Saturday, June 20, 2020

THE HEAVENS ARE OPEN - PART TWO (new video released today on Summer Solstice 2020)

Today, Saturday, June 20, 2020  the sun will take its longest and highest path through the sky. The 2020 Summer Solstice occurs at 3:43 pm in Salt Lake City. In terms of daylight, this day is 5 hours, 51 minutes longer than on the December Winter Solstice.

A week from now will be the anniversary of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum.  A series of seven short videos on Restoration are currently being created to not only commemorate the 200 year anniversary of the First Vision but to also show how the Restoration is continuing to unfold today.  Below is the link to the second video that was just released in part of observing the Summer Solstice and the Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum.

The style of the video uses imagery of large brush strokes on an old deteriorating canvas. The first large brush strokes introduce the images in monotone colors, but then begins to restore the original color. Each image on the canvas is not fully completed nor do they have all of the color restored completely. That is symbolic that the Restoration is not complete. That process of remembering and completing the Restoration  is currently underway. The remaining five videos will hopefully paint that picture of what the Lord is currently doing in our day.





Tuesday, June 2, 2020

EXTREME CONTRASTS: Black vs White, Control vs Freedom, Turmoil vs Peace

This is the world in which we live... Opposition in all things.  Everything has it's opposite. Good and evil, virtue and vice, light and darkness, health and sickness, pleasure and pain.

“Life is 10% what happens to you 
and 90% how you react to it.”

"We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it." by Charles R. Swindoll

Below are a few quotes from a great blog post: Blessed are the Peacemakers that was written over 10 years ago. It is probably more relevant today than when it was written: 
There are too many willing to cry for revenge or justice in the world. Eventually the spirit of revenge will reign, and the earth will be filled with violence. As it was in the days of Noah – those days will return again. (Gen. 6: 11-13Moses 8: 28-30.) Those who want to see justified and unjustified killing will have their fill. In the days before the flood the earth was filled with violence. There was also a corresponding return of Zion. It would not be as it was in the days of Noah if Zion were not to return. For that, the pattern is set out in Moses Chapter 7: How much guilt we bring with us to that final day depends entirely upon the intent of our hearts, the actions of our hands, and the words we speak. (Alma 12: 14.) Becoming a peacemaker and meriting the call as a child of God is measured by our acts, but includes as Alma warns us, our thoughts and words as well.
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Sidenote:

My daughter and I just got back from a week long road trip up the West Coast.  Nature is full of contrast as well as similarities. I took some photos to show the extreme contrasts that we saw.



Great Salt Lake vs The Pacific Ocean
Both are bodies of water that contain salt, but one is inland and the other is on the coast. One has waves and rocks, the other is calm and flat. 


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Lake Tahoe vs Muddy Lake 
Both are fresh water lakes, but one is clear and blue and heavily forested, the other is muddy and only has dry sagebrush.



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Modern Sundial Bridge vs Old Railroad Bridge



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Pacific City Sand Dunes vs Cannon Beach




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Artificial Tree vs Pine Tree





May we learn to better appreciate the contrasts in the human race as well.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

LDS CHURCH LOSES 8 BILLION DOLLARS OF VALUE IN THEIR "RAINY DAY ACCOUNT"

The Salt Lake Tribune printed an article this morning that the investment arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, reported to federal regulators that the value of its stock holdings fell by $8.1 billion during a three-month span. Here is a link the article: [LINK]


Compare that 8 billion dollars (8,000,000,000.00) loss to what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gives annually to help the poor, sick and needy. President Oaks reported (LINK) that  the Church gives about $40 million on welfare, humanitarian and other LDS Church-sponsored projects around the world and has done so for more than 30 years (equals out to approximately $1.2 billion on welfare and humanitarian efforts over the past 30 years.)


So much has been said on how prophetically we had been prepared as a Church for the  Covid pandemic with the programs that were put into place like our study manual to have home church. I wonder if not all the Church departments got the memo. 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

THE ZEALOUS IMPATIENT REAPING ANGELS vs OUR LONG-SUFFERING GOD - A message of Optimism found in Nature

Right now there is a lot of pessimism in the world. There are so many loud voices that demand our attention which continue to create fear, mistrust, division, anger and despair.  Some people are reveling at the  possibility that the end of the world is near and destruction is at hand. They are like the angels who "are crying unto the Lord day and night, who are ready and waiting to be sent forth to reap down the fields." D&C 86:5. Are we sometimes like those angels who are excited to have the tares bundled and burned?

I suggest taking a break from the doom and gloom for a minute and take a walk outside in nature. What you might find is a message of optimism. Observe and take notice of what God might be saying. God speaks loudly in nature. These messages in Nature are important for us to hear. They should be viewed, noted and appreciated.  I believe that God's hand is not only written in scripture, but it’s also in nature. God is speaking to all of us, more or less all of the time. We determine how much we want to hear and are willing to let in. We just need to observe it.  Francis Bacon wrote, “God has, in fact, written two books, not just one. Of course, we are all familiar with the first book he wrote, namely Scripture. But he has written a second book called Creation." 

We must read them both.

One such message in Nature that my wife and I saw this past week was this Weeping Pine. Below is the photo I took of the tree.  It appears to be dead.  If this tree was in your front yard, this would be at the top of the honey-do list to have it cut down and removed. 


But take a look at a close up of one of the branches.


If you look closely you can see small signs of life.



I think there is a message of Optimism found in this Weeping Pine. There are signs of life in this tree that appears to be a completely dead. In fact the new growth coming out of the nearly dead tree is the most vibrant green color I have seen. It is beautiful new life.

I am reminded about the story of Abraham who pleaded to the Lord to not destroy the city of Sodom if Abraham could find a few righteous people.

In Genesis 18 we read this dialogue between Abraham and God:

ABRAHAM: Will you destroy all the city for their wickedness if I find there forty-five righteous? GOD: I will not destroy, but spare them.

ABRAHAM: If perhaps there should be forty found there?
GOD: I will not destroy it for forty’s sake.

ABRAHAM: If perhaps there shall thirty be found there?
GOD: I will not destroy them if you shall find thirty there.

ABRAHAM: Will you destroy them if perhaps there shall be twenty found there?
GOD: I will not destroy them for twenty’s sake.

ABRAHAM: If perhaps ten shall be found there?
GOD: I will not destroy them for ten’s sake.

.........

The reason why Abraham was so acknowledged by God was because Abraham didn't give up on Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham was trying to save the lives.  The characteristics that Abraham possessed is the same as Gods. Long-suffering, patient, forgiving. You contrast that with the zealous and impatient angels who are so quick to reap and cut down. Because Abraham has a similiar outlook and nature as God,  God said to Abraham.. It is through you Abraham,  I will make your Father of Nations.

I am wondering if Abraham would ask the same questions about this Weeping Pine. 

ABRAHAM: Would you destroy this tree if I can find a few living branches?
GOD: I will not destroy the tree.
The reaping angels: Let's cut down the tree and burn it.

What do we want? Are we like Abraham? Would we want to nurture to try and save this Weeping Pine if you see a few living branches? Or would you be more like the reaping angels who would want to cut the tree down?


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

HERD MENTALITY vs HERD IMMUNITY

HERD MENTALITY

Are you wearing a mask because everyone else is wearing one?
Are you being masked shamed?
Is your local governments and law enforcement punishing you for not wearing one?

Some cities have gone as far as setting fines for failing to wear a mask. In Laredo, Texas, anyone over the age of five who walks into a store or takes public transit without their mouth and nose covered by a mask or bandana could now be fined up to 1,000.00 dollars.




OR

Or do you believe God created your body that can fight viruses,  toxins or other foreign substance that will induce an immune response in the body, especially the production of antibodies?

HERD IMMUNITY: the resistance to the spread of a contagious disease within a population that results if a sufficiently high proportion of individuals are immune to the disease, especially through passing on antibodies to one another.




Which camp do you belong to? If you are undecided on what to do, here is an interesting videos to watch.



Tuesday, May 5, 2020

PATTERN FOR THE CITY OF ZION?

The LDS Church released today their proposal to develop a community that includes hundreds of homes and a 55-plus adult community around the newly announced Temple in Tooele, Utah. Here is the news article LINK as well as the Church News Release. LINK


Below is the plot map showing all the lots that will be for sale. I assume with all the different size lots that there will be price ranges from expensive lots for the affluent to smaller lots for the modest income families. I labeled them accordingly.
Steve Romney, the president of the Church's Real Estate and Land Development, (Suburban Land Reserve) said the following in the news article, “In addition to contributing to needed utility infrastructure around the temple, this community will help protect the temple and create a place where people can enjoy the setting of this sacred building in ways that are important and meaningful to them.”



Is this the new pattern for the city of Zion?

Friday, April 24, 2020

THE EMPTINESS OF THE NEW MOTAB LOGO

Here is the historic Mormon Tabernacle Choir logo that has been recognized all over the world. It highlights the iconic Salt Lake Tabernacle Organ pipes, along with the recognized name of 'Mormon' in the  Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The choir was founded in August 1847, one month  after the Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley. It has been a huge missionary tool for the Church. The branding is just a recognizable as the letter 'M' for McDonalds and an 'Apple' for the Macs. However, it has been changed. The new logo and name was released to the press yesterday. 

If you were to take only the empty space of the original logo of the Tabernacle Organ Pipes,  this is what it would look like.

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And now... here is the newly released logo for the Tabernacle Choir. Looks like just the empty, negative space of the former logo. Some of the people who have seen is it for the first time have said that is looks like a building (like the Great and Spacious Building) without a foundation. Other have said that is looks like a frowning face that cuts through the pipes. (unlike Amazon's and McDonald's smiley face)

This is the logo with the text. (which looks a little better)



It is interesting that this hollowed out image of the original logo is the base for the new logo. Removed is the solid form of the well known Tabernacle Organ pipes, as well as a reduction to the number of pipes (from 12 to 7). What is left is the empty space of the original logo along with the deletion of the word Mormon. I am not sure this new logo will ever have the impact that the original logo had, but I could be wrong.

Sidenote: 
In recent years the choir has struggled to represent the actual members of the Church worldwide. Choir members need to live within an hour of Temple Square and be current temple recommend holders. The choir members are 99% white, despite the attempts to focus heavily on close up of those members of color during General Conference. I read today that the choir now only represents the super orthodox Utah segment, and it has lost the ability to represent the church because it is only an idealized white-washed version and not an authentic representation of the members of the Church worldwide. If you can sing, live within 100 miles of the Salt Lake Tabernacle, member is good standing (translation: have a current temple recommend), and are ethnically diverse, you should audition to be a choir member.


Friday, April 17, 2020

The Sacrament administered according to the commandments of Christ

We read in The Book of Mormon the correct mode of administering the sacrament as recorded in Moroni chapters 4 and 5. Beginning in verse 1 of Moroni 4 it says, "and they administered it according to the commandments of Christ; wherefore we know the manner to be true; and the elder or priest did minister it. And they did kneel down with the church, and pray to the Father in the name of Christ, saying:

Audio recording of both Sacrament Prayers:


I have always wondered how those who are unable to hear the words of the Sacrament Prayers  participate in the Sacrament. The above video could be helpful for those who might not be able to hear the words but can feel the vibration as they follow along and read the words as they are spoken.
In addition to the hearing impaired, I know of many single women who have not be able to participate in the sacrament recently due to worldwide closures of religious meetings. When it is not possible for a priesthood holder to travel to their houses to bless the Sacrament in person, it might be a beautiful thing for them to watch and listen to the above video to still participate in the Sacrament Ordinance through technology.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does provide videos for the hearing impaired to participate in the Sacrament. These Sacrament Prayers are video recorded and on the Church website.

Here is a screen shot of the one of the videos:


It is interesting to note that the above prayers also used the Book of Mormon wording and still keeps the word 'wine' instead of the replacement word 'water'.

Joseph Smith's revelation of The Word of Wisdom specifically outlines for wine to be used for the sacrament: "Inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him. And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make." (D&C 89:5-6, emphasis added.)

Latter-day Saints continued to use wine in their sacramental services throughout the 19th century. Beginning in the 20th century, institutional reforms began to change the wording of the Sacrament Prayer from wine to water. The sacramental prayers were changed with the new wording. For those who prefer the Latter-day "adjustments" with the use of the word 'water' instead of the word 'wine', you can listen to these audio recordings below:

Prayer on Bread

Prayer on Water

Thursday, March 26, 2020

MARCH 26, 1820- Likely Date for the First Vision? PHOTOS

Today is March 26th. According to a couple of scholars, March 26th is the likely date for the First Vision that occurred 200 years ago.

Dr. John Lefgren and Dr. John Pratt did extensive research to discover when the most probable date was for Joseph Smith's First Vision. They both independently came to the same conclusion that March 26,1820 was the most likely date. In honor of this date which is today and that event 200 years ago, I thought I would post a few photos that I took during this year's Spring Equinox. 

On March 20, 2020, I drove down to Southern Utah and spent the evening at the Parowan Gap. Most do not know that this is a sacred site for the Native Americans mainly because it is an Ancient Astrological Temple. The two mountains and the surrounding region were used as an astrological calendar marking solstices and equinoxes.  Below are a few photos I took that evening of the sunset.

 The Setting Sun at the Parowan Gap on March 20, 2020
I find it interesting that this sacred location in Parowan, Utah is located just a couple of miles from another Salt Lake.  It is not the Great Salt Lake, but it is called Little Salt Lake. Two temples in Utah near salty water.  One built by man where earthquakes can damage it, and the other built by God that aligns with the heavens.

Photo taken on March 20, 2020

There are large rock cairns that mark the exact locations of where the sun will rise and set on these important dates of the Spring and Fall Equinoxes as well as on the Summer and Winter Solstices. It is a beautiful and tranquil thing to watch the sunset as it  slides right into the Parowan Gap.

Sunset on March 20, 2020

After my time in Parowan, I drove into Zion's National Park to go hiking and camped Saturday evening with a couple of friends. The clouds dissipated after the sunset and it was a beautiful evening to star gaze. I don't know if I have ever seen Venus so bright.

Entrance into Zion's National Park, photo taken on March 21, 2020

We woke up the next morning just after 4:00 am to begin our hike up to the top of Angels Landing. Overhead in the sky as we hiked, there was an alignment of  three planets: Saturn, Mars and Jupiter (seen below left to right respectively).

Night sky of the three Planets taken on the morning of March 22, 2020

Hiking to the top of Angels Landing is not for the fainthearted, especially if you are hiking in darkness before dawn. However, it was fun to hear an Owl hooting as we approached the saddle.


After hours of hiking we finally reached the summit. The sun begin to hit the tops of the surrounding peaks. We were greeted by a raven who circled above our heads in a clockwise direction.


As we began to descend and the sun hit our faces. We saw the King of Birds.. the Condor.





What make the entire ascent to the top of Angels Landing so memorable was not only to see the enormous Condor bird fly majestically towards us... but it landed on the rocks. It allowed us to hike close and to see him up close and personal. See photo below.


Photo taken by my friend who had the best position on the sheer rock ledge to take this photo.


It was an unforgettable hike, full of symbolism, beauty and accomplishment.  

Thursday, March 19, 2020

THE HEAVENS ARE OPEN AGAIN - Honoring the Bicentennial of The First Vision



Today, March 19, 2020 is the spring equinox. It is earliest day for the vernal equinox to occur in over 100 years. This event marks the astronomical first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. What makes this Spring Equinox even more important is that it also marks the 200 anniversary of Joseph Smith's Theophany with God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. Although Joseph Smith never penned the exact day, scholars suggest that the date of the first vision was March 26th.. which will be in a week.

Above is a link to first of several short video vignettes that will be released this year as part of commemorating this important event of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a new series intended to inspire all of us to repent and come to know our Savior Jesus Christ and have the Heavens Open to Us just as Joseph Smith did 200 years ago this Spring.




Wednesday, March 18, 2020

2020.03.18 - WARNING EARTHQUAKE and SYMBOLISM


 Doctrine 112: 25-26
 And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord; First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not  known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.






 My family and I just got back from taking photos of the Salt Lake Temple after the earthquake this morning. It is the most bizarre thing I have ever seen. No other damage is visible in downtown Salt Lake or around Temple Square. The removal of the trumpet is almost surgical, like a clean break.. even his hand that was holding the trumpet is in tact. You would have to be blind, deaf and dumb (and fully asleep) to not see this as a symbolic event.  Even the tornado that ripped through the city back in 1999, Angel Moroni was able to keep a hold of his trumpet.

Image result for tornado salt lake temple

Tomorrow is the Spring Equinox. I will be posting more about this tomorrow along with a new video to be released entitled: Condemnation.


Thursday, March 12, 2020

2020. 03.12 - PESTILENCE= a contagious or infectious epidemic disease


PESTILENCE: 
a contagious or infectious epidemic disease 
that is virulent and devastating

____________


"And they that believe not in him shall be destroyed,
both by fire, quakes, and by bloodsheds,
and by pestilence, and by famine."
2 Nephi 6:14-15


FIRES

At the beginning of this year, major areas of Australia were on fire. The months-long fires killed dozens of people and millions of animals, and destroyed more than 2,000 homes.

The above image is a visualization of one month of data of locations where fire was detected in Australia collected by Nasa's Fire Information for Resource Management System. "The scale is a little exaggerated due to the render's glow, but it is generally true to the info from the Nasa website. Also note that not all the areas are still burning, and this is a compilation
EARTHQUAKES IN JANUARY 2020

World map showing earthquakes above magnitude 5 during January 2020

BLOODSHED

There were gun mass shootings across the U.S. in 2019 than there were days in the year, according to a gun violence research group. 2019 had the highest number of gun shootings in any year since the research group started keeping track.




Sidenote:

Most Latter-day Saints have just finished their study of 2 Nephi in the Come Follow Me study manual. Almost eight years ago to the date, a blog post was written with commentary of the verses 14-15 from chapter 6 of 2 Nephi. Here is the entire blog post. 

Jacob makes a startling promise for those who live when the destruction begins preliminary to the cleansing of the world before the Lord returns. He says "none will he destroy that believe in him. And they that believe not in him shall be destroyed, both by fire, quakes, and by bloodsheds, and by pestilence, and by famine." (2 Ne. 6: 14-15.)
 This amazing promise is predicated on "believing in Him." This requires us to understand what the word "believe" means in the parlance of the Book of Mormon. Those who believe in Him know and accept correct doctrine, or the truth about Him. Those who do not know and will not accept correct doctrine or the truth have dwindled in unbelief. They do not believe in Him. They may have religion, may belong to churches, may be active in all their observances, but they are not in possession of belief in Him. Instead they accept for doctrines the commandments of men, and their hearts are far from Him. They teach false and vain things. As a result they neither enter into the kingdom nor suffer those who are entering to go in. This includes those who, though they are humble followers of Christ, are nevertheless led that in many instances they do err in doctrine. (2 Ne. 28: 14.)
 There will be many who are destroyed who will be quite surprised by it. They will complain that they have prophesied in Christ's name, and in His name cast out devils, and done many wonderful works, but they do not know Christ, and therefore never did believe in Him. (See Matt. 7: 22-24.)
If you are one of those who believe in Him, and who will not dwindle in unbelief, will not accept the commandments of men as doctrine, but will take the Spirit for your guide, then Jacob promises that Christ will not destroy you. The rest He will destroy.
Fire will upset the order of things and make societal collapse inevitable. Men's self-inflicted woes will not be the only sign of Divine disapproval. The earth will quake to signal God's disapproval. Interruptions of social order and control will be followed by self-inflicted violence. Bloodshed will be widespread among the survivors. Disease and pestilence will be one of the results of the lack of social order. Air and water will be contaminated. Neglected hygiene will lead to the promised pestilence. As the downward spiral continues, food production and distribution will be inadequate to prevent widespread, global famine. It is as if Jacob could see the sequence of events and gave us the list of how it would unfold, step by step, as the unbelieving are wiped from the earth.
Survival during this bleak time depends on the qualification of "believing in Him."
 Suddenly, if you think Jacob knew what he was talking about then our doctrines take on terrible significance. What we believe matters. Not just in the distant after-life, but for the preservation of our present lives. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

2020. 03.11 - CONFERENCE WILL BE "ADJUSTED" AND "ALTERED"

From the mass email sent to all Church members:
Temporary Adjustments to General Conference:

As global concerns over the spread of COVID-19 continue to grow, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are taking additional measures to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

These measures include altering the format of the April 2020 general conference,

We plan to conduct all five sessions of that conference at the Conference Center. General authorities, general officers and their spouses, musicians, choirs, technicians, and others will participate as assigned. But, proceedings of the conference will be distributed throughout the world via technology only. The public will not be admitted in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, or in stake centers or meetinghouses in areas where contagion is a concern.
Provo MTC will close temporarily to missionaries
Beginning March 16, 2020, all missionaries scheduled to enter missionary training centers in Provo, Utah, or Preston, England, will be trained remotely by video conference.
Each missionary will receive specific information regarding the length of training, schedules, and other logistics as his or her starting date approaches. Once missionaries complete their online training, they will travel directly to their mission assignments

Stake conferences canceled throughout the world
The Chuch announced that they will postpone stake and leadership conferences and other large gatherings in Church Areas where illness caused by COVID-19 is a challenge, including,
  • Asia
  • Asia North
  • Europe
  • Europe East
  • All Areas in the United States and Canada


_________________________

Many will remember President Nelson's closing remarks in October 2019:


"General conference next April will be different from any previous conference...."

...general conference next April will be not only memorable; it will be unforgettable."


I am sure many will say that President Nelson is truly a prophet because of his remarks in last conference that the April conference would be different than any other previous conference. I have a hard time believing that canceling the World Wide Leadership Meetings as well canceling the plans for over 100,000 people who have tickets to attend conference is what he had in mind.

The Church announced today that no one will be allowed to attend conference at the Conference Center. All those Conference tickets are now void.

If President Nelson announced last October that next year's April conference would only be "via technology only".. than that would truly have been revelatory..... but this announcement by the Church seems reactionary. I am sure this is a disappointment for all those who wanted to attend.

After the announcement came out, a member of the Tabernacle choir said 'apparently this year they will be preaching to the choir!'


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

2020.03.10 - STAGES OF FAITH

Stages of Faith:
A few weeks ago I participated in a discussion with a group of millennials on the Stages of Faith. Below are a few of the Powerpoint slides that were shown as part of the lesson. I few people have asked for them so I thought maybe others would find some value as well. 




Stage 1: In this first stage, we develop basic faith and trust in those we love, primarily our parents who provide our basic needs for life. For example, if I cry, Mom will feed me or pick me up. Simple concepts of good and bad are taught. We learn that obeying the “rules” is important because it means avoiding punishment. Rules are seen as being fixed and absolute. It is in this stage that we learn the most basic ideas about love and God.

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Stage 2: Faith increases outside of the family structure. We continue to accept the ideas about God in very literal ways. God lives up in the sky with the angels. He is our Heavenly Father. We are his children. The Devil lives in Hell and he tempts us to do evil. Decisions are made based on the principle of "What's in it for me?" Obeying the rules is important because we receive rewards. "If I follow the rules, God will give me a good life." "If I pray, God will grant my wish." In this stage, we begin to sort out the “real” from the “make-believe.”
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Stage 3: At this stage we rely on a religious institution to give us stability and to give us answers to our questions about things we don’t understand. If those in authority say it is so, it must be true. We tend to have a hard time seeing outside our “box”. The authority of the leaders is emphasized to the individuals or groups that represent one's beliefs.. We become attached to the forms of our religion and get extremely upset when these are called into question. This is the stage in which many people never move beyond it. This stage can also be called "Conventional/Group Faith", meaning that most people in this stage see themselves as believing what "everybody else" believes and would be reluctant to stop believing it because of the need they feel to stay connected with their group. Here authority is located outside the self - in the church leaders, in the government, in the social group. In this stage, the church is like a wise and protective parent; we trust it implicitly.

Most of the people in traditional churches are at this stage. Religious institutions "work best" if the majority of their congregation is in Stage 3 and the institutions discourage people from questioning since it threatens the viability of the institution if people start questioning!) When a person cognitively realizes that there are contradictions between some of his authority sources and is ready to actually reflect realistically on them, he begins to be ready to move to the Fourth Stage.

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Stage 4: In this stage, we begin questioning what we took for granted in Stage 3; most experience negative emotion toward Stage 3 experiences. This is the tough stage, when people start seeing outside the box and realizing that there are other "boxes". They begin to critically examine their beliefs on their own and often become disillusioned with their former faith. Ironically, the Stage 3 people usually think that Stage 4 people have become "apostate" when in reality they have actually moved forward. Those who break out of the previous stage usually do so when they start seriously questioning things on their own. A lot of the time, this stage ends up being very non-religious and some people stay in it permanently. Religious groups are always trying to discourage people from making this step. In this Stage, the church is like a parent whose flaws and mistakes are exposed at their worst.
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Stage 5: It is in this stage that acceptance or reconciliation is reached. It is coming to terms with what we learned in Stage 4 and transcending above it. They start to accept the paradoxes in life. They begin to see life as a mystery and often return to sacred stories and symbols but this time without being stuck in a theological box. People at this stage sometimes disobey what were previous rules in stage 3, if they find them to be inconsistent with their paradigm shift. They have experienced connection with heaven, and have been comforted from the pain they experienced in Stage 4. Most people in stage 3 do not like people in stage 5. Stage 3 perceive Stage 5 people to be off the mark, misguided, unruly, and apostate.

In this stage, the church is like a sweet grandparent that sometimes says wise things, sometimes funny or antiquated things, but is a benevolent forebear, and we excuse their shortcomings and failures.
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Stage 6: It is in this stage that we gain complete internal peace and wisdom, becoming a whole person with spiritual power and insight. Those who do live their lives to the full in service of others without any real worries or doubts. Few people operate at this stage all the time. It is the ability to put oneself in other people's shoes, and actually become a mediator for them. At this stage, people have a principled conscience and will follow universal ethical principles regardless of what the official laws and rules are.
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Stage 7: The person has received the fullness of the Gospel and entered into the rest of the Lord. They are willing to and sometimes even are required to die, becoming a martyr for the cause.gardless of what the official laws and rules are.

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I think this is a great illustration of Stages 3-4. 
Stage 3 is a safe place on clinging onto an organization
Stage 4  is the act to faith to reach out to grab a hold of the Lord's hand in Stage 5.