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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Parallels Between Jesus’ Temptations and Nephi’s Vision of the Tree of Life

Jan 22, 2020
1 min read

In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we find an account of Jesus being tempted by the devil while fasting in the wilderness. The scene parallels, in at least two significant ways, Nephi’s vision of the tree of life.

Jesus is tempted by the devil, which correlates with the mists of darkness that Nephi saw in his vision. The only way through the mists of darkness, or these temptations, is to continually hold fast to the iron rod, or word of God.

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Toddler Jesus!

Dec 25, 2019
0 min read

This was the best comment on the church’s new video The Christ Child which I highly recommend.

The characters are speaking Aramaic, the inn situation is more historically accurate and the wise men show up at the right time!

The performances are outstanding and the wise man’s reaction to Jesus is priceless. This is probably the best film that I’ve seen from the church.

You don’t see a depiction of Jesus as a toddler very often and while we know that he was a toddler, it is different seeing it depicted and wondering about what that must have been like.

What a great reminder of how our Savior came to earth in such a humble manner. Thank you, Father, for the gift of your Son and for all the beauty of life.

Becoming Indistractable

Dec 20, 2019
0 min read

I listened to this podcast several weeks ago because, like most people, I felt like I would get distracted often.

Nir Eyal, the author of Indistractable explains that distraction starts from within. When we feel like indulging in a distraction we should ask the question: What am I escaping from? or What is the feeling that I’m using a distraction to escape?

He further explains that every human has an inherent desire to escape discomfort. Whenever we feel physically uncomfortable, we react. When we are lonely, we check Facebook, when we are uncertain, we check Google, when we are bored, we turn on the TV, check the news or watch a movie. 

The key is learning to manage those internal triggers and he explains how this can be done in the podcast below.

I thought this was some of the most helpful and simple advice I have heard in a long time and it is definitely a great message for people of all ages to deal with the challenges of our day and time.

Here’s the audio via User Defenders Podcast:

Link to podcast website and full transcript: https://userdefenders.com/podcast/064-how-to-become-indistractable-with-nir-eyal/

Stages of Faith Notes

Dec 10, 2019
1 min read

Recently I listened to the Stages of Faith presentation again but this time with my wife and daughters and it was a wonderful experience. I wanted my wife and kids to hear these ideas to see how we can help add to their faith and help prepare them better. A comment from Zen at JRGanymede said:

“Don’t teach so clearly they can understand.
Teach so clearly they can’t misunderstand.”

I cannot recommend this presentation enough so if you haven’t listened to it yet, set aside some time and enjoy it by clicking here.

I think that the material covered there can have an incredible impact on people who are struggling or even younger people who may not understand trials or the dark night of the soul when it inevitably envelops them.

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40

Dec 8, 2019
1 min read
My Dad and I

This past week, I turned 40 years old; wow, that’s how long the Israelites wandered in the desert. The number 40 is tied to the themes of “probation, trial, and chastisement.” [1] Hopefully I am on the other side of the probation and chastisement and not just beginning them, yikes!

That got me thinking of how Lehi’s people wandered for 8 years and how “it is the number specially associated with Resurrection and Regeneration, and the beginning of a new era or order.” [2] That makes a lot of sense seeing how they were starting a completely new civilization in the promised land.

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Some Thoughts About Understanding What Priesthood Is

Nov 26, 2019
5 min read

The priesthood is a big topic and much has been said and written about it throughout time. It seems to me that there are a lot of misunderstandings out there about what the priesthood is.

I think there is some wisdom found in exploring some words spoken by, then President of the quorum of the twelve, Russell M. Nelson about the atonement of Jesus Christ:

It is doctrinally incomplete to speak of the Lord’s atoning sacrifice by shortcut phrases, such as “the Atonement” or “the enabling power of the Atonement” or “applying the Atonement” or “being strengthened by the Atonement.” These expressions present a real risk of misdirecting faith by treating the event as if it had living existence and capabilities independent of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Under the Father’s great eternal plan, it is the Savior who suffered. It is the Savior who broke the bands of death. It is the Savior who paid the price for our sins and transgressions and blots them out on condition of our repentance. It is the Savior who delivers us from physical and spiritual death.

There is no amorphous entity called “the Atonement” upon which we may call for succor, healing, forgiveness, or power. Jesus Christ is the source. Sacred terms such as Atonement and Resurrection describe what the Savior did, according to the Father’s plan, so that we may live with hope in this life and gain eternal life in the world to come. The Savior’s atoning sacrifice—the central act of all human history—is best understood and appreciated when we expressly and clearly connect it to Him.

Russell M. Nelson

I think that similarly, we make the same error in how we talk about the priesthood. Both ‘the atonement’ and ‘the priesthood’ are not in and of themselves some amorphous entities that we ‘draw upon’ for power.

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Intelligence requires ideas to act consciously

Nov 24, 2019
1 min read
@jeremythomasphoto

This is a thought I had today as we were discussing the topic of temptation in church. I was thinking again along the lines of another recent post about the source of ideas.

Intelligence alone cannot progress without ideas. Ideas consist of information, something that has been assembled in a manner that can be comprehended. We understand God to be a source of ideas and when intelligences are aware of his ideas, they act and grow, and if they continue on this path they progress.

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Fear and Faith are Both Based on Ideas

Nov 17, 2019
0 min read

This story is from September 2015

As I went to announce to my kids that it was bedtime I noticed that two out of the three were fast asleep on the couch.

I was tired too and decided to just leave them where they lay for the night. I told the last one awake to head to bed, but she protested and asked that I move the others to the room with her because she did not want to sleep alone.

I told her she’s always wanted her own room anyway, so tonight she gets her wish!

She replied, “Well, I changed my mind!”

A light went on in my mind as I realized that she must still be afraid due to those ghost stories the kids down the street had told her earlier in the evening. 

I noted a similarity between fear and faith; they are both based on ideas. 

Ideas alone are nothing, but they lose or gain power depending on the degree of belief we choose to invest in them.

Everything Will Be Okay…

Nov 13, 2019
2 min read

Some recent quotes and ideas that I found interesting.

Everything will be okay in the end. If everything’s not okay, it’s not the end.

-via Jeremiah NTJ and Bookslinger, jrganymede.com

The discomfort one feels from the scornful mocking coming from the great and spacious building is directly proportional to the value one ascribes to their opinions.

Personal notes

2. Jesus said, “Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]”

25. Jesus said, “Love your brother like your soul, guard him like the pupil of your eye.”

The Gospel of Thomas
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