Very interesting graphic/map showing the world religions and how things have evolved over time.
Editor: I hope readers of this blog will take these observations with the purpose they were intended — To help members in their own lives and also to help them understand some things from a Mormon Bishop’s perspective.
For those who are not LDS (Latter-day Saints) aka Mormons and read this – here is some background information at the following link about what is a Mormon Bishop, what they do, what are some of their responsibilities, etc.: Mormon Bishop. Bishops have regular full-time jobs/professions. Serving as a Bishop usually requires a weekly time commitment of 20-30 hours per week – sometimes even more than that. Usually Bishops serve several years – a very common time length is about 5 years. They are not paid by the Church or congregation so the sacrifice required and expected is very, very significant. This service is given very willingly at great personal and family sacrifice. Bishops willingly do this because of the love they have for the Lord, for the love and charity they have for Gods children and for doing what is asked. Being a Bishop can be very stressful, demanding, tiring, never-ending, etc. But it is very rewarding in the feelings you get while helping and serving others and the unique position you are in to help change peoples lives.
The following is from a talk I gave upon my release as a Bishop over a decade ago. I served for almost 5 years for a Ward (congregation) of 400+ members with average Sunday attendance of 200+.
Feeling footloose and frisky, a featherbrained fellow forced his father to fork over his farthings. Fast he flew to foreign fields and frittered his family’s fortune, feasting fabulously with floozies and faithless friends. Flooded with flattery he financed a full-fledged fling of “funny foam” and fast food.
Fleeced by his fellows in folly, facing famine, and feeling faintly fuzzy, he found himself a feed-flinger in a filthy foreign farmyard. Feeling frail and fairly famished, he fain would have filled his frame with foraged food from the fodder fragments.
“Fooey,” he figured, “my father’s flunkies fare far fancier,” the frazzled fugitive fumed feverishly, facing the facts. Finally, frustrated from failure and filled with foreboding (but following his feelings) he fled from the filthy foreign farmyard. Faraway, the father focused on the fretful familiar form in the field and flew to him and fondly flung his forearms around the fatigued fugitive. Falling at his father’s feet, the fugitive floundered forlornly, “Father, I have flunked and fruitlessly forfeited family favor.”
Finally, the faithful Father, forbidding and forestalling further flinching, frantically flagged the flunkies to fetch forth the finest fatling and fix a feast.
Faithfully, the father’s first-born was in a fertile field fixing fences while father and fugitive were feeling festive. The foreman felt fantastic as he flashed the fortunate news of a familiar family face that had forsaken fatal foolishness. Forty-four feet from the farmhouse the first-born found a farmhand fixing a fatling.
Frowning and finding fault, he found father and fumed, “Floozies and foam from frittered family funds and you fix a feast following the fugitive’s folderol?” The first-born’s fury flashed, but fussing was futile. The frugal first-born felt it was fitting to feel “favored” for his faithfulness and fidelity to family, father, and farm. In foolhardy fashion, he faulted the father for failing to furnish a fatling and feast for his friends. His folly was not in feeling fit for feast and fatling for friends; rather his flaw was
in his feeling about the fairness of the festival for the found fugitive.
His fundamental fallacy was a fixation on favoritism, not forgiveness. Any focus on feeling “favored” will fester and friction will force the faded facade to fall. Frankly, the father felt the frigid first-born’s frugality of forgiveness was formidable and frightful. But the father’s former faithful fortitude and fearless forbearance to forgive both fugitive and first-born flourishes.
The farsighted father figured, “Such fidelity is fine, but what forbids fervent festivity for the fugitive that is found? Unfurl the flags and finery, let fun and frolic freely flow. Former failure is forgotten, folly is forsaken. Forgiveness forms the foundation for future fortune.”
— Author Unknown —
A great FAQ website about Mormons and Mormonism:
The Other Wise Man
by Henry Van Dyke
The other wise man’s name was Artaban. He was one of the Magi and he lived in Persia. He was a man of great wealth, great learning, and great faith. With his learned companions he had searched the scriptures as to the time that the Savior should be born. They knew that a new star would appear and it was agreed between them that Artaban would watch from Persia and the others would observe the sky from Babylon.
On the night he believed the sign was to be given, Artaban went out on this roof to watch the night sky. “If the star appears, they will wait for me ten days, then we will all set out for Jerusalem. I have made ready for the journey by selling all of my possessions and have bought three jewels–a sapphire, a ruby, and a pearl. I intend to present them as my tribute to the king.”
Click link for rest of story: The Other Wise Man
A Visit From St. Nicholas
by Clement Clark Moore
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
Click link for rest of story: A Visit From St. Nicholas
Big Wheel Truckstop
In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket. Their father was gone. The boys ranged from three months to seven years; their sister was two. Their Dad had never been much more than a presence they feared. Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway they would scramble to hide under their beds. He did manage to leave $15 a week to buy groceries.
Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either. If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it. I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress. I loaded them into the rusty old 51 Chevy and drove off to find a job.
The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our small town. No luck. The kids stayed crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince whomever would listen that I was willing to learn or do anything. I had to have a job.. Still no luck.
Click link for rest of story: Big Wheel Truckstop