Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Believe God's Promises

16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb:
20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. (Romans 4)

Those who follow God will find themselves calling forth things which are not as if they were right before them. They will repeat the words God gives them, speaking them into the darkness. They will act in complete belief in the words of God. Creation will respond, and reality will conform to the Word.

Don't stagger at God's promises. Embrace them. Lean against them. God is able to perform all that he promises.

It doesn't matter how different reality may seem from what he promises. He is truthful, he is worthy of all belief.



Friday, October 26, 2018

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The strait and narrow path

This is an expansion of this post.

And it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings he said unto his disciples: Enter ye in at the strait gate; for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad the way which leads to death, and many there be that travel therein, until the night cometh, wherein no man can work. (3 Nephi 27:33).

What is the strait and narrow path?

Since the fall of Adam, our default position is one of separation from God:
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3)
To believe in a scriptural sense means to trust in, adhere to, and obey without reservation or exception.

To become and remain connected to him requires persistent effort. Trusting him requires realizing that we are very different than he is, more than we can comprehend. To adhere to him and obey means that we must assume we are wrong about a great many things, and we ought to expect him to correct us. We ought to seek correction.
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
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)
To the extent that we seek and obey him, he will send the fruits of the light and truth we accept into our lives. However, the presence of fruit does not prove that there are no higher fruits available. To all who will submit to his purging, he offers higher blessings.

These stronger fruits will come the same way the first came, through obtaining and living his word--new words, higher words. Words that extend beyond or replace what we know. Staying on the path, or continual progress towards God, requires continuous change. We stay on the strait and narrow path by accepting new truth that is offered to us. The path is not a destination. It is process.

...the word of God...divide[s] asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead[s] the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked— (Helaman 3:29)
The process is always the same: be open minded enough to believe something could be true, then try it and follow the fruits. You will receive new lessons, new words.

18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.
19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. (2 Nephi 31)

We do not stay on the path to God by staying the same. We must feast upon the word (or in other words, get more of it!) and endure to the end (or in other words, live according to what you have received without exception). Staying the same is to accept our present distance from God, forever. Those who turn away from God's pruning step off of the strait and narrow way. Their detour may be temporary or permanent. They re-enter the path the same way they stayed on it--by obtaining and obeying new truth.

We are accountable for ALL truth, from ALL people. All putative truth must be tested. All new truth will be different, although all different ideas are not necessarily true. One can comprehend truths that lie below their understanding, but they cannot tell out of hand whether putative truths higher than they possess are true or not. That which is different should never be dismissed out of hand.

And how does God send us new truth? It might be through direct revelation. In many cases, it is through another person.

The description provided of the one mighty and strong indicates that those who will not accept the words God delivers through him will be cut off from among the people:

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. (3 Nephi 21:11)
It would seem that those living in the last days would be pressed to find a more worthy focus of their attention than finding out who this person is and isn't, so that they don't miss the boat.

Well, it turns out that the truth paints a slightly different and very important picture.

Rather than use this scripture as an argument in favor of outsourcing your relationship with God, this scripture is a wonderful statement of the importance of being open to putative truth.

It turns out that whenever God delivers his word, directly or through another person, those who reject that message will be cut off from the Lord. This is why Nephi was told "Inasmuch as they will not hearken unto thy words they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And behold, they were cut off from his presence." (2 Nephi 5:27) Inasmuch as your words are his words, the same will be true of you or anyone else. This is why Samuel the Lamanite could say this: "Therefore repent ye, repent ye, lest by knowing these things and not doing them ye shall suffer yourselves to come under condemnation, and ye are brought down unto this second death." (Helaman 14:19)

Oh how important it is to obtain and heed God's word, whatever the source.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

By small and simple things...

God is good. Some people believe this. Some people experience it.

Why do some people only believe it, and not experience it? Why are their interactions with his goodness so few and far between?

God shines his light in your life to the extent that you allow him to. Most people do not allow him to.

How do we block ourselves?

We are closed to correction.
https://upwardthought.blogspot.com/2018/08/seeking-correction.html

Enough cannot be said on this topic. So few people use this tool to the extent they could.

We can't just meander through our best idea of what life should be and expect to encounter the full measure of God's intended blessings. We are fallen creatures, and we are far from God in wisdom, desires, and knowledge. If we do not seek correction from every source available to us, we are in some ways cutting ourselves off from a measure of greater blessings in our lives.

We don't introspectively connect our pain to opportunities for self improvement.
Every time you experience pain or disappointment, do you feel sorry for yourself, or do you see it as an invitation to improve your understanding of yourself and the world? Do you ask yourself "why didn't my desired outcome occur here?" Do you consider what you could do to make it better in the future, or do you blame things and people outside of your control? Do you conform your expectations to more accurate revelations of reality, or do you insist on maintaining your ideologies even after they have been proven wrong? [Sidenote: This is a massive problem in modern society, and in my opinion will be the reason for its collapse. We want things to be how we want them to be, without regard to the constraints of reality. Simply put, we love our lies.]

Some pain is necessary and unavoidable in this life, but the vast majority of what we experience is not necessary or even useful. Mistakes are necessary for learning, but if you are perceptive, you can let other people do the mistaking. You can learn from others' mistakes. If you are not perceptive, you have to learn from your own mistakes. If you are humble (that is, teachable), you will never make the same mistake twice.

We are too busy.
The Lord said: "Seek not to be cumbered." (D&C 66:10) Are you encumbered?

Do you have every moment of your day scheduled out? Do you put first things first? Do you have a dedicated window of time for God each day? I give God the first chunk of my day, every day. It has made all the difference in my life. I wake up a few hours before everyone else in my house, and I spend the time working on my mind, body, and spirit. I refuse to think about anything temporal, except the rare case where that is what God directs me to do. Every single day I learn more about him, no matter what else happens during the day.

I've structured my life so that throughout the day, any time I get an impression from God I can, not much time later, take the time to follow it to its end. I take notes. I look things up. I think. I pray.

Some of these changes can be made instantly, some take time and deliberation. You can immediately start waking up (and going to bed) earlier. You can immediately reduce activities you do through the day that do not mean much. You can immediately work on focusing more at work to free up the part of your work day you spend on Facebook or otherwise wasting time. You can limit the number of extracurricular activities you drive your kids to. Etc.

We are too closed minded.
We can be closed minded in big ways, such as turning away from what we know God wants, but I think the more subtle tragedy is when we miss the small things that end up being big things. These things are almost imperceptible.

The blessings of eternity turn on surprisingly small hinges:

6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
7 And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls. (Alma 37)
I have watched as people pray for blessings that are righteous requests. God then sends a small test or a small decision to them to take them to where they have requested to go. Then, flatly, the person fails the test or refuses to make the right decision, and they accuse God of not listening to their prayer, and question their faith.

When the Spirit is upon me and I look back at my life, I am absolutely amazed at the plentitude of experiences where massive outcomes followed from small imperceptible decisions. By exercising a wide open mind, I consider actions that seem unusual or extreme. I am open to pretty much anything. Sometimes this leads to false positives, experiences that would have been better not to have, but most of the time the experiences make all the difference, and even when they are not expedient, it becomes very obvious very early, and not much harm is done.

One problem we have is that we live in a culture of Twitter and fast food. If you can't bring about what someone wants or convince them of their error in 250 characters, 2 minutes, or less, they aren't interested. I see this happen a lot with the typical lack of response to what I write. Few people search out what is written here, and some won't even read links provided in response to explicit questions. It is very sad.

We want immediate, obvious, easy results. God sometimes works like that, but those who limit his gifts to those will be leaving so much more on the table.


Monday, October 15, 2018

Isaiah 3 part 2: The problem with the women

Isaiah 3 and 4 provide a prophecy of a then-future people who would be so sinful as to trigger end times desolation. Let's study this chapter and see what modern characteristics, if any, might match his description, in the hopes that we can address these deficiencies in our personal lives, even if we can't turn the course of society as a whole.

In part one of this series, we will look at the failings of women as described by God through Isaiah. I have highlighted the verses that appear to be speaking of women specifically.

1 For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water.

2 The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient,

3 The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.

4 And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.

5 And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.

6 When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand:

7 In that day shall he swear, saying, I will not be an healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing: make me not a ruler of the people.

8 For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory.

9 The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.

10 Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.

11 Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.

12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

13 The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.

14 The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses.

15 What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts.

16 Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:

17 Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.

18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,

19 The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,

20 The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,

21 The rings, and nose jewels,

22 The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,

23 The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.

24 And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.

25 Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.

26 And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.

The shift

Babylon is a unique system in contrast to the systems in place throughout history. We in Babylon live in a system vastly different than those seen in the millennia before us. A unique mix of advanced technology, cheap oil, and a militarily-enforced strong first-world currency has allowed a severe perversion of our ideas of what is right, wrong, normal, and abnormal.

This new pattern has emerged since the industrial revolution. Subsistence farming--an institution whose needs and experiences provide reinforcement of the traditional family--first lost market share to factory work. Factory work provided a way for women to earn money despite not having the skills men did. Factory work did not require male physical strength, and provided a mechanism for women to earn money without relying on a husband.

During WWII, the shortage of working age men caused the service economy to open its doors to increasing numbers of women. Here, as in factory work, qualities unique to men did not provide an economic advantage. However, service work provided much higher pay than factory work, fostering a sense of independence in working women, as factory work paid so little that it required women to live in collective housing, usually provided by the factory, or with a working husband. Now women could support a life independent of roomates, subsidized housing, or a working husband. Service work also provided a sense of power that factory work did not provide, as women in managerial service positions were able to supervise other workers and make administrative decisions while wearing more sophisticated outfits than factory overalls.

Today, the economy is largely an illusion. Fueled by cheap oil, the illusion allows the majority of people to work in "information" jobs. Only 1 in 150 Americans today are farmers. Meanwhile, the husband has been replaced by the government, with welfare and divorce law paying the bills of women and their children absent a father. This situation is not sustainable, and eventually there will be a sharp adjustment back to the sustainment farming lifestyle practiced for all of human history until the advent of cheap oil.

The Babylonian Illusion

Here in Babylon, we constantly hear the cry of women who believe they have been oppressed. They clamor for what they call equality. Those from a restoration tradition rejoice in the coming of Zion, for they expect their version of equality to exist there.

My personal belief is that the number one cause of our societies' deviation from Zion is a corrupt understanding of womanhood.

A female friend of mine wrote: "If we think tyranny has been dark and difficult to bear under the rule and reign of men, it will be inexpressibly worse under the rule of evil women. When women turn to the dark side all creation suffers, mourns, and cries out for release."

Men (and women) are deprived of their mothers in modern culture: they are outsourced for schooling, outsourced for play, outsourced for feeding, outsourced for nearly everything. Thus, without question the greatest impact a woman can have is traded for a mess of porridge.

As adults, the greatest consequence of modern culture is the well-being of the woman: She is woefully miserable. The second greatest consequence is to the man: he gets an incredibly bad deal.

More and more men are opting out of the system, preferring to jump from the ship rather than sink with it. If left on track, this path we are on will continue to increase the amount of suffering endured in society until a crescendo of collapse occurs.

To women: Buying these lies has caused misery to you and pushed society to the brink of destruction. Society as a whole is most likely irreparably damaged. Whether it can recover without first collapsing remains to be seen, but you can recover, and you can impart more successful culture to your sons and daughters. While God will provide the events that will correct the system, those who are wise can fix themselves and rise above the suffering.

Let's investigate a few of the lies Babylon teaches us about women.

LIE: WOMEN ARE THE SAME AS MEN
TRUTH: WOMEN AND MEN ARE DIFFERENT IN COMPLEMENTARY WAYS

At its core, feminism (at best) is the idea that men and women are equal.

Men and women are not equal. There was never a time in history where men and women have been equal. Even today, when the Babylonian illusion economy has blurred the capacity limitations of each gender, there still persist undeniable albeit muted differences.

One obvious domain that displays the gender difference is sports. Which sports are co-ed? Hardly any. Why? Because women cannot compete against men in most physical feats. While it is true that there are some women with atypical physical strength who can best a man in physical tasks, that advantage disappears when they are compared to males who are as exceptional compared to other males as they are compared to other females. Put simply, the fastest 10% of women runners are faster than the average male, but quite slow compared to the fastest 10% of men. It's simple genetics.

The differences do not end with external physical traits. Internal traits (emotional behaviors) are also vastly different. Increasingly, some people argue that these internal traits are merely the outcome of training. This overlooks the fact that many (perhaps most) internal traits are as unchangeable and potentially physiological as external physical traits. No amount of training can make an elite female runner run faster than an elite male runner, or an elite female lifter stronger than an elite male lifter. Similarly, women will always, for example, make decisions based on feelings rather than logic.

The intelligence of men and women is distributed differently. Women tend to be closer to the same IQ than men. Smart men tend to be smarter than smart women, and stupid men tend to be dumber than stupid women.

Men and women are different when it comes to production, even in a service/information economy. Testosterone creates drive and aggression, which translates into professional performance. Because of this, a graph of production for the whole population would be a Pareto distribution, and you would find far more men at the right side than women.

Sex-based strengths and weaknesses are fundamental. They will not change--not through legislation, not through philosophizing, and not through wishing.

Feminists suggest that the only alternative to gender equality is monogender superiority--the idea that either men or women are superior. Contradictorily, many feminists actually embrace the idea of female superiority, manifested by their assertion that females are capable of everything men are capable of while also possessing unique capacities that men do not possess. This belief is both patently false and toxic to the happiness and health of both sexes.

Gender differences are not a bad thing. They are to be celebrated.

Men and women are complementary. Both have strengths and both have weaknesses, and each category has little to no overlap. Where women are strong, men are weak. Where men are strong, women are weak. Anyone who thinks men are better than women will fail to leverage the strengths of women in their relationships. Anyone who thinks women are better than men will fail to leverage the strengths of men in their relationships.

Unfortunately, it seems like only the masculine advantages are subdued. I have yet to hear any clamor about the unfairness of men not bearing babies. I haven't heard it even once. We all seem to accept (and men probably rejoice) that it is only women who can have babies. I haven't heard any complaints about how most women are naturally more nurturing than most men. It is celebrated in our culture, and readily recognized. When you are in a store and there is a crying baby, you will never hear the women say, "where is his dad?" Even the most "progressive" ideologue will instinctively say, "where is his mother?!"

Everything in Babylon is designed to cause sorrow and to crumble to the dust at the worst possible moment. Those who believe that men and women are equal will be sorely and repeatedly disappointed in their interactions with the opposite sex.

LIE: ALL WOMEN ARE BEAUTIFUL, FOREVER
TRUTH: SOME WOMEN ARE BEAUTIFUL FOR A FEW YEARS.
It will come across as some wacko propaganda, but did you know that women peak physically at age 16?

It is interesting that, on the one hand, modern society has made it taboo for a man to marry a 16 year old or so woman, suggesting it is inappropriate to find a 16 year old or so woman attractive, while simultaneously designing all manner of makeup products and fine-twined linen to make women older than this look as similar as possible to 16 year old or so women. [I use the word woman because historically people used to base a woman's physical maturity on--you know, her physical maturity, instead of on an arbitrary age.]

After peaking physically at 16 or so, a woman's physique will slowly decay until around 30, where it fades fast. This is not an opinion statement. Women's hormones change significantly at this time, which is why there are physical changes: they are much more likely to have children with birth defects, they accumulate additional fat deposits, their rears and breasts change, etc. These changes make women significantly less attractive to men. Again, not an opinion statement, as women under 30 were rated far more attractive in research summarizing dating website preferences.

These differences are significant when contrasted to men. Men peak some 5 to 10 years later than women. Men also stay in their peak for around 15 years, but fade much slower than women. (This is not my opinion, but the conclusion of a study of internet dating sites).

Some people will moan and complain at these facts, as if we can define nature by our sentiments. Yet, these same people probably have no problem with the fact that short men are rated as far less attractive by women than their taller peers.

You can either protest facts, or change your life to accord with them. In this case, these ideas ought to cause women to be more urgent in their search for a man. They ought to cause women to be more aware of the fact that as they age, they should be more grateful to husbands who love them anyway (imagine how most women would react to a husband who earned less money every year over 30). If they don't exert a moderate effort to watch what they eat and exercise, maybe they should. Of course, these things don't happen.

Why? Maybe it is because they have an unbroken chain of people telling them that everything is beautiful. Beauty is not a common attribute. It is a statistical descriptor. Just as the word "wealthy" means "having more money than most people", "beautiful" means being better looking than most people. By definition, then, most women are not beautiful. Nor are most men attractive. These are facts. Scientifically speaking, beauty is distributed on the bell curve. According to author Steve Jeffes, 2% of the population are "Very Unattractive",  15% are "Unattractive", 10% are "Slightly Below Average", 46% are "Average", 10% are "Slightly Above Average", 15% are "Attractive", and only 2% are "Beautiful". According to Jeffes' numbers, a whopping 73% of women are not attractive.

When you add in the age factor, you'll find that most women under 25 are considered attractive by men, and almost all over 30 are not.

What is the point of all of this? Remember that the point of Babylon is to sell you lies that make you miserable. If you believe the lie that a women's worth is primarily dependent upon her looks, you are guaranteed to be miserable, because every woman will reach a point where she will fall short on this measure, and no amount of makeup or clothing or excessive exercise or plastic surgery will fill that hole.

LIE: WOMEN ARE CLOSER TO GOD
TRUTH: WOMEN HAVE ISSUES AT LEAST AS SERIOUS AS MEN, AND JUST LIKE MEN, THEY WILL NOT GET TO HEAVEN WITHOUT REPENTING

This problem is odd in that, while a Babylonian lie, it gets a lot of press in some churches.

Women tend to emotionally attack their husbands, tend to gossip, and tend to judge others. They can be relentless and vicious in these behaviors. For some reason, these things are minimized or never mentioned at all. Yet, they are just as sinful as anything men do, and perhaps more damaging given the importance of a woman's role and how these behaviors directly detract from them.

I want to spend a bit of text focusing on the problem of emotional attacks. Women don't seem to realize that emotional abuse is just as damaging, according to brain scans, as physical abuse. When you go off on your husband once, realize that his choosing to stay with you is as angelic and/or foolish as it would be for you to stay with him if he beat you once. Now, think about how often you may have done it, and consider whether you appreciate him and what he does for you nearly enough.

Not surprisingly, it seems that at least part of the problem here is the focus we put on women's looks. Think about it. Until they are 30 years old, the only thing a woman has to do to have value in Babylon is prevent herself from eating too much. During the same time, a man is taught in no uncertain terms that he has to produce ($$) and he has to become (character). By the time he is 30, any man who is not a complete loser is well honed in both the ability to earn and his character principles. What has a woman been taught in that same time? While a man has been taught that he can increase his value through hard work on himself and on his world, a woman is learning that the way she holds onto the looks she was gifted by birth is through deception (makeup, clothing, etc.). In the meantime, society has given her a pass on anything inside.

By the time a woman turns 30, she should have spent more than a decade working on her individual character flaws. She should be able to control her emotional storms, or at least recognize the damage they cause and deeply appreciate those who endure them.

LIE: CHILDREN ARE A HASSLE
TRUTH: CHILDREN ARE CRITICAL TO A WOMAN'S HAPPINESS

Many women today do not want children. In fact, the majority of the hundred or so first dates I ever went on, the woman revealed to me that they were not interested in having kids. Instead, they wanted to go to college, work, and travel. Women are having so few children in the first world (US, Canada, Europe, and Russia) that the birthrate is negative for the first time in human history. For these folks, there is no benefit to having children.

Women are imprinted by modern society to find no fulfillment in child bearing. The trend is accelerating, because traditional mothers are simultaneously shamed and silenced. They are shamed by their working peers as being lesser than them, and they are silenced through not being allowed to speak of the fulfillment of their decision by those who have chosen not to be mothers under the guise of infertility insensitivity.

The cover story of the modern woman is that these progressive ideals have provided women worth outside of wifedom and motherhood, trading pennies for gold. In reality, the modern system has coaxed women into prostituting themselves out of the only things that can bring them joy, and provided only counterfeit currency in exchange. In short, they have sold themselves for a mess of potage.

The truth is that a woman's happiness in life is dependent in large part upon her being a mother. Of course, it gets more complicated than this, because women who are trained in Babylonian hedonism will find motherhood miserable, which is a great segway to the next section.

LIE: EXCITEMENT IS THE IDEAL
TRUTH: SERVICE IS THE IDEAL

Consider this incredible article, which oddly both explains the outcome of modern womanhood and cause despite demonstrating a clear pro-modern womanhood point of view:

Expectations for a spouse are much higher than they used to be.
For most of Western history, marriage had little equality. Wives bore the brunt of child care and housework, depended on their husbands for financial support and enjoyed little social autonomy while men openly had affairs.
Fast-forward to the age of rom-coms, Valentine’s Day and a $50 billion wedding industry. It’s all based on finding, marrying and keeping “The One.”
“Today Americans want not only a spouse who is reliable and reasonable, but also someone who is their best friend, and a great lover, and someone who pays the bills … but is also really fun,” said Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld.
According to research that Rosenfeld presented at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting last week, these heightened expectations can leave women feeling worse off in marriage than men. In a survey of 2,262 adults in heterosexual partnerships over the course of five years, Rosenfeld found that women initiate divorces 69 percent of the time.
On the whole, they also reported less satisfaction with their marriages than men.
Scientists have known for decades that wives are usually the ones asking for a divorce. But Rosenfeld’s study also surveyed people in non-marital romantic relationships, from casual flings to couples who had lived together for several years; in those relationships, women and men initiated breakups at equal rates. So there’s something about marriage that makes it harder on women.
“The expectation is that marriage has a whole bunch of benefits and positive characteristics for women that it didn’t have in the past, but the truth is much trickier than that,” Rosenfeld said.
Though he stressed that most women surveyed were happy with their marriages, many of those who weren’t cited controlling husbands and a loss of independence as causes of discontent.
He also speculated that, although most men today espouse egalitarian values, many probably still harbor subconscious expectations of a wife’s traditional role in the household. This could explain why, after all these years, women still shoulder twice as many domestic responsibilities as men. (In contrast, studies have shown that couples who equally divide their child-care duties have better sex lives.)
Rosenfeld’s survey checked in with the same individuals every year for five years. In cases in which someone was married the first year of the study and divorced in the last, his team was able to gather details in the breakup’s immediate aftermath.
One woman, who was 23 when the study began in 2009, initially reported a “good” (4 out of 5 points on the satisfaction scale) relationship with her husband-to-be: “He is very clever, fun, and sweet. I respect him and feel like we are equals on values, intellect and humor.”
She noted, however, “It is not ‘excellent’ because I wish that he was more romantic. He’s very practical.”
Four years later, the couple got divorced. In early 2015, she said, “I used to be a very happy optimistic person and it was like he was slowly starving my soul.”
She realized that the relationship had become emotionally abusive and promptly filed for a divorce.
Rosenfeld said respondents’ stories had echoes of “The Feminine Mystique,” Betty Friedan’s feminist treatise about unhappiness among middle-class housewives. Instead, many of today’s disgruntled wives have full-time jobs — and hence no practical need for husbands who don’t make them happy.
So while the institution of marriage hasn’t completely shed its inequitable roots, women can afford to be a lot choosier.
(https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/soloish/wp/2015/08/27/why-women-are-more-likely-to-initiate-divorce/)

My goodness. Women dropping their faithful, dedicated husbands because they did not live up to romantic ideal of making them happy. Women equating practical behavior with soul starving emotional abuse. Why? Because real marriage is not a Disney fairytale--an emotional chaser that provides an even greater chemical high than singlehood. Instead, it is an opportunity (for both genders) to abase themselves for the benefit of the other. Modern women want to marry someone "reliable and reasonable, but also someone who is their best friend, and a great lover, and someone who pays the bills … but is also really fun"--someone who will never question them, never challenge them, and never have a bad day. The problem is that this person does not exist--whether he be a man or a woman--and if he did, being married to him or her would do absolutely nothing to improve you as a person. The other, potentially larger problem, is that modern female culture wants to hold two mutually exclusive positions. On the one hand, a modern woman wants to marry a man she perceives as better than her (hypergamy--an inviolable female trait across cultures and species for all of recorded history). On the other hand, she wants someone who will never question, challenge, or fail to focus on her (a very modern innovation spawned by the lie that women are as good as men in every aspect).

Young women are conditioned to treat relationships as a drug. Chasing an ever-greater high, they go from getting a little attention from men as they are developing to getting a lot of attention from men at their physical peak. Those whose value is defined by hedonistic activity can perpetuate the high beyond the peak age by indulging in excessive destructive behavior--alcohol abuse, random sexual encounters, many sexual partners, etc. These women seem to be unknowingly mortgaging their ability to find and value a stable relationship when they finally come to terms with their declining so-called sexual market value. They typically fail to adjust their view of what they deserve toward objective reality in time to intersect the shrinking pool of available men who are wise enough to provide for them, but unwise enough to realize they could do better.

Rather than seeking the next emotional high, a woman who sees and embraces reality will seek a stable, long-term marriage partner as early as she can. She will derive value from her husband's willingness and ability to have her lean on him, provide for her, and endure her storms. Her excitement is not about what she can get from men, but what she can give to her husband. It is not about how much time she can spend partying, but how much quality time she can invest in her kids (and later, grandkids).

LIE: MARRIAGE IS MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL FOR EACH
TRUTH: MARRIAGE IS A NET LOSS FOR A MAN

Modern women are "haughty" or high-minded. They are completely out of touch with reality when it comes to what they have to offer and their perceptions of what they receive from men. Consider, for example, that 80% of men are rated as less than average by women on social media. Anything over 50% means that women either over-value themselves, under-value men, or both. Consider, for example, that there are many women of all shapes, sizes, ages, and personalities that believe they deserve a 6-ft tall, washboard abs, 6-figure salary man (which, incidentally, refers to far less than 20% of the male population). When asked what they bring to the table, they reply, "ME," as if their value is intrinsic while a male's is objective.

What seems to be non-obvious to modern women is that she expects to marry a man for what she can get from him, but expects that man to be concerned only with what he can give to her. And, not surprisingly, this is about all a modern man gets out of marriage. It is a tremendously risky bargain for the man: 75% of marriages will end in divorce, the majority of which are initiated by the woman, and the majority of the time the man will be saddled with a disproportionate financial burden.

What does he get in exchange for this? Modern women wait until around 30 to marry. A woman reaches maturity at about 16. At 30, she is past her prime. By this age, modern women have been steeped in training that almost certainly dooms their marriage to misery and failure. They have enjoyed many sexual partners, which has been shown to significantly increase probability of failure of marriage. They have spent a good deal of time and money in self-centered hedonism, which is antithetical to marriage and family. They have spent their entire formative period in situations where the need for character improvement was masked by the incessant chase of male suitors. Now, what she offered them is permanently gone. What does she offer her husband? Perhaps a year of her diminishing body, until late-age pregnancy permanently destroys it. Perhaps a year of her youthful lifestyle, until children permanently end it. Perhaps a few years of marriage, until the staggering odds of her cheating on and/or divorcing him take effect and he is left paying her bills for the rest of his life. Even if they make it through all of that, here comes menopause and the emotional rollercoaster that brings.

What does the woman get? She got to spend the 10-15 year span of her prime having guys chase her and bed her. Now, marrying around 30, she gets all the financial and emotional security of marriage. Every year, as what she brings to the table declines, what he has to pay to keep her increases.

This was never a secret historically. This is why a woman's value was tied to how many (male) children she could bare a man and why a woman's parents paid a man to marry their daughter. It was plainly recognized that a man's cost to marry was much higher than a female's, and that the cost would only be recouped once she had borne him sufficient sons to provide in free labor on the farm what she took from his table and time.

Marriage is a net loss to men. It always has been, and it is more of a loss today than ever before.

The Fruits of Babylonian Female Culture

Some modern innovations have made it far easier to complete the home-based tasks traditionally accomplished by women. To get a sense of this, let's discuss clothes washing. First, imagine the quantity of clothes to wash if you had 8 or so kids, which was a necessity in a subsistence farming culture. Now, realize that you would need to pump water or walk to a river. Now, consider that you have to wash these clothes by hand, which includes churning them by hand for a long time, then wringing them out, then hanging them to dry, then collecting them. We could do the same for heating with wood, teaching children at home, cooking with wood, preparing and storing food without electricity, cleaning without machines, etc. Realize that modern housekeeping takes something like 1% of what it did throughout history, and much less than 50% of what it did in recent history before vacuum cleaners, microwaves, refrigerators, and public schools.

So with all this extra time, modern women surely have more kids and better/more experiences with them, right? Nope.

Women have swapped the option of having and raising children for the requirement to have a full-time career. It was a bad deal if you ask me. After the tax and daycare costs, how much do modern women actually make? In most cases, a very modest increment. Is this worth the loss of home cooked meals and extra time with children after public school gets out, to say nothing of the economic contributions of home production and the widespread benefits of home schooling?

Since 1972, a national annual survey has asked men and women: "How happy are you, on a scale of 1 to 3, with 3 being very happy, and 1 being not too happy?" Women have grown progressively less happy since 1972, both in comparison to their 1972 counterparts, and to their male counterparts.

The Rough Reset

During my decade in the Army, I had plenty of opportunity to go into the wilderness. In times such as these, when Babylon's broadcast is muted, you see the differences between men and women come out in force.

When a man is tossed out into the wilderness, he is physically and psychologically equipped to reroute his Babylonian energy into resourcefulness. There just isn't much adjustment to be made. You take a guy into the woods for a day, a week, or two weeks, and for the most part as long as he has something to eat (nothing fancy) and can stay relatively warm, he'll be the same guy on the last day of the trip as he was on day one.

Now, take a woman into the woods for the same amount of time, and see what happens. From the first moment, the illusions of Babylon melt away. She is left in dismay as she battles the training Babylon has given that her worth is a factor of what she looks like and the technology-enhanced illusion that she can produce similarly to a man. She has no access to all the things that make her look young and beautiful, and quickly loses the ability to be clean or smell nice. She struggles to sleep outside of the artificial environment of modern living. She is almost constantly confronted with the fact that, outside the narrow realms of service economy, the men can do much more, faster than she can. She has no social media network to provide a constant stream of shallow platitudes from other women. She cannot create a filtered online version of herself absent the dirty realities of physical life. She is fully exposed to the monthly physical separation and demobilization caused by menstruation, which can't be hidden without modern means.

In a primitive situation, a woman's cost far exceeds her contribution. In that situation, a woman's physical and emotional needs far exceed a man's, but their contribution is far less than a man's.

That primitive level of existence is not normal, even historically. People typically have homes, children, and farm plots. However, during the desolation to come, and while the dust settles (a combined period that will most likely occupy more than one generation), the needle will go too far the other way from where we are now before it stabilizes somewhere in the middle, where the historic balance between men and women is restored. First there will be a tremendous humiliation of women, where only godly men value them, and then only because God says to.

Restoring the Glory of Womanhood

The scriptures abound in the instruction that those who abase themselves will be exalted, while those who do not will be forcefully abased, and receive nothing but sorrow in return. There is no reason to wait for the desolation to forcibly reset what about women we value (including what women value about themselves).

What can a woman do to prepare for this scenario? They can accentuate the attributes that will be of most worth in this situation:


  • Humility. Humility is practiced in two ways: First, by the realization of our limitations, and second, in asking for help on those things. Do you realize your own limitations? Do you rejoice when they are revealed, or do you flee from them in willful ignorance? Do you rejoice in how your husband can fill in what you lack, or do you resent him for it and act in enmity towards him? How much do you appreciate him? How do you show that? Do you focus on his needs, or are your actions towards him more about making yourself feel good about yourself?
  • Ability to support. A wife's traditional role is to support. This will be exceptionally useful in a primitive situation. Men do not like to be nagged. They don't like extra stress on top of the external-to-the-family situations they must deal with. This will be exacerbated in a primitive situation. There will be plenty to worry about and plenty to complain about. A man has a natural tendency to want to stay alive, which can either be accentuated with your constant support, or quickly abandoned in your negativity. If your man loses his will to live, you lose your odds of surviving. Being positive and supportive will pay dividends in your family's well being by empowering your husband to continue to do what only he can do to keep you alive.
  • Ability to control emotions. There will be plenty of emotional triggers in a primitive situation. If you are quick to become emotionally-controlled, you will be a substantial liability to your husband and children. On the other hand, if you have mastered the ability to control your emotions, you will be a real resource to your family.
  • Ability to accomplish repetitive, non-physical, menial tasks with a positive attitude. Are you able to perform repetitive tasks for the greater part of the day on a daily basis? Men will not have time for spinning wool, grinding wheat with a rock, tanning hides, preserving meat, mending clothing, or stoking fires. They will be doing things that only they can do: hunting, chopping wood, scouting, packing loads, building shelters.
  • Ability to care for children and keep them well-behaved and positively oriented. Men will not have time to care for children. They will be too busy doing tasks women can't do and where children cannot accompany them. Are you good at getting kids to eat plain, repetitive food? Are you good at keeping children quiet? Are you good at keeping kids calm when they are scared?




Modern society is not preparing women for this role. If anything, it is doing anything possible to ill-prepare them for this role. Social media, instant gratification, illusory workplace roles, day care, public schools, self-worth from physical appearance--all of these things create women who are poor suited for primitive situations.

Modern history has consisted of society measuring the worth of women by how well they can perpetually look like an 18 year old while doing all the things that men do. This is only possible in a Babylonian service economy. Go to a farm, or better yet, out in the woods, and see it all melt away. While I'm not necessarily recommending dressing in burlap and throwing out your makeup to live in a tent for a year, I'm not saying you shouldn't do that, either. Psychological preparation is the second most important preparation we can make for the desolation (spiritual preparation is the first). You would be surprised to learn how helpful even brief simulations can be to preparing yourself mentally for hard things. If you don't know what it is like to not wear makeup, and what that will do to you psychologically, why not try it for a week? If you don't know what it is like to not wear nice clothing, why not try it for a week? If you don't know what it is like to live in a tent without any modern equipment, eating nothing but wheat, why not try it for a week?

We will live to see the prophecies of Isaiah in regards to women fulfilled. While it is described as a punishment, it doesn't need to be lived as one. It ought to be seen as a correction to--or even a restoration of--what is true.

Women age, and can still have tremendous worth. Women can be desirable without Babylonian clothing and makeup. Women can have worth without being men, and in fact it is their differences from men that give them value. Men do not value a copy of themselves, and women do not value a copy of themselves. It is our complementary nature that is desirable. In a primitive situation, women perform very poorly when evaluated in their ability to be men. They do not have equal strength, and they are limited in those tasks most of their adult lives by menstruation, pregnancy, and nursing. That is not a handicap or an accident. It is a mission of beauty and worth, not a shameful thing to minimize or pretend it doesn't exist.

So many problems in the world today will be instantly rectified when women (by force, unfortunately) reclaim their historic place in the world, or, as Isaiah put it "when my Lord has washed away the excrement of the women of Zion" (Isaiah 4:2). Men and women ought to stop hyperfocusing on women's physical beauty. All flesh is as the grass. It flowers, then withers. Even beautiful women are not beautiful for more than a few brief years. A woman's worth is not confined to how much she can artificially prolong looking like an 18 year old through skillful use of excessive exercise/diet/makeup/botox/plastic surgery/fine-twined linen. Men ought to seek after and treasure godly traits in women, and women ought to focus on acquiring those godly traits. Both of these ideals are sorely lacking in our Babylonian culture. Women ought to adjust to the lack of the finer things in life, learn how to function in primitive situations, and how to find joy in and excel in the roles of wife and mother.

Women can no better find happiness in the modern system than men can find true emotional connection in a prostitute. Babylon is a whore, and she attracts far more female clients than male ones.

Conclusion

Modern culture lays a film over the otherwise obvious limitations of femininity. As recently at 70 years ago, every member of society recognized that a) a woman's odds of finding a good husband decreased with every year after physical maturity, b) a woman's physical maturity occurs around 16, c) a woman was not capable of providing the necessities of life for children, d) marriage is a net loss for men, e) the worth of a woman was very much a function of her ability to bear/raise children and keep the house, and f) a woman's nature is fundamentally emotional. While a common understanding of these realities did not ensure quality men or women, it did make two things more likely: First, that a woman would have an accurate understanding of her own cost/benefit as well as the cost/benefit of stable marriage, and second, that a man would have an accurate understanding of his purpose/responsibility as well as the cost/benefit of marrying.



Modern culture systematically strips a woman's worth down to a) how closely she resembles a 16 year old, and b) how much money she makes. This revolution is a tragedy, and has been shown to be responsible for a steadily declining happiness rate among women over the time period it has occurred. Meanwhile, the assault on traditional culture has proved a fulfilling prophecy on men: the practice of telling men they are not needed and interchangeable with women has raised at least two generations of men that are, in fact, nearly worthless. Because they don't realize their purpose and responsibility, they do not know or bother to rise up to it. This negative feedback loop is causing even more misery among women, who try to compensate by putting more effort into resembling a 16 year old and making money. It isn't working. It is a train wreck.

We will all shortly find ourselves in a situation where we are forced to reset to historical norms in how we meet the necessities of life. The only question is how we will react to that adjustment. There will be a time of rebalance, but those who have prepared themselves will adjust more readily.

32 A king shall reign in righteousness
and rulers rule with justice.
2 And a man shall become as a shelter
from the wind or refuge from the storm, like brooks of water in a desert place,
or the shade of a large rock in arid country.
3 The eyes of those who see shall not be shut, and the ears of those who hear shall listen.
4 The minds of the rash shall learn understanding,
and the tongues of the stammerers master eloquence.
5 The godless shall no longer be regarded as noble
nor rogues considered respectable.
6 For the godless utter blasphemy; their heart ponders impiety:
how to practice hypocrisy and preach perverse things concerning Jehovah,
leaving the hungry soul empty, depriving the thirsty soul of drink.
7 And rogues scheme by malevolent means and insidious devices to ruin the poor,
and with false slogans and accusations to denounce the needy.
8 But the noble are of noble intent,
and stand up for what is virtuous.
9 Up, and listen to my voice, O complacent women; you careless daughters, hear my words!
10 In little more than a year
you shall be in anguish, O carefree ones,
for when the harvest is over,
the produce shall fail to arrive.
11 Be alarmed, you complacent women; be perturbed, O careless daughters!
Strip yourselves bare;
put sackcloth around your waists.
12 Beat your breasts for the choice fields and flourishing vines,
13 for my people’s land
shall be overgrown with briars and thorns.
Mourn for all the amusement houses in the city of entertainment,
14 for the palaces shall lie abandoned, the clamorous towns deserted.
High rises and panoramic resorts shall become haunts for ever after,
the playground of wild animals, a browsing place for flocks.
19 For by a hail shall forests be felled, cities utterly leveled.
15 Then shall a Spirit from on high
be poured out on us;
the desert shall become productive land
and lands now productive be reckoned as brushwood.
16 So shall justice inhabit the desert,
and righteousness abide in the farmland.
17 And the effect of justice shall be peace, and the result of righteousness
an assured calm forever.
18 My people shall dwell in peaceful settlements,
in safe neighborhoods, in comfortable dwellings.
20 Blessed are you, who shall then sow by all waters, letting oxen and asses range free.
(Isaiah 32)

9 But by this shall Jacob’s iniquity be expiated, as a result of this his sins removed:
when he makes like crushed chalkstone all altar stones,
leaving no idols of prosperity and shining images standing.
10 Because of them the fortified cities lie forlorn, deserted habitations, forsaken like a wilderness;
steers forage and recline there,
stripping bare the young branches of trees.
11 A harvest of twigs dries, broken off by women who come to light their fires with them.
They are not a discerning people.
Therefore their Maker shows them no mercy;
he who formed them favors them not.
(Isaiah 27)

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Update on Ugandan Orphanage

Hi all,
I got a newsletter from "The Future is Now" orphanage in Uganda. Started by an escaped former child soldier, the organization provides housing and education in the aftermath of a long, terrible civil war.

They have about 250 that they educate for free. They have sponsors for only 5 of those children. The money pays for teachers and uniforms for the kids. Interested sponsors can donate through paypal via the website, or email Denis (the director) at denistfin@gmail.com, call or WhatsApp us on +256 789 320 901.

They currently have space for about 50 orphans to stay in the orphanage complex. They are seeking funds to accommodate 200 more.

In addition to building costs, they are seeking monthly funding to feed these kids. Right now they are receiving just a few hundred dollars per month, and there isn't hardly enough food for the 50 kids they have at present, let alone the other 200 that have nowhere else to go.

If you have the ability and interest to help, please consider a monthly donation. Links to set one up are on paypal, and they are registered in the US as a tax deductible non-profit.

http://www.futureuganda.org/donate/

-Rob

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The glory of God: Persistent godly character in the midst of chaos

God knows things as they really are. He has a perfect character.

What do you think the glory of God is? It is maintenance of a perfect character despite an awareness of what is. God can endure the chaos that exists outside of the bubble of this mortal sphere. We cannot.

The gospel is a mechanism that will enable us to endure the chaos to the degree we submit to the process of getting there.

We live in a world of illusion. The spirit of God reveals things as they really are (see Jacob 4:13). As he reveals to us what he knows, we are subjected to what was previously unknown to us. The challenge is to grow in our capacity to persevere in obedience to God and trust in him amidst ever-increasing levels of chaos.

It is naive to assume that these mysteries are things that are delicious to the taste and very desirable--pleasing to the carnal flesh. Instead, when God reveals these things to us, they can be and tend to be awful. They tear us apart. Think about it. Think about the last time something surprised you in this life. Your dad died. Your wife left you. You got cancer. Your son died. Your business collapsed. Whatever. These things were real, and if you knew all things, like God does, they would have been ever present before you, long before they happened.

In a sense, these things don't *happen* to you, they are *revealed* to you. Many times, we contemplate the process of salvation as being refined--having things removed from you. This is good, but incomplete.

It isn't like the game "operation" where God takes some forceps and yanks some undesirable quality out of you. Instead, he exposes you to a measure of your ignorance of reality through revealing things as they really are. You then get to choose: Do I ignore this tidbit, do I let it fester, or do I fix it by changing my understanding of myself and the world? Most people flee from it, choosing to ignore the tidbit. Others let it fester, which typically results in their throwing out every piece of previously comfortable truth associated with it along the way. Some very few will consistently rejoice in the correction, opting to grow closer to God by embracing more of what it is he knows and becoming more of how he is.

The fires of chaos constantly surround God. As Joseph Smith said, "God Almighty Himself dwells in eternal fire; flesh and blood cannot go there, for all corruption is devoured by the fire."The truth is, the fires of chaos will surround anyone who subjects themselves to them, and that the reason you don't is that you would be destroyed. Seeking the fires of chaos is the same concept as hungering and thirsting after righteousness. It is a quest to acquire more light and truth, assimilate it, and dispense it. This is the gospel. Going back to Joseph, "flesh and bones quickened by the Spirit of God" *can* endure that fire. What does it mean to be quickened by the Spirit of God? To be endowed with a greater knowledge of things as they really are.

Have you ever wondered why both the presence of God and the pains of hell are described as fire? They are the same fire. The difference is merely the condition of those who abide in it. Those in hell are exposed to the same chaos as God dwells in, but because they did not acquire the requisite knowledge of dealing with it, they suffer, while God emanates glory. Consider these two quotes in light of the idea of God possessing the capacity to endure the chaos, and the gospel as a mechanism of helping us learn to do the same:

"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)

"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)
Hell is not some arbitrary punishment. It is the experience of enduring a realization of reality beyond the degree that you can endure. The happiness of heaven is not some arbitrary reward. It is to possess the capability to endure reality.

The Lord Jesus said that he will save the righteous, even by fire.

14 And every nation which shall war against thee, O house of Israel, shall be turned one against another, and they shall fall into the pit which they digged to ensnare the people of the Lord. And all that fight against Zion shall be destroyed, and that great whore, who hath perverted the right ways of the Lord, yea, that great and abominable church, shall tumble to the dust and great shall be the fall of it.
15 For behold, saith the prophet, the time cometh speedily that Satan shall have no more power over the hearts of the children of men; for the day soon cometh that all the proud and they who do wickedly shall be as stubble; and the day cometh that they must be burned.
16 For the time soon cometh that the fulness of the wrath of God shall be poured out upon all the children of men; for he will not suffer that the wicked shall destroy the righteous.
17 Wherefore, he will preserve the righteous by his power, even if it so be that the fulness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even unto the destruction of their enemies by fire. Wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for thus saith the prophet, they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire.
18 Behold, my brethren, I say unto you, that these things must shortly come; yea, even blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke must come; and it must needs be upon the face of this earth; and it cometh unto men according to the flesh if it so be that they will harden their hearts against the Holy One of Israel. (1 Nephi 22)

For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy; and he will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire. (2 Nephi 30:10)
How do you think he will save the righteous, even by fire? Do you think he will magically remove you from a situation while he subjects everyone else to it? Or, like the friends of Daniel, will he put you right into the hottest part of the fire? He is going to shake you just as much as everything else here--perhaps even more, because those who cannot take it (like the guards who were consumed in the act of placing Daniel's friends in the furnace) will fall apart and quit before they get through the fire.

Struggles? Pain? Problems? These are not punishments for those who love God and obey him. All things work together for the good of those who love God. These are not punishments, they are gifts. If you love and obey God, these things are given because God trusts you and knows you have the capacity to overcome them, to use them to expose the principles and understanding you lack. The suffering is for a moment, but the benefits last forever if you trust him and turn to him and learn what it is he is trying to teach you.

The time is coming when an awareness of the chaos will be universal. The true nature of this fallen world will be revealed. It is much, much worse than what you perceive now. God will kick out the crutches he has gracefully provided, and the world will see what man and nature are without an overflow of grace from God.

Why will he do this? To bless the righteous. As those that love God increase in light and truth, the wicked will increase in opposing them. Eventually, those that love God will live sufficient light and truth that the wicked will be driven to kill them. Many will die according to God's purposes, but some must be preserved. God will increase the level of chaos to a) allow further progress among the righteous until they achieve Zion and b) to preserve the righteous from the wicked.

As God exposes this earth to more and more of the chaos that he is currently shielding us from, like a baker folds eggs into dough, all the glory of the world will be shown to be worthless. Consider the following account from a sermon of Joseph Smith:

"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)

He said whatever is not by his power will collapse as he shakes this world. Whatever is not by him will be ground to powder.

And at my command the heavens are opened and are shut; and at my word the earth shall shake; and at my command the inhabitants thereof shall pass away, even so as by fire. (Ether 4:9)
13 And everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me or by my word, saith the Lord, shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God.
14 For whatsoever things remain are by me; and whatsoever things are not by me shall be shaken and destroyed. (D&C 132)

He is going to shake you. He is shaking you already. How is he going to strengthen you to stand in that fire? How are you going to outlast the shaking? You have to trust him, and you have to learn from him. You are going to be ripped apart. You think you know what it means to suffer, but you have no idea what it means. You think you know what it means to be lonely, but you have no idea what loneliness means. You think you know what unconditional love means, but you have no idea. Not yet. But you will learn all these things. You will be thrown into the fire, and he will be right there next to you. As you ponder his character, and how he not only endures but thrives in this chaos, you will realize how you can acquire or modify your principles to become more like him. You will learn to delight in the shaking, because you will learn that it is the only way to grow closer to God, and that it is the best way to help others.

Enduring the shaking does not mean learning not to feel. Pure love casts out all fear. It overcomes pain. Pain doesn't go away--it is more intense than ever--but it is swallowed up in the love of Christ. In the midst of the greatest suffering, you turn to those around you, who are suffering far less, and attend to their needs. This is exactly what the Lord Jesus did on the cross, when he concerned himself with the thief who hung with him, his mother who wept at his feet, and the soldiers who had put him there.

Conclusion

The Marines have a saying--everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die. I've heard "everyone wants to be a beast, until it's time to do what beasts do." Why are you running away from the battle? The battle is why you were born. It is why you are here. The battle calls you. Run to the sound of it. Don't try to escape from reality. Don't try to avoid pain. Embrace truth. Run towards it. Get excited about it. Pain is the revelation of a lack of understanding in you.

When you are consumed by love, you stand in the fire in peace. You can sleep on a boat in the midst of a terrible storm, as Jesus did. You can feel consummate joy while being stoned to death, as Stephen did. You can preach the gospel while being burned to death, as Abinadi did.

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.



Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Motive, Part 2

Part 2 of this post.

Have you ever pondered on unconditional love? Like all other truth, the principle is both progressive, meaning it has deeper and deeper meanings, and inaccessible at significantly deeper levels by those who are still grappling with a basic understanding of it.

When I consider those I know well enough to measure their possession of this quality fairly accurately, I lament that it is so rare.

Here is a thought. Why do people do what they do in life? For the vast majority of people, everything they do is motivated by profit. That profit might be monetary, or power-based, or ideology-based, or reward-after-this-life based. It is all about profit. No matter where you look on this earth, or what situation may be unfolding, you will find that the behavior of humans is describable by this one motive.

How widespread is the profit motive? I think the absence of it may be the rarest quality in the world. Even among Christians, who should know better, the vast majority are reward-after-this-life and/or ideology-conquest minded.

The profit motive can be boiled down to one simple question: What is in it for me?

Unconditional love does not ask that question. It simple asks, "what can I do for another?" There is no question of cost except in terms of capability. What you lose in the exchange is not part of the equation.

God's purpose is to bring to pass the eternal life of man. It isn't connected to his outcome. It is wholly selfless.

As long as you are profit motivated, you are subject to this world. You are subjected to other things, people, and beings. Only when you completely let go of that can you truly be free. When you lose yourself, you find yourself. The only true power is the power to not care about yourself, to only care about others.

Why is selflessness so rare in people? Why is it so hard for people to see that they are motivated by profit? Why is it so hard to see that personal profit is worthless?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Isaiah 3 part 1: The problem with the men

Isaiah 3 and 4 provide a prophecy of a then future people who would be so sinful as to trigger end times desolation. Let's study this chapter and see what modern characteristics, if any, might match his description, in the hopes that we can address these deficiencies in our personal lives, even if we can't turn the course of society as a whole.

In part one of this series, we will look at the failings of men as described by God through Isaiah. I have highlighted the verses that appear to be speaking of men specifically.

For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water.

2 The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient,

3 The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.

4 And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.

5 And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.

6 When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand:

7 In that day shall he swear, saying, I will not be an healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing: make me not a ruler of the people.

8 For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory.

9 The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.

10 Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.

11 Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.

12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

13 The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.

14 The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses.

15 What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts.

16 Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:

17 Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.

18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,

19 The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,

20 The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,

21 The rings, and nose jewels,

22 The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,

23 The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.

24 And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.

25 Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.

26 And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.


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Isaiah begins by describing the loss of key masculine roles in society: mighty men, men of war, judges, prophets, wise men, elders, military leaders, men of honor, men of counsel, artisans, and orators.

Isaiah does not explicitly say how these men are taken away. Perhaps there is a war event. A universal draft for a high casualty war would certainly decimate the number of men available to fill these roles, as was seen in Europe in the aftermath of WWI. This is possible, and in my opinion probable. But is that the only way these roles could be taken away?

Is it not possible that societal culture could shift in a way to make it much less likely that men with the capacity to fill these roles actually do? This is certainly a possibility.

A culture that does not value these roles will find less people willing to strive beyond the norm as is required to attain them. A culture that actively attacks these roles will develop even more apathy from the few who could perform them. A microcosm of this is found in the medical profession, where parasitic regulations, lawsuits, and government price fixing are converting one of the most profitable and high competition professions into something most experienced doctors say they would not recommend to their children.

But this shift in our culture is not just external, imposed upon those who otherwise might pursue these paths. No, rather the very people who might pursue these paths are sloughing off thousands of years of precedent to race towards radically different cultural standards with no thought of the recklessness of doing so, all in the name of "progress," the validity of which is yet to be measured. Though our generation is not novel in the fact that youth deprived of a fully developed prefrontal cortex believe their ignorance is greater than thousands of years of tested ideology, our generation is novel in that the mature give unprecedented credence to such an unlikely possibility. It is possible that the disenfranchisement of society's thought leadership as described by Isaiah is voluntary!

Isaiah speaks of a society where not only do those capable of thought leadership not take up their duty, but one that also abdicates this responsibility to children--perhaps in the idea of young people taking roles historically given only to those with the maturity requisite to exercise them well, and perhaps in the sense that novel "needs" of literal children dictate the behavior of adults in the modern world.

It is no surprise that the inescapable outcome of such approaches is that of oppression of all people. Excessive taxation to chase equality of outcomes is a policy sure to pit every person against every other--the giver vs. the recipient fighting in a race towards the lowest common denominator, the giver to avoid the pointless toil for less reward, the recipient to maximize the gain from the system. In such a system, no one wins.

So it is not surprising that those that could fix the situation instead opt out of the system, citing the fact that they have been deprived of the traditional fruits of exceptional output. The bar for elected leadership is thus dropped precipitously, and we get reality TV stars for politicians.

But lest we lose sight of the cause of such ruination, we are reminded that at its core this is a God problem--we have lost sight of the wisdom and instruction given by the creator to guide us against the wiles of fallen man.

Our disregard of God is perhaps most clearly illustrated  in our open celebration of the sins of Sodom--which not only included homosexuality, but also wanton neglect of the poor. 

God gives special mention here of the latter. Truly we have eaten up the vineyard--the United States produces an enormous surplus of food, and yet most of the world suffers from malnutrition while we not only are morbidly obese, but spend billions annually "treating" this "condition" in every imaginable way except the obvious one--to eat less. Meanwhile, the spoil of the poor is literally in our houses, as more than half of the inhabitants of this country are enriched by handouts taken by force from the people who have increasingly less buying power. Unless you are incredibly wealthy, the only way to get by is through government welfare in the form of food stamps and medicaid, or less stigmatically through tax incentives, social security, medicare, government/military retirement, etc.

God, through Isaiah, places these burdens squarely on our shoulders as men. So, men, what are you doing about it?

Men are voluntarily opting out of the game. Movements like "MGTOW" are encouraging young men to opt out, and they are enjoying success. They are choosing not to go to college, choosing not to marry, choosing not to have kids, choosing not to strive for financial success, choosing not to refine their character.

Should it be surprising that men or opting out in alarming numbers? As the deal for traditional participation continues to sour, it is quite easy to serve up a compelling alternative. Video games provide clear and fair rules and clear and fair rewards. Modern culture does neither. There are no guides to navigating reality for males today, and the deck is quite stacked against them. Success is increasingly difficult for males. Their IQ distribution is wider than women in an increasingly complex society where higher IQ is required to provide economic value. Women are disproportionately favored for STEM training, where jobs tend to offer double the national averages. Men are judged primarily by women according to their production, which is Pareto distributed (very few good selections), while women are judged primarily according to their looks, which are Normally distributed (meaning most have a good shot). They are also sexually disadvantaged by their looks, as shown by a recent study documenting that women rated only 20% of males as attractive (Pareto distribution), while men's preferences were Normal distributed. Between welfare and family court, men are told in bold letters that they are not needed and not wanted.

So should a male opt out? Absolutely not. A man is meant to be a light in the dark, the leaven that persists God's mercy in not destroying us. A man is meant to be a resource to the world. Spiritually, he is to rise up and attain power with God. He is meant to make his character a self-authored masterpiece, emulating God independent of what society says is good or bad. Temporally, he is meant to navigate the complexities of vocation, and get a job that pays enough to support a family (hint: mostly limited to programming or trades). All of these things ought to be done before entering the search for a wife, as his potential spouses will judge him based on his capacities in these respects, and poor performance means a poor selection, and unnecessary misery.

MGTOW is for cowards. Yes, the odds are almost zero that a modern man will find a woman worth marrying [1], but marry anyway. A man is meant to rise above what society gives him. He is meant to find a wife, knowing full well the odds are that she will despitefully use him, and help her to the best of his ability anyway. He is meant to have kids, and help them learn to see through the lies of this life, to shine a light into the darkness. 

Resistance to the erosion of these moorings is largely a masculine duty, one that is grounded in logic and a broad view, not in the shallow emotional reactionism of modern political and social policies. Unfortunately, these trends tend to be one way until reality, mortgaged to the hilt, comes crashing through the dam of illusion, and crushes all in its path in a complete social collapse.

[1] This comment will no doubt raise ire. Please consider the points I will make in part 2 about modern female culture.