Religion & Society

How do our religious beliefs and practices benefit us and our society? Why keep the Ten Commandments? Why try to keep the Golden Rule? Why try to live by Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount? Why attend Church? How are our current lives affected when we reject belief in a Higher Power? How are we affected when we reject spiritual realities for material illusions? How does religious faith change, enhance, or limit our life and career opportunities? Does God really bless us when we keep His Commandments? What does modern sociological and psychological research add to our understanding of these questions? Articles posted here may have some answers related to these kinds of questions.

Our Christmas Angels

By Stephen M. Bird | December 15, 2012

I will never forget that moment when I knew a speeding truck was going to hit us on my side of the car. During the Christmas season of 1969, while serving an LDS mission in Bakersfield, California, I vividly remember riding in the front passenger seat while a new, inexperienced missionary, Elder Fodness drove. Elder Timms, a Teacher-Leader rode with his companion in the back seat.

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Two Tales of 300 Warriors: Greeks and Israelites

By Stephen M. Bird | November 10, 2012

If you had to join an army, would you rather join the 300 Spartans led by King Leonidas or the 300 Israelites led by Gideon? The Spartans were wonderful warriors with superior armor, fighting skills, and weapons. Their shields were the best of their day, and when Greek warriors interlocked their shields they made a powerful wall of shielded men called a phalanx. The Greeks were deadly with their spears and short swords. They used formidable fighting techniques, battle tactics, and strategies. These 300 Spartan warriors and many of the other Greeks that fought with them had endured tortuous training to develop their skills, strength and courage.

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Jesus Christ: Easter, One Solitary Life

By Stephen M. Bird, talk given during Sunday Sacrament Service,
on April 8, 2012 at the Grove Creek 7th Ward

Just last week, a dear friend passed away in St. George. He was only 60 years old. He was three years younger than me. While working in North Dakota he began experiencing congestion in his lungs and pain in his stomach. He thought he had bronchitis and an ulcer. The symptoms became severe and his wife drove him home to St. George. Doctors at the hospital there diagnosed him with stage-four esophageal cancer and he died a few days later. News of his death came to Peggy and I as a complete surprise and Peggy wept in my arms for a long time.

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Stolen Watch, Broken Heart

Video by Jarren Bird and his friends.
Comments by Stephen M. Bird. Linked April 5, 2012

My son Jarren and his friends filmed a short movie in downtown Pleasant Grove, Utah a few years ago. I keep watching it and I keep thinking about the ending. There is healing power in remembering Christ and His healing power can bless our life in countless ways. When we remember Christ as we make our choices, we are more inclined to make the best choice. This can't fail to to make our life better.

Watch Jarren and John's video.

Mighty Prayer Brings the Spirit

By Stephen M. Bird, posted January 30, 2012

The term “mighty prayer” is used eight times in modern scriptures. [1] Our gospel doctrine class discussed it a little as we studied passages in the book of Revelation. I had introduced the lesson with a passage from Second Timothy: “This know also, that in the last days perilous time shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud,” etc. [2] I asserted that as more people in the world became wicked, the world would become more dangerous or “perilous”. Later, at home I received a Facebook comment from a friend in Arizona that seemed to confirm my belief. She wrote:

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I Was a Bishop Before I Really Learned to Pray

By Richard D. Anthony, Ensign January 1976. Introduction by Stephen M. Bird

When I first read Richard's story, I was a 26-year-old army sergeant stationed in Germany. My unit frequently went to the field, taking me away from my wife and son. I felt stressed and afflicted being away from my family. I began to pray the way Richard did and I received the same results. For readers who are not LDS, it may help to know that an LDS Bishop is a shepherd of a flock or a pastor of a congregation.]

Read Richard's story at LDS.org.

What Is Mighty Prayer?

By Kersten Campbell, New Era December 2011

Although I prayed every day, I’d never felt like my prayers could be described as anything but ordinary. I wondered if the heroes in the scriptures were the only ones whose prayers could be described as “mighty.”

One day, a friend called and described a beautiful prayer experience she had had. “It was like real two-way communication with my Father in Heaven,” she said. “Heaven felt so close around me.”

What Is Mighty Prayer? (pdf)

Read more... (html)

Three Great Reasons to Give Thanks

By John Hilton III and Anthony Sweat, New Era December 2011

The two things that "offend God" the most are ingratitude (confessing not His hand) and disobedience. Let's learn why we should be grateful so that we don't offend God.

Reason #1: Being Grateful Makes You Happier and Healthier

Three Great Reasons to Give Thanks (pdf)

Read her article at LDS.org. (html)

The Joy of Becoming Grateful

by Natalie Wilson, November 13, 2011

During General Conference in April of 1992, President Monson said, “This is a wonderful time to be living here on earth. Our opportunities are limitless. While there are some things wrong in the world today, there are many things right, such as teachers who teach, ministers who minister, marriages that make it, parents who sacrifice, and friends who help.

“We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude is among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.”

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Marriage Makes Us Richer: Commandments, Marriage and Prosperity, Part 1

by Stephen M. Bird. Posted May 6, 2011

At the library I browsed Money magazine and noticed an article "Do You Have What It Takes To Be Wealthy?" I wanted to be wealthy so I read the article,which, presented 15 questions designed to tell me whether or not I had the potential to become wealthy. The 8th question asked if I was married and the article's explanation for the question caught my attention:

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Marriage Makes Us Richer, Part 2

by Stephen M. Bird. Posted September 9, 2011

In my “Marriage Makes Us Richer, Part” post, I linked to an article "10 Ways Getting Married will Make You Richer." Of the ten ways mentioned in that article, cohabitants can participate in the first two ways, i.e. "1. Getting together and splitting the bills," and "2. Combining the furnishings." However, the other eight ways appear to be inaccessible to cohabitants. Research currently indicates that cohabitants to not appear to benefit nearly as much financially from their coupled living arrangement as do married couples.

Why?

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