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)