Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mormons are Christians

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Recently in the media and other news worthy happenings, there has been a lot of talk about Mormons, Christianity and the Book of Mormon. Being a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints myself, I have an inside view of both sides of the story.

Picture: Historic title pages and covers of the Book of Mormon in Portuguese, upper left, Mandarin Chinese, upper right, German, lower left, and Japanese, lower right.

I was born into a Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York back in 1959.  My mother had always been particularly interested in Christianity as she felt something missing in her life.  We were raised as the “Conservative” sect of Judaism as my father came from the Orthodox sect and my mother from the Reform sect.  We moved to New Jersey where we attended synagogue and I learned the customs of the religion but I wasn’t comfortable there. At 
seven years old, I had a distinct thirst for religious instruction but our Rabbi said I was too old and dismissed my mother’s request. I was very disappointed.  At the age of nine, my parents announced that we were to be visited by two Mormon Missionaries.  I was curious and very delighted with the thought of changing religions.  We were baptized 6 months later and I was thrilled that I didn't have to bother with Judaism again.  But that was not to be.  My parents didn't tell our family of our new journey and we went on to family gatherings as if nothing ever happened, all the while attending church each week and other church related activities.

 There is an outcry from many churches around the country that “Mormons” are not Christians. I hear this repeatedly and as a member of this church, it is frustrating.  From the beginning of its birth, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is most certainly a Christian based religion.  We follow our Savior in every way we can and our leaders encourage this behavior always.  Our church is almost always the first on the scene of a disaster helping others with food, water and clothing and we most certainly want peace in every country we are established.  So why aren’t we considered Christians.

 The Book of Mormon might be one reason.  This sacred scripture is a record of the ancient people of the Americas:  the ancestors of the North and South American Indian people.  It is a fascinating story of how those people traveled from ancient Israel, established their roots and then was visited by the Savior after he was crucified in Jerusalem.  That is why the subtitle to the Book of Mormon is “Another Testament of Jesus Christ”, which it is.  Why can’t  others in the world be visited by the Savior.  Especially when He Himself has said, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."  (John 10:16-King James Version)

So there you have it: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  We are Christians in the truest sense of the word.  We are not perfect as we are human beings but we strive to make good choice and do the right thing by mankind. Check out this article on the Book of Mormon. It's very informative and it will shed a better light on the subject.

Interesting article on the Translation of the Book of Mormon

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How To Reform Congress

With the start of the new year, we are reminded very quickly of what lies ahead. We must make our choice for the presidential race. There are other elections as well and we must carefully consider who would do the best job in leading our country forward.  I was impressed by what Mitt Romney said last week: “We are not just electing a president of the United States we are saving the soul of our country.”  I firmly believe we need to find a way, as citizens, to get back to our constitutional roots and trash those unconstitutional laws which take our freedoms away.

In a message from a group of concerned citizens, we read what could be a great way to get our Congress back on track in working towards saving the soul of our country. It’s called The Congressional Reform Act of 2011 and although it was not taken seriously by our Congress last year, we should seriously consider these six points for 2012.

1. No Tenure / No Pension.  A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and would receive no pay when they're out of office. A term of service should not be paid after the job is done.  This would help cut our national budget for the future.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the
American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do. There should be no special treatment for those who work as legislators as this is a great honor and should not be compensated after they have gone home.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3% just as the rest of us are given. It is ridiculous to think that anyone who works for the people of the United States should reward themselves with their own pay raise.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people. Again, this would be a great help to our sagging budget.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people. As American citizens, we are required to abide by the law.  No one is above the law no matter what his or her position. This is how we discipline ourselves to be a society.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, who serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.  As Thomas Jefferson said:The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.”  These political reforms are the will of the people.

My Last Editorial for the Gulf Coast Newspaper

Moral Issues of Country Under Fire

Through out our country’s history, we were known to be a people of prayer, religious conviction and those who promote life.  We prayed before meals, before school started, before Congress, and before sport games. George Washington prayed during Valley Forge as well as many other military leaders and men in combat. So why has the media jumped all over Tim Tebow when he drops to a knee to thank his Heavenly Father for his blessings?

Religious convictions, especially Christianity, have come under fire in many areas including entertainment, sports, education and government. Respect for the divine in our country is on a downward slope. The standard of what used to be acceptable in religion is slowly being undermined. In 2006 a public school teacher was forced by a federal judge to remove Christian-themed posters from his bulletin board.  One of them was the picture of George Washington kneeling in prayer at Valley Forge. We remember the Ten Commandment fiasco when a monument showing the Ten Commandments had to be removed from our own state courthouse. There is a lack of regard for what we used to call respect for God’s authority. It is slowly taking over all those who are opposed to those who choose to keep this reverence.
As I researched this phenomenon, there was another issue which arose. In the wake of the 39th March for Life in Washington D.C., where hundreds of thousands will walk to support the birth of unborn babies this week, the issue of pro-life is under attack.

 Apparently Tim Tebow’s mother Pam had courageously chose to carry Tim to full term despite doctors’ recommendations that she abort him. An abortion never was even considered as Pam knew she was carrying a person within her.  The attacks of their family from certain women’s groups who were opposed to a Focus on the Family TV ad that ran during the 2010 Super Bowl game explaining their pro-life life style was under attack. Pam made her choice but apparently was not the choice others thought she should do.

We all have choices to make in our own life without others judging us and these choices are based on our experience and knowledge.  If the media reports that it’s okay for young mothers to abort their babies, those without the conviction that it is killing an innocent person, will follow the crowd.  But if the true message of what an abortion is all about is revealed, then this knowledge will help women embrace moral understanding; which is why there will be an anti-abortion commercial during the Super Bowl next weekend.

It makes sense to me: praying, religious convictions and choosing pro-life are moral issues which made our country great. In the words of one great American, Ronald Reagan, he said this: "I've noticed that everyone who is pro-abortion has already been born." These standards need to be kept at the forefront of our society and taught to our children at home.