The pentagram. At the sound of its name the average person might think of “Satanism”, you may walk down the aisle of a video rental store and see it on the covers of horror movies, but has it always been this way? Has the pentagram always been associated with evil? How did it come to mean this?
Below are two stars that appear several times on the outside of the LDS Nauvoo temple. These two inverted stars are actually tied deeply to Jesus Christ and have been for a very long time; I’ll explain.
The pentagram, or day star/morning star is an ancient representation of the planet Venus. Jesus Christ, in the New Testament is referred to as both the “Day Star” and the “Morning Star” in connection to the planet Venus.
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” (2 Peter 1:19)
“I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” (Revelation 22:16)
In eight earth years, venus will have orbited the sun 13 timesRead Full PostGo to Comments
One astounding principle of psychology and, subsequently, behavioral modification is the principle that simply studying something changes it. This is called the Hawthorne Effect and, if you’re willing, you can use it to improve your general well-being. The term was coined in 1950 by an experimenter named Henry Landsberger who had performed a study at the Hawthorne electric factory in Illinois. The productivity of the factory workers improved drastically simply because they realized they were being studied.
What’s surprising is that, relying on the Hawthorne Effect, you can select any given target behavior (overeating, poor sleep habits, bad posture) and then keep a record of the behavior, and the behavior will naturally begin to change (hopefully for the better!).
What causes the Hawthorne Effect to work is awareness and intuitive/natural reaction:Read Full PostGo to Comments
Just as LDS Temples bear profound doctrinal teachings in their architecture, I suspect that our meetinghouses might have some things to teach us as well.
For the past several years, I’ve been paying close attention to the architecture certain styles of chapels that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been building. I found curious repetition of certain numbers and themes and assumed that they were probably just coincidental, but then had some fun considering possible meanings in the design.
I’ve still got a lot of studying yet to do, but I’ll share what I’ve observed thus far along with some potential interpretations.Read Full PostGo to Comments
The Word of Wisdom is a revelation that includes many instructions from the Lord pertaining to the substances we consume that therefore make up our bodies. The promised blessings for obedience to the principles revealed to us are priceless and varied. But before getting to this modern dietary law, let’s start with a few examples of instructions concerning diet that God has given to man since the beginning.
A brief history of divinely mandated dietary laws
The Garden of Eden
We read, there was a garden eastward in Eden where Adam and Eve were counseled concerning that which they took into their bodies for nourishment:
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17)
Since they were allowed to eat of every tree of the garden, we can assume that their diet in this case was strictly limited to vegetation. There is no evidence of man consuming flesh for food at this point. The only thing they were counseled to not partakeRead Full PostGo to Comments
I don’t often recommend books, but I was just so impressed by Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” that I had to share some of my perspectives on it.
First off, for years I misjudged this book by its title. I think many if not most of us have heard of it before and I personally always thought that it was one of those ‘self help’ books for introverted people with no friends. A family member read the book and recommended it; this was enough to pique my interest.
I am pleased to say that I highly enjoyed this read and only regret not having read it much earlier in my life. I was impressed by the years and years of research that Mr. Carnegie put into discovering the principles of human interaction and formulating simple ways to apply true principles to our every day lives easily.
I purchased the audio version of the book and listened once through and enjoyed it so much that I’m going through it again so the principles can stick more firmly in my mind.
I found the book a wonderful treasure-trove of easy to understand concepts that anyone can put into practice to live in greater peace and happiness with those around them. The ideas are not new, they have been taught through time immemorial, you’ll read them in the scriptures and hear them preached over the pulpit. The book is full of valuable encounters of human situations that vividly illustrate certain principles that we can apply in our own interactions with people.
Now this is a book ‘recommendation’ and not a review. I personally don’t feel that I could do the book justice by trying to break it down for you, so I will simply leave an open invitation to read the book for yourself.
I have already noticed a huge change in the way that I deal with people. I have been surprised at how my relationships with virtually everyone I have come in contact with, from old friends, to family to strangers has been enhanced and improved. I look forward more to interacting with people and how the power of kindness can win over just about anyone.
So there you have it. Pick up a copy and give it a read, it’s fun and almost addicting putting these principles in practice and immediately reaping the rewards.Go to Comments
Today is the 10th anniversary of the horrific events that began with the deaths of over 3000 people here in the United States and that continues to this day with a total human death toll that has climbed well over one million dead, 4.5 Million Displaced, 1-2 Million Widows, 5 Million Orphans and almost 5000 dead U.S. soldiers. [source]
Are we any closer to justice or peace? Where is the end to all of this? How does one win a war that is not declared on any nation but on individuals we arbitrarily identify as “terrorists”.
As a Latter-day Saint, I refer often to the Book of Mormon which has much to say on the situation of war. I have learned that is it just to fight to defend certain things:
Nevertheless, the Nephites were inspired by a better cause, for they were not fighting for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church. And they were doing that which they felt was the duty which they owed to their God; for the Lord had said unto them, and also unto their fathers, that: Inasmuch as ye are not guilty of the first offense, neither the second, ye shall not suffer yourselves to be slain by the hands of your enemies. And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed… – Alma 43:45-47
Innocent people were killed on 9/11 and we declared ourselves as a nation under attack. If we look to the Book of Mormon for perspective, we will find recorded in 3 Nephi an account of a band of “terrorists” living out in the wilderness who threaten the Nephite civilization. The people conclude that the best decision is to fall upon them in the wilderness and destroy them in their own landsRead Full PostGo to Comments
Until recently, I had NO idea that this was at Temple Square. It is amazing to me that there it is, right in front of the Salt Lake Temple and I’ve never seen it. It’s fantastic, and appropriate that such a monument dedicated to true freedom and liberty stands right in front of the Lord’s house.Go to Comments
by Dr. A. Burt Horsley, a professor of philosophy at Brigham Young University
The Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church served not only as a form of self-inquisition; it also resulted in a dialogue with the non-Catholic world. The attention of men of all faiths everywhere was focused upon a tradition and an institution that numbers as adherents more than one sixth of the world’s population.
It is not possible in this article to deal with Catholicism in all its many facets, but some of its historical, theological, and cultural perspectives can be examined profitably. As with most institutions, it has had periods of infamy and greatness as it has playedRead Full PostGo to Comments
Every now and then I come across a comment, an article or a discussion about the Eternal nature of God and what it means. This subject has always been very thought-provoking to me so I’d like to put down some thoughts on the matter.
Some who question Church doctrine quote Moroni 7:22 and Mosiah 3:5 which read:
Moroni 7:22 – For Behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting…
Mosiah 3:5 – …who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity…
These scriptures are brought up and compared to an excerpt from Joseph Smith’s “King Follet Sermon” where Joseph states:Read Full PostGo to Comments
Have you ever read the New Testament in chronological order? Well now you can with this downloadable guide. Several of these dates and even the order of some of these books are still in question, but from what I could find, these dates are pretty close.
It’s interesting to note that the earliest NT book we have is the Book of James that contains that ever so important verse in chapter one ;) It’s also interesting to note when the different gospels were written.
(dates are approximate)
50 A.D. – James
50 A.D. – Matthew
51 A.D. – 1 Thessalonians
51 A.D. – 2 Thessalonians
53 A.D. – Galatians
55 A.D. – 1 Corinthians
55 A.D. – 2 Corinthians
57 A.D. – Romans
60 A.D. – Colossians
60 A.D. – Ephesians
60 A.D. – Philemon
60 A.D. – Mark
60 A.D. – 1 Peter
63 A.D. – Philippians
63 A.D. – Acts
63 A.D. – Hebrews
63 A.D. – Titus
63 A.D. – 1 Timothy
63 A.D. – 2 Timothy
68 A.D. – 2 Peter
70 A.D. – Luke
70 A.D. – John
65-80 A.D. – Jude
85-90 A.D. – 1,2,3 John
54-96 A.D. – Revelation
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 PostGo to Comments
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
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“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 PostGo to Comments
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 PostGo to Comments
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 PostGo to Comments
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)
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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, 2011Go to Comments
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.”Go to Comments