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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

408: POWER IN HIGH PLACES


The Presiding Bishop is the highest position inside the LDS Church hierarchy in regards to the Aaronic Priesthood. The responsibilities of the Presiding Bishop is to:
  • Oversees the temporal affairs – i.e. buildings, properties, commercial corporations, etc. – of the church.
  • Oversees all the bishoprics around the world.
  • Key Member of the “Council on the Disposition of Tithes” – the group that decides how to spend “sacred” money.
  • Has power to convene the “Common Council of the Church,” the group which can initiate trials on the President of the Church
  • Receives all of  tithing donations.
  • Oversees the “LDS Foundation,” a department which “correlates, encourages, facilitates, and accepts voluntary philanthropic contributions to the Church and its related organizations and activities.”
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors of Property Reserve, Inc., the commercial real estate arm of the Church which owns numerous other investments and companies.
The Church Handbook of Instructions simplifies the duties of the Presiding Bishop as: “The Presiding Bishopric is the presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood of the Church (see D&C 107:15). Under the direction of the First Presidency, the Presiding Bishopric administers the temporal affairs of the Church (see D&C107:68).” To the general church membership, the fewer details the better.

Bishop H. David Burton was called to be the Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 27 December 1995. He had previously served for 14 years as secretary to the Presiding Bishopric and as assistant Church budget officer for a year. Prior to Church employment he worked for Kennecott Copper Corporation (Possible connection with Kennecott Copper and the Hopis) and the Utah State Tax Commission. While serving as Presiding Bishop, Burton spent close to 10 years in building the mammoth urban City Creek Center with its exclusive mall, high-end exclusive condominiums, corporate offices and shops in downtown Salt Lake City. In 2011, he was given the prestigious award of the Giant in Our City.


After serving as the church's presiding bishop for 16 years, Bishop Burton was appointed the new UTA Board Chairman in 2014. However it was reported in the news that he created controversy when the board decided to close its committee meetings to the public, drawing widespread criticism from the public and elected officials, including the governor.  He later stepped down and became the new Chairman of the University of Utah Board of Trustees. Shortly after his installment as chairman of the Board of the University of Utah, a exclusive mansion owned by the LDS Church was gifted to the University of Utah and named after Thomas S Monson. I wrote about it here and here.


In the news this week, Burton came under scrutiny as being part of firing the Huntsman Cancer Institute CEO. John Huntsman attacked H. David Burton, chairman of the U. board of trustees and publically went on record by saying:

"(Burton) is the one who ruined Utah Transit Authority, and now he came over and now he's chairman of the board of trustees," he said. "I told the governor last night, 'Can't you pick somebody in this state who is pro-cancer (research) and who is willing to make Utah stand tall and strong?'"

However, today it was reported that Huntsman Cancer Institute director was reinstated.

Oh the power of money.. and the threat of not having a personal jet at the Church's disposal. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

407: EASTER MORNING SUNRISE

 Photos taken this Easter morning on top of Hidden Peak up Little Cottonwood Canyon.



 
 

Light Conquering Darkness.
Life Defeating Death.
Christ Overcoming All. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

406: A MIRACLE ...THE "PASSOVER" OF THE DESTROYING ANGEL

I was given some advice recently to post more positive and less critical blogposts.

So, I thought I would share the following experience that happened to me this week. As many of you know, this week Christians around the world call this the "holy week" as we observe and remember the last week of Christ's life, his death and his resurrection.

This week is also Passover which began on Monday evening at sundown.  (In Hebrew it is known as Pesach which means “to pass over”.  This sacred Jewish day commemorates liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. It also is symbolic of  God "passing over" the Jewish homes marked with the blood of a lamb protecting them from the 10th plague that killed the firstborn child of each family in Egypt.)

On Monday night, right after sunset,  I received a phone call from a nurse in the Trauma unit at our local hospital about a mile from our home. She asked if I would be able to come quickly to give a Priesthood blessing to a young woman who had just been in a car accident. I immediately got ready and rushed over to the hospital with a friend. Upon arriving at the Trauma unit  hospital, I was told that this young woman has been driving her car when she blacked out, crossed lanes of traffic causing a multi-car accident.  She hit a pole and her car was completely totaled. Both airbags in her car deployed. The doctors did not know the full extent of her injuries yet...but from the initial tests it looked like her blackout was caused by a ruptured brain aneurysm. She was medically induced into a coma to help reduce the swelling on her brain and to stop the bleeding.

Along with her mother and a few family members we circled her bed with unified faith. I offered a prayer asking the Lord to hear our plea to heal her of her injuries. We then anointed her head and gave her a priesthood blessing that she would heal.

As if the accident was not tragic enough, this young woman is also a Bride-to-be. Her wedding is scheduled for this Saturday in the Salt Lake Temple. Her fiance lives in Virginia and was not flying out to Utah until this Thursday. So what was to be a beautiful week.. and the most important day of her life was now turned upside down.

After much fasting and prayers on her behalf these past couple of days,  she is now making a full recover. She is talking  and it does not appear that their has been any brain damage. The bleeding in her brain has stopped, the swelling is back down to normal, and she did not receive any injuries due to the car accident. While she will remain in the hospital through tomorrow, the doctors are very optimistic that she will be able to still get married on Saturday. Truly a miracle on this holy week.

.........................


Now, on a deeper level, this experience has been very symbolic to me. It has many parallels to what I have read in the scriptures  about the bridegroom and us being the bride hoping to be ready for the wedding feast.   Here are a few quick examples of the similarities. The bride "blacked out".. she "fell asleep", only to wake up and find herself in an awful situation. Badly injured, she was in need of the repair, and to start healing(repenting)  in order to get ready for her wedding. Her bridegroom has not been present during this time. However, the best friend of the bridegroom was one of the first ones at the hospital and has made sure she was taken care.  He participated in giving her the blessing. Her fiance, the bridegroom. arrived earlier than planned. He has not left her side since he arrived. The wedding is still planned to happen at 12:00 noon this Saturday. 

All of her family and friends have been fasting and praying in her behalf. They have the faith and hope that she will be out of the hospital in time to be at her wedding (and feast) this Saturday, the day before Easter. Prayers have been answered. Heaven has heard the pleas in her behalf. 
I am grateful to have experienced this miracle as we look forward to celebrate the greatest miracle.. this Sunday.  The resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  A day when we celebrate the rebirth, new life and the promise of Life Eternal.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

405: PROTECTING THE "FRONT DOOR" OF THE TEMPLE WITH MARTINI'S AND COCKTAIL DRESSES



In a recent  meeting between LDS General Authority Elder Don R. Clarke, LDS Church Historian Dr. Matthew J. Grow, and Trevor Haugen, the following question was asked.

Trevor: "Why invest in City Creek?"

Elder Don R Clarke: "Do you know what happens to downtowns when you don’t have something like City Creek? Do you want to go to Detroit? Do you want to go with me to Chicago? And that is what happens. The purpose is to keep the downtown, the front door of Temple Square in a decent sort of place."

Matthew J Grow: "The motivation was to protect that downtown area."

I drove by the newest billboard advertising the LDS downtown mall City Creek. Two attractive models on a night on the town drinking what appears to be a martini and the woman in her cocktail dress drinking wine.  Seriously? and this is "protecting" the front door of the temple to be a decent sort of place?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

404: APRIL 6th, 2017

Today is April 6th, 2017. Got up early and headed up for a hike with a friend. It was a warm, beautiful spring morning. The water was pretty cold though.  


 



April 6 is a significant date in LDS Church History. The Prophet Joseph Smith was divinely authorized to reestablish the Church of Christ on this day. Years later  The Church of Christ that was organized by Joseph Smith Jr  became known as The Church of Jesus Christ  of Latter-day Saints. 
Also on this date in 1877, the St. George Temple was dedicated. The St. George Temple was the first temple the Saints built in Utah and the first to remain in continuous operation. In 1893, the Salt Lake Temple was dedicated on April 6th.  And finally on April 6th, 2000 the Temple near the sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York was dedicated. (Some have also considered this date to be the anniversary of the Lord's birth as well.)


 Sidenote:  I received an email summary today which I was asked to post on this blog.



Covenant Offering

For thus it behooveth the Father that it should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may show forth his power unto the Gentiles, for this cause that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me and be baptized in my name and know of the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O house of Israel; And when these things come to pass that thy seed shall begin to know these things—it shall be a sign unto them, that they may know that the work of the Father hath already commenced unto the fulfilling of the covenant which he hath made unto the people who are of the house of Israel.
3 NEPHI 21:6-7

STATUS: Currently there is no covenant people on the earth capable of fulfilling the prophecies found in scripture. (Teachings Post, pg. 1). “There is not a single church body congregation, or assembly, anywhere, that has published and is claiming as their body of governing scriptural material a set of scriptures which include the Lectures on Faith, fully print the “fullness of scriptures” containing every revision Joseph made to the Bible, faithfully reproduces the original revelations in their original words…but there is a draft available for your review.” (St. George 27:20). 

INVITATION: Today is our opportunity to repent and return-by gathering, saying, and doing, what was offered and expected when the Restoration began through Joseph Smith. (Inquiry and Response, pg. 1). “Joseph Smith brought forth words that have never been preserved or accepted.” (St. George 47:16). We must demonstrate the respect, penitence and labor necessary to recover what was lost. (Inquiry and Response, pg. 1). All who intend to receive the light, (D&C 93) and come out of condemnation, (D&84) must not treat lightly what the Lord has offered, but instead “repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments” which God has given. (Scripture, Prophecy and Covenant, pg. 4).   The Fullness of the Scriptures, which Joseph Smith said without the church would yet fail, are now available. (St. George Talk, 15:15).


BOOK OF MORMON: The Book of Mormon has been provided to convince both Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ. It was also “entrusted to the gentiles for the purpose of gathering the remnant and establishing Zion.” (Scripture, Prophecy and Covenant, pg. 6).

RESTORATION SCRIPTURES: Similar to how the Book of Mormon exists as an everlasting covenant, the Restoration Scriptures also provide an opportunity to reclaim blessings and lay hold on a covenant. (Teachings Post, pg. 1). “When it comes to scripture, corruption happens, and each new dispensation is responsible for fixing the cannon of scripture, to reclaim truths, to correct errors, and to adopt guiding principles applicable to their day.” (St. George 36:07). The Restoration Scriptures are a restatement of what the Lord once offered and what He now offers and instructs. (Teachings Post, pg. 2). The Restoration scriptures are a remedy to past deficiencies. (Scripture, Prophecy, and Covenant, pg. 10).

GENTILES: According to scripture the Lord plans to use a restoration through the Gentiles to “gather again” the remnant of Israel. (Scripture, Prophecy, and Covenant, pg. 2). The covenant associated with this work must first be offered to and accepted by the Gentiles, so that a few who repent and return may be numbered among the remnant of God’s people and assist in establishing the New Jerusalem. (Teachings Post, pg. 2). “This (The Restoration Scriptures/Covenant) is necessary for the Gentiles to claim they have accepted a covenant and a law.” (St. George 37:30).

COVENANT PEOPLE: If successful repentance occurs, including being able to obtain accurate language and revelation, then the Lord may provide us with His covenant language. (Inquiry and Response, pg. 1). Those who accept the covenants offered by God will become part of the covenant people of God, be numbered among the seed of the Remnant, and inherit this land. These are they whom God will protect. (Teachings, pg. 3, Scripture, Prophecy and Covenant pg. 11).

THE FEW: Those few who receive Christ and His Covenant will be armed with righteousness and the power of God to guide them. In Him, they will be able to seek for and establish Zion. (Scripture, Prophecy, and Covenant, pg. 9). According to 1 Nephi 4, “blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and power of the Holy Ghost. And if they endure unto the end, they shall be lifted up at the last day and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb.”

THE NEW JERUSALEM: “Zion will include people who are willing to receive revelations from God and obey Commandments.” (St. George 38:03). After acceptance by the people, and approval from the Lord, if the people abide the covenant, the Lord will establish a New Jerusalem as a land of peace and city of refuge. These people will be the only ones not at war with one another as the final chapter unfolds. (D&C 45: 65-71).

GATHERING THE REMNANT: Once the covenant is personally accepted, it can be offered by the recipient to other Christians throughout the world. (missionary work). (Teachings Post, pg. 2).  “Accepting the covenant offered in our day includes the obligation and right to gather scattered remnants of Israel…and the right and obligation to assist in building the New Jerusalem.” (Scripture, Prophecy, and Covenant, pg. 13). 

ZION UNITY: Any individual can commune with God. But covenants to bring Zion require a people to be restored again by covenant as God’s people. “All of them must unite in accepting a law, a standard, the covenant for those who will help establish the New Jerusalem.” “They must be gathered. Before they gather they must have one heart and one mind which requires them to receive and act on a covenant with the Lord; not only to say, but to do what has been asked of them.” (Scripture, Prophecy, and Covenants, pg. 14).

ZION EQUALITY: Zion will involve a people unified into an equal body without hierarchy. There will be one heart, one mind, and no poor among them. All are in need of repenting into this Zion state. (Inquiry and Response, pg. 2). Equality in Zion is unlikely if we do not treat one another as equals along the way. (Scripture, Prophecy, and Covenant pg. 15).

ACCEPTANCE BY THE PEOPLE: In September of 2017, a finalized version of the Restoration Scriptures will be offered for approval as a law and covenant. In addition to possibly fulfilling the covenant initially offered by Christ, ratification by the Saints, and approval from the Lord, could also result in protection from coming judgments.  (Scripture, Prophecy, and Scripture, pg. 11). 

ACCEPTANCE FROM THE LORD: Men cannot make covenants with God. God offers a covenant and mankind accepts or rejects. (Scripture, Prophecy, and Covenant, pg. 14). The Restoration Scriptures and associated Covenant will need to be approved and accepted by the Lord. (Teachings Post, pg. 3). If we as Gentiles accept the covenant, and “if a people, adopt a covenant, and receive what has been restored, the clock will begin to tick.” (St. George 48:31).

INDIVIDUAL and COLLECTIVE CHOICE: All are free to accept or reject the covenant offering. (Teachings Post, pg. 3). Just as the Gentiles were free to accept or reject the covenant offering at the time of Joseph, we too today are free to accept or reject the Restoration Scriptures and associated covenant.  (Scripture, Prophecy, and Covenant, pg. 3, 8, 9,16).

 

References:

The Scriptures

St. George Conference Talk, Things that keep you up at night. 3-19-17.



Monday, April 3, 2017

403: THE GOOD, BAD AND UGLY - APRIL 2017 GENERAL CONFERENCE


THE GOOD:

The Talk given by Elder Dale G Renland.

He began his talk by quoting from the Lectures on Faith. It was the first time I think that has been done since they were removed the LDS Scriptures in 1921. He focused on Jesus Christ and the importance of Repentance. He said that in our lifelong quest to follow Jesus Christ, His example of kindness to those who sin is particularly instructive. We, who are sinners, must, like the Savior, reach out to others with compassion and love.

One interesting quote from his talk,  which I wonder if he was talking specifically to his associates:
"Church Leaders can not alter God's commandments or doctrine, contrary to His will, to be convenient or popular."
I also liked D Todd Christopherson's talk on the importance of our duty to warn our neighbor. The motivation for raising the warning voice is love—love of God and love of fellowman. To warn is to care.


THE BAD  (LESS THAN GOOD).

Out of the 32 talks that were given this past weekend at General Conference and the 10 prayers that were said,  ONLY ONE WOMAN SPOKE and ONLY ONE WOMAN gave a prayer.  I would think at the very least there would be representation from someone in the Primary Presidency, the Young Women's Organization, as well as from the Relief Society Presidency.  (even if there was a change in the organization this conference)

Another observation I noticed, instead of being told that we should work towards having the Church come out from condemnation as well as individually work out our salvation with fear and trembing (Phillippians 2:2:13), We were reassured, and were given the Lord's loving approval for what we have done. Excerpt from this talk:
"My beloved brethren of the priesthood, my purpose today is to both reassure you and to invigorate you in your priesthood service... I pray that I may be able to convey  the Lord's loving approval of what you already have done and offer you an encouraging glimpse of what you may yet achieve as a holder of His Holy Priesthood."
We were also told that following a man is equivalent to following Christ from this talk:
"When we follow our living prophet President Thomas S. Monson, we look up to Jesus Christ"
Other interesting statements:
"Because the Book of Mormon is true, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lords' Church on the Earth today"
another one from this talk.
"Joseph Smith received the keys of the Priesthood which have been passed on to President Thomas S Monson who exercises them today. I so testify, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. "
and this:
"President Monson, you are indeed the  Lord's Prophet."

AND THE UGLY: (A LESS THAN PRETTY OBSERVATION)

I went to the LDS Stake Center on Saturday night to watch  Priesthood Session with my father. We arrived about 10 minutes before it started. I noticed that the Stake Presidency was sitting on the stand. The lights were dimmed and we sat down and watched the live preliminary satellite broadcast feed on the large projection screen in the chapel. About five minutes before the session started. The Stake Presidency stood up and signaled to the rest of us in attendance to stand up as President Monson enter into the Conference Center in Downtown Salt Lake. We were not even present and in a remote chapel, yet we were expected to stand up in reverence as we watched our prophet walk in and take his red seat in the Conference Center.  As soon President Monson sat down, and after the Stake Presidency sat down. the rest of us could then sit. However, looking on the bright side, at least we didn't have to extend our right arm outward and slightly upward.

I would be interesting in finding out if this is becoming a common practice in other stakes.  This adoration and reverence for leadership needs to stop. I think it might be offensive to the Lord and is a form of idolatry.

The word idolatry means, at least according to the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary, “excessive attachment or veneration for any thing, or that which borders on adoration.” In other words, if we replace the word veneration with its own definition, we come up with this definition of idolatry: excessive attachment or the highest degree of respect and reverence; a feeling or sentiment excited by the dignity and superiority of a person, or by the sacredness of his character, or that which borders on adoration. This idea of granting certain offices or people a perceived superiority takes on even more meaning if we consider these words by Hugh Nibley: “The moment I even think of my priesthood as a status symbol or a mark of superiority, it becomes a mere hollow pretense. At the slightest hint to gloating or self-congratulation the priesthood holder is instantly and automatically unfrocked.” (“Best Possible Test,” CWHN 12:536.)


I can't help but thing that Joseph Smith would not allow for such idolatry. It is reported in the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith  a report of a sermon that he gave when Joseph expounded the meaning of the fourteenth chapter of Ezekial in the Old Testament,

“President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel – said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church – that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls – applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall – that they were depending on the prophet, hence were darkened in their minds – in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves, envious towards the innocent, while they afflict the virtuous with their shafts of envy.”
(The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 237-238).

The idolatry evidenced in Ezekiel 14 was that the people went to the prophet for their knowledge of God, not to God himself. They set up a stumbling block, a mediator for THE mediator (our Lord and Savior). That is to say that instead of approaching God through prayer, supplication, fasting or whatever method, for knowledge of Him and his Son, we tend to approach a man. No matter how inspired that man may be, the gospel is an individual gospel meant for “the one.” That one, to me, is me. That one, to you, is you. As mentioned above, it is an imperative duty we have to seek an individual relationship and connection with God and when we do not undertake to fulfill that duty our minds must become “darkened.”

Friday, March 31, 2017

402: RIPENING FOR DESTRUCTION

According to all accounts, it was not the sexual perversion that caused the City of Sodom and Gomorrah to be destroyed (while I am sure it didn't help) but  “this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom” .. that they did not strengthen the hand of the poor and the needy. It was the city's  great wealth that made her people cruel, self-righteous, and prideful.

We read in Ezekiel 16:49  
“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride,  fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”
I post this out of concern that I think we are getting more and more ripe for destruction here is Salt Lake Valley. This was reported in the Salt Lake Tribune yesterday.  A city council meeting was held in Draper (a suburb in the Salt Lake Valley) where the citizens protested the proposal of having a homeless shelter built and it was reported  that they even booed a homeless man trying to tell his story. See article below. 

Draper pulls shelter sites after hundreds protest, boo homeless man
http://www.sltrib.com/home/5116759-155/draper-city-homeless-shelter-open-house

Hecklers in the crown shout at Laurence Horman, who is homeless, as he tries to tell his story, during an open house for two new potential homeless shelter sites in the Draper area at the Draper Park Middle School auditorium, 
From the article:
The group, which poured out the door of the school's 700-person-capacity auditorium, booed as Lawrence Horman called for compassion for homeless residents.
Horman told the group he was homeless. He lives in an orange shipping trailer with electricity from a nearby power pole on a commercial lot, he told The Tribune. The audience booed him as he called for patience.
 __________________________________________________

"It has been supposed that wealth gives power. In a depraved state of society, in a certain sense it does, if opening a wide field for unrighteous monopolies, by which the poor are robbed and oppressed and the wealthy are more enriched, is power. In a depraved state of society money can buy positions and titles, can cover up a multitude of incapabilities, can open wide the gates of fashionable society to the lowest and most depraved of human beings; it divides society into castes without any reference to goodness, virtue or truth. It is made to pander to the most brutal passions of the human soul; it is made to subvert every wholesome law of God and man, and to trample down every sacred bond that should tie society together in a national, municipal, domestic and every other relationship."


We need to start sharing our bread with the hungry, bringing in the poor into our houses, feeding them, relieving their burdens, covering the naked and, most poignantly, stop hiding ourselves from our brothers and sisters. Instead we cross the street to avoid the beggar, instead we turn our eyes away from those dressed poorly, instead we avoid the dirty and downtrodden.


Heaven help us. Forgive us of our trespasses.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

401: SPRING EQUINOX 2017


Yesterday was the first day of spring. A time of birth, rebirth, a new beginning, and a new start. Darkness and Light are equal in the amount of sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere. After the equinox, light begins to overcome darkness.The days get longer.

Fitting that on this past weekend which marks a time of balance and "equality" The Church came out with a few new videos that celebrate EQUALITY. Below are a few screenshots from their social media video that can be seen only on Facebook. The video emphasizes that we are all different, and despite our diversity we should all be accepting, united and equal.


















From the above videos, it seems that the LDS Church is making huge media efforts to show we are an accepting and tolerant church. Quoting from the video, "We believe different, we act different, but we can be different and still be together. We don't have to be the same to be one."

Another LDS video that came out and just posted on lds.org is entitled Mormon and Gay. Below is the video and the link on LDS.org  https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/mormon-and-gay?lang=eng



One could conclude from the above videos that the Church is changing their stance on social issues and becoming more accepting of the LGTB community, as well as to the blacks, and other religious organizations specifically the Catholics. What is interesting is to see such a dramatic shift. It was not too long ago that the past prophets declared the following statements: 

 Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 78
“Homosexuality is an ugly sin, repugnant to those who find no temptation in it, as well as to many past offenders who are seeking a way out of its clutches. It is embarrassing and unpleasant as a subject for discussion but because of its prevalence, the need to warn the uninitiated, and the desire to help those who may already be involved in it, it is discussed in this chapter.”
 Encyclopedia of Mormonism, v. 2, “Homosexuality,”  
“... it is clear that any sexual relationship other than that between a legally wedded heterosexual husband and wife is sinful. The divine mandate of marriage between man and woman puts in perspective why homosexual acts are offensive to God. They repudiate the gift and the Giver of eternal life.”

From the Apostle Bruce R McKonkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1958)
"It is also to the Book of Mormon to which we turn for the plainest description of the Catholic Church as the great and abominable church. Nephi saw this ‘church which is the most abominable above all other churches’ in vision. He ‘saw the devil that he was the foundation of it’ and also the murders, wealth, harlotry, persecutions, and evil desires that historically have been a part of this satanic organization.

Prophet Brigham Young, New York Herald, May 4, 1855, 
"You must not think, from what I say, that I am opposed to slavery. No! The negro is damned, and is to serve his master till God chooses to remove the curse of Ham.

So much has changed in such a short amount of time. I could be a black, gay Catholic and be welcomed with open arms to any LDS church. On the other hand, I could be a white, straight, faithful father and husband who believes in the Restoration, have a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon but struggles with leadership only to be shunned, threatened, cast out and even excommunicated. We live in crazy times.
________________________________________________________________________________

Sidenote:

Here are a few photos I took on a camping trip this past weekend down at the Parawon Gap.

Sunset looking West through the Gap

After a brief prayer from a 13 year boy named Lucas, the sky turned crimson red. Beautiful and Miraculous.

For those who don't know much about the Parawon Gap, here is an interesting descritption by Hugh Nibley that he wrote in the book, Promised Lands.

Hugh Nibley states, “By an interesting coincidence I had spent the previous week in Cedar City with President William Palmer, a patriarch as well as stake president, who taught anthropology in the college there. He had been initiated into the Paiute tribe, and took me out to their sacred place in the plain southwest of Parowan [Parowan Gap]. The building of the highway had put an end to the rites of initiation that once took place there, but President Palmer described the teachings and ordinances as far as was permitted. In particular he told the story of the descent of the Lord from heaven as if at that place, an event much like that described in 3 Nephi. Tobats was the God of all Creation; his son Shinob was the peacemaker full of love and eternally young. One day the Evil One Un-nu-pit killed Shinob. At once a great darkness fell upon “Tu-weap,” the whole earth. It was absolute blackness for three days. In this chaos and confusion everyone was groping around in howling and lamentation. Finally, a voice from the top of the mountain spoke; it was Tobats the Father. He told them to move about with outstretched arms, calling out to each other, and joining hands with whoever one touched. Thus they formed lines, and the lines were instructed to join with each other; people in the lines were to cry out for husbands and wives and children until all families had reformed. Then the noise ceased, and a voice told them to climb the mountain or mesa where Tobats was. They worked their way up the mountain, toiling in human chains and finally forming a huge circular formation on the top, with Tobats in the middle. Well, Tobats said he would shoot an arrow straight up (this is the well-known Indian and world-wide theme of the arrow chain to heaven [the fiery pillar of light?]). His arrow produced a tiny spark of light; but the second arrow brought light, which grew like an explosion until it flooded all the land. The blackbird and the flicker have been honored ever since because their feathers were used for the arrows—they are perpetual reminders of the great event.” (See Hugh Nibley, Promised Lands, in Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints, FARMS-Deseret Book. See also William R. Palmer, Two Pahute Indian Legends: “Why the Grand Canyon Was Made” and “The Three Days of Darkness,” Cheney, WA: Citizen Journal Press, 1987, pps. 21—22.)

Photo of tree at the campsite where we pitched our tent. 


Sky on the morning of the Spring Equinox 2017 just before sunrise. 

Sunrise view on top of the North peak of the Parawon Gap


Leaving the Parawon Gap two hawks circled around over my head.  


Never have two hawks descended down towards in unison and making their screeching sounds and calls. 




400: RESTORING GODS WORD


"We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God."
Ninth Article of Faith


I realize that this is old news to the few who read this blog, but I was asked to post this information on this blog. For the past couple of years, multiple people throughout the world have been independently working on putting together a set of scriptures that would contain all of the known revelations, translations and teachings of Joseph Smith including the return of The Lectures on Faith included in the Doctrine and Covenants. They recently joined together their efforts and a preview of this 3 volumns of work is now available on Amazon (as well as a free online download) to read and study. The compilers have asked for any feedback or needed corrections to be submitted to them.  While the full purpose of their project was initially unknown , this project has begun a best effort to "repent and remember the new covenant." Here is a link with additional information.

Sidenote:
This is the 400th post on this blog. The number 400 is significant.  In scriptures, the number 400 symbolizes a distinct time period. For example it is the time period from God fulfilling his pledge to Abraham in Isaac's birth to the children of Israel leaving Egyptian bondage.  "And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years." Genesis 15:13  Stephen, in his testimony before religious leaders just before his martyrdom mentioned this time period in Acts 7:6, Also, 400 is the number of years from David to the exile, as well as the exact number of men gathered around David during his escape. (1 Samuel 22:2)

In the Book of Mormon we also see the number 400. We read in Helaman 13:5 "And he said unto them: Behold, I, Samuel, a Lamanite, do speak the words of the Lord which he doth put into my heart; and behold he hath put it into my heart to say unto this people that the sword of justice hangeth over this people; and four hundred years pass not away save the sword of justice falleth upon this people." A few more references to 400 can be found in Alma 45:10, and Mormon 8:6.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

399: "A SPACIOUS PALACE, AND A THRONE IN THE MIDST THEREOF"


UPDATE TO THE THOMAS S MONSON CENTER: 
including some interior photos



Above is a photo of the Thomas S. Monson Center which serves as an upscale exclusive community gathering place in downtown Salt Lake. I posted about the dedication and ribbon cutting event of this mansion HERE. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owned this historic mansion building and recently restored it to it's original splendor. It can be rented out for public events, weddings and corporate parties. While the details were not made public, the building was recently given to the U of U.



In the entry room of the mansion there is a large oil painting of Thomas S Monson, This portrait of the prophet hangs above the fireplace mantle with a plaque dedicating the building to his name.  If you go to the website you will see other locations on the property that are named after Monson. The Monson Center Lawn and the Monson Center Plaza. Both of these venues can be rented for social gatherings. On the website it states that the Monson Plaza is a "great space to set up a cocktail hour, a reception or host a fun party"...(bet that would be interesting to have cocktail hour on the Monson Center Plaza)

The rooms inside the mansion remind me of Versailles where the ruling classed lived in opulence. 

Sorenson Dining Room which seats 10 people.


These rooms in the mansion have specific names which read like the Who's Who of the Mormon Elite and Wealthy. Here is the list:
  • Ivory Ballroom (named after Ellis Ivory (CEO of Ivory Homes, Deseret News board member) 
  • Eccles Room (named after the Spencer Eccles, CEO of First Security the largest banking organization in the Mountain West before selling to Wells Fargo) 
  • Sorenson Parlor (James Sorenson, richest man in Utah with 4.5 billion at the time of death) 
  • Boyer Carriage House (largest real-estate development firms in the Western United States) 
  • Gail Miller Reception Hall (widow to Larry H Miller's who was a owner of the Utah Jazz and successful businessman)
The Ballroom.
...................
I find it so interesting that we spend billions on malls, theaters, office space and donate mansions to the universities but when it comes to building homeless shelters that are desperately needed in Salt Lake we will SELL property to the city instead of donating to the causeHERE was a recent article about the financial transation of the Church selling for a price (not donating) to the homeless center. From the article, "The city is purchasing the 131 E. 700 South South property (currently a Deseret Industries store) from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, although a final price hasn't been settled on."

I think a Church that carries Jesus Christ's name would be able to retain their members if it did some of the following. 
  • Use tithing for the poor, instead of for spacious buildings.and six figure salaries. 
  • Receive no financial compensation for anything we do to serve. 
  • Be willing to sacrifice which alone proves the sincerity of our motives. 
  • Remind ourselves constantly that no one of us is greater in God's eyes than any other. 
  • Worship Christ only and not leadership. 
  • Avoid the ambitions, vanity and foolishness that has trapped others in the past. 
  • Know everything we have comes from God, and therefore all we can offer is our choice to freely return to Him anything He asks of us.

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Three quick sidenotes without commentary: 

Sidenote 1:
A friend of mine sent me a passage from an LDS fiction books called Standing in Holy Places, Book Two – The Celestial City by Chad Daybell. I found this quote interesting:

“Following the meeting, the prophet invited each of the Saints to pass by and shake his hand. It was a long process, but Doug sensed what the prophet was doing. When the resurrected Savior appeared to the Nephites, he allowed each person to feel the wounds in his hands and in his side. In a similar manner, the prophet was allowing the Saints to have an experience that would stay with them throughout their lifetimes. Many people were weeping openly, and the Spirit was burning into their hearts the testimony of a living prophet.” From Chapter 28 (pp 163)

Sidenote 2:

In this month's Church magazine there is the following story entitled: "Seeing God’s Prophet" By Elder Kim B. Clark Of the Seventy. Instead of the bar being raised, it has been lowered. Interesting that we have become more enamored with seeing a man than seeking God.
Oh how I wish we could read articles entitled, 'Seeing God'... instead of 'Seeing God's Prophet'



Sidenote 3:
While on a business trip last week in Minnesota.  I went to the Cathedral of St.Paul on Ash Wednesday. It is a beautiful church. Inside there are larger than life marble statues of the early Saints. It has a shrines to Saint Therese, Saint Cyril, Saint Boniface, Saint Patrick, and Saint Anthony. I noticed many church patrons entering in the cathedral and lighting candles in front of these Saints and showing respect and/or praying to them. In the corner of the Cathedral there was a statue of Christ. Not one person was there. Everyone was kneeling before statues of deceased mortals that can not save.


 Unfortunately, we glorify and give honor to men. We trust them and don't believe they are capable of leading us astray. We rely on the arm of flesh. I am concerned that we don't talk of Christ, rejoice in Christ, preach of Christ, prophesy of Christ, and write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. 2 Nephi 25:26. Instead, all of our eyes are on the prophet. We talk of the prophet, we rejoice in the prophet and we preach of the prophet and doing this it gives the impression to our children that they may look to the prophet to have him tell us what to do instead of seeking out the Lord since he is the ."keeper of the gate,... the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there...",

A large red seat for the local religious leader to sit and preside at  before he gives his sermon.