Be sure to check out my new blog “The Second Coming of Christ” for an in depth look at prophecies related to the Second Coming and discussions about getting spiritually and physically prepared.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Work to my Glory

Although I have no way of proving or disproving it I have heard that Moses 1:39 is the most commonly quoted scripture in General Conference. This is the scripture that reads in its current form, “For behold, this is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Now for those of you who are keen in your reading you will notice that I mentioned “in its current form” This is because, when Joseph Smith first received the revelation we now know as Moses 1 the wording was different, it was as follows, “for behold this is my work to my glory to the immortality & the eternal life of man.” One of the places this can be seen is Jackson, Matthews and Faulring’s “Joseph Smith's New Translation Of The Bible: Original Manuscripts”

Now the differences seem small the use of “and” instead of “to” plus the addition of the phrase “to bring to pass.” Nonetheless I have found that having known this I cringe whenever this scripture is quoted as what is God’s purpose. But is there really a difference?

The real difference I am seeing on this doctrinally is by using “to” instead of “and” makes creation of worlds and everything else Moses is seeing a stepping stone in progression and to give the glory to God. (Side note can you imagine if that vision Moses had was placed on a Blue Ray disk and anyone could watch it in HD, that would be totally AWESOME!!!!!)

I also have found more mentioned on this subject here:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Eternal Life vs. Exaltation

So today during my Gospel Doctrine lesson I got called to the carpet by a gentleman after I stated there is a fine line between Eternal Life and Exaltation. He just wanted to clarify that there is NO difference between Eternal Life and Exaltation. So once I got home I started to study up a bit.

Personality I believe that eternal life is with Jesus Christ, while Exaltation is life with God the father. Here is that the definition from the reads on Eternal Life:

"Eternal life is the phrase used in scripture to define the quality of life that our Eternal Father lives. The Lord declared, "This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39). Immortality is to live forever as a resurrected being. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, everyone will receive this gift. Eternal life, or exaltation, is to live in God's presence and to continue as families (see D&C 131:1–4). Like immortality, this gift is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. However, to inherit eternal life requires our "obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel" (Articles of Faith 1:3). "

While the entry for Exaltation reads: "See eternal life"

So I have adjusted my believe to be as follows. Eternal life and Exaltation are the same. Just like Elders Quorum and High Priests are the same Melchizedek Priesthood. Exaltation is just a higher part of eternal life. The same concept can go like this, all rectangles are squares, but not all squares are rectangles.

If you are exalted you will have already have achieved eternal life, but it is just a higher step.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, April 23, 2009


So the missionaries in my area have been teaching someone in my department at work. Due to schedule changes and such I really don’t know the person, but they have been trying to get me to go out on a discussion with them, however when ever they schedule a time where I can go, the appointment seems to get cancelled. This has gotten me to thinking about what could I share with someone investigating the church that might be beneficial. I mean I’d rather talk to a member who has been reading anti-Mormon literature, verses the person learning about the gospel any day! This soul searching has gotten me to think about my testimony. What is it exactly that I believe? This is what I have so far:

I believe that Jesus is the Christ and by living his teachings we are better off in the world and can find peace. I believe the Bible and Book of Mormon contain truths that when followed lead to greater happiness in life. I hope that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the correct church. I can not say that I know this, nor can I say it is the only true church on the earth but I really hope it is so. However I have made the decision after much thought and prayer that this is where I am going to worship, and I can’t really think of a better church to raise a family in. This not knowing about the true church makes me feel weak and that if I where more righteous I could “know” that the church is true.

I believe Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he revealed much to the earth. I also believe that like the great prophets before him people never fully understood as much as he did. Therefore we practice differently that the way the church was first set up. This does not mean that we are in a state of apostasy, we are still lead my the spirit. It just means that there are great truths that are lost and will not be preached from the pulpit, but can be understood through personal revelation.

I believe in the concept of eternal rounds, Multiple Mortal Probations, Remortalization or whatever you want to call it. (Just as long as it isn’t reincarnation!) This is one of the only ways that I can see a system of line upon line precept upon precept that would be consistent through out the eternities. I also believe that if I were to teach this publicly I could loose my membership in the church.

Well I’ll just leave it at this for now, but as I think of others I will add them.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Do we ever really listen to ourselves?

Recently a friend of mine send a letter home from his mission upset about bible bashing here is an excerpt from that letter. I have changed it some to protect the writer. But here are his thoughts.

“Bible bashing is an insult. It is pretty much saying that what others believe in is a lie, and here are vague scriptures that says your faith is wrong! Why don't you just go ahead and say the two years I've dedicated to preaching the gospel I believe in is wasted!...Where do they get their authority to tell me how to live my life or to tell me my faith and testimony are wrong, and why do they think I should listen to them if they are telling me I am in an evil church!”

I really don’t mean for this post to demean anyone, especially my friend. However I believe it shows one of the traps that people can get into when discussing the gospel. This trap is one of not really listening to what we are saying. Let me illustrate. I know it has been awhile since I did the whole two year thing, however I do remember that one of the first things we discussed was the first vision and the answer to Joseph Smith prayer. Here are Josephs words of what the answer was.

“18 My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

Granted yes we believe we are the only true church. Yes we believe that we have authority to preach the gospel, but if they don’t believe in that authority, it is nothing more than a fantasy story for them. People we discuss the gospel with also believe that they belong to Christ’s church. My missionary friend is going about sharing the gospel with people, trying to get them to listen to him when and getting upset when they call his beliefs evil, however if he teaches them he will do the same thing to them telling them there church is untrue. Now I am hoping that the subject of him being upset is one of the attitude of the people. That they are proud when they say we are evil, while missionaries, hopefully, are humble saying we are the only true church.

Just some thoughts I had while reading missionary letters.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Breaking the eternal cycle

Just as a precursor to this post, this isn't the most in depth doctrine or insightful topic, but it has been puzzling me nonetheless.

Lately it seems like whenever I go to solve a problem, I am only creating more problems. For instance, as spring approaches here in Southeast New Mexico I am trying to get my sprinkler system to work. I was out of the country last fall when my sprinkler system was no longer needed for the winter, but it was showing some problems when it was put to rest. So as I attempt to fix a sprinkler head, or a valve, it seems like for every one problem I fix, I find two more problems some where else in the sprinkler system.

It is not limited to just my sprinkler. The same at work. Like a good time manager, I make a list of things to accomplish, prioritize, start with the most important and work on it. However while working on it I find more problems that trump what I am working on and by the time my 12 hr shifts are over, I leave with nothing fully accomplished with more problems then when I started the day.

The previous two examples are ones where negative things have created more negative. I believe there is a balance to all things. Therefore I am believing that this system will also work for the good. Hopefully my belief, will increase to hope, which will increase to faith, which will increase to knowledge. (My take on a hybrid between Alma 32 and Moroni 7) For example if I attempt to go out and perform one good act, like share the gospel with my neighbor, it might create more good than intended. As members of the church we tend to butter people up before this, I don't know why, so I might make a batch of cookies to take some to the neighbor. Having made too big a batch. I end up taking cookies to more neighbors. I might loose the nerve to bring up the gospel, but I have spread the good of the cookies around. Which would lead to more buttering up and more possibilities of neighbors to share the gospel with. At the end of this buttering up phase, because of the propagating effects of the good, I might never share the gospel with the person I intended to in the beginning, however I might end up with a couple families who are interested in the gospel when I only intended to share it with one.

Is this a viable option? If so, now all that is left for me to do is break the eternal cycle of exponentially growing problems, and start the eternal cycle of goodness. Hopefully I will accomplish this.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Gospel Doctrine what is it?

So I have never really been a big fan of Sunday School in particular Gospel Doctrine class. I have always found some way or another to get out of going, whether it was clerking duties years ago or recently helping my wife in the nursery. I mean I have tried to go, but i just would get so frustrated with the trite phrases, that really made no sense like "once a Bishop, always a bishop" or "The world changes yet the church has never changed because it is lead by God." I think you can see where this post is going, if I were to say I just got a calling again in the ward. Yep, Gospel Doctrine Teacher.

So as I am trying to be a good teacher I started to read the Lesson Manual. This is a passage I found interesting in the introduction:

"This manual is a tool to help you teach the doctrines of the gospel from the scriptures and Church history. It has been written for youth and adult Gospel Doctrine classes and is to be used every four years. Additional references and commentaries should not be necessary to teach the lessons."

I have always enjoyed the supplemental information a teacher can bring to a class. If I wanted to learn from the Manual I could read it by myself. So I was a little disappointed. However the next paragraph gave me a way out:
"Elder M. Russell Ballard said:

“Teachers would be well advised to study carefully the scriptures and their manuals before reaching out for supplemental materials. Far too many teachers seem to stray from the approved curriculum materials without fully reviewing them. If teachers feel a need to use some good supplemental resources beyond the scriptures and manuals in presenting a lesson, they should first consider the use of the Church magazines” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1983, 93; or Ensign, May 1983, 68)emphasis added." I can carefully read the lesson first and consider the Church Magazines first, but then I can move onto Words of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

I really want them to know the sing-sang phrases of the church are most of the time doctrinally wrong. Part of me wants to teach "fringe" doctrine. Like none of us are really going to make it to the Celestrial Kingdom immediately after this life, and that is OKAY and part of the plan. However, I don't want to offend people, and also I want to keep my membership in the church. So after thinking about it My real goal is to help the members of the audience feel the spirit and have a desire to come closer to the lord. So here are my real questions:

1) What is Gospel Doctrine?

2) How can knowing this doctrine bring people the spirit and desire to change?

3) What are some things that you would want out of a good Gospel Doctrine class?

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Why do bad things happen to good people

A few months ago I taught a lesson in Elder's Quorum that had a story in it that didn't set well with me. It was about how a four year old girl without warning became critically ill and was hospitalized. Her father prayed and prayed, but she was not healed. She eventually died. The story was suppose to teach the lesson of "thy will be done," but it just left me feeling pretty low and empty. I left this story out of my lesson but continued to ponder on it. Could the taking of this little four year old been part of the plan. Is that what God wanted? Did he want her not to have the chance to learn and grow and become like him? Did he want to cause her family grief and anguish? Is that really what he wanted? As I continued to ponder on this, an idea came to me and that is what I'd like to discuss for a bit. What if that wasn't part of God's plan? What if it isn't what he wanted? Does God always get what he wants?

I came to the conclusion that God doesn't always get what he wants. He wants us all to live in such a way that we will become like him and return to his presence, but that doesn't always happen. He wants us to love one another, but that doesn't always happen. He wants us to serve one another, but that doesn't always happen. God doesn't always get what he wants because of agency. His children have agency, and because of this, they don't always listen. They don't always obey. I began to wonder, does this principle extend farther, beyond us? Does everything have the agency? Even the elements? If this were the case, then perhaps there are elements that are disobedient just as we are. Take a young four year old with cancer for example. God wants her to live. God wants her to experience all that life has to offer so she can learn and grow and become like him. God wants the cancer cells to stop their destructive presence. But if they have agency, perhaps they do not listen. Perhaps they do not obey. Could God force them? Can he force us? If God takes away agency, then he would cease to be God. Could this explain why some are miraculously healed through prayers and blessings while others are not? Sometimes the destructive presence (cancer cells, disease, infection) listens and obeys, sometimes it does not. It comes down to agency.

So, do things other than us have agency. Can they choose to obey or disobey. There are a few references that make a case for this.

In a discourse given by Brigham Young on Feb. 12, 1854, he said,

"There are multitudes of spirits in the world. Everything we see, and have a knowledge of, has got its own peculiar spirit, or else there is no life in it. The spirit constitutes the life of everything we see. Is there life in these rocks, and mountains? There is. Then there is a spirit peculiarly adapted to those rocks and mountains. We mark the progress of the growth of grass, flowers, and trees. There is a spirit nicely adapted to the various productions of the vegetable kingdom. There is also a spirit to the different ores of the mineral kingdom, and to every element in existence."

In the creation account in Abraham chapter 4, there are several verses that refer to things other than mankind that "obeyed"

(1) And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth. (2) And the earth, after it was formed, was empty and desolate, because they had not formed anything but the earth; and darkness reigned upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of the Gods was brooding upon the face of the waters. (3) And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light; and there was light. (4) And they (the Gods) comprehended the light, for it was bright; and they divided the light, or caused it to be divided, from the darkness. (5) And the Gods called the light Day, and the darkness they called Night. And it came to pass that from the evening until morning they called night; and from the morning until the evening they called day; and this was the first, or the beginning, of that which they called day and night. (6) And the Gods also said: Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and it shall divide the waters from the waters. (7) And the Gods ordered the expanse, so that it divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so, even as they ordered. (8) And the Gods called the expanse, Heaven. And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning that they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and this was the second time that they called night and day. (9) And the Gods ordered, saying: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the earth come up dry; and it was so as they ordered; (10) And the Gods pronounced the dry land, Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, pronounced they, Great Waters; and the Gods saw that they were obeyed. (11) And the Gods said: Let us prepare the earth to bring forth grass; the herb yielding seed; the fruit tree yielding fruit, after his kind, whose seed in itself yieldeth its own likeness upon the earth; and it was so, even as they ordered. (12) And the Gods organized the earth to bring forth grass from its own seed, and the herb to bring forth herb from its own seed, yielding seed after his kind; and the earth to bring forth the tree from its own seed, yielding fruit, whose seed could only bring forth the same in itself, after his kind; and the Gods saw that they were obeyed. (13) And it came to pass that they numbered the days; from the evening until the morning they called night; and it came to pass, from the morning until the evening they called day; and it was the third time. (14) And the Gods organized the lights in the expanse of the heaven, and caused them to divide the day from the night; and organized them to be for signs and for seasons, and for days and for years; (15) And organized them to be for lights in the expanse of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and it was so. (16) And the Gods organized the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; with the lesser light they set the stars also; (17) And the Gods set them in the expanse of the heavens, to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to cause to divide the light from the darkness. (18) And the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed. (19) And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning that it was night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that it was day; and it was the fourth time. (20) And the Gods said: Let us prepare the waters to bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that have life; and the fowl, that they may fly above the earth in the open expanse of heaven. (21) And the Gods prepared the waters that they might bring forth great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters were to bring forth abundantly after their kind; and every winged fowl after their kind. And the Gods saw that they would be obeyed, and that their plan was good. (22) And the Gods said: We will bless them, and cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas or great waters; and cause the fowl to multiply in the earth. (23) And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning that they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and it was the fifth time. (24) And the Gods prepared the earth to bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind; and it was so, as they had said. (25) And the Gods organized the earth to bring forth the beasts after their kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after its kind; and the Gods saw they would obey. (26) And the Gods took counsel among themselves and said: Let us go down and form man in our image, after our likeness; and we will give them dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (27) So the Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them. (28) And the Gods said: We will bless them. And the Gods said: We will cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and to have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (29) And the Gods said: Behold, we will give them every herb bearing seed that shall come upon the face of all the earth, and every tree which shall have fruit upon it; yea, the fruit of the tree yielding seed to them we will give it; it shall be for their meat. (30) And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, behold, we will give them life, and also we will give to them every green herb for meat, and all these things shall be thus organized. (31) And the Gods said: We will do everything that we have said, and organize them; and behold, they shall be very obedient. And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and they numbered the sixth time.

It seems very clear that there are things other than man (and woman) that have the ability to obey...and hence disobey. They have a spirit. They are intelligences.
Man was "very obedient" in the beginning, but eventually, due to agency, fell. Mankind has continued to become more and more disobedient. Could this be the case with the rest of God's creations, including the very elements. Could this explain increasing disease and natural disasters?
All intelligences have agency. They can act for themselves (D&C 93:30). They have the ability to submit to the will of God and obey, or rebel and disobey. Some will obey and some won't. God doesn't want bad things to happen to his children. God doesn't want us to suffer in pain and anguish. God doesn't want four year old girls to die from disease. But because of agency, there are some things that just disobey. God with his infinite knowledge will work it out, but I don't think things happen the way he wants them to all the time. If our loved one wasn't healed or protected when we prayed and someone else's was, we don't have to wonder if God loved them more. We don't have to wonder why God abandoned us. He didn't. He does love us, every one of us. It's just some things obey and some things don't. It's just…agency.