Tuesday, July 24, 2012


This is an awesome reference. You can download (at no charge and without making a password) several versions of the Bible in one program, including one with Strong's Numbers. I really like it. I have 26 versions of the Bible in mine - some in different languages, including Chinese, (which I don't know how to read, but it's fun to look at). I've had this program for a couple of years. The download button below will take you to the website.

e-Sword Home

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

By Common Consent

The Doctrine and Covenants declares that all things in the church must be done by common consent:

And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith, for all things you shall receive by faith. Amen.
(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 26:2)

For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith.
(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 28:13)

Look in a hard copy of the D&C's index for “common consent”. You'll get more results than if you type it into a computer version of the scriptures.

There is a petition here that says:

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints it is our desire to faithfully fulfill our obligation to our church by at least annually giving our “voice and Common Consent” as to the allocation of the funds that have been and are currently being donated by us to our Church.

We believe as President Hinckley stated that the financial information of our church “belongs to those that made the contribution”.

For most of our history our church provided full disclosure of its funds. Even in times of financial difficulties members could share in the joy of knowing that good works were being accomplished with their collective donations. We have confidence that a full annual financial disclosure will vindicate the virtue and integrity of our church’s financial affairs that are consistent with the principles taught by our Lord. Such open transparency will also dispel all mystery that often leads to unverifiable speculation both without and within our church:  “And He doeth nothing, save it be plain.” (2 Ne. 26:33). We seek complete transparency in all our financial affairs by following the Lord’s counsel that monies placed into His treasury shall “not be used, or taken out of the treasury, only by voice and common consent” (Doctrine and Covenants 104:71).

Therefore, we the undersigned members formally request that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints once again publish a full annual financial report that provides sufficient details so that we as members can once again give our “voice and Common Consent” as to the allocation of monies expended by our Church.

I would encourage anyone who is concerned about this - or who would like to have this disclosure made - to go and sign this petition. Again, the address is http://bycommonconsent.org/

Most people say where they are from (a few don't). In any case, here are some of the general places people have said they are from. It would appear that this is a worldwide concern.
United Kingdom
New Zealand
United Arab Emirates
Ethiopia & Hillsb [cut off]

Edited June 19, 2012 to add: The "About" on the page says this:

Petition by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to restore full annual financial disclosures. This Petition stands as a public statement of support, and the signatures will be posted here in perpetuity until the stated goal of restoring the practice of full financial disclosure is achieved. No private information will be conveyed to the LDS Church or any other party.

Not to be confused with the blog of the same name, but welcoming a friendly collaboration.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hymn 259 - rewritten (Hope of Israel)

Much of my life, I liked to play with songs, changing the words to them. At church our opening hymn was “Hope of Israel”. I saw that it was saying people were the “hope of Israel” - I always thought it was Jesus. Anyway, as I read the hymn with new eyes I felt the inspiration to put new words to the tune (you may use them freely):

Verse 1:
Hope of Israel, Je - sus Christ,
Sa - vior of the hum - ble heart,
See, the Spi - rit sig - nals on - ward,
And the hum - ble seek the Lord.

Verse 2:
See our sins, they fall be - hind us
As we view the sac - ri - fice.
Hope of Israel, please be with us,
So the vic - t'ry we will win.

Verse 3:
Live for Zion, Love for - e - ver.
Bring our souls to God a - bove.
Ev - 'ry kind - ness leads to hea - ven
Ev - 'ry step we con - q'ring go.

Verse 4:
Soon the bat - tles will be o - ver,
Where will you, o man, then stand?
On -ward, on - ward, souls re - pent - ing,
Thy re - ward the vic - tor's crown.

Hope of Is -rael, Je - sus Christ
With the sword of truth and light,
Sound the love - cry, “Watch and pray!”
Bring your soul to Christ to - day.

I may see if I can find some lyrics I have written in the past and put them on my other blog. It might be fun to make new lyrics to a song every week and put in on there. (I'm not making any promises.)


My daughter and I were discussing italics and inflection. The example she used was, "The cat in the hat."

Examples (in bold italics):

The cat in the hat. Implies a specific cat.

The cat in the hat. Implies the cat, as opposed to a horse or a dog.

The cat in the hat. Implies that it is in the hat not by it or on it.

The cat in the hat. Implies a specific hat.

The cat in the hat. Implies it's in a hat, not in a sweater or a dish.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Joseph Smith and Polygamy

So, as I understand it, Joseph had the sealing power given him by God, a priesthood that cannot be passed down.1This enabled him to save those who were sealed to him2, by the power that he held (which type of sealing cannot be passed down from man to man). Thus, it seems to me3, especially in light of what I have read here, that Joseph was sealed to women, not as a sexual partner but as a power to raise up seed unto the Lord, meaning souls who could be saved through being sealed to Joseph. It was no more sexual than when he had sons sealed to him. Thus, Joseph could honestly say he had only one wife and was not practicing polygamy because he understood others to mean having sexual relations with other women, when that was not the case. But through the years, the doctrine was misunderstood and changed.

This would explain why there are no physical descendents of Joseph except through Emma - a woman sealed to Joseph might consider him the father all of her children, even though her “legal and lawful” husband provided the actual seed. She might even confide in her child/ren that Joseph was their father.

And we cannot really know how many women were sealed to Joseph in his lifetime, with his presence and consent. By the time plural marriages became well-known, there was a stake in “proving” that Joseph had practiced plural marriage. Those who testified that they had been Joseph's wives, may have been sealed to him (in a nonsexual relationship), or they may have been “lying for the Lord”.

There were also people sealed to him as his children. I have a great-grandfather back some generations who was sealed to Joseph as his son (but the sealing wasn't done until the pioneers were in Utah - unless it was redone then). But Joseph didn't treat them as children, I expect. For example, they didn't have to worry about a whipping if they did wrong (the common punishment of children in those days).

Anyway, this is my latest understanding of the idea of Joseph and plural marriage.

1 JST 14 27. And thus, having been approved of God, he [Melchizedek] was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,
28. It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God;
29. And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto us many as believed on his name.

2 I cannot find the exact words I seek, but I understand it to be what Joseph preached. Here is an example of something he said that may refer to that: I will walk through the gate of heaven and Claim what I seal & those that follow me & my Council - Wilford Woodruff Diary 10 March 1844 (Sunday). At Temple. (Words of Joseph Smith)

3 “Joseph's practices were carefully guarded, hidden from public view, and so discrete that still today there are those who think he never had plural wives. If this were something for public display and advocacy, then Joseph would have done so. He did not. To the contrary, he also delighted in the chastity of women and condemned adultery and fornication.
“It is my view that the question of taking plural wives arises with Joseph Smith, and was through a revelation to him when he inquired about the topic. He treated it as a limited, carefully curtailed, private matter. His implementation of the practice was limited to sealing his own plural wives, and one other man to two wives.

“With Brigham Young, however, taking more women became not only public, but it also became a topic used to prove his own v[i]rility.”

Thoughts and Questions About Adam and Eve and the Garden in Eden

I listened to Moses, chapters 1-7 a couple of times, and listened to the story of the creation and Adam and Eve getting kicked out several times because it's part of the endowment.

And I realized something. Adam didn't trust Eve. He was afraid she'd mess up, so he embellished the truth. He enlarged it. He made a "buffer zone". Exaggeration? Yes. Lie? I think so.

See, God told Adam not to partake of the fruit, but He didn't say anything to Eve. It was up to Adam to do that.

Adam told Eve that the fruit would kill her if she so much as touched it. It sounds like he wanted to scare her into obedience. Adam set the stage for the fall, even though he blamed Eve for it.

So when the serpent told Eve, "You shall not surely die," he could have been referring to touching it (in that way we have of responding only to part of what a person says without bothering to specify that that's what we're doing).

If Eve saw the serpent walking around on the fruit, or holding it, she could see for herself that her husband had not told her the truth. Why, then, should she believe the rest of what he told her? The serpent was not dead and it was touching the fruit. Obviously, touching the fruit was no big deal.

Had Adam told Eve the truth, when she saw the serpent handling the fruit, she may have resisted more, knowing that handling the fruit and eating it were two different things. If Eve were a stupid woman, tending to blind obedience, she would have still refused - but she was an intelligent woman who could think for herself, thus Adam's lie backfired.

After Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit, he blamed her and justified himself (you said she was supposed to remain with me) even though it was his own words that set the stage for eating the fruit.

This raises the issue of "what is sin?". Adam wasn't kicked out for embellishing the truth (technically, lying). Nor was he kicked out for not trusting his wife's intelligence and behavior. He was kicked out for eating something he wasn't prepared to eat.

Perhaps God never commanded, "Don't embellish the truth." Perhaps He never commanded, "Trust your wife's intelligence." It sounds like He only gave one commandment.

But I don't think they were kicked out for disobeying God. I think they were kicked out because the fruit they ate changed their bodies in such a way that they could die and could think of things they'd never thought of before. It was a fruit that was reserved for when they were ready to move out of the garden.

Which brings up another thought. Were Adam and Eve caged into the garden? Were they forbidden to ever leave? Did they ever go outside just to see what it was like? Like boy scouts, did God intend for them to go on short jaunts and camping trips to get used to the outside, so that when the time came for them to eat the fruit they would have less of a culture shock?

Were animals killing and eating each other outside of the garden? When did animals begin killing and eating other animals? Was it before the flood or after? Was it after people began killing them?

How normal and uneventful was all of this? We tend to think “magic”. Perhaps it was not.

Were there poisonous plants in the garden? They were told to eat “clean” herbs. Since the only other plants mentioned are trees, I would suspect that all other plants fell under the category of “herbs”. Perhaps unclean herbs simply meant poisonous plants. Perhaps we need to rethink the story we have been told of a pure couple, without fault, without defect who could not be poisoned by anything but a certain tree.

I would suspect that the unclean plants could not impart knowledge. Was the tree even a real tree with real fruit? If not, what was it? If the tree of life represents the love of God, and seeing the Gods, what would the opposite represent? If it was not literal, why this story and the embellishment by Adam? I cannot comprehend it being anything other than a literal tree, even though (for us) it represents beginning to sin.

Notice that God said to Adam, “I told you not to eat,” but to Eve, he said, “What did you do?” And God did not give the serpent a chance to answer for itself.

God said to Adam, “Because you listened to man over God,” (remember their name was man - Moses 2:27). To the serpent, “Because you did this.” To Eve, there was no, “Because you . . . .”

What would have happened if Adam had not taken the fruit? What if he had waited until God showed up again, then told Him there was a problem and asked God to solve it because he still wanted to stay with Eve? What if God had then given Adam permission to eat the fruit? What if God was not two men, but a man and a woman (husband and wife)? What if Jehovah was not involved until after the fall? What if we have no clue what the Godhead really entails?

Why does Jehovah (who we are told is the God of the Old Testament) refer to Jesus as “mine only begotten”? Enoch was talking to the Lord God. Enoch calls to the Lord and asks Him when He will come again on the earth and says, you've commanded me to ask in the name of your Only Begotten.” God is Man of Holiness and the son is Son of Man in the language of Adam.

In the Book of Mormon, it is explained that Jesus/Jehovah is both the father and the son - the father because of the spirit (His premortal self, I would suppose) and the son because of the flesh (his earthly self). He wasn't His complete self in mortality because He, like us, had a veil of forgetfulness drawn over His mind. I suppose that is why He considered His mortal (relatively speaking) self as separate from His Eternal self. But I seriously doubt He was His own father. I think the father (Jehovah's father) was the literal father, since He had a body and could impart the necessary genetic material. If spirits could father children, I'm sure the devils would have spawned many.

Anyway, back to the subject. Did Adam and Eve have tools in the garden? They were gardeners, after all. Did they have a house to live in? Did they have brushes for their hair? Did they have soap to wash their hair and bodies? Surely they'd get dirty working in the garden. Was Adam's hair as long as Eve's? Did Adam have a beard before they left the garden? Why do nearly all of the pictures show Adam with short hair and no beard even after they left the garden? Why was he bound by the hairstyles we think appropriate? Where was the razor and scissors? When did Adam and Eve learn to read and write? Did they have needles? If not, how did they sew fig leaves together? Did the fig leaves just cover their genitals like the pictures portray, or did they cover their chests and backs (like a tunic)? Why do we assume that they were only concerned about their crotches? If they had previously been clothed in light, would not the lack of light have included their whole bodies?

Anyway, back to the thing I was originally thinking, and wondering about.

There was no sin, but
Adam did not trust Eve
He feared she'd eat the fruit
He embellished the commandment
He (unknowingly) set the stage for the fall


We are to return to the paradisaical realm eventually.

Perhaps we misunderstand what “without sin” and “perfection” really is. Perhaps one can be without sin, but not perfect. In the Millennium we are considered without sin (or at least the children who grow up there), and some people resent those children and claim they will not exist because they won't have the trials and choices we have now. But it looks to me like they will have choices to make. They will still make mistakes and do things that are not perfect, and they will learn from their mistakes I expect. Perhaps the reason people will live so long is because they cannot learn all they need to learn in a short time, if it is in a gentle way. We learn harshly, but we don't have a 600 to 980 year life span in which to learn life's lessons.

Which brings me to another thought I had. Adam and Eve were created in day 6, during the 6th thousand years, as we count them. On the sabbath (7thday), while God was resting, they ate the fruit. That means they were less than two days old when they fell (or 2,000 years as we count time). I used to think they could have been in the garden for eons or for days, until I realized they ate the fruit while God was away, resting from His labors.

How did the devil tempt the serpent? Did the animals freely wander in and out of the garden? The devil and his angels were cast into the earth, but the scriptures seem to hint that he was not allowed into the garden, therefor he sent one of his agents (spies) into the garden to do his work for him. Did the serpent intend to work for the devil? What reward did the devil offer? I thought animals were immune from listening to the devil. Why can't we talk to animals and have them talk to us like they did in the garden? Will this be changed back in the Millennium? If Adam and Eve didn't wear clothing in the garden, will we not wear clothing in the Millennium, since it is a reversion back to the garden? Will animal sacrifice be made after Jesus comes but before the peace covers the earth? What will turn our minds to Christ since no animals will be killed in the Millennium? Will it be an ⅛ of a crust of bread and a few drops of water? Will it be a meal of whole bread and homemade red wine? Will it be the fact that we see Him often?

Anyway, those were some thoughts and questions I had as a result of listening to the audio book of Moses yesterday.