Atheist to Theist: Faith vs. Logic

(Somewhat continued from last week)

Both during my days of questioning my religion and during my time as an atheist, I needed to find The Truth. I wanted to know, with absolute certainty, whether God existed and in what way He influenced things.

Last week, I wrote about the similarities between religious faith and scientific faith (theist vs. atheist). I realized they were the same and that my issue had more to do with approval from others -AKA social anxiety.

In discussing and clarifying with friends since, I understand that I need to outline another realization I had:

Faith does not need to mean the absence of logic.

Although Mirriam-Webster defines faith as:

It also allows for:

And, even, fidelity of one’s promises and sincerity of intentions.

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In my youth and pre-atheist days, I often felt I had optimism of God’s existence and acted by fear. Like the hasty driver who is late to work, I worried more about whether a policeman would pull me over than about whether my reckless driving might endanger another driver.

Furthermore, what I knew of faith disturbed me. I assumed my accepting God would, by necessity, fit M-W’s “firm belief in something for which there is no proof.” How could believing in God be correct? There is no proof; only over-zealous people’s claims and fantastical scriptural stories. Right?

Wrong. As I said, I came to understand another option: faith AND logic.

Believing in God and what He says can make logical sense -yes, as much logical sense as Darwin’s natural selection, the Big Bang, Dawkin’s Ultimate Boeing 747 Gambit, or Russell’s Teapot. The farmer and the cowman can be friends, existing in a universe where both work together to be mutually beneficial.

I have come to understand God not as a magician with mythical powers but as an advanced being following the same universal laws we humans discover, prove mathematically, and name after ourselves. This perspective is not original nor is it unique; it does seem to surprise those I’ve discussed it with. Why choose a bipolar perspective when everything in life exists on a spectrum of options? Why not consider the possibilities?

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And again, why not take these musings and ask God if they be true? Such was my thinking, and such was what I did.

©2023 Chel Owens

Atheist to Theist: Seeking The Truth

(Somewhat continued from two weeks ago)

Both during my days of questioning my religion and during my time as an atheist, a great point of anxiety for me was finding The Truth. I wanted to know, with absolute certainty, whether God existed and in what way He influenced things.

Whilst on the faithful side (aka, amongst believers), I squirmed at odd expressions that often seemed optimistically ignorant. The experience reminded me of when I sought a good school for my oldest child to attend. I toured several charter schools and a handful of private ones; without fail, the phrase, “the best school” dropped from the lips of those attending. No, the one I ultimately chose was not #1. Yet, parents and staff loved claiming superiority.

Insisting that God exists or proposing that I live as if He does isn’t real. That isn’t faith and belief. It’s fake it till you make it behavior.

Image by Robert Prax from Pixabay

I thought, therefore, that my admitting there is no God was a refreshing reset to my thinking and my life; a blank slate upon which to write my own opinions and testimony. From there, I could learn answers without bias or influence.

Instead, the opinions I heard and scornful pride I felt from atheists were similar to theists’ claims of accepting Christ and being saved. The experience reminded me of a section in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy where Man discovers the highly-improbable Babel Fish, a naturally-occurring creature that can translate languages for the user and live off the user’s thought waves in symbiotic repayment for that service:

The argument goes something like this: ‘I refuse to prove that I exist,’ says God, ‘for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.’
‘But,’ says Man, ‘the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED.’
‘Oh dear,’ says God, ‘I hadn’t thought of that,’ and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
‘Oh, that was easy,’ says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.

Douglas Adams

I am aware that Adams did not believe in God. It’s clearly a poke at pursuing logic as religiously as zealots pursue faith.

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You see:

Both sides, religious and atheist, are the same. When one removes personal bias toward one or the other, s/he/it sees that accepting God as creator is accepting Stephen Hawking as expert. Believing in The Creation is believing in The Big Bang. Smugly claiming salvation is smugly claiming secular ethics. Assuming eternal life is assuming a return to dust.

I was not finding truth, because I was finding the same dandelions on the supposedly-greener side of the fence! So, what was I doing precisely? While I did (and do) receive answers to my probing questions about life, the most important realization in my journey of faith was that I was not seeking truth in an unbiased fashion. I was, in fact, seeking the approval of others. What made me uncomfortable and anxious was the embarrassment of being wrong.

This realization brings to mind a scripture story found in the Book of Mormon, referred to as Lehi’s Dream. Lehi, a prophet around the time of the biblical prophets Huldah, Jeremiah, Obadiah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (Footnote 3), has a vision in which he finds some amazing fruit and wants his wife and children to eat it with him.

So, Lehi looks around and sees his family. They look a bit lost, even though Lehi’s standing at a fantastic, glowing beacon of nature. This makes Lehi notice other things, like that there are mists obscuring the way. There’s water and a strait path. There’s a rod of iron that leads up the path, through the dark, and straight to the amazing fruit. There are more people who wander in, and some make it to the tree and eat the fruit.

Then, there is a “great and spacious building:”

And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth.
And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.
And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.

1 Nephi 8:26-28, The Book of Mormon

Whether I wanted to eat of God’s word or not, I was too concerned about the mocking, pointing, jeering crowd of humanity. I didn’t want to appear the fool. I wanted to appear the educated expert.

This same concept is found in my favorite psalm, Psalm 146:

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

Psalm 146: 3-4, The Bible, KJV

I wasn’t ready to accept God as my savior and be eternally saved, nor was I ready to trust Him enough to blindly walk across any chasms. I was, however, ready to stop worrying so much about everyone else and instead worry about what God, Himself, told me was true.

Or, to accept His non-existence if no one answered me.

©2023 Chel Owens

Atheist to Theist: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love God

(Continued, from last week)

I was an atheist.

As such, and as I mentioned before; several matters of anxiety, guilt, and disjoint were better for me. -Religiously speaking. I didn’t believe in God anymore. I wasn’t deluded, guilt-ridden, tied-down, or beholden to any sort of religious nonsense anymore.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Still, I continued to attend Sunday meetings at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I had children to raise. (And, if the query comes to anyone’s mind, I believe children need a foundation of religious structure in their youth. They are welcome to deviate from that upon reaching adulthood if that be their choice.)

So, I went. I lived among Believers and listened to their strange observations and conclusions. -Like, a woman’s reassuring me that my unborn child would be a missionary in heaven if he died before birth.

Strange, yes; but I wasn’t full-certain the club of atheism was The Answer to life, the universe, and everything, either.

Atheists were an easier group for me to relate to. I loved the smug surety of intelligence, the self-confidence, the witty ridicule, and the assumption of deep thoughts and deep discussions.

While Christians drawled that, “Jesus saves,” Atheists succinctly posited, “If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes” (Bertrand Russell).

But atheists lacked the ability to answer my specific questions like Why do I exist as a sentient being but my ultimate purpose is to return to dust? and What about those times I know God stepped into my life, or in others’ lives whom I trusted? I experienced a similar phenomenon of general doubts or uncertainties I’d had with theism. Like mosquitoes, the concerns persisted and would not be exterminated. All wasn’t sunshine and roses, even with my accepting that sun and rose existed without fairies amongst them.

I sought answers and discovered inadequacies.

Photo by Keira Burton

What was I to do?

Time passed, without resolve.

Then, without God in my life, He stepped in.

I received personal revelation. I distinctly felt that I needed to sign up for an educational-pursuit program the LDS Church operates. At the time, I knew very little about it. I don’t recall my seeking inspiration on the matter nor my asking for direction of this kind. If pressed, I believe someone mentioned its existence and I just knew I was to sign up.

The program is designed to prepare adults for advanced education; it’s a weekly class on life skills, writing and mathematics, and -most unbeknownst to me- religious topics.

As an atheist and a seeker of logical truth, I was pursuing non-religious literature for a presumed ‘balance;’ from that, I went to studying and taking notes on scriptural texts and lectures by LDS leaders.

My attending Pathway was the first step in a long, long hike back up the figurative Mt. Sinai; one I was not keen to take even with my burning desire to know things for certain.

I’d love to leave everyone hanging with the overused, “The rest, as they say, is history.”

How trite and incomplete; particularly if you, like me, seek real answers and actual truth.

But, I feel the time is getting long. And so, instead, I’ll drop a cliché to be continued. Adieu, adieu, parting is such sweet sorrow. Farewell till next week.

©2023 Chel Owens

Why I Became an Atheist

Faith’s a funny thing -religiously speaking. For those raised with the idea of an Almighty God; faith is imperative and unquestionable. For those raised without much deific influence, faith is a nice idea.

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The first group is the one I relate to, since I’m unable to erase my upbringing in order to try the second. Faith was a necessity -a requirement of my developing years- but I felt I lacked. I felt misplaced for the lack, and felt misplaced for growing questions of a religious nature. Inevitable questions of purpose or fairness are discouraged in organized religion. Yet, said questions bother every mind. They blip around like mosquitoes.

We’re taught to ignore them. We learn to ignore them. We learn to block out the noise with more religious fervor; more admissions of FAITH.

Some never notice, much to the concern of those being bitten. Such, again, was I. I felt my whole life danced to a background chorus of buzzing insects. Why do bad things happen to good people? How can I trust a God who might kill someone I love? Do I really have a testimony? Who is this God person, anyway?

I muted my concerns, or numbed myself to them. I couldn’t find answers; moreover, I couldn’t find other people willing to talk to me about them in a helpful way. I certainly heard responses like, “Have faith and patience. You’ll know someday.” My favorite unhelpful advice was to “trust God.” That idea didn’t work well when trust was the Number One issue I had with my Maker.

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I’m not good at numbing indefinitely. Sooner or later, my dormant volcano of repressed tendencies bursts its confines and demands addressing NOW.

I tried a few things to address the faith crisis; like, not attending my church meetings.

I tried praying.

I tried asking others if they’d felt the same.

I even read Wikipedia.

Nothing worked. Nothing assuaged my frantic desire to KNOW, for certain, if God was real and why a perfect being operated in an imperfect way. My crisis dragged on.

Then, a close friend gave me a copy of The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins. Dawkins not only raises similar concerns and provides logical answers to them, his writing is engaging and entertaining. Here, I found, was someone who knew! Here was something to do! I read the book, thought it over, discussed the issues with said friend… Then, taking Dawkins’ advice, I walked away from God.

Like a person steps out from under an umbrella.

Photo by Ali Pazani on Pexels.com

I felt so much relief. I felt such mental, anxious freedom.

My ‘faithful’ prayers had been been rife with guilt for The Sin of Omission and pleas for God to spare those I love. No longer believing, I stopped praying.

I’d been unnaturally stressed by others’ questions, tales of faith, or exhortations to do more. Without God, I felt above others’ religious compulsions and removed from their trifling issues.

After continually feeling apart because of my questions, I felt justified. I felt included in a private, exclusive, intelligent group who were free like I was. -The club of atheism.

My decisions were my own. No one orchestrated my life. I was the one in control, to the extent I could be.

However…

The mosquitoes of discontent persisted -as a different species. I still entertained the possibility that God could be real. Others, again, did not seem to notice the static. They swatted it away with more atheist fervor; more claims of ‘logic’ and ‘science.’

If God doesn’t exist, why am I what I am? Why do miracles happen -no, really; REAL miracles that I have personally witnessed?

Some might cry, “Foul!” Some might suggest I re-name this post to Why I Became an Agnostic, but I didn’t become agnostic. I really and truly stepped away from the ever-present cloud of God’s existence. I erased Him as much as could be and walked without Him for a change.

I stopped believing, if that ever was what I’d done before.

And I scratched my head at all the other unenlightened people laboring under the delusion of faith.

©2023 Chel Owens

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What happened next? If you’ve been following my blog, you’re likely wondering why I write about being a Mormon if I was an atheist. This was continued, a week later.

I’m a Mormon, So…

I’m a Mormon, so I -along with the 16,805,400 worldwide members and their families and friends- listen to and/or attend General Conference twice a year.

Currently, General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is held the first weekend in April and the first weekend in October.

About 30 members were present at the first conference called by the Prophet Joseph Smith on June 9, 1830. Today 21,000 members fill the Conference Center adjacent to Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. The words flowing from the Conference Center go far beyond this audience as they are translated into 93 different languages and reach members worldwide via radio, television, satellite, and Internet connections.

General Conference – Then and Now,” Ensign of the LDS Church, October 2012

But, what is General Conference? How does it differ from regular attendance on Sundays? Who may attend? Is attendance mandatory?

Basically, General Conference is a special meeting. Members of the higher-level leadership positions of the LDS church give sermons on whatever subject they feel inspired to speak on. Since its being completed in 2000, the entire program takes place in The Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The conference follows a similar format to normal church services, in that it begins with an opening prayer; has a member of the highest priesthood there to conduct the services; contains an opening song, rest hymn, and closing song; and ends with a closing prayer. Each speaker has been asked ahead of time, in order to prepare, and is requested to talk between 5 to 20 minutes.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, described his experience in preparing as follows:

Perhaps you already know (but if you don’t you should) that with rare exception, no man or woman who speaks here is assigned a topic. Each is to fast and pray, study and seek, start and stop and start again until he or she is confident that for this conference, at this time, his or hers is the topic the Lord wishes that speaker to present regardless of personal wishes or private preferences. Every man and woman you have heard during the past 10 hours of general conference has tried to be true to that prompting. Each has wept, worried, and earnestly sought the Lord’s direction to guide his or her thoughts and expression.

Jeffrey R. Holland, “An Ensign to the Nations,” May 2011 General Conference

General Conference takes the place of Sunday worship on the weekend it is held. There are always morning and afternoon sessions. Historically, an evening session on Saturday for the men also occurred (with the women’s leadership holding one the Saturday before the October session for most of my life); the Saturday evening meeting is going through an awkward un-assigned phase at this point, being listed as an extra meeting. This April, the schedule is:

Saturday, April 1

10 a.m.* Saturday morning session
2 p.m. Saturday afternoon session
6 p.m. Saturday evening session

Sunday, April 2

10 a.m. Sunday morning session
2 p.m. Sunday afternoon session

*Mountain Daylight Time

As to who may attend (and whether any must attend), ALL are welcome. This is more-easily realized with the vast reach of communications devices. Anyone with internet or radio access may tune in, and is encouraged to do so. The talks given (obviously) discuss LDS gospel topics; but those topics hold a wide appeal. This is evidenced by a popular activity sheet suggested for children, Conference Bingo:

And, as with any doctrine or teaching or commandment given in the LDS Church, attending General Conference is a commandment -but no one will chop off your hands if you choose to miss -or fall asleep.

General Conference is where we members receive news of inspiration given to our leaders, learn of new temples being built, hear statistical reports, watch and enjoy the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square or one session’s worth of a guest choir, and enrich and expound our understanding through others’ experiences and advice.

Final note: April’s session is this Saturday and Sunday, April 1 and 2. I encourage everyone to give it a listen. You’ll be able to hear it live from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 2 p.m.-4 p.m. and 6 p.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday; then 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 2 p.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday (all MDT).

©2023 Chel Owens

……

We Mormons are officially members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are to drop any name but that. Since many recognize the nickname of ‘Mormon’ and it works with the alliteration so well, however, I will use the term.

My other note is that I will keep to official doctrinal practices. I will add my own application of them, especially in response to comments.

My final note is that I LOVE discussing anything I write. Don’t be rude, obviously, but any and all queries or responses are welcome.

My final note beyond the final note is that I do not seek to convert anyone. I am motivated by forming connections, answering curiosity, and straightening pictures. So, you’re safe.

I’m a Mormon, So…

I’m a Mormon, so I am self-reliant in personal finances. I am financially responsible and temporally prepared.

The official brochure the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints uses in self-reliance courses regarding personal finances.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints defines self-reliance as “the ability, commitment, and effort to provide the spiritual and temporal necessities of life for self and family” (LDS General Handbook, 22). Self-reliance, itself, is not solely about finances.

With help from the Lord, members build self-reliance in the following ways:

  • Develop spiritual, physical, and emotional strength.
  • Gain education and employment.
  • Improve temporal preparedness.
LDS General Handbook, 22.1, “Build Self-Reliance”

This blog post is about temporal preparedness and monetary stability, however; the other aspects will be covered in future posts.

Freedom from financial obligations brought on by irresponsible spending habits is important for building one’s character, removing one from limiting life choices, and paving the way for future endeavors. In short, financial responsibility is financial freedom.

©LDS General Handbook

We LDS are encouraged to seek an appropriate education, approach financial goals in a unified manner with our spouse, pay tithes and offerings, set up and live within a budget, protect against possible hardship, avoid debt, and save for the future.

Besides lessons on these topics and the expectation of meeting these goals, the LDS Church offers self-reliance classes. Classes are free and run by a volunteer. I’ve attended a program called Pathways, which includes financial budgeting in its section on life skills; Kevin has attended a business-related course.

All resources and information are available online.

I feel an important addition is that self-reliance isn’t connotative or unreasonably demanding. “Being self-reliant does not mean that we can do or obtain anything we set our mind to. Rather, it is believing that through the grace, or enabling power, of Jesus Christ and our own effort, we are able to obtain all the spiritual and temporal necessities of life we require for ourselves and our families. Self-reliance is evidence of our trust or faith in God’s power to move mountains in our lives and to give us strength to triumph over trials and afflictions” (LDS Study Manual).

©LDS Church

©2023 Chel Owens

……

We Mormons are officially members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are to drop any name but that. Since many recognize the nickname of ‘Mormon’ and it works with the alliteration so well, however, I will use the term.

My other note is that I will keep to official doctrinal practices. I will add my own application of them, especially in response to comments.

My final note is that I LOVE discussing anything I write. Don’t be rude, obviously, but any and all queries or responses are welcome.

My final note beyond the final note is that I do not seek to convert anyone. I am motivated by forming connections, answering curiosity, and straightening pictures. So, you’re safe.

I’m a Mormon, So…

I’m a Mormon, so I believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God; to be scripture as true and from as valid a foundation as the other standard works, like the Holy Bible. I also believe the Pearl of Great Price and the Doctrine and Covenants to be scripture with the same validity.

The Book of Mormon contains sacred writings from followers of Jesus. Just like God spoke to Moses and Noah in the Bible, He also spoke to people in the Americas. These men, called prophets, wrote down God’s word. Their writings were eventually gathered into one book by a prophet named Mormon.

What is the Book of Mormon?

The Book of Mormon begins with the story of a young man named Nephi who lived in Jerusalem with his father, the prophet Lehi, and their family. Nephi is the third son; after Laman, Lemuel, and Sam. His faith earns him greater authority than his elder, less-obedient brothers. They leave Jerusalem after Lehi receives a vision foretelling the city’s destruction, travel across the ocean, and settle in “the promised land” (the Americas). The accounts afterward concern the generations that follow: they are known as Nephites (descendants of Nephi/Sam and usually faithful) and Lamanites (descendants of Laman/Lemuel and usually sinful). Also included is a record Nephites discover, about a people who fled the Tower of Babel (the Jaredites); and when Jesus Christ died, was resurrected, and then visited the Americas.

The Book of Mormon ends with the writings of Moroni, the last faithful Nephite and the son of Mormon. He lives a dangerous and solitary life, watching the remaining faithful be hunted down and killed by Lamanites. LDS historians estimate Nephi’s writings to be around 600 B.C. and Moroni’s writings to be around A.D. 421.

This book of scripture was translated by Joseph Smith, jr. during his early adult years, from gold plates revealed to him as being buried in a hill near his house in Manchester, New York. Smith wrote about his learning of the plates, his acquisition of them, and their miraculous translation and transcription in writings -some released as Joseph Smith-History and parts of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Much of the book’s origins are covered in Saints, Volume I as well, a cultural biography of early LDS church history.

The history and validity of the Book of Mormon is often questioned; the best test is to follow the advice of Moroni himself. In Moroni, chapter ten, verses four and five, he says:

4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

The Book of Mormon, Moroni 10:4-5

©2023 Chel Owens

……

We Mormons are officially members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are to drop any name but that. Since many recognize the nickname of ‘Mormon’ and it works with the alliteration so well, however, I will use the term.

My other note is that I will keep to official doctrinal practices. I will add my own application of them, especially in response to comments.

My final note is that I LOVE discussing anything I write. Don’t be rude, obviously, but any and all queries or responses are welcome.

My final note beyond the final note is that I do not seek to convert anyone. I am motivated by forming connections, answering curiosity, and straightening pictures. So, you’re safe.

I’m a Mormon, So…

I’m a Mormon, so I sing. I sing hymns with other members of the Church or Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during our Sacrament Meeting, if it’s part of the lesson during the second hour of Sunday worship services, in the Primary during their singing time, or as part of the ward choir or a special choir that may form for other meetings.

Sacred music increases faith in Jesus Christ. It invites the Spirit and teaches doctrine. It also creates a feeling of reverence, unifies members, and provides a way to worship Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

LDS General Handbook, “Music

We use music in many places:

Sacrament Meeting begins with an opening hymn, has a sacramental hymn before the sacrament service, and ends with a closing hymn. There is often an intermediary, or rest, hymn midway through the hour. These hymns are taken from the official LDS Hymnbook.

The children who attend Primary sing songs pertaining to the theme of the year, ones they will be performing as part of the Primary Program held annually (more on that, later), a special birthday tune if the leaders wish to celebrate those, or welcome songs for visitors or new members. This singing time ran for at least half an hour when members spent three hours at church; now, this time is truncated to fifteen minutes.

Likewise, the other meetings (Sunday Schools, Young Men’s, Young Women’s, Relief Society, and Elder’s Quorum) had opening and closing hymns when the meeting block was longer. Now, these groups do not sing during their second-hour meeting.

Every ward or branch is encouraged to have a choir. Ward choirs tend to sing during the rest hymn time of Sacrament Meeting or for the Sundays near to a holiday.

When wards or branches plan Stake, Regional, or General Conference (more on that, later); a choir is organized to sing at those.

Besides these official, scheduled, uniform moments of song; the music coordinator of a ward or branch might also organize special musical numbers by those playing an instrument or those who wish to sing a special (bishop-approved) musical number.

The LDS Church also owns and operates the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square (formerly the Mormon Tabernacle Choir) -and the Orchestra at Temple Square -and the Bells at Temple Square. These are made up of volunteers who must audition for positions and commit to a certain level of attendance and performance in order to participate. They sing for General Conference, special concerts, on tour, and each Sunday for Music and the Spoken Word.

The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, singing “Amazing Grace”

©2023 Chel Owens

……

We Mormons are officially members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are to drop any name but that. Since many recognize the nickname of ‘Mormon’ and it works with the alliteration so well, however, I will use the term.

My other note is that I will keep to official doctrinal practices. I will add my own application of them, especially in response to comments.

My final note is that I LOVE discussing anything I write. Don’t be rude, obviously, but any and all queries or responses are welcome.

My final note beyond the final note is that I do not seek to convert anyone. I am motivated by forming connections, answering curiosity, and straightening pictures. So, you’re safe.

I’m a Mormon, So…

I’m a Mormon, so I abstain from eating two consecutive meals on a special Sunday once a month. This is referred to as Fast Sunday. I donate the money I would have used for the meals to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a fast offering.

Fast Sunday is almost always the first Sunday of the month. Everyone, churchwide, observes Fast Sunday. Each person begins his or her fast with a prayer toward a goal, person, blessing, etc. s/he would like assistance with. At the end, when s/he breaks the fast, s/he ends with a prayer as well.

Some wards and branches send their priesthood-bearing youth to visit each home and collect the fast offerings from LDS members of that ward or branch. A member fills out a special slip of paper and includes a check with whatever amount s/he thinks is appropriate. Members may also pay by direct deposit.

What is the money used for?

Members can give fast offerings to one of the bishopric or branch presidency members. The bishop or branch president uses the money to help those in need in his ward or branch.
Fast offerings may be used to help feed the hungry.
Fast offerings might be used to care for the sick.
In each way a fast offering is used, it helps take care of Heavenly Father’s children.

Liahona Magazine, June 2005, “What Are Fast Offerings?

When members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attend their church Sacrament Meeting on Fast Sunday, the format is that of an open mic testimony-bearing session. Anyone may come to the front and express his or her feelings, as prompted by the Holy Ghost to do so.

Fasting is a commandment from God but is also a powerful aid. A member may choose to fast besides his or her official Fast Sunday. It is to be used in conjunction with prayer. It is to be used for a special purpose; wards, families, individuals, and the entire LDS Church will call a special fast when heavenly guidance or aid is needed.

©2023 Chel Owens

……

We Mormons are officially members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are to drop any name but that. Since many recognize the nickname of ‘Mormon’ and it works with the alliteration so well, however, I will use the term.

My other note is that I will keep to official doctrinal practices. I will add my own application of them, especially in response to comments.

My final note is that I LOVE discussing anything I write. Don’t be rude, obviously, but any and all queries or responses are welcome.

My final note beyond the final note is that I do not seek to convert anyone. I am motivated by forming connections, answering curiosity, and straightening pictures. So, you’re safe.