Tag Archives: Mormon

Porn business not something to be proud of

By Contributor Diane Kipp

Diane Kipp

Rick Santorum is concerned about pornography and its affects on Americans. His website states he, “believes that federal obscenity laws should be vigorously enforced,” and, if he is elected president,  he vows to appoint an attorney general who will do just that.

According to Chris Moody, in an article on Yahoo’s “The Ticket” some of the main producers of American pornography claim not to be concerned about Santorum’s ability to impact their industry. Indeed, they seem to strongly disapprove of  Santorum’s plans, apparently based on their deeply held philosophical beliefs.

One Porn Titan (a title used in the headline of the article), obviously an earnest student of American political history who possibly minored in psychology, offers this insight, “This is not what the Founding Fathers envisioned. This is what Rick Santorum envisions. And I think the guy is crazy.” Does the Porn Titan think anything he produces is what the Founding Fathers envisioned? Does he imagine any of the Founding Fathers would feel satisfaction in knowing pornographers  appropriate the freedoms and protections of the United States Constitution to further their industry?

Another Porn Titan believes that even if Santorum wins the election and directs prosecutions of those in the pornography industry, the industry will prevail because, “People are more comfortable with hardcore pornography than ever before.” (Yay for us!  And yes, I’m being sarcastic.) An attorney for the pornography industry agrees, “Fortunately, we become a more tolerant society over time . . . we don’t want others telling us what we can and can’t do.”

Has our prevailing characteristic as a people become “neener neener, you can’t make me?” We will tolerate an epidemic of filth wallowing and all its subsequent consequences, we will look at the addictive, misogynistic face of pornography and say, “that’s ok, it can stay,” rather than have someone else “tell us what to do”?!  Is that the price we are willing to pay in order to have the satisfaction of stamping our little feet, sticking out our tongues, and yelling “you can’t make me”?  Of all the values I associate with the American people, that is not one I would choose to define us or to be a determiner in where we are headed as a nation and as a people. Would you?

LDS volunteers celebrate Humanitarian Day

By Tracy Simmons

Creative amphibian creatures were just part of the agenda at the East Stake Humanitarian Day/Courtesy of the Latter-day Sentinel

Last month more than 200 Mormon volunteers spent the day serving the Spokane community.

On Humanitarian Day (Feb. 25) members of The Spokane East Stake Relief Society created “wish list” items for 15 area organizations, including toys, pictures books and quilts.

“I love the origin of this day. Instead of our sisters creating projects that we would find homes for, the Humanitarian Leader, Jill Woolf, went to organizations and schools and asked them, ‘What is on your wish list?’ They gave several ideas which we took to our sisters and they decided what they wanted to sponsor. The thrill of the day was in being able grant wishes. It’s not often that we get to do that,” said  Stake Relief Society President Karen Spear.

Check out the Latter-day Sentinel to read more about this story.

Romney knows realities of poverty

By Contributor Diane Kipp

Diane Kipp

The TV in my bathroom, there so I can be entertained during the boring tasks of hair drying and makeup application, is often set to CNN, where I currently watch the soap opera-like Days of Our Republican Presidential Candidate Hopefuls.  This has led me to an observation about Mormon bishops, which may be relevant to the one person who is a Republican presidential candidate and a (former) Mormon bishop. I do not know said candidate (Mitt Romney) personally and am not endorsing him politically; I am merely making an observation I suspect applies to him.

Conventional wisdom says a rich person cannot understand poorer people and their specific challenges.  While I agree most of us do not really, truly get anything unless we’ve experienced it, it is possible to gain a certain depth of understanding through vicarious life experiences. And I believe for most Mormon bishops, bishoping (a verb I just made up; if you say it to another Mormon, s/he’ll look surprised) gives them some genuine understanding of what it means to be poor.

Mormon bishops are shepherds to their congregational flocks and they have an active and anxious regard for the flock’s well being; helping those who are in financial distress is a prime responsibility. Members who need help obtaining food, housing, employment, money for utilities, etc. meet personally with the bishop. He evaluates their needs, provides appropriate help through the church’s welfare system or through the congregational community, and helps them learn to help themselves. All humans tend to love those they serve (it’s a magic formula) and bishops love their congregations, especially the struggling members who need their help the most.  It’s impossible for a bishop not to have a fairly personal, up-close idea of what it’s like, on a very practical level, to be poor.

Mitt Romney is a former Mormon bishop/Wikipedia photo

This concept generally applies, to a lesser degree, to all Mormons.  Mormon congregations are close communities; virtually all members who attend church regularly are active participants.  We teach each other, perform service together, spend time in each others’ homes as visiting teachers and home teachers (more on that another time), and lend active support during health issues, unemployment, child rearing, death, divorce  — all the challenges of life.  So even those who are financially comfortable-to-wealthy are closely linked to fellow congregation members who are struggling, or worse, financially.

This description of Mormon congregations and Mormon bishops is probably very similar to that of any ecclesiastical leader and his/her congregation or community. My point is not that Mormons are special this way, my point is simply that anyone who has been a Mormon bishop probably has a surprisingly intimate and accurate idea of what it means to be truly poor. Even a very wealthy former bishop, even one whose wife drives two Cadillacs and who can be his own worst foot-in-mouth enemy, is likely not the isolated, “unacquainted with the realities of poverty” person that many assume him to be.

Meet Matt Wise, our gospel philosophy writer

Matt Wise

Before earning his bachelor’s from Brigham Young University-Idaho, Matt Wise served in Japan as a missionary for the Church of Jesus of Christ Latter-day Saints.

He’s originally from Spokane Valley and is currently working on personal entrepreneurial pursuits and preparing for graduate school. He’s involved in numerous church activities and enjoys studying the scriptures, health, politics, news, history and business.

For SpokaneFAVS Wise writes about gospel philosophy and Christ-like attributes. From time-to-time he’ll also tackle news and politics.

Why do Mormons baptize the dead?

By Daniel Burke
Religion News Service

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has apologized for a Mormon who baptized the late parents of famed Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal. But despite calls this week from Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel and others to rethink the controversial rite, the church is unlikely to drop it entirely.

Mormons practice baptism for the dead in special temple baptismal pools to offer salvation to ancestors who may not have had a chance to accept the Mormon faith. RNS photo courtesy LDS Church.

Latter-day Saints trace posthumous baptism to the Apostle Paul, who wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:29, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?” Mormons believe that Joseph Smith, their faith’s founding prophet, restored the apostolic practice after centuries of neglect by mainstream Christians.

Proxy baptism was also Smith’s answer to a classic Christian conundrum: What happens to people who, through no fault of their own, did not join the church during their earthly lifetime? Should they be barred from heaven?

Mormons believe that vicarious baptisms give the deceased, who exist in the afterlife as conscious spirits, a final chance to join the Mormon fold, and thus gain access to the Celestial Kingdom. To Mormons, only members of the LDS priesthood possess the power to baptize.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a Baptist or a Buddhist,” said Kathleen Flake, a Vanderbilt University scholar who has studied the church, “it’s about who has the authority to perform the sacrament.”

Flake said Mormons are encouraged to baptize at least four generations of forebears to seal the family for eternity. So the LDS church has built the world’s most extensive genealogical library in Salt Lake City with 700 employees and more than 2 billion names.

Baptisms need bodies, so young Mormon men and women dressed in white robes stand in for the departed souls in temple ceremonies worldwide. Mormons youths consider it an honor to be immersed in baptismal founts while the names of the deceased are recited.

LDS leaders emphasize that the spirits of the dead must accept the baptism — it cannot be involuntarily imposed. And Mormons are instructed to only baptize family members, particularly after Jewish genealogists discovered in the 1990s that 380,000 Holocaust survivors had been vicariously baptized. In response, the church imposed safeguards and spent $500,000 removing Jewish names from its baptismal registries.

But with 13 million Mormons worldwide, the church insists that it cannot control “pranksters or careless persons” who submit Jewish names or famous people such as President Obama’s late mother, Stanley Anne Dunham. And the church considers the ritual too essential to forswear.

“With deepest respect to our Jewish friends, the church cannot abandon fundamental aspects of its religious doctrine and practice,” the church writes on its website, “and it should not be asked to do so.”

Blessing Foods delivers food, hope as part of nourishing mission

Courtesy of Latter-day Sentinel

Most people have heard of the parable of the fish and loaves. Lisa Bickham is living it.

Spokane resident Lisa Bickham founded Blessing Foods Inc. in May 2009 by delivering donated food from the back of a truck. These days, Bickham provides nutrition to around 3,000 people throughout the region each month. Photo by Craig Howard

It began three winters ago when Bickham gathered frozen turkeys from Spokane-area food banks and navigated through the snow and ice to deliver Thanksgiving dinners to stranded residents. By May of 2009, Bickham was receiving donations from area grocery stores and dropping off food to shelters, group homes, retirement centers and apartment complexes.

A single mom, Bickham had relied on food banks herself for years. Now she was driving across Spokane County, carrying shipments of nutrition and distributing the Bread of Life, or in her words, “the good news of the salvation of Jesus Christ.” She calls the ministry, Blessing Foods Inc.

Read full post here.

Local woman a standout volunteer, athlete

Latter Day Sentinel

Trudy Reese has lived in the Spokane Valley area for 35 years. She currently serves as the Humanitarian leader in the Evergreen Ward of the Spokane East Stake. Contributed Photo.

Perhaps someday there will be an event that combines the challenge of a cross country ultra-marathon with the unique rigors of volunteer work. Participants would stride down forest trails and check in at designated stations, gathering supplies and rallying support for nonprofit causes along the way. Winning would be based on a calculation of time and overall community impact.

If that event ever does take place, chances are that Trudy Reese will be on the medal stand.

From visiting prisoners at the Eleanor Chase Halfway House to organizing clothing drives for homeless shelters, Reese sets an inspiring pace on the pathway of service.

Read full story in the LDS Sentinel.