Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

President Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said:

May we remember these ABCs as we begin our journey into the new year: cultivating a positive attitude, a belief that we can achieve our goals and resolutions, and the courage to face whatever challenges may come our way. Then the abundant life will be ours.

Source: January 2012 Ensign: Living the Abundant Life.

When you are asked at church to provide contact information, such as a phone number or email address, it is generally expected that the contact information is only to be used for church use, not for political or commercial purposes.

This gets a little fuzzy when “church use” mingles a little bit with political or commercial purposes. Suppose you found a great sale on bibles, and wanted to share the info with other members of the congregation? Or perhaps a church leader wants to remind people to fulfill their civic duties by voting in an upcoming election?

It also gets confusing when other members of the congregation are also personal friends. While it may not be appropriate to approach church members with a commercial or political cause, approaching a personal friend may be acceptable.

To help clarify the confusion with this issue, may I suggest the following guidelines:

Points that may indicate acceptable use:

  • The individual also provided directly to you their contact information.
  • The topic of your conversation is directly related to a recently or frequently taught principle at church.
  • The topic of conversation is directly related to a church sponsored or church encouraged activity.
  • You frequently associate with the individual away from church encouraged activities.
  • The individual has contacted you previously for a commercial or political cause.

Warning signs for unacceptable use:

  • You or someone you directly know would materially benefit from the conversation.
  • A political candidate or political cause (which hasn’t been officially endorsed by the church) would benefit.
  • You have to use a church published directory in order to find the contact information.
  • You are using an email list or a set of email addresses which has been created by a church official or created for church use.
  • You are specifically mentioning the name of a business, the name of a political candidate, or a ballot measure title.

Of course, these guidelines are to clarify the confusion that may occur with “church use” verses “commercial use.”  It leave the topic of “church use” verses “personal use” undiscussed.  Can you use the church email list to invite everyone to your backyard BBQ?  I’ll leave that question unanswered.

To further clarify any remaining confusion, let me give my opinion about a couple of scenarios:

A member of your church congregation wants to have a tupperware party.  If the person intends on selling tupperware at the party, or to create interest in tupperware in order to sell product later, the person should be very careful not to use any contact information that was provided to the church and not to the individual directly. is having a sale on copies of the Bible. If a person just wants to let you know about the sale, it may be ok for them to send the link to the product page.  If the link includes a referral code such that the person can earn a commission, then it is not appropriate for them to send the link to a church provided contact list.

A member of the congregation is running for political office.  Since sharing accomplishments of members of the congregation isn’t irregular, acknowledgment of the fact that the member is running wouldn’t be inappropriate, unless people were being encouraged to vote for the person.  Stating the candidate’s platform or political views is inappropriate because it is encouraging votes.

There is a ballot issue on a topic addressed frequently at church.  It would be ok to let people know about the ballot issue, especially if it was explained how the ballot issue is connected to topics addressed at church.  It would be ok to encourage people to vote on the issue. Unless church officials have endorsed a particular stance on the issue, it would not be appropriate to tell people to vote a particular way on the issue.

It is important to be very careful when using church provided contact information.  Not only do we need to keep church, political and commercial subjects separate for legal and ethical reasons, but it is important to respect people’s privacy by not misusing contact information they provided for church use only.

For many religious faiths, the most cherished of religious buildings are giant mega-churches where thousands of people can worship all together. This is great, and I respect their ability to create such buildings to help people grow and increase their faith in God.

For mormons, the most cherished of religious buildings are temples, but they are quite different than mega-churches of other faiths. It is understandably easy to confuse temples with mega-churches because of the way their respective parishioners cherish both types of buildings.

Mormon temples aren’t meant to accomodate large groups of people. While a mega-church may be designed for preaching to several thousands of people at once, temples are designed for small groups of people (sometimes just a couple of dozen) throughout the entire day, 6 days a week. This means that the traffic and parking concerns that sometimes accompany mega-churches aren’t applicable to mormon temples.

Instead of size, mormon temples place an emphasis on symbolism and elegance. Rather than a place of congregation, they are built as a place of peaceful reflection.

So don’t make the mistake of confusing mega-churches with temples. While they are both cherished buildings by their respective faiths, they are really quite different.

Visit to learn more about temples and the Fort Collins Colorado temple.

Nephi’s Merit Badges

Posted in Funny, Religionon Dec 2, 2010

I recently looked through 1 Nephi and 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon and found many references to many of the Boy Scout Merit Badges. Here is a quick list:

  • American Heritage, 2 Nephi 1:5 : Having arrived in ancient America, Nephi created American Heritage
  • American Labor, 2 Nephi 5:17 : The Nephites worked and labored upon arriving in America
  • Animal Science, 1 Nephi 18:25 : Discovery of many beasts in America
  • Archery, 1 Nephi 16:23 – Nephi makes a bow
  • Architecture, 2 Nephi 5:15 : Building of buildings
  • Backpacking, 1 Nephi 16:13 : Travel through wilderness
  • Camping, 1 Nephi 2:15 : Tent dwelling
  • Citizenship in the World, 1 Nephi 5:18 : Gathered brass plates that they may go forth to all nations
  • Coin collecting, 1 Nephi 3:15 : Nephi gathered his families precious items, presumably including a collection of coins, to trade for the brass plates
  • Communications, 1 Nephi 4:23 : Negotiations for the brass plates
  • Crime Prevention, 1 Nephi 7:16-17 : Nephi’s brothers were going to kill him, but he prevented their crime by praying
  • Family Life, 1 Nephi 16:7 : Nephi gets married
  • Fire Safety, 1 Nephi 17:13 : The Lord made their meat sweet, so they did not need to create fire while traveling across the wilderness.  Safest fire is no fire.
  • Gardening, 2 Nephi 5:11 : Nephites sowed seed
  • Genealogy, 1 Nephi 3:3 : The brass plates contained Nephi’s genealogy.
  • Geology, 1 Nephi 12:4 : Nephi heard earthquakes and saw mountains tumbling in a dream.
  • Journalism, 1 Nephi 1:2 : Nephi keeps a record
  • Metalwork, 1 Nephi 12:16 : Nephi made tools from metal to build a boat
  • Oceanography, 1 Nephi 17:5 : Nephi beholds and names a sea.
  • Orienteering, 1 Nephi 16:16 : Nephi follows the directions on the Liahona
  • Personal Fitness, 1 Nephi 4:31 : Nephi was large in stature.
  • Plant Science, 1 Nephi 8:1 : Nephi and his family gathered all manner of seeds.
  • Reading, 1 Nephi 19:23 : Read the words of Isaiah
  • Scholarship, 1 Nephi 1:1 : Nephi was taught the learnings of his father.
  • Weather, 1 Nephi 18:13 : Identified a great storm.
  • Whitewater, 1 Nephi 18:15 : Almost was swallowed up by the depths of the sea.
  • Wilderness Survival, 1 Nephi 17:1 : Took a journey in the wilderness
  • Woodwork, 1 Nephi 18:1 : Used timbers to make a boat.

President Thomas S. Monson said:

Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish–and in effect save their lives.

Source: Ensign, November 2009, Page 95.

A few weeks ago, I signed up to feed the full time missionary Elders serving in my ward.  I forgot about it until I received a phone message from them yesterday morning when they called to say:

We’re just giving you a call we saw that you signed up for feeding us today and so we’re just wondering what time would work for you so give us a call back and let us know and we’ll talk to you soon thanks bye.

So I look at my schedule and came up with a plan to make some home made pizza out of some leftovers in my fridge.  I was about to give them a call back and let them know that they should come over at 6, when they called me.

In their phone call, they explained that they had a very packed schedule and asked if I could bring some food over to the institute building for them.  Pretty much they said, “Can you deliver our dinner to us”?  I figured that I had signed up to feed them and if they were really busy, then I could probably help them out.

I left work early, stopping by Warmart to buy a take-and-bake pizza.  I then drove like 15 minutes to the institute building on the other side of Fort Collins, and threw the pizza in the oven.

I started looking around the institute building for the Elders, but I couldn’t find them.  Eventually, I found their shoes on a shelf, and inside their shoes, their schedule.  So I looked through their schedule to discover that they were away playing frisby.

So pretty much, I spent extra money and about 45 minutes of time to buy and take them a pizza because their schedule was too busy playing ultimate frisby.

I won’t be volunteering to feed them again.

LDS General Conference 2009

Posted in Religionon Mar 31, 2009

Conference Center

Conference Center

Twice a year, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participate in a worldwide conference called General Conference. General conference traditionally consists of 5, 2-hour sessions, which are broadcast around the world. During the sessions, Church business is addressed, and the leaders of the Church give speeches on various faith-promoting topics.

The October 2009 conference will be the 179th semi-annual conference, held on Saturday October 3, and Sunday October 4. Saturday will consist of three sessions: 2 general sessions at 10am and 2pm (MDT), and a priesthood session at 6pm. Male members of the Church ages 12 and older attend the priesthood session, which is only broadcast to Church meetinghouses via closed circuit satellite. Sunday consists of two additional general sessions at 10am and 2pm (MDT).

General sessions of the conference are broadcast in many languages on many TV, radio, cable, and satellite systems. Additionally, they can be viewed or heard over the Internet.

The textual transcripts of conference will be made available on the Church’s website on October 8.

For more information about General Conference, including how to watch conference, visit the conference broadcast page on

(image source)

Updated 13 Sept 2009 for Fall Conference