Tag Archives: LDS

Buy It, Borrow It, or Bag It: Unveiling Grace by Lynn K. Wilder

Unveiling    I had no real reason to want to read this book…until I had the opportunity to tour a Mormon Temple prior to its dedication. For the record, I pride myself of being open minded where religion is concerned. I was a huge fan of Donny and Marie back in the day and they were the first people I knew of to be part of the LDS organization. They seemed pretty normal so I have never had a problem with the Mormon religion…then again, I only know enough about it to be dangerous- or to get it horribly wrong.

To play fair, the Mormon Temple was a beautiful building and I learned a few things about the religion while I was there…there were also things that I knew were somewhat glazed over and presented in such a way to unite rather than divide. While this did not bother me, it caused me to want to know more so I looked up Lynn Wilder’s book about how she and her family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and ultimately left the religion for something a little more traditional.

When I started the book, I really liked it. I felt that it was full of information, tied a few loose ends together, explained why Mormons seem to be so into genealogy, etc…but then it kind of fell apart. While I’m not knocking anyone, I couldn’t help wondering if this family did ANYTHING other than read the Bible, or other scripture and talk about it. I kept feeling like I wanted to hear them say they went to the movies, ate dinner at McDonalds or something “normal,” but even as this family began to question their beliefs and leave the LDS church, all they do is talk theology. I’m sure that’s not the case, but that’s the way it read so I preferred the first half to the second.

I must say that reading this book did not cause me to conclude anything about the LDS church. I suspect that somewhere between what I heard on the tour and what Wilder said lies the truth. Being Catholic, I am sure that truth is something I probably wouldn’t agree with but if the beliefs of the Mormon Church give people comfort and help them get closer to God, who am I to judge? I read for personal information only…not to make generalizations about an entire religion. Borrow it if you have a penchant for religion and desire to read about the mysteries of the LDS faith.

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Confessions of a Cynical Catholic: My son and the Book of Mormon

Mormons       Most people who know me, know that I am an Olympic junkie. I love everything about the games and will watch sports I have never heard of if it means that the US might bring home the gold medal. I’m even worse if the games are actually held on US soil as they were in 2002. The Salt Lake City games were a big deal for the country and an even bigger deal for the state of Utah, which is known for its large Mormon/Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints population.

I willingly admit that I do not know much about the LDS. I have watched documentaries about their history on PBS and I was a big fan of Donny and Marie back in the day, but beyond that…my scope is limited. I can say with some certainty that they seem like really nice people who work hard and live good Christian lives. They build beautiful temples. They believe in big families, and they are constantly doing good works for others. As far as I am concerned, the mormons are fine by me.

I don’t know what my son thought, though. As it happened, the Salt Lake Games coincided with a unit on other religions in his theology class and after reading a Time Magazine article about their penchant for overseas missions and door-to-door evangelism, my ever curious child had a LOT of questions about the tenants of the LDS movement and why the governor of Utah encouraged them to quell their “enthusiasm” during the Olympic season.

“Did you know that these people have a different Bible?” he asked me.

“It’s not a ‘different’ Bible…they have the same thing we do, but they also have The Book of Mormon,” I informed him.

“Well, whatever it is, they give it away for FREE…all you have to do is call the toll-free number and they’ll send one to you!” He was giddy with excitement over getting a free book in the mail.

I shook my head. “Yeah, no…I am not calling that number. Do you have any idea what comes WITH that free book?”

“What?”

“The MORMONS!” I shot back. “I’m here to tell you, they are wonderful people, but they are harder to chase away than a Jehovah’s Witness. They’ll show up on their bikes looking like Steak & Shake servers and talking about God-only-knows-what and I am not in the mood for that conversation! No thank you. No ‘free’ book is worth all of that.”

He was so disappointed. After his success with the Jewish temple, I think he was under the impression that I would actually encourage his curiosity and have him call them right up. However, a few months later, while he was volunteering for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, he happened to work alongside a group of mormons and didn’t even know it.

“Hey, are you guys LDS?” I confirmed as we sat in the break room eating ice cream.

Their eyes lit up and big smiles spread across their faces. “Yes, we are,” one of them answered. “What can we do for you?”

I explained that we were Catholics and that my son had recently finished a unit on other religions and wanted to know a little more about the LDS faith. “If you have a couple of minutes, would you mind talking to him? He’s not going to convert or anything, but I think he would get a lot out of the conversation.” The pair readily agreed and told me to send him over.

“OK here’s the deal, see those two guys over there?” I indicated to them with a nod of my head.

“Yeah,” he replied. “What about them?”

I smiled. “They are Mormons.”

To explain the child’s reaction would make no sense in the English language. His jaw dropped open. His eyes became huge and he stared across the room as if he’d just discovered the one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater. “Oh for heaven’s sake, they are Latter Day Saints, not zoo animals! They agreed to talk to you for a couple of minutes and want you to come over.” I hesitated for a second before adding, “Just do me a favor, whatever they say, just listen. Don’t argue with them, don’t tell them they are wrong, and don’t get into some kind of theological debate. Remember, we asked them not the other way around so be respectful.”

“OK,” he said, and went off to introduce himself.

A few minutes he returned with a strange look on his face. His smile seemed frozen in place and he spoke through gritted teeth. “You are never going to believe this one,” he informed me. “Do you know these people think Jesus lived in America with the Indians and that when they die they can become gods?”

“Well, it seems I may have heard some of that along the line,” I told him, impressed by how much they were able to convey in such a short period of time. “I’m sure there is a bit more to it than that, though.”

He narrowed his eyes in suspicion. “Maybe, but I don’t know. They seem to think that they are the only people who are going to go to heaven too.”

Not being privy to the official list, I jokingly pointed out that perhaps they were right. The important thing was to hear what they had to say and not to judge them. After all, we as Catholics have our beliefs, and they have theirs. My son unfortunately had no intention of giving them the benefit of the doubt, especially where the hereafter was concerned.

“I’m judging them, but they are wrong. I am totally going to heaven when I die and I don’t need an extra Bible or a crazy fairy tale to tell me that! I’ve got two sacraments and I plan to get the rest of them as well…if that doesn’t get me in, nothing will,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Buy It, Borrow It or Bag It: Love Times Three by The Darger Family

Love Times Three book cover     Don’t ask me what I was thinking reading a book on polygamy. After watching “Sister Wives” on my Amazon Prime app (hours I will NEVER reclaim) I read about this other polygamist family who was the model for HBOs “Big Love” and unlike Kodie and crew, seem to have a dab of sense.

I don’t know…I don’t like to pass judgement, but I don’t get it. For everything I should have enjoyed about this book, i.e. learning how an alternative family lives and operates…I didn’t. This wasn’t like watching the Dugger tribe manage five million children while living debt free…this is a group of people who raise their children communally, who pay their taxes, and who are committed to one another and yet, I still find it oddly selfish.

Make no mistake about it. I definitely liked this group more than the Browns of “Sister Wives” and while I would rather people commingle as a family rather than have baby daddies and baby mommies floating around…I’m still not convinced that polygamy works. It’s seems too hard, that only certain people (the women) have to compromise while the guy has a pretty good set up. I also think that (taking the issue of morality out of it…because I don’t do that here) the kids get the short end of the stick in this kind of family. No matter how hard I try, I can’t figure out how Dad has time to properly develop a relationship with his children when he has to juggle and balance three wives.

Not for me. Not sorry I read it, but glad I didn’t spend the money. Bag it.

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