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Sunday, May 22, 2016

371: LIGHTNING STRIKE



  As reported on KSL news, the LDS Church operated news channel:

"A lightning strike damaged the Angel Moroni statue atop the Bountiful Temple on Sunday afternoon.

LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins confirmed that lightning struck the statue but did not the know the extent of the damage.

Photos emailed to KSL from people in the area show part of statue's head missing and a hole in the back. One of them estimated the lightning hit at 2:12 p.m. Sunday."



I always thought growing up as a kid that the statue of Moroni on top of all the temples was a solid gold statue. While still impressive, I can see now that after lightning struck the Bountiful Temple that the iconic statue is actually hollow, most likely made out of fiberglass with a gold shiny veneer finish.
 

 

Friday, May 13, 2016

370: WE LEARN MORE WHEN WE STRUGGLE

My perspective on this world is that we learn more when we struggle. We are more humble when we have less, and depend more on the Lord when we face challenges, setbacks and failures.  There would be no reason to come into this mortal existence if everything went smoothly and we had no need to struggle . . . Things that matter more to me is that I have loving, supportive wife and friends and family that would do anything for our family.

This life is not meant to be a Disneyland vacation.

Monday, May 9, 2016

369: BAPTISMAL QUESTIONS

In the Book of Mormon there is a list of Baptismal Questions that Alma asked all those who wanted to be baptized. We read the questions in Mosiah chapter 18.
  • Are you desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people?
  • Are you willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light?
  • Are you willing to mourn with those that mourn?
  • Are you willing to comfort those that stand in need of comfort?
  • Are you willing to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal lie?
  • Now, If this be the desires of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
How beautiful it is to want to bear one another's burdens, to mourn with those who mourn, and to comfort those that stand in need of comfort. I wish some of these same questions from the scriptures were asked today to the baptismal candidate  

 
In comparison, here is the list of LDS Baptismal Questions that we ask today.
  • Do you believe that God is our Eternal Father?
  • Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world?
  • Do you believe the Church and gospel of Jesus Christ have been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith? 
  • Do you believe that President Thomas S Monson is a prophet of God? What does this mean to you?
  • What does it mean to you to repent? Do you feel that you have repented of your past transgressions?
  • Have you ever committed a serious crime? If so, are you now on probation or parole? 
  • Have you ever participated in an abortion? a homosexual relationship?
  • Are you willing to obey the law of chastity, which prohibits any sexual relationship outside the bonds of a legal marriage between a man and a woman?
  • Are you willing to obey the law of tithing.
  • Are you willing to obey the Word of Wisdom.
  • Are you willing to obey the Sabbath day, including partaking of the sacrament weekly and rendering service to fellow members.
  • When you are baptized, you covenant with God that you are willing to take upon yourself the name of Christ and keep His commandments throughout your life.  
  • Are you ready to make this covenant and strive to be faithful to it?
Recently a new question has been added to this list which involves making sure that the one who wants to be baptized does not live with a parent who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage.
 
We read the list of the Lords baptismal requirements in 3 Nephi 11:32-41. It is a simple list:
 
  • Believe in Jesus Christ.
  • Repent.
  • Become as a little child.
The Lord further explains that, "whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them."

Yesterday, there was an ad in the front page section of the Denver Post for those who seek to be baptized without institutional requirements or restraints. Here is how the ad appeared in the paper (highlighted below)

 



To see the full ad. Here is the LINK




Friday, May 6, 2016

368: THE LAST THING THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE


 
The following was a short talk given by a close friend of mine:

I'd like to talk about the big picture. Too often we get caught in the details of life and we don't see the big picture; the big picture of why we are here, why our eyes are opened and why we have such a burning desire to know the truth and serve the Savior.

We live in the end times, the last days. These are the last days of the end of the world. In reading Nibley's book, Approaching Zion, Nibley says there is only one thing is left to do, only one thing that needs to happen, and that's to gather to Zion.  
We read on page one in  Approaching Zion, speaking about the 10th Article of Faith:

            "Article 10 deals explicitly with our time and our space and sets forth the   steps by which God intends to consummate the great latter-day work. What is the consummation of the great latter-day work? The Return of Christ to usher in the millennium. "

Nibley goes on to say:

There are five steps (and this is the order):

(1) the literal gathering of Israel;      

(2) the restoration of the Ten Tribes (which is happening right now though we have no knowledge of it here);

(3) the building of Zion upon this the American continent: (and that will usher in)

(4) Christ's personal reign upon the earth; and

(5) the renewal of the earth in its paradisiacal glory.



So let's talk about this gathering. What is the purpose in gathering?  and what was the object of gathering the Jews, or the people of God in any age of the world?
Page 307-8 of The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith says:
The main object was to build unto the Lord a house whereby He could reveal unto His people the ordinances of His house and the glories of His kingdom, and teach the people the way of salvation; for there are certain ordinances and principles that, when they are taught and practiced, must be done in a place or house built for that purpose.
 
What are the ordinances for? Ordinances do two things. They bestow knowledge and the teach you how to communicate with the heavens. The ordinances teach you how to open the heavens. What is the purpose of opening the heavens? To bring down the Lord. The whole purpose of the prayer circle is to summon the Lord.

You have to have a temple for the Savior and the Hosts of heaven to return. You have to open a nexus point, a connection between heaven and earth for the Lord to return. So the whole purpose of gathering is to build a temple, open the heavens and summon the Lord and start the millennium.

In a blog post entitled How to Fail  asks the questions:

·         What if the Lord were to give the opportunity to build Zion?

·         What if the Lord wanted it to happen now?  

·         What would be done differently than was done by those who went before and failed?

The post goes on to say how they failed how there were jarrings and contentions. We all know the story. And then concludes with this:

            “It is easy to fail. Just gather people who will contend with each other and there will be failure EVERY time. It makes sense to try something new rather than repeat the pattern that will never work. First, provide an opportunity for those who are interested to display who they are, whether they can live peaceably with others. Once we know one another’s hearts then the Lord can gather only those who will avoid contentions, jealousies, strifes, envyings, and jarring. Like the pattern in Abraham, first men are “proven” and then they are gathered, or spared.

So let's talk about this gathering. What do we know about the gathering?

First off, you have to be invited. You just don't volunteer. You don't just show up. You have to have an invitation.

D&C 77: 9 -11 talks about the angels gathering the righteous.
            "The angels to whom it is given power over the nations of the earth to bring as many as will come to the Church of the Firstborn."

And there is our sermon for today...as many as will come. Well, who wouldn't want to come? To answer that, the Lord gives us the story of the certain man who made a great supper.

Luke 14: 16-21, 24, 26

            A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:  And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. ( So the context is the supper is ready, just come and come now.) And they all with one consent began to make excuse.  The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things.  Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

Why didn't the people who received the invitation want to attend? Business, family ties, etc. We look at these people and we think: "How foolish of them not to attend the party!" and we easily judge them. 

But wait a minute.  What if this was not just a party for an evening, but the Certain Man is asking you to come not for just for a couple of hours, but come permanently and live with him for good. Drop everything and come, and come to stay because you're not going back to your home.  Remember the context...everything is ready, you are invited to come, and you are to come now.

What does that mean? To you men it means to abandon your job, everything you've worked for and built up, the people who depend on you, your retirement, your investments, everything you've worked so hard to make. To you women it means to abandon your friends. Abandon your family, say goodbye because you're not coming back. Can you leave your grandchildren? Can you leave your home and all your nice things? Can you leave all your comforts, your comfortable lifestyle?  Can you just walk away?

The invitation is to leave everything you have and come, and come to stay, you are not going back.  That's the invitation.

Now how excited are you about the invitation? Now how excited are you about receiving the angel or receiving the dream that summons you?

I wrestle with this terribly. My wife's a non-believer. I would have to abandon her and my helpless autistic son. Without me and my income...they are in poverty and would perish. Literally, without my income they are out on the street. I've spent 32 years with this woman. Hard to throw it all away, especially if my leaving would hurt my helpless, dependent son.

There must be an easier way, right?  Surely the Lord makes exceptions. No...there is not an easier way. Christ anticipates my very dilemma in the very next verse when he says:

            If any man (or woman) come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and spouse, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
 
There is no easier way.
 
THE INVITATION:

So let's talk about the invitation.

Let's assume you get the invitation. The angel comes and delivers your invitation. Will you have the option to say at that point. "Wow...okay...let me talk this over with my spouse and I'll get back to you." Is that how it works?

No... it's a "go" or "no go" answer. You don't have the option to say: "Let me think about it and I'll get back to you." The window of opportunity opens and closes with the initial offer.

You don't get asked a second time. The Lord doesn’t beg you to join him. He doesn't sent the servant around the second time to pick up the indecisive.  He offers and you either take him up on the offer or you don't.
The point is you have to make up your mind in advance.
 
Why am I bringing all this up?

The reason I'm bringing up this unpleasantness is to say this: The time is growing short. All too soon this is going to get real. If a true messenger is starting to say stuff like this, then the time is getting short and this is going to be all too real very soon, and you will have to make the decision. Better to understand what you are getting into now, than to say: "Sure, I'll go," and then when reality hits and you understand the cost to then back out.
 
So that's the big picture. That's what faces us. We live in the end times - the last days. These are the last days of the end of the world. There is only one thing is left to do and that's to gather to Zion. We are to build the temple, receive the ordinances, open the heavens and summon the Lord.
To do that, you need your invitation, and if and when the invitation comes you need to be willing to go.

In the original Greek, John 14:15 says: "If you love me, stand watch as a sentry awaiting my instructions." And then when the instructions comes, do it.

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

367: A SHIP UPSIDE DOWN.


photograph taken on May 1, 2016 of the Pine Valley Chapel in Southern Utah.

A year ago on May 1st, I wrote about MayDay. (Not to be confused with May Day, the holiday of Spring), but Mayday as the emergency procedure word used internationally as a distress signal in voice communication.

The word, "MayDay" is used to signal a life-threatening emergency primarily by aviators and mariners.  The call is always given three times in a row ("Mayday Mayday Mayday") to prevent its being mistaken for some similar-sounding phrase under noisy conditions.

On this past Sunday, May 1st which was May Day, my family attended a church meeting in the historic Pine Valley Chapel in Southern Utah. Built in 1868, this building is the oldest meetinghouse in continuous use of the LDS Church. It was designed by a Scottish shipbuilder and LDS convert, Ebenezer Bryce  (who Bryce Canyon is named after). The construction of the chapel was built using techniques adopted from shipbuilding, and is basically an upside-down ship.

As the building was finished, Ebenezer Bryce was heard to remark, "If a flood should come, it would float and if a wind came strong enough to blow it over, it still would never crash to pieces."

If only our faith and testimonies were built as strong... so when the floods and wind come.. we would not crash to pieces and have to sound the distress Mayday, Mayday, Mayday call for help.