Sunday, May 12, 2019

A woman's purpose


A while ago, I undertook a deep dive into masculine purpose, and wrote this. In creating that document, I benefited from three books that were useful at least in part in accelerating my thinking on the issue. 

For some reason (probably because our modern sensibilities make meaningful discussion on the topic taboo), there are no such books I could find on the female side. I don't know why no one has bothered doing so before, but here is a draft version of a document for female purpose.

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I have a higher purpose in life, one that transcends the daily. My mission in life is to beautify (improve the appearance of), to enliven (make more entertaining, interesting, appealing), to enhance (improve, make more valuable), to excite (cause feelings of enthusiasm and eagerness), to enrich (improve or enhance the value of), to uplift (improve the spiritual, social, or intellectual condition of), to gladden (make glad), to mollify (calm and soothe), and to pacify (bring peace to). The greatest recipients of my gifts will my husband and children, in that order, and within the home. The success and reach of my mission will be rate-limited by the resources (principally time and money) at my disposal, and therefore choosing and sustaining a productive husband is the most important action.

I am a queen. My being a queen depends upon my husband. The king does not need an equivalent partner, he needs a complimentary partner. The king distills, the queen dispenses. The king plants the seed, the queen grows the seed. The king provides the thread, the queen weaves the tapestry. The king creates a protective space, the queen creates and fills the space. I receive his power and love by appropriately appreciating who he is and what he provides, seeking his wisdom, and learning what he teaches me through his explicit teaching and implicit example. I love my husband by opening myself completely to him (communicating the fullness of my heart, my hopes, my worries, my joys, etc. in complete and unrestrained honesty and trust), becoming one with him through treating him as an extension of myself, and adopting our joint decisions, desires, and perspectives as my own.

I am a mother. I do what I do because I choose to benefit others without regard to what I receive in return. I am able to focus my attention away from self-gratification and onto others. I create, sustain, and enrich life. I manage the predictable aspects of the family, such as the daily and weekly home responsibilities. I take primary responsibility for the nurture and education of my children. I channel and direct the chaos of children into safe, productive, and beneficial directions within the bounds of the world my husband has created and with the resources my husband provides. I do what I can to advance these things in the children of others.

I am a magician, seeing potential in people and things and making it a reality through my actions. I see the potential in my husband, my children, and others, patiently providing the time and attention necessary to nurture their potential into realization. I see through illusions to how things really are, and I can foresee how they can actually be. This includes myself: I accurately and honestly know myself. I correctly gauge the content and abundance of my worth and my faults. I seek and rejoice in learning and correction. I spend appropriate time and effort in watching what I eat, exercising, sleeping, dressing, and grooming. As I age, I will take ownership of the responsibility of passing my wisdom to younger women.

I am a lover. I am affectionate with my husband and children. I am emotionally, physically, and ideologically intimate with my husband. I create fun experiences and make daily life more enjoyable by magnifying experiences and conversations through my presence.
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I also just recorded a video on what it means to be a Proverbs 31 woman. You can find it here.

Some have commented that I tend to be harsh on women.

The truth is reality is harsh. It is equally harsh to men and women, in different ways. Anyone who is serious about honoring their commitment to witness of Christ at all times and in all places must adopt his purpose, one dimension of which is preparing people to deal with reality to a greater degree than their current awareness allows.

While today's society does little to cushion the harshness of reality for men, it goes through great lengths to cushion it for women. Modern women have many sources of illusion to paint over reality with, and almost all of them do.

The last days judgments do one thing, primarily: they expose the world to a greater measure of reality than we were previously exposed to. The effect of this exposure is very different for men and women. You can read about this all over the scriptures, particularly in Isaiah. What happens when men are exposed to the reality of human nature? For the most part, they die. They are killed and enslaved by captors, disease, and famine. What happens to women? They will have a much worse time, because their modern delusions are much more extensive.

Anyone who believes in truth must adopt the cause of helping people prepare for what is coming. You can't help people by lying to them.

Friday, May 10, 2019

How far will you go before you quit?

One way you can define "trust in God" is by what you are willing to suffer before you act out of alignment with your best understanding of God's character. In short: what does it take to make you blink? How far will you go before you quit?

One way of thinking about the gospel of Jesus Christ is as a system designed to gradually expose you to greater degrees of awareness of reality. When you die, you will be exposed to all of reality pertaining to this sphere. This experience for most will be one of the types of hell described in the scriptures. They will be completely and suddenly exposed to a vastly more extreme reality than they were prepared for. Those who have lived the gospel here will be more prepared, and those who have overcome all things through Christ here will only experience increased joy there, as they will have already integrated the increased reality into their intelligence/belief system/character/understanding/desires/habits/knowledge/etc.

God's purpose, then, is to expose us to the greatest degree of reality possible while in this life. How much we accommodate his purpose is determined by how far we will go before we quit.

Paul's description of this life in Romans 8 differs a bit from how I imagine most describing it. Pay attention to how he characterizes life as generally awful:

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.
34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8)

In the gospel of Paul, the puppy dogs and rainbows don't really come until after you die. You are going to be "killed all the day long," slaughtered, subjected to infirmities, and worked against by death, life, angels, principalities, powers, height, depth, creatures, etc. The world is trying to kill you--spiritually at least, and many times physically, too. The more you are exposed to reality, the more awful experiences you will have.

The good news, of course, is that the good wins out, the good is greater than the bad, and while everything bad here is temporary, everything good is not only permanent, but will be multiplied eternally after you die.

Unfortunately, most people--almost all people, probably including you--quit before God is finished working with them. They willingly act, desire, or think contrary to their best understanding of his will. Or, in the midst of the fire, they beg him to take it away or end it.

You should never ask God to take an affliction away. You should beg him instead to teach you the knowledge you lack to overcome it.

There is no limit to what a child of God can endure through faith and trust in Jesus Christ. He has overcome all things, and inasmuch as we lean on him, we will do the same. The way we do this is by trusting him enough to endure the situations he ordains in his perfect wisdom and love. He can only teach us what we lack by exposing us to the consequences of what we lack until we decide to trust him unconditionally. Jesus learned obedience by the things he suffered, and we do too. There is no other way.

Too many find false relief in reading the scriptural accounts of people like Job and saying, "I'm so glad that God does not put me through something like that." I have some bad news for you. Job quit. He turned away from God when God showed him the limit of his trust in him. We don't have the complete story in the Bible, but if the account there is all there is to say, Job's eternal progress is capped at the level of trust in God he showed, which was short of unconditional. Job relied on friends, family, health, and wealth to trust God. When these were taken away, he stopped trusting God. Instead of saying, "Lord, this is really hard, but I know you love me, and I trust you," Job complained. He asked God to end his suffering.

Job is not the only example. Search the scriptures and look for men and women who cracked under pressure. Those who quit when it got hard. You'll find that even though righteous people are very rare, almost all of them quit when it gets hard. They almost all have limits.

The single greatest predictor of your progress in life will be what it takes to make you quit. Those who refuse to doubt God, no matter the circumstance, overcome all things. Nothing can keep them from the love of God, no matter how bad things are in the moment.

For everyone else, they have their reward: eternal limitation due to their limited trust in God. He cannot give them all he has, because they would not receive it, and they could not appreciate it even if they did. Instead, they are given what they desired, which is less than that.

Enough rope to hang yourself

Because of technology and cheap energy, we have the lowest cost food in the history of the world. Never have so many people been fed by so few farmers. What do we do with such a boon? Everyone is obese!

We have the best-funded medical system the world has ever seen. What do we use it for? Are we saving lives? Not really. We are treating the effects of eating too much, exercising too little, and killing babies. More than half of Americans took a prescription drug in the last 30 days. Everyone is addicted to something, it seems. More Americans die every year from opioid overdoses than died in the Vietnam war.

Today, every single person in the US can attend college. Instead of leading the world in innovation and productivity, the United States is cranking out an unfettered quantity of underemployed baristas. Why? Because given unprecedented access to education, young people prefer majors that end with "studies" or traditional majors for which there are no jobs, in spite of the fact that there are unprecedented shortages and excellent wages for many other fields. So, these folks leave school with an average of $35,000 in student debt that they will never pay off.

Welfare programs are designed to funnel our enormous economic surplus (defined as what is more than absolutely necessary to live) to those who would otherwise suffer. However, look at what it actually does. For more than 20% of the population, it is more profitable to be on welfare than it is to work, and that number is increasing fast. The child support/family court/welfare panoply has changed the face of marriage. Realizing that the system is overtly stacked against them, men are increasingly opting out of marriage. More and more men refuse to marry, and some even refuse to date, and that number is increasing very quickly. Men realize that they don't need a relationship to have sexual fulfillment and that in a world of no fault divorce, child support, and alimony, it just isn't worth the overwhelming risk (50% of marriages end in divorce, of which 70% are initiated by women, and which almost always means child support and alimony from the husband with little to no cost to the woman).

Birth control has allowed families to plan when to have babies and how many to have. What has this marvel brought us? A lot of bad things. Did you know that hormonal birth control completely changes a woman's mental health, including her ability to feel happy, to pair bond, what kind of man she finds attractive, and what sorts of things she seeks in life? The ubiquity of birth control is a factor in the spike in use of antidepressants as well as the divorce rate (short version: women on hormonal birth control are attracted to beta males, get married, go off birth control, and suddenly hate their spouse). Birth control has driven the increase in the number of sexual partners people have during their lives. In 1970, 80% of women had two or fewer premarital sexual partners. Today, it is fewer than 39%. People have, on average, around 10 sexual partners during the course of their lives. It is important to note that the odds of a woman getting a divorce go from 5% to >20% if she has had one premarital sexual partner, 30% if she has had 2. Why? Because a woman's ability to pair bond and be happily married are strongly coupled with her having a minimal number of serious relationships prior to marriage due to oxytocin and vasopressin patterns in the brain. Women are not biologically wired to have more than one serious relationship. [Sidenote: for men, the negative effects don't kick in until around 7 partners]. Prior to the pill, a combination of factors led to rational sexual behavior in women. They sought a stable, successful, strong male partner to avoid the financial and social risks of unmarried sex. Without these guardrails, women have had ample opportunity to display their baser motivations. Modern women view their pre-30 years as a time to "have fun" with men. The development of this cultural change has been accompanied by a significant and consistent decline in female happiness since 1970. Millennial women have embraced hook up culture, and use Tinder to compete for the top 20% of men. They don't mind that these same 20% of men are sleeping with 80% of the women. They don't care that these men do not pass their standards for marriage. They aren't looking for a husband or a father for their children, they are looking to have "fun".  Consequently, the number of men who have no partner keeps going up, and is currently 3x the female rate (these numbers were equal in 1970). And what are these men doing with their lives, since they have no societal guard rails encouraging them to increase their earning potential and otherwise improve themselves? Video games and porn!

The internet has brought unprecedented access to information into the hands of all, essentially for free, and in a small enough band of time that most people alive were adults when this was not yet the case. Anyone remember encyclopedias? And what are we doing with this? Are people self-training for vocations that were previously reserved for only the select few? Are people inventing things like never before? Are people improving themselves by studying the works of great minds? For the most part, the internet is used for social media, Netflix, video games, and porn. We have rewired our brains for short term dopamine hits, killed our concentration ability, and ruined our ability to having meaningful, real relationships.

I can go on and on, because this is the pattern you will see in every aspect of modern life: God has given us unprecedented resources, and we are using them to fulfill the wicked intents of our evil hearts.

1 And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.
2 Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.
3 And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.
4 O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world!
5 Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths!
6 Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide. (Helaman 12)
Too many mistakenly believe that when the end comes, it will be through supernatural means. They think God will unleash some miraculous judgment with magical and spontaneous wrath. What they don't understand is that so much of what is happening and will happen is simply the natural result of our proclivity towards evil being manifested in unprecedented ways, not because of God's judgment, but because of God's blessing in giving us more resources than we've ever had. And what do we do with those resources? We fulfill the vain imaginations of our evil hearts. Look around you, you will see it everywhere. And that is just what you see. There are much worse things happening that are hidden from your sight.

This is all exactly according to Satan's plan. He is a liar from the beginning, and the lie that he pushes is that there is some other way than what God has ordained. That you can have sex outside of marriage without negative consequences. That you can eat anything anytime without negative consequences. That you can go to school for anything you want and be in the same situation as those who study wise majors. That you can indulge in any and all things on the internet and not pay a price. That you can do anything you want and someone will save you from the negative consequences of your actions. It doesn't work that way.

God does not have to send some magical event(s) to wipe this promised land clean. All he has to do is expose us to the natural consequences of our actions. All he has to do is give us some rope, and we will hang ourselves. Our heads are already in the noose, and we are standing on a very wobbly chair.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Exceptional lives come through exceptional faith, not through magic.

On Sunday I had a pleasant conversation with a person I online knew from online exchanges. One thing she said was that she has to use a dictionary when she reads my books because I use words she isn't familiar with.

That comment made me uncomfortable because I find myself constantly at a loss for words. It just so happened that over the weekend I completed a read through "The Glory of God is Intelligence" and noticed at least 3 cases where the word I used was not only ill-fitting, but absolutely incorrect.

I think I'm a terrible writer, because I know the source of what I write about, and I know how long and hard the process is to try to convert the information to English, and to try to inflate the compressed signal out to something that is meaningful and applicable to someone that doesn't already know exactly what I'm talking about.

You have probably heard that, given enough time, a monkey can randomly write Shakespeare. I spend 2-8 hours per day practicing writing, and have been doing it for at least 6 years; It is still just as hard for me as it ever was. God has not given me the gift of writing. He has given me the gift of tenacity. He has set my face like a flint, and promised me the strength to accomplish anything I set out to do through this gift, according to my faith in him.

I'm able to do things no one else does because everyone else quits before they get there. That's it.

We love to ascribe to randomness things that are not random at all. It alleviates us from any personal responsibility for the situation in which we find ourselves. If you want an unusually broad vocabulary, work with words for more time than most people do.

Now, this post isn't about my writing, or my vocabulary, or what that kind lady said. It is about you. It is about what you are doing with your life. It is about how you see yourself, God, and the world.

I would like to suggest that you are capable of a great deal more than you think you are. You are holding back. Stop pulling your punches, and discover the masterpiece life that God intended for you to have.

There is a such thing as inborn limitations. For instance, there is a limit to how well you will sing, how muscular your physique will be, or how tall you will be. Once you hit that limit, there isn't anything else you can do about it. But who actually works hard enough to hit that limit? How many people do you know who can honestly say "I've done everything I can towards this goal. I've left nothing on the table"?

When you stop short of your potential, it is always for one reason only. You think you have hit the limit of your capability. You have not. What you have hit is the limit in your trust in God.

All of us has access to this divine promise: You will have power to do all things that are expedient in Christ. "Power" does not mean things will be quick, easy, or fun. It would be nice if, when I write, I am visited by a pack of visible angels, who guide me to heaven where they show me a scroll containing all the words I should write while giving me a back massage. That is not how it works. Sometimes I sit and stare at the screen while demons chant to me how no one cares, how no one will listen, how I am not adequate to write these things. They try to distract me with aspects of work and home and people. I muster the strength to remain focused. I inch forward one sentence at a time as I ask myself, "do I really believe God? Do I really love him? Do I really love my fellow men? Then I MUST do this!" One inch at a time. I fall on my face and pray to God, and he strengthens me to keep going. Sometimes, I collapse in exhaustion on the floor, and get up twenty minutes later and keep working. Then, after all of that, I go to my jobs that pay the bills.

I'm not sure there is any such thing as exceptional people. I know there is a such thing as exceptional faith, and I know it is not something you are given but rather a choice you make. Anyone with exceptional faith will do exceptional things. An exceptional relationship with God is not obtained through rare spiritual experiences. It is obtained through crawling on your face towards him, one inch at a time.

It is unlikely that what is expedient for you to do is the same as what is expedient for me or anyone else. Maybe your exceptional thing is truly loving someone who is not loved by anyone else. Maybe it is choosing to have an attitude of gratitude in the face of an affliction that is not going away. Maybe it is obtaining the courage to see yourself in a more honest way, facing your demons, and improving. Maybe it is coming to grips with things you have tried unsuccessfully to ignore. What your exceptional things are is between you and God. That you can in fact have them, though, is beyond dispute. Go and claim what God has ordained for you.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Land of promise, life of promise: Where and how you live

What is a land of promise?

Here is how Lehi described his land of promise:
5 But, said he, notwithstanding our afflictions, we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord.

6 Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.

7 Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.

8 And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.

9 Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever.

10 But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord—having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise—behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them. (2 Nephi 1)

Note:
-You can be afflicted in a land of promise, even when you are righteous.
-There were conditions appointed to Lehi's land of promise, and those who broke those conditions disqualified themselves from the blessing.
-There were bounds set on the experiences of those who lived the conditions of the promise, and those bounds were set by an all-knowing God to limit their experiences to that which would benefit them.

You can live anywhere you want in the world, but God has a specific set of circumstances designed specifically for you in order to guide you to exactly the subset of knowledge you require to enjoy the greatest happiness here and hereafter. Will you seek him to find out where that is? Are you there now? Would you bet your life on it?

What is a life of promise?

A life of promise is a life that has been pre-appointed and designed for a certain purpose and outcome. The Lord Jesus is a perfect example. His life was designed before the foundation of the earth for the purpose of redeeming mankind. Jesus could have lived any life, but he choose to seek and live the Father's will. Note that even Jesus had to seek to know the will of the Father and choose it above the infinite possibilities that existed for him. The same is true of all of us. Will you seek him to find out what that is? Have you obtained the life that will grant you greater happiness than any other life? Are you there now? Would you bet your eternity on it?

On promises

The real blessings of obtaining a land/life of promise are not so much in the objective experiences received, but in the sure knowledge that your experience lies completely within God's will for you. In other words, the blessings of a land/life of promise are complete peace of mind, contentment, and joy that transcends anything that can happen to you in this life. It is the promise that, if you remain completely reconciled to God and seek him with all your heart, you will dwell in him and he in you, and you will overcome the world through submission to him, because he has already overcome the world.

Everyone is capable of receiving this from God. Everyone is capable of living in such a way as to discover the path God would have them walk, and to walk in the confidence of knowing their life is reconciled to God's will: where they live and how they live. To obtain this, the path is simple but not easy. You must reconcile every aspect of your life to your sincere awareness of who and how God is.

What happens if you don't? Whether you have promises from God or not, you will be subjected to and immersed in experiences that are difficult (this is a gross understatement). Two people--one who has promises and faith and one who does not--will have very different experiences in the same difficult situation. Both may be dressed in rags, living in a hole in the ground, and subsisting on crude and scarce food. One will have sufficient peace, joy, and security that they will weep in gratitude when they pray to God. The other will curse God and wish to die. There have been times and situations where some have sufficiently hidden from the difficulties of reality through money, drugs, or other illusions, that they have made it through most or all of life without having to face the fire that comes involuntarily and unavoidably after this life. This time has ended, and we will all walk through the fire. The time has come to live as if unseasonal frosts will hit your garden, because they will.

God's promises will give you strength in times of great challenge. They will give you the hope you need in Christ to put one foot in front of the other, to endure while the fire does its work of purging you from everything that can't endure reality.

How do you get promises from God?

Everyone is responsible to obtain this from God.

The way you do this is by faith. I've made a few videos on faith, and I highly encourage you to watch them. Briefly, faith comes by hearing. You have to have a reason to believe something is real/true/from God, and then you act to test it. Maybe God has told you these things before, but you hardened your heart against it. Maybe you have never heard or thought these things before. Regardless, I'm telling you these things which I know to be true because I have obtained them. And you can too, if you obey the principles upon which they are predicated.

All of God's power is exercised on the principle of cause and effect. Promises from God sometimes reveal what the cause of the promise is, and sometimes they do not.

These promises can be conditional or unconditional. However, unconditional promises are not actually unconditional. Rather, they are based on a cause that has an end and has already been achieved. For example, all of mankind will be resurrected, but this is unconditional only because the condition (Christ's perfect life and sacrifice) has already been achieved, and is not reversible.

If the conditions of any promise given by God in the past are revealed, then you have the key to obtain the same promise yourself, because God is no respecter of persons. Anyone who follows the same conditions will receive the same blessing. Cause and effect.

Because God is no respecter of persons, we must conclude that nothing he does is arbitrary. He acts based solely on "the law" appointed before the world was. The word "law" can mean a lot of things in the scriptures, and when we look at it in low resolution by lumping together all of these meanings, we will never comprehend what God is actually saying. In the case of the law appointed before the world was, what we are talking about is the plan of salvation, or the relationship of cause and effect between everything we know in this mortal existence.

What about promises for which the conditions are not revealed? How do you receive the blessings of Joseph of Egypt? Or Moses? How do you receive the blessings of Lehi? We aren't told what that conditions of these things are, because these peoples' stories begin with their receipt of a promise. Alma 13 provides the key. In short, the answer is simple: Obtain and follow everything that God reveals to you.

Follow the light God gives you without exception, and seek more without ceasing. He knows the end from the beginning, and can/will lead you along like a shepherd leads his sheep. The sheep don't have to know or understand where they are going. He will lead you to a life so glorious that you can't think of it, let alone comprehend it, and might not even see it as desirable yet (but you will, as you gain more of the wisdom he has).

Trust him without holding anything back. He will lead you to a life so much greater than anything you could have designed or obtained for yourself. He knows all things, and he loves you more than you love yourself.


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 :).