Thursday, March 27, 2014

Turning Point

I noticed something interesting (to me, at least) last night as I reviewed this blog. I noticed that I had posted a string of "religious", "spiritual" or "gospel-oriented" topics recently, whereas my focus before had been on politics, government, education and economics. Like a Jeremiah, I used to lament the downfall of this great nation and decried her list of social ills and indicators. But then I stopped and began focusing, rather, on Christ, His Church and kingdom, His doctrine, etc. 

What changed?

Well, I traced the "change" to May, 2013. That's when I started reading Denver Snuffer's blog. I happened to have a lot of "free time" on my hands back then, so I could "invest" in reading several thousand pages of his posts (from the very beginning) and his books. 

They changed my life.

About that same time I came to realize I had virtually no say or influence in government. (My "representatives" wouldn't even return my calls or emails!) And everything seemed upside down. (Good was evil, doing right was wrong, thrift and independence were punished, debt and death were celebrated and encouraged. It was insanity!) I came to see that supra-national influences -- powers and dominions of light and darkness -- pulled the strings that moved the course of nations. A great spiritual battle was underway and I had virtually no say or control over the course of it. 

I also realized that Jesus' work and kingdom operated independently of Roman rule. He didn't try to change the world by politics or government reforms. What "the world" did didn't matter to Him. He didn't concern Himself with the machinations of Caesars. "Sufficient was the day unto the evil thereof." Instead, He focused on doing His Father's will. I realized it was about as pointless for me to try to influence the course of nations as it was to stand in the surf and try to hold back the tide! Far more gifted men and women than I now stand at "podiums" with power to "preach" (via mass media outlets)...and they have utterly failed to turn the Gentiles from their course. So who am I to try with my puny voice and blog? No one cares what I have to say anyway.

So I gave up. And I began to turn my sights inward: to focus on the welfare of myself and my family. (I mean, if I'm not "saved", then what use can I be to anyone else? My obligation is to my family. Is my own house in order?)

I began reading Denver Snuffer's blog and his books, Passing the Heavenly Gift and The Second Comforter: Conversing with the Lord Through the Veil, simultaneously. The effect was remarkable. With PTHG, I began to recognize certain "objects" of my "worship" were, in fact, "golden calves" and "angels of light". I was compelled to disavow and dismiss them without further argument. With TSC, I was reminded of my former love. I remembered who Salvation is, that I had known Him, and I recognized that I had been turned away from Him for a very long time. I feared it was almost too late for me. For the first time in a very long time I seriously began to question my own spiritual state...and, surprisingly, viewed it as precarious! I saw that I had been on the "wrong" path -- "following a prophet" instead of following the Savior -- for almost 40 years! Like the people of King Benjamin, I was humbled to the dust by my knowledge that I had "missed the mark". Denver Snuffer made that woefully clear to me.

I began to repent. I began to cry unto the Lord (not just "say" my prayers) again. I began to ask "What would Jesus have me do today, right now, this instant?" and give greater importance to that than anything else. I stopped focusing on -- or caring about -- my "service" in the Church. (Oh, I still did it. It just stopped "meaning" anything to me.) So what if I were a "hundred percenter" in anything? My works meant nothing. I saw that now. Because of Snuffer's teachings, I read the Book of Mormon with new eyes. 

If Denver Snuffer "opened" my heart, mind and eyes, Daymon Smith -- with his A Cultural History of the Book of Mormon series -- positively blasted them open with knowledge of things as they actually are (and were). I now see how much of my faith has been built on sand, myth and misinformation! Rock Waterman's words have also been invaluable. (Scandalous! Irreverent at times! Surely wrong in some things. But, otherwise, Right On!) What would I have done without these preachers of righteousness?

All of them have turned me to my roots and have brought me closer to Christ.

Whereas, before I was in the habit of focusing on my "worthiness" (or lack thereof) -- at how "effectively" or "consistently" I "satisfied" a lists of "dos" and "don'ts" -- now I don't care about that at all!


"Checking off lists" is NOT what He requires of us! 

He asks us to LOVE Him! To LOVE Him with all our hearts! And to LOVE our neighbor as ourselves.


When we do that, the rest -- all of it -- takes care of itself. If we don't do that, none of the rest matters. None of it.

I will tell you a "secret". I saw the Lord in vision. He was sitting on a rock, telling a "joke". (Actually, it was one of His remarkable parables that teaches the gospel in a way that is funny, beautiful and heart-rending, all at once. He made little boys and girls laugh, aged hypocrites mad...and me cry. But that's beside the point.) Anyway, He was sitting on a rock and a little, dirty, diseased, wretched boy came up to Him on that rock and put his arms around His neck and kissed Him. I saw light come out of that Perfect Being's body and pierce that little boy with perfect love! I was consumed in that love! (Actualy, I'm crying right now, just thinking of it!)

That happened almost 35 years ago. And I remember it as perfectly today as when it happened.

I learned from that experience (even though I utterly failed to comprehend it at the time) that Jesus loves us now, the way we are, despite our filthiness, failings and flaws. He loves us completely, with an all-consuming love. 

We don't have to "do" anything to be loved by Jesus!

That's one of the great "stumbling blocks" imposed on us by our biblical "metatext" -- the idea that we have to "earn" His love. It "colors" how we treat others, demanding that they be "worthy" of our love first!

He already loves us!!! (Let that be His example to us!) If we love Him, it's only because He loved us first!!!

We "show" our love by keeping His commandments. We show our love. (The "love" must already exist.) If what we do isn't motivated by love (charity) for Him or for our fellow man, then the value of what we do is lostAll is for naught. We have our reward (whatever it is).

All those home teaching visits, temple trips, scripture studies, family prayers -- everything -- will have been a useless exercise...if we don't love.

Now I see why we must cry unto Him that we may be filled with this love! (Moroni 7:48.) With it, we become free. We become no longer bound by the law, but we naturally fulfill it! It becomes "written in our hearts". (Hebrews 8:10-12.) Without it, we are bound under the curse of the law -- and spend our time laboring under the yoke of quotas, striving for "worthiness" and doing "good works" (which do not invoke or involve the power of godliness).

"Meeting" Denver Snuffer was a palpable "turning point" in my life. I am no longer a "correlated Mormon". In fact, I don't consider myself a "Mormon" at all! I still go to the LDS Church, attend the temple, do my home teaching, etc. But so what? There are no "Mormons" in the Book of Mormon, for good reason! 

I am becoming (again) a disciple of Christ.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Connecting with heaven

The father could not go himself, and would not send his son, his only son begotten of her with whom he had obtained the promises.

Others he had sent away, bearing gifts. But this son, his beloved son, would remain with him alway and be his heir. For father and mother had entered into a new and everlasting covenant by which the Powers of Heaven had granted them the promise of eternal lives and endless priesthood through this son, who, like them, had proven worthy and faithful in all things, having laid everything, even himself, on an altar of obedience and sacrifice, chastity and consecration.

For this "chosen one", no heathen bride would do! Only she who was virtuous and lovely, who had proven herself likewise unselfish, serviceable, fit and faithful, whose beauty was evident within and without.

To find her, the father sent his servant to the father's own country, to his own house and among his own kindred, authorizing the servant to contract on his master's behalf. The servant, not knowing all things, prayerfully contrived a "test" by which the chosen would be identified. It would be a self-selecting process. Anyone could claim the "prize" -- to marry the groom and receive all that his father hath -- but who would do it?

The servant arrived incognito, near the end of the day, without announcing his true identity or declaring whence he came. He spied a beautiful young woman, obediently going about her business, and waited until she was nearly on her way. Perhaps she was the one.

He had in his possession tokens of his master's authority and generosity. He could have converted them for money for himself, or flashed them to the young girl to entice her with his wealth and power. But he held them sacred and would not reveal or relinquish them until her "worthiness" had been established.

To "qualify" her, he required of her a "sacrifice". A small thing really: he asked her for a drink of water. She complied. Lowering her heavy vessel from her shoulder and pouring water into her own clean, cupped hand, she gave him drink. Having thus received, he waited to observe if she would offer yet another, even greater sacrifice, of her own accord, and go as it were with him the second mile, hastening to do so freely, joyfully, unselfishly. Would she attend to this stranger's evident needs? Did she have charity?

She did! And as she labored diligently, by her "fruits" she was made known.

The stranger started from disguise. The tokens in his hands, she knew, were of great value. He gave them to her and asked her whence she came. The name she gave was of his master's own house! (Her father's name, "Bethuel", means "man of God", "virgin of God" or "house of God".) The servant praised God! Then she welcomed him, this stranger, to her own home, consecrating what they had to provide, in both food and shelter, for him and all his company. They gave meat and drink and even washed feet! There would be no poor, no hungry, nor unclean among them.

Being led to her house and shown such hospitality, the servant revealed his true identity. He was a true messenger, sent from the presence of his master. He offered them tokens of his envoy. He declared his purpose straight away: to confer his master's blessing -- and deliver a dowery! -- for his son's soon-to-be bride. He invited the damsel to accompany him. Her family bid her to tarry, not knowing what she should do, but she, being true and faithful, believed the servant's report and followed him to be wed to the son of the father, someone she had never before heard or seen.

Escorting her on the long journey to his master's house, the servant identified the son to her as he approached -- now calling him master! The servant thus introduced her to the son. She hid her face from him with a veil as he took her to himself and embraced her and loved her. She thus received all that his father had.

Genesis 24 tells a familiar story of Abraham's faithful servant successfully retrieving a virtuous wife for 40-year-old Isaac. But it is an allegory few will understand.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

I know THIS church is true

There are only two churches: those who repent and come unto Christ and those who don't.

I've poured out my heart to Father in gratitude for this post, which summarizes almost perfectly (though not completely) my own thoughts and feelings about the modern LDS Church. This story is my story!

It is not a story for the faint of heart! For the historically illiterate or the "born-and-bred" in the faith who cherish all things LDS -- its heritage, traditions, teachings and culture -- more than anything else (including their love of truth, as it is), venturing down this road will seem either senseless or an undeserved "attack" on "Mormonism". 

It is neither.

I am grateful to God, who, in His mercy, has poured out his Holy Spirit upon many in recent days, to help us discern truth from error. Ministers of righteousness have helped conceptualize the heretofore inconceivable. So thoroughly indoctrinated was I (by my "faithfulness" in the Church) that I was unable to verbalize (or even identify) the source of my growing angst and "cognitive dissonance". The more I learned and experienced in the LDS Church, the less satisfied I became! My Church "activity" actually got in the way of my former love: seeking, serving and worshiping Jesus Christ!

For example, I had actually been persuaded by LDS teachings, culture and tradition to disbelieve the notion (which I dearly held long before I was baptized in the LDS Church) that I needed to come unto Christ in the flesh in this life! I was "taught", rather, by LDS "authorities", that "temple worthiness" and receiving "sacred ordinances" delivered by "authorized agents" are all that is needed to ensure salvation in the world beyond. They were "ends" in themselves! No one actually needs to experience The Second Comforter in this life before entering the next, I was told! Receipt of the Holy Ghost is all that is required! Any blessed physical reunion with Deity can -- and probably should -- wait until after this life, when we're all gathered "Home" to Him!

That's what we're taught in the Church nowadays, anyways.

Meanwhile, we're "encouraged" (required?) by Church "headquarters" to "follow the prophet" -- as if the latter were, in any way, shape or form, an adequate substitute or "stand in" for the Former.

What a load of crap!

It's fascinating to behold the Spirit at work. Before I read the post linked above, I wrote my own impressions here and here. As you can see, my "testimony" hasn't been affected by this new-found knowledge (except it has strengthened, deepened and grown). The Book of Mormon is true! I have been baptized of fire and of the Holy Ghost. Consequently, I know God lives. I cannot be moved regarding that knowledge of Him. Even as Jacob knew when confronting Sherem, I know for myself, independent of any other human witness.

And I know the Church has changed. It is no longer the Church I joined...for precisely the reasons described above. I can say with emphatic assurance (and overflowing gratitude) that had I not been ministered to personally by Jesus Christ, I would have left this Church long ago! Knowing Him -- and tasting of His all-consuming love! -- has kept me grounded in (a somewhat tenuous) fellowship with the "saints" (who, by and large, know Him not), for better and for worse.

I have covenanted with God to lay down everything I am and have to sustain and defend the kingdom of God. "Everything" includes my Church membership. Neither Peter nor Paul considered it "loss" to follow Christ, even if they were excommunicated. They counted it for joy. I don't want to be cast out of the Church. I love the Church! I cherish my temple recommend. I revere and appreciate many people and attributes associated with our LDS faith.

But I love the Savior more. 

And I know the Church is bound to fail. (Why? You'll have to read the link!)

I share this knowledge with you with the hope that, someday, it will trouble you -- and wake you up! -- and give you hope! -- and lead you unto prayer and repentance and exercising greater faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

It did for me.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Economy of Heaven

In A Cultural History of the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2, page 72, Daymon Smith writes:
It would seem that the Book of Mormon does not prophesy great things for its Gentile readers to whom it would come. The book does not solve our problems. Why does it come to us, if not, say, as a reward for our virtues? Here we can turn to the first author, Nephi, and his vision of the future (relative to 600 BCE). His vision guide explains the Gentiles have scattered and smitten the remnant, “after the Gentiles do stumble exceedingly” because their bibles have perverted the ways of the Lord, hardened their hearts and blinded their minds.
This led me to consider the Lord's economy: how He forgives the debt (however massive!) of him who has not wherewith to pay (think of the parable of the 10,000 talents or the prodigal son); He heals the ungrateful (think of the 10 lepers who were cleansed); He causes the sun to shine and the rain to fall upon the wicked and the righteous; He pours out His blessings and His service unselfishly, without regard for remuneration!

How great is the generosity and mercy of our God! And how great are our Gentile “stumbling blocks”, preventing us from knowing or receiving Him.

One of our great “stumbling blocks” is our belief in – and adherence to – a “capitalistic” economy. We “earn” what we have. We “buy” and “sell”. We give in exchange, in return for “value”. We make a “deal”. We keep records and maintain accounts. We measure who is “in the black” and who is “in the red”. We proclaim our “worthiness” in biannual temple “recommend” interviews and assert that we have paid a “full” tithe. We strive to “pay the price” and “fulfill our callings”.

Meanwhile, our Lord gives freely to him who merely asks of Him and does not ask again for that which has been borrowed. He gives away freely. To him who would take His coat, He gives His cloak also.

Rather than “keep tabs”, our Lord lives a Zion economy, insuring that there are no poor among those who have fellowship with Him. What is His is theirs, including ALL that His Father has. All He asks, in return, is nothing really: all our heart, might, mind and strength, all our wealth, time, talents and means. All our sins, failings, weaknesses and short-comings. He wants all of it, broken, incomplete and eternally useless as it may be. And He promises to make weak things, sinful things, broken things, even ugly things become strong and clean and whole and beautiful again unto them – and only them – who will have Him to be their God and who love Him above all else.

Rather than offer salvation “for sale” – to him who is willing to pay tithing or do “good works” enough to “justify” the “expense” – He urges all to come unto Him to receive "wine and milk without moneyand honey “without price”.

Because of our great stumbling block, we do not understand this Great God of ours. We do not understand His ways, His judgments, or His tender mercies. We regard ourselves as deficient, unworthy, unloveable and thus unloved by Him. We struggle to “clean ourselves up” and to “pay our own way”. Like little children, we sometimes try to hide our messes, or fix what we have broken, not realizing that, by trying to do so, we only make things worse.

We cannot clean ourselves up. We cannot fix what we have broken. It isn't possible. The debt cannot be repaid. What's broken cannot be fixed. Except by a god.

We must realize that we can never repay. We must realize that we are ever in His debt! Only He could pay that price. (And He has!) Only He could claim that power to ransom us from death and deliver us from sin. (And He has claimed it!) Only He has the power to save us – our meager, futile, foolish efforts notwithstanding.

After all we can do, we can do nothing. The chasm is us. The wall us. The mountian us. We cannot go there. We cannot get there. We cannot stay there...except by Him. We have no power to redeem ourselves. In us is no life but what we have and receive through Him. He is the Vine; we are but branches. Detached from Him, we shrivel and die. We are nothing.

Does the grape do anything to receive nourishment from the vine? Nothing more than stay attached! So the Lord calls on all of us to call upon Him in mighty prayer; to continue to receive His holy Spirit; to continue to receive the light and living waters He freely provides; to grow, and sweeten and fatten to a fulness so that, when the end is come, when we are all called upon to do so, we, like Him, may die – and be gathered home, fulfilling the measure of His creation.

Every good gift comes from Him, even grace and mercy and forgiveness of sin. From Him we receive the Holy Spirit, by which we are justified (made “straight”, caused to walk in the “right way”). Through His blood we are sanctified (made “holy”, deemed “clean”, “perfect” and “without spot”). By exercising perfect faith in Him, by calling upon Him in mighty prayer and offering a whole sacrifice of everything we have, “giving away”, as it were, all our sins to know Him, He pours out His Holy Spirit upon us and makes us His. We become like Him.

Thus all who will come may become begotten sons and daughters unto God.

Beholding the blind leading the blind into the pit...

Once again, Steve Bloor has refused to publish my comments on his blog, a blog devoted to leading people away from Christ and His Church.
It pains me to see the deceived being deceived by the deceived. (Steve was once an LDS bishop! Now he doesn't even believe in Christ.) LDS leadership's resolve to preach a gospel stocked with truth, but knowingly tainted with lies, predictably now persuades some to abandon their faith when the truth is made known. Sadly, many are now leaving the table just as the "puzzle pieces" are finally fitting together!
Proverbs 26:27
27 Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him. 
Proverbs 28:10
10 Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.
Here is my comment:
I empathize with everyone here who has left comments and/or who has experienced the type of "cognitive dissonance" and loss of faith described by Steve Bloor. What he describes is real and true -- even if he does move quite a ways off base by imagining that ALL THINGS can be "explained away" by self-hypnosis, self-delusion, neuropsychology, etc. (The list of reasons for disbelieving is potentially endless.) 

I invite everyone here to look to the work Denver Snuffer is producing at his blog. The error, you will find, is not that the Book of Mormon isn't true -- it is! (Yes, I know there are arguments against it, but those arguments have, and will, continue to fall by the wayside.) The error isn't that Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet -- he was! (And, I believe, still is, despite whatever flaws, faults and failings we ascribe -- rightly or wrongly -- to him.) The error isn't that God doesn't exist -- He does!

The error is that those who first embraced the Book of Mormon didn't read it, misunderstood it and, for the most part, rejected it (if not ignored it completely) and "re-interpreted" it into something it wasn't and isn't. It is virtually impossible for modern Mormons to read the Book of Mormon as it was intended, so great is the "metatext" that has been imposed upon it by the modern Church. (Thanks to Daymon Smith and his blog for revealing this truth.) Consequently, the LDS faith and the Church produced by it -- a truly "Gentile" Church, through and through -- went astray...and has been moving farther astray with every passing year. 

The "solution" is not to throw out one's faith, but to dive deeper into it. I know by personal experience that the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by the Book of Mormon is true. That doctrine is this: Cry unto God with all the energy of your soul to be forgiven of your sins, having perfect faith in Jesus Christ, and He will receive you -- with the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, which spiritual element will purge you of ALL desire to sin, as if by fire, and fill your soul with unspeakable joy. You will commune with God, hear His voice, see His face, and know Him. Then, as a public witness to God and man that you have been converted and have repented of all your sins, you may enter the waters of baptism and receive the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is the promise that the Comforter will be in and abide with you forever, if you persist in prayer and calling upon His holy name. 

Those who have this witness do not care about the "side show" evident elsewhere. These are distractions. They tear away at faith, like acid, for those who have not been initiated in the heavenly gift. I'm not talking about your "testimony" here. (Even the devils have "testimonies". Testimonies can be shaken.) I'm talking about "conversion" -- being wrought upon by the Spirit of God and made privy, by revelation, to God, by which you know Him, have seen His face, heard His words, watched Him, His mannerisms, etc. Having done this, how can you then say "I do not know Him"? 
Better it would be for that person to have never been born than to deny the revelation of the Holy Ghost by which God is revealed...for what more can be done to "convert" one than to reveal GOD to him? If one rejects that, THERE IS NO GREATER WITNESS!

The problem, my friends, isn't that the doctrine of Jesus Christ isn't true. It is. It's that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has mangled that doctrine through disbelief, misapplied it, forgotten it, and perverted it beyond recognition. One may attend the Church his whole life and NEVER hear a single sermon about the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost -- so essential to salvation! -- for virtually NO ONE who now leads the Church has ever experienced it! They have not been "born again"! In fact, those who now claim to have experienced this supernal gift are routinely denigrated, dismissed, and mocked (from that "great and spacious building", which the Church has become) by those who have not tasted the fruit or who have spurned it, in shame, disbelieving, being overcome by sins. 

I implore you not to reject the truth -- not to "throw out the baby with the bathwater", as it were -- just because this great error, this great stumbling block, has been exposed. 

I know Jesus Christ is real, that He ministers today. Those who have been the recipient of His witness are not shaken. Those who haven't – who have merely "testimonies" of this man or of that book, without the oil of "conversion" in their lamps – will simply be left in the dark and, ultimately, shut out of His presence. 

I urge you to cry unto Him with all the energy of your soul and He will hear you and answer you. 

Then, together, we'll find out from Him what to do about this mess the Church has gotten itself into.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

There goes the neighborhood!

Sodom was, no doubt, a "bad" place.

But what were the alternatives? Are Christians living in Washington D.C., San Francisco, Detroit or Chicago -- wretched dens of iniquity all -- any less "righteous" for doing so? How about Beijing? Dubai? or Bangkok?

The Lord said the slain of Sodom would be better off in the day of judgment than many of those who dwelt in Capernaum during His mortal ministry (Matthew 11:23-24). Were Peter and his mother "unrighteous" for making their home in Capernaum? (Matthew 8:14-15.)

Sodom and Gomorrah occupied land promised to Abraham and his kin by God Himself. Was Lot "unrighteous" for living in the land God gave his uncle?

Marauders plagued the country side. Lot and his family were "foreigners", a smallish band of immigrants, mostly women, refugees from a region-wide famine that killed, among others, Lot's father. Living alone apparently presented a greater danger than living in company with others, even "sinners". 

Alien minorities, be definition, being fewer in number, have limited power to change established laws and culture. Lot's fate was bleak outside the protection of a "community" -- any community -- that would accept him and his kin. Perhaps the immorality of Sodom became apparent only after Lot relocated there. (I don't recall this valley being a haven for homosexuals when my grandfather moved here. Now it is. Should we leave?)

The New Testament clearly establishes Lot's bona fides:

2 Peter 2:6-8:
 6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensemble unto those that after should live ungodly;
 7 And delivered just Lotvexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;

These verses do not describe a man who did "embrace Sodom"! Rather Lot was "vexed" by their "unlawful deeds"! Do we dare find fault with him whom the Lord Himself -- and Peter -- honored for his righteousness, calling him a "just" man, a "righteous soul"? 

Whatever the reason Lot's wife turned back -- to save her other children? to gather forgotten things? because she doubted the angels' warning? because she trusted in God's continuing mercy? -- we don't know. And we mustn't judge. Her life and death remind and warn us to obey and be faithful.

But righteous Lot? We would all do well to emulate -- and not besmirch -- his heaven-approved example.

A Lot to talk about!

Sometimes Lot is characterized as one who somehow escaped Sodom by the skin of his teeth, while his family (except for two "wicked" daughters) perished. The proof text used is Genesis 13:12: "Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom". Ignoring the fact that Abraham proposed this very division (and would have been happy to go either way), some have deduced that Lot "placed the door of his tent so that it looked toward wicked Sodom...because that's where his heart was". Not content to heap contumely upon Lot alone, they deride his wife, as well. "And his wife died because she was disobedient. Her heart was with the wickedness of Sodom". Even Lot's rescued daughters are almost universally deemed to be incestuous whores.

May I propose an alternate "interpretation"?

Righteous Lot showed mercy, compassion and good judgment toward others, including strangers, by which his "righteousness" was proven to the satisfaction of Heaven. His (other) daughters married men of Sodom (whom else could they marry?) and perhaps bore him grandchildren. Their husbands were not persuaded by Lot's "testimony" delivered late in the evening, however: that two strangers told him God would rain down fire from heaven and destroy entire cities by sunrise. (When had that ever happened?!)

Would you pack up the car and leave if your father-in-law told you two vagabonds told him that an unheard-of catastrophe was about to befall the city? Perhaps they wandered outside, looked up at the stars and said, "Let's talk about this in the morning. Are you sure you haven't had too much wine to drink tonight?"

When Lot left town, he left behind many relatives. No doubt his wife's heart ached for her "babies". When she saw that the city had NOT been destroyed, as promised, by sunrise, thinking, perhaps, that God had been once again merciful, she hurried back -- perhaps to persuade a few to join them in the wilderness. But she was caught in the holocaust, vaporized by the blast that left only her salt on a pillar as a testimony of the inferno that descended from On High.

Righteous Lot was left desolate, with only two daughters (of marriageable age) but no "righteous" men among the land's inhabitants to marry. The young women choose their own father to sire their offspring. (No doubt not naive about how such things worked, they growing up in Sodom, after all!) What better man could they have chosen? Angels from heaven had delivered him from death! A righteous man! The scriptures, remarkably, don't even condemn them for their incestuous selection.

We should have compassion for Lot and his kin. Lot's "sin" was living in "Las Vegas", as it were. Ironically, some find him wanting, while Heaven deemed him "worthy" to be saved.