Wednesday, February 24, 2021

SYMBOLIC MINIMALISM vs New restrictions for depicting Deity in LDS artwork

I started writing a blogpost a few weeks ago about minimalism in artwork where the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect.  The reason for wanting to write about this subject was that I had come across a couple of minimalistic art renditions of the First Vision that I thought were really cool. 

The image on the left uses just geometric shapes and the one on the right only uses black and white cutouts. Both are very symbolic and conveys a lot of meaning with very little detail. 


I never finished writing about it and kept the post in my every increasing drafts that I don't publish. However, a few days ago I heard that that there is a new internal direction from LDS church leaders about portraying Deity for the Church curriculum and media.  The new policy directs that artwork depicting God and Jesus Christ will need to fit within more narrow guidelines. All of the artwork depicting deity will need to have facial features. Artistic stylization like cubism will not be permitted as well. In addition, all visual interpretations of God will need undergo the approval process in Correlation.

Below are some examples of artwork currently being sold at Deseret Book that will no longer be used in Church media and materials because they do not following the new edicts from above. Apparently all artwork depicting the The Father and the Son will need to clearly show two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and two ears.  Like other recent changes including no longer using the Angel Moroni on top of newer temples, we will no longer see symbolic artwork of Christ appear in church produced media and publications like a few of these paintings below currently being sold at Deseret Book.

 NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE ARTWORK FOR CHURCH MATERIAL









Throughout history works of art have been altered, silenced and even erased due to unacceptable content by those in power and authority whether the motivations for censorship were religious, social or political. Despite these new restrictions in how we should depict God, I hope that artists will continue to use their God given talent and creativity to push boundaries of rigid guidelines through their imagery and content. Art is uniquely positioned to move people—inspiring us, inciting new questions and provoking curiosity.  Depicting Deity in a symbolic way allows the viewer connect with God in a unique way. Personally I have found beauty in some of the simplest and minimalistic forms depicting God and Christ. 

That being said, I wonder how long the revelation to brand His Church by depicting Christ as a Greek-like graven statue in marble will last.






Wednesday, January 27, 2021

And we will go down...

Photo taken on our recent flight

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And then the Lord said: 
Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods organized and formed the heavens and the earth.

Abraham 4:1
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All of us came "down" to this earth in a specific year, on a specific day, at a specific hour. We entered into a fallen world. A world of opposites: good and evil, virtue and vice, light and darkness, health and sickness, pleasure and pain. We came to exercise our agency. To choose between truth and error. 

I am sure most, if not all of us, are glad that 2020 is behind us. However, so far 2021 hasn't been too much better.  It seems like there are more lies being spread instead of truth. Our leaders taking more  control and offering us less freedom. A country moving towards more socialism and less liberty.  Just recently, my family left the mainland of the United States for a few weeks and spent some much needed "social distancing" from all that was happening in our country. It was nice to be off the grid during a time of chaos happening in our nation's capital.  

I wanted to share a few photos that I took to hopefully provide some balance to some of the recent blog posts I have written to show that there is still beauty in the world. 


Last sunset of 2020 looking over the Pacific Ocean.


The nature of the ocean can seem turbulent on the surface, with crashing waves everywhere, but as you move below the surface, you will find stillness for miles and miles until you hit the ocean floor. Here are a few photos of the raging waves we saw as well as some of the beautiful sea life that lives beneath the chaotic surface that we encountered.

Waves at Sunset Beach Park

Red Sand Beach

waves just west of Banzai Pipeline



Achilles Tang fish at Hanauma Bay



Sea Turtle at Hanauma Bay


These next two photos were taken at The Seven Sacred Pools. 











Wednesday, January 20, 2021

OUR COUNTRY'S MOST IMMORAL ACT... THE KILLING OF INNOCENT LIFE


Lady Gaga greets the President Biden after singing the National Anthem.  


Today we have a new President of the United States. I watched the entire Inauguration beginning with the singing of the National Anthem by Lady Gaga. Instead of comment on the Inauguration, I wanted to point out one interesting thing that happened right after Joe Biden took office. Two day ago, President Trump penned a Proclamation on the Sanctity of Human Life. It was posted and published on the official www.whitehouse.gov website. Here is the LINK . If you clicked on the link, you will see it is no longer available.

This important proclamation was quickly taken down minutes after the President Biden was sworn in. I think it was important to post it here since most people are not aware of this and was never publicized on any of the news media outlets. 


Even though the new White House leaders have taken this Proclamation down for the public to read on the whitehouse.gov website, you should be able to access it here. At least until this site is blocked as well. 


This proclamation is beautiful and emphasizes the importance of Human Life. Contrast the conservative views of the outgoing administration's stance on abortion, we now have Joe Biden who has plans to restore federal funding for abortion through Planned Parenthood. 

As he heads to the White House, Joe Biden is expected to overturn many Trump-era decisions, including the restrictions on abortion rights, Associated Press reports. He has voiced plans to nominate federal judges who support Roe v. Wade and would "support a federal statute legalizing abortion if the Supreme Court’s conservative majority strikes down Roe," according to the AP

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I attended a talk last year given in Hurricane where a warning was given to our country of the retribution it will face for the abortions of 60+ million unborn children:

"Our society suffers most from evils we inflict upon ourselves. It’s estimated that in January and February of this year, the greatest cause of death in the United States has come from one of our great evils of abortion. An estimated 141,000 abortions in those two months added to the estimated 51,000,000 who have been slain since 1973. Abortion is the leading cause of death in the United States. By tolerating this mass killing, we’re not unlike those who anciently killed their children, sacrificing them to the false god Molech. The Lord repeatedly condemned that:
And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Again, you shall say to the children of Israel, Whoever he is, of the children of Israel or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that gives any of his seed unto Molech, he shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones...
Stoning with stones was intended to be an expression of community condemnation to require that everyone participate, everyone know, and everyone witness the horrendous act of putting someone to death under the law for this kind of an offense.  This was an act of killing children for worship of a false god. There’s very little difference between that act and the idea of exercising a fundamental right enshrined as though it were a sacrament.

We’ve slain—as a society in the United States—over 51,000,000 children. Where is the alarm? Where is the upset? Where is the shutting down of business and the cutting off of travel in order to preserve those lives?

What kind of a society allows killing 51,000,000 innocent children to continue uninterrupted for over 47 years? As we’ve been told, Nevertheless, when the wicked rule, the people mourn. Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men you should observe to uphold; otherwise, whatever is less than these [come] of evil.

It’s not honest, it’s not wise, and it’s not good to uphold leaders who celebrate the murder of children as if it were a sacrament to be protected, sacrosanct, and constitutionally protected. It is something that will cause the greater society, eventually, to mourn.

We have elected and upheld men and women who have tolerated this obscenity for 47 years. The United States will be punished for this. By and by, you will see the chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed has made a full end of all nations (T&C 85:3, emphasis added)​. That full end of nations will include the U.S. And so, we have an opportunity to prepare if we will heed the Lord’s counsel."

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Sidenote: How fascinating it is that the person asked to sign our National Anthem today has recently appeared in promotional media photos drinking the blood of children. Of all the talented singers in this country, she is the one the new president asks to sing? 

May God help us. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Be a good global citizen! Follow the Prophet. GET VACCINATED!

Be a good global citizen! Follow the Prophet. Get Vaccinated!



The First Presidency released a statement discussing the importance of immunization against preventable diseases, encouraging members to get their shots once they become eligible.

The full statement reads:

"In word and deed, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has supported vaccinations for generations. As a prominent component of our humanitarian efforts, the Church has funded, distributed and administered life-saving vaccines throughout the world. Vaccinations have helped curb or eliminate devastating communicable diseases, such as polio, diphtheria, tetanus, smallpox and measles. Vaccinations administered by competent medical professionals protect health and preserve life.

"As this pandemic spread across the world, the Church immediately canceled meetings, closed temples, and restricted other activities because of our desire to be good global citizens and do our part to fight the pandemic.

"Now, COVID-19 vaccines that many have worked, prayed, and fasted for are being developed, and some are being provided. Under the guidelines issued by local health officials, vaccinations were first offered to health care workers, first responders, and other high-priority recipients. Because of their age, Senior Church leaders over 70 now welcome the opportunity to be vaccinated.

"As appropriate opportunities become available, the Church urges its members, employees and missionaries to be good global citizens and help quell the pandemic by safeguarding themselves and others through immunization. Individuals are responsible to make their own decisions about vaccination. In making that determination, we recommend that, where possible, they counsel with a competent medical professional about their personal circumstances and needs.

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Before you rush off to become a good global citizen. Maybe read this.

Norway raises concern about Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine safety after 29 deaths

https://www.pharmaceutical-technology.com/news/norway-concern-pfizer-vaccine/

Thursday, January 14, 2021

A SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS


This woman was born almost exactly one year before America became a nation. She was born on July 8,1775.  Her name is Lucy Mack Smith. She was the mother of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I find it interesting that her birth matches up so closely to our Independence Day when we commemorate our freedom as a Nation.

Her son Joseph would bring forth records from prior civilizations that occupied this great land. This land is a Land of Promise that has been given to those who inhabit it by covenant. 

"Whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them. And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity. For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off. And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done. Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ." Ether 2: 



I am not sure what the "fulness of iniquity" looks like to God, but I can see if we continue down the path we are on that the Big Broom might be used soon to do some sweeping.  The warning is not that the people of this land would be destroyed, but that they would be swept off. It repeats that warning over three times. To be swept off is much different that being destroyed. It is actually worse. 

In the Book of Mormon, to destroy did not necessarily mean annihilation. It merely meant to end the organized existence of a people or to terminate their government, deprive them of a land, and end their cultural dominance. In the Book of Mormon, a people were destroyed when they lost control over their government and land. Their ability to preserve their own values and choose the way they were governed was taken over by others. Once people were destroyed, they were oppressed and suffered. Often they were oppressed with grievous taxes and had religious liberties removed. Then they faced a choice: either repent, in which case they came through the period of oppression with another chance; or if they were angry and rebellious, they would then be “swept away.” Being destroyed is not at all the same as being “swept away.” It is possible for people to have been destroyed and not even realize it. But when they are “swept away,” they face extinction and cannot help but notice it.


My friend who lives up in Washington shared his comments with me early today about his opinion of what is currently happening right now in our country like the rapid decision to impeach President Trump, the protests at the Capital, and the trillions of dollars being handed out for stimulus money. I asked for his permission to share what he wrote since I thought more people might find it as interesting as I did.

Hypocrisy is an understatement. All I'm hearing from the left now is to come together and heal and embrace the new regime. Even pray for their success. All good sentiments which would be the best thing that could ever happen. But 4 years ago the same people began a daily attack on our president and his supporters that never let up, culminating in a vindictive and flawed attempt to discredit all that was accomplished to maintain our liberty and shift power from an an ever growing, self-serving government back to the people. They could never separate the man from the mission.

I'm not disillusioned enough to think Trump and his family don't get high on the power and authority they hold. Almost no human doesn't. But at the end of the day, the guy just wanted to preserve and maintain the American way of life that our founders envisioned. He worked hard at it and did a ton of good toward those ends. Now vilified, abandoned by his friends and written off as a failed president, he'll join a host of others who went before that are forgotten as history gets conveniently rewritten.I'm so tired of the media claiming that the election was fair and honest. They have distorted the truth so much that it is now impossible for the public to know where to find it. The cardinal directions are literally upside down and backward. It's a gross display of cognitive dissonance and ignorance. Thousands of people volunteered across the country to help the swing states verify the votes by painstakingly going vote by vote to verify its origin and owner. They discovered widespread voter fraud in a dozen different ways that affected virtually every state. These corruptions didn't begin with this election. It's likely been going on for two decades. This election was the first in which the winner was so far out of the normal flow of election day data, that it warranted a hard look and the loser, not being part of the establishment, was willing to go the distance to exhaust every effort to expose the fraud and reveal it to the public. That effort to bring light to the darkness was not about reelecting a disrespectful rich guy with a potty mouth so he could enjoy the power for another 4 years.... it was about ensuring the integrity of future elections. Had he been re-elected, you can bet that he would have enacted laws to reform the way we vote to make sure it never happens again.But now that those who benefitted from the fraud are in power, the result is exactly the opposite. They will ensure the vote only goes one direction. I do not forsee another conservative, constitutional Republican ever being elected to the Presidency.We had a shot to fix this and it's now passed. It's not time to heal, nor time to come together as a country. It's time to flee. Neither party has the right to claim God's favor and certainly nobody anywhere in local, state and federal governments are using this opportunity in the way God intended, which is to warn people to repent and return. I have no idea how the Lord intends to help us escape all this, I just know that he does and has prepared the means.Unlike some, I'm not counting calendar days, thinking about times, time, and half-times, making comparisons to Nauvoo and the time it took them to build a temple, and otherwise mapping out how I think the Lord will handle the next 5-10 years. I hold the opinion that if you think you have it all figured out, you can be sure you are wrong. I ask the Lord every day to just show me the next step and hope like hell I don't turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to it. One step at an time is all I've ever been able to accurately perceive of God's hand in my life and that's likely never to change for me.Although my heart is sad in all this. I know that on the other side of it is something glorious and beautiful. I hope I live to see it.

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Sidenote:

I have always struggled to read about God's wrath or anger and how he might "punish" those who do not abide to His laws. When we read those scriptures in Ether about the fulness of his wrath coming upon us when we are ripened in iniquity, I don't necessary imagine a God who has lost his temper. The following quote from the book, Nephi's Isaiah helps clarify what God's anger really is. 

We will finally see the events of history are culminating in a great, final effort to reach us. The “anger” (caused by our rejection of what was offered) is now “turned away.” Actually, it wasn’t really anger. It was our refusal to accept what was offered. We regard it as anger when we can’t get from God what He offers on condition of obedience. We disobey, lose the blessing, and think God is angry with us. It is our perception, based upon our selfish view of everything, that He is angry. We want our God to bless us, and we want to be able to offend Him, too. But since He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of
allowance,” we are asking the impossible when we want Him to accompany us as we trample through and among the filth He asks us to avoid.

As we finally repent and decide to do as He asks, His Spirit returns. We then rejoice and say His anger is turned away, and now He is there to comfort us. All along He was willing to do so, but we are difficult companions. As we reform and the Spirit returns to us, we take great comfort in finally receiving what He offered all along.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Waiting for Santa? or Celebrating the birth of Baby Jesus? or....

 Waiting for Santa? or Celebrating the birth of Baby Jesus? or better yet, Worshipping Christ the Lord? 

Today is Christmas Eve. It falls between two birthdays that we observe this week. Joseph Smith was born yesterday and we traditionally celebrate Christ's birthday tomorrow. I think Christmas Eve is one of my favorite days of the year. A day of excitement, hope and anticipation. A day that we read from the scriptures about the birth of our Savior. I wanted to share two things today. First a short essay written by my wife's relative and a short video entitled, The Shepherd. May we all fall on our knees to worship him, not because we were compelled to by catastrophe, but because we love Him. 

Three Levels of Christmas

Christmas is a beautiful time of the year. We love the excitement, the giving spirit, the special awareness of and appreciation for family and friends, the feelings of love and brotherhood that bless our gatherings at Christmastime.

In all of the joyousness it is well to reflect that Christmas comes at three levels.

Let’s call the first the Santa Claus level. It’s the level of Christmas trees and holly, of whispered secrets and colorful packages, of candlelight and rich food and warm open houses. It’s carolers in the shopping malls, excited children, and weary but loving parents. It’s a lovely time of special warmth and caring and giving. It’s the level at which we eat too much and spend too much and do too much – and enjoy every minute of it. We love the Santa Claus level of Christmas.

But there’s a higher, more beautiful level. Let’s call it the Silent Night level. It’s the level of all our glorious Christmas carols, of that beloved, familiar story: “Now in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus….” It’s the level of the crowded inn and the silent, holy moment in a dark stable when the Son of Man came to earth. It’s the shepherds on steep, bare hills near Bethlehem, angels with their glad tidings, the new star in the East, wise men traveling far in search of the Holy One. How beautiful and meaningful it is; how infinitely poorer we would be without this sacred second level of Christmas.

The trouble is, these two levels don’t last. They can’t. Twelve days of Christmas, at the first level, is about all most of us can stand. It’s too intense, too extravagant. The tree dies out and needles fall. The candles burn down. The beautiful wrappings go out with the trash, the carolers are up on the ski slopes, the toys break, and the biggest day in the stores for the entire year is exchange day, December 26th. The feast is over and the dieting begins. But the lonely and the hungry are with us still, perhaps lonelier and hungrier than before.

Lovely and joyous as the first level of Christmas is, there will come day, very soon, when Mother will put away the decorations and vacuum the living room and think, “Thank goodness that this over for another year.”

Even the second level, the level of the Baby Jesus, can’t last. How many times this season can you sing, “Silent Night?” The angels and the star, and the shepherd, even the silent, sacred mystery of the holy night itself, can’t long satisfy humanity’s basic need. The man who keeps Christ in the manger will, in the end, be disappointed and empty.

No, for Christmas to last all year long, for it to grow in beauty and meaning and purpose, for it to have the power to change lives, we must celebrate it at the third level, that of the adult Christ. It is at this level—not as an infant—that our Savior brings his gifts of lasting joy, lasting peace, lasting hope. It was the adult Christ who reached out and touched the untouchable, who loved the unlovable, who so loved us all that even in his agony on the cross, he prayed forgiveness for his enemies.

This is Christ, creator of worlds without number, who wept because so many of us lack affection and hate each other – and then who willingly gave his life for all of us, including those for whom he wept. This is the Christ, the adult Christ, who gave us the perfect example, and asked us to follow him.

Accepting that invitation is the way – the only way – that all mankind can celebrate Christmas all year and all life long.

by William B. Smart,  Messages for a Happier Life, (Deseret Book, 1989), 33-34.

 The Shepherd | The Chosen







 

Monday, December 21, 2020

The Great Conjunction: Signs in the Heavens on the Winter Solstice 2020

Here are a few photos taken this evening with my family on Antelope Island, on the certified International Dark Sky parks.  One of the best place to observe the Lights in the Firmament. The sun, moon and stars(and planets) were meant to be first for signs, then for seasons, and then for days/years. We read in Genesis 1:14

"And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days, and years"


The Great Conjunction occured tonight on the Winter Solstice. This alignment falls almost directly between the two Total Solar Eclipses that will crisscross over America. These signs in the heavens form an interesting chiasm. 

August 21, 2017 Total solar eclipse.

          approximately 3 ½ years (1218 days)

               December 21, 2020 Great Conjunction

          approximately 3 ½ years (1204 days)

April 8, 2024 Total solar eclipse.







We have examples in the Book of Mormon that many of the people began to disbelieve in the signs in the heavens. Maybe because they didn't know the meaning. They became less and less astonished.  We read in 3 Nephi 2:1-2

“and the people began to forget those signs and wonders which they had heard, and began to be less and less astonished at a sign or a wonder from Heaven, insomuch that they began to be hard in their hearts and blind in their minds, and began to disbelieve all which they had heard and seen,”
Christ prophesied in Luke 21:25 that in the last days there shall be signs in the heavens. 

"And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars;"

A sign in the heaven is what is visible to our eyes without a telescope while standing on the earth and gazing into the heavens. It is meant to be seen by us. The Total Solar Eclipses, Blood Moons, Great Conjunctions that that haven't been seen for hundreds and hundreds of years. So is there any special meaning to all of these unusual signs in the heavens?  Is God trying to tell us something? Are we hearing Him? 




A few more photos from Antelope Island tonight. It was a beautiful, peaceful night to not only observe the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn but also the Winter Solstice. 

 "and let them be for signs and for seasons"





Interesting as we were driving out there was an "alignment" of birds flying across the sunset
 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The COVID vaccine — a modern-day seagull miracle?

Received this in our ward newsletter today:

"After hearing so many medical experts marvel at how rapidly the COVID vaccine was developed and how effective the testing has been, I have commented several times that this was all obviously an outcome of Pres. Nelson’s April 2020 call for prayer and fasting for the Lord to help us overcome the pandemic.

The writer of this letter goes a step further in likening the miracle of the seagulls saving the early Pioneers in Utah with the vaccine saving the lives of so many in our time."



As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I think one of the most beloved stories we tell is the miracle of the seagulls. The beleaguered Saints arrived to Utah in July of 1847. The lateness of the season and the parched earth of the Utah desert made for a scant harvest in the fall of 1847. The winter of 1848 was brutal. Food and hope were both scarce commodities. The potential crop of 1848 was the only thing keeping the Saints alive, physically, mentally and emotionally.

When an infestation of crickets threatened the crops, it must have felt to many like God had abandoned them. After much prayer, thousands of seagulls from the Great Salt Lake descended on the crickets, and for two weeks the seagulls ate the crickets consistently. The crops survived, saving the Saints. Many said it was a miraculous answer to their prayers.

I believe in miracles. I believe as we turn our hearts to God and unite our faith we see His hand. It’s not so much that we can change His will or awaken Him from a slumber and now draw His attention to His desperate children. More so I believe miracles are when we tune our hearts to seeing that which God was eager to do for us from the beginning.

In April 2020, President Russell M. Nelson, current president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, asked not only members of his faith, but also the world, to join in fasting for a cure for COVID-19. I think today we are seeing the beginning of another seagull-like miracle. I see how quickly this vaccine has been developed, approved and ready to be distributed as a miracle, a direct consequence of those who united their faith. Like the seagulls, this vaccine brings with it hope. This is the miracle we have been praying for. This is the seagulls of our time.

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I don't even know what to say after reading  something like that. I see things so much differently. Maybe the miracle might be the pandemic itself, which I view was a call for us to repent.  And as for the "modern-day seagull miracle.. maybe the miracle was the crickets themselves which the pioneers could have eaten for amazing protein, like the Indians in the area did. This story that was published in today's Deseret News is a highly exaggerated claim, not only about the perpetuating the Seagull myth but this claim about the President Nelson and the vaccine. 


Sidenote: 

The seagull-cricket miracle has been exaggerated through the years. First, ornithologists don’t regard the arrival of seagulls as particularly unusual because the seagulls around the Great Salt Lake often eat insects in the adjacent valleys. Also, some historians don’t believe that the gulls were as widespread or as effective against the insects as is often supposed. Many pioneer journals recount the frosts and the insects, but no seagulls.

Chapter 8 of “New Mormon History” is titled: “Mormons, Crickets, and Gulls: a New Look at an Old Story” by William G. Hartley.

In this heavily referenced essay, Hartley (a BYU professor of history and church history) makes the following points:

1) The gulls were not strangers to the valley. They are natural enemies to various insects including crickets.

2) Gulls habitually regurgitate the indigestible parts of insects they have swallowed.

3) Gulls did not arrive until after severe cricket damage had already occurred in 1848.

4) In 1848, Mormon crops were seriously damaged by three enemies–frost, crickets, and drought. The Gulls dealt with only one problem and too late at that.

5) The “miraculousness” of the event was not clearly recognized by contemporaries (including newspapers, diaries, and official church correspondence).

6) Since 1848, gulls frequently have been on the wing to feast on crickets and other insects, making the 1848 encounter hardly unique.

7) Like other popular accounts of important and unusual historical events, over the years the details of the 1848 crickets and gulls have been oversimplified, improved upon, and been given somewhat legendary characteristics.


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and before anyone rushes out to get the "miracle" vaccine, please educate yourself.

https://www.naturalnews.com/2020-12-09-fda-reveals-serious-health-conditions-from-covid-19-vaccinations.html

FDA reveals long list of serious health conditions that may result from covid-19 vaccinations, including death


Behind closed doors, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has discussed a long list of serious health problems that will be caused by new covid-19 injections. These “adverse events” are not publicized because vaccine companies and their media cohorts need everyone to believe that the vaccines are “safe and effective.”

FDA reports 22 serious health issues caused by covid-19 vaccination

These health issues include transverse myelitis, a serious nervous system disorder. The vaccine can cause the immune system to attack its own cells, interrupting the messages that the spinal cord nerves send throughout the body. This issue is similar to paralytic polio infections and can cause pain, muscle weakness, paralysis, sensory problems, or bladder and bowel dysfunction. The condition requires extensive rehabilitation and some people are left with major disabilities. This list includes other autoimmune diseases that may arise, along with arthritis and joint pain. One of the most troubling autoimmune diseases that could occur is acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, a condition marked by sudden, widespread inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

The FDA also warns of potential for negative pregnancy and birth outcomes. The vaccine is designed to attack coronavirus spike proteins transcribed by the vaccine’s messenger RNA, but these spike proteins contain syncytin-1, a protein created by endogenous retroviruses for placenta development in humans. After covid-19 vaccination, an individual’s immune cells will be trained to attack syncytin-1, leading to potential miscarriages, birth defects and infertility.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Dont just #givethanks... Remember the GIVING part after the THANKS

 

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. All week faithful members have followed the prophet's "fast-acting and long-lasting" spiritual remedy for the world by posting on social media with what they are thankful for. Keeping a gratitude journal has been great advice from self-help experts and psychologists for decades to help people suffering from problems, depression and anxiety. This tool for writing down the good things in your life no matter how difficult and defeating the world becomes offers alot of benefits. 

With that being said, here is an additional suggestion to the #givethanks movement this week, especially the day before we celebrate Thanksgiving. Look above at the word, thanks-giving. It can be divided into two action verbs. Thanks and then Giving. Don't just stop at gratitude and saying thanks. We should then Give. It is a natural law that once you have received, one should then give. One of the best hymns we sing is "Because I have been given much, I too must give." For all of those who have been given more than your share, blessed with wonderful families, find someone who is alone this holiday. For those who have posted photos about how fortunate you have been, go give to those who have little to nothing.

Truly the "fast-acting and long-lasting remedy" is to forget yourself and do something for someone else. In essence, Follow Christ!  Serve the downtrodden, the lonely, the depressed, the forsaken. 

Sidenote:

For those who have been studying from the Come Follow Me Manual, the past chapters have been from the book of Ether. There are strong warnings give to us who live here in America, the Land of Promise. 

Whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and for ever should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fullness of his wrath should come upon them. And now we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God or they shall be swept off when the fullness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fullness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.. Behold, this is a choice land; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under Heaven if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who has been manifested by the things which we have written.  Ether 1:6-7 


 Truly that it the message that has been passed down from prophet to prophet for us today.  Repent and Serve the True and Only God... or face being swept off this land. Being "swept off" is much worse than being destroyed. 

"In the Book of Mormon, to destroy did not necessarily mean annihilation. It merely meant to end the organized existence of a people or to terminate their government, deprive them of a land, and end their cultural dominance. In the Book of Mormon, a people were destroyed when they lost control over their government and land. Their ability to preserve their own values and choose the way they were governed was taken over by others. Once people were destroyed, they were oppressed and suffered. Often they were oppressed with grievous taxes and had religious liberties removed. Then they faced a choice: either repent, in which case they came through the period of oppression with another chance; or if they were angry and rebellious, they would then be “swept away.” Being destroyed is not at all the same as being “swept away.” It is possible for people to have been destroyed and not even realize it. But when they are “swept away,” they face extinction and cannot help but notice it." from the glossary of Gospel Terms




Saturday, November 21, 2020

Social Media - The New Rameumpton? #givethanks

In the last blog post, I shared a chart showing the difference between a Global Faith Leader and a Prophet of God. There were many more differences that could have been added to the list, but I didn't have room on the chart. However,  I wanted to share one more that was brought to my attention from one of my friends. It is the difference in opinions about social media. 




One says social media should become your journal. Which takes you TO the social media daily, and leads to daily habits of engaging with it. That along with deliberately stated uncertainty as to whether this fulfills promises made to Abraham. The other clearly says to turn from it, as it will fill you with lies, emotional and mental deficiencies, misinformation, vanity and foolishness.

I do think that there can be much good shared on social media. However, this is one documentary that needs to be seen before making social media your journal. It is called The Social Dilemma.  





Sidenote: 

Here is a meme that was posted on the Church's website after the worldwide talk that was given yesterday. I listened to the talk and unless I missed something, I only heard the first two on the list. mentioned as the solution to our current problems.. I think it is unfortunate that the third was never mentioned.  I wonder why that was edited out from the talk. Personally, I believe it is the most important and should be the first one the list. 



btw: I hope that over the next seven days that social media doesn't become the New Rameumpton of our day.


Gratitude

 "Now the place was called by them Rameumptom, which (being interpreted) is the holy stand. Now from this stand they did offer up, every man, the selfsame prayer unto God, thanking their God that they were chosen of him, and that he had not led them away after the tradition of their brethren, and that their hearts were not stolen away to believe in things to come, which they knew nothing about. Now when the people had all offered up thanks after their manner, they returned to their homes, never speaking of their God again, until they had assembled themselves together again to the holy stand to offer up thanks after their manner. Now when Alma saw this, his heart was grieved, for he saw that they were a wicked and a perverse people.... 

Behold, O God, they cry unto thee, and yet their hearts are swallowed up in their pride. Behold, O God, they cry unto thee with their mouths while they are puffed up, even to greatness, with the vain things of the world. Behold, O my God, their costly apparel, and their ringlets, and their bracelets, and their ornaments of gold, and all their precious things which they are ornamented with. And behold, their hearts are set upon them, and yet they cry unto thee and say, We thank thee, O God, for we are a chosen people unto thee, while others shall perish." Alma 31:17- 28





Saturday, November 14, 2020

"He's treated them all"... latest promotional video by the LDS Church

Recently my family watched all eight episodes of the first season of The Chosen, a television drama based on the life of Jesus Christ. It is the first multi-season series about the life of Christ and portrays Jesus "through the eyes of those who met him." 

Christ is portrayed as personable, good-natured, accessible, and even funny. Never have I seen our Savior  depicted with a sense of humor. 

He treats those like Simon Peter who do not feel worthy as someone who has great worth. He has treated those like Lilith (Mary Magdalene), who have felt hopeless, scared, with emotional and mental difficulties. He has treated those like Nicodemus who have doubts, and who have been a coward, stuck in false traditions. The Lord has treated those like the man with leprosy who suffers from rejection and physical pain. He has treated those like Matthew and the Samaritan women at the well who are outcast, lonely and judged.

Christ has healed each one of them. He's treated them all.




For those who have not watched the Chosen, you can access the episodes here: https://studios.vidangel.com/the-chosen


In contrast, yesterday, the LDS Church released a new video. It is a 30 second promotional video for an upcoming 11 minute video that will be uploaded on President Nelson's social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) on November 20, 2020 at 11:00 am. 

Click on this link to watch: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6TUaXoT3oE&feature=emb_logo


Below is a still frame from the video describing President Nelson as the one who has treated them all: the Sick, the Sad, the Diseased ,the Disappointed, the Infected. the Instable, the Heart Failures, the Failing Hearts. He's treated them all. No mention at all of Jesus Christ in this promotional video. There seems to be alot more emphasis on this "Global Faith Leader", instead of Jesus Christ, the One who truly has treated them all. 




Saturday, November 7, 2020

Awake to a sense of your awful situation - The Downfall of America as we know it.



Below are two painting from a series of five created by Thomas Cole (1801-1848) called  The Course of Empire. He painted these in the years 1833–1836 just a few years after Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. The five paintings depicts the growth and fall of an imaginary city that after years of freedom and prosperity, corruption would begin which would lead to inevitable decay. History repeats itself despite warnings to us from those who saw our day. In order, Thomas Cole's series of five paintings is The Commencement of the Empire, The Pastoral State, The Consummation of the Empire, The Destruction and lastly, The Desolation.


While these are just paintings of an imaginary city, these events happened to two different civilations in the Book of Mormon. We are on track to repeat their same fate. 

Moroni who saw our day addresses his words to us later generations and speaks of secret combinations in the Book of Ether: "When ye shall see these things [secret combinations] come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation."

The Book of Mormon denounces secret combinations as "most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God." They are also considered to be one of the signs that a people is ripe for the Lord's vengeance, and in the last days, they will be prevalent on the earth. Moroni goes on to warn that anyone who builds up a secret combination "seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies."

After finishing the account, Moroni tells of the effect the secret combination had upon the nation: "They have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking, and also the destruction of the people of Nephi. 

Sobering words indeed.



Sidenote:

The headlines today declare that Joe Biden has been elected  President of the United States along with the first black female Vice President, Kamala Harris despite many reports of voting irregularities and voter fraud. 

Maybe the only positive thing that I can think of from Biden declared the winner is that there has not been any reported protests in the country. No destruction of property, spray painting, broken windows, violence toward the police etc. Most likely if Trump had been declared the winner, the "blue donkeys" would have been outraged and violently protested across the country. Many of the cities were planning on a Trump victory and prepared for potential protesting.  Our own LDS owned City Creek Mall in Salt Lake boarded up their store fronts. It is a good indicator on which of the two parties is more destructive.  





Thursday, September 24, 2020

RARE "BEHIND THE SCENES" INFORMATION from Elder Ronald A. Rasband on how the Prophets and Apostles receive Revelation (the Mind and Will of the Lord)



On Sunday, Elder Ronald A Rasband spoke at the World Wide Youth Face to Face event on the movie set in Goshen, Utah. (Sidenote: the city of Goshen was formerly known as Sodom) Due to Covid-19, this special devotional was held outside in this almost to scale Jerusalem look-a-like Movie set. Here is blog post of photos I took when I visited the set. LINK . 

It is important to notice that everyone in audience sat over 6 feet apart and wore masks.  What is more unusual than that, Elder Rasband did something that I don't think has been done before. He gave us a little "peak" behind the scenes of how they receive the "mind and will of the Lord, Jesus Christ" for the Church, specifically how the 2020 Proclamation to the World came to be. The reading of the  2020 Proclamation in the Sacred Grove was the highlight of last General Conference which President Nelson said would be "not only memorable, it will be unforgettable." This new proclamation was called "a revelation to bless all people" by Elder Quentin L. Cook.

Here is a very short clip of Elder Rasband's words of him giving us this little peak "behind the scenes."



for the hearing impaired, here are his words:

"Now I would like to give you a little peak behind the scenes and tell you what we did for the month and months leading up to the Proclamation. In President Nelson's wonderful way, he allowed all of the prophets and apostles, all 15 of us, to work on putting together the Proclamation. We wrote it out, we edited it. I even think I have a couple of words in that proclamation that I may have contributed. But in the end, I want you all to know that we reached unity. And we knew that what we were doing in preparing that Proclamation to the World was the Mind and Will of the Lord, Jesus Christ. And then our dear prophet with his prophetic mantle finished the Proclamation and prepared it for his reading in the Sacred Grove at General Conference. It was a wonderfully, special, revelatory experience. And I bear my witness to all of you tonight that it is a true Proclamation of what the Lord Jesus Christ would have us know."
---------------

What many of you might not  know is that 50 years before Elder Rasband and the other 14 prophets and apostles spent months on writing and editing the new 2020 Proclamation to the World another Proclamation in 1980 was presented to the Church by President Hinckley in a special memorable General Conference broadcasted from the farm house of Peter Whitmer. Below is a side by side comparison of the content of these two Proclamations. The one on the left is the 1980 document in exact order.  The one on the right is the 2020 proclamation with some liberty to match up side by side to almost the exact same content. I have color coded to easily recognize the common themes and words. You can notice that the 1980 one is a lot longer and more detailed. It is interesting to read it, and compare it to the 2020 proclamation. It seems like the wording in the 1980 Proclamation is more bold and assertive.  Today there seems to be a softening, words like "we declare" instead of  "we testify", we "affirm" instead of  "we solemnly affirm", etc. I am sure there are more differences to be found that would be interesting to study. Here it is:


I think the purpose of sharing this is to highlight how today the Mind and Will of the Lord is received. It seems like instead of receiving the words from God himself, our leaders spend months writing and editing.  They then come together and if there is unity, they then call that revelation and the Mind and Will of the Lord, Jesus Christ. If I misunderstood anything, I would love to be corrected. Seems like alot has changed since Joseph Smith when he received the word of the Lord directly and now it is almost like revelation by committee.