Why I Believe

My religious “conversion” started when I was young. I guess I was lucky in that my parents loved me. Good examples counted. They were not perfect, but they were not hypocrites. Their sacrifices for God and family were real and heartfelt. I am the oldest child. I have 10 siblings, 9 living. I remember my mother coming home after giving birth. She told me the nurse took her aside to explain that there were ways to avoid pregnancy. She was surprised and a little dismayed. She told the nurse her family was a planned one. I think she wanted me to know that.

I hate hypocrisy. Always have. Growing up I noted hypocrisy in school, politics, social leaders, everywhere. In Church, not so much. I could easily see no one was getting rich or famous off of Church service. In fact quite the opposite. Sacrifice for love or for principle indicated to me a true sincerity, the opposite of hypocrisy. So that’s where I wanted to be too. Still do.

My belief in the doctrines of the Church called “The Gospel” began by observing, contrasting, and comparing. Pretty simple. I was happy to be baptized. I had answers to the basic questions of life and I found that satisfying. My gospel knowledge made me feel special, not different.

It continued that way until I reached the age of 15. I had just finished reading a book my mother provided called “Book of Mormon Stories for Young People”. Just stories really but I knew it was based on the history from the real Book of Mormon. So one day I saw the Book of Mormon sitting on the table and I thought “Why not just read the real thing?”.

Yes, yes, I know it’s a cliché but, because I was prepared, the Book of Mormon really did change my life. Forever. Before, my belief was observational and based on actions and results. Afterwards, it was based more on an active relationship and trust in God. I was introduced to Him on a more personal level through the Book of Mormon. Only those who have let God mold their heart know what I am talking about. There are no words to describe the experience — the feeling, the understanding, the epiphany of sacred moments. Then, as I read the part in the Book of Mormon when Jesus appeared to the Nephites, I was literally on the edge of my seat.

I love the Book of Mormon, or I should say, I love what is in the Book of Mormon.

That was 47 years ago (as of 2017). Since then, well, I have had my faith confirmed by “miracles”, direct answers to prayers, and new knowledge granted from the heavens — that type of thing. My failures and disappointments have already worked out in my favor or are in process of doing so. I am a great believer in playing “the long game”.

Feeling successful in my relationship with God, I also feel successful in every aspect of my life — like I am going in the right direction. And how many people can say that? I have lofty goals and aspirations unfulfilled but I try to be patient. It will all happen according to Word of God. I trust Him.

I recently ran across this quote and am fond of it:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated fools. Persistence and Determination alone are omnipotent.”

 
My Determination is to be Persistent in following God. He can go His way and I’ll go mine. It will be the same way.

The doctrines of the “restored Gospel” are glorious to comprehend and I love God and His precepts with all my heart. They are to be found complete and intact only within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Praise To The Man

Introduction

I first wrote this post over 2 years ago about the Prophet Joseph Smith17. It is my perspective. Other people, for various reasons, have opposite perspectives widely published. In his first encounter with an angel, Joseph Smith was told that it would so:

33 He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people. (PGP, JS History 1)

That has come to pass. I have added Chapter 2 to address it. But first, Chapter 1.


Chapter 1

I have always loved to hear and read about the Prophet Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith death mask

Because of his writings and teachings, I feel I know something of his heart and character. My first reading of The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (TPJS) had a serious positive impact on me. My favorite hymn as a child (because I just liked the tune) was “Praise to the Man” and I can still remember the page number from the old edition hymn book – page 149. Below is the music and lyrics: One of the most beautiful and sublime renditions the Tabernacle Choir has ever done (IMO).

Continue reading "Praise To The Man"

Departing the Faith

Hover mouse over links for quotations
 
Jesus Himself saw many fall away1 from his teachings. So also, the Latter-day Saints see the same in the last days2. It’s sad, but not unexpected. The Kingdom of Heaven is obtained by few. The way is narrow3. Jesus gave a key to this situation in the Parable of the Sower4.
 
It’s been said that participation in sports does not build character — it reveals character. So true! It’s exactly the same thing with participation in warfare, be it physical or spiritual warfare. It reveals character. The point is that our pre-mortal life5 determines our mortal experience. The simple truth is that our earth time is not our prep time, it’s our test time6 — and it’s a grand mistake to ever think otherwise. Character prep time was in the many years prior to earth life, when we forged our own unique personalities7 AND spiritual capacities8. All that parents and teachers can really do now, at this late point, is provide a comfortable chair, a sharp pencil, and good lighting — but each person must take their own tests and take personal responsibility for the outcomes. It’s important to remember that it’s an open book test9 and that it ain’t over ’till it’s over — that is, until God himself says it’s over10. So don’t give up on anyone or yourself. Remember your own mistakes and that God doesn’t give up on you.
 
To those who have “strayed” and lost their faith …
 
A little suggestion: for the sake of your own dignity, do not encourage or engage in the mockery of what others consider sacred. Remember that any religion or belief system can easily be made fun of, but it will do you no credit to engage in that kind of activity. It will just make you look small.
 
If you honestly follow after truth and righteousness in the best way you know how, we are probably both in agreement that you will find Gods mercy come judgement day, if not sooner.
 
To the parents, siblings, friends, and teachers of those who have departed the faith, either officially or unofficially, through their actions …
 
It is totally appropriate to feel sorrow, but not remorse. Don’t play the self blame game because that is not healthy, or scriptural. The Lord lays upon us a responsibility for teaching11 but not for outcomes12. Respect the free agency of everyone, shun no one, and remember that once you have taught repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ – another’s sins and errors and “poor decisions” are not yours. Remember that there were many who rejected Jesus to His face, despite His being the best teacher who ever lived and a sinless, perfect man. Are you then better than Jesus? Consider also all the great men and women in scripture who had to deal with loved ones gone astray. Here are a few examples:
  1. Adam and Eve had a son who made a personal pact with Satan and then killed his own innocent brother for material gain. The scripture says that Adam and Eve “mourned before the Lord13“. I’ll bet they did.
  2. Abraham’s father rejected the Holy Priesthood14 and was allied with those who tried to have Abraham killed on a pagan alter.
  3. To the sorrow of Isaac and Rebekah, their oldest son Esau sold his inheritance birthright for cheap — a bowl of soup — and then married outside the covenant15.
  4. Jacob’s sons were disrespectful and disobedient and they nearly killed Joseph16 simply because his good character made them look bad. Then then they sold him as a slave for 20 pieces of silver.
  5. Laman and Lemuel beat up on their younger brother17 multiple times, even in front of his family and parents, because he was too preachy in their mind.
  6. Contrary to their fathers wish, the sons of Eli the high priest18 exploited their position in the Holy Temple to commit fornication and make a mockery of that which is sacred.
  7. To the great disappointment of their fathers, Alma and the sons of Mosiah rebelled and left the Church19 totally — and later banded together in an effort to destroy it.
  8. The Lord himself had a wayward nation of Israel, who was constantly unfaithful and disloyal, despite the Lord’s great love and patience.
I could continue with many other scriptural examples of disappointing behavior. In none of the listed cases were parents, siblings, or friends held responsible by God, except for Eli, and that is because his sons were working under his direct supervision in the Temple and he failed to take corrective action. In every other case listed there was great sorrow – even in Heaven20. However, we are promised that this kind of sorrow is temporary21. God makes it all up to us22 eventually — and then some23.
 
Finally, to those who would take personal credit for the good choices of others, it can be embarrassing to watch. You are in serious error! You should to give credit where credit is due. Much of what we perceive as outcomes is premature, or pure luck, at least from our earthly perspective. It’s not unlike coming up heads or tails a few times in a row. If your close relations, students, children, spouse, or friends are walking a path of righteousness with God and have faith in Him, just be extremely humble and thankful – never proud of yourself.
 

 


 

References

1John 6

59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? …
66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

2JST Matthew 24

22 For in those days there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant…
26 For as the light of the morning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, and covereth the whole earth, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.
27 And now I show unto you a parable. Behold, wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together; so likewise shall mine elect be gathered from the four quarters of the earth…
37 And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived, for the Son of Man shall come, and he shall send his angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

3Matthew 7

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

4Matthew 13

3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. …
18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit,and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

5Jeremiah 1

4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

6Abraham 3

22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.
24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

7Jeremiah 1

4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

8Abraham 1

3 It [the Holy Priesthood] was conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me.

9Mosiah 26

29 Therefore I say unto you, Go; and whosoever transgresseth against me, him shall ye judge according to the sins which he has committed; and if he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also.

10Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:540

The truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.

11DC 68

25 And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.

12Genesis 4, Ezekial 33

5 … And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door…

2 Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, …
7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.
8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

13Moses 5

26 And Cain was wroth, and listened not any more to the voice of the Lord, neither to Abel, his brother, who walked in holiness before the Lord.
27 And Adam and his wife mourned before the Lord, because of Cain and his brethren.
28 And it came to pass that Cain took one of his brothers’ daughters to wife, and they loved Satan more than God.
29 And Satan said unto Cain: Swear unto me by thy throat, and if thou tell it thou shalt die; and swear thy brethren by their heads, and by the living God, that they tell it not; for if they tell it, they shall surely die; and this that thy father may not know it; and this day I will deliver thy brother Abel into thine hands.
30 And Satan sware unto Cain that he would do according to his commands. And all these things were done in secret.
31 And Cain said: Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain. Wherefore Cain was called Master Mahan, and he gloried in his wickedness.
32 And Cain went into the field, and Cain talked with Abel, his brother. And it came to pass that while they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and slew him.
33 And Cain gloried in that which he had done, saying: I am free; surely the flocks of my brother falleth into my hands.

14Abraham 1,2

6 For their hearts were set to do evil, and were wholly turned to the god of Elkenah, and the god of Libnah, and the god of Mahmackrah, and the god of Korash, and the god of Pharaoh, king of Egypt;
7 Therefore they turned their hearts to the sacrifice of the heathen in offering up their children unto these dumb idols …
5 My fathers having turned from their righteousness, and from the holy commandments which the Lord their God had given unto them, unto the worshiping of the gods of the heathen, utterly refused to hearken to my voice;
12 And it came to pass that the priests laid violence upon me, that they might slay me also

1 NOW the Lord God caused the famine to wax sore in the land of Ur, insomuch that Haran, my brother, died; but Terah, my father, yet lived in the land of Ur, of the Chaldees.
5 And the famine abated; and my father tarried in Haran and dwelt there, as there were many flocks in Haran; and my father turned again unto his idolatry, …

15Genesis 25,26

29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:
30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

34 And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite:
35 Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah..

16Genesis 37

18 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. name
19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh
20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams …
24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it …
26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?
27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, …
28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: …

171 Nephi 18

11 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness; …
15 … And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly; and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof.
17 Now my father, Lehi, had said many things unto them, and also unto the sons of Ishmael; but, behold, they did breathe out much threatenings against anyone that should speak for me; and my parents being stricken in years, and having suffered much grief because of their children, they were brought down, yea, even upon their sick-beds.
19 And Jacob and Joseph also, being young, having need of much nourishment, were grieved because of the afflictions of their mother; and also my wife with her tears and prayers, and also my children, did not soften the hearts of my brethren that they would loose me.

181 Samuel 2, 1 Samuel 4

22 Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
23 And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.
24 Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress.
25 … Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father …
27 And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, …
29 Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?
30 … but now the Lord saith, … for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. …
34 And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them.
35 And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.

10 And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen.
11 And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.
12 And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head.
13 And when he came, lo, Eli sat upon a seat by the wayside watching: for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city, and told it, all the city cried out.
14 And when Eli heard the noise of the crying, he said, What meaneth the noise of this tumult? And the man came in hastily, and told Eli.
15 Now Eli was ninety and eight years old; and his eyes were dim, that he could not see.
16 And the man said unto Eli, I am he that came out of the army, and I fled to day out of the army. And he said, What is there done, my son?
17 And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken.
18 And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.

19Mosiah 27

8 Now the sons of Mosiah were numbered among the unbelievers; and also one of the sons of Alma was numbered among them, he being called Alma, after his father; nevertheless, he became a very wicked and an idolatrous man. And he was a man of many words, and did speak much flattery to the people; therefore he led many of the people to do after the manner of his iniquities.
9 And he became a great hinderment to the prosperity of the church of God; stealing away the hearts of the people; causing much dissension among the people; giving a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over them.
10 And now it came to pass that while he was going about to destroy the church of God, for he did go about secretly with the sons of Mosiah seeking to destroy the church, and to lead astray the people of the Lord, contrary to the commandments of God, or even the king–

20DC 38

11 For all flesh is corrupted before me; and the powers of darkness prevail upon the earth, among the children of men, in the presence of all the hosts of heaven–
12 Which causeth silence to reign, and all eternity is pained, and the angels are waiting the great command to reap down the earth, to gather the tares that they may be burned; …

21Revelations 7

12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

22Matthew 19

29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

23DC 137, DC 76

1 THE heavens were opened upon us, and I beheld the celestial kingdom of God, and the glory thereof, whether in the body or out I cannot tell.
2 I saw the transcendent beauty of the gate through which the heirs of that kingdom will enter, which was like unto circling flames of fire;
3 Also the blazing throne of God, whereon was seated the Father and the Son.
4 I saw the beautiful streets of that kingdom, which had the appearance of being paved with gold.

51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given–
52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;
53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.
54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.
55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things–
56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;
57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.
58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God–
59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
60 And they shall overcome all things.
61 Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.
62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.
63 These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.
64 These are they who shall have part in the first resurrection.
65 These are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just.
66 These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all.
67 These are they who have come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn.
68 These are they whose names are written in heaven, where God and Christ are the judge of all.
69 These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.
70 These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.

The Articles of Faith

The Articles of Faith originated from the contents of an 1842 letter written by the Prophet Joseph Smith35 in response to an inquiry by John Wentworth. John Wentworth was the editor and proprietor of the Chicago Democrat, the first newspaper in Chicago, Illinois.

Regarding the Articles of Faith, B.H. Roberts said:

These Articles of Faith were not produced by the labored efforts and harmonized contentions of scholastics, but were struck off by one inspired mind at a single effort to make a declaration of that which is most assuredly believed by the church, for one making earnest inquiry about the truth.
The combined directness, perspicuity, simplicity and comprehensiveness of this statement of the principles of our religion may be relied upon as strong evidence of a divine inspiration resting upon the Prophet, Joseph Smith. (B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol.2, Ch.47, p.131)

The Articles of Faith are listed below, with commentary:

Continue reading “The Articles of Faith”

Benjamin Franklin: The Rest of the Story.

Benjamin Franklin
(Jean-Antoine Houdon)


I REALLY do admire Benjamin Franklin. I admire his life, his beliefs, his accomplishments, and his genius. He was the father of his country before George Washington became that. He has also been called the father of American humor with “Poor Richards Almanac” being America’s first joke book. He was loved by his countrymen and was the only man other than Washington who could have been our first President. Were it not for Franklin’s advanced age, George Washington would gladly have had Franklin be President instead. He was the premier scientist of his day: inventing many things including the lightening rod, bi-focal glasses, and the free standing (Franklin) stove.  He founded the first public library, fire department, police department and helped found the first Masonic lodge in America. He also started the American Philosophical Society, what we would call a scientific organization. He discovered the gulf stream in the Atlantic. He made many discoveries about electricity including the concept of positive and negative polarity. By his adroit diplomacy he brought about the treaty with France and the military aid which made Washington’s victory over Cornwallis at Yorktown possible. He made significant contributions to the content of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. He had a love of freedom and as a articulate writer and publisher made popular the concepts of liberty and freedom. He wrote the following at the age of only 16: Continue reading “Benjamin Franklin: The Rest of the Story.”

Joy in Zion

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The Latter-day Saints do not have an easy religion to live1. Yet it is not so very hard2 either if one has the love of God3 and His law written on the heart4. It’s worth living on so many different levels5. So I feel it a huge privilege6 and thus a responsibility7 to promote the cause of Zion8 in whatever way I can. Sure it takes a little extra work9, and patience10, and outward orientation11 but it is oh so worth it12. And who can argue against the eradication of poverty, war, hate, lust, deception, ignorance, disease, and death13? And who is not in favor of boundless wealth, peace, love, eternal truth, intelligence, knowledge, strength of body, and eternal life14? Of all my blessings as a Latter-day Saint, the most significant are those of The Holy Temple15 which points me to a future role and destination16 – the purpose for living17 and the way to lasting happiness18.

 


 


 

References

1Matthew 25:31-43

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

2Matthew 11:28-30

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

3Matthew 22:37-38

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment

42 Corinthians 3:3

3 … written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

5Deuteronomy 28:2-13

2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.
3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.
4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.
6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
7 The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.
8 The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
9 The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways.
10 And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.
11 And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
12 The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.
13 And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:

6John 15:16

16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

7DC 88:81-83

81 Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.
82 Therefore, they are left without excuse, and their sins are upon their own heads.
83 He that seeketh me early shall find me, and shall not be forsaken.

8Moses 7:62

62 And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.

92 Nephi 25:23

23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

10Section 121:41

41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

11Mark 8:35

35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.

12Matthew 25:21

21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

13Revelation 21:4-5

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

14Isaiah 11:5-9 & Alma 40:22-25

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

22 Yea, this bringeth about the restoration of those things of which has been spoken by the mouths of the prophets.
23 The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame.
24 And now, my son, this is the restoration of which has been spoken by the mouths of the prophets—
25 And then shall the righteous shine forth in the kingdom of God.

15Isaiah 11:5-9 & Alma 40:22-25

30 And they made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote upon it a writing, like to the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.

16Section 76:5-10

35 For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.
6 Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.
7 And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.
8 Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.
9 And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught.
10 For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will—yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.

172 Nephi 2:15-16

15 And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.
16 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.

182 Nephi 9:41-43 & Mormon 7:7

41 O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.
42 And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.
43 But the things of the wise and the prudent shall be hid from them forever—yea, that happiness which is prepared for the saints.

7 And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end.

Prayer

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Because of experience I accept the reality of prayer1. But I’ve often wondered about the mechanics of it . After all, at any given moment there are thousands of people praying to God and, if he is like us, it would be just jumble of noise. So obviously He doesn’t have a limited listening ability like we do.

Early in my computer career I came to a new paradigm in understanding of how God could perceive all prayers Continue reading “Prayer”

Utah as Zion?

Oh yes, absolutely1. I am always sorry to hear an LDS person criticizing church members in Utah. It’s painful to hear a faithful member of the church lay out “holier than thou”, “we are superior” attitudes. Oh my! Not ready for Zion. Great need to repent.2

I don’t live in Utah although I attended and graduated from BYU Provo and have visited Utah many times. If I could choose to live anywhere I wanted for my own selfish reasons, it would be in the center stakes of Zion, in Utah. My observation is that the Utah Saints are generally more dedicated, more active, and more effective in living the Gospel of Jesus Christ than their brothers and sisters outside of Utah. They are the core strength of the Church, providing more missionaries, more general authorities, and more material means per capita than the rest of us. We should strive to be more like them.

The Lord has blessed the saints in Utah. Anyone just driving through can see prosperity everywhere and a Stake Center on every corner. One doesn’t see the blighted neighborhoods that are so common in predominately “gentile” cities. Downtown Salt Lake City is vibrant and safe – and I have walked it late at night. I am amazed anew every time I visit.

Zion must eventually be politically independent3 in order to uphold the divinely inspired Constitution4 of the United States and be a place of safety5 for all good people everywhere. This occurs in Salt Lake City first.


 


 

References

1Micah 4:1-2 / Isaiah 2:2-3 / 2 Nephi 12:2-3

1 BUT in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

2DC 105:4-5

4 And [they] are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom;
5 And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.

3Section 78:14-15

14 … that the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world;
15 That you may come up unto the crown prepared for you, and be made rulers over many kingdoms, …

4DC 105:4-5

5 And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.
6 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;
7 And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.
8 I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.

5Section 45:67-68

67 And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion.
68 And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety.

Latter-day Saint vs Mormon

I am a Latter-day Saint or LDS, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I prefer not to be called a “Mormon”. That name, invented by the enemies of the church, is not accurate or scriptural, and shows a lack of sensitivity. For the original pronunciation of “Mormon”, one has to heavily accent the first syllable and for just the right tone inflection, I think a slight facial sneer is required.

Most Latter-day Saints don’t mind the name and yet those who use it continue to be disrespectful in their usage. To my feelings, saying “Mormon” is the same as saying “Negro” when referring to African Americans – hateful, and bigoted at worst or just ignorantly out of touch at best. Not all Latter-day Saints feel the same way explicitly but yet amongst ourselves, it is not the default term. Let’s do away with it totally! It doesn’t promote the cause of Zion.

Gathering to Zion: Gentiles

As used in the Holy Scriptures in the strict sense, the term Gentile refers to non-covenant peoples of the earth. Nations and individuals who have made covenant agreements with God, either now or in the past, are termed “The House of Israel”. All others are “Gentiles” if they come from traditionally Christian countries or “Heathen Nations” if they are from non-Christian countries.

The City of Zion, also known as the New Jerusalem, is the key place of gathering, and is to be centered in Jackson County, Missouri, specifically Independence, where the great Temple is to be built. Right now, baptized converts stay in their current locale. They “gather” only in the sense of meeting together. Eventually all of the House of Israel (except Judah) will be Latter-day Saints and they, along with well intentioned non-Latter-day Saint Gentiles will come to the center place of Zion and build up the New Jerusalem as a place of safety and security in a very tumultuous world.

What about our current “gentile” population and gentile governments in the US and Canada? They’ll need to assist in building Zion or be “swept from the land”. It’s not the faithful Latter-day Saints that do it but rather the judgments of God that come when the level of evil reaches the tipping point. Internal conflict and invasion from the south accomplish the deed.

The word of God is very explicit concerning the establishment of Zion in Missouri: It’s going to happen for sure. The only question is who gets on board and who gets swept away. However the future of the North American gentile peoples is not fixed. The scriptures do not decree their fate but lay out two distinct scenarios: 1) Fight against Zion and be destroyed; or 2) join in building up Zion and be prospered.

My personal take on it is that there are a great many good people in the US and Canada who will support the cause of Zion once it becomes evident to them that God is behind it. Many do not currently support the truth because they really don’t yet know about it or have been deceived regarding it. But that won’t last forever.

As the portentous events of the latter-days develop a great division in our North American societies occurs. We can see it developing already and the division will grow to the point where gray areas shrink and the choices become stark. Those avoiding physical conflict and who want to be governed by honest leaders who follow true principles of democracy, as found in the divinely inspired US Constitution, will come physically to The City of Zion.

I try not to say anything in this blog that is not already in the Holy Scriptures in very plain speech. If you haven’t heard about these things then I suggest to read the words of Jesus on the subject. Here is an example from 3 Nephi 21 in the Book of Mormon:

3 Nephi 21:14, 22-28

14 Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; …

22 But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance;
23 And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem.
24 And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem.
25 And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst.
26 And then shall the work of the Father commence at that day, even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people. Verily I say unto you, at that day shall the work of the Father commence among all the dispersed of my people, yea, even the tribes which have been lost, which the Father hath led away out of Jerusalem.
27 Yea, the work shall commence among all the dispersed of my people, with the Father to prepare the way whereby they may come unto me, that they may call on the Father in my name.

Why this Zion blog, Part 1

The purpose of this blog is to talk about Zion and all things LDS which relate to Zion. I intend to write whether I am read or not — because writing helps organize my thoughts to focus on what is important.

By “Zion” I mean primarily the City of Zion, the place of gathering and central government, and not just the Zion “in our hearts”. Why Zion, of all things? For many LDS, the belief in Jesus manifests itself primarily as a lifestyle that represents the totality of the Church and belief system and most outside of the LDS Church see us only in the same way – by our lifestyle. However for me directly, church lifestyle and social activities are important, not as an epitome of accomplishment, but rather as a step, a means to an end. Zion is a society where God comes and dwells with us. Where there are sturdy dependable individuals that exhibit no inequity, no injustice, no selfishness and corruption — but rather true love for one another and opportunity to meet our full potentials. We are just not yet ready for that level of Zion society and now live just a slice of the celestial law required for it. So, logically, it’s not where we’re at but where we’re going that counts. But we get there only one small step at a time. Church lifestyle and level of average individual progress, morally and intellectually, was quite different 100 years ago and will be quite different 100 years from now — so keeping a focus on the big picture is ever so important. Sometimes we LDS forget we’re building Zion, for the thousand year reign of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and preparing for a world dramatically different from the one seen today.

I think this blog focus has a good doctrinal foundation. Joseph Smith said: “We aught to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object …”. The building up of Zion is why gospel truths and priesthood authority are restored at this time in history, i.e. the “Latter-days”. It is also why God is moving scientific knowledge forward so rapidly.