the bible

We Believe ‘The Bible’ To Be the Word Of God! (How History Can Get In The Way Of Facts)

TheDiscipleMD

A number of years ago my family and I took a trip to New England with my wife’s parents. On that trip we took the opportunity to visit Boston, Massachusetts. In Boston we took the time to go to the intersection of Devonshire and State Streets. Unlike many historical locations, this “spot” is well documented as the place where the “Boston Massacre” took place. This tragic event that took place in 1770, has been seen as one of the events foreshadowing the breakout of the Revolutionary War some five years later. As a young boy I was taught about this “massacre” and the only thing I took with me to adulthood, from its story-line, was that the British were at fault and that it was a “massacre”. The word massacre implied, to me, the killing of a whole lot of innocent people. Because of this visit I took a closer look into this great historical event and found that I had most of the facts wrong, including that the British shot innocent colonials unprovoked. Only five citizens were killed by British soldiers in this exchange, but not before enduring repeated insults and after being pelted by the colonials with snowballs, oyster shells, and rocks. The “real” story is quite different from what I remember being taught as a kid regarding “The Boston Massacre.”

My above “indoctrination” as to the story of “The Boston Massacre” is also not uncommon regarding religious things. One of the religious points that has dogged me my entire life is that people I know constantly think, and tell me, that I don’t believe in the Bible.  They have the impression that “The Book of Mormon” replaces the Bible in our religion. The church is dutifully trying to teach our neighbors about who we are, so that common “misconceptions” can be corrected. In a blog written by Michael Otterson, head of public affairs for the church, and published in the “On Faith” section of the Washington Post, he wrote:

“…where does the Bible fit in Latter-day Saint thinking? The subtitle of the Book of Mormon is “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” And it works together with the Bible to affirm and teach about him. Mormons believe that both compilations were written under the inspiration of heaven and serve us in profound ways. Most Latter-day Saint homes have at least one copy of the Bible, probably several. In homes where English is spoken, it is almost always the long-popular King James Version.

Like other Christians who have made that sacred scripture a central part of their lives, Mormons are literate and knowledgeable about the Bible. We study it a lot – in our four-year cycle of Sunday school curriculum, two years are devoted to the Bible. In addition, it is read and studied in our homes. We move from a verse in the Book of Mormon to a corresponding theme in the Bible and back again with the same ease and comfort that other Christians flick from Matthew to Mark, or Romans to Hebrews. To us, the word of God is the word of God, and having the Book of Mormon delivers insight and understanding of the Bible in the same way that the revelation to the apostle John enhances the gospel of Luke.”

The above quote is true and should help in teaching our neighbors that we love the Bible and it’s teachings. I think I might have been making a mistake in assuming that people of other religions already know I am a believer in the Bible. Oft times they don’t.  I want them to know that we have “common ground” and that they should feel comfortable in knowing that we share their core belief that Jesus is the Christ and that He is our personal Savior and Redeemer.  And of our belief, that it is only through His name that we can be saved.

Religion, like history, can be interpreted and told different ways. We need to make sure that our neighbors know that, while we hold the Book of Mormon to be sacred writ,  let us not forget to also bear powerful testimony of the Bible and of its fundamental role in the foundation of the church, lest our neighbors make a mistake of biblical proportions regarding our beliefs.

paperboy

Rich Memories Of A Retired Paperboy

 

TheDiscipleMd

As a little boy and through young manhood I was a Paperboy. I delivered the Washington Post everyday early in the morning. On many of those mornings my mother would help me by driving the car. It gave me one on one time with her and led to some wonderful conversations and experiences. As the result of that experience I picked up a paper route and did it with my kids for about two years. It was hard but I have fond memories of riding in the van as the kids ran to the doors. Having my little girl ride on the runner of the van as I drove along, hair blowing back with a big smile is one of my favorites.  Her excited exclamation that “Mom would never let me do this” still rings in my ears as she flashed me her beautiful smile. You can’t buy memories like that.

On one occasion, when I was a paperboy,  I was riding along with my Mom when a song from the musical, Fiddler on the Roof, came on. I am sure you all know the song, “If I were a Rich Man.” Back then I thought of Tevye, the father, as an old man. Now I have become him. I sang the song along with my Mom and from then on “Fiddler on the Roof” would always hold a soft spot in my heart as it always brings back memories of her.  I never really liked being a “paperboy”, but the memories that I have are almost all positive. When I think of the time spent over the years of delivering, collecting and putting together papers it wouldn’t seem that such work would hold “good” memories. So I must ask myself “Why, then do I have such fond memories of doing it?” Perhaps the answer is found in a talk given by Carlos Asay in 1989. Said he:

“Memory, according to the experts, often conditions our moods. Those who remember only the disappointing experiences of life tend to become bitter and cynical. Those who recall only their enemies and the forces lined up against them may lose their courage. Those who recall only past injuries may continue to battle with the world. But those who recall the positive and encouraging times, remain bright and optimistic.”

Memories are important to store. All of us have good and bad memories that we choose to hold onto.  I think I have fond memories of my “paperboy” days,  because I have minimized in my mind the work I didn’t like, and stored the good memories of doing it with my Mother and siblings. Carlos Asay ends his thoughts on the matter when he stated:

“I testify of the importance of memory. It does mold our moods. It is associated with testimony. It should include models of righteousness. Of a certainty, it is the product of thoughts. And, in the end, it is you.”

May we choose to always hold sweet memories of the past and try to abandon those that weight our spirits down. In so doing, we will become rich, not with the perishable goods of this world, but in the eternal things of the heart.

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The World Can Break Your Heart…Yet Fill It To OverFlowing!

TheDiscipleMD

Who hasn’t , at one time or the other, felt  joy in this life that filled our soul to overflowing?  The immensity and grandeur of it all!  Who knows from whence it came or why it left, but for a moment in time, it was ours! Perhaps it was on a bliss wedding day, or the moment when we first held a child, our child, in our arms. Or perhaps it was a moment, when we exchanged a glance with our spouse, or a word of love with a parent. Moments of joy are plentiful in this life, if we open our hearts and let it in. Yet…

Who hasn’t, at one time or the other, felt pain in this life that left our heart-broken? The immensity and grandeur of it all! Who knows from whence it came or why it left, if it ever did. But for a moment in time, it was ours! Perhaps our heart broke on the break up of our marriage, or the moment when we first received news of the death of a child. Or perhaps it was a moment when we had an ugly exchange with a spouse, or words of hate with our parents. Moments of pain are plentiful in this life, even if we don’t open our hearts to it.  Yet…

“…it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so…righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.” (2 Nephi 2:11-12)

the disciple 308

A ‘Born Again’ Beggar

TheDiscipleMD

Like me, if you believe in a Supreme Being, no matter what faith,  you have probably spent a lot time and energy petitioning for divine help. Most of the time, our petitioning could be classified as  a form of ‘begging.’ Not that there is anything wrong with being a ‘beggar.’  The scriptures, as recorded in Samuel, tell us that the fate of beggars can turn out to be very positive.

“He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory…” (1 Samuel 2:8)

Yet, society has attached a negative connotation to the word beggar, and most of us have a tendency to look down, at least a tiny bit, on street beggars that we come into contact with and on the poor in general.  I don’t know why that is except to say that most often it is our lack of knowledge, and understanding of another’s situation and we somehow think they are responsible for their plight. And perhaps for many that is true. But each time I see someone who is in such dire straits and I am tempted to judge, I remember the words of King Benjamin, who preached:

“For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?  (Mosiah 4:19)

Indeed, King Benjamin was right; we do depend on God’s benevolence for everything.  When I think about his words, I ponder on the fact that I was born a beggar and will die a beggar. With that in mind, perhaps I should be more tolerance of others and their problems and their situations. Perhaps I should be more Christlike in my thoughts and actions towards those less fortunate. Perhaps I should remember that although all of us are beggars unto the Lord, we are also sons and daughters of God and that there is nobility in everyone.

Perhaps we should take upon ourselves both the attributes of a beggar, such as humility, but also the attributes of mercy and kindness that come from being a son or daughter unto the Most High. Perhaps we should remember each day as we rise,  that we are all ‘born again’ beggars!

 

 

 

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