Wednesday, April 21, 2004

A Very Touchy Subject

Ok, on eBay, there’s people that are posting LDS garments for sale.

Now this is a very touch topic for me. On the one hand, that enrages me. It’s clearly something someone is doing just to get the Mormons riled up. And it’s working. There’s all kinds of discussions running on the net as well as email petitions aimed at eBay to force the seller to remove them. So, a part of me is really getting upset about it.

Then, another part of me is wanting to just be quiet about it. I mean, the symbolisms of the garments are sacred to us as Members of the Church. While it hurts us to see them trivialized by cheap gimmicks like that, it also is not something that we want to make a row about. We don’t talk about the symbols out of the temple itself. It’s THAT sacred.

On another hand, we do wear them underneath our clothes. That means that they’re underwear. We do that so that they are with us, close to us always. They remind us of our commitments to God on a daily basis.

Or do they?

That’s the question that this whole issue raises with me.

Day in, day out, I wear them. I put them on, I take them off and change them like I would any other piece of clothing. With all that constant contact, I admit I don’t think as much as I should about the sacred symbolisms in the clothing. I don’t think about the blessings that were pronounced on me as I wore them the first time, if I were faithful.

So, are they sacred to me or are they just underwear?

I hope I can refocus where it should be.

Mark Hansen

Sunday, April 18, 2004

More on Death and Faith

This week was stake conference.

Now, normally, I don’t go to stake conference. Back when I was growing up in Indiana, my dad was in the stake presidency, and the stake center was a two-hour drive away. So, conference weekend was a long boring drive, and a long boring meeting, and then a long boring wait for dad to finish his meetings, and a long boring drive home.

I’ve since decided that the Celestial Kingdom is heaven because they don’t have stake conferences there.

But this time, my wife persuaded me to go. And not just to the Sunday session, but the Saturday evening session for the grown-ups as well. And that one was the good one.

It was all about temple work. And it kinda caught me on fire.

So, today I started to dig through things at and found some names. See, lots of the genealogy has been done, but on my dad’s side, we’re not too sure of it’s accuracy, nor of how much actually got submitted for temple work. Grampa Hansen did the research, but he wasn’t always the most mentally or emotionally stable of gents. He went through a lot as a kid and as a young man. So, as my dad and I were discussing it, we’ve come to the conclusion that we have some sheets that are probably pretty accurate. And we need to check and see if the temple work’s been done.

Then when he comes to visit, we can do some temple work together.

Part of our long phone conversation tonight was all about Grandpa, and some of the stories of his family. He grew up in Germany, as a latchkey kid in the early 1900’s. His father abandoned the family when he was about five or six, leaving his mom to raise five children on her own, without any of the financial supports that we take for granted today, like social security or even child support or alimony payments.

He lived through two world wars, married and immigrated to America with his sons. He’s really quite the man, when you add up his struggles and triumphs.

Death and faith…

Mark Hansen

Friday, April 16, 2004

Faith and Death

I’ve been thinking a lot about Sister Hinkley.

For those that don’t know who I’m talking about, she’s the wife of current Prophet and President of the Church, Gordon B Hinkley.

And, really, it’s been more him I’ve been thinking of.

And I’ve been thinking about faith.

See, I would imagine that if anyone in the Church had faith, it would be him. He would have the clearest picture of anyone of the eternal plan and perspective that God has. So, it would, I assume, be easy for him to see that even though his wife of 60+ years has died, they will still be together for eternity. Their separation will only be a temporary one, until he also dies.

But having lost a child in a tragic pregnancy, I also understand the temporary loss. I might have faith that I’ll be with them again, but I also want them here NOW. That can be very difficult to deal with.

And for me, the reunion isn’t as much of a guarantee. I mean, I’m pretty sure that Pres Hinkley’s in a place in his life where he’s pretty confident in his standing with the Lord. He’s Prophet, I mean. Tough to go wrong there.

I, on the other hand, manage to screw up my life on an constant, almost daily basis. So, when I lose someone, I’m not so convinced that I’m living up to the chance to be with them again.

But for now, I can “mourn with those that mourn”.

Mark Hansen

Saturday, April 03, 2004

The resolution recently passed by the state legislature of Illinois brought back some interesting memories for me, as well as some feelings.

As a Mormon, I’ve been taught since I was a child about the persecutions that the saints faced in both Illinois and Missouri. I’ve always been amazed that in the “Land of the free, and the home of the brave”, that governments would allow things like that to happen. The governor of a state signing an official document ordering the extermination of a people. Could you imagine someone doing that today? Up until about a couple of decades ago, it was legal to shoot a Mormon in Missouri.

Not that people were taking advantage of that law, but still.

I grew up in Indiana, and though my life was never in danger, and nobody beat me or burned my house, I felt a significant amount of persecution from well-meaning Christians who wanted to “save my soul”.

I’ve visited Nauvoo a few times. It’s quite a place, with quite a story. I’ve seen a lot of the other Church historical sites, like the Kirtland temple, the sacred grove, the Hill Cumorah, and the Joseph Smith Home. They can all be quite moving places to see, and I think that every member of the church should “make the pilgrimage” to see these sites and know their heritage.

I guess that’s why I liked the resolution that Illinois passed. I’m glad that it passed unanimously, too. All my life I’ve had this heritage of strength in persecution, and It’s sure nice to see someone else acknowledge it, too. And for them to step forward and ask forgiveness for something that taints their heritage was very courageous.

The world at large might not notice or even care about it, but it sure touched me. Thanks, Illinois!

Mark Hansen


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