an act that goes against a law, rule, or code of conduct; an offense
The photo below was taken in downtown Salt Lake City at the annual PRIDE PARADE last Sunday featuring:
A toddler wearing a "TRANS-KIDS" T-Shirts
A woman wearing a "I LOVE HOT TRANS BABY DADDIES" T-Shirt
A woman now a "man" wearing a "TRANS BABY DADDY" T-Shirt
This week, my wife and I watched the documentary called "What is a Woman." You can watch the movie for free now on Twitter. Here is the LINK . I don't really have the words to express how I felt while watching the movie. As a father of all daughters, I am outraged that an underage girl can undergo medical procedures to become a boy without needing parental consent. It is so ironic that we have laws prohibiting children under the age of 18 to get a tattoo (which can be removed) but yet underage children can get irreversible treatment to change from one gender to another. If a parent tries to stop the procedure, he can be put in jail? It is unbelievable. The documentary is a must see.
Elon Musk tweeted, "Consenting adults should do whatever makes them happy, provided it does not harm others, but a child is not capable of consent, which is why we have laws protecting minors."
Another photo of downtown Salt Lake of our UTA public transit system buses. They are being wrapped using tax payer money in support of this transgender movement.
Starting in 2021, President Russel M Nelson has donated millions and millions of dollars to the NAACP and the United Negro Fund. After generous donations equally close to $10,000,000.00 dollars of Church funds, Nelson recently received the prestigious Gandhi-King-Mandela Peace Prize from the black community at Morehouse College. The college is a private, historically Black men's liberal arts college in Atlanta, Georgia.
A special portrait was painted to commemorate President Nelson receiving the award. The oil painting of himself in front of Jesus will hang in the International Hall of Honor at Morehouse College. Below is a photo of Rev. Lawrence Carter shaking hands with Nelson in front of the portrait.
The new oil painting of President Nelson standing in front of Christ's Triumphant Entry
Back in 2018, right after President Nelson was sustained as the new President of the Church, there was as strategy created at Church Headquarters to promote Nelson as a world faith leader. The Church was hoping people around the world would view President Nelson on the same level as other world religious leaders like the Pope. There were many public events held around the globe to help with this campaign. When Nelson was touring all of the countries, the church news made a series of videos documenting his trip. The videos focused on all of the adoring crowds and how they had waited hours to see Nelson. They didn’t focus much on what he said, just the crowds. In essence the videos highlighted that Nelson was almost just like the Pope with all of the adoring crowds from all over the world. Nelson even visited local people and handed out photos of himself. See video excerpt below.
It seems like for a while now, the message is not always using the Church to bring people to Jesus as instructed in 3 Nephi 27, but it is almost as if it is the reverse by using Jesus to bring people to the Church and essentially to President Nelson. I find it interesting that in the paintings, visual images and videos of Nelson that Jesus is in the distant background and Nelson is in the foreground. Oftentimes, Nelson is striking the same pose as Christus statue of Christ used in the Church Logo—which seems to be all part of the choreographed strategy. The message is almost like, "if you believe in Jesus, you will believe in Nelson and the Church". While subtle, it is though Nelson is essentially showing that he is a stand in for Christ.
Here are some links to examples of the Church's PR and Media strategies to promote Nelson:
It is interesting to see the Church’s Public Relations Department execute this strategy that began just over five years ago. While they have all right intentions and most likely see themselves as promoting the gospel of Christ, but from the outside is appears they are instead promoting a man.
A picture of the First Presidency that hangs in one of the cubicle offices in the Jordan River Temple.
President Nelson using the common pose with his arms outstretched.
While more could be said, I want to conclude with an excerpt from the book, Eighteen Verses- A Discussion of the Book of Mormon:
The lowest state of glory, the Telestial Kingdom, will include those who say they followed God’s properly ordained, authentic messengers of the Gospel. Though the messengers they claimed to follow were authentic, the faith of these followers was not. This is one of the great reasons why true messengers do not focus attention on themselves. They do not make themselves idols. They do not seek fans, nor welcome personal adulation and vainglory.
Religious leaders and teachers who want the adulation of their followers are leading them to a Telestial state. Those who encourage others to adore men are furthering a false religion which can only damn its followers.
The Lord’s true messengers would never want reverence or demand honor to be bestowed upon them. They do not want people to be awed by them, rise when they enter a room, or claim their salvation is derived from any mere man. Instead they want Saints to be awed by the Lord, show reverence to Him, and look to Him alone for their salvation.
All who succumb to the temptation to follow a personality, rather than the Lord, will suffer damnation, and then be resurrected to the Telestial glory. For anyone who invites people to “follow them,” it “were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matt. 18: 6.) The Book of Mormon calls such acts “priestcraft.” We call such folks scholars, professors, inspirational speakers, great performers, inspiring speakers, heroes, etc. We should make no mistake about it; these forms of “hero” worship are currently going on among the Saints. And we seem to be blind to it. Some folks magnify their egos rather than their callings. That is one of the problems with this second estate. We can clearly see the mistakes of past generations, but our own lives are so blighted by the chaos of culture, tradition, and group-think, we cannot properly see our own failings.
In the Church, there are many men whose devotion to Church leaders goes beyond hero-worship. They make themselves “ladies in waiting” hoping to secure for themselves favorable attention from Church leaders who can “call” them to positions which they covet. Their slavish focus on Church leaders, and desire to get noticed, makes them fit decidedly within the Telestial description given here. It is no wonder such people are only capable of handling Telestial glory, for they have failed to face the fearsome responsibility of acting before God as an agent for themselves. Agency has done them little good, since they have surrendered it in favor of following men to their damnation,
I recently saw this painting entitled "Fragile" in a museum that I thought Iwould share today being Good Friday. I appreciated the symbolism of what the creator was trying to convey.
Some beautiful quotes for the book, Come Let us Adore Him.
Crucifixion was also destined to become the symbol of God’s salvation. This type of death for Israel’s Messiah was foreshadowed by earlier events. Moses led his people through a wilderness infested with poison adders. Israelites were stung by the deadly snakes, whose venom felt like fire to the victims. The cure came through a symbol which pointed to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Those who looked in faith at the brass serpent hung upon a pole would live.
His final act of devotion to the Father was also the final act of perfecting His love for mankind. He could develop and show “greater love” in no other way than to “lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15: 13.) For Christ, this final altar upon which He offered His body and shed His blood, was so that in turn men may have every reason to “always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them.” (Moroni 4: 3; 5: 2.) The crucifixion was the moment of His Sacramental sacrifice of His flesh and blood.
Christ’s crucifixion was at the same time the symbol of cursing and redemption. Christ being accursed and us being redeemed. It was the culminating event in Christ’s triumph as the true Son of God.
It was reported today that the renovations will not be completed until 2026. From the article:
The current estimated completion date is now in 2026, according to a Thursday news release from the church.
When the construction began, church leaders said it was estimated to be completed in 2025. It includes renovations to the temple — including a seismic upgrade — and changes to the grounds and other buildings. Thursday's statement said church leadership, project consultants and the general contractor support the new estimate.
At a minimum the Salt Lake Temple will have been closed for Six Years.
The news article is actually wrong to report that the church leaders said it would be completed in 2025 when the above news room article quotes President Nelson that it would be done in 2024.
The first "official" day of spring arrives today. At 3:24 PM here in Utah, the sun will be shining directly down on the equator at a point over the Pacific Ocean, roughly 1,900 miles (3,100 km) southeast of the Hawaiian Islands.
I usually try and go on a sunrise hike on this day, but the weather forecast for this entire week was not looking good so I went a couple of days ago on a clear night and morning.
Woke up around 4:00 in the morning to drive up into the mountains and began hiking at 5:30 AM.
Here are some photos from the hike:
Moon rising above the mountain early in the morning on March 16,2023
It has snowed about a foot the day before. We had to plow our own trail to the summit.
Guardsmas Pass. The large pipe sticking out the snow is the "chimney" of the restroom facility that is buried under at least 10 feet of snow.
Sunrise around 7:40 AM
On that morning we were observing rebirth of spring, later that night one of our friends passed away.
The Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter on March 1, 2023
Spectacular: beautiful in a dramatic and eye-catching way.
Miraculous: highly improbable and extraordinary and bringing very welcome consequence
After attending a lecture in Provo on the evening of March 1, my wife and I were driving around to find a good place to see what some called, the 'kissing' of Venus and Jupiter (or what the astronomers call the Conjunction) The two planets appear so close to one another, some called it a kiss. In reality, the never touch but the closest they'll ever come from our perspective is about the diameter of a full moon apart.
It has been snowing the entire day and even though the snow had stopped that evening, it was still very cloudy. I wasn't sure if it was going to be possible to view the conjuction of the two brightest planets. Doubt started to set in as well as disappoint since it was important for me to observe this Heavenly Sign and I was unable to see anything through the heavy clouds.
I thought, if this sign is important surely it was meant to be seen and not be veiled behind clouds. sSo, we started to drive back home hoping maybe Salt Lake had clearer skies. We were somewhere near American Fork, when I thought I saw a break in the clouds. I took the next exit and got out of my car looking West.
What happened next was amazing. For a very brief moment, Venus appeared from behind the clouds and then Jupiter appeared right beside her. Both planets visible side by side before they disappeared again for the rest of the night. Very grateful to be able to see this Spectacular and to me, miraculous event.
Here are the three photos to bear record of the event.
Photo of the Planets behind the clouds at 8:33 PM on March 1, 2023
Photo of Venus appearing from the clouds at 8:33 PM on March 1, 2023
Photo of both Venus and Jupiter at 8:33 PM on March 1, 2023
At the LDS Church Office Building today there was a large team of disaster cleanup workers. All of them had on protective clothing and wearing gas masks. I quickly took this photo before having to leave the area due to health concerns. I assume it was a sewage problem due to the stench. It is an unfortunate mess (no pun intended). This is a little bit of bad timing since this is a HUGE weekend for Salt Lake City. Tens of thousands of visitors are in town for the NBA All-Star Game. Hope that the Church can get things cleaned up quickly.
Photo taken on February 16, 2023
This weekend is also President's Day. In honor of this holiday, in this second part of this blog post I want to write briefly about a few amazing men who have been given the title of President.
PRESIDENTS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
THE GOOD INFO
This year we will observe Presidents Day on February 20th. The holiday is now always celebrated on the third Monday in February, thanks to the 1968 Uniform Monday Holiday Act. It was established in 1885 in honor of President George Washington's birthday. Washington's birthday was actually on February 22, 1732. President Abraham Lincoln's birthday, February 12, is also near this date and is often honored on President's day. Washington was the only president unanimously elected. (meaning all of the States Representatives voted for him) I have a great love for Washington and Lincoln.
Both Washington and Lincoln set high bars for any President of the United States to follow after them.
I have for the most part admired and had a deep respect for our United States Presidents
In 2007, I read a book that rocked my world. At that time, I loved our current President of the United States, George W Bush as well as his father, former President George Bush Senior) I thought that we were justified to attack Iraq due to terrorist attacks on 9-11. I thought everything was great in the United States.
All was well in my world. Until I read this book, "Awakening to our Awful Situation- Warnings from the Nephite Prophets." The book examines the secret combinations happening in our day that the LDS members are warned about by Moroni in Ether 8:23-25.
A quote from the book:
"Indeed the worst kind of evil is not to be found in any single rogue individual. What is much worse is s a combination of power, wherein many evil persons unite their efforts under a central guiding hand - a secret combination."
I learned about a few modern day "secret combinations" that are alive and well in our society today. Here are a few of them.
The Federal Reserve
Council of Foreign Relations (CFR)
The United Nations
Skull and Bones Society
THE BAD INFO
So, when I found out that our current President of the United States was a member of many of these organizations (especially a member of the Skull and Bones Society) I was devastated. What I found so interesting was that President Bush didn't even tried to hide it.
George W. Bush wrote in his autobiography, "[In my] senior year I joined Skull and Bones, a secret society; so secret, I can't say anything more." When asked what it meant that he and Bush were both Bonesmen, former presidential candidate John Kerry said, "Not much, because it's a secret."
Even the former President George Bush senior was also a member of the Skull and Bones.
For those who don't know much about the Skull and Bones, it is also referred to as The Order, or The Brotherhood of Death. It began as an undergraduate senior secret student society at Yale University. There are only two chapters of this secret society in the United States. The one at Yale University. and the other is at the University of Utah. Since the organization is extremely secretive, not much can be talked about. (Kind of like how we treat what happens in the LDS Temples) A few things we do know. the building that they meet in is called The Tomb. The Skull and Bones's membership developed a reputation with the "power elite." There A rare interview was given to a reporter in 2018 in Salt Lake and the article and photo of the interview was published in the Daily Utah Chronicle. Link here:
George W. Bush is not the only one to write in his autobiography that he was a member of the Skull an Bones. Here is another autobiography of a President. The autobiography is not about a US President, but a different kind of President. Not political President but religious President.
Since I didn't believe this to be true. I called down to the Church History Library to see if they had any available copies of President Nelson's autobiography for me to read. The Church Library told me that I needed to schedule an appointment to check out the book in the Special Archives since it has been pulled off the public shelves at the request of the author. They called me back after I made an appointment request and they told me that they could not give me access to the book because under the direction of the author, the book is no longer to be circulated. I checked on Amazon to possibly buy the book but was shocked to see that the price was thousands of dollars. The lowest price listed was a used copy selling for 1,600.00
Fortunately I was able to get access to the special collection library at the J Willard Marriott Library as the University of Utah Campus. They allowed me to take a few photos of the book and the pages I was interested in seeing with my own eyes.
It appears on page 48:
Owl and Key is a “senior” level of Skull and Bones.
Now I realize that some people reading this post might not believe the information, or think it is good to expose such information. I understand that. However, we are commanded to waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness. D & C 123:13
"Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven."
The Church announced this week that all of President Kimball’s journals are now available in the Church History Library catalog under call number MS 21541. Due to the huge quantity of journal pages, it has taken several years since the journals’ donation for them to be ready for access.
In 1975, President Spencer W. Kimball taught the Latter-day Saints: “Get a good notebook […] a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it. Begin today and write in it”. President Kimball practiced what he preached. For more than 60 years, he kept a detailed journal.
Most of the 34 journals are typed, and many pages include underlining, usually in red pencil with brief annotations and marginalia written in his distinctive hand.
Below is a screenshot of some of President Kimball journal entries in February 1979.
The above yellow highlight addition to the journal was added by Spencer W Kimball's son. For those of you who don't know the definition of 'fulsome"... here is how Webster defines it.
Fulsome: complimentary or flattering to an excessive degree. Offensive to good taste, esp. as being excessive; overdone or gross.
Here is the full foreword to President Nelson's autobiography that Spencer W Kimball gave approval to use with his name attached. It is not uncommon for a foreword to be written by someone else ( a ghost writer) with the permission to use it. But probably very uncommon for the foreword to an autobiography to be written by the actual autobiographer.
Here is the foreword.
This book, the engaging record of the life and experiences of Russell Marion Nelson, is a fulfillment of a great dream. In these pages he has set forth a chronicle of his noble parentage and crystallized the many experiences of himself and his adorable family. This work will bring joy and peace and happiness to its readers.
The first time I saw the Nelson family was at a stake conference meeting in 1964. Eight daughters were singing a song, accompanied by their mother, Dantzel. I was amazed and pleased, and I thought, “What a perfect family! What beautiful parents! And what delightful children to grow up in one household.” I have known them from that time forward, and now there are nine daughters and one son. Brother Nelson has always been a family man first, and now all his family unite to bring him honor.
I owe much to him as a doctor. It was in 1971 in England that I first spoke to him of my heart problems. When we returned to the United States, investigation showed that I had problems with a deteriorating valve in my heart and an obstruction in an artery. I felt my life slipping away, and I wondered if perhaps the time had come for a younger man to enter the Quorum of the Twelve and do the work I could no longer do. But at the inspired insistence of President Harold B. Lee, I was prompted to press on. Therefore, my life was placed in the hands of this young doctor, in whom we noted a sweet Spirituality. Because of his skill as a surgeon—one who trusts in the power of the priesthood and relies on the Spirit of the Lord—my life was spared, even though the risks were very great for a man of my seventy-seven years.
We became close as I recovered from the open-heart surgery that he performed perfectly. Whenever I became discouraged, there was always his sweet, understanding spirit to buoy me up.
Then President Lee died in December 1973. We never thought it could happen, for he was younger than I and seemingly in good health; therefore, we were all taken by surprise. Brother Nelson, of his own accord, came to my side immediately in case he should be needed. I appreciated his thoughtfulness very much...
It pleases me very much to note that he has done a superb work in assembling the information to bring this book into existence...It seems to me that it has been done beautifully and without flaw.Long will his children and their posterity honor this great man, and long will they remember that he followed the precepts of his Lord through his prophets...
President Spencer W. Kimball Salt Lake City, Utah March 1979
Deseret Book is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the publishing arm of the Church and was created back in 1919 when the Deseret Sunday School Union merged with the Deseret News Bookstore. Sheri L. Dew has been the CEO and President of Deseret Book for over 20 years now. Things have really changed over the past 20 years since she has been the CEO.
Just like the rest of the country, Deseret Book is celebrating the importance of being WOKE. The meaning of Woke is an active awareness of systemic injustices and prejudices, especially those involving the treatment of ethnic, racial, or sexual minorities. For the entire month of February, Deseret Book's website has a huge splash banner at the top declaring "Deseret Book Celebrates Black History Month." Below is a screenshot after clicking on the Shop Now Arrow.
Furthermore, If you click on the Search bar, and type in LGBTQ, instead of the search coming up as 0 results found, many books published and distributed by Deseret Book appear. Here are just a few.
And here is an interesting one. Expanding the Borders of Zion: A Latter-Day Saint Perspective on LGBTQ Inclusion.
What you will NOT find available on the Deseret Book website or in the Deseret Book stores is the newest book written by Elder Tad R. Callister. His latest book called America's Choice: A Nation under God or without God? was turned down by Deseret Book to publish and is not even available for sell in the Deseret Bookstores.
I wonder if it is because one of the chapters in the book is called,
"Has God Spoken about Same-Sex Relations and Marriage"
From the back cover of the book:
America’s Choice asks, “What is the greatest challenge facing our society today?” The economy, national security, immigration, gun control, poverty, racism, crime, national pandemics, climate change? While each of these is a valid concern and deserves attention, none of them strikes at the heart of our greatest challenge, namely, finding a way to build stronger homes and in the process bringing about a return to family, God, and moral values. To put our prime focus on challenges other than these is to strike at the leaves, not the root of the problem. It is now our choice and America’s choice - to place our trust in the wisdom of God or the wisdom of the world - to be a nation under God or without God.
I find it so interesting that a book written to warn the American People to help us awake to our awful situation was turned down by Deseret book. Not only to not publish it, but to not even sell it in their bookstore despite Elder Callister being a best selling author who served in the Presidency of the Seventy and was the General Sunday School President. One of his most well known book was 'The Infinite Atonement' was a landmark book and was a best seller for Deseret Book.
The Church announced in 2019 that the Salt Lake Temple, a sacred historical structure of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would undergo a multiyear seismic upgrade and renovation project in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Renovation means the process of repairing a building so that it is in good condition again.
However, despite only announcing to the members that the Salt Lake Temple would be a renovation project, almost ever building on Temple Square has been demolished and or completely gutted. Three more building will now go under "renovations" The Beehive House, The Lion House and the Joseph Smith Memorial Buildings. All of these building are now closed and will be for many years. Projected dates for completion is not until 2025. Click for Church announcement LINK
Here is a recent Google Maps aerial view of Temple Square
The Church released an article about the progress of the "renovation". Here are one of the comments that I read:
“This is the saddest thing I've ever seen, for Latter-day Saint heritage -- they basically decapitated, gutted, jacked up, and removed from its foundation -- one of America's most-iconic, most-recognizable, most-historic, and most-sacred structures. They put the interior through a wood-chipper. Almost nothing of the original exists now except that the granite is being re-used on the outside of an all-new steel and concrete building. I'm not diminishing the importance of a new temple to the living and dead members. I know that many people find joy in newness, and spiritual gratitude from more ordinances per day. But this is like shredding an 1830 original first edition Book of Mormon, to use the paper pulp to print a new replica, because the newly-printed Book of Mormon might convert a tourist. The old copy would have converted more. The theologians and marketers have their reasons, but legitimate historians should be horrified. I'm a Mormon material culture historian, not a theologian, in this context...I'm also a libertarian who thinks property owners have an ethical right to wreck their own historic property, as they did. But there are other moral stakeholders in a community, too. What in incalculable loss to the whole church, community, city, and country, and the pioneers, due to high-technology owners who do not seem to value preservation, architecture, or history. John Hajicek (Jan 25, 2023):
This project is MUCH MORE than just renovations. Not quite sure what all of this new construction is just North of the Salt Lake Temple? Looks bigger than the foundation of the Temple itself.
Most members of the Church have probably heard by now that once again there have been MAJOR changes made to the Temple Endowment this week and to other temple ordinances performed in the Temple. LINK: LDS temple ceremonies change again
From all of the online comments and from people I have talked to, all of them have been extremely happy with the changes. I am glad that so many people have found joy in worshipping in the Temple this week. I hope to just share a few thoughts from my perspective. I know I might be alone in my opinions.
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:
“Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood,
for the salvation of men,
are not to be altered or changed.
All must be saved on the same principles.”
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith
One thing that gives me comfort is that God is the same yesterday, today and forever despite what we do here in mortality. God does not change. The only thing that I think God wants to have changed is our hearts.
One of the places where we learn more about God is in the Temple. Joseph Smith taught that sacred "ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world for the salvation of men are NOT to be altered or changed." We read in Isaiah 24:5 that in the last days, the earth will be defiled because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenants.
President Russell M. Nelson in the gutted Salt Lake Temple Celestial Room on May 22, 2021
In the late 1980's, I took out my temple endowments in the Salt Lake Temple. SO MUCH has changed since then that I couldn't even begin to list all of them.
Not only are there significant changes being made now to the actual structure of Salt Lake Temple but there has been significant changes to ALL of the ordinances performed in the Temple. I remember one of the things that I loved about the Salt Lake Temple was moving from room to room and ascending upward in a clockwise direction. I have written a blogpost that describes more about this and the symbolic direction you faced in each room of the Salt Lake Temple. Here is the link to that post: Is your orientation aligned with God
I loved that each ordinance built on each other. Baptism in the basement, Initiatories on the first main floor and then each room of Glory was higher as you increased in light and knowledge and culminated in a Sealing Room for the sealing of the man and woman to become the Image of God. The Sealing Room was elevated and accessed by another flight of stairs from the Celestial Room.
The Sealing Room in the Salt Lake Tempe was significant because not only is it above the Celestial Room, it is in the South East corner of the Celestial Room which is symbolic. ________________________
One of the new changes in the "renovation" of the Salt Lake Temple reported in the news by the Church a few weeks ago was that sealing rooms will be part of the addition just north of the Temple and on the lower floors will include new baptistries and sealing rooms. Sealing rooms on the lower floors? What?
"In the areas directly around the temple, work began on guest experience pavilions south of the temple, and on the three lower floors of the temple addition, which will be just north of the temple. The lower floors will include two new baptistries, sealing rooms, dressing rooms and administrative offices."
I remember being asked to be a witness couple with my wife as well as seeing my parents being a witness couple. I enjoyed the live session to see the Temple workers present the endowment to the best of their abilities. I personally believe that since the endowment had to be memorized, there were very few changes ever made to the endowment. The Church has officially ceased all "live sessions" in the Temple to a digital presentation. Changes can now be made easily and more frequently.
BUT ALL OF THAT HAS NOW CHANGED!
There is a disclaimer that is now read at the beginning of Endowment Session from The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve to make sure the temple patrons know that the changes are not changes but are "adjustments". No mention of a revelation was given as to why these changes were made. (I wrote about the difference between adjustments and changes in this blog post: Additional Procedural Adjustments. )
After sitting through the endowment session this week, I don't think it is right to call the changes in the new endowment as only adjustments. They are SIGNIFICANT CHANGES. For me it was like listening to one of my favorite songs and having the lyrics changed. Not only that, no one is an active participant during the session but only a passive observer. We watch other receive things that we used to receive. I personally feel that was one of the most important parts of the Temple Experience. What if we were to watch someone else get baptized.. could we then say we have received baptism as well?
I think I will probably stop there. Once again I am sad to see so many things about the Temple go down the Memory Hole... never to be experienced again.
I know MOST if NOT all (except me) are thrilled with the new endowment. It is amazing what peppering images of Jesus Christ throughout the presentation with music will do for people. Bring tissues if you plan to go and are susceptible to emotion.
The residents of Heber City in Wasatch County have a dark sky policy. They have laws in place for the businesses and residents to reduce man made light in order for them to look into the heavens and see the stars at night without light pollutions. However, the LDS church wants that laws to change so they can shine brighter light onto the Temple to be built. Such lighting would violate the current county code adopted in 2002 intended to preserve dark sky.
Another Utah Temple that Has Angel Moroni pointing in the wrong direction, The Red Hills Temple which is the second Temple to be build in St. George has now placed the crowning Angel Moroni on top. It is not facing East but it is facing North. The reasons behind this is because aesthetically it looks better. I cant help but think that a lot of these changes the Church makes are for aesthetic reasons, but what we lose are the deep rooted symbols that point us to the something bigger and more heavenly.
On the fourth day of creation, 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: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so."
These "lights in the firmament" include the sun, the moon, and the stars. The lights of heaven were given to us first as “signs” and secondly as “seasons.” I believe we are not very good at looking for and understanding these "signs." It is my opinion that the most important "signs" in the heavens occur when there the lights in the firmament join together creating a specular heavenly event. For example, the alignment of the sun and the moon causing an eclipse creating one single "sign."
The TRIPLE ECLIPSES:
August 21, 2017
Oct. 14, 2023
April 8, 2024
In the upcoming months there will be important signs in the heavens we should pay attention to. These signs are solar eclipses. One has already occurred on August 21, 2017. It was called the Great American Solar Eclipse. I briefly posted about that event here on this post. It was interesting to see what happened shortly after that ellipse, like damages to the LDS Temples which I reported on this post and on this post.
I do not believe that ellipses are good signs. I think they are signs of warnings. Time magazine published a recent article about solar eclipses. The research reported that throughout history, humans believe that a solar eclipse is a sign of heavenly disapproval and have influenced tragic events that happened years later. Even today, an eclipse of the Sun is considered a bad omen in many cultures.
THIS OCTOBER: A RING OF FIRE
This year on Oct. 14, 2023, an annular solar eclipse will cross the United States in North America and well as though Central and South America. It is nicknames a "Ring of Fire". See photo below.
What makes this sign important is the Path of Totality. It will pass through not only Utah but through much of the United States, Central America and then South America... ending though the city of Natal, Brasil where I served for about 6 months. Natal means "relating to the place of time of one's birth. It is also the Portuguese name for Christmas.
Probably the most important of the Total Solar Eclipses will be on April 8, 2024. I have posted about that event HERE in this post.
Only God could create this event. It was recently described by a friend of mine in these words:
"From the surface of the earth, the sun occupies a place in the firmament exactly the same as the space occupied by the moon. The sun’s diameter is 109 times the earth’s diameter. The moon is 1/4th the size and less than 1/80th the mass of the earth. From the surface of the earth the sun and moon occupy an identical area in the firmament. Their matching size and location are both located on the ecliptic, making it possible for both an eclipse of the sun and the moon. This was ordained by God to testify in the heavens and about Him and His work."
I find it interesting that one of the cities in the Path of Totality is Kirtland, Ohio. Preparations are being made for a conference to be held in the Kirtland Temple that weekend of April 6th, 2024 just days before the solar eclipse.
A few weeks ago was the Winter Solstice. I look forward to this day every year. There was an email response to question posted on a blog with the following information about the solstices as well as a future temple that needs to be built. Here are some excerpts from that email. The Winter Solstice is a day of “light winning over darkness.” It is based on natural ebb and flow of sunlight on this planet. The longest night and shortest day are the day before the Solstice. ...The beginning of light returning, and lengthening daylight, is the Solstice.
In response to a question about God not presently having a house on earth, it should be clear this is not a reference to men as the temple of God. God does dwell with some now living.
Nor is it a reference to the various synagogues, cathedrals, chapels, temples and religious facilities constructed by all the various religions in which men practice their rites and devotions to God. Some of those are lovely, quiet and filled with reverence and beauty.
It is a reference to a House God will visit and accept as His. He will appear there, send His messengers (angels) to visit and open a fiery corridor between heaven and earth. Or, in other words, a place where a pillar of fire will dwell.
This was not a criticism of places of worship used by men today. It is an observation of present conditions and a description of what will need to be built and accepted prior to the Lord’s return. It will need to be constructed strictly, in accordance with the pattern God requires, and not something men presently construct as their places of worship.
Everything from the location to the details of the design must be according to God’s instructions. It will be proof on the earth for heaven to behold, showing to the Powers of Heaven that mankind (however few) are listening to Him and are now willing to do what He asks. God will control if and when it will be done, and who will be permitted to construct His House. This will not be a volunteer project. God alone will bring it to pass, using means determined by Him.
There must be a site prepared, and an invitation extended, before the Lord’s return. That place must be hallowed. It is a necessary precondition for His return. It is from that site the sanctification of the earth will proceed. Eventually the whole earth will be renewed.
Until there is a House of God that will be accepted as His to observe this important events, I try and observe it in nature which requires a hike in the snow. This year I hiked to a suspension bridge up in th foothills of the Wasatch Mountains above the Bonneville Shoreline. Here are a few photos. I am always amazed at how nature responds to those who faithfully observe the marked days of the seasons.