Friday, May 10, 2024

Confused About the Jews? Part I: Conflation

A decade ago, I first came across an author who lumped Twelve Tribes into one and called them all Jewish.1 Periodically, I have observed the same conflation, but in the past few weeks, I have been reading another author2 who incredibly, persistently conflates twelve into one, which motivated this post. However, if we know our history (and it hasn’t been corrupted too much), we know, in summary, that
▪ Moses led Twelve Tribes of Israel (aka Jacob) out of bondage in Egypt (being descendants of Jacob’s 12 sons in order of birth: Reuben(L), Simeon(L), Levi(L), Judah(L), Dan(B), Naphtali(B), Gad(Z), Asher(Z), Issachar(L), Zebulun(L), Joseph(R) [Manasseh, Ephraim], and Benjamin(R)3;

▪ after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness with the fickle faithful,4 Moses died (as well as all the old fearful), then Joshua led the young posterity of the twelve sons of Israel across the Jordan River into their Promised Land flowing with milk and honey5;

the land west of the Jordan was divided amongst 9½ Tribes with Reuben’s, Gad’s, and half of Manasseh’s posterity assigned lands east of the Jordan; see map here6;

▪ after years of wars with their pagan neighbors and a few conflicts amongst themselves, their judges-system was abandoned in favor of a royal-system, much to the dismay of Samuel the prophet7;

▪ after a disappointing king Saul, a war-plagued king David, and a wise-then-foolish king Solomon, the “united” kingdom split in two: Solomon’s foolish son Rehoboam hanging onto the South (with Tribe Judah and Tribe Benjamin8), while Ahijah-anointed Jeroboam took the North Ten Tribes in an idolatrous direction in order to preserve his power9;

▪ the kings of the divided North and South sometimes helped, sometimes hindered each other until the South-Judah king Ahaz invited Assyria to settle a conflict with his pesky, perfidious Northern brethren10

▪ circa 722 BC, rapacious Assyria consented and, as was Assyria's tyrannical custom, exported the North conquered peoples to some distant land (Lost Ten Tribes?) while importing other conquered peoples to take the lands of the displaced11;

▪ that temporarily solved the North-South “brotherly” divide but then Babylon took the reigns of power from Assyria and soon (circa 587 BC) displaced much of Tribe Judah+ (including Daniel, et al.) to Babylon12;

▪ 70 years later some of Tribe Judah returned to Jerusalem to rebuild where they encountered Samaritans whose traditions claimed Hebrew ancestry; thus, the divide resurfaced and endured for hundreds of years as we read in the Gospel accounts13;

Note: Not all of the Ten (722 BC) or all of Tribes Judah / Benjamin (587 BC) were displaced. Some of the poor remained and undoubtedly mixed and intermarried with other tribe members or with other imported locals. For example, the family of Book of Mormon Lehi were of Tribe Manasseh living in the environs of Jerusalem in 600 BC.14
So how do we sort this all out? Who is a Jew? Who is a different Semite15? Who is a Gentile?

Well, as DNA testing has shown, all of us are a mixed medley of genetics. Assyria and Babylon helped orchestrate that mix-up early on by exporting and importing numerous tribal populations, including the Twelve of Israel, not to mention the natural catastrophes, famines, and other wars in history that set other populations on the move. By now, the majority of the world must have, at least, a trace of Abraham in their genetics, considering that he had at least 8 biological sons,16 (and perhaps a number of daughters). Granted, the “seed” chosen to be a blessing and light to the world (according to the Bible) was through Abraham's  son Isaac and his grandson Jacob/Israel, but the whole batch of Twelve Tribes of Israel consistently failed their promise and potential (like most of us, Gentiles included). As Abraham Heschel wrote:
Here is man whom God had made and to whom He had given dominion over sea and land. Here is a people whom God had chosen and redeemed from agony and slavery, a people to whom He gave His Torah, a land, prosperity, and prophets. And this people whose destiny was to be a witness to the living God and a light to the nations, betrayed His teachings, turned to idols, and abandoned Him. The Judge of the world cried His protest again and again. But the people remained deaf to the prophets.17
Throughout history, only a remnant seems to have grasp the Plan, with the majority recycling perpetually through the laments of Moses and God:
27 For I [Moses] know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death? ...
29 For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands (Old Testament | Deuteronomy 31:27, 29; for God’s lament see footnote 4 below).
So who are the descendants of Tribe Judah? What does the DNA reveal? In recent months, a new vlog18 has come forth (March15, 2023) with fascinating data worth studying (along with its pro and con comments):
(Unraveling the Scriptures | Apr 26. 2024 |Time 10:20 min.) at

(Unraveling the Scriptures | May 6, 2024 | Time 11:03 min.) at
In addition, this observation:
The Difference Between Judaism and Israel Explained
Andrew Bustamante | May 5, 2024 | Time 2:16 min.) at

NOTE: Bustamante's praise of the CIA  in other interviews is not in accord with history, human nature, or R.I.C.E (
It appears that cultural and religious affiliations are a large part of what makes a Jew, but another conflation error, with tragic historical and current day consequences, is to lump all Jews (genetic, religious, cultural) into one unity, discounting the diversity in thought, opinion, character, feeling, etc., inherent in every group. Every group, Jew, Arab, Gentile, Black, White, Chinese, Japanese, et al. al. al. has their share of authoritarian scoundrels who pursue and claim entitlement to dominate and to reconfigure the world. History is rife with scoundrels, but they do not and should not define an entire group. To label any person, Jew or Gentile, as antisemitic or racist or ...phobic if they criticize or oppose some favored agenda or narrative distorts truth. Some rabbis have even labelled other Jews as antisemitic for differing from the scripted view. Jews are as diverse in their opinions, perspectives, hopes, and dreams as any other group.19 And this current rise of persecution of any identifiable Jew is conflation at its tragic worst. It is the very spirit of Nazism writ-large, whatever the alleged justification. Yes, there are plenty of scoundrels in the history (and current events) of Tribe Judah, just as there are plenty in the history of Tribe Ephraim, not to mention “Tribes” Germany, Russia, China, Japan, USA, and on and on. Conflation leads to confusion, chaos, and criminality, as we presently witness on our college campuses, and elsewhere.

If we knew our history, we would know that many elites-of-domination (within every nation, kindred, tongue, and people) seek and eventually attain power in nigh every GO and NGO worldwide. That is the nature of the power-beast. Orchestrating conflation is one of their primary tools for managing peoples and power. In today's global, technified, power-mad world, we can be pretty sure that whatever we perceive as truth is probably more than half programming, propaganda, and perfidy. And if we ask any difficult questions of the powers or their servitors, we risk some blanket label designed to shut down thought and discourse. But thought and discourse are crucial to unravelling regional and global conflicts. Are we to ignore conflations that distort because we are afraid of labels and ideological dogmatists who claim teflon-immunity to criticism or questions? 

As I conclude this post on Confused About the Jews? Part I: Conflation, can I even ask:
Have we also conflated the land?
Map source - footnote 20

And if we have conflated the land, what does that say about the “Gathering” (which I intend to ponder in Part II)? 

1. Wilder, Lynn K.. Unveiling Grace. Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
‘Mike’s blessing said, “The blood of Ephraim flows in your veins.” Wow, he had a Jewish heritage? Later I searched his genealogy, since we were encouraged to find the names of dead ancestors to take with us to the temple for their saving ordinances, but I didn’t find any Jewish ancestry’ (p. 46, bold emphasis added).
In another story, she tells of a Palestinian who asked her, “I lived in Arizona and met some Mormons. They told me they are Jews, something about adoption. Can you explain?” In her reply, she explains about the various Tribes, but again seems to leave the impression that if one is of a Tribe, one is a Jew (p. 303).
2. Connelly, Douglas. The Book of Revelation Made Clear: A User-Friendly Look at the Bible’s Most Complicated Book. Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Despite the clarity of New Testament | Revelation 7:4-8:
   4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
   5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
   6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
   7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
   8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand .
The author writes; “144,000 Jewish believers receive God’s seal on their foreheads” (p. 104).
“They hear about Jesus and come to believe (we assume) through the testimony of the 144,000 Jewish believers who are sealed by God’s angel” (p. 110).
“Not only will the 144,000 Jewish believers stand through the Tribulation because of God’s protection; a huge throng of people will also turn to Christ in faith and will stand in God’s presence in heaven” (p. 113; also pp. 118, 196, 231, 330, 332).
3. Bracket letter stands for the mother of the son: Leah, Bilhah, Zilpah, Rachel. Joseph obtains a double portion of inheritance through his sons Manasseh and Ephraim. Levi, the priestly order obtains no land inheritance, but cities in each of his brothers lands.
4. which seems to be the repeating human condition (Hebrew, Israelite, or Gentile) forever cycling between loyalty and disloyalty.
Old Testament | Deuteronomy 31:16
   16 ¶ And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.
5. Old Testament | Exodus 3:7-8
   7 ¶ And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;
   8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
6. Old Testament | Joshua 13:Heading
Inheritance of Reuben, Gad, and one half of Manasseh confirmed.
MAP of land division:
“English: Map of the territories allotted to the "twelve tribes of Israel" according to the Book of Joshua, chapters 13–19, before the move of Dan to the North. Note that these territories were only allegedly allotted to said tribes, and the texts themselves indicate that the tribes had troubles conquering all these areas and cities from the native peoples. The Biblical account may also be far from historically accurate, and has been disputed by scholars.”
8. Old Testament | 1 Kings 12:21
   21 ¶ And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.
9. Old Testament | 1 Kings 12:Heading
Rehoboam seeks to impose greater burdens upon the people—The ten tribes revolt and turn to Jeroboam—Jeroboam turns to idolatry and worships false gods.
10. Old Testament | 2 Kings 16:7
   7 So [king] Ahaz [of Judah] sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, I am thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, which rise up against me.
11. Old Testament | 2 Kings 15:Heading
Divers kings reign in Israel and in Judah—Their wickedness, wars, conspiracies, and evils set forth—Much of Israel is carried captive to Assyria by Tiglath-pileser.
Old Testament | 2 Kings 15:29
   29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abel-beth-maachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.
Old Testament | 2 Kings 17:Heading
Hoshea reigns in Israel and is subject to the Assyrians—Israel forsakes the Lord, worships idols, serves Baal, and rejects all that the Lord gave them—The ten tribes are carried away captive by kings of Assyria—Land of Israel (Samaria) repopulated by other people—Many forms of false worship found among the Samaritans.
Old Testament | 2 Kings 17:1, 3-6
   1 IN the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah began Hoshea the son of Elah to reign in Samaria over Israel nine years. ...
   3 ¶ Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents.
   4 And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison.
   5 ¶ Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years.
  6 ¶ In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
12. Old Testament | 2 Kings 24:Heading
Jerusalem besieged and taken by Nebuchadnezzar—Many of Judah carried captive into Babylon—Zedekiah becomes king in Jerusalem—He rebels against Babylon.
Old Testament | 2 Kings 25:Heading
Nebuchadnezzar again besieges Jerusalem—Zedekiah is captured, Jerusalem and the temple destroyed, and most of Judah carried into Babylon—Gedaliah, left to govern the remnant, is slain—The remnant flee to Egypt—Jehoiachin is shown favor in Babylon.
Old Testament | Jeremiah 5:Heading
Judgments shall be poured out upon the Jews because of their sins—Their iniquities cause blessings to be withheld from them.
Old Testament | Jeremiah 39:Heading
Jerusalem is taken and the people captivated—Jeremiah and Ebed-melech, the Ethiopian, are preserved.
Old Testament | Jeremiah 40:Heading
The king of Babylon makes Gedaliah governor over the remnant of Jews left in Judah—Jeremiah is freed and dwells among them.
Old Testament | Jeremiah 42:Heading
Jeremiah promises Johanan and the remnant of Judah peace and safety if they remain in Judah, but a sword and famine and pestilence if they go to Egypt.
Old Testament | Jeremiah 43:Heading
Johanan carries Jeremiah and the remnant of Judah into Egypt—Jeremiah prophesies that Babylon shall conquer Egypt.
Old Testament | Jeremiah 44:Heading
Jeremiah prophesies that the Jews in Egypt, save a small remnant, shall be destroyed because they worship false gods.
Old Testament | Ezra 9:Heading
Many Jews intermarry with, and follow the abominations of, the Canaanites and others—Ezra prays, and confesses the sins of all the people.
Old Testament | Daniel 1:Heading
Daniel and certain Hebrews are trained in the court of Nebuchadnezzar—They eat plain food and drink no wine—God gives them knowledge and wisdom beyond all others.
   1 IN the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
   2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
13. New Testament | John 4:9
   9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
14. Book of Mormon | Alma 10:3
   3 And Aminadi was a descendant of Nephi, who was the son of Lehi, who came out of the land of Jerusalem, who was a descendant of Manasseh, who was the son of Joseph who was sold into Egypt by the hands of his brethren.
Note: The Book of Mormon also documents that a Tribe of Judah group migrated to the ancient Americas also before the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC.:
Book of Mormon | Mosiah 25:2-3
   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.
   3 And there were not so many of the people of Nephi and of the people of Zarahemla as there were of the Lamanites; yea, they were not half so numerous.
Book of Mormon | Helaman 6:10
   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
   21 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?
16. Ishmael (Hagar); Isaac (Sarah); and by Keturah:
Old Testament | Genesis 25:1-2
   2 And she [Keturah] bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.
17. Heschel, Abraham Joshua. The Prophets (p. 369). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
Other relevant vlogs:
(Unraveling the Scriptures | Oct 26, 2023 | Time 10:35 min.) at
(Unraveling the Scriptures | Oct 17, 2023 | Time 13:44 min.) at
(Unraveling the Scriptures | May 2, 2024 | Time 10:45 min.) at
(Unraveling the Scriptures | Apr 18, 2024 | Time 10:24 min.) at
19. Just read: Menuhin, Moshe. "Not by Might, Nor by Power": The Zionist Betrayal of Judaism (Forbidden Bookshelf) . Open Road Media. Kindle Edition.
20. MAP sources:

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Star of Islam? or Ishtar? or ... ?

It appears that several states have decided to redesign their state flags to include an 8-pointed star.1 Some are calling it a symbol of Islam,2 but in reality, it is far older than Islam. Some have asked: Why should all these flag designers happen upon the 8-pointed star at nearly the same time? Most of us don’t know why, but perhaps the goddess Ishtar / Inanna does since this goddess, in her many manifestations, has now returned to the world, front and center; and the eight-pointed star is historically hers.3

Even Utah considered using the 8-pointed star, allegedly, to represent its Tribal Nations,4 but opted for a single, 5-pointed star5 in its new flag, though one can find several instances of the 8-pointed version being offered for sale or flying in a virtual Utah breeze.6

The flag reform activists and design “experts” all insist that “symbols should mean something,” but the question is: Can we knowingly choose a symbol and ignore its historical meaning? What new meanings are designers ascribing to an old symbol and how do officials convey that new meaning to the many who will only see the symbol and never hear verbal or textual explanations? Yes, we have the 1978 case of new meaning assigned to the rainbow symbol, but then again, the rainbow was also co-opted long ago by Ishtar / Innana7 — the goddess of “ancient gender-bending parades.”8 Can we not see parallels to the old idolatry that caused such grief to the prophets of old? Yes, we need compassion for the genuine dysphorics, but this present obsession with affirming self-idolatry and cancel-contraries is to become like a pagan god, is it not? What is the message we give to knowingly display or affirm any symbol of pagan gods? To reclaim a co-opted symbol takes knowledge, exposure, public education, transparency, and persistence. 

The controversies when re-designing flags will always be with us in this multicultural world, as will self-obsessed diva / divo (SOD) activists and Balak/Balac-types9 pursuing disruption and destruction; so let us each ponder our own individual standing: How will I answer accusations of compromise and idolatry? Where is my membership within the NT Revelation churches10?

1. New Flags Being Unveiled Across America Raising Concerns
(One America News Network | Apr 25, 2024 | Time 3:28 min) at
NOTE: Their (OANN) display of the new Utah flag shows one of the proposed flags with the 8-pointed star and not the final approved version with the 5-pointed star.
• 8 pointed Star Meaning, The Symbolism And Origins Of The Octagram (Symbols And Meanings | Jul 20, 2021 | Time 1:29 min.) at
2. However, from my observation, Arabic and Islamic countries most frequently use the five-pointed star.
3. Cahn, Jonathan. The Return of the Gods. Charisma House. Kindle Edition.
“The Star of Ishtar or Star of Inanna is a Mesopotamian symbol of the ancient Sumerian goddess Inanna and her East Semitic counterpart Ishtar. The owl was also one of Ishtar's primary symbols. Ishtar is mostly associated with the planet Venus, which is also known as the morning star.”
• Excerpt from
“Let us take time to ponder: How much social-consensus and self-centrism is manifest in our thoughts and behaviours? Have we any awareness of how our society has initiated and embraced the return of the old world gods Baal, Moloch, and Ishtar3 — the gods that caused so much prophetic lamentation in the past? How many of us naively participate in or affirm the rites, rituals, fashions, philosophies, and parades of the revived gods? And if we have somehow avoided the lure of Babylon and her resurgent gods, are we content with the praise of our goodness? the preaching of a 180 gospel of love and mercy almost completely ignoring justice and judgment, except for our judgments of the transparently wicked world? “
4. • Eight Tribal Nations:
• Utah Beehive Flag:
5. A five-pointed star (☆), geometrically an equilateral concave decagon, is a common ideogram in modern culture. Comparatively rare in classical heraldry, it was notably introduced for the flag of the United States in the Flag Act of 1777 and since has become widely used in flags.
It has also become a symbol of fame or "stardom" in Western culture, among other uses.”
6. • Salt Lake Tribune:
7. The Sign: The Rainbow Banner -
Cahn, Jonathan. The Return of the Gods (p. 181-184). Charisma House. Kindle Edition.
“There is an ancient Elamite inscription that reads “Manzat Ishtar.” There is debate over whether the name Ishtar is to be taken just as it appears or as a generic noun. Nevertheless, the inscription translates to the name Rainbow Ishtar.” Cahn, Jonathan. The Return of the Gods (p. 183). Charisma House. Kindle Edition.
8. • “as they marched in the goddess’s ancient gender-bending parades,”
Cahn, Jonathan. The Return of the Gods (p. 172). Charisma House. Kindle Edition.
9. New Testament | Revelation 2:14
   14. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. (See also: Old Testament | Numbers 22-24; 31:16; New Testament | 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 1:11)

Flag Reform Extras:
• Flag reform was a mistake
J.J. McCullough | Dec 24, 2023 | Time 16:24 min.) at
• 🇺🇸 DOES YOUR FLAG FAIL? Grey Grades State Flags!
(CGP Grey | Apr 2, 2023| Time 18:52 min.) at
• DID I DESIGN THE NEW UTAH FLAG? | The Beehive Flag Explained
(Flags for Good | Mar 14, 2023 | Time 12:33 min.) at

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Not in the Mind of God?

Over the years, this excerpt from an 1890 address by President Wilford Woodruff has caused considerable discussion:
The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty. (Sixty-first Semiannual General Conference of the Church, Monday, October 6, 1890, Salt Lake City, Utah. Reported in Deseret Evening News, October 11, 1890, p. 2.)1
The same goes for President Benson’s 1980 talk, Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet where the Fourth Fundamental is: “The prophet will never lead the Church astray.”2 President Benson bolstered this fundamental with a story told by Marion G. Romney about President Grant’s advice to always follow a prophet’s counsel because one would be blessed even if the prophet’s advice proved wrong. Yes, this is an individual case of advice, but it is used to support a general (ironic?) case that a living prophet can never lead the church astray. This idea is deeply embedded in church manuals and instruction. Only a sampling of references to President Benson’s talk are listed here,3 but the talk is a pervasive footnote.
Then, we have this 2021 video:

Follow the Prophet—He Speaks for God
(Russell Simon | Jan 10, 2021 | 2:51 min.) at
Original source at Church Site4:
Description: Around a table in the Smith family log home in Palmyra, New York, President Russell M. Nelson and Joy D. Jones, General Primary President, ask a panel of children why it’s important to have a prophet. (Circa June 2021 | Time 2:51 min.)
We also have this: a recent resurfacing of the COVID issue:
Idaho Saints Rebuked for Not Following the Prophet
(Connor Boyack | Apr 21, 2024 | Time 55:44 min.) at
Yes, we are also told to follow the Spirit, but the more insistent drum beat seems to be “follow the prophet,” which is absolutely true if we accept Nephi’s definition:
21 And now I, Nephi, declare unto you, that this prophet of whom Moses spake was the Holy One of Israel; wherefore, he shall execute judgment in righteousness (Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 22:20–21; bold emphasis added);
which clarifies the preceding verse: “that all those who will not hear that prophet [the Holy One of Israel] shall be cut off from among the people.”5

But by juxtaposing “follow the Spirit” with “follow the living prophet / president” a cognitive dissonance is resolving in some leaders and members who can’t accept that the Spirit might direct others to choose or decide contrary to perceived living counsel or authority? And since discerning the Spirit is a challenging, sometimes uncertain, work-in-progress for many of us, the default of “follow the leader / prophet” is more enticing, less time-consuming, less stressful, more soothing; except fairly concerning to those who are aware of the possible uses in creating cognitive dissonance — a known psychological tactic for manipulating thoughts and behaviors.

So as I consider what might be “in the mind of God,” I ask myself:
Why was Jesus so hard on the leaders of His day6?
Why did He direct His disciples to do the same7?
Why were Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, et al. so condemnatory of end-time leaders / priests / prophets8?
What should we make (or not) of Joseph Smith’s last dream9?
Why the story of an old prophet leading a young prophet astray10?
And why this provision?
76 But a literal descendant of Aaron has a legal right to the presidency of this priesthood, to the keys of this ministry, to act in the office of bishop independently, without counselors, except in a case where a President of the High Priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek, is tried, to sit as a judge in Israel.
82 And inasmuch as a President of the High Priesthood shall transgress, he shall be had in remembrance before the common council of the church, who shall be assisted by twelve counselors of the High Priesthood;
83 And their decision upon his head shall be an end of controversy concerning him.
84 Thus, none shall be exempted from the justice and the laws of God, that all things may be done in order and in solemnity before him, according to truth and righteousness (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 107:76, 82–84).11
Yes, I believe this provision is intended to check straying and / or corruption, but are we, in today's world, too naïve about the nature of power and fraternal bonds?

This post is not to pronounce judgment on anyone, but to raise a cautionary flag as we roll on in these end-times. IF the test of loyalty to God is going to be so severe that
24 ... if it were possible[12], they shall deceive the very elect (New Testament | Matthew 24:24);
then what greater proving than to test dogmatic expectations? And just as Jesus honored and respected God's temple13 in His day despite corruptions, can we not do likewise for the Restoration if we perceive problems, contraries, concerns, manipulations, encroachments of Babylon, and so forth? Just as the ancient temple was God's notwithstanding its administrators, so is the Restoration.

Each of us will be tested on an individual basis. Will we turn away from God's Restoration because of offended expectations and fallible flesh, or will we hold to the Word — to the rod, and follow the Spirit wherever it leads, even beyond every expectation? The present drum beat may feel excessive to some for as one commenter observed on Boyack’s vlog:
“To me, it sounds like programming, whether intentional or not. A wise person made this comment on a FB post, ‘The idea to remember is that if everyone is individually going to Jesus Christ and receiving personal revelation, then each person much be deceived for Satan to capture everyone. But if we are taught to follow the prophet, then only the prophet needs to be deceived for Satan to capture everyone’" (@meridentoombs3840).
I guess the thing I take away from the past four years, especially, is that God’s mind (and heart) is intent on preparing His children for the Day of Judgment and Justice. Do we ask ourselves, What am I preparing to face: the Law of Mercy or the Law of Justice?

Have we seen or heard any snapping red flags over the past many years? Are we seeing, yet not seeing? hearing, yet not hearing? What will the coming years bring?

Considering our God-given agency, I suspect there is much that happens that is “not in the mind of God” — i.e., according to His will. Just consider the many lamentations recorded in scripture14? Yet everything is in His ability to heal and redeem, if we will but turn to and trust in Him, repenting and aligning with His will; with His knowledge of powers and possibilities beyond our imagination — beyond our present comprehension.

1. Source: (Bold emphasis added)
See also:
Doctrine and Covenants | Official Declaration 1:11
2 Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet | EZRA TAFT BENSON of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles | February 26, 1980:
 “Fourth: The prophet will never lead the Church astray.”
“President Wilford Woodruff stated: “I say to Israel, The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of the Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God.” (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, selected by G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1946], pp. 212-213.)
“President Marion G. Romney tells of this incident which happened to him:
“I remember years ago when I was a Bishop I had President [Heber J.] Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting I drove him home. . . .Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: “My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.” Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, “But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray.” [In Conference Report, October 1960, p. 78]›
3. ▪ Repeated in October 2010 | Our Very Survival By Elder Kevin R. Duncan Of the Seventy
▪ Consistently Recommended or referred to in numerous manuals and content: (4X) (2X) (2X)
4. Source:
(Archived at
5. Context: Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 22:20-21
   20 And the Lord will surely prepare a way for his people, unto the fulfilling of the words of Moses, which he spake, saying: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that all those who will not hear that prophet shall be cut off from among the people.
   21 And now I, Nephi, declare unto you, that this prophet of whom Moses spake was the Holy One of Israel; wherefore, he shall execute judgment in righteousness.
7. JST Matthew 7:6-9; JST1876-NT, p. 10 (Bold emphasis added.)
   6 And Jesus said unto his disciples, Beholdest thou the Scribes, and the Pharisees, and the Priests, and the Levites? They teach in their synagogues, but do not observe the law, nor the commandments; and all have gone out of the way, and are under sin.
   7 Go thou and say unto them, Why teach ye men the law and the commandments, when ye yourselves are the children of corruption?
   8 Say unto them, Ye hypocrites, first cast out the beam out of thine own yes; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
   9 Go ye into the world, saying unto all, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come nigh unto you.
8. And can we safely assume they meant everyone but us?
Old Testament | Isaiah 9:13–16; Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 19:13-15
   13 ¶ For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts.
   14 Therefore the LORD will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day.
   15 The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.
   16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.
Old Testament | Isaiah 28:7
   7 ¶ But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.
Old Testament | Isaiah 56:10-11
   10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
   11 Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.
Old Testament | Micah 3:5-11
   5 ¶ Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.
   6 Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.
   7 Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God.
   8 ¶ But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.
   9 Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity.
   10 They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.
   11 The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.
Old Testament | Jeremiah 23:2-4
   2 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.
   3 And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
   4 And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.
9. Joseph related the following dream which he had last night [June 26-27, 1844]:
“I was back in Kirtland, Ohio, and thought I would take a walk out by myself, and view my old farm, which I found grown up with weeds and brambles, and altogether bearing evidence of neglect and want of culture. I went into the barn which I found without floor or doors, with the weather boarding off, and was altogether in keeping with the farm. While I viewed the desolation around me, and was contemplating how it might be recovered from the curse upon it, there came rushing into the barn a company of furious men, who commenced to pick a quarrel with me. The leader of the party ordered me to leave the barn and the farm, stating it was none of mine, and that I must give up all hope of ever possessing it. I told him the farm was given me by the Church, and [HC 6:609] although I had not had any use of it for some time back, still I had not sold it, and according to [p. 177] <​June 27​> righteous principles it belonged to me or the Church. He then grew furious, and began to rail upon me and threaten me, and said it never did belong to me nor the Church. I then told him that I did not think it worth contending about; that I had no desire to live upon it in its present state, and if he thought he had a better right I would not quarrel with him about it, but leave; but my assurance that I would not trouble him at present did not seem to satisfy him, as he seemed determined to quarrel with me, and threatened me with the destruction of my body. While he was thus engaged, pouring out his bitter words upon me, a rabble rushed in and nearly filled the barn, drew out their knives, and began to quarrel among themselves for the premises; and for a moment forgot me, at which time I took the opportunity to walk out of the barn about up to my ankles in mud. When I was a little distance from the barn I heard them screeching and screaming in a very distressed manner, as it appeared they had engaged in a general fight with their knives. While they were thus engaged the dream or vision ended”
11. Extracted verses from section 107 for those who are curious:
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 107:77–81; bold emphasis added
   77 And the decision of either of these councils, agreeable to the commandment which says:
   78 Again, verily, I say unto you, the most important business of the church, and the most difficult cases of the church, inasmuch as there is not satisfaction upon the decision of the bishop or judges, it shall be handed over and carried up unto the council of the church, before the Presidency of the High Priesthood.
   79 And the Presidency of the council of the High Priesthood shall have power to call other high priests, even twelve, to assist as counselors; and thus the Presidency of the High Priesthood and its counselors shall have power to decide upon testimony according to the laws of the church.
   80 And after this decision it shall be had in remembrance no more before the Lord; for this is the highest council of the church of God, and a final decision upon controversies in spiritual matters.
   81 There is not any person belonging to the church who is exempt from this council of the church .
13. New Testament | Matthew 21:12-13 (Bold emphasis added.)
   12 ¶ And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
   13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
New Testament | Luke 19:45-47 (Bold emphasis added.)
   45 And he [Jesus] went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;
   46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
   47 And he taught daily in the temple.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Where Are OUR Watchmen for the Children?

Do you know yet about the WPATH Files — a recent exposé of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH)? If you are a parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, teacher, or fall within the definition of human being, you should know about WPATH. Here’s an opportunity:

This Cannot Be Ignored
(Jordan B Peterson Clips | Mar 29, 2024 | Time 20:47 min.) at

Full Episode: The Biggest Medical Scandal Of Our Time | Michael Shellenberger | EP 435
(Jordan B Peterson | Mar 28, 2024 | Time 1:49:52 min,) at

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Are We Ready for More?

▪ What will our attitude be if “new” words are brought forth in a manner as unorthodox as the Book of Mormon was brought forth1?
▪ Will we LDS insist that God act only through our leaders2?
▪ What if God’s end-time servant appears as unexpectedly, inconveniently as Samuel the Lamanite did, decrying wickedness and crying repentance3?
▪ What if an end-time, unconventional,4 righteous servant brings forth sealed records (as in marked with a seal)?
▪ Will we be open to discerning or will we shut off inquiry because of preconceptions?

If we believe in this:
Know ye not that there are more nations than one? ... and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth? ... For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written. For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 29:7, 11-12);5

For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true (Book of Mormon | Alma 29:8);
yes, if we believe more words are to come forth, then this recent “Rood Awakening!” may prove a timely discovery and opportunity to exercise discernment. And IF this proves out, what a remarkable witness calling all nations to consider and reconsider the Book of Mormon.

BREAKING Book of Mormon Evidence! Gold Plates Found in Saudi Arabia!
(The Stick of Joseph | Apr 3, 2024 | Time 1:31:15 min.) at
Archived at
Update Apr 5, 2024: MORE INFORMATION On the Saudi Arabian Gold Books
The Stick of Joseph | Apr 5, 2024 | 49:07 min.) at

(A Rood Awakening! | Mar 29, 2024 | Time 57:19 min.) at
Archived at
1. Pearl of Great Price | JS-History 1
History of the Church, Vol. 1, Chapters 1–5
2. Concerning Bruce R. McConkie’s expectation of how more records promised to come forth will come (which is also the unshakable expectation of many LDS): “records that will come forth in a marvelous manner, at the direction of the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who is a revelator and a translator and who holds the keys of the kingdom of God on earth as pertaining to all men, the Ten Tribes included” (The Millennial Messiah, 217). (Accessible with subscription at
3. Book of Mormon | Helaman 13:1-5
   1 AND now it came to pass in the eighty and sixth year, the Nephites did still remain in wickedness, yea, in great wickedness, while the Lamanites did observe strictly to keep the commandments of God, according to the law of Moses.
   2 And it came to pass that in this year there was one Samuel, a Lamanite, came into the land of Zarahemla, and began to preach unto the people. And it came to pass that he did preach, many days, repentance unto the people, and they did cast him out, and he was about to return to his own land.
   3 But behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, that he should return again, and prophesy unto the people whatsoever things should come into his heart.
   4 And it came to pass that they would not suffer that he should enter into the city; therefore he went and got upon the wall thereof, and stretched forth his hand and cried with a loud voice, and prophesied unto the people whatsoever things the Lord put into his heart.
   5 And he said unto them: Behold, I, Samuel, a Lamanite, do speak the words of the Lord which he doth put into my heart; and behold he hath put it into my heart to say unto this people that the sword of justice hangeth over this people;
4. (and when were any of the Old and New Testament prophets conventional)
5. Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 29:1-14 (Full quote in context)
   1 BUT behold, there shall be many—at that day when I shall proceed to do a marvelous work among them, that I may remember my covenants which I have made unto the children of men, that I may set my hand again the second time to recover my people, which are of the house of Israel;
   2 And also, that I may remember the promises which I have made unto thee, Nephi, and also unto thy father, that I would remember your seed; and that the words of your seed should proceed forth out of my mouth unto your seed; and my words shall hiss forth unto the ends of the earth, for a standard unto my people, which are of the house of Israel;
   3 And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.
   4 But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?
   5 O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people.
   6 Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?
   7 Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?
   8 Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.
   9 And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.
   10 Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.
   11 For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.
   12 For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it.
   13 And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.
   14 And it shall come to pass that my people, which are of the house of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in one. And I will show unto them that fight against my word and against my people, who are of the house of Israel, that I am God, and that I covenanted with Abraham that I would remember his seed forever.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Isaiah’s Lamentations?

If we accept that circa 34 A.D., Jesus commanded His people to
“search the words of Isaiah” because “all things that [Isaiah] spake have been and shall be, even according to the words which he spake,”1
then do we ponder our place in those lamentations? Or are we so immersed in the environs of Babylon, like fish in water, that seeing, we see not how surrounded, compromised, distracted, preoccupied, addicted2 we are? Do we ever ask how Isaiah’s words might apply to us in this very hour? how near his warnings might be to literal fulfilment?

What are we to make of these three lamentations out of many possible?
4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.
5 ¶ Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.
7 Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
8 And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.
9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.
10 ¶ Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah (Old Testament | Isaiah 1:4–10).

8 ¶ The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.
9 And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart,
10 The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.
11 Therefore the LORD shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and join his enemies together;
12 The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; and they shall devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
13 ¶ For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts.
14 Therefore the LORD will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day.
15 The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.
16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.
17 Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
18 ¶ For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke.
19 Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother (Old Testament | Isaiah 9:8-19).

9 ¶ Rise up, ye women that are at ease; hear my voice, ye careless daughters; give ear unto my speech.
10 Many days and years shall ye be troubled, ye careless women: for the vintage shall fail, the gathering shall not come.
11 Tremble, ye women that are at ease; be troubled, ye careless ones: strip you, and make you bare, and gird sackcloth upon your loins.
12 They shall lament for the teats, for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine.
13 Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city:
14 Because the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left; the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks; (Old Testament | Isaiah 32:9-14).
Let us take time to ponder: How much social-consensus and self-centrism is manifest in our thoughts and behaviours? Have we any awareness of how our society has initiated and embraced the return of the old world gods Baal, Moloch, and Ishtar3 — the gods that caused so much prophetic lamentation in the past? How many of us naively participate in or affirm the rites, rituals, fashions, philosophies, and parades of the revived gods? And if we have somehow avoided the lure of Babylon and her resurgent gods, are we content with the praise of our goodness? the preaching of a 180 gospel of love and mercy almost completely ignoring justice and judgment, except for our judgments of the transparently wicked world?

Except, to whom were the majority of Isaiah’s lamentations and warnings directed?

1.  Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 23:1-5 (Bold emphasis added.)
    AND now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.
    For surely he spake as touching all things concerning my people which are of the house of Israel; therefore it must needs be that he must speak also to the Gentiles.
    And all things that he spake have been and shall be, even according to the words which he spake.
    4 Therefore give heed to my words; write the things which I have told you; and according to the time and the will of the Father they shall go forth unto the Gentiles.
    And whosoever will hearken unto my words and repenteth and is baptized, the same shall be saved. Search the prophets, for many there be that testify of these things.
2. New Testament | Acts 17:21
   21 (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.) (Bold emphasis added.)
3. Cahn, Jonathan. The Return of the Gods. Charisma House. Kindle Edition.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Where Are the Lamentations?

This year marks the 62nd anniversary of the 1962 publication: The Prophets by Abraham J. Heschel1 where Heschel profiles the lamentations, pathos, and pleadings of Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah, and Habakkuk. And what were the outcomes (even in the old New World) of these old-world prophetic lamentations? Too often, rejection and responding lamentation
... because the Lord would not always suffer [the people] to take happiness in sin (Book of Mormon | Mormon 2:13)2.
Today, there are street-preachers, pastors, podcasters, watchmen, et al. in the style of the old prophets lamenting the state of our degraded world, followed by  rejection and lamentation from many of their hearers. Just listen to the activists and advocates preaching social / power consensus and self-as-sovereign while stridently decrying transcendent / divine — another déjà vu of lamentation on both sides.3

Yes, we are told to be of good cheer,4 but also to study Isaiah, one of the prolific lamenters of the world; and not just Isaiah, but to “search the prophets,”5 which if we do, exposes us to litanies of lamentation.

Here are some Heschel insights about these lamenters:
The prophet is not only a prophet. He is also poet, preacher, patriot, statesman, social critic, moralist (p. xxii).

The prophet was an individual who said No to his society, condemning its habits and assumptions, its complacency, waywardness, and syncretism. He was often compelled to proclaim the very opposite of what his heart expected. His fundamental objective was to reconcile man and God. Why do the two need reconciliation? Perhaps it is due to man’s false sense of sovereignty, to his abuse of freedom, to his aggressive, sprawling pride, resenting God’s involvement in history (p. xxix).

The things that horrified the prophets are even now daily occurrences all over the world (p. 3).

Indeed, the sort of crimes and even the amount of delinquency that fill the prophets of Israel with dismay do not go beyond that which we regard as normal, as typical ingredients of social dynamics. To us a single act of injustice—cheating in business, exploitation of the poor—is slight; to the prophets, a disaster. To us injustice is injurious to the welfare of the people; to the prophets it is a deathblow to existence: to us, an episode; to them, a catastrophe, a threat to the world (p. 4).

Their breathless impatience with injustice may strike us as hysteria. We ourselves witness continually acts of injustice, manifestations of hypocrisy, falsehood, outrage, misery, but we rarely grow indignant or overly excited. To the prophets even a minor injustice assumes cosmic proportions (p. 4).

The prophet’s words are outbursts of violent emotions. His rebuke is harsh and relentless. But if such deep sensitivity to evil is to be called hysterical, what name should be given to the abysmal indifference to evil which the prophet bewails? They drink wine in bowls, And anoint themselves with the finest oils, But they are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph! The niggardliness of our moral comprehensions, the incapacity to sense the depth of misery caused by our own failures, is a fact which no subterfuge can elude. Our eyes are witness to the callousness and cruelty of man, but our heart tries to obliterate the memories, to calm the nerves, and to silence our conscience (p, 5).

The prophet is a man who feels fiercely. God has thrust a burden upon his soul, and he is bowed and stunned at man’s fierce greed. Frightful is the agony of man; no human voice can convey its full terror. Prophecy is the voice that God has lent to the silent agony, a voice to the plundered poor, to the profaned riches of the world. It is a form of living, a crossing point of God and man. God is raging in the prophet’s words (pp. 5-6).

The mouth of the prophet is “a sharp sword.” He is “a polished arrow” taken out of the quiver of God (Isa. 49:2).
    Tremble, you women who are at ease,
    Shudder, you complacent ones;
    Strip, and make yourselves bare,
    Gird sackcloth upon your loins.
Isaiah 32:11

Reading the words of the prophets is a strain on the emotions, wrenching one’s conscience from the state of suspended animation (p. 8).

Israel’s history comprised a drama of God and all men. God’s kingship and man’s hope were at stake in Jerusalem. God was alone in the world, unknown or discarded. The countries of the world were full of abominations, violence, falsehood. Here was one land, one people, cherished and chosen for the purpose of transforming the world. This people’s failure was most serious. The Beloved of God worshiped the Baalim (Hos. 11:1–2); the vineyard of the Lord yielded wild grapes (Isa. 5:2); Israel, holy to the Lord, “defiled My land, made My heritage an abomination” (Jer. 2:3, 7) (p. 17).

The prophet hates the approximate, he shuns the middle of the road. Man must live on the summit to avoid the abyss. There is nothing to hold to except God. Carried away by the challenge, the demand to straighten out man’s ways, the prophet is strange, one-sided, an unbearable extremist (p. 19).

It is embarrassing to be a prophet. There are so many pretenders, predicting peace and prosperity, offering cheerful words, adding strength to self-reliance, while the prophet predicts disaster, pestilence, agony, and destruction. People need exhortations to courage, endurance, confidence, fighting spirit, but Jeremiah proclaims: You are about to die if you do not have a change of heart and cease being callous to the word of God. He sends shudders over the whole city, at a time when the will to fight is most important (p. 20).

They had to remind the people that chosenness must not be mistaken as divine favoritism or immunity from chastisement, but, on the contrary, that it meant being more seriously exposed to divine judgment and chastisement (p. 39).

How does one reconcile the tenderness of divine love with the vehemence of divine punishment? Clearly it is not a love that is exclusive and that ignores the wickedness of the beloved, forgiving carelessly every fault. Here is a love grown bitter with the waywardness of man. The Lord is in love with Israel, but He also has a passionate love of right and a burning hatred of wrong (p. 61).
So where is our lamentation? the “sighing and crying” of Ezekiel 96? OR the self-centrism and clamour of “Do not challenge my or society's ways and beliefs”? “Do not speak of judgment or punishment, only of love”?

But where is the love in neglecting to assure a wandering, confused soul that God “also has a passionate love of right and a burning hatred of wrong” — that His are the standards that govern; that repentance triggers His mercy and grace?

Where are the latter-day lamentations?
The prophets of Israel proclaim that the enemy may be God’s instrument in history. The God of Israel calls the archenemy of His people “Assyria, the rod of My anger” (Isa. 10:5; cf. 13:5; 5:26; 7:18; 8:7). “Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, My servant” whom I will bring “against this land and its inhabitants” (Jer. 25:9; 27:6; 43:10). Instead of cursing the enemy, the prophets condemn their own nation.

What gave them the strength to “demythologize” precious certainties, to attack what was holy, to hurl blasphemies at priest and king, to stand up against all in the name of God? The prophets must have been shattered by some cataclysmic experience in order to be able to shatter others (Heschel, p. 14).
1. Heschel, Abraham Joshua. The Prophets. (1962) HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
2. Book of Mormon | Mormon 2:13 (full verse)
    13 But behold this my joy was vain, for their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin.
4. New Testament | John 16:33
    33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
5. Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 23:1-5
    1 AND now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.
    2 For surely he spake as touching all things concerning my people which are of the house of Israel; therefore it must needs be that he must speak also to the Gentiles.
    3 And all things that he spake have been and shall be, even according to the words which he spake.
    4 Therefore give heed to my words; write the things which I have told you; and according to the time and the will of the Father they shall go forth unto the Gentiles.
    5 And whosoever will hearken unto my words and repenteth and is baptized, the same shall be saved. Search the prophets, for many there be that testify of these things.
6. Old Testament | Ezekiel 9:4
    4 And the LORD said unto him [v. 3 the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side] Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
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