What is the Life Journal Bible study?

The Life journal reading plan is a year-long Bible study plan. Part of the Life Journal is the S.O.A.P. format: Scripture, Observation, Application & Prayer.  I've found it to be a powerful teaching tool, allowing scripture to sink into my heart, and building a fantastic journal in the process.

Why do you blog your entries?

I participate in the Life Journal forum on facebook with my Christian church's members, but I sometimes have insights that include passages of the Book of Mormon, or perspectives specific to historical Mormonism.  I don't add these to my LJ entries in the facebook group, and I wanted to have a place to do so, and think out loud.  (Even if it's in a mostly empty room--I'm not expecting much in the way of readership.) ;o)

I'm learning so much, now, about who my Savior really IS.  He is I AM.  He isn't a God that follows the mortal pattern of keeping oneself aloof from the majority of people because you simply can't sustain relationship with all. of. them.  He's a God of equality . . . He suffered all He did so we could have all He has, all the Father has.  He laughs and sings and loves to just BE with us.  He's into the things we're into, He works through our passions and interests to reach others, whether it's Harleys or sewing, construction or dance.  Yes, He is perfect . . . and in that way very different from us.  But He also was mortal.  He held loved ones.  He ran and played and skinned his knee and was held by His mother. He had friends, faithful and not so much, and He just wants to be close to us.  He wants friends.  Not servants or slaves.  Yes, we serve Him . . . but it's the service borne of love and equality, not the bound service of caste or class.  And I want more of the world to hear about this Jesus I know, this incredible God that can hardly wait for me to turn my mind to Him, so He can fill me with His love and directions and help and strength.

What are all of those acronyms after the Bible passages?

They are the abbreviations of the translations used.  In alphabetical order, they are:

AMP = Amplified Version (Contains lots of notes on full contextual meanings of certain words.)
ERV = Easy-to-Read Version (Conversational, and really packs a punch because it's so simple.)
ESV = English Standard Version (Widely recognized as the best word-for-word translation.)
HCSB = Holman Christian Standard Bible
KJV = King James Version
NASB = New American Standard Bible
NIV = New International Version
NLT = New Living Translation (Also very conversational, but beautiful and easily read aloud.)

Right now I favor the NLT and AMP, but will often compare it to the others on that list.

Why don't you sound as Mormon as I expect?

I'm simply expressing spiritual thoughts in new ways, and with new language.  As my experiences with my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ deepen and broaden, I've found that using less formal language, going to language that's more meaningful to me personally, carries so much more power and intimacy than rigidly sticking to the "language of prayer" and conventional idiolects of my church.  There's nothing disrespectful in anything that I write--and I've found a glorious and beautiful closeness with Jesus and His Father as I've abandoned the culturally entrenched linguistically-imposed submission.  They want me to be close to them.

"I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn't confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me."  --John 5:15, NLT

I use Jesus' name far more often than I used to . . . but it's because I realized that when I say His name in love, in conversation, in writing, in prayer, it's music to His heart.  It's like I've gone nearly my entire life avoiding saying the name of the One who loves me more than anything, and who I love . . . and I can't imagine my husband, or mother, or closest friends, never saying my name; instead using various titles and formal forms of address.  Would you feel close to your best friend, or your mom, if that person never used your name?

Sometimes it sounds like you're praying to Jesus, instead of God the Father. What the heck?

There are a number of places in the Book of Mormon, including prayers by Alma the Younger and King Lamoni's father and hosts of newly-converted Lamanites, who cry out in prayer to Jesus Christ for forgiveness, and for the salvation of their brethren.  (I'm sure there are places in the Bible, as well, but I haven't come across them recently enough to remember.  Bear with me.  I'll find them soon and then add them here.)  Prayer is stretching our souls out to God, as well as a conversation with Him. And whether we're having a conversation with God the Father, or God the Son, it's still prayer. And it's okay to talk to your Savior. I firmly believe Heavenly Father isn't going to be jealous of you interacting with His Only Begotten. :o)

Did you just delete my comment???

It's possible.  I hardly ever delete comments.  (Rock Waterman is my hero in that regard.)  Spam will go immediately, and I reserve the right to remove comments as I deem appropriate.

You shared things that have happened in interviews with your former LDS priesthood leaders. Doesn't that break confidentiality? Isn't that illegal, or something?

In the United States, there is a body of law called "Priest-Penitent Law". Those laws guarantee the privacy of the penitent, and award ownership of confessionals (or interviews) to the parishioner. I may reveal anything I choose which happened between myself and any church leaders behind closed doors, but the leaders are prohibited, by law, from doing so. If I make something public, they are then free to discuss it--but nothing more than I have disclosed. If they do disclose anything I have not, they make themselves vulnerable to tort, and the church frowns heavily on their leaders doing so.

(I am not a lawyer. I am a citizen who understands her rights, and am doing my best to explain where I am coming from. Please do not take this as legal advice. Thank you.)