Sunday, October 15, 2017

Alpha and Omega



Rev 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

Jesus Christ declared that He is the first and the last, alpha and omega.   Alpha and omega are Greek letters, but Christ spoke and taught in Aramaic and Hebrew.  In Hebrew the first letter in the alphabet is the "aleph" and the last is "tav".  So, it's more likely that Christ would have said He is "the aleph and the tav."  

One significant meaning of this is that the earliest paleohebrew character for aleph is the ox head and the earliest paleohebrew character for tav is the cross.  Therefore in saying that Christ is the aleph and the tav, Christ was prophesying that He was the ox slain on the cross.

The word את [et] is the most frequent word in Hebrew . It constitutes over 2%  of the words in any text – making it more than twice as frequent as the next word.  את [et] is a structural word that comes before a definite object. It has no equivalent in the English language.  I find it fascinating, that the most common Hebrew word may point to the promised Messiah. 

את [et] also means "with" like in the verse, "And Lot also, which went with Abram" (Gen 13:5).  However, עם [im] is an alternative word for "with."  When God tells Balaam to go with the King of Moab, He says, "arise and go with them" (Num 22:20) – using the word את. But when Balaam actually goes, the verse uses  עם [im] and not  את [et]. Verse 22 then says that "God’s anger was kindled because he went".  This suggests going with  את [et] includes going with the Lord, while עם [im] may not.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/myhebrewwords.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/1-את-et-the-most-common-word-in-the-hebrew-language/amp/

Friday, October 13, 2017

Provident Living: Bread of Life


Provident living is part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Christ taught that His Second Coming will occur after a period of tribulation.  God desires that His people be prepared to endure through these perilous times.  Those who harken to the warnings contained within God's word will be blessed to receive His kingdom at His coming.

Matt 24: 29-30 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

As a small part of my provident living focus, I learned a great bread recipe that I can make in my Vitamix blender.  This recipe requires no additional bread maker or mixer. 

King Arthur Flour Recipe: 1 lb. loaf:
 
2/3 cup warm water
1/4 cup warm milk
2 Tbsp melted butter
5 tsp sugar (heaping)
1 heaping tsp dry yeast

Combine warm liquid ingredients with yeast in medium-sized pyrex measuring cup and let stand until foamy head forms (15 min).

2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/4 tsp salt (1 tsp)

Add flour and salt to Vitamix dry grains container. Pulse your variable-speed Vitamix beginning at speed 1 and increasing to speed 6 until a deep central well forms in the flour.  

Add liquid ingredients to dry grains container by pouring contents of pyrex  into flour/salt mixture.  Pulse for 2-3 seconds at speed 6 a few times until all liquid has been added. 

Perform a series of 25 -40 short 1-second pulses at speed 6 proceeding to scrape the dough away from the sides of the Vitamix container using a wet spatula.  Scrape dough away from sides of container after every 5 pulses until the dough achieves an even, smooth, yet still-sticky consistency. 

After achieving a uniform and smooth consistency, pulse the Vitamix for about 10-20 seconds until the dough ball rises in the container above the blades and pour/scrape the dough out of the Vitamix container into a greased bread pan. 

Lightly smooth out the bread dough in the bottom of the bread pan using a wet spatula.  Then cover the bread dough with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour. 

Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees F and bake for 40 minutes or until lightly browned. 

Techniques for achieving a crispy crust (I don't do any and get perfect crust):
1. Brush top of loaf with  egg whites prior to baking.
2. Sprinkle top of loaf with water prior to baking.
3. Pre-heat cast iron pan in lower oven rack and add water to create steam during first 20 minutes of bake time, then remove. 
4. Add caserole dish to lower oven rack containing ice cubes to generate steam during first 20 minutes of bake time, then remove.
5. Crack open oven door during last 5 minutes of bake time. 

Cleaning Vitamix Dry Grains Container:
Fill 2/3rds full with warm water and dab of dish soap and spin at high speed until clean. 

How does it Taste? 
The loaf was soft, light and spongy, with a nice crispy crust. Its not wonder bread but the loaf turned out to be about as light yet substantive as I have ever tasted in homemade bread. 

Drawbacks:
Vitamix can only makes 1 loaf at a time and the loaf doesn't last long in my house before its devoured. 

Next Time:
Grind storage wheat in the Vitamix dry grains container and make either a whole wheat or 50/50 white-wheat loaf.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

2017 October General Conference Sunday Afternoon



Elder Ballard
Jane Manning James, African American Saint traveled to Salt Lake with the pioneers and was a faithful Latter-day Saint all her life.
Remember the faith of our pioneer forbearers like Jane Manning James because we need that same faith today.
Margaret McNeal Ballard and Henry Ballard severed 30 and 40 years respectively as Relief Society President and Bishop in Logan.
Converts gather locally today.
We are tested in life to see if we will obey all that God has commanded.
What is our final destination? Where are our footsteps taking us?
Keep the doctrine of Christ pure.  Do not listen to those who have not been ordained and sustained by common consent or those who claim secret answers to doctrinal questions.
Beware of healing power outside priesthood or accepted medical practices.
Priesthood and Relief Society provide for our spiritual and temporal well-being.  
Welcome everyone making their trek into the faith wherever they come from. Eliminate all prejudice.

Elder Callister
Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion and testimony
How did a 23-year-old farm boy come up with an intricate story and dictate it from memory without notes keeping all details consistent.
Where did he get such profound doctrine?
Alma’s Sermon on Faith, King Benjamin’s Sermon, Allegory of the Olive Tree
God’s fingerprints are all over the Book of Mormon.
It was revelation and not brilliance that was the source.
Joseph Smith coined wonderful living phrases in a single draft.
If a Satanic imspired, how does the Book of Mormon inspire millions to follow Christ and His example and improve their lives and give selfless service. 
I would have to deny the confirming witness of the Holy Ghost
When I focused on what the Book of Mormon taught about Christ and not geography, I gained a testimony of its truthfulness.
The Book of Mormon serves as both sword and shield.

Elder Koch
The Lord expects us in the church to be one despite our differences.
Concentrate on our common spiritual goals like my connection with a disabled World Cup soccer fan in Brazil.
Hearts knit together in unity. Be careful in our comments, labels.
No one is a badly finished product.
Simon Ryder was offended about misspelling his name and criticized Joseph Smith and left the church.
My father strongly suggested building renovation should be done by contractor and was rebuked but stayed humble and helped with construction.  He passed away before it was completion, our family continued to be united and help with renovation.

Elder Ellis
Thank you to the helping hands who assisted with Hurricane relief.  The Lord trusts us with priesthood and keys, restored church, temple, sealing power, parents of children.
Hard is good, makes us stronger
Handcart pioneers came to know God in their extremity.
Book of Mormon spends several chapters on getting brass plates but only a few verses on recruiting Ishmael’s family.
Christ learned by the things he suffered.
Hard is part of the gospel plan like the people of Alma
God tries our patience and faith like Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail
Choose the harder right than the easier wrong.
Cannot help butterfly escape cocoon or chick out of its egg.
Millionaires I work with want to provide easy life for their children. JCPenny told his children that they were on their own after high school.
Flee, fight, or do nothing: do not decide or act out of fear.

Elder Parrella
Will you still be my mother in heaven? My mother told me no.
The missionaries taught us that the restored gospel our family could be together forever.
Conversion required some habit and tradition changes.
The First Vision restored 3 truths: 1. God calls prophets, 2. Love of God who tries and blesses, 3. Mission of Jesus Christ overcoming sin and death.
The Prophet called us at BYU to actively seek marriage. So, I arranged a 2-month internship in Brazil and met and was engaged during that short period.

Elder Ardern
Critics of the Church and Book of Mormon like Zeezrom can eat away at our spiritual roots like a caterpillar.
Members fortify themselves by heading prophetic direction in increasing Sabbath day observance, doing family history work and family prayer.
Turn away from the pointing fingers from the great and spacious building
James taught that the trial of our faith worketh patience.
Fisherman read Book of Mormon while away on his fishing boat and was converted by the Holy Ghost.
Don’t let questions extinguish our faith.
Elder Holland taught to hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until addition knowledge comes

Elder Alonso
Love is a combination of actions and feelings.
Set aside mobile devices and show love by serving others with our hands and feet.
Son Cooper was stuck by a car, received a priesthood blessing, but passed away.
I prayed to Jesus Christ to take away my grief. He did.
We met with the young driver of the car.
We choose to forgive and love this young man.

Elder Andersen
We come to General Conference to be taught from on high.
Unassigned talks and themes are coordinated seemlessly by the Spirit.
Certain phrases are given by revelation and personalized direction is given. 
"You don't know everything, but you know enough" helped me serve a mission and another get married.
Often His voice directs us to change something in our lives.
Elder Hales passed away 3 hours ago and was unable to give the talk he had prepared.
Elder Hales: "Our faith prepares us to be in the presence of God"
Conference is a treasure chest of heavenly direction.
Dr. Nelson heeded the Prophet's call to "lengthen our stride" to learn Chinese and serve the Chinese.  Dr. Nelson immediately hired a tutor which led him to be invited to perform a surgery on a prominent Chinese artist/singer.
President Monson: As I leave this conference. I invoke a blessing upon you: may the messages and spirit of this conference find expression in all you do, in your homes, in your work, in your meetings and in all your comings and goings. I love you, I pray for you, may God bless you.  May His promised peace be with you now and always.


2017 October General Conference Sunday Morning



Sister Bigham

How do we find joy in the face of adversity and natural disasters?

Focus on the Savior Jesus Christ

Christ felt our pains, loss, persecutions, hunger and abuses. 

We must trust Gods answers.

God is our source of healing and peace.

God is more concerned with our progress over our comfort.

We have divine potential and royal promise

Building testimony will be better in adversity than an internet post. 

Reach out to serve.


Elder Hallstrom

Man who fell off a cliff on Mt. Shasta experienced miracles of healing

Another 2 couples who died in plane crash didn't.

Has the day of miracles ceased?

Sometimes there is intervention sometimes not. (Dan 3:17-18)

Are we looking for the wrong kind of miracles?

Spiritual miracles are available to all.


Elder Bednar

Do not neglect spiritual priorities

Don't forget where we are going and why we are running

Sabbath, Temple, Homes can help us remember.

Change in our nature, little by little.

Covenants and ordinances are the means that God has provided

We dress and act differently in the temple.

Sabbath and Temple are both sacred spaces. 

We must bring spirit back to our homes

Don't be overcome by the mundane matters and become partakers of the divine nature.


Bishop Waddell

How do we respond when life provides unexpected paths?

Bro. Shumway blinded on D-day: job, married, bishop, patriarch, mission.

Hope and peace are always available through Christ in any circumstance.

We can only control how we respond to challenges.

God eased the burden of the people of Alma.  They turned to the Lord.

Brazen Serpent; those who looked lived

God will support us in our trials and troubles

Scriptures, prayer, blessings, professional counseling, and medication.


Elder Zwick

Look beyond what we can see

Look beyond assumptions and stereotypes

Offer a reason to hope

Lord looketh upon the heart

Elijah: They that are with us are more

We surround ourselves with those who see as we do

We should be kind but do not need to embrace false ideas

Jesus Christ at the center of our lives will open our eyes

Delete negative thoughts about others


President Eyring

Read the Book of Mormon daily

Sense of optimism and greater love of other

Fear not little flock, do good, perform the work that I commanded you and ye shall inherit the Kingdom of Heaven

Teton Dam: where can we go to help?

Miracle of quiet courage

Pioneers exhibited miracle of faith to build God's Zion.

Yellow Angels: Mormon helping hands in Florida

Missionary Service

Greater courage and concern for others

The world will be in commotion in the Last Days.  

The Latter-day Saints will be worthy to receive the Lord when He comes.

Doubt not, fear not; pray always and be believing.

Be persistent and consistent in following prophetic counsel.

The best days are ahead for God's Kingdom.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

2017 October General Conference Priesthood Session



Elder Renlund

A rocket's mission is delivering a payload

Christ's atonement is the payload

Priesthood is only useful if payload is delivered

Priesthood is the rocket. 

Minor defects can compromise the rocket leading to catastrophic failure.

We have the priesthood to help others, bring others to Christ, teach His commandments, administer His ordinances.

Covenant is like holding water in cupped hands. If we loosen fingers, we can't hold any water.

We can't be casual about our covenants.

Restoration of blessings revokes excommunication.


Elder Evans

While you question, remember to do the things you know you should and not do the things you know you shouldn't

Do what is necessary to gain a testimony.

Keep testimony alive

Act by reading the Book of Mormon  and giving away our sins


Elder Maynes

Developing integrity of heart cultivates Gods trust

Integrity engenders trust which brings peace

Never compromise your integrity or take a bribe.


President Uchtdorf

It helps to talk to someone who cares about our struggles

"I would rather wait in line, the stamp machine won't ask me about my arthritis"

Vibrant spiritual health without stagnation.

Spiritual wounds are not incurable.

Healing power of Christ is alive in our day.

The Light of Christ allows us to see things as they really are.

We can then have a perfect brightness of hope.


President Eyring

Honor the priesthood 

Beware eroding faith in our leaders

Beware fault-finding

Do not cut the thread that binds you to the prophet

Be faithful like Brigham Young was to Joseph Smith



2017 October General Conference Saturday Afternoon


Elder Stevenson

Beware spiritual eclipses

Use social media to share gospel

Beware time wasting

Beware idealized reality and debilitating comparisons

Beware of pride

The gospel of Jesus Christ is our spiritual light.


President Owen

Repentance brings happiness, confidence and peace.

True repentance leads to commitment.

Repentance is for saints and sinners

We are all prodigals

Repentance is a lifetime pursuit

Do not procrastinate 


Elder Cook

Beware self-importance

Life is short like a British summer

Consider Christ's condescension 

Have we been sufficiently humble?

Humility is serving faithful in any calling

Beware self-aggrandizement 

Beware the natural man and calls for authenticity as an excuse. 

Men are given weaknesses to be humble

Humility is a sign of spiritual strength


Elder Rasband

God does not work by coincidence but by divine design.

Nephi was led by the spirit not knowing beforehand what he should do.

No weapon can frustrate God's plan of happiness.

God knows the end from the beginning.

God will orchestrate opportunities in our lives. 

Right devisions will foster Gods confidence in us.

Agency means we have a choice to follow God's divine design or not.

God knows what we are capable of.

God is in the small details and bigger milestones.


Elder Haleck

The poor widow gave all her living

The pacific saints show similar faith

Family suffered social stigma, employment

America Samoa contributed to building of their temple joyfully


President Nelson

Diamonds, rubies or scriptures; which is of more value to us?

Study the Book of Mormon: what does it refute, affirm and reveal.

Testifies that Jesus is the Christ

Teaches the doctrines of Christ

Restores plain and previous truths

Answers questions of the soul

Exposes tactics of adversaries

Refutes false doctrines like infant baptism

Proves the heavens are not sealed

We will receive answers to our own questions and overcome personal struggles.









2017 October General Conference Saturday Morning



President Uchtdorf

God's Spirit will lead us home

If we seek our Heavenly home and follow the Savior, Our lives will be better but not trouble free

Fruit of the gospel is not material wealth but joy and peace

God will increase our strength

Begin our journey home

Seek to be a blessing to others

God uses the weak and imperfect if we are humble


Sister Oscarson

Natural disasters brings opportunities for service

Whosoever will lose his life shall save it

Service is our purpose

We do not go to church for what we get out of it

Yes learn doctrine and feel inspired but also lift others

Servers and suppliers, not just takers and consumers

Look to Minister to others


Elder Oaks

The wisdom of God is foolishness to the world

Do not seek the vain things of the world

We should expect mocking and opposition 

We should forsake the world

Salvation is an individual matter

Exaltation is a family matter

Sometimes truth causes conflict

Family Proclamation is not just a policy

Show love for all but fearlessly follow our faith 

In 1995, the Family Proclamation was inspired and prophetic

It is a test for our generation


Elder Pingree

God has a work for each of us

Improve our discipleship by serving others

Identify and develop spiritual gifts

Make use of adversity

Tribulation helps us serve others

Avoid distraction and discouragement

Allow God to work through us

Deflect personal praise

"Here am I, send me"


Elder Christopherson 

The 5000 hung around wanting to be fed again

Jesus wanted the people to eat His flesh and blood (spiritually) not just the barley loaves

This is a hard saying, who can hear it?

Feast upon the words of Christ

Each torn piece of bread is unique just as our needs, struggles are unique

Internalize the qualities of Christ

Give away all our sins

Gap between our sinfulness and the holiness of God

We must be humble and plead for forgiveness

Christ is the Son of the Man of Holiness

Seek holiness in all we do, think, hear


Elder Holland

Be ye therefore perfect

How can we ever measure up

Are covenants just curses and condemnations?

We may not be perfect here but this does not justify our sins

We are all debtors, our debt is incomprehensible




Wednesday, September 27, 2017

2017 October General Women's Conference


President Dieter F. Uchtdorf:

"We are responsible for our own discipleship, and it has little--if anything--to do with the way others treat us."

"I am not going to let other people and their opinions stop me from singing"

Don't be a victim or a hater.  Be a true disciple. 

Stay on the path and press on.  Never let go of the iron rod ... and when anyone tries to make you ashamed for partaking of the love of God, ignore them. 

Fill your heart with gratitude and find refuge in the organizations of thr Church.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Council of Fifty





The LDS Church History Department has been anxiously engaged in the publishing the Joseph Smith Papers and an updated Church History.  One wonderful aspect of Church history that has come out of this project is revealing more details about the Council of 50 at Nauvoo.  

The LDS Church is led be a First Presidency, Council of the Twelve, and Council of the Seventies. But not much was known by the general membership about the Council of 50. Joseph Smith was not only the President of the LDS Church but also Mayor of the City of Nauvoo.  The Council of 50 was focused on more political and logistical issues of running a vibrant city.




After the martyrdom of Joseph Smith the Council of 50 continued to meet.  When it became apparent that the state of Illinois was unwilling to protect the LDS and we were going to need to abandon Nauvoo, the Council of 50 discussed and explored potential locations.

Several fascinating lessons that can be learned from the Council of 50.  Joseph Smith had prophesied that the latter-day would become a great people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains. However, when it came to making the decision to flee Nauvoo and settle in the barren Salt Lake Valley, all other options were considered.   The Council of 50 explored settling in Texas, Oregon, California, and even with certain Native American tribes.  However, after all alternatives were exhaustively explored, the Council formed a unanimous consensus around the will of God and the prophetic words of the Prophet. 

Settling in the barren Salt Lake Valley next to a dead sea was the most unlikely and ill-advisable option. There were so many more  attractive options.  But the consensus of the Saints to leave the United States and settle next to the Great Salt Lake and thoughout the Rocky Mountains demonstrates the inspired operation of the Council of 50 and evidence of the divine providence of God. Had God not revealed His will through the prophet Joseph Smith, the Saints would have never seriously considered it.  Yet, modern Israel made the deserts of the Great Basin blossom as the rose. 

Sometimes God may allow us to briefly go down a couple of wrong roads so that when we eventually start down the right road we know it's the right one; especially is the right on is bumpy.

Another major policy issue that was considered by the Council of 50, was a discussion on proper civil government. Free discussion on these sensitive matters is believed to be a reason why the proceedings of the Council were not publicized.  Like the discussion on where the LDS should settle, the Council of 50 discussed vsrious aspects of goverment from theocracy and democracy to socialism and communalism.   

The LDS had been betrayed by the United States government.  The US and several state governments had denied them their freedom of religion and failed to protect life, liberty, and property.  So, in the end of extensive deliberations, it seems the most unlikely result that the Council of 50 formed a unanimous consensus that the US Constitution was an inspired document and that the LDS Church should defend the US Constitution; even if its leaders were desecrating it through their evil policies of Manifest Destiny, slavery and a Mormon extermination order in Missouri.

The prophet Joseph Smith had taught that God had raised up the founders and inspired them to establish this nation and its constitution which would serve as a model of constitutional goverment thoughout the world.  It is because of the revelations of God through Joseph Smith that it was decided for Joseph Smith to champion the constitution and run for POTUS instead of abandoning it or opposing it. Unfortunately, Joseph Smith was killed not long thereafter. 

Joseph's influence and the consensus of the Council of 50 led Joseph's predecessor Brigham Young to heed the call of the US goverment in supplying the US Army with men during the Mexican-American war (Mormon Battalion) while fleeing Illinois and walking with their wives and children to the Utah Territory.  Instead of forming their own nation, the LDS  eventually sought statehood. In spite of the many abuses, the LDS have remained fearlessly patriotic and devoted to the US Constitution and standing up for the liberty and freedom.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Excommunication and Redaction


I don't keep my religion a secret at work.  I hope I don't shove religion down people's throat, but I do wear it on my sleeve.  When a prominent LDS general authority was excommunicated several weeks ago, several of my work colleagues wanted to know more about it.  They actually had heard about it before I had. While the LDS Church has rightly kept the details of the matter in confidence, I considered the situation a positive for the Church even if it was a tragic negative for the individual. It's good for the LDS Church to have an occasional  excommunication because it shows that its keeping its house clean and not sweaping dirt under the rug. 

Similarly,  Elder Jeffery R. Holland was very forthcoming in his redaction of an amazing missionary story that was shared at a leadership meeting.  Elder Holland shared a story about a miraculous prodigal conversion that went viral on social media. While the prodigal return did occur, it turns out that some of more spectacular details of the story were not accurate. When Elder Holland learned that many of details of the story were not accurate, he forthrightly made a public correction.  Making mistakes is human, but openly and publicly confessing mistakes and setting the record straight is divine. 

D&C 1:24-28 Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding. And inasmuch as they erred it might be made known; And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed; And inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent; And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Reformed Egyptian Example



1Nephi 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.

Mormon 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.

Stefan Wimmer's 2008 book Palastinisches Hieratisch (Palestinian Hieratic) has dozens of examples of a writing system used in Israel about the time of Lehi that renders Hebrew vocabulary and syntax in Egyptian Hieratic script.




It turns out that there are many examples of the Aramaic and even the Hebrew language written in various Egyptian scripts.  Hieratic was used as a shorthand for business transactions and was known to be very efficient and compact. The compactness of Egyptian heiratic was precisely the reason Mormon gave as the reason why the script was used for the Book of Mormon.

Mormon 9: 33 And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew;

Using this and other sources, Jerry Grover has been able to make a translation of the available Book of Mormon characters recorded by Joseph Smith, John Whitmer, and Matin Harris from the Gold Plates. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Book of Mormon Insurgency

Dear Bro. -------- --------,

My name is David Brosnahan and I just finished listening to your talk at the 2016 FAIR conference about insurgency.  I write a blog at ldsdoctrine.blogspot.com.  I very much enjoyed your talk as it really got me pondering about your topic. 

It seems that this talk was a bit in reaction to "Even unto Bloodshed" which used the Book of Mormon to justify the current US war on terrorism. While I agree with your disaproval of that book and its conclusions, I don't think your disapproval took you in the right direction.  Your tone in the talk seemed slightly critical of certain aspects of the Book of Mormon as well as certain aspects of Church policy that might be viewed as harsh or might cause guilt (eg. talk on pornography). 

It seemed to me that you were more in favor of policies that show unconditional love in most circumstances and less supportive of policies that might "enlarge the wounds of those who are already wounded" (Jacob 2:9). This is, in fact, a major theme of the Book of Mormon.  Teaching according to the Holy Order in the Book of Mormon was compared and contrasted to Nehor, priestcraft, and the corrupt practice of only preaching a positive-only, "popular" doctrine.  The true prophets, on the other hand, were duty bound to call the people to repentance and as Nephi from his tower commented a bit sarcastically, "why have ye gathered yourselves together? That I may tell you of your iniquities?" (Hel 17:13).

The truth is, that abscesses like sins sometimes need to be painfully drained before healing salve applied. God instructs us to sometimes reprove each other, followed up by a demonstration of increased love.  

I think there may be a misunderstand about the nature of conspiracy and consequently a possible misunderstanding about what Captain Moroni and others like Lachonus were fighting against. 

We first need to understand the term robber vs. thief. The term robber is not being used in the Book of Mormon to vilify the socially and politically marginalized. Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute has explained that robbery in the Bible (hamas), was a great sin leading to the Great Flood.  "the whole world was filled with violence" (hamas = robbery).

Rabbi Richman goes on to explain the meaning of robbery using the following anecdote.  Imagine there is a bean-seller selling beans in the market. If one person stole all this man's beans, the bean-seller would be bankrupt and the law broken.  But if all the town conspired against the bean-seller to only steal one bean each, the bean-seller's business would still be destroyed but no law would be broken.  This conspiracy to destroy within the constraints of the law is the true meaning of robbery (hamas).  

Because we fail to understand the nature of secret combinations, works of darkness, and conspiracy in the Book of Mormon, many LDS and non-LDS are blind to the true nature and operation of conspiracy in the world around us today.  I agree with you in your disapproval of the seemingly endless wars in the Middle East, but I don't think that we need to criticize Captain Moroni or sympathize with the ISIS insurgency to arrive at this same conclusion.  In my opinion, the Book of Mormon does not justify the current preemptive US war on terror.  But if we really understood the warning of the Book of Mormon we would realize the secret combinations around us have already gotten above us (Ether 8).

So, what was really going on in the Book of Mormon?  The Gadiantons were not a picked-on ethnic minority. Although Gadianton-leaders no doubt recruited the marginalized.  Gadianton leaders were king-men whose main purpose, like the Lamanites, was to steal (legally or illegally) from the workers instead of producing for themselves.  The early Lamanites found it easier to steal from the industrious Nephites instead of learning to plant and cultivate their own fields.  This is why the Lamanites permitted the Nephites to return to the Land of Nephi fully intending to enslave them later.

Pretty soon, Nephites fell prey to the same greed to live off the sweat and productivity of others.  After establishing a Republic, the king men first tried to overcome via election. When that failed, they didn't give up but joined together with the Lamanites (Amlici, Amalikiah) seeking to enslave their own people and glut themselves off their labors.  But the king-men failed again and again.  

By the way, a king works solely for the interests of the king-men like a CEO works for the interests of the principle shareholders. Its the king-men and not the king that holds true power via hidden influence over perceived authority. If a king goes rogue, he is assassinated and replaced

After many failures, the king-men devise yet another strategy. Instead of openly confronting their opposition politically or militarily, they went underground forming secret combinations and infiltrating the government from within via the courts and corrupting the laws with endless loopholes that judge a king-man by the loophole letter and not provable intent. The Nephites built up these secret combinations by joining with them in their spoils. 

The reason why the free-men gave land to the king-men, was because these certain king-men had repented and finally covenanted to subsist on their own labors and not the labors of others. This is why Lachoneus' strategy was so brilliant.  By gathering in the center of the Nephite lands, the skill-less Gadiantons, who subsisted purely on pillaging (hired pillaging), couldn't provide for themselves. 

Isa 65:21-22 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.  They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

Sincerely,
David Brosnahan MD

Saturday, July 08, 2017

4-Fold Mission of Christ's Church



The purpose of God is to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39).  This is achieved only by and through Jesus Christ, the Holy Messiah. The purpose of the Church of Jesus Christ is to help the entire human family to come unto Jesus Christ through its four missions.

1. Live the Gospel (Matthew 5:48): the Church and its members are to come unto Christ by administering sacred covenants and ordinances.  Church members are to promote true discipleship, more perfect repentance and virtuous living.  The body of Christ creates a community of safety and caring. 

2. Share the Gospel (Mark 16:15): the Church and its members are to continually share the good news of Christ's gospel with all peoples by word and example.

3. Turn hearts to their Fathers (Malachi 4:5-6):  Christ's atonement overcame death.  Accordingly, the gospel of Christ is still being preached in the Spirit World (1 Peter 3:19).  Baptism can be performed by the living and accepted by the dead (1 Cor 15:29). Genealogy identifies our progenitors who we hope will accept these covenants by ordinances performed by vicarious proxy.

4. Care for Poor and Needy (James 1:27): Pure Religion involves caring for the poor and needy, especially the fatherless and widow. Welfare is the primary business and duty of religion because only religious organizations can collect voluntarily, give with accountability and effectively rehabilitate where needed. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Jerusalem Temple on Mount Zion

 

Ps 48:12-13 "Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.  Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the [last] generation."

The ancient temple at Jerusalem may not have stood on the Haram al-Sharif or so-called "temple mount" where the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock stand today. Some historians and archaeologist are claiming that what is known as the temple mount today is likely the ancient Roman Antonia Fortress.  Instead, the ancient temple would has stood 600 ft to the south on Mount Zion in the City of David. 

1. Jesus Christ prophesied that not one stone of the temple complex would be left upon another (Matt 24:1-2, Mark 13:2). The reason why every rock was up-turned on the temple complex was because when Titus burned the temple, its gold melted and flowed down in between the foundation stones.  Soldiers overturned all the stones to get at the gold.  Josephus commented that the  destruction was so complete that no one would have guessed a temple stood in that location. 

2. The Antonia Fortress would have been a massive structure housing the 10th Legion comprising 6000 soldiers and at least 4000 additional support persons including numerous horses.  The Fortress would not have been a small appendage to the temple complex but would have dwarfed it.

3. According to Josephus, the Antonia Fortress was built around a massive 75 ft rock.  The Romans built massive walls around the rock (Foundation Stone) and then back-filled the area creating a plateau on Mount Moriah whose southeast tower looked down on the temple complex.  The higher elevation of the Antonia Fortress  explains why the Roman soldiers "ran down" from the Fortress to arrest Paul just outside the temple gates for inciting a riot (Acts 21:32).  The Antonia Fortress complex was connected to the temple complex by two 600-ft colonnades (arms) flush with its western wall.

4. The Bible indicates the Holy Temple stood in on Mount Zion, in the City of David (Ophel), over the Gihon Spring which flowed beneath its southeast corner (Ezek 47:1-12).  Josephus said that the temple complex stood on a 600ft crescent ridge between the Kidron and Tyropoeon (Cheesemonger) Valleys.

5. The Gihon Spring is a siphon fed by an aquifer under Mount Scopus.  Vertical  channels from the spring would have supplied the temple with needed fresh water.

6. During the time of the Maccabees, the Temple was descrated by Greeks . Simon the Hasmonean decided to purify and remove Mt. Zion, leveling the citadel (Akra) and throwing it into the Tyropeon Valley.  After Simon's leveling of the Ophel and Akra of the City of David, the hill west in what became known as Upper Jerusalem began to be called Mt. Zion.








Monday, June 19, 2017

Father's Day Message

 


The Tabernacle and Holy Temple were constructed so that man could enjoy the Divine Presence (Shechinah).  In the Old Testament, the cloud by day an firey pillar by night served as physical protections.  In latter-day temples, the covenants of the temple provide spiritual protection from sin and temptation.  Covenants are how Heavenly Father is present in our lives.  Similarly, our involvement with our children can protect them. Fathers being present and involved in our children's lives will likewise protect them from harm and temptation.


(main idea from Tolson Nichols)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Ezra and the Rabbinical System

 

I asked a Jewish colleague once who was the rightful ancient High Priestly line, Ezra or Joshua, son of Josedech.  He said there was some debate on the matter.  According to the Bible, Ezra and Nehemiah came late from Babylon to Jerusalem and deposed the families of Joshua and Zerubbabel.  

Ezra had found that several of Joshua's sons had married locals (likely second wives).  Ezra and Nehemiah were concerned that these "strange wives" would turn Israel's heart away from God like Solomon's wives had.  Ezra used these infractions and the authority and money of Ataxerxes to establish a Rabbinical system of scribes and Pharisees that Jesus of Nazareth condemned. Ezra founded a proto-Sanhedrin and enforced Jewish Law through the confiscation of property (see Ezra 7). 

Since the establishment of the Judaic rabbinical and scribal system, the divine presence was not experienced in the Second  Temple and God ceased direct revelation to Israel through prophets.  Zechariah and Malachi were contemporaries of Ezra and Nehamiah and revelation ceased  until John the Baptist.  The Jewish Rabbinical system caused the Jews to misunderstand scripture and fail to recognize their Messiah. 

Today, Christianity has established a similar scribal and rabbinical system through its many divinity schools that teach the creeds of man as doctrine (Nicene, etc.).  These schools of theology have similarly turned the hearts of many Christians away from the truth of Jesus Christ.  The Kingdom of God is established again on the Earth with prophets, apostles, priesthood keys,  revelation, scripture, and the restoration of the Holy Temple. However, like the Pharisees of old, many Christians have been blinded from recognizing the truth because of their reliance upon the arm of flesh. 

The consequence of a reliance upon an academic and scribal system was the division of the Jews into various sects: Pharisees, Sadducees, Samaritans, Essenes, Zealots, Herodians, Hasideans, Therapeutae, and Zugot.  We see this same division in Christianity today.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Idaho Falls Temple Rededication

The Idaho Falls Temple was rededicated by President Eyring this last weekend.  In keeping with the spirit of the original dedicatory prayer, President Eyring prayed for the preservation of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights and in so doing, preserve our freedom.  In 1945, at the original dedication of the Idaho Falls Temple, President George Albert Smith included in the dedicatory prayer these words:

"We thank Thee that Thou has revealed to us that those who gave us our Constitutional form of government were wise in Thy sight and that Thou didst raise them up for the very purpose of putting forth that sacred document....Thou did'st [raise] up wise men for the very purpose of giving us our Constitution.... We pray Thee that Thou wilt inspire good and just men everywhere to be willing to sacrifice for, support and uphold the Constitution and the government set up under it and thereby preserve for man his agency."


But what are the threats to our nation's Constitution? Poverty is the greatest threat to freedom. That is why scripture makes that point that the perfect Zion society has "no poor among them". What is the main driver of poverty?  Sexual sin and drug abuse leads to greater poverty via broken families and decreased productivity. 


How does poverty threaten freedom?  Poverty leads to bloated government welfare programs which usurp our individual rights and liberties. Government welfare exacerbates the problem of poverty by enabling it and never reforms or rehabilitates. Government welfare redistributes without accountability.   Fascists and dictators have always come to power promising greater social justice via the redistribution of wealth. (Rome = free bread and circus, Communists, Nazi's, Castro, etc)

Welfare according to James 1:27 is the business of "pure religion". So, if we believe in a separation of church and state, the State needs to get out of the business of religion. Religion needs to do its job by providing welfare and promoting virtue. The US Constitution reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". Well, welfare and marriage are establishments of religion. Ancient Religion addressed welfare, caring for the fatherless and widow using the institution of the family via marriage/polygamy and adoption.

However, we are never going to get anywhere in saving Constitutional Government if all we talk about is limited government, but we do not address the problem of poverty. We cannot convince liberals to support the constitution if they think our solution to poverty is just to "cut everyone off" and have all the single moms and disabled "go get jobs like the rest of us".  Unless we address the poverty problem we won't be address the real threat to the Constitution, and we won't be addressing the major concerns of Liberals and Democrats which currently divide our country.