Tag Archives: christianity

Book Review | One Thousand Gifts

This summer, after struggling with both anxiety/depression, and a trial of faith, my mom suggested reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. This book is kind of a spiritual awakening memoir of Voskamp, who grew up in the Mennonite farming community of southwestern Ontario. She isn’t Mennonite, but deeply Christian and had a personal conversion once she realized the true meaning of eucharisteo .

It's all about eucharisteo

Rather than do a normal book review, I want to just share some of my favorite quotes:

“Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other.”

Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts book review--it's all about eucharisteo

“Now in the Bible, a name…reveals the very essence of a thing, or rather its essence as God’s gift…To name a thing is to manifest the meaning and value God gave it, to know it as coming from God and to know its place and function within the cosmos created by God. To name a thing, in other words, is to bless God for it and in it.”

“I yearn for the stuff of saints, the hard language…I want the every fullest life…it is hard to think that the insulting ordinariness of this truly teaches the full mystery of all most important, eucharisteo.”

“In Christ, don’t we have everlasting existence? Don’t Christians have all the time in eternity, life everlasting? If Christian run out of time–wouldn’t we lose our very own existence? If anyone should have time, isn’t it the Christ-followers?”

“Time to breath deep and time to see real and time to laugh long, time to give You glory and rest deep and sing joy and just enough time in a day not to feel hounded, pressed, driven, or wild to get it all done–yesterday.”

“All God makes is good. Can it be that, that which seems to oppose the will of God actually is used of Him to accomplish the will of God.”

Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts book review: it's all about eucharisteo

“The parent must always self-parent first, self-preach before child-teach, because who can bring peace unless they’ve held their own peace? Christ incarnated in the parents is the only hope of incarnating Christ in the child.”

“Feel thanks and it’s absolutely impossible to feel angry. We can only experience one emotion at a time. And we get to choose–which emotion do we want to feel.”

“Anxiety has been my natural posture, my default stillness. The way I curl my toes up, tight retreat. How I angle my jaw, braced, chisel the brown with the lines of distrust. How I don’t fold my hands in prayer…weld them into tight fists of control. Always control–pseudo power from the pit. How I refuse to relinquish worry, babe a mother won’t won’t forsake, an identity. Do I hold worry close as this ruse of control, this pretense that I’m the one who will determine the course of events as I stir and church and ruminate? Worry is the facade of taking action when prayer really is. And stressed, this pitched word that punctuates every conversation, its it really my attempt to prove how indispensable I am? Or is it more? Maybe disguising my deep fears as stress seems braver somehow.”

“I want that kind of crazy, happy joy, God…How have I lost it in the growing older, duller? How to see the world again thorugh those eyes? To live in the wide-eyed wonder of a world that unwraps itself grandiose and larger-than-life, so other wordly?”

“Only self can kill joy. I’m the one doing this to me.”

Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts book review: it's all about eucharisteo

“Grace is alive , living waters. If I dam up the grace, hold the blessing tight, joy, within dies…waters that have no life.”
[ctt title=” ‘Eucharisteo is, yes, more: it is giving grace away.'” tweet=” ‘Eucharisteo is, yes, more: it is giving grace away.’ @themorrelltale” coverup=”4dboG”]

“The communion service is only complete in service. Communion, by necessity, always leads us into community.”

“The work we do is only our love for Jesus in action, writes Mother Teresa. If we pray the work…if we do it to Jesus, if we do it for Jesus, if we do it with Jesus…that’s what makes us content…the contented, deep joy is always in the touching of Christ–in whatever skin He comes to us in.”

Even though Voskamp’s style of writing is very abstract, it was still a great read and allowed me to slow down my life and be thankful for the small things. I would recommend it to any Christian in any denomination. Honestly, I would recommend it to anyone!

Which quote did you enjoy the most?

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Love, Marriage, and Religion

I’m really going out on a limb here. I’m deathly afraid to actually post this publicly, on my blog, for the whole world (agreers and disagreers, but especially the ever frightful Internet trolls) to see. But, I’m going to word this as carefully as I can since I am still sorting through these feelings myself, so please bear with me… (some of this was written originally on Friday on my Instagram) Also, this is super long…

On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled homosexual marriage legal. They declared that states have to recognize these marriages. I understand the reasonings why: marriage is an outward symbol of the deep, caring love that two people have for each other and their strong desire to spend the rest of their lives with each other. I do love the way that Justice Kennedy worded the importance of marriage: 
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies
the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice,
and family. In forming a marital union, two people become
something greater than once they were. As some of
the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage
embodies a love that may endure even past death. It
would misunderstand these men and women to say they
disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do
respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its
fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned
to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s
oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the
eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
I think that he understood the depth of marriage–that two become one in true love and intimacy. I believe that most homosexual couples feel this way about each other. I’ve heard of life partners–if that isn’t a sign of devotion than I don’t know what is! I’ve seen it, too! I’ve been a big fan of Neil Patrick Harris ever since a college roommate showed me “Doctor Horrible.” Then, when my husband got me into How I Met Your Mother, I loved him even more! Even though I hated the character of Barney (a sex-addicted play boy), I think it’s kind of funny and ironic that Harris, who is gay, plays that character, and his character’s half-brother is the gay one! But, I follow Harris on Instagram, and I’ve seen the devotion he has for his husband and their two adopted children. I know that what they have is true love and they are amazing fathers to their children. I’ve also always believed that homosexual couples should receive the same economical and governmental equality as everyone else having to do with taxes, housing, hospital, wills, military, and government positions, etc. I think it is as inexcusable as racism to keep these rights from them just because they are homosexuals who want marriage.
However, I’m still unsure on how I feel about the decision the Supreme Court gave. It was 5-4, so it was very close, which means even the Supreme Court had it’s doubts and was pretty divided. And, that is how I feel–divided against myself because I do want to see equality and love, but I also have certain religious beliefs that I adhere to with my entire heart and soul!
I believe that marriage is one of the oldest, most sacred institutions in human history. I believe that it was set up by God the Father, not by man, not by society, and not by government. Government regulates marriage for purpose of census, taxes, etc. But I believe that marriage is a religious institution, not a societal one. I honestly don’t believe it has “evolved” as the leading opinion of SCOTUS says it has. I believe that it is part of God’s Plan. I also believe that there is eternal marriage if performed by the right authority: by being sealed in an LDS temple. I have been sealed to my eternal companion & death will not part us. I believe that this is the way to the highest degree of glory after the Resurrection.
Now, being Mormon, I also believe that we have prophets on Earth today, and they God speaks to us through them. In 1995, the President of the LDS Church (the prophet) and his presidency (advisers) created a document called “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” They believed that this document would soon be needed to strengthen our testimonies in God’s Plan. The first two paragraphs read:
“WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”
Now, as to whether or not I believe all cases of homosexuality is psychological/born with it, or that it is purely choice, I don’t know. I do know that there were a few girls in my high school who started dating other girls because it was the cool thing to do–that’s a fad. But, I do know people, including Mormons, who have had these feelings their entire life. Again, I don’t know. It’s not up to me to judge or determine that. It’s up to me to love them. They are people after all, just like you and me. They are still Christ’s children and He still loves them the same. Now, whether or not we can compare today’s society to Sodom and Gomorrah, again, I have no right or authority to compare. And I won’t. I have no right or authority to say that because of the SCOTUS decision, we will end up like them. Because do I believe that? No, I don’t. Do I believe being homosexual and acting on it is a sin and they are sinners? I mostly do, but it’s not up to me to declare that.
“Whatever wounds and breaks the family wounds and breaks the world. Whatever lifts and saves the family lifts and saves the world.” Families are the fundamental bedrock of society. Do I think homosexual couples can be a good family and raise loving children? Sure I do. But, do I think it is the right setup? I’m unsure of my feelings. It doesn’t necessarily feel right to me.
But, boo on those “Christians” who threaten to divorce because of this. Boo on those “Christian” ministers that threatened to set themselves on fire because of this. That is dumb & radical. I am happy homosexuals will be able to find their happily ever after, just as I have in my husband.
I won’t infringe on them if they won’t infringe on my belief of sacred, eternal marriage between a man and a woman. But, that is honestly what I am afraid of…not of the homosexuals condemning me for my beliefs or discriminating against me. No. But there is a small “What if” in the back of my brain of the government making laws to protect the homosexual marriages at the expense of religious beliefs against it. I’m afraid of our society (which has already shown hints and traits) of ending up how Ray Bradbury predicted in Fahrenheit 451. We have already seen evidence of this in the 1880s and 1890s in the Territory of Utah. Utah was settled by Mormon pioneers who left the states due to extreme prejudice and discrimination due to their believes compared to other Christians. But, they wanted to be part of the USA and tried many times (over 10 times) to become a state. But, the main reason they were denied statehood was because of the religious belief of polygamy. Mormons weren’t forcing Mormons nor Non-Mormons to participate in this. They just wanted to be left alone to do what they believed (just like the homosexual community today). But, the government didn’t like that idea, so they created numerous laws, such as the Morril Anti-Bigamy Law (which restricted the amount of $$ a church could own in a US territory), the Edmunds Act (which imprisoned polygamists with a fine and restricted them from political office and voting), and the Edmunds-Tucer Act (which denied women and polygamists the right to vote and the government could confiscate private church-owned property). I am a little afraid of history repeating itself, because we are humans and we are ignorant and arrogant and call those who don’t agree with us bigots. SCOTUS and the IRS have already sent out warnings that if churches don’t accept this new legal ruling, they will have tax punishments, and other negative consequences. I know SCOTUS says that they can legalize homosexual marriage under the protection of the 14th Amendment, but don’t forget or overlook the 1st Amendment–“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Freedom of religion, not from religion. 
In a perfect ideal world, if I were in charge, and my husband agrees, I’d completely separate religion and government in terms of marriage. Now, church ministers have governmental authority to legally and lawfully wed couples. What if this changed. What if you were wed by your church the way your church believes, but then had to get your marriage license legalized and official in front of a judge? That way, those who don’t believe what the churches believe, or who aren’t as what churches believe (such as homosexual couples), they can easily get a legal, non-religious marriage as elaborate or plain as they wished. But, those who do believe a certain way can have their religious ceremony, but then just get an addition–a 5 minute “ceremony” in front of a judge to be legal and lawful. I know it’d be more hoops to jump through for those whose religions’ doctrines don’t accept gay marriage, but it’s the only thing I can think of without having the government force ministers to do homosexual marriages in sacred ordinances against their religion.
Again, sorry for the long post. I just needed to write down my thoughts and feelings. 
In conclusion:
I am very happy that homosexuals can finally have peace, marry their true love, and have all the equal economical and governmental rights as straight couples do. I have homosexual friends that I love dearly because they are good people and are Children of God just like everyone else. My LDS Church believes that marriage was instituted of God for a glorious plan and is just between a man and a woman. I do not want homosexuals and their supporters to be discriminated against, but I also don’t want those who don’t believe in homosexual marriage to be punished or called bigots for their own beliefs, which the Constitution grants us freedom of. We should all just be happy for each other, and live as God wants us: to love one another as we love Him. 

*** I understand that not all my readers may have the same opinions as I do. I am keeping the comments open for this post, but I do so wearily. I do not want to start hate wars. If there is a comment that is not respectful towards the homosexual community OR towards differing religious beliefs, it will be deleted. Thank you for your tolerance of me and everyone else.

{Check out this lovely lady}

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Book Review |The Pharaoh’s Daughter

I have always been interested in Ancient Egypt. I remember as an Elementary school student seriously considering becoming an Egyptologist. I loved learning about Cleopatra, the New Kingdom, the connections in the Old Testament, etc.

I love all the different versions of the Moses story, both movies (especially Prince of Egypt) and novels.

So, when I saw the cover of The Pharaoh’s Daughter and read the back, I was instantly excited to read it.

Isn’t that cover art absolutely stunningly beautiful?

The Pharaoh’s Daughter is written by Mesu Andrews, a Christian author. She did her research on Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament to write this first of a series called Treasures of the Nile.

This novel follows Anippe, the daughter of Pharaoh Akhenaten, who is also sister of Pharaoh Tut, and is the woman who picked Moses out of the reed basket on the Nile. It follows her story from her childhood, to her first marriage, saving Moses, raising him, making friends with Miriam and other Hebrews, dealing with her emotionally challenged sister, and the Civil War that ensued after Tut’s death.

I absolutely loved it! I loved how Anippe wasn’t a strong-hearted protagonist. I love how Mesu Andrews entwined her imagination with her research. The story was compelling, always keeping a feeling of tension (as would be necessary with dealing with Pharaohs and Hebrew slaves)! Although the novel seemed to close (sort of) for Anippe, it was before Moses killed the Egyptian that began his journey to being a prophet. Which means that it must happen during the 2nd installment, which will focus on Miriam…and doesn’t come out until 2016!


I devoured this book, and it’s been a long time since that has happened to me! One night, I even stayed up until 2AM reading it!

I definitely recommend this series! So good!

You can purchase the novel physically or via ebook here.
For more on Mesu Andrews and the novels she’s read, click here.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.*

Would you be interested in reading this novel? Why or why not?
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

What Do Mormons Believe?

As I mentioned in this post, I felt saddened by the misunderstanding/misinterpretation of the doctrine of my Church, the Mormon Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So, I opened it up. Anyone who had a question, I’d take it and answer it here.
Now, if afterwards, you still have questions, either leave a comment or feel free to email me at themorrelltale@gmail.com.
The scripture references I use are from The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants (a set of revelations given to Joseph Smith on the doctrine and covenants and set up of the Church), and the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
I will also use our Articles of Faith, which are a basic summary of our beliefs. The 11th Articles of Faith states, “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” So, I would appreciate you not saying my religion is isn’t true. I’m not trying to convert you, and I would appreciate the same respect.
Are Mormons Christian?
We believe that anyone who believes in Christ, worships Christ, follows Christ, and tries to be like Christ, is a Christian. That means Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Evangelicals, Baptists, Methodist, Protestants, etc., are all Christians. The full name of our Church is: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We all do have a personal relationship with Christ as well, since we love Him and try to emulate Him. We consider Him our eldest brother.
2 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.
1st Article of Faith We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
Do Mormons believe in being saved by works rather than grace?
This has been a piece of controversy ever since church began to break off the Roman Catholic Church in the medieval ages. Many New Testament epistles written by the different original apostles have different meanings, because each apostle, although one in purpose, had a different audience and a different personal understanding of the Gospel. We believe that men are saved by grace through the Lord’s Atonement, but we still need to follow His commands and receive certain ordinances (works). Otherwise, anyone could say, “I’m a Christian,” and be saved. But it’s more than just that. You need to show you are a Christian by being baptized, following Christ and acting how He would want you act, reading scriptures, going to church, praying, etc. Those are the works. Actions speak louder than words. 
This definition comes from the book, True to the Faith, which is an explanation/reference book of gospel principles in our church: “The phrase ‘after all we can do’ teaches that effort is required on our part to receive the fullness of the Lord’s grace and be made worthy to dwell with Him. The Lord has commanded us to obey His gospel, which included having faith in Him, repenting of our sins, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.”
3rd Article of Faith We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
4th Article of Faith We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
2 Nephi 25:23  For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.
Why do Mormons not believe in the Trinity?
This one is a little harder. We don’t believe in the Trinity in the sense that all 3 personages (Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost) are 1 person and a spirit at that. We believe they are 3 separate and distinct members of 1 Godhead. They are all one in purpose, one unit. But separate. We believe that since Christ was resurrected, He still has a body of flesh and bone (the apostles felt his scars and nail marks when He visited them after He was resurrected and Thomas wouldn’t believe until He could feel himself). Heavenly Father created us in His own image, so we also believe that He has a body of flesh and bone. We believe that through most of the scriptures, especially the Old Testament, when Jesus is referred to as Jehovah, Jesus was speaking for Heavenly Father. That’s why we pray to Heavenly Father through Christ’s name. We also think it is the explanation of Christ being baptized, Heavenly Father saying “This is my Beloved Son, hear Him”, and the Holy Ghost descending as  dove all the same time. There is also numerous references in the New Testament of Christ speaking to God as “Father”, especially when He was being crucified, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” We don’t think He was talking to Himself.

John 17:11, 21-23 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. [This is when Christ is showing the people how to pray to God. In the beginning, He says, “that they” (meaning us) may be one as we (Christ and Father) are. Now, we’re not all going to become the same person, but one in purpose–Zion. “I in them, and thou in me”–we can have Christ in us, but we don’t become Christ…same with Christ and God…He has God in Him just the same way we have Christ in us. No unclean thing can be in the presence of God, so Christ was the intermediary.]

Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.
The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Has Sent” by Jeffrey R. Holland (12 apostles)

What are garments and why do Mormons wear them?
These are not magical underwear, nor do we claim them to be. When we make special covenants with Heavenly Father in the Temple, we receive the garment and are commanded to wear them at all times and to protect and respect them. They are an outward expression of an inward commitment. They remind us and represent the covenants and promises we have made. (It also helps us to be modest in our standards of modesty as you really don’t want to show them–knee length, covered back, no low cut neckline, shoulders covered, no mid-riff.) We consider the garment to be sacred, not secret, and because it is sacred, we respect it and don’t really talk about it or show it off. However, some people do believe that it protects them because, again, it show our obedience to God. My cousin was a soldier in Iraq and he and a few members in his squad were hit with a car bomb. Many of his friends died, but he didn’t, and he claims it is because he was wearing his garments and keeping the covenants and promises he made with them.
Now, I teach in a predominantly Mormon school and when my young preteens come across the word “garment” in their novels or vocabulary lists, they get a little apprehensive since they realize the sacredness of it. So, I have to remind them that the word “garment” really means “clothing”. =)

Exodus 35:19 The cloths of service, to do service in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest’s office.

What is the Book of Mormon, why do Mormons read it, and it is the True Word of God?

We believe the Book of Mormon to be another Testament of Christ. Through our believe and faith in the Book of Mormon, it help our testimony grow of the Holy Bible being the word of God as well. This is the biggest difference between us and other Christians. In the Old Testament, there were prophets that prophesied that Jerusalem would be captured…and it was by the Babylonian’s (this was about 600 years before the coming of Christ). We believe that there was a family whose father received personal revelation from God that this was going to happen and for them to leave. God lead them out of Jerusalem, through the wilderness, told them how to build a boat, guided the boat to the “promised land” (America), and for hundreds of years, they prospered. Not to say that ALL Native Americans are “Lamanites” (the posterity of one member of this family), but we believe that their blood is mixed (especially with like Mayans, etc). We believe that Christ and God talked to these prophets and guided them. Then, after Christ was resurrected, in the New Testament, He tells His prophets that He is leaving because He has “other sheep not of this fold”, He came to visit His people in the Americas. Prophets kept this record and buried it, and that’s what Joseph Smith was led by an angel of God to find and through God, translated it. 

Ezekiel 37:16-17 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, Fore Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.
John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Why don’t Mormons believe in the infallibility of the Bible?
The easiest and most apparent way for me to answer that question is, if the Bible was absolutely perfect, why are there soooo many versions and variations of it? We absolutely believe that principles taught in the Bible are 100% true. That’s not what we mean when we say “as far as it is translated correctly.” However there were so many different original authors and manuscripts written before Christ and before 100 AD, that it is very near impossible to know what is original and “uncorrupted” (in the sense of not being perfectly original). Think about Homer–since it was so long ago, and there were so many manuscripts to what he wrote, many ancient historians actually believe that he may have been a group of people and “Homer” may have either been a title or a conglomerate of men using a single pseudonym. The Bible was not written in chronological order. Revelation was actually written before many epistles! So, we believe that when John the Beloved mentions in Revelation that the “book is closed”, he was talking about the Book of Revelation, not the entire Holy Bible (he couldn’t have meant the entire Bible, as it didn’t exist as one completed work when he wrote Revelation). He still wrote epistles while banished to the Isle of Patmos. I studied history in college, especially medieval history. In the medieval church, and even Dark Age church, monks worked tediously to try to translate the Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek writings of the Bible into Latin to create the Holy Bible. The Roman Catholic Church wanted to have the power, so they didn’t want it translated into the vernacular. Most of the population was illiterate and depended on the priests to tell them what the Bible said. But, some could read in their own language, just not Latin, the language of scholars and the Church. That’s why when John Wycliffe tried to translate the Bible into English and Martin Luther translate it into German, there were riots, excommunications, and burnings at stake. When the King James Version was commissioned, the English Crown wanted to try to make it as accurate as possible, back to the original manuscripts. The translators worked high and low to find original manuscripts and do their own translating. That’s why there are some italicized words and phrases in the KJV. That’s “adding” to the scriptures. But, as anyone who knows more than one language realizes, you will always lose something, some power, some idiom when you translate. That is what we mean by “translated correctly.” Mormons believe in the King James Version, because we believe it to be the most accurate.  We also believe that it is just as sacred and just as important as the Book of Mormon.8th 8th Article of Faith We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
Reverence for the Bible” from the Mormon News Room
Is Joseph Smith a prophet of God and did he really do all he said he did?
Joseph Smith, as a 14 year old child, lived in New York during the time of the 2nd Great Awakening. All the different local Christian sects were vying for followers to save souls (think back to your U.S. History classes–it was a little chaotic, put the fear of Hell in hearts, and honestly, caused for un-Christian behavior and attitudes between sects). Joseph didn’t know which to join, so he followed this scripture: James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. So, he did. He was visited by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and they told him to not join any because they were “corrupted.” Now, I’m an English teacher who teaches Latin Root Vocabulary to my students. “Corrupted” also means imperfect. Think how “hicks” talk–that’s a corrupted version of American English. Think of “cockney”–that’s a corrupted version of English. Same with the churches–they were imperfect. They didn’t have the full gospel or full truth–not that they were evil and out to do wrong. No! He was also told by an angel sent from God where to find gold plates that contained the record of the Book of Mormon. Through the power of God, he was able to translate them. Now, when he disobeyed God, he lost the power to translate until he repented. He restored the true church–the church that Jesus Christ, Himself, founded and led when He was on Earth. The priesthood was given to him by Peter, James, and John, themselves.
Now, many of you think he was a treasure hunter. Joseph came from a very poor family and was hired out to do all sorts of labor many times. He was hired by Josiah Stoal, who was a treasure hunter. It was for money to help his family. He’s also human and has made mistakes like all of us. He mentions himself in his history that as a teenager and young adult, because of his “natural cheery disposition” and all the persecution he received because of his vision as a 14 year old, he did things that he shouldn’t have (he says none that were great sins), but that is because he fell to peer pressure and wanted to be accepted. What teenager and young adult wouldn’t? 
We also believe that he was prepared and prophesied of in the Holy Bible. Not by name, since there are very, very few individuals that were prophesied of by name in the Holy Bible.
Ezekiel 37:16-17 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. [We know that the stick of Judah that was written on were the scriptures by the prophets of old in Judea. We believe that in the Book of Mormon, the Nephites and Lamanites came across the sea to America due to a vision from God…in the Book of Mormon, it is mentioned that they are descended from Joseph of Egypt (the brother of Judah). So, their writings are the stick of Ephraim. Together, the Book of Mormon (another Testament of Christ) and the Holy Bible work together.]

Acts 3:21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
Isaiah 11:10-12 In that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

6th Article of Faith We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
9th Article of Faith We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
What do Mormons believe about Heaven and Hell?
We believe that Heavenly Father’s plan was to send us to Earth to have a body, learn, and then be resurrected. While we wait for everyone’s turn, there is Paradise and Spirit Prison, no Hell. In Spirit Prison, missionary work is continued to help those who didn’t accept or didn’t have the chance to learn about the Gospel while on Earth. While on Earth, we help them out by doing their ordinances by proxy for them to accept or decline. Then, during the Second Coming, there is the Resurrection and Judgement. Then, there are 3 kingdoms of glory–the highest being where God and Christ, and all those who have received all necessary ordinances and lived faithfully will end up. We don’t have a hell for non-believers or bad people, just different degrees of glory based on various qualifications.  We have Outer Darkness, or Perdition, which is for those who have known God’s power on a deep and personal level and been partakers of the priesthood, and then literally followed Satan and denied God and His power.
D&C 76 (goes into depth on the revelation Joseph Smith received about the afterlife)

Do you have any other questions? 

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Disney Lessons | Lion King

Ever since I have read Othello in college and Hamlet last year to teach my 9th graders, I have wanted to do a post on Lion King, especially to talk about the character of Scar and how is not like Claudius, but more like Iago…but I’ll get to that soon. Christian morals and beliefs are also majorily threaded through this movie. So, I’ll focus on the Christian and Shakespearean influences of this film.

The Circle of Life
This is the very beginning scene of Lion King. Mufasa, the leader of the pride has just beget a son–probably his first born, as you never really see any other cubs besides Nala. But, with this beginning song, you can definitely tell the Christian overtones in this movie. It could very well be taken on a naturalistic view point, “some say eat or be eaten”, and Mufasa even teaches it to Simba: “the antelope eat the grass, we eat the antelope, and when we die, we become the grass.” But, it could also be meaning the Great Plan our Father in Heaven has for us, the Plan of Salvation. 
Directly after the opening scene and the title, we see Scar for the first time. Already, we can see him as a very sarcastic, spiteful, discontented younger brother of the King, just as Claudius was in Hamlet. We can visibly see Scar’s disdain for his brother. He also warns Mufasa not to turn his back on him and says he wouldn’t physically ever challenge Mufasa.
Some Christian undertones begin when Mufasa takes Simba out to pride rock in the morning. He tells Simba that everything the light touches is their kingdom, and where the shadow is, is the badlands and to never go there. Well, obviously that could represent Our Father’s kingdom (think of the scripture: “Ye are the light of the world.”). Typically light represents God and shadow typically represents Satan and his following. So, in the movie, Mufasa is warning Simba never to go to the outlands where the hyenas and other bad animals live. But, to us Christians, it is God warning us to stay in His light and not stray out of His sight.
Simba likes his uncle Scar, and Scar plays along. Fact #1 that Scar is more like Othello’s Iago than Hamlet’s Claudius: he uses reverse psychology to trick Simba into going to the Elephant Graveyard in the outlands. Simba then gets his half-sister/cousin/best-friend Nala to go with him, but they have to trick Zazu to not babysit them. Before, Zazu mentions to them that they are betrothed. Thus, if this is Hamlet, and Simba, being the protagonist, is Hamlet, than Nala is Ophelia. Wait, does that mean Zazu, even though not Nala’s father, but being the king’s advisor, is Polonius, as he is always tyring to tell them how to act? I think so!
I Just Can’t Wait To Be King

They are disgusted with this notion (they’re kids, after all). Simba mentions that tradition will be the first to go when he is king. Zazu says no. Nala mentions that Simba is future king. Simba then says that means Zazu has to listen to what he says. Here we see some similarity between Simba’s pride adn Hamlet’s pride! Zazu then says, “And with an attitude like that, I’m afraid you’re shaping up to be a pretty pathetic king indeed.” Here is Polonius’s disapproval for Hamlet! This whole song has Simba/Hamlet’s pride. It’s also a fun, catchy song. =)

Simba and Nala are able to ditch Zazu and get to the Elephant Graveyard. There, they are chased by 3 hyenas. When they are cornered by the 3 hyenas (or evil spirits, influences), Mufasa rescues them. This could be like God rescuing us from evil or even the Atonement doing it’s work–being “rescued” from sin. After walking the kids home, Mufasa keeps Simba aside. Simba steps into Mufasa’s paw print, which is significantly larger than his own. He has big shoes to fill to be like his father, just as we try to be perfect like Christ and Heavenly Father. We have big shoes that are impossible to fill. During the lecture, Mufasa mentions that he is disappointed, not mad. Heavenly Father is disappointed when we don’t live as we should, but he doesn’t hate us. There is also a lesson about being scared, brave, and reckless. After they make up, Mufasa says, “Look at the stars. The great kings of the past look down on us from those stars. So whenever you feel alone, just remember that those kings will always be there to guide you … And so will I.” Seriously big Christian undertone there! Heavenly Father and his angels are there to guide us. If we pray, we can get advice and comfort from them!

Be Prepared
This is Scar’s evil plan song, all the evidence in the world that he is Iago and not Claudius. Before Hamlet even begins, Claudius had slowly poisoned his brother to death so that he could have Queen Gertrude and the throne. Iago was insulted in a way by his general, the Moor, Othello. He wanted revenge and used others to get it, as well as cunning, trickery, and slyness. There are many scenes in which we see Iago monologue-ing his plan to the audience and putting it into action through others. Scar uses hyenas. He also feels the hyenas are dumb; Iago didn’t think highly of his cohorts as well and saw them as pawns to be played.
The next scene is the saddest in the world. Scar brings Simba down to the ravine, claiming there is a surprise for him and his dad, then leaves him to get Mufasa. The hyenas start a stampede of antelope. Scar warns Mufasa that this is happening and Simba is in danger. Mufasa comes to rescue his son, and once he is in safety, Scar kills Mufasa while Simba watches. This could be seen as our Savior being crucified to save us. Simba is so distraught, and with Scar in whispering in his ear, Simba believes that he is to blame for the death and runs away. This could be seen as us believing there is no repentance for our sins.
Now this is where the play, Hamlet, starts…it has been a few months since the death of his father, and Hamlet’s mother has already married his uncle, her brother-in-law, thus allowing him to be King. Hamlet doesn’t run away until later in the play. While Simba has run off, Scar tells the news that Mufasa and Simba have both been killed in a stampede and thus he is king and starting a new era of lion and hyena. But, his reign quickly turns the kingdom to rot as the hyenas are allowed to roam free and become hunters rather than scavengers. Thus, the Circle of Life is disrupted and vegetation and food disappear.
Hakuna Matata

Simba is found by Timon and Pumbaa. They don’t have any matches, really in Hamlet, unless you want to compare them to Hamlet’s friends, but in the play, they help Gertrude and Claudius more than Hamlet, so I don’t like that comparison. Simba’s time living with these two could be comparable to Hamlet’s leave of Denmark and partial journey to England, but it’s a stretch.
Timon and Pumbaa teach Simba two simple words: Hakuna Matata–no worries. Think on the positive side, live life to it’s fullest, be happy with who you are.
One of my favorite scenes is a quick one with Rafiki, who symbolizes a prophet (no Hamlet comparisons). A breeze of wind and magical leaves (a motif in Disney movies) come and Rafiki has a revelation that Simba is alive and leaves to go find him.
Can You Feel The Love Tonight?
Nala left Pride Rock in search of help…Ophelia never did–she instead helped Polonius, Gertrude, and Claudius see if there was something wrong with Hamlet. But, she ends up hunting Pumbaa and eventually reunites with Simba. She’s excited and wants to let everyone know because that would mean Simba is king, not Scar. Simba, though, still believing he killed his father, doesn’t feel worthy, and says he’s not king. This could be like Hamlet’s depression of his father’s death. Even after Hamlet learned that his uncle killed his father, he was still in such a depression (like the “To Be Or Not To Be” monologue) and wondered if life was worth living or revenge was worth living for. Most of the play is Hamlet in this undecided, depressed mood.
This song is mainly just a love song, as Simba and Nala have a much happier end than Hamlet and Ophelia (spoiler, they both die). Also, Disney movies need to have a love song in them! Simba has some thoughts in this song, afraid to tell Nala the truth. Hamlet won’t let Ophelia in on why he’s acting the way he is and the knowledge he has, which eventually leads Ophelia mad. Nala knows there is something up, but can’t get Simba to tell her, just like Ophelia. Right after the end of the song, Simba says he wants to stay and doesn’t want to be king, whereas Nala tells him it is his responsibility. They fight and storm off. Again, this is like the on-and-off relationship of Hamlet and Ophelia.
The Mufasa Ghost Scene
Seriously!?! If you are a Christian, do you need the metaphorical, allegorical explanation of this scene? You are the Child of Christ, He lives, He lives in you and you in Him, you can always repent and get back on the straight and narrow path. CHRISTIAN UNDERTONES!!!!!
And, on a Hamlet undertone, this scene (well, just the ghost part) would have been on the of the very first scenes. In the beginning of the play, Hamlet sees the ghost of his father, who lets him know that Claudius killed him and Hamlet needs to remember who he is and get revenge.
Simba decides to return to Pride Rock to right his wrongs (wrestle with his sins, past, and inner demons) to take his rightful place on the throne (in God’s kingdom). Nala, Timon, and Pumbaa help him get back to Pride Rock. Hamlet didn’t have any one help (except for some actors whose play was a similitude of Claudius’s seducement of Gertrude and murder of the King).
The Last Scenes
Now, when Simba confronts Scar, Scar still tries to use slyness, cunning, and reverse psychology on Simba, Nala, and the rest of the pride. Well, in Hamlet, after Claudius sees the play, he feels super guilty about murdering his brother and is repentant. Scar never apologizes. Thus, another reason I believe Scar is more like Iago than Claudius. Scar does physically battle Simba. In the play, Claudius has the late Ophelia’s (she drowned herself) revenge-seeking brother duel Hamlet for him.  In very Shakespearean ways, everyone ends up poisoning each other either by drink, or tipped sword. So, Hamlet doesn’t win. But, Simba confronts Scar, allows his past to strengthen him and defeats Scar. Scar is thrown down over Pride Rock, to where a lightening strike has started a fire and the hyenas are fighting. I believe this is symbolic of hell…fire and “demons” ready to devour you. 
Rain starts, the pride looks to Simba, and Rafiki leads him to the top. There is ceremonial roaring, then the movie ends as it began–the Circle of Life. Simba is King, Nala is his wife, and they have just given birth. The Circle of Life continues, repentance works, and God (Mufasa) looks down on us all, proud.
So, there you have it. Lion King is a Christian interpretation of Hamlet!
Sometime, I will do Lion King 2, which continues the Christian beliefs!
Click the picture for more Lessons Learned from Disney posts!
What did you think of Lion King? Why did you like it? How else do you think it has Christian undertones?
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.