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Showing posts from August, 2018

Trust God

Complete reconciliation to our present understanding of God requires complete trust in God. In fact, any lack of reconciliation to God is caused by a lack of trust in God. Though a person may claim to believe in God, how much they actually do is wholly determined by how much they trust him.
Some do not trust God because they believe they know better than he does what will bring them happiness. It is written:

5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3)
Paul gave what may be the most important reason to trust God. He said: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) If you truly believe that God knows all things and that he is all loving, you must necessarily believe that anything he wills…

Woe to Myanmar

The voice cried "Mee-yun-mar, mee-yun-mar, mee-yun-mar," as I felt the incredible pain of these people, and wept bitterly.

The true order of prayer

This post is in response to the person or people who has/have been praying about the true order of prayer.

There are many and diverse opinions on the provenance and meaning of the LDS temple ordinances. In my book, "Teaching for Doctrines the Commandments of Men," I provide a summary of the history regarding the many changes that have been made to the temple rites. There are many who question whether Joseph Smith received any of what the LDS currently practice, or anything temple-related at all, from God.

In this post, I won't address any of that.

Instead, I will go over what the true order of prayer is, why it is called that, and why it matters.

The true order of prayer is not a special form of prayer; it is not something that is reserved for an LDS temple. It is not something that requires special ceremonial clothing, or ceremonial signs and tokens, or reserved ceremonial words.

Instead, it is called the true order of prayer because it shows us the mechanism of prayer.…

What activities lead to experiences with God?

When the Lord first visited me a half dozen years ago, his principle message was that almost all of my religious output was focused on activities that were of no worth to him. This shocked and hurt me beyond my capacity to express, as for ten years I had poured my heart, might, mind, and strength into being a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A friend brought this survey to my attention. The results, in short, are that one's relationship with God is improved through things you do directly with God (like prayer and scripture study), not things you do with an institution (like church attendance and donating money to a church).

My experience agrees with this survey: the traditions of men do not bring you closer to God. There are a lot in the modern LDS church. In fact, every one of the activities on the right side of the above-linked survey are traditions of men, in spite of the fact that modern Mormons identify them as critical components of their fai…

What happens when leaders don't lead

This post is, in a sense, a followup to this one.

Something strange happens when you put a group of people--any group of people--into a situation where their production can be measured. It really doesn't matter what is produced--mining coal, making cars, making money--you will find that the vast majority produce very little, some few produce a lot, and some outliers produce more than all the others combined. This behavior is described by the Pareto distribution.

This is also described in scripture:
3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8 But ot…

Becoming the word

An interesting question arose recently. What is the limit of an instantaneous conversion?

The scriptures contain several miraculous conversion stories. Can a person become saved instantaneously?

Precision in words is important. Conversion, saved, etc., can mean different things to different people. Rather than use words that different people associate with different meanings, I will instead discuss this topic using a different paradigm.

The process I'm about to describe plays out many times in the scriptures, as well as in the lives of all people who come to God. One of my favorite examples of this process, though, is found in the story of a man named Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

Nephi had an incredible experience. While agonizing over the welfare of those he loved, Nephi heard a voice that said:
4 Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. An…

God is real, and he is a God of miracles

Many--too many--gospel discussions focus on the provenance of books of scripture. Anyone whose faith rests in the archeological or other textual "evidence" of scripture has weak religious principles. The truth of scripture is not manifest in the shaky wisdom of men, but in the fruits the principles it teaches brings forth.
If you believe in God merely because of what the Bible says, for instance, than your religion is not much worth having. A religion worth having ought to be able to reproduce the fruits of the gospel documented in the Bible in your own life. If you do not have the fruits of the gospel in your life as recorded in the scriptures, either the scriptures or false or your understanding of the gospel is different than the gospel had by those who wrote it. Either way, you ought to change your beliefs.


The purpose of miracles is to help people have faith--to help people become willing to believe in what is purported to be the gospel sufficient to live what is taugh…

Seeking Correction

God called Moses the meekest man. We don't have his full story, but we do know that this man was accomplished in whatever he did. In the first 40 years of his life, he managed to become the greatest hero of the world's most powerful nation. He was a military and civic leader. We don't know much about his spiritual growth in that period, but he knew something both of the Hebrew religion and the purpose God had for him. After his exile from Egypt, Moses took up a career as a shepard--a vocation that was considered an abomination in the Egyptian culture in which he was raised. And he was an undershepard at that--in the service of a man who was no doubt many times the inferior of his previous socioeconomic position as prince of Egypt. Then Moses met God, went to Egypt, and worked many great miracles.

This man who had dwelt in heaven for 40 days, parted the sea, etc., was approached by his father in law--who had had none of these experiences as far as we know--with advice. What …