Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Excommunication and Redaction


I don't keep my religion a secret at work.  I hope I don't shove religion down people's throat, but I do wear it on my sleeve.  When a prominent LDS general authority was excommunicated several weeks ago, several of my work colleagues wanted to know more about it.  They actually had heard about it before I had. While the LDS Church has rightly kept the details of the matter in confidence, I considered the situation a positive for the Church even if it was a tragic negative for the individual. It's good for the LDS Church to have an occasional  excommunication because it shows that its keeping its house clean and not sweaping dirt under the rug. 

Similarly,  Elder Jeffery R. Holland was very forthcoming in his redaction of an amazing missionary story that was shared at a leadership meeting.  Elder Holland shared a story about a miraculous prodigal conversion that went viral on social media. While the prodigal return did occur, it turns out that some of more spectacular details of the story were not accurate. When Elder Holland learned that many of details of the story were not accurate, he forthrightly made a public correction.  Making mistakes is human, but openly and publicly confessing mistakes and setting the record straight is divine. 

D&C 1:24-28 Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding. And inasmuch as they erred it might be made known; And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed; And inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent; And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Reformed Egyptian Example



1Nephi 1:2 Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.

Mormon 9:32 And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.

Stefan Wimmer's 2008 book Palastinisches Hieratisch (Palestinian Hieratic) has dozens of examples of a writing system used in Israel about the time of Lehi that renders Hebrew vocabulary and syntax in Egyptian Hieratic script.




It turns out that there are many examples of the Aramaic and even the Hebrew language written in various Egyptian scripts.  Hieratic was used as a shorthand for business transactions and was known to be very efficient and compact. The compactness of Egyptian heiratic was precisely the reason Mormon gave as the reason why the script was used for the Book of Mormon.

Mormon 9: 33 And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew;

Using this and other sources, Jerry Grover has been able to make a translation of the available Book of Mormon characters recorded by Joseph Smith, John Whitmer, and Matin Harris from the Gold Plates. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Book of Mormon Insurgency

Dear Bro. -------- --------,

My name is David Brosnahan and I just finished listening to your talk at the 2016 FAIR conference about insurgency.  I write a blog at ldsdoctrine.blogspot.com.  I very much enjoyed your talk as it really got me pondering about your topic. 

It seems that this talk was a bit in reaction to "Even unto Bloodshed" which used the Book of Mormon to justify the current US war on terrorism. While I agree with your disaproval of that book and its conclusions, I don't think your disapproval took you in the right direction.  Your tone in the talk seemed slightly critical of certain aspects of the Book of Mormon as well as certain aspects of Church policy that might be viewed as harsh or might cause guilt (eg. talk on pornography). 

It seemed to me that you were more in favor of policies that show unconditional love in most circumstances and less supportive of policies that might "enlarge the wounds of those who are already wounded" (Jacob 2:9). This is, in fact, a major theme of the Book of Mormon.  Teaching according to the Holy Order in the Book of Mormon was compared and contrasted to Nehor, priestcraft, and the corrupt practice of only preaching a positive-only, "popular" doctrine.  The true prophets, on the other hand, were duty bound to call the people to repentance and as Nephi from his tower commented a bit sarcastically, "why have ye gathered yourselves together? That I may tell you of your iniquities?" (Hel 17:13).

The truth is, that abscesses like sins sometimes need to be painfully drained before healing salve applied. God instructs us to sometimes reprove each other, followed up by a demonstration of increased love.  

I think there may be a misunderstand about the nature of conspiracy and consequently a possible misunderstanding about what Captain Moroni and others like Lachonus were fighting against. 

We first need to understand the term robber vs. thief. The term robber is not being used in the Book of Mormon to vilify the socially and politically marginalized. Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute has explained that robbery in the Bible (hamas), was a great sin leading to the Great Flood.  "the whole world was filled with violence" (hamas = robbery).

Rabbi Richman goes on to explain the meaning of robbery using the following anecdote.  Imagine there is a bean-seller selling beans in the market. If one person stole all this man's beans, the bean-seller would be bankrupt and the law broken.  But if all the town conspired against the bean-seller to only steal one bean each, the bean-seller's business would still be destroyed but no law would be broken.  This conspiracy to destroy within the constraints of the law is the true meaning of robbery (hamas).  

Because we fail to understand the nature of secret combinations, works of darkness, and conspiracy in the Book of Mormon, many LDS and non-LDS are blind to the true nature and operation of conspiracy in the world around us today.  I agree with you in your disapproval of the seemingly endless wars in the Middle East, but I don't think that we need to criticize Captain Moroni or sympathize with the ISIS insurgency to arrive at this same conclusion.  In my opinion, the Book of Mormon does not justify the current preemptive US war on terror.  But if we really understood the warning of the Book of Mormon we would realize the secret combinations around us have already gotten above us (Ether 8).

So, what was really going on in the Book of Mormon?  The Gadiantons were not a picked-on ethnic minority. Although Gadianton-leaders no doubt recruited the marginalized.  Gadianton leaders were king-men whose main purpose, like the Lamanites, was to steal (legally or illegally) from the workers instead of producing for themselves.  The early Lamanites found it easier to steal from the industrious Nephites instead of learning to plant and cultivate their own fields.  This is why the Lamanites permitted the Nephites to return to the Land of Nephi fully intending to enslave them later.

Pretty soon, Nephites fell prey to the same greed to live off the sweat and productivity of others.  After establishing a Republic, the king men first tried to overcome via election. When that failed, they didn't give up but joined together with the Lamanites (Amlici, Amalikiah) seeking to enslave their own people and glut themselves off their labors.  But the king-men failed again and again.  

By the way, a king works solely for the interests of the king-men like a CEO works for the interests of the principle shareholders. Its the king-men and not the king that holds true power via hidden influence over perceived authority. If a king goes rogue, he is assassinated and replaced

After many failures, the king-men devise yet another strategy. Instead of openly confronting their opposition politically or militarily, they went underground forming secret combinations and infiltrating the government from within via the courts and corrupting the laws with endless loopholes that judge a king-man by the loophole letter and not provable intent. The Nephites built up these secret combinations by joining with them in their spoils. 

The reason why the free-men gave land to the king-men, was because these certain king-men had repented and finally covenanted to subsist on their own labors and not the labors of others. This is why Lachoneus' strategy was so brilliant.  By gathering in the center of the Nephite lands, the skill-less Gadiantons, who subsisted purely on pillaging (hired pillaging), couldn't provide for themselves. 

Isa 65:21-22 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.  They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

Sincerely,
David Brosnahan MD

Saturday, July 08, 2017

4-Fold Mission of Christ's Church



The purpose of God is to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39).  This is achieved only by and through Jesus Christ, the Holy Messiah. The purpose of the Church of Jesus Christ is to help the entire human family to come unto Jesus Christ through its four missions.

1. Live the Gospel (Matthew 5:48): the Church and its members are to come unto Christ by administering sacred covenants and ordinances.  Church members are to promote true discipleship, more perfect repentance and virtuous living.  The body of Christ creates a community of safety and caring. 

2. Share the Gospel (Mark 16:15): the Church and its members are to continually share the good news of Christ's gospel with all peoples by word and example.

3. Turn hearts to their Fathers (Malachi 4:5-6):  Christ's atonement overcame death.  Accordingly, the gospel of Christ is still being preached in the Spirit World (1 Peter 3:19).  Baptism can be performed by the living and accepted by the dead (1 Cor 15:29). Genealogy identifies our progenitors who we hope will accept these covenants by ordinances performed by vicarious proxy.

4. Care for Poor and Needy (James 1:27): Pure Religion involves caring for the poor and needy, especially the fatherless and widow. Welfare is the primary business and duty of religion because only religious organizations can collect voluntarily, give with accountability and effectively rehabilitate where needed. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Jerusalem Temple on Mount Zion

 

Ps 48:12-13 "Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.  Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the [last] generation."

The ancient temple at Jerusalem may not have stood on the Haram al-Sharif or so-called "temple mount" where the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock stand today. Some historians and archaeologist are claiming that what is known as the temple mount today is likely the ancient Roman Antonia Fortress.  Instead, the ancient temple would has stood 600 ft to the south on Mount Zion in the City of David. 

1. Jesus Christ prophesied that not one stone of the temple complex would be left upon another (Matt 24:1-2, Mark 13:2). The reason why every rock was up-turned on the temple complex was because when Titus burned the temple, its gold melted and flowed down in between the foundation stones.  Soldiers overturned all the stones to get at the gold.  Josephus commented that the  destruction was so complete that no one would have guessed a temple stood in that location. 

2. The Antonia Fortress would have been a massive structure housing the 10th Legion comprising 6000 soldiers and at least 4000 additional support persons including numerous horses.  The Fortress would not have been a small appendage to the temple complex but would have dwarfed it.

3. According to Josephus, the Antonia Fortress was built around a massive 75 ft rock.  The Romans built massive walls around the rock (Foundation Stone) and then back-filled the area creating a plateau on Mount Moriah whose southeast tower looked down on the temple complex.  The higher elevation of the Antonia Fortress  explains why the Roman soldiers "ran down" from the Fortress to arrest Paul just outside the temple gates for inciting a riot (Acts 21:32).  The Antonia Fortress complex was connected to the temple complex by two 600-ft colonnades (arms) flush with its western wall.

4. The Bible indicates the Holy Temple stood in on Mount Zion, in the City of David (Ophel), over the Gihon Spring which flowed beneath its southeast corner (Ezek 47:1-12).  Josephus said that the temple complex stood on a 600ft crescent ridge between the Kidron and Tyropoeon (Cheesemonger) Valleys.

5. The Gihon Spring is a siphon fed by an aquifer under Mount Scopus.  Vertical  channels from the spring would have supplied the temple with needed fresh water.

6. During the time of the Maccabees, the Temple was descrated by Greeks . Simon the Hasmonean decided to purify and remove Mt. Zion, leveling the citadel (Akra) and throwing it into the Tyropeon Valley.  After Simon's leveling of the Ophel and Akra of the City of David, the hill west in what became known as Upper Jerusalem began to be called Mt. Zion.








Monday, June 19, 2017

Father's Day Message

 


The Tabernacle and Holy Temple were constructed so that man could enjoy the Divine Presence (Shechinah).  In the Old Testament, the cloud by day an firey pillar by night served as physical protections.  In latter-day temples, the covenants of the temple provide spiritual protection from sin and temptation.  Covenants are how Heavenly Father is present in our lives.  Similarly, our involvement with our children can protect them. Fathers being present and involved in our children's lives will likewise protect them from harm and temptation.


(main idea from Tolson Nichols)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Ezra and the Rabbinical System

 

I asked a Jewish colleague once who was the rightful ancient High Priestly line, Ezra or Joshua, son of Josedech.  He said there was some debate on the matter.  According to the Bible, Ezra and Nehemiah came late from Babylon to Jerusalem and deposed the families of Joshua and Zerubbabel.  

Ezra had found that several of Joshua's sons had married locals (likely second wives).  Ezra and Nehemiah were concerned that these "strange wives" would turn Israel's heart away from God like Solomon's wives had.  Ezra used these infractions and the authority and money of Ataxerxes to establish a Rabbinical system of scribes and Pharisees that Jesus of Nazareth condemned. Ezra founded a proto-Sanhedrin and enforced Jewish Law through the confiscation of property (see Ezra 7). 

Since the establishment of the Judaic rabbinical and scribal system, the divine presence was not experienced in the Second  Temple and God ceased direct revelation to Israel through prophets.  Zechariah and Malachi were contemporaries of Ezra and Nehamiah and revelation ceased  until John the Baptist.  The Jewish Rabbinical system caused the Jews to misunderstand scripture and fail to recognize their Messiah. 

Today, Christianity has established a similar scribal and rabbinical system through its many divinity schools that teach the creeds of man as doctrine (Nicene, etc.).  These schools of theology have similarly turned the hearts of many Christians away from the truth of Jesus Christ.  The Kingdom of God is established again on the Earth with prophets, apostles, priesthood keys,  revelation, scripture, and the restoration of the Holy Temple. However, like the Pharisees of old, many Christians have been blinded from recognizing the truth because of their reliance upon the arm of flesh. 

The consequence of a reliance upon an academic and scribal system was the division of the Jews into various sects: Pharisees, Sadducees, Samaritans, Essenes, Zealots, Herodians, Hasideans, Therapeutae, and Zugot.  We see this same division in Christianity today.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Idaho Falls Temple Rededication

The Idaho Falls Temple was rededicated by President Eyring this last weekend.  In keeping with the spirit of the original dedicatory prayer, President Eyring prayed for the preservation of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights and in so doing, preserve our freedom.  In 1945, at the original dedication of the Idaho Falls Temple, President George Albert Smith included in the dedicatory prayer these words:

"We thank Thee that Thou has revealed to us that those who gave us our Constitutional form of government were wise in Thy sight and that Thou didst raise them up for the very purpose of putting forth that sacred document....Thou did'st [raise] up wise men for the very purpose of giving us our Constitution.... We pray Thee that Thou wilt inspire good and just men everywhere to be willing to sacrifice for, support and uphold the Constitution and the government set up under it and thereby preserve for man his agency."


But what are the threats to our nation's Constitution? Poverty is the greatest threat to freedom. That is why scripture makes that point that the perfect Zion society has "no poor among them". What is the main driver of poverty?  Sexual sin and drug abuse leads to greater poverty via broken families and decreased productivity. 


How does poverty threaten freedom?  Poverty leads to bloated government welfare programs which usurp our individual rights and liberties. Government welfare exacerbates the problem of poverty by enabling it and never reforms or rehabilitates. Government welfare redistributes without accountability.   Fascists and dictators have always come to power promising greater social justice via the redistribution of wealth. (Rome = free bread and circus, Communists, Nazi's, Castro, etc)

Welfare according to James 1:27 is the business of "pure religion". So, if we believe in a separation of church and state, the State needs to get out of the business of religion. Religion needs to do its job by providing welfare and promoting virtue. The US Constitution reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". Well, welfare and marriage are establishments of religion. Ancient Religion addressed welfare, caring for the fatherless and widow using the institution of the family via marriage/polygamy and adoption.

However, we are never going to get anywhere in saving Constitutional Government if all we talk about is limited government, but we do not address the problem of poverty. We cannot convince liberals to support the constitution if they think our solution to poverty is just to "cut everyone off" and have all the single moms and disabled "go get jobs like the rest of us".  Unless we address the poverty problem we won't be address the real threat to the Constitution, and we won't be addressing the major concerns of Liberals and Democrats which currently divide our country.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day Message

 


When I was a boy, I was my mother’s most difficult young child to raise. I had an overabundance of energy.  As further evidence to help you understand the challenge my parents faced in raising our family, let me tell you about our family scripture reading. Each morning, my mother read the Book of Mormon to us during breakfast. During this time, my older brother, Dave, and I would sit quietly but irreverently. To be completely honest, we weren’t listening. We were reading the print on the cereal boxes.

Finally, one morning, I decided to square up with my mother. I exclaimed, “Mom, why are you doing this to us? Why are you reading the Book of Mormon every morning?” I then made a statement that I am embarrassed to admit to. In fact, I can’t believe I actually said it. I told her, “Mom, I am not listening!”

Her loving response was a defining moment in my life. She said, “Son, I was at a meeting where President Marion G. Romney taught about the blessings of scripture reading. During this meeting, I received a promise that if I would read the Book of Mormon to my children every day, I would not lose them.” She then looked me straight in the eyes and, with absolute determination, said, “And I will not lose you!”

By Elder K. Brett Nattress of the Seventy October 2016, General Conference,
"No Greater Joy Than to Know That They Know"

Friday, May 12, 2017

LDS Church Not Abandoning BSA

 

The LDS Church is discontinuing Varsity and Venture Scouts for boys 14-18.  But the Church is still fully participating in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts to age 14.  Most LDS boys earn their Eagle rank by 14-16 anyways.  

The reason for this policy change has to do with Venture Scouting not fullfilling the vocational and self-reliance needs of the older boys. I am the Venture Leader in my home ward.  We had already instituted a program like what the Church is specifying before the announcement.  Also, sponsoring Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, and Venture Scout units places undo leadership burden on smaller LDS congregations. 

Punishment, Reward, Charity

 
When a person comes unto Christ, their highest motivation should be to obey and serve God out of pure love and devotion.  This is because, if you knew the supreme mercy and perfection of God, how could you possibly not love Him.

But some of God's children are not at that point yet.  From His infinite mercy, Christ meets us where we are and then seeks to elevate us.  Coming unto Christ doesn't necessarily happen in an instant.  If fear of punishment is all we can understand, then Christ will motivate us based on fear.  The scriptures say, "Fear God".  Only as we are motivated (even by fear) and begin to obey, can we begin to come to know Christ more and then refine our motivations.  One day every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ; many, I expect, will be motivated by a desire to avoid the eternal punishment. (Phil 2:10-11; Rom 14:11)

After fear, God entices us to serve Him by promising us unspeakable rewards.  Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.  Christ Himself commamded that all people "lay up in store treasure in heaven".  Positive reinforcement is a higher and more enduring motivation.  And as we serve and obey God, we come to know Him better, and His attributes.  As we learn of Christ and serve Christ, our faith, and motivations are further refined. 

John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

The highest motivation for devoting our lives to the service of Jesus Christ is out of pure love.  If we come to truely know that perfect attributes of Christ and His infinite love and mercy for us, how could we not adore Him and serve Him.  The Book of Mormon prophet, King Benjamin, reminds us that only by serving God and participating in His work can we truely come to know the Master. 

Mosiah 5:13 For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?

Again, pure love (charity) for God, is the highest, noblest, and most enduring motivation.  But we cannot begin to come to know Christ until we begin to learn to put off the natural man and act with restraint (Thou Shalt Not's).  We then further progress in our knowledge and love of God by participating in Christ's Kingdom (Thou Shalt's).

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

In a way, our motivations may stratify us in heaven and in the resurrection. If we at least confess Christ, even out of fear, we are promised to be eventually saved from Eternal Punishment.  Our motivations based on fear, reward, or love likely determine our level of faith and obedience which may also determine our place (mansion) in heaven. (see 1 Cor 15:40-41).

Monday, May 01, 2017

God's Justice: Informed Consent

 
In this life, we can expect tribulation and adversity. The reality that bad things do happen to good people doesn't disprove God's existence. The point of life is not to have an easy life, but to bear our adversity with patience and faith like Job and like Christ.

Despite our trials, God is still a just God. In the pre-mortal existence, we were all given "informed consent". Informed Consent is what a medical doctor does before doing a painful surgery or procedure.  Similarly, in the pre-mortal existence, we were fully made aware of the potential for suffering here on Earth but also the unspeakable rewards. Also, God promised to make up to us all of our losses. The Bible reveals that not only did we accept the terms, "we shouted for joy!".

The reality of the pre-existence and informed consent is critical to the justice of God.  Denying this doctrine Christian churches have lost ground and many souls to atheism on this very issue.  

Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Christ, The Good Samaritan

 
Jesus Christ frequently taught in parables.  In addition to a positive superficial meaning, parables had an additional deeper and more profound meaning pointing to His devine mission. The parable of the Good Samaritan is no exception.

[A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho] We are all represented by the "certain man".  The decent from Jerusalem to Jericho represents our premortal existence and leaving Gods presence to come to Earth. There are not very many references to the pre-existence in scripture.  This is an exciting one. 

[and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.]  During mortality, Satan lies in wait to spiritually injure us and steal from us our divinity and righteousness. 

[And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.]  Worldly religion and even The Law of Moses have no interest helping or cannot even if they wanted to. 

[But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,]   Christ is the Good Samaritan who is looking to save us, the Poor Wayfairing Man. 

[And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine,]  Christ has the power to heal spiritual wounds by repentance (wine) and covenant (oil).

[and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.]  Not only will Christ return, but Christ commends us into the care of His Church (inn) and His authorized servants (host) who have been called and empowered to act for Christ. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Hope

 

Easter is the holday when the Christian world commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Why is the life and resurrection of Christ important?  When I try and understand the importance if something I try to imagine life without it.  What would life be like without Christ?


Philosophers and sociologists have tried to define exactly what makes humans different from animals.  In another sense, we could ask, what causes humans to act differently from animals?  Why do some humans act in selfless, self-sacrificing ways to strangers, turn-the-other-check, and forgive? I believe it is because of the light of Christ and our faith in Jesus Christ. 


God, who is the creator of the universe, lives.  However, God's existence wouldn't necessarily impact human behavior if we didn't know about His existence and nature. God, being God, could greatly control our lives regardless of our knowledge of Him.  But that's not how God works.  God has revealed that He is not about controlling our lives.  Instead, God "leaks" information about Himself and His will, so that only those who are seeking Him will find Him.


For those that have found God, our Heavenly Father has revealed to us by His Son Jesus Christ commandments.  It is through these commandments that we learn that "the natural man is an enemy to God"  and it is God's will that man act with restraint. If it wasn't for this revealed knowledge, there would be no reason for humankind to not just be controlled by our fears and appetites.  Without God, it would be "dog-eat-dog". God's commandments make us free by giving us a choice. We can be hungry but choose to fast; offended, but choose to forgive.


If it wasn't for Christ's atonement and resurrection, humankind would have no hope for redemption.  So many decisions we make in life are based on fear and scarcity.  We fear death, and we fear not having enough.  These fears cause us to hoard resources, and take what we can get now instead of sacrifice the good we have now for better later. 


All humankind are imperfect, sinful, and mortal.  But because of Christ, we have a hope that we can repent, improve, and one day be resurrected and become citizens of a perfected society.  Without Easter, the hearts of man would become hopeless and depressed, and resign ourselves to just "eat, drink, and be merry; for tomorrow we die". But because of Jesus Christ's power over sin and death, His disciples can enjoy a perfect brightness of hope.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Why did God [curse] is the ground for [our] sake?

Under the Father and Christ's direction, the human family participated in creation. This includes the nobel and great ones and maybe the not-so-nobel.  However, all things serve a purpose. God did need to create an oasis of the Garden for Adam and Eve amongst a violent world filled with briars, thorns, and predatory animals.  Adam amd Eve were tasked with "keeping" and preserving the garden which served as a protection.


Abraham 3:24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;

However, with the fall, Adam and Eve were cast out. The garden was not preserved, and they were then exposed/subjected to the thorns, briars, weeds, random violence and unfeeling cruelty of the universe-- for their good.  The purpose of life is a test to be subjected to adversity/suffering and see if we will still choose to be patient, obedient. loyal, valiant and devoted to God.  
So the creations/works of the nobel and the less-nobel all serve Gods greater purposes and human-kinds greater good.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Covenants and Contracts


 

My wife Ruth is a realtor and spends every day writing contracts associated with the sale of residential real estate. She made a excellent point about the difference between worldly contracts vs heavenly covenants. Contracts are long and filled with fine print because they based on mistrust and the consequence of what will happen if one or the other side does not meet with their obligations.  Gods covenants on the other hand are clear and concise because they are based on love, our best interest, and God always will do exactly what he has said he will do.  

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Spring LDS General Conference 2017

 

A few thoughts and quotes from "General Conference":

Elder Erying- gathering all things in one both in heaven and earth = family history

Covenants paramount, obedience exact

Elder Renland- Christ ate with sinners, offers hope.  Will save from sin but not in sin.

Perfect brightness of hope = watching a taped football game already knowing the outcome. In life, we already know the outcome so we don't need to get stressed about a bad penalty call, etc.

Preserve gospel language at home.  Keep language pure, don't mix with outside influences.  The gospel is our true native language.

Pres. Monson- charitable = being kind, be kind. We do not honor priesthood if we are not kind.  Study Book of Mormon daily.


Elder Bednar-  Mission Call = Called to serve,  assigned to labor in a place. Not called to a place but to "the work".  Focus your young men on Priesthood, Temple, and Mission.


Pres. Uchtdorf- chiefest of all is servant of all. People will tell you your great, dont inhale it.


Elder Rasband- respond to first promptings.  Be a first responder.


Pres. Utchdorf- don't dwell on the evils of the world.  Fear not and be of good cheer.  Serve God and our fellow man.


Elder Christiansen-  warning voice is civil and joyful.  Successful must preach what you practice.  Stop feigning neutrality. 


Elder Cook-  Malcolm Gladwell says 10,000 hours of "deliberate practice" are needed to become world-class in any [skilled] field. This applies to gospel learning. Financial success does not = blessed.  Expected to endure adversity well. 









Saturday, February 18, 2017

Family Discovery Day


RootsTec 2017 was held in Salt Lake City Utah and recently concluded. RootsTec is a convention dedicated to family history and genealogy.  RootsTec is akin to other conventions such ad ComicCon or CES.  2017 Celebrity attendees included LaVar Burton, HGTV Property Brothers and Buddy Valastro (Cake Boss).

https://youtu.be/wzgX9IDA3-A

President Russell M. Nelson was the keynote speaker at a special LDS session of the conference. Elder Nelson shared an account of his grandfather AC Nelson who was visited by his recently deceased father and told of the importance of family history and temple work. Missionary work continues in the spirit world after death but those that accept the gospel cannot receive all the blessings without having their ordinances performed in holy temples by the living. The account begins at 15:00.


President Nelson invited each of us to make a commitment and sacrifice to do more family history and temple work this year. 

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Oaths and Covenants


Kindergarteners, Boy Scouts, police officers, doctors, lawyers and politicials do it.  Why do we make oaths and enter into covenants? Life will eventually give you many reasons and excuses to break your promises.  Oaths and covenants give you a divine reason not to break your promises even when life circumstances may seemingly justify it.


The selfishness, disobedience, obstinance, disloyalty and rebellion of mankind would give God every reason to allow mankind to destroy ourselves. But because of the covenant He has made with His prophets, and a few faithful of His people, He will keep His promises and preserve a remnant and eventually save and redeem mankind upon the Earth.


Here are a few oaths I made in my life:


Pledge of Allegiance: 

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.


Scout Oath, Boy Scouts of America:

 

On my honor, I will do my best;

To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.



Hippocratic Oath (Declaration of Geneva)

University of Utah SOM:


I solemnly pledge to consecrate my life to the service of humanity.

I will practice medicine with conscience and dignity.

The health and life of my patient will be my first consideration.

I will hold in confidence all that my patients confide to me.

I will maintain the honor and noble traditions of the medical profession.

I will give respect and gratitude to my deserving teachers.

My colleagues will be as my family

I will not permit personal considerations to interfere with my duty to my patients

I will maintain the upmost respect for human life.

Even under threat I will not use my knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity

These promises I make freely and upon my honor.


Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Our Heavenly Father

Alma, a Book of Mormon prophet, wrote, “All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator” (Alma 30:44). We can look up at the sky at night and have an idea of what Alma meant. There are millions of stars and planets, all in perfect order. They did not get there by chance. We can see the work of God in the heavens and on the earth. The many beautiful plants, the many kinds of animals, the mountains, the rivers, the clouds that bring us rain and snow--all these testify to us that there is a God.


Paul explained simply: 4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.


I great cartoon featuring 2 talking snowmen also expresses the absurdity of denying the existence of God.  2 snowmen were discussing where they came from when the first "Don't be absurd, noone made us, we evolved by chance from snowflakes."


The prophets have taught us that God is the Almighty Ruler of the universe. God dwells in heaven (see D&C 20:17). Through His Son, Jesus Christ, He created the heavens and the earth and all things that are in them (see 3 Nephi 9:15; Moses 2:1). He made the moon, the stars, and the sun. He organized this world and gave it form, motion, and life. He filled the air and the water with living things. He covered the hills and plains with all kinds of animal life. He gave us day and night, summer and winter, seedtime and harvest. He made man in His own image to be a ruler over His other creations (see Genesis 1:26–27).


The beauty of creation is a great testimony to the love of our heavenly father.  whenever I watch Star Wars movies I'm reminded somewhat of this.  instead of living on the earth with its temperature climate, had god not been so loving we could've been stuck on some icy snowball of a planet like Hoth, some volcanic planet like Mustafar, or some godforsaken desert planet like Jaiku or Tatooine.  


God is the Supreme and Absolute Being in whom we believe and whom we worship. He is “the Great Parent of the universe,” and He “looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 39).


We may take it for granted that we believe and know that God is a God of love.  In Greek and Roman times, The people generally believed in a pantheon of gods who disagreed on just about everything and watched humans fight and die on the battlefield for entertainment. you may think this doesn't matter much to tell you remember that this led to the masses being entertained by savage gladiators who fought to the death in the Colosseums.   Contrast this to Enoch who witnessed God weep after being shown the wickedness and resultant suffering of the people of the Earth.  Enoch was blown away at God's reaction.  God cared deeply for His children and suffered at our suffering. 


Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7:29 And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?


Some people may think of God as all justice and no mercy.  They may think Heavenly Gather is the one that cannot look upon sin with the lease degree of allowance while Jesus Christ is the merciful one.  but this is to forget that Jesus did nothing on His own but only that which He saw the father do, and only that which he was specifically directed by the Father to do.  so we shouldn't forget that it's heavenly father who is just as perfectly merciful as he is just. The plan are redemption in the atonement of Jesus Christ were entirely Heavenly Father's idea. Again, even though Jesus Christ effected the creation, atonement and resurrection, all these were Heavenly Father's ideas.


The Nature of God

The creation story in Genesis in the Bible tells us unmistakably that we are created in the image of God.  Because we are made in His image (see Moses 2:26; 6:9), we know that our bodies are like His body. His eternal spirit is housed in a tangible body of flesh and bones (see D&C 130:22). God’s body, however, is perfected and glorified, with a glory beyond all description.


D&C 130:22 The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.


God is perfect. He is a God of righteousness, with attributes such as love, mercy, charity, truth, power, faith, knowledge, and judgment. He has all power. He knows all things. He is full of goodness.  All good things come from God. Everything that He does is to help His children become like Him. He has said, “Behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).


I'm not sure why our doctrine of God working to have His children become more like Him is so controversial.  This has nothing to do with Oedipus-like complex and taking God's place.  This has nothing to do with too many chiefs and no Indians.  The scriptures describe God as a King of kings and a Lord of lords.  When you compliment a doctor, you say they are the doctor's doctor. In a similar way, the exaltation of God's children brings honor and glory to our Father.  Our Heavenly Father desires to be the Father over other exalted beings like Himself who continue to serve and reverence Him and not just a smack of jelly fish. 


Why is it important for us to understand the nature of God and How can we come to know God?   


Knowing God is so important that the Savior said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).


John 1:4-5 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.


the Wicked and natural man cannot comprehend and understand God.  Gods thoughts are not our thought and Gods ways are higher than our ways.  It can be hard to understand why God wants us to live a certain way free from addictive substances, or loyal and virtuous lives.  But the key to understanding God, to living a life after the manner of happiness leading to eternal life (or life as God lives) is to fill our live with the light of Christ and the light of the God's Holy Spirit.


How can we be filled with divine light? To be filled with light, The first and greatest commandment is “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart” (Matthew 22:37).  If we love God, we must love and serve Jesus Christ. Christ taught that if we love Him we will not only accept Him as our Savior but we will also keep His commandments. We love the Father and Son by feasting upon their words in the scriptures, by listening and harkening to their words we receive by modern prophets, by praying to Our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ, and then by loving and serving our fellow man. 


As we improve, progress, and purify our lives to live closer to how God desires that His children live, as we tirelessly feed His sheep, love our neighbor, and build His kingdom on the Earth, His divine light with grow within us and which will grow brighter and brighter until the perfect day.  And as His light grows within us, our understanding of God and truth will be magnified. 


Jesus Christ taught us in the Doctrine and Covenants through Joseph Smith:  


45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.