Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Joy of Christmas 2012

Courtesy of
The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released its 2012 Christmas message a few weeks ago. It's fitting that we revisit it as the holidays approach, with all their hustle, bustle, toys and stresses.
Remember the Reason for the Season, even Jesus Christ, who came into the world to save all mankind from our sin.
At this time, let us also remember the greatest gift we can give is ourselves:
"Each act of kindness to anyone becomes a kindness to the Savior because He loves all of Heavenly Father's children. And because that brings joy to Him, it also brings joy to His Father, to whom we owe thanks beyond measure." (First Presidency Christmas Message)
The Church is commemorating the birth of Christ with a Christmas campaign in New York City and across the Internet. If you see this campaign, take a minute to stop and reflect on the power of Christ's atonement in your life.
"With the birth of the babe in Bethlehem, there emerged a great endowment—a power stronger than weapons, a wealth more lasting than the coins of Caesar. This child was to become the King of kings and Lord of lords, the promised Messiah—Jesus Christ, the Son of God." (Pres. Thomas S. Monson)
Merry Christmas, everyone.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Reaching Out and Looking In

Have you seen it yet?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has unveiled a new website aimed at clearing up misconceptions about the church's relationship with the gay community. While the church's doctrine is clear in not promoting sinful actions, we can still condemn sin while loving the sinner. One does not simply cast off and disown an alcoholic for indulging in sin -- instead, we strive to walk with them and help them overcome their addiction. The same is true here.
It is possible to be gay and Mormon -- in the ways that some who deal with this stigma are striving to overcome it. While there appears to be a subsection of Mormon culture that ostracizes and condemns those who live an openly gay lifestyle, we as members of the church should strive to be love, care for and accept any of our friends or family members who deal with same-gender attraction.
“As a church, nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach. Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender.” (Elder Quentin Cook, Quorum of Twelve Apostles)
As a single, straight member of the LDS church, I am under the same obligations and responsibilities of living a clean and chaste life as my SGA friends. It is in the acting on a sinful notion that we find ourselves in need of repentance -- and I would need repentance for violating the law of chastity in the same way anyone with SGA would. The church's stance on actions will likely never change -- but its stance toward people will remain one of love and understanding.
Come and join us. Worship with us. Serve with us. Love God with us.
We're all in this together.

Monday, December 10, 2012

INFOGRAPHIC: The Church of God will go forth

Here, we have a different kind of Multimedia to celebrate Multimedia Mondays: yet another church-related infographic.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland dedicated the LDS church's 3,000th stake last week, the Freetown Sierra Leone (Africa) Stake. From small and humble beginnings, the church has grown to significantly. I'm reminded of a quote by the Prophet Joseph Smith, as he instructed the early Quorum of 12 Apostles shortly before his death:
Brethren, I have been very much edified and instructed in your testimonies here tonight, but I want to say to you before the Lord, that you know no more concerning the destinies of this Church and kingdom than a babe upon its mother’s lap. You don’t comprehend it.It is only a little handful of Priesthood you see here tonight, but this Church will fill North and South America — it will fill the world. (Wilford Woodruff, in Conference Report, Apr. 1898, p. 57)
Even today, the promise continues. This church will grow to fill parts once thought unreachable. The Iron Curtain, once thought to be an impenetrable wall to the church's missionaries, has been shattered. So, too, has been the Berlin Wall -- a representation of the closed off Nazi Germany. The Lord has many miracles yet to accomplish. And this is His work.
The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done." (Joseph Smith)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pray for Danny: A Happy Ending?

There's been an update on Danny Berger, the Utah State basketball player who had been hospitalized since late Tuesday night.
He's doing a lot better — even awake.
Courtesy of an employee of USU's athletics department, Berger was seen posting to his Facebook account late Thursday night. His message was simple: "God is real I'm proof [sic]".
Miracles do exist, friends. Several basketball fans in Logan can attest to that.
And if there were amiracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he bchangeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
Thanks to all those who supported him and prayed for him at this time. Now, let's get that BYU vs USU game rescheduled.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pray for Danny

I don't post a lot of sports stories here, but this isn't a basketball-specific news item, either.
Tonight's BYU vs Utah State college basketball game has been postponed after a significant health scare by Danny Berger, a junior forward for the Aggies.
Berger, who averaged 7.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game, collapsed near the end of practice Dec. 4  in Logan, Utah. The 6-foot-6 junior college transfer was resuscitated with the aid of an AED by the Utah State athletic training staff, and has been transported to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray.
He is currently listed in critical but stable condition at the hospital, and second-hand reports from teammates have been positive.
BYU announced the transfer Wednesday morning, after it was reported by the Salt Lake Tribune late Tuesday night.
Both teams have an available midweek date next week, but athletes will be in the middle of finals week at the time. A makeup date hasn't been announced.
At times like these, fans of both teams should be praying Berger makes a swift recovery. Berger, who served an LDS mission in Detroit, transferred from Chemeketa Community College in Oregon last year.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A merry Piano Guys Christmas

Courtesy of
Have you felt the Spirit of Christmas?
Let the Piano Guys — with an assist from the Mormon Channel — help you out.
This video was filmed at the LDS Church's New Testament filmsets in Goshen, Utah, and provide a perfect balance of a piano-cello duet of "O Come, O come, Emmanuel" paralleled with scenes from the life of the Savior Jesus Christ.
As we remember Him at this time of year that celebrates the birth of Christ, let us also come closer to him. And as we do so, we have the promise that — as the lyrics of the song suggest — Christ will come unto us.
O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel
Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Multimedia Monday: "Christmas does have the word 'Christ' in it."

Courtesy of MormonNewsroom.orgThe Church launched a Christmas initiative online and in Manhattan this week that centers on Jesus Christ. In New York, the media initiative includes interactive and static billboards, advertising on buses, the Internet and taxicabs.

The Christmas season has officially begun. Even in New York City.
The LDS church's latest initiative in the Big Apple involves directing passers-by and tourists to, where they can be reminded of the true meaning of the season — a celebration of the birth and life of Jesus Christ. Were it not for the Savior of the World, we would have no need to buy presents, invite over Santa, and spend time with our families and loved ones.
When you're planning the office Christmas party, finding the perfect White Elephant gift, or cruising through the madness of Holiday sales and half-price discounts, stop and remember the Reason for the Season.
Jesus Christ lives. He loves us. Let us not forget that right now.

First Presidency Christmas Devotional recap

Courtesy of » A near capacity crowd attended the First Presidency Christmas Devotional in the Conference Center on Temple Square 
The Holiday season never feels like it has fully arrived until the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, a tradition for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
We can all celebrate now, though.
President Thomas S. Monson and his counselors opened the Christmas season on Dec. 2 with three inspiring talks for the Mormon faithful — and the world — at the Conference Center on Temple Square.
Monson spoke of the true meaning of Christmas, inviting all of us to reflect on the birth and life of the Savior and his atoning sacrifice — the greatest of all gifts.
“The real joy of Christmas comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done, nor is it found in the purchasing of gifts,” explained President Monson. “We find real joy when we make the Savior the focus of the season.”
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf poignantly admonished all to become better gift receivers, as well as gift givers. Learning how to receiving a gift appropriately provides life lessons for the entire year, he said.
“Every gift that is offered to us—especially a gift that comes from the heart—is an opportunity to build or strengthen our bonds of love," Pres. Uchtdorf said. "When we are good and grateful receivers, we open a door to deepen our relationship with the giver of the gift.”
You can view the entire devotional here.