Two Guests for Christmas

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On Own Now
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Re: Two Guests for Christmas

Post by On Own Now » 15 Dec 2017, 13:44

Couple of thoughts.

We don't celebrate the birthday of Jesus; we celebrate the birth of Jesus. It' doesn't matter that we do this on December 25th. In the same sense, we celebrate Jesus' resurrection, rather than the date of it. Easter this year was universally celebrated on April 16. Last year, the Western-style churches celebrated Easter on March 27, the Eastern on May 1.

As for the JS Birthday issue. A quarter century ago, we had a Stake Adult Meeting of some kind and for some reason on Dec 22. When the Stake President arose to spoke, he talked about how "normally, this time of year, we talk about the birth of Jesus. But sometimes we forget that JS's birthday is tomorrow"... and he went on to give all his remarks about he man JS. I was pretty appalled even as an all-in member.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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Re: Two Guests for Christmas

Post by nibbler » 15 Dec 2017, 15:49

On Own Now wrote:
15 Dec 2017, 13:44
When the Stake President arose to spoke, he talked about how "normally, this time of year, we talk about the birth of Jesus. But sometimes we forget that JS's birthday is tomorrow"... and he went on to give all his remarks about he man JS.
Twisted mind and all but I find myself wishing someone from the crowd would start to boo out loud. Just to see where things went from there.
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold

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Re: Two Guests for Christmas

Post by Curt Sunshine » 17 Dec 2017, 13:21

My wife's birthday is in December. She hated being over-looked, to a degree, because of the rush to Christmas after Thanksgiving. I think that is what started this - a wish to celebrate Joseph's birthday conflicting with the timing of Christmas.

Having said that, NO! We talk enough about him at other times. In church, December should be focused on Jesus exclusively, in my opinion.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: Two Guests for Christmas

Post by DarkJedi » 17 Dec 2017, 14:18

Just sharing a story that happened a long time ago, but not in a galaxy so far away - it was in the ward I still live in.

One of the more eccentric members was asked to speak, I think it was the the second week in December. She started off talking about three birthdays we celebrate in December - Jesus, JS, and Beethoven. Yep, Beethoven. She was very musically inclined and centered her talk on Beethoven, barely mentioning the other two. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad she didn't focus on JS - but in some ways talking about Beethoven was worse.

This lady moved on long ago, I didn't care for her anyway so I can't say I miss her. Her husband was (presumably is) a saint.

I don't recall hearing mention of JS's birthday in our SMs in recent history and I'm all good with that. I used this quote in my talk this week:
Some people’s faith is based more on Joseph Smith than on Jesus Christ. When they begin to question the Prophet, they lose faith in the Savior. We all know of Latter-day Saints whose faith is shaken by new facts, such as the existence of the alternate accounts of the First Vision which I have talked about today. When this new information builds up, they grow concerned. Could it all be wrong? Their consternation goes so far that they consider leaving the church, painful as that would be.
For a long time, I would try to answer their specific questions, try to persuade them there was another way of understanding the facts that were bothering them. I reminded them that people like me and many other informed Latter-day Saints are aware of all the disruptive information and still believe in Joseph Smith. We would talk for hours, but nothing seemed to work. After all the talk, they seemed as fixed in their doubts as I am in my faith.
Of late, I have taken to asking the doubters a question. How do you feel about Jesus Christ? If they say the Savior means everything to them, I assure them, you will be alright. If you can hold to Christ, you will find your way. But to my dismay, others say that in losing faith in Joseph Smith, they also lose faith in Christ and even in God and prayer. Everything falls apart. I feel bad when I hear this response. It means that Joseph Smith, not the Savior, is the foundation of their faith. Once Joseph is removed, the whole building collapses.
This is not what Joseph intended. He did not organize a Church of Joseph Smith. The Articles of Faith do not mention Joseph Smith’s name. They begin with the statement we believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. That is the foundation.
Those who lose faith in Christ because they have lost faith in Joseph Smith have things backward. Joseph’s mission was to increase faith in Christ, not in himself. He thought of himself as one of the weak things of the world who came forth that faith might increase in the earth and that Christ’s everlasting covenant might be established.5 He would want us to develop faith in his teachings, in Christ and the atonement, in prayer and adhesion to high moral standards, not in him as a man. He would want us to believe in the principles independent of the man, as the Saints in the first decade did. We honor him as a prophet, to be sure, but as one who testified of the Savior. His revelations pointed beyond himself to Christ and the Father. I believe in Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, and most of you here today do too. But we must place our faith first in Christ, and believe in him apart from our faith in his messenger. Christ should be the anchor when we struggle and question.
(Richard Bushman, BYU Hawaii, Nov. 2016)
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Re: Two Guests for Christmas

Post by mom3 » 17 Dec 2017, 23:04

Great quote DJ -

Brother Smithmas didn't arrive in our Sacrament Meeting today. We had a talk on Gratitude. The other was the HC speaker. He's a friend. Big BofM dude. But that is why we have cell phones and tablets. The Book of Luke is the perfect distraction. I liked his ending story.

But no Smithmas.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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