Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Irony of the Rainbow

This week marked a few landmark decisions from the Supreme Court. They demonstrated unquestionably that that rule of law has ended in the United States, that the opinion of a majority of justices is sufficient to replace the Constitutional law of the land with society's current view of what is right and good.

One of those decisions was the ruling that gay marriage is now a right protected by the federal government. Many, including myself, view this as a turning point in our nation. However, I feel my reasoning is probably different to most.

Homosexuality is a sin. However, I personally am not aware of anytime where God said it was the one sin that all Christians should be fighting against. After all, we are all sinners. What makes the sin one person struggles with greater than the sin another is tempted with? I will not judge my homosexual brothers and sisters, because I cannot afford for them to judge me.

So why is the court ruling such a big deal? Many, including myself, believe that God's judgments will very shortly fall on this country, and that this may very well be the straw that broke the camel's back. For me, it is not about which sin has been embraced. It is about the fact that sin has been embraced.

Since the 1970s, the United States has committed millions of abortions. 53 million, to be exact. I am of the opinion that most if not all of these acts are murder. Unlike homosexuality, God has indicated the gravity of murder. What sin is greater? So, since the 70s the US has murdered the equivalent of 1/7th of today's US population, and yet God has not destroyed it. Why not? Despite the ubiquity of abortion, it is not embraced. There are many who oppose it, and very few who publicly flaunt it. Almost no one in the United States would brag about having an abortion. It has a negative connotation. It is seen as dodgy, even by those who do it. They seek to hide it. It is embarrassing. They have not totally thrown out the light of Christ, because they at least implicitly acknowledge it is not appropriate by keeping it private.

But what about homosexuality? There are far fewer homosexuals than abortionists. Almost a third of women in the United States will have an abortion at some point in their lives. As of 2014, an NHIS study found only 1.6% of the United States identifies as homosexual. Still, homosexuality is a very popular topic. You are many times more likely to hear about homosexuality than abortion. The media is saturated by arguments about why it is healthy, normal, courageous, etc. And more than half of the country believes it is just that. Homosexuality is a sin flaunted by those who support it.

We live at a time when this generation readily identifies what they consider to be mistakes in the moral code of their ancestors while assuming the current opinions of society (which are markedly different from just 10 years ago) are eternally true. What absolute hubris.

The dialogue of those who support it make it a moral issue. In other words, if a person supports homosexuality, they are good. If they do not, they are bad.

God said,  "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20). Is this not exactly what is happening in our day?

What will be the consequences of our twisting society's moral bearings? The greatest consequence is that the only innocents among us--children--will be raised with a perverted sense of right and wrong that prevents them from making correct moral decisions. This toxic moral environment voids the purpose of creation. Whenever a society reaches the point where they openly embrace sin and invert the moral compass, God intervenes and destroys them in order to restore an environment where it is possible for people to learn to distinguish between good and evil.

Isaiah prophesied that our society would come to the point where we would, like Sodom, flaunt our sins and openly advertise them as badges of our "righteousness":
"8 Jerusalem will falter and Judea fall because their tongue and their actions are contrary to Jehovah, an affront to his glory before his very eyes.
9 The look on their faces betrays them: they flaunt their sin like Sodom; they cannot hide it. Woe to their souls; they have brought disaster upon themselves!" (Isaiah 3, Gileadi Translation)

We recall what happened to Sodom.

And what about the flood?

"5 ¶And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth." (Genesis 6)

People today mistakenly think that an evil person knows what they are doing is wrong. Hitler, the archetype of evil, really seemed to believe what he was doing was the right thing to do. And so it is. Evilness is not a disease of choice, it is a disease of understanding. Jesus railed and railed against the Pharisees, and yet they were unquestionably devout, in their minds, to God. Jesus explained this paradox by saying that they would think they were doing God a service by killing his messengers.

I love this picture because it shows that even wicked people still have standards. There is a parent trying to save a child, and a tiger trying to save its cub. Wicked people almost never realize their condition. They would not self-describe as evil. They have standards, they are just different from God's standards. More than being a reason not to send the flood, this was the very reason the flood was sent. When a people has replaced the internal moral compass God has given each of us with the false traditions we inherit from society, we are ripe for destruction because we deprive the innocents among us from making the right decision. We have drowned their capacity to choose right with our incessant lessons that bad is good and good is bad.

In Noah's day, just like in our day, the disease of understanding is pervasive. "Corrupted" is a very apt term to use to describe the situation. And violence, though not the best fitting word in our modern usage, perfectly describes the vehement activism we see in those who are pushing the new morality, when we look at historic meanings of the word:

1. Physical force; strength of action or motion; a
2. Moral force; vehemence.
3. Outrage; unjust force; crimes of all kinds.
4. Eagerness; vehemence.
5. Injury; infringement.
6. Injury; hurt.
7. Ravishment; rape.
(From 1828 Webster's Dictionary)

After the flood, Noah made a sacrifice and God made a covenant:
 21 And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
 22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. (Gen 8)

It is interesting that the rainbow, the sign of the covenant God made to Noah promising him not to destroy the world's population, has been co-opted by the homosexual movement. In the wake of the court decision, facebook is awash with profile pictures that have been covered with the rainbow. Could a more mocking gesture be conjured?  "Their tongue and their actions are contrary to Jehovah, an affront to his glory before his very eyes." (Isaiah 3:8)

Does the rainbow covenant preclude God destroying us for our wickedness, which has exceeded Sodom and Gomorrah? Importantly, God did not unconditionally promise not to destroy humanity. He merely said that while the earth remains, and seedtime and harvest, and seasons, and day and night, he would not kill every living creature. Joseph Smith taught that there will come a time, preceding Jesus' return, that all of these things would indeed cease, and God's destruction will be poured out upon the earth. However, as long as the rainbow appears in the sky, we can know that these norms will continue for at least the present year.

"While enquiring of the Lord concerning the End of time, it was made known to him by the Holy Spirit, that there should be prosperity, seed time and harvest every year in which the Rainbow was seen, for to that was Noah refered as a surety on this subject,— But in the year when the Bow was not to be seen, would commence desolation, calamity and distress among the Nations, without seed time or harvest." (Joseph Smith, March 10, 1844)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

D&C 87

How much of D&C 87 has been fulfilled? It seems to me that the common understanding is that it was fulfilled with the Civil War. Not so. Though the revelation speaks about the Civil War (verse 1), it's almost in passing. The subject of this revelation is events still to come.

 1 Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls;
Is the even that will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls the Civil War (which started with the rebellion of South Carolina)? Or, is it "the wars that will shortly come to pass" (later described) that will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls?

What are these wars, anyway? Could they have included World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the gulf wars, Afghanistan, and the many other wars involving the US that we don't really talk about? Have those caused the death and misery of many souls? Yes. However, it is all far from over, because:

 2 And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.

ALL nations. Even in the so-called world wars, war was not poured out upon all nations. Many countries did not see fighting. There was no fighting on the American continent.

 3 For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations.

This did NOT happen in the Civil War. If this prophecy is true, it means these events are still to come. This is something we should be watching for: another civil war. This time, Great Britain will align with the Southern States, and this will cause a chain reaction where every nation on earth chooses a side. (You didn't read that in Visions of Glory, did you?)

 4 And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.
Are there slaves today? Absolutely. All over the world, there are billions of people oppressed by those with more money and/or power than they have. There are two possible readings of this: 1) The masters will be preoccupied with war, and the slaves will attack. Or, the slaves will be trained and armed by their masters, and instead of fighting the enemy, they will fight their masters.

 5 And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation.
Who is the remnant? This is the remnant of Israel that will tear up like a lion prophesied all over the scriptures.

 6 And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations;
Once these events start, they will not end until Christ comes.

 7 That the cry of the saints, and of the blood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies.

 8 Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Gospel is Like

My dog gets ear infections every time he gets water in his ears. He gets water in his ears every time he drinks from the sprinkler. My dog does not know that he gets an ear infection every time he drinks water from the sprinkler. He loves drinking water from the sprinkler. Would he love it if he knew that it causes an ear infection?

To me, the gospel is information. It is the kind of information that makes drinking from a sprinkler less enjoyable, but brings with it the prevention of ear infections.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Judge Righteous Judgment

This evening I was poking around in the scriptures when I came across this verse. Jesus said,

"Don't judge by appearances. Judge by what is right." (John 7:24, CEV)

This verse set off a chain of thoughts in my mind. The context is important. Here, Jesus was defending himself against the religious folks in his day who didn't like that he had healed someone on the Sabbath. It wasn't that Jesus was telling them that there was no scriptural basis for their disapproval of his actions. Instead, he highlights that that their understanding of God's word did not come from a relationship with God directly, but from inherited tradition:

"Moses commanded you to circumcise your sons. But it wasn't really Moses who gave you this command. It was your ancestors..." (John 7:22)

It seems the kneejerk reaction in dead (as in unconnected from God) religion is to automatically decide an issue by comparing it to the tradition of the elders which has been handed down. As Jesus taught on another occasion, these traditions are not only sometimes wrong, but they also contradict the commandments of God. This fact is unfathomable to the devout Pharisees of ancient and modern times. After all, how could the tradition that has brought them so much of what they appreciate in life contain spiritual poison? The fact is, most people are wholly unable to discern between truth and error, neither of which normally comes in homogenous chunks. Error does not come in homogenous chunks because no one would believe it if it did. Truth does not come in homogenous chucks both because the recipient is always an imperfect vessel incapable of perfect reception and also because, more often than not, it is not God himself but some imperfect vessel who acts as a messenger to convey the message.

We really ought to obey Jesus' command and not judge by appearances, but judge by what is right. And what is right? There is no way to tell without asking God. Dismissing someone's claims or actions out of hand as evil or apostate is anti-Christ.

Of Christ (or the one mighty and strong, or both, depending on your reading of the passage), Isaiah said:

 1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
 2 And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;
 3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
 4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
 5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. (Isaiah 11, KJV)

I prefer the Gileadi translation:
1 A shoot will spring up from the stock of Jesse and a branch from its graft bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of Jehovah will rest upon him—the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of valor, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah.
3 His intuition will be guided by the fear of Jehovah; he will not judge by what his eyes see, nor establish proof by what his ears hear.
4 He will judge the poor with righteousness, and with equity arbitrate for the lowly in the land; he will smite the earth with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be as a band about his waist, faithfulness a girdle round his loins. (Isaiah 11, Gileadi Translation)

Men of God do not judge after what they see, or what they hear. They obtain revelation from God on the matter.