Congratulations, Peter! Here’s hoping you don’t need surgery!
(We’ll find out on Monday! Stay tuned!)
Dear friends and family, I have been extremely frustrated with how things are going in our country. A lot of my frustration is because I feel I don't know what to do to really make a change. Well, this time I do. I am asking you to join me and my family on Sunday Sept. 30 by fasting and praying for Mitt Romney. That he will be blessed in the debates, which will be held Oct. 3rd. I know that seems like such a small thing but I believe "from small things, great things can come about". I know that fasting and praying brings about miracles. I also know of no power greater that our Father in Heaven. He loves this land and has blessed it many times before . . . with all our fasting and prayers their [sic] will be a great power and protection upon us and this great nation.Some might find the mentality underlying this Facebook status to be stupid. Some might find it annoying. I find it rather disturbing. Now, why would I be disturbed by someone exercising (and inviting others to exercise) faith in God in an effort to bring about something presumably good (i.e. the improvement of the country)? For three interrelated reasons: (1) the faith is misdirected, (2) the motivation is prejudiced, and (3) the beliefs conveyed are arguably blasphemous.
Oh yes, confidence follows [from living with conviction]. But it’s a nuanced kind of confidence. It’s a confidence in yourself and your character, not in what you will achieve, per se. It’s not a kind of confidence that says, “Yes, I can do X.” Rather, it says, “Yes, I’ll do X. And I’ll do it the way I want to do it. Here’s my version of X. And I’m good with it!” It’s having confidence in the path you’ve chosen because you like the path, not because it leads to the right destination (even though it will). Instead of thinking, “I’m confident that this will get me to destination X,” you think, “I’m confident this is the route I want to take to destination X. This is the route I want to enjoy on my way to X. I love this route. It’s the route for me. I’m going to enjoy this route, and I don’t give a crap what routes other people take or what they think of my route. This is the way I want to get to X.”There’s nothing particularly profound in the block quote above, but it did me some good to write it. It helped remind me of what I want out of life, which is something I lose track of surprisingly easily. The point is, I’m on a journey right now. Sometimes I feel somewhat discouraged or ho-hum about this journey. But I realize from time to time—because I have to keep learning the same thing over and over again—that much of my discouragement lies in a failure to be who I want to be right now. I’m focused on the future and ignoring my present self. Well, guess what? My present self is the only self I’ll ever be, and sometimes he’s a miserable and unlikeable bloke. If I can be happy in the present, I don’t need to worry so much about the future. Because here’s a little secret—you’re never living in the future. You’re always living in the now.
Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. A single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, but is not meant to be officially binding for the whole Church. With divine inspiration, the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest governing body of the Church) counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides in the four “standard works” of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith. Isolated statements are often taken out of context, leaving their original meaning distorted.4