Wednesday, October 28, 2009

All Saints Day, Halloween, and Seven Years

I'm gonna cover a lot here...  So if it feels like I'm skipping around, I'm sorry.  There's a lot of seemingly disjointed topics that all seem to converge in my mind.

To start off, I was reading in "A Perfect Brighness" about All-Saints Day and Halloween. Her summary of the whole "History of Halloween" thang is pretty good.  She commented on our unique LDS perspective on "All Saints Day".  So, here are all of my disjointed thoughts:


My kids love Halloween, with the costumes and the candy and everything about it.  I wanted to tie it closer together with some of its more spiritual roots.  So, a few years ago we started a tradition of celebrating Nov 1 as All Saints Day.  Being LDS, however, we re-interpret it and celebrate it in our own way.  We have a special dinner, and after dinner, we talk of the saints in our family that have passed on before us.  Some times we talk about memories of Parents and Grandparents.  Other times we look up our family history and talk of the stories of those ancestors that are a part of our legacy.  It turns into a very fun evening of family bonding.


One thing Jennifer mentioned in her blog post was "According to tradition, November 1st is the time to celebrate the lives of the martyrs."  I thought that was very interesting, since so much of my own study and personal pondering has been focused on the concept of martyrdom, culminating in the completion of the song, "Martyrs".


The whole concept of our celebration of Halloween is a topic that I touched on in a blog post almost 7 years ago.  In fact, it was 7 years ago, tomorrow, that I began the Mo'Boy blog! It all began with a post about Isaiah.

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: Reciprocating Content, Mountain Man Breakfast,

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Song! "Martyrs"

A while ago, I posted some lyrics here about a song I wrote, called "Martyrs". I'm excited to report that the recording is now done! Jump to the Mark Hansen Music blog to listen! It's this huge, arena rock anthem, kind of like: Guns & Roses meets The Who with a fiddle player...

Pardon the shameless self-promotion. But it IS my blog... :-)

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cool to see we weren't left out...

political pictures for your blog
see more Political Pictures

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Some Thoughts on Revelation and "The Word of God"

A friend of mine (who isn't a Christian, BTW) had this to say on his blog:

"Was this really a problem that the Bible isn't conservative enough? I have to confess to not having heard of Conservapedia - The Trustworthy Encyclopedia before. Apparently they have decided the Bible is too liberal in its language and so on. So they are instituting a "retranslation" effort of the Bible to purge it of its liberal bias. Apparently they are starting with the KJV to remove anything they assume to be too liberal in terms of language, ideas etc.

"So now, if you are looking for the actual, unvarnished literal Word-O-God, you will have even more "literal translations" to choose from!

"Someone tell me again which literal translation is
literally the Word-O-God?"

I made a few comments, which you can read if ya wanna.

But, here, in Mo' Boy, I want to talk about some of the other thoughts his comment inspired. Some of these thoughts, by way of disclaimer, are *MY* thoughts, and not necessarily canonized doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. But then, most of what I write here in Mo' Boy is such, anyway...

We get our scriptures through our prophets. And that makes for a very interesting circumstance, because that means that everything that God says to us comes to us through another human. God, for some reason, doesn't directly write us messages. I, personally, would really enjoy reading that particular Twitter Feed, but He doesn't choose to work that way.

So, partly to clarify my own thoughts, and partly for the benefit of my non-Mormon, non-Christian friend, I'm gonna think out loud for a few minutes.

There are several ways that we get our written scriptures:

Taking Dictation

I read once that sometimes when Joseph Smith was receiving revelations he would just begin writing, in a sort of "automatic writing" kind of way. When you read chapters like this, it comes across very much in a sort of "Word of God" kind of Tone. It's often in (if you'll pardon the pun) first-person omniscient point of view. A really good example is the first section of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Another good example, off the top of my head, is the whole Book of Malachi, in the Old Testament.

Go Tell it on the Mountain

Another method is when God gives a marvelous spiritual experience or a vision to someone, and then tells them to go write about it. One good example of this is the story of Nephi's Vision(That originates as Lehi's Dream), which starts in Chapter 11 of 1 Nephi and goes on for a number of chapters after that.

The experience that we Mormons all know as the "First Vision" of Joseph Smith is another good example, as is the entire Book of Revelation.

This method is different from the first because, although I firmly believe that the experiences the prophets experience are no less divine, the words themselves are not directly the "Words of God." This means that the word were written by a flawed human being, sometimes days, sometimes even years after the fact.

It's All History

The last bit of scripture we get are the stories. These are tales, stories, and histories written by an archivist using his own (albeit often inspired) insight. Another flawed human is choosing which histories to include, and writing them into the text. Almost the entire Old Testament is this kind of writing. The four Gospels were written this way.

The whole story of the conflict between Nephi and his brothers, Laman and Lemuel, is colored, I believe, by the fact that it was written by Nephi, from his point of view, many many years later. Is it any wonder he comes off as the good guy?

The whole reason we name the Book of Mormon after that ancient American prophet is that he compiled and abridged all of the records of his people.

I don't mean to diminish the spiritual nature of the scriptures, nor to imply that I don't believe that they're inspired. But I think that God allows us to learn from each other, often centuries or even millenia later.

The Title Page of the Book of Mormon, which was actually translated from the Golden Plates themselves, carries this clarification: "And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ."

And none of these things even take into account how often the book of scripture has been translated from one flawed and human language into another, in the hope that it can be understood by people of a totally different background and culture..

So, the sooner we get past all that, and not stress out over the details of the words, and get to the real messages that are underlying, the better off we'll be.

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: More Work on "Martyrs", Healthy Dutch Oven Recipes,

Monday, October 05, 2009

General Conference

LDS General Conference was very interesting for me this time. It was very personal. I'm reading a lot of the sum-ups and the play-by-plays of the bloggernacle, and a lot of them are bringing up some very interesting points.

But still, for me, the talks were very personal.

See, for a long time, now, I've been dragging along in my own personal life, as if I had a dark cloud over my head. It's been so long that in a lot of ways, I've accepted it as the normal way of life.

I'm an active member of the LDS Church, with what I feel is a strong testimony. But I realized this weekend where the dark cloud is coming from, why it's there, and how to get rid of it.

It's there because I've been cultivating this general feeling of worthlessness, and unworthiness for years. Intellectually, I know all the verses about the worth of a soul and how God loves the sinners and the saints. I even know that they're the same people. But integrating that intellectual knowledge into deep personal belief has been difficult.

I mean, really, what difference do *I* make in the world?

Well, in order to get out from under that cloud, I need to refocus my life on the steps of personal spirituality. I need to get connected back to my Heavenly Father. I need to feel that love again.

I'm going to start with my personal prayers. Then, I'll renew my personal scripture study. Fasting will come next. Through it all, I'm going to pay attention to opportunities to serve. I have already begun, and I'll keep posting about it as I go.

Pray for me, folks. A brighter day is coming!

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: Rockin' with the Family, Andy J and the cookoff,


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