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Showing posts from 2015

Redeeming a land through the shedding of blood

The land of America, the present-day United States, has been given as a gift to God's people many times through history. It was first given to Adam and his posterity. Through iniquity, they forfeited ownership. God redeemed the land through the slaughter of almost every inhabitant, saving only Noah and his family. It was given to the Jaredites. Through iniquity, they forfeited ownership. God redeemed the land through the slaughter of almost every inhabitant, saving only Coriantumr, who was given enough time to testify of the wickedness of his people. It was given to the Nephites. Through iniquity, they forfeited ownership. God redeemed the land through the slaughter of almost every Nephite, saving only Moroni, who was given enough time to write the tale as a witness to the wickedness of the Nephites. It was given to the Lamanites. Through iniquity, they forfeited ownership. God redeemed the land through the slaughter of an astonishing number of Lamanites. Scholars estimate t

What is the Great and Abominable Church?

One of the 1828 webster dictionary definitions of the word "church" is "a particular number of christens, united under one form of ecclesiastical government, in one creed, and using the same ritual and ceremonies; as the English church; the Gallican church; the Presbyterian church; the Romish church; the Greek church." The defining characteristic of the church of the devil is not the claim that one belongs to such nor any formal membership process. There is no central headquarters of the church of the devil, nor an entrance ritual. Instead, the unifying characteristic is that members of that church believe in one creed. What is that creed? The scriptures provide us with at least some of what it contains: A man's situation is completely his own fault. (Alma 30:17.) Sins done in secret are admissable. (Moses 5:51.) Success comes by conquering others. (Alma 30:17.) Those who are prosperous are so because they are better than others (Alma 30:17). Anything t

"And they were married, and given in marriage, and were blessed according to the multitude of the promises which the Lord had made unto them"

Reading in the Book of Mormon tonight, I hit this passage:  10 And now, behold, it came to pass that the people of Nephi did wax strong, and did multiply exceedingly fast, and became an exceedingly fair and delightsome people.  11 And they were married, and given in marriage, and were blessed according to the multitude of the promises which the Lord had made unto them." (4 Nephi) It reminds me of what I wrote here . What is this cryptic ordinance referred to here?

The Loneliness of the Straight and Narrow

Jesus said, For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. (Matthew 10:35-36) I have had many seasons where God placed someone in my life upon whom I felt I could lean. These people were true supports at a time when I needed it. I rejoiced to have a second set of shoulders to relieve the burdens that I carried. With time, in every case, these people let me down--almost always when I needed them the most. Once when praying about this, the Lord said "Every person in your life will fail you so that you learn that I am the only one on whom you can rely." It is easy for us to have an earthly crutch, but God intends for us to lean into him, not a man or a woman or a job or a hobby. Everything in this life is fleeting, even the interpersonal relationships some erroneously teach are eternal. The degree to which you rely on a perso

All children go to the Celestial Kingdom?

Joseph Smith made plain that salvation is a product of the knowledge one attains. One cannot obtain the blessings God has without living the law he lives. Living that law requires acquiring that law. You receive the level of glory commensurate with the level of law you live. This is why no man can be saved in ignorance. When we read that All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God; Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom; For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts. (D&C 93:7-9). we ought not be troubled. There is no contradiction here, as those who would have received the law if they had been permitted to tarry will indeed be given the opportunity to do so, and will only receive a higher degree of g

The Remnant of Jacob

Who is the remnant? The descendants of Lehi: "And ye will also know that ye are a remnant of the seed of Jacob;" (Mormon 7:10) "Saying: I, the Lord, will make known unto you what I will that ye shall do from this time until the next conference, which shall be held in Missouri, upon the land which I will consecrate unto my people, which are a remnant of Jacob, and those who are heirs according to the covenant." (D&C 52:2.) "Moroni said unto them: Behold, we are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; yea, we are a remnant of the seed of Joseph, whose coat was rent by his brethren into many pieces; yea, and now behold, let us remember to keep the commandments of God, or our garments shall be rent by our brethren, and we be cast into prison, or be sold, or be slain. Yea, let us preserve our liberty as a remnant of Joseph; yea, let us remember the words of Jacob, before his death, for behold, he saw that a part of the remnant of the coat of Joseph was prese

Meaning of book cover

Many have asked me what the cover of "Teaching for Doctrines the Commandments of Men: Tradition in Modern Mormonism" ( free pdf ) means. The third image above is found on the front cover of the book [1]. The second is found on the rear cover of the book. They appear side by side on the first printed page of the book. This images are from a fresco painted on the wall of a church in Spain . The leftmost image is the original, a representation of the Savior. The second image shows what it looked like after many years of degradation. The last image is what it looked like after a local attendee of the church decided that she wanted to fix the portions of the painting that had flaked off. Consider the parable: Someone with a clear vision created the representation of the Savior through their gifts. Those who followed did not have the same gifts as the artist, and/or neglected the task of remembering and caring for what had been given. The world has a way of degrading things.

New Book Released

The links for the free pdf and Amazon print copies are posted in the sidebar of the blog. For some reason (perhaps the number of pages, it is around 400), createspace will not let me sell this book exactly at print cost (createspace's printing fee + Amazon's listing fee). The lowest it will go gives me a $2 commission on each book, pre-tax. I give you that info in the spirit of full disclosure. The pdf. The print copy . If you would like a print copy without paying shipping, or if you would like to hear a free talk, or if you would like to meet and greet some wonderful people, I invite you to attend the book launch talk this Friday. The location of the venue is: Daybreak Community Center 4544 Harvest Moon Dr, South Jordan, UT 84095 Room B (Upstairs) December 11th (Friday) 5pm-7:30pm. Talk at 6. Hope to see you there.

Don't Forget About Liahona Children's Foundation

As we go through this festive time of year, we tend to think a little more about those who do not have as much as we do. I would like to remind any readers of this blog of the noble organization Liahona Children's Foundation. I've written much about them in the past (search the blog for it). Liahona is an almost entirely volunteer organization whose sole purpose is to provide nutritional supplements to malnourished LDS children worldwide. I encourage you to make a donation. It costs very little to prevent the loss of life and life-changing permanent disability caused by childhood malnutrition. There are also many opportunities to become more involved. At a minimum, you can use to make your normal purchases, which will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to Liahona. I'd like to make a special plea to those who participate in "tithing groups." It is good to follow the promptings of the Spirit wherever the lead. However, please note that

Why you should want to survive the tribulation to come

It seems there is a sizable number of people who, when taught of the degree of suffering the coming tribulation will bring, say "I would rather die than go through that." The most important factor of survival is attitude. Your mental state can kill you faster than anything else, or can enable you to survive things that others would die just imagining. If you have already decided that life would not be worth living under certain conditions, you definitely will not make it. Here is why you might want to make it after all. First, most of those with whom I speak have children. While the suffering will be great for the parents, it will be far worse for the children. Children are not able to fend for themselves. They are not able to understand why bad things happen. They are more easily scared than adults and less able to cope with hunger, cold, fatigue, etc. What loving parent would adopt an attitude that assures their children will suffer more than they would otherwise? If you

New Book and Free Fireside Dec 11th, 5-7:30pm in South Jordan, UT

I will be releasing a new book called, "Teaching for Doctrines the Commandments of Men: Traditions in Modern Mormonism" shortly. As will all my books, it will be available on at print cost and free to download. This has been a tremendous amount of work, and I have been very anxious to finish and distribute this book. I am sure that anyone who reads the book will learn something new, but the main audience of the book is your friends and relatives who have not had the time or inclination to seriously study the scriptures or church history. This book is a one-stop-shop to help anyone in the church today to draw closer to Christ through the analysis of traditions they espouse that may limit that process. With so many friends and family members losing faith in God due to faith crises spurred by the discovery of unexpected church history or recent church policy, this book is as timely as it could be. The book is written deliberately in a way that dissects interwoven tr

They Were Eating and Drinking, Marrying and Giving in Marriage

In Matthew 24 we read this cryptic passage: 36But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 45Who then is a faithf

Survival Blog

I have spent a lot of time in the last year acquiring skills and equipment for the intent of surviving what is coming. I know that temporal skills and equipment are not a sufficient condition for survival. It would be an utter waste of time for someone who does not know God to prepare for the temporal destruction that is coming, because they aren't going to make it anyway. However, those who are repenting need to have faith in the descriptions God has provided of what is coming that they may be a blessing to those who they will associate with as the world crumbles who were not warned and did not have the means to prepare. With that in mind, I have created a separate blog where I catalog my findings and experience for the benefit of others so that they can accrue this knowledge and know what gear is worthwhile without having to spend as much time and money on it as I have. The blog is At present, I have a lot more material than I have time to

How to Overcome Suicidal Thoughts

Like all of Satan's temptations, suicide is only attractive to those who are ignorant of the implications. Satan sells suicide as an escape. When you just can't take what life is handing you anymore, you hit the escape button. After all, it seems nothing can be worse than this. Sound familiar? Well, it is a lie. Whatever life is handing you at this moment is exactly what you need to overcome to go to the next level of your existence. That test--that basket of tribulation--is not going to go away. Life is not an open plain, where you can choose some other path if the one you occupy becomes to difficult. The way is strait and narrow, but it is also straight. "There is no other way." The only way to escape is to go through what is troubling you. You can't go around, and you can't go away. There is no escape. If you end your life, you will just have to go through everything that makes you want to commit suicide again, worlds without end, until you learn to overcom

The Woman Taken in Adultery

This really is a gem of a story.  1 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.  2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.  3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,  4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.  5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?  6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.  7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.  8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.  9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eld

Musings on temptation, knowledge, and salvation.

The purpose of this life is to learn to distinguish between good and evil and to choose good. Human beings are inherently rational. We do not choose evil because we love evil, we choose evil because we are blind to the true consequences of choosing evil. Satan's main tactic is to misrepresent the true consequences of sin. We are blind to the true consequences of evil because we love evil and do not search in the light. In order to search for further light and truth, one must be ready and willing to part with any and all false traditions. This means having a willingness to have what are now positive things in your life turn bitter. It is gutwrenchingly unpleasant. To those who will let him do it, God will show that there is nothing Telestial that is worth the cost. The only thing in this kingdom that is worthwhile is to keep God's commandments, because God's commandments belong to a higher state of glory than where we find ourselves at present. Many are frustrated in their a

Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

A blogger recently compiled a list of reasons people abandon the gospel and church. Some of those reasons are reasonable, but most have good answers. In hope to provide some of those answers, which I don't seem to see anywhere else, I will provide a series of answers to these questions. One of these questions is why bad things happen to good people. The issue is this: when there is a tsunami and 200,000 people die, or when your kind grandmother dies of bone cancer, or when you suffer through the abandonment of a spouse through no fault of your own, how can God allow such a thing to happen? This question reduces to two simple questions:  1) Are the consequences of mortality limited to mortality? 2) Are the experiences of mortality limited to our current probation? The answer to both of these questions is a resounding no. In brief, God not only allows but ordains bad things to happen to good people because it is one main ingredient in the pool of knowledge one must at

Inside Trading in the LDS Church

The big story from conference weekend is that of "ponderize." Devin Durrant, first counselor in the Sunday School Presidency, wrote a talk around the term. Meanwhile, his son and daughter-in-law registered an affiliated website on September 27th selling t-shirts and wristbands of the meme. This is a rather egregious example of profiteering off the church. The feedback was overwhelmingly negative and speedy. There were many changes to the site from the time the talk was given until that evening. At first, the t-shirts, priced at 17.99, were dropped to 9.99, with a message placed on the site that they were being sold at cost to get the word out. Then, the prices went back up with a message that all profits were going to the missionary fund. By 10:45pm Sunday, the site was taken down . It would be nice to think that this is an isolated occurrence, and that this sort of thing doesn't happen very often. It would also be incorrect to think so. The fact is that the church