Thursday, May 20, 2010

LDS Church Under Fire From Opponents Of AZ SB 1070

Once it was discovered that, Sen. Russell Pearce, was the legislator behind Arizona's immigration law was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Church has come under fire from the Hispanic community
Many Latinos who view the new law as unjust and discriminatory blame not only Pearce but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That is making it hard for Mormons to proselytize to the state's 1.8 million Latinos, whom the church views as key to future growth.
When the LDS Church was contacted by the press about the Senator Pearce's endorsement of Arizona SB 1070, it gave a very surprising response:
Kim Farah, a spokeswoman for the LDS headquarters in Salt Lake City, said in an e-mail that elected officials who are Mormons do not represent the position of the church. She said the church has also not taken a position on immigration, which is "clearly the province of government."
"However, Church leaders have urged compassion and careful reflection when addressing immigration issues affecting millions of people," she said in the e-mail.
It is odd that the Church has no official position on whether or not people ought to be allowed to have citizenship papers with them. Yet the Church does have an official position on illegal immigration.

Maybe Kim Farrah, the LDS spokeswoman, should read D&C 88: 3, 5-7, D&C 98:4-8, D&C 101:77 and the Twelfth Article of Faith if she is having trouble in figuring out what the official position of the LDS Church is on illegal immigration.

The fact that the Church doesn't have an "official" position on illegal immigration despite the fact that scriptures and modern Prophets have clearly stated that obedience to the laws of the land is necessary in being a good member of the Church is odd.

Furthermore, its strange that the LDS Church requires worthy members to carry and present their temple recommend as a requirement to enter into the Temple yet they have no official position with regards to state law that requires people to carry and present their legal papers as a condition to entering the United States?

I guess the Church really doesn't have a coherent or consistent official position on illegal immigration since the religion expects people to be obedient to the commandments as given in the House of The Lord yet many illegal immigrants are given temple recommends despite the fact that sneaking into America is a form of disobedience.

How the can the Church expect people to obey the commandments of God yet have no stance towards those who break the law of the land? This doesn't line up with D&C 58:21:
Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land.
One of the temple recommend questions is "Are you honest in your dealings with your fellowmen?" How can the Church expect people to be honest if they're handing out Temple recommends to Church members who violate the law by entering the country illegally?

Sneaking into America is not only a form of disobedience but a form of dishonesty.

Hopefully, the Church will figure out what its official position is on civil obedience is.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Scientific Proof We're All Born With The Light Of Christ?

There is now evidence that babies at the age of six months old can discern the difference between good and evil. These findings might be of surprise to many people:
"An astonishing series of experiments is challenging the views of many psychologists and social scientists that human beings are born as 'blank slates' - and that our morality is shaped by our parents and experiences.
Instead, they suggest that the difference between good and bad may be hardwired into the brain at birth.
In one experiment involving puppets, babies aged six months old showed a strong preference to 'good' helpful characters - and rejected unhelpful, 'naughty' ones.
In another, they even acted as judge and jury. When asked to take away treats from a 'naughty' puppet, some babies went further - and dished out their own punishment with a smack on its head."
However, these findings might not be so surprising to LDS people since we find this gem in Moroni 7:16
The Spirit of Christ, is something that each of us is born with. As Elder Eyring explains:
"Every child of Heavenly Father born in the world is given at birth, as a free gift, the Light of Christ."
The Light of Christ, also known as the Spirit of Christ is something that secular people would call a conscience. However, Harold B. Lee affirms that this is no mere biological or evolutionary trait that each of us have:
"Every one of us has been born with that light, the light of Christ, which lightens all of us that come into the world, and it never ceases to strive with us, to warn us, to guide us, as long as we are keeping the commandments of God."
The fact that babies seem to be born with a sense of right and wrong before they are taught, socialized or conditioned into a set of values could be seen as a possible validation of the LDS belief concerning the Light of Christ we all are given from God. Yet, LDS theology has an additional explanation for why six month old babies are born with a sense of good and evil: 
"Throughout your pre-earth life, you were taught the principles and commandments that would lead to happiness, with freedom to choose to grow in intelligence and love of the truth, or not. " (Source.)
Another interesting scientific discovery that is relevant to our discussion here is that studies have shown that that all living things emits a light from within itself:
"Past research has shown that the body emits visible light, 1,000 times less intense than the levels to which our naked eyes are sensitive. In fact, virtually all living creatures emit very weak light, which is thought to be a byproduct of biochemical reactions involving free radicals."
This seems to affirm the LDS teaching all living things have the Spirit of Christ. President Boyd K. Packer teaches that:
"The Light of Christ is as universal as sunlight itself. Wherever there is human life, there is the Spirit of Christ. Every living soul is possessed of it." (Source.)
Elder Packer goes on to explain that this free gift, the Light of Christ, is not to be confused with the gift of the Holy Ghost. There is a difference between these two concepts:
"Everyone everywhere already has the Spirit of Christ, and while the Spirit of the Holy Ghost can visit anyone, the gift of the Holy Ghost is obtained “by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (A of F 1:3), by submitting to “baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; [and the] laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” (A of F 1:4). It is not automatically present like the Spirit of Christ is present. This gift must be conferred by one holding authority." (see A of F 1:5). (Id.)
Even though the Light of Christ and the Gift of The Holy Ghost serve the same functions, the Holy Ghost is a gift we can have with us constantly. President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:
“Every man can receive a manifestation of the Holy Ghost, even when he is out of the Church, if he is earnestly seeking for the light and for the truth. The Holy Ghost will come and give the man the testimony he is seeking, and then withdraw; and the man does not have a claim upon another visit or constant visits and manifestations from him. He may have the constant guidance of that other Spirit, the Spirit of Christ.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:42; see also Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (1976), 149.)
The Bible explains that receiving the Holy Ghost is necessary to enter into the Kingdom of God. As Jesus explains in John 3:3-7:
"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."
However, Moses 6:59 indicates that receiving the Holy Ghost is literally a process of being born into God's Kingdom in the same way that blood, water and the spirit are present when a person is born. Thus, when we recieve the Holy Ghost, we are being born again with a new spirit or light within us. And just as we carried the lessons that we learned in the preexistence to Earth, we will take the lessons that we learn here to the next life. 
As a result I think its safe to say that the LDS doctrine implies that we have never been or will be born with a blank moral slate. We will always carry light and knowledge from previous states of existence to the next  phase of existence. 
Perhaps science is starting to catch up with what the Gospel has been teaching all along.  

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Holy Ghost: A False Positive?

I was sharing the gospel with my friend and trying to tell him about how the Holy Ghost can reveal truth to people.
He asks me what the Holy Ghost feels like. I tried to explain the different ways people experience the Holy Ghost.
He then says, "What if what you are feeling is just a false positive? What if its just a false positive?"
I didn't have a response to that. 
How do you explain to someone that feeling the Holy Ghost isn't a false positive?