Saturday, October 1, 2011
Dalyn Robert Montgomery
Hello and Happy Saturday!
I wish to thank Harry for his interesting and enjoyable interview last week. Thanks so much for sharing with us Harry!
Today we have a new interview so please welcome Dalyn Robert Montgomery. Dalyn is a Mormon and I know you'll enjoy his interview as well!
Here Is Dalyn Montgomery's Introduction:
Dalyn Montgomery is the Bishop of a congregation in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. He was raised in the suburbs of Salt Lake City, attended both Utah State University and the University of Utah, earning a B.S. in public relations. He has worked mostly as a field sales rep and is currently a corporate consultant for a large company in Wilmington Delaware. Dalyn has a wife and two daughters, all of whom are gorgeous. Dalyn is an artist and writer, painting mostly in acrylic and publishing short stories on varied subjects, in varied venues.
Please go visit www.brohammas.com to see my artwork and read my stories.
1) What religion do you practice?
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Many call us “Mormons” which is simply a nickname.
2) Are you a convert/revert or were you raised within this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
My paternal grandfather was a convert and my Mother’s family goes back to the late 1800’s. I was raised in a suburb of the church’s worldwide headquarters (Salt Lake City, Utah) as a very observant member of the church.
3)Within your religion are there degrees of observance (ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal)? What are the defining differences between the degrees of observance?
As with any religion, individuals express their faith, or live their lives in various ways. Among Latter Day Saints the most tangible definer of observance is probably temple worship. Churches and the weekly services held there are open to all no matter what. We encourage all, member or not, observing member or not, everyone, to attend. Temples are a bit different. While we encourage all to attend, or work towards attending, one must first be a) a baptized member of the church b) live the basic tenets and principles of the faith. The most obvious of these being abstaining from coffee, tea, alcohol, illegal drugs, and tobacco, no sexual relations with anyone other than a lawfully wedded spouse, full tithe payer, and one who makes a good faith effort to attend weekly meetings.
Those who meet these (and some other) requirements are given a “recommend” or small card that must be shown at the door to gain admittance to a temple.
Those who do, and those who do not, hold one of these recommend would probably be the most obvious distinction in level of observance…. But we do not advertise who does or does not have a recommend.
4)Within your religion what degree of observance are you ((ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal) ? Why did you choose this degree of observance?
I strive to be as observant as possible. I believe in the church deeply and any failing to live up to its teachings is purely my own weakness.
5)What is the Afterlife within your religion? For example: what happens when a person dies? Are there places for reward/punishment? (such as a Heaven/Hell concept)
We believe that we will one day be held accountable for our thoughts and actions in this mortal life. Only those who are completely free from sin or mistake can be worthy to return to live with our Father in Heaven (God) after this mortal life. That is of course none of us, hence the need for a “savior” (Jesus Christ) to have suffered and died to appease the laws of justice on behalf of those who repent.
We believe all will one day be resurrected and brought to stand before Christ in judgment. Here we will be assigned the state of our eternal existence, which can be in one of three basic realm or “kingdoms”:
Telestial: a place for those who are judged to be wicked.
Terrestial: good people who were not necessarily obedient to God’s command to repent and be baptized by one’s holding the proper priesthood authority.
Celestial: those who did repent, get baptized, and then were diligent in remaining faithful till the end of mortal life (repenting along the way when inevitable mistakes are made).
All three have been described as heavenly places and all are thought to be a better existence than our present temporal world.
6) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
All who are born will receive one of the “degrees of glory”. As stated, all three are thought to be better than here, but we strongly believe that we will be held accountable for what we do, or do not do, during mortality… unless we repent.
7) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
We believe it is a good fit for everyone and invite all to join.
No really, we do.
I could list a number of things I enjoy about the current congregation I attend, or positive benefits from living the church’s teachings, but the root of it all is that we believe that God is very literally the Father of all people, making us one large family. We believe he wants the same blessings and has the same goals for all of us, which challenges us to reach out and include everyone.
8) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
We observe most Christian Holidays or other cultural celebrations but do not really have any religiously dictated religious rites attached to the calendar other than the weekly Sabbath observed on Sundays.
Most congregations (called Wards) will have special programs for Christmas and Easter, but those who choose not to celebrate or make special observance of these days will not be considered less observant, but will probably be called a Scrooge.
9) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
If we are following our own teachings than we should. Our leaders have taught that there is good in all faiths and that the positive should be recognized and celebrated. We have been charged to respect the beliefs of others just as we wish for ours to be respected.
I personally love studying and exploring other religions and cultures. I find points of similarity and departure in the human family to be completely fascinating and I really wish more were open to discussing those points openly without antagonism.
10) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
Absolutely! As long as that celebration did not in any way require me to compromise my own faith, for example we are strictly forbidden to drink alcohol. If a ceremony required us to do so we would need to respectfully decline.
If a holy day had some observance that required one to do something along the lines of praying to a God other than the singular one we profess than again we would have to respectfully bow-out, but over all we see expression of faith in all forms to be positive and I think all would benefit from the experience.
11) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
I am an expert on neither so any strongly held opinion on my part would be unfounded. As to the burka we strongly support the idea of dressing modestly on the part of both men and women (though admittedly there is a cultural tendency to direct such teaching more to the dress of girls than boys, but this is not spelled out in our doctrine exposing any double standards in this area as cultural rather than religious).
As to sharia law, we believe deeply in an individual’s right of self determination or freedom of choice. Were I to force, or enforce, my religious beliefs on another I would place myself far outside my own teachings and belief. Our whole view of the purpose of life hinges on an individual’s freedom to choose for themselves.
12) Are women allowed to hold religious office (priest, minister, rabbi, iman etc) in your religion and how do you feel about it?
The priesthood is defined as “the authority to act in the name of God”. The priesthood has various offices (deacon, priest, bishop, apostle, elder, etc.) and has very specific duties or responsibilities. The priesthood is required to baptize, preside, give blessings of healing and comfort, and must be received by someone else who has this authority. It is received by one who has the priesthood placing the hands on the head of the one receiving it, and in essence saying a prayer-like pronouncement of conferral.
The priesthood is given to all worthy males (worthy being determined in very similar fashion to those who are given a temple recommend).
It is only given to males but is not required to teach classes, be the president of various organizations within the church, or to make, or assist, in making decisions.
We feel man and woman are equal in the sight of God and we should do our best to see things the way God does. We do however feel that God has charged man and woman with somewhat differing roles or primary responsibilities but he has never said these roles are hierarchal or varying in value or worth.
We as mortals often struggle to not place varying cultural values on gender roles but those struggles are ours, not God’s.
13) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
No it does not… directly.
Our congregations, or wards, are determined by geographical boundaries. So where one lives determines what building you attend your weekly meetings and at what time (many wards share a common building and just meet at different times). Consequentially the wards will reflect the demographics represented in those geographical areas. This results in congregations that reflect our cultures tendency to self segregate by race and economics. I have been in some areas where the geography slices in such a way that I worship with a more diverse group of people than I have ever been privileged to assemble with in any other organization or function. These wards are and always have been my favorite.
14) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
My religion is at the core of who I am. It has a profound effect on every little thing I do or think. If I believe that our whole existence is one laid out by God, but that some issues or choices are outside religious consideration, then I would need to re-think my whole life concept.
This is not to say that God has given us direct societal instructions on every little thing or issue, bringing us back to that fundamental belief in an individual’s divine right to choose their own actions and beliefs… We do believe that God has spoken on homosexuality and abortion.
We are taught that abortion is forbidden except in the case of rape, incest, or health of the mother/child.
We are taught that sexual relations are only to be had between man and women, and then only within the bonds of marriage.
This being said we still believe God loves all his children and we should act in a way that shows that love.
15) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
I would love that child but would surely be very sad and disappointed.
16) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
No (see questions 5 and 6), but they will not be able to take full advantage of all that our Father wishes us to enjoy.
17) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
It is very specifically spelled out who speaks for our religion and who does not. There are defined officials who speak for us as a religion (a prophet and 12 apostles) and they do so in a rather formal fashion. Outside that realm people are essentially speaking for themselves though they may be members of our church or faith.
It is surely not my place to say if someone else is, or is not, practicing the faith.
There are Latter-Day Saints at both political ends (Harry Reid and Mitt Romney) and to my knowledge both are temple attending… but neither speaks for the church.
18) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
I have been quite openly mocked, spit on, and insulted for my faith. It happens much more often than you may expect. As a full time missionary in Atlanta Georgia I was physically knocked off my bicycle into a ditch, doused with beer, pelted with objects, and almost constantly verbally abused.
I have been professionally and socially teased and mocked with no consequence.
There are no real social consequences to belittling Latter-Day Saints.
19) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
In my mind, of course not. To some others yes, and in other realms it is quite the advantage.
20) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
Very much so.
21) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
We believe we are God’s children. We lived with him before being born on this Earth and hope to return to him after we leave this Earth. We do not believe we will live repeated lives on this Earth or live in the bodies of creatures not human.