Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Metanoia (Repentance) and Hamartia (Sin)

The New Testament was originally written in Greek.  It was translated in approximately 400 AD by Jerome into what is now known as the Latin Vulgate Bible.  Understanding history and the original intent of the authors of the scriptures is so important to understanding clearly their perspective which can help inform and align ours so we can come to know Christ more clearly.

Jesus would have had to have been a master of many languages during his mortal life.  There are many stories of his travels to Egypt, England, and possibly India that do not reside in our current King James Bible. He definitely spoke Greek, the main language spoken for business across the world at that time.  He likely also spoke Aramaic (a dialect of Hebrew), Egyptian, Latin, Gaelic, and possibly other languages – but most everyday language, even in Palestine, was Greek.

This is important to understand because most of the modern world has taken the Catholic meaning of the word “repentance” and applied it to almost every modern day Christian religion (i.e. protestant, evangelical, and even modern Mormonism).  In classical, or Koine, Greek the word that keeps getting translated into English as “repentance” is the Greek word: metanoia.

It is a conjugation of two Greek words “meta” and “noia”.  Most modern day English speakers are familiar with the prefix “meta” in words like metamorphosis, metastasize, etc. meaning “change” but most are unfamiliar with the suffix “noia”.  Noia in Koine Greek was the most internal part of a person – their truest self.  We sometimes refer to this in modern English as “mind” or “heart” when trying to describe our innermost selves.  So the earliest Christians would have clearly understood that when someone spoke and said “metanoia” it did not carry the same connotation that most modern Christians (after 400 AD) took repentance to mean.  To them, it literally meant to “change one’s heart/mind about someone or something”. 

Jerome took this word (metanoia), keeping in mind this is after 4 centuries of Christians gaining popularity and taking over (in some cases very ruthlessly) and imposing a certain prescribed dogma of belief (think: Council of Nicea), and was under instruction to make the Latin translation conform with the current beliefs/doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. 

Remember, by about this time, the Church was focused on controlling people’s behavior and beliefs and requiring certain acts of punishment or payment to the authorities to remove the sin of the individual.  Jerome took the Latin word “paenitentia” which came to mean “penitence” or “penance” or acts of penance that had to be done if one hoped to obtain salvation (via the Church) or grace.  Repentance has literally come to mean, in our modern venacular, to "punish yourself over and over again."

There is another word that is super-important to understand the concept of repentance here from the earliest Christian mindset – without imposing the rigid Catholic, Protestant, or sometimes even Mormon concept – that is the word “sin”. 

In the Greek New Testament, the word translated “sin” by the Catholics and King James translators is “hamartia”.  It literally (and originally) had to do with a marksman firing an arrow.  In classical Greek, the word meant “bad shot, missing the mark, error”.  Aristotle took that word and applied it to mean something like a “flaw in character” which could ultimately lead to a person’s downfall.  So at the time of earliest Christians they likely understood the original meaning, but also its application towards behavior.

The reason I feel like it is so important to understand these words and their original meaning is that 1) context matters, 2) when divorced from understanding the original meaning all sorts of authoritarian abuse can take place, 3) we should not take modern meaning from words and misapply them – you can create all kinds of spiritual abuse internally – an overburden of guilt, shame, self-loathing etc.  All that just because you made a mistake, you missed the mark, you erred. Stop it.

To properly metanoia (change your heart/mind) you have to understand how you hamartia (missed the mark), then you can work with Christ on changing your heart/mind to let go of that character flaw.  He’s not standing over any one of us, as sometimes we have misbelieved, waiting to "kick our asses" if we mess up.  Think of Paul, think of Alma and the sons of Mosiah.  It is much simpler than that.  We just need to recognize where we have erred and change our minds.  Let go over the overburden of guilt, shame, and punishing yourself over and over again - that is of the Accuser (Satan) not the God of Heaven.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

The Changing "god" of Russell M. Nelson

In November 2015 John Dehlin leaked that the Mormon Church had added a new policy in the LDS Handbook of Instructions (see link here) as a policy which essentially label the homosexual parents as "apostate" and then said that any children of that family could not be baptized.  When I informed a few of my friends at work that they had done that, my friends actually did not believe it - either that I was "mistaken" or that God "would not do that".  They were incredulous (as was I).


NOVEMBER 2015 LDS CHURCH POLICY: Same-sex couples are labeled as “apostates” and are subject for church discipline and their children will be prevented from being baptized until they turn 18.


Then when the Church came out publicly and admitted to it, many of my previously incredulous work mates, started singing a different tune...namely, that it must have been "inspired" or "revelation" of the Lord's will which prompted the Brethren to put such a policy in place.  

Interestingly enough, not four months after that publication (and the media backlash against the Church), President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles doubled down and stated in a talk at BYU Hawaii that it was actually "revelation" that was received on the matter by the Lord's "prophet, seer, and revelator" President Thomas S. Monson - you know, the one who can never lead you astray... [LINK TO ARTICLE]

"These policy changes come after an extended period of counseling with our brethren in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and after fervent, united prayer to understand the will of the Lord on these matters".

"Each of us during that sacred moment felt a spiritual confirmation," Nelson, next in line for the Mormon presidency, told the faith's young adults in the first official explanation of the hotly debated policy's origins. "It was our privilege as apostles to sustain what had been revealed to President Monson." (emphasis my own)

That was just over 3 years ago...when Russell Nelson was "just" the President of the Quorum of the 12.  Now, according to his new wife, Wendy Nelson, "I have seen HIM changing in the last ten months...It is as though HE'S been unleashed. HE'S free to finally do what he came to earth to do. … And also, HE'S free to follow through with things HE's been concerned about but could never do. Now that HE's president of [the Church], HE can do those things.” (emphasis my own)

And he has certainly been busy "administratively" - unfortunately, I have not seen any "new" revealed light or knowledge here coming from someone who has supposedly been a "prophet, seer, and revelator" for the last 35 years...I do not mean to be pejorative, but seriously, what has he ever "seen, prophesied, or revelated" in any of that time? "Inspiration" does not count. "Feelings" don't count.  What "intelligence" has been communicated?  [Note: Changing church attendance times from 3 to 2 hours also doesn't count...although many think it does...LOL]

So what's changed? A bunch of administrative/policy things:  Changing the time of Church from 3 hours to 2 hours, getting rid of High Priests, getting rid of home/visiting teaching to "ministering", no longer allowing ourselves to be called "Mormons" - but change everything to the full name of TCOJCOLDS (sorry, too lazy to write it all out) - including MoTab to "The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square" (holy cow that's long...), sister missionaries can now wear pants (Yeah! What a slap in the face to those Ordain Women rebels!)...

I'm sure there is more I've missed, but Wendy Nelson was right - HE has been "unleashed"!  He is no longer the purring, tame, mild-mannered pussy cat he was before.  Now he is off-the-chain, roaring (administratively) as a LION!  Beware the roar of this man - he is flooding the earth with (administrative) light like never before!

Finally, just two days ago, the changing god of Russell Nelson (or was it just Russ himself?) changed his mind again (I mean, why stay the "same" yesterday, today or forever when it's so much more fun to just change things on a whim?! Right!?) and is now not labeling homosexual partners "apostate" and allowing their children to be baptized. [LINK TO ARTICLE]


APRIL 2019 LDS CHURCH POLICY CHANGE:  Same-sex couples are no longer labeled “apostates” [just "serious transgressors"]  and will not be grounds for church discipline      [Q. Will "adulterers" now receive the same kind of non-discipline, discipline too?] and their children can now be baptized.


President Dallin Oaks said: "Previously, our handbook characterized same-gender marriage by a member as apostasy. While we still consider such a marriage to be a serious transgression, it will not be treated as apostasy for purposes of Church discipline. Instead, the immoral conduct in heterosexual or homosexual relationships will be treated in the same way."

"These policy changes come after an extended period of counseling with our brethren in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and after fervent, united prayer to understand the will of the Lord on these matters."

Sounds almost exactly like what Nelson said 3 years ago (Wait! Hold on, in fact, IT IS!...someone in the Church PR department obviously didn't double-check to make sure that the language was even just a little bit different...LOL). 

So, "assuming" that one of these "revelations" are, in fact, the "will of the Lord", which one is it?  Apparently "the will of the Lord" has given way to political and social pressure to change His policies.  But since that has never happened before and will likely never happen again...Glad to know I can rest easier tonight knowing god's "will" has been done by this man...

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you ALL things what ye should do.  2 Nephi 32:3 (emphasis mine)

This blog is how proper scripture study translates into hearing the dynamic voice of the Lord, so you can "keep the commandments which He hath given [you]"! (Moroni 4:3)

THE MISSING COMPONENT:  I have always known that reading the scriptures was supposed to produce greater spirituality, but I have read them without the promised benefits, and no one has been able to identify the missing component. The missing component is REVELATION. Once I had unlocked REVELATION in scripture study, I was able to further those skills to hear the dynamic, living voice of the Lord.

In the sacrament prayer, you covenant to "...keep His commandments which He hath given [you], that [you] may always have His spirit to be with [you]." Within this covenant is the instruction to Receive REVELATION.  REVELATION is the commandments which He (Christ) gives you...personally.

UNDERSTAND THIS:  He is speaking to you NOW, but unless you have conditioned ourselves to hear Him, you have little expectation of Receiving Revelation. And we are left estranged, without "his Spirit to be with us." (ibid)  Keep in mind, the Lord has said, " works are without end, and also my WORDS, for they NEVER CEASE." (Moses 1:4, emphasis mine)  You see, the problem isn't that the Lord is silent, the problem is us learning to hear His voice.

I was always told that reading the scriptures was supposed to produce greater spirituality, but no one ever explained how that actually works. For instance, when I was in high school seminary we had scripture mastery, but memorization didn't produce understanding. As a family, you know how many hours we have spent trying to get the words of Christ into us; we have spent hours reading the scriptures, but most of that time was spent in compulsion, threatening with spankings or yelling if you weren't paying attention...LOL, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, NONE OF IT has produced the desired results of "greater spirituality". Was I left to navigate my life without revelation?  I mean we always talk about it, but until the Prophet Joseph Smith helped me distinguish between warm, gushy feelings and pure intelligence I was stuck!   In my ignorance, I realized I had been reading the scriptures without the promised benefits, and no one was been able to identify the missing component.

THE MISSING COMPONENT IS...REVELATION:  If you are NOT HEARING the living, dynamic word of the Lord to you, then you are missing something...The missing component is REVELATION, but how is it that you recognize REVELATION when studying the scriptures? It comes as PURE KNOWLEDGE OR INTELLIGENCE to your mind.

For instance, when you read a passage, and "suddenly" you know what it means, whereas you didn't before. An example for me was reading the Beatitudes, and suddenly it entered my mind that the 7 Beatitudes were like the seven rungs of Jacob's ladder. And anyone wanting ascend must necessarily go through each of these steps, in its prescribed order.  Then, suddenly, the Lord's House of Order (D&C 88:119) popped into my mind. It too described the progress of a family, or home, into eternity. Since then, I have had several occasion when "pure intelligence" enters into my soul, and I understand what was intended. Each revelation has taught me more about the correct perfections, attributes and characteristics of Christ.

THE WORD OF THE LORD IS DYNAMIC!  Once I had unlocked revelation in scripture study, I was able to further those skills to hear the dynamic voice of the Lord in my personal life. When a thought entered into my mind, and suddenly it was like pure knowledge flowing to me, I immediately recognized it as revelation because of my long experience Receiving Revelation the very same way in scripture study. But now the revelation was not tied to scriptures, and was personally tied to my role, directing me, in a customized manner that relates only to me. It's a one-on-one relationship with Christ.

Christ, having performed the at-one-ment (descending below all, and ascending above all), is the only one who can provide a one-on-one solution for you to overcome the world. Just as Christ led Lehi's family with the Liahona, this is how the scriptures are a compass, to familiarize you with the voice of the Lord, so that He can guide you to a far better land of promise beyond this veil. It is through many experiences of revelation that you come to KNOW Christ. Knowing Christ is defined by Him as "Life Eternal."

Too often we seek revelation, and falsely think that receiving an answer is what revelation is all about. The real value of revelation is ONLY in knowing the Lord. The answer, the decision, the question, or the problem, is almost meaningless in comparison to what the Lord is doing in revealing Himself to you, so you can KNOW Him.

My wife shared an insight with me last night.  She had been explaining our circumstances with the bishop to a friend of hers.  She said insightfully, "If my heart is in the right place and I am truly following the Lord, and if Bishop's heart is in the right place and he is trying to do the same, then while at present it may seem that we are at odds, we will end up at some point at the same place.  It is in the Lord's hands.  I do not have to force the situation to change to what I want it, even though it may be uncomfortable."

She knows that she is following Christ's will for her in the present.  That is the personal relationship that is required for all who are His sheep. They must hear His voice. All the little revelations are meant to gradually paint a clearer picture of Christ, so that you KNOW Christ. Eventually, not only will His spirit always be with you, but He will step out from behind the veil, returning you into His presence. There is only one real revelation, and that is the uncovering or unveiling of Christ and God the Father.

CONCLUSION: All these years I have been trying to convince you to read your scriptures. That message has been heard many times over. Some of you have begun to read your scriptures, hearing the voice of the Lord, without knowing it. I offer further light and knowledge through improving your conversations with the Lord, by recognizing how to recognize revelation.

- Get serious about your scripture study.  If you want to KNOW the Lord, you need to do at least an hour per day uninterrupted.  With His spirit you will start to connect the dots and things will begin to seem clearer.
- Pray before, during, and after your scripture study that you can read and understand by the "spirit of prophecy and revelation" that you may be filled with light.

Alma teaches to experiment upon his words. I encourage you to do the same concerning what I have written. I expect to be held fully accountable for my mistakes, and will answer to anyone for misinformation.  You will be held responsible for hearing the voice of the Lord or not. You know too much to claim ignorance.  Let's talk more on this subject if you have any interest.

Friday, January 20, 2017

DESIRING CHRIST (1318 Words - Med)

And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it...  1 Nephi 19:9

Note: Messages like the one in this blog is NOT for those of you who love God more than the things of this world.  It's for those of us who choose the material over the spiritual, the body over the spirit.

We Have Abandoned God:  We need to recognize this.  So many of us want the fruits of spirituality and closeness to God but are unwilling to pay the price or do the work necessary to cultivate a relationship.  As a culture, we are (or have become) so focused on the here and now and the immediacy of paying bills, seeking to get-rich-quick, being people pleasers, compromising our standards, spending hours a day on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pintrest ( know, even when you're on the toilet...oops! I said it! oh no!) that we have our eyes and hearts diverted from the REAL SOURCE OF JOY AND HAPPINESS.  We think that by going to Church or Mass on Sunday, spending 5 or 10 minutes reading our scriptures, saying a 30 second prayer before we hit the pillow is sufficient to know the God of the Universe.

The missing element here is TIME.  TIME is the commodity of ALL relationships - even one with God.  If we won't MAKE TIME then how can we expect to have a closeness?  This is a true principle with people here on this material world, but even more so with God.  But because you haven't seen Him you think He's not there.  Read the above scripture again.  He knew we would consider Him "a thing of naught (nothing or not important)".  (1 Nephi 19:9)

Does that mean we are DAMNED?  Yep, but it's not by Him.   We damn ourselves by allowing our hearts and minds to focus on the things of this world rather than the heavens (or "unseen" worlds).  We have become materialistic, full of vanity, desirous of popularity, riches and power so much that we have become as base as the animals which only fulfill their base instincts.  He is continually reaching out and pleading for us to actually pay attention to Him.

Desire God:  How do we start to rise above such baseness and depravity?  It starts with desire. DESIRE GOD.  Seek to cultivate the feelings of desire and love for that Holy Being, the Source of your very existence and breath.

Once you have even the inkling of desire and love for God, you can begin to replace the darkness in your life with light.  How do you do that?  You REPENT.

Repentance Does NOT Mean What We Think:  Most of us have this idea that in order to repent we just have to say "Sorry" over and over again.  Some of us mistakenly think it means that we punish and beat ourselves up for the sins and transgressions we have committed.  We have gotten this idea stuck in our heads from institutions which have tried to put us under their control - that if we'll go and see this Bishop or that priest and pay them some money that they can then absolve us from our sins.

Such is false doctrine.  It is helpful to understand the word "repent" from the original Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament).  In Hebrew the word is "Teshuvah", "tshuvah" or תשובה‎‎ - it literally means "return" - return to what?  It implies that you have left God and He is calling you to come home. To return and face Him.  Is that embarrassing?  Sure.  But He is not there standing to condemn you for your stupidity and unrighteousness.  He is standing there waiting to receive you as a father or mother to a son or daughter who has been away and wants to come home.

To get a little more color on the word "repent" let's look at the word in Greek, which is what the oldest extant text in both the OT and NT was written in.  The word is "metanoia" μετάνοια and literally means "change of mind".  To the Greeks the "mind" was the "inner man".  So it means to change the inner man - to stop desiring the things of this world and begin to desire God with your inner man.

This is the true doctrine of repentance.  Turn and face God.  Change your inner man.  Give Him the best (and worst) of you.  Don't try to control your sin life.  Destroy it.  You do that not by fighting fire with fire.  You get rid of darkness by replacing it with light.  Seek to study and learn His word.  His word (Christ) is the thing that can transform and change you.  

Make Time:  Time is the commodity of every good relationship.  I know there is the thought in each one of us - I don't have time.  Maybe it means changing some of your habits.  For instance, me and my wife realized that Facebook ("FB")  was becoming a huge distraction.  We realized that when we decided to try and FB "fast" - meaning we were going to go without FB for a month.  Within the first few days we realized we were addicts.  It was so hard not turning it on.  I mean even when you're sitting on the toilet it can give your mind something to think about, right?

My point is that if you want a healthy relationship - with a spouse, a child, a loved one - you can't think "Oh, I'll do 'quality' versus 'quantity'."  The QUANTITY IS THE QUALITY when it comes to people.  Those who have tried to take the quality versus quantity approach find their relationships in the end to be shallow and hollow shells of the substantive thing they really want - to be close to that person.

Just like you did when started dating your spouse, you made TONS of time, MAKE TIME for God.  Those with the healthiest marriages still make TONS of time available for their spouse...without resentment.  Show Him that He means something by the amount of time your willing to give Him.

And yes, I'm letting you know that 15 minutes a day does not cut it.  You will find yourself not being invited to the wedding feast.  Or like those who said, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you evildoers." (Matt. 7:22-23, NIV)

He calls those who use His name for good, but don't KNOW Him "evildoers" or "workers of evil".  Why?  Because that it what it means to use His name "in vain".  It does not mean to say "goddamit".  It means that those who profess to know Him, but truly don't, are using His name in vain.  Some of the worst people in the world are the religious ones.  They pretend to follow Him by doing all of these outward acts of piety but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Conclusion:  In order to exercise true faith in God unto life and salvation, you have to have a "correct idea of His character, perfections, and attributes" (Lectures on Faith 3:4) then you have to have "An actual knowledge that the course of life which [you are] pursuing, is according to his will. (LoF 3:5)

It all starts with desiring Him.  Throughout the day, cry unto Him. Ask Him to come to you.  Ask Him to let you go to Him.  Pray for the desire to love Him above anyone and anything else.

Get to know Him. Spend the time. Pay the price. Do the work.  The the Love of the Universe will come and comfort you.

Monday, January 16, 2017

WHAT IF ABINADI CAME AGAIN? (1069 Words - Medium)

For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing...  (Mormon 9:9)

Premise: Suppose you were doing fairly well in life.  Maybe you didn’t have all the money that you would like, but you lived a fairly comfortable life.  You loved your spouse and your children. You attended church.  You faithfully fulfilled your duties and responsibilities in Church.  You read your scriptures, prayed, and even occasionally went to the temple.  You fasted and donated to help the poor.  You even had Family Home Evening and taught your family from the teachings of your church leaders.

So what would you do if a man like Abinadi came among you and told you that you were living lives of idolatry and not worshiping the true and living God?  Worse yet, what if he told you that your “saving ordinances” (as you called them) didn’t save you at all but that they were symbolically an “invitation” to connect with heaven and get the “real” thing?

How would you respond?  Would you do?  Would you consider this guy a crackpot? What if your local church leaders told you not to listen to him?  Or worse, told you that they know him to be a rabble rouser, a wild man, and one that is creating confusion among the peace and prosperity of the people?

What if he had no other authority than to say that he had a message from God?  Could you tell if he was a true messenger?  How would you know for sure?

Patterns - A Key of Knowledge:  When the scriptures say "God is the same yesterday, today, and forever"  – does that mean He always does things the exact same way, every single time?

No, what it means is - He follows patterns.  If you study the scriptures and know the “words of Christ” your ability to discern whether something is happening according to one of God’s patterns is unfolding should be greatly increased.  However, if you don’t study the scriptures then your ability to discern can be darkened by your ignorance.

One of the patterns to look at in all of scripture is that of how prophets have been sent. Whenever God has sent a true messenger to call a people to repentance that person has NOT come from within the institutional hierarchy.  They have always come from outside – with one scriptural exception – the prophet Samuel.

Have you ever stopped to consider this pattern? Why is this the case?

Let’s think about it.

-       Enoch was considered a “wild man” and a “strange thing”.
-       Noah was hunted by giants for offending them with his message.
-       Abraham came from outside the hierarchy and was set to be killed by the king’s priests when he called the king and kingdom to repent.
-       Moses came from outside the hierarchy.  He may have once been part of it, but had been separated from them by nearly 40 years when God called him to go back and face off with pharaoh.
-       In the Old Testament, as soon as the Israelites decided they wanted to be a kingdom with a king rather than be led by a prophet, every prophet, who was a true prophet came outside of the king/priest line – you have Nathan, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lehi, Zechariah, Ezekiel, Daniel, etc. They were all called "mad" and the people sought to kill them.
-       In the New Testament you had John the Baptist, who when he was 8 days old was ordained by an angel to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews.
-       Even Jesus Christ came with no earthly ordination or being sustained by a congregation; He did NOT have any credential or certificate of priestly authority to teach; He was NOT sustained by the regularly ordained heads of the church; He was NOT part of the established hierarchy.
-       What about His disciples, they did not have the sustaining and blessing of the priestly hierarchy.  In fact, after Saul was converted to Christ, he became the “hunted” rather than the “hunter”.
-       In the Book of Mormon, we see immediately that a man who was concerned for the welfare and salvation of his family was called to preach repentance – i.e. Lehi.
-       We see Abinadi coming among the people of King Noah and being put to death for his calling them to repentance.
-       We see Nephi and Lehi (sons of Helaman) calling the people to repent.
-       We see Samuel, a Lamanite, being told to call the Nephites (those who were supposed to be the righteous followers of Christ) to repent.
-       We see the Brother of Jared seeking to preserve His family from the impending doom and confusion of their language.
-       We see Mormon and Moroni crying and trying to get their people to repent so they won’t be destroyed.
-       Joseph Smith came outside the hierarchy of any church.

I think those few examples should suffice to show that God prefers to bring in someone who is not under institutional control.  Only someone who’s heart is softened to God and His voice will recognize when He is speaking to them.

Conclusion: While the picture of the crazy man above is designed to provoke you and break your false beliefs that prophets should be well-groomed and wearing a business suit.  The real question for us all is:  What would you do if a modern Abinadi came among us?  Could you recognize him as a true messenger from God? Would you hearken to his message?  Out of the many who heard his painful message, he only had ONE convert - Alma.  That ratio of those who heard to those who actually listened and did something about it is VERY LOW.

They are critical questions in the development of your faith.  Do you have "eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart that is soft" to the Words of the Christ?  Would you, like Alma, be willing to stand up for the man and be threatened with your life, or salvation, by similar false priests and leaders?  Your answer will be very telling.  It will let you know clearly whether you are open to knowing the true and living God or if you prefer a place among the Babylonian men of this world.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Modern Allegory of Bob (6569 Words - Super, Super Long...)

(Note: The following is my adaptation of the Story of Abinadi found in the Mosiah Chapters 14-18 of the Book of Mormon.  I have used "artistic license" but did not have to deviate far at all from the story found in the scripture.  IT IS A LONG READ, BUT WELL WORTH IT I BELIEVE.)

And it came to pass that the kingdom was conferred upon the next in line for the kingdom; the new king had previously been one of the humble servants of the citizens of the kingdom prior to his coronation as king, but shortly after becoming king he changed the affairs of the kingdom by calling himself not only the king, but a prophet, seer, and revelator as well; therefore, the new king began to reign and he did not walk in the ways of his predecessors.

For behold, he was advised by lawyers and accountants and investment firms, and insomuch as he hearkened to them, he began to walk after the desires of the world.  He did advise his people to get the gain and praise of the world; the king also told his people that if they would fast and give a generous offering to local leaders of the kingdom that the leadership of the kingdom would take care of the poor and needy among them.  However, they did not use the people’s offerings for the poor, but he did take that which was consecrated for the poor and use it to support himself and those he chose to be leaders in the kingdom.  Thus he began to change the affairs of the kingdom.

Yea, and he called a new set of priests and leaders for the kingdom, such as were lifted up in the pride of their hearts. He called those who had made much money and were the leaders in business and law.  They idolized the king and thought nothing wrong with how he had altered the affairs of the kingdom from the first king who had said that the leaders of the people should support themselves by their own labor and not be supported from the donations of the people.  The leadership in the kingdom convinced the king that he should make a law that if the people did not at least give 10% of their income to the newly formed Corporation of the King of the Kingdom, that they should not be allowed to enter the kingdom’s special places of worship; further, they voted that they themselves would not have to be subject to the king’s offering policy.

Yea, even the leaders of the kingdom started to call themselves “prophets, seers, and revelators” along with the king, and thus they they began to be supported in their laziness, and in their idolatry, by the taxes that the king had put upon his people; thus did the citizens of the kingdom have to labor exceedingly to support iniquity.

Yea, and they also became idolatrous, because they were deceived by the vain and flattering words of the king and the leadership of the kingdom; for they did speak flattering things unto them, such as sharing “inspirational stories” that motivated the people to obedience to the king, or teaching the people that the king and the leadership had the keys to the kingdom of heaven and that if they would do everything they told the people with “exact obedience” then they would be saved and exalted in the highest heavens.

When a few of the citizens questioned this policy, a message from the leadership and marketing department of the kingdom was put out that said that neither the king or the leadership could lie or deceive the people.  That was not only an improbability, but an impossibility.  The repeated message emphasized dramatically that if they (the king or any of the leaders of the kingdom) tried to lead the people astray that the God of heaven would kill them or remove them out of their places.  This they said because God would not allow them to lead the citizens of the kingdom astray. Yea, they told the people that it was most assuredly evidence that God approved of what they were doing for the kingdom because God had not removed them out of their places; thus they confused the people with a circular logic.

And it came to pass that the king built many elegant and spacious buildings; and he ornamented them with fine work of wood, and of all manner of precious things;

And he also built him a spacious office with a supple leather seat in the midst thereof, all of which was of fine wood and was ornamented with gold and silver and with precious things.

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

And in the General Conference Center the seats which were set apart for the kingdom leadership, which were above all the other seats, the king and his leadership did ornament with red velvet; and the king and the leadership caused a breastwork to be built before them with televisions to watch the speaker at the pulpit.  The king and the leadership further caused that extremely large video monitors be placed on both sides of the leadership seating so that the image of the speaker could be projected to look larger than real life to the citizens of the kingdom.

And it came to pass that he built a tall office building near the temple; yea, a very high office building, even so high that he could stand upon the top thereof and overlook the land of Salt Lake City and Draper and Sandy and North Salt Lake; and he could even look over all the land round about.

Moreover, he caused many buildings to be built in the City of Salt Lake; and he caused a great shopping mall, which was more expensive than both the tall office building and the temple combined, to be built on the south of the temple, which also had resort housing for the leadership of the kingdom and their families as well as other rich investors at the time they built the great shopping mall; and thus he did do with the riches which he obtained by the tithing (I mean…taxation) of his people.

And it came to pass that he placed his heart upon his riches, and he spent his time in luxurious living with his family; and so did also his priests and other leaders in the kingdom spend their time in leisure while pretending to work for the kingdom.

After a short time, it came to pass that the leadership of the kingdom identified other investments they wanted to use the monies they received from the citizens; they purchased land in foreign lands – even the land of Florida they became one of the largest owners of land, they bought real estate in Pennsylvania, and a hunting reserve just for the kingdom leadership and their friends.

Other leaders and kings from other parts of the land saw the riches of the king and came to be entertained by the king.  About that time, some foreign leaders began to jealously accuse that the king that he had obtained too much and was living gluttonously off his people; however, they were quickly rebuffed by the leadership and the kingdoms’ lawyers who told them that the citizens had given to them of their own free will and they could use the received donations in any way they thought proper; this because they had added legal language to the donation slip which informed the people as they gave their offerings to the Corporation of the King of the Kingdom.

And it came to pass that those who spoke out against the king and the kingdom were rebuffed for a time by the lawyers and public relations people, or they drove them back for a time; therefore, they returned rejoicing in their public relations win.

And thus the citizens also rejoiced because they believed that they were specially chosen by God as His most special people on earth.  They believe that not only were they favored by heaven but also they were liked and popular in the eyes of the world. Thus they were grateful for all that the king and the leadership had done for them, even though it was grievous for it to be borne by the citizens.

And it came to pass that there was a man among them, who was a “nobody” in the eyes of the king or the kingdom leadership, nor was he ordained by the king, whose name was Bob; and he went forth among them, and began to prophesy, by writing a few books, starting a blog, and speaking amongst the citizens, saying: Behold, thus saith the Lord, and thus hath he commanded me, saying, Go forth, and say unto this people, thus saith the Lord—Wo be unto this people, for I have seen their abominations, and their wickedness; and except they repent I will visit them in mine anger.  And except they repent and turn to the Lord their God, behold, I will deliver them into the hands of their enemies; yea, and they shall be brought into bondage; and they shall be afflicted by the hand of their enemies.

And it shall come to pass that they shall know that I am the Lord their God, and am a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of my people. And it shall come to pass that except this people repent and turn unto the Lord their God, they shall be brought into bondage; and none shall deliver them, except it be the Lord the Almighty God. Yea, and it shall come to pass that when they shall cry unto me I will be slow to hear their cries; yea, and I will suffer them that they be smitten by their enemies.

And except they repent in sackcloth and ashes, and cry mightily to the Lord their God, I will not hear their prayers, neither will I deliver them out of their afflictions; and thus saith the Lord, and thus hath he commanded me.

Now it came to pass that when Bob had spoken these words unto them they were angry with him, and sought to kick him out of the kingdom; but the Lord delivered him out of their hands and told him to go into hiding for the space of a time.

Now when king Noah had heard of the words which Bob had spoken unto the people, he was also angry; and he said: Who is Bob, that I and my people should be judged of him, or better yet, who is the Lord that he shall bring upon my people such great affliction?

I command you to bring Bob here to me, that I may beat him with a few stripes, humiliate him, and then excommunicate him and kick him out of my kingdom.  For he has said these things that he might stir up my people to anger one with another, and to raise contentions among my people; therefore, I will cast him out.

Now the eyes of the people were blinded; therefore, they hardened their hearts against the words of Bob, and they sought from that time forward to take him. And the king hardened his heart against the word of the Lord, and he did not repent of his evil doings.

And it came to pass that after the space of many months that Bob reappeared among them in disguise, that they knew him not, and he began again to prophesy or “speak forth” among them, saying: Thus has the Lord commanded me, saying—

Bob, go and prophesy unto this my people, for they have hardened their hearts against my words; they have repented not of their evil doings; therefore, I will visit them in my anger, yea, in my fierce anger will I visit them in their iniquities and abominations.  Yea, wo be unto this generation!

And the Lord said unto me: Stretch forth thy hand and prophesy, saying: Thus saith the Lord, it shall come to pass that this generation, because of their iniquities, shall be brought into bondage, and shall be smitten on the cheek; yea, and shall be driven by men, and shall be slain; and the vultures of the air, and the dogs, yea, and the wild beasts, shall devour their flesh.  And it shall come to pass that the life of the king shall be valued even as a garment in a hot furnace; for he shall know that I am the Lord.

And it shall come to pass that I will smite this my people with sore afflictions, yea, with famine and with pestilence; and I will cause that they shall howl all the day long.  Yea, and I will cause that they shall have burdens lashed upon their backs; and they shall be driven before like a dumb ass.  And it shall come to pass that I will send forth hail among them, and it shall smite them; and they shall also be smitten with the east wind; and insects shall pester their land also, and devour their grain.  And they shall be smitten with a great pestilence—and all this will I do because of their iniquities and abominations.

And it shall come to pass that except they repent I will utterly destroy them from off the face of the earth; yet they shall leave a record behind them, and I will preserve them for other nations which shall possess the land; yea, even this will I do that I may discover the abominations of this people to other nations.

And many things did Bob prophesy against this people.

And it came to pass that they were angry with him; and they took him and carried him bound before the king, and said unto the king: Behold, we have brought a man before you who has prophesied evil concerning this people, and saith that God will not only take away all of our blessings but destroy us.

And he also prophesied evil concerning your life, and saith that your life shall be as a garment in a furnace of fire.

And again, he saith that you shall be as a stalk, even as a dry stalk of the field, which is run over by the beasts and trodden under foot.

And again, he said you shall be as the blossoms of a thistle, which, when it is fully ripe, if the wind blows, it is driven forth upon the face of the land. And he pretends the Lord has spoken it. And he said all this shall come upon you except you repent, and this because of your iniquities.

And now, O king, what great evil have you done, or what great sins have we committed, that we should be condemned of God or judged of this man?

And now, O king, behold, we are guiltless, and you, O king, have not sinned; therefore, this man is a big, fat liar and has lied concerning you, and he has prophesied in vain.

You see, we are strong, we have the priesthood, we have lands we have purchased to grow things on, we have the welfare system with large warehouses of food, we are debt free, and we shall not come into bondage, or be taken captive by our enemies; yea, and you have prospered in the land, and you shall also prosper.

Behold, here is the man, this idiot “nobody”, we deliver him into your hands; you may do with him as you see fit and good.

And it came to pass that the king said that Bob should be cast into prison; and he commanded that the priests and kingdom leadership should gather themselves together that he might council with them what he should do with him.

And it came to pass that they said unto the king: Bring him before us that we may question him; and the king commanded that he should be brought before them.

And they began to question him, that they might cross him, that thereby they might have wherewith to accuse him; but he answered them boldly and articulately, and withstood all their questions, yea, to their astonishment; for they thought he would be a dummy and he did withstand them in all their questions, and did confound them in all their words.

And it came to pass that one of them spoke to him and asked him the meaning of the scriptures.  And Bob said unto them all: Are you priests and leaders of the kingdom, telling the citizens you can’t lead them astray, pretending to teach this people and to understand the spirit of prophecy, and yet desire to know of me what these things mean?

I say unto you, cursings be unto you for perverting the ways of the Lord! For if you say you understand these things you have not taught them; therefore, you have perverted the ways of the Lord.

You have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, you have not been wise. Therefore, what are you teaching this people?

And they said: We teach the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

And again he said unto them: If ye teach the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith, why do ye not keep it? Why do ye set your hearts upon riches? Why do ye build Babylonian shopping malls, and large buildings and Conference Centers and neglect the poor and needy, telling the people also that they are special and chosen above everyone else.  Why do you teach them to set their hearts upon the riches of this world and teach vain and false teachings like you are infallible as leaders, yea, and cause this people to commit sin, that the Lord has cause to send me to prophesy against this people, yea, even a great evil against this people?

Don’t you know that I speak the truth? Yea, you know that I speak the truth; and you ought to tremble before God.

And it shall come to pass that you shall be smitten for your iniquities, for you have said that you teach the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith. And what do you actually know concerning the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith? Does salvation come by the king or by the leadership of this people? What say you?

And they answered and said that salvation did come by following the prophet and the leaders of the people; yea, even exaltation in the heavens if they would be obedient to the laws and policies of the king.

But now Bob said unto them: I know if ye keep the commandments of God ye shall be saved; yea, if ye keep the commandments which the Lord delivered unto Joseph Smith, you can learn to bring forth the fruits meet for repentance, converse with the Lord through the veil, then when Christ comes to you personally, He can promise you salvation as Joseph taught.

Now Bob said unto them, Have you done all that? I say unto you, No, you have not. And have you taught this people that they should do all these things? I say unto you, No, you have not.

And now when the king had heard these words, he was extremely angry said unto his priests: Away with this fellow, beat him, humiliate him, and excommunicate him; for what have we to do with him? For he is crazy.

And they stood up and attempted to grab him; but he withstood them, and said unto them:

Touch me not, for God shall smite you if ye lay your hands upon me, for I have not delivered the message which the Lord sent me to deliver; neither have I told you that which you asked that I should tell; therefore, God will not suffer that I shall be excommunicated at this time.

But I must fulfil the commandments wherewith God has commanded me; and because I have told you the truth you are angry with me. And again, because I have spoken the word of God ye have judged me that I am crazy or part of some anti-Kingdom group.

Now it came to pass after Bob had spoken these words that the leadership of the kingdom dared not lay their hands on him, for the Spirit of the Lord was upon him; and his face shone with exceeding brightness, even as Moses’ did while in the mount of Sinai, while speaking with the Lord.

And he spake with power and authority from God; and he continued his words, saying:

You see that you have not power to excommunicate me and banish me from the kingdom yet, therefore I finish my message. Yea, and I perceive that it cuts you to your hearts because I tell you the truth concerning your iniquities. Yea, and my words fill you with wonder and amazement, and with anger. Boy, you guys really look pissed off.

Anyway, I finish my message; and then it matters not whither I go, if it so be that I am saved by God.  But this much I tell you, what you do with me, after this, shall be as a type and a shadow of things which are to come to you sometime in the future.

Now I read unto you the remainder of the doctrines of God as taught in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith, for I perceive that they are not written in your hearts; I perceive that ye have studied and taught partial truths, doctrines, and iniquity most of your lives.

Your ignorance towards revelations, prophecies, gifts, healing, speaking with tongues, interpretation of tongues, …is due to NOT knowing the Gospel of Christ because you have NOT read the scriptures. Or, if we have read the scriptures, you don’t understand them. Knowint this, how can you feel assured in your faith because of your church attendance, Home/Visiting teaching, paying tithes and offerings to the Corporation of the King of the Kingdom, and loyalty/obedience to the kingdom leaders, while remaining unlearned in the words of Christ?

God does not change. There is no variableness in Him. Adam was required to study from the book of life, and was eventually restored into the presence of God in the flesh (D&C 107:41-57). Abraham sought the “blessings of the fathers” because he had studied the words of “the fathers”, and was restored into the presence of God in the flesh (Abraham 1:2-4). The brother of Jared sought to preserve his language at the tower of Babel. How did he do that? Through the studying and teaching of the words of Christ, they preserved their language, which produced for him being brought back into the presence of Christ in the flesh (Ether 3:13).

The pattern from the beginning is the same today. You too must seek out the words of Christ, and return into His presence, in order to claim redemption. In any dispensation or kingdom, apostasy from God seeks to make God to be a “changing god”, a “justifying god”, and a god “controlled by men who sit as kingdom leaders”. You reject the necessity for men to return to the presence of Christ in the flesh, as it threatens your institutional leadership power to control and manipulate the citizens of the kingdom.  This is explained clearly in Mormon 9:

9. For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?
10. And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.

A God of miracles must be unchanging, otherwise he cannot be a God of miracles. This refers back to the gifts of the spirit in Mormon 9:7, which is absent from your teachings. In its absence, you have redefined miracles to justify your position as true.

11. But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.

You are very familiar with the points shared above. First: Ignorance of the words of Christ makes prophecy, revelation, and the gifts of the spirit unfamiliar; unfamiliarity makes room for false traditions of unbelief to creep into your minds, which leads to corruption and apostasy. Second: God does not change, which makes Him totally reliable to those who know His mind and will.
I only state these points to set the stage, but here is the part that you need to pay close attention to.

12. Behold, he created Adam, and by Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, even the Father and the Son; and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man.

The subject here is the Redemption of Man from the Fall through the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Now what I’m going to share next is “mui importante!” So, once again, pay attention!

13. And because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, they are brought back into the presence of the Lord; yea, this is wherein all men are redeemed,

Men are saved or redeemed when they are brought back into the presence of the Lord! That’s what the doctrine of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith teaches.  However, the doctrine you are teaching says that this happens only AFTER we die. However, those who wait to obtain Christ’s presence until after they die will naturally procrastinate the day of their repentance, and suffer great regret.

…because the death of Christ bringeth to pass the resurrection, which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep, from which sleep all men shall be awakened by the power of God when the trump shall sound;

By this time it is too late for repentance and baptism. You would have had sufficient time, and your choices will have sealed your fate. And your state of being in that day is described as awful.

…and they shall come forth, both small and great, and all shall stand before his bar, being redeemed and loosed from this eternal band of death, which death is a temporal death.

This part is tricky, but a pondering mind will see it. He says that at “his bar”, “all shall stand…and be redeemed”. That does NOT mean or imply that you have to wait until your death for redemption. You can be redeemed BEFORE your death, or in other words, “in the flesh”.  There are some few who understand this and have sought (and received) redemption while “in the flesh”, having been judged and found clean “in the flesh”, while others chose to wait until the judgement bar to be redeemed. Those who are redeemed “in the flesh”, will stand at that judgement bar to go forward in their progression. For those who wait, that judgement bar will be awful, because he that is filthy will be filthy still and he that is righteous will be righteous still.

14. And then cometh the judgment of the Holy One upon them; and then cometh the time that he that is filthy shall be filthy still; and he that is righteous shall be righteous still; he that is happy shall be happy still; and he that is unhappy shall be unhappy still.

Now when Bob had said these words, he proceeded – Do you think that salvation comes from the king? I say unto you, No, he has no power in the heavens or afterlife.  He has no power or authority to command the heavens. Just because you claim something does not mean that you have it.  You demonstrate your power by the fruits of your life.

Joseph taught that “A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world.” (TPJS p. 217.) The meaning of “knowledge” is, of course, the key to that statement. For the only “knowledge” which can save it to “know God” for yourself. (See, John 17: 3; D&C 132: 24.) The means of knowing this God is, of course, revelation and His personal ministry. His personal ministry will bring the faithful to the Father, as well. Both the Son and the Father will take their abode with you. (John 14: 18, 23.) This is the knowledge that saves.

Wo unto you, you corrupt generation.  You cannot save, your doctrines are corrupt, because you do not have the required knowledge to be able to teach righteousness. You are “all corrupt” because your minds are corrupt. You cannot even save yourselves, much less inform the people of anything which will aid them in knowing God.

Even reading Joseph’s teachings on the subject will not save anyone. His knowledge and his covenant is not ours. Each person must find the required knowledge for ourselves. “Reading the experience of others, or the revelations given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God.” (TPJS p. 324.) Even Joseph’s revelations, and Joseph’s scriptures are inadequate. They must be obtained by each individual or they will be left without saving knowledge.

I ask again, can any man on earth save another man on earth?  No.  You have no power to save and you darken the people’s minds to place yourselves between them and God.  You cause them to worship you as idols by saying they must go through you to know God.  You have even started teaching children to sing, “Follow the King” from a very early so that as they grow up, they are indoctrinated that the king and leaders of the kingdom can save them.

However, I am here to declare that such teachings are dark and false.  Joseph Smith never taught that men must go through him to be saved by God.  Any person seeking salvation has the right to go directly to God.  It is the knowledge of God, or knowing God which saves; not knowing any king or leader in the kingdom.  This is the core, or essence, of the doctrine taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith.  Yet, you have corrupted it.

You say you teach the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith.  However, you know this is not true. The truth is that in the King’s religion today, both he and you have changed the doctrines of salvation so that there is really only one doctrine left. Everything else is subordinate and changeable. But this single demand is paramount. If someone disbelieves this position, then the kingdom has no place for you. The doctrine:  We follow a man whom we call the king.

If one disbelieves this, and think you ought to follow Christ first, and the king is secondary, then you are insubordinate and a threat. Believing Christ comes first opens the possibility that Christ could tell you the “king” is mistaken. To you that position is intolerable – because it could expose you for the frauds you are.

In today’s kingdom it is allowed for the current “king” to criticize and denigrate a former “king.” This happens frequently. Even editorials now appear on the king’s website rejecting Brigham Young’s teachings as wrong, even immoral. You publicly declare that the new, living king has the “keys” of salvation and the contradictions are viewed by blinded followers to be “proof of continuing revelation.”

Therefore these confusing contradictions are valued by the deceived. In essence such vain and false teachings mean that an unchanging God has error prone key-holders who can guarantee his contemporaries their salvation. This is even if later key-holders proclaim the earlier king’s mistakes. All of this is only consistent if you believe that central, single doctrine. If you question it, the whole construct begins to look foolish and riddled with error.

When I joined to this kingdom there were many doctrines. None of them put King Kimball into a position of a dictator. Indeed, King Kimball earned our loyalty and respect by his meek example and the content of his sermons. He denounced modern idols, and criticized the war-like nature of our country. But no one demanded a loyalty oath, insisting that veneration of him took precedence over worship of Christ. I believe if King Kimball heard of such a thing being taught he would have vocally and immediately spoken against it. He denounced King Benson’s sermon about Fourteen Fundamentals for Following the King. But today these are taught in General Conference!

The Kingdom has changed since I first joined. So much so that I no longer belong in an institution that holds one and only one doctrine as its bedrock. I believe Jesus Christ alone is worthy of worship. I do not believe I must follow a man, even a king, to be able to follow Christ. I do not believe I should look to the example of some man in order to be able to see Christ.

This radical and false shift of the religion has happened in my lifetime. I never engaged in this idolatry while among the king’s organization, and I refuse to accept that kind of religion now. It is false. I reject it.

Insofar as the King’s Institution “believes” in the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and the revelations through him, including the D&C and Pearl of Great Price, I honor them. Insofar as they testify of the Book of Mormon and preach from it, I believe and accept it. Therefore, I see some considerable merit to the King’s Institutions. However, your current single fundamental doctrine is false. Utterly false.

If you extend the fundamental king’s doctrine to its logical conclusion, it is also satanic. It takes away free will, requires obedience to a man even if he tells you to do something which you know to be wrong (a principle that has been taught in General Conference), and requires you to abandon your own agency.

Since everyone will be accountable before God for their choices in the Day of Judgment, the paradigm is false and will not protect you. One may think the king or any “key holder” will absolve you of your mistakes, but God will judge you. If you are asked to do something wrong, and you do it out of veneration for a “king” you will not be spared, but you will be judged and condemned.

There are many good people in the King’s Institution. There is also some considerable good done by the King’s Institutions. But when adulterers, liars, idolaters and the ignorant who preside in local areas of the kingdom insist their personal unworthiness is excused because they are loyal to a kingly line of authority, as we presently find in the institution, then someone needs to proclaim faith in Christ and repentance. Even if only one voice will speak up, God will vindicate faith in Him in the end.

The Great Whore will always outnumber the few who are Christ’s sheep. But that cannot detract from Christ’s affection for those who hear His voice and defend His religion.

You have laid a burden upon this people which is grievous to be borne.  You who should have been shepherds have not only sheered the sheep, but have killed and consumed them as well.

 And now it came to pass that when Bob had finished these sayings, that the king commanded that the priests and leaders of the kingdom should take him and cause that he should be beaten, publicly humiliated and excommunicated from the kingdom.

But there was one among them whose name was Chris. And he was a young man, and he believed the words which Bob had spoken, for he knew concerning the iniquity which Bob had testified against them; therefore he began to plead with the king that he would not be angry with Bob, but suffer that he might depart in peace.

But the king was more angry, and caused that Chris should be cast out from among them, and sent his servants after him that they might slay him.

But he fled from before them and hid himself that they found him not. And he being concealed for many days did write all the words which Bob had spoken.

And it came to pass that the king caused that his guards should surround Bob and take him; and they bound him and cast him into prison.

And after three days, having counseled with his priests, he caused that he should again be brought before him.

And he said unto him: Bob, we have found an accusation against thee, and thou art worthy of excommunication.

For thou hast said that God himself should come down among the children of men to redeem them personally as if you had the power to command God; and now, for this cause thou shalt be beaten, publicly humiliated and excommunicated unless you will take back all the mean things which you said concerning me, the leaders of my kingdom and my people.

Now Bob said unto him: I say unto you, I will not take back the words which I have spoken unto you concerning you, your kingdom and this people, for they are true; and that ye may know of their surety I am allowing myself to remain in your hands.

Yea, and I will suffer  beatings, public humiliation and even excommunication, but I will not take back my words, and they shall stand as a testimony against you. And if ye excommunicate me you will have done it unrighteously to your condemnation, and this shall also stand as a testimony against you at the last day.

And now the King was about to release him, for he believed what Bob said was true and he feared his word; for he feared that the judgments of God would come upon him.

But the priests and leaders of the kingdom lifted up their voices against him, and began to accuse him, saying: He has reviled the king and made you look stupid.  If you let him go now, that will make him look like he was right, and we will lose our power and control over this people. Therefore, the king was stirred up in anger against him, and he delivered him up that he might be excommunicated.

And it came to pass that they took him and bound him, and beat him, and put out news of his loss of membership in the kingdom and told the people to laugh at him and mock him because of his stupidity and to remember that the king and his leaders could not lead them astray.

And now, they led him to the edge of the wilderness of the kingdom and...kicked him out.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

LEARNING BY FAITH OR BY STUDY? (1198 Words - Medium)

Since we've been studying the Lectures on Faith as a family, I thought I would take a minute and recap some of the ideas and concepts we've learned and discussed.

As All Have Not Faith

D&C 88:118
“And as all have NOT FAITH, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (emphasis mine)

This verse from the D&C appears to have the Lord emphasizing the secondary option for those of us who “…have NOT faith.” The point I think the Lord is trying to make is that WHEN WE DO NOT HAVE FAITH we turn to "words of wisdom" and from the "best books".

He is clearly telling us there are 2 different paths you can take to engage in learning -
     1) The higher path - Learning by FAITH, or 
     2) The lower path - learning from one another and the best books, words of wisdom.

Joseph Smith said, “Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject” (TPJS, p. 324; cf. HC 6:50, emphasis mine). 
He also said, “the best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask it from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching” (TPJS, p. 191, emphasis mine).

Question:  So which method would you consider more effective?
      1. Reading books.
      2. Gazing into heaven for five minutes to receive divine teaching.

When it's put into terms like that, it’s pretty clear to me which option would be a much more effective learning as well as produce more joy;  and… in a significantly less amount of time (5 minutes?).

Because of my own lack of FAITH, I have spent over 90% of my life learning by books. From an earthly point of view and measuring stick my “educational degrees” might have some status. But in terms of the heavens, they don't mean crap.  We need to view ourselves in our real situation as did Mormon when he exclaimed, “O how great is the NOTHINGNESS of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth” (Helaman 12:7).


We must choose how we will view ourselves. If we choose to see through the eyes of the world then Hollywood, science, universities, magazines, fashion gurus, etc. will decide how you measure up. The standard for the world is constantly changing. However, if you are to measure your standing before God, whose standard is the same yesterday, today and forever, we must begin with an examination of faith and what it means to learn by FAITH.


First let me clarify what I understand FAITH means. Then I will explain my understanding of the process to learning by FAITH. Then it will be up to you to judge with your heart if you agree or not.

The common definition on faith is found in Alma:

Alma 32:21
“And now as I said concerning faith - faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.”

This verse is NOT a definition of FAITH. It tells us WHAT FAITH IS NOT. FAITH is NOT to have a perfect knowledge of things. And… it provides us an INDICATOR of someone who has FAITH. If someone has faith, they will “...hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” This is NOT a definition, it is only an indicator.

Our traditions and repetition has etched in our minds that the above scripture is the definition of FAITH. I am going to share with you my definition of FAITH and then briefly explain why. It will be your responsibility to ask God if it is true. My simple definition of WHAT FAITH IS:

Faith is KNOWING the Mind and Will of the Most High God, then acting on that.

If eternal life is defined by John the Beloved as “…to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ…,” then the more we get to know them, the closer we get to eternal life. So if the final objective is to KNOW God and Jesus, then the beginning of the journey would be to understand His Mind and Will.

At first there will not be a "perfect knowledge", just as Alma 32 says. But eventually ALL things can be revealed. Alma 12:10 says, “…until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.”

If you are not convinced, then best wishes on your search for FAITH. "All truth is circumscribed into one great whole." That great whole is God. God is where all truth comes from. If you have FAITH you will hope for things which are not seen, which are true.

If you agree with me, I’ll ask …what is the definition of Zion? Isn’t it to be ONE heart and ONE mind? Whose heart and whose mind? God’s heart and Gods mind. Christ is one heart and mind with God.  Christ desired that we too will be one with him. Christ prayed to God for us saying, “…I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one” (3 Nephi 19:23).


How do we become one with God? It is through learning by faith. The process I have extracted to "learning" by FAITH is as follows (Note: I think this is pretty significant - pay attention carefully please...):

1. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ - Learning the mind and will of Christ and the Father concerning Christ. The Holy Ghost is there to confirm the truth of the mind and will of God. This is the mental effort part - meaning, practice "picturing" (whatever situation) in your mind and ask to conform that "picture" you have to God's mind and will

2. Exercise FAITH - this is the application of Gods mind and will in your life circumstances. We stumble and fall and go back to the drawing board to correct, until we get it right.

3. Successful experience - Success is the only thing that has the power to motivate. Inspiration is short lived, but success is what people build their lives around.

4. Conversion - multiple successes in this process guarantees that you will never leave. Those who feast upon the "bread of life" and drink from the "waters of life" will never hunger nor thirst. When the rains fall and the floods rise, their house will be built upon a rock, a sure foundation.

This is "learning" by FAITH. Here is a brief summary of the process to learning by FAITH:

1. FAITH (Mind and Will of God - testimony)

2. Exercise (Practice by Implementation)

3. Success (Understanding through victories - line upon line)

4. Becoming (Conversion)