I read a quote from someone on YouTube where they were expressing their beliefs on absolute morals, they said:
“I am certain of the inexistence of an absolute essence regarding morale, thus in the inexistence of good and evil as well as right and wrong. In this field relativism wins over the absolute counterpart as the only reason we believe in different things, is proof that morales are relative.”
Now, in all fairness, this person probably did not think too much about what they were saying when they typed this and given the opportunity, they probably would have been able to formulate a better argument for their point of view. I did find it ridiculous and contradictory that they would state that they are ‘certain’ that there are no ‘absolutes’. I don’t know whether that was funny or sad.Read Full Post
From the YouTube description:
“Few people know this story….Two days before his martyrdom, Joseph Smith told W. W. Phelps about a prophetic dream he had a few night prior. W. W. Phelps did not publish the account until 1862, but when he did, he titled it: “Joseph Smith’s Last Dream.””
It’s hard to tell the accuracy of some things that come from individuals many years after they were purported to happen. In my opinion, W.W. Phelps is probably a pretty accurate source for something like this, but I suppose we’ll never really know for sure.
There are incidents from my past that I don’t remember very well and others that I remember flawlessly. I remember extremely detailed experiences from when I was six years old, but events like those were things that happened to me. I find that I have a much more difficult time remembering specific things that people told me from years back.
I can think of a handful of experiences that were life changing for me where I remember about 80% of what was said and what I remember definitely captures the spirit of what was being said.
I think that it’s likely that W.W. Phelps recorded something very similar to what Joseph said although it might not be word-for-word. So for what it’s worth, the video below portrays very well the account that Bro. Phelps left us with.
Full text of the dream
“While I was at Jordan’s in Iowa the other night, I dreamed that myself and my brother Hyrum went on board of a large steamboat, lying in a small bay, near the great ocean. Shortly after we went on board there was an “alarm of fire,” and I discovered that the boat had been anchored some distance from the shore, out in the bay, and that an escape from the fire, in the confusion, appeared hazardous; but, as delay was folly, I and Hyrum jumped overboard, and tried our faith at walking upon the water.
At first we sank in the water nearly to our knees, but as we proceeded we increased in faith, and were soon able to walk upon the water. On looking towards the burning boat in the east, we saw that it was drifting towards the wharf and the town, with a great flame and clouds of smoke; and, as if by whirlwind, the town was taking fire, too, so that the scene of destruction and horror of the frightened inhabitants was terrible.
We proceeded on the bosom of the mighty deep and were soon out of sight of land. The ocean was still; the rays of the sun were bright, and we forgot all the troubles of our Mother Earth. Just at that moment I heard the sound of a human voice, and, turning round, saw my brother Samuel H. approaching towards us from the east. We stopped and he came up. After a moment’s conversation he informed me that he had been lonesome back, and had made up his mind to go with me across the mighty deep.
We all started again, and in a short time were blest with the first sight of a city, whose gold and silver steeples and towers were more beautiful than any I had ever seen or heard of on earth. It stood, as it were, upon the western shore of the mighty deep we were walking on, and its order and glory seemed far beyond the wisdom of man. While we were gazing upon the perfection of the city, a small boat launched off from the port, and, almost as quick as thought, came to us. In an instant they took us on board and saluted us with a welcome, and with music such as is not on earth. The next scene, on landing, was more than I can describe: the greeting of old friends, the music from a thousand towers, and the light of God himself at the return of three of his sons, soothed my soul into a quiet and a joy that I felt as if I was truly in heaven. I gazed upon the splendor; I greeted my friends, I awoke, and lo, it was a dream!
While I meditated upon such a marvelous scene, I fell asleep again, and behold I stood near the shore of the burning boat, and there was a great consternation among the officers, crew and passengers of the flaming craft, as there seemed to be much ammunition or powder on board. The alarm was given that the fire was near the magazine, and in a moment, suddenly, it blew up with a great noise, and sank in deep water with all on board. I then turned to the country east, among the bushy openings, and saw William and Wilson Law endeavoring to escape from the wild beasts of the forest, but two lions rushed out of a thicket and devoured them. I awoke again.”
And I, Jacob, saw that I must soon go down to my grave; wherefore, I said unto my son Enos: Take these plates. And I told him the things which my brother Nephi had commanded me, and he promised obedience unto the commands. And I make an end of my writing upon these plates, which writing has been small; and to the reader I bid farewell, hoping that many of my brethren may read my words. Brethren, adieu. – Jacob 7:27
I have often heard critics of the Book of Mormon make a big stink over the word “adieu” in the Book of Mormon. People argue that the Nephites could not possibly have known French or this word since it originated around the 14th century.
I’ve heard both LDS and non-LDS people talking about how the word adieu meansRead Full Post
Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
For the sake of convenience, I’m going to break each part of this verse down into digestible elements. This will not be exhaustive by any means and I might use this as a starting point for later study.
Now, we will compare the word unto a seed.
As a letter in the alphabet of symbolism, “seed” has been used to convey the idea of posterity or faith, but in this case “the word” is being compared to a seed. What is “the word” then? Well, technically, the word can be anything, it’s whatever you want to know. The word comes to us in many ways. It is preached to us, we read it in the scriptures or we just simply come across it or it reveals itself to us in diverse ways.Read Full Post
Take a look at this image up above. With the exception of a few closer stars in our own galaxy that are white or orange in appearance, every blob or speck of light you see further off in this photo is an entire galaxy, each containing billions of stars that are each trillions of miles apart from one another. Now keep in mind that a telescope had to zoom so far out to capture this photo that it probably represents a pin-prick of space in the night sky from our vantage point.
If you like stuff like this be sure to check out the 360 view of our galaxy here:
LINK TO SKYSURVEY.ORG
Reflections on the “official explanation”
One of the most common theories about the origins of the universe has to do with a big bang which ends up spinning off an infinitesimal amount of gargantuan systems of stars, planets and other celestial bodies on which appear, of course, dinosaurs. Yes my tongue was somewhat in my cheek there, but it does sound just as ridiculous as any other other theory, just like the idea that a God created everything sounds ridiculous to some people.
I’ve often wondered though about the whole Big Bang concept, first of all, the premise is flawed because there would not have been a ‘bang’ in the first place since sound cannot travel in the vacuum of space.
But seriously now, before the said ‘bang’ there had to exist at least three elementsRead Full Post
Favorite Quotes on Fighting Temptation
“The adversary will have very little power to tempt you with things you’ve never touched.” – John B. Dickson
“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching. – John Robert Wooden (Basketball Hall of Fame)
“I am at all times willing to give up that which is wrong for I wish this people to have a virtuous leader.” – Joseph Smith
“Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence;” Alma 13:12
“He was what he was wherever he was.” (Henry B. Eyring speaking about his Father)
Typical LDS faith claims, presented as statements, raise the question of truth: statements can be true or false. Symbols can’t really be true or false in the same way that statements can. Instead, they take on meaning, and there’s nothing to stop different people or different groups of people from ascribing different, even radically different, meanings to a given symbol. A particularly stark example is the cross, which for Romans symbolized execution and the power of the state, but for Christians came to symbolize Christ’s death and, by extension, the atonement and even the resurrection. But Mormons have not adopted the cross as a preferred symbol. It’s not clear what fills the gap left by the absence of the cross in the set of Mormon symbols: Gethsemane? The Christus statue in the Temple Square Visitors’ Center? The First Vision as a revelation of God and His Son? LINK
I couldn’t agree more with the first three sentences. I don’t think a lot of people really understand this principle; symbols are not inherently good or bad or true or false. There has to be some understanding and context that come into play when interpreting them in their usage.
As for the rest of the paragraph concerning a ‘preferred symbol’ for the Mormons, I don’t see why the church needs a particular ‘symbol’ per se. Christ himself is the greatest symbol of our faith since he epitomizes what we believe and what we are seeking to become like. Some may find it uncomfortable that we do not have a symbol and would prefer that we choose one like all the other faiths.
In the Old Testament, the vast majority of other religions had idols that represented their respective Gods while Israel had none at all; they didn’t need a symbol to represent their religion. I’m not equating religious symbols to idolatry here but I see a similarity in the attitudes of the people involved.
In the Hebrew temple there were images of Cherubim on the veil of the temple and on the Ark of the Covenant and brazen oxen under the laver but these were not representations of the faith. In like manner we incorporate an angel on the tops of our modern temples along with various celestial symbols, but these are not meant to be representations of the faith.
For whatever reason, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has just not adopted a particular iconic symbol to represent itself. People will sometimes use the figure of Moroni to represent the faith and I don’t really see a problem with it but in the end, I don’t believe that it really matters whether we have a symbol or not.
If we did choose a symbol, what should it be?
If we HAD to choose a symbol that would represent the faith, I’m not quite sure what I would choose, personally. Perhaps a viable candidate would be the symbol that we see most associated with the temples which is a circle within a square. This icon seems synonymous with modern LDS temples as it is used regularly in the architecture of most modern temples.
Temple work is one of the key components of the restoration and is really the defining work of this dispensation. Temple work provides the vehicle for the fulfilling of the covenant that God has made with man through Christ. The square within the circle, as I understand it symbolically, represents the eternal (circle) comprehended within the bounds of the temporal (square); or in other words, a temple is a physical place where we go to learn eternal truths.
The meaning of the symbol is a little more obscured, like that of the star of David and not plainly obvious like the cross, but it is distinct and memorable and maybe that is all that is important.
I don’t think Latter-day Saints require a symbol to be an icon representative of the faith. I still love the answer that Gordon B. Hinckley gave to a Protestant minister when he asked “If you do not use the cross, what is the symbol of your religion?” to which Hinckley replied “the lives of our people must become the most meaningful expression of our faith and, in fact, therefore, the symbol of our worship.” (LINK) It reminds me of something that Jesus once said “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16).
Personally I think it is more important to be recognized as a follower of Christ because of his image in my countenance instead of the symbol hanging around my neck.
Updated: June 1, 2011
CNN — Radiation from cell phones can possibly cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization. The agency now lists mobile phone use in the same “carcinogenic hazard” category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform.
Before its announcement Tuesday, WHO had assured consumers that no adverse health effects had been established.
A team of 31 scientists from 14 countries, including the United States, made the decision after reviewing peer-reviewed studies on cell phone safety. The team found enough evidence to categorize personal exposure as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
What that means is that right now there haven’t been enough long-term studies conducted to make a clear conclusion if radiation from cell phones are safe, but there is enough data showing a possible connection that consumers should be alerted.
“The biggest problem we have is that we know most environmental factors take several decades of exposure before we really see the consequences,” said Dr. Keith Black, chairman of neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
The type of radiation coming out of a cell phone is called non-ionizing. It is not like an X-ray, but more like a very low-powered microwave oven.
“What microwave radiation does in most simplistic terms is similar to what happens to food in microwaves, essentially cooking the brain. So in addition to leading to a development of cancer and tumors, there could be a whole host of other effects like cognitive memory function, since the memory temporal lobes are where we hold our cell phones.”
The voices urging caution to consumers have gotten louder in recent years.
The European Environmental Agency has pushed for more studies, saying cell phones could be as big a public health risk as smoking, asbestos and leaded gasoline. The head of a prominent cancer-research institute at the University of Pittsburgh sent a memo to all employees urging them to limit cell phone use because of a possible risk of cancer.
“When you look at cancer development — particularly brain cancer — it takes a long time to develop. I think it is a good idea to give the public some sort of warning that long-term exposure to radiation from your cell phone could possibly cause cancer,” said Dr. Henry Lai, research professor in bioengineering at University of Washington who has studied radiation for over 30 years.
Results from the largest international study on cell phones and cancer was released in 2010. It showed participants in the study who used a cell phones for 10 years or more had doubled the rate of brain glioma, a type of tumor. To date, there have been no long-term studies on the effects of cell phone usage among children.
“Childrens’ skulls and scalps are thinner. So the radiation can penetrate deeper into the brain of children and young adults. Their cells are dividing faster rate, so the impact of radiation can be much larger.” said Black of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Manufacturers of many popular cell phones already warn consumers to keep their device away from their body.
The Apple iPhone 4 safety manual says for users’ radiation exposure to not exceed FCC guidelines, “When using iPhone near your body for voice calls or for wireless data transmission over a cellular network, keep iPhone at least 15 mm (5/8 inch) away from the body.”
Blackberry Bold advises users to, “keep the BlackBerry device at least 0.98 in. (25 mm) from your body when the BlackBerry device is transmitting.”
I don’t know what Nephi originally constructed his ship with, but today we’re going to build his ship with an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper. I actually have a ton of stuff like this that I’ve used for lessons in the past so I’ll probably be posting some of these things every now and then.
So channeling Sugardoodle.net that my wife frequents, I’m going to provide a simple papercraft project for teaching about Nephi’s ship and obedience.
My current calling is teaching the CTR 7 kids in primary. It’s a calling that I find very interesting and rewarding as I get to discuss the gospel with these very young minds. Well, today’s lesson was on how God helps us to be obedient to his commandments which is an interesting topic in its own right. We talked about how difficult and even impossible it must have seemed for Nephi to do such a task.Read Full Post
This is a pretty amazing video. If you listen carefully you can almost hear “How Great Thou Art” being sung. There are normal cricket noises being played along with the slowed down track but it’s the latter that is the most awe-inspiring. If wonder if you did the same thing to the so-called “Mormon crickets” but heard “Come, Come Ye Saints” instead ;)
These videos do a great job illustrating the vast amounts of sugar that are in the sodas that most people drink. If this comes as a shocker to you, I’d do a little more research and you will be amazed at how much sugar is in the modern American diet. If you found this interesting, check this vid out too.
My Heavenly Father Loves Me
Words and Music by Clara W. McMaster, b. 1904
Whenever I hear the song of a bird
Or look at the blue, blue sky,
Whenever I feel the rain on my face
Or the wind as it rushes by,
Whenever I touch a velvet rose
Or walk by a lilac tree,
I’m glad that I live in this beautiful world
Heavenly Father created for me.
He gave me my eyes that I might see
The color of butterfly wings.
He gave me my ears that I might hear
The magical sound of things.
He gave me my life, my mind, my heart:
I thank him reverently
For all his creations, of which I’m a part.
Yes, I know Heavenly Father loves me.
I sat pondering in a sacrament meeting one day looking at the table (or altar) on which the emblems of the sacrament, the bread and water, were placed.
Both above and below the emblems are a pair of white sheets. I have often heard it said that the white sheets covering the sacramental emblems was to give the impression of the body of Christ on an altar. This always made sense to me because there are numerous references to Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God who gave his own life as an offering for our sins.
However on this day my thoughts went down another road.
The modern ordinance that we call the ‘sacrament’ used to be something else before the atonement. Since Adam and throughout the era where the Law of Moses was in effect, that table or altar used to be an edifice where animals were slain and consumed by fire. We have in our modern ordinances emblems that represent the flesh and blood of a sacrificial victim, and an altar on which they are placed, but what are these white linens covering the emblems? What do they represent? I began to wonder if it was possible that the white cloth could be a representation of the fire that enveloped the sacrificial emblems.
Fire and the Presence of God
All these thoughts reminded me of how the presence of God is often related to fire; here are a few significant verses:Read Full Post
From the Website:
The Photopic Sky Survey is a 5,000 megapixel photograph of the entire night sky stitched together from 37,440 exposures. Large in size and scope, it portrays a world far beyond the one beneath our feet and reveals our familiar Milky Way with unfamiliar clarity. When we look upon this image, we are in fact peering back in time, as much of the light—having traveled such vast distances—predates civilization itself.
Seen at a depth thousands of times more faint than the dimmest visible star, tens of millions of other suns appear, still perhaps only a hundredth of one percent thought to exist in our galaxy alone. Our Milky Way galaxy is the dominant feature, its dusty arms sweeping through the frame, punctuated by red clouds of glowing hydrogen. To the lower right are our nearest neighbors, each small galaxies themselves with their own hundreds of millions of stars.
“We say that God is true; that the Constitution of the United States is true; that the Bible is true.” (TPJS 147-48)
I love the simplicity in that statement. Joseph Smith it seems was trying to make a powerful statement about the importance and divine origins for the Constitution of the United States by placing it between God and the Bible and thereby elevating it to the level of scripture.
The Constitution of the United States has brought more than just liberty and good government to the world, the results of liberty have spawned technological revolutions that have launched mankind by leaps and bounds into prosperity and knowledge.
First thing every morning, Ellen Talles starts her day by draining a supersize Styrofoam cup filled with Diet Coke and crushed ice. The 61-year-old from Boca Raton, Fla., drinks another Diet Coke in the car on the way to work and keeps a glass nearby “at all times” at her job as a salesclerk. By the end of the day she has put away about 2 liters.
“I just love it,” she says. “I crave it, need it. My food tastes better with it.”
Talles sounds a lot like an addict. Replace her ever-present glass of Diet Coke with a cigarette, and she’d make a convincing two-pack-a-day smoker. In fact, she says, she buys her 2-liter bottles 10 at a time — more if a hurricane is in the offing — because if she notices she’s down to her last one, she panics “like somebody who doesn’t have their pack of cigarettes.”Read Full Post
S. Kent Brown, “When Did Jesus Visit the Americas?” in From Jerusalem to Zarahemla: Literary and Historical Studies of the Book of Mormon (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1998), 146–156.
When Did Jesus Visit the Americas?
Conflicting views exist about when Jesus appeared to his New World disciples. Did he appear directly after his ascension to the Father? Some believe that his appearance followed the forty days with his disciples in Palestine, while others believe that an entire year had passed after the resurrection when he appeared in the Americas. Observations from the text suggest that he mercifully waited for the people to recover from the destruction that attended his crucifixion. Compelling details help us approach an answer to this puzzling question.
Even in the bright light of written commentary and artistic depiction, a question persists about the datingRead Full Post
I read this off of a post at BenCrowder.net. He’s quoting Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death, who is quoting Lewis Mumford (*whew):
“The clock,” Mumford has concluded, “is a piece of power machinery whose ‘product’ is seconds and minutes.”
In manufacturing such a product, the clock has the effect of disassociating time from human events and thus nourishes the belief in an independent world of mathematically measurable sequences. Moment to moment, it turns out, is not God’s conception, or nature’s. It is man conversing with himself about and through a piece of machinery he created.
In Mumford’s great book Technics and Civilization, he shows how, beginning in the fourteenth century, the clock made us into time-keepers, and then time-savers, and now time-servers. In the process, we have learned irreverence toward the sun and the seasons, for in a world made up of seconds and minutes, the authority of nature is superseded. Indeed, as Mumford points out, with the invention of the clock, Eternity ceased to serve as the measure and focus of human events.
And thus, though few would have imagined the connection, the inexorable ticking of the clock may have had more to do with the weakening of God’s supremacy than all the treatises produced by the philosophers of the Enlightenment; that is to say, the clock introduced a new form of conversation between man and God, in which God appears to have been the loser.
Perhaps Moses should have included another Commandment: Thou shalt not make mechanical representations of time.
Just one more excuse for me to ditch this watch of mine…
One of the past great leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a man named Ezra Taft Benson. He had this to say about the Book of Mormon:
The Book of Mormon brings men to Christ through two basic means. First, it tells in a plain manner of Christ and His gospel. It testifies of His divinity and of the necessity for a Redeemer and the need of our putting trust in Him. It bears witness of the Fall and the Atonement and the first principles of the gospel, including our need of a broken heart and a contrite spirit and a spiritual rebirth. It proclaims we must endure to the end in righteousness and live the moral life of a Saint.
Second, the Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and lays down contention. (See 2 Ne. 3:12.) It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time. (The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God, President Ezra Taft Benson, Jan 1988.)
The purpose of this article is to show how the Book of Mormon calls out and condemns the biggest threat to liberty that mankind has ever faced – a threat that already encompasses us.
It is somewhere around A.D. 29-30 on the American continent. A group of elites, rich, powerful and connected, seek for more powerRead Full Post
Jim Davila posts some information from a man named Peter Thonemann who was in contact with a Mr. David Elkington who is allegedly in possession of the main cache of ‘plates’. The more I read about this David Elkington character the more I become suspicious of his motives and the validity of these so-called ‘plates’.
Here is part of Mr. Thonemann’s reply to Mr. Elkington:
The text on your bronze tablet, therefore, makes no sense in its own right, but has been extracted unintelligently from another longer text (as if it were inscribed with the words: ‘t to be that is the question wheth’). The longer text from which it derives is a perfectly ordinary tombstone from Madaba in Jordan which happens to have been on display in the Amman museum for the past fifty years or so. The text on your bronze tablet is repeated, in part, in three different places, meaningless in each case.
The only possible explanation is that the text on the bronze tablet was copied directly from the inscription in the museum at Amman by someone who did not understand the meaning of the text of the inscription, but was simply looking for a plausible-looking sequence of Greek letters to copy. He copied that sequence three times, in each case mixing up the letters alpha and lambda.
This particular bronze tablet is, therefore, a modern forgery, produced in Jordan within the last fifty years. I would stake my career on it.
Ok, so click here and then read down to the post titled: “HEBREW-INSCRIBED-METAL-CODICES WATCH: A FAKE”. I tend to agree with some of the commentary that I have been reading that is critical of these plates. I’m probably about 95% convinced that they are indeed very well-crafted fakes. Well, physically crafted at least; the forgers apparently went through all this trouble and didn’t even read what it was that they were writing.
Too bad though. I believe there are so many more amazing and astounding things left to be discovered, but it’s too bad that there are people out there that are dishonest and do so much harm to the acceptance of truly genuine artifacts out there that may prove to be just as controversial.
As for now, I’m probably not going to post any more news about these ‘plates’ until we can ascertain 100% one way or the other just what these things really are. It’s made for a fun few days though ;)
Updated: April 4, 2011