Sunday, February 17, 2019

Show me truth

Truth can be found in strange places. 

Consider these lyrics from a progressive rock band from 1992:

There was no time for pain 
No energy for anger 
The sightlessness of hatred slips away 
Walking through winter streets alone 
He stops and takes a breath 
With confidence and self-control
I look at the world and see no understanding 
I'm waiting to find some sense of strength 
I'm begging you from the bottom of my heart 
To show me understanding
I need to live life 
Like some people never will 
So find me kindness 
Find me beauty 
Find me truth 
When temptation brings me to my knees 
And I lay here drained of strength 
Show me kindness 
Show me beauty 
Show me truth
The way your heart sounds 
Makes all the difference 
It's what decides if you'll endure the pain that we all feel 
The way your heart beats 
Makes all the difference 
In learning to live

This song often brings me to tears...

The new book is almost drafted. I'm crawling toward the end of the tunnel.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

In my own defense

There are a lot of people out there talking trash about me. I don't really have much of a reputation to save, nor pride to nurse, but I have to address these comments, at least in general, so that no one is precluded from benefiting from what I write by weak arguments against it.

Everyone will find something about me to get offended by. I'm an excommunicated Mormon, which makes LDS uncomfortable, but I was excommunicated for believing Jesus, which makes them REALLY uncomfortable. I believe that the text of the Book of Mormon was given by God, and believe that an honest analysis of it in the context of science and archeology support its contents rather than refute them, which makes progressive ex Mormons uncomfortable. I believe in the literal application of God's commandments as found in scripture and personal revelation, and by following that belief have come to the point where I have had visions and visitations and revelations not a few, including from Jesus, which seems to make everyone uncomfortable.

To the LDS: I may have done more to promote the doctrines believed by Joseph Smith than anyone since Joseph Smith, yet I have made public strong arguments against the core traditions that came after Joseph Smith. This makes me very dangerous.

To the Ex-Mormons: I have studied far more history than most of them, agree with most of their arguments against the LDS, and yet have proved through my own experiences that God is real and that anyone can obtain a seeing, hearing, and touching relationship with him if they will follow the commandments he gives. This makes me very dangerous.

This analysis can be repeated for every sect.

New flash: I'm controversial. 

Should this be surprising? No. People who teach that there is a better way are summarily rejected by all sides. This is why the path is strait and narrow, and few there be that find it. 

The unfortunate effect of my controversy is that no matter how reason-based an argument I make, there are sufficient objections to tempt anyone from actually reading and thinking about what I write.

The point of what I write and what I do is not to promote myself. If what I cared about was my reputation or what I get out of it, I would do things very differently. Thinking about this for even a nanosecond would yield many things I could do that would be more effective if personal gain were my aim.

"He thinks he is right and everyone else is wrong..."

False. I am inherently open-minded.

Like Joseph Smith said, I can say that my religion is no religion at all. I believe truth no matter where I find it, and I rejoice every time someone points something out to me that I hadn't before considered. No exceptions. The problem is that those who make this accusation of me do not feel the same way. Because of this, they have not spent nearly as much time and effort as I have in acquiring truth. Because of that, almost everything they present to me is something I've already heard. They conflate their shallow and usually parroted argument with my being arrogant. It's not so.

"But I heard you..."

The story of the three little pigs is very different from the perspective of the wolf. There is a funny kid's book that tells it that way. 

Take a second and think of all the things that legitimate holy men did in the scriptures. You know, really good people like Jesus and Isaiah and the like. We have the true story of what happened in the scriptures. But this is told from the perspective of believers. How do you think it would be different if it was told from the perspective of non-believers? 

In 1 Kings 17, Elijah brings a boy back to life. He "stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the Lord, 'O Lord my God, let this child's life come into him again.'” In spite of the fact that Elijah was actually acting in God's name, and actually raised this kid from the dead, if the story were told by some people, it would read: "Elijah molested this kid three times! Clearly, he is a fraud!"

Luckily (that I know of at least), no one has accused me of pedophilia. However, there are at least a few rumors floating around that are equally baseless, that are at best gross misrepresentations of true events, and at worse, completely fabricated.

Note: Lest they say "see! He just compared himself to Jesus, Isaiah, and Elijah," my point here is to say if these men, being above reproach, can be smeared so, how much more the people below their stature?

"But this guy really hates you..."

I have at least half a dozen people whose whole mission in life seems to be to say very nasty things about me--typically in places I don't know about and therefore can't defend myself.

Suppose for a moment that God knows much more than you do. What tools do you suppose he would use to try to get that knowledge to you? Though not the only mechanism, the scriptures are replete with him using people to do that, and for good reasons (which I won't get into here). And what does this look like? It almost always takes the following form: some weirdo shows up without any earthly authority and tells people there is a better way of doing things. And, in unison, they hate him.

While being hated and ill spoken of does not imply that you convey God's word, everyone who conveys God's word is hated and ill spoken of.

As written in the Book of Mormon: "…if a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil." (Helaman 13:26)

Now, I have to make a disclaimer because I'm invoking a scripture using the p word in explaining something about myself. "Prophet" is a word that almost always either means more or less than those invoking it mean. So here is a paraphrase that might not trigger people as badly:

If someone who claims to have higher order truth in some topic tries to persuade you that his positions are more efficacious than yours, you will get angry; you will do whatever you can to shut him up and discredit his message, including saying he is a bad person and does bad things, because he says what you think and do is capable of improvement.

The real problem: the ideology of "whatever I know is all there is to know"

Of course, truth searching requires rational evaluation and, when that checks out, personal testing. It isn't enough to just dismiss things out of hand because of some ad hominem argument. 

But very few people want to consider that what they believe is either incorrect or imperfect (although you kind of have to believe that if you also believe God is all knowing and you are not). 

Most people believe that whatever their heart desires is right and above questioning. This is truer in modern times than in the past, when people used to assume that someone, somewhere, knew more than they did about something. 

Modern people embrace a belief held by only the extremely wicked in the past. They do not believe there could be anything better than what they already believe, and they will viciously attack anyone who dares challenge that assertion:

27 But behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth—and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.
28 Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him.
29 O ye wicked and ye perverse generation; ye hardened and ye stiffnecked people, how long will ye suppose that the Lord will suffer you? Yea, how long will ye suffer yourselves to be led by foolish and blind guides? Yea, how long will ye choose darkness rather than light? (Helaman 13)

Jesus was not sent to the 99 who thought they needed no repentance. Instead, he ministered to the 1 who believed there was something better than what they had. If you hear a chorus of people saying what is quoted above--that you can imagine what you want reality to be and then act as if it were that way, and anyone who dares say it isn't so is Hitler, that should be a sign to you that maybe that message they are ranting against might be worth listening to, rather than the opposite.

Conclusion

In fact, if you are willing to investigate the criticisms people use against me, you will see that the arguments they give against me are actually strong arguments in favor of considering what I have said.

I've written a book laying out some false traditions in the LDS church, but I don't and won't condemn the founding doctrines or the founder like most ex Mormons have done. I've had charismatic experiences with God, but I haven't founded a church like most who make that claim have done. I've had "special" experiences, but instead of claiming that makes me special like most have done, I've written a whole book making the argument that these are obtained by following very basic doctrines within the reach of every person. I've spent years of my life writing blog posts and books to share what I'm learning, but I haven't and won't charge money for them as everyone seems to have done. All I get for my work is people saying awful things about me. I believe in polygamy, but I have not done any of the things most expect me to do (though some incorrectly accuse me of doing so): in fact, I've actually made what is in my opinion the strongest argument against the practice. You should ask yourself why. 

My behavior does not match the motives my enemies claim I have. It does match the modern version of behavior of people in the scriptures. You should ask yourself why.

I can't spend the time necessary to answer every criticism of myself that I hear about. I have far too much writing to do, and no more hours of the night left from which to draw. But I hope these thoughts give you reason to exercise some caution in your interpretation of what you hear. 

Everything I have written has had the following objective: Help people acquire and assimilate higher truth through trusting God, seeking his word, and obeying it more fully than they currently do.

I hope you consider what I write, and that you test it, and keep it if it is of value to you.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Counsel to young people about spouse selection

Trigger warning

This post contains some truths that are likely to offend people who have adopted false ideas into their core world views. Of course, unless this is your first time on my blog, that shouldn't surprise you.

While it is risky for me to say these things, knowing how people who love a lie will say and do all sorts of evil when confronted with truth, I believe the joy that will come to those who take a higher path as a result of these words is worth it. You can rage against the truth all you want, but that won't relieve you of the pain that inevitably results from living incomplete or incorrect principles.

Note: Everything said here is broad brush generalization. While there are exceptions to every rule, I advise you to take extreme caution.

Marriage is a transaction

In order to marry, each potential spouse has to believe that it is in their best interest. After all, the risk of a bad choice is high. Men marry women for certain reasons, and women marry men for certain reasons. These reasons vary according to culture and wisdom, but they shouldn't.

A man's currency is his production capability, his wisdom, his stoicism, his vision, and his looks.
A man's value at 18 is mostly looks. He is not stoic, he is not wise, his vision (if he has one) is weak, and he has very little production capability. His value increases steadily through the next few years, and hits the threshold where he may be worth marrying at 25, but not before. But a man's value keeps increasing over time. If he stays in shape, his looks fade very slowly, and if he is wise, his production and vision keep growing for most of his life. Put basically, a man's value grows the older he gets. When a woman marries a man worth marrying, all his most valuable years are ahead of him. The only reason a man should marry young is to fight the artificial cap modern women have on dating a man > 10 years older than they are, but to maximize market value, he should wait until at least 25 to consider marrying in order to provide sufficient time to increase his earnings, wisdom, stoicism, and vision. Fortunately for women, a man's worth is very easily measured. In one date, you can gain a clear measure of how productive he is, how stoic he is, how wise he is, what he looks like, and what he is doing with his life.

A woman's currency is her looks, her excitement, her dedication, her kindness, and her emotional stability. None of these things grow over time. Some may stay the same, most will not. Put simply, the longer a woman waits to marry, the less currency she has to attract a valuable man. There is a point where she has too little value to attract a man worth marrying, which is the point at which the least qualified man worth marrying would prefer someone younger. Unfortunately for a man, the only part of a woman you can evaluate in one date is her looks. Even more unfortunately for a man, you can go on any number of dates with a woman and never get to an accurate measurement of her dedication, kindness, or emotional stability.

The bottom line: By nature, most men are not worth marrying. Modern culture makes it so even fewer than normal are worth marrying. By nature, most women are worth marrying. Modern culture makes it so few are.

Advice to Young Men

If you want to find and attract the best woman you can, focus on improving yourself. The good news is that you have time. You shouldn't even think about seriously dating anyone--no matter how amazing they seem, until you are 25. If she is amazing before you are 25, it just means you can find someone better after 25, when you have more to offer.

You need to make money. Choose and prepare for a career. The average wage is 30k per year. If you want to provide your wife with the opportunity to be a stay at home mom, choose a career where you can earn at least double that. To be on the safe side, you should triple it.

Learn stoicism. Read Marcus Aurelius and Seneca. Learn to develop routines and mindsets that establish your core so strongly that nothing anyone else does can affect you. Learn to control your schedule. Don't waste your time. Learn to control your actions. Don't let anything dictate them to you. Become a warrior.

Establish a life vision. If you want an example, here is mine. Read books from great minds to rise out of the mediocrity of thought your circumstances provide you. Decide how you will fight the entropy in this world. Consider your greatness, and then do what it takes to make it manifest in your life.

Above all else, seek God. Seek to know more about God than anyone you know, not to brag or boast, but so that you can do the greatest good. Learn to trust him completely. Master the scriptures. Internalize his words. He is the source of all strength, all wisdom, all power, and every character trait worth having. You need all of these things, and going to him is the most direct way to get them.

When you get to the point that you can support a wife and kids--financially, emotionally, and spiritually--you are ready to date seriously. Until then, you have no time or energy for it, nor should any woman pay any attention to you. You have to come to the point where you have something to offer a woman. That is your job as a man: to have something more to give her, so that she becomes something more than she would otherwise be.

Marriage is not a right. It is a privilege, and one for which many men never qualify. If you are not a productive person who has something to give a woman, you ought not seek marriage. Stay single. There are far more marriageable women than marriageable men. This is just a fact of life driven by the Pareto distribution.

What should you look for in a woman? Someone who will receive everything you have to give. You are looking for humility and kindness, over all else. Unfortunately, this is nearly impossible to evaluate through dating. Historically, these attributes were easier to come by because they were taught by culture. In modern times, culture produces the opposite. I wish I had a trick to test a woman's humility and kindness. I don't. The nearest I can get is to teach you about how feminine energy manifests.

Women have positive energy. This includes excitement, happiness, joy, cuddliness, sexiness, etc. Women also have negative energy. This includes emotional violence, sadness, moodiness, testiness, anger, jealously, etc. At any given moment, a woman will be in a positive state or a negative state. WOMEN COME IN ALL DIFFERENT CONFIGURATIONS OF THESE THINGS. Consider this graph, which plots state over time:


You can imagine how many different plots you could get. Some women have frequent high positive states, some women have frequent low negative states. Some (very few!) women are very even keeled and don't have extremes. Some women stay in a positive state for longer periods of time. Some women stay in a negative state for longer periods of time. Some flip flop very frequently. And on and on. 

If we could design an ideal woman, it would be one who was very high all the time. That woman doesn't exist. How close you can get to that will depend on the reality of what is out there, and essentially you will have to choose what drawbacks you are willing to deal with. If you really want  extreme highs, it is likely you will have to deal with extreme lows. If what you prefer is higher lows, you will probably have to deal with lower highs too. No matter your preference, to avoid regret, seek a woman who is net positive.

When you are dating a woman, you should be thinking about these graphs and assessing her energy plot. Like I've said, it is really, really hard to get an accurate read of a woman during dating. You might try to engineer situations where she is massively sleep deprived or very highly stressed. Do everything you can to reveal what is certainly hidden from you, and likely hidden for you. If she is on mind altering drugs, move on and don't turn back. Understand that, for a young woman, her life is an unending cycle of new emotional highs. She develops and starts attracting men's attention. She gets the excitement of being chased. First date, serious dating, physical interaction, engagement, baby. After a woman has a child, there are no more new emotional peaks. It is all downhill from there. Her stress levels will keep going up, her hormones will keep going down, her looks will fade, and she will get bored with you and with life. A woman will give you 5 to 15 years of her peak (depending on whether you marry her at 30 or 18). You will be with her for another 50 years where she is a completely different person in every way. Choose based on who she will be for the 50, not for the 5-15. A consistently kind, loving, grateful woman is worth everything it takes to find and marry her. But that kind of woman is rarer than anything else on this earth, and almost impossible to judge without actually marrying her.

If you encounter any of the following red flags, move on: Uses mind-altering drugs (including prescribed ones), checks her phone often, is over 30, single mother or divorced, overweight. Ask a date what she is interested in in life and if she wants kids. If she says no, or says something that indicates kids come after a decade of travel and career, move on.

Marriage is not for companionship. For a man, it is to provide an opportunity to serve through obtaining and becoming then giving. If you pick a wife that will receive what you have, you will be happy. If you pick a wife who is prideful and doesn't recognize what you offer her, you will be miserable.

What you are looking for is a woman who is able to find her strength in you. You aren't expecting her to be perfect. What you are looking for is someone who recognizes her weakness and your strength and is able to trust you sufficiently that she can have peace in situations that exceed her capabilities because of your strength. If she can't trust you, move on. These traits (humility, trust, dedication, love)  in a woman are more of a product of how many times she has been let down by men she relied on than it is a choice. If she doesn't have them now, she probably never will. They can be lost, but I'm not sure they can be gained.

If you are in your peak, seek a woman in hers. This means you should be dating women who are as close to 18 as you can get, whatever age you are. This isn't because looks are super important or even very important--they aren't. It is because the things that do matter are very very hard to measure, and in absence of good measures, it is best to go with the fact that the younger a woman is, the more likely she is not jaded, the more positive energy she will have, and the more years you will have with her before rolling the dice of the hormonal changes that might turn her into a completely different woman than you married.

Advice to Young Women

Almost all young women are attractive. Do not derive your self worth from your looks--they will not last. Instead, seriously evaluate your inner character, and seek to improve it with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. Cultivate a love for correction, and seek God sincerely to help you find how you can be better. Be brutally honest in your motives and desires. Seek to be an integral person. Evaluate how you feel against how you should feel, and seek to align differences. Know yourself and grow towards seeing yourself as God sees you.

Unfortunately, you have to make many important decisions while you are still very young, before you have much wisdom or experience. There are many decisions in your life that will have permanent consequences: Every man you have a serious relationship with will significantly reduce your capacity to have a full, meaningful relationship with another man. Every year you live outside of a family (that is, outside of the child relationship but not yet in a married relationship) will decrease the amount of happiness you have in marriage, because it will imbue you with counterfeit sources of happiness, and those lies take years and years to correct, if ever.

You don't have time or capital to waste on poor choices in men. Your physical attractiveness is your most valuable asset in finding a husband. This value peaks from 16-18, fades slowly until 25, then starts fading quickly. Your pool of potential husbands shrinks significantly with every year past 18. Don't waste your capital. Don't waste your time. Realize that marriage is a net loss for a man, and that you will need everything you can muster to land a good husband. Take care of yourself physically. Looks are not important, but they are one of very few things a guy has to go off of. If you can't keep yourself in shape as a single person, how are you going to do it when you have kids to take care of? If you can't control what goes into your mouth, how are you going to control what comes out of it?

Fortunately, you have everything you need from day one to objectively evaluate a spouse. In one date you can do it. How much money does he earn? What is his purpose in life? If a man doesn't have a good answer to this direct question, move on. How much effort does he put into improving his spirit, mind, and body (in that order!)? Is this a man who you honestly believe will have something to provide you your whole life? Is he getting better every day? You are looking for someone who is better than you and will continue to grow faster than you do so that he continues to have something to offer you in what he produces, what he gives, and what he teaches. Is he oriented to service? How has this manifested in his life? If he is not serving people now, he will not serve you or your kids later. Does he want kids? If he isn't sure or says no, move on. Is he stoic? Can he maintain his center even when he is tired or hungry or stressed? Does he get stressed? Does he require mind altering drugs to cope with life? A man who can't keep himself aligned with his vision and his center (or who doesn't have a center) is not worth marrying, period. Move on. Is he addicted to anything? A man who needs external materials or activities to derive his self worth is not worth marrying, period. Move on. You are looking for a guy who can withstand your storms and the storms of life, who can be your rock. If he doesn't fit this description, and you can find out in one date if he does, move on.

Don't fool yourself into the lies that society teaches you about men and women. Don't seek an "equal partner." If you find a man who is only as good as you are, you will be miserable with him. A woman's nature is to seek someone better than herself, yet modern culture teaches the lie of equal partners. Get used to the idea of your husband being better than you, then go out and find someone for whom it is true. Settle for nothing less. A woman will be happier being single than married to someone who is less than she is.

A brief, unpopular note on polygamy: Polygamy, in most cases, is a very bad idea. However, I would be remiss to point out that the surest way to find a man who would be a successful husband is to find one who already is. About half of men do not marry, and 75% of those who do, fail. If you find someone in the 12% who are in a successful marriage, you are already way ahead of the curve, even without considering the tangibles of success, which are much more obvious than with a single man.

Addendum: Differences in pools of men vs. pools of women

Above, I wrote "By nature, most men are not worth marrying. Modern culture makes it so even fewer than normal are worth marrying. By nature, most women are worth marrying. Modern culture makes it so few are."

Also in the polygamy post I linked above, I went into some dynamics of differences between men and women. You should read that.

Men and women are objectively different. If you pretend these differences don't exist, it will result in a worse experience for you.

One of those differences is in IQ. Women and men have, on average, the same IQ. In both cases, the IQ scores are distributed normally (meaning according to the so-called bell curve). But the distribution of women is different from the distribution of men. The female distribution is narrower, while the men's is fatter. What does this mean? It means that while on average a human being's IQ will be 100, it is much more likely to be lower or higher if you are a man than if you are a woman. Does this difference matter? It absolutely does. Someone with an IQ of 85 or lower can't follow written instructions. Note the use of the word can't. It isn't about how hard they try. Likewise, someone with an IQ of 115 is going to have markedly different capabilities than someone with an IQ of 100. What does this mean in practice? An IQ of 115, 130, or otherwise will find their comprehension dominating that of someone with, say, an IQ of 90. If you were to plot their conversations on a Venn diagram, instead of the the familiar two circles with the bit shared in the middle, there would be one circle completely surrounded by a much larger circle. If you are told your whole life that marriage is meant to be about "equal partners" and you find yourself in such a situation (no matter which circle you are), you are going to be very upset. In reality, no matter which circle you are, you ought to be thankful. If you are the smaller circle, you have been blessed with a firehose of intelligence beyond your own, and will reap the benefits of a crop that you didn't plant. If you are the larger circle, you will have a daily opportunity to bless someone else with the gift you've been given.

The dark side of this information is that it shows us that, for half of women, half of men are incompatible (because of Briffault's law aka "women marry up"), and the higher IQ a woman is, judged only by IQ, the pool of compatible men shrinks considerably.

But IQ does not tell the whole story.

What about looks? Physical characteristics are distributed normally.

What about attraction? This is different than looks, because it includes the whole picture. There are public datasets that measure this, and the patterns are pretty clear. Men strongly prefer women closer to 18 (not good for women), but also find far more women attractive than women find men attractive (very good for women). In other words, the attraction distribution for men->women is Normal. Men find most women attractive, some very attractive (~15%), and some not very attractive (~15%). How about women->men? Most women find only a small percentage of the male population attractive. This creates a differential: most women are competing for the same small set of men.

Why do women find less men attractive than men find women attractive? Because women put a far higher weight on production than men do. Unlike IQ and looks, production is Pareto distributed. The Pareto distribution is what governs income and every other measure of human production. It essentially goes like this: The vast majority are very low. There are a few that are decent. There are very very few who are outstanding. PQ correlates to everything a woman ought to look for in a man: income, stoicism, wisdom, rate of improvement, etc. Why is the PQ distributed so differently than IQ? Because IQ governs someone's book smarts, but not their production. I know many high IQ people given the nature of my two jobs. They can ace a test, but are as or more likely to live in their mom's basement playing video games as they are to start a multi-million dollar company or cure cancer. You can be very smart and still be lazy. You can be very smart and still be very foolish. You can be very smart without being very discerning. These traits are independent. When you have all positive traits coherently aligning, you get PQ, and that is really rare. PQ should sound familiar. It is what the scriptures call intelligence, light and truth, wisdom, godliness, etc.

A woman chooses a man based on his PQ more than his looks (though too many foolish women overweigh looks), and a man chooses a woman because of her looks rather than her PQ or IQ or anything else. Rather than get ruffled at the importance men place on looks, women should be grateful because: 1) men can't objectively measure what they should really care about, which is her feminine energy, and 2) if they could, most women would not be worth marrying. In other words, while it seems harsh and unfair that women are judged by their looks, most women, at least when they are young, have much more attractive physiques than characters, and can leverage that to get a far better man than they deserve. But most don't, because they select a mate from the shallow end of the PQ pool, either for lack of understanding or because they waited too long and therefore didn't have sufficient capital to qualify.

All this being said, the wiser a man is, the less he will care about looks. The wise man, like God, looks upon the heart. The wiser a woman is, the more she will develop her character (which, unlike her IQ, is wholly within her ability to change). She will find a high PQ man, dig in, and never look back. It is far easier for a woman to find a high PQ man than it is for a man to find a good hearted woman. This is why Solomon said that a virtuous woman is so valuable. He should know, because he couldn't find one in spite of trying 1,000 times.

A woman will receive a far greater benefit from finding a high PQ man than a man will benefit from finding a good hearted woman. Why? A woman with a high PQ man will have the opportunity to acquire lifetimes more light and truth from her husband if she is wise. If she is not wise, she will still benefit from the immeasurably better circumstances of life and treatment provided from her husband compared to the vast majority of other potential husbands. A man who finds a good hearted woman will have a much more enjoyable life than he otherwise would.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Understanding the science of 3 Nephi 8

1 And now it came to pass that according to our record, and we know our record to be true, for behold, it was a just man who did keep the record—for he truly did many miracles in the name of Jesus; and there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity—
2 And now it came to pass, if there was no mistake made by this man in the reckoning of our time, the thirty and third year had passed away;
3 And the people began to look with great earnestness for the sign which had been given by the prophet Samuel, the Lamanite, yea, for the time that there should be darkness for the space of three days over the face of the land.
4 And there began to be great doubtings and disputations among the people, notwithstanding so many signs had been given.

These things had been amply prophesied to come. The prophets had described them in great detail, and the people had 34 years to prepare.

5 And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year, in the first month, on the fourth day of the month, there arose a great storm, such an one as never had been known in all the land.
6 And there was also a great and terrible tempest; and there was terrible thunder, insomuch that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder.
7 And there were exceedingly sharp lightnings, such as never had been known in all the land.
8 And the city of Zarahemla did take fire.
9 And the city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof were drowned.
10 And the earth was carried up upon the city of Moronihah, that in the place of the city there became a great mountain.
11 And there was a great and terrible destruction in the land southward.
12 But behold, there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds, and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth;
13 And the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough.
14 And many great and notable cities were sunk, and many were burned, and many were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth, and the inhabitants thereof were slain, and the places were left desolate.
15 And there were some cities which remained; but the damage thereof was exceedingly great, and there were many in them who were slain.
16 And there were some who were carried away in the whirlwind; and whither they went no man knoweth, save they know that they were carried away.
17 And thus the face of the whole earth became deformed, because of the tempests, and the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the quaking of the earth.
18 And behold, the rocks were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the land.
19 And it came to pass that when the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the storm, and the tempest, and the quakings of the earth did cease—for behold, they did last for about the space of three hours; and it was said by some that the time was greater; nevertheless, all these great and terrible things were done in about the space of three hours—and then behold, there was darkness upon the face of the land.
20 And it came to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen could feel the vapor of darkness;
21 And there could be no light, because of the darkness, neither candles, neither torches; neither could there be fire kindled with their fine and exceedingly dry wood, so that there could not be any light at all;
22 And there was not any light seen, neither fire, nor glimmer, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars, for so great were the mists of darkness which were upon the face of the land.
23 And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen; and there was great mourning and howling and weeping among all the people continually; yea, great were the groanings of the people, because of the darkness and the great destruction which had come upon them.

What happened here?

The reaction of the earth comprised three days. The first three hours were the most intense, followed by three days of darkness.

The first earth event consisted of wind, thunder, and shaking of the earth. It is likely that everyone there would have previously experienced hurricanes, tropical storms, and earthquakes. Yet, what happened at that time was worse than anything they had ever experienced.

Cities caught on fire from the lightning. The strikes were numerous enough that in 3 hours the cities were completely burned down.

The sea flowed inland without ceasing, completely covering cities on the coast.

Uprisings in earth were so significant and fast that it seemed that the cities that had been there were buried. In fact, they were destroyed by the incalculable force of a mountain rising out of the earth almost instantaneously (f = ma).

After three hours of lightning, earthquakes, and sustained extremely high winds, a darkness occurred that lasted 3 days. You couldn't see any light or ignite any fire in this darkness. After 3 days, it dissipated.

Science

Arthur C. Clarke said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." I say this: "Any sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from religion."

God's prophecies are our richest source of advanced science. Unfortunately, too many write off religion as mythical, and current science as the limits of what can be known. Both positions are wrong, and holding them holds us back.

Solar eruption

The 3 Nephi 8 event was not supernatural. It was a solar eruption.

A solar eruption is when the sun ejects energy and particles into space. It happens from time to time. 

Evidence for our sun's eruptions is well-known, but the science of solar eruptions has recently been advanced as freelance scientists have challenged the long-held dogma of a consistent solar system.

Here is a long list of videos you can watch all about it.

Here is the very very brief summary: Earth's rotation is a result of the sun's energy flowing to it. When solar eruptions occur, the energy jolt can cause the earth's crust, spinning at up to 1,000 mph, to slow down and/or stop. This, in turn, causes:
  • Massive floods as sea water continues turning in the direction of spin. This doesn't look like a huge wave, but rather a continuous flow of water that keeps rising.
  • Massive earthquakes as the deep earth keeps moving under the slowed/stopped crust. The tremendous energy involved can easily cause cities to almost instantaneously sink into the earth or rise into the sky. 
  • Massive ultra-hurricane winds as the atmosphere continues turning even as the crust does not.

In a solar eruption, different waves of ejecta hit the earth at different times. The first of these is the energy that causes the above events. The next is the physical material that comes from the sun. Notably, the electric charges that accompany these particles create a scenario where the air becomes superhydrated with water (more than 100% humidity) and dust. This has two effects: 1) you can't see your hand in front of your face, and 2) you can't light any fire.

With what you now know about solar eruptions, reread 3 Nephi 8. It is very interesting to note how each of the events are described.

The darkness is called "mists of darkness" and "vapors of darkness." That is exactly what it was!

The lightnings were "exceedingly sharp"--so numerous and intense that they started sufficient fires to burn entire cities to the ground in only 3 hours--the amount of time between the energy shockwave and the mists that made fire impossible.

The winds were so intense that they carried people away and were called "whirlwinds."

The whole face of the earth was deformed by the earthquakes. These earthquakes were supercharged due to the energy coming from the sun.

This will happen again

After the destruction described in 3 Nephi 8, the author notes:

11 And thus far were the scriptures fulfilled which had been spoken by the prophets.
12 And it was the more righteous part of the people who were saved, and it was they who received the prophets and stoned them not; and it was they who had not shed the blood of the saints, who were spared—
13 And they were spared and were not sunk and buried up in the earth; and they were not drowned in the depths of the sea; and they were not burned by fire, neither were they fallen upon and crushed to death; and they were not carried away in the whirlwind; neither were they overpowered by the vapor of smoke and of darkness.
14 And now, whoso readeth, let him understand; he that hath the scriptures, let him search them, and see and behold if all these deaths and destructions by fire, and by smoke, and by tempests, and by whirlwinds, and by the opening of the earth to receive them, and all these things are not unto the fulfilling of the prophecies of many of the holy prophets. (3 Nephi 10)
This is just as true in our day, and the survivors of the next round of calamities--which will be the worst this world has ever seen--will be able to say the same.

These events really happened. They happened due to a solar event. Things like this will happen again. They are plainly described in the prophecies in the scriptures. Each of these events seems like magic or miracles to the degree that we lack God's knowledge, but if we had God's knowledge, they would be perfectly scientific and perfectly predictable.

The clear predictions given and the science behind them--which was beyond human understanding until very recently--are strong evidences that God exists and that he knows everything from the beginning. When these things happen, you should grow in your belief that God knows everything.

God's prophecies do not have to be understood to be obeyed. His commandments are given so that everyone can benefit from his knowledge, even if they do not share it. 

Trust him, and obey him.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Some thoughts

I used to think that everyone was pretty much the same. Now, I realize that the heart and intellect of man appears in all shapes and sizes. 

I used to think that I was glad that I did not have to relive my past, because I didn't want to go through those hard times again. Then I wished I could go back to do things differently. Then I wished I could go back and do it again knowing what I know now, because I believed I could help people more than I did. Now I realize that the interactions I had were planned by an all-knowing God so that it the ideal time for those interactions to happen for the greatest good.


I used to think that everyone thought and felt like me. I don't think that anymore. Not a day goes by that I am not given some stark example of some base motivation in someone else that was hidden by my naive optimism, and yet it has taken all of my 35 years (ok, maybe 18 years where I've been paying attention) to finally believe that mankind is as fallen as the scriptures say. 

I am astounded at the depravity of man on the one hand, and astounded at the irregular number of good people God has put in my path on the other. While I wish there were more people I could look to as resources, and although the tail of the path of truth is one of abject loneliness, I am glad that there are some people in my life who are good people, as far as they know how to be. Given the proportion of bad to good, I feel lucky in the number of good people I know.


I used to think that if I could go back and time and meet myself at about 15, I could dispense sufficient knowledge that I could catapult myself ahead by a good decade in progress, and do so much more with my life. Now I realize that if I did do that, I would simply smile at my younger self, and have absolutely nothing to say. I realize that I already was doing the best I could given where I was, and God was already playing the role of the person who knows the future, giving me all I could handle exactly as soon as I could handle it. Knowledge requires experience, among other things, and experience requires time. Even when the other conditions of obedience and desire are perfectly maximized, the process requires time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Hang in there

I know that many of you are suffering.

Some of you are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, but are at a loss as to how you can obtain more light and truth.

Some of you are overcome by the Lord's peeling back the corners on the darkness in this world.

Some of you are overwhelmed by trials that assault you on all sides.

To all of you, the Lord's message is to rejoice, because the time of your deliverance is approaching.

His words are the key to unlocking these and all other chains of captivity.

When he began his ministry, the Lord stood and said:

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19)

His mission today is the same as it has always been, and his hand has not rested.

The Lord works in many ways and through many people, and is capable of doing his own work. One small piece of this work is the book that he is inspiring me to write. This is where my efforts have focused in the last while.

Independent of the things he chooses to do with others, I believe that his word as expounded in this book will be a strong tool in the hands of those that love him to draw closer to him than ever before. I know that this book is an answer to many prayers that have been offered for deliverance.

I am working as fast as I can to finish this book, and I hope to have it ready in a month or two. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, trust God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. Do not give up. Do not turn away. He is worthy of all trust, and he will show you that if you push through whatever you are going through.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The vision of the escorted woman

In a very large room, there was a long sidewalk slab made of gray marble and beautiful thick brown wood rails. The bridge was not hanging from the ceiling or supported by columns, but it was floating very solidly in midair. The marble sidewalk was at perhaps 9 feet wide.

In the center of the sidewalk walked two women. One was young, the other older. They walked side by side. The older woman was an escort to the younger. They walked along in the very center of the sidewalk, nowhere near the rails.

The end of the sidewalk featured a counter arrayed perpendicular to the sidewalk, with a partial wall directly behind it. There was another woman behind the counter. The escort delivered the young woman to the woman behind the counter, and they both walked around and behind the wall.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

A Psalm

To all who will lift their eye to your throne,
You inundate the universe with knowledge,
Like waves crashing against the shore,
At once chaotic and rhythmic, cascading in a slew of ideas and implications.
Your knowledge is endless, a constant spring pouring forth in the minds and hearts of all to the degree they turn to you.
Your light and knowledge are in all things and through all things. We cannot stem the flow, only rob ourself of the benefit through our inattention or disobedience.
Your word is an ever present sword, progressively developing our discernment of good and evil, increasing the detail of our perception of reality, showing ever-increasingly things as they really are, what improvement is, and what leads to it, and what detracts from it.
You will give to anyone who seeks more happiness, more understanding of what it is and what it is not, how you are, and why we should be like you.
You are overflowing with wisdom and love and patience and forgiveness.
Let all creation worship you,
Let all glory be upon your head forever and ever,
For you alone are worthy of it. Amen.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Man is his own tormentor

People have some incorrect ideas about how the judgment works.

After this life, by natural consequence, you will attain a state where you are perfectly aware of things as they really are pertaining to this world. You may think that this state is quite like your present one, and in this you would be wrong. In your present state, it is very unlikely that you have an accurate view of things as they really are. This is because seeing things that way is identical to having overcome all things and being a just man made perfect. These are equivalent because things as they really are is a measure of knowledge--the same measure of knowledge that is required for and is the definition of salvation. You can only see things as they really are in two ways: by being saved, or by dying. The benefit of the former is that you also develop, by definition, the requisite character to endure that knowledge in a state of happiness, whereas the latter entails a miserable experience beyond description--being exposed to all there is to know about this world without any protecting principles whatsoever.

Man is his own tormentor in two ways.

First, when he reaches this state unprepared, he must endure the chaos pertaining to this world, chaos he is in large part shielded from via his ignorance during life. This misery is significant enough to kill any man who is exposed to it while still in this life.

Second, he realizes with perfect clarity every single opportunity that he has squandered while in this life. We tend to see the events in our lives as separate things. In reality, every moment of every day is like a bead on a very long string. Imagine a million beads floating in water, seemingly independent. Now imagine picking up one bead and seeing that, in reality, every bead is connected with fishing line, transparent until you pick it up. In that day, you will see how it is all connected. Every bit of it was put there by an omniscient God for the sole intent of maximizing your joy. Now realize that every day, all day, God is creating opportunity in your life, and you turn away from almost all of it, every day, all day. In that day, you will know with perfect clarity how much suffering in your life was completely avoidable, how much good you could have done in the lives of others but chose not to, etc. You turn away from these opportunities because you (usually) don't recognize them. You dismiss them out of hand because you don't know how to discern good and evil, you don't know God, and you don't know God's character.

I'm not sure which of these two is worse.

How do I know these things? I have been in God's presence, and know what it is like to be exposed to the chaos that he lives in. You become perfectly aware of everything in you that is less than he is. That is awful beyond description. The only thing that can save you is faith in his words when he says "your sins are forgiven," giving you strength to be there. I have also been blessed to, on two occasions, to see in a moment like a flash of lightning how thousands of seemingly unrelated teachings, experiences, people, etc. were all intricately arranged to bring about a set of outcomes.

These things are true, and today is the day to take action to prepare yourself for these experiences. They will come to you--in this life if you prepare yourself to receive them, or in the life to come if you do not.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Believe God's Promises

16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb:
20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. (Romans 4)

Those who follow God will find themselves calling forth things which are not as if they were right before them. They will repeat the words God gives them, speaking them into the darkness. They will act in complete belief in the words of God. Creation will respond, and reality will conform to the Word.

Don't stagger at God's promises. Embrace them. Lean against them. God is able to perform all that he promises.

It doesn't matter how different reality may seem from what he promises. He is truthful, he is worthy of all belief.



Friday, October 26, 2018

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The strait and narrow path

This is an expansion of this post.

And it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings he said unto his disciples: Enter ye in at the strait gate; for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad the way which leads to death, and many there be that travel therein, until the night cometh, wherein no man can work. (3 Nephi 27:33).

What is the strait and narrow path?

Since the fall of Adam, our default position is one of separation from God:
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3)
To believe in a scriptural sense means to trust in, adhere to, and obey without reservation or exception.

To become and remain connected to him requires persistent effort. Trusting him requires realizing that we are very different than he is, more than we can comprehend. To adhere to him and obey means that we must assume we are wrong about a great many things, and we ought to expect him to correct us. We ought to seek correction.
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15)
To the extent that we seek and obey him, he will send the fruits of the light and truth we accept into our lives. However, the presence of fruit does not prove that there are no higher fruits available. To all who will submit to his purging, he offers higher blessings.

These stronger fruits will come the same way the first came, through obtaining and living his word--new words, higher words. Words that extend beyond or replace what we know. Staying on the path, or continual progress towards God, requires continuous change. We stay on the strait and narrow path by accepting new truth that is offered to us. The path is not a destination. It is process.

...the word of God...divide[s] asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead[s] the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked— (Helaman 3:29)
The process is always the same: be open minded enough to believe something could be true, then try it and follow the fruits. You will receive new lessons, new words.

18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.
19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. (2 Nephi 31)

We do not stay on the path to God by staying the same. We must feast upon the word (or in other words, get more of it!) and endure to the end (or in other words, live according to what you have received without exception). Staying the same is to accept our present distance from God, forever. Those who turn away from God's pruning step off of the strait and narrow way. Their detour may be temporary or permanent. They re-enter the path the same way they stayed on it--by obtaining and obeying new truth.

We are accountable for ALL truth, from ALL people. All putative truth must be tested. All new truth will be different, although all different ideas are not necessarily true. One can comprehend truths that lie below their understanding, but they cannot tell out of hand whether putative truths higher than they possess are true or not. That which is different should never be dismissed out of hand.

And how does God send us new truth? It might be through direct revelation. In many cases, it is through another person.

The description provided of the one mighty and strong indicates that those who will not accept the words God delivers through him will be cut off from among the people:

Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant. (3 Nephi 21:11)
It would seem that those living in the last days would be pressed to find a more worthy focus of their attention than finding out who this person is and isn't, so that they don't miss the boat.

Well, it turns out that the truth paints a slightly different and very important picture.

Rather than use this scripture as an argument in favor of outsourcing your relationship with God, this scripture is a wonderful statement of the importance of being open to putative truth.

It turns out that whenever God delivers his word, directly or through another person, those who reject that message will be cut off from the Lord. This is why Nephi was told "Inasmuch as they will not hearken unto thy words they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And behold, they were cut off from his presence." (2 Nephi 5:27) Inasmuch as your words are his words, the same will be true of you or anyone else. This is why Samuel the Lamanite could say this: "Therefore repent ye, repent ye, lest by knowing these things and not doing them ye shall suffer yourselves to come under condemnation, and ye are brought down unto this second death." (Helaman 14:19)

Oh how important it is to obtain and heed God's word, whatever the source.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

By small and simple things...

God is good. Some people believe this. Some people experience it.

Why do some people only believe it, and not experience it? Why are their interactions with his goodness so few and far between?

God shines his light in your life to the extent that you allow him to. Most people do not allow him to.

How do we block ourselves?

We are closed to correction.
https://upwardthought.blogspot.com/2018/08/seeking-correction.html

Enough cannot be said on this topic. So few people use this tool to the extent they could.

We can't just meander through our best idea of what life should be and expect to encounter the full measure of God's intended blessings. We are fallen creatures, and we are far from God in wisdom, desires, and knowledge. If we do not seek correction from every source available to us, we are in some ways cutting ourselves off from a measure of greater blessings in our lives.

We don't introspectively connect our pain to opportunities for self improvement.
Every time you experience pain or disappointment, do you feel sorry for yourself, or do you see it as an invitation to improve your understanding of yourself and the world? Do you ask yourself "why didn't my desired outcome occur here?" Do you consider what you could do to make it better in the future, or do you blame things and people outside of your control? Do you conform your expectations to more accurate revelations of reality, or do you insist on maintaining your ideologies even after they have been proven wrong? [Sidenote: This is a massive problem in modern society, and in my opinion will be the reason for its collapse. We want things to be how we want them to be, without regard to the constraints of reality. Simply put, we love our lies.]

Some pain is necessary and unavoidable in this life, but the vast majority of what we experience is not necessary or even useful. Mistakes are necessary for learning, but if you are perceptive, you can let other people do the mistaking. You can learn from others' mistakes. If you are not perceptive, you have to learn from your own mistakes. If you are humble (that is, teachable), you will never make the same mistake twice.

We are too busy.
The Lord said: "Seek not to be cumbered." (D&C 66:10) Are you encumbered?

Do you have every moment of your day scheduled out? Do you put first things first? Do you have a dedicated window of time for God each day? I give God the first chunk of my day, every day. It has made all the difference in my life. I wake up a few hours before everyone else in my house, and I spend the time working on my mind, body, and spirit. I refuse to think about anything temporal, except the rare case where that is what God directs me to do. Every single day I learn more about him, no matter what else happens during the day.

I've structured my life so that throughout the day, any time I get an impression from God I can, not much time later, take the time to follow it to its end. I take notes. I look things up. I think. I pray.

Some of these changes can be made instantly, some take time and deliberation. You can immediately start waking up (and going to bed) earlier. You can immediately reduce activities you do through the day that do not mean much. You can immediately work on focusing more at work to free up the part of your work day you spend on Facebook or otherwise wasting time. You can limit the number of extracurricular activities you drive your kids to. Etc.

We are too closed minded.
We can be closed minded in big ways, such as turning away from what we know God wants, but I think the more subtle tragedy is when we miss the small things that end up being big things. These things are almost imperceptible.

The blessings of eternity turn on surprisingly small hinges:

6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
7 And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls. (Alma 37)
I have watched as people pray for blessings that are righteous requests. God then sends a small test or a small decision to them to take them to where they have requested to go. Then, flatly, the person fails the test or refuses to make the right decision, and they accuse God of not listening to their prayer, and question their faith.

When the Spirit is upon me and I look back at my life, I am absolutely amazed at the plentitude of experiences where massive outcomes followed from small imperceptible decisions. By exercising a wide open mind, I consider actions that seem unusual or extreme. I am open to pretty much anything. Sometimes this leads to false positives, experiences that would have been better not to have, but most of the time the experiences make all the difference, and even when they are not expedient, it becomes very obvious very early, and not much harm is done.

One problem we have is that we live in a culture of Twitter and fast food. If you can't bring about what someone wants or convince them of their error in 250 characters, 2 minutes, or less, they aren't interested. I see this happen a lot with the typical lack of response to what I write. Few people search out what is written here, and some won't even read links provided in response to explicit questions. It is very sad.

We want immediate, obvious, easy results. God sometimes works like that, but those who limit his gifts to those will be leaving so much more on the table.