Did Mormons invent Wing Dings?

Wing Dings font...

Wing Dings font...

 

A little while ago, I was talking to a non-Mormon coworker.  He, of course, knew I was Mormon, and as we were talking, he said (in all seriousness): “I heard that Mormons are the ones that invented the Wing Dings font as a secret language”.

In case you’re not familiar, Wing Dings are a font available in Microsoft Word (since version 3.1) that renders letters as symbols.

I thought it was amazing that somehow, somewhere, somebody started this rumor.  I couldn’t help but laugh, as I took the opportunity to explain the inaccuracy of his understanding.

First, to set the record straight, for everyone out there wondering if Mormons invented Wing Dings… no, we didn’t.  In fact, Microsoft created Wing Dings by combining characters licensed from Charles Bigelow and Kris Holmes (both Type designers).

But while this particular misconception was harmless (cute, even), many are not.  Many are created as propaganda and are proliferated around the internet (and conversations), and can become a great stumbling block to genuine people seeking the truth.

And so I renew my invitation… to all those who have questions about Mormonism, who have heard things that sound suspicious, ask (here).  We’ll answer you together. 

As Joseph Smith said “The standard of truth has been erected.  No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing.  Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, and columny may defame.  But the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent.  Till it has penetrated every continent, swept every country, visited every clime, and sounded in every ear.  Till the work of the Lord shall be accomplished, and the great Jehovah shall say ‘the work is done’”.

Rusty

Rededication, overcoming entropy in your personal life

I love New Years Day and the turn of the new year, largely because it’s a time where we all take the opportunity to reevaluate our lives, assess where we’ve been, and plan where we’re going.  It’s a phenomenal event, pivotal, and magnificent.  I hope you all take the time to do it.

As for my assessing ’08 I found that I’d been so greatly blessed.  I had a splendid year, nearly incomparable in fact.  Even in spite of such tough times.  The brief time I’ve taken to reflect has surely manifested the Lords hand in my life, for truly, I’m unworthy of such blessing, and certainly incapable of creating such a great year autonomously.

The realization of that reflection caused me to rededicate my life in many respects (illustration of my post “Gratitude, the key to righteous desire“).  One of those areas of rededication is with my blog.  I felt strongly (as I mention here), that this was an endeavor the Lord wanted me to undertake.  He’s blessed me with the talents to do it, and it’s my duty to use those talents appropriately, leaving room for the Spirit to magnify my efforts so that they’ll be of enduring value.

But the whole process of reflection upon the past with the perspective of today tends to call out the starkest instances of entropy experienced in our lives (which I explain here).  Those areas where we’ve let slip the most.  Those are the areas we need to proactively rededicate ourselves to. 

Life is not casual.  Life is engaging, and requires us to be engaged with it.  Spend too much time as a bystander, and you find your life is filled with more regret, than accomplishment and opportunity.

I love New Years Day and the turn of the new year, largely because it’s a time where we all take the opportunity to reevaluate our lives, assess where we’ve been, and plan where we’re going.  It’s a phenomenal event, pivotal, and magnificent.  I hope you all take the time to do it.

As for my assessing ’08 I found that I’d been so greatly blessed.  I had a splendid year, nearly incomparable in fact.  Even in spite of such tough times.  The brief time I’ve taken to reflect has surely manifested the Lords hand in my life, for truly, I’m unworthy of such blessing, and certainly incapable of creating such a great year autonomously.

The realization of that reflection caused me to rededicate my life in many respects (illustration of my post “Gratitude, the key to righteous desire“).  One of those areas of rededication is with my blog.  I felt strongly (as I mention here), that this was an endeavor the Lord wanted me to undertake.  He’s blessed me with the talents to do it, and it’s my duty to use those talents appropriately, leaving room for the Spirit to magnify my efforts so that they’ll be of enduring value.

But the whole process of reflection upon the past with the perspective of today tends to call out the starkest instances of entropy experienced in our lives (which I explain here).  Those areas where we’ve let slip the most.  Those are the areas we need to proactively rededicate ourselves to. 

Life is not casual.  Life is engaging, and requires us to be engaged with it.  Spend too much time as a bystander, and you find your life is filled with more regret, than accomplishment and opportunity.

“Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness”. 

Doctrine and Covenants 58:27

 

Rusty

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Are Mormons Christian? What truly defines a Christian?

This post is a continuation of the series “Are Mormons Christian“.

In the comments on the post “Are Mormons Christian? Do doctrinal difference define us“, the Pondering Pastor and I began a most crucial discussion that strikes at the very heart of this matter.

The post was about the importance of having a commonality of definitions of terms for accurate communication.  How differences in belief do not disqualify someone from the definition of Christianity, since in truth, we all differ to some varying degree. 

If our doctrine differs by degrees, is it therefore possible to be 50% Christian, or 80%, depending on how greatly your doctrine departs from what is orthodox?  And is orthodoxy truly the best measure?  Wasn’t Christ himself unorthodox in his day?  How about Luther?

So to say to one “you’re not a Christian”, simply because their beliefs diverge from your own, is a definition that does us no good.

But then what is a good definition?  If the exact alignment of the details of our doctrine cannot qualify us as Christian, what can?  What is fair?  What is the righteous way to judge?

Fortunately, that answer has already been given.  Surely the Lord knew that so many varying beliefs would sprout up, and as such, gave us the mechanism with which we may judge.

“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:20)

That is how you know a Christian.  Not by what they say they believe, but by what they demonstrate of their beliefs through their actions.

For as Matthew continues “…not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”  (Matthew 7:21)

In that chapter the Lord clearly teaches that men do not gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles.  If you’re finding grapes, you’re not in a thorn bush, but a vineyard.   “…neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit”, but a “good tree bringeth forth good fruit”.  Hence, by their fruits ye shall know them.

Much can be discussed about doctrine.  What you believe, how you interpret scripture, what manner of baptism you subscribe to, etc.  But those don’t define a Christian.  Being Christ-like is what makes a Christian. 

For actions are the evidence of faith.   Remember, “Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:20)

And as we read in John “though ye believe not me, believe the works:  that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. (John 10:38)”

That is the one true, fair, and righteous way to define a Christian.  By their works, not their talk.  “I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:18).

Rusty

Small and simple things

mother_teresa1

Mother Teresa, a truly inspiring woman who dedicated over 45 years of her life to ministering to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while proselytizing Christianity, once offered the following words of wisdom:

“In this life we cannot do great things.  We can only do small things with great love.”

How very often we tend to look for the “grand plan”, the big things we can do to make a big difference, all while the small opportunities that are ever-present ever pass us by.  We look beyond the mark.

But big plans seldom work out, and big ideas seldom take off, whereas the little things, the more achievable things, the more straightforward things, the more immediate things, those things that are right in front of us, are those things that really matter and really move us forward.

It’s great to dream, it’s better to do.

After all, it’s usually the cumulative effect of so many little things, done persistently, and done well, that creates greatness.

“By small and simple things, are great things brought to pass.”  (Alma 37:6)

In our lives, whether in business or as parents, as we pay closer attention to making the most of the little opportunities that lie right in front of us, we will move naturally towards the dreams that matter most.

Rusty

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Is “anti” contrary to Christianity?

You can be “non” without being “anti”. 

I’m not a protestant (I’m Mormon), but that doesn’t make me anti-protestant.  The two are mutually exclusive.  And there’s a big difference from being “non” (like being non-Mormon), and being anti.  One is innocent, without malice, while the other is focused upon criticism and destruction.

I recently commented on another post, that as I study the life of the Savior, what I find is not a pattern of him being “anti” anything.  He didn’t seek opportunities to refute others.  Instead, he demonstrated a life of building, creating, of going around teaching the gospel, creating truth and testimony, performing miracles.  The times when he DID become more hostile or accusatory are when others sought him out to refute him, or to persecute him.  They were the “anti’s”.  Instead, His life was one of tolerance and love, understanding and empathy.  His conversations were not crammed with criticism.

Such were the teachings of Rabbi Gamaliel of Tarsus as described in Acts who counseled Saul and others against persecuting the saints.  Acts chapter 5 describes an event where Gamaliel encouraged moderation, saying “take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men… refrain from these men, and let them alone:  for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:  But ifit be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against god.” (Acts 5:38-39)

This is wisdom.  This is the character of Christ, whereas “anti” is an attribute of the adversary.  The one is centered around moderation, love, patience, kindness, tolerance, and understanding, the other centered around destruction, negativism, criticism, and judgement.

Theodore Roosevelt said it well:

“It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbles, or how the doer of deeds might have done them better.  No, the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat, and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again…  Who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

If you’re going to be “anti”, be anti about principles and morals, things like “anti-abortion”, “anti-dishonesty”, “anti-drug abuse”, but don’t be anti about people or religions, for such is not the character of Christ.  As the Lord taught Peter, we must have compassion, and forgive all men their trespasses.

 

Rusty

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Are Mormons Christian? A look at the question itself

Why is this question so important?  Why does it deserve its own post?  Does it really matter what another person says about me?

Absolutely.  Particularly in cases when it leads to the confusion of others who are sincere.

Labels are a powerful thing. 

For example, we’ve all known for a painfully prolonged period of time that we are in a recession.  We’ve all felt it.  We’ve even called it that.  But Monday morning (Dec 1, 08), when the National Bureau of Economic Research made it official, announcing that we are in a recession, and have been since Dec ’07, the Dow plummeted almost 700 points by the end of the day.  Nothing was different that day, from the day before, other than the fact that now it had been given an official label from a trusted source, and because of that label, the market lost almost a billion dollars in just one day.

 Labels are powerful things.

So are words.  Words are the way we convey meaning, how we communicate.  And the words we choose have strong bearing on those that they’re given to.  If you ever doubt the ability of words to affect human events, think for a moment about Adolf Hitler and his book Mein Kampf.  On the other end of the spectrum you’ve got the Bible.  Words are powerful, and the words you choose determine the way people look at things.

So when a trusted source, say a pastor, preacher, priest, or even a close friend tells you that Mormons are not Christian, that’s a big deal.  For many people, particularly those who lack the personal motivation and courage to research it themselves, that singular statement is sufficient for their wholesale dismissal of Mormonism.  And those who made those statements will be accountable for that impact.

But who can say if someone else is Christian or not?  Who has that authority?  Certainly not a man.  Only Christ has that capacity to judge. 

There are several excuses offered up to justify such statements, each of which will be covered in the other supporting posts in this series.   But in the end, they are just excuses, the skin of reason, stuffed with lies.  For none of us are in the position to judge another.

But why then do so many work so hard, to perpetuate such claims? 

Because it’s an effective mechanism for deterring souls from finding the truth.  It’s a superficial argument meant to take advantage of members of congregations or peers who are willing to take their word, rather than finding out for themselves.  Often it’s an illustration of the effects of commercialized religion’s influence on ecclesiastical leaders.  For their very business stands to fail, and their structures crumble around them unless they can stop the onslaught of the growth of the LDS church.   And they’re incented (financially) to sufficiently pollute public opinion with baseless propaganda, such as statements and claims that Christians are only those who are exactly like them.  Why?  Why not rely upon solid doctrine, sound reason, and pure facts, trusting in the truth to make itself evident?  Why resort to labels, and name calling? 

And so it behooves us as Latter-day Saints (Mormons), to have a public voice, to speak out, to ensure the facts are heard, that people may know that indeed, Mormons are Christian.  Mine is the intent to teach the truth about Mormonism, with God as my witness, that the truth may be made known and the children of men may determine for themselves, rather than trusting in labels others would force upon us in their endeavors to ensnare and mislead.

Please, take the time to read the posts in this series.  And if you still doubt the Christian claims of Mormonism, tell me why, that I we may address it openly together.

But it is my testimony to all that Christ lives, and I believe in Him.

Rusty

Are Mormons Christian?

Many honest and sincere people have asked this question of me, and so I wanted to ensure that I had a post that adequately answered this very appropriate and important question.

The answer is a resounding and emphatic YES!

Yes, we believe in Jesus Christ.  We believe that He is the Son of God.  We believe that He is our Savior and our Redeemer.  We believe that only in, and through, and of Him can we be saved. 

This is why our church is called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is named after him (and not after a man).  He is at its center, and at its head; He guides it with his own hands, and it is Him in whom we put our trust.

The Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ, witnesses of Him.  From within its profoundly divine pages can be found references such as the following: 

2nd Nephi 25:26:  “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”

Mosiah 3:17:  “…there shall be no other name given nor any other means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.”

We believe in the testimony of the prophets, of both ancient and latter-day, as they witness of Christ…

Doctrine and Covenants 76:22:  “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him:  That he lives!

Here is the testimony of a living prophet, on the Lord Jesus Christ, given at this last General Conference.

 

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_Zpu-VeuCE]

 

And meager as it may be in comparison to these powerful witnesses, I add my witness to theirs, that Christ lives, that he is the Son of God, that he is our savior and our redeemer, and that it is through his unthinkable atoning sacrifice our salvation might be made possible, that this is His church, His work, and that most certainly, Mormons are Christian, in both word, and in deed.

Rusty

For further exploration of this important topic, as well as for focused segmented discussions, please see the post “Mormon Christians“.

 

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