Sunday, April 27, 2008

You Are CALLED To Be An Example Of Christ

How many times have you heard a "fire & brimstone" sermon?
Ever seen some other "christian" protesting about some sin or another and yelling get right up in someone's face???
Do you think that these things are ok with God? Do you think that it is ok to point out others sins and scream at them about how they will be going to HELL?!?

I am asking you this because some people protest in the name of JESUS, yet forget that He is a God of LOVE. He says so in Corinthians and in various parts throughout the Bible. The GREATEST commandment is LOVE. Sharing the word of God does not have to be an "impending doom" conversation. I think as Christians, people get caught up in the fact that by continuing to sin that they are not right with God and want to force that same feeling on others. But what we must remember is a sin is a sin is a sin. Doesn't matter how bad YOU think the sin is, it is ALL sin in the eyes of God. AND it can ALL be forgiven. Whether you have lied to someone, stolen something, committed a sexual sin, or killed someone. . . God doesn't look at is as if one is worse than the other.

Jesus died for ALL of our sins and we simply need to seek Him and ask forgiveness. He LOVES you and wants you to be with him in Heaven. Are you ready? Do you know Him? Where are you going when you die?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

FLDS Cult?

Wikipedia: "Cult typically refers to a cohesive social group devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding culture considers outside the mainstream."

What is your opinion?

I believe that it is important to see that this organization is one that is just as confused by the "outside world" as we are of them them. I believe that EVERYONE regardless of anything has the RIGHT to freedom of religion. I also agree with many of the comments that people have made on several news articles regarding "religious freedom". HOWEVER, with that being said, I must also bring into light the FACT that in the UNITED STATES we have laws protecting the innocent, here refferring to CHILDREN. 1)protection of being married off while underage 2) protection from being forced into a marriage that they do not agree to 3) POLYGAMY is illegal in the United States.

Now, 1 & 2 are pretty self explanatory. But #3?. . . . . By teaching the children that this behavior is right and good, it is teaching them that it is OK to break the law and that the law does not pertain to them. So, where does that leave them? Even in the BIBLE is says that we are to abide by the laws of the land unless it tells us to worship another god.

I have read a lot about FLDS and studied various other reeligions & their belief systems. But this is one that leaves me reeling. I would love to know more in order to understand it.

If you are a member of the FLDS, I would sincerely be interested in hearing from you via email as to your thoughts on this and how it is affecting you, personally.

Copyright © 2007 by Visionary Classics, LLC From the book Escape by Carolyn Jessop, co-author Laura Palmer, published by Broadway Books, a division of Random House, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

"By 1995, Warren Jeffs was becoming a subtle and more powerful presence in our daily lives. This struck me as odd because there were many other men who were more powerful in the FLDS than he. But he was Uncle Rulon’s favored son, and the prophet would often say that Warren spoke for him.

Warren spoke in other ways. He began teaching special priesthood history classes in Salt Lake City where he still worked as the principal at a private FLDS school. The classes were taped, and Tammy’s sister came to our house one day enthusiastically talking about how much information they contained. I wondered why anyone would care about whatever Warren Jeffs had to say. Tammy’s sister said that these tapes were not available to just anybody. Only the privileged could purchase them.

Once the tapes gained exclusive status every family in the community wanted a set. Some people who heard them found them disgusting and said they were little more than Warren’s racist rants. He claimed that the black race was put on earth to preserve evil.

I decided to listen to them myself. Warren based his talks on foundational FLDS. doctrine. He spoke in a strange, trance-like voice that seemed deliberately aimed at hypnotizing the listener. One set of tapes described how God would destroy everyone on the North and South American continents. Then he went on and recited a lengthy list of things a person would have to do before he or she could be lifted off the earth.

Anyone who hoped to ascend had to live with a burning in their chest at all times and that burning was the spirit of God. The tapes were becoming so popular that there was a frenzy among those who were trying to get them. There exclusivity gave them great status and everyone wanted to get hold of a set.

Warren spoke at church and elaborated on how the burning in our chest would presage being lifted from the earth. Those who didn’t have it would be destroyed along with the wicked.

It was around this time when Warren banned the color red. He announced that it was inappropriate to wear the color red or have red items in our home because it was reserved for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He preached that when Jesus Christ returns he’ll do so in a red robe and wearing that color prior to the second coming is unholy.

He made the pronouncement one Sunday in church and those wearing red went home immediately and changed clothes. Other families got rid of every red item they owned. This was a hardship for families without much money. Children lost a lot of clothes, coats and boots. Women with red in their dresses had to get rid of them; for some this meant throwing out a sizable percentage of their wardrobe. Some families adapted to this with a more moderate approach; when the red clothes, toys, or household items wore out, they would abandon them. The more extreme families discarded all red items immediately.

One teacher told her students red wasn’t a bad color, it was beautiful. The students reported her rebellion to their parents. The parents complained and asked that the teacher, who was not a member of the FLDS, respect their beliefs and asked that red be removed from her classroom.

Merril had always liked red. In our family we went through the closets and eliminated most of our red clothes. That evening I watched the sunset — a blaze of orange and red. If God wanted red preserved for Jesus Christ alone, did he spread it across the sky in such abandon?

When some of us gathered for coffee later that week at Linda’s the topic of having a burning in our chests as a proof or righteousness came up again. Jane, my high-spirited cousin I played “Apocalypse” with as a child, kicked off the discussion. “Ladies, I have one question. What the hell is this burning in your chest all about anyway? I always thought that burning is mastitis.” (Mastitis is an infection common to nursing mothers.) Everyone laughed. Someone asked Jane how she dared question the requirements about being lifted up. “Well,” she said, “If I have to have a breast infection to be lifted up, then no thank you! I would rather die with the wicked!”

The discussion then became more serious about what felt like a new extremism taking root in the community that felt more radical than anything that we’d known in the past. One of the women recounted a harrowing story about one of the police officers in the FLDS.

(All of the police officers in our community were FLDS members which complicated matters if a woman tried to escape, because she’d get no help or protection from police. It also made reporting domestic violence almost meaningless because the police would always side with the husband.)

I had rarely ever heard a story as disturbing as I did that morning. The FLDS police officer wanted to take his wife up to the Steeds ranch to teach her a lesson in obedience. He put her in a pen with a bull and then tied a rope to the neck of the bull. He told his wife, who was pregnant, that she had to control the bull with the rope on orders of her priesthood head. She tried to hang on to the bull but he ran off and she ended up being dragged until she let go of the rope.

Her husband got into the pen and handed her the rope again and told her she had to hold on. But the bull pulled away from her and her husband became enraged. This time he took the end of the rope and tied it around the neck of the bull and told her she better hang on this time. But it was impossible. The third time he tied the rope to her so she could not let go. She was dragged around the ring again and so badly injured she lost the baby — which then became her fault because she was so disobedient.

When I heard it I told the group I had a burning sensation in my chest—I wanted to kill the guy. The others agreed and we talked about what we’d do if he ever pulled us over. The story was well -circulated in the community because the man’s stepmother became aware of what he’d done to his wife and was so incensed that she started talking about it. No one went to the authorities because we knew the woman would deny the whole thing. We all knew we were powerless when it came to protecting ourselves. I feared that it was an example of hysteria that was manifesting itself in extreme ways. This police officer had carried the notion of “perfect obedience” to a criminal level.

The obedience Warren preached was a woman’s complete submission to her husband. He said women should not work outside the home and should not even leave home unless allowed to do so by her husband.

We’d always kept our coffee meetings quiet, but now we knew we had to be even more careful. We began to be much more circumspect about what we were doing as changes swept over our community. As women were required to leave the workforce because of Jeffs’ new doctrines, it became harder for some families to make ends meet.

The changes Warren Jeffs mandated were obeyed because it was believed he was the voice of the prophet, Uncle Rulon. People did not resist the more oppressive policies he advocated. Instead, it was widely believed that we were being called to a higher way of living the gospel. This wasn’t oppression, this was grace. God was giving us a new and better way of being more faithful to him via the prophet and his mouthpiece, Warren Jeffs.

People who feared these changes and sensed danger, like me, kept quiet. It wasn’t safe anymore to talk about what you were feeling. Women now were not even supposed to go into town without the company of a man. Our husbands were our lord and supreme master who held exclusive power over our lives. It was seen as no longer acceptable for a woman to enter into the same room as her husband without first saying a personal prayer asking God to put the same spirit on her as her husband’s.

I saw this as a real dilemma for because most of the time when I entered the same room as Merril he was usually in a very bad mood. If I had the same spirit that he had one of us might get hurt. This doctrine was one I decided to ignore."

Carolyn Jessop
Former FLDS Member/Co-Author of “Escape”
Editor’s Note: The following an excerpt from Carolyn Jessop’s memoir “Escape,” which recounts her life inside of a polygamist community and her dramatic flight.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

FLDS Nightmare

SAD. . . SAD. . . SAD
I am so sad to see this whole story, but thankful that someone has done something to get these kids the REAL help they need.

You are probably saying to yourself, what business is it of mine? Well, there are several things wrong with this picture. . .

First of all, as a mother it breaks my heart to see kids abused in ANY sort of way. Teaching young girls that it is NORMAL to be given away in marriage and have babies at the young age of 12 - 14 is ABUSE. If you don't believe that this sort of thing happens, then read the book "Escape" by Carloyn Jessop. I know that after I read this book, I had a very different perspective about the whole issue of their "religion".

Secondly, we are not in some 3rd world country that does not have laws. Why are these people any different than anyone else in the United States?!? You simply cannot say that it is none of our buisiness because of "religion" I believe that everyone has a RIGHT to believe however they want to, but when it affects another human being in a physically NEGATIVE way, then it is time to intervene. I mean, it's one thing to say that they don't "believe" a certain way, but quite another to commit the dispicable acts that they have been accused of.

My prayers are with the children and the young girl that was the one to contact the authorities. If I could talk to her, I would take her into our home and raise her with my family. She would NEVER have to worry about being "married off" to some old man, or to ANYONE for that matter. . . SHE would have the opportunity to meet others and make her own choice about marriage. God Bless her for standing up for what is RIGHT and JUST!

Monday, April 21, 2008

You are on my heart!!!

Yes, YOU! If you have crossed paths with this blog and are not familiar with Jesus Christ, then YOU are the person that was on my heart today. I was listening over an over to a song that I sang this weekend and just kept listening to the words. . . my heart was ready to explode as I had tears streaming down both cheeks. All i could think about was the number of people in this world that continue to deny that Jesus is the Christ. It breaks my heart to hear of someone that blatantly denies HIM and thinks that there will be no repercussion. WAKE UP PEOPLE! Don't let this opportunity pass you by! Jesus is THE MESSIAH. . . HE IS THE ONLY WAY! OPRAH is leading the masses to HELL and some of you are too blind to see it!

I don't want to see you go in the direction that she is leading. . . whether you want to admit it or not, we are among the days of the end times and it is fast approaching. Jesus tells us in the scriptures that He will come again an that in the end EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW AND EVERY TONGUE CONFESS THAT HE IS LORD!!!! If you don't believe me, check out "The Case for Christ" written my Lee Strobel, a self proclaimed atheist for years who went on a several year journey to seek the REAL TRUTH. . . check out his website & see for yourself.

If you would like to know more about Jesus or would like to discuss this further, please feel free to email me. Blessings to you!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Music Ministry

Well, I am coming upon the 3rd week of singing as a part of our new church and I am LOVING it! I had forgotten how good I feel when I am worshipping Christ with so many other believers! I am really looking forward to getting our Journey groups started this summer! We are still in need of more musicians. Most of the ones we have now are only there to help get us established, but we are going to need members that will be with us most of the time and be able to rotate for playing on Sundays.

If you live in the Amelia/Powhatan Virginia area and are interested in becoming a part of our music ministry, do not hesitate to contact us!!!

Faith, Jesus, & Intelligent Design

DO you walk by FAITH!?! I have learned in my 39 years that it is something that is an absolute MUST if you are a Christian and want to walk in the light. I remember a time, not so long ago (twelve years or more) that I would freak out if I lost my job or didn't have enough money to pay a bill or various other things that I had no control over. I have learned that it is just NOT worth the stress since I truly have no control over what happens in my life. I only have control over the way I respond. As a Christian, I do my best to live the life that GOD has called me to live and I beleive that is what He expects of me. This is something that I share with others that are having difficutly in their walk with Christ. I do not think that God wants us to fret over the things in life that are out of our control, but He wants us to be open to Him and what He has in store for us.

I just heard about a new movie that Ben Stein has put out and it is coming to theatres tomorrow! It is called "Expelled" and it is about how the science community has 'expelled' certain indiciduals for believing in the possiblilty of Intelligent Design. Now, I am not usually a big movie enthusiasat, but I am really looking forward to watching this documentary. Some of the information that I have gotten off of the net about it has been pretty interesting. The trailer was quite funny.

It makes you think about how the world seems to be going in the exact direction that the Bible says that it will. And makes you wonder how ANYONE could be an atheist. To that point, I strongly recommend the book "The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel. He was an aetheist, who also was an award winning journalist with the Chicago Tribune. He was educated at Yale Law school and decided to investigate Jesus for himself. He felt certain that he would be able to bring tumbling down Christianity's claims about Jesus. . . however, he was quite surprised by what he discovered.
Christian Gifts Of Faith

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