OK, Then, Let’s Hear What’s Good About the Church

By: Jeff Spector
August 16, 2013

ChurchAs kind of follow up on Hawkgrrrl’s post earlier this week, I’d like to start a discussion on what you think is good about the LDS Church. On the Internet and the Bloggernacle in particular, many can give you multiple recitations on what they think is wrong with the Church, including the way it spends its money, the way it treats women, portrayal of Church History, and other sensitive topics.

But, seriously, in the mind of this complainants, is there no good that the Church does?  It has been said that the Gospel, as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints makes bad men (and women and children) good and good men better.  We know there are organizations throughout the world that can accomplish the same thing, so what sets the Church apart from those other groups?

So, what do you think is good about the Church?

 

30 Responses to OK, Then, Let’s Hear What’s Good About the Church

  1. nate on August 16, 2013 at 7:07 AM

    If you are not here to make and honor covenants with God, to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and gain support from the priesthood and community of Saints in your walk with God, I can see why it would be hard to stay.

    But even without that faith, there are great reasons to love the church! It attracts great people, it gives opportunities to serve, it asks sacrifice which brings blessings, it invites you to set meaningful eternal goals for your life, it provides a healthy structure in a world bandied about by every wind of doctrine, and it teaches an inspiring philosophy of life, and an intriguing cosmological outlook.

    But…you might find better elsewhere, I don’t know. The best reason to stay in the church is if you think God has called you to it.

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  2. Howard on August 16, 2013 at 7:44 AM

    The church provides religion and moral structure to those who might otherwise do with less and generally invites members to reach for and grow into more. It provides a primer of the restored gospel and it offers admirable family values to the extent they are inclusive. In short, what it does best is it puts minivans and SUVs full of families in the God express lane and it does it well.

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  3. Jettboy on August 16, 2013 at 7:51 AM

    It’s the Church that God organized for the Salvation of the World. All other things, good or bad, are insignificant by comparison. As the Apostles said to Jesus who asked them if they were going to leave after wide spread apostasy, where else am i going to go to get the words of eternal life?

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  4. Nick Literski on August 16, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    (1) The doctrine of human divinization is a beautiful, ennobling concept, which I admire greatly in Mormonism–especially in comparison with other Christian faith traditions.

    (2) I count myself greatly blessed by Mormon/LDS teachings and practices which led me to connect with my ancestors. Too many people today seem to drift without feeling a connection to the greater human family. I’m glad that I can recite the names, and tell the stories, of my ancestors for several generations. It’s a wonderful feeling to truly know where you came from.

    (3) LDS behavioral guidelines are a wonderful way to guide children. My five daughters (four adults now, one teenager) have managed to avoid a whole host of problems (pregnancy, drugs, etc.) because they were raised with those guidelines.

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  5. Justin on August 16, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    In terms of moral structure — I wouldn’t list that because it doesn’t make our church unique in any way from any other church, or from any other humanist for that matter. I think most of the moral things are just what’s good about humans in general — not what’s good about this-or-that religion.

    As far as being uniquely good as a Mormon — I would say that our focus on the human being as a God “in embryo” is a good concept. As well as our theology that human family relationships are an integrally valuable and enduring/eternal focus of our attention/energy [not just something entertaining/enjoyable for the here-and-now]. And I also think that our belief in an entire universe full of God’s “goings on” is good and makes a better case against the atheist critique that the “Intelligent Designer” certainly wasted a lot of time and space if His goal was to just get humans on just this planet Earth — with our God having populated, currently populating, and preparing to populate planets all over the cosmos.

    But I don’t like:

    is there no good that the Church does?

    when it’s used as a sort-of “deflection” against valid complaints of what’s wrong. Stephen Fry talked about this common tactic [to deflect from the bad in religion by trying to point at some of the good] when debating about the Catholic church:

    I suppose I’m slightly disappointed that [the other side] should say “Oh, I knew they’d bring up condoms and child rape and homosexuality.” It’s a bit like a burglar in court saying “You would bring up that burglary and that manslaughter, you never mentioned the fact that I gave my father a birthday present.

    You know, yes, yes, are you getting the message? There is a reason we hammer home these issues: because they matter. It’s such an opportunity, owning a billion souls at baptism. It’s such an opportunity to do something remarkable, to make this planet better, and it’s an opportunity that is constantly and arrogantly being avoided and I’m sorry for that.

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  6. Andrew S on August 16, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    We know there are organizations throughout the world that can accomplish the same thing, so what sets the Church apart from those other groups?

    With this line, I think there are two questions being asked in this post:

    1) What’s good about the church?

    and

    2) What’s good about the Church that is different from other organizations?

    I think #2 is a difficult hurdle to jump over, but I also think that it’s not necessarily the right hurdle to try to jump over. In other words, even if the good things about the church can be found in other organizations…they are still good. And we are *here*, not *there*.

    I don’t think that one size fits all, so i think it’s a good thing that positive aspects can be found in multiple groups, rather than being exclusive to one group or another.

    I think some of those positives are having to grapple in a community/group settings with people of different beliefs and different lifestyles. I think that this is a positive where uniqueness isn’t really important — in fact, it doesn’t really matter *what* the group or community is, as long as one feels bound to grapple with it. Religions typically have that, whereas other communities don’t, because there is a sense of “necessity” or “urgency” to religion…on the other hand, if I don’t like my sports club, then I’ll find a different group of folks to hang out. (I think that non-voluntary, geographic wards are a feature then, not a bug.)

    I think that in particular, the emphasis on peculiarity and a particularly minority set of views forces us to grapple both with what we are taught in the church and with larger society. Again, I don’t think the particular conclusions we reach is as important as the fact that we have to *think* about whatever conclusion we make.

    To that end, i think there are some “ills” that are possible, but these aren’t necessarily the same ones others might be thinking off. The “ills” to watch out for is lack of thoughtfulness — where you accept something just because you’ve never considered any other way. I think that someone who’s fully immersed in a culture is at risk of this — whether it’s Mormonism, the larger American culture, or whatever. But by having a foot in both worlds, one has to really *think* about the stuff that’s taken for granted in either culture.

    Mormons sufficiently engaged in mainstream American culture, for example, have to really *think*: “Why is coffee “bad”? Is it bad? Why is revelation and religious authority worth paying attention to? Is it worth paying attention to?” I don’t think the particular answers are as important as the questions asked, to the extent that if someone is not asking the questions, then I don’t think they are getting as much benefit…(For example, a non-Mormon doesn’t ask the question, “Is coffee bad?” it would just not come up. And someone who is profoundly immersed in Mormonism may never consider that coffee might be OK…that revelations might be more complicated, etc.,)

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  7. DavidH on August 16, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    I don’t know that there is any characteristic of my Church that differs dramatically from (or makes it markedly better than) any other faith or nonfaith tradition, any more than there is any such particular characteristic that makes my family different from or better than any other (although, I must say, that I have the very best wife, daughters, son, son in law, and grandson in the entire universe).

    The Church is, however, my spiritual home. It has its pluses and minuses, but it is where I feel that I belong.

    One way I feel my Church is the or an “only true and living” Church is that it is “catholic” or “universal.” At the same time we teach an exclusivism, we teach and practice universalism. To the extent an “hall pass” or “wrist stamp” or “password” or “PIN” is necessary to receive the highest, much exclusive reward in the hereafter, we have rituals that symbolize the giving of that hall pass, wrist stamp, password or PIN to all humanity who have ever lived, regardless of whether they chose to belong to the “true church” while living. What better way to exemplify universalist sentiments than to physically represent the extension of that reward to all humanity?

    I do believe that all humanity (and all creation) are intertwined–that we are all ultimately one, and for that reason I love the sealing ordinances that provides such an interlocking “welding link” of all humanity.

    The absence of a formalized theology provides freedom of thought and speculation.

    One of the great fruits of Mormonism, in my opinion, is in those who choose to leave it. By and large, some of the finest, moral, kind and principled people are those who have chosen for reason of conscience to follow another path. I believe that true religion (and in this sense I believe Mormonism is true) embraces all that is true and is good. When a person decides that the search for truth and good leads him/her elsewhere, how can I not respect that? Particularly when the individual, as in my experience they almost always do, continues honestly to try to do right (and let the consequences follow). I don’t say that lapsed Mormons are better than lapsed anything-else, but I do say that they are a good fruit of my religion.

    I like the sense of community and mutual support. I like the sense of “ownership” that comes from taking turns in leadership and teaching roles in my Church.

    I like that dedication and loyalty of people–giving so much to the “Church”–serving missions, spending uncompensated hours in service, donating 10% of income, attending (and driving our children) to early morning seminary. This allows the community as a united group to accomplish much. I may not agree with all the decisions of how to use this human capital, or financial capital, but I like being a part of a group that has the capacity to do so much good (and I do think that by and large a lot of good things are done with the human and financial capital).

    The welfare system and expenditures of the Church are good fruits. I like the evolving and increasing emphasis on general humanitarian efforts.

    I like the commitment to education. My understanding is that the largest sector of LDS church employment is in education–the schools and seminaries and institutes. I think this is wise.

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  8. Heber13 on August 16, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    I have consistently found myself saying to people, “There are some really, really good people in my ward.”

    I have wondered…does a church make good people, or people make a good church? I think there is a chicken and egg thing going on there, and mostly I think it is both.

    But…there are good people in other churches I have visited, and I see good people at my work and in my neighborhood…so if it was just a social club, I might stay or go, but there is more to the church than just good people.

    Here is my list of what is good:
    1) The Book of Mormon: Putting historical or origin questions aside, I find good teachings and a good spirit when I read the Book of Mormon.
    2) Study material: The past 5 years I have used more of the church available resources than ever to study out whether I want to stay in the church or not. It is stimulating.
    3) Seminary and BYU: My kids benefit from these environments.
    4) Organization: Say what you will about correlation…but it is organized and I like that
    5) Resources: Say what you will about tithing…but it is nice to have scriptures, manuals, websites, libraries, training, satellite and other resources available to help people do things.
    6) Callings: Being able to serve people helps me get to know them and feel good about spending time to help others for a good purpose. Especially primary and youth efforts.
    7) Buildings: Similar to resources, but specifically brick and mortar buildings all over. I like volleyball and basketball and play 3x week with friends.
    8) Bishop’s storehouse and welfare resources
    9) People helping people…dinners and moves and other service.
    10) Missionaries: I loved my mission, I love having young missionaries in the home talking to my kids, and I love the result when seeing my nephews and nieces share experiences from traveling to other parts of the world. It is a great experience opportunity for young people, regardless of any truth claims or miraculous spiritual events…just simply going at that age is a great experience.

    For me, it is not about it being better than other things. It is the culture I grew up in, my family is firmly planted in, and there are good things that keep me in it. Similarly, my Hindu friend was telling me the exact same things about his religion and their traditions and how it is meaningful to him.

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  9. Heber13 on August 16, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    Jettboy #3:
    “It’s the Church that God organized for the Salvation of the World. All other things, good or bad, are insignificant by comparison. As the Apostles said to Jesus who asked them if they were going to leave after wide spread apostasy, where else am i going to go to get the words of eternal life?”

    Don’t you think if the Apostles had the Internet and transportation methods to travel the world, they would have had more options?

    Your answer is very broad. Nothing else matters? Just that it is the true church, therefore its good (as discussed in Hawkgrrrl’s thread).

    What if church is excruciatingly boring? What if people constantly offend you? What if the leaders have not been completely honest?

    You just go every week regardless of anything else because it is organized for the Salvation of the World, no matter how painful that is right now?

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  10. Sandy Liscom Emmons on August 16, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    I concur with what Heber13 listed and would like to add to that list.
    11. The visiting teaching and home teaching program. It is a good program when people follow through and actively visit each other. I agree that doesn’t always happen but when it does, the feeling of being cared about and community is very profound. Friendships are developed and the ward community as a whole is more tightly knit as a group. People feel loved and appreciated and their needs can be recognized and met.

    12. Latter-Day Prophets. Our church has a direct conduit to the Father who receives guidance and revelation for us. When we need instruction or guidance our Father in Heaven directs us to paths we need to follow.

    13. General Conference. We gather as saints throughout the world to receive instruction, guidance, inspiration, and are spiritually fed by the talks presented. We hear about the growth of the church in various parts of the planet. It ties us all together across the globe.

    14. Additional scriptures to clarify the scriptures widely accepted in other religions. I know that some of the other religions have the Bible. It has been translated into so many differing versions that can be confusing. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price which help to fill in the gaps the Bible has left.

    15. Humanitarian Aid. This is often the Mormon secret. Why do we not share with others the good we do on a regular basis for many people all over the world. In my town we can go to a meeting house every Wednesday and make blankets for needy people all over the world.

    16. Temples. I refer to the great work done in the Temples both for the living as well as those who have passed beyond. Yes, the ceremony is sexist in some parts but the ordinances are essential for the salvation of millions. I especially think the closeness to the spirit I feel in the Celestial room is better there than anywhere. I can go there and talk to my Father in Heaven for hours. When I leave, I feel closer to Him and receive guidance to make the right choices in my every day life.

    17. Patriarchal Blessings. Now I admit that my blessing is completely uninspiring and generic. My son just received his and it was so amazing with detail and full of promise. I am even considering taking my blessing to this patriarch to see if I can have him expound upon it. Apparently you can’t get a second one.

    18. Encouragement to study in depth gospel subjects. Growing up next door to a Catholic family I learned that they were discouraged from reading the Bible and studying for themselves. Their Mass was in Latin so they understood not a word of what was being said. I understand that things have changed and those restrictions have been lifted but my point is that we are encouraged to think for ourselves and study on our own. I read a study about different religions and how much the individual knew about their own beliefs. LDS people by far knew more about their own religion than any other religion in the entire world.

    19. Fast and Testimony Meeting. I love this meeting. When I was young I may not have valued it as I do today. I really enjoy hearing other peoples struggles and experiences that have helped them to grow. I like knowing I am not alone in my trials and like to know that others have problems and have overcome. I love hearing the spiritual experiences others are having. It really lifts me up.

    20. Genealogy. I have not received the spirit of Elijah personally and am extremely grateful that others in my family have so that the work for our ancestors will get done.

    I seriously feel a huge let down when attending other churches. They offer so little compared to our church. Where much is given much is required. I can see why some leave in the sense that they will not be required to do as much. Some people are content to just drift through life without contributing in a meaningful way. For me, I like being a part of a church that requires much from me so that I can grow and become a better person and bless the lives of others in the process.

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  11. Angela C on August 16, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    I posted on this in 2011: http://www.wheatandtares.org/6065/whats-good-and-unique/ My post was in response to the claim by some that what’s good isn’t unique and what’s unique isn’t good.

    My conclusions then about what was good and unique: American values, lay clergy, temple, missions, tithing, word of wisdom, chastity, family focus, theosis, ongoing revelation (I’m more impressed with the idea of personal revelation than prophetic revelation, though), behavior focus, focus on education (we are among the most educated Christian sects – only bested by Jews and Muslims), pre-Christ Christology (which really puts Christ at the center of everything), and additional scriptures. I would add to that now, after reading Givens: the pre-existence (it is a very helpful model to understand the purpose of life), and an open canon (while it means we can add to the scriptures, it also means we can take away from them where it makes sense; we are not biblical literalists and inerrants as some would think).

    What’s unique but NOT good: polygamy, and the united order (tithing gives all the benefits without isolating your economy and limiting growth).

    What’s bad but NOT unique: sexism, judgmentalism, conservative values, authoritarianism, perfectionism and emotionalism. I really dislike all these things, and from what I can see, most of them are worse in other sects, at least in sects popular in the US (perhaps correlated with those lower education levels). I would add to that: anti-homosexuality (although the church is just barely starting to improve on this one).

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  12. Justin on August 16, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    What’s unique but NOT good: polygamy, and the united order (tithing gives all the benefits without isolating your economy and limiting growth).

    I don’t understand how adults entering into plural marriage covenants [poly+gamy] and people being bound together by covenant to share all that they have with everyone else [united orders] could be “NOT good“.

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  13. Paul on August 16, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Here are things that are good for me. Whether these are available elsewhere is immaterial; I do not believe I need to find that the chuch is “better,” even though you ask both questions, Jeff.

    The gospel of Jesus Christ. There is little doubt that the chuch seeks to proclaim Christ’s gospel as revealed in the scriptures and in modern revelation. That message is one of hope and healing and a source of comfort and peace to me.

    Ordinances of the priesthood. Modern revelation teaches that it is in those ordiances that the power of godliness is found among men, and that those ordinances prepare us to live again in the prescence of God.

    Temple work. A work that links us to our past, that encourages continuing faithfulness and that provides ritual reminders of doctrine brings me peace. That peaceful environment provides me a place for quiet contemplation and an opportunity (one of several) for divine inspiration in my own life.

    Opportunities to serve. While not every chance to serve is earth-shattering or even significant, the chance to reach outside myself is valuable in reminding me that I am not the center of my universe. Of course more could be done to encourage significant service, even outside the fellowship of the church, but the chance to touch other individual lives even among church members is not insignificant. Similarly, the chance to have my life touched by others is also signficant.

    #9 Heber13: Are you really suggesting that the original apostles who were called by the Savior Himself would have answered differently had they had modern distractions? That’s an interesting claim.

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  14. anon on August 16, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    It provides a safe place for kids to grow up and extends their innocent years.

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  15. Olde Skool on August 16, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    Eternal progression, radical agency, continuing revelation, open canon. Each on its own not necessarily a new idea, but together they make for a jawdropping combo of heresies all under one roof, and they keep me around.

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  16. SteveF on August 16, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    Authorized ordinances of salvation that allow us to access the enabling power of the atonement to a greater degree than could be accessed otherwise. This leads and allows us to gain added spiritual intelligence that will be needed to qualify and abide by a Celestial law. Without God’s authority and ordinances, not a soul would have access to these heavenly blessings. In addition, it is my opinion that some authorized ordinances are necessary to receive a physical body again after death.

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  17. Heber13 on August 16, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    Paul#13 “Are you really suggesting that the original apostles who were called by the Savior Himself would have answered differently had they had modern distractions?”

    I was asking Jettboy, since his response was “where else am i going to go to get the words of eternal life?” I was just wondering if there were more options (not distractions), would they answer differently.

    Remember, the original apostles who were called by the Savior also sold the Lord for silver, denied him thrice, and wouldn’t believe He was resurrected. Just knowing things are organized for salvation isn’t always enough to sustain someone in their path, especially when other options exist.

    Even modern witnesses of the resurrected Savior like Oliver Cowdery left the restored church when some things in the Church were too painful/difficult to stay.

    If the thread is to discuss the good in the church, and the response is “It is organized for the Salvation of the World” and nothing else matters after that…well, I think I can agree with the first part that it is good…I just think it is worth exploring the other things that do matter in the church.

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  18. Sandy Liscom Emmons on August 16, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    I neglected to mentions the Priesthood which would make it #21 in the list of unique and good things about the church. Although other churches have Priests they claim to get their authority first by receiving a “call” from God to take up the priesthood, and by attending the seminary or an equivalent school of theology to get a degree and be qualified to preach with a ministerial license. Ours is based on age, worthiness, and direct authority restored through angelic ministry and passed down by the laying on of hands. Having the authority to act in the name of God by God himself is unique and good.

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  19. hawkgrrrl on August 16, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    Justin: “people being bound together by covenant to share all that they have with everyone else [united orders] could be “NOT good“.” This model requires a group to be economically self-sufficient to the point of isolationism. I grew up around the Amish, and even in such a large community, this kind of isolationism has serious implications. It stifles economic growth and innovation. I’m sure people living on such a commune find joys in their physical labors and simplicity, but it’s not a model I would like, and it’s not forward-thinking. I prefer technology and progress to nostalgia for agrarian society. As the people of Kirtland discovered, throwing in your money into a big communal “bank” doesn’t always work out. And anyone wanting to leave the church after joining a communal living arrangement has a hard time figuring out what they are owed.

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  20. h_nu on August 16, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    The best thing about a true-blue faithful Mormon service is that the liberals, the Mormons in Name Only, and the wolves in sheep’s clothing feel out of place.

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  21. Phillip on August 16, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    h_nu: Hello there, troll. :)

    I think I’m on board with Andrew in at least one instance: questioning for the sake of question. I think I’d take it a bit farther than he would, though. The act of question is where one finds their bearings in the world – whether you believe it starts with JS questions about religion from the get go, or whether you yourself are looking for some enlightenment.

    Castigating “Mormons in Name Only” because they’re more apt to ruffle feathers by the mere act of questioning the traditions handed down through their generational lines is, at best, unfortunate.

    The argument shouldn’t be about what good the Church brings – because the Church is her members. The argument should be whether the members themselves are still on a quest, or whether they’ve allowed themselves to become placid. I’d argue the members, today, by and large, have reached a state of plateau… they simply aren’t stretching to answer the questions. Whether that’s a result of the top-down leadership (preaching the fundamentals of following a prophet through GC) or a down-up membership (monitoring the activities and “faithfulness” of members) is a topic for a different day.

    I will say this, though, the gospel was never, ever intended to be a “one size fits all” gospel. There were (or are, depending on your placement therein) several boundaries or markers, but the middle is made up of a lot of gray area that is best given a color by asking, seeking and searching for answers to questions – whether those questions are as mundane as the inherent goodness of coffee, whether alcohol is as bad as Mormonism states it is, whether our interpretation of the “Word of Wisdom” is even remotely accurate from an historical standpoint, whether our leadership structure is “divine” or whatever it might be.

    The first law of the gospel is the act of questioning. Question everything and be yourself. How much of our existence comes from a place of “I hope everyone likes this,” or “I hope this doesn’t offend anyone?”

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  22. Jettboy on August 16, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    eber13 , yes to all the questions you asked. The truth claims and spiritual witness the I recieved are the ESSENTIAL reason I am Mormon. Nothing else matters. If something else did matter, as has been pointed out here with other posts, then I could find them somewhere else or on my own. To put it another way “The Kingdom of God or nothing.”

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  23. Jeff Spector on August 16, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    Wonderful replies from everyone I thought. I wanted to add that I especially like the doctrine of the nature of God. I could never understand the Triune doctrine as taught by other denominations nor could anyone explain it beyond the water, ice, steam thing. it never made sense. yet, when i was taught that the members of the Godhead were separate, distinct beings, it was like the brightest light blub went on. I’ve always appreciate that.

    Oh, and I love the Temple. And I love the goodness of some people in our midst, I strive to emulate them.

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  24. Olde Skool on August 16, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    Yes, Jeff S. I forgot to include the nature of God. Thanks for reminding me of that lovely principle, which underwrites all the others I mentioned.

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  25. Hedgehog on August 17, 2013 at 4:31 AM

    I was feeling rather grouchy the first time I read the post, and thus had difficulty thinking of anything at all. However I think for me it is the doctrine that we existed before this earth.

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  26. rb on August 17, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    On top of what many others wrote, I am grateful for a practical fringe benefit: the spirit of fellowship among most members, people like h_nu excepted-although his trollish behaviour makes for some fun reading on the bloggernacle. Mr. or Ms. h_nu, even though nobody takes you seriously and laughs at you, please do not go away. Indeed, start your own blog. Anyone who is too much for the M* crowd is a definite keeper!

    As a parent in the Philadelphia suburbs about to send a kid off to college at USC, I am grateful there is a community of Saints in LA whom I am confident will fellowship and make the tranistion a bit easier. (I hope not too easy b/c my kid better come back East when the education is finished.) Knowing there are lots and lots of good members in LA willing to care for my child makes me proud and glad to be a part of the community, even with people like h_nu in it.

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  27. Alexis Rousseau on August 18, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    Some of the chapels have nice grand pianos. I’m partial to the Kawai brand, and many LDS chapels have Kawais. (I don’t know if the church has a deal with Kawai or igf it’s coincidence).

    Incidentally, your title reminds me of the old hymn “Though In the Outward Church Below,” the second line of which is “Both wheat and tares together grow.” The melody was from some obscure Mozart opera and kind of pretty, but the words are morbid.

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  28. MH on August 18, 2013 at 7:57 AM

    Gods in embroyo, 3 degrees of glory, pre-mortal life are 3 of my favorite aspects of Mormon theology. I love the “open” canon. Geographic wards can be nice or difficult, depending on the ward, but I almost always feel welcome in a Mormon Church building anywhere I’ve ever been.

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  29. kmarkp on August 18, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Alexis,

    Obscure? Obscure?
    The melody is from “The Magic Flute,” maybe Mozart’s greatest opera.

    Sorry. I just had to get that out. :-)

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  30. Jess Lang on September 23, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    It allows me to believe in God completely. It answers all the big questions that no other Church answers at all.

    My testimony of Jesus Christ as my Saviour is inseparably connected to The Book of Mormon and the writings of Joseph Smith.

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