Friday, December 30, 2016

Plugging An Important Book

The key to meeting God is repentance. Without repentance, forgiveness of sin is futile and coming into God's presence is damning and destructive. I recommend that all read this book before / rather than engaging in extraneous pursuits / discussions about scripture, doctrine, etc.

There is that which is important and good and that which is ESSENTIAL. Understanding and doing what this book teaches, in my opinion, is ESSENTIAL. The teachings are scripturally sound and supported.

Perhaps all of us have read the scriptures. Unfortunately, our hearts have been hardened and our minds have been darkened by sin and disbelief. We have been led to NOT see or understand the plain and precious truths laid before us, to our peril.

Reading this book will help us dispel the mists of darkness, cut through the clutter, and focus on the ONLY thing that can and will save us, if we apply ourselves. Lacking that, all is lost.

Good luck to all.

(By the way, for once I got my message across in 200 words or less!)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Race

I had a vivid dream last night.

I was with two of my children. We were at a peaceful park, sitting on the grass around noon time. The sky was clear. We were happy. The sun was brightly shining.

Then, like a switch, it all went dark. You could still see the sun in the sky, but now it was a dull grey disk. The whole earth, it seemed, was bathed in shadow.

I instantly knew what it meant. I turned to my daughter and said: "Jesus is coming back!"

Then I thought about the food chain...and gathered our kids and ran to the car. I had to get to Costco! (There wouldn't be any more food!) My wife and other children weren't with me. I was SO WORRIED about them! What would they do? There would be mass chaos, violence and starvation!

I drove as quickly as I could down a narrow winding concrete path that skirted a sewage canal or drainage ditch. A man sat in the front seat beside me, speaking words of guidance at every turn. (There were many different ways to go. I didn't know where I was headed.) My car got scratched up as I nearly drove off the road, slamming into a guardrail! I didn't care.

I had to hurry to find and save my family.

Then I woke up.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Where is Jesus' Church?

The Book of Mormon can be (and still is) true without the Mormon Church being true. That which was "the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased" on November 1, 1831, (see D&C 1:30) isn't necessarily true -- or even the same church -- today. (Mormons share their fate with Catholics.)
The Mormon Church is almost NOTHING LIKE the religion, faith and organization Jesus established 2000 years ago. ALMOST NOTHING LIKE IT. Behold their fruits!
Jesus' apostles DID and SAID things almost NOTHING LIKE what modern Mormon "apostles" do and say today.
The Lord's disciples KNEW and testified of CHRIST (not just His NAME). They KNEW Christ. Personally. He visited them. They testified that He was (and is) the true and living God! They knew HIM by PERSONAL experiences with Him!
That was as true with Peter and Paul and Moses and Mahonri as it was with Nephi and Jacob, Moroni and Joseph Smith. They KNEW Him! They SAW Him! They MET with Him! They SPOKE with Him! Face to face!
These "false prophets" of Mormonism today -- who say they are His true "apostles": which of them bears that same testimony? To which of these has He given His word and power, to perform His mighty works, like them of old? Which of your modern Mormon leaders have looked upon our Savior and received instructions from His hand, as did the brother of Jared? Who has felt the marks in His hands and in His side, as did Thomas or Nephi (son of Nephi)? Who has gazed upon His face and received the word of the Lord from His lips, as did Joseph Smith or Oliver Cowdery?
Which of your Mormon "prophets" today (since the time of Joseph Smith) truly KNOWS the Lord (not just "knows a lot about Him") and can TRULY speak in His name? Where are your TRUE "prophets, seers and revelators" who truly prophesy, see and reveal?
The TRUTH is more ignoble than you Mormons pretend. Like the Catholics, you hearken back to having "keys", but have little to show for it.
The Mormons were commanded to build a temple, which the Lord promised to "come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood" (D&C 124:28).
You see there, Mormons? By November 19, 1841, you did NOT have "the fulness of the priesthood"! It had been taken away, or withheld, from you! You didn't have it! Even though you had Joseph Smith in your midst!
The Mormons were given "sufficient time" to build a house unto God (v. 31), otherwise, "if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God" (v. 32). The Mormons were promised, among other things, that if they did as they were commanded, they would "not be moved out of their place" (v. 45).
"46 But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them.
47 And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord.
48 For instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practice before me, saith the Lord." (D&C 124:46-48.)
Unfortunately, the Mormons did NOT do as they were commanded and they WERE moved out of their place. Their bloody footprints in the snow leading across the frozen Mississippi River in February, 1846, attested to that fact. The Mormons were scattered, smitten, afflicted and driven into the wilderness -- leaving a trail of frozen, broken bodies in their wake -- WITHOUT the fulness of the priesthood, by which they MIGHT have come back into God's presence and enjoyed the powers of godliness in their flesh. (See D&C 84:19-26.)
But they did not.
The Lord did NOT come to the partially-finished, secretly dedicated structure in Nauvoo offered half-heartedly by the saints as a token of their faith in God (or His messengers). Nor (that we know of) has He come to any such Mormon temple since (the dubious account proffered by Lorenzo Snow's posterity, notwithstanding). God's glory did NOT shine in Nauvoo as it had in Kirtland. In fact, Joseph and Hyrum (God's appointed successor to Joseph) were taken from their midst.
The Mormons were "rejected as a church, with [their] dead".
Consequently, the Mormon's boastful claim to being the Lord's "only true and living church" is a GROSS misrepresentation of the facts and a solemn mockery of God, ignoring His testimony and His witness. The Mormons have transformed their tale of misery and woe into a modern pageant of victory and success! They do so ignorantly -- like the Jews of Jesus' day, held in bondage by the Romans -- being foolishly taught the traditions and precepts of men (their leaders). (See 2 Nephi 28:14.)
Look at that video again. Neither Jesus Christ nor Joseph Smith ever built a chapel. Today the Mormon Church has THOUSANDS of them, costing MILLIONS of dollars each. Where your treasure is, there shall your heart be also.
The Mormon Church is different from, but just like, all those other churches.
In fact, for a better appreciation of ALL that modern Mormonism is (and will become), read ALL of 2 Nephi 28. By and large, THIS is Mormonism -- not the "complete restoration of Jesus Christ's original Church on earth"...unless, of course, you're referring to the "apostate" church that formed immediately after Christ's TRUE prophets and apostles were killed. If THAT'S the case, then, yes, the Mormon Church IS that church, indeed.
You have been warned. Do not be deceived.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Joseph Smith's Monogamy

All my (Mormon) life, I thought Joseph Smith, the "prophet of the restoration", was a polygamist. 

When I first joined the Mormon faith (nearly 40 years ago, as a teenager), Mormons were proud of Joseph Smith's polygamous past. At the time, I didn't see much difference between polygamy and adultery. It didn't make much sense to me. But I took the Mormon Church at its word. 

After all, Abraham "did it". Jacob "did it". Moses "did it". These were righteous men in the Bible, right? They were attested to be faithful by God. Joseph Smith apparently "did it", too. He was commanded (with others) to take plural wives. He didn't want to. He had to, I was told. It was right there in the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 132 -- a "revelation" not published until many years after Joseph's death. 

I had received my own witness from God that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I didn't know much about polygamy, but I believed (what most Latter-day Saints were taught) that Joseph Smith was a polygamist. 

I was nonetheless befuddled as to how Joseph maintained a "loving" "faithful" relationship with his wife, Emma, while at the same time "banging" other chicks. How did Joseph enter into those relationships, anyway, without first lusting or coveting in his heart? (Or did he?) How did Joseph keep those relationships secret without also lying about them? Was Joseph Smith a liar or a prophet? Was he a saint...or a "cad" with a "get-out-of-jail-free" card?

I didn't know about the rest, but I knew Joseph was a prophet.

I was similarly baffled by the LDS Church's "official" narrative: that Emma, Joseph's wife -- the first divinely appointed President of the LDS Church's own Relief Society -- was, in fact, an "unfaithful" spouse, a rather nasty, spiteful woman, who, really, rejected the gospel (and Joseph's other wives) by not fully supporting his "priesthood", particularly his efforts to obey God by "practicing the principle". In fact, Emma lied, I was told, about her husband's own involvements with other women. She said Joseph never was a polygamist!

That just didn't make any sense to me.

Why did Brigham Young despise Emma so? Why did he speak badly of her in public? Why didn't Emma support Bro. Brigham, Joseph's "chosen" successor? Why didn't the monogamist saints back East join the polygamist saints out West?

I didn't know. I just knew Joseph Smith was a prophet.

I didn't doubt Joseph was a polygamist. I just didn't understand it. The Church leaders said he was. And the Church was true. So Joseph must have been a polygamist, right? Why would the Church lie to me?

By the end of my tenure in Mormonism, things began to unravel, however, and questions begat answers. The LDS Church's public relations arm (and "priesthood correlation") had all but scrubbed every reference to polygamy from the Church's lesson manuals and history books used by Sunday-going Saints. Talks on the subject were no longer welcome at the pulpit. Discussions about polygamy were discouraged at church. Even notorious polygamist Brigham Young was referenced in the priesthood manual bearing his name only in regard to his "wife" (never his "wives").


As far as "The Brethren" were concerned, the "doctrine" of polygamy was "dead". Anyone found practicing or promoting it was summarily disciplined and/or excommunicated from the Church. 

In modern times, Mormons aren't polygamists.

Yet Joseph Smith still was.

So the modern church has distanced itself from Joseph Smith.

Whereas Joseph's works and words were frequently cited and actively discussed in the church of my youth -- so much so that critics often claimed Mormons worshipped Joseph rather than Jesus Christ! -- today much of Joseph's teachings are seldom, if ever, mentioned in the church of my middle age.

During the interim, the name of "Jesus Christ" has been more prominently featured on all LDS Church signage and letterhead. Jesus' image (not Joseph's) has been more frequently featured in church-commissioned paintings, videos and magazines. References to Joseph Smith (and his most "outrageous" teachings) have become increasingly rare. For a while there, Mormons even became -- not "Mormons" but --  "Christians" and use of the appellation "Mormon" was officially de-sanctioned. (This was actually seen as a "good" thing by me. But it didn't last long.) 

Soon the Church reversed course and embarked on an "I'm a Mormon!" campaign. The pendulum of Mormon identity swung farther away from the "antiquated" Joseph Smith (and the restorationist movement he initiated), farther still from Jesus Christ (and His teachings of the Sermon on the Mount), all the way to a "living prophet" today (whoever that is) and his life, ministry, and message. A whole book is now dedicated to each "modern prophet" to be studied scrupulously in Priesthood and Relief Society meetings, to the exclusion of the scriptures. 

By my last days in Mormonism, the Prophet Joseph Smith had become just another "prophet" in a line of modern "prophets, seers and revelators" -- despite the fact that none of these "newbies" display the same "fruits" that Joseph Smith produced. Joseph's teachings have been eschewed in favor of these new guys. The Saints have been taught that the words of these "living prophets" always trump the words of dead prophets, scripture, or even the word of the Lord Himself. Mormons are now expected to "follow the prophet". No. Matter. What. 

Discussions about the nitty-gritty of the restoration --including the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, receiving the Second Comforter, becoming a prophet yourself, being personally "saved" by Jesus Christ, having your calling and election made sure, experiencing healings, entertaining angels, being caught up to heaven and the like, not to mention controversial topics in Church history or changes in Church "doctrine", ordinances and practices -- are all now eschewed in favor of talking about "doing your home teaching" and "holding family home evening". (More practical, right? I mean, who entertains angels?)

Thus a recent convert could be excused for not knowing that Joseph Smith was a polygamist. It's never mentioned. 

Still, the first time I ever heard a Mormon make the claim that Joseph wasn't a polygamist, I laughed out loud! "You've got to be kidding, right? You really don't know? Joseph Smith was a polygamist, big time!" 

I tried to straighten the guy out, but he wouldn't budge. The Church's propaganda arm had worked its magic very, very well.

Now, I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but...I believe I was wrong about Joseph Smith.

Someone lied to me. I believe Joseph wasn't banging other women (or their daughters...or other men's wives). Emma wasn't lying about Joseph's involvement in polygamy. Joseph wasn't pretending to be married to only one woman while he was secretly cavorting with others.

I now believe Joseph wasn't a polygamist.


Now to be fair, the evidence is, at best, inconclusive. There is no evidence that proves Joseph Smith was a polygamist, just as there is no evidence that proves he wasn't.

The LDS Church relies almost exclusively upon the contemporaneous testimonies of apostates, shady characters and scoundrels to "prove" Joseph was a polygamist. Yet Joseph denied the charge throughout his life and there is NO DNA evidence (thus far) to support the claim that Joseph fathered any child with other than Emma. Why should I believe the testimony of apostates over that of Joseph Smith?


After all, I know Joseph Smith is a prophet.

You can see the evidence for yourself hereIt's pretty conclusive (in my mind), but it doesn't prove anything. The jury is still out.

I wish I'd read it 40 years ago, however. 

I think I owe Joseph Smith an apology.

I think the modern Mormon Church does as well.

***

NOTICE: The above has been edited to reflect Rob Smith's contributions to the subject, posted by him on Facebook on 12/29/16 and, later, on his blog, to wit:

Facts: 
History has not yet proven that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy. This would require a living descendant of one of his alleged plural wives to have DNA links to Joseph Smith. Such a person has not been found, and may not exist. 
History cannot prove that he did not. Because so many of his associates were proven liars, and because men of God have been known to justifiably lie in the past (see Abraham), statements from any party are insufficient to prove that he did not practice it. 
Given these two facts, it really doesn't matter whether a person believes Joseph Smith was a polygamist or whether they believe he was not a polygamist. 
However, what does matter is: 
Whether you feel comfortable converting people to a position that cannot be shown to be right. 
Whether you feel justified in spending your time on something so frivolous. 
Whether your position is due to evidence or something more nefarious. 
I know of at least three people who have dedicated a year or more of their time trying to prove to others that Joseph Smith did not practice polygamy. I can't help but wonder whether spending so much time trying to prove something so unestablished--if not unimportant--was justified given their lack of experiences with God. I wonder what experiences they would have had with God if they had spend even a quarter of that time seeking God instead. In fact, I have yet to find someone engaged in this debate who can afford to spend time on it. The time would be much better spent preaching the actual gospel (instead of their speculations) or seeking God. This seems a leisure topic that only those who are living with Enoch could argue to have the time to address. 
The exception here, of course, is those who believe their position due to something more nefarious. These fall into both sides of the issue. There are those who believe Joseph was a polygamist who do so to justify their own lust in desiring to practice their incorrect understanding of plural marriage. Then there are those who believe Joseph was not a polygamist because they don't like the idea of a God who would expect them to do such a thing. Both types of people are damned. The first for lust, the second for unbelief. It seems worthwhile to call either to repentance, though my experiences in doing so have been fruitless thus far. 
Most statements heard by the fanatics on either side are absolutely ridiculous. Some of these: 
"Plural marriage is necessary for salvation." There is absolutely no proof of this. 
"Plural marriage is an abomination." Actually, God expressed his approval and blessed several men who practiced it. In fact, he even commanded it in the Old Testament both generally (law of Moses) and on specific occasions, such as when God said he gave wives to David. Plural marriage is certainly not an abomination. 
"Plural marriage requires keys." The subject of keys is much larger than one bullet point. However, suffice it to say that it is a grossly misunderstood topic. It would be more correct to say that you need just as much keys to marry a second wife as you did to marry a first wife. Last time I checked, you don't need any keys (the way most understand them, anyway) to marry a first wife. You can do that in a courthouse, or even just with an agreement between two parties. God has given that permission to us. Now, you can't make it eternally binding without him, but that argument applies just as equally to both monogamous and polygamist relationships. 
"Joseph Smith never practiced polygamy." This statement might be true. However, it is impossible to prove. You would have to have a video recording of every moment of the man's life. No one has anything more that sparse journal entries that are known to have been doctored, written by a man who boasted about his ability to keep secrets. It would be much more credible to say, "There is no evidence that proves Joseph Smith practiced polygamy." Great, I agree, and no intelligent person can argue with you. 
"Joseph Smith was a polygamist." This statement might be true. However, with what has been made public to date, no one can prove it. It would be much more credible to say, "There is no evidence that proves Joseph Smith did not practice polygamy." Great, I agree, and no intelligent person can argue with you. 
"Plural marriage is not practiced in heaven." This may very well be true. However, the implication is that marriages that do not persist into the highest degree of glory in the Celestial Kingdom are not worth pursuing. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the vast majority of monogamous marriages--including those within "the remnant"--will not persist beyond this life. By this argument, I am not sure I know anyone who should be married. 
Here are things every honest person should admit: 
God can command anything, and whatever he commands is right. 
We should expect that our fallen sensibilities and ignorant minds are not equal with God's wisdom and knowledge. 
We should expect that a loving God would never ask us to do anything that is not in our best interest. 
We should expect that if we have broken hearts, contrite spirits, and ask with real intent, he will explain his reasons for what he asks without upbraiding us. 
Anyone who lusts after another person is sinning. This includes the married to anyone else, but also includes the married toward their spouse, the single towards their prospective spouse, the married towards their prospective plural spouse, and anyone else. 
God has commanded polygamy in the past. 
God has approved of polygamy in the past. 
God has also disallowed polygamy in the past, such as with the Nephites. 
Abraham lied about his relationship to Sarah on two occasions with God's approval and commandment to do so. 
Joseph Smith publicly preached against polygamy. His private practice or avoidance of it is not clear.
What you make of those statements is up to you, but they are true, and you ought to admit that. 
Let's stop putting forth silly arguments. Let's have open minds and avoid shutting down conversations or running like cowards when we don't like something that is said. Let's stop spreading rumors and gossiping--which are sins. 
Let's stop spending time justifying our sacred cows. 
Let's spend that time seeking God.

Polygamy and the Joseph Smith Papers

The Joseph Smith Papers include "all manuscripts and documents created by, or under the direction of, Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement." LDS Church leaders (and others) have been "sitting" on these papers, many for generations, ostensibly to protect them. (But also to protect themselves.)

For a "living" church touting its own historical accuracy, doctrinal purity, and divine authenticity, withholding "evidence" that would substantiate or refute such claims seems disingenuous. So the LDS Church has been forced to open its archives. 

Beginning in 2008, the Church agreed to release some 20 volumes of Joseph Smith's papers for publication over the next several decades. (Perhaps this "dribble" of information over time, some thought, would dilute its impact.) Sales of those first few volumes, however, vastly exceeded Church leaders' expectations. Similarly, they underestimated the impact those papers would have.

After all, aside from a few historians, most Latter-day Saints (including the Church's leadership) NEVER seriously study church history and virtually no one knows what's in the Church's archives. 

And there's the rub.

The information thus far released has been very damning to the Mormon hierarchy. The Church's "official" narrative does not "square" with the evidence or withstand scrutiny.

(There is no "going back" after reading these papers, folks! They positively burn the house down. Perhaps the Church is counting on the fact that, by sheer dint of volume, few will read them!) Church "scribes" are furiously pumping out footnotes and equivocations to "explain away" the evidence. 

Official LDS records show that Mormon leaders (with the possible exception of Joseph Smith) lied about polygamy, altering records (including scripture) to justify its practice. (I believe LDS leaders have also lied about claims of "priesthood ordination" and the restoration and transmission of authoritative "keys", but that indictment awaits another day.)

Dan Pratt, on Facebook, had this to say recently:

This is one of the best things that has ever come out of the Joseph Smith Papers project. It shows blatant revisionism of Church history and you can see it with your own eyes. 

You can tell that this document originally said, "Evening at home, and walked up and down the street with my scribe. Gave instruction to try those who were preaching, teaching, or practicing the doctrine of plurality of wives. On this law Joseph forbids it, and the practice thereof. No man shall have but one wife."

You can also tell that the document was clearly revised to say something very different: "Evening at home, and walked up and down the street with my scribe. Gave instruction to try those who were preaching, teaching, or practicing the doctrine of plurality of wives. for according to the law I hold the keys of this power in the last days, for there is never but one on Earth at a time on whom the power and its keys are conferred ­and I have continually said No man shall have but one wife at a time unless the Lord directs otherwise." 
You can also see the note on the left side that says, "to be revised". 
Wow. Just wow. Joseph never practiced polygamy and continually fought against it. Those who inherited Joseph's position after his death worked to change Joseph's teachings. That tradition of apostasy continues today. I encourage everyone to learn about the restoration of the Gospel as Joseph Smith taught it. I'll put some recommended reading in the comments. 
Source for the Joseph Smith Papers document: http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/…/history-draft-1-marc…/143

You need to click on the link above to see the document clearly. The alterations to the original journal entries (themselves copies) have been made with different handwriting. This is a deliberate effort to "change" (not preserve) history.

In his blog, Pure Mormonism, Rock Waterman showed that Joseph Smith consistently denounced polygamy. Likewise, Denver Snuffer explained that Joseph and his brother, Hyrum, were killed and Joseph's name was "had for both good and evil" because his teachings were corrupted, misapplied and misunderstood by his contemporaries, including those who "followed" him. 

In short, the church and religion Joseph founded quickly foundered, falling into apostasy (like almost every other gospel dispensation, including Jesus').

In far greater detail than can be explicated and referenced here, both Denver Snuffer's "Passing the Heavenly Gift" and Rob Smith's "Teaching for Doctrines the Commandments of Men: Tradition in Modern Mormonism" reveal how far removed modern Mormonism is from the foundational characters, experiences, teachings, doctrines, practices, organization and faith of its original adherents.

I believe the record shows that Joseph Smith engaged in "sealing" ordinances and "plural marriages" not for this life, but for the next. He "sealed" men and women together with the intent that they might be future fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors -- for the mutual benefit and eventual salvation of all so gathered and organized. 

"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3.) "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." (John 11:25.)

Not even Brigham Young, apparently, grasped the full import of Christ's teachings. In Christ, life goes on! Men are as grass. Their flesh is weak. To be carnally minded is death, for the body withers away and dies. But, by the grace of Christ, those who believe and follow Him may live again! They may be born anew!

Joseph believed this and acted accordingly. 

It would appear that the "doctrine" of "plural marriage", "celestial marriage", "plurality of wives", "spiritual wifery", sealings and the like, including the "continuation of the lives", was misconstrued, perverted and misapplied by Brigham Young and his sycophants. They evidently secretly engaged in carnal polygamy and taught others to do likewise -- something both the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith roundly and consistently condemned (with one exception).

The general practice of polygamy by LDS Church leaders was kept hidden from the world -- apparently even from Joseph Smith and the main body of LDS believers! -- until well after Joseph and Hyrum's deaths and the "Brighamite" faction of the LDS faith was relocated well outside the confines of the contiguous United States (in Utah Territory). 

In fact, John Taylor -- almost killed, as well, with Joseph and Hyrum in Carthage Jail -- actively preached against polygamy while on his mission to France, evidently lying to potential converts and Latter-day Saints alike, saying Mormons never practiced it...even while he himself was a practicing polygamist! 

How do Mormons reconcile these facts or make any sense of the evidence? (Most don't. They don't even try.)

Not until the 1850s did Brigham Young consent to reveal to the "average" Mormon that their leaders were, in fact, polygamists. At that time, he also elevated the practice of polygamy from "optional" to "required for salvation". 

The latest (LDS) "iteration" of "Mormonism" has long since repudiated and disavowed many of Brigham Young's doctrines, teachings and practices (including polygamy!). The Lion House tour in Salt Lake City has now been altered to conceal the fact that Brigham Young was ever a practicing polygamist! (So much for LDS leaders never leading the Church astray!) 

Things don't look so good for Brigham Young now. (See 2 Nephi 28:9-15; also JST Matthew 5:21.) Under his (mis)leadership, Mormons embraced a practice which the church no longer justifies or sustains, but has repudiated and abandoned. The Lord condemns idolatry, adultery, whoredoms, priestcraft, and abominations in the form of adulterated, unauthorized and innovated ordinances and doctrines. (See Isaiah 24:5.) 

Is not the shifting sand of polygamy the very foundation upon which the LDS religion was built? Did not the faith's prophets testify it was "essential for salvation" and would never be ended? And, yet, the Church now says "it's not" and "it has". 

Even so, polygamy's practice was not eradicated from the LDS scene until well into the 20th century. (Mitt Romney's own grandparents were practicing Mormon polygamists!) Yet the "doctrine" still permeates Mormon minds and hearts today.

How can a young man resist contemplating -- even aspiring! -- to have more than one wife simultaneously while his own faith teaches that historically it was rightly done and will be practiced again hereafter? What prevents one from embracing polygamy now when his own faith's leadership once touted it as "essential" and "everlasting"? Has Jesus Christ or His gospel changed? Has the Lord's church gone astray? Heaven forbid! (To the "faithful" Mormon mindset.) 

Consequently many a Mormon sect still practices polygamy.

But the Joseph Smith Papers reveal that LDS leaders have been "lying for the Lord" (and lying to their own people) for generations about the origins and legitimacy of polygamy -- since well before Joseph and Hyrum were killed. Consequently, the LDS Church's "official" claim to being lead directly, inerrantly and continuously by God Himself since that time is bogus and dishonest: as dishonest as the paper you see altered right before your eyes! 

THE JOSEPH SMITH PAPERS PROVE THAT THE LDS CHURCH'S HISTORY, DOCTRINES AND TEACHINGS HAVE BEEN CHANGED to conform to the Church's modern historical (and largely fanciful) narrative. Publicly questioning that narrative -- even in light of the Church's own evidence! -- can get you excommunicated from the faith today. 

I know.

With regard to polygamy, the Church doesn't have a leg to stand on. Its founding leader (Joseph Smith) unequivocally denounced the modern practice. (Either he was lying or telling the truth.) Polygamy's "champion" and "prophet", Brigham Young, nonetheless supported polygamy (and secretly practiced it), despite Joseph Smith's condemnations. Brigham claimed that Joseph received a revelation authorizing Brigham and others to be polygamists. 

But the evidence speaks otherwise

If polygamy is a divinely-appointed, unchanging principle of salvation (rather than a vestigial cultural practice embraced by some), then the LDS Church abandoned the practice without any modern revelation from God authorizing them to do so (Wilford Woodruff's "advice" notwithstanding).

If polygamy is unauthorized today, then the LDS Church embraced it in direct violation of God's written commandments and Joseph Smith's clear teachings on the subject.

Either way, the Mormon church is screwed.

In short, the Joseph Smith Papers demonstrate that the LDS Church is not, as it pretends to be, guided by continuous, unambiguous and infallible revelation from heaven, but, rather, is beholden to the fallen, fallible traditions and leadership of men. (The Church can't have it both ways.) If anything, the Church's leadership is of the sort one might expect from any telestial organization: for better and for worse, but inevitably damning. (See Doctrine and Covenants 76:98-112.)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Ultimate Relationship Guide

Mark Manson's essay makes a lot of sense to me:

See, I have access to hundreds of thousands of smart, amazing people through my site. So why not consult them? Why not ask them for their best relationship/marriage advice? Why not synthesize all of their wisdom and experience into something straightforward and immediately applicable to any relationship, no matter who you are or how sick of his/her shit you are? 
Why not crowdsource THE ULTIMATE RELATIONSHIP GUIDE TO END ALL RELATIONSHIP GUIDES™ from the sea of smart and savvy partners and lovers here? 
So, that’s what I did. I sent out the call the week before my wedding: anyone who has been married for 10+ years and is still happy in their relationship, what lessons would you pass down to others if you could? What is working for you and your partner? And if you are divorced, what didn’t work previously?
The response was overwhelming. Almost 1,500 people replied, many of whom sent in responses measured in pages, not paragraphs. It took almost two weeks to comb through them all, but I did. And what I found stunned me… 
They were incredibly repetitive. 
That’s not an insult or anything. Actually, it’s kind of the opposite. Not to mention, a relief. These were all smart and well-spoken people from all walks of life, from all around the world, all with their own histories, tragedies, mistakes and triumphs… 
And yet they were all saying pretty much the same dozen things.
Which means that those dozen or so things must be pretty damn important… and more importantly, they work. 
Here’s what they are.
Just passing it along.

Reading this brought peace and clarity to my soul. I'll be reading it again and again.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Adam and Eve

God created (organized) heaven and earth, but He didn’t make matter. Matter, like God, has always existed.

God caused life of all kinds to spring forth on this earth and He breathed the breath of life into Adam. But God no more invented life than He invented Himself. Life has ALWAYS been. God BROUGHT life here from other realms – the plants, the animals, every manner and kind – but He sired Adam Himself, as a father sires his son. The genealogy of Adam is, thus, the genealogy of the present race and all of us, uniquely, trace our lineage to that true and living God, our Father in heaven. We are literally begotten in His likeness and image. Like all other living things, God, too, begets after His own kind.

It is no coincidence that the Biblical record of creation coincides with the scientist’s sequence of events, explaining how life “evolved” on this planet: beginning with a molten, formless earth, shrouded in clouds; then the condensation and division of vapors into atmosphere and seas; the formation of land; and then the appearance of life – flora and fauna erupting in the oceans, in the air, and across the earth. The scientist observes, but cannot explain, the “pre-Cambrian explosion” -- the appearance of life in all its forms, billions of years ago, without evidence of transitional species -- and still searches for the missing trunk and branches to that “evolutionary tree.” The “six-day” believer acknowledges the divine order of creation but cannot allow the process to span billions (or even millions) of years as God sequentially introduced appropriate life forms, much as a master gardener, landscaper, or zookeeper prepares the way before introducing higher orders of life.

Each devout adherent to solely the scientific or religious creed becomes a slave to his own misunderstandings and preconceptions, his vision distorted and diminished by his own dogma.

The history of Earth, as told in Genesis, is not complete. Worlds without number (species of animal and civilizations of man) have come and gone and remain unaccounted for. The Bible is Adam’s book: the REMAINING words of the FIRST man of the LAST family to inhabit this world. It is filled with sacred knowledge. And someday we will add to it (from both religious and scientific sources).

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

A world without the light of Christ

A world without the morality bequeathed to us by our Creator, a world without divinely-inspired conscience, is a world filled with incalculable viciousness and evil. 

It is a dark and ignorant world. For however eagerly one may look to the present “successes” of Europe as a society sustained without a general belief in God (particularly a Judeo-Christian God), one must acknowledge that the foundation of that society was built (and preserved) by a God-fearing and Christian people. 

The Western World is Judeo-Christian and mankind can only attribute its success to that distinction. Other civilizations with equal resources and greater time have never equaled what the Christian world has accomplished. Europe may now exist, even thrive, as it denies God's very existence and His mores. But like a man held under water, a nation cannot hold its collective “spiritual” breath forever. 

The spiritual life breathed into Western Civilization by Christ's religion is now on the wane, even as that religion is being abandoned among its former followers. When that breath is fully and finally exhaled, nothing will then separate or distinguish the Western World from all the barbarism and mayhem that has been characteristic of the ungodly, especially those who have served other gods than Jehovah.

Are all who “know not God” uncommonly evil or destructive? Certainly not. But with which of them would you like to trade your present life, with all the material and spiritual benefits Christian thought, progress, and morality have brought you? Where would you prefer to live under other than the protective umbrella of Christian theology and culture? Would you find comfort and solace in the societies of primitive cultures, with their cannibalism and worship of animal deities? Secular Europe? Pagan Africa? Islamic Arabia? Polytheistic India? Buddhist (or Communist) China? Perhaps the islands of Hawaii (pre-Christian era) would be your chosen utopia, with their paradisiacal environs and liberal sexual mores? (How effective was that culture at resisting European invasion and assimilation?) Like a child, you would inevitably be deflowered of your innocence and care-free existence. So, where in the world would you go to “escape” the “oppressive hand" of “organized religion”? Just how would you enforce this ban on religious influence, without imposing your own brand of thought and worship (or non-worship)?

The Jews of Egypt were a fallen people, “quick to do iniquity, and slow to remember the Lord their God” (Mosiah 13:27-35). They had been rescued miraculously, with power, from the clutches of Pharaoh, delivered from servitude and slavery. But Moses was hardly gone a month before they erected unto themselves a golden calf and reveled again in the idolatry of Pharaoh's court.

What Moses brought down from Mount Sinai was NOT the Ten Commandments, but the Beatitudes, given to him by Jehovah (later taught by Jesus). But Moses destroyed those tablets, recognizing his people were unworthy and unready to receive these teachings, this gospel. He went back up the mount to retrieve what became known as the Mosaic Law. As Paul (a devout Jew himself) explained: “[T]he law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24).The harshness and the strictness of that law was intentional and specific. The law had intrinsic meaning and symbolism, as important to the preservation of Israel as life itself. It was “boot camp" for the uninitiated, if you will.

In horticulture we sever a branch or a limb – even half a tree! – in order to preserve and perfect the fruit. In God's purview, a life lived in error or unfruitfully is a life largely wasted. God wants us to enjoy a fruitful life! The sternness and strictness of the Mosaic Law was to teach Israel with indelible exactness the importance of following God's law: it is life or death. The symbolism of not mixing seeds and fabrics was to enforce the divine directive not to mix their own seed, either through sex or association, with the faithless, pagan religious practices of the peoples surrounding them. To do so, God warned, meant spiritual (and physical) death. And He backed up that warning with exacting enforcement.

To us, that world seems so archaic, so barbaric, so primitive. And it was! But the Mosaic Law was the “lesser” of evils. Other peoples practiced religions far less agreeable to us now. Israel's neighbors offered their living children as burnt sacrifices unto the God Moleck, placing them (alive) in the outstretched, super-heated arms of that pagan, brazen idol (Lev. 18:21; Deut. 18:10).

Of course, now we just “D and C” (dilatation and curettage) our children, and, if that doesn't work, we slice them up and vacuum them out with a suction hose; or we puncture their craniums, vacuum out their brains, and crush their skulls (all while they are busily squirming, trying to take their first breath upon emerging from the womb). Obviously, we are more “civilized” than those Moleck-worshiping cretins who cruelly burned their children alive. Thank God Jesus taught us: “Blessed are the children who are aborted unto me!” (I'm sorry. I couldn't actually find that verse. Maybe it isn't a Christian doctrine, after all.)

Encroaching modern evil aside, we are yet the beneficiaries of Christian “enlightenment”. We peer through the prism of a morality bequeathed to us by a hundred generations of Christians and a book, the Bible, handed down to us by those same Jews who were thus “tutored” by the Mosaic Law via God's prophets. This morality has withstood the test of time. Without it, we would be practicing the paganism and idolatry of India, Africa, or the Middle East (not to mention the strange practices of several organizations in the United States!). Our civilization, like ALL that have gone before, would be swept from the earth by Hun-like hordes who regard neither life nor the fruit of the womb. In the last century alone, the Christian world brought to a halt the advances of godless tyrants like Hitler, Stalin, Hirohito, Mao, and Pol-Pot, who together slaughtered over a hundred million in their quest for absolute earthly power and conquest.

Where would the world be today without the Christian faith? It is a bleak and benighted prospect.

No more flag waving

The political forces propelling Donald J. Trump to the White House have been percolating for decades. Seven years ago my employer sent a patriotic email to the faculty. I responded:

Thank you for your patriotic message.

However, I must respond that patriotism, for country's sake alone, is neither moral nor virtuous. Are the people of North Korea or Cuba "good citizens" because they support their government? I don't think so. Patriotism, falsely exercised, is allegiance to despotism.

What of American patriotism?

I refer you to the following website.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=15947  
The first essay is very informative. I just perused it this morning. While I do not agree entirely with its every premise, MOST of what it says seems true, to me.  
As a former Boy Scout and one who wore his nation's military uniform for several years, I'm no longer enthralled by the act of saluting the American flag. In fact, I am repulsed by it. I KNOW for a fact that our nation has been hijacked; its virtue corrupted; its treasure squandered; its people deceived; its government lead by traitors, scoundrels and thieves. And I am supposed to SALUTE this symbol so perversely masquerading as an emblem of "liberty" and "justice"? It is absurd! I'd just as soon pledge allegiance to the hammer and sickle of the old Soviet motherland! (At least there was HONESTY in that symbol – as sick as that sounds). Here, in America, we are masquerading as a nation of "freemen", when in fact we are being sold into slavery.
Can you refute this?

He replied:


I am truly sorry that you feel that way but you have the freedom to express your views and thoughts without oppression. God bless America, may she always be right.

Wishing it so does not make it so. I replied: 


That's the irony.... We DON'T have the freedom to express our views and thoughts – except in certain "politically correct" ways and venues. Our 1st Amendment, 2nd Amendment, 4th Amendment (and 9th and 10th Amendment!) rights have been perverted into absolute restrictions against exercising those rights!

You want to practice “the free exercise of religion”? Go ahead! Just don't do it on public property!

You want “to keep and bear arms”? Great! Just don't do it in any federal building, most public places, and – in some cities – even in your own home – or anywhere else you otherwise might need to use a gun for self-defense! And certainly don’t carry a gun concealed. Or own one with any capacity equivalent to what government agents might bring to bear against you! 
You want to be secure in your “persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures”? Great! But don’t drive. Because you can be pulled over and searched at any check point. Or fly. Because you can be strip searched, if they deem you “suspicious”. The (ironically titled) “Patriot Act” authorizes government agents to invade your house, inspect your personal effects (including your computer files), monitor your communications – all without a warrant, or even informing you! You can even be arrested and held, without trial, INDEFINITELY, if government officials label you a “terrorist”. Some “freedom”! Some “right”!

“Land of the free and home of the brave”? Why is it that the “land of the free” has more people in prison than all other countries COMBINED? If we’re so “brave”, why are we afraid to let others exercise their God-given rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” unmolested? Why are we invading other countries and killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians?

Fruit-bearing trees routinely need pruning, if they are to continue to be healthy and productive. Our government has metastasized into a megalithic oppressive regime run by global corporate interests. EVERYTHING OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOES is designed to exert control over people and insure success for these global interests. Our representatives in Congress have been corrupted and, by and large, serve themselves. They act as unwitting pawns to this massive regime.

The Federal Reserve (which is neither federal nor a reserve) is a PRIVATE Mafioso-type organization run by unelected, unaccountable global profiteers. By controlling the purse strings of world commerce and the halls of Congress, these “banksters” DICTATE how Americans live their lives. THEY elect the president. THEY control the media. THEY write the laws by which we all must live. THEY cause the “boom and bust” cycles – which lead to massive redistributions of wealth (ie, profit for them). THEY wrest control of property (and thus freedom) from ALL of us.

How did “free” Americans go from paying essentially NO taxes 100 years ago to where we are today? How did our dollar lose 96% of its value over the same period? Answer: the Federal Reserve.

We are not free.... We merely get to put on the uniform and masquerade as free men and woman on stage. We serve THEM. We fight and bleed and die for THEM. We go where THEY want us to go and do what THEY want us to do. How else can you explain our continuing involvement in hellholes like Iraq and Afghanistan? THEY control U.S.

I love what America once was.... I love the peoples and events surrounding 1776 and the ideals embodied in the U.S. Constitution. But those ideals have only faint expression in America today. Anyone who would claim the privileges of a true “freeman” would be branded as an enemy of the state.

Try leading a prayer in public school or reciting a Bible verse to students in a classroom. You might be sued. Imagine if one of those soldiers on stage actually bore arms. They would be arrested! Try defying the current regime and living the way Americans USED to live. You might be killed!

I cannot pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands...only to the republic for which it STOOD. We have lived to see the day when "patriotism" has become parody and parody mockery of what it means to be an American.

With the ascent to the presidency, against all odds, of God-Emperor Trump, I just may have to re-think my thinking. 

America may be poised, for a little time, to experience a "re-birth" of freedom.

Thank God!

Adam, the first man?

For the Young Earth Creationist (YEC), the chronology of the cosmos is beholden to a literal interpretation of scripture (i.e., the heavens and earth were created in six 24-hour days). But the Bible states that the sun, moon, and stars were not given to shine until the “fourth” day. How, then, was time accounted for when the celestial “clock” wasn’t yet “ticking”?

I’m sure the YECs have their answer.

I have observed that scientists and religionists forever conflict inasmuch as neither is willing to concede facts “outside the box.” Scientists generally do not allow for God’s involvement in Earth’s affairs. And creationists generally do not allow for evidence not supported by their holy texts.

The (fullness of) truth, however, undoubtedly lies somewhere “outside the box” – where few are willing to look.

The Bible (as Vox Day once wrote) is “an ancient tribal anthology telling the story of a fallen creature who is congenitally incapable of lifting himself out of his own evil.” It is the story of merely one family.

Ours.

Nowhere does the Bible disclaim, however, the existence of other worlds, other records, or even other families! The Bible speaks but little of what has come before our time and even less of what shall transpire hereafter. Worlds without number, perhaps, have come into and gone out of existence prior to our own. And might there have been several “beginnings” (of humankind) on this orb prior to the arrival of our own common ancestor? (This would explain much that is observed in the paleontological record.)

I heard somewhere that 200,000 years would suffice to obliterate all recognizable trace of human influence on this planet. Virtually every “artificial” contrivance – by force of nature – would be smashed, moldered or ruined into forms indistinguishable from “natural” ones, given this amount of time. That seems about right to me. Even the great pyramids of Egypt would be weathered to dust.

If the earth were, indeed, very old (and I think the evidence is overwhelming that it is), then there is no reason to suspect that human life has NOT been introduced, extinguished, and reintroduced time and time again throughout our planet’s long existence.

After all, why let a perfectly good home go to waste? No diligent steward or landlord would permit his property to remain fallow, vacant or idle for long!

Perhaps Matthew 20:1-16 might be read again in a new light?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Other Side of Joy

A friend posted on Facebook a picture of a nearly-empty bottle of tequila with a full glass, with ice. Her picture was simply entitled “Goals”. 
I commented: 
I see that you're hurting. (You joke about alcohol...and ended relationships.) I know what it's like to end the day -- or even begin it! -- with the thought of getting drunk and just sleeping it all away. I wish my pain could end that way too. It's tough to find "meaning" to it all. 
And even if you do, it's tough to believe it. NOBODY enjoys passing through pain to get to the other side of joy. (That would make a good book title, by the way: The Other Side of Joy.) Especially when the "joy" seems so far away...and many years (and even MORE pain) have come and gone. 
I'm in a LOT of pain myself. As you know, I'm losing my spouse, the love of my life. (I've loved and needed and wanted and craved and yearned for and longed after and worshipped this woman EVERY BIT AS MUCH as you've loved your husband...and I'm still losing her. In fact, she's walking away from me.) 
You can console yourself in the knowledge that your husband didn't "leave" you. He was "taken". My love is leaving me. I am rent asunder. Wailing is a common sound in my lonely household now (all public appearances aside). WAILING. I die daily. Hourly. Every minute. My world is blasted and my soul is shattered. 
Still, what can I do? I have to DIG DEEP to find the courage to go on! It won't be found in a bottle. (I know that much!) Or a joint. (As fun as that would be.) Or in indiscriminate sex. (Empty pleasure.) 
We have a "calling". I'm convinced that in "keeping God's commandments" all our sobs shall be stifled and all our tears wiped away. Laughter and love will replace sorrow and heartbreak someday. 
Jesus endured all these things. He said "Come, follow me." Then He walked through hell. 
There must be something worthwhile on the other side. He came out of the tomb smiling. 
Let's follow Him together, shall we?