Notes for my writing

This blog is made up of notes on the gospel as found in the only true and living church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This includes notes that are either excerpts from or ideas for books I either have in draft or may yet write.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Great Brigham Young quote

"I wish to notice this. We read in the Bible, that there is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars. In the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, these glories are called telestial, terrestrial, and celestial, which is the highest. These are worlds, different departments, or mansions, in our Father's house. Now those men, or those women, who know no more about the power of God, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, than to be led entirely by another person, suspending their own understanding, and pinning their faith upon another's sleeve, will never be capable of entering into the celestial glory, to be crowned as they anticipate; they will never be capable of becoming Gods. They cannot rule themselves, to say nothing of ruling others, but they must be dictated to in every trifle, like a child. They cannot control themselves in the least, but James, Peter, or somebody else must control them. They never can become Gods, nor be crowned as rulers with glory, immortality, and eternal lives. They never can hold scepters of glory, majesty, and power in the celestial kingdom. Who will? Those who are valiant and inspired with the true independence of heaven, who will go forth boldly in the service of their God, leaving others to do as they please, determined to do right, though all mankind besides should take the opposite course. Will this apply to any of you? Your own hearts can answer." (Brigham Young JD1:44)

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Where are our teachers?

We often excuse ourselves when we read of the gifts of the spirit in Moroni 10 because we say we have the gift of wisdom or the gift of teaching among us. These are our principle evidences that we have the gifts of the spirit in our wards among our members.

But where are the teachers among us?

There are none.

We have the heroes of the new perversion, who seek to overthrow the church from within, such as Tom (NOT Todd, Tom) Christofferson, and Greg Trimble. We have those who teach, one way or another, that we can be saved in our sins, such as Stephen Robinson and Brad Wilcox. Terryl Givens now takes it even further. We have those who would convince us that Joseph Smith was a wicked man, such as Richard Bushman. He goes to the enemies of Joseph Smith to "get a fuller picture" about Joseph Smith.

I am not talking about the twelve or the first presidency. I am talking about our wards. Where are our teachers?

Handbook and scriptures

The church handbook contains the wisdom of good men. And those who study it and stick rigidly by it discover that it contains the wisdom of good men, and become quite enamored with it over time. The scriptures contain the revelations of God. We are far better at hearkening to everything that is in the handbook than we are at hearkening to everything which is in the scriptures. The handbook makes good bureaucrats. But we have covenanted to take upon ourselves the name of Christ. Search the new testament for yourself. Read of Christ for yourself. And as you do, ask yourself "Where is Christ the bureaucrat?" He isn't anywhere in there. If we want to take his name upon us, we should toss aside the worthless handbook, and take up the scriptures in earnestness. The revelations of God frequently contradict the wisdom of good men. That is normal. The wisdom of good men may be closer to what we can comprehend, and so it is easier for us to believe it is correct, but the revelations of God are far above what mortal man can comprehend. His wisdom far exceeds our wisdom. If we will search the scriptures and obey them, then we may find eternal life.

Seminary teachers who cannot save their families and embrace falsehood to themselves

So the woman who is teaching seminary is up at the pulpit explaining that when one of her children was rebellious that God showed her that that child was already battling enough things away from home and should not be battling her when she got home. The point is, more or less, that she, who had the gospel to offer him, and who was required to bring him up in light and truth, decided that God told her to let everyone else but her take care of teaching him right. And this is the woman that they want us to take an hour out of each day plus substantial travel time in order for our children to go learn the gospel from. Oh we are not men but scarecrows. Heads filled with straw. That is all we've got stuffed up in there. This woman was not called of God to teach the youth the gospel. Sure, some leader called her. No, it is not God's will, nor even 2 cents of wisdom for the families of the ward to put great strains on their families to deliver their youth to her for an hour of gospel instruction each weekday. Oh we are a sham. We are sick. We are disgusting. Our first seminary teacher in the previous place we lived was a serpent. She stood out among the members as someone who embraced and taught false and poisonous doctrines. Her own teenage daughter did not even know that abortion was wrong. Our second seminary teacher in the previous place we lived was a psychologist. He was a student of those philosophies of men which have largely overthrown the gospel among us. What is wrong with us? Heads filled with straw, we lean together. Hollow men indeed. Would that those who call themselves the servants of God and have inherited his true church were not fools for the devil and his angels to gape at.

Unequally yoked with the unbelievers and scouting

I have known some people possessed of the idea that the principles of scouting are pure spiritual power. If they were pure spiritual power then they would lead men to embrace the Holy Ghost and the revelations of God. If they are not sufficient to bring men to repent, have faith in Christ, and be baptized into the true church of Jesus Christ, then they are not principles of pure spiritual power. If they were pure spiritual power those who followed them would necessarily embrace Joseph Smith and his revelations. Since they do not, they are not pure spiritual power. When a saint is unequally yoked in his efforts to do good with unbelievers, what do you get? You get two unbelievers worth of good instead of an unbeliever and a saint. If you cannot quote the revelations or the modern prophets then you are no more contending for the faith delivered to the saints. It would be no different than"doing good" in Christ's day by joining a group that would not let you say he was the son of God. Having rejected the source of good and power and truth, they must fall. Why fall with them?

Ding Dong the witch is dead! The end of church scouting announced.

Just a note of relief and gratitude that we are finally making a break from the scouting program. If we had hearkened to Joseph Smith and to Paul, we could have spared ourselves a century of misery and saved many, many more of our boys. Joseph Smith wrote: "Dear Brother:—In answer to yours of May 4th, concerning the Latter-day Saints forming a temperance society, we would say, as Paul said—'Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers, but contend for the faith once delivered to the Saints'" Apparently in Joseph Smith's day some members wanted to form a temperance society by joining together with non-members for a good cause. But Joseph Smith would not suffer them to bind themselves to contend for anything less than the full and true faith. Joseph Smith, and Paul, are both telling us that if we bind ourselves with unbelievers then we end up doing no better work than unbelievers can do. If citing Joseph Smith and modern revelations and everything that is part of the faith delivered to the saints is not fully embraced and welcome in our efforts to do good, then we are in the wrong cause. We no longer believe this as members. But Joseph Smith and Paul knew better and in the end we will confess that they told us right, and when we do not hearken than we may find that we have bound our posterity with strong ties that they may not escape for generations, just as the members have been bound down with the scouting program for a hundred years or so. Any good program or idea that does not fully embrace Joseph Smith and every revelation of Jesus Christ is no place for saints, for how can we be valiant in the testimony of Jesus while binding ourselves not contend freely for his faith and the restoration of his gospel to the earth? Ding Dong the witch is dead. Rejoice that we have finally heard the end of the scouting program announced.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Temple Preparation class

It is interesting how little sense we have about things. I have one daughter, that I have felt impressed needs to be endowed. My wife felt impressed that this daughter needs to be endowed. Another daughter who is on a mission wrote back to us saying that she felt impressed that her sister needs to be endowed. But the wall of bureaucracy, has, in a measure, stood fast so far. So we have waited months until she was 18 ½, as she is planning to serve a mission. But one of the objections which has been raised now is that she needs to go through a 14 week temple prep class. Fourteen weeks is a long time. And one has to wait until the class is offered.

Consequently, I found myself looking through the temple preparation manual to find out what this critical material was that she needed to learn. I already know it is of no particular value. 

The lessons in the manual are an interesting example of our modern teaching. It lacks truth. It is technically correct, but lacks the spirit which gives life. It reads like some committee was given the task of writing seven lessons on the temple and, not understanding the temple in the least, diligently faked their way through it.

It is dreadfully boring, because it lacks the spirit which gives life.

This is something we do not understand, that a sentence which may be technically more or less correct can be lifeless. We should read D&C 50 more. The Lord objected to the teaching of some of the Elders. They were reading the scriptures when they taught, but not reading them and teaching them by the power of the Holy Ghost. Consequently, they were reproved. Even the scriptures are lifeless if not read by the power of the Holy Ghost. And a man who cannot read the scripture by the power of the Holy Ghost cannot be trusted to write a sentence by the power of the Holy Ghost either.

The temple preparation manual tries to cover its back by quoting authorities frequently. But it is obvious that the people who wrote the manual cannot taste truth for themselves. It is like having aliens snatching random bits from a radio broadcast from earth arriving at their planet. The manual authors simply grab quotes about the temple at random without distinguishing which statements are profound, and which are not.

The manual tries to impress upon us that it is offering gospel teaching by the authority of those people it quotes, rather than by writing by the light of inspiration.

This is wrong.

Those things go together, incidentally. The manual authors cannot write a sentence about the temple by the light of truth themselves, and they also cannot tell the difference between a statement about the temple that is profound, and one which is not. Having not the light to write a statement of truth by the spirit themselves, they also cannot discern which statements carry that same light most powerfully. Thus they are left to simply choose quotations of other men by the elegance of the wording, and by the calling of the speaker.

Our classes are tediously large portions of feasts prepared by chefs who can neither taste nor smell.

Thanks to other men, the manual authors had learned about Brigham Young’s statement on the endowment, which makes it into the lesson. But then they choose at random, or maybe by the elegance of the wording, for the rest of the fair that they have to offer. They seem to have picked out some scriptures from the topical guide, and thrown those in as well.

And there is nothing in what they compiled that is preparation for the temple, except insofar as they warn people that there are covenants that will be made and that worthiness is required. 

But what is there is certainly not “temple preparation” in any sense. It is not epic. They may as well have been writing a manual about the Revelation of St John for all the insight they have to offer. It may as well have been a “Revelation of St John Prep” class for all that it has to offer concerning the temple. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Submission

If a child is grounded for a week, but they violate their grounding, then that child must both be punished for their disobedience, as well as prove that they will obey being grounded for an entire week. If this persists, then they may have to prove that they will obey being grounded for more than a week, just to prove that they have truly learned to submit to their punishment.

When the people of Limhi were captive to the Lamanites, they had to learn to submit to all sorts of abuse that Heavenly Father does not normally require of his church members. They initially fought for their freedom, but God would not free them until they learned to submit to his punishment.

Now this is all related to something that Joseph Smith taught. Joseph Smith taught:

"Our heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive; and, at the same time, is more terrible to the workers of iniquity, more awful in the executions of His punishments, and more ready to detect every false way, than we are apt to suppose Him to be."

I have tried to explain to my children that while we know very little about anything beyond that Telestial law we are striving to learn to live, Telestial law, Terrestrial law, and Celestial are genuinely quite different from each other.

To illustrate this point to them in a meaningful way, I tell them to imagine that they grew up in a home during the law of Moses, but they grew up only obeying parts of the law of Moses. Then I tell them to imagine that they decide they want to live more rightly, and they begin to live the different parts of the law of Moses in earnest.

What would they experience? With each new thing they begin to obey, they will find themselves more at peace, they will find greater blessings from God, they will find that they are more sensitive to the truth, and that they can gain needed inspiration more clearly. They start sacrificing a bird whenever the law of Moses requires it, and they feel greater joy and peace in their lives. They start wearing blue fringe on their clothing as the law of Moses requires, and they start feeling a little better. They respect God's requirements regarding touching things that are declared unclean, and they begin to feel a greater sense of rightness with God in their lives.

And I explain to my children, that when this Israelite imagines to themselves what a higher gospel law must be like, they naturally assume that it must be like having far more of the law of Moses. With each new piece of the law of Moses they obeyed, they feel greater goodness in their life. They worked to obey each new part, and that work was rewarded with greater inspiration and goodness in their life. Consequently, they assume that a higher law consists of far more things like the law of Moses that they will add to those things that they have already learned to do, which will bring them yet greater enjoyments and light.

But then the law of Moses is fulfilled, and what is the new covenant like? Instead of just being like far more of the law of Moses, many of those things that they learned to do, and for which they enjoyed spiritual blessings and greater closeness to God, are not even part of it. There are no longer sanctuary cities for those who kill someone on accident, and it is no longer allowed for the nearest relative to kill that person if he finds them outside of a sanctuary city. The biggest religious celebration, the year of Jubilee, is no longer part of God's covenant with his people.

The peak spiritual experience each year, the Passover, is also gone. No more painting sheep's blood around the door frame each year. No more eating the entire lamb with their shoes on and their staff in their hand.

Instead of being just more of the law of Moses, this Israelite finds that the new covenant, the higher law, is a completely different law!

And just as Joseph Smith said, blessings offered, and rejected, are no longer blessings, but become cursings. Thus if this Israelite says to himself "I have learned to be a faithful follower of the law of Moses, and I'm not going to stop obeying the law of Moses" then this offered new covenant is no blessing to this Israelite, but becomes a cursing to them.

And it is worth understanding that the same is true of Telestial law (which is what we are learning to obey now) and Terrestrial law, and Celestial law. They are genuinely different. They are at least as different from each other as the old covenant given through Moses and the new covenant given when Christ fulfilled the law of Moses. After all, those are both manifestations of the very beginning laws of the Kingdom of God.

This is the real meaning of Joseph Smith's teaching:

"Our heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive; and, at the same time, is more terrible to the workers of iniquity, more awful in the executions of His punishments, and more ready to detect every false way, than we are apt to suppose Him to be."

The point is that when you are one of the people of Limhi, who God has declared will be driven as a dumb ass, then you will have to submit to being driven as a dumb ass. You will be required to let the Lamanites smite you, and take your food, and be forced by God to submit to the priests of Noah bringing great difficulties upon you as a sharp and stinging reproof for hearkening to the false love that they preached.

But just as with a child who is grounded, when you prove that you will submit, not only will you cease to be punished for violating being grounded, but you may additionally find after you have proven that you will truly submit, that you are no longer grounded at all.

This is the sort of thing Joseph Smith is talking about when he says our Father is more liberal in his views, yet more terrible to the workers of iniquity than we suppose.

Lehi can fall down at the tree and partake of the joy that is available to him at the tree of life. Yet Adam and Eve were cut off from the tree of life, and for them to partake of that joy would be to stand in violation of their punishment, and would have brought destruction. The point of Joseph Smith's  teaching I referred to is that Lehi can partake of the same fruit that Adam and Eve were cut off from, and which would have brought them destruction had they eaten it immediately after their fall.

It is no different than that grounded child. When they prove themselves faithful, not only do they cease to be punished when they violate their grounding, but eventually, they may find that they are no longer grounded at all. They find themselves living under a new law, different than what they had when they were grounded.

And we will discover that there are entire layers of that I think, as we learn to eventually come up to a Terrestrial law, and even to a Celestial law.

If we won't receive the greater law, because we cling to the lesser one, then the offer of a greater law becomes a cursing instead of a blessing.

Taken altogether, this is actually the point Joseph Smith is making in his instruction that begins "Happiness is the object and design of our existence". The rest of this post is quoted from Joseph Smith.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------

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. But we cannot keep all the commandments without first knowing them, and we cannot expect to know all, or more than we now know unless we comply with or keep those we have already received. That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another.

God said, "Thou shalt not kill;" at another time He said, "Thou shalt utterly destroy." This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted--by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire. If we seek first the kingdom of God, all good things will be added. So with Solomon: first he asked wisdom, and God gave it him, and with it every desire of his heart, even things which might be considered abominable to all who understand the order of heaven only in part, but which in reality were right because God gave and sanctioned by special revelation.

A parent may whip a child, and justly, too, because he stole an apple; whereas if the child had asked for the apple, and the parent had given it, the child would have eaten it with a better appetite; there would have been no stripes; all the pleasure of the apple would have been secured, all the misery of stealing lost.

This principle will justly apply to all of God's dealings with His children. Everything that God gives us is lawful and right; and it is proper that we should enjoy His gifts and blessings whenever and wherever He is disposed to bestow; but if we should seize upon those same blessings and enjoyments without law, without revelation, without commandment, those blessings and enjoyments would prove cursings and vexations in the end, and we should have to lie down in sorrow and wailings of everlasting regret. But in obedience there is joy and peace unspotted, unalloyed; and as God has designed our happiness--and the happiness of all His creatures, he never has--He never will institute an ordinance or give a commandment to His people that is not calculated in its nature to promote that happiness which He has designed, and which will not end in the greatest amount of good and glory to those who become the recipients of his law and ordinances. Blessings offered, but rejected, are no longer blessings, but become like the talent hid in the earth by the wicked and slothful servant; the proffered good returns to the giver; the blessing is bestowed on those who will receive and occupy; for unto him that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundantly, but unto him that hath not or will not receive, shall be taken away that which he hath, or might have had.


Be wise today; 'tis madness to defer;

Next day the fatal precedent may plead.

Thus on till wisdom is pushed out of time

Into eternity.

Our heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive; and, at the same time, is more terrible to the workers of iniquity, more awful in the executions of His punishments, and more ready to detect every false way, than we are apt to suppose Him to be. He will be inquired of by His children. He says, "Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find;" but, if you will take that which is not your own, or which I have not given you, you shall be rewarded according to your deeds; but no good thing will I withhold from them who walk uprightly before me, and do my will in all things--who will listen to my voice and to the voice of my servant whom I have sent; for I delight in those who seek diligently to know my precepts, and abide by the law of my kingdom; for all things shall be made known unto them in mine own due time, and in the end they shall have joy. (Aug. 27, 1842.) DHC 5:134-136.


Monday, March 12, 2018

Sin offends God, that is what makes it sin

One of the doctrines that is destroying us is the idea that moral sin is not offensive to God. We have the sense not to say those words, but that idea is plainly contained in some of our popular teachings, and taught by men whose writings are particularly popular among us, even if they avoid saying those exact words.

For example, on more than one occasion my wife has seen members of the church describe someone they know as a good man who is addicted to pornography. Now the member describing that man doesn't really believe that looking at pornography is offensive to God. They don't think this "good man" is actually offending God as he consumes large amounts of pornography, or else they would have the sense not to say such men were good. They have the idea that sin is just a list of things that are not allowed.

But that isn't what sin is at all.

Sin is that which offends God. If something doesn't offend God, it is not a sin. Sin is not a checklist of technicalities that can keep us out of heaven. Sin keeps us out of heaven precisely because it is offensive to God.

The mercy of God is that through the atonement of Christ God is willing to forgive things that are deeply offensive to him on condition of repentance. That is very merciful. That is genuine mercy. Where there is no real offense given, forgiveness is not really merciful.

And there is no mercy for the unrepentant, for they remain as if no atonement had been made, according to the scriptures. No man is forgiven of their sins independent of the atonement of Christ. Thus those who do not repent remain in a state in which they have offended God. His mercy is offered only on condition of repentance. And God, himself, declared:

D&C 19:1 But if they would not repent, they must suffer even as I.

What is being taught among us instead denies the mercy of God, for it teaches that our sins are not really offensive to him because he loves us so much. That supplants the mercy of God with the idea that sin does not offend him because of his love for us. If that was really the case, we would be welcome in heaven in our sins, for our sins would not offend him because of his love for us. In this day of extreme wickedness, we have almost entirely determined that moral sin doesn't actually offend God per se, rather, he simply doesn't allow it.

We are missing the point altogether.

Sin is not allowed in heaven because it genuinely offends God. It is no mere technicality. It is who he is.

Mormon 9:5 For behold, when ye shall be brought to see your nakedness before God, and also the glory of God, and the holiness of Jesus Christ, it will kindle a flame of unquenchable fire upon you.

Do we think what Mormon describes here is make believe? If our sins were not genuinely offensive to God, do we not realize that we could stand in God's presence in perfect comfort?

In this wicked day we have particularly rationalized moral sin. Violation of chastity offends God particularly, and it was God himself who said that looking on a woman to lust after her is a form of adultery. When we commit moral sin, we offend God deeply. We need to wake up and realize that is precisely what makes it serious sin. The fact that it offends God is why it is called a sin, and serious sin, such as moral sin, is sin which offends him deeply.





Sunday, March 11, 2018

Overthrowing Israel using the doctrine of Balaam

Christ stated by revelation:

Revelation 2:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

These days we have those who are trying to destroy the church from within. Those who are burned in their lusts are trying to do it openly. Certainly, with many trying to do it openly, there are also those who have combined together to do it in secret as well. When Satan inspires wicked men and women in such a cause, certainly he will inspire them with the same ideas he inspired many with in the past. They will combine together in secret combinations to accomplish his work.

And how shall they do it, but by the doctrine of Balaam?

The story of Balaam is well known. The king of the Moab wanted the prophet Balaam to curse the Israelites, but Balaam spoke only those things which the Lord put into his mouth, and instead blessed the Israelites.

However, later on, Balaam concocted a plan by which the Lord himself would be willing to curse the Israelites. Balaam realized that if he could get the Israelites to be unfaithful, and especially if he could get them to be immoral, then the Lord would turn against them.

And the Israelites fell into his snare. The Lord slew 24,000 Israelites with a plague, and and commanded Moses to take all the heads of the people and hang them up before the Lord against the sun to turn away his wrath. Moses commanded the judges of Israel to slay every Israelite that joined themselves to that iniquity.

The doctrine of Balaam is to teach people that they can commit moral sin without offending God. It is also that we can worship false Gods without offending God. This is the doctrine which can overthrow Israel. And certainly we have its advocates today. The book "Believing Christ" by Stephen Robinson and Brad Wilcox's teachings stand at the forefront teaching Balaam's doctrine. They present moral sin as being wrong in a technical sense which is all straightened out by the atonement with a minimum of repentive fuss. The truth is, they teach that moral sin is not offensive to God.

And now we are moving beyond those into darker territory, embracing perversion.