Pope tells young to resist ‘false’ reality of social media

The pope is absolutely correct. All young people should stop visiting Facebook and other social media sites where one cannot compare to everyone else who looks better and appears to be happier. By keeping a journal, you’ll begin to see the hand of God in your life.

Pope Francis calls Christmas a ‘charade’ as the ‘world continues to wage war’

Great quote from the Pope:

“What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers. Jesus once said: ‘You can not serve two masters: Either God or riches.’ War is the right choice for him, who would serve wealth: ‘Let us build weapons, so that the economy will right itself somewhat, and let us go forward in pursuit of our interests. There is an ugly word the Lord spoke: ‘Cursed!’ Because He said: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers!’ The men who work war, who make war, are cursed, they are criminals,” Francis said.

How to Make Religious Talks, Lessons and Sermons More Interesting

by Robert John Stevens, October 26, 2015

My wife, son Andrew, and I attended a Catholic wedding this August in Ijamsville, Maryland. I was impressed at how many scriptures were read.

When I sound an alarm it is probably too far in one direction: Content produced by religious organizations in the 21st century could be more interesting. Rather than summarize everything in generalities that don’t stick in the reader’s mind, the authors would be much more effective to quote the original sources in the body of their text.

Consider these two essays just released by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

  1. Joseph Smith’s Teachings about Priesthood, Temple, and Women
  2. Mother in Heaven

To prove my point, if a study was performed having groups read these essays, or Sunday school and priesthood manuals filtered by Church Correlation vs “A Marvelous Work and a Wonder” by LeGrand Richards, I hypothesize the later would do much more to enlighten starving minds.

When Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and prominent early leader Sidney Rigdon spoke they often used a chapter from the scriptures as the basis for their discourses. Contrast how much more interesting that was compared to today’s sacrament meetings where members tell stories that are more fitting for library groups.

One of the unintended consequences of modern prophets, apostles and general authorities is that the average member feels disempowered, and they feel they have little to contribute; therefore, member talks have evolved from speaking with authority to quoting the brethren to personal member stories that are often more story than insight.

If we are truly children of the God of all creation then we have creative minds too. Original sources are much more nourishing and memorable then summaries.

If I am correct on this issue and content was delivered primarily as original sources with insightful commentary, I believe it could have a big impact on activity rates.

Comments

From my friend Jeff:

I think one of my challenges is that you use incredibly large brush strokes to paint (“starving minds”, “all the content produced by the church in the 21st century”, “today’s sacrament meetings”, “the average member feels disempowered and that they have little to contribute”, “member talks have evolved from speaking with authority…to more story than insight”), and none of those broad brush strokes capture my own lived experience in the church. And my guess is that if the changes you propose were made, it might make an impact on activity rates of people like you, but might lead to struggles for other members not like you.

I’m not under the naive impression that the church is perfect and unable to improve. But I’ve found in my marriage that if I look at my spouse and only worry about her imperfections, it makes for a terrible relationship and usually results in me being blind to the things I need to change about myself. At the end of the day, I believe the church has the “words of eternal life” and helps me to come closer each week to Christ, “The Son of the Living God”. That is why I will not “go away” (John 6:68-69).