Out of Mormonism

I got Out of Mormonism on Gospel eBooks a little while back, but just now started reading it. Goodness. I'll quote a section here at length about the temple cleansing and the special underwear you get to wear as an lds. I don't know about you, but I get even more excited about Mitt Romney thinking of him wearing a special underwear that  he received from the momos.
A female temple worker told me to remove my clothing as she handed me a white garment called a shield. I stood naked in a private cubicle and slipped the shield over my head. It looked like a sheet with a hole in it for my head, open on either side. Other women wearing shields sat on benches waiting their turn in the washing and anointing room. We didn't look at or speak to each other. We stared straight ahead with blank expressions on our faces.  
At this point, I vaguely remember being told I would now be prepared, "cleansed from the blood and sins of this generation." The moments that followed are blocked from my memory. But after I listened to the actual tape recordings of the temple ritual, I now know that a woman temple worker wets her hand in water and ceremonially washes every part of your body. She reaches under the shield lightly touching each body part as she recites words of the ceremony. 
After the washing with water, I was led into another part of the room and seated on a throne-like chair. Another temple worker poured drops of oil from a large horn onto my head and into her own hand. Then she anointed each part of my body with oil to prepare me to become a "queen and a priestess unto the Most High God, hereafter to rule and reign in the House of Israel forever. 
I didn't feel like a queen-in-waiting; I felt defiled, ashamed, and bewildered. 
After the cleansing and anointing procedure, I received my special underwear. 
"Sister Robertson, having authority, I place this garment upon you," the temple worker's arms reached under the shield, pulling the nylon one-piece undergarment on me. "It represents the garment given to Adam when he was found naked in the garden of Eden, and is called the garment of the holy priesthood." 
The garment covered me from neckline to cap sleeves and down, reaching to just above my knees. I felt uncomfortable and claustrophobic. "Inasmuch as you do not defile it, but are true and faithful to your covenants, it will be a shield and a protection to you against the power of the destroyer until you have finished your work on earth." I was told I must wear this garment of the holy priesthood next to my skin, even under ordinary underwear constantly, day and night, throughout my life. 
"With this garment, I give you a new name, which you should always remember and which you must keep sacred, and never reveal except at a certain place that will be shown you hereafter." The temple worker whispered in my ear, "Your name is Augusta." 
The washing and anointing procedure was supposed to cleanse me from the blood and sins of this generation. And yet I had been baptized eighteen years earlier in a Disciples of Christ Christian church, in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins.
Needless to say the book is very very interesting. It gets better too, as it delves in to the actual temple ceremony. The author's background as a cultural Christian is fascinating as she vaguely recalls what the Bible actually says throughout hearing the slight twist on the truth as the story progresses.

Also, as a person who watched a very close friend in High School leave the mormon church, I can attest to the terror involved. My friend was near suicidal for weeks following because of the terrible pressure that was asserted on her after leaving.

In Theory....

In theory, you preach to the gospel to those who are willing to hear it, and there will be significant, long-lasting, positive change.

Best Books Ever

I moved my sidebar around a little bit, so the following will be a permanent feature. But I wanted to include a post about this.

The following are the books I wish I had written, they're are not just brilliant, but incredibly pointed, bold, and God honoring. They are all available free (except their Amazon Links), I've gotten them off of Google Books, or Archive.org or elsewhere. The best I can tell they are all public domain books (if for some reason you think otherwise let me know, I'll just remove the link), and therefore you are also free to distribute them.

I'm a huge fan in a big way of all of these though I only posted briefly about each.

Do Not Say: The Church's Reasons for Neglecting the Heathen, by James Heywood Horsburgh.
A Serious Call to Missions
EPUB (iBooks), MOBI (Kindle), PDF, Amazon

This book is an in-your-face call to stop making excuses and just go!

Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours, by Roland Allen.
A Missionary's (or minister's) Handbook
EPUB (iBooks), MOBI (Kindle), Amazon, Online

This is the book I wish I had read before entering the field. I knew most of what he had to say, but unfortunately I learned it the hard way. There are also some wonderful principles about preaching, evangelism, etc... which would be applicable to every Christian, but especially the minister.

Secret Power: The Secret of Success in Christian Life and Work, by D. L. Moody.
You NEED the Holy Spirit
EPUB (iBooks), MOBI (Kindle), Amazon

I mentioned before that this is the book Francis Chan tried to write about the Holy Spirit, but didn't. Moody nails it almost all the way through (the last 3-5 pages are a little weird). We need the Holy Spirit for just about everything as Christians, and yet we ignore it.

I pray these books are as big of a blessing to you as they were to me.

Vain Discussion. Theological Crusaders. Morons Like Us. (1 Tim 1:5-7)

"The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions." - 1 Timothy 1:5-7

The point of Paul's teaching is love. Love. And yet there are those who study the word so that they can teach the word, and they don't realize the whole point is love. Love.

There are more than a few people who have wandered away from good teaching and instead have become caught up in vain discussion. I'm fascinated by how many people I know who come out of reading a book, or a seminary class, or whatever, and lose the whole point. Instead of them better chasing Christ — loving Christ — they instead chase foolish controversy or vain discussion. I myself am not above this, I have been caught up in the very same thing.

In almost every situation, or especially theological arguments, both sides of both arguments have much smarter and more knowledgable people than you or I. But we make confident assertions without understanding. This is fine if we're playing a game like RISK, and we're foolishly speaking confidently about a winning strategy. But this is life, eternity, and the love of Christ we should be preaching, it is not a simple game void of eternal consequence.

What is the aim of your charge? A few more Calvinists? Converting a church to congregationalism? The color of the walls in the sanctuary? Whether or not the pastor should be using notes, or the band drums?

Or is it like Paul who says, "The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."

Mmmmm.... Sound teaching. Love. Sincere faith.

Who Killed Men's Hats ➙

A hundred years ago — and that's when this picture was taken, in 1912 — men didn't leave home without a hat. Boys wore caps. 
A subject closer and closer to my heart, as I quickly grow more and more bald.

On Methodology

If you have to pick a method, pick one which enables you to leave at any time without adverse effects. The best model I know of for this leans heavily on the side of support. Support what already exists and focus immediately on raising up leaders under the leaders you're supporting. The next generation of leaders is of utmost importance, and calling people to focus on reproduction is never a bad call.

Lead leaders. Bless pastors. Encourage those already in ministry. If you feel called to plant your own church submit yourself to the authority of another pastor, and call others to do the same. In this you will knit together the church in an area, or in a country and begin to be a blessing to the church as a whole.

Methodology is of little importance. At the end of the day you will find you have to choose a "how". But I'm more and more convinced if you are consistently dependent on the Holy Spirit your method is of little importance. All of our methods are influenced by the fall. Some more than others — certainly. At the end of the day however, it's just a matter of how willing we are to allow the Holy Spirit to work through our foolishness. How much do we let Him in?

There is only one thing we can "do" which has nearly certain results, and that is to pray. Because prayer causes us to be dependent on the Holy Spirit. Prayer reminds us of our utter incompetence and desperate need for divine intervention in all we're doing. That's how we can be sure it is helpful.

If I were to write a history of what I've been learning over the last year or two it would be two or three pages on correct methodology, followed by one page of the Lord telling me my methodology will only ever be of secondary importance. The Holy Spirit. This alone is of primary importance.

To quote Ghoti Hook (in their brilliance)
"God god god god god god god
 God god god god god god god
God god god
Whoo hoo"