Our Devotion to the Church.


In reading some of the comments on this blog I see this type of emotion.

I became a member of the Church, because I prayed and told the Lord that I wanted to find His true Church. I searched for the truth for many years. I’m a member of the Church now for many years. I love the church and the local leaders and my brothers and sister there. I love the prophet and the other general authorities. I have listened to them closely and served them faithfully. I have sacrificed much for my faith. I have done all in my power to fulfill all my covenants even to consecrate all that I am to the church. I have found out that the Church is even more true then I expected.

Reality is that as humans we are strongly effected by the contradicting ideas of the false doctrine which is now in the LDS church. I have seen people who are literally insane.

One of them I loved very much. She was my first wife.
I married her at age 23. We had a fairy tale romance. It was so wonderful. God blessed us so much. She saw a vision of light around the man who sealed us in the Salt Lake Temple. I adored her and for many years felt she was perfect. I was willing to do anything for her. But unknown to me or her she had a mental illness. By the time the mental illness got real bad about 20 years into our marriage she had me convinced that everything she said was true.
She told me over and over again how she was in tune with the spirit of God. She explained that she had lived a clean life and God was working through her. About 25 years into the marriage she convinced me that one of our 4 daughters had a real evil problem and we needed to force her out of the house. I went a long with it. This daughter was not even permitted to associated with her other adult siblings.
Then she convinced me that I had a serious problem and did not in fact love her, that I didn’t even know what love was. I resisted but eventually out of love for her I believed her and tried to figure out what was wrong with me. I remember during those last 3 years I would lay in bed after hearing 5 plus hours of castigation from her and pour out my heart to God. “Please Father Please something is not right. Either I am wrong or she is. I don’t care which I don’t care if I am right or not I just want to know the truth.”
She began telling me over and over again every few days that I had to repent. Then it became every day. Then it was multiple times a day. With long and unrelenting confrontational sessions she would keep me up till all hours of the night.
She began hitting me and slapping me. But I never got mad or yelled at her. I turned the other cheek on several occasions. I tried to never ever find fault with her. I loved her so much. We had been sealed in the temple. It was my dream to be with her forever. And as she had told me she had lived a virtuous life so I believed what she told me.
She told the ward members behind my back that I was an abusive husband and had been for years. She said this to the bishop and then to her lawyers. She said I needed to sign a post nuptial agreement to save our marriage. In it I agreed that if there was a divorce she would get 100% of my money from the high paying job and 100% of the retirement if I retired (which I was eligible for). And she would get the house (which was all paid for) and everything in it. In fact we had zero debts. And a years supply of food.
She said I had to fast which I did for days at a time. She said I had to get a second job. I was working 40 hours a week making over $100,000 a year but to show I loved her I got a second job making $13.75 an hour about 20 hours a week. All the new money I made went to fix up the house.
Why did I do all this because I was convinced she was “true”. The one and only true spouse for me.

You may be wondering where the money was all going if there were no debts and I was making such good money. Why did I have to spend all the money from my part time job to fix up the house. Just a second I will tell you why.
Well 12 days after I signed the post nuptial she convinced me that to save my soul I had to divorce her.
I was so sad. I felt I had lost my chance for eternal happiness. I moved out of the house into a tiny apartment (all I could afford on my part time job since she was keeping all the money I was making from the 100K plus job). But in just 6 weeks of being away from her lies and mental abuse I was able to open my eyes and see that it was her that had been abusing me. That she was not in any way inspired by God. She was so heinous in her viciousness I think the devil may be taking notes. And she is 5th generation LDS.
Oh the money. She had been writing checks every two weeks from our joint account to her Utah Community Credit Union which she had removed my name from just weeks before the post nuptial agreement. She stuffed away about $20,000 before the judge overturned the insane divorce decree.
So why am I telling you all this? It is a cautionary tale. It is true; every word of it. The point is when you love her so much you refuse to see how corrupt she is. You are sealed to her. It is in your belief that life eternal is to obey her and do all in your power to please her. She has told you that she is virtuous, everything she says is true, that she loves you but if you doubt her then you don’t love her.

But you do love her. You want everything she says to be true. You adore her so much. She was God’s greatest gift to you. You have been through so much together. She bore you children. She was your bride. She was always the most beautiful woman in the world to you. How could you ever comprehend leaving someone that you have sacrificed so much for? The more we sacrifice for anyone or anything the more convinced we are that it is a good thing.
I have no doubt that there are and have been through the ages men and women who have given their all to what they believed was the truth. And the more they sacrificed the more they were sure it was the right thing to do. Even to the point of doing some very irrational things.
I saw plainly that God had delivered me from a prison I did not know I was in. I am completely sure given the amount of control she had over me that if I had stayed with her she would have eventually convinced me that I needed to kill myself. And I would have done it unless God intervened.
So what has this got to do with you?
Babylon has a religion. Just as there is not a whole nebulous group of governments which constitute the present day Babylonian empire, so there is not a nebulous cloud of churches. Satan has picked the one church to infiltrate. And he has done it. After the death of the true witnesses of Christ (the original 11 and then Matthias and Paul and a couple others) Satan chose the remnant of the Christian faith to join to his then Babylonian Kingdom, the Roman empire.
Will he do it again? I don’t know to what degree. But he has already infiltrated the LDS church so deeply that the members are programmed to say and act upon this saying, “I don’t care what the brethren say, I will follow them because it is God’s true church.”
Should every member of Christ true church be saying, “I don’t care what the Brethren say, I will take the Holy Spirit as my guide and not be deceived.” Or maybe, “I will prove all things that any man or group of men say by the Spirit of God.”
Oh but you can’t do that I remember one of the Brethren said I am supposed to trust what they say more than what I get from God directly. He said that I “cannot communicate reliably through the direct, personal line if [I am]… out of harmony with the priesthood line.” (April Conference 2010 Dallin H. Oaks). So that means I can tell if I am listening to a false spirit by whether or not what I receive from it is in 100% agreement with what I hear from the Brethren. So if I think the Brethren might be wrong that is proof positive that I am in sin and cut off from the spirit of God and I am the one who is wrong.

Wow just exactly like my first wife. How clever.

Now my brothers and sister you know this is what you are being taught. Why then does anyone need to pray? Oh to get personal guidance right. But we can’t get personal revelation which would ever tell us if the church were in apostasy, can we?
Well don’t worry we have been told that the first presidency and the 12 apostles will never lead the members of the church astray.

By whom were we told that? By the voice of God? Is it in the scriptures? Is that what the Book of Mormon teaches?
Oh by one of the men who we are taught to trust above our own personal revelation?

Imagine you are told that there is an organization dedicated to the pursuit of truth and light. And then you are told that the leaders of this organization are all taught that if they disagree with the head of the organization then they are not capable of seeing the truth. Can you at least see the total lack of credibility such an organization has in reality? Or at least how anyone who follows the teachings of such an organization is prone to being mislead?

Yes don’t worry my 5th generation LDS wife told me she would never be lead astray also.

A parting shot. As long as I subjected myself to the constant indoctrination of my first wife God could never get the truth in to my head. There were countless times I had real strong questions and doubts. But each time I went to talk to her about them I was beaten down and threatened with my salvation if I disagreed with her. She would get angry and I feared her anger. I was used to doing what she said so I did not get chastised. I could see the obvious actions which would prove to any rational person that she was either evil or insane. But I did not act upon rational ideas. I acted on faith and love and a desire to always be with her. I acted on fear of punishment and desire for approval.

Epilogue

I have stopped going to the LDS church now for over a year. I have received my own tribal ordinances now. I did not know it before I did it but it freed me from the obligation to be under the thumb of the LDS leaders. I know God still guides me. I know he is pleased with me.

I can read what the LDS leaders are saying with a new perspective. Brother and sister it is pathetic what those men have substituted for the truth of God. God does have things He wants us to know and learn. But they will not come to you from the drunkards of Ephraim. You are being programmed to do what the Babylonian Empire Satan’s earthly government wants you to do. That is the main purpose of the church now. And they use access to the ordinances of salvation as the carrot and stick to keep you in line.  Sorry to tell you. Your wife is insane.

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An appeal for Prayer and Fasting


Tom [an LDS blogger who was a frequent commenter at this, and other, blogs] sent me an e-mail over the weekend asking for some support in a personal matter of his.  I wanted to post his story and his appeal for fastings and prayers here — so anyone who regularly follows our posts can offer-up some spiritual support for Tom’s friend

Below is what he wrote me:

I’ve kind of disconnected a lot recently, but was wondering if I might be able to enlist your help in mobilizing some spiritual help — prayers, fasts, etc. on something happening with a very close friend of mine.

This Wednesday (05/02/2012) at 11:30 am MST — will be a court meeting for a friend of mine who is in desperate need of any prayers or fasts that anyone could offer-up and dedicate onto her and her sons behalf.

Her soon-to-be ex-husband has been molesting their 4-yr old son over an unknown length of time, and the court hearing on Wednesday (May 2nd)  is where the judge will be considering allowing the father (at the recommendation of a court appointed adviser) to have unsupervised, overnight visits with the son.

All the mother and son need — besides some obvious healing — is some additional time for both CPS and the local police to finish their investigations into the abuse allegations — but there’s a very real chance, based on the recommendation from the adviser, that the unsupervised visits will recommence following this meeting with the judge.

All I’m asking, if possible, is for you to send an e-mail blastout, post a message on Facebook or perhaps throw a little glib up on your blog — etc.

Hoping that the universe will intervene.

The request could be simple, leaving out most the details, but I would leave that up to you.  The more support, prayers, and fasts offered-up for the sake of this mother and son could perhaps help to turn the tide in their favor.

You may comment in reply to this post if you plan on participating — so that Tom may be able to see the support his friend will have.

The Concept of Race, in the Gospel


I expect to hear much more about the priesthood ban the LDS church imposed on black Africans as the US presidential election gets closer.  And I’d expect LDS blogs to begin either defending the ban, attempting to explain it away, or talking about how the church needs to formally apologize for being racist and move on — [This recent one from Wheat & Tares comes to mind]

Brand-nu’s comments on the It maketh no matter to me, God accepteth no [one]’s person post got me to write out my view of human race — especially as it pertains to the racist doctrines of Cain’s mark and Canaan’s curse being the black skin of Africans and their enslavement by Europeans.

The origins of associating Cain’s mark with having black skin – and then tying that together with Canaan’s curse of slavery – and then rolling it all in with the priesthood restriction pertaining to Pharaoh [through Ham] in the book of Abraham — all originate with Victorian-era, Western European/American attempts to justify the enslavement of Africans.

No group ever persecutes, enslaves, tortures, or murders another group without first justifying their actions by placing the subjugated group outside the moral community of all human-beings [by one means or another].

Cain’s mark:

The entire point of the YHVH-author’s writings in Genesis was to explain how the world at the present [the time at which he was writing] came to be that way.  Why does man labor to till the earth, why does woman labor to birth children, why do some people organize as separate family-units and wear clothing – while others organize as sexually-open tribes and wear little clothing, why do some people raise crops and flocks – while others roam the earth and hunt nomadically, why do humans speak different languages? – etc.

The story of Cain’s mark is that author’s attempt to explain the existence of the nomadic Sleb tribes of Arabia, which were contemporaries with the people who wrote the biblical text.  These people were qayin [the word translated as “Cain”], which means “workers in metal”.

Their own cultural traditions explain that they were nomadic because, “the ground does not yield fruit to them.”  Also, as a tribal group, they are known to take seven-fold revenge on a person who kills one of their own fellow-tribesmen.  In other words, they start to sound a lot like:

and Cain went into the field
and Cain talked with Abel
his brother
and it came to pass
that while they were in the field
Cain rose up against Abel
his brother
and slew him
and Cain gloried in that which he had done
saying

I am free
surely the flocks of my brother
falleth into my hands

and YHVH said unto Cain

where is Abel
thy brother?

And he said

I know not
am I my brother’s keeper?

and YHVH said

what hast thou done?
the voice of thy brother’s blood
cries unto me from the ground
and now thou shalt be cursed from the earth
which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood
from thy hand
when thou tillest the ground
it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength
a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth

and Cain said unto YHVH

satan tempted me because of my brother’s flocks
and I was wroth also
for his offering thou didst accept
and not mine

my punishment is greater than I can bear
behold
thou hast driven me out this day
from the face of YHVH
and from thy face shall I be hid
and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth
and it shall come to pass
that he that findeth me will slay me
because of mine iniquities
for these things are not hid from YHVH

and I
YHVH
said unto him

whosoever slayeth thee
vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold

and I
YHVH
set a mark upon Cain
lest any finding him should kill him

and Cain was shut out from the presence of YHVH
and with his wife
and many of his brethren dwelt in the land of nod
on the east of eden

Note there is no mention of priesthood – only that a mark and a different lifestyle would characterize Cain’s family from Seth’s family.

Ham’s curse:

To get from Cain’s mark to banning priesthood – we have to go through Ham:

and Noah began to be a husbandman
and he planted a vineyard
and he drank of the wine
and was drunken
and he was uncovered within his tent

and Ham
the father of Canaan
saw the nakedness of his father
and told his two brothers outside
and Shem and Japheth took a garment
and laid it upon both their shoulders
and went backward
and covered the nakedness of their father
and their faces were backward
and they saw not their father’s nakedness

and Noah awoke from his wine
and knew what his younger son had done unto him
and he said

cursed be Canaan
a servant of servants shall he be
unto his brothers

and he said

blessed be YHVH
god of Shem
and Canaan shall be his servant
god shall enlarge Japheth
and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem
and Canaan shall be his servant

Still no mention of priesthood restriction or black skin.  In fact, if this curse means anything about the rights of the priesthood [given the servant/minister role of priests], there’s a case to be made that Canaan was being given the priesthood [being a servant of servants, a servant to his brothers] — though I think it’s more likely that the priesthood isn’t even part of this story at all.

There’s nothing about the rights of the priesthood until we get to Enoch’s prophecies:

and again YHVH said unto me

look

and I looked towards the north
and I beheld the people of Canaan
which dwelt in tents
and YHVH said unto me

prophesy

and I prophesied
saying

behold the people of Canaan
which are numerous
shall go forth in battle
array against the people of Shem
and shall slay them that they shall utterly be destroyed
and the people of Canaan shall divide themselves in the land
and the land shall be barren and unfruitful
and none other people shall dwell there
but the people of Canaan
for behold
YHVH shall curse the land with much heat
and the barrenness thereof shall go forth forever
and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan
that they were despised among all people

and it came to pass
that YHVH said unto me

look

and I looked
and I beheld the land of Sharon and of Enoch and of Omner and of Heni and of Shem and of Haner and of Hanannihah
and all the inhabitants thereof
and YHVH said unto me

go to this people
and say unto them

repent

lest I come out
and smite them with a curse
and they die

and the record of Abraham:

now this king of egypt
was a descendant from the loins of Ham
and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth
from this descent sprang all the Egyptians
and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land

the land of egypt being first discovered by a woman
who was the daughter of Ham
and the daughter of Egyptus
which in the Chaldean language signifies egypt
which signifies that which is forbidden
when this woman discovered the land
it was under water
who afterward settled her sons in it
and thus
from Ham
sprang that race
which preserved the curse in the land

now the first government of egypt was established by Pharaoh
the eldest son of Egyptus
the daughter of Ham
and it was after the manner of the government of Ham
which was patriarchal

Pharaoh
being a righteous man
established his kingdom
and judged his people wisely and justly all his days
seeking earnestly to imitate that order
established by the fathers in the first generations
in the days of the first patriarchal reign
even in the reign of Adam
and also of Noah
his father
who blessed him with the blessings of the earth
and with the blessings of wisdom
but cursed him as pertaining to the priesthood

now
Pharaoh
being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of priesthood
notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah
through Ham
therefore my father was led away by their idolatry

The assumption is that Noah’s curse of Canaan is the curse pertaining to the priesthood mentioned in Abraham’s record.

However, that blessing/cursing was given to Pharaoh:

Pharaoh
being a righteous man
[…]
and also of Noah
his father
who blessed him with the blessings of the earth
and with the blessings of wisdom
but cursed him as pertaining to the priesthood
now
Pharaoh
being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of priesthood […]

and we do not have any scriptural record for what Noah said to Pharaoh.

Cain/Ham/Canaan have nothing to do with black Africans:

In summation:

  • Cain’s mark mentions nothing about rights of the priesthood or about having black skin [because his descendants were Arabians]
  • Ham/Canaan’s curse [although mentioning the rights of the priesthood] is said to pertain to Egyptians [who aren’t black, but are Arabians]

Any appeal to Cain’s mark or to Ham’s curse is completely irrelevant with respect to black Africans and the priesthood because neither of them were black Africans.  Cain and Ham would be the ancestors of Arabian people.  Even though Egypt is technically in the continent of Africa [geographically-speaking] – Egyptians are Arabs [cultural/genetically-speaking].

Furthermore, even if it were possible to assert that the historical character named Cain [and/or Ham], is the forbearer of black Africans – to associate that with a priesthood-ban on them [by lineage], one would then have to demonstrate something that would be equally impossible to assert – i.e., that their lineage is also found in no other human-being on Earth.

You see, every generation back we go in time, the number of forebearers a person has increases at an exponential rate [2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 g-grandparents, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, and so on].  So as a bit of mental exercise – let’s wind the clock back to 1400 AD [~30 generations].  At this point, the number of potential ancestors you would have (230) is two-times what the world population was at that same time.

When we re-wind the clock back to biblical time-periods [588, 1700, 2300, or 4000 BC] and ponder not only the exponential number of forebearers one will potentially have – but also how they have been scattered across the globe by things like the flood of Noah, the tower of Babel, the scattering of the 10 tribes of Israel, war, famine, persecution, etc. – it gets pretty silly to start talking about the odds that each-and-every African person alive today does not have even one of the “righteous” in their family tree and that each-and-every European person alive today does not have even one of the “cursed” in theirs?.

Racial distinctions in the gospel:

The best thing to do is to take it as granted that the current scriptural record we have in the Bible is a pretty incomplete picture concerning the affairs of God throughout the whole human race.  The Bible is the book that’s come by way of the Jew and is their record — and so we find that it deals primarily with Arabians [go figure].

Until the scriptural record is more complete — until we receive the prophets of the other nations, tribes, and people, with their prophetic records that will come forth from Western and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Islands, etc. — we cannot speak with certainty of how God has dealt with the other races and if there are promises made to them that we know that of.  Which is why the best thing to do [until then] is stick to an:

[god] hath made of one blood
all nations of men

and

there is neither jew
nor greek

approach to associating a state of righteousness or a cursed state to any of the races of human-kind that are around today.  Because if we allow ourselves to be guided by a race-based rendering of something like:

the order of this priesthood was confirmed
to be handed down from father to son
and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed
to whom the promises were made

the sword of judgment cuts both ways.  Personally, as a literal descendent of Scottish/Irish forebearers, who [as far as our scriptures tell us] received none of the “original promises” themselves – I’ll end-up cutting myself out too.

But to attempt to include myself as a European by saying something like the scattering of the lost 10 tribes would be sufficient to “count me in” to the blessed lineage — would also likely allow for the inclusion of a whole host of other races and nationalities that someone might be trying to separate themselves from in the first place.

[God] hath made of one blood all nations of men:

All races were [at one point] a single race — the family of Adam and Eve.  The division into separate races has been a story of adaptation to unique human conditions, meaning all that we currently call “race” is a form of the miraculous human ability to adapt to the environmental conditions they find themselves in.

As a part of the restoration of all things — the gospel will be taken to every tribe, nations, kindred, tongue, etc. on the earth.

for behold
I say unto you
that Zion shall flourish
and the glory of YHVH shall be upon her
and she shall be an ensign unto the people
and there shall come unto her
out of every nation under heaven

As a part of the gathering of the people of the Lord – these human races will be brought back into the one, single human family.  Meaning that since Zion will not be established by unrelated persons — every nation under heaven will become connected by and will b be engaging in inter-racial marriages.

Race is purely conventional – and has no application of eternal significance.  The main component of what we use for racial distinction is skin color, which is composed largely of just two things:

  • Melanin, which is produced in the skin as a response to oxidative stress of UV light
  • Blood, which is visible through the skin in the vascular system

Now, a resurrected body has no need for protection from oxidative stress, and it will also not quickened with hemoglobin.  Thus, the skin color will not appear as any mortal human on the earth has ever looked.

When the scriptures say that resurrected persons will come forth in either the resurrection of just or the resurrection of the unjust:

and [they] shall come forth
they who have done good
in the resurrection of the just
and they who have done evil
in the resurrection of the unjust

it is saying that there will only be two discernible groups [what we could call “races”] of human beings after the resurrection from the dead:  the just and the unjust.

All those who come forth in the resurrection of the just will have a new body, patterned after the body of Christ, which is patterned after the body of God [meaning we’ll all have the same “genes”] – thus the color of their skin will all look exactly the same.

The fleshy-body that is sown in the earth upon death will arise as either wheat or tare [just or unjust], and this is according to the spirit that possessed that body at the time it died:

you do not sow the body that will be
but you sow bare grain
and it may chance be of wheat
or of some other grain

What makes a person “just” or “unjust” is not merits, nor lineage — but solely the state of the person’s right-brain-heart and their faith in Jesus Christ.  God looks only upon the right-brain-heart of mankind, which is something that has nothing to do with their genetic lineage or any supposed curses on black Africans.

So, given a future state in which no resurrected bodies will be colored by melanin and hemoglobin, and given that God has made of one blood every nation of mankind from the beginning, and that, as far as the gospel is concerned, “there is neither Jew nor Greek” – any race-based exclusion from the gospel [or from the priesthood] based on such flimsy ground as being related to someone who lived over 5,000 years ago makes a pretty poor “hill-to-die-on”.

Next Article by Justin:  The Written Records

Previous Article by Justin:  Deep Waters:  Having their Hearts Knit Together in Unity and in Love

In Search of a New Church Home:  Part II — Unitarian Universalism

Various recent insights


by and by; or, How long does it take?

I got to talking to a friend yesterday and shared with him the following:

Alma 32:42 uses the term “by and by.”

and because of your diligence | and your faith | and your patience | with the word | in nourishing it | that it may take root in you |

behold | by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof | which is most precious | which is sweet | above all that is sweet | and which is white | above all that is white | yea | and pure | above all that is pure | and ye shall feast upon this fruit | even until ye are filled | that ye hunger not | neither shall ye thirst |

This term means “immediately; at once” such as in the following example: “When…persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended” (Matt. 13:21.) So, when Alma says, “Behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof,” he is really saying, “Behold, immediately ye shall pluck the fruit thereof.”

Diligence, faith and patience with the word is required to nourish it, and then it takes root in you. In the very instant that it takes root in you, the seed immediately springs up as a tree bearing fruit.

but if ye will nourish the word | yea | nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow | by your faith | with great diligence | and with patience | looking forward to the fruit thereof | it shall take root |

and behold | it shall be a tree | springing up unto everlasting life | (Alma 32:41)

and now | my brethren | i desire | that ye shall plant this word in your hearts | and as it beginneth to swell | even so | nourish it by your faith |

and behold | it will become a tree | springing up in you unto everlasting life | (Alma 33:23)

There is no lag time. In the very moment that the seed takes root, it instantly becomes “a tree springing up unto everlasting life.”

Normal, earthly trees take years to grow into maturity. But the heavenly seed, the word of God, is the seed of a plasma tree of life and light, which operates in an instantaneous manner, in very much the same way in which lightning creates an instantaneous “tree” of light when it strikes, branching out in many directions.

o then | is not this real |

i say unto you |

yea | because it is light | and whatsoever is light | is good | because it is discernible | therefore | ye must know | that it is good |

and now | behold | after ye have tasted this light | is your knowledge perfect | (Alma 32:34)

The seed, then, is made up of light, meaning that it shines in darkness. In other words, it is a plasma tree seed.

This plasma seed is planted into our heart soil by our faith, but first a place must be made in the soil by our belief.

even if ye can no more than desire to believe | let this desire work in you | even until ye believe in a manner | that ye can give place for a portion of my words |

now | we will compare the word unto a seed |

now | if ye give place | that a seed may be planted in your heart |

behold | if it be a true seed | or a good seed | if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief | that ye will resist the spirit of the lord |

behold | it will begin to swell within your breasts | (Alma 32:27-28)

“Giving place” is simply making a depression or digging a hole in our heart soil so that the seed may be planted. We “give place” by our belief in the seed. Nevertheless, it is not our belief that plants the seed, but our faith. Previously on this blog, I taught that our belief plants the word, (which I now believe to be erroneous.) I now believe that our belief only creates a place in the heart soil so that the seed may be planted. Planting the seed appears to require more than just belief.

The Zoramites understood Alma’s words better than we do today. Alma explained to them what happens when the seed is planted, but he didn’t fully explain how to plant the seed. For example, Alma explained how to “give place” for the seed (by belief) and then went on to explain what happens to the seed when they plant it by their faith (it swells) and what happens when they nourish it by their faith, diligence and patience (it takes root and becomes a tree bearing fruit.) He also explained to the Zoramites how to nourish the seed by their faith (by taking thought, looking forward with an eye of faith, etc.) But he never got around to explaining the part about how to plant the seed, nor the specifics of what to look forward to, etc. This is why we find the Zoramites asking him the following:

now | after alma had spoken these words | they sent forth unto him | desiring to know | whether they should believe in one god | that they might obtain this fruit | of which he had spoken | or how they should plant the seed | or the word | of which he had spoken | which | he said | must be planted in their hearts | or in what manner they should begin to exercise their faith | (Alma 33:1)

So, they wanted to know “how they should plant the seed,” which Alma had not fully explained to them (in Alma 32.) They understood that they needed to “begin to exercise their faith” in order to plant the seed, but they didn’t know how to do that, nor whether they should put their faith in one or multiple deities (for they were idolaters.)

Alma then proceeded to give them examples of prayer or worship, showing that Zenos prayed (worshiped) everywhere and was heard because of his sincerity, because he prayed to be heard by God and not by men, and also because of God’s Son. He also cited Zenock, showing that the word was in the Son of God. Finally, he gave Moses as an example, pointing their minds to the brazen serpent incident. All of this showed to them that they needed to look to Christ on the cross, pray to (or worship) God in all places and at all times (for when are we not to worship God?) and carry with them always a belief in the atonement, resurrection and judgment of Christ.

In other words, there is a continuous, three-fold action that is required in the exercise of faith: 1) We must cry to God the Father, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, always, without ceasing. 2) We must look to Christ on the cross continually, always remembering His body and His blood. 3) We must yield to the enticings of the Holy Ghost, which is what “hearkening to the voice of the Lord” consists of. This last step includes both listening to and believing the word of God, as well as obeying it.

So, we are to constantly look to Christ with our left prefrontal lobes, and we are to constantly hearken unto the voice of the Lord with our right prefrontal lobes, feeling His words, which hearkening causes us to repent of our sins and obtain a broken heart and contrite spirit, becoming meek and lowly in heart, etc.

and he hath spoken unto you in a still small voice | but ye were past feeling | that ye could not feel his words | (1 Ne. 17:45)

And finally, we are to constantly cry to God the Father in the name of His Son, either using our audible voice or the voice in our minds, making sure that the words we speak audibly, or in our minds, match the feelings in our hearts, so that we do not become as the hypocrites.

This is what faith is and this is how you exercise it, as I currently understand it.

These three things, which invoke the entire Godhead, are to be done constantly, without ceasing or fainting (losing spirit or courage.)

ye must pray always | and not faint | (2 Ne. 32:9)

Doing these things causes the seed to be planted in the depression we have made in our heart soil by our belief. And once the seed is planted by this triple action of faith, the seed begins to swell, grow and sprout tender blades. In other words, it begins to shine or give off light, “enlightening the understanding,” so that we will know that it is a good, or a true, seed, for “truth shineth in darkness.”

jesus christ | his son | he that ascended up on high | as also he descended below all things | in that he comprehended all things | that he might be in all and through all things | the light of truth | which truth shineth | … |

the light shineth in darkness | (D&C 88:5-7,49)

Nevertheless, despite the tender blades which it has sprouted, it still has got no root, which it must have in order to obtain the fruit of the tree. Alma is emphatic about the need for the seed to take root:

and behold | as the tree beginneth to grow | ye will say |

let us nourish it with great care | that it may get root | that it may grow up | and bring forth fruit unto us |

and now | behold | if ye nourish it with much care | it will get root | and grow up | and bring forth fruit | but if ye neglect the tree | and take no thought for its nourishment |

behold | it will not get any root | and when the heat of the sun cometh | and scorcheth it | because it hath no root | it withers away | and ye pluck it up | and cast it out |

now | this is not | because the seed was not good | neither is it | because the fruit thereof would not be desirable | but it is | because your ground is barren | and ye will not nourish the tree | therefore | ye cannot have the fruit thereof |

and thus | if ye will not nourish the word | looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof | ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life | but if ye will nourish the word | yea | nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow | by your faith | with great diligence | and with patience | looking forward to the fruit thereof | it shall take root |

and behold | it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life | (Alma 32:37-41)

So, the process remains the same. The word is planted by diligent and patient faith (the triple action described above) and it is also nourished by the same.

Now, the seed only takes root when the tares are uprooted, for “the tares choke the wheat” (D&C 86:3), which tares are the chains of hell (another plasma plant), and which are only removed by exercising faith unto repentance. The Lamanite king asked Aaron:

what shall I do | that I may be born of god | having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast | and receive his spirit | (Alma 22:15)

To which Aaron answered:

if thou desirest this thing | if thou wilt bow down before god | yea | if thou wilt repent of all thy sins | and will bow down before god | and call on his name | in faith | believing that ye shall receive | then shalt thou receive the hope | which thou desirest | (Alma 22:16)

Thus, it is the very instant in which a man finally exercises faith unto repentance and receives a remission of his sins, that the tares are removed from his heart and the wheat seed that is planted there finally puts forth its plasma roots, springing up into a tree of everlasting life, bearing fruit.

Which brings me to my next topic.

The manifestation of a remission of sins

There is a manifestation appointed to the people of God by which they will know that they have received a remission of sins. In D&C section 20, Joseph Smith is called to be the first elder of the church. The revelation then says:

after it was truly manifested unto this first elder | that he had received a remission of his sins | he was entangled again in the vanities of the world | but after repenting | and humbling himself sincerely | through faith | god ministered unto him by an holy angel | (D&C 20:5-6)

The manifestation that Joseph Smith received, that showed him that he had received a remission of his sins, was the First Vision. If you look at all of the accounts of the First Vision, you will notice that one of them speaks of it in terms of a quest for forgiveness:

Joseph Smith was not satisfied with the programs of redemption taught by the religious leaders in the community where he lived. After investigating the basic beliefs of various denominations, he stated that he “cried unto the Lord for mercy for there was none else to whom” he could go. While calling upon the Lord, the young man testified, “I was filld with the spirit of God and the Lord opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord and he spake unto me saying Joseph my son thy sins are forgiven thee. go thy way walk in my statutes and keep my commandments behold I am the Lord of glory I was crucifyed for the world that all those who believe on my name may have Eternal life.” (Joseph Smith’s Recitals of the First Vision, by Milton V. Backman, Jr., Ensign, Jan. 1995.)

The manifestation of the remission of sins, then, is the ministration of angels, just as the Angel of the Lord’s presence, even Jesus Christ, ministered to Joseph. Later, Joseph stated:

During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision and the year eighteen hundred and twenty-three—having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years, and persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me—I was left to all kinds of temptations; and, mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. In making this confession, no one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. A disposition to commit such was never in my nature. But I was guilty of levity, and sometimes associated with jovial company, etc., not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I had been. But this will not seem very strange to any one who recollects my youth, and is acquainted with my native cheery temperament.

In consequence of these things, I often felt condemned for my weakness and imperfections; when, on the evening of the above-mentioned twenty-first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him; for I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I previously had one.

So, after “he was entangled again in the vanities of the world,” Joseph again approached God in prayer, seeking a remission of sins, and once again received the ministration of angels, this time the ministering angel being Moroni. This, then, is our pattern and the key to know if we have exercised faith unto repentance.

The ministration of angels is the first fruit of the tree that the tree bears when the seed has taken root, which causes the seed to instantaneously spring up into a tree. The first fruit of such repentance is a plasma display, for this is a plasma tree, and thus the newly repented and forgiven man, who has finally begun to exercise faith, finds himself in the midst of fire (discharging plasma) and ministered to by an angel of light, whose countenance will be like lightning (discharging plasma.) And thus the remission of sins only comes by fire and by the Holy Ghost, even the ministration of angels, according to the pattern given in Helaman chapter 5, which is the pattern given to the Gentiles.

Which brings me to my next topic.

Angels gather all the elect

In the parable of the wheat and the tares, the Lord said

that in the time of harvest | i will say to the reapers |

gather ye together first the wheat into my barn | and the tares are bound in bundles to be burned | (Matt. 13:29, Inspired Version)

Later, Jesus explained the parable to the apostles, saying:

the reapers are the angels | or the messengers sent of heaven | (Matt. 13:40, Inspired Version)

When the wheat is ripe, meaning that when the seed has taken root, producing fruit and the remission of sins, that person becomes one of the elect (or chosen) of God. They are then gathered by the ministration of angels. Mormon, speaking of angels, said:

for behold | they are subject unto him | to minister | according to the word of his command | showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness | and the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance | and to fulfil | and to do | the work of the covenants of the father | which he hath made unto the children of men | to prepare the way among the children of men | by declaring the word of christ unto the chosen vessels of the lord | that they may bear testimony of him | and by so doing | the lord god prepareth the way | that the residue of men may have faith in christ | that the holy ghost may have place in their hearts | according to the power thereof | and after this manner bringeth to pass | the father | the covenants | which he hath made unto the children of men | (Moro. 7:30-32)

The “chosen vessels of the Lord” are the elect of God. This is anyone who repents of his sins and comes to Christ, meaning anyone who exercised faith unto repentance. This saying does not refer to church leadership or to people with lofty titles. The elect are merely all those who hearken unto the voice of the Lord, for all those who hearken unto the voice of the Lord will repent of all their sins and cry continually unto the Lord for forgiveness and a remission of their sins, in faith, believing that they will receive, until they receive it by the appointed manifestation, which is the ministering of angels. And this principle applies to both men, women and children:

and now | he imparteth his word by angels unto men | yea | not only men | but women also |

now | this is not all | little children do have words given unto them many times | which confound the wise and the learned | (Alma 32:23)

And thus, they, the elect, become ripe to be reaped by the reapers, even the angels, and gathered. The ministering of angels, then, is the sign that one has become one of the elect of God, through the exercise of faith on the name of Christ.

behold | verily i say unto you |

the angels are crying unto the lord day and night | who are ready | and waiting | to be sent forth | to reap down the fields |

but the lord saith unto them

pluck not up the tares | while the blade is yet tender |

for verily | your faith is weak |

lest you destroy the wheat also | (D&C 86:5-6)

A blade that is yet tender is a faith that is still weak, even a seed which has sprouted, swelled and grown, but has not yet taken root. Unto such, no angels are sent, for angels are only sent to them of strong faith, even to those who have done more than just planted the seed, by their faith, but who have also continued to nourish the word, by their faith, with constant prayer, looking and hearkening, until it takes root.

And the reason why angels could destroy unripe wheat is because unless such wheat has exercised faith unto repentance, upon seeing an angel they would then have a perfect knowledge in that thing and would have no cause to believe and exercise faith (see Alma 32:18), thus frustrating the plan for their salvation, for all men are saved by faith. Nevertheless, angels are also sent to call men to repentance and sometimes that works (Alma and the sons of Mosiah) and sometimes it doesn’t work (Laman and Lemuel.) But as far as those who are striving to exercise faith and repent of their sins, angels are only sent to such people when their seeds have taken root.

How to convert charitable works of men into scriptural good works

One more little insight, which may or may not be true (you decide), and then I will end this post.

I was recently asked about the meaning of the latter part of the following scripture:

but behold | i say unto you |

that ye must pray always | and not faint |

that ye must not perform any thing unto the lord | save | in the first place | ye shall pray unto the father in the name of christ | that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee | that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul | (2 Ne. 32:9)

I explained that there were three types of works on this planet: the miraculous works of the Father, the non-miraculous works of men, and the works of the devil. Whenever a man does anything non-miraculous to benefit his fellow man, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, comforting the sick and afflicted, visiting the prisoners, taking in the homeless, it is accounted as a work of man, done in the name of a man, and he has his reward, even whatsoever reward he receives in mortality, whether that be a pleasant, warm feeling, or reciprocity, or a good reputation, or whatever.

All such works are not accounted as works of righteousness, for they are not done in the name of the Lord, but in the name of a man, nor are they done in faith. Thus, they are accounted as the works of men, who shall have joy in their works for a season, and then the axe which is laid at the root of their tree will cut it down and cast it into the fire.

What Nephi is explaining in this scripture, is how we can make all our non-miraculous, but charitable works of men be accounted unto us for righteousness, or as works of the Father, by invoking the name of the Supreme Being in faith. Before we perform any such work, we must pray to God the Father in the name of the Son, that the work will be set apart, or sanctified unto us, meaning that it is accounted unto us as a work of righteousness, done in the name of God, we being a proxy, and He Himself doing the work, through us, thus ascribing all glory and honor to God. For all things must done in His name and to give glory to Him. And in this way, by praying first in this manner, asking in faith that the performance will be consecrated, or set apart, as a work of God, the performance will be for the welfare of our souls, meaning that in the day of judgment, it will be accounted as righteousness, and will be listed in our favor, as a work of faith, through our prayers of faith.

This scripture plainly shows, then, that all those who think that they are doing good works as they go about doing non-miraculous, charitable works of men, without praying in faith and invoking the name of the Lord, nor ascribing the work to God’s glory, will be quite surprised in the day of judgment to learn that none such works are listed as works of righteousness.

This is also according to the principle found in D&C 132:13-14.

and everything that is in the world | whether it be ordained of men | by thrones | or principalities | or powers | or things of name | whatsoever they may be | that are not by me | or by my word |

saith the lord |

shall be thrown down | and shall not remain after men are dead | neither in | nor after | the resurrection |

saith the lord | your god |

for whatsoever things remain are by me | and whatsoever things are not by me shall be shaken and destroyed |

That’s all for now.

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The Strength of the Lord


The strength of the Lord was a miracle bestowed upon all the Nephites and Lamanites who had repented of their sins and come to Christ. Basically, it gave a person supernatural strength. It was first bestowed upon Lehi and party during their eight year walk to Bountiful, because they needed it for the long and arduous journey. When they arrived at the promised land, the strength of the Lord was again needed to protect the Nephites from the Lamanites, who always greatly outnumbered them.

The diet of the two nations

For the trip to Bountiful, the party was commanded to eat nothing but raw meat which they hunted in the wilderness. The Lord made the meat sweet to them, which was yet another miracle. At the promised land, though, they were commanded to plant seed and raise crops and animals, which they did. The party, though, soon split, with those who would come to be known as Nephites continuing to farm the land, and the Lamanites continuing to eat after the fashion of their eight-year journey in the wilderness, hunting their food and often eating it raw.

The two forms of diet had a different effect on their bodies. The farmers’ diet, which resembled our modern Word of Wisdom, made the Nephites physically weaker and less sexually charged. As a result, they had less sex, and thus produced less children than did the Lamanites. The protein rich hunter’s diet of the Lamanites, in which they drank the blood of beasts, etc., made them sexually charged and physically stronger than the Nephites. The Lamanites had lots of sex and produced children like rabbits.

The war practices of the two nations

The Nephites had no standing army. They merely went about their lives raising crops and animals, constructing buildings, mining out precious metals and other occupations of industry. They had prepared weapons of war in case they ever needed to defend themselves, but they did not train for war, nor were they supposed to. Nevertheless, they were commanded of God to defend themselves from the Lamanites even unto bloodshed.

The Lamanites, on the other hand, did not raise crops nor construct buildings. They lived in tents, like their fathers did on the eight-year trip, and they spent their time hunting and training for war. Their skill was “in the bow and in the cimeter and the ax.” In other words, the Lamanites had standing armies that were always trained for war and raiding. Additionally, the Lamanites were a blood-thirsty and ferocious people, delighting in wars and bloodshed.

The Lamanites were plunderers who had an everlasting hatred towards the Nephites, therefore, they were always the ones who attacked first. From all appearances, the Nephites were easy pickings. They were small in number, compared to the Lamanites. They were farmers who did not train for war, therefore, the Lamanites were more skilled in war than were the Nephites. And their diet made them physically weaker than the Lamanites.

Based on all of these variables, the Lamanites should have easily wiped the Nephites out.

Weaker, out-numbered and out-skilled…by design

The Lord commanded the Nephites to do these things so that He could show forth His strength in them. Despite the farmer’s diet making their bodies physically weaker, the strength of the Lord made them vastly stronger than the Lamanites. Despite not training for war, it also made them more skilled in warfare than the Lamanites. And despite being outnumbered, it caused one Nephite to be able to defeat scores of Lamanites, so much so that larger groups of Lamanites would routinely be scattered by small numbers of Nephites. In short, the Nephites became faster, stronger, more enduring, more skilled and had more energy than the Lamanites, despite the Lamanites constantly training for war.

for every man of teancum did exceed the lamanites in their strength and in their skill of war | insomuch that they did gain advantage over the lamanites

A sign to all nations

Now, this miracle was to be a sign, both to the Nephites and to the Lamanites, as well as to the Gentiles, that God was with those who repented of their sins and exercised faith in the Lord. It served to cull the iniquitous from the ranks of the Nephites, for those who went to battle who were impenitent, would not have the strength of the Lord, and would get mowed down by the Lamanites. It also served to fortify the faith of the faithful, for when they obeyed the commandments of the Lord and trusted in Him, having faith that He would give them of His strength, and then they left their farms to go to battle, they would witness firsthand that they had the strength of a God in them, that allowed them to impossibly defeat a superior force. This sign would be witnessed by the faithful Nephites many times throughout their lives, for the Lamanites would attack from time to time, and they could testify to this miracle to their children, encouraging them to put their trust entirely in the Lord and to keep His commandments.

For the Lamanites, it also served as a sign, for they also would witness, time after time, an impossible miracle, in their defeat at the hands of the weaker, less numerous Nephites. It should have caused them to stop and wonder and repent of their sins and acknowledge that the Nephites were supported by the hand of a God, but they were very set in their violent ways.

For those latter-day Gentiles (and Lamanites) who would end up reading the Book of Mormon, it would serve as a sign or a witness to which those who endeavored to establish Zion would seek. The casualty numbers for both sides of each war indicate to the reader just how impossibly powerful the strength of the Lord was. It truly fit the description of “matchless and marvelous.” For example, Zeniff’s numbers show an 11:1 ratio, meaning that for every eleven Lamanites that were killed, only one Nephite died.

The Nephites’ pride

Although the Lord intended the bestowal of His strength to develop faith and trust in Him, often many of the Nephites, after witnessing this miracle, became prideful, thinking that they could sin and God would still give them of His strength. This despite the fact that the Lord had plainly stated to them:

i will not show unto the wicked of my strength | to one more than the other | save it be unto those | who repent of their sins | and hearken unto my words |

At the end of their civilization, this pride caused their entire destruction, for they were great sinners by that time and did not have the strength of the Lord with them, nevertheless, they believed they were still invincible because the Lord still protected them somewhat from the Lamanites, that is, until they broke the final commandment of the Lord and attacked the Lamanites.

Then the Lord fully removed this miracle and they were left to themselves, a physically weaker, vastly outnumbered nation whose skills were no match for the war-trained Lamanites, who then wiped them completely off the face of the earth.

The times of the Gentiles

During our time, it has been prophesied that this ancient gift will return to all those who repent of their sins, exercise faith in the Lord and ask for it.

and it shall be said among the wicked |

let us not go up to battle against zion | for the inhabitants of zion are terrible | wherefore | we cannot stand |

They will be terrible, in part, because they will have the strength of the Lord. Unlike the ancient Lamanites who couldn’t get it into their heads that they “could not stand” against the strength of the Lord that was within the Nephites, and so kept attacking them anyway—thinking that this time they had enough numbers to wipe them out, or that this time the Nephites were spread too thin, etc.—the Gentiles, when they witness the strength of the Lord will be entirely freaked out and will desire to “sit this one out” and not attack the inhabitants of Zion.

The Gentile way

The way of the Gentiles is this: some eat a grain-based diet like the ancient Nephites, becoming physically weak like unto them, while others eat a high protein diet, like the Lamanites. Still others eat a mix between the two. In fact, you can find just about every possible type of diet among the Gentiles, for every Gentile seeks to obtain physical health, strength and beauty by his or her diet, and so many dietary theories exist based on this or that scientific finding.

The Gentiles also have standing armies, like the Lamanites did, and rely upon their armies and police forces, etc., who train for war and combat, to protect them from their enemies, using the most advanced weapons technologies that they can find, invent and afford.

Many Gentiles live a sedentary lifestyle with high caloric intake, resulting in physical obesity and lots of diseases, becoming even weaker, physically, than the Nephites. On the other hand, many engage in various physical education courses, classes and training programs to keep their bodies in as physically fit a shape as they possibly can, like the Lamanites, which also helps in conflicts. A good number of civilian Gentiles also arm themselves with additional weapons and take self-defense courses, such as martial arts, etc., again like the Lamanites, so that they can defeat an attacker.

Some Gentiles only defend themselves, like the Nephites, while other Gentiles will preemptively attack, or even pillage, like the Lamanites. Still others sometimes defend and sometimes attack, whenever it suits their purpose. Always, though, the Gentiles depend upon their numbers and war skill and weapons technology, like the Lamanites, to see them through conflict.

In other words, the Gentiles rely upon the arm of flesh.

o lord | i have trusted in thee | and i will trust in thee forever | i will not put my trust in the arm of flesh | for i know | that cursed is he | that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh | yea | cursed is he that putteth his trust in man | or maketh flesh his arm |

And thus the Gentiles are cursed.

The Zion way

The Gentiles of this day and age, who will repent and come unto Christ, will be justified, purified and sanctified, receiving a remission of their sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost, having angels minister to them, and hearing the voice of the Lord speak to them from the heavens. Such people, following the commandments of the Lord, will eat according to the dietary guidelines found in the Word of Wisdom, which will make them physically weak. This is by the design of the Lord, so that He can show His power and miracles in His people.

In this physically weakened, but spiritually strong, condition—for they have obeyed the voice of the Lord and fulfilled His dietary sayings and other commandments, becoming spiritually strong—they may now ask and receive what they will. And ask they will, even for all of the miracles that the Lord bestows upon His faithful. As the Lord has said:

and all saints | who remember to keep and do these sayings | walking in obedience to the commandments | shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones | and shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge | even hidden treasures | and shall run and not be weary | and shall walk and not faint | and i | the lord | give unto them a promise | that the destroying angel shall pass by them | as the children of israel | and not slay them | amen |

It is not the diet that will give the saints the strength of the Lord, “running without being weary and walking without fainting,” for the diet makes the saints physically weak, or physically weaker than many other types of diets. It is not the diet that gives “health in their navel and marrow to their bones,” for anyone who eats after the manner of the Word of Wisdom still may, and often still does, become sick. It is the keeping and doing of these sayings, along with keeping all the other commandments, that allows a person to ask the Lord for what they will, and receive it.

Again, the Lord’s law of strength and health has nothing, whatsoever, to do with the kind of diet you eat or the kind of exercise or strength training you do. The principle is simply this: if you exercise faith unto repentance unto the remission of your sins, and continue to hearken unto the voice of the Lord, which includes these dietary guidelines, you may ask for the strength of the Lord and He will give it to you. You may ask for health and He will give it to you. You may ask for wisdom and knowledge and He will give it to you. And so on and so forth.

All of these things are intended to be miracles, which operate on faith, not the natural outgrowth of a superior diet and exercise regime. The strength you will get will be supernatural strength, the health, supernatural health, the wisdom, supernatural wisdom, and the knowledge, supernatural knowledge. It is meant to be a miracle.

The LDS are weak-bodied, weak-minded, fools

The LDS have misunderstood the Word of Wisdom. They have thought that the Lord has given them a superior diet which would produce superior physical specimens. He hasn’t and it doesn’t. They have thought that by merely obeying certain parts of the diet, the “thou shalt nots,” that the Lord would give them health and strength. Others have thought that if they obeyed both the “thou shalt nots” as well as the “thou shalts” of the sayings, that they would get the promised blessings of strength, health, wisdom and knowledge, yet still the promises have remain unfulfilled. Still others try to twist the revelation into a scriptural support for their current dietary lifestyle. If they are vegetarians, they stress the “sparingly” clause of the meat. If they are meat-eaters, they claim the comma is misplaced in that clause.

Still others look at the Word of Wisdom with the wisdom of the world in their minds and realize that such guidelines will not produce the best results. And they wonder, “How on earth could this be inspired of God?” So, they come to the conclusion that the Word of Wisdom is a lower law, and thus that the health guidelines they have learned from the nutritionists are higher laws. And on and on go the rationalizations, the end result being the production of weak-bodied and weak-willed fools.

Weak-bodied, because scripturally, all physical bodies of men that do not have the strength of the Lord are considered weak.

and they saw | that they had become weak like unto their brethren | the lamanites |

for behold | they saw that the strength of the lamanites was as great as their strength | even man for man | thus had they fallen into this great transgression | yea | thus had they become weak | because of their transgression | in the space of not many years |

Weak-willed, because strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness is required to obtain the strength of the Lord, through repentance of all one’s sins, and the LDS do not “look unto the Lord, as they ought” (1 Ne. 15:3.) They look to the Word of Wisdom diet, not to the Lord, to obtain the blessing.

Fools, because they have misunderstood the Word of Wisdom, thinking it comes under natural, and not supernatural, law. In other words, they have assigned a natural result to it. They expect the strength, health, wisdom and knowledge of men to be the result of complying with this law. They do not expect anything superhuman or supernatural to come from keeping its sayings. (If you don’t believe me, look at any General Conference talk on the Word of Wisdom. All blessings that are thought to come of it are based upon natural consequences of obeying its divinely revealed, “natural laws of health.”)

Now, I do not exclude myself from that company of fools. Until I just now typed out these words, in this very essay, I myself understood it as a natural law begetting natural results. But now I know otherwise and clearly see that I was wrong. It is a supernatural law given to produce, or show forth, supernatural results, by the faith of the people trusting in their Lord and asking Him for these miracles.

How to obtain the strength of the Lord

The first step is walking through the gate, namely, exercising faith unto repentance and receiving a remission of sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost. At this point, you can speak with the tongue of angels, shout praises to the Holy One of Israel by the power of the Holy Ghost, and worship the Father in the name of the Son with “clean hands and a pure heart.” (See 2 Ne. 25:16 and Alma 5:19.)

The second step is to keep the commandments of God, including the Word of Wisdom sayings, continuing in constant prayer and fasting to retain a remission of sins from day to day.

The third and final step is merely to ask God for His strength, for once you are “purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done” (D&C 50:29.)

But what of my [fill in the blank] regime?

Like the Nephites of old, who didn’t need a special type of superior diet, or special training, or special weaponry (the common weapons of the day sufficed), or special anything, to defeat the Lamanites, so the modern Gentile does not need to change the Lord’s instructions, neither adding to nor subtracting from them, to obtain His strength. No strength or military or defense training is required. Nor are dietary supplements needed. There is no need to alter the Word of Wisdom, at all. It is a very simple process: ask and ye shall receive, after ye have become purified by exercising faith in Christ, repenting and receiving a remission of all your sins.

Even after writing this, I am certain there will be those who will object based upon soil nutrient depletion (requiring supplementation) or who will claim that relying upon their particular diet or self defense/strength training does not disqualify them from receiving the strength of the Lord, so, let me be very clear on this point: you must rely wholly upon the merits of Christ to receive of His strength. If you attempt to rely partially on God and partially on your own strength, through dietary modifications and/or defense/strength training, the Lord will leave you to yourself, to defend yourself by your own arm of flesh.

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The Two Authors of the Book of Abraham


A small diversion

For awhile now my attention has been focussed on the Book of Mormon, but while visiting and commenting on another blog, the Book of Abraham came up as a topic, which allowed me some diversion.  Today I decided to re-read the Book of Abraham and I noticed that it seemed to contain the writings of two authors.

One author is, of course, Abraham, whose words were recorded with expository commentary by the other author, whose name remains unknown.

To illustrate what I’m talking about, I will copy the first chapter of the Book of Abraham here, with indentations, showing when the writer/speaker changes.  I found it interesting.  Perhaps you will, too.

The text of chapter one

THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM

TRANSLATED FROM THE PAPYRUS, BY JOSEPH SMITH

A Translation of some ancient Records, that have fallen into our hands from the catacombs of Egypt.—The writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus. See History of the Church, vol. 2, pp. 235, 236, 348—351.

in the land of the chaldeans | at the residence of my fathers | i | abraham | saw | that it was needful | for me | to obtain another place of residence | and finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest | for me | i sought for the blessings of the fathers | and the right | whereunto i should be ordained | to administer the same | having been | myself | a follower of righteousness | desiring also to be one | who possessed great knowledge | and to be a greater follower of righteousness | and to possess a greater knowledge | and to be a father of many nations | a prince of peace | and desiring to receive instructions | and to keep the commandments of god | i became a rightful heir | a high priest | holding the right belonging to the fathers |

it was conferred upon me from the fathers | it came down from the fathers | from the beginning of time | yea | even from the beginning | or before the foundation of the earth | down to the present time | even the right of the firstborn | or the first man | who is adam | or first father | through the fathers | unto me |

i sought for mine appointment unto the priesthood | according to the appointment of god unto the fathers | concerning the seed |

my fathers | having turned from their righteousness | and from the holy commandments | which the lord | their god | had given unto them | unto the worshiping of the gods of the heathen | utterly refused to hearken to my voice | for their hearts were set to do evil | and were wholly turned to the god of elkenah | and the god of libnah | and the god of mahmackrah | and the god of korash | and the god of pharaoh | king of egypt | therefore | they turned their hearts to the sacrifice of the heathen | in offering up their children unto these dumb idols | and hearkened not unto my voice | but endeavored to take away my life | by the hand of the priest of elkenah |

the priest of elkenah was also the priest of pharaoh |

now | at this time | it was the custom of the priest of pharaoh | the king of egypt | to offer up upon the altar | which was built in the land of chaldea | for the offering unto these strange gods | men | women | and children |

and it came to pass | that the priest made an offering unto the god of pharaoh | and also unto the god of shagreel | even after the manner of the egyptians |

now | the god of shagreel was the sun |

even the thank-offering of a child did the priest of pharaoh offer upon the altar | which stood by the hill called potiphar’s hill | at the head of the plain of olishem |

now | this priest had offered upon this altar three virgins at one time | who were the daughters of onitah | one of the royal descent | directly from the loins of ham |

these virgins were offered up | because of their virtue |

they would not bow down to worship gods of wood | or of stone | therefore | they were killed upon this altar | and it was done after the manner of the egyptians

and it came to pass | that the priests laid violence upon me | that they might slay me also | as they did those virgins upon this altar |

and that you may have a knowledge of this altar | i will refer you to the representation at the commencement of this record |

it was made after the form of a bedstead | such as was had among the chaldeans | and it stood before the gods of elkenah | libnah | mahmackrah | korash | and also a god like unto that of pharaoh | king of egypt |

that you may have an understanding of these gods | i have given you the fashion of them in the figures at the beginning | which manner of figures is called | by the chaldeans | rahleenos | which signifies hieroglyphics |

and as they lifted up their hands upon me | that they might offer me up and take away my life |

behold | i lifted up my voice unto the lord | my god | and the lord hearkened and heard | and he filled me with the vision of the almighty | and the angel of his presence stood by me | and immediately unloosed my bands | and his voice was unto me |

abraham |

abraham |

behold | my name is jehovah | and i have heard thee | and have come down to deliver thee | and to take thee away from thy father’s house | and from all thy kinsfolk | into a strange land | which thou knowest not of | and this | because they have turned their hearts away from me | to worship the god of elkenah | and the god of libnah | and the god of mahmackrah | and the god of korash | and the god of pharaoh | king of egypt | therefore | i have come down to visit them | and to destroy him | who hath lifted up his hand against thee | abraham | my son | to take away thy life |

behold | i will lead thee by my hand | and i will take thee | to put upon thee my name | even the priesthood of thy father | and my power shall be over thee |

as it was with noah | so shall it be with thee | but through thy ministry my name shall be known in the earth forever | for i am thy god |

behold | potiphar’s hill was in the land of ur | of chaldea |

and the lord broke down the altar of elkenah | and of the gods of the land | and utterly destroyed them | and smote the priest | that he died | and there was great mourning in chaldea | and also in the court of pharaoh |

which pharaoh signifies king by royal blood |

now | this king of egypt was a descendant from the loins of ham | and was a partaker of the blood of the canaanites by birth |

from this descent sprang all the egyptians | and thus | the blood of the canaanites was preserved in the land |

the land of egypt | being first discovered by a woman | who was the daughter of ham | and the daughter of egyptus |

which in the chaldean signifies egypt | which signifies that which is forbidden |

when this woman discovered the land | it was under water | who afterward settled her sons in it | and thus | from Ham | sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land |

now | the first government of egypt was established by pharaoh | the eldest son of egyptus | the daughter of ham | and it was after the manner of the government of ham | which was patriarchal |

pharaoh | being a righteous man | established his kingdom | and judged his people wisely and justly all his days | seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations | in the days of the first patriarchal reign | even in the reign of adam | and also of noah | his father | who blessed him with the blessings of the earth | and with the blessings of wisdom | but cursed him as pertaining to the priesthood |

now | pharaoh being of that lineage | by which he could not have the right of priesthood | notwithstanding | the pharaohs would fain claim it from noah | through ham | therefore | my father was led away by their idolatry |

but i shall endeavor | hereafter | to delineate the chronology | running back from myself to the beginning of the creation | for the records have come into my hands | which i hold unto this present time |

now | after the priest of elkenah was smitten | that he died | there came a fulfilment of those things | which were said unto me | concerning the land of chaldea | that there should be a famine in the land | accordingly | a famine prevailed throughout all the land of chaldea | and my father was sorely tormented | because of the famine | and he repented of the evil | which he had determined against me | to take away my life |

but the records of the fathers | even the patriarchs | concerning the right of priesthood | the lord | my god | preserved in mine own hands | therefore | a knowledge of the beginning of the creation | and also of the planets | and of the stars | as they were made known unto the fathers | have i kept | even unto this day | and i shall endeavor to write some of these things upon this record | for the benefit of my posterity | that shall come after me |

The rest of the chapters

To read the entire Book of Abraham in this format, click here.

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Deep Waters: Having their Hearts Knit Together in Unity and in Love


DISCLAIMER:  This post has been tagged Deep Waters because is discusses human sexuality.  

I personally do not believe avoiding the topic of sex or that teaching sex-negative messages is advisable.  I think the hope is that doing so can keep people from having sex — but all that it appears to have done is keep people from having good sex:  From asking questions about it, from communicating with their partners about it — and from being fulfilled by it.  

I also think avoiding it or teaching a negative/shame-based view of it blurs the line between sex and rape by making all human sexuality this one, undifferentiated mass of “bad”.  If we’re taught to repress ourselves sexually, it doesn’t just go away.  The “uncontrollable” horny boy and the “good girl” syndrome are all caused by our current approach of teaching young men and women about sex.  It leads to either rampant breaking of the law of chastity — or depression and unhappy sexuality within marriage [which is why an LDS couple wrote And They Were Not Ashamed], both of which are exactly what Satan wants us doing.

In any event — there’s the disclaimer, so now I’ll start.

The unity of marriage:

Adam and Eve were married before they were ever aware of their nakedness or their sexuality [see, Intimacy as the Opposite of Sin].  The marriage union was in response to loneliness – not lust.

The sexual union is the chief means of physically expressing an existing connection of Love between two people.  Sex for both procreation and pleasure is not unique to being human — it is common to all other animals.  Our unique experience in sexuality is the bonding or social adhesion between two people.

When acting as animals, we may experience the two dynamics common to all life [procreation and pleasure], we conceive children and it can feel good – but only when acting as humans may be partake of the third [or ideally all three at once].

Reproduction and sexual union are distinct events:

The genitals have three distinct purposes:

  • Urination
  • Reproduction
  • Unification

Thus, they may be considered as conduits of three things:

  • Nitrogenous waste
  • Reproductive gametes
  • Social adhesion

These three are all physiologically distinct from each other.  Sexual union and reproduction are considered just as separate from each other as reproduction is from urination.

  • The testes and the ovaries/uterus [reproductive organs] are not the ones involved in the sexual union
  • Just as the urethra is not the organ involved in producing new life

The pleasure of sex arises entirely within one’s own body.  This is why the pleasure of it can be generated in solitude.  Thus, this aspect is better considered as the sequel to a sexual union, or the end-result of one.

Disconnected the pleasure from the union:

Often, a person who is going out for a “hook-up” is said to be “lookin’ for a woman” or “out to get a man”.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

A woman is exactly what a man like that does not want.  What he wants is the pleasure for which a woman happens to be a desirable apparatus for obtaining.  If a bona-fide union with the other person is not the end you are seeking – then he/she is just the means to the end you’re really seeking, your own pleasure [just as if you were producing the pleasure in solitude].

This is not Love.  Actual union did not take place.  The other person will be regarded about the same as a drug addict would regard the used syringe after he is done injecting.

and Amnon said unto Tamar

bring the food into the chamber
that I may eat from thine hand

and Tamar took the cakes which she had made
and brought them into the chamber
to Amnon her brother
and when she had brought them unto him to eat
he took hold of her
and said unto her

come lie with me my sister

and she answered

nay
my brother do not force me
for no such thing ought to be done in israel
do not commit this folly
and what of me?
whither shall I cause my shame to go?
and as for thee
thou shalt be as one of the fools in israel
now therefore
I pray thee
speak unto the king
for he will not withhold me from thee

howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice
but being stronger than she
forced her
and had sex with her

then Amnon hated her exceedingly
so that the hatred wherewith he hated her 
was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her
and Amnon said unto her

arise
be gone

[2 Samuel 13:10-15]

Union is a “sacred-act” — or “sacrament”:

The “sacrament” of sex arises from the fact that, in Love, we are not merely our Self anymore.  We become representatives or proxy of the universal Male and Female.  In the temple, we are considered as if we were Adam and Eve.  In the pagan mysteries, the man acts in the role of the Father Sky-god and the woman the Mother Earth-goddess.  All that is masculine and feminine in the whole universe – all that exerts and all that yields – all form and matter, all spirit and element – is momentarily focused and present in that singular event [see, Masculinity, Femininity, and Gender].

The word “naked” originates as the past tense of the verb for peeling or stripping – meaning it referred to something that had undergone a “naking”.

In this sense, each of us are more our Self when we are dressed.  The naked person is not one who has abstained from wearing clothing – but is one who [for a specific reason] has undergone the specific process of removing clothes.  Nudity emphasizes the common human image we all bear [or would that be bare, pun intended].

Like the story of Inanna descending to the realm of the dead, passing the seven gates, removing an article of clothing at each [or Mary, being freed from seven spirits] – we strip off all that it means to be our Self, and put on nakedness as a ceremonial robe to re-enter the garden as the universal He and She [Adam and Eve] to re-enact the drama of creation.

Sacred symbolism in LDS temple liturgy:

In BiV’s post at Wheat & Tares, The Sacred Embrace as Five Points of Fellowship, she describes how [before this aspect of the ceremony was removed] the initiates were not allowed to enter the presence of the Lord until they had conversed with Him embraced in the Five Points of Fellowship.  The closeness symbolized in that act was to represent our oneness with God — a complete embrace of our Self into Him — and was presented as the way through which we all passed from death into celestial Life.

The Five Points of Fellowship were described as:

  • inside of right foot by the side of right foot
  • knee to knee
  • breast to breast
  • hand to back
  • mouth to ear

In Wicca, there is a ritual of the “Fivefold Kiss”, which is another form of the Five Points of Fellowship.  The ritual involves kissing five parts of the body — each kiss accompanied by a blessing.

  • Blessed be thy feet, that have brought thee in these ways
  • Blessed be thy knees, that shall kneel at the sacred altar
  • Blessed be thy womb / phallus, without which we would not be
  • Blessed be thy breasts, formed in beauty / breast, formed in strength
  • Blessed be thy lips, that shall utter the Sacred Names.

Greeting or saluting [aspazomai, “to draw into one’s self“] with a “holy kiss” was an early Christian practice referenced in the epistles of Paul [Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20, 2 Cor. 13:12, 1 Thes. 5:26].

And not only did the Five Points of Fellowship get cut from the LDS temple ceremony — but so did the complete ritual blessing of the naked body done part-by-part:

  • The head, ears, eyes, nose, lips, neck, shoulders, back, breast, solar plexus, arms and hands, genitals, and legs and feet.

The ritual established by Joseph Smith was performed in a bathtub — washing with water and spiced whiskey [strong drink for the purpose of ritual washing, D&C 89:7] and anointing with olive oil:

Oliver Cowdery gave even more detail about one of these temple preparation meetings, noting how the Latter-day Saints followed Old Testament patterns in washing and anointing priests for temple service.

Oliver wrote that he met with Joseph and others at the Prophet’s house:

“And after pure water was prepared, called upon the Lord and proceeded to wash each other’s bodies, and bathe the same with whiskey, perfumed with cinnamon. This we did that we might be clean before the Lord for the Sabbath, confessing our sins and covenanting to be faithful to God. While performing this washing with solemnity, our minds were filled with many reflections upon the propriety of the same, and how the priests anciently used to wash always before ministering before the Lord.”

Admittedly, these acts were obviously cut from our temple rituals because participants felt uncomfortable with the intimacy they suggest.  This was especially the case for women — who were not allowed to have priestesses ministering at the veil ritual for them, but had to be received by a male priest to whom they were not married.

Much like the intimacy suggested in the ritual washing and anointing of Jesus’ feet by Mary [without which He was not prepared for His death and burial] …

then Mary took a pound of ointment of spikenard
very costly
and anointed the feet of Jesus
and wiped his feet with her hair
and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment

[John 12:3]

and did wipe them with the hairs of her head
and kissed his feet
[…] Jesus said

seest thou this woman?

[Luke 7:38, 44]

she hath done what she could
she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying
amen I say unto you
wheresoever this gospel shall be preached
throughout the whole world
this also that she has done
shall be spoken of for a memorial of her

[Mark 14:8-9]

… many felt some “indignation within themselves” when presented with such ritual acts that were quite sexual in nature.

The reason these sacred acts were removed:

These rituals are inherently intimate in nature because they express the unity between men-and-women, humanity-and-God — that the gospel is designed to achieve.  Zion requires great intimacy and connection among the body of believers who comprise it.  The church currently lacks this intimacy and connection — so these rituals felt strange for most of the people who participated in them.

However, the leadership addressed the genuine feelings of discomfort in the wrong way.  Instead of getting at the reason why we all still feel like strangers at church and are not comfortable with the level of intimacy required to be comfortable in the temple rituals — they just axed the intimate parts out of the ceremony.

The only way to achieve Zion, or even a Zion-like atmosphere at church, is for the men and women to all be connected to each other through covenants.  As it stands, we are connected to Christ through covenants, but not to each other.  As long as we remain unfettered by covenant relationships with each other, we will never achieve Zion and our conversations [and actions] will never approach the level of intimacy and sharing required of that ideal.

Knitting the estranged back together:

The experience of ecstasy [ekstasis, “to stand outside yourself”], the complete unification of two people expressed through the sexual union — is what exists beyond the concepts of separateness, beyond the concepts of God-and-humans, Self-and-neighbor, man-and-woman, or any of the other this-and-that’s we might split existence into.

This is the transcendent “mystical experience” present in nearly every religion or spiritual path.  One might immediately think of the New-Agey, Eastern religions [Zen, Yoga, Hinduism, etc.], but even the big three Abrahamic faiths have their own ecstatic, mystical sects [Kabbalah, Sufism, Gnosticism].

The fervor for which some Christian writers have described being given over to the ecstatic worship of God border on the sexual:

Only in God is everything pure, beautiful, and holy; fortunately we can dwell in Him even in our exile!  But my Master’s happiness is mine, and I surrender myself to Him so He can do whatever He wants in me.

[Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity]

I saw an angel beside me toward the left side, in bodily form. I saw in his hands a long dart of gold, and at the end of the iron there seemed to me to be a little fire. This I thought he thrust through my heart several times, and that it reached my very entrails. As he withdrew it, I thought it brought them with it, and left me all burning with a great love of God. So great was the pain, that it made me give those moans; and so utter the sweetness that this sharpest of pains gave me, that there was no wanting it to stop, nor is there any contenting of the soul with less than God.

[Saint Teresa of Avila]

A common monoplot in all human myth is this sacred act of the interplay between the aspects of God considered as a man and as a woman.  Their interplay manifested in:  Birth, Puberty, Marriage, Sexual Union, Death — cycling back to New Birth [or Resurrection].  It has been considered in various ways across human culture:

  • YHVH and His covenant people Israel
  • Christ, the bridegroom and His Beloved, the church
  • Jesus and Mary Magdalene
  • Sky-God and Earth-Goddess
  • Inanna and Dumuzi
  • Isis and Osiris
  • Yin and Yang
  • Shiva and Shakti
  • Krishna and Radha
  • Pan and Selene

But right now – The Father and Mother are estranged. The exalted Man sits up in the sky upon the throne. While the Woman is locked away in the tower.  As such, they can never be friends.

The Mother is nature and all of the physical elements – but that’s become everything we are supposed to deny in order to be “holy”.  Most religions go about separating the very things that is the purpose of religion to bring together – body and spirit, man and woman, sexuality and holiness, humanity and divinity.

I think people are scared of natural because it doesn’t seem as “self-sacrificing” — like the Catholic priest who feels his life of sexual restriction is “more holy” than a family-life.  Or a Buddhist who would run away to “find himself” on a mountain top, leaving anything “worldly” behind.  Or the monogamist who would insist that a polygamist ought to “deny their natural man” and get with one-on-one monogamy instead of a natural state of polygamous families.

But “natural” and “supernatural” need not be considered as separate things.  Let us bring back together the things that shouldn’t ever have been separated in the first-place – or perhaps it would be to realize that they were never separate in the first-place.  Just that a hardened mind, conceived in sin, perceives this-and-that, good-and-evil, heaven-and-earth, mental-and-physical, spirit-and-flesh, gods-and-humans, etc. as these separate and exclusive things – and our minds just need to be soften, or broken.

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[When Things Get Broken …]