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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Redeeming a land through the shedding of blood

The land of America, the present-day United States, has been given as a gift to God's people many times through history.

It was first given to Adam and his posterity. Through iniquity, they forfeited ownership. God redeemed the land through the slaughter of almost every inhabitant, saving only Noah and his family.

It was given to the Jaredites. Through iniquity, they forfeited ownership. God redeemed the land through the slaughter of almost every inhabitant, saving only Coriantumr, who was given enough time to testify of the wickedness of his people.

It was given to the Nephites. Through iniquity, they forfeited ownership. God redeemed the land through the slaughter of almost every Nephite, saving only Moroni, who was given enough time to write the tale as a witness to the wickedness of the Nephites.

It was given to the Lamanites. Through iniquity, they forfeited ownership. God redeemed the land through the slaughter of an astonishing number of Lamanites. Scholars estimate that diseases introduced by Columbus killed up to 90% of the pre-Columbian population, even before the Pilgrims arrived in America to eventually destroy the majority of those who remained.

It was given to the European Gentiles. God said:
And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood. (D&C 101:80)
Never in the history of the world (excepting perhaps the three instances of Zion we are aware of) has so much of God's principles for righteous governance been embodied by a people. We tend to vastly underestimate the amount of light and truth given to the founding fathers, probably because the principles they were given were so simple. Yet, they were given a considerable portion of the law of Zion, and they received what they were given. Today, we have apostatized so far from that law that they would not recognize this country as being the one they founded. Through our iniquity, we have forfeited ownership.

God has taught throughout scripture that in order to redeem a land, blood must be shed. Using the examples given in scripture, whose blood is shed, and by whom is it shed? It is at our doors, and there is nothing that can be done now to stop it. We can only repent as individuals, and succumb to God's will for us in what will follow.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

What is the Great and Abominable Church?

One of the 1828 webster dictionary definitions of the word "church" is "a particular number of christens, united under one form of ecclesiastical government, in one creed, and using the same ritual and ceremonies; as the English church; the Gallican church; the Presbyterian church; the Romish church; the Greek church."

The defining characteristic of the church of the devil is not the claim that one belongs to such nor any formal membership process. There is no central headquarters of the church of the devil, nor an entrance ritual. Instead, the unifying characteristic is that members of that church believe in one creed. What is that creed? The scriptures provide us with at least some of what it contains:

  • A man's situation is completely his own fault. (Alma 30:17.)
  • Sins done in secret are admissable. (Moses 5:51.)
  • Success comes by conquering others. (Alma 30:17.)
  • Those who are prosperous are so because they are better than others (Alma 30:17).
  • Anything that seems right to a man is acceptable (Alma 30:17).
  • You can buy anything in this world with money. (LDS Endowment).

It takes a little bit of effort to translate this scriptural language into modern situations. It is worth the effort.

The great and abominable church is not an organization. It is a group of people who subscribe to a set of tenets. It is Babylon. It is the whore of all the earth.

What the scriptures say about the fate of the great and abominable church:

  • The righteous will be led out of it by servants of God preaching about it and instructing them to flee. (see, for example, 3 Nephi 38:27-34 and 3 Nephi 21:10-11,29.)
  • Those rejecting God's servants sent to lead the righteous away will be condemned to destruction. (3 Nephi 28:34.)
  • It will be destroyed temporally with invading armies, wars, earthquakes, fires, etc (see, for example, 1 Nephi 14:15-17). Modern amenities will end: no cars, no cities, etc: all will be destroyed with those who lie, envy, strive, commit priestcraft, and whoredoms (3 Nephi 21:14-19).


The great and abominable church will be destroyed through two means: 1) Through the convincing of  some that the principles they live by are false, and 2) through the destruction of those who will not be convinced.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

"And they were married, and given in marriage, and were blessed according to the multitude of the promises which the Lord had made unto them"

Reading in the Book of Mormon tonight, I hit this passage:

 10 And now, behold, it came to pass that the people of Nephi did wax strong, and did multiply exceedingly fast, and became an exceedingly fair and delightsome people.
 11 And they were married, and given in marriage, and were blessed according to the multitude of the promises which the Lord had made unto them." (4 Nephi)

It reminds me of what I wrote here.

What is this cryptic ordinance referred to here?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Loneliness of the Straight and Narrow

Jesus said,
For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. (Matthew 10:35-36)
I have had many seasons where God placed someone in my life upon whom I felt I could lean. These people were true supports at a time when I needed it. I rejoiced to have a second set of shoulders to relieve the burdens that I carried. With time, in every case, these people let me down--almost always when I needed them the most. Once when praying about this, the Lord said "Every person in your life will fail you so that you learn that I am the only one on whom you can rely." It is easy for us to have an earthly crutch, but God intends for us to lean into him, not a man or a woman or a job or a hobby. Everything in this life is fleeting, even the interpersonal relationships some erroneously teach are eternal. The degree to which you rely on a person, you will be let down.

This is not to say that we should not seek or appreciate positive relationships with others. Those relationships are not only the proving ground of our devotion to God (shown through our service to our fellowmen), but can be a welcome and refreshing break from the grind of the telestial world at times. However, we ought not sustain ourselves on these relationships, because not only are they not guaranteed, they are guaranteed to fail at one time or another. If we need a helping hand and find it in another, we should rejoice. However, we ought not proceed as if that helping hand will always help us.

God gives us trials in life to turn us to him to motivate us to seek him and teach us to trust him. These cannot be achieved if men and women form a safety net that protects us from the descent necessary to come to know him. Abraham Lincoln once said, "I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go."

Some of the most godly people in scripture were also the most lonely. Every single person in Jesus' life let him down, as far as I am aware. Jeremiah had no friends. Job was left alone. Elijah had Elisha, but the latter was in no way his peer, meaning he could never really be himself. Joseph's closest associates frequently betrayed him to the extent that no one could really be trusted. The list goes on and on. In the end, each of these people enjoyed communion with God to an extent we only dream of. Yet, some part of that was the absence of even one earthly companion in their walk back to God.

"Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." (D&C 6:36)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

All children go to the Celestial Kingdom?

Joseph Smith made plain that salvation is a product of the knowledge one attains. One cannot obtain the blessings God has without living the law he lives. Living that law requires acquiring that law. You receive the level of glory commensurate with the level of law you live. This is why no man can be saved in ignorance.

When we read that
All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God; Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom; For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts. (D&C 93:7-9).
we ought not be troubled. There is no contradiction here, as those who would have received the law if they had been permitted to tarry will indeed be given the opportunity to do so, and will only receive a higher degree of glory after having lived a higher law.

However, the following scripture seems at first to be a contradiction:
And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven. (D&C 137:10).
The spirits of men in the pre-existence were not exalted. The purpose of our participation here is to accumulate knowledge we did not possess before this life. It seems odd, then, that somehow a child who is killed is magically transformed into a being of higher knowledge than they were prior to this life.

It would be a contradiction if children who die before 8 automatically receive all the blessings of the celestial kingdom, as some LDS church leaders have presumed. However, the scriptures do not say that. They merely say that they obtain the celestial kingdom. We know that there are varying degrees of glory within each kingdom. This scripture only indicates that children who die receive, at a minimum, the lowest degree of celestial glory.

We are told that telestial glory include liars, adulterers, etc. We are not told very much about what the terrestrial law is. We are told:
These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men. (D&C 76:75).
In other words, it seems that terrestrial law is a law of omission: these are they who don't do certain things, namely the telestial sins. What if entrance into the celestial kingdom does not take much more than the omission terrestrial law? What if the the lowest celestial glory requires only an increment increase on the terrestrial omission laws? What if the lowest celestial glory is a vacuous state: those who have not committed sin, rather than those who have come to live a higher law.

We read that
Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God. (D&C 93:38).
So, perhaps the meaning of D&C 137:10 is simply that those who die before the age of 8 are given a bye in the worlds without end progression from telestial to exalted man. Their obtaining of celestial glory is not exaltation. Rather, it is merely the restoration of their pre-existent state of innocence. In order to obtain a higher glory, they will again have to descend to a telestial glory like the world we live in, actually be subjected to and actually pass the tests of telestial mortality.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Remnant of Jacob

Who is the remnant?

The descendants of Lehi:

"And ye will also know that ye are a remnant of the seed of Jacob;" (Mormon 7:10)
"Saying: I, the Lord, will make known unto you what I will that ye shall do from this time until the next conference, which shall be held in Missouri, upon the land which I will consecrate unto my people, which are a remnant of Jacob, and those who are heirs according to the covenant." (D&C 52:2.)

"Moroni said unto them: Behold, we are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; yea, we are a remnant of the seed of Joseph, whose coat was rent by his brethren into many pieces; yea, and now behold, let us remember to keep the commandments of God, or our garments shall be rent by our brethren, and we be cast into prison, or be sold, or be slain. Yea, let us preserve our liberty as a remnant of Joseph; yea, let us remember the words of Jacob, before his death, for behold, he saw that a part of the remnant of the coat of Joseph was preserved and had not decayed. And he said—Even as this remnant of garment of my son hath been preserved, so shall a remnant of the seed of my son be preserved by the hand of God, and be taken unto himself, while the remainder of the seed of Joseph shall perish, even as the remnant of his garment." (Alma 46:23-24.)

"17 Behold, our father Jacob also testified concerning a remnant of the seed of Joseph. And behold, are not we a remnant of the seed of Joseph? And these things which testify of us, are they not written upon the plates of brass which our father Lehi brought out of Jerusalem?" (3 Nephi 10:17.)

"...this people who are a remnant of the house of Jacob." (3 Nephi 21:2.)

The subset of the people of God who survive the tribulation preceding the Second Coming of Christ:

"10 Woe to those who enact unjust laws,
who draft oppressive legislation— 2 denying justice to the needy,
depriving the poor of my people of their right, making plunder of widows,
mere spoil of the fatherless!
3 What will you do in the day of reckoning
when the holocaust overtakes you from afar?
To whom will you flee for help? Where will you leave your wealth?
4 There shall nothing remain
but to kneel among the captives or fall among the slain.
Yet for all this his anger is not abated; his hand is upraised still.
5 Hail the Assyrian, the rod of my anger!
He is a staff—my wrath in their hand.a
6 I will commission him against a godless nation,
appoint him over the people
deserving of my vengeance,
to pillage for plunder, to spoliate for spoil,
to tread underfoot like mud in the streets.
7 Nevertheless, it shall not seem so to him; this shall not be what he has in mind.
His purpose shall be to annihilate
and to exterminate nations not a few.
8 He will say, Are not my commanders kings, one and all?
9 Has not Calno fared like Carchemish? Is not Hamath as Arpad,
Samaria no better than Damascus?
10 As I could do this to the pagan states, whose statues exceeded
those of Jerusalem and Samaria,
11 shall I not do to Jerusalem and its images even as I did to Samaria and its idols?
12 But when my Lord has fully accomplished his work in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, he will punish the king of Assyria for his notorious boasting and infamous conceit, 13 because he said,
I have done it by my own ability
and shrewdness, for I am ingenious.
I have done away with the borders of nations, I have ravaged their reserves,
I have vastly reduced the inhabitants.
14 I have impounded the wealth of peoples like a nest, and I have gathered up the whole world
as one gathers abandoned eggs;
not one flapped its wings,
or opened its mouth to utter a peep.
15 Shall an axe exalt itself
above the one who hews with it,
or a saw vaunt itself
over him who handles it?
As though the rod wielded him who lifts it up! As though the staff held up the one
a5 Or, My wrath is a staff in his hand.
who is not made of wood!
16 Therefore will the Lord, Jehovah of Hosts, send a consumption into his fertile lands,
and cause a fire to flare up like a burning hearth, to undermine his glory:
17 the Light of Israel will be the fire and their Holy One the flame,
and it shall burn up and devour
his briars and thorns in a single day. 18 His choice forests and productive fields
it will consume, both life and substance,
turning them into a rotting morass.
19 And the trees left of his forest shall be so few,
a child could record them.
20 In that day those who survive of Israel and who escape of the house of Jacob
will no longer rely on him who struck them, but will truly rely on Jehovah,
the Holy One of Israel:
21 of Jacob a remnant will return to the One Mighty in Valor.
22 For though your people, O Israel, be as the sands of the sea, only a remnant will return;
although annihilation is decreed,
it shall overflow with righteousness.
23 For the Lord, Jehovah of Hosts,
will carry out the utter destruction decreed upon the whole earth.
24 Therefore, thus says my Lord, Jehovah of Hosts:
O my people who inhabit Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrians,
though they strike you with the rod or raise their staff over you,
as did the Egyptians.
25 For my anger will very soon come to an end; my wrath will become their undoing.
26 Jehovah of Hosts will raise the whip against them, as when he struck the Midianites
at the Rock of Oreb.
His staff is over the Sea,
and he will lift it over them as he did to the Egyptians.
27 In that day their burdens shall be lifted from your shoulders,
their yoke removed from your neck: the yoke that wore away your fatness
shall by fatness wear away.
28 He advances on Aiath, passes through Migron; at Micmash he marshals his weaponry.
29 They cross over the pass, stopping overnight at Geba.
Ramah is in a state of alarm, Gibeah of Saul is fleeing.
30 Cry out, O Daughter of Gallim!
Hear her, Laishah; answer her, Anathoth!
31 Madmenah has moved out of the way,
the inhabitants of Gebim are in full flight.
32 This same day he will but pause at Nob and signal the advance
against the mountain of the Daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.
33 Then will my Lord, Jehovah of Hosts,
shatter the towering trees with terrifying power;
the high in stature shall be hewn down, the lofty ones leveled.
34 The dense forests shall be battered down with the force of iron,
and Lebanon fall spectacularly." (Isaiah 10, Gileadi Translation)

The Jews scattered in the Old World:

"For thus saith the Lord; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn." (Jeremiah 31:7-9.)

The globally scattered descendants of Jacob:

"I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men." (Micah 2:12)

"Now these things are written unto the remnant of the house of Jacob; and they are written after this manner, because it is known of God that wickedness will not bring them forth unto them; and they are to be hid up unto the Lord that they may come forth in his own due time....And behold, they shall go unto the unbelieving of the Jews; and for this intent shall they go—that they may be persuaded that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God; that the Father may bring about, through his most Beloved, his great and eternal purpose, in restoring the Jews, or all the house of Israel, to the land of their inheritance, which the Lord their God hath given them, unto the fulfilling of his covenant; And also that the seed of this people may more fully believe his gospel, which shall go forth unto them from the Gentiles; for this people shall be scattered, and shall become a dark, a filthy, and a loathsome people, beyond the description of that which ever hath been amongst us, yea, even that which hath been among the Lamanites, and this because of their unbelief and idolatry." (Mormon 5:12, 14-15.)

"And he did hide them up unto the Lord, that they might come again unto the remnant of the house of Jacob, according to the prophecies and the promises of the Lord. And thus is the end of the record of Ammaron." (4 Nephi 1:49.)

"And as surely as the Lord liveth, will he gather in from the four quarters of the earth all the remnant of the seed of Jacob, who are scattered abroad upon all the face of the earth." (3 Nephi 5:24.)

"We therefore ask thee to have mercy upon the children of Jacob, that Jerusalem, from this hour, may begin to be redeemed; And the yoke of bondage may begin to be broken off from the house of David; And the children of Judah may begin to return to the lands which thou didst give to Abraham, their father. And cause that the remnants of Jacob, who have been cursed and smitten because of their transgression, be converted from their wild and savage condition to the fulness of the everlasting gospel; That they may lay down their weapons of bloodshed, and cease their rebellions. And may all the scattered remnants of Israel, who have been driven to the ends of the earth, come to a knowledge of the truth, believe in the Messiah, and be redeemed from oppression, and rejoice before thee." (D&C 109:62-67.)

The agents of the destruction of the Gentiles:

"Therefore, repent ye, and humble yourselves before him, lest he shall come out in justice against you—lest a remnant of the seed of Jacob shall go forth among you as a lion, and tear you in pieces, and there is none to deliver." (Mormon 5:24)

" 9 For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.
 10 But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.
 11 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.
 12 And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
 13 Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off.
 14 Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots;
 15 And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds;
 16 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers;
 17 Thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands;
 18 And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities.
 19 And it shall come to pass that all lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, shall be done away.
 20 For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel;
 21 And I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.
 22 But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance;
 23 And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem.
 24 And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem.
 25 And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst.
 26 And then shall the work of the Father commence at that day, even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people. Verily I say unto you, at that day shall the work of the Father commence among all the dispersed of my people, yea, even the tribes which have been lost, which the Father hath led away out of Jerusalem.
 27 Yea, the work shall commence among all the dispersed of my people, with the Father to prepare the way whereby they may come unto me, that they may call on the Father in my name." (3 Nephi 21.)

"1 Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.
 2 But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
 3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
 4 ¶And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.
 5 And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.
 6 And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.
 7 And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.
 8 And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
 9 Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.
 10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots:
 11 And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds:
 12 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:
 13 Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands.
 14 And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities.
 15 And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard." (Micah 5.)

 14 And the Father hath commanded me that I should give unto you this land, for your inheritance.
 15 And I say unto you, that if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive, after they have scattered my people—
 16 Then shall ye, who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, go forth among them; and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
 17 Thy hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.
 18 And I will gather my people together as a man gathereth his sheaves into the floor.
 19 For I will make my people with whom the Father hath covenanted, yea, I will make thy horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass. And thou shalt beat in pieces many people; and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth. And behold, I am he who doeth it.
 20 And it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that the sword of my justice shall hang over them at that day; and except they repent it shall fall upon them, saith the Father, yea, even upon all the nations of the Gentiles.
 21 And it shall come to pass that I will establish my people, O house of Israel.
 22 And behold, this people will I establish in this land, unto the fulfilling of the covenant which I made with your father Jacob; and it shall be a New Jerusalem. And the powers of heaven shall be in the midst of this people; yea, even I will be in the midst of you. (3 Nephi 20)

Discussion:

So when the scriptures say "the remnant of Jacob" they could either mean the Lehites, the Jews scattered in the Old World, or both. It is unlikely that the authors of the scripture meant both groups when they said "a remnant of Jacob."

Why does this all matter? For two reasons, I think. First, the Book of Mormon must go forth to both the Lehites and the Jews in the Old World. Second, the Gentiles ought to know which group is going to "go forth among you as a lion, and tear you to pieces, and there is none to deliver." Third, we ought to be clear about roles. We ought to know what role the Book of Mormon will play, what role the Gentiles and the LDS will play, and what role the remnants will play.

1. The Book of Mormon must go forth to the Lehites and the Jews.
This has not happened yet. Those who claim it has are under the delusion that the main purpose of a book that took so much effort in writing, condensing, and preserving could be fulfilled as a side effect of a haphazard missionary effort focused on Gentiles, staffed by scriptural ignoramuses, and financed by Babylon. Incidentally, rumor has it that the LDS church has a Hebrew Book of Mormon translation, but made it unavailable as a condition to get permission to build the BYU Jerusalem Center. 

The only way one could be deluded enough to think that the LDS church has sent the gospel to the Jews is by erroneously believing that "the remnant" refers to Gentiles who accept the gospel. It does not. The majority understanding of this topic is completely reversed: LDS think that the Jews and Lehites have been offered the gospel when only incidental conversions have occurred as a by product of sending the gospel to the Gentiles. In reality, whatever Gentile conversions have occurred (and true conversions to Christ among the Gentiles are very rare indeed) are incidental to the purpose and focus of the gospel message: the remnant. This phase has not yet begun, to my knowledge, but it will soon.

2. The Gentiles will be torn up by a remnant of Jacob without deliverance (see 3).

3. Roles.
It is the Book of Mormon that will convert the Lehites and the Jews. Not scriptural ignoramuses using marketing techniques and arguing the importance of a "living prophet," going out without even having studied the Book of Mormon.

The Gentiles have a very limited role in all of this. They are to oppress the Lehites (check), preserve the Book of Mormon (check), and reject the gospel (has this happened yet?). 

The rejection of the gospel by the Gentiles is not what most think it is. As quoted above in Micah 5 and 3 Nephi 21, there is a key series of events. These two chapters tell of the same series of events. They can be read in parallel. Micah tells of a female travailing and bringing forth. He then speaks of a man who "shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth." Many erroneously understand this man to be the Messiah. He isn't. "...this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders." Jesus did not deliver the Jews from the Assyrians. This is referring to events yet to take place. Isaiah is key to understanding what this means, and that discussion is probably beyond the scope of this post. Suffice it to say that the book of Isaiah is, in large part, the prophecy of an end times scenario where a servant of God leads the people of God while an Assyrian force conquers and ravages the world. This birth imagery links Isaiah to Micah, 3 Nephi 21, and the Book of Revelation chapter 12, which is often erroneously interpreted to be a description of the pre-existence (in reality it is a prophecy of what is to come using the pre-existence as an allegory).

In 3 Nephi 21, Jesus says the following about what this end time servant will do: "For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them." Is this man Joseph Smith? Nope. "But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil." The Book of Mormon offers further evidence that the "marvelous work" has not yet happened. "For the time cometh, saith the Lamb of God, that I will work a great and a marvelous work among the children of men; a work which shall be everlasting, either on the one hand or on the other—either to the convincing of them unto peace and life eternal, or unto the deliverance of them to the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds unto their being brought down into captivity, and also into destruction, both temporally and spiritually, according to the captivity of the devil, of which I have spoken." (1 Nephi 14:7)

In that day, those who choose to cling to their vain religion will be cut off:

 20 For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel;
 21 And I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.

Those who reject Christ by rejecting his attempt to rescue them from their false traditions will be cut off from among his people. This means that they begin being among "his people." Which group is the only group on earth that can identify as "his people"? Only those who believe in the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith.

 22 But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance;

This is an interesting verse if we are operating under the understanding that Jesus is saying that the one mighty and strong will come to preach to the LDS church to convince them to follow Christ and not men, but that most of them will reject him and then be cut off, because here Jesus says those who do not reject the message will have his church established among them. But wait, don't we already have a church? Well, what did Christ do when he came to the Americas? He established a new church, even though there was one there already. What makes it new? He tells us. They will be given a new covenant and (this is important) they will be numbered among the remnant of Jacob. The Gentiles do not have a promise of Zion. They never have. That promise has always belonged to the Lehites. "And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem." (3 Nephi 21:23.) The only way to become a part of that group is to accept an invitation to a new covenant.

Early church leaders realized that the LDS church as a whole would never become Zion. Though I don't believe they understood exactly how things would happen, here are some interesting quotes:

"God will preserve a portion of this people, the meek and the humble, to bear off the kingdom to the inhabitants of the earth and will defend his priesthood; for it is the last time, the last gathering time." (BY, The Contributor Vol. 10, p362).

"The day will come when the Lord will choose a people out of this people, upon whom he will bestow his choicest blessings..." (HC Kimball, JD 11 p145 & Des News 9 Nov. 1865).

"the kingdom will not be taken from this people and given to another, but a people will come forth from among us who will be zealous of good works...  (Daniel Wells, JD 18:99)

"There will come up from the midst of this people that people that has been talked so much about..."  (Daniel Wells, JD 23:305b, & Des News Dec. 9 1882).

"There will be a people raised up, if we will not be that people–--there will yet be a people raised up whose lives will embody in perfection the revelations contained in this book [probably the D&C], who will live as the doctrines here taught require, as the laws here revealed show  unto us, and they will be raised up, too, in this generation, and such a  people will have to be raised up before Zion can be fully redeemed..."  (George Q. Cannon, JD 24:144).

4. Timing.
When does all this happen? The Lord said of his marvelous work:

94 That wise men and rulers may hear and know that which they have never considered;
95 That I may proceed to bring to pass my act, my strange act, and perform my work, my strange work, that men may discern between the righteous and the wicked, saith your God. (D&C 101)

This event will not be invisible, though it may not be acknowledged by the world as what it truly is, as many past events of great import. For example, the birth and death of Christ were not done in secret. These were paramount events heralded by men, angels, and natural signs. Yet, the world denied their significance.

God's word talks about how he will provide an ensign to the nations when these things occur.

Isaiah 49:
22 Thus says my Lord Jehovah:
I will lift up my hand to the nations,
raise my ensign to the peoples;
    and they will bring your sons in their bosoms
and carry your daughters on their shoulders.
23 Kings shall be your foster fathers,
queens your nursing mothers.
    They will bow down before you,
their faces to the ground;
they will lick the dust of your feet.
    Then shall you know that I am Jehovah,
and that they who hope in me are not disappointed.

There are signs promised, though I don't pretend to know exactly what they will be. Maybe the ensign and the marvelous work are one and the same. I don't know.

What I do know is that God has enumerated several things that will occur around this time, any or all of which may be the ensign. These include the taking of the Book of Mormon to the Lehites (this hasn't really happened yet), the taking of the Book of Mormon to the Jews (this definitely hasn't happened yet), the temporal destruction of the Gentiles (this hasn't happened yet, but the spring is wound very tightly and could at any moment), and great natural disasters (haven't happened yet).

Whatever the ensign and marvelous work are, they result in the physical gathering of Israel, which hasn't happened yet.

I believe it is important for us to study and pray and figure out what these things mean.

This post is excellent, and should be read in conjunction with this one.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Meaning of book cover

Many have asked me what the cover of "Teaching for Doctrines the Commandments of Men: Tradition in Modern Mormonism" (free pdf) means.

The third image above is found on the front cover of the book [1]. The second is found on the rear cover of the book. They appear side by side on the first printed page of the book.

This images are from a fresco painted on the wall of a church in Spain. The leftmost image is the original, a representation of the Savior. The second image shows what it looked like after many years of degradation. The last image is what it looked like after a local attendee of the church decided that she wanted to fix the portions of the painting that had flaked off.

Consider the parable: Someone with a clear vision created the representation of the Savior through their gifts. Those who followed did not have the same gifts as the artist, and/or neglected the task of remembering and caring for what had been given. The world has a way of degrading things. As the paint flaked off, enough remained to give an idea of what had been revealed, but upon inspection many of the details were lost. Eventually, someone without the original vision or gifts decided they would fill in the blanks. In the process, they not only incorrectly filled in the blanks, but they destroyed what little remained of the original picture.

This parable has a lot more meaning and detail than can or should be conveyed by me textually. If you struggle to fill in the blanks (pun intended), read the book (free pdf).

1 - I am contemplating modifying the images on the second edition so that they co-appear. I had to design the cover myself, and it took too long to do that on the first round. The ordering description here may not be accurate on the second edition.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

New Book Released

The links for the free pdf and Amazon print copies are posted in the sidebar of the blog. For some reason (perhaps the number of pages, it is around 400), createspace will not let me sell this book exactly at print cost (createspace's printing fee + Amazon's listing fee). The lowest it will go gives me a $2 commission on each book, pre-tax. I give you that info in the spirit of full disclosure.

The pdf.

The print copy.

If you would like a print copy without paying shipping, or if you would like to hear a free talk, or if you would like to meet and greet some wonderful people, I invite you to attend the book launch talk this Friday.

The location of the venue is:
Daybreak Community Center
4544 Harvest Moon Dr, South Jordan, UT 84095
Room B (Upstairs)
December 11th (Friday)
5pm-7:30pm. Talk at 6.

Hope to see you there.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Don't Forget About Liahona Children's Foundation

As we go through this festive time of year, we tend to think a little more about those who do not have as much as we do. I would like to remind any readers of this blog of the noble organization Liahona Children's Foundation. I've written much about them in the past (search the blog for it). Liahona is an almost entirely volunteer organization whose sole purpose is to provide nutritional supplements to malnourished LDS children worldwide. I encourage you to make a donation. It costs very little to prevent the loss of life and life-changing permanent disability caused by childhood malnutrition. There are also many opportunities to become more involved.

At a minimum, you can use smile.amazon.com to make your normal amazon.com purchases, which will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to Liahona.

I'd like to make a special plea to those who participate in "tithing groups." It is good to follow the promptings of the Spirit wherever the lead. However, please note that the responsibility to have no poor among us does not include permission to exclude those whose needs fall outside of your small select group. Please consider making donations to the many groups like Liahona that are doing very good things in areas whose needs far far exceed those found in North America.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Why you should want to survive the tribulation to come

It seems there is a sizable number of people who, when taught of the degree of suffering the coming tribulation will bring, say "I would rather die than go through that." The most important factor of survival is attitude. Your mental state can kill you faster than anything else, or can enable you to survive things that others would die just imagining. If you have already decided that life would not be worth living under certain conditions, you definitely will not make it. Here is why you might want to make it after all.

First, most of those with whom I speak have children. While the suffering will be great for the parents, it will be far worse for the children. Children are not able to fend for themselves. They are not able to understand why bad things happen. They are more easily scared than adults and less able to cope with hunger, cold, fatigue, etc. What loving parent would adopt an attitude that assures their children will suffer more than they would otherwise? If you have children, you have no right to throw in the towel before the fight has even begun. Fatalism will paralyze you in fear, robbing you of the precious time God has given you to prepare. Noah and his wife did not throw up their arms in despair upon learning of the coming flood. They got to work for the sake of their children.

Realize that, if they survive, your children will live in Zion for the balance of their lives. The tribulation that is coming is the only conduit from the fallen world in which we live to a higher state of glory, where they will be free from much of the pain and sorrow that you have endured in your life. Most parents would do all in their power to send their kids to a good school--how much more for Zion? Jesus said,  "...for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." (John 7:19) He has provided us the perfect example of becoming better than we currently are in order to bless others.

Second, we ought to keep in mind that Zion is also our destination, if we are faithful. Though the road to survival might include extreme discomfort, starvation, threat of death, disease, and captivity, that is not the end state. It is simply a means to the end, which is Zion. If you survive, and you are worthy, you will encounter the Lord and live in his presence. That is an outcome worth any price for those who have the faith to believe that God is who and how he says he is.

Finally, we need to realize that, in eternal progression, there are no shortcuts. Joseph taught:
7 Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things; it was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things, that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth's sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice, because he seeks to do his will, he does know most assuredly that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.
8 It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him.
(Lecture Six, Lectures on Faith)
You cannot enjoy the blessings of those who have sacrificed all things without having sacrificed all things yourself. Now, the process of sacrificing all things is and always has been available to the faithful through all time. End-time tribulation is not necessary for one to be asked by God to sacrifice all things. However, most of us are incapable of doing so without the scaffold of the end times. In fact, the reason many of us were born at this age of the earth was to have the blessing of going through end-time tribulation, because we would not accept or endure that degree of tribulation in a normal environment. Others of us have volunteered to be born at this time despite not needing to be that we, like Noah and Moses, might intercede on behalf of those who would not otherwise make it through. In both cases, should we shrug off the tribulation and resign to die as soon as it unwinds, we will be throwing away an opportunity to advance to a higher state of glory. It is of utmost importance to realize that if you are ordained to go through this experience, and you do not, you will not be able to advance until you do, worlds without end. The movie "Edge of Tomorrow" is a wonderful analogy for this idea: you have things to learn and do while you are here, and until you do, you are damned to repeat your suffering without fruits.

32 But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.
33 And there shall be earthquakes also in divers places, and many desolations; yet men will harden their hearts against me, and they will take up the sword, one against another, and they will kill one another.
34 And now, when I the Lord had spoken these words unto my disciples, they were troubled.
35 And I said unto them: Be not troubled, for, when all these things shall come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made unto you shall be fulfilled. (D&C 45:32-35)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

New Book and Free Fireside Dec 11th, 5-7:30pm in South Jordan, UT

I will be releasing a new book called, "Teaching for Doctrines the Commandments of Men: Traditions in Modern Mormonism" shortly. As will all my books, it will be available on Amazon.com at print cost and free to download. This has been a tremendous amount of work, and I have been very anxious to finish and distribute this book. I am sure that anyone who reads the book will learn something new, but the main audience of the book is your friends and relatives who have not had the time or inclination to seriously study the scriptures or church history. This book is a one-stop-shop to help anyone in the church today to draw closer to Christ through the analysis of traditions they espouse that may limit that process. With so many friends and family members losing faith in God due to faith crises spurred by the discovery of unexpected church history or recent church policy, this book is as timely as it could be.

The book is written deliberately in a way that dissects interwoven traditions and logically addresses each component in order with scripture, teachings from the prophet Joseph Smith, and history. You will find the book as a whole, the scriptures it expounds, the teachings it recites, and the history it concisely summarizes to be of great value in your attempts to persuade those around you to focus on the doctrine of Christ and to overcome traditions in their lives that separate them or distract them from the doctrine of Christ.

In order to facilitate the distribution of the greatest number of copies, I will be holding a brief free fireside to entice as many people as possible to come and load up on books (even cheaper than on Amazon due to shipping savings). I hope you can buy a few copies and lend them out to your friends and family.

The location of the venue is:
Daybreak Community Center
4544 Harvest Moon Dr, South Jordan, UT 84095
Room B (Upstairs)
December 11th (Friday)
5pm-7:30pm. Talk at 6.

We can comfortably fit 75 people, but comfort is probably not an option given the subject manner, so bring a friend. The talk will begin at 6pm and go till around 7. I will be there from 5pm on, so come and get some books.

The title for the talk is "Tradition Creation in Modern Mormonism." Some friends are trying to mobilize recording capability so we can distribute the talk. The content is in the book, but not so distilled, so my interest in the recording is mostly as a low-investment option for people to decide on whether or not to get the book, which is quite long.

I apologize to all my friends in Boise, Idaho Falls, and Mesa who requested me to give a talk there as well. I have spent an unfathomable amount of time on this book over the last while, and I cannot justify more time right now away from my family and other demands that I have set aside to write this book.

If, for whatever reason, you cannot attend this meeting, feel free to download a .pdf copy of the book from this blog, or order a copy (or 10) on Amazon.com.

I hope to see you there.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

They Were Eating and Drinking, Marrying and Giving in Marriage

In Matthew 24 we read this cryptic passage:

36But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
45Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 47Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 48But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24)

What does it mean to be "eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage"? Most Christian commentaries interpret this as gluttonous consumption of vittles and some sort of marital excess. The Book of Moses provides more light.

In the pre-flood days of Noah, Noah's granddaughters were taken as wives by "the sons of men," or men who were not of the covenant received by Noah:

 8 And Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and begat a son,
 9 And he called his name Noah, saying: This son shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed....
 13 And Noah and his sons hearkened unto the Lord, and gave heed, and they were called the sons of God.
 14 And when these men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, the sons of men saw that those daughters were fair, and they took them wives, even as they chose.
 15 And the Lord said unto Noah: The daughters of thy sons have sold themselves; for behold mine anger is kindled against the sons of men, for they will not hearken to my voice.
 16 And it came to pass that Noah prophesied, and taught the things of God, even as it was in the beginning.
 17 And the Lord said unto Noah: My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for he shall know that all flesh shall die; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years; and if men do not repent, I will send in the floods upon them. (Moses 8)

Noah tried to call these "sons of men" to repentance, but they would not listen. But WHY wouldn't they listen?

 20 And it came to pass that Noah called upon the children of men that they should repent; but they hearkened not unto his words;
 21 And also, after that they had heard him, they came up before him, saying: Behold, we are the sons of God; have we not taken unto ourselves the daughters of men? And are we not eating and drinking, and marrying and giving in marriage? And our wives bear unto us children, and the same are mighty men, which are like unto men of old, men of great renown. And they hearkened not unto the words of Noah. (Moses 8)

The sons of men cited their having taken wives, eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage as evidence that they were not in need of repentance.

Jesus explains that they were taken by surprise when the flood came, because they were "eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage":

38 Now learn a parable of the fig tree—When its branches are yet tender, and it begins to put forth leaves, you know that summer is nigh at hand;
 39 So likewise, mine elect, when they shall see all these things, they shall know that he is near, even at the doors;
 40 But of that day, and hour, no one knoweth; no, not the angels of God in heaven, but my Father only.
 41 But as it was in the days of Noah, so it shall be also at the coming of the Son of Man;
 42 For it shall be with them, as it was in the days which were before the flood; for until the day that Noah entered into the ark they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage;
 43 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. (JST Matthew 1)

"Eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage" refers to an ordinance of some type practiced in the days of Noah and understood to be of divine origin. I believe it refers to the sacrament (eating and drinking) and plural marriage, but that is merely my belief.

Why does all this matter? Jesus gives us the example of the antediluvian sons of men to warn us of the conditions that will precede his second coming.

Some believe that Jesus' return is a single, point event. This is not the case. Jesus' return is a spectrum of events that begin with the abomination of desolation, continues through all of the destruction events prophesied, and culminates with his return to the Mount of Olives in glory, at which point all those not prepared to dwell in his presence will be destroyed and the millenium ushered in.

In these passages (JST Matthew 1 and Matthew 24), two distinct ideas are discussed: One is what will happen when the Savior returns at the end of the world. The other is what will happen prior to the destruction that precedes the Savior's return.

 44 Then shall be fulfilled that which is written, that in the last days, two shall be in the field, the one shall be taken, and the other left;
 45 Two shall be grinding at the mill, the one shall be taken, and the other left;
 46 And what I say unto one, I say unto all men; watch, therefore, for you know not at what hour your Lord doth come.
 47 But know this, if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to have been broken up, but would have been ready.
 48 Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh.
 49 Who, then, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
 50 Blessed is that servant whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing; and verily I say unto you, he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
 51 But if that evil servant shall say in his heart: My lord delayeth his coming,
 52 And shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken,
 53 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
 54 And shall cut him asunder, and shall appoint him his portion with the hypocrites; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
 55 And thus cometh the end of the wicked, according to the prophecy of Moses, saying: They shall be cut off from among the people; but the end of the earth is not yet, but by and by. (JST Matthew 1)

Jesus describes that men will be surprised when the destruction is poured out. They will be in the field, in the mill, etc. when some minority of them will "be taken". Many interpret this as some sort of rapture. That is not the case. Instead, the Holy Ghost will inspire a seemingly random subset of the population to gather to places of refuge:

"The righteous disappear, and no man gives it a thought; the godly are gathered out, but no one perceives that from impending calamity the righteous are withdrawn." (Isaiah 57:1, Gileadi Translation)

Jesus says to "watch," as you would if you knew a thief would be coming to rob you. How do we watch? Jesus has told us exactly what will happen: from false teachings and principles being preached to natural disasters to governmental calamities. Are you familiar enough with them to enumerate them? Are you watching for them? Or, do you write off the scriptural warnings of false teachings as applying to some other people or some other time? Do you write off natural disasters as a result of natural causes only (as if God does not work by natural processes, and as if knowing what would happen thousands of years before hand is not as much of a miracle as causing things to occur without scientific explanation)? Do you write off governmental calamities as being just as bad as they ever were? Or, do you see these things as the signs promised in scripture?

Then we get to verses 49-55. Who is the servant whom the Lord made ruler over his house? What is the giving of meat to his house in due season? What would it look like if the ruler was not giving the house meat in due season? What does it mean for the servant to smite his fellow-servants? What personality traits would a servant need to consider himself above his fellow servants, let alone despise them enough to smite them? What does it mean to drink with the drunken? It means to imbibe with the decaying standards and shifting sensibilities of the world. God will cut this servant asunder (interesting connection to the endowment penalties removed in 1990), and appoint his portion with his fellow hypocrites (those that say one thing and do another). This entire passage (49-55) is connected to the antediluvian sons of men who honestly thought they were doing God's will when the flood came upon them because they used some of the same ordinances as the true sons of God.

The watershed moment is when the wicked are cut off from among the people, according to the prophet of Moses. If you don't know what that refers to, you should learn. Go read 3 Nephi 20 and especially 3 Nephi 21.

Some rulers will not be giving the house meat in due season, and will be beating their fellow servants, and forgetting the God they are meant to serve. Others will be giving the house meat, and will be servants to them, and the Lord will find them doing so when he returns.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Who wrote the anti-polygamy letter?

There is a rumor floating around that the anonymous author of the recently circulated anti-polygamy letter is...none other than Brian Hales...

just kidding. Thought I would have a little fun.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Survival Blog

I have spent a lot of time in the last year acquiring skills and equipment for the intent of surviving what is coming. I know that temporal skills and equipment are not a sufficient condition for survival. It would be an utter waste of time for someone who does not know God to prepare for the temporal destruction that is coming, because they aren't going to make it anyway. However, those who are repenting need to have faith in the descriptions God has provided of what is coming that they may be a blessing to those who they will associate with as the world crumbles who were not warned and did not have the means to prepare.

With that in mind, I have created a separate blog where I catalog my findings and experience for the benefit of others so that they can accrue this knowledge and know what gear is worthwhile without having to spend as much time and money on it as I have.

The blog is http://www.survivingmontana.blogspot.com

At present, I have a lot more material than I have time to write, but I hope to have a little time over the winter to get caught up. We'll see!

-Rob

Saturday, October 24, 2015

How to Overcome Suicidal Thoughts

Like all of Satan's temptations, suicide is only attractive to those who are ignorant of the implications. Satan sells suicide as an escape. When you just can't take what life is handing you anymore, you hit the escape button. After all, it seems nothing can be worse than this. Sound familiar?

Well, it is a lie. Whatever life is handing you at this moment is exactly what you need to overcome to go to the next level of your existence. That test--that basket of tribulation--is not going to go away. Life is not an open plain, where you can choose some other path if the one you occupy becomes to difficult. The way is strait and narrow, but it is also straight. "There is no other way." The only way to escape is to go through what is troubling you. You can't go around, and you can't go away.

There is no escape. If you end your life, you will just have to go through everything that makes you want to commit suicide again, worlds without end, until you learn to overcome them. It's like dropping a college course with a 100% guarantee that it will be just as hard the next time you complete it, if not harder.

Many who contemplate suicide have been overcome with guilt over a sin that they just can't seem to shake. God gives us weakness so that he can make those things strong. He doesn't make us strong by magically taking the weakness away. He makes us strong by teaching us uncomfortable, soul-shaking truth that robs the devil of his lies by teaching us the hidden consequence of sin, robbing carnal temptations of their desirability.

Death does not change a soul. It merely temporarily removes them from mortality. They will return to mortality, and when they do, whatever they were struggling with will return with them. The end of the struggle is not death, but the acquisition of knowledge borne of experience that overcomes the struggle. We, like Jesus, must overcome ALL things.

Suicide, in every case, is nothing more than a pause button. There is no eject button in our progression. There is no other way.

The Woman Taken in Adultery

This really is a gem of a story.

 1 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.

 2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

 9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. (John 8)

The Pharisees were trying to entrap Jesus (as they are wont to do). They knew he was preaching mercy, and figured that he would forgive the woman thus violating the law of Moses, which required that a woman with sufficient witnesses to convict her of adultery needed to be stoned to death. Instead of doing that, Jesus invited any who were without sin to throw the first stone. Obviously, no man could do that. They left, and Jesus, not being an eye witness, was left without any proof that the accusation was true (though obviously he knew it was, being Jesus). Thus, he was able to forgive the woman without violating the law of Moses.

Sometimes Jesus flagrantly broke the law of the Jews. Sometimes (like on this occasion), he went through great lengths to keep it. Why the distinction? The law of the Jews came from two sources. That portion that came from God through Moses, Jesus kept with exactness. That portion that came from the additions, modifications, and removals of the leaders he openly broke and publicly contradicted.

To learn more about the fascinating doctrine of the Pharisees, watch this video. It is excellent!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Musings on temptation, knowledge, and salvation.

The purpose of this life is to learn to distinguish between good and evil and to choose good. Human beings are inherently rational. We do not choose evil because we love evil, we choose evil because we are blind to the true consequences of choosing evil. Satan's main tactic is to misrepresent the true consequences of sin. We are blind to the true consequences of evil because we love evil and do not search in the light. In order to search for further light and truth, one must be ready and willing to part with any and all false traditions. This means having a willingness to have what are now positive things in your life turn bitter. It is gutwrenchingly unpleasant. To those who will let him do it, God will show that there is nothing Telestial that is worth the cost. The only thing in this kingdom that is worthwhile is to keep God's commandments, because God's commandments belong to a higher state of glory than where we find ourselves at present. Many are frustrated in their attempts to overcome sin because they are trying to defeat problems of this kingdom without obtaining knowledge pertaining to a higher kingdom. They think that sin can be overcome if one feels guilty enough about it, or if one has enough negative worldly consequences (such as peer pressure), or if one prays hard enough for God to suspend their agency and magically take sin away. Those solutions will not change a person's character. The only way to overcome sin is to learn to see things as they really are--as God sees them. This requires new knowledge. New knowledge changes your perspective on all things in life. New knowledge brings you to the point where sin has no power over you--not because you have been magically changed or because God has suspended your agency, but because you are a rational being, and God has revealed to you parts of the equation that were previously unknown to you. These are mysteries of Godliness, and God cannot reveal them to the world. It would be unmerciful to do so because Telestial beings cannot bear them. Telestial beings require the illusions of this life to endure the pain of this life. If God revealed to them the truth of the things they treasure, life would be so miserable as to guarantee suicide (though even suicide is no consolation to those who see things as they really are). Only as they submit to the Spirit can they become strong enough through faith in Christ to endure the suffering of this kingdom without the counterbalance of Telestial (counterfeit) comforts and pleasures. One is saved no quicker than he can obtain knowledge because it is your degree of knowledge that determines your degree of sinlessness.

I don't have time to polish this now, but I am dumping quotes and verses here for later:
"Knowledge saves a man and in the world of spirits a man can't be exalted but by knowledge. So long as a man will not give heed to the commandments he must abide without salvation. A man is his own torment. 115 Hence the saying they shall go into the lake that burns with fire & is as exquisite as a lake & so is the torments of a man" (Joseph Smith, WOJS 7 April 1844)

"If we get puffed up by thinking that we have much knowledge, we are apt to get a contentious spirit, and knowledge is necessary to do away contention. The evil of being puffed up is not so great as the evil of contention. 3 Knowledge does away darkness, supense and doubt, for where Knowledge is there is no doubt nor suspense nor darkness. There is no pain so awful as the pain of suspense. this is the condemnation of the wicked; their doubt and anxiety and suspense causes weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. 4 In knowledge there is power. God has more power than all other beings, because he has greater Knowledge, and hence he knows how to subject all other beings to him." (Joseph Smith, WOJS 8 April 1843)

"At 10 Prest. J. preached on 2nd Peter Ch 1. He shewed that knowledge is power & the man who has the most knowledge has the greatest power. Also that salvation means a mans being placed beyond the powers of all his enemies. " (WOJS 17 May 1843)

"He spoke of the importance of our understanding the reasons and causes of our exposure to the vicissitudes of life, and of death; and the designs and purposes of God, in our coming into the world, our sufferings here, and our departure hence—that it is but reasonable to suppose that God would reveal something in reference to the matter—the ignorance of the world in reference to their true condition, and relation. Reading the experience of others, or the revelations given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God. Knowledge of these things, can only be obtained by experience in these things, through the ordinance of God set forth for that purpose. 3 He remarked that the disappointment of hopes and expectations at the resurrection, would be indescribably dreadful. That the organization of the spiritual and heavenly worlds, and of spiritual and heavenly beings, was agreeably to the most perfect order and harmony—that their limits and bounds were fixed irrevocably, and voluntarily subscribed to by themselves—subscribed to upon the earth—hence the importance of embracing and subscribing to principles of eternal truth. He assured the saints that truth in reference to these matters, can, and may be known, through the revelations of God in the way of his ordinances, and in answer to prayer. The Hebrew church "came unto the spirits of just men made perfect, and unto an innumerable company of angels, unto God the Father of all, and to Jesus Christ the Mediator of the New Covenant;" but what they learned, has not been, and could not have been written." (Account of Discourse by Joseph Smith, WOJS 9 Oct 1843)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

A blogger recently compiled a list of reasons people abandon the gospel and church. Some of those reasons are reasonable, but most have good answers. In hope to provide some of those answers, which I don't seem to see anywhere else, I will provide a series of answers to these questions.

One of these questions is why bad things happen to good people. The issue is this: when there is a tsunami and 200,000 people die, or when your kind grandmother dies of bone cancer, or when you suffer through the abandonment of a spouse through no fault of your own, how can God allow such a thing to happen?

This question reduces to two simple questions: 
1) Are the consequences of mortality limited to mortality?
2) Are the experiences of mortality limited to our current probation?

The answer to both of these questions is a resounding no. In brief, God not only allows but ordains bad things to happen to good people because it is one main ingredient in the pool of knowledge one must attain to become a god.

Mormonism is the only religion of which I am aware that provides an answer to this question. All Christians believe that God is omniscient in one form or another. Only Mormons believe that 1) his omniscience applies only to this sphere1, because he progresses, and 2) have an answer to how he gained his knowledge of this sphere. He was once a man, like you and I2. This condition preceded his mortal ministry by who knows how many iterations, because while on the earth he was not like you and I, already having a level of knowledge and power far exceeding any other mortal in this iteration. To get to that point, he had to experience everything mortality had to offer. In Christianity, God can commiserate with mortals through knowledge of their experiences. But only in Mormonism can God commiserate with mortals through experience of their experiences. Only in Mormonism is God's knowledge a product of his experience rather than some supernatural gift attained in absentia.

It may seem unfair or pointless for a person to suffer through bone cancer. In actuality, there are character traits that one can only attain through suffering3. There are character traits that one can only attain through losing a child. There are character traits one can only attain through suffering through abuse. And so on. To become a god, one must suffer through all these things. Because our experience stretches over many probations (worlds without end), the calculus of whether this suffering is pointless or essential has to be done with a long term view. Our knowledge continues with us even after this life4. Our suffering produces dividends worlds without end, as does everything else we learn in this life. An analogy to consider is that, if college were the sum total of what life had to offer, it would make no sense to select computer science as a major compared to, say, history, because computer science is so difficult and time consuming compared to history. It would be unfair, if college were the sum total of life, to arbitrarily assign some people to history and some people to computer science. However, life does not end with college, and those who major in computer science will earn a lot more money in their vocation than those who major in history. There is a benefit commensurate with the degree of suffering for every experience in mortality,5 even if that benefit does not necessarily occur during the mortality where that suffering occurs.


1 "All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence." (D&C 93:30)

2 "God Himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret." (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 6:303–5)

3 "And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." (D&C 122:7)

4 "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come." (D&C 130:18-19)

5 "Therefore, let your hearts be comforted; for all things shall work together for good to them that walk uprightly..." (D&C 100:15) "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." (2 Cor. 4:17) "Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things; it was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life....It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him." (Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith 6:7-8)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Inside Trading in the LDS Church

The big story from conference weekend is that of "ponderize." Devin Durrant, first counselor in the Sunday School Presidency, wrote a talk around the term. Meanwhile, his son and daughter-in-law registered an affiliated website on September 27th selling t-shirts and wristbands of the meme.

This is a rather egregious example of profiteering off the church. The feedback was overwhelmingly negative and speedy. There were many changes to the site from the time the talk was given until that evening. At first, the t-shirts, priced at 17.99, were dropped to 9.99, with a message placed on the site that they were being sold at cost to get the word out. Then, the prices went back up with a message that all profits were going to the missionary fund. By 10:45pm Sunday, the site was taken down.

It would be nice to think that this is an isolated occurrence, and that this sort of thing doesn't happen very often. It would also be incorrect to think so.

The fact is that the church is large and wealthy. Billions of dollars change hands every day. To think that every person directly involved as well as the family and friends of every person involved would avoid profiting off of privileged information is naive indeed.

Case Study: Zwick Construction
Elder Craig Zwick has been a member of the 70 since 1995. He also happens to be the former owner and CEO (his son now runs it) of Zwick Construction, who has built or remodeled 8 temples, 9 chapels, and several other buildings for the church. This amounts to over 100 million in construction revenue from the church. Is this a conflict of interest?

Case Study: The Gilbert Arizona Temple
When a temple is announced, property values adjacent to the proposed site double overnight. Anyone with advanced knowledge of a temple announcement, therefore, stands to profit enormously by purchasing the adjacent properties before the announcement is made. The LeSueur family, who owned over 200 acres of farmland in Gilbert, managed to convince the church to build a temple on land they donated. The LeSueurs were able to convert the zoning of the adjacent land to residential, and now are developing a gated neighborhood of 262 homes. David LeSueur was called to be president of said temple.

The same story occurred with the Oquirrh Mountain Temple and the Draper temple. Companies donated the land for the temple and made an incredible amount on the increase in property value of the surrounding lots.