Sunday, September 05, 2004

September 2004 Ensign

For those unfamiliar with the monthly LDS Church magazine The Ensign, I highly recommend subscribing to it. It's only $10 for an entire year, so subscribe now!

Go on, I'll wait.

In the mean time, I'll give links to the articles on which I'll comment below. Okay, now I'd like to share a few things that stood out to me when I read the September issue last night.

In Opposition to Evil by President Gordon B. Hinckley

This is an excellent article, full of pearls of wisdom. Please read it first so you can learn directly from the prophet's words before I point out some parts I found particularly interesting.

To give an overall summary, President Hinckley points out that in many areas of the world today we find media "which is debauching, that which leads to violence and illicit sex." Nevertheless, he is confident that "there are millions upon millions of good people" whose combined voices can turn back the tide of filth in the world. Says he, "I believe the challenge to oppose this evil is one from which members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as citizens, cannot shrink." I think the word "oppose" is significant; we are not to simply avoid evil. We are to oppose it.

"I should like to suggest four points of beginning in our efforts to oppose the tide of evil," President Hinckley continues. He lists and expounds upon these four areas:
  1. Begin with yourself.
    Choice quote: "We cannot expect to lift others unless we stand on higher ground ourselves."
  2. A better tomorrow begins with the training of a better generation.
    Expose your children to good books, magazines, and music. "When there is a good movie in town, consider going to the theater as a family. Your very patronage will give encouragement to those who wish to produce this type of entertainment." "Let those who are responsible for any efforts to put suitable family entertainment on television know of your appreciation for that which is good..."
  3. The building of public sentiment begins with a few earnest voices.
    "...we should earnestly and sincerely and positively express our convictions to those given the heavy responsibility of making and enforcing our laws." "Remarkable consequences often flow from a well-written letter and a postage stamp." " not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. (D&C 64:33)"
  4. Strength to do battle begins with the strength of God.
    "Put on the whole armour of God... For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)"
President Hinckley is a wise and inspired leader, and I encourage everyone—Latter-day Saint or not—to follow his counsel.

Compassion for Those Who Struggle (author's name withheld)

This is an excellent article written by a Latter-day Saint who struggles to avoid the temptation of same-sex attraction. Because I have had friends in the past confide in me about such personal matters, I am always intrigued by Church articles published on the subject.

The author recognizes that becoming engaged in a homosexual relationship or lifestyle is not pleasing to the Lord (see Guide to the Scriptures: Homosexuality), and wishes not to be labeled "gay," but to take upon him- or herself the name of Christ instead (¶ 3). Anyone else who feels similarly, or who wishes to better understand the doctrine of Christ on this subject, should definitely read this article.

Some good quotes:

"Persons... struggling with the burden of same-sex attraction are in special need of the love and encouragement that is a clear responsibility of Church members."
-Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

"Once we have reached the age or condition of accountability, the claim 'I was born that way' does not excuse actions or thoughts that fail to conform to the commandments of God. We need to learn how to live so that a weakness that is mortal will not prevent us from achieving the goal that is eternal."
-Elder Dallin H. Oaks

"If you do not act upon temptations, you need feel no guilt."
-President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

"We should always distinguish between sinful acts and inappropriate feelings or potentially dangerous susceptibilities. We should reach out lovingly to those who are struggling to resist temptation."
-Elder Dallin H. Oaks

The author states that he or she becomes uncomfortable when people ask why he or she is not yet married. "Worse, however, is hearing the dreaded words 'I have the perfect person for you to date.'" Nevertheless, the author explains that for some people dating those of the opposite sex may help "to work past inappropriate attractions."

The author continues, "Some may say that same-sex attraction can be 'cured' simply through dating and marriage. But President Gordon B. Hinckley has dispelled this notion: 'Marriage should not be viewed as a therapeutic step to solve problems such as homosexual inclinations or practices, which first should clearly be overcome with a firm and fixed determination never to slip into such practices again.'"

Anyway, subscribe to the Ensign! It's a great way to keep the Spirit in your home and to continually learn more about the gospel.

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