My Other Blogs


Jewish Burial Shrouds

I just put together a Google Notebook on Jewish Burial Shrouds. They are more than just a big sheet! Interesting to compare it to the Mormon burial customs.

Recent Comments for Blogger

I've just upgraded my Recent Comments tool in the sidebar to a better system. You can now click on "more" to get the complete history of comments so that you aren't limited to only the last few. There's also a link at the top of that screen where you can sign up to put this Blogger add-on on your Blog as well.


Who gets worshipped by name of Jesus?

I've been wondering this for some time, but no where is it made clearer to me than Moses chapter 1 and Moses chapter 4: Who gets worshipped by name of Jesus?

Moses 1-4 makes it abundantly clear that there is one God only whom we are to Worship (at least if we follow the example of Moses). It also sets forth Satan's plan and Jesus's plan in a very clear way. Satan goes by the names the Only Begotten, the redeemer, in other words, the Savior, Jesus Christ. It is his goal to have people worship him instead of the True God. Jesus Christ has a different goal. He wants people to worship and glorify the Father, the same as Moses insisted on doing.

When someone "Worships" "Jesus" it seems that they are demeaning the character of Jesus Christ by trying to "tempt" him to deviate from his Father's plan. Since he is not going to sin by accepting such worship, it leaves two possibilities: 1 - Satan presumes the role and gladly serves as an object of worship. 2 - Out of mercy of someone's ignorance of this, Jesus redirects the misguided Worship to God the Father.

The endowment, and Joseph Smith's first vision, among other accounts, teach us that at least in some cases, the first person ready to answer a prayer is Satan. Discernment is necessary to pass by Satan and arrive at God.

The Book of Moses, (The Joseph Smith Translation version of Genesis) is one of the first works Joseph Smith produced after the Book of Mormon was published in 1830. It must have had a large influence on early LDS theology. In making this inspired translation, Joseph was restoring many plain and precious things that had been lost from the Bible, and in comparing Moses with Genesis, one finds that the main thing removed was this information about the Council in Heaven, Satan's plan, Satan's attempt to undermine Moses's pattern of worship, etc. The theological statements here are amazing, and they constitute what was "plain and precious" in this case, because the remainder of the material (except for the information about multiple planets and possibly aliens) is largely the same as otherwise found in the Bible.

Worship God.


Mormon Gnostics Podcast

I've just started a Mormon Gnostics Podcast to go along with this blog, and the first episode is 001 - Theology, Moses 1:1-23. Enjoy!

Mormon History

Here is a snipped down version of the "historical" sequences from the "All About Mormons" episode of Southpark.

What errors exist in this "telling" of the story? I know of one offhand: Joseph's seer stones are pictured on the screen but they are referred to verbally as the Urim and Thummim. Joseph's stones were actually separate and independent of the Urim and Thummim.


Did Kenneth Copeland steal Brigham's fire?

In 1989, Kenneth Copeland, televangelist and Pentecostal preacher, made some statements that seem to have stolen some of the fire from Brigham Young. Especially since they are statements that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today is hesitant to own up to.

Hear his statement in an MP3

Here is the first part of the quote:

"God's reason for creating Adam was his desire to reproduce himself. I mean a reproduction of himself, and in the garden of Eden he did that. He was not a little like God, he was not almost like God, he was not subordinate to God even."

Another interesting quote from Copeland, cited from his Wikipedia article:

"This is all a copy, it's a copy of home. It's a copy of the mother planet, where God lives he made a little one just like his and put us on it. And Adam is as much like God as you could get, just the same as Jesus when he came into the earth he said that if you have seen me you have seen the Father. He wasn't a lot like God, he is God manifested in the flesh. And I want you to know something, Adam was God manifested in the flesh, he was God's very image, very likeness everything he did, everything he said, every move he made was the very image of allmighty God"

Well, hmm... I guess one man's trash is another man's treasure.


God wants us to eat MEAT!

1 Timothy 4:1-5
1. ¶ Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2. Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3. Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
4. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5. For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

God wants us to eat meat. People teaching to abstain from meat is here listed as kin to the doctrines of the devils. I have sometimes joked that the system I see ordained by God was the esablishing of a giant communal barbecue grill (in the Tabernacle of Moses), but maybe there's something to this, after all. The objection was raised to me that "meat" in Biblical language can refer to any type of food, but it is made clear in verse 4 that it is creatures that are referred to here. How does this sit with our own Latter-day Saint D&C 89...

D&C 89:12-13
Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;
And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

This gives a bit of a mixed message. How could they be ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving, and yet it be pleasing unto God (or Jesus, or Joseph? Verse 5 refers to the Father third person) that they should not be used only (meaning, except) in times of winter, or of cold, or famine. Notice those are all ors. In winter and cold times we are to use meats. So we are actually given instruction here on WHEN to eat meat.

I'm interested in finding Seventh-day Adventist points of view on this, because of their own interesting dietary code, so I'll be looking that up later.


Pete Ashdown for United States Senate

Pete Ashdown for United States Senate

For those who live in Utah... Read what this guy has to say! He has a blog also, just click "Blog" at the top of his site. He is brilliant. If I lived in Utah, I'd give him my vote.


Jim Harmston

The "TLC Manti" fundamentalist sect has always intrigued me. Perhaps because I run across its material often in my own web searches because of a cross-section of interests. Their leader, Jim Harmston, seems to be a very unique individual. I want here to express a simple theory regarding his current position.

For those who are't familiar (and why would you be? I only learned this a couple days ago...) Jim claims to be the very embodiment of a reincarnated Joseph Smith, Junior. Yes, TLC's version of the MMP doctrine includes Multiple Probations, apparently quite rapidly, on the same earth. (My own view of MMP involves previous and future earths.)

I think I understand why Jim thinks he was Joseph Smith in a past life. It is a very natural outgrowth from the information he would have had to work with, from the beginning. The problem is that Jim has taken a few feelings, recollections, his sense, or gut instinct, which by itself was correct, and he has misattributed it. He perhaps at one time was blessed with a heavenly vision, but he has taken what was opened to his vision and developed a fiction surrounding it. While his particular fiction includes the substance of the vision, it is not the only scenario that would do so.

I may follow up more on this later. Pondering.


"The truth is not uplifting; it destroys."

Michael Quinn has written about his experience with Boyd K. Packer:
Whether by design or as one of life's little jokes, Apostle Boyd K. Packer was the General Authority who interviewed me .... He lectured me for forty-five minutes, the highlights of which were these statements: "I have a hard time with historians ... because they idolize the truth. The truth is not uplifting; it destroys. Historians should tell only that part of the truth that is inspiring and uplifting."

I spoke of balance, perspective, context. He just shook his head and said, "You'll learn."

I did. And, as the saying goes, "The rest is history."

I am having a difficult time with the words that Elder Packer has allegedly spoken: "The truth is not uplifting; it destroys. Historians should tell only that part of the truth that is inspiring and uplifting." The restriction on Historians is ridiculous, if applied. That is the type of nutty idea that makes Mel Gibson's father not believe the Holocaust ever happened. The first part is perhaps true, but I would say it differently: "The truth is not entirely uplifting; it also destroys." Destroying, or disorganizing is also an attribute of God, in addition to creating or organizing. Destroying is, in fact, an important process.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12


Remembering the September Six

September Six - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Next month marks the 13th year since the "September Six" excommunications. I haven't read the works of all of these individuals, but I do recommend reading theh works of D. Michael Quinn and Avraham Gileadi. Gileadi was afterward rebaptized into the church. Quinn has not been, but remains a believing Latter-day Saint. (He possibly has not come back in because of his coming out about being gay, although I am not sure if that is the only reason.)

In celebration of their faith and scholarship, why not grab one of their books on a topic of interest to you at your local library or bookstore and give it a read?


I found an interesting site and effort, Support Mike Quinn .net - check it out.


Fundamentalist Expose

Every once in a while we hear about a "fundamentalist" group making some bold moves. FLDS has a Temple in Eldorado Texas, for example. And Jim Harmston's TLC group in Manti had a lawsuit a while back with some wives seeking repayment of their tithes and conesecrated expenses.

I noticed a lack of information about these groups on the web, so...

I'm calling upon EX-fundamentalists from TLC, the Cutlerites, or FLDS, to individually write an exposé. In doing so, I am not encouraging anyone to expose anything that would violate any solemn obligation that you have taken, but I think it would be interesting and important for the practices of these groups to be documented before they may be stamped out entirely for legal issues, and this important cultural phenomenon be lost forever.

The most information I have managed to obtain, is that the TLC group uses a White Apron, with the All Seeing Eye on it, for their "Church of the Firstborn", in contrast to the green apron used by the LDS Church. I am interested in as much detail as possible, and I would like to hear it first hand, and if emailed to me, your contact information and identity will be kept confidential unless you specifically tell me that I may share it.

My interest in this is threefold: 1) I am interesting in simply preserving information about these movements for historical purposes. 2) I am particularly interested in earlier sects and their differences in ritual practice from more recent sects, and current LDS practice. 3) To understand the motivations and mindset of people who would implement such a rite, and compare and contrast with early Mormon thought as well as modern Mormonism.

So, to reiterate: I want a separate Cutlerite Temple Expose, a True and Living Church Manti Expose, and a Fundamentalist LDS (Warren Jeffs) expose at the very least, from whoever can provide them. OFFICIAL information from those groups would actually be preferrable to information from their dissenters - of course, I doubt they will offer it.

Information may be submitted to me at my email address in my blog profile, or as comments to this blog post.


The Temple Garment

Nicholas's previous post gave me an interesting challenge: To write something on the subject of the Temple Garment. I present here, an old drawing of a Masonic apron. I am currently trying to find the history behind this picture, however, I want to point out a few things: The apron is replete with some "working tools", the Square, Compasses, and Level. Compared to the modern Fellow Craft who is taught that his working tools are the Square, Level, and Plumb. The Fellow Craft in some jurisdictions is taught that his Apron is made into a Pocket in which to hold his working tools, although I have never before seen this visualized. The garment and the apron indeed seem to have been synonymous at some point, perhaps having become that way as part of a gradual process. If the "flap" at the top of this apron were to be folded down, it appears you would be looking at the following:

This would be the only time I have seen the symbols in a Masonic source oriented in the "L _ V" pattern. Fascinating. It is particularly intriguing that the locations of these working tools are over the correct side of the body, in comparison to the Temple Garment. However, the L is backwards of its ordinary position, giving some more credence to the antiquity of the layout used on the Allred gravestone. (see my earlier post on this reversal) This also gives a possible answer for the two decorative tassle's often seen hanging down in older Aprons. Perhaps they are symbolizing Jachin and Boaz the two brazen pillars set up at the entrance of King Solomon's Temple? (Look up Antique Masonic Apron on eBay or somewhere to see photographs of these tassles, they were once quite prevalent especially in Grand Masters aprons, etc., during a not too distant past.)

Well, maybe this answers something. But, now, returning to the Temple Garment... I have heard stories of the discovery of bodies buried by ancient tribes who have worn garments with markings or symbols on them. I have heard Hugh Nibley quoted as the source. I think I have even read it myself. I haven't seen any good photos, however, and so I wonder what types of markings these are. Certainly they are not too close to the current Temple Garment or else a bigger fuss would have been made over it. Nibley would have shown it, if the evidence was really so compelling. Instead, he merely referenced it as a similar curiosity.

We do get the following early Christian picture:

Hmmm, all squares, but no compasses or levels.

I don't know.

We have here, a drawing of the original garment, reported in 1882. I admit, it is probably not from the most reliable source. However, you will notice that the navel mark at this point was a round hole rather than another level/bar like that found on the knee. I have heard that the navel mark was traditionally either a round hole or an X, and that as it eventually become a sewn shut button hole, it took on the characteristic hyphen shape we have it in today.

This is shown to demonstrate that the markings on the Garments of the Holy Priesthood can and do change, even over a short amount of time. I am interested to know what other permutations of symbolic garments have existed in Christian history, and in other traditions around the world. I would like to see some pictures or illustrations, if any exist.

And now for some scripture to show how this relates to the Old Testament Tabernacle of Moses:
Exodus 28:42-43
And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:
And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.

Leviticus 16:4
He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.

Hmm... So, the Linen Breeches seem to be the closest thing in the Tabernacle practices to the modern Garment.

I have also heard stories about Adam's original garment, which was passed down through the generations of mankind. A legend or idea, which, along with some other Adamic hierlooms, is almost as amazing as the quest for the Holy Grail. Perhaps someone can fill in some details on this?


Prayer Circle History

Prayer circle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Ritual prayer in a circle around an altar is not unique to Mormonism or even Christianity. Ritual ceremonies around an altar are common in paganism, and ritual prayer dances around an altar were practiced by early Christians, especially Gnostics, before the practice was condemned as a heresy by the Second Council of Nicaea in 787 A.D."

They mentioned Gnostics! :-)

Evolution of the Temple Apron

WARNING - There are photos of LDS Temple Aprons further down in this post (not being worn) for historic and educational purposes, so if you are offended by that sort of thing (which you shouldn't be, because they are frequently displayed in the open to non-members during funeral services), please skip this post:

For Context, a Masonic Apron (Officer's Apron) from around 1800, and...

An Apron from around 1840. Joseph most likely would have been familiar with this style of Masonic Officer's Apron. Brethren are issued a plain Lambskin apron during their initiation, however, they are harder to find and date because they are often buried with the Mason, or destroyed after his death.

Here is a modern Masonic Lambskin Apron from 2003:

The size of the Masonic Aprons have been kept relatively uniform since early on, as the United Grand Lodge of England set a measurement standard for them.

Here is a vintage LDS Temple Apron from around 1930, placed over the top of the Masonic Apron in order to compare the size:

As you can see, the width has remained nearly identical. The height of the Temple Apron is slightly longer, most probably to accomodate a complete set of leaves. One will instantly notice that the color of this Apron is very different from that used presently in the Temple, but I assure you, the fabric is not faded (I checked under the wrinkled hems). It was indeed olive-green, almost gray, colored fabric, with green thread. Perhaps our American culture could not accept this olive color, and the thirst for greenery closer to our own heart caused us to ultimately select more beautiful (to us) fabric. The two colors compared side by side:

The 1930's apron compared to a modern LDS fig-leaf apron. I should note here that there are currently two styles, one with the leaf-edges cut, the other with the apron perfectly squared. However, the cut version is now different than the older pattern (the bottom corners are more "curved" rather than sticking down) The new Apron has deviated from the standard width, and is about an inch or more wider than the older variety. This particular straight-edge apron is also flawed as the fig-leaf pattern is not centered on the fabric, but off at least a half inch to one side:

The tie-strings have also been replaced with an elastic band and a hook, a change that has also occured in parallel in the development of modern Masonic officer's aprons.

The Apron, has several Biblical precedents:
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

¶ And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.
-Exodus 28:6

One understanding of the Ephod is that it was similar to a "cobbler's apron," and it was worn as part of the ceremonial clothing of the High Priest as he worked in Moses' Tabernacle.

Acknowledging the Biblical similarities in our modern Temple ceremony can help us realize the thread of truth that has existed throughout all history. Think twice when you ever hear anyone suggest that the LDS Temple has nothing to do with the Old Testament Temple, because that idea is wrong: It has everything to do with it. Look forward to more posts to help build testimonies through the customs of the Temple, instead of in spite of it.


Kashrut Status

In Jewish Kosher law, the Kashrut status is basically the "type" of food or utensil. For example, if I cut a steak with a knife, that knife becomes a "Meat" item. If I slice cheese with a different knife, it becomes "Dairy." If an item is neither meat nor dairy, it is considered "Pareve."

The Jews, especially women, have a special ceremonial bathing that is done to become "clean" after menstruation as well as a special preparation before certain life events. The water they bathe in must be a natural body of water, however, they abide by the law by taking a certain amount of rain water and combining it with tap water. The tap water, therefore, picks up the symbolic status of rain water.

If a man comes into contact with a dead body, he also picks up the status of unclean, the status of the dead body, and must be cleansed before he may go about his regular business.

Interesting... I notice items picking up properties from the things they come into contact with. A useful idea. What I also notice, that I find humorous, is that both good and bad traits can be picked up. Rain water (good), mixed with tap water (bad) turns the tap water Good, not the other way around, while a dead body (bad), coming into contact with a live body (good) turns the live body bad. I just muse over this observation, how curious it seems.