Nov 15 2009

Rules We Don’t Know About

Poor Wayfaring Man

My previous two posts (Confession and Polygyny?) deal with topics that are quite different on the surface, but share certain underlying concepts, namely

  1. there are circumstances in which it is necessary for an LDS Church member to approach his or her local Church leader, seeking something that only the leader can provide;1 and
  2. the Church rules governing such circumstances are usually unclear or unknown to the Church member.2

Situations like this are the norm in the LDS Church. Continue reading

  1. When I met with a counselor in the branch presidency, I was seeking a way to be forgiven of my sins; when my mom met with her bishop, she was seeking cancellation of her temple marriage []
  2. Neither my mom nor I had a clear idea of what kind of process to expect, or what would be required of us by our Church leaders in connection with our respective request. []

Nov 11 2009

Confession: Example 1

Poor Wayfaring Man

Like every other Mormon missionary, my mission started with a stay in the Missionary Training Center (the “MTC”). I will probably have more to say about this topic in the future, but for my purposes today, I will just say that the MTC fills the same role as boot camp does for the military–it is meant to break down the new recruits and re-mold them into homogeneous parts of a mighty army. In the MTC, part of that process involves convincing the new recruits that they are sinners, and in need of repentance and reconciliation with God in order to avoid being a complete failures as missionaries.

As a new missionary, I was in the (common?) position of having never really leveled with my local bishop back home about grave sins like masturbation and/or looking at pornography. Continue reading


Oct 22 2009

Testimony

Poor Wayfaring Man

Every member of the LDS Church knows the importance of developing a strong personal or “spiritual” conviction (a “testimony”) regarding certain facts surrounding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.1 A testimony is considered a gift from God, delivered to a person by the Holy Ghost, a spirit-messenger of God, who communicates through a spiritual power that manifests itself in different ways to different people, typically as difficult-to-define sensations and thoughts. Every member is expected to have a testimony of at least the following key facts:
Continue reading

  1. Apostle Gordon B. Hinckley said: “I would like to say to you, that is the strength of this cause, the individual testimony that lies in the hearts of the people. The strength of this church is not in its buildings, in its chapels, in its offices, in its schools; it is not in its programs or its publications. They are important, but they are only a means to an end, and that the end is the building of the testimony – a conviction that will weather every storm and stand up to every crisis in the hearts and lives of the membership.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Area Conference Report, August 1971, Manchester, England, pp. 160-161. As quoted in┬áTestimony, pp. 8-9) []