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Friday, October 6, 2017

426: END TIMES?


My Neighbors, Family, Ward Members and Co-workers have asked me my thoughts about all of the recent events after the solar eclipse occured this summer. Fires, Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Flooding, and now the latest with mass murders/shootings in Las Vegas. Things are not quite right when a family from Utah goes on a vacation cruise and the wife started to laugh at the husband and the husband then kills her. He then tried to throw her overboard... or when newlywed husband after taking cold medicine was dreaming he was stabbing his wife and he woke up, and she is dead because he really did stab her in his sleep. Below is from a talk I recently heard:

 "The spirit of God is withdrawing from the world. Men are increasingly more angry without good cause. The hearts of men are waxing cold... This process with the spirit withdrawing, will end on this continent, as it did with two prior civilization in fratricidal and genocidal warfare. For the rest of the world, it will be as in the days of Noah in which, as that light becomes eclipsed, the coldness of men’s hearts is going to result in a constant scene of violence and bloodshed. The wicked will destroy the wicked." 

SO, DESPITE ALL OF THE NEGATIVE GOING ON THIS VIDEO HAS BEEN CREATED.

This video will hopefully give hope despite many reasons to lose it.  My prayer would be that we recognize our precarious circumstance and turn to the Lord and ask for His mercy. We have the choice to ripen as wheat if we only repent.



Friday, September 29, 2017

425: THAT WE MAY BE ONE

Yesterday, I went into the downtown Deseret Book store across from the Salt Lake Temple. Because this weekend is General Conference, the LDS owned book store was more crowded than usual with visitors from all over the world. In the entrance, Deseret Book has on display a huge map of the world where visitors can take a pin and mark on the map where they are from. Most countries had at least one pin stuck in it. Truly the LDS General Conference is a global event.

 I always find it interesting to see the books that are being promoted for all LDS conference attendees during the Conference weekend. This year, the highly promoted and visible book on display is the book entitled, "That We May Be One - A Gay Mormon's Perspective on Faith and Family" written by Elder Todd D Christofferson's brother Tom.

See the photos I took below:




In addition to the book, this months edition of the LDS oriented magazine called LDSLiving has on the front cover a photo of Tom Christofferson with the featured article. "Mormon and Gay". The magazine is sold next the Ensign as well as the special edition magazine called Temples.

Here are a few photos that I took and the article inside the magazine.






In addition to these books and magazines, outside of Deseret Book are banners advertising the LDS Church's mall. The glossy ads show fine jewelry and women drinking wine and beer. The advertising promote the idea that your wish list should include fine jewelry and apparel. In addition, the banners suggest the idea that you should have a drink after work before going home.




Is there any doubt that Moroni lamented when he saw our day?

Anyway...the reason for this post is that I have been thinking alot about what it means to be one and how can a diverse group of people ever come to a mutual agreement. The above book title is interesting to consider.   "That We May Be One" is a profound wish or desire for all people.

We read all through the scriptures the importance of being one.  Not only do we long to be at one with God, but also with our families, especially with our spouse as well as with each other in a larger community. Zion is a place where people are one. They are of one heart and one mind.  We know that the Father and the Son are one and we want to be like Them.  But how is that achieved?
Do we all have to believe the same things? Do we all have to mutually agree on everything? Does mutual agreement have be unanimous? ...Do we all need to believe and think exactly the same thing?

A paper/essay has recently been written that is posted  HERE about this subject about the process of becoming one and what it means to have mutual agreement. . While quite long (around 16 pages), it is a well thought paper worthy of being read. Using the Book of Mormon as a guide and standard of how unity and peace should be achieved, the author has written a paper that is important for all to consider.

And since General Conference might be a little shorter this year since it was announced yesterday that President Monson will not be in attendance nor will Elder Robert D Hales.  NEWS REPORT... some will have some extra time to read it.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

424: A SACRED AND IMPORTANT WEEK

A few photos from yesterday on September 23, 2017. It was an important week not only on earth but in the heavens... and not just for Christians but for those of the Jewish Faith. 





















I have been reading the following in the Doctrine and Covenants. In section 110  is the description of the Lord in the vision manifested to Joseph Smith the Prophet and Oliver Cowdery in the temple at Kirtland, Ohio, April 3, 1836. 
Joseph used the symbol of fire, snow, sun and rushing waters. Important imagery that meant alot to me on my hike. When the Lord appeared it was a Sabbath day meeting. Joseph Smith’s history states: “In the afternoon, I assisted the other Presidents in distributing the Lord’s Supper to the Church, receiving it from the Twelve, whose privilege it was to officiate at the sacred desk this day. After having performed this service to my brethren, I retired to the pulpit, the veils being dropped, and bowed myself, with Oliver Cowdery, in solemn and silent prayer. After rising from prayer, the following vision was opened to both of us.”

Section 110 verses 1-5 

 The veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened. We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber. His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying: I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father. Behold, your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

423: ONE SMALL ACT OF PROTEST CHANGED THE WORLD

The Lord said that the weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones. (I Corinthians 1:27, D&C 1:19). Next month on October 31, 2017 the world will commemorate the small act of Martin Luther posting his 96 Theses to the front door of the mighty and strong Catholic Church which started the Protestant Reformation.

Seven videos have been created to commemorate this event that took place 500 years ago and its impact on the world. Below is the link to the seventh and concluding video in this first of three installments of videos that show God's Hand moving once again on the earth and His involvement in our lives today.  Next week is the Fall Equinox, a time of harvest. Three talks will be given in three major and symbolic cities in the next two months. The first one is next week in Los Angeles.  We invite all to join the live streaming video here on Thursday September 21, 2017 at 8:00 PM MST http://www.christianreformation500years.info/

These videos have been produced as a precursor to those talks.



Sidenote:

There is a beautiful lakeside  village in Austria  called  Hallstatt. Next to the lake there is a small Lutheran church. This church is planning events to commemorate the 500 year anniversary of Protestant Reformation. I took a photo the banner that hangs outside the church. I found it interesting that it is written in 13 different languages including Arabic and Hebrew. Truly the entire world was changed by what began with Martin Luther. A candle that can not be blown out.






Monday, September 11, 2017

422: 16 YEARS LATER....SOMETHING I WILL NEVER FORGET.

This past July, my daughter and I spent a few days in New York City. On the Fourth,  we spent the morning down at Ground Zero and went into the 9-11 Memorial Museum.   Even though this event happened 16 years ago today, I can still remember everything about that morning as if it was yesterday. Below are a few photos I took of a few images I saw at the Museum.

















One of the most symbolic things I saw at the museum was this stuffed animal that found on top of the rumble after the Towers fell. Of all the types of stuffed animals that it could be.. it was a lamb. Below is the placard next to the stuffed animal.


 



....
Yes, The Lamb did survive! He is the way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Him.   

 ....................


Sidenote: A few letters are on display expressing their thoughts about 9-11. The below postcard really touched me. You can see from the date, it was written on August 22, 2012 almost 11 years after the event. 




This is what Ground Zero looks like today. In place of the twin tower, are twin cascading fountains the disappear into the ground. Each occupying the exact footprint of the towers with all of the names etched around the exterior wall of the cascading pool of water.




 The newly built tower next the 9-11 Memorial that is now even taller than the Twin Towers.










Thursday, September 7, 2017

421: FOUR DESTRUCTIVE FORCES FOLLOWING THE 2017 GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE

We live in exciting times. Less than 3 weeks ago our country experienced a total solar eclipse that crossed from the west coast to the east coast of the United States. It is the first time since the birth of our nation in 1776  that the path of totality stayed completely in the United States. I believe it was ominous sign.
Since then we have experienced Fires in the Northwest, Earthquakes in the Rocky Mountain Region, Flooding in Midwest, and are expecting Winds over 150 miles an hour along the Atlantic coast. The Four elements of this world: Fire, Earth, Water, and Air. These elements are also symbolic of the four archangels) These four elements have caused damage across  the United, similiar to the path of totality of the solar eclipse.






Below are some notes I have written in my journal from recent talk about the importance of these recent events:

The next total eclipse will be in about seven years on April 8, 2014. With the recent eclipse and the one 2024 they will make an X across the United States. It’s a fairly dramatic celestial event that suggests possible meanings like the times of the Gentiles are coming to an end and there are about to be swept away and replaced as the possessors and the rightful owners of the land.  How we act matters a lot. Nineveh got saved because they repented and if God will spare Nineveh because they repented then he ought to be willing to spare other people because they’re willing to repent. The focus will be here on this land primarily until the Lord’s return and then Jerusalem will reacquire the spotlight. But Zion is going to be on this, the American continent. Since Zion must precede the Lord’s return and since this land is the land that has a restriction on it that requires those who are going to occupy it to serve the God of the land who is Jesus Christ,  the sign of the eclipse is a rather ominous suggestion that we can be crossed out and we can be replaced unless, of course, we choose to repent. 

There are two great symbols that are identical in size and identical in their position they occupy in the heaven above us. One is the sun and one is the moon. From the surface of the earth they are exactly the same size. The moon is 1/4 th the size of the earth and the sun is thousands, and thousands times bigger. But they were placed in the heavens at the relevant distances so that when you’re looking at them they are identical in the area that they occupy in the heaven above. The sun is a symbol of heavenly Father. The moon is a symbol of Heavenly Mother. And they occupy exactly the same position on the ecliptic. They move in the same position across the heavens. The movement of the mother as a symbol is far more complex than the movement of the sun across the sky because the dance that the symbol of our Heavenly Mother is performing is both progressive and recessive. She moves constantly across the sky from the East to the West once she comes into sight, but every night she moves farther East and so she begins farther to the East every night and then moves across the night sky to the west. So her dance is far more complex than is the Father’s. His is stable and relatively stationary and relatively predictable. The symbol of the mother plotting out the light of the sun in the eclipse is what you were asking about is ominous indeed because when a mother loses hope for her children, that’s a lot more frightening than the father’s ire. 

When a mother gets worked up enough to send a symbol across the land to suggest the blotting out the light of the father, it’s something that maybe we ought to sit up and take note of that. 

 There’s a message up there that was part of the gospel that will be restored again, but right now, faith, repentance, baptism, and treating one another kindly and preparing to be the kind of people that are worthy of preservation are far more important than all of that. 

.......

I recently read someone's notes that they took from Isaiah classes from a well known scholar. He spoke about three groups of the Lord’s people in the last days.

  • The first group would be those that would be granted divine protection and preserved from the worst turmoils of the tribulations. (Although some would be sacrificed for a testimony.)
  • The second group would be those who were not loyal to the Lord, but loyal to their Church Leaders. They would have to suffer tribulations to change their thinking and to be punished for their idolatry. This group would have to work hard to survive, but eventually, they would be gathered into Zion after sufficient time and after their hearts were changed.
  • The third group were wicked and rebelled. They joined in with the world were to be destroyed.

....

And lastly this:

The spirit of God is withdrawing from the world. Men are increasingly more angry without good cause. The hearts of men are waxing cold. There is increasing anger and resentment of gentiles. In political terms, it’s rejection of white privilege. Language of scriptures description of the events now underway calls it the end of the times of the gentiles. This process with the spirit withdrawing, will end on this continent as two prior civilization ended, in fratricidal and genocidal warfare. For the rest of the world, it will be as in the days of Noah in which, as that light becomes eclipsed, the coldness of men’s hearts is going to result in a constant scene of violence and bloodshed. The wicked will destroy the wicked. The covenant, if it is kept, will prevent you from losing light and warmth of heart as the spirit now steadily recedes from the world. The time will come, when you will be astonished at the gulf between the light and truth you will comprehend and the darkness of mind of the world. Be charitable and patient and labor to reach others. They will judge you harshly, but nevertheless be kind to them. They are going to grow to fear you, but that’s only part of how darkness responds to light. Give them no reason to fear you. The time will come for us to gather, but between now and then be leaven. Preserve the world. Be salt. Preserve the world. Even if it hates you.

Friday, September 1, 2017

420: AND I SHALL GIVE YOU REST

I went for a hike this morning to see the sunrise. Besides spending time with my wife and family, getting up early and hiking up to see the sunrise is one of my favorite things to do. I climbed a different peak than I normally do. When I got to the top I was surprised to see an empty chair waiting for me. Very unusual to see a solitary chair on top of a mountain. Someone must have left it for the next person to enjoy and rest from the steep hike.

I sat down on the chair and opened up my scriptures. My scriptures opened up to 3 Nephi 14. Below the photo are the verses. Very symbolic when you think about all the events this past week.




Therefore, whoso heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock—

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.

And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand—

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it.



...

Monday, August 28, 2017

419: RECENT LDS TEMPLE DAMAGES and NEW CONSTRUCTIONS

Houston, Texas
Houston Temple President Marshall Hayes confirmed Monday night that the LDS Houston Temple was flooding. "The creek became a river and the current is so strong that it’s been dangerous to even try and approach the temple," he said. Nearby Cyprus Creek rose by more than 20 feet. “It appears water to the depth of four or five inches has gone inside the temple," he added. “That includes a baptistry, a marriage waiting room, dressing rooms, kitchen and laundry. We haven’t been able to go inside so we really don’t know the extent of the damage.” The temple closed Saturday after the 11 a.m. session. Water also breached an adjoining building.

Photo taken of the outside of the LDS Houston Temple. 


Bountiful, UT
Last year, lightning struck the bountiful Temple causing part of the head of  Angel Moroni statue's to go missing and a hole in the back.  News Article
 Image result for lightning bountiful temple

This year there has been substantial structural damage to the Bountiful's spire which needed to be fixed. The fiberglass structure showed signs of decay and cracking. The spire has been removed and repairs are currently underway. Below is a recent photo I took with the missing spire on the Bountiful temple and the scaffolding to now rebuild it.



________________________________________________

Sidenotes: Speaking of no spire.

Here are some recent LDS Temple constructions.
Below is a photo I took of the recently dedicated Paris Temple. There is no spire.. on purpose. At first we drove by it and did not think it was a Temple. Long are the days of the impressive "San Diego" like Temple structures.



Below is a photo of the Rome Temple.  This Temple was announced almost 10 years ago on October 4, 2008.  Groundbreaking and Site Dedication was on October 23, 2010 by Thomas S. Monson. It has encountered numerous construction problems. When we visited it last month, it appeared that construction had stalled. Apparently it was supposed to be completed years ago, even before the Paris, France temple was completed.



And lastly, below is a photo of the newly dedicated LDS Temple in Tucson Arizona. It is definitely different looking. To me, it kind of looks a little like a Mosque with the exception of Moroni on top instead of Mohammed.  :)






Oh the Glory Days.

Friday, August 25, 2017

418: HOMELESS


Recently I visited a small church in old city of Barcelona that was built in 1141. This Church was unlike all of the ornate Catholic Cathedrals that we saw all through Europe.  It was simple, small and unassuming.  If you visit this church during the week, it is not closed unlike thousands and thousands of our chapels around the world.  During the week they turn the church into a soup kitchen and a place for the homeless to sleep. The Church pew benches are rearranged and placed around portable tables. Plastic table cloths are laid down on the tables and dinner mats are used like you would see at a restaurant. The local parishioners volunteer days to come to their church to serve the homeless. Food is prepared and served to the hungry. This church is a place of refuge for the homeless, the outcast, the hungry and the needy.

Above is the photo I took of the church. You can see some of the homeless sleeping on the floor and on the benches. On one of the walls there is a beautiful painting of Christ serving the five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish.


Compare that to what is happening in Salt Lake City.



I have written a few blogposts about the growing problem of homelessness in downtown Salt Lake. The Road Home which houses over 1000 people is being shutdown. Three smaller locations are planned to be built in other areas of the city. These new facilities are planned to only accommodate 150 people each. The numbers don't add up, because without the Road Home, this will effectively reduce shelter beds by 500. One of the proposed sites is owned by the LDS Church. I posted about it here.
This week the Salt Lake Tribune published this article about the financials of the sell of this proposed site. Here is the news article. 

State to pay $4.5 million to buy Deseret Industries thrift store from Mormon church for homeless shelter
" Utah will fund the purchase of a downtown thrift store owned and operated by the Mormon church for $4.46 million following negotiations on the final of three future homeless shelters to be opened by July 2019.

The Salt Lake County Assessor’s Office values the property at $2.7 million – $1.4 million for the land and $1.3 million for the building."
Even though the SL County Assessor's office values the property at about half of what the LDS Church is selling it for, the property was apparently appraised at about the selling price.

My purpose for even pointing this out is.. why doesn't the LDS Church just donate this to the city to build a homeless shelter. I mean we donated a mansion names after Thomas S Monson to the University of Utah. It appears that we might even be making a profit off the sell of the land especially if it was valued on the tax appraisals  at almost half of the selling price.

Also, one more thing I want to point out:

Instead of helping the homeless find a place to sleep and eat, We are arresting them. It is called Operation Rio Grande. This past week alone police officers have arrested 423 people that are homeless.  Below are some photos from this article. The first photo shows the brand new mobile command center. It is large hi-tech moving vehicle used to coordinate the efforts of the law enforcement.   Now I understand that many of those on the streets have drug and alcohol addictions. Many have to resort to crime. I agree that arrests should be made for illegal activity and unlawful behavior. But homeless is not a crime.. and maybe it is more of a crime on our part for not helping them.


Here is the news article:
http://kutv.com/news/local/inside-the-heart-of-operation-rio-grande



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

417: THE GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE ON AUGUST 21, 2017


Standing in the middle of a wheat field in Eastern Idaho, just a few miles west of Salem, Idaho  my family witnessed the Great American Eclipse of 2017. We were invited by our close friends to camp out near the center line of the Path of Totality. Words can't really describe the experience. Unless you saw it, no one can really explain the event to you and give it justice. A total solar eclipse is not only meant to be seen, but needs to be experienced first hand. It is not just a visual spectacle, it is an experience you feel with your entire body. It is life changing.  My mouth dropped in awe.  Tears fell down my wife's cheek. My confused 5 year old daughter asked us, "When is it going to be morning again Dad?"

Within a 3 minute time span , one witnesses the bright blue sky of the midday change to a dark sky of night. Stars and planets appear, temperatures plummet as the sun and moon align perfectly changing day to night then back to day in minutes.

To sum it up best would be to quote D&C 88: 47: "Any man who hath seen any or the least of these  hath seen God moving in his majesty and power."
I testify that my family and I witnessed God moving in Their Majesty and Power yesterday at 11:33 AM on August 21, 2017.

Here are a few photos I took with my camera to document the event.

 Taken Just a few minutes before the complete total eclipse. 

Photo of the total eclipse that lasted for us for about 2 minute 18 seconds. While the moon completely covered the sun, we could watch this without any eye protection. This sign in heaven was meant to be seen with the natural eye without any protective eye gear.

Photo of the sun reappearing after the total eclipse with the moon. 

The moon and the sun continuing to move apart after appearing to be exactly the same size. 

This is still frame from the video I took with a wide angle lens while the eclipse was occuring. 



Sidenote:

For weeks I was trying to determine where I would go to view the eclipse. There were alot of factors to consider including the weather, traffic, accommodations, and who was going to come from my family. We finally decided on Saturday and we got ready to leave early Sunday morning. It was a beautiful drive up to Idaho Falls and we continued further North to be as close to the center of path of totality. That evening some clouds began to roll in creating a beautiful sunset but causing some concern and/or doubt that maybe it might be cloudy the next day. It seems like in every important event in our life, we have "clouds" of doubt roll in and cover our skies.

Photo taken of the sunset on August 20,,2017 on the eve of the Total Eclipse in Plano, Idaho.

However the next morning, just hours before the eclipse, I woke up early to beautiful clear skies. I went into a nearby wheat field to watch the sunrise.




Standing in the middle of a wheat field. I could see the location where NASA set up their operations for the eclipse. NASA They were located on top of the plateau that you can see in the distance.



Photo taken hours on top the water irrigation tower that is located in the center of wheat field.
This is the location where my family would return to watch the eclipse.  

In the distance it was possible to see the Grand Tetons in the horizon just before the sunrise. 


The event was not just observed by us, but it seems like all of creation anticipated the event.

Photo of a flocks of birds heading east towards the sun in the horizon.

(Not the best photo since it is kind of blurry, but it is a photo of a night owl flying low over the wheat.
It 
was taken in the wheat field where we watched the eclipse.

Not only have I never seen a total eclipse, I have never seen an owl fly in the wild.

Photo of a dove perched high up in blue spruce just prior to the eclipse. 
.......................................


Image for comment no 3 from Taylor: