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+.
Silent Night, Holy Night
As told by Walter Cronkite with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
The 1900’s, the final century of the recent millennium, brought unprecedented possibilities and promise.
The children of these hundred years would see more improvement in the human condition than ever before in the world’s history.
Advances in medicine, science, and industry would all but eradicate disease, extend human life, open a dialogue among the peoples of the earth, and lift them into the vast reaches of space.
But these hardly seemed like possibilities as the Christmas of 1914 drew near.
Click link for rest of story and also the video: Silent Night, Holy Night
Ancient America Views the First Christmas
from the Book of Mormon
I looked and beheld the…city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white. And (the) angel…said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.
And…I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time.. I…beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms. And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! (Nephi, about 600 BC, 1 Nephi 11:13-21)
Click link for rest of story: Ancient America Views the First Christmas
Bobby was getting cold sitting out in his back yard in the snow. Bobby didn’t wear boots; he didn’t like them and anyway he didn’t own any. The thin sneakers he wore had few holes in them and they did a poor job of keeping out the cold. Bobby had been in his backyard for about an hour already. And, try as he might, he could not come up with an idea for his mother’s Christmas gift.
He shook his head as he thought, “This is useless, even if I do come up with an idea, I don’t have any money to spend.”
Ever since his father had passed away three years ago, the family of five had struggled. It wasn’t because his mother didn’t care, or try, there just never seemed to be enough. She worked nights at the hospital, but the small wage that she was earning could only be stretched so far. What the family lacked in money and material things, they more than made up for in love and family unity.
Click link for rest of story: The Dime
A String of Blue Beads
By Fulton Oursler
Peter Richards was the loneliest man in town on the day Jean Grace opened his door. You may have seen something in the newspapers about the incident at the time it happened, although neither his name nor hers was publicized, nor was the full story told as I tell it here.
Pete’s shop had come down to him from his grandfather. The little Christmas front window was strewn With a disarray of old-fashioned things; bracelets and lockets worn in days before the Civil War; gold rings and silver boxes; images of jade and ivory, porcelain figurines.
Click link for rest of story: A String Of Blue Beads
I came across this great article talking about the differences between Mormons and Evangelicals. I highly recommend reading it. It can be found here: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700201923/LDS-Christianity-Differences-that-matter.html.
Also – included in the article is a nice graphic showing some of the major differences. Link
ps I believe that both groups are Christians. Both believe in Jesus Christ and that He is our Savior and Redeemer. We might have differences, but we actually have a lot more in common (esp from a values standpoint) than we realize.
With the recent comments by a prominent Dallas Pastor calling Mormons a cult and non-Christians I received a question from a Clifford Keys, Colonel, US Army (Retired) asking whether Mormons are Christians. I of course responded affirmatively. In response Col. Keys wrote a letter to Dr. Jeffress, the LDS Church, CNN, his email list of hundreds of other retired military personnel, and myself. With his permission I have posted his letter here: Baptist Pastor
Excellent version of Longfellow’s Christmas by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir