11 October 2020

That Didn't Work Out

A while back, I proposed that if some heckler calls you one (or several) of the currently trendy labels, such as "bigot" or "homophobe", usually as just a knee-jerk reaction to ideological difference, One should just say "so what" and move on.  As I read in the Book of Mormon today, Jesus Christ suggests his preferred response: 

3 Nephi 22:7

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall revile against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.

I know that further trends in "kindspeak" instruct us to never say anything against people but only against actions, but as highlighted above, it sounds like Christ tells us to condemn those who revile us as if they stand in judgement over us. I suppose we can try to lessen the blow by condemning their "tongue", but my thought to just take the verbal blows are not what Jesus would have us do. It also really does look as though we are taught to condemn those who "revile against thee in judgment".

There have been a few, even friends, who have reviled against me and my posts, labeling me with all sorts of ignorantly misused yet trendily judgmental terms meant to silence detractors. As Jesus directs, I condemn those of you who vilify me as I work to spread the gospel of the Savior as I understand it.  Such people need to change through repentance.

I hope all take heart that Jesus Christ is ready to forgive the repentant and contrite person. May we all be grateful for this fact and seek the repentance we need!

20 September 2020

The Doctrine of Christ

I understand and honor those who want to get to the heart of any matter set before them. I am also one that tends to brush away things that I consider ancillary to real purposes. In Christ's ministry in the holy land, he went to weddings and dinners; he socialized over the course of a three year ministry. In the land of Bountiful, as recorded in the Book of Mormon, Christ was only present for a handful of days, so we don't hear of his social schedule. He was rather purposeful and almost business-like. There was little time for things like parables, collecting new followers, or answering a lot of questions.

In one crucial incident, Christ did a clear progression of things in the first hours of his visit to the people at Bountiful, as described in the third book of Nephi, chapter 11:

  1. God the Father announces and identifies Jesus and that he is the son of God (v. 3-7);
  2. Jesus show each person that he was the promised and crucified Messiah who had been prophecied would come (v. 8-17);
  3. Jesus calls Nephi and others and gives them the power to baptize (v. 18-22);
  4. Jesus explains exactly how to perform a baptism and denounces (traditional Jewish) disputations on baptism and doctrine (v. 23-30);
  5. The first rendition of the doctrine of Christ and his promise that the Holy Ghost will validate its truth (v. 31-36);
  6. The second rendition of the doctrine of Christ (v. 37);
  7. The third rendition of the doctrine of Christ (v. 38);
  8. There is nothing more or less in the doctrine of Christ. Blessing to them that preach this as Christ's doctrine and punishments for those who teach other things as the doctrine of Christ (v. 39-40); and
  9. Charge to Nephi and his brethren to go and teach these things. (v. 41)

There is a definite line of authority to baptise established, from God to Christ to Nephi and others. There is instruction on the authorized performance of the ordinance of baptism specifically to those newly authorized to perform it. There is a specific charge against speculation toward alteration of the baptism ordinance and the doctrine surrounding it. The doctrine of Christ is the singular importance of repentance and baptism to being saved and inheriting the kingdom of God, repeated three times. Finally, those authorized to baptize are instructed to preach the doctrine of repentance and baptism to everyone.

31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.

32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.

33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.

34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.

35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are bone.

37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.

38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.

39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.

40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.

41 Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.

I emphasized a phrase above because there is a strong tendency for many people to say that there is nothing more to Christ and Christianity than repentance and baptism. From my reading, this is the total sum of what needs to be done to be "saved" (how many different flavors of salvation are out there?), which is to inherit the kingdom of God. It doesn't mean there is not more to God or Christ, such as exaltation. It means that you cannot add other stipulations to salvation (as the Jews were known for), nor can you neuter or push aside any of the stated requirements, such as authoritative baptism (as some Christ-believing groups have done), and say you will still be saved. In this situation of short exposure, Christ was terribly clear and immediately repetitive on this doctrine!

Are there further blessings and opportunities that God offers us beyond this "salvation"? I strongly believe that there are, including transcendence toward exaltation, which is to become like God. I don't feel that anything said in this chapter or elsewhere in the Book of Mormon or Holy Bible proscribes or condemns such further opportunities.

What I hope to convey here is the central importance of baptism performed by those authorized to do it. For those who essentially do nothing, relying alone on the "love of Christ" to "save" them, and loudly proclaiming this concept, I can only say that Christ has already condemned such teaching and (lack of) practice and purveyors, as quoted vividly above! I will rather say this, as instructed by Christ: "Repent! Be baptized! Be saved!"

13 September 2020

"Please help me..."

Occasionally, I hear pleas from over-wrought parents - cries for help in overcoming family shortfalls that go far beyond food or paying some overdue bills. I know families with members that have near-tragic circumstances that no amount of money or personal intervention can relieve. They want to be successful; they want to be the picture-perfect family from TV shows and magazines; proud parents want their children to wins awards and acclaim, but they don't have "those" children or parents think a better job or house or marriage might make the "magic" happen.  For some reason, sometimes even of their own make, a family situation is merely broken and the only remedy is a temporary dissolution.

In some such situations, foster care can be better care than a "birth" family can provide. It sounds absolutely terrible, but the reality of smaller and more fractured families with little capacity to face larger challenges, public resources that you may have thought only dealt with criminal abuse or negligence can be a last solution for diminished and broken families.

Looking back only fifty years ago, families were larger, lead by hierarchies of unified couples, and could provide help and comfort from an extended group of people and resources bound to each other by blood and relation. If you had a difficult child, either by demeanor or handicap, there was someone in the family that could intervene, even so far as to take that child in and to provide what was needed.  If there was something your immediate family couldn't handle, the extended family very likely could.

Sadly, our society has been on a multi-decade, multi-pronged mission to destroy such families.  Many children live in households run by single, and increasingly never-married, people. Many young people purposefully reject and isolate themselves from parents and relatives in favor of transitory relationships with friends and co-workers. Too many people conceive children with no thought toward the work required to parent them well, intentions that demand a strong, stable, and resourceful (monied/brained) married couple devoted to each other and then their children.  Far too many people copulate with mounds of their own maturity/drug problems, mindless of the probable outcome. Most of the situations that made families successful in the past have been discouraged in recent times and what the past knew as family dysfunction (like never-married parenthood) is foolishly praised and even selfishly lionized.

I was a public health nutritionist twenty-five years ago.  It was painful to see 12-year-old pregnant girls brought to my office to collect food vouchers by their 26-year-old mothers (proud grandmas). There was not a husband (or stable relationship) in sight. I should have told them to give those babies up for adoption, but I was too young and frightened of the consequences to my income. More than ever, society demands the provision of public housing, food stamps, welfare checks, childcare, and a crowd of helpers for every child. Getting pregnant is often now a ticket to an enticing web of resources and services meant to replace the benefits of family in the most indiscriminate and political way possible. A girl and her coming children may technically survive day-to-day, but there will be little available with which to accomplish more (much less overcome) without massive help, especially from a large extended family (which has been mostly eliminated).  I assure you from experience that the help available from a well-funded program, filled with kindhearted and powerful social workers, do not begin to take the place of a decent extended family.  However, if you lack such an extended family, a government agency is a far better alternative than going it alone to beg help of your Facebook "friends".

Moving forward a decade or two, we see what I call "multi-generational dysfunction".  Resourceful, coupled and traditional and helpful grandparents and great-grandparents are dead; incompetent parents who rejected "the old ways" but enjoyed the crumbling remains of ancestral resources; and now grown children who had no decent examples of functioning family, no knowledge of extended family members, and nowhere to turn in difficult times except to the charity of strangers or soulless government agencies.  Increasingly, capable families cease to exist entirely and family members that are known are more of a disability than a help. No wonder society scoffs at family - in so many places, remaining families have become breeding-grounds of abuse, neglect, and dysfunction.

So, what is the product of a multi-generationally dysfunctional family to do when, for instance, a child is seriously handicapped?  If there are needs too far beyond ability, to whom should one turn?  Depressingly, a parent should face reality and take the painfully humbling step of turning to government agencies to take over the parenting of that child. If the proper care of a child is beyond parents stripped of other options, it may be time to put them out for fostering, no matter how painful or dispiriting such a move might be.  It is not just a question of money and gifts - many children and families have needs and intrinsic dysfunction that mere money can never resolve.  Sometimes, the needs of such a child are better handled by more resourceful and functional groups, often bearing governmental titles.

We should reward this - a debilitated parent's willingness to give their child over to others (even a government agency) for fostering toward a better childhood and future. I can think of no act more humbling and heart-rending to admit and to act upon voluntarily. Parents may have to make a greater sacrifice to put their children in circumstances where habitual dysfunction or serious disability might be better addressed, usually through your local government child welfare office.  Again, it sounds terrible, but isn't a child worth the personal sacrifice of giving up parental rights?  You can turn a corner for your family and set your children on a better path, even if it hurts your heart to do it.

For those of you not yet facing the decline of the  family you came from, don't let it happen on your watch!  Marry well and with devotion, have children, do what it takes to provide and nurture them well, and teach your children to follow your example!  There are so many broken families, but yours need not be one of those. Choose today not to abdicate your responsibilities to continue your family.

27 August 2020

The Shape of Prosperity

Pete Henderson & Company Peace Plenty Prosperity vintage magazine" Art  Board Print by ButchPetty | RedbubbleThere is a tendency among many people to turn God into some mystical being, all the easier to dismiss him and his promises in the future. Such folk pat themselves on each other's backs for their "rationality" and a touted "evolution" beyond a supposedly foolish belief in God.  These acts are, at their very heart, pride that they can handle their own affairs in their own way and without help: this is categorically foolish - biting the hand that supports you from day-to-day. 

We do so much better in life and happiness when we humbly align ourselves with God's purposes. When we obey him, things tend to go better for us!  His promise is that he will prosper us and that prosperity will come in very concrete forms.  I am grateful for a literal God that rewards us, not just "spiritually", but in very physical and tangible ways. 

Book of Mormon, Helaman 12:1 - 2:

...yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.

Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people;...

When the Lord speaks of prosperity and promises that he will prosper you, this is what it will look like. It will be very obvious, though we may discount it or choose to say that our own strength gave us these things. I, for one, always try to credit God for any good fortune that I enjoy! 

Who does he prosper?  "...those who put their trust in him."  It can also be more precisely understood by the conditions under which the Lord will not prosper us:

 Book of Mormon, Helaman 12:2:

...yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One...

If you acknowledge the Lord and obey his commandments with gratitude to him for all that you have, he will provide you with more as he has promised! 

Would you like prosperity in your life?  My advice would be to attribute the good things you have to God and show him your appreciation through following the path and commandments of Christ. The promised prosperity will follow!

20 August 2020

"I Shall Not Want."

My very dear and tolerant wife has mentioned that much of my writing lately has been a bit dark. Although I admit that I tend toward focusing on a need to repent and some of the more punitive aspects of God, I had always hoped that I mentioned the joys of following in the path of Christ. In this posting, I intend to state again my feelings of blessing and gratitude.

I feel as David did when he composed the 23rd Psalm:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

As often as I have turned to the Lord for help, I have received it. When I have worked righteousness and implored others to do likewise, I have been blessed.

I hope when I speak of repentance and our constant and universal need for it, I don't exclusively condemn but also pull away the curtain to the joy and blessing that follows a true redemption. There is always need to better ourselves and to draw closer to God, both in our words and in our actions. As we do this, we will enjoy the blessings that the Lord has already provided for those who obey him! The only thing that stands in the way of such a wonderful life is our capacity to faithfully come to God and claim such prosperity!

I am very blessed and I know that it is by the hand of God that my blessings have come. He is a wise and generous and loving God to those who follow Christ and his commandments. I am trying to do this and have been richly rewarded for my every effort!

I feel to say yet again: Repent and follow where he leads!  Enjoy his blessings!

11 August 2020

Prayers Buy Us Time to Repent

When it comes down to it, the prayers and presence of righteous people are the only thing standing between many of our neighbors and total destruction. It is yet another discomforting warning to us all; we must choose what side are we on and how God feels about us.

God definitely rewards those that turn to him and do his will, which will always lead us to our happiness, betterment, fulfillment, and glory. If we disobey him and turn away from him, our actions will lead us toward misery and pain, often by our own hand and the evil actions of our wicked friends.

There is a natural incentive toward righteousness that comes from the promise of punishment for our evil doings. Although it is very popular to say that there should never be punishments for people acting as they choose, we already see the terrible influence, heartache, and suffering caused by wicked people who behave unrestrained among us.

Let's review a good summary of what we can expect from an unrepentant future.

The Book of Mormon's Alma Chapter 10, verses 22 and 23:

Yea, and I say unto you that if it were not for the prayers of the righteous, who are now in the land, that ye would even now be visited with utter destruction; yet it would not be by flood, as were the people in the days of Noah, but it would be by famine, and by pestilence, and the sword.

But it is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared; now therefore, if ye will cast out the righteous from among you then will not the Lord stay his hand; but in his fierce anger he will come out against you; then ye shall be smitten by famine, and by pestilence, and by the sword; and the time is soon at hand except ye repent.

According to this, we would be seeing God's hand sweeping off millions of people right now if it wasn't for those petitioning God, through prayer, to stay his wrath a little longer. God doesn't like the wicked polluting others with their vile ideologies and intrigues. He can be a very wrathful God and his promises are very sure to both punish the wicked and bless the righteous.

When there are times and places where the wicked finally drive the righteous out from among them, it will be a terrible day for them: no longer will prayers protect them and God will execute his vengeance upon them without restraint. My thought is that wicked folks have a bit of time to turn their lives toward God and that this time is bought for you by the presence of the righteous among you.

It has become fashionable to destroy religion and ridicule those who practice a religion. Many perverse people don't like good people telling them that what they are doing is wrong and destructive to themselves and society, so they drive those good people away. The prophecy above warns us what will happen if Godly people are effectively pushed away and silenced.

My advise to each of us is to keep righteous neighbors close and to repent of our wickedness and turn to God while we still have some time. We will enjoy his blessings far more than we will like his punishments.

23 July 2020

Forced Into the Mask

I find myself barraged by reasons that others wear a mask during this CoVid-19 hysteria. I will tell you why I can be seen wearing a mask. It is probably for different reasons than justify those around me.

Unlike so many others, I don't do wear the mask to protect the health of someone else or the health of myself. I firmly trust that as this virus moves throughout the population (sooner better than later), individuals will either build up an immunity to it or die. I believe that mask use, "social distancing", and curbs on commerce designed to "flatten the curve" only serve to destroy an otherwise healthy economy and empower evil people with copious amounts of time to devise nefarious ways to dominate others and destroy our sacred American liberties. I firmly hold that everyone will eventually be exposed and either survive their exposure or not and we should not allow any time for terrible people to find ways to capitalize on people's fears.

I see the mask as a symbol in our complicity to allow fear, deception, and duplicity to control us. Every reputable source available has reported on the ineffectiveness of the mask in blocking the virus, making the mask nothing more than some strange symbol of obedience to an either ignorant or pandering emergency authority. I reject such authority and the managed hysteria that drives it. For this reason, I detest the mask and only wear it because I am compelled to do so as follows.

The Threat of My Employment

It has been made very clear that I must wear a mask in the office as a new condition of my ongoing employment. I avoid this issue currently by working from home, but that situation is likely to change at some point. As a state-funded entity, my employer is just as compelled as I am to behave this way, though administrators may also cheer the state mandate individually. However, when you see me wear a mask in my work setting, it is because I am compelled to do so under threat of state-dictated employment termination.

The Threat of Citation or Detainment

As time has passed, suggested actions against the virus have been strengthened into mandates with real punishments. Although I have not seen anyone prosecuted for "mask mandates" in my town, I have seen such emergency orders used to accost citizens and prosecute them elsewhere. I have largely avoided this threat by choosing to remain in my home as much as possible. I do not do this because it is a recommended method to "flatten the curve" but to avoid entanglements with law enforcement and a larger circle of purtanical "snitches" that may lie in wait to report me.

The Priestly Ability to Serve

I also wear the mask when I perform my priestly duties and serve in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Though exception allows me to avoid the mask by staying away from church buildings, I would feel derelict in my duties to God and his children if I took such an exemption from service. In this case, I only wear the mask in church to attend the priestly service I perform under covenant with God.

The New World Religion of the Mask as a Replacement for American Exceptionalism

Over the last ten years, I have watched my country change into a place I can hardly recognize. The mask serves as a poignant symbol of the new government-established and compelled "public health" religion that has infused our land.

Liberty and a pluralistic society have not just disappeared, they are routinely belittled and punished in this time of ideological opportunism born of fear. Our national value of having different peoples living together in peace is simply no longer acceptable to agitating cultural squatters who seek to "divide and conquer" the United States and its founding principles.
Our Constitution that defended my liberal values of equal freedom from government coercion and equal justice and laws that pertain to all is flatly ignored in the perverse names of the newer demands of "social justice" and "public health". I have little allegiance to a system that officially separates people into groups and then showers such groups with either special privileges or cruel repressions, all praised by legislatures and stamped with an executive seal.

Recent weeks have seen urban centers terrorized by mobs and the reluctance by many "leaders" to re-establish order. Even elected officials join in the action to politically pander to "disgruntled" groups. Again, this is not the America of ten years ago and it is made much more like the squalid, corrupted, and enslaved parts of the world every passing day. Where will Central America's refugees go for real asylum in the future when our country is just as ruined as theirs?

Our independence has been buried and our revolution from foreign oppression is ultimately recorded as a loss. We have extinguished the "shining light on the hill" and watched as our families and communities are plunged into a repressive state darkness under the guise of a "saving" mask and other actions. The soul of The United States of America has simply died and this foundling tyranny that still bears its name is a cruel mockery of our founding. I would rather perish defending the principles of our liberty than die cowering in some corner, trusting to some purported salvation from schemers and a bit of fabric on my face.