Today’s edition of “Getting It Right” features a New York Times commentary that notes the Church’s emphasis on thrift, charity and solidarity, a commentary on the four books that Mormons consider scripture, an article about what Mormon missionaries do and a report on the importance of interfaith relations.
New York Times: Mormons emphasize “thrift, charity and solidarity”
In response to an essay from The New Yorker that describes Mormonism as “a denomination within the bigger creed of commerce,” New York Times columnist Ross Douthat recognizes that the essay’s analysis is “strikingly incomplete.” Drawing on personal experience in visiting Mormon worship services, Douthat notes the importance that Latter-day Saints place on hard work and charitable giving.
“The link between piety and prosperity is present [in Mormonism], but the emphasis on thrift, charity and solidarity is just as intense,” Douthat writes. “Too much prosperity preaching is a theology of the grasshopper, promising magical increase and asking little in return. But the Mormon symbol is the beehive for a reason.”
By including commentary on the high demands of individual service Mormonism places on its members, Douthat presents a clearer picture of Mormon priorities.
The Christian Century: In addition to the Bible, Mormons believe in three other books of scripture
Kathleen Flake, an associate professor of American religion history at Vanderbilt, astutely explains Mormons’ belief in the Bible, provides brief descriptions of the three additional Latter-day Saint books of scripture (the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price) and describes how these additional books are both similar to and different from the Bible.
The Book of Mormon, Flake writes, “not only echoes the narrative style and certain contents of the Bible, such as the Beatitudes, but also functions as second witness to the Bible’s testimony that Jesus is the source of salvation for all.”
Flake also notes that within the Doctrine and Covenants (a book comprising selections from the revelations given to Joseph Smith) “much is familiar to non-Mormons, such as believer’s baptism, confirmation through the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Spirit, and affirmations such as ‘justification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true.’”
Finally, Flake says the Pearl of Great Price (which includes the writings of Abraham and Moses as translated by Joseph Smith) contains “a retelling of the creation story. Most significantly, this retelling includes an event before creation in which God met with his children regarding the next step in their existence.”
Flake also discusses other distinctive Mormon doctrines and ordinances, such as temple worship, the spiritual origins and purposes of personhood and, most significantly, the fatherhood of God and His relationship with and purposes for mankind.
The Church’s Sunday School program studies a different book of Latter-day Saint scripture each year — the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants — all of which form “a single history of God’s efforts to be heard in all places and by every generation.”
San Francisco Chronicle: Missionaries spend their days serving others
The Chronicle features Dallas Lloyd, a freshman quarterback for the Stanford Cardinal who recently returned from a two-year Church mission in Chile. Lloyd says the mission was “the best experience of my life” and provides a succinct summary of his missionary duties that reflects what Mormon missionaries do wherever they serve.
“We talked to people about Jesus Christ, and we invited them to come unto him and basically make changes in their lives,” Lloyd says. “We spent 24/7 looking for people to help. I learned so many valuable lessons that I wouldn't have learned if I had gone directly to Stanford.”
Learn more about the Church’s missionary program at MormonNewsroom.org.
Ogden Standard Examiner: Women from four faiths (including Mormons) come together to help those in need
The Standard Examiner reports that nearly 60 women from four faiths (including Latter-day Saints) in the Ogden, Utah, area came together last week to help those in need. The women collected hygiene kits and preemie burial kits, tied fleece blankets, made pillowcase dresses, sewed cover-ups and filled rooms full of items for a community swap.
“The whole point of this activity is to serve others,” one Mormon volunteer says. “But it was also meant to show the women of all of the denominations, including our own, that we have more in common than we have differences.”
Read more about the Church’s interfaith efforts at MormonNewsroom.org.