A witness from God can be relied upon. As you read our thoughts, beliefs, and experiences, we invite you to obtain a witness for yourself. If something we say or imply does not ring true, then you should feel no obligation to accept it. Life is an individual and unique journey with God. Although we can help and encourage each other, we need to be careful not to come between God and another person.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Our Daddy's Beard

A couple weeks ago I was talking to my little Emma about her dad. She said, “My dad, bued.”

I questioned, “Your dad builds?”

No! Bued!”

Oh, your dad has a beard.”

Ya, my dad has a bued :)”

Yesterday as I was resting on the couch, Emma wanted to lie next to me. It wasn't too comfortable for me because her fuzzy hair kept tickling my face. I told her that she had a fuzzy face. She corrected me, “No, me don't have a fuzzy face. . . Dad has a fuzzy face.”

I'm going to write about the new addition to our family . . . John's new beard. A few months back he had a feeling to start growing a beard and since then we've learned a lot about beards. BTW, I think he is quite handsome with his new beard. Wouldn't you agree?

Here's a few things I found out about beards. It is in no way a comprehensive list. I've never thought too much about beards, but now it is an interesting topic.

Throughout the course of history, societal attitudes toward male beards have varied widely depending on factors such as prevailing cultural-religious traditions and the current era's fashion trends. Some religions (such as Islam and Sikhism) have considered a full beard to be absolutely essential for all males able to grow one, and mandate it as part of their official dogma. Other cultures (while not officially mandating it), view a beard as central to a man's virility, exemplifying such virtues as wisdom, strength, sexual prowess and high social status. However, in cultures where facial hair is uncommon (or currently out of fashion), beards may be associated with poor hygiene or a "savage," uncivilized, or even dangerous demeanor. Wikipedia - Beard

In the bible, having your beard shaved or plucked is seen as a sign of disgrace.

1And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead.
2Then said David, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father shewed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the children of Ammon.
3And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it?
4Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle,even to their buttocks, and sent them away.
5When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return. 2 Samuel 10:1-5

I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. Isaiah 50:6

The Iranians were fond of long beards, and almost all the Iranian kings had a beard.  Wikipedia - Beard

In ancient India, the beard was allowed to grow long, a symbol of dignity and of wisdom (cf.sadhu). The nations in the east generally treated their beards with great care and veneration, and the punishment for licentiousness and adultery was to have the beard of the offending parties publicly cut off. They had such a sacred regard for the preservation of their beards that a man might pledge it for the payment of a debt. Ibid

The ancient Greeks regarded the beard as a badge or sign of virility. Ibid

In the Middle Ages, a beard displayed a knight's virility and honour. Ibid

Beards also play an important role in some religions. Ibid

Christianity: Iconography and art dating from the 4th century onward almost always portray Jesus with a beard. Ibid

Latter-Day Saints: Since the mid-twentieth century,The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has encouraged men to be clean-shaven, particularly those that serve in ecclesiastical leadership positions. The Church's encouragement of men shaving has no theological basis, but stems from the general waning of facial hair's popularity in Western society during the twentieth century and its association with the hippie and drug culture aspects of the counter culture of the 1960s, and has not been a permanent rule. Ibid

"In the minds of most people at this time, the beard and long hair are associated with protest, revolution and rebellion against authority," Oaks said in that 1971 speech. By the 1980s, beards were more a matter of style than protest and mainstream Americans — including many Mormon professionals and converts — went with them. Standards of Dress and Grooming by Dallin H. Oaks, How beards became barred among top Mormon leaders By Peggy Fletcher Stack The Salt LakeTribune

Being clean-shaven is generally a requirement for men to be Mormon temple workers . . . The temple-worker policy parallels requirements for the faith's full-time missionaries and has become the standard for the church's seminary and institute teachers as well as its top governing hierarchies. Indeed, starting in 1951, every LDS "prophet, seer and revelator" has been clean-shaven, as has nearly every apostle. That standard has trickled down to the local level, even though facial hair is not mentioned in the church's Handbook, which lays out institutional rules and guidelines. It remains despite the fact that nicely trimmed beards are popular again across the generations and professions — including doctors, lawyers, advertising executives, teachers, sports figures and many others.” Ibid

Joseph Smith said, “I love that man better who swears a stream as long as my arm yet deals justice to his neighbors and mercifully deals his substance to the poor, than the long, smooth-faced hypocrite.” TPJS Section Six 1843-44, p.303 

Judaism: In Judaism, shaving with a razor is a prohibition that is based on rabbinic interpretation of Leviticus 19:27, which states; You shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. The Mishnah interprets this as a prohibition on using a razor on the beard.This prohibition is further expanded upon in kabbalistic literature. Shaving in Judaism

Sikhism: Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, commanded the Sikhs to maintain unshorn hair, recognizing it as a necessary adornment of the body by Almighty God as well as a mandatory Article of Faith. Sikhs consider the beard to be part of the nobility and dignity of their manhood. Sikhs also refrain from cutting their hair and beards out of respect for the God-given form. Wikipedia - Beard

Rastafari Movement: Male Rastafarians wear beards in conformity with injunctions given in the Bible, such as Leviticus 21:5, which reads "They shall not make any baldness on their heads, nor shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any cuts in their flesh." The beard is a symbol of the covenant between God (Jahor Jehovahin Rastafari usage) and his people. Ibid

So, Sweetie there might be a lot more to your beard than making you more handsome than you already were :)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

True Followers of Christ? Apostasy?

I've been thinking . . . There's so much talk about apostasy, and there's a lot of finger pointing. How is someone to identify a true follower of Christ? I've heard it said, “We can't go wrong! God has promised us that we can't be led astray!” That doesn't make sense. God gives everyone a choice.

There are a few people who did not choose to turn away from God. “And Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion; and it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into his own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, Zion is Fled.” Moses 7:69

Now, there's another group of people who chose God for a long time. We read about them in 4 Nephi, but eventually even these people chose to apostatize and turn away from God? 4 Nephi 1:20-49

What are the characteristics of these people when they were choosing God?
  1. There were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. 4 Nephi 1:2
  2. They had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift. 4 Nephi 1:3
  3. They did heal the sick, and raise the dead, and cause the lame to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear; and all manner of miracles did they work among the children of men; and in nothing did they work miracles save it were in the name of Jesus. 4 Nephi 1:5
  4. There were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God. 4 Nephi 1:16
This is what I would expect from any group who claims to be God's people. Anything less than this would be categorized as some form of apostasy.

Melchizedek found himself among a wicked people. Look at what he did . . .

Now this Melchizedek was a king over the land of Salem; and his people had waxed strong in iniquity and abomination; yea, they had all gone astray; they were full of all manner of wickedness; But Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days; therefore he was called the prince of peace, for he was the king of Salem; and he did reign under his father.Alma 13:17-18

Finding myself among an apostate group where do I start? It would seem sensible to start with myself . . . then my marriage . . . then my family . . . and then my community. It's time for us to rise up and become the happiest people among all the people who have been created by the hand of God. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pray Unto the Father in the Name of Jesus

Here is a conversation I had with a friend. I have only included those parts of the conversation that are relevant to this topic.

Friend: You said that you wrestled with Jesus over your concern. How? Do you pray to Jesus? Because that is not the example Jesus set for us. Do you pray to Heavenly Father?

Me: Read 3 Nephi 19:18

Friend: Keep reading. What did Jesus do?

Me: Where does it say anything about being evil or wrong to talk to Jesus? I am not understanding your question "What did Jesus do?" Did Jesus tell them not to pray to him? What was the result of their prayer? Do you worship Christ?

Friend: What did Jesus do in 3 Nephi 19: 19-23? He prayed unto the Father. Jesus is the perfect example. That is why I am trying to follow his example. Jesus is our brother, god is our Father. 3 Nephi 18:16.

Where did we get the idea that it is inappropriate to talk to Jesus? Where did we get the idea that Jesus is our older brother? I started asking questions, and this is where it led me.

In 3 Nephi 18:19 Jesus teaches the people “Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name;”

Then in 3 Nephi 19:6-7 the twelve teach the multitude the same thing, “And the twelve did teach the multitude; and behold, they did cause that the multitude should kneel down upon the face of the earth, and should pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus. And the disciples did pray unto the Father also in the name of Jesus. And it came to pass that they arose and ministered unto the people.”

The disciples clearly understood to pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus. So why did they pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God? Why didn't Jesus correct them and say, “Hey wait, pray to the Father not to me.” Not only does Jesus not interrupt their prayer, Jesus is pleased. “Father, thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in me; and thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them, and they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them.”

And it came to pass that while the angels were ministering unto the disciples, behold, Jesus came and stood in the midst and ministered unto them. And it came to pass that he spake unto the multitude, and commanded them that they should kneel down again upon the earth, and also that his disciples should kneel down upon the earth. And it came to pass that when they had all knelt down upon the earth, he commanded his disciples that they should pray. And behold, they began to pray; and they did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God. And it came to pass that Jesus departed out of the midst of them, and went a little way off from them and bowed himself to the earth, and he said: Father, I thank thee that thou hast given the Holy Ghost unto these whom I have chosen; and it is because of their belief in me that I have chosen them out of the world. Father, I pray thee that thou wilt give the Holy Ghost unto all them that shall believe in their words. Father, thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in me; and thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them, and they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them. And now Father, I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one. 3 Nephi 19:15-23

It might be said that the only reason they prayed to Jesus is because he was with them, but it can be reasoned that “I am” is another name for God – “I am (God) with them”.

    Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham, I am. John 8:58

I think the disciples knew who their Father was. We see great and marvelous blessings poured out upon the disciples and the multitude after they pray to Jesus.

Jesus came again to the disciples, and said unto them So great faith have I never seen among all the Jews; wherefore I could not show unto them so great miracles, because of their unbelief. Verily I say unto you, there are none of them that have seen so great things as ye have seen; neither have they heard so great things as ye have heard. 3Nephi 19:35

What distinguished the believers from the unbelievers?

I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness. D&C 93:19

It is important to know how to worship and what we worship. Is the model in 3 Nephi19 the best explanation of how to pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus? How do we come unto Jesus? What does it mean to receive the Son?
    No man can come unto me, except he doeth the will of my Father who hath sent me. And this is the will of him who hath sent me, that ye receive the Son; for the Father beareth record of him; and he who receiveth the testimony, and doeth the will of him who sent me, I will raise up in the resurrection of the just. JST, John 6:44
What blessings can come when we understand who we are praying to? What does it mean to call upon the name of the Lord?

And then began these men to call upon the name of the Lord, and the Lord blessed them; Moses 6:4

Why is it the Lord Jesus Christ who grants that their prayers may be answered?
    And may the Lord Jesus Christ grant that their prayers may be answered according to their faith; and may God the Father remember the covenant which he hath made with the house of Israel; and may he bless them forever, through faith on the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. Mormon 9:37
Who is the Holy One of Israel? Who is the Lord God?

O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name. 2 Nephi 9:41

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Time and Eternity

Time and Eternity seem be be describing two different dimensions. This would explain why it is difficult for those who view the world in time to comprehend things in eternity.

Here a High-School Student explains the 4th Dimension

4th Dimension explained

Even having the 4th dimension explained, it is challenging to visualize the 4th dimension. If you lived in the 4th dimension you see all sides of a three dimensional object, before, behind, and through.

Is this John's attempt at describing heaven? Or a dimension higher than earth?

    And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. Revelation 4:6

I'm not saying that heaven is in the 4th dimension, but it seems that heaven is in a higher dimension than the earth. That is why the things of eternity are often misunderstood and confusing to those who only see the natural world.

Does our flesh live in time? Does our spirit live in eternity? Are the things of eternity only to be comprehended while in the Spirit?

This is the end of the vision which we saw, which we were commanded to write while we were yet in the Spirit. But great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion; Which he commanded us we should not write while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not lawful for man to utter; Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him; To whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves; That through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory. Doctrine and Covenants 76:113-118

Eternal, spiritual, no end neither beginning, and heaven seem to be words describing the dimension of eternity. Temporal, beginning of my work – last of my work, natural, carnal, sensual, and earth seem to describe the dimension of time.

For by the power of my Spirit created I them; yea, all things both spiritual and temporal— First spiritual, secondly temporal, which is the beginning of my work; and again, first temporal, and secondly spiritual, which is the last of my work—Speaking unto you that you may naturally understand; but unto myself my works have no end, neither beginning; but it is given unto you that ye may understand, because ye have asked it of me and are agreed. Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created. Behold, I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him commandment, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual; they are not natural nor temporal, neither carnal nor sensual. Doctrine and Covenants 29:31-35

And now my sons, behold I have somewhat more to desire of you, which desire is, that ye may not do these things that ye may boast, but that ye may do these things to lay up for yourselves a treasure in heaven, yea, which is eternal, and which fadeth not away; yea, that ye may have that precious gift of eternal life, which we have reason to suppose hath been given to our fathers. Helaman 5:8

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1

Is eternity a covering because those in time don't see into eternity? Abraham, Sarai, Lot, and their caravan were protected in eternity. Jesus could easily escape his enemies by stepping into eternity. Philip was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord.

Therefore, eternity was our covering and our rock and our salvation, as we journeyed from Haran by the way of Jershon, to come to the land of Canaan. Abraham 2:16

And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way, Luke 4:29-30

Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. John 8:59

And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:39

Certain things need to happen in the dimension of time that also need to happen in eternity
And he that receiveth these things receiveth me; and they shall be gathered unto me in time and in eternity. Doctrine and Covenants 39:22

And verily in this thing ye have done wisely, for it is required of the Lord, at the hand of every steward, to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity. Doctrine and Covenants 72:3

And it came to pass that Enoch looked; and from Noah, he beheld all the families of the earth; and he cried unto the Lord, saying: When shall the day of the Lord come? When shall the blood of the Righteous be shed, that all they that mourn may be sanctified and have eternal life? And the Lord said: It shall be in the meridian of time, in the days of wickedness and vengeance. And behold, Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, even in the flesh; and his soul rejoiced, saying: The Righteous is lifted up, and the Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world; and through faith I am in the bosom of the Father, and behold, Zion is with me. Moses 7:45-47

This high priesthood being after the order of his Son, which order was from the foundation of the world; or in other words, being without beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity, according to his foreknowledge of all things— Alma 13:7

Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world, or in other words, in eternity; He was also slain in the meridian of time. He made his preparations (D&C 19:19, 128:5) both in time and in eternity.

To understand and comprehend the things of eternity, it is important to listen to the spirit within even God.  I am coming to believe that attachment and focus on earthy substance is a hindrance in comprehending God. 

And I would not that ye think that I know of myself—not of the temporal but of the spiritual, not of the carnal mind but of God. Alma 36:4 

The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things. Doctrine and Covenants 88:13

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Isaiah 57:15

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Despair Cometh Because of Iniquity

Study Finds Utah Leads Nation in Antidepressant Use. Antidepressant drugs are prescribed in Utah more often than in any other state, at a rate nearly twice the national average. When I read this and other heartbreaking news, I get a little weak in the stomach.

I ask myself, "Why is there so much despair among the Mormon people?"  Are there answers in the scriptures yet to be discovered? Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

These words are written in the final chapter of the Book of Mormon, “And except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God; neither can ye be saved in the kingdom of God if ye have not faith; neither can ye if ye have no hope. And if ye have no hope ye must needs be in despair; and despair cometh because of iniquity. And Christ truly said unto our fathers: If ye have faith ye can do all things which are expedient unto me.” Moroni 10:21-23

I decided to look up the definitions of iniquity and despair to help me in my understanding. Iniquity is gross injustice or something that is unfair or evil. Despair is hopelessness or depression 

Why did Moroni say, “Despair cometh because of iniquity.” So what does our iniquity have to do with depression?

I read what the dictionary said about iniquity, then I wondered what the scriptures said about iniquity? This is the best scripture I found that gives some kind of definition for the word.

“And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.” Alma 41:11

From this scripture I learn that iniquity has to do with being in a natural, or a carnal state. What do carnal men and women do that is unjust or unfair?

When Abinadi called the church leadership of his day to repentance, he said, “And now I read unto you the remainder of the commandments of God, for I perceive that they are not written in your hearts; I perceive that ye have studied and taught iniquity the most part of your lives.” Mosiah 13:11

Why would the church leaders of his day be studying and teaching iniquity? What does that look like?

Abinadi said, Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise. Therefore, what teach ye this people? And they said: We teach the law of Moses. And again he said unto them: If ye teach the law of Moses why do ye not keep it? Why do ye set your hearts upon riches? Why do ye commit whoredoms and spend your strength with harlots, yea, and cause this people to commit sin, that the Lord has cause to send me to prophesy against this people, yea, even a great evil against this people?” Mosiah 12:27-29

King Noah and his priests set their hearts on riches, but so have I. When Mormon was abridging the Book of Mormon, did he include this story because he could see our day? “Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing. Mormon 8:35

“And now it came to pass that Zeniff conferred the kingdom upon Noah, one of his sons; therefore Noah began to reign in his stead; and he did not walk in the ways of his father. For behold, he did not keep the commandments of God, but he did walk after the desires of his own heart. And he had many wives and concubines. And he did cause his people to commit sin, and do that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord. Yea, and they did commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness. 

"And he laid a tax of one fifth part of all they possessed, a fifth part of their gold and of their silver, and a fifth part of their ziff, and of their copper, and of their brass and their iron; and a fifth part of their fatlings; and also a fifth part of all their grain. And all this did he take to support himself, and his wives and his concubines; and also his priests, and their wives and their concubines; thus he had changed the affairs of the kingdom. 

"For he put down all the priests that had been consecrated by his father, and consecrated new ones in their stead, such as were lifted up in the pride of their hearts.Yea, and thus they were supported in their laziness, and in their idolatry, and in their whoredoms, by the taxes which king Noah had put upon his people; thus did the people labor exceedingly to support iniquity.  

"Yea, and they also became idolatrous, because they were deceived by the vain and flattering words of the king and priests; for they did speak flattering things unto them. And it came to pass that king Noah built many elegant and spacious buildings; and he ornamented them with fine work of wood, and of all manner of precious things, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of brass, and of ziff, and of copper;


"And he also built him a spacious palace, and a throne in the midst thereof, all of which was of fine wood and was ornamented with gold and silver and with precious things. 

"And he also caused that his workmen should work all manner of fine work within the walls of the temple, of fine wood, and of copper, and of brass.

"And the seats which were set apart for the high priests, which were above all the other seats, he did ornament with pure gold; and he caused a breastwork to be built before them, that they might rest their bodies and their arms upon while they should speak lying and vain words to his people.

"And it came to pass that he built a tower near the temple; yea, a very high tower, even so high that he could stand upon the top thereof and overlook the land of Shilom, and also the land of Shemlon, which was possessed by the Lamanites; and he could even look over all the land round about.

"And it came to pass that he caused many buildings to be built in the land Shilom; and he caused a great tower to be built on the hill north of the land Shilom, which had been a resort for the children of Nephi at the time they fled out of the land; and thus he did do with the riches which he obtained by the taxation of his people. Mosiah 11:1-13

I feel like I just received a great treasure. I am excited to repent. I really didn't understand iniquity a few hours ago when I started to write down ideas. I need to reconsider how I do things.

Look what happens when we're freed from our riches . . . “behold the disciples of Jesus had formed a church of Christ in all the lands round about. And as many as did come unto them, and did truly repent of their sins, were baptized in the name of Jesus; and they did also receive the Holy Ghost . . . the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift. . . And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.” 4 Nephi 1:1-16

What would happen if I wasn't interested in obtaining and maintaining a large amount of stuff? A lot of energy is expended taking care of my possessions. I think this also has to do with keeping up an image: how I dress, what I look like, and what people think of me.

Is the Lord's yoke easy and his burden light? Can we be filled with the love of God and be the happiest people on earth? How does our materialistic world contribute to the depression among our people? Going back to the definition of iniquity, what is unfair or unjust about people being on unequal ground when it comes to temporal things? "Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld." D&C 70:14 I didn't put the two together, but it's something to think about.

It's interesting that this understanding is coming to me now. Jaylee came home for fall break with the idea of building and living in a tiny house (about 250 square foot home). As I listened to her ideas and started watching the videos of people shedding their material things, I could feel the joy build. It would be very liberating to live a simple unencumbered life.

I am just beginning to understand what it means to repent of my iniquity. I am excited to explore a new way of living and thinking.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Stay in the Boat and Hold On!

A boat is a fitting symbol for what is being taught in Elder M. Russell Ballard's October 2014 General Conference talk.

What would you do if you were on the Titanic? If you could see what was coming, would you say anything to the other passengers? Or would you quietly get your family off the boat, back to shore, and onto a rock where there is sure footing?

A boat is very vulnerable to the storms of life. The judgments of God can be easily felt on a boat.

Jonah felt the Lord's displeasure out at sea. “But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.” Jonah 1:4

Laman and Lemuel felt the judgments of God out at sea. “And it came to pass that after they [Laman and Lemuel] had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work. Wherefore, they knew not whither they should steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and they began to be frightened exceedingly lest they should be drowned in the sea; nevertheless they did not loose me. And on the fourth day, which we had been driven back, the tempest began to be exceedingly sore. And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea. And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly; and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof.” 1 Nephi 18:12-15

The disciples of Jesus were fearful and showed their lack of faith on the sea. “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea,Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:37-41

The waters cannot be trusted. Like the doctrines and teachings of men, they are shifting and ever moving. When the storms of life come upon me, I don't want to be on a boat at all. I don't care how many people are on the boat with their life jackets. When the mighty storm is beating upon me, I don't even want to be standing on a sandy beach Matthew 7:24-29. I want to be standing on a sturdy rock:-) Holding on to a sinking boat with both hands will not save me.

In Russell Ballard'sOctober 2014 General Conference, he likened himself to an experienced river guide. He said he recently spoke at the new mission presidents’ seminar and counseled the leaders to “Keep the eyes of the mission on the leaders of the Church. … We will not and … cannot lead [you] astray. And as you teach your missionaries to focus their eyes on us. . .”

In contrast, Helaman taught, “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” Helaman 5:12

"Call me Mr. Fat Jack"

If you're looking to the “church boat” to save you, you have reason to be uneasy. If you know how to get your own revelation and swim, get off the boat, and swim back to shore. The only guide you need is the Lord Jesus Christ. Only pretenders would divert your attention away from the Lord and teach you to focus your eyes on them. No man should ever stand between you and your Lord. Plant your feet on the Rock of our Redeemer.   

Monday, September 29, 2014

Priesthood Restored Again ???

The following questions and statements were shared on our facebook page.  Since John doesn't have a short answer, he decided to reply to Larry's post on our blog. Here is a copy of Larry's facebook post:

In a conversation I had with John he made the statement that I understood to mean the church was not true, that the leadership had no authority, that all leaders of the LDS church since Joseph Smith Jr. were false leaders. With that in mind how would you interpret his standing with that Organization? All have the right to believe in who, what they would like. I have seen the the verse D and C 124: 28 quoted as the proof that the higher priesthood was taken away. If you will read the verses before that you will see that the membership of the church were being called to build a temple for the reason stated in verse 28. I was ask where in the scriptures that these things were restored. Perhaps D and C 127: verse 8 Might shed a little light on the subject. You may believe what You would like. I testify that the priesthood was restored and has remained on the earth since Joesph Smith Jr. received it. If you would like to discuss this more you know how to reach me. Come and visit if you would like Your friend Larry ( PS If I have missed understood any thing then I apologize. )”

Here is John's response:

Larry, thank you for your thoughtful comments, statements, and testimony. I appreciate your understanding of the scriptures, your devout desire to serve God, and your friendship to me. I really appreciate your willingness to talk with me and openly discuss more about the gospel. There is no apology necessary – it is pleasant to visit with you.

I respect the LDS Church, the leadership, fellow members, and the much good that has been promoted. By way of the LDS Church, I have been blessed to receive truth, ordinances, the Book of Mormon, scriptures, prophecies, and the Word of God. I am everlastingly grateful for my membership and standing in the LDS church, my process of learning and understanding the Word of God, and for everything I have experienced thereof.


The Church truly does exist and plays an important role in the latter days. However, the LDS Church is NOT completely true because the institution and men within it teach and advance both truth and error. I value the truth promoted, but choose to reject the false and vain and foolish doctrines and traditions of men. Even current Church statements found on LDS.org and the official LDS Church position on Polygamy and Race & Priesthood (among many other things) is shifting like sand under our feet. The LDS Church increasingly appears to be just another mainstream religion. With greater frequency the LDS hierarchy, professors, and general membership are all wrong; their creeds are an abomination in His sight; professors are corrupt; and “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” JSH 1:19

God is a God of truth and knows what He is doing. D&C 93:26 Men are not of truth and do not know what they are doing, unless they are connected with God and commune with Jehovah, as did Joseph Smith and all true and living prophets of God. Because the preservation of truth restored through Joseph Smith is decreasing, and the errors of men are increasing in the LDS Church, I believe the LDS Church is becoming less true. It is becoming increasingly false because it progressively embraces incorrect notions and false tenets.

The words “Having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof” is very revealing when a person is identifying true or false religions. An actual prophet of God, or the members of the true church of God will most certainly possess power from God Himself.

Here is what Elder Boyd K. Packer said, at least in part, about the LDS Church during the April 2010 General Conference? Elder Packer talked about the church's lack of ability to disseminate power among the saints. Why is the church unable to disseminate power? Why was the church able to spread and distribute authority under common consent but not the power of God?” The words recorded in D&C 121:36 can be enlightening and answer these questions. "That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness." If a man is not connected with the powers of heaven, is it possible for him to possess the rights of the priesthood or power from on high?

Does this scripture provide us with a solution to the dilemma that Elder Packer described? Is there a distinction between authority and power? Is Elder Packer trying to tell us something? Is he giving us notice of something very essential and fundamental that is missing in the current state of the LDS Church? If the fullness of the priesthood has been lost or forfeited, can the remaining lesser priesthood bind or seal? Is it possible that many in the church teach one perspective of priesthood power, but the scriptures and the Word of God teach quite another? Is it necessary for God to personally bestow the priesthood with His own voice? Or is it sufficient for men to confer priesthood upon others by the laying on of hands from one generation to another? Is the priesthood or the association with men different than the priesthood or association with God? Why or why not? Does it matter? Alma 13:1  JST Genesis 14:25-40

The angel , who spoke to Nephi, taught key truths concerning the true church of God in contrast to the many false and abominable churches in the world. Nephi wrote, “And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.” 1 Nephi 14:10

Taking the words of the angel as the Word of God, wouldn't it seem wise to belong to the church of the Lamb of God (the true church) and discard all others? Is the LDS Church considered to be the church of the Lamb of God? If so, why is there a lack of power within the church as Elder Packer described? If not, does that make the LDS Church another great and abominable church of the devil? Does the LDS population possess power from God or mere authority by common consent of the people? Is there a difference? Does it matter?


Concerning LDS leadership authority, here is my perspective: Both past and current leadership of the LDS Church were voted in by the people by common consent, therefore, they have the right and authority to lead the LDS Church organization.

Here is a quote from Brigham Young:
"Perhaps it may make some of you stumble, were I to ask you a question - Does a man's being a Prophet in this Church prove that he shall be the President of it ? I answer, no ! A man may be a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and it may have nothing to do with his being the President of the Church. Suffice it to say, that Joseph was the President of the Church, as long as he lived; the people chose to have it so. He always filled that responsible station by the voice of the people. Can you find any revelation appointing him the President of the Church? The keys of the Priesthood were committed to Joseph to build up the Kingdom of God on the earth, and were not be taken from him in time or in eternity; but when he was called to preside over the Church, it was by the voice of the people; though he held the keys of the Priesthood, independent of their voice." Journal of Discourses 1:133.

I am fully content that the LDS hierarchy runs the Church under common consent of the membership according to the dictates of their own conscience. However, if and whenever I am able to identify priestcraft or error in the LDS Church, leadership, or hierarchy, which runs contrary to past prophets, scriptures, and the Word of God, I feel no obligation or sensible reason to follow the promoted falsehood or error. I see no wisdom in following a man or teaching a “herd of people” to follow a blind man off a cliff to destruction. My belief and practice is to embrace the truth of God and reject the errors of men.

My friend, Larry, referred to a key scripture that certainly offers additional light and understanding to each of us. D&C 127:8 reads as follows: “For I am about to restore many things to the earth, pertaining to the priesthood, saith the Lord of Hosts.” At this specific point in time, the Lord offered much to the saints, including the restoration of the fullness of the priesthood, Zion, and more. “For I deign to reveal unto my church things which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world, things that pertain to the dispensation of the fulness of times.” D&C124:41 The revelation found in D&C 127, which Larry referred to, was dated September 1, 1842. This falls right in the middle of a “key time-frame” and offer from the Lord. This revelation is dated nearly twenty months after the D&C 124 revelation and almost twenty-two months before the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, on June 27, 1844.

From the time God instructed and offered the saints another chance to receive the fullness of the priesthood D&C 124:25-48 to the time Joseph, Hyrum, and the Holy Priesthood were taken out of their midst, nearly forty-two months had passed away.

The saints had about 3 ½ years to receive God's offer by fulfilling His command. “But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me.” D&C 124:31 Having a sufficient time, were they successful?

The saints in Nauvoo scrambled and tried to finish the Nauvoo temple after Joseph died. Was there still time to receive God 's offer or had His offer expired? Was God’s hand of protection removed? Were ordinances ever performed in the Nauvoo temple with God’s approval and seal? Did the Most High God dwell therein? Was His comfort, power, or presence felt there? Did God protect, care for, and guard the temple?

History reveals that around midnight on 8–9 October 1848, the Nauvoo Temple was set on fire. On 27 May 1850, the temple was struck by a tornado. In February 1865 Nauvoo's City Council ordered the final demolition of the last standing portion of the temple. Soon afterwords, all evidence of the temple disappeared. It was utterly destroyed. What message does this convey to you? Does that sound like a spot that was made holy?

Did the hand of God protect the saints? Did they receive the offered restoration or did they get moved out of their place and driven from Nauvoo? Why? D&C 124:45 Did they witness blessings and protection from God or did they experience cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments? D&C 124:48 Did they find peace, glory, and power from heaven, or were they driven into the wilderness like the children of Israel?

Was Joseph taken from their midst like Moses was taken from the children of Israel? Were they left only with the lesser priesthood? D&C 84:25-26 Did they succeed in finding Zion or did they obtain less? Did they receive conversations with heaven, revelations, glory, honor, and endowments from the Lord? Did they find the Nauvoo temple to be the place where God came to them, talked to them, and ministered to them? Did He reveal His ordinances unto them and things that had been kept hid from before the foundation of the world pertaining to dispensation of the fullness of times? D&C 124:39-41 Did the Lord perform the oath and fulfill the promises that they expected at his hands? D&C 124:47

Did God restore that which was offered? Why or why not? Did the saints receive Zion? Was the fullness of the Priesthood restored after it was lost as recorded in D&C 124:28 dated January 19, 1841? If it has since been restored, when did it happen? Where did it occur? By whom was it restored? Upon whom was it conferred? Are there any scriptures, revelations, or records whatsoever containing the Word of God testifying that the Holy Priesthood was restored after 1841 and remains today with the latter day saints? I would be appreciative to know of any such evidence? Where does the LDS Church stand today regarding truth, redemption, priesthood, and power from God? Is it important to you to find out the truth concerning this subject? Does it matter?