Tag Archives: the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints

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.

183rd Annual General Conference – Post-conference notes


Well, 10 hours are done (10 3/4 hours if you count The World Report). Usually there is a session that I love, and maybe a session that I find kind of dull. For this conference, there wasn’t one particular session that was my favourite. Each session had a speaker or two that I really enjoyed. This probably made it easier for me to stay away; I didn’t fall asleep during any of the sessions 🙂

Online there has been all sorts of buzz about having women pray at General Conference. It wasn’t really something that was on the radar for me, but if it helps some people then it’s all good. I certainly see no reason why women can’t pray or speak in General Conference or any other meeting.

Ultimately probably the most interesting thing for me was that our Stake President was called to be an Area Authority. President David P Homer is a good man. He was serving as a bishop at the same time that I was when Elder Russell M Nelson came to our Stake Conference. I didn’t really know Bishop Homer very well, but my brief interactions with him were positive. Elder Nelson was inspired to call him to be the Stake President, and he has served faithfully for 5 1/2 years. I emailed him yesterday and told him that I was sure he’d inspire many people.

So that’s it. Conference is done. Hopefully we’ve all heard something that is making us think more deeply about our faith and our commitment. I definitely have some things I need to review.

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

183rd Annual General Conference – Pre-conference notes


Here we are at another April, and General Conference is here. I’m not sure how this happened again, but I’m working today, so I’ll have to watch the first session while at work. I think I’ve worked 5 out of the last 6 conferences (or something like that). Otherwise, the plan is the same as last time. We’ll watch the other general sessions at home, and I’ll go with my father to the Priesthood session broadcast at Church. Since I’m now the YM President, I’m also in charge of our “sub-sational” that we have beforehand. Even though we are eating, I’m sure my father and I will find some excuse to still go out together afterward.

I have no predictions about anything. The stats will be interesting. This is the first General Conference since the big “Mormon Moment” (Mitt Romney’s bid for the White House, the Book of Mormon musical, etc). That moment seems to be passing, so it will be interesting to see if it led to increased baptisms. It will also be interesting to hear how many missionaries are currently serving.

Enjoy the conference!

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

Mormon Church buys ads in Book of Mormon programme

I’m sure this has been done in many cities where the “Book of Mormon” musical is being presented, but this one is very close to home (I live about an hour away from Toronto).

From the Toronto Star:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hopes patrons who see the runaway hit stage musical The Book of Mormon when it lands in Toronto next month will also check out the scripture that inspired it.

The church, which has no involvement in the frequently blasphemous religious satire, has bought three full-page ads in the Mirvish Productions programme for the show to encourage theatregoers to read the actual Book of Mormon.

“You’ve seen the play . . . now read the book,” says one ad.

“I’ve read the book,” reads another.

“The book is always better,” concludes a third.

182nd Semiannual General Conference – Pre-conference notes

So here we are at another General Conference. I’m not sure how the dates usually work out, but the April conference was as early as it could be (the first Sunday in April was the 1st) and the October conference is as late as it can be (the first Sunday in October is the 7th). I wonder how often that happens…

Our family rituals are going to be the same as always. I’m at work right now, so I’ll watch the first session at work. I’ll join my family at home for the second session at home. Tonight my Dad and I will go out. We usually go out after the Priesthood session, but we’re going to go out beforehand to a Chinese food buffet by my house. Good stuff! Then we’ll go to the Priesthood session together.

Sunday morning of conference is the best! We normally go to Church for 9:30 am weekly, but General Conference Sunday allows us to sleep in. We usually have a big breakfast and then go for a walk. Then we’ll watch both sessions at home.

One thing that is different this year, is that because of the way the dates lined up, this is actually the weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving. We’d normally have our big dinner on Sunday, but obviously that can’t really happen now. The plan is to do it Monday at dinner (most people are off on Monday).

I don’t have any particular expectations for conference and I don’t have any particular questions in my heart that need answering. However, I’m looking forward to being inspired and motivated by the leaders of the Church.

Read the recaps and other notes from the 182nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

NPR’s On Point – Mormon Moment

I think I’ve mentioned before that I go for a walk every day at lunch along the Niagara Parkway in Niagara Falls, Ontario (I work there). I usually listen to a podcast (sports talk show out of Toronto, various NPR shows, or Church-related shows). The other day I listened to an On Point episode from last week called The Mormon Moment. It was quite a good show. Host Tom Ashbrook had 3 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on to talk about how Mormons felt about this “moment” and what it meant to them and the Church. There was time for a few callers, and the questions were respectful. Unfortunately, many of the comments on the On Point web site are not.

If you have some time or like to listen to podcast while walkin/running or driving to work, you should definitely check it out.

182nd Annual General Conference – Pre-conference notes

It is amazing that another 6 months has gone by, and another General Conference is upon us. In a way, not much has changed since last conference… the economy still isn’t great; the Church has been in the news lots; there have been no “scandals” that have rocked the church. I guess it is “steady as she goes”. That is mostly a good thing. Instead of having to put out fires, the Church can focus on the doctrine.

The only thing I’m kind of wondering about is the health of some of the apostles. Last conference President Packer and Elder Hales both had oxygen tubes in place. I wonder if their conditions have improved, or worsened.

We’ll be watching General Conference from home again. I’m not working this weekend, so we’ll watch all 4 regular sessions, and then I’ll go with my father to the Priesthood session at Church. We’ll go out to eat afterwards.

Enjoy the conference!

Read the recaps and other notes from the 182nd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

The brouhaha over baptisms for the dead

Sometimes I think I’m pretty with it, and other times I just don’t get it. I don’t get all the commotion recently about the practice of baptisms for the dead in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I don’t understand why some outside the church are so against it, and I don’t understand why some inside the church seem to intentionally break the “rules”.

If you haven’t been following it, for the last couple of decades the Church has had an agreement with Jewish groups that we will not baptize people who are proxy for holocaust victims. Unfortunately, there are members who keep submitting these names, along with the names of celebrities. Recently the First Presidency stated again these rules (the letter was read in our Sacrament Meeting this past Sunday).

Like I said, I just don’t get it. Why would anyone care what we do with a name? If someone came up to me and said that they had baptized my grandfather (who is deceased) as a Lutheran, it wouldn’t bother me in the least. If they don’t believe in what we teach, then I just don’t get why it matters what we do when they don’t believe it has any effect. On the other hand, if we have this agreement with these Jewish groups, then we need to keep our agreement. I don’t mean to downplay anyone’s concerns. The brouhaha is on both sides.

I think one of the problems that we have is trying to help non-members understand why we do these baptisms for the dead. Terryl Givens, professor of literature and religion at the University of Richmond (and one of my favourite writers/authors) posted an article on the First Things web site called The Heavenly Logic of Proxy Baptism

181st Semiannual General Conference – Priesthood Session

Between the afternoon session and the priesthood session, my father, my brother-in-law, and I went out for dinner together. I ate so much Chinese food I thought I was going to burst! Not a good idea when you have to sit down for two hours.

Even after eating for an hour and a half, we made it to the church on time for the broadcast.

President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

A Melchizedek Priesthood choir provided the music

The choir sang Rise Up, O Men of God

Elder Richard G Hinckley offered the invocation

The choir sang I Need Thee Every Hour

Elder Jeffrey R Holland

  • We sometimes gloss over the menacing confrontation before the First Vision
    1. Satan is real
    2. He is eternally opposed to the love of God, the atonement, and peace
  • In this battle you need to be more morally clean than you are now
  • We need YM already on the team to stay on the team
  • Be active and be clean. If required, get active and get clean
  • From every priesthood holder I ask for a stronger voice

Bishop Keith B McMullin

  • Duty, properly carried out, affects our destiny
  • Spoke to the YM about being born again and developing priesthood power

Elder W Christoper Waddell

  • The Lord knows where he wants each missionary to serve
  • You learn things for the rest of your life
  • In order for the blessings to continue, you need to remain faithful
  • Arrive on your mission with a testimony of the Book of Mormon
  • Arrive on your mission knowing how to have the Spirit with you
  • Arrive on your mission ready to work

The choir and congregation sang the intermediate hymn. I sang it but didn’t write it down, and now I can’t think of it.

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • Experienced the church welfare program when he was a child
  • This year marks the 75th anniversary of the church welfare program
  • We care for the poor and needy because we love God and love our fellow man
  • Our spiritual life is that, a life. It is to be lived
  • This very hour there are many members of the church who need help
  • Do not think this is someone else’s responsibility. It is yours and mine.
  • It will take all of us

President Henry B Eyring

  • Priesthood preparation
  • Am I prepared?
  • Be an example of the word in deed
  • You can work harder than you think you can

President Thomas S Monson

  • The young people today think morals are a matter of personal taste
  • We should not have any question about what is moral
  • These laws are unchanging
  • Do we have the courage to stand strong in the face of opposition?
  • Dare to be a Mormon!

The choir sang Come, Ye Children of the Lord

Elder Koichi Aoyagi offered the benediction

Read the recaps and other notes from the 181st Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

181st Semiannual General Conference – Pre-conference notes

I can’t believe 6 months have gone by already. I haven’t even posted anything since the last General Conference. Yikes! Well, even though I’ve been a slacker on the blog, I’m still going to do my notes as usual.

Heading into this Conference, I haven’t heard any “rumours”, and there hasn’t been much talk that I’ve read on the Internet. I have no predictions myself. I’m going into it with an open mind, and I’m looking forward to receiving some direction. Getting through 10 hours of conference can be difficult, but it is always worth it.

One of my sons had a sleep over last night. This morning I was telling them that we had to get him home before General Conference started. Earlier we watched part of last night’s Star Wars The Clone Wars which had General Grievous in it. My 3-year-old daughter asked who General Conference was. I told her it was General Grievous’ friend, and she looked amazed, and asked if General Conference was from Star Wars 🙂

I’m pretty sure we are going to watch all 4 general sessions from home. In the past we’ve still gone to watch the first Sunday session at Church. We’ll see how it goes this time watching it at home with the kids. We generally have them watch half an hour of each session, and they watch the entire first Sunday session. Hopefully they won’t be too distracted at home.

The only other thing that is a little different this time will be the food after the priesthood session. Normally my Dad and I go out afterward. Since conference ends at 10 pm, it makes for a late night. This time my brother-in-law is also here, and we’ve decided to go out for dinner instead, so we’re going out to an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet in between the Saturday afternoon and Priesthood sessions. It should be good.

Enjoy the conference!

Read the recaps and other notes from the 181st Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: