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Thursday, May 31, 2012

60: KING NOAH and HIS KINGDOM: Part 3


King Noah and His Kingdom, Part 3

“And he laid a tax of one fifth part of all they possessed, a fifth part of their gold and of their silver, and a fifth part of their ziff, and of their copper, and of their brass and their iron; and a fifth part of their fatlings; and also a fifth part of all their grain.
And all this did he take to support himself, and his wives and his concubines; and also his priests, and their wives and their concubines; thus he had changed the affairs of the kingdom”
Mosiah 11:3-4.

Noah laid a heavy tax on his people of all they possessed, and did not use those moneys collected for a righteous purpose, but to support his own endeavors (vv. 3-4). With that money he built many “elegant and spacious buildings,” made of the very finest materials and crafted with the finest workmanship to beautify his kingdom, including the temple and the land “near” it (vv. 8-10, 12). King Noah loved money and things more than he loved God and people.

It was for this very reason that the early saints were unable to secure Zion. Lorenzo Snow said Latter-day Saints' early failure to secure Zion was "because of their love of money," and that "the Lord could have sustained the people against the encroachments of their enemies had they placed themselves in a condition where He would have been justified in doing so" (The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 159). You cannot serve God and Mammon (Matt. 6:24). We are blind if we believe that we would do any better than the early saints at such a heavenly endeavor. The early saints at least made the attempt. We don't know where to begin in our competitive society.

Noah had not abandoned the temple as we might suppose of someone who is “abominable in the sight of the Lord” and full of “all manner of wickedness,” but he and his priests considered themselves worthy to continue worship within it. He even did occasional renovations of fine work “within the walls of the temple” to beautify it (v. 10). Mormon points out that the people supported the king and his priests in their iniquity (v. 6). Not because they sought iniquity, but because of their trust in the arm of flesh. They acted as enablers in a vain cause.

They only wanted to hear “smooth things” preached unto them. This was “a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits…Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant” (Isa. 30:9-13).

Noah and his kingdom sought not “the welfare of Zion,” but rather to further the cause of Babylon, that they “may get gain and praise of the world” (2 Ne. 26:29). Their practice of priestcraft was to them priesthood and authority. But it was to the Lord nothing more than men who sought to gratify their pride, and who exercised “control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men” (D&C 121:37).

Through his example, teachings, and policy, Noah changed the affairs of the kingdom. It’s actually much easier to do than we might suppose, and even one man can do it. Because he cared more about himself, and his “vain ambition,” Noah was unable to do any good thing with his kingdom because the heavens had withdrawn themselves (Ibid.). He was therefore left to kick against the pricks, and to “fight against God” (v. 38).

59: KING NOAH and HIS KINGDOM: Part 2



King Noah and His Kingdom, Part 2

“For behold, he did not keep the commandments of God, but he did walk after the desires of his own heart. And he had many wives and concubines. And he did cause his people to commit sin, and do that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord. Yea, and they did commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness”
Mosiah 11:2.
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Noah was a polygamist who walked after the desires of his own heart. There have been times when the practice of plural marriage has been authorized by revelation and commandment, and at other times received God’s censure (D&C 132:29, 34-35; Jacob 2:23-24). Noah and his priests weren’t the first, or the only people in history that sought to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which are written about ancient kings (ibid.). His example and teachings caused his people to commit sin, though neither he nor his people believed they were living in sin (Mosiah 12:13-14).

Like the Pharisees’ reaction to the Lord, Noah and his people were surprised “that we should be condemned of God or judged of this man (ibid.). They were surprised that somebody would challenge their righteousness. The wicked priestly class of Christ’s day was surprised at His message of admonition and repentance. In their view, they were the only people actually keeping all of the commandments. To them, even Christ and his disciples transgressed “the tradition of the elders” (Matt. 15:1-3). Christ taught them that it was precisely by way of their tradition that they “transgressed the commandment of God” (ibid.). Their pride had blinded them.

Remember, this story is being told to us in retrospect through the lens of a righteous prophet-writer. It is that prophet-writer who makes it clear to us that Noah and his people were wicked. Prophets have a very different view of history, and of the unfolding current events than do those who belong to or sympathize with Babylon. Because prophets commune with God, they are able to see things as God sees them.

If we were to read a history about Noah and his people written by their own hand it would, of course, be highly complimentary. Conspicuously absent from the record would be any details about human failure and weakness, especially of the king. Their record would tout their accomplishments. It would tell us about what great progress they made in the kingdom by way of building projects, for example. They certainly kept and preserved records. Otherwise, how would Mormon know so much about them.

Since the king and his priests spoke “flattering,” and “lying and vain words” unto the people we shouldn’t expect that their record would reflect a greater degree of honesty (Mosiah 11:7, 11). The ultra-religious always think they’re better than they really are, and they’re happy to talk about it.

The wickedness and abominations of Noah and his priests led them to pride. Their pride led them to boast in their own strength. They believed that it was not possible that they should be brought into captivity, or into bondage. They thought that because they had “prospered in the land,” they would always prosper (Mosiah 12:15). But it was not to be so.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

58: KING NOAH and HIS KINGDOM: Part 1


Below is a depiction of King Noah, his priests and Abinadi painted by Minerva Teichert . It is a different image that we are normally see to illustrate this Book of Mormon account found in Mosiah. (It is missing the leopards etc). I post this different painting on purpose as a precursor for the next several posts on King Noah and Abinidi. I did not write them, but post them with the permission of my friend . It is my hope in this series, we will look at this account differently, and liken to our day.



King Noah and His Kingdom, Part 1

“And now it came to pass that Zeniff conferred the kingdom upon Noah, one of his sons; therefore Noah began to reign in his stead; and he did not walk in the ways of his father”
Mosiah 11:1
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The kings (and later the Chief Judges in a way) of the Book of Mormon received through  “conferral,”  or “consecration,” or “charge,” not only the rights to rule and reign over a kingdom, but also stewardship over plates of records, and other implements of kingship (Mosiah 1:15-16; 29:42; Alma 2:9). Their stewardship was most often intermingled with religion.

Compared to his son Noah, Zeniff was a good king. He held authority to minister temporally and spiritually in the affairs of his kingdom and he “conferred” that authority on his son Noah. His son Noah walked not “in the ways of his father” while he was king over the land. It’s hard to imagine Zeniff conferred the authority upon Noah to preside and rule over the kingdom, despite knowing his son to be an idolatrous, lazy man (Mosiah 11:6). Perhaps he couldn’t see it. Or, perhaps, Noah wasn’t always who we read about in our record; we know the unfortunate disposition of almost all men as soon as they are given a little authority, as they suppose (D&C 121:39-40).

It should go without saying, but is important to say - just because Noah’s father was a good man didn’t make Noah a good man. Just because Noah inherited the kingdom, or had the kingdom conferred upon him, didn’t mean that he faithfully thereafter discharged the obligations that had fallen upon him. Just because Noah received authority to govern temporally and spiritually in his kingdom, didn’t mean he was ever able to find favor with heaven. And just because Alma, on the other hand, was subject to a blind and darkened slumber while serving as Noah’s priest, didn’t mean he had no opportunity for repentance, growth, progression, and redemption.

It is easy to see from the record of Noah, his kingdom and people, why it is not “expedient” that we should have a king to rule over us. “For behold, how much iniquity doth one wicked king cause to be committed, yea, and what great destruction!” (Mosiah 29:17).

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

57: The new WORLD TRADE CENTER at City Creek.

It was announced today that the new high rise office tower at City Creek has now received a new name. The new name is World Trade Center at City Creek.  From the KSL article, “Renaming the tower "builds upon the established achievements of City Creek’s revitalization efforts in the heart of downtown," said Mark Gibbons, president of City Creek Reserve Inc.  click here

The City Creek Reserve is a for profit real estate company owned by the LDS church.

 

I wondering if naming a high rise building World Trade Center would be similar to renaming a new ocean liner cruise ship, the Titanic.  

56: ABIDE THE DAY.. or Hewn Down and cast into the fire.

In the last days there will be a division and separation into two groups. The two options are:

·         The Gathered and Secured… OR The Bundled and Burned.
·         Those who Abide the Day….. OR Those who are Hewn down and cast into the fire.
·         Those Know His voice and enter in… OR Those who Profess His name, but are departed out.

When does this separation happen? Are their signs happening now to point that the division is close? or possibly even happening now?

Both of the photos below are of the Terrestrial room in the Salt Lake Temple. (The photo on the left is from the 1993 March Issue of the Ensign entitled in “In His Holy House”. ) In this sacred room, there are TWO chandeliers that hang from the ceiling. Here, we make covenants that reinforce our faith and devotion to Jesus Christ, and promise to dedicate their lives to Him before we are invited to proceed further. We are symbolically like one of the virgins in the parable preparing to meet the Bridegroom and be invited into the marriage feast.

Last week, I received word from a friend who is a Temple Sealer at the Salt Lake Temple. He told me that one of these two chandeliers fell from the ceiling sometime during the night of May 16, 2012 and came crashing down . Fortunately, the damage and broken chandelier was quickly cleaned up early in the morning before the temple patrons arrived. While a possible cause of this chandelier falling could be the result of an old chord in need of replacement, I find this accident to be highly symbolic. It is symbolic of the two separate groups in the last days before the Bridegroom comes and being in His presence.  One chandelier shining with light, the other scattered to the ground. One still with power, the other with the power line cut.


A few scriptures of the symbolism of a separation: We read  in Joseph Smith Matthew 44-48:

Then shall be fulfilled that which is written, that in the last days,

Two shall be in the field, the one shall be taken, and the other left;
Two shall be grinding at the mill, the one shall be taken, and the other left;

And in  D&C 45: 56-57:

And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins. For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.”


The Wise Virgins:
·         They RECEIVED the Truth.
·         They took the Holy Spirit for their guide.
·         They will Abide the day.

Foolish Virgins:
·         They were DECEIVED.
·         Trusted in the arm of flesh
·         They will be Hewn down and cast into the fire.

Friday, May 25, 2012

55: PENTECOST

This Sunday, May 27, 2012 is the day that many will be observing Pentecost.

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind,
and it filled all the house where they were sitting."
Acts 2:1-3
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"And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove,
and it abode upon him."
John 1:32


The Day of Pentecost is historically and symbolicallly related to the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot, which commemorates God giving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai fifty days after the exodus. It is 50 days after the Feast of the Passover.  It is also the day commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ after the Resurrection.

This day is also called the feast of the harvest and lasted for a single day, which was a day of holy convocation. Special sacrifices were made and freewill offerings.

In modern times in the Kirkland Temple we also learn about a Pentecost:

 Joseph wrote, “The Savior made his appearance to some, while angels ministered to others, and it was a Pentecost and an endowment indeed, long to be remembered, for the sound shall go forth from this place into all the world, and occurrences of this day shall be handed down upon the pages of sacred history, to all generations.” (History of the Church, 2:427–33.)
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 A friend of mine sent me the following in an email today..

"Pentecost is about "redemption" - the release of slaves and debt, a release from the sin that is Babylon....but also a renewal, a start over period for the sons and daughters of God in this dark world....a warning and last chance reminder. Christ is the great power behind this redemption - for all of us.
He provides liberty for the all the captives, here and in spirit prison (D&C 138)."

54: Answers to some questions from some of the comments.


1. Who painted the Aug. 8, 2011 paintings?
The artist name is Larry Christensen http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/farmersart.html

2. The question regarding the meaning of the "IN" in the sky on the background of your blog

First of all, I took the photo from a plane last year going on our family vacation.

Everything has multiple layers of meaning. That is the beauty of symbolism. On one level.. it is a statement or commission given. "In all things, bear record of me"  or in other words.. in everything I do, we do... testify of Christ.

3. For the person who asked about the solar eclipse photos...
Feel free to use them.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

53: SOLAR ECLIPSE: May 20, 2012

Signs in the Heavens
Photos taken at the Parawon Gap, UT


This is the first solar eclipse that has been visible in the United States in 18 years. This is also an extremely rare galactic alignment happening- one that happens only every 26,000 years - a perfect alignment of the Sun, Moon, Earth and the central sun, Alcyone, at the center of the Galaxy. Also this year, the Earth is passing back through the plane of the Milky Way....

In a "documentary" on Nostrodamus -he foretold that the "end of the world" in his opinion (or maybe the end of this paradigm) would be foreshadowed by an alignment with the center of the galaxy, and three eclipses. The alignment and an eclipse was on the 20th, and then we have Venus crossing the sun on the 5th of June.  A total solar eclipse will take place on November 13-14, 2012.

Monday, May 14, 2012

52: THE MAASAW (Messiah) of the HOPI




A week ago I met a man who is a Pueblo Indian who was recently adopted into the Hopi tribe. He spoke to a few of my friends about the Hopi Indians and about their culture and sacred ceremonies. He shared with me this painting which depicts a bearded white man known by the Hopi as Maasaw.

Tradition says that Maasaw gave the Hopi instructions and warnings about a way of life He wanted them to follow. He said if they followed His way, they would live long and fruitful lives. Maasaw told the Hopi that He was the first and last. He wanted them to be humble and live like He did. He wanted them to take care of, and respect the land and live in harmony with it. The Hopi lived this way for centuries, and they thrived. They lived in communities and cared for each other. They planted their crops and sustained themselves. Sacred rituals were performed daily, and they never lost sight of what Maasaw had taught them. Then came the white man with their religion--a counterfeit way implemented by the Great Seducer. They trampled on the Hopi sacred way of life. Now many Hopi have lost their wonderful, sacred culture, and walk the material way of illusion with Christians who claim to follow Jesus.

The following are a few of my own personal observations of the above painting. The central figure is the Maasaw (Messiah). He is clothed in a golden priestly robe with a record in his hand, symbolic of truth. He is wearing a blue and white loincloth symbolic of the Power of the Priesthood. There is a group of humble Native Americans to His right (left side of painting) who are kneeling with outstretched and open arms.

There is another group of Native Americans standing somewhat proudly with brightly colored apparel around their shoulders which all appear to be looking at the red-eyed serpent. There is another priestly man with a purple crown and blue robe who appears to have some authority or higher rank and status.

In the distance, there is a multitude of people on the other side of the river who have yet to cross over. In the foreground, once the people cross over there seems to be a division. The right side of the painting is group of six who seem to worship a false idol along side a man with the blue cap. (it is important to note that they are on the left hand of Messiah). The other group of six is the humble group with some kneeling.

Sidenote:
According to this man who spoke to us, once a Hopi is baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they are “advised” to no longer participate in their Native American sacred dances and ceremonies. He went so far as to say that if they do continue to participate that they would be excommunicated.

On the otherhand, the LDS Church owns and operates what the Polynesian Cultural Center where other cultural tribal dances and ceremonies are performed from the Pacific Islands. Some of these dances derive from ritual and ceremonial war dances and some are sensual dances. It is not cheap to experience and watch. General Admission for the day is 49.95 with some packages as much as 228.95.

In addition, the LDS Church is constructing a huge development project near the Polynesian Cultural Center called Envision Laie. Envision Laie is a project guided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that will, most significantly, create a new bunch of subdivisions collectively called Malaekahana. Part of this construction project is a multi-million dollar hotel is being built by the LDS Church. The new hotel will be in partner relationship with Marriott International Inc. to operate a new 220-room hotel. The development has been estimated to cost approximately $25 million to build, and will measure approximately 150,000 sqaure feet. The new Marriott is expected to open in September 2013, coinciding with the Polynesian Cultural Center’s 50th anniversary.

Friday, May 11, 2012

51: Re-Donating Donations?

LDS Church throws $4 million toward U.’s new law school
http://m.sltrib.com/sltrib/mobile/54096263-78/law-church-university-building.html.csp

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is donating $4 million toward the University of Utah law school building project. Officials from the S.J. Quinney College of Law announced Friday they received the gift. Groundbreaking on the 155,000-square-foot building is expected to start in the summer of 2013, and the project should be finished in time for the 2014-15 school year. Dean Hiram Chodosh says the school aims to build one of the most innovative law buildings in the country. Chodosh says the LDS Church and the law school share similar educational goals.

"The Church’s involvement with the University [of Utah] goes back to its founding," said a U. news release quoting LDS Presiding Bishop Gary E. Stevenson. "The new, state-of-the-art law school building and those who will graduate from there will benefit the university and the community."

http://www.abc4.com/content/news/top_stories/story/LDS-Church-gives-4M-to-University-of-Utah-law/KqtneeSkm06Pl5c06vRfQA.cspx

Where did the money come from? The only resource of income for the LDS Church is from it's members, since the donation is specifically from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and not from one of its for profit companies.  I wonder how tithing paying members feel about this who are BYU fans.

50: Symbolic Painting

This painting is very symbolic for me. I have waited to share this and write some thoughts for the 50th blogpost. I will will get back to this when the timing is right.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

49: RANDOM ITEMS: A FIRE, A CITY CENTER AND A COMMITTEE


 Morning Fire at City Creek on May 9, 2012

Fire and Emergency Crews responded to a fire at the City Creek Center on Wednesday morning.  The Salt Lake City Fire Department was able to get the fire out by about 8 a.m. Firefighters said the fire started when a back-up generator malfunction on the roof of the flagship store Nordstroms.  West Temple was shut down during the incident. The water also caused a circuit breaker to pop and the store is without power.  The store is expected to remain closed at least through Wednesday while the repair is made.  The other stores in City Creek Center will be open for business as usual.  A similar fire happen a few weeks ago at the LDS Conference Center.
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More than just a shopping center… A  New City Center Marker?

The Center of the City for Salt Lake has always been the Temple. It is the permanent location for the origin of the Grid System and provides a point from which all other streets and legal addresses are calculated. The temple is not only a physical but spiritual center, it is the heart and the origin for Salt Lake’s City Center.

However, my friend noticed when he was in town this past weekend that there is advertisements for the new LDS development that the City Creek boasts that not only is it a shopping center, but also a City Center. Are we beginning to shift the location of our City Center from the Temple to a Shopping Mall?


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 Responses about the existence of the Strengthening Members Committee:

Many are aware that  recently The Strengthening the Members Committee leaked confidential information on the internet about some of members of the church. Here is an interesting interview by the BBC with Michael Purdy and Elder Holland.  Michael Purdy seems very hesitant to answer to the question.  Here is the link to make your own assessment.
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Sidenote: some random scriptures that I have been studying:
Alma 37: 25
I will  bring forth out of darkness unto light all their secret works and their abominations; and except they repent I will destroy them from off the face of the earth; and I will bring to light all their secrets and abominations.

Doctrine and Covenants 123: 13-14
Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—These should then be attended to with great earnestness.

2 Nephi 30:17
There is nothing which is secret save it shall be revealed; there is no work of darkness save it shall be made manifest in the light; and there is nothing which is sealed upon the earth save it shall be loosed