Special features help families to see how the scriptures apply to their lives today. In the footnotes of this indispensable volume, hard-to-understand words are defined in simple terms, important concepts are explained and developed, and questions to ponder and discuss are asked of young readers. Beautiful, full-color illustrations and paintings—some of which have never been in print before.
And by reading this book of scripture together, every family will be blessed and drawn closer to the Lord Jesus Christ. Parents will thrill as they discover the many helpful and exciting tools in these chapters: activities, object lessons, stories, discussion questions, quotations, and insights that will help them lead their families through the Book of Mormon. Simply review the material for the chapter or verses you are studying and select those teaching ideas you think would be most helpful to your family.
By delving into individual verses, you will develop a rich familiarity with the history, terminology, and characterizations found within familiar doctrinal accounts. Scripture Study Made Simple is a powerful yet easy-to-understand work of gospel scholarship, sure to illuminate the words of ancient scripture as readers find new meaning in this keystone of our religion. For those seeking a broader understanding of the scriptures, this essential guide makes it easier than ever before to truly feast upon the word of Christ.
The Book of Mormon has an answer! These ancient prophets can help you with everything from binge-watching on Netflix to balancing family life and work. This modern guide is perfect for personal study, family discussions, or lessons. Pinegar and Richard J. For Latter-day Saints, it is also the most significant book we can know. Now, to aid in our understanding of this important work, scholars Ed J. Allen have created Commentaries and Insights on the Book of Mormon —a volume that not only illuminates doctrinal truths and contextual meanings of the Book of Mormon, but also shows the application of these profound scriptures in our daily lives.
Skinner and D. This complete two-in-one eBook set offers a reader-friendly exploration of the book of scripture that is the keystone of our religion. It incorporates sound doctrinal commentary with quotations from General Authorities and explanations of difficult passages—all sprinkled generously with the authors' own experiences to illustrate great lessons and personal applications. Never before has a reference work of this scope been created to help both the experienced reader and the investigator or new convert understand this important book of scripture.
It is like having a teacher beside you as you read and study. Maps, illustrations, photographs, pictures, outlines, and charts combine with the informative articles to enhance understanding and help parents, teachers, and leaders share the message of the Book of Mormon with their families and students.
A must-have reference book for every Latter-day Saint library! Contains print pages of material. This comprehensive volume brings the most unique, most compelling, and most insightful comments on the Book of Mormon together into one place to help you get more out of your personal scripture study. As we ask inspired questions and seek a deeper understanding of the scriptures, we invite personal revelation to help us in our challenging and ever-changing journey of life.
For over forty years this near-legendary teacher has enthralled his readers and listeners with his encyclopedic knowledge, his wit, and his untiring research in defense of Latter-day Saint beliefs. Now you can join Dr. Part one contains 29 lectures focusing on 1 Nephi through Mosiah 5. It is vintage Nibley, with his insights, humor, and passionate convictions, discussing a book that he loves and knows so well.
No longer droop in sin," the Book of Mormon is replete with memorable phrases. Dibb has compiled more than 4, scriptural phrases—from the mundane to the sublime—provided a brief definition of each and indicated where else identical or similar phrases can be found in the Book of Mormon. This book is a handy and extremely useful reference work for students of the Book of Mormon, particularly those who not only treasure the truthfulness of the record but delight in the way those truths are delivered.
Whitney from a general conference address :. They are among its auxiliaries, and can do more good for the cause where the Lord has placed them, than anywhere else. The Lord will open their eyes in His own due time. God is using more than one people for the accomplishment of His great and marvelous work. The Latter-day Saints cannot do it all. It is too vast, too arduous for any one people. They are our partners in a certain sense. We have much to learn from our non-LDS brothers and sisters.
A buffet Mormon chooses among what is offered and leaves the rest. Take the dishes that work for you. Eat them and enjoy them. They are nourishing to the soul. You can go back later. Perhaps your tastes will change. Proudly embrace the title buffet Mormon. No one can eat everything in a buffet, even if all of the food is healthy and good. No one, not even the prophets, can do everything that is expected within Mormonism. If you think about it, all Mormons are buffet Mormons. Sure we should all try our best to be as good as possible; however, we all fall short, prophets and apostles included.
Believe us on this one. No one can do everything required by the LDS gospel with perfection — gardens, journals, scripture study, meetings, all the prayers, temple, callings, perfect parent and spouse, earn a living, genealogy, etc. Stop feeling guilty about it!
Early life of Joseph Smith
Embrace it. Decide your limits. Set boundaries. Balance your life to the healthiest extent possible. Make conscious decisions about what you will do and do a good job at it. Explore what speaks to your soul. Several recent conference talks have even encouraged this approach.
Unplug from Caring about What Others Think of You Religiously Detach your care, concern, and self-esteem from the judgment of other church members. To become a buffet Mormon, it means that you must not care what orthodox people think about you from a religious perspective. Religion is ultimately a private thing. One thing is for certain — they are most likely hiding their weaknesses and putting their best foot forward. They have their weaknesses too. In the end, most people just try their best in private often falling short.
In public, they put on as good a show as they can. The only thing you should really concern yourself with, what you should really care about, is what good YOU are doing. Serve and have compassion for other people. Learn and grow spiritually. Practice what brings value to you. Push yourself and stretch your limits at times.
Be proud of what you do, and be forgiving of others who fall short. We all do. Tithing While we fully support compliance with the traditional LDS interpretation of tithing, we acknowledge that some people who are struggling with their faith decide they simply cannot or will not pay 10 percent of their income to the church any longer, at least until they work through things in a satisfactory way.
Once people arrive at this place, it is also quite natural to avoid tithing settlement altogether. These feelings are completely natural… and for many, the law of tithing becomes something they simply cannot approach in the same way they once did. That said, we recommend you think carefully before you discard the law altogether. For example, if you or your family are still attending church and benefiting, it seems ethical to not be complete freeloaders with the church. And if you do drop your tithing to 5 percent or 1 percent, we strongly recommend from experience that you continue trying to obey the spirit of the law.
The concept of tithing certainly sustains the social organization of the church, but it also is a practice of letting go of our attachment to material possession. It is also about sacrificing from our excess to help others in need. This is a beautiful idea, idealistic perhaps, but a solid spiritual practice that can involve us directly in making the world a better place. If you are not comfortable paying all your tithe to the church, consider diverting some to other worthwhile charitable organizations: cleft palate repair, children with AIDS, homeless shelters, the Red Cross, environmental movements, National Public Radio, the Public Broadcasting Service, or other forums, publications, and programs that are important to your spiritual development.
The LDS Humanitarian Services fund and the Perpetual Education Fund also seem like very worthwhile places to contribute, if you are comfortable doing so. Again we encourage nothing less than the paying of a traditional LDS tithe. But if you are unable to pay a full tithe to the church, consider maintaining as much of the spirit of the law as you can. Sunday Meetings If attending three hours of church every Sunday is too much for you right now, instead of quitting church altogether, consider going as often as you feel comfortable. It is especially difficult when church history is not discussed thoroughly or accurately.
If you find certain meetings do you more harm than good, you may decide you need to take a break from some of them from time to time. If you do stop going to church altogether, make sure to replace it with something more uplifting. The key is to increase spirituality and connectedness to family and community, not decrease it.
For many of us, stepping back from church attendance for a while helped us realize how much we valued Sunday services. It gave us a chance to clear our head and heart, to see things from a better perspective and to look at things fresh again. Callings If you find yourself uncomfortable with certain callings e. In an ideal world, you could accept any calling and you would magically have the time and testimony needed.
More free time! With that said, meaningful service is irreplaceable for healthy living, as you know. Temple Attendance If the temple makes you feel uncomfortable, take a break for a while. Many of us are surprised at how much we enjoy the temple once we re-engage with it in our own terms, at a frequency that is comfortable to us. Another idea is to try and see it as a place full of symbol and metaphor. Many people find new life and appreciation for temple participation after letting go of a lot of their literal understanding of the teachings and experiences in the temple.
It can still be a sacred and special place, as much as you want to make it for yourself, and an opportunity to get away from the world, to enter into a space of spirituality and contemplation. Word of Wisdom Word of Wisdom compliance is one of the strongest contemporary, cultural identifiers related to belonging within Mormonism. Because so much is attached to this dietary law, we highly recommend you move slowly and consider changes carefully.
For better or worse, you will find few things with less tolerance than this topic in our religion. It is a very outward, tangible practice related to adherence; which makes it much different than most other areas of faith transition we discus in this article. It is not a matter of simply thinking different. This comes down to potentially acting different. The Word of Wisdom has an interesting history. Readers may have come across historical stories of early Mormon members and leaders who did not practice the Word of Wisdom as we understand it today, even after it was accepted by the saints as canonized revelation.
Regardless of any controversy, there are many positive aspects to the Word of Wisdom. As a broad concept, it embodies the idea of being healthy, strong and spiritual. It is certainly a good idea to avoid addictions that might sap your strength and even lead you to make other poor decisions. Eating healthy and taking care of yourself physically is its own reward. It is an aspect to be valued and applauded. A person can certainly live a whole and productive life without coffee, tea, alcohol and tobacco.
So what is really the harm in that? The bottom line is this: you are responsible for making good decisions about your health and spirituality. Decide what you want to do. Weigh the pros and cons of your personal practice of the Word of Wisdom. Move slowly making changes, if you decide to make them. If you decide to maintain an orthodox practice of the Word of Wisdom, it will make it socially easier to stay in the church.
Shelve or Toss the Bad Doctrine If you find a particular gospel teaching offensive e.
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Blacks were less valiant in the preexistence. Listen to it. Students of LDS Church history will confirm that a number of LDS tenets that were considered by most members to be hard, unchangeable doctrine have been largely wiped from the books:. Chances are that the church has already chosen to distance itself from the particular doctrine. If not, it may do so in the future. It reads in part :. To us, this press release provides clear signals that outside of the core tenets of Christianity faith, hope, charity, love, repentance, etc.
That small core is actually good and very effective. Flexible, broad religious ideas are better suited to stand the test of time, leaving room for them to be used in the context of our changing society and environment. Many of the teachings we grow up thinking are required and eternal are, in fact, not official points of doctrine set in stone. Keep the Good. Ignore the Bad. You are the Captain of Your Ship. In summary, embrace what works for you and your family and reject what does not work. At least put down the burden for now.
Throw away all of the guilt! And most importantly, know that God would really want it this way. God gave you a brain and a heart for a reason.
Use them. Make decisions about what is best for you. Do the best you can, and put the rest in the hands of the Lord. You are the captain of your ship. Free agency was given for a reason. Let go. Feel the unconditional love and total acceptance of your Savior. Whatever you decide, everything is really going to be OK. We never advocate lying, but we would encourage you to use extreme caution when speaking to church members, especially church leaders, about your issues regarding church history, doctrine or culture. Do not unnecessarily introduce topics or issues to church leadership that will threaten their faith, or cause them to question your loyalty.
Frankly, the overwhelming majority of bishops are not trained or equipped to handle tough church history or doctrine, or even simple nuance for that matter. Most of the time, LDS bishops just are trying to keep their own jobs and families from falling apart; while also trying to keep the ward running. They busy helping people with all kinds of day-to-day needs.
Saints: The Standard of Truth? (Part 2)
Tackling polyandry and peep stones are about the furthest things from their minds — and should probably remain so. If you never bring this stuff up, it likely will never come up. If you do bring it up, it might lead to really uncomfortable and highly discouraging situations. That response is what we often hear from people. Also, realize there can be a huge variation in approaches and reactions depending on the bishop.
There are over 28, bishops and branch presidents stats. That broad of a group is going to lead to a lot of variance depending on personalities, maturity and your local culture. People bring up this question a lot. It has various permutations, but the essence of the question is this: People around you might think you are a true believer, or mistake you for someone who is very devout, when in fact you have doubts or do not believe everything. This worry is related to the issue of not caring what others think about you religiously.
We mentioned that topic above. But this anxiety is the opposite problem. Some people have concerns about being honest or feel like they must walk around with a scarlet letter sewed to their clothing. The best advice we can give is to find a balance between being authentic and burdening everyone else with your problems. Most people at Church have at least some doubts and concerns. It is fine to talk about these concerns with people we really care to share them with. But it is far more positive and productive to focus on the common good and the common perspectives we share with others.
Being Honest without Being Confrontational This skill takes practice. It takes a lot of personal discipline. Some people have the gift of this social skill more than others. If are having intense feelings about your changing views, it is probably not the best time to share them with your Sunday School class. Resist the temptation of feeling the need to correct people openly. Sometimes you can nudge the conversation in a better direction.
Sometimes you just have to let it go. Take a look at the paragraph below about building and spending social capital in your local ward. To be honest or direct without being confrontational is an art. The best overall strategy is to frame things as your opinion or to talk in probabilities. Another important aspect is to communicate with less certainty. This approach allows others to have a conversation with you.
And it also gives people room to disagree respectfully. It seems to be about half the size of past manuals. That is actually good for our problem!
For Kids and Families
You can adapt lesson material to your comfort level and to the needs of class members. Many people who are new to an exploration of staying in the church after experiencing doubts are uncomfortable with lessons. Make them your own. We find that people in a class enjoy something heartfelt and positive. Presenting something sincere and uplifting can be tricky if you are still having a lot of concerns. So perhaps taking a break from callings where you have to teach is a good idea, at least until you are comfortable with teaching again.
Defining our limits tends to be a tough one for some of us to learn. Some of us were even taught to never turn down a calling, seeing it as always percent inspired. We are not telling people to reject callings, but seriously think about your personal boundaries. What amount of time can you give? We highly encourage you to give service to others, to take callings and to be an active part of your ward community; but we all have to set up boundaries and maintain them. This process is important for practical reasons of living your life. It is also important emotionally to not feel compelled or guilty.
As Bonner Ritchie is fond of saying: Only you can protect yourself from organizational abuse. Try to remember this truth at all times, as you would with a job, school or marriage. Make sure to never allow yourself or your loved ones to be put in a position of being taken advantage of. Not with scoutmasters. Not with home teachers. Not even with bishops. The vast majority of active members are good and decent people — some of the best we know. But the LDS Church membership is also, on some level, just a cross section of our local communities.
This topic alone deserves an entire book on the subject. We can only brush on the very surface of the relationship issues that get tangled up in marriages when spouses diverge in their perceived levels of orthodoxy. Please know that the love, acceptance and tolerance you give to your spouse who remains orthodox will return to you. It is normal for spouses to grow and develop differently over the course of a marriage. People change. Change does not have to be the end of a marriage. In fact, mixed-faith marriages outside of Mormonism are very common and can be successful.
They are much more obvious though, most of the time. We do not recommend trying to pressure your spouse into reading all that you are reading or learning about everything controversial about the church that interests you. You will have to come to terms with this fact in order to move forward. Many members of the church are just interested in the experience they have on any normal Sunday.
That experience is the church to them, and the messy historical details disrupt it. The main advice we can give is this: Always try to separate church problems from relationship problems. We tend to mix those up, especially when one spouse is more orthodox and the other is not or is starting to diverge. This topic can be volatile. What will you teach your children about religion in general and about their LDS Church specifically? Your children may have been doing all the normal church activities and attendance, and now the family is changing.
Here are some suggestions. We tell them that we go to the LDS Church because:. We have explained to them, when age-appropriate, that adults teaching them have their opinions about the gospel and that they may or may not be right. It is OK to think differently or to have another opinion. Here is a list of a few ideas that we might tell our children we have problems accepting. Disagreeing with these ideas is a highly personal decision.
But this list reflects examples of ideas we know people sometimes reject:. To summarize, teach your kids to do in church what you teach them to do with everything in their lives, including TV, movies, books, school, friends, etc. Seek out the good in these things for there is great good in all of them. Avoid the bad in these things. Should your children demonstrate respect? Of course they should for those who deserve it. Teach them to use their heads, hearts and spirit — together — to determine for themselves what is right and wrong.
The church is actually a wonderful laboratory to help practice and will eventually instill this teaching within them. Focus on the Positive: When we first started asking our kids at Sunday dinner to enumerate all they learned in church that day, we began picking it all apart. We tried to systematically analyze and criticize all of the bad stuff. As you might imagine, this practice ended up being a very negative experience for all; and it tended to amplify the negative aspects of their church experience in their minds.
Simply put, this approach was a disaster. It took us a while to realize that cynicism and negativity were more harmful to our souls than dogmatic religious tenets and observance. In summary, we strongly recommend keeping your focus on the good in the church because there is much good. Kids should feel comfortable talking openly about their frustrations. But they also need to be reminded to seek out the good in imperfect situations: in church and in all other aspects of their lives.
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This attitude is an extremely healthy life skill. It is a gift you can give your children by example. Without the church-supported community, how else would you find out about the sister who is pregnant on bed rest and needs a meal for her family? Or the good brother or child who has cancer? Or the widow? Or the father who has lost his job? Chances to serve are chances to love, to build meaningful relationships and to build your own sense of worth and self-esteem.
Nonetheless, in giving service, you do not need to run faster than you have strength. I do not have the emotional or financial resources or time to help in that particular situation. Still, the church can be a great place to find out about opportunities to serve that will fit your ability to give. Eventually you will find that in giving, you receive. This is one of the great strengths of a community, especially a religious community.
Try to focus the bulk of your time and energy on serving those around you. Be at as many service projects as you can. Show up for every move you can. Bail the high counselor out when his car breaks down. Take meals to your bishopric and Relief Society presidency. Be the type of Christian you want the church to represent. Over time you will discover others like you in this regard. You can literally transform an entire quorum or Relief Society, even a ward community into a more loving, open-minded, informed and compassionate place.
The temple recommend interview process is very intimidating to folks who have become disaffected from Mormonism. More often than not, we hold in our minds an extreme, literalistic, orthodox and dramatically unrealistic expectation as to what the bishop or even the brethren expect us to believe when they ask the recommend questions. For example:. Truth be told, there have been numerous LDS general authorities who differed among themselves on a whole host of fundamental aspects of Mormon doctrine — from the nature of God and man, to the atonement, to Word of Wisdom observance.
We should not assume that our interpretations of church doctrine and policy must align perfectly with those of Brigham Young and Bruce R. Apostles themselves have differed greatly over issues like evolution, birth control, age of the earth, Book of Mormon historicity, valiance of blacks in the pre-mortal existence, etc. McKay stopped publication of Bruce R. Intentionally Vague Questions: In our opinion, the brethren have intentionally kept the temple recommend questions very simple and in many ways quite vague. At a minimum, you must admit that they definitely could have been much more specific, if they had wanted to.
No Additional Questions Allowed: Local leaders are strictly forbidden to add additional questions to the interview. To us, this move signals that the brethren are looking to set a minimum standard, not a maximum one. You are the Judge: They ultimately expect you to judge your own worthiness and provide the leadership as a second-line support when and where you feel they are needed. Otherwise, they have wisely left the decision ultimately between you and God.
The church and the temple exist to help perfect the weak. They are not there to further exalt the unblemished. Before we address some of the specific temple recommend questions, we must begin this section by emphasizing something very clearly. We do not encourage or condone lying or deception of any sort during the temple recommend interview. He and his wife, Diane, are the parents of four children.
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