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Showing posts from March, 2016


John 7:17 gives Jesus' injunction for us to be experimentalists--spiritual scientists. For the sake of argument, assume that God exists. When we practice a commandment, and find we do not receive the promised blessings, we ought to conclude that either the commandment is not from God (our lives are filled with commandments of men), or we are doing it wrong. One commandment that is almost universally "done wrong" is the Sabbath. Another is prayer. This article will address still another, fasting. Fasting is engaged in for a variety of reasons. These include: A cultural expectation. A programmed cycle. To care for the poor. To gain spiritual power. To get answers to prayer. To conquer temptation. To focus on God. A cultural expectation. Depriving oneself of food (and water, depending on the religion) as a spiritual rite is taught in many religions. In the LDS religion, for example, fasting is defined and prescribed as the deprivation of food and water for a

Reasons for not believing in the Book of Mormon

Fraud, Waste, and Abuse 15 years ago this summer, I was introduced to the Book of Mormon. I was not willing to read it at first. However, after a friend of mine repeatedly showed me passages in the Book of Mormon that addressed deep questions I had regarding life and religion, I decided that it was quite important for me to find out if it was truly scripture or just made up. One night, I knelt down and prayed. I had been told that one could ask God about things, and he would answer. I had been shown Moroni 10:4-5 that says: And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. I figured it would not hurt anything to test what I had been told. I prayed a

A Thought in the Woods

I went camping with my wife the other night. Where we live, we can truly camp in the wilderness. No campsites, no humans for many, many miles. Just trees, rivers, animals, and God. Out there in nature, without modern conveniences, things are very simple. You have to eat, but you won't be able to eat any modern food. You have to sleep, but it will be on the ground. You have to stay warm, but the only way you can do that is with fire and clothing, and both will take an immense amount of time to procure and maintain. You need water, and it will probably be dirty. That's pretty much it. When you are doing all these things, there really isn't time for much else. Paradoxically, instead of being overwhelmed at needing so much time to maintain truly basic survival, you feel a much greater peace than is available in all the trappings of Babylon. We forget just how much we have to manage and worry about in modern society. As an example, at this point in my life I touch 20-30 separate

Teaching for Doctrines Second Edition

The second edition of "Teaching for Doctrines" is finished. The edition reworks some of the wording and fixes typos. There were edits to nearly every page. I did not include any new text that references my trial or excommunication. I wanted to preserve the original premise of the book, written by a member of the LDS church in full standing at the time.  I had planned to change the cover due to some complaints about it. However, in reflecting on the meaning of the cover, and also how much time it takes for me to do image editing, I decided that if people found it grotesque (that is what I heard), that would be a good thing, since what has been done to Christ's gospel is much more grotesque than what that lady did to the painting of Christ that I used for the cover.  The new version is available at the same link on Amazon (same ISBN). The new version is available on kindle (or should be later today or tomorrow--it is submitted).  The new version is available on the

Rejoicing in Error

A few months ago I went on a gear buying frenzy at Cabela's. Armed with coupons and special offers, I went there weekly to build up a stockpile of cold weather sleeping bags and other equipment for what is coming down the pike. I was there so frequently that the manager knows me on a first-name basis. After a certain number of trips, the manager said to me, "what can we get for you today?" I said, "you know, I have another coupon, and I've walked around the store for 30 minutes. I can't find anything else I need. I think I'm done." If life is like Cabela's, should we be glad when we think we've figured it out? On a micro-level, should we even be glad when we think we have found the right bow or the right sleeping bag? No, we shouldn't. In fact, the second we think we have it figured out, we need to repent. Being wrong isn't a bad thing. It's a terrifically good thing. When you are wrong, it means that someone has shown you s

Scripture Study: The rich young ruler's interaction with Jesus (Matthew 19:16-26)

16 ¶And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? The first line of the interaction between this man and Jesus reveals a suboptimal paradigm. There is no "good thing" we can do to have eternal life. Eternal life is gained through a process, not an event. The straight and narrow path is a process, not an event. We progress along that path by seeking and heeding every word of God. An interactive relationship with God is a requirement. It is not possible for someone else to access God, get a list of "good things," and pass them onto you. That process is idolatry. It places someone else between you and God. The gospel is not a static list. It is a personal, interactive relationship with God. Any list is meant as a teaser to get you to the point where you gain that personal, interactive relationship. It's training wheels. You can't ride to heaven with training wheels.  17 And he said unto him,

Hillary for president?

Those from an LDS background like to say how the Book of Mormon is for our time. I don't disagree with that statement. You will indeed find many parallels between what happened then and what is happening now. What doesn't get as much press is just how many of the prophecies of the Old Testament were actually for our day, not theirs. A study of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Malachi, and other books will yield the surprising conclusion that the majority of what they wrote is actually describing what is happening and will happen in our day. One of these topics is a "women ruling" motif. Here are a few passages: 12 As for my people, babes subject them; women wield authority over them. O my people, your leaders mislead you, abolishing your traditional ways. 13 Jehovah will take a stand and contend with them; he has arisen to judge the nations. 14 He will bring to trial the elders of his people and their rulers, and say to them, It is you who have devoure

West Coast Earthquake Warning?

My previous opinion was that a massive earthquake would occur across the entire West Coast. Some erroneously believe a west coast quake would be localized to one fault. However, recent research shows that massive earthquakes can trigger adjacent fault zones, and almost every western fault is historically overdue for a quake, suggesting the entire region is wound up like a spring ready for multiple fractures to "adjust" to historic positions. The CO2 release supports the theory that the entire region will quake at the same time by suggesting that there are active seismic events general to the entire region, not specific faults. Scientists ability to predict earthquakes relies heavily on their activity levels. Since the US has been seismically calm during the era of modern equipment vs. historically (as discovered only recently in surprising finds from scientists digging in Cascadia, Japan, and the middle of the US), our ability to scientifically model and predict what is comin