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Showing posts from 2023

Singlehood, marriage, and happiness

This is a response to a YouTube comment on a video I made about marrying young. The comment "You make valid points for humans who want to survive life without undue misery, but this video has little to do with actually finding happiness.  Would it kill you to mention the word love a couple of times in such a long video on relationships? Have you considered love as something more than just a physical connection?  I’m sure my opinion is worthless to you as I’m in the 99.9% of people who are either not happily married according to your parameters or are lying to save face about it, but I believe that the majority of truly happily married people fall outside of these ‘sweet spots’ statistically speaking, simply because of unforeseen circumstances which, yes, in some cases can contribute to divorce, but in other cases can lead to people becoming more mature humans who actually know how to treat each other right. People change, and even an idiot with a neck beard who worked fast food fo

Fed miraculously through early response to obvious value

Jesus miraculously produced loaves and fishes, and if he had this power as a man, what more is he capable of doing now that he has ascended to his Father and promised us even greater things? You'll recall that the Israelites were freed from this curse during their 40 year sojourn in the wilderness via the miraculous administration of mana from heaven. Do you doubt he could do at least as much today?  Have you stopped to consider what consequences might come from the removal of Adam's curse? The availability of miraculous food would certainly would lift the curse. But does God provide for us what we have the ability to provide for ourselves? Did Jesus feed the crowds in Jerusalem, or only those who had followed him out to the wilderness, days away from food sources? Some presently living will come to a time when they rely on no less than miraculously provided food for survival as every Babylonian support crumbles. It would be unwise to assume either that you will be able to prod

Worship music

The topic of religious and "worldly" music came up in multiple conversations recently, including a video on the channel. Here is a followup from an email thread. Here's a hypothetical conversation between two people: A: "Do you listen to metal?" B: "Yes" A: "But metal isn't appropriate for a Christian." B: "There are plenty of metal songs that are inappropriate for a Christian, and I don't listen to any of those, but some are good, and those I listen to." A: "Why would you listen to metal if it has bad songs?" B: "Every genre has bad songs." A: "Not gospel music." B: "What do you find offensive about offensive songs?" A: "They condone things that God does not approve of." B: "Do you think he approves of worship songs sung by people whose hearts are far from him? Do you think every gospel singer is sincere?" A: "" B: "Your gospel singers are n

The complete ruin of a verse

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (Matthew 23:23) An appeal to the Greek shows that the terminal phrase indicates that if there was a conflict, it was the less important matters that should be omitted, not the most important matters. This is a common sense and extremely important principle, yet no English translation I've found has it rendered correctly. Suppose there was a conflict between two instructions from God, and people were led to believe that all instructions from God are of equal resolution and equal importance. In this case, all people would fail to keep the most important principles, because they would not be willing to leave the lesser principles undone. And they would wonder why it is so difficult to keep the greater principles, when they do such a good job on the l

He was indeed deaf, but not in arrogance

For various reasons, I don't spend as much time as I have in the past reading books by others that are not scripture. However, I do always have one I am working through. Because there are so many good books out there and I spend so little time reading them, I am always bitterly disappointed when a book I'm excited to read turns out to be bad. The really bad ones I can set aside and move on from. The worst books are those so bad that they hurt to read while giving the impression that setting them aside might result in missing something worthwhile. I'm currently reading such a book. One positive of this book is that it has several quotes from others that are gems. I keep a collection of quotes by others which I treasure. I'm not sure this will make it to my list, but it has given me pause. The story goes that Beethoven was having an argument with a prince during which he said: "Prince, what you are, you are through chance and birth; what I am, I am through my own lab

Daniel in the lion's den

An artistic friend asked me to elaborate on a reference I had made about how I did not find the artists depictions of Daniel in the lion's den as very realistic. I don't fault artists for the limits of their best effort in depicting something they have not seen. It is unfair to compare what you have seen with what someone else has not seen. However, anyone can google a video of how a pack of lions acts around humans. It is very clear that humans are food to them. One step further would be to avail oneself of the lion parks in South Africa, where the palpable feeling of being on the menu and the knowledge that the only separation between you and these terrifying animals is a piece of auto glass somehow helps you see otherwise invisible cues of the desire of the lions to tear apart your flesh with their relatively blunt teeth, long claws, and fearfully large, rippling muscles. This is the lion's "I am going to eat you" gaze. Any artist could/should study the natura

A question about charging money for something produced through the gifts of God or on religious topics

A reader wrote me a question, which I will here anonymize a bit before answering. The gist The person produced an item that she was selling that consisted of a creative work with gospel art. She had a bunch of copies made, and sold most of them. Time passed. Now her religious views don't fully align with what is in the book, and she's not sure if it is right to make money off of something religious in nature. She asks for help in formulating her question to God on the matter. The answer 1. Formulating vs. asking questions. Typically, most of the work is in formulating the question. If someone has to formulate the question for you, they will likely harm you in giving it to you, because they will give you the key to receiving the answer without you growing to be worthy of it, but will all but guarantee you feel worthy of it. Our needs are a prime driver of our humility before God and willing subjugation to the means he has ordained for us to come up to him. We are naturally haugh

Charging subscription fees for access to the material I produce

Some time ago, a reader suggested that I employ a Patreon model of tiered access to the content I produce based on increasing levels of money. My response was patterned after the following: 51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, 52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. 53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? 55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village. (Luke 9) It is contrary to everything I understand to employ a Pateron model to govern access to this conten


The Lord said: It is necessary that the things that cause offense must be done and taught, but woe be to those who are offended by them! (Matthew 18:7, My Reflection) Is it ever good to be offended? We describe things that we are offended at by saying we were offended by them. Can anything force you to react with offense without your consent? When you are offended by something, does it indicate something about what you are offended at, or only something about yourself? And what does it indicate? Where does offense come from, if not from evidence that something you valued has less value than you thought? And how often is that something your own self image? What is more offensive to a haughty person than evidence that their comeliness is actually corruption? And yet, is there a greater gift than to help a person see more of the truth--things as they really are--especially pertaining to how they really are? A person who has an inflated self-image will never do what is necessary to grow

A burst of alethia

I was looking for something in my notes and my eyes scanned the following reflection on Isaiah 55:2, and my heart valued it so highly that I could not withhold sharing it: Why do you exchange your silver for what cannot nourish you and consume your toil on outcomes that are less than their cost? Listen to me carefully: eat what makes you grow the best, believe what is most useful, do what conforms to your conscience, desire what you believe is best, and admire what is beautiful, and your soul will increase as what is contrary to the best God can presently give you is consumed to ashes, making the way to see, obtain, and rejoice in increase everlasting.  This is the desire of the Lord's heart for you and for me, and as you live it, you will feel him smile upon you. What could possibly be greater than increasing the Lord's joy? I know of nothing. My footnote to the word "silver" read: Not just money, but also your strength, e.g. the good that you could do. Silver shines

Some powerful lyrics

I was introduced to a new song yesterday which I am continuing to listen to through today to extract all the things the Lord is tying it to in my mind and heart.  The lyrics start with this passage: It started out as a feeling Which then grew into a hope Which then turned into a quiet thought Which then turned into a quiet word And then that word grew louder and louder 'Til it was a battle cry I'll come back When you call me No need to say goodbye Just because everything's changing Doesn't mean it's never been this way before All you can do is try to know who your friends are As you head off to the war Just because everything's changing Doesn't mean it's never been this way before All you can do is try to know who your friends are As you head off to the war ... You'll come back When they call you No need to say goodbye As with so many ideas from God, this passage can be experienced in a multiplex[1] of meaning.  Here's a variation of those words

A message from the Lord to a friend

This morning I was blasted by the Lord with a stream of love for a certain friend. I emailed him a note, part of which I will paste here to the strengthen the others it also applies to: You do so much for your family and those who are willing to receive you as a friend. Your love does not go unnoticed to our Father. I hope you can feel his love for you. I thank God that he put you here at this time and in this place. God has given you the courage of a lion. Turn the full fire of God toward your own heart,[1] and be consumed in his love, and after refining you,[3] he will pour a stream out of your overflowing heart into all the world.[4] As you face temptation, learn to go out and serve someone. Make the devil check under his bed for you. Make him regret every time he comes knocking.  Your home defense shotgun is the heart of God within your own, and you fire it by placing your love on full display for all to see, as if you were loving the Lord himself,[5] no matter who tramples it.[6]

Logo change

A viewer asked: "Please tell us about your avatar change (or did I miss it on one of your recent videos?)" The new icon is going to be on the new website, so I put it on the YouTube channel in preparation for that. When the new site goes live, this blog will end with a message that says "go there instead." I may still cross publish new content on YouTube, but maybe not. The former YouTube icon was a picture I quite liked, but it was very poorly suited to the low resolution way it is displayed, appearing simply as a gray blob. I tend to be resentful of all the dumb little things people require to click on things, but it is good to make a reasonable effort to remove barriers for people to access what will help them. The former blog icon was a lighbulb, which used to be a lightbulb on a ramp until I decided my graphic artist skills were too horrific to make that look sufficiently good. The former blog has the tagline "Explaining the prophecies and the scriptures t

Response to sundry questions

A viewer asked the following tranche of questions, which I will address inline. Q: "Please teach us why you do not capitalize Him/His when referring to God?" A: I understand the reasons people have for capitalizing them. The experiences I have with him have caused me to find some things much more important to him than I thought, and others to be much less important to him than I thought. There are some cases where he cares about the outward show of reverence, and there are many where they are so pretentious that those who see them so cannot exercise them without mocking God. In at least some things, God would like us to place less emphasis on the outward to as to take away the temptation people incline toward of assuming that by filling their lives with outward shows of piety, they can excuse themselves for the lack of inward obeisance to him. If we capitalized him in our hearts, we would not find the need to do so in our writing. I don't know anyone who uses capitals who

Email response to a single man: How do I balance standards with seeking a woman that will benefit from me?

Part of the email: I sincerely want to do what is best. When I’m given greater light, I want to increase my speed, sensitivity and intensity in reacting appropriately to the greater light, but I’m struggling to practically apply your advice with women. I appreciate what you said about crowns, thorns, unmerited suffering for the benefit of others, etc. but when it comes to ladies, how do I balance this with having basic standards? For women, you say they should receive the best man who will have them. For men…find the woman with the greatest growth potential who is also willing to adopt your purpose as her own? My response: We teach in terms of the ideal, but we must live in terms of the practical. Even when we make every sacrifice we know of to aim for the ideal, we will feel that we are living very far from it in our experience--even if we are on the exact path to it, and certainly if we have not yet truly found it. The truth is that the ideal is very hard to find, and that is not suc

Jesus can cure so-called mental health problems

The comment: A viewer responded to my video called  Hierarchy of Awareness  by saying:  Wow, I had to rewind and listen to some parts again.  I don’t believe in depression or anxiety like Western medicine defines it i.e. a broken brain or diminished quantity of some neurotransmitter and suspect the real treatment for these thought disorders has something to do with increasing awareness. Wonder what your thoughts on this are?  It seems that individuals with higher levels of awareness just don’t suffer from these pseudo-psychiatric conditions but as our world continues to degenerate, we will see more and more people suffer from this because of lack of awareness or constricted awareness or something to that effect.  Thanks for teaching these things that we just weren’t aware of before. My response to him: I agree with what you've said and can make a strong case for it. You've put my thoughts into brief terms better than I could. I am going to say a lot about this in times to come.

How to be a terrible cult leader

From time to time, people will accuse me of trying to start a cult. If that were my aim, I am going about it the worst possible way. - Don’t believe anything I say. Only believe what you have your own reasons to believe. Only believe what you are persuaded of so thoroughly that if it proved to be utterly false, only you would be at fault. - Don’t value anything I say or do that you do not believe  - I only ever share what I see, believe, value, and do myself. - I am the least charismatic person in history. I dependably tell you the thing you would least like to hear. - I do not hide anything. I am not giving one message in public and one message in private. Whenever there is anything I know that I do not say, it is only because I have not yet said everything else that I’m supposed to say before that, or because I’m still working on better words to express it.  - I don’t have a secret inner circle. There are a few people who deserve a medal for how diligently they have repeatedly reache

Correspondence: Yes, we are meant to follow the descent of Christ below all things

The email: Something I’ve been trying to work out that’s affecting me in the immediate: when Christ descended below all things, did he draw on the grace of the Father to do so?  The first thought that comes to mind is his cry on the cross, “why hast thou forsaken me?” Yet, he can do nothing but what he sees his Father do.  I ask because, as our exemplar, it has to say something for the nature of the suffering and course we follow. Is Christ’s suffering unique because he had no example in time, or because he had to draw on his own infinite nature to bind all creation to him?  If it’s the former, then we draw on the grace and power that flows out his atonement. If it’s the latter, then we follow his example in learning to draw on our own infinite nature (because there is no other way than the one he showed). This feels a bit more new-agey, but ultimately our own “infinite nature” isn’t of ourselves, but our connection to an Eternal God. …Which bring me back to square one. We’re supposed

A new YouTube channel focused on helping others

A friend of mine named Chris has started a YouTube channel where he is focusing on sharing stories of his experiences helping those in need. Chris has a lot of love in his heart, and I think you'll find his videos are clear and uplifting. You might want to check them out.

I might be talking about you alone, part of you and part of someone else, or a whole bunch of people all at once

This is one of many posts where I write out a longer explanation of something that I will reuse to save time, forwarding a link instead of rewriting the same idea again and again. Frequently, I will include information from correspondence with or observation of specific individuals in the materials I publish. Sometimes my response treats one specific case. Often, I amalgamate more than one person or experience to respond to several people all at once or to attempt to make the message more generally applicable. Though I probably do it very poorly, I freely weave together chunks specific to specific people, as well as chunks derived for groups of people and chunks intended for everyone. There may be a better way, but doing this achieves several objectives: 1) It gives you the opportunity to practice the art of honestly scanning for information that may be helpful to you among information that may not be. It's good to keep that active and sharp. 2) It gives me the ability to increase

When people board the crazy train

"All aboard! ....ha ha ha ha..." (Ozzy Osbourne, Crazy Train ) Risk is the composite of opportunity and danger. Where one component exists, there is also the other in equal and opposite abundance. All disciples of Christ will necessarily embrace more of both. The gospel is not just a vehicle for providing what is better, but also the tools to protect us from the increase in danger that always attends the same. It is always with great grief that I perceive that a what appeared to be a fellow sojourner in the path turned aside to obvious falsehoods. It is good to get away from the idea that all people and things must be all good or all bad. Goodness and badness is a question of motive, not material, and when we force something or someone into a binary state, we lose the benefit of taking the good wherever it can be found. It's wonderful to be able to recognize value in some aspects of a person, thing, or situation without being bound to what you see as less than the best yo

The difficulty of preaching to everyone, everywhere, all at once

It is not possible to give one message to all people while saying the best that could be said to each. The ancient preacher Jacob said it very well: 1 The words which Jacob, the brother of Nephi, spake unto the people of Nephi, after the death of Nephi: 2 Now, my beloved brethren, I, Jacob, according to the responsibility which I am under to God, to magnify mine office with soberness, and that I might rid my garments of your sins, I come up into the temple this day that I might declare unto you the word of God. 3 And ye yourselves know that I have hitherto been diligent in the office of my calling; but I this day am weighed down with much more desire and anxiety for the welfare of your souls than I have hitherto been. 4 For behold, as yet, ye have been obedient unto the word of the Lord, which I have given unto you. 5 But behold, hearken ye unto me, and know that by the help of the all-powerful Creator of heaven and earth I can tell you concerning your thoughts, how that ye are beginni

Email: A definition for justice

The email Rob, what do you think God means by justice? I am making a correct definitions document and I read so much about his justice. For example, how Isaiah says we are condemned for not upholding it also how it is spoken of in the Sermon on the Mount. My response First, I would suggest adopting the phrase “useful definitions” in place of “correct.” You’ll find the Lord has much more room to open your eyes when you explicitly acknowledge the permanent limits of language.  Second, a useful definition of justice is “that which is deserved, based on God’s understanding of cause and effect.”

Email: The Lord told me my family would be taken away for a time

I received a treasure of an email from a friend this morning. I've had to remove a bit of personal details, but I hope it still proves useful to others. The email I know the words of the Lord will only benefit me and lead me to where I want to go. [Once, I was] reading in a lesson the conversation the Lord had with Satan about his relationship with him.  “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” (Job 1:9-11) What a profound question.  "Does Job fear God for nothing?  The way I read that is would I follow the Lord for when you don't get a temporal reward?  Then I had a thought, would you love your wife if you didn’t have any reward.  What if everything you value in that relationship was remo

Do LDS leaders have keys?

What are keys? A key is information that brings into understanding ideas that were previously unknown or misunderstood, just as a physical key consists of a set of teeth whose shape and position provide access to whatever the lock protected. Keys provide greater wisdom to understand and explain what is unknown or misunderstood, greater power to achieve God's will on earth as it is in heaven, and greater strength to overcome what would otherwise overcome you. God's covenant can't be separated from his keys The Lord told the children of Israel that those in his covenant would be shown marvels beyond anything done by others in the earth: And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the Lord: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee. (Exodus 34:10) Wherever his covenant exists, his wisdom, power, and strengt