Friday, January 13, 2012

Do You Think You Know What Mormons Are?
Do you think you know what Mormons are?  Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have been called Mormons for over 180 years but do you know what they represent or how they feel about their religion?  Since I’m a Mormon myself, I find this next bit of information very interesting.

The Pew Research Center, a forum on religion and public life, recently released a new survey called “Mormons in America: Certain in Their Beliefs, Uncertain in Their Place in Society .” This non-Mormon research center questioned over 1,000 Mormons around the United States on different aspects of their religion and life and their findings were very intriguing.

The first series of questions focused on what is essential for being a good Mormon as was reported by the Deseret News on Thursday, January 12th. Some answers were surprising. Thirty-two percent said not watching “R” rated movies, forty-nine percent said not drinking coffee or tea, (referring to the Word of Wisdom—a health code written by inspiration from Joseph Smith) fifty-one percent said having regular family home evening, (a weekly family gathering for parents to teach their children) and eighty percent said believing Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, (referring to "The First Vision" which happened when Joseph Smith was fourteen in a grove of trees in up state New York.)  

As a member myself, I feel that all four of those aspects are part of what makes me a member in good standing. It's part of our core belief system and it is important to live the standards we believe God has provided for us.

The second series of questions focuses on the family and how the members of the church feel about the family. According to the survey eighty-one percent of Mormons say being a good parent is “one of the most important things in life” and fifty-eight percent thinks that the husband should be the provider while the wife stays home with the children. A far cry from what the rest of the world believes. According to the survey the emphasis on family seems to be what is most important in the lifestyle of the Mormons. Seventy-three percent surveyed felt that having a successful marriage was another important thing in life. 

As a member myself, I have been advocating the family for a long time and have always believed that besides my faith in Jesus Christ, my family is the most important possession I have and the need to spend time and get along with my family is the best thing I can do. It's a process and we cannot accomplish it all in one day but as we spend time together and live through the challenges we face, we are laying the foundation for an important work on earth.

For more information on the second part of the survey click here

The third series of questions have to do with the most important part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: whether they are actually Christian.  The numbers are high on this account. Ninety-eight percent of the respondents said that they believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and 97 percent said their church is a Christian religion.

"Certainly in Latter-day Saint theology is this idea that if you understand who you are, you understand that there's a purpose in life, you understand your connection to God, that certainly has an impact on how you live your life and what you do, but also how you feel about your life and what you are doing," said Michael Purdy of the LDS Church Public Affairs office taken from the

So there you have it.  Mormons are Christians.  We believe we are and we show it by our lifestyle. We want to do good to all men.  We help our neighbors, get involved with our community and serve our fellow man.  Now not all Mormons live up to this high standard, unfortunately but many do and they know that Jesus Christ is their Savior.

Also know that 83 percent of those Mormons polled pray every day and 77 percent attend church at least once a week.

See more of this poll here:

The fourth series of questions deals with immigration issues and politics. U.S. Mormons are more conservative (66 percent) reported in and 41 percent said that immigrants are a burden to the country. That means 59 percent are more open for foreigners in the LDS religion than other religious groups. One reason cited was that many young adult men travel abroad to other countries to preach the gospel and come to love those people they serve.

Read more about it here:
The fifth and final series of questions are on social issues.  For example Mormons polled about whether it’s morally wrong to divorce, drink alcohol, have an abortion or sex between unmarried adults or polygamy answered differently in view point than most Americans. Eighty-six percent said they felt polygamy was morally wrong, 79 percent thought that sex between unmarried adults was morally wrong, 74 percent said having an abortion is morally wrong, 54 percent said drinking alcohol was morally wrong and 25 percent said divorce is wrong.

See this link to read more:

So are most Americans knowledgeable of what Mormonism is all about?  I think some of those answers were surprising for many who read bits and pieces about the church but never studied its doctrines.  The Mormons are an amazing people and are not to be ignored in their ideals of family and church. So the next time you hear something negative about the Mormons, think again.  They are good people to have around.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"In God Is Our Trust"-- Volume 5 of the Free Men and Dreamers series--

A wonderful new book has hit the scene by an author friend of mine--L.C. Lewis (aka. Laurie Lewis). Lewis, who has been working on this American historical series Free Men and Dreamers since 2003 now finished her last book called  "In God Is Our Trust".  

     L.C. Lewis writes:  After five years of research and rewrites, the result is the historical fiction series called 
Free Men and Dreamers-- DARK SKY AT DAWN, (2007); 
                                         TWILIGHT'S LAST GLEAMING, (2008); 
                                         DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT, (2009); 
                                         OH, SAY CAN YOU SEE? (2010); 
                                          IN GOD IS OUR TRUST, (2011). 

The Founding Fathers' vision of "One Nation Under God" was not left to chance. 
But what if yours was the generation tasked with forging that nation?    
And forced to defend her once again. .  
    Just before the heavens were about to open. . .
   And a new dispensation was about to begin?    
These were the challenges facing a choice generation.

I have already read Oh, Say Can You See and Dark Sky At Dawn, which is a little backwards but the stories are all great and I have learned so much about American history that I never knew--it is amazing.

Click here to order and read more about FREE MEN & DREAMERS

Here is an interview with Laurie:
What made you decide to write a historical novel set in a war period? 
Two of our sons were at EFY (Especially For Youth church youth conference) in Willamsburg, Virginia in 1997 and I became so intrigued and awed by the richness of our colonial heritage that I began reading about the life and lifestyles of early America. Originally, I set the manuscript forward from where it now is because the scope of events in the early nineteenth century was overwhelming to me, and when I was asked to expand the manuscript, I didn't know if I was up to the task. After 9/11, I began to better understand the inter-relationship between God and liberty, and I revisted the project. A US Park Service employee led me to a book about the War of 1812's impact on Maryland. I couldn't resist the temptation to illustrate the history in my own backyard and to further research these amazing Americans who had captivated my interest for over a decade and who set the stage for the Restoration.

Which historical figure stands out to you? 
Oh, without question it would be George Washington. He always looked so stern to me in those classroom prints growing up, but after reading about his personal life and his struggle to serve his country despite his intense desire for a private life, I have come to really respect and love him, and more importantly, I am so grateful to him. He was so revered that he could easily have set himself up as a king figure, but he was such a spiritual man that he understood that there was a divine plan for this nation.

How has your research changed you? 
In so many ways. First, I relate everything to history now and my family gets pretty tired of that, I can tell you! But I hope I've learned one important lesson that crosses all time periods and situations, and it is that we must judge or evaluate a person's life based on the times in which they lived. If we try to measure them using hindsight and the values of another period, we may fail to see that they were a giant in their own time.

Which character in Dark Sky at Dawn most reflects you? 
I don't know how it is for all authors, but when I write, each character reflects a little piece of me, or a sliver of my life experience at one time or another, albeit even as an observer. In this way I feel personally engaged in the conversations and thoughts, and hopefully, I can create a more vivid character and story for the reader.

Are you saying that Hannah's spiritual struggles are a reflection of your personal experiences?
Yes, in some ways. Our family went through a very trying period when we were living on prayer and faith. There were lots of days when life seemed so hard and heavy. We carried on with our lives, but often, as soon as the house emptied, I fell beside my bed and pled out loud with the Lord. Many tender, spiritual experiences came from those moments, but had I listened more carefully, I would have felt His arms of love around me even before I began my pleading. I wanted Hannah to reflect that struggle to learn to listen, to trust and to surrender ourselves to His will.
I also invited Laurie to be a guest blogger:

Hi! Thanks for inviting me to guest blog about my FREE MEN and DREAMERS books.
I’m from Maryland, but about 14 years ago, I fell in love with historic Williamsburg. There is a sacred spirit there, one felt also in other places that welcomed the great patriots—Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Franklin, Key, and others—cities like Philadelphia, Washington, and Georgetown; and places like Fort McHenry, Hampton, Craney Island, Fort Monroe, and dozens more.
I believe it’s because God’s hand was over the events that happened in these places, moving people where they needed to be in order to accomplish His purposes for this land.
The past eight years of my research and writing have focused on an incredibly fascinating, and rather forgotten, generation of Americans. Most of us know a bit about the Revolution, and we have some basic understanding of the issues that drove us into the Civil War, but far fewer know anything concrete about the War of 1812, and yet historians will tell you that it was this period and these events that finally forged us into The United States of America.
The idea for a historic novel began back in 1998 after my first visit to Williamsburg, but I set it aside and moved on to another project. After 9/11, my heart, like most Americans', turned more tenderly to America and her history. By 2004 I submitted the first draft.
The original manuscript was set in the late 1840’s, but after much soul searching, many hours buried in American history, and a small mention in Lucy Mack Smith’s “Biography of Joseph Smith,” I knew I needed to back the books up a generation.
It was Lucy’s reference to her brother Stephen Mack’s service during the War of 1812 that was the deal-breaker. I had never before made the connection between the Smiths and the War of 1812, but there it was! Joseph Smith grew up during that war. He and his generation were affected and shaped by the critical historic events of the tragic burning of Washington, the critical Battle of Baltimore, Key’s rallying of a broken nation with his writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The generation that would take on Britain’s war machine in the War of 1812 was already unique in that they were the children of the Founding Fathers’ generation. They were the heirs of the great patriots’ vision, those charged to build a nation founded on the lofty principles of liberty and freedom, and now they would experience the great religious reformation and the Restoration led by Joseph Smith.
After eight years of research and rewrites, it is this generation’s story that I tell in my FREE MEN and DREAMERS books where we wind six fictional families—three American, two British, one slave—through carefully researched American history to illustrate the courage, sacrifice, and vision of this extraordinary group. 

I’d like to share an excerpt from my recently released volume 5, IN GOD IS OUR TRUST. Our protagonist in the series is Jed Pearson, a moral but logical man who has aligned his course upon the strength and stability of government. But new, illogical, religious concepts threaten his tidy world, and despite his efforts to dismiss them, he cannot, setting the stage for a spiritual awakening that will test his faith in both God and the Constitution. 

Excerpt from In God Is Our Trust:
From chapter 29:
The Pearsons arrived in Washington City in July, well before Jed
was scheduled to be seated in the Senate, but not too early to receive
his first assignment from his friend, Senator Timothy Shepard, who
had been asked to assist Washington’s Mayor Weightman’s Jubilee
of Independence Committee, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the
signing of the Declaration of Independence. Timothy quickly secured
Jed’s help.

“First things first,” Timothy began. “Congress commissioned four
paintings by John Trumball which will be hung in the Rotunda for the
celebration. The capstone of the celebration is his grand mural titled
The Declaration of Independence, depicting the five writers of the
declaration presenting the draft to their colleagues. Here’s a sketch.”

Jed studied the five images in the center of the sketch. The first
three were easily recognizable—Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John
Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania—but
the last two required greater thought. “I’m embarrassed to say I can’t
remember these two members of the drafting committee, nor some
of the other signers.”

“Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and Robert Livingston of New
York, but I can’t name some of the signers anymore. I wonder if
future generations will learn their names and know the risk they
took when they mutually pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their
sacred honor.”

Jed grew wistful at the thought. “So few of them are yet alive.”

“Charles Carroll is well, but Presidents Jefferson and Adams are
in failing health.”

“It’s remarkable to consider what that generation achieved in
fifty years, and yet the cost has been high. Two hundred and fifty
years ago the Indians roamed free in virgin forests and welcomed the
settlers. Now we are at war with them in many corners.”

“We fear them and they don’t trust us, often with good cause,”
Timothy said.

“If only we could share the land and live in peace, but we each
have very different visions for America. It’s rumored Andrew Jackson
will relocate the Indians west if elected president. As much as I love
what we’re building here, I can’t feel good about that.”

“It was a primitive new world when the first settlers arrived, as
if God hid it in His hand for millennia for a special purpose. I think
His hand has ever been and still is over this land.”

“And what do you think His purpose is? Even the Founders
couldn’t agree on religion.”

“They differed on the details, but they all believed in Christ.
Religion was and is still evolving here since the break with Europe.
Perhaps they purposely kept the language vague in order to
accommodate what might yet be.”

“Like a visit from God?”

Timothy scowled at Jed. “What?”

Flushing red, Jed wished he could retract the comment. “Don’t
mind me.”

“No, tell me. Who claims to have been visited by God?”

“A young man named Joseph Smith. Hannah is quite taken with

“But you doubt him?”

Jed leaned back slightly. “Do you believe God would condescend
to come to earth and visit a young man today in response to a

Timothy pondered the question a moment. Jed watched his face
soften as he thought. “I don’t know, but if God wanted to do such
a thing, I think this is where He would choose to do it. Religion
needs freedom to flourish, Jed, and I believe God helped us establish
and preserve ours. Now He’s blessed us with a decade of relative
prosperity and peace. If He wanted to open the heavens and speak, I
think He would do it here, and this might be the time.”

So check out that link above and read some of the most amazing stories......

Now on Kindle too!!!!!
The Founding Fathers' dream of 
"One Nation Under God" was not left to chance.       
 FREE MEN and DREAMERS is now on Kindle!