Wednesday, December 25, 2013

God’s Economy: A Christmas Perspective

(Part One of a series)

Perhaps at this season of gifts and giving, we “religious” folk should take a serious 360° look at our preferred economic system. For disciples of capitalism,1 the writing has been on the wall since Cain. For devotees of planned economies (socialism / communism), the writing on the wall may have preceded Cain.

In any event, both systems have served the god of Master Mahan2 superbly well. If you don’t believe, look at the excesses (including the endless trivial) that glut our temples of commerce on the one hand and the scarcity and tragedies that haunt the environs of 3rd-world factories on the other. And that is just a 360 view of our “treasured” capitalism. The scarcities and tragedies of failed Communism were a little harder to conceal because the mountain of “goods” never materialized to obscure the truth behind the lies.

SO, if you think capitalism deserves all the credit for all the bounties that we “enjoy,” CONSIDER: What are the advancements and enlightenments we have forfeited3 because we have never been faithful, trusting, courageous, or charitable enough4 to live God’s economy—an economy of gifts, giving, and forgiving?

So what are some truths of God’s economy?5
▪ Every good thing is God’s and of God, including every breath we take.6
▪ There is enough and to spare.7
▪ Every soul has at least one specific gift to share with the world,8 plus the universal, though varying, gift of time.
▪ Gifts are not to be denied or ignored.9
▪ Gifts must be used and increased to warrant retaining them, but God gives the increase.10
▪ We are to ask for spiritual gifts we desire.11
▪ We are to petition God for our daily needs.12
▪ Gifts are not always linear as to effort or merit.13
▪ We are stewards of God’s gifts.14
▪ We are to give in wisdom and order: as we are able; as we are inspired.15
▪ We must learn to be equal in earthy things,16 which comes as we live the two great commandments.
▪ Good gifts to others are as gifts to God.17
▪ The principle of gift-giving permeates historical and latter-day commands.18
▪ Anonymous gifts are preferred.19
▪ Gifts can be corrupted and corrupting if not given and received with an eye single to the glory of God.20
▪ The idle (whether rich or poor) are not to take except through fair and consensual compensation, though all may receive gifts voluntarily given.21 The same applies to employers.
▪ Every soul is invited to partake freely of the gifts of God.22
▪ We are to extend the gift of forgiveness.23
▪ We are to continually thank God for our gifts.24
▪ We cannot give enough to get the upper hand with God.25
▪ It is more blessed to give than to receive;26 (thus, it is also blessed to receive).
▪ We are to give cheerfully, not grudgingly.27
▪ In order to have gifts to give, we must labour (i.e., give of our time, energies, talents, increase).28
▪ We are not to judge whether a person deserves a gift or whether they will use it wisely.29
▪ By living God’s economy and laws, we qualify, by virtue of the atonement, to be heirs (giftees) of all things.30
One of the great sermons on God’s economy was given by King Benjamin circa 124 BC.
16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.
22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.
23 I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.
24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give. (Book of Mormon Mosiah 4:16-24)
Is living God’s economy practical in our present world? Perhaps not. Is it rational? Not really. It’s like Jesus and His life and death. It’s transrational. And transrational in this world is to live in faith, hope, charity, and obedience because God has said:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Old Testament Isaiah 55:8-9)
That’s the gist of it. We develop our gifts. We share our gifts. We help others develop and share theirs. We consecrate our all to God and His wisdom and purposes. We give anonymously to overcome the disposition to pride and corruption.

The good news is that not one of us is prevented from living, desiring to live, or beginning to live the economy of God (or elements thereof) even in the midst of Babylon and her carnivals of deception and excess.

In short: if we lived God’s economy of “gifts, giving, and forgiving,” there would be no poor among us, every person would be free to develop and use his/her gifts, and we wouldn’t be stuck in “The [tragic, obscene, pathetic, despicable] World As It Is” described by Chris Hedges and others. We wouldn’t be competing for power, privilege, wealth, popularity, land, or fame. We would be cooperating for that which would maximize the good, the true, and the beautiful.


This post only begins to scratch the surface of God’s economy. In coming weeks, there will be additional posts dealing with:
▪ a (partial) history of giving;
▪ what God requires of us;
▪ ways to begin living God’s economy in the midst of Babylon;
▪ (and perhaps others).
1. And by this, we mean corporate, corrupted capitalism with all its bottom-line, competitive, and corrupt justifications. This is not to say that nothing good has come from capitalism, but it is to say that nothing "achieved" through capitalism could not have been achieved through cooperation and collaboration sooner and further without the awful costs. For more of this writer's thoughts on capitalism and competing economic systems, see: ; .
2. Pearl of Great Price Moses 5:31 ~ And Cain said: Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain. Wherefore Cain was called Master Mahan, and he gloried in his wickedness.
3. As in the myriad gifts buried in migrant fields, slave plantations / camps, sweatshops, shanty towns, ghettos, soulless jobs, bars, casinos, and the like; or the gifts sacrificed in pursuit of power, prestige, privilege, wealth, appearance, popularity, and so forth; or the gifts bought up and “disappeared” in the economics of competition and bottom-line.
4. (Including this writer, along with most of mankind.)
5. (This is but a sampling.)
6. Old Testament Exodus 19:5 ~ ... for all the earth is mine:
Old Testament Deuteronomy 10:14 ~ Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD's thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.
Old Testament 1 Chronicles 29:14 ~ ... for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.
Old Testament Job 12:9-10 ~ Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
Old Testament Ecclesiastes 3:13 ~ And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
Old Testament Ecclesiastes 5:19 ~ Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.
Old Testament Isaiah 42:5 ~ Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
New Testament Acts 17:24-25 ~ God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
New Testament 2 Peter 1:3 ~ According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Book of Mormon Mosiah 2:21 ~ I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
Book of Mormon Moroni 7:16 ~ For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
New Testament Romans 14:8 ~ For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. (See also Old Testament Daniel 5:23; Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 9:26)
7. Doctrine and Covenants Section 104:17-18 ~ For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves. Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.
New Testament Romans 8:32 ~ He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
8. New Testament 1 Corinthians 7:7 ~ For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 46:11-12 ~ For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
9. New Testament 1 Timothy 4:14 ~ Neglect not the gift that is in thee, ...
Book of Mormon Moroni 10:8 ~ And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God. And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them.
Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 29:6 ~ Yea, wo unto him that shall deny the revelations of the Lord, and that shall say the Lord no longer worketh by revelation, or by prophecy, or by gifts, or by tongues, or by healings, or by the power of the Holy Ghost!
10. See the parable of the talents: New Testament Matthew 25:14-30; Book of Mormon Ether 12:25; Doctrine and Covenants 82:18.
New Testament 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 ~ I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
11. Doctrine and Covenants Section 46:8-12 ~ ... seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given; For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts. And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church. For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 27:29 ~ Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh, receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened.
12. New Testament Matthew 6:9-11 ~ After this manner therefore pray ye: ... Give us this day our daily bread.
Book of Mormon Alma 7:23 ~ And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.
13. New Testament Matthew 5:44-45 ~ 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.
Old Testament Deuteronomy 6:10-11 ~ And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;
Old Testament Joshua 24:13 ~ And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.
Old Testament Psalms 105:44 ~ And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;
Book of Mormon Mosiah 2:20-21 ~ I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another— I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
Book of Mormon Mosiah 4:11 ~ And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.
New Testament John 4:36-38 ~ And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.
Also consider Manna, Quail, working poor, idle rich, family ties, etc.
14. New Testament Romans 14:12 ~ So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 42:32 ~ ... every man shall be made accountable unto me, a steward over his own property, or that which he has received by consecration, as much as is sufficient for himself and family.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 51:19 ~ And whoso is found a faithful, a just, and a wise steward shall enter into the joy of his Lord, and shall inherit eternal life.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 104:12-13 ~ That every man may give an account unto me of the stewardship which is appointed unto him. For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures.
15. Old Testament Deuteronomy 16:17 ~ Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.
Book of Mormon Mosiah 4:26-27 ~ And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants. And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.
New Testament Romans 12:8 ~ ... he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity;
16. Doctrine and Covenants Section 78:5-7 ~ That you may be equal in the bonds of heavenly things, yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things. For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things; For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 82:17-19: And you are to be equal, or in other words, you are to have equal claims on the properties, for the benefit of managing the concerns of your stewardships, every man according to his wants and his needs, inasmuch as his wants are just— And all this for the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold, to be cast into the Lord's storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church— Every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.
Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 26:19-20 ~ And they taught, and did minister one to another; and they had all things common among them, every man dealing justly, one with another. And it came to pass that they did do all things even as Jesus had commanded them.
Book of Mormon 4 Nephi 1:3 ~ And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.
New Testament Matthew 22:35-40 ~ Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
17. New Testament Matthew 25:34-45 ~ ... Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 42:38 ~ For inasmuch as ye do it unto the least of these, ye do it unto me.
18. Might it be possible that a prime purpose of all those centuries of burnt, wave, heave, peace and other offerings and tithes were to keep people in the spirit of giving? And what about the year of release (i.e. debt forgiveness) as in Old Testament Deuteronomy 15:7-11 ~ If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.
Remember the rich, young man at New Testament Matthew 19:16-24. See also Doctrine and Covenants 42, 49:20; 51; 82 respecting the Law of Consecration
19. New Testament Matthew 6:3-4 ~ But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
20. Book of Mormon Moroni 10:30 ~ I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.
Book of Mormon Moroni 7:6 ~ For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.
Old Testament Isaiah 1:23 ~ Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.
Old Testament Exodus 23:8 ~ And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.
Old Testament Deuteronomy 16:19 ~ Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.
Old Testament Proverbs 17:23 ~ A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.
New Testament James 4:3 ~ Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
21. Doctrine and Covenants Section 42:42 ~ Thou shalt not be idle [as in idle rich or idle poor]; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 42:54 ~ Thou shalt not take thy brother's garment; thou shalt pay for that which thou shalt receive of thy brother.
Old Testament Proverbs 21:25-26 ~ The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour. He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.
Book of Mormon Mosiah 18:24 ~ And he also commanded them that the priests whom he had ordained should labor with their own hands for their support.
New Testament Acts 20:35 ~ I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
To employers:
Old Testament Deuteronomy 24:14-15 ~ Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee.
Old Testament Malachi 3:5 ~ And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against ... those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
New Testament Luke 10:7 ~ ...for the labourer is worthy of his hire.
New Testament 2 Thessalonians 3:8-11 ~ Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
New Testament James 5:4 ~ Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 70:12 ~ He who is appointed to administer spiritual things, the same is worthy of his hire, even as those who are appointed to a stewardship to administer in temporal things;
Doctrine and Covenants Section 56:16-17 ~ Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation, and of judgment, and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved! Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men's goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands!
22. Old Testament Isaiah 55:1-2 ~ HO, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
New Testament Revelation 22:17 ~ And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 9:50 ~ Come, my brethren, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 88:33 ~ For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.
New Testament Matthew 10:8 ~ ... freely ye have received, freely give.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 38:16 ~ And for your salvation I give unto you a commandment, for I have heard your prayers, and the poor have complained before me, and the rich have I made, and all flesh is mine, and I am no respecter of persons.
23. Doctrine and Covenants Section 64:8-10 ~ My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another and forgave not one another in their hearts; and for this evil they were afflicted and sorely chastened. Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men. (See also footnote 18 about the year of release and debt forgiveness.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 98:38-40 ~ Behold, this is an ensample unto all people, saith the Lord your God, for justification before me. And again, verily I say unto you, if after thine enemy has come upon thee the first time, he repent and come unto thee praying thy forgiveness, thou shalt forgive him, and shalt hold it no more as a testimony against thine enemy—And so on unto the second and third time; and as oft as thine enemy repenteth of the trespass wherewith he has trespassed against thee, thou shalt forgive him, until seventy times seven.
Old Testament Deuteronomy 15:1-2 ~ AT the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release. And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the LORD's release. (See also verses 7-11 at footnote 18.)
24. New Testament Ephesians 5:20 ~ Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
New Testament 2 Corinthians 9:15 ~ Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
Old Testament 1 Chronicles 16:34 ~ O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
Old Testament Psalms 30:12 ~ To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.
New Testament 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~ In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Book of Mormon Mosiah 18:23 ~ ... every day they should give thanks to the Lord their God.
Book of Mormon Mosiah 26:39 ~ ... being commanded of God to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all things.
25. Book of Mormon Mosiah 2:21 ~ I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
New Testament Luke 6:38 ~ Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
26. New Testament Acts 20:35 ~ I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
27. New Testament 2 Corinthians 9:7 ~ Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
Book of Mormon Moroni 7:8 ~ For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 70:14 ~ Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld.
28. New Testament Acts 20:35 ~ I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Book of Mormon Mosiah 18:24 ~ And he also commanded them that the priests whom he had ordained should labor with their own hands for their support.
New Testament Ephesians 4:28 ~ Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
29. Book of Mormon Mosiah 4:17-18 ~ Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just— But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
Footnote # 21 concerning idlers seems to be a personal directive to idlers and not a mandate for others to judge merit. Idlers are accountable to God and will be judged righteously by Him.
30. New Testament Matthew 25:34 ~ Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Old Testament Proverbs 8:21 ~ That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.
Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 9:18 ~ But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.
Book of Mormon Mosiah 27:25-26 ~ And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
Book of Mormon Ether 12:34 ~ And now I know that this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 51:19 ~ And whoso is found a faithful, a just, and a wise steward shall enter into the joy of his Lord, and shall inherit eternal life.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 78:17-19 ~ Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you; And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours. And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Tempest in a Top Hat?

In recent years, the alleged manner in which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon has come in for increasing incredulity and mockery.1 Some, who have been led to expect a “dignified” process, as exemplified in LDS art work, have not been able to weather the disenchantment. For others, it has become another embarrassing, latter-day revelation.

But let’s look at embarrassing.2

Once again (if we don’t close our eyes), we see:
Isaiah ~ going naked and barefoot as a sign (Old Testament Isaiah 20:2-3);
Ezekiel ~ laying about for months on his left side and then his right as a sign; and digging and dragging possessions through walls (Old Testament Ezekiel 4:1-8; 12:1-7);
Hosea ~ taking a wife of whoredoms (Hosea 1)
And how about:
▪ Adam, Eve, and that talking snake?
▪ stuttering, “wild” Enoch?3
▪ insecure, stuttering Moses?4
▪ continually rebellious, wayward children?5
▪ chosen, anointed kings proving not so exemplary: Saul (descending into madness); David (falling from grace); Solomon (captured by excess)?
▪ rough-clad, locust-eating John the Baptist?6
▪ betrothed, unmarried, pregnant Mary?
▪ homeless7 Jesus, Son of the Most High, hailing from that lowly place, as in “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?”?8
▪ impetuous, common Simon Peter?
▪ beggarly Lazarus rewarded with Heaven!?9
▪ all those references to angels, miracles, visions, gifts, resurrection, repentance, sin, casting out devils, etc., etc.?
▪ treasure-seeking, poverty-stricken, juvenile Joseph Smith, Jun., being given a rich, spiritual treasure (by an angel) that he had to return?10
▪ the financial distresses and failings of the Church in Kirtland?11
▪ all that Biblical12 and latter-day polygamy?
▪ all those raw, “weak and simple” young LDS missionaries?13
▪ etc., etc. (Add your own examples!)
All in all, doesn’t Joseph Smith and his hat seem but déjà vu!

So, why all this embarrassing stuff? To break our hearts? Our minds? Our spirits? From what?

OH, and one more thing.

If you had an iStone (a minuscule version of some future technology) that:
▪ could see beyond space and time;
▪ could reveal highly classified information;
▪ was not intended for “unclassified,” untutored eyes;
▪ worked best with contrast and concentrated focus;
▪ was often used during daylight in rooms where others were coming and going; and
▪ sometimes seemed to work like a miniature projector,
what would YOU do?—if you had a handy top hat!

1. Just google <“Joseph Smith” hat> to receive an abundance of “information.” To save time, here are a few quotes and references:
[David Whitmer:] “Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man.” (David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, Richmond, Mo.: n.p., 1887, p. 12.) from
Highly recommended, well-researched article: ; For other references to the method of translation by Martin Harris, Emma Smith, etc., see (“Translating the Plates”).
2. Embarrassing is often in the eye of the beholder, so recognize that if some of the following are not embarrassing to you, they are (or have been) to others—mostly because these things (supposedly) offend the dignity of God and/or the common-sense of man. In other words, what king or CEO, in our world, would choose the weak and simple, meek and lowly, awkward and "irrational" to be his emissaries before the world, not to mention before noble and great "competitors"?
3. Pearl of Great Price Moses 6:31, 38 ~ “And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant? ... And they came forth to hear him, upon the high places, saying unto the tent–keepers: Tarry ye here and keep the tents, while we go yonder to behold the seer, for he prophesieth, and there is a strange thing in the land; a wild man hath come among us.”
4. Old Testament Exodus 3:11 ~ “And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” / Exodus 4:1 ~ “AND Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.” / Exodus 4:10 ~ “And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.”
5. Substantial portions of scripture in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon seem focused on the sins and wanderings of God’s chosen people. What parent would be so forthcoming in publishing to the world, how their offspring were so continually deficient in filial love, duty, and witness?
6. New Testament Matthew 3:4 ~ “And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.”
7. New Testament Luke 9:58 ~ “And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”
8. New Testament John 1:46 ~ “And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.”
9. New Testament Luke 16:19-26 ~ “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”
10. Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith History and Frontispiece of the Book of Mormon.
11. ; "There are many causes of embarrassment, of a pecuniary nature, now pressing upon the heads of the Church.” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 113.)
12. It is somewhat amazing the number of Christians who are not aware of the polygamy of Abraham, Jacob, King David, King Solomon, etc., etc., etc..
13. Doctrine and Covenants Section 1:23 ~ “That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.”
Doctrine and Covenants Section 35:13 ~ Wherefore, I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thrash the nations by the power of my Spirit;

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

God* is NOT Rational !!

WHY do so many Christians (and others) keep insisting that God is (or should be) rational? Why not concede, once and for all time, this déjà vu complaint that MAN has levied against God down through the millennia? Why not admit that God has never condescended enough to be the rational God we crave?

We put God in the Dock, as C.S. Lewis says, or, more recently, in with Dawkins & co. and He, God, doesn’t fare so well. Why? Is it because we think that what we
▪ experience with our five senses;
▪ “see” with our modern instruments;
▪ presume with our mathematical formulas;
▪ assume with thought experiments;
▪ think with our limited experience;
▪ would do as a loving parent;
▪ would do if we were God
is the measure of all things?

Even many of the early church fathers1—supposedly believers in things beyond—couldn’t handle God’s “irrational” ways. Many of these “believers” mingled everything they could with Greek rational philosophy to make it intellectually palatable. Even revered Thomas Jefferson couldn’t stomach the miraculous God of scripture.2

Enamored by the Greeks (great thinkers and seekers though they were), we seem to have become so entranced by the siren song of rational philosophy that we, like sheep, have gone astray, down the MEandering, yellow-brick road of rationalism.

SO, how many times must we read:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts (Old Testament Isaiah 55:8-9),
before we actually get it? How many “irrational” stories and miracles from scripture and other witnesses do we have to hear before we grasp the message? God is NOT rational. He doesn’t claim to be rational. He tells us in a thousand different stories that He is ABOVE rational. He may reason with man at times,3 but He IS and will forever be TRANSrational this mortal realm and mortal man.

Without that understanding, nigh every rationally-obsessed, seeking soul is going to have a crisis of belief about things and powers beyond. Why does this surprise us? Why are we shocked that an increasing number of once-believing Christians, including Mormons (et al.), are losing faith:
▪ as access to “knowledge” and “reasonable” speculation increases?
▪ as scholars and historians discover new incongruities and inexplicables?
▪ as the “wise and learned” argue the bi-polar of rational vs. irrational because for them TRANSrational is not an option?
▪ as we bow to the philosophic idol of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream? (Old Testament Daniel 2:31-45)
Haven’t we read how “a stone was cut out without hands[!!] which smote the image,” breaking it to pieces and pulverizing the entire, towering idol till it was “like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors, and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them.” (Old Testament Daniel 2:34-5)

SO, let us ponder! How rational is it, in this world, for God:
▫ to ask us to believe the story of Noah and the ark? (Old Testament Genesis 6-8)

▫ to ask Abraham (and his male household, including servants) to submit to circumcision as a sign of an everlasting covenant? (Old Testament Genesis 17:10-13)

▫ to ask Abraham to sacrifice his covenant son as a burnt offering? (Old Testament Genesis 22:2)

to promise that “the children of Israel shall go on dry [??!!] ground through the midst of the Sea” (Old Testament Exodus 14:16); and then to claim to actually deliver dry land in the midst of the divided waters “a wall unto them on their right hand and on their left”? (Exodus 14:29)

▫ to expect people to release all debts every 7 years? (Old Testament Deuteronomy 15:1-2, 9-10)

▫ to expect us to believe that “the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, ...”? (Old Testament Joshua 10:13-14)

▫ to ask Gideon to pare down his army of 32,000 to 300 before engaging their powerful Midianite overlords in battle? (Old Testament Judges 7:2)

▫ to put perfect Job through the wringer of contraries and confusion? (Old Testament Job 7, 10, 23, etc.)

▫ to give bizarre commandments to prophets? like those given to
Isaiah ~ to go naked and barefoot as a sign (Old Testament Isaiah 20:2-3);
Ezekiel ~ to lay about for months on his left side and then his right as a sign; and to dig through walls (Old Testament Ezekiel 4:1-8; 12:1-7);
Hosea ~ to take a wife of whoredoms (Hosea 1).
▫ to expect mortals to believe that three other mortals could walk in the midst of a “burning fiery furnace”; and that “the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them”? (Old Testament Daniel 3:23-27)

▫ to counsel followers: “That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away”? (New Testament Matthew 5:39-42)

▫ to further counsel: “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”? (New Testament Matthew 5:44)

▫ to expect mortals to keep their good works under wraps as in “when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret”? (New Testament Matthew 6:3-4)

▫ to expect responsible people to “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on”? (New Testament Matthew 6:25; see also Doctrine and Covenants 84:41)

▫ to say: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me”? (New Testament Matthew 10:37)

▫ to affirm the story of Jonah being three days and three nights in the whale’s belly? (New Testament Matt. 12:39-40; Luke 11:29-30)

▫ to feed 5000 and then 4000 with next to nothing and to claim to have more left over than they started with? (New Testament Matthew 14:15-21; 15:32-38)

▫ to say: “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you”? (New Testament Matthew 17:20)

▫ to counsel a rich young man that “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me”? (Matthew 19:21) “ME” being one who had recently said: “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” (New Testament Matthew 8:20)

▫ to say: “...he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted”? (New Testament Matthew 23:11-12; Luke 22: 26-27)

▫ to command his Twelve missionary apostles to “Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip, [nor bread] for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat”?( New Testament Matthew 10:9-10; see also Mark 6:8-9; Luke 22:35; Doctrine and Covenants 24:18; 84:78)

▫ to tell truth seekers that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (New Testament Hebrews 11:1); “wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith”? (Book of Mormon Ether 12:6, bold emphasis added.)

▫ to ask that we mortals “lay aside the [attractive, desirable, visible] things of this world, and seek for the things of a better [unseen world!]”? (Doctrine and Covenants 25:10)

▫ to have an angel take the Gold Plates (source-records for the Book of Mormon) back from Joseph Smith, leaving him without tangible proof of his story? (Frontispiece: Book of Mormon “Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” p. 3: final paragraph, last sentence.)
and most incomprehensible of all:
▫ to stand by and sanction the torture and death of a Beloved Son? (New Testament Matthew 27:46; 3 Nephi 11:11)

▫ to WILL that this beloved, perfect Son be crucified for the sins of others? (New Testament Luke 22:42; John 4:34; Book of Mormon Mosiah 15:7; 3 Nephi 11:11)
None of these examples (and hundreds more) fit within our rational, mortal, natural-man4 disposition.

Philip Yancey wrote The Jesus I Never Knew to explain, in part, his discovery of a Jesus that his Church had never taught. Perhaps another book could be written titled, The (Transrational) God We Rationalized.

So why is God TRANSrational? Because:5
▪ He knows stuff we don’t?
... all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. (Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 2:24)
▪ He knows this union of spirit and flesh has infinite purpose?6
... [H]e [chastened us] for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. (New Testament Hebrews 12:10)
▪ He understands that without disturbing / discomforting reminders, we might think THIS earth and life is the best OR all there is?
Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 58:3)
▪ He knew that His supernal gift of agency7 was going to bring out the best AND the worst in souls being tested for eternity; BUT that somehow (comprehensible to Him), justice and mercy (through the atonement of His Son) would work out all the messy, cruel, despicable, wretched, abominable choices too many of us make while in pursuit of “our way” and The Three Temptations?
See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; ... blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: ... (Old Testament Deuteronomy 30:15, 19-20);
And now remember, remember, ... that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free. He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you. (Book of Mormon Helaman 14:30-31)

He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD's, and he hath set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. (Old Testament 1 Samuel 2:8-9)

“ ... the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (New Testament Revelation 7:17)

... the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul. And the redemption of the soul is through him that quickeneth all things, in whose bosom it is decreed that the poor and the meek of the earth shall inherit it. Therefore, it must needs be sanctified from all unrighteousness, that it may be prepared for the celestial glory; For after it hath filled the measure of its creation, it shall be crowned with glory, even with the presence of God the Father; (Doctrine and Covenants Section 88:16-19)
From His higher place, He makes perfect sense to Himself and His purposes, even if not to us. (In déjà vu of mortal parents and teenagers?!)

In listening to painful stories of wandering and wondering souls, it seems the main reasons we lose faith are because:
1. We have wrapped our celestial God in rational robes and suffer confusion and despair when He doesn’t play to the “reasonable” script we have assigned Him;

2. He doesn’t behave like the loving parent of our expectation or preference.

3. We don’t like being peculiar, confused, mocked, persecuted, in pain, or seeing others in pain. We don’t like the submission and sacrifices He seems to expect. We don’t like our hearts broken.8 We don’t like or comprehend what He allows. We can’t fathom how any of this can be made right.

4. Maybe most of all, we don’t comprehend faith (or perhaps don’t want to), being: “the substance [assurance—JST] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”9 But, as I have asked elsewhere: HOW is God going to test/prove/try us? by NOT offending our sense of logic and reason? by always confirming our faith-based, telestial/terrestrial perceptions and biases? by offering up physical evidence? by preventing contradictory, confusing evidence? by making it easy to believe? by flooding us with “rational” signs? by preventing every bad choice or consequence? ... What better way to push us toward “the evidence of things not seen” than to hopelessly confound the “evidence of things seen?”
Whatever our individual reasons, wouldn’t life be more understandable, endurable, AND (sometimes) enjoyable if we just got over insisting that God be “our kind of” rational? It might help if we:
Let God be omniscient.

Let Him be a God of miracles and inexplicables.10

Understood that if we can’t get beyond rational, we won’t get beyond telestial / terrestrial.11

Sought to look beyond sight and to hear beyond hearing, as in:
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon [us], the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make [us] of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and [we] shall not judge after the sight of [our] eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of [our] ears: (Old Testament Isaiah 11:2-3)
Remembered the ancient ones:
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. (New Testament Hebrews 11:13-16, bold emphasis added.)
So, whether we like it or not, God is NOT rational. And despite Dawkins & co., He is NOT an irrational figment. He is our loving, kind, merciful, just, gracious, powerful, unchanging, TRANSrational Father—however it may appear to rational, mortal minds. The choice is ever before us as in ages past:

Rational / Natural-Man legacy?12
(i.e., that ancient philosophic idol headed up by Babylon of old)
(through faith, repentance, obedience, & Christ)
Wherefore thou art no more a servant,
but a son [/daughter];
and if a son [/daughter],
then an heir of God through Christ.
(New Testament Galatians 4:7)

* Or more accurately, “the Gods,” as Pearl of Great Price Abraham 4 & 5 reveal.
1. Read Hugh Nibley’s, The World and the Prophets concerning the Christian church of the early 1st to 4th century and beyond, or listen to his radio lecture series, Time Vindicates the Prophets (some are on YouTube).
2. . [ This following paragraph added November 17, 2014: However, I have come across an alternative interpretation of the "cut up" New Testament. Perhaps Jefferson was not clipping out (or discarding?) the miracles, but was collating the precise, spoken words of Jesus in a small book to carry with him for quick and easy reference. Perhaps this is the better explanation considering the Lord’s words in Doctrine and Covenants | Section 101:80 ~ “And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.” BUT again, other correspondence of Jefferson’s (as noted in the wiki reference) may support the conclusion of his preference to do without the miracles. Whatever the motive, we can remember that God can inspire good, imperfect, free-thinking men and women to accomplish His grand purposes.]
3. Doctrine and Covenants Section 50:10-12 ~ “And now come, saith the Lord, by the Spirit, unto the elders of his church, and let us reason together, that ye may understand; Let us reason even as a man reasoneth one with another face to face. Now, when a man reasoneth he is understood of man, because he reasoneth as a man; even so will I, the Lord, reason with you that you may understand.” (See also Isaiah 1:18)
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.” For one example of a “natural man” read about Korihor in Book of Mormon Alma 30:12-18, bold emphasis added.)
5. These are some additional supporting scriptures for this next section: New Testament 1 John 3:20 ~ “... God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things”; Book of Mormon Alma 32:6 ~ ... “he beheld that their afflictions had truly humbled them, and that they were in a preparation to hear the word” (see also 32:13); Pearl of Great Price Moses 1:39 ~ “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”
6. Doctrine and Covenants Section 93:33-34 ~ “For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy; And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.”
7. Scriptural references to agency: Doctrine and Covenants Section 29:36 ~ “And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil—for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency”; Doctrine and Covenants Section 93:31 ~ “Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light”; Doctrine and Covenants Section 101:78 ~ “That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment”; Pearl of Great Price Moses 4:3 ~ “Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down”; Pearl of Great Price Moses 7:32 ~ “The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;”
8. Doctrine and Covenants Section 59:8 ~ “Thou shalt offer a sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in righteousness, even that of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” (See also Old Testament Psalms 38:4)
9. See also Book of Mormon Alma 32:21 ~ “... if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.”
10. New Testament 1 Corinthians 2:9- 14 ~ “... 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”; Old Testament Isaiah 28:21 ~ “For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act.”
11. New Testament 1 Corinthians 15:40-42 ~ “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead”; Doctrine and Covenants Section 76:71, 78, 81 ~ “And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial, whose glory differs from that of the church of the Firstborn who have received the fulness of the Father, even as that of the moon differs from the sun in the firmament. ... Wherefore, they are bodies terrestrial, and not bodies celestial, and differ in glory as the moon differs from the sun.” ... And again, we saw the glory of the telestial, which glory is that of the lesser, even as the glory of the stars differs from that of the glory of the moon in the firmament.” For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory”; Doctrine and Covenants Section 88:22-24 ~ “And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory. And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.”
12. Rational heritage includes the natural man of Mosiah 3:19 (see footnote 4); and if we think rational heritage arrived with the Greeks, we’ll probably be surprised when all things are revealed. Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 30:16-18 ~ “... the things of all nations shall be made known; yea, all things shall be made known unto the children of men. There is nothing which is secret save it shall be revealed; there is no work of darkness save it shall be made manifest in the light; and there is nothing which is sealed upon the earth save it shall be loosed. Wherefore, all things which have been revealed unto the children of men shall at that day be revealed.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Déjà Vu (Chiastic Clue?)

GOD: 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. Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods. (Old Testament Deuteronomy 31:16-18)

MOSES: 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 31:29)

JOSEPH SMITH: I am not at all astonished at what has happened to you, neither to what has happened to Zion, and I could tell all the whys and wherefores of all these calamities. But alas, it is in vain to warn and give precepts, for all men are naturally disposed to walk in their own paths as they are pointed out by their own fingers, and are not willing to consider and walk in the path which is pointed out by another, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, although he should be an unerring director, and the Lord his God sent him. (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 26.)
If we can discern literary chiasms, could we not profit from studying time and space ones, too? What might the comparisons tell us about ourselves?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Great & Abominable Church* [Corporation]?

(Questions for consideration)
* Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 14:10-11 ~ And [the angel] said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. (Bold emphasis added.)
Let’s see:

John the Revelator wrote:
1. ... the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: ... The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. (New Testament Revelation 17:1, 15)
As in multinationals? Transnationals?
2. ... the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. (New Testament Revelation 17:8)
As in the faux-personhood / legal fiction of the corporate form
which constitutes the (less-than-firm) foundation
of the great whore?

Nephi1 wrote:
1. I saw among the nations of the Gentiles the formation of a great church. ... I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it. (Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 13:4, 6)
As in the rise of the first and subsequent multinationals
beginning in Millennium One A.D. as people (as usual)
became more persuaded by profits than prophets?
Persuaded that “you can buy anything in this world for money”?
2. ... I also saw gold, and silver, and silks, and scarlets, and fine-twined linen, and all manner of precious clothing; and I saw many harlots. And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the gold, and the silver, and the silks, and the scarlets, and the fine-twined linen, and the precious clothing, and the harlots, are the desires of this great and abominable church. (Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 13:7-8)
As in mega-banks, -malls, -mansions, -palaces,
-wars, -conquests, -churches, -blockbusters, plus
grand galas, grand entrances, broadways, and on and on?
Mostly financed through debt?
Manifestations of the Three Temptations?
3. [that the Great and Abominable Church is plural]: ... thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, THEY have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have THEY taken away. And all this have THEY done that THEY might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that THEY might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men. (Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 13:26-27, bold/capital emphasis added.)
As in the many multinationals;
the many friends and investors of the many multinationals;
all who buy and sell from them;
who willingly do their bidding; or
get distracted by
their gold, silver, precious clothes, and harlots?
4. ... that great and abominable church, which was founded by the devil and his children, that he might lead away the souls of men down to hell— (Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 14:3)
As in the many attractions and distractions of The Three Temptations
offered by “the great persecutor of the church [of the Lamb of God],
the apostate, the whore, even Babylon,
that maketh all nations to drink of her cup [of mammon?],
in whose hearts the enemy,even Satan, sitteth to reign”?
(Doctrine and Covenants Section 86:3)
5. ... Behold the formation of a church which is most abominable above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God, yea, and tortureth them and bindeth them down, and yoketh them with a yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity. ... And also for the praise of the world do they destroy the saints of God, and bring them down into captivity. (Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 13:5, 9)
As in corporate-based/supported businesses, banks, governments,
churches, universities, etc,. with their criticisms, courts,
contracts, gifts, mortgages, lines of credit, etc., etc.
that bind, yoke, captivate, destroy, etc.?
6. ... behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away. ... [Wherefore] an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them. (Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 13:26, 29)
Via subtraction, substitution, deletion, denial,
revision, interpretation, opinion, not to mention,
persuasions, promises, profits, distractions, etc.?
7. And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men. (Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 13:27; also 1 Nephi 22:14)
Via propaganda, conspiracy, collusion, oppression,
inequality, secrecy,  pride, excess, self-glory, dogma,
denial of God and the gifts of God, and on and on?
all of which are contra a Zion society?
8. And the blood of that great and abominable church, which is the whore of all the earth, shall turn upon their own heads; for they shall war among themselves, and the sword of their own hands shall fall upon their own heads, and they shall be drunken with their own blood. (Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 22:13)
As in corporate raiding, rumor-mongering, cut-throat competition, etc.?
while perpetually intoxicated with the life blood of the corporate world
being money, or more accurately, debt?

□ Does anything enslave more persons (including faux-persons) than credit and debt administered by corporate banks and affiliates?
□ Who sells to AND buys up armies and navies, politicians and pundits, researchers and writers, publishers and performers, churches and colleges, actors and activists, lawyers and lobbyists, and on and on?
□ Who profits most from blood, horror, war, and disease?
□ Who manipulates global markets, strategies, and governments?
□ Who profits from perpetuating the myths of free markets, “invisible hand,” faux-personhood, meritocracy, trickle-down, and on and on?
□ What are the fundamental rights denied in many employment contracts with corporations?
□ What is the great focus AND distraction for too many saints? (Money? Making money?)

What “THEY” has a finger on the pulse of nigh everything in this world, as in food, clothing, housing, transportation, employment, health, entertainment, religion, education, business, science, politics, churches, governments, markets, and on and on? A type of un-embodied form in attempted imitation of the resurrected Christ? of whom it was said:
The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters. (Old Testament Psalms 29:3)
The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. (Old Testament Psalms 93:4)
For behold, he shall stand upon the mount of Olivet, and upon the mighty ocean, even the great deep, and upon the islands of the sea, and upon the land of Zion. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 133:20)
Has the corporate form become a rapacious beast out of (human) control—upon the many waters?

Is this not just a recycling déjà vu?!

For a more expanded perspective on corporations and corporatism by SMS, see the posts at:

Friday, November 1, 2013

Rule of Law: Ten to One

In the days of Moses, God gave the world Ten Commandments* consisting of 8½ negatives and 1½ positives. Many of the Twelve Tribes of Israel seemed in dire need of these “Thou shalt nots ...” which should perhaps be a déjà vu, “state of affairs” caution for our 21st Century, seeing as how most of our news and entertainment thrives on the breaking of these Commandments.

Then, some millennia after Moses received the Ten Commandments, a Pharisee put a question to Jesus:
... one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (New Testament Matthew 22:35-40)
And so, from ten mostly negatives, the law was condensed into two positives: love God and love thy neighbour as thyself.1 We can see, with minimal study, how these two commands transcend, yet clearly include the prior Ten.

Then in 1835 (published 1842), Joseph Smith translated2 some writings purporting to be those of Abraham where God’s will for mankind was expressed in a single, positive form:
And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them. (Pearl of Great Price Abraham 3:25,** bold emphasis added.)
This overarching (transcending/including) law and purpose was further elaborated by Joseph Smith in section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants. And though the framework of God’s instruction (apparently3) arose out of Joseph’s question about the Biblical plurality of wives, a broader meaning of “the new and everlasting covenant” is surely warranted in light of:
I am the Lord thy God; and I give unto you this commandment—that no man shall come unto the Father but by me or by my word, which is my law, saith the Lord. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 132:12, bold emphasis added.)

... [Abraham] abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 132:37.) 4
Is this not the way of progression? From Ten to Two to One? When we have matured enough spiritually to go from perfection in the micro-details of the “Thou shalt nots ...,” then we advance into the positive guides of loving God and loving our neighbours as ourselves.

Then line upon line, precept upon precept, we are prepared for the test and trauma of the One—the new and everlasting covenant to “do all things whatsoever the Lord [our] God shall command [us].”5

It will be new and different for every soul. It will try us to the nth degree, and may appear to offend the Ten and even perhaps the Two.6 Only those who know God by years of obeying the Ten and living the Two, who cannot mistake His glory or His command7 will be tried to that nth degree. Just ask Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Nephi, Joseph Smith, et al.8 Is that why we are warned against judging unrighteously? Who can know for sure if those who have lived the Ten and the Two have not been required to prove utterly obedient, against sense and reason, to the One? Divine perspective and endowment are beyond mortal capacity to fathom.9 They can only be revealed and gifted to those prepared; and may be utterly incomprehensible to those of us still struggling with Ten and Two.

If we shrink from the One, how can we possibly imagine that our new and everlasting covenant will ever be offered? Doesn’t Doctrine and Covenants 88:21-24 put us on notice.10


** Note added 24 September 2014: For those who have encountered the theory that Abraham 3:25 describes the plan of the adversary (commands, punishment, laws, measuring, testing, etc.), I refer you to my post of that date at

*See Exodus 20, Deut. 5, etc.; though these Ten could have been given previously and restored through Moses. A cursory reading of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy reveals an endless supply of “Thou shalt nots ... .”

1. The Two were also taught my Moses but it seems many people were in a state where they needed the “don’ts” spelled out. We find Moses’ statement of the TWO as follows: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (Old Testament Deuteronomy 6:5; see also 11:1); ... but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: ... (Old Testament Leviticus 19:18).
2. This writer acknowledges that there is some considerable controversy about this translation, but the question is: Do we really know enough to judge between scholarly analysis and claimed revelation? How often is the test of faith resolved by a scholarly analysis? Is Joseph's translation/interpretation based on revelation of older, uncorrupted texts and facsimiles—like his inspired translation of the Bible? How probable is it, over thousands of years of Egyptian history, that texts and facsimiles were copied, changed, varied etc. for a myriad reasons, perhaps polemic, as was done with the Bible? Has not God given us enough seeming contradictions, contraries, and inexplicables to make us proceed with profound caution?
3. Admittedly, the provenance of D&C 132 is not known for certain. It was several years after Joseph’s death that it “came to light,” engendering some continuing controversy as to its full authenticity.
4. See also: Doctrine and Covenants Section 132:5-6: For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world. And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God. // Doctrine and Covenants Section 130:20-21: There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated— And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.
5. Even as Christ: Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. (New Testament John 4:34)
6. Doctrine and Covenants Section 132:36: Abraham was commanded to offer his son Isaac; nevertheless, it was written: Thou shalt not kill. Abraham, however, did not refuse, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness. //  Doctrine and Covenants Section 132:59: Verily, if a man be called of my Father, as was Aaron, by mine own voice, and by the voice of him that sent me, and I have endowed him with the keys of the power of this priesthood, if he do anything in my name, and according to my law and by my word, he will not commit sin, and I will justify him.
7. Pearl of Great Price Moses 1:13-22
8. Doubtless, countless women, like Eve, Naamah, Sarah, Esther, Mary, Emma Smith (D&C 132:51), et al. could witness of the One, but for some reason their stories were seldom recorded. I believe we shall have them in time.
9. Doctrine and Covenants Section 76:1-2: 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.
10. And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom. For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory. And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory. And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 88:21-24)

Monday, October 28, 2013


Here is a dream worth remembering as we contemplate (or sometimes painfully experience) the recurring push for uniformity and conformity to generally accepted traditions/theories (GATTs). GATTs run the gamut through science, religion, culture, education, politics, philosophy, and so forth. It’s an endless déjà vu as seekers, questioners, innovators, et al. buck the GATTs of every age.
[Brigham Young:] Now I am going to tell a dream that I had, which I think is as applicable, to the people to-day—the 21st day of June, 1874, as when I had it. There were so many going to California, and going this way and that way, and they did not know what they wanted, and said I—"stay here, we can raise our food here, I know it is a good stock country, a good sheep country, and as good a country for raising silk as there is in the world, and we shall raise some of the best of wheat. There stands a man—Burr Frost, and there is Truman O. Angell, who were present at the time. Said I, "We can raise all we want here, do not go away, do not be discouraged." That was when the pioneers came; the next year, it was California, California, California, California. "No," said I, "stay here." After much thought and reflection, and a good deal of praying and anxiety as to whether the people would be saved after all our trouble in being driven into the wilderness, I had a dream one night, the second year after we came in here. Captain Brown had gone up to the Weber, and bought a little place belonging to Miles Goodyear. Miles Goodyear had a few goats, and I had a few sheep that I had driven into the Valley, and I wanted to get a few goats to put along with the sheep. I had seen Captain Brown and spoken to him about the goats, and he said I could have them. Just at that time I had this dream, which I will now relate, I thought I had started and gone past the Hot Springs, which is about four miles north of this city. I was going after my goats. When I had gone round the point of the mountain by the Hot Springs, and had got about half a mile on the rise of ground beyond the Spring, whom should I meet but brother Joseph Smith. He had a wagon with no bed on, with bottom boards, and tents and camp equipage piled on. Somebody sat on the wagon driving the team. Behind the team I saw a great flock of sheep. I heard their bleating, and saw some goats among them. I looked at them and thought—"This is curious, brother Joseph has been up to Captain Brown's and got my goats." There were men driving the sheep, and some of the sheep I should think were three and a half feet high, with large, fine, beautiful white fleeces, and they looked so lovely and pure; others were of moderate size, and pure and white; and in fact there were sheep of all sizes, with fleeces clean, pure and white. Then I saw some that were dark and spotted, of all colors and sizes and kinds, and their fleeces were dirty, and they looked inferior; some of these were a pretty good size, but not as large as some of the large fine clean sheep, and altogether there was a multitude of them of all sizes and kinds, and goats of all colors, sizes and kinds mixed among them. Joseph stopped the wagon, and the sheep kept rushing up until there was an immense herd. I looked in Joseph's eye, and laughed, just as I had many a time when he was alive, about some trifling thing or other, and said I—"Joseph, you have got the darndest flock of sheep I ever saw in my life; what are you going to do with them, what on earth are they for?" Joseph looked cunningly out of his eyes, just as he used to at times, and said he—"They are all good in their places." When I awoke in the morning I did not find any fault with those who wanted to go to California; I said, "If they want to go let them go, and we will do all we can to save them; I have no more fault to find, the sheep and the goats will run together, but Joseph says, "they are all good in their places."
(Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 18: 245-246, bold emphasis added.)
See also: New Testament Matthew 13:24-30 (parable of the wheat & the tares) and 13:47-50 (parable of the net cast into the sea with "angels from heaven" doing the severing at the end of the world).

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Forgotten Fruits?

Yesterday I came across a brief video/art exhibit by artist Jon McNaughton titled “The Forgotten Man.”* In that misguided1 presentation and painting, I saw the recycling myopia of man—the predilection to present partial truths as if they were whole. However convinced Mr. McNaughton is of his perspective; however sincere—he exhibits the tragic, one-eyed bias of many who take sides in Pharisee v. Sadducee contests.

The science writer Sharon Begley gives insight into such “motivated reasoning”:2
If you have a strongly held belief with an emotional component, the brain defends information that reinforces those ‘priors’ and is skeptical of information that challenges them. … People who hold these hard priors filter information to support their perceptions.(Bold emphasis mine.)
And so, Mr. McNaughton takes the “Right” side, seemingly oblivious to the appalling Constitutional offenses and hypocrisies of many of his “good, concerned” past presidents. Just because men and women claim to serve God and love their fellowman does not mean they do the works of God4 or the Constitution.

Have we forgotten “by their fruits”5 applies to everyone? So why do we, in these contests of right v. left, pretend truth is respected when we handpick from our chosen “side” only the “good” fruits,6 as if in a supermarket, and give nary a thought to the corrupted fruit that is frequently wheeled to backrooms so as not to offend our selection or sensibilities? Why are we so enamored “by their words” to the point we refuse to honestly contemplate our side's corruptions—their dishonorable fruits—while we decry the corruptions of our rivals?

The offenses of BOTH the right and the left against truth, justice, and the Constitution are egregious, but what if the greater poison is the hypocrisy of claiming to be defenders and saviors of the Constitution when deeds are otherwise? Inspect the entire barrel of your chosen fruit. Read the full history. Review all the stats. Observe the incriminating pictures. Consider the consequences. Quit justifying. Quit filtering. Look within.

Have we forgotten the déjà vus of history? How many peoples and nations have claimed divine appointment and destiny, yet been the authors of ruin and self-destruction because seeing they would not see, and hearing they would not hear?

If ever there was a work of art that illustrated the points of “hard priors” and filtering, I venture we would be hard pressed to find one as blatantly imbalanced and disingenuous as “The Forgotten Man.”

1. I deliberately use strong, countering words because the painting was intended to be such a strong, condemning image of perceived offenders while lauding perceived heroes without consideration of the known facts of history. (This view applies to several of JM’s other works.)
2. We all do it, (even this writer) and without awareness of a “priors” bias, are we not all more prone to biased judgment—whether pro or con? Shouldn’t 360° honesty in dealing with all the facts help control that bias?
3. From the work of political scientist Hank Jenkins-Smith of the University of Oklahoma as quoted, in Newsweek, October 13, 2010, pp. 29-30 by science writer Sharon Begley about voter tendencies—observations that seem applicable to almost everything that requires choice or discernment.
4. New Testament Matthew 7:22-23: Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
5. New Testament Matthew 7:20: Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. [In other words, “Do their works honor truth?”]
6. (though too often invented or virtual)