Saturday, July 13, 2019
While most research scientists, and medical doctors; including a vast majority of Nobel Laureates are people of faith, a few vocal and visible scientists like to argue that science somehow fails to measure the existence of God or life after death. However, I think these science communicators are overlooking a fascinating branch of legitimate science into near-death experiences (NDEs) that has been going on for over 40 years.
Dr. Bruce Greyson is an international expert into near-death experience research at the University of Virginia, Division of Perceptual Studies. Dr. Greyson has personally collected over 1000 NDE accounts from all over the world. Dr. Greyson and other researchers have collected a mountain of profound scientific evidence in support of human consciousness beyond death.
IANDS is an educational nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) focuses resources into providing information and promoting research into NDE-related subjects.
A great example of an NDE is Steve Gardipee:
While NDE's are all a little bit different, there is a common thread that runs through them all. Most experiencers of positive NDE's consider them to be a divine gift or endowment of 1. divine perspective, 2. divine identity, and 3. divine purpose. Also, many NDE's support the reality of eternal family relationships involving deceased family members as spirit guides.
Like Paul's conversion, nearly all these NDE's are transformative. The experiencer never comes away from the experience the same. Like Joseph Smith following his First Vision, experiencers report having their hearts filled with love for days afterward and oftentimes for the rest of their remaining lives.
So, if these NDE's are so profound, and wonderful, then why does God only gift this endowment to a select few? Often, the experiences report being athiests, agnostics, a casual believer or even rebellious. Does God bestow a similar endowment on His believing children?
The key to this is that the blessing of divine perspective, identity, and purpose can be given by alternate means than by almost killing you. In the Book of Mormon, Lehi and Nephi's vision of the Tree of Life served as such an endowment. Likewise, King Bejamin's speech transmitted this same divine knowledge to those gathered at the temple. The Pearl of Great Price-Moses records his vision of God that empowered his ability to later resist Satan's temptations.
In our day, Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ serve to transmit this same divine message of perspective, identify, and purpose. Temples also reveal and secure the eternal reality of family relationships.
Think about it. When God chooses to reveal Himself to mankind, the message of divine perspective, identity, and purpose is the message God chooses to communicate again and again. And this is precisely the same message the LDS temple transmits to God's people and why the latter-day temple is true and why the Bible in Isaiah 2, Mica 2, Ezechiel 37, Malachi 3, Revelations 7, etc. foretold the restoration of the temple would preceded Jesus Christ's second coming. This latter-day temple would ultimately be Christ's divine mechanism and institution (house built without hands) to bring about world peace and a paradise on Earth.
It is sad that evil is never far away from good. It is apparent that the Theosophical Society of America is very interested in influencing the narrative surrounding these NDE's. These TSA members seem to favor interpretation of these NDE's that promote false doctrines of 1. unconditional blessing (God loves all but blessings are conditioned on accepting Christ and repentance) 2. reincarnation 3. medium/spiritism 4. astrology 5. energy healing 6. meditation instead of prayer and 7. minimizes importance of the physical body.
Tuesday, July 02, 2019
I feel your frustrations. I'm not sure how to motivate people to follow the Spirit to make big changes in their lives either. If you figure it out, let the rest of us know. I know that we must love people into stuff, but also use reason (head and heart). Love and reason is is the Spirit of God. Motivating by fear, coersion, embarrassment or any other way is not of God.
Investigators learn pretty quickly that joining the true church will change their life. In addition to all the "thou shalt nots", Gods kingdom involves a number of "thou shalts". People don't like "thou shalts". People are scared of the "thou shalts." False religion pacifies people into thinking God doesn't have very many expectations of them. So, its easy for people to talk themselves out of keeping commitment and progessing.
It is true that all you have to do to be saved and go to heaven is accept Christ as your Savior. But, as you know, heaven is made up of different kingdoms, mansions, rewards, responsibilities, callings.
The kingdoms of glory may not actually involve a physical separations. (Higher can visit or do all the responsibilities of the lower) More likely we all work together but like the ER (doctor, nurse, tech), or any work place their are different levels of responsibility. The doctor can do all the tasks of the lower positions, but the lower (nurses, techs) are not trained to do the responsibilities of the doctor.
If we want to enjoy the highest responsibility, we need to learn to take responsibility, to give our lives to God and like Christ, have the attitude of Christ where he said again and again, "I came not to do my own will, but to do the will of the Father who sent me". If we wish to not only be saved, but merit exaltation and the highest reward of heaven, we must be willing to not only accept Christ, but receive/accept/adopt the love and faith of Christ for doing His Father's will. (Charity = pure love of Christ for His Father and towards always proactively doing the will of God the Father in all things).
Christ was the greatest of all, not for imposing His own will on the Earth and mankind, but because He, completely subordinated His will to the that of His Father in all things. Magic (white or black) involves the natural and supernatural imposition of our own will on the universe for good or evil. But since magic involves our own will, even white magic is wrong. Priesthood involves the natural and supernatural imposition of the will of God on the universe.
I have some kids who are picky eaters. All they seem to want to eat is Raman and Mac n' cheese. We are kinda guilty of giving into that and let the kids always have what they want for breakfast or meal time. This is called "short-order cooking" as opposed to expecting that our children "eat the well balanced meal that mom or dad has made". We sometimes give into letting our kids "short-order" other aspects of their life.
We should respect children and all people and validate our children's feelings, wants and needs. But there are consequences to always letting kids and adults "short-order" breakfast as well as other aspects of their temporal and spiritual lives.
1. People will tend to limit themselves only to what they are comfortable with and not try new things.
Just as parents understand the nutrition of food, God understands the spiritual nutrition of all things and ofttimes puts things on our plates (like spiritual spinach) that we are expected to develop a taste for.
With abundant screens, and choices, we tend to always let our kids pick what they want to watch or listen to instead of parents controlling the remote control and imposing a nature or history show on them or some classical music.
2. Short-order cooking our lives can make people less resilant and adaptible . We kinda understand this when we talk about "helicopter parents" raising "snowflake children", "micro-aggressions" and "safe spaces".
If we approach situations only thinking in terms of what we want, or how to make the experience perfect for us, inevitatably we will be disappointed. Nothing in life goes as planned or comes out perfectly. When life fails to meet with our exact expectations or something doesn't go exactly as planned, we might feel more anxiety, and stress about it and then become overly focused on those negative details. We can then begin to become avoidant of new situations or situations that are out of our control. In some cases, we can short-order cook ourselves out of living life.
All things in life (relationships, marriage, career, activities, ourselves) can be likened to a rose bush. The thorns come along with the flowers. If things don't go exactly as planned, we can get focused on the thorns and even begin to believe that our whole life is nothing but thorns. Or we can keep our focus on the beautiful flowers. Then when we look back at an event or marriage or life, we may not completely forget the thorns, but we also see and remember all the beautiful blooms.
Mosiah 3:19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless 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 doth submit to his father.
Elder Maxwell said:
“our relationship to living prophets (God) is not one in which their sayings are a smorgasbord from which we may take only that which pleases us. We are to partake of all that is placed before us, including the spinach, and to leave a clean plate!” Elder Maxwell, Things As They Really Are, P.74
I have several friends who built set about to build their dream homes. After touring their beautiful homes and listening to the hundreds of details about design, features, and decisions I was surprised to hear that they were considering selling their supposed dream homes not long after completion. Why? How is it possible? It turns out that it is impossible for any man to build the perfect house, because what he wants is continually changing. So, immediately after building what you thought was the perfect home, you realize it isn't because what you want has changed. My wife (real estate agent) tells me these dream homes can be difficult to sell because what one person might go out of their way to design into a home might just be a design feature that noone else wants and that makes the home nearly unsellable.
When some people complain about all the various things that are expected of LDS people. I understand were they are coming from. It can seem like a lot. I appreciate the recent attempts to consolidate and simplify. Also, I appreciate reminders that we are never expected to "run faster than we have strength" and to just "lift where we stand". But, God has a marvelous work that He is bringing about in these latter days. Tragically, there is a lot of work and the laborors are few. God can defineately do all His own work, but blesses us to participate in it with Him.
Love and Warmest Regards,
Posted by David B at 3:31 AM
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
2 Cor 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together
Men and women (in general) have different temperaments. Our children come with different temperaments as well. Men tend to be a little on the disagreeable side and if the children are a bit disagreeable as well, Father's may be a bit avoidant to participate in certain routines. Disagreeableness or assertiveness help men leave the home and deal with workplace tasks. Women tend to be on the more agreeable side, which can help with dealing with children without losing it. That said, it's still tough.
Husbands and wives need to appreciate each other's temperaments and their pluses and minuses. If both mom and dad are on the disagreeable side, it may be that having a bunch of disagreeable children to care for will be too much. For agreeable parents with agreeable children, having 10+ may be a dream. The Church attracts agreeable people, but should be open an accepting to the disagreeable/assertive as well. Assertiveness has its value too. Also, agreeableness and assertiveness can be trained to a degree.
In today's more equaltible culture, wives and husband might enjoy a more ideal and equal relationship. Instead of dividing up the home tasks and waiting for Mom to tell Dad what needs to happen, Dad can be more involved and more cooperative in the family tasks. Instead of looking at the efficiency of a division of labor, consider the synergy and and intimacy of working together. Nurses in the hospital really come together as a team when they tackle the hard tasks together. When there is a code brown, a great working team will all gather to make quick work of a dirty task. Also, working together is more fun.
If you can be a full partner and lift the household loads together, you might be surprised at how you and your spouse grow together.
Gen 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Posted by David B at 4:12 AM
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
In my opinion, exaltation involves the work of preparing spirits for their mortality. This could be considered giving spirits their "first lessons", eternal parenting, or teaching "morality prep'.
There are 3 lessons that must be learned during mortality and can only be learned now. 1. love God 2. control the body 3. submit to God's priesthood authority.
If you never learn these lessons here and now, you can never learn them and consequently, you can never teach what you have never learned.
In my view, the 3 degrees of heaven are not physical separations but more of a division of responsibility. It's kinda like the hospital with techs, nurses, and doctors. We all work together, but there is a hierarchy of responsibility. God is the Great Physician, The Physician of physicians, who desires all His children to become doctors, but some will settle to be nurses and techs-- worlds without end.
If you desire to become like, and do the work of our Heavenly Father, the time to decide is now. There is no going back to medical school later.
Posted by David B at 7:58 AM
Saturday, June 15, 2019
The Book of Mormon tells the story of Korihor who preached against the existence of God, against Christ and that religion was just another form of oppression.
Alma 30:17 And many more such things did he say unto them, telling them that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men, but every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime.
Korihor had a lot of success convincing people that all rules were arbitrary. Korihor argued that there is no right and wrong; there is only what a person wants, what a person can do, and what a person can get away with.
Sadly, in this lawless, "do as you will" world, there can be no place for humor. Humor absolutely depends on the harmless violation of rules. Without rules, there can be no humor. The reality of universal truth is proven by the universality of humor.
If there is something we don't find humorous, it is either because, we don't understand the rule the joke is based upon (premise), or we consider the rule too important and sacred to be harmlessly violated. Sadly, in Korihor's world, if there is no law, there is no humor.
2 Nephi 2:13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.
Posted by David B at 8:53 PM