Monday, November 28, 2016


Over the last few days I had a conversation with a family member about the topic of happiness. It opened my eyes to a difference in my viewpoint compared to the world that I hadn't really thought about before.

If someone were to ask you to define happiness, how would you do it? Chances are your definition would be based upon pleasure. The problem with that is that it is based on your experiences here in the Telestial kingdom.

This world is a kingdom of lies (read this). Those that find joy in those lies, by definition, "love a lie." They can't have real happiness. Anything positive they experience is fleeting--it is merely the front loaded payout of a cost that much exceeds the benefit. That is how the devil deceives you: he hides the cost of something and flaunts the benefits, distorting your ability to make a rational choice (see his conversation with Eve in the garden).

My definition of happiness is probably different. In my opinion, the only true happiness that can be experienced here is sacrificing yourself for people beyond what they will appreciate. Most people here would not see this as happiness at all. As I wrote previously:

"...think about what it is like to be God for [a] minute. God knows us perfectly. He knows we do not deserve his kindness. He knows that what he goes and went through to provide what we ask far exceeds the benefit we will receive from his granting our desires. He knows we will never appreciate what he does enough to justify his doing it. He is the creator of the universe and all things in it. He always has something infinitely more important to do than what he will give up on our behalf. Yet, he does it anyway."

If you do not accept this definition of happiness, that is fine. Here is the wonderful news of the gospel: You will get exactly what you want out of it...sort of.

But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble. (Jacob 4:14).
While the Jews got what they wanted, they probably didn't fully understand what they wanted. When you desire something, you don't just get the part of it you understand. You get the residual consequences--you know, the ones Satan hid/minimized in order to convince you to want something other than God's will.

Most people, if asked, would say what they desire most is to be in their family forever, or to have enough to eat, or to be free from their pain, or to see their children succeed, or to have a nice house, or to have a boat, etc.

Guess what? If they really want it, they will probably get it:

I ought not to harrow up in my desires the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction. (Alma 29:4).
The problem is that they will also get what comes with it. And everything that is not God's will is limiting and/or fleeting. Those who are with their family forever, for example, will never be able to progress beyond the limitations their family has.

Lots of LDS like to quote Joseph Smith in saying:

“Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God.”
This is a true statement. However, the definition of happiness is the one I used, not the one most understand. This ought to give you a new outlook on the phrase: "...wickedness never was happiness." (Alma 41:10).

Those who seek Telestial "happiness" will find it--and they will never know the joy of the Saints:
But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever. (2 Nephi 9:18).
What is it that you desire? This is what the Lord asks--both explicitly to those who he redeems from the fall, and implicitly to every man through the agency he has granted. "And it came to pass when Jesus had said these words, he spake unto his disciples, one by one, saying unto them: What is it that ye desire of me, after that I am gone to the Father?" (3 Nephi 28:1).

How would you answer?

I would advise that you study the scriptures and prayerfully analyze your desires, remembering that the natural man is an enemy to God, and your only hope is to connect to a higher wisdom than what you natively possess:

 28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
 29 But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God. (2 Nephi 9).
Here is a great vignette demonstrating a higher-than-telestial desire:

 1 And the Lord said unto me: John, my beloved, what desirest thou? For if you shall ask what you will, it shall be granted unto you.
 2 And I said unto him: Lord, give unto me power over death, that I may live and bring souls unto thee.
 3 And the Lord said unto me: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, because thou desirest this thou shalt tarry until I come in my glory, and shalt prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people.
 4 And for this cause the Lord said unto Peter: If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? For he desired of me that he might bring souls unto me, but thou desiredst that thou mightest speedily come unto me in my kingdom.
 5 I say unto thee, Peter, this was a good desire; but my beloved has desired that he might do more, or a greater work yet among men than what he has before done.
 6 Yea, he has undertaken a greater work; therefore I will make him as flaming fire and a ministering angel; he shall minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation who dwell on the earth.
 7 And I will make thee to minister for him and for thy brother James; and unto you three I will give this power and the keys of this ministry until I come.
 8 Verily I say unto you, ye shall both have according to your desires, for ye both joy in that which ye have desired. (D&C 7)
The desire of John and the 3 Nephites received high praise from Jesus because these people did not seek their own well-being, but only the will of God and the benefit of their fellowman. Recall that this was also the criteria for Nephi receiving the fullness of the priesthood. It is non-negotiable. God was serious when he said: "For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; or whosoever will save his life, shall be willing to lay it down for my sake; and if he is not willing to lay it down for my sake, he shall lose it." (JST, Mark 8:37).

When I look at this world and the desires of those in it--including professed Christians--I am left to lament:
O how marvelous are the works of the Lord, and how long doth he suffer with his people; yea, and how blind and impenetrable are the understandings of the children of men; for they will not seek wisdom, neither do they desire that she should rule over them! (Mosiah 8:20).
We would all do well to adopt a prayer attitude that goes something like this:

"Father in heaven, I am a fool before you. I know nothing. I submit fully to your perfect wisdom. Please, father, teach me to act according to your knowledge. Show me what I lack. Lead to me to your will."

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Hi everyone,
Two things of note.

1 - I'm working on a new book called "Seek Ye This Jesus." I've actually been working on it for several years, but it is in the terminal stages. The subject is coming into the Lord's presence through repentance. This is a very important topic, and I hope I can say what needs to be said on it. Interestingly, my wife has been writing a book of her own, and we were drawn to the same topic, but are working independently. We have agreed not to read each other's book until we each finish. I'm quite excited to read hers. Mine is directed to Christians in general. Hers is directed towards the broader LDS community.

2 - I have set apart a few entire days to catch up on blog posts on my survival blog. Over the last year I've taken about 30 GB worth of video, and am editing it and posting it as we speak. So far, I have about one post scheduled per day until December. The videos contain knowledge that I've had to accumulate the hard way, and I hope it helps others save time and money.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Revelation and discernment

Salvation requires knowledge. "Knowledge saves a man and in the world of spirits a man can't be exalted but by knowledge." (Joseph Smith, WOJS 7 Apr 1844). In fact, salvation is to possess a finite set of knowledge. Once a man obtains sufficient knowledge to overcome the lies of this world, he will by definition be living a higher set of laws, and thus possess a higher degree of glory.

How is knowledge obtained? By revelation.

“… A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. Hence it needs revelation to assist us, and give us knowledge of the things of God.” (Joseph Smiht, History of the Church, 4:588).
Knowledge comes in two increments: General knowledge/commandments, and individual knowledge/commandments.
9 ...It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell. (Alma 12:9-11).
God separates knowledge into these two increments because of eternal law. God promises us that we will not receive a commandment that we are not capable of keeping.

...the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. (1 Nephi 3:7).

Yet, we are hardly capable of living as God does, which is the standard for living where God does. God will not give you a commandment you are not capable of keeping, which means he will not give you the commandments you are not capable of keeping, even if these are required for eternal life.

Instead, he will patiently send you experiences to build your capacity for obedience until you are capable of keeping higher commandments. He will send them as fast as you are able to keep them, and you will be able to keep them commensurate with how faithful you are to God under all circumstances.

"The portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men" contains general knowledge/commandments. They are simple and obvious to extract from the scriptures. Every person who is capable of understanding them is also capable of living them.

Where do we get individual commandments/knowledge? Through revelation.

Thus we see why it is so important to understand the principle of revelation. "The principle of revelation" might seem like an odd way to talk about the topic. Receiving revelation is anything but simple, due to it being a noisy channel.

There is opposition in all things, and revelation is not excluded.
For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. (2 Nephi 2:11).
Opposition in revelation comes from counterfeit revelation. Revelation comes from God. Counterfeit revelation comes from Satan or from our imagination.

Revelation comes in many forms: thoughts/impressions, dreams, voices, open visions, visitations. I used to think of things things as a ladder; the higher you go, the least likely the revelation is to be suspect. That isn't true. Actually, these forms are a continuum. The further along you are on the continuum, the easier it is to have faith in what you receive.

It is also incorrect to think that the more important the message, the more tangible the form of revelation. Consider dreams. All of Daniel's revelations came through dreams. Lehi's warning about Jerusalem came from a dream. That's all he got. If you had a single dream telling you to flee from your home to the desert, leaving everything you possess, would you do it? (If not, you have drawn a line in the sand beyond which the Lord cannot bless you.) God is very willing to give incredibly important instruction through impressions, voices, and dreams. If you receive them, take them seriously, because denying them may very well be the difference between blessing and cursing, life and death.

ANY of these revelatory forms can be counterfeited by Satan. With a little time, it would be easy to list out instances of counterfeit revelation through each of these channels documented in scripture. I theorize that anyone who has received true revelation through any of these channels has also received false revelation through them. It is the counterbalance to provide opposition.

How do we avoid being fooled? Joseph Smith spent a lot of time teaching the people how to discern true messages from God. I don't think this is a matter of memorizing which beings should shake your hand or what color their hair ought to be. Instead, I will give you a key that will not fail you. Joseph taught:
A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the Spirit of Revelation for instance when you feel pure lnteligence flowing unto you it may give you sudden strokes of ideas that by noticeting it you may find it. fulfilled the same day or Soon. (I.E.) those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God will come to pass and thus by learning the Spirit of God. & understanding it you may grow into the principle of Revelation. until you become perfect in Christ Jesus. (Joseph Smith, WOJS 27 June 1839).
Revelation is a gift of the spirit. Joseph taught "No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. The Holy Ghost is a revelator." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 328). If you are receiving revelation--even if it is on something pertaining to the past or the present--you will periodically receive prophecies about the future. Pay attention to the circumstances of that revelation. Pay attention to how you feel. Pay attention to what you feel, and what you desire. If what you were shown comes to pass, that revelation is from God, and you ought to ascribe the circumstances of that revelation to be an indication of coming from God. As you accumulate more and more of these, it will become very obvious to you which revelations come from God, which come from you, and which come from Satan.

What you will find is that true revelations are always accompanied by the love of God, and the more dramatic the channel, the stronger the feeling. The only thing that can't be counterfeited is the love of God.

Now, here I have to make some comments. First, feelings are the easiest thing to make up/misinterpret. It is interesting that if you are teaching someone to break free from false tradition, the first thing you do is teach them not to trust their feelings. For example, slaughtering sacred cows always creates cognitive dissonance, which causes negative feelings, and these are erroneously interpreted as a signal that what you are doing is wrong. When you experience the love of God, there is no mistake about it. There is nothing in this world or in your head that can compare to it. That being said, those who have never felt it could easily attach that label to something far different, just as a subterranean dweller who has only heard descriptions of the sun might falsely assume that a flashlight is the sun.

This is why fulfilled prophecy is important. Prophecies act akin to tracer rounds in a magazine: every few bullets, you get one that glows and shows the trajectory of the other rounds that don't glow. If you continue in that path, you eventually get an experience that reveals to you the love of God. For me, these included when I prayed about the Book of Mormon, when Jesus visited me, and one other vision I had pertaining to the future. In fact, the way I was able to recognize Satan when he appeared to me as God was that his visit was not accompanied by the love of God, a feeling I had grown to become so familiar with during revelation that its absence jarred me out of what would otherwise been a very impressive demonstration.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Two stories

Story 1

About 8 years ago, I moved to North Carolina for work. I was in the Maryland National Guard at the time. As part of the move, I had submitted a packet to be transferred into the North Carolina National Guard. Usually, this would be a quick transition. For some reason, the officer in charge of processing the paperwork happened to be amazingly slow at his job. I was enjoying my job, enjoying the change in dating scene, and contemplating buying a house. One day, out of the blue, the Lord told me in an audible voice "do not sign any house contracts, you are going to be deployed." I was shocked, but being familiar with that voice, I could not question the source. The next morning, my commander (I was second in command in the unit) called me. He said "This is pretty hush hush still but have you heard we are getting deployed?" I smiled and said, "I have!" He didn't ask how.

I grappled with this situation. For some time I had come to the conclusion that our foreign policy was out of alignment with the Lord's will. While I wasn't so worried about my own life, I had serious reservations about taking someone else's life or being responsible for putting my subordinates in danger for the reasons at hand. I immediately began to pray in earnest. The Lord replied, again with a voice (which is always a big deal and abnormal in my life), that I was not actually in the North Carolina National Guard. I was shocked at this comment, because although I was not legally in the North Carolina Guard, I had been attending meetings and training with that unit for months, and definitely felt an obligation to go with them. I continued to pray, telling God that I felt conflicted and didn't know what to do.

His response was very interesting. He replied with a question, again audible. He said: "What do you want more, to go to war with these men or to get married and have a family?" It was surprised to learn that this was an either or situation, and the Lord was not going to tell me what to do. He showed me the conflict and allowed me to choose what I desired.

I immediately decided, and less than 24 hours later I was on the road, headed west with everything I owned in my car. Less than a year later I had met and married my wife. I have been shown what my life would have been had I not moved. It would have been very bad.

There are a few takeaways from this story:

1. A very large ship can be steered by a very small rudder, and the largest of gates can turn on the smallest of hinges.
Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. (Alma 37:6)
2. The Lord gives us according to our righteous desires in this life. However, he doesn't always put it on a silver platter for us. We have to ask, seek, and knock. Sometimes the blessing we seek is hidden behind life-as-usual. The status quo may stand between what we desire and what we have, and sometimes the only thing God will do is to wait for us to ask. If I had not prayed about my situation, I am sure that I would have chosen the wrong door--the default door.
But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul. (2 Nephi 32:9).

Story 2

I joined the LDS church at age 18. At age 20, I left on a mission. I had every reason in the world not to go. One significant reason was that I dreaded leaving my family. Not geographically speaking--I had been away to 3 years of college and various military training trips. I was very afraid for their spiritual welfare. I believed I was their lifeline, and without me they would be lost. In retrospect, it was a pretty silly thing to think. Nevertheless, I thought it. After much deliberation, I left. What I experienced in the next 2 years have planted a foundation that has blessed them spiritual in ways I never could had I stayed. Soon after returning home and finishing my first degree, I moved away from home. I was the first person in my family to go to college, and the first to leave the area my family had lived for generations. Although I always thought I would be returning soon, it hasn't worked out that way. In the years since my departure, I have taken countless opportunities to improve my situation. It has been tough having a family while being far from my parents and siblings. Still, it is ironic to me that all the reasons I had for not leaving have proven to be the very reasons I needed to leave. Specifically, I wanted to stay to take care of my grandparents, parents, and siblings. Yet, in leaving I have encountered opportunities to become far more capable of helping them than I ever could have had I stayed.

There are several lessons that I learned through this:

1. Sometimes honoring your mother and your father means having to disobey their wishes, as sometimes they don't have the foresight to know just how much of a blessing your actions will prove to be to them. I think of the story of Joseph of Egypt. Joseph's father surely did not want Joseph to be sold into slavery. Yet, it saved his life and the lives of his entire large household.

2. We can rarely know the end from the beginning. In fact, the Lord tells us not to assume we know what tomorrow will bring:
Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof. (3 Nephi 13:34).
We have to ask God, and when we receive revelation, trust that he knows better than we do. When we seek God's will and follow it, we should find ourselves frequently saying that it has all panned out in ways we never would have supposed (see Moses 1:10).

Monday, November 7, 2016

Zion: Zeal without knowledge

Whenever God sets forth additional light, there is an immediate winnowing of the chaff until only those who have a relationship with him are left. It's a cycle.

Like children, whenever we get a little light and truth, the first thing we do is pretend that we are something special. We exaggerate what we've received, exaggerate our worthiness, and claim blessings that are not ours. We rush into things that we have no claim on in utter ignorance, filling in the blanks by making things up.

"For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge." (Romans 10:2)

It's a real shame, because the only way to progress from where we are is to ask God how we can change to take the next step. Those who assume they already have never bother to ask God what is next.

I am no one special. I have no authority beyond the authority of God's word that I quote. Yet, seeing a discrepancy between truth and what is being preached, I have a duty to share the little that I know.

My goal is to give you something to pray about. Do your own research. Read Isaiah. Pray and ask God. Figure it out for yourself. Do not rely on me, or any other, for your relationship with God. This stuff matters. You ought not take these topics lightly. You ought to not assume that anyone talking about these things is right. You ought to have extreme skepticism. You ought to seek God on these topics until you have enough revelation to compare against.

The Gathering

There is a misconception that everyone who is gathered will be safe and isolated from the tribulations prophesied to come. That is false. Many, many people will be killed, even among the righteous. Joseph Smith said:
“It is a false idea that the Saints will escape all the judgments, whilst the wicked suffer; for all flesh is subject to suffer, and ‘the righteous shall hardly escape;’ still many of the Saints will escape, for the just shall live by faith; yet many of the righteous shall fall a prey to disease, to pestilence, etc., by reason of the weakness of the flesh, and yet be saved in the Kingdom of God. So that it is an unhallowed principle to say that such and such have transgressed because they have been preyed upon by disease or death, for all flesh is subject to death; and the Savior has said, ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged’” ( History of the Church, 4:11).
It is foolish to think of gathering as a finish line. It isn't. It would be more appropriate to think of it as the next rung on a ladder. As an example, think of David. He was called to be king of Israel as a youth. Despite a preliminary victory in slaying Goliath (an amazing demonstration of God's power), he had to live through a prolonged period of extreme hardship before actually realizing the blessing of being king. The gathering should not be seen as the acquisition of a blessing. Rather, it is the delivery of a new set of challenges. These challenges will vary for everyone.

The gathering will not occur as a finite, general event. What I mean is that you should not expect the one mighty and strong to announce himself, publicly announce a gathering, build a temple, and await the return of the city of Enoch. It is not going to happen that way. First, there will be a one might and strong, but his mission comes as a gradient. No one is going to know who this guy is when he starts his mission. It's not so hard to believe that if you imagine that it is very possible we will not have modern communication when his mission begins. Second, the gathering will begin as many small independent gatherings. This is something God showed me in vision, but I think I can persuade you with reason. What would happen if there was a public gathering? Suppose someone famous came on the scene with great fanfare and announced a gathering. Who would show up to that event? I imagine the composition would be much like the recent Boise conference. I know many if not most of the people there and consider them good friends. But would such a group of people qualify for higher law? Is that group, or one like it, living all of God's commandments? Certainly not. The light you receive is determined by your degree of obedience. A general group of people will not qualify for any greater light than they already possess. Now, if you could have God's discernment, it would be easy to select a subset of that group who would qualify for greater blessings. In the gathering, God will use angels to inspire groups to gather--groups that are clustered according to the strengths and weaknesses they need to progress. Each group will endure a custom set of trials designed to provide them with what they specifically lack. As these groups are refined, the Lord will instruct them to move and join with another group. People will be told "get up and take your family this way" until they reach groups, possibly of people they've never met before. This consolidation will mainly occur after there is no longer electricity, motor vehicles, or other modern technology. Each movement will be dangerous. It will require revelation to start and revelation to carry out: guidance, logistics, supply, etc. There will be plenty of hostile territory to pass, little food and water, etc. There will be plenty of opportunity to increase in faith, as well as ample opportunity to suffer. People will die, no doubt about it.

Once you enter into a gathered group, you become party to the collective state of the group. If a person in the group needs a certain trial to progress, the odds are good that everyone in that group will suffer through the same trial. For some, that trial will include pestilence. For some, hunger. For some, harsh conditions. For some, capture by occupying armies. For some, betrayal. And so on. People will suffer; People will die. It is only those who come through all of this that will make it to Zion, and many who merit Zion will nevertheless be numbered among those who die.

One of these coalescing groups will emerge as Zion. It is unlikely that many (if any) will know that such is the case at the beginning. If they did, hoards of unprepared people would show up, creating an environment where Zion would be impossible (this is what happened in Joseph's various gatherings). In order to have Zion, you have to have selective gathering. This can be accomplished in several ways, including great tribulation (so the wicked leave or die) or by withholding the actual location of Zion. If Zion were not established until after the lights go out, no one would know about it except those to whom God revealed it.

There is a notion that there will be no kings in Zion. That is only correct if you limit the definition of "king" to the world's definition. Jesus said his kingdom is not of this world. There will many kings (and queens) in Zion, and their kingship and queenship will have started long before that. A man's kingdom is his family, which ought to extend far beyond those he is genetically related to. A man's duty is to serve others. In Christ's system, you progress as you subject yourself to the good of others.

25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. (Luke 22)
The pattern is given by Abraham. Abraham righteously led his family and then extended his service to those around him. Righteous men and women will purify themselves and become a ministering angel to those in the circles of influence. They will have constant opportunities to mediate for those they serve through willingly giving up comfort and resources that they have merited by their righteousness to those who do not deserve them. These will be instrumental in the conversion of the remnant (see 2 Nephi 10:9, 2 Nephi 6:7, and 1 Nephi 21:23). Though Zion is a community, it is established individually, as each person turns their heart to God and knows him more and more, until all know him equally. "And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest." (Hebrews 8:11)

The Temple

Some people are terminally stuck in the false LDS temple paradigm. A temple is not a shortcut to God's blessings. You cannot sidestep the law required to receive a blessing. It might be easier to build a temple than it is to keep all of God's commandments. He might even recognize your sacrifice, as he did with Moses and Joseph Smith (Kirtland). But this wouldn't mean that you have achieved your goal (the Zion temple and everything that goes with it). It would simply mean that you have achieved the blessings had by the children of Israel in the wilderness (not much) or the people of Kirtland (disaster).

The purpose of the Zion temple is simple. It is to collectively reveal a new (higher) set of commandments. If you are not yet living the ones God gave previously, God is not going to reveal a higher law. It would violate divine law:
9 It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. (Alma 12:9-10)
If you want a dispensation of higher law, obey the law you have already! How many sinless people do you know? I know very, very few. Certainly not enough to build a temple. A temple will not magically change your heart. It is not a shortcut to the blessings reserved for those who actually obey God's commandments.

Remember, also, that if you have a publicly announced gathering, a trendy gathering if you will, you are going to gather all sorts of people. If you gather all sorts of people, you are ensuring that God has to winnow your group through trials before you are down to just the ones who have merited the blessing.

Finally, building a temple is not something you decide to do. It is something God commands you to do. It is folly in the extreme to save for a temple before receiving revelation to do so. God authorized David to do so, instructing him that Solomon would build the temple. If you need any extra reason not to engage in this folly, consider that there are plenty of poor people for whom you have responsibility, as God never said that your responsibility ends with your "fellowship." The only way you can save for a temple is by breaking that commandment. If God commands you to save for a temple, than by all means do it. If he has not, you ought to flee from that folly.

While we are reconciling prevailing opinions against scripture, we ought to also consider the role of the Gentiles in the construct of the Zion temple: it is the remnant and not the Gentiles who build that temple. If your plan to build a temple is not preceded by the gathering of the remnant, it is impossible that said temple could be the Zion temple. At best, it is another Kirtland temple: of use to the few who are ready to accept it in order to prepare them to go out and do missionary work. At worse, it is a Moses temple: of no use to the hoards of unrepentant people except as a stumbling block to distract them from what actually matters.

There will be a temple, but none of what has been discussed requires it. You don't need a temple while the people still aren't living what has already been revealed. Until there is a people who are keeping all of God's commandments that have already been revealed, why would God command anyone to build a temple?

What You Should Do

  1. Keep all the commandments. "And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant, which I made unto thy father Enoch; that, when men should keep all my commandments, Zion should again come on the earth, the city of Enoch which I have caught up unto myself." (JST, Genesis 9:21). Zion cannot come except to a people who keep all of God's commandments. As long as you are in willful disobedience, you cannot be a part of Zion.
  2. Serve your family.
  3. Serve your fellowman. Zion cannot come to a people who have not cared for the poor. This is not limited to the poor in your family, or some select subgroup (read: in your "fellowships"). It is a general commandment. There are billions of poor people in this world.
  4. Pray and ask God what you should do. Only those who have an instructional connection with God will get to and through Zion. When you pray, everything ought to be on the table. Don't be surprised if he asks something extraordinary from you, whether it be public (visible to anyone else) or private (not visible to anyone else).