Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Through a Child’s Eyes ?


(Source at footnote 2)
In several places the Lord’s servants warn us about the traditions of the fathers [and mothers] and how such traditions have handicapped the children.1 So, as we wind-down this Christmas season, perhaps we should reflect on some of our own traditions and unexamined beliefs.

Let’s take a recent example. During this season, a picture of a wide-eyed baby was profiled on the cover of a ward bulletin with the words: “We miss something if we don’t see Christmas through a child’s eyes.”2

As usual my perpetually questioning mind3 immediately challenged those words as my memory flashed back to decades of witnessing the grip of Babylon on religious observance4 and children’s expectations.

Are we too prone to spout platitudes? too quick to say, “Isn’t that precious,” without ever “proving the words”?[3] Have we fallen into the trap of idealizing things that are not ideal?

WHAT does a child see at Christmas? What do we introduce infants to before they can even process meaning? How much pretense do we stage as we tack brief “Nativities” onto “sugar-plum” programs? Or troop children through reenactments after we have primed their minds to be anxiously engaged with the “promised appearance of Santa”?

WHO becomes more central for most children—the most important person to ever live OR a fictional Santa who never will live, though we swear to the children that he does? We tell fantastic tales—that this red-attired, “gift-giver” flies with a sleigh and reindeer; that his corpulence pristinely descends and ascends through narrow chimneys, and on-and-on. Do we really think such fabrications are harmless? Do we imagine that false symbols, faux parallels, and commercialized substitutes have no consequence?

What have we acculturated children to focus on and expect? a Santa who gives them stuff—endless, fashionable, hot-item, market-tested stuff—manufactured and mass-marketed by the profiteers of Babylon? And in the hours and days that follow “Santa’s delivery,” how many times do we hear the children query each other with that inevitable, comparative, déjà vu question: “What did you get?”?

So what is this pictured infant seeing? What is that unknown image in those wide eyes? Is this child’s first Christmas encounter one of confused wonder at the wonders of a commercialized world?5 And in the years thereafter, do we set them up for the prolonged focus and wonder of  “What am I going to get?”

Our Christmas culture reminds me of a 10-year old boy’s comment about our Easter culture. “I really like Easter,” he said. “The candy part; not all the religious stuff.”6 If he and most other children were equally frank about Christmas, they might confess: “I really like Christmas—all the gifts and candy parts; not all that religious stuff.”

Yes, we are counseled:7
Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved (Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 9:22);
and to be
as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father (Book of Mormon | Mosiah 3:19);
but there is a vast difference between these aspects of a child’s nature and the “me-mine” traits that we nurture at Christmas and that the Apostle Paul put away:
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things  (New Testament | 1 Corinthians 13:11).

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (New Testament | Ephesians 4:14).
Now to a final few questions: When we read criticisms of our traditions, do we become reflexively angry or do we open ourselves to reflection? to pondering possible truths and consequences? to considering how we might become the peculiar people that God desires? to changing our ways to reflect more of His ways? to rejecting incorrect traditions that distract and deflect us from the true light and life of the world?

--------------------------------/
1. Book of Mormon | Mosiah 1:5 ~ I say unto you, my sons, were it not for these things, which have been kept and preserved by the hand of God, that we might read and understand of his mysteries, and have his commandments always before our eyes, that even our fathers would have dwindled in unbelief, and we should have been like unto our brethren, the Lamanites, who know nothing concerning these things, or even do not believe them when they are taught them, because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct.
Book of Mormon | Alma 3:8 ~ And this was done that their seed might be distinguished from the seed of their brethren, that thereby the Lord God might preserve his people, that they might not mix and believe in incorrect traditions which would prove their destruction.
Book of Mormon | Alma 9:16-17 ~ For there are many promises which are extended to the Lamanites; for it is because of the traditions of their fathers that caused them to remain in their state of ignorance; therefore the Lord will be merciful unto them and prolong their existence in the land. And at some period of time they will be brought to believe in his word, and to know of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers; and many of them will be saved, for the Lord will be merciful unto all who call on his name.
Book of Mormon | Alma 17:9, 15 ~ And it came to pass that they journeyed many days in the wilderness, and they fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in the hands of God to bring, if it were possible, their brethren, the Lamanites, to the knowledge of the truth, to the knowledge of the baseness of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct. … Thus they were a very indolent people, many of whom did worship idols, and the curse of God had fallen upon them because of the traditions of their fathers; notwithstanding the promises of the Lord were extended unto them on the conditions of repentance.
Book of Mormon | Alma 19:14 ~ Now Ammon seeing the Spirit of the Lord poured out according to his prayers upon the Lamanites, his brethren, who had been the cause of so much mourning among the Nephites, or among all the people of God because of their iniquities and their traditions, he fell upon his knees, and began to pour out his soul in prayer and thanksgiving to God for what he had done for his brethren; and he was also overpowered with joy; and thus they all three had sunk to the earth.
Book of Mormon | Alma 21:17 ~ And it came to pass that the Lord began to bless them, insomuch that they brought many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, they did convince many of their sins, and of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct.
Book of Mormon | Alma 23:3 ~ And thus they might go forth and preach the word according to their desires, for the king had been converted unto the Lord, and all his household; therefore he sent his proclamation throughout the land unto his people, that the word of God might have no obstruction, but that it might go forth throughout all the land, that his people might be convinced concerning the wicked traditions of their fathers, and that they might be convinced that they were all brethren, and that they ought not to murder, nor to plunder, nor to steal, nor to commit adultery, nor to commit any manner of wickedness.
Book of Mormon | Alma 24:7 ~ Now, these are the words which he said unto the people concerning the matter: I thank my God, my beloved people, that our great God has in goodness sent these our brethren, the Nephites, unto us to preach unto us, and to convince us of the traditions of our wicked fathers.
Book of Mormon | Alma 25:6 ~ For many of them, after having suffered much loss and so many afflictions, began to be stirred up in remembrance of the words which Aaron and his brethren had preached to them in their land; therefore they began to disbelieve the traditions of their fathers, and to believe in the Lord, and that he gave great power unto the Nephites; and thus there were many of them converted in the wilderness.
Book of Mormon | Alma 26:24 ~ For they said unto us: Do ye suppose that ye can bring the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth? Do ye suppose that ye can convince the Lamanites of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers, as stiffnecked a people as they are; whose hearts delight in the shedding of blood; whose days have been spent in the grossest iniquity; whose ways have been the ways of a transgressor from the beginning? Now my brethren, ye remember that this was their language.
Book of Mormon | Alma 47:36 ~ Now these dissenters, having the same instruction and the same information of the Nephites, yea, having been instructed in the same knowledge of the Lord, nevertheless, it is strange to relate, not long after their dissensions they became more hardened and impenitent, and more wild, wicked and ferocious than the Lamanites—drinking in with the traditions of the Lamanites; giving way to indolence, and all manner of lasciviousness; yea, entirely forgetting the Lord their God.
Book of Mormon | Helaman 15:7-8 ~ And behold, ye do know of yourselves, for ye have witnessed it, that as many of them as are brought to the knowledge of the truth, and to know of the wicked and abominable traditions of their fathers, and are led to believe the holy scriptures, yea, the prophecies of the holy prophets, which are written, which leadeth them to faith on the Lord, and unto repentance, which faith and repentance bringeth a change of heart unto them—Therefore, as many as have come to this, ye know of yourselves are firm and steadfast in the faith, and in the thing wherewith they have been made free.
Book of Mormon | Helaman 15:15 ~ For behold, had the mighty works been shown unto them which have been shown unto you, yea, unto them who have dwindled in unbelief because of the traditions of their fathers, ye can see of yourselves that they never would again have dwindled in unbelief.
2. “Christmas through a child’s eye”s: LDS Media Library: https://www.lds.org/media-library/images/wixom-quote-christmas-1187968?lang=eng&category=
3. New Testament | 1 Thessalonians 5:21 ~ Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
4. Particularly the excessive, obsessive collection (to the tune of thousands of dollars) of Christmas décor, especially the display (and storing) of hundreds of “unique” nativities—from miniature mice to Disney characters and everything in between and beyond.
5. New Testament | John 8:12 ~ Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Book of Mormon | Mosiah 16:9 ~ He [Christ] is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.
Book of Mormon | Alma 28:14 ~ And thus we see the great call of diligence of men to labor in the vineyards of the Lord; and thus we see the great reason of sorrow, and also of rejoicing—sorrow because of death and destruction among men, and joy because of the light of Christ unto life.
Book of Mormon | Alma 38:9 ~ And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness.
Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 9:18 ~ I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 11:11 ~ And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 11:28 ~ Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the life and the light of the world.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 34:1-3 ~ … behold what I, the Lord God, shall say unto you, even Jesus Christ your Redeemer; The light and the life of the world, a light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not; Who so loved the world that he gave his own life, that as many as would believe might become the sons of God. …
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 93:8-9 ~ Therefore, in the beginning the Word was, for he was the Word, even the messenger of salvation— The light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men.
6. http://dejavu-timestwo.blogspot.ca/2013/03/blissfully-ignorant-ii.html
7. New Testament | Matthew 18:2-4 ~ And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
New Testament | Mark 10:14-15 ~ Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
New Testament | Luke 18:16-17 ~ But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 11:37-41 ~ And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things. And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them. Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth. [All bold emphasis added.]

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Could It Also Be?

Joseph Smith, Jr. (1805-1844)
(for source info. see footnote 7)
(More questions1 for the questioners of Joseph Smith’s legacy and the direction of things after his martyrdom. To better understand this post, please read the post: “Could It Be?” of December 15, 2015.)

Since God knows:
» the continual contest between flesh and spirit;
» the cunning psychopathy and agenda of Lucifer;
» the susceptibility of every soul to distractions, deceptions, sin, and self-will;
» that Christ has paid the price for all if they would repent;
then, could it also be:
▪ that God’s redemptive work—revealed in greater fullness through Joseph Smith—continues with every seeking soul and leader in every splinter group of “Mormonism” AND within every nation, kindred, tongue, [religion,] and people?

▪ that in the days following the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, God continued to work His redemptive plan, as He saw fit, with both those who adopted latter-day polygamy and those who denounced it?

▪ that God gives opportunity upon opportunity for every soul who has erred to turn their life over or back to His will and ways?

▪ that even deceived persons can, at times, receive God-inspired dreams, visions, guidance and even wisdom, in order to bless people who are under their stewardship or influence, while God works to correct, humble, and refine everyone? Example:
AND the Lord was not pleased with Solomon for he made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter to wife , and brought her into the house of David until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about. And the Lord blessed Solomon for the people’s sake only  (Old Testament | 1 Kings 3:1 JST; bold emphasis added).
▪ that leaders (like everyone else) are susceptible to deceptions in practice and doctrine, so God counsels us to “trust not in the arm of flesh,”2 but to always exercise discernment and “to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good”?3

▪ that God uses all kinds of circumstances and human failings (in both laity and leaders) to tutor His children in the ways of discernment and of the Holy Spirit?

▪ that God (as exemplified by Captain Mormon,4 and many others) loves and teaches all His children, even in the midst of their sins (even iniquity) right up until the point of no-return?

▪ that any person who seeks with real intent to know of and accept the work that Christ did through Joseph Smith can experience the confirming witness of the Holy Spirit?

▪ that every soul who comes unto Christ through the work and ministry of Joseph Smith is receiving more of what God has to offer in these last days?
For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 28:30) 
that God’s voice and witness concerning the integrity of His servant, Joseph Smith is to be received and believed above every contrary voice or “witness”?

▪ that God’s purposes may be mysterious to mortal man, but they fail not?6
------------------------------------/
1. See the Déjà Vu Times II post of December 15, 2015, “Could It Be?” at http://dejavu-timestwo.blogspot.ca/2015/12/could-it-be.html
2. Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 4:34 ~ O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.
Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 28:31 ~ Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 1:19 ~ 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 flesh—
3. New Testament | 1 Thessalonians 5:21 ~ Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
4. Book of Mormon | Moroni 9:3-6 ~ And now behold, my son, I fear lest the Lamanites shall destroy this people; for they do not repent, and Satan stirreth them up continually to anger one with another. Behold, I am laboring with them continually; and when I speak the word of God with sharpness they tremble and anger against me; and when I use no sharpness they harden their hearts against it; wherefore, I fear lest the Spirit of the Lord hath ceased striving with them. For so exceedingly do they anger that it seemeth me that they have no fear of death; and they have lost their love, one towards another; and they thirst after blood and revenge continually. And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God. (See also Book of Mormon | Mormon chapters 3 and 5)
5. Book of Mormon | Alma 12:9-11 ~ And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him. And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries;
Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 26:8-10 ~ And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken. And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them. And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation.
New Testament | Matthew 13:10-12 ~ And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
6. Doctrine and Covenants | Section 76:1-4 ~ HEAR, O ye heavens, and give ear, O earth, and rejoice ye inhabitants thereof, for the Lord is God, and beside him there is no Savior. Great is his wisdom, marvelous are his ways, and the extent of his doings none can find out. His purposes fail not, neither are there any who can stay his hand. From eternity to eternity he is the same, and his years never fail.
Old Testament | Lamentations 3:22 ~ It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
[Bold emphasis added in footnoted scriptures.]
7. Image Source: Joseph Smith, Jr. (1805-1844), head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front. Charles William Carter - Library of Congress ~ circa 1885 (reproduction of painting) at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith,_Jr.#/media/File:Ovalportrait-josephsmith-Carter.jpg | This is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain for the following reason: This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Could It Be?

(Questions for the questioners of Joseph Smith’s legacy.)

*
Having encountered several references to John Cook Bennett1 in recent studies of Mormon history, I wonder if it might be fruitful2 to review the characteristics of a sociopath/psychopath.

From the BBC documentary, Psychopath:3
▪ “There are few more emotive words in the English language than psychopath—a clinical word for a condition that has only recently begun to be properly defined.”
▪ “[There are] tens of thousands of other people out there who are psychopaths but are not serial killers.”
▪ “And by far the vast majority are neither criminal nor in prison. But the kind of harm that psychopaths can cause at home and in the workplace is deeply damaging and costly in every sense.”
▪ “There is something missing. [The psychopath] has no compunctions.”
▪ “They are dangerous, without a conscience, and all around us.”
▪ “In the workplace, they often disrupt and destroy the good working of the business or an operation …”
▪ “[They are] “Public Enemy #1.”
In fact, most sociopaths/psychopaths (hereafter just called sociopath) inflict their harm and chaos in hidden, subtle ways4 through:
◦ pathological lying;
◦ cunning, conning, and manipulation;
◦ charm, sincerity, earnestness (when it suits their purpose);
◦ remorseless, callous behaviors;
◦ seeding contention and confusion;
◦ denial, maligning, blaming others, refusing responsibility;
◦ living without conscience; without empathy.
Granted, many people think the whole, initial “Mormon” bunch were all villains, but what if these many cynics and critics are just blindly fulfilling prophecy concerning a divinely-called Joseph Smith:
He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people  (Pearl of Great Price | JS-History 1:33, emphasis added).
Since evil-speaking of Joseph Smith is so rampant in this internet age, we can perhaps “thank” Mr. Cook Bennett, in large measure, for “cooking the polygamy books,” so to speak.

So how might a “saintly scoundrel,”5 like Cook Bennett stir the pot to provoke evil-speaking for generations while furthering his own fantasies of grandeur and seduction?

If he followed the path of the sociopath, he would:
▪  curry favor with perceived power;
▪  jockey for position and trust;
▪  play people one off against the other;
▪  claim inside knowledge and favor with the “elites”;
▪  fabricate, without conscience, to advance his own passions and agendas;
▪  solicit oaths of secrecy when revealing his “knowledge” (i.e., fabrications) to others, especially those perceived as subordinates or victims;
▪  claim to speak for or reveal “secrets” about leader(s);
▪  cook up devious, contorted schemes to entrap, confuse, and compromise others;
▪  solicit others to admire him, front for him, or do his “dirty” work;
▪  claim his own questionable conduct is sanctioned—even ordained—by the leader(s);
▪  be addicted to the drama and adrenalin of his power-plays;
▪  lose track of what is true and what is fabricated;
▪  frequently invoke the “pity ploy”6;
▪  when confronted, deny everything or accuse or blame others for “mistakes” or slip-ups (for as long as possible);
▪  display excessive, “distressed” remorse and repentance (and plead for mercy and secrecy), if caught in undeniable lies;
▪  immediately revert to fabrications and seductions with increased care, secrecy, and pity-ploys;
▪  take offense easily;
▪  fantasize and foment reprisal;
▪  fantasize about replacing the “leader.”
So, in light of the above, conjoined with Bennett’s long trail of iniquity and mendacity, does it not occur to historians and others:
▪ that the word or witness of John Cook Bennett is utterly bankrupt?
▪ that every other word or witness that has root in his poison is equally bankrupt?
▪ that the enemy of all righteousness is more than adept at convincing (limitless) self-serving or compromised “witnesses” that they are doing God a favor when torquing or hiding truth for the sake of (their vision of) the “kingdom”?
▪ that loyalty, dogma, fear, expectation, repetitive lies, and so forth can warp memory and morals?
▪ that Joseph, in all his sermons and writings, unequivocally sustained monogamous marriage and denounced polygamy in the latter-day church (as did his brother, Hyrum)?7
▪ that trust and truth reside in God and His prophetic word—not in the “recall” of natural-men or -women8—especially ones who have been seduced?
So, could it be:
▪ that the adversary knew “that God had a work for [Joseph] to do” and trotted out his most effective historical, distracting weapon—multiple wives and concubines—and combined that weapon with a far-reaching conspiracy, intent on destroying God’s work and the veracity of His servant Joseph?
▪ that many in the early church (even high officials or former officials) were persuaded, by an avalanche of fabrication, intrigue, (and temptation) to believe the words of a self-willed, self-serving, charming Bennett (aided by his converts and Cochranite9 believers)—to place “new doctrine” above the word of God and God’s beleaguered seer? (Oh, déjà vu from ancient days.)
▪ that there were secret, proxy “sealings” to Joseph10 without his knowledge or presence so others could assert his complicity and sanction; and thus justify their own  “spiritual wifery”?
▪ that covenants of secrecy barred participants from revealing details of “sealings”—with the added caution to not even expect Joseph’s acknowledgement of his “wives”—because of: 1) the need to keep such “special doctrine” hidden from less-chosen ones; 2) the alleged jealous, hostile Emma (Joseph’s wife); and 3) whatever other reason served the conspirators’ purposes?
▪ that when Joseph of Egypt said that a future Joseph would be “like unto me” (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 3:15) , he was also meaning that the future Joseph would likewise be falsely accused?
▪ that 173 years after Bennett’s exposure and excommunication, we are still ingesting the poison and fall-out of his fabrications?
▪ that God’s “lemonade”11 for Bennett’s presence in Nauvoo proved three-fold: 1) to test the “saints”; 2) to give Bennett one more opportunity (in the company of many good people and principles) to turn his life back to the will and ways of God; and 3) to give the “latter-day world” a choice in prophetic fulfillment?
So, what is the choice we have made concerning Joseph?
THE ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and fools shall have thee in derision, and hell shall rage against thee; While the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous, shall seek counsel, and authority, and blessings constantly from under thy hand. And thy people shall never be turned against thee by the testimony of traitors. And although their influence shall cast thee into trouble, and into bars and walls, thou shalt be had in honor; and but for a small moment and thy voice shall be more terrible in the midst of thine enemies than the fierce lion, because of thy righteousness; and thy God shall stand by thee forever and ever. If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea; If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; … and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb; … and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he? Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 122:1-9, bold emphasis added).
What if, at the judgment, we latter-day gentiles and other children of promise get a preliminary, defining question:
Did you speak good of my servant Joseph or did you speak evil?12
---------------------------/
CAUTION: to those who flippantly class Joseph amongst the likes of Bennett, perhaps it would be wise to repent and undertake an intensive study of Joseph’s life, his writings, and God's work through and prophecies about him—before it is too late. (In other words, seek to avoid the perennial déjà vus of the natural man of footnote 8—who believing himself to be informed and learned, believes himself also to be wise. See Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 9:28. A caution for us all.)
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_C._Bennett ; also
http://www.mormonwiki.com/John_C._Bennett ; also
Chapter 7 “Dr. Bennett Laid the Foundation of Polygamy at Nauvoo” from Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy, Vol. 1 at http://restorationbookstore.org/articles/nopoligamy/jsfp-vol1/chp7.htm
2. New Testament | Matthew 7:20 ~ Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
3. BBC documentary, Psychopath at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LE-UlvzmoM
4. Some of this list comes from Prof. Robert Hare’s Checklist and some from other observations. Hare’s Checklist for the full psychopathy spectrum can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy_Checklist .
See also prior Déjà Vu posts concerning this subject at
http://www.dejavu-times.blogspot.ca/2014/10/public-enemy-1.html
http://www.dejavu-times.blogspot.ca/2014/05/a-plague-of-psychopaths.html
http://dejavu-timestwo.blogspot.ca/2014/12/without-conscience.html
5. The Saintly Scoundrel: The Life and Times of Dr. John Cook Bennett by Andrew F. Smith (1997).
See also the many chapters dealing with Bennett in Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy, Vols. 1 & 2 at http://restorationbookstore.org/jsfp-index.htm
6. The Pity Ploy at http://dejavu-timestwo.blogspot.ca/2014/12/the-pity-ploy.html
7. Marriage doctrine preached during Joseph’s life: Review; Chapter 6: “Early Efforts to Eradicate Polygamy”; Chapter 19: “Joseph's Sermon against Polygamy” in Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy, Vol. 1 and Chapter 15, Subhead: “A Review of Some of the Important Documents Published against Polygamy in 1842” found in Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy, Vol. 2; both volumes available through the books’ index at http://restorationbookstore.org/jsfp-index.htm
8. New Testament | 1 Corinthians 2:14 ~ But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Book of Mormon | Alma 26:21 - 22 ~ And now behold, my brethren, what natural man is there that knoweth these things? I say unto you, there is none that knoweth these things, save it be the penitent. Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance.
Book of Mormon | Mosiah 3:19 ~ For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Bold emphasis added,)
9.   A polygamous sect that early Mormon missionaries encountered in the 1830s.
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Cochran and also Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy Vol. 1 chapters 1-4 and Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy Vol. 2, chapters 8-11 at http://restorationbookstore.org/jsfp-index.htm
10. Proxy Sealings: from Chapter 14 “William Smith Provided Further Insights into the Origin of Polygamy” from the book Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy, Vol. 2 at http://restorationbookstore.org/articles/nopoligamy/jsfp-vol2/2chp14.htm
SAN BERNARDINO, California,
December 31st, 1883.
Mrs. Mary Ralph being duly sworn, deposes and says: I lived in Nauvoo, Illinois, close to the house of Joseph Smith, just across the road, sometime. ... and I believe he was a true prophet of God. I was well acquainted with the two Partridge girls and the two Walker girls and their two brothers William and Lorin Walker, they were orphans, and all lived in the family of Joseph Smith, but I never knew they were any of them his wives; but I saw Susy Walker in 1847 and she had a young baby in her arms, she told me she had been sealed to Joseph for eternity and to Heber C. Kimball for time, and Bro. Heber was acting proxy for Bro. Joseph. Dianthy [Diantha] Farr, daughter of Aaron Farr, told me she was sealed in the same way and W[m]. Clayton was acting proxy for Bro. Joseph with her. The first I ever heard of the proxy and sealing business was in 1846. Bathsheba Smith, wife of Geo. A., told me of it then.
MARY RALPH.
Sworn to before me this 31st day of December, 1883, W. J. Curtis, Notary Public in and for San Bernardino county, state of California. (Bold emphasis added.)
11. "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" is a proverbial phrase used to encourage optimism and a positive can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/.../When_life_gives_you_lemons,_make_lemonade)
12. Though the following sites may prove offensive to many Mormons and their traditional beliefs, they may also prove thought-provoking and enlightening:
Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy at http://restorationbookstore.org/jsfp-index.htm
In Defense of Joseph at http://www.defendingjoseph.com/ (several posts 2008 to 2015)
Joseph Smith’s Monogamy: Exploring a Counter-narrative Regarding Plural Marriage at https://www.scribd.com/doc/290575587/JosephSmithsMonogamy-pdf

(* Wolf in sheep’s clothing image / license source: Bing.com ~ Free to use ...)

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Anatomy of Disaffection

(An escalating, global epidemic?)
Disaffection
noun
~ a state of dissatisfaction or alienation ~ the growing disaffection between players
Source: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/disaffection
Some patterns seem so repetitive—so easy to initiate by the enemy of all that is good. One such pattern is the four-step path of relationship breakdown (as discussed in the previous post1). In recent years, it seems that relationship breakdown has exploded on a global scale. The adversary appears almost in panic mode with the shortness of time left to him.2 So behold, the abbreviated micro- / macro-pattern of relationship breakdown between nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples:
First come feelings and/or thoughts, like:
disagreement, dissatisfaction, discontent, resentment, antagonism, alienation, dislike, unfriendliness, hostility, aversion, antipathy, estrangement, ill will, animosity, repugnance.
As the feelings and thoughts remain unchecked and undisciplined, they expand and deepen until
2) they begin to manifest in words of derision and demand.
As the words expand and deepen, they reinforce the feelings and thoughts until
3) the motives, agendas, morals, and worth of the other are questioned and condemned.
As this third phase expands and deepens, the whole cycle is reinforced until
4) the relationship is abandoned (sometimes in favor of new associations), though all too often, the disaffected relationship becomes the focus of an angry, destructive obsession.
So the question is: Do we ever monitor (are we even aware of) where we are in the recycling disaffections of our lives?—disaffections with people/s? institutions? governments? circumstances? God?

It is so easy to begin the process of disaffection—with just a single, small thought or feeling. Is that why Jesus said:
Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, and it is also written before you, that thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment of God; But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire (Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 12:21-22)?
Is that why some scribe added the phrase, “without a cause,” to the New Testament version3 because anger and disaffection are so common—so easily justifiable—so in sync with the will and ways of the “Natural Man”?4

Is that why Jesus told Peter:
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven (New Testament | Matthew 18:21-22)?
Yet, even in the face of these words, we must ask: Is disaffection ever justified?
And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him. And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins. (Old Testament | Numbers 16:25-26)
But can this really be called disaffection in light of Jesus’ other words?
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (New Testament | Matthew 5:43-48)

I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men. And ye ought to say in your hearts—let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 64:10-11)
So perhaps disaffection and most of its synonyms are not justified even when the will of God is that we move on or away from a place of oppression, corruption, or iniquity.

What did God expect of those called to move on—those like Abraham, Moses, Lehi, Nephi, Mosiah, Alma the elder, Mahonri & Jared, Mulek, and so forth?5 For the most part, it seems they were called to bear their witness without rancor or hostility and  then let God take care of the consequences of choice in His own time and way. They were not to dwell or labor in disaffection. They were to live, love, and forgive according to the mind and will of God.

Yet, no matter where we are in the world today, we increasingly hear words (from atheists to ministers, from politicians to Zionists, and everywhere in-between) promoting disaffection—against and amongst Christians, Muslims, Arabs, Jews, immigrants, refugees, nations, leaders, police, opponents, the poor, and on and on.

And so we begin to fear—to become angry, suspicious, paranoid, even violent—the perfect set-up to escalate more disaffection and chaos (the hidden agenda) in furtherance of  a “new order.”

But why should we fear? If we have clean hands and a pure heart—if we live in Christ and He in us—there is NOTHING to fear—especially not death. Why can we not take example from the trusting reply to a King’s arrogant challenge of “who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up (Old Testament | Daniel 3:15-18, bold emphasis added).
Please, let us remember:
▪  we are all brothers and sisters—children of a supreme and sovereign God;
▪  we all sin and desperately need daily repentance;
▪  God alone knows “degrees of difficulty” and degrees of accountability;
▪  the degrees of manipulation, mind-control, and deception inspired by Lucifer are almost beyond comprehension, so how can we be sure we know the truth of a matter if we are not in tune with the mind of God;
▪  the greatest degree of manipulation, mind-control, and deception is being perpetuated upon those who think they are the manipulators and controllers;
▪  because of pervasive wickedness in the world,6 Jesus counseled, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (New Testament | Matthew 10:16);
▪  the individual permutations of God’s mercy, justice and judgment are, and will be, perfect;
▪  generalized disaffections are unwise and unjust because God has a remnant within every nation, kindred, tongue, and people who stand for truth and righteousness;
In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance (Old Testament | Isaiah 19:23-25; bold emphasis added).
Let us not be drawn into disaffections. Let us live the compassion that Jesus preached, whatever the perceived cost. Only God knows the truth of every heart. And only in Him will we have the strength to endure the disaffections of others.

--------------------------------/
1. “Prologue to Divorce” at http://dejavu-timestwo.blogspot.ca/2015/11/prologue-to-divorce.html which reviews the steps outlined by Russell M. Stendal in Appendix 4, entitled, “The Fatal Tailspin,” from his book Rescue the Captors: Written from within a Marxist guerrilla camp in Colombia, the true story of a kidnapped jungle pilot Life Sentence Publishing. Kindle Edition (2011-04-21). I thank Stendal for sparking my further reflections and thoughts.
2. New Testament | Revelation 12:12 ~ Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
3. New Testament | Matthew 5:21-22 ~ Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire; (underline emphasis added).
4. Book of Mormon | Mosiah 3:19 ~ For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
5. Abraham ~ Pearl of Great Price | Abraham 2:6 ~ But I, Abraham, and Lot, my brother's son, prayed unto the Lord, and the Lord appeared unto me, and said unto me: Arise, and take Lot with thee; for I have purposed to take thee away out of Haran, and to make of thee a minister to bear my name in a strange land which I will give unto thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession, when they hearken to my voice.
Moses ~ Old Testament | Exodus and Deuteronomy 1:19 ~ And when we departed from Horeb, we went through all that great and terrible wilderness, which ye saw by the way of the mountain of the Amorites, as the LORD our God commanded us;
Lehi1 ~ Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 1 and 1 Nephi 2:2 ~ And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness.
Nephi1 ~ Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 5:1-2, 5 ~ BEHOLD, it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cry much unto the Lord my God, because of the anger of my brethren. But behold, their anger did increase against me, insomuch that they did seek to take away my life. … And it came to pass that the Lord did warn me, that I, Nephi, should depart from them and flee into the wilderness, and all those who would go with me.
Mosiah1 ~ Book of Mormon | Omni 1:12 ~ Behold, I will speak unto you somewhat concerning Mosiah, who was made king over the land of Zarahemla; for behold, he being warned of the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi, and as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord should also depart out of the land with him, into the wilderness—
King Limhi ~ Book of Mormon | Mosiah 22:2 ~ And it came to pass that they could find no way to deliver themselves out of bondage, except it were to take their women and children, and their flocks, and their herds, and their tents, and depart into the wilderness; for the Lamanites being so numerous, it was impossible for the people of Limhi to contend with them, thinking to deliver themselves out of bondage by the sword.
Alma1~ Book of Mormon | Mosiah 23:1 ~ NOW Alma, having been warned of the Lord that the armies of king Noah2 would come upon them, and having made it known to his people, therefore they gathered together their flocks, and took of their grain, and departed into the wilderness before the armies of king Noah.
Mahonri & Jared ~ Book of Mormon | Ether 1 and Book of Mormon | Ether 2:5-7 ~ And it came to pass that the Lord commanded them that they should go forth into the wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been. And it came to pass that the Lord did go before them, and did talk with them as he stood in a cloud, and gave directions whither they should travel. And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and did build barges, in which they did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the Lord. And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people.
Mulek ~ Book of Mormon | Mosiah 25:2 ~ Now there were not so many of the children of Nephi, or so many of those who were descendants of Nephi, as there were of the people of Zarahemla, who was a descendant of Mulek, and those who came with him into the wilderness. Book of Mormon | Helaman 6:10 ~ Now the land south was called Lehi and the land north was called Mulek, which was after the son of Zedekiah; for the Lord did bring Mulek into the land north, and Lehi into the land south. Book of Mormon | Helaman 8:21- 22 ~ And now will you dispute that Jerusalem was destroyed? Will ye say that the sons of Zedekiah were not slain, all except it were Mulek? Yea, and do ye not behold that the seed of Zedekiah are with us, and they were driven out of the land of Jerusalem? But behold, this is not all— Our father Lehi was driven out of Jerusalem because he testified of these things. Nephi also testified of these things, and also almost all of our fathers, even down to this time; yea, they have testified of the coming of Christ, and have looked forward, and have rejoiced in his day which is to come.
6. New Testament | Matthew 10:17-22 ~ But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

 
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