Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fundamental Premises of Our Faith - Talk Given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks at Harvard Law School - LDS Newsroom

This is an excellent talk that addresses issues of religion that affect the nation at large, and details some of the basic tenets of belief held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was especially interested to read the following (in light of my own experiences in talking to many others about religion):

"...On the subject of religion Americans in general are “deeply religious” but “profoundly ignorant.” For example, 68% said they prayed at least several times a week, and 44% said they attended religious services almost every week. At the same time, only half could name even one of the four Gospels, most could not name the first book of the Bible, and 10% thought Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife."

Fundamental Premises of Our Faith - Talk Given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks at Harvard Law School - LDS Newsroom

Saturday, February 27, 2010

What happens to us when we die? Part II: The Spirit World

Before you read this, it may interest you to know that I have added a section on the nature and characteristics of our spirit bodies to the previous entry in this series. You may find it of some value as you approach the subject of the spirit world. Click here to view the updated entry.


The scriptures teach us that there is a time or a period between death and the resurrection (see Alma 40:6-7), and that this experience is not the same for everyone.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What happens to us after we die? Part I: Death

A friend of mine sent me a question concerning life after death, and I gave him more answer than I think he wanted. With his permission, I am publishing my response in installments, as it is quite long.

In order to fully address your question, it becomes necessary to make a distinction between what happens to us when we die, and what happens to us when we are resurrected, which as you’ll see, are actually two separate and distinct aspects of life after death.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Is the atonement of Jesus Christ enough for all of us?

A friend of mine sent me this question, and I responded, quite a while ago. I happened to re-read my response to her question this morning, and I decided that I had not covered all of the points that should properly be covered in addressing a subject such as this. In light of the things that I have learned since I wrote this, I thought that I could add some new insights to an old question.

Q: Why was the suffering and death of Jesus Christ ENOUGH to atone for the sins of all of us?

A: In the Book of Mormon, the great teacher Amulek taught that "there can be nothing which is short of an infinite atonement which will suffice for the sins of the world" (Alma 34:12).  That means that only a sacrifice which endures for eternity, and which is infinite in capacity, can satisfy the debt which each of us has incurred through our transgressions. What is it about Christ, and the atonement which He performed, that made his sacrifice sufficiently infinite to atone for the sins of the world?

Christ kept the whole law (see 1 Peter 2 :21-25 and 1 John 3:4-5 and James 2:10) so he could intercede for us based on his own merits, a claim that no other can make. (See Hebrews 5:8-10)  Also, Christ (in concert with God) was acting in accordance with the lawfully prescribed method for expiating sins (by offering himself). (I deliberately chose not to use the term "legally" though one might make the argument that it applies in this instance.) He did so namely by complying with the ordinance that called for the sacrifice of blood to atone for sins (see Exodus 30:10; Leviticus 17:11). Alma 34:11-16 explains this rather well. I refer you also to Hebrews 8:18-22, and Hebrews 9:13-14. Hebrews 10 explains in great detail the ways in which animal sacrifice was only a precursor to and ultimately an inferior shadow of that great and last sacrifice wherein "we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all". Christ’s sacrifice not only surpasses the power and effectiveness of the old law of sacrifice, but it is also in perfect harmony with (and in fact fulfills the requirements of) that same Law, as Paul explains in Hebrews. Paul goes on to explain that the demands of the Law required Christ to make that final redeeming sacrifice by “ the offering of [his] body…once for all” (see Hebrews 10:10) and he declares further that “… by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (See Hebrews 10:14).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Just in: Latest church growth statistics - Belief Blog - Washington Times

Just in: Latest church growth statistics - Belief Blog - Washington Times

The National Council of Churches 2010 yearbook of American and Canadian churches has published the latest membership figures for denominations around the country, as reported by the churches themselves.

Click the link at the top of this post to see the whole story.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Is temple marriage necessary?

A friend of mine sent me this question last week, and I thought that it might be worthwhile to share it with others, since she's probably not the only one who wants to know the answer. Therefore I am publishing a modified version of her question (to preserve her anonymity) and my answer with her permission.

I was curious about some things. With all this talk lately about Temple marriage and stuff, I was wondering, is it necessary? Being sealed to your family and all that.
Reason: A friend of mine mentioned that she didn't think she would ever get married. And one of her friends said the same thing. And I think they are pretty great girls, and I actually think they will get married to someone, but whatever. My point is, what if they don't? Also, I have some good friends who are married, they are great and love each other, but what if they don't get sealed to each other? What if I don't? Is that going to stop their, or my, progression?

And what about the kids thing? Say, those girls do eventually get married to someone, neither of them want kids. And you know that my married friends don't want kids. Does that mean that's it?

Also, on a personal front, I want to get married. I want to have a family. However, I don't think that will happen. I really want to progress. I want to continue to go on a path, I just want to know what is expected. That wasn't quite the right word. I don't know how to express what I am asking here, but I am hoping that you know me enough to know what I am asking.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Atonement Defined II: Sanctification

Click here to see also: The Atonement Defined I: Justification

Sanctification:  Sanctification represents the actual cleansing of one’s soul from sin through the shedding of the blood of Christ. We are sanctified by the blood of Christ through the Holy Spirit. Sanctification is the process through which we are made holy as our natures become truly changed (or converted)

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