Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What Interpreter probably won't publish

Log recently posted a comment at Interpreter - A Journal of Mormon Scripture that probably won't see the light of day because, as he explains it, "they won't countenance calling Woodruff a liar in public." 

As Sir Walter Scott quipped: "Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!"

Here is (a touched-up version of) what Log wrote:

The problem with relying on the honesty and integrity of well-connected individuals in the mid-to-late 1800s in the absence of actual documentary evidence for our claims to be able to seal in heaven that done on earth is that the Church in this time period was populated by liars and led by men the Church now unequivocally condemns. Indeed, we have very good evidence that a known liar led the Church in her most momentous decision, contrary to the word of the Lord received less than a year beforehand. I personally find Woodruff’s 1889 revelation credible because despite its source, like D&C 136, it is a statement against interest, as the lawyers say.
Moreover, it is interesting someone brought up Nibley. In Mormonism and Early Christianity, as well as The World and the Prophets, Nibley gives us the historical patterns of behavior of a Church in which prophecy and other gifts of the Spirit had gradually ceased, where priesthood became power and authority over men, and where keys were taken as licenses to exercise said authority. She counterfeited and doctored her history to support her claims to power and authority, not scrupling to efface the scriptures to resolve internal doctrinal conflicts and power struggles. She coupled claims to be able to bind in heaven that done on earth with the claim that her leadership was infallible. This Church extensively altered and denatured her doctrines and rites to adapt to the prevailing legal, social, and philosophical views of the surrounding culture, while ruthlessly pursuing internal orthodoxy. She preserved her temporal existence at the cost of her eternal soul. She became a hierarchy of fear and compulsion. 
The historical parallel between Catholicism and the development and behavior of modern Mormonism seems perfectly obvious from Nibley’s works. Just to mention two recent and alarming signs, we have heard Vox Apostoli, Vox Dei taught as recently as the October 2014 Conference, and the temple recommend interview has become a creed to which one must assent or be asked out of the Church – trammeled, indeed. Ask Rock Waterman. 
I have felt often that Nibley was the most subversive writer the LDS faith ever produced. His works will undoubtedly continue to be published, since he made the necessary pro forma declarations of faith in the leadership throughout, while those with their eyes open to the principles which govern behavior and relationships and power will continue to see the patterns of the ancients he described in clinical detail being played out before their own eyes in their own Church. 
Times change. What was true yesterday may no longer be true today. We can see this even in the scriptures. A Church that was true and living, with which the Lord was well-pleased, as of 1 November 1831 (D&C 1), could be, as of September 1832, condemned by God (D&C 84), which condemnation continued, said President Benson
And things might be changing again, today. What comes after condemnation?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Spirit of prophecy

The kingdom of God on earth is an organizational "pancake". Throughout the ages, prophets have testified simultaneously, providing multiple "witnesses" of God's will and words. Lehi, you may recall, shared his visions of God with those in Jerusalem even as Jeremiah languished in the pit. Those who have been called of God have not always come from the same clan or kin or organization. Quite often, the opposite has been true. The prophet Samuel, a Lamanite, came as one unknown and unexpected among the Nephites. Nephi (son of Helaman) himself was hardly recognized for whom he was. Among the wicked he was called the "pretended prophet". 

It is the Holy Ghost, not the words or will of men, which gives utterance

Yes, Denver Snuffer is inspired of God. Greatly so. It is the Holy Ghost which inspires and enlightens him, making his words worth heeding, nothing else. It is not because he is a "prophet", a "servant", etc., that we should give heed to him. His position or standing before God is irrelevant. He could lose that position or authority in a heartbeat. (He yet possesses agency, does he not?) If we exalt him as someone to be "followed" and obeyed, we supplant one "idol" for another in place of God. (We've danced to that tune of "follow the prophet" long enough, haven't we?)

It is time we serve the Lord. 

Yes, I love to read and heed Denver's words. I'm grateful for his talents exercised on our behalf. But the oil must be found in our lamps! We cannot hope to walk by Denver's light if we wish to meet the Bridegroom at His coming. Following Denver will leave us short of that goal.

The scriptures speak of "prophets". The prophets testify of Christ. I, too, have suspected that Denver has secured some kind of binding association with the Heavens, with the exalted Fathers, that (I would hope) we can replicate for ourselves. Perhaps he can extend to us those same "ties that bind", as Joseph proposed, as Abraham seemingly could. 

I would rather, however, if possible, secure an association with Heaven myself. (The LDS Church has its own form of "sealing" among men that supposedly binds on earth and in heaven. I do not trust the arm of flesh, however, to "stand in" for the real deal, with angels attending, etc.) When that event happens, I may not know whether I be in the flesh or not, but I will know that the power of God is upon me.

We are being tested here and now to see if we can hear and heed the Holy Ghost, which ministers to the telestial world, that we might become "prophets" ourselves, bearing witness of the Son (terrestrial) and ultimately come unto the Father (celestial).

Saturday, June 27, 2015

My thoughts on gay marriage

I have written on this subject before. In fact, it was my very first post on this blog.

Regulating marriage is nowhere listed among the enumerated powers granted to the federal government by the states or the people under the U.S. Constitution. Thus in the matter of "gay marriage" the Supreme Court acted lawlessly. By unilaterally decreeing it is now "unconstitutional" to deny marriage to same-sex couples, the Supreme Court "imposed" upon this citizenry a morality and practice that few Americans were willing to embrace or accept just a few years ago. This result was not achieved democratically, but by judicial fiat and, at its inception, was imposed against the will of a majority of the people by a few judges. (Notably, one homosexual judge threw out the election results banning gay marriage in California because, quite simply, he didn't like the outcome.)

We don't have a representative republic in America anymore, unless you conclude that the republic represents what our "leaders" want it to be for themselves. "The people" have little or no say anymore about anything of substance or import. Someone quipped: "If elections mattered, they would have outlawed them." Is that far from the truth?

I don't know if "gay marriage" is "right" or "wrong". I have struggled enough with sins, proclivities, inclinations and temptations in my own life to conclude that I would have found it IMPOSSIBLE to remain perfectly celibate and absolutely chaste throughout an entire life without marriage. To tell someone (who is as powerfully attracted to the same sex as I am to the opposite sex) "Don't touch. Don't tell." is to condemn them to a psychological and physical horror I would not wish to impose upon anyone.

I am convinced that sexual orientation has biological, environmental, and spiritual components and underpinnings -- just as do most (if not all) facets of human nature. God can and does work miracles, but sometimes the thorn in our flesh is not removed until it has finished its perfect work in us.

Which is the greater sin? To engage in sexual relations outside of marriage (or in "marriage") with someone of the same sex?

Or to not love your neighbor as yourself?

I believe that homosexuality is a psychosexual disorder that affects 1-2% of the human population. (How could it be otherwise? Homosexuality is biologically counter productive.) If a man, looking upon a woman to lust after her, commits adultery in his heart -- and adultery is sin, forbidden by God -- then surely a man who looks upon another man, lusting, likewise, commits sin. We must all learn to control and dominate our sexual urges, homosexual and otherwise.

But what outlet is afforded the homosexual in this life? What promise or hope of connubial bliss may he or she righteously entertain? Pray for a change of mind and heart and sexual orientation? (I certainly wouldn't discourage that.)

Meanwhile, Jesus spoke the truth when He said: "But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee." (Matt. 11:24.) If we "cast out" our gay friends from among us -- and judge them -- for wanting nothing more or less than what we would have (or give and do) ourselves, we are hypocrites, guilty of greater sin.

It was a mind-shattering concept for many whites to accept that blacks are "equal" and ought not to be discriminated against. The LGBT lobby equates its activity with the modern Civil Rights movement. However, sexual proclivity and behavior are not to be equated with skin color. We can control our actions; we cannot change the color of our skin. Likewise, same-sex marriage cannot be equated with heterosexual union because it is intrinsically different. A car painted a different color is still a car, but a cat, even if called a "dog", can never be a dog.

While there are heterosexual relationships that, in many respects, are not as "good" as the best of homosexual unions, no homosexual union can "equate" in form or function with "normal" heterosexual congress. They are fundamentally different. And always will be.

That said, we recognize that "weirdness" exists in nature and humanity. Some people are hermaphroditic. Their gender is questionable. I know of a man (whose DNA is biologically male) who was born with "female" genitalia and raised as such throughout "her" life ... until she married another man -- and discovered (when they couldn't conceive) that she is, in fact, male!

Is "she" sinful? Wrong?

If biology plays "tricks" on us physically, why not psychologically, sexually, or emotionally?

We all have crosses to bear. Just as it shatters the minds (and religions!) of many to embrace blacks as "equals" (and maybe even "superiors"!), it must shatter the minds and hearts of some today to "accept" that homosexuals -- for now -- may find themselves preternaturally inured to the same sex. I imagine most homosexuals, like most of us, want nothing more than to have a lasting, loving, intimate relationship with another, even sexual companionship and fulfillment. I have nothing but sympathy for them. I want them to be happy.

There are lessons to be learned by living in this world -- lessons "taught" to us by our circumstances and conditions: race, sex, opportunities, handicaps. (I have known people who have struggled with poverty and riches. To each his own lessons!) We must not condemn others (even as we acknowledge their conditions and circumstances) because we might not do as well as they have done were we to be placed in their shoes.

God is love. Let us give to others as we would give to ourselves. It is all we can do.

And all that is expected of us.


That being said, I do not "condone" homosexual conduct or behavior (or heterosexual behavior outside of marriage) any more than I "condone" (or "condemn") epilepsy. I merely "accept" and "tolerate" it. It is what it is. We must all demonstrate tolerance, patience and love as we strive for perfection in all things and seek to pattern our lives after the manner of our Eternal Progenitors.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Turning tide

I have often wondered how the Nephites vacillated from righteousness to wickedness in a matter of a few years.

I wonder no longer.

Take a look at this graphic from the New York Times. As late as 1992, so-called "gay marriage" was not legally recognized in any of the 50 states. Overwhelming public disapproval -- evidenced by 84% of states banning the practice as late as 2008 -- was utterly negated by a tiny oligarchy of unelected federal judges and compliant government officials who imposed same-sex marriage anyway upon a largely unwilling populace until five lawyers, unilaterally "legislating" from the bench, decreed today by judicial fiat that "marriage" must not be denied to same-sex couples from sea to shining sea.

Making something "legal" certainly makes it more "acceptable" and eminently more "doable".

The expressed opinions of the four justices who dissented from today's decision highlight the vacuity and lawlessness of the majority. But so what? A society unhitched from its mores, descending into wickedness, does what it wants, the law be damned.

To preserve free agency and accountability, people must be allowed to choose for themselves.

Helaman 4 chronicles the tragic loss of Nephite life, territory and government experienced by those who chose evil over good.  Upon realizing they faced imminent destruction...
21 ...they began to remember the prophecies ... and they saw that they had been a stiffnecked people, and that they had set at naught the commandments of God;
22 And that they had altered and trampled under their feet the laws of Mosiah, or that which the Lord commanded him to give unto the people; and they saw that their laws had become corrupted, and that they had become a wicked people...
23 And because of their iniquity the church had begun to dwindle; and they began to disbelieve in the spirit of prophecy and in the spirit of revelation; and the judgments of God did stare them in the face.
24 And they saw that they had become weak ... and that the Spirit of the Lord did no more preserve them; yea, it had withdrawn from them because the Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples
25 Therefore the Lord did cease to preserve them by his miraculous and matchless power, for they had fallen into a state of unbelief and awful wickedness; and they saw that ... except they should cleave unto the Lord their God they must unavoidably perish.
26 For behold, they saw that ... thus had they fallen into this great transgression; yea, thus had they become weak, because of their transgression, in the space of not many years.
It is said that history does not repeat itself, but rhymes. Like the Nephites, Americans are now in the process of forfeiting their Christian heritage and the divine protections that have kept and preserved them a nation -- for the very reasons given above. Globalist "Gadianton robbers" and multi-national "secret combinations" have taken control of the reigns of government power and corporate enterprise. Self-serving elitists and morally impoverished hypocrites have pilfered our nation's coffers, murdered our nation's warrior patriots, and impoverished our citizenry, selling us into perpetual tax slavery and indentured servitude in order to facilitate their own political aggrandizement and financial enrichment.

This system cannot endure. Slaves will inevitably rise up against their masters. Unfortunately, if the lessons of the Book of Mormon and the prophesies of the Doctrine and Covenants are any indication, we have many generations of suffering and calamity yet to endure.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Follow the prophets

Four years ago LDS mother Jennifer Willis wrote to LDS apostle Dallin H. Oaks, asking him what is required to come into the presence of our Savior, to make one's calling and election sure, to become a personal witness for Christ, to become a member of the Church of the Firstborn, and to be sanctified by the Spirit, as did the prophets of old. It was Sister Willis' understanding that LDS apostles and prophets experience these things. She wanted to know what she needed to do to replicate their experience.

In her letter, however, she expressed some confusion. She quoted several modern LDS apostles whose testimonies seemed to be somewhat less than one would expect of someone having had those prophetic experiences listed above. Why the incongruence, she wondered.

What Sister Willis got in response ought to concern every sincere seeker of truth in the LDS church. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

When moved upon by the Holy Ghost

Last month I gathered with a smattering of wannabe saints in the mountains of Colorado to pray, praise and worship. Many fine talks were given. I was originally asked to speak, but declined, having nothing to say. When I prayed to God during the weeks and months leading up to that event, no ideas, words, or topics came to my mind and heart. Consequently, I went to this "meeting" only to be edified by others, to rejoice in their company and enjoy their fellowship.

It had been a long time since I had borne my testimony (other than to my family) in any religious forum or setting. The leaders of my (former) LDS ward had forbidden me from speaking. I was never once assigned to speak in sacrament meeting under their administration (over three years). When I extemporaneously bore my testimony in class or during testimony meeting, they afterward remonstrated me severely.

My testimony was not the message they wanted you to hear.

When I got to Colorado, I listened to the many talks given. I worshipped with my new friends and "family". And when the opportunity arose to bear my testimony, I felt the Holy Ghost at last fall upon me. It was given to me in the very moment what I should say.

These were my words.

If you are about to "defriend" me and never again listen to anything I say, I urge you to hear my testimony before you go.

I bear witness it is true.

Boise Rescue

LDS apostle Dallin H. Oaks and assistant church historian Richard E. Turley are making the rounds (this time, in Boise, Idaho) trying to put out the fires of "apostasy" now fanned by the likes of Denver Snuffer, Rock Waterman and (to a very minor extent) yours truly.

This "talk" was a very carefully crafted, managed and practiced dialogue between the two of them as they asked and answered (or didn't answer) questions they posed. The funniest (and perhaps most accurate) summation of the event was given by David MacFarlane, as the first "commenter", at the Mormon Stories Podcast website:

David Macfarlane
June 14, 2015 at 1:36 pm
A synopsis: Appeal to authority, fear-mongering mention of Satan, appeal to authority, circular reasoning, historically questionable statement, appeal to authority, divisive semantic trick redefining the words “question” and “apostasy” in church terms, general slander of those with questions as false prophets, fear mongering again, non sequitur, appeal to authority, fear mongering, appeal to authority, amen.

I, for one, enjoyed Richard Turley's contribution regarding Joseph Smith's involvement in the restoration. That was inspiring! But Dallin H. Oaks' commentary, not so much. To answer a question about the legitimacy of priesthood succession by asking another question (I'm paraphrasing here): "Well, if we don't have the priesthood, who does?" and to follow that up with a fear-inducing non sequitur: "If we don't have it, then that means there's no priesthood authority on the earth!" is just plain lame. ("Obviously that can't be true," every believing Latter-day Saint will be induced to conclude "or everything I believe in is a lie! The Church must have priesthood authority! My need for consistency and legitimacy demands it! What a fool I'd be if the Church didn't!")

Unless, of course, John the Beloved actually is on the earth today (as our scriptures tell us); then the LDS Church could literally go to hell in a handbasket and there would still be priesthood authority on the earth. (And maybe, just maybe, he -- or one of the Three Nephites -- could pass it on to someone else here and now, you think? BTW, wasn't John one of the originals who ordained Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the first place? So how could proper priesthood authority NOT be on the earth -- even if the LDS Church is false? DHO doesn't answer that question. Because his "answer" wasn't an answer at all. It was a diversion.

The whole "we're witnesses of the NAME of Christ" thing, I'll give him a pass on. (It also happens to be scripture.) When the Lord inspired and authorized the organization of the modern church at Joseph and Sidney's request, there weren't twelve men on earth, I imagine, who could fill a quorum of real apostles to actually testify of Jesus' physical resurrection from first-hand experience. What we have today, therefore, are "administrative" apostles, sent to bear witness of His name. Hell! Almost any man in the Church could do that! But these guys are "special". (What makes them "special" is that they're called to be traveling witnesses of Christ. All of us are under the same obligation to seek after, come to know and testify of Christ personally.) I, for one, personally believe the Brethren have real testimonies of Christ. They know He lives, just as I do, "by the power of the Holy Ghost".

But here's the lame thing: DHO says, in case one of them actually had met the Savior in the flesh, the Brethren wouldn't want that testimony recorded and then played back to the world (of unbelievers). Because, he says, they're "swine". 


I bet Paul would have given his left testimony to have his witness of meeting Christ broadcast to the entire world! Yet these men "won't go on record"?? I've actually heard someone -- I won't say who, because I feel so bad about constantly bringing up his name on this blog...let's just call him "someone in my (former) ward whose dad happens to be a GA" -- say those very words, over and over again! (Slew of censored words deleted here!) These clowns -- stick with me, I'll explain why I call them "clowns" soon -- have the gall to excommunicate men like Rock Waterman, Adrian Larsen, me and others for going on the record, and they'll use our own (highly edited) words against us in unethical and dishonest ways to induce others to uphold their decisions to excommunicate us in secret...but they won't go "on the record" publicly themselves with their "testimonies" (if they have one) of the resurrected Christ? (Didn't I publish something -- about the screwy language they use to give the impression they've seen Him, when, in fact, they're apparently unwilling to say so openly -- on the very day I was excommunicated?) Believe me, I've spent hours trying to pry out of these guys' mouths the answer to this question "What do I believe that is wrong??" and all I get is "You agree with Denver Snuffer."

That's what they'll say in private. But in public it's all very "sanitary". (They don't dare speak his name.) They say "You don't support and sustain the Brethren". 

They will dance around true doctrine all day...like they do in this presentation...and suppress any historical fact that is inconvient. (Hence, the "clowns". They're not serious.) The scriptures they cite lock in stone the idea that no one can say or do anything without their permission. THEY ARE IN CHARGE. They want you to couple that claim with the idea that if you disagree with them -- not whether they are right or wrong, but just whether you disagree with them -- then you are an apostate! End of discussion. They are right...even if they're wrong! And you should follow them anyway! For God has chosen them, not you! 

I could say it another way:

5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men; (2 Nephi 28:5)
Let me paraphrase that: 
"God gave us His power and authority when He put us in charge. So be quiet and do what we say. Meeting and following the Lord is a noble objective, but since He's not here, if you know what's good for you, you can't receive Him unless you receive us. And if you don't do what we say, you're a damned apostate!"
End of lesson.

I could add one more observation:

4 And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance. (2 Nephi 28:4)
This kind of talk would appeal to a quivering quail of a member, an ignorant, lazy-minded, reckless rube who would put his trust in the arm of flesh and the power of men (and organizations) to save him, without requiring much work, study, faith or effort. Certainly no interaction with Jesus.

If someone truly loved the Lord, however, he would seek His face continually and not allow anyone to stand in His stead as some sort of "replacement". 

Do I appreciate Denver Snuffer? Absolutely! But I'm doing my darnedest to "get rid of him"! I don't want to be dependent on him. I want to know the Lord at least as well as he does. I want to have a knowledge of heaven that is independent of any man!

The Lord (through Jeremiah) promised:

31 ¶Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

I feel and hear the Holy Ghost when I read Denver's words. Truth is, I'd like to believe DHO! But his words are carefully crafted circumlocutions of the truth, meant to convince without offering substance in response to what Denver Snuffer has taught. Only those who seek shall find and know the truth for themselves.

To buttress his leaking arguments, DHO attributed scriptures written about Joseph Smith to the current "Brethren". Revelations from God stating that Joseph Smith ought to be hearkened to in all things refer to Joseph Smith! You can't "steal" someone else's "patriarchal blessing" and say it applies to you and to anyone else you pick to succeed you, in perpetuity!

This cult has set up a "perpetual motion" machine of leadership where the leader gets bumped off on one end of the conveyor belt of life at the same time a new guy gets installed on the other end, the whole thing rolling along like an automated assembly line manufacturing "prophets, seers and revelators", purportedly sustained by divine intervention (or non-intervention, in this case). For unless God kills someone off, that guy who has been on the treadmill the longest automatically becomes "the prophet", the head honcho, see? Possessor of "all the keys of the kingdom", etc. Even if he's mentally and emotionally unstable (as George Albert Smith was) or barely possessing of a testimony himself (if he even had one) when he was first called (as David O. McKay was) or not very spiritual at all (as Heber J. Grant was). Even if he's never met God or received a revelation. (I'll insert the appropriate links later, perhaps.)

DHO all but admitted that these guys at the top are no different from many of us who have had experiences with Deity, inasmuch as they "know" Him "by the power of the Holy Ghost", just like we do! (I don't doubt it!) Yet, in their minds, they have "authority" to govern and regulate the church in all its facets, right down to determining who is and isn't "worthy" (in their hearts and minds) to be a member of the Church, what "doctrine" is (and isn't), etc. I thought DHO said they were called to "witness of the name of Christ in all the world"? Where did this "general authority" status come from? What...who...made them all-knowing, infallible, unimpeachable, beyond reproachable "heads"...when, in fact, they are "feet"...and the servants of all...sent to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified throughout the world, not prattle on about who is (and who isn't) a prophet. (I wish they were preaching Jesus Christ and Him resurrected -- from personal experience -- but, apparently, that's asking too much.)

They made a big deal about James Strang. Just because Strang wasn't a prophet 160 years ago doesn't mean someone else can't be a prophet today! Where is it written in scripture that the modern Church can't go astray? Where is it written that only 15 LDS men get to know God, receive revelations from Him, etc.? It defies belief that these men think God can't or won't do as He said He would! The whole story of the scriptures is that all may "come unto Christ" and enter into His rest, know all mysteries, enjoy all gifts, etc. These men do not know or speak for the living God! They dissemble.

They say they now "own" the franchise. Search the scriptures. There is NOTHING like this in the standard works or history of God's people on earth to suggest that only these guys get to know God, exercise the gifts of the Spirit (prophecy, revelation, visions, etc.), or exclusively receive revelation even about the church. (Look at Paul! Was he called and ordained by Peter, the purported leader of the church? Or was he called by Christ Himself?) What these brethren do have -- by common consent of the membership -- is the right to speak on behalf of the LDS Church and to do whatever the membership lets them get away with! 

But let's not get sucked into believing that whatever they say is the word of God just because they say it is! That's simply not true. (One of the high priests who excommunicated me actually suggested we don't need the Holy Ghost because "we have a living prophet!" Talk about holy cow! Or golden calf!)

Position in any organization does not automatically endow anyone with divine power, authority or gifts. This is particularly true with regard to the holy priesthood. God is no respecter of persons. All are alike unto Him. Any who qualify may claim the same blessings received and exercised by Abraham. These men will infantilize and damn those who give heed to their false teachings and embrace their "religion". (No wonder "the preacher", paid for his ministry, was excised from the temple endowment.)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Divine race

Thinker of Thoughts has written a compelling argument about racial discrimination practiced in the Mormon Church. (Be sure to watch the slide show at your own pace.)

However, I believe virtually all of the ancients -- even true prophets of the Bible and the Book of Mormon -- were racists. I believe almost all people today, of every race, to some extent, are racists. I believe "birds of a feather flock together" for a reason. And I believe the apostle Paul taught the truth when he wrote:
26 And [God] hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: (Acts 17:26-27.)
I do not doubt Joseph Smith taught the truth regarding priesthood and the seed of Cain. I do not doubt that God has segregated the races (and families) of the earth -- and commanded, at times, that His children should do likewise, to fulfill His purposes. I do not doubt that the Lord, at times, has ordained some to receive (what we call) "blessings" while others He has "cursed". 

Even so, I know it is in the heart of Deity to release His children from their bonds of iniquity and the repercussions of inequity meted upon their forebears three and four -- even a hundred! -- generations past, when they are ready and willing to receive it. But they -- and we -- must rise up to claim those blessings.

Every race and people on earth, in their turn, has been considered "unworthy" to receive the kingdom of God. But certainly the last shall be first and the first last! Those in the Book of Mormon who characteristically were considered "righteous" (and white) quite often turned unrighteous (and became sometimes physically altered, but always spiritually "darkened"), while those who were physically "dark and loathsome and filthy" sometimes became "white" (or pure) and "delightsome", despite their melanin.

Our destinies are not always determined by our DNA! Even so, what can be said for blacks today, when over half of all murders in the United States are committed by black men, though they comprise but a tiny fraction of the population? What can be said for the overwhelming probability of black-on-white violence, rape and larceny (but almost never its reverse)? Our eyes and minds do not deceive us! All men -- and nations and families and races, despite what Thomas Jefferson claimed -- are not created equal. All cultures are not equal. In fact, there can be no true "equality" among us, for differences will always abound, and "the poor always ye have with you" (John 12:8), though God be no respecter of persons.

Is the rising generation of blacks doomed to suffer oppressions, repeating the failures and agonies of their forefathers? Heaven forbid! Are whites (or any other race) doomed to assume the role of slave and outcast (or worse), as they have done before? 

It seems inevitable.

I cannot ignorantly support or demand an apology from anyone who has practiced racism. I do not know their reasons, nor am I accountable for what they've done. I can only choose to treat others as I would wish to be treated, nothing more, nothing less. All mankind deserves to be so treated. Perhaps to some it is given the spirit to rise up and challenge the powers that be to claim their "rights", to assume among the sons and daughters of Adam one's place as a son or daughter of God and heir to His kingdom! 

There was, in fact, a kingdom of glory founded on justice whose citizens sought to uphold and establish individual rights. (Those who have lived in America have tasted of its spirit!) But the highest kingdom of glory in heaven ignores such things. Its inhabitants focus on overcoming oppression by enduring it; by overcoming evil by submitting to it; by loving the sinner without partaking of his sin. There is no end of grievances for which a people or movement may clamor for vengeance and retribution in a fallen (or lower) world, perpetuating unending conflict. (Such is the lesson of the Book of Mormon and the Middle East whence it came!) 

The (real) Christian -- black or white, bond or free -- will call upon God and beg to be received of Him, regardless of his skin tone or her circumstance. Anyway, Christ's kingdom is not of this world. To receive it, we can take nothing with us but our bodies (and the intelligence gained thereby) through resurrection. When those bodies are raised up, becoming "quickened" and spiritual, if the Spirit of the Lord indwells in us, then those bodies shall be glorious indeed.

Forgive us our trespasses

Next week my family will travel to Utah. Our oldest children will attend week-long summer camps at BYU -- football, swimming, gymnastics -- all fun and games. They'll stay in on-campus housing while their parents lodge with friends. After that, they'll probably visit Salt Lake City and explore the many great and spacious buildings an organization has erected there.

Of course, I "can't" go with them. The Mormon leaders and their lawyers have banned me from "their" property. This former missionary for that church is no longer welcome to visit BYU (his alma mater!) or Temple Square or even City Creek Mall without facing arrest. (Please insert the appropriate verbiage here: "I ____ this ____ church!")

How different is this institution of religion from that of Christ's day?

Back then, our Lord chastened the strictly "religious" who regarded themselves as more "righteous" or "worthy" than others because they tithed the weeds that grew in their yards! (On the net or on the gross, I wonder.) Yet Jesus said such souls lacked judgment and the love of God. He pronounced a woe upon those who delighted in wielding authority to receive the honors of men. He identified those "letter of the law" types and those sycophants of the prophets as hypocrites, announcing to the unsuspecting that they walked among the spiritually dead.

For the lawyers (who write such letters as I received) our God On Earth pronounced a further woe: He condemned them for heaping upon others what they themselves would not deign to lift; for honoring the very prophets whom their fathers abused and killed while actively persecuting true prophets and apostles in their midst.

These types who claim to possess the "keys of the kingdom" Jesus said lacked "the key of knowledge". They failed to enter into His rest and hindered others from doing so!

Could truer words be spoken today?
42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
43 Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.
44 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.
45 ¶Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also.
46 And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.
47 Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.
48 Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.
49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:
50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;
51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.
52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. (Luke 11:42-52)
What do modern "pharisaints" expect to accomplish by making me their "enemy", even an "offender" for a word? By making my wife a "church widow"? By forcing her to shuttle our large brood to their church and back, to manage on her own? How dare they separate me from my wife and children!

I do not have kind words or feelings right now for these false priests who oppress.

But I must forgive them their trespasses even as I wish to be forgiven.

With this post I hereby announce to the world that one very much like unto my children's father will be accompanying them in all their travels through Utah next week. He will be checking them into their dorms at BYU (where he once slept). He will walk with them whithersoever they go and remind them of the glories of God he once experienced there. He may even go to their church and visit that 3-billion-dollar mall his former tithes helped pay for.

And if they arrest him or ask him to leave for supporting his wife and children, so be it.

They will be doing the works of their father and by their fruits you shall know them.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


My family joined with friends to see the latest “Cinderella” movie last night. This familiar tale, retold by Disney in an unfamiliar way, teaches uncommon truths.

I didn’t recognize her at first. Not until the very end. Yet, with my children, I marveled at her magnanimous spirit, her humility, her service, her enduring kindness and selflessness, her sacrifice and love. She never once complained, never once put on airs, never once placed herself above (or before) anyone else, never once asserted her rights.

Though the child of loving and glorious parents — and heir! — she became an orphan, forsaken and outcast. Though the greatest among them, she became the least. Though once surrounded by servants who waited on her, she became the servant of all. Though more beautiful and radiant than the rest, she was a “nobody” hidden from view. Though arriving with a glorious entourage, she appeared to the world unrecognized and unheralded. Though many marveled at her grace, none claimed her as their own. Though she was hated and envied, despised and reviled, her compassion extended to the lowest and most vile. Though she was betrayed and scorned and ridiculed by those who should have been her kin -- and loved her! -- she did not rend again.

Her name was “Ella” (meaning “light” or “all”), but having forsaken all by sacrifice and surrender, she condescended to dust and ashes and was given the new name “Cinderella”. Thus she would ever after be known among men.

But her destiny was far greater.

She did not seek for fame or glory, nor did she strive to rule or claim her place. She only sought to serve and submit and to give her all when asked.

And the heavens smiled.

When he who would be king at last had found her, she revealed to him her true identity by embracing her new name: All Light in Ashes. She confessed she had nothing else to offer him. But for him, she was enough! He had sought her diligently and found her, forsaking all others. And he loved her! For he recognized that — without her kindness and courage suffusing all she touched, her grace and virtue and beauty — his glory as king would be misery and his kingdom without her forfeit.

She loved him, too, once she saw how much he loved the King, his Father, and how he was willing to lay down his own life for the kingdom. She fondly called this “apprentice” by his familiar name and he knew that only one who truly knew him and loved him, even from the beginning, would ever deign to do so.

So he knelt before her — offering her his hand, his heart, his kingdom and all he had — while she offered to him the only token by which she could be recognized by all.

And thus, finding themselves together again at last,

they lived happily ever after.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Anonymous Bishop

I've met Anonymous Bishop personally -- and I won't hold his stunning good looks or his charming manner against him!

His message is what matters. What he writes is more important than who he is. I found his explanation for his blog to be cogent, truthful and informative. Perhaps you will concur. Maybe his observations will inspire contemplation and elicit a comment or two from you!

I also enjoyed this post. Yes, it's dicey. Yes, it sets even my teeth on edge. (And I'm not a member of the LDS Church.) I love the Brethren as much as anyone...and I positively melt whenever Jeffrey R. Holland speaks.

But I concur with Anonymous Bishop: the Doctrine of Christ is being supplanted with the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture.

What is that doctrine, you ask?

It's not my intent (with this post) to lay out that doctrine. But, if the scriptures are to be believed, it culminates with being reconciled to Jesus Christ personally, in this life, in our flesh. It means hearing His voicecoming unto Him, recognizing and being recognized by Him and being redeemed by Him from the fall.

Nothing less.

If any man preaches another gospel, or another Jesus, and receives a different spirit, let him be accursed. (2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:8-9.)

If children, then heirs

Being instructed himself by heavenly beings, king Benjamin admonished his people: "[W]hen ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." (Mosiah 2:17.)

During His mortal ministry, lawyers and pharisees asked our God Made Flesh what (they thought to be) a "hard" question:

"Master, which is the great commandment in the law?"

His answer "healed" their blindness:

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (See Matthew 22:34-40.)

These words fully summarize our duty to heaven and earth. Neglecting these things, nothing else matters. Attending to them, everything else in the law is -- or shall be -- fulfilled. You will come to know the Father and gain eternal life.

Having the "answer" -- but being unwilling to accept it -- some quibbled over "who is my neighbour?" Jesus obliterated all disputation among them by demonstrating, by word and deed, that the downtrodden, the stranger, the beaten, broken and abused; the unwanted, sick, despised and neglected; the hungry, naked, imprisoned and homeless were His "neighbor." By serving them, Jesus served God.

In terms of serving others, Jesus warned us: "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me." (Matthew 25:45.)

Reiterating the great commandment, He admonished: "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12.)

It's not easy for the natural man to follow the Golden Rule.

"[F]or wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13-14

What one thing do we all wish that every man would do for us?

Grant our requests.

How beholden is God to abiding by His own eternal law to "[g]ive to every man that asketh of thee"? (Luke 6:30.) 

Just in case you don't believe fulfilling every (not-unrighteous) request fulfills the Golden Rule, notice what Jesus said next: "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." (Luke 6:31.) 

By this ye may know the measure of a righteous man: he labors to grant every (not unrighteous) requestAnd when asked by a "neighbor" to go a mile, he goes with him twain, even ungrudgingly! (Matthew 5:41.) For what good is it to give a gift grudgingly? It is as if the gift were not given.

What if someone asks you to provide them with wine to get high and make merry? What should you do? What if it's "not on your agenda", it's not convenient for you (or it's not your job), it's not something you would normally do, or (in your opinion) it's not "necessary"? What if the request is "questionable", but not illegal, immoral, or unethical? What should you do?

Grant the request.

Jesus became so determined to grant others' requests that, even when asked by wicked men to give His life, He gave it, allowing them to take Him to be judged and crucified. He willfully submitted to all things, even as His Father saw fit to inflict upon Him. Like the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi, He willfully laid down His own life for his friends, even His enemies.

If granting a request doesn't violate the law -- or if it doesn't conflict with any other request made by God (or by others of whom you wish to be rewarded) -- then grant it! Do everything in your power to grant it! For, by so doing, you are only serving God.

Who doesn't love a cheerful giver or an obedient servant?

By granting every request -- with the expectation that, by the same measure you measure, it shall be meted to you again and knowing that you shall be judged even as you judge (or not judge) others -- then, in time, with confidence you may approach the throne of grace and ask with faith, nothing wavering! For if you, being wicked, grant every request made of you, even to the "unworthy" and the "unfaithful", how much more willing will your Father in heaven be to grant your request, He being righteous, the Giver of every good gift unto them who ask of Him!

I know these precepts are hard to follow; they require all the energy of our souls. I know I have not "mastered" them. (Not even close.) That's why I'm focusing on them here and now.

Let us set our hearts to grant every request -- of everyone: our spouses, children, friends, co-workers, strangers, enemies, even the bums on the street! Then we shall know sorrow and sacrifice and suffering and selflessness like we can hardly imagine! (Men do not naturally allow themselves to be abused or to be taken advantage of in this fashion, as we will be if we follow this course. But he who seeks to lose his life for Christ's sake shall find it, even to eternal life.) 

Then we will come to know Him as He really is. For we shall be like Him.

Jesus said: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:44-45.)

And if children, then heirs.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Angels in heaven

I believe angels in heaven now exist who have "put down too many stakes" to come to this world and take upon themselves flesh and blood. They simply are unwilling to acquire more knowledge by trial, error and tribulation, if by doing so they risk losing the power and glory they now enjoy...even if they could inherit a "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" by doing so.

Yet here we are.

So either we were "angels" in heaven, willing to take upon ourselves flesh and blood -- and risk spectacular failure in order to progress (or help others do so) -- or we are fools for whom this telestial world and the glory thereof are our only hope.

Burned at the Stake

Yesterday Rock Waterman was excommunicated from the LDS Church. I imagine his disciplinary council was similar to mine. (I urged him to conduct himself with greater aplomb, decorum and good humor than I did; I'm sure he obliged.) Rock, of course, was better prepared for this formality than I was, he having written the book! His pre-excommunication interview with John Dehlin was illustrative of the kind of "evil doer" the LDS Church is now shoving out the door.

As William N. Grigg presciently observed:

Of course, the only One who actually has authority, and the right to use it, spent his mortal ministry inviting people to come to Him, rather than seeking for excuses to cast them out. That contrast is instructive and offers a very useful way of determining whether any individual or institution actually speaks on His behalf.
One of the signs of a true prophet is that he urges others to follow Christ and not demand that any follow him.

But...what do we see...in the LDS Church...today? (If you choose unrighteously, you will have no cloak for your sins.) Can any of these men save you? Who is your Savior? Do you know Him? Does He know you? (See Abraham 3:11; Moses 7:4; Ether 12:39.) 

By common consent, expressed and implied, the men who excommunicated me assented to the claim (made by one of them) that Jesus was not their personal savior

I believe them.

Unfortunately (for them), I also believe Jesus, who said:
"But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 10:33.)
I'm confident the men who excommunicated Rock did so without much regard for actual history or doctrinal truth. If they followed current LDS "protocol" (as they did in my case), they violated or ignored several scriptural mandates at virtually every turn. Only a fool (or the grossly misinformed) would suppose they were doing the Lord's business when they cast Rock out.

Or maybe not. Maybe I'm the fool. 

You see, a young lady I know was recently thrown from a moving vehicle which had swerved violently out of control. She was tossed clear of the wreckage that otherwise would have crushed her if she had remained "safely" strapped in her seat. 

As it happened, she hardly suffered a scratch!

The Lord has a peculiar way of "gathering" His sheep:

He calls them to Himself. 

He calls them

They must hear His voice.

And respond. 

And follow Him.

Prior to Rock's "verdict", Log presciently explicated the outcome. My post "A pasta, see?" demonstrates how the LDS Church embraces (and enforces) a Babylonian "corporatism": with "higher ups" acting as "employers" and "lower downs" assuming "employee" status. This structure diverges from God's desired "organizational pancake", whereby communication and interaction with Him is meant to be direct and personal.

Quite a few LDS leaders now apparently feel empowered with sufficient authority to condemn and curse others, spiritually damning them and blowing their families (like Rock Waterman's) to smithereens. (Would someone please point out to me what Rock taught that was so damn -- and damningly -- false?) These characters in charge remind me of the Milgram experiment, where otherwise good people were induced by authority figures to deliver -- what most certainly would be, if they were real -- lethal doses of electricity to mere volunteers just to teach them a lesson!

(Isn't that what these people think they are doing: teaching us a lesson?)

Anyone who excommunicates another without receiving explicit, direct communication from Heaven does so at their peril (for they are doing the exact opposite of what Jesus otherwise commanded).

As we judge, so shall we be judged. 

Who among us claims to be "sent" by God to deliver an actual "message" to anyone? (I can think of one; think of him what you will.) But no doubt many are now being tested and raised up to proclaim the truth as they understand it.

I applaud Rock for his faithfulness to both his faith and conscience. He reminds me of another courageous and mighty man:

9 Now Abinadi said unto [king Noah]: I say unto you, I will not recall the words which I have spoken unto you concerning this people, for they are true; and that ye may know of their surety I have suffered myself that I have fallen into your hands.
10 Yea, and I will suffer even until death, and I will not recall my words, and they shall stand as a testimony against you. And if ye slay me ye will shed innocent blood, and this shall also stand as a testimony against you at the last day.