ALL LIES MATTER

I recently received an unexpected response for having sent a video presentation to some people I’m close to. This video makes a very compelling case that Joseph Smith didn’t teach or practice polygamy. I’ve included a link to it at the end of this post. I was taken aback by their various responses and was saddened by some of their comments, which seemed to dismiss the content of the video.

As I’ve pondered this experience, I’ve tried to see things from their current perspective. But, admittedly, this one is hard for me, perhaps because I have never liked the idea of Joseph being a polygamist. It’s always felt inconsistent with Joseph’s mission and message.

One person I sent this information to simply does not think that getting the history on polygamy right is important at all. Somehow Joseph’s character is inconsequential to him. All he knows is God commanded Joseph and Joseph obeyed. “The Church is true. Nothing else matters.”

It seems as though some people are more worried about their narrative staying “true” than they are about the truth itself. I do sympathize with the dilemma, but truth does matter and lies matter. Do we really believe the words to the song — “do what is right, let the consequences follow…?”

Black Lives Matter (#BLM) (since this is a current theme and because I’m using this thematic play on words) is a great example of why the truth matters. Simply look around and see what someone’s false beliefs can inspire them to do. Anyone looking at the title of the organization might be fooled into thinking that #BLM has something to do with caring about “lives.” Look a little more closely and you’ll quickly discover that the organization is a hate filled, Marxist, murderous, anti-family, racist, immoral, disgusting organization that seeks to overthrow our way of life. The content of their message and the effect their beliefs have on them and on society matters a great deal. To suggest otherwise is simply intellectually dishonest.

Let’s look at some other examples.

Many LDS people (myself included) believe that our nation was founded by inspired men. Men of character and honor who God brought together and upon whom His Spirit descended in order to fulfill prophecy in the birth of this great nation on this land of promise. Those who may not share this belief, love to rewrite history to fit their own narrative. False rumors against Thomas Jefferson, for example, were conveniently resurrected to defend Bill Clinton on the eve of Congress deciding whether to remove him from office or not. Revisionists and those who have an agenda want desperately to have it be “settled history” that Jefferson was sleeping with his slave Sally Hemings. This a) helps people like Clinton get away with the crime of adultery with an intern and b) undermines people’s faith in the idea that many of our Founder’s may have actually been honorable, moral, inspired men. Does the truth about Jefferson and our Founders matter? I say it does.

If I had sent a video that exonerated Jefferson of the charges of immortality and fornication, would I have received a different response? These people all generally like Jefferson and I think they’d say he was a man of God. Would they have been upset with me for sending them something that restored faith in him as a person and vindicated him of those false charges? And if that presentation happened to make John Adams, who many believe was complicit in sharing those false claims, look less honorable — would they still have responded so defensively?

If you love this country and love its Founders, aren’t you interested in knowing the truth about our history? And aren’t you especially interested when you find things that defend what you believe is true? Doesn’t it matter? If Adams or any president proves to be less honest than say Jefferson (hypothetically) and less inspired, it doesn’t necessarily make America untrue. But whitewashing history surely doesn’t make the such contradictions go away. Is your faith so fragile in our Founders that you only read books that echo your own current uninformed beliefs? If not, why do so in your study of Church history?

None of these things prove that the United States of America was never “true” or inspired. But I think a clear minded person recognizes that if Jefferson was an immoral man and so were ALL of our Founders, that it absolutely would undermine the integrity of the foundation our nation and thus it matters. This is precisely #BLM’s message. “America was never good because it was conceived by white, racists liars.” Do we not defend against such lies?

To take a modern example, does it matter who went to Jeffery Epstein’s Pedophile Island? Does it matter that Epstein was a pedophile? A sex addict? Does what you know of him cause you to make reasonable judgments? Would you have let him babysit your 12 year old daughter or support his causes? Does it bother you that he was murdered in prison and no one knows who did it? Does it matter that a Prince and at least one American president were regular visitors on the Island? Is the truth not important? Do we just NOT go down that road because we’re afraid of what we might find out?

Laman and Lemuel I think were sincere in their belief that they were tricked into leaving their homeland and were thus robbed of their land of inheritance and consequently their happiness. Their otherwise innocent version of the facts led to the annihilation of civilization. Laman and Lemuel’s beliefs/lies mattered. They led to millions of people dying horrifically, unnecessarily, and prematurely.

I guess we could sanitize everyone’s history and say none of it matters. “The Book of Mormon is true and so disregard the foolish teacher who says beware of false prophets and judge them by their fruits.“ Just because something is or was true does not guarantee it cannot become false when its leaders corrupt it. Wouldn’t you agree? The Constitution is “true” but it must be upheld and defended by virtuous people. It is the oldest Constitution in the world. Any nation is welcome to use it as their own. But could Putin succeed in establishing freedom in Russia by simply adopting and copying our Constitution? Of course not. No one can just copy it unless they are willing to do so upon the principles of righteousness. And the same is true for whether or not we can keep it “true.” This same principle applies to any institution, even a Church we “want” to never fall into apostasy.

Do you think it matters to an investigator of the LDS Church whether Joseph was a pedophile or not? Let’s be really clear — if the Church’s current history is true then:

  1. Joseph was an adulterer. The Church says he took his first plural wife without Emma’s knowledge or consent AND 12 years before even he received the revelation on plural marriage.
  2. Joseph was a polygamist and consummated those marriages sexually.
  3. Joseph was a pedophile. He married underage women.
  4. Joseph was a liar. He openly preached against polygamy and secretly practiced it.
  5. Joseph was a hypocrite.

Of course, according to the Church, Joseph was commanded by God to do all these things.

But does the truth matter? If you have a child having a faith crisis because they’ve read the Church’s Essays, might these details matter to them?

If the presentation I sent to my friends is correct, then:

  1. Joseph Smith was not an adulterer.
  2. Joseph was not a polygamist.
  3. Joseph was not a pedophile.
  4. Joseph was not a liar.
  5. Joseph was not a hypocrite.

If teaching your friend who is interested in learning more about the Restored Gospel, which set of facts would you rather have on your side? The first set that potentially undermines everything you may share? Or the second set, that is way more consistent with the beautiful message of the restored gospel? More importantly, do you want to share the truth or do you want to unwittingly spreads lies? WE have a duty to find out the truth on the matter OR we lead people astray. And lastly, do you care more about a “church” than you do about the Restoration?

Let’s look at the train wreck of polygamy. What did that teaching inspire? What did it yield? It did not produce more offspring. That’s a fact. Women had fewer children who were polygmaIst than the average non polygamist woman. There was no shortage of men — that’s completely false. Are we so comfortable lying for the Lord as Mormons that we don’t seek to correct the record when lies are shared? What other lies are we comfortable sharing? Unpaid ministry? The brethren seeing God as did Joseph? The Lord attending Thursday meetings? If those are lies, do we not want the truth? Do we really want to simply let the lies go uncorrected for the greater good? I can promise you one thing, if you lie to someone (even if by simply not correcting the record) it is likely to lead to a far more serious faith crisis at some point as a result.

Polygamy in the Church led to wife swapping, whoredoms, murder, adultery, wife stealing and abuse. Does it really not matter one iota to you that it may not have been started by Joseph Smith? And if it wasn’t do you not think it important to defend our dear brother Joseph at all costs? Regardless of whatever we think the implications may or may not be?

Here’s an example a little closer to home. Let’s say that someone starts a rumor about you at work that you are fooling around with your secretary. Do you care if no one comes to your defense, assuming there is no truth to the allegations? Do you think the rumors could lead to other adverse consequences if not corrected or addressed? Do you think the company could suffer as a result of the falsehood going uncorrected? Worse, imagine now that the rumor is that you secretly believe in polygamy and you are entering into secret marriage covenants with other men’s wives, with teenagers, all behind your wife’s back. Would these lies matter? Would they affect the way people treat you? Respond to you? Would people quit because of the rumors? Would the organization and its mission suffer? If this is you being accused, do you want the company when you’re gone to publish lies that confirm that the rumors were true? When they’re not? Do your kids want their father’s legacy to be those lies? Do you want your kids and grandkids to use those lies that they now believe to be truths to justify their own immoral actions? Again, does the truth matter?

A dear friend made an great point the other day. According to Brigham Young, anyone who rejects the teaching of polygamy and does not enter into it, cannot be saved in the highest degree of the Celestial KIngdom. As far as I know, those words have never been renounced. To the contrary, President Nelson and Elder Oaks and others are often cited as living that “higher law.” So, if polygamy was started by Joseph and it is the higher law and we must accept it and practice it at some point, then why isn’t the Church pushing for its legalization? It would be a brilliant legal move in my opinion and may have prevented gay marriage from becoming legal. But, now that gay marriage is legal, why not push for it if you believe in it? If it was true then, why is not true today? Better yet, IF it becomes legal, will the Church re-instate it? And why wouldn’t it? And more importantly, would you practice it? Now would you want to know for sure if Joseph really taught it? Would the truth matter to you now? Your bishop tells you you need to marry the 16 year old from the Sunday School class your’e teaching. You need to go home and break the news to your wife. Are the historical details meaningless to you now? Your wife may leave you. Your boss may fire you. Your kids may lose all confidence in you. Does whether the doctrine came from Joseph or Brigham matter now? If it was a lie promoted by Brigham, are you still comfortable proceeding? If it leads you to hell, and to whoredoms, do you really just want to trust your bishop rather than figuring this out for yourself?

I sent this video that I’m including here below to many of my friends and family because I think enough of them to share things I find persuasive, lovely, exonerating, and good. Because I love the truth and I love the Lord. And I love Joseph. I did not send it to them with some hidden agenda or with any grand scheme in mind. I sent it to all my kids as well and shared it with my wife. That’s how good I think it is. I do not know the producer of it. I don’t know his beliefs or his religion. All I know is I think he does an amazing job of shedding light on a really important topic. And it excited me. Certain people’s response was deflating and reminded me that people are afraid of truth. It threatens them and they fear what it may lead to. Surely Joseph was right when he said:

“I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions: they cannot stand the fire at all. How many will be able to abide a celestial law, and go through and receive their exaltation, I am unable to say, as many are called, but few are chosen [see D&C 121:40].

I truly believed this group of friends would respond normally and maturely (in fairness two of them did):

“Hey thanks for the recommendation! I’ll check it out! (After watching it…). “Wow, that was really interesting! Made me think! Not totally sure I agree with all the conclusions but will certainly study the topic further… Thanks for sharing! I’m so glad we share a mutual love for Joseph and Emma!”

This is how people might reply who are not threatened by someone who they know loves them and who is sharing something they are excited about. The way they chose to respond shuts down dialogue, makes people feel foolish, and frankly reminds me of how so many leaders in the Church treat people they disagree with. Testify louder! Rebuke. Correct. Stay true to the Brethren at all costs. Be intellectually dishonest. Don’t reason. Don’t ponder such things. Don’t pray over such things. Protect the flock by silencing ideas and by turning off the mic. In short, passive aggressive and fearful and controlling.

As I have learned the truth about Joseph and Emma, it has strengthened my faith in the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, Lectures on Faith, the JST Bible and in all the Teachings and mission of Joseph Smith. Surely he was a prophet of God! And as he proclaimed, he was surely guilty of sins, but NOT the ones he is charged with. And the truth on that subject matters. I invite you to watch this video and ask God which version of the history of polygamy is true.

Something New

Total Solar Eclipse as seen from the Sawtooth Mountains on August 21, 2017

One of the most memorable things our family participated in was the Solar Eclipse of 2017. It was truly amazing, mesmerizing, ominous, and somehow just felt very portentous of unknown things to come. The fact that it fell upon Thomas S. Monson’s 90th birthday also made it seem all the more important.

Thomas Monson died on January 2, 2018, just 134 days later and almost exactly on the first day of the New Year.

According to some astrologists, “If an eclipse falls on your birthday, or within five days of your birthday, the year that follows that particular birthday will be a critical one…”

Eclipses also represent the end of something old and the beginning of something new. (see source)

During an eclipse period, it is as though you will walk over a rickety old bridge. As you walk across this bridge, over a very deep, rugged, treacherous ravine, you may be a little nervous. Once you make it to the other side, the bridge will collapse and you will see the pieces fall far into the deep, perhaps making you jittery. The bridge snaps just as you get to safe ground, but you realize, first, that you could have been on that bridge when it fell (but you weren’t), and more importantly, you will never again be able to walk back over to the other side. Once we go through an eclipse, we can never go back to the former situation again, for the universe wants us to make progress, not go back to good old days. That option is taken away, forever. The only way with an eclipse is forward. If you find later you don’t like where you wind up, you can always have the option to make changes up ahead, but again, they must be future choices, not ones that bring you back to the past. The changes could happen instantly, but they also can occur over a period of months with each successive eclipse. Still, the news of those changes often comes as a shock.

Read more: https://www.astrologyzone.com/all-about-eclipses-a-guide-for-coping-with-them/#ixzz6QV1qnANq

Perhaps more ominous is that this particular eclipse from 2017 could only be seen in its totality from the NW United States to the SE of the United States. This was the “first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in nearly 100 years.” More ominous still, the next total solar eclipse will be 7 years from this last one, on April 8, 2024, and it will be seen in its totality from the NE to the SW of the United States, thus making a huge “X” going through the United States.

We all know that April 6th is an important date and that the month of April where the world celebrates Easter, Passover, Spring, and new life, is also significant.

https://nationaleclipse.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/map_usa_2017_20244.png

If you look really closely at where the eclipses will intersect, you will find small lesser-known towns in Missouri, one of which is Cape Girardeau, interestingly, the birthplace of Rush Limbaugh, the undisputed voice of modern American conservatism who is battling stage 4 cancer. (This may be a complete irrelevant sidenote or it may be important — who knows.)

https://nationaleclipse.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/map_region_2017_2024.png

One thing is certain, the United States, during a 7 year period, will have experienced two amazing total solar eclipses that will make an “X” as if being crossed out, with its focal point being in Missouri along the banks of the Mississippi River, near perhaps the Garden of Eden and Valley of Adam Ondi Ahman, just downstream from Nauvoo and Carthage, Illinois. Coincidence? Or significant?

And the date of the first eclipse, for me, also seems to be trying to tell us something, being on the LDS Church president’s birthday. The end of one thing old, and the beginning of something new.

On September 3, 2017, just 13 days after the first solar eclipse, something new began. It was obscure and most people did not take notice nor were they aware. The LDS Church leadership was very aware, however.

The location of this obscure event was Boise, Idaho, where hundreds of people gathered to hear a man named Denver Snuffer speak. Brother Snuffer is an infamous excommunicated member of the LDS Church. He was excommunicated at the insistence of Russell M. Nelson, under the direction of President Thomas S. Monson. Denver was excommunicated 40 years to the day from the date he was baptized in the Atlantic Ocean on September 10, 1973.

I was blessed to be in attendance at this 2017 talk, where I believe something new and very important began.

I close with this man’s closing remarks at that event and I invite you the reader to ask yourself if any of what he said in that talk sounds like it may apply to current events we now all witness.

The Angel warned Joseph that the end times of the Gentiles was at a near-future date (after the fulness of the Gentiles) and that The Book of Mormon was a warning to us (the white Europeans) who inherited this Land of Promise, that we would be destroyed if we did not repent, just like the two civilizations from the Book of Mormon were destroyed.

I believe the day of the Gentile is coming to an end right before our eyes and that we will soon have NO nation on earth left to defend our freedoms and I think the eclipse is intended to be a warning and a testimony from Heaven.


Covenant of Christ Conference
Egyptian Theater
Boise, Idaho, September 3, 2017
Denver Snuffer, Jr.


That concludes all the work to be performed and all of the business. But I have a few remarks If I can impose on you for a few more moments before we finish up today. I was here in Idaho during the recent eclipse. We travelled to be near Lake Alturas, near Stanley in the zone of totality. At that spot totality was a little less than two minutes. During totality in a small lake adjacent to Alturas I performed a baptism. The one I
baptized might be here today.


We waded out in to the cold water beforehand and were trying to acclimate to the temperature of the water. At our spot the temperature dropped 20 degrees during totality. I observed as totality was approaching that it only takes one percent, certainly
no more than three percent, of the sun’s exposure to give absolutely, adequate light. But obscuring any significant portion of the sun affected heat at our location that day. Both of us were shivering for some time afterwards because of the water and the twenty
degree temperature drop.


Those who have entered faithfully into the covenant this day are going to notice some
things. The spirit of God is withdrawing from the world. Men are increasingly more angry without good cause. The hearts of men are waxing cold. There is increasing anger and resentment of gentiles. In political terms, it’s rejection of white privilege.


Language of scriptures gives a description of the events now underway and calls it the end of the times of the gentiles. This process with the spirit withdrawing, will end on this continent, as it did with two prior civilization in fratricidal and genocidal warfare. For the rest of the world, it will be as in the days of Noah in which, as that light becomes eclipsed, the coldness of men’s hearts is going to result in a constant scene of violence and bloodshed. The wicked will destroy the wicked.


The covenant, if it is kept, will prevent you from losing light and warmth of heart as the spirit now steadily recedes from the world. The time will come when you will be astonished at the gulf between the light and truth you will comprehend and the darkness of mind of the world.


Be charitable and patient and labor to reach others. They will judge you harshly, but nevertheless be kind to them. They are going to grow to fear you, but that’s only part of how darkness responds to light. Give them no reason to fear you. The time will come for us to gather, but between now and then, be leaven. Preserve the world. Be salt. Preserve the world, even if it hates you.


I hope for myself that when the time comes to gather I will have been proven faithful and to be among you.


May God bless you and send to each of you a growing light and warmth. As the spirit withdraws from the world may it continually shine uneclipsed on each of you to enlighten your minds and to warm your hearts. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. (Emphasis added)

Not Many Years


Not many years before the Lord sent fire and earthquakes and tempests and pestilence to America as a prelude to His coming, the Judges in the land became corrupt.

And seeing the people in a state of such awful wickedness, and those Gadianton robbers filling the judgment seats, having usurped the power and authority of the land, laying aside the commandments of God and not in the least aright before him, doing no justice unto the children of men, condemning the righteous because of their righteousness, letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money; and moreover, to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world; and moreover, that they might the more easy commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills — now this great iniquity had come upon the Nephites in the space of not many years — and when Nephi saw it, his heart was swollen with sorrow within his breast. And he did exclaim in the agony of his soul, Oh that I could have had my days in the days when my father Nephi first came out of the land of Jerusalem, that I could have joyed with him in the promised land! Then were his people easy to be entreated, firm to keep the commandments of God, and slow to be led to do iniquity, and they were quick to hearken unto the words of the Lord. Yea, if my days could have been in those days, then would my soul have had joy in the righteousness of my brethren. But behold, I am consigned that these are my days and that my soul shall be filled with sorrow because of this the wickedness of my brethren.

Helaman 7:4-7 (emphasis added)

This week’s Supreme Court Ruling conveniently timed to pander to the anarchist transgender mission of Black Lives Matter, may prove to be the most wicked and abusive legislation of our Nation’s history.

Dissenting remarks made by Justice Alito are worth studying to better understand the consequences of this ruling.

The Church and LDS politicians such as Mitt Romney who have been so focused on wanting to be seen as empathetic and compassionate and have even gone out of their way to make pandering statements and to openly protest with the Opposition, will now reap what has been sown by neglecting to fight enough against this wickedness. Rather than “leading the nation” with cutting edge, sophisticated LGBTQ legislation for Utah, that NO DOUBT inspires such Supreme Court decisions, how about a return to the Doctrines of the Gospel? A return to both Repenting and teaching Repentance?

Just as a sampling, this new Law written from the Bench will make it illegal for the Church or any public or private institution (at some point) to not let a man go into a woman’s bathroom or locker room in an LDS Church or Temple or school, if they should decide that day they are feeling like they are a woman. This law will make it illegal for a person to discriminate against a Transgender Person for any reason. The implications are huge and are best put forth by Justice Alito below.

Consider this one example — imagine your 18 year old daughter showering in the women’s locker room after a hockey game when a 45 year old man walks naked into the showers with your daughter, alone, late at night. He says that in that moment, he identifies as a woman. Is it wrong to feel violated as a young woman? To be scared for your safety? Your virtue? Your life? Are you now racist or transphobic because you as a parent feel vulnerable and refuse to let your daughter play on this person’s hockey team? Will you or your daughter be sued for referring to him as a he instead of by his preferred pronoun? Will this happen at BYU? It will happen immediately on other college campuses. If a young man or young woman wants to play on the “opposing sex’s” sports team, nothing now prevents them.

Or how about if your kindergarten child has a teacher who decides to do a sex change procedure over Christmas break? Your child’s role model and perhaps the most important one they have outside of their home, is now sending a very conflicting and potentially traumatizing message to your 5 year child. We have no idea what affect this can have on impressionable little children.

Sadly, this is only the tip of the iceberg, we now HIT as a nation.

If we think things are bad now as we see our nation unravel, I think things are about to get worse as a result of this new law, decided unconstitutionally by 6 Judges who have lost all Wisdom.

So much is taking place in such a short period of time. It ought to give us all reason to be deeply concerned and to prepare for what is now here. God help us all.

NEWS & POLITICS

Alito: Court’s ‘Preposterous’ Trans Ruling Threatens Religion, Speech, Privacy, and Safety

BY TYLER O’NEIL JUN 15, 2020 3:38 PM EST  Share  Tweet  Email Comments

FILE -In this Nov. 17, 2016 file photo, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito speaks at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention in Washington. Alito is giving the graduation address at a historic Roman Catholic seminary near Philadelphia. Alito will also be awarded an honorary degree during Wednesday’s ceremony, May 17, 2017, at the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary near Wynnewood. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that discrimination on the basis of sex includes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County (2020). In a powerful dissent joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Samuel Alito condemned the ruling as “preposterous” and betraying “breathtaking” arrogance. He noted that Congress has tried and repeatedly failed to amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in just this fashion and that no one interpreted the law this way until 2017. In this decision, as in Roe v. Wade (1973) and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), the Supreme Court usurped the power of Congress by creating “legislation.”

Perhaps most importantly, however, Alito warns that the decision will have wide-ranging destructive impacts on key freedoms Americans hold dear, and he predicts that “the entire Federal Judiciary will be mired for years in disputes about the reach of the Court’s reasoning.”

“As the briefing in these cases has warned, the position that the Court now adopts will threaten freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and personal privacy and safety. No one should think that the Court’s decision represents an unalloyed victory for individual liberty,” Alito warns. His dissent lays out seven different realms of American life that will be affected by this ruling.

1. Bathrooms and changing rooms

Naturally, the Supreme Court’s position that a ban on discrimination on the basis of “sex” includes a ban on discrimination on the basis of gender identity is not only a preposterous extension of the 1964 law but a dangerous reading of federal law in general.

As Alito warns, “the Court may wish to avoid this subject, but it is a matter of concern to many people who are reticent about disrobing or using toilet facilities in the presence of individuals whom they regard as members of the opposite sex. For some, this may simply be a question of modesty, but for others, there is more at stake. For women who have been victimized by sexual assault or abuse, the experience of seeing an unclothed person with the anatomy of a male in a confined and sensitive location such as a bathroom or locker room can cause serious psychological harm.”

Based on broad understandings of “transgender status” that could include those who identify as “gender fluid” and those who have not undergone any surgery to alter their bodies. “A person who has not undertaken any physical transitioning may claim the right to use the bathroom or locker room assigned to the sex with which the individual identifies at that particular time,” Alito reasoned.

This is not to say that transgender people are predators, but to note that women have passionately fought for their rights and now their private spaces will be open to biological males. The true concern is not that a male who identifies as a female will abuse women, but that prurient men will abuse this loophole and some women who have experienced sexual assault will be victimized by being forced to share intimate quarters with biological males.

2. Women’s sports

Alito also warns that “the right of a transgender individual to participate on a sports team or in an athletic competition previously reserved for members of one biological sex” may arise under Title VII and Title IX due to the Court’s ruling in Bostock.

“This issue has already arisen under Title IX, where it threatens to undermine one of that law’s major achievements, giving young women an equal opportunity to participate in sports,” Alito notes. “The effect of the Court’s reasoning may be to force young women to compete against students who have a very significant biological advantage, including students who have the size and strength of a male but identify as female and students who are taking male hormones in order to transition from female to male.”

Alito also warned that this ruling may affect professional sports, as well.

Indeed, women in Connecticut are challenging a school rule that forces them to compete with biological males. Even the Journal of Medical Ethics, which has published an article calling for Child Protective Services to remove gender-confused kids from their parents if the parents won’t give them experimental transgender drugs, also published an article condemning the “intolerable unfairness” of the Olympic Committee’s pro-transgender rules.

3. Housing

Bostock “may lead to Title IX cases against any college that resists assigning students of the opposite biological sex as roommates,” Alito warns. It may also force rape crisis centers for women to admit biological males who claim to identify as women. One such center has already been vandalized with transgender slogans, and some centers have fought long legal battles over the right to allow safe harbor only for women.

Military Transgender Ban Is Nothing Like ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Lesbian Vet Says

4. Religious employment

Alito cites “briefs filed by a wide range of religious groups––Christian, Jewish, and Muslim–– [that] express deep concern that the position now adopted by the Court ‘will trigger open conflict with faith-based employment practices of numerous churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious institutions.’ They argue that ‘[r]eligious organizations need employees who actually live the faith,’ and that compelling a religious organization to employ individuals whose conduct flouts the tenets of the organization’s faith forces the group to communicate an objectionable message.”

Alito warns that this problem is “perhaps most acute” in the employment of teachers. “A school’s standards for its faculty ‘communicate a particular way of life to its students,’ and a ‘violation by the faculty of those precepts’ may undermine the school’s ‘moral teaching.’ Thus, if a religious school teaches that sex outside marriage and sex reassignment procedures are immoral, the message may be lost if the school employs a teacher who is in a same-sex relationship or has undergone or is undergoing sex reassignment.”

5. Health care

“Healthcare benefits may emerge as an intense battleground under the Court’s holding,” Alito warns. “Transgender employees have brought suit under Title VII to challenge employer-provided health insurance plans that do not cover costly sex reassignment surgery.”

“Such claims present difficult religious liberty issues because some employers and healthcare providers have strong religious objections to sex reassignment procedures, and therefore requiring them to pay for or to perform these procedures will have a severe impact on their ability to honor their deeply held religious beliefs,” he explains.

Indeed, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just finalized a rule rightly defining sex as biological sex and reversing the Obama administration on these issues. Does Bostock make that HHS rule unconstitutional?

Lesbian Feminist: It’s Time to Stop Trans Indoctrination in Public Schools

6. Freedom of speech

Alito warns that “the Court’s decision may even affect the way employers address their employees and the way teachers and school officials address students. Under established English usage, two sets of sex-specific singular personal pronouns are used to refer to someone in the third person (he, him, and his for males; she, her, and hers for females). But several different sets of gender-neutral pronouns have now been created and are preferred by some individuals who do not identify as falling into either of the two traditional categories.”

“Some jurisdictions, such as New York City, have ordinances making the failure to use an individual’s preferred pronoun a punishable offense, and some colleges have similar rules. After today’s decision, plaintiffs may claim that the failure to use their preferred pronoun violates one of the federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination,” the justice warns.

7. Constitutional claims

While Title VII cases are different from cases about the Fourteenth Amendment, Alito warns that Bostock “may exert a gravitational pull in constitutional cases. Under our precedents, the Equal Protection Clause prohibits sex-based discrimination unless a ‘heightened’ standard of review is met. By equating discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity with discrimination because of sex, the Court’s decision will be cited as a ground for subjecting all three forms of discrimination to the same exacting standard of review.”

“Under this logic, today’s decision may have effects that extend well beyond the domain of federal antidiscrimination statutes. This potential is illustrated by pending and recent lower court cases in which transgender individuals have challenged a variety of federal, state, and local laws and policies on constitutional grounds,” Alito warns.

Although the six justices in the majority on Bostock likely had honorable intentions in redefining the word “sex” and effectively making law in this decision, it was “irresponsible” for them not to consider its wide-ranging consequences, Alito warns.

“The updating desire to which the Court succumbs no doubt arises from humane and generous impulses. Today, many Americans know individuals who are gay, lesbian, or transgender and want them to be treated with the dignity, consideration, and fairness that everyone deserves,” he writes. Even so, “The Court’s brusque refusal to consider the consequences of its reasoning is irresponsible.”

“If the Court had allowed the legislative process to take its course, Congress would have had the opportunity to consider competing interests and might have found a way of accommodating at least some of them.” Instead, the Supreme Court has made law, just like it did in Roe v. Wadeand Obergefell v. Hodges.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

Racism?

Demonstrators protest the death of George Floyd, Sunday, May 31, 2020, near the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

People who hate our nation peddle the false narrative that America is “systemically” racist.  When asked how it can be fixed, their response is a mish-mash of words that if put succinctly would read:  “You can’t.  America’s founders were white and so everything this nation is built on is broken, by virtue of their being white.”  

These same people and those that sympathize with them, say that white privilege is also something that can’t be fixed.  It’s not that white people necessarily have an advantage because they have more access to education or are born into wealth.  They often don’t. White privilege, according to them, is merely a by-product of being white.  Again, it can’t be fixed, it can only be protested and ideally, rioted against.

Is the murder of George Floyd evidence that we have a systemic racist problem in our country?

I know of NO HUMAN who condones the brutal murder of George Floyd.  Was his death the result of racism?  I suppose that’s possible.  The officer who killed him very well may be racist. But even if that’s true, it’s the racism of ONE man, NOT an entire nation! 

Who would feel any differently about the loss of ANY person’s life at the hands of anyone in this cruel and awful way?  If it had been a black cop, an Asian cop, a Hispanic cop, and a white victim, an Asian victim or a Hispanic victim — it would ALL be the same. All lives matter. Although apparently you can’t say that anymore. Somehow that’s racist. Just ask Grant Napear who after 28 years as a Sacramento Kings TV broadcaster was fired for tweeting “ALL LIVES MATTER…EVERY SINGLE ONE!!!”

This is not the time to talk about racism. This is NOT about racism. 

Letting this narrative be about racism when no normal person sympathizes with the disgusting actions of ONE person, plays into the hands of the anarchists who want to take down our nation.  The same Gadiantons who want to foment violence, looting, robbery, and anarchy.  “Racism” is just their latest excuse.

The Latest: California closes all downtown state buildings ...
AP Photo Evan Vucci

If there is racism to be condemned, it should also be directed at people (of any color) who on national TV are asked–while they riot, steal, and destroy–what they want to accomplish.  Many of their answers include “We are going to take down your government and your buildings and kill all you white people” … “And then we’re coming to your neighborhoods to destroy your houses and kill all the white people there.”  It’s a whole nother issue as to why it’s so hard to find these clips online… I watch them on live TV and then magically they are nearly impossible to find online.

Social Pressure to Acknowledge and “Condemn” Racism

I appreciate the idea that President Nelson is upset about “racism” and is telling people to “repent!” of it — and I assume he’s also talking about the racists who vow to come into Salt Lake City to loot and destroy… and to “kill white people.” But, I can’t help but wonder if he and many others feel like they have to say something. These anarchists want us to believe that “white silence” is the cause of their violence. They want us to bow the knee and “repent” of things we are not guilty of. They want us to be afraid. Afraid to speak. Afraid to be American. Afraid to support freedom and conservative values.

ANY sympathy for those who peddle the false narratives of white privilege and systemic racism, in my opinion, further emboldens those who have no interest in upholding our inspired Constitution or the pillars of virtue, morality, decency, and due process upon which this nation is founded and only fuels their violence.

I hope no Latter-day Saint takes President Nelson’s statements as a tacit endorsement of organizations such as Black Lives Matter.

I was troubled by an LDS friend’s recent comment that they wanted to go out and protest with the Black Lives Matter people at the Court House. I don’t care that my friend wants to exercise their God-given Constitutional right to protest in the name of free speech. But I am concerned that my LDS friend does not understand that Black Lives Matter has a much larger, evil agenda, and aligning with them only helps them promote their real cause.

How can white people fight racism? Hint: It takes more than social ...
Deseret News AP Photo Matt Dunham

Taken from their own website, Black Lives Matter (BLM) states that they are a “radical social intervention” and one of their “guiding principles” is to work to “dismantle cis-gender privilege and uplift Black trans folk.” (Cis-gender, by the way, is the term those of us are called, who are NOT gender-confused). BLM wants to undo the “privilege” of people who are NOT Transgender or at least make Transgender black women most specifically, privileged. In other words, they want their deviance to become normal and they want to re-write our laws and systems as the new Transgender Founders. Do those sound like the kind of values you can stand behind and support?

Here’s more:

“We are committed to fostering a queer-affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking or, rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual unless s/he or they disclose otherwise.”

Closer to home for us who are LDS, conservative, Christian or just pro-traditional family:

“We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, and especially ‘our’ children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable.” (Source)

These are the real reasons behind why BLM is looting, rioting, and protesting. It’s to take over our nation with their perverted ideologies. Why else would they not care for the life of David Dorn, the innocent black man they shot and killed over a TV while looting. Where are the David Dorn protests? How about the 17 people who have been killed in the protests?

They relish in murder. They don’t even really mourn the loss of George Floyd. They’re grateful that George Floyd was killed on camera so that they would have an excuse to advance their cause.

They set fire to homes, businesses, government buildings, cars. They don’t care if there are children in those homes. That’s collateral damage to them. They want their rebellion to catch on around the world. So far, “George Floyd” protests are taking place on 3 continents! That should tell you something.

Here’s what should make all of us feel uncomfortable…

Abortion: The Greater Atrocity – Lucid Theology
Lucid Theology

I want to know where the protests are for the 3500 innocent children killed each year in Utah alone. Where is the First Presidency social media statement? Where are the LDS protestors? Where is the rioting from these people who say that “lives matter”? Do you think the sweet little child who “can’t breathe” when his or her neck is being cut with a huge pair of scissors doesn’t need or want our support? Our solidarity? Our voice? Our outrage?

For those who truly care about Black Lives, did you know? :

Abortion impacts African Americans at a higher rate than any other population group. In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an Abortion Surveillance Report. According to that report, black women make up 14 percent of the childbearing population. Yet, 36 percent of all abortions were obtained by black women. At a ratio of 474 abortions per 1,000 live births, black women have the highest ratio of any group in the country.

When you use those percentages, it indicates that of the over 44 million abortions since the 1973 Roe vs Wade Supreme Court ruling, 19 million black babies were aborted. African Americans are just under 13 percent of United States population.

White women are five times less likely to have an abortion than black women. Perhaps it is a matter of availability. A study by Protecting Black Lives, in 2012, found that 79 percent of Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities are located within walking distance of minority communities.

The impacts on our black communities are hard to fathom. According to the Guttmacher Institute, which generally supports abortion, in 2011 360,000 black babies were aborted. CDC statistics for 2011 show that 287,072 black deaths occurred from all other causes excluding abortion. By these numbers, abortion is the leading cause of death among blacks.

See Source

I cannot imagine that a loving Father in Heaven will not soon avenge His 44 million children that this world has slain.

As for the riots we now witness, I think they will be part of the new normal. We went from being arrested if we left our homes (in some places) just 2 weeks ago, to those same leaders ignoring their own rules to join in the protesting. Not only do they no longer arrest these violators of the CoVid Quarantine, but they march with them (and not while social distancing) and refuse to arrest people they witness rioting.

Michigan Political Leaders Walk With Protesters | WWJ Newsradio 950

Source

Only one thing seems certain, the day of the Gentile is coming to an end just as the angel told Joseph Smith in his first visit.  And if we do not repent, the sword of His justice hangs over us and will fall upon us, even upon all the nations of the gentiles. (RE 3 Ne. 9:7)

Good is called evil and evil is called good. Men’s hearts are cold. The Spirit of the Lord is withdrawing from us in this land of promise. It is as the days of Noah and Sodom and our world is ripening for destruction.

For those of us who wish to escape, it is my humble opinion that we cannot be drawn into such schemes. Into the worldly wizardry of words. The philosophies of men.

Our task is great. We must repent nigh unto death if we are to be firm minded enough to enter into the Ark of Zion to be saved. We cannot assume we are ready for our Lord to return. We must have a sure witness. We must know Him and He must know us.

Boy Scouts “Kind of Left Us”


In a recent statement Elder Ballard said the following regarding the Church’s decision to end its 105-year relationship with Boy Scouts of America:

“The reality there is we didn’t really leave them; they kind of left us… The direction they were going was not consistent to what we feel our youth need to have…to survive in the world that lies ahead of us.”

But, did the Boy Scouts really leave “us”? Is that a fair description of what actually happened? And is BSA really heading in a different direction than we are as a church?

A Little Bit of Background

For over 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America was an iconic defender of Constitutional principles. They won case after case before the Supreme Court that reaffirmed their right to allow or disallow participants, based on their own criteria for affiliation. Their victories established important case law and legal precedent for other institutions that sought the same protections.

But then all of a sudden, the Boy Scouts decided to vote on whether to allow openly gay scouts into their organization. This went against 100 years of Court victories that gave them that right and to many members of Scouting and of the Church, this came as a huge surprise.

At this same time, two of my sons were literally only a Court of Honor away from getting their Eagle Awards. I was the official Charter Leader in our ward, was an Eagle Scout myself, and was over Scouting as the bishop.

I was certain the Church would vote against the proposal and knew they represented a very large voting bloc and funding source within the organization. Surely BSA could not pull this off without the Church’s full support.

To make sure my voice was heard, I did all the things my Church had taught me to do to be “involved” in such important matters. I wrote letters to the Church and to the Editor of our local newspaper and gave reasons for why I believed the Church would/should vote NO on this progressive proposal. I was very open about my views with ward members and with local Church leadership. In fact, I received letters and phone calls from people in my town, even from strangers, thanking me for my letter to the paper. One elderly man said, “I agree with every word you wrote.” Another gentleman said, “When I saw your letter in the paper I thought to myself, ‘oh no, he’s going to be excommunicated.’ Then I read it and now I think you’re going to be called as a general authority.” (Not very prophetic obviously). The point is, many LDS people of all walks of life had very strong feelings about this issue and were opposed to caving to the pressures of the progressives.

Like many of you, I could see this for what it was. It was never about young boys or girls being discriminated against. Not even for a moment. It was always about taking down an iconic conservative institution. And I wasn’t going to just sit idly by. I was hopeful the Church would do the right thing — back then in 2013 — and pull out of Scouts if everyone else voted in favor of the measure.

Eventually, when the Church and other Scouting Board members voted in favor of the above proposals, I refused to sign the yearly ward Charter and refused to support Friends of Scouting. My boys, to their credit, refused to continue in an organization that suddenly seemed confused about what it meant to be morally straight.

Our family left Scouts in 2013 and I was very perplexed why the Church wasn’t doing the same.

The Rapid Demise of Scouting

The great conservative thinker John O’Sullivan once said: “All organizations that are not actually right-wing (conservative) will over time become left-wing (liberal).”

The Boy Scouts is now among countless other institutions that have fallen prey to O’Sullivan’s First Law. They officially filed for bankruptcy in February of this year.

And Yet…

For 105 years, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had partnered with the Boy Scouts. Scouting literally had been the activity arm of the Aaronic Priesthood. It shared our same values. We were literally joined at the hip.

Both the LDS Church and the BSA had become synonymous with conservativism. In fact, I challenge you to find two more conservative institutions at their pinnacle.

But, at the same time Boy Scouts was moving left, it seemed the Church was moving left too. Here’s just a quick list of things the Church has done in the last 9 years that clearly represents their own change in direction:

  1. The Church changed its conservative position on illegals.
  2. The Church abandoned its formal role in the fight against gay marriage.
  3. The Church unwittingly paved the way for gay marriage by introducing added protections for LGBT people in Utah. A plan they hoped would be the new model for the nation. This upended legislation that had protected landlords and employers previously to be able to choose who they rented to or who they employed.
  4. Mormonsandgays.com, later changed to “Mormonandgay” was put online by the Church.
  5. The Church published numerous videos highlighting people who are gay, but who are trying to not act out on it. A very different and deliberate approach that would be criticized by people of all different opinions. Some might argue that if you are not acting out on it, then you are not gay. Others would say it’s preposterous to “be” something and then be asked to not be allowed to be who you are… and then to be withheld the same blessings of those who do not act out or who are straight.
  6. The Church changed its position on whether a person could be born gay or not with Elder Oaks teaching a person can be born gay–a very different position than what its prophets had taught previously.
  7. The Church helped fund the Hale Theater and tacitly endorsed the very pro-gay, anti-Mormon, Book of Mormon musical coming to Salt Lake City among other very non-PG-13 performances.
  8. The Church removed its ban on children of gay parents being baptized (They flip-flopped on this one thank Goodness).
  9. The Church-owned BYU changed its rules to allow gay ballroom dancers.
  10. BYU seemed to change its policy on same-gender affection. Then “kind of” reversed it back.
  11. The recent Cosmo the Cougar came out as gay without any retribution or official response from the Church.
  12. BYU’s valedictorian came out as a “gay son of God” in an approved valedictorian speech. The audience erupted in applause.
  13. And now they are in favor of decriminalizing polygamy.

Now to be clear, I am not arguing here that all these changes are wrong or right. I’m simply showing how the Church, like Boy Scouts and like most worldly institutions, is simply becoming more progressive.

The list of policy adjustments and talking points by the Church that veer progressive is much longer than what I’ve listed above. But, the evidence presented is sufficient to show that the Church is on the same course as Boy Scouts when it comes to “leaving” its more conservative principles.

Is it really fair to say that Boy Scouts left us? Even “kind of”?

Couldn’t the Church have voted against the Boy Scout proposals if it wanted to? Wouldn’t that have made a difference, didn’t they have clout in that organization? Some estimated that the LDS Church represented 40% of BSA funding. If the Church didn’t like the direction of BSA, shouldn’t the Church have left in 2013 instead of continuing to pour millions more of tithing money into it? What part about BSA’s direction finally made the Church uncomfortable? How can the Church now say that the Boy Scouts left them when they supported and voted in favor of all the changes being proposed? And when at the very same time the LDS Church was pushing its own progressive changes in the Church, I.e heading in a very similar “direction.” To the left.

One would think that all this capitulation and appeasement would mean that Boy Scouts would now have gay kids and gay leaders and girls and transgenders all lining up at their doors and that membership, even with the loss of the LDS Church, would be through the roof, instead of in bankruptcy. The very argument Scout board members were making was that they needed to “expand their base.” “Make the tent bigger.” “Be more inclusive.” Surely part of their reasoning, if not all of it, was to grow their membership by making these changes.

The Church has also suffered from a numbers and growth standpoint since they changed their course it would seem.

The church’s reported membership as of December 31, 2019 was 16,565,036. The growth of 1.21% in 2018 was the lowest annual percentage growth since the 0.93% in 1937.

Wikipedia

Interestingly, since 2013, while the Church has been shifting further left, it has only been growing at an abysmal rate of somewhere between 1 and 2% compared to 8.74% when I was a missionary. The focus then was “flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon” rather than focusing on progressive policy adjustments. Coincidence? It just reinforces the idea that people want to focus on doctrine. The average growth rate in the last 40 years has been well over 4% — that is at least until the Church started trying to be more “inclusive.”

Careful What You Wish For

One thing is certain–the same people who took down the Boy Scouts are demanding more changes from the LDS Church. They demand that we abandon what they view as hate speech and discrimination among other things.

Will we continue to give in as a Church? Mormon Prop 8 picketers have been replaced by LDS pro-gay marriage protestors in a period of just a few years. Is that a coincidence? This picture from this website is the new face of Mormonism when it comes to these progressive issues.

In Closing

I’ve always been intrigued by what Ezra Benson said he was told by a visiting Soviet leader. I think the same applies here and I think the Church would do well to consider the implications of its movement left:

I have talked face-to-face with the godless Communist leaders. It may surprise you to learn that I was host to Mr. Khrushchev for a half day, when he visited the United States. Not that I’m proud of it — I opposed his coming then and I still feel it was a mistake to welcome this atheistic murderer as a state visitor. But according to President Eisenhower, Khrushchev had expressed a desire to learn something of American agriculture, and after seeing Russian agriculture I can understand why.

As we talked face-to-face, he indicated that my grandchildren would live under Communism. After assuring him that I expected to do all in my power to assure that his, and all other grandchildren, would live under freedom, he arrogantly declared, in substance:

You Americans are so gullible. No you won’t accept Communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and you find you already have Communism. We won’t have to fight you. We’ll so weaken your economy until you fall like over-ripe fruit into our hands.

–1966 address at Brigham Young University

Is the Church heading down the same road as our nation? Of Boy Scouts? Will it fall into the devil’s hands like over-ripe fruit? Is it doomed to move completely to the left? You can bet that these youth in our Church pictured above will push for Equality of Temple Sealings at some point especially now that the Church has encouraged them. And at this rate, they’re bound to eventually get what they want.

One could more reasonably ask, “Is the Church kind of leaving us?”

Remembering Him

I’ve added a page to this website with a link to the recorded Sacrament prayers for people who may not currently have access to a fellowship where Priesthood Holders are available.

For more information you can click here.

Trifling With Souls

C. S. Lewis on the Coronavirus

Picture from the gospelcoalition.org website

In trying times such as these there are many voices clamoring for our attention.  Crises present opportunities for self-interested people to sell their wares.  Often it’s an ideology that’s for sale,  fueled by a vain ambition to be popular or to feel important and validated.  It presents a challenge to expose the impure motives of such a person when there is no money trail.  But, look closely enough and you’ll find that the tokens being sold are of greater value to the seller than today’s currency– they yield followers, flatterers, validators, comforters, listeners– in short POWER and VANITY.

For the seller, he/she is led to believe by the adversary that what they have to share is of great value.  “You are great.  Your message is great.  You’re an enlightened soul of this last great and best generation.  The ‘Lord’ speaks to you!  If you don’t display courage and share your message, then who will?”

But, such fools are trifling with the souls of men.

Lately, fear has been peddled and in great supply.  Fear is the opposite of faith.  When fear is your product, you stand to make tremendous gains.  Somehow because you sell fear, those who buy into it will also trust you to get them through it.  You set yourself up, people look to you, and you extract your needed coin from the sycophants you produce.

A fanciful and flowery and heated imagination be aware of, because the things of God are of deep import, and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Your mind, O man, if you will lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost Heavens, and search into and contemplate the lowest considerations of the darkest abyss, and expand upon the broad considerations of eternal expanse. You must commune with God. How much more dignified and noble are the thoughts of God than the vain imagination of the human heart? None but fools will trifle with the souls of men. (T&C 138:18, emphasis added)

Joseph Smith warned of those who would trifle with the souls of men.  Their fanciful and flowery ideas, their fearmongering, their lies; we should be aware of and surely guard ourselves and others against.

I read Joseph Smith’s quote to say:  If we have NOT communed with God, in other words, seen Him and partaken from Him and been redeemed by Him, then we must be extremely careful in what we say, teach, and share lest we too trifle with souls and damn them and ourselves to hell.

Someone online recently called me a coward because I don’t put my name on what I write on this blog.  One of the many reasons I blog anonymously is because I don’t want attention drawn to myself.  As you’ll notice, I write very little and very infrequently.  I don’t believe that I have much of true value to share.  I have not communed with Heaven.  What I do share is my opinion and is not meant to be followed as if prophetically inspired.  I don’t ever want to trifle with the souls of men, nor do I wish to lead them, where I am a blind guide at best.  For all the times I have trifled with men’s souls, I plead for forgiveness.  It is wrong and it is evil.

The above-mentioned person recently made the statement online that “more than 7 million Americans will die from the Corona Virus this year,” (paraphrasing)  among many other dire and bold declarations.  He also said that 2% or more of the world’s population would die from the virus.  That’s 180 million people!  He posted all this and much more on social media for all to see.  I told this individual I believed he was wrong (a) and (b) that he should not be fearmongering.  I would have hoped he would at least say that this was just his opinion rather than to put such shocking things out there that may cause people to panic, or heaven forbid do something extremely rash.  People can be very fragile especially at a time like this.

In that moment, I was angry and feel bad that my anger was directed towards this individual.  I was angry because this person spoke “as if it was so” — as if his every word would be vindicated because he was “brave” enough and inspired enough to publish it to the world under his name.  I was the coward, but he was the bold and brave one.  I should not have taken it so personally.

If and when only 50,000 to 100,000 people die from the Corona Virus this year in the U.S. for example, will this individual admit he was wrong?  Will he repent for trifling with souls and ask for your forgiveness?  Will he reimburse you for the extra toilet paper or other supplies you bought?  Or will he compensate you for sleepless nights and other distress you experienced imagining 180,000,000 people dying?  Wondering who in your own family might die…

More importantly, will YOU cease to give your time to such foolishness?  Will YOU see this as a fruit of a false messenger and repent of your false belief?

Just because someone puts their name on something does not make them courageous.  There is nothing more foolish or more cowardly in my view than to lead people astray with pretended authority from God.

Joseph Smith said:

A man must have the discerning of spirits before he can drag into daylight this hellish influence and unfold it unto the world in all its soul-destroying, diabolical, and horrid colors; for nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the spirit of God. Thousands have felt the influence of its terrible power and baneful effects. Long pilgrimages have been undertaken, penances endured, and pain, misery, and ruin have followed in their train; nations have been convulsed, kingdoms overthrown, provinces laid waste, and blood, carnage, and desolation are habiliments in which it has been clothed. The Turks, the Hindus, the Jews, the Christians, the Indians — in fact all nations have been deceived, imposed upon, and injured through the mischievous effects of false spirits. (T&C 147:5)

At a time when the Lord is doing His work to bring forth His Kingdom, it is only expected I think, that we will see an increase in such opposing messages.  An increase of false statements and false ideas inside and out of the Church.

I’ve been very clear as to where I stand regarding such messengers.  It’s not intended as unkind.  I am doing what I believe is my duty regarding anyone who proclaims to have a message from God — to discern their fruits and if I believe they are not from God, then to warn others.  It’s not my duty because I’m someone special, it’s OUR duty to NOT be deceived and to help each other figure these important things out.

In my view, subscribing to these types of titillating false messages, whether the example of “prophetic” fearmongering above, or the fables of Bishop Koyle’s Mine, or the Visions of Glory, or the Brazilian Gold Plates — ALL OF THIS HURTS us far more than them.  They, as individuals, will answer to God.  He will be their Judge.  He knows their hearts.  BUT, WE will never be of one mind and one heart while such fecal matter occupies our heads and WE will never be able to find refuge in Zion – let alone help build it.  We must become more firm minded and we must cease giving our time and attention to such false messengers.  In my opinion.

We may be nearing the end times, but surely there have been other times of great uncertainty in this world’s history.  While fools have peddled fear, great souls such as C.S. Lewis peddled faith.  Here is what he said during World War II to comfort the thousands of people who respected him:

In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb (Corona Virus). “How are we to live in an atomic (Corona Virus) age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb (Corona Virus) was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb (the Corona Virus), let that bomb (virus) when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.  (See full use of text at gospelcoalition.org)

Another message I have found of great worth recently was given by Denver Snuffer, who spoke a few weeks back just as CoVid19 was shutting things down and the world was beginning to panic.  Contrast his message to the many others you hear.  As always, we are forced to discern and we are forced to choose.  Will we choose fear or we will choose faith?  True messengers or false?

You can follow the link below to Snuffer’s remarks.

The Heavens are Open 

Silver and Gold Have We Tons

Mormon Wealth

Bare Record blog pointed to an interesting article recently on the Church’s Newsroom website that was taken down apparently at about the same time the news broke that the Chuch is being accused of misusing and hoarding over $100,000,000,000.00 in cash.  (I’ve posted the text of the article below).  The article removed by the Church News reports on Elder Neil Andersen’s somewhat recent trip to Zimbabwe where he told their vice president, “We are not a wealthy people but we are good people, and we share what we have.”

I suppose one could argue that Elder Andersen was referring to the members of the Church in Zimbabwe when he said: “We are not a wealthy people …”  I don’t think this was the case especially since now that the Church has buried the story altogether, but it is possible.

There are an estimated 23,000 Mormons in Zimbabwe and it’s very likely they are very, very poor.

Zimbabwe’s per capita GDP is $600, the third lowest in the world. The average wage is $253 a month—and that’s for the 30 percent of the population who are employed. The highest government salary is $508 per month.  (Source)

And yet, Zimbabwe is one of the most expensive countries to live in.  This translates to — members of the Church, like most people in that country, living in absolute squalor.

Image result for Zimbabwe poor

Zimbabwe is the second most impoverished nation in the world. Click on image for source.

In my travels to Africa, I had the opportunity to visit with some of the members of the Church in another nation considered richer than Zimbabwe.  I was overwhelmed by the poverty I witnessed there.  I was told I could not give money to the people in the streets by my LDS escorts.  I ignored their demand and was richly blessed by sharing whatever I could when they weren’t looking.

Members in that nation often worked for the Church in some capacity and while the Church did often pay slightly more than the going rate to many of them — most of them did not even have clean water to drink and still lived in abject poverty.  In fact, the Stake President at the time did not have running water in his home (nor did any members in his stake) and in his case, he was lucky enough to have a water faucet on his small lot, although the water was not potable.  No toilets in the homes either, just a hole in the ground a few feet outside the home if lucky.  His home was very small and was built with cinder blocks.  It had one bedroom and one other room.  Their “kitchen” was a gas burner on the porch.  Their shower consisted of taking a small bucket of cold dirty water from the faucet, with a sponge and some soap and pouring it on yourself while squatting in a filthy dirty concrete 2′ by 3′ shed.  This was preferable to bathing in the river.

My business colleague and I were not allowed at first to travel by ourselves.  We were driven around by a white LDS driver from compound to compound.  When we entered the Mission Home, the guard checked our van for explosives as we entered the armed gated small office complex.  When we went anywhere it was with this kind of security.  The Mission Home I’m guessing was a $10,000 or more per month property, based on prices I saw for comparable spaces there.  The Mission President and many of the couples serving with them lived in beautiful luxury apartments equipped with anything you’d enjoy in the US.  Washer, dryer, dishwasher, 4+ bedrooms, beautiful furniture, etc.  Clean water!  Clean dishes!  Showers, bathtubs, toilets, flooring, A/C!  Heat!  These were things that NO member of the Church in that region of Africa had.  Even members who worked full time for the Church lived in shacks.

We finally decided to shake our security detail and went to see the real Africa.  We hung out in the streets, we visited small businesses, and we went to a Christian church where members were singing praises to God.  There was no piano, no musical instrument, no anything.  They just had their angelic voices and they had their faith.  It was then that I felt the Spirit of God —  among the people with no security.  Not dressed up like clergy or businessmen.  Among the people who the white leaders were afraid to visit and to whom they refused to give their money.

I imagined all the things I could do for these people if I just had more resources.  What a difference it would make to have access to clean water, a toilet, plumbing, electricity.  How easy it would be for the Church to spend money on making these poor people’s lives a little better.  At least for the members who they are taking tithing from.  Build a hospital!  Build a city in Africa instead of in Florida.  Build affordable clean small homes where members can live with some dignity and comfort.  Create a huge garden and only send service missionaries who live among the people.  Bring modern medicine.  Bring compassion.

Fast forward to Neil Andersen’s visit with the president of Zimbabwe.

“We are not a wealthy people but we are good people, and we share what we have.”

I could be wrong, but this comment seems more likely to align with what I experienced first hand in Africa.  Otherwise stated:  “Don’t let them know you have money, or they will mob you.”  I find it truly sad if this is the selfish sentiment behind the mask of feigned love and generosity.

We should be spending billions of dollars around the world to help alleviate suffering.  Here and abroad.  Just hoarding that kind of money to me is sinful, especially considering that the money doesn’t even belong to them anyway.  The greatest portion belongs to those who give the most.  And the widow’s mite goes to members you’ll find in Zimbabwe and in Provo alike who simply have nothing to give but who are compelled to give in order to receive the blessings of the Temple.

Elder Andersen, they are not a wealthy people and they are sharing all they have with you and those around them.  But what are we doing for them?  With 100 Billion Dollars, we could literally change their world.

I personally hope there’s an accounting from the Church for those sacred funds.  I don’t care if the funds are somehow called non-sacred because they’ve been laundered through the Stock Market.  It’s still all tithing money and we as members have a right to know what it’s been used for.

Imagine if the accusation is true that the Church took money from these sacred funds and used them to bail out the failing City Creek Project allegedly to the tune of $1.3B.  That’s over a Billion Dollars wasted on empty mall and condo spaces.  How many homes could be built with that money alone?  Even at the high cost of $250 a square meter in Zimbabwe, a beautiful clean little home or apartment could be built for $30,000.  This would mean that with 100B, you could build more than 3.3 million homes, one for every active member of the Church.

The Church is defending itself as is expected.  I can’t speak to whether they have done anything illegal, but I can say that hoarding and stockpiling the widow’s mite is repulsive especially while pretending to be poor and humble.

 


Retracted article from Church Newsroom

News Release

Elder Andersen meets with Zimbabwe’s Vice President Mohadi, pledges support

A Historic Visit

Elder Neil L. Andersen, a member of The Quorum of The Twelve Apostles from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has concluded a historic visit to the office of Zimbabwe’s Vice President, His Excellency K. Mohadi.

Elder Andersen discussed with Vice President Mohadi plans to assist with development, education, improvement of health services and strengthening of families. He pledged support and love for the people of Zimbabwe, noting that the Southern African country was now home to more than 30,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Elder Andersen was accompanied by his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, and by Elder Joseph W. Sitati, 1st Counselor in the Africa Southeast Area Presidency, and his wife Sister Gladys Sitati, and by President Phillip Mathemera, president of the Zimbabwe Harare South Stake.“One thing we have learned as being disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ is that we put more on what we feel than what we see, and when we are with the people of Zimbabwe, we feel the love of God for them, and we feel their goodness,” Elder Andersen said in an interview following the meeting of November 14, 2018.Elder Andersen said the significance of the meeting with Vice President Mohadi was to “express to him our desire to help improve Zimbabwe.” He noted that Vice President Mohadi had made a specific request for support with the development of clean-water wells in more remote areas of Zimbabwe.“We want to help in every way we can,” said Elder Andersen. “We are not a wealthy people but we are good people, and we share what we have,” he added.Before meeting Vice President Mohadi, Elder Andersen briefly met with Hon. Minister Davis Marapira, who expressed gratitude for Elder Andersen’s visit and reiterated the government’s desire to revive the economy, attract investment and drive rural development.Marapira is the former Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement.

Elder Andersen said he expected to meet with Zimbabwean President, His Excellency Emmerson Mnangagwa during his visit to Harare, however, the planned visit coincided with a trip by the President to Kenya.“We wish him well. We are thankful for his attitude and his desire to help this country.  We pray very deeply that he can be successful. We know he’s a believing man, and we pray that he will pray, and that the blessings of Heaven could be upon him, upon his leaders and the people and that there can be progress economically in this country,” said Elder Andersen.Elder Andersen also shared with Vice President Mohadi news that the Church planned to begin construction of the Harare Temple in late 2019, an edifice that will bring special blessings to the people of Zimbabwe.The current number of Temples either operating, announced, or under construction in Africa is nine.

The Dark Shepherd

Black Aqeeq/Black Onyx/Black Agate Stone/Black Stone Natural Certified Natural Gemstone 8.70 Carat by AKELVI GEMS

We often forget that Hiram Page was one of the eight witnesses of the Golden Plates.  Hiram is best remembered for his peep stone and the revelations he was receiving in 1830, a short time after becoming a witness.

I had forgotten that Oliver Cowdery along with David Whitmer and his family, initially believed in Hiram Page’s revelations.  Can you imagine how difficult this must have been for the young prophet Joseph?  Here were several men who were supposed to be sober and firm minded, who were not only witnesses of the Golden Plates, but some of whom had also beheld an angel of God, AND YET EVEN THEY COULD NOT DISCERN that Page’s experiences were not from God.

What should WE learn from this?

Here is part of the testimony of the Three Witnesses:

And we declare with words of soberness that an angel of God came down from Heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ that we beheld and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvelous in our eyes.

It doesn’t get much stronger than this in terms of witnesses.

Contrast this true witness with the account of Page’s deception summarized on Wikipedia:

While Page was living with the Whitmers in Fayette, New York, Smith arrived in August 1830 to discover Page using a “seerstone” to receive revelations for the church. The only available detail about the stone was that it was black. The revelations were regarding the organization and location of Zion. Cowdery and the Whitmer family believed the revelations Page had received were true. In response, Joseph Smith, the first president of the church, received a revelation during the conference in September of that year to have Cowdery go to Page and convince him that his revelations were of the devil (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 28:11). At the conference there was considerable discussion on the topic. Page agreed to discard the stone and the revelations he received and join in following Smith as the sole revelator for the church. The members present confirmed this unanimously with a vote. Later, the stone was ground to powder and the revelations purportedly received through it were burned.

In dealing with this matter the Lord tells Joseph:

And again, you shall take your brother Hiram Page, between him and you alone, and tell him that those things which he has written from that stone are not of me, and that Satan deceives him, for behold, those things have not been appointed unto him, neither shall anything be appointed unto any of this church, contrary to the church covenants, for all things must be done in order and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith. And you shall settle all these things according to the covenants of the church, before you shall take your journey among the Lamanites.

Joseph’s ability to discern and get revelations from the True Source, restored peace to the new Church.  But, not for long.  Page and the Whitmers and eventually Cowdery and many others would turn on Joseph and leave the Church or be excommunicated.  Page was later ordained a high priest into the Whitmerite Church of Christ in 1847.  He was killed when his wagon tipped over on him years later.  Page never denied his witness of the Book of Mormon.

I find it interesting that Hiram Page was not a fraud per se.  He was simply deceived.  Somehow he obtained a stone, much like Joseph’s, that he was able to receive revelations from.  Hiram Page was passionate about knowing where Zion would be and in his zeal, he seemed to be trying to imitate the Lord’s servant Joseph.  Hiram knocked and someone answered.  “What is wanted?”  “Who are you?”  “I am the god of this world…”  Make no mistake — this stone worked!  Hiram was absolutely receiving revelations!  Just not from God.

I can scarcely blame Hiram and those who believed him.  Would I do any better?  Do I do any better?  The adversary so often mimics the truth in a way that even the very elect are deceived.

Speaking of the Lord’s elect, look at Mary Magdelene.  She was possessed by devils before her Lord healed her.  We don’t know the backstory as to how she became filled with devils nor do we know what it may have looked like.  None of that is really important.

Image result for mary magdalene

Being under the influence of the adversary in this world is not something to be ashamed of.  It happens to all of us I believe, at some point, in some way.  But, it is essential that those demons be cast out.  That we discern them as false and want them to be cast out.  Their possession of our house prevents us from entering into His presence.

The Lord’s True Messengers will do much more than just receive a few so called revelations.  They will do more than produce a few signs–a peep stone, a staff, a book, a blog, a sword and some “plates.”  If you want polaroids of “angels” there will be many who shall come with such signs who will teach the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.

But if you wish to discern, true messengers will speak with the tongue of Angels and their words, once feasted upon, will produce in you, a change of heart where you lose your desire and disposition to do evil.  If we stay on this course, those same angels whose message we accepted through true messengers, will appear to us and we shall give unto them the signs and tokens (Try the Spirits) and we shall hopefully pass by them successfully into the presence of the Lord.

Sadly discernment is a scarce commodity in a world so filled with darkness and there are many who think they do the Lord’s work, who are employed by the devil.

Maurico Berger, whose name ironically means “Dark Shepherd,” is just another deceived servant of the god of this world.  There are many others just like him who will continue to lead souls away from the truth using counterfeit tactics that mimic and mock God.

The Sealed Portion – Follow Up

Image result for brazilian book of mormon

Actual Photo of the alleged Golden Plates

I’ve received a few messages since my short post on this topic. Most have agreed with my initial assessment. One person fairly prominent online however, has tried to persuade me that this is all real. He is, in my view, sincere.

Since there may be others who still believe there’s something to this claim, I want to share just a few more observations.

I have since my last post, spent many more hours reading and pondering the alleged Sealed Portion of the Book of Mormon translated by a Brazilian man named Mauricio Berger.  I admit that I still do so with some measure of skepticism, in part because there are way too many overt things that continue to bother me.  Just like I would read the so called prophetic exhortations of Warren Jeffs or Ghandi or Mohamed, with a healthy dose of skepticism, I do so here.  I think we set ourselves up to be deceived when we follow the opposite course.

I also know too well how conformation bias works. One of the 8 witnesses admits as much when he said the following:

In the end, could I with the physical things of this earth, know that they were the plates of Mormon? Sadly, I had to say no. There is no amount of examination that will ever get me there. But as I hefted those plates, and I held those (about 50 pounds). My brother Tyler was using my camera, taking pictures of me. I held those precious plates. And I just let God know. I cannot know whether these are the plates of Mormon. It is beyond my means to make that determination. And as I pleaded, the help that is there right present, for God is at hand at all times, is when those plates became weightless for a moment. And presence of God rested upon me. And I knew, I was given to understand that these were the very plates of Mormon. And there was a smile that broke forth on my face.

This kind of thing could easily happen if you’re holding any item. Someone could feel such emotions or adrenaline if told for example that the terracotta pot in their hands was from Abraham’s village at the time of his youth. Just because you feel the emotion or excitement of that moment doesn’t make it an authentic relic. But the feelings you had may still have been sincere and amazingly heart felt although not necessarily a confirmation from God or the Spirit of anything.

The first thing I notice as problematic is as I mentioned in my last post, there is nothing in the contents that is greater or even equal to that which I find already in scripture. The excuse thus far has been that somehow it sounds better in Portuguese. I’m sure the Book of Mormon would sound best had it been written in Hebrew rather than Reformed Egyptian, but somehow even when I read it in French, which is three languages removed from its original form, it still has a power to it that is unmistakable. Everything I’ve read of that which “has been held back” until now because of our collective unbelief, simply is beyond unimpressive. It’s boring.  It’s uninspiring.  It’s clunky.  It contains NO profound teaching.

It’s not even as interesting as the false Nephite endowment from the Mentinah Archives and I definitely have found greater light reading apocryphal writings such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Book of Jasher, the Enochic Texts, etc. But this is not that. Believers argue that the best is about to come if we can just have the faith. So we apparently had enough faith to view pictures of the golden plates and sword of Laban and to get 155 translated pages, but we don’t have enough faith for the full release.

I don’t believe the original record was sealed simply to tease, as if there’s just more info that will eventually be revealed. It’s not more info that matters, it’s greater info that matters. These are the kind of words and teachings that were too sacred to share and too great to impart. This is not more ironically, this is less. In any language.

I also find it strange that when Joseph Smith received the record from Nephi the Angel (resurrected being – i.e. not Moroni), and eventually was able to show it to others, no drawings or sketches I’m aware of were made available to view.  Perhaps they were not permitted to.

In the Brazilian plates case, there are pictures of the actual golden plates and sword of Laban. These plates and their pictures have become a sign seeker’s spectacle. I’m surprised there’s not a picture of the angels as well. It’s just odd and it’s opposite of the pattern the Lord uses.  Here you have not 3 or 8 witnesses, but a billion. But now after gawking over the records online we’re suppose to have more faith so that a seer named Mauricio can translate the rest. I just don’t think God works that way.  God doesn’t give you “proof” first and then with more faith, give you the substance.  He tries our faith first.

And now as I said concerning faith—afaith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye bhope for things which are cnot seen, which are true.  (Alma 32:21)

I also noticed in the testimony of the one of the witnesses that they couldn’t feel anything when running their fingers over the writings on the sheets of the plates.

Joseph Frederick Smith said in 2017 in his witness:

The plates were very smooth.  When I first looked at them I guessed about 5X8 sheets, but it’s more like 6X6, I think.  I could see the hieroglyphics on them, but you couldn’t feel them.  . . . The sealed portion had two straps across it.  They work something like a belt.  They opened them up.  I took one of the straps, because they were metal and very flexible. . . .

That strikes me as odd. If the process was painstaking as it mentions in the record, then why would there be no sign of the manual struggle? I wouldn’t think it would be smooth but rather more like a reverse Braille. Etchings and engravings imply there to be texture and lack of smoothness.  Contrast with the descriptions from some of the original witnesses:

“[The plates] were filled with … characters … small, and beautifully engraved. The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its construction and much skill in the art of engraving.”23—Joseph Smith Jr., Orson Pratt

“There were fine engravings on both sides.”24—John Whitmer

“We also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship.”25—Eight Witnesses

One of the original witnesses in Joseph’s day said the etchings were filled with a black substance. This made it easier to see the characters. The pictures of the Brazilian plates don’t show any black in the characters and don’t seem to be engraved upon or indented at all.

“Upon each side of the leaves of these plates there were fine engravings, which were stained with a black hard stain so as to make the letters more legible and easier to be read.”26—Orson Pratt

Look at this picture of an actual engraved plate from the Plates of King Darius etched at about 530 BC.

Image result for golden plates found

Even from this photo one can see the antiquity and craftsmanship of this ancient golden record.  Strangely none of the witnesses of the Brazilian plates use the words, “ancient, craftsmanship, antiquity, or fine workmanship.”  No one seems to say that they look really old or that the craftsmanship is remarkable in Brazil.

Among the Brazilian witnesses who supposedly saw the angel Moroni, none said anything of a brilliant light.  Here is their official testimony:

Testimony of Three Witnesses

By the power and mercy of our Heavenly Father and our Master and Redeemer, yes, Jesus Christ, we bear our witness to all nations.

The nature of this testimony is to briefly describe what we have seen, heard and touched:

After some time with Mauricio Berger, who told us about the events on Mount Agudo, we decided to accompany him to the mountain. We can say that everything we have seen there has an extraordinarily sacred character. The prayers and praises offered to the Lord in that place, seeking to do the will of the Father, resulted in the visit of celestial beings; the instructions received directly from the Angel Moroni, are events that have marked our lives forever and ever. We squeezed his hand and received from him the Golden Plates, the translating stones and the Sword of Laban, formerly in possession of the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. This sublime circumstance had a powerful effect on our beliefs by enlarging our perception of this great and marvelous work.

We affirm that, by the power of God, the Sealed Book of Mormon will be translated, contained in the plates.

We know, therefore, that the translation will take place in two time periods. The first part that belongs to Maurício Berger (in fulfillment of the prophecy of 2 Nephi 27: 21-26 LDS, or even 2 Nephi 11: 143-147 RLDS), with the intention of calling His people again to repentance. Upon completion of the translation, we understand that will be fulfilled what is written in 2 Nephi 30: 3 LDS, or 2 Nephi 12:80 RLDS – where it is clear this Record will be sealed back to the Lord in accordance with Ether 4: 7 LDS or Ether 1: 101 RLDS. Qualifying your people to receive the second part.

We place our witness at the disposal of the world, with a deep sense of gratitude and a total sense of responsibility towards God who directs this work. We solemnly affirm that by our fidelity to this testimony our garments will be clean at the last day.

In vain will be the one who stands up against the work of God. Honor and glory be for ever and ever, the Father, his son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, in whom we entrust the conclusion of this glorious work. Amen.

Joni Batista, Valdeci Machado, and Wagner Zeppenfeld

And yet, here is how the encounter was described by David Whitmer in 1829.

“It was in the latter part of June, 1829, Joseph, Oliver Cowdery and myself were together, and the angel showed them [the plates] to us. . . . [We were] sitting on a log when we were overshadowed by a light more glorious than that of the sun. In the midst of this light, but a few feet from us, appeared a table upon which were many golden plates, also the sword of Laban and the directors. I saw them as plain as I see you now, and distinctly heard the voice of the Lord declaring that the records of the plates of the Book of Mormon were translated by the gift and power of God.”

Image result for brazilian sword of laban

Picture as shown on www.thesealedbookofmormon.org

I’m also a little perplexed about the sword of Laban. It was supposedly made of precious steel with a solid gold handle. Interestingly there is no drawing that exists from those in 1829 who saw it.  (Again, notice the contrast that doesn’t focus on the object itself).  Nephi said that Laban was wearing a fine sword made of “precious steel” with a hilt of “pure gold.”  If in fact precious steel, it is not likely to be in such good condition as this one shown above. Look at this steel sword from 600 BC from Jerusalem:

This sword from Jericho dates to about 600 BC and is on display in the Israel Museum. Photograph by Jeffrey R. Chadwick

The handle on the one from Brazil doesn’t look as though it’s separate from the blade either. It looks to be entirely molded from one sword and not as if it’s two pieces. And even if somehow preserved from the natural elements, it still does not look special or ornate in the least.

It’s also strange to me that Mauricio claims the angel Raphael came to introduce Moroni. Why does Moroni need an introduction? And if Moroni is an unresurrected being then how would anyone be squeezing his hand as the witnesses claim?  For it is not in the nature of a just man made perfect awaiting the resurrection to deceive and therefore when you ask him to shake his hand he will not. It is however in the nature of the adversary to try to deceive and to make you feel and see things. And it’s not certain that when he extends his hand to you that you won’t feel anything. He just can’t give you the tokens and signs to prove he’s a true messenger as I understand it. But make no mistake, he can deceive even the very elect.

But back to “why does Moroni need an intro” — If they’re all fellow servants then why the intro? Again, just seems inconsistent and like a strange embellishment.

It’s also curious that so early in, there are actually witnesses who either couldn’t tell while holding the plates that they were authentic – one said he had no ability to know – and 2 of the 8 have already backtracked on their witness. Both of these facts smack of a hoax. The circumstances of seeing the plates and holding them apparently is already wearing off after such a short period of time and the so called Fire in their breasts was not enough to stay believing only a year later.

Those in Joseph’s day may have left the Church and betrayed and even came to hate Joseph, but their testimonies did not waiver so easily as these.

Some have suggested that they can’t imagine how or why anyone who is just a normal guy could or would ever try to concoct such a scheme. How could this simple car salesman from Brazil afford to pull off such an elaborate and expensive scheme? “No one would do that!” So they say — “not without money or fame or something.”

There is a history however for people doing this kind of thing. Look at the Mentinah Archives. The Salamander Letters. The Koran. I’ve heard more than one person in my own life claim they’ve seen an angel or the Lord where I believe they are mistaken. Why on earth would anyone lie about that? Or embellish that? How could they and why would they? Only God knows that but the fact is they do. And they do it all the time.

Why did Mark Hoffman love creating forgeries so much? Was it just for money? Or did he derive some perverted pleasure in how good he was at it? Why do people get a thrill from shoplifting? Why did the magicians in Pharoah’s court love magic and producing signs? How did they do it? Why are people crazy? Why do angels of light appear in order to deceive? Why do people say the Lord comes to them when He doesn’t? Why did an angel come to Korihor? Why couldn’t Laman and Lemuel repent after seeing an angel? I don’t know the answers to all of these questions, but I’ve given up trying to be so open minded that my mind becomes beelzebub’s playground. It has led to nothing but psychosis in my life.

One more example. Annalee Skarin. She wrote some great books that one would think were filled with love and light. She prayed and fasted and knocked, so she says, as hard as anyone ever did. If you take her at her word, she was translated and left her and her husband’s clothes in a way to make it look like they vanished. Some fake their own death, they faked their own translation. So what do I do with her books so filled with interesting insights and what I thought was light? I throw them in the trash heap and say “I’m looking for the true messengers Father promised to send me.” You give that garbage a room for the night and you’ll entertain more crazy guests than you ever thought existed.

Image result for anna rountree dances with jesus

Another example. Anna Rountree. This one is one of thousands of Christians who say they’ve seen Jesus. This particular woman had such an awe inspiring relationship with Jesus that included riding horses on the beach and dancing endlessly in the rain with our Lord. This Jesus has all the time in the universe to play and sing and dance with Anna Rountree but apparently doesn’t think to tell Anna to get baptized by one with authority or that the Book or Mormon is his new covenant for this land.

Image result for did anyone ever see james strang plates of laban

Perhaps the best example is that of James Strang.  Here is an account of his “inspiration” from the Wikipedia:

Book of the Law of the Lord

James J. Strang, one of several contenders to succeed Joseph Smith during the 1844 succession crisis, asserted that he had been given the “Plates of Laban” in fulfillment of Lehi’s prophecy. His translation of selections from them was published in 1851 as The Book of the Law of the Lord: Being a Translation from the Egyptian of the Law Given to Moses in Sinai.[22] In its preface, Strang clearly identifies the “Plates of Laban” as the source for most of his book.[23]

Strang’s Book of the Law comprises a constitution for a Mormon monarchy, wherein the Prophet-leader of the Latter Day Saint church equally rules as king over God’s kingdom on earth. His 1856 expanded version also contains other revelations and teachings by Strang to enhance understanding of the work. The Book of the Law was seen by Strang as making up only a portion of the Plates of Laban, rather than the whole, showing that it was a more complete bible that included books now lost. The Book of Mormon also claims this in reference to works by Zenos and Zenock, prophets who lived in Jerusalem, but are now unknown to history.

Seven witnesses testified to having seen and handled the plates Strang claimed to possess. They described the plates as being eighteen in number, each measuring approximately seven and three-eighths inches wide, by nine inches long. The plates themselves were “occasionally embellished with beautiful pictures,” and all appeared to be of “beautiful antique workmanship, bearing a striking resemblance to the ancient oriental languages.”[24]

The subsequent history of Strang’s “Plates of Laban,” and their current whereabouts, is a mystery.

The Book of the Law of the Lord is not viewed as sacred scripture to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Brighamite) or Community of Christ (Josephite) churches, the two largest factions of the Latter Day Saint movement, although the Community of Christ (then RLDS) was formed primarily of Strang’s followers under Joseph Smith III, and held the book as sacred until Strang was official decanonized due to persecution and the scandal surrounding polygamy.

There are countless Indian gurus and 8 foot tall brothers of Jared walking around the earth giving fantastical revelations to special people. Some of them have had NDEs and write their visions or glory. What am I to do with all this? I’ve looked at some of it and now can see quickly if it contradicts the Lord’s pattern which is NOT sensational. So I throw it away. I don’t try to take a little light from each source or glean some incredible mystery—I throw it away once I discern it’s not from the right source. I’ve been burned too many times and simply refuse go down these strange roads if I can avoid them.  If Satan gives a great speech with many truths are you going to try to take the good from it?  I hope the answer is no.

There are so many more examples. Way too many to mention and way too many that deceive people. It’s as if there’s this great sign seeking spirit among us.  A person sometimes joins some group with all the zeal and evangelism of a new convert. And then there’s this new book or new guy online from Australia or India or Brazil or Canada or Montana or Southern Utah. “There’s more light” they cry! “More prophets!” Itching ears! Sorcerers and peeping wizards. More titillating information! More pieces to the puzzle! Some try to make it all fit and cleave to multiple beliefs or organizations. Others leave one group disappointed only to join another with their new friends in the newest and next best offering.

This one has THE SEALED PORTION. And pictures to boot! Doesn’t get much better than that. Previous ones had super power seminars where for a reasonable fee you could learn to bend forks with your faith. Still others sold revelations directly from the great prophetess who walks with Mahonri Moriancumr. Learn how to cast out devils for the low low price of $40 a session from another. I wish these were embellishments. They are not. Some are content to just sell books while others just share their “crazy” for unknown benefit and unknown reasons.  It doesn’t really matter why they do it.

Maybe we should ask ourselves IF we actually have faith or if we are an adulterous sign seeking generation. Because all of this is adulterous in my opinion. It breaks a covenant with God to be faithful to Him and to His words.

Because there is no money being made on this latest Mentinah scheme does not mean it’s from God. I don’t know this Mauricio fellow nor do I know his adherents, but I can tell you that I believe that none of it is from God.

Anything that is NOT from God, no matter how enticing or appealing, will take you away from God. But that’s a lesson we each have to figure out for ourselves and sadly too often the hard way. The scriptures show clearly that we ultimately always get what we want. God allows us to have things that we can’t understand because we seek them.

As a side note, If you happen to be someone who thinks Denver Snuffer is telling the truth, then you may want to re-examine why and how you can also believe this Brazilian tale to be true. He’s written about this here and here. They can’t both be true. If you’re more drawn to the effort in Brazil then you ought to follow your heart and become a part of that group. It’s likely you’ll be happier there. If you have doubts or are uncertain then I would take that stupor of thought as something to not ignore and I would beg the Lord to clean your house and fix your heart and mind.

It’s also interesting to note that during the time of translation in Joseph’s day, it was as if the legions of hell were enlisted to steal the plates from Joseph. The angels did not prevent him from having to hide the record to keep it safe. He was required to run through the woods, dislocate his thumb, move his family, hide them in various places, fight mobs, and almost lose them time and time again. But this group has some special protection?  Or maybe it’s because Satan does not cast out Satan?  (Matthew 12:26)

In my mind I see this as yet another sad opportunity to be unfaithful to the Bridegroom. I believe the perpetrators of this fraud will eventually be exposed and sadly souls will be drawn away into the dreary waste.

*Update. It’s been brought to my attention that a much more exhaustive critique of Mauricio’s scheme can be found here:

https://restorationbookstore.org/Brazil_Plates_Labans_Sword_v2-4.pdf