Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Holding Unity for Ransom

With the challenge of coming of one heart with the required Guide and Standard, I wished to look at some of the fruits coming from this effort, particularly the wild fruits, in hope that the wild can make way for good fruits.

  1. Disunity: The best way would be to become of one mind with God before attempting to become of one mind and heart with others. But our fears, ambitions, blindness etc. can prevent us from understanding the mind of God. If we don't understand the mind of God and yet try to bring people to be one with our own heart and mind, we likely err, and create or prolong disunity. It may lead us to oppose the errand of God, and the specific people God has used as a vessel for a specific work. This is rebellion against God Himself.
  2. Fear: As an example, we'll use the fear of potentially coming under the control of another (also one to note is a fear of not being heard). The ironic problem about letting a fear of being controlled prevent unity, is that in an effort to avoid the object of that fear, we may become the ones controlling others, essentially (though, perhaps not intentionally) holding unity for ransom unless everyone agrees with our way, whether or not we are correct. This fear, as mentioned above, prevents one from understanding the counsel and mind of God, so unity in this would not be unity with God.
  3. Rebelliousness: Pride, fear, among other things can keep us believing we are the correct ones, and prevents us from a sincere inquiry of the Lord in the matter. Or if we do, we disbelieve it over our own understanding, unwilling to receive correction. By doing this we may be found in open rebellion against the errand of God, and against His direction to us.
  4. Defensiveness: If we cannot hear an opposing side to our own without getting defensive, we are bearing wild fruit. Meekness is not defensiveness. If our ideas or understanding are opposed, we should see if the opposition has merit. Some prayerful, sincere pondering on the matter can open the situation up to our minds in greater clarity, allowing for correction in our errors.

Please, if you have examined yourself objectively and found one of these fruits in your actions, please, please correct this. I recognize my own tendency to bear some of these wild fruits on occasion, and do not claim perfection in this. I am likewise on a mission to purge these from myself.

If we find ourselves in disunity, let us be looking inward first, before continuing. After having dispelled our own stumbling blocks and negative fruits like some that have been mentioned already (fear, pride, rebelliousness, defensiveness, etc) and inquiring and receiving God's counsel, asking the all important question (fearless of any answer! And willing to listen), "Is it I, Lord?" If after this we find that we must continue, then let us do so according to the direction of the Lord in The Answer and Covenant. I realize many if not most of us are already working towards this ideal, so please forgive my repeating of what has been said so many times, over again.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Getting It Right: Revisited



The first post I ever wrote for this blog, Getting it Right, was about this scripture from 3 Nephi:
And wo be unto him that will not hearken unto the words of Jesus, and also to them whom he hath chosen and sent among them; for whoso receiveth not the words of Jesus and the words of those whom he hath sent receiveth not him; and therefore he will not receive them at the last day; And it would be better for them if they had not been born... (3 Nephi 28:34-35)
There appears to be two recognizable tendencies occurring within this group of people right now. The first tendency developing is people who are depending too much on a specific servant of the Lord, not looking for their own answers, and disregarding anything that may come from God through any other person. I have not witnessed much of this firsthand, but have come across occasional evidence that it exists.

The second tendency developing is people who will reject anything from God unless it is revealed to them first. This, they say, is what we are supposed to do.

The problem with both of these is that neither are hearing the Word of God. They may hear and recognize some, but they are missing a lot too. We must both receive revelation for ourselves, and recognize true messengers with their own revelation from God. In addition, we cannot hope to be equals if we can't recognize revelation in each other as well. God will and is offering us opportunities to develop and prove ourselves, that we are someone who will hear His voice (which comes in more than one way) and is loyal to Him. If we won't recognize it when it comes to us through another, how can we call ourselves His sheep? How, having rejected a messenger, and therefore Christ Himself as the scripture explains, can we then receive more opportunities to hear His voice ourselves?

Some of us have made for ourselves arbitrary expectations of how God will and will not perform His work. We've set up stakes for ourselves in this, that hold us back from what God is really doing, because we will not hear Him in it. In this, we have put own wisdom above that of God's. We reject him for the flesh of our own arm. We are not loyal to Him. We reject Him.

Something as simple as becoming childlike will prevent this. If we are willing to let God correct our errors, we can be taught by Him. If after study and the guidance of the Spirit, we take our conclusions back to God for confirmation or correction, we limit the risk of misunderstanding God, and allow room for further learning.

Allowing for God's correction will reveal to us His Words we have been rejecting. Allowing for His correction will keep us on the straight and narrow. Receiving what He offers us will allow Him to do His mighty work.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Testimony of St. John

I leave here the testimony given to me by The Spirit when I read the newly revealed Testimony of St. John and prayed about the truth of its content, following the teachings of this book will lead to exaltation.

I recommend reading this article about the significance of this new record, and this website for different formats of the new book, some offering the King James Version of the book in a side by side comparison.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Announcement: Earliest Extant Transcript (EET) Scriptures Now Available

As requested by those who have worked on the project of restoring the LDS scriptures back to their most original form, I am posting their announcement about this project below. This is not an effort I had any part in, but one I am very grateful for (and I know it had to have been a massive effort). I'm also making the digital copies available here on the sidebar to the right. For more information on this project click on the website link on the announcement below.


A small group of us has spent most of the year going through the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, reaching back to the original manuscripts to get as true a version of what Joseph offered us as possible and showing what changes have happened since his death. We are getting bids to have a triple combination volume printed in the coming months. For the moment we want to make people aware of this effort. Electronic versions of the scriptures are free for download at anoffenderforaword.blogspot.com in Word, PDF and some ebook formats. There are also instructions for using a Kindle reader or app with the PDFs as an ebook. The PDFs give a clear representation of how the volume will look. 
We will notify everyone when orders can be placed for your own copies. We are trying to keep the cost to around $20 per copy. These will be printed on biblestock paper and will have large margins for easy note taking. An effort to produce a complete JST bible is also underway. A complete Kindle JST KJV is available by Ken Lutes on Amazon. He is the one working on a complete print version. When that work is ready to order we will let you know. He is not a part of this movement. 
This volume of scripture is not "official" to the Remnant Movement in any sense, and we hope they may be of interest to Mormons of all types. While many of us felt inspired during the process, we offer this volume as a gift to our Lord and to our friends and families. Feel free to take this work and improve on it. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Moroni, Joseph Smith, and Present-day Utah




Do you believe God give signs to the people of the world? Do you believe He gives signs to His people? Even today?

If you believe in the scriptures, you should believe this too. They are riddled through with examples of God doing just that.

Considering that, should these signs mean something to us?

If you identify as a Utahn and/or LDS, there are three occurrences you need to consider (I'm sure there are others, but I will specifically be addressing these three).

You can read about the first one from June 15, 2009 here:


You can read about the second one from May 22, 2016 (nearly 7 years after the first one mentioned) here:


and here:


The last one was the most recent, occurring an exact 4 months after the previous. You can read about it here:


and see more here:


It almost appears as though someone is trying to get our attention.

Concerning the first two

I've already directed you to the blog, To the Remnant, where the author does a great job of describing why the particular occurrence on May 22, 2016 is significant, so I'll try not to repeat what has been said there, here.

I'll just say this, lightening and thunderings in the scriptures are used in description of the power of God.

Moroni is a symbol that sits atop temples with the words "Holiness to the Lord" and "the House of the Lord" inscribed on them. To dismiss these things as just happenstance is to rob yourself of the opportunity to ask wisdom of God, and to receive an answer, because it is those that ask, that get the answers. And no, the verse in James does not say that those that lack wisdom should ask of another person, or should counsel with an expert. It says you should ask of God... for yourself.

You will get answers from the sources that you seek answers from. So if you want an answer from God, He's the one that you need to be seeking an answer from directly.

I was made aware of the significance of the first occurrence from something I was shown in the Spirit seven days after my baptism of fire. I have yet to discuss that information here. I will not be going into it in full detail, but just the parts that are important for this post.

I was drawn to the significance of where the lightning struck and disfigured the statue from 2009. As you can see, the first one was struck in the face, its right arm, and the trumpet which is pointed East, where Jesus Christ is expected to come from when He returns in glory. Likewise, the second was struck in the face with such force that it appears to have burst through the statue's back as well.

Let's talk about the face

There are a few things that are significant about the face. The feature that was pointed out to me was the eyes. With the eyes we see. Unfortunately, these statues seem to have been struck blind.

If this is a sign, what is the significance of that for us?

Other features housed on the face are the mouth (one cannot blow a trumpet triumphantly without one), and the ears (one cannot hear without those).

It's almost as though these poor graven images of Moroni are left like the individuals that Isaiah and Jesus addressed: 
"Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them." Matthew 13:13-15

The significance of September 22, 2016

Some other things have occurred historically in the church on the day Utah was overtaken by the storm this year.

On the evening of September 21 continuing on into the morning of the 22nd in 1823 (precisely 193 years ago), an angel identified in the Joseph Smith History as "Moroni" appeared to Joseph Smith, Jr after he prayed to know of his "state and standing" before God.
"In consequence of these things, I often felt condemned for my weakness and imperfections; when, on the evening of the above-mentioned twenty-first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him; for I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I previously had one." Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith--History 1:29
On September 22, 1827, 4 years after the angel's appearance to Joseph Smith in his room, this same angel delivered the the Book of Mormon plates into Joseph Smith's care. Joseph Smith History 1:59. You can read a little bit more about the significance of that date in this article by John Pratt.

That makes the last occurrence on September 22, 2016 the anniversary for two events involving an angel identified in our scriptures as Moroni, making three events in our time that tie in with that same angel.

Is it just a coincidence?

September 22, 2016 was also the first day of Autumn.

I'm not going to pretend to know all the significance that the first day of Autumn (or Fall) has. The little I do understand is that the solstices and equinoxes form the 4 corners of the earth. The autumnal equinox in particular is when light and dark take up equal parts of that day. To say it another way, light and dark are equally balanced on the equinox, this balance also signalling the darkness that increases every night thereafter.

On this day of balance in Utah however, there was more darkness than light. We were met this day with tempest instead. The kind of which we almost NEVER encounter in Utah.

Is that significant?

What does it mean?

It's your turn

I am not answering the questions asked here. I think any answers to what is posed here is best offered by God through seeking and prayer.
"How oft have I called upon you by the mouth of my servants, and by the ministering of angels, and by mine own voice, and by the voice of thunderings, and by the voice of lightnings, and by the voice of tempests, and by the voice of earthquakes, and great hailstorms, and by the voice of famines and pestilences of every kind, and by the great sound of a trump, and by the voice of judgment, and by the voice of mercy all the day long, and by the voice of glory and honor and the riches of eternal life, and would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but ye would not!" D&C 43:25
Is all well in Zion (2 Nephi 28:21)?

Or do we have a responsibility to ourselves to look into what these signs mean, despite what we are being told elsewhere?

The conclusion you come to is going depend on the state of your heart: do you want to know the truth no matter what that reveals about you? Or do you want a pat on the back and to be told you are right?

I highly suspect that if this is God signalling something of importance to us, the indications of that will not end with these three occurrences. There will be more. For instance, there are more in the verse above that were not answered in my three examples.

A confession

I feel the need to confess a weakness of stupidity. It should have been written weeks ago. There are times when I fear people's opinions and the repercussions of their displeasure more than I fear God. It's so much easier to say nothing, but it isn't always right to do so. Sometimes I am very slow to act when the Spirit directs me. Actually...it's worse than that. Most of the time I am slow to respond. So slow. I'm grateful that God is longsuffering, because He definitely suffers long waiting on me to follow His will.

I'm sorry I took so long to address this.

Finishing thoughts

In finishing this out, I'll direct you to study the words of the angel to Joseph Smith and the scriptures he quoted in the Joseph Smith History. See if they have significance to our current day. Study the words that Moroni left for us.

I highly suspect Moroni is not pleased with how his name and his golden image are used to adorn the temples today.

Yes, as stated in the latest General Conference, Moroni truly did see us, and these were the words he used to describe us:
"Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you. Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing. And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts. For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. O, ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies--because of the praise of the world? Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?" Mormon 8:34-38

If you find after some honest study and prayer on the matter that you are indeed in need of recommitment to The Lord, I suggest you consider and pray about baptism according to the Doctrine of Christ as your way to witness of this. The way Jesus gave us to correctly administer and receive it can be found in 3 Nephi 11. You can click on this Born of Water link to learn more.

A final word from Moroni:
"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost." Moroni 10:4 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Setting up Stakes... in a bad way

The word "stakes" in an LDS setting is usually used in one of two ways. One is used in describing the different stakes of the church (or group of wards), the other is in the context of campouts and staking a tent (a great deal of that revolving around scouting, I'm sure). Because of this, the first time I heard it used outside of these two contexts, used to denote something negative, I was very confused and had to look into it a bit more.

Here are some quotes from Joseph Smith, using "stakes" in a third way:

“The great thing for us to know is to comprehend what God did institute before the foundation of the world. Who knows it? It is the constitutional disposition of mankind to set up stakes and set bounds to the works and ways of the Almighty.” History of the Church, 5:529–30
“I say to all those who are disposed to set up stakes for the Almighty, You will come short of the glory of God.” History of the Church, 5:554
“I cannot believe in any of the different denominations, because they all have some things in them I cannot subscribe to, though all of them have some truth. I want to come up into the presence of God, and learn all things; but the creeds set up stakes, and say, “Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further”; which I cannot subscribe to.” DHC 6:57
Used this way, setting up stakes is like putting down anchors around ourselves that keep us from progressing. Joseph warned us that it's the disposition of man to do this.

I've seen it in family members, in my friends, and, of course, in myself, this staking of ourselves to a certain place. It's as if we are telling God, "I'll go here, but no further." or "I'll believe this, but don't ask me to believe anything across that line over there." We make expectations for how God can work in our lives. We limit what we are able to learn, by striking things off the list of what we are willing to learn, willing to accept. We tether ourselves to our traditions, to our fears, to so many other things.

God is merciful, and He's willing to work with us. He will reveal our stakes to us one by one, and help us remove them... IF we are willing to let Him. IF we want to follow Him and come to Him more than we want to cling to our precious stakes. If we really do love Him more than that.

The thing about some of the biggest stakes we put down, is that we often think they are from Him, and we are unwilling to listen when He tries to explain that they are not.

I have this image in my head of a gigantic hand of God reaching down to pluck something away from an individual, and the individual clinging to this object like a life raft, saying "Stop! I need that." And God gently explaining, "No, you really don't. Trust me."

Let's listen to His Spirit a little more, and learn to trust Him more than we have.


Update:

I was mulling over this post this morning, feeling like something was missing until I realized what it was: specific examples from you good people! Please, if you read this post, put a comment finishing the phrase: "I will follow you, God, but..." Your addition should be a stake you've discovered and had to remove in order to follow God. I've opened up the comments for a limited time so that everyone who wants to add their comment can.

I think it may potentially be eye-opening for us to see what others have recognized, in case we have pounded in that same stake.

I have tons of answers to use, but I'll start it off with one: I will follow you, God, but not if you tell me I'm wrong, when I think I'm right.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Modern Witnesses of Jesus Christ

I highly recommend visiting this site, which contains personal witnesses of Jesus Christ, and the individuals' journeys to seeing the Lord.

Latter Day Witnesses

It does happen still today. And it can to any individual who follows D&C 93:1.