Sunday, December 4, 2022

The Jesus Tree

Notice: Blogger no longer notifies any subscribers of new blog posts so I'm sorry if you've subscribed and no longer get notified. Computers are a challenge for me. I don't even have Facebook or Insta or anything social beyond this blog...so the thought of figuring this all out is beyond my capabilities!

Onward to the blog post:

More of my journey to Jesus. We started this journey about 13 years ago, as I mentioned in my last post. As my husband and I progressed in going deeper and deeper into the things of the Lord we decided to offer a prayer that the Lord could have anything He wanted from us. He didn't need to take it, because we already give it all. And I can say, He challenged that offering from every angle.

In my last post I told you how I would get up in the middle of the night to seek the face of the Lord and the Lord told me, in a dream, I was too much in the world to approach Him at that time. When I asked Him to tell me when I would be ready - the scriptures floated in front of me and out came the words, "Line upon line. Precept upon precept." The last 13 years has been a journey of line upon line. Precept upon precept.

Not knowing how to navigate this journey, I began by reading John Pontius' book, "Following the Light of Christ into His Presence." In that book he teaches the importance of seeking the Lord's will and challenges you to write down all your promptings. By writing down the promptings you bring your thoughts into reality and you can see if your promptings were from the Lord or from the adversary. Once you determine the prompting was from the Lord, then you follow it. Literally you "follow the light of Christ" until it brings you into His presence.

I got a small notebook and began that challenge. I had lot's of small kids and so my promptings tended to be small. Learning to hear the voice of the Lord was foreign to me and took a lot of trial and error. I was deceived many, many times, but the Lord was merciful to me as I was learning to have, "an eye single to His Glory". It has taken me over a decade to trust what I'm hearing and to make sure my motivations are purely to do His will and not self serving in some hidden recess of my heart. I don't think I have "arrived," but I'm more at peace. It is challenging to overcome the many false beliefs about what the Lord would and would not prompt me to do.

Since it's Christmas I will tell you of the five years we had no Christmas! After we had our first child we tried to do "Santa" and found it felt very awkward to repeatedly lie and build up a fantasy that would have to be destroyed later when they grew up and we had to say, "just kidding" and give them the talk about Santa not being real. I had a friend who, when their oldest child turned 8 and was preparing for baptism, that child began to show great hesitation in moving forward with being baptized. When my friend pressed the child as to why they were so hesitant the child said, "Well, you lied about Santa - how do I know you're not lying about Jesus too?" After that we chose to end that fantasy and went for reality and it felt very freeing.

In 2015 my husband and I both felt a prompting to pull away from the world to a greater degree. One area we pulled back was to offer up our Christmas to the Lord. We talked to our kids about this feeling and asked if they felt they could give up their Christmas to bless other people. We felt to donate everything we would have spent on Christmas, vacations, and more - to a charity that helps children. We stopped having a tree. No decorations. No....presents. Nothing but a nice meal and Jesus.

Am I telling you that you must do this too? Zero percent. Each journey is unique so separate yourself from what we felt to do as you read this. Each family has different struggles and trials and maybe you will be asked to give up anger, or food, or family, or who knows what. All I know is that Christmas, at that time, was what we felt we needed to give up to get closer to Him. During those years of not having a Christmas we learned the value of sacrifice. We learned to put others needs before our own, and we learned to worship the Lord. When you don't wake up to presents, you wake up to Him and He is Glorious!

We learned to do Hanukah and to spend each evening singing praises in the dark, with nothing but the menorah lights illuminating our little home. We even learned to dance to the Lord. I look back at those times with great awe that we were able to let go of all our pride, all our stiff and proper ways and just....dance! Those years and times were filled with visions and dreams for our children.

Two years ago my husband and I got a prompting at the exact same time that our offering had been accepted and our entire family received a beautiful Christmas gift from the Lord. I know Christmas has pagan roots, so we don't celebrate it in the way that most people do, but we bring the focus of Christ in our home to a greater degree. Even still, we got online and bought a used tree someone didn't want anymore and I spray painted the decorations they gave with it and made...a Jesus tree. I wish the idea was original but I copied my Jesus-loving best friend's tree. I'm showing it to give you some ideas for making Christ your center in the home at this time of year. I was beholden to what photos I could garner from a stack of old Liahona magazines my neighbor gave me. The photos of Jesus were slim...very slim. But I digress...


The Jesus Tree!







Now I feel to share excerpts from my journal during this time (2017). They are totally unrelated to Christmas and just a couple entries that I found interesting today:

(One of my children) then said that they had a dream the night before and saw in the dream that (someone was assassinated) and then the world got really bad and in their dream they wished they could “just skip that part in time”. I asked (my child) this morning if they could remember more about the dream. They said that (edit)...And that the world was worried and thought war was going to break out. And then they said there was ‘darkness’. And I said, “What does that mean?” They said, “It was without God.” And they said they wanted to just skip that part it was so dark. They are 9 years old and we don’t talk about things like that to our children. Talking with (this child) while I was making dinner I asked if they remembered in their dream when they saw the world was without God. They said they did and then they described to me this, “You know when you drink milk all gone and then you look at the cup and there is just a small part left on the cup on the sides? That’s all believers on earth that will be left when everything goes dark. You know how when the world began there was all good on the earth and nothing bad had happened yet...or very little bad had happened yet? It was the exact opposite. There was barely any good left. And there will be dark all over the world and the good people will try to gather together to Zion.”

Another journal entry:

5-24-17

Yesterday (my husband) fasted so he could approach the Lord this morning. When we went to bed I battled the adversary ALL night long. Twice I awoke in anger getting very upset with Ryan for things both of us have no idea about what I was saying. I felt so terrible when I woke this morning and remembered how rude I was to him and I apologized as soon as he woke up. But it was the strangest thing to awaken twice in anger/rage towards Ryan.

Then I woke up at 2:30am to a terrible dream. I saw (my son) (he is almost 5 years old). He was just sitting in front of me in a white room. I looked right at him and his whole body seized and his eyes went black - even the white parts were black. I watched him shake as the adversary possessed his body. I awoke in great fear. I began praying and casting out. Recalling my anger with Ryan and recognizing that the adversary was attempting to thwart us getting up to spend time with the Lord at 3:30am. I went in my closet praying mightily and cleansing (my son), then all of the kids. I felt the evil spirit that was tormenting our home. I said to the dark spirit, “I love you. I forgive you. What happened in your life that you have such anger to see our happy home?” I sensed this was the wrong thing to say because I felt the darkness increase in a rage. I called out to Father for His help and after much cleansing, I felt peace was restored to our home.

I prayed for help with my temper and attitude with my children. I asked Jesus when I would be given the gift to be at peace all the time with my kids. He said, “Look to me in every thought. Doubt not. Fear not. Be believing.” I told him I thought I was trying to look to Him in all my thoughts. I think about Him fairly constantly. I asked Him if this was not doing what He asked. He said I wasn’t looking to Him in every thought. That it is different to "think" of someone and what He was asking me to do was to seek His will in every thought.

I cried out to the Lord for about an hour. I would be overcome with tiredness and pray with my head to the floor. I would get tired and the Spirit would tell me to sit up and keep trying. I pushed and pushed for an hour and a half and then grew very weary. I could see nothing though I felt the spirit strongly. Eventually I apologized to the Lord and went and laid in my bed. I had the thought, “What would you do if you couldn’t breathe in your sleep?” I said that I would call out to Father for help. Then I slept and within an hour I was overcome and I could not breathe. I was paralyzed and could not move nor draw air to call for help. I was struggling desperately to move and then I called out to Father for help. I calmed myself and waited, struggling for air. Within a few more seconds I was released and could draw breath. My heart was pounding hard as I laid in bed trying to regain breath. With my eyes closed in the dark I saw small circular shapes moving in circles and then shift to moving in squares. That happened for about a minute. I had never seen those shapes in my closed eyes before.

Ryan too had been up since 3:30am fasting and praying. By this point it was about 6:30am and I got up and came out to the living room and the kids had been in an argument with each other over something BEYOND small and insignificant. But it had taken up about 30 minutes of their morning as they battled out their frustration. Ryan was working with them to calmly solve it. I came out and said that it was a dark spirit and we needed to pray. As I knelt and talked to the kids (my almost 5 year old son) said, “I had a dream last night. Heavenly Father came to me with animals (he is OBSESSED with animals). Heavenly Father was petting rhino’s and bison and buffalo and cats and dogs. He even let me ride them. Then He told me that He wanted me to meet His Son and He said, “This is my Son - hear Him”. Then Jesus came and said, “No darkness or evil will be able to get in your mind or your heart or with you. It will be cast out of all parts of your body.” And He touched me on my shoulders. I asked (my son) what he thought when he woke up and he said, “I thought...That was an AWESOME dream!”

I was so astounded. Then (my 8 year old child) said, “I had a dream last night too. I dreamed satan came into my room and he had lots of little squiggly things that were black and trying to get me. He chased me and got me and threw me in a dark pit. When I fell into the pit he said to me, “It has no end.” And I fell until I finally woke up.

(My 9 year old son) said that two nights ago he was sleeping and in his dream a dark figure came into his room and turned off his white noise, which woke him up. He said he could see the man standing in his room. The man laughed and pounced onto his chest.

If the adversary is working us like this, I feel that the Lord is near. I know we are to build an altar as I saw in my vision. The Lord told me a few weeks ago it was to be on the Fall Equinox. I feel this is something the adversary will try to stop at all costs. 
___________________________________________

Reading my journal today I had forgotten about that time in our lives. Can you believe that all happened in one night? We actually did a 40 day fast from all TV and electronics to prepare for that altar experience. It was brutal! And we don't even have anything other than YouTube and Amazon Prime. But it was worth it. Ah, it's always worth it when it's for the Lord. 

Well, there's some sharing for today. I have felt that I need to share from my journal more and share how my journey has gone (thus far). I hope it's helpful. Or gives food for thought.
3....Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ (personal revelation...seeking to know His will); for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. 
4 Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark. 
5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do. (2 Nephi 32)

If you are wondering what to do...ask the Lord and find out - "What is the next thing I can do to get closer to you? What is the next thing I need to give up? What is the next thing I need to learn? What next?" 

It will be different for everyone. 

Different

by 

Micah Tyler



 


Sunday, November 20, 2022

Oh say, what is Truth?

How did I get to this point in my journey to Jesus? What is, "this point," anyways? Was I always frustrated with the church?  Did I always have so many thoughts about so many things? I think it's time I posted some more about my journey.


I have always loved the church. I displayed the prophet and apostles photos in my home. I imagined how amazing it would be if my husband "worked his way up" the ranks in the church..."then we would really be close to God". When one of my Grandparents died we were allowed to choose some books from their collection. I went straight for the history of the church volumes. SCORE! Growing up we had the complete Journal of Discourses in our home and I would sit and, mustering all my brain power, try to understand what they were talking about. I knew I would go on a mission from as young as five years old. I loved seminary. I loved going to church. I was ALL in.

About 13 years ago I began to pray the same prayer every night. Nightly, after I'd prayed and offered my usual petitions, I'd unconsciously pray over and over, "Oh say, what is truth? Oh SAY, what is Truth? Oh SAY, what IS TRUTH?!!!". I would pray those words as though I had a rosary and each bead was the same prayer. It was an odd prayer for me because I wasn't even remotely searching for truth. I HAD the "truest truth" in the world - the church!  


About a year later our close friend shared a story of someone - a non-church authority kind of person, who had seen the Lord and had spoken with Him face to face. My mind was consumed by this information. Could a regular person really see God? I thought only church leadership was allowed to see God. I couldn't stop thinking about the Lord ALL day and ALL night. I prayed earnestly now - He seemed no longer a distant Being, but someone who might be interested in a nobody, like me. I would get up in the middle of the night, go into my living room, kneel, pray, and wait...fully believing He would appear. 


One night during this time - I had a dream. In the dream I was standing in the dark and I knew the Lord could hear me. I said aloud, "I want to see You. I want to see Your face." I felt a presence near me - I turned around and it was a very worldly woman who was one of the most anotomically beautiful women I had ever seen, and she was also deeply selfish. I was annoyed so I left and found myself in another dark area, "I want to see You!" I shouted. I felt a presence enter - I turned and it was the same woman, looking right at me. I was super annoyed now. She was ruining MY moment. I left and, for the third time, cried out, "I want to see Your face! I want to KNOW You!!!" I felt a presence and I turned around. Her again

I felt defeated. "Why can't I see you?!!" I cried in desperation. The woman disappeared and I heard a voice say, "You are too much in the world to approach Me at this time." As I stood there stupefied I asked, "When will I be able to?!!" Suddenly an open set of scriptures floated up in front of me and as I looked at the page, out floated the words, "Line upon line, precept upon precept."

Then I awoke.
"Love not the world, neither things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doth the will of God abideth forever." (1 John 2: 15-17)
Getting to know the Lord, as little as I know of Him, has taken a lot of time and a commitment to do His will and His alone. A little here, a little there. A concept taught - a concept understood. An opportunity given, an opportunity scorned. An experience of learning offered, an experience of wisdom gained. A teaching presented, a teaching rejected. And so it has gone, for me.


A few years ago I had a vivid dream. In the dream I was traveling on bus. I found myself in the sky watching the bus wind up a beautiful tall mountain made of granite, going around it like a spiral. 


As I watched the bus get higher, my body moved close to the mountain and there were rainbows floating in the air all around it. The rainbows were three dimensional, about a foot high and and six inches wide and they were everywhere. The rainbows were otherworldly - very dense and unbelievably vibrant. It felt like they could have been picked up and held. 


As I observed these rainbows I found myself inside at the back of the bus which had a glass roof and glass sides for travelers inside to be able to view the mountain. My head was looking straight up and because I was so in awe, I remember my mouth was shamelessly hanging wide open as I said, "Wowwwww". A close friend came and, observing my gaping mouth, had a big smile and said, "I bet this is the first time Ruth has ever seen a rainbow like that." I said, "It is!"

As we continued up the mountain I began to look around the bus which seemed more like a train car in the outlay. It was filled with people but definitely not crowded. I saw my friend's wife speaking to others on the bus. There came a broad shouldered Asian man, about my husband's build and he sat down by our group. He said that he couldn't help overhear our conversation about Christ and asked if he could please join us. He was wearing a red T-shirt that said, "pray.". My husband gently put his hand on the man's shoulder and told him we would love to have him join us. Then I woke up.

I have reflected on that dream from time to time. It was so beautiful. I wished it was longer.

One thing I have noticed is that most of us often feel uncomfortable when we pray. Maybe you feel uncomfortable when you pray. My whole journey to get to this point started with that awkward prayer that I repeated for nearly a year, "Oh say, what is truth?"  That was all I could muster for so long. 

If you, like me, have struggled to know what to say or how to really talk to the Lord and to Jesus, then this post is for you. 


What I have come to understand about prayer is that - I haven't fully understood its power. I believe Satanists, devils, demons, and foul spirits fully understand the power of prayer. But we Christians, in general, do not know the power of prayer which is the foundation of a true relationship with the Divine.

I have always been someone who talked to God out-loud and in my heart. I was often a lonely person, maybe that's why. I had a mission companion stop me one day when we were out riding bikes in the heart of Tokyo and she said, "Who are you always talking to?!" I didn't know my conversations with the Lord were loud enough to be heard. I don't hide what I'm thinking from the Lord, I figure He knows already and I'm just speaking truth so I can see its oft ugly face so I know what I'm dealing with. 

Years ago I promised to seek and do God's will. One particular time I had felt that I was doing God's will - things backfired on me in a way that impacted two people deeply. I was bewildered. I was SO sure this is what God had asked me to do. As I lay in bed, seething anger and resentment came to the surface of my heart. In my mind I said to God with great animosity, "I'll never speak to you again!" My anger was raw and deep. I cried with quiet deep breaths so as to not awaken my husband. As I lay there in a puddle of angry tears which had filled my ears as they trickled from the corner of my eyes - I felt the Father by my bedside. I'd never felt a distinct Presence before - but it was unmistakable. I stopped breathing and moving, staying very still so that nothing about that moment would change or alter. Then, with remorse at my quick temper and thoughtless words - I said in my heart, "Will you hold me?" Suddenly my husband, in a dead sleep, rolled over and wrapped both his arms around me.
"Tell God all that is in your heart, as one unloads one's heart, its pleasures and its pains, to a dear friend. Tell Him your troubles that He may comfort you; tell Him your longings that He may purify them; tell Him your dislikes that He may help you conquer them; tell Him your temptations that He may shield you from them; show Him the wounds of your soul that He may heal them; lay bare your indifference to good, your depraved taste for evil, your instability. 

"Tell Him how self-love makes you unjust to others, how vanity tempts you to be insincere, how pride hides you from yourself and from others. If you thus pour out all your weaknesses, needs, and troubles, there will be no lack of what to say. You will never exhaust the subject, for it is continually being renewed. 

"People who have no secrets from each other never want for subjects of conversation. They do not weigh their words for there is nothing to be held back. Neither do they seek for something to say. They talk out of the abundance of their heart. Without consideration, they simply say just what they think....Blessed are those who attain such familiar, unreserved communication with God."  -Francois Fenelon (1651-1715) 
We can experience the blessing of such communication with God if we strive to be honest in prayer. A.Z. Tozer said that, "...prayer will increase in power and reality as we repudiate all pretenses and learn to be utterly honest before God as well as before men."
"In our address to God, we like to speak of Him as we think we ought to speak, and there are times when our words far outrun our feelings. But it is best that we should be perfectly frank before Him. He will allow us to say anything we will, so long as it is to Himself. "I will say unto God my rock," exclaims the psalmist, "why hast thou forgotten me?" If he had said, "Lord, thou canst not forget. Thou has graven my name on the palms of thy hands," he would have spoken more worthily, but less truly.

"On one occasion Jeremiah failed to interpret God aright. He cried as if in anger, "O Lord, you deceived me, and I was deceived." These are terrible words to utter before Him who is changeless truth. But the prophet spoke as he felt, and the Lord not only pardoned him, but met him and blessed him there."
-David M'Intyre, The Hidden Life of Prayer
Tozer said, "If God and spiritual things bore you, admit it frankly. This advice will shock some squeamish saints, but it is altogether sound nevertheless. God loves the guileless soul even when in his ignorance he is actually guilty of rashness in prayer. The Lord can soon cure his ignorance, but for insincerity no cure is known." 

Well, that's all I have today. I am not perfect at prayer. But I try to speak the truth. Jordan Peterson said, "I'm going to pay attention to see what's going on here. And then I'm going to say what I think. And then I'm going to assume that whatever the outcome is - is the right outcome because it was based on something approximating the TRUTH."

Oh say, what is Truth? 

"...ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)





Real

by

Nichole Nordeman





If you like the bracelets me and my family are wearing in the first photo, you can find them here. You can customize them to look and say a word or a sentence. Mine says, "His Will". My children chose words for theirs. Some of our bracelets said: Defender, Servant, Warrior, Guardian, Be Strong, Hope, Save, Unwearying, Grace.

I asked the kids to pray to know the words the Lord wants them to focus on for this next phase so we ordered new ones for Christmas. You could always ask the Lord to give you a word for the upcoming year or time of life. Also, I don't make money off those bracelets - I just think they are super cool. 

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Trick or Truth

Stay with me on this post. Don't get offended. Hear me out, please.

There are two things that I feel have a grip on the hearts and minds of people in a way that I've never understood. I'll only mention one today:

Halloween...

The one day a year where Christians, with reckless abandon celebrate a Satanic holiday. 




I know, I know - I've been the rounds with people on this one: "The origins are "the day of the dead" and it is actually a day to remember your dead ancestors!!! It's not bad, it's good!" Or, "We just do the fun side of Halloween. We don't have our kids wear scary stuff. It's just for fun."

Yet, that is not what is being done on Halloween, is it...

Here is a screenshot of an email I got for Relief Society to make fall table runners:


What happens on Halloween:

Christians decorate their homes with skulls, demons, cobwebs, ghosts, witches, tombstones, evil faces, and dress their children up and then they tell their kids to do what they have always told them not to do: run around in the dark of night and take candy from strangers. All in the name of, "fun!" and "it's for the kids!" and... "it's only one night a year".


John Ramirez, a former Satanist, said that you would never, ever see a Satanist say to their friend, "Hey, it's Good Friday, lets put up the cross and sing to and worship the Lord Jesus Christ."

And yet, we Christians have no problem crossing over to the dark side just one time a year. We have songs and clothes and decorations that rival even that of Christmas!

About 5 years ago, once my husband and I came to this realization - we sat our kids down and explained what Halloween was actually celebrating. We asked if they wanted to keep doing Halloween, and guess what - once they understood the truth of what was going on, not one of them ever looked back. They don't want to participate in it. Instead, we go out to eat (the restaurants are dang empty on Halloween)! Later we come back home and watch a family movie together with candy. End the evening with prayer and it makes for a great night.

This post is to ask you to consider what you are opening yourself up to when you put dark objects ("decorations"), even the goofy ones, in your home. What are you doing when you're participating in something that comes from a darker realm. 

I've had to ask myself why a lot of LDS people haven't recognized the evils in Halloween (myself included). I think its because we don't really talk about Satan and "the dark realm" in the church. Probably .01% was delved into in any General Conference in 40 years about Satan's tactics. Why? Well, we don't like talking about "dark" things: "Focus on the good! Don't look at the cross of Jesus, look at His life!! (link)" Another reason is because I think we don't really believe he (Satan) exists. Oh, we know he's "there," but we have near zero comprehension that he or his minions are actively working to bring us down every moment of every single day. 

2 Nephi 28 warns us strongly about Satan:

20 For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.

21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well (link)—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell. (link)

22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. (link)

I highly value the ministry "Wild At Heart." They have taught me about the battle I have often been nearly decimated by but oblivious to. Here is an excerpt:

THE GREAT INVASION


“I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” 
~Jesus 


You were born into a world at war.

There may not be a more clarifying truth for you to grasp in order to understand life in this world, at this moment. You were born into a world at war.

The Christmas story is told from heaven’s perspective in the book of Revelation. We sing “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night,” but look at what was actually taking place:

The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule the nations with an iron scepter...And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven...Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus. (Revelation 12:1-5, 7-8, 17)

In Mere Christianity, in the chapter he so rightly titled “The Invasion,” C.S. Lewis tried to clarify our situation: “One of the things that surprised me when I first read the New Testament seriously was that it talked so much about a Dark Power in the universe—a mighty evil spirit who was held to be the Power behind death, disease, and sin. The difference is that Christianity thinks this Dark Power was created by God, and was good when he was created, and went wrong. Christianity agrees...this universe is at war.”

You were born into a world at war.

How else do you explain terrorism? Young girls kidnapped and sold into the sex trade—by the millions? School shootings? The number of young people dying of drug abuse each year? Really now—what is your explanation for evil in the world?

Until we come to terms with war as the context of our days, we will not understand life. We will either blame ourselves or others or God for the terrible things happening to us. And we will not know how to overcome.

For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. Use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm. (Ephesians 6:12-13)

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

The scriptures could not be more clear: we are at war. If you would overcome, you must learn how to fight as you have been commanded. You can overcome!


Here is former Satanist John Ramirez explaining, in his own words, a slice of what goes on during Halloween: (link)




I recommend looking into more videos, podcasts, and books from Wild At Heart (link). Also look for more videos of John Ramirez speaking about his conversion to Christianity. It will open your eyes to things you hadn't considered about the battle we are in.


Sunday, September 25, 2022

The LDS Trinity

Recently the missionaries stopped by our house to introduce themselves and say 'hi'. We love the missionaries. Their excitement, single focus, sincere desire to help and do what is right is a beautiful thing. They are wonderful in almost every way.

We invited them in and told them that we aren't the typical inactive member. We don't "go fishing on Sundays" or just feel "too lazy" to go to church. We love the church, we love the members, we love the Book of Mormon, we love serving and participating in activities and even encouraged our son to take seminary the last two years. We told them that we love Jesus above all and that we haven't found Him to be the focus in church and that He often takes a back seat to "follow the prophet" and temple work. We have felt that following the prophet and going to the temple have, over time, become conflated into worshipping Jesus.

As we talked about the Temple for a bit I said that I used to feel that the Temple was the only place I could really get answers from the Lord. I told them I used to tell my husband, "I need to get to the Temple, I have to ask the Lord something important!" When I said this, one of the Elders let out an uncontrolled, "HA!" We looked over at him as he had raised eyebrows and he said, "That happened to me just recently!" He went on to tell us how the mission was allowed to have a special temple day. It was two months away so he spent a great deal of time preparing for it with some big questions he needed answered. He said when the day came, he sat expectantly in the celestial room and asked the Lord his questions. He said nothing came. Not a word. The longer he sat there waiting, the more he began to feel very sad. He'd pondered and waited all this time for just this moment to speak to the Lord on such important topics. He said he prayed, "Why Lord? Why haven't you answered me?" He said that the Spirit told him, "You waited all this time to ask Me those questions and I'm not going to answer you right now because you need to know you could have brought them to Me at any time."

Mic drop. The Lord speaks us in JUST the right way. What a fantastic young man. I was so amazed by the pure and profound revelation he received. God is seeking after his heart. Just like He's seeking after yours and mine. 


I generally do a pre or post General Conference post. Maybe I do that because I wonder if you, like me, have felt that you, "couldn't wait" to finally hear from the Lord and get some answers for your life. 

(Update 9.29.22: This screenshot is from an email from the Church that came in my inbox today:)


General conference and the Temple, for me, was where I believed I could get big answers. Because of that belief - I didn't hear much from the Lord until those times because I believed that was the only place God would speak to me. In His mercy, He did sometimes meet me in those places because He worked with my understanding. It wasn't until a few years ago that I began to wonder if He could meet me anywhere. That wonder led to questions and those questions led to long prayers and those long prayers led to long hours in my closet in worship. I began to trust the scripture in 1 Corinthians 3:16 when it says, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" As I trusted in those words that we are the temple of God - the scripture in Malachi 3:1 took on a new meaning: "...the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.



If you, as a church, have billions of dollars invested in Temples with more on the way, General Conference messages will need to press the importance of "the Holy Trinity" of Latter-day salvation: 

1. Pay your tithing.
2. Pledge allegiance to the church leaders who have never and can never lead you astray.
3. Stay on "the covenant path" (aka go to the Temple as much as possible).

“Keep going to the Temple...keep thinking about the covenants. Keep thinking about the promises you made in the Temple.”



The irony is that the Book of Mormon doesn’t mention building a temple and making temple covenants and doing work for the dead. Doctrine and Covenants doesn't mention building and attending a temple (it does say to build a "house") with the exception of D&C 124, 127 & 128 which gives brief mentions of baptisms for the dead. D&C 132 has a vague mention of sealings (Joseph Smith never published D&C 132 nor did he approve of it and wasn't included in the Doctrine and Covenants until many years after Joseph's death and only after it was "revised." See photo of the Joseph Smith papers below).


When the Doctrine and Covenants does mention temples it commonly does so with symbolism showing the human body as the Temple of God

Some examples are:

 D&C 93:

35 The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple. 
D&C 101:

22 Behold, it is my will, that all they who call on my name, and worship me according to mine everlasting gospel, should gather together, and stand in holy places;

23 And prepare for the revelation which is to come, when the veil of the covering of my temple, in my tabernacle, which hideth the earth, shall be taken off, and all flesh shall see me together.
D&C 36: 8 I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God; wherefore, gird up your loins and I will suddenly come to my temple. Even so. Amen.
D&C 133
Most members believe "stand ye in holy places" means that if times get tough, we will be hightailing it to the nearest temple for cover. 



That just isn't so. 

D&C 87:8 says, "Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen."

Because our LDS culture is so heavily focused on the outward ordinances, it's no surprise that we assume, "standing in holy places" means some place physical. Symbolism is often lost on us and nowhere is that more evident than in the temple endowment where patrons know little to nothing of the gestures, words, and clothing they wear.

Standing in Holy Places means YOU are Holy and wherever you stand is a Holy Place!! You are the temple of God when you seek and do His will!


D&C 27:5 tells us that the Book of Mormon is the book that contains the fullness of the gospel. That means, it contains all the information you need to be saved and exalted. And in that book which contains the fullness of the gospel, you will not find mention that the Temple and its ordinances are the pinnacle of your spiritual journey in this life. You will, however, find that what the Book of Mormon is pointing you towards is demonstrated in the Temple. But since most members do not know what they are saying, doing, and wearing in the temple - they miss the presentation of the fullness of the gospel. The journey back to God becomes morphed into work for dead ancestors rather than being raised from the dead personally (as all who go through the temple are spiritually dead and not yet alive in Christ).

If the Church desires for members to really understand their covenants, they would need to squash the belief that we can not talk about the temple outside of the temple. The majority of members do not know what the clothing they wear represents, what the gestures they make mean, or what the words they say are pertaining to. New initiates are ill informed before they go to the temple pertaining to what they are about to experience. They aren’t prepared to make covenants because we have believed we can not speak about most everything that happens in the Temple.

So then, you take your son or daughter and as they stand in the temple and are asked to make and keep sacred covenants they have about three seconds to decide whether to commit to them or not (add on top of that a situation of extreme social pressure). 


This is troublesome because the promise you made before God, angels and witnesses are now tied to your eternal salvation and you barely had two seconds to understand what in the world they meant or what you were promising. Then the church, from that point forward, lets you know that you must make any sacrifice thereafter because you promised to be faithful to these covenants. And it was something that happened in a blink of an eye without much prior thought. This, to deep thinking members, presents holes that can cause things to fall apart. 


There is nothing in the Temple Endowment that uses the priesthood (the officiator never specifies by what authority he or she acts, merely that they have 'authority'). What is presented to you in the Temple isn't something that only the church can offer. 

If you have read the book Pilgrims Progress, it demonstrates a beautiful example of the Endowment. An animated version of Pilgrims Progress was made and you can watch it for free on Amazon (link). Even though it is animated, I highly recommend it even for adults). 


Those covenants that are made in the Temple aren't given to you by any priesthood holder because someone with the priesthood couldn't bestow them on you anyway, it is for God to bestow upon you Himself. The endowment is an invitation to learn how to pass the angels who stand as sentinels so that you can be redeemed from the fall and journey back to into the presence of the Lord. 




Another example of someone who has received their endowment from the Lord is Charles Mully. If you haven't watched this documentary on Amazon, please do. It is the best movie I have ever seen (link). You will watch a man, abandoned in childhood, walk the path of the endowment until he is so connected with God - he is allowed to reclaim a lost people. Watch this movie and try to convince yourself he hasn't obtained his endowment. Are we so prideful to believe that the LDS church is the only one with access to the endowment from He who offers Salvation? We place our value in dead works, never realizing we are the spiritually dead doing work for the physically dead. Until we are alive in Christ, our dead works will remain dead. 

To better help you or a loved one understand the Temple endowment, please see this website: 

LDS Endowment (link)

The blog offers a book format found on Amazon (link)

Passing the Angels Who Stand As Sentinels 


Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Come Unto me, And For Your Money You Shall Be Forgiven

The Temple is something that has become an increasingly heavy focus of the church in the last 10 years or so. They are being announced at an incredible rate, and they aren't cheap either. The church hasn't released the cost per temple but an estimate of an average full-sized temple in a non-developing country costs around $10-20 million, whereas larger temples in attractive, high-traffic locations may cost more than $50 million. The Rome Temple is located on 14.5 acres of propperty near the Grande Raccordo Anulare in northeast Rome. The Rome temple also has a multipurpose meetinghouse, a visitors' center, family history center, and tourist accommodation. All of this brought the Rome Italy temple estimated cost to $100 million. Seem impossible? Let's look at some the photos:







I can't help but look at the Rome Italy temple and ask myself why? Yes, the Lord did command Solomon to build a magnificent temple. But it was one temple. We have 265 (either announced or in some stage of remodeling, building, and operation). 

What are Temples for? 

To endow the living and then to redeem the dead? 

If the work done inside is what matters - then why does it matter how ornate they are? Contrast Rome, Italy with the Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo temple. 




If this temple, which looks more like a large stake center, is sufficient, I ask you - why must the rest of the temples be so ornate with marble flown in from other countries and customized - well, everything? Do only poorer countries get a cheaper model?

What of the frivolity of the Provo Temple renovation which is akin to plastic surgery to change the look of your face. 


The Provo temple was perfectly acceptable for what it was built for (to do work inside it)......are we so vain we need to change and adorn it? Yet, Mormon commanded Moroni to prophecy about these kinds of things, didn't he?

37 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.

38 O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God?...

39 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)
At what point do we stop having cognitive dissonance and start recognizing that we are suffering the needy, the naked, the sick and afflicted to pass by us? 



Yes, the church donates to charity. I received their first ever 2021 Annual Report: Caring for Those in Need email just like you probably did on Friday, 13 of May 2022. 



The church has never offered this kind of a report before and in fact, they've stopped reporting their financial numbers since 1959 in the wake of some massive spending and investment losses. Since that time the church ended its detailed public financial disclosure and instead limited its financial disclosure to the Auditing Department report. As a result of its silence about the details of its finances, members have been left to guess at the Church's wealth and the scope of its charitable spending. 

The report says that there were:

$906,000,000 in expenditures
3,909 humanitarian projects
6,800,000 hours volunteered and 
188 countries and territories served

However, it only clearly indicates that the 3,909 humanitarian projects were from 2021 yet with the rest of the offered numbers the report doesn't clearly state whether all of the other reported numbers of expenditures, hours volunteered, and countries and territories served were all in 2021 or not

That seems odd for someone working so hard to practice transparency.


One needs to ask the question, why? Why are they reporting this now and in this way when they have never done this before and when they refuse to disclose their finances (since 1959)? Could it be because of the former employee of Ensign Peak made a whistleblower report to the IRS alleging that the church held over $100 billion of assets in a large investment fund? The whistleblower said that the church operated fund failed to use its revenues for charitable purposes and instead used them in for-profit ventures and that the church had misled its contributors and the public about the usage and extent of those funds. 

He signed a sworn statement (meaning he can go to prison for perjury if he's exaggerating and lying...awfully big deal). He said that Ensign Peak "had scores of meetings" with their top leaders and other employees - and they always "referred to and revered all funds of EPA as 'tithing' money, regardless of whether they were revered all funds of EPA as 'tithing' money, regardless of whether they were refferring to principal or earnings on that principal." See his sworn statement in the Salt Lake Tribune here. The church produced their first ever 'annual' "caring for those in need" report eight months after the whistleblower's statement.

The $100 Billion net worth of the Church exceeds the combined net worths of the world's largest university endowment (Harvard University) and the worlds largest philanthropic foundation (Gates Foundation).  



In the church's annual report they said there were $906 million in expenditures. 

That's a curious word. 

It means "an action of spending funds" but it is a carefully chosen word. It doesn't say that it was charitably donated. It was money that was given to them and they spent it in a particular way. That $906 million is partially relating to fast offerings which are solicited from members and given back to members via Church welfare and the Bishop's storehouse projects. Perhaps you would argue that IS giving to the poor and needy? And you would be right to some degree. It is members helping other members. But if you publish a document like this saying that you have given $906 million to charity but you don't say when you gave it and how they arrived at that number, it gets questionable.

If ANY organization should be transparent - it should be the Church. Total transparency, total honesty, total openness. These are Sacred Funds! 


Furthermore, you can not enter an LDS temple unless you have paid to do so. And Moroni prophesied about this too:

32 Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say: Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins (only the "worthy" can enter the temple...or should I say, only those who pay their dues).

33 O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls?...

35 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.

36 And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel (did Moroni see ZCMI & City Creek, Deseret Book, News Stations, etc.?)...and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.

37 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.

38 O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God?...

39 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?

Orson Hyde spoke about tithing and the importance to pay tithing and called them, "the taxes you pay to the Kingdom of God":

"Says one, “What becomes of tithing? I would like to know whether these Priests, Apostles, Bishops and Presidents use it all up in extravagance?” I will tell you where it goes, though I am under no obligation to do so, any more than I am to tell what is done with the money I pay to the tax collector, or the internal revenue man. When you go to the marriage altar, or to be baptized for yourselves or for your dead relatives, or to get your sealings and anointings, or anything of this kind, do you have to pay five shillings or five dollars for officiating for your father or mother who is dead and gone, that they may share the benefits of the everlasting Gospel with you, or are those ordinances free to you? You do not have to pay for them, do you? Do you find beggars in the streets of Zion? I have traveled through many countries in the old world, and I could hardly pass a corner, without hearing the petition—“A penny if you please, a penny, a penny...What stops up all these channels of distress? Tithing—the taxes you pay to the kingdom of God....
"We may think that we are going to get all our sealings, anointings, our marriages and everything of that kind free, but we are mistaken about that; we have got to pay for them all. How do you pay? Tithing and offerings to the kingdom of God pay for it all. Then when you come up to have accounts adjusted, and the books are opened, and another book is opened and the dead are judged out of those things written in the books according to their works...I have married a great many couples in the ways of the world, but I never married any of them for time and for all eternity, my mind did not stretch so far then—I married them until death should separate them. Those who have paid no tithing and have not enlisted under the law and commandments of God, those who have had no faith in Jehovah and in the resurrection, are parted when they go down to the grave. Farewell to all alliance then! They have raised families of lovely children, they have passed through sorrow, tribulation and joy, tasted the sweet and the bitter together, but when they reach the grave farewell forever, an eternal separation takes place. Not so with the Latter-day Saints.

JD 15:303, Orson Hyde, Rewards According to Works—Tithing

I will end here. This is necessary to talk about but it isn't what I want to talk about. 

Jesus. It's Jesus. He is the Lover of our Souls. I Glory in My Jesus. He went into the depths of Hell to reclaim me, and you. We are weak, simple, forgetful, easily distracted, overly interested in that which has no life, prideful, idolatrous, greedy, selfish, and more. But our wandering from Him didn't make Him give up on us, it made Him give His Life in the hope to win our hearts once and for all.



Has He won your heart yet? Pray and ask to know Him as He was meant to be known. Ask to know His Father - as He was meant to be known. And open your heart to learn things you never dared to consider. To be a true Christian means you must lose your life (Matthew 16:25), and then you will find it. Life eternal is found in knowing your Father, the only True God - and His Son, Jesus Christ (John 17:3). The path of a Christian is, by its very nature, a sacrificial one. It is the path of a martyr. 



DEFENDER
by
Ryan Edgar and Nikki Leonti