Thursday, June 27, 2013

LDS Temple Secrets?

Our society is based on an occult system where power and wealth is based on keeping secrets.  Keeping secrets seems to be essential to national security, and the success of business over competition.  Outsiders look at the LDS Temple and mistakenly associate us with this occult social order.

The truth is that LDS Temple is sacred not secret.  Everyone in the world is invited to the LDS Temple.  However, to enter the temple, an individual has to first meet the qualifications of spiritual purity according to 1 Cor 5:11.

The reason why anyone can't just causually walk in "off the street" into an LDS temple is precisely because the LDS temple is not a casual or recreational experience.  In the temple, LDS members enter into covenants to keep the commandments of the Lord and to consecrate ourselves to His work.  It doesn't make much sense to talk about wanting access to an LDS Temple unless a person is ready to make and keep these commitments.

Anyone who has attended the LDS Temple will tell you there is nothing mystical about the Temple ceremony. The LDS Temple presentation teaches a person about the nature of God, our relationship with Him, and His expectations for us.

But if there is any secret lesson learned in the LDS Temple, it is this: spiritual knowledge, and our relationship with God is like tuning a radio receiver.  Like your favorite local FM or AM radio station, the unseen radio signal is continuously being transmitted and is present all the time. Our ability to receive the radio signal involves careful tunning of the receiver to bring it into resonance with the transmitted signal.  

Receiving spiritual knowledge is analagous to receiving a radio signal. Only after we tune our desires, thoughts and actions to the will of Our Heavenly Father does our spirit come into resonance with the celestial and devine.  

In my opinion, the LDS Temple is not necessarily about transmitting spiritual secrets itself.  Instead, the Temple more focuses on how to achieve spiritual resonance through living a life of charity and virtue.  Once resonance is acheived, spiritual knowledge and wisdom will then begin to flow spontaneously by the power of the Holy Ghost.

45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. 
46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 121)

My wife likens the New Testament Temple to the public library.  You don't go to the library to play dodgeball or jam with your garage band.  You go to the library to read, learn and check out books.  Similarly, in the LDS Temple, patrons are there to make commitments involving carnal self-restraint and selfless Christian service. 

My wife says that it is just as important to prepare children to enter into the temple where they can make and keep covenants of charity and virtue. Just like children  need to be taught to read to be able to better enjoy a library, children must be taught and practice modesty and moral standards to fully enjoy the blessings of the House of the Lord.

5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (New Testament, John, Chapter 1)

When it comes to understanding the mysteries of the Universe, or how to solve our greatest social problems, the LDS Temple simply teaches that only the righteous (charitable and virtuous) can understand them.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

LDS Church Response to US Supreme Court Marriage Decision



The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement today regarding the decisions announced by the United States Supreme Court on cases involving marriage:

"By ruling that supporters of Proposition 8 lacked standing to bring this case to court, the Supreme Court has highlighted troubling questions about how our democratic and judicial system operates. Many Californians will wonder if there is something fundamentally wrong when their government will not defend or protect a popular vote that reflects the views of a majority of their citizens.  
"In addition, the effect of the ruling is to raise further complex jurisdictional issues that will need to be resolved.
"Regardless of the court decision, the Church remains irrevocably committed to strengthening traditional marriage between a man and a woman, which for thousands of years has proven to be the best environment for nurturing children. Notably, the court decision does not change the definition of marriage in nearly three-fourths of the states."

My opinion:

The LDS Church is in support of same-gender couples receiving any and all insurance, tax, and welfare benefits that traditional married couples do.  What makes marriage different than civil union is children.  This issue is a great civil-rights issue.  However, the issue is not tax, welfare, and inheritance benefits. The real issue is that children are raised best in homes with both a mother and father.  Producing and raising children is the issue here, NOT benefits.

When a couple bring children into a community, how those children are cared for is a community concern. Children are a great asset to any community, but if neglected, can become a liability.  History has proven that children raised by both a mother and father do best.

Also, there may be significant under-appreciated genetic benefits involved with having a male and female reproduce who experience a natural attraction. Genetic studies demonstrate genetic compatibility involved in the natural attractive pheromones between males and females. This genetic compatibility cannot be simulated by a same-gender couple who use donor sperm, and egg from a third party or even cloning their own gametes.

New York Times on Problems with Sperm Donors:

According to the New York Times, the same seemingly healthy and intelligent sperm donors may father 50-200 (Christian, Doctor, High IQ, blue eyes). They may have the same rate of genetic disease as natural couples. But if one donor fathers 200 children, that will propagate that individual's genetic errors in the population which may then show up at a much higher rate in just a few future generations down the road.



Opinion of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: 

"Some will rejoice in today's decision, and some will despair at it; that is the nature of a controversy that matters so much to so many. But the Court has cheated both sides, robbing the winners of an honest victory, and the losers of the peace that comes from a fair defeat. We owed both of them better. I dissent."

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Separating Wheat and Tares

Jesus Christ gave a parable recorded in Matt 13 about the Kingdom of God being likened to a field planted with wheat and tares. Christ tells us the wheat and tares would be allowed to grow together until the end when both would be gathered together. The wheat would be saved and the tares would be burned. This post addresses how God is separating the wheat from the tares and how we as individuals define and separate ourselves.

2Ne 30:10 For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy; and he will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire. (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi, Chapter 30)

Very simply. The angels of God sent forth are the LDS Missionaries carrying the Book of Mormon. Those who accept the Book of Mormon are the wheat, and those who reject the Book of Mormon are the tares.

10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good. (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi, Chapter 33)

Regarding this great Latter-day separation of the wicked from the righteous, Peter says that this issue "God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." (New Testament, Acts, Chapter 3)  Whether the scriptures are talking about unprofitable servants, wise and unwise virgins, sheep and goats, mark of the beast vs sealing in the forehead, abomination of desolation, purifying of silver, the marvelous work and a wonder in the Last Days; all the prophets have spoken about God separating and differentiating the wicked from the righteous.

After having read the scriptures and pondered on them with a prayer in my heart, if there was one issue that that separated the righteous vs the wicked it is this: and it is summed up in the Book of Mormon.  PRIDE.  Past Prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ, Ezra Taft Benson spoke of the dangers of pride in his great sermon entitled, "Beware of Pride".  The Book of Mormon also clearly defines pride.

Hel 12:4 O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world! 

5 Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths! 

6 Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide. (Book of Mormon, Helaman, Chapter 12)

What is pride? Pride is the great sin of thinking you can decide how you should live your life better than God can.  When the real purpose of life is to choose to live our life after the manner God has shown, to give our lives to God, to submit to His authority, amd His will. But not just to His will but also His priesthood.  Submitting to God's Earthly authority and priesthood. Submitting to God's authority becomes an issue both inside and outside the Church.

So many people are foolded into thinking, I'm a good person.  I've never killed anyone. I've only lied, stolen, cheated and been immoral a few times. I'm still a good person.  I would do anything for God.  But, I will not tolerate some self-proclaimed prophet telling me what to do or how to live my life. This is what makes false religion so seductive. False religion lets people go through the motions of religious observance without the right expectations.  

D&C 124:45 And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place. 

46 But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them. 

47 And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord. 

48 For instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practise before me, saith the Lord. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 124.

I was talking to a youth pastor at the airport on day and I asked him what he thought attracted youth to faith. He said that home and school had expectations of youth but church was a place that excepted youth as they are and had no expectations.  No expectations.  Those were his exact words.  How sad. I told him that the LDS Church was successful because it fulfilled the test of true religion by providing opportunities for true Christian service (charity and virtue).  LDS youth are attracted to faith because of its high standards and values and expectations. 

Its nice to believe in forgiveness of sin, but the atonement of Christ is not just about mercy to forgive sin but also power to help us overcome sin in our lives and forsake sin Accepting Christ with our lips is one thing, but there still is no happiness in sin. Wickedness never was happiness. Sin still carries its painful consequences. I am thankful for the standards and expectations of the Church that  helped me 1. avoid many serious sins and pitfalls and 2. when I have sinned, helped me overcome and forsake it.   What good is religion if it doesnt empower its people to true charitable service and high moral virtue keeping us "unspotted from the world" and clean from the "blood and sins of this generation".

Members of the LDS Church are not immune from the sin of PRIDE or from being labeled tares or unwise virgins. The issues can be very similar to those who are not members. But even with a testimony of the Book of Mormon, LDS members can still take issue with following counsel from our local leadership.  If we are are true disciples of Christ: 

1. Are we willing to live up to the standards of the church? 1 Cor 5:11

2. Are we willing to accept and magnify a calling from our local Bishop?

3. Are we willing to do our home teaching and visiting teaching?

4. Are we willing to prepare and live worthy to serve full-time missions and receive sacred covenants in the Temple?

Our attitude with regard to these issues determines our williness to submit to God and his authority. In the last Days as we go through the trials of the Tribulation, our attitude in these issues today will determine how we respond to some future calamity and where we place our trust.

We are told that the kingdom of the Devil must shake and Babylon must fall. The Great and Abominable Chrurch shall fail. This is neccessary because the only thing left standing will be Zion.  And, unless we look to Zion as a refuge, it will be the only place we can look for safety.

So far we have been instructed by our prophets to get our houses in order, to get out of debt and to have a year supply of wheat, sugar, rice, beans.  To start out small and build up. 

When I think about our faith in God and our need to submit to His will and His authority on Earth, I think of my baptism and the symbolism of submission and trust associated with the baptismal ordinance. Also, every time we partake of the sacrament we renew our commitment and our williness to follow and submit to the Savior. 

D&C 20:77 O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 20)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Consecration and the United Order

We read in the New Testament how the early Christians lived "with all things in common" (Acts 4:32). In fact, this kind of unified social order is a sign of true Christian belief. However, First-Century Christians, Pilgrims in Jamestown, and early Latter-day Saints faced difficulty maintaining what is termed "the United Order".  Consequently, because of these difficulties, most Christians observe the law of tithing today. In fact the failure of Jamestown instituting the United Order and reverting to tithing is major part of the Thanksgiving story (see past posts).

However, Christians should not look at past failures as evidence against the divinity of the United Order. Furthermore, looking back at the past shouldn't be discouraging but instructive as Latter-day Christians contemplate a more perfect implementation of this divine economic system in preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Background aside, I think there are many misconceptions about the United Order which I want to discuss in this post.

1. Capitalism is not in the US Constitution. Property rights are protected in Constitutional government. However, our current system of a private central bank issuing debt-based fiat currency and banks issuing credit out of thin air according to fractional reserve lending has nothing to do with Article 1 Section 8 directive that Congress coin the currency and regulate its value.  The United Order can preserve a free market without the super-elite capitalists/special interests/Gadiantons.

2. The law of consecration is not the same thing as the United Order. The law of consecration is a covenant that begins with an individual commitment to completely devote all time, talents, and resources to God and His Kingdom (Luke 18:22).  The United Order is an economic and insurance system that helps a community live consecration.  An individual and family can live consecration without the United Order.

3. The United Order is not Communism. The United Order respects property rights, is voluntary, and by assignment and is administered by the Church and not the Government.

My father-in-law visits Cuba in a regular basis.  What was once prosperous country is literally crumbling and wasting away. There is little incentive for the people to start any business or farm or do much of anything except pick up garbage (gov. subsidized activity).  

4. A friend of mine summed up his and, I think, many LDS member's conception of the United Order this way: "I am a doctor and have 2 kids, and my neighbor is a janitor and has 10 kids. We give everything we have and earn to the Church and the Church gives us back according to our needs.  My janitor neighbor will get more for his unskilled labor because he needs more. I will get less for my skilled labor because I require less."

I have several friends who think the hypothetical above describes the United Order.  I really think this is a pervasive conscious and unconscious conception among LDS members and Christians of other faith's alike.   However, It is my strong opinion that this common conceptualization is wrong. 

The problem here is, if this is our concept of the United Order, than what is the motivation for developing our talents? If spending years developing a highly skilled trade or profession gains me nothing, then why bother? Is love of learning and love of God good enough?  Remember the United Order is a system designed to help us live consecration however the system conceptualized above does just the opposite.  People consecrate in spite of the system.

5. It is my strong opinion that when the Millennial social order is revealed, understood, and fully implemented; we will all say to ourselves, "this social system works so well, why didn't we live this way all along?"

6. I don't have any keys or authority for special revelation about any new divine social order. All I know is that Joseph Smith who did hold those keys and authority as Prophet and Dispensation Leader taught that the US Constitution was inspired by God. Therefore, I expect that Constitutional government to be the Law of the Land during the Millennium.  All I can do is look to Constitutional Law and scripture for direction and answers to these questions.

7. The US Constitution in Article 1, Section 8 provides for the creation and usage of currency or coinage. Many people claim there will be no money used in the Millennium. I think this notion is silly. It is the "love of money", not money itself that is evil. Money is a tool that God employed with the Jewish Temple and the temple shekel.  Furthermore, if I am in the business of making cheeseburgers, it would be much easier to pay taxes, tithes, and offering with a common currency than perishable big macs.

8. All legitimate currencies must have a basis and backing. Basis refers to a currencies value and backing refers to what you can exchange for it. The basis for any legitimate currency is the amount and quality of labor. Backing for currency is any real and non-perishable asset (land, gold, real estate, etc). All goods and services should be priced according to the amount of skilled and unskilled labor required to produce or obtain the item.  Item's should not be priced on scarcity as anything can be made artificially scarce.  Scrpture teaches that the "Earth is full" not scarce (D&C104:17).

If I make cheeseburgers, then my pay in currency represents and reflects the amount and quality of labor required to produce cheeseburgers.  I can then exchange the currency which represents my labors for other goods and services commensurate  with the amount and quality of labor required to produce or delivers those goods and services.

9. The conceptualization of the United Order above based only on "needs" is wrong.  The Doctrine and Covenants clearly states again and again that the United Order is based on "wants and needs" and not just "needs".  The key is that righteous people will seek the welfare of their neighbor before their own materialistic desires.

10. The United Order is NOT some big church-based welfare bail-out system or wealth redistribution system. As I see it, it is likely more of an insurance program. Just think about how much money we waste on retirement, disability, life, medical, car and homeowner's insurance. Just imagine if most things were paid for with cash and there was a common just-in-time neighborhood fund to cover the catastrophic. 

11. There is great joy in giving and helping a neighbor and seeing someone rise above adversity with some help and see a return to self-sufficiency.  No one should want to create a system of dependent debt-slaves.  That is Satan's system.  In can see in God's just-in-time insurance system, people "wanting" to give of their talents and means to help a neighbor more than buying the next new thing right then.  There is no " thing" I would rather possess more than helping beloved family, friends, and neighbors who will use that help to return to independence.  

In our current state-administered welfare bail-out system  there is no joy because nothing ever changes.  Those that are taxed resent being taxed and those that are on the take feel entitled to what they take. Checks just arrive in the mail and destructive and unproductive behavior continues without accountability.

12. Some may say it will be easier to live the United Order in the Millennium because everyone will be righteous and there won't be sickness, death, or natural disaster.  This may be true, but I can only  speak about the hear and now. And, I can only believe that living Gods laws more perfectly will bring blessings.  And I wonder how much paradise will result from living an enlightened social order vs. the social order being a product of God placing His people in paradise.  

Every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 82:19)

13. In today's society we excuse our sins because Satan whispers to us that our sins aren't hurting anyone but ourselves. In a community where we care for each other, individuals would tend to limit any self-injurious behavior knowing that harming themselves would potentially affect everone.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Questions vs. Doubt

Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 6:36)

Doubt not, but be believing (Book of Mormon, Mormon, Chapter 9:27)

But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, (Book of Mormon, Alma, Chapter 32:27)

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, LDS faith is not blind. LDS members are encouraged to question our faith, "experiment upon the word", and 'not subsist on borrowed light'. LDS faith is the spiritual courage to apply and live a principle of the Gospel of Christ in our life. The proof then comes only after first living these principles. 

And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me. (Pearl of Great Price, Moses, Moses 5:6)

However, just because we don 't first understand the reason why we should obey does't mean that we are not expected to obey and keep God's commandments.  It is enough to know that the Lord has commanded it even if we do not yet understand why. 

Remember that LDS members should already have a witness and sure knowledge by the Holy Ghost and empiric knowledge through our happiness and peace that God has a living prophet upon the Earth. And when the living prophet speaks in the name of the Lord we can receive a witness that we are again hearing the will of God even if we do not yet understand the reason.

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. (New Testament, John, Chapter 7)

One of the major reasons that obedience is a part of faith is that understanding many times only comes after living a commandment. This is just like parents persuading a child to eat his vegetables. We tell our children, "try it first before telling me you don't like it".  Also, we understand that certain healthy foods (like commandments) require that we develop a taste for them.

The difference between doubt and questioning is one of attitude.  Doubt says 'I will not obey until God proves it to me'. On the other hand, questioning says, 'I will obey now with faith and patience knowing that understanding will come by living and putting the principle to the test in my own life".  

In reality, doubt is a self deception. Those who doubt claim intellectual honesty, but do not really want to know or accept the truth. Like Alma 32 teaches, we can only develop a perfect knowledge of a principle of the gospel by first planting the seed and then living the principle, waiting upon the good fruit of peace and happiness as proof of the goodness of the seed.  

This process of testimony doesn't usually happen overnight any more than planting an apple seed yields bushels of apples tomorrow. Observing a command once may not bring instant understanding, but over the process of time with patience and perseverance will always yield the desired good and precious fruit.

Yea, even that ye would have so much faith as even to plant the word in your hearts, that ye may try the experiment of its goodness. (Book of Mormon, Alma, Chapter 34:4)