Posted by: 1of10boyz | August 18, 2014

Why Christ Matters, my perspective as an Expatriate in China

I have made it no secret over the past three years that I am paranoid about living in a communist country. How much of that paranoia is justified I may never know. While I have had friends here tell me that no one is spying on me here in China, I really doubt that is true. How paranoid am I?

I am quite confident that everything I write on my computers here at home and likely at work until our recent security upgrade is monitored and tracked by the communists. Yes, even this post for my blog is being captured, not that this really matters since it gets put out there where anyone with an internet connection can read it. All of my personal writings to my children and my wife are also being monitored and checked. I believe that there are listening devices within the house that was provided to me upon my arrival in the country. I believe that there are listening devices in my car that I use. I believe that my driver must report all the places where I go and what I did while I was there. He will likely also have to tell them who I went with and why they went with me. I believe that my friends are also required to generate similar reports that are supplied to the mysterious “them”. Paranoid, you say; just a little.

I believe much of what our US Government says about China having 10s of thousands of computer workers that are gathering information from all sources foreign and domestic. Why shouldn’t I believe that a communist country is doing this and more when the ‘Land of the Free and Home of the Brave’ is doing it to their citizens? When China is being caught with their “hand in the cookie jar” by foreign governments and corporations located outside of the country, I am positive that they are not passing up the opportunity to snoop freely on me.

Commie Oath

Still haven’t gotten the English version of what this says. It was in a “shrine” to one of the early Communists killed in the early days of the revolution. My friends told me this is the oath the say when becoming card carrying communists.

While a dose of paranoia is likely good for all of us in the complex world we live in, it does make one grow weary and a little bit grumpy at times. I don’t think that it has really done much in the way of how I live because I have always felt like I was being “watched”. The expectations of family, church, and a myriad of other things have always made me feel like I needed to set an example and have good behavior. While these things are so intertwined and tangled now it is hard to distinguish which caused any specific response, it is obvious to me if it is not for others, that the most influential of all can be drilled down to the root of religion.

My religion has influenced me because of how it affected my family generations before me, my family around me, my classmates around me, and my culture of small town Wyoming. My religion has been the basis of so many things in my life that it really influences me in ever thing that I do and don’t do. This religious believe has been driven by the understanding I have for Jesus Christ. I know lots of you out there say that “Mormons aren’t Christians”; but that either shows your ignorance in what they believe or your view of Christianity is so narrow that you may not even understand the meaning of His Message.

As I reflect on the past 50 years of China’s history compared to the fortunate life I have lived, I can’t help but feel blessed by the circumstances that are mine. I wasn’t born where I would have had to see a country struggling to recover from a famine that is estimated to have killed 10s of millions, even 100s of millions. I lived through a cultural revolution in America, at least I would have called the transition from my parents post-WWII morals to the Haight-Ashbury Hippies and Pre-AIDS free love 1970s and early 1980s a cultural revolution. Even when measuring the morals that were damaged or destroyed this American cultural revolution was nothing like what China’s Cultural Revolution destroyed. While both of those cultural revolutions have cast shadows that have impacted everything we see in both societies, I don’t think I will ever comprehend what happened in China and how it continues to wreck its havoc even today.

We see around us, no matter where we live, attempts to make life better and to prevent some of the perceived inequalities between the “haves” and the “have-nots”. Man struggles to find a way, any way to help the “have-nots”, using methods that never really seem to make any difference. No matter how much money is available there never seems to be enough to lift everyone out of the wretchedness that seems to exist to ensnare and trap. Really, though there is one way to help the “have-nots” and there isn’t a government in place in the world today that is willing to use it. That way is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a unique and proven method for the salvation of men and women everywhere. It could never work if you did with the gospel of Jesus Christ what Brunei has done with Sharia Law, because the Gospel of Christ can’t be forced. It is something that has to be set upon by free will or free agency as Mormons would call it. Man can’t be forced to live this law, but men and women are changed by it every single moment of every single day on this tiny little planet called Earth. So why does it work and everything that man and the world try to do doesn’t?

This is a quote from one of the Mormon Prophets and I think he says it better than I could ever hope to say it:

The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of the people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature…Yes, Christ changes men, and changed men can change the world.

(Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1985, pp. 5-6)

When I think about why China is trying to get information from me and the rest of the world I think that there is some relationship with their wish to prevent the tragedies that have occurred in the past to their people. Sure, there is a desire for “world dominance”, but I believe that they think that if they could control EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE that the problems of their past could be prevented, controlled, or managed. The reality is that the answer that they really need and want is the one that they have tried to suppress and prevent from spreading to their citizens; the Gospel of Christ.

christus-statue-SLC Temple Visitor's Center

I really like this statue in Salt Lake City. You must go to the SLC Temple Visitors’ Center and see it. It might help you understand why I say Mormons are Christians. There are hundreds of statues here in China but I haven’t found one of Christ yet.

So, while I try to keep my dose of paranoia under control, I will continue to try to be the example of what I believe would be most beneficial to the communists and their wish to help their countrymen. I will try to be the Christian that I know I should be. I will show them that there is nothing to fear from those of us that attempt to live a life that follows the model of the one that they called Jesus The Christ. Maybe in their spying on me and what I do they might just decide there is nothing to fear about the Gospel of Christ and will allow their countrymen a greater choice in worshiping how, where, or what they may.

Posted by: 1of10boyz | August 15, 2014

What Do Mormons Believe Happens When We Die?

1of10boyz:

Been awhile since I reblogged Rob. What do you believe happens when you die? Does the religion you practice match what you believe?

Originally posted on Mormonism: Really Want to Know?:

When I served as a full-time missionary for the Church, we often introduced a gospel discussion with the three big questions of life:

  • Who am I?
  • Why am I here?
  • Where am I going after this life?

In my mind, any religion worth its altars should be able to provide answers to these questions, each of which is fundamental to our understanding of our relationship to God.  Oddly enough, these are the three questions on which many religions or religious denominations are maddeningly vague, leaving us with some sense of an ethic duty without an understanding of how it all fits into the big picture.  If there is a big picture.

One of the things that I always have appreciated about the Mormon faith is its genuine effort to address these critical questions.  The answers provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been a great comfort…

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