403 Forbidden

Nine Moons : 2005 : February » 2005 » February

The Book Of Mormon Is My Warm Blanket

Rusty - February 24, 2005

For me, studying and teaching The Book of Mormon feels like sitting cross-legged under a cozy warm blanket, cuddled up on a soft bed with hot cocoa in hand, watching the snowflakes fall silently outside my window.

The Doctrine and Covenants feels like sitting on a semi-hard couch, legs crossed with a root beer and chips.

The New Testament has the feeling of me standing barefoot on cold concrete, wearing just shorts, and nothing to drink.

Studying and teaching the Old Testament feels like walking barefoot across a hot, rocky desert with a puffy, dry mouth, chapped lips and no water in sight.

Am I just crazy? Or does anyone else make associations with how they feel about studying certain scriptures?

In Search of Mormon Folklore

Guest - February 16, 2005

I apologize that this isn’t a post like we normally have (plus it’s kind of covering some things we’ve discussed previously) but I could use all the help I can get. I wrote a paper for class a couple of years ago on Mormon Folklore and how though it has changed over the years since the organization of the Church (basically from mystical, three Nephite stories to more Priesthood power type accounts now) it still fills the same needs in our lives.
I am now revising it and sprucing it up for submission to a History Honors Society Summit and am looking for more accounts that I can possibly use to argue my point. I’d greatly appreciate any help from anyone that can point me to such accounts, old or new. They must be a primary source, meaning I need to get it straight from the one who experienced it, a written account by that person, or a recorded account by one who interviewed the person and wrote it down. So, as entertaining and interesting as it is to read rumors and hearsay of happenings in the church, that are of no help to me. These accounts can cover just about anything. I can weed through and see if it fits what I’m looking for. Please be wary of fakelore as well, meaning fantasiful stories that were not really experienced or thought to have really happened but were made up. (i.e.–Paul Bunyan stories, Washington and the cherry tree, etc.)
Clear as mud? I’m sorry, just send anything you can think of and I can decide if it’s true folklore, I suppose. I hope this helps and again, I’d REALLY appreciate any help any of you can give me, whether it’s a story you know, to pointing me to a website, book or magazine article. I’ll post a link to my paper when it’s finished. Thank you!!

Dallin Oaks confuses me on prayer

Don - February 11, 2005

I know this quote is long but I have read it many times trying to fully understand it’s impact on me personally. I thought I would share it.

“We do not always receive inspiration or revelation when we request it. Sometimes we are delayed in the receipt of revelation, and sometimes we are left to our own judgment. We cannot force spiritual things. It must be so. Our life’s purpose to obtain experience and to develop faith would be frustrated if our Heavenly Father directed us in every act, even in every important act. We must make decisions and experience the consequences in order to develop self-reliance and faith.

“Even in decisions we think very important, we sometimes receive no answer to our prayers. This does not mean that our prayers have not been heard. It only means that we have prayed about a decision which, for one reason or another, we should make without guidance by revelation. Perhaps we have asked for guidance in choosing between alternatives that are equally acceptable or equally unacceptable. I suggest that there is not a right and wrong to every question. To many questions, there are only two wrong answers or two right answers…

“Similarly, the Spirit of the Lord is not likely to give us revelations on matters that are trivial…I believe the Lord expects us to use the intelligence and experience He has given us to make these kinds of choices.”

So how do we tell which choices to make on our own, which ones to get God’s help on, and which ones even when we ask for help that we’ll get it or not?

Prayer, and answers to prayers can be really frustrating sometimes.

Times & Seasons, Why Do You Suck So Much Lately?

Rusty - February 10, 2005

What happened to you T&S? When I first started reading the blogs in July of last year, I could barely look away from your pasty beige pages. Pouring over Joe Mormon’s insights on the Gospel was a revelation to me. This was the Sunday School class I’d always wanted. You MC’d discussions on all those things I thought, but never said. We talked about R-rated movies, Mormon politics, polygamy, BYU sports, Word of Wisdom, and Zelph for heaven’s sake. I was in ecstacy.

Now you’ve changed. You’ve soooo changed. (This is my favorite insult, by the way. Is there a worse one?)

You’ve gone from number one on my RSS list to near the bottom (right above IntellecXhibitionist, Our Thoughts and Sons of Mosiah… that’s right, those three formerly brilliant, now defunct blogs). I now enjoy reading Waiter Rant more than I enjoy reading you. And all he does is complain about getting stiffed on tips all day.

But at least he sticks to his subject matter.

Your contributors seem to be bored by the “played” Mormon topics, for they rarely ever post on them anymore. I don’t understand what most of the latest posts have to do with the Gospel: “Should We Prefer Avarice to Piety in CEOs?”, “Media Bias”, “Finding God in Chess and the Appellate Brief”, “Unrequitted Love”. What? Sure, I guess if you say a Mormon’s name or talk about God, that’s talking about the Gospel… in a way, though it seems more like self-indulgence to me. I can understand. It would be very enticing for me as well to post my personal reveries (and strain to connect them to the blog’s genre).

Why the change? Is it because they’ve “agreed to disagree” with each other and moved to the periphery for material? Or have they discovered perfect living through what you’ve taught them and are merely writing for OUR “benefit”? Please ask them, I don’t know enough Latin to formulate a question they would understand.

So I guess I’ll be moving on as well. I have other friends, neighbors, and loved ones with whom I’m very happy. I still love you. I will probably check in from time to time to see how things are going. Know that I’m praying for you. Please come back.

Your friend,

Pray – Don’t be a chicken

Don -

J. Stapely at the Splendid Sun blog got me to thinking about prayer, so here’s a couple of thoughts:

Why do we always “chicken out” in our prayers by saying “if it’s God’s will, then such and such be done”? I also twitch a bit when someone is saying a prayer and always say that such and such “might” happen. My immediate reaction is “it might happen anyway so why pray for it?”

Both points bring me to the thought that if we were in tune with the spirit and God’s will then we wouldn’t have to ask like that. Nephi was promised that anything he asked for would be given, because God could trust him to not ask amiss.

Also, do we really think God will give us something against His will? That’s a scary thought, that I can talk God into doing something against His will! I would agree that there are times when God allows us to follow a course of action we choose that leads to consequences that are not as good as the consequences we would have gotten if we had chosen differently.

Dallin Oaks gave a great talk at BYU that said God does not always answer every prayer with a burning or confirmation, even for what we consider important things. He said sometimes you’re asking between two right things, or two wrong things – so we don’t get a confirmation. He said all our prayers are heard, but not all our prayers are answered with the confirmation we may be seeking.

That being said, I think we study, evaluate, make a choice, ask for a confirmation, pray that it will happen and don’t chicken out. Have faith that you have done what you are required to do, have faith that your mind and will are in tune with God’s. And then know that IF you have done your part, then the outcome is God’s will and in your best eternal interests.

Change the meeting schedule

Don - February 8, 2005

Whenever I have taught S.S. it has frustrated me to never have enough time. I think we should change the meeting schedule to 1 hour for sacrament meeting (enought time for the Sacrament and 1 0r 2 GOOD speakers), 1/2 hour for priesthood (enough time to conduct business and a short spiritual thought) and the remaining hour and a half for S.S.

We need more time for better in depth study of the scriptures. This proposed schedule would double the time spent in S.S. WOW I could really get excited about this.

Maybe if we all started emailing all our friends and asked them to email everyone they know, etc, etc, and contact everyone at church headquarters, and anyone with real connections to “the brethren” could talked with them – we could this thing done!

For those of you concerned about Primary, they could divide up the last two hours any way they wanted, maybe even into thirds – lesson, singing, sharing times.

How about it…start those emails going.

If God already knows….

Don - February 7, 2005

If God already knows us so well and He knows the end from the begining then why should we expect Him to intervene on our behalf? This earth and earth life kind of reminds me of a game that you wind up and just let it run down. God created this earth for us and allows it to be peopled in a manner He has set forth.

Much of who we are, our personality, attitudes, spirituality etc was formed in the pre-mortal existence. Does this earth life change us much?

Why would we expect God to intervene in our struggles, our existence, if He already knows us, knows what’s best for us.

I’m not pooh, poohing prayer, I guess I’m looking for a better or deeper meaning to my expectations when I’m asking.

Agency, somewhat a farce

Don - February 3, 2005

Our agency certainly is a good thing, right? It just ticks me off sometimes how we are left to use it.

I see a big dilemma. Example: I have a choice to make, I’m told to study it out in my own mind then pray and I’ll either feel good or I’ll have a stupor of thought. Sounds easy. My choices each day can vary from choosing which can a veggies to buy at the store to whether I should invest several thousand dollars to open another theater. Dallin Oaks made it clear in a talk that choosing which grocery items to buy was probably not a good use of prayer.

Frist question, where going up the difficulty chart does it become appropriate to pray about something? Veggies – no, go to work today – no, family needs – probably, specific family needs – yes, new business – yes, yes, yes.

Since we are here on earth to gain experience, and God gave us a brain to use then should I involve God with all of my choices? If I do rely on God to always give me the answer that is best for me, because He loves me, then I’ll grow the most no mater what the answer is, as long as it is God’s answer.

I have no doubt that God answers my prayers. I also know that He can use inspiration, subtle thought implants, my scripture reading, direct revelation and much more to the point where I can’t miss the message/answer. In fact that answer can be so overwhelming that if I’m in tune with the spirit I can’t miss it and unless I’m spirtually dead or brain dead I would only have one choice and that’s to follow the inspiration.

Since He knows me and loves me so much, and knows what will be best for me, then why doesn’t he do that every time? Why does he leave me to my own choices?

If one of the goals of this life is learning to turn our lives over to God, and subjecting our will to the will of the Father then why doesn’t He give me direction when I ask?

Mormon Archipelago

Rusty - February 1, 2005

It’s official, we are now part of the Mormon Archipelago. After weeks of negotiating, I’m happy to report that Nine Moons will be soon catapulted into fame and glory untold. Hold tight…

Actually, the timing of this is funny. While the new group blog Millennial Star was forming, the MA was coming together as well. However, at this point we will remain “just a few bloggers offering a little extra friendship.” Current membership is us, Splendid Sun and United Bretheren (with more on their way). Benefits include support (both moral and PR), guest bloggers within the MA, links to other MA blogs’ posts on the sidebar, etc. I consider it a great move towards making the bloggernacle a more interesting place to hang your hat.

My Thesis

Rusty -

On Kulturblog I just posted a brief outline of my thesis project that I’ve been working on all year. Please go here to see why I haven’t written as much for this blog as I’d like. Also, please comment, I’d love any feedback.