My Other Blogs


Evangelical Pastor on Politics

Disowning Conservative Politics, Evangelical Pastor Rattles Flock - New York Times

I recently read this article which was heralded by Carla Golden on her blog and I felt impressed to share it with everyone who reads my blog.


Perhaps a Kindred Soul?

I ran into a fellow named Ryan Mercer over at the Mousewax comic forum the other day. He says he's a Mormon Pagan. Turns out he's a Freemason, too. Although I consider myself more of a Gnostic, I share many ideals with some Pagans I know, so I figured his sites may be of interest to you, my beloved readers.

Ryan's Blog

Ryan's Site


The Emerald Temple - Part I

Note: This article is written from both the Mormon and Freemason perspective simultaneously, some parts may be applicable to one group of readers, and other parts to the other, while much of it will apply to both.

The Lion, The Tiger, The Bear. O My!

In looking at the Wizard of Oz, we will here examine both the book and the movie versions. If the symbolism contained within it is indeed a product of the collective unconscious, then we should consider it possible for the creators of the movie to have tapped into this same source to also create valid symbolism. We will, however, attempt to note the differences that exist between the two versions as they are presented here. This article will attempt to demonstrate significant parallels between this story and the LDS Temple Endowment, the symbolism of Freemasonry, and to the Ancient Israelite Tabernacle and Temple. I would welcome further comparisons to be introduced here, as there are probably numerous other tales and traditions that have been based upon these same archetypes.

The Farm in Kansas - Our First Estate - Condition of Darkness

In the book a storm was coming from the North and another from the South to form a Cyclone. Aunt Em went into the storm cellar. Dorothy was going to follow, but Toto ran and hid under the bed, so she went to get him. Halfway across the room, the house shook, "she lost her footing and sat down suddenly upon the floor." After this, the house rises into the air.

In the movie, Dorothy is returning home with Toto. She arrives and attempts to tell her Aunt and Uncle, and the farm hands, that Miss Gulch had whacked Toto with a rake. No one seems to be paying too much attention to her, and eventually Miss Gulch arrives to make complaint to the Gale family about the dog's misbehavior, and produces an order from the Sheriff to take Toto away and have him destroyed. Miss Gulch puts him in a basket and rides off on her bicycle, but Toto escapes, and returns to Dorothy's room through the window. Dorothy decides that she must run away before they come back to take him away from her. They go down a road, across a bridge, and come across Professor Marvel's wagon, proclaiming "Let him read your PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE in his Crystal," (also Juggling and Sleight of Hand). He has her close her eyes, as he takes a peek at the contents of her basket, and finds a picture of Aunt Em and the farm, and he proceeds to tell her what he 'sees in his Crystal' (the same genuine, magic, authentic crystal used by the Priests of Isis and Osiris in the days of the Pharaohs of Egypt), that Aunt Em is crying, and going to her room, dropping onto the bed with her hand on her heart. Dorothy decides she must go home right away, to which Marvel responds "I thought you were going along with me", and Dorothy and Toto depart. Back at the farm, we see the storm beginning to take its toll on the farm, as everyone hurries into the cellar. Aunt Em is calling for Dorothy, but Uncle Henry ushers her firmly into the cellar. Dorothy makes it into the house, the window of her room blows loose, hits her head, and she falls on the bed. After this, the house spins and rises into the air.

The Land of Oz

The Land of Oz is divided into four quarters, surrounded by a great desert, with the Emerald City at the center point. To the east is Munchkin Country, to the South is the Quadling Country, to the west is Winkie Country, and the North is the home of the Good Witch, details of this land are not specifically mentioned in the book, however we learn from later sources in the Oz series that it is Gillikin country.

Freemasons will be well acquainted with giving special significance to the South, West, and East, as well as a general silence given concerning the North, known as a "place of darkness" because in the Temple of Solomon, the Sun, being at the South at noonday, would not reach its rays into the Northern parts of the Temple. Masons may also note that the land of Dorothy's initiatory journey is Blue, as likewise the Three Degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry are sometimes referred to as "The Blue Lodge"

The color of Quadling Country to the South is Red, and it is home to the Palace of Glinda the Good. From other Oz material, we learn that the color of Winkie Country in the East is Yellow, and Gillikin country to the North is Purple.
And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen.

Exodus 28:8

Colors of the Clothing of the Priesthood

The four colors of the lands are the same as those worn on the sash of the High Priest in the Tabernacle of Moses: Scarlet, Blue, Purple, and Gold. At the center of which, is a city of Green, which happens to be the only distinctive color represented in the clothing worn by patrons of the Temples of the Latter-day Saints.
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Genesis 3:7

The York Rite of Masonry contains a similar progressive color scheme. The Symbolic "Blue Lodge" or Ancient Craft Masonry is commonly represented by Blue and Gold, The Chapter of Royal Arch Masons is Red, and The Council of Royal and Select Masters is Purple. Although Knights Templar is the usual body progressing beyond these, it is notably different in trappings from the preceeding bodies, and this authors believes it to be a newer innovation. Allied Masonic Degrees is an invitational body preserving additional and historical degrees, and green is its color. This is just one example of how these colors are applied in Freemasonry.

The Masonic lodge is said to have a Mosaic Pavement, emblematic of human life, checkered with good and evil. It is surrounded by a beautiful border called the "Indented Tessel", representing those blessings and comforts which surround us, and which we hope to obtain by a faithful reliance on Divine Providence which is hieroglyphically represented by the Blazing Star in the center. With the Wicked Witches in the East and West, and the Good Witches in the North and South, we have a checkered floor in the Land of Oz. It is surrounded by a great desert, and although it may not be called beautiful, it certainly would serve as a reminder of the blessings and comforts to be had inside the Land of Oz, by a faithful reliance on The Wizard of Oz, represented by the Emerald City in the center.

I would propose that Witches in the Wizard of Oz are representative of the Priesthood. One may note that all of the Witches are women. We will see more gender role reversals later in this study, and consider it at that time. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has two priesthoods which can be used for Good: the Aaronic, and the Melchizedek. In the Temple, Satan appears to taunt Adam and Eve, and the patrons, and boasting, he gestures to his apron which he says represents his Power and Priesthoods. Priesthoods? Does this imply that these two priesthoods could be used for Evil, and perhaps already are being used in such a manner? Is this defiance of God's power be related to the unpardonable sin that causes Lucifer and his followers to become sons of perdition? On the other hand, he may be referring to entirely different priesthoods. Either way, a parallel is seen where two, be it Witchcrafts or Priesthoods, are for good, and the other two (or perhaps more, as Lucifer merely uses the plural) are for evil.

This concludes Part I of the Emerald Temple. The next part will be on the symbolic meanings of colors and characters in the Wizard of Oz.


There is no religion higher than truth.

There is no religion higher than truth.
-Motto of the Theosophical Society

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was a Russian mystic who helped found the Theosophical Society in 1875. It is quite an interesting group, as anyone who has studied it or the works of its adherants can attest. Theosophy literally means "Divine Knowledge" (theos, sophia). The group is characterized by a sort of experiential attitude towards religion, an unwillingness to settle for falsehood, and encouraging 'free and fearless investigation' they are some of the most genuine seekers of personal revelation that I am aware of.

There is certain kinship or high-level compatibility I detect in her message and that of the early Latter-day Saints, and I sort of feel that "There is no religion higher than truth" could also have served very well as a motto for the pioneer Saints.

Is our focus still on personal revelation, seeking and believing truth, and rejecting falsehood, or have we outgrown this agenda? This is as much a personal question, as it is a corporate one.

Are the Latter-day Saints today willing to believe and defend the truth when it becomes known to them, or has our pride and vain glory caused us to swerve from this task?

Animal Sacrifice in Salt Lake Temple

Although I don't have access to the source, it is alleged that Wilford Woodruff's Journal (1833-1898, December 18, 1857, vol. 5, p. 140.) says:
"Under the pulpit in the west End [of the SLC Temple] will be a place to Offer Sacrafizes. [sp] There will be an Altar prepared for that purposes [sp] so that when any sacrifices are to be offered they should be offered there."

Taking this in connection with Malachi 3:1-4,
¶ Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
2. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
3. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
4. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.

And D&C 13:
UPON you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.

I ask, has there aleady been animal sacrifice performed in the prepared place in the Salt Lake Temple, or will there be at some future time? What is the meaning of this, or are they even related at all? It certainly seems that animal sacrifice would be in the spirit of "restorationism", as an aid in restoring all things to how they were at first.

Into Nothing

I recently listened to a friend of a friend speak about the spiritual side of Yoga. He has been working at it for 30 some years, and explained the basic sequence of the practice:
  1. Yama, our attitude toward our environment.
  2. Niyama, our attitude toward our selves.
  3. Asana, body positions (what we usually think of as Yoga).
  4. Pranayama, breathing exercises.
  5. Pratyahara, quieting our mind and body.
  6. Dharana, focusing our mind on a single object or thought.
  7. Dhyana, meditating without being conscious of it, only knowing that you "are".
  8. Samadhi, becoming one with everything or one with the universe.
According to Yoga, Samadhi is perfection - you can't get any better than blissfully being One for eternity. We are all endlessly reincarnated until we let go of our identity at which point ... into Nothing.

I have some problems with this. First, I don't think we were given the ability to be individuals or to think or grow morally strong if we were meant to melt back into the Divine.

I think this going back into the One was originally put forth to counter the idea that eventually this earth will be destroyed, and we as a race will have no lasting impact.

Yoga is certainly not the only religion or spiritual path that sees dissolving into the Universe as the final step to perfection, but is that the true path? Are there other ways to be eternally happy? In the Mormon religion, when we are old gods, with nothing left to do, will we let ourselves dissolve? Is the timeframe the only difference here?


Rape and Abortion - Changing with the Times?

Spencer W. Kimball said:
"In the case of rape, if a woman becomes pregnant, she MUST NOT have an abortion. If she does she commits a greater sin than the one who raped her" (1975 film, "Very Much Alive").

The 1987 Relief Society Manual said on page 290:
"If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a
field, because a man's house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought
surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it
has come to light."

"... Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come. ... he that killeth shall die." (D&C

"Abortion is not defined as murder"
--1989 General Handbook of Instructions from the First Presidency, pg. 10-3

"a person may repent and be forgiven for the sin of abortion"
--General Handbook of Instructions, pg. 11-4

Have we become so anxious to be "politically correct", to love and forgive grave sins in recent times only because they are not perceived by the world population at large as morally wrong? I am surprised by the diverse counsel and mixed messages found on this issue in Church history. I am also shocked to consider that a young woman could commit such a serious sin, and be admitted into full fellowship and engage in Temple activity in such a short period of time (I'm guessing a year or less). Bloodshed was the very thing that disqualified David FOR LIFE from being able to participate in the erection, dedication, or practices of the Temple, and necessitated that his Son, King Solomon, instead be the one to perform this important task.

Please try to keep so-called "feminist" and political banter to a minimum here, I'm interested in primarily a doctrinal and historical discussion on this subject.

"Offerings Up" Signs to God

Some historical background:

"if we have the garments upon us at all the times we can at any time offer up the signs"
--George A. Smith, Dec 21, 1854, Sunday, Nauvoo Temple, An intimate chronicle, p. 221)

"It is necessary for all who have been through the temple to meet in quorum, in order to become familiar with the signs and tokens, because they are the keys of the Priesthood, in this the seventh dispensation."
--Heber C. Kimball (1846) quoted by Catherine Lewis in her Narrative of Some of the Proceedings of the Mormons, 1848, p.11

"Saturday Mar 7th, [1846, Nauvoo, Ill]
... at evening for the first time my family met together for prayer according to the Order of God in our priestly garments conversed together partook of the sacrament, offered up the signs and prayed and dedicated the upper room of my house for the purpose of worshiping our Heavenly Father. The good spirit of our God was with us and we felt blessed. There were 8 of us myself, Br. Horace Fish and Philo T. Farnsworth, Br. Fish's wife and daughter, Julia and Jane, Elizabeth and Mother Pulsipher making 8 in number ... In this company I saw by faith the beginning of a great and mighty kingdom when we should enjoy all the blessings of this life, riches, music, wisdom and the full manifestations of the holy priesthood unto the salvation of ourselves and all that pertain unto each of us ... This evening Philo declared his intention to be adopted to me and wished me to consider him my son."
--Franklin D. Richards, Diary

I find it interesting that they use the words "offer up" in relation to the signs. It is as though the signs are a gift given to Heavenly Father, and brings to mind images of him accepting them as tokens of our love and obedience. My question: What can we offer up to Father today to engage in such holy Worship, as our ability to offer up the signs as families and quorums seems to be quite stifled, presently? How can we engage in genuine worship as quorums?

Church seems to be so much about temporal needs and actual Worship of God is a subject many I think would find awkward or confusing. People may point to singing hymns or listening to talks as Worship, but I believe there is more to it than that. Also, worship should probably be focused, and I believe at best we currently seem to achieve diffused worship in Church (if at all), diffused in both purpose and direction.

At least a few other Churches seem to be a few steps ahead of us in root level spirituality, even if they may be lacking in doctrinal areas. So: What do you offer up in simple worship to God, as a family or a quorum?


Pre-Biblical History

There seems to be some evidence mounting up for Pre-Biblical history that needs to be taken into account by Christianity and Mormonism. Our fellow blogger here at Mormon Gnostics, Nicholas, may post sometime in the future with a detailed account of his thoughts (hint, nudge), but I wanted to gather general opinion from anyone who wants to comment.

The Babylonian Epic of Galgamesh is one example of a story that either predates the Noah account, or shares a common source from it.

On a related thread, although Latter-day Saints believe the original Garden of Eden was in the present-day United States, the rest of Christianity believes it was somewhere in the middle-east, or possibly africa depending on who you ask. They are hard at work trying to find evidence. What happens if they DO find compelling enough evidence of human civilization in that locale at such a time period to make it the commonly accepted belief? Or, have they already?

As Latter-day Saints, how do we deal with this, or any other historical or archeological research that streches beyond what the Bible or Brother Joseph's own revelations would indicate is possible?

New Comments Feed

I've hacked together a new comments feed mainly so that I can put a real "recent comments" in the sidebar. Blogger doesn't natively support this feature, so if anyone is interested in how I did it, please ask.


Will the real Savior please step forward?

What thoughts or questions does this design bring to mind?

If you want this on a T-Shirt, we have made it available.


Sad Story - Leaving an Impact

I have recently become aware that a few, if not many elderly people are deciding that they would like to be cremated, and have their ashes scattered for a reason that is utterly vile, in my opinion: They do not want any memorial to them so that their family or friends don't have to remember them, worry about them, or ever think about them again. They want to quietly disappear. To me, this feels worse than suicide. This seems like the desire to make zero impact on the world.

I can see positive thinking reasons why someone might choose cremation: To avoid unnecessary financial burden on the family. To avoid their grave being idolized for their accomplishments.

But if someone wants to be forgotten, that marks more than just their means of burial or disposal, it says something to me about their life itself. It seems to fly in the face of things like "When ye are in the service of your fellow men ye are only in the service of your God." If there is one type of Immortality we can count on, it is the immortality of the influence and effects we have on other human beings, especially our descendants. This is a positive and wonderful thing. We should try to maximize that, and by doing so, become obedient to the commandments, and glorify God. It seems selfish and greed to the extreme to not want to give to your fellow man, and to pass on leaving no place for your family to come for solace and closure.

I hope some people, even if they are young, will give their last wishes some serious thought in a selfless, not a selfish way.

If, or when I die, I desire to receive a Masonic funeral administered by my Lodge. I want my body to be prepared in proper and full Temple clothing by or overseen by a member of the Church, I will probably have a few particular coins to be placed under my tongue (just in case), and I require that my Masonic Apron be deposited upon the coffin according to the standard custom of my fraternity.

I want to be remembered by my descendants, and my friends. I want to make a difference in people's lives today, so that much of the future may be benefited in some small but exponential way by what I have or will accomplish.

Old people: Get it figured out, please. I can't chew out the people I know who convey these notions to me, but I can chew you out as strangers. Get it right, for your family and friends. The funeral is not FOR you. Its about you, but for everyone else. Don't steal that from them.

** EDIT: I forgot to mention, I want to be wearing black slacks and a black suit jacket with my Temple clothing, not the silly white ones they have taken up using in the Temple.

Godly Discrimination

I recently read a sentiment over at By Common Consent where someone questioned the use of esoteric knowledge to achieve more effective Prayer, or to be higher on God's pecking order, I quote:
"While this may be the bargain one agrees to or accepts vis-a-vis the temple, it seems to cheapen the efficacy of prayer by the non-learned or non-endowed, or frankly non-member. In effect, prayer isn’t as powerful as it is marketed, but only for those who know the true manner and mode as revealed by esoteric sources. Here we see God layering one more level of discrimination between the “saved” and the infidel."
- Razorfish

Yes, in general, God does discriminate. Why wouldn't he? His discrimination is based on how obedient people are to His commandments and his laws. The people who do what the Holy Ghost prompts them to are more likely to receive future communications from the Holy Ghost. Non-Endowed? It is a gift available to ALL who will submit and become worthy for it. Non-Member? Baptism is a gift available to all!

This discrimination is not a prejudice based on who you are, where you were born, how much money you have, or anything of that manner. It is a holy discrimination based on how faithful and obedient you have been to Father's counsel. To think that God listens to and considers all prayers equally, even the prayers of someone deep in "sin", openly defying his law, and knowing it, would seem absurd to anyone: especially since the types of prayers this type of person may utter are more likely to be asking for things which are against the Will of God. If someone is a relatively "good" person, but are still not faithful in all things, it would only stand to reason that their prayers would match with God's will only so far, and that a person who is true and faithful in all things will pray for those things that God will regularly answer, either because they are His will, or as a blessing for your obedience.

So? If you want effective prayer: Be obedient to God. Listen to God. Ask God in a manner you know he approves of (For example: In the name of Jesus Christ.)

Family Altar Followup

I am sorry that I disagree strongly with mullingandmusing #61, but my beliefs indicate that the Prophets and Apostles place us upon the track, and initiate us into our journey, but it is ultimately a road we must travel by our own initiative.

I strongly caution people against that type of blind faith which would lead one to take for face value current prophetic statements and forsake those long held (or short held) sacred ideas of generations past.

The best I can tell it: My religion is boundless. Limitless. There is no end to the knowledge I seek, and the more I acquire the thirstier I become for it. I choose not to stop at the face value of things, where most people do stop at face value. They have their way, and I don't blame them for it. If that is what they want, I respect that in them, and I think they are still fully capable of being worthy and good members of the Church, of attaining all the blessings of the Gospel. But for those of us who choose the other path, to explore deeper, and to try to live according to all the truth we can acquire, for those of us who feel our own salvation may even depend on such things, I will always feel a need to defend our position, because it is often threatened by the majority who choose not to partake. As for me, I am motivated to proceed down the strait and narrow path. Because I have this motivation, if I stop the search, I have denied the Holy Ghost and my faith becomes dead: That type of religion is dead to me.


The Mormon Jesus is Created

And what of it? He was the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh, and the first-born of the Father in the Spirit. The Mormon Jesus had a beginning as a personage. Yet, he also has existed eternally as "intelligence" or spiritual matter. His Spirit birth refers to his being organized by Father (and Mother, I presume), not his creation out of nothing. (For what can be created of nothing, but nothing?) The Jesus of the Christian World is an uncreated being, co-eternal with the Father. The Mormon Jesus is a created being, whose element is co-eternal with Father's own element, and your own spirit and body must necessarily follow the same pattern, if you ever expect to gain exaltation and partake along with Christ of the fullness of your inheritance from Father.

Hinckley and the Freemasons - Same Divine Source?

This past month, President Gordon B. Hinckley had a beautiful message on the Godhead in the Ensign, which contained the statement:
"I believe without equivocation or reservation in God the Eternal Father."

Any Freemason would be familiar with the pairing up of these terms in the phrase:
"... without the least equivocation, mental reservation, or secret evasion ..."

Has the Prophet been reading up on his Masonry, is it a pure coincidence, or do Freemasonry and the Church share the same grand source of divine information? There are similar cases I have noticed in the contributions of President David O. McKay.


Are we more apt to embrace the foreign?

Just an observation: I think Mormons are more comfortable exploring spiritual things perceived as "foreign", or using them as positive examples such as: Eastern Religion, Yoga, Meditation, Islam and even Astrology. As an experiment, read over that list again. Add a few things to it yourself. I have a hunch you will feel very little animosity towards the items in that list, unless you are racist or have some other personal prejudice against it.

When the spiritual elements hit closer to home, we tend to go on the defensive. The Trinity, Baptist hymns, Muslim polygamy, seer stones, family altars, Pentecostals speaking in tongues, stories of revelations or visitations of heavenly beings, baptisms. Items on this list may be more of a mixed bag of feelings. We may find some of them extremely positive, others extremely negative. This is because we are culturally closer to these practices, and therefore we become more critical of them. What is seen as a deviant form of Christianity is always more offensive to the Christian than a deviant form of Buddhism would be, for example.

Is this good or bad? Should we train ourselves to be equally leery of the foreign practices, or should we be try to be equally accepting of those domestic practices similar to ours? From who do we learn more? and is it because their information is better, or because our minds do not close up to what they have to say?


Scripture Making

In the scriptures it is not always apparent that the writer of the scriptures knew at the time that he was indeed writing scripture. In fact, it seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Are we writing our journals (and blogs?) today in a way that they could become the scriptures of tomorrow? We probably should be. In all of our structure and hierarchy, we may become so comfortable with scripture being something that other people make that we forget to pave the way to make it ourselves. Do you really think the General Authorities words of today that so many consider or assume to be scripture are only derived from sources that they have had or given since their calling to the Apostleship? Hardly. We hear stories from their youth, and people quote writings from earlier in their lives without hesitation, and those too could be considered scripture if they contain truth. In that sense, any of us could be writing scripture every day and not know it. Contemplation of that adds a lot of weight to our words.


Seer Stones 'R' Us

Hey! I've now got Seer Stone and Hat sets for sale, to satisfy all of your Early Saint nostalgic cravings! By the way, this is real... not a joke! (However, due to high demand, it is impossible for us to individually test each stone, so they are not guaranteed to have actual Sight.)



Inspired Gopel of Thomas?

As part of my ongoing experiment in re-creating the environment of the Restoration on a personal level, I have tried my hand, for the first time, at "restoring" scripture: The first part of the Gospel of Thomas. I make no claim to any type of direct revelation or any degree of accuracy here, but I will relate an experience:

As I was working with this, I got to verse 4 and was unable to continue, so I stopped. Out of curiosity, I looked up some other translations of Thomas and, as it turns out, the source text I had been going off of diverged significantly from the others at that point in the text, seemingly not to be reconciled for several verses. I resumed, using the other translations together with the first in order to proceed.

Again, the process being used here is not "translation" by the scholarly measure, but is an attempt at spiritual restoration. It is best not to add this to your personal canon (don't) but I share it for your evaluation:

These are the mysteries given by Jesus, while in the flesh, which he spake unto Thomas who is called Didymus Judas.

1. Said Jesus, Whosoever shall comprehend the true meaning of these things, the same shall live forever in the eternities, which are here around us.

2. Let him who seeks without finding, seek and find. Then he that hath found will be troubled when in contemplation of the Truth, until he hath become Astonished at the Brightness of the Light: For the path of Truth leadeth to Truth, and he that follows upon it will become Elohim, and rule over all of his Creation, but before this time will come he must first drink of the bitter cup and not shrink, for it is necessary to descend below all things in order to rise above all things. Unto him who hath suffered, a blessing is bestowed.

3. If you are told the Eternal Kingdom is above, then it is a kingdom of birds only, and if below, a kingdom of fish only.

Nay, the Eternal Kingdom is here around you, and you are part of it, and it is within you just as you are within it.

The things here around you may be known by that which is within you. And the things which are within you may be known by that which is here around you.

And when you at length come to that Light which was most desired, you will know yourselves. By the use of this key, you will confess that you are the Tabernacles, even the Sons of the Eternal Father and that He and your Mother who is like Him are also in the flesh, and that you are created in like form to Them, and you will know them as they have known you.

But he who does not not know himself will be destitute, having cut himself off from his inheritance, and will be possessed of himself, and he will deny his God, and he will forsake his Parents, and he will worship his Brother, and his Brother will warn him, and he will not listen to the warning and he will become deceived, thinking he has that which he desired.

4. And Jesus said, You must become as little children, and honor thy Father and Mother, for he that curseth Father or Mother: Let him have death. Thou sayest this law is cruel, and I say to thee: This refers to the spiritual death. If this answer grants thee comfort, I say: Do not have it, for which is more severe, the physical death, or the spiritual death? Many of the first will be last, and the last will be first, and they become one. Your minds must be released from the illusion that you have yourself built within them before you can receive instruction in any degree of pure truth.

5. Know first what is in front of your face, and that which is hidden will thereafter be disclosed to you. For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing buried that will not be raised. The way of the prophets is full of sorrow, and I have comissioned you to be the prophets of this generation: To suffer ridicule, to be reviled, and to endure all manner of accusation and evil speech against you.

6. His disciples asked him, Do you want us to fast, or to pray? Do you want us to give to the poor, or observe a dietary law?

Jesus answered, "Do not lie, and do not what you hate, because all things are disclosed before heaven. Lonely is the way of the prophet, but if he should cause one soul to step to the source of Light, all his lonliness and grief is justified. Great will be his joy in the heavenly realm, and he will represent a great multitude at the seat of the Most High.

7. Blessed be the lion of Judah, which man shall consume, and the lion shall become man. Cursed is Ephraim, the man whom the lion shall consume, yet even so, the man shall become lion.

Heterodoxy and Heresy

Heterodoxy is essentially holding beliefs that are significantly different from those of the orthodox religion, (in this case, Mormonism), but not far enough off to make you a full-out Heretic.

Some might consider me a heretic, but I believe in that the Church holds valid priesthood authority and is in posession of the priesthood keys, and I honestly feel that my views are in accordance with scripture and the Spirit. I recently wrote on my feelings on this over at "The Rocky Shore", so here's a link to my comments there (I'm the seventh commenter after the post):

The Rocky Shore: My trip to heterodoxy...

God, the Father, was Born of Woman

As recently as 1936, this sentiment has been expressed in some official capacity by the Church. I just wanted to share this, to show how blessed we actually are to have such an improvement as we do over the various Christian denominations in the world. There are many things in the Church we don't all agree on, (perhaps everything) yet this is better than any other religion can say while allowing their members to think for themselves.


At Stake Conference of Maricopa Stake

President Smith closed the conference with his usual brilliant, thoughtful remarks. He bore a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and said in part: "I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God; I know that God is a being with body, parts and passions and that His Son is in His own likeness, and that man is created in the image of God. The Son, Jesus Christ, grew and developed into manhood the same as you or I, as likewise did God, His Father, grow and develop to the Supreme Being that He now is. Man was born of woman; Christ, the Savior, was born of woman; and God, the Father, was born of woman. Adam, our earthly parent was also born of woman into this world, the same as Jesus and you and I."


Stake Clerk.

(Deseret News, Dec. 27, 1913, Sec. III, p. 7)

[Deseret News Church Section, Sept 19, 1936 pp 2-3]


Welcome Nicholas!

Our newest member of the Latter-day Gnostics team is my friend Nicholas. I wanted to take this opportunity to formally introduce him. He has just made his first two contributions to our blog, "Psychic Spheres" and "Golden Candlestick" and we hope to be hearing more from him in the future. He tends to focus more on meditation and inner work (studying the microcosm, I suppose) where I tend to be more interested in forms, ritual, doctrine, and exterior cosmology, although we both cross to the other side on occasion. This should make for an interesting and diverse team.

I hear that one of Nicholas's main motivators--like most bloggers--is feedback, so if you enjoy his posts be sure to add your own thoughts to his work.


Origins of Masonry

I just posted on my other blog, King Solomon's Lodge, about the Origins of Masonry, and since any Latter-day Saint with a handle on Church history probably has some opinion or some curiosity as to the Masonic influence on the early church, I wanted to submit it here also for your benefit. Please try to keep LDS-centric comments in this blog post at Mormon Gnostics, rather than the original at KSL, so that the other thread can remain dedicated to its true topic, the Origins of Masonry, rather than the relationship of Masonry to Mormonism. For convenience, I have included the full text of the original post here:

The Origins of Masonry

Commonly held old legend says that Ancient Craft Masonry originated at the building of Solomon's Temple. Common scholarly opinion today refutes that, and suggests a much more recent origin for the Craft. I would like to put in my plug for the former opinion, to a degree. When was there ever a tradition, that was not taken from what went before it? Either directly, indirectly, or as a mirror image 'rebellion'. Truly, it seems, there is nothing new under the sun. I believe Masonry did come from Solomon's Temple, although it wasn't a direct Group => Group => Group lineage. I believe it was the merging of several traditions over a long period of time, where like-minded people banded together, and their traditions combined into something beautiful. I think there is good evidence to suggest that Freemasonry does have some origins, even in the mysteries of its secret work, clearly from the Temple of Solomon (or the Tabernacle of Moses) if someone opens their eyes enough to behold them. I do not believe it was the Stone Masons who formed the craft, however, but the Levites who worked in the Temple, or their direct observors, and their ideological descendents, coupled of course with the many other threads that pour into the river of Masonry by the time it hit England in the 1700's.

There are certain parts of Masonry that are pretty well determined to be modern additions. Modern in this sense, meaning anything around A.D. 1700 or later. The entire Legend of Hiram Abiff seems to be one of these things. However, I would like to suggest that because Masonry -- being the Handmaiden of religion - and a very religious group (although not a religion, note the disctinction) -- because Masonry has held true to these old customs and faithfully preserved things of God, they may have been blessed with further inspiration from Above. Either individually, or collectively, I believe Masonry's history has been divinely inspired and divinely approved. In many Jurisdictions, the Lodge is opened with a prayer containing something like this request:

"Grant that the sublime principles of Freemasonry may so subdue every discordant passion within us, so harmonize and enrich our hearts with Thine own love and goodness, that the Lodge, at this time, may humbly reflect that order and beauty which reign forever before Thy throne."

Could it be, that so many brethren, praying so unceasingly for their Lodge to reflect the GAOTU's own order and beauty, might actually be answered?

I say it might, and probably has, and probably will continue to be answered, if our prayers are sincere.


The Bloggernacle Inquisition

It is bound to happen sooner or later. Somewhere in the Church, someone will be placed subject to disciplinary action due to things they've blogged about or commented about on other blogs, either directly or indirectly (complaint by one of their personal acquaintences, for example.) Actually, I'd be surprised if it hasn't already happened. Due to the personal nature of blogging, the variety of subjects covered, and the interconnectedness of the Bloggernacle or the greater Blogosphere, it seems ripe for digging up dirt on people. Also, I know at least for me, that I am likely to comment on almost any subject that piques my fancy, whether or not it is something I strongly believe in. (Although I often post on things I have deep convictions about.)

When this happens, or begins to happen in noticable numbers, what will become of the Bloggernacle? Will it befall the same fate as local stake and ward websites? (A move by the Church that, although some people disagree strongly with, I think was well within their rights and best interests to make.)

I believe that I am willing to own up to everything I've said on the blogs. But due to the persistent nature of things, and the constant learning process, I may not always agree in the present with my opinions of the past.

This problem has already been discussed elsewhere in relation to blogs belonging to "Professionals" or Business Blogging. How your blogging might influence your chances of future employment, or continued employment.

Since a blog IS very personal, it is often times used as a journal of thought, and is not necessarily an accurate depiction of our "creedal" or accepted beliefs. It more often documents our curiosities -- the things we don't have a solid handle on, because if we did, we might not have much left to say about it.

I'm not personally scared of the inquisition, but I am concerned about the time I've already spent explaining the reasons for my interests in various topics to the satisfaction of any who feel it their business to monitor and try to standardize/correlate my thoughts, and I can see this becoming a large scale pre-occupation of leaders as blogging gets more and more recognized by the Church, and Blogs get cited more frequently as sources in Sacrament talks.


First Attempt at Scrying

On the evening of the fourth day of the month of July, in the year of our Lord twenty hundred and six, I set out to the field with a spade to attempt to uncover the record of which I am in pursuit. (For I am not, as yet, experienced enough in the particulars of treasure hunting to be certain as to its location.)

About ten yards between an old fence and a pond, I broke the earth and began to dig. After becoming exhausted from my labors, I was about determined to abandon the undertaking when I decided to make one last effort. It was about this time when my spade struck on an object made of stone, white in appearance, which was lodged in the ground. I threw the dirt aside and removed the small stone, of which I have here included a depiction. At this point, I handed the spade to my wife, who all the while had been sitting by watching as I toiled over our difficult undertaking. She had located a snake-skin, about twelve inches from the place where we had commenced the dig, and sat it back on the ground, after which, she took up the spade. After digging for a considerable amount of time, and finding nothing, we resolved to retire back to the farm, and taking a few steps noticed a hole in the surface of the ground, about 2 inches wide and 4 in length. Sensing trouble, I told her to stand back as I once again struck the earth with the spade. After following the hole for about six inches, I gave up the search and we returned home, to resume on another day.

Ate potatoes for dinner. Grandma said her leg was hurting, so we tended to it.

D&C 29 and 49. Who is Jesus's Only Begotten Son?

Reading the D&C, I came up with a few theological questions. I present these two for your investigation.

I verified D&C 29 with the scanned pages from the original Book of Commandments. Aside from some minor words (is/was, forest/forests) the text remains intact with no additions, deletions, or changes except the verse numbering.

Doctrine and Covenants Section 29 begins with this:
LISTEN, to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I AM, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins; Who will gather his people even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, even as many as will hearken to my voice, and humble themselves before me, and call upon me in mighty prayer.

It appears to be a revelation from Jesus Christ to Joseph Smith. Interestingly, he will gather those who pray ... to him? Pray to Jesus? That's something not taught in the LDS Church today, but seems to be required in this verse in order to be one that Jesus will gather. To remove any shadow of doubt, verse six (BOC) or five (D&C) further demonstrates the identity of this figure:
Lift up your hearts and be glad for I am in your midst, and am your advocate with the Father; and it is his good will to give you the kingdom;

There are several other points to demonstrate that this is indeed Jesus, the Son of the God the Father who is speaking.

In verse 31 (BOC) or 27 (D&C), we find: "And the wicked on my left hand will I be ashamed to own before the Father." Okay, it's still Jesus speaking.

Then something unusual happens. The creation is reviewed, including the creation of Adam (!!), and by the time we get to verse 51 (BOC) or 42 (D&C) we find:
But behold I say unto you, that I the Lord God gave unto Adam and unto his seed, that they should not die as to the temporal death, until I the Lord God should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption, through faith on the name of mine only begotten Son:

Verse 53 (BOC)/46 (D&C) also refers to "mine only Begotten", and if we backtrack up to verse 45 (BOC) / 36 (D&C) we will see the the Devil had "rebelled against me saying, Give me thine honor"

I call this the Son-to-Father "Bait and Switch"

Now let's take a look at D&C 49. I compared it quickly to BOC but I'm not going to give BOC verse numbers on this one:

Verse 5:
Thus saith the Lord; for I am God, and have sent mine Only Begotten Son into the world for the redemption of the world, and have decreed that he that receiveth him shall be saved, and he that receiveth him not shall be damned--

Verse 7:
I, the Lord God, have spoken it; but the hour and the day no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor shall they know until he comes.

Verse 11:
Wherefore, I give unto you a commandment that ye go among this people, and say unto them, like unto mine apostle of old, whose name was Peter:

Verse 28:
Behold, I am Jesus Christ, and I come quickly. Even so. Amen.

I call this one the Father-to-Son "Bait and Switch"

So... Does anyone know what the story is on these? Other sections in the D&C mention when multiple revelations were combined together, but these seem to gradually shift from one personage to another. Help?