Wednesday, October 8, 2014


I set my alarm last night for 4:00 AM to watch the lunar eclipse. There was some cloud cover over the Salt Lake Valley but as the eclipse began, the clouds gave way allowing visibility to see the full blood moon. Here is a photo I took right at 4:44 AM.

The word 'eclipse' means to obscure or block out light. It is to deprive someone or something of light, acknowledgement, power or prominence.  In the case of the lunar eclipse, the earth's shadow blocks out the light that would otherwise shine on the moon. 
On Sunday morning, I personally felt that there was another "eclipse". Synonyms for the word eclipse are: overshadow, surpass, exceed, outstrip, outdo, top, trump, outshine and upstage. In the Sunday morning session of the LDS conference, the first three talks focused solely on the President of the Church eclipsing the Lord Jesus Christ. To illustrate this better, I took these three conference talks and made a word cloud. A word cloud is generated by giving greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. The word  'Prophet'   alone was spoken over 74 times, the word 'President' was mentioned 55 times, and 'Church' was said 53 times.
The name 'Jesus Christ' was said only 12 times. The Book of Mormon makes it clear that there is only one name under Heaven that we might receive salvation. In Mosiah 3:17 is reads: "And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent."
Furthermore, in the Sunday afternoon session, the first talk given by Elder Ballard emphasized the Prophet and the apostles of the Church. We were instructed to keep our eyes and focus on the leaders of the Church.

Elder Ballard said, “Keep the eyes of the mission on the leaders of the Church. We will not and cannot lead you astray.....And as you teach your missionaries to focus their eyes on us."

Following our leaders, following the brethren, following the prophet is not scriptural. Instead we read in the scriptures where we only should have trust in the Lord and not man. Nephi exclaims, "O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm." 2 Nephi 4:34.


Anonymous said...

I thought of you and your word clouds when conference was on, I wondered if you would make one. :)

Anonymous said...

Why do you yield any of your autonomy to any authority that has never proven to you that the things they claim are true? Shouldn't you demand proof and justification for all that their claims to be? It seems you have many doubts, maybe explore those. Truth does not require faith. You don't need to bear your testimony about the law of gravity, to strengthen your faith in it and persuade others of the law gravity.

Whitney said...

We need "to be like children, who are willing to be taught and then to act without first demanding full knowledge." ( This is a teaching that is repeated in scripture and by our leaders today. The Lord would not allow the scriptures and our leaders to misguide us. We look to them to tell us what the Lord expects of us, we want to obey the scriptures and the our leaders because the Lord will teach us through these "authorities" as you call them.
Concerning your advice to explore our doubts, there are a number of scriptures that warn against that, even our leaders teach us that doubt is dangerous to entertain too much. We need to place our trust in the word of God and be obedient. I know there are scriptures that say we need to prove all things, but that does not mean literally prove all things, we cannot be reckless in entertaining ideas that lead us away from the influence of the scriptures, our leaders, and the Holy Ghost, which by the way, I have the gift of the Holy Ghost and it tells me true things that are from God. If I disobey my leaders enough they will punish me and I will lose all the blessings I have received in the Church, including my covenants I made in the temple and even the gift of the Holy Ghost, and if I lose that I am seriously lost. Our leaders and scriptures make it very clear that we are dealing with life and death circumstances not just for this life but for all eternity, that is why they are so insistent that we obey and heed their words. Our leaders encourage us to obey them and discipline us when we don't because they love us and they have great concern about are eternal welfare. I might not have actual knowledge but my scriptures and leaders have taught me that I can "know" in a spiritual way until that day I get rewarded with actual knowledge of the things they teach, but I need to obey and place my trust in that spiritual knowledge first until then. That's the way it works, my friend, my faith will be rewarded if I am faithful and true to the things I am told in the scriptures and by my leaders. If I get ensnared by any doubts you are encouraging us to explore then I will pay for that for the rest of eternity! The risk is to great! I have to be steadfast and valiant in my faith if I want Celestial glory with my Christ, Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother and my family. Again this is eternal life and death we are talking about, we cannot afford to be disobedient and explore our doubts and questions.
Heavenly Father can give you this spiritual knowledge too, but you will first need to submit yourself to His guidance given to us by the scriptures and our leaders in these latter days.

Eliza said...

D&C 76:61
Wherefore let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.

I read these word before the Sunday morning session. I cried as I heard Eyring say that what we do is not hero worship. I don't know their hearts and it's not for me to judge them personally. But I will judge the message of anyone who is asking me to remove my gaze from the Savior and fix it on them.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your thoughts which were mine, precisely. I wondered if I was the only one disturbed by the emphasis on following the leaders during this last General conference. It got to where I had to turn it off, it so sickened me.

I did a search, sometime ago, in the scriptures, to find where it says to follow a prophet. But there were none, other than perhaps a reference by Joseph Smith, and Paul, who said to keep their eyes on them as they point to Christ. In those statements they showed that it was not they, themselves, that we were to follow, but Christ.
We have been warned repeatedly in scripture to not trust in the arm of flesh,
as well as being warned over and over of the danger of false prophets.

What was disturbing, in searching the net, to find many references to Islamic teachings to follow a prophet, to name a few sites:
There are no commands by the Lord, in scripture, to follow a prophet.
But there are plenty of Muslims listings on the net, to do so:

"Follow the Prophet" Lyrics, Drakkar, & 27 more Drakkar lyrics. - 32k - Cached - Similar pages

Imam's Corner : We Must Follow the Prophet (S.A.W.)
We Must Follow the Prophet (S.A.W.). In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. (Friday speech delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie at the Islamic ... - 17k - Cached - Similar pages

Follow the Prophet (saw) until the Light within You Shines ...
Follow the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam until the Light within You Shines ..... Allah said to the Prophet (s), “If you really love me follow. ... - 30k - Cached - Similar pages

We should give honor and respect to those who lead us righteously and
who humbly seek to fulfill their obligations as God's servants.But such humble
servants would not place themselves between us and Christ.
Leaders do not deserve mindless following of them, without question,
as if they are perfect and incapable of leading us down the wrong path
due to their own fallabilities--either of their silence, or of giving their own advice
as they speak words out of their own heart and not from God's command.

When God said to not take his name in vain, I believe it meant more than
using his name as a cuss word. I believe it meant that no one is suppose
to presume to speak in his name when he has not commanded them to
speak. To do is to use his name like a merit badge as a means to gain
followers who believe he is speaking for the Lord when he is only
speaking his own thoughts.

Prophets are not incapable of error. The only way you will not
be deceived or go astray is if you study the words of God about
his prophets and the doctrines of Christ, enough to know when
words being spoken, or not spoken, are contrary to God's words
which have already been given.
Each prophets' words should testify of the truths which God has spoken
to former prophets.
Isaiah says of latter-day prophets that "they stagger in their
decisions," and that they are as "dumb watchdogs, lolling seers, fond of
slumber" thus showing that we are to be awake and aware of whom we
choose to follow.
Indeed, God has given many references to beware of
following the arm of flesh

Simon said...

Seems to me there are many here that have willful blindness when it comes to what is deemed scripture. A serious and through study of the history how scripture came to be scripture, then a through study in the different authors, their culture and history how they came to write down what they did and when they did would be a revelation to many here.

Anonymous said...


You said you need to be steadfast and valiant in your faith, but what you mostly described was that you are living in fear and that is why you obediently obey the scriptures and church leaders. You claim you "know" things by the spirit, but the main argument for your obedience is based on fear. I think your "faith" is based on your "doubts". It seems irrational they way you live your life.

Anonymous said...

I too noted the overwhelming references to following church leaders instead of putting emphasis on the only true source of salvation wh. is Jesus Christ. Two things came to mind as I listened, 1. Denver Snuffer recently mentioned that authority had been wrested from church leaders by Christ, 2. The Spirit told me some days before conference that I would hear that wh. would convince me that remaining in the church was optional, or in other words, not a NECESSITY for my salvation.
Both were confirmed to me, esp. as I listened to Russell M. Nelson.
James Russell Uhl

Rob said...

2 Nephi 28:31
31 Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.

me said...

Could you make a word cloud for the entire October 2014 conference? These three talks stood out to me as well, but there were others that seemed more focused on Christ. Anyway, I'm just wondering what the overall imbalance currently may be at. Going even further (I don't expect you to do this), it would be really cool to see a word cloud for each of the 15 over the last several years of addresses. It would be cool to see their individual biases. God speed. I love this blog.

Greg said...

You can't cherry pick talks like that. That is pretty lame. Here is the word clouds for the entire conference and each session.

Anonymous said...

I too would find that interesting. Even if the word cloud showed that the word Jesus or Christ was spoken more than other words. That still is no indication that we as a people are still not continuing to "draw near to him with our lips, but have a heart far from Him"

Trevor said...

To quote anonymous above: That still is no indication that we as a people are still not continuing to "draw near to him with our lips, but have a heart far from Him"

Taylor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Taylor said...

Elder Ballard said this on Sunday Afternoon:

“I have discovered in my ministry that those who have become lost [and] confused are typically those who have most often … forgotten that when the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve speak with a united voice, it is the voice of the Lord for that time."

Since when is consensus among men equivalent to the voice of the Lord? Consensus is consensus. Revelation is revelation. Being moved upon by the Spirit is being moved upon by the Spirit (D&C 68:4). Those words are not all interchangeable. When you interchange them, you make men into objects of adoration and well... you end up telling people to follow those men as if they were God. Elder Ballard's comment seems to vaguely stem from D&C 68:4

4 And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.

His comment seemed to apply the ideas in last parts of the verse without the qualifying first part.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of willful blindness in most humans, cherry picking is confirmation bias, everyone does it.

Along this line of thought check out this very interesting study in the placebo effect LINK ( it takes a few moments to load the talk and power points ), personally I see a lot of correlation between religious faith, the placebo effect and confirmation bias.

Anonymous said...

Why shouldn't I be suspicious of you being under the influence of anaesthesia during conference?

Anonymous said...

That link above to the presentation on the placebo effect was interesting!

Another correlation to point out is between the the studies presented and willful blindness. That is very symbolic too.

Anonymous said...

Putting your trust in the arm of Joseph Smith' flesh with that pseudepigrapha verse is not helping.

MelissaM said...

Please remove from every word cloud "Jesus" and "Christ" once for each talk to account for the closing in the name of.