Thursday, March 26, 2020

MARCH 26, 1820- Likely Date for the First Vision? PHOTOS

Today is March 26th. According to a couple of scholars, March 26th is the likely date for the First Vision that occurred 200 years ago.

Dr. John Lefgren and Dr. John Pratt did extensive research to discover when the most probable date was for Joseph Smith's First Vision. They both independently came to the same conclusion that March 26,1820 was the most likely date. In honor of this date which is today and that event 200 years ago, I thought I would post a few photos that I took during this year's Spring Equinox. 

On March 20, 2020, I drove down to Southern Utah and spent the evening at the Parowan Gap. Most do not know that this is a sacred site for the Native Americans mainly because it is an Ancient Astrological Temple. The two mountains and the surrounding region were used as an astrological calendar marking solstices and equinoxes.  Below are a few photos I took that evening of the sunset.

 The Setting Sun at the Parowan Gap on March 20, 2020
I find it interesting that this sacred location in Parowan, Utah is located just a couple of miles from another Salt Lake.  It is not the Great Salt Lake, but it is called Little Salt Lake. Two temples in Utah near salty water.  One built by man where earthquakes can damage it, and the other built by God that aligns with the heavens.

Photo taken on March 20, 2020

There are large rock cairns that mark the exact locations of where the sun will rise and set on these important dates of the Spring and Fall Equinoxes as well as on the Summer and Winter Solstices. It is a beautiful and tranquil thing to watch the sunset as it  slides right into the Parowan Gap.

Sunset on March 20, 2020

After my time in Parowan, I drove into Zion's National Park to go hiking and camped Saturday evening with a couple of friends. The clouds dissipated after the sunset and it was a beautiful evening to star gaze. I don't know if I have ever seen Venus so bright.

Entrance into Zion's National Park, photo taken on March 21, 2020

We woke up the next morning just after 4:00 am to begin our hike up to the top of Angels Landing. Overhead in the sky as we hiked, there was an alignment of  three planets: Saturn, Mars and Jupiter (seen below left to right respectively).

Night sky of the three Planets taken on the morning of March 22, 2020

Hiking to the top of Angels Landing is not for the fainthearted, especially if you are hiking in darkness before dawn. However, it was fun to hear an Owl hooting as we approached the saddle.

After hours of hiking we finally reached the summit. The sun begin to hit the tops of the surrounding peaks. We were greeted by a raven who circled above our heads in a clockwise direction.

As we began to descend and the sun hit our faces. We saw the King of Birds.. the Condor.

What make the entire ascent to the top of Angels Landing so memorable was not only to see the enormous Condor bird fly majestically towards us... but it landed on the rocks. It allowed us to hike close and to see him up close and personal. See photo below.

Photo taken by my friend who had the best position on the sheer rock ledge to take this photo.

It was an unforgettable hike, full of symbolism, beauty and accomplishment.  

Thursday, March 19, 2020

THE HEAVENS ARE OPEN AGAIN - Honoring the Bicentennial of The First Vision

Today, March 19, 2020 is the spring equinox. It is earliest day for the vernal equinox to occur in over 100 years. This event marks the astronomical first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. What makes this Spring Equinox even more important is that it also marks the 200 anniversary of Joseph Smith's Theophany with God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. Although Joseph Smith never penned the exact day, scholars suggest that the date of the first vision was March 26th.. which will be in a week.

Above is a link to first of several short video vignettes that will be released this year as part of commemorating this important event of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a new series intended to inspire all of us to repent and come to know our Savior Jesus Christ and have the Heavens Open to Us just as Joseph Smith did 200 years ago this Spring.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020


 Doctrine 112: 25-26
 And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord; First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not  known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.

 My family and I just got back from taking photos of the Salt Lake Temple after the earthquake this morning. It is the most bizarre thing I have ever seen. No other damage is visible in downtown Salt Lake or around Temple Square. The removal of the trumpet is almost surgical, like a clean break.. even his hand that was holding the trumpet is in tact. You would have to be blind, deaf and dumb (and fully asleep) to not see this as a symbolic event.  Even the tornado that ripped through the city back in 1999, Angel Moroni was able to keep a hold of his trumpet.

Image result for tornado salt lake temple

Tomorrow is the Spring Equinox. I will be posting more about this tomorrow along with a new video to be released entitled: Condemnation.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

2020. 03.12 - PESTILENCE= a contagious or infectious epidemic disease

a contagious or infectious epidemic disease 
that is virulent and devastating


"And they that believe not in him shall be destroyed,
both by fire, quakes, and by bloodsheds,
and by pestilence, and by famine."
2 Nephi 6:14-15


At the beginning of this year, major areas of Australia were on fire. The months-long fires killed dozens of people and millions of animals, and destroyed more than 2,000 homes.

The above image is a visualization of one month of data of locations where fire was detected in Australia collected by Nasa's Fire Information for Resource Management System. "The scale is a little exaggerated due to the render's glow, but it is generally true to the info from the Nasa website. Also note that not all the areas are still burning, and this is a compilation

World map showing earthquakes above magnitude 5 during January 2020


There were gun mass shootings across the U.S. in 2019 than there were days in the year, according to a gun violence research group. 2019 had the highest number of gun shootings in any year since the research group started keeping track.


Most Latter-day Saints have just finished their study of 2 Nephi in the Come Follow Me study manual. Almost eight years ago to the date, a blog post was written with commentary of the verses 14-15 from chapter 6 of 2 Nephi. Here is the entire blog post. 

Jacob makes a startling promise for those who live when the destruction begins preliminary to the cleansing of the world before the Lord returns. He says "none will he destroy that believe in him. And they that believe not in him shall be destroyed, both by fire, quakes, and by bloodsheds, and by pestilence, and by famine." (2 Ne. 6: 14-15.)
 This amazing promise is predicated on "believing in Him." This requires us to understand what the word "believe" means in the parlance of the Book of Mormon. Those who believe in Him know and accept correct doctrine, or the truth about Him. Those who do not know and will not accept correct doctrine or the truth have dwindled in unbelief. They do not believe in Him. They may have religion, may belong to churches, may be active in all their observances, but they are not in possession of belief in Him. Instead they accept for doctrines the commandments of men, and their hearts are far from Him. They teach false and vain things. As a result they neither enter into the kingdom nor suffer those who are entering to go in. This includes those who, though they are humble followers of Christ, are nevertheless led that in many instances they do err in doctrine. (2 Ne. 28: 14.)
 There will be many who are destroyed who will be quite surprised by it. They will complain that they have prophesied in Christ's name, and in His name cast out devils, and done many wonderful works, but they do not know Christ, and therefore never did believe in Him. (See Matt. 7: 22-24.)
If you are one of those who believe in Him, and who will not dwindle in unbelief, will not accept the commandments of men as doctrine, but will take the Spirit for your guide, then Jacob promises that Christ will not destroy you. The rest He will destroy.
Fire will upset the order of things and make societal collapse inevitable. Men's self-inflicted woes will not be the only sign of Divine disapproval. The earth will quake to signal God's disapproval. Interruptions of social order and control will be followed by self-inflicted violence. Bloodshed will be widespread among the survivors. Disease and pestilence will be one of the results of the lack of social order. Air and water will be contaminated. Neglected hygiene will lead to the promised pestilence. As the downward spiral continues, food production and distribution will be inadequate to prevent widespread, global famine. It is as if Jacob could see the sequence of events and gave us the list of how it would unfold, step by step, as the unbelieving are wiped from the earth.
Survival during this bleak time depends on the qualification of "believing in Him."
 Suddenly, if you think Jacob knew what he was talking about then our doctrines take on terrible significance. What we believe matters. Not just in the distant after-life, but for the preservation of our present lives. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020


From the mass email sent to all Church members:
Temporary Adjustments to General Conference:

As global concerns over the spread of COVID-19 continue to grow, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are taking additional measures to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

These measures include altering the format of the April 2020 general conference,

We plan to conduct all five sessions of that conference at the Conference Center. General authorities, general officers and their spouses, musicians, choirs, technicians, and others will participate as assigned. But, proceedings of the conference will be distributed throughout the world via technology only. The public will not be admitted in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, or in stake centers or meetinghouses in areas where contagion is a concern.
Provo MTC will close temporarily to missionaries
Beginning March 16, 2020, all missionaries scheduled to enter missionary training centers in Provo, Utah, or Preston, England, will be trained remotely by video conference.
Each missionary will receive specific information regarding the length of training, schedules, and other logistics as his or her starting date approaches. Once missionaries complete their online training, they will travel directly to their mission assignments

Stake conferences canceled throughout the world
The Chuch announced that they will postpone stake and leadership conferences and other large gatherings in Church Areas where illness caused by COVID-19 is a challenge, including,
  • Asia
  • Asia North
  • Europe
  • Europe East
  • All Areas in the United States and Canada


Many will remember President Nelson's closing remarks in October 2019:

"General conference next April will be different from any previous conference...."

...general conference next April will be not only memorable; it will be unforgettable."

I am sure many will say that President Nelson is truly a prophet because of his remarks in last conference that the April conference would be different than any other previous conference. I have a hard time believing that canceling the World Wide Leadership Meetings as well canceling the plans for over 100,000 people who have tickets to attend conference is what he had in mind.

The Church announced today that no one will be allowed to attend conference at the Conference Center. All those Conference tickets are now void.

If President Nelson announced last October that next year's April conference would only be "via technology only".. than that would truly have been revelatory..... but this announcement by the Church seems reactionary. I am sure this is a disappointment for all those who wanted to attend.

After the announcement came out, a member of the Tabernacle choir said 'apparently this year they will be preaching to the choir!'

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

2020.03.10 - STAGES OF FAITH

Stages of Faith:
A few weeks ago I participated in a discussion with a group of millennials on the Stages of Faith. Below are a few of the Powerpoint slides that were shown as part of the lesson. I few people have asked for them so I thought maybe others would find some value as well. 

Stage 1: In this first stage, we develop basic faith and trust in those we love, primarily our parents who provide our basic needs for life. For example, if I cry, Mom will feed me or pick me up. Simple concepts of good and bad are taught. We learn that obeying the “rules” is important because it means avoiding punishment. Rules are seen as being fixed and absolute. It is in this stage that we learn the most basic ideas about love and God.


Stage 2: Faith increases outside of the family structure. We continue to accept the ideas about God in very literal ways. God lives up in the sky with the angels. He is our Heavenly Father. We are his children. The Devil lives in Hell and he tempts us to do evil. Decisions are made based on the principle of "What's in it for me?" Obeying the rules is important because we receive rewards. "If I follow the rules, God will give me a good life." "If I pray, God will grant my wish." In this stage, we begin to sort out the “real” from the “make-believe.”

Stage 3: At this stage we rely on a religious institution to give us stability and to give us answers to our questions about things we don’t understand. If those in authority say it is so, it must be true. We tend to have a hard time seeing outside our “box”. The authority of the leaders is emphasized to the individuals or groups that represent one's beliefs.. We become attached to the forms of our religion and get extremely upset when these are called into question. This is the stage in which many people never move beyond it. This stage can also be called "Conventional/Group Faith", meaning that most people in this stage see themselves as believing what "everybody else" believes and would be reluctant to stop believing it because of the need they feel to stay connected with their group. Here authority is located outside the self - in the church leaders, in the government, in the social group. In this stage, the church is like a wise and protective parent; we trust it implicitly.

Most of the people in traditional churches are at this stage. Religious institutions "work best" if the majority of their congregation is in Stage 3 and the institutions discourage people from questioning since it threatens the viability of the institution if people start questioning!) When a person cognitively realizes that there are contradictions between some of his authority sources and is ready to actually reflect realistically on them, he begins to be ready to move to the Fourth Stage.


Stage 4: In this stage, we begin questioning what we took for granted in Stage 3; most experience negative emotion toward Stage 3 experiences. This is the tough stage, when people start seeing outside the box and realizing that there are other "boxes". They begin to critically examine their beliefs on their own and often become disillusioned with their former faith. Ironically, the Stage 3 people usually think that Stage 4 people have become "apostate" when in reality they have actually moved forward. Those who break out of the previous stage usually do so when they start seriously questioning things on their own. A lot of the time, this stage ends up being very non-religious and some people stay in it permanently. Religious groups are always trying to discourage people from making this step. In this Stage, the church is like a parent whose flaws and mistakes are exposed at their worst.

Stage 5: It is in this stage that acceptance or reconciliation is reached. It is coming to terms with what we learned in Stage 4 and transcending above it. They start to accept the paradoxes in life. They begin to see life as a mystery and often return to sacred stories and symbols but this time without being stuck in a theological box. People at this stage sometimes disobey what were previous rules in stage 3, if they find them to be inconsistent with their paradigm shift. They have experienced connection with heaven, and have been comforted from the pain they experienced in Stage 4. Most people in stage 3 do not like people in stage 5. Stage 3 perceive Stage 5 people to be off the mark, misguided, unruly, and apostate.

In this stage, the church is like a sweet grandparent that sometimes says wise things, sometimes funny or antiquated things, but is a benevolent forebear, and we excuse their shortcomings and failures.

Stage 6: It is in this stage that we gain complete internal peace and wisdom, becoming a whole person with spiritual power and insight. Those who do live their lives to the full in service of others without any real worries or doubts. Few people operate at this stage all the time. It is the ability to put oneself in other people's shoes, and actually become a mediator for them. At this stage, people have a principled conscience and will follow universal ethical principles regardless of what the official laws and rules are.

Stage 7: The person has received the fullness of the Gospel and entered into the rest of the Lord. They are willing to and sometimes even are required to die, becoming a martyr for the cause.gardless of what the official laws and rules are.


I think this is a great illustration of Stages 3-4. 
Stage 3 is a safe place on clinging onto an organization
Stage 4  is the act to faith to reach out to grab a hold of the Lord's hand in Stage 5. 

Thursday, March 5, 2020

2020.03.05 - SHIFTING SAND- Reversals, then Re-Reversals

APRIL FOOLS came early for all the BYU students and faculty. yesterdat... (even though it is only March)

Apparently BYU really didn't mean to strip out of its Honor Code a prohibition on “all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.” That is was now OK to hold hands or hug or kiss another person of the same sex, just like their heterosexual classmates were allowed to do. And Honor Code officials told them it was OK. Even a  BYU Professor told hundreds of students that this change to the Honor Code was a blessing. This change of policy made National News and was reported even in the New York Post.

Boy, do we all feel dumb for thinking that this was true. Talk about Fake News.

A new letter came out yesterday reversing the reversal. Students turned out to protest the move by the hundreds, gathering in the Wilkinson Center.

This feels alot like shifting sand. In my opinion it would have been best to stay on the original foundation and not try and make changes.

I am sure this is difficult for the Church to navigate in these uncharted waters. I can only imagine that they would like to wipe the slate clean and start over.. 

... Kind of like what it looks like they are doing down on Temple Square. A Clean Slate around the Temple.

Here is a new Public Map of Temple Square: