Young, single Mormons: Don’t think moving to the DC area will be sunshine. For most of the week you’d be alone in your religious convictions and your time to meet and mingle with those of your faith will be short and limited. Look also at the graph at how your generation is abandoning religion.
by Robert John Stevens, October 18, 2016
Yesterday I emailed a friend and asked why he and his wife don’t bring their kids by to play with our kids. He responded:
“Your move…created a little more distance (in Festinger (1951) he found that the greatest predictor of friendship ties among students in married student housing at MIT was how many doors away the two couples lived. Next door neighbors were cited as close friends 41% of the time…individuals four doors down were cited as close friends 10% of the time).”
We moved just a mile away and he passes our house twice every weekday to and from work. 🙂
That led me to wonder why people are so lonely and whether or not today’s religions really help.
Throughout history people become friends because they helped each other through trials and hardships and built things together.
After thinking more about his comments and the study he quoted, I remembered a quote by Mormon Founder Joseph Smith:
I see no faults in the Church, and therefore let me be resurrected with the Saints, whether I ascend to heaven or descend to hell, or go to any other place. And if we go to hell, we will turn the devils out of doors and make a heaven of it. Where this people are, there is good society.
Is that still true today? What can we learn from 19th century religions?
Compare the 21st century to times past. After high school, volunteer service and attending college we:
- No longer work together to build our homes, barns, chapels, temples and cities
- No longer help each other plant or harvest
- No longer sit on our porches and enjoy friends
- No longer physically fight for the cause of liberty or to defend our inalienable rights against government overreach
- Make great financial sacrifices so certain church members may enjoy full-time career church jobs which leaves us with no or little money for entertainment, vacations or even nice furniture to entertain
- Spend 40+ hours a week at work or more plus commute time
- Work until April 24th (tax freedom day) just to pay our taxes. Tithe payers work more.
- Allow the one-way media or ministry of propaganda to influence our thinking
- Side with political parties that create strife and division/li>
- No longer employ neighborhood children to mow our lawns, pull weeds, rake leaves, paint fences or wash our windows
- Spend more time watching news, sports and videos, playing video games, and doing hobbies such as genealogy than spending time with true, living friends
- Rarely if ever make true friends of the people we serve after our church assignments end
- Indirectly are taught that church service is more important than developing true friendships
- Are told to choose our friends which infers we should exclude those of non-conforming values or beliefs
- Don’t associate too closely with other married couples because issues may arise
- No longer send our kids to etiquette school or commit them to apprenticeships; therefore, they pale in communication skills and rarely have unique talents to share with and impress each other
- Send our kids to public schools where they are taught the deep state curriculum vs home school them and guide them to follow their passions
Also most people today have fewer children despite the advice of Psalms 127:3-5
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
I suspect many readers will disagree with many of my points. I bet if we conducted a survey though we’d discover most people spend less than twenty hours a year with friends and most probably have fewer than three true friends.
These may be signs of the end of an empire or civilization which means a rebirth is coming and things will be very different as people work together to rebuild and survive.
by Robert John Stevens, May 16, 2016
When I think about all the low-priority discussions I’ve heard in Sunday School and other meetings over the last fifty years, I sometimes wonder why teachers talk about niche topics while ignoring big the issues.
I’m trying not to say too many teachers teach stupid stuff: Most just follow their lesson manuals and try to avoid contention, and nothing is stupid that relates to God.
I am suggesting perhaps we spend too much time discussing minor things when there are so many high-priority items we can attend to.
Perhaps nobody prioritized better than Brigham Young. Ponder this head-spinning advice he gave in Salt Lake City at General Conference on 5 October 1856, immediately after learning hand-cart pioneers were stranded in the snow, starving and needed immediate assistance to survive:
Many of our brethren and sisters are on the plains with handcarts, and probably many are now seven hundred miles from this place, and they must be brought here, we must send assistance to them. …
I shall call upon the Bishops this day. I shall not wait until tomorrow, nor until the next day, for 60 good mule teams and 12 or 15 wagons. I do not want to send oxen. I want good horses and mules. They are in this Territory, and we must have them. Also 12 tons of flour and 40 good teamsters, besides those that drive the teams. … First, 40 good young men who know how to drive teams, to take charge of the teams that are now managed by men, women and children who know nothing about driving them. Second, 60 or 65 good spans of mules, or horses, with harness, whipple trees, neck-yokes, stretchers, lead chains, &c. And thirdly, 24 thousand pounds of flour, which we have on hand. …
I will tell you all that your faith, religion, and profession of religion, will never save one soul of you in the Celestial Kingdom of our God, unless you carry out just such principles as I am now teaching you. Go and bring in those people now on the plains. And attend strictly to those things which we call temporal, or temporal duties. Otherwise, your faith will be in vain. The preaching you have heard will be in vain to you, and you will sink to Hell, unless you attend to the things we tell you. — as quoted in Go Bring Them In from the Plains, July 1997
Tens of thousands of missionaries schedule their days to tend to the most important things possible. That gives them great satisfaction and inner peace. For the rest of who are capable, we may feel guilty leaving church to help others in physical or service-oriented capacities unless upon arrival we are directed to by church leaders.
Maybe it is time to rethink the proper role of religion and to prioritize how we can best contribute with our remaining time.
Volunteerism and selfless service for heavenly blessings.
by Robert John Stevens, January 17, 2016
Modern apostate ecclesiastical leadership requires an “All is Well in Zion” approach and expertise in plausible deniability. In public, the best-liked religious leaders appear to never see anything wrong, nor will they admit problems in private except in extreme confidence to their most trusted associates.
People not uphold leadership, especially paid leadership, who repeatedly tell people they are sinners. At best leaders may preach, “We can do better.”
Contrast this approach to Jesus’s who repeatedly called people hypocrites, and “went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves.”
Jesus spent his days physically serving others, not through vicarious donations, tithing or fast offerings but by meeting with and serving people directly. He healed the sick and even washed the apostles feet.
If his heavenly powers and words of wisdom weren’t so needed, he would have served the people in other ways. But who can say he didn’t when “there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.” — John 21:25
What media headline would have reported, “Jesus takes out neighbor’s trash?” Those deeds are recorded in the heavenly books.
I’m not inferring in any way that donating money is evil. Great things can be accomplished through collective efforts. Donating vicariously does desensitize givers but that is another topic for discussion.
President Joseph Smith said in 1843:
If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a ‘Mormon,’ I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves. It is a love of liberty which inspires my soul—civil and religious liberty to the whole of the human race.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka “Mormons”) also included a second quote from its founder President Smith, said in Nauvoo, Illinois on March 1, 1841:
Be it ordained by the City Council of the City of Nauvoo, that the Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Latter-day Saints, Quakers, Episcopals, Universalists, Unitarians, Mohammedans [Muslims], and all other religious sects and denominations whatever, shall have free toleration, and equal privileges in this city…
by Robert John Stevens, November 3, 2015
This is another great quote and it touched me emotionally. There is a lesson here for all parents:
While Schulz did not believe in the LDS faith himself, he was always supportive of his daughter. When Johnson opened a full-time mission call a year and a half after she was baptized, she immediately went up to her dad’s office. She announced, “Dad, I got my mission call. I’m going to England.”
“He got up from his desk, walked around to where I was standing with his arms outstretched, gave me big hug and said, ‘Even Jesus didn’t get to go to England,’” Johnson remembered.