Friday, January 27, 2017

Words of Moses/Nephi

This afternoon I finished reading and revising 1 Nephi 7 (in my Sloppy Coppy) for my kids.  Something interesting stuck out to me, probably with current events going on.  This part here:

"But it is the kingdom of the devil which will be built up among the children of men which kingdom is established among them which are in the flesh for the time speedily will come that all churches which are built up to get gain and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world and to do all manner of iniquity yes in fine all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear and tremble and quake they are those who must be brought low in the dust they are those who must be consumed as stubble and this is according to the words of the prophet"
(Forgive the lack of punctuation, but that is one purpose of my sloppy copy revision.  It allows me to see the words freshly.)

To bullet this out for clarity, these are identifiers of the enemy's kingdom:

  • established among those in the flesh
  • any/all church built up to get gain
  • all those (churches? individuals?) who are built up to get power over flesh
  • all those (churches? individuals?) who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world
  • those who seek the lusts of the flesh
  • those who seek the things of the world
  • those who do all manner of iniquity
Bullets 2 and 3 are assumed to speak of churches, but it is possible they refer to individuals as well.  So the question remains, for me, do I participate or encourage any of these things.  Do I worry myself with being in a church built up to get gain, or make money in any way off of people?  Do I seek to get power over flesh?  Do I seek to become popular in the eyes of others, especially the "world"?  Do I seek the lust of my flesh?  Do I seek the things of the world, like fine cars, fine homes, superior schooling, lavish entertainment or self indulgences?  Do I participate in any manner of iniquity?  

It's difficult to say I don't participate in any of those things.  Best not to point the finger, but rather use the words of Nephi, quoting the prophet Moses, for introspection.  


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The EET (Earliest Extant Transcripts) and my Sloppy Coppy

1. I'm so excited to share this.  Below is a message from Chris Hamill, who has asked for help in distributing this message.  Several months ago I had some impressions to seek out a copy of the Book of Mormon in Microsoft Word form.  Something that I could edit and do so fairly quickly using the "replace" editing tool.  I felt prompted to make a "translation" that my kids could read a little more readily that used language they were familiar with.  I hoped to share my love of it and hopefully spark some love for it in them too.  In asking around for such a copy, I was connected to Chris Hamill, who shared with me that he was working on this extensive project described below.  In my religious tradition I have tended to hold fast to the "as long as it is translated correctly" to the 8th Article of Faith.  And I tended to believe that no other Bible beyond the KJV would do, neglecting the fact that Joseph Smith was commanded extensively to work on a new translation of the Bible.  The Bible is not intended to be a stumbling block between faiths, nor is it to be an idol to worship as we seek to discover God. As there are countless languages in the world, it seems appropriate to me that it would serve us well to get as close to the original intent of the scriptures as possible, but that cannot always be done with definitive language.  The scriptures are to describe spiritual concepts in physical terms, which is really difficult, if not sometimes impossible in this world.  But there is something important about discovering the original intent of the speaker of the words in scriptures, and unfortunately adulteration happens over time, as our language changes.  Chris and his friends have sought to overcome some of the adulteration that has happened, and help us as readers get more acquainted with the original intent and words of the earliest copies of the Book of Mormon and other scriptures revealed through Joseph Smith.  The information below describes their efforts in their own words. 

A small group of us has spent most of the year going through the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, reaching back to the original manuscripts to get as true a version of what Joseph offered us as possible and showing what changes have happened since his death. We are getting bids to have a triple combination volume printed in the coming months. For the moment we want to make people aware of this effort. Electronic versions of the scriptures are free for download at
anoffenderforaword.blogspot.com in Word, PDF and some ebook formats. There are also instructions for using a Kindle reader or app with the PDFs as an ebook. The PDFs give a clear representation of how the volume will look.
We will notify everyone when orders can be placed for your own copies. We are trying to keep the cost to around $20 per copy. These will be printed on biblestock paper and will have large margins for easy note taking. An effort to produce a complete JST bible is also underway. A complete Kindle JST KJV is available by Ken Lutes on Amazon. He is the one working on a complete print version. When that work is ready to order we will let you know. He is not a part of this movement.
This volume of scripture is not official to the Remnant Movement in any sense, and we hope they may be of interest to Mormons of all types. While many of us felt inspired during the process, we offer this volume as a gift to our Lord and to our friends and families. Feel free to take this work and improve on it.
2. As I described above, months ago I was prompted to create a revision for my children.  In receiving a copy from Chris, I began doing some edits of words to essentially create a 2016 language friendly copy of the Book of Mormon.  The Bible has dozens of editions in languages to help readers read and understand it.  There are copies for children, teenagers, and people of multiple languages.  It seemed peculiar to me that the Book of Mormon had never seen such a revision for children or teenagers, although it has been translated to multiple languages.  As I began editing the MS Word copy, someone shared on a FB Group that there were two other copies on the market, edited for easy readability for readers who needed help understanding the big words. One is here and the other is here.  There may be more.  I purchased both and set my project aside, thinking the work I intended to do had already been squared away by someone else... times two!

It wasn't until a few months passed that I felt to open up one of the copies I purchased, and I discovered that I didn't appreciate the interpretation that the one copy held of the concept I was studying.  It held a current LDS view of the Holy Spirit, while the original Book of Mormon holds a different view, which is the one that Joseph Smith explained in the Lectures on Faith.  The new edition did exactly what we avoid translations for the purpose of doing.  It changed the meaning to fit our current paradigm, while not holding to the original intent.  It absolutely LOST the spiritual meaning in favor of a completely morphicized (I just made that word up) view.

In trying to create my own translation for my kids, I see how difficult this is. It's really impossible to create a translation that everyone will like, agree with, or appreciate.  But there is absolutely a richness I discovered when taking that original file, and editing it for my own purposes, and trying to do so while seeking to maintain the original spiritual intent.  Mormon... that dude had quite a task!  Some examples of things I did in my version:

  • Changed "ye" to "you.
  • Changed "thee" to "thou". 
  • Removed the "-eth" suffixes of as many words as I could find.
  • Removed ALL punctuation. 
  • Removed "and it came to pass" and replaced with "and so then". (I discovered that "and so then" is very redundant, but it also speeds up the reading as I don't get stopped up by it as I did with the prior words.  I use "so" a lot in my day-to-day language.)  
I'm currently contemplating what to do with "behold", as it's frequently used but seems to have multiple meanings.  It brings me, as the reader, to the point of stopping and questioning why these words were chosen.  It also shows language patterns, especially when certain phrases are used repeatedly in connection with a certain concept.  It has been a rich, rich experience which only unfolds more open to me.  

So I'm going to add, when time allows, links on this site to download your own digital copy of the work Chris and the gang have done.  But I HIGHLY encourage you to mark it up!  Save it once as an original, then choose how you'd like to edit it (if at all) and save it again as a new version.  Let it broaden your love for the message.  The purpose of this book, which Nephi says right at the beginning his intent is to bring us to Christ.  How awesome is that?!?!?!  Fall in love with the characters and their hearts, and get to know them.  

And finally, I kept asking, as I made my edits, if this is something that could be shared.  I don't know that my edits will be useful to anyone else.  But I did decide to share them as I go.  This will likely be a project that I fail at.  So don't commit me to being perfect at this.  But I'm going to go chapter by chapter and translate it for my children.  I'll be sharing them at a basic site located here: http://sloppycoppybom.blogspot.com/.  It is a sloppy copy!  I have intentionally misspelled "Sloppy Coppy" to illustrate that is it absolutely NOT perfect.  But it has helped me, and I suppose it may help some readers who are dyslexic, who get slowed down by punctuation, or who really need to loosen their shoe's lachets a bit if you know what I mean as they read for content over grammar.  I DARE you to print out the pages of the EET linked above, chapter by chapter, and mark them up.  Use them for advanced study.  I can't imagine the Lord would be displeased in the efforts to get to understand these riches further, even if we got a few words wrong.  Use it well my friends! 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Lundbergs vs Peggy Fletcher Stack

I'd like to share an amalgamation of posts, one of which has lit some coals back on fire this week.  If you choose to read one and comment, please don't neglect the others so you can get the whole picture.

The awesome view of Gary and Joy Lundberg, promoted via LDS owned LDS Mag, found here.  This one was so good I was ready to flex my muscles and throw my chair across the room.

Versus the ever annoying antagonist, Peggy Fletcher Stack article, found here.

My vote: come out and dish the truth. Do it all at once, everything you can squash into a weekend of General Conference. Stop sugar coating everything and stop letting the people who don't "sustain" this be sent to their Stake Presidents to reveal their concerns. Stop tearing families apart because some can't handle your dishonesty in your manuals while others have been trained to follow the manual at all costs, even dividing their families. Do it all together and make sure as many hear it as possible so you don't have members fighting with one another in class, or 75 year old widows scolding 37 year old moms in the hall because they say a comment about these things in class that the elder has not read!  Just be honest! Or like the second article says, in 2-3 years you'll have way too many young people leaving the church, either to fully discover God without a middle man, or to turn away from what you've made him to be altogether.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

My Victory, by Crowder

We sang this song in church today.  Then I heard it again on the radio.  I love it.  I invite you to sing along if you feel so moved.  Additionally I love hearing the Irish dude chime in. :)  


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Transparency

Time has been so short of late.  So much ruckus going on in the world; so many things to consider.  So much in the news and so much in the scriptures.  As I watched the tail end of the Presidential Debate last night between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I realized how easy it is to be confused by the news, and therefore the truth of which way is up and which way is down.  Good is so often called evil, and evil called good.  One thing that cannot be adulterated, however, are the heavens.

Untouchable, immovable by the finger of man, the stars, moon, and sun cannot be changed to our liking.  We cannot adulterate them, their positioning, or their rotation.  The Lord has said that the lights in the firmament are to be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years (Genesis 1:14).  So what have we of signs of late?  Of seasons?

Last week marked the turning of the autumnal equinox.  It was fun because at our home we studied this "corner of the earth" during science class with my new homeschooler.  Neither of us could say "autumnal equinox" very well without getting tongue tied.  I was grateful that our little nature science book called it to attention, because otherwise I might not have given it much thought.

Joseph was visited by the angel called Nephi (in my opinion, despite the bulk of the LDSs believing it is Moroni) on the night of September 21, 1823.  I will summarize the key points of the message Joseph was given, however I acknowledge this will not do the message justice.  So I am simply highlighting for brevity.  This can be found in the Joseph Smith History 1: 30-54.

  • Joseph's name would be had for good and evil throughout the world.
  • There was a book deposited written on gold plates, giving the account of those who lived on THIS continent, and contained the fulness of the Everlasting Gospel as delivered by Christ to these people. 
  • There was also something called the Urim and Thummim deposited with the plates, which were "seers" used for translating the book. 
  • He quoted Malachi 3 and 4, and cited some critical points differently than in the King James Version.  (Another post on that...)
  • He quoted Isaiah 11, saying it was about to be fulfilled. 
  • He quoted Acts 3: 22-23 exactly as the KJV.  Declared that prophet was Christ. 
  • He quoted Joel 2:28-end.  Said it was not yet fulfilled but would soon be. 
  • Said the fulness of the Gentiles was soon to come in.  
  • He quoted many other passages of scripture, explaining much. 
  • He gave instructions regarding the plates. 
If that isn't a download of vast information I don't know what is.  But after leaving, again Nephi returned again, and again, and again.  

During the second visit he added a warning of great judgments coming to the earth.  

During the third visit the previous was recited, with an addition that Satan would try to tempt him to use the plates for growing in wealth.  He was warned to not use them for any other motive than building his (God's) kingdom.

During the fourth visit, everything was recited AGAIN, with the addition of instruction to go share the message with his father, Joseph Smith, Sr. 

Joseph describes in his history that it took four years of visiting the hill where the plates were deposited before he was able to remove the contents that were buried there.  Still, it was the night of September 21, 1827 when he retrieved them.  

In the Jewish way of thinking, the new day begins at sundown.  Joseph was visited by the Israelite, Nephi, on the autumnal equinox.  I'm not a calendar genius, however I'd suggest that we Americans label this time as September 21, and an Israelite might reference the Hebrew calendar's recognition for September 22.  

Interesting things transpired on this end of the Jubilee year.  

  • I am told that September 22 is the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, according to those who use the stars/heavens to recognize the holy days.  (Thanks, Melissa and Jonathan for the tips!)  This is the festival, the holy days remembered as an ordinance from year to year by the Jews, in recognition of the Exodous out of Egypt.  It began this year on September 16, which date also witnessed a penumbral lunar eclipse. 
  • In Utah, in the north of the state, near Ogden, there was reportedly an F1 tornado. 
  • In Utah, in the south of the state, near Panguitch, there was also reportedly an F1 tornado. 
  • In Utah, in Salt Lake City, a new skyscraper was dedicated on the very date of September 22, 2016.  It is reportedly built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' subsidiary named City Creek Reserve.  Let's examine it a bit.  Feel free to break to read it: http://www.sltrib.com/news/4386439-155/new-mormon-church-owned-skyscraper-brings-high  
Some points of concern for me regarding the skyscraper: 
  • Address is 111 Main.  111 is often called an "angel number".  The number 1 symbolizes God the Father.  Repeated three times symbolizes resonance of that number, as well as Father, Son, Holy Ghost.  Main street denotes the primary street in town, the center of the town.  A vast number of towns in America have this street name somewhere running through them.  The repetition of the number one reminds me of other numbers with scriptural references which are repeated three times.  
  • It is 24 stories high, totaling 387 feet high.  In average sized building standards, this would be aprox. 38 stories.  
  • "It is clear Salt Lake City has a new icon," said Mayor Jackie Biskupski, "and this is just the beginning."  The definition of "icon", per Google: 
1.a painting of Jesus Christ or another holy figure, typically in a traditional style on wood, venerated and used as an aid to devotion in the Byzantine and other Eastern Churches. synonyms: image, idol, portrait, picture, representation, likeness, symbol, sign; 2. a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol of something. "this iron-jawed icon of American manhood" synonyms: idol, paragon, hero, heroine
  • "City Creek Reserve declined to share the cost of 111 Main. But a similarly sized tower just down the street, 222 Main, sold for $170.5 million in 2014, a record price for downtown real estate at the time." 
  • "For Mormons, "this is sacred ground," Caussé said before leading the crowd of about 100 people in prayer."  Caussé is the Presiding Bishop of the LDS Church. 
Soooooooooooooooooooooooo.  Let me put some Chlorox in our muddy water of what's going on here.  

On the autumnal equinox, the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the largest denomination which hails Joseph as their leader and dispensation head decides to dedicate a building, a "Tower", mighty high and mighty expensive, (which are edifices NEVER spoken of in positive terms in any scripture,) only available to the "high end" customer to rent?  And two tornadoes blow through the north and south ends of the state, covered with a high population of Mormons?  

Am I missing any other signs?  

It would do the reader well to study the book of Malachi, as well as Hugh Nibley's Approaching Zion, which can be found and read online with a simple Google Search.  (EXCEPTIONAL book.)  Malachi in particular is a warning to the priests and teachers of Malachi's day.  They were scolded for their misuse of tithing funds, having robbed God with the tithes and offerings.  I suppose the tornado was indeed a sign.  It might have been more shocking and startling had the tornado ripped through the city center during the dedication, but God love and cares for his chickens children, ever covering them with his wings.  I don't understand all the signs, the turning of the seasons, or what it all means.  But He does.  Hopefully we can use these signs as just that: signs.  Not flukes of nature, or random occurrences.

In all the earth, when Christ was born, the only individuals who know of his birth without being informed by heavenly messengers or visions were the wise men.  They knew how to find Him because of the new star.  It would be wise to be informed, to study, and to pay attention to these things.  In asking, God can explain it to us, and let us know how to be prepared ourselves to travel from afar, should it be needed.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wheat and Tares

This afternoon my heart was pondering on the symbolism of the wheat and the tares.  Jesus shares a parable, which we have quoted in Matthew 13:30, which highlights what will happen to the "weeds" among us.

30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
My memory remembers this parable particularly well, and in my mind I always envision a field of wheat, which has been overrun by tares.  Due to the instructions of the parable, I view the separating that is to come as is narrated in Matthew.  However I never stopped to consider particulars.  For example, in the verse above, the tares are first gathered, bound and burned.  And meanwhile, the wheat is separated out and gathered into the owner's barn.

D&C 86:7 shares more thoughts on the concept.  

Therefore, let the wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest is fully ripe; then ye shall first gather out the wheat from among the tares, and after the gathering of the wheat, behold and lo, the tares are bound in bundles, and the field remaineth to be burned.
In pondering whether I am a wheat or a tare this afternoon, I remembered the line "separate the wheat from the tares".  Looking more critically, there is a field, overrun with tares.  But in this verse revealed from the Lord through Joseph Smith, we receive instruction and clarification on the idea presented in the parable.  The wheat is gathered first.  "Then ye shall first gather out the wheat from among the tares, and after the gathering of the wheat..."

When I have heard members of various churches refer to this sifting that is coming, the common undertone of the idea is that when someone leaves a church for any reason, they are a weak tare.  They are obviously not elect, not celestial, not worthy of enduring the refiner's fire.  But what if the Lord, in His mercy, is doing the gathering already?  Is it possible that He is removing the wheat from the tares which have overrun His church?

Wheat is the substance of which bread is made.  It is called the "staff of life" in D&C 89.  In opposition to the tares, it bears fruit which gives life, rather than thorns which injure, puncture, and wound.  When someone suggests that your beliefs may classify you as a tare, be girded up in your mind and heart.  Consider the tender mercies of the Lord in gathering the wheat from among the tares, whoever they may be.

God bless the wheat to receive sufficient nourishment to survive the day of the burning which is at hand.

With love,
~Jen:)  

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Cogs and Ribbons

I'm dedicating this post to my dear friend, Leslie.  

Recently I was pondering why some people enjoy being called to repentance and others do not.  I believe the difference is a broken heart.

A hard heart is impenetrable.  Through years of hardening, it is incapable of being broken.  It is a force to be reckoned with, and nothing, not meekness, love, passion, integrity, anger or force will break it or penetrate it.  

A soft heart is breakable.  It can only be broken by permission.  CHOICE.  It too is a force to be reckoned with.  It thrives on being pricked, allowing the darkness and sin to escape out through experiences, and begs for cleansing and healing waters.  It receives fullness with meekness, love, passion, integrity, and joy.  And so much LOVE.

I was also pondering what it means to a soul to have experienced a broken heart, and contrite spirit.  

Whereas those who have not experienced a broken heart are impenetrable, those who have experienced a broken heart are easily broken, again and again.  And yet while they are broken, they long to be put back together again.  They long for their darkness to be poked out through their holes, whether it be God doing the poking or other humans.  When they find themselves offended, they are more willing to be put back together through forgiveness.  Hard hearts refuse to forgive.



When our hearts are broken and put back together, and we unite in community with others whose hearts are broken and put back together, we become like cogs in a wheel.  We make up one great whole, which operates the unit, although as a cog we may not even know that we are functioning as one, at least not yet.  Without our individual rivets and divots, we would not function together.  But with our unique shapes and forms, talents and blessings, put together we rotate as one – or ONE.  

And then there are what my friend Leslie calls "ribbons of love".  I believe when we will be sealed through the power of the Holy Spirit, it will be also done with literal ribbons of love.  Just as God spoke and the word "was" a literal thing, so is love a literal thing, although most of us cannot see it with our eyes.  These ribbons of love connect us, wrap around us, and the extend to others.  Some may call these ribbons by different names.  Energy workers call them "cords".  Christians may call them "workings of the Spirit".  We use different names but the principle is the same.  Invisible ties that "bind" or "seal" or form connections that are invisible yet present nonetheless.  

Zion will be formed by those who have received or experienced a broken heart and a contrite spirit.  And then our hearts will connected with these ribbons.  We will CHOOSE to be like cogs in a wheel, not forced to work together, but individual units who find pleasure and purpose in fitting together.  Whether it be our spouse, or others in this society, I see that Zion – the pure in heart – will connect like cogs in a wheel.  Freestanding on their own, but when connected they are very powerful indeed.  

With this new experience of broken hearts and contrite spirits, we have a responsibility to actively take our frustrations and discords out of our relationships.  Should we be frustrated with a fellow broken-hearted friends, I believe those who are truly broken will receive the disagreement with meekness and gratitude for the correction.  The Lord chastens those He loves, and sometimes He uses us mortals to help one another along these paths.  

I believe it is by this we may know whose spirits have been born again.  We will be able to receive correction, chastening, and calls to repentance with gladness, so long as the sins are legitimate and the correction is not intended to destroy, badger, or control.  And I believe by this we will recognize fellow members of the Lord's family because of the fruits of a contrite spirit and broken heart.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Pure Faith

Last year on this day I was enticed to spend a year focusing on love.  Pure love of Christ.  I know I haven't been perfect at it, but I feel like grace has been given to me, to rise and increase in the amount of love I have been able to give, receive, and nurture.  It's truly been a blessed year.

This morning when I asked where I should read, I was led to Ether 12:14-15:

Behold, it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost. 
Behold, it was the faith of Ammon and his brethren which wrought so great a miracle among the Lamanites.
The last few days have been tumultuous here.  Emotions have run high, and tension has nearly matched it.  I find it beautiful that the Lord led me to these verses first thing in my day.  My faith has been lacking.

I tend to believe that while the Lord has awakened me from a deep sleep, it is unlikely that He will awaken those I love.  I tend to forget that He is all wise, all merciful, all knowing.  He knows when people need to awaken.  He knows I also need to exert and grow in faith.  So while the past year I spent hyper-focused on LOVE, I hope that this coming year I can focus on FAITH and see if by my faith I might find those I love encounter baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.  And perhaps even miracles like those witnessed among the Lamanites.

ROCK ON.  Let's bring down those walls, baby!