Tag Archives: Religious Liberty

Who Is Herding Whom? What Do I Allow To Herd Me?

Australian Cattle Dog Herding A Cow

This week, I was talking to a friend who’s a gardener. We talked about what she does to fight local garden predators, such as rabbits and deer. They have a lot of land, and she has a cattle dog to keep the deer clear of the garden. Last week, she came home to find him lying down among the deer, some of which were lying down with him, and some of which were standing and munching her early garden greens. When the dog saw her and her husband, he started and quickly stood up on all fours, with a definite demeanor of guilt on his face. The dog glanced up at his deer friends, back at his masters, back at the deer, back again at his masters, clearly took a moment to make a decision, and then started barking at the deer to run them off. She said that if they had had a video of it, the absolute look of guilt on the dog’s face would have won them first prize on America’s Funniest Home Videos. My friend said that one deer was more aggressive than the others, nipped at the dog, and started chasing him around the garden. My gardener friend said simply, “That is one dead deer.”

Dog Herding SheepHow often do we put ourselves in the position of the dog? The shepherd expects a shepherd dog to do certain things. A dog is to herd the sheep, keep them together, and keep them in the pasture rather than in the hinterlands where they don’t belong. Making friends and laying down with wayward sheep may be fun for time but such haphazard fun is unlikely to continue when the shepherd comes around.

Dog Herding DucksEver notice how, after we have just a bit of fun lying down with the deer that we’re supposed to run off, some of those same deer have the nerve to chase us around the pasture? And here we thought they were friends! When we try to take control of the situation as we should have from the start, the deer show their true colors by nipping back and giving us the run-around. Some friends! Maybe the shepherd knew all along what he was talking about. Who knew?

Rin Tin Tin

Rin Tin Tin

The next time I hear the siren call of one of my pet temptations, maybe I’ll consider this story of my friend, the gardener. I may not want to follow her lead by shouting, “Kill Bambi!” or “Death to the deer!” But I may wish to consider being just as tenacious in shooing away the temptation. Maybe I’ll allow for the possibility that the good shepherd expects me to do certain things for a good reason. And who knows? I might find that supporting the shepherd by being steadfast and immovable might well be its own reward. And I may feel a bit more in control of my own life.

German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd Dog

——– End of Post ——–

Bonus Materials:

Read, watch or listen: Mary Ellen Smoot, “Steadfast and Immovable”, Oct 2001 LDS General Conference.

Read or listen: David Bednar, “Steadfast and Immovable, Always Abounding in Good Works”, Ensign, Jan 2008.

——– End of Bonus Materials ——–

WebCredits—List of web resources used in this post but not explicitly credited above:

  • Photo, “Australian Cattle Dog Herding A Cow”—us/muay-thai-thailand/balance-inequality-muay-thai/attachment/australian-cattle-dog-herding-a-cow
  • Photo, dog-herding-sheep”—www. dailypuppy.com/articles/how-to-train-a-herding-puppy_802.html
  • Photo, dog-herding-ducks”—thelife-animal.blogspot.com/2012/03/border-collie.html
  • Photo, “Rin Tin Tin”—www. com/lifestyle/arts-culture/stories/rin-tin-tins-life-and-legend
  • Photo, “German Shepherd Dog”—www. com/german-shepherd-dog/
  • Photo, “Gary Larson’s The Far Side: ‘Bummer of a birthmark, Hal.’ ”—www. philipchircop.com/post/9178910566/what-is-your-birthmark-gary-larson-creator-of
Gary Larson's The Far Side: 'Bummer of a birthmark, Hal.'

Gary Larson’s The Far Side: ‘Bummer of a birthmark, Hal.’

——– End of WebCredits ——–

Are Mormon Woman Oppressed? Do Women Hold Positions Of Authority In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Our Family’s Answer.

Reader Question:
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine, who happens to be Muslim, said to me, “People are always asking me whether or not I feel oppressed as a woman in Islam. And I don’t! Are Mormon women oppressed? Do women hold positions of authority in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?”

Family Answer:
This truly is a good question. And my friend was asking in the best way possible—with a sincere heart and mind. It was a “clean question”, a phrase we use in our family to indicate a question free of any agenda. She had no intent to pounce on my answer; her question was in no way mean-spirited; she was not intending to entrap or embarrass me or the Church. She merely was seeking information and was simply an open book. It was refreshing to see her approach, because this question, being truly a good question, unfortunately is not always asked in such a constructive way. In our family, and as Mormons, we believe strongly that sincere, honest questions are always a good thing. To gather answers to this question, we talked to our adult kids, and here are the answers we gathered:

rocks on a misty beachAuthority to act in God’s name and the fullness of gospel truths were lost in the centuries after the death of Jesus (Bible, Amos 8:11-12, 2 Thessalonians 2:3). For example, Christ established important roles for women disciples—As the Lord’s Church was lost in apostasy, this pattern of discipleship was also lost (Julie B. Beck, Ensign, Nov 2011). After this apostasy, people noticed inconsistencies between what the current church taught and what they read. They protested against these errors and taught the truths they saw in the Bible. Various people were inspired by God to fight against various false doctrines, and little by little, many churches moved closer to the doctrines of Jesus Christ. This process also created divisions and sects that taught a variety of conflicting doctrines. When Christ restored His authority to the earth, He restored this authority to everyone, in all walks of life. Specifically for your answer, He restored His authority both to the men and the women of the world. Here are some of the ramifications. We hope that some are meaningful to you.

···oO0···

1. Video by Sheri Dew: What do LDS women get? Are Mormon women oppressed?

···oO0···

2. While serving on a Relief Society board, Lillian DeLong visited a rural area of Ghana. Her husband was in Priesthood meeting in another room, and she was in Relief Society meeting, each conducting leadership training. After it was over, a woman came up to Lillian. In her beautiful Ghanaian church dress, she shook her hand and kept saying, “This is a woman’s church.” Lillian asked, “What do you mean, ‘This is a woman’s church?’” And she said, “We have just been in the marvelous Relief Society that teaches us not only spiritual things but temporal things about how to make our lives and our children and our families better. And at the same time your husband is in the Priesthood room and he is teaching our husbands that the culture of the church does not allow for them to beat their wives and their children.”

And she said, “In this church, my husband and I get to go to the temple and we are going to seal our children to us. And I have seven of my eleven kids that are dead. And I want my children with me. This is a woman’s church because it protects me and gives me all of those things.” (Sharon Eubank, Director, Humanitarian Services and LDS Charities, “This is a Woman’s Church”, FairMormon Conference, Provo UT, 8 Aug 2014.

···oO0···

3. In and out of the Church, Mormon women lead all the time; the influence of their leadership extends far and wide. As a global leader in the Relief Society, Sheri L. Dew taught us in Oct 2001: “Sisters, some will try to persuade you that because you are not ordained to the priesthood, you have been shortchanged. They are simply wrong, and they do not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. The blessings of the priesthood are available to every righteous man and woman. We may all receive the Holy Ghost, obtain personal revelation, and be endowed in the temple, from which we emerge ‘armed’ with power. The power of the priesthood heals, protects, and inoculates all of the righteous against the powers of darkness. Most significantly, the fulness of the priesthood contained in the highest ordinances of the house of the Lord can be received only by a man and woman together.” (Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society, Chapter 8, “Blessings of the Priesthood for All: An Inseparable Connection with the Priesthood”, Page 128.)

I have learned for myself that women who know and live the gospel of Jesus Christ understand that “the priesthood of God is not owned by or embodied in those who hold it. It is held in a sacred trust to be used for the benefit of men, women and children alike.” (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, as quoted in Daughters in My Kingdom, Chapter 8, Page 127.)

···oO0···

4. Just as Isaac and Rebekah of the Old Testament put a lot of work into ensuring that their son Jacob and his future wife enjoyed the blessings of an eternal marriage (Julie B. Beck, Aug 2009, “Teaching the Doctrine of the Family”), my wife and I have put a lot of work into our marriage and into raising our kids. The two of us together are better than the sum of the two of us separately (Sheri L. Dew, LDS General Conference, Oct 2001, “It Is Not Good for Man or Woman to Be Alone”). As Isaac and Rebekah did, we want to be the man who has the keys and the woman who has the influence, working together as a two-are-better-than-one closely-knit team to see that we are prepared and to bring about the work that God wants us to do, equally yoked in our responsibilities as spouses and parents. “In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers should help one another as equal partners.” (Family Proclamation.)

“The world does not know us, and truth…demands that we speak… We are not inferior to the ladies of the world, and we do not want to appear so.” (Eliza R. Snow, 6 Jan 1870.) While women do not hold the priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ, women leaders in the Church impact all of us. “The world’s greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus the Christ.” (Daughters in My Kingdom, Page 3.)

Early in her life, my wife, Kim, nurtured a strong desire to be a woman of power and a woman of influence. She decided that she could do that most effectively by choosing to stay at home to raise a family. Her influence on our six adult children and on their families cannot be measured. That is influence; that is power. We are grateful for her wisdom to wield these skills in such a way as to have a true impact on society.

···oO0···

5. Established in 1842 for women 18 years old and older, the Relief Society is the oldest and largest women’s organization in the world. The motto is “Charity never faileth”. President Julie B. Beck has taught us: “Relief Society should be organized, aligned, and mobilized to strengthen families and help our homes to be sacred sanctuaries from the world. I learned this years ago when I was newly married. My parents, who had been my neighbors, announced that they would be moving to another part of the world… This was before e-mail, fax machines, cell phones, and Web cameras, and mail delivery was notoriously slow. One day before she left, I sat weeping with her and asked, ‘Who will be my mother?’ Mother thought carefully, and with the Spirit and power of revelation which comes to women of this kind, she said to me, ‘If I never come back, if you never see me again, if I’m never able to teach you another thing, you tie yourself to Relief Society. Relief Society will be your Mother.’ Mother knew that if I were sick, the sisters would take care of me, and when I had my babies, they would help me. But my mother’s greatest hope was that the sisters in Relief Society would be powerful, spiritual leaders for me. I began from that time to learn abundantly from women of stature and faith.” (Daughters in My Kingdom, Pages 96-98.)

I have learned that the women of the Relief Society build faith and personal righteousness and help those in need. They have strengthened my family and my home.

···oO0···

We hope this answers your questions and helps you to understand us better, to understand better how women hold positions of authority in the Church of Jesus Christ and especially how Mormon women lead others, all the time and in all they do.

And let us know how we may help you further! If you find that you have any questions about religious issues that you’ve been wondering about or that you haven’t been able to get good answers to, feel free to continue on discussion with us. It turns out that there are a lot of people with questions, and most of them have given up on churches as a source of answers. In our family, it is our experience that answers are out there, that God wants us to have them, and that they tend to be answers we like and have learned to appreciate. Working together with Heavenly Father allows anyone to find certainty in uncertain times.

-Dave and the MormonPanorama Family

woman running on a beach

——– End of Post ——–

Bonus Materials:

1. “You Were Born to Lead, You Were Born for Glory,” Sheri Dew, President and CEO of Deseret Book Company, BYU Devotional Address, 9 Dec 2003, Read: http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=984,
or Watch/Listen:

2. “Mothers Who Know,” Julie B. Beck, Relief Society General President, LDS General Conference, Oct 2007, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/10/mothers-who-know?lang=eng#watch=video.

3. “Teaching the Doctrine of the Family,” Julie B. Beck, Relief Society General President, Seminaries and Institutes of Religion Satellite Broadcast, 9 Aug 2009, http://theredheadedhostess.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/2009-beck-teaching-the-doctrine-of-the-family__eng.pdf.

4. “The Moral Force of Women,” Elder D. Todd Christofferson, LDS General Conference, Oct 2013, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/the-moral-force-of-women?lang=eng.

5. “What I Hope My Granddaughters (and Grandsons) Will Understand about Relief Society”, Julie B. Beck, Relief Society General President, General Relief Society Meeting, Sep 2011, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/what-i-hope-my-granddaughters-and-grandsons-will-understand-about-relief-society?lang=eng.

——– End of Bonus Materials ——–

WebCredits—List of web resources used in this post but not explicitly credited above:

  • Photo, rocks-on-a-misty-beach—www. org/media-library/images/oceans?lang=eng
  • Photo, woman-walking-on-a-beach—www. lds.org/media-library/images/oceans?lang=eng

——– End of WebCredits ——–

In What Ways Do Mormons Serve Others In The Community? Our Family’s Answer.

What Can You Do For Your Community?

What Can You Do For Your Community?

Reader Question:
Last weekend, a friend asked, “In what ways do Mormons serve others in our community?”  

Family Answer:
Good question. In our family, and as Mormons, we believe strongly that sincere, honest questions are always a good thing. To gather other answers to this question, we talked to our adult kids, and here are the answers we gathered:

1. Joseph Smith taught us that we are “to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to provide for the widow, to dry up the tear of the orphan, to comfort the afflicted, whether in this church, or in any other, or in no church at all.” (Times and Seasons, 15 Mar 1842, Page 732.)

2. Here’s an example of how we strive to help others In the Church of Jesus Christ. A handful of women touched the life of a youth named Lynne when her stepfather died. Because she saw these sisters help at a critical time when she was a teenager, Lynne was determined to take her turn to serve when she grew older. As an adult, she shared this story.

“A young mother in my congregation, one of my friends, suddenly lost her only child, a beautiful three-year-old daughter, to an infection that took her life before the doctors were even aware of how serious her illness was. The other counselor and I went to the house as soon as we heard of little Robin’s death. As we approached the screened patio door, we heard the father (who was not a member of our Church) sobbing as he talked long distance to his mother. Looking up, he saw us and, still sobbing, spoke into the phone: ‘It will be all right, Mother. The Mormon women are here.’ My turn once more.” (Daughters in My Kingdom, Chapter 10, “Live Up to Your Privilege”, Page 178.)

3. In our family, we like to serve at the local community kitchen, at an interfaith shelter during the winter, at a senior center, or at a local food warehouse. We want to get out of our comfort zone to rub shoulders with people in our community in a number of ways. I think it’s particularly important to do this with people who aren’t like me. It’s important to us not only to write a check but also to donate our labor free of charge and to make new friends by sharing our time and our conversations.

We hope this answers your question and helps you to understand us better, to understand better how your Mormon neighbors serve in your community, and how you may help them out by serving together.

And let us know how we may help you further! If you find that you have any questions about religious issues that you’ve been wondering about or that you haven’t been able to get good answers to, feel free to continue on discussion with us. It turns out that there are a lot of people with questions, and most of them have given up on churches as a source of answers. In our family, it is our experience that answers are out there, that God wants us to have them, and that they tend to be answers we like and have learned to appreciate. Working together with Heavenly Father allows anyone to find certainty in uncertain times.

-Dave and the MormonPanorama Family

How Can You Have Fun Doing It?

How Can You Have Fun Doing It?

——– End of Post ——–

Bonus Materials:

1. Get Involved In Your Community Service
http://www.mormon.org/values/community-service

2. What Can We All Do?
https://www.lds.org/topics/humanitarian-service/help?lang=eng

3. Mormon in America: A guided tour of an LDS Bishop’s storehouse
http://www.nbcnews.com/video/rock-center/48745343#48745343

There are bishop’s storehouses in many locations around the world.

——– End of Bonus Materials ——–

WebCredits—List of web resources used in this post but not explicitly credited above:

  • Photo, “What Can You Do For Your Community?”, from “Helping Hands Day Is A Community To Community”, The Davis Enterprise (Davis, California), dated 21 Sep 2014—www. davisenterprise.com/local-news/helping-hands-day-is-a-commitment-to-community/
  • Photo, “How Can You Have Fun Doing It?”, from “Helping Hands Day Is A Community To Community”, The Davis Enterprise (Davis, California), dated 21 Sep 2014—www. davisenterprise.com/local-news/helping-hands-day-is-a-commitment-to-community/

——– End of WebCredits ——–

Beyond Dirt, Beyond Opposition, Beyond Bullying

Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936 by Dorothea Lange

Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936 by Dorothea Lange

Bullying begins early, especially when faith is involved. My friend who shoved my face in the dirt was one of many. In elementary school and junior high, when kids learned I’m Mormon, they would often ask how many moms I had. I remember wondering how much they really knew about the birth process.

I have Muslim friends, Catholic friends, Jewish friends, friends of many faiths, all with experience getting their faces shoved in the dust. Gritty, tough, beautiful faces.

 

Dirt and faith go together. Opposition, criticism, and antagonism are companions to truth. Whenever the truth is revealed with regard to the purpose and destiny of mankind, there will always be a force to oppose it.

Faces Of Kevin At 3 Years Old

Faces Of Kevin At 3 Years Old

When our son Kevin was three or four years old, an older sibling had a soccer match after a week of rain. At the side of the field was a narrow 25-foot-long puddle. Kev quickly learned that if he ran and threw his body on the ground in just the right way, he could slide the entire length of the water. Before long, the families around us began to watch Kevin instead of the game. One photographer mom missed her son’s only goal of the season as she focused her lens on Kev. “Gotta set priorities. Look at that face!” she said, kept snapping shots, and gave us copies of her images later that week.

Dirt and Faith on the Mexican Baja

Dirt and Faith on the Mexican Baja

Years later, Kevin’s face was again caked with dirt, this time from the dry dust of Tijuana, made a bit muddy by the ample sweat of his brow. He loved working closely with friends from Mexico as they labored to teach the truth. At one point, weeks of opposition and criticism were taking a heavy toll. His close friends were truly discouraged, and it weighed heavily on his heart. Kev decided to rip his bedsheet in two and scribbled on his Title of Liberty, “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children”, and fastened it upon the end of a pole. He called his flock of fellow laborers together to encourage them and, in his strong voice, shouted in Spanish, “Whosoever will maintain this title upon the land, let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, and promise with me that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the Lord God may bless them.” After signing the rent cloth, Kevin invited them to sign. They all did. And their courage was restored. People started really talking with these young men once again, sharing feelings down deep and listening to them, as the weeks of opposition and antagonism evaporated, leaving only the local dust on their tired, smiling faces.

Look for the biggest dust cloud billowing above the most dirt, and you’ll find that it’s being kicked at someone standing for the truth. Sometimes, no one stands with them.

“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing, persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny many defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited very clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”—Joseph Smith

Bullies will always assemble themselves. Why? Because someone is teaching the truth, and the truth will always be opposed. Time to labor harder, time to work smarter, time to smile that feel-it-deep-down smile…

Two men looked up from prison bars,
One saw the mud, the other saw stars.
—Dale Carnegie, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

Defying Opposition

Defying Opposition

——– End of Post ——–

Bonus Material:

Many of these thoughts are inspired by Lawrence Corbridge. Read, watch or listen to his entire address, “The Prophet Joseph Smith”, Apr 2014 LDS General Conference.

A Father's Gift, Liz Lemon Swindle

“A Father’s Gift”, Liz Lemon Swindle

——– End of Bonus Material ——–

WebCredits—List of web resources used in this post but not explicitly credited above:

  • Photo, “Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936 by Dorothea Lange”—www2. artsmia.org/blogs/new-pictures/category/mia-photo-exhibitions/
  • Photo, “Dirt and Faith on the Mexican Baja”, from private collection
  • Quote, “The Standard of Truth,” Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church, Volume 4, Page 540, from the Wentworth Letter, just before the Articles of Faith
  • Quote by Dale Carnegie, www. goodreads.com/quotes/420532-two-men-looked-out-from-prison-bars-one-saw-the
  • Photo, “Defying Opposition”, from private collection
  • Painting, “A Father’s Gift”, by Liz Lemon Swindle. Swindle tells us that this tender painting portrays the love of three fathers. Our heavenly Father entrusted the twins to John and Julia Murdock. When Julia died after childbirth, Brother Murdock entrusted them to Joseph, who brought them to Emma. Emma had just lost her own twin babies within hours of their birth. Joseph and Emma loved and raised the twins as if they were their own. See www. ldsart.com/p-10603-fathers-gift.aspx. Dave adds: To me this painting is about how a loving God follows opposition and trials by restoring smiles.
  • Painting, “Hope”, by Liz Lemon Swindle.  See www. world-wide-art.com/art/Liz_Lemon_Swindle.html. Peter and John were no strangers to criticism and antagonism, which had cost them dearly. Swindle teaches us about illustrating a tender moment just before their faces learn to smile again:

When Mary came to the tomb, she found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. She ran to the disciples crying, “They have taken away the Lord…and we know not where they have laid him” (John 20:2). Peter and John immediately ran to the tomb.

What did they think as they ran? Were they simply curious to see for themselves? Did they fear, like Mary, that their enemies had stolen the body? Or did they remember His promise, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up”?

The decision that faced Peter and John that Sunday morning is the same decision that faces each one of us today. Will we doubt? Will we hope? Or will we know that He lives? I know that He lives.

  • Photo, “Smiles After Opposition”, from private collection

——– End of WebCredits ——–

Hope, Liz Lemon Swingle

“Hope”, Liz Lemon Swingle

 ···oO0···

Smiles After Opposition

Smiles After Opposition

Unthinkable, Impossible, Unfathomable, Unprecedented

In this Easter season, we in our family want all of you to know that we believe in religious liberty, in upholding a strong tradition of civil discourse with people who aren’t like us, and in expressing a heart-felt faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We say these things on our own initiative. We feel them deep in our hearts. They make us who we are. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow everyone the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

Mary With The Resurrected Christ

Mary With The Resurrected Christ

We are glad that the Savior was born in a stable, died and came forth alive three days later with a resurrected and perfect body that would never perish, never go away. It’s because of Him that we live where traditions of religious liberty have thrived. It’s because of Him that we can be a forever family. It’s because of Him that we have the freedoms we enjoy.

“I believe that in time, with patience and good will, contending constitutional rights and conflicting personal values can be brought into mutually respectful accommodation.”
Excerpts from Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ Constitutional Symposium Address 16 April 2014. (Time 5:10.)

It was unthinkable, impossible, unfathomable, unprecedented.
He was a carpenter, a teacher, an outcast, a leader.
Like all who preceded Him, He lived, and He died.
But unlike all who preceded Him, He rose from the dead.
He lived again.
He lives, and because He lives, we all will live again.
Because of Him, death hath no sting, the grave no victory.
We can start again, and again, and again.
Because of Him, guilt becomes peace, regret becomes relief,
despair becomes hope.
Because of Him, we have second chancesclean slatesnew beginnings.
There is no such thing as The End.
Because of Him:

(Or same video at lds.org link.)

——– End of Post ——–

Bonus Material:

1. Our Forever Family

Our Forever Family

2. My Kingdom is Not of This World

(Or same video at lds.org link.)

——– End of Bonus Material ——–

WebCredits—List of web resources used in this post but not explicitly credited above:

  •   Photo, “Mary With The Resurrected Christ”—www. .lds.org/bible-videos/videos/my-kingdom-is-not-of-this-world?cid=HPTH041714699&lang=eng

——– End of WebCredits ——–

What Makes These Mormons Peculiar?

Peculiar? Is that bad or good? Why should we be a “peculiar” people of all things? (See Deuteronomy 14:2Deuteronomy 26:18Titus 2:141 Peter 2:9.)

Austin Hall, Harvard Law School

Austin Hall

“Why do these Mormons stir up such emotions in people, and why are they not considered Christian by some?” As we approach General Conference next month, authority issues are as relevant today as ever. Interesting questions and answers from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as he spoke at Harvard Law School. Answers below.

Returning to my academic roots in New England, I am reminded today of—and stand with—a marvelous congregational cleric who, a century ago, had a little parish in Springfield, Massachusetts, about equidistant from New Haven and Cambridge, which seems appropriate. He said 100 years ago:

Henry Martyn Field

“The loss of respect for religion is the dry rot of social institutions. The idea of God as the Creator and Father of all mankind is to the moral world, what gravitation is in the natural; it holds everything else together and causes it to revolve around a common center. Take this away and any ultimate significance to life falls apart. There is then no such thing as collective humanity, but only separate molecules of men and women drifting in the universe, with no more cohesion and no more meaning than so many grains of sand have meaning for the sea.” [Henry Martyn Field]

Christ Handing the Keys to St Peter (Gesupietrochiave), by Pietro Perugino (1481-82)
Christ Handing the Keys to St Peter (Gesupietrochiave), by Pietro Perugino (1481-82)

We are not considered Christian by some because we are not fourth-century Christians, we are not Nicene Christians, we are not creedal Christians of the brand that arose hundreds of years after Christ. No, when we speak of “restored Christianity”, we speak of the Church as it was in its New Testament purity, not as it became when great councils were called to debate and anguish over what it was they really believed. So if one means Greek-influenced, council-convening, philosophy-flavored Christianity of post-apostolic times, then we are not that kind of Christian. Peter we know, and Paul we know, but Constantine and Athanasius, Athens and Alexandria we do not know. (Actually, we know them, we just don’t follow them.)

Thus, we teach that:

1. God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, are separate and distinct beings[, both divine,] with glorified bodies of flesh and bone. As such, we stand with the historical position that “the formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the [New Testament].” [Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Paul F. Achtemeier, ed. (1985), Page 1099]

Studying the New Testament

Studying the New Testament

We take Christ literally at His word—that He “came down from heaven, not to do [his] own will, but the will of him that sent [him].” Of His antagonists, Jesus said they have “hated both me and my Father.” These, along with scores of other references, including His pleading prayers, make clear Jesus’s physical separation from His Father, subordinating Himself to His Father, saying regularly, in one way or another, my Father is greater than I. However, having affirmed the point of Their separate and distinct physical nature, we declare unequivocally that They were indeed “one” in every other conceivable way—in mind and deed, in will and wish and hope, in faith and purpose and intent and love. They are most assuredly much more alike than They are different in all the ways I have just said, but They are separate and distinct beings as all fathers and sons are. In this matter, we differ from traditional creedal Christianity, but we do feel that we agree with the New Testament.

The Open Canon Continues: President Thomas S. Monson

The Open Canon Continues: President Thomas S. Monson

2. Next, we also differ from fourth and fifth century Christianity by declaring that the scriptural canon is not closed, that the heavens are open with revelatory experience, and that God meant what He said when He promised Moses, “My works are without end, and…my words…never cease.” We believe that God loves all His children and that He would never leave them for long without the instrumentality of prophets and apostles, authorized agents of His guidance and direction. The Book of Mormon and other canonized scripture, as well as the role of living oracles, witnesses to the fact that God continues to speak. We agree enthusiastically with the insightful Protestant scholar who inquired, “On what biblical or historical grounds has the inspiration of God been limited to the written documents that the church now calls its Bible? …If the Spirit inspired only the written documents of the first century, does that mean that the same Spirit does not speak today…about matters that are of significant concern?” [Lee M. McDonald, The Formation of the Christian Biblical Canon, rev. ed. (1995), Pages 255-56.]

3. Lastly, for today, we are unique in the modern Christian world regarding one matter which a prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called our “most distinguishing feature.”

Peter, James and John Confirm the Keys to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery

Peter, James and John Confirm the Keys to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery

That is, divine priesthood authority to provide the saving sacraments—the ordinances—of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The holy priesthood, which has been restored to the earth by those who held it anciently, signals the return of divine authorization. It is different from all other man-made powers and authorities on the face of the earth. Without it, there could be a church in name only, and it would be a church lacking in authority to administer in the things of God. This restoration of priesthood authority eases centuries of questions and anguish among those who knew certain ordinances and sacraments were essential but lived with the doubt as to who had the right to administer them. Breaking ecclesiastically with his more famous brother, John, over the latter’s decision to ordain without any divine authority to do so, Charles Wesley wrote:

How easily are bishops made
By man or woman’s whim:
Wesley his hands on Coke hath laid,
But who laid hands on him?
[Quoted in C. Beaufort Moss,
The Divisions of Christendom: A Retrospect (n.d., “no date”), Page 22.]

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we can answer the question of “who laid hands on him” all the way back to Christ Himself. The return of such authority is truly “the most distinguishing feature” of our faith.

Thank you for your courteous attendance. I will be pleased to devote the remaining time to your questions. I leave my love, my witness, and a personal blessing on every one of you for whatever righteous need you may have, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I think that’s pretty clear, don’t you? Again, from Elder Holland:

Clearly, acting with divine authority requires more than mere social contract. It cannot be generated by theological training or a commission from the congregation. No, in the authorized work of God, there has to be power greater than that already possessed by the people in the pews or in the streets or in the seminaries—a fact that many honest religious seekers had known and openly acknowledged for generations leading up to the Restoration.

It is true that some few in that day did not want their ministers to claim special sacramental authority, but most people longed for priesthood sanctioned by God and were frustrated as to where they might go to find such.

Clarity can be wonderful, huh? And it’s all for free. Just as Christ used His priesthood power freely to bless others without charge and taught everyone to do likewise, today we use His priesthood power freely to bless others. (Avoiding “priestcraft”; see in New Testament Matthew 10:8, Acts 8:9-18 (especially Verse 18)1 Peter 5:2, or in Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 26:29Alma 1:12, Helaman 7:53 Nephi 16:10.) God has designed it so that we use his priesthood only to bless others; for example, I cannot use the priesthood to give myself a blessing.

Through me, my sons also have this authority to bless their own families and to carry on the work of righteousness as God would do himself if He were here counseling and coaching us. I have learned for myself that true strength comes from magnifying the priesthood. Clearly, that makes me peculiar. I also know that everyone has the blessings of this authority available to them.

——– End of Post ——–

Bonus Material:

1. Watch or listen to Elder Holland at Harvard Law School below. Or read.

2. The priesthood of God isn’t for some and not for others — It’s for any of us, for all of us. It applies equally to people of any gender, in any country, of any position in life. For example, watch how Sheri Dew answers the great question: “In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, what do women get?”

3. Why is authority important? An 18-year-old learns one reason.
“Sanctify Yourselves”:

(Or same video at lds.org link.)

4. Pilots get lost if they don’t follow their instruments.
We get lost if we don’t follow the commandments.
“Mormon Spiritual Vertigo”:

5. Sometimes, answers are long in coming. Sometimes, answers come quickly. Either way, healing happens on His time, and that’s for an important reason.
“He Will Give You Help”:

(Or same video at lds.org link.)

——– End of Bonus Material ——–

WebCredits—List of web resources used in this post but not explicitly credited above:

  • Photo, “Austin Hall” of Harvard Law School—en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Austin_Hall,_Harvard_University.jpg
  • Article, “Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s Remarks to the Harvard Law School: Mormonism 101”, 20 Mar 2012—www. mormonnewsroom.org/article/harvard-elder-holland-mormonism-remarks
  • Photo, “Henry Martyn Field”—en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Martyn_Field_(minister)
  • Photo, “Christ Handing the Keys to St Peter (Gesupietrochiave), by Pietro Perugino (1481-82)”—en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gesupietrochiave.jpg
  • Photo, “Studying the New Testament”—www. lds.org/media-library/images/scripture-study?lang=eng
  • Photo, “The Open Canon Continues: President Thomas S. Monson”—www. lds.org/media-library/images/gospel-art/latter-day-prophets?lang=eng&start=41&end=80&order=
  • Photo, “Peter, James and John Confirm the Keys to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery”—www. lds.org/media-library/images/gospel-art/church-history?lang=eng
  • Photo, “Open Canon: Bible and Book of Mormon”—www. lds.org/media-library/images/gospel-art/church-history?lang=eng

——– End of WebCredits ——–

Open Canon: Bible and Book of Mormon

Open Canon: Bible and Book of Mormon

The World, Bathed In Light

This is a photo-essay, a collection of images with a theme. A long post, but with reason. Just a gallery of pictures and paintings. Images of light. People and places around the globe, many of them in a religious light. All of them to me are spiritual. Source credits included. There are 64, and we hope you enjoy them. Click on an image to make it bigger!

·  —- oOo —-  ·

Monks releasing flying lanterns during Loy Krathong
in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Monks releasing flying lanterns during Loy Krathong in Chiang Mai, Thailand
[Credit: http://canvas-of-light.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-TPDTLsq/A]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

 A monk lighting up candles in a pond during Visakha Bucha night
in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
A monk lighting up candles in a pond during Visakha Bucha night in Chiang Mai, Thailand
[Credit: http://canvas-of-light.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-5hjBsMs/A]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

A monk slowly lighting up candles during Asalaha Bucha
in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
A monk slowly lighting up candles during Asalaha Bucha in Chiang Mai, Thailand
[Credit: http://canvas-of-light.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-Sx7rh9D/A]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Grand Palace upper terrace and statures of mythical creatures
in Bangkok, Thailand.
Grand Palace Upper Terrace and Statures of Mythical Creatures in Bangkok, Thailand
[Credit: From private collection.]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Wat Rong Khun, the White Temple, in Chiang Rai, Thailand.
Wat Rong Khun, the White Temple, in Chiang Rai, Thailand
[Credit: http://canvas-of-light.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-QhqjSb3/A]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

 Home interior, Cairo.
Home Interior, Cairo
[Credit: From private collection.]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

A sunset captured from the dock of a ferry
from Corfu, Greece to the mainland of Greece.

[Credit: http://canvas-of-light.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-V2Fxkb7/A]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Cityscape panorama in Brindisi, Italy.
Brindisi Panorama
[Credit: http://canvas-of-light.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-rzC2grd/A]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

 A town of the Cinque Terre Bay of Liguria, Italy.
A town of the Cinque Terre Bay of Liguria, Italy
[Credit: http://www.understandingitaly.com/liguria-content/cinqueterre.html]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Another town of the Cinque Terre Bay of Liguria, Italy.
Another town of the Cinque Terre Bay of Liguria, Italy
[Credit: http://www.touristmaker.com/]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Basilica dei Fieschi in San Salvatore di Cogorno, Italy.
Basilica dei Fieschi in San Salvatore di Cogorno, Italy
[Credit: http://www.laterrazzasuifieschi.com/cosa-fare-cosa-vedere/la-basilica-dei-fieschi/]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Family At Home in Accra, Ghana.
Family At Home
[Credit: http://www.lds.org/media-library/images/family-portraits?lang=eng&start=1&end=10]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

“Spruce Forest” («Еловый лес» or “Yeloviy Lyes”) (1892),
Ivan Shishkin, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.
Spruce Forest (1892), Ivan Shishkin, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
[Credit: From print in Shishkin book in private collection.]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

“Valiant Warriors of Old” («Богатыри» or “Bogatyri”) (1898),
Viktor Vasnetsov, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.
Valiant Warriors of Old (1898), Viktor Vasnetsov, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
[Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Die_drei_Bogatyr.jpg]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Worshippers in the mosque in Muslim quarter of Xi’an, China.
Worshippers in the Mosque in Muslim Quarter of Xi'an, China
[Credit: From private collection.]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Terracotta and flesh warriors in Xi’an, China.
Terracotta and Flesh Warriors in Xi'an, China
[Credit: From private collection.]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

 Mirrored walk, Parque Lezama in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Mirrored Walk, Parque Lezama in Buenos Aires, Argentina
[Credit: From private collection.]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Behind a wall in Buenos Aires, a sublime house stood;
I knocked and asked to enter.
Behind a wall in Buenos Aires, a sublime house stood; I knocked and asked to enter
[Credit:  From private collection.]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Turned out to be a house of God;
kind sisters gave me a tour of their chapel.
Turned out to be a house of God; kind sisters gave me a tour of their chapel
[Credit:  From private collection.]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

“Returning (Back to the Ranch)” (circa 1900), Ángel Della Valle
(“De regreso (vuelta al rancho)”).
Returning to the Ranch (circa 1900), Angel Della Valle
[Credit: http://www.arcadja.com/auctions/en/della_valle_angel/artist/403933/]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Quintessential trees of unofficial sub-barrio Belgrano R,
in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Quintessential Trees of Belgrano R in Buenos Aires, Argentina
[Credit: http://www.latidobuenosaires.com/fotosbelgranorbarriobuenosairesargentina.html]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Trees of Calle Melián, Belgrano R, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Trees of Calle Melian, Belgrano R, Buenos Aires, Argentina
[Credit: http://www.latidobuenosaires.com/fotosbelgranorbarriobuenosairesargentina.html]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Avenida Santa Fe, Plaza Gral. San Martín, Barrio Retiro,
in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Avenida Santa Fe, Plaza Gral. San Martin, Barrio Retiro, in Buenos Aires, Argentina
[Credit: http://riowang.blogspot.com/2009_10_01_archive.html]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Alpenglow of Mount Washington in New Hampshire, USA.
Mount Washington Summit In The Alpenglow
[Credit: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/portrait-or-landscape/]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Mount Avalon in New Hampshire, USA.
The View From The Top. From Mt. Avalon To The Presidentials.
[Credit: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/portrait-or-landscape/]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Female photographer waiting for sunrise
on Mt. Washington, New Hampshire, USA.
Awaiting Sunrise. Mt Washington, NH
[Credit: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/portrait-or-landscape/]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Layers of color on Mt Washington, New Hampshire, USA.
White Mountain Layers
[Credit: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/portrait-or-landscape/]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Crescent Lake at night in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Crescent Lake at Night in Dhaka, Bangladesh
[Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhaka]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Festival of Japan, bamboo light.
Festival of Japan, Bamboo Light
[Credit: http://www.123rf.com/photo_12401506_festival-of-japan-bamboo-light.html]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Golden field in Italy.
Golden Field in Italy
[Credit: http://canvas-of-light.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-VMJ8DSf/A]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Morning light during fall in Kentucky, USA.
Morning light during fall in Kentucky, USA
[Credit: http://canvas-of-light.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-nQzfF3N/A]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

 Grotto in Cancun, México.
Grotto in Cancun, Mexico
[Credit: http://www.lds.org/media-library/images/international?lang=eng&start=21&end=30]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Climbing the Great Wall at Mutianyu, China.
Climbing the Great Wall at Mutianyu, China
[Credit: From private collection.]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Tuyoq village in Turpan, Xinjiang, China.
Tuyoq Village in Turpan, Xinjiang, China
[Credit: http://www.drokpa.com/PotD.php?image=/PotD/Turpan,-China—Tuyoq-Village-81.jpg]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Canal along Pingjiang Road in Suzhou, China.
Canal Along Pingjiang Road in Suzhou, China
[Credit: at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Near-Pingjiang-Road.JPG
or info at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzhou]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE (United Arab Emirates) is seen as a construction to ‘unite the world’, using artisans and materials from countries such as Italy, Germany, Moracco, India, Turkey, Iran, China, Greece, and the UAE.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is seen as a construction to 'unite the world'
[Credit: http://www.canvas-of-light.com/2011/03/photo-essay-sheikh-zayed-mosque-uae/]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

 In the ablution room of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE (United Arab Emirates), worshippers clean themselves in order to be in a state of purity before praying. It is decorated with marble tiles and a large fountain in the middle of the room.
In the ablution room, worshipers clean themselves in order to be in a state of purity before praying.
[Credit: http://www.canvas-of-light.com/2011/03/photo-essay-sheikh-zayed-mosque-uae/]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

The main prayer hall in the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE (United Arab Emirates), features the world’s second largest chandelier (the largest one being in Doha, Qatar) hanging directly below the largest dome. It is ten meters in diameter, fifteen meters in height, and weighs nine tons.
The main prayer hall features the world’s second largest chandelier, ten meters in diameter, fifteen meters in height, and weighs nine tons.
[Credit: http://www.canvas-of-light.com/2011/03/photo-essay-sheikh-zayed-mosque-uae/]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Natural materials were chosen for the design and construction of the Mosque due to their long-lasting qualities, including marble, stone, gold, semi-precious stones, crystals and ceramics. Again, in the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE (United Arab Emirates).
Natural materials were chosen for the design and construction of the Mosque due to their long-lasting qualities
[Credit: http://www.canvas-of-light.com/2011/03/photo-essay-sheikh-zayed-mosque-uae/]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

“Paris Street; Rainy Day” (1877), Gustave Caillebotte.
Paris Street; Rainy Day (1877), Gustave Caillebotte
[Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gustave_Caillebotte_-_Paris_Street;_Rainy_Day_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Interior window in Sainte-Chapelle, Paris.
Interior window in Sainte-Chapelle, Paris
[Credit: From private collection.]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Country chic staircase, The Queen’s Hamlet at Versailles, France.
Country Chic Staircase, The Queen's Hamlet, Versailles, France
[Credit: From private collection.]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Water mill, The Queen’s Hamlet at Versailles, France.
Water Mill, The Queen’s Hamlet at Versailles, France
[Credit: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-queens-hamlet-versailles-gary-tinnes.html]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Winter at Caravan Sarayi, 15th Century roadside inn
on ancient Silk Road, near Tash Rabat, Kyrgyzstan.
Winter at Caravan Sarayi, 15th Century Roadside Inn on Ancient Silk Road, near Tash Rabat, Kyrgyzstan
[Credit: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/kyrgyzstan/images/tash-rabat-caravanserai-kyrgyzstan$1758-11]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

 Dome interior of Caravan Sarayi near Tash Rabat, Kyrgyzstan.
Dome Interior of Caravan Sarayi near Tash Rabat, Kyrgyzstan
[Credit: http://www.traveladventures.org/continents/asia/tash-rabat.html]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Interior hallway of dome of Caravan Sarayi
near Tash Rabat, Kyrgyzstan.
Interior Hallway of Dome of Caravan Sarayi near Tash Rabat, Kyrgyzstan
[Credit: http://www.traveladventures.org/continents/asia/tash-rabat.html]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Caravan Sarayi dwarfed by surrounding mountains
near Tash Rabat, Kyrgyzstan.
Caravan Sarayi Dwarfed by Surrounding Mountains near Tash Rabat, Kyrgyzstan
[Credit: http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-of-the-day/silk-road-kyrgysztan/
(link no longer valid)]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Top of the World in Lofoten Islands, Norway.
Top of the World in Lofoten Islands, Norway
[Credit: http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-of-the-day/
(link may be invalid)]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

 Women from Nigeria.
Women from Nigeria
[Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nigerian_women.jpg]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Jerusalem panorama at sunset.
Jerusalem Panorama
[Credit: http://www.actforisrael.org/blog/blog/?attachment_id=4738]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Arches above Eastern Gate (Golden Gate) in Jerusalem.
Arches Above Eastern Gate (Golden Gate) in Jerusalem
[Credit: From private collection.]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

The misty mountains of Yangshuo and Guilin
in the Li Jiang river region of China.
The misty mountains of Yangshuo and Guilin in the Li Jiang river region of China
[Credit: From private collection.]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Riverside hamlet on Li Jiang Near Yangshuo, China.
Riverside Hamlet on Li Jiang Near Yangshuo, China
[Credit: From private collection.]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

 San Diego Temple
of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
(Mormon temple or LDS temple in San Diego, California, USA)
.
Mormon Temple in San Diego, California, USA[Credit: 
http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/sandiego/gallery/download.php?id=780]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Newlyweds with bright eyes and glowing faces outside a Mormon temple.
Newlyweds with bright eyes and glowing faces outside a Mormon temple
[Credit: From private collection.]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Plaza de Armas at night in Cuzco, Perú.
Plaza de Armas at night in Cuzco, Peru
[Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Cuzco]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Roof mosaic in the Tomb of Hafez, Shiraz, Iran.
Roof Mosaic, Tomb of Hafez, Shiraz, Iran
[Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_of_Hafez]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Tehran at night from Jamshidieh Park.
Tehran at night from Jamshidieh Park
[Credit: http://farrokhi.net/]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Sunset over Granada, Spain.
Sunset over Granada - Spain
[Credit: http://canvas-of-light.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-bLsqCbP/A]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

The Alhambra palace during sunset,
shot from the mirador de San Nicolas in Granada, Spain.
The Alhambra at Sunset ~ Granada
[Credit: http://canvas-of-light.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-dppVjdR/A]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

The Plaza Isabel la Católica with a statue of
the Queen Isabel and Christopher Columbus in Granada, Spain.
Plaza Isabel la Catolica ~ Granada
[Credit: http://canvas-of-light.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-9g5W2DG/A]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

The Sun Voyager (Sólfar in Icelandic) is a sculpture by
Jón Gunnar Árnason (1931-1989), an Icelandic artist born in Reykjavik.
The Sun Voyager (Solfar in Icelandic) is a sculpture Jon Gunnar Arnason (1931-1989), an Icelandic artist born in Reykjavik
[Credit: http://canvas-of-light.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-VTJdqfv/A]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Two nuns walking down a small street in the historic district of Cuzco, Perú.
Two nuns walking down a small street in the historic district of Cuzco, Peru
[Credit: http://kathyadamsclark.blogspot.com/2012/12/peru-photo-tour-recap-cusco.html]
·  —- oOo —-  ·

Zenkoji Temple, Nagano, Japan.
Zenkoji is a place for prayer, light, and enlightenment.
Although it is a Buddhist temple, all are welcome,
regardless of gender, creed or religious belief.
Zenkoji Temple, Nagano, Japan
[Credit: http://smba2010.blogspot.com/2010/05/saturday-may-22-2010.html]

·    ————- oOo ————-    ·

Hope you enjoyed this view through our lens
and the lens of many talented folks.
A brief and wonderful view of the world.
And what a wonderful worldview!