Friday, August 17, 2018

449: IMPRESSIONS vs REVELATION.... THERE IS A DIFFERENCE!




Publically claiming the impressions that come to your mind as revelation could potentially be taking the Lord's name in vain.  Taking the name of the Lord in vain has been misunderstood. It is not swearing by saying the G**  or L*** words, but rather it is when one claims to speak for the Lord when they do not. Attributing something to God without His authority or authorization is the definition of taking the Lord’s name in vain. In addition, whenever someone proclaims their own agenda in the name of the Lord they are taking His name in vain.


Thursday, August 16, 2018

448: CHANGING THE NAME OF THE MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR TO "THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS TABERNACLE CHOIR" ?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced today the new style guidelines for referring to the Church, asking people to avoid using terms such as “LDS Church” and “Mormon Church.”

President Russell M Nelson official statement/revelation: 
"The Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name He has revealed for His Church. even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with His will. In recent weeks, various Church leaders and departments have initiated the necessary steps to do so. Additional information about this important matter will be made available in the coming months'
It appears that President Nelson has received "revelation" to no longer use the term "Mormon Church or LDS Church." After hearing this news, someone commented "The Lord is revealing really important stuff."

Ironically this official statement from the Church is on the mormonnewsroom.org website and lds.org

The official statement continues to read as follows:
On first reference, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” is preferred, according to the Church’s Newsroom site. “The Church,” “Church of Jesus Christ” and the “restored Church of Jesus Christ” are acceptable as abbreviated names.
Members of the Church should be referred to as "members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" or "Latter-day Saints,” not “Mormons,” according to Newsroom.

Keeping with the new guidelines and to follow the prophet's impressions that came to his mind, I wonder what the new name of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be, since we now need to avoid the term "Mormon"...

I guess some options are call them:
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Tabernacle Choir
  • The Church's Choir
  • The Restored Church of Jesus Christ's Choir 
  •  or maybe "Jesus Christ's Tabernacle Choir "
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Speaking about the Mormon Tabernacle Choir..(or whatever they will be called from now on)

A few weeks ago the State of Utah observed the 24th of July, a state holiday to commemorate the Mormon pioneers arrival in the Salt Lake Valley.  As part of the events of that week, my wife and I attended the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Pioneer Concert. Below is the printed program cover. 




I was surprised at how little the cover resembled anything like something that would be honoring the pioneers or celebrating the 24th of July. The program looked alot more "Hollywood-like." I found it interesting that they would use on the cover the Conference Center with the spotlights to almost mimic iconic buildings found in Hollywood with the movie spotlights used at  red carpet premieres. 
What ever happened to the covered wagons and oxen? Maybe now those are too cliche.

Cool summer nights under Hollywood lights is way more exciting to celebrate our Mormon Pioneers.. I mean the ..."Latter-day Saint" Pioneers. 


Historically, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Pioneer Program was to honor the Mormon Pioneers. However, this year the Choir honored different kind of pioneers. They honored the theatrical "pioneers" of Rodgers and Hammerstein. With the exception of the one song which has the famous chorus words of "all is well, All is Well",  all of the songs performed that night were Broadway hits.  The guest soloist who was invited to sing with the choir was Matthew Morrison, the TV star of the hit show Glee. He is an Emmy, Golden Globe and Tony Award nominee. 




I am reminded of a talk given by M Russell Ballard in 2003 entitled "Let Our Voices Be Heard"

"Each year the new shows seem to get worse, pushing the envelope of what the public will accept. What comes out of Hollywood, and off the internet and in much of today's music creates a web of decadence that can trap our children and endanger all of us."

So I wonder whose idea it was to invite the TV star of  Glee, one of the most LGBT friendly TV shows and have a Hollywood/Broadway theme for our annual Pioneer Day Concert.  


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

447: GARNISHED AND WITH MISREPRESENTATION - THE NEW "SUMMARIZED" 13 ARTICLES OF FAITH

The LDS Church has published a new version of the 13 Articles of Faith on their website www.mormon.org. It is a summarized and shortened version of the original Articles of Faith written by Joseph Smith. Not sure why the need to summarize the summary of the Church Beliefs that all Primary children have to memorize by the time they reach of age of 12.

Apparently the original 13 Articles of Faith was too long or too wordy that the Church felt they need to shorten it. However, in doing so, they have "garnished and misrepresented" what Joseph Smith wrote back in 1842.

 Joseph Smith made it very clear that the Articles of Faith and the entire Wentworth Letter should NOT be altered. They were to be printed word for word, ungarnished and without misrepresention.

Joseph Smith wrote on March 1, 1842.—

"At the request of Mr. John Wentworth, editor and proprietor of the Chicago Democrat, I have written the following sketch of the rise, progress, persecution, and faith of the Latter-day Saints, of which I have the honor, under God, of being the founder. Mr. Wentworth says that he wishes to furnish Mr. Bastow [Barstow], a friend of his, who is writing the history of New Hampshire, with this document. As Mr. Bastow has taken the proper steps to obtain correct information, all that I shall ask at his hands is that he publish the account entire, ungarnished, and without misrepresentation"

And yet, the LDS Church has now taken the liberty to reduce, edit, add to and change the meaning of some of the Articles of Faith. Here is a screenshot of Church's Website:





I have done a side by side comparison of the Original Articles of Faith (left) to the new Revised Articles of Faith (right) and have highlighted only a few of the additions and garnishings.

One of the biggest additions is the insertion of 'confirmation' into the Church as being necessary for salvation. The Fourth Article of Faith has been changed in this summary. Apparently in this new "summary" - Faith, Repentance, Baptism and Receiving the Holy Ghost in NOT enough for salvation but you now need to be confirmed a member of the Church as well. See below as well as other changes to the Articles of Faith.

One of the biggest deletions that probably makes me the saddest is the changes to Article Faith # 7. As you can see below, the Gift of Tongues, Prophecy,  Visions, Interpretions of Tongues  have all been removed.

Please look over and compare the two version. It is one thing to just summarize, but it is another to add to and change the meaning.









Tuesday, June 26, 2018

446: LDS CHURCH INVITES THE SAN FRANCISCO GAY MEN'S CHORUS TO PERFORM WITH THE MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR





It was 10 years ago that the LDS Church supported Proposition 8 in California affirming the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. The proposition was supported by voters but later overturned by judges.

Furthermore, a recent Church policy prohibits the children of same-sex couples from being baptized in the Mormon Church until they turn 18 — and only if they move out of their parents’ homes, disavow all same-sex relationships and receive approval from the church’s top leadership as part of a new policy adopted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Mormons in same-sex marriages will be considered apostates and ordered to undergo church disciplinary hearings that could lead to excommunication, a more rigid approach than the church has taken in the past.

THEN HELP ME UNDERSTAND THIS...... 

Why would the LDS Church then invite the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus to perform with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir? 


One of the questions that active LDS Saints need to answer to enter into the temple is: Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Could the LDS Church pass their own temple recommend question?

See the Deseret News Article:


The LDS employees in the LDS Church's Public Affairs Department must be working overtime. I wonder if the old adage will turn out to be true:

First we abhor, then we tolerate, then we embrace.

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

445: EXTREMES

SUN vs SNOW
FIRE vs ICE
HEAT vs COLD
HEALING vs HURT
PATIENCE vs FRUSTRATION
FORGIVENESS vs  CONDEMNING
LIGHT vs DARKNESS 
CLARITY vs BLINDNESS
WARMTH vs BITTERNESS
UNDERSTANDING vs  INTOLERANCE
COMPASSION vs HARSHNESS
CHARITY vs ANGER


WHAT EXTREME DO I WANT TO BE?

 Photo taken of the Sunrise on Easter Morning 2018

THE CHOICE IS OURS.
We can repent and choose to face the Sun or turn away our head and remain in darkness.







444: THE PROPHETS "MINISTERING" GIFT TO AN AFRICAN FAMILY

Let's suppose Pope Francis was on a Global World Ministry Tour and he was stopping in Utah for the day. Your family was selected to host him in your home for a brief visit. The Pope then announces he has something he wants to give you.  He then pulls out a photo of himself with two of his cardinals to give to your family and says this is for your home. What would you think of that? 

Would you hang it up on your wall? Probably if you were a devout Catholic and thought that he was infallible and could not lead you astray.. especially if you were taught from when you were 2 years old to follow him. 


Or how about a friend of yours happens to comes in town for the weekend and pulls out from a manila envelope, an 8x10 glossy photograph of themselves and says, I would like you to have this for your home.  Would your face be as excited as this young boys face in the below photo on the right sitting next to his Mom? 

Well without any more comments,.. Please watch the first 2 minutes of the below World Report video on mormonnewsroom.org to see what this beautiful African Family received as a gift from President Nelson.  






 I went to lunch with a friend who I respect his perspective and advice. I shared with him this story and he said it could be possible that this family actually asked for this photo. They do look very excited and happy to receive it.. maybe it was even autographed.:)



Or.. maybe a more appropriate gift would be picture of the Savior. Probably one of my favorites images is the one of Christ calming the sea. Along as Christ is in the boat,  that will be the Boat I want to be in. 



Monday, April 16, 2018

443: SPINE-TINGLING THRILL TO BE IN HIS COMPANY

Below photos are from the Mormon Newsroom





From the LDS Press release:

"Over the weekend, the group will visit the Holy Land as Jesus Christ’s apostolic witnesses and minister where Christ taught during His ministry."

“This is a legendary land,” Elder Holland said. “It's a spine-tingling thrill for me to realize that I'm in the company of President Russell M. Nelson, a modern prophet in every sense that they were ancient prophets [in Jerusalem in biblical times] with the same authority and the same priesthood and teaching the same gospel.”

Elder Holland continued, “Our living testimony today is we have a living prophet this very hour on this soil standing in this land teaching that same doctrine. The significance of that for Latter-day Saints and for the world cannot be overstated. That's at the heart of the thrill I feel today."

so my question to Elder Holland is... Really?  Spine-tingling thrill to be in the company of President Nelson?  You are in Jerusalem...   How about a spine-tingling thrill that you are walking where Christ walked?

Reading things like the above statements from Elder Holland cause me great concern because I believe that we speak too much about having a living prophet and following him.. instead of following Jesus Christ. . It was hard not to notice that in this past LDS General Conference which took place over Easter weekend, more was said about following President Nelson than about Jesus Christ. Starting from the first session of Conference.. three of the apostles talks were entirely on President Nelson instead of speaking about Jesus Christ... and it was Easter Weekend.

Do we ever see in the New Testament of the apostles testifying and talking all about Peter who was basically the President of the Church after the Jesus Christ ascended into heaven?. Does Matthew, Mark, Luke or even John even mention Peter's name in any of their epistles? Does Paul?  Or do the New Testament apostles focus solely on the Lord Jesus Christ? I am sure Peter was great.. but as a apostolic witness of Jesus Christ.. isn't it your role to testify about Jesus Christ? or are you a witness of another man's  job title?


Here are a few quotes from the first opening session of General Conference.

Elder M Russell Ballard:

"With our raised hands, we promised to hearken unto his voice (President Nelson)....

"I am a witness that the hand of the Lord has been preparing him  (President Nelson) to become our presiding apostle and prophet...


Elder Gary Stevenson:

"When I envision a Christlike heart in daily practice, I see President Nelson. I have not met anyone who exemplifies this trait at a higher level than he does. It has been a remarkable tutelage for me to be in the position to observe firsthand the manifestations of the Christlike heart of President Nelson."


Elder Neil L Andersen:

"There are many logical reasons to follow President Russell M. Nelson.

"We embrace President Nelson as we would have embraced Peter or Moses if we had lived in their day."

"I promise you that as you remain resolute in following the prophet, your faith in the Savior will increase.

"In a future day, looking back on our mortality, we will rejoice that we walked the earth at the time of a living prophet. At that day, I pray that we will be able to say:
  • We listened to him. 
  • We believed him. 
  • We studied his words with patience and faith. 
  • We prayed for him. 
  • We stood by him. 
  • We were humble enough to follow him. 
  • We loved him. "


But I digress from the original intent of this post...Back to the media releases on President Nelson' World Minister Tour.




Most if not all of the public messages we hear from these "apostolic witness" are being read from a teleprompter. Above is a image of President Nelson giving a video address this past week in Jerusalem. I am reminded of the Lord's direction to His apostles when he said,


"Take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: 
but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: 
for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost".



Sidenote Commentary:

When we decide to follow only a disciple of His, even if it is a true disciple, we miss the mark and fall to a Telestial state and are no better than the liars and thieves. (See D&C 76: 98-104.) So even when it is a man whose example we list or refer to, it is only to the extent that the man illustrates the correct manner to follow the Son of God.


The phrase “follow the prophet” does not appear anywhere in scripture. It does not appear there because it is an institutional invention designed to reduce resistance to centralized church decision-making. It was implemented deliberately during the administration of David O. McKay. It is an idea which is altogether alien to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Instead, what appears in the scriptures is a curse pronounced on those who follow man or put their trust in man’s arm. (See 2 Ne. 4: 34; 2 Ne. 28: 31; D&C 1: 19.) Nephi’s final address warns the gentiles how vulnerable they are to this mistake, and how they will be cursed as a consequence. He offers hope, however, conditioned on repentance and return to following the Lord. (See 2 Ne. 28: 31-32.)

 The difference between truth which can save and error which will damn is so fine a line it is sometimes compared to a two-edged sword, cutting both ways. Encouraging people to find that edge and to rightly divide between truth and error oftentimes will offend. It is still the truth. We really ought to fear God and not man. (D&C 3: 7.) The One who keeps the gate of salvation is not a man or men, for He alone will open or shut that gate. There is “no servant” employed there. (2 Ne. 9: 41.) If you arrive at that gate having been misled regarding your obligation to Him, having “followed the prophets” you will be among those whose eternal opportunities have been curtailed, no better off than liars and whoremongers. (D&C 76: 98-105.)

---------------------------------------

and lastly... speaking about any this to TBM will not be very well received. A close friend of mine sent me the following email this morning which prompted writing this blogpost.. with permission I post it below:

I’ve been trying to understand why I’m met with such apathy, resistance and anger from Mormons, particularly my own family, whenever I try discuss the new truths I’ve been exposed to if we are a church that believes in continual revelation.

It came to me this morning that the issue is with insecurity. And the thing they are insecure about is their knowledge of God. It is the great affliction of all Latter-Day Saints from the lay member to the president of the church. Ironically, it was knowledge of God that once defined Mormonism among all other Christian sects in the beginning of the restoration. Joseph claimed to have it and wanted his friends and family to have it likewise.

The reason Mormons will not wake up to a message of truth sounding in their ears like a dinner bell, is because they believe that how they perform on earth does indeed make a difference in the afterlife.....and in general, they are not very secure in their standing before God for various reasons. Deep inside, they feel guilt for whatever reason about how they have lived their lives. Maybe they feel they have not been honest enough, moral enough, thoughtful or loving enough. Maybe there is some sin they have not repented of. Maybe they engage in worldly lusts, etc. And so they live out their lives with the uncertainty of whether or not their performance on earth will merit Celestial glory rather than those other scary places of lesser glory where there is not chance for advancement.

To deal with all this uncertainty, they cling to the one thing in their lives they feel they CAN do perfectly which will ultimately provide for them the salvation they are uncertain of. They can be completely loyal to a church which gives them a promise of receiving a pass ticket to the Celestial kingdom given certain milestones are reached and endurance to the end with a Christ-like attitude is practiced. If they can have fidelity to that here on earth, it will ultimately make up the difference in the long run. Responsibility can be laid at the feet of the church rather than upon their own shoulders. It’s the one thing they feel they can do perfectly when everything else they do in their lives is imperfect.

So when you present them with the notion that their one safety net may not be a safety net at all and that they cannot depend on their membership in the "one true church" or their temple recommend to earn for them their ticket, it rattles their senses so much that they have to either ignore the message or tune it out completely. And when they are confronted with enough truth that they cannot ignore it, they usually lash out in anger as a coping mechanism. Deep down it's all about insecurity. If they were secure in what they believed, they would not hesitate to discuss and consider new truths and they certainly wouldn't be angry about what you are trying to say. They would rejoice that you care so much. I mean, if you knew what a pencil sharpener was because you own one, you wouldn't take any offense to someone who had never seen one discussing their views with you of what they think it is. You would just laugh to yourself and not be rattled one bit.

In essence, Mormons lack knowledge of God in a religion that is supposed to have the most of it and it makes them feel insecure. This process of obtaining knowledge of God exists on a spectrum with belief on one end and knowledge on the other end as outlined in Alma 32. The knowledge we all seek is an actual witness that God really does exist and that this is not all just a big fairy tale. Knowledge of God was always meant to REPLACE or FINISH our faith in Him. Nobody ever feels peace and security until they can finally leave their uncertainty behind and know something for certain. Getting to that point involves moving from exercising belief, to acting upon your beliefs to produce faith, then moving along various steps of faith until you arrive at knowledge. Think about it, how many times have you asked God for a sign that He is real? We all do it...because we are all insecure.....and that is because we don't have knowledge of it yet. So he sends us a sign but then our short-term memories demand more. But if you had knowledge of Him, your curiosity and uncertainty would at last be laid to rest.

I think that deep inside, Mormons know all this but they are too afraid to search it out because nobody around them is doing it and sadly, their leadership discourages it as well saying it is too dangerous. This is because they, like you, do not have knowledge of God and are insecure about it as well. But in their case, they know the whole church is looking to them for guidance so they cannot convey a message of insecurity. They must maintain the appearance of being in control and confident. They have produced nothing of their own that we would look to as a “special witness of Christ” and thus cannot stand on their own merit. To compensate for that, they fall back on the only doctrine that commands respect (follow the prophet) to instill in the hearts of the members a sense of security which will compensate for all the knowledge that they (the members) lack. The Lord actually addressed this very thing to the Sanhedrin when he said:

"Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in."

It’s all about the human reaction to insecurity.

Friday, April 13, 2018

442: DISPATCHED - CONSCIENCE OR CONFORMITY


I just finished reading a book written by my friend, Eric Moutsos. In the book, Eric tells his untold story of how he served as a Salt Lake City Police Officer and was later placed on administrative leave for voicing his conscience. The title of the book is Dispatched: Conscience or Conformity.

Definitions of the book title (courtesy of Mr. Webster) 

Conformity
The act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to group norms. Norms are implicit, specific rules, shared by a group of individuals, that guide their interactions with others.

Conscience
The inner sense of what is right or wrong in one's conduct or motives,impelling one toward right action.

Dispatched
To dismiss, send off, to depose of promptly,  or even the act of putting to death, execution

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Here are a few quotes from the book:

Our culture has accepted two huge lies, The first is that if you disagree with someone, you must not like them....the second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don't have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.

Our lives are a sum total of the choices we have made.

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.



Friday, March 30, 2018

440: FACES OF CHRIST

This is an important, historic weekend as it aligns the Jewish Faith, all Christian Religions and the Mormons with the sacred days of Passover, Easter and LDS General Conference respectively ( and not to mention maybe the Pagans with their April Fools Day.)

Today is Good Friday. A Somber Day to think of all the events that occured today. My family plan to go see the latest movie, Paul, Apostle of Christ. As most  know,  Paul went from being the most infamous persecutor of Christians to Jesus Christ's most influential apostle.

Also,Tonight at sundown begins the Jewish Holiday of Passover.

Christians believe that the resurrection took place on a Sunday. After the First Council of Nicaea in 325, it was determined that Easter should always fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox. The Full Moon is on Saturday and it will also be a Blue Moon. The moon rises about 7:09 PM tonight and will set at 7:37 AM tomorrow morning.. and then rise tomorrow night at 8:16 PM.  I hope to take a photo of it and post it later but wanted to post this beforehand.

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SIDENOTE:
For millennia now, believers and nonbelievers have wondered what Jesus may have looked like and grasped at any and all evidence in their search. In 2011, a 2,000-year-old, credit-card-sized, lead booklet was found in a cave overlooking the Sea of Galilee bearing what looks to be the oldest portrait of Jesus Christ, perhaps made during the lifetime of those who knew what he looked like and, perhaps, the “true” face of Jesus.

From the earliest days of Christianity up until Rembrandt’s 17th century, the idea of portraying Jesus as anything other than a supernatural Divine being was considered blasphemy. 

Rembrandt shifted away from Jesus as the heroic superbeing of antiquity towards a more human,  and painted a more accessible to believers, and, perhaps, truer face of Christ.

He used as his model a young Sephardic Jew from the neighborhood in which he lived and worked. He painted portraits of Jesus Christ from various angles and shown in various states of mind and mood. Below are a few of these paintings that have been preserved.. some of which are believed to have been painted by his students.  There is only one that is believed to have been painted by the master's hand.





Rembrandt loved the story of Jesus at Emmaus for its depiction of Christ as teacher, opening the eyes of His disciples to the truth of his being and his continued connection to them. Rembrandt reconnected in a deeply personal way with Jesus by choosing a Jewish model—an outcast, like the outcasts with whom Christ (and Rembrandt himself) chose to keep company.

These faces were used as inspiration for the cover on the newly published scriptures. The beholder of the books will see a faint resemblance of some of the."Faces of Christ" which Rembrandt painted. It is only through reading the scriptures will we ever be able to see Christ and know His True Identity.


In the final version, the image of Christ's Face is almost undetectable to the viewer.. but only a fingerprint like image to allow the reader to come to know Christ themselves. 


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

439: PRESERVING OUR DIFFERENCES


Words of Wisdom:

People are very different one from another. Not only are men and women different from one another, women are different from each other and men are different from each other. Personalities are always going to be ill-fitted. Getting people to mesh together… that is not going to result in somehow this universal “similarity of personality”. 

It is important that people preserve their differences. It is important that people have the gifts that have been given to them by God preserved intact and not suppressed because someone doesn’t like the way their gifts get expressed. It is important that people preserve their differences.

Zion is going to have people whose artistic outpouring is going to be fabulously different from one another.

Look at the:
  • Totem pole artistry of the Native Americans
  • Carved artistry of the Hawaiian Islands
  • Sculptures of Michangelo


These examples are Radically Different one from another. So much so that you are bridging these enormous cultural divides to look at these different sculptures.

Why would we ever want to have a studies school of artistic discipline that produces nothing more than some uniform product when beauty and artistry can find so many unique forms of expression. Why would we ever want that?

(Sidenote: Why would you want to go to a church meeting in Uganda, a fellowship in the Phillipines and a fellowship meeting in Spain and hear the same lesson on the same Sunday everywhere throughout the world. That is managerial overkill designed to destroy the unique spirits of the  sons and daughters of God.)

Facial recognition works because no one else has the same face as you. Fingerprints distinguish everyone of us from one another. So much so that is you leave a print and everyone else leaves a print, we can distinguish yours from everyone else. Every single snowflake crystal is unique. Every leaf of every tree is unique. Nature cries out that God treasures the differences that exists from one soul to the next.

And when describing the gifts that are given, the gifts are very different but how the gifts manifest themselves even if one possess the exactly the same gift.

Everyone one of us are unique, and when we deal with one another, the objective is not to compel you to be me.  The objective is not to compel anyone of us to be the same as another one of us. The objective is to rejoice, and to respect and to hallow the work that God has been done in making us so unique from one another. Even twins are dissimilar.

Headbutting is not a bad thing, as long as It is not done in a way as to break hearts, create division and make people hold ill will toward one another.

Below are a few more photos I took on my trip down to Arizona. Notice the beauty of all the different rock formations. The beauty of God's artwork indeed.!








And lastly... a small tree with the best view on earth. The Grand Canyon. May we all survive with deep roots in our testimonies of Christ and thrive the difficult circumstances where we find ourselves.


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

438: RUMORS AND PREDICTIONS FOR THIS WEEKEND'S LDS GENERAL CONFERENCE

Prediction: A new buzz word will likely emerge from this upcoming LDS General Conference. The word is 'minister'.

The word 'minister' and other forms of word like "ministry" are already starting to circulate in the headlines on LDS.org. Below are some of the latest headlines found on Mormon Newsroom  which is the official resource for the Church News.



and


Like the catchy word "ponderize" which became infamous from Elder Devin Durrants Talk in the October 2015 General Conference or "Hastening the work" in the 2013-2014 conferences, the word "minister" might be heard more times in this upcoming Conference than the words "Beloved Prophet"

In Christianity, the title of minister is defined as a person authorized by a church, or other religious organization, to perform functions such as teaching of beliefs; leading services or otherwise providing spiritual guidance to the community. 

While used primarily in other religions, the term 'ministry' has not be commonly been used in our LDS lingo. However I vaguely remember it being used prior to the 1990's  in a report given by Peter, James, and John after being down to observe the telestial world where they reported finding the Satan there, with his ministers, preaching all manner of false doctrine and striving to lead the posterity of Adam astray. 

And for those who recall hearing this, they will remember that the man Adam didn't want to have ministers. He was looking for Messengers. And if I might add, not just any type of messengers, but Adam was looking for Messengers that were sent from the Father.  He was found waiting for the further light and knowledge that Elohim (plural for Gods.. or more specifically, God the Father and Our Mother in Heaven) that They would send through Their Messengers, not ministers. 

I wonder if it would be better to follow the example set forth by.Adam and Eve and listen to "True Messengers" sent from the Father instead of "ministers."

-------

In addition to above predication, there are rumors circulating that there will be an announcement in General Conference that home teaching and visiting teaching will being replaced by “Ministering Brethren” and “Ministering Sisters.”

Interesting to see what unfolds in the coming days, ...months and years. 



Monday, March 26, 2018

437: A "MONUMENTAL" WEEKEND



The word 'monumental' is defined as something that is great in importance, extent, or size.  This past weekend was monumental for me....not only because of the things I saw and heard, but also because I spent the weekend camping in Monument Valley on the Navajo Indian Reservation.  Monument Valley is located on the Utah-Arizona border not far from the Four Corners region. It is a Tribal Park owned and managed by the Navajo Nation. There is a 17-mile loop that you can drive that takes you to the main sights, however there are restricted areas that can only be accessed with a Navajo Guide.  
We were able to spend the night with a Navajo family on their land next to their hogan and witness one of their ceremonies that lasted the entire night and into the morning. Below are some photos I took on our trip. Difficult to put into words the sites and sounds we experienced so I will just let the photos speak for themselves.  




























Tuesday, March 20, 2018

436: RESTORING LIGHT

Today is the Spring Equinox. A time when everything is in balance, light and dark are balanced and nature everywhere from pole to pole is showered equally with the light and life of heaven. During the equinox, most places on Earth will see approximately 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night.

Today for a brief moment, light and dark seem to be equal, however, it is not possible for us to remain static. We are either gaining more light or losing light. We are either involved with restoring truth or in apostasy by removing, forgetting, and/or altering truth.  


Below is the first video in a new series that will focus on the The Christian Reformation. There will be seven videos in this second series. Releasing this video today is further attempt to remember and  restore truth that has been lost.




_____________________________________________________________________



Sidenote #1:

It was reported yesterday that President Nelson has decided to discontinue with the nearly 50 year tradition of writing a First Presidency monthly message that was published in the Ensign. 

Starting in January 1971, the First Presidency's appeared each month as the first article in the magazine and was to be used as the Home Teaching lesson. That tradition will end next month with the final official message from the First Presidency that will appear in the Ensign. Below is the link to the Deseret News article:






Sidenote #2: 

A few weeks ago my friend was contacted by the Correlation and Research Department of the Church to participate in an online survey. The survey was an option poll to gather feedback on two new videos produced by the Church. Questions were asked on the viewers overall impression of the videos. Below are links to watch the videos. This video is a "pilot" project and not available to the general public yet. Not sure how long the link will be available. 





I  found it interesting that in one of the last segments of this video on the Restoration only shows Jesus Christ appearing to Joseph Smith. One of the main tenants of the LDS Religion was the fact that both God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ appeared to the young 14 year old boy. I realize that the video is a highly simplified, almost Saturday morning cartoon style video to hopefully appeal to a mass audience and therefore  might not what to get into more complex truths about the Restoration.



One thing I found interesting was the use of black man and a white woman flirting with each other. In the past, the Brethren have consistently opposed marriage between different ethnicities.  Nearly every decade beginning with the church's formation until the 1970s has seen some denunciation against miscegenation, with most focusing on black-white marriage. President George Albert Smith stated.  "Social intercourse between the Whites and the Negroes should certainly not be encouraged because of leading to intermarriage, which the Lord has forbidden."  For instance, Church apostle Mark Petersen said in a 1954 address that church doctrine barred black people and white people from marrying each other.  In 1966, a white woman who had received her endowments was banned by local leaders from going to the temple and was told her endowments were invalid because she had since married a black man. Church president David O McKay agreed with the ban on going to the temple, but said her endowments were still valid.

The current President Russell M Nelson gave a Conference talk in 1995 where he said that probabilities of a successful marriage are known to be much greater if both the husband and wife are united in their same ethnic background. 

The discouragement of marriage between those of different ethnicities by church leaders continued being taught until 2013.

On December 6, 2013 the LDS Church published an essay entitled Race and the Priesthood on its official website. The essay disavowed the theories advanced in the past that interracial marriage was a sin, indicating that it was influenced by the racism of the era.

Today the Church is now producing videos that appear to encourage romantic interracial marriages.