Money-free Communities


Many are wary of priestcraft among us.  I am one of them.  I heard an author being interviewed on the radio a few weeks back.  He wrote a compilation of all of the statements Jesus made in the New Testament, organized under about 200 topics.  He spoke about how important it is for “Christians to have access to the words of Christ,” and how “no one can have eternal life without abiding in His words.”

I immediately thought of the post I linked to above when I began searching for the author’s material — only to find everything leading me to a place to buy his book.  One would think that if a person complied such an important index of the saving “words of Christ” — that they would want any believer to have free access to it [Just as Jesus offered free access to his words when he spoke them].

At the author’s Amazon page, I learned that the book he had written previous to the one I was interested in outlines the story of how he flunked out of every job he held in his first six years after college.  But then, upon studying Solomon [“the richest man alive“], he found a way to “achieve greater success and happiness than he had ever known — thus making him a millionaire many times over.”

The book discusses each of Solomon’s insights and strategies into attaining wealth with anecdotes about the author’s personal successes and failures — as well as those of  Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Steven Spielberg.

That was all I needed to know about this man.

Money is a key of discernment:

A true key for discerning a part of Lucifer’s Babylonian control system is the requirement of money.  Nothing in Babylon is given as it is sought after or desired — but only as a person has earned it or has the means to purchase it.  In contrast, the gifts and powers of God come only thru asking and thru agency.  They are freely given and can only be freely distributed.

But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

The idea of a community having a money-free system is often criticized as being “utopian” [as is also said of tribal marriage systems, anarcho-primitivism, and anarchy in general].  I have been told by many that:

Your theories are very romantic and idealistic.  And like all those other great idealistic theories are confounded by the fact that men and women are sinners, we rarely live up to our own ideals, and our incredible powers of rationalization most often outweigh true justice and equality.

Given our flawed natures, biblically-based political theories aren’t particularly realistic to put forth.  I can’t help but think that the realistic scenario of your theories would be a decentralized tyranny of very pompous, self-righteous men exercising self-righteous dominion over their families.  I’m not sure I would trade that for a centralized church leadership’s more mild tyranny.

Such criticism is likewise leveled at the concept of establishing money-free systems.  However, one will find that humans are prepared to work for nothing — given the condition that they can partake for nothing.  Or, as Jesus described it:

…freely ye have received, freely give.

For example, this website contains the work of several contributes — all readable for free.  Other examples include:  filesharing sites, open source programs, Wikipedia, community/volunteer events, church programs, apprenticeships, etc.

Why you won’t hear more about money-free systems:

If any community within a state were to adopt a money-free system, then tax revenues will start to decline.  Further, any monetary penalties designed to encourage or discourage certain behaviors [taxes, penalties, duties, fees, etc.] will become largely ineffective methods of control.  Such a community will decrease the power of the state and centralized banking interests as a result of increasing personal freedom and independence.

Tribalism is the key to opening up money-free systems:

Typically, even the mention of money will increase the competitiveness in people.  Therefore, were a community to develop on the basis of a money-free economy — it would be more likely to engender cooperative behavior.  In a money-free community, leaders must find other incentives to encourage members to do tasks they wouldn’t otherwise do for “free” — a task that would require leaders who are willing to serve [instead of rule] and are willing to govern with persuasion, patience, gentleness, kindness, meekness, genuine love, etc.

This makes the priesthood the best organizing force  — and tribal plural marriages the best organizing structure — for a money-free [or Zion-like] community.  Priesthood holders accept, by covenant, an obligation to selflessly serve and unconditionally love all who are the concerns of their stewardship.

Zion will be money-free:

A money-free community would need great intimacy and connection among the members.  LDS Anarchy commented [at a site I do not recommend commenting at]:

The church is lacking in intimacy and connection because we are all still strangers.   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.

Only thru the increasing the covenant bonds that connect humans together can  Zion begin to emerge as a mode of human organization.

When humans lived in the Edenic state of hunter-gatherer, multihusband-multiwife tribes — currency did not exist.  The idea of “having any money” was foreign to Adam — who only kept the tokens associated with his priesthood.

However, the 10,000 year explosion, the dawn of sedentary agriculture, and the associated appearance of states necessitated a commodity that was easy to store and handle in order to facilitate trade among the growing communities of largely un-connected members.

Any return to such a paradisaical lifestyle will only be associated with complimentary return to the manner of connectedness and cooperation humans shared before statism, monogamous family-units, and monetary-based systems of exchange.

Next Article by Justin:  Tribal Connections

Previous Article by Justin:  Seeking the Good of Others

The Keys to Prophecy IX: Apollyon, the Destroyer


720 words

© Anthony E. Larson, 2005

The Keys to Prophecy IX:

Apollyon, the Destroyer

Like the histories of all ancient cultures, that of the Hebrews-the Old Testament-tells the very same story of sky-spanning marvels and manifestations that profoundly and directly impacted their culture and beliefs.  Comparing the names of the gods they worshipped supports this conclusion, as we have seen.

Having made that connection, we can now turn to the scriptural record to see how well that knowledge helps our comprehension of symbolism that otherwise seems unfathomable: prophecy.

For example, Baal, a figure we see often in the Old Testament, was the god of the Canaanites, sometimes neighbors and enemies of the Israelites.  From time to time in their history most Israelites worshipped him as well, to the dismay of the prophets.

Apollo was the Greek equivalent of Baal.  In fact, the name is the same, altered only by linguistic preferences.  The Greeks added an antecedent ‘a’ (a-baal), softened the hard ‘b’ sound to a ‘p’ and then added an ‘o’ ending (a-paal-o).

The conclusion: The Greeks worshipped the same sky god as the Canaanites and the apostate Israelites.

Although the Greek’s god Ares is more typically associated by scholars with the Roman war god, Mars, others insist that Apollo (Apollon/Apollyon) was also a Greek equivalent. For that reason, Apollo was virtually adopted intact into the Roman pantheon. So, as we make cross-cultural connections of these gods, we learn that the Old Testament god Baal is the same are the Greek Apollo and the Roman god of war, Mars.

The planets in our solar system, such as Mars, were not arbitrarily assigned the names of mythical gods, as most suppose.  The nine known planets bear the names of Roman gods and goddesses because some of them were the ‘gods’ that once stood near to or passed perilously close to the Earth, illuminating and dominating the ancient heavens as well as occasionally raining destruction on the world’s civilizations.

In fact, Revelation’s Apollyon is usually translated “destroyer,” a fitting description of Apollo’s Roman counterpart, the warrior god Mars.

These connections become particularly useful when we consider the following enigmatic passage from John’s vision.  “And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.”  (Revelation 9:11.)

Earlier in that same chapter, it is a “star” that opens the bottomless pit.  Of course, we’ve learned in earlier installments in this series that the ancients commonly called planets that once hovered near the Earth “stars.”

Can you see where this is leading?  John implied that, this “king,” “angel” or “star”-Apollyon-was the planet Mars.  This is the key.

Thus, we learn many things from John’s carefully worded explanation in these few verses.

Foremost, we learn that this “king,” which is also the “angel of the bottomless pit” and the “star” that fell to the earth, is a planet.  Thus, we must conclude that other references to kings, angels, beasts, stars and creatures in John’s account may be references to planets as well.

This tendency to use common images to describe celestial objects is still practiced today where star constellations are given names like Great Bear, Lion and Archer, and where the greatest star cluster is called the Milky Way.  It’s a cultural tradition from antiquity, employed by John, which we preserve in the present.

It also fits perfectly with Joseph Smith’s teaching that the beasts seen by prophets in heavenly visions are not beasts at all but “images” meant to represent something else.  (For clarification of this, see “Joseph Smith’s Marvelous Key.”)

We can also now see that John drew upon traditions common to all cultures around the Mediterranean to describe the future.  This practice of drawing on the past to describe the future is a common literary device used by the prophets-Nephi and Isaiah, for example-one that John employed throughout his record.

Also implied is the idea that the imagery of the entire vision draws heavily upon the cultural traditions of John’s time, employing the sacred, “mythical” stories of those pagan cultures of the “seven churches which are in Asia” that John addressed to explain the place of Christ in those traditions as well as events of the last days.

Thus, the images or icons embodied in those ancient cultural traditions are the keys to interpreting all the imagery of John’s enigmatic vision, Revelation. And so it is, too, with all the visions of the prophets recorded in scripture. Armed with these keys, which are an understanding of the meaning of that imagery, the most mysterious symbolism of the scriptures becomes easy reading.

In order to properly understand all these mysterious, symbolic references, we must know both what these traditions were and their origins.  We cannot simply guess at their meaning, as most modern expositors of prophecy do.  Such gratuitous speculation is commonplace, though dangerously misleading.

In order to grasp the meaning of prophecy, we must know as much about the past as we do the present.

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The Keys to Prophecy II: Joseph Smith’s Marvelous Key


893 words
© Anthony E. Larson, 2004

The Keys To Prophecy II
Joseph Smith’s Marvelous Key

The first and perhaps most crucial key to prophecy was revealed in this dispensation by Joseph Smith when he spoke on the subject of scriptural imagery.

“The prophets do not declare that they saw a beast or beasts, but that they saw the image or figure of a beast. Daniel did not see an actual bear or a lion, but the images or figures of those beasts. The translation should have been rendered ‘image’ instead of ‘beast,’ in every instance where beasts are mentioned by the prophets.” (History of the Church, p. 343.)

Joseph’s use of the term “image” makes his meaning clear. Similar terms used by today’s scholars are “icon,” or “symbol.” In this context, all three words mean the same thing.

Beasts aren’t the only images in prophecy. We read of kings, stars, mountains, highways, temples, locusts and women as well, to name just a few. Drawing on Joseph’s statement, we can infer that all these are meant to convey meaning and not depict real creatures, individuals or objects. “When the prophets speak of seeing beasts in their visions, they mean that they saw the images, they being types to represent certain things.” (Ibid., p. 343.)

The profound importance of this bit of information becomes clear when we consider that “images” were the very things that the ancients venerated. When we look at Hebrew, Egyptian or Babylonian religious art, we are confronted by nothing but images and symbols. They are everywhere in ancient cultures, overwhelming and mysterious.

Open the quintessentially prophetic book of Revelation, and what leaps out at us, given this new perspective, are some of the same images we see on the walls of ancient temples and monuments. This is a key to scriptural iconography that almost everyone has missed, even though Joseph Smith made the connection, albeit obliquely.

For example, in that same sermon, the Prophet mentioned Daniel’s vision of a four-headed beast. One looked like a lion, another a bear and the third a leopard. The fourth he described as a “dreadful and terrible,” beast with ten heads.

John apparently described seeing the same beast, although his description varies slightly from Daniel’s. “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” (Revelation 13:1.)

Further, John also described seeing aspects of the leopard, bear and lion in his beast. (Revelation 13:2.)

This suggests that they were describing the same images.
And John added this peculiar detail: “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” (Revelation 13:3.)

Astoundingly, this beast—wounded head and all—was depicted in Mesopotamian cylinder seal art hundreds of years before John and Daniel described seeing them in vision.

Here we see the Babylonian dragon Tiamat, clearly the archetype of John’s and Daniel’s beast, doing battle with Marduk. Note that this illustration predates John and Daniel, meaning that these were not borrowed from the Hebrew prophets.

Another example of this link of ancient imagery with prophetic imagery is found in Ezekiel, Revelation and the Pearl of Great Price.

Ezekiel also saw a creature with four heads, listed as that of a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle. (Ezekiel 1:10.) John listed the four as well as a man, a lion, a calf and an eagle. (Revelation 4:6, 7.)

Most stunning of all to Latter-day Saints is that these same four “beasts” can be seen in Facsimile No. 1 in the Pearl of Great Price, where Joseph describes them as “idolatrous gods.”

Some beasts of prophecy are virtually identical to the four images on Egyptian funerary jars, seen here beneath the couch.

We tend to think of scriptural imagery as unique, something completely separate and apart from that of other cultures and religions. But the above examples, and many more like them, amply demonstrate that this is not so.

The prophets’ sacred imagery drew its symbolism from the same sources as the idolatrous imagery of the pagans, hence the conspicuous similarities between mythological imagery and scriptural imagery.

As it turns out, we have been repeatedly exposed to these images. We simply failed to recognize them in the scriptures because our mindset told us they were images of things from the future, not the past.

Thus, we see that while the visions of the prophets may have been about the future, the imagery they employed was already ancient in their day.
So it is that we must first look backward in time to learn the meaning of those ancient symbols before we can properly attempt to interpret their use in visions of future events.

This is likely what Peter meant when he wrote, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy ….” (2 Peter 1:19.) That is to say, the images of prophecy were well established and understood in his day. Then, for clarity, he added, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” (2 Peter 1:20.) In other words, guessing—the preferred method of modern interpreters—is out. Of course, to know the meaning of these symbols, “…they being types to represent certain things,” we must learn their source and what they meant to those who held them sacred.

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