Archive: Michael Otterson
We commit to a standard of behavior, and then we do what we say we'll do. That's what an honor code is. It's facing consequences for our choices. It's certainly what Mormons believe. It's consistent with doing our best to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.
By Michael Otterson | March 3, 2011; 07:49 PM ET | Comments (27)
Americans don't look to high-profile politicians, such as Majority Leader Harry Reid, or to former governors Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Jr., to understand our faith. Neither do they look to personalities like Glenn Beck, who touches on his faith occasionally but who doesn't claim to speak for the Church or other members.
By Michael Otterson | February 9, 2011; 12:54 PM ET | Comments (33)
The correct question for debate today is something else. It is whether sincerely held religious beliefs are generally entitled to the deference they have traditionally received under the Constitution and our way of life, or whether freedom of religion has become nothing more than a platitude, with little meaning or protection in today's workplace.
By Michael Otterson | January 25, 2011; 05:44 PM ET | Comments (27)
Knowing about something isn't the same thing as experiencing it.
By Michael Otterson | September 29, 2010; 11:27 AM ET | Comments (24)
There is a certain irony that this national discussion of Mormons is happening now.
By Michael Otterson | September 3, 2010; 02:15 PM ET | Comments (46)
Should care of the poor and needy fall to our individual, charitable and church responsibilities, with government playing a minimal role? Or should government take the major role, with individual charitable efforts in support? That depends on your personal politics.
By Michael Otterson | April 14, 2010; 09:50 AM ET | Comments (29)
There is a long history in the law of exempting religious organizations from burdensome regulations that otherwise govern commercial enterprises. Courts have long recognized that government must tread very lightly before imposing regulations on religious organizations.
By Michael Otterson | March 9, 2010; 12:57 PM ET | Comments (20)
Everyone is and should be entitled to speak his or her mind on religious matters, and everyone else has the right to listen, or not, as they choose. Because of the central importance of these rights, no man or government is justified in interfering with them.
By Michael Otterson | March 2, 2010; 11:19 AM ET | Comments (26)
When lives are devastated by disaster, the best of humanity surfaces as many set aside personal conveniences, agendas and interests to selflessly take part in what the Bible describes as pure religion.
By Michael Otterson | February 2, 2010; 11:21 AM ET | Comments (12)
Don't we have enough public concerns to worry about without fretting over whether or not the Obamas want to display a crèche in the White House?
By Michael Otterson | December 8, 2009; 05:28 PM ET | Comments (8)
The American Humanist Association's appeal for us to "be good for goodness' sake" is timely and reasonable. I hope they take their own message to heart when it comes to respecting the rights of the rest of us to celebrate a religious holiday with religious language, symbols and special acts of goodness.
By Michael Otterson | November 25, 2009; 04:33 PM ET | Comments (20)
The history and practice of American politics and democracy affirm that churches and their leaders have a constitutional right to speak out in public policy debates.
By Michael Otterson | November 17, 2009; 06:56 PM ET | Comments (37)
When I denigrate someone else's opinion with shrill and sarcastic language, or in my rebuttal of someone's argument I search for clever words and phrases that demean and ridicule the individual, I have become the problem.
By Michael Otterson | September 18, 2009; 10:02 AM ET | Comments (11)
True prayer takes effort, focus, concentration. If we trivialize the experience, we risk trivializing the answers.
By Michael Otterson | August 11, 2009; 06:59 PM ET | Comments (22)
Burqa or hijab today, yarmulkes or cross necklaces tomorrow - perhaps even the CTR (Choose the Right) rings that many Mormon kids wear. This is the classic slippery slope that ultimately would justify the forced removal of all symbols of religious expression from schools.
By Michael Otterson | June 25, 2009; 04:41 PM ET | Comments (5)
Every time I see or read of an attack on a Jew because of his or her Jewishness, or when the sacred space of a synagogue or a memorial, a church or mosque is violated, I see in my mind's eye an open oven door at Dachau.
By Michael Otterson | June 11, 2009; 11:21 AM ET | Comments (20)
Starving a child to death is a crime, not a religious sacrament. True religion uplifts and inspires us to do good.
By Michael Otterson | March 31, 2009; 11:16 AM ET | Comments (41)
Satan's efforts to persuade us toward evil are real and they are personal. Satan is the antithesis of Jesus Christ.
By Michael Otterson | March 26, 2009; 09:06 AM ET | Comments (52)
Religion will remain a part of society as long as it is relevant and as long as the human soul seeks for understanding of something bigger than itself.
By Michael Otterson | March 18, 2009; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (39)
I don't want my compassion for someone to be dictated by their IQ or whether they made dumb decisions. Any of us can find ourselves without a job and facing unexpected hardships. But I don't want to subsidize habitual irresponsibility, either.
By Michael Otterson | March 5, 2009; 05:30 AM ET | Comments (12)
To rely on a third party to explain the power of the scriptures would be like learning to cook by watching a TV show and never turning on the stove: technically possible, but an unsatisfying experience.
By Michael Otterson | February 20, 2009; 07:58 AM ET | Comments (141)
As a matter of policy and principle, my own church - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - chooses to avoid that pitfall altogether. It simply doesn't accept government funding for its welfare efforts.
By Michael Otterson | February 12, 2009; 07:20 AM ET | Comments (89)
Nixon was a Quaker. Kennedy was a Catholic. And what bearing, exactly, did their religious preference have on domestic or foreign policy?
By Michael Otterson | October 1, 2008; 06:20 AM ET | Comments (31)
What role does my faith play? It teaches principles of self-reliance. It values hard work. It encourages individuals to look to their own resources first, then to those of their family, and then the Church. It urges its members to avoid debt and live within their means.
By Michael Otterson | August 8, 2008; 10:06 AM ET | Comments (24)
Religious belief ought to reduce or eliminate racial prejudice, just as it ought to reduce hate speech, marital infidelity or cheating on taxes. But as with many other things in life, adherence to religious principles is ultimately a matter of personal choice.
By Michael Otterson | August 4, 2008; 05:15 AM ET | Comments (37)
Members of the uniformed services, who are called to put their lives on the line for their country, have the right to seek divine comfort and guidance through prayer
By Michael Otterson | July 29, 2008; 07:47 AM ET | Comments (29)
People have a right to expect that sacred things in their own places of worship will be treated with a level of respect, even reverence. In our pluralistic society, we should set that bar high. This isn’t about exclusion. Nor is it about theology. It’s about sensitivity, common sense and good manners.
By Michael Otterson | July 8, 2008; 06:29 PM ET | Comments (15)
There’s considerable evidence that a religious life delivers significant health dividends in faiths that integrate a health code into their religious observance – like Seventh Day Adventists and Mormons (Latter-day Saints)
By Michael Otterson | June 11, 2008; 01:03 PM ET | Comments (31)
We should aim, by all means, to improve ourselves and seek for basic material security and comforts for our families. But we should not let the possession or the relentless pursuit of material possessions obscure our obligations to God and our fellow men and women.
By Michael Otterson | May 28, 2008; 06:33 AM ET | Comments (20)
The term Mormons can never, ever be used to describe polygamist sects.
By Michael Otterson | April 11, 2008; 02:29 PM ET | Comments (38)
To take the resurrection out of Christianity is to gut the Christian faith of much of its hope and promise.
By Michael Otterson | March 22, 2008; 07:56 AM ET | Comments (34)
Switching from faith to faith or describing oneself as “unchurched” is not the same as dropping out of religion or spirituality altogether. These “nones” are not non-believers. They may be profoundly moral. They just don’t identify with a particular church.
By Michael Otterson | February 28, 2008; 09:22 AM ET | Comments (43)
We do not believe that any religious society has authority to try men on the right of property or life, to take from them this world's goods, or to put them in jeopardy of either life or limb, or to inflict any physical punishment upon them.
By Michael Otterson | February 17, 2008; 07:31 PM ET | Comments (54)
Shedding innocent blood, habitual lying or calculated divisiveness are far worse than many or all on the list of the "deadly seven."
By Michael Otterson | January 17, 2008; 07:36 AM ET | Comments (37)
Latter-day Saints have no intention of sacrificing that distinctiveness on the altar of social acceptance.
By Michael Otterson | January 8, 2008; 11:11 AM ET | Comments (93)
The best efforts to attack poverty, disease and homelessness will be partnerships between deeply committed individuals -- religious and secular.
By Michael Otterson | December 5, 2007; 06:27 AM ET | Comments (23)
Choose to accept or reject the idea of an afterlife by all means, but let's not pretend that Jesus Christ and his apostles didn't teach it.
By Michael Otterson | October 15, 2007; 11:02 AM ET | Comments (65)
I can’t speak for people of all other faiths, but millions of Christians who practice their religion know from personal daily experience that they are better people because of it.
By Michael Otterson | September 30, 2007; 07:45 AM ET | Comments (256)
"Cult" should never be applied as a means of masking our own intolerance for competing faiths that simply differ from our own.
By Michael Otterson | September 19, 2007; 10:54 AM ET | Comments (163)
"I am not complaining,” my father wrote to my mother from war-ravaged Europe during the closing days of World War 2, when he finally reached the safety of American lines after three years as a POW. “I would not appreciate...
By Michael Otterson | September 6, 2007; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (188)
This is the kind of question that could be asked once a month and we’d never run out of things to say. It also calls for a very personal answer....
By Michael Otterson | August 17, 2007; 07:18 AM ET | Comments (165)
I can also acknowledge fundamental differences between Christian churches without being offended.
By Michael Otterson | July 22, 2007; 01:15 PM ET | Comments (410)
Everyone will be resurrected, and everyone will receive immortality.
By Michael Otterson | July 1, 2007; 09:42 AM ET | Comments (232)
Why would we ever want to stop exploring, wondering, asking questions and trying to understand the mind of God?
By Michael Otterson | June 18, 2007; 10:12 AM ET | Comments (332)
Mere declaration of belief is not enough to merit salvation.
By Michael Otterson | June 12, 2007; 08:12 AM ET | Comments (98)
Jesus Christ did not come to the world to forcibly engineer social revolution or foment rebellion, but to effect spiritual regeneration.
By Michael Otterson | May 13, 2007; 11:32 AM ET | Comments (635)
The question behind the question is whether the American public is ready to accept the legitimacy of the Mormon faith.
By Michael Otterson | May 2, 2007; 10:54 AM ET | Comments (307)
Repentance may be the ultimate measure of sincerity, whether the apology is publicly or privately expressed.
By Michael Otterson | April 28, 2007; 08:03 AM ET | Comments (258)
Theology can’t be reduced to a bumper sticker or a 10-second sound bite.
By Michael Otterson | April 2, 2007; 08:19 AM ET | Comments (346)
The idea that we are living in the latter period of the world’s history is a repeated theme in Mormon doctrine.
By Michael Otterson | March 23, 2007; 07:16 AM ET | Comments (187)
It still seems improbable to me that people can vent hatred about someone else’s religious differences in a pluralistic society like ours.
By Michael Otterson | March 15, 2007; 09:12 AM ET | Comments (47)
I can’t envision a time when the Church will accept same-gender unions.
By Michael Otterson | March 3, 2007; 09:08 AM ET | Comments (581)
I traded in our gas-guzzling Land Rover for a fuel-efficient, four-cylinder car because of common sense and a desire to make a contribution, not so much because of religious conviction.
By Michael Otterson | February 12, 2007; 10:08 AM ET | Comments (152)
"Casting burdens on the Lord” is a liberating experience.
By Michael Otterson | February 3, 2007; 12:35 PM ET | Comments (131)
The American public is uncomfortable when politicians talk about their personal religious beliefs in a way that sounds like advocacy.
By Michael Otterson | January 25, 2007; 07:50 AM ET | Comments (207)
To a woman came the privilege of being first to see the first resurrected Being.
By Michael Otterson | January 22, 2007; 07:13 AM ET | Comments (572)
Scriptures aren’t a manual for the nuts and bolts of how God put it all together.
By Michael Otterson | December 29, 2006; 11:40 AM ET | Comments (607)
Jesus' gift is resurrection and immortality for all humanity
By Michael Otterson | December 21, 2006; 10:10 AM ET | Comments (141)
Franklin and Madison and Jefferson would have positive things to say about how far we’ve come in religious liberty
By Michael Otterson | December 14, 2006; 03:40 PM ET | Comments (15)
n my Latter-day Saint faith, the responsibility upon parents to teach their children principles of the gospel is scripturally mandated
By Michael Otterson | December 7, 2006; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (40)
There is something poignant about setting aside a time primarily to express unconditional thanks.
By Michael Otterson | November 23, 2006; 12:41 PM ET | Comments (4)
Since we're at the end of the first week of this new religion blog, I want to take a moment to sincerely thank everyone who has contributed to this thread....
By Michael Otterson | November 22, 2006; 09:01 PM ET | Comments (93)