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.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

We need a greater view of our calling

Our callings in the church are a law of Moses put there to patiently tutor us until we are reading to really understand our work in mortality.

Some callings in the church are little more than busywork. They are creating something for people to do. Many callings in the church are a step up from busy work, but not a very big step up.

And that is all perfectly fine.

What is our calling? In reality is to save ourselves, our families, our dead and our fellow men now living.

The scriptures say of Joseph Smith

D&C 135:3 Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.

And that is our calling: to do all we can for the salvation of men. That is the calling we are supposed to magnify. Sure. some are the head, and some are the hands and feet. We are all part of the body of the church. But when the scriptures say that we must magnify our calling to gain eternal life, they are only speaking of our church calling in a subsidiary fashion.

Misunderstanding this causes some members to read the the phrase "magnifying their calling" in the Oath and covenant of the priesthood and assume it refers to their church calling. That is an odd reading. They don't read phrases like "calling and election made sure" or the "many are called but few are chosen" and assume they are referring to one's church calling. But for some reason the word "calling" in the Oath and Covenant of the priesthood is read differently than everyplace else we see the word "calling" or "called" in the scriptures.

That misunderstanding leads to a sad reversal. Members want the blessings promised in the Oath and Covenant of the priesthood so they start magnifying their church calling at the expense of their calling to save their families. They magnify the subsidiary, temporary calling at the expense of an eternal one. It is this problem Elder Ballard was addressing when he said "Don't magnify the work to be done".

Sadly, this misunderstanding is also affecting our ability to save our youth. We know that our youth are growing up in a spiritual sewer. But we have such a narrow view of spirituality that, rather than connecting them through the Holy Ghost as directly and powerfully as possible by getting them directly working on saving their family, saving their dead, and doing missionary work, we respond with what we think spirituality is. We invite them to meetings. Extra meetings. Early morning meetings (which makes those meetings extra-duper spiritual). We bring them into church bureaucracy because that is where we think they will connect with God. I know what I am talking about. I have three teenagers.

But we should have wisdom like Elder Bednar who wanted us to get the youth saving the dead. He knows there is a raw spiritual power that is involved in that sacred work, and that it has transforming power on the souls of those involved in it. THAT is getting youth involved in their real calling - their calling to follow Christ - their calling to save the souls of men. That is connecting them to the powers of heaven by introducing them to the Holy Ghost himself.

Sadly, at the ward level Elder Bednar's insight is cast into our own image. I have seen it in practice my own ward. What did it turn into? Mostly a weekly early morning meeting involving the youth.

Sure, we should do our church callings. But we should not think they are the calling referring to in the Oath and Covenant of the priesthood except in a very subsidiary way. If you don't believe me, spend a month doing your church calling in a minimalist, but complete, way. But also spend every other spare moment you have working directly on saving yourself, saving your family, saving your dead, and doing missionary work. By contrast spend a month doing your calling in the fanciest, most exorbitant way possible, severely restricting your family time, and certainly leaving no time for saving your dead and doing missionary work. Hold extra, noncritical, lengthy meetings whenever possible to pull people from their own families into time spent magnifying their callings as well. IF magnifying your calling referred to your church calling, the second month should be more spiritual. But IF it refers to your calling to be like Christ then the first month will be far more spiritually satisfying. Try it and see.

Someone will come away from this thinking I said we don't need to do our church callings. I did not. But when we think that they key to being saved is to magnify our calling there is a world of difference between thinking the calling referred to is our church calling and thinking it is our calling to follow Christ just like the word calling refers to practically every other place in the scriptures. Christ would do his church calling and so should we. But that was only a small part of the total calling we need to magnify if we are going to receive the blessings promised in the Oath and Covenant of the priesthood, and critical parts of that larger calling often fall prey to neglect when we misunderstand this fact.

Our church callings are a law of Moses trying to teach us what our real calling is. They have a lot of unnecessary time wasting stuff in them that we have to do, just like the law of Moses did. But that is fine, they are what God requires of us now. We need to do them, and whenever we see a chance for real spiritual work to be done through them we should grab hold of it. But they must not be exaggerated into something that replaces the full blown gospel of saving our family, our dead, and our fellow man. They are supposed to be teaching us to awaken to that which is our real calling. Not supplanting it.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The foremost message of the Christ's enemies is worthiness without strict obedience

Ezra Taft Benson taught that the Book of Mormon identifies the enemies of Christ.

"... the Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and lays down contention. (See 2 Ne. 3:12.) It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time.

There is a consistent struggle throughout the scriptures. The prophets tell people again and again what commandments the Lord would have his people follow.

So what do we see time and again in the enemies of Christ throughout the scriptures. What sort of beliefs stand in opposition to the truth in the scriptures?

The primary issue in the scriptures seems to be simple: righteousness, righteousness, righteousness. It is obedience to the commandments. It is submitting our will to the will of the Father by keeping his commandments.

We may be surprised in John 14 when Christ states that he measures our love for him by how well we keep his commandments.

But we see a pattern in generation after generation in the book of Mormon. Certainly their people of any religion professed their love and devotion for God as vehemently as any religious preacher of modern times. But the most recurring theme is that those religions that rise up in opposition to the true church really have one main thing to offer: Their followers don't have to follow the commandments.

The chief commandment that people like to find a way around is the law of chastity. That is why other religions are called the "whore of all the earth".

In Jacob 2-3 we see an apostasy taking place within some portion of the believers. They have determined that they are allowed to take additional wives and concubines to themselves. What makes this movement popular? Isn't it obvious? It gives its followers a way out of keeping the law of chastity. It loosens the bands of the great commandment of the body - the centerpiece of Christlike living - the law of Chastity.

What doctrine do the priests of King Noah offer? They challenge Abinadi's preaching with the verses:

Mosiah 12:21 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings; that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth;
22 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion;
23 Break forth into joy; sing together ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem;
24 The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God

The point the priests of King Noah are trying to make is that Abinadi is a judging judgy pants. They are claiming that a real prophet gives a message that is uplifting and fills people with joy. They are saying his teachings do not make them feel edified, and so he can't be a real prophet. A real prophet would be compassionate. He would be offering compassion and teaching peace. He would be bringing good tidings and singing salvation. He would be telling them to sing together in joy. A real prophet would be offering God's comfort, not condemning them. After all, all the earth shall see the salvation of God.

We get a little more insight into the doctrine of these people when we read:

Mosiah 12:13 And now, O king, what great evil hast thou done, or what great sins have thy people committed, that we should be condemned of God or judged of this man?
14 And now, O king, behold, we are guiltless, and thou, O king, hast not sinned; therefore, this man has lied concerning you, and he has prophesied in vain.

Obviously one of the main messages of the priests of King Noah was that the people were worthy. In reality they were so wicked that God sent Abinadi to warn them of impending doom. They grew up under righteous Zeniff and they had the commandments. But somehow all their wickedness didn't make them unworthy. The say "we are guiltless, and thou, O king, hast not sinned".

The priests of king Noah offered salvation without responsibility. They taught that there was no need to obey commandments because the gospel was a message of joy. Thus they could spend their time with harlots.

Nehor also taught salvation without responsibility. Nehor taught that there was no need to obey the commandments because everybody will be saved.

Alma 1:4 And he also testified unto the people that all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had created all men, and had also redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life.

Nehor's message was that they were worthy. They didn't need to obey to be worthy. His message was a message of joy: They didn't need to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. Instead they could lift up their heads and rejoice. Each of us is a unique creation of God and he will save all of us.

Korihor's message makes the same conclusion about the commandments in mortality but does it by denying their is a God. His message is that there is no need to keep the commandments because there is no God. His message is that we need not doubt our own worthiness because worthiness isn't even real.

Other messages are warned about in the scriptures.

We read of the teaching to "Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die and if it so be that we are guilty God will beat us with a few stripes and at last we will be saved in the kingdom of God." Again the message is that we don't need to keep the commandments. Again the message is that we are worthy, or at least worthy enough.

Another message we are warned about is "I am no devil for there is none."  Again the message is that we don't need to keep the commandments. We can do as we please without consequence.

A strict warning is given against the message "All is well in Zion." And why? Well by now it is completely clear. That is the great message of the apostate. It is the message that we are worthy. It is the message that we don't need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

In the Book of Mormon we see Zeezrom teaching that if we are to say God requires obedience for salvation then we are acting as if we have the right to command God. In modern vernacular, we are "judging" if we declare that God will indeed judge us by our works precisely as he has declared in the scriptures. Zeezrom's message is, again, that we don't need to keep the commandments.

The foremost great message of the enemies of Christ in the book of Mormon is the same message that is popular now. It is the message that we are worthy. We are deserving.

It is the message that we are all created by God and we are worthy.. We are worthy without pressing forward diligently. We are worthy whether or not we submit our will to the will of the Father even as a child submits to his father.

It is the message that to say someone should feel ashamed for their actions is offensive to God. Because shame itself is never merited because we are worthy.

It is the message that God will be mocked in matters of immorality among his covenant members. We can make covenants and then misbehave sexually: having "friends with benefits", and watching sleaze and filth with no bottom to its depths in movies, on television, and in pornography and there will be no thorny road to repentance. Maybe God will beat us with a few stripes. But he offers no retribution for moral transgression in violation of our covenants.

Christ measures our love for him by our obedience: "He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me."

And the adversary succeeds insofar as he can separate us from obeying our God. His message is that we are worthy.

God's message is that we can BECOME worthy of exaltation, but that to do so we must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

Living beneath our privileges is dangerous stuff

We read this description of false churches in the last days:

2 Nephi 28:5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;
 6 Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.

Why do they preach against miracles?

Because the rights of the priesthood are inseparable connected with the powers of heaven and the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only on the principles of righteousness.

What that means is that you have to be living the principles of righteousness to work miracles. You cannot be connected to the powers of heaven, by, for example, working miracles, unless you are living sufficiently righteously. There are no exceptions.

D&C 132:5 For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world.

There are larger and smaller ways these can be manifest. One miraculous event we do see commonly is to see the gift of the Holy Ghost bestowed on a person through the priesthood after baptism.

But we live far beneath our privileges.

Living far beneath our privileges is dangerous stuff.

Why? Because it is when we live far beneath our privileges that we cannot discern the truth in a way that is similar to the way Moses did.

If we are well acquainted with the Holy Ghost than it is relatively easy to recognize when we do something that goes against the commandments. We can recognize the Holy Ghost's departure. We see the way our spiritual blessings depart. We notice that we cannot discern things through the light of Christ. We feel cut off. We experience significantly less of God's grace because we have cut ourselves off from it for a time.

But if we are not well acquainted with the Holy Ghost, we are like a blind person. If we are in the regular habit of offending the Holy Ghost by our actions (in these days, particularly by our media) then we do not notice a significant change when he is driven away.

Harold B Lee said rightly that the only safety is living so that we have the Holy Ghost.

The more we live beneath our privileges, the more dangerous our position is.

That is partly because the adversary is happy to fill in when the Holy Ghost is not present. We see the world being driven by the adversary as a dumb beast wherever he wills. When we don't have the Holy Ghost, we needn't wonder whether anyone else will be willing to fill in for him in his absence. The adversary always steps in when we drive away the Holy Ghost.

So the only safety is to live to have the Holy Ghost. It is to do all we can to keep the commandments and come more and more in time under the power of God and more out more in time out from under the influence of the adversary.

And that is the path that leads us to enjoy our privileges more and more. It is the path of safety that leads us to discern good and evil like day and night because the more we live up to our privileges, the more clearly we can tell good from evil, and the more dramatically we notice the loss of our privileges when we turn in a direction that is displeasing to that God that bestowed them upon us.

Oh those judgmental prophets of the past

Laman and Lemuel complained that Lehi "judged" the people of Jerusalem.

The people of King Noah were angry at Abinadi that they were being "judged of this man".

The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were furious that Lot had "judged" them.

It seems a peculiar trait of those societies who have filled the cup of God's wrath to overflowing, that are standing on the brink of his actually destroying them, that they become obsessed with being "judged".

Christ prophesied that there would be false Christs in the last days. And certainly, looking down at the many different portrayals of himself in this age, how could he say otherwise. One of the most common themes of these false Christs is that he, the eternal judge of both quick and dead, is non-judgemental. Another great theme among theme is that he requires his followers to not raise a warning voice among the wicked because that would be judging them. In fact, these false versions of Christ don't even want his followers to plainly state the commandments, because that is apparently judging people too.

By contrast God has told every man that has been warned to warn his neighbor. He has told us that those in the celestial kingdom are those who will be valiant in the testimony of Jesus, and those in the terrestrial will not be valiant in the testimony of Jesus. If being valiant in the testimony of Jesus has any relation to being wiling to testify then certainly the adversary would be anxious to silence us.

A wicked society is one that follows the adversary. And he uses that influence over them to inspire them strongly against anything that might separate them out from under his influence.

Short Note - Two verses that witness that to receive a blessing we must abide the law appointed for it.

Ran into this beautiful verse

D&C 132:5 For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world.

Note that this verse is teaching exactly the same thing as another famous verse

D&C 130: 20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
 21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

Short Note - The verses about not adding to or taking away from the revelation

As a missionary many non members made the ridiculous claim that these verses are John telling us there is to be no more revelation.

Revelation 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Interestingly, these verses are not as unique as they believed, as Moses declared:

Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

Adding to the irony, those who were offended by additional revelation were generally the same crowd that said John 3:16 is "all you need". That is, they were upset about new revelation, but believed there was no harm in discarding all but a single verse of the scriptures.

The Lord's description of such people is spot on.

2 Nephi 29:6 Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?
7 Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?
8 Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.
9 And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.
10 Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.
11 For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Short Note - When we stop clipping Christ's words that don't match our false traditions

I was considering Christ's words

Matthew 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

I think when we stop clipping Christ's words that don't match our false traditions we will stop having so many of our own people duped by the world's claims about who Christ was.

Ezra Taft Benson quote on appeasement

We live in an age of appeasement—the sacrificing of principle. Appeasement is not the answer. It is never the right answer.
- Ezra Taft Benson.

Ezra Taft Benson quote - The only legitimate end of government

Ezra Taft Benson "My attitude toward government is succinctly expressed by the following provision taken from the Alabama Constitution:
'That the sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions it is usurpation and oppression.' (Art. 1, Sec. 35)"

Ezra Taft Benson quote on a little bit of socialism

Ezra Taft Benson "In reply to the argument that a little bit of socialism is good so long as it doesn’t go too far, it is tempting to say that, in like fashion, just a little bit of theft or a little bit of cancer is all right, too! History proves that the growth of the welfare state is difficult to check before it comes to its full flower of dictatorship."

Relativism and truth

We have been raised to be relativists. We will staunchly defend the need to consider our opponents point of view. Our children are taught in school to argue for both sides of a matter. Not uncommonly this takes the form of asking students to argue for something of in one assignment, and asking then argue against the very same thing in a later assignment. What one argues for is supposed to be disconnected from the truth one believes in. In effect, they learn that honesty is dispensable. Possibly more destructively, they learn that they should never assert something is really true without first hearing what arguments the other side has to make.

But I think such teachings are mostly garbage. Consider this example in the scriptures:

Alma 46:4 And Amalickiah was desirous to be a king; and those people who were wroth were also desirous that he should be their king; and they were the greater part of them the lower judges of the land, and they were seeking for power.
5 And they had been led by the flatteries of Amalickiah, that if they would support him and establish him to be their king that he would make them rulers over the people.
10 Yea, we see that Amalickiah, because he was a man of cunning device and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly; yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous’ sake.

Have no doubt Amalikiah and his followers weren't hanging banners that said "destroy the foundation of liberty!" on them. Yes, they really were trying to to destroy the foundations of liberty. But it was through the light of Christ that people could discern what was really going on. That wasn't what Amalikiah and his followers SAID they were up to.

If we had Amalakiah's propoganda laid out as "another point of view", we would not get a truer picture of this story than we get without it.

If it was laid out as an example of deception and flattery, that might be useful. But that is quite a different thing than presenting Amalikiah's "point of view" so we know "where he is coming from".

We never get a greater view of the truth by asking the devil what he thinks about the situation

Rich and Poor, Zion and Government Redistribution

The Lord gave us both rich and poor intentionally. The rich are a test for the poor and the poor are a test for the rich. The poor must not look with greed on other men's goods, wanting to obtain them in idleness. The rich must not keep their wealth, but must learn to give it to the poor.

This test is fundamental to building Zion. Zion cannot be built without men conquering these desires and gaining the edification that comes from doing so.

To build Zion, the rich must begin to enjoy the spiritual joy and edification that comes from truly giving to the poor to the point that the rich are made low and there are no poor among them.

To build Zion, the poor must not idly hope for the bread of the laborer, and must also learn to receive without greedy eyes upon other men's goods.

You experience this yourself in a tiny portion when you partake of either side of it done rightly. The rich give freely, the poor receive without idleness or greedy eyes, and both are edified and rejoice together.

The spiritual blessings from this exchange lived to its fullest are absolutely necessary for Zion to be restored to the earth. After all, the restoration of all things isn't just an arbitrary divine checklist. Rather, Zion cannot be built without ALL of the blessings. The restoration of all things is the necessary foundation on which Zion can be built. (And if you pay attention in the endowment, you will notice a point that represents a Zion society, and it requires ALL of the blessings available in any of the previous covenants)

When the government takes over the business the whole arrangement is undermined. Just try it. Give $100 to the poor to help them in their want. Then pay $100 extra taxes to redistribute to the poor. One is personal, is approved by the spirit, and brings feelings of mutual edification. The other does not.

In fact, when the government starts taking from the rich specifically to give to the poor a perverse reversal takes place (as we see all around us) and the rich hold tighter to their riches than before, looking on the poor with suspicion and fear instead of with pity. And the poor, rather than having feelings of gratitude, look ever more enviously and long ever more openly for the government to give them more of the rich's wealth.

And that is just about the best test there is.

Wealth distribution by voluntary action is edifying to both parties. They are edified and rejoice together and we have all experienced that.

Forced wealth distribution by taxation, is not edifying to either the rich giver or to the poor receiver, and actually perversely reverses the edification that would otherwise have been enjoyed to bring both parties joy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A government that provides for its citizens quickly loses respect for them.

No, no, no. We have been indoctrinated with the state as have the responsibility to provide for its citizens. But as far as a government provides for its people it loses respect for them as well. To that degree it always decides it knows what is best for them, and in that belief, quickly sweeps asides their rights in favor of its own better judgment.

Now I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed

When Moses says "Now I know that Man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed" he is referring what he just experienced. Moses got to experience, to a small degree, what it is like to have the light of Christ proceeding forth from him to fill the immensity of space. That light of Christ, which is the same thing that we refer to as God's glory, is in and through all things and is the means by which God has power over all things, by which he governs all things, and by which he is in and through all things past, present, and future.

When Moses 1 says the glory of God was upon Moses, it was saying that Moses got to experience what that was like to a degree. He got to see things a bit as God can see them, through God's glory.

He then knew without any doubt that he could not be exalted in his mortal body. His body lost its natural strength for many hours despite God transfiguring him for a time to endure a portion of God's glory. Moses knew, with perfect clarity, that if he wanted to be exalted, to become like his Father in Heaven, he needed a better body. He needed a glorified body like the Father enjoyed.

And it is that knowledge he is referring to when he says "Now I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed".

People change when sin is shameful, but not when it is rationalized as immaterial

In these days, the world wants to present perversion as normal. It is not.

Temptation is tempting for people. And it is easier to give way to temptation when those around us claim it doesn't matter anyway.

Many today say that it is harder to get people to change if we don't treat everything they do as acceptable. That is absolutely false. It is the opposite of the truth.

It is in the days in which moral sin becomes "no big deal" that its popularity skyrockets, and it is in days when it is considered shameful in which many, even most, people will chose to stay away from it or find their way back out of it.

Shame for sin comes from the light of Christ and from the Holy Ghost.

If Alma the younger had not felt ashamed would he have feared to come into the presence of God? Would he have repented? Would he have changed from a rebellious man destroying the members of the church into a prophet that would eventually be translated if he had not felt such shame that he feared to come into the presence of God?

Shame is a critical tool that helps us repent. Which of us can expect to find eternal life without ever experiencing some shame at one time or another that causes us to repent?

Didn't Joseph Smith feel ashamed for losing the 116 pages? If he had felt no shame for that mistake, how might things have turned out differently for him?

Shame for serious sin is something the light of Christ inspires in a person. It is something they recognize they deserve when they come into the presence of God unless they have repented. How much better to feel a little shame for sin now and consequently repent than to face "everlasting shame".

If the light of Christ and the presence of God both inspire shame for moral transgression than who are we to say it is undeserved. Can't we see that the opposite is true? Don't we know that if a god of truth who cannot lie inspires shame in us, then we deserve it?

Let us stop pretending that shame is bad. Shame is essential, because it is one of the most likely causes of repentance.

Let us stand by decency. Let us be plain that we should be ashamed when we fail, especially when the failing is a matter of serious sin. We are surrounded with rationalization and procrastination when this is the day of our probation. Let us lift the burden of eternal shame from our brothers and sisters by preaching the propensity of shame for our sins here in mortality.

If God inspires shame in the sinner, why are we telling people to ignore it? Do we think we know better? Let us be humble and recognize this thoughts as higher than our thoughts and stop helping people rationalize away the day of their probation.

Monday, October 26, 2015

If Joseph Smith did ordain a black man to the priesthood, does that condemn the later prophets actions?

There are claims now that Joseph Smith ordained a black man to the priesthood. I am leery of "new discoveries" about church history that come forth now because where the vast bulk of them come from is turning to the churches enemies to get a "fuller story", which is like asking Laman and Lemuel to tell us all about Nephi, or asking Judas to tell us about Christ.

But either way, if Joseph Smith ordained a black man to the priesthood does that make any difference for the prophets that followed him?

If we have paid a bit of attention to the gentiles in the scriptures then we would know that during his mortality Christ was addressed by a Gentile woman and refused at first to even respond to her request. When he did so, he said he was not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He only granted her request when she posed it in terms of dogs receiving the crumbs that fall from their masters table.

Christ also didn't send his disciples to preach among the gentiles and gentiles were not allowed to be baptized. Note that was while Christ himself was living at the head of his church.

Then, Christ gave a revelation to Peter and gentiles were allowed to be baptized, and were actively taught the gospel.

BUT. Hundreds of years before that there was a gentile woman by the name of Ruth. We do not get a meaningful account of her faithfulness. But it was such that the prophets of her day included a tidbit about her. Ruth was given the honor of being the ancestor of the Son of God himself - an eternal honor far greater than the temporary miracle the gentile woman requested of the Savior.

Physical healings are temporary blessings limited to mortality. To be the faithful ancestor of the Christ is a blessing that will be held for all eternity.

But knowing a bit about the priesthood, we know Ruth received whatever she received by revelation.

And just so, if it is true that Joseph Smith ordained a black man, then we know he did it under authority by revelation. But Joseph Smith himself openly taught that blacks were cursed to not have the priesthood. Nevertheless, if it really was the case that by special revelation Joseph Smith knew the Lord felt one of them was to be an exception, just as the gentile Ruth was, then we have faith in Joseph Smith and his revelation and authority just as we do in Brigham Young and his revelation and authority.

And it was by revelation and authority Brigham Young, as well as the prophets that followed him knew that if there really was an exception, then that exception was not to be the general case until the days of Spencer W Kimball when the Lord offered the priesthood to all mankind who have ever lived on the earth.


The blessings weren't just opened to blacks and to gentiles then living. Through the temple it was opened to all who had ever lived

The revelation on priesthood meant more than we realize, as did the revelation to Peter that the Gentiles could be baptized into the true church.

The revelation that the priesthood could go to blacks didn't just give the priesthood to those then living. It opened it to them over the whole course of the earth's history through temple work.

It was just like the door to missionary work being opened up by Christ in the spirit world.

When Peter received a revelation about the gentiles, it didn't just open the doors to gentiles here
on earth. It was God opening the door to the gentiles of all ages, as all who ever lived could then receive the gospel through baptism whether here or in the spirit world. That is because even those in the spirit world could now receive the ordinance of baptism, and could now get the gift of the Holy Ghost through temple work done by their righteous descendants.

Getting Joseph Smith's history from his enemies as seen in the Book of Mormon

There has been a major recent trend that we can fill in all sorts of things we don't know about Joseph Smith by going to his enemies to learn things we don't find out from his friends. The book Rough Stone Rolling is a primary example of this, but so are the annotations in the recent series of books detailing Joseph Smith's writings. The current topics articles now go to sources that rely heavily on Joseph Smith's enemies.

We get an example of what this means in practice in the Book of Mormon.

Mosiah 10:12 They [the Lamanites] were a wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, believing in the tradition of their fathers, which is this—Believing that they were driven out of the land of Jerusalem because of the iniquities of their fathers, and that they were wronged in the wilderness by their brethren, and they were also wronged while crossing the sea;
 13 And again, that they were wronged while in the land of their first inheritance, after they had crossed the sea ....

In this account Lehi and Nephi were driven out of Jerusalem because they were so wicked. Laman and Lemuel were outrageously rebellious. But here their rebellions are transformed and they are the victims of Lehi and Nephi instead.

And that is what we are doing to our beloved prophet.

Every member alive to day owes all the light and truth we enjoy in the gospel today to Joseph Smith. There are no exceptions.

But we have betrayed him in this matter. His blood stains the floor of carthage jail for our sakes, and we have turned to his enemies to learn "the real truth" about him.

Men with faces painted black have slain him, and we have, as it were, turned to them as he lay dead and inquired for their point of view so we can fully understand our dear prophet.

Rather than mourning our loss and bearing the dead prophet with honor and weeping to his grave we want to hang around and gather what the murderers have to say about him, carefully collect their thoughts, words, insights, and  recollections, and then bind them up in beautiful print in a book with the prophet's picture on the front.

We cannot take such a treacherous course and not pay a due price. The price will be paid in the testimonies of our children and our children's children. They will get their account of the prophet from a perspective mingled with poison, and many of them will die of it.

When I meet him in the spirit world I want to look him in the eye and be able to say that I never went to his enemies to learn who he was and what sort of work he did.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Gender apostasy is not arbitrary, it is the fruit of our labors

We live in a deluded age. If our society was as physically unclean as it is spiritually perverse, and if we found many of our members suffering from diverse diseases, we would laugh at anyone who said that those who were dying were just born with that disease, and it had nothing to do with our extreme lack of sanitation.

But once it has to do with sexual morality things get personal and we can no longer see the plain truth.

The two Bishops I have discussed the frequency of pornography addiction with estimate that at a minumum 20% of their ward members are addicted to pornography at any given time. This isn't even old style pornography pictures of naked people. This is apparently video of people having sex, and commonly includes perversions like threesomes or lesbianism.

We think we can watch that and not offend God so much that some of us will find long term affects of it on their sex life?

No. Nobody is "born that way". And if we were all dying of the black plague, it wouldn't be because we were all born with black plague.

Even those who don't indulge in pornography think nothing of throwing on a movie with seductive women and a couple undressing to underwear.

Didn't President Kimball bluntly teach that pornography and masterbation pave the way for homosexuality? And it does.

Same sex attraction isn't something you are born with. But God will not be mocked and we cannot partake of sexual sewage and always come off unscarred. THAT is one reason we have so many now that suddenly think they are born gay.

It is common among us to indulge, to drink deeply even, of perversion and sometimes those who do find they reap the whirlwind and the natural desire is withdrawn for some unspecified time. The scriptures use the phrase "God gave them over to a reprobate mind".

We have forgotten that some things are sacred and that God will not be mocked.

There is one other reason. That is, we can be tempted into apostatizing from our own gender. When the devil can get us to first question, and then doubt truth that we know as clearly as we can see the sun in the sky, then that is a form of apostasy. We know our gender as plainly as we know the sun shines while we stare at it. If Satan can get us to question such a perfectly known truth, then to doubt it, then he can usually get us to go further and struggle with rejecting the truth completely. This is the other major road to same sex attraction our society offers. It is no different than apostatizing from the church. It all starts with getting us to question and if the devil can get us that far, he may be able to lead us to a point where we don't even know what gender we really are or what gender we are really attracted to.

But telling such people that they were born that way is a lie and does nothing to help them. Those who simply apostatize from their own gender, being led along by the adversary to do so, are only strengthened in their perversion by such teaching.

Those who have offended God through immorality and have truly lost the natural drive for some time need to repent in sackcloth and ashes of what they have done. Setting themselves up as advocates against the church is the opposite of such repentance. They may well need to prove themselves to their God on issues of decency and morality if they hope that in time he will restore the drive that enables them to become a husband to one of his precious daughters, or a wife to one of his sons.

In either case, the needed repentance requires facing the fact that they were not born that way, but taking responsibility for their own actions.

Elder Packer - October 1976 General Conference - There is no mismatching of bodies and spirits

“There is a falsehood that some are born with an attraction to their own kind, with nothing they can do about it. They are just "that way" and can only yield to those desires. That is a malicious and destructive lie. While it is a convincing idea to some, it is of the devil. No one is locked into that kind of life. From our premortal we were directed into a physical body. There is no mismatching of bodies and spirits. Boys are to become men --masculine, manly men --ultimately to become husbands and fathers. No one is predestined to a perverted use of these powers.”
Pres. Boyd K. Packer, October 1976 General Conference, “To Young Men Only”

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Corrupt judges have become key sources of legislation

As long as we continue to treat judicial attempts to legislate seriously instead of as abuses of power they will continue to be more flagrant, more frequent, and more extreme.
No activist finding himself with virtually unlimited power to legislate without answering to the people for it is going to slow his pace. Finding success, a tyrant always takes encouragement and continues where he started with more confidence than before. Tyranny never responds to a submissive populace by slowing its pace and passing by its opportunities to reign as it wills. When a tyrant finds success in his abuses, he is encouraged and abuses more frequently and more flagrantly. Even worse, other corrupt men recognize the tyrants success and intentionally follow his footsteps for the specific purpose of abusing power.
We have wound ourselves in so many laws affecting so many things that a judge can find a "legal" way to take pretty much any action he wants with broad reaching immediate effects as soon as the right case presents itself. The case he needs always presents itself before long because activist judges are sought out by activist plaintiffs who are after the same radical abuses of power themselves. The judge and plaintiff are in silent collusion. Both knows what the other wants by reputation or by the nature of the case, and they are in agreement on how it can be abused to legislate new law. It all appears above board and legal. But it is corrupt abuse of power.
Corrupt judges have become key sources of legislation. This undermines the constitution which is specifically designed to prevent those with power to judge to also have power to legislate. The constitution requires legislation to come only from a large group of representatives of the population. This judicial abuse is legislation without representation, it is unconstitutional, and we must stop it.
As long as we don't just stand firm against these judges as tyrants and their actions as illegal, they will only feel encouraged to continue their abuse. They are not going to voluntarily start unwinding the legal tangle that they use to exercise power over anything and everything they see fit. They are not going to stop getting similarly minded plaintiffs who will arrange cases that will give those judges the setting from which to make the radical legal changes both desire.
Our legislatures and executives and our people need to take an immovable stand that the judiciary has no right to legislate and that their abuses of power do NOT constitute law. They will not stop on our own. We will lose our constitution in all but name if they are not stopped. Our freedoms of speech, religion, and our right to bear arms to defend ourselves will rapidly follow. We must raise a cry they cannot ignore against such abuse and cease to personally give blatant abuse the respect due to law.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Keys to Saving our Youth - second attempt

There are essential neglected keys to saving our youth. Sure, there is more to it than the keys I am thinking of alone, but we usually stop the discussion at fundamentals like church attendance, scriptures, and prayer. I think in the current age those are still fundamentals but much more is needed if we are to really send them out properly armed for modern spiritual warfare. Specifically, we need to get them tied to the spiritual powerhouses right away. There is a difference between the spiritual strength you get from the above fundamentals and the spiritual depth and power to be found in saving your ancestors, doing missionary work, and saving your family. The work of saving souls caries a unique power with it that isn't found in any other activity in the church. There is a reason the lower priesthood is about temporal care and the higher priesthood is about spiritual care. This power will not be found in the many paltry substitutes that are commonly used in its place: frequent, long meetings that the youth are "invited to" (i.e. required to attend), frequent interviews, bigger and more frequent activities, and more energizing firesides more frequently. None of those is what counts spiritually. The Holy Ghost knows how it respects different efforts, and simply bringing the youth into more meetings and more activities hoping they will stay active isn't where the power of the Spirit lies. The other thing we desparately need to do is stop offending the Holy Ghost, and teaching them to do things that will do so. Our members are entertaining their youth to death. I am not talking so much about the quantity of entertainment, though there are issues there too. I am talking about the indecency of the entertainment. We must not present them with that which is less than decent, or even allow it. President Monson's least quoted teaching as the prophet is that we should not subject ourselves to media that even has innuendo. Yet we teach our youth to subject themselves to PG-13 movies with seducing women, with couples undressing to underwear or less, with homosexuality presented as normal and acceptable, with immorality treated as normal and morality treated as a ridiculous joke. The Holy Ghost cannot stand by our youth while they are drinking spiritual poison and we must separate them from it. We are doing the opposite in many homes, providing a constant stream of movies, books, websites, and music that laugh at decency rather than strictly abiding by it. In essence, in addition to the old fundamentals, in these days we must also get our youth doing those things that will introduce them powerfully to the Holy Ghost. And we must absolutely stop them from participating in media and teachings that are offensive to the Holy Ghost. Our youth must know the Holy Ghost to weather the times we live in.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Keys to saving our youth - apparently mostly mysteries

Keys to saving our youth, which are apparently mostly mysteries:

1) Get them involved in the spiritually transforming works. Not just in their callings. Not in long church meetings with local leaders. Not in committees.

Get them involved in redeeming their dead.

Get them involved in missionary work

Get them involved in saving their living family members.

Those are the works that bring the spirit transformatively into a person's life. You cannot question that the gospel is true while your ancestors are conveying their sublime joy to you as you are baptized for them in the temple.

2) Keep them out of those things that are offensive to the Holy Ghost. This includes keeping them away from things that are not decent. It means not listening to music or watching movies or using sites that present immorality as acceptable, or that are sleazy in any way.

3) Keep them doing the basics that are required of all men: drinking from the fountainhead of the scriptures and communing with their father in prayer, and partaking of the sacrament as part of their weekly church meeting. Everyone knows that this one is needed. It is the other two that seem to be a great secret.

But if our youth become acquainted with the Holy Ghost by (1) doing the spiritually transforming works, and (2) not doing those things that offend him then our youth will learn to seek him out of their own accord.

I have greatly appreciated Elder Bednar's inspired push to get the youth doing work for their ancestors.

The great message of our day is that we are worthy.

The great message of our day is that we are worthy.

And the reason it is the great message is primarily because we aren't.

It's not that we aren't worthy of anything at all. It's not that we aren't genuinely given the gift of the Holy Ghost.

But the words of Shakespeare are relevant to our age "the lady doth protest too much, methinks".

We pass around pictures on the internet with words that are high on praise and light on requirements. I saw one just today, it was simply the verse Isaiah 26:3, which reads.

Isaiah 26: 3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

The message that conveys is essentially that God trusts us, and that his mind is fixed on us, and that we keep in him in perfect peace. We read that and feel self satisfaction. In reality, the verse appears to be referring to the millennium, not to the turbulent times we now live in. 

My wife saw one a week or so ago, which said simply "God shall be with you forever and ever." It was put out by some church media group as I recall.

No conditions were attached, just "God shall be with you forever and ever." So apparently we are doing really well: God will be with us, forever and ever. Period. 

But the phrase is from D&C 122:9, which is the Lord speaking directly to Joseph Smith in the depth of his trials of Liberty Jail. It is in that sanctifying context that the scripture is given. And indeed, it is true that the Lord will be with Joseph Smith forever and ever. But until we have proven as faithful as Joseph was, perhaps we shouldn't be readdressing God's promises to Joseph Smith in Joseph's great distress as God's promises to everyone who has the internet.

The message of our day is that we are worthy. 

Which is hardly the message of the scriptures. The scriptures teach that we can become worthy. But that is a very different thing. The scriptures also give us tests for ourselves to see how we are doing. 

Joseph Smith observed:

"Because faith is wanting, the fruits are. No man since the world was had faith without having something along with it."

So there is an interesting claim right away: "No man since the world was had faith without having something along with it." But what does he mean? We continue his quotation.

"The ancients quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, women received their dead, etc. By faith the worlds were made."

OK, so Joseph Smith has said that no one has ever had faith without having something with it. .Then he gives practical examples of that: people quenched fire, escaped the sword, received their dead, and by the means of faith the worlds were made. Now let's hear where the prophet is going with this:

"A man who has none of the gifts has no faith; and he deceives himself, if he supposes he has."

Ahhh. That is the point. The point is that we have no faith if we have none of the gifts. It is no different than the teaching that "these signs shall follow them that believe".

Rather than telling us we are worthy, this is much more useful. It teaches us how can we tell when we have faith and when we don't as God measures the matter. 

We read of Christ telling Peter to become converted. God tells us the same thing. The scriptural message is a long, long distance from the modern message that we are simply worthy. 

Instead, the scriptures tell us that we have a great distance to go, and things to watch for as we are moving along.

It says things like:

Mormon 9:24 And these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover;

Instead of congratulating us for our faith, the scriptures tells us how to tell whether our faith has grown to be as big as a tiny mustard seed:

Luke 17:6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

It is not surprising this is the message of the scriptures. Was it not the same message the Savior offered to his own disciples? Did we expect that if we stood there with them he would have taught us something different?

No, the message of the scriptures is that the rights of the priesthood, and the rights of faith, and rights of belief are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven.

It is not only that they cannot be controlled nor handled only on the principles of righteousness. It is that we can tell how well we have grown into the principles of righteousness by whether we find ourselves connected with the powers of heaven.

We can tell whether we believe (as God measures things) by whether the signs God tells us follow those that believe also follow us. In other words, we can tell whether we are yet living the principles of righteousness by whether we find that our belief is strong enough that it is connecting us with the powers of heaven.

We can tell whether we have faith like a mustard seed (as God measures things, which is the only measure that matters), by whether we can say to a sycamine tree "be thou plucked up by the root and be thou planted in the sea" and it obeys us. In other words, we can tell whether we have faith as a mustard seed by whether our faith is connecting us with the powers of heaven.

The rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven. And what are those rights? 

D&C 107: 18 The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church—
 19 To have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.

Wow. These are rights that are connected with the powers of heaven indeed. Truly, the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven.

The message of our day is that we are worthy.

But the scriptures challenge that message. They tell us that if we are worthy, we will find ourselves connected with the powers of heaven.

I find I personally have a great distance to go. That is what it means that I live far beneath my privileges. That is no surprise. Many of us do. Most of us do. We find ourselves in great need of repentance. But let us not redefine what it is to believe, what it is to have faith, what it is to enjoy the rights of the priesthood, by setting the standard to be different than what God has declared it to be. He didn't just state the standard, he told us how to tell when we are reaching it. 

And that standard isn't one that testifies of our current worthiness, but of our need to become so.

David O McKay - The moral community and youth

David O McKay
"Safeguards against the Delinquency of Youth"
October 1946 General Conference
A fourth and final safeguard against delinquency of youth is the moral atmosphere of the town or community. This is determined by the ideals and actions of adults, and particularly of civic officers and those who are entrusted to enforce the law. The following from one of our leading columnists (Miss Dorothy Thompson) referring to the "pervasive example of the behavior of adult civilization," is pertinent:

As long as we publicize and condone violence; reward profiteering; intensify civil strife; glorify personalities with the sexual morals of rabbits; teach in our high schools and colleges a cheap relativism which denies personal responsibility and places all our sins upon the "economic system" or "infantile conditioning," so long will we have juvenile criminals. Our children are reflections of ourselves, or of the things in our communal life that we tolerate. England, now, is making special films to be shown in special theatres for teenagers—films which are partly educational and partly pure entertainment, made by first rate artists, and frankly designed to magnify and make attractive virtue.

The writer then quotes Thomas Jefferson who "did not believe that you can get a good society except through good, honest, well-mannered, considerate, law-abiding, clean-living citizens. He thought, in fact, that if education concentrated in the first line on creating these, society and the state would take care of themselves."

Yes, we are living in perilous times, but let us hope that they may be to the present generation as the fiery furnace that consumes the dross but purifies the gold.

A clean man is a national asset. A pure woman is the incarnation of true national glory. A citizen who loves justice and hates evil is better than a battleship. The strength of any community consists of and exists in the men who are pure, clean, upright and straightforward, ready for the right and sensitive to every approach of evil. Let such ideals be the standard of citizenship.

They are fundamentals in the Church of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

God wants us to do well at the judgment so he tells us all about it and requires us to believe him

The Lord wants us to do well at the judgment bar so he tells us all about it so we will know how we will be judged. He gives us extensive detail in D&C 76 about just who will be saved in the celestial kingdom because he wants us to make sure we make it. He says that they will be valiant in the testimony of Jesus, as well as many other things that describe the people who will become part of the celestial kingdom.  He tells us who will go to the Terrestrial kingdom, and that it will include those who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus.

If we are not worthy to enter his house here on earth, do we think we will be worthy to enter his kingdom after this life? Can we be worthy to enter his kingdom in heaven and not be worthy to enter his house on the earth? Will he suddenly change his mind after we die? No, of course not.

I find myself deeply concerned when people want to spend time discussing what they need to do to get into heaven using the false teachings they found in "Believing Christ" or one of Brad Wilcox's writings or talks instead of appealing to the scriptures. The scriptures teach a very different message.

The Lord wants us to do well at the judgment bar, so he lays it all out for us. We like, like errant children, for some reason immediately start spiritualizing what he says away, no matter how plain our father is with us.

When we are listening to what God says about his own judgment then we are not taking judgement from God, we are leaving judgment in his hands. He said what he will do, and when we are submitting our will to that, having faith in his word, then we are leaving judgment with him.

The moment we start supplanting what God says about how we will be judged, we are taking judgment to ourselves, which is against his commandments.

Charity is not accepting people as they are

Many times I have individuals in the church teach that "Charity is loving them for who they are and accepting the whole package."

Nonsense, Charity rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. Christ doesn't accept the whole package, he requires repentance. He will actually send people to hell who will not repent and come unto him. I'm not sure how you can call that "accepting the whole package".

Christ even gave a parable concerning our sins:

Matthew 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, poluck it out, and cast it from thee, for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut if off, and cast it from thee, for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body shoudl be cast into hell. And now this I speak, a parable concerning your sins; wherefore, cast them from you, that ye may not be hewn down and cast into the fire.

That is, we will not be accepted into Heaven "as we are". If we will not be accepted into Heaven in our sins, what makes us think we are acceptable to him in our sins here on earth? In your experience, is a man more lenient with someone he is dealing with at a distance or one whom he is dealing with face to face? There is generally a greater willingness to be merciful to be kind to a man we are dealing with in person than online, over the telephone, or one who is driving another car during heavy traffic.

If we believe that we must be clean to be accepted into Heaven at the judgement bar, then why do we not believe that here in mortality, where we are separated from his presence by a veil we are acceptable to him without repentance of our sins?

Alma 41:11 And now, my son, all men are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.

Why do they live without God in the world

Charity is the pure love of Christ. It is love like Christ has.

Consider these words of the Savior, to determine whether it is love that loves everyone for who they are, accepting the whole package. These are the words of an Angel delivering divine teaching from God:

Mosiah 3:19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

Does the phrase "the natural man is an enemy to God...unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit" sound like "God accepts them as they are"? No, not at all.

we also read

3 Nephi 30:1 Hearken, O ye Gentirles and hear the words of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, which he hath commanded me that I should speak concerning you, for, behold he commandeth me that I should write, saying:
2 Turn, all ye Gentiles, from you wicked ways, and repent of your evil doings, of your lyins and deceivings, and of your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and you idolatries, and of you murders, and your priestcrafts, and you evnyings, and you strifes, and from all your wickedness and abominations, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbmered with my people who are of the house of Israel.

This is the love of Christ. It is the love that says "Go and sin no more", no the love that says "I accpet you as you are." There is no place in the scriptures where the Lord tells wicked men that he accepts them the way that they are. There are many places where the Lord tells wicked men that he requires them to repent. In many cases he tells them to repent or he will destroy them.

If destroying someone is different than accepting them as they are, we should recognize that God's love does not accept men as they are, but instead requires repentance.

And when we have his pure love, we cannot expect that it will be a love different than his, but a love like his. Thus, his prophets condemned people who would not repent to destruction and hell, and they did so in perfect charity, because they were delivering the words of Christ, and charity is the pure love of Christ.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Duty is a stranger to the emasculated society

We have been living so long with the poisonous effects of feminism that we no longer recognize them as toxic.

Men naturally tend toward notions like duty, leadership and obedience as a virtue in its own right. Sure, not all men do, just like some women choose to be horrible nurturers. But these are traits men naturally gravitate towards.

We see this in the endowment in our father Adam.

By supplanting the father as the head of the home and reducing him to nothing more than the figurehead of the home, we inadvertently undermine these traits. These are traits that flow from a father when he is at the head of the home. But they do not do so when everyone knows he is only a figurehead. That undermines his ability to teach, or even believe in these traits.

It is in his role as a leader that man is most naturally inclined toward these traits. When he is not, he naturally lets the new boss, his wife, lead the way. A man understands duty and leadership as a natural synthesis, and that his right to lead in his proper place is the flip side of his obligation to duty when it is not his place to lead. When he finds he is only a figurehead in the home, he doesn't lead. He sets aside his inclinations in favor of his wife's because (whether he will admit it to himself or not) she is his leader. And he ceases to lead.

Then masculine traits like duty, leadership, and commandments aren't conveyed to the sons.

We have been following this road for a long time now, multiple generations, and what we have is a ridiculously effeminized culture which has no interest in duty or commandments, and no real notion of leadership that isn't basically motherhood instead of being like fatherhood.

I think that bears repeating: We have no real notion of leadership that isn't basically motherhood instead of being like fatherhood.

Consider the following example from a talk I heard a man give recently. Christ was being portrayed as a coach. The speaker said that when we got baptized we join Christ's team. He requires us to make commitments to show up to practice and take it seriously if we are going to join his team. The speaker than said that if we joined the team, but then we didn't show up we would make our coach disappointed.

Note that what is taught here is fairly effeminate, even for a football analogy. If we don't keep our covenants then we make our coach feel bad. It isn't about duty. There is no question of commandments and responsibility. There is certainly no mention of retribution or punishment, BECAUSE there is no sense of duty and commandments. The only thing at issue is the coaches feelings.

When we hear about commandments these days, it is rarely taught with a phrase that was good enough for Moses and God: "Thou shalt not". Instead we often hear them taught in extremely feminine terms about feeling and caring and maybe a soft substitute for punishment like "consequences". It as if we are really supposed to keep the commandments because, if we don't, it makes God feel bad. We almost never hear commandments simply as commandments. And there is certainly no mention of retribution or punishment. Punishment and retribution are notions that follow on the tail of duty and commandments. Once you abandon hard words like "thou shalt" and "thou shalt not" in favor of coddling then you have certainly abandoned words like "punishment" and "retribution".

Several times in the past year or two I have said it was important for people to understand one commandment or another, and have been astonished at the people who will respond that knowing something is a commandment is not enough to make them personally want to do it. In fact, in each case I was told that simply being told that something is a commandment makes them want to NOT do it.

That is astonishing. These are top notch members of the church, but they end up sounding like Laman and Lemuel. Why?

Because they have some measure of the poison of feminism. Duty isn't a virtue. Commandments aren't a reason for doing something. They didn't grow up that way. They have to be mothered into it. In fact, they think they have a right to be mothered into it. They don't think much of "thou shalt" and "thou shalt not" and thus they find it hard to measure up to a man like Moses.

We can do better, but we never will until we admit that feminism stands contrary to the scriptures, is founded in pride and animosity, and is poison for families and society.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Because he loved thy fathers

This is a beautiful truth that runs horribly afoul of modern thought. It isn't "inclusive". It is God showing a clear preference. And yet, it is also beautiful that God chose these people because he loved their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is beautiful that for our righteousness we can bring blessing to our posterity.
Deuteronomy 4:37 And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt;

Immodesty and lust

If Christ said

Matthew 5: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

why can we not figure out that he would also say

"Whosoever dresses to inspire a man to lust after her hath committed adultery with him already in her heart."

No one can honestly say that he condemned lustful looking as being akin to adultery (which was a capitol offense under the law of Moses), but that he thought that the flip side of that issue, dressing to inspire lust was, was not equally sinful.

Lust always stand in opposition to the real gospel. Immodesty is all about lust. They are twins.

Do we remember how John the Baptist was slain?

Mark 6:22 And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee.
 23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.

This was a seductive dance. It was meant to entice and sexually arouse Herod. It was likely a very immodest dance as well, as it was seductive to the point that Herod was willing to give her half of his kingdom.

And what did she want? The head of John the Baptist.

Do we really think Christ didn't stand against such things? Do we not understand that lust and immodesty always stand in opposition to the gospel?

The secret combinations that destroyed the Jaredite nation was born out of a single, similar dance. This was not a modest waltz.

Ether 8:11 And now Omer was a friend to Akish; wherefore, when Jared had sent for Akish, the daughter of Jared danced before him that she pleased him, insomuch that he desired her to wife. And it came to pass that he said unto Jared: Give her unto me to wife.
 12 And Jared said unto him: I will give her unto you, if ye will bring unto me the head of my father, the king.

From that act was born a secret combination that eventually destroyed the kingdom.

Lust and immodesty always stand in opposition to truth and right.

And yes, whoever dresses to inspire a man to lust after her hath committed adultery with him already in her heart.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The fixation with mood and thought medication

Holy cow, I am tired of the "practically everyone needs mood altering medication in order to live a normal life" fixation. So, presumably, we are to believe that Heavenly Father cruelly made all other generations on this earth live abnormal lives with abnormal emotions, but, thanks to modern medicine everyone can finally have a normal brain and normal emotions now that a constant flow of prescription medicines will correct them.

Many believe whatever claims "science" makes because of its miracles

 I could be dead wrong, but the more I consider the related scriptures, the more I think that the false Christ's working miracles in the last days are not individuals pretending to be the promised Messiah, but are instead the miracles of the scientific and engineering community which cause people to give heed to whatever they say.

There are a number of scriptures condemning people for ignoring the miracles done in the scriptures:

John 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.

We also read

Matt 11:21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

In the Book of Mormon people cease to be impressed by a work or a miracle We also read there:

3 Nephi 8:1 And now it came to pass that according to our record, and we know our record to be true, for behold, it was a just man who did keep the record—for he truly did many miracles in the name of Jesus; and there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity—.

So I don't believe that the false christ's working miracles in the last days refer to miracles in the usual sense. I am strongly suspicious they refer to the technological and medical miracles we see all around us, and the credibility those "miracles" give to other, completely bogus claims of science. Evolution would be an obvious first false teaching that people buy into.

Consider a recent example. At some point there is a claim there was a study "proving" that people were born gay. Now if that happened 100 years ago everyone would have laughed at whatever group had made the study and ignored it except to retell as a joke. But now, because it is a "study" and all studies have great credence in people's minds for no better reason than the fact that they are impressed by their many modern miracles, people buy into whatever they say.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

We must not respect abuses of power as being real law

If we don't recognize a tea tax without representation, how can we possibly be duped into recognizing a redefinition of the whole concept of marriage without representation.

Moreover, if there is such a thing as God given inalienable rights (note that means inalienable even by decree of government) then there is such a thing as God given marriage, which is even more unalterable even by decree of government, because marriage is more fundamentally sacred and divine even than the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Government simply doesn't have the right to change it, any more than Government has the right to strip its citizens of their fundamental rights.

Acknowledging and subjecting ourselves to Governmental decrees which lie outside Government's rights only encourages them to continue to act outside those rights. Our ancestors understood that, and held a large tea party in Boston. We should have the same sense they did and not treat abuses of power as real law, or we will only see more severe and frequent abuses of power.

When confronted, we should be plain.

(1) The judiciary has no right to legislate and this was clearly far reaching legislation, not determination of guilt

(2) their decision was in no way based on law as their own summary of the decision makes perfectly clear

(3) they are not a representative body and we don't believe in legislation without representation,

(4) the action they took lies outside of government's rights in the first place because we hold this truth to be self evident: that marriage is endowed by our Creator as being a union of a man and a woman.

Tyranny by Auction

Many people feel that putting the care of the poor in the hands of the federal government was a huge step forward despite the brethren's bold teachings against it at the time. Now what do we see. Rather than caring for the poor, state welfare has become the government's carrot on a stick to manipulate the poor with.

In short, they have made an arrangement:

The poor get the country's wealth, stolen through taxation that isn't intended for genuine purposes of state, but for dangling as a ever growing carrot to control the poor with. In exchange, the liberal politicians get their vote.

They have made an arrangement where the liberal politicians offer the poor the riches of the state if the poor will give them the power of state.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote to a governor the words "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Our nation is being destroyed by a population that depends on the government for it's daily bread. For financial safety they don't care who they put into office. They surrender their liberty for safety.

This completely supplants a free government with a puppet government which is open to the highest bidder. A free government requires a people who care more about who they are electing than who is bidding the most out of the state coffers, or who will take most liberally from the rich and stick it in their pockets.

When bribed votes outnumber votes based on the dictates of conscience then we no longer have a democracy. I don't know what it is called. It becomes a new form of government: tyranny by auction.

This is not a trend an immoral nation is going to reverse, and we will continue to see greater promises from a few to give the wealth of the nation to the many in exchange for the full power of state.

And that is no longer self government.

Such a road can only end at full communism and socialism, as that is the most the elite can offer. As Margaret Thatcher pointed out, "the problem with socialism is you eventually run out of other people's money."

Perhaps then we will finally understand the words of the verse:

D&C 134:2 We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Very short note on final judgement

The fact that the Father hath committed all judgment unto the Son is not a statement that the judgment will be different, and more lenient, than if the Father did it. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one.

We cannot repair our country without the foundation of our Creator

Our country was formed because we were willing to invoke the name of God. If we could not appeal to a higher power than our British King, then we had no basis for revolt. It was in our claim that all mankind are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. It was critical that this claim was a truth we said was "self evident". This was not going to be argued from scripture, it flowed from the innate sense of right and wrong man is endowed with. It is truth that comes from the same source as conscience itself. 
From that foundation grew a new nation that the Lord held in his hand and watched over like a tender plant.
Now, we think we know better. The best among us KNOWS that it is foolish, and potentially even wrong, to invoke the Creator in defense of our causes in government. Truths we know to be self evident, such as decency, the divine nature of family, marriage, fatherhood, or motherhood are not invoked directly. We look down on days when decency was a cause in its own right as naive and simpleminded. But we are the fools, thinking that we can keep a nation on a firm foundation like that our founding fathers laid without invoking the same basis of self evident truths and the critical appeal to both the endowments and requirements of a divine creator in the public square.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Lord's foreknowledge and abortion

The Lord's foreknowledge is interesting. What seems odd at the time it is given proves to be important later.

When D&C 59 was revealed, the wording "nor kill, nor do anything like unto it" may have seemed wrong. How does one do something that isn't murder as we know it, but is "like unto it"?

 D&C 59:6 Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Thou shalt not steal; neither commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it.

I also think it is interesting that Brigham Young taught that life begins when the mother feels the baby moving within her.

So long before abortion was even an issue we had a prophet explain at what point life begins.

But for those corrupt individuals whose conscience's no longer recognize natural law of their own accord, and who would argue for legalizing abortion previous to the beginning of life, we were also given a revelation commanding us not to kill "nor do anything like unto it".

Monday, October 5, 2015

Very short note: the story of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah

I need to remember to teach my kids the story of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah instead of the story of Shadrak, Meshach, and Abed-nego. We call Daniel by the name given him by loving parents and discard what his cruel captors called him. Sure, this is no great moral issue. But I do think his three friends would probably appreciate the same consideration.

If the Lord spoke to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, or Azariah by name certainly he addressed them by name as: 
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah. Again, no great moral issue here. Just giving our honored predecessors a consideration they may appreciate.

Was the Lord wroth?

We don't believe the phrase "and the Lord was wroth" in the scriptures anymore. We don't believe it is really true.

When we won't believe the scriptures no matter how plainly or bluntly they state something, we are looking to some other source rather than to God for truth about him.

Brigham Young stated: "As to religion, we believe in the Old and New Testament, and consider it unnecessary to hire learned divines to interpret the Scriptures; we receive them as they are ..." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol 10, discourse 46, 229-232)

For example, in Deuteronomy 1 Moses is recounting the time when the Israelites were afraid to go up into the land of Israel. We read:

Deuteronomy 1: 34 And the Lord heard the voice of your words, and was wroth, and sware, saying,
 35 Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers,
36 Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the Lord.
37 Also the Lord was angry with me for your sakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither.
38 But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.

If we won't believe Moses that God was wroth, will we at least consider what God's actions say about this? In response to the Israelites rebellion they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years and the Lord swore that none of them but Caleb and Joshua would enter the land. If we ponder the weight of that decree, can we not recognize that the Lord really was wroth? The Israelites spent the next 40 years wandering through the wilderness, and all that were not children died off except for Joshua and Caleb who stood firm while Israel rebelled. Doesn't that SOUND like the Lord really was wroth?

If Moses, who spoke with the Lord in person on multiple occasions says the Lord was wroth. We, who know him only "through a glass darkly" really have no right to be correcting Moses and saying that we know otherwise.

Think about when Christ cleanses the temple on two occasions in the New Testament. Do we believe that he was wroth then? Or do we think he was just "going through the motions"? Have no doubt that separating money changers from their money was a brutal affair. Can't we recognize that Christ, who was the same God in the new testament that he was in the old, was wroth with those who made his house a den of thieves when he drove them out forcibly with a cat of nine tails?

We have men in the scriptures who spoke face to face with the Lord, and come back telling us the Lord was wroth with the people at one time or another, and we don't believe them. These men spoke with the Lord like we speak with one another. They dealt with him in person. Their language was perfectly plain. How could we doubt them in favor of our own prejudices and traditions?

When we alter the character of God according to our own whims then we aren't we remaking him in the image of man?

Yes, God is love. No, that isn't the hippy idea of love that we have grown up with since the sixties. His love doesn't alter his justice nor does it change the fact he can be wroth with people for their actions any more than any parent's love makes it impossible for them to be angry with their children.

And why does it matter? I conclude with Joseph Smith's words:

I want to ask this congregation, every man, woman and child, to answer the question in their own heart, what kind of a being God is? Ask yourselves; turn your thought into your hearts, and say if any of you have seen, heard, or communed with him. This is a question that may occupy your attention for a long time. I again repeat the question--What kind of a being is God? Does any man or woman know? Have any of you seen him, heard him, or communed with him? Here is the question that will, peradventure, from this time henceforth occupy your attention. The Scriptures inform us that "This is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent."

If any man does not know God, and inquires what kind of a being he is,--if he will search diligently his own heart--if the declaration of Jesus and the apostles be true, he will realize that he has not eternal life; for there can be eternal life on no other principle.

My first object is to find out the character of the only wise and true God, and what kind of a being he is; and if I am so fortunate as to be the man to comprehend God, and explain or convey the principles to your hearts, so that the Spirit seals them upon you, then let every man and woman henceforth sit in silence, put their hands on their mouths, and never lift their hands or voices, or say anything against the man of God or the servants of God again. (TPJS page 344)

If we decide to alter God's character to fit our traditions, then we are putting up stakes for the almighty. We are saying what he can do and who he can really be

When we have a man like Moses who spoke face to face with the Lord come back and tell us that the Lord was wroth, or that one thing or another was pleasing to the Lord, we should simply believe him. We cannot possibly come to know anything about the character of God if, we refuse to believe the plain words of a man that has spoken face to face with God.

Ye shall not respect persons in judgment

Deuteronomy 1:17 Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s
Wait, that verse doesn't seem to favor large corporations and powerful special interest groups who offer croney benefits at all.
I think many in our government have left the teachings in this verse this long ago. Mere "ethics" will never substitute for devotion to God and his commandments. You cannot abandon the only rock on which man can build and end up with government that respects the finer points of God's requirements, such as the one found in Deuteronomy 1:17.

Friday, October 2, 2015

The purpose of Peter's sword

I have been thinking about the fact that Peter had a sword. I find that interesting. They were obviously poor, and typically swords, being large hunks of forged metal, are expensive items. The scriptures speak of men beating their spears into pruning hooks  because forged metal was too expensive to simply buy a replacement for, and a spear has far less metal than a sword.

When Peter struck out against a servant among the group who came to arrest Christ the Savior warned him not to live by the sword. In isolation that sounds like the Savior objected to Peter's sword altogether, but had only just thought to mention it.

But Peter's sword held a purpose the Son of God had no objection to. During his last supper, Christ gave them new counsel that when they went forth to teach the gospel, the should not take purse, scrip, and sell a garment if necessary to buy a sword. They told him they had two swords with them at the time, and he said it was enough.

Luke 22:
35 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.

 36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
 37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.
 38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.

Brigham Young tells us both the Nauvoo and Kirtland temple were built buy himself and others working with a sword or musket in one hand and a trowel or hammer in the other.

The adversary always inspires wicked men against the truth, but wicked men can often be held at bay by a show of potential force. As a rule, they are cowards. 

"... with that awful fear of death which fills the breasts of all the wicked, did they await to receive them..." Mormon 6:7

Thus Joseph Smith organized the Nauvoo Legion. What did he intend to conquer with such a force? Why absolutely nothing of course. But the existence of an organized and trained defense helped keep their enemies at bay.

The right to bear arms within our country plays a similar critical role. Protecting citizen's right to bear arms isn't about toppling government any more than the Nauvoo legion was about military conquest. But it keeps wicked and conspiring men at bay who would gladly use the force of arms every government has at its disposal to effectively hold our people hostage and play the tyrant.

George Washington showed wisdom about men and nations when speaking of our country:
"There is a rank due the United States among the nations that will be totally lost by the reputation of weakness. If we would avoid insult we must be able to repel it, if we would secure the peace, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war."

The armies of Helaman were miraculously spared by God while slaying the Lamanites so fiercely that it scared the Lamanite armies. They were able to do so because:

Alma 36:47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.

They said "Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone" (Alma 56:46) 

It was the same God that spared the armies of Helaman in battle and it was the same Christ that told his disciples to sell their garment to buy a sword that shortly thereafter told Peter not to live by the sword.