Monday, July 27, 2015

Three Nephite Stories

Instead of telling ghost stories around the camp fire, I encourage Three Nephite stories. Sharing certain stories can invite the wrong spirit.  Who are the Three Nephites? Like Enoch and Elijah and John the Beloved in the Bible, there are three of Christ's disciples from America who were also blessed to endure and live to see the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Mormon and Moroni commented that they had seen the Three Nephites who they said had "ministered unto them".  Many others also report having been ministered to by Three Nephites. The ministration of the Three Nephites typically involves instances when a person is in distress, a mysterious person appears in their life (Like Ephraim's Rescue), to say something or do something that changes the course of their entire life. 

My Mother's 3 Nephite Story: My mother was very good girl and never a party'er. But she was in college and happened to be at party she had been invited too. While there, there was a young man that seemed a bit older than the rest and just looked at her and said "why are you here?" The question hit her to the very core. After looking down and pondering the question, she looked up and the young man was nowhere to be found. She immediately called her father to pick her up and take her home. She found the Church not long after that experience and was baptized. My mother believes that the young man who asked her that question was one of the 3 Nephites. 

I just realized that my mother has a 2nd 3 Nephite Story: My parents took in a Vietnamese family of 6 child refugees. The children had been separated from their parents. They already had 4 children and my Dad was in between jobs. They took all 6 children together not to divide up the family. They were pretty much living on food storage. My mother didn't know how she was going to feed everyone. However, she said one day she was driving and she came upon a man selling fruit and vegetables on a roadside stand near our house in California. She told the man about her situation and he told her to come see him at the end of each day and he would sell her whatever he had left at the end of the day for 15$. She visited the vegetable/fruit stand often to feed everyone until one night she had a dream about the Vietnamese parents of the 6 children being in Hawaii. It turns out the parents were in Hawaii, and the family was reunited. After the Vietnamese children had left thier home and had been reuinited with their parents, my mother sought out the man at the produce stand to thank him but he and his stand was gone. She never saw him again. 

My father may have a 3 Nephite Story: Someone left a Book of Mormon on his front lawn in California. Every night he read a chapter in the Old Testament and the New Testament. After finding the Book of Mormon he started reading a chapter out of the Book of Mormon as well. He subsequently was baptized, met and baptized my mother before severing a mission to Berlin, Germany and transferring to BYU. My Father in Mother married not long after he returned home from his mission.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Paleo-diet and Word of Wisdom

The newest food fad is the paleo-diet.  Now the world is trying to convince us that we all suffer from some mythical condition known as "wheat belly" and that we should all aspire to the dietary habits, and legendary health and IQ of the cave man.  Paleo-ticians are also trying to convince us that the food pyramid was contrived and not based on any real science. This might be true, but doesn't mean its wrong by itself. 

What is really going on here?  We all suspect that Satan via his modern-day minons have been mucking with our food.  So, what is the truth? Good thing we have revelation from God to cut through the misinformation from both sides.  Beware, Satan aways tries to control both sides of an issue because he knows humans love to take sides.

Word of Wisdom says: "All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life,"  also, "wheat for man" and "Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;" and "Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof;"
 (Doctrine and Covenants, D&C 89)

So, here we have the food pyramid right here with grains at the base (staff of life) and meat at the top (sparingly) with fruits and veggies in the middle.  But what are the modern-day Gadiantons doing to corrupt our food supply?  

1. GMO corn and soy are treaded with "Roundup" which sterilizes the soil. Now usually the soil bacteria help process nutrients for plants. But ConAgra uses chemical fertilizers. The consequence is that modern fertilizers are not required to contain sulfur. If you grow corn and soy in sulfur poor soil, the corn and soy will be even more sulfur poor than they already are.

2. Modern wheat strains have been altered such that modern varieties do not concentrate micronutrients.

3. Babylon, Persia, Greek, Roman Empire, Israel and many other advanced civilizations were built upon the foundation of wheat as the primary source of nutrition.

4. Every cell of the body burns glucose as its primary fuel source.

5. Food processing strips wheat of its bran but also, more important, its germ which contains the omega fatty acids and sulfur.

6. Food preservatives like potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate are poisonous and dangerous and in the latter case inhibit sulfate metabolism.  The word of wisdom directs to eat food "in the season thereof".

7. Soy and hormones in milk are estrogenic and likely partly responsible for the truncal obesity in the West. We are all pseudopregnant. Many men feel like they have to take extra testosterone just to feel and look like a man.

8. True that high frutose in corn syrup or sucrose (50% in each) in the diet is converted into fat. Grain carbs are glucose and NOT frutose which is stored as glycogen and NOT fat.

9. Modern chronic inflammatory diseases, cancers, and diabetes are assiciated with elevated homocystein levels indicating global sulfate deficiency. Sodium Benzoate (soda) and Tylenol can exacerbate low sulfur levels especially when sick and not eating much protein. The USDA has no RDA for sulfur (imagine that!)

10. Healthy veggies like garlic, onions, mustards (the greatest of herbs), asparagus, horse raddish, etc are all linked to their high sulfur content (eg allicin or thiocyanins)

11. Letting your fields lay fallow allows the regeneration of nutrients in the soil, principally atmospheric sulfur in the form of acid rain.  However, a concerted effort of the US government in the 80's has vilified sulfur and taken steps to scrub sulfur from coal, oil and gasoline.  Consider how lush plants grow following a volcanic eruption or when you add Epsom salt to your garden.

12. Sulfate is used by the Liver as a principle means to detoxify thr blood.  The body requires large amounts of sulfates in the production of glucosaminoglycans (GAGS) which are critical elements in cellular signaling and function. (eg cholesterol sulfate, heparin sulfate, heparan sulfate, dermantan sulfate, condroitin sulfate). 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

July 24th, Mormon Pioneer Day

I have a Christian friend who devotes a significant part of his life to charitable international medicine.  From our conversations, I can tell he is not too proud of some of America's policies and actions around the world.  I would agree in many cases that are more a consequence of capitalism and private central banking then representative democracy.  However, I got the sense that he was rather disillusioned about our American-style democracy and he confessed that he tried to be more apolitical.

I asked him if he was surprised at the LDS view towards the US Constitution despite our history of religious persecution and knowing the US history of injustice to Native Americans and slavery and economic imperialism?  I read to him from the LDS Doctrine and Covenants:

77 According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles; 
78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment. 
79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another. 
80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood. (Doctrine and Covenants,  101:77-80)

So here we read that God firbids any form of slavery, but raised up wise men and established  the US Constitution. Yet, it was that same US government that allowed the early LDS Church to be run from state to state beginning in New York, then Ohio, then Missouri, with the infamous extermination order signed by Governor Boggs, and finally Illinois.  Consequently, the Latter-day Saints were forced to leave the US, walk away from their homes and businesses in the dead winter and settle in the wastelands of the Great Salt Lake.  And even then, the US Government sent an army to occupy the Utah Territory and prohibited any Mormons from holding political office.

Yet, despite all this, it was revealed to a prophet the mind and will of God on the matter which I consider to be most improbable. Of all people to despise America, you would think the Mormons would be justified.  Yet, because of this revelation, I don't think you will find a more patriotic group, even in the South.  But let's not mistake love of the US Constitution with US Exceptionalism. The US hasn't behaved itself very exceptional in some instances throughout its history. Nevertheless, LDS believe that the US Constitution was given be God and it is therefore part of our religion.

My friend thought that Mormon persecution was a natural consequence to our historic practice of polygamy which was illegal.  However, I reminded him that  polygamy didn't start until Nauvoo so the later polygamy doctrine does not explain previous Mormon treatment in New York, Ohio, the so-called "Mormon War" and expulsion from Missouri.

Nevertheless, my friend said that although he sees marriage between one man and one woman, as was set forth by God in the Garden of Eden, being the ideal (I agree); he recognized that the Bible does not forbid polygamy.  He recognized that polygamy was required in the Law of Moses in the case of Levirate Marriage and was clearly practiced by many of the Patriarchs, Kings of Israel and is even alluded to in the New Testament as a type of welfare system to care for the fatherless and widows.  That said, my friend questioned that if the LDS Church were really led by prophets of God, and if polygamy were a true principle, why would the LDS Church "cave" to political  pressure?

He also said that he believed that the polygamy doctrine was a natural manifestation of Joseph Smith's developing megalomania and that polygamy is dangerous and naturally results in the exploitation of young women.  According to my friend, the first thing you do when you think you have a little power is exercise unrighteous dominion and begin to believe that the rules don't apply to yourself. It was almost as if my  friend had been quoting from D&C 121. 

With that, I asked my friend if he observes the law of tithing? He said yes. I then asked why most Christians (except Amish) no longer live the "United Order" with "all things common" as the Early Church did? I reminded him that the failure of the Puritains in Jamestown to live the United Order led to their misery and death and only after they reverted back to property rights and tithing did they finally prosper and then held the first Thanksgiving commemoration.  The Puritan  failure of "the United Order" is a big part of the Thanksgiving story.  So here we have an example of Christians failing at living a true principle and discontinuing its practice.   This isn't because, "living with all things common" is not a true principle but because the Jamestown Colonists failed at living it with disastrous consequences.  Now nearly all of Christendom observes tithing.

But just like polygamy, we shouldn't judge "the United Order" economic system by how others misapplied it. We shouldn't condemn a true principle because of Communists corruption, abuse and exploitation or Puritain or even Early LDS failures.  Likewise, we should be careful not to condemn polygamy instituted for the purpose of a welfare system because of the FLDS corruption, abuse and exploitation or even how Joseph Smith, Brigham Young or Heber C. Kimball practiced it. Joseph Smith got into trouble by being hesitant, (I will explain below) and Heber by being a bit over-zellous.  

The best examples of polygamy were my wife's ancestors principally William Bert Simmons who was one of the rescuers to the Martin and Willie Handcart Pioneers.  William saved and took in a young widowed and fatherless Sarah Taylor who was badly frostbitten. William and his first wife nursed Sarah Taylor back to health.  After a time, they were called by Priesthood authority to take Sarah Taylor as a second wife and continue her support in frontier Utah.  Children came of this polygamist union of which my wife is a result.

My friend made a good point about "the United Order" not working as it should among the wicked. He reminded me of Ananias and Sopphira who went to some effort to conceal some of their offerings.  In the same way, the wicked cannot live polygamy.  In the FLDS communities, most of the second wives collect state and federal welfare.  This is a complete  abomination of the practice when you realize the purpose of polygamy is to provide welfare needs to the fatherless and widow instead of generating additional welfare need.

What about polygamy being illegal?  I asked my friend if he believed marriage to be a institution administered by the Church.  He said yes.  Well then, since the US Constitution and Bill of Rights specifically says that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".  Therefore, if marriage is religion, per the 1st Ammendment, the Federal Government has no business making any law with regard to marriage.  So, any subsequent laws were unconstitutional until the Supreme Court decided against the US Constitution and against the LDS Church in 1890.  The LDS Church Prophet President Wilford Woodruff received direction by God to discontinue the practice instead of going to war against the United States.

The failure to defend marriage is rooted in our failure to define marriage-- union of man and women to biologically create and be reaponsible to raise a child.  The failure of the polygamy case and the failure of religion and constitutional government in the world comes down to a failure to define religion. Religion according to James 1:27 is the duty to provide individual welfare and encourage and promote virtuous living. Religion provides individual welfare (visiting the widow and fatherless) through charitable giving but also through the mechanism of administering over the formation of family relationships.  Any Federal law or Supreme Court decision with regard to marriage encroaches on the jurisdiction of religion and violates the 1st Ammendment. Marriage is also a civil  contract and falls under the jurisdiction of the States. 

As far as my friend's claim that Joseph Smith was a megalomaniac.  The case against this is: 
1. the Book of Mormon is not Gentile-centric but speaks of only a adoption and fulness of the Gentiles followed by a restoration of the lost tribes of the House of Israel.  Despite the discussion about  marks and curses, The Book of Mormon is actually not Gentile-centric.  The Atonement of Christ overcomes all curses as it did in the Book of Mormon and as Joseph Smith foretold would occur in the Last Days.
2. Joseph Smith did not set up his children and posterity to perpetually rule over the Church.
3. Joseph Smith jumped from the window of Carthage jail to draw fire away frim his friends resulting in the preservation of the lives of Willard Richards and Heber C. Kimball.
4. Joseph Smith was very hesitant to practice polygamy and originally entered into "sealings" which were not consumated as subsequent genetic testing has proven.  
5. Joseph Smith received D&C121 which clearly puts forth that there is to be no coercion in religion. 

Joseph assured Emma the sealings were dynastic/symbolic and not conjugal, but the problems arose after Fannie Alger turned up pregnant.  Joseph protected Fannie Alger but the accusations flew.  Yet, while Fannie remarried and left the  Church, the Hancock family remained even without significant Church position. 

This was the Victorian Era. Many people of that time saw marriage and polygamy as a way to secure social and eternal position and blessings in life and eternity. They didn't view polygamy just as a welfare tool.  LDS Eternal Marriage (not necessarily polygamy) is required for exaltation. So, you have many women naturally willing to become married to Brigham Young and Heber C Kimball for dynastic reasons. So, there is some of this cultural overlay that may or may not have much to do with the pure intent and expression of this principle.

Finally, my friend is correct that like the United Order, polygamy cannot be practiced by the wicked.  The wicked will naturally abuse it like the FLDS do.  Yet at the same time, living the United Order would serve to sanctify and perfect our society. Accordingly, LDS polygamy was a priesthood calling and assignment.  Elders needed to have the means to provide for another household and take compleye responsibility for the support and maintenance of all wives and children.

Again, one man and one woman is the ideal.  But in a wicked world with poverty and in frontier Utah, historical polygamy served its intended purpose and yielded good fruit.  However, If anyone is diluted into thinking polygamy if preferable to a single wife consider my experience of holding my wife's hand while she is in active labor with our 6th child, and a home teaching family calls me up for help with a leaking toilet issue.  Can you imagine Heber C Kimball with his 43 wives in the modern era all this smartphones and text messaging? Talk about a multitasking nightmare and the most enormous honey-do list of all time.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Peter, My Brother

Today in Gospel Doctrine we were discussing the final days of Christ's mortal ministry which included Peter's denial of Christ.  In addition to the lessons we can learn from Peter's devotion following his denial, I was remembering about then Elder Kimball's take on Peter's denial.  Elder Spencer W. Kimball responding to criticism on Peter wrote that it may have been that Peter's denial might not have been weakness, but instead strength.  The NT tells us again and again the Apostles did not understand that Christ's death was necessary.  Peter continually told Christ that he would die to defend Christ.  Accordingly, Peter's denial may have finally been his realization of what Christ had been trying to teach him.  Peter finally understood that Christ's death was absolutely necessary and that Peter, instead of impetuously lopping ears off, needed to survive and preserve the priesthood keys and authority he had been given.

In today's tumultuous moral, political and economic climate, it is tempting to want our religious leaders to start lopping some ears off. As we watch America "swirl the toilet" so-to-speak, the eventual scripturally-foretold death of America is necessary in God's plan just as Christ's death was to His resurrection. The most important things that we can do is, like Peter: keep covenants, survive, preserve the priesthood keys and authority, gather the elect, and look foward to the impending miraculous and glorious triumph.  

Why is all this necessary?  Wheat and tares were sown together at the founding of America.  The tares are responsible for many of the atrocities commited in America's history. Truthfully, America does has a very mixed record for great good and grear evil.  Right now, the goal is to get us to lose faith in God, country, and family by whatever means possible.  But, God's people will never abandon the US Constitution and Constitutional government for a replacement that may soon be placed before us.

Ultimately, God wants to see who will stand on the Lord's side even when it appears like His side is totally losing.  Are you just a fair-weather fan?  When the wheat and tares are finally gathered together, where will you stand?

Mormon First Presidency Response on Same-Gender Marriage Decision


June 29, 2015  

Because of the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court and similar legal proceedings and legislative actions in a number of countries that have given civil recognition to same‐sex marriage relationships, the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‐day Saints restates and reaffirms the doctrinal foundation of Church teachings on morality, marriage, and the family. As we do, we encourage all to consider these teachings in the context of the Plan of Salvation and our Heavenly Father’s purposes in creating the earth and providing for our mortal birth and experience here as His children.

Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God and is central to His plan for His children and for the well‐being of society. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:27‐28). “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Strong families, guided by a loving mother and father, serve as the fundamental institution for nurturing children, instilling faith, and transmitting to future generations the moral strengths and values that are important to civilization and vital to eternal salvation.

A family built on marriage of a man and a woman is the best setting for God’s plan of happiness to thrive. That is why communities and nations generally have encouraged and protected marriage between a man and a woman, and the family that results from their union, as privileged institutions. Sexual relations outside of such a marriage are contrary to the laws of God pertaining to morality.

Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society. His law of chastity is clear: sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. We invite all to review and understand the doctrine contained in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”

Consistent with our fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex, and the Church does not permit its meetinghouses or other properties to be used for ceremonies, receptions, or other activities associated with same‐sex marriages. Nevertheless, all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises so long as they respect our standards of conduct while there.

The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility—even when we disagree. We affirm that those who avail themselves of laws or court rulings authorizing same‐sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully. Indeed, the Church has advocated for rights of same‐sex couples in matters of hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment, and probate, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.

The Church insists on its leaders’ and members’ right to express and advocate religious convictions on marriage, family, and morality free from retaliation or retribution. The Church is also entitled to maintain its standards of moral conduct and good standing for members.

As members of the Church, we are responsible to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to illuminate the great blessings that flow from heeding God’s commandments as well as the inevitable consequences of ignoring them. We invite all to pray that people everywhere will have their hearts softened to the truths God established in the beginning, and that wisdom will be granted to those who are called upon to decide issues critical to society’s future.