Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The Stone Cut Without Hands Was...a 501(c)3?

In the last few decades, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has had the custom of calling itself, “the Church and Kingdom of God.” There is only one small problem with that statement - it isn’t.

People often reference D&C 65 as the justification for calling the church the Kingdom of God.

Joseph Smith helped to clarify D&C 65 when he said,
There is a distinction between the Church of God and Kingdom of God. The laws of the kingdom are not designed to affect our salvation hereafter. It is an entire, distinct and separate government. (JS Papers Administrative Records, p. 128.)
He also said,
The kingdom which Daniel saw was not a spiritual kingdom, but was designed to be got up for the safety and salvation of the saints by protecting them in their religious rights and worship...The literal kingdom of God, and the church of God are two distinct things. (JS Papers Administrative Records, p. 128.)
And lastly Joseph said,
There is not an original kingdom on earth that holds the rightful authority from the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, to govern His subjects: but that all the nations have obtained their power, rule and authority by usurpation, rebellion, bloodshed, tyranny and fraud; (JS Papers Administrative Records, p. 111.)
D&C 65 was given at a time when the 12 apostles actively went out on missions to preach repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Now, nearly 200 years later our apostles and prophet never proselyte but they instead serve in an administrative capacity with occasional trainings or speeches to friendly crowds.

Teenage missionaries are left with the task of crying, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, prepare ye the supper of the Lamb, make ready for the Bridegroom...Pray unto the Lord, call upon his holy name, make known his wonderful works among the people." (D&C 65) Except that isn't actually what they do. There is more required than your commitment to Jesus Christ when you are baptized. Those hoping to be baptized are not found worthy to do so until they commit to believing and having a testimony of President Nelson, commit to pay tithing to the church, commit to keep the word of wisdom, commit to coming to church each week, and more. 

Jesus Christ's kingdom, which was initially small, is symbolized through that single stone which was cut out and separated from the world not by human hands, but by divine power. THIS heavenly stone is the one that, "...smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces" and grinds them to dust.

While there are scriptures which refer to the Lord Jesus as the Stone, here His kingdom is prominent. This kingdom will never be succeeded by another. In a world ravaged by sin for thousands of years, where man has sought to dethrone God, there will be righteousness, peace and gladness. "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed... and it shall stand for ever" (Dan. 2: 44).


What is stone that was cut without hands which smote the image and became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth? 


It is Jesus Christ and His coming Kingdom, reign, and dominion which is separate from His Father's Kingdom.

Jesus took this stone title for Himself as He said, “Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’? . . . The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls” (Matt. 21:42, 44).

In addition, Jesus repeatedly called Himself the Son of Man during His time on earth (Matt. 8:20, 9:6, 10:23). This confirmed Daniel’s prophesy. The Son of Man (Dan. 7:13) would be fulfilled in Jesus and completely fulfilled in the return of Jesus (Matt. 24:27, 30), at the appointed time of God in the end time. The stone is represented as not being cut of the mountain by hands in order to show that it is prepared, not by men, but by God.

Jesus further spoke of His Kingdom:
Luke 17:

20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.

23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.

24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.

25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.

26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 


What is the Kingdom of God? 
It is unlike all other kingdoms. In King Nebuchadnezzar's dream he is shown a great image which represents worldly kingdoms "...whose brightness was excellent...and the form thereof was terrible." This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay."

Then Nebuchadnezzar saw something miraculous..."a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces."

So great was the stone that it destroyed the entire image made of fine metals and the image, "...became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them."

Then miraculously, "...the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth." (Daniel 2:31-35.) This symbolism is important to make note of. The stone was cut from a mountain, and then, as it filled the earth it became it's own mountain.

When Daniel spoke of the iron and clay feet, he said that, "...the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken." Daniel saw that the iron and clay could not cleave together, "...even as iron is not mixed with clay." Then Daniel said that "...in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold."(Daniel 2:38-45.)

Two weeks ago I had a dream. Before I awoke I saw a drawing placed in front of me of the mountain that brought forth that great stone. I drew almost exactly what I saw with the help of online images.


What is the Great Mountain from which the Stone was cut?


The great mountain spoken of by Daniel is Heavenly Father and His Kingdom which is separate from Jesus Christ and His coming Kingdom as illustrated by there being two separate mountains. From our Heavenly Father we are given a miraculous stone that was cut without hands - Jesus Christ. A stone cut without hands is like a baby being born to a virgin, without the help of man but by the power of God (Hebrews 8:2, 9:11).


Who will set up the Kingdom of God? 


"...the God of heaven (will) set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed." (Daniel 2:44)


Is the LDS Church the Kingdom of God? 


No, the Kingdom of God that will destroy all other kingdoms is not a 501(c)3.

The church is a corporation. President Nelson's official title is: The President of the Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Kingdom "...shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms..."

Again, the Church is a corporation with a 501(c)3 status. This corporation is not something miraculous that was cut out of the mountain without hands. The way that a corporation comes into being is through contracts and legal documents which are designed and brought to fruition by he hands of men. In addition, the church has stopped being transparent (link here) and reporting their full statistics. But the membership is on the decline (link here), and is not gaining miraculous momentum that could or would grind kingdoms of this world to dust.

Can you imagine what it would take to grind all these powerful kingdoms to dust? Such destruction won't come about by building shopping malls and rubbing shoulders with world leaders. 

Cutting ribbon's for shopping mall's

The Stone that crushes all other kingdoms surpasses all comprehension. A stone that grows until it becomes a mountain? Who can explain it? None but God. 

Because we are living in the time of the feet where Iron and Clay are mixed together, it is important to understand the dream as we are approaching the time when the stone that was cut without hands will roll forth and decimate all other kingdoms.

Three of the reasons the LDS church believes they are the Kingdom of God on the earth are:

1. Vanity
2. Pride
3. The lack of the understanding of symbolism.

I have spoken of the vanity and pride of the church in other posts (link). Symbolism is the way God chooses to communicate with His children. Symbolism can communicate hundreds of things through one small thing. And so it is with 
King Nebuchadnezzar's dream.

All of the metals 
King Nebuchadnezzar sees are metals that can be pulled from the earth and heated to take shape and form. But he saw one thing that could not be heated and shaped. It was a great stone that was cut *without hands.* This stone is a material found within the mountain that surpasses all materials. Nebuchadnezzar saw that human glory would be decayed from the best value to the least as they grew stronger in power. At the end, human power and all earthly kingdoms, together with their advanced technologies and their best modern civilizations, would not only be crushed, but absolutely decimated to dust by a mere humble rock from heaven (Dan. 2:28-35).

God can create, so Satan creates a counterfeit. If God can make a human being, then Satan will seek to corrupt that human being into worshiping a false god and to walk after their own image. Christ was the one who repeatedly said, "Follow Me." It is no coincidence Twitter's phrase is, "Follow me". Instagram..."Follow me"... Facebook... "Follow me". We are living in the iron and clay of 
King Nebuchadnezzar's dream. If you haven't read part 1 to this two part series, please do. It is important to understand what 666 is and why it matters in connection to King Nebuchadnezzar's dream.

The iron can be symbolically represented in technology and the clay symbolically represented in the human race. We are so intertwined with technology, we can not function without it, yet the mixture of humans dependent on technology makes us a very weak kingdom indeed. Technology is present in nearly every transaction we make. The feet of the great image represent where the image begins to take movement. We are moving towards a perfect man-made god (further integrating technology with the human race) and everyone is walking after their own image. 
D&C 1: 

16 They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.
We are nearing the end of the age. It is best described in this quote: 

The Camels are on the Horizon

The founder of Dubai, Sheik Rashid, was asked about the futu­re of his country, and he replied, "My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I ride a Mercedes, my son rides a Land Rover, and my grandson is going to ride a Land Rover…but my great­-grandson is going to have to ride a ca­mel again. “Why is that, he was asked?

And his reply was, “Hard times create strong men, strong men create easy times. Easy times create weak men, weak men create difficult tim­es.

Many will not unders­tand it, but you have to raise warrior­s, not parasites." And add to that the historical reality that all great empire­s...the Persians, the Trojans, the Egy­ptians, the Greeks, the Romans, and in later years, the Brit­ish...all rose and perished within 240 years.

They were not conque­red by external enem­ies; they rotted from within. America has now passed that 240 year mark, and the rot is starting to be visible and is accelerating. We are past the Mercedes and Land Rover Yea­rs….the camels are on the horizon.

The greatest generat­ion consisted of 18-­year-old kids stormi­ng the beaches at Normandy. And now, two generations late­r, some 18-year-old kids want to hide in safe rooms when they hear words that hurt their feelings. They also want free stuff from the gov­ernment because they think they are enti­tled to it.

The "camels are on the horizon" for sur­e.

As Jesus Christ told the Pharasees concerning His coming Kingdom, "...as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man." To paraphrase Jordan Peterson:

These are non trivial realities that are being pointed to and we ignore them at our peril. Anciently there was a hunger to learn and appreciate the world...but that gradually narrowed down. It happens to any human civilization as soon as they say, "We have reached perfection. We don’t need to learn anything from the outside world." That attitude is the tower of Babel...the minute we build a structure and believe it has reached the heights of God...as soon as you begin to believe you have achieved that, God steps in and everyone who exalted themselves is brought low and everyone speaks a different language and are unable to understand each other. Then from there, everything descends at a rapid pace. And all of that is followed by the flood...and that’s not an accident.

The camels are on the horizon. The great image which represents the kingdoms of this world will not be able to be destroyed by a 501(c)3. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords is the only one worthy and powerful enough to grind ALL other kingdoms...to dust.

"The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of fleshBut that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world." (D&C 1: 19-20)

Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Great Image

I had a dream and in the last second of the dream I was handed a simple drawing and that drawing was all I remembered of the dream. With the help of google images I tried to draw near exactly what I saw in the dream and things I saw after I laid there pondering. I will share my thoughts on the drawing in the next post. But for now, here it is: 

The topic of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream has been on my mind for quite some time. My dream helped me to move forward with blogging about it. I am going to start this post in an unusual way with the topic of:

The Mark of the Beast 666

There is no question we are seeing unprecedented times in many regards. The emergence and increasing dependence of technology with the human race is seemingly unstoppable. We are advancing in artificial intelligence at a break neck pace. Scientists are working to be able to upload our consciousness and be wholly implanted and connected with advanced technology, the likes of which we have never seen. Even kids books have breached the topic.

In the last 150 years the human race has advanced more rapidly than any known race. From horse and buggy to race cars. From month long ship voyages to air planes that take a matter of hours. From looking at the moon, to walking on the moon. From telegraphs to FaceTime. From brooms to irobot floor vacuums. We are living in a time of extreme abundance which has birthed an intensified dependance on the electrical grid to keep our supplies coming and Amazon delivering the next day. 

For all our technological advancements, one major blow to the electrical grid, be it through a powerful solar flare, geomagnetic storms, electromagnetic pulse attacks (EMP) via a high altitude nuclear detonation, cyberattacks, kinetic attacks, etc. and in one single day we would move from being one of the most sophisticated and advanced races, to one of the most benighted and ignorant races to ever populate the planet earth. Very few would possess enough knowledge to sustain their own lives for very long. For most of us, food comes from a shelf or a can, not the ground. Meat comes in a package and we aren't required to see the face of the animal we intend to eat. Water comes from a tap and when we need to get somewhere, we drive.

Prophets of old have seen our day and prophesied of our times. Moroni spoke directly to us when he said, "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."

In King Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Daniel 2) he saw great image of a man that consisted of differing metals moving from a head of gold, arms and chest of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron and finally - the feet made, not of solid metal, but a mixture iron (one of the strongest metals) and clay (one of the weakest elements) mixed together.

There have been many interpretations of the iron and clay mixture. I am merely giving my interpretation and I recognize that the Lord is very good at using one symbol to communicate a multitude of important truths. With that said, let's move onto the number 666.

Icon carver, Jonathan Pageau, helped me to understand the symbolism of the number 666. He suggested that if you want to understand 666, the best way to do it is to go back and to look at where the number appears in the Old Testament or in other places in the Bible, and then you can see if there’s a pattern among the different places where these numbers appear, and it can help you understand what 666 is referring to.

I will quote from him extensively in this part because he says it best:

"If you look at the number 666 you have to understand the way the ancients thought; that Creation was six days, and then there was the day of rest. The years of Noah were 600 years, and then there was the flood. And the whole world lasts 6000 years, and then it’s the end of the world. The six is related to the notion of man; is related to the idea of the sixth day of Creation. The key to understanding 666 is to understand it in relation to the sixth day of Creation.

"The Greek bishop Irenaeus relates 666 to the statue which was built by Nebuchadnezzar in the story of Daniel. That statue was 60 cubits high and 6 cubits across. And the connection is important, because in Revelations, it talks about how the second beast makes an image of the first beast, and then breathes life into it and asks everybody to worship it (Rev. 13). So, the fact that Greek bishop Irenaeus would connect that to the statue of Nebuchadnezzar is extremely important, because in the story of Nebuchadnezzar, the king has the statue built and asks everybody to worship it, and those who don’t worship it get thrown into the fire.

"...One thing that makes it difficult for us to understand 666 is that we tend to see it as this dark, ominous thing. But if you see it that way, you’re going to miss out on what 666 is, because the symbolism of six has more to do with a fullness of Creation; it has to do with the fullness of six days. So, the full cycle is seven days. The complete cycle is seven days. But that completeness includes rest, includes the part that can’t be calculated, includes the part that doesn’t do labor, includes the margin, the buffer. The six are the days of work and are therefore related to man and to the notion of the days of work.

Six represents: a perfection of work 

Seven represents: completeness

"And so, that is why the symbolism of six and the symbolism of 666 is not a dark symbolism; it’s actually a symbolism of light. There are reasons why, for example, Satan is represented as an angel of light; it is because it is the pride of light, it is the pride of work, it is the pride of accomplishment which gives you something like the statue of Nebuchadnezzar, which is to think that man is everything

"Another example is the Tower of Babel. The negative aspect of something like 666 would be a type of perfect system; a system which the people think is completely worked out and has everything in it, despite the fact that it’s actually lacking the 'rest' part. It only has the work part in it. 666 has to do with control, and in Scripture, it has to do with control of trade. 666 is also about calculating; it’s about accounting for. For example, in scripture if you don’t have the sign of the beast on your hand or on your forehead then you cannot participate in the counting; you cannot participate in the world of exchange. That’s why it ends up being, in its negative aspect, an image of control.

"Many people are talking about how 666 is likely going to be a microchip that people put in your hand, or in your forehead, and if you don’t have that then you won’t be able to trade. The intuition is pretty accurate in terms of symbolism, because it is the idea that, if you don’t have your identity accounted for, then you cannot participate in the trade.

"There are certain aspects of reality which you should not account for. In Scripture, it is the Sabbath. In Scripture, it’s the Jubilee. In Scripture, it’s the corners of the field that you have to leave for the foreigners, that you don’t want to count. You don’t want to gather the corners of the field. You also want to leave a fringe on your vestment, you don’t want to completely tie up the knots of your clothing. You don’t want to completely close the system.

"And so, the problem that happens when you try to account for everything is that you get this system that creates a weird tyranny of the exception, because it’s trying to account for the exception. An image of this is in the vision of artificial intelligence. Many of you have probably seen the speech that Tim Cook – the CEO of Apple – gave to the ADL. What he talks about is the creation of an artificial intelligence which he describes as “the god out of the machine." And this "god out of the machine" will solve our problems; the problem of hate speech, the problem of hate in general, the problem of excluding these marginal identities. He wants to account for everything, and he believes that he can create an image of man and he somehow believes that he will be able to breathe life into it so that it becomes this consciousness, and that this consciousness will then be put up above us as an authority and will decide for us who is excluded and who is included, in the desire to actually include all the margin. 

"So, in order to include all the things that should not be accounted for – things that should exist on the fringes in terms of potentiality and in terms of exceptions and all of this – we want to now contain it all, and we want to control it. Those who won’t bow down to this image of man – to this golden image – will not be able, ultimately, to participate in the system. Those are the ones who will be excluded from the system; not the marginal identities, not the exceptions, but those who will not recognize the totality of their system; that their system accounts for everything. Those are the ones who will be excluded and will be thrown out.

"That’s the whole image of idolatry. That’s the whole image of pride itself – the problem of believing that it all of it stops here, and you can recognize that you celebrate and ultimately you worship the image of man – that you worship reason, that you worship science, that you worship technology, all of these things. As we look at where the world is going, it seems that we are going in that direction.

"666 is an extremely powerful number. It is an image of perfection to a very strong degree, and there are many reasons why it’s that way. The first reason is, six itself is extremely powerful, because one plus two plus three equal six. The first three digits – very important ones – are unity, duality and multiplicity. That’s what one, two and three symbolize. You add those up and you get six, so it’s a very important number. Not only is it the sixth day of Creation; even mathematically, it has a lot of power. It has a lot of importance.

"As these patterns start to appear to us in the world, we shouldn't be looking for the dark Satanist who is going to be wearing all black and looking like a ghoul coming out of the Earth. That is not what 666 looks like. 666 looks like a luminous system that seems like it contains everything and can control everything. And that is why it is so seductive. That is why it can delude us if we’re not careful, because to not participate or to not worship this system can exclude you from the discourse. It makes it very easy to compromise in that sense. Even credit cards and some banks deny access to people – which has to do with counting. So, when we see these human systems that are all-controlling, that is when we have to be careful and suspicious, especially when we see them start to exclude people from participating in them because they don’t acknowledge their narrative. It is very dangerous."

When Jesus Christ comes and Zion is established, we will finally be freed from the toxic influences and the corrupt traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation, all the way back to Babylon. The prophecies of John talk about the fall of Babylon the great (Rev. 18). The head of gold which King Nebuchadnezzar saw still remains with us 
in our desire for power and wealth and influence, in our banking, in our motives to make a profit, in our culture, in our education, in our mistaken beliefs about what is important and what is not. These things corrupt business, governments, society, and even churches. It creates a culture of warring with one another to gain influence, wealth, worldly accolades, and power. 

The prophecy which Daniel interpreted in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar points to this. As Daniel interpreted, the metallic statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s changed from one metal to another metallic type. Similarly, human technology has been changing from one technology age to another one throughout human history—the stone age to the bronze age to the iron age. From the ancient time to the post-modern time, technology has become the main tool for kings and rulers not only to protect their kingdoms but also to conquer others. The more technology progresses, the better human world is civilized, and the worse humans’ fear is increased. Technology has not only produced advanced machines to meet humans’ needs, but has also brought forth metallic military weapons that empower kings or rulers to enslave other weaker people or even to destroy human lives.

Though Nebuchadnezzar saw an image which he later created an idol for the people to worship, the less obvious interpretation is that it refers to other things made of metal which could be worshipped or treated as gods which undoubtedly could include certain forms of technology or machinery. Leviticus 19:4 points to this when it says, "
Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the Lord your God."

Our lives can be likened to living in an epic film. Our struggle at the end of times is that we don’t know our story, yet we try to talk about the climax of the film (Christ's return) but most of us walked into the theatre an hour and a half late. Even worse, we think we know the story since we’ve heard it so many times, but we never actually read it. As Scalia said, many today have been “sacramentalized, but never truly evangelized. Having never quite experienced that cognitive moment of encounter with Christ, they do not know what they do not know, or why any of it matters.” This is crucial to remember as Christianity is not an idea, it is an experience. It is an encounter with Jesus Christ.

As Grondin taught, "...ours is an acetic age, one of distraction, where we wander about as fragmented beings hungry for meaning. The real struggle, as it has been from the beginning, is a struggle to commune with God and return to our origin — to return from exile. We sought to, “become like God without God” to shortcut our way to communion with the divine. Call it meaning, call it God, but the struggle to belong, to feel at peace, to find our place and our purpose, remains humanity’s struggle which advancing technology promises to fulfill." This is what is represented with iron and clay mixed together. Technology mixed with the fragility of the clay/dust, from which man came from and to which he will return.

In the quest for to return from our exile, we humans (clay) turn to technology (iron) for progress. Anciently the concept of two different “materials” with significantly different “attributes,” mixed together would have sounded strange and reprehensible to the biblical mindset; but it sounds reasonable as we embrace current AI technology. The more we blend humans with AI technological features, the more we create a potentially mixed culture between real human beings and humans mixed with technology. You could even say, as you read this very blog post, we are iron mixed with clay (the devices we carry with us everywhere).

In King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, as the iron and clay take shape in the feet (and feet are where movement of the image can begin) he was then shown a great stone will come forth and brake these metals to pieces and then grind them to dust (Daniel 2). We have not yet reached the stone coming forth in what King Nebuchadnezzar saw.  

In our present time, the relationship between humans and technology has been increasing in some countries such as America, China, Japan, and Russia. Unlike in the past, many current global leaders focus on technology, and this has been addressed by Russian President, Vladimir Putin when he said, “The nation that leads in AI ‘will be the ruler of the world.’. . . Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind.”

Daniel once interpreted the fate of King Nebuchadnezzar after the king decided to transfer the glory that God granted him into a metallic human-like image. Nebuchadnezzar created a golden humanoid statue and ordered everyone in his kingdom to bow down and to honor the golden image he built (Dan. 3:1-6). Fast forward to our day, are we no different...bowing our heads down in worship to a metal god of technology in our hands?

To paraphrase Jordan Peterson, these are non trivial realities that are being pointed to and we ignore them at our peril. Anciently there was a hunger to learn and appreciate the world...but that gradually narrowed down. It happens to any human civilization as soon as they say, "We have reached perfection. We don’t need to learn anything from the outside world." That attitude is the tower of Babel...the minute we build a structure and believe it has reached the heights of God...as soon as you begin to believe you have achieved that, God steps in and everyone who exalted themselves is brought low and everyone speaks a different language and are unable to understand each other. Then from there, everything descends at a rapid pace. And all of that is followed by the flood...and that’s not an accident.

Thursday, October 21, 2021


I've tried writing this post a few times. And it's not flowing and I realized it's because I was dancing around saying what I really think and feel.

I feel sad.

Because all my life I believed that the Prophet was a "prophet, seer, and revelator." I believed the 12 Apostles were too. I always sustained them "in the hope" that they would see, that they would prophesy, that they would reveal. Gosh...the dam of my tightly held emotions broke and tears are gushing now. My heart longs for this. For more of Jesus. More of His Wonder and Love and Passion filling the souls of humankind. I want to gather with people that can't help but shout His name because it's the only word that can come close to capturing the words of their soul.


The scriptures that I love that are filled with bold prophesies of Christ by ancient prophets who knew Him and conversed with Him. With each passing General Conference I get sad. I used to be sad that they didn't prophesy, see, or reveal. Now I am sad because when I point out this monstrous elephant in the room to those I care for I discover time and again: no.one.cares.

Isn't everyone on fire about Jesus? I sat in those pews for decades assuming we all had the same passion for Christ...for Him to literally speak our name and claim us as His own. 

So that's it. That's the source of my greatest sorrow. That the members aren't looking for a prophet to prophesy or a seer to see, or a revelator to reveal. Church is something you go to and callings are something you fulfill and lessons are something you listen to and sacrament meeting is something you don't miss so you don't end up in one of the lower kingdoms.

Jesus....Jesus....I'm calling out to you today with lots of tears. Awake and Arise thy Watchmen. Let them call out the voice of warning from their towers and not allow the hedge to be broken down.

And when I cry out to you in my closet for more...more people to awake and arise You say to me, "Those who seek Me with all their Hearts shall find Me."

You are GOOD. You are a GOOD FATHER! And I desire You and only You. And I desire for more of You. And I desire for more people to desire You and only You. That You will be enough. You will be their Shield, their Protector, their Breath, their Sustinance. You are the Holy One of Israel. You are the Good Father. The Prince of Peace. The Mighty Lion of Judah and the Lamb who was slain. You alone are worthy of praise. You alone are King. There is none beside you. None are found Worthy but You! King! Messiah! The Holy of Holies in the Temple of my heart. Let your children desire You. The real You. You are HOLY. And GOOD. And I will worship You all the days of my life. 

Jesus commanded those at Bountiful to study the words of Isaiah. Isaiah saw our day and prophesied that we would, "...say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits." (Isaiah 30:10)

2 Timothy 4:3-4

For the time will come when men will not tolerate sound doctrine, but with itching ears they will gather around themselves teachers to suit their own desires. So they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

2 Thessalonians 2:11

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.

A myth is defined as "a traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or a widely held but false belief or idea."

Where are you - Jesus lovers? Where are the people that get nauseous at any adoration directed to anyone or anything other than He who is King? Where are the prophets that prophesy? Where are those that See and tell us what they have Seen, and reveal those things which are unknown except to God?

Come Lord Jesus, spare your vineyard a little longer for the fruit to ripen and may the fruit be that which You can store up unto yourself. Purify me and help me be worthy of all of You.

This Is A Move
Brandon Lake

And if you're going to listen to this song...you gotta, at some point, stand up - raise your hands and sing this to Him...pointing to Him. 


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The "Sometimes" Prophet?

Ever since the letter from the First Presidency came out with a worldwide letter asking members to get vaccinated, I have had dozens of conversations with members of the church who have chosen not to get vaccinated. Below are compilations and copy and paste of my text messages back and forth with a wide array of friends. Thankfully they all put up with me and allow me to share my view on things.

Before I proceed it is important to note that I don't give a hoot who does or does not get vaccinated. The vaccine is a personal choice and no one should be told to get the vaccine.

But yea verily, I have been fascinated to watch the mental gymnastics members who don't want to be vaccinated are doing to explain away that First Presidency letter. They have taken the letter and treated it as though it was forensic evidence at a crime scene that needed to be broken down and decoded word by word. Phone calls to the church office building ensued and explanations given on Facebook seemed to travel the globe as one friend living in Europe sent me a near identical screenshot as a friend in the U.S. sent me of one person's conversation with the church office.

The prophet of the world sent a letter to every member of the church and said to get vaccinated and he said that the vaccine "has proven to be both safe and effective." End of story. (Contrary views can be found. One such is from a Federal Government HHS whistleblower video.)

The common response from members who don't want to get vaccinated are as follows:

1. "President Nelson wasn't speaking as a prophet." "Sometimes he's a prophet, sometimes he speaks as a man."

2. He didn't actually write that letter. There is an "administrative side to the church", and a "revelatory/prophetic side". The administration side wrote that letter.

3. That letter was for "xyz" type of vulnerable people. He didn't mean that letter for everyone.

Is a prophet someone who speaks with God face to face and then delivers God's message to the world?

Or is he, "someone who sometimes" delivers a message from God and "sometimes" from the government or an administrative side and that "it doesn't really matter what the prophet says anyways", you always have to pray to know if what he said "is true for you personally" because his message "isn't true for everyone, only certain people".

I have a question for you, if I was teaching a new convert to the Church about prophets, how would I explain to them about that letter? 

This upcoming General Conference will be interesting to see the messages given. The church office has received hundreds, if not thousands of phone calls from unvaccinated members up in arms about the letter from the First Presidency. I imagine it will go one of two ways. Either there will be backpedaling to do damage control or there will be doubling down on President Nelson's role as prophet, seer, and revelator. My guess is the latter and I think moving forward we are going to hear more bold declarations by the brethren of being witnesses of Christ, mentions of Second Coming and Zion, and messages of interactions with the divine. 

I had two conversations within a week where friends had pointed out how much "the Second Coming" and "Zion" are being mentioned in General Conference since President Nelson has become the prophet. In response to the increase of the mentioning of Zion and the Second Coming I will say what has been said before: 

There is no place in scripture where you can find a people who brought Zion about as a result of generations of slow and steady work and partial mentions of Zion every six months in general conference. 

Enoch did not lay a foundation for others to gradually build on over generations.

Neither did Melchizedek.

They came with power, held the fulness of the Melchizedek priesthood, and through teaching the truth to people willing to live it, established Zion.

Each time Zion has come, the Lord visited and dwelt with them.

In the Book of Mormon, Christ came to Bountiful after His death and ministered to the Nephites. It was Christ who established a people of peace. His community then dwelt in harmony. They touched the Savior personally. They were healed by Him. Listened to Him teach for days. Had their children blessed by Him. Christ personally established His church among the Nephites. Additionally Jesus left three translated beings living among them for four generations...

***...and yet even they still fell into apostasy (3 Ne. 28: 4-23).***

Are you greater than those at Bountiful during the time Christ ministered to them directly?

How much more cautious must we be in our day, four generations after Joseph’s death, with no translated beings directly remaining with us and no personal visitation from Christ like the people in Bountiful?

This is why Joseph truly lamented the failure to complete the Nauvoo Temple while he was still alive when he 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.” (TPJS p. 330). Joseph died and Zion had not been brought again and we are further away today than we were in Joseph's day and much further than the days of Bountiful. We pridefully consider ourselves to be heirs with those who have gone before us and have sacrificed their all for the Kingdom, though we have yet to have made such a sacrifice ourselves. 
It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him. (Lectures on Faith 6:8)
As you listen to General Conference and attune your ears for Zion and Second Coming talks, remember, we have moved further away from Zion since the early days of Nauvoo and are nowhere near the connection the people at Bountiful were. We are more prideful than we have ever been as we continually declare to be the only ones on the earth who have the power to save through a complete gospel and temple ordinances *neither of which we understand or are assured that we have personally attained salvation for ourselves. We have become the spiritually dead doing work for physically dead. 

As you watch General Conference pay attention to the overwhelming adoration the apostles have for President Nelson and how rather than quote Scripture directly, they continually quote each other. Never forget that when Jesus was called "good", He quickly rebuked that and pointed those listening immediately back to God (Luke 18:19). You will never see a prophet or apostle do that that. Ever. It is a circular pattern of praise, adoration, and quotation of apostles and prophets.

President Nelson's birthday party

And also recognize that when Zion and the Second Coming are mentioned, you will not be told how to sanctify yourself so that you can bring again Zion and usher in the Second Coming. There will be no mention of the required 144,000 thousand who will rise up to be the final gatherers. They may say to 'hasten' the work which means "more baptisms", "more temple work", "more ordnances". We can do all the ordinances in the world but if we aren't even sure if we have been granted eternal life, how can we be Saviors on Mount Zion and offer that work for others? 

It will be those who have stood in the Lord's presence (as taught in the endowment) who will be invited to build Zion and usher in the Second Coming. All are invited to receive it. But few have believed the invitation and sought for it. 

Do not wait for a "sometimes" prophet, "sometimes" man to mention Zion and never give you step by step instructions on how to be assured of your standing before the Lord. Real authority resides in Jesus. When we base authority on anything other than an embodiment of God's truth, be it by title, position, employment, academic degree, or alleged apostolic succession, we take a step away from learning how to follow Jesus and substitute someone or some thing in His place. 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 institution 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.

Jesus' example separated authority from hierarchy. The early apostles seemed to have gotten the message and did nothing to create a centralized structure in Jerusalem to manage the burgeoning church. In the litany of human history that is so unique as to be profound. While some argue that the council at Jerusalem (Acts 15) was proof that the Apostles ruled over the congregations, a reading of Acts comes to a very different collusion. All the brothers were together and they were seeking a solution for the good of all. The apostles offered no edict that everyone had to follow. James offered an assessment that resonated with others present so that they could say that it "seemed good to them and to the Holy Spirit." What's more, they didn't use the occasion to set up an institutional hierarchy, define orthodoxy by doctrinal statements, or write a handbook of instructions for the church to follow. They asked only three things - abstain from immorality, remember the poor, and don't eat meat offered to idols. Can you imagine any group today that would come up with such a simple solution to not burdening others or setting up a permanent council to resolve future conflicts?

God gave us an unmediated spirituality which means that we all have direct access to God through the work of the Son. There is only one mediator between God and man, and it is the Man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). No one who understands that would insert themselves between Jesus and His people, and no one understanding it would look for a leader to follow instead of Jesus Himself. The invitation of the New Covenant is that "all will know me, from the least of them to the greatest" (Hebrews 8:11). There may be others further down the road than you are, and they can be incredibly helpful in equipping you to know God and learn what it means for you to follow Him. But those who follow Jesus will never ask you to follow them or their program instead. 

When the disciples argued over who would be the greatest in Jesus' kingdom, He taught them about real leadership. The world exploits power to lord over others, and its leaders dole out benefits and punishments to gain more (Mark 10: 42-43). "Not so with you." He didn't so much forbid them to do it, as he was letting them know such use of power had no place in his kingdom. People who have come alive in Christ have neither a desire to manage others or to be managed themselves. They want to learn to listen to Him, respond to Him, and help others find that same joy.

Part of the flavor of the antichrist spirit that John referred to in his letter is not the end-of-the-age personification of evil. He said many antichrists were already in the world. He was referring not to those who were hostile to Christ, but to those who wanted to provide a Christ-substitute, making people dependent on themselves rather than on Him. 

Sweet Redeemer


City of Enoch

Sunday, September 5, 2021

The Lofty Vineyard

I want to tell you story about a woman...a woman I was very close to. She had done her best as a member of the church. She always tried to do her monthly Ministering. She attended the Temple regularly and sometimes much more often than that. She attended church meetings every single week. She regularly held Family Home Evening. She signed up for most any service sign-up sheet that passed through her hands. She was a full tithe payer and tried hard to give a generous fast offering. She kept the word of wisdom. She unconsciously believed that her calling or church position somehow showed a celestial stamp of approval. She had a mental checklist of righteous things she could do that she thought would help her to be approved of the Lord and hopefully get her to the Celestial Kingdom if she just endured and did them long enough. And yet she felt, more often than not, that she wasn’t really sure if her prayers were actually reaching the Lord’s ears. She found that with all her attending of church and fulfilling of callings she still felt that she had no closer or deeply meaningful relationship with her Savior than she did 10 years ago. She found herself at a crossroads. This sweet sister – this dear soul, was me. 

I was raised with a profound love for the scriptures and the Savior. As I grew into adulthood and explored the gospel for myself, I failed to seek to understand how to apply the Atonement personally. Jesus, in my life, was more like a janitor that came out if I needed a big mess cleaned up and then went back to the closet until the next time I needed help. That sounds terrible, but it is the best way I can describe how I understood His role in my life. 

The person I am going to tell you about was me. But it is not me now. I’m not ashamed to tell you what I used to be, because since I have become converted to Jesus Christ…so sweetly tastes, being the thing I am. 

About eight years ago I found myself deeply immersed in very good gospel things. 

Over time I had begun to live my life like a cameral lens. Imagine a super nice camera, the kind with the huge lens that sticks out in front and you can really get a sharp image as you focus the lens on your subject of choice. My subject of choice, where I focused my camera lens, was the church and service. I felt it was the highest focus I could have. Christ was also in my frame. He was in the background. Though, as in all beautifully sharp images, whatever you focus on will always leave something unfocused in the background of your shot. Christ was the background in my camera frame. He was blurry and indistinguishable but the essence was there and I knew it was Him. 

I made measurable and tangible things as well as the arm of flesh my focus. It was easy to focus on the church because it was something tangible. Christ was not tangible to me. He was a person I knew from other people’s experiences of Him or an image of another person’s interpretation painted on a canvas. I frequently testified of how much I loved Him and knew He was real, and I truly knew those things. But something was eating at me daily…I had no sure knowledge that my life was pleasing to the Lord. I felt as though I lived each day with my fingers crossed that my life was acceptable. Hoping that when I got to heaven I would have a list of all the good deeds I’d done and how faithful I was in the church and the Lord would HAVE to let me in. 

One night when praying and feeling as though the heavens were made of brass and my prayers were, yet again, bouncing back down at me - I began to wonder if perhaps it wasn’t God sealing up the heavens. Maybe God wasn’t like some spectator on the sidelines of my game of life. “Thumbs up” if I did something right, “Thumbs down” if I did something wrong. Maybe the brass ceiling was of my own construction.

I have felt at times there is this pure, clean and very direct conduit over my head that extends all the way to heaven. Now, whether that conduit is real or not doesn’t matter. What does matter is what I was feeling. I perceived that this conduit did indeed have blockage preventing most everything I was praying for to get very far. The blockage was my sins. Sins I had knowingly and unknowingly done. They had become like a beaver dam – absolutely halting the free flow of life, and love, and joy that is possible to extend from you to God continually without ceasing. And the person who had built the dam – was me…I was the one who had been blocking the spirit and direct connection to God. I recognized that Jesus wasn’t supposed to be a janitor in my life. He was supposed to BE my Life. Then a sobering thought hit me deeply - I was JUST like the children of Israel. 

Like the children of Israel, I viewed laws and ordinances as an end. Though they pointed me to the Atonement - to Christ, I thought that the more works I did, therein lay my righteousness. When ordinances were viewed as an end - their purpose failed me. When I understood laws and ordinances as the blueprint for finding God in this lone and dreary world – it empowered me. 

I tried to do many wonderful works in my life. I unknowingly depended on my calling to give me a sense of self-worth. I attended the Temple frequently to fulfill a goal I had set for myself to attend a certain amount of times in a month and year thus adding more checks to my list of a righteous person before the Lord. I served those around me totally unaware it was often out of mechanics and an attitude of, "that's what a good member of the church does," rather than out of a hunger derived from the Spirit that could only be satiated by following the prompting to do so. And yet, with all my serving, my heart was not At-One with His. By confessing this I must say that I wasn’t completely heartless. But when I look introspectively at myself with full honesty - I often wasn’t without a general motive for what I did. Sometimes I served merely because if I didn’t show up, it would make me look ‘bad’ or maybe I hoped I would be recognized in some way. 

Over time the scripture that says: "By their fruits ye shall know them” began to be opened to my eyes. It says, “Not every one that saith unto me, “Lord, Lord", shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; Many will say to me in that day, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name did many wonderful works?" And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7: 21-23) That scripture was always dumbfounding to me. How could you do amazing things in Christ’s name and Christ would say that He never knew you? It seemed completely impossible. Yet there I was, a lifetime Mormon and I was pretty sure that He could not only say to me, “I never knew you”, but also that “I never knew Him”.

I came to realize that I most always tried to do what I thought would please God without asking Him if it was what He wanted me to be doing. Have you ever had a child to whom you say, "Okay, clean up this mess.”? And you come back later and the mess is just exactly how you left it and you say, "Hey, I thought I said to clean this up? What are you doing?" And they say, "Oh! Yes, I am going to do that. But I also thought you would love that I organized all my crayons by color. See?" And you say, "Okay. Uh, look - I didn't want the crayons done at all. Take care of the mess, okay?" You come back again later and see the mess still untouched and again you say to your child, "Man! What's going on here? Didn't you do anything to this pile? What have you been doing?" "Oh, I was starting to and then I found this Lego and I realized you may want me to organize my Legos so take a look at this car I built!" And they show you how awesome they've been playing with their Legos. 

I realized I was just like that child! What did it matter if I run off to the Temple if the Spirit was, upon reflection, urging me to set in order things in my life that needed attention first or to help a child in need or to call that person that has been coming to my mind for two days? And, instead of doing what the Spirit asked me to, like the parent asking the child to clean up the mess, I did something that I thought would be good to do, like organize the crayon box, all the while ignoring the call to come to Him. To be At-One with Him. That has happened to me. And I didn't listen. I figured "Satan would do anything to keep me from the Temple" (or whatever really good service I was about to engage in), so I ignored it and left on my way. What I have come to realize is that Satan doesn't really care where you are or what you are doing as long as it is never, ever what the Spirit told you to do. I was doing something that was not leading me to produce the kind of fruit that is able to be harvested by the Lord of the Vineyard.

In Zenos’ allegory of the vineyard there is a particular tree that fascinates me. I will summarize parts of Jacob 5 to show you how I came to recognize that I was one of the trees in this allegory personified. Here is the recap: The Lord of the vineyard and the servant nourish all the trees of the vineyard. And then they leave. And a really long time passes away and the Lord of the vineyard says let’s go back because the end is near and he wants to lay up fruit against the season. So they go down and they see that a tree they worked had produced an abundance of fruit. So much so that it cumbered the tree dripping with fruit. 

The Lord of the vineyard goes to the tree and tastes of every single fruit according to its kind and number. And then he reflects that they had nourished the tree extensively in the past and it had always brought forth a lot of fruit, but this time…this time it had brought forth a lot of fruit and, he says this, “there is none of it which is good…all kinds of bad fruit…it profiteth me nothing notwithstanding all our labor.” Skipping ahead the Lord asks who it is that has corrupted his vineyard. The servant observingly responds, “Is it not the loftiness of thy vineyard – have not the branches thereof overcome the roots which are good? … behold the branches grew faster than the strength of the roots, taking strength unto themselves. Behold…is not this the cause that the trees of thy vineyard have become corrupted?”

A disturbing recognition blazed across my brain one day when studying this allegory. My life had become like the tree where "all sorts of fruit did cumber the tree" (Jacob 5:30). I had many works - all kinds. You like the fruit of weekly church attendance? I have some of that. Do you like the tangy taste of baking meals when the sheet is passed in Relief Society? Done. Do you like the firm texture of paying a regular tithe and fast offering? Here you go. I have so much fruit it's just cumbering my whole tree. And yet, the Lord of the vineyard could taste of my fruit, every sort according to its number and because I had served with a heart set so much upon the things of the world or the honors of men, my fruit would not be something he could lay up against the season but would be good for nothing because I had not taken my strength from Him. I was frequently the lofty vineyard thinking my plentiful fruit couldn’t go unnoticed. The reason for the corruption – the branches didn't seek nourishment from the roots – from The Christ. I went beyond what Christ was asking of me and went wild with undeniable growth but not the growth the Lord was asking for.

The fruit that is worthy of preservation? The fruit that the Lord is looking for? "natural fruit...like unto ONE body." He preserves those that are ONE. “And if ye are not ONE ye are not mine” (D&C 38:27). And ye are ONE in Christ. It is the At-One-Ment. It is meant to make us One again with the Father and with the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

If you, like me, have found that for all your scripture study, church and temple attendance, fulfilling of callings and more, if you have found that you are no closer to knowing Him than you were a decade ago, let this realization work a work in you. Or maybe you can’t relate to my journey and yours is one of doubts in the Gospel, or struggles with addiction, or feeling abandoned by God, or replacing your connection to God with the persuit of money, video games, movies, drugs, pornography, anger, believing you are and will continue to never be good enough, the list of replacements for actually connecting with God are endless. So whether you relate directly to my story or not – if you are not experiencing Christ and knowing Him as he has asked to be known, let this concept of coming to know Him work a work in you. He and the Father desire to come to you and make their abode with you (John 14:23).

If you, like me, find your prayers reached a point where they felt more like you were talking to a brass ceiling and nothing was getting through and that Christ has become that blurry background in your life's focus - then begin with the Atonement. It starts on your knees in true and humble prayer. Repent. In the past I felt that God was distancing himself from me and I didn't know how to please Him so I would just shorten my prayers and go to bed. Now I see that I was the one blocking the connection. If I pray and I feel that my prayers seem to be falling back down - I begin repenting...praising Him, worshiping Him. And I continue on until every last piece of dross that is blocking the direct connection to my Father - is clear. Start there. Start repenting, praising, and worshiping.

And not in that whiney sort of way where you berate yourself at how you are so sorry that you aren't more and you're not good enough. The kind of repentance to approach the Lord with is the kind where you acknowledge that you are less than the dust of the earth. That though the dust listens to God, you have chosen not to listen to Him and you have chosen not to know Him personally. And I usually use ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ in my prayers, but I have to be honest, when I pray this prayer of complete desperation to know God, I speak as plainly as I can. I have said prayers and asked, "Who are you Jesus? What are you like? What is the Atonement? It is hard for me to understand. Can you explain why I need to know You? What is the purpose of my life? Will you show me? You said in the scriptures that anyone who forsakes their sins and calls on your name and obeys your commandments will know you. Will you show me my sins? Will you show me how to obey you? How do I come to know you?”

I testify that the only reason for our existence is that we might know the only True God, and Jesus Christ whom God has sent (John 17:3). If we don't know them and know them personally, it will not matter what or who we knew instead. He is the keeper of the Gate and He employeth no servant there (2Nephi 9:41). It is to Him you must return.

Naturally once you use the atonement and follow the Spirit it will likely direct you to do many of the things you are already now doing. The difference will be that you are doing it when the Lord has asked you to do it. Not on your timetable. And yes, we should do as the scriptures say and “be anxiously engaged in a good cause do many things of our own free will” (D&C 58:27). The Lord has said that it isn’t requisite to be “commanded in all things” (58:42). And yet, Alma specifically told us to “let ALL your doings be unto the Lord”. That we were to “Counsel with the Lord” in ALL our doings (Alma 37: 36-37). Or Nephi...he said the Spirit will tell you ALL things you should do (2 Nephi 32:5).

I was running around doing a whole bunch of "good things" all the while either being unconsciously proud of how awesome I was at serving others or beating myself up for not doing more and completely missing the point of what the service is pointing me towards. Every ordinance, every law, every rite, every calling, every member, every auxiliary leader, every apostle and prophet - EVERY thing that we have in the Gospel has one purpose and one purpose alone - to point to that great and last Atoning sacrifice. Everything is only to point to Christ, as Joseph Smith said. Everything else is just an appendage to that (Luke 24: 25-27, Acts 3:20-26). Your calling - it points you to HIM. The Temple points you to Him. Baptism - the ordinance. Going into the grave, being buried, rising again. It's Him. It's Him. It's Him. They are all symbols or rituals that beg you to consider further. And yet I got so caught up in having a white shirt for my boys and making sure I never had two pair of earrings, or driving past someone on my way to church who could have used my help but I kept going because I didn’t want to be late. Following what the Lord wants you to do and when the Lord wants you to do is working out your salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). 

Fear and trembling because now instead of doing things when I want to do them, I now seek to do them when the Lord asks me to do them. Instead of fasting only on fast Sunday, what if I have the fork to my mouth with a meal I have worked hard to prepare and the command comes - "Fast". I am afraid to be hungry. What if I go to bed late and I wake up at 4am and the Spirit says, "Get up and pray." I am afraid to be tired. What if I pay a generous fast offering and as I leave the store a woman is standing on the corner with a sign asking for help. What if the Spirit says to go and find out what her story is. What if I hear her story and rashly judge to myself that she will just go and spend it on drugs. What if the Spirit says to go to my car and get my wallet. What if I open my wallet and thumb through the bills trying to determine which one to give her and the Sprit says, "Give her all of it." What if I just cashed a large check and so I have more bills in my wallet than I carry at any other given time. I'm afraid. I’m afraid. I’m afraid. The Atonement brings you At-One with Him. And to be One with Him means you leave the other Gods you have worshiped behind so that God can take up His abode with you and have no rival there. 

If you hunger and thirst after greater righteousness and spiritual experience, just as our father Abraham did (Abraham 1:2), know that the hunger is your birthright. I have often feared the pursuit of greater righteousness because there is an underline belief that somehow in the pursuit - one could end up off track. And of course, that danger continually presents itself. As the author Catherine Thomas said, old Scratch, as the adversary is sometimes called, is always lurking behind a tree.

But the opposite risk is that you may straggle in the foothills of spiritual experience, as Israel has repeatedly done. So Paul says, “Exhort one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching…for yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry (Hebrews 10:25; 36-37)”. Paul’s letter is a powerful call to pay the price, to obtain the promise in spite of earth or hell, and to come all the way up the holy mount to the Lord Jesus Christ. 

I proclaim that Jesus is the Good Shepherd, the Holy One of Israel, the Lamb of God without blemish and without spot, the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the Deliverer, the Only Begotten of the Father, The Prince of Peace, Son of Righteousness, the Redeemer, the Beloved Son, the Everlasting Father, King of heaven and Keeper of the Gate, the Chief Cornerstone, the Lord God of Hosts, Most High God, Son of the Eternal Father, the Everlasting God, He is the Lord of the Vineyard, The Mighty One of Israel, He is the Rock, the True Vine, the Lord God Almighty, Alpha and Omega, Father of Heaven and of Earth, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Author and Finisher of our Faith, the Same yesterday, today, and forever, He which is, which was, and which is to come, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jehovah, the Holy Messiah - He is JESUS the CHRIST. 

I end this post with Moroni’s words that spoke directly to us. He said, “I have seen Jesus…he…talked with me face to face…in mine own language…And now I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever.” (Ether 12:38-41) 



Bethany Worship