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The Pride and Prosperity Cycles

I used to think of the pride cycle as this long, ongoing, inevitable course that civilizations and people follow in their lives. We certainly see from the scriptures and history that these things repeat themselves and sometimes we focus so much on the disasters and consequences of sin that we don’t really consider when those moments of disaster were averted altogether. How do we reconcile these truths in our current “Pride Cycle” model?

The Pride Cycle

Above is our good old fiend the ‘pride cycle’. Now this cycle isn’t incorrect, as was said before we have seen this happen over and over again, but righteousness and prosperity do not always necessarily lead to pride and wickedness. I remember in a college course on Human Relations the professor asked the question: “What is the number one cause of divorce?” I knew what he thought the answer was but I decided to give the correct answer. I learned the correct answer from Spencer W. Kimball:

“Every divorce is the result of selfishness…” (“Marriage and Divorce” a devotional address given at Brigham Young University on 7 September 1976)

So I raised my hand and gave the answer, “selfishness”. He looked at me for a moment with a thoughtful expression and then said, “No, it’s money actually.” So according to his thinking, you can cause a divorce by dropping by someone’s home and dumping some money on their front door step ;) No, money is not the cause, it’s something deeper, it’s the corruption within the person that is already there and left unchecked and anything left unchecked is a ticking Read Full Post

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Titles for the Third Member of the Godhead

You can tell a lot about someone by their titles. We all carry many titles that say volumes about who we are. Some of the titles I carry are: Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Cousin, Friend, Home Teacher, Elder, Designer, Developer, Artist, the list can go on and on. Think of how many titles you have; you might be surprised.

Below is a fairly comprehensive list. Some might be missing and others might not belong, but here they are nonetheless for you to observe and ponder upon. Some of the titles really make you think. Read Full Post

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Voice of the Spirit Video

This video goes well with my recent post that referenced a similar analogy.

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A Guide to Keeping Your Own “Small Plates”

We learn more about Nephi’s records, or plates, in the front of the Book of Mormon with a section called “A Brief Explanation about the Book of Mormon”:

The Plates of Nephi, which were of two kinds: the Small Plates and the Large Plates. The former were more particularly devoted to the spiritual matters and the ministry and teachings of the prophets, while the latter were occupied mostly by a secular history of the peoples concerned (1 Nephi 9:2–4)

Nephi kept two records, one containing a secular history upon ‘other plates’ which came to be known as the ‘large plates of Nephi’ and another record upon smaller plates that contained primarily prophecies and sacred teachings.

How many of us do a good job with keeping a journal or secular history (large plates) of our lives of any kind at all? It’s no secret that we collectively seem to struggle with this, so how likely is it then that we keep a record of our own personal revelations, answers to prayer, promptings, etc? I would bet that many of us have not even considered doing so in the first place.

First off, let’s see what various church leaders have said on the matter: Read Full Post

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Interpreters and Combinations

The purpose of this article is to explore the physical description of the Nephite “interpreters” (or Urim and Thummim as they were called by Joseph Smith) and their purpose. This article will demonstrate that these artifacts have been passed down for thousands of years and their primary use is for revealing the history of secret Satanic conspiracies upon the American continent as a warning to future inhabitants of this land.

What were they and what did they look like?

Joseph Smith claimed that he translated ancient records with the assistance of a “Urim and Thummim”. The Urim and Thummim were part of the sacred vestments that the high priest wore during the period of Mosaic Law. Here is what the LDS Bible Dictionary says about the Urim and Thummim:

Heb. term that means Lights and Perfections. An instrument prepared of God to assist man in obtaining revelation from the Lord and in translating languages. See Ex. 28: 30; Lev. 8: 8; Num. 27: 21; Deut. 33: 8; 1 Sam. 28: 6; Ezra 2: 63; Neh. 7: 65; JS-H 1: 35.

Using a Urim and Thummim is the special prerogative of a seer, and it would seem reasonable that such instruments were used from the time of Adam. However, the earliest mention is in connection with the brother of Jared (Ether 3: 21-28). Abraham used a Urim and Thummim (Abr. 3: 1-4), as did Aaron and the priests of Israel, and also the prophets among the Nephites (Omni 1: 20-21; Mosiah 8: 13-19; Mosiah 21: 26-28; Mosiah 28: 11-20; Ether 4: 1-7). There is more than one Urim and Thummim, but we are informed that Joseph Smith had the one used by the brother of Jared (Ether 3: 22-28; D&C 10: 1; D&C 17: 1). (See Seer.) A partial description is given in JS-H 1: 35. Joseph Smith used it in translating the Book of Mormon and in obtaining other revelations.

This earth in its celestial condition will be a Urim and Thummim, and many within that kingdom will have an additional Urim and Thummim (D&C 130: 6-11).

It is very difficult to tell what the purpose of these particular implements were used for from the text of the Old Testament. There are a few passages that indicate that they had something to do with revelation; that they were oracles of some kind, but there is nothing indicating that they were used for translating languages Read Full Post

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A Simple Etymological Study Method That Anyone Can Do

Whenever I am preparing a talk, lesson or just studying a topic, I have a small arsenal of tools that I have found extremely effective in digging deeper into doctrinal understanding. Often during this process I experience an amazing clarity on a particular topic; the words “AH HA!” come to mind quite often (which is something we all love don’t we?).

I have a few philosophies behind these tools which I’ll share as well. First off, let’s set the stage with a real-world sample. Let’s say that you are a preparing a talk/lesson on the topic of fasting. Now there are hundreds of talks, quotes and resources on the subject but what if we keep things simple at first and simply look at the word itself; what does it mean? What did it mean? Where did it come from? Has the meaning changed over time and which meaning is more accurate?

Let’s begin: Read Full Post

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It’ll Never Work!

The reason that I think it is important to look at the faulty predictions of the past is because it tells us a lot about our present. What seems impossible today becomes fact tomorrow. Many people discount the Bible and Book of Mormon on lacking historical evidence in some points, and while there IS evidence, I believe people place way too much trust on scientists and so-called ‘experts’ in matters of their salvation.

I am not against science and scientific discovery. I believe that science, formulas, math and engineering are at the heart of all that God does, but I also believe that we are in our infancy in understanding the laws of the universe and what is and what is not possible.

The majority of the following information from this point on was pulled from here. There are a few extras thrown in there that I found in various places. Read Full Post

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The Marvelous Work of Fulfilling the Covenant: Part 4 of 4

The New and Old Jerusalem and their inhabitants

Ether 13 teaches us that in the future there will be a new heaven and a new earth and that many miraculous things will occur with these events:

9 And there shall be a new heaven and a new earth; and they shall be like unto the old save the old have passed away, and all things have become new.

10 And then cometh the New Jerusalem; and blessed are they who dwell therein, for it is they whose garments are white through the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who are numbered among the remnant of the seed of Joseph, who were of the house of Israel.

11 And then also cometh the Jerusalem of old; and the inhabitants thereof, blessed are they, for they have been washed in the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who were scattered and gathered in from the four quarters of the earth, and from the north countries, and are partakers of the fulfilling of the covenant which God made with their father, Abraham.

There will be a new heaven and a new earth in the millennium, the New Jerusalem will come as well as the old Jerusalem AND the inhabitants, or those who have previously died. They will have been ‘washed in the blood of the Lamb’, the Lamb is Jesus Christ which means they are part of the covenant through baptism in the name of Christ. Now how can people who have passed away before Jesus Christ was on the earth be washed in his blood through baptism? Read Full Post

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The Marvelous Work of Fulfilling the Covenant: Part 3 of 4

Isaiah’s words are key

In 3 Nephi 16 Jesus Christ teaches about the other sheep and who they are and then begins to teach about the Gentiles and then in verse 17 he says:

17 And then the words of the prophet Isaiah shall be fulfilled, which say:

Christ begins to quote the prophecies of Isaiah, but then, in the next chapter, looks out among the people and says:

2 I perceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time.

3 Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again.

The people cannot understand the words of Isaiah that he is quoting, they have been through a lot of trauma and Jesus perceives that they are not spiritually prepare for what he has to say. So he gives an important clue that revelation is needed to understand the things that is was about to teach them.

Then for the next four chapters he performs a series of acts to lift the people to a level to where they CAN understand his words, he heals them, introduces the sacrament, gives his disciples the power to confer the Gift of the Holy Ghost, the twelve disciples are chosen by Christ, and then administers the sacrament a second time.

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The Marvelous Work of Fulfilling the Covenant: Part 2 of 4

The Title Page

Title page of the Book of Mormon was said by Joseph Smith to be taken from the last leaf of the plates of Mormon, and was written by Moroni himself. A portion of this section states that the Book of Mormon is:

…to show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever

The first purpose of the Book of Mormon that is mentioned is to show the remnant of Israel great things God did for their fathers so they may KNOW the covenants of the Lord and that they are still in effect. In other words, here is a message from God saying that he is still there for us and that his covenants are still extended toward us.

In 1 Nephi 13 we learn about the significance of the Bible and that it contains the covenants of the Lord. Read Full Post

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The Marvelous Work of Fulfilling the Covenant: Part 1 of 4

I owe a great deal to my good friend, Bro. King, for the initial core pieces of the puzzle that got my mind going on the ideas presented.

The Abrahamic Covenant

First we need to identify just what this covenant is and why it is so important. The Abrahamic covenant is outlined in Genesis 12:1-3:

1 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Throughout the Bible this covenant is maintained and reaffirmed and looked to as a beacon of hope to the Israelites. The different promises associated with this covenant are outlined as followed:

  • His posterity would be numerous (see Genesis 17:5–6; Abraham 2:9; 3:14).
  • His seed, or descendants, would receive the gospel and bear the priesthood (see Abraham 2:9).
  • Through the ministry of his seed, “all the families of the earth [would] be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal” (Abraham 2:11).

LDS.org notes that, “A person can receive all the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant—even if he or she is not a literal descendant of Abraham—by obeying the laws and ordinances of the gospel (see Galatians 3:26–29; 4:1–7; D&C 84:33–40).”

These great blessings to Abraham are unconditional, they were promises made by Read Full Post

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The Brass Plates vs. The Old Testament

  • 1 Nephi 13:23

And he said: Behold it proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew. And I, Nephi, beheld it; and he said unto me: The book that thou beholdest is a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; and it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets; and it [The Bible] is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass, save there are not so many; nevertheless, they contain the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; wherefore, they are of great worth unto the Gentiles.

I heard a recent story about two Latter-day Saints arguing about whether the records of the Old Testament we have today were more numerous than the Brass Plates that the Nephites had. Now, the brass plates did only go up to Jeremiah, but Genesis to Jeremiah is 1020 pages (in the LDS edition of the Old Testament), and from Lamentations to Malachi is 164 pages. Let’s say, just for fun, that the Old Testament we currently have is 100% complete, well then the Nephites were only missing about 7% of the Old Testament.

Consider the other prophets quoted from the Brass Plates mentioned in the Book of Mormon that we do not have record of in the Old Testament: Zenos, Zenock, Neum, and Ezias (1 Nephi 19:10; Helaman 8:20) as well as Read Full Post

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The Sacred Number 8

According to research done by Val Brinkerhoff, the number 8 seems to be tied to the concepts of rebirth and purification, both in scripture and sacred architecture. Below are a few examples:

To the Israelites, the 8th was the day after the Read Full Post

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A Look At The Doctrine of The Trinity

For the most part, mainstream Christianity views the Godhead from the perspective of the Nicene Creed (323 A.D.) which only looked at the ‘oneness’ of the Father and the Son, and the Athanasian Creed (which originated around 500 A.D.) which was the first creed to vocalize equality of the persons of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost into a ‘Trinity”. It is still a hotly contested issue to this day. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims it’s view of the Godhead from the eyewitness accounts of modern apostles and prophets.

Both views of God were brought to us by men. The Trinitarian view has evolved through time out of councils, debates and defined in creeds, the LDS view is claimed to have come from revelation. That said, let’s take a look and see what the scriptures have to say on the matter.

“The Book of Mormon teaches the doctrine of the Trinity better than the Bible.”

Believe it or not, while serving as a full-time missionary, this was a statement made by a woman that we were having a discussion with. She shared a few scriptures from the Book of Mormon that she though were some of the most beautiful Trinitarian scriptures. She asked us why we didn’t believe the doctrine of the Trinity if that is what our own book taught. Good question.

I took a minute to think about that since I had never been asked or even thought of that question before. After a moment, I mentioned how before the Book of Mormon was written, Joseph Smith had already claimed to see the Father AND the Son and that they were two separate beings. I suggested that it was possible that those who Read Full Post

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Cut a Covenant

The Hebrew word covenant as we read in the Old Testament is: briyth (ber-eeth)

  • to cut
  • ‘from ‘barah’ (1262) (in the sense of cutting (like ‘bara” (1254);
  • a compact (made by passing between pieces of flesh)

Let’s explore some instances from scripture where we have something being cut or divided and then a passing between the parts.

Dividing in creation

In the Creation the following things are divided:

  1. Light from the darkness.
  2. Waters from the waters.
  3. Water from the earth.
  4. Plants from the earth.
  5. Day from night.
  6. Animals from the sea and land.
  7. Woman from man.
  8. Man and woman from Eden/God.
  9. Sacrifice instituted.

The Red Sea

Exodus 14:21,22
21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. Read Full Post

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Temple Worship by Elder John A. Widtsoe

My brethren and sisters, when those in charge of this work were planning the program, I urged upon them that they do not call this meeting for the Assembly Hall. I felt sure the congregation would be so small that we would all be unhappy. I am happily disappointed; and I am quite sure that neither the drawing power of Joseph Fielding Smith nor myself is the cause of this large attendance, but that the conviction in the hearts of the Latter-day Saints that all that pertains to temples and to temple work, to the salvation for the dead, is of tremendous worth.

I regret, of course, that Elder Joseph Fielding Smith is not here tonight. I am sorry for those of you who came to hear him speak, for you will have to come again, because he speaks tomorrow. He is filling an important engagement, and we simply exchanged evenings. I regret, however, for my own sake, that he is not here, because what I have to say needs as a background the splendid talk that he has for us. He will deal with the spirit and the mission of Elijah. I was asked to speak about temple worship. He was to take up the great generalization, the great body of principles upon which this work rests; and I was to take one small part of the application of the work, for my theme.

I feel just a little embarrassed to speak on temple worship without the background of Elder Smith’s discourse. I am embarrassed also because I realize how utterly impossible it is to deal with so vast and comprehensive a subject in the Read Full Post

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The Proper Role of Government

The Proper Role of Government

by The Honorable Ezra Taft Benson
Former Secretary of Agriculture [The Eisenhower Administration – ed.] Published in 1968

Men in the public spotlight constantly are asked to express an opinion on a myriad of government proposals and projects. “What do you think of TVA?” “What is your opinion of Medicare?” How do you feel about Urban Renewal?” The list is endless. All too often, answers to these questions seem to be based, not upon any solid principle, but upon the popularity of the specific government program in question. Seldom are men willing to oppose a popular program if they, themselves, wish to be popular – especially if they seek public office. Read Full Post

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None Dare Call it Conspiracy

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Sugar: The Bitter Truth

This is a great video, Dr. Lustig does a phenomenal job of explaining exactly how fructose impacts our bodies. It’s pretty fascinating and I highly recommend it.

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