Posts Tagged ‘LDS Church’
It is said that Mormons are a “peculiar” people. As such, especially in the present-day world we live in, we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.
In bars and restaurants across Manhattan, London, Chicago and D.C., people are talking about the LDS Church. Is that a bad thing?
No, but I’m guessing when former President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Ezra Taft Benson spoke about a day when films, songs, musicals and plays would be written about the Book of Mormon he didn’t have the current Broadway show “Book of Mormon” in mind.
The first thing to know about the musical is that it was written by the same guys who created South Park. Maybe that’s all you need to know. Their humor can be irreverent, crude, biting and often downright offensive. But it can be very, very funny.
As it turns out, “Book of Mormon” is also irreverent, crude, biting and (depending on your sensitivities) downright offensive. And it is very, very funny.
I bristled, I cringed, I clucked disapproval and shook my head in disbelief a few times. But most of all I laughed.
And during the performance of a piece called “I Believe” I had an epiphany. Every line of substance in the song is something I have said or heard over the pulpit – maybe not in exactly the same way it is written – but substantively, it’s true. (Warning: the full lyrics are of a graphic nature)
Here is a sample:
That the Lord God created the universe.
That he sent his only son to die for my sins.
And I believe-
That ancient Jews built boats and sailed
You cannot just believe part-way.
You have to believe in it all.
My problem was doubting
the Lord’s will.
Instead of standing tall.
I can’t allow myself to have any doubt.
That God has a plan for all of us.
That plan involves
Me getting my own planet.
And I believe
That the current President of the church,
Thomas Monson, speaks, directly to God.
I know that I must go and do-
The things my God commands.
I realize now why he sent me here!
If you ask the Lord in faith
He will always answer you just believe
In him and have no fear.
The scriptures say that if you ask in faith,
If you ask God himself you’ll know.
But you must ask him without any doubt,
And let your spirit grow!
That God lives on a planet called Kolob!
That Jesus has his own planet as well.
And I believe
That the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri.
If you believe,
The Lord will reveal it.
And you’ll know it’s all true-
You’ll just feel it.
Now, when this is being performed in a musical rendition meant to poke fun at how “naïve” Mormons are, it gets some big laughs – particularly the line about the Garden of Eden being in Jackson County, Missouri.
But strip away the mocking tone and in some cases adjust the language slightly, and the kid is singing Mormon doctrine.
I wouldn’t doubt that there have been some people who watched the production and then earnestly sought to know more. In fact, early on in the run of the production the LDS Church bought space in the playbill with the message, “You’ve seen the musical, now read the book,” with an offer for an actual Book of Mormon.
Given that millions more people will hear about “Book of Mormon” than ever actually see it, the publicity is probably not all bad for the LDS Church or its members. Given how over-the-top the humor is, there are bound to be questions about the LDS faith that will lead to thoughtful and serious conversations.
Look, we can’t take ourselves too seriously. After all, we are a “peculiar” people.
The Boy Scouts of America voted yesterday to end its ban on gay kids and teens joining the organization. This was the right decision, not only because the majority of its members supports it, but because our nation benefits when youth are “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent,” regardless of their sexual orientation.
Erick Erickson over at Red State has a different take on it. He believes that because the Boy Scouts have chosen to no longer discriminate, “the moral component to the Scouts will collapse in favor of knot tying, tent pitching, and badge collection.” Erickson says that while being gay is not a sin, acting on it is—a statement with which I agree. Sex of any kind outside the confines of marriage is a sin.
Erickson’s premise however, that admitting sinners or potential sinners causes an organization to lose its ability to teach morality, is ridiculous. Erickson declares that churches should “not turn away gays.” But, if Boy Scouts cannot admit gays and teach morality, how can churches accept gays and still preach the Gospel “in the context of teaching healthy morality and character” to worshippers? If we follow his reasoning, Erickson himself is incapable of teaching morality and character to his children. He has admitted gays into his social circle and does “not worry about [his children] interacting with and having gay friends.”
I am an Eagle Scout and participated in a scout troop sponsored by the LDS Church. In fact, the LDS Church sponsors more BSA troops than any other organization. In a statement after the vote, the Church pointed out that they have never precluded gay boys from participating in scouting activities as long as they live up to the moral code.
Jesus reminded us that we are all sinners, “he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a first stone.” As Christians, we are constantly striving to be better, to “go and sin no more,” and organizations like the Boy Scouts help us—all of us—on this journey.
In a world all too often filled with hate, by accepting gay kids, the Boy Scouts demonstrate love—a tenant of every major faith—and for that, I applaud them.
Yesterday’s election was proof, once again, that voters can be finicky – and that’s the way it should be.
Here is a rundown:
Legislative District 18 Recall
The big story was the surprise victory of Republican Jerry Lewis over Republican State Senate President Russell Pearce. Pearce was placed on recall ballot through the efforts of some left-wing and Democrat- affiliated organizations, but it was conservative Republican Jerry Lewis who took advantage of the opportunity by running a very solid race. Pearce outspent Lewis as much as 3-1, and Pearce also enjoyed support from some independent expenditures and the entirety of the Republican establishment.
It wasn’t enough. Voters were given a choice between a hard-edged Mormon conservative Republican whose main issue has been immigration (Pearce) and a softer spoken Mormon conservative Republican who has been a champion for school choice (Lewis). This will likely impact the next legislative session, in that there will be fewer immigration-related issues at the forefront.
Lewis will be a good fit in a conservative State Senate, but Pearce loyalists will likely spend time unnecessarily sniping at him – and he may be a short termer, depending on what happens with redistricting.
City of Phoenix
In the Phoenix, union-backed Greg Stanton prevailed over Wes Gullet. Thelda Williams prevailed over a challenge from the right. One of the unspoken stories in that race was the Williams enjoyed strong support from the LDS community (who would typically be more aligned with a more conservative candidate) because of her work in helping the LDS Church preserve the ability to build a temple in the north reaches of Phoenix. Daniel Valenzuela bested Brenda Sperduti. After Jim Waring unseated a union boss in August, there is a pretty even split on how much union influence there will be at City Hall.
Who said politics was boring?
Those who regularly check Noble Thinking have noticed I haven’t posted anything for a few days – the first time since I started the blog that I’ve missed more than a day.
The reason was that I was one of the “leaders” for a church youth group trip up to Salt Lake City, UT. The first Saturday and Sunday of every April is what we in the LDS Church call General Conference. It is a chance to get instruction, in the form of talks, from a multitude of Church leaders.
It was a great trip on many levels, and it had its humorous moments. We drove five vehicles: three minivans, one suburban and a king cab Ford F-250 with a camper shell for all the suitcases, bedding, etc.
I led the caravan, I suppose because I’m the Bishop, but probably more because I tend to drive a little fast. I drove a minivan with six teenage girls. Yes, you read that right. I drove for 12 hours with six teenage girls, their music and their talking, yelling, laughing and gawking at “cute boys” in other cars. And I lived to tell about it.
At one point I sent a text to a couple of the other guys – who happend to be driving the manly vehicles – the Suburban and the truck – and told them I that was going to need a testosterone injection after 12 hours in a sea of estrogen. I suggested going out for rare steak and watching a rugby match. One of them texted me back with this: “We will just beat you MMA style and shave your head. Now that is manly.” That was coming from a guy who HAS a shaved head and COULD beat me MMA style with one hand tied behind his back. (I didn’t have the guts to ask him, because I didn’t want him to show me, but I have no idea what being beat MMA style means.)
It actually wasn’t bad driving the girls (especially compared to beatings and a shaved head). For some, it sounds like a nightmare come true. But it wasn’t. They are all great girls, and I actually enjoyed it. I liked most of the music they played, tolerated some of it, and gave the disapproving looks for a couple of songs. I actually discovered that there is a Jonas Brothers song that I can tolerate: Love Bug.
(Did I just type “tolerate” and “Jonas Brothers” in the same sentence?!?)
The whole experience driving the girls up and back made me feel both young and old at the same time. Which is a pretty weird experience, and I don’t really know how else to describe it.
The Conference itself was awesome, and everyone had a great experience. In a couple cases, probably life-changing experiences, which is why we do those kinds of trips.
The drive back on Monday was pretty similar to the drive up, it just felt like it took longer. And it was more expensive. The girls had been making fun of my sunglasses all weekend (they were kind of expensive Ray Ban’s I bought a few years ago – and not the Tom Cruise version). To stop the harassment, at one the of the stops we were near an outlet mall with a Sunglass Hut and I told them that if the six of them could come to consensus on a pair of glasses, I’d buy them.
I think the sales lady is probably the smartest person in the world. Before I knew it, she had the girls rallying around a pretty expensive pair. Is it me, or is there nothing “outlet” about a Sunglass Hut at an outlet mall? If those are “outlet prices” I’d hate to see what full price is!
A few minutes later I was fitted with a pretty slick pair of “cool” sunglasses (see picture above).
A couple observations. First, I would have never even picked up those sunglasses to try on if I had been shopping alone. Second, I must have bad taste, because in the four years I had my old pair, I never had a compliment. Within two hours of buying the new pair I had a dozen compliments, one of them from the shaved headed MMA guy.
Now that’s manly.