Monday, December 31, 2007

Movie Ratings

For some time now, I have been concerned about the entertainment we consume. True, there is some that is good and helpful to our spirits. However, there is much that us not good and very detrimental to our souls. I believe the Church has been clear on what we should watch and not watch. The standard that we use to measure whether we watch something or not should be whether or not we can continue to feel the Holy Ghost. If we cannot, then the entertainment is not for us. In my view, this certainly would mean that r-rated films are out of the question. This also means many pg-13 and even pg films should be closely examined.

To that end, I have discovered a website (actually a friend showed it to me) that does content measurements on virtually every film that is being released. It also has older movies as well as an archive. The website is called, Kids-In-Mind. I commend it to anyone who is interested in the content of a movie, regardless of the rating, before they or their family watches it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Elder Ballard urges LDS-based blogs

In a recent address to students at BYU Hawaii, Elder M. Russell Ballard urged students to make a positive difference in the national discussion of our faith. Read this to learn more.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Law of Tithing, the Temple, and Revelation

With the end of the year, and the entire Church participating in tithing settlement, I thought it would be nice to review some of the important blessings of paying a full-tithe. To do so, I am including a few statements by President Harold B. Lee a friend sent to me.

We must teach the law of the fast. No mother who really understands the law of fasting would knowingly want her family deprived of the blessings which come from its observance. It then becomes the responsibility of this organization, the Relief Society teachers, to teach every mother in her home this law of fasting and the paying of fast offerings, for the keeping of which so much is promised in the way of spiritual as well as temporal blessings. (1952)

There are promises of protection in the Word of Wisdom. The Lord’s word of wisdom commanding abstinence from a worldly “king’s portion” of tobacco, tea and coffee, and alcoholic beverages that are habit-forming, and which counsels the simple diet of fruits, grains, and vegetables in season, with meats used sparingly, has been given you as a revelation of God’s great law of health. It stands today as a challenge to a world surfeited with things condemned as unclean and unfit for the human body. If you have faith as the youthful Daniel and his brethren and purpose in your hearts that you will not defile yourselves with “king’s meat and wine,” even though you may be two thousand miles east of the Suez Canal, your faith will have the reward of hidden treasures of knowledge, of strong bodies that can “run and not be weary and walk and not faint.” If by faith in this great law, you refrain from the use of food and drink harmful to your bodies, you will not become a ready prey to scourges that shall sweep the land, as in the days of the people of Moses in Egypt, bringing death to every household that has not heeded the commandments of God. (1945)

Blessings come from paying fast offerings. The Church needs blessings, and the only way we can receive the blessings is by keeping the laws on which those blessings are predicated; and the fundamental law pertaining to the welfare of our people was fast offerings. The reason we want to stress the paying of fast offerings is because we need the blessings that come from paying fast offerings. (1971)

Tithing and fast offerings are the Lord’s financial system. [This is] the monetary system by which the Lord has directed his work to be carried forward: First, by tithing—a principle enunciated in former dispensations as attested by the scriptures and reaffirmed by modern revelation; the promise following obedience to this principle is that the windows of heven would be open and blessings would be poured out that we would hardly be able to contain. The opening of the windows of heaven, of course, means revelation from God to him who is willing this to sacrifice.

Second, by fast offerings—which means going without meals on the first Sunday and consecrating our fast by the contribution to the bishop for the care of the needy. As explained in the days of the prophet Isaiah, the children of Israel were admonished, “Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry,” meaning fasting and then paying fast offerings. If you would do that, he promised, “then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am.” (Isaiah 58:7, 9.)

We are saying to the Saints, How important that you keep this fundamental law to fast and to deal out your bread to the hungry through contributions so that when you call, the Lord shall answer; when you shall cry, the Lord will say, “Here I am.” (1971)

The Lord gave us the law of tithing. Here in the 119th section, after [the Saints] had tried and the Lord had found that they were not able to live the more complete law [of consecration], he gave another law that he called the law of tithing, and in it he says this: “Verily, thus saith the Lord, I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop of my church in Zion. And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people. And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord.” (D&C 119:1, 3-4.)

Notice tithing is “one-tenth of all their interest,” and that has always been interpreted to mean income, a tenth of income is a tithe. We are now living that, and in addition to tithing we have the welfare program.

We heard President [J. Reuben] Clark say something that I have thought about as the Brethren have talked today. He said, in effect, “If you think about it clearly, when you think about our storehouses where we are putting in all the surpluses we can, when we are paying a full tithing, when we are giving assistance in the health services, when we are giving assistance in the programs by which we reach out to those who are far afield, teaching them how to take care of themselves, we will not be far from living the united order.” (1973)

Attitude is important in paying tithing. It’s possible for every one of us to learn how to keep the Word of Wisdom perfectly. It’s possible for every one of us to learn how to pay our tithing, perfectly. It was only day before yesterday that I went to the bishop of my own ward on tithing settlement day. He is now retiring from his position as bishop to go out and preside over the Central States Mission. He said, “I want to bear you a testimony that I’ve gained in six years of experience as a bishop. In all of this time I have had hundreds and hundreds of full tithe payers come to report their tithing, and in all that time I have never had one of them approach me, throw down his check or his money, and say, ‘Well, there it is,’ as though it were a terrible task, but they have all come happily because they felt they were doing the will of the Lord.” The one who learns how to pay his tithing perfectly is a happy man. (1954)

Those who observe the principles of fasting and fast offerings qualify for blessings. The turning point in the progress of the welfare program is when our people are faithful in keeping the fundamentals that the Lord laid down. If we can keep the fast, and consecrate our fast by paying the value of the meals from which we abstain, and for those who can pay more to pay more, then we will be assured of His blessings. It isn’t the amount of money, I tell you, that is the important thing; it is the fact that having this complied with the law, we then qualify ourselves and this church as the kingdom of God. We are then qualified to pray to the Lord, to call and He will answer. As Isaiah declared: “Thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am” (Isaiah 58:9). It is this way that the Lord opens the windows of heaven and pours out blessings that we shall hardly be able to receive (see Malachi 3:10). (1968)