Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Keep checking YouTube

I have been making a lot of YouTube videos. I hope you check out the channel. You may find some of those videos are helpful to your understanding of gospel topics. You also may find that some are very shareable. I hope in particular that you consider sharing the series on the Lectures on Faith. If you subscribe and ask for notifications, you'll get an email when there is a new video. Enjoy!

UpwardThought YouTube Channel

Friday, April 5, 2019

Homosexuality

I received this email:

With the latest LDS policy reversal on LGBT families, I was wondering what your take on homosexuality is. Is that just because if we accept the law of Moses was a lesser law, and it condemned homosexuality, then anything of a higher nature would obviously do the same?

Here is my response:

One thing the Lord told me that has helped me understand some things a little better is that one way he helps us derive the benefits from principles higher than we can currently understand (and avoid the consequences of acting contrary to them) is through giving us commandments. We don't always get why, but then after the fact, he will explain it. Through obeying him based only on our trust in him, we can grow in our understanding to the point that he can teach us why.

Homosexuality was forbidden by the law of Moses, and is still a sin today, because a person living in a homosexual lifestyle can't progress as far as one who is not in joy, happiness, etc. It is not always the case that God's commandments are borne out by scientific evidence. In this case, there is abundant evidence that practicing homosexuals are much more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems, kill themselves, etc, than heterosexuals.

The world will tell you that the sex you find attractive is not a choice. This is the same world that is now telling you that the sex you are is. Jesus is mighty to save, and he is also capable of doing everything easier than that, including revealing to you the hard truths that will show you that heterosexuality will lead to greater happiness than homosexuality. If God can change the heart of a person to no longer desire to sin, surely he can also change a heart to longer desire members of the same sex.

He will lead us to a better place every time, no matter where we stand.

The Lord taught that there is a class of bodily imperfections that we are given by God so that "the works of God should be made manifest":

1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. (John 9)

God issues us bodies that have tendencies that deviate from how they would act if they were perfect. Why? So that his glory can be manifest when you, as an entity made to act and not be acted upon, through your spirit, subdue the tendencies in your flesh. This is the purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is the end of everyone who seeks, obeys, and trusts Jesus.

Homosexuality is just one of many such tendencies. Too many argue about whether people are "born this way" or not. It actually doesn't matter, at all. Did it matter that this man was born blind? No it did not. Jesus healed him. If you seek and trust Jesus, he can make you like he is. There are no exceptions to his power to save every individual that puts their trust in him.

Homosexuality deviates as much from God's plan today as it ever did. This isn't an excuse to see homosexuals in any less of a loving light as we do anyone else struggling with any other deviation from God's perfection. The cure to all temptation and all imperfection is to seek more light from God, more knowledge, and to implement it in full trust that he is perfect, loving, and merciful.

On the other hand, how can you say you love a person if you know of information that would make them happier, and do nothing to help them see it?

You see, this is the same situation as everything else in the gospel: God has all knowledge, and possesses the information needed for all of us to possess what he has. Inasmuch as he has given us light, we ought to spare no effort in helping others receive the same (and obtain it from others when they have more than we do). That is love. It is not loving to encourage people in their denial of reality or in pretending negative consequences don't exist or don't matter.

As far as the LDS church goes, expect acceptance of far greater violations of God's commandments in the future. Two nights ago I had this dream:

I was in an LDS temple. As I walked down a hall, I looked up and saw a big tube of meat taped to the wall where it met the ceiling. I reached up and took it. I went into the locker room and put it on the bench. I noticed there were one or two other people who had found meat and done the same. Then I saw that there were many people grabbing pieces of meat, breaking open the tubes and snatching at as much as they could. I said "excuse me, that is mine." They voraciously stole as much as they could as I tried to keep them away. I decided whether to start throwing punches, but decided to let them go. It was clear they had no intent of eating the meat themselves, they just wanted to ruin it for the few who had found it there.

The LDS church has become a place where very few look up and obtain the meat they are looking for, and those few who do have it violently stolen from them via the damning traditions embraced by the crowds.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Share what you "know"

It is hard to strike a balance in this world. It seems that we, as humans, are much more likely to take an extreme position on any issue, and that the truth tends to be somewhere in the middle.

Preaching is no exception. There are those who share too much, and those who don't share enough.

I've been asked why I share what I do.

The Lord said:

24 Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do. Behold ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed.

25 And ye see that I have commanded that none of you should go away, but rather have commanded that ye should come unto me, that ye might feel and see; even so shall ye do unto the world; and whosoever breaketh this commandment suffereth himself to be led into temptation. (3 Nephi 18)

There are many laws governing what to share and when. Here are some:

What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. (Matthew 10:27)

Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—(Mosiah 18:19)

...teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. (Ezekiel 44:23)

When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. (Ezekiel 3:18)

Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor. (D&C 88:1)

I would MUCH prefer if someone else was already sharing the things that I share. If that were the case, I would regain a lot of time, a lot of sleep, make more money, and avoid a lot of attention, almost all of which is negative. I only ever share those things that I believe that have not been shared (for example, what you will find in "The Glory of God is Intelligence") or things that have not been shared in as effective a way as I think I can present them. My books "Seek Ye This Jesus" and "Teaching for Doctrines" are examples of this. To get to what is concentrated in those books, you would have to read two or more dozen books and filter out all the garbage, and no one I know is willing to invest the time to do that. 

My goal in everything spiritual that I do is to make faith more accessible, so that people can grow closer to Christ than they otherwise could. How I do that is by working out my own salvation, by learning more about God and implementing what I learn in my own life.

I'm not sure the Lord has ever revealed anything to me that I wasn't seeking for my own personal growth. Yet, he has made it very clear on multiple occasions that one reason he shares what he does is so that I will share it with others. There have been multiple times when I told him I didn't want to share something, because I knew it would cause strife/persecution, and he said if I didn't share it he would stop revealing things to me.

When it comes to deciding what to share, for me the question is really how to share things. I don't really choose not to share things, but I often choose to wait until I understand more on something, or until I understand a better way of explaining it. I have hundreds of blog posts in draft, several books partially written, and hundreds of slides made that I have not released, and may never release. I only release things when I sincerely believe they will help someone in some way. Often, the trigger event is seeing a question or comment from someone else. I inquire of the Lord, and he tells me things that round out what I had previously written/prayed about/thought about/studied about, and I finish the material and publish it.

Should you share things? Or do you share too much already?

On the one hand, God told Oliver Cowdery:

Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men. (D&C 11:21)

It is very good to conduct a periodic assessment of what you have already obtained from God and what you yet lack.

But if you look, you may find that you do indeed already possess a great deal of God's word, particularly on subjects that may seem elementary to you, but are the burning questions of some other person.

God taught Abraham that whenever there are two people, one has more light than another. There is a 1 in 7 billion chance that you have less light than anyone on this earth, but there is also a 1 in 7 billion chance that you have more light than anyone on this earth. It is more likely that you are somewhere in the middle. Even if you are average, you have more light than about 3.5 billion people. What are you doing to share what God has given you?

I think a good rule of thumb in governing what you should share is whether you are ready:

1) To be criticized. Criticism can be hard to bear, but it is also usually good. If you are right, criticism gives you an opportunity to patiently persuade others. If you are wrong, criticism gets you to a better place.

2) To change your mind. There are good odds that someone out there knows more than you on this topic. Are you open to expanding and/or changing your position? If not, maybe it is better for you to keep it to yourself.

If you are ready to do these two things, I highly encourage you to share more than you currently do. One thing I want to draw your attention to is Reddit. I am amazed at how many sincere people ask religious questions on Reddit. I've looked at the Mormon boards, and they are pretty sad. But I see a lot of faithful people seeking for questions on the Christianity board, and the laborers are few. You will find that you already possess answers to many of these questions.

Here is what I encourage you to do: Set a time that you will hit the internet every week. Google gospel questions, such as "why do good things happen to bad people," or "what is the purpose of life," or whatever you feel inspired to search for. Look for message boards. Pray, study, and write out a well constructed response. Save your response to your computer, and post it on the board. Every once in a while, google the same question again, reread your previous answer, revise if needed to reflect further learning, and post again.

In doing this, you may help some brother or sister draw closer to Christ than they could have if it weren't for your intervention. Because you are willing to share what he teaches you, God will teach you more.

You may find several sources to be helpful in your construction of rational arguments in favor of what God has taught you. First, of course, is scripture. Second, you may find the material of others helpful. Here, however, I want to caution you.

In order to teach by the spirit, you must teach from your spirit, or the spirit of God within you. Simply reciting what someone else has said may help, but it is far, far better to teach things according to your own understanding. If you are using others writings properly, you will chop them up, test them, and filter them. When properly processed, your light will expand and grow, and stand on its own (meaning as a direct link between you and God with no middleman). If I had one wish, it would be that no one would ever quote me. I love nothing more than to hear someone say something and know that the ancestor of that thought was something I said. What is even better is if they don't even realize that their position was first my position.

I openly invite you to spiritually plagiarize from me. If I make a good point, absorb it and make it your point, then delete the original file. If I make a point that your light has already superseded, than I congratulate you on your progress, and beg you to help me lift my vision to where yours already rests.

Go share what you know!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

More videos posted, kindle book is now live

Hi all,
I've published more youtube videos. I won't be posting links to those here every time I do one, so please subscribe to the channel if you want notifications.

The kindle version of "The Glory of God is Intelligence" is now live.

If you live in Utah, I hope to see you at the talk this Sunday, 3pm at the Centerville theater, 525 N 400 W.

The topic will be "Acquisition of truth: Why it matters, how to do it." I highly recommend you attend this talk. We will cover a lot of ground, including how to discern truth and error, what awareness is and why it matters, what the light of Christ is, and how to grow in light and truth.

Doors open at 2:30, admission is free. I will not be bringing books, so if you want a copy of the new one or one of the others, please visit Amazon or download a free pdf.

If you are outside of a reasonable driving range, I plan on recording the talk and posting it to YouTube.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

New book published and available

The new book is available in print on Amazon, free in pdf, and will shortly be available on kindle.

PDF

Amazon (print)

Kindle
I will not be bringing books to my speaking engagement on March 24th. If you want print copies, order them on Amazon.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Both talks are still on

I've gotten two emails from people who have RSVP'd for the Sunday morning talk in Lehi asking if it is still on since I omitted it from a previous post.

Yes, it is. We still have some seats left. Please email me if you would like to come (2robpineapplesmith@gmail.com without the pineapple).

Here is the final schedule for Sunday, March 24th:

Title: "Seeing eye to eye to bring Zion."
Time: 9:30AM-10:30AM
Location: Lehi, Utah. Email me with headcount for RSVP purposes and I'll give you the address
Venue size: 80 people, ~30 RSVP'd to date.

Title: "Acquisition of truth: why it matters, how to do it."
Time: 3PM (~1hr 15min)
Location: Centerville Legacy Theater, 525 N 400 W, Centerville, Utah
Venue size: 500 people

Also, the previously penciled in talks for Saturday have been moved to YouTube. Share them with your friends. They should be accessible to any Mormon audience. You can watch them here:

Revelation, learning, and discerning (part 1)

Friday, March 8, 2019

"What do you think of ?"

From time to time, people ask me "what do you think of so-and-so," where so-and-so is some person who purports to teach the gospel.

I figured I would write out my answer here so I can simply refer people to it instead of reconstructing it each time.

First: I don't. I don't think of so-and-sos. I recognize that the question is not about who they are but what they teach, and that what they teach is not a monolith that is either good or bad, but an amalgam that must be broken into individual bits which must be independently tested. Truth can come from anywhere.

Second: Jesus said wisdom is known of her children, and that whoever is not against him is for him. Purported truth that results in a person acting more like God is good. Purported truth that results in anything else is not. The trick is, no one knows what God is really like, because the only way to know is to become like him. The good news is, truth always leaves clues. One clue is that if someone claims to have experiences with God, implementing their teachings in your life ought to lead to the same experiences. If not, you can know with a surety they are a liar.

Third: I have multiple bookshelves full of books, but I do not read them all equally. I spend about 10-20x more time in the scriptures than I do any other books. Why? Because they have the most concentrated value that I have found so far.

Like books, there are some people worth hearing over and over again, some people worth hearing once, and some people never worth hearing.

The task in life is to acquire as much light and truth as you can before you die. If you spend your time in activities that yield less light and truth than you could acquire some other way, you are living below your potential. The differences in concentration of light and truth are so extreme that among the few who actually exercise diligence in seeking more light and truth, most are living far below their potential because they spend their precious time listening to people who have very little light and truth.

If your gospel study does not yield "many revelations daily", you are wasting your time and should make radical changes to the way you do it.

If your gospel study does not regularly yield face-ripping new truth that supplants what you thought you knew, you are wasting your time and should make radical changes to the way you do it.

The acquisition of light and truth is meant to be an exponential process. Every year, you should be learning more than everything you learned in your life prior to that year. If that is not the case, you are wasting your time and should make radical changes to how you seek God.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Talks for LDS folks

I put together two talks that might be of particular interest for LDS folks. I hope you find value in them:

Revelation, learning, and discerning (part 1)


I was going to give these two talks in Utah on March 23rd, but decided instead to record them and post them on YouTube. I hope you share the link with your friends and on social media.

I will still be giving a free live talk on Sunday March 24th at 3pm at the Centerville Theater at 525 N 400 W Centerville, UT. There are 500 seats, so please come and bring your friends.

NOTE: All three videos above say that the new book, "The Glory of God is Intelligence" is available. It isn't yet, but will be soon. I didn't want to have to edit the videos after the fact to update them :).

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

New YouTube channel, first video posted

I created a new YouTube channel for delivering talks. I don't think I'll put a notice here every time I publish a talk, so if you are interested in keeping tabs, I invite you to subscribe to the channel.

The first one is on revelation, learning, and discerning.

Here is part 1:
What can God reveal through revelation? To whom will he reveal it? How will he reveal it?

Here is part 2:
Where does revelation come from? How can you tell if a revelation is from God? What is the purpose of revelation? Why is asking questions important?

These two talks were designed to be LDS friendly. Please share them with your friends.

NOTE: These videos both say that the new book "The Glory of God is Intelligence" is available. It isn't yet, but it will be soon, and I didn't want to have to go back and edit the video.

Monday, March 4, 2019

By their fruits ye shall know them

The Lord showed me about a cup of seeds in his hands. He said, "what kind of seeds are these?" I said, "I don't know." He said, "which of these seeds will sprout, and which will not?" I said, "I don't know." He said, "which of these seeds will produce no fruit, which will produce 10, which 60, and which 100?" I said, "I don't know." He said, "but how can you know?" I said, "I have to plant them and watch." He was pleased with my answer.

I'm currently aware of at least two applications for this lesson in my life. Rather than confining the value of this lesson to those two applications by sharing them, I invite you to think about how this might help you in your own life.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Update on talks - more locations needed

I am still in need of a location (or two) for Saturday to give two one hour talks. These talks would be particularly well-suited to an LDS audience. Perhaps you feel inspired to open your home and invite your LDS friends. We need at least 25 people to come to each. We could do the two Saturday talks with one group of people with a 15 minute break between. Please contact me (email at the end) if you have a potential venue.

Saturday, March 23
Title: "Revelation, learning, and discerning"
Time: 1 hour, TBD
Location: TBD

Saturday, March 23
Title: "Knowledge from and experiences with God come through obtaining greater light and truth."
Time: 1 hour, TBD
Location: TBD

Sunday, March 24
Title: "Seeing eye to eye to bring Zion."
Time: 9:30AM-10:30AM
Location: Lehi, Utah. Email me with headcount for RSVP purposes and I'll give you the address
Venue size: 50 people, ~30 RSVP'd to date.

Title: "Acquisition of truth: why it matters, how to do it."
Time: 3PM (1hr 15min)
Location: Centerville Legacy Theater, 525 N 400 W, Centerville, Utah
Venue size: 500 people


OTHER:
For those far away: I hope to record each of these presentations and post them for free online. Please don't travel hours to attend the talks.

For those close by: Last time I traveled to Utah to give a book talk, about 20 people showed up. When I asked some folks I know that lived close by why they didn't come, they said it was too far (~20 minute drive). I'm not giving these talks because I like attention, but because I believe the content is worth the sacrifice to obtain and deliver it. If you have a reason to believe otherwise, by all means, follow your heart. If you don't, please consider that further light and truth only comes proportional to the heed and diligence we exert to obtain it.



Email: 2robDOGsmith@gmail.com without dog

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Enmity rising

More of our modern life is dependent upon the grace of God than you realize. God has granted the developed world a great deal of light in the form of the principles upon which society relies.

Those who have traveled to developing nations know what happens without these. In much of Africa, you can't have electricity because people will tear down the lines to sell them for copper. Think of what this scavenging requires: sufficient ignorance and/or selfishness in those who tear them down, those who buy them and melt them down, and those who buy the copper from the middlemen.

As we turn away from this light, the natural consequence is that the outcomes that rely upon it will recede and disappear.

Enmity is rising. The spirit of enmity will cause:

  • Poor against rich.
  • Left against right.
  • Race against race.
  • Young against old.
  • Sibling against sibling.
  • Spouse against spouse.
  • Child against parent.
  • Parent against child.
  • Neighbor against neighbor.
  • City against city.
  • State against state.
  • Finally, country against country.

I could speak for ten hours and not finish describing what this will look like.

If you have ears to hear and eyes to see, project yourself into what your world will look like as this spirit increases, and as all societal norms are removed, and prepare accordingly.

35 And I said unto them: Be not troubled, for, when all these things shall come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made unto you shall be fulfilled.
36 And when the light shall begin to break forth, it shall be with them like unto a parable which I will show you—
37 Ye look and behold the fig trees, and ye see them with your eyes, and ye say when they begin to shoot forth, and their leaves are yet tender, that summer is now nigh at hand;
38 Even so it shall be in that day when they shall see all these things, then shall they know that the hour is nigh. (D&C 45)

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Update on talks next month


Saturday, March 23

Title: "Revelation, learning, and discerning"
Time: 9AM
Location: TBD
Venue size: 250 people
Audience: Current LDS (if you have read my blog or books, it is probably best to leave these seats for someone else. I will post the presentation later).

Sunday, March 24

Title: "Seeing eye to eye to bring Zion."
Time: 9:30AM-10:30AM
Location: Lehi. Email me with headcount for RSVP purposes and I'll give you the address
Venue size: 50 people
Audience: Believers in Christ who accept the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants.

Title: "Acquisition of truth: why it matters, how to do it."
Time: 3PM (1hr 15min)
Location: Centerville
Venue size: 500 people
Audience: Believers in Christ who accept the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants.

TO DO:

I am still open to the possibility of speaking in a home Saturday afternoon. Email me with location, demographic, capacity, and estimated headcount if you have a potential venue for consideration. 

OTHER:

For those far away: I hope to record each of these presentations and post them for free online. Please don't travel hours to attend the talks.

For those close by: Last time I traveled to Utah to give a book talk, about 20 people showed up. When I asked some folks I know that lived close by why they didn't come, they said it was too far (~20 minute drive). I'm not giving these talks because I like attention, but because I believe the content is worth the sacrifice to obtain and deliver it. If you have a reason to believe otherwise, by all means, follow your heart. If you don't, please consider that further light and truth only comes proportional to the heed and diligence we exert to obtain it.

Email: 2robDOGsmith@gmail.com without dog