Stephen Hawking, whose IQ is estimated at being between 200 and 250, is claimed to be the smartest man in the world. He also claims that there is no God. I was online reading about him one day. He suffers from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease (remember the ice bucket challenge?). Once I read this I realized he’s just angry with God.
Lou Gehrig’s, in laymen terms, will shut down the voluntary and involuntary muscles. It commonly starts in the feet, to the legs, to the abdomen and so on, affecting the lungs and speech near the end. The patient is well aware they are dying and there is no cure to stop the disease. Yes, he’s angry. Just because he’s the smartest man in the world does not mean he knows everything either.
1 Peter 4:11 “Whoever speaks, let it be with God’s words. Whoever serves, do so with the strength that God supplies, so that in everything God will be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever.”
I posted on Facebook, that, in my opinion, Stephen Hawking is just angry and this is his way of getting back at The Almighty: to deny His existence. I’ve also posted about Helen Keller when a friend of mine stated that although there is no proof that God exists, there is no proof that He doesn’t. In my opinion, Helen Keller proved that God does, in fact, exist.
Helen Keller was born deaf, dumb, and blind. After having spent most of her young life in silent darkness, her parents found Anne Sullivan, a teacher, to teach Helen how to communicate even though she couldn't see, hear, or speak. When Anne finally started talking to her about God, Helen's response was "I wondered when someone was going to talk to me about Him."
Think about that - no one had anyway to talk to Helen about God, yet she was born with the knowledge that God existed, as we all are. We are all taught faith, or lack thereof, through our upbringing. My sisters and brothers were all taught about God, me as well, during our youth and grew up with the knowledge of His existence. Whereas, sadly, I have a couple of nieces brought up in an Atheistic household and so, they do not believe in God. They were taught to disbelieve.
In Matthew 18:3 Christ said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (NIV). Children humbly accept a lot of things as true by faith, but always because they have confidence in a person, parent, or teacher.
Knowing about Helen Keller only solidifies my conviction. I just cannot get over how a deaf, mute, and blind woman knew about God before ever being told about Him. My brother told me that little tidbit - I looked it up, it's true. So yes, there is proof God exists. We are all born with the knowledge of Him and we should keep that dear to us. He certainly keeps us dear to Him.
John 14:7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
This is about my experience with The Mormons. I was raised Seventh Day Adventist and am used to the radicals. The book of Leviticus teaches that it’s a sin to eat the meat of beasts without cloven hooves, the carcass of a swine (even though they are cloven hoofed) fish without scales and fins, birds that soar in the air, and animals that “creepth and slither upon the earth,” or have paws.
Yes, it’s all there. I’ve read it many of times. I can almost quote it by rote. Many of the SDA radicals live off that book in the Bible. They will tell you though that we live in the days of the New Testament but always revert back to the Mosaic Laws. Not all SDA’s are radicals though.
If you were to compare them to The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, AKA, The Mormons, they are kittens in the radical department. The Mormons, whom I firmly believe to be a cult, used to believe in having many wives as many of the Biblical prophets did (some still practice polygamy). I’m very familiar with the Mormons having lived in Utah for a year when I was twelve. My aunt, a Mormon, tried to get me to convert.
I almost allowed them to baptize me when, fortunately, fate interfered. I had been tricked by my father and his wife to go visit my aunt who lived in Utah. I was told I would be spending the summer with her but, when I got there, I was told I was moving in with her. I resented it; I resented being tricked, I resented being taken away from my ailing mother who lived in a nursing home, I just flat out resented the whole situation (Elvis had died that same year. Maybe that was why I was so cranky?).
I was asked to speak to the bishop (the equivalency to a pastor or a priest). While it was supposed to be confidential, not that I cared because I’d been carrying on openly about it the whole time anyway, he’d gone back and told my aunt what I said about being tricked.
That left a sour taste in my mouth. How can a man of God lie to a child and then try to justify it? It didn’t set well with me. The other thing that bothered me was the fact they ate pork. For being radical, they didn’t mind eating the meats of sin. They habitually added “sins” to their bi-laws which were handed down by man, not by God. Surprisingly enough, most of the Mormons I knew followed those laws almost to a fault.
Later, when my cousin Jim joined the Mormon Missionaries, he was sent to Switzerland with another missionary. At the time, Jim was engaged to the same bishop’s daughter, Connie, and they were set to be married upon his return. Apparently while Jim was in Switzerland he cheated on Connie. The other missionary reported him for “committing adultery.”
I told my aunt, “That’s not adultery; Jim and Connie aren’t even married yet!”
As my aunt pointed out though, “Her father is the bishop of the church; he can do whatever he likes.”
“It would be fornication,” I insisted.
“Yes, I agree, however, as I said, it’s his daughter and he doled punishment out. Jim has no choice if he wants to marry Connie.”
What he liked was ostracizing Jim and banished him for a year. He was not allowed to marry Connie, nor was he allowed to attend church for the whole year. I learned through my own experiences, and that of my cousin, that the Mormons tend to make up their own rules as they go. They forgive who they want and hide the rest. I certainly learned they didn’t mind lying or changing the rules.
How can someone tell you that you cannot go to church or whom you can marry? How can he persecute, execute, and take away Jim’s God given right all in the name of Mormonism? Jim did marry Connie sometime later, and he did return to the church after a year of banishment. It was explained to me by another church member, “We have to have guidelines and rules set up. Whenever they are broken, the offender needs to be punished.”
“Yes, but it’s not your place to punish anyone and tell them they can’t go to church,” I argued. “You are taking the place of God by doing that!”
Several years later, I was watching a program and the speaker was Joseph Smith’s great-granddaughter. She was talking of his relationship with Brigham Young, both known as co-founders of the Latter Day Saints.
She stated they were two con men who had met up in jail and concocted the scheme of leading a group of people out west. She also claimed to have proof that her great-grandfather did not get shot by a mob while in jail. In fact, he was shot by the hand of a jealous husband who caught Joseph Smith in bed with his wife. Brigham Young took up the pioneering once Smith was dead. The “church,” as it were, decided to hush it up because they feared if the other “members” on the trail knew they would all turn around and leave. The great-granddaughter stated these events were well documented in her great-grandmother’s diary who was one of Smith’s many wives.
They lied? They covered it up? Color me so surprised!
My husband had mentioned to an acquaintance of his that I used to attend the Mormon Church while living in Utah. Holy catnip, Batman! He was worse than an entire Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witnesses. He insisted on coming to my house several times during the week or calling me. I kept telling him I was not interested. I felt that particular religion was that of a cult group and I wasn’t about to get involved with them again.
It took about six months before he finally backed off. He had someone from the “Women’s Circle” call me and invite me to join them. I told her the same thing. I was just as gruff with her as I was with him because I felt now, he was trying to sic her on me. I was in no mood to play with these people. I told her, “I am not interested! I do not want to be involved in your little group, so please stop calling me!”
“I’m so sorry,” she said. “I was told you were not sure what you wanted to do and I was asked to encourage you.”
He lied? Get outta here! Still, in an agitated voice I answered, “No, he lied! He flat out lied! He won’t leave me the hell alone. If he comes back to my house, or calls me again, I will call the police and have him arrested for harassment! Tell him to stay the F#&$ away from me!”
That was over twenty years ago. He’s not been back since.
It’s taken me a long time to get here, but I made it. My youth was very difficult for me. As for now, as an adult, I’m done being made to feel guilty for someone else’s mistakes. I was raised Seventh Day Adventist (SDA). There are some people in the church who are extremist. My sister Sharon and one of my brothers, Brian, certainly fit that bill.
My brother Karl, also SDA, told me when I was a little girl, “When you do something bad, it comes back to you in ten folds - when you do something good, it also comes back to you, according to the Scriptures.”
I held fast to that belief, even now. But, it raised a lot of questions when I was younger and my answer was, God just did not care about me. He couldn’t have. If what Karl said was true, then why, why Lord did you allow me to suffer the anguish I was forced to reckon with?
I’ve been through sexual abuse since I was a four year old toddler, physical abuse, even mental and emotional abuse. I was bullied and verbally abused quite frequently by different family members. What did I do for any of that to happen to me? I was a baby, for the love of God!
My brother Brian is such an extremist that he’d have these fights with God. He was so wishy-washy. He’d claim God hated him and go back to being a heathen, drinking and smoking. The next time he’d be “saved” again. We’d find his TV and stereo system (the Devil’s toys) out on the curb for trash pickup.
“Praise the Lord!” he’d shout, “God has blessed me!”
I have very vivid memories of Brian standing in the middle of the living room, shaking his fists and yelling at the ceiling, “Why have you forsaken me, Lord? After all the sacrifices I’ve made unto you!”
Silently, I was also screaming, “Yeah! Why did you forsake me, too?” I’d yell in agreement.
I was eleven at the time. I didn’t know what forsaken meant, but it sounded good to me. More importantly, it sounded right.
My sister, Sharon, the other extremist wasn’t nearly as wishy-washy as Brian. She has always remained loyal to the Lord. She’s a bit judgmental at times and believes you’re doomed to Hell if you don’t share her religious beliefs.
She used to read Bible stories at night before bedtime. Whenever I was privy to spend the night with her, I got to listen in. My favorite story was “Joseph and His Coat of Many Colors.” Little did I know that particular story would be the thing that brought me back to God.
Sharon had very little to do with me, often shunning me and pushing me away; especially after our mother became ill and could no longer care for me. I was ten and forced to go live with my father and his wife who systematically abused me.
My brother Terry was having his own life crisis and couldn’t help out. My brother Bruce resented my parents marrying (we had different fathers). He resented it to the point; he blamed me for their union. From the time I was a small child Bruce was quick to tell others, “She’s a piece of shit just like her father.”
My brother Karl resided with Bruce. They shared a house together. I think he was swayed by Bruce’s opinion a little because, he too, had very little to do with me. My brother Keith always tried to maintain a relationship, hoping he could influence me positively; but I wasn’t allowed to live with him either. I was unwanted wherever I turned.
Why, Lord? Why? I didn’t ask to be here.
My brother Brian drove me away from God. Seriously. He made all those sacrifices and where did it get him? Although, Christ has never, with emphasis on never, asked us to sacrifice anything to him so Brian’s attempts to sacrifice his way into Heaven are futile.
As I said, it was because of Brian that I turned from my faith for so long. He would let me stay with him a few months at a time. I felt it was to show the others that, at least, he made an effort. All the while, I was reminded that I was not wanted.
There were times he’d shake his fists at me and yell, “Why do you act up, Michelle? Why do you do these things? Can’t you see no one wants you?”
Mind you, I didn’t really do anything different from what other “normal” children did. I realize now, it was just his excuse to get rid of me again.
My father was a complete nightmare. His wife despised and resented my presence so much. I was completely miserable and always asking God, “Why? What did I do to make you abandon me?”
Then one day, I had an epiphany. I realized God did not forsake me. He was there, every step of the way. Like the footsteps in the sand, He was there. My experiences, no matter how soured they were, made me who I am. Even though I turned from my faith, I never stopped believing in God. I always believed Christ was the son of God. He was our savior; my savior!
I don’t question things anymore. Instead, I know that if anything had been different or changed, even the smallest of details, I would not have my husband or my children. I have truly been blessed and for that, I thank you, Lord. They are worth anything I’ve ever had to endure. And yes, I would go through every moment of it again because I would know, in the end, God will give me what I need, my own family to love.
I’ve learned that like Job, we all have these trials and tribulations in our lives. They will either make us or break us. Because of them, I am stronger. God knew what I needed in order to become strong and so I endured those terrible things in my childhood to be molded into who I am today.
Through Christ, I have forgiven all. I will never forget what happened. Ever. But I have learned to forgive. I’ve learned it is not my relationship with my siblings that will determine our salvation; it is our relationship with Christ that will be the deciding factor. Therefore, it is for myself that I must forgive.
I’ve had a few moments I’ve question. I went to my brother, Karl, who now preaches (I love to hear his sermons. They’re long winded but I listen to every word). He said, “Don’t let someone tell you how to be a Christian just because you don’t conform to their ideas. You follow Christ in your heart; he will tell you what he expects from you.”
My nephew Aaron and I were just talking not long ago about our beliefs. He said to me, “Just because I don’t believe the same as someone else, does not mean I’m going to Hell. As long as I have Christ in my heart and he‘s my savior, I’m going to Heaven.”
That is the undisputed truth: the promise given to us by God. God‘s word is Truth! When I was around seven, my sister Sharon taught me a Bible verse that I have committed to memory, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever shall believeth in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
I mentioned earlier that the story of Joseph and His Coat of Many Colors my sister Sharon had once read to me influenced me. Joseph faced his brothers, who had sold him into slavery and then lied to their father, Jacob, saying he was dead. The proof they offered was his coat of many colors, made and given to him by their father.
Joseph speaks to them: “And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me: but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” Genesis 50:19-20.
Jesus told His followers, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19). This command posed a problem. How could the apostles go out preaching to all the world when they spoke only one or two languages? After all, Jesus' disciples were very bright, even though most of them were not formally educated. In order to fulfill the great commission, He promised to give them a unique gift from the Holy Spirit. It was a miraculous, supernatural ability to speak foreign languages they had not formerly studied or known for the purpose of spreading the Gospel.
"And these signs shall follow them that believe; ... they shall speak with new tongues" (Mark 16:17). The fact that Jesus said these new tongues, or languages, would be a "sign" indicates that the ability to speak them would not come as the result of normal linguistic study. Rather, it would be an instantaneous gift to fluently preach in a previously unfamiliar language.
Glossolalia (glô´se-lâ’ lê-a) is the word often used to describe the popular experience found in most charismatic churches. It is defined in the American Heritage Dictionary as: "fabricated and non-meaningful speech, especially such speech associated with a trance state or certain schizophrenic syndromes.
Contrast that with the same dictionary's definition for a language: "The use by human beings of voice sounds, and often written symbols representing these sounds, in organized combinations and patterns in order to express and communicate thoughts and feelings." By any definition, the disjointed sounds of glossolalia (or babbling) are not a language.
Believe me, I have seen this practice many times. In one charismatic church I used to attend, the pastor and his wife were a "tongues team." Every week in the middle of the pastor's sermon, his wife would jump to her feet, throw her arms in the air, and break out in ecstatic utterance. But she always said the same thing. "Handa kala shami, handa kala shami, handa kala shami... ." Over and over again. This instantly seemed suspicious to me because Jesus said, "But when ye pray use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do" (Matthew 6:7).
Each time this happened, the woman's husband would stop preaching and provide a dubious English translation for her so-called message. Usually it began with "Thus saith the Lord." Yet in spite of the fact that she always repeated the words "handa kala shami," the pastor's vague interpretation was different each time-and sometimes three times longer than the utterance. I used to wonder why, if this was a message from God, wouldn't He give it to us in English the first time as there was no need for tongues. We all spoke the same language.