Thursday, March 15, 2018

Two declarations that bookend LDS life

(by Jerry Earl Johnston 3-14-18)

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we sometimes forget that two of the most revered declarations in the church were never written with members of the church as the intended audience.

They were written with everyone else in mind.

The Articles of Faith appeared in a letter that Joseph Smith wrote in 1842 to John Wentworth of the Chicago Democrat newspaper.

And "The Family" began, I understand, as a proclamation “to the world,” aimed at society in general.
Today, when I read the Articles of Faith from Wentworth’s point of view, I hear overtones in them that we don’t always capture.

I hear Joseph saying, over and over, Mr. Wentworth, tell your readers they don’t have to be afraid of us. We’re a lot like them. We’re not dangerous.

We believe in a Christian godhead, the Articles say.

We believe in traditional Christian principles and ordinances.

And as far as fear mongering goes, we are not violent, delusional or threatening.
We believe in being good citizens — wherever we live.

We believe in “obeying, honoring and sustaining the law.”

We don’t force people into our way of life. We believe everyone should be free to worship however they choose.

We believe in being honest and kind.

Like you, Mr. Wentworth, we seek the best things in life.
If I were Wentworth, I’d hear Joseph telling me that Mormons don’t want to change American society. They just want to belong.

They just want to be Mormons.

And in that same respect, I see "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" as the flip side to the Wentworth letter.

If the Articles of Faith are saying, in effect, "Mormons don’t want to disrupt American society," "The Family" proclamation says, "We don’t want American society to disrupt us."

As President Gordon B. Hinckley declared in 1995, "The Family" proclamation was released to “warn and forewarn.”

In my lifetime, I have seen many forces try to shape American culture. When I was a boy, we members all hoped that LDS values would one day influence secular culture.
Now that I’m older, the bigger concern seems to be in keeping secular culture from having too much influence on Mormonism.

The refrain “truth is marching” has added a second line: “Don’t tread on us.”

The Articles of Faith and "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" are bookends for LDS life over the past 150 years.

The Articles were eventually accepted as scripture.

I know many people who hope the same fate awaits the "The Family" proclamation.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

'Prophetic Events of The Last Days' is a compelling overview of second coming calamities

(by Alivia Whitaker 2-19-18)The calamities of the last days and the triumphant Second Coming of Jesus Christ are topics of intense interest for many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For LDS readers wanting to know more about these subjects, Richard L. Judd’s book titled “Prophetic Events of the Last Days” could prove a fascinating read.
“Prophetic Events of the Last Days: Understanding the Signs of the Second Coming” is an efficient and interesting overview of the prophecies made regarding episodes to come leading up to Christ’s Second Coming.

With chapter titles such as, “Avoiding Deception: There Are False Prophets Rising Within And Without The Church” and “I Wonder Where He’ll Come Again: Personal and Public Appearances,” Judd does an excellent job attracting even the most casual student of the Second Coming and of laying out the facts about the last days in an organized and helpful way. It is researched and cited with great care and surgical precision, and the sources are cited within the text.

The book is an excellent and well-researched collection of scripture, quotes and doctrine and even provides visual word examples as well as helpful charts, lists and references. Interesting highlights in “Prophetic Events” included personal examples from the author, such as when a mentally ill man entered his institute building claiming to be the Christ. One downside to the book is that it is somewhat lacking in personal voice and experience and, at times, can seem a bit academic-heavy. However, this is understandable as the book is about prophecies of things to come in the future.
The book is a wonderful and quick read and is written in such a way that mentions of disturbing future events are written from the perspective of scripture, quotes from church leaders and doctrine, and are not graphic in any way.