Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Greatest Christmas Gift


"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:5


From Operation Christmas Child's Facebook page, shared by John D.  

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Living Water

There is something noteworthy about living water.

Stagnant water harbors bacteria, parasites, and other often undesirable pathogens.  Often pollution may be found therein.

Living water makes it hard for such things to thrive.

Living water is fluid and cleansing.



When you walk in living water, it feels as though there are snakes wrapping around your ankles.  The water seems to have a life of its own, and the surprise is that you never know what sensation it will cause on your skin.  But inevitably it has the ability to remove impurities and flush them far, far away.



Just as there are things physical, there are things spiritual.  Living spiritual water is cleansing, purifying, and has a life of its own.  Asking for living water for spiritual cleansing is a remarkable thing, as like physical living water, it has the capability to run wherever it supposes, cleansing, flushing, and nourishing all at the same time.  It defies gravity.  

Friday, December 11, 2015

CONTROL, COERCION, FORCE

Yesterday my mother asked me why people chose Satan's plan.  She couldn't comprehend why so many would follow him.  It's easy.

You never fail with Satan.  He controls all the outcomes, not one soul is lost.  Everything is neat and tidy.  Just like in the movie, The Giver, everything is just perfect.  Follow all the rules, per force.  Do it, or else, and all will be "good".

This appeals to a lot of people.  Despite choosing Christ and Father's plan, we have millions of people who are content to lead lives of complete control, manipulation, and coercion of others.  They make demands, whether implicitly or subversively, of all those around them.  They voluntell people what to do.  But yet they have no idea that they are seeking to control another human soul, and to suggest such would cause complete confusion in them.

"Me?  You're saying I am controlling?  Bah!  Horse feathers!"    

There are very few things that draw out the wrath in me like another human soul telling me what to do.  I hate it beyond measure.  And when I say wrath, I mean absolute cursing, throwing, wrath of God type anger.  Should this world choose to enslave all its inhabitants, I would rather die than be a slave to an unconscionable soul, or even a righteous one.  I want freedom.  

I'm done with Satan's control.  Time to wake up, world.  Control freaks.  Wake up.  You're following the devil.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Un-politically Correct Captain Moroni

Could you imagine if Captain Moroni was running for President of the United States?  Last night I read an epistle he wrote to Ammoron, in response to Ammoron's request to exchange prisoners.  There were many men, women, and children of the Nephites who had been captured and held in Gid, and Ammoron was tired of supporting their lives with his provisions.  So he wanted to exchange.  Moroni responded to his request in a very interesting way.  The timing of reading this last night was quite interesting, as there is so much demand for political correctness in America at present that I suppose that our inability to speak pure undefiled truth will contaminate us by allowing the lack of honesty to muddle the waters.  They are certainly muddy, such that even those who are sure they have a generally vast understanding of truth find themselves confused as to what is truth and what the contortions of it are.

It's interesting to read the war chapters in Alma with this in mind.  There is no sugar coating of things.  It's also interesting to see how political parties in Mormonism use these verses as "proof-texts" to prove their points, but they are so bent on pointing fingers at their "opposition" that they forget that we are on the same side.  We all want peace.  

I've had it in mind for some time now to consider re-typing the Book of Mormon for enhanced readability for my children.  I considered exchanging the "ye's" for "you" and the "thee" and "thou" for "you" as well, simply so they could follow along and be more involved in the story.  They are young, so I suspect that they get easily distracted with the "ye olde English" style of speaking.  When reading Alma 54 in particular, I thought it would be quite stunning to see how boldly C. Moroni speaks, should we translate the lingo into modern day slang.  It is quite alarming to me, to see how boldly he speaks truth, and he does it with the intention of pulling down power and glory of men.  He doesn't give one crap about political parties.  In fact, he verbally tears them to shreds in a few chapters as well.  

So I'm going to give it a go at transposing Moroni's letter to Ammoron into 2015 slang.  I hope should Moroni be reading this from beyond the veil that it might meet his approval.  Hopefully it won't be a problem.   

"Attn: Ammoron, 
I've written (before) to you about this war you've waged against my people – or rather which your brother has waged against us.  You're obviously still determined to carry on his cause even after his death.  
I'd like to tell you about the justice of God, and the sword of his almighty wrath which is seriously hanging over you except you repent, and withdraw your people back to your own lands – or I should say, the land you possess in Nephi.
I'd tell you about God if I suspected you were capable of actually hearing what I'd like to tell you.  I'd speak of the horrors of hell which awaits to receive murderers like you and your brother, unless of course you repent and again, withdraw your people (and your intentions) back to your own lands.  But since you've once rejected all this, and keep on fighting against the Lord's people, I suspect you'll reject it again.
Just so you know, we're prepared to take you on.  In fact, unless you back off your people and their intentions from attacking us, you're going to pull down the wrath of God upon yourselves, despite your rejection of Him, and it will be to your complete annihilation.  
As God lives, our armies will come after you unless you back out.  You'll soon have your behinds kicked and will be decimated, because we'll keep our cities and our lands.  We'll keep our religion and the causes of God.  
Regardless, it's obvious to me that I'm wasting my time with you because it's obvious to me that you're a child of hell.  So I'm gonna wrap up this letter by letting you know that I'm not interested in exchanging prisoners with you unless you trade up one complete family unit of a man, his wife and children, for one prisoner.  These are the only conditions under which I'm willing to trade.  
If you're not willing to do this, I'm gonna round up my armies, and even arm our women and children, and will seriously come out against you and follow you even into your own lands, which ironically enough is the land of OUR first inheritance.  If that's what it comes down to, it's gonna be blood for blood, man.  Life for life.  I will kick your trash until you are completely destroyed from off the face of the earth.  I and my people are seriously infuriated over your incessant terrorism, and we have only sought to defend ourselves.  But if you keep on trying to kill us we will not relent in seeking to kill you, and we will seek to reclaim our land, even the land of our first inheritance which you currently claim as your own.    
That's it.  
Moroni
Senior Chief Captain
1-800-KICK-ARS"
Oddly enough, as I'm writing this some wild fear has come over me.  I have to wonder if translating the verses will kick off DHS monitors of the internet, and what might potentially go wrong, since there are a lot of hostile trigger words in here.  Don't you think?  Words like war, terrorism, murder, death, blood.  Moroni just did not sugar coat it!  He spoke of God, unapologetically.  He called the situation like it was.  Ammoron disagreed with him shortly after, and Moroni could not flinch when it came to knowing the truth.  Was he open minded?  Did he worry about his pride?  When Mormon abridges this record he states that if all men were like Moroni, the very powers of hell would be shaken not just for now, but for EVER.  For all time.  His behavior in defending his land and his people and his religion is honored by the prophet who both spoke with Christ and compiled this record.  It's something to be observed, and worth considering how to emulate him, especially in these trying times.  He was certainly fearless, especially when faced time and time again with war.  He knew in Whom he trusted, so there truly was no need to fear, although this did not negate his efforts to defend his people.

I know of a few folks out there who suggest it would be great if we would all lay down our weapons of war, and live in peace.  I'm all for it, and surely Moroni likely desired with all his heart for peace.  It is noteworthy to me, however, that despite the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi living among the Nephites, there was still a need for them to make efforts to have a strong defense.  Even though they took great measures to protect themselves, the record states that just preceding these times, there had never been a happier time among the people of Nephi since the days when Nephi was alive (Alma 50:23).  They trusted so completely in the Lord, yet also did everything in their abilities to support God's protection of their lives, religion, and homes.

Two more tangents.

1. When I served as a missionary, my companion had a small figurine of Captain Moroni.  I've written about this before, but she would turn off the lights, and shine a flashlight on him, creating a larger than life shadow on the wall.  They she would quote scripture from him, where he calls out to Zerahemnah, as seen in this video below at about the 6:30 mark.  She was so funny! 





  2. This song by OneRepublic has been in my head all night.  My kids love it.  I believe that there is truth to be observed in the words.  "He said God only helps those who learn to help themselves.  He was a million _____ from a million dollars, but you could never spend his wealth."  It's interesting to sort this out while also revering the verses which command us to only trust in the Lord. 


Also noteworthy about this song is the bridge.  Pay attention to his words, his arms, and the repetitions.  It is praise.

Monday, December 7, 2015

What of a Store-House?

I believe there are generally four (plus one root) main considerations to ponder when considering the state of the soul.  They are: 



Physical.  These are temporal things, such as food, shelter, clothing, and things to support the comfort and health of the body.  

Emotional.  These are things which often get upturned because there is some disconnect between the needs of the physical world, and the needs of the next, which is

Mental.  These things are things of the mind.  When the mind is sound, the emotions are too.  When the mind is unsound, the emotions are often on fire.  The mental things are based upon the

Spiritual.  These are core beliefs.  These are the things which we believe are the foundation in our existence in this world.  This is how we make sense of the world, and how we connect with 

God.  God is the root of the core.  When there is harmony with God, all else makes sense, and ripples out to eschew GOOD in the world.  When there is disharmony or confusion with God, this ripples out too.  For example.  

If I believe it is important to God that I arrive 15 minutes to church, because He values me attending church, that will affect my belief that should I break this "law", that my spirituality is in jeopardy.  That perhaps I am not being obedient to his requirements.  So I make every effort to arrive at church 15 minutes early, because that is what the people who I believe represent him suggest I do.  So I attempt to obey them, as though they were God.  

Let's say my personal bodily needs disrupt my timetable, and I cannot make it early.  Let's say other factors like unexpected snow to clear off the car, heavy traffic, or unsafe driving considitions affect my plans, causing me to be late.  Let's say I'm so late that I expect I risk missing the sacrament.  My spiritual belief now impacts my mental belief, of that it is necessary for me to "renew my baptismal covenants" in order to have a good week.  So my mind is deeply concerned about my upcoming week.  

The mind then hollers at the emotions: STRESS!!!!!  PANIC!!!!!  YOUR WEEK WILL NOT BE GOOD IF YOU DON'T DO THIS NOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

The physical body tightens.  The blood vessels constrict.  The heartbeat races.  The muscles clench, as do the teeth.  The strain is now palpable, all because I believe God wants me at church 15 minutes early to be in good favor with Him, and now I'm 20 minutes late and counting.  How will I survive the week without this holy sacrament???  

Is this of God?  Is this truly what God wants of us?  Do we now self-shame, since we are not getting up or moving to get to church on time?  Is this "righteousness"?  

Let's look at another simple concept we may need to rewire.  The Bishop's Storehouse.  There are plenty of thoughts in the Bloggernacle on how the Church(TM) is using tithe monies of the members.  I won't get into that, as there are plenty of voices already on the subject.  I want to propose a new thought.  

We perceive that the Bishop's Storehouse was a place to store wheat or other foods to take care of physical needs.  We presume that Church supports us in supporting our spiritual needs.  The education system supports our mental needs for growth, and the emotional stuff is left to the doctors and "professionals".  (Whatever.)  However  as Latter-day Saints, we suppose that if we but pay our tithing via credit card online, via check in an envelope, or pennies in a jar, we are covering the Lord's requirement for us to take care of the needs of the poor.  What if there is more required?  Physical, emotional (covered through visiting/home teaching?), mental (provided in BYU and Institute), and spiritual (of course this is church, right?).  What have we lost through our modern age, that could easily be reinstated?

Could you imagine if one (or more!) member(s) in the ward actually offered a true, real in the flesh, Store-House?  That there would be a place where excesses could be gathered in, and offered as a free store?  Our local community has three thrift shops now.  People donate things but others are required to pay for them.  What about a place where people could bring their extra unused/unneeded but open packages of diapers, or extra furniture, or extra lettuce and grapes, extra blankets, extra baby gear, extra books?  The Store-House could be utilized by anyone, but most especially members?  What if the things provided there actually helped meet the needs of the members at large, and were offered to any of the needy in the community?  It could be returned when use is no longer needed (like books) and if not, there would be no loss or harm done?  

There would be no need for members to struggle with hoarding tendencies.  Likewise no need for "use it or lose it" philosophies on tithing funds, because the excess could be returned to Salt Lake for real redistribution to the poor in other lands who truly need it.  What if we built a true Bishop's Store-House?  

What if the word Storehouse meant both a place to store excess things, and a place to obtain that which is lacking?  Would you be willing to erect such a structure on your property?  I wonder what the Lord would think of this proposal?  

I sense that there is so much lack in the world right now, while we sit in abundance.  Yesterday at our local ward, I observed such overt expression of wealth that I left in complete dumbfoundedness.  You know a group of people are wealthy when they see no need to donate their excess to the poor, but would rather haul it off to the dumpster in the back of the lot because their time is worth more money. I'm talking books, manuals, videos, cassettes... things that are now so obsolete to us but surely folks in other lands would love these excesses.  

Last year (or was it two?) we cleaned out the storage closets from years of presidencies storing up their "use it or lose it" purchases.  We had boxes and boxes of items, much of which the leaders desired to go in the trash.  The RS President had the good sense to shuttle things to a local charity, but I was surprised at how many members were quick to opt for the dumpster.  Ironically there was little discussion among auxiliaries about reusing the items they no longer needed – things like glitter, rolls of hundreds of feet of paper, ribbons, costumes for road shows, lots and lots of fabric, mason jars, endless baskets, dishes, pots and pans, and even a pair of hiking boots.  If you're reading this from Africa, Argentina, or Mexico, how does it feel to know there is a use-it-or-lose-it mentality in your Stateside brothers and sisters?  How does it feel to know you tithe your last 25 cents so you could be cleared to receive your temple recommend, to know that members in the States get to spend $3.75 per scout badge that sits on a bookshelf somewhere?  Members in the States, how do you feel about this?  Do you have comforting consoling words on how you might have been more righteous in the pre-mortal world, to justify you receiving more by nature of your birth?  Or do you suppose that you work harder, therefore receive more, which is the doctrine of Korihor?  

Well I'm getting off on a tangent.  This is just hot on the mind due to seeing deacons shuttling stacks of books which I suggested be donated.  Rather than shuttling them to someone's trunk, they shuttled them to the garbage.  It felt symbolic.  You see, in Sunday School for the past two weeks they offered these books to the members.  Take them or they're going to be disposed of at the end of yesterday's meeting, they said.  I proposed that they be taken to charity if left at the end of the meeting.  A member balked, "What charity will take them?"  Um, last I checked charities don't discriminate from drop offs.  These books and manuals could serve as missionary tools.  I proposed the local Goodwill and another charity.  The Deacon's Quorum Leader interrupted that anyone who wanted to do this would need to take it up with the Bishopric.  I then met a counselor in the Bishopric, who said that if someone wanted to donate them, they could take initiative and do that.  

The end of the third hour came.  I headed to pack up the books, but to my surprise, the Deacon's Quorum Leader was so swift to put those deacons to work that half of the offerings were already in the trash four minutes after the end of meetings.  He was determined to get his job done, and do it quickly.  (What thou doest, do quickly.)  

How did it feel symbolic?  These were "old" manuals.  Manuals from the last 30 years of Priesthood and Relief Society.  The old is no longer needed when you have living prophets and apostles.  There were old Conferences on cassette tape.  Old Seminary videos I grew up on.  The Book of Mormon on tape, and Hymns on tape.  (Who even has a cassette player, right?)  Out with the old, in with the new, the old doesn't matter, it's only about you.  

Friends, we are amazing and astounding, aren't we?  We rob the poor because of our fine sanctuaries.  We neglect the beggars who can only beg at thrift stores, by refusing to donate because we are too busy.  We put our money on a slip and feel that's sufficient.  I propose we build a real Store-House.  Find a shed and build your own, because I don't foresee the local Bishop accepting chicken eggs anytime soon.  No offense, Bishop.  But like you said, you don't have the resources to do such a thing.  

Friday, December 4, 2015

Hebrew Book of Mormon

Because you should know.

You can buy the Book of Mormon in Hebrew, should you care to share with a Jew.  Because I know you all have Jewish friends.  Or you are Jewish, and you'd like to read it in Hebrew.  And because it's supposed to go to Jew and Gentile.



Ta da!

God. Bless.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bereshith

Recently I finished reading the book of Genesis for the first time.  Previous attempts were met with stalling around chapter 11.  For this recent success, I utilized a version which was translated from Hebrew manuscripts, and the words Lord and God were replaced with Hebrew characters to be more specific.  It helped quell some confusion.

Some questions that came to mind:


  • What was Adam's biggest priority?  
  • What was the commandment given to Adam and Eve? 
  • Is the doctrine of following a prophet present in Genesis?
  • Is there any current, modern doctrine found in Genesis?
  • Who really belongs to the House of Isra'el?
  • Where did Eve's name come from? 
  • Why was Joseph so preferred over the other children?  
  • Why couldn't Pharoah interpret his own dream?  Why was Joseph needed?
  • Why did King James need to change all the names to English, rather than keeping the transliterated versions as made available in this translation? 
  • Why did King James omit YHWH's name, and replace it all with LORD or GOD?  
  • Why is it not called Bereshith in the KJV, the standard bible in most churches these days?
  • What language do you suppose Adam and Eve spoke in the garden?  Do you suppose they spoke the same language after they departed?  Do you suppose their language remains on the earth?  Do you suppose this language would be important to learn, if so?  Or do you suppose the language was taken from the earth at the time of the tower?  
I don't expect answers, yet asking questions sometimes unravels some of the most beautiful mysteries.  By the way, the word for "mysteries" in this edition is replaced with "secrets".  YHWH loves to reveal His secrets to those who seek answers.  However it is interesting that the secrets are best kept that way by the general disinterest of the people. 

Casting Out, Removing Fear, Reclaiming the Space

A few weeks ago I posted my thoughts on the recent policy change regarding children of a gay parent.  I deleted the post, due to my own free will and choice.  After doing so, I received quite a lengthy message from a sister in my ward, who felt it her responsibility to call me to repentance.  Understanding that she will likely be monitoring this page, I am using this post to dispel all fear that she sought to attach to me, whether consciously or unconsciously.  Sometimes people do that.  They think they are acting in love, when their sole intent is to cause you to live in the same fearful space that they are living in.  I cast that out.

I also cast out the spirit of condemnation, the spirit of judgment, the spirit of mockery, and the spirit of piousness.  I replace them with a spirit of acceptance, a spirit of mediation and intercession, a spirit of humility, and a spirit of love.  I cast the negative spirit entities to hell where they belong, or to a place of light where they may be taught.  As in all things, they get to choose where they dwell.  I invite the Holy Spirit of God to replace them on all counts.

This Facebook message is being shared not to drudge up memories or live in the past, but rather to declare that I stand firm with the Lord.  If the nobles at any earthly organization feel that I do not fit in with their standards, that is their choice.  I seek to be part of the Church of the Firstborn.  You should know that the Lord has warned that all earthly organizations will fall preceding His second coming.  If you suppose that one in which you belong is exempt, you don't believe the scriptures.

Posted November 9th, 2015, 10:41 pm:

I wish to apologize for my most recent post which some of you may have read. While I understood the contents of what I posted, I realize that my experience with Mormonism is much different than those who had read it, and my words interpreted as something completely separate than I intended.
I have no intention of leaving the Church, despite what was read, and despite my sheer difficultly in coming to terms with the change in the baptism policy. It is severely tempting, however I am using all the prayer and willpower to stick through looking at the faces of those who so clearly disagree with me, and approach me with intent to prove me wrong on a frequent basis. I would appreciate no one taking initiative to invite me to leave the church as I received today, as it is not only unwelcoming, but quite frankly, UNloving, un-Christlike, and pure evil. If you see stories of folks online suggesting that "Why don't you just leave if you disagree," you ought to take care with your words. We spend millions of tithe dollars to share the message we believe to be true, to bring people to Christ. Let's not be so hasty to shove people out the door because they have a different understanding of the gospel. Joseph Smith called that as being "trammeled". Google it and you'll find a great quote.
No one knows my story but me. I have been born of incredible parents who raised me faithfully in this religion. I attended 12 years of Primary, full attendance through the Youth program, 4 years of seminary, and 5 years of college religion courses at BYU, the church school. I served a mission, which was where I had a stark awakening to the church in the world of rural Pennsylvania where Mormons are less than 1/100% and a testimony meant more than social norms, vs the Church structure and operations in Utah where numbers and rules are everything, down to the way that you comb your hair or wash the mission car. No one knows my experiences, so please don't dare to tell me what you can only assume. You have no idea.
After my mission experience I married in the Washington DC temple. I quickly had children, as church leaders in UT encouraged all righteous members to do, and walked a road of faithful activity in this church ever since. In all I have had 37 years of faithful attendance, never being inactive, and magnifying my callings. For years I could even claim 100% visiting teaching. I do not say this to puff up my Molly Mormonism, but to indicate that you cannot get more "true blue, through and through" than I am.
Several years ago I experienced a vision of sorts, which caused great awakening in my life, and it caused me to seek understanding of what I saw. The current teaching of the church curriculum are limited to around 27 topics, and the topic of visions and dreams are not high on the list next to sharing the gospel or temple work. So I had to figure things out through much prayer, by digging into the scriptures, searching the words of early visionaries like Joseph Smith, Parley P Pratt, and Olivery Cowdery. My bookshelf is full of books of stories of early saints' experiences with the other side of the veil. No one wanted to talk to me about things, as they typically preferred talking about sports or the Walking Dead, so I devoured the scriptures and sought discussion with anyone who would listen, which was virtually no one, as the current understanding is that these things ought not be shared; they are too sacred.
In studying these things I learned fascinating things about our early church that I personally feel are important, yet we have changed such that very few understand or share my same beliefs. Most members do not have copies of the Joseph Smith papers or revelations and manuscripts on their shelves. Most people do not have a copy of the History of the Church, the Lectures on Faith, or other useful pieces at their fingertips. Please forgive me for forgetting that most have not dug through these things with the same reckless abandon in which I have. I should not have dared share my assessments with you, who really have no desire to even see a need for such studying. We are both free to focus on what we wish.
In closing, I ask one thing. Please do not think it appropriate of yourself to contact me to call me to repentance. If you believe that is your role, you are sorely in gross misunderstanding of the scriptures. If you cannot discuss church doctrine, history, or scripture you have no leg to stand on to insinuate that because my dogma varies from yours that it is incorrect. Do not attempt to insult my studies, my diligent prayer, or God's opening up of the mysteries of scripture to me because you can't be bothered to take time out of YOUR interests to do so. Do not insult me to call my exploration a frivolous hobby, a trite expression, or apostasy. Do not send me texts, gossip about me or my beliefs, or any other unChristlike thing. You are better than that. I believe Joseph Smith was and is a prophet, and I believe his words are unbelievably important, and unbelievably neglected. Despite my fervent belief in Joseph Smith's work, I recognize that he cannot save us, and that ONLY Jesus Christ, the Son of God, can do that, and HE is the righteous mediator between us and the Father, who is the righteous judge, and only one worthy to act in that role. It is through Christ's grace ALONE that we are saved. We are ants compared to His greatness. I am so sincerely sorry for thinking it my place to share my beliefs about the state of our church among those who have no idea of the ideas I have learned through my exploration, especially on Facebook.
With love,
~Jen

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Blind leaders of the Blind

Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? -Matthew 15:1,2
Christ discussed.  Then later said to those who were taught of Him,

"Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted shall be uprooted. Leave them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both shall fall into a ditch." -Matthew 15:14



The question is, who is the blind man?  Which are the blind leaders?  Which are the blind followers?  Which is Christ telling them to leave alone? 

Apparently these blind leaders will take care of each other, equally, in a ditch.  It's a sad story, but Christ declares clearly to his taught ones to simply leave them alone.  

One's interpretation of the word "leave" may vary, dependent upon the Spirit. 

With abject love,
~Jen

Friday, November 6, 2015

Come and be Baptized

Ezekiel 18:20
"...The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."

Mark 10:14
"...Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God."

Romans 10:13
"...for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved..."

Alma 19:35
"...as many as did believe were baptized..."

Alma 48:19
"...they did baptize unto repentance all men whosoever would hearken unto their words."

3 Nephi 7:25
"...all such as should come unto them should be baptized..."

3 Nephi 11:22-23
"...On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you. Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name...baptize them..."

3 Nephi 11:39-40
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine...And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil..."

4 Nephi 1:1
"...as many as did come unto them, and did truly repent of their sins, were baptized..."

Moroni 8:10
"...repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children."

D&C 10:67
"Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church."

D&C 20:37
"And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church."

Article of Faith 2
"We believe that a man will be punished for his own sins and not for Adam's transgression."  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Changing the Ordinances

This is a really excellent post.  I'm linking to it for future reference.  If you haven't read it it's really well worth the time to evaluate, especially if you're a visual learner like myself.

http://barerecord.blogspot.com/2015/10/340-changing-ordinance-removing-symbols.html

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Defiled vs Sanctified Heart

This morning I had a wonderful study period with my mom.  We studied Matthew 14-15.  There was a part which stopped us up, and we had a hard time processing what Jesus was saying, so we drew a drawing to help break it down.


Matthew 15 discusses how the scribes PLUS Pharisees came from Jerusalem to Jesus.  (He didn't seek this discussion, they brought it to Him.)  They challenge Him, saying,

"Why do Your taught ones transgress the tradition of the elders?  For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." (Matt. 15:1)
In various feasts and ordinances the priests are to wash their hands as part of the ordinance.  In Passover feasts, the participants are to "wash their hands" as part of the ceremony.  It is considered cleansing and representative of washing away of sin.

One distinction I like in this translation (The Scriptures) is that the King James use of "disciples" is changed to "Your taught ones".  It brings to mind that the people who followed Jesus were being taught by Him, much like when I enjoy learning from various gurus of our day.  These people followed and studied with Him, learning from Him routinely.  I can think of a few living people I do this with.

So the scribes and Pharisees wanted to know why those who were taught by Him didn't follow the tradition of the elders in washing their hands when they eat bread.  Christ responds,

"Why do you also transgress the command of Elohim because of your tradition?  For Elohim has commanded, saying, 'Respect your father and your mother,' and 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' 
But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me has been dedicated," is certainly released from respecting his father or mother.'  So you have nullified the command of Elohim by your tradition.  
Hypocrites!(!!)  Yeshayahu (Isaiah) rightly prophesied about you, saying, 'This people draw near to Me with their mouth, and respect Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.  But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as teachings the commands of men.'  
Referring to the drawing again,


on the left side is what Elohim's law declares.  We are to respect father and mother.  If we do not respect them, but curse them, the principle is that death follows.  This was part of the law that was given after Moses had to return to the mount because the Israelites were worshiping other gods.  So this is a basic law of heaven that is being instituted in as simple of form as possible.  Respect your parents; honor them.

Contrast this with what the scribes and Pharisees were teaching, which was "If you kids can pay off your parents (or benefit them through some means), you're released from needing to respect them.  You can pay your way out of the relationship."  (I assume a Hebrew scholar will understand this verse more than I, so this is my layman's interpretation of it.)  If you note the arrows in the drawing, in the Law from Elohim, the love and respect and honor goes from child to parent.  It illustrates gratitude, and promotes harmony from one line of descendants to another.  It imitates the respect, love, and glory Christ shows to his Father.  Gratitude is one thing that ties hearts together, and when a child shows gratitude for the sacrifices of their parents, it allows the parents to be honored and reciprocate love to the child more readily.  It seems to be a natural law of the universe, or a law of heaven, I suppose.  It is a true principle in my life at least.

However on the right side, it encases greed, selfishness, and lack of relationship or respect from child to parent.  It is self-serving.  It is disharmony.  The child has no eternal gratitude but to pay off the parent with some form or money or "profit".  The relationship becomes more temporary, as ties seem to be severed and released.  They are "free".

{As a sidenote, this resembles Satan's efforts in the councils at the beginning of this world.  He wanted to collect the glory, severing his ties with Elohim.  In essence create his own, disconnected kingdom with no reciprocation of gratitude, glory, or respect for Elohim.  "Glory be mine" mentality.  See Moses 4:1-4.}  

This discussion expresses the heart to me of what Jesus is saying.  After the scribes + Pharisees interrupt their lesson, he gathers in the taught ones and explains the whole crux of the matter.
"And calling the crowd near, He said to them, "Hear and understand: "Not that which goes into the mouth defiles a man, but that which comes out of the mouth, this defiles the man."
Then his taught ones came and said to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees stumbled when they heard this word?"  
But He answering, said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted shall be uprooted.  Leave them alone.  They are blind leaders of the blind.  And if the blind leads the blind, both shall fall into a ditch."  
And Kepha (Peter) answering, said to Him, "Explain this parable to us."
And Yeshua (Jesus) said, "Are you also still without understanding?  Do you not understand that whatever enters into the mouth goes into the stomach, and is cast out in the sewer?  But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and these defile the man.  For out of the heart come forth wicked reasonings, murders, adulteries, whorings, thefts, false witnesses, slanders.  These defile the man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.  And Yeshua went out from there and withdrew to the parts of Tsor and Tsidon."  
How is (y)our heart?  Do the things which come out of it defile us?  Or does it sanctify us?

So thankful for this powerful lesson.

Love You Jesus.  Love you, reader.   

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Which End of the Pride Cycle

Anyone who frequents an LDS Sunday School class will understand what is frequently labeled the "Pride Cycle".  We'll say that it is a major message of the Book of Mormon.  Peace ---> prosperity, wealth ---> pride ---> war ---> destruction ---> humility ---> peace ---> prosperity, etc.  And on and on it goes.

This article just surfaced: http://www.sltrib.com/lifestyle/faith/3082891-155/mormon-apostle-oaks-kentucky-clerk-wrong.  Elder Oaks, 2nd in seniority in the LDS Church, says it is wrong of Kim Davis to object to stamping her name on gay marriage certificates implies that it is not appropriate for those holding civic positions to act contrary to the laws of the land. (UPDATED: 10/21/15 after reading the update from mormonnewsroom.  Elder Oaks' commentary was a bit more benign than the SL Tribune made it out to be.  They found what they wanted to make it an incendiary article.  It is still grievous, but Elder Oaks was more tactful and lulling than the Trib made him out to be.)

"Believers should ... acknowledge the validity of constitutional laws. Even where they have challenged laws or practices on constitutional grounds, once those laws or practices have been sustained by the highest available authority believers should acknowledge their validity and submit to them."
This essentially is saying to current members, "If you are in the position that Kim Davis is, don't expect us to have your back as a member of this organization.  We won't.  Sign the paper woman."

The moment I read this, I was reminded of a book I'd never read, but everyone seems to own, called Standing for Something, by Gordon B. Hinckley.  I pulled it from our shelves, and flipped randomly to a chapter called "Making a Cause for Morality".  Here are a few lines, which I feel are aptly applicable.

"I feel sorry for today's generation, which seems bereft of heroes.  Men and women who by virtue of their contributions and achievements seem larger than life, and who can be admired for the full breadth and depth of their moral makeup, are a vanishing breed.  
On the other hand, I am satisfied that there are millions of good people in America and in other lands.  Many married couples are faithful to each other.  Their children are being reared in sobriety, industry, and faith in God.  Given the strength of these families, I believe that the situation is far from hopeless.  I am satisfied that there is no need to stand still and let the filth and violence overwhelm us, or to run in despair.  The tide, high and menacing as it is, can be turned back if enough of the good people I have mentioned add their strength to the strength of the few who are now effectively working.  The challenge to recognize evil and oppose it is one that every moral, virtuous person must accept." (Standing for Something, p. 39) 
What an interesting contrast.  At the beginning, we have Elder Oaks, who was quite familiar with President Hinckley, making the case that we ought to follow the 12th Article of Faith and stick with the laws of the lands.  Then we have President Hinckley, saying we ought to stand for something, and rise above the tide.  (President Hinckley even quotes Pope John Paul II, which I find ironic since Pope Francis has become involved in the Kim Davis debacle.)  The question then is, do you view gay marriage as Kim Davis does – as something morally bereft, or what scripture calls the "abomination of desolation"?  (See Mark 13:14.)

What is "desolation"?  I define it as a place where no thing grows.  A land left desolate has nothing living in it.  A generation left desolate would not have children, or posterity, or "seed".  Combine the elements of massive number of abortions of unborn babies, along with the increasing popularity of alternative lifestyles, leaving both families with fewer children being born, as well as humans refusing to mate entirely, and the case can certainly be made that we may indeed be entering this period that Daniel warned of.  I don't know.  What do you think?

But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Jud├Ža flee to the mountains: And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things. But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. (Mark 13:14-27 - the rest of the chapter is enlightening as well.)  
I've heard a lot of people refering to these signs.  I don't know if they apply to us today, or if it will be for some future generation.  We sure have signs that could be pointing to these.  Is it time to flee to the mountains?

President Hinckley continues:

"It all begins with our own personal virtue.  Reformation of the world begins with reformation of self.  We cannot hope to influence others in the direction of moral virtue unless we live lives of virtue.  The example of our virtuous living will carry a greater influence than will all the preaching, postulating, and theorizing in which we might indulge.  We cannot expect to lift others unless we are standing on higher ground.  Respect for self is the beginning of cultivating virtue in men and women."  (Standing for Something, p. 39)
So I'm a little confused.  Hinckley says it starts with us.  We must live virtuously.  Integrity means to not only hold to true to what you believe, but to stand for it without being divided.  To be whole.  A house divided against itself shall not stand.  It is not structurally sound otherwise.  

How can members of the LDS Church stand divided on this, as currently advised from the 2nd in seniority, via carefully crafted statement?  We support traditional marriage, but only when it's convenient?  Only when it doesn't draw attention to oneself?  Only when it protects our assets?  Only when we're not employed as the clerk of courts, required to put our signature on marriage licenses?  Only when it's really convenient?  Stand for something then?

Elder Oaks.  Seriously.  You've left me speechless.  So I'll quote Helaman.

"But they grew proud, being lifted up in their hearts, because of their exceedingly great riches; therefore they grew rich in their own eyes, and would not give heed to their words, to walk uprightly before God." (Alma 45:24)

It seems to me that this is more about retaining the wealth of the "kingdom" than standing for anything of God.  God would have us treat one another kindly, yes, and with great love, despite our sexual preferences.  Would God have us rely and fall back on the law of the land, if we knew it was opposed to His words?  Is Article of Faith 12 inspired?  Or does it require one to follow the arm of the flesh?    

Ahhh.  Now it all makes sense.  This is how we roll.  Unless we are stand for something. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Shining One which Beguiles

Bereshith 3:1: (Genesis 3:1, from The Scriptures edition of the Bible)

And the nahash was more crafty than all the lives of the field which (insert symbol for YHWH) Elohim had made, and he said to the woman, "Is it true that Elohim has said, 'Do not eat of every tree of the garden'?" 
I am unable to correctly type the word "nahash".  In my new copy of The Scriptures, "nahash" has a dot under the h, signifying that the h is pronounced a little throaty.  The index describes what nahash is:

"A proper name, meaning shining or shining one.  Often translated as serpent.  Also see 'Serpent.'" 

Back in August I discovered the website which described Controversial Truths.  I enjoyed the beginnings of what I read, and in turn decided to try their edition of the Bible, called The Scriptures.  I received my copy almost a week ago, and was so excited to give it a try.  Since ordering, it is interesting that while it did not come up before in my searches, but I have since discovered a website crying foul against the copyright owners of this book, as well as Christians saying this is an Anti-Christ version.  It seems apparent to me that all things must have their opposite, and those with opposite voices certainly feel to cry out in their opinions.  

Thus far, in my reading of this book, I have greatly enjoyed where it has taken me.  I have had to remove all fear, and consider opening up to greater truth.  There are already parts of this version that are not in agreement with Joseph Smith's translation, but they have done the best job they could in accurately translating from the documents which were available.  The translators do not claim to do their work through revelation.  Despite that characteristic, I have already easily read through several chapters, where when reading the King James version I tend to quickly lost interest, due to not understanding what common words mean.  See here for more links to learn more about this edition.  

As for today, it is interesting to understand again, that the serpent that beguiled the first woman was described as a shining one.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Two are Better than One

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Male Teachers

To all the few and far between male teachers out there, do not underestimate the influence you have on the young men of today.  Many of them come from broken, unharmonious, or verbally, emotionally, or even physically abusive homes.  There is a great lack for modeling of how to be a dad in this world.  When you have the chance to be a positive influence for a young man, do it.  The role of "teacher" is one of the most prized yet most undervalued positions in the world today.

Tonight my son told me when he grows up, he wants to be like his Social Studies teacher, Mr. Barry.  In my opinion, that is a loss for his father, and a win for his teacher.  For what it's worth, step up to the plate, men, and be men, not assholes.  Your kids deserve better.  If you don't know how to be a man, find a real one and emulate him.  

The Direction of Faith

Quote by a friend, Matt Crockett, which he wrote as directed by Holy Spirit, with Praise & Glory to God:
"You either have faith that God exists or you have faith that He does not exist. Either way, both are an act of faith. One unto life and salvation and the other unto misery and damnation. It is a choice to believe, as it is a choice to believe He does not exist, both are beliefs founded on faith. Which belief wins? Whichever belief you feed."
 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Enjoy Baptism

There is a new website, called Born of Water.

I agree with the doctrine of Christ, found in 3 Nephi 11.  It is simple.

When Christ came to the Nephites resurrected, he taught them His doctrine quite quickly.  It was one of the first things He did.

To baptize more or less than what He taught is contrary to His doctrine.

The words of the prayer in 3 Nephi 11 ought to be used.

"And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying: Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."  

When I was 8 years old, my awesome dad baptized me.  He rocks.  He used the words in D&C 20:73.  It reads,

"...Having been comissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

The original Articles and Covenants, as written in the Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations Vol. 1, read thus: 

"And the way of Baptism is to be ministered in the foll owing manner unto all those who Repent whosoever being  called of God & having authority given them of Jesus Christ  shall go down into the water with them & shall say calling  them by name having authority given me of Jesus Christ I  baptize thee in the name of Jesus Christ the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Ghost amen then Shall he immerse them  in the water & come forth again out of the water" 
Where and why was the wording changed from "authority" to "commissioned"?  I have no idea, nor do I even care to know.  Somewhere between the original words and what we have now, the words of the ordinance have been changed.  This calls to mind an interesting warning from Isaiah.

"The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.  The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.  Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left."  - Isaiah 24:4-6
I don't think we can begin to understand the significance of changing an ordinance.  If an ordinance is to call us to remembrance of Christ, and we adapt it to suit our whims and pleasures, new definitions, or new adaptations, is it of any worth?  This logic is the reason we are so strict to complete temple ordinances with such exactness.  Exactness is a principle we ought to take note of.

If your baptism fell under adapted, changed words, is it of any worth?  Ought it to be repeated, using the words Christ directed us to use?  He said that more or less than this is evil.  Was my first baptism by my dad sufficient?  I don't think Jesus is trying to demonize anyone, however the strength of the words is exact.  He is illustrating how important exactness is.  By ignoring it, we are un-exact, sloppy, and slothful.

In aiming to follow with exactness, I believe Christ in His mercy has brought to light the incorrectness of our ordinance, through those with eyes to see.  There are those who have earnestly sought authority from God, and upon receiving heavenly confirmation, are offering to baptize using the words commanded by Christ.  We ought to obey.

I have experienced baptism three times in my life.  Each time was awesome!  I will likely experience more, as I believe this is something we ought to do as often as needed.  We practice faith throughout our lives, and offer daily acts of it.  We practice repentance throughout our lives as well.  Once and done is not enough.  Until I find direction from Christ that it is a sin to repeat baptism, I will likely continue to practice it, exactly as I do with faith, repentance, and receiving the Holy Ghost in my life.  The Jews practice Mikvah, or routine immersion in water.  Christ practiced that, as he fulfilled each detail of the law of Moses.  The Book of Mormon illustrates account after account of rebaptism, we just need eyes to see.

If you would like to experiment to observe the fruits, feel free to utilize this website to find someone close to you who would be happy to volunteer to assist in helping you fulfill this commandment.  I am certain it blesses those who receive, as well as those who stand to perform the ordinance.

May the Lord God bless you with increased LOVE as you consider receiving baptism throughout your life!  May you observe the most delicious fruit from it as well.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Weight of the World

Have you ever felt the weight of the world?  

Yesterday in Relief Society, the lesson was on President Benson's talk on Pride.  Beware of Pride. The teacher highlighted a scripture, found in Ezekiel 16:49-50.

"Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.  
And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good."
Our fabulous teacher highlighted the verse for its application to the lesson, namely the featuring of pride.  The other points were an afterthought.  The iniquity of the city of Sodom was pride, as well as other things.

The teacher read the list, took a breath at this part of the verse, and then began into the next verse.

This was the part she omitted: "Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

Is taking care of the poor and needy such an afterthought that it doesn't even make it into the list of latter-day abominations?  It is an afterthought!  In fact, a no thought.

As one of the 4-fold missions of the Church, I found its omission in the discussion startling.

I sat there, hoping we would come back to this point.  I waited for someone else to highlight it too.  I even raised my hand at one point, but the teacher didn't see it and was steadily moving on, so I put it back down.  (I've already made a few too many waves of late, so didn't feel like starting another soapbox.)  This day I was not up for a heated heart in a potentially heated discussion.  I think my heart died a little.

WHEN will it be acknowledged a SIN that we refuse to STRENGTHEN the HAND of the POOR and NEEDY?  When will it not be a burden, but a pleasure?

There are so many extravagances in this country.  So many expectations, and taken-for-granteds.  I heard the sisters jump on board in despising pride, yet we walk in it.  We swim in it.  We boast of it!

I posted the following in my Ward Facebook page last week.

Brothers and Sisters, I want to thank _____ ______ for drawing this to my attention today. I hope no one minds me sharing some thoughts about the message she shared.

The cause of the Christians in the Middle East has been heavy on my heart since the start of the new year, when a friend asked me to pray for Baghdad as ISIS was pressing near. I have had my head in the sand politically for a long time, and have simply believed all I could do was pray for these people. _____ shared a link where as individuals we can mark what we personally can do, (at this point it is specifically in pressing the government), together to remove the restrictions for CHRISTIAN refugees. This page gathers our info for how we can commit to help. The Church has committed up to $1 million in donations to this crisis, but it is currently foreign aid only. Currently the US is only open to Syrian refugees, so there is little we can do at home beyond prayer. However the US gov't will NOT justify bringing in Christians. These are our brothers and sisters, and this is not a partisan issue. It is a true humanitarian crisis.

Will you please prayerfully consider what your family would be willing to do to help? I personally would be happy to volunteer any funds relegated to our social activities, ward parties, scouting activities, etc, but I am just one member out of hundreds. Would you be willing to ask that our ward activity funds be offered in service as food, shelter, raiment for these souls? How about our Holiday Dinner funds? We have shown very easily how well we can put together a pot luck for Linger Longer. Can we together voice our support of donation of resources, whatever we may have?

I believe the heavens are watching, truly, to see if we are willing to respond. While there are several organizations I have seen cropping up, asking for donations, I appreciate that this one is not just interested in money, but tangible service, opening of homes, and true agape in the pure love of Christ. I share this here because as a ward family I believe we can do this with greater strength together than separately. I hope the fact that Glenn Beck is a political activist does not repel anyone from considering this opportunity. Last night he spoke in the Brandon, FL, Stake, regarding this opportunity. I hope and pray the message spreads. If you prefer another organization to consider, please, by all means, share some links.

We are on the cusp of the 4th blood moon in a tetrad of blood moons over Jewish holy days. I believe these are signs, just as the scriptures alert. We are being warned. Today marks the Jewish New Year, which Christ would have celebrated the end of the Schmitah, or 7th year, the year of rest. This evening marks the start of a Jubilee year. It is a big, big deal. May we celebrate, please, and remember what Jesus was truly about. Mosiah 3-4.

Thank you, _______, for sharing this. now.mercuryone.org
Would you like to see the follow up comments?  Here is the first, after I tagged the Bishop's wife.

"I appreciate the need for donating to worthy causes. As with anything, each person and family can elect to help. I would caution on expecting the local ward to donate funds. The church has a humanitarian arm where they do what they can and feel is best in the situation. The local funds are set aside for the care of the local members. I don’t know the exact process, but I doubt there are ever excess funds; what is remaining off of events and projects is often put to the members in need. I know that in our hearts we would like to care for those overseas, but the local ward funds are probably not the way to go. This isn’t a commentary on the need or validity of this project. I just doubt that the ward can donate official funds."
Well I expected as much.  Yes, carry on.  THE LOCAL FUNDS ARE SET ASIDE FOR THE CARE OF THE LOCAL MEMBERS.  I DOUBT THERE ARE EVER EXCESS FUNDS.  I JUST DOUBT THAT THE WARD CAN DONATE...

[Ironically, since posting that post last week, Glenn Beck's audience has donated over SEVEN MILLION dollars.  The LDS Church, with its vast resources and reach of over 14 million members, has indiscriminately donated aprox $1.2 million, back in 2012. I have no idea what the total is as of today, however the Deseret News updated their article on 9/14/15 and it circulated as if it were fresh, although written back in 2012. ]

So carry on with your iPhone 6s.  Carry on with your new SUVs and competitive soccer leagues.  Carry on with your Linger Longers, your paper plates and plastic cups (with cupboards full of china and glassware), carry on with your scout badges, your craft parties, your ward budgets designated to buy plastic tablecloths and centerpieces for the chili cookoffs.  Carry on with the corn and mashed potatoes for holiday dinners and the lights and utilities for buildings and temples and shopping malls and billboards and ad campaigns on YouTube.  Carry on with the HeartSell, the paid actors, the MormonMessages, the iPads for missionaries, the General Authority stipends and vacations, the Follow the Prophet, the All is Well in Zion!  Carry on, carry on, carry on!!!

Among the talk of Planned Parenthood selling of baby parts, and boys getting raped in Afghanistan and soldiers being disciplined for not looking the other way, we are ripe.  Let's not even talk about girls who are Activity Day Girls' age getting raped and sold in Syria as sex slaves as our government is giving both money and weapons to terrorists.  Let's not think of the men being CRUCIFIED because they follow Jesus, or toddlers beheaded and left in the streets.  Let's not talk about the mothers being separated from their living children and the culture of death which we ignore.

What if we actually supported a mother in bringing life to this planet?  What if women were paid to bring babies into the world, rather than paying for their dead babies?  What if rather than saying we are pro-life, we quit griping about welfare and supporting single moms who made choices that we don't approve of?  (That's a tough pill for even me to swallow.)  What if we offered a better choice and incentive to KEEP the baby, rather than shaming the woman seeking the abortion?  What if we did this outside of government control, but willingly, such that there were no need for the government?

What if we truly fed the poor, not just food, but true light and knowledge, rather than damning them up, insisting they aren't ready?  What if we lifted them up?

What if rapist men in Aftganistan (and surely other nations) had something better to do with their genitals than screw their sons?  Bastards!!!

What if we talk about the true problem in this world with pornography, and how it is the LARGEST expenditure of money in the WORLD?  How about we talk how to truly overcome it?

This world is so ripe in sin, it is sickening.  This post is dark, yes.  It is not uplifting in the least.  In reading these things I cannot help but weep, feeling the horrible weight of the world on my heart.  Please God, when will You intervene with your earthquakes of which You warned?  When will the earth swallow these horrific sins up, and vomit them out as dross?

But.

The Savior died for ALL these.  All these sinners, these rapists, these murders.  These Satanists.  All these women screaming with pride for their rights to kill their offspring unborn.  All these folks killing police officers as a right of justice.  The men (and hidden women) removing their precious childrens' innocence beneath the sheets.  The thought, just reading the news I just read is nauseating.  It would be better for a millstone to be hung around their necks, but they continue to practice their barbary.  REPENT!!!  Your Allah condones this horror?  Are you SERIOUS?  Your sons are screaming out each night for salvation, and your hellish king says Carry on!?

The one TRUE GOD speaks of REPENTANCE.  Of LOVE.  Of FORGIVENESS.  Of MERCY.  May GOD have MERCY on your hellbent souls.  May you please, please, I beg of you, cease from raping your children, from killing innocents in all lands, and from this horrible, horrible wickedness.  There are people who can help, and there is a GOD who will help if you ask.  May we, as followers of CHRIST

DO

SOMETHING!


Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Warning of Secret Combinations

Have you ever wanted to get closer to God?  Have you ever found someone who says they have found God, and if you listen to them, or mentor with them, or pay them money, you can become more enlightened?

Have you ever found friends who spoke quietly about God, and told you that the things they have shared really need to be kept secret?  For privacy's sake, because it was so holy?  But because you are so special, so trusted, that they can share their secret with you in confidence?  

Have you ever found a group of friends, who spoke privately about God, and joined up together to talk privately about God, to the exclusion of inviting others?  

Have you ever made an agreement with a group of friends, such as a head nod in understanding, or a verbal, "No, I won't tell," or even an "No, I promise I won't tell," that you would not disclose the private information to anyone outside of the circle?  Not just because it was private and personal, but because it was "sacred"?  Maybe you wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings for not inviting them, or you wouldn't want their company in the first place?  

Ether 4:11-14:

But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record.  For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good.
And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me.  I am the same that leadeth men to all good; he that will not believe my words will not believe me – that I am; and he that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me.  For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world.  
Come unto me, O ye Gentiles, and I will show unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief.  
Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you, because of unbelief. 
Christ lays the invitation to us to come directly to Him.  No intermediary.  No mentor, paid guru, or enlightened master.  The invitation is free, unrestrained or unrestricted.  He asks us to lay aside our unbelief, and HE will show us line upon line, until we find Him.  HE will be our teacher, that we may learn the knowledge which has been hidden because of unbelief.

Perhaps He will give us help along the way by means of people.  But they will not need share information in secret, nor exclusively at the exclusion of others.

One reason I am outside the bounds of being a "worthy recommend holder" is that I will not ascribe to an oath-like indication for sustaining the leaders of the Church.  Oaths made to any man are suspect, and potentially dangerous.  It is fascinating how easy it is to build and participate in a secret combination.  I have seen them among the Mormons.  I have seen them among my friends, among sisters I visit taught, and among sisters that visit teach me.  I have been a part of some unknowingly, and being kicked out and excluded was ugly.  I see those I care about being invited in to some, and observe their sudden quietness, secrecy, and inability to discuss anything going on in their lives.

When Moses went up to the mount to talk with the Lord, he invited others to come too.  He did not exclude them.

Christ's invitation is OPEN.  It is not CLOSED.  It is not private.  It does not need time to ponder over one's worthiness.  It does not need the approval of a group of other enlightened masters.  Christ invited not only the Jews, but also the Gentiles to come to Him.  That encompasses the whole world.  In fact, he invited the Gentiles first in the verses above.  

If you believe you need to be in the right "circle", the right "club", the right "church", or even to follow the right "prophet" or "apostle", "pastor" or "teacher", rather than going DIRECTLY to the Lord Jesus Christ, I propose and suspect you might have missed the boat.  I only speak it from my own experience.  Belonging to such things is encouraged and promoted in our culture.  It feels good to be included and revered.  However if you are in such a group which intentionally excludes others, consider the possibility that you might be involved in a "secret" combination.  And likewise if you risk expulsion from such a group by talking about it openly with those outside the group, you're likely in one too.

I share this not to judge anyone, but simply realized this is a predominant theme of the Book of Mormon, which no one ever discusses the dangers of.  I was in one and not even realize it.

Christ wants us to come direct, uninvolved and unentangled with oaths of secrecy.

A city on a hill cannot be hid.  It will be powerful because of the Light, Life, and Truth which it contains.

Works of darkness will be destroyed when the light shines on them.  Come to Him, please, I beg.

With love, in Jesus' name.
~Jen    

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Magic 8 Ball Miracle

I would be remiss if I didn't testify...

Had to start the post like that.  This is one of those kinds of follow-ups.

My last post I compared a Magic 8 Ball to a Liahona.  The topic of the post came to me when I was reading the verses included.  I study here and there, but often when I blog something, it's because the insight comes strong enough to my heart and mind that my intellect is then connected to the knowledge that I need to share it.  That's what I did with the last post.

It's funny because Magic 8 Balls used to be really popular when I was a kid.  We never owned one though.  To be completely honest I rarely, if ever, think of them, and when I studied Alma 37 and wrote the post, it was probably the first time in years I had thought of one.  I am confident to say that it's probably been well over 12 years that I have not even touched one, if not longer.  [And I remember thinking it would be cool if I posted a picture of one, but I didn't want to take the time to search one out and copy and paste it in here.  Ah well for the picture variety.]

Well last Thursday I had my car into the shop to get our state inspection.  I tried to set it up on Monday, but they were too full of appointments at the shop, so the soonest they could get me in was Thursday.  That day, we had struggled to figure out how to drop the van off and get the kids to school.  Typically we take two cars and drop one off the night before, and retrieve it later.  This time I had to take it in and wait.  All this, after a summer-long of repairs.  We were several days late getting it in as well.

Anyways, I sat down to read, after explaining to the mechanic owner that I'd need to stay and wait.  I hoped he didn't mind.  I pulled out a book to read, called The Emotion Code, by Dr. Bradley Nelson.  This quote at the beginning struck me as so true.

Truth is stranger than fiction, but this is because fiction is obliged to stick to probability; truth is not. -Mark Twain
I read for over an hour, and was astounded at the amazing level of truth and insight the book contained.  To put the first 45 pages briefly, it demonstrated that we are all made of molecules which are 99.9% empty space.  The empty space is what connects us, and our molecules which make up our body and spirit.  However despite this space, we are connected both physically and energetically.  We can transmit information by frequency, or the energy it takes to vibrate the molecules in connection with the air.  The information is truth, which connects us not only to our own being, but also to the space and world, and even universe around us.  It also connects us to God.  This truly makes it possible for us to "feel" God with us, and for God to "be" in connection with us.  My friend calls this "grace", and stresses this as a major point of practicing Christian meditation.  To become still enough to "feel" God through our skin, despite the fact that He possesses an immortal body.  (God is Omnipotent and Omnipresent.)  That's another post though, and probably one I don't have the words or capability to quantify.

This book also discusses muscle testing, and how to do it.  Muscle testing is a tool, similar to dowsing, lie-detector tests, heartbeat monitors or other sensors which utilizes physical elements to discover truth about either physical or otherwise difficult to detect truths.  They rely on science, energy, and vibrations.  The book linked to scientific studies and articles regarding the brain as well, indicating this is all backed up by provable science.  I really appreciated having those studies footnoted.

Well as I was reading, the mechanic came back in and out of the office to record car notes, I suppose.  I looked up at him at the desk at one point, and noticed this, sitting on the desk.


Whaaaaat?????  I just blogged about this!  I asked the owner what it was for.  He said people are always asking him stuff like, "Will my car make it if I drive it to Florida?"  He said he tells them, "I don't know!  Ask the Magic 8 Ball."

So after he left, just for kicks I picked it up and gave it a jiggle, not really thinking too hard.


It told me to "Concentrate and ask again".  Ok.  I laughed.  You've got to be kidding me.  Was I wrong in my post?

Well, I'd been stressed over a bus stop situation at my kids' school.  Long story short, it had stressed me so much that it troubled me for days.  So remembering the post, and remembering the Liahona is NOT a Magic 8 ball, I thought to ask God, "God, could this act as a Liahona?  Could you give me some peace over this bus situation?  Can I use this to get an answer on this, so I can quit stressing?"  I had felt full of confusion.

So despite saying a Magic 8 Ball is NOT a Liahona, I asked God to have an answer to the question I posed.

I looked at it again.


I prayed.  Remembering that muscle testing is a tool, I realized that God can even use things like this to give answers.  He can use ANYTHING to give us answers, we just need to be faithful to accept it as such.  So despite my post, YES, a Magic 8 Ball CAN be a Liahona.  Or at least offer some direction.  "Will Mr. ___ and Dr. ___ move the bus stop to _____?  I really would appreciate it.  I know I have not exhibited any faith in the situation or asked You before.  But please, can you change or soften their hearts so they will change the bus stop to ___?  I am exerting faith now, and would like to be free from this horrible mood that has bothered me and stressed me out now for days."  I flipped it over.


Oh boy!!!  I laughed!  I smiled!  The funk I was in shifted.  I actually believe this was an answer to my prayer, my visualization of where the new bus stop will be.  Granted I have yet to see if it will be changed, or if the school folks will give a crap and actually come out and reconsider the stop.  But I know God heard my prayer here.  So many miracles lined up.

The inspiration about Magic 8 Balls came while reading, several days before.
I couldn't get the car in the shop for 4 more days, on Monday.
The reminder to post came Tuesday morning, and it was posted.
I missed the school bus on Wednesday, causing drama and even tears, as I asked the school administrators to consider (again) moving the stop for the kids' safety. (Ack!)
I had to sit in the office on Thursday, rather than just dropping off the car Wednesday night.
My husband was moody on Thursday morning, adding to my poor mood.
I had to take 4 kids to the bus stop that morning, as a reminder of how much I dislike the drive.
The Emotion Code was my book of choice, and I actually got time to read it.
It cleared up my understanding about tools used to discern and learn truth.
The mechanic walking in the office led my attention to the desk, where the Magic 8 Ball sat.
The AHA moment was had.

This was a miracle.

Walk in LOVE this day.  God is watching and DOES love you and me.