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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.
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"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.
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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.
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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.