Sunday, December 23, 2018


Out of respect and honor for the Prophet Joseph Smith of whose Birthday is today, here is the latest video vignette for The Christian Restoration Series. 

Friday, December 21, 2018


Photo taken of the sunrise on top of Haleakala at an elevation of 10,023 feet. 

The following article from Hugh Nibley, written more than half a century ago, is a timely reminder of the importance of this time of year. This article originally appeared in Millennial Star 112/1 (January 1950), 4-5.  

Long before the Christian Church was ever heard of, people throughout the world celebrated one great festival that far overshadowed all other social activities in importance. That was the great Year Rite, the celebration of the creation of the world and the dramatization of a plan for overcoming the bondage of death. It took place at the turn of the year when the sun, having reached its lowest point on the meridian, was found on a joyful day to be miraculously mounting again in its course; it was a day of promise and reassurance, heralding a new creation and a new age. Everywhere the great year festival was regarded as the birthday of the whole human race and was a time of divination and prophecy, marked by a feast of abundance in which all gave and received gifts as an earnest hope of good things to come.

There is plenty of evidence in the early Christian writings that Christ was born not at the solstice but in the spring, early in April.  Much has been written on the shifting of his birthday celebration to make it coincide with the day of Sol Invictus, a late Romanized version of an oriental midwinter rite. In other parts of the world, people had no difficulty identifying the Lord’s birthday with the greatest of popular festivals. When Pope Zacharias rebuked the Germans on the Rhine for their pagan festival at midwinter, Boniface could answer him back, that if he objected to heathen feasts and games, all he had to do was look around him at Rome, where he would see the same feasting, drinking, and games on the same ancient holy days to celebrate the same blessed event—he was referring, of course, to the Saturnalia, the great prehistoric festival of the Romans. Our own Yule, carols, lights, greenery, gifts, and games are evidence enough that a northern Christmas is no importation from the East in Christian times but something far older.

Now, there is no law of the mind that requires all men everywhere to put just one peculiar interpretation on the descent and return of the sun in its course. This complex and specialized festival, which follows so closely the same elaborate pattern in Babylonia, Egypt, Iceland, and Rome, is now recognized to be no spontaneous invention of untutored minds but the remnant of a single tradition ultimately traceable to one common lost source. The essential feature of this great world [Page 69]festival everywhere is that it aims, if but for a few short days, to recapture the freedom, love, equality, abundance, joy, and light of a Golden Age, a dimly remembered but blessed time in the beginning when all creatures lived together in innocence without fear or enmity, when the heavens poured forth ceaseless bounty, and all men were brothers under the loving rule of the King and Creator of all. Is it at all surprising that the Christian world’s celebration of the Savior’s birth should fall easily and naturally into the pattern of the older rites? In the end they are really the same thing—both are recollections of forgotten dispensations of the Gospel; both are attempts to recall an age of lost innocence and lost blessings.

Lost? Who can doubt it? There is a nostalgic sadness about Christmas, as there is about the Middle Ages, with their everlasting quest of something that has been lost. Christmas is a small light in a great darkness; it is evidence of things not seen. It is not the real thing but the expression of a wish, for like the great year rites of the ancients, it merely dramatizes what once was and what men feel they can still hope for. A brief, brave show of generosity and cheer is our assurance that earth can be fair, and we gladly join with all mankind in the gesture. In so doing we would remind the world that Christmas is both a demonstration of man’s capacity for enjoying good and sharing it and of his helplessness to supply it from his own resources. The great blessings we seek at Christmas are not of our own making (the everyday world is our handiwork) but must come from another world, even as Father Christmas comes to the children as a visitor from afar. The painful fact that Christmas has an end and “all things return to their former state” is an adequate commentary on the actual state of things. The world, [Page 70]which denies revelation, once a year has a moment of lucidity in which men are permitted to hope; then it returns to its old disastrous routine—but because of Christmas that routine can never be the same. For men have allowed themselves to be caught off guard, for a brief moment they have let down the barriers and shown where their hearts really lie; Scrooge the man of business can never go back again after his Christmas fling—however ashamed he may be of it in the cold light of day, it is too late to deny that he has shown Scrooge the man of the world to be but a mask and an illusion.

So the Latter-day Saints have always been the greatest advocates of the Christmas spirit; nay, they have shocked and alarmed the world by insisting on recognizing as a real power, what the world prefers to regard as a pretty sentiment. Where the seasonal and formal aspect of Christmas is everything, it becomes a hollow mockery. If men really want what they say they do, we have it, but faced with accepting a real Savior who has really spoken with men, they draw back, nervous and ill at ease. In the end lights, tinsel, and sentimentality are safer, but a sense of possibilities still rankles, so to that we shall continue to appeal. For by celebrating Christmas the world serves notice that it is still looking for the Gospel.

Today is Friday, December 21, 2018 and at 3:23 pm MST will mark the winter solstice.

This solstice is particularly special this year as the upcoming December full moon, named the Cold Moon, will be visible in the night sky along with the Ursid meteor shower.

Photo from the early morning hike of the first sunrise after the Winter Solstice.

Monday, November 19, 2018


“A man who has been in another world does not come back unchanged.”
C.S. Lewis

Some photos from a camping trip on Antelope Island this past weekend. 
 It is amazing what you can see with a zoom lens as well as with a telescope.

Photo taken from Antelope Island looking due north at Fremont Island.

Below photo of the moon taken from the lens of a telescope. 

 Photo of the west side of Antelope Island showing the receding water level of the Great Salt Lake which continues to get lower and lower leaving behind a salty beach.

 Unfortunately I didn't make it up to the summit in time to see the sun go down.  This is the best view I was able to get. 

Another photo of the moon. First time I have been able to capture the blue atmosphere of the moon. 

Seven Ring spiral rock where we camped.

One of hundreds of roaming Bison. No need to drive up to Yellowstone to get up close and personal.


"95 Percent of Our Ward Members Lost Their Homes": An Update on Church Members in Paradise, CA

Since the Camp Fire erupted November 8 in Butte County, it has killed 77 people, destroyed more than 10,500 homes and torched an area the size of Chicago.

The Camp Fire is already the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. And with 993 people still unaccounted for, officials fear the death toll could keep rising.

As of yesterday. November 18, 2018, the Camp Fire had seared 150,000 acres and was 65% contained.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints burns during Camp Fire in Paradise, Calif.. on Thursday, November 8, 2018.

Image result for paradise ca fire

For anyone who is a Father.. this video will inspire you. It shows how to provide hope in the face of danger. Unbelievable.. and although it is a little long. it is worth watching until the very end.

Monday, November 12, 2018


LDS Church plans to build the third tallest skyscraper in Salt Lake City.

"The new tower would also be directly across the street from City Creek Center, the upscale LDS Church-built, open-air shopping and residential campus. The $1.5 billion mall, built during the Great Recession, opened to the public in 2012."

"The church-backed skyscraper — being called Tower 8 / 95 State in city paperwork — is proposed to rise 395 feet in the air, according to blueprints from San Francisco-based architects with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill."

Not sure if I have the energy to add commentary to this latest announcement that the Church is going to continue to build luxury high rise buildings when I see so much need for homeless shelters, domestic violence women's facilities, soup kitchens.. or even affordable housing for young families who are struggling... but I guess those endeavors don't bring in revenue to get gain.

Makes you want to ask the question: 

Thursday, November 1, 2018


President Russell M Nelson's wife says:

He’s finally ‘free to follow through’ with things 

he’s wanted to do.

Russell M. Nelson certainly isn’t afraid to shake things up. The whirlwind of change since he took the faith’s helm proves that.

In fact, says the person closest to him, he thrives on it.

"He's not afraid to do something different,” Wendy Nelson says. “If we're really preparing the church and the world for the Second Coming of the savior, he is sincere about that."

“It is as though he's been unleashed. He's free to finally do what he came to earth to do. … He's free to follow through with things he's been concerned about but could never do. Now that he's president of [the church], he can do those things


In my humble opinion, it is never about what we want to do, or to follow through with things we have been concerned about, or things we could never do until we were in a position of power and authority.

To me... It is all about what the Lord, and what He wants done. We don't do anything until He asks us to do it, and we do it exactly in the manner He wants it to be accomplished.

The following is what I would expect a servant of the Lord to say:

"This is my focus: I try to do what I have been asked, when asked to do it, in exactly the manner it is told me to accomplish, and to leave the results entirely to the Lord. If I do only what He asks, then the outcome is His alone. I cannot take credit or blame. I cannot be flattered or criticized, because it has but little to do with me. If it results in something great, then I do not own it and can take no credit for it. If it results in something terrible then I cannot blame myself for failure or take upon myself the disappointment. If I respect man's agency and allow them to choose, then I have discovered that I ought to likewise respect God's agency and allow Him to lead. Given my limitations I may suggest, petition, give observations, protest, and complain to the Lord, but I have no right to reject His direction and fail to follow His instructions.

There is no such thing as a "spiritual accomplishment." As soon as we think we have achieved that our hearts are off track. There is only humility and meekness. These two virtues allow God to accomplish something, because it removes our own vanity and pride from the equation. No matter how well-intended, we are NOT God, we are NOT wise, and we do not have at our disposal enough intelligence to out-think our adversaries. God can. We cannot. If we want to fail, then we just need to take the initiative. If we wish to succeed, then we kneel before God and do as He asks."



In a recent interview posted yesterday, President Nelson said the following:

"We're witnesses to a process of restoration,” said the prophet. "If you think the Church has been fully restored, you're just seeing the beginning. There is much more to come.. Wait till next year. And then the next year. Eat your vitamin pill. Get your rest. It's going to be exciting"

So to me if we are in the process to fully restoring the Church.. I would think we would not be reducing, eliminating and subtracting things. Not changing what was first given to us by Joseph Smith..but receiving more Light and Truth, adding to our scriptures, etc. 

Here is a comment that I read recently that sums it up really well.: 

"I think it's a pretty big universe out there; 
"God" likely has more to do than worry about names 
and hours in church and summer-time shows."


Wednesday, October 31, 2018


On the evening of the 31st of October, 1517 Martin Luther sat down and wrote the  95 Thesis, or bullet points of criticism, that lashed into the Catholic Church and the pope. He then nailed them to the door of Wittenberg’s Castle Church. It was a blistering attack on the greatest power of the day. Today marks the end of the 500th year of that important event.

Here is the latest installment of videos that have been created to commemorate the Protestant  Reformation as well as the Christian Restoration. This is the 3rd video in the Second Series which brings us to the important date of 1820.

The next video will introduce Joseph Smith.

"Joseph grew up in a poor New England family and received only a limited education. He claimed God the Father and Jesus Christ visited him in 1820, John the Baptist visited both him and Oliver Cowdery conferring the authority to baptize, and other angels visited him, conveying heavenly information and authority tp restore the original Christian church.
Smith was a controversial figure while alive. Editorial pages in the United States and Britain praised or condemned him, and he was often the target of newspaper cartoon caricatures. Despite the controversy, he attracted tens of thousands of followers. He is regarded as a prophet of God by followers, and anything from a cynical manipulator to a deluded simpleton by his critics.

Smith was the first religious figure to publish new scriptures since Mohammed, and was frequently compared to Mohammed . Smith added to the Bible other volumes of scripture: The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and, posthumously the Pearl of Great Price.

Smith solved problems inherent in the Protestant Reformation. Protestantism is predicated on Catholic failure, apostasy and error.

But if Catholicism erred, and Protestantism grew from and is dependent upon Catholicism for its scriptures, Creeds and fundamental theology, how can an error be “reformed” back to a whole and correct original? But if Catholicism erred, and Protestantism grew from and is dependent upon Catholicism for its scriptures, Creeds and fundamental theology, how can an error be “reformed” back to a whole and correct original? If men failed to preserve the original, how can you reclaim from a broken part the whole original? And if the original body of beliefs can be reclaimed, how can Protestants ever obtain the original authority? It cannot be derived from Catholicism, since the Roman Catholic Church refused to convey authority to the Protestants? Joseph Smith claimed to have reestablished the original Christian church, with authority from heaven and increased knowledge required for salvation. His efforts produced, he believed, something other than Catholicism and Protestantism, it was a Restoration of Jesus Christ’s church.

Over eighty different sects claim Joseph Smith as their founder. The largest is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. None of them have retained the original teachings, nor been faithful to the church model Smith established.

Joseph was opposed, mobbed, imprisoned, tarred and feathered, and sentenced to die by a Missouri Military courts martial. Much of the persecution he faced came from disaffected former Mormon believers. It was a conspiracy between renegade former Smith-believers and local anti-Mormons that led to his murder in Carthage, Illinois on June 27, 1844. His brother, Hyrum Smith, was slain in the same attack.

Smith’s claims can be summarized by a testimony he declared, jointly with Sidney Rigdon, of Jesus Christ: “the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings and they were opened, and the glory of the Lord shone round about. And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fulness; And saw the holy angels, and them who are sanctified before his throne, worshiping God, and the Lamb, who worship him forever and ever. And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.”

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


I don't claim to know everything that offends God but we do know some of things that offends Him from reading the scriptures.

In addition to those things, President Nelson has recently added one more thing that is apparently offensive to the Lord:

While I understand that taking out the name of the Lord would be offensive to Him. I also believe adding things to the name of His Church might even be MORE offensive. Instead of trying to get everyone to stop using the name Mormon or LDS.. maybe we should start by changing the actual legal name of the Church which is:

OR THIS FOR SHORT ( a nickname) 

If you look at any check that you might receive from the Church or who the Ward Finance Clerk will deposit the tithing donations to.. It is the Corporation of the President. Is that much better than Mormon? or LDS Church? If this is the Lord's Church that we give our money to.. why then does it not even have His name. 

See below examples:
Below is a reimbursement check from The Church for items that were purchased for our ward. I assume this money comes from the Church's general tithing fund that is then distributed to each ward for their yearly budget. On the check is Corporation of the President. 

Also here are the directions from the Church on how you should send in money to the Church that you don't pay directly to your local ward or branch.
Donations by check
To send in a check for a donation make the check payable to:
Corporation of the President.

Mail all donations to:
Corporation of the President
50 E North Temple, Room 1521
Salt Lake City, UT 84150
If you have further questions, please call 801-240-2554 or 1-800-453-3860 ext 2-2554 or email


If I was a Catholic and was asked to give my tithing money by filling out my check to the following:
I think I would be asking some questions on where my money was really going. 

Friday, October 12, 2018


My daughters are currently studying hard for their mid-term exams. One of them has been staying up very late trying to finish an important assignment that is due before her test. Teachers give these assignments to help their students learn important concepts that will help them pass the exam. These assignments can be submitted online but need to be turned in before midnight the day before the test. The assignment is then graded and given back. The students are not able to redo these assignments.  If  potential is seen in the student,  the teacher will provide feedback to help them improve.  Comments and suggestions are given for the student to hopefully consider and implement for the next assignment. 

While not all of us are in school, all of us are given "assignments" in this life. Some are individual assignments and other assignments require an entire group of people to complete.

Recently an assignment was given to a group of people. It was a difficult assignment that took almost 2 years to complete. Time had been far spent and because the students loved and honored their Teacher, the assignment was finally turned in. Almost immediately the Teacher responded back and accepted and approved their assignment.  The Teacher said:

"I accept the statement you have adopted 
and approve it as your statement to be added."

In addition with approval to move forward, the teacher provided much needed feedback to the students. All the students were acknowledged by the Teacher for their contributions in accomplishing the task. The students felt that the Teacher was aware of each of their struggles during the assignment and began to heal and recover for the next assignment. 

Some students began to read different interpretations from others about the response from the Teacher. Some wondered and even questioned if the Lord really did accept the assignment because He didn't say it was "His"... The students forgot that the assignment will always be "ours" because of our need to continue to learn. Doubt set it and a few students thought it wise to begin to redo the assignment...hoping to get a better "grade." Even if the student decide to redo the assignment and turn it in again, the Teacher is not obligated to accept and might even be offended that we didn't take His word for it that is was already approved.

I think it is wise to take under consideration three scenarios.

The task given by the Teacher was never about the assignment.. but to learn for the final exam. Progression is to continue to learn from the past and move forward. A Master Teacher wants His students to progress, not to go back and regress. The past is where you learned the lesson, the future is where you apply the lesson. The Teacher want His students to continue to move forward. 

Proverbs 26:11

Thursday, October 11, 2018


"If we allow nicknames to be used or adopt 
or even sponsor those nicknames ourselves, 
He is offended."
President Russell M Nelson

"To remove the Lord’s name from the Lord’s Church is 
a major victory for Satan
President Russell M Nelson

So, apparently these are major victories for Satan and offensive to the Lord. 
How did we let this happen?

Good thing we are correcting things now. So unlike the rest of the world who are fine with their own shortened iconic names, we now want everyone to refer to us with a 12 word phrase.

A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
. or maybe they could call us now "anti-Mormons" for short. :)

Whether or not, the Lord really is offended by nicknames, I find it interesting that all of the Lord's people have been referred to in scriptures by "nicknames".. like the Israelites, the Nephites, the Jaredites, the Ammonites,etc. and even the repentant Lamanites who kept their nickname even though it could be viewed as less than positive.

Personally I am just hoping that I am worthy of being called a  simple Christian.


I took all the talks given by President Nelson at conference and did a "wordle" which gives greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the talks. Looking at this, I think maybe we focus too much on CHURCH than we do JESUS CHRIST.

and just for the record:

On April 6, 1830, when Joseph Smith and five other men formally established the Church it was called the Church of Christ. The church was known by this name, Church of Christ,  from 1830 to 1834. It was NOT originally called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A number of other churches also used the name "Church of Christ" which caused a some confusion. So instead of keeping that name, we acquiesced and in May 1834, the church adopted a resolution that the church would be known thereafter as "The Church of the Latter Day Saints". 

Eight years later after the Church had been established, a revelation to Joseph Smith changed the name of the Church again to include Christ's name yet Joseph Smith also used the term Mormonism.

A modern day prophet also didn't seem to mind the term Mormon either. President Hinckley said the following in his conference address:

"Mormon means “more good.”It also means more of tolerance and mutual respect and helpfulness. Said the Prophet Joseph Smith, speaking in Nauvoo in the year 1843:
“The Saints can testify whether I am willing to lay down my life for my brethren. If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a ‘Mormon.’ I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves.” (History of the Church, 5:498.)

I testify that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that when people speak of us by the name of this book, they will compliment us, if we will live worthy of the name, remembering that in a very real sense Mormonism must mean that greater good which the Lord Jesus Christ exemplified. "

Friday, October 5, 2018


It is now official
The MoTab is now the NoTab


Joseph Smith didn't seem to mind the word Mormon or Mormonism. Here are a few quotes:

"One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may."

Joseph Smith Jr.
Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 199 (9 July 1843)

"Mormonism is truth; and every man who embraces it 
feels himself at liberty to embrace every truth" 

Joseph Smith Jr.
Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 March 1839


No longer using the name 'Mormon' is like no longer 
using the name 'Jew' and calling them a 'Latter-day Israelite'


Thursday, October 4, 2018


On the LDS Church News Facebook page is the following news: 

"After basking in the historic visit of President Russell M Nelson to Seattle, 
local members of the Church now view Safeco Field as holy ground."

In my last post, I mentioned President Nelson's talk to almost 50,000 people in Seattle's Safeco baseball stadium. Since his talk given on the 2nd base, some people are already predicting that the Mariners will win the World Series now that President Nelson has walked on the field and made it "holy ground." Well, I am not sure that will happen, but one thing that you can be sure of .. and will always happen... is whenever the current prophet enters the room, members of the Church stand. Here a video that has been created to explain why. 

What is really interesting is that the members don't even need to be in the physical location where the Prophet is at.... and they still stand. Case in point, Priesthood holders around the world sitting in their stake centers to watch the General Conference Priesthood Session via satellite will all stand up as soon as they show President Nelson walk into the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.  I get it.. it is out of respect that everyone stands.. We would do it for the President of the United States.. however, when I watch Trump enter the room on TV.. I don't stand. But some reason we do for Nelson.  We stand because we believe he is God's spokesman on earth. We believe he receives revelation. His wife testifies that he does... so then I find the below "trailer" called "Prepare to be Inspired" with the below invitation to watch this weekend's General Conference to use interesting words.

The First Presidency, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and other General Authorities and General Officers of the Church will deliver messages of inspiration and guidance in five sessions:

I find it interesting that they use the word "messages of inspiration" and not the word "revelation." There is a huge difference between inspiration and revelation.
  • Inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
  • Revelation is the divine communication from God to men about sacred truths that was before unknown to them
The last part of the invitation is really important" 
Conference provides an opportunity to receive personal revelation as living prophets give counsel and direction. Asking questions can help you prepare for conference, increasing personal revelation while you watch.

The following are some excerpts from a blog post that was written by a good friend of mine. He asks some very important questions to ask yourself as we prepare this Conference Weekend. I believe it would be beneficial for members of the Church to reflect on some of these questions.

Questions to ask for personal preparation:

1. Am I repentant, ceaselessly prayerful, and diligently obedient to the commandments so that God can reveal his mysteries to me?
Alma 26:21-22D&C 93:28&39
2. Is my heart soft and ready to receive correction by God? Alma 12:10,

3. Am I willing to consider that some of my most cherished beliefs may be incomplete, inadequate to save, or altogether wrong?
 Helaman 15:7-8
4. Have I studied the scriptures closely and carefully, and do I know them well enough to detect when I am being taught false traditions rather than God’s words? Mosiah 1:4-5
5. Do I trust in men or trust in God? Am I willing to discard anything I hear that is false, regardless of the one speaking? Likewise, am I willing to accept truth taught by someone regardless of their title, name, position, lack of position, gender,  race, slowness or sophistication of speech, or any other reason I have for dismissing their words?  Am I prepared to accept only what the spirit carries to my heart, and set the rest aside, even when others claim that the correct (and “faithful”) course is to accept everything that is taught?Jeremiah 17:5-8; 2 Nephi 28:31; D&C 1:17-20; 2 Nephi 33:1; D&C 50:19-20
Questions to keep in mind while listening to speakers:
1. Is this person a true high priest, meaning they teach the commandments of God, purely and unadulterated, in a way that will lead others to enter the rest of the Lord? At any point do they teach codes of conduct; procedural guidelines; traditional mores; or any other standards of dress, behavior, or diet as though they were commandments of God without providing a record of where and when God commanded them? Does this person carefully and clearly differentiate between commandments of God and commandments of men?Alma 13:6Matthew 15:7-9JS-H 1:19
2. Does this person encourage me to keep all the commandments of God? Or does this person teach me that it is impossible to do so, and that God’s grace will save us in our sins?JST Genesis 9:213 Nephi 14:24-274 Nephi 1:12Mosiah 2:13&22
3. Does this person keep the commandments of God (as found publicly stated in the scriptures), as far as I am able to observe?Mosiah 23:14
4. Is this person completely financially independent of the people to whom they are speaking? Are they esteemed as equal to their hearers? Do they receive a wage, salary, or stipend from their audience? Are their living expenses, housing, clothing, and food paid for by their parishioners? Are they esteemed above their hearers as evidenced both by the flow of money to them and by public displays of deference, praise, and reverence?Mosiah 2:14-15; Mosiah 18:24&26Mosiah 27:3-5 Alma 1:26Matthew 23:3-8
5. Does this person rely on persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, unfeigned love, kindness, and pure knowledge to influence others? Or do they attempt to exercise power or influence by virtue of their priesthood or institutional position? When they claim to know something, do they know it? Do they attempt to coerce obedience, compliance, or agreement by the weight of their title or their ability to withhold institutional privileges?D&C 121:41-42
6. Does this person remember the “new covenant” which is the Book of Mormon, or do they treat it “lightly” by misusing it or failing to reference it in their teaching? Are they teaching and expounding its principles? When they reference it (if they reference it), is their interpretation reasonable or are they reading into the text things that it does not say?D&C 84:54-581 Nephi 13:40-41
7. Does this person encourage me to trust in men, or to trust only in God? Does this person encourage me to be “no respecter of persons”, or does this person encourage the belief that some people’s teachings are more trustworthy due to their title or office in an institution? Does this person claim that there is a man or group of men will not, and indeed cannot, mislead me?Jeremiah 17:5-82 Nephi 28:31D&C 1:17-20
8. Does this person claim that the words of some religious leaders are the same as God’s words by virtue of their institutional position, or do they confine such a claim of equality only to instances where someone actually can truthfully testify that God has spoken?D&C 1:38
9. If this person claims the title “Prophet,” or claims their words and counsel are “prophetic”, have they stood in the presence of God and attended the divine council?Are they delivering words they were commanded by God to speak? Do they warn the audience clearly of their need for redemption, or do they assure them that their religious institution is indestructible and safety is found in loyalty to it?Jeremiah 23:13-22
10. Does this person teach that spiritual gifts, including visions, visitations, working miracles, and receiving revelation encompassing “all things” is the inevitable result of faith? Or does this person discourage me from seeking and obtaining these things by suggesting they are unavailable, given out sparingly and capriciously to random people, restricted to those whom God arbitrarily favors, or that they pose some spiritual danger? Does this person teach that the Lord will only give me revelation about things pertaining to my specific institutional calling or family responsibility, and that therefore I cannot receive revelation outside of that narrow window? Or does this person teach that the purpose of the Holy Ghost is to make “all things” manifest to each of us as we repent, ask, seek, and knock?Moroni 7:36-37; Moroni 10:5; Joseph Smith’s letter to his Uncle Silas Smith; Moses 8:23-24; Joseph Smith on the topic of faith, fruits, and the gifts of the spirit
11. Does this person teach that people are saved by the redemption of Christ, meaning being brought back into his presence, or that people are saved by participating in religious rituals?Mosiah 13:27-32Moses 5:9-10
12. this person teach that I can only claim the blessings received by those in scripture (eternal life, sealing to spouse and children, etc.) by sacrificing all things and thereby receiving God’s personal assurance that I am accepted by Him? Or do they teach that these things can be obtained in some other way and that some other process can provide me with an assurance that I will receive them?Lecture on Faith 6:7-8Joseph Smith – 10 March 1844 – “Scriptural Items”
13. Does this person teach that I can gain the same knowledge or “testimony” as the people in the scriptures by gaining a spiritual witness that their words are true, or do they teach that I can only claim knowledge of the things I have personally experienced? Are they encouraging me to gain saving knowledge by actual contact with God (hearing his voice speaking words to me, receiving visitations, having visions, etc), or are they encouraging me to gain a generalized feeling of religious conviction? Do they adequately teach the difference between the two?1 Nephi 10:17-19Jacob 4:8Joseph Smith- 9 October 1843
14. Does this person claim that all things pertaining to life and godliness are only available as I come to know Jesus Christ personally? Do they teach that the personal knowledge of God is the main key that will put in my possession the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven? Do they teach that God’s personal promise of salvation will be the anchor to my soul that allows me to remain steadfast and overcome the world? Or do they teach that I can obtain these glories and mysteries without knowing God personally, and that I can remain steadfast and not faint without God’s assurance to me?2 Peter 1:3-4Joseph Smith – 14 May 1843 Lecture on Faith 6:4
15. Does this person claim to know God? If so, what experiences do they testify of to validate the claim? Do those experiences include physical contact with God, which is required for one to fully claim knowledge?Joseph Smith – 1 May 18423 Nephi 11:14Ether 3:18
16. If this person closes their talk “in the name of Jesus Christ,” have they truly been speaking his words, or have they taught anything that didn’t come from Him? If they are not quoting words given to them by God, are they accurately, correctly, and faithfully expounding the words given to others in the scriptures? Will a careful analysis of their teachings reveal that they consist of God’s words or of traditions not revealed by God?Jeremiah 23:16-221 Nephi 1:18 – 1 Nephi 2:1Helaman 13:3D&C 42:12-13
17. Does this person teach that the words of God given through Joseph Smith will, if heeded, prevent the gates of hell from prevailing against me, and will allow God to disperse the powers of darkness from before me? Or do they instead teach that Joseph’s teachings are subject to revision and deletion by current leaders, and that the scriptural promises which were once applied only to God’s words through Joseph now apply to others and not Joseph? Do they treat the oracles received through Joseph Smith carefully and respectfully, by relying on them to establish doctrine and truth? Or do they treat them lightly, preferring instead to correlate their teachings to other traditions?D&C 21D&C 90:5