Sunday, April 10, 2011


The Spirit of Revelation

At least two prophets, seers, and revelators spoke on the topic of revelation during the 181st Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Both President Uchtdorf and Elder Bednar addressed the topic in similar ways. President Uchtdorf spoke of the folly of waiting on the Road to Damascus for marvelous experiences; Elder Bednar contrasted the sudden illumination of a dark room with the gradual light of the rising sun. A fundamental principle of both talks being that truth and light tend to come to each of us gradually as we worthily pursue it and prepare ourselves to receive it.

I was struck by a paragraph from Elder Bednar's talk (found here: )

President Joseph F. Smith counseled: “Show me Latter-day Saints who have to feed upon miracles, signs, and visions in order to keep them steadfast in the Church, and I will show you members … who are not in good standing before God, and who are walking in slippery paths. It is not by marvelous manifestations unto us that we shall be established in the truth, but it is by humility and faithful obedience to the commandments and laws of God” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1900, 40).

I was reminded of a missionary that I knew who, although not seeking miracles and signs, was seeking constant validation and answers to questions from general authorities. The answers he would treasure, for a while. Eventually, some time after his mission, he left the church. An illustration of the principle that we have to claim and use the light and truth given us; we can't rely on others; the Spirit must speak to our spirit, in our hearts and in our minds. Then we may be truly converted and we stay that way by steadily hearkening to it, our testimonies growing line upon line and precept upon precept.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Powers of Heaven

Just some thoughts off the cuff here as I consider two verses from D&C Section 84:
118 For, with you saith the Lord Almighty, I will rend their kingdoms; I will not only shake the earth, but the starry heavens shall tremble.
119 For I, the Lord, have put forth my hand to exert the powers of heaven; ye cannot see it now, yet a little while and ye shall see it, and know that I am, and that I will come and reign with my people.

I had two thoughts while reading this: First, I remember some other verses using the term powers of heaven, and second, I remember a verse about the stars being angry and casting themselves down. Are the starry heavens trembling and the powers of heaven, which shall be "shaken" according to some verses, the same, related or completely different?

These are the other scriptures that use the term powers of heaven:
Doctrine and Covenants 121:36
That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

-This is the one most often quoted in conference talks and other references by the general authorities to the powers of heaven. The rights of the priesthood being inseparably connected therewith. So the powers of heaven have some reference to the priesthood (or rather govern the use of the priesthood)?

Moses 7:27
And Enoch beheld angels descending out of heaven, bearing testimony of the Father and Son; and the Holy Ghost fell on many, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion.

Luke 21:26
Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

-This is what I was thinking of, references to the powers of heaven being shaken. But how does that relate to the priesthood connection? Is this a completely different meaning for the "powers of heaven" as in the things that we can see in the physical heavens rather than the priesthood or righteousness?

Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:33
And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

3 Nephi 20:22
And behold, this people will I establish in this land, unto the fulfilling of the covenant which I made with your father Jacob; and it shall be a New Jerusalem. And the powers of heaven shall be in the midst of this people; yea, even I will be in the midst of you.

-This seems relate back to the priesthood connection again - or Jesus Christ himself.

3 Nephi 28:7
Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.

Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:36
And, as I said before, after the tribulation of those days, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken, then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn; and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory;

This verse D&C 21:6 (and others) make reference to the heavens shaking for good:
For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.

And this verse Doctrine and Covenants 88:87 talks about the stars being angry and casting themselves down:
87 For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig tree.

-So where does all this go? We have powers of heaven connected to priesthood, heaven and the powers of heaven being shaken (for good?), and stars becoming angry and casting themselves down. All sparked (in my mind) by two verses referencing the starry heavens shaking and the Lord reaching forth to exert the powers of heaven. All having reference to the last days. I am intrigued by the angry stars because it could be simply stars falling (meteors or other phenomena), or it could have reference to something earthly, as in kings, princes, nobles, leaders becoming angry and falling from their positions. (This latter idea is from something I read a year or so ago by Sir Isaac Newton as he attempted to decipher the Book of Revelation. While I found him uninspired, it was at least interesting.) I haven't found a satisfactory discussion in modern revelation about the meanings here, so I have to assume it hasn't been given, or it is simply obvious and I'm just not bright enough to see it.

Monday, September 06, 2010


Fine Clothes and Mankind's Problems

Some notes on Alma 4

About the pride and fine-twined linen - Elder Joe J. Christensen said at April 1999 Conference: "More than 10 times the prophets of the Book of Mormon warn us of the problems of pride related to the nature of our clothing."

Elder L. Tom Perry said at the April 1992 Conference: "Alma understood... there is no way of caring for the problems of mankind unless the great majority of them have been taught and subscribe their living to a code of conduct which will keep them from falling into sin... We are spending too much time and energy in repairing the damage of sin and not enough time in teaching them the Lord's law as a foundation on which they can govern their lives."

Sunday, August 08, 2010


The Real Peace Corps - The enforcement of just laws

The prosecutor's argument for strict enforcement of just laws:
Alma 1:32-33:
...nevertheless, the law was put in force upon all those who did transgress it, inasmuch as it was possible.
And it came to pass that by thus exercising the law upon them, every man suffering according to that which he had done, they became more still, and durst not commit any wickedness if it were known; therefore, there was much peace among the people of Nephi...


Under God

New link (replacing xs&c&s) led me to this article:
God and Gettysburg
“Under God” were Lincoln’s immortal words
Robert George

Which reveals the lengths to which some go to remove God from our history.

Monday, July 05, 2010


Be The Angel

We often get what we desire and may not realize it; it just doesn't always happen like we expect.

In Alma 29:1&2 Alma says:
O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people. Yea, I would declare... repentance and the plan of salvation...

Alma changed his own conduct after a visit from an angel. That angelic visit as described in Mosiah 27:11-17 included a voice of thunder to shake the earth, questions about Alma's persecution of the church, a testimony of God's power and of his church, a directive to remember the difficulties from which the Lord had delivered his fathers, and a warning of destruction if he continued his persecution of the Church.

We find that Alma used these same elements in his subsequent conduct in preaching and teaching and leading the church. In his own teaching he tells the people to remember their fathers and the Lord's power that delivered them. When he faces Korihor in Alma 30 he also uses the methods of the angel in telling Korihor about the existence of God; in verse 47 he tells Korihor that he will be smitten and destroyed rather than be allowed to keep bringing souls to destruction.

Alma really becomes the angel. He teaches and rebukes and as the angel had taught and rebuked him. So his prayer that he could be as an angel and preach repentance is mostly realized. He carried on as the angel taught him - doing what the angel did. The only thing he lacked was the voice of thunder to shake the earth. In lieu of that voice of thunder he was clothed with power and authority.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


The One Thing The Book of Mormon Teaches

Book of Mormon Images 1
There is definitely one thing the Book of Mormon teaches first and foremost. Everyone remembers from reading the first chapter in First Nephi that Nephi is born of goodly parents and that Lehi preached and prophesied at Jerusalem. I think there is a tendency to forget that this chapter also contain a vision, and the importance of this vision. While contemplating the imagery in this chapter I was struck by one particular image - and that image is the core teaching of the Book of Mormon.

In the First Book of the Book of Mormon, in the First chapter of that book, the first word of the first verse is I -- as in I Nephi. In otherwords, we're starting with a big Roman numeral one.

Nephi goes on to write about making his record and then he gets to his father Lehi. Lehi prays and he has a vision of a pillar of fire upon a rock - which would look a lot like a large flaming number one.

Lehi goes back home and being overcome, throws himself on his bed and is again carried away in a vision. He sees the heavens open and sees God sitting upon his throne. For extra effect, I note that the last three letters of throne, are "one" - at least in English.

Besides seeing concourses of angels around the throne, Lehi sees "One descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon-day. " So here is the One to which all these one's point.

Lehi sees 12 others whose brightness exceeds that of the stars, following the One.

The One gives Lehi a book.

Lehi saw One, followed by 12 and chapter 1 verse 12 of this chapter says: "And it came to pass that as he read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord."

So my One Thing actually has two points: First, The One Thing the Book of Mormon teaches about, is Jesus the Christ, the One who descended in the vision. Second, as with Lehi and the book given to him in the vision, those who read the Book of Mormon can be filled with the Spirit of the Lord.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Good Grins

This guy at claims to have my job -- but I guess he's just in a different village. I've added it to the links. The site appears to be refreshingly free of the flag of controversy (except to the extent that good cheer, faith and patriotism are controversial). I most enjoyed the bits "They walk among us" and "Tonto and the Lone Ranger." After I found a limerick in the mix, I knew I would want to go back.

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