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Thursday, September 29, 2011

15. CHURCH AUTHORITY

photo taken of SL Temple and Church Office Building looking westward
on September 23, 2011


LDS leader dismissed after criticizing Friends of Scouting –

Kenny Thomas says he could not in good conscience lead the annual Friends of Scouting fund drive in his LDS ward in Herriman without first sending an email to members to tell them that the money helps pay high salaries for Boy Scout executives and doesn’t stay with their local scout units.
He says that upset his stake president, who persuaded his bishop to release him after four months as president of the ward Young Men organization. The stake president sent him an email saying he was “appalled” at “misinformation” Thomas spread and suggested he did not “follow the prophet.”
David C. Roth, president of the LDS Herriman South Stake, told The Tribune that Thomas was “released because of his unwillingness to support scouting in general,” which is an activity arm of Young Men in the church, “and not just because of what he did with Friends of Scouting.”
Thomas says, meanwhile, “It’s pretty clear I was released because of what I did with Friends of Scouting,” and says he only distributed what he feels is truthful information from such sources as The Tribune. “I don’t think any member of the church should be afraid of standing up for the truth.”
The episode comes after The Tribune last month reported about how the LDS Church locally uses higher pressure methods for its Friends of Scouting drives than do other groups nationally, including having stake presidents and bishops ask members for $50 to $100 each, and sending armies of Scouts to knock on every door in their boundaries (including people who are not LDS) to seek money.
The story also noted that money from the drives helps pay big salaries. Local scout councils declined to give the current salaries of executives. But past tax forms showed, for example, that former Great Salt Lake Council executive Paul Moore made $228,000 annually before leaving to head a council in Los Angeles where he is paid $383,500.
Thomas said he had already been looking into — and was upset by — how the Boy Scouts spent Friends of Scouting money and other funds. He said that started a year ago when he saw his ward was paying far more for what he calls “ramshackle” Scout camps than it was for higher-quality girls camps run by the church.
“Facilities were awful, and the latrines were literally unusable,” he said. “Friends of Scouting money was supposedly going to help fund the camps, too, but it didn’t appear to be percolating down. And anytime a boy wanted to do something there — like shooting or rappelling — they charged an extra fee.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

14. ARE WE NOW LOWERING THE BAR and SACRIFICING LESS?

The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles recently approved changes in the policies regarding length of senior missionary service and missionary housing to encourage more couples to serve full-time missions and to improve their missionary experience.The new senior missionary policy comes as the church watches its missionary ranks thin from a high of 61,638 volunteers in 2002 to 52,483 in 2010.

As of September 1, 2011,
  • couples may choose how long they would like to serve... including just 6 months even if you choose to go to a foreign country.
  •  Missions, temples, or area administration offices now will locate and secure appropriate housing and pay all housing costs (including rent, utilities, and furnishings). Missionary couples will then reimburse some or all of those housing costs up to the cap.
  • Missionaries from the United States, Canada, western Europe, Japan, and Australia will be expected to reimburse the cost of housing up to the cap, while those from all other countries will be expected to reimburse the costs up to but not to exceed $1,400 a month. Couples will continue to pay for food and other personal expenses.
Joseph Smith taught: "a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things." (Lectures on Faith, 6th lecture, paragraph 7)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

13. Passing the Heavenly Gift


There is much symbolism in this book cover.
Here is the back cover text.


Mormonism has undergone four distinct phases. The first began in 1820 and ended with Joseph Smith’s death in 1844. The second began upon Joseph Smith’s death and ended with abandonment of plural marriage, publicly in 1890 and privately in 1904. In the third phase Mormonism denounced as apostasy its practice of plural wives, marking the first time an orthodox practice became grounds for excommunication. The fourth phase began with David O. McKay and is still underway. In it Mormonism has adopted corporate management techniques to consolidate and direct central church decision-making. The first phase was innovative and expansive, continually adding doctrine, scripture, teachings and ordinances. Subsequent phases have curtailed, abandoned, even denounced earlier teaching and doctrine. Phases two through four have all abandoned doctrine. Growth in these subsequent phases has been defined in terms of political influence, financial gains, cultural inroads, and population growth; while the underlying religion has been curtailed. Today, marketing the institution has become more important to Mormon success than preserving the original religious content. The changes from phase to phase have completely transformed Mormonism, sharing a vocabulary but redefining the terms. Modern Mormonism has now institutionalized change. For the first time in this book Mormonism is candidly described in terms which track the changes by examining doctrine, teachings and practices. Interestingly, the passing of the heavenly gift was anticipated by Joseph Smith’s prophecies and the Book of Mormon