Thursday, May 29, 2008

Archeological Evidence for Reformed Egyptian Part 2

Critics of the Book of Mormon contend there is absolutely zero archeological or historical evidence to support its claim that Christian, Pre-Christ Jews were led out of the land of Israel before the conquest of Babylon to America. They also contend that there is zero archeological or historical evidence to support the claim that Jews would ever write Hebrew scriptures and other sacred writing in a "pagan" script like reformed Egyptian. Critics also complain that Jews of 600 BC didn't use metal plate technology but limited there writing to parchment, leather, pot-shard (ostracon) and papyrus in rare cases.

However, over the last 3-4 decades, numerous examples in the archeological record are turning up which vindicate the Book of Mormon claims while discrediting its critics. While not the basis for my belief in the Book of Mormon, I thought it fun to list several of the artifact descriptions, pictures, and links.

LDS Scholars John A. Tvedtnes and Stephen D. Ricks of the The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship (FARMS), in 1996 co-wrote a paper entitled "Jewish and Other Semitic Texts Written in Egyptian Characters." This paper discussed several examples of Semitic languages and Hebrew scripture written in Hieroglyphics, demotic or other "reformed" Egyptian script.

Dana M. Pike of the The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship (FARMS), writes an excellent chapter in the Book "Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem" entitled "Israelite Inscriptions from the Time of Jeremiah and Lehi."

Gezer Calendar (10th century BC)
While many associate written Hebrew with the squarish letters and curvy flourishes, early Hebrew was originally written in a script very similar to Phoenician. This paleo-Hebrew is first seen in the Gezer Calendar, which dates to around the 10th century BC and records agricultural activities throughout the year. During the exile to Babylon (6th century BC), the Hebrews started to use the Aramaic language and script, but continued to use paleo-Hebrew mostly in the religious writing. In later periods, Old Hebrew was sometimes inscribed on coins as a tool for Hebrew nationalism. The Old Hebrew alphabet ceased to be used at all by the 1st century CE and was replaced by "square" Hebrew.

This example suggests if Israel could adopt the alphabet of the "pagan" Philistines (Phoenician) why not learn and use Egyptian writing. Also, it is significant to remember that this Phoenecian-like, paleo-Hebrew is the script that the Nephites would have used preferentially for writing. The Book of Mormon suggests that their "Reformed Egyptian" was more difficult to use but suited itself for recording sacred writings on metal plates because of its compactness.

Papyrus Amherst 63 (2nd century BC)
This document was written in Egyptian demotic and dated to the second century BC. This papyrus was discovered in Thebes, Egypt preserved in an earthen jar like the Dead Sea Scrolls. For years, Egyptologists were unable to translate the text. The letters were clear, but they did not form intelligible words. In 1944, Raymond Bowman of the University of Chicago realized that, while the script is Egyptian, the underlying language is Aramaic. Among the writings included in the religious text is a paganized version of Psalms 20:2–6. This text represents a sample of exactly what the Book of Mormon claims to be. Papyrus Amherst 63 contains a passage of scripture written in Aramaic, but transliterated into Egyptian characters.

Tel Arad Ostracon (7th Century BC)
Pot shard (ostraca) discovered at Tel Arad, located near the southern border of the kingdom of Judah, dating from 700-600 BC show a combination of Hebrew and Egyptian Hieratic writing together. The text on the ostracon is written in a combination of Egyptian hieratic and Hebrew characters, but can be read entirely as Egyptian. Of the seventeen words in the text, ten are written in hieratic and seven in Hebrew. However, all the words written in Hebrew can be read as Egyptian words, while one of them, which occurs twice, has the same meaning in both Egyptian and Hebrew. This piece demostrates that there were those in Israel who understood and wrote in Egyptian and in this case mixed Egyptian and Hebrew writing.

The Lachish Letters (588 BC)
In 1935, a collection of letters written on pottery was unearthed in the biblical city of Lachish. These letters confirm events that occurred during King Zedekiah's reign in 588 B.C. when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon conqured Jerusalem. The letters mention the names of biblical figures, possibly even the prophet Jeremiah or possibly a second prophet Urijah.

Lehi, Ishmael, and their families left Jerusalem several years before these Lachish ostraca were written. Mulek probably left Jerusalem within a year or two of their writing. The Lachish ostraca give an eyewitness account of setting of Lehi, Mulek, and Jeremiah at the beginning of the Book of Mormon.

King Darius Gold and Silver Plates of Persepoli (500 BC)

Two gold plates and two silver plates were discovered in 1931-34 in each of the four cornerstones in King Darius' Audience Hall in ancient Persian capital Persepolis. Now held in the Persian Museum of Antiquities in Tehran, these metal plates ingraven in cuneiform scrip at about 522-486 BC.
The Plates of Persepoli are 4 engraven plates sealed in stone boxes that date to the time period of the Book of Mormon. Although not bound, this archeologic find supports the claim that ancient civilization from 600 BC engraved historical accounts on precious metal plates and sealed them in stone boxes.

Ketef Hinnom Amulets (600 BC)
Ketef Hinnom, or "shoulder of Hinnom," is located on the west side of the Hinnom Valley,on the western boundary of ancient Jerusalem. Two small rolls of inscribed silver foil were discovered in 1979, along with a number of other items dating from the end of the First Temple period through the Second Temple period. These two inscribed rolls date to about 600 BC. From wear patterns, each of these silver rolls had apparently been worn on a cord, apparently around someone's neck, as an amulet or charm. When unrolled, one measures 9.7 x 2.7 cm (ca. 3.8 x 1.06 inches) and the other 3.9 x 1.1 cm (ca. 1.54 x 0.43 inches). The text on these two amulets was incised with a stylus with the Aaronic priestly blessing recorded in Numbers 6:24–26.
These silver plates where engraven with sacred writing and rolled up to fit in a small box. These may have been worn by priests or have been akin to phylacteries which were excepts of scripture placed in small boxes and attacted with leather strap to the forehead and arm. Whatever these rolled, silver plates are they are another example of Hebrew scripture engraven on metal from 600 BC.
Pyrgi Gold Tablets (500 BC)
The Pyrgi Tablets, found in a 1964 excavation of a sanctuary of that town in Italy (current Santa Severa), a port of the southern Etruscan town of Caere, are three golden leaves that record a dedication made around 500 BC by Thefarie Velianas, king of Caere, to the Phoenician goddess ‘Ashtaret'. While the first two plates are writen in Etruscan. The 3rd plate is written in Phoenician. This find reveales the important link between the Ancient Phoenecian and Etruscan civilizations at the time of the Book of Mormon. In fact, some scholars believe that "Tarshish" the Biblical city Jonah was fleeing to, the city of Paul, and which is referenced by Isaiah when referring to the "ships of Tarshish" may in fact be referring to the island of Sardinia and the ancient "Tyrsenians" Etruscans and not Spain as has been believed by tradition. (Orientalische Litteraturzeitung, iii. 151, Cheyne ). Others believe it could be referring to ancient Carthage in Tunisia.

Whether "Tarshish" referred to a specific Phoenecian trading partner or was a general term for several Phonecian colonies, ancient Tarshish was important for its trade in metals and metal work. Carthage and the Etruscans were known for trade and work in copper, tin, silver, lead, bronze and iron. In addition to the Pyrgi tablets being another example of regious text from about 600 BC engraven on gold plates, the link between the Phonecians and the Etruscans and metal technology is of further significance knowing Lehi and Nephi's experience in trade, metal work and in ship building.

Bat Creek Stone
The Bat Creek Stone was excavated in 1889 from an undisturbed burial mound in Eastern Tennessee by the Smithsonian's Mound Survey project. While initially believed to be Cherokee, in the 1960s, Henriette Mertz and Corey Ayoob correctly identified the inscription as Paleo-Hbbrew. According to Cyrus Gordon in 1971, the five letters to the left of the comma-shaped word divider read, from right to left, LYHWD, or "for Judea." In 1988, wood fragments found with the inscription were Carbon-14 dated to somewhere between 32 A.D. and 769 A.D. (McCulloch 1988).

Robert C. Mainfort, Jr., and Mary L. Kwas in 2004 wrote in American Antiquity that the inscription was copied from an illustration in an 1870 Masonic reference book. They conclued that the Bat Creek Stone is a nineteenth century forgery by the Smithsonian field assistant who found it. An 1860s artist's impression of how the Biblical phrase QDSh LYHWH, or "Holy to Yahweh," looks suprisingly similar in Paleo-Hebrew letters to the Bat Creek Stone.

Despite their simularities, the inscriptions are not the same. Therefore, together with other similar archeological oddities like the Los Lunas Decalogue Stone I think there is a good case for its authenticity. The possiblility for forgery must be considered in each case, but in light of our emerging understanding of the Phoenecian naval trade, and cocaine identified in Egyptian mummies (Balabanova, S. Homo, 48 (1) 1997, pp. 72 – 77), the connection between the Pre-Columbian Old World and New World is gaining momentum. If the Paleo-Hebrew Bat Creek Stone is a forgery, it's a good one, and exactly what Pre-Columbian Jews in American would be expected to leave behind.
While there are a few evidences here and there that support Pre-Columbian contact between the Middle East the the Americas, I do not expect "smoking-gun" proof of the Book of Mormon and Nephites to turn up any time soon. Why no proof? Because the existence of Pre-Columbian, Christianized Jews in America is miraculous, and our only current knowledge of the Nephite civilization comes by divine providence. Therefore, any proof of their existence would compel belief and therefore destroy faith. Any tangible evidence of Nephites would become more important than the 3 and 8 eye-witnesses God has choosen to testify that they have seen gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. The Nephite artifact itself would become the most powerful witness. But according to the Book of Mormon, the Gold Plates were to come forth as a voice speaking from the dust. Therefore, the Nephite prophets were not confident there would be any significant tangible evidence remaining of their civilization.
This may be hard to accept at first, but if the Nephite civilization were to be discovered just as described in the Book of Mormon then how could anyone not accept everything else in the Book of Mormon. It is either all false or all true. There is no middle ground. Therefore, because there is no way to prove Nephites without proving everything true together, God has allowed just enough to evidence to surface to discredit the critics but not enough to destroy faith and our need to rely on the Holy Ghost.
But this lack of physical proof of Nephites does not mean God does not want us to experiment upon the word, and seek spritual evidence for the Book of Mormon. According to the Book of Mormon, all men are invited to first live its teachings and then ask God directly in prayer and obtain personal spiritual proof for themselves by the Holy Ghost. God is trying to get us to rely upon the Holy Ghost which according to the Bible will "guide us into all truth." And according to the Book of Mormon, "by the power of the Holy Ghost, [we] may know the truth of all thing."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Archeological Evidence for Reformed Egyptian Part 1

Some have criticized the Book of Mormon for claiming to be written in a language it calls "Reformed Egyptian" onto gold plates. Early on, scholars claimed that the notion of such a concept was preposterous. Hebrews would never write sacred writings and scripture in a "pagan" language, and there is no evidence that Ancient Israelites wrote on metal plates.

Morm. 9: 32 And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.

While there is no "smoking gun" proof of the exact reformed Egyptian the Book of Mormon was written in. There exist numerous examples in the archaeological record of many forms of "Reformed Egyptian" developed in 600 B.C. when Lehi left Jerusalem for America. There are also many example of artifacts from the same time period proving that Israel and neighboring countries recorded religious, civic, and economic information on metal.

Reformed Egyptian
The earliest form of Egyptian writing is hieroglyphics (Greek for "sacred symbols"). Hieroglyphics comprised nearly 400 picture characters depicting things found in real life and represented the various phonemes in Egyptian speech. While an impressive and ornate way to record language, hieroglyphics was a cumbersome way to record language on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, a new script called hieratic (Greek for "sacred") was developed by Egyptian priests for use on papyrus. Hieratic was a hieroglyphic shorthand which only used a simplified portion of the original glyph. Then around 700 B.C., the Egyptians developed an even more cursive and simplified script that we call demotic (Greek for "popular"), which bore little resemblance to the hieroglyphs. Both hieratic and demotic were in use in Lehi's time and can properly be termed "reformed Egyptian."

There are other forms of "reformed Egyptian" which were developed at the same time as Demotic such as Meroitic which was used for over a thousand years in the Nubian Kingdom of the upper Nile region. Today, these scripts are all considered Egyptian; but at the time to those who first started using them, these new scripts would have been considered "reformed."
Upon first impression, the grammar and style of the Book of Mormon is very similar to the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. The way in which sentences are formed and thoughts are conveyed are Hebrew and not Western European. In fact, the Book of Mormon is more Hebrew-like than the Bible because of its many “Hebraisms.” Critics contend that if the text had been originally written in Egyptian and then translated into English by Joseph Smith, that it shouldn't be nearly as Hebrew-like in grammar, syntax, and sentence structure; or, shouldn't follow the KJV so closely. If written in Egyptian, the Book of Mormon should be loaded with “Egyptisms” and not “Hebraisms.”

However, this criticism forgets an important detail. Moroni says they used reformed Egyptian characters on the Gold Plates, but their language and learning was Hebrew.

1 Ne. 1: 2 Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.

Therefore, it is most likely that the Book of Mormon was written in Hebrew using an Egyptian alphabet. While strange sounding, this idea of writing a language in different scripts is very common place. For example, Urdu and Hindi are 2 of several major languages in India. They actually are the same language but are only written with different scripts. Urdu and Hindi speakers can understand each other's spoken word nearly 100%. However, while Urdu is written in Perso-Arabic, Hindi is written in Sanskrit.

Also, If you have ever learned another language, it is sometimes much easier to learn to speak another language than it is to write it. Such is the case with Mandarin Chinese. Foreign speakers of Mandarin often never master reading and writing the language, and commonly write the language using their native alphabet.

The significance of these examples is that the invention of writing Hebrew using Reformed Egyptian script is probably not an Ancient Israeli invention but an Egyptian invention. There is ample evidence to support the idea that some educated Egyptians learned and spoke Semitic languages such as Hebrew and wrote them in their native scripts. Lehi would be familiar with the Egyptian writing system through his work in the caravan and trade business.
The Book of Mormon suggests that the Brass Plates (Hebrew Bible) Lehi brought with him to the America's were written in this style and served as a template for the Gold Plates (Book of Mormon).

Mosiah 1: 4 For it were not possible that our father, Lehi, could have remembered all these things, to have taught them to his children, except it were for the help of these plates; for he having been taught in the language of the Egyptians therefore he could read these engravings, and teach them to his children, that thereby they could teach them to their children, and so fulfilling the commandments of God, even down to this present time.

This verse of the Book of Mormon should not be interpreted to suggest that writing Hebrew on metal plates was a common place. The Brass Plates of Laban (wealthier cousin of Lehi) were considered extremely valuable and rare, as was Laban's “precious steel” sword, and was kept in Laban's treasury, even when Zoram, Lehi's servant, indicated to Nephi that Laban had been out with the Elders. If any reading from the scriptures took place it could have been done from everyday parchment or leather scrolls.

The reason the Book of Mormon suggests why the Brass Plates and the Book of Mormon itself were written in Egyptian script and not Paleo-Hebrew is efficiency of space. I am not an expert of ancient languages but just looking at the Rosetta Stone, writing in hieroglyphics and demotic requires many less symbols then writing in Coptic.

Morm. 9: 33 And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.

Much of the space saving is due to leaving out vowels. Therefore, Old Hebrew would be expected to be more efficient than Coptic but in 600 B.C. the Jews were still using the Phonecian or Paleo-Hebrew alphabet upon which the later Greek, Etruscan, Coptic is based.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Formula for Truth: Ponder, Study, Prayer

Many Evanglicals criticize LDS for what they say is "interpreting scripture through the lens of LDS doctrine." Robert L. Millet (Professor of Ancient Scripture BYU) and Gerald R. McDermott (Professor of Religion Roanoke College) both agree that every Christian interprets scripture through the eye of their faith-tradition. The key then is to judge the lens. Is the LDS lens clear or cloudy. Is the LDS faith-tradition inspired or "another gospel."

That said, some Evangelicals insist that their interpretation of scripture is 100% objective and unbiased by tradition or preconceved ideas. These same Evangelicals declare the mantra "Scripture interprets Scripture" to describe their paradigm for proper Bible interpretation. Others go beyond this paradigm and declare that their understanding "begins and ends with the Bible" and is "purely and completely logical." Many Evangelicals criticize LDS for responding to what we call the "feelings of the Holy Ghost." They say we let "emotion cloud our judgement." In this post I will compare and contrast the Evangelical paradigm that "starts and stops with the Bible" with the LDS paradigm for receiving truth.

I don't have a problem with the saying that "scripture interprets scripture." Many passages of scripture are clearly understood in the light of the full Biblical context. However, I beleive that saying "truth starts and stops with the Bible" is not correct. Those Evangelicals who claim that their understanding of truth "begins and ends with the Bible" deny that they approach the Bible with pretext. If that is the case, their truth paradigm could be represented with the following formula.


Now I don't have any problem with steps 1 and 3 other than it's circular nature. But Step 2 leaves God out of of the equation. Because of step 2, a person who lives by this paradigm, can be left with ideas of man mixed with the Bible or as LDS like to say "philosophes of men mingled with scripture." Or if you are intellectually honest and admit pretext, "Garbage in, garbage out."

2 Pet. 2: 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

On the other hand, LDS doctrine involves God in each step. The first step for LDS is righteous desire. A pure seeker of truth will be empowered by the Holy Ghost with a desire to know and question. Without the operation of the Holy Ghost, a man can desire no good thing. This step is also referred to in scripture as "pondering."

After "pondering" and being inspired and empowered by the Holy Ghost to ask certain questions, LDS are instructed to go to the Scriptures for an answer. God tells us in the Doctrine and Covenants that we are to then "study it out in our minds" as well as "feast upon the words of Christ." The scriptures also refer to Step 2 as "searching." Searching the scriptures must also involve the Holy Ghost. Scriptures are to be the understood by the spirit of prophecy which is a testimony of Jesus Christ. Without this, scripture is just words and can be manipulated.

After searching the scriptures for answers, the pure seeker of truth will discover that the Bible does not claim to be the gold standard for truth. Yes, the Bible will furnish us with all good works, but the scriptures point us to the final authority of truth. God is the final authority, to whom we must turn for verification of our answers by prayer. The Bible promises "Ask and recieve, knock and it shall be opened unto you." Also, "If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God." Therefore, Prayer is the final step to verify what we have learned from scripture. God has promised us that "by the power of the Holy Ghost, [we can] know the truth of all things." The Bible promises that the Holy Ghost will guide us into all truth.

Therefore, the LDS truth paradigm could be represented by the following formula.

Desire/Question/Ponder -> Study/Search/Feast -> Verify/Experiment/Pray

While Evangelicals "start and stop with the Bible," the LDS, begin and end with God who according to the Bible is the gold standard for truth. The LDS paradigm also illustrates the relationship of Pondering, Study, and Prayer and the operation of the Holy Ghost in each step of the process.

Joseph Smith's first vision is a great illustration. The story begins with his concern and ponderings about the eternal salvation of his soul. Such righteous desires could only be inspired by the operation of the Holy Ghost. In response to his desire, Joseph turned to the Bible to search for the answers to the deep questions of his soul. However, to his surprise, the Bible pointed him to prayer. Joseph explained his experience while reading James 1:5 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God." Joseph recounted, "never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart." Through the operation of the Holy Ghost, Joseph Smith was directed to pray to God. In response to Joseph's humble prayer, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him in what is called the "First Vision."

Evangelicals like to criticize LDS talk about testimony, spirit, and feelings. Many Evangelicals claim pure logic as taught by the Bible is the road to all truth. However, according to modern science, the LDS paradigm better parallels the Scientific Method. According to science, the Scientific Method is the gold stardard for empirical truth. The Scientific Method can be represented by the following formula.

Scientific Method:
Hypothesis --> Research Background --> Verify by Experimentation

LDS Paradigm:

Desire/Question/Ponder -> Study/Search/Feast -> Verify/Experiment/Pray

From the following equations, the Scientific Method and the LDS Paradigm parallel each other, except that the LDS formula involves God in each step by the operation of the Holy Ghost. Therefore, the LDS paradigm should be considered more logically correct. The LDS paradigm is more spiritually correct because it acknowledges pretext and bias, it involves research, and it employs experimentation and verification by the gold standard which is God.

Moroni's promise also teaches this same principle.

Moro 10:3-4
"if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts."

This pondering and righteous desire can only be done by the operation of the Holy Ghost. An evil spirit would never bring to mind the mercy of God.

"And when ye shall receive these things,"

This is the study of God's word with the Holy Ghost.

"I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."

God promises that prayer in the name of Christ will be answered by the Holy Ghost. Any by the Holy Ghost we can know the truth of all things.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Crosses and Garments: Outward Expressions of Faith

Some criticize the LDS for not dispaying crosses and the LDS people for not wearing crosses. The LDS do not ignore the cross, we don't think it is foolishness, we dont criticize others for displaying it, we have artwork in our meeting houses depicting Christ on the cross. However, we choose to focus on and remember both the blood and body of Christ and Christ's triumph over death. Our symbol is the empty tomb.

We try not to display outward clothing claiming our sprituality. Just because a person wears a cross doesnt mean they are Christian. And wearing a cross has nothing whatever to do with salvation or sanctification. Christ criticized the Jews for their large phylactories and enlarging the blue hem of their robes.

Matt. 23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
Matt. 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

LDS wear the undergarment of the preisthood to remind us of the atoneing sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Each morning we "put on" Christ's atonement which was done in the garden and on the cross, which covers our nakedness before God, and reminds us that we have been washed white and clean with the blood of Jesus Christ. And no one knows who is wearing the undergarment except those who are wearing it.

LDS men and women have been set appart and sealed in their foreheads before the great tribulation (Rev. 7:3, Rev 9:4) and second coming of the Lord as priests unto God in modern Christian temples in the last days (Isa 2). The Bible prophecies that Israel will be sanctified by receiving the everlasting covenant of God in a restored Christian temple and not a restored Jewish temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).

While Satan is busy marking his followers with the mark of the Beast. Those who have accepted Christ and have overcome are sealed by God in holy temples. These are they who will be empowerd by the Holy Ghost as promised by John in revelations and set apart as was Aaron (Heb. 5:4), ordained a priest, washed and annointed. These are they who will be given white undergarments (Lev 16:4) and robes symbolizing that they have been washed in the blood of Christ (Rev3). These are they who will be given a new name and take upon themselves the name of Christ (Rev 3). These are they who will be made kings and priests unto God (Rev 3). And these are they who will be prepared to be received by Christ at his second coming who will come as the King of kings and Lord of lords.

And those who are made high priests to Jesus Christ to minister his sacrifice and not their own. In the last days, priests will not just be ordained from the tribe of Levi and from the country of Israel, but they are the 144,000 (large number), from every tribe and from every nation. This is the what is ment by the priesthood of all believers. All believers are actually seal, ordained and set apart to the priesthood.

1 Pet. 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Gal. 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Gen. 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

Heb. 5:4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.

Leviticus 16:4 He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on.

Our Eternal Family

Eph 3: 14-15 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

I am suprised when some Christians insist that all mankind are not brothers and sisters and sons and daughters of Our Eternal Father. Some insist that only those who accept Christ can be considered sons of God. LDS understand that God is the Spirit Father of all mankind and all spirits. That includes Satan. Those who accept Christ then become sons and daughters of Christ and Christ becomes the Father, author, and source of our eternal life. But all mankind, regardless of belief, are one eternal family.

And yes, Lucifer was our spirit brother who tragically fell from heaven and drew a third-part of the heavenly host with him. The spirit of Christ existed before Christ was born and encarnate. Christ is considered not only the first-born son of Mary, but also the first-born spirit son of the Father and the only begotten Son of God in the flesh. Christ is God and a member of the God Head, but Christ is also the Son of God.

Lucifer is also a spirit son of God like man, and was prominent in the Heavenly Council, but Lucifer was never God. Lucifer had the status of an archangel like Michael, and that is why Revelations says that Michael gathered his angels and Lucifer his angels and there was a war in heaven and Lucifer was cast out. And Revelations tells how we overcame Lucifer then to keep our first estate.

Rev. 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

And that is how true believers will overcome Satan here in this world, by the word of our testimony and by the Blood of the Lamb. Christ and Lucifer and all the heavens and earth are considered family and spirit brethern only according to Eph 3. Lucifer was never of the same glory or stature as Christ.

Many say that Christ and lucifer cannot be considered spirit brothers in this sense because Christ is God and wasn't created. That is true, Christ wasn't created ex-nihlo, and man wasnt created ex-nihlo either. That is becasue creation is not done ex-nihlo (from nothing). Men were created sons but not created gods because the spirits of men have always been considered gods in embryo. Gods is our species. And only an abortionist would fail to see the value of that embryo which is in its eternal potential. Again, creation is not ex-nihlo. God is he that buildeth all things. God is the potter and we are the clay. God formed us from pre-existing materials just as these example illustrate.

Christ has always exsisted as God. The spirit of man has always existed as god "I said, ye are gods, and sons of the Most High." The spirits of men never had a beginning and never will have an end. Therefore, man is rightly called "gods" by Christ himself. Our critics are correct, Gods and gods are not created or destroyed, Gods ARE or ARE NOT. CHRIST is the GREAT I AM THAT I AM.

The process of becoming a son of God could have been as simple as accepting and covenanting with God that He be our Eternal Father. That Covenant being eternally enforced forwards and backwards (retroactive); God can be considered the Our Only and True God from Eternity to Eternity. God doesnt differentiate Himself from man based on His Godhood, but rather His Eternal Fatherhood. I agree it is less correct to say that men can become gods. It is more correct to say "Men are gods (en embryo), and can be made fathers like our Eternal Father"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Political vs. Spiritual Ideology

How would you describe your social-political ideology vs. your spiritual ideology? Would you describe yourself as a "social liberal" or a "social conservative"? Would you describe yourself as a "spiritual liberal" or a "spiritual conservative?"

In this country there are 2 major political ideologies: Liberalism and Conservatism. Both ideologies can be subdivided into Social, Economic, and Foreign Policy Liberalism vs. Conservatism. Although many people are not 100% Liberal or Conservative, this thread is focused on social political ideology vs. spiritual ideology. Libertarians are generally socially liberal and economically Conservative.

Social Liberalism:
Social liberals tend to support privacy, and personal rights over the good of society. Liberals tend to support sexual freedom, and use of psychoactive drugs, and favor abortion rights. Knowing that such unregulated personal liberty would result in harmful consequences for the poor, they support government taxation and programs to help the poor escape the consequences of bad life decisions as a direct result of unregulated personal liberty. Liberals would not trade personal liberty for security. Liberals consider themselves progressives in the sense that they feel our current culture and society represses personal liberty.

Social Conservatism:
Social Conservatives tend to support personal responsibility, and self-government. However, conservatives encourage legislation which limits personal liberty in exchange for security and the good of society. The speed limit is a good example. I may feel it is my right to drive 100mph on the highway and that I can drive responsibly and am no threat to others. But, a conservative would support limiting His personal liberty and the imposition of a 65 mph speed limit because he knows there are those on the highway who cannot safely operate a vehicle at that speed. Therefore, for the good of the many, a speed limit is appropriate. In that spirit, conservatives would tend to discourage sexual activity before marriage, discourage abortion, and psychoactive drug use. Conservatives consider themselves traditionalists in the sense that they feel the values and ideals of the founding fathers and in the scriptures should represent the ideals of our current society and culture.

Spiritual Liberalism vs. Conservatism
So, with an understanding of social liberalism, and social conservatism; how would you characterize your spiritual ideology. Does your spiritual ideology endorse personal responsibility for actions before God, repentance and sanctification (conservatism) or does your spiritual ideology more reflect the idea that Christ accepts us how we are, and the Christs atonement removes the consequences of sin (liberalism)?

Is your political and spiritual ideology the same? Why or why not? I think LDS tend to be social-politically conservative as well as being more spiritually conservative. We are more Judeo- than most Judeo-Christians with an emphasis on personal responsibility for sin, focus on repentance and sanctification (sanctification is a work of the Holy Ghost within us).

Yes, Christ accepts us for who we are, and can overcome the permenant effects of sin. But at the same time, Christ; who has power to overcome the effects of sin; also has power to overcome our sinful natures in this life. Often, that involves allowing us to face the consequences of sin in this world. Through the process of sactification by the Holy Ghost, The Book of Mormon and the Bible teach that Christ saves us "from our sins" and not "in our sins."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Modern Physics and God

[The following is not LDS Doctrine, it is just for fun. The scriptures are not physics text books]

It is the official opinions of several Christian organizations that the Church of Jesus Christ is not Christian. Their reason seemed to focus on our rejection of the Nicene creed, particularly the "oneness of substance of the Father and Christ" as well as believing God is "confined" to a body so that He cannot be considered Omnipresent. And if God is not omnipresent, then He cannot be considered omnipotent

1. Oneness of Purpose
LDS belief in the Trinity is: One God in Three Persons or three Gods of One Purpose. That is, we believe in the God the Father, the Son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost. We acknowledge the divinity of Jesus Christ as fully God. The Son is not the Father, and is a manifestation of the Father in the sense of prefect representation. But this is not modalism. We do not believe that the Godhead should be compared to H2O that can be steam, water, or ice. Jesus is the Son of The Father and not the Father Himself. A better comparison is to say that God is like 3 cells in the same organism (God Head).

Jesus Christ reveals that He had a separate will from the Father. But Christ completely subordinated His will to that of the Father and became one in purpose with the Father. The will is our essence, it is eternal and is separate together with the substance. However, the will can be unified in purpose. In other words. the Father and the Son are 2 distinct and separate personages who are one in purpose. But in another sense, the Father and Son can be considered to share the same substance in that they share the same physical and chemical characteristics, but separate in that they don't share the same atoms.

Matt. 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
John 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

2. The Father has a Glorified Body
God does have a glorified body. But a glorified body is not all that different than a glorified spirit.

Spirit: purified matter, not tangible, anthropomorphic, glorified
Mortal Body: flesh and blood, tangible, anthropomorphic, not glorified
Resurrected Body: flesh and bone, purified matter, tangible, anthropomorphic, glorified.

We do not consider having a body to be confining. Rather, it is empowering. Since we are not confined to the classical laws of Newtonian physics and understand that God is not confined to time or space, then we understand that God has infinite time and can be everywhere and anywhere and still have a body. The clock does not move for God. He dwells in the Eternal Now. Everything is before Him both past present and future. Therefore, he can visit place A at 1:30, and then visit place X and our clock still reads 1:30. The clock never changes. So, in this way God can be tangible, and have parts, and be made of matter and have a form and still be omnipresent.

There is another way that God can "have His cake and eat it too". As God has a body and a spirit we are told to worship Him in spirit and in truth (notice the parallel structure).

3. The Eternal Now
I have been arguing that God who dwells in the "Eternal Now" can have form, substance, material, and tangibleness such that having a form would localize himself to an exact position. But because God has infinite time (his clock doesn't run) He can physically be in more than one place at the same time according to man's concept of time (reference frame).

Col. 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Rev. 10:6 And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:
Rev. 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

But there are other ways that having a form, substance and being made of material does not prevent God's influence from filling the immensities of space.

4. Particle-Wave Duality
Light and electrons behave as individual particles who can be localized to an exact position, but their influence fills a much larger area. Due to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle you couldn't measure the position of an electron and its momentum around an atom, with exact precision; that is until entanglement came around. Now you just entangle particles and measure position in one particle and measure momentum in the other (this kinks are still being worked out). Like electrons and light, God can also be thought of as having particle-wave duality. He has a form, and substance, and is composed of matter, but His influence can still be everywhere.

5. Entanglement
Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and the Quantum Limit said that it was impossible to make exact measurements of electrons around the nucleus of an atom because anything used to make those measurements would change the electrons from their original state. Concequently, man only can obtain an estimation, probability, or perception of the actual values, but not truth itself. With the discovery of entanglement, characteristic of individual particles can be measured with greater precision than the quantum limit allows by measuring for one characteristic in one entangled particle and measuring another characteristic in the other entangled particle. So far, precision measurements using entanglement have exceeded the Quantum Limit but not the Heisenberg Limit.

With our new understanding of entanglement, I think an analogy can be drawn which illustrates the relationship of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. That is, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost can be thought of as entangled beings. And through Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost, can man arrive at a precise knowledge of the Father.

6. The Force of Nature
One of the pressures against the concept of God having a body, form, substance, etc. was the need for God to be omnipresent such that God's presence filled the immensities of space. It was concluded that if God were to be understood to have a body, and to be composed of matter, that He could therefore be localizable and not omnipresent. So, the concept of God was changed from being anthropomorphic in nature to being a "force of nature" like gravity. A few who subscribe to the idea of "intelligent falling" (spoof on Intelligent Design) claim God is gravity. So, by applying classical physics to God, man stripped God of His reality, form, substance, and tangibleness.

However, modern physics shows us that God can have form and substance, and be composed of matter and still fill the immensities of space and be considered literally omnipresent. Quantum Mechanics and Particle Physics has realized in the "Standard Model" that all forces are mediated by particles. That means that not only is the particle exhibiting a force matter, but the force field itself is also matter. Its all matter just as Joseph Smith said it was.

D&C 131:8 We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.

In the same way, God can have a form, and substance and exhibit a force that fills the immensities of space and that force would still be considered matter, as all forces are. So, in a literal way, the substance of God, which emanates from God, is God and is matter. Maybe graviton or Higgs boson (mass carrier) could be renamed the "God particle." I doubt that God could be measured with any man-made instruments but the effects of His influence are everywhere.

Strong nuclear force: Force Particle: quarks, Field Particle: gluons
Electromagnetic force: Force Particle: quarks, Field Particle: photons
Weak nuclear force: Force Particle: lepton, Field Particle: W/Z boson
Gravitational force: Force Particle: Higgs. Field Particle: graviton

7. Near-Death Experiences
I don't understand why some would claim God being a Spirit would mean that He is without form or material substance. Angels, spirits, and devils have form and occupy space even though they are not flesh and bone. Those who have experienced near-death experiences prove this. When they leave their body, they are still anthropomorphic, and have a form in the image of their mortal body. But they are no longer tangible and they can no longer interact with earthly matter directly, (by spiritual communication and influence only). This goes for Satan too who is spirit and appears in the form of a man and angels who are also anthropomorphic. If God is a spirit, why would he be different from all other spiritual beings who are anthropomorphic or at least have form and parts.

8. 3 Generations of Matter
According to the Standard Model of particle physics there are 3 classes of matter. Generation 1 comprises all regular matter consisting of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Generation 1 matter is comprised of a combination of Up/Down quarks and the electron and electron neutrino Leptons. Generation 2 matter is not stable in our known universe and consists of Charm/Strange quarks and the Leptons: Muon and muon neutrino. Generation 3 matter is also not stable and consists of Top/Bottom quarks and Leptons: Tau and Tau neutrino. Particles from the electron, Muon, and Tau families are similar but increase in mass with each generation.

I thought there may be a parallel between the 3 generations of matter in the Standard theory and the LDS doctrine of 3 types of glory/matter as taught in the Bible.

1 Cor. 15:40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.

Maybe it could be said that Terrestial Matter is composed of Generation 2 Matter and Celestial Matter is composed of Generation 3 Matter. The difference would be that Each step would be more massive or in other words, exhibit more of God's nature (Higgs particles).

It leads me to wonder what quality and glory of substance the bodies of Moses, Elijiah, and John the Revelator and other translated being are (City of Enoch). They have been changed from a Telestial state (mortal) to an Terrestial state. Did God change them from Generation 1 to Generation 2 matter. Probably not because Gen 2 matter is not stable. But whatever the mechanism its all matter. Power, light, glory is all matter. If it is not matter, then it isn't real and doesn't exist. Even Paul says faith is substance.

Heb. 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

9. Neutrinos
LDS doctrine on God, and the difference between spirit and flesh emphasizes tangibleness and not form. According to scripture, spirits bodies of man appear like bodies of flesh except they are said not not be tangible. The characteristics of neutrinos seems to illustrate the concept of tangibleness. Electron Neutrinos are theorized to be a major product of the fusion of Hydrogen into Helium that takes place in the sun. The sun is emitting innumerable numbers of these particles every second. However, because these particles do not have charge, they do not interact with matter and are difficult to detect. Zillions of these particles pass straight through the Earth. Scientist say the sun shines neutrinos down during the day, and up at night. They fact that they are detected at all is because by quantum mechanical oscillations which means the neutrinos briefly turn into something else which can be measured.

New experiments are showing that neutrinos may actually have a small mass. But because there are so many neutrinos in the universe, this could explain the missing mass of the universe. In one sense, neutrinos could be the spiritual glue which holds the universe together. Although neutrinos may be measured to have a mass, they would still be considered to be intangible because they lack a charge. Other particles like photons are completely massless and have no charge but do interact easily with matter. So, its hard to say at this point what it is that makes neutrinos so intangible.

10. Conclusion
My point of this post is not to confining God to formulas and theories. But that is exactly what evangelicals have done. They have confined God to the limits of Newtonian physics in saying that God cannot have form or be composed of matter because that would confine God to time and space. However our new and expanding understanding of the laws of physics makes possible all sorts of previously presumed impossibilities. Modern physics allows God to have form, be material, be real, have a body composed of incorruptible matter, to not be confined by time or space and at the same time fill the immensities of space with His glory and therefore His substance (everything is matter). As we learn more about physics, I expect the evidence to further support the truth about God.

However, there is another critical error in evangelical thinking. That is that if God was composed of matter, he would be confined by the laws of nature. Let me say first, that it is not LDS doctrine that the laws of nature, right or wrong, good or evil, or truth and falsehood are above God and that God is "confined" by them. Justice is not a monster that God has to satisfy its demands. God's justice is God keeping His word exactly as He has said. God's mercy is God keeping His word exactly as He has said. Truth is God's word exactly as He has said. Righteousness is doing God's will exactly as He has said. And wickedness is doing anything other than God's will exactly as He has said.

The Laws of Nature do not confine God, God is equal to them, they are co-eternal with God, they are not limitations, but God exercises complete mastery and control over them. The evangelical view point is in error because if you apply it to yourself then you would be forced to conclude that commandments are limitations and restrictions. However, scripture teaches that commandments are not limitations but directions. Physical and spiritual laws to not restrict but they empower. And Christ Himself promised us that "the truth will make us free" (John 8: 32). And although, concerning man, "the letter killeth , but the spirit giveth life;" this doesn't mean God operates and exists independent of natural laws (2 Cor. 3: 6).

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sanctification In This World

Some Christians teach that God will justify Christians in committing a little sin. This is because of a belief that man could never overcome his sin-nature in this life. So, they say that it denies the power of Christ to even try to repent, or be sanctified, because it can't happen. We just need to trust in Christ that he will save us "in our sins".

Well, I do not disagree that is seems improbable that man could escape his sin-nature "in this world." But the Bible promises:

1 Jn. 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

1 Cor. 10: 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Rev. 1: 5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Matt. 1: 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Christ's Atonement has the power to save us "from our sins" and not "in our sins." Now, I don't think that I will be perfect before I die and have totally escaped my sin-nature. But that doesn't mean I give up. And trying does not deny the power of Christ's Atonement. I trust that If I stick-to-it and endure and finish the course, that the love of Christ and the Holy Ghost can have a sanctifying effect on me. And I have witnessed this already in my life. I have seen the progress, and I hope it will continue.

One institution/blessing that God has given us is that of becoming a Husband and a father. I feel like I have been purified and sanctified through this sacred godly calling. There is a certain amount of unselfishness required to be in a successful marriage and to be a successful parent. Being a husband and a parent carries with it a whole set of unique learning experiences and adversities that God has designed to perfect, sanctify us. Or in other words, teach us to rely on Him. But that doesn't mean we stay the same selfish, obstinate person we always are, but God can soften our hearts and empower us to be better. And this same principle goes for all other things God has given us such as scriptures, prayer, church, and priesthood:

Scripture: "That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:17).

Church Organization: "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:" (Eph. 4:13).

Priesthood: "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered *; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchizedek" (Heb 5:8-10). *[in fulfilling the requirements of His priesthood calling]

Gift of the Holy Ghost: "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:" (2 Thes. 2:13, 1 Pet. 1:2, 1 Cor. 6:11)

Prayer for patience in trials: "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God" (James 1:4-5).

The church, the scriptures, the priesthood and the ordinances are prepared to manifest the power of God (Spirit) because by their reception and exercise, we let God work through us and we are empowered and filled more perfectly with His love.

I think to deny that we can be make progress in the path of sanctification in this world is to deny the power of Christ's Atonement. LDS do not think we will arrive at perfection without Christ in this world. We can't even make one step toward him by ourselves. But we believe we can make progress with his help here on Earth. That is why believers are called Saints, because we are in the straight and narrow path of sanctification by Christs blood and the Holy Spirit. LDS believe that the power of Christ's atonement can take effect "in this world" and begin to destroy our sin-nature.

Another reason the LDS preach repentance and sanctification is that the Holy Ghost does not dwell in unholy temples; which temples we are. So, the better we receive the love of Christ in our hearts, the more pure our hearts, the more the Holy Ghost can enter into us, and empower us to good works. Therefore, man can become a chosen vessel filled with Christ's love, and instrument in His hands, and a mirror that reflects His perfect image and countenance. It is a sanctifying honor that God works through us, and allows us to serve one another in His name, and witness the power of His love first-hand.

2 Tim. 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

But there is another major reason the LDS preach the gospel of repentance and sanctification. We try to receive as many good gifts and purify ourselves more fully, because we know that each and every one of our sins added to the pain and anguish Christ felt in the Garden and on the Cross. We try to ask ourselves, how much blood did Christ spill for my sins? How much agony did he experience as he sweat and shed blood for me? Because I love Him, I would like to minimize, as much as possible, my contribution to His anguish .

1 Thes. 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Baptism and other ordinances are not works of man, they are the perfect work of the Holy Ghost within us. Man cannot do one iota of work for his own benefit or salvation, but we can get in the way of the work of the Holy Ghost. The better we receive the Love of Christ and the Power of the Holy Ghost the better reward we will receive proportional to our circumstances. We have to allow the Holy Ghost magnify us.

Remember the parable of the talents. If God has given us 1 talent, then we should not get in the way of the Spirit making us 2, and if 3 then 6 and if 5 then we should return being made 10. Not by our own efforts but by the perfect work of the Spirit. Again, we can do nothing for our own salvation but we too often get in the way of the Spirit which is trying to work through us.

That is why when Christ gave the Holy Ghost, he said, "Receive the Holy Ghost." Although we are justified and we merit it only in Christ, we need to receive it fully and wholly. Christ has given us priesthood, prayer, scriptures, church organization, adversity, and the gift of the Holy Ghost which together sanctify us and work in us. We should receive them all and not impede God's perfect work of sanctification.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Haplogroup X and The Druze of Galilee

The Druze: A Population Genetic Refugium of the Near East. PLoS ONE. 2008 May 7;3(5):e2105.

Critics of the Book of Mormon have been bashing its authenticity the last 5-10 years over mtDNA phylogenic population genetics studies showed that the principal genetic ancestors to the Native Americans are Asian and not from the Middle East. Defenders of the Book of Mormon recognized that the Book of Mormon never claimed that the Nephites of the Book of Mormon would be the main genetic source for modern Native Americans. The Book of Mormon considered the Nephites the "principal ancestors" in a spiritual sense only. In fact the Book of Mormon again and again reiterated that only a small remnant of the Nephite seed would remain.

5 years ago, additional mtDNA work on Native Americans discovered a new haplogroup which had been ignored in previous studies. Haplogroup X (subclave X2a) was considered to be a 5th Native American founding haplotype, although it is not present with the same frequency as the other 4 ( A, B, C, D). What made Haplogroup X of interest to believers in the Book of Mormon is that the Haplotype X2 is not found in Asia but mainly concentrated in Europe and the Middle East.

A new study looks at the Druze population in Lebanon and Northern Israel to examine the high frequency of Haplogroup X among them. Haplogroup X is highly concentrated in this group which has a 1000 year history of isolationism, consanguinity, and endogamy. The Druze are Islamic and not Jewish but have observed a strict orthodox religious and cultural practice since the founding around 1000 AD. The Druze come from a heterogenous founding population which is evidence of the low rate of genetic disease as opposed to the Ashkenazi Jews. But, the high rate of haplogroup X, especially in Galilee, is not believed to have originated with them but is believed to have been a reflection of the genetics of the population at the time the Druze settled Israel. Because of this, the Druze are considered in this latest paper "a population genetic refugium."

Now, Jews did not live in Ottoman Turk controlled Palestine in 1000 AD, but Samaritans still did. It is also less likely that haplogroup X came from the Turks because although Druze DNA is most like current Turkish DNA, Turks don't exhibit haplogroup X to the same degree as the Druze. The source population of Haplogroup X in the Druze is still unknown but remains an intriguing detail.

All population genetic papers assume the time that these migrations happened occurred over 10,000 to 60,000 years ago. However, religionist have never agreed with scientific dating which is based on the assumption of constant rate of cosmic rays hitting the Earth, producing a constant ratio of elemental isotopes, and a constant rate of DNA mutation. There is clear evidence from environmental data that gamma radiation varies over the centuries and science needs to measure and account for this variation in scientific dating.

This evidence suggests that current single-wave migration theories from Asia to the Americas must be rethought. Other papers postulate that at some point, Middle East or European Caucasians had to have migrated to the Americas; some scientist are of the opinion that the migration could have been by ship.

1. Distribution of mtDNA haplogroup X among Native North Americans. Am J Phys Anthropol. 1999 Nov;110(3):271-84.

2. Origin and Diffusion of mtDNA Haplogroup X. Am J Hum Genet. 2003 November; 73(5): 1178–1190.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Great High Priest

A friend of mine asked why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ordains high priests; isn't Christ supposed to be the great and last high priest, and His sacrifice to be the great and last sacrifice?

No where in the Bible does it explicitly say that other high priests were not supposed to be called in Christ's church. Paul in Hebrews beautifully teaches that Christ is our Great High Priest. Yet to begin the epistle Paul also calls Christ the Apostle. Yet that didn't prevent Christ from calling and ordained other Apostles. Paul also calls Christ the Shepherd and Bishop, but other bishops where called to shepherd the body of Christ. Christ is also called King and Lord. But that doesn't prevent the Bible from calling Christ the King of kings and Lord of lords at His second coming. In the same way Paul considers Christ the Greatest High Priest. But that doesn't mean others have not been called to follow Christ and to be ordained and set apart to this holy calling.

Heb. 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

According to the textual, biblical, and cultural context of scripture, God is a God of gods (Ps. 136:2), King of kings, Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16), Apostle of apostles (Heb. 3:1), Judge of judges (Ps. 82:1), Bishop of bishops, Shepherd of shepherds (1 Pet. 2:25), Holy of holies, and High Priest of high priests (Heb. 3:1); the Most High God, and the Most High Priest (Gen. 14:18-20, 22).

What Paul is saying to the Hebrews is that high priests, who before offered their own daily sacrifices, are no more. Now high priests are ordained to represent the Great High Priest Jesus Christ, and administer the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Christ set the table, prepared the feast (trod the winepress alone), but allows us to participate with Him in serving the flesh and blood of His great and last sacrifice. So the point of the epistles was to teach that Christ's sacrifice was to be the last and infinite sacrifice and not that there were to be no more high priests.

And just as we follow Christ down into the waters of baptism, we should follow Christ into being made high priests so that just like Christ was said to have learned obedience from the things he suffered and was made perfect (Heb. 5: 8-9), so by exercising the God's authority of the Melchizedek priesthood we can be be sanctified through participating in Gods work with Him by the Holy Ghost.

Again, LDS high priests do not offer their own sacrifices. They offer Christ's sacrifice and represent Jesus Christ. Everything done in by the priesthood is done in the name of Jesus Christ as if he were doing it Himself. Christ is acting through us by the power of the Holy Ghost and the authority of the priesthood because no man can do good of himself. Therefore, man merely becomes a chosen vessel filled with His love, and instrument in His hands, and a mirror that reflects His perfect image and countenance. It is a sanctifying honor that God works through us, and allows us to serve one another in His name.

And this fits in-line with our concept of Eternal Life and Exaltation that just as we are enabled to participate with God in His work of administering Christ sacrifice here as high priests, we will be enabled to participate with God in His work of creation in Heaven.

Matt. 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Christ in Matthew 16 tells Peter that he would give Peter the Keys of the kingdom. Christ had already called and ordained Peter and an Apostle (John 15:16). So, what are these keys that Peter didn't yet have and when and how did he receive them.

Those keys where the authority of the Melchizedek priesthood. Peter received those priesthood keys soon after from those prophets who had exercised them previously on the Mount of Transfiguration. This was the purpose for the appearance of Moses and Elijah; neither of which had tasted death but were translated beings so that they could pass the authority on to future dispensations by the laying on of hands even though the Christ had not initiated the resurrection yet.

Matt. 17:3-4 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.

[Moses and Elijah will not be the the 2 witnesses in Jerusalem during the tribulation because they will be killed and resurrected. You can't kill a translated being like Moses and Elijah (was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire).]

These same Melchesidek preisthood keys are the same keys which were restored to Joseph Smith when Peter, James and John appeared and ordained the newly called prophet. So, in the last days, there wouldn't just be one high priest ordained, but thousands and even millions. Because of the preisthood of all believers, all believers could be endowed with this authority and from every tribe of Israel; not just Levi.

These are the 144,000 who are sealed before the tribulation. 144,000 being symbolic for a huge number. These will be high priests of the LDS church, from every tribe of Israel, who have been called by prophecy and by the laying of hands, and who have been washed, annointed on their foreheads, and clothed in the undergarments and robes of the priesthood as was Aaron in modern LDS Temples.

Rev. 7:3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

Rev. 7:4-8 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

Despite the biblical evidence, some insist that there is only supposed to be one high priest at a time. Because, this was how it was during the Law of Moses. In a way that is true. Christ is the Great High Priest and all those who are called high priests in the church represent Him and His final sacrifice. However, before the Law of Moses during the times of the Patriarchs there were multiple high priests at the same time. Melchizedek, the Prince of Salem, was considered the greatest high priest over his house until Christ. And Abraham went to Melchizedek and was given the Melchizedek priesthood and ordained a high priest over his house at the time he gave his tithe offering. Abraham then bestowed this priesthood right (birthright) onto his son Isaac who then bestowed it upon Jacob (Israel), who ordained Joseph (clothed him in the temple robe and garment of the priesthood or 'coat of many colors") and then adopted and ordained Ephraim with the same birthright priesthood.

Later, Israel was in a state of apostasy and oppression, Moses was led to the tent of Jethro and was given the Melchizedek priesthood. Jethro, the high priest of Midian, ordained Moses in the same way that Moses was later commanded to wash, anoint, and ordain Aaron high priest over the House of Israel. So, we see, when the Melchizedek priesthood was in full operation it was used to spiritually govern over a family and household. Only in the Law of Moses was it important that there by only one high priest because the detail pointed to and was a type of Christ, The Greatest High Priest.

When Aaron and subsequent High priests were ordained, they were washed, annointed, and clothed in an undergarment and robes of the priesthood. These robes were purple, red, and blue like Joseph's coat of many colors. Now, through the atonement of Christ, Christ's blood has washed our robes white and modern high priests are dressed in all-white in LDS temples.

Many it seems, cannot stand anything that elevates the worth of man. Yes, without Christ man is nothing. But man is not worthless. If evangelicals persist in teaching the worthlessness of man, than how are they any better than evolutionists who teach that man is evolved from slime and not much better than the bonobo.

However, the worth of man is endless and infinite becasue within him are the seeds of divinity because all men are literal spirit children of God. God is love. And God's love is not making more worthless, degenerate beings to circle your throne. God's love and His glory is to give all He has to His children. And for those who put their faith in Jesus Christ, the power of Christ's Atonement will elevate man to become like our Heavenly Father. Christ promises, to those that overcome, will be blessed not only just circle His thone but to sit in His throne with Him, to be dressed in white robes, to be given a new name, and to be heirs of god, kings and high priests unto the Most High God and Most High Preist forever (Rev. 2-3).

Not Infallible, Just More Dependable

A friend asked me if every Christian believer has rights to the Holy Ghost, why priesthood leaders like apostles and prophets are necessary; and if prophets are infallible, how are believers expected to follow them?

Priesthood is the authority to have spiritual responsibility and stewardship over others. There is a hierarchy of priesthood authority from prophets to bishops, fathers and mothers to the individual. The Holy Ghost is the power by which the Priesthood operates. Without the Holy Ghost and the principles of righteousness, the D&C says "Amen to the priesthood and authority of that man" (D&C 121: 37).

Acts 6:3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

Those chosen by God to be priesthood leaders, according to the Bible, were to have demonstrated that they were filled with the Holy Ghost as a prerequisite for being a priesthood leader. While every believer has access to the Holy Ghost, not every believer has received the Holy Ghost to the same degree. Our individual degree of acceptance of the Holy Ghost is based on our continued righteous choices or sin. So, in this way, prophets and apostles are known to have better received the Holy Ghost than the rest of us. But that doesn't make them infallible, just more dependable.

In this way, while all believers have rights to the continual prescence of the Holy Ghost, because the work of sactification is not complete, we may give way to temptation or the appetites of the flesh and loose or momentarily reject the guidance of the Holy Ghost through sin. Prophets and other leaders serve as a backup, helping us to repent and turn to Christ again at times when we may not be listening very well to the Spirit. Otherwise we could be completely cut off from the presence of the Lord.

Because prophets and apostles have the authority to act in the name of God, they can help us know God's will for us. By the Holy Ghost, believers are inspired and empowered to repentance, good works, and ordinances as part of the process of sanctification. The prophets and apostles by virtue of their authority and the power of the Holy Ghost within them can let us know what to expect. Believers are then invited to verify and confirm their words by obedience and prayer.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything

Many criticize the Book of Mormon for the lack of physical/tangible proof to validate its authenticity. I admit that except for Joseph Smith and the 11 witnesses view of the gold plates; there is to-date no clear direct physical proof left by the Nephites. There have not been found any bones, spears, bowls, pottery, writings etc. that archaeologist have independently concluded belonged to a Nephite.

However, there are indirect evidences, and to-date, there are no details in the Book of Mormon that absolutely refute its authenticity. The anti-Mormon crowd got excited about the DNA data, but now with the discovery of Haplotype X2a, turned what was once a criticism of the Book of Mormon into yet another indirect evidence of its plausibility (the other indirect evidences I have listed elsewhere).

But that's all there is, indirect evidence that only serves to rebut attacks on the Book of Mormon, but not real evidence for it. There exists to-date only indirect circumstantial evidence that the Book of Mormon is plausible. But by no means does any of it constitute or should be considered irrefutable, peer-reviewed, iron-clad, smoking-gun proof.

But, My fellow Christians, think for a moment about what you are asking. What do you think would happen if God were to give us one undeniable piece of physical evidence proving the existence of the Nephites. What would that have to be? Would it be enough for independent archaeologists to discover an Ancient American steel sword with an inscription in reformed-Heiratic Egyptian with the name Nephi on it; or ancient, biblical, brass plates with the Books and words from Zenos and Zenock? Do you think Satan wants that? Do you think God would want that?

Why would such evidence be world-shaking? Because if you find such a piece of evidence, you just found proof for everything. That piece of antiquity would not only be proof for the Book of Mormon, but also proof for God, proof for Jesus Christ, proof for prophets, proof for the apostasy, proof for the Bible, proof for Joseph Smith, proof for the restoration. One single piece of physical evidence proving the existence of the Nephites would be pointing to the answer to life, the universe and everything (which is Christ).

And that one piece of evidence would completely destroy faith. After that, everyone would have to convert LDS. Not just Christians, but the entire world would have to be convinced that The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the God of the whole world, and Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of all mankind, and Joseph Smith was His prophet of the restoration. Although, there would always be people that would deny the sun and noonday. However, the problem with what Christians are asking is that you are asking God to destroy faith. And I don't know if it is in His plan to do it.

The Book of Mormon again and again states that the Lamanites sought to destroy any signs of the Nephite records and religion. And if the Lamanites didn't destroy it, then the climate would. The Nephite prophets prayed that the gold plates (their testimony) would survive as a "voice from the dust" to a small "remnant of their seed" (genetically speaking) in the last days. The Book of Mormon prophecies there would be no physical evidence. All that would remain from the Nephites who built in timber, metal, and earth and lived in a tropical rain forest limited to a small area in Central America would be dust. So, there is no clear, direct, tangible, physical evidence of to prove the Book of Mormon.

Evidence for the Book of Mormon is so much more powerful than evidence for the Bible. If you find evidence for Biblical events, that doesn't really prove God and Christ and salvation, it just proves that these things were taught. The Bible doesn't prove God to many people (I appreciate the evidence). But many people claim that even the great prophecies about the details of Christ's life could be self-fulfilling. What do the Atheists say and the Hindus, and Buddhists, and Muslims. I am sure they have their logical arguments against Biblical evidences. The Bible has failed to convince many.

But if someone were to find proof of the Nephites. Wow! That would be world shaking. Such evidence would be of greater significance considering how the Book of Mormon miraculously came to be.

A friend asked me how evidence for the Bible is different than evidence for the Book of Mormon would be. There is a lot of evidence that the Muslims existed. But that doesnt make the Quran true. In the same way, evidence that the Jews existed, or Isaiah or St. Matthew doesnt make their testimony true. Additionally, we would know the Jews existed with or without the Bible. On the other hand, such evidence does help us know that Isaiah and Daniel and St. MAtthew were real poeple and helps us feel a little better about listening to their testimonies. But you still have to rely on their word by faith. And you are still expected to seek a spiritual conformation by the Holy Ghost.

And even if you had proof that the Bible was true and from God 100%. The Bible is understood and interpreted so differently, that you would be left not knowing what interpretation is correct without the spirit of prophecy.

The Nephites are different. Since the only reason we know anything about pre-Christ, Jewish-Christians in America is from the Book of Mormon which was discovered and translated by miraculous means. The existence of the Nephites is a miracle. If the Nephites were discoverd to be right where Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon predicted them to be, there would be no other explaination but divine intervention. So, if we were able to actually discover the Nephites with tangible, physical, direct, smoking-gun proof, that would be direct evidence of a miracle from God. And it would be proof of the Book of Mormom, the Bible, Chirst's Resurrection, Joseph Smith, and everything because the Book of Mormon is not ambiguous in its interpretation.

Also, any direct evidence of the Nephites would become more important than the chosen eye-witnesses themselves. Their testimony would pail in comparison to tangible evidence. Why rely on faith in their words when you can see it for yourself. Then, that evidence transforms the person who sees it into an eye-witness of the miracle because you would now know without doubt that the Nephites existed independent of faith and testimony and the Holy Ghost.

I don't think its in God's plan to destroy the need for faith. Because #1, the wicked who did not accept the proof would be held fully accountable for rejecting the proof and could not claim ignorance. #2 I don't think God doesn't wants too many fair-weather converts in the church (wheat and tares). #3 God chooses us when He knows we are ready, we don't choose Him

Rom. 8:29-30 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.

God calls us into His church and calls us to have a relationship with Him. We don't choose God first. We can do not good of ourselves. Although many are called, few are chosen. When God comes calling, he will call His sheep and His sheep will hear his voice. These are they who will be chosen, these will be His sheep and He will be their shepherd.

Repentance and Sanctification

1 Thes. 4:3-4 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
1 Cor. 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Matt. 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Mark 6:12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is criticized for emphasizing repentance and sanctification by the reception of the Holy Ghost and the love of Christ over just talking about (God accepts you just as you are) grace. Additionally, critics of the Book of Mormon comdemn it for saying that Christ came to "save us from our sins and not in our sins."

Now this emphasis on repentance and sactification should not be misunderstood to be teaching that we believe that we are saved by works. What the LDS believe is that the justified believer in Christ is imputed with His righteousness so that the believer can merit reception of the Holy Ghost. Then its the Holy Ghost with enters into the believer and empowers him to good works.

This emphasis on repentance and sanctification is what attracts me to the LDS faith because although Christ's atonement can cover my sins when judgement day comes, SIN STILL HAS PAINFUL CONCEQUENCES in this world. That is why I appreciate the LDS chruch for helping me be a better person and helping me sin less by warning me against sin and helping me recieve the love of Christ in my heart more perfectly.

1 Jn. 4: 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Book of Mormon Evidences

Archeology does a better job at uncovering what a civilization looked like at its end, just before its destruction or dispersal because each successive generation builds on top of the remains of the one proceeding it. Consequently, 85% of archaeological evidence for the Bible consists of details about Jerusalem just before the Roman Siege. The earliest NT transcripts only date to 250 AD. Most other evidence for the Bible resides in the Dead Sea Scrolls which date to 250 - 60 BC at the point when the Qumran society was destroyed.

According the the Book of Mormon, the Nephites were not Christian before their destruction. So, it would be unlikely to find Christ in the American Archaeological record other than the tradition of "the great white god," Quetzalcoatl. Again, this is because archeology does a better job of uncovering a society at its end, at the time of its destruction (like Pompeii).

Moroni 9 describes the spiritually bankrupt state of the Nephites at 400-421 AD just before their destruction. Taking into account these "Apocalypto"-like details, the archaeological evidence in support of the gruesome atrocities are considerable.

The Nephites predicted that none of their records would remain in their corrosive, tropical environment other than gold plates. And since their building technology consisted of earth, timber, and metallurgy, I wouldn't expect to find any of this still in tact. Cement wasn't mentioned until near the end of the Book of Mormon and only in the cities northward.

Also, the Book of Mormon claims the Lamanites continually sought to destroy the records of the Nephites. That is why Mormon and Moroni were forced to hide their gold plates up in the Mountain of Comorah in Central America and the Hill Comorah in New York respectively (one shouldn't be confused for the other).

Archaeological and DNA evidence is actually beginning to support claims in the Book of Mormon. Proof of Pre-Colombian contact with the Americas is supported by Egyptian mummies which tested positive for significant amounts of cocaine and tobacco, New World and Old World mummies with genetically similar viruses, and parasites (hookworm). There are studies which genetically link ancient chicken bones in Chile and Polynesia.

Also, the Book of Mormon never claimed that the Nephites would represent the majority of the genetic ancestry of the Native Americans. The Book of Mormon says again and again that only a remnant of their seed (DNA) would remain. They are the principal ancestors only in the spiritual sense according to the covenants of God. Now geneticists have discovered haplotype X2a (clave) which is found among the Amerinds and in the Middle East. Although it is found in only a minor percentage of Native Americans when compared with the other Asian haplogroups, the presence of X2a cannot be explained by current bearing straight, land-migration models or theories (assuming errant scientific dating).

Word-fingerprint analysis studies which support multiple authorship in the Book of Mormon. Hebraisms, Idiomatic expressions, and Jewish poetic style are verified in the Book of Mormon and are believed to be unknown to contemporaries of Joseph Smith.

The concept of Reformed Egyptian is now verified. Complex Egyptian hieroglyphics were simplified by priests to be written with a few simpler brush strokes on papyrus. The earliest form is known as Hieratic which was followed by Demotic and then Coptic. The Book of Mormon claims that an Egyptian Hieratic script was further modified to write on metal plates and used to record Hebrew and not Egyptian. Writing Hebrew with an Egyptian script sounded preposterous to scholars until examples of ancient Semitic writing in hieroglyphics has been recently discovered.

Geography of Lehi's journey through Arabia is geographically verifiable. Candidate sites have been identified. Lush coast, timber, and iron ore has been identified in candidate sites for the Valley of Bountiful in modern Oman.

The Book of Mormon predicts that the Dead Sea Scrolls would be nearly identical to the Bible we now have other than our Bible would not contain as many books. Lehi prophesied that the Brass Plates would not be dimmed any more by time.

Evidence is mounting that Ancient Americans may have had horses, barley, and iron technology. Ancient iron ore, open-pit, mines have been identified in Chile and Iron smelters in North America (google ancient American iron). It is interesting that when Nephi first lays eyes on Laban's sword he is more impressed by its "precious steel" blade than its gold hilt. Scholars believed that steel technology wasn't known to the ancient Jews in 600 BC, but the recent discovery of the Vered Jericho sword (iron blade with bronze hilt) demonstrates that Laban's steel sword and Nephi's steel bow may not have be so far fetched. Also, the detail about Nephi's bow breaking as opposed to wood bows "losing their spring" is perfect science since carbon inclusions in the steel would generate micro-cracks after years of stress eventually resulting in a catastrophic failure (break).

The Book of Mormon contains an interesting health detail. It talks about using roots and plants to treat the "cause" of disease and seasonal fevers instead of ascribing illness to evil spirits, bad air, or sin. This concept of disease is very advanced for the time of Joseph Smith where the germ theory of disease was not developed until decades later by Louis Pasteur.

The warfare in the Book of Mormon is advanced in comparison to the Napoleonic strategy taught at West Point up to the Civil War. The Book of Mormon discusses complex tactics including spying, position fortification, supply lines, retreat, flanking, reinforcements, ambushes, and chemical and biological warfare (liquor).

The Book of Mormon also described advanced concepts in the theory of civilization. It discusses the process of transforming a savage, third-world, hunting-gathering society into one that is ready to support an advanced civilization and missionary work by implementing 6 steps: 1. Agriculture, 2. literacy, 3. Industrialization 4. Free Trade, 5. Religious Liberty, 6. Elected Government.

Meaning of Words

Some claim that the LDS have changed the meaning of many scriptural words. I admit that some of our disagreements with other Christians are due to the different meaning LDS and Orthodox attatch to words. However, LDS do not use words differently to be dishonest. Because of the Apostasy, Satan changed the meaning of many words. With the restoration, LDS are restoring words to their origional scriptural meaning. Here are a few examples.

1. Faith
False Meaning: If I just believe strong enough I can change the mind and will of God.
True Meaning: I will accept and trust the mind and will of God, even if its not what I want.

2. Hope
False Meaning: What you feel when you buy a lottery ticket.
True Meaning: The assurance you feel that you got 100% on your test because you put in the effort (thanks to God) to study and prepare sufficently.

3. Charity
False Meaning: A gift a man gives to the poor.
True Meaning: The true love of Christ that God gives in the heart of one who has faith and a hope in Chirst (best develped by serving the poor).

4. Salvation
False Meaning: Not going to Hell
True Meaning: Being saved from physical death and separation from your body as well as being saved from spiritual death which is a separation from God the Father.

5. Eternal Life and Exaltation
False Meaning: Living with God circling His throne forever.
True Meaning: Knowing God, Living like God, sitting in God's throne with Him, and enjoying eternal progression, learning, and the ability to join with God in His work of creation forever.

6. Damnation
False Meaning: Going to Hell
True Meaning: To stop ones progress or loosing the ability for eternal progression. Therefore, salvation without exaltation = damnation.

7. Worship
False Meaning: Praise God with your mouth
True Meaning: Praise God with your actions (obedience and service)

8. Blasphemy
False Meaning: Elevating the worth of man by claiming that man can be exalted
True Meaning: Denying the power of God to exalt man

9. Pride
False Meaning: Elevating the worth of man by claiming that man can be sanctified and perfected in this world by the Holy Ghost
True Meaning: Rejecting the will of God by denying the Holy Ghost

10. Love of God
False Meaning: Man is worthless and nothing, but God will save us anyways so as to have more worthless creatures circling His throne worshipping Him with our mouths only for eternity.
True Meaning: Man is nothing without God, but with God man has infinite potential. God's greatest desire is to give everything He has to His children who he has promised will sit with Him in his throne, and worship Him by participating in His work of creation abd worshipping Him with our whole bodies for eternity.