Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Narcissism: It's all about image

Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: (Old Testament, Isaiah,  3:16)

President Uchtdorf has mentioned the word Narcissism and warned against this attitude and behavior in several recent talks.  Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a medical and psychiatric term which I wanted to help better define.  If you read the following description and recognize any if these natural tendencies in your behavior, you are probably not as narcissistic as you fear.  If you read this list and think none of it applies to you, I would be more concerned and maybe invite you to pray and then ask the opinion of someone you trust about it. President Uchtdorf challenges all of us to examine and ask ourselves, "Is it I?"

Narcissus is a mythological Greek god that fell in love with his own image.  Today with all the social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, etc, many of us have become consumed and enamored with our online image. Some of us associate our selfworth with number of Twitter followers, Facebook friends, or even out level 100 Frost Mage in WOW.  But why is there so much Narcism in the world?  The controlled western media has been pushing a "its all about you" advertising campaign for several decades.

Within the Church, Narissism can take on a different but related form.  Some individuals can get too obsessed with their spiritual and righteous image.  Yes, we should all be concerned with our personal spirituality and righteousness, but be concerned less about how others perceive us. We should be good examples but not put on a holier-than-thou fascade.  Continually broadcasting to others our personal insights into the scriptures, personal revelations, and visions may be a sign of going beyond the mark in this area. Having a blog and naming it ldsdoctrine might be another. 

Becoming too preoccupied with our spiritual image can open us up to be decieved by Satan. We can find the right balance by making sure we are more concerned with how God and our Bishop sees us then how others see us. A healthy attitude is concerned with doing good and improving ourselves.  An unhealthy attitude is more concerned with appearing more righteous and spiritual and even more humble than everyone else.  A healthy Church attitude in my opinion involves accepting callings from your Bishop, and then doing the very best you can, and as Pres. Uchtdorf says, "stand together and lift where you stand."  An unhealthy attitude would be to decline a calling because we don't think we could do the calling better than it has ever been done, or better than anyone else is doing their calling. A narcissist may reject a perceived difficult calling because they would be more concerned about how struggling through it would affect their image.  A narcissist  doesn't want to look bad but will give themselves other reasons for their refusal.

Narisistic Personality Disorder according to DSM IV and V can be looked up online and involves a pathologic obsession with self-image and self-importance.  Additionally, Narcissism is a spectrum disorder and is often considered by the narcissist to be a normal part of a person's personality style.  Narcististic tendencies not covered in DSM include: 

1. Obsessed with their virtual, physical, spiritual and social image.   
2. Too easily gets defensive even when criticism is not directed at them. 
3. Dishes out plenty of cutting personal criticism to shift attention away from their own weaknesses.
4. Cannot easily listen to the ideas of others.
5. Project their own faults and feelings onto others 
6. Difficulty apologizing or admitting fault.
7. In a discussion when proven wrong, just continually shifts the argument but never adjusts their thinking.
8. Demands praise and compliments 
9. Self-centered, everything involves how it will affect them. 
10. Entitlement mentality 
11. Inflated self-importance 
12. Attention seeking 
13. Jealous of others success. 
14. Lacks insight. Their behavior is their personality style.
15. Pathologic belief that God gives them exclusive revelation and insight because of their righteousness over others. 
16. Unappreciative of others.
17. Judge others based on results and themselves based on intention.
18. Always an exception or making an excuse to justify their sin.
19.  Easily falls victim to flattery.
20. Who is right is more important than what is right.
21. Grandstand and want to take credit but divert blame.
22. When solving a problem more interested in whose to blame than the solution.
23. Cannot accept the reality of conspiracy because it means acceptance that they are not important in the eyes of the world.
24. Not just about self-esteem, 
self-consciousness and 
inadequacy, but a manifestation of a deficiency of faith vs. doubt, hope vs. fear, and charity vs. pride .

[This list describes the behavior of many characters portrayed on TV.  You're welcome, to anyone who uses this insight to become an award-winning television writer.]

Why is recognizing Narcissism in ourselves important? First, it can be very difficult to solve problems with a group of people with strong narcissistic tendencies. It is similarly nearly impossible to solve problems in a marriage where partners are both strongly Narcissistic.  Other than abuse, If a marriage is failing it may be that both sides are exhibiting these natural behaviors.

Second, our love of the world and the worldly blinds us to spiritual things and especially spiritual threats.  We can tend to make excuses and rationalize our sins.  Also, the Book of Mormon warns us about secret combinations seeking to overthrow the freedom of all nations (Ether 8). In addition to our general lack of virtue, our narcissism is also blinding us to these secret combinations that seek to destroy us like they did the Jaredites and Nephites because awakening to the reality of evil would mean accepting that the world considers us not only worthless and expendable but also a liability (useless eater, harmful carbon dioxide producer).

Not eveyone who is asleep to the reality of global conspiracy is a narcissist. In many cases, blindness to evil can involve people like Lehi and Eve whose minds are too pure and without guile to even notice the filthiness of the water or conceive that the serpent had ill intent. But, Nephi and Moroni noticed the filthiness and the ill intent of Satan and spent considerable effort to warn us about it. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Atonement of Christ is Power

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.” (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith—History, Joseph Smith—History 1)

When 14-year-old Joseph Smith went into what is referred to now as the Sacred Grove to pray to pray concerning the welfare of his soul and to ask which church to join. Joseph Smith received a marvelous and miraculous heavenly visitation of God the Father and Jesus Christ.

During this heavenly visitation Joseph Smith asked which church he should join.  His Christian father was disallusioned by organized religion.  His mother and siblings were drawn to the Presbyterian while he preferred the Methodist.  Christ's response surprised Joseph. Never before had he considered that all the churches were in error.  One reason Christ gave for their error was that they "denied the power of godliness".

What is the power of God?  What does it mean to deny the power of godliness?  How do other churches deny the power of God? 

Power is a physics principle, specifically the ability to do work. Power equals work divided by time.  Work is also a principle of physics and natural law, specifically force times time. However, the interesting aspect of work is that if you push against a wall, you may have exerted a lot of effort and energy; but, if the wall doesn't move, then no work has been performed.  And if no work has been performed, there is no power.

False religion likes to talk about the Atonement of Christ that is all grace without power.  Power to do what?  Power to repent, power to change, power to receive personal revelation from God, to confer priesthood authority, to experience miracles, to continue to call living prophets, apostles, and seventies, to build sacred temples, and for husbands and wives to be married in this life and to continue to be sealed together for eternity.  

For many religions, it is enough to want to repent and change and resist the natural man without being given hope that they can actually do it. For many religions it is enough to ponder the meaning and purpose of life without actually expecting to receive an answer. However, in the true Church of Christ, Christ's Atonement has the power to transform us, sanctify us, perfect us in Christ and reveal to us the answers to the important questions of the soul.  The atonement of Christ is power to divide the seas and move mountains, even personal ones.

Faith in God for Girls Implementation and Purposeful Activity Selection

Here are some thoughts about the implementation of the Faith in God for Girls program and Activity Days Program Activities selection and Church Activities in general.  After our ward council on this issue, I wanted to clarify a few things: 

A. Our proposal was not seeking to "change" the programs of the Church but improve their implementation. Again, the "Faith in God for Girls" program is a perfect program. It doesn't need any improvements. What can be improved is our implementation.   We have zero interest in steadying the ark.

B. The Augusta Stake is making this a topic of attention and has called a meeting to discuss it.  This is a great opportunity to suggest improvements in implementation of the "Faith in God for Girls" program.  

C. The problem with activity selection and planning in the Church is not just an Activity Day Girls problem. This affects other programs like Young Men/Young Women's, Relief Society, as well as Boy Scouts.  All of these programs can improve in the selection of worthwhile, purpose-driven activities.  As President Hinkley said, "it is not enough just to be good. You must be good for something".  Similarly when it comes to activities, it is not enough to be fun, they should be fun with a purpose.

D.  Families make a big sacrifice to bring their children to Church activities.  When you schedule a child, you schedule the family.  (Elder Cornish) Activities need to be fun and purpose-driven.

E.  As a side-benefit, if participants are actively engaged in worthwhile, fun, creative, and purpose-driven activities, there will be an increase in spirit, cooperation, and unity. 

F. What no one wants to see is Relief Society  enrichment activities were a plastic surgeon is invited to talk about Botox and collagen injections (true story in my SLC home ward) or Activity Day Girl activities where all the girls show up to paint fingernails (extreme example to illustrate).

G. All the topics that I listed are found in and part of the Activity Day Girl "Faith in God for Girls" Manual.  What I am suggesting, is that instead of picking a girl and telling her "you have the activity next week, good luck". We can empower her by giving her a range of topics to choose from, let her select one that interests her, and then help her prepare and come up with a fun activity that fulfills the requirement and introduces the skill- a skill that fulfills a "Faith in God for Girls" requirement and will help her in her future role as a wife and mother in Zion and bless her family according to the "Proclamation on the Family".

H. It is not enough to want to love.  We need to add skills to the love and learn how to love. (BYU Conference on Family and Marriage).  Similarly, while it begins with a desire, it is not enough to just want to serve, but when we have acquired skills, the doors of opportunity to serve will be opened up to us.

I. Just as Cub Scouts is becoming more skill-based and less task-oriented, Activity Day Girls can also be skill-oriented and less task-based in its fulfilling the "Faith in God for Girls" requirements.

J.  This Activity Day Girl Curriculum has 20+ suggested areas of focus and 3 yearly big weekend events. One or two areas of focus would be chosen each month.  Each area of focus has several subareas.  The reason it is good to have a standardized curriculum is that certain topics that are important but may seem dull get skipped because leaders want to do only the "fun" activities.  But in reality, even the seemingly dull topics can be made fun with a little creativity.  Activities would be fun with a purpose.  (Note: all categories come out of the Faith in God for Girls manual)

1. Safety- kitchen, child, home, car, learn about car seats, personal defense, put out kitchen fire, use baking soda, use fire extinguisher, turn off gas and electricity and water in an emergency, visit fire station.
2. Cooking and Nutrition- cookies, cake, pie, holiday dinner, food pyramid, vitamins
3. Sewing- buttons, mend socks, hem, knitting, crochet, quilting.
4. Gardening- soil prep, timing, watering, fertilizer, weeds, spacing, pruning.
5. Child Care- diaper changing, baby sitting, baby proofing home, feeding.
6. Games- board games, pioneer games, get-to-know-you-games, skits, card games, dice games, plan FHE.
7. Party- baby shower, invitations, food, activities, decorations.
8. Canning and Preserving- fruit, meat, smoking, dehydrating, jams and jellies
9. Homesteading- cheese, butter, soap, candles
10. Animal Care- feeding, grooming, pets, chickens, goats, rabbits.
11. Budget and Finance- budget, credit, fill out check, coupons, tithing, sales, thrift, yard  sales, learn to fill out tithing slip.
12. Medical and Hygiene- first aid, cpr, fever, nausea, sprains, cuts, bruises, cold, hygiene 
13. Music- talent show, singing, instruments
14. Family History- pedigree, family search, temple ready, personal histories, scrapbooking, visit temple.
15. Creative Writing- poetry, journaling, essays, short stories, write letters to grandparents or missionaries.
16. Art- painting, sculpture, water color, photoshop, crafts, visit museum.
17. Outdoor Appreciation- biking, hiking, conservation, build fire, outdoor cooking.
18. Recycling and Repurposing- "use it up, wear it out, fix it up, or do without", visit recycling center
19. Personal Fitness- learn a sport, play a new active game, go on a hike, develop personal fitness plan. 
20. Citizenship- write a letter to congressman. attend town hall meeting, learn local, state and national representatives. 
O. Worldly topics to avoid: hair, makeup, jewelry, fashion, etc. (Isa 3:16-26).

P. There could be a system of recognition set up like scouting to recognize girls for their participation.  The cub scouts has an expensive belt loop program that is being implemented but individual church units have been asked not to spend church money on these loops.  Activity Day Girls recognition could be a simple charm bracelet with charms or apron with pins.

Q. Activity Day Girls should have several bigger annual events that put into practice and/or showcase many of the skills the girls are learning in their bimonthly activities.  Ideas for bigger annual events includes:

1. Daddy-Daughter Dinner and Dance: this has already been excellently demonstrated by the Stake and Steven's Creek Ward.

2. Stake Fair: All young women and activity day girls from the stake bring activities, crafts, art, posters, demonstrations to share.

3. Outdoor Picnic BBQ Dinner and Fireside: incoperate and showcase outdoor skills like outdoor cooking techniques.

4. Ward Temple Night: the girls watch younger children at the church while parents and young adults attend the Temple.

5. Etiquette Dinner: Girls can cook and serve a multi-course dinner for themselves and parents learning about place-settings, serving, and dining etiquette.

R.  Activity Day girls should begin and end with a prayer. Girls can conduct the meeting. Meetings should also include learning and singing one of the Article of Faith songs from the "Children's Songbook".  

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Walking Worthy of Our Vocation

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (New Testament, Ephesians, Ephesians 2:8-9) 

I have a friend at work that was raised Christian Evangelical.  We were having a gospel-centered conversation and he told me that he had known several ex-Mormons who had left him with a bad impression of the LDS Church.  These several ex-Mormons had grown up LDS, and they criticized the LDS Church for its rigid standards.  According to the ex-Mormon's, the LDS Church's rigid standards were too hard to live up to, and alienated them from their faith community.  According to them, the Church's rigid legalistic standards divided the Church instead of unifying it.

According to my friend's view of Christianity, the Church of Christ should be unifying and not exclusive.  When it comes to sin, my friend quoted Eph 2:8-9 and expressed the opinion that no one of us is without sin, salvation is by the grace of Christ and not works, and that all of us are beset by the natural man and cannot escape it in this life.  

I hear Eph 2:8-9 quoted a lot here in the South. But I am so facinated in the rest of the epistle of Ephesians.  While it is absolutely 100% true that we are only saved by the grace of Christ, I was wondering if Paul's "grace" excluded righteousness.  My friend also said that he didn't like the LDS use of the words "worthy" and "merit" and "righteousness".  According to him, no one without Christ is worthy or righteous or merits anything (true).  And becoming sanctified and perfected is something that doesn't happen in this life in our corrupt bodies because of the natural man.  So, should the true Church of Christ forget preaching against sin and for repentance at all?  Should the true gospel only carry a positive and inclusive message?

We also talked about the Old Testament temple and the Law of Moses and how the purpose of the Law of Moses was that it was, by design, impossible to live.  In this way, the Law pointed us to Christ and underline our need for a Savior. He saw the OT Temple as divisive where only 1 person, once a year could enter into the Holy of Holies while the women and Gentiles were allowed to observe but still segregated and excluded from full participation.  Although, my friend believes in the restoration of the Temple in the Last Days, the Latter-day Temple wouldn't be as divisive. 

So, with Eph 2:8-9 in mind, I wanted to list some of the other things Paul had to say to the Ephesians about righteoussness, worthiness, and holiness. 

"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:" (New Testament, Ephesians, Ephesians 1:4)

We should be holy.  But what is holiness? Is holiness just the attitude of humility before God and recognition of our sinfulness and unworthiness?

"And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:" (New Testament, Ephesians, Ephesians 2:6)

How do you "sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus?"  Is sitting together in heavenly places mean we only recognize our sinful nature but still helplessly continue in sin?

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (New Testament, Ephesians 2:10)

What does Paul mean and how do we "walk [in/unto] good works".

"For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall (veil) of partition between us;... Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God." (New Testament, Ephesians 2:14;19)

How does the gospel of Christ unify all peoples (Jew and Gentile) and end the segregation that even existed in the Holy Temple?

"And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God," (New Testament, Ephesians 3:9-10)

How are the mysteries of heaven revealed and how is the fellowship with the principlalities and powers in heavenly places obtained?

"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love," (New Testament, Ephesians 3:17)

After we accept Christ and His spirit dwells in our hearts, will the believer manifest this by having an attitude of universal love, acceptance and tolerance of not just all people but also their behavior; whatever it is?   Isn't this the doctrine of the LGBT community?  How do you accept the sinner but not condone the sin?  Should the Church of Christ even talk about sin and repentance at all and just stick with a positive message of grace, charity for the poor, and universal inclusiveness.

"I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called," (New Testament, Ephesians, Ephesians 4:1)

How do we walk worthy of our vocation to be disciples of Jesus Christ?  Does that involve repentance, righteousness, or just humility, charitable giving, inclusiveness, and tolerance of sin?

Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, (New Testament, Ephesians, Ephesians 4:3-5)

How do we achieve a spirit of unity and peace and ultimately a unity of the faith?  Do we achieve unity through a positive-only doctrine of humility, grace, charitable giving, unconditional inclusiveness and tolerance?

"This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness." (New Testament, Ephesians 4:17-19)

The unsaved Gentiles are blind, ignorant and alienated from God because of their vanity and pride.  The proud and blind Gentiles are without Christ and as a consequence have fallen victim to lascivious behavior. What is lasciviousness?  Paul doesn't seem to have a problem talking about sin. Is it okay to feel convicted in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, or godly sorrow or even guilt at church?  In addition to encouragement, should Christ's church just carry an exclusively positive, popular, and entertaining message?  Can you preach repentance and still be encouraging and positive.   [This was the beef the wiked priests of Noah had with the ancient American prophet Abinadi's message before burning him alive]

"And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." (New Testament, Ephesians, Ephesians 4:24)

After we accept Christ and put on the new man, what does Paul mean by being righteous and holy?

1. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: 
2. let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. 
3. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands 
4. give to him that needeth. 
5. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, 
6. grieve not the holy Spirit of God,
7. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 
8.  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (New Testament, Ephesians 4:25-32)

So, Paul finally begins to define what he means by worthiness and holiness and righteousness with this admonition against negative behavior and for positive  behavior.  Paul continues in Chapter 5:

"But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks." (New Testament, Ephesians, Ephesians 5:3-4)

Some may say this is just a list of good and bad behavior that the believer in Christ will strive towards.  But our success in complying with these stipulations will make zero impact on our eventual assured salvation.  But then Paul says:

"For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." (New Testament, Ephesians 5:5)

Well, not having an inheritance in the Kindom of Christ and of God is not the kind of salvation I want.  But does it matter if I am actually successful in avoiding sin or is it enough to just wish to avoid sin but continue fornicating, abusing drugs, and cheating on my taxes?  Where is the unity here?  Is there unity if I tell my spouse that I didn't mean to spend all my paycheck on illicit drugs or that I couldnt resist an affair with a co-worker because of the weakness of the flesh, but that I still maintain a hope in Christ?  Is there unity when I get cast into prision for tax evasion?

Maybe if the sins involve direct harm to others, that is a problem but the church shouldn't guilt us over drinking alcohol or fornication with another consenting adult because these indulgences don't harm anyone else.  Oh wait, Paul already mentioned fornication.

"Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. ... And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." (New Testament, Ephesians 5:6-7;11)

Paul not only warns of the wrath of God that will come upon the disobedient but also says thay the Saints should specifically "reprove" these "unfruitful works of darkness". 

"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;" (New Testament, Ephesians 5)

Okay, these words of Paul should cover  the prohibition against alcohol and drug abuse.  Paul suggests taking these substances detracts from being filled with the Spirit of God. 

Paul ends his epistle to the Ephesians by telling them to love their wives and children and a beautiful teaching for the Saints to put on the whole armor of God.  The whole armor in addition to the helmet of salvation, shield of faith and sword of the spirit also includes the loins girt with truth and the breastplate of righteousness. When it comes to what it means to be honest and righteous, I think Paul has sufficiently defined what he means by thise terms in the preceding chapters. 

As far as my work colleague goes and his ex-Mormon friends who criticized the LDS Church for maintaining the same standards that Paul sets forth in Ephesians and in his other epistles like Rom 1, 1 Cor 5:11, Gal 5, etc.  The great mystery is that it is personal righteousness, purity and holiness that brings the promise of peace, safety and unity in this life and exaltation in the next. There can be no unity in a family or a community or a nation without virtuous living, honesty, integrity, and fidelity. 

The LDS Church doesn't seek to ostracize any of its members or anyone else who may be struggling with sin.  When you go attend an LDS Church, no one has any idea about your personal life unless it made the 6 o'clock news.  But LDS Church members don't just come to Church and sit in the back row and leave early before the closing prayer.  LDS Churches have no professional clergy and rely on its membership to accept callings to play the organ, or teach Sunday School. As part of these callings, the Bishop may ask if the person is worthy to hold the calling.  These personal and private worthiness interviews come up from time to time and provide a wonderful oportunity to make confession and receive needed guidance, assurance, and encouragement. For some who are unrepentant, and have chosen not to live up to God's standard, they are not shunned by our community, but in most cases, simply stop attending because they feel convicted in their heart for their sins and are not ready to give up whatever vice it is that they are holding on to.  If there is anyone who has left for feeling unfairly judged by another member, that is unfortunate, and not what the Church of Jesus Christ is about.

All Christians look forward to the promised Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the usuring in of His great millennial kingdom. We are told that Christ's kingdom will be accompanied by the restoration of the Holy Temple. But the new temple will not be like the OT Temple which was built up to only one nation, one kingdom, one tongue and one people.  The Latter-day temple which has already been restored to the Earth has been established to every kingdom, nation, tongue and people and sets up a standard of virtue which God and His apostles have defined very clearly in scripture.  The Holy Temple as an institution upholds the standards of virtue, righteousness, and holiness that will one day become the light by which all men will live and be judged.  Through the Holy Temple a moral and virtuous people will be enabled to select moral and virtuous leaders that will honestly seek the betterment of society.  Our leaders will not be chosen based on merit, genetics, family relationship, or secret association.

Only by living these standards of holiness, worthiness, and righteousness will be be enabled to choose righteous leaders, raise healthy families and establish productive and equitable communities which will ultimately bring about the paradisiacal heaven on Earth that all Christians hope for.  On the flip-side, just as Paul and the LDS Proclaimation in the Family has warned that disobedience to these commandments will bring upon individuals, families, communities and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.  

Only a true return to Christ, which is a return to virtue, can save us.  Only preaching the gospel of Christ which is the conditions of repentance and the standards of virtuous and righteousness living will end poverty.  Only the gospel of repentance will bring peace, safety and prosperity.   

There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked. (Old Testament,  Isaiah 48:22)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Moist and Soft 100% Storage Wheat Bread

My wife Ruth has been making whole wheat bread from our LDS storage wheat for years.  Anyone who has tried making bread from storage wheat knows how difficult it can be not to end up with a dense lump of concrete in the end. Making bread from 100% red winter wheat is not easy.  Ruth has perfected the process and I wanted to share her recipe. 

[Recipe Makes 3 Loaves]
2-1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbs bread yeast
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs salt
1 Tbs (heaping) dough enhancer
(substitute egg or milk powder)
4-1/2 cups fresh medium ground whole wheat flour

First add yeast to warm water and let sit until foamy. 

Mix wet ingredients, sugar, salt and dough enhancer first before adding flour last.  Mixture at this point should have the consistency of pancake batter.

Kneed mixture in Bosch Universal with kneeding hooks on low for 12 minutes. 

Add aproximately 2 cups additional fresh ground wheat flour while dough is kneeding until dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl.  Add 1/2 cup at a time until proper consistency is achieved.  Additional flour amount will depends on coarseness or fineness of your flour.

Shape loaves and place in greased bread pans and allow to rise for 45 min.

Bake at 325 F for 25 minutes.

If you are making bread without a mixer, add all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl to the point that the dough is the consistency of pancake batter, cover bowl with cloth or saran wrap and let the mixture rise until it is doubled.  Then "punch down" the dough and kneed it by hand on a flour-coated bread board.  Add the additional flour until the dough stops sticking to your hands and the bread board.  Form 3 loaves, place in greased pans, and allow the loaves to "double" again before baking.