Tuesday, March 27, 2012

In the Power of Christ I Stand

I didn't even know Owl City was Christian, let alone that he put out any Christian songs.

This is a very powerful song about Christ.

In Christ Alone - lyrics

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless Babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save

?Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live, I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again

And as He stands in victory
Sins curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From a life?s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell, no scheme of man
Could ever pluck me from His hand
Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I stand

I will stand, I will stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground, all other ground
Is sinking sand, is sinking sand
So I stand

Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Zion – How?

I had an incredible breakthrough this morning. God gave it to me and I am very grateful for it.

I often say affirmations in a meditative state. In one that I had written about a month ago, I had written that my cells “retain” certain traits (forgiveness, faith, etc.). It didn't feel right at the time I wrote it, but I could think of no other word that would fit. The image of a river came to mind, yet I didn't know how to incorporate that into the sentence.

Today, there was a complaint, again, about the use of the word “retain”. I said to whoever was complaining that I didn't have a word to replace it. Sad to say, I was a bit impatient and rude about it. Again, they suggested a flowing river. I didn't get it. Finally, they suggested I use the word “flow”. I did (for example, “my cells flow with forgiveness”) and got the image of (forgiveness) flowing like water through my cells gently and peacefully.

In other places, I had used the word “filled”. I changed them to “flow” as well.

Then I began to have a paradigm shift. This small, simple word-change opened my eyes to the flow of life. It's all a flow, from God's angle. “One eternal round” is a flow. Nothing is retained. God's love freely flows outward to all creation (as an example). Because of that, love continuously flows through Him, always and forever.

It is the devil who retains things, who teaches us to hold onto things.

Then I realized that the reason we give God the glory and the credit – even if we worked our tails off to accomplish whatever we have (physically, emotionally, or spiritually) – is because when we give HIM the credit and the glory, we release our hold on what we have. It is no longer ours, it is God's. Thus we cease holding on, and the flow begins to happen.

It isn't that God is greedy and wants credit for work we have done. It's that He understands the law. He knows that the best, quickest, easiest, and only way in this life to let go of everything is to give all glory and credit to Him.

If we gave it to ourselves, we would clutch it tighter, thus it would either slip out of our fingers or canker our souls. If we gave credit to another person, we would be putting ourselves beneath them. If they accepted the credit and glory, they would be putting themselves on a pedestal of pride and self-glory.

We do ourselves and others a favor by giving God the glory.

As we let go, we realize that all we own and have belong to God (at least that is what happened to me, as this incredible paradigm shift took place). Suddenly, giving away all of our possessions if God so wills it is no big deal. Losing all we have is not important either. If we need it in the future, God will give it to us because all of life is constantly flowing (except in areas where our fears or greed make it stick and putrefy).

I freely admit I'm not 100% on that level yet, but the paradigm shift has pushed me into that level of thought and being.

And I not only saw, but I understood, that when this paradigm change is complete in any person, when they can genuinely give or lose everything and honestly not care (because all really belongs to God anyway) then that person is ready for Zion. This is the Zion mindset we are presently lacking.

The flow of life. Nothing is “owned” by anyone. As it flows through each person, each person continually has all they need – like a river that is always full even though it is always emptying.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The church will stand until the end of time.

So, on LDSFF, there are several people who “fight to the death” the idea that the church of Jesus Christ cannot be destroyed. It isn't in the program. It will be fully functioning, with all that it is and has today, when Christ comes again.

But . . . the Book of Mormon was for our day – and what happened to the Nephites before Jesus came? Their central government was destroyed because of the gadiantons in gov't. The church was broken up. They were left in tribes. It is my opinion that this is going to be repeated in this day and age.

Also, read a few scriptures:

23 Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face.
24 Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.
25 And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;
26 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.”
D&C 112

25 Nevertheless, Zion shall escape if she observe to do all things whatsoever I have commanded her.
26 But if she observe not to do whatsoever I have commanded her, I will visit her according to all her works, with sore affliction, with pestilence, with plague, with sword, with vengeance, with devouring fire.
D&C 97

16 Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.
17 Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered.
18 They that remain, and are pure in heart, shall return, and come to their inheritances, they and their children, with songs of everlasting joy, to build up the waste places of Zion—
19 And all these things that the prophets might be fulfilled.
D&C 101

Those who remain. And who will that be? And how many? Will it be a corporate church? I seriously doubt it. Will it be a church that is greedy to gain the acceptance of the general public? Not any more.

How decimated will we be before God considers us pure? And how many of us of mixed blood or pure Gentile blood will be left to mingle with the repentant pure descendents of Israel?

Moroni saw our day

Mormon chapters 8 and 9. Written by Moroni after the death of his father, Mormon. I'm beginning where he is talking about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon (the records of his people).

It shall come in a day when the blood of saints shall . . .” Say what? I thought this was talking about pre-restoration, pre-LDS. Just how broad is Moroni's view, who has seen us and our day (verses 34-35)? He doesn't seem to differentiate between pre and post Joseph Smith. Well, let's continue.

It shall come in a day when the blood of saints shall cry unto the Lord because of secret combinations and works of darkness.” I guess I don't know about these because they are so secret I cannot see them, though I have heard of rumors of child/infant sacrifices to the god of this world.

It shall come in a day when the power of God shall be denied.” Hm. Do we deny the power of God when we “bless the hands of the doctors” instead of “bless to be healed”? Do we deny the power of God when we brainwash ourselves to think that going to practitioners who cannot heal is “doing all we can for ourselves, because God will not heal us unless we do all we can”? For an excellent work on this topic I would recommend the book Confessions of a Medical Heretic by Robert Mendehlson. An old book but still very applicable in important ways. It will give you an idea of one arm of the great and abominable church of the devil. I, myself, am trying to extricate myself from the false church of “God can't heal you, but the medical practitioners can give you prostheses, drugs, and cut pieces out of you which is as good as you can expect today.”

A day when “churches become defiled and lifted up in the pride of their hearts.” Surely Moroni is only speaking of other churches. The true and living church of Jesus Christ surely cannot fit this description! Hm. I've known of some pretty dark sins amongst the members (and even lower level leadership). Pride? You betcha! I grew up thinking I was better than nonmembers, and that anyone who smoked cigarettes was going to hell for sure. It took leaving Utah and a lot of work on my part to overcome those two attitudes (and I was a typical LDS – I mean it was at church and amongst the LDS I lived around that I learned this stuff; I certainly didn't get it from my mother).

Even in a day when leaders of churches and teachers shall rise in the pride of their hearts, even to the envying of them who belong to their churches.” I've nothing to say about this. I've not had experience with it in regards to any religion – though I suspect the reason Joseph Smith was treated so violently as a boy was because of the envy of the leaders of the churches who thought they should have had a vision if such was to be had, not some nobody like Jo Smith.

Verses 29 through 31 were apparently happening in Joseph Smith's time, and they have not gotten any better. In fact, it seems to me that things in these areas have gotten a whole lot worse.

Churches that forgive sin if you give them money. I don't have enough experience to comment on this one.

Well, you know Moroni couldn't be talking to the people who lived before the Book of Mormon came out because it wasn't there for them to read. He calls them and us – wicked, perverse, stiffnecked people who have “built up churches unto yourselves”. Have we done that? Do we build up churches unto ourselves, even in the Lord's own church? Not only “unto yourselves” but “unto yourselves to get gain.” Do we do that? When I went on a mission, I thought we had an unpaid clergy. I was totally shocked when my companion said, during a discussion, that the general authorities get a “small living allowance”. Say what? Well, I don't know enough about that to know if it applies to this scripture or not.

But there was a volunteer seminary teacher who did a marvelous job of teaching. She had more than ten kids coming to her early morning class. Well, the seminary teacher (paid) from a town about 30+ minutes drive away got wind of her success (easy to do since he was her “superior” and came over a couple of times a year to see how she was doing).

She was summarily put into the YW presidency and released as a seminary teacher. Obviously expecting to reap her results, he drove over to our area every day after school. A sacrifice of time with his family, he assured me.

Well, he didn't get the same results she did. By the end of the year, he was lucky to have two or three students showing up. The kids knew that he didn't care about them. He treated them as if they were “typical mindless school kids” but none of them were. Several were home schooled (thus used to being treated with respect) and the rest went to a school that was not the product of “typical” children who needed to be entertained and treated as lower class citizens. He had to have the center spot, when I visited. He did not let the students talk like the volunteer had. There were no discussions that I could see. And the big failing, as far as I could tell, was that he was doing it for money and not “for the welfare of zion.”

Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God.” Oh, yeah, they messed with the Bible. Okay, but how much of what Joseph Smith taught, that God told him to teach, is being taught today? Are we being taught that the only reason the church was restored was so that there would be a people who could stand in the presence of God? No. We're being taught that family is the ruling icon. Ignored is the fact that we are supposed to reach a point to see Jesus face to face in this life. Ignored is the fact that we should be literally raising the dead, seeing angels, healing the sick (without the intermediary of any man, no matter what degree s/he holds), having meetings directed by the Spirit and not a handbook, that our lives should be dictated by the Spirit and not by a handbook, nor by opinions from elite leaders in a distant city (or nearby, if one lives in the holy city).

As I said, Moroni assures us that he has seen us, and he knows our doing. He knows we walk in the pride of our hearts. Wearing very fine apparel (clothing). Envying. Strifes. Malice. Persecutions. All manner of iniquity. And your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts. Say what? Every one? Well, obviously, Moroni isn't talking about Jesus' sacred church. That church has a guarantee that it will be perfect in every way, right?

Then, Moroni adds “for” – a connecting word, then says, “ye do love money and your substance and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, and the sick, and the afflicted.”

Yes, but this was all before the Book of Mormon came out right? (Then why was Moroni bothering to mention it?) Well, at least it applies to every church but ours? Every church but Jesus' own?

Read and wake up. The very next verse (38) – “O ye pollutions, ye hypocrits, ye teachers who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God?” Can't get much plainer than that, can you? Moroni has been talking about the holy church of God, by which he means US.

He wants to know why we're ashamed to take upon us the name of Christ. He wants to know why we think the praise of the world is more valuable than endless happiness. He wants to know why we adorn ourselves with that which has no life, yet allow the suffering and needy to pass by us and we don't even notice they are there.

Could anything Moroni is saying in this chapter have anything to do with building a several billion dollar mall when there are poor and needy and so forth in Jesus' own church who could use a decent place to live (even in the US)?

Moroni mentions “secret abominations” to get gain. Secret. Gain. Would that have anything to do with the members of Jesus' church not being allowed to know how their tithes and offerings are spent (including the interest on their tithes and offerings, which Jesus says in a parable belongs to Him)?

Skipping to the last verse in chapter 8, the blood of the saints is mentioned again. Perhaps there is a whole lot more wickedness going on than we realize, or perhaps God views things a bit differently than we do, when the fatherless and widows and poor are tokenly helped, if at all.

So that chapter is largely to those who are members of Jesus' church, in general. Chapter 9, beginning in verse 1, is to those, whether in His church or out of it, to those who do not believe in Christ. Verse 7 begins Moroni's words to those (whether in Jesus' church or not) who deny the revelations of God, and who deny miracles.

Well, this post is already too long, so I will end now.

Jacob 5 - the end of the world

So, I was thinking about Jacob 5 today, studying it (it was our Sunday School lesson today). I had some questions.

We believe that when Jesus comes before the Millennium, the earth is going to catch on fire and melt with fervent heat – and it will do so again after the Millennium is over, at the very end of the earth's mortal existence. But when we read Jacob 5, which seems to be very chronological, it doesn't say that.

So, what is going to happen?

D&C 101:24 talks about every corruptible thing being consumed.

D&C 88:94 says the tares will be bound to be burned. And every other scripture that I found today seems to say the same thing: The tares/bad fruit will be taken away and burned.

D&C sections 45 and 64 both talk of burning, but of individuals, not of the earth as a whole. D&C 84 mentions plagues going forth until all who remain are those that know God.

Anyway, back to Jacob. This is what he says:
Verse 71 – The master of the vineyard (Jesus) says, in essence, “This is the last time I'll nourish my vineyard for the end is nigh at hand [near], and the season speedily cometh.”

So the servants labor with their mights. Angels? Humans? Both?

Verse 73 – There began to be natural fruit again. The natural branches (Israelites, though one might make a case for Abraham's seed) began to grow and thrive exceedingly.

My question is, “Is this happening yet?” The natural branches, after the Gentiles have turned somewhat bad, begin to grow, yet they are thriving exceedingly.

Well, we don't know where the lost tribes are. They could very well be growing. They could very well be thriving exceedingly. The D&C sounds like we won't know until they return with their prophets and their records. Hm. Their prophets. Their records. Notice the “s” on prophet. (D&C 133:26)

Anyway, back to Jacob again. So, as the natural fruit is beginning to grow, and is thriving exceedingly, the wild branches (the wicked people – no matter what their bloodlines in my opinion) begin to be plucked off, and cast away.

Verse 74 – The natural fruit became “like unto” one body and the fruits were equal. A clear statement of Zion, of being one, of having all things in common (no rich, no poor).

Zenos (who Jacob is quoting) says there is a balance between good and evil fruit. I thought about this, and this is my understanding of it:

As people are wicked enough to be destroyed, they will be destroyed. As people become righteous, they will be gathered to Zion. As people gravitate to one side or the other, ripening, those who are the most wicked will be destroyed. When they are gone, things may be relatively calm until the next batch of wicked people have become so bad that they must be destroyed, and on and on until there are no more wicked on the earth.

On the other hand, those who ripen toward righteousness, when they are “ripened” in righteousness they will be gathered, too. But, whereas the wicked are physically killed (disease, war, disaster, famine, etc.) the righteous are physically gathered to places of Zion until Zion fills the whole earth. (I believe the scripture for this is in the D&C, as well as Isaiah saying that the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord.) Verse 75 of Jacob 5 – The vineyard is no more corrupt, but there is no mention of the vineyard (earth) being burned with fire.

Also, things are like they were in the beginning (i.e. the garden in Eden).

76 – Now, “for a long time” (said twice in this verse), there will be peaceful fruit. Sounds like the Millennium to me.

77 – When evil fruit returns, at the end of the period of peace, then the good and bad will be gathered, and after they are gone, the vineyard will be burned with fire.

Seriously, I think this “end of the world/wicked” thing and the “establishment of Zion” is going to be majorly different than we envision. It looks to me like it is going to happen very naturally. It seems to me that people will gather in specks all over the earth (see Nephi's mention of the dominions of those who belong to the church of the Lamb being small, even though they are all over the earth – and they are armed with the power of God). Eventually, those specks will gather and/or grow until the whole earth is in Millennial peace. At least that's how it looks to me after studying Jacob 5.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

I found something I had printed out a long time ago from Arts Anonymous (http://www.artsanonymous.org/). It's a twelve step program.

I became inspired to adapt it to my own particular challenges. This morning, as I was going through what I had written, I had an insight that I'd like to share. Take it or leave it.

In the temple, we are supposed to liken the whole experience to ourselves, and view it as an allegory full of symbolism.

The tree of knowledge is the tree of knowledge of evil and of pain. The only “good” that comes from it is seeing how good you had it before you screwed up.

So, God has one tree. The devil has another. God says, “Don't believe Satan's lies. Don't live that way. It will hurt you.”

The devil says, “No, this is the way it has to be. This is reality.”

So, we are taught to take that fruit and we look at the fruit of the tree of life with skewed eyes. We say, “God can perform miracles, except He can't. In reality, He can only 'bless the hands of the doctors' who are the real gods.” And that is only one of 10,000 skewed perceptions we have about life, about God, about reality, and about ourselves.

In the beginning, we are innocent children. Innocence is taken away. In my case, it began when I was about 3 ½ and was kidnapped. Later, my siblings added verbal cruelty, then my peers. The medical profession and society had been working on me all along. I wasn't handed bad fruit by just one person, but by hundreds. I was bombarded with fruit from the tree of knowledge of evil. And, of course, I in turn passed it on to others.

And I was told that I had to stay in that sphere. I was told, “This is reality.”

There is no mention of burning down or annihilating the tree of evil and partaking of the tree of life only. No, we are shown that an angel has barred the way. But that is garbage! We are barred by the act of continuing to partake of the lies and myths that took away our innocence. We may not be able to annihilate the tree of darkness and death, but we can turn away from it.

The angel represents the goodness we must face, the changes in perception we must make before we are able to partake of life again. As long as we are partaking of death, we cannot partake of life. This is what is meant by the angel “guarding the way.”

We may freely put forth our hands to partake of the tree of life, but we have got to stop partaking of the tree of death to do so. It is impossible to partake of both at the same time.

So, we kick ourselves out of the light. We lose our innocence, light, and trust because we are taught by family and by society that it is proper to partake of the tree of death, and of that tree only. We are taught by those who don't know any better because they were taught by their families and their societies.

For myself, I am now only too willing to stop partaking of the tree of death and to begin partaking of the tree of life.