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


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.  
Senior Chief Captain
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.