The Boy Scouts of America And The Savior’s True Church

May 30, 2013

When I say the Church is true, as so many Latter-day Saints affirm, what do I mean?  I mean that 1)  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day  Saints is the ONLY church currently upon the earth that has the priesthood and authority of Jesus Christ.  And 2) It is the ONLY church that is led by a prophet chosen by Jesus Christ through revelation.  And 3) It is the ONLY church that enjoys continuing modern revelation.

Keeping this in mind, I have decided to support the Brethren in their decision about the policies of the Boy Scouts of America regarding same sex attracted boys in scouting.  It is my understanding that only boys who are living the Law of Chastity will be permitted to participate in Church sponsored boy scout troops.  How effectively the policy will be carried out remains to be seen.  The so-called gay rights movement is hailing this as a great victory.  They are virtually dancing in the streets.  That puzzles me.  If the Brethren are able to enforce this policy as it has been explained, it will not be a victory for the wicked even though it may appear to be one.  We must all avoid letting this change in policy weaken our determination to be chaste and to teach chastity to our young men.  I pray that will be so.


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.


The Intolerance of Jesus Christ

February 3, 2013

Through his prophet Alma, Jesus Christ taught:

And he said: Thus saith the Lord God—Cursed shall be the land, yea, this land, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, unto destruction, which do wickedly, when they are fully ripe; and as I have said so shall it be; for this is the cursing and the blessing of God upon the land, for the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. (Alma 45:16)

We know that God loves us. And so he must possess the virtue of tolerance to a degree that we do not. But from this passage we learn that there must be things he does not tolerate. What are they?

God does not tolerate sin. Why? It is because he loves us. Sin causes us pain. It injures us. It brings failure and disappointment. Ultimately it destroys us. We should not marvel that Jesus Christ is intolerant when it comes to sin. He is intolerant because he loves us. He wants us to be happy, and he knows better than any of us where the path is that leads to happiness. Hence, Jesus Christ loves us, but he is intolerant of our sins. We must repent of them or we will suffer.


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


Jesus Christ: The God of Battles Not Mr. Rogers

July 14, 2012

Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild. Some saints and many traditional Christians have this view of Christ. But if we are to know God [Jesus Christ], we must know all sides of his personality.  We must know him to become like him.  And that is the main purpose of our existence. We cannot know him if we have in our minds a distorted, superficial understanding of the Savior’s character and personality. Jesus Christ is not like Mr. Rogers who for many years talked down to the children in his audience and taught them in patronizing, weak, insipid, mild, soft and schmaltzy words. Rogers wore soft, fuzzy cardigan sweaters. The Savior did not.

There is a hard, warlike side to Jesus. And we cannot know him unless we understand that along with his kindness and gentleness he was a man of war. Both are part of his personality and character.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote this in his book, Mormon Doctrine:

Christ is the God of Battles. (D. & C. 98:23-48; 105:14.) Anciently he commanded his people to engage in righteous wars (Ex. 23:27-33; 1 Sam. 15:2-3), and whenever they were so engaged, he was entreated of them and fought their battles. (1 Chron. 5:20; 2 Chron. 20:15; 32:7-8.) The whole Nephite history is one of the Lord giving frequent direction to them in their battles, whenever they sought such guidance in faith. In the day of his Second Coming the promise is that he again will fight the battles of his saints, “as when he fought in the day of battle.” (Zech. 14:1-5; Ezek. 38; 39; Zeph. 3:8.) Despite the false sensitivities of those who cannot conceive of the meek and lowly Nazarene as a Man of War (Ex. 15:3), yet the inspired answer to the query: Who is the King of Glory? is, “The Lord strong and mighty, and Lord mighty in battle.” (Ps. 24:8.)

Sometimes a man or woman prefers to think of Jesus as Mr. Nice Guy because he hopes to inherit eternal life and avoid spirit prison in the next life without being required to repent of their sins.  They do err.  They have not read the scriptures, or if they have, they did not understand them.  Yes, he is the God of love, kind, gentle, forgiving, and merciful.  But he is also fierce towards his enemies and full of wrath toward those who rebel against him by refusing to follow him and repent of their sins.  Mercy cannot rob justice.

Since the Fall of Adam, Satan has been loose in the world, performing his duty as a tempter and deceiver.  For that reason there has been wickedness in the world from the beginning, and wicked men who cause that wickedness.   These men will be damned if they don’t repent, just as we will if we don’t repent.  How great is God’s punishment of the wicked if they refuse to repent?  Consider this passage from the 63rd chapter of Isaiah and see if you can find any of the qualities of Mr. Rogers there:

2 Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?

3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.

What does this passage mean? Similar language inspired by these words of Isaiah are part of that great hymn, The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Who drowned the whole world except for Noah and his family?  God did.  And God is Jehovah also known as Jesus Christ.  What did the Savior do at the beginning of his brief visit to his covenant people in ancient America?  He burned cities, buried them up in the earth, caused cities to be swallowed up in the ocean.  All these things he takes personal credit for as he explains them in the Book of Mormon.

No the Savior is not Mr. Rogers or anything like him.  He is kind, gentle, wrathful and terrifying toward his enemies.  He is the God of Battles.