Wednesday, December 18, 2019

2019.12.18 - WHAT WOULD JESUS DO WITH 100 BILLION DOLLARS?

 Yesterday after a whistleblower claims that the LDS Church stockpiled $100 Billion in charitable donations and dodge taxes, the First Presidency released a statement.

" Over many years, a portion is methodically safeguarded through wise financial management and the building of a prudent reserve for the future. This is a sound doctrinal and financial principle taught by the Savior in the Parable of the Talents and lived by the Church and its members. All Church funds exist for no other reason than to support the Church’s divinely appointed mission.
The reason why they give for safeguarding the money was the principles taught by the Savior in the Parable of the Talents?  I find it so interesting how people can interpret scripture so differently. While some could read the parable as justification to multiply what you have been given, others could read the parable as a condemnation, and teaching us of what NOT to do.

I might be wrong, but when I read the parable,  the servant with the one talent (in this case maybe his talent is only money).. hides that money from everyone else. The Lord then comes and says thou wicked and slothful servant.. you oughtest (thinkest) to have put My money to the exchangers (banks, hedge fund managers, stock brokers) and then at my Second Coming, you think I want the interest? This unprofitable servant is cast into outer darkness. I could be completely misinterpreting this though. I do find the following verses to be really interesting... it is the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats.


I think we would do well to reread Matthew 25. Quick one line summary of the parable:  The Sheep feeds the hungry, gives drink to the thirsty, takes in the stranger, clothes the naked, and visits the sick and those in prison. The Goats do not.

The Sheep are exalted and receive life eternal.
The Goats shall go away into everlasting punishment.

Maybe we can start giving some of those BILLIONS of dollars to the LEAST among us. Christ says that doing this is the same thing as giving it to Him. So maybe we don't need to wait to give him the lump sum when He comes again, but give it to the less fortunate NOW.
(and in my humble opinion, we would be even more "Profitable" servants)

 -----------
"Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me."
Matthew 25:45

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Sidenote:

From the Church Newsroom (was removed but has been archived HERE) Elder Andersen said the significance of the meeting with Vice President Mohadi was to “express to him our desire to help improve Zimbabwe.” He noted that Vice President Mohadi had made a specific request for support with the development of clean-water wells in more remote areas of Zimbabwe.“We want to help in every way we can,” said Elder Andersen. “We are not a wealthy people but we are good people, and we share what we have,” he added.

Really?  

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

2019.12.17 - WHAT WILL DESTROY ANY SOCIETY? WEALTH, POWER AND POPULARITY


In light of the recent events this past week, it is a good thing that we will be studying the Book of Mormon next year. Maybe we might take the prophesies and warnings seriously this time. The Book of Mormon warns us that there are four things that will destroy any society or institution. What are they?  Wealth, Power, Popularity, and the Lusts of the Flesh. The Book of Mormon begins with Nephi's prophesy that the time will come that ALL churches which are built up to get gain and become popular in the eyes of the world and seek after the things of the world must be brought low.

 "For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet." I Nephi 22:23 (Other verses to read: 2 Nephi 9:30; Alma 4:8; Helaman 7:12; 3 Nephi 6:15; Mormon 8:28)

For those who haven't read Hugh Nibley's BYU commencement speech given on August 19, 1983 here are a few highlights. The speech is called "Leaders and Managers".  The full transcript can be found here.
"Most of you are here today (BYU graduates) only because you believe that this charade will help you get ahead in the world. But in the last few years things have got out of hand; “the economy,” once the most important thing in our materialistic lives, has become the only thing. We have been swept up in a total dedication to “the economy,” which like the massive mud slides of our Wasatch Front, is rapidly engulfing and suffocating everything. If President Kimball is “frightened and appalled” by what he sees, I can do no better than to conclude with his words: “We must leave off the worship of modern-day idols and a reliance on the ‘arm of flesh,’ for the Lord has said to all the world in our day, `I will not spare any that remain in Babylon...
Moroni disappeared from the scene, the old coalition “did obtain the sole management of the government,” and immediately did “turn their backs upon the poor” (Helaman 6:39; emphasis added).. Such was the management that Moroni opposed. By all means, brethren, let us take “Captain Moroni” for our model, and never forget what he fought for—the poor, outcast, and despised; and what he fought against—pride, power, wealth, and ambition; or how he fought, as the generous, considerate, and magnanimous foe—a leader in every sense.


I sure hope this upcoming year that we  don't treat the Book of Mormon lightly. Here are a few recent news items to consider that possibly the Book of Mormon is a warning to us....  and not just the rest of all of the other churches who amass wealth, power and popularity.

WEALTH:  $100 billion tax-exempt investment fund. See story here:




POWER: 
"You can tell what’s informed the society by the size of the what the building is that’s the tallest building in the place. When you approach a medieval town, the cathedral’s the tallest thing in the place. When you approach a 17th century city, it’s the political palace that’s the tallest thing in the place. And when you approach a modern city, it’s office buildings and dwellings that are the tallest things in the place.
 And if you go to Salt Lake City, you’ll see the whole thing illustrated right in front of your face. First, the temple was built. The temple was built right in the center of the city. I mean, this was the proper organization, that’s the spiritual center from which all flows in all directions. And then the capitol was built right beside the temple, and it’s bigger than the temple. And now the biggest thing is the office building that takes care of the affairs of both the temple and the political building."
Excerpt from the transcript of an interview with Joseph Campbell, an American Professor of Literature. Full transcript found here.  

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POPULARITY
The social media singing star, Claire Crosby has more than 6 million followers on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram with social media video views numbering more than 1 billion. What better way to get more popularity than to create a video of yourself playing the piano while she sings and then you post it all over social media. Link to video here. 

Claire Crosby sings and is accompanied by President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Dec 6, 2019.
 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

2019.12.12 - GLOSSED OVER, PAVED OVER.. and SMOOTHED OVER

A FEW QUICK THOUGHTS:


GLOSSED OVER:

Just in case this event is glossed over.. I want to at least mention it here:

My family makes fun of me because I am a "moon" geek... sort of a "pseudo werewolf" because of my obsession at staring at the moon.  I also like the symbolism of numbers. So for those symbolic "werewolfs" out there... the last full moon of this decade will take place in less than 12 hours on December 12th, and the instant that the moon is full is 12:12 a.m. (EST)..... 12/12@12:12!

I don't blame any of you for glossing over that. Super geeky. 


PAVED OVER: 

Over an acre of land in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City has been used for over 43 years as a community garden. However, the LDS Church will soon be shutting down the garden and paving over it with concrete. They are turning it into a parking lot. Here is the news article: 



The reason for closing down the garden is because the LDS church is shuffling some of the SLC East side congregations. The Church is closing down the Douglas Ward Building due to diminishing attendance. It currently only has one congregation meeting there. Also the Church is selling another historic church building in the area to the University of Utah.  So to accommodate the closing, the members will need to travel further to a new building.... and unfortunately they need more parking space. The community of gardeners who have enjoyed growing fresh vegatables for decades will need to find another way to be self-sufficient in growing their own food  to make way for parked cars that will only use it for 2 hours on Sunday. 

Here is a photo of the Douglas building that the LDS Church is closing down. 

The Douglas Ward located on  721 S 1200 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84102


SMOOTHED OVER....

I starting writing about this months ago. However, I never posted it but thought it fit the theme of the blog title.

The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill is regarded as one of the largest environmental disasters in American history. The disaster on April 20, 2010 killed 11 workers as the oil rig sank into the Gulf of Mexico. It took nearly three months to stop the flow of oil. By then, four million barrels of crude had contaminated the ocean and the marine wildlife. The public was outraged at the oil company. BP hired some of the best Public Relations firms to try and regain public favor. Below is one of the commercials that was aired nationally.


Here is one of their feel good public relations videos:



Damage control is always needed whenever an institution makes a bad decision and they lose public favor. I use the above example as a backdrop for the following:

In the LDS Handbook of Instructions, there has always been a policy to restrict the baptism of children of polygamist families whose parents have practiced or are practicing plural marriage, an illegal form of marriage. However until recently the LDS handbook did NOT contain any restrictions for children whose parents are living in a same-gender relationship and considered LEGAL marriage.

To avoid a potential lawsuit that restricted one type of family that is not legal (polygamy) and not the other family which is LEGAL(same-sex marriage), the below policy was quietly added on November 15, 2017 to the LDS Handbook 1 of Instructions.

Here is the actual wording of the policy: (the bold word emphasis are mine)



There was NEVER a public announcement of the policy.

However, the policy was leaked to the public and the Church had a BP-type of disaster on their hands. Not only did the Church bar the children from baby blessings and baptism, but deeming same-sex married couples as “apostates” just like those practicing polygamy. It was reported in the local paper that "Hundreds, maybe more, resigned their church membership. Even believers felt wounded and betrayed. Families were torn. Tensions erupted. Some were disciplined by the church. Some died by suicide."

What some would view as caving into social pressure, the First Presidency reversed the policy in April of 2019.

The new policy was announced by President Dallin H Oaks, at a morning leadership training session for the area presidencies and top female officials.

“Effective immediately, children of parents who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender may be baptized without First Presidency approval,” Oaks said, “if the custodial parents give permission for the baptism and understand both the doctrine that a baptized child will be taught and the covenants he or she will be expected to make. In addition, same-sex Latter-day Saint parents no longer will be seen as “apostates.” In addition, officials said, the revamped policy clears the way for babies of such couples to be “blessed” in a traditional church ceremony.

This new policy changed was received as an overwhelming positive change. However, many started to question why the first policy was claimed as "revelation" in the first place. 

So in order to smooth over and minimize the need for damage control, President Nelson spoke at BYU just days before the October Conference. His talk was broadcasted worldwide.

 Here are some of his comments to "smooth over" the member's concerns over the revelation claims for this policy. The first "revelation" claim in 2015 to not allow children under 18 years of age to be baptized and then the "reversal revelation" in 2019.

"The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have continued to seek the Lord’s guidance and to plead with Him in behalf of His children who were affected by the 2015 policy. We knew that this policy created concern and confusion for some and heartache for others. That grieved us. Whenever the sons and daughters of God weep—for whatever reasons—we weep. So our supplications to the Lord continued.
We also took note of LGBT parents who sought permission from the First Presidency for their children to be baptized. In nearly every case in which the LGBT parents agreed to teach their children about—and be supportive of—the covenant of baptism, the requested exception was granted. 
As a result of our continued supplication, we recently felt directed to adjust the policy such that the baptism of children of LGBT parents may be authorized by bishops without First Presidency approval, if the custodial parents request the baptism and understand that a child will be taught about sacred covenants to be made at baptism. 
We also determined that LGBT parents may request that a baby be named and blessed by one who worthily holds the Melchizedek Priesthood. It is important that these parents understand that ward members will contact them periodically and that when a child who has been blessed reaches eight years of age, local leaders will recommend that the child be baptized."
It is interesting to see the downplay of using "revelation".  For example the word  "They felt directed" and "They determined."

On such important matters, I wonder if it is too much to ask to actually hear the Lord's voice in any of these decisions, like the "Lord directed" or "He determined."






Thursday, December 5, 2019

2019.12.05 - A LOST DOCTRINE - "MAKING YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE"

"Give diligence to make your 
calling and election sure."
2 Peter 1: 10

The assigned Sunday School lesson given last week in all of the LDS wards was on the Epistles of Peter.   The Prophet Joseph Smith said that “Peter penned the most sublime language of any of the apostles” (History of the Church 5:392).  However, it was interesting to see what was left out from the lesson manual. 

Here is a screen shot from the "Come Follow Me" Lesson Manual for 2 Peter 1:1-11.



I don't disagree with the importance to identifying the Christlike qualities and inviting others to develop them more fully, however, I was surprised to see there was no mention of the verse found in 2 Peter 1: 10  about "giving diligence to make your calling and election sure." 



Through out Joseph Smith's ministry, he emphasized and taught the members about the importance of receiving your calling and election. In his sermon delivered on the Nauvoo temple grounds on Friday May 12, 1844, Joseph said, 

"Oh! I beseech you to forward, go forward and make your calling and your election sure---and if any man preach any other gospel with that which I have preached, he shall be cursed, and some of you who now hear me, shall see it & know that I testify the truth concerning them". 

To beseech is to beg for urgently and fervently to do something. 

It is interesting to point out that Joseph Smith said that if any man preach any other gospel (meaning not about making your calling and election sure).. he shall be cursed. Are we preaching another "gospel" today by never teaching or mentioning about the doctrine on making your calling and your election sure?


Joseph Smith said: “After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, is baptized for the remission of his sins, and receives the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness and living by every word of God. The Lord will soon say unto him, ‘Son, thou shalt be exalted.’ When the Lord has thoroughly proved him and finds that the man is determined to serve him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John [KJV], in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th verses” (TPJS, 150; WJS, 5; see John 9:7–9).

That "other Comforter" is Jesus Christ. The Lord has promised the Saints that it is our privilege to receive Him after our calling and election has been made sure.  Receiving the Second Comforter means you will meet Christ. You will know, without a doubt, He exists. You will know, through Him, the atonement has been provided and the scriptures that testify of Him are true. You will no longer have faith in the existence of God nor in your standing before Him but will have knowledge.

Receiving an audience with the Second Comforter is the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

It is unfortunate that we have removed the reference about the Second Comforter from our scripture. I have written about that in a previous blog post. Here is the link:   http://barerecord.blogspot.com/2014/04/258-now-what-is-this-other-comforter.html


We need to remember these lost doctrines that used to be taught back by Joseph Smith. 


I close with Peter's words:
"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

Thursday, November 14, 2019

2019.11.14 - ALL YOU WHO DENY THE BEGGAR



For over thirty years, The Good Samaritan House has been serving the less fortunate in downtown Salt Lake City- 365 days a year. (11,000 days in a row)  By providing a meal, personal care items and direct assistance to those in need, this homeless center run by the Catholic Church has been a vital source of food and stability for the poor and the needy in Salt Lake City. This Good Samaritan Home is located on South Temple, just east of the Salt Lake Temple. It is owned and operated by the Catholic Church. 

But, a few weeks ago it closed. 

It will continue to run the program out of the St. Vincent de Paul Church located in a less prestigious neighborhood on the west side of the valley. It is rumored that wealthy donors were no longer willing to donate money to the Church because they didn't want the homeless population walking along their street and in their neighborhood.  The wealthy were unwilling to help pay for the needed renovation of this home. The property alone is worth millions and millions of dollars.. and developers have another real estate project planned instead of helping the homeless. 

For those of you who don't know, South Temple is considered Salt Lake's Millionaires Row. This exclusive street was meant to be the finest and most prominent avenue in Salt Lake City. The wealthiest families built their mansions along South Temple and today it is home to the world’s richest street of religious and non-religious buildings. It was originally called Brigham Street.  Since Brigham Young's mansion was the first home on South Temple called the Beehive House.

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Brigham Young's Beehive House. President Young was the first millionaire west of the Mississippi. 

Here is a Historic Photo of the beginnings of what South Temple looked like in the early 20th century.



Here are a few more of the recent mansions along South Temple:


And probably one of the finest buildings on South Temple is now called the Thomas S Monson Center names after President of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before President Nelson. 
Here is a photo of the building that prominently displays his name. 


I share the above information as a backdrop to a scripture found in Ezekiel 16:49. It is about the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. We read in this scripture the real iniquity of these two "great" cities:
“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom -  pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”
We typically think that the real reason that Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed was because of sexual sins.  The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is a cautionary tale of the destructive consequences of sin. These two cities have been used historically as metaphors for homosexuality. But reading this verse in the Old Testament it is clear that the iniquity of Sodom was not "sodomy" but for PRIDE, ABUNDANCE.. and NOT HELPING THE POOR AND THE NEEDY.

Not only is it a sad day that the Good Samaritan Home is being closed that was used to help those in need, but I find it also sad that along South Temple there are bright red signs with Meters asking others to not directly support panhandlers. A Panhandler is defined as a BEGGAR who typically stands on a street with an outstretched container in hand, begging for loose change.

Here is a photo of those meters across from the Salt Lake Temple along South Temple. Instead of helping the poor and needy directly you are supposed to give your loose change to organizations. Don't give to a person, but put your money in these meters. The sign says.. "PLEASE DON'T SUPPORT PANHANDLING."





We would do well to reread the sermon given by King Benjamin. The words he shared with his people were made known to him by an angel of God. (Mosiah 3:2)

Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

“But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, 
wherefore the world lieth in sin.” 
D&C 49:20

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

2019.10.08 - ANOTHER FUN FAMILY HOME EVENING GAME ESPECIALLY FOR TEENAGERS

JUST RELEASED:  The Mormon Taboo game, a favorite among the teenagers who love to say words they aren't suppose to.  (disclaimer: the game is officially called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Taboo).

Just see how difficult it is to have your team guess well-known Mormon terms without using descriptive words that have been used for generations. (This game might be too difficult for the older generations). New Editions with updated taboo words will be released after every General Conference.


2019.10.08 - NEW FAMILY HOME EVENING GAME FOR MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH

I am not sure if this new game is available at Deseret Book but this new Family Home Evening game promises to be a SNOWSTORM of FUN. Players can make their own BLIZZARD by trying to remove "block" by "block" of long standing elements of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that have been enjoyed for generations. It is recommended that you take your vitamins before you play. 


Monday, October 7, 2019

2019.10.07 - SNAPSHOT OF THE 2019 FALL GENERAL CONFERENCE SPEAKERS

Here is a quick snapshot of all the speakers from this past weekend's LDS General Conference including who gave the prayers. If my math is correct. 93% of all the talks were given by men.. and only 7% were women.

 Maybe to compensate for the lack of women speakers, the women were given the bonus to be the first to hear the new Temples announcements at their women's session. Typically the announcement of the new Temples is the finale  saved for the final afternoon session on Sunday for all the membership, but instead the 8 new temples were announced only to the women.



Monday, September 23, 2019

2019.09.23 - Fall Equinox 2019 - "EQUAL NIGHT"

Equinox is the combination of the prefix 'equi', (aequus) which is the Latin word for "equal," and the suffix 'nox', which is the Latin word for "night"—a fitting name for a word that describes the day of the year when the daytime and nighttime are equal in length.

Sidenote: Personally I wish I could change the name of Equinox to Equilux. Putting more focus on the LIGHT (lux) than the NIGHT (nox).

Below are few photos taken this morning after starting the hike in the night to see the sunrise to observe this years Fall Equinox.



A view from the top of the summit of Mount Timpanogas:


This is the first year that there has been snow at the summit for all  of the solstices and equinoxes. Equal grass.. equal snow.




Viewing the sunrise this morning. An equal balance in contrast of light and dark.


I have been searching my scriptures to find a chiasmus in my study of scriptures. I think I love getting up so early in the morning to see what I consider a chiasmus in nature.. the sunrise. When the sun is at the equator. it is a moment in time when visually it looks like heaven meets earth. It is point of connection.

A chiasmus.



Sidenote: An effort was made by a few individuals to commemorate the Protestant Reformation over the past few years. Talks, papers, websites, and videos have been created. Here is the website where they can all be viewed at. Yesterday the website posted the last video in the series. I found it interesting that the titles of the seven videos for the Christian Restoration actually makes a chiasmus, with the center theme or point of intersection is "GOD SPEAKS AGAIN".

Here is the chart:


My favorite is that fourth video, "God Speaks Again"  which was published on December 23, 2018 on Joseph Smiths' Birthday.




Friday, September 6, 2019

2019.09.06 - The whole world is invited to the GALA event tonight.

GALA

GA'LAnoun A lavish public entertainment or celebration. A gala day is a day of pomp, show or festivity, when persons appear in their best apparel.
-------------------------------------


From the Church website:

A GALA celebrating the 95th birthday of President Russell M. Nelson will be held tonight Friday, September 6, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. mountain daylight time in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City and will be broadcast live in eight languages on various Church channels. 

Church members have looking forward to this for months when this worldwide Birthday Party was first announced. The day that complimentary tickets were available on the Church website, the tickets were sold out within minutes.  

On the front page header of the Church website, www.churchofjesuschrist.org,  there is even a countdown clock ticker to when the party begins tonight. 


So if you aren't one of the 21,000 people who were able to get tickets. Here are your options to watch it live. 

Watch Online

The performance will be broadcast live in English on the Church satellite system, ChurchofJesusChrist.org, and Facebook, as well as on thetabernaclechoir.orgyoutube.com/thetabernaclechoirattemplesquare, and facebook.com/thetabernaclechoir.
The program will be broadcast in French, German, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish, and ASL on the Church satellite system, ChurchofJesusChrist.org, and thetabernaclechoir.org.

Watch On-Demand

The broadcast will be available for on-demand viewing on ChurchofJesusChrist.org, tabchoir.org/95thcelebration, and youtube.com/thetabernaclechoirattemplesquare imediately following the live broadcast in English, French, German, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish, and ASL.


BYUtv will rebroadcast the event on byutv.org at Sunday, September 8, 2019, at 4:30 p.m. (2330 UTC).


Sidenote: 

I am anxious to see how the gala event tonight compares to the birthday celebration held a few months ago when thousands were gathered to celebrate the birthday of L. Ron Hubbard

Image result for ron hubbard birthday celebration



Addendum:
Holding this event on September 6th is somewhat symbolic. Russell M. Nelson's actual birthday is September 9th. When someone says "The September Sixth", a few members might remember not the actual date of September 6th, but instead what  happened to six members of the Church who were either excommunicated or disfellowshipped.  They were called The September Six.

An article was printed yesterday in the Tribune about one of the September Six. Her name is Lavina Fielding Anderson. For over 25 years she has consistently attended her ward and has sat quietly in the same pew. She has participated as much as she was able like playing the piano and sung in the choir.  She has been visited by all her ward and stake leaders since 1993, she said, but after the passing of her husband last year, her Bishop proposed that her membership be reinstated. Her Stake President 
reconvened a high council were the decision was reached to recommend that she be approved for rebaptism. The request was forwarded on to the First Presidency at Church Headquarters.

A few days ago, a response came back from the First Presidency. 

It was denied. 

Despite the rejection, Lavina said that she’ll be in her same pew again on Sunday.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

2019.08.27 - The term "Mormon" is now acceptable? Latest update in the Handbook of Instruction.

A recent letter dated August 23, 2019 was sent to all of the Church Leaders regarding changes and updates to the Handbook of Instructions in both volumes 1 and  2.

Since the Handbook 2 is available to all members on the Church website,  I read some of the new updates. Below is from the Church Policies and Guidelines. If I understand correctly,  under the  section 21.1.34, it sounds like it is still acceptable to call the members Mormons. Also, depending in what country you live in, it is also might be necessary to still call the Church, the Mormon Church.


I was under the impression though that using the term Mormon was a victory for Satan. Not just a victory, but a MAJOR victory.

In his conference talk last year, President Russell M. Nelson said the church’s name “is not negotiable.”
“When the Savior clearly states what the name of his church should be, and even precedes his declaration with, ‘Thus shall my church be called,’ he is serious,” Nelson said. “And if we allow nicknames to be used and adopt or even sponsor those nicknames ourselves, he is offended.”

So, super confused. Because I sure don't want to offend God by using the term Mormon. Some Church Members consider it a 4 letter word  (actually it is 6 letters, but whose counting)  So, I am not sure if this is just a mistake, an oversight, and maybe the Handbook still needs to be updated. Or maybe this is soft back-peddling for us to be able to still use the term 'Mormon'. (a revelatory U-Turn?)


Sidenote:
A few weeks ago we just observed the 24th of July. Maybe the Church Leaders and members found hard if not confusing  to not use the term  'Mormon Pioneers.' It is quite a mouthful to call them 'the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint Pioneers', or just 'Latter-day Saint Pioneers' or even 'Saint Pioneers.'  Maybe that is why this policy was changed back. Pluse, this is not the first time a policy/revelation has been reversed.


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

2019.08.20 - NEW LDS Compliance Training Required for Members in Church callings

Most corporations require their employees to complete corporate compliance training.  Enforcing compliance training helps the company prevent the organization from lawsuits.

Due to recent high profile Church leaders who have been accused of sexual misconduct, the Church is now requiring leaders and teachers to take Children and Youth Protection Training. Below is a email that I received from my ward leadership.



"A directive has come out from Church that everyone who is a teacher or leader of youth or children must complete Children and Youth Protection Training. See the following official Church communication. The online training takes about 30 mins. Please take immediate action to comply with this policy."




Here are a few recent high profile cases of LDS leaders involved in sexual misconduct with minors.

Former MTC President accused of rape of Sister missionaries
https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/03/22/former-missionary-training-center-president-admits-to-asking-a-young-missionary-to-expose-her-breasts-in-the-80s-byu-police-say/

Director of the Temple Endowment Presentation/Movies found guilty of molesting children
https://www.sltrib.com/news/2019/04/10/utah-filmmaker-who/
https://www.sltrib.com/news/2019/05/02/latter-day-saint/

Current Bishop running a human trafficking/prostitution ring:
https://fox13now.com/2019/02/20/former-vice-squad-cop-arrested-in-valentines-day-prostitution-sting-in-lehi/

Current High Councilman taking photos of girls in dressing rooms:
https://washingtonpress.com/2019/08/19/a-top-mormon-church-official-was-just-arrested-for-filming-a-woman-changing-at-the-mall/

Friday, August 9, 2019

2019.08.19 - Portent Destruction in downtown Salt Lake City. 20 years later.

I know this post might not be politically correct. It also might not be very well received. But that being said I wanted to write about an event that happened 20 years ago this weekend. 

But before I do. I wanted to briefly talk about Marriage.If you look up the definition of Marriage in Webster's Dictionary in 1828 you will read the following:


Quick highlight and summary of Webster's 1828 definition of Marriage:
  • Marriage is union of a man and woman.
  • Marriage was instituted by God himself.
Outdated? Archaic? Old-Fashioned?

Following the printing of the 1828 dictionary, the definition of marriage has changed dramatically over the years. Two completely opposite deviations of marriage has occurred. On the left, marriage has been refined and now become legal to marry someone of the same sex. To the right is polygamy. Anyone who is a Mormon is should unfortunately be familiar with this type of marriage in which someone marries multiple spouses. (Here is Salt Lake City, Brigham Young married up to 55 women)



Both of these forms of marriages has been and still is very prevalent in the state of Utah.

The reason for the post is not to go into depth about these issues but to remember an event that happened 20 years ago this weekend. Sunday, August 11 marks the 20th anniversary of the EXTREMELY UNUSUAL TORNADO that touched down in Salt Lake City. Most people either have forgotten or are unaware about this event. 

There might not be any connection and completely coincidental. But for those who don't know anything about what happened 20 years ago, this might be somewhat interesting.



First of all, it is extremely rare for a tornado to touch down in the middle of city let alone Salt Lake City. Twisters strike predominantly along Tornado Alley — a flat stretch of land from west Texas to North Dakota. Tornado typically form over open terrain. They don't descent out of the sky over a large city. The tornado over Salt Lake City was very unusual. It was almost like the tornado had the precision of surgeon with his scalpel which destroyed very symbolic areas of downtown Salt Lake City. One could say it might have been a portent warning.


It was reported in the news that on August 11, 1999, a freak tornado ripped through the downtown area of Salt Lake City, killing one person and doing 170 millions of dollars of damage. The tornado touched down on the landmark popular gay dance bar on Salt Lake City's west side. This building was blown apart by a tornado and was the first victim in the tornado's path. The funnel cloud hurled bricks and wood from the Sun's roof, hundreds of yards to the west. The Sun was condemned from destruction by the tornado.


  
Path of Destruction passed through the LDS Conference Center that was being built. The LARGE crane being used in the construction toppled over on top of the Conference Center. The Conference

Center was repaired and dedicated a year later in 2000.



The tornado uprooted and destroyed an iconic tree on Temple Square which was a favorite backdrop for brides' pictures at the Salt Lake Temple. Newly married couples would pose next to this tree after their marriage and sealing in the Temple. It was located on the symbolic southeast corner of the Temple and was nicknamed the "Sweetheart Tree. The tree was a honeysuckle tree, but was gnarled in a manner similar to an olive tree. It is believed to have grown from seeds carried across the plains by the pioneers. 


All of the windows in front of the big Christus statue in the North visitor’s center were blown out. Due to the destruction, Temple Square was closed for two days.  One witness said, "We had shards of glass from the visitors center [windows] that were embedded in soil 12 inches," he said. "The doors on the east end of the Tabernacle blew off -- they were gone."




The tornado ended at Memory Grove.. also a very popular path where those who lived an alternative lifestyle would meet up. Nearly all of the trees in Memory Grove, a park at the mouth of City Creek Canyon near downtown, were reportedly torn out, as well as hundreds of old trees on the Capitol grounds.

Coincidence or Symbolic? Portent or Random?  A Sign for what is to come.. or should we ignore and dismiss the interesting facts?



Tuesday, August 6, 2019

2019.08.06 - Faith looks up

Ralph Waldo Emerson penned the quote "Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith look up"
I hope Ralph will forgive me for changing a few of his words and substitute 'sorrow' for 'doubt', 'uncertainty' for 'worry'. I think this meme might help those who find themselves in a state of confusion...which so many are experiencing. 


Monday, August 5, 2019

2019.08.05 - A very personal and sacred choice.

I came across a quote by President Russel M Nelson that I thought was interesting. It is from a talk given in 2004 and can be found here in The Church News. 


Image result for president nelson

"While searching for the truth, we must be free to change our mind—even to change our religion—in response to new information and inspiration… One’s religion is not imposed by others. It is not predetermined. It is a very personal and sacred choice, nestled at the very core of human dignity.”
(emphasis added.)



------------------------------

I think it is interesting that one could read the above sentence and get two different meanings out it. Most members of the Church would read his words and say that President Nelson means that if you are not a member you find out about the Church that you would change your current religion and become a Latter-day Saint. Others could read this who have found out new information about the Church and use this as permission to change religions.


Here is a cartoon of two people saying the exact same thing.. but what they are saying have two completely opposite meanings.



Friday, June 21, 2019

2019.06.21 - Summer Solstice 2019


This morning at exactly 9:54 AM marked the Summer Solstice here in Utah. Today summer began. While the days will get hotter, we actually now begin our descent back towards winter as we start losing  more and more daylight. Today felt more like the winter solstice than the summer solstice. The Wasatch front still has an abundance of snow in the mountains especially at the higher elevations. Mountain lakes are still frozen over. This morning on the mountain peaks, the temperature was below freezing after dropping close to 20 degrees from the high of yesterday.

 In a few days, we will be commemorating the 175th anniversary of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. It is symbolic that their deaths occured around the summer solstice. We lost a lot of light as well as the potential of gaining more when these two brothers were killed.

Today marks a shift in this blog. One of Ten Commandments given to the covenant people in ancient times is to Honor your Father and your Mother. I believe this refers to both our earthly parents as well as our Heavenly Parents. With a shift in tone and content on this blog, I hope to do both.

No longer will I be numbering the blog posts or using all caps in the titles. No longer will I just point out our failings as a people, as an institution, and even as a country without offering some suggestions for improvement.  

Most have heard the quote: 'If you are not part of the solution, you must be part of the problem' However, this is a misquotation of Eldridge Cleaver. The correct and full quote is: 'There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you're going to be part of the problem.'

 Photos taken this morning on a sunrise hike:








Friday, May 31, 2019

500: BUILDING BABYLON IN THE SWAMPLANDS TO THE EAST. (instead of Zion in the tops of the mountain in the West)

This is the 500th post. My first blog post was written on June 1, 2011. Eight complete years of writing. I began writing the blog after reading Hugh Nibley's book: Approaching Zion. It was during that same time the Church was building their multibillion dollar City Creek Mall in downtown Salt Lake City.  This blog has been a source of therapy for me to be able to write about things I was witnessing here in my hometown which is also the headquarters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Over the years I have felt sadness as I saw the Restored Church becoming like the Nephites in the Book of Mormon. Prosperous, Wealthy, and Proud. No wonder that Book is for our day. It seems like 8 years later things have become even worse.

I will keep this brief.

Years ago I wrote about the Church paying over a half a billion dollars for more land in Florida. They already owned hundred of thousands of acres of land, but now they own over 2% of the state of Florida. http://barerecord.blogspot.com/2013/11/215-lds-church-spends-over-half-billion.html


THE LDS CHURCH NOW OWNS 2% OF FLORIDA
With the completion Thursday of the $562 million purchase of more than 382,000 acres of land in North Florida’s panhandle region — along with Deseret Ranches' property in Central Florida that covers parts of Osceola, Orange and Brevard counties — Mormon church subsidiaries now own nearly 2 percent of Florida.Link to the Orlando Business Journal Article



LDS CHURCH PLANS A CITY FOR 500,000 IN RESORT AREA OF FLORIDA

That is like building a city the size of Denver Colorado with their population of 557,917.



Link to the Salt Lake Tribune article:

It is hard to imagine the money that will needed to be spent in development for the roads, streets, highways, utilities, fire stations, police, schools, retail shopping, office buildings, etc. Most likely, trillions of dollars. A trillion dollars is hard to fathom.

1,000,000,000,000.00

To give you an idea, if you had a stack of $100 dollar bills you would need to stack them over 60 miles high. Most commercial airplanes fly at 30,000 feet, which is 5.7 miles high, so imagine $100 bills reaching ten times higher than the clouds.

You compare that to Elder Oaks statement that the Church spends only 40 million per year that we give to charity.
40,000,000.00

That is only .004 of what it might cost to develop this land in Florida.


I believe that maybe the expense would be worth it if we were building Zion. So is this new city in Florida going to be Zion?

Well you decide for yourself. Early development has already begun on the Church land between Disneyworld and Cape Caneveral,  just south of Orlando. The homes that are currently being built and sold look like luxury resort homes. Here are some of the conceptual renderings. The first phase of development is called Sunbridge.




Image result for sunbridge homes del webb

 Here is an article to read for more information.

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jan/30/from-book-to-boom-how-the-mormons-plan-a-city-for-500000-in-florida


Here is the Church's Development Timeline of this first phase:
  • On March 21, 2016, the Church filed a comprehensive plan amendment with Orange County to begin the first phase of development.
  • Construction is anticipated to begin in 2018.
  • The development is a long-term project. Proposed Development Program The overall development in Orange County would include:
  • 5,720 homes
  • 1,650 multi-family units
  • 9 million square feet of commercial space
  • 5,470,000 square feet office space
  • 2,900,000 square feet of Industrial  space
  • 880,000 square feet of Retail space
  • 490 hotel rooms Conservation Nearly 13,000 acres will comprise preserved conservation space that includes preserved wetlands and upland buffers.
--------------------------------------------

We would do well to reread the parable of the Sheep and the Goats found in Matthew 25. It is a parable for the last days just before the Lord's Second Coming. 

'When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him,.. He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left."
The sheep are those who feed the hungry, clothed the naked, and gave shelter to the homeless.
The goats did not feed the hungry, did not clothe the naked, and did not give shelter to the homeless.

"Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment"
It is my hope that the Lord will call us His sheep instead of goats.


Sidenote:

I wanted to share two more photos:

One of the photos was taken of President Nelson on his recent tour of the Pacific Islands. He was accompanied once again with his wife and her best friend Sheri Dew. The honor and glory the members give to this man is increasing. I am not sure how healthy it is for us or for him. We no longer call ourselves Mormon since it was taking away from the name Jesus Christ.  I wonder if maybe we should also change the slogan and Primary song of  'Follow the Prophet' with 'Follow the Savior'.


This is a photo/video still of the General Relief Society Presidency. I thought is was interesting that they are all wearing pants including jeans. Not sure how my mom would feel about this because when we take our annual family photos, even the guys aren't allowed to wear jeans.


That being said, the video is actually really beautiful and I want to end on this.


Out of those who are in the General Relief Society Presidency and Board.

  • 6 have experienced financial problems. 
  • 4 have experience infertility.
  • 6 have family who identify as LGBT+
  • 9 have family with addictions.
  • 2 are battling chronic illness
  • 2 have been divorced.
  •  1 is a stepmom
  • 7 have had loved one in prison
  • 1 has experienced death of a spouse.
  • All have been affected by depression or anxiety
  • 9 work outside the home

And the last quote of the video:

"No matter what we have suffered, 
He is the source of healing. 
We must come unto Him 
and allow Him to work His miracles.