My Other Blogs


Blogging is so Fragile

I was just a bit saddenned because I went to visit a blog where I had posted a few comments previously, and I wanted to see what the author had to say in response to my comments, only to find both comments mysteriously vanished. Instead of intelligent discourse, and some type of understanding correspondence, it was as though I had never been to the blog to begin with. Belonging to the blogger, it is of course their imperative to remove any comments from the site that they deem unseemly. However, my comments were not intended to be unproductive, nor were they spam, nor do I see them as outside of the topic, or even broader than their own range of views presented on the blog. I am mystified as to why I have been squelched in such a manner, my only regret is that I did not save the text of my comment somewhere else, so that I could now refer to it and try to analyze why I was knocked down. One of my comments even agreed strongly with the original author of the post.

I want everyone to know that they may feel safe and free in commenting on this blog (Mormon Gnostics). I will not delete any comments, unless they are spam, contain excessive swearing, graphic sexual references, or purport to contain specific items which are supposed to be held secret under covenant. And EVEN then, I will try to censor the post itself, and re-post it with a note to explain what I did, rather than just delete it.

I encourage all LDS bloggers to adopt a similar policy for your own blogs. I used to work for a man who implemented censorship on some forums he administered. They were at first alright, but before long, his censorship began to reach a point where he would censor any person who disagreed with him in any way. The forum turned into a bland place, where no discussion really took place because there was no debate of any form, and the problem solved itself by the forum ending up in disuse.

People are social creatures. We desire interaction. Even if you think something I do or someone else does is wrong, censoring it only gives us the chance to react with initial impulses of anger, whereas addressing the problem verbally creates the chance to achieve true reconciliation and come to a unity or at least to help the person avoid making the same mistake again.


The Ancient of Days

Dated 1794, this 23.3 x 16.8 cm relief etching with watercolor by William Blake, is located at the British Museum in London.

It is titled "The Ancient of Days" (one of the names of God, as properly understood by people of that time period.)

You'll notice He is depicted with a set of Compasses, with which he is inscribing the heavens (This was possibly a result of a Masonic influence, but I do not know.)

In Daniel chapter 7, the Ancient of Days opens the books of judgment and delivers all dominion and glory unto one like the Son of Man. We should recognize this prophecy for what it is actually depicting: Part of the process of Jesus Christ's exaltation, (with whom we get to be Joint Heirs, if we are true and faithful in all things). It is one of the most beautiful Old Testament prophecies foretelling the work of Jesus Christ.

How will the future view our time?

I saw this Joseph F. Smith quote posted on Open Sky Visions blog, and had to share it here:

Open Sky Visions: The LDS Church and Constitutional Amendments:

'I say let the national solons amend the Constitution, to punish and insult and degrade this little handful of men who are rapidly passing away, and when they shall see the magnitude of their acts compared with the insignificance of the cause, they and their historians will laugh at their folly, and write them down asses in the broadest sense.' (Joseph F. Smith to Reed Smoot, April 9, 1904.)


I Must Repent

I completely repent of my hard-heartedness in the previous post. As it turns out, upon further contemplation, I notice Liberty and Virtue written on the Endowment house itself. I have "traced over it" in this depiction. If you'll look at my previous post very closely, you can see the faint letters right where I have indicated.

However, our modern alignment of the carpenters square is still correct, as you notice, even when used in conjunction with the word Liberty, showing that the Saints were well aware of this not being an actual L when they constructed this particular edifice (for how could they write Liberty and then put an L shape right next to it backwards without observing this, themselves.)

Understanding LDS Correlation

Here's a great article I read on a department/procedure of the Church that I think all Latter-day Saints should take some time to understand:

Dave's Mormon Inquiry: Correlation: Blessing or Curse?

The role of the Correlation program and its effects on the Church and the Spirituality of our curriculum is arguably more influential than the teachings of the Prophet or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, yet many Saints do not even realize this group exists. By knowing about it, we at least become cognizant of its fingerprints on the meetings and materials of the Church.

Reversed Square

I was browsing the web and found this picture, excerpted from the May 1985 Sunstone:

This is interesting, because it shows the Square and Compass in an orientation matching their use on the garment, and also demonstrates the antiquity of that specific orientation, as opposed to the Allred Gravestone, which some fundamentalists use to claim that we have reversed the orientation of the square today:

You'll notice that the Spring City Endowment House was constructed in the same year that James Allred died, thereby making these contemporary examples of usage. However, the tabernacle is obviously a more "official" edifice than a grave marker. Also, the TLC fundamentalist group seems to infer these symbols stand for Liberty and Virtue, and while I agree that they could represent these words, I think that it is mostly wishful thinking, as the symbols are far more antique than the roman alphabet. However, symbolically, these words are reversed, as Liberty, or freedom, is a female or creative idea, which should be connected with the V-shaped symbol, whereas Virtue, or "the square of virtue" as Masonry calls it, is a measure of "right" or morality, and is better represented by the masculine L-shape.


Multiple Mortal Probations in the Blue Lodge

I often think of theology as it is mystically represented in the Masonic Lodge. We are craftsmen, at work in our labor. Joseph Smith sits in the South as the Junior Warden, Jesus Christ in the West as the Senior Warden, and Father sits in the East as the Worshipful Master. Upon consideration of this, I realized that it is the usual custom of a Lodge, each Masonic year (from St. John's day of one year, to the same on the next - or perhaps more meaningfully, on the Winter Solstice (the Darkest time of year), to have the officers of the Lodge advance up the line of "chairs", the old Junior Warden becoming the new Senior Warden, the old Senior Warden becoming the new Worshipful Master, and the old Worshipful Master becoming a "Past Master."

Could this be symbolic of progression from mortal to being "a Christ" to being "an Adam" of our own planet, and then eventually retiring amongst the wise Elohim?

To me, it is.


Treasure Hunting

Yesterday I read a lot on the subject of treasure hunting, especially using "magic" methods such as dousing and using seer stones. Being a member of a Church whose history is steeped deeply in such practices, they are not something that can be dismissed with a shrug. I've been feeling an urge, or call of some type to return to the very roots of Mormonism, to start with the primitives from which the Restoration developed, and see what happens. I don't know exactly what that means. I've been considering doing a little treasure hunting myself, but I don't know if this is a metaphor or if I should break out the shovel. I have endeavored to spend some time attempting to use the seer stone technique, however, how to select the correct stone, I do not know. I have found a white marble stone that seems to have at least inspiration qualities to it, and using the hat technique, although I cannot see bright words, or any words, I have determined that the Holy Ghost whisper things to me, (and from my intricate theories about the third member of the Godhead, this seems to be a good use of the gift.)

Another way I have been seeking treasure is through Freemasonry, and I am about to take another big step in it by going through the Mark Master degree of York Rite, which will be on the 29th of this month - That's only a week away.

Although I haven't attained the level yet, the body above the Royal Arch Chapter is the Council of Cryptic Masons, and any brief definition of the system will say enough to make one realize that it involves exactly this type of story: Seeking a lost treasure, hid up in the earth. I wonder as I am advanced to that degree, if I will find it to be a prophecy that has already been fulfilled in Mormonism, in a way similar to that of Craft Degrees? I will have to read Joseph's account of acquiring the Book of Mormon plates and review all of his treasure hunting adventures as far as is possible in preparation of this rite so that I am fully able to draw comparisons. It also won't hurt to brush up on this part of history for the purpose of trying to go to the roots, the source of Mormonism and see what I can find. For, what better way to find out about something than go to the source of it?

So far, my theory is thus: Seer stones are useful for finding objects and translating. They solve static problems and puzzles, if you will, and function as a "magical" type item, in contrast to prayer which, when done in truth and in order, seeks the attainment of revelation directly from God and is more useful for finding inquiring to receive new information, special care, guidance, blessings.


Missionary Work

Sometimes Latter-day Gnostics can get a little depressed about the lack of their "type" of people in the "ward family." There are two things we can do to cope with this...

1. Be a lone wolf. Try to avoid socializing with the mainstream, and instead deal with your clique group (if you have one), or go at it spiritually alone. This seems to be what most people do. You can get really creative and interesting this way, and it poses no threat or conflict as long as you keep things to yourself.

2. Do Missionary Work! I'm bringing a Pagan to Church this Sunday, for example. He wears a pentacle neclace and everything. Not only will it be a great missionary opportunity, but it may help other people to grow by making them think outside the Judeo-Christian box. By doing missionary work, we can eventually grow our own group to fellowship with, made out of the people we want to fellowship with.

Which route do you feel more comfortable with, and why?


John Taylor's Mission to Europe

Well, yesterday we received our copy of Journal of Discourses Volume 1. I could not have asked for a more professionally manufactured, higher quality book. It is excellent. We read the account of John Taylor's mission to Europe (the third Discourse in the Journal). One thing stood out to me, and it was that Brother Taylor spoke of the people not understanding things of faith, that religion was not a useful way to approach them, and that instead, he had to teach them philosophy, and make them think that his philosophy is better than theirs, and that when they get to the bottom of it, they find the religion of God there. He said if you talk about matters of faith, the people will hear nothing of it. I think this is a very important lesson. Different types of people need to be instructed in different ways. Just as you must learn French to speak to the people of France, you must also learn to speak in the appropriate words that your listener can understand and relate to.

John Taylor also learned French and German on his mission, translated the Book of Mormon into French, stared a newspaper there called Etoile Du Deseret "The Star of Deseret", commenced the translation of the Book of Mormon into German, and started another newspaper in Germany, called Zion's Panier (Zion's Banner).


On the Highest Hills and in the Lowest Vales

In Freemasonry, it is said that the ancient Brethren held their meetings "on the highest hills and in the lowest vales, the better to guard against the approach of cowans and eavesdroppers." Latter-day Saints also recognize these as natural temples: The valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman and the mount of transfiguration come to mind. Also, baptisms for the dead were by necessity performed in rivers, at the valley floor, before the Temple was completed, and mountain tops have long been held as places where it is possible for man to commune with God. A specially built temple provides a place where these two opportunities can exist within one building, at one location. Symbolically, it becomes both Mountain and Valley. Just for fun, I grabbed a picture of a mountain top and a valley and blended them. Here's what I came up with:

It looks very similar to the original spire on the Nauvoo Temple. Hmm.


The Genographic Project

The Genographic Project

This is a very interesting site put together by National Geographic. For those of you out there using DNA and the Book of Mormon arguments (either side), but don't really know what you are talking about - this is a good place to start reading and learning.

The Federal Marriage Amendment, a trojan horse

I just read an article by Deanna Spingola called The Federal Marriage Amendment, a trojan horse and found particularly interesting this quote from Ezra Taft Benson, former President of the LDS Church (1985-1994) and United States Secretary of Agriculture (1953-1961):
"I believe that God has endowed men with certain unalienable rights as set forth in the Declaration of Independence and that no legislature and no majority, however great, may morally limit or destroy these; that the sole function of government is to protect life, liberty, and property and anything more than this is usurpation and oppression."

Will LDS flee GOP if Mitt gets shelled?

Salt Lake Tribune - Will LDS flee GOP if Mitt gets shelled?

Good article by the Salt Lake Tribune.


Electricity is Spiritual Matter?

Now let us apply this philosophy to all the degrees of spiritual element from electricity, which may be assumed to be one of the lowest or more gross elements of spiritual matter, up through all the gradations of the invisible fluids, till we arrive at a substance so holy, so pure, so endowed with intellectual attributes and sympathetic affections, that it may be said to be on a par, or level, in its attributes, with man. (Parley P. Pratt, Apr 7, 1853; JD Vol 1. p. 8)

So, electricity should be considered one of the lowest types of spiritual matter? That should provide us some insight into what the higher types are like and capable of.

Good Medicine for Scholars

I just read a post over at Feminist Mormon Housewives. Go and read it:

Forgiving the Church

The type of thought expressed in this post and it comments is good medicine for any scholars, gnostics or mystics struggling to survive within the Church structure, and will help keep them from apostasy or inactivity.

First Nephi

I just started reading the First Book of Nephi from the beginning. It has been quite a while since I have read any of the Book of Mormon serially (usually I am just looking up scriptures and index crawling in it), and so I may have a different perspective on it than I did last time I read it. I will keep track of my findings along the way.


Letter to our Senators

My wife and I just wrote to our state Senators as counselled by our Stake President last Sunday. Here is what we had to say:

We know you have received many statements from Latter-day Saints and others concerned about the upcoming amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman. We realize that it may not be primarily a religious question in the eyes of others, but for the Latter-day Saints it is and so we will speak in context of religious belief here.

Our family hopes that many members of our faith were able to look beyond the seemingly innocent intention of this amendment and instead towards our history and the basic principles that the Mormon church grew strong by adhering to. Any LDS person should be able to tell you the following: "Free Agency" as it is called, is one of God's greatest gifts to man, and gives us our divine potential. It literally allows us to become like God and inherit all he has to give us. It was Satan's design to eliminate Agency, and instead to force all to follow his will so that all might be saved. Jesus Christ instead opted to follow the Father's plan, allowing men to freely choose Good and Evil, knowing that some would be lost along the way, and to give all glory to the Father. It is admitted that Free Agency does not give one the right to do anything, for there are consequences, often grave, be they legal or otherwise, to every action we take.

The idea that the existence of "Gay Marriage" would be a threat to our own morals, or that eliminating it would somehow rescue the people who would have partaken in it from a sin is preposterous. To be frank, a homosexual is going to be homosexual whether they are allowed to marry or not. Our family believes that a Church has responsibility to instruct and place restrictions to define the morality of its own members, and that it can preach its message to other human beings in love and hope to convert them, but we see the marriage amendment as serving no ecclesiastical purpose to the ends of moral righteousness. Further, it will put a greater rift between the few homosexuals who are Latter-day Saints or would be interested in our religion and possibly in reforming their life and habits, so it is actually damaging to the Church, not to the Public Opinion of the Church, but to the souls of individuals, to be caught up in this.

Turning to the past it is apparent that the definition of Marriage in the Latter-day Saint tradition includes Polygamous relationships: Not actively, today, but historically (and in the future), including such figures as Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Jesus Christ and Adam, and God the Father. Our history contains bold statements to this effect, and an amendment which would define marriage to be between a man and a woman would further strengthen the intolerence of polygamous families as well, which is also a concern for Muslim families which may move into the U.S. These are only the offenses clearly seen from our perspective.

As a family, we think any definition of marriage (which holds such a sacred and important place deep in many peoples hearts) is bound to step on some toes. The ideal, in our opinion, is that the Government would have no say in the personal act of "Marriage", which would be between two (or more) individuals, and their God, Gods, Godess, or Godesses (whatever their belief), but that Government would instead provide a fair set of benefits for those who cohabit together in any committed arrangement, whether it be husband and wife, two sisters, a mother and son, a polygamous Muslim family, a heterosexual couple unmarried, or a homosexual couple. Marriage itself should play no role in the issue, and it should instead be considered as two questions, one of the heart, and one of the law, with clear distinctions between them. Surely no Latter-day Saint, nor anyone else, aught to be opposed to providing equal rights to a poor old widow and her daughter trying to make ends meet, just so long as the word "marriage" is left out of it, and it should be the same for every such arrangement. Obviously, this ideal is only an ideal, as religious and civil Marriage have historically been tied together in our society.

We see any definition of marriage as the beginning of a slippery slope where groups with specific beliefs will try to gain more and more ground against minorities, even when the issue is one that does not actually impact the majority or prevent them from living as they see fit. If the concern is one of taxpayers feeling like they should not be supporting same sex unions, then they need to reevaluate government entirely. Government supports many people who others would not generally approve of, adulterers, liars, thieves, people who swear, smoke, gamble, drink alcohol, etc. It is impossible to be a taxpayer and not lend support to some with whom you do not agree, but on the other hand, those very people are tax payers themselves, and help to support the majority whether they want to or not. It is a give and take system.

Our family has strong feelings on this amendment, and we urge you to vote against it. Further, we urge you to help support any causes that further the separation of the religious and personal interests of marriage from those of the government's necessity to define partnerships. This will allow greater religious freedom, and help to strengthen the true traditional family by paving the way for the arrangement of the ancient patriarchs, that is to say: polygamy, to be permitted again in the U.S. some time in the future. If we want to work against a perceived "problem" of homosexuality, all with such a desire should strive to do so in non-violent ways: Teaching and exhorting people to choose good of their own will, and providing loving assistance and counseling for people wanting to recover or repent from homosexuality or same sex attraction.

Thank you for your time and consideration as you try to weigh out this important issue and choose the correct answer, not necessarily the popular one.

The Living Christ was... what?

On January 1, 2000, the First Presidency issued a statement titled The Living Christ, which contains the statement: "He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New."

I am interested in how other Mormons who have studied theology interpret this confusing statement. I have two issues with it. First, Jehovah is not Christ. However naturally this supposition may seem to Latter-day Saints today, it was not the understanding of Joseph Smith or the early Saints. It is a modern innovation, adopted from the line of thinking that creates the Protestant Trinity, and as far as I know, no revelation has ever been given on it (unless The Living Christ is it!), and it flies in the face of other revelations we have received. Even the Apostle Orson Pratt, who nearly got excommunicated for disagreeing with Brigham Young on the Adam-God issue, believed Jehovah to be the Father:
"God is love," says the Apostle John," and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." If, then, this is one of the great attributes of Jehovah, if he is filled with love and compassion towards the children of men, if his son Jesus Christ so loved the world that he gave his life to redeem mankind from the effects of the fall, then, certainly, God the Eternal Father must be in possession of this passion.
--Orson Pratt, November 12, 1876; JD Vol.18, p.288

Charles W. Penrose also agreed:
God, then, the God of the Bible, who is called Jehovah, the person who manifested Himself to Israel as Jehovah, is an individual, a personality, and He made man in His image and His likeness. Now, if we are the children of God, and if Jesus Christ is the Son of God, we can upon that reasoning understand something about what God is like, for there is an eternal principle in heaven and on earth, that every seed begets of its kind, every seed brings forth in its own likeness and character.
--Charles W. Penrose, November 16, 1884; JD Vol.26, p.21

This topic has been covered extensively in articles such as "The Reconstruction of Mormon Doctrine: From Joseph Smith to Progressive Theology" by Thomas G. Alexander which appeared in Sunstone, July-August 1980. Some excerpts from this article are available online. However, as far as I know, this is the first time all fifteen Apostles have put out a signed statement proclaiming this notion, and that is concerning to me.

The second issue is "the Messiah of the New." That seems a preposterous statement to me, as Messiah is a Hebrew word, which is not to be found in the New Testament at all.

The remainder of the document seems theologically sound. My main explanation for this: The Living Christ is a testimony, not a revelation on Theology. There is no reason to expect it to contain accurate theological information when the people writing it have been raised up immersed in a population carrying the same popular understanding of the Godhead as we find in modern LDS literature and not the one given by revelation.


Symbolic Gestures and Postures

Submitted for your thought and consideration:

Mudras of the Great Buddha: Symbolic Gestures and Postures

Latter-day Saints are not the only people who use symbolic hand gestures as part of our religion. Buddhism has many gestures with particular meanings, and the idea of meaning ascribed to a gesture, and the way in which such a symbol can represent something else should perhaps be considered in our search to better understand the Temple Endowment.

Judaism also sports its hand gestures, the most apparent being the Kohanim blessing gesture used by priests, not to mention the explanations of the Priests work in the Old Testament Tabernacle which presents many hand positions of natural occurence if followed through in action. I encourage every Latter-day Saint to make a thorough study of the ceremonies of the Tabernacle, as it is a direct precursor to our Temple ceremony as well as to Freemasonry, which is so often claimed by opponents of Mormonism as the absolute source of our Endowment.

The Catholic Church has perhaps the most famous gesture in the sign of the cross.

By studying these cultures which openly display their symbols, allowing for critical research, we can perhaps come to better understand our own gestures that are protected by covenant and not available for serious group study.

Truth and Liberty, Liberty and Truth

George A. Smith, July 24, 1852 (JD 1:45):

Young men, braves and warriors, who sit before you this day, let me admonish you, never to let the hand of tyranny or oppression rise in these mountains, but stand unflinchingly true by the constitution of the United States, which our fathers sealed with their blood; never suffer its provisions to be infringed upon; and if any man, or set of men form themselves into a mob in these mountains, to violate that sacred document, by taking away the civil or religious rights of any man, if he should be one of the most inferior beings that exist upon the face of the earth, be sure you crush it, or spend the last drop of blood in your veins with the words of--Truth and Liberty, Liberty and Truth, for ever!