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YHWH Video

Creator of the great site TempleStudy.com, Bryce Haymond, has started a new project called ThyMindOMan.com. I was wondering where he was for the longest time and then all of a sudden he appeared out of nowhere with this new project. It seems that he’s had some sort of spiritual awakening and has a lot of new insights to share. I’ve caught up on all his new posts and I thought this video he shared was well done and very inspiring, so enjoy!

Special thanks to the creators over at yhwhproject.org for their beautiful work and testimony.

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Prayer Unites Wills

“Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other.” – LDS Bible Dictionary

This description of prayer in the LDS Bible Dictionary is incredibly straightforward and profound, and I love the implications. The Bible dictionary further suggests that “Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting” the “true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children).” We may think that ending our prayers with the phrase “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen” is how one “prays in the name of Jesus Christ” but the dictionary states that “We pray in Christ’s name when our mind is the mind of Christ, and our wishes the wishes of Christ—when His words abide in us…”

When imagining prayer, we may picture a single person kneeling reverently, but prayer is not an individual act; there are always at least two minds involved. A prayer to God assumes an audience, and a group of people gathered in prayer all have a common desire in mind to which they affirm with the word: “Amen.”

I think that I have taken this for granted for too long. When pondering the temple phrase “true order of prayer,” I contemplated what is it about that ‘order’ that makes it ‘true’ in contrast to any other form of prayer.

I have found the most insight in distilling these thoughts into what I believe is a profound and simple truth: “prayer unites wills.”

This opens a world of possibilities. How does this idea change how I approach God and what I bring to that setting? How does this idea impact the unifying power that could come to family prayer? How does this idea influence my role as mouthpiece of group prayer and everyone involved?

Lecture 7:3 states:

“God said, Let there be light, and there was light—Joshua spake and the great lights which God had created stood still — Elijah commanded and the heavens were stayed for the space of three years and six months, so that it did not rain: He again commanded, and the heavens gave forth rain,—all this was done by faith; and the Savior says, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, say to this mountain, remove, and it will remove; or say to that sycamine tree, Be ye plucked up and planted in the midst of the sea, and it shall obey you. Faith, then, works by words; and with these its mightiest works have been, and will be performed.”

Words make the mind visible and therefore knowable. How might we use that power better and with more precise intent?

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Quotes and Commentary

Here are some great quotes I have come across recently and a few thoughts to go along with them.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein

Wow, there’s a lot I don’t understand and I think this blog proves that point.

“To be clever enough to get a great deal of money, one must be stupid enough to want it.” – G.K. Chesterton

No comment.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

I love to ponder this idea when it comes to spiritual things.

“There’s nothing I like less than bad arguments for a view that I hold dear.” – Daniel Dennett

Anyone else ever feel like this at church, or on facebook during a major election? Read Full Post

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Optimism vs. Pessimism vs. Pragmatism

Personally, I don’t have much use for optimism or pessimism, where you expect the best or the worst outcome.

I’m more of a pragmatist in that I see myself as “one who holds that the meaning of beliefs are the actions they entail, and that the truth of those beliefs consist in the actions they entail successfully leading a believer to their goals.” [source]. That feels very Alma 32 to me on many levels. I tend to lean a little more toward pessimism in that regards but I don’t see it as being negative, I see it as viewing the world with that sense of caution that experience brings. Children are full of optimism because they are naive. They have the faith of innocence and this can be dangerous.

The adult is more likely to be full of pessimism due to disillusionment. Having lost their innocence, it gets harder to see positive outcomes when more often than not, failures come in brutal waves. Both the adult and the child see reality through destructive paradigms and this places both in a state of danger.

You cannot have faith like a child when you have lost your innocence. I don’t think the answer is somehow returning to innocence, it’s not possible. I think we progress by advancing to another state altogether.

I think this is where hope and faith come into play. I define hope as everything that falls into the sphere of what I actually believe is possible. Faith represents the action I take to bridge the gap between what I believe is possible and what reality reveals in the end. It may not end up being what you had hoped for, it may be something worse, but it may be something better. Until that time, faith, focus, desire, determination, vulnerability, patience, understanding, and wisdom are my watchwords. Whatever the outcome, hope can be fulfilled through faith.

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For This Cause: Why Marriage Matters

“I then remarked that marriage was an institution of h[e]aven institude [instituted] in the garden of Eden, that it was necessary that it should be Solemnized by the authority of the everlasting priesthood,” (from a Joseph Smith journal entry, Nov. 24, 1835, Kirtland, Ohio)

I was talking to my stake president once about the word “cleave” and he was remarking about how it means both to divide and to join. Note the following definitions:

  1. CLEAVE, verb intransitive, To stick; to adhere; to hold to.
  2. CLEAVE, verb transitiveTo part or divide by force; to split or rive; to open or serve the cohering parts of a body, by cutting or by the application of force;

I volunteered some additional insights, many of which I posted back in 2010 here on oneClimbs. I focused in on the reality of creation through division found in scripture, nature, etc. If you look at the creation account in Genesis, we see the Read Full Post

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Steve Reed’s Rootstech 2017 Presenation: “Journaling Principles That Work”

Check out the full video of my presentation at Rootstech titled Journaling Principles That Work.

I’m posting this here having not had the chance to actually watch the whole thing, I’ve only seen the first 2o minutes or so, but since I was there I think it is safe to post ;-)

I had presented this before at a the Family Roots Expo in St. George back in 2016 so while it was my second time giving the presentation, the crowd was substantially larger and it was being streamed live to thousands of people. Was I nervous? Well, yeah a little bit, mostly because I’m not a polished or experienced speaker at all and I’m not saying that out of humility, I make a number of mistakes that are probably common among novices. Experience and practice are key and I haven’t had much and I think it shows. My experience is mostly church talks so this presentation is only the second time I have stood in front of a crowd to present something in this context.

I get stuck a few times because I wasn’t working from a memorized speech, I did practice a little but I have a difficult time memorizing. Admittedly, I would have liked to have had more time to really distill and polish my thoughts to make them flow better.

What carried me through it was the fact that I am passionate about the topic of journaling. So what you see here in the video is just me in raw form, it’s not an act, I’m just up there talking about something I love and I hope that is communicated in some way.

As for the title, a co-worker and I decided on it long before any of this presentation was developed. I’m probably going to make some tweaks and go with a different name as I’m going to be doing this presentation at other events this year. At the time, I did have an idea of what I wanted the presentation to be and based it on this blog article I wrote for the JRNL blog about 8 months ago.

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Critical Principles for Vetting Revelation and Avoiding Deception

We talk a lot about receiving and following revelation, but I’ve learned in my experience that the process itself is not as simple at it may first seem. There are real dangers involved because not all revelation that crosses our path comes from God.

The word revelation in Greek is apokalupsis and means “disclosure:–appearing, coming, lighten, manifestation.” The English word revelation comes to us from the French revelare around the 1300s and means to “unveil, uncover, lay bare.” [1] In its plainest sense, when revelation is happening, we are basically seeing something that was unseen before.

The trick is determining what exactly we are looking at, its source, and what we should do with it, if anything. If we simply swallow any new information without vetting it first, we are going to have potentially disastrous problems. Read Full Post

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Isaiah and the Remnant

Credit to JR Ganymede for bringing this to my attention (love that blog) and credit to Albert Jay Nock who wrote this essay in The Atlantic Monthly in 1936 (full essay). While the context of the original essay was political, I want to use Nock’s interesting summation of Isaiah’s situation to point out something related to the Book of Mormon. Here’s the excerpt that I’m drawn to:

In the year of Uzziah’s death, the Lord commissioned the prophet to go out and warn the people of the wrath to come. “Tell them what a worthless lot they are.” He said, “Tell them what is wrong, and why and what is going to happen unless they have a change of heart and straighten up. Don’t mince matters. Make it clear that they are positively down to their last chance. Give it to them good and strong and keep on giving it to them. I suppose perhaps I ought to tell you,” He added, “that it won’t do any good. The official class and their intelligentsia will turn up their noses at you and the masses will not even listen. They will all keep on in their own ways until they carry everything down to destruction, and you will probably be lucky if you get out with your life.”

Isaiah had been very willing to take on the job — in fact, he had asked for it — but the prospect put a new face on the situation. It raised the obvious question: Why, if all that were so — if the enterprise were to be a failure from the start — was there any sense in starting it?

“Ah,” the Lord said, “you do not get the point. There is a Remnant there that you know nothing about. They are obscure, unorganized, inarticulate, each one rubbing along as best he can. They need to be encouraged and braced up because when everything has gone completely to the dogs, they are the ones who will come back and build up a new society; and meanwhile, your preaching will reassure them and keep them hanging on. Your job is to take care of the Remnant, so be off now and set about it.”

So, I like this quite a bit and while you might find some inspiration to get you through today’s politically heated climate, turn your thoughts to the Book of Mormon. I would say that Isaiah’s mission mirrors several others in the Book of Mormon and five-six in particular come to mind: Lehi, Abinadi, Samuel, Nephi (the disciple), and Mormon/Moroni.

In each of these cases, they spoke to civilizations that each ended in destruction – they were the final warning. Their primary audience in large part, or in some cases, entirely, rejected their words but those words were carried to a remnant. Isaiah the prophet influenced each of these key players in Book of Mormon history, including Samuel. They were all involved in going forth to proclaim an unpopular message to a people that would turn their backs, but they were obedient nonetheless.

How much did reading and understanding Isaiah’s words give them the confidence to follow through with the Lord’s instructions? Did focusing on “the Remnant” help them to stand strong and even suffer death by fire to maintain their convictions? If so, think of what that can mean for us today when we find ourselves before a troubled world. Isaiah saw our day and so did the people of the Book of Mormon, perhaps that is a reason why their words are interwoven in the record we have before us today.

True are the words from Steven Kapp Perry’s song, “From Cumorah’s hill there comes a witness and a warning…”

To understand Isaiah better, I personally recommend brother Avraham Gileadi’s excellent translation and commentary of Isaiah that can be found free of charge at IsaiahExplained.com. Reading a modern translation straight from the Hebrew without the framework of “King James English” is phenomenal. Isaiah comes through clear as a bell and you’ll better understand why the Book of Mormon prophets and Jesus himself valued his words so much.

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Forgiveness & Repentance

Forgiveness is the loudest praise, repentance, the greatest peace.

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Spices, Gnats, and Camels

Zeal isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I think it tends to amplify our actions whether they are misguided or on point. Sometimes we can focus too much on the letter that we miss the spirit, or the weightier matters. Those are some the lessons reflected on in this great video from the Messages of Christ YouTube Channel.

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Retro Video: Scripture Symbolism

Thanks to my friend Richard Nobbe for bringing this video to my attention. It’s a bit dated in many aspects but the information is very good, and I geek out on just about anything that has to do with symbolism.

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Scripture as art

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” – Aristotle

“For us, divine inspiration does not mean God possesses a man, and simply dictates the inspired text to him. But rather God implants into a man’s mind a general concept. And when God does that, he allows the man to write that in the historical context in which he lives—what we call the Sitz im Leben—where ‘that is the setting in life.’ So a man may have historical inaccuracies, but God allows the man to write with those misunderstandings because what is important and what is inerrant is the theological concept God is trying to get across to mankind.” – Catholic Priest quote from movie Rudy

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A Proposed Reinterpretation of Jacob 2:30

In Jacob chapters 2 – 3 we find one of the most passionate and heart-wrenching sermons in the Book of Mormon. Jacob, the brother of Nephi, and the Lord himself speaks in condemnation of two major themes; the Nephite’s lust for riches and for taking many wives and concubines.

While the Book of Mormon as a whole condemns the practice of taking many wives and concubines, verse 30 of chapter two is said to indicate an exception to that rule. While the practice is condemned as a gross crime, a whoredom, and even an abomination, verse 30 appears to indicate that God will not only allow, but command the men of his people to take on many wives and concubines to “raise up seed,” a reference to posterity. The phrase “raise up” is a bit enigmatic if you only look at this verse alone. Does “raise up” mean simply the act of bringing up children, does it mean increasing the population at a higher velocity, or could it be referencing something else entirely?

I believe that there is enough evidence within the text and supporting scriptures that provides an alternate interpretation. As with any post on this site, I am open to corrections if I am in error at any point. I don’t speak for the Church, I am not a scholar, and nobody should feel any obligation to believe anything I say. This blog is mainly an extension of my personal study where I share some of the things I’m exploring. Read Full Post

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Seer Stones and Mobile Phones

“Every man who lived on the earth was entitled to a seer stone, and should have one, but they are kept from them in consequence of their wickedness, and most of those who do find one make evil use of it.” (Brigham Young’s journal, as quoted in Latter-day Millennial Star, 26:118,119)

“…no man can look in the them [the Interpreters] except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and should perish.” (Mosiah 8:13)

Interesting that we carry around these little black bricks made of plastic, metal, and glass in our pockets that illuminate and permit us to gaze upon them to reveal a multitude of things. If all earthly things are echoes of the heavenly, then perhaps having this technology provides an additional area of proving for us mortals.

Given our current ‘miraculous’ technological privileges, what do we seek after, what do we look for?

Would our motives be any different if it was heavenly technology?

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Scripture is a like a mirror

There is a lot of repetition in religious life from rituals, to ordinances, practices, and even scripture reading.

Let’s take scriptures as an example and I’ll let you think about how the metaphor applies to other things. First, imagine you are looking into a mirror, what do you see? Well, you see yourself of course, your face is backwards but that’s you. If you come back five minutes later, there is your face once again, but maybe you notice something new, an out of place hair, a blemish, or perhaps something stuck in your teeth. Other than that, everything else seems just as it was.

The mirror itself doesn’t change, if you come back 5 minutes later or 50 years later, it will continue to reflect as it did before. The purpose of the mirror is not to change, but to enable observation. They enable us to perceive things in a unique way and to review changes over time. The mirror reveals new things, but those new things do not come from the mirror, they are already there, we just lacked the ability to perceive them. Read Full Post

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Talk: The Lord’s Sheep, Bread of Life, and Living Water

The following is a post created from a talk I gave in church this morning.

There is an idea in thermodynamics that everything in the universe eventually moves from order to disorder. The Book of Mormon is a window into how this happens in the lives of individuals and civilizations. Around 385 A.D., the bodies of tens of thousands of men, women, and children, lay strewn across the land as an entire nation went extinct save for a few.

Mormon, on of the last surviving leaders beheld this scene and cried out in anguish: “O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you! Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. But behold, ye are fallen, and I mourn your loss. O ye fair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, ye fair ones, how is it that ye could have fallen! But behold, ye are gone, and my sorrows cannot bring your return. (Mormon 6:17-20)

They had fallen, and they did so together, as one.  Read Full Post

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Thank You

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Read Jane Birch’s Phenomenal Word of Wisdom Series at Meridian Magazine

I have heaps of respect for Jane Birch and all of the research she has done on the Word of Wisdom. Having corresponded with her by email on several occasions and reading her essays, I’ve been more and more impressed with what she continues to produce on the subject. Her “Doctrines, Principles, and Applications” series that can be found at Meridian Magazine (ldsmag.com) represents some of the best work that I have ever read on the Word of Wisdom.

Building on the foundation of Elder Bednar’s teachings concerning doctrines, principles, and applications, Jane takes us on an engaging exploration of the Word of Wisdom that speaks reason to the mind and wisdom to the heart. This revelation is needed now more than ever and Jane’s work does more than bridge the past with the present, it emphasizes those keys that unlock treasures, even hidden treasures.

Rather than take a dogmatic application-based approach that preaches to us what we should or shouldn’t do, Jane leans on the doctrine and principles as her guide while respecting individual applications that may vary from case to case. Her sober persuasion invites thought and self-examination without resorting to ineffective guilt and shaming.

While I respect the light she brings to the topic of the Word of Wisdom, I think Jane’s series has demonstrated a wonderful framework that can be applied to so many other topics in LDS theology. I offer the following links to her series for your consideration with my full endorsement:

  1. Distinguishing Between Doctrines, Principles, and Applications
  2. The Doctrine of the Word of Wisdom
  3. Rethinking Alcohol, Tobacco, Coffee, and Tea
  4. The Principle Behind Alcohol, Tobacco, Coffee, and Tea
  5. The Letter of the Law
  6. The Spirit of the Law
  7. Section 89 as Parable
  8. Why God Doesn’t Over-Explain
  9. Three Foods Ordained by God
  10. The Wholesome Herbs Ordained by God
  11. Animal Flesh is Ordained by God

If you liked those, you can find links to all of her published articles at Meridian Magazine here.

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Reorienting Our Perception of Home Teaching

I think we’ve all been there. You may have a good home/visiting teacher now, but I think we’ve all had no-shows and probably for most of our experience in the Church. Conversely, many of us have probably had experience being a no-show ourselves; maybe we’ve always pretty much failed at it. But what if changing things could be a simple as adjusting our perspective on home and visiting teaching? I’d like to share what’s been working for me and how I got there.

“We haven’t had home teachers for the last two years.”

“I’ve never had home teachers in this ward.”

“We had some good home teachers one time back when I was a teenager.”

Sound familiar? Our faces sour when we speak of home teaching in private company. It feels justifiable to throw our hands up and think that the church would be better off in dismantling the whole system altogether. I think this is completely wrong and I’ll explain why. Read Full Post

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The False Gods We (Still) Worship

I would like to address the subject of modern idolatry in the form of wars of aggression, near-eastern emperor-vassal covenants, and voting your conscience.

The following is an excerpt from Spencer W. Kimball’s classic talk The False Gods We Worship. The whole talks is a remarkable and prophetic read, it pulls no punches and clearly hits every point soberly. This excerpt focuses on how we deal with our mortal enemies and the idolatry involved in our current policies that have degraded even more since the days of 9/11.

We are a warlike people

In spite of our delight in defining ourselves as modern, and our tendency to think we possess a sophistication that no people in the past ever had—in spite of these things, we are, on the whole, an idolatrous people—a condition most repugnant to the Lord.

We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel—ships, planes, missiles, fortifications—and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching: Read Full Post

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