AIDS, Germ Warfare, Anti-Biotic Resistant Disease And The Gospel of Jesus Christ

March 27, 2013

 31 And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.

32 But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die. (D&C 45:31-32)

What does this mean?  It is a prophecy in the 45th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants.  And I am not sure what it means.  Some possible interpretations are pretty scary.  Years ago while I was living in Ketchikan, Alaska, I attended a fireside in the Ketchikan Ward meetinghouse and the speaker was Elder Bradford of the Seventy.  After the meeting, I asked him about this scriptural passage and he said it had already been fulfilled by the AIDS epidemic.  I have also thought it might refer to the growing problem of anti-biotic resistant diseases and infections.  Or it might refer to biological weapons of mass destruction used in some future war and perhaps an attack on our nation.  Or possibly “all of the above.”  I have heard others insist it refers to the drug problem in our world, or the pornography problem.

What do you think?  What is this “desolating sickness?”  Is it still ahead?  Has it already happened? What other scriptures could help us understand this one?

God, Man, Darwin and Insufficient Evidence

February 4, 2013

When Jesus Christ was upon the earth in mortality, he became somewhat irritated with his apostles when they asked to see the Father.  He told them that he looked just like his Father, and if they had seen him, they had seen the Father. (John 14:9)

We also have the testimony of Joseph Smith who met with both the Father and the Son during the First Vision.  The Father is one man or personage.  The Son is another.  And they look alike.  Both were modern men as Joseph Smith was himself. (JS-H 1:17-20)

Who but “God” could have made the heavens and the earth?  And is not Jesus “God” or the Creator according to our doctrine?

Keeping this in mind, God was a modern man before this world was created.  How could this be?  Is not all the “scientific evidence” for Darwinian evolution here upon this earth?  And if there is such evidence elsewhere in the universe, have our anthropologists, paleontologists, geologists and other scientists been able to examine that evidence?

Joseph Smith taught, “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man… I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea… He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth. (Joseph Smith.  King Follett Discourse. April 7, 1844)

I am just foolish enough to believe that if I am a child of God, and I look like my Father just as the Savior and Joseph Smith did, I was “created” in the same way too, and the pattern for that creation was set long before the earth was made or in other words long before any of the evidence we have seen for Darwinian evolution.

Presented with this argument, many have told me, “Well, he [God] must have evolved on another planet, the one where he spent his mortality.  To which my answer is, but all the evidence we have is right here.  Could there be missing data that is essential for understanding this?

I love debating Darwinian evolution because like arguing politics and religion, there is no end to it.  Might that be the result of insufficient data?  Do we need to answer every question even when we do not have enough evidence?  When we travel to the stars, might we learn more about our origins?

Jesus Christ And The Right To Keep And Bear Arms

February 3, 2013

What does Jesus Christ and his authorized prophets believe about the right to keep and bear arms? Consider these passages:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (US Declaration of Independence. 1776)

We are all born with a right from our Creator to life and liberty.  Because we have a God-given right to life, we also have a right of self-defense.

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. (Constitution of the United States of America, Bill of Rights, Amendment II)

Because arms are essential for defending our lives, we have a right to bear arms.

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. (Jesus Christ as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 101:80)

Here our Savior Jesus Christ who gave us these rights of self-defense and bearing arms tells us that he inspired the Constitution and Bill of Rights which guarantee those rights.

I am hereby resolved that under no circumstances shall the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights be infringed. In particular I am opposed to any attempt on the part of the federal government to deny the people their right to bear arms, to worship, and to pray when and where they choose, or to own and control private property. (Ezra Taft Benson, a prophet of God. The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 617)

And here an authorized prophet of Jesus Christ tell us the government must not deny these rights to us, his children.

Others have a different opinion. Of course. Satan rages in the hearts of men in these last days. They value their own opinions above those of the Lord. All they can do is protest and state their contrary opinion.  But the truth cannot be successfully refuted.

When Was Jesus Born?

December 24, 2012

What is real Christmas, the day that Christ was actually born?  Some cite this to answer the question:

1 The rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and established agreeable to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called Apri…. (Doctrine and Covenants 20:1)

Many others have refuted this interpretation claiming that other evidence indicates that Jesus was born at other times.  Some claim that this revelation, recorded in our canonized scriptures, was prefaced with introductory material written by Joseph Smith but not included in the rest of the revelation.

When James E. Talmage wrote his classic study of Jesus Christ entitled JESUS THE CHRIST, he had this to say about it:

As to the season of the year in which Christ was born, there is among the learned as great a diversity of opinion as that relating to the year itself. It is claimed by many Biblical scholars that December 25th, the day celebrated in Christendom as Christmas, cannot be the correct date. We believe April 6th to be the birthday of Jesus Christ as indicated in a revelation of the present dispensation already cited [D&C 20:1], in which that day is made without qualification the completion of the one thousand eight hundred and thirtieth year since the coming of the Lord in the flesh. This acceptance is admittedly based on faith in modern revelation, and in no wise is set forth as the result of chronological research or analysis. We believe that Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea, April 6, B.C. 1. (Talmage, 1915, 98.)

Personally I do not know whether or not April 6th, 1 BC was the actual birth of Jesus, but in the absence of strong reasons supporting any other date, I will continue to accept this one as authoritative even though it is not acceptable to many LDS scholars.

In all matters I trust prophets more than I do scientists, scholars and academics.  With that said, my motto has long been “All my opinions are tentative pending futher data.”

Merry Christmas, Christmas Eve, 2012

Scriptures That Nobody Understands

October 30, 2008

Do you understand all the scriptures that you read?  If you do, you are a better man than I am because much of the Word of God is utterly opaque and confusing to me.  And I have learned that none of the scriptural commentaries, even those most admired, are able to shed enough light on some of them to enlighten me.  I guess I am just dense.  Or perhaps it is true that we learn line up line…, etc.  And I have many more lines and precepts to learn before I can understand them.

For instance, what does this passage in D&C 64 mean:

37 Behold, I, the Lord, have made my church in these last days like unto a judge sitting on a hill, or in a high place, to judge the nations.

38 For it shall come to pass that the inhabitants of Zion shall judge all things pertaining to Zion.

39 And liars and hypocrites shall be proved by them, and they who are not apostles and prophets shall be known.

40 And even the bishop, who is a judge, and his counselors, if they are not faithful in their stewardships shall be condemned, and others shall be planted in their stead.

41 For, behold, I say unto you that Zion shall flourish, and the glory of the Lord shall be upon her;

42 And she shall be an ensign unto the people, and there shall come unto her out of every nation under heaven.

43 And the day shall come when the nations of the earth shall tremble because of her, and shall fear because of her terrible ones. The Lord hath spoken it. Amen.

Who or what are these terrible ones that will strike fear in all the nations of the earth?  And why would Zion want to strike fear in other nations?  Verse thirty-seven seems to suggest that the day will come before the Second Coming when Zion will be a sovereign and independent nation.  How can that be?  Aren’t we just a church?  Sure, we are the Kingdom of God on earth, but that is a heavenly kingdom only.  Isn’t that right?  Perhaps some might sugggest that this describes a period of Zion’s history after the Second Coming and during the Millennium.  But are there going to be nations of the wicked upon the earth during the Millennium that Zion will have to strike fear in them?  This is just a very puzzling scripture.  And when I go to the commentaries, nearly all of them just skip over this passage when they are commenting on D&C 64. I don’t understand it.

Here is another one in 3 Nephi 20:

43 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.
44 As many were astonished at thee—his visage was so marred, more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men—
45 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him, for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

It is repeated in the next chapter, 3 Nephi 21:

10 But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.

I have never heard an explanation of these passages that satisfied me.  Some say the “marred servant” is Jesus.  But that makes no sense because it is Jesus that is speaking here and when has he ever referred to himself as his own servant?  It is clear to me that he is referring to a prophet.

Others say this is a reference to Joseph Smith.  But Joseph Smith was never so marred in his visage that he astonished others because of his appearance.  And the use of the word “visage” connotes and denotes a man’s face.  It calls to mind a horribly disfigured face.  Does that describe Jesus or Joseph Smith?  I don’t think so.

Still others suggest that this refers to a future prophet, one that has yet to make his appearance upon the world scene, one that will come before the Second Coming.  This explanation does not seem to contain any unnacceptable inconsistencies, but perhaps that is because it is the most open ended, the most vague.

So which is it?  I just don’t understand the passage, and it has occurred to me that perhaps no one else does either.  But I’m sure that won’t stop some from explaining it to me.  It never has in the past.  One thing that may be relied upon is the pride of those who imagine that they know a great deal more than they really do.  Ask a question on the Internet and it will always be answered regardless of whether or not the answering person has any knowledge of the subject.

Of course, my own ignorance is great too.  I simply do not understand these two passages and have been unable to obtain that understanding in spite of the efforts that I have made to do so.  Furthermore, the scriptures are full of passages like these, passages that no one knows the meaning of.  These are the passages that are the most interesting to me.  I collect them.  I find the scriptures that I do not understand to be far more interesting than those that I do.  After all, if I already understand a thing, there is no way that I can learn it, is there?  To learn, I must focus upon the unknown.  Otherwise, the concept of line upon line, precept upon precept doesn’t have any meaning.

I hope to share some of the other scriptures that puzzle me on this blog from time to time.  Are there any that puzzle you?