Friday, June 21, 2019

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.

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


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.


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.

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.

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.


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. 

Monday, May 20, 2019


For the past couple of years, our family has been asked to participate in Church surveys. It has been interesting to see how many of the changes now being implemented by the Church began as questions from the surveys conducted. Here is the latest one that we were asked to fill out. It is a request for us to submit a replacement name for which is the Church's media channel that provides inspirational videos, radio programs, music and other uplifting media.

After submitting a proposal, we were then asked to select from a list of some of the top names other people had submitted. Below are some of the screenshot from the survey.

As everyone now knows, we are to no longer use the terms Latter-day Saints, LDS, and especially not the term Mormon.  From this article:

"Various other services and mobile apps, such as LDS Seminary and Institute, will simply remove “LDS” from the name.
The terms “LDS” and “Latter-day Saint” should not be used to qualify objects, such as temples, scriptures or doctrine, that belong to the Lord or His Church.

 Here is the current list of the all the new names that have already been implemented. The terms are now very generic. We have removed the unique description that we have been using for decades.

Personally, if the Lord is so concerned about what we name things, how about instead of sending out online surveys and/or taking a vote, we could save alot of time and just ask Him.

Monday, May 6, 2019


The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Monday that a civil marriage between a man and a woman will no longer necessitate waiting a year for that couple to be to married (or sealed) in a temple.

"...when a temple marriage would cause parents or immediate family members to feel excluded, a civil ceremony followed by a temple sealing is authorized.”

The Church asks that these civil marriage ceremonies be simple and dignified. Couples may use chapels owned by the Church for these ceremonies.




Before the Salt Lake Temple is closed for 4 years and they remove the existing gardens surrounding the Temple and demolish the Salt Lake City Temple Chapel and Annex Building, I would highly recommend walking through the gardens right now during spring since it will be the last time to see the Temple grounds as it has been for decades.  

Here are a few photos I took a couple of days ago.

Salt Lake City Temple Chapel and Annex Building that will be demolished later this year.

The beautiful grove of trees and lawn that surround the Temple to the North.

And this photo was taken by Rory Wallwork of the Cherry Trees that will also be cut down.


And here is what we have to look forward to in 2024:

Below are some of the renderings from the Church for the new look of the Salt Lake Temple and Temple Square. It appears that there will be more concrete and plaza space instead of the natural looking gardens that currently surround the Temple.

Looking North toward to the Temple:

Looking South toward to the Temple

Thursday, May 2, 2019


Photo taken in Wellington, Utah on Easter Sunday. April 21. 2019

If you do not enter by the doorway into the protective sheepfold, but climb in any other way, then you are only a thief and a robber. But when you enter at the door and the shepherd lets you enter, then you belong. 

The shepherd guards the entry, and his sheep respond to his voice. He calls his sheep by name and leads them up. He leads his sheep by his example and asks them to follow in his path, and they follow because they trust his words. 

His sheep will not follow another, but will flee from a stranger. They do not recognize the stranger’s voice. Jesus told this parable to them, but they could not understand what he meant by the parable. (John 10: 1-6)


Mormon Church in Talks to Buy $129 Million London Office Building

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is in exclusive negotiations to buy a City of London office building whose tenants include Lloyds Banking Group Plc, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

A subsidiary of the church, which has a multi-billion-dollar global property portfolio that encompasses malls, resorts and farmland, is close to completing a deal to buy the Alder Castle building at 10 Noble Street for about 100 million pounds ($129 million), said the people, asking not to be identified because the information is private. A fund managed by M&G Real Estate is selling the building, the people said.

Within the Church, we love to talk about the Temples we build around the world. Seldom do we talk about the other real estate buildings we build. Below are some of the luxury condominiums towers that the Church has built in downtown Salt Lake City. These beautiful models are on display across the street from Temple Square near the newly remodeled Deseret Book Store.

99 WEST 


These condominiums are advertised as City Living at its FINEST. Interesting that the word FINE is used. If you search for the word FINE in the Book of Mormon you will find that adjective to describe the following:

  • Fine sanctuaries
  • Fine clothing
  • Fine-twined Linen
  • Fine apparel
  • Fine silks

For example in 2 Nephi 28: 13  it states:
"They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up."
And in Mormon 8: 36-37
"And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts."

A few weeks ago the LDS Church released their 2018 LDS Charities Report. From the report you can estimate and divide out how much the Church has averaged giving to charity each year. It is approximately 64 million dollars. That it wonderful and I am glad the Church donates millions and millions of dollars to help the poor and the needy.  However, that is less than half of what the Church plans to pay for the Alder Castle in London. 

 Compare the 64 million given to charity to the 2,000,000,000.00 dollars spent on City Creek Mall. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


"As Temple Square begins a four-year-long renovation at the end of this year, across the street, the Deseret Book flagship store at City Creek Center has just finished a renovation of its own.

The store’s celebration of that renovation, a public grand reopening, came Tuesday — 11 days after the Temple Square announcement, and just over nine years since the flagship store opened in 2010. The store’s refurbishment expands the vision put forward by Sheri Dew, the executive vice president of Deseret Management Corporation and CEO of Deseret Book Company."

You can purchase this photo of this historic and memorable event below. 

The Deseret Book flagship store located directly across from the Salt Lake Temple was built  nine years ago as part of the City Creek Mall development. Over the past couple of months, the LDS Church completely gutted and remodeled the store. The grand reopening and ribbon cutting ceremony was yesterday. No longer does the Deseret Book storefront look like a bookstore which typically showcases books. Instead, the brand new DB storefront looks like a bakery where it sells Crumbl cookies. From the outside visitors will not know it was a religious bookstore. Maybe sugar was needed to draw people into the store, since religious books might be the thing of the past.

It is interesting to see how things have changed from when Deseret Book first opened it doors. Back in the late 1800's, the storefront of the first Deseret Book advertised that it sold Mormon Publications and Bibles. See below photo. Heaven forbid that the store actually used the word Mormon. 

Deseret Book no longer carries ANY book with the name Mormon in the title. So books that used to be sold like Bruce R McConkie's Mormon Doctrine can only be bought on Amazon. Deseret Book will only sell books with the word Mormon in the title if it has "The Book of" in front of the word. Most of you know that this is due to President's Nelson's request/revelation that using the word Mormon is a victory for Satan. 

Add caption

One more interesting thing about the new Deseret Book's Flagship Store. The store only has ONE entry now. Customers used to be able to enter into the store from South Temple. That door has now been sealed off. This forces the customer to enter in only one way from City Creek Mall side.  When you enter into the store you now realize that it is not just a bakery but they also sell a book. And when I say "a" book, singular, I mean just that, a single book.  A massive display with hundreds of copies of the same book dominates the front entry which makes it appear there is only one book for sell. However if you look to the right you can see a fun children's section with kid books. It is not until you walk deeper into the store that you see all of the other books for sell.  

In addition to the book and cookies, there is a gallery with paintings for sale. A Lot of the artwork for sale is not cheap. Here are some of the price tags.

Undoubtedly, the new store is beautiful. Deseret Book has come along way. I mean what is not to like about eating hot warm Crumbl cookies and looking at beautiful paintings.


One more thing about the "One" book that currently dominates in the Deseret Book Store. 

The book exploring the life and teachings of Russell M. Nelson, current President of the Mormon Church, underwent a last minute edit before its public release on April 8, 2019. The publisher, Deseret Book, became aware that the book contained a faith promoting story with material inaccuracies. The story was subsequently removed and the book reprinted in time for its scheduled release.

Excerpts from the book, titled Insights from a Prophet’s Life: President Russell M. Nelson, authored by Sheri Dew, were published in an article found in the March/April 2019 issue of LDS Living magazine.

One excerpt, titled, “You Didn’t Read it, Did You?”, tells the story of a young Nelson who was serving as a surgeon in Korea during the Korean War. While serving, he discussed the Book of Mormon with a nurse on staff, Beverly Ashcraft. He gave her copy of the book only for it to be returned a few days later by her husband, Derwin, a fellow surgeon at the base. Derwin did not express much interest in learning more about the book.

According to Leslie and Katie McKenzie, daughter and granddaughter of Derwin and Beverley that is not what happened. Katie was first made aware of this new version of the story in early March when a family member sent her a screenshot of the article. She showed it to her mother and, when she realized that it was part of an upcoming book, immediately reached out to Deseret Book and LDS Living. She sent both companies a document with annotations pointing out the incorrect information.

Katie was eventually contacted by a representative from Deseret Book and another from LDS Living. The representative from Deseret Book thanked her for bringing this to their attention and that since it was so close to the release date they would just remove the story entirely instead of trying to fix it. The representative told Katie that this would require a reprinting of at least some of the books as the final printing process had already begun.

Friday, April 26, 2019


The plans for the next four years:

Salt Lake Temple will shut its doors on December 29, 2019 and remain closed for the next four years as major renovations are underway to address safety and seismic concerns. The church plans to remove some buildings and change the look of Temple Square as part of the process. The largest project will be placing the entire granite temple on base isolators to survive the next big earthquake. "Monday morning on Dec. 30, we're going to decommission the temple," said Brent Roberts, the church's director of special projects "So that means we go in and we take out the sacred emblems of the temple." Meanwhile, the well-known weekly meeting of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve traditionally held in the temple will take place in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building during the closure.

The Salt Lake Temple closure announcement was made last Friday on April 19th. The day that Christians around the world observed the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. It was the day that Jews began to observe the Passover. On that day, I was up on the mountains to watch the sunset which marks the beginning of the Passover. Below is a photo taken of my friend who was with me.  
Photo taken at the moment when Passover began on April 19th, 2019

A Temple is where Heaven and earth meet, both symbolically and literally. The purpose of a temple (meaning an actual temple that is commissioned, ordered, blessed, accepted, and visited with His presence) is to substitute for the temporary ascent of a mortal into God’s presence. A real temple becomes “Holy Ground” and the means for making available to faithful people in every state of belief and hope the opportunity to receive, by authorized means, the same covenant, obligation, association, expectation, and sealing through an authorized and binding arrangement in sacred space. This is the same thing they can receive from God directly if they enter into His presence while still in the flesh. In effect, the temple becomes an extension of heaven. God, angels, and mankind are able to associate there as in Eden. It is a return to Eden, where God walks in the cool of the day (Genesis 2 : 17). The ordinances or rites of the temple are presented in ritual form. This is required. God’s House is a House of order because it is reoriented to point away from this world in order to reflect the order of heaven and the actual eternal ascent into His presence. The volume of information conveyed by God would be too vast to set out in non-ritual form.


"The temple ceremony is not the real thing. It is a symbol of the real thing. The real thing is when a person actually obtains an audience with Jesus Christ, returns to His presence, and gains knowledge by which they are saved."

In ritual, it is possible to convey a great body of information with symbolism, metaphor, relationships, and types that work on the mind of man the same way that visionary experiences directly with God convey. The mind is expanded, and the ritual allows something of God’s viewpoint to be transmitted into the mind of man. The temple has only one real purpose: to convey God’s promise to exalt those who experience it, provided they abide the conditions for exaltation. It portrays the real, second Eternal form of ascent in a way that gives the initiate a promise: that if they walk in the path shown them, they will arrive at the Throne of God in the afterlife. The ceremony of the temple is not the real thing. It is a symbol of the real thing. The real thing is when a person actually obtains an audience with Jesus Christ, returns to His presence, and gains knowledge by which they are saved. The temple is a revelation of the process by which one may pass through the veil to God’s actual presence. The purpose of a temple is to allow the communication of great knowledge and greater knowledge to restore what has been lost since the time of Adam, in order for people to rise up and receive the Holy order. A temple in Zion is to be a place where He can come to dwell and not merely to manifest Himself to some.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019


The General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ended a few days ago. We were advised and forewarned to Buckle Up. However, if you watched.. you probably didn't need to even need to wear seat beat.. or even use a carseat. (Unless you live in Tooele, UT and you heard  announcement of the 21st Utah Temple will be built in your city. Unfortunately you were not able to share your joy when it was announced due to the sacred nature of the announcement.)

However, even though Conference was void of any changes requiring vitamins, or a portent snowstorm/blizzard.... the real bombshell change was revealed (no pun intended) a few days before Conference. On Thursday, April 4, 2019, the First Presidency announced the revelation reversal which we are told that "policy changes come after an extended period of counseling with our brethren in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and after fervent, united prayer to understand the will of the Lord on these matters."

Here is part of the new policy:
A nonmember parent or parents (including LGBT parents) can request that their baby be blessed by a worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holder. These parents need to understand that congregation members will contact them periodically, and that when the child who has been blessed reaches 8 years of age, a Church member will contact them and propose that the child be baptized.

The wording used in most blessing is the following "The name he/she will be known by on the records of the Church is: then full name is stated".  Prior to the blessing. the parents fill out an official Child Blessing Record and give it to the Bishop. See example below. I have highlight the entry boxes for the names of the Father and the Mother. 

So my question is. Will these children then have their names put on the roles of the Church? 
The Church now has officially allowed same sex parents to have their children receive this same blessing. Will a new Child Blessing Record need to be printed by the Church Publishing Department to allow for this new change in policy?

Here is most likely the changes that will need to be made. Here are samples. These are NOT official.

Interesting times in which we live. 

Thursday, April 4, 2019


This weekend's General Conference Preview in the Deseret News Special Edition


President Nelson said this week that the Lord has blessed us with "revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge..that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal" We are all eyewitnesses to revelations from the Lord as He guides the affairs of His Church.


If you want more information, I suggest picking up your own copy of this special edition. since it would be hard to blog about everything..

However, I do want to mention one of the articles that was covered again in this special edition. It is the story about Mercy Makau, her daughter Gloria Nashipai and her son William Mbogo. See below the full color photo. This was the same selected family from Kenya that President Nelson went to visit in their home and he give them the gift. The gift was a the picture of himself taken with his two counselors, President Oaks and President Eyring.

Here is the link:



Same-sex couples are labeled as “apostates” and are subject for church discipline and their children will be prevented from being baptized until they turn 18.


"These policy changes come after an extended period of counseling with our brethren in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and after fervent, united prayer to understand the will of the Lord on these matters".

"Each of us during that sacred moment felt a spiritual confirmation," Nelson, next in line for the Mormon presidency, told the faith's young adults in the first official explanation of the hotly debated policy's origins. "It was our privilege as apostles to sustain what had been revealed to President Monson."

Nelson explained that revelation from the Lord to his servants is a sacred process.

"The [three-member] First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counsel together and share all the Lord has directed us to understand and to feel, individually and collectively," he said. "And then, we watch the Lord move upon the president of the church to proclaim the Lord's will."


Fast forward 3 years..announced today


Same-sex couples are no longer labeled “apostates” and will not be grounds for church discipline and their children can now be baptized. 

A question: For any of those members who were excommunicated because of a same gender marriage- will the church now reach out to them and offer to reinstate their blessings and bring them back into the fold?


Below is an email comment from a friend:

Or what about those youth who may have committed suicide in despair over this policy? Will they be offered a second chance at life here?

"That we be no more children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive." Ephesians 4:14

“to and fro” | ADVERB | In a constant movement backward and forward or from side to side.
“toss” | VERB | To throw (something) somewhere lightly, easily, or casually.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints plans to remodel part of their 67,600-square-foot Bishop's Storehouse located at 390 South 5200 West in Salt Lake City and convert it into the Church Security Department Training Center complete with two shooting ranges and facilities for teaching about defensive tactics and the use of force.

Below is the headline and photo that was reported today in the news.

Eric Hawkins, the Church spokesman, told the Salt Lake Tribune “Growing demand on these types of facilities by all security and law enforcement services has required that church security find or construct new space for their training,” 

What once was a brand new Bishop's storehouse build just about 10 years ago with the purpose of  helping the poor and the needy is being converted into a Security Training Center complete with an in- house shooting range.

Lately the Church curriculum has focused on having it's members become more like Christ, so to have our tithing money go towards building a state of the art shooting range seems contrary to Christ teachings. I mean you don't have to look too hard to find scriptural references like "turning the other cheek", "loving your enemies" and "blessing those who curse you", even reading the stories of Christ rebuking Peter for cutting off the guards ear and then healing it. And heaven forbid, trying to build Zion where we read in D&C 45 about "not taking up swords against your neighbor."

Sad day that we live in that storing food for the needy become secondary to having a facility to teach how to use force. Anyway, maybe they will rededicate the building and call it the Porter Rockwell Defense Center and Shooting Range.

We always tell our kids when they are practicing the piano that practice makes perfect. Learning muscle memory is important. If you practice enough, then thinking becomes automatic.

So if Church Security is going to now be practicing at the Church's own firing ranges. I wonder if they will use the typical targets.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019


This morning was the last official morning of winter. This afternoon at 3:58 PM on the Wasatch Front will mark the beginning of Spring when the sun is directly over the equator. I went outside this morning to find two doves hiding in a maze of tree branches entangled with thorny vines. The tree branches that appear dead will begin to blossom in the coming days.  The doves were symbolic to me of the hope of new life and the peace that it brings.  

Also, last night I took a photo of the rising moon. Tonight there will be a Supermoon. The third supermoon of the year. Very unusual to see three supermoons in a row. The full moon tonight, called the Worm Moon, will rise over the Wasatch Mountain around 7:30 PM. I hope the sky is clear to take a photo tonight.