Monday, December 26, 2016

Garden Equity Lesson

2 Nephi 26:33 and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

I am a proud father of 5 girls.  While modern LDS women are among the most blessed and free of any women, I recognize there is not complete equity in all things in the Church. When it comes to priesthood, God has designated different groups to hold and exercise His authority.  Before Moses, the priesthood was passed down from father to eldest son. After Moses, priesthood authority was reserved exclusively to the tribe of Levi.  During the time of Christ, the priesthood was given first to male Jews and later Gentiles.  Then following the Latter-day Restoration, the priesthood was extended to all worthy males. But if "all are alike" unto God, why still exclude women from some priesthood duties? 

While, I do know that God loves men and women equally, and I don't doubt that the current Church could do better to foster a more gender-equitable community, we should take care how we go about suggesting and making changes. The recent policy change to involve the entire Ward Council in planning sacrament meetings was definitely inspired. Our Relief Society, Primary and Young Women's leaders have made awesome and inspired contributions. 

While additional policy changes could be made, we should be careful about how we go about advocating for those changes. I was reading and pondering on the Adam and Eve story and was thinking the issues of gender-equality might parallel the garden story.

God put Adam and Eve into the garden both naked and forgetful. Satan was also placed in the garden to tempt Adam and Eve.  Ignorance is bliss, and Adam and Eve were no doubt enjoying the garden until Satan promptly pointed out their shortcomings.  The problem in the garden was how Adam and Eve responded to their criticism.  Instead of turning to God for help, Adam and Eve heeded Satan 's dietary and fashion advice. As we contemplate policy changes in Christ's Church, we need to similarly take care who we are listening to, and correct any shortcomings God's way and in God's time.

Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

Monday, December 19, 2016

True Faith

Occasionally we will have a patient in the hospital who is on a breathing machine who is on four different pressers to keep their heart beating and they are clinically brain dead. However, when it comes to conveying this reality to the family, some don't accept the reality and say instead, "If we just believe strong enough, God will heal them".

I think this is a misunderstanding of faith. Faith is not the strength of our own will or strength of belief in God giving us what we want or to change Gods mind. Faith is aligning our will with God.

And what does God want? God wants to establish a perfect people and society built upon a foundation of temples and His priesthood authority where He can send his children to family who will raise them up "without sin unto salvation". 

When your purposes are aligned with God in this manner, like the Brother of Jared, you can move mountains.  I think this is why the Brother of Jared was said to have such great faith.  After God had destroyed Babel, Jared and His brother desired to establish a perfect society according to the design and will of God.


Matt 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

When we pray, we are to pray over our flocks and fields.  But, do we spend most of the time concerned with personal temporal matters instead of praying about others and accomplishing God's purposes?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

My Airport Miracle

A couple of weeks ago I took the 2 older children on a trip to Utah with me to visit my family while my pregnant wife and our youngest child enjoyed the weekend in Atlanta with her family. After being dropped off at the airport more that 2 hours from home, I realized I had forgotten my wallet. With an hour before our plane was departing, I doubted that we would be able to get though security without ID.

With less than an hour before our plane's departure, I attempted to call my wife on her cellphone to explain our predicament. Unfortunately, her phone went right to voicemail which meant that her batteries were most likely completely run down and she wouldn't likely check her phone until she arrived at her parents who lived about 35 min from the airport. My wife does have a phone charger in her car which I bought her for her birthday, but which she has rarely ever used. In fact, my wife often refers to the phone charger as an example of a gift I gave myself on her birthday.

As my 2 children and I stood to one side of airport security, and still unable to reach my wife on her phone, I approached one of the airport security officers to explain our situation. Our plane left in less than an hour, I was more than 2 hours from home without a wallet, and my wife who dropped me off at the airport was unreachable on her phone and would be most likely unreachable until she arrived at her parents home. The security officer told me that he was sympathetic to our situation but that they required some form of ID to pass airport security. I walked back a little dejected to where my 2 kids and our carry-on bags were resting. My 6-year-old daughter who was aware of our situation must have seen the discouraged look on my face and began to sob.

At that moment the thought entered my mind and heart to take my children and our bags aside and offer a prayer to our Heavenly Father for assistance. We found a quiet and discrete nook off to the side of airport security and there offered a humble prayer with my 2 children explaining to God our situation, and asking that I would be able to reach my wife on her phone and that we could find a way to get past airport security and make our airplane. After concluding our brief prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, I immediately called my wife again on her cellphone.

As it turned out, my wife answered the phone on the first attempt. I immediately explained our situation, and told her about our prayer, and then I asked her how she thought to check her phone and plug it into the charger. My wife said the thought and feeling just came into her mind and heart to check her phone. She noticed that the battery was down so she plugged it into the charger that I had been using to charge my phone on the way to the airport. My amazing wife then suggested that we might use my son's "Identi-Kid" ID which she told me he was carrying in his backpack. This ID was a professional-looking laminated credit-card-sized card with my and my wife's name on it, our address, but our son's photo and fingerprint.

I approached the same security officer again with my child's ID, and to my relief, and after a pat down and a search of my bags, we were cleared to pass through security with plenty of time to make our flight. Additionally, my wife called her sister who lives down the street and who has a key to our house to verify that my wallet was at home. It turns out that my wallet was resting right where I had set it out the night before with my keys. Somehow the keys made it into my pockets but not the wallet. My sister-in-law was kind enough to overnight my wallet to me in Utah which I received the very next day.

While some might look at this series of events as a lucky coincidence following an unfortunate oversight. I consider this a clear and unmistakable answer to prayer. Although, I do not wish to make a habit of forgetting my wallet while traveling, I am thankful I could use this incident to demonstrate to my children the power of prayer and how we must rely on our Heavenly Father in times of need and adversity. I am thankful to a kind and gracious Heavenly Father for His merciful and loving kindness in answering a humble prayer. Additionally, I am thankful to my wife who i can always count on to be in-tune with and responsive to the Holy Spirit.

While these kinds of answers to prayer are not exclusive to members of the LDS Church, the same promptings of the Holy Spirit that lead me to pray and that inspired my wife to check her phone, is the same power by which I know that there is a God in Heaven, the Jesus Christ is my personal Savior, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God like the Holy Bible and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's true church on the Earth.

(this is a repost of an older story with my son's Ident-A-Kid ID used to satisfy airport security requirements)

Sunday, December 04, 2016

2016 Augusta Stake Free4All

Just a report on the successful completion of the 2016 Augusta Stake "Free4All" hosted by the Augusta Ward. Stake members and the community donated lightly used clothing, house wares, toys, furniture, etc.  Donations were received beginning on Tuesday until Friday night. Tables were set up in every room in the church.  Each room was dedicated to a different category of items:

Primary: Children's clothing
Cultural Hall: Adult clothing
Relief Society: House wares
Nursery: Toys
Young Women's: Books and electronics
Basement: Furniture

Needy stake members were invited to help sort items during the week and Friday evening and had first dibs on anything they needed. Bishops and RS presidents could also set aside items. Then come Saturday morning, the remaining items were open to the public.  Posters were placed around Augusta advertising the event.  People started lining up at 630AM.  Doors opened at 8AM after a prayer. 

LDS Volunteer members wore our "Helping Hands" t-shirts and name badges. LDS Members helped participants carry items to their cars and give direction. Colorful signs inside the building directed participants to different areas.  As items were depleted in smaller rooms, remaining items were transferred to the cultural hall and rooms were cleaned and set up for Sunday as the morning progressed.  The chapel was kept closed off. 

Missionaries operated a table with pass-along cards, Book's of Mormon and helped visitors carry items to their car. 

Goodwill/second-hand organization arrived at 2 PM with a truck and remaining items were boxed and taken away.  Remaining trash and broken unusable/unwanted furniture and items were thrown in a separate roll-off dumpster and taken to the dump. 

We ended the give-away/free4all at 1 PM, finished cleaning, locked up, and drove away by 2 PM. 

Temple Institute

Dear Rabbi,

Hello, and thank you for your dedication to rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem.  I enjoy your weekly pod casts and Torah portions. I am a member of the LDS Church in Augusta, GA. 

I have noticed that you often sound befuddled at Israeli and US policy regarding Israel and the temple mount.  I am equally befuddled at how Israel could give away the temple mount following the 6-Days War? I thought your insight into Solomon judging the 2 mothers was outstanding.  The true follower of G-d would never allow the baby (Israel) be divided (2-state).  And that is precisely the problem, our leaders in the US and Israel cause us to error. (Isa 9:16).   

Without the temple, we have no basis upon which to properly vet our political leaders.   In my view, this is a major purpose of the Holy Temple.  LDS operate temples built unto the Lord and understand something of their value. 

Jews in Russia rose to great power and influence but were blamed for participating in a failed 1905 coup against the Tsar Nicholas II.  Likely only a few prominent secular Jews (Trotsky) if any participated in the coup.  Persecution of Russian Jews followed leading many to flee to Germany (Fiddler on the Roof).  In Germany, Jews again rose to great power and influence.  Certain secular Jews were blamed for making an international deal to get the US involved in WW1 in exchange for Palestine (Balfour Agreement).  Hilter later unjustly used this point as an excuse for the terrible holocaust. 

Jews have the same problem as the LDS Church in Missouri and the US.  The Lord told Joseph Smith in D&C 101, had the LDS constructed their temple in Missouri, they would have "seen the enemy afar off".   Without the temple, they are easily infiltrated by wicked men (Danites) who commit atrocities in their name.  The temple gives us a basis upon which to judge men's hearts.  

Wicked combinations/conspiracy/Hamas prevent infiltration by requiring the inner circles to commit unspeakable acts to know in whom they can trust.  The righteous could never bare to do them. The temple requires its righteous members to perform acts of righteousness which are unbearable to the wicked.  Jesus Christ warned about "wolves in sheep's clothing" and that "by their fruits ye shall know them".  Only the righteous bring their first-fruit offerings to the House of G-d?  

Zechariah prophesies that In the Last Days all national will go up to Jerusalem to observe the Feast of Tabernacles or they will receive no rain.  Isaiah says all nations shall flow unto the Mountain of the Lords House and the law and word of the Lord will go forth from Jerusalem and Zion. (see also Ezek 37:24-28, Mal. 3:3)

Our current leaders cause us to error.  But by the temple, we are given a measure upon which to select righteous leaders.  No wonder the wicked in power will do anything to prevent its construction. Evil cannot allow the temple to become the holy institution for which it is destined to become to judge all nations and bring eternal peace upon the Earth (Isa 2:1-5).

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Hunting Gadiantons

(Hel 6:37) "And it came to pass that the Lamanites did hunt the band of robbers of Gadianton; and they did preach the word of God among the more wicked part of them, insomuch that this band of robbers was utterly destroyed from among the Lamanites."The Book of Mormon not only warns us about secret combinations in the Last Days, it also reveals to us how to get rid of them from our society. First, we are told that we are to "hunt" the more wicked part of them. It is interesting that God would specify that we go after the worst of the worst. Second, we are to preach the word of God among them. But what exactly is the message we would say?

The key here about "hunting" is not a hunt to kill, but a hunt to save. (young lions who carry their prey away safe) Many people part of a conspiracy, are so far in, a few may actually wish they could get out but they feel like there is no hope. They may feel like Sherem that they have committed the "unpardonable sin". But actually, the message of repentance, is that they are not beyond the power of the atonement of Christ to redeem.

The key also, is that conspiracy is great about keeping secrets. It is near impossible to penetrate the conspiracy from the outside to get a clear picture of what's going on. And not everyone who is a part of it, knows everything about it. What we would be going for is to get a CONFESSION from a true insider who was near the top. But the conspiracy loves to sent false defectors all the time. So, how do we know that a confession is true?

Well, according to the example of Sherem and the malefactor who was crucified was that they both felt like they had committed an unpardonable sin, but they both confessed Christ, the malefactor defended Christ, they made a public confession, and they freely accepted their legal consequences without appeal or plea deal (even submitting to the death penalty if required). It is the confession of Christ, the public confession, forsaking the sin, and the freely and fully submitting to their punishment which is the key to securing a reliable confession from an insider.

This is just applying the basic steps of repentance.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Prohibition Success

Prohibition did not make the consumption of alcohol illegal, only the manufacturing, distribution and sales of recreational beverage alcohol. Anyone could make their own and consume it and even freely share with friends. 

According to Havard reserchers and the data, Prohibition did decrease use by up to 30-50%, decrease medical complications, and alcohol-related crime.  Violent crime and homicide did not increase during Prohibition but was steady.

A black market was created by organized crime but revelations about J Edgar Hoover's FBI demonstrate that he was covering for the mafia (also serious undisclosed morality issues) and publically denied its existence until the Apalachin Meeting embarrassed the FBI in 1957. The media also had a hand in sensationalizing the impact of the mafia and crime. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Spiritual and Temporal Self-Reliance

From the Church Handbook of Instructions, we learn: “The Savior has commanded the Church and its members to be self-reliant and independent. …

“To become self-reliant, a person must work. Work is physical, mental, or spiritual effort. It is a basic source of happiness, self-worth, and prosperity. Through work, people accomplish many good things in their lives. …

“As people become self-reliant, they are better prepared to endure adversities” and are “better able to care for others in need.”

President Marion G. Romney (1897–1988) taught: “Without self-reliance one cannot exercise these innate desires to serve. How can we give if there is nothing there? Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves. Money to assist the needy cannot come from an empty purse. Support and understanding cannot come from the emotionally starved. Teaching cannot come from the unlearned. And most important of all, spiritual guidance cannot come from the spiritually weak.” 

Self-reliance is not about vainly thinking you can work and save yourself.  Self-reliance is about cultivating your own dependance and personal relationship with Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.  Self-reliance (not self-sufficiency) is about becoming an agent and applying the teachings of Jesus Christ and receiving the spiritual  and temporal blessings therefrom such that you become enabled to spiritually and  temporally assist others and serve in God's kingdom. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Wednesday Crucifixion

Jesus did say that the only sign he would give of his authenticity was the sign of Jonah, being 3 days and nights in the grave. Although it is commonly taught amongst the Gentile world that he was crucified on Friday and resureccted Sunday morning, that is entirely based on a misunderstanding of Hebrew practice. In the year of his crucifixion, Passover began on Wednesday evening. He died around 3 pm in the afternoon. Nicodemus promptly asked for his body so he could get the body in the ground before the High Sabbath began. Consequently he died as The Passover Lamb for all Israel at what would have been exactly the same time as the final lamb was crucified on the temple mount. Nicodemus barely had time before dark (the beginning of the Passover High Sabbath) to get him in the grave and purchase the linen to cover his body. The High Sabbath would have lasted until the following evening (Thursday night). Friday would have been a normal day in Israel, however, because of the weekly Sabbath was only a day away(starting Friday night) the women would have had a very hard time purchasing spices to dress his body as most shops if open would have only opened a half day if at all. They did not realize that Jesus had already been dressed with a hundred weight of aloes, etc by Nicodemus. Because of the weekly Sabbath they could not go there from Friday night to Saturday night (touching the dead and dressing them is unappropriate for the Sabbath and forbidden). So, Jesus was in the grave from Wednesday evening thru Thursday evening thru Friday evening, and he actually arose sometime Saturday evening (the same time the Temple priests would have been harvesting the barley on the Mount of Olives, threshing, baking, so that the High Priest could offer the wave offering on Sunday morning at first light as the practice of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. You will remember that Mary came early Sunday morning to the tomb (after the weekly Sabbath, probably before the sun was fully up, and there met him in the garden.) He told her not to touch him as he had to first go to his father in heaven and after that he would come back and meet them in the Galilee. The High Priest during this week also would have been sequested from Wednesday night thru Saturday night until the barley was harvested, the priests would have brought him the wave offering and he would take it up into the temple to complete the ordinance. Jesus fulfilled the temple ordinance by doing it exactly the way it was revealed to David and exactly the way the temple priests and all of Israel knew it to be done, but for real. He was the Passover Sacrifice, he did come out of the grave after three days and nights, and he did present the Wave Offering in the throne room of his Father (the graves were opened and the dead were raised at his resurection) He was not a metaphorical fulfilling of the prophecies of David, Isaiah, and Zechariah, but a literal fulfillment of all these things. The book of Hebrew documents Jesus being The High Priest for all the Earth after the order of Melchizidek forever.  - Jason

This was a great explaination of the fact that Jesus was crucified on a Wed and not Fri, which I have long agreed with. 

2nd Esdras Vision of America

1 Then saw I a dream, and, behold, there came up from the sea an eagle, which had twelve feathered wings, and three heads. (US)(Executive Legislative, Judicial)

10 And I beheld, and, lo, the voice went not out of her heads, but from the midst of her body.  (democracy)

12 And I looked, and, behold, on the right side there arose one feather, and reigned over all the earth;  (Herbert Hoover )

13 And so it was, that when it reigned, the end of it came, and the place thereof appeared no more: so the next following stood up. and reigned, and had a great time; (FDR)

17 There shall none after thee attain unto thy time, neither unto the half thereof. (term limits)

21 For some of them were set up, but ruled not. (POTUS = puppet)

22 After this I looked, and, behold, the twelve feathers appeared no more, nor the two little feathers:  (14 POTUS) 

31 And, behold, the head was turned with them that were with it, and did eat up the two feathers under the wing that would have reigned. (JFK, Nixon)

32 But this head put the whole earth in fear, and bare rule in it over all those that dwelt upon the earth with much oppression; and it had the governance of the world more than all the wings that had been. (oppression)

35 And I beheld, and, lo, the head upon the right side devoured it that was upon the left side. (Judicial overturn Legislative)

42 For thou hast afflicted the meek, thou hast hurt the peaceable, thou hast loved liars, and destroyed the dwellings of them that brought forth fruit, and hast cast down the walls of such as did thee no harm. (oppression)

45 And therefore appear no more, thou eagle, nor thy horrible wings, nor thy wicked feathers nor thy malicious heads, nor thy hurtful claws, nor all thy vain body: (destruction)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Temple and Millennial Kingdom

And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:4)

And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Zech 14:18)

Each time scripture discusses the Second Coming of Christ it talks about the restoration of the temple.  In Isaiah 2, presents the idea that the judgement and rebuke of the temple is what brings about  peace on Earth. Zechariah seems to suggest some sort of coercion with regard to the temple. 

However, there is no physical coercion in religion, but only the fact that blessings only come by way of obedience.  Eventually there will be no other way to succeed bur by obedience to God's laws.  In todays society, a person in poverty may seek to elevate themselves by hard work and clean living.  However, another person may see an alternate path of escaping poverty through illicit means.  Eventually, with the light of the temple those alernate paths will no longer be available. 

Just like secret evil circles  require members to commit certain unspeakable acts to determin whom they can trust, the Lords House is the original institution which worked similar but opposite.  The Lord's people can know and properly judge an individual by the temple and the keeping of their covenants.  The wicked cannot bare the requirements of the temple long term if at all. 

Maybe this is what Christ was referring to when He taight that "by their fruits ye shall know them". Christ warned His people of wolves in sheeps clothing. Had the Missouri Saints built the temple, they were primised to have been able to "see the enemy afar off" before they had been infiltrated and animosities fomented leading to their eventual expulsion. 

"And even so I have sent mine everlasting covenant into the world, to be a light to the world, and to be a standard for my people, and for the Gentiles to seek to it, and to be a messenger before my face to prepare the way before me."(D&C45:9)

Monday, November 07, 2016

Driver's Ed Reminder

My son is learning to drive.  I often have him drive me to Church Sunday mornings.  The roads usually aren't too crowded.  While we were driving, my life was flashing though my mind as happens when one puts ones life at mortal risk. 

While in the car with Devin at the wheel, I was remembering when my older brother Tim was a new driver and driving the family station wagon up Ogden Canyon on family vacation. You know the station wagon with the wood panels.  The road up Ogden Canyon was narrow, and windy, with a  sleep cliff up on one side and a steep ravine down the other side into a stream at the bottom. 

I think I was maybe 7-8 years old at the time and seat-belts were almost unheard of.  Families typically just piled into the family wagon. On this occasion I was in the  way back and not strapped in. A couple of drunk men driving a dodge duster were swerving and coming the other direction. I had been facing forward looking over the rear seat.  And I then remember feeling the impression to lay down.  I did, and then the next thing I remember is a collision and my mother screaming "my babies, my babies!".  

Everyone was okay, except for one of the gentleman in the other car which had flipped over.  The passenger had been ridding with his hand out the window resting on the top of the car which had gotten cut up.  In the end we went back to Ogden, rented a van and enjoyed the rest of our vacation without incident. 

The universe is a violent place, and this small miracle and others like it are reminders that none of us would make it without God's influence and preservation.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mormon Helping Hands

 I was pleased to spend the weekend with my daughter in Hilton Head, South Carolina. The ocean-side community was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew last month.  The main damage was from downed trees.  Members on the Augusta Stake mobilized ourselves, donned our yellow tee-shirts, and caravanned down to Hilton Head.  Different LDS stakes  were assigned to serve different coastal wards from North Carolina to Florida.  

On our way down long-time members recalled past service trips to New Orleans, Alabama, and Florida.  I hadn't had a chance to go on preveous service trips because of work conflicts, but I was pleased to be able to participate on this occasion.  Several years ago, Augusta was hit by a major ice storm.  We appreciated help that came from sourounding areas to help us dig out.  


Ashura and Sacrifice

Ashura is a major Shi'a muslim holiday. Shi'a commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali (Imam Hussein), the grandson of Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala on the 10th of  Muharram (Abt. October 10th). Muslims use a lunar calendar so the date varies slightly each year on the Gregorian calendar.  Ashura is a day of rememberance, mourning and fasting for all martyrs and also an observance of Jihad which is considered a 6th pillar of Islam faith.

Ashura can also observed by Sunni muslims who commemorate God's deliverance of Israel. Sunni's believe that Moses fasted on this day in thanksgiving for Allah's parting the Red Sea.

There is considerable variation in observance of Ashura among different Shi'a and Sunni communities.  Generally, it is a day of mourning, introspection, and fasting.  Many muslims may choose to not listen to music that day.  Shi'a muslims in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan,  may participate in cutting of the forehead, blood-letting and bloody self-flagellation.  Observers wear white clothing which is stained red with their blood. Some muslim clerics prohibit blood-letting, while others encourage blood donation to the Red Cresent Society. 

The reasons for blood letting and self-flagellation varies.  Generally, it can be viewed as a commemoration and penance for the Battle of Karbala and other religious battles.  It can be a recommitment of muslims to devote their life to follow God and overcome the weakness of the flesh. It is also believed that observance of Ashura produces a forgiveness of sin.

Ritual self-flagellation is not unique to Muslims. Some Catholic monastic orders and members of Opus Dei practice self-flaggelation.  Processioners during the Passion of Christ in the Philippines, Mexico, and Peru may also participate in self-flaggelate and blood-letting as they reinact Christ's suffering leading up to His crucifixion.  These practices were dramatized by the character Silas in "The DaVinci Code".  Practicioners of self-flaggelation feel that they can be closer to God as they join in with Christ in His suffering. 

Latter-day Saints do not recognize or practice "blood atonement". Only the blood of Christ forgives sin. Christ was the great and last blood sacrifice.  The shedding of blood of any other human, or animal or even our own blood cannot expiate or atone for our sins.  True Christan's accept the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ by receiving the ordinance of baptism and participation in and partaking of the Lord's Supper or sacrament each week. 

Brigham Young mentioned the idea of what some call "blood atonement" in a only a few of his myriad discourses.  It is my opinion that Brigham Young was teaching about the process of receiving a hope of forgiveness for what the Book of Mormon calls the "unpardonable sin".  This is not some mystical doctrine but just the proper application of the steps of repentance for very serious sins. 

Some people like Sherem in the Book of Mormon and the malifactor crucified next to Christ considered their sins so terrible that they were unpardonable and beyond the reach and power of Christ's atonement. This isn't "death-bed" repentance but about a man who finally came to himself, confessed his sin, accepted his punishment, accepted and defended Christ against the accusations of the other malafactor who said "if thou be the Christ, save thyself and us".  Christ told the penitent thief, "To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."

Many people involved in dark conspiracies wish they could escape but continue to go along with the false promise that they will escape judgement and that they could not possibly be forgiven anyways.  Conspiracies prevent infiltration from spies by requiring members to commit terrible acts involving murder and pedophilia to enter the inner circles and upper echelons. 

However, scripture teaches that forgiveness may be possible through the atonement of Christ by 1. accepting Jesus Christ 2. full public confession 3. voluntarily accepting required punishment for sin.  Conspiracy loves to send false defectors and so-called insiders who come over from the bad side to the good side.  However, if they really were an insider, the sins they would be confessing to would likely require capital punishment, or being placed in a public online database and imprisonment. But the way the good side could tell that a defector had truely repented would be that they made a full confession, and accepted the full consequences of their sins with no appeals or plea-deals. Their voluntary acceptance of punishment would seal the truth of their public confession. 

I don't think there is necessarily any requirement to having your blood ritually shed on the ground. This has been given as a reason death by firing squad is preserved as an approved method of execution in Utah. In my opinion this is just a veiled way to link the false doctrine of blood atonement with LDS theology.

While unspeakable atrocities are required by evil so insiders can know who they can trust, the Holy Temple works in a similar but opposite manner. Joseph Smith had a difficult time in Kirtland knowing who he could trust. The righteous requirements of the Holy Temple reveal to God's people who they can trust and prevent infiltration.  The wicked cannot bare the righteous requirements of the Holy Temple just like any righteous person could not bare the wicked requirements of evil (spirit cooking, and worse, etc). 

God talked about this in D&C 101 about the consequences of the Saints not building a temple in Missouri and not being able to "see the enemy afar off". Enemies of the church joined and like moles formed the secret society called "Danites" who fomented animosity between the Saints and neighbors. Judaism and the US without the Holy Temple have similarlly been infiltated by evil individuals who have committed great atrocities in their name.  The function and righteous requirements of the Holy Temple reveals to us who we can trust to lead us. 

What positive can we learn from Ashura and the ancient amd modern practice of self-flagellation? Christ's atonement represented the great and last blood sacrifuce.  God will no longer accept sacrifice by the shedding of blood of any animal. The God wanted all along was a sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Even though the Law of Moses is fulfilled, and true followers of God no longer practice animal sacrifice, the Law of Self-sacrifice itself is still very much a thing and can bring us closer to Christ.

Instead of pondering on and calculating how much blood you can lose without passing out, I prefer to think of ways I can sacrifice my time, talents, and resources to peaceably build God's kingdom on the Earth and serve others. And although we are counseled to not run faster than we have strength, I believe sacrifices should stretch us, make us a bit uncomfortable, and even hurt a little. Self-sacrifice in this way can bring us closer to God and Christ and can result in the spiritual strength to repent of, forsake and be forgiven of sin. However, we cannot continue in sin, and think giving charity or service alone (indulgences) without true repentance will hide our sins. 

"And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)

Friday, October 21, 2016


"Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." Luke 21:26

Jesus Christ explained the dire circumstances that would exist befire His second coming in glory.  Why will men's hearts fail?  Why will some turn away from the truth during the Tribulation?  Maybe it's not just because hard times of the Tribulation but also because God's own kingdom is also shaken up.

Apostles and Prophets say a test is coming for LDS members.  I think when nuclear war comes with Russia and China vs. the West, I wouldn't be surprised if voices arose questioning why the LDS people weren't specifically warned ahead of time.

President Monson addressed this concern in a talk entitled "Are we prepared".  Food and water storage is the best defense for war. Also, President Monson gave a parable of lighting fires putting chickens in a molt.

Also, LDS Apostles and Prophets warned in 1995 that the degredation of family values would bring upon nations the "calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets". I have written before how Russia, China, and Muslim extremists continually use the immorality of the West as a justification for their actions. Our immorality degrades our moral authority and emboldens evil.

Also, if you expect a modern prophet to tell you the day before that such-and-such is about to occur.  What could you do more than how every Latter-day Saint has already been instructed to do with regard to storage of food and water and fleeing to the Stakes of Zion for refuge. Maybe this period of relative silence is foretold in Revelation and Jericho and represents Christ's silence at His trial. (so he opened not His mouth).

On the other hand. Some LDS are awake and are watching the events unfold in the world.  Could some of these hearts also fail by being tempted go beyond the mark such that they feel they can go it alone without the Church and choose not to flee to the Stakes of Zion at the needed time?

Monday, October 03, 2016

General Conference Personal Answers

Members of the LDS Church are entitled to personal revelation as they listen to and study the inspired words spoken at general conference.  President Uchtdorf invited members in 2011, "As you prepare for general conference, I invite you to ponder questions you need to have answered.... Make a list of questions or concerns you would like help with. Ponder and pray about your list, asking to receive guidance during conference."

1. Missionary Work: share the gospel with everyone, not just friends.  Don't judge who you think will accept. Find out what others are pondering and how the LDS doctrine and Book of Mormon answers their specific questions of the soul.  Share details of God's great plan of happiness.  Investigators are more interested in the positive effect of the gospel on their lives before they will consider accepting the doctrine. 

2. Family: Your children are your most important gospel investigators.  Share with them your testimonies of Christ and His gospel and express gratitude for the blessings of the gospel in your and their lives. Read to them from the Book of Mormon every day. 

3. Doctrine: Salvation is not about being good enough. We will never be good enough but it is about being deemed acceptable before God through Christ.  God's love is perfect, infinite and eternal but not unconditional.  The glad tidings of the gospel are the conditions of repentance and the conditions of eternal life that when met will both extend mercy and satisfy the demands of justice. Eternal life is conditional.  We must abide in God's love and grace.

Paul continued to struggle with a "thorn of the flesh".  Paul's being born again wasn't about being saved in his sin but continually striving to repent, overcome and enduring to the end. 

4. Hometeaching: Watch over the members.  Monthly visits are the ideal but do the best you can.  "Everything counts". Encourage families in their spiritual duties and receiving spiritual blessings.  Have my HT companion son Devin help arrange appointments. 

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Sunday Afternoon General Conference October 2016

Elder Bednar- Only those who do the will of the Father. JST Ye never knew me" "Ye know me not".  If ye had known me ye would have known the Father. 1. exercise faith, 2. following, 3. serving, 4. believing Him.  True faith always leads to righteous behavior. We are to be doers not hearers only. Peter and Andrew left their nets.  Disciples are to take up their cross and follow Him. We are to emulate Christ.  Our desires align with His. Can we serve Christ but not believe Him?  Some don't think blessings apply to them. "Help thou my unbelief".   Believe Christ personally. Do we believe what we know. Give away all our sins to know Him.  Surrender our will to His. 

President Ashton- Atonement of Christ sets the conditions of salvation.  Doctrine is the means.   Being born again is a process.  Doctrine: 1. Faith by hearing, then doing, 2. Repentance. daily process of sanctification. 3. Baptism and Sacrament 4. Gift of Holy Ghost if we receive it. 5. Endure We are blessed even in trials until we possess every good thing.  Prepare for sacrament. Apply the doctrine of Christ.

Elder Cook- Put it in compound gear to get more torque.  Ward Council is like putting the engine in compound gear. Serving is an opportunity.  Excuses: i'm too old, I don't know enough, I'm to busy or too tired.  The Lord wants us to gear down and power up. Christ volunteered: "Here am I, send Me".   Just Serve! 

Elder Rasband- "crisis of faith". Heavenly Father are you really there?  Christ gave His life for us.  His final days were brutal.  Hel 5:12: "Remember, Remember".  Recall times when you felt the Spirit .  Remember the foundation of your faith.  Avoid things that detract.  Spirit will bring those things to your remembrance. To be learned is good if we harken to the counsels of God. Teach them to your sons and sons sons.  Feel and recognize the Spirit.  Journals will help your own words bring to your remembrance the spiritual witness and grace of God. Name children to scriptural heroes and faithful progenitors.  We may receive a prompting and then doubt later. How we quickly we can forget. As you faithfully serve and keep covenants your testimony will be protected from storms of doubt. Seek that which will edify. Do not forget. 

Elder Schmutz- View trials through eye of faith to see its purpose. Why do bad things happen to good people? Don't let temporary sorrow eclipse eternal joy.  We are to be obedient in any circumstance and faithful in tribulation. God will help us bare our trials.  Paul prayed about a thorn in his flesh. Brother in Philippines was saved from fire by his son but entire family was killed. He became a patriarch and remarried and had faith in Gods assurance of eternal family. Purposeful suffering can be ennobling.  God will wipe away all teats from our eyes. Endure well in faith. 

Elder Nattress- My angel mother's single goal written in her scriptures: "Patience with Brett."  Why are you reading the Book of Mormon to us every morning when I am even not listening.  "I was in a meeting with Marion G Romney who promised us if we would read the Book of Mormon to our children every day we would not lose them-- And I will not lose you".  Do our children know their Savior?  

Elder Renlund- Lit firecracker in overflow of Church. The smell distracted from the sacrament. I told the bishop was sorry.  He had me read, "He will confess them and forsake them". I "will remember them no more".  Without Christ repentance is behavior modification. Atonement can wash any stain but it will not be imposed.  Don't shift blame, excuse, minimize, or think it doesn't matter. We are agents to act and to choose. "What win I if I gain the thing I seek?"- Shakespeare. Now is the day of your salvation.  Immediately the plan of redemption will be brought about unto us.  We can feel joy and peace of conscience. 

Sunday Morning Session General Conference October 2016


President Monson- Man's Search for Happiness at NY World's Fair.  LDS Doctrine answers questions of the soul of where we came from, why we are here, and the purpose of life.  We need to love the truth.  God's purpose is to bring to pass the eternal life of man.  We need to adopt the same purpose. 

Elder Nelson- Perilous times will come.  Lehi teaches spiritual survival. Lehi taught "Men are that they are to have joy." Even after extermination order, no one complained, all were optimistic, and cheerful.  Saints can be happy under all circumstances. Happiness depends on our focus.  Christ is the source of all joy. Afflictions will be a small moment and will be consecrated to our gain.  Joy of repentance and being clean. Suffering can be swallowed up in joy of Christ.  Disappointment, tragedy and chastening turned to joy. Korihor sought to interrupt joy.  Feel joy keeping covenants, forgiving and serving. In His presence is a fulness of joy.  Every day can be one of joy and gladness. 

Elder Meurs- 1. Prepare for Sabbath Day and partaking of sacrament. Participation in the Lords Supper helps us put off the natural man.  Helps us remember Christ and our covenants.  2. Arrive early. not a time to socialize. 3. Listen and learn from doctrinal hymns. 4. Spiritually participate. Ponder the meaning of the emblems of bread and water.   Are we willing? Fruits of the Spirit are promised to us.  5. Ponder on Christ. Ponder on the gifts of His resurrection and atonement, that we will be resurrected and not suffer as He did. Sacrament does not remit sin itself but the sanctifying Holy Ghost which follows.

Sister Reeves- Satan may try and convince us that the best thing is to protect others from the truth.  The right Christ-like thing is to confess and repent. There was broken-heartedness, embarrassment, discipline, anger, etc. Missionary was sent home after making a belated confession. He went home but came back. Pain of repentance is swallowed up in joy of forgiveness.  Greatest miracle is repentance and change of heart via the  atonement of Christ.

Elder Ballard- Intercessory prayer.  May we be one with our families and with God.  Many disciples walked away from Christ.  Christ asked his apostles, "will ye also go?"  People find many reasons to leave. "To whom shall you go?"  Consider the long-term impact. Never abandon Joseph Smith and Christ's Church. Give equal time. Don't give up your testimony. Time will eventually address your concern even if it now seems currently unexplainable. Were will you go for a culture of caring and standards? Where will you go to find temple covenants?  If we diligently search the answers will eventually come.  Support those with questions.   Storms will buffet the good ship Zion, remember that Christ is aboard and can rebuke the sea and the stark.  

Bishop Davies- Christ's appearance in America was accompanied by destruction. We come to Church to worship. We should seek to worship. Worship leads to hope. Hope leads to Charity and love for our fellowman.  Worship can transform meetings into a spiritual feast. 

Elder Robbins- Christ is the righteous judge and taught disciples how to judge. Condemning Pharisees didn't know the joy of rescuing lost sheep. Son of Man came to save.  Respond with compassion and understanding without shame, but not without discipline and chastening. Judge in Israel holds the keys to unlock the prison. Joseph Smith was disciplined. Heart-changing lessons require heartrending discipline.  Do not trivialize Christ's suffering. Remorse replaced by comfort. Reprove at times by Spirit not anger. Spirit of Lord is kindness, patience and not fault-finding.  How you see them = how you treat them.  Person to be loved > problem to be solved.

President Eyring- Gratitude is how we worship. Serve God and thank Him in all things and do all things in the name of Christ. God and Christ are the source of all blessings. Recognize God's hand in all things.  Be grateful we are there at all, for sacrament, for forgiveness.  God is building his kingdom quietly. We cannot see the effects of our service.  Church of God will be small, scattered, but glorious.  Submit cheerfully. God will honor His covenants He has made with His people.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Priesthood Session General Conference October 2016

Elder Holland- Hometeaching duty to watch over the church. Monthly visit is still the ideal. Dec. 2001: prioritize resources. Do visit each house. Make other contacts by email, text, facebook, phone call. It all counts.  Caring for members is most important. Comfort: 1. Holy Ghost, 2. Wife, 3. Hometeacher. Hometeacher listened to me until the sun rose again on my life. 

Elder Curtis- Ghana banned all church operations known as "the freeze". Faith strengthened in adversity. Church guard read the Book of Mormon and was converted.  Some people have powerful experience with the Book of Mormon the first experience.  Others have a more gradual and slow experience.  Book of Mormon brings us to Christ.

President Utchdorf- Alma the Younger opposed his father and God's church until an angel appeared and he placed his trust in Christ's atonement. Great example of repentance. Alma resigned from public office to devote 100% to the priesthood. Alma returned to Ammonihah, and found Amulek. Amulek knew the truth but would not believe.  But he opened his home to Alma and became a champion of truth. Lessons from Alma: 1. ask for help. 2. find your Amulek. Many want to serve God.  How are we like Amulek?  Are we currently less committed?  "David" left the Church after anti-Mormon literature but came back again. 

President Eyring- Elder Woodruff to the Southern States in 1834. I was baptized after the first sermon I heard of this Church.  Served first mission as a teacher, second as a priest.  The power is the same regardless of office so long as we are doing our duty.  We must watch ourselves and "perish not". Keep ourselves safe like stripling warriors.  

President Monson- 1833 Word of Wisdom. Specific direction of dietary does and don't.  Climbing up a 40 ft. rope, felt like he couldn't make it and cried out for help to God and was strengthened to make it to the top carrying a heavy radio. Keeping the Word of Wisdom we are entitled to God's blessing of health, strength, and stamina. 

Saturday Afternoon General Conference October 2016

Elder Cook- Eternal Life depends on our valiance. Stumbling-block is an impediment to belief or progress.  1. Philosophies of men.  1Cor15 plain truths of Christ.  Apostasy consequence of philosophy over truth. A great sifting time and test is coming. A few will be deceived by defectors or be offended. 2. Sin.  Alma taught Corianton It is not injustice for the sinner to receive consequences. But sinners are given a time to repent.  Eventually everyone will sit down to a banquet of consequences. 3. Looking beyond the mark = gospel extremisms. Prepping or wanting to change doctrine. Don't exceed leaders, or elevate certain causes.

Elder Stevenson- One is never too young to receive a testimony.  We can have the same feelings in your heart when you read the Book of Mormon, testify of truth, hear testimony of truth. Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. Book of Mormon needs to be the keystone of our lives and personal testimony. Power to resist temptation and stay on narrow path.  It was written for our day. Moroni saw our day.  Devote some of our screen-time to reading the Book of Mormon.  Remember Moroni's promise.

Elder Christofferson-  God is love, Gods love is infinite, eternal, wonderful. God's love is not unconditional. We must abide in God's love and receive His grace by repentance, baptism, enduring. God will not save us in our sins but from our sins. Glad tidings are the conditions of repentance.  But there are conditions. Then mercy can satisfy the demands of justice because they have met the conditions. Gods greater blessings are conditional.  We are not entitled to them.  To abide means to accept His will for us, put off the natural man, not just innocent but eternal as He is. Ann Sullivan hardship helped her understand Helen Keller's needs. Ann knew Helen was capable of much more than just being domesticated. Eye hath not seen. Christ's atonement was made at Gethsemane the place of the olive press. Blood came from every pore. If you love Him, keep His commandments.

Elder Bassett- As a child, I wanted to view the sealed portion of a replica Book of Mormon. But, I didn't bother looking at the other replica pages. Don't pry at the plates and seek for that which we are not prepared for. Mysteries are revealed on His terms according to His will.  Seek not to counsel the Lord but to take counsel.  When knowledge is easily known it is discounted.  They despised plainness.  Don't look beyond the mark.  Faith is manifest in diligence and work.  Gods thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We are not meant to have a perfect knowledge but to hope.

Elder Yamashita- Newly dedicated Sapporo Japan Temple.  Be ambitious for Christ. Thanks to missionaries who serve without murmuring.  Serve faithfully, work diligently, accept humbly, partake worthily.

Elder Oaks- The Great Commission: Teach all nations, to every creature. Love all as our brothers and sisters. More resources today. Are we using them?  What ideas apply in every circumstance? Member participation. 1. Pray for desire. 2. Keep commandments = have spirit. 3. Pray for inspiration for what we can do (real intent = commitment to act). We never know who may be ready. People want the results of the doctrine.  Inquire on others interests.  Don't assume your interest is their interests. Put Christ first.  4. Be authentic. Help others in their needs and concerns. 5. Don't limit efforts to own circle. 6. Devote sacrament meeting to investigators 7. Use social media.

Saturday Morning General Conference October 2016

President Uchtdorf- appreciate the truths of the gospel and don't take them for granted.  Share the plain and great plan of happiness which answers the deep questions of the soul.  We are eternal beings, spirit children of God.  We are here because we choose to follow God's plan by our own free will. All will be resurrected and judged.  The faithful will be rewarded at judgement.  It will be a day of mercy. It will be a day of regret as well but we will be satisfied with the outcome. For the righteous it will be "the pleasing bar" of justice. What should we give in gratitude?  Live it and share it.

Elder Hales- Love Christ more and suffer less.  Love one another. Serve your fellow beings. Bare one another's burdens and doctrine.  Have faith to testify what you know to be true. Children are most important investigators.  Appreciate caregivers. Let the Savior be your caregiver. Do not permit children to quarrel. 

Sis. McConckie- pray always and not faint.  Parable of the just judge. Praying with faith means you are praying with willingness to obey and change.  If we ask, seek and knock with attitude to obey,we will find. God doesn't want us to suffer but turn to Him.  Holy Ghost will inspire us on what to pray.  Pray to know what God wants.

Elder Christensen- Joseph's Smiths name would be had for good and evil among all nations. Righteous will seek blessing constantly from under thy hand.  Joseph was chosen in the eternal council. Questions did not paralyze faith. Book of Mormon will strengthen faith.  Read it like Joseph. Little children are alive in Christ.  A choice Seer would be raised up. Joseph had not accomplished much at the time he translated about the prophecy of himself. Consider the fruit. 

Elder Uceda- God had listened to my voice but I had not listened to His.  I was warned by the spirit to not go to the Inca bridge 3 times but I gave in to peer pressure. God will teach us how to pray and what to pray for. Jesus prepared for prayer via fasting or walking in the mountains. Do we only pray when we are in trouble?

Elder Cornish- We are never good enough but are we acceptable before the Lord.  Don't compare or compete.  God loves and corrects but never discourages. Don't rationalize or rebel.  God wants us to pass. (Like medical school vs Law school). Atonement is for sinners and saints. We have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love.  Sin has consequences that may stay with us.  Beware premeditated sin is a mockery. (I can repent latter). Rebellion means "I don't need God or repentance".  We can't be saved alone or without trying.  We will be acceptable if we try and don't rationalize or rebel. 

Elder Anderson- Work of God is often unseen by the world.  Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream. God will set a kingdom that will stand forever. Keys restored to Joseph Smith. Start large puzzle by finding straight edges. God will assist us.  Pray for opportunities to stand as a witness. Confess Christ before men.

Be engaged in social media. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Remembering Amalek

"Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God...  thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it." (Deuteronomy, 25:17-19)

The Amalekites were a nomadic or semi-nomadic group of tribes that  occupied the Nagev Dessert region and Sinai Peninsula when Israel was being led from Egypt to Canaan. The Amalekites were the first group to attack Israel. Later after the 10 spies gave negative accounts of Canaan and Israel was forbidden to enter into Canaan, a group of Israelites decided to go anyways and were killed by the Amalekites. 

What does God mean when He commands Israel to remember Amalek by blotting out his remembrance?  The Amalekites represent the most debased and savage aspects of human nature. The civilized Nephites called those who defected over to the more savage Lamanites Amalekites. 

Biblical Amalekites like the Book of Mormon became "an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey." (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 5:24)  Instead of being industrious and civilized the Amalekites like the Lamanites became "wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, full of idolatry and filthiness; feeding upon beasts of prey; dwelling in tents," (Book of Mormon, Enos 1:20)

In our current day, we are told to appreciate the Noble Savage. Lewis Henry Morgan, an anthropologist, described a ladder of social evolution of man from savage to barbarian to civilized. This atheistic view  assumed man evolved from apes and not from Adam and Eve.  According to the Bible, savage tribes only exist because at some point certain members of the advanced human family decidedly rejected civilization and adopted the savage/ hunter-gatherer lifestyle.  

Morgans views were used to by the United States to conceal the link of the Native American's to the advanced Hopewell/Woodland cultures that once flourished on the North American continent.  This concealment of Native origins was used as a basis and justification to deny Native Americans Constitutional rights according to the policies of Manifest Destiny. 

But what about remembering Amalek by blotting out his remembrance?  This is not talking about genocide, or removing references to Amalek from history books.  Also,  God wasn't necessarily being critical of Amalek's dwelling in tents.  Abraham and Lehi dwelt in tents at certain points. What God is commanding His people to do is to stop thinking and behaving like Amalek. Amalek is a mentality and ideology:  a way of thinking, a way of acting, and a way of seeing the world.

Instead of thinking and acting based on faith, hope, and charity, Amalek lives life based on doubt, fear, and pride.  Amalek is cowardly, unprincipled, and opportunistic.  Amalek attacked Israel's rear killing the elderly and disabled like a pack of Arctic wolves preying herd of caribou. Amalek will lie, cheat, steal and take advantage if he thinks he won't get caught.  Amalek's world is based on scarcity (supply and demand) instead of abundance and consequently he is enticed to take bribes and receiving special privileges above others. 

Korihor sums up the Amalekite ideology when he tells Alma there was no God and no right and wrong "but every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength;" (Book of Mormon, Alma 30:17) Without a knowledge of God there would be no reason to not just adopt the doctrine of Amalek and Korihor and eat, drink, be merry and take advantage of our neighbor a bit until we die, especially if we can take advantage without their realizing it and if it benefits our future posterity by providing them greater social and economic power at the expense of others.

God's people, on the other hand, are to act on the principle of faith, integrity, and seek equality of opportunity for the whole human family. God's people know God and follow His commandments.  God's people enter into covenants with God through the ordinances of baptism and in God's Holy Temple which help man keep God's commandments even when the world's circumstances give them every excuse to be an exception.