Thursday, December 5, 2019

Dimming the light

Turning from what they know

We are accountable for acting in complete alignment with our most sincere idea of God's character as applied to our lives. Jesus atoned for the sins you do not know of, and while he provides the ability for you to be forgiven for every sin you forsake, he will not save you while you willfully rebel against him.

Dwindle in unbelief

You dwindle in unbelief when you reject something the Lord tells you. Rejecting just one thing the Lord tells you brings you out of alignment with God until or unless you repent. Furthermore, it makes it more likely for you to do something worse, because you are dimming the light inside you making it harder for you to see the right course of action in any given situation. Thus, turning away tends to be cyclical and not a once off.

King David provides an unfortunate example of what happens when we turn from what we know. Upon learning she was married, David should have left Bathsheba alone. But he didn't. He turned away from what his conscience told him. Doing so opened the door to greater sin, because it dimmed the light within him, making it possible for him to do more than he otherwise would have. David never would have considered arranging for Uriah's death if he hadn't first turned away from the spirit in seeking Bathsheba after learning she was married. 

Escalating warnings

All of us have access to the spirit of the Lord, which tells us the difference between right and wrong through our conscience. When we offend this often subtle source, we must rely on signs in this world to help us see where we have been foolish. Typically, these include awful afflictions and trials sent to us from a God that loves us enough to expose us to the consequences of our rebellious and foolish actions in hopes that we will repent. Most times, the rebellious will be blind to these afflictions, blaming them on others or pretending that they are just unlucky. This is called "kicking against the pricks." 

Sometimes, he sends human messengers to us in obvious and non-obvious ways to snap us out of our rebellion. While the spirit speaks in a still, small, easily-offended voice, God's servants have "faces like flint." They do not care who they offend. They pay the price, having exercised exceeding mercy beyond what the spirit can in obtaining and delivering God's word in plainness and boldness, in hopes that their intercession--which almost always results in rejection and persecution--will help the person who is persisting in rebellion.

Outward vs. inward repentance

Sorrow does not repentance make. Laman and Lemuel sorrowed deeply for their sins when severely chastised on multiple occasions. Did they actually change? They did not. 

People can choose how they react to an invitation to repent. Most ignore it completely. Some react with sorrow, but not because they love God more than they did previously. Rather, their reaction is driven by their desire to avoid the consequence of sin. They want to feel good, not be good.

This type of surface sorrowing is described in the scriptures as the "sorrowing of the damned":

10 And it came to pass that the Nephites began to repent of their iniquity, and began to cry even as had been prophesied by Samuel the prophet; for behold no man could keep that which was his own, for the thieves, and the robbers, and the murderers, and the magic art, and the witchcraft which was in the land.
11 Thus there began to be a mourning and a lamentation in all the land because of these things, and more especially among the people of Nephi.
12 And it came to pass that when I, Mormon, saw their lamentation and their mourning and their sorrow before the Lord, my heart did begin to rejoice within me, knowing the mercies and the long‐suffering of the Lord, therefore supposing that he would be merciful unto them that they would again become a righteous people.
13 But behold this my joy was vain, for their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin.
14 And they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die. Nevertheless they would struggle with the sword for their lives. (Mormon 2)

Those who experience the sorrow of the damned may go through great lengths to feign repentance. When King Saul sinned in disobeying God's direct command to kill all the living things in the kingdom of the Amalekites, Saul tried to defend his disobedience by saying he had spared the best to give a sacrifice to the Lord:

17 And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel?
18 And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.
19 Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord?
20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal.
22 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.
25 Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord.
26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel. (1 Samuel 15)

A person's sacrifice does not matter. It doesn't matter if someone says they are sorry or weeps or does extreme things in response to their realization that they have sinned. What matters is if they are now willing to obey God. This is the only sacrifice that God is interested in: the heart of the person.

You can tell when someone is sorrowing but not unto repentance when they do not forsake their sins. They'd rather die than do it again. For example, the converted Lamanites who buried their weapons of war (see Alma 24). 

Real repentance is a matter of the heart. When a person really repents, they change their core. The truly repentant address the core issue. If their sin is caused by selfishness, for example, they stop being selfish. They fix the problem, not the symptoms of it. 

This manifests in all the outward behaviors that are in any way relevant to the core problem. When someone repents only at the surface level, they may chance a specific behavior or two, but you will see that their hearts are not changed because the same problem will continue to manifest in other behaviors. 

If someone's repentant behavior changes back once the external stimulus is removed, then they have not truly repented. If they repeat their sin in any way, they have not truly repented. 

Exercise extreme care with those who only surface-repent. Their hearts are not only still capable of the sins they previously committed, but they are now capable of worse sin. They have not only lost even more light through their willful disobedience, but they are under the false impression that they are better than they were previously while actually being worse. These people can continue flailing in the dark towards offenses that were previously unthinkable for them to commit.

What happens if they don't repent?

There comes a point where God stops trying to help these people and turns them over to the full weight of the consequences of their choices, a situation called "the buffetings of Satan" in the scriptures. When does this happen? When mercy ceases to benefit. This happens when, for example:

1. The person's prolonged behavior will break God's promises. For instance, the Lamanites who tried to kill Ammon were instead killed because God had promised to preserve his life.

2. When justice has built up to a point where it absolutely must be paid out if it is not be broken, such as when the continuous righteous obedience of the oppressed reaches critical mass. This happened, for example, when Abigails righteousness so exceeded Nabal's that God killed Nabal to both free her from his oppression and to clear the path for her to have a righteous husband (David). 

3. When the continuous and deepening wickedness of the person has caused them to remove themselves from the channels God could use to reach them, such as when the wicked cast out the righteous from their cities, cutting themselves off from the only source they have to hear God's correcting voice, having long ago offended his spirit to the point of being past feeling it.

Sometimes, the consequences of their choices include an ignominious death, as when Saul was killed in battle or Korihor was trampled. 

There is a point where it is too late

Many blessings have an appointed time and place. Sometimes, it is too late to go back to what you could have had.

The example of Saul is illustrative of time-constrained consequences. Saul was anointed king over Israel, but because of his disobedience and rebellion, he was deposed and replaced.

1 Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel,
2 Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel...
3 ...And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear.
4 And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines. And the people were called together after Saul to Gilgal.
5 And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude....
6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits.
7 And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.
8 And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.
9 And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.
10 And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.
11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash;
12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.
13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.
14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee. (1 Samuel 13)

Similarly, Saul sought the life of David, who righteously fled from him and would not fight back, and in doing so incurred the penalty of his own death. Saul repeatedly tried to kill David, who was not only innocent, but was also the Lord's anointed, and also repeatedly forgave Saul by not killing him when he had the chance and would have been justified. Ironically, David did not kill Saul because Saul was the Lord's anointed. All of these factors worked together to cause an irreversible decree from heaven: Saul would surely die due to his crimes and David's consistent righteousness. The Lord's justice could no longer be withheld.

Conclusion

No matter how blind you choose to be, there will come a day when you are shown in undeniable plainness how often God reached out for you, and you would not listen. You will see the price that has been paid for you by the Lord Jesus so that you could have a way out of your sins. You will see the price paid by his servants when they tried again and again to put the weight of your sin on their own backs to give you yet another chance to repent. You will be shown in undeniable plainness the blessings that were prepared for and offered you, but you would not. In that day, you will find yourself in a hell you have prepared for yourself, an awful jail cell of your own creation.

I implore you to inspect your life for willful disobedience and to purge it from yourself. Do not allow yourself to believe your own lies that your surface repentance is sufficient. Come to Jesus Christ will all your heart, might, mind, and strength, and be truly healed of your weakness through the things he will teach you. Expose all of your darkness to his light, and rejoice in the cleansing burning it brings.

Monday, November 11, 2019

God will visit his pure daughters

This morning I was crying to the Lord on behalf of women who are pure in heart who have been abused and cast aside. I laid out the case of these women: that they truly are treasures, having unconditional love, being the rarest treasure on this earth; capable of bringing unspeakable joy to men who love God and have discernment of good; worthy of every good thing in this life and in the next, but instead finding themselves in the worst of situations because of the evil men they married.

The Lord pointed out that some of these women knew better than to marry the men they did, and they have to reap what they sow. I said "yes, but there are those who did not know, who either were lied to or weren't adequately guided by their elders who should have known better. And some were equally yoked when they married, but either their husbands have degraded or the wives have advanced, and are now being persecuted by their husband, who should love them the most." I named some examples. He agreed.

As he filled my heart with their pain through the gift of discernment, I said, "Lord, look upon the hearts of your pure daughters. Look how even in the depths of despair they freely forgive their oppressive husbands. Look how they turn a blind eye to their faults and sincerely wish only to find a way to make it work. Lord, they will not ask for justice, they simply ask for love. Lord, I invoke your justice against these men, and in favor of these women. Surely something can be done."

He said:

There are several purposes to the situation my pure daughters find themselves in. By suffering injustice, these women are heaping onto their heads future blessings they know not of, joy and rejoicing that are beyond description. Part of that blessing is their acquiring a deep recognition and appreciation for the joys of future situations that they would not otherwise appreciate and therefore rejoice in, because joy comes from value. 
Nevertheless, my justice cannot be held back forever. Judgment is and will always be poured out when the situation no longer benefits. In some cases, the husbands will repent, and the wives will be filled with the joy of the fulfillment of their hope as well as the joy that comes from those who have interceded and atoned for the soul of another.
I have looked upon the tears of my pure daughters. Their hearts have not cried out to me in vain. A way will be provided for their escape from their husbands' oppression. A way will be provided to take them to the inheritance they have merited, of peace and joy and happiness greater than they have imagined. 
Until then, tell them to look to me in every thought, to cry to me with full purpose of heart, and to translate their trust in me into open-mindedness to see and recognize the way I provide to save them. I am God, and I will show them I am mighty to save. They are my sheep, and I will guide them out of their affliction as they trust in and obey me in all things. I will take them from their husbands who have received their reward and give them to another who will treasure them as I do and who will show them the love I have for them. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Love overflowing

5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5)

16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. (1 John 4)

The Lord recently gave me an analogy. He showed me a giant water balloon hitting a wall that had a pinhole in it. He explained to me how his love for us is endless, but we are willing to receive so little of it. We limit the love we receive from him through unbelief, disobedience, and by allowing the wickedness of this world to scar our hearts against hope.

God is love. When, as John said, you have come to the point where you "[know and believe] the love that God [has] to [you]," your pinhole expands to receive far more of his love, and you will know the truth and depth of the statement "God is love." It impossible for anyone to describe that to another person. This is why Paul said "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)

When, as John said, you have come to the point where you "[know and believe] the love that God [has] to [you],"you will be filled with his love.  You will realize that to the extent that you have God's love in you, you have become like him, and through that love he dwells in you and you in him.

You will have no choice then but to love your fellowman with the same intensity as the love of God of which you are aware. At that point, you will learn about love more deeply.

You will now find yourself being the water balloon, and others being the pinhole. Only then will you really comprehend what John and Paul meant when they said "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us," and that "we love him" only because "he first loved us." You will have almost all of your water splash down the outside of the wall instead of penetrating into those you give it freely to. You will have your heart broken into a million pieces, and because God loved you first, you will carefully pick it all back up, tape it together, and do it again and again and again. Every bit of love that makes it through the pinhole will be because you loved that person first, when there was no reason to other than the love of God that is inside you. And you will understand and value how the only reason you have that love is that God loved you first, too.

You will then understand to a much deeper degree how it is that Jesus Christ is the true vine that connects us to the Father, and that only through him can the love of the Father be shed abroad to all men. The love of the Father (meaning the love the Father has for us) is the greatest of all things, and worth absolutely any cost to obtain.

Note: I haven't written many posts lately because I am using all my time to move forward several books. I am still very diligently working through this, and I have no idea how long it is going to take. I can say that I'm up to about 900 pages of typed notes. I am working as fast as I can, but I took a break from that to write this post because I could not hold it in.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Scripture study: 1 Peter 1

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:

11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. (1 Peter 1)

QUESTIONS FOR STUDY:
What does it mean to be "obedient children"?

What does it mean to "fashion yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance"? Ignorance of what?

What does it mean to be holy "as he which hath called you is holy"? Who is calling you?

Peter says "the Father" "judgeth according to every man's work" "without respect of persons". What does this mean?

Gold is purified by subjecting it to fire until the impurities are burned out. Peter uses this analogy to describe the process of refinement believers must undergo here in order to inherit heaven hereafter. Why doesn't he just say that we have to admit we are sinners and claim to believe in Jesus if that is all that is required? Why does he instead say that we have to purify our souls through obedience? "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren...."

What does Peter describe as the "grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ?"

Why is it "grace" for the Lord to resurrect people? How can it be "grace" if obtaining an "inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you" depends on the individual passing the "trial of your faith" by being "obedient children"?

Why does Peter say that only those who "have purified your souls in obeying the truth" are "born again"?

Why does Peter say that being "born again" means to be founded on "the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." What does Peter say the word of God is (verse 25)? Why is anything else like "grass" that "withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away?"

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Scripture study: 2 John 1

1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

2 For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.

3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.

6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.

13 The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR STUDY:
1. What does it mean to love someone in the truth? Why will that love be with those who have known the truth forever?
2. What does John mean when he says "Grace be with you"? How would John define grace?
3. What does John mean when he describes these people as "walking in truth"?
4. What does it mean to "walk after his [God's] commandments"?
5. Why does John explain that loving one another means to "walk after his [God's] commandments"?
6. Why does John equate "confess[ing] not that Jesus is come in the flesh" and walking not after his commandments?
7. What does John indicate would cause these believers to lose "those things which we have wrought"?
8. What is a "full reward"?
9. What is required to receive a "full reward"?
10. What does it mean to "hath not God"?
11. What does it mean to transgress?
12. What does it mean to abide not in the doctrine of Christ?
13. What does it mean to have "both the Father and the Son"?
14. What would it indicate if you have neither the Father nor the Son?
15. Why do you think John cautions the believers strongly against associating with those who teach things contrary to the doctrines he lays out here?

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The (free) audiobook of "The Glory of God is Intelligence" is out

1. The audiobook is available. There is a link in the right sidebar of the blog to where you can download the files.

2. The preparation of the audiobook resulted in a few edits to the text. Most of these were grammatical. I'm not aware of significant content changes off the top of my head. Still, I've updated the print, pdf, and kindle versions of the book.

Enjoy!

Note 1: Please join me in offering prayers of thanks to Cindy, who spent an ENORMOUS amount of time carefully voicing, recording, editing, and re-recording this audiobook, in addition to all the professional equipment she used to do so. She did this without accepting a cent, and in doing so has  provided a huge service for all of us.

Note 2: This book is easily one of the most important ever written, and certainly the most important to be written in a long time. If you haven't read it, you are insisting on walking through life blind when a light has been provided to guide your way. I am not saying this to pat myself on the back, but as a way of testifying that a dispensation of God's mercy has been given in this book. I solemnly say that where much is given much is expected. If you haven't read it, I hope you will at least listen to it. It isn't meant to be processed all at once, but read through, then re-read from time to time.


Monday, October 7, 2019

Music has a strange power to articulate deep emotional knowledge

Almost without exception, I prefer to avoid "worship music." This is because, like religious art, I find that most media is devoid of the depth of emotional connection I feel in my spirit life. In other words, when I see a picture of the Lord or listen to a "Christian song", it fails to get deep enough to resonate with the level of emotions I feel. To me, it almost feels like mockery.

I profoundly enjoy music, though. One reason for this is that I find music that is worshipful to me in unlikely places. What do I mean by "to me"? I mean when I listen to it, it connects to segments of those very deep emotional pangs that exist in me, but that normally evade articulation and for which I find almost no connection in "real life." I know from experience that the things I think and feel are very different from those around me. That's ok. It is how it is meant to be. But it does make me feel either like the only crazy person on this earth, or the only sane one. Either way, it's a lonely road.

These songs provide me companionship by stirring my spiritual memory of a higher plane of existence, and they bring me great joy.

These songs draw me to Jesus, because they celebrate and expand on some aspect of his character and some aspect of our interaction with him in that regard.

Some of these songs are empowering, and make me feel like a warrior general riding into battle to free the oppressed.

Some of these songs resonate with my love for all mankind, stirring my soul away from waxing cold, and calling me to just keep going, no matter the opposition.

Some of these songs remind me that there is a great deal of beauty, even in this fallen world.

Some of these songs focus my attention on the goodness and trustworthiness of God--that he truly is the anchor that roots all those who are willing to lose their lives to find life in him.

Some of these songs remind me of the permanent, indescribable satisfaction that one realizes upon finishing this mortal life having toiled with all their heart, might, mind, and strength for the benefit of others.

I wish we had more musicians who had not only musical talent, but the spiritual experience (knowledge?) that they could translate into sounds and words.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

To live with God, you must actually repent of your sins

I saw a post on social media the other day that deeply disturbed me.

It said something like "Jesus forgives and saves everyone."

It is astonishing to me that anyone who proclaims to believe in Jesus would believe this statement, which is completely opposite to everything he taught.

John the Apostle, perhaps the person in the Bible who knew him best, said:

5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1)

If you believe in Jesus, you will act, think, and desire as he did and does. If you do not act, think, and desire as he did and does, you do not believe in him.

If and only if you become the person he teaches you to be, he will save you. This is how he saves you.

Forgiveness of past sins is critically important, but it doesn't change your character. As long as you are the same character that committed those sins, you will commit them again, and as long as you commit them again, you can't be with him.

There is no darkness in God, and no unclean thing can dwell in his presence. As long as there is darkness in you, you can't be with him.

You *can* literally obey everything he tells you, and you *must* if you desire to be saved and live with him in heaven.

John said:
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

Like John, I say these things having "heard...seen with [my] eyes...looked upon, and...handled...the Word of life.

I have seen Jesus, I have spoken with him, and I have touched him.

He is real, he is resurrected, and everything written about him in the scriptures is true.

Do not be deceived by teachers who tell you that everyone will be saved, that you can sin and still live with him, and that it is impossible to keep all his commandments.

Those who possess these beliefs will never achieve the blessings promised to the faithful in the scriptures.

Friday, September 6, 2019

I implore you to stop taking your kids to church

I am taking a break from book writing to write this brief post.

Of my associates who are believers, the vast majority know of doctrines their sect espouses that deviate from their own most sincere idea of God's will and nature.

Of these associates, very very few have made the decision to stop attending the meetings of that sect.

I have brought up the consequences of continued association with organized religions. For instance, I made this video. I am going to be even more direct here, though.

Why do you go to church?

  • To worship? You can do that better at home.
  • To socialize? You can do that better outside of church.
  • To participate in ordinances? What reason do you have to believe that your church leaders have unique authority claims? Do you have a reason to believe that whatever they can do in church, you can't do at home?
  • To pay tithing? Are you saying you can't find poor people to donate to directly?
  • To be taught? Ah ha. Taught what?

The problem with church

It is easy to act as if there are no costs to attending the meetings of organized religions. But there is a cost.

Every organized religion is what it is because someone, at some point, decided to draw a box around God and say "anything outside of this is wrong, and everything inside of this is right." Otherwise, it would not be an organized religion. Organized religions are any faith institution whose doctrines are anything but "anything God has revealed, does reveal, or will reveal." Hint: this includes any named church, whether of the trademarked international varieties (ex. Baptist, Pentecostal, etc.) or one offs (ex. "First Bible Fellowship of the Whatevers").

What is the cost of organized religion? You get all the things they got right, but you also get all the things they got wrong. Because every single one of these institutions teaches that they are the exclusive arbiter of truth, and that everyone else is wrong, anyone who grows up in their box will associated the gospel of Jesus Christ exclusively with the faith claims of the organization. This is really bad, because every single one of them subscribes to doctrines that are limited in accuracy or just downright wrong. And you know this.

The good does not outweigh the bad

Many argue that in spite of the bad parts, the good parts are worth the cost. I have yet to find an argument in support of this position.

For instance, many say that without churches, who would preserve scripture? History suggests that individuals--not churches--have been responsible for the preservation of scripture. In fact, most of the time, it was organized religion that posed the greatest threat to their preservation--typically by persecuting the very men responsible for the preservation of scripture. In the modern context, it is absolutely absurd to claim that you need churches to obtain scripture--long available in the public domain free from copyrights of--you guessed it--organized religions.

The argument that the good is worth the bad is non-scriptural. This is exactly what Jesus was talking about when he said that you can't put new wine in old bottles:

21 No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.
22 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.
(Mark 2)

He was saying that you can't build a solid structure on the foundation of apostate organized religions. In his day, this referred to the Pharisees. In our day, it refers to every organized religion.

Protestant churches are just as incapable of leading one to salvation as the Catholic church: a dead tree cannot produce a living branch, no matter how pure the intentions of that branch. Not even Mormons, who claim the gospel was revealed anew through Joseph Smith, can claim they are free from apostasy, as their modern religion is almost completely different from what Joseph Smith preached.

How can you know that at least some of the doctrines taught by your church are false? Well, it's quite simple. Read the scriptures, and compare what you are taught in church to what they say. You have to be careful, because their indoctrination has constrained your ability to read literally more than you imagine (you will notice this once you stop going and the fog of tradition wears off). 

To help you even further, you can compare the works of those in the scriptures with those of your teachers. Jesus said:

17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16)

Is there a case where any of your teachers in your organized religion demonstrate any of the fruits Jesus demonstrated during his mortal ministry? Are the sick healed, or merely prayed for? Are the blind made to see, or merely subjected to stale Sunday school lessons? Are the deaf made to hear, or merely vacuously present during hymns of praise?

What, exactly, are your teachers' credentials? Have they been redeemed by God, witnessed by the Lord coming to them in literal fashion? Have they heard the voice of the Lord? Have they been in his presence? Has he taught them things not revealed since the foundation of the world? Have they been taught things from the scriptures that no one else seems to know? If their credentials are merely selection by some man or group of people, or some college degree, perhaps you should reconsider setting them up as your teacher.

Do you have any idea what Jesus was talking about when he used the phrase "blind guides"? This would literally mean those who purport to lead people to a place they themselves have never been. According to Jesus, they do not both arrive at the destination. Instead, they both fall into a ditch.

If all you are getting from church attendance is some other person's opinions about what the scriptures mean, or worse, recitation of one or more traditions made up by some man or men as if it were God's word, what is stopping you from getting at least that much at home?

You will get leagues closer to heaven by using the time you would have spent at church crying to God that you are a sheep with no shepard and begging for guidance than you will spending another minute listening to blind guides. 

There is not a single organized religion that is worth attending. No, not one.

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: (Isaiah 29:13)

But aren't Christians commanded to attend church?

Some cite scriptures which they say indicate that God expects them to attend the weekly meetings of an organized religion. In reality, there is no such scripture. Christians are commanded to meet with other Christians, yes. Nowhere does this say that you must regularly attend your local congregation of whatever named sect you have subscribed to. You can fulfill this commandment (and do so more fully) by studying the gospel together as a family on Sundays, inviting and/or accepting the invitation of others to meet as groups in homes, free to worship God according to the dictates of your conscience instead of having what you believe dictated to you by some arbitrary person who does not know God any more than you do.

You will be held accountable for taking your children to church.

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. (James 4:17)

God will hold you accountable for the consequences of leaving your children in church. And there will be consequences. And there will be consequences.

Think for a moment of the spiritual disposition of kids who grows up in your church. Don't think of the kids 20 years ago. Think of the very last kid who turned into an adult, and the one before him or her, and the one before that. Of the three:

  • How many have the tools they need to build a successful family?
  • How many are making wise life decisions (spouse, career)?
  • How many have a testimony of the truth that is strong enough to withstand the challenges of today?
  • How many have a personal relationship with God that will carry them through tough times?
  • How many keep God's word at all times and in all places of their own volition?

If you are honest, you will have to admit that instead of building on what good might exist within the traditions of your sect, the children growing up in it:

  • Respond to the first adult challenge of their faith by becoming atheists.
  • Indulge in sexual and other sins as soon as they have the opportunity to do so.
  • (or) Drink so deeply of the traditions offered them by the sect that they cut you off as an apostate.
Remember, God will hold you accountable for every consequence in the lives of your children from your decision to keep them in church.

Oddly, many of my associates who keep taking their kids to church choose to home school their children precisely because they understand that it is neglectful for parents to do otherwise when they have the choice.

If you would not entrust the temporal education of your children to those whose views of right and wrong deviate from yours, why on earth would you do so with the spiritual education of your children? Why would you take great pains to avoid outsourcing the temporal education of your children to others while outsourcing the spiritual education of your children to others?

Perfect loves casts out all fear

There isn't a single person who can honestly say that every single thing their church believes is right. They WILL, however, make all sorts of excuses for how that is alright, including but not limited to: "yes, some people believe that, but the church doesn't actually teach that," or "yes, but that isn't vital to salvation," or "yes, but the good outweighs the bad." These are all lies, and you know that. The real reason you don't face these things head on is not because you sincerely think you are doing what God wants you to do, but because of fear.

Should you be scared of doing what God's still small voice is telling you is right? No. God has never ever given you a reason to hesitate in trusting him. Any doubt you have is a result of your belief that you know better than he does.

As someone who was publicly excommunicated from an organized religion for doing what is right, I know every reason you have to fear leaving your church. I've experienced it. I've risked my marriage, my reputation, my friends, my religious identity, and my years of service. And it was all worth it.

You can't have everything God wants to give you until you are willing to give everything you have to him.

Stop being a coward. Either believe in God and do what you know he wants or stop pretending you do.

Monday, August 26, 2019

A bittersweet experience

The role of servants of God is to obtain all the light and truth they can while persuading others to reconcile themselves to it. Joy comes to God’s servants as they see someone benefit from their toil. Sorrow comes to God’s servants as they see the avoidable suffering of those who would benefit from their toil if they would only believe.

Listening to the draft recordings of "The Glory of God is Intelligence" has been bittersweet. On the one hand, I rejoice that God has been so merciful and generous in giving the world these truths. On the other hand, I sorrow as specific situations of specific people scroll across my mind. A much more joyful life than they can imagine is possible and within their reach, but like those who were bitten by poisonous serpents in Moses' time but would not look to the brass serpent and be healed, they will not make use of the miracle.

I'm not sure that so much truth has ever been put into so concise a volume in so plain a way. All blessings come with curses, and I am worried about the consequences coming for people taking these things lightly.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Isaiah 11:4

But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. (Isaiah 11:4)

What does it mean to judge the poor?
It means to help them the only way they can be helped: through teaching those with capacity for greater knowledge to escape the consequences of their ignorance and through alleviating the suffering of those who don't with alms. This requires "judging" them, or a) actually getting to know them, b) acquiring sufficient wisdom to comprehend the cause of each individual's situation, c) taking the required time to work with them as much as they are willing to be worked with. Of course, it also requires working hard and smart to have surplus to be able to afford the time, wisdom acquisition, and material resources to do so.

What does it mean to reprove with equity for the meek of the earth?
The meek are those who do not go about seeking what they deserve, preferring to trust in the justice of God by obeying his commandments. To "reprove with equity" is to challenge/upbraid/pull down the system in order to deliver to the meek what they have merited through their adherence to and obedience to God. This is done through the remaining phrase.

What does it mean to smith the earth with the rod of his mouth? What does it mean to slay the wicked with the breath of his lips?
The rod of his mouth and the breath of his lips refers to information. In what this person teaches, he reveals a greater awareness of reality. Exposure to a greater understanding of the fruits of evil, the possibility of righteous behavior, and ways of higher light and truth. It causes:

  1. Abject misery in the hearts of the wicked, because it robs them of the capacity to continue to lie to themselves about how they really are and how much it hurts them and others.
  2. Just remuneration in the hearts of the righteous, because they can begin living in unrestrained projection of their godly character and see the benefit of their toil in the lives of those they love.
  3. The widespread death of those who refuse to rise to greater levels of light and truth, as consequences of disobedience can no longer be diminished or delayed through mercy, so great is the plainness in which they are taught.


Updates

"Why aren't there more videos or blogposts?" I am currently writing four books. The topic of each book requires the format of a book because of the depth of the topic and the degree of misunderstanding of each. The books are what God is currently speaking to me about.

"How long will it take until the next book / why are you writing them at the same time?" I don't dictate how the Lord teaches me things and I'm doing all I can to maximize the pace. They are all in various stages, but I don't know which one will be finished first or when.

"What about the audio on 'Glory of God is Intelligence'?" It is still in progress. That was a long book, so it takes a massive amount of time to record/re-record. I really appreciate the person who does this! Anyway, I sure hope no one is waiting for the audio to check out that book.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Correspondence: Where should I go?

A reader writes:
"I have already learned the non-murderous people will need to seek refuge in the Rocky Mountains. Is that a common general direction the Lord is leading some people?"

My response:
First, I want to discourage anyone thinking that they should ask me where they should go. As I said very clearly in my last email, you need to seek God yourself. Go ask him. Put in the work. If you aren't willing to develop a relationship with God, it really doesn't matter where you are when things fall apart.

That being said, the Lord is and will lead people to different places.

There will be PLENTY of "murderous people" in the Rocky Mountains. [By the way--it is worth saying that you really don't know a person until you see how they act in the face of extreme duress. Don't fool yourself into thinking normal people can't do atrocious things. History is full of examples.] There will be plenty of righteous people in other places. I know of a man who God told to stay in a populated place on the east coast. He was shown the protection God would offer to him specifically as everything around him is destroyed. He will be safer in an unsafe place than those who decide without God to move to some place that seems like it will be safe. But this isn't about being safe (see below).

There is no central gathering place. There can't be. If you want to know how that goes, go read what happened when Joseph Smith tried to gather people for some proto-zion. That will happen EVERY time ANYONE tries to do that. That is not the way it is done. It's extremely sad that there are many who think that they will be able to make it work when Joseph and company could not, in spite of their being demonstrably less faithful than they were. I wonder what they imagine their secret ingredient to be. You may be asking yourself, "then why did God command them to gather?" Everything God commands is designed to lead his children to greater happiness, but don't be simple enough to think that the path is always directly to the outcome. There are many experiences designed by God to show you what you lack and must change before you are ready to have what you desire. The early saints desired Zion, but were not willing to pay the appointed price. Their failure was designed by the all knowing Almighty in order to show them what the true price was, and show them that they weren't willing to pay it. In all likelihood, neither are you. And the desolation will show you that. Incidentally, the book of Revelation very clearly states that the city of Enoch will not return until after the tribulation. Doesn't that imply that whatever Zion is, and however it comes to be, will not be complete until then? Those events are necessary. They are the training ground.

There can't be a central gathering place for the same reason that there isn't a single mansion in heaven where everyone goes. Everyone is different. The places the Lord leads people to aren't just places where they will be kept safe. In fact, most everyone will NOT be kept safe, even when they are led somewhere. What is coming will be so awful and complete that it will touch everyone. The fire singes even the green tree. There isn't a place where people will avoid the fire. That isn't the point. Imagine what it would be like to be able to truthfully say that you are so advanced in your faith that you couldn't learn anything from suffering the things that are coming. That would be a great place to be, wouldn't it. Can you say that? If not, why pretend that God is going to lead you to a place where you will be spared from the trials of the desolation? This does not mean that any and all suffering will help. The vast majority of suffering is not helpful.

The Lord knows precisely what each of us has to learn and where each of us have to be tested. If we submit to him and seek him to show us where to go, he will lead us into those places that have the experiences we need. That experience might include being completely backstabbed by those you are with, or losing your life or the life of someone you love, or slowly starving to death, or whatever the case may be. Those who are not willing to lose their life in obedience to God are not prepared, able, or worthy to receive it eternally.

The point is to develop full trust in God, no matter what happens and to go to the place God has specifically designed for you to have those experiences.