Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Keep checking YouTube

I have been making a lot of YouTube videos. I hope you check out the channel. You may find some of those videos are helpful to your understanding of gospel topics. You also may find that some are very shareable. I hope in particular that you consider sharing the series on the Lectures on Faith. If you subscribe and ask for notifications, you'll get an email when there is a new video. Enjoy!

UpwardThought YouTube Channel

Friday, April 5, 2019

Homosexuality

I received this email:

With the latest LDS policy reversal on LGBT families, I was wondering what your take on homosexuality is. Is that just because if we accept the law of Moses was a lesser law, and it condemned homosexuality, then anything of a higher nature would obviously do the same?

Here is my response:

One thing the Lord told me that has helped me understand some things a little better is that one way he helps us derive the benefits from principles higher than we can currently understand (and avoid the consequences of acting contrary to them) is through giving us commandments. We don't always get why, but then after the fact, he will explain it. Through obeying him based only on our trust in him, we can grow in our understanding to the point that he can teach us why.

Homosexuality was forbidden by the law of Moses, and is still a sin today, because a person living in a homosexual lifestyle can't progress as far as one who is not in joy, happiness, etc. It is not always the case that God's commandments are borne out by scientific evidence. In this case, there is abundant evidence that practicing homosexuals are much more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems, kill themselves, etc, than heterosexuals.

The world will tell you that the sex you find attractive is not a choice. This is the same world that is now telling you that the sex you are is. Jesus is mighty to save, and he is also capable of doing everything easier than that, including revealing to you the hard truths that will show you that heterosexuality will lead to greater happiness than homosexuality. If God can change the heart of a person to no longer desire to sin, surely he can also change a heart to longer desire members of the same sex.

He will lead us to a better place every time, no matter where we stand.

The Lord taught that there is a class of bodily imperfections that we are given by God so that "the works of God should be made manifest":

1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. (John 9)

God issues us bodies that have tendencies that deviate from how they would act if they were perfect. Why? So that his glory can be manifest when you, as an entity made to act and not be acted upon, through your spirit, subdue the tendencies in your flesh. This is the purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is the end of everyone who seeks, obeys, and trusts Jesus.

Homosexuality is just one of many such tendencies. Too many argue about whether people are "born this way" or not. It actually doesn't matter, at all. Did it matter that this man was born blind? No it did not. Jesus healed him. If you seek and trust Jesus, he can make you like he is. There are no exceptions to his power to save every individual that puts their trust in him.

Homosexuality deviates as much from God's plan today as it ever did. This isn't an excuse to see homosexuals in any less of a loving light as we do anyone else struggling with any other deviation from God's perfection. The cure to all temptation and all imperfection is to seek more light from God, more knowledge, and to implement it in full trust that he is perfect, loving, and merciful.

On the other hand, how can you say you love a person if you know of information that would make them happier, and do nothing to help them see it?

You see, this is the same situation as everything else in the gospel: God has all knowledge, and possesses the information needed for all of us to possess what he has. Inasmuch as he has given us light, we ought to spare no effort in helping others receive the same (and obtain it from others when they have more than we do). That is love. It is not loving to encourage people in their denial of reality or in pretending negative consequences don't exist or don't matter.

As far as the LDS church goes, expect acceptance of far greater violations of God's commandments in the future. Two nights ago I had this dream:

I was in an LDS temple. As I walked down a hall, I looked up and saw a big tube of meat taped to the wall where it met the ceiling. I reached up and took it. I went into the locker room and put it on the bench. I noticed there were one or two other people who had found meat and done the same. Then I saw that there were many people grabbing pieces of meat, breaking open the tubes and snatching at as much as they could. I said "excuse me, that is mine." They voraciously stole as much as they could as I tried to keep them away. I decided whether to start throwing punches, but decided to let them go. It was clear they had no intent of eating the meat themselves, they just wanted to ruin it for the few who had found it there.

The LDS church has become a place where very few look up and obtain the meat they are looking for, and those few who do have it violently stolen from them via the damning traditions embraced by the crowds.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Share what you "know"

It is hard to strike a balance in this world. It seems that we, as humans, are much more likely to take an extreme position on any issue, and that the truth tends to be somewhere in the middle.

Preaching is no exception. There are those who share too much, and those who don't share enough.

I've been asked why I share what I do.

The Lord said:

24 Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do. Behold ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed.

25 And ye see that I have commanded that none of you should go away, but rather have commanded that ye should come unto me, that ye might feel and see; even so shall ye do unto the world; and whosoever breaketh this commandment suffereth himself to be led into temptation. (3 Nephi 18)

There are many laws governing what to share and when. Here are some:

What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. (Matthew 10:27)

Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—(Mosiah 18:19)

...teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. (Ezekiel 44:23)

When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. (Ezekiel 3:18)

Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor. (D&C 88:1)

I would MUCH prefer if someone else was already sharing the things that I share. If that were the case, I would regain a lot of time, a lot of sleep, make more money, and avoid a lot of attention, almost all of which is negative. I only ever share those things that I believe that have not been shared (for example, what you will find in "The Glory of God is Intelligence") or things that have not been shared in as effective a way as I think I can present them. My books "Seek Ye This Jesus" and "Teaching for Doctrines" are examples of this. To get to what is concentrated in those books, you would have to read two or more dozen books and filter out all the garbage, and no one I know is willing to invest the time to do that. 

My goal in everything spiritual that I do is to make faith more accessible, so that people can grow closer to Christ than they otherwise could. How I do that is by working out my own salvation, by learning more about God and implementing what I learn in my own life.

I'm not sure the Lord has ever revealed anything to me that I wasn't seeking for my own personal growth. Yet, he has made it very clear on multiple occasions that one reason he shares what he does is so that I will share it with others. There have been multiple times when I told him I didn't want to share something, because I knew it would cause strife/persecution, and he said if I didn't share it he would stop revealing things to me.

When it comes to deciding what to share, for me the question is really how to share things. I don't really choose not to share things, but I often choose to wait until I understand more on something, or until I understand a better way of explaining it. I have hundreds of blog posts in draft, several books partially written, and hundreds of slides made that I have not released, and may never release. I only release things when I sincerely believe they will help someone in some way. Often, the trigger event is seeing a question or comment from someone else. I inquire of the Lord, and he tells me things that round out what I had previously written/prayed about/thought about/studied about, and I finish the material and publish it.

Should you share things? Or do you share too much already?

On the one hand, God told Oliver Cowdery:

Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men. (D&C 11:21)

It is very good to conduct a periodic assessment of what you have already obtained from God and what you yet lack.

But if you look, you may find that you do indeed already possess a great deal of God's word, particularly on subjects that may seem elementary to you, but are the burning questions of some other person.

God taught Abraham that whenever there are two people, one has more light than another. There is a 1 in 7 billion chance that you have less light than anyone on this earth, but there is also a 1 in 7 billion chance that you have more light than anyone on this earth. It is more likely that you are somewhere in the middle. Even if you are average, you have more light than about 3.5 billion people. What are you doing to share what God has given you?

I think a good rule of thumb in governing what you should share is whether you are ready:

1) To be criticized. Criticism can be hard to bear, but it is also usually good. If you are right, criticism gives you an opportunity to patiently persuade others. If you are wrong, criticism gets you to a better place.

2) To change your mind. There are good odds that someone out there knows more than you on this topic. Are you open to expanding and/or changing your position? If not, maybe it is better for you to keep it to yourself.

If you are ready to do these two things, I highly encourage you to share more than you currently do. One thing I want to draw your attention to is Reddit. I am amazed at how many sincere people ask religious questions on Reddit. I've looked at the Mormon boards, and they are pretty sad. But I see a lot of faithful people seeking for questions on the Christianity board, and the laborers are few. You will find that you already possess answers to many of these questions.

Here is what I encourage you to do: Set a time that you will hit the internet every week. Google gospel questions, such as "why do good things happen to bad people," or "what is the purpose of life," or whatever you feel inspired to search for. Look for message boards. Pray, study, and write out a well constructed response. Save your response to your computer, and post it on the board. Every once in a while, google the same question again, reread your previous answer, revise if needed to reflect further learning, and post again.

In doing this, you may help some brother or sister draw closer to Christ than they could have if it weren't for your intervention. Because you are willing to share what he teaches you, God will teach you more.

You may find several sources to be helpful in your construction of rational arguments in favor of what God has taught you. First, of course, is scripture. Second, you may find the material of others helpful. Here, however, I want to caution you.

In order to teach by the spirit, you must teach from your spirit, or the spirit of God within you. Simply reciting what someone else has said may help, but it is far, far better to teach things according to your own understanding. If you are using others writings properly, you will chop them up, test them, and filter them. When properly processed, your light will expand and grow, and stand on its own (meaning as a direct link between you and God with no middleman). If I had one wish, it would be that no one would ever quote me. I love nothing more than to hear someone say something and know that the ancestor of that thought was something I said. What is even better is if they don't even realize that their position was first my position.

I openly invite you to spiritually plagiarize from me. If I make a good point, absorb it and make it your point, then delete the original file. If I make a point that your light has already superseded, than I congratulate you on your progress, and beg you to help me lift my vision to where yours already rests.

Go share what you know!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

More videos posted, kindle book is now live

Hi all,
I've published more youtube videos. I won't be posting links to those here every time I do one, so please subscribe to the channel if you want notifications.

The kindle version of "The Glory of God is Intelligence" is now live.

If you live in Utah, I hope to see you at the talk this Sunday, 3pm at the Centerville theater, 525 N 400 W.

The topic will be "Acquisition of truth: Why it matters, how to do it." I highly recommend you attend this talk. We will cover a lot of ground, including how to discern truth and error, what awareness is and why it matters, what the light of Christ is, and how to grow in light and truth.

Doors open at 2:30, admission is free. I will not be bringing books, so if you want a copy of the new one or one of the others, please visit Amazon or download a free pdf.

If you are outside of a reasonable driving range, I plan on recording the talk and posting it to YouTube.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

New book published and available

The new book is available in print on Amazon, free in pdf, and will shortly be available on kindle.

PDF

Amazon (print)

Kindle
I will not be bringing books to my speaking engagement on March 24th. If you want print copies, order them on Amazon.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Both talks are still on

I've gotten two emails from people who have RSVP'd for the Sunday morning talk in Lehi asking if it is still on since I omitted it from a previous post.

Yes, it is. We still have some seats left. Please email me if you would like to come (2robpineapplesmith@gmail.com without the pineapple).

Here is the final schedule for Sunday, March 24th:

Title: "Seeing eye to eye to bring Zion."
Time: 9:30AM-10:30AM
Location: Lehi, Utah. Email me with headcount for RSVP purposes and I'll give you the address
Venue size: 80 people, ~30 RSVP'd to date.

Title: "Acquisition of truth: why it matters, how to do it."
Time: 3PM (~1hr 15min)
Location: Centerville Legacy Theater, 525 N 400 W, Centerville, Utah
Venue size: 500 people

Also, the previously penciled in talks for Saturday have been moved to YouTube. Share them with your friends. They should be accessible to any Mormon audience. You can watch them here:

Revelation, learning, and discerning (part 1)

Friday, March 8, 2019

"What do you think of ?"

From time to time, people ask me "what do you think of so-and-so," where so-and-so is some person who purports to teach the gospel.

I figured I would write out my answer here so I can simply refer people to it instead of reconstructing it each time.

First: I don't. I don't think of so-and-sos. I recognize that the question is not about who they are but what they teach, and that what they teach is not a monolith that is either good or bad, but an amalgam that must be broken into individual bits which must be independently tested. Truth can come from anywhere.

Second: Jesus said wisdom is known of her children, and that whoever is not against him is for him. Purported truth that results in a person acting more like God is good. Purported truth that results in anything else is not. The trick is, no one knows what God is really like, because the only way to know is to become like him. The good news is, truth always leaves clues. One clue is that if someone claims to have experiences with God, implementing their teachings in your life ought to lead to the same experiences. If not, you can know with a surety they are a liar.

Third: I have multiple bookshelves full of books, but I do not read them all equally. I spend about 10-20x more time in the scriptures than I do any other books. Why? Because they have the most concentrated value that I have found so far.

Like books, there are some people worth hearing over and over again, some people worth hearing once, and some people never worth hearing.

The task in life is to acquire as much light and truth as you can before you die. If you spend your time in activities that yield less light and truth than you could acquire some other way, you are living below your potential. The differences in concentration of light and truth are so extreme that among the few who actually exercise diligence in seeking more light and truth, most are living far below their potential because they spend their precious time listening to people who have very little light and truth.

If your gospel study does not yield "many revelations daily", you are wasting your time and should make radical changes to the way you do it.

If your gospel study does not regularly yield face-ripping new truth that supplants what you thought you knew, you are wasting your time and should make radical changes to the way you do it.

The acquisition of light and truth is meant to be an exponential process. Every year, you should be learning more than everything you learned in your life prior to that year. If that is not the case, you are wasting your time and should make radical changes to how you seek God.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Talks for LDS folks

I put together two talks that might be of particular interest for LDS folks. I hope you find value in them:

Revelation, learning, and discerning (part 1)


I was going to give these two talks in Utah on March 23rd, but decided instead to record them and post them on YouTube. I hope you share the link with your friends and on social media.

I will still be giving a free live talk on Sunday March 24th at 3pm at the Centerville Theater at 525 N 400 W Centerville, UT. There are 500 seats, so please come and bring your friends.

NOTE: All three videos above say that the new book, "The Glory of God is Intelligence" is available. It isn't yet, but will be soon. I didn't want to have to edit the videos after the fact to update them :).

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

New YouTube channel, first video posted

I created a new YouTube channel for delivering talks. I don't think I'll put a notice here every time I publish a talk, so if you are interested in keeping tabs, I invite you to subscribe to the channel.

The first one is on revelation, learning, and discerning.

Here is part 1:
What can God reveal through revelation? To whom will he reveal it? How will he reveal it?

Here is part 2:
Where does revelation come from? How can you tell if a revelation is from God? What is the purpose of revelation? Why is asking questions important?

These two talks were designed to be LDS friendly. Please share them with your friends.

NOTE: These videos both say that the new book "The Glory of God is Intelligence" is available. It isn't yet, but it will be soon, and I didn't want to have to go back and edit the video.

Monday, March 4, 2019

By their fruits ye shall know them

The Lord showed me about a cup of seeds in his hands. He said, "what kind of seeds are these?" I said, "I don't know." He said, "which of these seeds will sprout, and which will not?" I said, "I don't know." He said, "which of these seeds will produce no fruit, which will produce 10, which 60, and which 100?" I said, "I don't know." He said, "but how can you know?" I said, "I have to plant them and watch." He was pleased with my answer.

I'm currently aware of at least two applications for this lesson in my life. Rather than confining the value of this lesson to those two applications by sharing them, I invite you to think about how this might help you in your own life.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Update on talks - more locations needed

I am still in need of a location (or two) for Saturday to give two one hour talks. These talks would be particularly well-suited to an LDS audience. Perhaps you feel inspired to open your home and invite your LDS friends. We need at least 25 people to come to each. We could do the two Saturday talks with one group of people with a 15 minute break between. Please contact me (email at the end) if you have a potential venue.

Saturday, March 23
Title: "Revelation, learning, and discerning"
Time: 1 hour, TBD
Location: TBD

Saturday, March 23
Title: "Knowledge from and experiences with God come through obtaining greater light and truth."
Time: 1 hour, TBD
Location: TBD

Sunday, March 24
Title: "Seeing eye to eye to bring Zion."
Time: 9:30AM-10:30AM
Location: Lehi, Utah. Email me with headcount for RSVP purposes and I'll give you the address
Venue size: 50 people, ~30 RSVP'd to date.

Title: "Acquisition of truth: why it matters, how to do it."
Time: 3PM (1hr 15min)
Location: Centerville Legacy Theater, 525 N 400 W, Centerville, Utah
Venue size: 500 people


OTHER:
For those far away: I hope to record each of these presentations and post them for free online. Please don't travel hours to attend the talks.

For those close by: Last time I traveled to Utah to give a book talk, about 20 people showed up. When I asked some folks I know that lived close by why they didn't come, they said it was too far (~20 minute drive). I'm not giving these talks because I like attention, but because I believe the content is worth the sacrifice to obtain and deliver it. If you have a reason to believe otherwise, by all means, follow your heart. If you don't, please consider that further light and truth only comes proportional to the heed and diligence we exert to obtain it.



Email: 2robDOGsmith@gmail.com without dog

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Enmity rising

More of our modern life is dependent upon the grace of God than you realize. God has granted the developed world a great deal of light in the form of the principles upon which society relies.

Those who have traveled to developing nations know what happens without these. In much of Africa, you can't have electricity because people will tear down the lines to sell them for copper. Think of what this scavenging requires: sufficient ignorance and/or selfishness in those who tear them down, those who buy them and melt them down, and those who buy the copper from the middlemen.

As we turn away from this light, the natural consequence is that the outcomes that rely upon it will recede and disappear.

Enmity is rising. The spirit of enmity will cause:

  • Poor against rich.
  • Left against right.
  • Race against race.
  • Young against old.
  • Sibling against sibling.
  • Spouse against spouse.
  • Child against parent.
  • Parent against child.
  • Neighbor against neighbor.
  • City against city.
  • State against state.
  • Finally, country against country.

I could speak for ten hours and not finish describing what this will look like.

If you have ears to hear and eyes to see, project yourself into what your world will look like as this spirit increases, and as all societal norms are removed, and prepare accordingly.

35 And I said unto them: Be not troubled, for, when all these things shall come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made unto you shall be fulfilled.
36 And when the light shall begin to break forth, it shall be with them like unto a parable which I will show you—
37 Ye look and behold the fig trees, and ye see them with your eyes, and ye say when they begin to shoot forth, and their leaves are yet tender, that summer is now nigh at hand;
38 Even so it shall be in that day when they shall see all these things, then shall they know that the hour is nigh. (D&C 45)

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Update on talks next month


Saturday, March 23

Title: "Revelation, learning, and discerning"
Time: 9AM
Location: TBD
Venue size: 250 people
Audience: Current LDS (if you have read my blog or books, it is probably best to leave these seats for someone else. I will post the presentation later).

Sunday, March 24

Title: "Seeing eye to eye to bring Zion."
Time: 9:30AM-10:30AM
Location: Lehi. Email me with headcount for RSVP purposes and I'll give you the address
Venue size: 50 people
Audience: Believers in Christ who accept the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants.

Title: "Acquisition of truth: why it matters, how to do it."
Time: 3PM (1hr 15min)
Location: Centerville
Venue size: 500 people
Audience: Believers in Christ who accept the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants.

TO DO:

I am still open to the possibility of speaking in a home Saturday afternoon. Email me with location, demographic, capacity, and estimated headcount if you have a potential venue for consideration. 

OTHER:

For those far away: I hope to record each of these presentations and post them for free online. Please don't travel hours to attend the talks.

For those close by: Last time I traveled to Utah to give a book talk, about 20 people showed up. When I asked some folks I know that lived close by why they didn't come, they said it was too far (~20 minute drive). I'm not giving these talks because I like attention, but because I believe the content is worth the sacrifice to obtain and deliver it. If you have a reason to believe otherwise, by all means, follow your heart. If you don't, please consider that further light and truth only comes proportional to the heed and diligence we exert to obtain it.

Email: 2robDOGsmith@gmail.com without dog

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Book is drafted / Speaking venues needed

Hi all,
I finished the book draft Sunday. Now begins the oh-so-fun editing process.

I will be coming to Utah to give a free talk (and possibly more than one) related to the topics in the book Saturday and Sunday March 23-24.

I need your help finding venues for speaking in Utah and/or Salt Lake counties. I have several topics to speak on that are non-repetitive (though they overlap slightly).

I'd like to give a large talk to a general audience on Saturday March 23rd. For this talk, we will need a projector and (if the room is large enough) a hands-free microphone and speakers. I'd like to have seating for at least 300 people. I already have one potential venue, but it is good to have options. If you have a place where we can do the large talk, email me the address, capacity, cost, times available, and contact.

I would also like to give several talks (pending interest) in homes on Sunday and, depending on the time of the main talk, possibly on Saturday. We shouldn't need any equipment. If you can find at least 25 people to come, please email me with where you live, what times you prefer, and how many people you expect (be conservative).

If at all possible I would also like to give a talk to adults over 50, a talk to people under 30, and a talk to divorced/widowed/older single women. If you are in one of these demographic groups and would like to host a meeting, please email me indicating that. There won't be restrictions on who can come, but the material will be more interesting and applicable for those groups than others.

Email your info to 2robsmithelephant@gmail.com without the word elephant.

Edit 2/21/19 - I guess it might help if I actually say what the book is about!

Title:
The Glory of God is Intelligence: Acquiring and Disseminating Light and Truth

Table of contents:
Part One: Fundamentals of Truth 3
Chapter 1: The Light of the World 4
Chapter 2: Good and Evil 11
Chapter 3: Awareness 36
Chapter 4: Saved by Knowledge 53
Chapter 5: Embracing the Truth 86
Chapter 6: Loving a Lie 97
Chapter 7: God’s Power is Truth 109
Chapter 8: Why All Truth Seekers Should Believe in Christ 126
Part Two: Searching for Truth 141
Chapter 9: Understanding the Search for Truth 142
Chapter 10: Revelation 155
Chapter 11: Acquisition of Truth Requires Change 166
Chapter 12: Evaluating Putative Truth 182
Chapter 13: Questions and Contradictions 198
Chapter 14: Consequences and Constraints 211
Chapter 15: Responding to Truth from Others 234
Chapter 16: Evaluating Truth in Others 255
Part Three: Disseminating Truth 271
Chapter 17: What Happens When Leaders Don’t Lead 272
Chapter 18: Guiding Others in Their Search for Truth 285
Chapter 19: Ascent 318
Chapter 20: Descent 344
Chapter 21: Sacred Loneliness 362

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Show me truth

Truth can be found in strange places. 

Consider these lyrics from a progressive rock band from 1992:

There was no time for pain 
No energy for anger 
The sightlessness of hatred slips away 
Walking through winter streets alone 
He stops and takes a breath 
With confidence and self-control
I look at the world and see no understanding 
I'm waiting to find some sense of strength 
I'm begging you from the bottom of my heart 
To show me understanding
I need to live life 
Like some people never will 
So find me kindness 
Find me beauty 
Find me truth 
When temptation brings me to my knees 
And I lay here drained of strength 
Show me kindness 
Show me beauty 
Show me truth
The way your heart sounds 
Makes all the difference 
It's what decides if you'll endure the pain that we all feel 
The way your heart beats 
Makes all the difference 
In learning to live

This song often brings me to tears...

The new book is almost drafted. I'm crawling toward the end of the tunnel.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

In my own defense

There are a lot of people out there talking trash about me. I don't really have much of a reputation to save, nor pride to nurse, but I have to address these comments, at least in general, so that no one is precluded from benefiting from what I write by weak arguments against it.

Everyone will find something about me to get offended by. I'm an excommunicated Mormon, which makes LDS uncomfortable, but I was excommunicated for believing Jesus, which makes them REALLY uncomfortable. I believe that the text of the Book of Mormon was given by God, and believe that an honest analysis of it in the context of science and archeology support its contents rather than refute them, which makes progressive ex Mormons uncomfortable. I believe in the literal application of God's commandments as found in scripture and personal revelation, and by following that belief have come to the point where I have had visions and visitations and revelations not a few, including from Jesus, which seems to make everyone uncomfortable.

To the LDS: I may have done more to promote the doctrines believed by Joseph Smith than anyone since Joseph Smith, yet I have made public strong arguments against the core traditions that came after Joseph Smith. This makes me very dangerous.

To the Ex-Mormons: I have studied far more history than most of them, agree with most of their arguments against the LDS, and yet have proved through my own experiences that God is real and that anyone can obtain a seeing, hearing, and touching relationship with him if they will follow the commandments he gives. This makes me very dangerous.

This analysis can be repeated for every sect.

New flash: I'm controversial. 

Should this be surprising? No. People who teach that there is a better way are summarily rejected by all sides. This is why the path is strait and narrow, and few there be that find it. 

The unfortunate effect of my controversy is that no matter how reason-based an argument I make, there are sufficient objections to tempt anyone from actually reading and thinking about what I write.

The point of what I write and what I do is not to promote myself. If what I cared about was my reputation or what I get out of it, I would do things very differently. Thinking about this for even a nanosecond would yield many things I could do that would be more effective if personal gain were my aim.

"He thinks he is right and everyone else is wrong..."

False. I am inherently open-minded.

Like Joseph Smith said, I can say that my religion is no religion at all. I believe truth no matter where I find it, and I rejoice every time someone points something out to me that I hadn't before considered. No exceptions. The problem is that those who make this accusation of me do not feel the same way. Because of this, they have not spent nearly as much time and effort as I have in acquiring truth. Because of that, almost everything they present to me is something I've already heard. They conflate their shallow and usually parroted argument with my being arrogant. It's not so.

"But I heard you..."

The story of the three little pigs is very different from the perspective of the wolf. There is a funny kid's book that tells it that way. 

Take a second and think of all the things that legitimate holy men did in the scriptures. You know, really good people like Jesus and Isaiah and the like. We have the true story of what happened in the scriptures. But this is told from the perspective of believers. How do you think it would be different if it was told from the perspective of non-believers? 

In 1 Kings 17, Elijah brings a boy back to life. He "stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the Lord, 'O Lord my God, let this child's life come into him again.'” In spite of the fact that Elijah was actually acting in God's name, and actually raised this kid from the dead, if the story were told by some people, it would read: "Elijah molested this kid three times! Clearly, he is a fraud!"

Luckily (that I know of at least), no one has accused me of pedophilia. However, there are at least a few rumors floating around that are equally baseless, that are at best gross misrepresentations of true events, and at worse, completely fabricated.

Note: Lest they say "see! He just compared himself to Jesus, Isaiah, and Elijah," my point here is to say if these men, being above reproach, can be smeared so, how much more the people below their stature?

"But this guy really hates you..."

I have at least half a dozen people whose whole mission in life seems to be to say very nasty things about me--typically in places I don't know about and therefore can't defend myself.

Suppose for a moment that God knows much more than you do. What tools do you suppose he would use to try to get that knowledge to you? Though not the only mechanism, the scriptures are replete with him using people to do that, and for good reasons (which I won't get into here). And what does this look like? It almost always takes the following form: some weirdo shows up without any earthly authority and tells people there is a better way of doing things. And, in unison, they hate him.

While being hated and ill spoken of does not imply that you convey God's word, everyone who conveys God's word is hated and ill spoken of.

As written in the Book of Mormon: "…if a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil." (Helaman 13:26)

Now, I have to make a disclaimer because I'm invoking a scripture using the p word in explaining something about myself. "Prophet" is a word that almost always either means more or less than those invoking it mean. So here is a paraphrase that might not trigger people as badly:

If someone who claims to have higher order truth in some topic tries to persuade you that his positions are more efficacious than yours, you will get angry; you will do whatever you can to shut him up and discredit his message, including saying he is a bad person and does bad things, because he says what you think and do is capable of improvement.

The real problem: the ideology of "whatever I know is all there is to know"

Of course, truth searching requires rational evaluation and, when that checks out, personal testing. It isn't enough to just dismiss things out of hand because of some ad hominem argument. 

But very few people want to consider that what they believe is either incorrect or imperfect (although you kind of have to believe that if you also believe God is all knowing and you are not). 

Most people believe that whatever their heart desires is right and above questioning. This is truer in modern times than in the past, when people used to assume that someone, somewhere, knew more than they did about something. 

Modern people embrace a belief held by only the extremely wicked in the past. They do not believe there could be anything better than what they already believe, and they will viciously attack anyone who dares challenge that assertion:

27 But behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth—and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.
28 Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him.
29 O ye wicked and ye perverse generation; ye hardened and ye stiffnecked people, how long will ye suppose that the Lord will suffer you? Yea, how long will ye suffer yourselves to be led by foolish and blind guides? Yea, how long will ye choose darkness rather than light? (Helaman 13)

Jesus was not sent to the 99 who thought they needed no repentance. Instead, he ministered to the 1 who believed there was something better than what they had. If you hear a chorus of people saying what is quoted above--that you can imagine what you want reality to be and then act as if it were that way, and anyone who dares say it isn't so is Hitler, that should be a sign to you that maybe that message they are ranting against might be worth listening to, rather than the opposite.

Conclusion

In fact, if you are willing to investigate the criticisms people use against me, you will see that the arguments they give against me are actually strong arguments in favor of considering what I have said.

I've written a book laying out some false traditions in the LDS church, but I don't and won't condemn the founding doctrines or the founder like most ex Mormons have done. I've had charismatic experiences with God, but I haven't founded a church like most who make that claim have done. I've had "special" experiences, but instead of claiming that makes me special like most have done, I've written a whole book making the argument that these are obtained by following very basic doctrines within the reach of every person. I've spent years of my life writing blog posts and books to share what I'm learning, but I haven't and won't charge money for them as everyone seems to have done. All I get for my work is people saying awful things about me. I believe in polygamy, but I have not done any of the things most expect me to do (though some incorrectly accuse me of doing so): in fact, I've actually made what is in my opinion the strongest argument against the practice. You should ask yourself why. 

My behavior does not match the motives my enemies claim I have. It does match the modern version of behavior of people in the scriptures. You should ask yourself why.

I can't spend the time necessary to answer every criticism of myself that I hear about. I have far too much writing to do, and no more hours of the night left from which to draw. But I hope these thoughts give you reason to exercise some caution in your interpretation of what you hear. 

Everything I have written has had the following objective: Help people acquire and assimilate higher truth through trusting God, seeking his word, and obeying it more fully than they currently do.

I hope you consider what I write, and that you test it, and keep it if it is of value to you.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Counsel to young people about spouse selection

Trigger warning

This post contains some truths that are likely to offend people who have adopted false ideas into their core world views. Of course, unless this is your first time on my blog, that shouldn't surprise you.

While it is risky for me to say these things, knowing how people who love a lie will say and do all sorts of evil when confronted with truth, I believe the joy that will come to those who take a higher path as a result of these words is worth it. You can rage against the truth all you want, but that won't relieve you of the pain that inevitably results from living incomplete or incorrect principles.

Note: Everything said here is broad brush generalization. While there are exceptions to every rule, I advise you to take extreme caution.

Marriage is a transaction

In order to marry, each potential spouse has to believe that it is in their best interest. After all, the risk of a bad choice is high. Men marry women for certain reasons, and women marry men for certain reasons. These reasons vary according to culture and wisdom, but they shouldn't.

A man's currency is his production capability, his wisdom, his stoicism, his vision, and his looks.
A man's value at 18 is mostly looks. He is not stoic, he is not wise, his vision (if he has one) is weak, and he has very little production capability. His value increases steadily through the next few years, and hits the threshold where he may be worth marrying at 25, but not before. But a man's value keeps increasing over time. If he stays in shape, his looks fade very slowly, and if he is wise, his production and vision keep growing for most of his life. Put basically, a man's value grows the older he gets. When a woman marries a man worth marrying, all his most valuable years are ahead of him. The only reason a man should marry young is to fight the artificial cap modern women have on dating a man > 10 years older than they are, but to maximize market value, he should wait until at least 25 to consider marrying in order to provide sufficient time to increase his earnings, wisdom, stoicism, and vision. Fortunately for women, a man's worth is very easily measured. In one date, you can gain a clear measure of how productive he is, how stoic he is, how wise he is, what he looks like, and what he is doing with his life.

A woman's currency is her looks, her excitement, her dedication, her kindness, and her emotional stability. None of these things grow over time. Some may stay the same, most will not. Put simply, the longer a woman waits to marry, the less currency she has to attract a valuable man. There is a point where she has too little value to attract a man worth marrying, which is the point at which the least qualified man worth marrying would prefer someone younger. Unfortunately for a man, the only part of a woman you can evaluate in one date is her looks. Even more unfortunately for a man, you can go on any number of dates with a woman and never get to an accurate measurement of her dedication, kindness, or emotional stability.

The bottom line: By nature, most men are not worth marrying. Modern culture makes it so even fewer than normal are worth marrying. By nature, most women are worth marrying. Modern culture makes it so few are.

Advice to Young Men

If you want to find and attract the best woman you can, focus on improving yourself. The good news is that you have time. You shouldn't even think about seriously dating anyone--no matter how amazing they seem, until you are 25. If she is amazing before you are 25, it just means you can find someone better after 25, when you have more to offer.

You need to make money. Choose and prepare for a career. The average wage is 30k per year. If you want to provide your wife with the opportunity to be a stay at home mom, choose a career where you can earn at least double that. To be on the safe side, you should triple it.

Learn stoicism. Read Marcus Aurelius and Seneca. Learn to develop routines and mindsets that establish your core so strongly that nothing anyone else does can affect you. Learn to control your schedule. Don't waste your time. Learn to control your actions. Don't let anything dictate them to you. Become a warrior.

Establish a life vision. If you want an example, here is mine. Read books from great minds to rise out of the mediocrity of thought your circumstances provide you. Decide how you will fight the entropy in this world. Consider your greatness, and then do what it takes to make it manifest in your life.

Above all else, seek God. Seek to know more about God than anyone you know, not to brag or boast, but so that you can do the greatest good. Learn to trust him completely. Master the scriptures. Internalize his words. He is the source of all strength, all wisdom, all power, and every character trait worth having. You need all of these things, and going to him is the most direct way to get them.

When you get to the point that you can support a wife and kids--financially, emotionally, and spiritually--you are ready to date seriously. Until then, you have no time or energy for it, nor should any woman pay any attention to you. You have to come to the point where you have something to offer a woman. That is your job as a man: to have something more to give her, so that she becomes something more than she would otherwise be.

Marriage is not a right. It is a privilege, and one for which many men never qualify. If you are not a productive person who has something to give a woman, you ought not seek marriage. Stay single. There are far more marriageable women than marriageable men. This is just a fact of life driven by the Pareto distribution.

What should you look for in a woman? Someone who will receive everything you have to give. You are looking for humility and kindness, over all else. Unfortunately, this is nearly impossible to evaluate through dating. Historically, these attributes were easier to come by because they were taught by culture. In modern times, culture produces the opposite. I wish I had a trick to test a woman's humility and kindness. I don't. The nearest I can get is to teach you about how feminine energy manifests.

Women have positive energy. This includes excitement, happiness, joy, cuddliness, sexiness, etc. Women also have negative energy. This includes emotional violence, sadness, moodiness, testiness, anger, jealously, etc. At any given moment, a woman will be in a positive state or a negative state. WOMEN COME IN ALL DIFFERENT CONFIGURATIONS OF THESE THINGS. Consider this graph, which plots state over time:


You can imagine how many different plots you could get. Some women have frequent high positive states, some women have frequent low negative states. Some (very few!) women are very even keeled and don't have extremes. Some women stay in a positive state for longer periods of time. Some women stay in a negative state for longer periods of time. Some flip flop very frequently. And on and on. 

If we could design an ideal woman, it would be one who was very high all the time. That woman doesn't exist. How close you can get to that will depend on the reality of what is out there, and essentially you will have to choose what drawbacks you are willing to deal with. If you really want  extreme highs, it is likely you will have to deal with extreme lows. If what you prefer is higher lows, you will probably have to deal with lower highs too. No matter your preference, to avoid regret, seek a woman who is net positive.

When you are dating a woman, you should be thinking about these graphs and assessing her energy plot. Like I've said, it is really, really hard to get an accurate read of a woman during dating. You might try to engineer situations where she is massively sleep deprived or very highly stressed. Do everything you can to reveal what is certainly hidden from you, and likely hidden for you. If she is on mind altering drugs, move on and don't turn back. Understand that, for a young woman, her life is an unending cycle of new emotional highs. She develops and starts attracting men's attention. She gets the excitement of being chased. First date, serious dating, physical interaction, engagement, baby. After a woman has a child, there are no more new emotional peaks. It is all downhill from there. Her stress levels will keep going up, her hormones will keep going down, her looks will fade, and she will get bored with you and with life. A woman will give you 5 to 15 years of her peak (depending on whether you marry her at 30 or 18). You will be with her for another 50 years where she is a completely different person in every way. Choose based on who she will be for the 50, not for the 5-15. A consistently kind, loving, grateful woman is worth everything it takes to find and marry her. But that kind of woman is rarer than anything else on this earth, and almost impossible to judge without actually marrying her.

If you encounter any of the following red flags, move on: Uses mind-altering drugs (including prescribed ones), checks her phone often, is over 30, single mother or divorced, overweight. Ask a date what she is interested in in life and if she wants kids. If she says no, or says something that indicates kids come after a decade of travel and career, move on.

Marriage is not for companionship. For a man, it is to provide an opportunity to serve through obtaining and becoming then giving. If you pick a wife that will receive what you have, you will be happy. If you pick a wife who is prideful and doesn't recognize what you offer her, you will be miserable.

What you are looking for is a woman who is able to find her strength in you. You aren't expecting her to be perfect. What you are looking for is someone who recognizes her weakness and your strength and is able to trust you sufficiently that she can have peace in situations that exceed her capabilities because of your strength. If she can't trust you, move on. These traits (humility, trust, dedication, love)  in a woman are more of a product of how many times she has been let down by men she relied on than it is a choice. If she doesn't have them now, she probably never will. They can be lost, but I'm not sure they can be gained.

If you are in your peak, seek a woman in hers. This means you should be dating women who are as close to 18 as you can get, whatever age you are. This isn't because looks are super important or even very important--they aren't. It is because the things that do matter are very very hard to measure, and in absence of good measures, it is best to go with the fact that the younger a woman is, the more likely she is not jaded, the more positive energy she will have, and the more years you will have with her before rolling the dice of the hormonal changes that might turn her into a completely different woman than you married.

Advice to Young Women

Almost all young women are attractive. Do not derive your self worth from your looks--they will not last. Instead, seriously evaluate your inner character, and seek to improve it with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. Cultivate a love for correction, and seek God sincerely to help you find how you can be better. Be brutally honest in your motives and desires. Seek to be an integral person. Evaluate how you feel against how you should feel, and seek to align differences. Know yourself and grow towards seeing yourself as God sees you.

Unfortunately, you have to make many important decisions while you are still very young, before you have much wisdom or experience. There are many decisions in your life that will have permanent consequences: Every man you have a serious relationship with will significantly reduce your capacity to have a full, meaningful relationship with another man. Every year you live outside of a family (that is, outside of the child relationship but not yet in a married relationship) will decrease the amount of happiness you have in marriage, because it will imbue you with counterfeit sources of happiness, and those lies take years and years to correct, if ever.

You don't have time or capital to waste on poor choices in men. Your physical attractiveness is your most valuable asset in finding a husband. This value peaks from 16-18, fades slowly until 25, then starts fading quickly. Your pool of potential husbands shrinks significantly with every year past 18. Don't waste your capital. Don't waste your time. Realize that marriage is a net loss for a man, and that you will need everything you can muster to land a good husband. Take care of yourself physically. Looks are not important, but they are one of very few things a guy has to go off of. If you can't keep yourself in shape as a single person, how are you going to do it when you have kids to take care of? If you can't control what goes into your mouth, how are you going to control what comes out of it?

Fortunately, you have everything you need from day one to objectively evaluate a spouse. In one date you can do it. How much money does he earn? What is his purpose in life? If a man doesn't have a good answer to this direct question, move on. How much effort does he put into improving his spirit, mind, and body (in that order!)? Is this a man who you honestly believe will have something to provide you your whole life? Is he getting better every day? You are looking for someone who is better than you and will continue to grow faster than you do so that he continues to have something to offer you in what he produces, what he gives, and what he teaches. Is he oriented to service? How has this manifested in his life? If he is not serving people now, he will not serve you or your kids later. Does he want kids? If he isn't sure or says no, move on. Is he stoic? Can he maintain his center even when he is tired or hungry or stressed? Does he get stressed? Does he require mind altering drugs to cope with life? A man who can't keep himself aligned with his vision and his center (or who doesn't have a center) is not worth marrying, period. Move on. Is he addicted to anything? A man who needs external materials or activities to derive his self worth is not worth marrying, period. Move on. You are looking for a guy who can withstand your storms and the storms of life, who can be your rock. If he doesn't fit this description, and you can find out in one date if he does, move on.

Don't fool yourself into the lies that society teaches you about men and women. Don't seek an "equal partner." If you find a man who is only as good as you are, you will be miserable with him. A woman's nature is to seek someone better than herself, yet modern culture teaches the lie of equal partners. Get used to the idea of your husband being better than you, then go out and find someone for whom it is true. Settle for nothing less. A woman will be happier being single than married to someone who is less than she is.

A brief, unpopular note on polygamy: Polygamy, in most cases, is a very bad idea. However, I would be remiss to point out that the surest way to find a man who would be a successful husband is to find one who already is. About half of men do not marry, and 75% of those who do, fail. If you find someone in the 12% who are in a successful marriage, you are already way ahead of the curve, even without considering the tangibles of success, which are much more obvious than with a single man.

Addendum: Differences in pools of men vs. pools of women

Above, I wrote "By nature, most men are not worth marrying. Modern culture makes it so even fewer than normal are worth marrying. By nature, most women are worth marrying. Modern culture makes it so few are."

Also in the polygamy post I linked above, I went into some dynamics of differences between men and women. You should read that.

Men and women are objectively different. If you pretend these differences don't exist, it will result in a worse experience for you.

One of those differences is in IQ. Women and men have, on average, the same IQ. In both cases, the IQ scores are distributed normally (meaning according to the so-called bell curve). But the distribution of women is different from the distribution of men. The female distribution is narrower, while the men's is fatter. What does this mean? It means that while on average a human being's IQ will be 100, it is much more likely to be lower or higher if you are a man than if you are a woman. Does this difference matter? It absolutely does. Someone with an IQ of 85 or lower can't follow written instructions. Note the use of the word can't. It isn't about how hard they try. Likewise, someone with an IQ of 115 is going to have markedly different capabilities than someone with an IQ of 100. What does this mean in practice? An IQ of 115, 130, or otherwise will find their comprehension dominating that of someone with, say, an IQ of 90. If you were to plot their conversations on a Venn diagram, instead of the the familiar two circles with the bit shared in the middle, there would be one circle completely surrounded by a much larger circle. If you are told your whole life that marriage is meant to be about "equal partners" and you find yourself in such a situation (no matter which circle you are), you are going to be very upset. In reality, no matter which circle you are, you ought to be thankful. If you are the smaller circle, you have been blessed with a firehose of intelligence beyond your own, and will reap the benefits of a crop that you didn't plant. If you are the larger circle, you will have a daily opportunity to bless someone else with the gift you've been given.

The dark side of this information is that it shows us that, for half of women, half of men are incompatible (because of Briffault's law aka "women marry up"), and the higher IQ a woman is, judged only by IQ, the pool of compatible men shrinks considerably.

But IQ does not tell the whole story.

What about looks? Physical characteristics are distributed normally.

What about attraction? This is different than looks, because it includes the whole picture. There are public datasets that measure this, and the patterns are pretty clear. Men strongly prefer women closer to 18 (not good for women), but also find far more women attractive than women find men attractive (very good for women). In other words, the attraction distribution for men->women is Normal. Men find most women attractive, some very attractive (~15%), and some not very attractive (~15%). How about women->men? Most women find only a small percentage of the male population attractive. This creates a differential: most women are competing for the same small set of men.

Why do women find less men attractive than men find women attractive? Because women put a far higher weight on production than men do. Unlike IQ and looks, production is Pareto distributed. The Pareto distribution is what governs income and every other measure of human production. It essentially goes like this: The vast majority are very low. There are a few that are decent. There are very very few who are outstanding. PQ correlates to everything a woman ought to look for in a man: income, stoicism, wisdom, rate of improvement, etc. Why is the PQ distributed so differently than IQ? Because IQ governs someone's book smarts, but not their production. I know many high IQ people given the nature of my two jobs. They can ace a test, but are as or more likely to live in their mom's basement playing video games as they are to start a multi-million dollar company or cure cancer. You can be very smart and still be lazy. You can be very smart and still be very foolish. You can be very smart without being very discerning. These traits are independent. When you have all positive traits coherently aligning, you get PQ, and that is really rare. PQ should sound familiar. It is what the scriptures call intelligence, light and truth, wisdom, godliness, etc.

A woman chooses a man based on his PQ more than his looks (though too many foolish women overweigh looks), and a man chooses a woman because of her looks rather than her PQ or IQ or anything else. Rather than get ruffled at the importance men place on looks, women should be grateful because: 1) men can't objectively measure what they should really care about, which is her feminine energy, and 2) if they could, most women would not be worth marrying. In other words, while it seems harsh and unfair that women are judged by their looks, most women, at least when they are young, have much more attractive physiques than characters, and can leverage that to get a far better man than they deserve. But most don't, because they select a mate from the shallow end of the PQ pool, either for lack of understanding or because they waited too long and therefore didn't have sufficient capital to qualify.

All this being said, the wiser a man is, the less he will care about looks. The wise man, like God, looks upon the heart. The wiser a woman is, the more she will develop her character (which, unlike her IQ, is wholly within her ability to change). She will find a high PQ man, dig in, and never look back. It is far easier for a woman to find a high PQ man than it is for a man to find a good hearted woman. This is why Solomon said that a virtuous woman is so valuable. He should know, because he couldn't find one in spite of trying 1,000 times.

A woman will receive a far greater benefit from finding a high PQ man than a man will benefit from finding a good hearted woman. Why? A woman with a high PQ man will have the opportunity to acquire lifetimes more light and truth from her husband if she is wise. If she is not wise, she will still benefit from the immeasurably better circumstances of life and treatment provided from her husband compared to the vast majority of other potential husbands. A man who finds a good hearted woman will have a much more enjoyable life than he otherwise would.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Understanding the science of 3 Nephi 8

1 And now it came to pass that according to our record, and we know our record to be true, for behold, it was a just man who did keep the record—for he truly did many miracles in the name of Jesus; and there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity—
2 And now it came to pass, if there was no mistake made by this man in the reckoning of our time, the thirty and third year had passed away;
3 And the people began to look with great earnestness for the sign which had been given by the prophet Samuel, the Lamanite, yea, for the time that there should be darkness for the space of three days over the face of the land.
4 And there began to be great doubtings and disputations among the people, notwithstanding so many signs had been given.

These things had been amply prophesied to come. The prophets had described them in great detail, and the people had 34 years to prepare.

5 And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year, in the first month, on the fourth day of the month, there arose a great storm, such an one as never had been known in all the land.
6 And there was also a great and terrible tempest; and there was terrible thunder, insomuch that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder.
7 And there were exceedingly sharp lightnings, such as never had been known in all the land.
8 And the city of Zarahemla did take fire.
9 And the city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof were drowned.
10 And the earth was carried up upon the city of Moronihah, that in the place of the city there became a great mountain.
11 And there was a great and terrible destruction in the land southward.
12 But behold, there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds, and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth;
13 And the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough.
14 And many great and notable cities were sunk, and many were burned, and many were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth, and the inhabitants thereof were slain, and the places were left desolate.
15 And there were some cities which remained; but the damage thereof was exceedingly great, and there were many in them who were slain.
16 And there were some who were carried away in the whirlwind; and whither they went no man knoweth, save they know that they were carried away.
17 And thus the face of the whole earth became deformed, because of the tempests, and the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the quaking of the earth.
18 And behold, the rocks were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the land.
19 And it came to pass that when the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the storm, and the tempest, and the quakings of the earth did cease—for behold, they did last for about the space of three hours; and it was said by some that the time was greater; nevertheless, all these great and terrible things were done in about the space of three hours—and then behold, there was darkness upon the face of the land.
20 And it came to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen could feel the vapor of darkness;
21 And there could be no light, because of the darkness, neither candles, neither torches; neither could there be fire kindled with their fine and exceedingly dry wood, so that there could not be any light at all;
22 And there was not any light seen, neither fire, nor glimmer, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars, for so great were the mists of darkness which were upon the face of the land.
23 And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen; and there was great mourning and howling and weeping among all the people continually; yea, great were the groanings of the people, because of the darkness and the great destruction which had come upon them.

What happened here?

The reaction of the earth comprised three days. The first three hours were the most intense, followed by three days of darkness.

The first earth event consisted of wind, thunder, and shaking of the earth. It is likely that everyone there would have previously experienced hurricanes, tropical storms, and earthquakes. Yet, what happened at that time was worse than anything they had ever experienced.

Cities caught on fire from the lightning. The strikes were numerous enough that in 3 hours the cities were completely burned down.

The sea flowed inland without ceasing, completely covering cities on the coast.

Uprisings in earth were so significant and fast that it seemed that the cities that had been there were buried. In fact, they were destroyed by the incalculable force of a mountain rising out of the earth almost instantaneously (f = ma).

After three hours of lightning, earthquakes, and sustained extremely high winds, a darkness occurred that lasted 3 days. You couldn't see any light or ignite any fire in this darkness. After 3 days, it dissipated.

Science

Arthur C. Clarke said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." I say this: "Any sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from religion."

God's prophecies are our richest source of advanced science. Unfortunately, too many write off religion as mythical, and current science as the limits of what can be known. Both positions are wrong, and holding them holds us back.

Solar eruption

The 3 Nephi 8 event was not supernatural. It was a solar eruption.

A solar eruption is when the sun ejects energy and particles into space. It happens from time to time. 

Evidence for our sun's eruptions is well-known, but the science of solar eruptions has recently been advanced as freelance scientists have challenged the long-held dogma of a consistent solar system.

Here is a long list of videos you can watch all about it.

Here is the very very brief summary: Earth's rotation is a result of the sun's energy flowing to it. When solar eruptions occur, the energy jolt can cause the earth's crust, spinning at up to 1,000 mph, to slow down and/or stop. This, in turn, causes:
  • Massive floods as sea water continues turning in the direction of spin. This doesn't look like a huge wave, but rather a continuous flow of water that keeps rising.
  • Massive earthquakes as the deep earth keeps moving under the slowed/stopped crust. The tremendous energy involved can easily cause cities to almost instantaneously sink into the earth or rise into the sky. 
  • Massive ultra-hurricane winds as the atmosphere continues turning even as the crust does not.

In a solar eruption, different waves of ejecta hit the earth at different times. The first of these is the energy that causes the above events. The next is the physical material that comes from the sun. Notably, the electric charges that accompany these particles create a scenario where the air becomes superhydrated with water (more than 100% humidity) and dust. This has two effects: 1) you can't see your hand in front of your face, and 2) you can't light any fire.

With what you now know about solar eruptions, reread 3 Nephi 8. It is very interesting to note how each of the events are described.

The darkness is called "mists of darkness" and "vapors of darkness." That is exactly what it was!

The lightnings were "exceedingly sharp"--so numerous and intense that they started sufficient fires to burn entire cities to the ground in only 3 hours--the amount of time between the energy shockwave and the mists that made fire impossible.

The winds were so intense that they carried people away and were called "whirlwinds."

The whole face of the earth was deformed by the earthquakes. These earthquakes were supercharged due to the energy coming from the sun.

This will happen again

After the destruction described in 3 Nephi 8, the author notes:

11 And thus far were the scriptures fulfilled which had been spoken by the prophets.
12 And it was the more righteous part of the people who were saved, and it was they who received the prophets and stoned them not; and it was they who had not shed the blood of the saints, who were spared—
13 And they were spared and were not sunk and buried up in the earth; and they were not drowned in the depths of the sea; and they were not burned by fire, neither were they fallen upon and crushed to death; and they were not carried away in the whirlwind; neither were they overpowered by the vapor of smoke and of darkness.
14 And now, whoso readeth, let him understand; he that hath the scriptures, let him search them, and see and behold if all these deaths and destructions by fire, and by smoke, and by tempests, and by whirlwinds, and by the opening of the earth to receive them, and all these things are not unto the fulfilling of the prophecies of many of the holy prophets. (3 Nephi 10)
This is just as true in our day, and the survivors of the next round of calamities--which will be the worst this world has ever seen--will be able to say the same.

These events really happened. They happened due to a solar event. Things like this will happen again. They are plainly described in the prophecies in the scriptures. Each of these events seems like magic or miracles to the degree that we lack God's knowledge, but if we had God's knowledge, they would be perfectly scientific and perfectly predictable.

The clear predictions given and the science behind them--which was beyond human understanding until very recently--are strong evidences that God exists and that he knows everything from the beginning. When these things happen, you should grow in your belief that God knows everything.

God's prophecies do not have to be understood to be obeyed. His commandments are given so that everyone can benefit from his knowledge, even if they do not share it. 

Trust him, and obey him.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Some thoughts

I used to think that everyone was pretty much the same. Now, I realize that the heart and intellect of man appears in all shapes and sizes. 

I used to think that I was glad that I did not have to relive my past, because I didn't want to go through those hard times again. Then I wished I could go back to do things differently. Then I wished I could go back and do it again knowing what I know now, because I believed I could help people more than I did. Now I realize that the interactions I had were planned by an all-knowing God so that it the ideal time for those interactions to happen for the greatest good.


I used to think that everyone thought and felt like me. I don't think that anymore. Not a day goes by that I am not given some stark example of some base motivation in someone else that was hidden by my naive optimism, and yet it has taken all of my 35 years (ok, maybe 18 years where I've been paying attention) to finally believe that mankind is as fallen as the scriptures say. 

I am astounded at the depravity of man on the one hand, and astounded at the irregular number of good people God has put in my path on the other. While I wish there were more people I could look to as resources, and although the tail of the path of truth is one of abject loneliness, I am glad that there are some people in my life who are good people, as far as they know how to be. Given the proportion of bad to good, I feel lucky in the number of good people I know.


I used to think that if I could go back and time and meet myself at about 15, I could dispense sufficient knowledge that I could catapult myself ahead by a good decade in progress, and do so much more with my life. Now I realize that if I did do that, I would simply smile at my younger self, and have absolutely nothing to say. I realize that I already was doing the best I could given where I was, and God was already playing the role of the person who knows the future, giving me all I could handle exactly as soon as I could handle it. Knowledge requires experience, among other things, and experience requires time. Even when the other conditions of obedience and desire are perfectly maximized, the process requires time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Hang in there

I know that many of you are suffering.

Some of you are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, but are at a loss as to how you can obtain more light and truth.

Some of you are overcome by the Lord's peeling back the corners on the darkness in this world.

Some of you are overwhelmed by trials that assault you on all sides.

To all of you, the Lord's message is to rejoice, because the time of your deliverance is approaching.

His words are the key to unlocking these and all other chains of captivity.

When he began his ministry, the Lord stood and said:

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19)

His mission today is the same as it has always been, and his hand has not rested.

The Lord works in many ways and through many people, and is capable of doing his own work. One small piece of this work is the book that he is inspiring me to write. This is where my efforts have focused in the last while.

Independent of the things he chooses to do with others, I believe that his word as expounded in this book will be a strong tool in the hands of those that love him to draw closer to him than ever before. I know that this book is an answer to many prayers that have been offered for deliverance.

I am working as fast as I can to finish this book, and I hope to have it ready in a month or two. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, trust God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. Do not give up. Do not turn away. He is worthy of all trust, and he will show you that if you push through whatever you are going through.