Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2019, April 20

President Nelson: “In coming days it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the … constant influence of the Holy Ghost.” by grego

Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives

 

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“In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”

When I first heard it, it struck me pretty deeply.  In the April 2019 General Conference, this was quoted at least three times.

But don’t we need the Holy Ghost’s guidance, direction, comfort, and influence to survive spiritually, already?

So, some thoughts as to what a few differences might be.

1) The dangers will be widespread. No “running away” from the need. Lot could leave Sodom and Gomorrah, for example.

2) This does not mean just spiritual “prospering” or “making it” or “not doing so great”, but basic spiritual SURVIVAL.

3) Wide-scale danger, deep. You need water to live. Think of that when your house water has been cut off, vs. being stranded in Death Valley.

4) Dangers will be intense and time-shortened. There will be many more decisions with the result of life or death, and they will be more frequent. Just the stress of making those, even if made correctly with the help of the HG, will be burdensome for many.

5) There will be an increase in opposition and ways to sin. This opposition will come from many sides, levels, and ways. Instead of early days where it was anti-Mormons and apostates, it will be those, and all levels on all topics, including many that will be ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing.  There could be 99 choices resulting in death, and one resulting in life. No more spiritually surviving by “beating the odds with luck” and a quick prayer, so to say.

An LDS family member had half his friends leave the Church over the Church’s stand on Proposition 8–and Proposition 8 was a very small matter compared to what will come in the future. Leaving the Church (no matter what many loud voices might say to the contrary) = spiritual death.

The number of stories and miracles we have heard about spiritual and physical survival because of the HG from the past are going to be drops in buckets compared to future stories. Stories that will be about guidance, direction, comfort, and constant influence saving people from otherwise certain spiritual death.

Recently, I have survived, and even prospered, spiritually. But it is nothing compared to when I was in a foreign country in bad situations. I have survived and even prospered physically, but it is nothing compared to when I worked in a bad section of town, where that ACTUAL constant influence of the Holy Ghost was there, and miracles–gifts of the Spirit–were a matter of survival. Think back on life, and I think we have times that will help us understand the differences.

When is the last time the Holy Ghost guided, directed, comforted, or influenced you to save you, spiritually? For me: not too much, really. Influence has been there to help me spiritually survive, but it didn’t FEEL like a strong, necessary part of it. Because the need currently isn’t strong for it.

When is the last time a person told you something that saved your life, spiritually or physically? For me: not recently, that I remember.

As time passes, the time gap and frequency in those answers to those two questions will grow shorter and shorter, until I expect it to be a common occurrence for LDS, and one day for many it will be, “Earlier today”.

And who knows… Maybe it won’t be that bad, that long, for everyone. But in addition to the five points above, you have long-term situations Satan and his minions can manipulate. All you need is a small slip, a fall, a break, poor treatment, and you’re dead.

2018, November 8

“The Calling of Suffering: Called to Serve, Called to Suffer” by grego

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“The Calling of Suffering: Called to Serve, Called to Suffer”
by grego (c)2018

My thoughts…

Most of us, at some time or another, are called to suffer. Just like being an elder means you are automatically “called” to minister, living in this life means you are automatically “called” to suffer.

For some more than others, this will take on a more prominent role as part of our life mission.

We have been told that when we suffer for God, we will be rewarded:
Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

3 Nephi 12:11 And blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake;

1 Corinthians 4:12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:

3 Nephi 6:13 Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God.

Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
And yes, Paul did suffer greatly for Jesus’ name.

I believe that one of Satan’s greatest weaknesses that led to his downfall was that he was NOT willing to suffer for salvation. He was the exact opposite of Jesus Christ, who was willing to suffer whatever was needed. Along these same lines, if we are not willing to suffer for salvation, we will suffer for damnation.

Did Jesus suffer as He fulfilled his calling and life mission?
Helaman 13:6 …the Lord Jesus Christ, who surely shall come into the world, and shall suffer many things and shall be slain for his people.

Acts 17:3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.

Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Mark 9:12 …it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.
Luke 9:22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.

Luke 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

Alma 16:19 … the coming of the Son of God, his sufferings and death, and also the resurrection of the dead.

Alma 22:14 And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth….

We are here to love God and our fellow man. When we serve others, we serve God:
Mosiah 2:16 Behold, I say unto you that because I said unto you that I had spent my days in your service, I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God.
17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.

We are also told this:
DC 18:10 Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
11 For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.
12 And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance.
13 And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!
14 Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people.
15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!

Nephi says that the words of Christ and the Holy Ghost will show us all things what [we] should do–whether they fit the lives we want, or not. Nephi doesn’t say God will give us explanations, especially at the time. We must just accept that some things were, are, and will be. On the other hand, some things will never be or get done, and will have to fall by the wayside for better and best things. There is too much in life to do it all; we must be committed to doing the Lord’s will, above all else. Some dreams will never come true (another part to the sacrifice and suffering).

Our lives might not be anywhere near as we wished—-but with the help of God, they will be better. It might take an entire lifetime for us to truly understand or even realize this. It might come sooner (See Garth Brooks, “Unanswered Prayers”.) I don’t doubt that for some of us, much of that realization and understanding will come after we die. Perhaps we will understand the chain of influence and events that occur in someone’s life when we serve them.

Part of service to God and others to pay for spirituality and a glorious life in this fallen world where Satan works, is that we will suffer. We might suffer deeply, or for years, or both. We will suffer innocently. It will require, as King Benjamin says,
Mosiah 3:19 [that we yield] to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.;

or as Alma says,
Alma 7:23 … be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things…
Alma 13:28 But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering…

Bringing people to repentance and joy, or justice and condemnation, always requires sacrifice. That might sound weird… I’ll explain a little, then give some examples.

There seem to be three main reasons for a calling to suffer:
1. that others might repent;
2. that others might be warned or condemned;
3. that we might experience, learn, do better, share, or perform another important work.

From the Book of Mormon:
1. *Alma and Amulek suffered to bring Zeezrom and many in Ammonihah to full repentance;
*most of the missionaries with Ammon suffered so that the Lamanites would be converted;
*the Anti-Nephi-Lehies suffered so that their Lamanite brethren could be brought to the truth;
2. *Gideon was slain so that Nehor could be stopped;
*the believers in Ammonihah suffered burning so that a just judgment would come upon their murderers;
*many prophets were slain for warning people to repent;
*Nephi and the other righteous members of his family suffered so that Laman and his would have opportunities to repent;
3. *Alma and his people were to bear testimony that God had delivered them;
*Mormon watched his people nearly destroyed;
*Moroni was a witness to the utter destruction of his people.

One semester I moved to a ward that was the worst I’ve ever been in. I could have been invisible and my voice silenced and not really been worse off. My roommates were okay, though. However, one of them was very cold to me all semester long. Ironically, he was the Elders Quorum President, and was getting married to a nice young lady. The last Sunday of the semester, he gave a scathing talk that ripped the ward members for being unfriendly. I thought that was interesting… As he was moving out that afternoon, he turned to me and said, “grego, I am sorry for how bad I have treated you. You did nothing to deserve it. You reminded me of someone who was mean to me, and so I treated you bad. Please forgive me.” I thought, “Wow, all semester long for that??” Oh well. I said, “Sure.” and meant it. I thought, maybe it was for the good, in the end. Maybe he needed to see and understand it, and maybe that gave him the understanding and drive to say what he had said in his talk, a talk I never would have been able to give and have accepted by any ward member. Maybe it helped me. I had a feeling that nothing about that situation was coincidence.

I had a long relationship that I didn’t understand. I really had the feeling I was called to suffer in that. Most all the time, I felt like I was walking in darkness. Figuratively, many times in that time period, I stumbled, stubbed my toes, tripped, fell, and wandered through the darkness, though every so often a voice would warn me so I wouldn’t fall and die. I remember a really rough period; one night, I was overwhelmed by bad feelings and left a church meeting, and went outside to sit on the curb and look up at the stars. “Heavenly Father, this situation is horrible. Nothing seems to be working out for me. I don’t know why I am here, nor what I am supposed to be doing. It’s really hard to feel the Spirit, and very easy to feel the devil and his angels and their temptations. Is this really where you want me to be??” “Yes.” That was it. I would have loved much more of an answer, but that was what God allotted me, and I felt strengthened. Like the young warriors, I made it through; like the young warriors, I still bear scars and injuries from that experience. (Ha ha, reminds me of my mission…)

Andy and Satto were roommates. Andy was big in many good ways. Satto was small in many ways, too. Satto was nice to me. He was a pain to Andy. (It’s usually opposite.) He didn’t go to church, he wouldn’t do much of anything spiritual. No one mentioned much about it. I didn’t understand it. One day after a severe uncalled-for berating from Satto, I asked him, “Why do you put up with it??” He just shook his head and hum-hawed. About a month after I had left the apartment, I went back to visit. I didn’t recognize Satto. He might not have grown any more physically, but he had grown incredibly in other ways. He was nice—NICE—to Andy. They read scriptures together, went to church together, and did other good things together. I asked Andy what had happened. He shook his head and hum-hawed. I understand. Andy was called to suffer for Satto, and had helped “bring [his] soul unto [Jesus]”.

Yes, part of our life mission is to suffer for others so that more good might happen. This is part of serving others. If we have been called to suffer so that mercy can come to others who might not “deserve” it, or so that justice and a just judgment comes to someone, we are only following the example of Jesus Christ, who suffered the will of the Father by suffering so that we could have eternal life.

3 Nephi 11:10 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
11 And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
14 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.

DC 19:16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.

Moroni 9:25 My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever.

And how are his disciples expected to act, and what are they expected to do, and why? Notice the one word that connects the following verses:

Gal. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

2 Corinthians 6:3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:
4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

Colossians 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

Alma 7:23 And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.

Alma 13:28 But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;

Alma 38:3 I say unto you, my son, that I have had great joy in thee already, because of thy faithfulness and thy diligence, and thy patience and thy long-suffering among the people of the Zoramites.

DC 121:41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

When we strive to follow the Spirit and do something hoping to do good, who knows what the results will be for us or others. Sometimes we find out a little, sometimes we never do. We might wonder, but at least we will hopefully be content of having been an instrument in the hands of God. God blesses us with the Spirit and blessings as we serve. These are some of the choicest experiences I have had.

We should be praying that all the good—for everyone—that can come from a situation of suffering, will be brought to pass.

2017, October 17

“Critique of Elder M. Russell Ballard’s October 2017 General Conference Talk: ‘The Trek Continues!'” by grego

“Critique of Elder M. Russell Ballard’s October 2017 General Conference Talk: ‘The Trek Continues!'”
(c) 2017 grego

The Trek Continues!
Elder M. Russell Ballard

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/the-trek-continues?lang=eng

Summary of my feelings:
I wish leaders would understand first, especially when it could be so easy.
I wish leaders would not condemn the whole class with the student they aren’t getting along with. Talk to the student; solve the problem, if you can, or at least make it better.
Principles, principles, principles. If it doesn’t work, something’s not right.
Lay your points out.

Ok, so what does this talk really mean? Truthfully, I’m not sure, because all in all, it was unclear and didn’t make sense. Let’s talk about some of it:

-=-=-=

“Many of us are on amazing journeys of discovery—leading to personal fulfillment and spiritual enlightenment. Some of us, however, are on a trek that leads to sorrow, sin, anguish, and despair.”

-=
Over the past years since learning about lots of things, including energy healing, I have been on “an amazing [journey] of discovery—leading to personal fulfillment and spiritual enlightenment.” I would literally be dead, after having spent my family into debt, if I hadn’t taken this journey, or if I had taken the path of Western medicine. I have, on the other hand, helped lots of people who were in sorrow, sin, anguish, and despair, when other things didn’t.

-=-=-=

“We must be careful where our footsteps in life take us. We must be watchful and heed the counsel of Jesus to His disciples as He answered these questions: “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man [and I add woman] deceive you.””

-=
I was pretty sure this scripture was about not being spiritually deceived, but let’s continue.
It seems that “being deceived” is synonymous here with “don’t leave Western Christian-Judeo tradition.” Of course, we know that that tradition, which we might see best in the 1940’s and 1950’s, is long gone in lots of ways, especially the “traditional” part.
We have a clue! I don’t think he would have said “and I add woman” if it didn’t have a connection. Perhaps he is talking about someone like Julie Rowe?

-=-=-=

“Today I repeat earlier counsel from Church leaders. Do not listen to those who entice you with get-rich schemes. Our members have lost far too much money, so be careful.”

-=
My first impression is that he means don’t invest in the stock market (which the church has lots of money invested in and managed in ways which have likely been beat with dartboards), and don’t join MLM’s (“get rich schemes”), which Utah is famous for. Every once in a while there is someone in the news who uses their church calling as a foot in the door to persuade people to invest in their plan, so I’m guessing that’s what was meant, though that could have been easily said, but wasn’t.

-=-=-=

“In some places, too many of our people are looking beyond the mark and seeking secret knowledge in expensive and questionable practices to provide healing and support.”

-=
It would be really nice to get a much clearer statement on this. Is there secret knowledge? Absolutely. Secret healing knowledge? Absolutely. And no offense, but only a person who was biased, ignorant, brainwashed, set in their ways, or unable to see, or purposefully malicious (which I don’t think is the case here), would say that there isn’t–especially as a short search online would show.

I could list a hundred different things, many of them “scientifically proven” and/or with so many anecdotes that are pretty hard to dismiss. Many have videos, testimonials, etc. that show their work as it is done, and how it was real. Some invite you to follow along and see for yourself, right there.

Did he mean energy healing? Once again, we don’t know, because it’s not said. Did he mean anything that’s not Western medicine? I don’t know.

I’m sure if Elder Ballard or (any other church leader) wanted to understand better, he could have requested it and had hundreds of energy healers to choose from who would be willing to explain and demonstrate. Did he? Don’t think so.

Hmm… What is “expensive”? Christ-Centered Energy Healing was $25,000 for a year at the top tier. Expensive? Yeah, I can see that. (Would/Did I join? Heck no, I didn’t think the ROI was good enough.) On the other hand… How about $100,000 to “heal” cancer for maybe two years, only to have it come back and kill you? “Expensive?” 4X more so! Did it get the source, take care of the cause(s)? Nope. Was it any better? I’d say not (and so would the medical journals, lol). Was the doctor licensed? Sure, under the AMA, whose purpose is to… make money and maintain a monopoly on and control medicine and healing in the USA. Unless you went to Mexico, where you got cancer treatment that actually helped you heal, in which case the doctor was likely not licensed in the USA.
I’ve seen so many things clear up in minutes that have taken others years and much, much more money to overcome using licensed, professional practitioners.
So, who is getting bamboozled?

-=-=-=

“An official Church statement, issued one year ago, states: “We urge Church members to be cautious about participating in any group that promises—in exchange for money—miraculous healings or that claims to have special methods for accessing healing power outside of properly ordained priesthood holders.” (Church spokesman Eric Hawkins, in Daniel Woodruff, “The Business behind Christ-Centered Energy Healing,” Sept. 28, 2016, kutv.com.)”

-=
This “official church statement” was from a Church spokesman, so I’m not sure who was really speaking (because of things I’ve heard them say in the past).

OF COURSE it’s for money!! Did President Nelson do all his heart operations for free?? Does Elder Ballard have health insurance?? Does Elder Ballard pay when he sees a doctor?? Are there many LDS who are paid to be counselors?

So, where are “miraculous healings” that are “promised”? If this is energy healing: with tens of thousands of energy healers, and many on the internet, those should be easy to find, right? I don’t see them. Does Christ-Centered Energy Healing make promises like that? I don’t think so (but I hope so, for Elder Ballard’s sake).

Of course there is healing power outside of priesthood–ask President Dr. Nelson, that should be obvious. I believe what Elder Ballard meant was, “that claim methods for accessing healing power outside of [priesthood] and WESTERN MEDICINE.” Perhaps he is confusing healing = only done by the priesthood.

-=-=-=

“The Church Handbook counsels: “Members should not use medical or health practices that are ethically or legally questionable. Local leaders should advise members who have health problems to consult with competent professional practitioners who are licensed in the countries where they practice.” (Handbook 2, 21.3.6.)”

-=
I’m wondering what they meant by “ethically or legally questionable.” Almost none of those energy healing or alternative medicine practices that I am aware of are “ethically or legally questionable.”
President Nelson makes more money in one operation than many poor people in the USA make in a year or more of hard work. Is that ethical? Invest in the stock market, and you can make millions doing nothing–is that ethical? I could go on and on asking questions about ethics.
In addition, I’ve run into lots of “licensed” “professional practitioners” (doctors, dentists, marriage therapists, etc.) who were definitely ethically, and possibly legally, questionable. Yup, the top oncologist in the (10 cities or so?) region where my relative lived told them, “I think you have pancreatic cancer, so I need to cut out your intestines, part of your stomach, [and a whole bunch of other things that will either kill you or make your life a living hell].” Six years later, fine. Another oncologist said to a relative, “I need to stick a radioactive device up your prostate,” then years later admitted it would have been totally unnecessary, as the levels were within range–he just wanted the money. Then, “The small bumps on your arm are from soap.” “Your bumps are just a small reaction to something.” “Your bumps…” Every time it was something different, didn’t matter which doctor it was. I could go on and on with just my and relatives’ experiences.

Unfortunately, that key word “competent” is a real bugger, you know?

-=-=-=

“Brothers and sisters, be wise and aware that such practices may be emotionally appealing but may ultimately prove to be spiritually and physically harmful.”

-=
Yup, just like any other medical and emotional treatment. Actually, I’m wrong–energy healing is usually much safer. I know lots of people who come back from the hospital with, so as to not freak out people, “different personalities” that lead them to say and do un-Christ-like things. I have experienced that personally, too. Western medicine–spiritually and physically harmful? Often. Oh hey, let’s not forget all these (often unnecessary) operations that put people on opioids–that’s not energy healing doing it!

-=-=-=

“For our pioneer ancestors, independence and self-reliance were vital, but their sense of community was just as important. They worked together and helped one another overcome the physical and emotional challenges of their time. For the men, there was the priesthood quorum, and the women were served by the Relief Society. These outcomes have not changed in our day.
The Relief Society and the priesthood quorums provide for the spiritual and temporal well-being of our members.”

-=
Okay, what if Elder Ballard is saying to not use energy healing to overcome problems, but to rely on your church groups to support you. I really don’t understand this, either. Does he also mean to not use Western medicine to overcome problems, but to rely on your church groups to support you? I doubt it, which shows, once again, a double standard.
And after sitting in years of PEC, ward council, and priesthood meetings, and talking with people in problematic situations, that’s generally a… very optimistic hope, as I haven’t generally seen lots of people get much support from those groups. In fact, many people leave the church for that reason.

-=-=-=

Stay on the gospel path by having “faith in every footstep” so you can return safely back to the presence of Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord is our precious Savior. He is the Redeemer of the world. We must honor His sacred name and not misuse it in any way, always striving to keep His commandments. If we do so, He will bless us and lead us safely home.

-=
I think he’s saying Christ-Centered Energy Healing shouldn’t use the name, and for once, I would probably agree. If this is his meaning, he/ the church could have handled this much differently, then spoken more clearly; or at least, spoken more clearly.

-=-=-=

“We need to embrace God’s children compassionately and eliminate any prejudice, including racism, sexism, and nationalism.” …

-=
Okay, this is ironic… Because Elder Ballard has just shown prejudice, including racism (only Western medicine is good), nationalism (only Western medicine is good), and offended millions of people with his talk content, as much of the world (including, interestingly enough, many in the USA) does not use Western medicine.

I strongly believe it was unintentional, but I really wish he would search things through and get help when needed before coming out with things to say. And after newspaper and TV interviews I’ve done, I sure hope he doesn’t rely on media for his information, either.

All in all, it seems this was mostly directed towards Christ-Centered Energy Healing–but who could be sure?

2012, November 24

LDS/ Mormon Missionary Work: Planting Seeds

Filed under: Uncategorized — grego @ 9:27 am
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Missionary Work: Planting Seeds

grego
(c) 2012

Most people see religion as a part of life; I see life as part of religion.

Life is still good for many people. In my experience, this is USUALLY not the situation of the earnest seeker of God. (Of course, that is their decision to make after we invite them, not ours.)

However, it is CERTAIN that in the future, many people will not know where or who to turn to, not know where to go. They will fear for their children’s lives, and for their own. After a certain point (which will be different for everyone) they will not want to take part in what is happening in society. You might or might not be there when that happens. So how can you help someone? Plant seeds.

We were talking about natural disasters in class one day. I spoke to the children about Christian prophecies of destruction, and then in particular about the LDS/ Mormon prophecy of the destructions of New York by fire and Boston by tidal wave. (I don’t try to brainwash the children or make them believe, as a teacher.) The children were interested. I then told them: “If, one day, you are not satisfied with life, or very scared, and you see these things happen, REMEMBER today; go to church, and give it a chance.” Will they remember? Maybe, maybe not. But at least they now have the chance to remember.

I have seen many times in my life where I was not ready for something I needed the first time around, mostly because I just didn’t understand what it really was and what it could really do for me. It is true that if someone had persisted in explaining to me, I would have understood and had more interest; but at other times, not really. I think many people are the same way when it comes to religion and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some people need someone to really explain it to them, and some people need time.

And then hey, I’ll be honest. I usually don’t go to the dentist until my tooth hurts! Yes, I even KNOW I should go earlier, and I’m getting better at it, but… So I understand a little when people don’t take the gospel the first time around–or second, or third, or until their wife yells at them… Even when maybe they KNOW that it’s what they need.

You never know when something might happen for someone. On my mission, we were teaching a group of seven friends. I had ranked them as to how I would invite them, with the most likely at the beginning, down on to the least likely. Well, the first six rejected an invitation to be baptized, but hey, I persisted to the end! The last woman had this… kind of weird smile/ look on her face, and didn’t say anything. Ok… Well, a few days later, we got a call from her–she wanted to get baptized. Go figure, huh? The other six? Maybe their time was right, and they rejected the chance. On the other hand, MAYBE their time wasn’t right, but one day when it is right, they will accept it, and these experiences will have helped prepare them for it.

So, please don’t give up on missionary work, and especially don’t give up on family and friends. “No” means “no”–when it’s given. Things can change, and people can change. IIRC, a few weeks ago the stake relief society president gave a talk about her husband getting baptized after 50 years of marriage. So plant seeds, and give them time to grow–whether it’s an immediate harvest, or if they need years and years to mature. You’d be surprised how sometimes they can grow on their own without your constant care, too.

2012, May 2

“LDS/ Mormons: Problems with ‘Real Growth’ in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” by grego

LDS/ Mormons: Problems with “Real Growth” in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

grego
(c)2012

One of our area goals, set by our area presidency (70′s), for this year is “real growth”.

Finally, someone was starting to see it!! I have no idea where this is coming from, but in general conference Brother Edgley spoke on “The Rescue for Real Growth”, and I realized maybe it was higher than just our area presidency.

A few weeks ago in a meeting with the high councilor we were looking at numbers, and he mentioned that numbers are going down all across the stake, and had been for a little while. (For example, ward temple attendance has spiraled from 40/ month to less than 10.) Then he asked for input as to why. I rose my hand. “This is the culminating fruit of at least 15 years of numbers games instead of real growth…” and continued to speak for a few minutes.

It seems that for years the leaders have been worrying about and measuring good things, while not worrying about or measuring much better things.

Things being measured:
-Sacrament meeting attendance
-Home teaching
-Temple attendance

Ok, but… Things that SHOULD be measured more than most others:
-Book of Mormon reading
-Prayer
-Family Home Evening

I’ve always wondered why so much prophetic and leadership counsel gets “forgotten” in the process, like this:
Often we spend great effort in trying to increase the activity levels in our stakes.
We work diligently to raise the percentages of those attending sacrament meetings.
We labor to get a higher percentage of our young men on missions.
We strive to improve the numbers of those marrying in the temple.
All of these are commendable efforts and important to the growth of the kingdom.
But when individual members and families immerse themselves in the scriptures regularly and consistently, these other areas of activity will automatically come (The Power of the Word, Ezra Taft Benson, President of the Church, April 4, 1986).

But it’s not just the members, it’s also the missionaries. In fact, it starts with and is largely pushed by the missionaries.

For the past 15 years (at least), “real growth” has had no meaning to the missionary work here. It’s all been about numbers, numbers, numbers. That pressure comes from the mission presidents and from the missionary leaders (assistants to the president, zone leaders, district leaders) who have also ignored church leaders’ teachings and about all the scriptures when it comes to missionary work and goals. Just a few years ago (three?), Elder Nelson gave a talk and asked the missionaries to measure their personal efforts, not other goals they had no control over. How many mission presidents are doing that? But is it their fault, or their leaders they report to (and what numbers are being reported)? (I’ve gone into numbers and goals before in other missionary posts.).

I find it a little ironic that you have this in “Preach My Gospel”:
“A Successful Missionary
Your success as a missionary is measured primarily by your commitment to find, teach, baptize, and confirm people and to help them become faithful members of the Church who enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost.
Avoid comparing yourself to other missionaries and measuring the outward results of your efforts against theirs. Remember that people have agency to choose whether to accept your message. Your responsibility is to teach clearly and powerfully so they can make a correct choice (p. 10).”
but then there’s also a section on number goals (“Use Time Wisely” chapter). Is this sending a mixed message to missionaries?

I gave rides to the missionaries recently, and as the missionaries read their district goals (another big problem! But I didn’t discuss that with them.) in the car, I had a few comments … “Our goals are to have 50 people come to church, 100 teachings with members, and 10 baptisms. Cool! That’s a little low, though.” They were all excited and talked for a minute about them. Then I chimed in.
“These are all ‘result’ goals, not ‘effort’ goals. What if you do nothing, and a member brings 50 people to church? What if you do everything you can, and no one shows up to church?” Silence. “I suggest you concentrate on goals that you can control, see your results, and use the results to make your methods better. For example, instead of having a goal that 50 people come to church, why not a goal to invite everyone you meet that week to come to church? Instead of having a goal of 100 teachings with members, why not have a goal to visit 10 members, and invite them to help you teach an investigator that month? Instead of having a goal that 10 people get baptized, why not a goal to invite everyone you teach, unless otherwise noted, to get baptized?” Silence. Then the leader spoke up–”Hey, I really like that!” I continued. “Then, if you’re putting forth the effort, but your numbers aren’t good, you know you need to work on that item.”
“Also, while goals that test limits are great, you’re looking for sustainable goals more than anything. Maybe those numbers are low when that’s all you’re concentrating on, but are those goals sustainable–can you reach them for the rest of your missions?” Silence.
They asked me about the possibility of being able to speak in a school, about which three seemed to be really excited; I said I had nothing against it, but… “at least make it high school!” Why? Almost every non-adult that has gotten baptized has the extra burden and complication of fighting with their parents over church attendance vs. studies, and it’s bad enough when long-time families have this same problem and studies often win. The same missionary agreed, adding they should probably concentrate on family baptisms and not teenagers.
I then asked, “In the church we often speak about the leadership skill of delegation; what missionary activity should missionaries delegate?” Silence. Then a few answers. I reminded them that my nephews were going to be baptized in May or most likely June. I suggested that missionaries should delegate the task of finding to members. “How would you like to have 10 members helping you find people to teach?” “That would be great!! But… Brother grego, how do we do that?” Right, because the new missionary handbook says, oh, about NOTHING about working with members (2.5 pages, about which 2 pages is about it, and .5 pages how), and NO mission leaders have stressed or even really mentioned it for the past YEARS in this area. I asked if they had ever heard of the “How Great Shall Be Your Joy”? “No.” So I told them to ask their mission president, and then dropped it, as we were getting close to our destination, anyway.

A few weeks ago I had given the missionaries a printout of 2 Timothy 1:7-8 (slightly modified), which reads:
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, nor of [his servants].”
As I handed it to them, they asked, “What’s this?” and I said it was a section that President Hinckley suggested in a general conference talk that we read every morning. “Really??” I can’t think of members who need this help more than the missionaries, but I wonder how many mission presidents have remembered this counsel and followed it? Which goes back to an idea I’d really like to see implemented: a handbook of ideas for mission presidents. I think it’s unbelievable that mission presidents receive nothing (except what might be left over in the mission office) to help with their callings. Would it be possible to give each mission president at least a “book of ideas”?

Due to recent happenings, more (in addition to previous posts) about rushed baptisms… I wonder if the mission president and missionaries remember a few things:
1. “There is a difference between a convert who is built on the rock of Christ through the Book of Mormon and stays hold of that iron rod, and one who is not” (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1975, p. 65).
How many converts build on the rock of Christ through the Book of Mormon? I don’t want to guess…

2. D&C 20:37 Qualifications for Baptism
• Humble themselves before God.
• Desire to be baptized.
• Come for th with broken hear ts and contrite spirits.
• Repent of all their sins.
• Are willing to take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ.
• Have a determination to serve Christ to the end.
• Manifest by their works that they have received the Spirit of Christ unto the remission
of their sins.
After worthy converts are baptized…
I’d like to particularly note the “manifest by their works…” part–how is that being manifest? By quitting smoking two days before the baptism? By showing up for church once? I wonder how much emphasis is being placed on “worthy converts” being baptized?

3.”Establishing the Church
When people have been baptized and confirmed members of the Church, continue to work with ward leaders and members to help these new converts adjust to their new life and continue their spiritual growth. The Church is established as people who have testimonies are baptized and confirmed, keep their covenants, prepare actively to go to the temple, and help strengthen the ward or branch.
Missionaries, ward leaders, and Church members should not turn away from their responsibility to nourish and strengthen new members.”

Perhaps that’s why we have less than a 20% retention rate? (Talked more about that in other missionary posts.)

I like to ask missionaries , “When can you stop working with investigators?” I get all kinds of answers. Then I ask them to open “Preach My Gospel” to page 210:
“After the Baptism and Confirmation
Under the direction of the bishop, missionaries may continue to fellowship new members. Continue to teach them and review what they have been taught. Encourage and support them, read the Book of Mormon with them, and help them share the gospel with family members and friends. As appropriate, continue throughout your life to communicate with those whom you have taught and to encourage and support them.
After the confirmation, continue using the Teaching Record to record your progress in teaching lessons 1-4 again and in teaching lesson 5. Work closely with the ward mission leader and ward leadership to help the new convert stay active and receive all the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”
Then I ask them again, and a few will say, “after they receive all the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.” Great, when is that? After some thought, some will say, “After they have been to the temple.” Right, for baptisms or…? “When they are sealed (or endowed for singles).” YES, YES, YES!! Ok, that’s the answer I hope they understand, because so much of the problem with real growth in our ward/ stake/ country rests on this one point. And frankly, unfortunately, that is when the members here will begin receive the converts as true members with testimonies (–the effect of years of non-”real growth”).
See, it’s been more than once that I’ve seen missionaries looking for people to baptize while many of the people they themselves baptized in the same ward are already inactive!! Whenever missionaries ask me, “What can we do?” I almost always say, “GO GET THEM AND BRING THEM BACK”.

“Those who exercise faith in Christ, repent of their sins, and are baptized in Christ’s name can be sanctified by the Holy Ghost. If they endure to the end, they will stand spotless before Christ at the last day and will enter into the rest of the Lord. Christ will hold them guiltless before the Father. He will be their Mediator and Advocate. Those who do not endure in faithfulness to the end will be “cast into the fire . . . because of the justice of the Father.” (See 3 Nephi 27:13–22; compare 2 Nephi 31:10–21; 3 Nephi 11:31–41; D&C 76:40–42, 50–53.)”
By baptizing but not following up and helping converts convert and endure to the end, are we just damning people we should be trying to save?

Elder Dallin H. Oaks had some “real growth” in the Philippines when he was presiding there–*extremely* high retention rates… I’ve wondered why, in the ensuing five(?) years since, nothing has come of what he did. I’ve asked leaders (ward, stake) on numerous occasions if they can get the program, but it was usually met with the same answer: “No (or, on one occasion, “Maybe”)–if our leaders want us to have it, they will give it to us”.

Please, LDS church leaders, can we get it?

I wonder if the talk about “real growth” will ever include down-to-earth discussions and changes in a broken system instead of always seeming to putting a new cover on a worn-out book, or rewriting old information. Actually, no, I don’t. I know that one day, it will. It’s just a matter of when that day will be, and who will make it happen.

I just got some stuff off my back, now I’m sure I’ll get chastized for it, but even that will help me feel better, I guess! I’ve just been watching this whole thing go in a big spiral downward that keeps getting bigger and faster for years, and it seems like no one’s listening… I do hope that someone out there will read this and it will help the work to go forward! Good luck, God bless.

2011, September 26

“LDS Church Policy: Wisdom Teeth Removal and Vaccinations: Unnecessary and Burdensome Requirements for Going on a Mission?” by grego

LDS Church Policy: Wisdom Teeth Removal and Vaccinations: Unnecessary and Burdensome Requirements for Going on a Mission?

grego
(c)2011
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
**UPDATE~~ UPDATE~~ UPDATE**
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

YAY, YAY, YAY!!!! For those of you worried about it and unable to find answers, comes this:

Official letter from Missionary Department:

***
“…you asked if receiving immunizations and having wisdom teeth removed are optional. …[T]his medical treatment… is not required for full-time missionary service.”
***
…However, it is clear now that removing wisdom teeth and immunizations/ vaccinations are optional, not required.

If your unit leaders (ward, stake, etc.) need to check/ find out for themselves (if I were one I’d want to do that, too–understandable), they can call the Missionary Department Pre-field Services (801-240-2030).
So if you want to opt out, I’d suggest just writing “Personal Opt-out” in the area(s) or such on the form unless Pre-field Services says to communicate it in a different way.
********

So my relative wants to go on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His family is poor. He’s working for his mission money.

But on top of that, there’s over $1,000 that he will need for wisdom teeth removal and more for shots (recent update:  whoops, that’s PER TOOTH, not total).

Because if you don’t get your wisdom teeth removed and get your shots, the Church does not allow you to fulfill the commandment to go on a mission.

My question is, are these two things really helpful, necessary for all or just some (like according to a dentist’s judgment), or do they just add expense and health problems to future missionaries’ already-heavy stresses and burdens?

Anyone remotely familiar with surgery knows that any type of surgery has the potential for danger, especially if any type of anesthesiology is used (which almost always is for wisdom teeth removal). If the wisdom teeth don’t present a problem—especially if they have already come in and there is no impaction or compaction—why unnecessarily endanger someone’s health by forcing their removal?

Vaccinations have yet to be proven or even shown helpful; there is plenty of evidence that they are dangerous, even damaging. Every state in the USA (except Mississippi and West Virginia) allow religious exemptions, and twenty states allow philosophical exemptions for required school vaccinations (see http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=14376); yet missionaries aren’t allowed these options.

While this might have been “standard” years ago, the LDS Church will continue to run into more and more problems as more and more parents become educated and aware of the dangers of vaccines (and about Western medicine and drug companies in general), and don’t allow their children to receive vaccines.

It would be a shame to force members to choose between either going on a mission or keeping their God-given teeth in their bodies and dangerous substances out.

I imagine that the LDS Church is worried that missionaries will have problems with their teeth or with some disease that the vaccination is supposed to protect from, and then church insurance will have to cover it, which will add financial burden to the church.
If missionaries have to pay for surgery anyway, why not just allow surgery and vaccinations to be opted out of for those who don’t want them, but make payment mandatory if it needs to be done later while they are on their mission?
I’m not even sure why the LDS Church still puts these requirements/ limits on the physical exam anyway. For example, people with asthma can go on missions (where there is immediate danger and often required hospitalization).

This LDS Church policy reminds me of the fiasco of Texas forcing all females over the age of 11 to get HPV vaccinations in order to attend school—which resulted in 68 deaths; life-threatening situations; and other serious problems. From the CDC:
“As of June 22, 2011, approximately 35 million doses of Gardasil® were distributed in the U.S. and VAERS received a total of 18,727 reports of adverse events following Gardasil® vaccination… Of the total number of VAERS reports following Gardasil®, 92% were considered to be non-serious, and 8% were considered serious*… As of June 22, 2011 there have been a total 68 VAERS reports of death among those who have received Gardasil®.”

That’s .0535%!! (And they don’t count fainting as serious–fainting isn’t serious?? So if you’re driving a car (with passengers), or you fall and get a concussion or worse, etc. that isn’t serious? Fever isn’t serious only because it didn’t result in death, right?)

It’s generally understood that many problems are not ever linked up, and many are never reported.

Many other moral problems arose from that situation.

I encourage the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to review its policies regarding missionaries being required to receive wisdom teeth removal and vaccinations, instead of having an option to opt-out (even if it means signing a waiver).

2011, August 31

“Girl in Taiwan Might Get Three Years in Jail for Saving Mom’s Life with a CO2 Gun from Boxcutter Boyfriend; ‘Premeditated Injury'” by grego

Girl in Taiwan Might Get Three Years in Jail for Saving Mom’s Life with a CO2 Gun from Boxcutter Boyfriend; “Premeditated Injury”

grego
(c)2011

A girl in Taiwan (a non-ownership gun country) will go to trial for using a CO2 cartridge gun to save her mom’s life.

The mom’s boyfriend was using a boxcutter to stab her mom; her mom cried out for help. Her daughter ran to her room, grabbed the gun, came back, and shot the man 8 times. He stopped stabbing her mom; the police came; the nightmare was over.

Well, not really.

See, the girl could get up to THREE YEARS OF JAIL for what she did.

No, the legal gun is not really the issue, the police say. The real issue is that it wasn’t really protection/ defense.

Why?

Because she had to run to her room to get the gun!! See, thus, it became a premeditated crime! True defense would have her run into the room and die along with her mom.

Yea, who knows, maybe the boyfriend will get out of jail before her… X(

If you’re thinking, Huh?? right now…

We know how bad being violent is. But this story makes you wonder how screwed up countries (not just people) can get sometimes when they are trying to be pacifists. Taiwan, get a clue and wake up before it’s too late; before you get put out for good by people with guns who aren’t going to be hesitating, thinking that running to a room in an emergency to grab a CO2 gun is immoral and therefore shouldn’t be done…

You’re training your own people to be stupid sitting ducks. While your gang problem grows, and you encourage people to rely on the police for any type of self-defense through cases like this, your safety/ security infrastructure will collapse, taking many lives with it.

People have a basic right to defend themselves.

2011, August 15

“Peace and Freedom Poem” by grego

Filed under: Uncategorized — grego @ 1:09 am
Tags:

Peace and Freedom Poem

grego
(c)2011

They asked, “O why can’t there peace be?”
I replied, “O people can’t you see?
He wants to rule, I want to be free
I’ll choose death over his ruling me”.

2011, March 5

“LDS Church/ Mormon Missionary Work: Signs that the Second Coming Is Close?” by grego

Filed under: Book of Mormon,Uncategorized — grego @ 1:46 am

LDS Church/ Mormon Missionary Work: Signs that the Second Coming Is Close?

grego
(c)2011

This post is mostly thoughts and speculations.

In July 2010 Ensign, this report was given:
To better align resources to changing needs, the Church has created 10 new missions and consolidated others with neighboring missions. The resulting number of missions will be 340.
The Church has created the following missions:
Democratic Republic of Congo Lubumbashi, Guatemala Retalhuleu, Mexico Mexico City Northwest, Mexico Villahermosa, New Mexico Farmington, Nicaragua Managua North…, Peru Cusco, Peru Lima West, Philippines Iloilo, and Utah St. George.

The Church has combined the following missions:
The Australia Melbourne East and West Missions will become [one].
The Australia Sydney North and South Missions will become [one].
The Puerto Rico San Juan East and West Missions will become [one]…
The Germany Hamburg Mission will become part of the Germany Berlin Mission.
The Germany Munich/Austria, Switzerland Zürich, and portions of the Germany Frankfurt Missions will become the Alpine German-Speaking Mission.
The Illinois Chicago North and South Missions will become [one].
The Illinois Peoria Mission will be consolidated into a realignment of the Iowa Des Moines, Missouri St. Louis, and Nebraska Omaha Missions.
The Ireland Dublin and Scotland Edinburgh Missions will become [one].
The Italy Catania Mission will be [assimilated].
The Japan Hiroshima Mission will be [assimilated].
The Korea Seoul West Mission will become [assimilated].
The New Jersey Cherry Hill Mission will be [assimilated].
The Ohio Cincinnati Mission will be [assimilated].
The Spain Bilbao Mission will be [assimilated].

From the Church News dated May 2, 2009:
In Taiwan, the Taiwan Kaohsiung Mission, which comprises much of the southern portion of the island, is being [assimilated].

The Spain mission was created in 1997, and the Australia (one), Ohio, and Taiwan missions were created in 1998.

This opening and closing of missions has been happening a lot recently. I think it’s wonderful, in a way (I’ve talked about that in earlier missionary posts, and will post more thoughts on that later). The LDS Church is building around temples, and then “moving on”. The LDS church is also putting resources where most needed, and it seems pretty simple: if there is response from the people (baptisms), they get it. If there isn’t response, the missionaries go on to other areas (unless… see below).

Also, many of these USA states/ countries where missions close have done so soon after temples have been announced/ built there, which means there is already a substantial membership. Why is this important? So that when the missionaries leave, there should be enough members to find for the missionaries who are left (at present) to teach. (I believe there will be many times there won’t be missionaries, especially foreign ones, especially as the Second Coming gets closer.)

The church is using “in bono” the attack plan of Amalickiah that worked so well (go, establish a firm force, move on to the next), from the Book of Mormon:
Alma 51:22 …the Lamanites had come into the land of Moroni, which was in the borders by the seashore.
23 And it came to pass that the Nephites were not sufficiently strong in the city of Moroni; therefore Amalickiah did drive them, slaying many. And it came to pass that Amalickiah took possession of the city, yea, possession of all their fortifications.
24 And those who fled out of the city of Moroni came to the city of Nephihah; and also the people of the city of Lehi gathered themselves together, and made preparations and were ready to receive the Lamanites to battle.
25 But it came to pass that Amalickiah would not suffer the Lamanites to go against the city of Nephihah to battle, but kept them down by the seashore, leaving men in every city to maintain and defend it.
26 And thus he went on, taking possession of many cities, the city of Nephihah, and the city of Lehi, and the city of Morianton, and the city of Omner, and the city of Gid, and the city of Mulek, all of which were on the east borders by the seashore.
27 And thus had the Lamanites obtained, by the cunning of Amalickiah, so many cities, by their numberless hosts, all of which were strongly fortified after the manner of the fortifications of Moroni; all of which afforded strongholds for the Lamanites.
28 And it came to pass that they marched to the borders of the land Bountiful, driving the Nephites before them and slaying many.

Which brings me to a second note: relatives mentioned that where they lived, over the past year at least, it seems that basically only physically and mentally-challenged people are getting baptized anymore, and few people (of any state) who get baptized remain active.

This brought a scripture story to mind: the story of the feast in Luke 14:16-24. Here it is:
16 Then said [Jesus] unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

A few years ago (at least four), a shift had occurred; our patriarch told me that the time had already come that those who were being adopted into the tribe of Ephraim (LDS) numbered more than those who were of the blood of Ephraim (LDS); the balance had changed.

Are we between verses 21 and 23? Do these patterns hint that the Second Coming is truly drawing closer?

A few more things should happen in the gathering side of things:
1. other countries will open. However, I doubt the traditional 200+ years of half-baked missionary work and converts will happen!
2. the LDS church will have to rely more on mass communication and mass meetings. To use an analogy, more casting nets and driving herds of bison over the cliff instead of fishing with lines and hunting with bows and arrows. This could be done on small-scale personal means (like town gatherings for preaching) and large scale impersonal means (like the internet).
3. the LDS church will have to rely more on members to find, and possibly to teach.
4. people from “far places” (places without a church presence) will be sent to find the missionaries/ gospel, and either stay or take the church back to their own places (and not just to BYU, either!).
5. Many more Seventies will have to be called, and more apostles will have to live foreign.
6. political leaders and influential citizens will open huge doors (as Lamoni and his father did in the Lamanite lands. Note that there is no compulsion, only a clear edict that the kings were converted, there is absolute safety and freedom for the messengers, and no disrupting whatsoever of their work is allowed. This is much more than just “you can come”, or even “we welcome your missionaries with open arms, please come”.)

It is clear that mainland China will open before the Second Coming, but before that happens, there must be a large number of missionaries all ready to go. (I see that time will be of the most essence in China, as in, possibly even like a race.) President Kimball spoke of the need for many more missionaries from Taiwan.
More and more members from Hong Kong and Taiwan live in China for work. Also, more and more members baptized outside of China are returning to China.
Local missionaries from Taiwan are increasing, a mission in Taiwan closed in July 2009, the number of missionaries overall in Taiwan has dropped a lot, convert numbers are lessening. Though births have been going down, there are at least double the missionaries from Taiwan now than there were ten years ago, and unlike back then, most of them now are males. Many of the males who don’t/ can’t serve full-time missions go on short-term missions (like for the summer).
And while Monday-Friday temple attendance is still not a lot, on Saturdays the temple is overflowing, with likely close to double the numbers from ten years ago.
(These are my personal observations, not official numbers from all of Taiwan).
There is also an important (at least to me, I believe it is) thing happening with the local Taiwanese missionaries: many of them—especially the males—have been and are being sent to foreign missions with established church units (USA, Australia, New Zealand, etc.), and learning English. This *might* help a lot in stabilizing and strengthening the Church in Taiwan. (I believe that one of the hardest parts for the church/ members in Taiwan is completely accepting the gospel with its sacrifices and getting over cultural problems, and without strong foreign leaders or rare local leaders telling them what they need to do and how to do it and living among them, this is the best way. Attending church in Taiwan and attending church in Utah can be a big difference and a different feeling!) For purposes of leadership, speaking English is a big helpful plus—not necessary, but helpful. (Currently, most Seventies and many stake presidents read and speak English decently well.)
However… many of the youth in the Young Men/ Young Women aren’t making it, so if the Church plans on having young male missionaries from Taiwan go to China, *something* must be done in Taiwan.
In addition, it might even be that China will limit (to what degree?) the number of American/ Western/ foreign missionaries (China does not (really) count Taiwan as a completely separate entity—racially, culturally, or politically. And, many Taiwanese will cheer for China teams before cheering for American teams.)

So… Which apostle will come live in Taiwan? ;)

Remember: before the Lord sends his punishments on the wicked, they must be warned. (I believe that more and more faithful members will find that life will be so hard, it will more and more be the easier choice to warn everyone and let the Lord’s judgments come, than to not warn and try to “wait it out”.)

2010, May 18

“Was Abraham a High Priest before His Almost Being Sacrificed?” by grego

“Was Abraham a High Priest before His Almost Being Sacrificed?”

grego
(c) 2010

In the book of Abraham, it seems that Abraham becomes a high priest at the beginning of the record. I don’t believe that is what happened–that was just an introductional summary, and in fact, it’s not until *after* his “almost sacrifice” that he is ordained a high priest.

Here is what I believe is the introductional summary:
Abraham 1:1 In the land of the Chaldeans, at the residence of my fathers, I, Abraham, saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence;
2 And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.
3 It was conferred upon me from the fathers…
4 I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the fathers concerning the seed.

Though it sounds like Abraham already has the priesthood before the next part, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Then, comes the beginning of the story. Note that at this time, Abraham is in Chaldea.
Abraham 1:8 Now, at this time it was the custom of the priest of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to offer up upon the altar which was built in the land of Chaldea, for the offering unto these strange gods, men, women, and children.
20 Behold, Potiphar’s Hill was in the land of Ur, of Chaldea… and there was great mourning in Chaldea…

The priest tries to sacrifice Abraham, and he prays; then this:
Abraham 1:15 … behold, I lifted up my voice unto the Lord my God, and the Lord hearkened and heard, and he filled me with the vision of the Almighty, and the angel of his presence stood by me, and immediately unloosed my bands;
16 And his voice was unto me: Abraham, Abraham, behold, my name is Jehovah, and I have heard thee, and have come down to deliver thee, and to take thee away from thy father’s house, and from all thy kinsfolk, into a strange land which thou knowest not of;
17 And this because they have turned their hearts away from me, to worship [false gods]; therefore I have come down to visit them, and to destroy him who hath lifted up his hand against thee, Abraham, my son, to take away thy life.
18 Behold, I will lead thee by my hand, and I will take thee, to put upon thee my name, even the Priesthood of thy father, and my power shall be over thee.
19 As it was with Noah so shall it be with thee; but through thy ministry my name shall be known in the earth forever, for I am thy God.

It seems like Jehovah promises him the priesthood, which means he didn’t have it yet.

Abraham had the records with him, which taught him concerning the priesthood; he kept it:
31 But the records of the fathers, even the patriarchs, concerning the right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands; therefore a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers, have I kept even unto this day, and I shall endeavor to write some of these things upon this record, for the benefit of my posterity that shall come after me.

Then, Abraham leaves Chaldea. Note that he hadn’t left Chaldea before, and how this is the same time as Abraham 1:1:
Abraham 2:3 Now the Lord had said unto me: Abraham, get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee.
4 Therefore I left the land of Ur, of the Chaldees,…

Jehovah speaks about the priesthood and Abraham’s blessings:
Abraham 2:8 My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from the beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee.
9 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee above measure, and make thy name great among all nations, and thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after thee, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations;
10 And I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father;
11 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee (that is, in thy Priesthood) and in thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal.
12 Now, after the Lord had withdrawn from speaking to me, and withdrawn his face from me, I said in my heart: Thy servant has sought thee earnestly; now I have found thee;
13 Thou didst send thine angel to deliver me from the gods of Elkenah, and I will do well to hearken unto thy voice, therefore let thy servant rise up and depart in peace.

Abraham has found what he was looking for: to become a high priest.

2010, April 14

www.OvercomingPornography.org Is Missing THIS

“www.OvercomingPornography.org Is Missing This”

grego
(c) 2010

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) has a new website for overcoming pornography called www.overcomingpornography.org.

I’d like to add one very important part that is missing: energy work.

Energy work is currently the best healing available—much more so than 12-step programs, traditional counseling, and non-traditional counseling (https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/if-12-step-addiction-recovery-programs-arent-as-good-as-other-addiction-recovery-methods-why-is-lds-mormon-social-services-relying-on-it/ ).

It is also likely that addiction is aided by wicked spirits, to some degree, and at one time or another—and this is something that 12-step programs, traditional counseling, and non-traditional counseling don’t deal with.

So, for the best in overcoming addiction—pornographic or any other type—try some energy work, such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Even good NLP can do much better than a 12-step program. Also, look into “spirit release therapy”.

“A Short Response to David Stewart’s ‘The Twelve Tribes of Israel Today'” by grego

Book of Mormon | “A Short Response to David Stewart’s ‘The Twelve Tribes of Israel Today'”

grego
(c) 2010

I found this the other day: http://www.gatheringofisrael.com/12tribes.html and just have a few comments to share.

First, I find that, with usual irony, a writer who unsupportedly refers to others’ ideas as “bizarre and outlandish”, “silly, fantastic, and speculative” in order to proclaim self-authority while they present their own, is often one of those with “bizarre and outlandish”, “silly, fantastic, and speculative” ideas themself; and it seems to stand here, too.

In the gospel, I am slightly unsure how to categorize things; see, to “normal” people, much of the gospel *is* “bizarre and outlandish”, “silly, fantastic, and speculative”. I know that might come as a surprise to many LDS, including David Stewart, but just ask any atheist (many of which, I also believe, are just as “bizarre and outlandish”, “silly, fantastic, and speculative” as LDS…).

Much has authoritatively been spoken about the Ten Lost Tribes in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), and not only does it answer all the problems encountered on the topic, it explains more that David forgot to write. Here are the three major ones, which makes the whole thrust of his article powerless:

1. The Ten Lost Tribes, like Abraham’s seed and the other two tribes, have been and are scattered over the earth (see 2 Nephi 10:22, for example). That is obvious, correct. The following should also be obvious:

2. Anyone not of one of the twelve tribes of Israel is *adopted* into a tribe at their baptism, which is always before their patriarchal blessing; so everyone getting a patrarchal blessing, is already of one of the twelve tribes (and I don’t see proof that every single patriarch will have it revealed to him, and he will state, “you are adopted” if that really is the case; though I could be wrong; source to the contrary, anyone?).

3. The majority of the Ten Lost Tribes (see those capitals? They’re there, and have been there, for a reason…) are in a body, separate. For example, to believe that 3 Nephi 15, 16, and especially 3 Nephi 17:4 refer to all those places (and more!) referenced to in Stewart’s article and that the records are in the Armenian Church museum basement, are… what was that phrase?… “bizarre and outlandish”, “silly, fantastic, and speculative”.

However unbecoming that might be to David and others, I have one word for them: sorry! If the Ten Lost Tribes were hidden under the polar icecaps, in “secret cities” in Russia, in the center of the Earth, under the sea, and so forth”, or even on another planet, such as mentioned by Joseph Smith, well, that wouldn’t be the first time something “bizarre and outlandish”, “silly, fantastic, and speculative” would be in the history of this world—or in the gospel, would it? ;)

2010, March 29

“‘Energy Work’ (EFT—Emotional Freedom Technique) Helps LDS/ Mormon Woman Overcome Negativity towards Marriage” by grego

‘Energy Work’ (EFT—Emotional Freedom Technique) Helps LDS/ Mormon Woman Overcome Negativity towards Marriage

grego
(c) 2010

In the April 2010 Ensign, there are many articles about marriage. Anyway, reading this part (I’ve been asking the stake here to do this type of fireside for the single adults…): “Choosing to Take My Own Path”, I was reminded of an experience a single adult sister and I had.

Her mother and stepfather had divorced, and she wanted nothing to do with marriage. She was a great member in other aspects; she just couldn’t do marriage.

I asked her point blank about getting married (not to me, eh, I was already married, my wife was there!), and she shared her very strong feelings.

I asked if she wanted to get over those feelings. She surprised me by saying yes, so we sat down.

At the end of an hour, she had gone, on a scale of 0-10, from a “0” to a “10” on a scale of desire and possibility. What was the trick? EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). (You can search “energy” on this blog for more info.)

I strongly suggest energy work like EFT for anyone who has any type of negativity towards marriage.

2009, November 26

“‘Together Forever’ When You Hate Your Family?!?” by grego

“‘Together Forever’ When You Hate Your Family?!?”

grego
(c) 2009

Why would anyone–LDS/ Mormon or otherwise–want to (get sealed in the temple to) be able to spend an eternity with a family they hate, spouses they argue with and have little feelings for, and parents-in-law that bug the heck out of you?

If your family life now is hell, how can hell be heaven?

1. Get with it. Change NOW. You can’t stop your wife from nagging, but chances are good you can stop or at least lessen yourself from responding, even if it means running out.

Start by choosing to be responsible for you and your sphere of choices–decide now not to rely on blaming anyone anymore, decide not to play the victim, decide not to hold others responsible for you.

Likewise, you are not responsible for others in the same way.

Yes, both ways there was influence and responsibility; you can say something bad and you are to blame, in a part, when your wife retorts; but you are not your wife, and you did not retort; she did. This distinction is easier to see when two people have the same things happen to them, but they offer very different levels of control and response. (Note Alma 62:41: But behold, because of the exceedingly great length of the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites many had become hardened, because of the exceedingly great length of the war; and many were softened because of their afflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility–same war; some people got further from God, and some people got closer to God.)

When you start to separate what you are responsible for, and what others are responsible for, life is clearer and easier. Why? Because you stop blaming others for every “bad” thing you do, and you stop feeling guilty for every “bad” thing that someone else does. You are taking stewardship of yourself and yours.

2. I used to despise the saying that the same reasons you hate someone (like, your family) are the same reasons you hate yourself. I’ve come to find out, it’s usually true, though it’s often hidden and changed so that it’s not obvious to you (or often to others, either).

Clear *your* bad/ negativity in a relationship, and people often magically have theirs clear up.

And when that saying is not true–because sometimes it’s not, it’s that easy–it’s all them, so to say; when that’s the situation and you do your part, still, you will suddenly see things in a very, very different light.

(Many healed by/ involved in meridian energy work–such as EFT/ Emotional Freedom Technique–can attest to both of these.)

3. There will be no “bad family stuff” or otherwise in the celestial kingdom. If you go in, you won’t be doing it, either. Change will occur between now and then–either changed by or allowed by the Atonement.

Be assured, it will happen. The question is, when they become wonderful people, will you still be holding on them being “bad” people; can you forgive them? Or do you have a purpose of making them get stuck on being bad?

4. Very few people ever begin to understand the influence of the physical body on a person, even if someone gets a “perfect” on their medical checkup, though the church seems to be understanding this more and more, great! For example, in more recent years, there has been change in LDS/ Mormon church policy and guidelines and an emphasis on not judging people who commit suicide. No doubt this will also occur with other situations, too, whether it be in this life or in the next. I have been on basic allergy drugs that have made me violent and (completely?) without a conscience.

But, there’s no need to wait possibly years and years for those good changes to occur at the resurrection; just death–getting rid of our mortal bodies–will do a whole lot for most of us.

Imagine…
no toxins,
no chemicals,
no chemical problems (like in the brain, affecting many emotional problems),
no allergies (which are involved in many more “bad behavior” situations than most could even imagine),
no malfunctioning organs,
no out-of-whack (or even functioning) hormones,
no improper lack or imbalances of minerals,
no stress? (at least from certain sources),
no sensory malfunctioning,
no dehydration,
no lack of sleep,
etc.

(Not sure about electro-magnetic problems, but I imagine they won’t affect us much, either.)

That is a whole lot, and will take care of a whole bunch of problems–be it the original problem or the results that followed some problem people didn’t have control over. (Many people go for years and years before some observant/ attentive/ insightful person says, “Hey, I think you have (some syndrome/ disease/ disorder/…)” and after help, they’re very different, in a positive way. It will be better than that!

Then we’d just be left with perception and personality problems–at least, the ones that aren’t based on “mortalness”.

And I’ll bet many of those problems will fall fast in the Spirit World, too…

Then, imagine the inherited problems you got before you were eight years old—including negative reactions, abuse, etc.—going away.

In the end, anyone truly bad/ who won’t change/ isn’t covered by the Atonement/ etc. won’t be there with you in a bad relationship, so don’t worry about being sealed to the imperfect them now!!

(Interestingly, it is certain that at least some negative memories are related to physically encapsulated “storage” crystals in the body (in crystal form, near acupuncture points–see “Body Electronics”). When the body is resurrected, everyone will have a perfect memory; and it’s possible that faith in Jesus Christ and repentance will determine, to a degree, the amount of remaining “negativity” in our bodies that keeps light and energy out and slower. Sorry, just speculating a little right here… ;) )

2009, October 22

“Adam-God Theory” by grego

Adam-God Theory

grego
(c) 2006

Though this isn’t in the Book of Mormon much…

Many have spoken against it recently (relatively speaking), saying it’s not right. But few say why. I’ll share why it seems quite impossible to me.

First, you can’t father yourself:
Moses 6:22 “…the sons of Adam, who was the son of God…”
*Luke 3:38: “which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.”

Here in the scriptures we see that the Father, the Son, and Adam are three distinct persons:
*Moses 4:28: “And I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only Begotten: Behold, the man is become as one of us to know…”
*D&C 137:3, 5: “I (Joseph F. Smith) saw…the blazing throne of God, whereon was seated the Father and the Son.” “I saw Father Adam …”

Another problem is that it (Heavenly Father as Adam dying again) contradicts the standard works:
*Alma 11:45: Amulek talking about the resurrection: “…that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided…that they can see no more corruption.”
*Alma 12:18: Alma: “and they cannot die, seeing there is no more corruption.”
*D&C 63:49: “…they shall rise from the dead and shall not die after…”
*D&C 88:116: “…and they shall not any more see death.”
*(much later) D&C 138:17: “the spirit and the body to be united never again to be divided…”

Even if Adam were translated instead of dying, he would still have to die later.
But, we know that Adam did die:
*Moses 4:25: “until thou shalt return unto the ground—for thou shalt surely die…”
*Genesis 5:5: “…Adam…died.”

Adam had died and was still just a spirit when Christ was to be born; how was he to be the father? And if a spirit, why the need for the Holy Ghost to overshadow Mary?

Why don’t the scriptures say something about the reunion between Father and Son in the Spirit World at the Resurrection?

And why would God the Father have to go through this all again, having already gained his exaltation? Especially becoming subject to the will of the devil, to temptations, and sinning. So, the Father has the Son; the Father becomes his own son, or the Son’s son (whoops, no body, no do); then sins and falls, becomes subject to the devil (“Became subject to will of the devil”: D&C 29:40), then is saved by His Son.

Not to mention that the temple now seems to make it even more impossible to believe this theory.

Pres. Kimball also noted that the Adam-God doctrine is false.
posted by grego at 9:23 PM

8:03 PM
LifeOnaPlate said…
The biggest “evidence” for the Adam-God theory is in JoD 1:51. Elder Charles C. Rich, who was serving in the Council of the 12 at the time, stood on the stand and recorded notes as Pres. Young spoke. When he saw the written report he immediately corrected the statement, called it a complete misquotation, and noted it in the margin of his own copy of the JoD, which is now in the Church archives and was seen and attested of by Elder Mark E. Peterson, detailed in his book “Adam: Who Is He?” The quote should read, according to Elder Rich: “Jesus our Elder Brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character who talked with Adam in the Garden of Eden, and who is our Heavenly Father.” In that same sermon we see Young explicitly pointing to 3 individuals in the creation: Michael, Jehovah and Elohim.
Other times Pres. Young clearly taught they were separate beings:
JoD: 13:311
10:230-231
9:148
10:355
Discourses of BY pg. 105.
Don;t forget to check out my blog! Thanks.

2009, August 11

“I’ve Been Kicked Off of MormonApologetics.Org!” by grego

Filed under: Uncategorized — grego @ 12:10 am
Tags:

“I’ve Been Kicked Off of MormonApologetics.Org!”
by grego
(c) 2009

Well, it seems I have been kicked off the mormonapologetics.org site. I get a “403 Forbidden” message when I try to get on; but from other computers, I can get on with no problems (I guess they restricted my IP). I double-checked with a login, and after logging in as “grego”, I immediately received a “403 Forbidden” message also. Yup, it’s clear now. This is not just posting privileges. This is everything.

My last post on the site was when I lost posting privileges for a week. I went back later to see the thread, and the moderators had changed the original thread. (They deleted a post, and changed the words in another post. What?!?) That thread occurred about… two years ago. I haven’t posted there since. I was given no warning, no reason, nothing. So, it must have been some other reason…

Maybe it’s because I have “corrected” the work of some of their “in” people, especially Brant Gardner and many who run with his way of thinking. On http://www.mormonapologetics.org, I was always ready and willing to engage everyone and their point of view, on their, my, or a third person’s work, but I know others seemed to have a problem with that… “Nevermind the clown, folks, we’re trying to have a *real* discussion here.” I thought that’s what FAIR and its acronym might have stood for, and what they chided Rodney Meldrum for. I guess my putting holes in some theories (such as Others and the Lehites, surviving Jaredites) didn’t help…

I was and am a person who believes that the Book of Mormon was meant for our day a lot because of politics, and some articles have been about that. I know that didn’t go over well with many.

Perhaps I said something they didn’t like? Perhaps someone finally read the truth in my “About Me” and didn’t like it? Perhaps “I’m sorry” is too hard to say?

It could have been this article: “LDS Apologetics FAIR Says: ‘Absolutely Forbidden by Scripture’–Which Scripture?” that tipped the scales, though it would have been very quick work… I imagine if it were because of an article, it would have had to have been this one: Book of Mormon | “Countering Critique of the Ox Argument for Others in the Land”. See, the Ox Argument is the sacred cow of the “Others in the Land” position, and that article effectively slaughtered it.

Whatever the reason might have been, I imagine it’s probably very justifiable in their minds. In fact, if I were a mormonapologetics.com FAIR people, I would have kicked grego off the board a long time ago, because let’s face it: it’s so much easier to “forbid” someone from a site, than to actually respond to and with logic/ scholarliness. It’s a favorite anti-Mormon trick, and it seems someone has learned well from their enemies.

Oh well, I hadn’t posted for a very long time, and didn’t plan on it as long as the perpetrators of the closing thread remained in good standing…

So, to anyone who added me as a friend or who has messages or whatever, it’s useless to contact me through that means anymore.

I do thank them for the opportunities I had to interact with everyone and discuss lots of ideas, and I thank the (good) moderators for the volunteer work they put in. It was a decent time, and there are some great thinkers there. Perhaps you, the reader, would enjoy commenting there, and I hope you have a better experience than I at the end.

2009, August 10

“LDS Apologetics FAIR Says: ‘Absolutely Forbidden by Scripture’–Which Scripture?” by grego

Filed under: Uncategorized — grego @ 11:59 pm
Tags: , , , ,

“LDS Apologetics FAIR Says: ‘Absolutely Forbidden by Scripture’—Which Scripture?”
by grego
(c) 2009

Reading on a FAIR apologetics page, I noticed this (from http://www.fairlds.org/Book_of_Mormon/MisguidedF.html):

“Mr. Meldrum insists that the blessing affirms ‘the validity [of] the…work.’ Most Latter-day Saints know that the recitation of the contents of a blessing to others with the intention of convincing them that one’s course is in harmony with the powers of heaven is absolutely forbidden by scripture.”

Ok, does anyone have a scripture reference(s) that “absolutely [forbids]” this?

2009, June 16

If 12-Step Addiction Recovery Programs Aren’t as Good as Other Addiction Recovery Methods, Why Is ‘LDS [Mormon] Social Services’ Relying on It instead of Better Methods (Like Energy Work and More)?

If 12-Step Addiction Recovery Programs Aren’t as Good as Other Addiction Recovery Methods, Why Is ‘LDS [Mormon] Social Services’ Relying on It instead of Better Methods (Like Energy Work and More)?

by grego
(c) 2009

In the June 2009 Ensign, there is an article called “Addiction Recovery: Healing One Step at a Time” (p. 61-65). Oh, LDS Social Services, what is going on?

I know that maybe a year ago or so, LDS Social Services was notified about new addiction recovery methods that had a much better recovery rate than 12-step programs, and also took a lot less time, stress, and money to use. It seems LDSSS weren’t interested, and preferred their 12-step program, and that was that.

Let me ask you, what do you think the main point of an addiction recovery program is? Do you think it is to recover from addiction? Is that what you would hope for?

I noticed, in the Ensign article, that there was no “recovery rate” or “success rate” given for the Church’s addiction recovery program. I would be very interested in knowing what it is; LDS Social Services, can you tell us the rate? Hopefully it is above the about seven percent (7%) recovery rate for other 12-step programs!

That’s right, about 93 out of 100 people will likely *fail* using this addiction recovery method. How much hope does that bring you?

Ok, perhaps those 93 people’s willpower wasn’t strong enough, perhaps they didn’t desire “the good” enough, perhaps they lacked faith… PERHAPS.

But if *your own spouse or child* were addicted, and there were much better ways to recover from addiction, would you settle for a 7% recovery chance? I sure as heck wouldn’t, and I hope you don’t, either.

(More about 12-step addiction recovery:
Here’s a list of some studies done on the effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effectiveness_of_Alcoholics_Anonymous.

Many 12-step programs treat addiction as a disease that people are powerless to overcome on their own. I understand the Atonement and all that, but I wonder how the disease and powerlessness model matches up with the gospel?

Many also identify as “an [addict]” (of whatever they are addicted to), which only reinforces their addiction (“I’m Joseph, I’m an alcoholic.”). Why don’t they identify as “I am a child of God who currently has a problem with [whatever addiction] control”? I hope the LDS Church support groups don’t ever use the typical identity statements.

Notwithstanding the muddiness of the conclusions of many of the studies, on the referenced page (above) it says: “In the sample of 100 severe alcoholics from his clinic, 48% of the 29 alcoholics who eventually achieved sobriety attended 300 or more AA meetings”. Whoa! Only 29% eventually (after how many years or decades would that be?) achieved sobriety, and of those, almost half attended 300 (that’s basically once a week for six years) or more (400, 600, 1000+—how many more??) meetings. So 12-step programs seem to be this never-ending cycle of meetings with sponsors and sponsees, which seems to show that in order to overcome an addiction, they must become addicted—to addiction recovery meetings!

Some studies show that no intervention actually had a better recovery rate. These meetings could re-enliven and reinforce the bad choices, the pain, the fear, the guilt, and the shame. I figured part of recovery (and the Atonement) was getting past all that…?

Ok, this isn’t a research paper on AA or 12-step addiction recovery, and this isn’t my specialty… I just wanted to point out a few things. On to the important and exciting part!)

Here are some other things that will be better than most 12-step addiction recovery programs:
1. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and other meridian energy therapies. I cannot stress enough, ***DO THIS FIRST!!!!!***
Using EFT, I have put multiple years-old phobias to rest in one session (less than two hours every time, no matter how complex they have been). EFT has cured addictions of alcohol, cigarette, coffee, cocaine, inhalants, caffeine, soft drinks, sugar, and even chocolate—often in one session. (Follow-up home “maintenance” was often recommended and done “just in case”, to ensure permanent success.) If you prefer a one-hour addiction recovery, at a cost of maybe $40-$120–instead of the I’ve-abstained-for-20-years-but-I’m-not-quite-really-fully-ever-recovered-from-my-disease-but-I-attend-12-step-meetings scenario, try EFT. Check it out at http://www.eftuniverse.com. (Search “addiction” for a few case examples.) Find a practitioner, and do it. Period.

2. Contact John Wingert (now goes by the name of Twenty Twenty) about his addiction recovery program. When his son got addicted and he was supporting him, he saw problems with the 12-step program his son was in, and tried for something better. He has worked and works with addicts, and is not/ will not be offended by your spouse or child’s language, thoughts, etc. He can be found at www.2020unleashed.com, www.exhostage.com, and other websites.

3. Kinesiology, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and hypnotherapy are also useful tools for addiction recovery. Search for practitioners in these areas on the internet and ask them about treatment.

4. Certain addiction recovery programs and centers do much better than others, and many therapies do better than 12-step programs. Go for the successful ones. They might cost more, but it might be worth it, right? Search on the internet. Ask for detailed success rates and about how they are arrived at.

5. Special drugs—such as ibogaine, for example (see http://www.relfe.com/ibogaine.html)—or methods can be used; unfortunately, they might be illegal in the USA. You’ll have to search for the drugs and methods, and go out of country, but some people might prefer it to what’s happening.

The 12-step addiction recovery programs seem to not include other things about addiction must usually be understood and addressed for a fuller recovery, including:
*dopamine addiction (the true cause of most addictions);
*emotional, spiritual, mental, and social reasons for addiction;
*influence of other disorders/ syndromes/ etc. on addiction;
*stress control;
*replacing negative addictive behaviors with others;
*social reorientation;
*the role of the environment and about controlling it;
*filling the emptiness inside;
*life purpose;
*communication;
*education;
*learning (and learning problems);
*dealing with problems and problem solving;
*etc.

Though these things might be talked about at meetings, 12-step recovery programs don’t directly deal with these things. At least a few of these subjects will be helpful
and maybe even essential for every person recovering from addiction.

I hope LDS Social Services will reconsider their limited traditional programs and counseling and bring more true hope and recovery into people’s lives.

Solutions to LDS/ Mormon Missionary Work Problems, Part 6

Solutions to LDS/ Mormon Missionary Work Problems, Part 6
by grego
(c) 2009

Part 1

Part 5

Interestingly, something similar has already been done, and with pretty good results.

I believe that Elders Oak and Holland were sent to the Philippines and Chile, respectively, to get first-hand experience with this type of situation. Those two countries are probably the highest in baptisms, yet worst in retention.

I don’t know about Elder Holland and Chile, but I have heard that Elder Oaks brought the Philippines from below 10% retention to over 85%, and in at least one district, to 100%. I wish I had the details.

That has been over two years ago or so.

I hope the Church will expand the program to other countries, as quickly as possible. Even if it’s not perfect, it’s much better than what we have right now, and I really, really wish we had it!!

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Solutions to LDS/ Mormon Missionary Work Problems, Part 5 by grego

Solutions to LDS/ Mormon Missionary Work Problems, Part 5
by grego

Part 1

Part 4

If I were in charge of missionary work, I would contemplate the following changes:
1. missionaries should refrain from making any types of promises to investigators about their getting baptized, when, etc.
2. raise the bar—for baptizees! (If one admits it worked for missionaries, one has to at least admit it might work for baptizees, and give it a chance.) I would concentrate on the following, *before* baptism: instilling habits (21 straight days, minimum) of daily scripture reading, prayer, weekly three-hour attendance, and a time limit (at least two weeks, maybe more?) for abstinence for Word of Wisdom, chastity problems, etc. before baptism.
3. lengthen the baptismal preparation time for the average investigator to at least one month, and involve members. No one gets baptized in less than a month. This would allow time for stronger faith and desire for repentance, actual conversion, correlation between missionaries and members (including home teachers/ visiting teachers assignments going both ways), baptismal planning, baptismal finding, opportunities for attendance at service projects and activities, etc., and especially a witness of fruits of repentance.
4. make the baptismal interview different; a mere whiff of belief or a “I feel the church is good” feeling would not be sufficient. People lacking in spiritual knowledge should have a strong desire to discover the truth by exercising faith by living according to the commandments. This should be done at least a week before the baptism.
5. make missionaries responsible for all previous new members (one year after baptism), especially reteaching lessons 1-4 and teaching lesson 5. (This is in “Proclaim My Gospel”, but I don’t know of any missionaries here that do this.)
6. investigators should clearly know they will be expected to serve others, have callings, be called on to pray and give talks and comment in class, etc. This will take their time, money, effort, and obedience.
7. baptisms would be held twice a month. Investigators should get baptized at a scheduled baptism.

Part 6


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