Home Church: March 29, 2020

NEW
One week ago
1 min read

We started with a family prayer circle. There are a couple of variations that we do but our favorite is to join hands in a circle.

Someone starts the prayer and when they are finished they squeeze the hand of the person to their right and so on until everyone in the circle has had an opportunity to pray; the last person closes the prayer.

The feeling of unity is strong and even the youngest children are focused and involved; we pray as one.

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Enos is how old?

Mar 26, 2020
2 min read

Near the close of Enos’ record he states:

And it came to pass that I began to be old, and an hundred and seventy and nine years had passed away from the time that our father Lehi left Jerusalem.

Enos 1:25

He is supposedly the grandson of Lehi, Jacob being his father. Some have supposed that perhaps this Enos is actually the son of another Enos who we don’t have a record of, but Enos being the son of Jacob is absolutely possible and I’ll explain how.

First off, there’s actually a story from 2018 that talks about two men who are the grandsons of a man born in 1790; that’s a 228-year span!

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Vlog #3 – Outward Performances and Inward Transformation

Mar 24, 2020
0 min read

Wrapping up Jacob 7 with understanding scriptures, the doctrine of Christ, hope, anointing our efforts, and inward transformation.

*Sorry for the background noise, there are new houses being built nearby and there is a lot of heavy equipment around.

“Yea, TODAY, if ye will hear his voice…”

Mar 20, 2020
2 min read

These words from Jacob are intense and sobering.

And the day that he shall set his hand again the second time to recover his people, is the day, yea, even the last time, that the servants of the Lord shall go forth in his power, to nourish and prune his vineyard; and after that the end soon cometh.

Jacob 6:2

The coming forth of the Book of Mormon was the sign that God would set his hand a second time to recover his people. (See 3 Nephi 21) The servants of the Lord have indeed gone forth and many have heard their message but many, many have not. After this pruning, the end will come soon after.

And how blessed are they who have labored diligently in his vineyard; and how cursed are they who shall be cast out into their own place! And the world shall be burned with fire.

vs.3
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Pixar takes on the afterlife and the premortal life?

Mar 19, 2020
0 min read

A trailer for a new movie called “Soul” dropped recently about a movie where the main character goes to a “spirit world” awaiting the “great beyond” and accidentally wanders into an area that isn’t heaven but is a kind of “premortal” world where spirits are prepared for earth life.

Lots of crossover with our theology and interesting to see these concepts in a movie produced by a major motion picture studio.

Micro, Meso, Macro in Scripture Study

Mar 19, 2020
2 min read

One of the things that I enjoy most about God is how he works in patterns; everything is ultimately connected and part of one eternal round.

You have the macrocosmos, the universe and everything within it and then the microcosmos which is your own personal universe, your body, governed by your mind, and finally the mesocosmos which is somewhere in-between and can be represented by a temple.

The temple is a model of not only the universe, the macrocosmos, but of our own bodies, the microcosmos. The temple allows us to make a connection between everything by bringing it all into one place.

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Were Jacob’s People Engaged in Human Trafficking?

Mar 18, 2020
3 min read

This is just a theory but if there is something to it, then it is another example of how important the Book of Mormon is for our day.

Traditionally, it seems that we interpret the situation among Jacob’s people as men engaging in polygamy without authorization and that’s that, we move on. I think there is a lot more going on and I’ve written about it here and here.

As I have studied Jacob’s sermon in-depth I have wondered if there were other dark aspects to the Nephite’s lust for many wives that are being overlooked.

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He Didn’t Know Until Hours Before

Mar 14, 2020
4 min read

In the day of Nephi, son of Helaman, many had given up on the prophecy of Samuel the Lamanite coming to pass. His prophecy said that in 5 years the sign of the Messiah’s birth would be given.

I’m sure many people were counting down the days and even set apart a day that if the sign wasn’t given, they were going to kill everyone who still believed in these things.

It was coming down to the wire with Nephi, and he was getting worried about their situation.

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Jacob’s Sermon Condemns Having Many Wives and Concubines

Mar 12, 2020
11 min read

I know that some of what I have to say here is controversial. I’m not an authority on anything except my own opinions. This is a massive topic and I do not address all of the views and perspectives. This is simply one person’s train of thought examining one facet. I encourage everyone to do their own prayerful research and consider all viewpoints.

The mind that seeks pornography would know something of the motivation driving the Nephites who were desiring many wives and concubines under Jacob’s ministry.

C.S. Lewis once wrote about the evils of keeping “a harem of imaginary brides” (Letter C. S. Lewis sent in 1956 to Keith Masson) and if that was evil, what about the abomination of an actual harem of brides?

“…the people of Nephi, … began to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices, such as like unto David of old desiring many wives and concubines, and also Solomon, his son.

Jacob 1:15
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Public Attendance at General Conference Cancelled due to Virus Concerns

Mar 11, 2020
0 min read

In a recent news story, the Church announced that they are canceling public attendance at the Conference Center in Salt Lake for this upcoming General Conference.

There are also restrictions at the MTC and other large gatherings like stake and leadership conferences and other gatherings where illness is a challenge.

I remember recently that President Nelson said:

“General conference next April will be different from any previous conference…”

2020 A Bicentennial Year

“Eat your vitamin pills. Get your rest. It’s going to be exciting.”

Meridian Magazine

Well, this conference will be different, and perhaps he literally meant actual vitamins.

Good thing we’ve been warned about preparedness and self-sufficiency and we’re all ready to go with home church and with the new youth program, home school as well potentially.

Vlog #2 – 2 Nephi 31 – The Doctrine of the Father, Son, & Holy Ghost

Mar 8, 2020
0 min read

Vlog #1 – Where Can I Turn For Peace?

Mar 2, 2020
0 min read

Well, here goes nothing, going to try to do a vlog post for something different. I feel compelled to write a little more here below but then that kind of defeats the purpose of having a video.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s Essay on Tolerance

Feb 29, 2020
11 min read

Source: Fulton J. Sheen, Old Errors and New Labels (New York, NY: The Century Company, 1931)

America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance. It is not. It is suffering from tolerance: tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so much overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded.

The man who can make up his mind in an orderly way, as a man might make up his bed, is called a bigot; but a man who cannot make up his mind, any more than he can make up for lost time, is called tolerant and broadminded. A bigoted man is one who refuses to accept a reason for anything; a broadminded man is one who will accept anything for a reason—providing it is not a good reason. It is true that there is a demand for precision, exactness, and definiteness, but it is only for precision in scientific measurement, not in logic. The breakdown that has produced this unnatural broadmindedness is mental, not moral. The evidence for this statement is threefold: the tendency to settle issues not by arguments but by words, the unqualified willingness to accept the authority of anyone on the subject of religion, and, lastly, the love of novelty….

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A little…

Feb 29, 2020
2 min read

For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more;

2 Nephi 28:30

The Lord reveals wisdom to us incrementally which is disappointing when we want immediate answers without delay.

The Lord dispenses a little truth here and there but zero in on the word little. It is critical that we act responsibly toward what we have already been given no matter how little it may seem to be.

Little things can be underestimated. I wonder how many people heard a baby cry in a stable one night long ago and felt irritated that their sleep was being disturbed.

We just moved into a new house and my grass is still mostly brown. I’m watering it exactly according to the specifications that the city has provided and that’s really all I can do right now.

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Q: Why bother having the gold plates if Joseph Smith didn’t even look at them to translate?

Feb 28, 2020
3 min read
Nope, this is not how the translation happened and many of these well-intentioned paintings may be to blame for this incorrect understanding.

This question or a form of it has come to my attention many times. People usually wonder about this when they learn that witnesses described Joseph translating by using the Interpreters or seer stone in a hat which was used to perhaps block out ambient light.

As far as we know, the plates simply sat on a table under a cloth the whole time. Joseph did not translate them in any kind of way that that would be familiar to us today.

Translation usually involves understanding the source language and rendering the meaning as best as one can in another language.

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Downloadable PDF Presentation About How to Create Your Own Small Plates

Feb 19, 2020
0 min read

I created this for our first Activity Days class. It was a bunch of 7 to 8-year-old rowdy boys and I realized all too late that I had over-prepared.

Feel free to use it for your own study or any lesson or activity that you would like; no attribution required. You can preview and download it down below.

Of all the things that I have ever done to hear the voice of the Lord, this has been the one thing that has made the biggest difference and I absolutely love doing it.

My Favorite Isaiah Translation

Feb 16, 2020
0 min read

Joseph Smith once wrote that we believe in the Bible (and any other scripture, I’d imagine) as far as it is translated correctly.

For years, I have enjoyed the Isaiah Institute Translation of Isaiah which was created by Avraham Gileadi. You can read it for free at IsaiahExplained.com.

When I get to any Isaiah portions of the Book of Mormon, I look them up at Isaiah Explained and I feel like I get a much clearer reading. I don’t get any kickbacks for my recommendations, but now that we are getting into the Isaiah portions of Nephi’s record, it feels like a good time to point out this resource.

Here are some other posts I have made about Isaiah that some may find helpful:

The Lens Through Which We See

Feb 9, 2020
2 min read
@olloweb

Joseph Smith’s use of a seer stone was described in a trial, it was said that when he used the stone, “all intervening obstacles were removed, and that he possessed one of the attributes of Deity, an All-Seeing-Eye.”  (Purple account, Joseph Smith Testimony, 1826 trial)

Ultimately, God sees the clearest and we see very, very little in comparison. I think that whatever stresses we face in dealing with the challenges in life all have to do with our limited vision and lack of perspective.

The Nephite interpreters were described as clear “smooth three-cornered diamonds” (History of Joseph Smith by His Mother Lucy Mack Smith) that when held to the face with the outside light obscured, illuminated truth to the observer. It is fascinating to consider that the interpreters were fashioned like lenses and used with one’s eyes. A person who used them was called a “seer.”

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Speaking Hard Things

Jan 27, 2020
5 min read

I’ve noticed that pop culture has influenced us at church where we feel more inclined to walk on eggshells, afraid to offend others. True, we value kindness, but I think we err in thinking that it means that we must keep everyone happy around us at all times.

You cannot teach the truth without eventually offending others, not even if you are Jesus himself. (John 6:60-66)

And now it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had made an end of speaking to my brethren, behold they said unto me: Thou hast declared unto us hard things, more than we are able to bear.

And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.

And now my brethren, if ye were righteous and were willing to hearken to the truth, and give heed unto it, that ye might walk uprightly before God, then ye would not murmur because of the truth, and say: Thou speakest hard things against us.

1 Nephi 16:1-3

Nephi was not afraid to speak the truth, and he often suffered physical pain because of it. His brothers often hated so much what he had to say they sought to silence him by physical restraint or attempted murder.

Nephi “triggered” Laman and Lemuel, or rather, Laman and Lemuel chose to be “triggered” by what Nephi had to say. Whatever one’s opinion may be, the truth remains, no matter how we feel about it.

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There is no iron rod to the great and spacious building

Jan 26, 2020
2 min read

In the vision of the tree of life that Lehi and Nephi witnessed, a “great and spacious building,” prominently juxtaposed the righteous seeking to find their way to the tree of life.

The tree had a path and an iron rod, everything you needed to get there if you really wanted to. You just had to hold to the rod and keep moving, and anyone could get there.

The building, on the other hand, was less accessible, “it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth.” (vs.26) There was no clear path to get there, and those inside were too busy pointing their fingers and mocking to help others get where they were.

While the elite sat in their privileged positions, many perished down beneath them, and they didn’t even seem to notice.

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