Personal Online Journal

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Release We Are Looking For

In Falling to Heaven: The Surprising Path to Happiness, James L. Ferrell discusses the fantasy that is forgiving oneself.
Jesus showed us the way in his exchange with the woman taken in adultery. The scribes and Pharisees brought the woman before him in another attempt to entrap him in the web of the law. “Master,” they said, feigning respect, “this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?” 208 Jesus didn’t immediately respond, but crouched down and wrote with his finger in the dirt, as if he hadn’t heard them. The scripture says that they “continued asking him”—they badgered him—whereupon he stood up and uttered one of the most oft-quoted lines in all of holy writ. “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”209 He didn’t deny what the law said, but he taught them what Paul and James later wrote about—that the law catches and condemns all of us, as all of us are convicted as transgressors of the law and are therefore, effectively, guilty of all. One by one, the men who stood round were “convicted by their own conscience” and left, one guilty soul at a time. 
Jesus’ statement to these men was meant not only for them. He was teaching a principle—a truth that was crucial for the woman to understand as well, a truth that those of us who might be struggling in the misguided quest to forgive ourselves have not yet fully understood. All are guilty under the law, a guilt that separates us from God. What does it mean to forgive ourselves when we are, in effect, “guilty of all”? Clearly, the power of such forgiveness is not within us; the guilty cannot render themselves innocent. Only the judge—in this case, the great and Eternal Judge 210—can do that. 
So “forgiving oneself” is a misnomer. We, ourselves, are not the aggrieved party, and we, as the guilty, cannot render ourselves innocent. We are just feeling bad for having done bad, and we want to find a way to quit grinding our own faces in the sand. And here, Jesus’ final words to the woman, in combination with his teaching that all are guilty, provides the release we are looking for but in all the wrong places: “Woman, where are those thine accusers?” he asked. “Hath no man condemned thee?” She answered, “No man, Lord.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” 211 
Think about those words: Neither do I condemn thee. If she understood who it was that was telling her this, she would be released forever from any perceived need to forgive herself. For this was the great and Eternal Judge himself—our “advocate” with the Father 212—telling her that he did not condemn her. And if he didn’t, then why should she still feel the need to condemn herself? The guilt we feel in our hearts can be taken from us only “through the merits of [the] Son.” 213 It is the adversary who tries to get us to worry about forgiving ourselves. 
("Forgiving Oneself" James L. Ferrell. Oct 25, 2014)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

We Listen to a Prophet’s Voice

Lyrics, Hymn #22
1. We listen to a prophet’s voice and hear the Savior too.
With love he bids us do the work the Lord would have us do.
The Savior calls his chosen seer to preach the word of God,
That men might learn to find the path marked by the iron rod. 
2. In ev’ry land, in ev’ry tongue, our prophet will be heard;
How swiftly round the world his voice reveals the gospel word!
The sacred message that he brings will witness and agree
With ev’ry prophet called of God throughout earth’s history. 
3. Hosanna! Let our praise ascend unto the Savior’s throne;
Rejoice! The prophet has confirmed that by Him we are known.
Attend, ye earth! The prophet speaks; come listen and obey.
He is the man who holds the keys of priesthood pow’r today.
 I had not noticed the lyrics before yesterday. It was inspiring to me to hear a song about our modern day prophets. About their authority to direct the work and to declare my willingness to follow their direction.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Repentance That We Call Forgiveness

James Ferrell said,
Any withholding of love is itself a sin. So to have held it back on account of what another has done is itself an act for which we must repent. Sometimes, the act that precipitates this repentance is for the one who has harmed the other to come and beg the harmed party’s “forgiveness.” I think it may be partly for this reason that we call the aggrieved party’s act an act of forgiveness. But make no mistake, when I as the harmed party respond to this request by giving up my resentment and my grudge, what I am doing is repenting—repenting of my failing to love. Forgiveness is simply the word we use to describe this kind of repentance. 
This kind of repentance—the repentance that we call forgiveness—is the most crucial kind of repentance of all. The Lord teaches us that if we don’t repent of withholding forgiveness, then we ourselves will not be able to receive the mercy that we need in order to be redeemed. ("Withholding Forgiveness" James L. Ferrell. Oct 22, 2014)
In the Lord’s prayer there is a part that is different than the others. (Matt 6:9-13) The only conditional part is that we are forgiven our debts as we forgive our debtors.

I am seeing that my estrangement is from me not forgiving myself. And that my refusing to forgive myself is really a form of pride.  ("Forgiving Oneself" James L. Ferrell. Oct 25, 2014)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Giving Up Worry

I was at the missionary prep class for our stake this morning. I stopped to talk with some friends I made when we were in the same ward. I told them how much I enjoyed attending. I felt privileged to attend. I saw the power and sincerity and earnestness of those there. Both young and old. I felt like it is where I belong.

I asked them about their brother Randy. Randy is a friend of mine that left the Mormon church after discovering things that were disturbing to him. (Click here for more on that). I told them about my friend Sam Meacham who died earlier this year. Sam also left the Mormon church. I said that I had given up worrying about Sam and worrying about Randy. Worrying about their souls.

These are both good men. Who love their wives and are good fathers. They both chose that Mormonism didn't work for them. They are honest of heart and chose to see the ridiculous in the LDS faith. They both experienced the pain that can come from believing wholeheartedly and then having that belief come unraveled.

I believe in a patient God. I believe in a God that will wait for his children to choose to come to Him. I recognize that this is a story I told myself. I choose to believe it because I choose to believe it.

God either exists or does not. God is either like the LDS leader teaches He is or he is not. What matters most to me right now is that I live in a wholehearted manner. That I live with authenticity. I get to decide what is important to me. I can chose being powerful in causing transformation in the world.

I am becoming more and more aware of the amazing people that exist all around me. They are the people I meet each day. I was blind to them because I was so caught up in looking good and avoiding looking bad. I haven't stopped trying. What is making the difference to me is that I am aware that I still try to look good and avoid looking bad.

These amazing people are my wife , my children, my neighbors on my block. The scouts in our deacon's quorum. They are accountants and Buddhists and atheists and electricians. They are the humans I talk with.

I am caught in the paradox of the urgency of the salvation of souls with the patience of God. The paradox of sucking out the marrow of life and the peace of meditation.

I love my life and I give up worrying about my friends who are not Mormon. Or who have given up Mormonism. God is patient. If I have somehow found myself in the Cosmic truth we all are to accept to realize our highest potential, so be it. I recognize the absurdity that 90% of other truth seekers think that their truth is the way.

I belong where I belong because, from nothing, I say it is so. Love and grace and peace will come to the world because I say so. I willingly join arm in arm with all humans everywhere who also want peace and power and transformation of every woman, man and child on the planet.

I give up worry and I choose the urgency of transforming of the world, now.

What Does it Mean to be Wholehearted?

Brene Brown describes it like this:

In The Gifts of Imperfection, I defined ten “guideposts” for Wholehearted living that point to what the Wholehearted work to cultivate and what they work to let go of:  
1. Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think
2. Cultivating Self-Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism
3. Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
5. Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for
6. Certainty Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison
7. Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth
8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
9. Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self-Doubt and “Supposed To”
10. Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and “Always in Control” 
Brown, Brené (2012-09-11). Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (pp. 9-10). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Just for fun, if you had your calling and election made sure, what would change for you?

For me, I see myself as progressing from grace to grace as Jesus did. That does not mean I would stop making mistakes. I just would learn from them as Jesus did. I would be "really, really good at repenting thoroughly and quickly" ("Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence", Jörg Klebingat, Oct 2014)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Falling to Heaven: The Surprising Path to Happiness

Here are are links to excerpt from the book, Falling to Heaven: The Surprising Path to Happiness, by James L. Ferrell. These were converted from articles featured in Meridian Magazine.

Falling to Heaven: The Surprising Path to Happiness is available from Deseret Book.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Pride in Disguise

Remember the lesson of my pride disguising as humility. ("Falling to Heaven: Pride in Disguise"
James L. Ferrell, July 25, 2014)

Here are two scriptures that can help me remember.

"Martha was cumbered about much serving" she was "careful and troubled about many things" (Luke 10:40-41) I do not need to prove myself worthy of the healing and forgiveness of the atonement. I cannot do so. Instead I can accept and acknowledge what He did for me and then be about doing good. (Acts 10:38)

The other side of this expression my my pride is giving up. I can shut down and not try like the servant that buried the talent of the Lord. (Matt 23:24-30) Instead, I can ask for strength. I can restore my integrity and create with the Lord a new creature. And then be about doing good.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Being Aware Of My Biases

From "Single Saints and the New Gay Family Policy: My Thought Experiment", Ardis E. Parshall - 11 Nov 2015)

I heard one woman describe her first temple baptismal trip as a teenager. She saw a painting of the hosts of heaven greeting the triumphant Savior – a painting that ought to inspire nothing but positive feelings – but it took her breath away for the wrong reason: Every face in that heavenly host was white. She realized, for the first time in her life, that her fellow Latter-day Saints didn’t even see her, didn’t think of her and people like her as having a place in heaven – oh, we would have denied it if she had challenged us about it, but the evidence would be that we did not see her.
I am becoming more and more aware of how the church and the rest my life might occur to people who are not white, male, Mormon, heterosexual, married to a woman, in the temple, with children, and in the middle class of the USA.

Monday, November 09, 2015

"Lord to whom shall we go?"

A good friend of mine asked me what I thought of the interview Tom Christofferson had with Rational Faiths. This is what I wrote her.

From the interview
RF: Some people have said this is the last straw, and they’ve written their resignation letters and others are preparing to do the same thing. They just feel like this is a dividing line and the church doesn’t want people like me and I don’t want to be part of church that is like this. 
Tom: I’ve also been thinking: where is the way forward for me? I was in CA on business and flying back to SLC last night and my phone blew up, and I was trying to sort it through. On the plane when I had a few moments to myself I turned to the scriptures and I turned to John 6. I love that chapter: the Savior feeds 5000, the storm on the Sea of Gallilee and Jesus walking on water, people who knew him in his hometown couldn’t get him being the Savior because he’s the brother of their friends, and at the synagogue in Capernaum people said, “These are hard things and who can hear them?” And He turns to His apostle and says, “Will ye also go away?” 
The next line is so Peter, he responds, a ringing declaration and testimony, “Lord to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life,” and when I was reading it last night on the plane it came to me so differently. Peter could also be saying, “Yes, Lord, these are hard things, and I don’t understand them; but I know what I feel and thou hast the words of eternal life.” And that’s where I am. I know what I have felt about the Book of Mormons and Joseph Smith, and I particularly know how I feel about the Savior and the prayers and inspiration I’ve had. So for me these are hard things that I don’t understand, but I know where the words of eternal life are. So all I can do is try to walk in the path of faith and hope that someday I will better understand or that all of us will have a different understanding and move forward to a different place.
I like Tom have asked myself, "Will I too go away?" I ultimately come to the same answer Peter and Tom have to Jesus and his authorized servants. "Lord to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life”

I feel strength and compassion and caring and an unwavering dedication to the truth and what the Lord has revealed. I feel and get this from the 15 prophets, seers and revelators. I get this from my bishop and stake president.

I am sure that the restoration of the gospel is ongoing. There is a passage that a good friend of mine turned me to.
And as they begin to grow ye shall clear away the branches which bring forth bitter fruit, according to the strength of the good and the size thereof; and ye shall not clear away the bad thereof all at once, lest the roots thereof should be too strong for the graft, and the graft thereof shall perish, and I lose the trees of my vineyard.
(Jacob 5:65 )
I believe that the church is being pruned today as it has always been. The servants of the Lord with all their human frailties clear away the branches that produce bitter fruit. They do it according to the strength of the roots.

God is wise and patient and all will be turned to for good. I do not know many things in connection with homosexuality and its relationship to the church and eternal life. I do not think that the brethren know all there is to know. I trust the timeline of the Lord.

I will not look to a possible future that I think will be and judge today's day according to that standard. I see what that has done for me and others when I looked back to polygamy and the accessibility of the priesthood. I choose to be charitable to the current leaders, to me and to those advocating that the church adopt a more inclusive approach to gay who chose to marry.

I feel settled in that I will follow the united word of the 15 men in the leading councils of the church. I choose to believe that they are carrying out the will of God in connection to their calling in His church.

I do not know what the future will hold with the official relationship between the LDS church and gay marriage. I know love will chart the best possible one.

Lastly I say that the answer is love. True love. Love that Jesus demonstrated to all humans. Love heals all. Love brings power and knowledge and all that is Good and True.

Sophisticated Neutrals

Satan need not get everyone to be like Cain or Judas… He needs only to get able men… to see themselves as sophisticated neutrals (Neal A. Maxwell, Deposition of a Disciple (1976), 88, Quoted in "What Shall a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul?", Robert C. Gay, Oct 2012 General Conference)

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Handbook Changes Affecting Same-Sex Marriages

This week the church officially changed some policies for those who are gay and married and for their children. At the bottom of this post is what those policy changes are. I reserve the right to change my views on this. I know that there will be new light and knowledge on this topic. I also choose to follow the prophets, seers and revelators as they lead in this area and hwo it relates to our church.

The short of it is that they made explicit what was before implicit. They followed the pattern for policy that has been in place for many decades for children of polygamous families. In both cases, the Supreme Court ruled. In both cases the church felt a need to address an ideology that is in opposition to what we teach. It provides church leaders clear direction as to what our policy is. It also gives space to the children in both cases; space to grow until they are legally and hopefully emotionally able to choose the church and its teachings at the same time they embrace their parents that may not be living according to the teachings.

Follow are some quotes and references that I found helpful in navigating this change emotionally and intellectually.

Nothing is lost to them, in the end, if that's the direction they want to go. In the meantime, they're not placed in a postition where there will be difficulties, challenges, conflicts that can injure their development in very tender years. (D Todd Christofferson, at 6:08, Church Provides Context on Handbook Changes Affecting Same-Sex Marriages)
We’re not going to yield on our efforts to help people find what brings happiness, but we know sin does not. And so we’re going to stand firm there because we don’t want to mislead people. There’s no kindness in misdirecting people and leading them into any misunderstanding about what is true, what is right, what is wrong, what leads to Christ and what leads away from Christ. (D Todd Christofferson, Church Provides Context on Handbook Changes Affecting Same-Sex Marriages)
If this policy be of God, God will help us through this. If this policy be not of God, God will help us through it. (My FB Post 13 Nov 2015,
The First Presidency has written a letter on 13 Nov 2015 clarifying the new same-sex marriage policy changes. It is also on

"With same-sex marriage now legal in the United States and some other nations, the Church felt the need specifically to address such marriages in the Handbook to draw a firm line and encourage consistency among local leaders. In particular, Church leaders are concerned for children–whether biologically born to one of the partners, adopted or medically conceived. In reality, very few same-sex couples would bring children for the formal Church ordinance of naming and blessing, since this creates a formal membership record. But Church leaders want to avoid putting little children in a potential tug-of-war between same-sex couples at home and teachings and activities at church. 
This sensitivity to family circumstances is practiced elsewhere. For example, the Church doesn’t baptize minor children without parental consent, even if the children want to be associated with their LDS friends. A married man or woman isn’t baptized if the spouse objects. Missionaries don’t proselytize in most Muslim countries or in Israel, where there are particular sensitivities with family. In some African and other nations where polygamy is practiced, anyone whose parents practice polygamy needs special permission for baptism so they know that a practice that is culturally acceptable for many in the region is not acceptable in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. " ("Understanding the Handbook", Michael Otterson, 13 Nov 2015,

I found several, well worded passages here to refute myths I have already seen and explain the policies.
These changes could also help protect children. While some same-sex couples adopt, many children of same-sex couples come from divorce. In these situations, custody battles can be fierce. In most places in the United States, if one parent tries to destroy the relationship of their child with the other parent it is considered “custodial interference” which is grounds to change the custodial agreement. 
Because the Church continues to affirm that heterosexual marriage is the ideal, there could potentially be judges in the United States—perhaps, even, very many judges—who would categorize a child joining a church that rejects their parent’s new relationship as custodial interference. This could take that child away from the parent who belongs to the Church or rearrange their custodial arrangements significantly in ways that would harm the child. ("The 9 Facebook Myths About the Church’s New LGBT Policy", Christopher D. Cunningham, 6 Nov 2015,

The church is not punishing children of gay Mormons. Most other Christian denominations believe that all people are born inherently evil and fallen because of Adam’s sin of eating the forbidden fruit. Latter-day Saints reject this doctrine and believe people are only responsible before God for the sins they themselves commit. 
The new policy does not change this doctrine in any way. First it has nothing to do with the idea of original sin. Second it has nothing to do with the inherent nature of the individual. Third it has nothing to do with the final judgment. This policy protects children in specific family situations from a variety of repercussions by requiring they wait until they are an adult before joining the Church. 
adapted from
24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give. 
25 And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.

(Gay) Mormon Guy writes of a child of polygamists, a Chinese man and a Muslim,
Of all the people I met in the cafeteria and on my mission, the ones who I felt most connected to were people like these. The people who had been born into difficult circumstances, but who found the gospel anyway. The leaders of the Church took special notice of them, even though sometimes they had to wait for those blessings. Yes, each of them had to work for their faith. Yes, they all had to wait. But in working and waiting, they felt like modern-day pioneers. While they regretted the situation of their early childhood, they felt a profound sense of gratitude for the deep testimony they had gained - sometimes far deeper than their peers. And they were so much more faithful, happy, and grateful for it.

Latter-day Saints do not need to intellectually understand every policy change Church leaders make to know that there is spiritual safety in following their leadership and counsel. ("The 9 Facebook Myths About the Church’s New LGBT Policy", Christopher D. Cunningham, 6 Nov 2015,

We should remember that most typically revelations are “conclusions” and not “explanations.” When we receive revelation for ourselves, we discover what God would have us do. He rarely provides a reason for why we should do what was revealed. Rather, He trusts us to be obedient to the revelation He has given us. (Facebook post, David A. Bednar, 26 Oct 2015)

In my opinion it’s considerate and wise to not allow children of same gender couples to be baptized until they are 18. 
It shows same-sex couples that The Church acknowledges that those same-sex parents have drastically different perspectives on marriage and family than what The Church teaches. It also shows a mature acknowledgment that if a child were to be baptized into The Church, it would likely create major conflicts and uncomfortable feelings between the child and their parents. Furthermore, children often need a strong support group in order to stay faithful after baptism. Hence, the age requirement for those coming from families who likely would not be able to provide such support. ("5 Ways LDS Church is Showing Respect for the LGBT Community", Alex Balinski 6 Nov 2015,

In the cases of both polygamy and same-sex marriage, the only way for a marital unit (for want of a better word) to conform to church policy would be for them to split up. It seems to be the church’s positions that polygamy, same-sex marriage, and some other circumstances are far enough outside the manageable norm that it is best to delay membership until the child is an adult and able to understand and deal better with a possibly complex situation. 
I’m not asking you to agree with the decision or to ignore the pain this may cause to some. (I’m haven’t done so myself.) Rather, I’m asking you to reasonably acknowledge that there are many factors in play and many ramifications to a policy on either end. ("Same Sex Marriage and the New Church Policies", Alison Moore Smith, 6 Nov 2015,

Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. ("Meeting the Challenges of Today", Neal A. Maxwell, BYU Devotional, 10 Oct 1978)

My purpose in writing this is that I hope to offer comfort to others who may have emotional struggles with this new policy. ("How the Policy on Children of Same Sex Couples Affects Us All", Kelly Merrill, 6 Nov 2015,

My Facebook post as I sorted through my feelings and thoughts.

Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
(“Lord, I Believe”, Jeffrey R. Holland, Apr 2013, LDS General Conference)

It would be inappropriate and unfair for the Church to expect minor children to cope with the issue of divided loyalties. All children need the support of a family. Ideally, that support should be provided by a married mother and father. Some children do not have that advantage, but it is still important that the Church does not undermine a polygamist family’s relationship between parents and child, or a same-sex couple’s relationship with a child they are parenting. ("A Look at the Church’s New Policy on Children of Gay Couples", 6 Nov 2015,

This isn’t a punishment to the children. Can you imagine if such children were baptized, and on Sunday taught that same-sex marriage, or polygamy, or whatever was wrong, and then those children go home to families that practice it, how confusing and disconcerting would that be to those children? Better to wait until they are adults themselves so they can make up their own mind and decide what they believe. Then, if they decide to be baptized, they can live according to the Church standards in their own homes.
Members of the Church do love others. 
We hold no ill will toward anyone. However, within the Church, we don’t believe in same-sex marriage and we don’t practice it. Anyone who does practice it can’t be a member in good standing.
(Comment on "New Church policies on same-sex marriage",  Larry Richman, 6 Nov 2015,

as a gay man who does not feel victimized by this decision I feel the need to share my side.
I don't disagree with the church when they say that it might not be in the child's best interest to be baptized into a church that does not support their parents marriage. (Facebook post, Jason Wesley Buonforte, 7 Nov 2015)

I was raised in a homosexual household from the time I was three until I was eighteen.
when I read the Church’s decision I immediately began wondering why. So far this has never failed me as I believe that Heavenly Father wants us to understand why things are the way they are so far as we are able to comprehend them. I never doubted that the decision was not of divine origin and the more I pondered, the more thoughts and impression began to come to me. ("I Am The Daughter of Lesbians, And I Am A Mormon", Brandi Walton, 6 Nov 2015,

Some people have asserted that children are required to disavow their parents this is not true.
Elder Otterson
There's also provision, or requirement, for a person who has reached the age of maturity, who maybe wants to serve a mission in the church, who's come from a same-sex marriage relationship/family. There's a requirement for them to disavow the idea of same-sex marriage; not disavow their parents, but same-sex marriage. What was the thinking behind that? 
Elder Christofferson:
Well, again, there is a parallel with polygamy. Anyone coming out of a polygamous setting, who wants to serve a mission, has to be clear that they understand that is wrong and is a sin and cannot be followed. They disavow the practice of plural marriage and that would be the same case here. They would disavow or asset, I guess may be a better way to say it, to the doctrines and practices of the church in regards to same-sex marriage. So they would be saying, as you said, not disavowing their parent but disavowing the practice. ("Elder Christofferson Provides Context on Handbook Changes Affecting Same-Sex Marriages", Interviewed by Michael Otterson 6 Nov 2015,

I believe Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love all people. I believe prophets and apostles speak for Heavenly Father and do their best to navigate the sensitivities and challenges of our day. The manner in which they try to care for and protect families will always be a source of controversy. Let us not forget that it was for Jesus too. ("Mormon Church is the Anne Hathaway of Religions", Derek Westra, 6 Nov 2015)

A friend of mine made an insightful comment on the LDS Church's policy clarification:
"I think this is analogous to a large, activist LGBT organization saying, 'We'll provide as much support as is consented to for gay children of Mormon parents, but out of respect for their parents, we will not allow those children to officially join in our activism until they reach age 18.' I think almost all Mormon parents of gay children would see that as a respectful and responsible decision."
This is true, I think. If this were to happen, few people would decry it as exclusive or punitive. They might have reservations with it still, but they wouldn't immediately see it as malicious. (FB Post, Jeffrey Thayne)

I see myself on both sides.  I feel like I have too deep a conviction about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon to ever leave this church and I will stand with the General Authorities fully acknowledging that I don't know everything, but my heart is ACHING, breaking in a million pieces for those whom this new policy affects. ('"There is No "Them" Only "Us"', Celeste, 7 Nov 2015)

Just for accuracy:  
The disavowal is for same-sex marriage of LDS members - or, in other words, an acceptance of non-LDS members being free to be in same-sex marriages but not LDS members. Members are free to advocate for civil rights but not to work to try to force the LDS Church to sanction same-sex marriage internally. The central issue is, unfortunately, the Church's right to set its own standards for membership - and I support that right completely, even if I would want different boundaries than many members. In the case of children with same-sex parents who want to be baptized, they would disavow their parents' relationship for themselves as LDS members but not have to oppose their parents' relationship in any legal or active way.  
I know that still is not acceptable to many here (since it still considers the parents' relationship as sinful), but it is an important point, nonetheless. It is a fine distinction that requires maturity to understand.  
I also believe they are sincere about not wanting to pit minor children against their parents but allow them to reach the age of legal maturity (18) in order for their decisions to be fully informed. That is the part of this that I appreciate the most, as a father. It also is a statement that being baptized at 8 is not critical, in the grand scheme of things, and is not about fully informed decision-making but only about theoretical accountability. That has fascinating implications.  
Finally, I personally don't like the example of murderers, rapists, thieves, etc. being used. There is no assumption that anyone is going to advocate for those actions to be seen as acceptable, and children raised by those people nearly universally disavow those actions naturally. There is no fine distinction in those cases, and having children hear those actions described as sin at church carries no serious potential damage for them. The only examples I like are polygamy and cohabitation. I think cohabitation is the best analogy to oppose this decision, since it is legal, but it is so widespread that missionary work might grind to a halt if this policy existed for those children. Polygamy is the best example, in reverse, in church history. ("Same sex marriage considered apostasy" Ray DeGraw, 07 Nov 2015, 09:30,

She describes the similarity with which polygamous marriage is treated in policy
("The Children of Married/Cohabiting Gay Parents [Expanded with Overnight Thoughts]", Ardis E. Parshall, 5 Nov 2015,

From an interview of Tom Christofferson by Rational Faith
Rational Faiths:  Some people have said this is the last straw, and they’ve written their resignation letters and others are preparing to do the same thing. They just feel like this is a dividing line and the church doesn’t want people like me and I don’t want to be part of church that is like this. 
Tom Christofferson:  I’ve also been thinking: where is the way forward for me? I was in CA on business and flying back to SLC last night and my phone blew up, and I was trying to sort it through. On the plane when I had a few moments to myself I turned to the scriptures and I turned to John 6.  I love that chapter: the Savior  feeds 5000, the storm on the Sea of Gallilee and Jesus walking on water, people who knew him in his hometown couldn’t get him being the Savior because he’s the brother of their friends, and at the synagogue in Capernaum people said, “These are hard things and who can hear them?” And He turns to His apostle and says, “Will ye also go away?” 
The next line is so Peter, he responds, a ringing declaration and testimony, “Lord to whom shall we go?  Thou hast the words of eternal life,” and when I was reading it last night on the plane it came to me so differently. Peter could also be saying, “Yes, Lord, these are hard things, and I don’t understand them; but I know what I feel and thou hast the words of eternal life.” And that’s where I am.  I know what I have felt about the Book of Mormons and Joseph Smith, and I particularly know how I feel about the Savior and the prayers and inspiration I’ve had. So for me these are hard things that I don’t understand, but I know where the words of eternal life are. So all I can do is try to walk in the path of faith and hope that someday I will better understand or that all of us will have a different understanding and move forward to a different place. ("Tom Christofferson Interview from Rational Faiths", wheatmeister, 7 Nov 2015,

notice that for many of these “thoughtful” Latter-day Saints, our openness to continuing revelation always seems to be open in one direction; our remote control scans only to the left. What we are supposed to be open to always fits a progressive moral-political agenda of ever more individual freedom and equality. ("Our One-Sided “Openness” To Continuing Revelation", Ralph Hancock, 16 Oct 2013,
Below I’ll be fisking with the new handbook policy (Handbook 1, number 16.3) in purple (how appropriate!) and my own thoughts in black. My point is to note what I think is the intent of the policy as it is currently written, what it can’t logically mean, and what I hope (and pray) will be changed. (Alison Moore Smith,

there is a way of drawing a straight line through all of this, and that line may take the form of a Mormon Benedict Option. The Utah legislative compromise, the stepping away from Kim Davis, and even the church’s mild response to Obergefell all fall neatly under Rod Dreher’s definitional criterion (as far as I can discern it) of strategic retreat without disengagement. The new sanctions on same-sex households, likewise, make for an excellent example of the sort of cultural separation and in-group moral renewal involved in actually implementing the Option.
In all the discussion of the Option it’s worth asking whether non-Mormon Christians have forgotten to find a Benedict, and whether Mormons are now leading the way.
("Same-Sex Marriage And The Mormon Benedict Option", Tom Stringham, 10 Nov 2015,
So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.
(Job 2:13

“Our sustaining of prophets is a personal commitment that we will do our utmost to uphold their prophetic priorities,” said Elder Nelson (“Sustaining the Prophets,” Oct. 2014 general conference) "5 Ways to Sustain and Follow the Prophets",

Following are quotes for me in the effort of seeing through the eyes of those that are hurting from the new policy
I don't think the church is asking anyone to disavow their parents. I think it is possible to assent or agree that the policy of the church is that same-sex relations are a sin. We can assent to the fact that the church gets to define what the body of the church believes.  
I think that as long as you are not publicly and stridently teaching or recruiting or persuading others to believe in opposition to the core teachings of the the church, you are free to remain a member of the church.  
As a missionary you will be asked to teach the law of chastity as the church says it is. More than that, you are asked to believe it yourself. And ask new members to live by the standard as the church says it is. (Rich Alger, 11 Nov 2015)
Elder Christofferson said, "They would disavow, or assent I guess would be a better way to say it, to the doctrines and practices of the Church with regards to same-sex marriage."

Is the standard merely to assent or agree that same-sex marriage is outside what the church teaches to be moral? Is it only necessary that we agree to not teach publicly against it, or at the least not to be strident about it?  (Rich Alger, 11 Nov 2015)

When you're old enough to legally make your own decisions without input from your parents, to be baptized you'll have to move out of their home and show that you believe that sexual cohabitation and same-sex marriage is wrong. You won't have to turn away from your parents entirely, just the sexual aspect of their relationship. That could be really hard, considering that you just grew up with same-sex parents... and they'll be your parents for the rest of your life.

the church cannot support a same-sex marriage couple on the blessing certificate or the baptismal certificate or even the church records (FB Post, Jenna Galbraith Wood Posting Corey Dean 's personal post (with permission), 12 Nov 2015)

The stories are still coming in. Just read about a man who is gay, divorced in 2012, and had been getting along well-enough with this ex-wife to co-parent their children. Now his wife is taking him to court to try to revoke his parental rights (I can't see how this would actually be ruled in her favor) so their children can be ordained, go on missions, etc. (FB Post of a friend Adam, 12 Nov 2015)  
I hope that the bishop of this mother is talking to his stake president and/or the church hotline to clarify what the church's recommended action is in this case. Maybe this is why the policy is written the way it is. So that one parent does not try to cut off the other just so their children may be able to be baptized, ordained or do temple baptisms.

I see that it is possible to be married and have a commitment to not have sex. John is an example. Traditionally marriage is not only about sex but about having children. 
I wonder what space is there for a gay, married couple who openly and publicly commit to being celibate because at least one of them believes in and wants to honor the law of chastity as taught by our church? (My FB Comment, 13 Nov 2015)

Here are the policies as reported by KSL

Church spokesman Erik Hawkins released the following statement:
"Church handbooks are policy and procedural guides for lay leaders who must administer the Church in many varied circumstances throughout the world. The Church has long been on record as opposing same-sex marriages. While it respects the law of the land, and acknowledges the right of others to think and act differently, it does not perform or accept same-sex marriage within its membership."
Handbook 1, number 6.7.2 has been updated as follows (addition is highlighted):
When a Disciplinary Council May Be Necessary

Serious Transgression

. . . It includes (but is not limited to) attempted murder, forcible rape, sexual abuse, spouse abuse, intentional serious physical injury of others, adultery, fornication, homosexual relations (especially sexual cohabitation), deliberate abandonment of family responsibilities, . . .

Handbook 1, number 6.7.3 has been updated as follows (addition is highlighted):
When a Disciplinary Council is Mandatory


As used here, apostasy refers to members who:
  1. Repeatedly act in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders.
  2. Persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after they have been corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.
  3. Continue to follow the teachings of apostate sects (such as those that advocate plural marriage) after being corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.
  4. Are in a same-gender marriage.
  5. Formally join another church and advocate its teachings.

A new section in Handbook 1, 16.13 has been added as follows:
Children of a Parent Living in a Same-Gender Relationship

A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may not receive a name and a blessing.

A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may be baptized and confirmed, ordained, or recommended for missionary service only as follows:

A mission president or a stake president may request approval from the Office of the First Presidency to baptize and confirm, ordain, or recommend missionary service for a child of a parent who has lived or is living in a same-gender relationship when he is satisfied by personal interviews that both of the following requirements are met:
  1. The child accepts and is committed to live the teachings and doctrine of the Church, and specifically disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage.
  2. The child is of legal age and does not live with a parent who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

To Every Thing, There is a Season

So for family scriptures last night I asked Freddy what scripture he was ponderizing. He didn't have one. So I asked him what he wanted.  He thought and picked up some bean bags and said that he wants to juggle. At first, I didn't thing any scripture applied. The I thought of this one.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
There is a time to juggle and a time to refrain from juggling. This morning I thought of this song. It reminds me of this passage.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Come Unto Christ

Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. (Moroni 10:32)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Indianapolis Interfaith Fireside with Stephen Webb and Alonzo Gaskill

I love interfaith connections I wish I could have been there.

Indianapolis Interfaith Fireside with Stephen Webb and Alonzo Gaskill

Most Typically, Revelations are Conclusions and not Explanations

From a FB Post by David A. Bednar
We should remember that most typically revelations are “conclusions” and not “explanations.” When we receive revelation for ourselves, we discover what God would have us do. He rarely provides a reason for why we should do what was revealed. Rather, He trusts us to be obedient to the revelation He has given us.
I also like this from Henry B. Eyring
You can pray to know His will, and with the honest desire to do whatever He asks you to do, you will receive an answer. ("You Are Not Alone in the Work", Henry B. Eyring, Oct 2015) 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

What is the "Rest of the Lord"?

The Guide to the Scriptures says,
The enjoyment of peace and freedom from worry and turmoil. The Lord has promised such rest to his faithful followers during this life. He has also prepared a place of rest for them in the next life.

Of the rest of the Lord, President Joseph F. Smith said,

To my mind, it means entering into the knowledge and love of God, having faith in his purpose and in his plan, to such an extent that we know we are right, and that we are not hunting for something else, we are not disturbed by every wind of doctrine, or by the cunning and craftiness of men who lie in wait to deceive. We know of the doctrine that it is of God, and we do not ask any questions of anybody about it; they are welcome to their opinions, to their ideas and to their vagaries. The man who has reached that degree of faith in God that all doubt and fear have been cast from him, he has entered into ‘God’s rest’ (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [1998], 56, Quoted in "Rest unto Your Souls", Per G. Malm, Oct 2010).
Joseph Smith said
Let us here observe, that three things are necessary in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation. First, the idea that He actually exists.  
Secondly, a correct idea of His character, perfections, and attributes.  
Thirdly, an actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing is according to His will. 
(Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith, 3:2-5)
I can know that I am living a life that is according to God's will without having a knowledge God does exist. I can believe in God. I can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost. I can align my life with morals, with ethics. I can live with integrity to my word, my covenants.

None of this requires me knowing that God lives. I can believe. I can step out in faith. I can have the rest of the Lord as I remain inside integrity.

The paradox is that for me to live a life I love, and to live it powerfully, I will want more than I am. I want possibilities outside of my realm of reality. I want my integrity to be bigger. As I create my possibilities, I create breakdowns between my word and my reality. I am outside of integrity.

This is good news. It means there is an opportunity for growth. My reality grows to meet my new word. To be inside of a bigger integrity.

The key is to get really, really good at restoring integrity. Be open, be brave, be in action, be at peace.

Be in the Lord's rest.

I Choose to Believe Because I Choose to Believe

What works for me is to be clear on what I know for sure and what I believe.

What I know for sure has gotten smaller and I have become more at peace with being uncertain. Uncertainty is another side of faith.

With everything cleared away, after considering everything, I choose to believe in the restored gospel. I choose to believe because I choose to believe. I choose it of my own free will and choice.

I claim this privilege and allow all men the same privilege, be they Mormon, theist or atheist.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Remembering in the Way God Intends

What is God's intention?, "actually engage in the battle itself". Be on the court of my life and out of the stands.

Here is the scripture I picked for this week to ponderize.

Helaman 5:6
Behold, my sons, I desire that ye should remember to keep the commandments of God; and I would that ye should declare unto the people these words. Behold, I have given unto you the names of our first parents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good.

engage in the battle itself

("Remember and Perish Not", Marlin K. Jensen, Apr 2007)

Monday, October 05, 2015

I'll never, no never, no never forsake!

Of all my experience of the General Conference this fall, the singing of "How Firm a Foundation" touched me deepest. President Uchtdorf announced that we were going to sing verses 1, 2, 3 and 7. I was curious as to why to include the 7th. As I sang the last lines of that verse, I broke down. I heard the promise that God will not forsake me, never, never no never!

1. How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
Who unto the Savior, who unto the Savior,
Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

2. In ev'ry condition--in sickness, in health,
In poverty's vale or abounding in wealth,
At home or abroad, on the land or the sea--
As thy days may demand, as thy days may demand,
As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be.

3. Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

7. The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, I'll never, no never,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Daring Greatly

Unholy Addiction is an episode of  This Is Life with Lisa Ling.
It's a community many might not associate with addiction - the Mormon Church. For years the Mormon Church has struggled to help those who are addicted to painkillers and other drugs.

What stood out to me was the factor that secrecy played in creating the addictions. I am also present to the trap we can fall into by surrendering to what the word addiction might be creating in us. Dallin Oaks recently wrote that:
It is helpful to focus on four different levels of involvement with pornography: (1) inadvertent exposure, (2) occasional use, (3) intensive use, and (4) compulsive use (addiction).

Being willing to be vulnerable means being willing to give up our masks, the ones we picked up earlier in life. It is a paradox to think that being vulnerable will give us strength. I believe it to be true. Being vulnerable to my wife means being willing to be honest with her. When I feel weak. When I lose faith. When I want to push her away. I can tell her so I don't put up barriers so we can be as one. Brene Brown is giving me insight into vulnerability and its bane, shame. I am learning to be shame resilient.

I have also been learning how embracing paradoxes can make breakthroughs available to me. Falling to Heaven is teaching me to make my load light by taking on me the yoke of the Savior Jesus Christ. That if I am to find my life, I am to lose it in the service of God.

Life is good. My marriage is growing vibrantly, I am planting the seeds of transformation in my career. Bring it on.

Monday, September 28, 2015

"Be safe and have a great time in life"

What Should I Do When I See Pornography?

Here are some notes I took as I prepared to teach a lesson based on this video.

7 Things That Still Need to Happen Before the World Ends

This article by Robert L. Millet is knowledge that may be useful to those afraid.

7 Things That Still Need to Happen Before the World Ends

 by Robert L. Millet | Sep 22, 2015 Makes You Think

In recent months there seems to have been an unusual amount of hubbub regarding how close we are to the end of the world. But here are 7 things that still need to happen before the Second Coming. 

This seems to happen in a cycle, about every 30 or 40 years. I remember very well attending the October 1972 general conference and hearing President Harold B. Lee chasten and warn the holders of the priesthood about paying too much attention to what he called “loose writings” among them, cautioning us against jumping on every bandwagon and attaching ourselves to every eschatological craze, assuring us that we did not need to stress over “the coming crash” of our economy or our society.

Only weeks before he died, President Lee spoke to the students at Ricks College (now Brigham Young University Idaho) and said: “Men may fail in this country, earthquakes may come, . . . and hardship, but this nation, founded on principles laid down by men whom God raised up, will never fail. . . . This is the place of the New Jerusalem. . . This is the place . . . where the Savior will come to His temple. This is the favored land in all the world. Yes, I repeat, men may fail, but this nation won’t fail.” President Lee then beckoned: “I plead with you not to preach pessimism. Preach that this is the greatest country in all the world. This is the favored land. This is the land of our forefathers. It is the location that will stand despite whatever trials or crises it may have to pass through” (Ye Are the Light of the World, Deseret Book, 1974, 350-51).

That’s still pretty wise counsel. For some strange reason, however, too many of us too often and too easily have our heads turned and our attention drawn to the sensational. In much the same way that our society tends to flock to movies or other forms of entertainment that are loud or violent or that prey upon the lowest instincts of human nature, so there are Latter-day Saints who are always scurrying about in preparation for some new trauma in society —some feared tragedy that is about to strike the earth. Why do we fall for such stuff when in fact we have prophets and apostles who have been charged to direct the destiny of the Church of Jesus Christ in these last days? It was the prophet Amos who declared that the Lord would do nothing that He would not make known to and through His prophets (Amos 3:7). It was to a small group of men who would be called to the first Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in this dispensation that this significant word came: “And unto you it shall be given to know the signs of the times, and the signs of the coming of the Son of Man” (D&C 68:11; emphasis added).

My point is this: if the Lord Jesus Christ will be coming in a short while, wouldn’t His anointed servants be given some divine direction to help prepare the members of the household of faith for that great and terrible day? That the Brethren today seldom talk about this subject is a powerful affirmation that we need not panic about some impending doom or be too excited about the imminent return of the Savior.

There are many, many things that must take place before Jesus Christ returns to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Second Coming will not take place next week or next month! While you and I certainly desire to be ready and fully prepared for His coming, we should not allow ourselves in the meantime to be ensnared by the newest faith-promoting rumor or to be caught up in the next spiritual fad. So what are some things that must take place before Christ begins to reign on planet earth?

1. The gospel needs to be preached to every part of the world.

“This gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end [of the world] come, or the destruction of the wicked” (Joseph Smith-Matthew 1:31). The Church has made tremendous strides in spreading the message of the restored gospel, but there are many, many untouched areas in the world, and not a few formidable frontiers that will require the hand of divine Providence before we are permitted to preach the restored gospel. President Gordon B. Hinckley counseled us: “If we will go forward, never losing sight of our goal, speaking ill of no one, living the great principles we know to be true, this cause will roll on in majesty and power to fill the earth. Doors now closed to the preaching of the gospel will be opened. The Almighty, if necessary, may have to shake the nations to humble them and cause them to listen to the servants of the living God. Whatever is needed will come to pass” (Conference Report, October 1997, 92).

2. Congregations of saints must be found all over the earth. 

“And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth” (1 Nephi 14:12; emphasis added). “This pertains to a day yet future,” wrote Elder Bruce R. McConkie. “The Saints of the Most High are not yet, as a people and with organized congregations, established upon all the face of the earth” (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man, Deseret Book, 1983, 55). In a general conference address he observed: “We see the Lord break down the barriers so that the world of Islam and the world of Communism can hear the message of the restoration; and we glory in the fact that Ishmael—as well as Isaac— and Esau—as well as Jacob—shall have an inheritance in the eternal kingdom” (Conference Report, April 1980, 98).

3. Baptisms for the dead need to take place in the Holy Land (Jerusalem). 

“It is ordained that in Zion, and in her stakes, and in Jerusalem, those places which I have appointed for refuge, shall be the places for your baptisms for the dead” (D&C 124:36; emphasis added). At this point in time, we are not even in a position to conduct missionary work in the Holy Land, much less to build a temple and conduct baptisms for the dead. The Lord must first open the doors in that blessed land to the message of salvation, in order that the following prophecy may be fulfilled: “And then also cometh the Jerusalem of old; and the inhabitants thereof, blessed are they, for they have been washed in the blood of the Lamb” (Ether 13:11; emphasis added). That is, they must first hear and accept the message, be baptized by proper authority, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and unite with local Latter-day Saint congregations. In speaking of the Jews, Jacob, brother of Nephi, reminded his people that Jehovah had spoken to the Jews “by the mouth of his holy prophets, even from the beginning down, until the time comes that they shall be restored to the true church and fold of God” (2 Nephi 9:2; emphasis added).

4. Church headquarters must be moved to Missouri. 

“The place which is now called Independence is the center place; and a spot for the temple is lying westward” (D&C 57:3). Also, “Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered. . . . And, behold, there is none other place appointed than that which I have appointed” (D&C 101:17, 20). The Center Stake of the New Jerusalem, the headquarters of the Church, must be established in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. One need only take a moment and reflect on the enormity of the task of relocating Church headquarters one day in the future to realize that nothing of the sort foretold by “the preparers” of today will come to pass any time soon.

5. The Savior needs to appear in His temple. 

“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” (Malachi 3:1). This ancient prophecy, repeated in modern revelation (D&C 36:8; 42:36; 133:2), refers to one of the Savior’s preliminary appearances, a coming to his temple in Independence, Missouri, that takes place prior to His coming in glory. Elder Orson Pratt pointed out the Savior “will suddenly come to his Temple, and he will purify the sons of Moses and of Aaron, until they shall be prepared to offer in that Temple an offering that shall be acceptable in the sight of the Lord [see Malachi 3:3; D&C 13; 84:31]” (Journal of Discourses 15:365-66).

6. The great council/sacrament meeting at Adam-ondi-Ahman needs to take place.

“Spring Hill is named by the Lord Adam-ondi-Ahman, because, said he, it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet” (D&C 116; see Daniel 7:9-14). This is another preliminary appearance of the Savior, a great priesthood council, the occasion for a large sacrament meeting, a time when the Son of Man will partake of the fruit of the vine once more with his earthly friends. And who will be in attendance? The revelations specify Moroni, Elias, John the Baptist, Elijah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Adam, Peter, James, John, “and also,” the Savior clarifies, “all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world” (D&C 27:5-14), multitudes of faithful Saints from the beginning of time to the end. It will be a leadership meeting, a time of accounting, an accounting for priesthood stewardships.

President Joseph Fielding Smith observed: “This . . . will be one of the greatest events this troubled earth has ever seen. At this conference, or council, all who have held keys of dispensations will render a report for their stewardship. . . . We do not know how long a time this gathering will be in session, or how many sessions will be held at this grand council. It is sufficient to know that it is a gathering of the Priesthood of God from the beginning of this earth down to the present, in which reports will be made and all who have been given dispensations (talents) will declare their keys and ministry and make report of their stewardship” (The Progress of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1964], 481-82; compare McConkie, The Millennial Messiah, 582-84).

7. The sun must be darkened, the moon turned to blood, and the stars fall from the sky. 

“Before this great day shall come [before the Savior returns and the first resurrection resumes] the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall be turned into blood, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and there shall be greater signs in heaven above and in the earth beneath” (D&C 29:14; see also 34:9; 45:42). The astral phenomena so often spoken of in apocalyptic literature (in Ezekiel, Daniel, Matthew 24, and the book of Revelation) has not taken place, nor will it until it is time for the Bridegroom to return and take his Bride, the sanctified Church of Jesus Christ.

We could go on and on, enumerating signs of the times and prophetic events that have not as yet come to pass or been fulfilled. While we are certainly closer to the Second Coming than we were a year ago, and although many of the signs of the times have indeed been fulfilled, there is yet a great deal for the Lord to accomplish on this earth before Zion will be redeemed, the Saints have been sanctified, the work of the restored Church brought to fruition, and Zion communities established throughout every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.

To be sure, we have work to do to prepare ourselves for the end of the world, the destruction of the wicked at the time of the Lord’s Second Coming in glory (Joseph Smith-Matthew 1:4, 31). Part of that work of preparation, however, is not to either create or spread an emotional frenzy or to frighten the Saints. It is not to assume an authority or presume to hold a stewardship that is reserved for the apostles and prophets. Such tactics are foreign to the Master’s way of operating His kingdom and in this case properly readying His people for that which is to come. Our task is to live a sane and balanced life, to proceed on the gospel path in a dignified and determined manner, to be active and involved and always in the mainstream of the Church. Therein is our safety. If we do these things, we have no need whatsoever to be alarmed.

Robert L. Millet is Professor Emeritus of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University. In addition to Living in theEleventh Hour, you might also enjoy reading his book Living in the Millennium. Now available at Deseret Book stores and

Saved to ensure future reference from the article on, retrieved Sep 28, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I Stand for Families

Twenty years ago today, President Gordon B. Hinckley read a proclamation to the world on the family. I stand with the Apostles of Jesus for families.

I love how Lilo and Stitch put it.
Ohana means family. 
Family means no one gets left behind... or forgotten

Monday, September 21, 2015

My Faith Journey

I just had a FB friend request from Randall Bowen, the author of Church is True. Here is his faith journey. I am excited to have found a friend with such a similar story.

My parents are from Provo and Orem. They moved down to Phoenix in 1969. I was born here. We have a faithful family. Our lives were filled with love and service and gospel study.

I married into a family that joined the church in the late 70s. They are dynamic and committed in their testimony and service to God through the LDS structure.

My faith journey has been dangerous and thrilling and enlightening. I am grateful for my wife, who has been such a stabilizing influence to me.

I feel so excited about the truth the gospel sheds. It truly is futile for any person to pretend that they can stop the work of God. It is as if they were to try to stop the Missouri river with their hand.

God is working in the humans here on earth. In the LDS faith, its servants are authorized by God to offer the ordinances necessary to bind us to God. He is also working in so many people and communities throughout the earth. In ways critical to and in connection to the mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In so many ways, the work will go forth.

Here is a critical part of my faith journey. Here is another, more recent one. I look forward to discovering more of your journey, my friend.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Defending the Rights of a Muslim

Joseph Smith said,
The Saints can testify whether I am willing to lay down my life for my brethren. If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a ‘Mormon,’ I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves. 
It is a love of liberty which inspires my soul—civil and religious liberty to the whole of the human race. Love of liberty was diffused into my soul by my grandfathers while they dandled me on their knees. … 
If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way. (Joseph Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, (2011), 339–48 )
I think Joseph Smith would be just as adamant in defending the religious rights of Muslims as he would any Christian sect.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Damn is a curse word. We say it because we want someone to stop. Or for emphasis. In Sunday School on Sunday, I saw a physical reaction when it was spoken. What does this word mean?
"Damnation" is a term derived from the Latin damnum, meaning "injury" and "loss," and often connotes deprivation of what should have been possessed. Just as there are varying degrees and types of salvation, coupled with eternal progression in some areas (D&C 76:96-98;131:1-4), so are there varying degrees and types of damnation. In LDS doctrine, to be damned means to be stopped, blocked, or limited in one's progress. ("Damnation", Holzapfel, Richard Neitzel, The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1992)
I am not sure how a water damn relates to it. There is so much power here in symbols. A water damn literally holds back water. Water is a symbol of life. Life as we know it on earth requires water. Jesus is spoken of as being the living waters. To be damned is to be stopped in our progression. It is to have withheld from us the living waters.

What does the living waters do for us? It allows us to grow, to become more that we were. To live and if we are willing, to evolve.

Who damns us? I suggest that we damn ourselves. The only one holding ourselves back from more living more life. More growth and joy and freedom and power to be whatever good we want to be, is us. Now it is possible to not be aware of our own damning choices. We can have the results of damnation because it is how surviving is modeled to us. We learn it from our parents or society. We can be damned because of our neighbors.

We are free from damnation by first becoming aware that there is an escape. Jesus is that escape. he demonstrated that we need not be limited by our self-destructive behavior. Our limited way of being. He showed us and by so doing, gave us hope and faith that we might be and do as he did.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Key to Unmessable

I was promised in my Landmark Advanced Course that I would become unmessable. I would not ever be permanently stopped in my progress to what I want.

We is the key to unmessable. It is in we that we get the support, intimacy, vulnerability and all their power in our lives. We are no longer stymied by shame. Our connections and our courage diminishes our shame to insignificance. I am for you. You are for me. They are for us. We are for them.

Perfect love casteth out fear. As we love each other. Listen with whole hearts and fight for our dreams. No power can stop us. We are in the divine. We are a force of nature. We are the beauty that is astonishing in its power to wake us. We see the divine in our neighbor. We become one. And all is possible.

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Give them Flowers

My Landmark Forum leader told me this little analogy that has stuck with me.
Joey and Janice fought like cats and dogs. They threw verbal knives at each other. Joey had a transformation from dark to light. He decided to stop throwing knives and give flowers instead.  
Janice was suspicious at the flowers and even more so when they didn't stop coming. It was so out of character. Joey just kept at it. Once Janice believed that Joey was genuine, she gave up her knives for ever. 

Why things are on your mind?

This is a FB post from my friend John from his coach Ken. 
Why things are on your mind? 
Most often, the reason something is on your mind is that you want it to be different than it currently is, and yet:
-You haven’t clarified exactly what the intended outcome is;
-You haven’t decided what the very next physical action step is; and/or
-You haven’t put reminders of the outcome and the action required in a system you trust.
-The consistent, unproductive preoccupation with all the things we have to do is the single largest consumer of time and energy. –Kerry Gleeson
Duh! And that’s why it’s on your mind. 
Until those thoughts have been clarified and those decisions made and the resulting data has been stored in a system that you absolutely know you will access and think about when you need to, your brain can’t give up the job. 
You can fool everyone else, but you can’t fool your own mind machine. “It” (the mind machine) knows if you’ve come to a conclusion or not, If you haven’t done these things, it won’t quit working overtime. 
Even if you’ve already decided on the next step, your mind can not let go until and unless you park a reminder in a place it knows you will,without fail, look. It will keep pressuring you about it, which will just add to the drain of your energy and ability to be present.
This post reminds me so much of when Richard Scott said,
Have you noticed that when you have determined to accomplish a very important task, many other good ideas for other things to do seem to come to your mind? If they are allowed to interfere, they will distract you from the more important objective. I have found help by writing down those thoughts as they come, promising myself that as soon as I finish the important task, I will attend to them in priority. That practice helps me stay focused on those matters which are essential. 
I believe there are times in your life when, because of your righteousness and your determination to do what is right, Satan will not be able to deflect you into serious transgression. He will switch then to the strategy of placing before you a banquet of good and worthwhile things to do, meant to distract you from those that are the most important and essential to accomplish in your life. 
Fortunately, as you pray for guidance, the Holy Ghost will help you identify those matters that are vital and necessary to accomplish above others. That means that at times you may have to set aside things that would be worthwhile and enjoyable to pursue--for those that are most vitally important for that period of your life. ("Have No Regrets" Richard G. Scott. CES Fireside, September 1999)
I am starting to create a system that is working for me today. It is a list of people that I want to be in my life. It started out as only their names. Today, I have been moving their names to the top of the list and why I want them in my life. Or what I want in relation to them, and what I am going to do about it.