Thursday, August 21, 2014

# 50: Rebecca Maesato!

Say what you want about polygamy and seer-stones and multiple accounts of the First Vision, but the Church produces some downright decent people.  One of these people is featured today as reason # 50 to stay LDS.  Her name is Rebecca Maesato.  Don't ask me how to pronounce her last name.

Actually, if you want to pronounce her last name correctly, listen to this podcast.  The proper pronunciation is probably in that podcast somewhere.

Really, listen to this podcast.  Do it!  Please!  I mean, if you're reading this blog, by now you've probably listened to a couple of Mormon Stories and Mormon Expression and Infants on Thrones podcasts, and you've probably read a lot of angry ex-Mormon forums and articles on Mormon Think.  Can't you take the time to listen to an episode of A Thoughtful Faith?

If you don't want to listen to the podcast, I'll just blab about it here in this blog post.  And if you don't want to listen to the podcast... well... I'll blab anyway... because... that's what I do...

Sister Maesato has spent a lot of time in Haiti doing humanitarian work.  She has helped establish orphanages and care for some of the poorest, most vulnerable people on earth.   She's truly Christ-like.

She sounds just wonderful.

In the podcast, Sister Maesato describes some of the faith and stories of Christians from other denominations, and it's clear to Sister Maesato that God is working through other denominations.  She says that some of the prayers she heard from "non-members" in Haiti were some of the most heartfelt and sincere prayers she had ever heard.  She also describes a non-denominational church service that she went to, shortly after the major earthquake in 2010.  In that church service, a lot people sang church hymns and played and sang uplifting gospel music.  Sister Maesato says that that church meeting, in the open air, was one of the most spiritual experiences she ever had.

Sister Maesato did not go to Haiti to convert people to Mormonism.  And she didn't go as an official missionary from the LDS Church.  She basically went to Haiti on her own and eventually formed her own non-profit organization.  When she's in Haiti, she does not proselyte, but she does occasionally share values, and generic faith in God.  Most of all, she shares Christ-like love, through deed more than through word.

Also, she actually ended up adopting a lot of Haitian orphans.  She said she saw so many miracles in her years-long process.

At one point in the podcast, Kathy, the sister of Rebecca, describes a time when Christians gave her the Christian equivalent of a priesthood blessing.  A bunch of men and women put their hands on their heads and shoulders and prayed, and the Spirit was there.  Rebecca says that she felt that that prayer was just as valid as any prayer that she had ever said.  She said, "You don't need the priesthood to call down the powers of Heaven and to bless people."

If you're going through a faith crisis, I have some advice for you.  Follow the admonition of Christ and serve your brothers and sisters.  Help them.  Care for them.  Relieve their pain.  Love them.  I'm not saying you necessarily need to care for your LDS brothers and sisters.  Maybe you can't stand most TBM's now anyway.  But why don't you try caring for your spiritual brothers and sisters, a.k.a every person on the planet?  I think you'll find yourself growing closer to God by serving others than by reading anything on FAIR and Mormon Think.

(By the way, I should be taking my own advice.  Instead of caring for orphans, I usually waste time online.  But I suppose I serve and care for my own two little children, and I really enjoy doing that, and I do feel that I grow closer to God as I try to become a better father.)

Look, everyone has to deal with the sometimes ugly and sometimes beautiful history of Mormonism in his or her own way.  I'm not sure staying LDS is best for everyone.  In fact, in the case of the Wilder family, it seems to me that they were better off leaving.  But for me, and a lot of other people, I think staying LDS is, in fact, the best path.

So if you leave, I respect your choice to leave.  But I hope you'll listen to Rebecca Maesato on A Thoughtful Faith podcast.  If you do, I think you'll be less angry at the LDS Church, and you'll recognize that there are some wonderful, wonderful people in the Church.

Well, thanks for reading this.  Sorry if my writing is... um... not so good sometimes... anyway... I hope that the importance of my subject matter compensates for my lack of style.

Take care, whoever you are.

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# 49: The Refried Beans Are Yummy

If you stay LDS, you can buy some great refried beans for a low price from an LDS cannery.  The ingredient list is short.  It only contains two items: beans and salt.  The beans are processed so they can be stored for a long time- five years, in fact, which is much longer than the shelf life of an ordinary can of refried beans.

The most important thing about the beans is that they're delicious.

They're dehydrated, so you basically just add water.  All you do is put some water in a pot, and bring it to a boil.  Dump in some big scoops of the beans.  You can follow the ratio printed on the label, or you can just do whatever.  If you like your beans runnier, add more water.  If you like them thicker, add more beans.

Turn the stovetop off, put a lid on the pot, and let the beans just sit there for a few minutes.  I think the recommended sitting time is 10 minutes, but it can be more like 5 minutes if you're in a hurry.  Stir the beans occasionally, if you feel like it.  This isn't rocket science.  In fact, it's hard to mess these beans up.

Once the beans are done, put them on a tortilla.  Add some shredded cheese, jalapeƱos, tomatoes, and maybe some avocado and a dollop of sour cream, and Wham!  You've got yourself a delicious burrito!

Oh, and the beans will be so hot you don't even have to put the rest of the stuff in the microwave.  The heat of the beans will actually melt the shredded cheese.  Yeah, you gotta be careful, actually, because the beans can be so hot they can burn your mouth.  It's a good idea to let them cool down a little before you eat them.  One time I dropped some hot beans on my wrist and Ouch! That hurt!

Another important thing about the beans is that they're addictive.  My non-member in-laws are hooked.  They always have a # 10 can of the beans squirreled away, and they affectionately refer to them as "Mormon Beans."

I've tried a lot of refried beans in my life, and I can't find another brand that beats "Mormon Beans" when it comes to taste, quality and price.  What are you waiting for?  Go buy a case of refried beans at the LDS cannery nearest you!

Actually, the truth is, you can buy the beans whether or not you're a member.  So, if you resign because you don't believe in the church anymore, you can still come back for the beans.

Perhaps Reason # 49 is a lousy reason to stay LDS.  Oh well.

I'm hungry.  Maybe I'll go fix myself a burrito.

Wait!  I just thought of something else!  If we all leave the Church, who's gonna make those beans?!  Somebody's gotta keep making them!  They're so good!  And who's gonna sell the beans to all the ex-Mormons and all the other hungry bean-eaters?

Hmmm... maybe Reason # 49 is a pretty good reason to stay after all!

If what I've written on this blog has helped you, or entertained you, or if you're just feeling generous, please consider making a donation through the PayPal link below.  Any amount is greatly appreciated.  Thank you.