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Hid up from the foundation of the world

Seth lived one hundred and five years, and begat Enos, and prophesied in all his days, and taught his son Enos in the ways of God; wherefore Enos prophesied also. (Moses 6:13)
Can you imagine how well Adam knew God after having met with him face to face daily for perhaps hundreds of years before the fall? Can you imagine how much of this knowledge he conveyed to his son Seth? And how much Seth's son Enos learned from his father and grandfather? And not one word of what was handed down is written in Genesis.

Truly we live in a desert of knowledge of the character of God. In spite of a great deal about what God did provided by the scriptures, we have very very little about how he did it. They are written as a history, not a biography of God. When you read a good biography, you come away with a very clear understanding of not just what a person did in their lives, but why they did it.

It is absolutely critical to understand the character of God. To do God's work, you must know h…

I'm a leaf in the wind

A wonderful friend of mine and I were in the woods recently. To get to our destination, we had to cross a fairly large river. Through poor planning, we only had one pair of waders to protect us from the freezing temperatures. On the journey out, I went without waders. Cold water makes your whole body feel like an ice cream headache. I was making funny noises and moving as fast as I could. After a day of hiking we returned, and he volunteered to go without the waders. He smiled, put his hands together, closed his eyes and said, "I'm a leaf in the wind!" He then walked across the river without any sign of discomfort. Though I know he was in massive pain, he didn't really seem to care.

For weeks, I've been thinking about that profound statement.

God truly is found in our extremity.

It is our privilege to literally commune with God:
To have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the gen…

Imagination and revelation

This doctrine is laid out on this blog. I won't attempt to restate it, because if I do people will come out of the woodwork stating that I have misrepresented what that person (who desires to remain anonymous) teaches.
Does God's word come from your imagination, or from God? Jesus said that everything he taught came from the Father: "...as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things." (John 8:28). If Jesus, the Son of God, was limited in the worth he could provide by what he was given from the Father, who among us can think for a second that what we produce can be good? Jesus said,  4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15) We are told plainly that our thoughts are different from God's: 8 For my thoughts are no…

Thoughts on Light

1.
Imagine a satellite dish covered in a mirror and pointed at the sun, but getting larger and larger. The sun is God, the light is truth, the focal point if the dish is your understanding. The diameter of the dish is set by your willingness to seek, recognize, and apply truth.

2.
One who wishes to increase their interaction with light can do so by observing the effect of light on the objects around them, but they will achieve much more by looking directly at the sun.

3.
Sunflowers move their heads to follow the sun. Each morning, they face east awaiting the rising sun. As the day progresses, their heads move to follow the sun as it traverses from east to west. After the sun sets, the flowers move back to east facing to await the morning sun. This movement is actually caused by their growth. The part of the plant facing the sun grows faster than the non-sun-facing side. As they stop growing, their heads stop moving, and they simply face east.

What Good People Have to Gain in Jesus

An expansion on this idea has been posted here.

When I entered high school I didn't need glasses. With each passing year, I found the chalkboards getting dustier. I had to keep moving closer, and it was annoying. At some point, after ~3 years, I complained. Someone suggested I needed glasses. One reason this had never crossed my mind was that I had eye checks as part of an annual physical that had not revealed degrading eyesight. The main reason I did not know I needed glasses was that I didn't comprehend what it would be like to not need glasses. I didn't know what perfect eyesight was like, so I couldn't realize what I was missing by wearing glasses.

Years later, I faced an alert order for deployment in the military. Knowing how hard it is to shoot accurately with glasses on, and knowing how pointless it is to try to shoot with a gas mask on when you require glasses, I thought it would be worthwhile to get laser eye surgery in spite of the cost and what I considered t…

About Me

Someone suggested that a brief biography would help people be more open to the things I write on this blog. I can see how it might add context, but I do this reluctantly. Please do not consider me an authority on anything. Please do not idolize me. Please do not desire to associate with me any more than you would with anyone else. I share these things only to stir up others to believe God and develop their own relationship with God.

For the first 18 years of my life, I was raised as a non-denominational, non-practicing Christian. I sought truth through a secular lens. I was exposed to Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Charismatic, and other Christian sects through family and friends. I did not read the Bible, and I did not worship God, but I did believe that he existed.

I have always sought to test what I accepted as truth, have always rejected certain things as not being effective, and sought out new putative truth.

When I was 18, at basic training, I was exposed to the LDS chu…

Instead of restoring the restoration, live it

There is a prevalent idea among those from Mormon traditions that any progress towards Zion must rest on the foundation of the so-called restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith. In other words, it must pick up where he left off.

In order for this to be the case, one must believe that:

Joseph Smith's mission revealed truths required for salvation.Joseph Smith's mission uniquely revealed truths required for salvation.Joseph Smith never taught anything that was false.History has adequately preserved those truths that Joseph Smith revealed.God will not reveal the same saving truths he taught through Joseph through anyone else. Rather than provide an exhaustive answer to each question, we will provide just a brief example or counterexample for each question.
Did Joseph Smith's mission reveal truths required for salvation? Yes. The truths in the Book of Mormon supplement those in the Bible, including those that were originally in the Bible but subsequently removed. The top…

Dispensation heads

There are a lot of ideas about what a gospel dispensation is. 
The word dispensation simply means to distribute. In a gospel sense, it means to make truth more accessible. 
All of God's truth is already accessible. His light shines throughout all creation without diminishing. 
The Light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness did not understand it or overpower it or appropriate it or absorb it [and is unreceptive to it]. (John 1:5, AMP)
God has never said that he limits his dispensation of truth to the world. We restrict ourselves from it by failing to search it out and failing to apply it. Through the first, we can willingly fail to sense it. Through the second, we actually actively recoil from it.
Initially, we all have individual access to the fullness of truth (see Alma 13, particularly verses 4 and 5). Because of our sin, and because of our lack of diligence, we cut ourselves off from truth. 
10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser …

The error of all Christendom

Einstein once said that the definition of insanity was doing thing same thing and expecting different results.

The error of nearly all Christians can be expressed concisely as this: they continue to invest all their resources in a theology that has failed to bring them the promised results.

Recognizing this, they ought to search for something better instead of continuing to satisfy themselves on performances and ideas that fail to bring them into constant, literal interaction with God.

If you don't have literal, constant interaction with God, spend your time on your knees begging him to help you find the truth and trying out what you find until you do.

The Denver Snuffer Movement: Time for a reality check

Most if not all aware of Denver Snuffer are former LDS. All of them have gone through an evaluation process to discover that, while the LDS church possesses many truths that are helpful to drawing closer to God, it also possesses many truths that will prevent a person from drawing closer to God.

If you are in this group, you have been fooled before. What are you to do to ensure you don't get fooled again?

The way to prevent yourself from being fooled is by constructing a strategy that would have alerted you to the state of the LDS church far earlier than you actually found out. In retrospect, you may feel quite foolish, as I do, that you did not see the problems earlier. Chances are that, like me, you discovered the problem only after someone showed you what those problems were. Chances are that even in that case it took quite a long time and a lot of effort before you would objectively consider those problems and test them for yourself.

One key to preventing the same mistake is b…

Spiritual experiences claimed by others are not a litmus test for truth

What is the relationship between us and those who claim close association with God? Well, what others claim doesn't actually matter much. What matters is what happens when we follow their teachings. If you hear someone claiming truth, and you apply that putative truth, and you experience God to a greater degree, congratulations, you've acquired further light and truth. If, on the other hand, you hear someone claiming truth, you apply it, and you do not experience God to a greater degree, you can set that putative truth aside as falsehood. Evaluation of potential truth is a message-level process, not a messenger-level process. 
How do you test their claims? The Lord said,

16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. (John 7)
You test their claims by doing what they teach and seeing if you get the same results they claim to have e…

Segmentations within "the Remnant"

When it comes to those who have left organized churches looking for something more, they seem to fit into one of several segments. There are those who were offended by their internal sensibilities ("I don't like what my church says about _____"). There are those who find corruption in their church sect ("My church teaches _____, which contradicts God's word on the subject). There are also those who find corruption in themselves ("I realize there is more to Christianity than what I have experienced by following these teachings. I need more/better instruction to rise higher").

The first group do not trust God, but trust in the arm of the flesh. They want a religion that conforms to the fickle moral standards of the world. They want a religion that pleases the flesh. These will never know God unless they learn to trust him and repent.

The second group are interested in God's will. They focus this externally. They want another church, one that conforms …

Scripture Study: Mark 8 22-26

When I study the scriptures, I find that questions engender revelation. Questions could be about seeming contradictions, or why something was included. Here is an example.

Mark 8 reads:
22 And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.
23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.
24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.
25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.
26 And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.
Here are some questions I would ask about this passage:
Who was "they" (v22)?
Why did Jesus bring the blind man out of the town?
Why did Jesus spit on his eyes?
After spitting on his eyes, why did he put his hands on him?
Why did he ask if he saw anything?
Wh…

Zion and gathering

The apostle John taught that we obtain fellowship with one another not through our desire or actions to gather together, but through our desire and actions to align ourselves to God:

6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1)
As we approach God, we become capable of fellowshipping with one another in the love of God. If we gather together without first obtaining the love of God in our hearts, our gathering will unavoidable be a fruitless failure.

Zion does not come about through the gathering of sinners who together become saints. Rather, it comes about when individuals become sinless, then are gathered by God.

If people gather prematurely (read: if non-repentant people gather themselves instead of repenting and waiting for God to gather them), the only end will be s…