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- Faculty | Department of Political Science
Two thousand years ago, upon the sand and stones of Galilee walked a man that few recognized for who He truly was: the Creator of worlds, the Redeemer, the Son of God. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, restored to the earth in these latter days, is centered on those commandments the Savior proclaimed as the greatest: to love our Heavenly Father and to love our fellowmen.
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, members are encouraged to fast whenever their faith needs special fortification and to fast regularly once each month on fast day. On that day, we go without eating or drinking for two consecutive meals, commune with our Heavenly Father, and contribute a fast offering to help the poor.
The offering should be at least equal to the value of the food that would have been eaten.
Typically, the first Sunday of each month is designated as fast Sunday. On that day, members who are physically able are encouraged to fast, pray, bear witness to the truthfulness of the gospel, and pay a generous fast offering. We observe that in the scriptures, fasting almost always is linked with prayer. If we want our fasting to be more than just going without eating, we must lift our hearts, our minds, and our voices in communion with our Heavenly Father. Fasting, coupled with mighty prayer, is powerful.
It can fill our minds with the revelations of the Spirit. It can strengthen us against times of temptation.
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Fasting and prayer can help develop within us courage and confidence. It can strengthen our character and build self-restraint and discipline. Often when we fast, our righteous prayers and petitions have greater power. Testimonies grow.
Walter Benjamin and the Red Army Faction, Part 2
We mature spiritually and emotionally and sanctify our souls. Each time we fast, we gain a little more control over our worldly appetites and passions. Fasting and prayer can help us in our families and in our daily work. They can help us magnify our callings in the Church. I mean really fasting, and praying during that period. It will do more to give you the real spirit of your office and calling and permit the Spirit to operate through you than anything I know. The powerful combination of fasting and prayer is exemplified by the four sons of Mosiah.
They faced overwhelming odds, yet worked miracles in bringing thousands of the Lamanites to a knowledge of the truth. They shared the secret of their success. When we fast, brethren and sisters, we feel hunger. And for a short time, we literally put ourselves in the position of the hungry and the needy. As we do so, we have greater understanding of the deprivations they might feel. Not surprisingly, he was very unpopular. Liberty of Conscience was his contribution to the ideas that inspired the American Revolution—the principle that says Freedom of Conscience is God-given, therefore sacred.
This is the rule that says every man has a right to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience and no one has a right to interfere. That means this principle is not about taking God out of government. Many people believed societies needed a State-ordained church institution to promote this benefit and people should be taxed to support it. This was the status-quo in the colonies, although from one colony to another you would find a multitude of church denominations: Anglican, Congregational, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Mennonite, Methodist, and so forth.
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After Indiependence, the Anglican Church in America was divided into two branches: the Church of England which no longer had any authority over civil affairs, and the Episcopalian Church, which was identical to the Anglican except that the British Monarch was not its head. Virginians experienced a tremendous upheaval because the various religious factions distrusted one another. They eventually arrived at a solution agreeable to most of them—that there would be no State church, and no church organization would be favored by the government over any other.
However, separating the institutions of the Church from government is one thing, acknowledging God in the public square is another. Since God exists independently of these visible institutions, people may gather for public prayer or invoke His name as they deem appropriate. Each religion teaches different things about God, but it is amazing how much they have in common with one another.
As far as I can tell, all the great religions in the world today teach some form of the Golden Rule, an ancient commandment that says we are to treat other people as we wish to be treated by them. When time came to set up a new government, and a Bill of Rights was proposed, the debate on religious liberty was intense, Most Americans were Protestants in the Reformed tradition even if they did not attend church regularly or held services in their own livingrooms.
There were a few Roman Catholics, Jews and Deists, but atheism was very rare. Among the men who lead the American Revolution, most were members of Protestant denominations. Very few were Deists. Jefferson was called an atheist because he did not subscribe to the teachings of the church, though he remained a communicating member of the Episcopal Church his whole life. Yet, he spoke of God so eloquently that he sounds like an 18th Century American Protestant preacher. The idea that prayer and bible-reading in schools corrupts society is based on the false premise that people of different faiths or no faith at all cannot pray together for the benefit of the whole.
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Prayer has a unifying effect. There is much in the Holy Bible about wisdom and virtue, liberty and happiness. Benjamin Franklin thought Congress should open their deliberations with prayer, for, he said, if God is concerned with every sparrow who falls to earth, is it probable that a nation could rise without His aid? People can be taught about God without being required to follow a particular religious doctrine, and who can argue with the Golden Rule? Some people say certain religions teach bigotry and violence, and that is true.
But, the religious tradition that animated the American colonists in the days of the Revolution was not one of them. Christianity teaches Peace, yet we are told Christians are the cause of pesecutions and violence against non-believers. That is because God does not control individuals or society.
I am not saying this to excuse people who do evil in the name of God or churches that endorse these things. I am saying those that do these things do not represent Jesus Christ or his teachings. My opinions do not come from any one source, or any one school of thought. If you want to open up a whole new world of 18th Century American Political Philosophy, start here:.
Anthologies of primary sources from the Founders are available from Liberty Fund, Chicago University Press, and other publishers. If you read broadly enough you will see that these and other men were among the great political philiosophers of history, and sadly overlooked by academics and popular histories. In fact, Williams was a run of the mill Puritan Independent and the Independents had been equating liberty of conscience with freedom of religion since Barry is way off base in his defense of Williams against the magistrates in the Bay Colony.
In fact, the magistrates in the Bay had always negotiated with the Indians about where they would settle and they always paid for the land they settled on. Further, Williams was not unpopular but he was dangerous. Well, thank you for reading my comments. I agree with you and against EK on this one. I thought it was the fact that he challenged their notion of a theocratic Christian commonwealth and instead argued for liberty of conscience which was for the most novel during the time.
We can look at the Massachusetts Body of Liberties and see the theocratic language which was the very opposite of liberty of conscience and against which Williams railed. Further, the Calvinists at this time were still supporting what Calvin did to Servetus and arguing against Williams personally, by name for promoting liberty of conscience.
Williams was banished from the Bay Colony because he had the tendency to speak forcefully, persuasively and authoritatively without knowing all the facts. He recanted all of these statements because they were not true, but nobody remembers that. If anything, Williams was actually more of a theocrat than Nathanial Ward, John Cotton or Thomas Dudley and the least theocratic person in the colony was John Winthrop, the perennial governor of the Bay.
In the end, Williams was the only member of his congregation and the only citizen in his personal republic. Of course the Bay Colony was a theocracy. The Bay considered itself to be a free state with only notional allegiance to the Crown and so they cited the Bible as authority for its criminal laws. If you read paragraph 95 concerning the liberties of the churches in light of my reply to Standing Fast you will see that the Bay was indeed an Independent theocracy and paragraphs 1 through 93 show that the Bay was indeed a secular constitutional democratic republic.http://nn.threadsol.com/100738-top-cell-phone.php
Faculty | Department of Political Science
Finally, Independents were English Reformed not calvinist. Yes, you are correct. There were also other issues on theology and doctrine where Williams parted company with Puritans. One of these was infant baptism. This issue was always a controversy because there is no biblical basis for it.
Williams did not believe in it, which is why he headed in the direction of the Baptists. The controversy came as the result of Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic tradition.