24 June 2022

God's Definition of Special

It seems everyone wants to find something special about themselves; something that makes them stand out from the rest. But what happens when you are special in God's eyes but that marks you for something seemingly bad as opposed to something good?

As an Aaronide priest, which marks me and my sons as a literal male-line descendants of the biblical Aaron and leaders in the tribe of Levi, the Lord himself has singled us out in a way not too appealing:

Malachi 3 and 3 Nephi 24

2 But who may abide the day of his (the Lord's) coming, and who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap.

3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. 

4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.

There it is - the fate of my heritage: to be burned until pure and scrubbed until clean. The redemption of the Jews and Jerusalem must have pure and clean priests, of which I am one.  Doesn't that make a person feel special and loved, all warm and fuzzy inside?

I would say most people would rather avoid such a background, but it is inadvisable to hide from God. I didn't think much on these things in my youth as our family didn't really know our background, but now that we do, I get this need to rise to the station that my ancestry demands.

My life hasn't struck me as particularly hard, but there is a growing desire not to hang back from responsibility, not to avoid tasks that seem difficult, not to turn down opportunities that may force stretching and growth.  I am heartened by the regular blessings of the Lord that have helped me along the way and assured me that God is really there and mindful of me. That is a great reassurance that fire and soap will do its work and that I will end up pure and clean at some point in the future.

Be careful of the desire to be special - it isn't all wine and roses.

07 June 2022

Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident on GoodReads

The Arctic Incident  (Artemis Fowl, #2)The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer


Wonderful Archetype for the overriding love-service and responsibility of children to parents and the collection of powerful allies in mutual benefit toward individual goals - I will help you with your needs and you will help me with mine.

View all my reviews

02 May 2022

"The Priest" is my Pronoun

There is much ado about pronouns these days.  Some rather inconsequential countries have even written laws about who defines personal pronouns, what are proper pronouns, and the punishments inflicted if uninformed bystanders dare to use the wrong reference, even ignorantly. I think we will see that governments which behave in this way will all be cast as foolishly inconsequential going forward and be largely ignored. 

As GUS (Government of the United States) consumers will soon be denied food for non-compliance, I will be using the following pronoun to placate the howlers:  the priest.

I know.  You say that isn't a pronoun. Are you really injecting logic at this time in this environment?  "Zim" and "zey" weren't pronouns five years ago, but be prepared for the screaming if you don't acknowledge them as pronouns today.  I can be just as creative as any other rainbow-haired howler.  Besides, "the priest" fits in any given pronoun-ed sentence. Try it anywhere you would use a pronoun and it works and it's actually good grammar to boot.  That makes it a pronoun in any sense to which I am aware.

Better than giving ourselves our own names and pronouns, we should let those who know us well (our parents?) do it instead - an arcane concept. God gave me "the priest" designation as a descendant of the biblical Aaron and who am I to question the understanding of a deity concerning my heritage and responsibility?

Even better, this sort of a pronoun also speaks to a higher state to which I can aspire.  If one can attach themselves to such a term, would one not be riddled with guilt and shame, yet strive to meet the expectation? I should want to be a good priest, one that brings honor and praise from God. This is much better than a pronoun that simply implies existence or something as modernly banal as gender.

As a counterpoint to modern ignominy, I offer some reasonably modern words from God:
 
Doctrine and Covenants 88
35 That which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, nor judgment. Therefore, they must remain filthy still.
I added the emphasis to help us see that as we seek to alter God's commands and perhaps set up one's own set of commandments, promised blessings and a happy afterlife will not follow. I find the term "filthy" especially appropriate to our day.

To speak on the subject of pronouns and names a bit more, people should be far more worried about bringing honor to the name that their parents gave them. Whether it is some family first name or the last name they have.  Far too many seek to redefine themselves by changing their name, basically tearing themselves from their own family, familial love and honor.

If people are going to throw aside convention, family, and perhaps God, at least let them create pronouns and names toward a higher purpose rather than pointless navel-staring.

29 April 2022

Fred Reed is One of the Best Commentators of Our Times

I first discovered Fred about fifteen years ago.

I put links to some of his columns here because they are often blocked without some obfuscation.  He is not considerate of the howlers who scream at things that bother them, so social media typically blocks his writing, which is a terrible shame and recommends him most highly.  Fred is a real "straight shooter".

https://www.amren.com/commentary/2022/02/fred-reed-joe-biden-democracy/ - The Care and Feeding of Rabble: Democracy Its Own Self

https://www.unz.com/freed/blackness-fatigue-enough-is-too-much/ - This gives the best explanation of how "diversity" is at the root of most violence and wars.  Mixing strongly different people together is a bad societal idea. 

You can see Fred's recent columns here:  https://muckrack.com/fred-reed/articles


28 April 2022

So, What?

There are many, many things that just don't really matter.  

Not that we don't care or feel, that we want to feel true to ourselves and allow everyone else to also feel true to themselves as well, but in the end, these sorts of things usually don't really matter in ways that are meaningful.  It is terribly sad, but it is completely true.  Someone has to tell you this and it might as well be me.

Lately, when I am confronted with someone pushing anti-bias-curriculum or transgenderism or some "feel-good-for-nothing" philosophy in my face, I simply respond with "So, what?" and walk off. I will tell you why I do this even though such a response qualifies as the height of rudeness these days.

I am essentially lazy, as many people are but are loathe to admit. When it came time to pick a career, I chose early childhood education. When I was a missionary, I spent much of my time distracting young kids while others talked about God and religion. I enjoyed my time with the kids and they seemed to enjoy it as well.  I spent three years in college studying toward a certification to run child care centers so I could have fun with young kids and get paid for it. Ultimately, I got a degree in something else, failed at the child care business (who wanted some man looking after kids?) in several ways, and ultimately figured out that I needed to do something completely different to provide for my family.

At some point, I found out that reality demands that we often can't do or be something that we wish for. Life just shrugged, gave me a "so, what?", and I had to become a computer guy and do more lucrative work. Sad but ultimately very necessary for the needs of my family.

I also don't understand when reality is trying to teach me something. For example, our oldest son is autistic and was diagnosed with autism just before he turned three-years-old. He was debilitated enough to get government disability payments and will likely continue to do so for the rest of his life. At one point, I was reasonably sure that most of our children and I were likely also on the autism "spectrum" and I even had the kids tested toward seeing if they were debilitated as well.  My very wise wife would not allow me to get tested, seeing that I was just wanting some excuse to be a bit more lazy than normal with disability payments. At the time, the diagnostic industry was suffering a backlash of over-diagnosis and no other member of the family was declared autistic. It was a good thing because it wouldn't have really made any of our lives any better - just lazier.  It was a big exclamation of "So, what?" that I didn't notice at the time.

Life is hard and it is rather natural that people will find exemptions from as many aspects of life as possible. Current in-sensibilities are doing a pretty good job of generating life-exemptions based on feelings and self-truth. Politicians and celebrities, eager to appear caring and "woke", are happy to exempt one or another based on nearly any attribute or attitude from successful behavior - punishing business and people who demand standards and coddling the bizarre in every realm. Ultimately, there will be a sigh of sick satisfaction when the first green-haired, bulbously tattooed, and beastialic counter-human is handed the reigns of power in the world by a cowed and defeated majority.  However, until that time comes, I will join those who shrug and say "So, what?" when various deviants demand life-exemption and fiscal support toward no worthwhile purpose, just as such a thing was said to me on lazier occasions.

Get to work. Engage with life. The thing worth the loudest cheering is that each of us overcome to make a real contribution to the world in ways that really matter, such as making a family, bringing children into the world, and raising them to also do things that really matter.

Everyone who accomplishes anything worthy of note had to meet the demands of the existing reality. There are no real exemptions to this, no matter our limitations or how one feels or thinks about themselves.  The "woke" are welcome to live the limited existence that their behavior deserves, but they must change and at the very least stop harassing others if they want to have more or better. Screaming and hatred will not be profitable long-term. 

For those who are disrespected in spending their lives loudly demanding acceptance and exemption from social norms for their deviant selves and comrades, "So, what?"

31 March 2022

"I am he who doeth it."

I sometimes think that I'm a pretty lucky guy. Then I remember my blessings and I think again.

3 Nephi 20:

15 And I say unto you, that if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive, after they have scattered my people—

16 Then shall ye, who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, go forth among them; and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.

17 Thy hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.

18 And I will gather my people together as a man gathereth his sheaves into the floor.

19 For I will make my people with whom the Father hath covenanted, yea, I will make thy horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass. And thou shalt beat in pieces many people; and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth. And behold, I am he who doeth it.

The "Gentiles" have had a great ride.  One can only look at the advances and, frankly, blessings that have come to Western civilization over several centuries to know that God has smiled on this people. Sadly, Jesus here tells that the ride will come to an end.

As we have seen in the past few decades, most of the gentile peoples and nations have been turning away from Christ and his God, either recasting them as something other than the scriptural record says, or simply casting them aside altogether.  In my mind, this is what they should "repent" of as referenced in verse 15.  As this has not happened, the time is coming as spoken of in Luke 21:24, when the "times of the gentiles" will end.

Christ is very, very poignant in these Nephi verses that the children of Israel will be scattered among the gentiles and be very destructive to them.  As a lion "treadeth down" and "teareth in pieces", relations between the followers of Christ and those who reject Jesus will be no peaceable "lion lying down with the lamb" situation!

Verse 19 makes it very clear: the Lord through the children of Israel will destroy "many people".  Jesus wants to make it clear that he will be the one behind it all and everything gained in the destruction will be the Lord's.  Then that last statement: "I am he who doeth it", which should remind us all, both those who conquer and those who are conquered, that this is done by Jesus' hand and by his means.

For those who do not repent of their lack of gratitude toward God, these results lie ahead: "none can deliver"; "all thine enemies shall be cut off".  The time to repent of ingratitude and to join the family of Israel through authoritative baptism is NOW.

The time of the Lord's blessing of the Gentiles is nearly through and the time of the rise of righteous children of Jacob is about to begin. There is very little time left to join the Lord's side - the side of righteousness and gratitude.

17 February 2022

A Decision to Deviate from the "Agenda of God"

In the beginning, Adam and Eve were given a commandment to "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it" (Genesis 1:28). This is a key part of the "Agenda of God", where men and women couple through marriage and seal themselves together through covenant with God to bring children into mortality and raise them up to follow Christ toward the life that God leads, or exaltation. We may use different words to describe it these days, but this is the same plan that God introduced to our first parents many millenia ago.

There are some married couples of men and women that, despite their best efforts, cannot have children. As this is through no fault of their own, God doesn't hold them culpable for that part of his first commandment to Adam and Eve - they still came together as instructed and sealed themselves together through covenant. There are also people who cannot find a righteous opposite-sexed mate, but keep God's commandments in every other way.  Exaltation can still be thiers through aligning themselves with Christ and certainly by encouraging those around them to marry through temple covenants and to have their own families centered on exaltation.

Beyond these, a growing number of people eschew God's purposes for them and follow other paths. A common way to do this is to attach oneself to a sexual deviancy through LGBT+ lifestyles. These paths propogate behavior and thought which are throughly incompatible with the "Agenda of God" - no marriages through covenant, children not taught to authentically follow Christ, no interest in exaltation. Yet such deviants insist that their practices and psuedo-doctrines should be given the same respect and honor as those who work to align with Christ, his commandments, and purposes, even within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

So, how do those who espouse lifestyles that deviate from the "Agenda of God" fit in the Church? Honestly, there isn't a "fit" in an organization devoted to eventual exaltation. If a person chooses not to align themselves to Christ by encouraging all to be sealed through covenant, man with woman, there isn't anything the Church of Jesus Christ can do to support or be encouraging of such deviance from Christ beyond inviting that person to keep attending and encouraging changes through repentance to make exaltation their goal. The Church cannot provide a soapbox from which gospel deviants preach something counter to the will of God for his children.

Reality dictates that deviation from the Agenda of God cannot bring joy. No matter the shrill demands of deviants to change institutions into comfortable spaces and capricious conformity to such demands in public spaces, the joy will not come. Joy is tied to obedience to divine laws and cannot be had by any other means, chemical, pyschological, or ideological. No amount of sophistry can generate joy - "Wickedness never was happiness." (Alma 41:10)

Leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ made the "Agenda of God" clear in their 1995 proclamation to the world entitled "The Family". Those opposed to these tenets and who choose to defy the path commanded by Christ should find their visits to Church meetings to be somewhat uncomfortable, but always with an invitation to align themeselves better with the path toward God and exaltation through repentance and baptism.  A person who deviates can choose the higher way! 

14 February 2022

To Those Who Don't Want It: Visitors Welcome!

Here is a wonderful discourse on "Visitors Welcome" directly from Jesus Christ himself.

3 Nephi 18:28-32

28 And now behold, this is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it;

29 For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him.

30 Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out from among you, but ye shall minister unto him and shall pray for him unto the Father, in my name; and if it so be that he repenteth and is baptized in my name, then shall ye receive him, and shall minister unto him of my flesh and blood.

31 But if he repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people, for behold I know my sheep, and they are numbered.

32 Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.

Every meetinghouse of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a phrase right under the name:  Visitors welcome. This is a manifestation of a charge from Christ to never throw anyone out of Church gatherings. No matter what a person has done or whatever they believe, all people are encouraged to attend public meetings of Latter-day Saints. Now, that doesn't mean that people can take over meetings to espouse their own ideas or use such gatherings to make demands on the Church to be more accomodating of their choices; it just means that no one will be bared from coming and listening. Church meetings are not places to air one's greivences with church authorities or policies or doctrine - there are many other venues to vent such things.  Church meetings are meant to give Latter-day Saints a setting to better learn and understand the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed through Joseph Smith.  Everyone is free to come, but our adherance to the "Agenda of God", the path to exaltation, will be the subject matter being discussed.

The Church of Jesus Christ is designed to facilitate personal development toward exaltation, which again is to align people with Christ and to become like God, as Christ will do. If a person comes to meetings at Latter-day Saint meetinghouses and they aren't interested in the "Agenda of God", it would not be surprising to feel a bit left out or even uncomfortable. Being out of alignment with Christ or at cross-purposes with him will invariably be discomforting.

Everyone is welcome to come and see what happens in public meetings of the Church. If someone doesn't like it, they don't have to come back but they are always, always welcome. 

10 February 2022

Framing Things in the "Agenda of God"

Some want to know why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints behaves in the way it does and why it accepts some behaviors and not others. In the strange climate of belief that Christ covers all behavior in his never-ending shroud of love, it can be hard to see why a church that considers itself the only organization actually created and led by Christ acts in certain ways.

Actually, I think the actions of the Church of Jesus Christ can be readily understood and perhaps even predicted by an understanding of the "Agenda of God", which goes something like this: 

  • to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ as restored through Joseph Smith; 
  • to provide authoritative ordinances; 
  • to administer God's covenants; and 
  • to preach obedience and righteousness that lead people to exaltation.

The goal of Christ and his Church is exaltation, the life that God enjoys. The conditions of exaltation are readily known: entering and keeping the temple covenant sealing together of a man and a woman, alongside righteous living. Anything that detracts from the goal of exaltation is condemned and a change of heart and behavior toward exaltation (which is repentence) is enthroned.

God's agenda can be encapsulated like this, from Moses 1:39

39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

When anyone is quick to question why Christ and his Church function as they do, I think it is useful to remember the individual exaltation ("eternal life" from the scripture above) that Christ is charged by his Father to make possible for us and toward which Christ commands us. To expect the Church to bend to cultural or societal demands that are counter to the "Agenda of God" is to expect Christ to abandon his mission and God to ignore his goal.

In coming articles, I will place some controversial topics against the Agenda of God and comment on what I expect will be Christ's likely attitude toward them.



11 January 2022

In God We Trust

Just in case one thinks this will be about slogans on coins and bills, this isn't about money. This is about who we trust.  When it comes to very important matters, those we trust become very important as well.

As time passes, you should learn that people and their institutions are not very trustworthy. Too many expect the local store to always operate in ways that make customers happy, but a business can't do that consistently.  Sometimes inflation intervenes, wages rise, and prices go up. If a customer has a fixed income, that isn't the store's problem and you can't trust the store or its owners/managers/employees to make sure the price of goods are always affordable for you.

The larger problem is that people are expecting far too much in almost every way from every external source.  Physicians must provide painless and complete heath. Governments must provide large assets (such as houses) at no or little cost to citizens.  God must punish the wicked immediately and rain down personal happiness, protection, and joy constantly, obedience notwithstanding. Many people have become very demanding of cures for every ill and that someone else must make the cure happen for them.

As a priest of the Hebrew God, I mostly concern myself with what people expect from my God. Larger than that and more importantly, I promulgate the concept that God expects behavior and devotion from us and he has already specified what the rewards will be.  The biggest problem is that, for a growing number of people, God's promises are simply not sufficient for them.

We don't command God, or rather we shouldn't, yet this is how most people approach him, with demands. God is treated like a butler and, if you happen to be a bit more obedient to his commandments, the modern person expects more reliable or more responsive butlering. This is the quick road to atheism, its spritualist variants, or throwing oneself at demonism.

For the most part, humanity is "firing" God, setting up their own alternate dieties in the form of communities or governments. This was all prophesied long ago, but many can't see it. The problem is more about narcisistic people who want everything without a cost in money or effort and has little to do with God at all. When one rejects God, God lets one be on their own. When enough people reject God and chase their own demon-inspired ends, we get the mess we are in today and worse and it is not God's problem to fix.

What is the antidote? Return to God and trust him. If one keeps the commandments of Christ, one will have a more guided life, which brings more joy than tears - not exclusively, but more often. I have little hope in the redemption of nations at this point, but there is certainly the opportunity still for individuals and families to embrace a trust in God and his promises to the obedient.  Put your trust in God!