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Showing posts from October, 2014

Why Seemingly Good People Fail to Obtain Heavenly Interaction

The post that got me thinking about this again: http://timesofthegentiles.blogspot.com/2012/12/believest-thou-words-which-i-shall.html

In a nutshell, why do really good people seem not to have tremendous spiritual experiences? Or, put another way, if _____, who seems as perfect as can be, does not entertain angels, see the Lord, obtain power in the priesthood, etc., then how can a dirtbag like me do it?

Our thoughts are not God's thoughts. His judgment is very different than ours. We may look upon someone and incorrectly assume they are prepared for heavenly experiences. Meanwhile we may look upon ourselves and incorrectly assume we are not prepared for those same experiences.

How do people in the scriptures react when they see God or angels? Shouldn't that inform us of how they picture themselves?

Here are some sections from 2 Nephi 9 that I think address some of these issues.

28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of …

The burden of the United Kingdom

The lion languishes in pain,
Prostrated in exhaustion.
A shadow of his former glory,
Shrunken, emaciated and forlorn.
His moanings for help,
Fall to the ground unanswered.
His allies are likewise impotent.

Abasement and Ascension: Happiness and Sorrow

"As a child, I thought I could live  without pain, without sorrow." (Dream Theater)
Every day I grow older, I better comprehend the extraordinary wisdom of Solomon, son of David. It used to be that this admiration of knowledge centered on the Proverbs. However, with maturity comes an ever-growing admiration of the gems contained in Ecclesiastes. Though I can't say it from a historical basis, Proverbs reads to me as the things he learned and said in his youth, and Ecclesiastes as his parting words.

What do we have in Ecclesiastes? For starters, one of my favorite verses in all of scripture: "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity." (Eccl. 1:2)

Here is a man who had sampled everything the world has to offer. He quite possibly had greater wealth, power, fame, etc, than any man before or since. And what does he make of it? It is all vanity! This is the sense of the word that connotes emptiness and falsehood---an eventual decayed …

Watchman, what of the night?

In Isaiah we read:

An oracle concerning Dumah:
Men call to me from Seir,
Watchman, what remains of the night?
Watchman, how much of the night is left?
12 The watchman replies,
Morning comes, though it is still night.
If you would ascertain it,
do so by repenting and coming back. (Isaiah 21:11-12)

The Hebrew calendar is a lunar-based calendar. Thus, the cycles of the moon, the rising of the sun, etc. were important events. The law of Moses tied certain practices to time periods set by these events. Thus, it was not uncommon to have a watchman posted so that at the earliest glimpse of the moon rise or sun rise, the people would know that God's timetable had moved to the next phase.
Likewise, God has always appointed watchmen to watch the night. These people are given to be an early warning sign of the things the Lord will do (see Amos 3:7). What's more, these people are meant to be a righteous standard to advance warning against the tide of Babylon among the people.
My Beloved ha…

Talk on Tithing

I prepared this talk on tithing. Next time you are asked to speak, feel free to use it...no matter what topic you are assigned, and especially if you are assigned to regurgitate a general conference talk.

Joseph Smith reported the following from an epistle by the 12: "Study the word of God, and preach it and not your opinions, for no man’s opinion is worth a straw. Advance no principle but what you can prove, for one scriptural proof is worth ten thousand opinions." (History of the Church, 3:395–96.) This is precisely what we are going to do today.

``Yes, it is the precepts of men versus the principles of God. The more we follow the word of God, the less we are deceived, while those who follow the wisdom of men are deceived the most. Increasingly the Latter-day Saints must choose between the reasoning of men and the revelations of God. This is a crucial choice, for we have those within the Church today who, with their worldly wisdom, are leading some of our members astray.&#…

One does not simply pass the heavenly gift

Elder Boyd Packer was paraphrased in the Deseret News a while back as saying "that priesthood is the authority and the power that God has granted to men on earth to act for Him. When priesthood authority is exercised properly, priesthood bearers do what He would do if He were present." (Here.)

Packer explained that the church has distributed the authority of the priesthood worldwide, but that they had not distributed the power of the priesthood.

Packer said: "After all that we have correlated and organized, it is now our responsibility to activate the power of the priesthood in the Church. Authority in the priesthood comes by way of ordination; power in the priesthood comes through faithful and obedient living in honoring covenants. It is increased by exercising and using the priesthood in righteousness."

What do church members mean when they say words like "keys," "authority", or "sealing power"?

Let's start with authority. Elder P…

Second Blood Moon

We woke up early this morning to view the lunar eclipse. We live in an area where you can see not only thousands of stars but also the belt of the Milky Way. The sky was cloudless at the apex of the eclipse. The large red moon was set on a backdrop of pindrop shiny stars with a few planets scattered in. The thought came to mind:

"The Lord's face is red with anger, and the hosts of heaven great and small join in witness against the blood and sins of this generation."

Interestingly, prior to the eclipse the moon was full and white. It rose from being invisible to visible as the light so abundantly dispersed generally upon the earth was gradually diminished, until it was clear that the only light came from the moon. Then the moon turned red. Then, after a time, it turned back to white, and eventually the sun will rise (it is still dark here) and the light will be abundantly dispersed generally upon the earth once again.

At the apex of the eclipse, my wife saw a shooting star…

The wheat, the tares, and harvest time

22 And after that day, I, the Lord, will not hold any guilty that shall go with an open heart up to the land of Zion; for I, the Lord, require the hearts of the children of men.
23 Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.
24 For after today cometh the burning—this is speaking after the manner of the Lord—for verily I say, tomorrow all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, for I am the Lord of Hosts; and I will not spare any that remain in Babylon." (D&C 64:22-24)


``1 It is the duty of the Lord’s clerk, whom he has appointed, to keep a history, and a general church record of all things that transpire in Zion, and of all those who consecrate properties, and receive inheritances legally from the bishop;
2 And also their manner of life, their faith, and works; and also of the apo…

Allegory of the Super Moon

This morning I awoke earlier than usual. I felt very uncomfortable in bed, and could no longer stand the laborious effort to remain half-asleep. As I left the house to begin a long commute, I heard one of our roosters crow. It was a good feeling. Not as majestic as hearing a lion roar up close, but still a little exhilarating. This is a new thing, as the roosters are young.

As I drove through the very dark countryside, I noticed a few things. As the clouds parted, I noticed an enormous, beautiful full moon. I don't think I've ever seen such a large moon! It was magnificent. Then, as I wended through the valleys, the moon would become obscured by the mountain ridges. This happen over an over again: the moon would become exposed as I rose in elevation, then would become obscured as I sank into the valleys. I noticed that those in the valleys would never see the moon, just the stars. They would have to move to see the moon. As I was moving, I had perspective and could see the dif…