Religious Freedom is Being Threatened

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On October 13th, 2009, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, gave an incredible sermon on Religious Freedom in America at BYU-Idaho. What follows are but a few excerpts from that talk.

“Noted author and legal commentator Hugh Hewitt described the current circumstance this way:

‘There is a growing anti-religious bigotry in the United States. . . .

‘For three decades people of faith have watched a systematic and very effective effort waged in the courts and the media to drive them from the public square and to delegitimize their participation in politics as somehow threatening.’

For example, a prominent gay-rights spokesman gave this explanation for his objection to our Churchs position on Californias Proposition 8:

‘Im not intending it to harm the religion. I think they do wonderful things. Nicest people. . . . My single goal is to get them out of the same-sex marriage business and back to helping hurricane victims.’

Aside from the obvious fact that this objection would deny free speech as well as religious freedom to members of our Church and its coalition partners, there are other reasons why the public square must be open to religious ideas and religious persons.”

-Elder Dallin H. Oaks

You can read this talk in full at the LDS New Room.

Video collage and above content was created by Seth Adam Smith.

Who is in our Heart?

Yesterday, my Thai friend told me an interesting fact about the Thai people. If you ask where the Thailand King lives to a Thai individual he or she will point to their heart. I found this absolutely fascinating. Obviously, the Thia people have a deep love for their King.

This story made me think about my eternal King. If God is not in my heart, where is He? I know I have found him in the scriptures, in my prayers, in the temple, in the sacrament, and many other consecrated places. Truly, our Heavenly Father puts his holy imprint in many places for us to discover. As Alma stated “…yea, and all things denote there is a God” (Alma 30:44).

However, I have come to believe that if the Creator of all is not in my heart, none of this matters. It is my heart that links the sacred to the divine. That is why it is so easy for people to take lightly the hallowed nature of the Gospel. If God is not in their hearts what do these things matter to them? They don’t matter!

That is why I think those who apostatize from the Church are often the cruelest critics. Their heart no longer holds to the things that once brought great happiness to them. To me when you persecute someone for their beliefs (member or not), even if you disagree with this belief, you are not going to find anything that resemembles the heavens within your heart.

So, going through all this I need to ask myself, how do I securely root my God to my heart? For me, Psalms 119:10 adequately states how, “With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.” When I obey I will always find growth and love from within. Such an interesting notion that obedience to God’s commandments is the key to unlocking the world from our heart and inviting true happiness, our God, in.

Where to Listen to Free LDS Music

old-fashion-radio-microphoneNot living in Utah makes one really appreciate finding cool LDS websites. My friend (also not living in Utah) sent me a link to an LDS Radio website.  I recognized right away this site was using the live365.com player, which helped me find two other LDS music stations. For all of us who don’t get the pleasure of hearing good LDS music on the radio I hope these sites help. ~Paul Wilson

Editor’s Note: This is not a paid endorsement. Just thought you would like it.

The Purpose of LDSFriends.com

Note: This is a sticky post (ie remains at the top of the home page). The reason for making this sticky is to keep the focus centered on the purpose of this blog and the future of LDSFriends.com. To see more recent information please view the posts below.

You cannot help but watch General Conference and not be inspired. This conference was no different for me. I watched and realized that there are many areas in my life that need improvement. One such area deals with LDSFriends.com.

For sometime we have been working on creating a website that is a social area on the web for both members and non-members alike. Back in 1996 Roger Brown and Christian Adams began LDSFriends.com with this same vision in mind.

Unfortunately, in 2007 a few of us convinced Roger (Christian was no longer working on LDSFriends) to let us “spruce up” the website. However, our programming knowledge was limited and we had to rely on a lot of free software. Our final results was a dating website, which none of us really wanted.

We told ourselves that we would only keep this temporarily dating site up until we were able to create the website the way we really wanted it. Well, fast forward to over two years later and we still had the temporary dating site up and our “new and improved” site was still under development. Truly, this is not what we wanted for LDSFriends.com.

Finally, I felt that the time had come to bury the dating site. I also wanted to keep our few remaining faithful fans of LDSFriends abreast of the developments of this site. Thus, I have put up this blog to do just that (though, I will also be using this blog for spiritual writings as well).

The design you see on this blog is the exact design we will be using on the new website. So, when I say we are close to finishing I really mean it. For those of you who would like to help us finish up this labor of love please contact me and we will put you to work!

Thank you for your patience. We hope the final product will be worth your wait! ~Paul Wilson