your church;
It isn’t the church–it’s you.

When everything seems to be going wrong,
And trouble seems everywhere brewing;
When prayer-meetings, young people’s meetings, and all,
seem simmering slowly-stewing
Just take a look at yourself and say,
“What’s the use of being blue?”
Are you doing your “bit” to make things “hit”?
It isn’t the church–it’s you.

It’s really strange sometimes, don’t you know,
That things go as well as they do,
When we think of the little–the very small mite–
We add to the work of the few.
We sit, and stand round, and complain of what’s done,
And do very little but fuss.
Are we bearing our share of the burdens to bear?
It isn’t the church–it’s us.

So, if you want to have the kind of church
Like the kind of a church you like,
Put off your guile, and put on your best smile,
And hike, my brother, just hike,
To the work in hand that has to be done–
The work of saving a few.
It isn’t the church that is wrong, my boy;
It isn’t the church–it’s you.

Most charitable states in America

There was recently a report about the most charitable states in America. Not too surprisingly Utah was number 1.

Utah, home to the nation’s biggest Mormon population, is also the most charitable state, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s most recent report that looks at giving as a percentage of discretionary income — your income excluding essential expenses.

Mormons are supposed to tithe at least 10 percent of their income to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the median donation among Utah households lines up with that requirement — amounting to $5,255 per household, or 10.6 percent of discretionary income.

On the one hand it’s interesting that the entire population, on average, pays 10% in charitable donations. This just happens to be what tithing is. On the other hand, I’m sure there are people who think that people should be giving to causes other than the Church.

If you read the entire article, and follow some of the links, the findings are quite interesting. Generally speaking, it seems that the more religious an area is, the more they donate. It also mentions that New Hampshire has a fairly high average income, but has the lowest donation rate.

A few laughs…

An usher at one of the wards that I visit had a few (sort of) funny jokes to share with me when I visited a few weeks ago…

:-)


Why are we the only church that sings “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet”?

All the rest are non-prophet (profit) organizations.


What was the last thing that Jesus said to his disciples?

If you want to be in the picture, come to this side of the table.


Moses started out his life as a basket case. He was in denial (the Nile), but finally decided to go with the flow


The passing of the Mormon pioneer in our family

I’ve lived in Ontario for my whole life. My parents were born in Ontario, and most of the generations before that are Canadian. We’ve been here for a long time. My ancestors did not know about the Church during the first wave of missionary work to Canada in the 1830s, so it wasn’t until 1961 that someone first joined the Church. That was my grandmother, whom I have written about previously. Well, after 96+ years on this earth, she passed away on May 26, 2013.

(That is why I haven’t been posting much lately… I obviously was busy around the time my grandmother was sick, and then when she passed away, and I just got out of the habit of posting. It has taken longer than expected to get back to it).

I’m not going to take up too much space writing all about someone you don’t know, but I did want to highlight a few things. As mentioned, she joined the Church in 1961. She was a member of the Church for more than 51 years, and never was less-active. My father was a teenager when she joined, and it was another 20 years before my grandfather joined. She knew the Church was true and persevered until my grandfather found that out for himself. I was only 7 years old when my grandfather was baptized, but I vaguely remember how excited everyone was at the time.

My grandmother loved family history work. Even though my grandfather wasn’t a member at the time, he took her all over Canada to find cemeteries and help with her research. By the time I got involved, she had a family tree with around 5,000 names!

She loved her family very much and she was always so proud to see her grandchildren and great-grandchildren progress in the Church. Many of us have moved around, but as often as she could she’d attend a baby blessing or a baptism. She just knew that she started it all and was thrilled to see it continuing.

Since family history work and family were so important to her, you can imagine that she always insisted on having a temple recommend. I have lots of great memories of my grandmother, but I’ll always remember the smile she gave me a few weeks before she passed away when I did her temple recommend interview. It was eternally memorable!

Good-bye Nanny. I will miss you, but I’m sure Poppa is ecstatic to see you. Say “Hi” to him for me and I’d appreciate it if the two of you could continue to watch over me and my family.

“I’m not a yesterday guy”

This one is similar to my posting from last Thursday

If you are from Canada and follow sports at all, then you’ve probably heard of Mike “Pinball” Clemons. He was a player in the Canadian Football League (CFL) and has quite a friendly, outgoing personality. He just seems like a genuinely nice guy. He is often on the radio on on TV being interviewed about one thing or another.

About 5 years I heard him being interviewed on a Toronto sports radio station. I can’t remember what specifically he was talking about, but he said the line, “I’m not a yesterday guy”. His point was that he doesn’t hold grudges or dwell too much in the past. He is grateful for what he has today and tries to live for today.

All of these things make me think of the wise Master Oogway:

Quit, don’t quit? Noodles, don’t noodles? You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the “present.”

:-)

I live for what happens today

A few years ago Eugene (Gene) Cernan was in Buffalo, NY for a presentation. For those who don’t know, he was the spacecraft commander of Apollo 17 1972 from December 6 to December 19 and was the last man to walk on the moon. I was listening to the local NPR station and the host asked Mr. Cernan this question:

Do you reflect on that every time you go into the night and look up at the moon and think “I was the last man to walk there”?

Mr Cernan responded in this way:

No, hardly ever, unless when someone like you asks me. I’m one of those people who don’t live in the past. I’ve got to live for the future. I tell these kids the future’s made out of dreams. I’ve still got some dreams. I’ve got a dream I want to live another 10 or 12 years and watch my grandkids grow up. I’m still flying airplanes. What I’ve done, I’ve done. I live with it. I hope my grandkids are proud of it some day, but I can’t go around with a sign around my neck saying, “Hey World, I went to the moon!” I don’t live that way. I live for what happens today and what I’m going to help make happen tomorrow. That’s what it’s all about.

Obviously we do need to remember the past (it is one of the key messages in the Book of Mormon), but I like his message of looking forward. “What am I going to help make happen tomorrow?” A very nice thought!