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Reading update.

I've now read thru Mosiah 1.



Hello. If you've been reading my blog up until now, I apologize for it being down. If you were looking for something specific, you can email me and I'll send you the old information, or you can look it up somewhere else (like


1 Nephi 17 - 22

I continued reading through the end of 1 Nephi.

I've been thinking about inspired work and foundations suitable for a testimony. The thought has occurred to me that books and other works can be inspired without being true. For example: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, The Wizard of Oz, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

They can touch you and teach true principles and yet be fiction. I wonder about how The Book of Mormon can be considered distinct from this.

While studying, the thought crossed my mind that perhaps Joseph had the visions, the visitations, everything as he said and but was unable to translate the curious characters on the Golden Plates, desparately looking to his trusty seer stone to try to gain contact again with those heavenly forces that had started him on his mission. Knowing a little about the Nephite culture from his visitation by Moroni (or was it Nephi? - this has been a historical question as well since the story was told both ways), he attempted to produce the translation, but didn't even refer to the plates during the process -- all the while praying for revelation to guide him as it had done in the beginning. What if the Golden Plates never were translated, but an original inspired book was brought forth instead? This would account for Joseph's readiness to revise it and correct doctrine in it in subsequent years, and his tendency to disregard many of its clear teachings (on the monotheism, the trinity and polygamy for example) in later work. Had he known it was lacking he would be eager to correct its shortcomings, otherwise it seems he would have let it stand. I read somewhere a sentiment that suggested that Oliver Cowdery believed in the Golden Plates but had also indicated that they were never translated, nor ever intended to be. Please understand, this is all a "What if?" consideration.

If this were true, it would not invalidate Joseph Smith's mission. The keystone of our religion is a Masonic term the full meaning of which evades the understanding of the modern reader of the Book.

So, I have a lot of questions.


Trademark on "Mormon" ???

Although the Church thinks it has a trademark on the word Mormon, according to the "Rights and Use Information" posted on their own website and several other of their sites, it in fact does not, as a search of the US Patent and Trademark Office reveals that it was abandoned on May 2, 2006, after only being attempted from Sept 5, 2002.

Seems like an unfeasable thing to have a trademark on, since it is such a common term describing the whole religious movement, several branches, and is the name of an ancient Prophet.

1 Nephi 7 - 16

I have continued reading in the Book of Mormon. For personal reasons I am now only sharing a SMALL part of my feelings and, for the time being, keeping the rest of my feelings on these chapters to myself, lest they should be mocked and turned against me.

1 Nephi 10:4 is an interesting prophecy.
1 Nephi 11:11 is one of the most clear visions of the Spirit of the Lord - seen in the form of a man.
1 Nephi 11:36 has some interesting connotations after 9-11. Good thing this isn't an Islamic holy book.
1 Nephi 14:7 - Wow, what an extent of agency is given.

1 Nephi 15:8-11 - Good technique to obtain proper interpretation of prophecies and scriptures.

1 Nephi 15:23-24 What an amazing promise. This is entirely contrary to the instructions my local leaders have given me, but I forgive them for their overlooking these important principles.

I notice that in the first fifteen chapters of the Book of Mormon, it has testified specifically of the importance of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Numbers, Isaiah, The Gospels and Epistles in the New Testament, and the Book of Revelation.

1 Nephi 16:2b-3 .... wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center. And now my brethren, if ye were righteous and were willing to hearken to the truth, and give heed unto it, that ye might walk uprightly before God, then ye would not murmur because of the truth, and say: Thou speakest hard things against us.

I've now read 36 pages, and there are 495 pages left to go.


Speaking of Copyright Violations...

Saint Mina C.O.C. - Holmdel, N.J.

Holy Cow! Compare to

They did a good job removing Jesus ( ??? ) and the Welcome Message from the header.


The First Book of Nephi, Chapter 1 - 6

I'm trying to do this with real intent, so I have to figure out what that intent is. I am being told that I am in doctrinal error, that I have been led down a path by the adversary that is not of God, and that I need to be led back into the truth. I therefore see part of my intent is to obtain correct principles from the Book of Mormon. In addition to obtaining principles from the text, I also need to figure out what God is trying to tell me with it on a personal level.

I'm going to type as I go along, so I'll have useful thoughts scattered throughout summary information. This will help me later to see what I've done in my reading and to keep track of location without getting too preoccupied with verse numbers.

The first thing I see right from the beginning is that Nephi is an ordinary guy. He has good parents, and has been taught by his father, he's also been through afflicition. He's decided to make a record of his proceedings. He doesn't at this point seem to be aware of his calling as a Prophet. But like Modern prophets, his Journals seem to have been grafted into the pseudo-canon of his time, once he did receive the calling.

Nephi says he's had a great knowledge of the Goodness and the Mysteries of God. I can relate to this in a big way, except that since my parents were not taught in the ways of God, I gained my experience of these things by way of good examples and many fortunate circumstances into which I have been placed throughout life, by the grace of God. My parents are "goodly" people, even if they didn't possess this knowledge to pass down to me.

I wonder about Nephi's specific meaning when he says "I know that the record which I make is true," and he makes it according to his knowledge... I wonder if this should be taken to means that it is a truthful account of the knowledge he has. Of course, it is certainly true on other levels as well.

Prophets preached repentance to the people, with warning that the great city Jerusalem would be destroyed. I'm an individual, not a city, so I need to be penitent myself, but I wonder about the city.

Lehi prayed with all his heart to the Lord. I don't know who the Lord is, but I am sure if he prayed with all his heart, that his prayer got to the right place.

Verses 6-7 show a pillar of fire and sights and sounds... I don't know if they are from God. The book doesn't say they are... but a subsequent struggle had by Lehi. If it was Of God, then I've felt those types of struggles too. Sometimes the Spirit can tell you something that is life changing. On the other hand, this could be Lehi's equivalent of a "bands of darkness" experience like Joseph Smith encountered in his First Vision. After casting himself on his bed, he was carried away in vision. So he's having a prophetic dream here.

The vision is of One being and twelve others following him. They are bright, and I suppose this is a vision of Christ and his Apostles (of some era or place) Either the first apostle, or Christ (not sure which) gave Lehi a book to read.

Lehi read the book and was filled with the Spirit. He read about the falling of Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity. (I just saw a neat portrayal of the babylonian invasion and captivity a couple weeks ago in the Royal Arch Degree, so this is sort of visual for me.)

Lehi shouts praises to Lord God Almighty.

Nephi says he's going to abridge the record and not write everything that his father did.

In verse 19 we find out that Lehi found prophecies of Messiah, who was to come. The Jews cast him out and were angry with him. It is noted that this is a pattern for prophets ("even as with the prophet of old"). To me, this is a reminder not to reject those who prophesy in my day, or any prior day; to not repeat the mistakes of these early peoples.

Chapter 2

The Lord commanded Lehi to depart out of his homeland into the wilderness. He took nothing with him except "his family, and provisions, and tents." I can't help but wonder when a similar departing out is appropriate for people like myself. If God instructs one in a vision, I suppose.

In verse 7 Lehi builds an Altar of stones. This is always a meaningful event to me, as a Mormon as well as in the sense of old Masonic tradition (It being in similitude of the act that Father Adam Himself - whom I consider to be the First Stone-Mason, once performed.) I've built an altar, too. He made an offering and gave thanks. I try to do this on a regular basis, in a symbolic sense.

Lehi speaks a bit concerning Laman and Lemuel, and they murmer against their father. They repeated the mistake of the Jews at Jerusalem again (and so soon after) ...

Nephi (v16) has great desires to know the mysteries of God, and he prays to the Lord and is visited, his heart is softened and he does not rebel like his brothers did.

My desire is the same.

Nephi in v17 speaks to Sam and tells him what the Lord had manifested by the Spirit, and Sam believed. This is neat, because Nephi (an ordinary guy) shares the light he has received with Sam, who I presume gains a testimony of it and embraces it. Thus, Nephi engages both in receiving edification from his father and the prophets, as well as in edification of his brethren. Two things that I can relate to because I enjoy doing them.

He preached to Laman and Lemuel as well, but they didn't listen. The Lord (whoever that is) continues to speak to Nephi and direct him. This is good.

Although I don't (or haven't as yet, at least) have visions and hear voices of God, I do feel that I get blessed with knowledge and insight at some times to guide me. When I am obedient to these things, the Spirit proceeds to bless me with more of it. To me this obedience pattern is important. If you start to disobey things, pretty soon the Spirit will be withdrawn from you and stop giving insights (or it might be you that withdraws from the Spirit).

Nephi is given some information about his fore-ordained future.

Chapter 3

Now Lehi tells Nephi that he has been told to return to Jerusalem. Now Nephi does the hard thing. He essentially commits murder under the Lord's (whoever that is?) direction. This passage originally gave me no trouble. It still doesn't. I can relate to it. I have often been prompted to do the "hard thing" that others may perceive as wrong, but when you know for sure it is of God and you do it, you are blessed for it. But I have a friend who was eagerly baptized (prematurely) by some LDS missionaries and ended up dropping away from the Church mainly because of this one passage. It's not her fault, the missionaries pushed her and set a baptism date before she even assented to it -- they printed a program up ahead of time to persuade her into continuing. She joined because she thought they were well intentioned young men and she had a testimony of the principle of Baptism. She didn't have a testimony of this particular Church. Oops.

In connection with the authenticity of this book, my testimony is increased by the presence of this story. It is something that human beings would quickly edit out if they were trying to make a book of faith promoting experiences. I think it would get edited out in today's world, certainly. I hope people besides me have taken pause at this passage and deeply considered its moral implications, because breezing right past it would be a big warning sign to me about the person who was able to do so.

After this, Nephi proceeds to steal - seeming to break a second commandment in this task. I'm actually starting to wonder about this whole endeavor. I wonder if there was a more peaceful way it could've been handled. Nephi has crossed over some lines from which a human being can never return, taking the blood of another human is a serious thing, whether it is necessary or not.

Zoram makes an oath to stay with Nephi and company from that point on.

Chapter 5

Nephi has obtained the Torah (five books of Moses). To me this is a testament of the value of those five books. What an effort and what terrible means had to be taken in order to get those books. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers.

There was also a genealogy, showing that Lehi was a descendant of Joseph, who was sold into egypt.

Lehi proceeds to speak of the importance of the Torah... They are said to be "of great worth unto us."

Chapter 6

Nephi skips the genealogy. Probably wise for space but also unfortunate in a way, it would have been nice to see. Nephi here speaks HIS intent...

"that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved."

Wow, I wonder who these three Gods are? Just kidding. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has been a big area of my study, so it is interesting to see Nephi put such a precendence on this - of course he was a Jew, so that makes sense.

In verse 6, Nephi prohibits those who come after him from including anything like the Book of Numbers on his plates ;-)

Chapter 7

They go and get the Ishmaelites so that they can have plenty of women for a sustainable society.

Verse 14 feels like my situation.

"For behold, the Spirit of the Lord ceaseth soon to strive with them; for behold, they have rejected the prophets, and Jeremiah they have cast into prison. And they have sought to take away the life of my father, insomuch that they have driven him out of the land."

Well, they returned to the tent. I see Lehi's vision is about to come up, but its time for me to head off to sleep. We're taking a hike tomorrow at the Middle Sister (Central Oregon Cascades). It's a long hike and we're way out of shape, so I fear we might die tomorrow, plus we're taking off at an ungodly hour in the early morning.

In conclusion on a spiritual side though, I don't know what to trust any more. I know the men at the council tonight were very wrong about their accusation that "the promptings of the adversary" are what was guiding me. They don't know my heart. They don't know what I've been through. I've been doing what God has intended for me to be doing. This is about the sixth time someone has told me I follow some "other Spirit." But it's the same Spirit that converted me to the Church. And it makes me saddened that these people (and not just these, but those who have told me this before, numerous times) are so mixed in their understanding of me. I must have a very elusive persona to get a grasp on. I think politics and culture are often confused with Spirit. I believe they feel the Spirit, and I know I've shared in that Spirit with them and others. They have even acknowledged places where I have been spiritual, yet they insult the Spirit that I feel. I haven't felt any other Spirit or any other God. God has been God and the Spirit has been the Spirit since day one. And if they ever expect me to come back into full fellowship in their ward, they will need to accept me for who I am, and acknowledge that they were wrong in this accusation, because I certainly have never felt any other Holy Spirit besides the one they claim is the adversary. I hope they are reading their own suggestions and their own words (practicing what they preach) when they talk about pride and humility.

I am at least humble enough to read the book they ask me, and to start when they ask me to. I asked them to read the testimony of Jesus given in the Gospel of Matthew and they declined. Although pride tempted me, I overcame it. I could have easily said "If you are trying to get the Spirit of the Lord into me by having me read the Book of Mormon, then there's no need to do that, because I've already invited it in." (Which is essentially what I was told about Matthew.) However, they did not reject reading it, they just procrastinated it to a later time. I hope they are blessed as they read the words of the Savior in that book.

Well, here I end on page 14, 517 pages left to go.

Psalm 110 and Disciplinary Result

The chapter heading for Psalm 110 in the LDS edition of the Bible reads: "A Messianic Psalm of David—Christ shall sit on the Lord’s right hand—He shall be a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek."

Read verses 1 and 4 (or the whole thing) here. Who is LORD? Who is Lord?

Half way through writing this, I left the house. I'm back now, so there's a total change of topic here:

I just got back from my disciplinary council. I'm on formal probation. I'm going to be reading the Book of Mormon as an assignment, hard copy, and blog about what I read, within the scope of these three questions.

1- Am I reading with real intent?
2- Likening it unto myself, not anyone else, but myself, what does it mean to me?
3- Why did the Lord inspire these prophets to write these things and have them delivered to me in this time?

I'll be reporting back here throughout the next 531 pages of my reading. (Plus chapter 12 from the Brigham Young manual somewhere in the midst of it.)


Beware of Pride

I read "Beware of Pride" by President Benson a couple days ago, prior to my last meeting with the Bishop. It is a good talk. I know I can work on some areas in it. I think every member of the Church, including leaders, could learn a lot and become better Saints by applying the principles therein.

One point which President Benson emphasized is not allowing the fear of men to drive your actions, but instead, only the fear of God. Pride is here turned upside-down from the typical assumption of someone who "has everything" and views themself as on top of the world looking down. This type of pride being addressed is for those who are on the bottom, looking up.

I do not have fear of men as far as religion goes. I do have some sense of practicality, however. This may utterly confound some people as to my actions. I believe God knows the heart and mind of each of His people, and that He judges us based on those things. For this reason, Personal Integrity is of the utmost importance to me. If one receives knowledge (gnosis), and understands and feels it to be from the Holy Ghost, one is obligated to react to that knowledge with complete integrity. To turn away from that is to DENY the Holy Ghost, which is the only unforgivable sin. Jesus even went so far as to teach that people can deny him, and be forgiven, yet to deny the Holy Ghost can never be forgiven. This is what drives men of integrity like Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ himself, to become martyrs for the faith. Joseph Smith put it elegantly when he wrote the poetic lines:
I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen?
For I had seen a vision; I knew it,
and I knew that God knew it,
and I could not deny it,
neither dared I do it;
at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation.
(Joseph Smith History 1:25b)

I know the terrible feelings that can exist within by failing to maintain internal consistency of truth in one's self. It is about the closest thing to Hell that I can imagine. To live in good standing in The Church is a worthy and laudable pursuit, as well as to be in good standing with one's own family is, but to do so at the sacrifice of this internal consistency or what is called personal integrity, is absolutely worthless and damaging. It is to live a lie, or to have purchased truth with a lie, to find that you are afterwards unworthy to wield it. Jesus taught, "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 10:39)

He goes on to teach,
40. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
41. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.
42. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

I've come to understand "in the name of" to mean "because he is called" (The NIV, I believe, is worded in a manner such as this), and this seems to be very close to the scenario presented to me on one matter which has weighed heavily upon me in the past, and does again now - the identity of Jehovah. I read it, "He that receiveth (accepts) the words of a prophet only because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward ..." Well, I don't want to lose my reward.

How many "hollow people" walk in the churches and even in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who have the image of a Saint and are accepted as one by their Brethren and Sisters but because of inconsistency in their soul and conscience live a hidden life of torment. Sadly, I think there are a few more than there should be. Peer pressure encourages people towards this hollow life, but only the individual can ultimately allow it to come upon themself.

We must not be afraid to admit our weaknesses to our Brethren, and to receive their aid, as genuine Brethren. I know they are willing to offer it.

I have good feelings in my heart if I do what is right. I will do what is right tomorrow evening; I dare not deny the Holy Ghost, and I will let the lots of the Earthly Kingdom of God fall where they may, it matters not either way. I must remain a good tree if I expect to continue to bear good fruit, and my leaders have indicated to me that I have born some good fruit, and that gives me hope for the situation, myself, and everyone involved. If I become a bad tree in order to stay in the Earthly Kingdom, I'll only get pruned out at the Day of Judgment, but if I'm a good tree, it doesn't matter where I am, I can continue to produce good fruit. I sincerely hope it may be within the Church, because although I believe that God judges fairly, I yet have fear that I may be unable to be sealed to my wife, and go through the rest of my life wondering if I will get to be with her after this life is over. I shall need to have stronger faith in this matter.

Disciplinary Council

There is a disciplinary council scheduled for me tomorrow evening. My bishop asked me to keep confidential some things (I'm a little vague on identifying precisely what, probably specifics of how things proceed until such time as they might become a faith promoting experience.) but I wanted to let everyone reading know that is why there are some changes in the blog here and the type of subjects I'm posting about.

The charge brought against me has been "behavior that is consistent with apostasy and is unbecoming a member of the Church and Melchizedek Priesthood Holder," and it has been a result, as far as I can tell, entirely derived from this very blog (and various other postings around the web.) The lesson? If you don't want to have a disciplinary council, don't write the things I've written. Let this be a learning experience.

I will try to share here as much of the upcoming events as possible without violating any confidence that has been made in me, because, upon much thought I believe these things should not be kept in the dark — I certainly did not realize how serious and drastic these things would crop up to be (or that they would crop up at all), and others could inadvertantly step into the same circumstances.

In my experience, the formal notice of a council always includes a quote from the Church Handbook of Instructions indicating that the purpose of Church Discipline is to "save the souls of the transgressors by helping them repent." That statement would seem to reflect the idea that anyone being put subject to Church Discipline has somehow trangressed the law.

I have not to my knowledge transgressed. So I looked up the word Transgression on wikipedia, and found this:
In Latter-day Saint theology, transgression is an action that breaks a law, with or without the perpetrator's understanding. A transgression is not necessarily a sin. (See full article.)

So I guess I don't need to be able to understand what I've done to be wrong, and it doesn't even need to be a sin, in order to be considered a transgression. After reading this, I realize I already knew it, as Adam's transgression was done in a state of innocence, without knowledge of good and evil. (Although, interestingly, He knew the commandment not to eat of the tree.)

A Dream

Last night, Susie had a dream that we were at Church, in the hall or right inside the door of the chapel. We were talking to the Bishop and he shook our hands and then he broke the tips of his fingers off into the sacrament tray that he was holding in his other hand. (His fingers were fluffy like bread on the inside.) She woke up slightly shocked and told me about it.


David O McKay

"Ours is the responsibility ... to proclaim the truth that each individual is ... entitled to freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly; that he has the right to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience. ... organizations or churches which deprive the individual of these inherent rights are not in harmony with God's will nor with his revealed word."
--David O. McKay

Under President McKay, the Church approximately tripled the number of members and stakes (1.1 million to 2.8 million members, and 184 to 500 stakes)

President McKay spoke against communism due to its atheist underpinnings and the denial of freedom of choice inherent in such a system.

Here are a couple more important quotes from David O. McKay:

"If you will give your class a thought, even one new thought during your recitation period you will find that they will go away satisfied. But it is your obligation to be prepared to give that new thought" (1953)

"True education seeks ... to make men and women not only good mathematicians, proficient linguists, profound scientists, or brilliant literary lights, but also honest men, combined with virtue, temperance, and brotherly love ... men and women who prize truth, justice, wisdom, benevolence, and self-control as the choicest acquisitions of a successful life" (1953)

President McKay was also instrumental in making the Temple rituals available to people in foreign languages, and in expanding and clarifying some portions of the Temple endowment.

According to Daniel W. Bachman, "David O. McKay, we learn, first explained the symbolism associated with the temple clothing by faithful Latter-day Saints."

Being a Freemason myself, I am familiar with several explanations of this symbolism, and for the benefit of those reading, I'd like to share the typical Masonic wording similar to what President McKay adopted, this being available openly on many Masonic websites (i.e. not considered part of the secret work):

The Square reminds us symbolically to square our actions, and the Compasses teach us to circumscribe our desires and keep our passions within due bounds toward all mankind.

The moral lessons associated with these emblems are deep and important, and what a blessing and demonstration of Divine Providence that the Latter-day Saints after going so many years without the majority of their men knowing the definition finally received a suitable one and removed some of the obscurity of these historic items.


“The Prophet Joseph Smith declared—and he never taught more comforting doctrine—that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.”
--Orson F. Whitney

From the perspective of the wayward children, this appears to be a very curious teaching.


I don't know if it is legally enforceable (although I suspect it may be), but I do know that it is morally enforceable, and it has been on every page on this blog:
This site is not affiliated with or endorsed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Articles posted on this web site may be freely transmitted and distributed for personal study however they are under copyright of their respective authors and any text or information obtained from them may not under any circumstances be used for official purposes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints including but not limited to disciplinary proceedings against or investigation of any person. This restriction is to protect the rights of free thought and expression of the authors as well as those who may leave comments on this work.

If you as a commentor, or as a friend of someone who has posted or commented on this blog find yourself being presented with material from this blog as evidence against you, please gently remind the person presenting it that they are using the material in an inappropriate way.

Suggestions for people thinking of violating this request: You could summarize or rewrite the material into your own words, and use that summary in lieu of verbatim material from the site. Also, remember that "fair use" law (I think so, at least) allows quotations of short amounts of material for the purpose of critical review or promotion of the material only (such as in a search engine index.)


Pendulum Dowsing

I just read an interesting article on pendulum dowsing. Check it out.

If anyone chooses to engage in dowsing I would recommend some ground rules:
  1. Never ask a question about a person's future by using this technique. At the worst case, the answer will subtly influence the actions and perceptions of those who have observed it, and it may become a "self-fulfilling prophecy." Although the answer may be true if a natural course of action ensues, a failed result created because knowledge alters the natural course could be misinterpreted as the dowsing technique being in error (blame transferred to the tool instead of to the dowser's own conscious or subconscious actions.)
  2. Constantly think or speak the question itself, not the answer you want to the question. You want the question at the forefront of your mind, rather than "Yes" or "No."
  3. Always remember that this is a reflection of your own subconcious, and secondarily allows possible expression of your connection to Deity or the elements. As such, you are likely projecting the answers yourself as you believe them deep inside. It is a technique of exploration of your inner knowledge.
Dowsing has been traditionally used for uncovering Yes and No answers, or finding locations of objects by the direction of the swing. Simple triangulation may be used to find a specific direction: If the pendulum swings left to right, and you wish to determine which direction it is, step forward a few paces. If the pendulum then swings far left to near right, you know the original direction was right, if it swings near left to far right, you know the original direction was left. This may be worth a shot next time you misplace your car keys, for example. Since you placed them somewhere, your subconscious mind probably knows exactly where they are.


The Burned-Over District

Have you ever heard of the Burned-Over District of New York? Are you aware of "The Second Great Awakening" of which Mormonism was a major part (and one of the only surviving remnants to this date) ? This bit of American history, geography and culture has been fascinating me lately. There is a fairly good description on this site:

The Burned-Over District

And, an article on wikipedia about it and another on The Second Great Awakening.

What spiritual giants came from this time and place! Amazing.


Topical Guide Confusion

Open up a copy of the LDS standard works, or use the online version. Look up in the Topical Guide, these two sections:

God the Father--Jehovah

Jesus Christ--Jehovah

Notice anything odd? It seems like the contents of these sections are intentionally reversed from what would be expected. Every reference under the "God the Father--Jehovah" section is a reference to Jesus Christ, and every reference under "Jesus Christ--Jehovah" is actually a reference to Heavenly Father. What's up with this reversal? Or does someone out there grasp this division between these verses in a way that I'm missing?

Judeo-Christian Tetragrammaton

Sometimes it is useful to pull our heads out of the sand of our own culture and see what everyone else has to say. Here are two encyclopedia articles, one on the Tetragrammaton, and one on the divine name Yahweh/Jehovah. Yes, they're both on the same topic, with slightly different focus.



So Abraham never dealt with Heavenly Father?

See "One that slipped through correlation" over at By Common Consent.

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who has been studying the Godhead in depth. I think its interesting how most people are so naturally predisposed to recognize Old Testament Jehovah as Heavenly Father that it takes extremely careful scrutiny to realize it is inconsistent with the DIA doctrine.

I was particularly intrigued by Mark Butler (II)'s comment, #33, where he stated:
Perhaps the more interesting question is not the identification of Jehovah as the Son in the Old Testament, but the theological or doctrinal motivation for such identification. Jehovah as Heavenly Father sure seems to make a lot more sense. Why the apparent urge to turn Heavenly Father into an absentee landlord?

Here, Mark raises a very important question. What is the actual motivation behind the bizarre doctrinal shift? I have been speaking with several people lately and have been surprised to find that nearly everyone I know always assumed Jehovah was the Father, and when presented with the doctrine to the contrary either in Seminary or Sunday School have considered it to be an aberration, a quirk, something that sounds wrong and must be a mistake. Even people who by no means even attempt to be theologians naturally react this way. So what is the motivating force behind this unnatural and radically untraditional re-interpretation of scripture?

Request for Material on Eden

I'm going to be putting together a book for publication soon. The subject will be the relics of the Garden of Eden in legend and scripture. It will be a compilation studying everything that has been purported to have been passed down from the Garden of Eden, or our first parents, Adam and Eve, including the symbolic meaning and importance of such relics.

If anyone knows any items of interest that you would like to see included in the book, please comment here or otherwise contact me and let me know.