Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fully 100% of Mormons Believe in God

A survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life about members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, found that, "Fully 100% [of Mormons] say they believe in God or a supreme being, which is higher than among any other religious group. Moreover, nine-in-ten Mormons (90%) are absolutely certain in this belief. A similar proportion (91%) sees God as a person with whom one can have a relationship. These numbers are considerably higher among Mormons than among the general population."

Some of the findings of the survey may be surprising. The above chart shows that more than "eight-in-ten (83%) Mormons say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 56% of the general population. On this measure, Mormons are similar to members of evangelical (79%) and historically black (85%) Protestant churches and Jehovah's Witnesses (86%)."

Another section of the survey showed that, "Almost all Mormons say they believe in life after death and that miracles still occur today as in ancient times (98% and 96%, respectively). Just as striking is the intensity with which they embrace these beliefs: 88% are absolutely certain of an afterlife, and 80% completely believe in miracles."

In typical fashion, the news media took an entirely different approach to the survey. In an article in the Deseret News, they said, "A new survey shows members of the LDS Church feel more threatened by Hollywood than do members of other faiths."

Another look at the survey also shows what we as Mormons all know, "Mormons are widely known for having large families and, indeed, about half of all Mormons (49%) have children under age 18 living at home, with one-in-five (21%) saying they have three or more children at home. Only Muslims are similarly likely to have large families: 47% of Muslims have at least one child living at home and 15% have three or more. Among the population overall, by contrast, only about a third (35%) have children who are minors living at home and just 9% have three or more."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mormon Channel now on Facebook and Twitter

The Mormon Channel is now on Facebook and Twitter. You can receive the latest updates and share your thoughts and ideas with them.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Feynman Lectures on Microsoft Research

Seven famous lectures given by Richard Feynman at Cornell University in 1964 are now completely available on the Microsoft Research Website as part of Project Tuva. Richard Feynman "was an American physicist known for the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as work in particle physics (he proposed the parton model). For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965, together with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga." Wikipedia.

Project Tuva is an enhanced video player platform initially built by Microsoft Research to host The Messenger Lectures given at Cornell University by Richard Feynman in 1964 and recorded by the BBC. This was a collaborative effort between Bill Gates and Microsoft Research which is designed to demonstrate the abilities of enhanced video to teach people about the "core scientific concepts" of Feynman's lectures using interactive media. Wikipedia.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Deseret Book outlets to carry LDS Church Distribution items

In an article featured in the Deseret News for July 15, 2009, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that six Deseret Book stores will begin distributing curriculum products and temple-clothing products. The locations are in downtown Salt Lake City; Ogden; St. George; Idaho Falls, Idaho; Las Vegas; and the Portland suburb of Lake Oswego, Ore.

The article states:

Current pricing and policies will be maintained at the six stores, which will soon undergo minor changes to accommodate the additional items, with enclosed areas created for the purchase of temple clothing. Temple recommends will be required for purchase of that clothing. Two of the stores will lease more floor space, and the items are expected to be made available by November.

"Handling these products for Distribution Services is a privilege," said Mark Clegg, vice president and general manager of Deseret Book Retail. "We are happy to offer these additional services to LDS members with the hope that this change will prove to be a great convenience."


Mormon Urban Legend Website

From hitchhiking Nephites to the LDS Church owning Coca Cola, is a site dedicated to either confirming or exploding the myths of Mormonism. In reading through the offerings, except for the supposedly famous people who are supposed to be Mormons, who I have never heard of, most of the legends are pretty familiar stories, some of which I have heard since I was a teenager.

It appears that most of the documentation is believable and the concept is certainly a good idea. But doesn't the fact that the myths are reprinted at all contribute to their veracity? Even if the myth is debunked? Anyone who has watched the popular TV show, Myth Busters, knows that even when the myths are busted, the fans still write into the show to contest the results. It appears that people want to believe these myths. In fact, as recently as last Sunday I heard one repeated in a lesson.

It is amazing to me how these stories get passed around and included in talks and lessons. There are very few of the false stories that have even a shred of believability.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

MIT developes fabric that can take pictures

Cloaking devices are on the way. The development of a new fibers which each can detect two frequencies of light, produced signals that when amplified and processed by a computer reproduced an image of a smiley face near the mesh.This may not sound like much, but it is suggested that the technology, if developed further, could give a soldier a uniform that would help him see threats in all directions. Further, optical fiber webs, by distributing the chore across a large area, would be less susceptible to damage in one area. Cnet.

The actual article is called "Exploiting Collective Effects of Multiple Optoelectronic Devices Integrated in a Single Fiber" and I would not recommend it as light reading, and you need a subscription to read the article anyway. But there are hundreds, if not thousands of similar investigations and articles including patent applications. The breakthrough, if it is one, seems to be not so much with optoelectronic devices but with the integration into a fiber.

It looks like technology will continue to change the fundamental way we do things for a long time to come.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

LDS Edition of the Holy Bible in Spanish

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced the publication of the Santa Biblia [Holy Bible] in Spanish. The scriptural portion of the text is based on the 1909 edition of the Reina-Valera Bible used by the LDS missionaries and by Church members for years. The Church notes that the text "underwent a very conservative revision, focusing on modernizing some of the outdated grammar and vocabulary that had shifted in meaning and acceptability." The Scriptures.

The text will have Chapter Headings, Cross-References, Explanatory Notes, a Reference Guide and Selections from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. There will also be a section of full-color Bible maps and photographs.

If you provide your E-mail address on the Website, you will be notified when the LDS edition becomes available.

The Josesph Smith Papers

The Joseph Smith Papers is an important scholarly project to publish all of the extant documents either authored by Joseph Smith or a member of his staff under his direction. This project has been endorsed by the National Archives' National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). All of the documents that meet the standards of the Project will be published both electronically and on paper. The texts will be complete copies of the originals.

The first book of documents has been published and is available at the Joseph Smith Papers. Please take time to go to the Website to learn more about this important project.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Digitization of the oldest Greek Biblical text

Quoting from the Website of Codex Sinaiticus:
Codex Sinaiticus is one of the most important books in the world. Handwritten well over 1600 years ago, the manuscript contains the Christian Bible in Greek, including the oldest complete copy of the New Testament. Its heavily corrected text is of outstanding importance for the history of the Bible and the manuscript – the oldest substantial book to survive Antiquity – is of supreme importance for the history of the book. [Find out more about Codex Sinaiticus.]
In the current project they will be reuniting the entire manuscript in digital form and making it accessible to a global audience for the first time. From 6 July 2009, the Codex Sinaiticus website features all extant pages of the Codex.

For years I have heard about the existence of these manuscripts and I view this digitization as a major contribution to Biblical scholarship.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Facebook

LDS Media Talk announces that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons or LDS) is developing pages for Facebook. Preliminary pages have been created including:
The pages incorporate a new Facebook feature, usernames as part of the Facebook address. As the site indicates:
To claim your own username (sometimes called “vanity URL”), visit Usernames can only contain romanized letters, numbers, and periods–no hypens or underscores. Think carefully about the username you choose. Once it’s been selected, you won’t be able to change or transfer it.