Wednesday, February 24, 2021

SYMBOLIC MINIMALISM vs New restrictions for depicting Deity in LDS artwork

I started writing a blogpost a few weeks ago about minimalism in artwork where the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect.  The reason for wanting to write about this subject was that I had come across a couple of minimalistic art renditions of the First Vision that I thought were really cool. 

The image on the left uses just geometric shapes and the one on the right only uses black and white cutouts. Both are very symbolic and conveys a lot of meaning with very little detail. 


I never finished writing about it and kept the post in my every increasing drafts that I don't publish. However, a few days ago I heard that that there is a new internal direction from LDS church leaders about portraying Deity for the Church curriculum and media.  The new policy directs that artwork depicting God and Jesus Christ will need to fit within more narrow guidelines. All of the artwork depicting deity will need to have facial features. Artistic stylization like cubism will not be permitted as well. In addition, all visual interpretations of God will need undergo the approval process in Correlation.

Below are some examples of artwork currently being sold at Deseret Book that will no longer be used in Church media and materials because they do not following the new edicts from above. Apparently all artwork depicting the The Father and the Son will need to clearly show two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and two ears.  Like other recent changes including no longer using the Angel Moroni on top of newer temples, we will no longer see symbolic artwork of Christ appear in church produced media and publications like a few of these paintings below currently being sold at Deseret Book.

 NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE ARTWORK FOR CHURCH MATERIAL









Throughout history works of art have been altered, silenced and even erased due to unacceptable content by those in power and authority whether the motivations for censorship were religious, social or political. Despite these new restrictions in how we should depict God, I hope that artists will continue to use their God given talent and creativity to push boundaries of rigid guidelines through their imagery and content. Art is uniquely positioned to move people—inspiring us, inciting new questions and provoking curiosity.  Depicting Deity in a symbolic way allows the viewer connect with God in a unique way. Personally I have found beauty in some of the simplest and minimalistic forms depicting God and Christ. 

That being said, I wonder how long the revelation to brand His Church by depicting Christ as a Greek-like graven statue in marble will last.






Wednesday, January 27, 2021

And we will go down...

Photo taken on our recent flight

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And then the Lord said: 
Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods organized and formed the heavens and the earth.

Abraham 4:1
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All of us came "down" to this earth in a specific year, on a specific day, at a specific hour. We entered into a fallen world. A world of opposites: good and evil, virtue and vice, light and darkness, health and sickness, pleasure and pain. We came to exercise our agency. To choose between truth and error. 

I am sure most, if not all of us, are glad that 2020 is behind us. However, so far 2021 hasn't been too much better.  It seems like there are more lies being spread instead of truth. Our leaders taking more  control and offering us less freedom. A country moving towards more socialism and less liberty.  Just recently, my family left the mainland of the United States for a few weeks and spent some much needed "social distancing" from all that was happening in our country. It was nice to be off the grid during a time of chaos happening in our nation's capital.  

I wanted to share a few photos that I took to hopefully provide some balance to some of the recent blog posts I have written to show that there is still beauty in the world. 


Last sunset of 2020 looking over the Pacific Ocean.


The nature of the ocean can seem turbulent on the surface, with crashing waves everywhere, but as you move below the surface, you will find stillness for miles and miles until you hit the ocean floor. Here are a few photos of the raging waves we saw as well as some of the beautiful sea life that lives beneath the chaotic surface that we encountered.

Waves at Sunset Beach Park

Red Sand Beach

waves just west of Banzai Pipeline



Achilles Tang fish at Hanauma Bay



Sea Turtle at Hanauma Bay


These next two photos were taken at The Seven Sacred Pools. 











Wednesday, January 20, 2021

OUR COUNTRY'S MOST IMMORAL ACT... THE KILLING OF INNOCENT LIFE


Lady Gaga greets the President Biden after singing the National Anthem.  


Today we have a new President of the United States. I watched the entire Inauguration beginning with the singing of the National Anthem by Lady Gaga. Instead of comment on the Inauguration, I wanted to point out one interesting thing that happened right after Joe Biden took office. Two day ago, President Trump penned a Proclamation on the Sanctity of Human Life. It was posted and published on the official www.whitehouse.gov website. Here is the LINK . If you clicked on the link, you will see it is no longer available.

This important proclamation was quickly taken down minutes after the President Biden was sworn in. I think it was important to post it here since most people are not aware of this and was never publicized on any of the news media outlets. 


Even though the new White House leaders have taken this Proclamation down for the public to read on the whitehouse.gov website, you should be able to access it here. At least until this site is blocked as well. 


This proclamation is beautiful and emphasizes the importance of Human Life. Contrast the conservative views of the outgoing administration's stance on abortion, we now have Joe Biden who has plans to restore federal funding for abortion through Planned Parenthood. 

As he heads to the White House, Joe Biden is expected to overturn many Trump-era decisions, including the restrictions on abortion rights, Associated Press reports. He has voiced plans to nominate federal judges who support Roe v. Wade and would "support a federal statute legalizing abortion if the Supreme Court’s conservative majority strikes down Roe," according to the AP

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I attended a talk last year given in Hurricane where a warning was given to our country of the retribution it will face for the abortions of 60+ million unborn children:

"Our society suffers most from evils we inflict upon ourselves. It’s estimated that in January and February of this year, the greatest cause of death in the United States has come from one of our great evils of abortion. An estimated 141,000 abortions in those two months added to the estimated 51,000,000 who have been slain since 1973. Abortion is the leading cause of death in the United States. By tolerating this mass killing, we’re not unlike those who anciently killed their children, sacrificing them to the false god Molech. The Lord repeatedly condemned that:
And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Again, you shall say to the children of Israel, Whoever he is, of the children of Israel or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that gives any of his seed unto Molech, he shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones...
Stoning with stones was intended to be an expression of community condemnation to require that everyone participate, everyone know, and everyone witness the horrendous act of putting someone to death under the law for this kind of an offense.  This was an act of killing children for worship of a false god. There’s very little difference between that act and the idea of exercising a fundamental right enshrined as though it were a sacrament.

We’ve slain—as a society in the United States—over 51,000,000 children. Where is the alarm? Where is the upset? Where is the shutting down of business and the cutting off of travel in order to preserve those lives?

What kind of a society allows killing 51,000,000 innocent children to continue uninterrupted for over 47 years? As we’ve been told, Nevertheless, when the wicked rule, the people mourn. Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men you should observe to uphold; otherwise, whatever is less than these [come] of evil.

It’s not honest, it’s not wise, and it’s not good to uphold leaders who celebrate the murder of children as if it were a sacrament to be protected, sacrosanct, and constitutionally protected. It is something that will cause the greater society, eventually, to mourn.

We have elected and upheld men and women who have tolerated this obscenity for 47 years. The United States will be punished for this. By and by, you will see the chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed has made a full end of all nations (T&C 85:3, emphasis added)​. That full end of nations will include the U.S. And so, we have an opportunity to prepare if we will heed the Lord’s counsel."

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Sidenote: How fascinating it is that the person asked to sign our National Anthem today has recently appeared in promotional media photos drinking the blood of children. Of all the talented singers in this country, she is the one the new president asks to sing? 

May God help us. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Be a good global citizen! Follow the Prophet. GET VACCINATED!

Be a good global citizen! Follow the Prophet. Get Vaccinated!



The First Presidency released a statement discussing the importance of immunization against preventable diseases, encouraging members to get their shots once they become eligible.

The full statement reads:

"In word and deed, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has supported vaccinations for generations. As a prominent component of our humanitarian efforts, the Church has funded, distributed and administered life-saving vaccines throughout the world. Vaccinations have helped curb or eliminate devastating communicable diseases, such as polio, diphtheria, tetanus, smallpox and measles. Vaccinations administered by competent medical professionals protect health and preserve life.

"As this pandemic spread across the world, the Church immediately canceled meetings, closed temples, and restricted other activities because of our desire to be good global citizens and do our part to fight the pandemic.

"Now, COVID-19 vaccines that many have worked, prayed, and fasted for are being developed, and some are being provided. Under the guidelines issued by local health officials, vaccinations were first offered to health care workers, first responders, and other high-priority recipients. Because of their age, Senior Church leaders over 70 now welcome the opportunity to be vaccinated.

"As appropriate opportunities become available, the Church urges its members, employees and missionaries to be good global citizens and help quell the pandemic by safeguarding themselves and others through immunization. Individuals are responsible to make their own decisions about vaccination. In making that determination, we recommend that, where possible, they counsel with a competent medical professional about their personal circumstances and needs.

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Before you rush off to become a good global citizen. Maybe read this.

Norway raises concern about Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine safety after 29 deaths

https://www.pharmaceutical-technology.com/news/norway-concern-pfizer-vaccine/

Thursday, January 14, 2021

A SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS


This woman was born almost exactly one year before America became a nation. She was born on July 8,1775.  Her name is Lucy Mack Smith. She was the mother of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I find it interesting that her birth matches up so closely to our Independence Day when we commemorate our freedom as a Nation.

Her son Joseph would bring forth records from prior civilizations that occupied this great land. This land is a Land of Promise that has been given to those who inhabit it by covenant. 

"Whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them. And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity. For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off. And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done. Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ." Ether 2: 



I am not sure what the "fulness of iniquity" looks like to God, but I can see if we continue down the path we are on that the Big Broom might be used soon to do some sweeping.  The warning is not that the people of this land would be destroyed, but that they would be swept off. It repeats that warning over three times. To be swept off is much different that being destroyed. It is actually worse. 

In the Book of Mormon, to destroy did not necessarily mean annihilation. It merely meant to end the organized existence of a people or to terminate their government, deprive them of a land, and end their cultural dominance. In the Book of Mormon, a people were destroyed when they lost control over their government and land. Their ability to preserve their own values and choose the way they were governed was taken over by others. Once people were destroyed, they were oppressed and suffered. Often they were oppressed with grievous taxes and had religious liberties removed. Then they faced a choice: either repent, in which case they came through the period of oppression with another chance; or if they were angry and rebellious, they would then be “swept away.” Being destroyed is not at all the same as being “swept away.” It is possible for people to have been destroyed and not even realize it. But when they are “swept away,” they face extinction and cannot help but notice it.


My friend who lives up in Washington shared his comments with me early today about his opinion of what is currently happening right now in our country like the rapid decision to impeach President Trump, the protests at the Capital, and the trillions of dollars being handed out for stimulus money. I asked for his permission to share what he wrote since I thought more people might find it as interesting as I did.

Hypocrisy is an understatement. All I'm hearing from the left now is to come together and heal and embrace the new regime. Even pray for their success. All good sentiments which would be the best thing that could ever happen. But 4 years ago the same people began a daily attack on our president and his supporters that never let up, culminating in a vindictive and flawed attempt to discredit all that was accomplished to maintain our liberty and shift power from an an ever growing, self-serving government back to the people. They could never separate the man from the mission.

I'm not disillusioned enough to think Trump and his family don't get high on the power and authority they hold. Almost no human doesn't. But at the end of the day, the guy just wanted to preserve and maintain the American way of life that our founders envisioned. He worked hard at it and did a ton of good toward those ends. Now vilified, abandoned by his friends and written off as a failed president, he'll join a host of others who went before that are forgotten as history gets conveniently rewritten.I'm so tired of the media claiming that the election was fair and honest. They have distorted the truth so much that it is now impossible for the public to know where to find it. The cardinal directions are literally upside down and backward. It's a gross display of cognitive dissonance and ignorance. Thousands of people volunteered across the country to help the swing states verify the votes by painstakingly going vote by vote to verify its origin and owner. They discovered widespread voter fraud in a dozen different ways that affected virtually every state. These corruptions didn't begin with this election. It's likely been going on for two decades. This election was the first in which the winner was so far out of the normal flow of election day data, that it warranted a hard look and the loser, not being part of the establishment, was willing to go the distance to exhaust every effort to expose the fraud and reveal it to the public. That effort to bring light to the darkness was not about reelecting a disrespectful rich guy with a potty mouth so he could enjoy the power for another 4 years.... it was about ensuring the integrity of future elections. Had he been re-elected, you can bet that he would have enacted laws to reform the way we vote to make sure it never happens again.But now that those who benefitted from the fraud are in power, the result is exactly the opposite. They will ensure the vote only goes one direction. I do not forsee another conservative, constitutional Republican ever being elected to the Presidency.We had a shot to fix this and it's now passed. It's not time to heal, nor time to come together as a country. It's time to flee. Neither party has the right to claim God's favor and certainly nobody anywhere in local, state and federal governments are using this opportunity in the way God intended, which is to warn people to repent and return. I have no idea how the Lord intends to help us escape all this, I just know that he does and has prepared the means.Unlike some, I'm not counting calendar days, thinking about times, time, and half-times, making comparisons to Nauvoo and the time it took them to build a temple, and otherwise mapping out how I think the Lord will handle the next 5-10 years. I hold the opinion that if you think you have it all figured out, you can be sure you are wrong. I ask the Lord every day to just show me the next step and hope like hell I don't turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to it. One step at an time is all I've ever been able to accurately perceive of God's hand in my life and that's likely never to change for me.Although my heart is sad in all this. I know that on the other side of it is something glorious and beautiful. I hope I live to see it.

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Sidenote:

I have always struggled to read about God's wrath or anger and how he might "punish" those who do not abide to His laws. When we read those scriptures in Ether about the fulness of his wrath coming upon us when we are ripened in iniquity, I don't necessary imagine a God who has lost his temper. The following quote from the book, Nephi's Isaiah helps clarify what God's anger really is. 

We will finally see the events of history are culminating in a great, final effort to reach us. The “anger” (caused by our rejection of what was offered) is now “turned away.” Actually, it wasn’t really anger. It was our refusal to accept what was offered. We regard it as anger when we can’t get from God what He offers on condition of obedience. We disobey, lose the blessing, and think God is angry with us. It is our perception, based upon our selfish view of everything, that He is angry. We want our God to bless us, and we want to be able to offend Him, too. But since He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of
allowance,” we are asking the impossible when we want Him to accompany us as we trample through and among the filth He asks us to avoid.

As we finally repent and decide to do as He asks, His Spirit returns. We then rejoice and say His anger is turned away, and now He is there to comfort us. All along He was willing to do so, but we are difficult companions. As we reform and the Spirit returns to us, we take great comfort in finally receiving what He offered all along.