Thursday, December 25, 2014

Vanity and Pride

Vanity, pride, looking beyond the mark, self-will, arrogance, and reckless enthusiasm all proceed from a lack of gratitude to God for what He gives us. Instead of accepting in gratitude and practicing it with patience, we demand more, insist we can improve on His ways, and charge ahead into the pass to be destroyed by the beast.
That was from this post. (Emphasis added.)

Lately, I have felt stuck. Why am I not receiving what was promised?

I was told a few weeks ago by the Spirit that God put me (in July) where I could learn to be more like Christ. The analogy of the young man learning to create a net came to mind. I accepted it then.

But, surely, it is now time to move on - to do something more, to receive angels face to face in waking life.

I prayed, begged, cried for something better. I resisted the idea that I was doing what I should be doing. It was getting old. It was getting boring. (I've done it since the day after the July lecture in St. George.) Many times it is difficult and painful. I had (and have) dreams I would like to accomplish, interests I would love to pursue. I don't want to wait until summer or later to have my life change into what I have wanted it to be for many years.

Serving where I am serving is not really all that fun and pleasant for me. I find myself wishing or daydreaming of having work that pays better by the hour, work that I enjoy immensely, work that allows me to go home after eight or ten hours so I can get a good night's sleep each night.

I sensed that I was not quite doing something right. I begged God to tell me what it was.

Then I read the post I linked to above.

And I read: "Vanity. Pride. Self-will. Arrogance. This shows you are not being grateful to God for what He has given to you."

I read: "You demand more. You insist you can improve on His ways. You are guilty of not practicing patience. And you are guilty of ingratitude."

Now, others may read something else when they read this post. A commenter on In 200 words or less said this about the post I linked to above:
Maybe you should . . . not rely upon hearsay or rely upon the arm of flesh - Denver. This is what concerns me is so many waiting upon every word coming forth from Denver and not waiting upon the Lord. Do you think maybe God is testing us all to see if we just jump from the worship of LDS leadership to the worship of Denver? Maybe those millions of people who really adore Jesus and are of other faiths, go to Jesus directly and not through another arm of flesh. They rely upon Jesus' grace. wherein Denver talks about the works and the law again ... the same old Aaronic order of things. Why in the heck should we preserve the restoration when God has something so much better to give to us if we only go to Him? If you all keep looking to Denver for your mentoring and knowledge, the Lord will withhold revelations that you could have yourself. Denver did a great job calling us all to repentance ...but it is time to move on and put way the Law of Moses (Aaronic) and find Jesus at the mountain. As long as you are looking to Denver as your leader the Lord will not take you from the bottom of the mountain to the top ... Denver is our test ... are you ready to graduate or not?
To me, this sounds like exactly what the post I linked to at the beginning warns against. "Let's rush into the pass. We are not in Old Testament times. Let's stop relying on Denver and move forward!"

For me, Denver's post was a direct answer to my many cries to the Lord, begging for help and understanding. I don't care what person it came through, it is the word of the Lord. It was a wake-up call to me.

My prayers will change and I hope I will continue as I now profess. I hope and intend to pray in gratitude - for this opportunity to become Christlike and patient, for the place in which I live, for the incredible blessings and miracles that have brought me to this point.

I have been guilty of ingratitude. I apologize to the Lord for that. I have thought I could press forward when I have not yet learned what He told me He intended to teach me this year. This year, as in a twelve month period, not as in for a few months until I get tired of it.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Is it accusing or simply acknowledging the truth?

I have been reading Rock's post here (I'm on my phone so the link says "mobile" to me even though I requested the regular site. If the link doesn't work on computers, let me know and I will fix it when I have access to a computer) and the following comments. 

One poster seems extremely concerned that we treat "the Brethren" with kid gloves and close our eyes and mouths. I intend to post the following as a comment on Rock's post but it is so important that I am posting it here as well. Here it is:

I know log doesn't like what is happening, but the Lord is behind it. He is causing the religious "super power" to crumble by stripping off its facades.

First, people began to see and talk about prophets who don't prophesy, revelators who don't reveal, and seers who don't see. 

And the altering of general conference talks began to be known (who can honestly deny, when they see the original Poelman talk and compare it with the altered one?). 

And people who wondered why the prophet could not see Mark Hofmann's mind and intent began to talk to each other and ask openly why a man who saw Jesus every week could not discern a man with a dishonest and murderous heart.

Then, people researched tithing. They looked for the original sources of what was written in a RS/PH manual and discovered that a quote about who should pay tithing lacked three vital words: "who has means," and more and more people began to see that tithing (according to scripture) was a law to help the poor, not a law to make a wealthy church richer.

Then Rock Waterman uncovered instructions for mission presidents that proved further corruption/grinding upon the face of the poor.

And people were also realizing that they DID NOT need the church's approval to partake of the sacrament (with wine, as directed by the scriptures) in their families and among their friends and acqaintances.

People saw that drinking ale and beer was not really against the word of wisdom. They saw that it was okay to drink wine for sacramentS (ie weddings) even if, probably, no one has done it yet.

People began to see that there really is no such thing as a personal line of revelation versus a priesthood (church TM) line of revelation nor that personal revelation must ALWAYS bow to the priesthood (church TM) especially if Jesus, Himself, tells you something the church doesn't approve of.

People began to say things like, "The emperor is wearing no clothes." They began to stop fearing excommunication, finally recognizing that no man nor group of men have the keys to heaven. 

Their eyes began to be opened. They began to see the ploy, "Follow the prophet. Follow the Brethren. He and we will not, even CANNOT lead you astray," for what it really is: a vain attempt to control the church's masses, keeping them faithful to their leaders, keeping the income rolling in, keeping the power over minds and souls they have gotten used to having. 

It is difficult to let go of the wealth and power and adoration. The "Brethren" are simply men. How can this worship and adoration and access to billions of dollars NOT go to their heads? Our love for them should cause us to beg God to pull down their pride and push them into the depths of humility before it is too late for them. I know that I don't want them to wake up to the horror of what they have done and are doing after it is too late to fix it. I wouldn't wish that feeling of "everlastingly too late" on anyone.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Online Career Testing

So, I had to delay what I needed to do today. To occupy myself, I began looking for online career tests. I ended up zeroing in on Holland Code types. Some of the careers the different sites suggested really sounded boring, but there was one that was so much closer than any of the others. They wanted their link shared, so I am sharing it - in case there are others who like to take career tests for fun. (I love taking tests. Color me weird.)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wheat Intolerance or Poison Intolerance?

An online friend of mine sent me a blog post that I find very interesting. You can find the full post here.

 I found it interesting, not just because people need to know about this, but also because I have a daughter who cannot eat wheat products without experiencing bloating and abdominal pain.

Here are some highlights from the post:

Confused parents wondering why wheat consumption sometimes triggered autoimmune reactions in their children but not at other times. . . .

 Finally, the answer came over dinner a couple of months ago with a friend who was well versed in the wheat production process. I started researching the issue for myself, and was, quite frankly, horrified at what I discovered.  . . .

Common wheat harvest protocol in the United States is to drench the wheat fields with Roundup several days before the combine harvesters work through the fields as the practice allows for an earlier, easier and bigger harvest . . . 

It has . . .  become routine over the past 15 years and is used as a drying agent 7-10 days before harvest within the conventional farming community.
. . .

According to the US Department of Agriculture, as of 2012, 99% of durum wheat, 97% of spring wheat, and 61% of winter wheat has been treated with herbicides. This is an increase from 88% for durum wheat, 91% for spring wheat and 47% for winter wheat since 1998. . . .

Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup  . . . [Surprised? I wasn't.] 
. . .
An interesting aside, malt barley which is made into beer is not acceptable in the marketplace if it has been sprayed with preharvest Roundup. Lentils and peas are not accepted in the market place if it was sprayed with preharvest roundup….. but wheat is ok.. . . .

Here’s what wheat farmer Seth Woodland of Woodland and Wheat in Idaho had to say about the practice of using herbicides for wheat dry down:
That practice is bad . I have fellow farmers around me that do it and it is sad. Lucky for you not all of us farm that way. Being the farmer and also the president of a business, we are proud to say that we do not use round up on our wheat ever!

This practice is not just widespread in the United States either. The Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom reports that use of Roundup as a wheat desiccant results in glyphosate residues regularly showing up in bread samples.
. . .

Roundup significantly disrupts the functioning of beneficial bacteria in the gut and contributes to permeability of the intestinal wall and consequent expression of autoimmune disease symptoms . . .

. . . the negative impact of glyphosate exposure is slow and insidious over months and years as inflammation gradually gains a foothold in the cellular systems of the body.
The consequences of this systemic inflammation are most of the diseases and conditions associated with the Western lifestyle:
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Depression
  • Autism
  • Infertility
  • Cancer
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • And the list goes on and on and on …
. . .

What about other crops where Roundup is used as a pre-harvest desiccant such as barley, sugar cane, rice, seeds, dried beans and peas, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, and sugar beets?

End of quotes.

I would seriously recommend that you read the full post. The address is

Truly, there are conspiring men in these days in regards to the food we eat.
Emails from folks with allergic or digestive issues to wheat in the United States experienced no symptoms whatsoever when they tried eating pasta on vacation in Italy. - See more at:
Emails from folks with allergic or digestive issues to wheat in the United States experienced no symptoms whatsoever when they tried eating pasta on vacation in Italy. - See more at:
Emails from folks with allergic or digestive issues to wheat in the United States experienced no symptoms whatsoever when they tried eating pasta on vacation in Italy. - See more at:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


These are thoughts, not doctrine. I have no special line to truth. I do not expect anything I write on my blog to be accepted blindly. It is the responsibility of each person to find truth for him/herself. Besides that, I am still processing the following ideas. They may not be true at all.

So, I've been listening to the lecture on priesthood (given in Orem, Utah) – and have been listening to the lecture on Christ earlier (given in Ephraim, Utah), as well as conversing with others about the latter. Just now, listening to the priesthood lecture, it hit me, almost as a realization.

This is hell. For real. Literally. The devils reside here, thus it is hell. D&C 76 gives a whole list of types of people who will dwell in hell for their reward. Somewhere (in the D&C, I think; perhaps even in section 76) it is said or written that those of a higher kingdom can go to the lower kingdoms (but not vice versa). It does not say that those in the lower kingdoms will know or realize that there are residents of a higher kingdom dwelling among them and helping them.

Alma 13 seems to speak of God's eternal rounds as being earths. We go to an earth, learn and become all we can, then go to our rewards – climbing up over and over until we become someone God can trust. What struck me was this: The reward of the lowest kingdom is to go for another go-round on a planet like this. None of us initially know if we are in this hell as a punishment for past misdeeds. We can only know it if Gods or angels tell us.

You see, those of a higher kingdom (Jesus, many of the prophets) have condescended to come here even though they have already successfully passed this level of things (see “The First Three Words” by Denver Snuffer).

What I am not saying: I am not saying we return to this earth over and over again. The scriptures (Alma 13) say that it was before the foundation of the world that certain people were proven by their faith and good works. One round seems to consist of a plan to create a planet, creating the planet, putting an Adam and Eve upon it, having a fall, then all of God's children who have that planet as a reward or who are assigned to it as helpers are then born onto it over the course of several thousands of years. The planet may also include those who have never experienced being on a telestial hell-planet before.

At the end of that, there is a reaping and a putting of people into where they belong. Then those who qualify for hell get the opportunity to try again on another hell-planet. This fits in with the scriptures that say this life is the time to prepare and after it no man can work. Were it a coming back to this earth on this round over and over again, that scripture (and others like it) would be lying to us.

Those who reap a higher reward may, according to scriptures and to my understanding, condescend to go to a telestial hell-world to help save souls, the most obvious example being Jesus Christ.

Joseph Smith said we needed to follow Christ, apparently even to the point of reaching the highest rung on the heavenly ladder, then going to a hell-earth as a sinless sacrifice and to resurrect those who cannot resurrect themselves. (See his last general conference talk in 1844.)

How resurrection and bodies fit into this, I do not know. I cannot see how a physical body, forever united to a spirit can separate from it to gain a fresh body at the birth of another body. Unless, these are different dimensions and there are millions of kinds of bodies to be had.

I wonder if a terrestrial planet would be like this one, sans the devils and their influences.

But, then, why the statement by Joseph Smith that we would kill ourselves to get to the telestial kingdom (hell) if we are already here? And I promise you: this life is not worth killing oneself to get into.

Just a note: This is what D&C 76 says in regards to those who go to hell. I do find it a bit confusing in light of what I think I am learning. Like I said, I am still processing this, still trying to figure it out:

 89: And thus we saw, in the heavenly vision, the glory of the telestial, which surpasses all understanding;
 98-106: And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world; For these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas. These are they who say they are some of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch; But received not the gospel [what is "the gospel"?], neither the testimony of Jesus [the testimony that Jesus has of you/them?], neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant. [Received, not "followed." Following seems to be frowned upon in this scripture.]

Last of all, these all are they who will not be gathered with the saints, to be caught up unto the church of the Firstborn, and received into the cloud. These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie. These are they who suffer the wrath of God on earth. These are they who suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. These are they who are cast down to hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God, until the fulness of times, when Christ shall have subdued all enemies under his feet, and shall have perfected his work;

Question: When is the "fulness of times"? When is it that all enemies are subdued and the work is perfected? Is it at the end of the 1,000 years of peace (Millennium)? Or is it at the end of the whole mess, at the end of the perhaps thousands of cycles it will take to get people to finally "get it" and stop hurting each other? Is that when the "glory" of the telestial world will come forth and there will be no more hell-earths to inhabit for this particular group of Father's children?

True Messengers

Tim Malone said this:
I declare unto you, in all words of soberness, in words revealed unto me by the Lord, that He has sent a prophet to us within the last few years from outside the hierarchy of the Church, with a mission to teach us, to warn us, and to lead us to the Lord. I have spent hundreds of hours studying his published words. I have listened to his recorded teachings over this past year and have found truth in what he has shared. I have sat in his presence recently to test his spirit. I found no fault and have had my witness reaffirmed.

I declare unto you this prophet is acting as an Elias, or a John the Baptist, with the mission to prepare us to receive the Lord. More importantly, he is as Moses in striving to show us the way to the Lord, that we may enter into His presence in this life, to be prepared to be caught up to meet the inhabitants of the City of Enoch at the coming of the Lord. That event will be accompanied by great destructions. This is well known. Not as well-known is just how soon those destructions will begin to be poured out upon us.

And he apparently got a tremendous amount of flack for it.

I am lucky - or blessed - or something. Hardly anyone knows of my blog. Even at its most active, I don't have much traffic in comparison with Tim, Rock, and others whose blogs I read with interest.

I have moved, there is confusion about what ward I belong in, so I have decided to go to whatever ward is closest to walk to.

In other words, they can't get me because I'm a nobody (so no one will complain) and am in no ward. And I have been wondering: If I post what I really think will there be any consequences? I doubt it. I've posted what I've thought before with no repercussions.

So I am going to do an experiment, to prove to myself that I really am a nothing and a nobody (my family and friends, with the exception of one similar-minded friend, don't read this - have probably forgotten this blog even exists, if they knew it in the first place). I am going to write plainly and freely.

Tim's comments above are spot on. He said it much better than I could have.

God's voice is once again heard among us after a silence created after the death of Joseph Smith (not that many listened to what he was really trying to get at while he was alive - and he let them go their merry ways, creating a church after the desires of their own hearts).

I do not comprehend how anyone can fail to recognize the voice of the Master in the words He speaks through his latest servant. How can it fail to resonate? How can it not be familiar? As familiar as one's own parent?

Some say that they don't “feel good” when the servant speaks. The Spirit doesn't make you “feel good,” especially if you are in a deep sleep, a drunken stupor. The Spirit gives you information. What emotions come up as a result of the information is not under the Spirit's jurisdiction.

Some rage on about the messenger - either defending him or attempting to splice, dice, or silence him. They are offended at the message the Lord told him to deliver, so they are going to shoot the messenger. Some might even be delighted at the message so they praise the messenger.

So Denver is a true prophet of God. You know, the kind that actually sees God and tells people what God told him to say. Great. End of subject.

Let's continue on to the message, without which we would be damned because we are too dense to figure it out ourselves through our own prayers and study. And, more and more, we study general conference talks instead of the Book of Mormon.

Let's digress to the Book of Mormon. I'd recommend the 1830 version because, you see, I was taught in more Sunday School classes than I can count (when I was a child we had Sunday School on Sunday and Primary was after school) that Joseph Smith translated the book so incredibly. He picked up where he left off each time he began again. Nothing was crossed out. He made no mistakes. So, if that's true, then the best version is the 1830 version.

Except. It was one long run-on sentence. So, go here to download a version without punctuation (sorry - it was too time-prohibitive to go through and remove/replace all of the capital letters). Let the Spirit tell you what the book really says.

The Book of Commandments had revelations given to and through Joseph Smith (though I understand that some in either that book or the Doctrine and Covenants - or both - may have come through someone else, even though Joseph is credited with them). Good book to read.

If you read the Doctrine and Covenants, I would recommend the first edition. It contains the Lectures on Faith. Joseph spent serious effort editing those to get them right. He let a committee deal with the “covenants” section of the book. Guess what? They did some “free-lancing” - They embellished parts, made them sound more like what they thought God would say. Don't believe me? Read the Book of Commandments, then read the same revelations as written in the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.

When I was a child, I was taught in church that “we know more than the pioneers did.” We knew more than Joseph did. You see, the church had evolved and we understood a whole lot more. I continued being taught that as I grew up. And I believed it.

When I read in the Lectures on Faith (when I was around 18 or 20 years old) that there were only two persons in the Godhead and that the Holy Spirit wasn't even a person, I believed the footnote that explained that Joseph hadn't figured it out yet. Yet a part of me wondered how he could have gotten it wrong, seeing as he had seen God and all that.

Well, it was only recently that I saw something clearly: We are the ones who haven't figured it out. No president of the church has had the visions Joseph had. The few we believe had visions of Jesus were never delivered over the pulpit, thus are suspect. And the recent deliveries (from apostles) have been couched in poetic phrases, never coming right out and plainly saying, “I know Jesus lives, because I have seen Him. I have touched Him. I have talked to Him. He wants me to tell you …” That smacks of deception to me. That smacks of lies to me. Intentionally.

A “special witness” of Christ is one who is a witness of His suffering in Gethsemane, crucifixion, death, and resurrection - most likely in vision (definitely so today). It is not a fancy title, and most certainly is not a fancy title meaning, “I get to boss you around. I get to tell you how to dress, how to decorate your bodies, what you can say and to whom. I get to demand your respect and veneration. You are to honor and obey me above all and, most especially, if the Holy Ghost tells you something - or the scriptures do - and it goes against my opinions or sermon or the latest policy, I take precedence over scriptures and your Holy Ghost. Follow me and you will get to heaven. Obey my voice and it is impossible for you to be led astray.”

Which brings me to the idea of prophets, because we consider our “special witnesses” to all be prophets. Look in the scriptures. The Book of Mormon is the “most correct book” according to Joseph Smith (note that he did not say it was completely correct. There could be errors in it), and the book says that the Bible is a huge stumbling block, so it would be safest to search the pages of the Book of Mormon.

I want you to look in that book and find me one prophet of God – just one – who says, “Follow me!” Find one who says, “I cannot lead you astray. It isn't in the program. It isn't possible for me to say anything false or contrary to the will of God.”

And I want you to look in that book and find how many prophets point to Christ and say, “Follow Christ.”

And I want you to look in that book and find out how many prophets heap laud and honor upon their listeners for being so awesome. Ditto for any, “To my grandchildren, who are so dear and precious to my heart, and while we're at it, here is a video or some photograph(s) to boost my pride in my progeny.”

I want you to look in that book and find where it says that it is okay to practice polygamy because David and Solomon did it. (Heck, look at D&C 132 if you want, which I believe to have been altered by - maybe even created by - Joseph's secretary, William Clayton, who was conveniently working for Brigham Young when BY felt the need to find something of Joseph's to “prove” that Joseph was lying every time he said he didn't have more than one wife, as in a sexual partner, which is what it seems to mean to everyone, anyway. It points out that Isaac practiced polygamy. Oops. Bit of a boo boo, WC. Strange that BY and those who followed him in the presidency all said and believed the same thing about polygamy: it was to have lots and lots of children. If that is what Joseph taught them, where are the lots and lots of children Joseph was supposed to have had?) I want you to consider that God was, just maybe, talking about spiritual seed when He said, “raise up seed to me.” Just maybe.

And I want it to be known that my greatest desire is for all to escape the chains of hell. I desire spiritual darkness to have no power over anyone who has even the tiniest bit of desire to escape it. I desire all who follow men or women to wake up and follow the one Man who is the only one worthy of following, the only one worthy of emulation.

I do not hate the religion I was born into. I appreciate that it gave me the Book of Mormon. I appreciate that it gave me baptism. I appreciate the truths that it did teach me (I am still in the process of separating the truth from the error). I do not look at my ancestors with distaste or disdain (I am certainly no better than they, and am probably worse). What I do see in us today is a blindness. I see a belief that we are somehow smarter and more learned than those in the past. I see that we believe if we follow men, fallible humans, then we will be saved. No need for the Book of Mormon. Conference talks suffice.

I see true messengers from God despised, rejected, reviled, cast out, mocked, derided, accused of being a devil or having a devil or following a devil. I am not concerned about the messengers. They are in God's hands. He will do with them what He will. My concern is for those who despise the messengers. My concern is for the physical and spiritual destruction of those who profess to know and have the truth, yet fight against God. My prayers are intense for them, as well as for those who have recognized the need to follow only Christ and are willing to sacrifice all things to follow Him. Many of the latter group receive persecution in their own homes or among their friends and peers, or are sorely tempted to do something that would ruin what they are desiring to acquire and accomplish.

Yet, it must be so. Life must be. We must be presented with choices. We must allow those who oppose to oppose. We must allow those who insist upon fear to have that fear. And it must be that there are those who think I am “apostate” even though I am actually a heretic, and who think I have joined the forces of darkness (that is if they ever notice what I believe).

And, once we have been taught from on high, I expect it is our responsibility to teach what we have learned. But only if moved upon by the Holy Ghost or directed to do so by our Lord.

I want you (anyone who happens to read this) to know that I am a bumbling fool. Heaven has taken notice of me on occasion, just as it probably has for you (whether you recognize it as such or not). Heaven has bestowed blessings on me. Heaven has given me gifts. I suspect it has done the same for you.

We should be in a fight against darkness, not against those who do not toe the line of appropriate Brethren-worship (adoration, fidelity, whatever you are pleased to call it). We have a common enemy and it is not “the Brethren” nor is it true messengers. The common enemy seeks to destroy our souls and will use all it can to sink us.

The way to combat darkness is to turn and face the Light. We need no “parlor tricks”. We need not concentrate on darkness, nor school ourselves in the ranks of devils nor their tools. We need only to face Christ with full purpose of heart, with true humility, and with an intense desire to know only that which is true no matter how close to or far from our paradigms it may be (or from that which tickles our fancy).

Just to be plain: True messengers are not here to usurp control over the LDS church, nor to create another institution/corporation or church. They are no threat to the First Presidency's authority over the Church, though they might be a threat to the First Presidency's income, pride, and power simply by virtue of teaching truth - and teaching what a true messenger is and is not.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Zion is a Small Group?

So, a man whose blog I read likes to point out that Zion can be had with only a very few. A handful can do it. One couple can do it. I've noticed that some of my friends become discouraged by that, saying that if only a few are going to make it then they are disqualified.

"How can I possibly be one of them?" they wonder.

One of my daughters brought up an alternate view.

Instead of looking at it as a goal that is so high above you that no one can touch it, how about looking at it as a goal so low that anyone can make it?

Zion is so possible that it can come about even if only a few are brought to that point by Christ. It will not need to take hundreds or thousands, thus we will not miss out if we are the only one (or, as a couple, the only ones) who reach the point of the Lord leading us to Zion.

It really is up to us. There is no competition for Zion. There is not a set number allowed and all others are turned away. ("Sorry, we only need eight souls ala the ark. We've filled our quota, so you're just outta luck.")

I don't think God works that way. I think He desires all to come unto Him. I think He would be overjoyed if Zion consisted of several thousand or several million. By the same token, I think that the low number is there to encourage us, not discourage us.

Now, I don't know what the man thinks about it who writes about the low numbers, nor do I care. It is the Lord, I believe, who inspired my daughter to view it upside-down from what she was seeing in others' views.

No Punctuation in Book of Mormon

So, I learned recently that the manuscript for the Book of Mormon was, essentially, one long run-on sentence. John Gilbert, who was E.B. Grandin's assistant, put in the punctuation. I'm glad he did, because it would have been a confused mess otherwise. However, the punctuation may not be what God had in mind or what Joseph understood. For example, Nephi quotes his father, then says, "These are the words of my father." The verses and punctuation are such that the sentence goes into a different verse than what the father said and there is a colon, as if the words that follow are "the words of my father," when they clearly are not.

So, I looked on my computer and found an 1830 Book of Mormon as a Word document. It doesn't quite match my hardcopy of the book because it has many paragraphs that are smaller, but it also has some huge paragraphs.

In any case, I took out the page numbers that interrupted the text at regular intervals (along with the name of the book, such as Nephi or Alma), and I took out the punctuation. I thought it would be fun for people to print it out and read it without the distraction of punctuation. You can print it out and fill in your own punctuation.

One was uploaded as a Word file.

The other was uploaded as a PDF.


Monday, June 30, 2014

On True Messengers

I read a post today on a forum I go to probably far too often. There was a note of sadness in it. There was a feeling of, "This is serious stuff. I've made my choice, and the choosing was not easy."

I feel the need to post my reply here, as well as on that thread:

I feel your pain, MegaManToo. It is a rough road. A painful thing. Any who are aware of what Denver teaches seems to be put in a position of choosing, of discerning if he is a liar and a charlatan or if he is bona fide.

One thing that is certain is that if Denver is a liar (about seeing the Lord, and about saying what the Lord wants Him to say), he certainly should be ignored and he will surely be damned to hell.

If, however, he is telling the truth, it behooves us to know that, even if what he says is painful.

Pruning out false beliefs can be excruciatingly painful. Attempting to discern who is telling the truth can be frustrating or confusing.

Following our trusted traditions is probably what most will do who hear of Denver. Doing otherwise puts a person in peril of their standing in the church. It may create cognitive dissonance. It most surely will put us at odds with family, friends, and our wards and stakes. It will, no doubt, lead to the sacrifice of all things.

PtHG was a painful book, but Denver makes very little in the way of damning comment (if any). Mostly, he quotes from original sources. His conclusions, as I understood them, were that Christ's hand was still over the church, that the Gentiles were (and have been since BY's time) fulfilling what was said and prophesied in the Book of Mormon.

But if Denver was/is a true prophet, a true messenger, what will happen to those who have figuratively "shot the messenger"? Is Christ's hand still over the Church in that case? Or just over the church (the humble followers who seek Him still, who do not know there is a true messenger around)?

If "by mine own voice or the voice of my servants, it is the same" is true and Denver is a true messenger boy, is it not a serious and grave thing to have cast him out?

All of this is serious. Dead serious. Not that Denver is important in and of himself. He is not. It is the message. The message offends. It divides. It causes anguish of spirit. It creates "bad feelings" (remember Laman and Lemuel? They had bad feelings about what Nephi taught them, also).

And if Denver is lying. If he is a messenger from the devil, from darkness, he ought to be ignored. He ought to be cast out.

Our eternal salvation lies in the balance when it comes to anyone professing to have a message from our Lord. We ought to take it seriously, just like your post above mine did. I can tell that you feel the import, the weight of knowing if he is a liar or not.

End of my post.

Is it not true that we have eternal decisions to make here? Is it not true that Christ said he came to divide? To bring a sword? Is it not true that He will require the sacrifice of all things? Is it not true that most true messengers where not men in authority, but ordinary men outside of established hierarchies?

Discerning true messengers from false ones is vital to the next plane of existence. From my understanding it changes our projectory for the rest of eternity.

So, how do we do it when it is so painful? How do we know we are not following a "Harmston" or a "Jeffs" or "Korihor"?

I would submit this:

Study scriptures.
The Book of Mormon was one long run-on sentence when it was given to the printer. E.B. Grandin's assistant was saddled with the task of typesetting the book. He had no idea where God wanted the punctuation, but he had to do something. And he did the best he could.

Putting a colon after "these are the words of my father" when it was obvious that the words of the father preceded that sentence is one example of where he didn't quite get it right. But he made the text make a whole lot more sense than it would have otherwise.

So, I would recommend reading the book with the understanding that the punctuation may be different than what you see there.

Who are the Gentiles? 
I suggest reading the book as if you, the reader are a Gentile because, in most cases, it is true. If you have been told that you are of Ephraim in a patriarchal blessing, remember that Isaiah (and it is quoted in the Book of Mormon) prophesied that "Ephraim will be broken that it be not a people" (see Isaiah 7:8 and 2 Nephi 17:8). That would explain why we can be both.

Pride, knowledge, and all that stuff.
I would recommend putting away all that you think you know. Read the book, and pray, as if you were brand new to it all. Put away all you have been taught. Trust that the Lord loves you and would not lead you away into darkness and hell if are are humble and sincere. Be humble enough and brave enough to recognize that it is possible that you don't know it all.

Warm fuzzies versus "bad feelings"
If we read something or hear something and get a "bad feeling" - maybe anger, maybe shock or discombobulation, maybe fear, maybe revulsion - it might be useful to search for the root of that.

Contrary to what we are taught, the Spirit does not give us warm fuzzies if something is from God and "bad feelings" if it is from the devil. A whole lot of people didn't have warm fuzzies when Jesus was preaching - or Stephen (remember him? He was the guy who was stoned while Saul held the coats of those who were doing the murder) - or Abinadi - or Nephi - or Lehi - or Isaiah - or Noah - and on and on we could go.

Joseph Smith said that the Spirit communicated with us by giving us pure knowledge. That is not the same as warm fuzzies or feelings of darkness, as far as I can tell. Those nice feelings and bad feelings are telling us something. It may or may not be what we think.

Prayer, prayer, and more prayer
I would suggest being honest as well as humbling oneself to the dirt. "This scares the hell out of me. Help me understand what's true," is actually an appropriate prayer if you're really feeling that way.

God said He would send a great division among the people. Well, He has done it and is still doing it. There is a tremendous division in regards to what truth might be. And the division seems to be splitting along the lines of "follow the brethren/prophet, they/he can never lead you astray" (this fits all the offshoots from Joseph's day) versus, follow Christ only. If you follow a man, you will be damned because men are not perfect, no matter how true of a prophet they may be.

And the crack, as it enlarges, includes those who are not pleased with the LDS Church building malls, owning thousands upon thousands of acres of lands, leaders driving nice cars and getting great perks, mission presidents having a pretty dang high standard of living, among other things.

The time is shortening for those who are part of the restored church. Truly, the Lord has set His hand a second time to give us a second chance after blowing it in regards to building the Nauvoo temple and encouraging a prophet of God to go to his death (haranguing him into destroying a printing press that he knew would cause his demise, then guilting him into turning himself over to those who would end up killing him).

Whatever you decide, whoever you decide to give heed to, I would recommend serious and ponderous thought. And I wish you well. I pray for you. Not that you will believe as I do, but that God will lead you in the paths of righteousness, and that you will be found at the last day to be on the right hand of the Father.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Testimony of Jesus

I have a testimony of Jesus. I wish He had one of me. Perhaps I am too cowardly, too self-centered, too vile. But I still have hope.

My hope is in Christ. He is my best friend. I have seen Him in several dreams, and in one meditation. I have yet to have what I consider a genuine vision of Him (one of those experiences wherein one is not sure if one is in the body or out of it - and it is so real that even 40 or 80 years later, it is as if it happened yesterday).

I am cowardly. I have spent most of my life in fear. Fear of other people. Fear of the devil. Fear of the pain they could cause. Experience is a great teacher. When one has been reviled and persecuted as a child simply because one exists, one learns to take one's aura and draw it inward, emotionally curling into a ball and becoming quite invisible for one who has a physical body.

Things began to change. I began to connect with Christ. I began to have courage, bit by bit. I still consider myself cowardly. But there are some things I am no longer afraid of.

Where is my testimony of Christ?

It is found when He rescues me. When I see followers of Christ coming to my aid through prayers and in concrete ways. When I see that I am more patient, less vile than I used to be, more prone to let people be whatever they are, even if they are unkind to me.

It is found when I finally begin to see what the tokens and the signs in the temple mean, and begin to realize that we should not be taught how to correctly pray only to be forbidden to pray in that manner. What spirit is it that forbids a man or woman to pray?

It is found when I realize that I have nothing of value to say on my blog because it is all my own opinion and most likely not even true. It is found when I am humble enough to admit I was wrong, that the information I shared wasn't exactly right.

It is found when a true messenger from God gives a call to repentance and, instead of being offended because he does not preach the current "safe" doctrine, I am led to fall on my knees - as I realize that not only am I a sinner, but that the Lord's arms are open wide to receive me.

It is found when Christ heals me of wounds that have festered for years, some of them most of my life.

It is a difficult path to follow the Savior.

The religious may persecute you. They will warn you to stay away from the true messengers of God because they honestly believe that those messengers will lead you to hell.

You may lose your spouse, your family, your children, your parents, your friends, and your church affiliation.

You will begin to disconnect from your old thinking until you no longer have common ground with those who still live and believe the way you used to.

I can say that I used to be a Pharisee of the highest order. Tats, multiple rings in one's body, drinking, smoking - any who did them was bound for hell. I was prideful and arrogant but did not know it. Like Amulek, I knew but I did not know.

Now, I see myself as a sinner. I see myself as darkness in comparison to Christ's Light.

I wish I had a testimony to give you - a testimony that I have seen Christ and that I know, actually know, that He lives. But I can't. I don't consider dreams to fall under the category of knowledge. Or daydreams. Or meditations.  I am very strict in my interpretation of what consists of an actual knowledge of Jesus Christ.

But, you know what I CAN do? I can pray for you. And for me. I can pray that our hearts are softened. I can pray that God helps us with our trials and fears. I can pray that the devils and darkness have absolutely no power over us if we have even one tiny speck of willingness to escape. I can pray that we see Christ and are redeemed from the fall. In this life.

So many people on the Internet have such awesome posts. Occasionally, I think I am one of them. However, I am under no illusion that this post and the last one are some of them. I see myself lacking in understanding. I see myself still far too fearful. I see that I do not have the knowledge, the real hands-on experience, that one needs to be able to adequately preach and teach and testify.

But I love Christ. And I recognize His words. And I know the Book of Mormon is extremely valuable in our earthly journey, and that it is a more complex piece of work than most of us have ever imagined. And I know that if Joseph translated the book, it means he had the gift of translation. It does not mean he was a prophet (though I believe he was). It does not mean he was perfect. It does not mean those from Brigham on down were prophets. It does not mean "the church is true." Those are all logical fallacies.

I love Christ. I love my heavenly Father and Mother. Somewhere in my soul I know that. Somewhere in my soul is the person I was before - the valiant and courageous daughter of God who came down here for a reason, and who chose to stay here for a reason after I had been invited home about 2008.

God lives. And I hope somewhere in this scattered rambling, this nattering, there has been something of value to someone - and that these two posts I made today were not made just to satisfy my own vanity (or insanity). If I deem them useless in the future, I will probably delete them. But for now, I will allow my ramblings to stand.

Random Thoughts

I don't get online much. I don't have Internet right now. I do check on things with my phone, but it's a big hassle because my phone has decided it doesn't like the Internet much. So, here I sit at the library, wanting to say something profound. Either bear with me or jump ship now. <grin>

I warn you that this is a very rough draft and may make very little sense.

I've read a lot of threads on my favorite forum that are talking about people who are being called in by their bishops. Some of these seem to have been instigated from the Saving the Saints Committee. (I have a difficult time remembering their name. Torturing the Saints, Spying on the Saints, Protecting the Saints. There is a real name out there somewhere.) Some are being called in because a friend or relative tattled on them to the bishop. Sometimes the person him/herself was very honest when they spoke to a bishop, and the bishop figured their concerns or interpretation of the "word of wisdom" was a sin.

I halfway wonder why my turn isn't coming up. Am I not obnoxious enough (or honest enough) on the Internet? Perhaps I've not posted enough lately. Perhaps it is because I have moved recently and the spies don't know where to find me.

Let me be very plain here:

1 - I believe the current doctrine of "Follow the prophet; he cannot lead you astray," to be a doctrine of devils. I came by that opinion because D&C 76 said that those who dwell in the telestial kingdom (which it says is hell) contain those who follow prophets (whether "true" or not), but who failed to do something important. I'll let you have the joy of searching the scriptures for yourself. You've got the section number. That's all you need. That, and an open mind connected to God.

2 - I believe that the current doctrine of the poor giving to the church even if it means they go hungry, naked, are kicked out for not paying rent, and so forth is a doctrine of devils - and the poor giving to the rich is preached against in several places in the Book of Mormon (the Isaiah verses are a good place to go. Mormon 8. Or you can just read the book, looking for where it is warning us, the latter-day saints/Gentiles about our wickedness and how we have polluted the holy church of God).

Some people in third world countries cannot afford to pay money to the church, some of them suffer so much so they can give - and for what? So that the Brethren can have a new Avalon every year or two? So they can write on cotton rag paper instead of on ordinary paper like the rest of us? So they can throw a big birthday bash or eat expensive lunches at work (COB) that lesser mortals working there are not allowed to eat? So that the church can build malls, buy up Florida and church history lands, keep up their expensive hunting retreats?

3 - I fear a hierarchy that cannot recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd, Him who they profess to follow - Him who they pretend to claim to have seen (in flowery language that they have to know the masses will take as, "He saw Him!!!!" when, it reality, it is language that does not come out and plainly say, "I know He lives, for I saw Him. I touched Him. And this is what He said ...") when He speaks through a servant of His own choosing.

I say "fear" because a group of men who profess to know the Lord, who profess to have His power and authority and to hold His keys who cannot recognize Him whom they profess to serve, even to the point of casting out that servant He has sent,  are dangerous indeed to those whom they teach the mantra of, "Follow the Prophet. Follow the Brethren. We cannot lead you astray. It is impossible."

4 - I believe we are meant to be redeemed from the fall in this life. I believe we are meant to return to the Lord's presence here. I believe that Joseph never intended to restore an institutional organization. I believe Joseph gave in to the demands of men, who wanted a New Testament church (as they supposed it to be).

5 - I believe that the cursing in the D&C was never lifted. I believe that when we lost the fullness, it was never given again. I believe the fullness is to see the face of Christ and receive Him as the Second Comforter. I believe that we (the pioneers - I say "we" because their blood flows in my veins) did not finish the Nauvoo temple in a timely manner. The proof is in the fact that we were scattered and driven, and suffered horribly, and went after false doctrines (perversions of what Joseph had been attempting to teach).

6 - I believe there is hope for us yet. I believe that Jesus Christ is, right now, holding His hand out to us, begging us to listen to Him, to hear the painful truths He is trying to tell us - through the Book of Mormon, through the servants He is raising up to tell us that all is NOT well in "Zion". I believe we Gentiles are being given one last chance. And it is the last. After that, it will revert to the Remnant, to those to whom the Book of Mormon promises it will go to after the Gentiles (us) reject the fullness of the gospel.

Next post to offset this: My testimony of Christ.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Man Who Finds Fault with the Church - In Context

Joseph Smith said: “I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the KIngdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives.” 1  

This famous statement, made by the prophet on 2 July 1839, is often quoted to members who are critical of you [general authorities] as a warning that criticism can lead to apostasy. But this twists the original meaning and purpose of the statement. 

Joseph Smith did not say these words to church members who were critical of their leaders. He said them to church leaders - to apostles and seventies - who were critical of church members. 

He warned leaders of the church not to put themselves above others, not to condemn others, not to find fault with the church, not to say that members are out of the way while leaders are righteous.

The whole article is worth reading: Dialogue: A Plea to the Leaders of the Church, by Paul Toscano

Random Thought 3

The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know anything. I had an experience [several] nights ago wherein I saw and felt the darkness and filthiness I reside in, that we all reside in - yet so many of us (myself included) think we have Light. It was disheartening, to say the least.

During that same experience, I reached out to the Holy Spirits that reside in us and found spirits that were willing to help, and power came and helped out with the thing I was concerned about.

It is like a paradox. Everything.

We are dark. We are Light. (Varying shades, spiritually speaking.)
We have to have faith in God to know God but we need to know Him to some degree before we can have faith in him.
We have to give up our lives to live.
We have to sacrifice everything to have everything.
We have to experience hell to experience heaven.
And probably a thousand other things.

I honestly believe that the Reality we left behind more closely resembles our dreams than it does our waking lives.

Random Thought 2

The fact that the Bible has been mistranslated, altered, torn apart and put together again really makes it difficult to trust the book. Add metatext in the form of headings and footnotes, then it is even more difficult to trust the "truths" in the book.

On top of that, we often take our metatext Bible and imprint it onto the Book of Mormon so that it may not say what we think it says. *Sigh* This waking up and seeing scriptures with new eyes is not so easy to accomplish at times.

Random Thought 1

Someone asked: What false religious traditions need to be shed?

The answer given:
That we need a middleman between us and the Lord.

That all is well in Zion (heck, the fallacy that the church IS Zion).

That every man who had the title of prophet, seer, and revelator since JS has communed face to face with the Lord (perhaps even every Thursday), and they can do no wrong, preach no falsehoods.

That the priesthood line of revelation takes precedence over the personal line of revelation.

That angels and Gods need not visit the common people because anything that needs to be revealed will be revealed to prophets, seers, and revelators only.

That men hold the keys to heaven.

That all has been revealed that needs to be revealed so we don't really need revelations, visions, angels, etc.

That the Book of Mormon is talking to and about people who are NOT members of the churches that claim Joseph Smith as their founder and the Book of Mormon as scripture.

Inside the mind of a "Snufferite"

These may be difficult to understand because they are taken out of context. I apologize for that. They are pieces of postings by a certain Random poster.

And the fact that there are many offended by him, ... is a witness that he is a true prophet. True prophets do not make one "feel good" - neither do they offer praise to those God has told them do not deserve it, no matter how much it may offend. In fact, many prophets have been killed because they said things that the religious found offensive.
So many times, when the discussions turn to DS [Denver Snuffer] and whether he is a prophet, etc., I wonder why we are discussing it. It is rather like getting a letter from a far-off relative (God) and dissecting the envelope, the paper, the ink, and the handwriting (the messenger) then dismissing the message because the envelope was pink, the paper was plain, the ink was green, or the handwriting looked rushed. #

I think the point is to go to the Lord ourselves and find the truth. I think we were never meant to lean on DS, but to hear and recognize when he is speaking the Lord's words and go from there. DS is insisting that we learn to walk, then run, then fly whereas the church seems to insist that we are best off kept in a playpen 24/7 so that we don't get hurt (led astray). #

I think Denver is good at bringing a lot of things to light. I think he is inspired. I think the Lord tells him a lot of what he says. At the same time, it all boils down to "What is the Lord telling me?" The path, though similar to all others in some respects, is still a lone path and has many aspects that are unique to each individual. #

Yes, and this is why Denver is not part of my decision [to leave the church or to stay in it] - except as a concern that the leaders were so blind to have cast out a true messenger. Whatever I choose to do, I will do because God told me. I am seeing that my decisions are mine to make, with God's input. #

DS is A prophet, not THE prophet. "The prophet" is currently a title held by the current president of the LDS church. When he dies, another man will hold that title. DS is not a leader of any organization, church, or movement. He is simply a man who was sent by God to deliver messages, which is what scriptural prophets have done since the beginning of time. As all true prophets do, DS points past himself and to Christ.
So, the answer to your question is no. No one on here believes that DS is "the" prophet.
However, many do believe he is "a" prophet (including myself - but only because I recognized the words of the Master in much of what he has written and said, and because God has told me so). #

Not a rebuttal, but this comment brought about this response in my soul: "I don't care what Denver says. I don't care what he thinks about me. Denver is nothing to me. Yes, I find his words valuable if they are the words of the Lord, but I don't intend to show Denver anything. If the Lord should intend for me to shout praises to Him and DS happens to be in the room, fine by me. If it is in the privacy of my own room, fine by me. Same with declarations of accepting a covenant offered by God."
Let DS sit down like he wants to and another man stand up and speak the words of the Lord and if the Spirit moves us to speak up and say that we view ourselves as less than the dust of the earth and we want to know what we can do, then I say we should speak up - without caring what the speaker thinks and without fearing what [someone] will chastise us about it. #

The following post was in connection with the one above:
My post was just my reaction in light of [ ]'s fervent protection of DS - or contempt for us (I'm never sure which). In fact, none of the posts I made on this thread today were directed toward the people I quoted. 
And [ ], you don't really need to feel contempt for me. I do a good job of that on my own. It still doesn't change the fact that, whether he agrees or not/whether he likes it or not, DS is a prophet of God. That puts him in the same category as other scriptural prophets. Will he fall? I have no idea. That is his choice, his business. But he is what he is - and people will react to that, both pro and con, in ways they have reacted since the times of Adam and Enoch.
We are supposed to be offended at the man. He does try. "Proud descendants of Nauvoo." Words to the effect of "you're all damned," "nobody will listen," "only a very few will come to Zion and it won't be Gentiles," and so forth. He seems to do his best to make people uncomfortable, perhaps even angry.
As for myself, I already know that I don't measure up, that I am in sore need of repentance, that I am less than the dust of the earth. I also know that my Savior loves me. He loves me enough to visit me in dreams, and to bring me to angels in dreams to discuss my future with me and allow me the choice to live or die (we call it dying; they didn't). My Lord and my Father love me enough to show me in a dream that I don't measure up so much that when He called me His daughter, I did not believe Him. I "knew" that I was not His. I let Him know he had the wrong girl (in the dream I was a teenager). He told me that even if He had the wrong girl I was still His daughter, and if the other one (He knew she was me) showed up, she would also be His daughter. And what He was doing for me He would continue doing until I was healed and whole, and fit to live with Him. #

It IS discouraging, imo, to believe that so many will not make it. I counteract that by focusing on Christ and not on His servant. The servant does not know everything. He does not know me. He does not know if I will make it or not. He shares what he is told to (with, perhaps, the exception of things like "D cup"  @-) ). What God tells me may not be the same as what He has told someone else, even a true messenger. (I am not talking about commandments and such; I am talking about personal information, personal commandments - which the messenger did address in one of the lectures when he pointed out that we had different lives and what we had to do would be different than him - or something like that.)
I had a dream when my oldest two were little. I was in a house or apartment with a huge glass window. There was a storm raging outside. Every time I focused on the storm, it would break in, crashing through the windows and unleashing its fury in my home. Every time I changed my focus to my little family, to my own life, the storm would back out, the windows would heal and seal, and we would be safe again.
To me, that dream was telling me to focus on my own things, my own life and let the outer world howl and rage. I think it can apply to times I feel discouraged or depressed. I think it can apply to focusing on how many will not make it. All I can do is the best I can do and that will have to suffice, even though my best is not very good. (Christ needs to take up a lot of slack in my life.) #

e-eye: Denver is not the Lord's prophet set to guide his church.[/quote]
Denver would be the first to agree with you 100%. And I also agree with you 100%. #

[quote]I have always considered DS a peer.  He's not above me and I'm not above him - we have parity.[/quote]
Exactly my present point of view, but it was different when I first began to extricate myself from following the brethren. It was only natural to turn that onto DS, but I worked on changing that paradigm because I believed it was a damning one. I think those who listen to that man are on various parts of the path. Now, I see that he is simply a peer who has had more experiences than I have, who has more understanding at the present, and has been told by our common Parent to teach his siblings so that they might also "grow up" so to speak.
Meanwhile, whenever I go to the lectures, I usually end up learning some awesome things from my friends. Every person I have ridden with to the lectures has had some great insights that I had not thought of before. Like { }, DS isn't the only reason I go. I go because God provides the way and who am I to argue with Him? I go because I love to mingle and fellowship with like-minded souls. I go because it feeds me in more ways than one. I go because it strengthens bonds between myself and whoever I converse with.  #

Oh that I were an angel and could have the wish of my heart.

New Order Mormon is full of people whose shelves have broken. Their eyes have been opened, and they are right about so many things.

I wish I could help them. I wish I could help them understand that not everything negative they read "proves" the Book of Mormon false, that Joseph Smith Jr was a lecher, and so forth. I wish I could open up their eyes to the incredible information in the Book of Mormon. I wish I had more knowledge - and the power of convincing people to believe and know the truth. Below is one of my recent attempts to share.

[name of poster]: Why would any loving personal god allow truth to be mixed up with lies and pollution to the extent that "his children aren't even aware and have no method of waking up" except randomly a few may wake up?  That is an unreasonable definition of a "loving god" at least for me. 
How exactly are we supposed to discover mysteries for ourselves if we can't tell truth from the lies we are swimming in?  How do we wake up?  Are we supposed to rely on god's special messengers?  If so why aren't we all special messengers so we don't have to be confused by special messengers who are murderers in their hearts?  In your assertions (in my unlearned opinion) the result is god is either a trickster who mixes truth and error for fun, an absentee watchmaker, or not at home.  But maybe I am too blinded by the error I am swimming in to see another alternative.
You have a lot of good questions.

I think we are given inklings that things are not right, but we ignore them because we think the church is right and we are wrong.

I think if we read the BofM, doing all we can to ignore everything we have been taught it says and means, that we will probably understand God better.

Some things that come to mind:

Lehi was not a "special messenger" even though we are taught at church that he was a duly appointed prophet of God, legally put into the hierarchy of his day. In fact, he was an apostate (which is probably why two of his sons kept wanting to kill him). The people at Jerusalem were righteous, according to Laman and Lemuel. "Our father hath judged them."

I see a parallel to us. The LDS people are righteous. The NOMs have judged them.

"Why have you polluted the holy church of God?" Moroni asks us who believe the book (e.g. "Mormons"). He calls us wicked, perverse, and stiffnecked, and asks, "Why have ye built up churches to yourselves to get gain?" "Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls?"

He says we walk in the pride of our hearts. Mentions very fine apparel, envying, strifes, malice, persecutions - that every one of our churches have become polluted because of the pride of our hearts.

I have been quoting from Mormon 8, and in verse 35, Moroni tells us he's speaking to us as if we were present because he has seen us. Us. Mormons. Us. All of the offshoots that hold the BofM to be a sacred book.

If we read that as it says, we see that our church is polluted, greedy, and changing God's words. We, according to the book as I read it, are about to lose the gospel because we have rejected the truth, we have rejected the fulness.

It is a scathing rebuke. So is some of what Nephi says when he notes that in our day people will say, "All is well in Zion. ... Zion prospereth." He knew full well it wouldn't be Zion, but that we would consider ourselves as such. (2 Nephi 28)

I honestly believe that the answers to your questions lie in the book that tells us (all who are offshoots of JS) we are not as good as we think we are, and answers lie in realizing that there is no middle-man between you and God. False prophets in sheep's clothing, even if they think they are not, are never going to give us true answers. They don't know the true answers - or feel threatened by the true answers.

And, in regards to the sanitized idea that God will never speak to a man outside the duly organized hierarchy: Jesus was considered apostate. Samuel the Lamanite was a total outsider. Abinadi was not part of the religious hierarchy. Abraham looks to me like he started his own church. Joseph Smith was outside that church (the last "duly authorized" one being what became the Catholic church, near as I can discover, and all other Christian religions being offshoots of that church).

Anyway, the answers are inside of us, if we can cut out the jibber-jabber. We each are connected to God, and it doesn't matter if someone disagrees with our path.

The actual right each person possesses is the right to live and believe as they think God (however they determine who or what s/he is) would have them live and believe, and no more. I should not be telling you what to think or be. Neither should a church - or any individual or entity be telling you that. The idea that there is a man who has all the answers has caused a tremendous amount of damage, both physical and spiritual/emotional.

I don't know if I have answered your questions, but that is the best I can do.

The Blind Spot

I believe there are messages hidden in nature that reflect truths. For example, birds singing in the dawn while it is still dark remind us that Christ rose from the tomb "while it was yet dark."

This morning I have been thinking about the blind spot. Our eyes have a blind spot.

How to find it with your thumb.

More info:
Experiments with the blind spot

Wikipedia on the blind spot

Seeing your blind spot in action

And one last one.

We don't usually know we have a blind spot unless we are taught about it, except for those exceptionally curious folk who search to know everything about everything.

Apply this to our spiritual lives. Apply it to how we live, how we view God, how we view ourselves: We don't usually know we have a blind spot unless we are taught about it, except for those exceptionally curious folk who search to know everything about everything.

A lesson on pride fits in here somewhere, but I think there is more to it than that. Ignorance. We often think we know so much, that our own perception is accurate and that we are seeing the whole picture. The lesson of the blind spot is that we don't see it all. We don't know all that we think we know. We have a flaw that is invisible to us.

It would do us good to be exceptionally curious, to leave no stone unturned, to bravely face what we think we know and find out what the truth is.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Jesus Said What?!?

My daughter brought this interpretation to my attention. It seems that Jesus was not preaching pacifism at all when he preached to turn the other cheek, give someone both your cloak and coat (in this interpretation, shirt and coat), and to go the extra mile.

I love this interpretation. It is from Tumblr.

Matt 5:39
This specifically refers to a hand striking the side of a person’s face, tells quite a different story when placed in it’s proper historical context. In Jesus’s time, striking someone of a lower class ( a servant) with the back of the hand was used to assert authority and dominance. If the persecuted person “turned the other cheek,” the discipliner was faced with a dilemma. The left hand was used for unclean purposes, so a back-hand strike on the opposite cheek would not be performed. Another alternative would be a slap with the open hand as a challenge or to punch the person, but this was seen as a statement of equality. Thus, by turning the other cheek the persecuted was in effect putting an end to the behavior or if the slapping continued the person would lawfully be deemed equal and have to be released as a servant/slave.   
(via thefullnessofthefaith)

I can attest to the original poster’s comments. A few years back I took an intensive seminar on faith-based progressive activism, and we spent an entire unit discussing how many of Jesus’ instructions and stories were performative protests designed to shed light on and ridicule the oppressions of that time period as a way to emphasize the absurdity of the social hierarchy and give people the will and motivation to make changes for a more free and equal society.
For example, the next verse (Matthew 5:40) states “And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” In that time period, men traditionally wore a shirt and a coat-like garment as their daily wear. To sue someone for their shirt was to put them in their place - suing was generally only performed to take care of outstanding debts, and to be sued for one’s shirt meant that the person was so destitute the only valuable thing they could repay with was their own clothing. However, many cultures at that time (including Hebrew peoples) had prohibitions bordering on taboo against public nudity, so for a sued man to surrender both his shirt and his coat was to turn the system on its head and symbolically state, in a very public forum, that “I have no money with which to repay this person, but they are so insistent on taking advantage of my poverty that I am leaving this hearing buck-ass naked. His greed is the cause of a shameful public spectacle.”

All of a sudden an action of power (suing someone for their shirt) becomes a powerful symbol of subversion and mockery, as the suing patron either accepts the coat (and therefore full responsibility as the cause of the other man’s shameful display) or desperately chases the protester around trying to return his clothes to him, making a fool of himself in front of his peers and the entire gathered community.
Additionally, the next verse (Matthew 5:41; “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.”) was a big middle finger to the Romans who had taken over Judea and were not seen as legitimate authority by the majority of the population there. Roman law stated that a centurion on the march could require a Jew (and possibly other civilians as well, although I don’t remember explicitly) to carry his pack at any time and for any reason for one mile along the road (and because of the importance of the Roman highway system in maintaining rule over the expansive empire, the roads tended to be very well ordered and marked), however hecould not require any service beyond the next mile marker. For a Jewish civilian to carry a centurion’s pack for an entire second mile was a way to subvert the authority of the occupying forces. If the civilian wouldn’t give the pack back at the end of the first mile, the centurion would either have to forcibly take it back or report the civilian to his commanding officer (both of which would result in discipline being taken against the soldier for breaking Roman law) or wait until the civilian volunteered to return the pack, giving the Judean native implicit power over the occupying Roman and completely subverting the power structure of the Empire. Can you imagine how demoralizing that must have been for the highly ordered Roman armies that patrolled the region?
Jesus was a pacifist, but his teachings were in no way passive. There’s a reason he was practically considered a terrorist by the reigning powers, and it wasn’t because he healed the sick and fed the hungry. (via central-avenue)

I'm not sure how valid the interpretation is. If anyone knows, I'd appreciate the input.

In my search, I found this thread:

I also found an article that is awesome, and talks about this. It is found here.

Jesus never taught passivity in the face of evil. Jesus also never taught that violence is the appropriate response to evil.
What makes much more sense is to find a meaning that meshes with all the other passages that call us to love our enemies and do good to them that misuse us. You do them no good by reflecting back their violence; that is what is meant by resisting evil - being so resistant that we act as a brick wall and bounce the evil back - retaliate in a like manner. 
You do them no good by fleeing and letting them think that they've won 
YOU LOVE YOUR ENEMY when you show them how they are being unjust and when you give them the opportunity to grow and learn from that experience and to be open to God's grace to change their violent and unjust and oppressive ways.
Nothing can be assumed when you read the Bible. It contains the word of God, but you have to dig it out for yourself - you have to read between the lines and set the words in the context of the time so that you hear what is being said the way the writer and the listeners meant it and heard it to mean at the time it was spoken.
Let me demonstrate this and describe the social situation at the time and what this word picture would have meant to those who heard it in the first place.
Let's look at each of these three directives from Jesus to those who would lead Jesus' third way of creative, loving, non-violent resistance.

Okay, it looks like the bottom line for this interpretation may come from Walter Wink, a Professor Emeritus of Biblical Interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City.