By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Monday, May 29, 2006

A Post and a Blog to Check Out

I read a post this morning that I think made some important points. It's called "Neither Shall There be Disputations Among You..." over at the blog, ....We Seek After These Things!

There was another post called "Understanding Religious Symbols. Books Part 1" which I thought was interesting, and I look forward to more about this topic.

I've added a link to this blog in my sidebar, as it promises interesting reading. I'm glad to have discovered it.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Ward Realignment

They have redrawn the ward boundaries in our stake. We lost some people out of our ward, but we are gaining the Spanish branch, who will have their own sacrament, but combine with us for everything else. They don't have enough kids to really have all the Primary, YW, and YM programs and activities, and I don't think they have enough adults to offer the various Sunday School classes, so it will be a good thing.

I am sure the Spanish branch members are working on English, but this will be an opportunity for me to have more Spanish-speakers to practice my Spanish on and get it improved.

On top of everything else, we will be meeting new people and getting to know them. I tend to be shy, but after awhile, even I can make new friends! I will, of course, miss some of the ones who were transferred to a new ward, but we can still keep in touch if we want to. Maybe I'll get to speak in Sacrament one of these days, if the ward is smaller!


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cal Thomas on "The Death of Political Ideology"

Over at Jewish World Review, columnist Cal Thomas offers some thought-provoking comments on political ideology and the current lack thereof. He asks

Isn't this what's missing from much of contemporary politics: visionary theorizing, a body of concepts, and most especially a plan for action that benefits the most people?

I know I would find debate of real ideas and plans for action refreshing, not to mention useful.

At, Mike S. Adams (no relation) selects his "2006 Book of the Year" seven months early. This book (The Party of Death by Ramesh Ponnuru), of which I had not heard, and have not seen, much less read, sounds as though it has much thoughtful material and, perhaps, can serve as a lesson in how to think about today's important issues that affect us all in one way or another. Dr. Adams says

Indeed, on nearly every page Ponnuru makes the kind of logically compelling remarks one expects to encounter once a chapter in a normal book. That, of course, means that this is no normal book. It also means there are about 250 good reasons to read it.

I am happy to encounter good thought in essays and books. I feel we have much to learn about the issues of the day and how to think about them--how to find the right questions to ask, the questions that get to the heart of the matter. It matters not whether you are Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, or any other of the labels we so freely give one another. Learning to look below the surface, learning to sort out facts and evidence--these can help us all figure out the issues and use our votes in the best possible manner. This kind of deep thinking can help with non-political issues as well.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

What Does It Mean to Ponder, Anyway?

As long as I am asking strange questions, here is another one. What does it mean to ponder the scriptures, or to ponder the things of God?

I know what "ponder" means. I would like some insight, though, into what people do when they are pondering, in hopes that it will give my own pondering more direction and purpose.

Do you ask questions? What sorts of questions? Do you read a verse of scripture or a paragraph from a talk or article and then break it down to find its meaning? What helps you know what direction to take in your pondering? For example, if you are pondering the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal," would you consider all the possible ways that a person might steal with the idea of making certain that you aren't doing any of them?

Do you take notes? Do you write down the questions that come to mind and the answers you come up with, if any?

Do you try to think outside the box or do you stick to the generally accepted interpretation of the verse? What is your purpose--to understand the scriptures? To make certain you are applying them in your life? To look for ways you might improve? To look for characteristics of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ so that you might become more like them? To look for ways to seek after the gifts of the spirit?

I suppose all of those are ways to ponder. I don't think there is any one answer to my questions, but I wonder what other people do. I wonder if I am just spinning my wheels and imagine that others make great strides in gaining insight because they know how to ponder. Therefore, I ask these questions in hopes that some of you would be kind enough to share your methods. No need to tell of personal insights or things that you don't want to share on the internet--I just would like some idea of what kinds of questions you find helpful to ask yourself, or anything else you do that you have found useful, and also what sorts of things you gain or want to gain from said pondering.

Thanks in advance for your comments and ideas.


Saturday, May 06, 2006

How Original/Independent Are We, Really?

It appears to me that no matter which position we take on whatever issue, there is a certain conformity of thought and ideas. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Discoveries and inventions of all kinds come about because someone took what had already been discovered/invented and ran with it--improving it in some way. That works with thought and ideas, as well as material items such as light bulbs and mousetraps.

We admire originality and independence. Yet for the most part, we are reflecting what we have learned from others. I suppose the originality comes from the particular assortment of ideas that we each gather in according to our interests and from the little twists we give these ideas as our minds and personalities work on them. We emphasize the aspects of ideas that resonate with us the most.

Whether it is religion or social concepts or philosophies or education or any other such grouping of thought and ideas, we mostly sort through what is already out there and make our choices according to our likes and dislikes and how persuasive said ideas are. Many of us do give this choosing serious thought and weigh the consequences and outcomes as best we can to make intelligent decisions. Still, how many concepts are truly original? How independent is our thought, really? Aren't we all following someone else?

Is there really anything new under the sun?


Monday, May 01, 2006

My Other Question

Okay, here's my other question. In 3 Nephi 1:14, what did Jesus mean when He said, "Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given."

It's the part in italics that I don't understand.

Anybody with any ideas about this or about the scripture in my previous post is welcome to give me some insight. Thanks!