Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Tag: religion

How 3-D Printing Strengthened my Testimony

This semester, I had a fantastic and eye-opening opportunity afforded me by my Foundations of the Restoration professor. He assigned everyone a semester long term-project, and my project ended up being a significant experience for me.

The guidelines for the project were loose. Early on, I decided that I wanted to combine some aspect of the Restoration of the Gospel with computer modeling. I came to the conclusion that I could create an accurate, three-dimensional model of the gold plates, based on the several accounts we have of the plates’ size, shape, and color. This would give me the opportunity to both learn about Church history and develop my computer skills.

Soon after deciding on the idea, I realized that creating the 3-D model wouldn’t be substantial enough for the term project. So, I resolved to do something more: to send my design to the library’s 3-D printer, and to create an actual scale model of the plates.

After many hours of researching, modeling, and working with the 3-D printing gurus on the second floor of the library, my project idea became a reality:

Picture1

Thanks to the help of my wonderful wife, the 3-D printing gurus, and several YouTube videos, I was able to create a computer model of the plates. Then, I was able to make that model and turn it in for my term project.

I was led to reflect on several things when I completed the project. For a moment, I was brought back to Uruguay (where I served my mission). Our Stake President said (in Uruguayan Castellano), “Elders! You must have a strong testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel and of Joseph Smith. Can you imagine seeing God the Father and His Son in the Sacred Grove? Can you hear the words of the angel Moroni? Can you imagine the weight of the plates in your hands?”

These were powerful questions that I’ve remembered for over two years now. For my project, I didn’t use real gold. The model did not weigh as much as the plates would have. It wasn’t as shiny or as impressive as I’m sure the real plates are. But, in some small way, my testimony of Joseph’s receiving and translating the golden plates grew. I can now imagine what it would have been like to receive the plates from a heavenly angel. 6–7 inches wide, 8 inches long, and 4–6 inches thick. And all of it “the appearance of gold.” I can think how it must have been to carry the heavy plates (about 60 pounds), and run away from those who would try to take them. I can imagine Joseph taking the plates home for the first time, the heavy, cool metal in his hands.

I know that the gold plates are real. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and he translated the gold plates by God’s gift and power. Because of this, we have the incredible Church and Gospel that blesses our lives today.

Source: Henrichsen, Kirk B. (compiler). “How Witnesses Described the “Gold Plates.” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, 10/1, 2001, 16-21, 78.

BY TYLER AVERETT 

Get Pumped (and Prepped) for General Conference

It’s that time of year again, folks! Six months of sunshine and warm days are nearing an end as we say hello to changing leaves, all things pumpkin spice, and the excitement of a new school year and new possibilities. With fall on the horizon, General Conference is on its way! This year’s October session schedule* is: 

September 30 at 6:00 pm: The general priesthood session for priesthood holders

September 30 and October 1 at 10:00 am. and 2:00 pm: The general sessions for individuals and families

*This schedule is set according to MST time*

With conference just a few days away, we thought we’d give you a few helpful suggestions to prepare for it. Being prepared and willing to feel and hear what the Spirit is saying to you is key to having an amazing experience!

1. Pray for questions and answers to those questions

Now I know this might sound silly, but if God knows everything, then He knows what we are struggling with now and what we will need help and guidance with in the future.  He will help if we’re willing to listen! Praying to know what kind of topics to seek out for General Conference or what questions to ask Him (during any time of our lives) is a great way to practice listening to the still small voice as we search for answers.

Already feel like you have some questions that you would like some answers to? Take those to the Lord and ask for help in listening and understanding what each speaker is saying and how it relates to you and your questions personally.

2. Invite a friend

Do you home or visit teach anyone that is less active or a recent convert? Have you gone on a team-up with the missionaries lately? Do you have a friend that you think would really appreciate and benefit from the messages being taught? Do you have that one friend that is always down for a GNO or a bro’s night? Feel free to invite someone to be uplifted and help them understand that they have a Father in Heaven who loves them. If you’re inviting out of love, they will be honored that you asked them. (Plus, some ice-cream afterwards never hurt anyone.)

3. Bring a notebook and (your favorite) pen

Long ago, my EFY counselor told our group, “An open pen is a satellite to the Holy Ghost.” I have carried those words of wisdom with me ever since. As you listen to these inspired talks, take notes on how you feel and the thoughts that come to your mind. You don’t need to bother taking notes on what the speakers are actually saying because you can have your own copy of the talk in a few weeks. Just focus on the thoughts, feelings, and impressions that you receive.

4. Get a good night’s sleep before conference so you can be awake and alert!

5. Study and ponder the scriptures, attend the temple, fast, and serve

These suggestions are all things we can do throughout the year so we can always have the Holy Ghost with us and be constantly prepared for General Conference. Study scriptures that relate to the questions that you are thinking about. If you can’t attend the temple, walk around the temple grounds or go on a nice walk to admire all of God’s creations and silently say a prayer of gratitude. Fast and ask for guidance on the questions you are pondering. Service is a great way to show our Heavenly Father how much we love and appreciate Him and all of our brothers and sisters.

If you would like, here are all of the talks given in last April’s session of General Conference. Staying up to date on the words of the Lord’s anointed servants is always a good way to prepare for conference (and life!).

For many of us here at Stance, General Conference is one of the most wonderful times of the year. We hope you prepare to receive and enjoy all that our Prophet and Apostles have to say to us. Feel free to share your experiences on how prepping for General Conference helped you this year!

For more tips on prepping for this weekend, check these out:

- A Family Home Evening lesson all about general conference

-General Conference activities for children

-Ideas to Prepare

 BY CARLY CALLISTER

R: Living your Religion in Marriage

Photo by Sarah Wells http://www.freckleblossom.com/

 

 

Getting married is hopefully the best decision you’ve ever made, but like any major life change, it comes with a lot of transitions. Even if you come from the same religious background, it is likely that you and your spouse will have some differing views and traditions when it comes to religion. (Read more on merging traditions in the first installment of this series.)

My husband and I were both raised in a similar way, with religion being a top priority in our families’ lives. Despite that, we have had to learn how to make our religious practices work in our marriage.

Here are a few things we’ve learned

  • Talk about it. We had to sit down and discuss what religious practices we wanted to carry into our relationship. We decided which things were a priority to us, and what we would start doing now so that we could have well-established traditions for when our children are born.
  • Set a time to be spiritual. This could be every day, every week, or whenever you decide is best for you. We have loved setting aside time every day to study and pray together. It’s a quiet time when we can reflect on what is most sacred and important to us, and in which we can remember what is truly important. No matter what you and your spouse do during your spiritual time, setting aside time for it will ensure that you can have time amidst a busy schedule.
  • Involve friends and family. Just because you are married now doesn’t mean you have to exclude friends and family. My husband and I have loved having a weekly religious discussion group every other Monday night with four other couples in our apartment complex. We keep it fun and always have a treat and game to go along with it.
  • Lift each other. One of the best things about being married is that you have another person to encourage you. Never nag or criticize your spouse when it comes to religious habits. If you know he or she can be better, show your spouse! Treat them how you want them to be and that’s how they will act.

As my husband and I live our religion together, we feel closer together and find meaning in our marriage. As you find what works best for your new marriage, you will find that having religious traditions you can do together will increase the spirituality of your relationship and help you to be closer.

By Mckenna Clarke
This is the third post in a series about making the transition from single life to marriage. Each post will highlight a topic about marriage that begins with a letter in the word. As we work our way through M.A.R.R.I.A.G.E, whether you have been married for a while, are a newlywed, or are preparing to get married, we hope that these posts will help you to make a smooth transition

Faith Counts: New study looks at religion by the numbers

In a video called “Faith by the Numbers,” Brian Grim discusses the amount of social programs that religion offers to the public, adding up to about 1.5 million. (Faith Counts YouTube)

This graphic details the expenditures of religion and religious-affiliated businesses. (Faith Counts)

A recent study quantified the economic impact of religious institutions and religion-related businesses throughout the U.S.

The study, entitled “The Socio-economic Contribution of Religion to American Society: An Empirical Analysis,” is the first of its kind and was conducted by Brian Grim of Georgetown University and Melissa Grim of the Newseum Institute. They held a panel event at the National Press Club on Sept. 14, 2016 to reveal their groundbreaking study.

“For the first time, we have been able to quantify what religious institutions, faith-based charities and even businesses inspired by faith contribute to our country,” Grim said at a Sept. 14 panel. “In an age where there’s a growing belief that religion is not a positive for American society, adding up the numbers is a tangible reminder of the impact of religion.”

This pie chart shows the socio-economic contributions of religion to American Society. (Faith Counts)

According to the study, religion contributes nearly $1.2 trillion to the US economy. Congregations and religiously-oriented charity groups contributed 130,000 programs for alcohol and drug abuse recovery, 121,000 programs for support or skills training for unemployed adults and 94,000 programs to support veterans and their families.

“People at various times have various needs,” said church history professor Richard Holzapfel. “You have church that is relieving the pressure on state institutions.”

Holzapfel said religion offers a substantial amount of support for character development, which cannot always be calculated. However, he said this development can be seen in the LDS Church through missions, the counseling offered to individuals through bishops and church programs addressing various struggles.

This chart shows the number of programs religious organizations put on for various social issues. (Faith Counts)

“What would that cost the state if the church didn’t provide those services?” Holzapfel said. “It would be massive. We would overwhelm the welfare department, the juvenile court systems; the impact must be tremendous.”

Faith Counts, a multi-faith non-profit organization promoting the value of faith, sponsored the study. According to the “Faith by the Numbers” video on their website, religion institutions are not just houses of workshop, but the “nucleus of many communities, centers for education, job training, charity, childcare and social events.”

The video also states that religious institutions fund over 1.5 million social programs. Hunter Buxton, an economics major, was surprised by the findings.

“I had no idea,” Buxton said. “That’s not something you hear about a lot in economic circles of news.”

Buxton said this study and influence on religion should be talked about more because it could “definitely benefit the way America sees religions in general.”

More information about this study can be found on the Faith Counts website.

Emma Smith: How Much Could One Heart Take?

Emma Smith is a source of contestation and conflicting viewpoints for many within the LDS community. A popular song (at least amongst missionaries I served with) about Emma Smith has the refrain “How much could one heart take?” as it’s main theme. The popularity of the song concerns me. Not because of hatred or ill-will towards Emma, but because the theme of the song seems to be justifying actions that move us away from the Church as long as our lives are hard. A sentiment that does not seem to be scripturally supported (God will not suffer you to be tempted above that which ye are able, anyone?) and is potentially damaging.

image from here

This is not to say however that we should shift the pendulum to the other side and judge Emma or anyone else for their choices, because we do not understand what they are going through and what experiences led them to make the choices that they did. We should strive for a middle ground, where we seek to understand and empathize with others, without judging or justifying their behavior, two-sides of the same coin. Both of these place us in a position where we make a final determination about someone’s intentions or worthiness, which is well beyond our place as mere mortals, flawed and trying to find our way in this crazy world.

Section 25 of the Doctrine and Covenants is revelation specifically for Emma, however it closes with the following verse: “And verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my voice unto all. Amen” (D&C 25:16). All can draw from the counsel given to Emma and apply the principles in our own lives.

“And verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better” (D&C 25:10). We can “lay aside the things of this world” by ceasing to justify or judge ourselves and others and “seek for the things of a better” by seeing the potential that we all have. We must look past the flawed choices that others make to find the intentions and motivations that drove them. We must seek understanding, so that we can love one another.

—Conor Hilton, Stance: Studies on the Family

He Is Risen!

“He is risen! He is risen! Tell it out with joyful voice. He has burst his three days’ prison; let the whole wide earth rejoice. Death is conquered; man is free. Christ has won the victory.” Christ has won the victory for us over death. He has also won the victory over sin, pain, and suffering. No matter the issues we face, personally or with our families, they can all be swallowed up in the love of Jesus. We discuss many of the issues facing families today and how we can overcome those issues; however, no matter how ready we are to face those challenges through secular means, Jesus is the only means by which our families can be truly united and at peace.

Have a happy Easter.