Thursday, October 31, 2013

A History of Halloween

One of my favorite radio personalities posted this on his Facebook wall tonight:

Halloween is one of the worlds most ancient holidays originating in Ireland nearly 3000 years ago. It was believed that on the night of October 31st the veil between the spirit world and the physical world was so thin that the dead could commune with the living. They called it Samhain, pronounced Sow-en.
The shamans/priests would bring messages from the Other Side and predict the future for the year to come. The villagers would wear animals skins and carve scary faces in gourds to scare away the evil spirits and they would offer gifts to the dead away from their homes to keep them out.
It was a time to remember those who had died the year before; a time to acknowledge the pain of the loss and let it go. In essence it was a time for closure. Mexico's day of the dead is a modern version of this.
As a kid my first stop for trick or treating was at my Grandma's house. She liked to see my costume and be the first to drop candy in my bag, a fun but short tradition. She's on the Other Side now, but I think of those memories every Halloween.
My grandmother actually visited me on Halloween once. She impressed her energy on a woman who stopped by my house late that night with some trick or treaters. Left me speechless but it was good to see her. I think maybe the ancient Irish were on to something about the veil being thin.
I'm taking my little ones trick or treating tonight. And while I'm not planning on a visit I'll definitely keep an eye out just in case. You may wish to do the same. Maybe one of your loved ones will show up to say hello:-)
Happy Halloween folks, enjoy the night!  (Steve from "Believe with Steve Godfrey" - see here for source)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Lesson on Jesus

Last week in Primary I was supposed to share a lesson with my 6 year olds about how "Jesus Said to Love Everyone".  Rather than drone on about stories that my class has historically not enjoyed, of late I have ended up winging the lesson.  Not to put the parents into a state of worry, let me clarify.  We certainly study the scriptures and learn of God, but not in the recommended fashion.  See, we actually open up the scriptures, and devote most of the class to direct scripture.  Yes, they are only six.  But they seem to love it a lot more than the stories in the pink manual that really don't edify.

This past week we focused on this verse:
"And behold, I am the light and the life of the world..."
taken from 3 Nephi 11:11.  (Angel numbers there.)

Does Jesus mess around, when he talks?  Does he insert twists and half truths, or is it ALL truth?

I reaffirmed in this class that Christ is God, the source of ALL truth.  We discussed what LIGHT is.  What is light?

We turned off the lights.  We turned them on again.  We talked about the sun, and how the earth circles around it.  We talked about how without the sun, there would be no life.  The plants would not grow, for without the sun, photosynthesis would not take place.  (Ok, didn't use that big word!)  Gardens would not grow, we would not see one another.  We talked about the darkness that preceded Christ's visit to these people, and how after all the destruction, the tempests, the whirlwinds, the earthquakes, the cities being raised up and buried by ocean waters, how there was NO light for three days.  The light and the life of the world was removed, symbolically and literally.  Three days of utter and complete darkness.  I wonder if the Holy Spirit was permitted to remain with those righteous, or if all influence of God departed.  There was certainly a great amount of weeping and wailing.

Think about it.  Electricity is energy.  The sun emits energy, constantly.  Without the sun's radiance, we would have no life.  No purity, no cleansing, no fire.  The breath we take, every moment, every unconscious, unthinking second, every breath comes from God.  Christ is the center of it all.  Without him, we have no life.  He is within us, and without our spirit's connection to his, we would be nothing, for when his influence on our body leaves, it is left but a carcass.  Christ is the life of the world.

It was a very enlightening class.  I was touched to hear one of the children's mothers report on Facebook that her son (in my class) was excited to see a bright light in the sky and thought it was Jesus coming.  I always wonder the same, and wonder when it'll happen.  Hoping I'm ready, but realizing that I'm not there yet.  Thank Jesus for an atonement.


Thursday, October 24, 2013


I'm having a challenging time knowing where to start with some of the things I want to share.  Things have been mounting, exponentially, in the last few weeks, and I've learned so many wonderful new bits of knowledge that I don't know where to start.

A few things have been brought to my attention.  There was a book written, and has been catching some great reviews, such that I'm wanting to get my hands on it!  It's been ablaze on many blogs this week.  I don't know how some people keep their finger on the pulse, but I'm thankful at least someone's involved in what's hot off the press.

The book's called The Cultural History of the Book of Mormon, and is written by Mormon anthropologist, Daymon Smith.  If I didn't have three or four books already on my list of books to catch up on, I'd have bought it yesterday.  But maybe, just maybe, he'll find out that I'm a book reviewer (mostly on my other blog) and he'll offer me a free copy of the whole series. ;)  haha!  I'm looking forward to reading it though.  I read through a paper he gave at a Brazilian conference and was thoroughly enlightened.

I'm not sure how much I'll have to read to get the point though, as the other reviewers have shared enough that I think I get the main point.  Here are two great reviews: Rock Waterman's and Denver Snuffer's.  If you're a little lazy, I'll tell you the point, the bottom line, the lesson.

Read the Book of Mormon with NO preconceived notions, no links to other religions, no links to your own religion.  Read it at face value, and see what you get.

After understanding the bottom line, I am intrigued.  Several thoughts brought up, like the word "restoration" and "Bible" have got me so ponderous that I wish I could just sit and reread the Book of Mormon over again.  I was a bit grateful to have already read it many, many times, so that when things were brought up for consideration, I knew exactly where to dig to find my own answers.

I don't know if this'll sound all that cryptic, but I am so excited with the things that are coming forth these past few months.  Snuffer's also done a series of talks that I find simply intriguing, and while it helps to have read his books, my understanding is that the talks are given with the idea that there will be non-members of the LDS faith present at them.  So anyone could read and find things worth pondering.  Some people like to bicker over technicalities, and I find I don't have time for that, unless there's some serious content issues.  The content is fascinating, and it resonates over any other author out there, despite people trying to make sure I'm not having the wool pulled over my eyes.  I'll link to the talks, and feel free to read and comment.

Boise - Be of Good Cheer

Idaho Falls - Lectures on Faith

Logan - Repentance

Centerville - Covenants

And this one - The First Three Words - BLEW MY MIND!!!  It has several accounts of the King Follet Discourse, by Joseph Smith.  I've been in the LDS Church for 35 years and never read it!!!  If you want to understand about the nature of God, read it.  Now.  And don't wait for it to come up in Sunday School, because this kind of doctrine has loooong been removed from our curriculum.  But that doesn't mean we're not supposed to ponder and learn about it.  Absolutely awesome stuff!

There are a few other talks on his website, and I'll comment on those as I read them.  I've got lots of catching up to do, but I wanted to share how thoroughly thrilled I am with what I've learned.  I only wish I had more people to join in the discussion with me.


Friday, October 4, 2013

"And the serpent said..." (Moses 4:10)

Dear Magdalene,

And the serpent said unto the woman: Ye shall not surely die; (Moses 4:10)
This was the verse which came to mind this morning - Moses 4:10.  So I go there, and I read it.

What does that verse mean?  The serpent is referring to Satan; the woman referred to is Eve, mother of all living on this earth.  Satan tells Eve she shall not surely die.  But she surely did, although it took a couple hundred years.

Interesting that Satan presents himself as a serpent, or is described as a serpent.  Jesus is also described as such, symbolically.  This is represented when Moses held a serpent on a stick, and the children of Israel were told to look upon it and they would be saved from poisonous bites of fiery flying serpents (see 1 Ne. 17:41).  Look upon a serpent, representing Christ, and be deceived by a serpent, representing Satan.  It is interesting to note that in essence, Satan is telling Eve that he doesn't exist.  Death, hell, and Satan himself don't exist.  It does not matter what Eve does, what she eats, because there are no consequences.  In essence.

I wonder how much that lie continues to be purported today.  We always think of the "sinners" who are doing all sorts of catastrophic things.  Murderers, those involved with whoredoms, drugs...  Do we realize that one of the devil's greatest tools is telling us to think he does not exist?  And if we believe that lie, what then?  Do we think it doesn't matter how we treat one another?  Do we think that understanding God's words don't matter?  Do we twist God's words, like Satan does, to work according to our desires?

One interesting instance on this is the Word of Wisdom.  God states in it that it is to be "sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom..." (D.& C. 89:2)  We have twisted these words.  I cannot find any place where it was revealed, "thus saith the Lord", that this is no longer simply a greeting.  I cannot find where any living prophet declared this to be null and void.  But now it is a required belief and adherence to this is required to partake of sacred ordinances.

In the Word of Wisdom, we are instructed to drink wine for the holy sacrament, and how to do so safely.  We are an industrious people, yet we don't know how to follow the Lord's command in using it for our sacred ordinances.  Wine-making was a major trade of early saints, and breweries were prolific in Utah in the late 1800's-early 1900s.  Regardless, can you imagine what effect it might have, drinking red wine, representing the red blood of the Savior, during the holy ordinance?  I know it "doesn't matter" what we drink - it could be kool-aid.  But we're kind of lazy, aren't we?  It doesn't matter to take the effort to make wine rather than water, to have a more exact replication of this, and because at some point along the way it was preferable or "revealed" that "water was ok", we no longer utilize this sacred symbolic tool, used limitlessly throughout the holy scriptures.

What makes me laugh is that in talking to the primary children the other day, asking about wine in the scriptures, one little boy exclaimed, "Wine is POISON!!!"

"The inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father..."  

Yes, little man!  Wine is not good!  But wait.

"...only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.  And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, or your own make."                (D.& C. 89: 5-6, emphasis added)

Well, we follow the counsel of our leaders, and we are never ever led astray.  I would simply like to know when the Lord revealed through revelation that this is no longer his requirement for his holy ordinances, as when we change God's ordinances, we corrupt them.

Ahh well.  There is no death, and the words of God do not matter to the great Tempter, and so they likely won't matter to those who believe that variety of serpent.  I hope and pray that some day our living prophets will encourage us to believe the words God has revealed, as he is the same yesterday, today and forever.  I am concerned, as when I make any effort to point out scripture to any latter-day saint, they only fall back on follow the prophet, and frankly, I find that verse no where in scripture.  But for today, I will keep an ear out to discern which voice I am hearing when I am told there is no death.

Love you baby,