Sunday, April 10, 2022

How General Conference Failed Us

General Conference has come and gone. I had hoped this post would be unnecessary and that prophet's, seers and revelators would cover this topic for the millions of members looking to them as those who see the past, present, and future. As prophets who prophesy of things as they really are and really will be. And as revelators who reveal that which is, and is not known.

All that being said, I am no prophet, seer, or revelator. Not even close. But the information offered in this post has likely already crossed your mind to some degree or another and all I am doing is offering a voice of warning by way of logic. Many are asleep or willfully ignoring what is, and what is coming.

The coming food shortage

Biden spoke in Brussels last week and said food shortages were going to be "real." Source: YouTube 

The war in Ukraine is already having a massive effect on the global food supply.

Most people have no idea why this is happening.

How much does the world's food supply depend on Ukraine and Russia?

35% of all global calories come from wheat and corn. 


Combined Russia and Ukraine account for:
  • 1/3rd of ALL wheat exports
  • 1/5th of ALL corn exports
From February to March alone, wheat exports from Russia and Ukraine fell by 7M tonnes, or 12%. 

Source: AtlanticCouncil 

Since Russia's invasion, wheat prices have: 
Increased by 31%
  • Pre-invasion: $9.03 a bushel
  • Now: $11.89 a bushel
The UN predicts 20-30% of Ukraine's wheat will go unharvested in the 2022-23 season. This could increase food and feed prices by 8-22%. 

Source: Forbes 

Most shortages will occur in the developing world. 

Source: YouTube 

A bulk of Ukrainian and Russian wheat exports go to MENA (the Middle East & North Africa). 

Source: Aljazeera 

Wheat represents 37% of caloric intake in that region and
26 countries get more than half of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine.

For example, Ukrainian and Russian wheat make up: 
  • Sudan 75-86% of imports
  • Egypt 75-85% of imports 
  • Somalia 100% of imports
Source UN 

Ukraine alone accounts for 60% of Lebanon's wheat imports. Source: IrishTimes 

Food prices in the region are already skyrocketing, leading to unrest in places like Iraq. Source: YouTube 

Food prices and food insecurity were major factors contributing to the Arab Spring in 2011.

Although "Voice of America" blamed the famine on climate change. Source: VOA NEWS 

In Russia, they don't just grow crops, they make it possible for us to grow them too. Russia is the world's largest exporter of fertilizer. 
Source: FastCompany & NRCAN & NATIONMASTER 
  • UREA - #1 Producer
  • AMMONIA & POTASH - # 2 Producer
Combined, Russia and Belarus account for 40% of global exports of potash. SOURCES: Reuters & 

The US imports Potash from:
  • Russia - 6%
  • Belarus - 6%
Western sanctions on Russia disrupted the supply. This means surging fertilizer prices for US farmers. Less fertilizer means lower crop yields, resulting in less food for humans and livestock. Source: YouTube


While food shortages are also possible in America, we will definitely face higher prices. SOURCE: Fox News 

Prices on wheat products have already increased. SOURCE: CNBC 

Cereal +15% YOY
Bread +15% YOY

US Farmers have to gamble, plant more and they risk the price dropping if the conflict in Ukraine ends.

These price hikes add to already 40 year-high inflation. SOURCE: Newsweek 

Alright, that's all I'm going to do for now. If that doesn't motivate, I'm not sure what will.

But more than that, why did none of our Prophet's, Seers, and Revelators tell us of all this? Or even of a fraction of this? Why did they not encourage their members to get their food storage beefed up? 

Some may argue that they've been saying that for years and they can't keep reminding us if we won't listen. Well, what about people who just joined the church and didn't know what was said already? What about the new generation just rising up and going off to college, they didn't know about it either. Some may argue it's in the handbook of instructions and anyone can read it and know. I'm not even going to argue that point. Very few read the handbook, nor should they have to when they have leaders they look to as those anointed and set apart to commune with Jehovah.

There are plenty of reasons the message to be prepared should be repeated, even if it has been said before. "Maybe they didn't want everyone to rush to the store"...come on. It's better they starve rather than to cause a scene? That should be a red flag! And if nothing else, repent. We are in this situation because we need to repent. Where was that message...

Prophet's should be warning all those who will listen to get prepared. Right now things are still good(-ish) and we can still prepare. There will come a day when we won't be able to buy the things we need or want. And many will wonder why none of the leaders that they hold up, next to Christ Himself, warned them.

It's Palm Sunday today. My husband gathered our family this morning and we read the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. I cry every time (Click on that image below...whose form of praise do you relate to most in this painting?).

Hosannah! Hosannah! The dramatic entry. The crowd going WILD. Their KING! He had come to save them. Though they had no idea their hopes of freedom from the Roman government was the least they could wish for. He came to save them (and us) from the jaws of Hell and the fiery breath of the devil whose we were. 

Hosannah! Hosannah! Our KING! The Pharisees called Jesus Master and told him to rebuke his disciples from shouting so. Jesus told them that if those people should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out! The ground was rumbling with POWER. He had come to save! It was no longer a secret - He was riding in like OUR KING!...sort of. The donkey thing. Ah well, maybe He couldn't find a horse. PRAISE!!!!

Oh Jesus. You are so Wise. Clever. Symbolic...Brave and True. You knew what you were doing, riding in so humbly. You came like a lamb before His shearers is silent, you opened not your mouth. You were prophesy fulfilled. Oh that I had been there. I know I would have missed the point of that triumphal entry. Just like I miss the point on so many things today. My pride. My short temper. My ignorance. Forgive me Lord! You came to save and offer us Salvation. I accept your offer. Make me more worthy, Lord I pray. 

Goodness sakes, if you take the time to listen to this song - you have to turn up the volume and close your eyes. (One thing: I disagree with one lyric of the song: "Make me more worthy of Your love". There is nothing we can do to be more worthy of His Love. He is Worthy and He Loves You. That makes you Worthy of His love. 

Happy Palm Sunday

Savior, Redeemer of My Soul
BYU Vocal Point

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Bountiful (34 A.D.) VS. Salt Lake City (2022 A.D.)

Please take a moment and read 4 Nephi 1 (the whole thing). Compare what happened to the people of Bountiful to us in the Church today.

I'd like to present some of the differences (maybe you will find more):

Them: Jesus personally ministered to those at Bountiful after His Resurrection.

Us: Almost none of the Saints in Joseph's day to the present day have been ministered to by Jesus Christ. Those lay members that do claim to have seen Him are ignored or looked at as a person to avoid.

Them: Jesus left 3 translated beings among them.

Us: Joseph died when the church was in its infancy and no one knew who should lead the church until a vote was taken. Our Church continued on by a vote. There were no translated beings among them then or us today.

Them: Jesus told His disciples at Bountiful that they would go on to do the works they saw Him do (3 Nephi 27:21) They went on to heal the sick, raise the dead, cause the lame to walk, be put in fire and not burned, put in dens of beasts and received no harm (4 Nephi 1: 5, 32-33).

Us: After Joseph died there have been almost none of those miracles listed above by those in leadership.

Them: They were personally ministered to by Jesus Christ. They witnessed and some experienced many being raised from the dead (can you imagine hearing the testimony of those guys?). They witnessed and experienced profound healing, even people that couldn't walk - walked! They watched disciples be thrown into fire or in dens of beasts and come out unscathed (That had to be unforgettable to witness). And lastly, they were left with three translated beings. Even with all of that, 200 years after Jesus came to Bountiful, the church fell into apostasy.

Us: Miracles nowhere near the magnitude of what they experienced. No visitation from Jesus Christ to those who testify they are Special Witnesses of Christ (and if you argue that maybe it has happened but it's just too sacred to share - the first chapter in 1 Nephi blows the belief of "not sharing sacred things" out of the water). Additionally we have no translated beings living among us. And yet - we proclaim, "We will never be lead astray." Translation: We will never go into apostasy.

I write this today because the church, 200 years after those at Bountiful were ministered to by Jesus, fell into apostasy. 

We are nearing 200 years since the Church was organized (and over 200 years since the first vision) and we are lightyears away from what the people of Bountiful experienced. To believe that they (who had Jesus as their leader) got it wrong but we never could (and never will) is vanity and pride. (2 Nephi 28:11, Moroni 7: 36-37)

The 144,000 spoken of in the book of Revelation won't miraculously spawn itself. Zion doesn't come about from mentioning it casually every six months in General Conference. It starts in your home. 

My greatest desire for my children is to know Jesus, and know Him personally. If we don't know Him, it won't matter who or what we knew instead.

What I share below may not seem like much, but I want share something we are doing with our kids. Maybe it will help you to consider doing something similar in your continued quest to know Him. 

I bought these journals for each person in our family to study a name of Jesus each week and then write about that name in their Journal. After they study the scriptures about that name and write it in their journal, we share it together in a lesson.

It may not seem like much, but it's a start. They wake up on Sunday morning excited to pray and ask the Lord to lead them to one of His names. Here are some photo's below: 

Oh, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus
Audrey Assad

Journal (link)
Pens (link) and (link)
Pen bag (link)
Stencils (link)

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Just Jesus, Please.

Church attendance appears to be on the decline across the world. Covid and the rise of home church gave greater traction to the already downward trend in converts and in members going inactive (link). 

The LDS church doesn't report numbers on how many inactive members it has. A glance around your home ward will give an idea of the numbers for you. I served a mission in Japan and in one ward we had over 700 members on the records and only 90 or less attended each week. If the church is the Kingdom of God on the earth as it teaches, you would expect the stone rolling forth to be gaining momentum, not less. I wrote about the Kingdom of God is not a 501c3 here

One of the most transformative inventions in world history was the Gutenberg Press. This press marked the first way to make and mass-produce books without handwriting them. Although there were a few types of presses invented before Gutenberg’s (mainly in China about 1,000 earlier), they weren’t as successful because of their overly complicated production process that made it difficult to make quick changes or necessary edits. Gutenberg’s invention of movable text greatly streamlined the process.

Prior to Gutenberg’s press, texts were primarily available to the rich because handwritten manuscripts were expensive to purchase. The new press created a way to lower production costs and make literature accessible to the lower classes. This means that people of all income classes were beginning to have access to more written knowledge than ever, including the Bible. Although few people owned a Gutenberg Bible, the printing press marked the beginning of a time where people were able to hold God’s Word in their own hands, empowering common people to have a personal relationship with Christ. With an increase in literacy, the more opportunities to own personal religious texts and growth of individual reading, the printing press ultimately undermined the Catholic Church and disrupted the European religious culture by spreading religious knowledge and shifting the power to the people.

The modern day Gutenberg Press is the Internet. With the stroke of a few keys we can land in an ocean of information and opinions in a web of truth, half-truths, and lies. China, a communist country where the government is in control of the people, works diligently to censor and block ideas, information, and websites they do not want their people to see. They control information and outwardly it appears to be a big brother just trying to keep you safe. This type of leadership control has worked for many dynasties. We see censorship everywhere these days.

When you have a religious institution that has something to hide, they will try to control what you see, read, and talk about. They will tell you what is approved reading and strongly discourage anything that does not come from its leadership. They will discourage searching for any information outside of their own database or leaders and it is partially for good reason - there are a lot of harmful things a person can stumble across that could and have crippled faith. However, these types of leaders will teach that they are the only ones with authority so you do not need to look any further than what they offer because they have everything you will ever need. Our church is just such an institution.

You will find very few organizations or churches that withhold documents and journals from their membership. You will also find few churches that employ a full time historian. Ours does both.

Why would any organization ever deny access to its archives from its members? 

What would be the benefit in doing so? 

Since the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is our church, shouldn't all of its history be ours for the viewing?

Leonard J. Arrington was called as Church Historian in 1972. He was sustained at general conference that year and for the next couple of years. In 1975 he was named "Director" of the History Division but was not released as Church Historian and in 1982, he received a letter honorably releasing him. That same year Elder G. Homer Durham, who had been managing director of the Historical Department of the Church since 1977, was named Church Historian.

If you visit the East Wing of the Church Office Building you will find in the hallway a gallery of portraits. These are the Church Historians, from Oliver Cowdery to G. Homer Durham. But where is Leonard Arrington? Nowhere to be seen. The official explanation is that to be a Church Historian one has to be a General Authority. A brief period of our history, awkwardly embarrassing to someone, is thus erased. Orwell's Truthspeak did not have to wait for 1984. 

Why would the church exclude this man, you may ask? Well, he made the mistake of wanting to lay out our history as is, without embellishments. That didn't sit well with a few leaders. More can be read of him here. Arrington was able to gain access and share church history that was otherwise inaccessible to general church membership. His journals show an inside perspective to church leadership.

Our Gutenberg press - the internet, allows anyone to gain information they couldn't have obtained previously. The church knows this and, similar to China, will continue to make great efforts to cast doubt in the minds of those who have questions and go seeking for answers outside of the church since the church isn't practicing transparency. 

What is unfortunate is that the church has the answers their members are seeking for, but they won't share them. In a self-fulling prophecy, they work hard to keep their members from knowing ugly sides to their history. They have archives which only the leadership has access to and in this suppression of information from the members they create the outcome they were trying to avoid - members not trusting leadership, searching elsewhere to find information, discovering ugly things they believe must be true - and then members leave. 

Members are going to step away from the church in greater numbers in the years ahead because of the modern day Gutenberg press now called, the Internet. Many reading this post have seen one or more nieces or nephews leave, a sibling, an aunt or uncle, or friend stop attending church. Most members who have stopped going did so because they felt lied to. Since membership attendance will decline anyway, it would behoove the church the open their archives to the public in a show of good faith that they are truly trying to be honest and transparent. But instead we will see the church doubling down on telling inaccurate history - like the release of the manual: The Saints. For those that have taken the time to check the references and deep dive into accurate Church History, you will see for yourself that The Saints is more historical fiction than truth.

As people leave the church they will leave for various reasons. The Quorum of the 12 Apostles had a training for church leaders in which they identified many of the reasons people are leaving and a powerpoint slide from that meeting can be viewed below:

To those who question and don't know where to turn, I pray you run into the arms of Jesus. Don't depart from the One who gives you Life. If the cross tells us anything - it emphasizes the unimaginable lengths your Lord and your God will go to win your heart. 
He is Majesty! He is King! He is Beauty! He is Perfection! 

In this post, I write especially to those that feel discouraged with the church and are seeking more of Jesus.

Some of you will desire a community of likeminded people to fellowship and discuss the things of your heart with. Having been on this journey for 12 years, I tell you, most assuredly, there are just such groups waiting to receive you. I write to encourage you that if you choose to attend gatherings, invite the Spirit to speak to you before you go. In these gatherings there will be just enough talk of "Zion," "visions," and "dreams" to capture your interest. Goodness gracious and for Pete's sake - our home teacher in our last ward spent hours and hours and hours and hours talking to us about his visions and dreams (which always seemed to be about him and his amazing end of time missions and Jesus was nowhere to be found). He even invited my husband and I to attend various group gatherings. We were stunned (but not surprised) to learn he was personally and intimately connected to Chad and Lori Daybell. But I digress.

When I say that I know some of the groups out there, I don't say it with any pride. I say it with some embarrassment. I wish I didn't. I was deceived more than once and it brought me to my knees. I have been so used to being in church meetings where everything is cut and dry and there is a handbook of rules of what is and is not acceptable. Because discussions in various groups were so different from church, I frequently listened to strange ideas or topics being discussed and questioned my own feelings telling me something was off. Yet when I look back at where I am today, I thank the Lord for the deception because it revealed my own heart to myself.

See, the thing is, some groups will gather with the intent to draw closer to the Lord, but that isn't what always happens. Sometimes gathering can feel like Nephi described in his vision of the Tree of Life "and some were lost from view wandering in strange roads" (1 Nephi 8:32). All I could do was pray continually to know what was right. Then I heard, "Those who seek Me with all their hearts shall find Me" and I was comforted. I had to come to grips with the fact that in the church or out, in a pew or in a group - maybe not everyone desires Jesus and only Jesus. It may sound silly, but I didn't know that until a couple of years ago. I thought we were all seeking Him and only Him.

God be praised He gives us what we desire most. As I have prayed for the Lord to give me friends I could worship with, I have been blessed, even though the number has been small.

I never foresaw the day when I'd no longer be a fully active member of my ward and getting here hasn't been easy. As much as I respect those who still find it an important part of their spiritual life, it is no longer part of mine. There came a point where the institutional needs came into conflict with the life of Jesus I was seeking. And sometimes the group gatherings outside of church can be even more destructive. The problem is not the venue; it is our preoccupation with anything other than Him. As with any other expression of the church, enjoy it as long as it expresses His kingdom and give it a wide berth when it no longer does. Keep in mind that once you start some "thing" your focus will shift from coming closer to Jesus to ensuring that the "thing" goes well. 

You will find fellowship easiest when you stop looking for "it," and simply love the people God has put around you. If you're looking for Jesus' kingdom, look for people who are drawn together by their passion for Him and for one another and pause and give careful thought to those groups, leaders, or teachers that have pet topics, repeated sermons, a fixation on authority, particular projects, doctrines, covenants, rules, authorized cannon, etc.. 

I think about some of the moments in Jesus life...who wouldn't have wanted to be at that lunch with Zaccheaus, in some of those boat conversations crossing the Sea of Galilee, or in Bethany having a meal with Lazarus, Mary, and Martha? Being with Jesus among a group of people watching Him love them into His kingdom, spurring them on with His wisdom, or opening doors of trust into their hearts would be a joy. Wouldn't it be unthinkable to be anywhere else?

As you attend gatherings, you will likely come across knowledgable or charismatic leaders and teachers. If you feel like I am singling out one specific group, I assure you, I am not. Most groups have similar characteristics as you will personally discover if you venture from one group to the next. There's generally one person who typically leads because they seem to speak with more authority and it can feel like they do have more authority. These gatherings will initially come together in the commonality of Christ and in time, Jesus seems to take a back seat to other pet topics or projects. Just like the church conflates attending the temple to be the same as the worship of Jesus - group topics, their authority, their cannon, etc. are, to them, the same as worshiping Jesus directly.  

It is important to ask yourself if the meeting you are in has the fragrance of Jesus about it. Finding the fragrance of Jesus exudes the sweet scent of His nature. If it's not there, it will have the telltale odor of human sweat. I didn't always get it right. But learning to look for His fragrance has helped me look beyond what I want or what I think is right and follow what He desires. 

In the 12 years of this journey I have sat with varying groups, always hungry and confident that we were about to feast on something wonderful! There were always enough breadcrumbs that would give me hope, and not taking time to evaluate why I never felt fully satisfied or at peace, I would attend another gathering and another, longing for that feast, but again, I hungered. 

Set gatherings and groups have a limited shelf life and often people attend as a place to hide from real human engagements. That's why people will prefer spiritual gatherings over spending more time in their closet in prayer, more time with their spouse, taking time for their kids, or helping their neighbors. Often when people awaken to their awful situation they want to begin something. I would initially advise: Resist the urge to start anything. Learn to trust Him and live in concert with others as He leads you first. Most things we start will eventually lead to a focus on the type, frequency, and location of meetings, or the role of leadership to manage the group. Our underlying assumption is that there must be a formula we can follow to replicate church whenever we want. Wouldn't you think if such a model existed, Jesus would have shared it with us? 

Yes, there were many times I was fed when I met with people that shared the same love of Jesus. And there were many times I was not and it took me a long time to identify what was missing, and so this is why I share today. As I've watched people go through this process, it seems that they have a deeper longing which continues to surface in two expressions: 

1. There must be something more 


2. Something seems wrong here

Don't ignore those feelings - Jesus is calling you to Him. There is only One who can satisfy your hunger and thirst after righteousness - and it is Jesus Christ, the Almighty God! No one can come to Him except that the Father draws them. He is the Bread of Life that came down from heaven, that we can partake of, and not die. He is the Living Bread. He gave is His body for the Life of the World. If we partake of His Bread and His Blood, we will have eternal life and we will be raised up at the last day. His flesh is meat indeed. And His blood is drink indeed. (John 6)

If you are blessed to find a group that loves Jesus above all else, thank your Lord! They aren't easy to find, but with humble desire and sincere prayer to God, all things are possible. A group that is devoted to Jesus doesn't need pet doctrines or theories needing to be discussed in perpetuity. Regularly scheduled meetings don't allow for the Spirit to guide you (John 3:8).

Groups born of the spirit are lead by the spirit. They love Jesus. They love to worship Him, praise Him, and adore Him. Your lifetime membership in the church has taught dependence on a leader to get us a connection to heaven and that belief is hard to let go of. We see other charismatic leaders who have a great knowledge of the scriptures as more spiritual, and more righteous. Sometimes those leaders speak of their personal connection with God and offer to share their good favor with heaven to those that follow their revelations. Our sticky hands will reflexively reach out to grasp a new arm of flesh to cling to. (D&C 1:19)

Many people battle loneliness in the early stages of this journey, especially if they have to start over building friendships that champion the new creation God is making of you. That takes time. Fortunately, the answer for loneliness is not being around more people but letting God fill that space in your heart. When we try to fill it with people, our relationships will be based on needs and they will get twisted before they begin. God often finds it helpful to draw people to himself for a season as they detox from religious performance and seeking the approval of others. As He builds a new life with you, you will be free to love others in a way that will allow healthy friendships to grow. Each day, love whomever God puts before you and see where it leads. 

Jesus didn't spend His life in a lot of preplanned meetings and he touched people most deeply in life as it unfolded around Him. Walking with God is simply asking him each day, "Who do you want me to be with?" Often it will be in your own home, in your own closet, or in extended family relationships that need healing and tending to. 

Will the church Jesus is building be fully revealed in the earth? 

It is inevitable. 

God's temple is rising in the world.
1 Cor. 3: 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
It may be obscured at times by groups whose actions smell more like human flesh than the fragrance of a loving Jesus. But His temple keeps rising. Wherever people are learning to live in His love and love others, the temple rises. Whenever people learn to listen to him instead of manipulative voices, the temple rises. However people find ways to work together by laying their lives down in kindness and generosity, the temple rises.

Its completion is inevitable because Jesus is the one building it. It cannot be made with hands because it isn't made of brick and mortar. It can't be drawn up on a flow chart because it isn't a system. It is a living organism made up of all the people who recognize the supremacy of Jesus. This has been His purpose since the first act of creation (Ephesians 3:10-11).

What if when he was walking the countryside with his disciples, talking to a woman at a well, sitting in Zacchaeus's home having lunch, or relaxing in Bethany, he was showing us exactly what his church looks like? What if when Jesus spent time with the Samaritan woman at a well, told the story of the Good Samaritan, or embraced Peter with prayer before and after his betrayal, He was showing us how the church lives?

Maybe He did after all tell us everything we needed to know about his church. Its teaching is more like a conversation about faith in the stern of a boat after a fierce storm than it is a lesson or discussion in weekly groups. Its gatherings look more like a meal in the upper room than people sitting in rows of pews or chairs. And its leadership is better expressed in washing dirty feet than sitting in a council meeting about meetings. 

As I walked down this path to where I am today, I continually second guessed myself. When you begin to question nearly 200 years of tradition, you can expect others to be threatened and have many try to discourage you. They will misinterpret your frustration as bitterness and may accuse you of being selfish. They will discount your hungers by saying that we can't expect the church to be perfect when it is filled with broken humanity. They will tell you that we can't just sit around and do nothing when there is so much work to be done. They will tell you that attendance is the litmus test to measure the sincerity of someones faith. Most of all, they will be afraid that in leaving long-established traditions you risk your own salvation or that of your children. Following Him even when others wrongly judge and exclude you is why so few take this road. Those who do only do so because they are called to do so or convinced that there is a reality beyond their experience that continues to beckon them. 

Our security is found not in any particular expression of church, but by our relationship with Him. He's always wanted to be the One to guide us. While teachers can be valuable tools to help us discover a growing life in Jesus, they become valueless if they supplant his ongoing revelation in our hearts. The New Testament is filled with language that invites people into the depth of that relationship, so much so that everyone can know him "from the least of them to the greatest" (Hebrews 8:11), and that "You do not need anyone to teach you..." (1 John 2:27).

Initially I asked myself,"Don't I need to be taught?" Then I realized, the purpose of the New Covenant was to invite each of us into a growing relationship with Jesus so that we have no need to be taught by others (Jeremiah 31:34) and the only covenant we need to accept is the one He offers to each of us, personally, one by one, directly. He wants to lead you into His Truth. Don't ever give that away to another human being, which means each of us will have to discern between truth and error. We need to learn to recognize the fragrance of Jesus and turn away from that which may tickle our ears but only draw our dependency away from Him. Mistakes will be made, and that is okay, no one travels this road perfectly. If you seek Him with all of your heart, you WILL find Him.

How will my kids learn about God?! You introduce them to Jesus like you would introduce them to their Grandmother. You just do it naturally. Don't teach your children to be good Christians, show them how to walk with God in the same way you do. In the youngest ages, they can see God as a part of the family as they pray, share, and learn together what it means to follow Him. Pray for them to desire a personal relationship with Jesus and He will bless them. One minister said the greatest advice he ever received was to not require his children to attend church after they turned twelve. 

Some people may find this view of the church challenging. They've thought of it only as a meeting to attend and the regular discipline of showing up each week a critical component to their faith. But if that's all it is, it will not stand up to the challenges of life. Church, as well as regular group gatherings, can help people learn the basic theology that undergirds a life of faith, but problems arise when it keeps people dependent on the program or meeting and doesn't teach them how to live beyond it. 

Perhaps the biggest change I have experienced in home church is that it forced me to move from being a passive participant in someone else's program, to someone who actively participates in His unfolding Kingdom. Yes, you don't get to follow someone else's instructions, but instead you have to be more intentional in all aspects of connecting with Him and His kingdom.

It is easy to wonder how weekly lessons alone can possibly help people engage God. How are children ever going to learn about Him in a Sunday school lesson that turns every scripture story into teaching them that their behavior is more important to God than they are? 

Having a church or fellowship that has a hierarchy who say they speak for Christ has fragmented those who attend. A cursory view of history makes it clear that a hierarchy of human leadership does more to disfigure the church than it does to protect it. Perhaps the severest price we've paid for doing so is that we no longer see authority resting in Jesus but in the institutions or groups we have created by our own hand...perhaps not so dissimilar from the idols crafted in ancient Israel to replace the God they could not see. 

As far as we know, Jesus didn't teach His disciples how to run a church, build them, or manage them. He didn't hold any leadership training conferences, give them a handbook of instructions or even start a Sunday school. He didn't show them how to form and manage a 501c3 nonprofit organization. He didn't teach them how to hold a sacrament meeting. He did't craft a doctrine statement they all needed to sustain and agree to. He simply walked through life, touching people he met, showing them the reality of His Father's kingdom and inviting them to live in it. He wasn't ever in a meeting that looked like our Sunday services. In fact he didn't seem to do one thing that would have prepared his disciples to hold a congregational service or organize an International organization to sustain the life of the followers. 

You can do it. No matter if you are in church or a group, if there is something in your heart that doesn't feel right, ask questions. The Lord will lead you to where you need to be and no one need judge you for wherever that is.

You can stand alone and find Jesus who is the Author and Finisher of your Salvation. You can call out to Him to save you and don't stop petitioning Him until He answers you (Luke 18:1-8). Yes, we need fellowship to strengthen us, but until you have developed an eye single to His Glory and found Him in your wilderness, you will sit in a pew or at a gathering snacking on the stale breadcrumbs that tumble to the ground from another. Never forget, He is the Bread of Life and YOU are His temple and He will come to YOU (Malachi 3:1).

Jesus At The Center
Darlene Zschech

Many of the things in this post can be found in the book: Finding Church, by Wayne Jacobsen

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Sealed, or not Sealed?

*This post will make more sense if you have read the previous post, "Sealing, Sealing, Who Can Explain The Sealing?" (link)

**This post is unbelievably long and very dense with references and links. I have tried to cut things out because I know that in the last 10 years with the rise of YouTube, my attention span has been obliterated, lasting only about 5 minutes. I am mindful that not everyone has the time to spend on a long post. I am sorry I couldn't condense it more than I have. Buckle up.

Prophecies disclose of a future time when the Lord will send "One mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God." (D&C 85:7)

Since the above revelation says that the "Lord, God will send" him "to set in order the house of God" it is clear that the house of God will undoubtedly be out of order. It would not be necessary to set it in order if disorder had not set in. Examining the things that are out of order is not anti-church. It is carefully considering where history and teachings may have been misunderstood, misinterpreted, or become a tradition of our fathers. This kind of examining is to search for a more accurate understanding that will bring Light and Truth, greater obedience to the things of God, and ultimately to be born again in Christ Jesus (Ether 12:39 & 41).

Moroni 7 shows us how to examine truth from error:
16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
As my spouse and I have gone on this journey of investigating some of the church’s teachings and traditions we have frequently paused to evaluate the path we were on. We don't want to be deceived and so we would read and consider the above verses. Do the things we are learning bring us closer to Christ? 

For those seeking Jesus and nothing more, this is enough. I want Truth, and Jesus is the Truth. I am willing to give up all I have for it, whatever the cost. 

Given the emphasis that President Nelson and the church have been putting on the importance of the temple and the upcoming changes he plans to incorporate (link), I thought it would be good to take a deep historical dive into the history of the sealing ordinance, where it originated from, how it was practiced, and how it has changed over time. 

When I looked up what the Church provides on their website to explain Temple Sealing’s origin and purpose, it was confusing for me personally. Whenever something I read is confusing, I pause and look more carefully into the footnotes and references. Because the explanation the church provides offers only a broad answer to the origins of the sealing ordinance and neglects to offer many references to bolster their claims, I will do my best to write what I have researched on my own.

From what I have found, there are no reliable records of Joseph sealing or adopting anyone to himself. Additionally there is no evidence that the "law of adoption" practice was taught by Joseph Smith prior to his death in 1844. Adoptions did appear on the records of the Nauvoo Temple in 1846 and so some scholars believe the practice was instituted by Brigham Young. 

As I got writing I wanted to read, with my own eyes, what exactly Joseph said and did along the lines of sealings. Thanks to my friend, I was able to locate various sources. I am going to show you what the Church teaches in their book, The Saints, and then I will give you the links that the Church offers. I hope you will take the time to observe the links and consider for yourself.

It is important to note my research style for this topic is as follows: I am distrusting of anything that wasn't written before Joseph died and I especially don't trust anything that was "compiled" in Utah. If it was written when Joseph was alive, it needs to be corroborated by multiple accounts. Additionally, Joseph often spoke about the sealing power. But from everything I have read, he never said a direct statement that he had the sealing power and that he had used it to seal anyone.

For no particular reason other than it seemed an interesting place to start, I am going to start with the claim the church teaches that Joseph and Emma were sealed for time and for all eternity. I will show all of the footnotes the church offers and if you are further interested, you can continue your own search. I would encourage you to read this post on a computer where you can open the Joseph Smith papers for yourself and zoom in. It is important to read the originals. 

From The Saints
“In late May 1843, Emma and Joseph were sealed together for eternity in a room above Joseph’s store, solemnizing at last what they had long desired.”
Here are the three references given by the church to support that claim (if you don't have time to look up any of the the references, I'll tell you, there scant or dubious evidence to back the claims put forth as fact):
Joseph Smith, Journal, May 28, 1843, in JSP, J3:25; see also Joseph Smith to Emma Smith, Nov. 12, 1838, in JSP, D6:290–93; and Emma Smith Blessing, 1844, Church History Library.
Here are the direct links to the above references found in The Saints footnotes:

Let's look at the next sentence:
“Joseph then invited Brigham and Mary Ann Young, Willard and Jennetta Richards, Hyrum and Mary Fielding Smith, and Mary’s widowed sister, Mercy Thompson, to meet with him the following morning to receive the same ordinance.”
Here is the reference:
Joseph Smith, Journal, May 29, 1843, in JSP, J3:25–26; see also 25, note 89.
Here is the link:

The last sentence in that paragraph says:
“Before the meeting, Hyrum worried about his complicated family situation. If the blessings of eternal marriage belonged only to those who had been sealed together by the priesthood, what would happen to his first wife, Jerusha, who had died six years earlier?
“You can have her sealed to you upon the same principle as you can be baptized for the dead,” Joseph said.
“What can I do for my second wife?” Hyrum asked.

“You can also make a covenant with her for eternity,” Joseph said.
Mary agreed to serve as Jerusha’s proxy in the special sealing. “And I will be sealed to you for eternity myself,” she told Hyrum. “I love you and I do not want to be separated from you.” 
Here is the reference the church gives:

Joseph Smith, Journal, May 29, 1843, in JSP, J3:25–26; see also 25, note 89.

Here are the links:

The above references are what the church provides to substantiate the teaching that Joseph was sealing couples together for time and all eternity. The footnotes are beyond a stretch. I'm about to geek out so if this footnote and reference nerd stuff doesn't interest you, I understand. 

In one footnote you'll notice those who were deciphering the Joseph Smith Papers made a footnote that said that the odd symbols were shorthand for "wrrmrd". I looked up the shorthand for myself (link) and I took the time to write the shorthand and decipher it. The shorthand is actually the letters: "wrmd". However, the church decided to insert three r's when there was only one 'r'. 

The church advances that "wrmd" means, "were married". There is no evidence to indicate that back in Josephs time, "wrmd" in shorthand meant "were married". But for arguments sake, let's take the church's claim and say "wrmd" did mean "were married". The shorthand of "wrmd" still does not translate to say the couple was "sealed" or "sealed for time and all eternity."

Now for where I am unbelievably frustrated. The final link I provided takes you not to the "actual" Joseph Smith Papers but instead takes you to the "Manuscript History of the Church" which was "Compiled in Utah Territory in the mid-1850s". (link) If you take time to read what Hyrum supposedly taught at that April 8th, 1844 General Conference you will find that no other source (except that which was made in Utah years after Joseph and Hyrum's death) can corroborate that Hyrum spoke about sealings or spiritual wifery. Although in the alleged talk he "condemned" spiritual wifery, there is something terribly 'off' about the whole talk.

The History of the Church volume 6 page 320 says what Hyrum spoke about. The History of the Church is 100% questionable because it was all written under the direct supervision of Brigham Young. However, even volume 6 never says a word about Hyrum speaking on spiritual wifery or sealings. In addition, the Manuscript History of the Church version makes Hyrum sound brash and harsh. To be honest, the speech sounded like Brigham's voice and not a refined Smith brother. And if that's not enough, make note that the  entire speech/manuscript is crossed out.

Guys, I have cried until I had a good headache over the research I have come across, been confused over, been duped over, and found the lies in the doctored manuscripts the church provides. After that good cry, I'm just mad. The way the history of Joseph Smith has been changed is swear worthy and more. Reading the book The Saints has made me sick to my stomach. I can sum up what the church is teaching in seven words: "Joseph lied. A lot. Brigham...was brave." (link)

As I said above, we do know that adoptions did appear on the records of the Nauvoo Temple two years after Joseph's death in 1846. Brigham Young adopted men to himself and then sealed them all back to Joseph, as did other leaders of the church. Because it was important to the leaders of the church to link all sealing and adoptions back to Joseph, or another succeeding church leader, members began to believe that adoption and sealings affected their afterlife and their exaltation. It caused some members to strive to improve their life-after-death situation by seeking to be adopted to past and current presidents of the church.

This increasing frenzy caused members to seek to be sealed to particular leaders of the church to increase their chances of salvation. The church teaches that President Woodruff did away with adoptions and received a revelation to do genealogical work only. This claim is only partially correct. It took me hours to finally find what President Woodruff actually said. It is not available on any official Church website, which is frustrating. I had to go to BYUi archives to find it. 

President Woodruff announced the ending of the adoption practice on April 8, 1894 in General Conference where he spoke about receiving a revelation that limited adoptive sealings and instead focused on sealing marriages and parent-child relationships. President Woodruff exhorted the Saints to search their genealogies “as far as they can, and to be sealed to their fathers and mothers.” He urged the Saints to be sealed to deceased spouses and parents, even those who had not been members of the Church. This is what the Church teaches. See if you can find the part that isn’t mentioned by the Church today:

Here is the FULL quote from Wilford Woodruff:
"We want the Latter Day Saints from this time to trace their genealogies as far as they can, and to be sealed to their fathers and mothers. Have children sealed to their parents, and run this chain through as far as you can get it. When you get to the end, let the last man be adopted to Joseph Smith, who stands at the head of the dispensation. This is the will of the Lord to this people, and I think when you come to reflect upon it you will find it to be true." (Reference link here)
Because of President Woodruff's revelation, the sealings & adoptions were now to be done genealogically. Something the church omits on their Church History Topic web page about Sealings are that President Woodruff also told the saints to complete their family sealing as far back as they could find and then end it with adoption to Joseph.

In addition, Brigham Young taught:
"Brethren, if you will give me your attention, I will say a few words to you. We have dedicated this spot of ground upon which we expect to erect a Temple, in which to administer the ordinances of the House of God. Into this house, when it is completed, we expect to enter to enjoy the blessings of the priesthood, and receive our washings, our anointings, our endowments, and our sealings; and the brethren will be sealed to brethren to connect the links and make perfect the chain from ourselves to Father Adam." 
-Remarks by President Brigham Young, delivered on the Occasion of Dedicating the Temple Site at Logan, Cache County, Utah, on Friday, at 12 M. O'Clock, May 18, 1877. Reported By: Geo. F. Gibbs.

Brigham also taught that sealing men to men was the highest ordinance of the Kingdom of God on the earth and above all other ordinances that can be given to you. He said: 

"This Chain must not be broken for mankind Cannot be saved any other way. This Priesthood must be linked together so that all the Children may be linked to Father Adam. …we will seal men to men by the keys of the Holy Priesthood. This is the highest ordinance. It is the last ordinance of the kingdom of God on the earth and above all the endowments that can be given [to] you. It is a final sealing an Eternal Principle and when once made cannot be broken by the Devil." 

(The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, Vol. 5, 13 January 1856, Vol. 2, p. 1033-1034) 

Today the church has dropped the highest ordinance it can offer to mortal men on this earth, as taught by Brigham Young. Because my mind is bent and the will to go on researching this topic has been drained out of me, I'm going to end there. 

To summarize: The evidence that Joseph was in actuality adopting and sealing members to himself are unavailable. Records of Joseph administering eternal marriages and sealings are zero and the one's offered by the church for evidence are unsatisfactory. Brigham Young, and succeeding leaders, practiced sealing men to men in, what appears to be, a family back to Adam. Brigham taught this was the highest ordinance offered on this earth. Wilford Woodruff ended that practice and made it genealogical bloodlines only. However, he still taught the members to be adopted to Joseph Smith when they got to the last man of their genealogical sealings. By 1922 the practice Wilford Woodruff announced in 1894 was deleted in the published account by the Utah Genealogical Society. Today adoption has disappeared from the Church. Interestingly it was never practiced by any of the other branches of the Restoration (RLDS, etc.). Sealing for time and all eternity is also not practiced by any other Restoration branch.

So what did Joseph say about sealings?

Joseph frequently taught about, "the sealing power of Elijah". Joseph said that "...IF you ever got the power to seal on heaven and on earth, you would first want to go and seal on earth your sons and daughters unto yourself, and yourself unto your fathers in eternal glory.” (reference)

If you read what Joseph said in its entirety you would see the emphasis of the word, “if” when he said “if you ever got the power to seal”. The sealing power isn’t given to just anyone. It is given from God alone. More on this later. 

It is important to look at Malachi. We see he said that Elijah would turn the hearts of the children to the fathers and the fathers to the children (Malachi 4:6). The church has taken that scripture and interpreted it to mean that we need to be sealed for time and all eternity to our genealogical bloodlines and to do that for the entire human race as far back as we are able.

What did Malachai mean? 

That question is very hard to answer and one many religions are unsure of. However, we can look to September 21, 1823 when Moroni appeared to Joseph in his room and expounded many scriptures to explain and foretell what was to come. 

Joseph said: 
“After telling me these things, he (Moroni) commenced quoting the prophecies of the Old Testament. He first quoted part of the third chapter of Malachi; and he quoted also the fourth or last chapter of the same prophecy, though with a little variation from the way it reads in our Bibles. Instead of quoting the first verse as it reads in our books, he quoted it thus:
For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” (This is speaking of the earth being destroyed by fire at the end of the age "the great and dreadful day of the Lord"."
Some scriptures that illustrate the burning that was prophesied are: 2 Peter 3: 10, 3 Nephi 26:3, Mormon 9: 22 , D&C 101: 24-25, D&C 133: 40-41, D&C 133:64, Joseph Smith History 1:37)

Back to Moroni speaking to Joseph Smith:
"And again, he quoted the fifth verse thus: “Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”

He also quoted the next verse differently: “And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.”
It's important to acknowledge the fact that Moroni went to the trouble to quote Malachi differently here.

The King James Bible translation says, "he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."

Upon first glance, the King James Bible version appears to be vastly different from the version Moroni quoted. The church’s interpretation implies that our ancestors that are dead don't have their hearts turned towards us (and we in return do not have our hearts turned to them). Thankfully Moroni cleared that up by clarifying: "the promises made to the fathers". When Joseph spoke and referred to “the fathers” he said, "...even those who are in heaven" and "your fathers in eternal glory". (reference)

The church has taught that Joseph Smith and the prophet Malachi both meant that the sealing power is given for the purpose of sealing all our genealogical ancestors to ourselves in an eternal link. The problem with that teaching is that the phrase "...the fathers, even those who are in heaven" and "your fathers in eternal glory" can't be speaking of our ancestors because our ancestors aren't in heaven nor are they in eternal glory. If our genealogical fathers need us to do their temple work in order to progress, then it would follow that they would not be in heaven nor would they be in eternal glory.

Who are the fathers referred to by Malichai and Joseph? What are these promises?

Jesus explains who the father's are when He comes to Bountiful and taught the remnant that remained. He said,
"...All the prophets from Samuel and all those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have testified of me. Behold, ye are the children of the prophets; and ye are of the house of Israel; and ye are of the covenant which the Father made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham: And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed....
The Father...hath sent me to bless you...and this because ye are the children of the covenant....And after that ye were blessed then fulfilleth the Father the covenant which he made with Abraham, saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed -- unto the pouring out of the Holy Ghost through me upon the Gentiles..." (3 Nephi 20:24-27)

As we see from those verses spoken of by Jesus, when he speaks of the fathers, He immediately mentions Abraham and the covenant, or promise, that was made with him.  

Let's look at what Abraham had to say about "the fathers":

Abraham 1:

2 And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.

3 It was conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me.

4 I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the fathers concerning the seed.
Another key word that comes from Moroni's clarification is when he said that Elijah will "plant" in the hearts of the children the "promises" made to the fathers. In Greek the word for "turn" (as in "turn the hearts" of the children) is 'metanoia'. The definition of metanoia is: “a transformative change of heart especially: a spiritual conversion”. In Hebrew the word for turn is 'shub' and is often used with the idea of turning from one's sin (1 Kings 8:47; Ezek. 14:6).

THIS is what Elijah will do...he will bring about a transformative change of heart...a spiritual conversion...a planting of the promise that will grow into fruition the hearts of the children of Abraham. 

Abraham (and other patriarchs/fathers) heart’s won't turn towards us. They are the ones that sought for and obtained a covenant and a promise for US! Their hearts are already turned. 

The father's sought a promise from the Lord that their posterity would not be wasted…that we (their posterity) would choose the Lord to be their God and that we (their children) would do as they have done and return to His presence there to obtain all the blessings of kingdoms, thrones, principalities, powers, dominions, and exaltations, with all the blessings of the fathers that we, their children, might have joy and rejoicing in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

What are the promises that will keep a people from being utterly wasted at the coming of the Lord?

The establishment of Zion

The only way that the earth won't be wasted at His coming is if there are a people prepared to receive the Lord. 

The only way a people can be prepared to receive the Lord is to remember the promises, or, covenants the Lord has made with their fathers, who are now in heaven and in eternal glory. 

Christ will not come in the clouds at the second coming to a people who have not already received Him previously, one on one, face to face, in the flesh. This is what the father's have done. And this is what the children must do. 

The covenants made with the fathers are the same covenants which are presented to you in the Temple sealing and endowment. Whether the attendees understand what they are doing in the temple when they say and do particular things is the question.

Can you have the promise planted in your heart if you don't know what the promises are?

A good book that I have found to be helpful on fully explaining the endowment is found on Amazon: Passing The Angels Who Stand As Sentinels. (link)

The book description on Amazon says that the book is also given for free online: link

This is the book description given on Amazon:
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we teach that we have the fulness of the gospel, i.e. the saving ordinances through which salvation is offered. And yet, do we really understand the ordinances of salvation we teach?
What does the Endowment actually mean?

What does the clothing represent?

What do the things we do represent?
Is the endowment to be received by all worthy members but only to be fully understood by Temple Presidents, 70's, and Apostles?
Have you ever wished you could just have a meeting with higher leadership and ask them to teach you what the endowment really means?

Have you ever sat in the Temple as a "proxy", as a "savior on Mount Zion" who was providing "salvation for the dead" and realized that the very ordinance that you were offering to the dead you yourself didn't comprehend or know for certain if you had truly received it? How can one know? Journey through this book and come to understand the meaning of your Endowment.

An important part of your journey in the Gospel is the questions that you have. Questions unlock the heavens and keep the flow of revelation pouring through your mind and heart. 

Possessing no questions is like a pool of stagnant water, never moving and prone to contamination and stench.

A time is coming where your children, nieces, nephews or grandchildren, will question what is being taught in all areas of life. Unless the things they hear and are taught make sense to them (and it doesn’t matter what source it comes from) the next generation will reject it. This is good progress because instead of authority being the truth, truth becomes the authority. Once people begin to reject what doesn’t make sense to them…questions are going to arise which need to be answered, for if they are not, the earth will be utterly wasted at the Lord’s coming. 

There are 3 questions that will come that, if not answered, will render the Bible and all scriptures useless. If you, or those that come after you, do not know with absolute certainty with a promise from Heaven, 1. Where you came from, 2. Why you are here, and 3. Where you are going, the scriptures will become obsolete…tales of cultures past with no application to the present day. There is only one true way to know, for yourself and not from another, the answer to all of those questions. It is the same knowledge the father's sought after and obtained for themselves as described in Ether 12: 
18 And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God. 
19 And there were many whose faith was so exceedingly strong, even before Christ came, who could not be kept from within the veil, but truly saw with their eyes the things which they had beheld with an eye of faith, and they were glad. 
20 And behold, we have seen in this record that one of these was the brother of Jared; for so great was his faith in God, that when God put forth his finger he could not hide it from the sight of the brother of Jared, because of his word which he had spoken unto him, which word he had obtained by faith.
21 And after the brother of Jared had beheld the finger of the Lord, because of the promise which the brother of Jared had obtained by faith, the Lord could not withhold anything from his sight; wherefore he showed him all things, for he could no longer be kept without the veil.
22 And it is by faith that my fathers have obtained the promise that these things should come unto their brethren through the Gentiles; therefore the Lord hath commanded me, yea, even Jesus Christ.
Lectures on Faith 6 shows the uncertainty of those who will not know for certain their standing before God:
“...Such was and always will be the situation of the saints of God, that unless they have an actual knowledge that the course that they are pursuing is according to the will of God, they will grow weary in their minds and faint; for such has been and always will be the opposition in the hearts of unbelievers and those that know not God…For a man to lay down his all...requires more than mere belief, or supposition that he is doing the will of God, but actual knowledge…he does know most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not nor will not seek his face in vain.
Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life…and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him…
And in the last days, before the Lord comes, he is to gather together his saints who have made a covenant with him by sacrifice. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence...Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant unto me by sacrifice….But those who have not made this sacrifice to God, do not know that the course which they pursue is well pleasing in his sight; for whatever may be their belief or their opinion, it is a matter of doubt and uncertainty in their mind; and where doubt and uncertainty is, there faith is not, nor can it be. 
For doubt and faith do not exist in the same person at the same time. So that persons whose minds are under doubts and fears cannot have unshaken confidence, and where unshaken confidence is not, there faith is weak, and where faith is weak, the persons will not be able to contend against all the opposition, tribulations and afflictions which they will have to encounter in order to be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ Jesus; and they will grow weary in their minds, and the adversary will have power over them and destroy them.” 

12 years ago I hit a crisis in my mind. I didn’t know for certain my standing before God. I was attending the Temple frequently and asking the sealers and former Temple presidents my questions, but they were unable to give me the answer that could quench my thirst. “Stay faithful to your covenants” was their reply. Their assurance was that if I just "did my best," I’d be okay on the other side. 

I had hit a point in my life where I had to know, from God Himself, where I stood with Him. I couldn’t take another man’s word for it. I had to know. I pray all will desire such unrest. Because it will drive you to your knees an agony, fear, and trembling and nothing will satisfy your mind but Him.

This is the planting in the hearts of the children that Malachi said must occur. To have planted in the hearts of the children - the promises made to the fathers…to have your heart turn (a spiritual conversion) to those fathers who "are in heaven" & "in eternal glory". This turning of your heart (powerful spiritual conversion) will activate in you a life of sacrifice. A life that only seeks to do the will of the Father. A person who only does the Father's will is who the sealing power will be bestowed upon. A person who seeks and does the Father's will in all things is the definition of Charity.  

To recap, let's define the words Malachi spoke that were clarified by Moroni: 

Plant in the heart:

To begin growing something new. A spiritual conversion. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Children that have the promise planted in their heart only seek to imitate the father’s, who are in heaven, example. They walk in their ways, in the path they trod, obtaining salvation for themselves and for their families.


Covenants of the fathers - a promise made directly with God that all their sacrifice wasn’t for nothing and that their children will receive Jesus Christ prior to His coming so the earth won’t be utterly wasted at His coming.
Jeremiah 32:40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.
D&C 39:11 And if thou do this, I have prepared thee for a greater work. Thou shalt preach the fulness of my gospel, which I have sent forth in these last days, the covenant which I have sent forth to recover my people, which are of the house of Israel.
The "Fathers in Heaven" & "Fathers in Eternal Glory":

Adam, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc., etc.. God changed Abram’s name from Abram (“high father”) to Abraham (“father of a multitude”). The “fathers” spoken of are the patriarchs, whom the prophet Malachi regards as estranged from their degenerate “children”, or descendants, and ceasing to acknowledge them on account of their unworthy character and conduct. 

Isaiah 63:16 Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O Lord, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.
Matthew 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Moses 7:1 And it came to pass that Enoch continued his speech, saying: Behold, our father Adam taught these things, and many have believed and become the sons of God, and many have believed not, and have perished in their sins, and are looking forth with fear, in torment, for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God to be poured out upon them.
Jeremiah 31: 31 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Second Comforter)

See Romans 4: 9-16  

The Children:

All those who Awake and Arise to the promises given to the Fathers, who are in Heaven in eternal glory. Those who are born again and baptized by fire and the holy ghost will not be utterly wasted at His coming. 
D&C 45: 
56 And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins.

57 For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide (born again and baptized by fire), and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.

58 And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation.

59 For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver.


“We pray our heavenly Father that you may be very prayerful, very humble, and very charitable; working diligently, spiritually and temporally, for the redemption of Zion, that the pure in heart may return with songs of everlasting joy to build up her waste places, and meet the Lord when He comes in His glory.” -D&C 101:18
“… We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object. … The time is soon coming, when no man will have any peace but in Zion and her stakes.” 
-History of the Church, 3:390–91


I wrote a post about the fulness of the gosple here. In order to bring again Zion, we have to have a people who have received the fulness of the gospel (3 Nephi 16:10) and as such, are then worthy of Zion. 

Zion is where Christ will come to and dwell (Moses 7:69). 

It stands to reason that if Christ comes again and you have not been born again, you will not be able to stand in His presence. 

To be able to stand in His presence you must be pure in heart. 

The pure in heart shall see God. This isn't an event that will come when Christ descends from the clouds. Zion will consist of the pure in heart who have seen God and have been blessed by Him and sealed His (devil seal you his: Revelation 20:4, Christ seal you His: Revelation 9:4).

When Peter, James, John were at the Mt. of Transfiguration, they witnessed the three together, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. This represented fulfillment of the promise of Salvation. Moses symbolized the law. Elijah represented the prophets & the restoration of all things. And we know that Jesus fulfilled the promise of alvation to perfection. The prophet, the priest and the King in one place during the Transfiguration. 

The name Elijah comes from the Old Testament of the Bible, and stems from a Hebrew expression signifying “Jehovah is my God.” The biblical Elijah was a prophet known for upholding the worship of God and doing miracles in God’s name. Something I find fascinating is that prophet Elijah is venerated by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike. All three religions believe Elijah will return at the end of times. Interestingly enough, Elijah is one of only two humans in the Old Testament (Enoch was the other) that never died (2 Kings 2).

Elijah’s role has been largely overlooked or narrowed down to D&C 110. Joseph and Oliver never spoke of receiving Elijah and D&C 110 was written third person and it’s legitimacy is questionable. I won't go into it here but I have come across a YouTube video that explains it very well which I will link here.

Now that we have looked into the history of where the sealing ordinance originated from (or didn’t originate from), let’s look at how the church employs the sealing power today.

In the current sealing of couples which takes place in the temples today, a brother who has been set apart as a sealer preforms the marriage ceremony. Because the Lord has declared that there is never but one person on the earth at a time with the sealing power (D&C 132:7), we know that the sealers in the temple are only able to act symbolically and as such they are not in actuality able to use the sealing power. One of the last times my husband and I did sealings at the Temple we sat in the room waiting for more people to come and while we waited we spoke with the sealer. He asked us if we had seen "Downton Abby". I didn't tell him I had seen some of the first episode until I was sickened and turned it off. He fervently recommended us to watch it. But I digress.

What is the sealing power?

The sealing power is part of the Melchizedek priesthood. The Melchizedek priesthood is only held by one who lives a life in total obedience to God. The sealing power does not get passed from one mortal to another. It is not something you keep a roster of nor is it something that can be sustained by members in church on Sunday. This priesthood power is solely conferred by God's voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name (JST-Gen. 14:26-29). 

To receive the sealing power, God must be directly involved. His servant must be called by Him, and not receive it from another man. Such an High Priest cannot claim his right to hold priesthood from another man, or his earthly parents. The 'line of authority' consists of only one: God. God shows us what the sealing power looks like in JST-Gen. 14:
30 For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course;
31 To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.
Helaman 10:

7 Behold, I give unto you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and thus shall ye have power among this people.
D&C 1 entire chapter is about Zion and sealing in heaven and on earth at the end of time.
Do sealers in the temple possess the power to seal?

Sealers in the temple are ordained by man, not by God. 

If the sealer in the temple only received the ability to seal from another man, am I sealed in actuality or just symbolically?

A close inspection of the the marriage ceremony reveals that there are never words said that you and your spouse are sealed. Patrons are told they are "wed for all eternity," which one could argue those words do mean that they are sealed for all eternity. However, if I was a non-member listening to that phrase, "wed for all eternity," I wouldn't conclude the couple had just been sealed.

The only time in the marriage ceremony where the word 'seal' is pronounced upon anyone is when they are given particular blessings. However, the sealer makes it clear that all the blessings he just spoke are conditional. Those blessings are not given in that moment. The blessings are contingent upon the recipient's faithfulness. The promises offered in the sealing ordinance are also offered to all mankind by the Lord. (examples: D&C 14:7; D&C 96:6; Alma 11:40; Moroni 7:41.)

A person who believes they are literally sealed to their spouse could argue that they actually were given those blessings on their wedding day because they were both living litrue and faithful lives and therefore, the sealing promise went into effect once the sealer uttered the words. 
Again, the sealer does not possess the sealing power to bestow upon you kingdoms, thrones, principalities, powers, dominions, exaltations, or blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Those are blessings that only God the Father can pronounce.

Are you sealed to your spouse?

Did the Holy Spirit of Promise, of Him who is Anointed, seal you (D&C 132:7)? If you do not perfectly understand what the Holy Spirit of Promise is, you can take that as an indicator that it hasn't happened for you yet. 
D&C 132:

7 And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity....are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.
8 Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion. 
(see the post: sealing, sealing, who can explain the sealing?)

What is the New and Everlasting Covenant? 

Can you explain the New and Everlasting Covenant in a way that is void of confusion (like the above scripture says in verse 8)? If you, or those that you look to for leadership, know what The New and Everlasting Covenant is, it should be taught and when it is taught, it should be plain to be understood. 

2 Nephi 31:3 For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men.

I have read through every single scripture in each of the standard works where the word 'seal' was used. In all my searching to find where marriage sealings have ever taken place, I found zero. When I searched where other kinds of sealings have taken place, I found the following, and they are unbelievably important:

2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Revelation 9: 4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

2 Nephi 33: 15 For what I seal on earth, shall be brought against you at the judgment bar; for thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must obey. Amen.

D&C 68: 12 And of as many as the Father shall bear record, to you shall be given power to seal them up unto eternal life. Amen.

D&C 77: 8 Q. What are we to understand by the four angels, spoken of in the 7th chapter and 1st verse of Revelation?

A. We are to understand that they are four angels sent forth from God, to whom is given power over the four parts of the earth, to save life and to destroy; these are they who have the everlasting gospel to commit to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people; having power to shut up the heavens, to seal up unto life, or to cast down to the regions of darkness.

D&C 77: 9 Q. What are we to understand by the angel ascending from the east, Revelation 7th chapter and 2nd verse?

A. We are to understand that the angel ascending from the east is he to whom is given the seal of the living God over the twelve tribes of Israel; wherefore, he crieth unto the four angels having the everlasting gospel, saying: Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And, if you will receive it, this is Elias which was to come to gather together the tribes of Israel and restore all things.

The only time the scriptures speak of being sealed TO someone is when either the devil seals you his, or Christ seals you His

Alma 34:35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become asubjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth bseal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.

Mosiah 5:15 Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen.

D&C 101: 61 describes sealing at the end of times, the wheat and tares - the righteous from the wicked.

D&C 132: 49 For I am the Lord thy God, and will be with thee even unto the end of the world, and through all eternity; for verily I seal upon you your exaltation, and prepare a throne for you in the kingdom of my Father, with Abraham your father.

Joseph Smith Papers: (link

Do the scriptures speak anywhere of sealing familial genealogical bloodlines together?


If we look at D&C 110 and take it as having actually happened, then we need to look at what Elijah actually said. 

13…Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:

14 Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he (Elijah) should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—

15 To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—

16 Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.

If this encounter truly took place, Elijah never laid hands on Joseph nor did he bestow the sealing power. He only said "the keys of this dispensation" were committed into his (Joseph's) hands. That’s it. We already know that Joseph held the keys of the this dispensation long before that day. 

In addition, in January 1844 Joseph said, 
"And I would to God that this temple was now done, that we might go into it, and go to work and improve our time, and make use of the seals while they are on earth."
This indicates that Joseph held the seals and if he was gone, the seals would be off of the earth (History of the Church, 6:183–84). Why would Joseph be anxious if the seals could be passed from one mortal to another as the church teaches?

Unfortunately the temple has become the object of veneration without any real understanding and the temple is consistently conflated with the worship of Jesus Christ (link). 
When you listen to church leaders speak they will intertwine the two so as to not be able to separate them.

"If you want Jesus Christ...if you want redemption and salvation, you must do work for the dead. If you do not do work for the dead, then you do not have Jesus Christ and you do not have Salvation." Because of this conflation, the ceremonies become the end goal and the crowning ordinance and the reason for parting the veil and returning to God in this life becomes misunderstood and unexplored. This confusion leads to patrons focusing their energy on redeeming the dead at an accelerating pace without stopping to consider if they have actually received their endowment for themselves. 

This isn't the first time we have seen a chosen people be blinded by the ceremonies, rites, festivals, and rules of conduct. Many Israelites who ignorantly performed their sacrifices believed the rites themselves had a cleansing effect upon them, making them better than other people. They prized their special relationship with God, which they believed the ceremonies celebrated. The ceremonies were not intended to rid the Israelites of sin, make them holy, or set them apart as better than other nations. They were intended to bear testimony of the Son of God. Like the Israelites in Jesus day, we too miss the point of the ordinances we perform, seeing the temple ceremony as the end itself, rather than a tool to lead us to Him who is the Further Light and Knowledge we seek.

The church is speaking of the Temple more than ever before. Temples are being announced and built at an incredible rate. Members are continually encouraged to get to the temple to redeem our dead. Because we are so focused on the end goal (to redeem the dead) we neglect to observe that our own houses are out of order. We seek to set the house of God in order, yet more often than not we have disorder at home. It would seem our priorities are backwards.

The temple endowment, which was initially for the living to learn the path back to God, over time took on a mythical meaning and the form became an end in itself. The temple rites were always intended as a shadow, a type, an invitation to redemption. They were intended to offer sacred knowledge. However, over time the temple made those who obtained the initiation think of themselves as saved before God.

The changes we have seen in the last 40 years, and the changes we will see in the future, have been more frequent and more sweeping in scope than anything done before. For what is coming down the pipeline, "Eat your vitamin pills. Get some rest." is probably an understatement, and no doubt we would likely be told to "get your booster" if you want to keep up. ;)

If the temple is viewed as an end, its purpose fails. When it is viewed as the blueprint for finding God in this lone and dreary world, it empowers. 

As I have written this post and reflected on how much the temple endowment has gone from a personal invitation to return to the Father to the current breakneck pace of work for the dead, it made me think of the Lord of the Rings story. 
"And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half thousand years, the ring passed out of all knowledge. Until, when chance came, it fell upon another bearer."
May you be that next bearer of the knowledge of God. 

Communion Song
Jonathan Stockstill & Bethany Worship