Sunday, February 10, 2019

Sacrament Prayers

Wheat:

O God the Eternal 
Father I ask you
in the name of your Son 
Jesus 
Christ
to bless
and sanctify 
this bread
to my soul
who partakes of it
that I may eat 
in remembrance 
of the body
of your Son
and witness to you O God
my Eternal 
Father
that I am willing 
to take upon me 
the name of your Son
and always remember Him
and keep his commandments 
which He 
has given me
that I may always 
have His Spirit 
to be with me
Amen


Grapes:

O God, the Eternal 
Father I ask you
in the name of your Son
Jesus
Christ
to bless
and sanctify
this wine
to my soul
who drinks of it
that I may do it 
in remembrance
of the blood
of your Son
which was shed
for me
that I may witness 
to you O God
my Eternal
Father
that I do always 
remember Him
that I may have 
His Spirit 
to be with me
Amen

Friday, September 14, 2018

Know it All

What an amazing time to be alive!

For context of this post, watch a few dozen seconds of the video here.

So much information right at our fingertips. So much false information easily debunked, and the replacement then quickly debunked, and debunked, and debunked. It's almost too much to sort out sometimes. 

A friend told me years ago to "hold all revelation (information) loosely", and what wise advice that has been. When you claim humility and openness to more truth, you're able to receive more. To claim pride and know it all already, there's no room for more. 

Only recently we could see that inside an atom were protons, neutrons, and electrons, and we trust that super-powered instruments were and are telling us the truth. But the truth is, we're only told that, by people we "trust" to be honest.  Are they honest?  Can you name who discovered the quark?  Who named it?  

Only recently do we hear of people re-doubting the heliocentric model of the universe, reverting to previous theories of a flat model. How can anyone claim to know it all? 

Setting down stakes for truth only proves ignorance, because you can see an individual quark no more than I can see the outermost star.  But in truth, you can see a quark, as it supposedly makes up everything around you.  

To claim to know God, based on old books, or to have searched the universe and not found God anywhere and assert God is no were to be found are just two sides of the same coin. 

Now, to believe, that's where the marvel, awe and wonder are found, because it allows for revelation of MORE, whether it supports or refutes the claim. 

But to make a decision only asserts you know it all, and none of us do, unless we have our own evidence and personal witness.  

Lack of tangible evidence does not mean something does not exist, just as I have no evidence of the presence of atoms, quarks, and whatever else is smaller than a quark.  Must I believe your witness?  Or some unknown scientist?  Not all evidence must be tangible, as I can assert I ate chicken salad last year for lunch, but can't prove it to someone any more than you can prove to me whether or not you stopped at a red light this morning.  I can't prove to you how a cell phone works on invisible connections, but it works.  Sometimes our evidence IS invisible.  That doesn't mean it does not exist. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

Catholics, Mormons & Private Parts


I asked my friend, who is an active, practicing Catholic, how the local congregation has handled the recent news of over 1000 Pennsylvania children being abused by over 300 priests, some of whom had been priests in our town.  She told me this, paraphrased:

"The priests knew ahead of time about the news release of the abused. They warned the church that it would be released, and invited them to let them know if there were any further individuals who had suffered abuse. They advocated prayers for the victims, and justice for the accused."

Less than two weeks after that news broke, I learned that Sam Young received a letter for a LDS disciplinary council, due to his efforts to change the LDS bishop's interviews for children and youth.  Sam has a website (www.invisiblescubit.wordpress.com) where he has published accounts of many who have dealt with the consequences of closed-door, private interviews where sexually explicit questions have been asked of minors.  Some have been molested.  Some raped.  I have only been able to stomach reading a few accounts due to the extreme graphic nature of so many of them.  He has stated that he has received over 3000 accounts to date, though he has not published nearly that many.

The news of his trial reminded me so poignantly of Denver Snuffer, who five years ago and also this weekend, was excommunicated for "apostasy".

[What was his apostate sin worthy of getting the ax? Addressing some of the uglier history of the Church in a book called Passing the Heavenly Gift. Because he wouldn't break contract for publication, he was ex'ed without even being present at his hearing.]

We'll see what happens with Sam - I'm pretty sure it'll be the same for him, and it's likely already decided, just as it was clearly done with Denver. This is not how LDS scripture indicates that these councils are supposed to work. The whole thing IS a kangaroo court, once again. They are becoming all too familiar.

I support Sam Young in his efforts. Because I support him, and the headquarters deems him an apostate, I am technically in open opposition to the LDS Church, which also, in their interpretation, means I'm apostate. That word used to be a very huge insult to me, but seeing the persecution of faithful believers dampens the blow for me, personally.  I think this issue begs all churchgoers address a larger doctrine though, which is this:

These men are not God and do not represent God. They don't speak for God, unless of course, they actually have something to relay that is actually FROM God. I don't care what church you participate in. Confessing your "sins" to a man pretending to represent God is not necessary, and to continue to regurgitate the saying that "God is at the head of this C/church" is a reckless teaching.  Be careful how you say that, church.  Scripture indicates we are to confess to God and in some instances the church body, but not a pseudo-god. If as a society of those who BELIEVE in God - Catholic, Christian, Mormon, whatever - we don't openly speak against this practice collectively, we will CONTINUE to see abuses of power and the pedophiles will have a playground of ladders to climb to claim religious notoriety and safety under their given Church umbrella. Because the church body - particularly the Mormon one - is not allowed to criticize the church head, who is so frequently equated with God Himself.  This is the case with the Catholics, and this is especially the case with the Mormons.

I saw in one Facebook group this week where a woman stated (paraphrased): "I believe President Nelson is looking younger every day!  I truly believe he is in the process of being translated."  Really?  The man who had a direct hand in excommunicating SO many believers is being translated?

God may be at the head of the church (little c), but he is certainly not at the head of any of these Churches (big Corp C). That is certainly not to say that God has no influence with them, but to rather say that we make idols of men. It's not fair to them and it's certainly not fair to us as disciples.

And yes, as a 12 year old child I too was routinely asked if I masturbated. I didn't think anything of it, because it was part of the list of questions and the process was approved, stamped, and supported by God, so I thought. I can't even say the "m" word in front of my kids.  Gross.  

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Bible: a Set Apart Compilation of Books

What is the Bible? 

A holy (holy means "set apart") 
compilation (compilation means "putting together")
of books (books being a set of thoughts, ideas and stories). 

Who decided what went into the Bible, the holy compilation of books?  Do we know anything about the individuals who compiled it? 

Christians view the Bible as complete, inerrant, and perfect.  Is that true?  Let's examine this idea, just briefly. 

What was it about this compilation that caused it to be "set apart"?  Was it simply a decision made, by the individuals compiling it? What power did they have?  Were they gifted with heavenly power? 

Did the reader's honoring of it give it increased power to be set apart?  Did the continuous reverence toward it as a sanctified (made holy) thing create it to be more power-filled? 

What if the holy-ness of the Bible is a man made thing?  What if we stretch our minds a little, and suppose that the level of holy thoughts, holy ideas, and holy stories has no end?  What if the Bible really extends to the vastness of time and eternity, and the life forms put on the planet? 

What if you are a living "bible", a holy set of thoughts, ideas, stories and experiences, and what if you are as unique and qualified to be important as Jacob, Isaac, Noah, Paul, Joseph or the rest?  Naomi, Ruth, Mary, Eve... what if your story is equally as important?  What would you do with your life?  What would you do with your opinions?  Your thoughts, ideas, and stories? 

Today I believe that God instilled an idea in my mind, that we all are part of the Bible.  Our story has simply not been published yet, and in time, who knows but what our story will mean to someone down the road.   

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Approaching the Throne of God

Below are 10 things one MUST consider before approaching the holy throne of God.

1. Location.  Are you in the church, the temple, or a serene setting like a home or sacred space that has been properly prepared for you with reverence and serenity?
2. Modest dress.  Are your shoulders and knees covered sufficiently to not cause embarrassment or shame before the Lord? 
3. Grooming.  Men, are you properly shaven and hair combed and parted on the side?  No improper hair coloring or extreme cuts?  Women, is your head covered at least with hair, and perhaps even a veil, head doily, bonnet, headband, or other covering? 
4. Music.  Have you prepared the visit by singing or playing at least 3 hymns on your electronic device or instrument?
5. Scriptures.  Did you take time to study at least a handful of scriptures before approaching the throne?
6. Home.  Is your home cleanly, allowing you to properly focus on parting the veil?
7. White.  Are you not wearing any dark colors, which might invoke an improper spirit?
8. Kneeling.  Are you kneeling properly, with your knees on the floor, and not sitting on your haunches? If you're in a temple, are you properly NOT kneeling, as that would cause disruption, distraction, and feelings of disrespect in or toward others?
9. Arms.  Have you ensured that your arms are properly folded across your bosom, not causing distraction to yourself or others who might be with you by their flailing around?
10. Words.  Are you comfortable using the proper prayer language, beginning with addressing your Holy Father by name, followed by thanks, then asking what you came for, and closing in-the-name-of-Jesus-Christ-Amen? 

These are all certainly things one needs to take into account before beginning to approach the Lord. 

Or they could just talk to Him in the car during heavy traffic. 

Or while lying in bed, drifting off to sleep. 

How about while sitting cross-legged on a park bench eating lunch. 

They could wear jeans and a ratty t-shirt.

One could have their arms overhead, and be hanging upside down on a gymnasium bar in workout gear.

Can we call out in prayer to our Lord in our fields, our closets, our workspaces, our dinner tables, our backyards, our garages, schools, and bathrooms?  Or must we restrict ourselves to proper attire, proper form, and proper words? 

I don't think the Lord cares.  While this post might come off as mocking satire, that's not the intent.  There are religious individuals who feel very strongly about these details, and while I mean no disrespect to them, I do mean to question the importance of these rules and regulations they've interpreted.  If we can get past the formalities, I think we might discover the Lord in our everyday lives so much more.  These ideas are common beliefs that very well have the power to prevent us from allowing the Lord more fully into our lives.  I pray to dispel them from mine, making it ever easier to approach the throne. 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Pelé & Priesthood

It was the writings of Daymon Smith that convinced me to view the idea of "priesthood" differently.  He refers to it in a way as to suggest that, similar to the word neighborhood – which suggests an association of neighbors – that priesthood might similarly refer to an association of priests. 

What's a priest?  In religious terms, it is one who has been chosen to participate in religious rites.  In spiritual terms, a priest would be one who receives the power of God.

It supposes me that there are many priests on earth, who have no formal religious ordination, but have received power of/from God.

Pelé: Birth of a Legend, demonstrates this concept.  Below are the final few minutes of the movie.  (I recommend the entire movie.)  The movie largely focuses on how Pelé advances in the soccer world, as a very young man (17 yrs old), and is trammeled in his talents and skills.  He is forced to make a promise mid-movie that he will NOT play soccer on the world stage in the fashion that comes to him naturally.  It was called ginja.  To be permitted to continue playing he must play someone else's way. 


In the minutes preceding this clip, we see Pelé's teammate giving him the encouragement he needs to ignore the promise he was forced to make, and to play with the gifts he was born with, and developed through his life's experience.  It wasn't that his teammate said so, but the friend acknowledged and supported him in being who he was born to be.

Some poignant moments:

  • Pelé's playing in a stadium filled with European "enemies" of sorts.  The opposing coach had been quite scornful toward their team earlier in the movie.  Sweden scores, confirming the public scorn the coach had launched prior to the game. 
  • About 4:50, Pelé looks above the jubilant crowd, and observes the handful of dark-skinned Brazilians, nearly in the peanut gallery, and so much more is conveyed than a losing side's sadness.  He realizes he's been playing someone else's way the whole game, and their team has been on the losing end because of it.  Seeing Brazilians high up in the crowd reminds him who he is. 
  • About 8 minutes, he looks at his teammates with whom a special bond had already formed.  Time seems to slow as these men are reconnecting.  They have already become close enough as to form a very strong brotherhood.  It manifests here. 
  • About 8:48, commentators observe that he's "smiling".
  • 8:53 the Brazilian commentator speaks of the players acting in "perfect harmony".
  • 9:00 the movie shifts to the view of Pelé's father, sitting among his peers in a crowded room, watching his son from very much afar – around the world even, through a tv barrier. You feel his pleasure, honor, joy for his son.  He smiles deeply.
  • 10:45 Pelé's dad discovers his wife in the crowd of jubilant Brazilians, watching via tv, and they connect. 
  • 11:45 Pelé faints and his brothers hoist him up on their shoulders.  
I was shown that this is priesthood – an association of priests.  Or in other words, this is how priesthood functions.  Priesthood is when I think of my friend and she calls me, needing help, because we are connected invisibly through love.  It is when I'm in the shower, and am led to offer to volunteer to serve someone just before they ask me for help.  It's a stitching power, which while invisible to most mortals, knits our hearts together so that the unlikely can happen in some sort of synchrony.  It's a sort of heavenly magic. 

This kind of priesthood cannot be controlled, sold, or harnessed, because it's not something that man can pass around like some sort of tangible "thing".  Unless one has this power of love.  Then the power is often nearly tangible.  When there is not love, it is broken, as the stitching is less strong. This is why Christ indicated that the greatest commandment is to love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves.  If we cannot have love for all three – God, our neighbors, and ourselves – we have no priesthood, or association of priests.   

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Water, Blood, Spirit, Dust

And so I give to you a commandment to teach these things freely to your children, 
saying that by reason of transgression comes the fall, which fall brings death. 
  
And inasmuch as you were born into the world by water
and blood
and the spirit
which I have made, 
and so became of dust a living soul, 

even so you must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten, that you might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory
  
For by water you keep the commandment. 
  
By the Spirit you are justified. 
  
And by the blood you are sanctified. 
  
And so it is given to abide in you, the record of heaven, 
the Comforter, 
the peaceable things of immortal glory, 

the truth of all things, 
that which quickens all things, 
which makes alive all things, 
that which knows all things, 
and has all power 
according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.
  
And now, behold, I say to you, 
this is the plan of salvation to all men
through the blood of my Only Begotten, 
who shall come in the meridian of time. 
Moses 6:58-62, Simplified

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Internet

Feeling awfully poetic of late, so for you, a poem of sorts, called The Internet, inspired by recent realizations post 2/14, which I feel heralded some sort of "shift", which I don't fully understand, but recognize nonetheless.

The internet...
invisible

powerful

connective

addictive

informative

liberating

oh, the internet!
Possessing a partially loaded tree of knowledge and wisdom but who really wants to eat
the

tempting, bitter, sweet fruit?

Close your eyes! Turn it off!

Wow, the internet!