Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Four Gospel Stones

In gospel principles the other day I learned that there are several different stones in gospel building.

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  (Matthew 16). 

Before you can build a structure, you have to dig down to a bedrock to pour your foundation, and that bedrock is communication from Heavenly Father via the Holy Ghost and through the priesthood. 

Next up: 20 ...And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2). 

All measured off of: ...Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (Ephesians 2:20). 

We are the only ones who claim a foundation of apostles and prophets being built in these last days, in harmony with the bible (which Christianity claims to follow - though the scriptures themselves say you aren't built upon the bible but upon revelation....), and with the fruits one would expect from apostles and prophets, new scriptures, temples, missionary work and so on. 

But what is the Book of Mormon in it all? 

Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” (Book of Mormon Introduction). 

A keystone is not what a structure is built on, but without which, an archway of the stone-building type, cannot stand. 

I'm certain there is more symbolism here but for now I just thought I'd share something I put together in learning.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Political Record Unprofitable

We know that Moroni and Mormon and the other writers of the Book of Mormon were focused primarily on the spiritual affairs of the Book of Mormon.

I've often wondered, from listening to the critics, that perhaps if it focused on a political and secular history, if it wouldn't be taken more seriously and be considered a historical rather than a fictional-spiritual work.

I don't know.

Critics set their own threshold of belief but it seems they are more focused on being critics than on finding truth - scoring pride-points and ego-points in the world of popular (but not inspired) opinion.

As I was writing in the family journal during gospel principles today, I was making a bit of a historical account of the happenings in the world, particularly on Korea and commented just how unstable North Korea's dictator - the pot bellied pig who lives the extremely fat life while his people starve - is, always making promises, breaking them and then blaming someone else.   What a hell that has to be to live with.

But in terms of eternal profit to my descendants, I realized that world news isn't going to be the most profitable, given how unstable it is, and so many things simply repeat themselves over and over again in history - but the gospel is eternal, and us as family is valuable and unique. 

Much more than the latest shenanigans in politics by men who want power.

So as I wrote my journal today, I realized that the Book of Mormon, in terms of worth, is what we needed, and what critics claim they want or need, is hogwash.

We need the spiritual record and testimony, and so does family of us in our jounals, rather than an unprofitable political record.

(I'll still comment on politics in my journal, just was realizing it's historical but maybe not as valuable as the family and spiritual stuff).

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A Song of Songs and Ancient Poetry

 In reading the Song of Solomon I discovered something:

While it may not be cannon, per-se, it is poetry and artistic, and the arts and beauty really are of our Heavenly Father - without the arts, as C.S. Lewis noted, we are no more than glorified beasts of the field learning how to more efficiently drink, sleep, eat and mate - the arts are what inspire us to aspire to God.

While I may not have learned doctrine, specifically, I did learn things that were considered valuable and beautiful in ancient times.

It gave me a moment to pause and consider what was life like for our ancestors anciently?  How hard was it compared to today?   What would be considered valuable back then, or even an escape from the world? The architecture, the food, the beauty, the clothing, the perfumes, the fruits.  The part that stuck out to me was this - 11 I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded. (Song of Solomon 6).

I hadn't known of gardening nuts, or how valuable it would be - I've never gardened them, but I suppose in an era when root beer and ice cream hadn't yet been invented, something like that may be considered a delicacy and a place of wealth and repose.

Doctrine is fine and well and it's own beautiful thing, but we do not have the poetry of the Nephites or the Lamanites - none.   Yet here we have in our book from ancient Israel a song of songs, a poem of poems several thousand years old from the other side of the world (from the USA). 

So, my first choice for comfort and enlightenment?  Perhaps not, but a place I can look at to think of things I might take for granted but were counted as the choicest of blessings anciently?  I think so - and I enjoyed it.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

An Evil Thought (Poof ! )

It's interesting that evil would never put up with being treated the way it treats others.

It would kill anything that did what it did, it hates competition.

And it hates goodness because goodness won't put up with where does that leave it?

Tuesday, May 8, 2018


After my military training the whole notion of being a peacemaker took on a new meaning.

Light 'em up, open fire, put 'em down, let's end this.

Zero tolerance and no surrender.

A good fight?

If it's for the right reason and not in violation of God's commandments, sign me up and let me be the first one in.

My heroes from the Book of Mormon?

Teancum.   Nothing like an ancient day sniper with a spear who gets to the heart of the matter and cuts the nonsense with a single throw.

Chief Captain Moroni. Hoist the colors, and then go find the dissidents, round 'em up, make 'em swear an oath of allegiance or we end the conflict with their lives.

Pretty simple, eh?

You're on one side or the other, we're either serious about the war or we're not.  Fire or be taken captive - and that's it.

A priesthood blessing some time ago told me that being a peacemaker was one of my gifts.

At the time I'm thinking "You got the wrong dude, dude, the only peacemaking I do is with the deaths of the enemies of Christ and again, open fire."

As always, when we are faithful, the priesthood is inspired.

I've come to add more light to my light.  There is a time and a place for "you may fire when ready" and that day will come and we will spare not nor will the Lord.

But until then, we are all on the same side - we were in the beginning and we are now, just divided by lies of the adversary and shrouded in darkness of sin and under the veil.

All this contention in the world?  The facebook slamming and media arguing and name calling back and forth?  There's a time to "reprove with sharpness" but this war for souls - our brothers' and sisters' souls - requires the spirit - and the spirit of contention isn't going to bring the light of Christ and teach eternal truth to help people make the changes that come with eternal blessings.

So....peacemaker?  Is a warrior - a warrior not only of peace, but one who builds a royal army of priesthood and sealing covenants who throws the adversary into commotion and destroys his work by saving our father's children.

Rather than overwhelming them with gunfire and force, we overwhelm them with the spirit and kindness and bring yet more souls to our side.

Now, interestingly, I've become a mediator - a peacemaker - for the court system here in Idaho and I'm getting trained on resolving disputes in troubled marriages and everything else.

But for the warriors in the crowd - being a peacemaker is a different type of warfare - a spiritual warfare - beating back the darkness by bringing light and establishing peace between and among father's children. 

It is not for the faint of heart or weak of spirit or hasty in nature.

Monday, May 7, 2018

A Thing of Beauty: Glass Talents!

I have a deep appreciation for art as I'm an oil painter artist myself now.

Things I enjoy about my medium is I can work fairly fast and it's fairly simple but people love it.

I've learned at one time how to work with stained glass but this! amazing.

I'm just posting this as a bit of a wonderful example of how finding our talents can beautify the world and point out what an amazing age we live in that we can make such things!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Peace in Victory: Graciousness in Conquest - Thoughts From Genealogy

As I stood in the Mount Hope Cemetery in Baker City, Oregon today, I looked over the veterans section and pondered for a while.

I looked at the first headstone in passing and noticed it was engraved that the serviceman had served in "World War I".

The War to End All Wars.

The first war with submarines, airplanes, zeppelins, blimps, bombers, landmines, tanks, torpedoes, dreadnought battleships, naval artillery, radio....modern warfare.....

....and fifteen million dead.

As I mused over the War to End All Wars, I pondered it's ending.  It's surrender.  It's declaration of peace.

Do you know it?

The most destructive war in modern Western history lay with Europe in ruins, and fifteen million dead.The peace treaty, or surrender, sought to punish the vanquished and make them pay - literally - for all the costs of the war and making it impossible for them to recover from the war.

Rather than build up the conquered, victory and peace became their own punishment in addition to war, further ruining an already ruined country and setting the stage for discontent that led to the promises of a tyrant to settle this score and build up a conquered people who then began....World War II.

Perhaps - just perhaps - being gracious in victory and helping establish peace and prosperity where all could prosper and live in peace might have staved off the next conflict.

But rather than peace being a means to start anew, it became another opportunity to abuse and the victors' pride in conquest led to the next conflict of a global scale now with 66 million dead.

There's a spiritual lesson in all of this, and part of it is about the causes you go to war over and to be aware of the spiritual - and temporal! - consequences of how you handle victory - on the international level as well as the personal level.  You can win an argument with your husband and then rub it in their face and create resentment....or you can choose to be " showing forth afterwards an increase of love....lest he esteem thee to be his enemy" (D&C 121:45) and forment resentment and all sorts of wicked feelings that cause enmity and ultimately destroy Father's children.

Be gracious in victory to your conquered, make them your ally so you don't have to go to war again.  Show them a better way and work together in peace....conquer your enemies by making them your friends afterwards...and conquer the enemy of mankind's progress which is enmity towards one another.

My last thought came as I noticed the two headstone dates of one behind another, the first having served and fought in World War I, and the one behind him having been born in the year the first fought - his life beginning so that one day he would pick up where the one left off so he could fight....and here they lie together in the same cemetery.

An unusual placement, not one that I would normally take notice of, and I wasn't sure of the significance at the moment other than recognizing that others come along to take up the same fight and then lie back down to mother earth to rise no more - and hopefully their sacrifice not only counted for something but is honored and defended by those who come behind them so that it wasn't in vain.

Be gracious in victory, and be thankful for what you've been given and remember those who gave it to you.  Take care of it and make it better if you can. Actually end the war with victory when you win it rather than carry it on by another means.