The Boy Scouts of America And The Savior’s True Church

May 30, 2013

When I say the Church is true, as so many Latter-day Saints affirm, what do I mean?  I mean that 1)  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day  Saints is the ONLY church currently upon the earth that has the priesthood and authority of Jesus Christ.  And 2) It is the ONLY church that is led by a prophet chosen by Jesus Christ through revelation.  And 3) It is the ONLY church that enjoys continuing modern revelation.

Keeping this in mind, I have decided to support the Brethren in their decision about the policies of the Boy Scouts of America regarding same sex attracted boys in scouting.  It is my understanding that only boys who are living the Law of Chastity will be permitted to participate in Church sponsored boy scout troops.  How effectively the policy will be carried out remains to be seen.  The so-called gay rights movement is hailing this as a great victory.  They are virtually dancing in the streets.  That puzzles me.  If the Brethren are able to enforce this policy as it has been explained, it will not be a victory for the wicked even though it may appear to be one.  We must all avoid letting this change in policy weaken our determination to be chaste and to teach chastity to our young men.  I pray that will be so.

To Accept A Call Or Not

January 29, 2012

Is it ever appropriate to turn down a call from the Bishopric or the stake presidency? I suffer from a chronic health problem that is embarrassing to discuss with anyone outside of my immediate family, and from time to time it is incapacitating to the point where I cannot go to Church. This makes fulfilling most callings problematical. I made the mistake in a previous ward of sharing with others the nature of my problem, and while that mollified some who might otherwise have thought I was a slacker in my church work, I am sure that some of the less charitable members just thought I was malingering and making excuses for staying home from church which could not be more untrue. I love going to church. I have been very active since January of 1968.

The best calling for working around my occasional handicap was a few years ago when both my wife and I were called to teach the Gospel Doctrine class. We alternated with her teaching every other Sunday, and I taught on the off Sundays. And when I was too sick to come to church she filled in for me. We did this for over five years, and it worked out very well for us and for the ward as well.

But when we moved here to Idaho about three years ago, I decided to keep my health problems a little more private than I did for the twenty-three years we were in our last ward. There I had a couple of bad experiences that convinced me I should not share my most personal problems with everyone. In a ward of any size, there will always be at least two or three who are uncharitable in their reaction.

Well, they called me to be the Sunday School president here in our new ward. I explained to the member of the Bishopric who called me that several times a year I have to miss Church for two, three or even four months because of my condition. I did not turn down the call, but thought they should know I would not always be able to do a good job. They went ahead and called me anyway saying they would make sure I had a strong counselor who could stand in for me when I could not come. Well, my counselor is a wonderful man who has been in the Church less than a year. He has a testimony but not a lot of Church background. And this morning I am feeling bad about not being able to go to Church. I feel like I’m dropping the ball.

What should I have done otherwise? Should I have just turned down the call? Should I have blabbed all my most personal health problems? Or should I have done what I did and just let them deal with my not being there many Sundays? I am missing Church again this morning, and it is about the fourth or fifth consecutive Sunday that I have missed.

I love the Church. I love going to Church. I want to honor and magnify my callings. But I have other responsibilities, some such as my family are even higher responsibilities than my responsibility to take care of my normally considerable load of Church work.

What do you think? I have agonized over taking my Bishop into my confidence or perhaps my stake president, but I know from years of past Church service that some leaders do not truly understand the importance of confidentiality. And until we buy the home we are shopping for, we are renting and have attended several different wards. The more people I share my problem with, as I foolishly did in the ward where I attended for over twenty years, the more chance there is that I will have the same problems here that I did there.

I guess these may seem like dumb questions to some of you. If that is the case, please forgive my foolishness. When I’m not feeling well, sometimes my judgment is below par as well.

The Sorrow of Losing A Loved One

November 18, 2011

I just spent nine days far away visiting a brother that I have loved since he was born in 1950. We grew up together for years, sleeping in the same bedroom.  I love him with all my heart.  Although he believes there is a God and attends church regularly, he has been resisting my efforts to make a Mormon of him for nearly fifty years since I joined.  Because I believe the teachings of Joseph Smith and his successors, and because I believe the teachings of the scriptures, I have no confidence that we will have a family relationship after this life, because the “forever family” is assured only to those who marry in the temple and keep those covenants thereafter.  I do not want to lose my wife and children, of course.  But I also do not want to lose my brother.  Now that we are approaching 70 years of age, I am beginning to lose hope.  My concern becomes more urgent.  When we love someone, how do we find comfort as we watch them slip away?

When I try to discuss this with him, he just says that religion is not his “hobby,” suggesting that it is mine.   He believes there is a God, but religion is just not something that interests him.  How can a good man, an honorable and honest man be disinterested in the welfare of his own soul? How can he care nothing about what comes next after this life or in what he might  do today to improve his situation there?  The Savior asked us in the Sermon on the Mount to “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth… But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”

My brother has been far more diligent than I in carefully managing his earthly  treasure.  He is a cautious, prudent man.  And his estate shows it.  If he believes in God, and a life after this one, how can he be so cavalier in his attitude about heavenly treasure?  If we cannot be the great friends and brothers in the next life that we have been here, I will sorrow.  I will be forlorn.