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Monday, March 28, 2016

A Thought in the Woods

I went camping with my wife the other night. Where we live, we can truly camp in the wilderness. No campsites, no humans for many, many miles. Just trees, rivers, animals, and God. Out there in nature, without modern conveniences, things are very simple. You have to eat, but you won't be able to eat any modern food. You have to sleep, but it will be on the ground. You have to stay warm, but the only way you can do that is with fire and clothing, and both will take an immense amount of time to procure and maintain. You need water, and it will probably be dirty. That's pretty much it. When you are doing all these things, there really isn't time for much else. Paradoxically, instead of being overwhelmed at needing so much time to maintain truly basic survival, you feel a much greater peace than is available in all the trappings of Babylon. We forget just how much we have to manage and worry about in modern society. As an example, at this point in my life I touch 20-30 separate projects in any given day, from baby chicks to worm farm to seedlings to several distinct grant applications at work to several different research projects at work to different classes I teach, initiatives I am working on, gospel writings, gospel study, kids, wife, dog, rabbits, chickens, ... To simplify would truly be a wonderful thing.

One thought occurred to me while I was out there reveling in the silence. Why is it that, despite such a wealth of resources, those of an LDS background have an extreme lack of gifts from God in the form of faith, sacrifice, avoidance of worldliness, and spiritual gifts, compared to the scriptures and even the lives of other Christians? The answer was not surprising: "They don't keep my commandments." Specifically, the Lord told me that one of the most despicable examples of disobedience is in terms of financial inequality.

If I had to narrow down the most important differences in belief between those of a restoration background and those of a Bible-only background, I would say: An understanding of the responsibility to become Zion, which consists in just two things: Keeping all God's commandments and overcoming poverty.

Despite being what I consider THE distinguishing feature, this teaching is virtually ignored in those with an LDS background. They both deny that it is possible to keep all of God's commandments ("your best is good enough" or "keep church standards and that is as good as it gets") and they do not do what is necessary to overcome poverty ("I can be rich as long as I pay tithing").

God made it clear that it is possible to keep all of his commandments by sending his son whose perfect life demonstrated the point.

God has made it very clear that the rich cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 19:23).
He has said clearly that it is not righteous to have means while others do not have means.
"But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin." (D&C 49:20)
The idle will not be admitted to Zion.
Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer. (D&C 42:42)
For some reason, the LDS ignore these teachings. This, according to my understanding, is THE reason for such a lack of signs of God's power in their lives.

God made very clear to me that because the Gentiles have refused to abase themselves willingly for the good of the global poor, they will be abased by force. Those few who survive will find themselves in the same primitive conditions of those they have ignored and exploited to fare sumptuously.
There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.  (Luke 16:19-26.)