Dallin Crump

ChurchofJesusChrist

It has become a tradition in my family to watch the 1994 version of Miracle on 34th Street around Thanksgiving. It’s one of the things we do to kick off the Christmas season. We watched it this evening.

My favorite quote from this film is from Kris Kringle himself:

If you can’t accept anything on faith, then you are doomed to a life dominated by doubt.

This reminded me of a quote from Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf:

It’s natural to have questions—the acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding. There are few members of the Church who, at one time or another, have not wrestled with serious or sensitive questions. One of the purposes of the Church is to nurture and cultivate the seed of faith—even in the sometimes sandy soil of doubt and uncertainty. Faith is to hope for things which are not seen but which are true.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters—my dear friends—please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

At times I have grappled with doubt like everyone else, but I refuse to live a life dominated by it. I choose to have faith in something – in someone: Jesus Christ. I join with millions this Christmas season to celebrate His humble birth.

Merry Christmas!


#100DaysToOffload (No. 60) #faith #Christmas #Christianity #ChurchOfJesusChrist

It's been a whirlwind weekend, but I somehow started a new Mastodon instance! ZCMI.social is now a thing.

It's currently open only to a small group of close friends and associates for a “closed beta” until I get this whole Mastodon Admin thing figured out. If there is any reasonable degree of success after a month or two, I might opening it up for more people to join.

But let me back up. Why did I name it “ZCMI” and who is it for? The original ZCMI – Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution – was a department store chain founded in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1868. It changed owners throughout the years and went defunct about 20 years ago. (Seriously, how many department store chains have died in the last couple decades? Remember Mervyn's? Fred Meyer? Montgomery Ward?).

The ZCMI in ZCMI.social stands for Zion's Cooperative Mastodon Instance! It's intended for members of my church – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – who are actively trying to live their faith. I envision it as as a safe space for church members to talk about their faith and interact with and support other members trying to walk the covenant path. The name of this new Mastodon instance is a way of honoring our past while looking forward to the future.

There is still a lot of work to do – a few of my colleagues and I are coming up with some community guidelines and refining the server rules (I mostly copied our existing rules from Fosstodon because I think they're a pretty great place to start).

Over the next month I'd like to try to get at least 30 or 40 people on there and actively using it and see where things go from there.

I'm excited!

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 55) #tech #faith #ChurchOfJesusChrist #SocialMedia

This image was generated by DALL-E prompt “A painting of a cosmic vending machine in the style of Michelangelo”.

Today I had the opportunity to participate in a good Elders Quorum lesson and discussion about a talk by Elder D. Todd Christofferson called Our Relationship With God. The entire talk is worth reading and studying, but a favorite passage of mine reads:

Some misunderstand the promises of God to mean that obedience to Him yields specific outcomes on a fixed schedule. They might think, “If I diligently serve a full-time mission, God will bless me with a happy marriage and children” or “If I refrain from doing schoolwork on the Sabbath, God will bless me with good grades” or “If I pay tithing, God will bless me with that job I’ve been wanting.” If life doesn’t fall out precisely this way or according to an expected timetable, they may feel betrayed by God. But things are not so mechanical in the divine economy. We ought not to think of God’s plan as a cosmic vending machine where we (1) select a desired blessing, (2) insert the required sum of good works, and (3) the order is promptly delivered.

God will indeed honor His covenants and promises to each of us. We need not worry about that. The atoning power of Jesus Christ—who descended below all things and then ascended on high and who possesses all power in heaven and in earth—ensures that God can and will fulfill His promises. It is essential that we honor and obey His laws, but not every blessing predicated on obedience to law is shaped, designed, and timed according to our expectations. We do our best but must leave to Him the management of blessings, both temporal and spiritual.

(Emphasis mine)

I can't really add anything to this or to the rest of Elder Christofferson's talk, other than to say: I know this is true. None of us are exempt from trials and sorrow in this life, even when we're trying to live righteously. We must trust in God and in His purposes and timing.


#100DaysToOffload (No. 25) #Christianity #ChurchofJesusChrist #life

A few days ago I was listening to the General Conference talk by Elder Jonathan S. Schmitt who spoke about the many names of Jesus Christ.

He said:

Just as Jesus knows each of us by name, one way we can come to better know Jesus is by learning His many names. Like the names of Israel and Peter, many of Jesus’s names are titles that help us understand His mission, purpose, character, and attributes. As we come to know Jesus’s many names, we will come to better understand His divine mission and His selfless character. Knowing His many names also inspires us to become more like Him—to develop Christlike attributes that bring joy and purpose to our lives.

As I listened to this talk, my musical mind traveled back in time 20 years to my full-time missionary service in Brazil. It was there that I was first introduced to a recording of The Garden: An Allegorical Oratorio. With lyrics by Michael McLean and music by Bryce Neubert, it is beautiful and moving. There is no spoken word – the story is told completely through music. It's an allegory about Jesus Christ from the perspective of four objects in the Garden of Gethsemane, each with unique troubles:

  • A seed that can't grow.
  • A ram caught in a thicket.
  • An olive tree that can't produce fruit.
  • A millstone that has no feelings.

Each of them sings a song explaining their dire circumstances. And to make matters worse, there's a snake slithering around and quite happy about the sorry state of the garden.

Then a Gardener comes and brings hope. He tells the garden's beleaguered residents about someone who will come to help them. The song the Gardener sings is called The Man With Many Names. And it was this very song that began playing in my mind as Elder Schmitt spoke.

That evening I listened to the song for the first time in probably a decade or more, and it moved me just as much as it did the first time I heard it. I listened intently to the lyrics as I reflected on all of the beautiful talks and music about Jesus Christ I had heard during General Conference.

There is One who to this garden comes Like a most unusual rain Drink it in and never thirst again Living Water is His name

There is One who comes to find each one Who has lost his way again He will lead the way back to the fold The Good Shepherd is His name

There is One who when your crying's done Gives the gift you've never known He'll give fruit because He is the Vine And life, for He's the Living Stone

He is known by oh so many names And will be forever more Hope comes from the One with many names And He's not forgotten yours

No, He's not forgotten yours

I won't spoil the rest of the story for you (though you may already have an idea of how it ends), but it's well worth a listen if you can find a digital or physical copy (which I have discovered is sadly not easy to do these days).

I'm thankful for this divine blast from the past. Only God could have brought a memory made 20 years ago to the surface at the perfect moment. It reminded me that God is and has always been aware of and concerned about me and what I do with my life. As the song says, He hasn't forgotten my name. It reminded me of the powerful testimony of Jesus Christ I gained during my 2-year missionary service, and which has grown steadily since.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 18) #music #Christianity #ChurchofJesusChrist

I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints living in the US. I currently serve on my Stake High Council (a lay leadership role).

Here's how I use technology to help fulfill my calling (responsibilities) as a High Councilor on an average Sunday, and other ways I use technology for church-related things outside of my calling.

Read more...