The Bob Jones Gang in Salt Lake City

My wife and I had the privilege to gather with the Bob Jones gang (Bob and Beneth Jones, Jim Berg, and Bill Apelian) at an informal fellowship meeting on Saturday, April 19, at the Courtyard Marriott near the Salt Lake City airport.
Bob Jones GangBob Jones III is a unique university chancellor. He values time, salutes excellence, loves challenge, pursues godliness, and whips the wicked spirit of the age. Yet allow me also to comment on what stands out in my mind as a quality exemplified by Bob that garners much of my respect. He is wonderfully aware and accessible to choice servants of God in remote places. Just recently, he spoke at the centennial anniversary of a church family shepherded by Wayne Cooper in West Virginia. You can hardly find another place that would compete with being so cloistered in a backwoods hollow. Of course, I have to chuckle; Bob has also stayed with Pastor Gary Robbins, way off the beaten track in Southeastern Wyoming. Definitely, the chancellor is a loyal fighter and supporter for the servant of God beyond the limelight and whom many would overlook. Bob, the dissident, definitely has a knack for creating good friction, emphasizing as highly relevant what much in Evangelicalism considers irrelevant. I am glad that he makes it a high priority to regularly reconnect and join with the faithful band of brothers in the LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) I-15 corridor.

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The Baptist Preacher in the Rexburg Idaho Temple

wood_temple1.jpgFor the first time in my life after thirty-eight years of existence on this earth, I explored the interior of a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) temple. Actually, I have done so twice in 2008. But after dedication day, February 10, 2008, the Rexburg Idaho Temple doors will be closed to the public, even to the cultural Mormons, Jack Mormons, New Order Mormons, Born Again Mormons, Non-active Mormons, and so on. There is only one thing that separates Believing Temple Mormons from others: the bishop-recommend card. Though you might be wearing a suit and looking your finest, without your recommend, no way will you pass the front desk and step into the peaceful symbolism of celestial glory. Only those “worthy” LDS (living a clean life, tithing, and serving fellow man, etc.) can enter. The temple is restricted to everyone else because the top sphere of heaven is exclusive. I wonder how long this idea will hold out for future generations in a postmodern religious America. (Note: Special thanks to Chris Leavell for permission to use his photos.)

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