Thursday, December 18, 2008

Words of the Prophet: A Glorious Season

Featured Article of the month :

Words of the Prophet: A Glorious Season
By President Gordon B. Hinckley

In each of us there is at Christmas time something of our childhood. We all revel in the fun of Christmas—of giving and receiving tinseled presents, of singing favorite carols, of feasting on goodies we never miss at other seasons, of gathering together as family and friends, all having a wonderful time.

But there is something else, something better, and that is to sit together as families and read again the fascinating story of the birth of Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem of Judea.

A Season to Remember the Savior
It is proper during this season when we commemorate His birth that we remember the Lord Jesus Christ in reverence and with love. He has done for us what we could not do for ourselves. He has brought meaning to our mortal existence. He has given us the gift of eternal life.

When all is said and done, when all the legions of the ages have passed in review, when man’s terrible inhumanity to man has been chronicled, when God’s great love for His children has been measured, then above all stands the lone figure of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world, the Savior of mankind, the living Son of the living God, the Prince of Peace, the Holy One.

Isaiah spoke of Him centuries before His coming: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Nephi, long before the Master’s birth, was given a vision of His coming. He saw in that vision the mother of Christ, “a virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins” (1 Nephi 11:15).

Of her He was born in Bethlehem of Judea, and the angel said unto Nephi, “Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!” (1 Nephi 11:21).

And Nephi “beheld that he went forth ministering unto the people, in power and great glory; and the multitudes were gathered together to hear him; and … they cast him out from among them.” And He “was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world” (1 Nephi 11:28, 33).

All of these ancient visions were fulfilled. He came to earth. He walked the dusty roads of Palestine, teaching the people, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, raising the dead, giving His life on Calvary’s cross, and rising on the third day to “become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

He had been the Creator of this earth, under His Father’s direction, for as John records, “without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). He was the great Jehovah who spoke with the prophets of old.

He was the lowly babe who came to earth in the meridian of time and brought to us the gift of Christmas. He was the Resurrection and the Life, who brought to us the wonder of Easter. There would be no Christmas if there had not been Easter. The babe Jesus of Bethlehem would be but another baby without the redeeming Christ of Gethsemane and Calvary, and the triumphant fact of the Resurrection.

I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal, Living God. None so great has ever walked the earth. None other has made a comparable sacrifice or granted a comparable blessing. He is the Savior and the Redeemer of the world. I believe in Him. I declare His divinity without equivocation or compromise. I love Him. I speak His name in reverence and wonder. I worship Him as I worship His Father, in spirit and in truth. I thank Him and kneel before His Beloved Son who reached out long ago and said to each of us, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

A Season of Increased Love
And so at this Christmas season, we sing His praises and speak our words of faith and gratitude and love. It is His influence in our lives that stirs within us more kindness, more respect, more love, more concern. It is because of Him and His teachings that we reach out to those in trouble, distress, and need wherever they may be.

What a glorious season is this time of Christmas. Hearts are softened. Voices are raised in worship. Kindness and mercy are reenthroned as elements in our lives. There is an accelerated reaching out to those in distress. There is an aura of peace that comes into our homes. There is a measure of love that is not felt to the same extent at any other time of the year.
Said Jesus: “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” (Matthew 7:12.)

May I remind us at this Christmas season that if only each of us would reflect occasionally on that Christ-given mandate and make an effort to observe it, this would be a different world. There would be greater happiness in our homes; there would be kinder feelings among our associates; there would be much less of litigation and a greater effort to compose differences. There would be a new measure of love and appreciation and respect.

There would be more generous hearts, more thoughtful consideration and concern, and a greater desire to spread the gospel of peace and to advance the work of salvation among the children of men.

A Season of Meditation
Christmas is more than trees and twinkling lights, more than toys and gifts and baubles of a hundred varieties. It is love. It is the love of the Son of God for all mankind. It reaches out beyond our power to comprehend. It is magnificent and beautiful.

It is peace. It is the peace which comforts, which sustains, which blesses all who accept it.
It is faith. It is faith in God and His Eternal Son. It is faith in His wondrous ways and message. It is faith in Him as our Redeemer and our Lord.

We testify of His living reality. We testify of the divinity of His nature. In our times of grateful meditation, we acknowledge His priceless gift to us and pledge our love and faith. This is what Christmas is really about.

For each of you may this be a merry Christmas. But more importantly, I wish for each of you a time, perhaps only an hour, spent in silent meditation and quiet reflection on the wonder and the majesty of this, the Son of God. Our joy at this season is because He came into the world. The peace that comes from Him, His infinite love which each of us may feel, and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for that which He freely gave us at so great a cost to Himself—these are of the true essence of Christmas.

© 2008 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rules to live by

I'm no shinning example of these by any stretch of the imagination but at least I've come up with something to work towards. I think that perspective fits in with my rules to live by. Ha!

25 Rules to live by:

1. Find a way, adapt and overcome. Always find a way. That will put you in the successful minority. Most people give up, but you must be creative, be tenacious, be diligent and do what most won't. Stretch yourself out and deal with some pain. Difficulties are not insurmountable.

2. Reach the finish with success. Many of us are great at starting something and don’t finish it. Doesn't matter how smart you are, or how much potential or talent you have, if you only ever half-do things, are fence sitting or lukewarm; the 'Master of Incompletion' you’re just not going to make it happen. Success is less about talent and potential, and more about commitment. Make yourself be committed. All or nothing! Decide what you want out of life and go get it.

3. Make the tough decisions. Most people would rather someone or something else make the tough decision for them. The biggest determinant of what our life will look like is the decisions we make, and don't make. It isn’t fate, chance or luck; it's all you. Success is a choice. Our use of agency defines who we are and nothing more.

4. Be truthful, about who you are. Be honest, you're an idiot at times, a whiny baby and you know it. We all are at times. This admission is not to be confused with senselessly beating yourself up over your faults and short comings, no, this is about honest self-assessment and a level of self-awareness that most people will never have. You're biggest challenge will always be you. Maximize your strengths and strive to overcome your weaknesses. Life is a battle for self improvement.

5. Nourish and strengthen your Spirit and mind. We are more than just a body. Develop your spirituality on many levels. Let God be involved in your life. Pray, study and meditate, learn new things and increase overall knowledge of life and people. Develop close relationships and show kindness and charity towards your fellow men and love to God.

6. Maximize your potential. Too many people die with their hidden talents still in them. The main reason for this is fear. Deal with your fear (and laziness and procrastination) or waste your talent and live a life of compromise and regret. Use your gifts to better the lives of everybody.

7. Happiness and success won’t fall into your lap. Too many people have a 'luck' mentality; they hope that success will 'happen' to them. They wait to be 'discovered' or for their 'big break'. It’s just doesn’t work that way for 99% of us. Create your own big break. Look for, and create, your own opportunities. No one is going to give you what you want, you have to take it yourself.

8. Hang out with high-achievers and limit draggers. Self explanatory really; you become like those you hang out with. You marry who you date, you reap what you sow. etc. Choose good relationships to help improve your own life and the lives of others.

9. Take care of your body. This is not about vanity or ego. This is about function and health. This is about maximizing your potential. If you're out of shape physically or dump garbage like alcohol or drugs into your body, it will impact negatively in every area of your life; relationships, career, finances, emotional state, mindset.

10. Change what you can and forget about what you can't. Too many people invest way too much emotional energy and time in things they can't change and way too little in the things they can and should and in doing so, all they do is hinder their progression and performance.

11. Be less of a critic. You've got enough of your own issues and weaknesses to work on. People who constantly criticize others are typically insecure, envious, resentful and often jealous. Judge wisely and let go of petty differences. Choose your battles carefully and beware of pride.

12. Don't make excuses, make plans. Stop talking about it. Take action. Do it now! You can only impact tomorrow by what you do today.

13. Develop social and communication skills. In terms of 'life skills', this is near the top of the list. Consciously and diligently work at becoming the most effective communicator you can be. It impacts on every area of our life. Consciously build and nurture great relationships in all areas of your life. Overcome shy behaviors and engage in intellectual conversations everywhere.

14. Invest yourself into others lives. Be generous with your time, your knowledge, your talents and gifts, your money and your love. The best return on investment has nothing to do with money. A true reputation or legacy is not built by money but by the way you live.

15. Be accountable for where you are, who you are and what you are. Even if you have a 'reason' to blame - don't. It serves no purpose and never helps a situation. You will never find a solution by focusing on the problem. Move on, change yourself, and don’t try to change others, just be an example for good.

16. Control your emotions, especially anger and fear and jealously. When we take action from wrong emotions we hurt others and ourselves. Don’t let emotions determine who you are. It is a setup for a life of highs and lows and much regret and disappointment. Thwart depression by controlling your emotions. Hold to truth and learn to love what you have. Emotions are natural and can help us if we understand them better.

17. Trust and respect those who have earned it. This doesn't mean be rude, paranoid and fearful and closed off from the world. It means what it says. Don’t automatically trust and respect people. They should have to earn it. Open yourself bit by bit to grow and build relationships. We live line upon line. Recognize the world can sometimes be a scary place. We need to take caution but don’t let it hold you back from embracing the good out there.

18. Don't base your future, on your past. Too many people are hostages to their pasts, whether good, bad or ugly, so they simply create or expect a certain future or outcome for themselves. Our history is not necessarily any indication of what our future could be. Life can change at any moment. Make your future what you want it to be. Bad cycles can end with you.

19. Expose yourself to different ideas, cultures, religions, places, environments and people. It's crucial for your development. Too many people live in their safe, little box for eighty years and then they die. This is regrettable. Be a truth seeker and expand your mind. Look into and contemplate who you are, why you are here and where you are going. Look past what the eye can see and what the heart can come to know.

20. Step out of your box and into reality. Take on healthy risks and challenges, physically, emotionally, psychologically and professionally. This is how we grow, learn, adapt, change and improve. 'Safe' is boring, depressing and unrewarding. There’s more to life than just what you know already and how you do things. Wake up from ignorance and expand your mind. Search for ways to learn and become better. Stretch yourself a little.

21. Laugh and have fun and do it often. Look for the fun in things, and have fun, if you're not happy, try something new. Laugh a little more, and laugh at yourself. A good sense of humor is under rated. Don’t always be so serious, free your mind and live life to the fullest. Remember temperance and balance and moderation in all things.

22. Get clarity and certainty about what you want. Set goals then start reaching towards them. Be prayerful and take time to make big decisions, start thinking for yourself and creating some momentum and possible solutions. Stop letting others tell you what to do with your life. You make your own dreams come true. Sometimes it takes trial and error, you’ll figure it out.

23. Don't spend your life waiting for the 'right time'. It's a myth. If you're breathing, it's the right time. This doesn't mean be irresponsible or stupid, or naive; it means don't waste years waiting for the planets to align perfectly. The 'right time' excuse is merely a form of procrastination. It is completely based on fear and doubt. Have faith and be believing. Be an optimist.

24. Find the good. Consider every day an opportunity to live, laugh, learn and love. While many walk around with the world on their shoulders, choose to be different. Choose to be the exception. Choose fun. Choose to find the lesson. Choose happiness. Choose to be a good person. We may not be able to keep peace and harmony in the world, but we can die trying. I think that is the point. We may not be able to change the world, but we may change someone's view of the world, and that may make all the difference. I think that is the point too.

25. Humility and meekness. Live and communicate with drive, passion and humility. Arrogance and ego are ugly and destructive. Humility is not weakness but power for good. Deal gracefully with trials and hardships and heartaches and you will become a better person for them. Others may seem to be getting ahead faster but you will pass them all in the end and great will be your reward.

There maybe more, but this is a good starting place. Constant improvment and progression. Hoohah!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Joseph's Vision of the twelve

This was a vision given to Joseph Smith during the time period of the dedication of the Kirtland temple:

He [Joseph Smith] saw the Twelve going forth, and they appeared to be in a far distant land. After some time they unexpectedly met together, apparently in great tribulation, their clothes all ragged, and their knees and feet sore. They formed into a circle, and all stood with their eyes fixed upon the ground. The Savior appeared and stood in their midst and wept over them, and wanted to show Himself to them, but they did not discover Him. He [Joseph] saw until they had accomplished their work, and arrived at the gate of the celestial city; there Father Adam stood and opened the gate to them, and as they entered he embraced them one by one and kissed them. He then led them to the throne of God, and then the Savior embraced each one of them and kissed them, and crowned each one of them in the presence of God. He saw that they all had beautiful heads of hair and all looked alike. The impression this vision left on Brother Joseph's mind was of so acute a nature, that he never could refrain from weeping while rehearsing it.


This brings to mind some interesting questions regarding our appearance and the resurrection. We believe that we lived in a pre earth life in a spirit form. Reason would seem to say that we had some form of appearance or a name by which we were known. We had identity, we were either male or female, and all spirit is a form of refined matter which must have some manner or form of appearance. We come to earth receive a name by the hands of our mortal parents and take on physical characteristics according to genetic make up, natural reasons, etc. When we pass this life how shall it be? Do our perfected bodies take on the image of the previous spiritual form, or is it just the mortal body, or both? We believe that in heaven there is no division within ones level of kingdom, no deformities, illness, etc. I find the statement in Joseph's vision interesting where he says; "and all looked alike". I don't know how far we can actually take that statement literally, but I think it could mean the same in likeness and glory, maybe not so much identical facial features. We know that Christ exactly resembles the father but we also know there are differences in appearance between resurrected angels who have ministered to the earth. We are not all clones but share a closeness in appearance still the same compared to nothing else we know. How exactly our eternal pre earth life or lives affects our future body compared to the one we have now maybe yet to be determined. We know that Christ, as well as other angels in heaven still have some of the same likeness or appearance as their mortal bodies, enough that prophets and apostles such as Joseph Smith and others earlier and later were able to identify them. How could it be possible that we have some of the same facial features now that we had before this life, given the complexity of life here. Different races, shapes and sizes etc etc. Here we take on similar features of those in our family tree who have gone before us. Could it be that all of this has been so well orchestrated from before the foundations of this earth? It is one of the great mysteries. How can our looks here be a complete copy of our previous spirit image? Or isn't it? Maybe there are some similarities in image, but that's where it ends. I would love to continue this disscussion if someone has some insight to bring to the table. I know there must be much I'm not thinking of right now.
In my mind, these connections of ones identity between previous life/ lives, current life and future life/ lives is one of the greatest myteries of all. We are all created in the image of God and we are his children. What sciptures are relavant to this disscussion? I will try to look some up, here's one I know off the top of my head.

Alma 40

21 But whether it be at his resurrection or after, I do not say; but this much I say, that there is a space between death and the resurrection of the body, and a state of the soul in happiness or in misery until the time which is appointed of God that the dead shall come forth, and be reunited, both soul and body, and be brought to stand before God, and be judged according to their works.

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.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Crosswalk

La la la la la la sing a happy song...

We complain about the cross we bear but don't realize it is preparing us for the dip in the road that God can see and we cannot.

Whatever your cross,
whatever your pain,
there will always be sunshine, after the rain....
Perhaps you may stumble, perhaps even fall;
But God's always ready, to answer your call....
He knows every heartache, sees every tear,
a word from His lips, can calm every fear...
Your sorrows may linger, throughout the night,
But suddenly vanish, by dawn's early light...
The Savior is waiting, somewhere above,
to give you His grace, and send you His love.

Bear up your crosses, Christ's atonement will save us in the end!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Validity of their reasoning

I have always been boggled by the fact that the authority or claim of so many religions or denominations comes down to thinking they are smarter in interpretation than everyone else. It seems in many cases their sole authority is the validity of their reasoning. It seems that as long as authority is derived only from the inner contents of the Bible, this will be the case, because there is disagreement about what the chapters and verses are teaching. Each group claims that they have the correct interpretation, but without an appeal to direct revelation from God, the only explanation for one group being right and the others wrong is that the one group is smarter in interpretation, and then in turn associate that with being inspired. Talk about a sandy foundation.

We know the scriptures act like a kind of constitution. It can be updated and amended, but it takes a very positive and affirmative act widely recognized by Church authorities and common consent by members. The scriptures, like a Constitution, lay down broad and general statements of very foundational principals that control and govern all other possibilities of belief. So the scriptures must be accepted because they are the foundational revelation; however, they do not contain there own self-contained self-interpretation. There are numerous possibilities and the interpretive rules are not themselves authoritative. That is why the prophetic voice is crucial in the Church and to the world.

It seems to me that what makes a denomination or belief distinctive is the interpretive stance it adopts. Evangelicals adopt a kind of inerrant stance where they suppose that the Bible is living and holds a self-contained authority that provides interpretive rules for interpretation of the text. So how do we decide what the interpretive rules are? I believe that it is evident that the evangelical stance is logically flawed, and I believe that it fundamentally and seriously misunderstands the scriptural texts by treating them as a consistent set of belief statements that can be worked into a systematic doctrinal statement that must be believed for salvation. Only the intelligent and correct interpreters can be saved on such a view. Given all of the different views that intelligent interpreters have and can adopt based only on the scriptural texts, if one must get the doctrine right to be saved, then I don’t believe that it is possible for anyone to be saved at all. With this position, how can you know for sure you are getting it right? How can you base salvation on such a principle? This is why I believe today we see little claim or emphasis of “one” true religion or denomination or set of doctrines. It seems today to matter less about what you believe, just an emphasis that you believe. Unless of course you’re not considered to be Christian, because then your going to hell. Ha! I’m sorry, but they can’t all be right, it’s absolutely ridiculous.

Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy likewise constitute distinctive interpretive traditions. The later writings of the Church Fathers for Eastern Orthodox and for Catholics constitute a crucial context for interpretive authority. The way they approach the texts is within the context of a later traditions that developed. (ie. Creeds and such things) The problem I see here is that there is no reason to give any authority to the later tradition or texts because they eschew revelation on par with scripture as a means of interpreting scripture. Thus, there interpretive context lacks authority — their sole authority is the validity of their reasoning. I find this kind of reasoning seriously flawed and can find no other reason to accept such authority of such a tradition or Creed.
I have done a serious study of the trinity doctrine and find it confusing and inconclusive and quite contradictory though they claim it is not. To me it seems they are saying without actually saying it, that it is as though there is one God (being) with multiple personalities; that somehow is one being but can be in all places at one time shown in different distinct persons. I won’t apologize, it makes no sense whatsoever, and I honestly think they know it makes no sense! When confronted on it they just seem to throw up their hands and say, “well this is one of the great and holy mysteries”. How can you worship a God without understanding his character? “If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves.” (Joseph Smith Jr., King Follett discourse)

It’s different with the Latter Day Saints, where scripture context and doctrines are given by revelation. With so much confusion all around us, we see the need for continuing revelation and prophetic interpretation. There is purpose for such prophetic influence beyond a systematic reasoning of theology because we don’t have all of the revelations and interpretations yet. The end has not yet come.

“AoF: 9 We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God”.

We are guided by a prophetic living voice rather than being left to our best reasoning to figure out the right interpretation. We could even be given commandments or truths that make no sense at present because they await further interpretation to put them into a context that makes sense. There is authority beyond the authority of simply reasoning from what has already been given. The gospel is not a closed shop. God cares about his children in all ages, their personal lives, circumstances and challenges. He will not leave us in darkness and confusion. He has given us his spirit and his has given us his prophets. So with this truth, I will follow and sustain what we learn from revelation. Things may turn out to be beyond our current perception and understanding and this can sometimes happen; however, I won’t agree with someone when the sole basis is reasoning. There must be revelation; God has never worked any other way!

Friday, October 3, 2008




Synopsis of an Address delivered by President JOSEPH SMITH,
in Commerce, Illinois, Tuesday, June 2, 1839.

The Priesthood was first given to Adam. He obtained the First Presidency, and held the keys of it from generation to generation. He obtained it in the creation, before the world was formed, as in Gen. i. 20, 26, 28. He had dominion given him over every living creature. He is Michael the Archangel, spoken of in the Scriptures. Then to Noah, who is Gabriel: he stands next in authority to Adam in the Priesthood. He was called of God to this office, and was the Father of all living in his day, and to him was given the dominion. These men held keys first on earth, and then in heaven.

The Priesthood is an everlasting principle, and existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years. The keys have to be brought from heaven, whenever the Gospel is sent. When they are revealed from heaven, it is by Adam's authority. Daniel vii. speaks of the Ancient of Days. He means the oldest man-our Father Adam (Michael). He will call his children together and hold a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. He (Adam) is the Father of the human family, and presides over the spirits of all men; and all that have had the keys must stand before him in this grand council. This may take place before some of us leave this stage of action. The Son of Man stands before him, and there is given him glory and dominion. Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ-that which was delivered to him as holding the keys of the universe, but retains his standing as head of the human family.

The spirit of man is not a created being; it existed from eternity, and will exist to eternity. Anything created cannot be eternal; and earth, water, &c., had their existence in an elementary state from eternity. Our Saviour speaks of children and says, "Their angels always stand before my Father." The Father called all spirits before him at the creation of man, and organized them. He (Adam) is the head, and was told to multiply. The keys were first given to him, and by him to others. He will have to give an account of his stewardship, and they to him.

The Priesthood is everlasting. The Saviour, Moses, and Elias gave the keys to Peter, James, and John, on the mount, when they were transfigured before him. The Priesthood is everlasting-without beginning of days or end of years-without father, mother, &c. If there is no change of ordinances, there is no change of Priesthood. Wherever the ordinances of the Gospel are administered, there is Priesthood.

How have we come at the Priesthood in the last days? It came down, down, in regular succession. Peter, James, and John had it given to them, and they gave it to others. Christ is the Great High Priest; Adam next. Paul speaks of the Church coming to an innumerable company of angels; to God, the Judge of all-the spirits of just men made perfect; to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, &c. (Heb. xii. 23.)

I saw Adam in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman. He called together his children and blessed them with a patriarchal blessing. The Lord appeared in their midst, and he (Adam) blessed them all, and foretold what should befal them to the latest generation. (See Doc. and Cov., sec. iii., pars. 28, 29)

This is why Abraham blessed his posterity-he wanted to bring them into the presence of God. "They looked for a city," &c. Moses sought to bring the children of Israel into the presence of God, through the power of the Priesthood, but he could not. In the first ages of the world they tried to establish the same thing; and there were Eliases raised up who tried to restore these very glories, but did not obtain them; but they prophesied of a day when this glory would be revealed. Paul spoke of the dispensation of the fulness of times, when God would gather together all things in one, &c.; and those men to whom these keys have been given will have to be there; and they without us cannot be made perfect.

These men are in heaven, but their children are on earth. Their bowels yearn over us. God sends down men for this reason. (Matt. xiii. 41.) "And the Son of Man shall send forth his angels, &c." All these authoritative characters will come down and join hand in hand in bringing about this work.

The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed. The mustard seed is small, but brings forth a large tree, and the fowls lodge in the branches. The fowls are the angels. Thus angels come down, combine together to gather their children, and gather them we must. We cannot be made perfect without them, nor they without us. When these things are done, the Son of Man will descend-the Ancient of Days sit; we may come to an innumerable company of angels-have communion with and receive instruction from them. Paul told about Moses' proceedings-spoke of the children of Israel being baptised, &c. He knew this, and that all the ordinances and blessings were in the Church. Paul had these things, and we may have the fowls of heaven lodge in the branches, &c.

The horn made war with the Saints and overcame them, &c., until the Ancient of Days came; judgment was given to the Saints of the Most High from the Ancient of Days; the time came that the Saints possessed the kingdom. This not only makes us ministers here, but in eternity.

Salvation cannot come without revelation: it is in vain for any one to minister without it. No man is a minister of Jesus Christ without being a prophet. No man can be the minister of Jesus Christ, except he has the testimony of Jesus, and this is the spirit of prophecy. Whenever salvation has been administered, it has been by testimony. Men of the present time testify of heaven and of hell, and have never seen either; And I will say that no man knows these things without this.
Men profess to prophesy. I will prophesy that the signs of the coming of the Son of Man are already commenced. One pestilence will desolate after another. We shall soon have war and bloodshed. The moon will be turned into blood. I testify of these things, and that the coming of the Son of Man is nigh, even at your doors. If our souls and our bodies are not looking forth for the coming of the Son of Man, and after we are dead, if we are not looking forth, &c., we shall be among those who are calling for the rocks to fall upon us, &c.

The hearts of the children of men will have to be turned to their fathers, and the fathers to the children, living or dead, to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. If Elijah did not come, the whole earth would be smitten.

There will be here and there a Stake for the gathering of the Saints. Some may have cried peace, but the Saints and the world will have little peace from henceforth. Let this not hinder us from going to the Stakes; for God has told us to flee, not dallying, or we shall be scattered, one here, and another there. There your children shall be blessed, and you in the midst of friends, where you may be blessed. The Gospel net gathers of every kind.

I prophesy that that man who tarries after he has an opportunity of going will be afflicted by the Devil. Wars are at hand; we must not delay, but are not required to sacrifice. We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object. When wars come, we shall have to flee to Zion. The cry is to make haste. The last revelation says, "Ye shall not have time to have" gone over the earth, until these things come. It will come as did the cholera, war, fires, and earthquakes, one pestilence after another, &c., until the Ancient of Days come; then judgment will be given to the Saints.

Whatever you may hear about me or Kirtland, take no notice of it; for if it be a place of refuge, the Devil will use his greatest efforts to trap the Saints. You must make yourselves acquainted with those men who, like Daniel, pray three times a day to the house of the Lord. Look to the Presidency and receive instruction. Every man who is afraid, covetous, &c., will be taken in a snare. The time is soon coming when no man will have any peace but in Zion and her Stakes.

I saw men hunting the lives of their own sons, and brother murdering brother, women killing their own daughters, and daughters seeking the lives of their mothers. I saw armies arrayed against armies; I saw blood, desolation, fires, &c. The Son of Man has said that the mother shall be against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother, &c. These things are at our doors. They will follow the Saints of God from city to city. Satan will rage, and the spirit of the Devil is now enraged. I know not how soon these things will take place; and with a view of them, shall I cry peace? No. I will lift up my voice and testify of them. How long you will have good crops, and the famine be kept off, I do not know. When the fig-tree [fig tree] leaves, know then that summer is nigh at hand.

We may look for angels and receive their ministration, but we are to try the spirits and prove them, for it is often the case that men make a mistake in regard to these things. God has so ordained that, when he has communicated, no vision is to be taken but what you see by the seeing of the eye, or what you hear by the hearing of the ear. When you see a vision, pray for the interpretation. If you get not this, shut it up. There must be certainty in this matter. An open vision will manifest that which is more important. Lying spirits are going forth in the earth. There will be great manifestations of spirit, both false and true. Being born again comes by the Spirit of God, through ordinances. An angel of God never has wings. Some will say that they have seen a spirit,-that he offered them his hand, but they did not touch it. This is a lie. First, it is contrary to the plan of God. A spirit cannot come but in glory. An angel has flesh and bones: we see not their glory. the Devil may appear as an angel of light. Ask God to reveal it. If it be of the Devil, he will flee from you; if of God; he will manifest himself, or make it manifest. We may come to Jesus and ask him: he will know all about it. If he comes to a little child, he will adapt himself to the language and capacity of a little child.

Every spirit, or vision, or singing is not of God. The Devil is an orator. He is powerful. He took our Saviour on to a pinnacle of the Temple, and kept him in the wilderness for forty days. The gift of discerning spirits will be given to the Presiding Elder. Pray for him that he may have this gift. Speak not in the gift of tongues without understanding it, or without interpretation. The Devil can speak in tongues: the Adversary will come with his work. He can tempt all classes-can speak in English or Dutch. Let no one speak in tongues, unless he interpret, except by the consent of the one who is placed to preside; then he may discern or interpret, or another may. Let us seek for the glory of Abraham, Noah, Adam, the Apostles, who have communion with these things, and then we shall be among that number when Christ comes.

Joseph Smith Jr.

Visions and Revelations

Vision of Mosiah Hancock

The vision claimed by early LDS member, Mosiah Hancock(son of Levi Hancock):

"I shall now return to Payson. {visions} About the time I was one and twenty years of age, I know not whether to call it a dream or a vision; some have classed it a dream. I do not expect to give it in full: for to me it is sacred, beyond expression, especially some things I have no power to describe in words or to express in writing. Me thought I was taken away somewhere to Oh! such a Glorious Realm. I saw He whom at that time we Reverently spoke of as The Great Eternal. I saw the females at his right side. I have no idea of their number. I there saw the Savior; and calling me by name He said, "Mosiah, I have brought you here that you may know how it was before you went to yonder earth." Thinks I, What earth? for it seemed to me that I had no knowledge of an earth. He said, "As it is written in the Beginning, God created man, male and female, created He them." "And know you that no man is man without female, and that in the Lord. And no female is female without the male, and that in the Lord." I shall not attempt to tell how they were formed...suffice it to say, they were created in pairs, the male and his female. And as they came up to the throne of the Great Eternal the mothers seemed to name the females, and Oh! the respect they seemed to entertain for each other as they marched forth. The right elbow of the female seemed to touch the left elbow of the male. I should judge the males, generally to be about six feet two inches in height, and the females some three or four inches less. Their forms seemed as perfect as a new born infant, with no interference. They marched forth clothed in robes of a light color, tied in front.

They were instructed in everything that could be imagined, the finest oratory and everything of literary turn, including astronomy, trigonometry, surveying and the use of most delicate machinery. The females were taught to weave, to knit, to sew and to work in everything in their departments. Oh! the music of those spheres; I seem inadequate to touch upon the least of those accomplishments of the Heavenly Characters. Yet they were so orderly and harmonious that it seemed as if one could hear a pin drop. I saw some who became more efficient in science or other knowledge and they were advanced from class to class. It seemed as if the female always kept with her companion for they were always together, for I never saw one fall behind. Even those who had been placed to overlook the classes were always together. The male overlooking the males and his female overlooking females. I even had a companion with me that needed no prompting. It seemed that I had been with the Savior so long, it seemed that I wore the same vesture as his. All at once a Heavenly voice seemed to reverberate, as it were, through the immensity of space and said: 'Hear all ye, Oh my children! We have a world for you on which you can dwell and you can have the chance on coming up as we have come up.' We then gathered together in counsel to devise means of redemption, should it be needed. One arose whom I had always looked upon as the Savior and said that he would go down and lay before the Children of men the gospel that they might have the chance of attaining the glory as the Gods had done by the obedience to the Divine Plan of Life. Then I saw another who supposed his plan to be superior to the plan of the first for he said that he would save all; only that he wanted the glory. I saw that he and his plan were not accepted, so there was considerable commotion. At last I saw, as it were, a platform extended where the contest could be decided. I was indignant at the opposition as we fought with our opponents. The one called Levi became my father, and the one called Clarissa was my mother here on earth. My father seemed a savior as he strove to bring me up in the admonition of the Lord; and blessed be the name of my parents. Clarissa became my mother and she certainly did a Christian duty to me. But there are others who have no right with me or mine, that I cheerfully leave in the hands of One that I know doeth all things well. Although I have been weak at times, I trust that I can be worth of Glory hereafter.


"When about twenty-one years of age, I was permitted by the power of God, to go into His presence and into my former abode. I saw the Eternal Father on His throne and His wives on His left side, all shining in glory, I saw the Savior and knew Him. It takes the power of the Holy Ghost to tell the difference between the Father and the Son, they look so much alike. Jesus said: 'Mosiah, I have brought you here to show you how it was before you went to the earth.' I had been to the earth; everything looked so natural and familiar. I seemed to have been a companion of the Savior and talked with him like a friend. Again, He spoke to me and said: 'Look and see man as he came forth.' I looked in the direction indicated and saw an innumerable line of God's children extending further than I could see. They were arranged in pairs, male and female, and passed in front of the Eternal Father who named them; and they were clad in long white robes with girdles tied around the waists; each pair seemed to have been created mates.
"When thus clothed; they were arranged in classes of about two hundred; the males sitting in front and the females behind them. They were taught in the arts and sciences, and everything necessary to make the heart happy The teachers of the classes received the instruction they imparted from certain notable ones, who in turn got their directions from the Father and the Son- I thought I was one to overlook the classes; I also saw Joseph, Brigham and many others engaged in this work of education. I thought as some became more efficient than others they were advanced from class to class I thought my name was Mosiah, and the names of the other brethren there were the same as upon the earth. All at once there was a gathering of these spirits and the voice of the Great Eternal (for that is what we called God there) spoke: 'Oh, ye my children,' and His voice penetrated throughout space, so countless were His offspring 'We have an earth prepared for you, on which you can dwell and have a chance to come up, thru obeying our Heavenly laws.'
"I there heard the question asked: 'Who will go down and set an example of humility and faithfulness to these my children, that they may be brought, thru obedience to our laws, back into our presence?'
"I thought I saw one in the express image of the Father say, 'Father, I will go down and set a pattern of humility and patience that your children, thru my example, may be brought back again.' How noble, I thought, He looked when He offered Himself so patient before the children of our Father.
"I saw another, who seemed to be a very high military officer who arose and said: 'I will go down to yonder earth and surely I will bring all your children back to you so none of them shall be lost.'
"The plan of the first was accepted as being the only sure plan for an exaltation. The plan of the second was rejected with great kindness, but the second was not satisfied; and while the first stood in great humility by the side of the Father, the second with many who stood in with him, went about among the Heavenly hosts to advocate the plan, that was put forth as the rights of the second. This one was Lucifer, a son of the morning, for any had been with the Father for countless ages, and learned their lessons well, and he had been no dull scholar. Finally Lucifer openly rebelled against the Father and the Son and six other mighty ones who stood faithful with them and declared, 'I will have it my way.' I saw the faithful ones gather around the Father and the Son, and Lucifer's workers gathered around him, when one of the notable ones, who was called Michael, arose and said, 'We will decide the contest' It seemed that a platform was extended into space,. upon which we could operate, by what power I could not tell. We who were faithful to the Father and the Son, had a white star upon us, and the others chose a red star, about one third of the males and females would not accept of either star, but withdrew from the conflict, the females taking the males by the arm, said, 'Come, let us not take part with either side. Let us retire-' (When they were cast out after the manner of spiritual warfare,) they had no power to return. When they were all cleared from the platform and Satan and his followers were all cast down, their female companions wept, and we all wept.
"No females took part against the Father and the Son, but all took sides in their favor, except the. neutral ones already mentioned. After the tears were dried, from our eyes, the voice of the Great Eternal spoke again and said, 'Hear, O ye my children;' His voice penetrating the immensity of space so that all could hear it; it is decreed by the Great Eternal that the females shall not follow their males in their banishment, but for every male that has kept his first estate and fought valiantly for the Father and the Son, there are two females. Again it is decreed that those males who have taken no part in this great conflict shall keep their females and a race of servants shall they be.' I then saw that the notable ones who had taken such an interest in the rights of the Father and the Son were appointed to gather up those lone females whose companions had been cast down They were again placed in classes. each man having two females in the ranks behind him. I there saw that they were again taught in their classes, which now contained about three hundred. I next saw Michael and his companion proceed a long way off, to people the earth where Lucifer and his FOLLOWERS HAD BEEN CAST. As time passed, other notable ones followed as they were appointed. During all this time the classes met frequently, being taught by instructors appointed. Each member knew his or her own-place, and took it each time, and the best of order prevailed. They were asked, first the males, and then the females behind them, 'Will you obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ, when you go to that earth?' Some would answer, yes, but not all. Some could be asked, Will you obey that law which placed the Gods on high? And in very few cases I would hear the females say, 'I want my own mate' Sometimes the question would be asked of a male, 'Will you obey that higher law? and he would answer, 'I wish to enjoy myself with the females' Sometimes when the question would be asked of the females she would reply 'I wish to enjoy myself with the males.' Again the question would be asked of the males, 'If you will not join the Church of Christ, what do you wish to be? He would sometimes say, 'I wish to be a judge, or an officer of high rank among the people ' Then he would be asked, 'Will you sustain the laws of God and also the rights of all mankind?' and the answer in every instance was, 'yes. ' I saw there that those who were proficient in their classes were advanced more rapidly until they became most perfect in those heavenly teachings, but some males, even there in Heaven would neglect their females and their classes and not meet with them. They would go off, arm in arm, as men now go, not having any desire for their duties. I never saw a female leave her place in the class assigned her by the Heavenly powers. I saw Abraham, when he came back from the earth, and many of the notable ones, when they came back to be crowned I saw them step upon the platform of the Gods and receive their crowns, and enter into their exaltations. At last I saw the time when Joseph was to go forth, and the voice of the Great Eternal said, 'Oh, my neglected daughters, gather around these my faithful servants who have been faithful in teaching you the principles of righteousness and of our kingdom, that others may come up and have the chance to be glorified-' I saw many of them gather around Joseph and form a ring with him and the Savior in the center. They made a covenant with him that they would meet him on the earth and help him establish that great work upon the earth. I saw many of them gather around Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and many other notable ones, and around many who have not become so notable. They formed rings around each of them with Christ in the center each time, for He rehearsed to them the Covenant. They would take each other by the hand, in the circle and bow their faces down to Him, in the center, and in the most solemn manner agree to meet them here, until every one of those neglected daughters was provided for; and they were filled with such joy that their songs made a paradise of the realm.
"At last The time came for me to go to the earth. The Savior came to me and said, 'Mosiah, it is time for you to prepare to go. You have been faithful so long here it is time for you to go, that you may return and be as we are.' As I beheld Him, I thought, 'How is it that I am not as you are now? For it seemed, that I knew nothing of the earth or the changes a probation there would make in me. However, I said, 'Who will go down to that earth, and be my father, and help me that I may be brought in the ways of truth and righteousness?' A male by the name of Levi stepped forth, in the presence of the Son, and said, 'I will go down to yonder earth, and by the help of the Great Eternal, I will try to do as well by you as you have done for me, for I am grateful to you for all your kindness to me.' He returned to his place, being an instructor of a class. I was one among others who was appointed to instruct him and the other teachers of classes. A female came out of the class and bowing before the Savior and me, said, 'I will go down and be your mother.' In a short time the man disappeared and was immediately followed by the woman. I knew my departure was near at hand and I asked, 'If on my return I could have the same position I then held.' Then the Savior said, Yes, and greater, but you have to go down to the earth, and take a lowly position and be misunderstood by man, even your brethren and endure many hardships and set many examples of humility and patience, that you may return and enter the glory, even such a s I have.' He then added, 'Your time is now come to take your mission to the earth,' and He laid His hands on my head, as He had done to others, and set me apart for that important mission. He again said to me, 'I will see you safely thru until you return again.' I fully believe on that promise. It seemed as though a way was opened before me, and I dived down toward the earth with the speed of lightening and awoke while sailing thru space."

Mosiah Hancock

Autobiography of Mosiah Hancock

My comments:

*At first glance this account is at least interesting enough to read. Although I see some truths within, I also find some things either problematic or included as a result to his time, teaching and thinking. I do not think you would see a similar dream or vision in a modern day account. How seriously can we take these sorts of early day accounts by faithful lds? Its seems as though these types of visions are somehow filtered by the thinking or belief of the individual. I have seen this in my own experiences. There may be many truths embedded in a so called vision but I don’t think they are always to be taken literal. Most of these personal visions are to be kept just that, personal! It is usually something for the individuals learning and not a revelation for anyone else. This is why they can’t be taken literally. Perhaps this is why today we are encouraged by the brethren to guard these types of experiences as sacred and personal, only to be shared when directed by the spirit in the right circumstances. They are not meant to be doctrinal or binding and therefore if not taken that way can be troublesome and confusing for others. This is the problem we face with so many of the early day accounts of the lds saints. Many enemies of the church like to use these against us when they find some problematic things that can contradict the doctrine. They are not always seen in the light that they are supposed to be. This can cause even more confusion when these accounts come from past leadership. Unless a prophet distinguishes something as doctrinal or true revelation it should not ever be taken as such. We see these types of assumptions all the time. It is true we can receive revelation for ourselves as well as certain things for those over which we preside but they should not extend those bounds. Everything else falls under opinion and speculation.

We are only given as much light as we are willing to accept by our current faith and beliefs. These visions can however inspire, and uplift an individual to greater learning and a desire to come closer to God. Although the vision of Mosiah Hancock cannot be taken literally given some of the silly suggestions within, I do not think that it makes it a false vision, just a personal one. In the early days of the church these types of experiences were often shared. As a result many put too much emphasis on some of these accounts. A problem for some is an over reliance on these types of sources. This problem can begin with the scriptures themselves. Even though a scripture may be true it is still subject to many interpretations. Many will thus look at a true scripture and receive from it an erroneous interpretation and cling to that interpretation because it is "the infallible word of God" and is not to be questioned. Hence we see so many thousands of different types of religions in the world today.

Therefore I must conclude that we must be careful what we believe or take from these types of accounts, the same for interpretations or deep and unknown doctrines. The truth of things can only come from God himself through revelation to a Prophet of God. We all have the ability to receive some form of revelation but the only pure doctrinal truth can come through the prophets. The Holy Ghost will teach us about the truthfulness of the current revealed word. We must interpret all things by that same spirit. We have the ability as well to learn new truths by this spirit but these are to be guarded and not shared as doctrinal. This is the prophets calling to do so, and when the general membership is ready to receive more truth we will be given it. In the mean time learn all you can personally by the spirit. I guess my ending point is, to always be aware of the source and credibility of the information you receive.
Kent Wentzell

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Assistant and the Key

Assistant President of the Church (also referred to as Associate President of the Church) was a position in the leadership hierarchy in the early days of the Latter Day Saint church instated by revelation through Joseph Smith, Jr. The Assistant President was the second-highest authority in the church and was a member of the church's governing First Presidency. After Joseph Smith’s death, Latter Day Saints discontinued the position of Assistant President of the Church.

Oliver Cowdery

On December 5, 1834, Smith ordained Oliver Cowdery to be his "assistant-president". The minutes of this meeting state that Joseph Smith said the following words after laying his hands on Cowdery's head:
In the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified for the sins of the world, I lay my hands upon thee and ordain thee an assistant-president to the High and Holy Priesthood, in the Church of the Latter-day Saints."

At the organization of the church in 1830 , Cowdery had been designated the "second elder" of the church. After Joseph Smith organized the First Presidency in 1832, Cowdery's standing in the church hierarchy had become uncertain. Cowdery's ordination as Assistant President reaffirmed his status as second only to Joseph in church authority.

After Cowdery's ordination, Joseph explained the purpose of the position of Assistant President:
The office of Assistant President is to assist in presiding over the whole Church, and to officiate in the absence of the President, according to his rank and appointment .... The office of this priesthood is also to act as spokesman, taking Aaron for an example. The virtue of the above priesthood is to hold the keys of the kingdom of heaven or of the Church militant.

As holder of the keys of the priesthood, the Assistant President of the Church was intended to be the person who would succeed to the presidency of the church upon the death of the Prophet Joesph Smith. The Assistant President ranked higher than the counselors in the First Presidency and the President and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Like the members of the First Presidency and the Twelve, the Assistant President was accepted by the church as a prophet, seer, and revelator.

Hyrum Smith

On April 11, 1838, Cowdery was excommunicated from the church and thereby lost his position as Assistant President. The position went unfilled until January 25, 1841, when Hyrum Smith was ordained to be the Assistant President. This was done in accordance with a revelation that was received on January 19, which stated:

And from this time forth I appoint unto him [Hyrum] that he may be a prophet, and a seer, and a revelator unto my church, as well as my servant Joseph; That he may act in concert also with my servant Joseph; and that he shall receive counsel from my servant Joseph, who shall show unto him the keys whereby he may ask and receive, and be crowned with the same blessing, and glory, and honor, and priesthood, and gifts of the priesthood, that once were put upon him that was my servant Oliver Cowdery.

Hyrum Smith remained Assistant President of the Church until he and Joseph were killed on June 27, 1844. The death of both the President of the Church and his supposed successor, the Assistant President, helped contribute to the leadership confusion among the Latter Day Saints which led to the succession crisis of 1844. In most of the separate denominations that resulted from the crisis, the position of Assistant President of the Church was discontinued.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the lack of a current Assistant President of the Church has been explained in the following way:
After Oliver Cowdery fell from his high status, Hyrum Smith the Patriarch was chosen by revelation to succeed to the position of Assistant President and to stand as a joint witness with the Prophet [Joseph Smith] of the truth of the restoration. ... When these two joint Presidents of the Church sealed their testimonies with their blood, the full operation of the keys of the kingdom rested with the Twelve, and Brigham Young, the senior apostle, became the ranking officer of the Church. Since the kingdom was then fully established and the two witnesses had left a binding testimony, it was no longer necessary to continue the office of Assistant President. Accordingly, the office is not found in the Church today.

D&C 124: 94-96
94 And from this time forth I appoint unto him that he may be a prophet, and a seer, and a revelator unto my church, as well as my servant Joseph;
95 That he may act in concert also with my servant Joseph; and that he shall receive counsel from my servant Joseph, who shall show unto him the keys whereby he may ask and receive, and be crowned with the same blessing, and glory, and honor, and priesthood, and gifts of the priesthood, that once were put upon him that was my servant Oliver Cowdery;
96 That my servant Hyrum may bear record of the things which I shall show unto him, that his name may be had in honorable remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever.
Hyrum acted as President of the Church in Joseph's absence and was designated to be Joseph's successor if he were killed or incapacitated. Among early Church leaders, no one stands higher than Hyrum Smith save it be, The Prophet himself. Hyrum was Joseph Smith's closest confidante and advisor, the Second Elder in the Church and Patriarch to the Church. He was an Apostle. He held every right, key, power, and authority which Joseph held, and had it been the will of the Lord that Hyrum should have survived Joseph; Hyrum would have become the Presiding High Priest in the Church. He received every key, every power, and every authority held by his brother Joseph. Indeed, had he survived Joseph, Hyrum would have unquestionably succeeded him.

The Key

However, and fortunately, the twelve had previously been given all the keys and were properly charged to carry out the work if Joseph and Hyrum should die. This was done during the many meetings and sessions with the Prophet and Hyrum leading up to the last charge meeting on March 26th 1844. Joseph rolled off the responsibility to the twelve. He declared that he had now given them every priesthood key that he possessed and that it was their responsibility to shoulder the burden of the kingdom while he rested. Before they returned from the East, the two were murdered. In that last charge meeting, he (Joseph) said, “I will give you a key that will never rust. (meaning it will always work and stay true) Always go with the majority of the twelve and the records of the church.” No other denomination or break off can claim that except The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We have the key that does not rust.

The majority of the twelve held the keys and in due time they reorganized the first presidency with Brigham Young as Prophet and President. The work goes on still today with that same organization and authority passed down from prophets and apostles of The Lord Jesus Christ.

Moroni's last stand

This is an account I heard years ago in early morning seminary. It really intrigued me at the time, but I never knew the source of it. I have never heard it since that time and started to wonder the validity of it. I had searched for it in the past to no avail. Until today! I have found the source of the story of Moroni's fate after depositing the plates. For some reason I really believe this one. This is the story that first got me interested into the deeper parts of our religion. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.


At a meeting at Spanish Fork, Utah Co., in the winter of 1896, Brother Higginson stated in my presence that Thomas B. Marsh told him that the Prophet Joseph Smith told him (Thomas B. Marsh, he being then President of the Twelve), that he became very anxious to know something of the fate of Moroni, and in answer to prayer the Lord gave Joseph a vision, in which appeared a wild country and on the scene was Moroni after whom were six Indians in pursuit; he stopped and one of the Indians stepped forward and measured swords with him. Moroni smote him and he fell dead; another Indian advanced and contended with him; this Indian also fell by his sword; a third Indian then stepped forth and met the same fate; a fourth afterwards contended with him, but in the struggle with the fourth, Moroni, being exhausted, was killed. Thus ended the life of Moroni.

-Charles D. Evans, LDS Church Archives, as quoted in H. Donl Peterson, Moroni: Ancient Prophet, Modern Messenger, p. 77.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Photo of Joseph Smith Jr. ?

Could this really be a picture of Joseph Smith Jr. in his early to mid 30's? I found it interesting that when I was initially examining it Kaylee ran into the room and looked at the screen and said hey that's Joseph Smith. Man, kids make you wonder sometimes. Crazy! I asked her how she knew it was him and and she said hmmm... I just know, that's Joseph Smith. Whether or not it is him I don't know, but if you follow the link to a video about it, you'll find it quite fascinating. I must admit there's a possibility anyway that it could really be him, but I feel something very unsettling about it at the same time, something just doesn't feel right about it to me. If it is somehow found to be true this is big news. It was a photo that was donated to the Rlds or Community of Christ apparently taken of him in the winter of 1840 in Philadelpia. Not sure if this info is 100% acurate though. Joseph also mentions in one of his journals that a photo had been taken of him. But let's not jump to conclusions on it until we can be sure, which we may never be, until we see him standing along side Adam and other nobles at the counsel at Adam ondi ahmen just before the coming of Christ. I think it would be so awesome to have the face to go with his name and who he was. The Church has made no official position on it but have found it interesting enough to put an eye on it. There is more information on the photo over the web on youtube and other websites. Happy trails and let me know what you find or think about it.

Those piercing eyes in the photo make you think.

This one just above is also another that may or may not be Joseph Smith. I don't know much about this photo however.

What think ye?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Logic of Belief

Let’s look at some straight up logic:

Putting aside all other things but mathematical logic…

How to weigh your options:

1. Someone tells you about God and you have a choice whether or not to believe it.

If God isn’t real, and you do believe, you aren't out anything in the end.

If God isn’t real, and you don’t believe, you aren't out anything in the end.

If God is real, and you believe, you can be eternally happy.

If God is real, and you don't believe, things could be looking scary for you.

Which is the most logical option to choose?

2. Moses tells Isreal to look at the brass serpent and be healed.

If it isn’t true, and you look, you’re no worse off.

If it isn’t true, and you don’t look, you’re no worse off.

If it is true, and you look, you’ll be healed and be better off.

If it is true, and you don’t look, you might have missed you’re chance.

Which is the most logical option to choose?

3. You’re told to have faith in something (ie. Gospel/Church) despite lack of complete understanding.

If it isn’t true, and you believe, what might you have missed?

If it isn’t true, and you don’t believe, what might you have gained?

If it is true, and you believe, you gain the blessings of your faith.

If it is true, and you don’t believe, what might you have missed?

Which is the most logical option to choose?

Are the first two examples straight forward? This last one seems less logical because it is more complex with too many questions or unknowns. It is not just white or black, yes or no. There is a choice of thousands of gospels/ churches today. No small wonder the world is in complete confusion about God and where real truth lies.

What is needed to make this last choice more logical?

How do we remove the grey and make it white or black?
(Should we or can we?)
Remember there is an asumed lack of understanding.

Is there something I may be over looking?

Thank goodness for revelation.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Restoration of Priesthood Keys on Easter 1836

These articles from the LDS website are absolutley incredible. John Pratt out did himself here. I read this ages ago but just revisited it and couldn't help but post the links. Please take the time to read carefully so you can understand them. I did some of my own research into some of these discoveries and noticed the next time all these same things seem to line up is at Easter Sunday in April 2033. Hmmm... 2000 years since Christ's death and ressurection...Interesting , very interesting. Could this be a possible or plausible time of return?

I'd like to hear some thoughts.

They are long articles, but worth every line.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Work and the Glory

Recently my mind has been very much focused upon the purpose of life and the great plan of salvation. The salvation of souls. What is it all about? What do we need to do? I’ve thought much about our roles personally and collectively and most of all about missionary work. When I say missionary work, I mean to suggest the three fold mission of the church.

Well, what is it we need to do? First, I think of a scripture in the Book of Mormon found in Mosiah, Chapter 3:19. Many know it well or may have memorized it. What does it say? “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam.” Well, what does that mean? It means that from Adam’s fallen state we became mortal, subject to death and knowing good and evil, and in this state have natural desires and passions of the mortal body. Well, what are we told about passions? Bridle your passions. How? Well, going on, the natural man is an enemy of God and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be forever and ever, unless,(here comes the how) he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and putteth off the natural man, and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child does submit to his father.” Submit to all things, what does that imply? It means exactly what it says, and if you will for a moment, those who have gone through the temple let your mind rest upon the fullness of the law of sacrifice. Need I say more, except that I suggest even, that we must be willing to give back even, the only two things that are actually ours, our life and our agency. Meaning, to submit our will for his will. Praying in all things, “Thy will be done, Oh Lord.” Christ showed us this in perfect example. “and he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matt 26:39) All things. So we know what we must first do. Be humble and submissive, repentant and have faith.

Doctrine & Covenants section 4, which is well known as the missionary constitution. This is a revelation given to Joseph Smith Jr. for his father Joseph Smith Sr. in 1829. 1829. At this period the church hasn’t yet been organized . Not until the following year on April 6 1830. Here he is revealing what his father needs to know before he goes out on a mission. But it is just for proseylating? I suggest not. Well, verse 1, it starts out, “Now behold, a marvelous work and a wonder is about to come forth among the children of men.” I suggest, in the mighty vision of the lord, he knew of the great import of this revelation for missionary work all inclusive. Meaning, perfecting the saints, proclaiming the gospel, and redeeming the dead. Our three fold mission. Verse 2, “therefore, o ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before him at the last day. Well, blameless, to be blameless means to become clean, free of sin in and through the atonement of Christ being pure of heart and full of charity. Having lived a life abided in good works. Blameless.

Verse 3 “Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work;” So what is the work? Well, Moses 1:39, we all know it. “This is my work and my Glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” While these two terms, Immortality and Eternal life go together, separately they are very different outcomes. What is immortality? Well, 1 Corinthians 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” The fall of Adam brought death into the world and therefore we are not responsible for death. It is a gift from God that we will all be resurrected and live forever. We chose in the pre existence to keep our first estate and to take on mortality. Through Christ we will be resurrected and become immortal. That’s immortality, and different from eternal life. What is eternal life? Simply put, salvation and exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom of God, forever and ever, without end. With our families sealed to us and with our Heavenly father and his son Jesus Christ. That is Eternal life. That is the work spoken of in section 4 of D&C, and so, back to the revelation in Verse 4, (and I see the lord giving this in much urgency and conviction because of its great import) “For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store, that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul.” What a promise! Bringeth Salvation, meaning Eternal life. If we but thrust ourselves into his work we will be partakers of the purpose of the work. The worth of souls is great in the sight of God and how great shall be our joy if we may bring souls unto him through baptism and fellowship. Now, some attributes that we must have. Verse 5,”and faith, hope, charity, and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work”, verse 6 Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance,” and what does it mean to have temperance? Well, it's a lot of things, but one I’d like to suggest that I learned from Truman Madsen, is that it means balance. Balance in all things good, and in that balance enduring to the end. “Patience, brotherly kindness, Godliness, charity, (again) humility, diligence.” Then, in the last verse, the great promise we see time and time again throughout the scriptures. “Ask and ye shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.” He isn’t saying, well, put in a request and if I have time and I feel like it I’ll let you know. No, no, he isn’t saying that. He is saying you will receive; it will be opened to you. Now as we know God frequently doesn’t give us the why or the when, but, I testify that he does answer. It is his promise, if we ask with faith.

It is my prayer that we obtain an inner bursting conviction of this work, the work spoken of in Moses 1:39 and the plan of salvation. That we may put off the natural man, be humble, repentant, faithful, and desire to serve god in doing this work, obtaining these attributes spoken of. They are not only requirements for the work but I suggest gifts from God. Gifts of the Spirit. Ask and ye shall receive. In so doing these things, may we endure to the end. But then again, “The End”, is kind of a paradox if you will. For we know, for those persons who follow Christ and keep his commandments, there is no end. No end to life, no end to progression, no end to seed and family, no end to knowledge or power, worlds with out end.

I bear testimony that I know this work is true. I know that the plan of salvation is the whole meaning of our life. I know our Heavenly Father lives. He loves everyone one of us. We are his children. I know that Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God, the only begotten of the father in the flesh. I know that he lives. He is our Redeemer and our Savior. I am thankful for his everlasting atonement which makes our return possible. He fulfilled his mission; he marked the path, and gave us his perfect example. I know this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I know that he saw God the Father and his son Jesus Christ in the sacred grove and ushered in the dispensation of the fullness of times. That Christ’s true church has been reorganized. That through him the priesthood and authority of God has been restored, as well as, all the saving ordinances and principles. I know that through his faith, worthiness, diligence and seer-ship he translated the Book of Mormon from gold plates of sacred writ. I know the Book of Mormon is true. It is another testimony of Jesus Christ. With His teachings, prophesies, revelations, commandments, and the purpose of life. The Scriptures give me strength and a guide to my life and my purpose. I know these things are true by feelings of the Holy Ghost which have borne testimony to me in my heart and in my mind. I have felt the fruits of the spirit and have experienced them first hand. I have put the seed to the test and continue to do so. It is more than a belief, it is a knowledge. He bears witness of truth and light. I am grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost. He is my guide and my Companion in all things. I know he lives. I know even today we have a prophet on the earth. He is the mouth piece of the lord, a seer and a revelator who holds the sealing powers of heaven and earth, who leads this church by God's will. Christ is the Head of it. May we all have this understanding of the purpose of life unto salvation and eternal life, where there is no end. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

11:11 luck

Ok, so I'm sitting at my computer and I take a glance at the time and it says, 11:12pm. Immediately I'm upset because I think it means bad luck for the following day. However if I would have glanced one minute earlier at 11:11, I would have said, "yeah baby, good luck tomorrow!" I know this sounds absolutely crazy and personally I have no idea when or how or why I started doing this. It's been going on for as long as I can remember. As strange as it sounds, I can honestly say that rarely does a day go by when I have not seen one or the other. How can my emotions be so effected by such a ridiculous thing? Yet, somehow I seem tied to it. I know it makes no sense and goes against all my belief system but yet I have this weird suspicion. Other than this I have no other suspicions or good luck charms or any of that nonsense. I guess some of us just seem to find some crazy insignificant thing in our life that goes against our natural thinking and somehow still manage to place emotion into it. I realize I'm not making any sense at all, but I'm baffled by it. Mostly because I really believe it to be true because it's seems to always come true. Now whether it's my mind playing tricks, or totally coincidence, or my expected outlook and attitude is affecting the supposed outcome, I know not. What I do know is, I can't stop doing it and I can't stop letting it effect me. I think I'm insane sometimes. There must be some sort of weird psychological thing behind this.

These are my crazy rules for 11:11 luck:

1.It's based merely on a chance glance at the clock whether standard or digital. You can not purposely wait or plan to see it as it is coming around. It's about luck so it's based on chance only.

2. If I see 11:11 in the evening (pm), by chance only, I assume I will have good luck or a good day the following day. This is the first stage of the chance event. If I see it again the following morning it means extra good luck and great things coming my way.

3. If I happen to see 11:12 in the evening I assume bad luck or a bad day the following day. Then if I see 11:12 again the next morning I feel really worried that it's not going to be a good day.

4. If I see 11:11 at night but 11:12 the next morning I feel my luck maybe changing and I have to watch what I do, as that may affect the outcome from that point on that day.

5. If I see 11:12 at night but 11:11 in the morning I get a sense of relief that by some effort or chance the rest of the day could turn out to be ok after all.

6. If I see 11:10 at any point of the day and choose to wait out the actual switch to 11:11, I feel a sense that some luck may come by some effort on my part but to try hard.

7. If I see 11:12 at any point of the day but scurry to find another clock which still bears 11:11 at that same moment I feel a sense that it may be possible to save myself from some bad luck and turn that day around by personal effort.

8. If I see 11:13 in the evening only I assume luck will play no role and my day will be what I make of it.

I must admit I always feel best when I see 11:11 and it seems to work out. This is the dumbest thing ever, but I do it anyway and let it effect me. I guess we all have something! Don't ask me why I posted this here; I guess I just feel somehow it's connected to my spiritual self. Oh... And it's a cry for help. lol :)

Prophecy of Heber C. Kimball

Prophecy of Heber C. Kimball

An army of Elders will be sent to the four quarters of the earth to search out the righteous and warn the wicked of what is coming. All kinds of religions will be started and miracles performed that will deceive the very elect if that were possible. Our sons and daughters must live pure lives so as to be prepared for what is coming.

After a while the gentiles will gather by the thousands to this place, and Salt Lake City will be classed among the wicked cities of the world. A spirit of speculation and extravagance will take possession of the Saints, and the results will be financial bondage.

Persecution comes next and all true Latter-day Saints will be tested to the limit. Many will apostatize and others will be still not knowing what to do. Darkness will cover the earth and gross darkness the minds of the people. The judgements of God will be poured out on the wicked to the extent that our Elders from far and near will be called home, or in other words the gospel will be taken from the Gentiles and later on carried to the Jews.

The western boundary of the State of Missouri will be swept so clean of its inhabitants that as President Young tells us, when you return to that place, there will not be left so much as a yellow dog to wag his tail. "Before that day comes, however, the Saints will be put to tests that will try the integrity of the best of them. The pressure will become so great that the more righteous among them will cry unto the Lord day and night until deliverance comes.

Then the prophet and others will make their appearance and those who have remained faithful will be selected to return to Jackson County, Missouri, and take part in the upbuilding of that beautiful city, the New Jerusalem.

Deseret News, May 23, 1931


This is absolutely fascinating! I've never heard of a prophecy of Heber C. Kimball that didn't come to fruition. As we see, this is coming into light more and more with the passing years. I am confident at some point this will entirely be fulfilled. It's frightening to think about. I can't help think of the parable of the Ten virgins. Only 5 were prepared. Are we lukewarm or fence sitting still? I believe we need to catch a greater vision, grasp a deeper conviction, and develop a more intense commitment. I ask myself, what else really matters when all is said and done? Nothing! Do we really get it or are we to busy glancing at the large and spacious building? If we are, we might just miss out on something. These are the last days and they are crucial times. Repent, repent for the time is at hand. Let us cling for dear life, (eternal life) to the Iron Rod and keep our eyes on the prize which is Christ our savior and redeemer and return to live with him in exaltation.

Kent Wentzell