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After brief opening exercises, Young Women and Young Men activities are usually held separately.

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By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog. The actual fireside took place last night, so I thought I would give you a report. The missionaries were also there for the dinner part, and they gave a nice little message afterwards. Then people started coming, and the fireside itself started at The basic theme of the fireside was how to respond to questions people ask you about the Church. I began with a of general suggestions:.

I try to err on the side of assuming that people are sincere in their questions, even when inartfully worded or when a disagreement of some sort is implicit in the question. I told the kids how this was actually a motivating factor for me. When I went on my mission, I thought I pretty much knew all there was to know about the Church. But I quickly learned that answering big, grapefruit-sized softball questions from my teachers in their catechism-type lessons was a very different experience from answering genuine questions from skeptical investigators.

At that point we began to brainstorm with respect to a list of questions the kids themselves had come up with the week. I suggested that sometimes using an analogy to something that is not LDS is the most effective approach. In contrast, I explained that I am not a fan of raising folkloric stories of physical protection from wearing garments.

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I described a comic I saw at Sunstone last summer that shows a bishop holding a temple recommend interview for Superman, who is sitting across the desk from him. Even though the Church pushes this as a policy, it is ultimately a parental decision, and it is not that out of the ordinary for our U. I also talked a little bit about bright line tests and how there is always a certain injustice at the margins; i.

So I told them quite frankly that when I was their age I never marked scriptures. Having gone through the exercise completely once, I found that I could pretty easily find whatever I was looking for. The bishop contributed to these discussions along the way, and he made a good point that another ambiguity in the question could be that it was meant to be why do you mark scriptures, since in some religious cultures such a practice would be viewed as offensive.

I agreed and pointed out that we tend to take a more pragmatic view of such things. Again, this question invites a bit of parsing: does it mean you specifically or Mormons generally? My first read would be to take it as specific, which in the case of the youth means baptisms for the dead. Instead, use an entire sentence to explain the process rather than using our technical term.

But I gave them how I would respond to such a question.

What gets me through each day

I would say it is a ritual drama—like a passion play—about Lds youth fireside ideas creation of the world, during the course of which we make several religious promises to live righteous lives. I used this as an example of needing to correct a mistaken background assumption before addressing the acutal question, since the Bible was not originally a book.

Its books circulated independently until the technological innovation of the codex and the establishment of the canon in the 4th century A. What do you believe in? There are so many answers, what do I say? What is different about your church?

I think I mumbled some stuff about orthopraxis and lay leadership and it being a seven-days a week faith, but I think I was mostly incoherent on the spot like that. So I suggested giving one belief you hold in common with the person to establish some common ground and then one belief that is different to show some contrast.

But we also believe in continuing revelation and that we have prophets today just as they did in ancient times. The bishop added a great thought, that you can just sort of paraphrase not quote some of the articles of faith. How many wives can you have?

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How do I explain polygamy in relation with our church? But you can certainly go into more detail on the history of this proscription, and we talked about that for a while. Why is your church so obsessed with sending out missionaries for two whole years?

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I used this one as an illustration of a question you need actual information to answer. You could go to church for a hundred years and still not know the answer to this; you need an actual resource to respond effectively.

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People ask about or if I try to explain about ours prophets, I need help to elaborate. All in all, it went very well and I think it was a great success. Those kids are lucky to have that particular bishop, who in the universe of LDS bishops has to be in the Good stuff! I like your approach to the whole thing. And the bishop does sound uber-cool, in an adult over 30 sorta way.

I particularly like the garment example.

Youth fireside report

There was one part of the evening that got a little dicey. I hesitated a moment, because I have strong feelings on that subject, but I had promised myself that I would be honest with the kids, because they can smell bs a mile away. So I told them frankly that I disagree with that particular church policy, and explained why. I asked the bishop afterwards whether that part worked out ok, and he said it was fine, so that was a relief, even if my wife thought I ranted a little bit when I first got onto that subject [but she said I redeemed myself towards the end of that topic].

Man, speak for yourself, but I already do this. Today at lunch I summoned the ketchup bottle to my table.

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Here ya go, Steve. The full citation is William G. Thanks for the report, Kevin. I just ed the link to this post to my bishop with a suggestion to do the same thing in our ward. Man, this is the kind of stuff we need in Sunday School, as opposed to what we got yesterday. Excellent job, Kevin.

Kevin, I was just going over this again and wondered what basic resources on the net you recommended? Based on the talks I heard in Sacrament yesterday, we need to do this for adults in my ward.

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This is wonderful. I would love to have you come give this fireside to our ward. Not just the kids — the adults too.

I am constantly impressed by you, Kevin. I think that is so important as we get more and more attention because of the current presidential campaign and all the other reasons for more exposure of our faith. Preparing the kids with better tools to defend their faith while helping them understand that inquiries into their faith do not have to confrontational but rather they can be beneficial to both sides of the conversation is a great blessing to them.

Both you and your bishop deserve thanks and congratulations. Great job. On the garments question, I agree—when I heard Bill Marriott telling about the fire on his boat and the burns stopping at the garment lines, I wished that lightning had struck him before he could say that one. Except in our case we wear it underneath our clothing, so the reminder is to ourselves, not to others.

Really glad to hear this went well. I think that the Brethren have gotten the message that ordinary members need to be able to speak intelligently about the Gospel. Elder Ballard specifically discussed having talking points we live in a PR-driven Church and culture about the Church for when questions come up. On a similar note, this past Sunday, we had about 50 people from the local synagogue come to sacrament meeting. Adults except the youth leaders were excluded from that meeting, but all reports indicate that our youth were very knowledgeable and sincere in their answers.

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Now, the LDS youth are taking off this Friday to the synagogue! Deep Sea, I think in that format you have to print one at a time, which is a real pain. My understanding is that they make it hard so that people will buy their own cd-rom of past issues. Mark B. Golden in me. Jana Riess had a very nice little essay on swearing in a recent Sunstone. AHLDuke, the interfaith activities with your local synagogue sound wonderful!

Youth t activities

Well, the group from the synagogue took the first step by expressing interest to someone in the ward or stake leadership. During the sacrament meeting, our bishopric took a very enlightened stance on the subject of the sacrament and encouraged that it be passed among the rows that had been roped off for them. We also dealt with a little inertia to reciprocating their interest and taking our youth for a visit to the synagogue.

Luckily, after the meeting, the youth really wanted to do it and they and the youth leaders took the reins.

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Not just the temporal future, which of course they are, but a good future, in the sense of progress and open-mindedness. Did you try to give them some reasons why the Church might have the temple-marriage policy it does.

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