Thanks for asking; I believe that there is much truth and good and even a Divine element in all the major world religions and philosophies, and respect the right of others to adopt the beliefs they want. There are a lot of universals out there -- like the "Golden Rule" for example - that help us to deal with others who see the world differently.
Even though I may have specific disagreements with some of the beliefs or doctrines or practices of others, the idea of free will underlies all this. (You can reference the "Articles of Faith" penned by Joseph Smith on one of the websites I referred to earlier to get a brief overview of Mormon beliefs.) I believe all people are children of God, and so in a very real sense, you and every other person on earth are relatives of mine -- sometimes I like that and sometimes I'm not so sure!
For example, I am eternally indebted to the wonderful Muslim MD that replaced my wife's cornea and restored her blindness to sight. My white nephew and his wife adopted two black children from Africa; they are loved and accepted as much as their two natural children. It underscores the fact that we all have lots in common despite our differences.
My faith "works for me" and for my family. I think my faith can add something to whatever beliefs and truth others may have, but I don't think it does any good to go around with the attitude of "holier than thou" with respect to sharing what I have.
I also don't think one can "argue" or convince others about faith matters -- people have to "prove" it to themselves, or experience it for themselves. Since my faith benefits me, naturally I want to share it with you. While I may think my faith is better or more complete than other faiths I do not think or believe I am better than you. Personal religious experience is just that -- something that you experience personally. Furthermore, I don't think God wants to tell us everything -- many things in life are left for us to discover, work through, and implement -- for our own growth and development.
Again, I would love it if those curious about Mormons would take the time to study it more. Take an open-minded trip through the Book of Mormon, and see how it changes the way you think and feel about life and the others around you. Attend a church service or nose around the church's websites. I really think the more familiar you get with "Mormonism," the less these superficial and fragmented stereotypes will pass as anything substantial.
Again, thanks for listening. I notice my posts are longer than most. I think it is just my personality.Comment Posted By Cheen On 13.07.2009 @ 14:55
"No, actually, it is infinitely more technologically unbelievable. That’s the point. It is - literally - impossible. Text messages don’t rely on faith."
I would say that you actually do exercise a measure of faith most every time you take an action. i.e. You put your keys in the ignition, having faith the engine will start; you put your credit card number into Pay Pal and have faith your package will arrive in the mail, etc. You make a call or send a text on a cell phone using technology that 99.9% of the users don't fully understand -- but you expect(have faith)it will work.
You wonder how an angel could appear, how a prayer could be heard, or how God could do something miraculous because you don't understand or can't physically see the mechanisms and the means by which these things are done -- and then you insist they don't exist because you can't see them with your finite mind or your physical eyes.
The idea of talking into a cell phone and being instaneously heard on the other side of the world or having a man land on the moon has also been considered preposterous or absurd by some in the past. Why can't God use the matter of the universe to communicate by mechanisms that we don't fully know about yet? When you use the word "impossible", you suddenly put yourself in a position of knowing it all -- when the universe dictates a more humble approach might be a more appropriate way to go.
True faith is not just believing in anything, but in things that are true. You actually have faith in a lot of things, though you may not use the word "faith" to describe this. Experience with spiritual things increases faith in God and His reality. Mormons I know love truth and seek it not only in personal religious experience, but in all branches of science and the arts and every other worthy endeavor. I see my faith as an asset to my search for truth wherever it exists.Comment Posted By Cheen On 13.07.2009 @ 13:16
"I don’t see how asking someone who claims to believe something, to openly admit to that belief is beating them up. I just wanted to know if Romney really believes that an angel gave magical gold tablets and magical glasses to Joseph Smith."
The above quote is a perfect example of what I was saying earlier about superficial analyses of Mormonism. Of course Romney believes in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, just as he believes Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world; but the question as posed is a total setup, filled with inherent bias. The fact that Joseph Smith obtained an ancient record and used spiritually mediated means to translate it, in a very sacred manner, is portrayed like it was some sort of magic side show, rather than the Divine means employed to bring forth additional scripture, the Book of Mormon.
The loaded question is just as absurd as asking, "What do you think about that bogus belief system called Christianity and that unbelieveable claim that Christ was actually resurrected?"
The idea that a prophet could receive revelation through a seer stone is no more techologically unbelieveable than your receiving a text message on your cell phone, or God hearing your prayers at dinner time. It is just new to you, so you are curious. However, being curious does not make you informed.
If you want to comment on Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon, or how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints got started, or how reasonable logical people can believe in it, please take the time to read the Book of Mormon first and do YOUR homework. The answers are all there on mormon.org or lds.org. I think they will even send you a free Book of Mormon if you ask. The proof of the Book of Mormon is in the reading and personal experiencing of the book, not in seeing the gold plates. Millions of people have read the book, but obviously not everyone. Also, ask yourself, as you read it, if a farm boy with a 3rd or 4th year of formal education could have produced this from his imagination in a few weeks time.
Whether you love or hate Romney, agree or disagree with his politics, he is stronger and better for his Christian Mormon beliefs. I'd say the same for Harry Reid or any other Mormon who is trying to live his/her religion.Comment Posted By Cheen On 13.07.2009 @ 11:16
I'm certainly NOT saying that people who believe in the Bible are crazy; any faith tradition includes some belief in events that are supernatural. I respect the fact that there is great good in all major faith traditions. I am saying, "Don't call what I believe irrational, when you have your own set of beliefs that require faith to accept."
I also maintain that if you believe in the Bible, you must also accept that there were miracles and revelations from God to man that were documented and that occurred over many millenia. These revelations formed the basis for the Bible -- I believe the Bible (as far as translators have been faithful to the original), but I'd certainly like to think the "Author" can still communicate to us. Further, that others who share those beliefs shouldn't be automatically marginalized in political life. I have certainly voted for many individuals over my lifetime who did not share some of my beliefs, but I believed shared my values and ideas of what constitutes good government.
From a public standpoint, it shouldn't be so much about what Mormons believe (even though I think our doctrines are very sensible and most Mormons are more than eager to share if you ask), but about the nature of the lives and character of those who live their faith as best they can. (In other words, what they do.) Mormons aren't necessarily any more perfect than anyone else, but they are encouraged to be good citizens, good neighbors, to help the less fortunate, give Christian service, and participate in government, etc.
Anyway, I'm not sure if my comments are actually changing anyone's attitude toward Mormons, but I do feel like we live under a lot of undeserved stereotypes and superficial assessments.
Thanks again.Comment Posted By Cheen On 10.07.2009 @ 16:09
As a Christian, a practicing Mormon, as well as a political independent, I am often amazed at how naïve and judgmental some people seem to be about my faith and its relation to politics. Another thing I have seen is a pattern of persons claiming to know what Mormons believe, clearly before an honest effort has been made to find out what our beliefs really are – presenting some sensationalized distorted fragment of our beliefs, and never really addressing why a reasonable intelligent person could actually be an adherent. The same people who seem to have no problem believing in Old Testament miracles such as Moses parting the Red Sea, the delivery of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego from the fiery furnace; New Testament miracles of Jesus including his virgin birth, walking on the water, feeding the 5000; and post-crucifixion miracles of Jesus’ followers including Peter healing a lame man, and multiple records of angelic appearances – seem to choke when it comes to believing there could be any modern day communication of God to man – and certainly nothing miraculous, or systematic. Angelic visits to Joseph Smith seem over the top, although they might have been okay if they had occurred 2000 years ago – as that seems to be the time (in the minds of some) that God stopped his long standing pattern of being interested enough in mankind to give some direction. Somehow if you believe in old miracles instead of new ones that makes one more acceptable – even if this religion actually seems to benefit its members in a myriad of ways, and has millions of members. There are Mormon governors, representatives, and senators, both Republican and Democrat who seem to have served quite well in the aggregate. I don’t know if we will ever have a Mormon President, but PLEASE take the time to learn about us FROM us before you tell someone else what we’re about. Thanks!Comment Posted By Cheen On 10.07.2009 @ 13:35
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