Personal Online Journal

Monday, August 31, 2015

A Distinction from Expectation

"I expect great things from you"
"I expected you at  7:00"
"My husband expects me to have dinner on the table at 6:30"

What feeling do you get from these feelings? They mean obligation. And not necessarily by agreement. Instead it is only what one party wants from the other one. Based on what? Some possibilities might be.

- That is how my dad did it.
- I don't want the same problems mother always caused.

Is there a different word that might be more neutral in its agreed upon meaning? One that might have the positives that sometimes come from "I expect"

Here are some ideas that are in the realm of the word I am looking for.
High tide raises all boats. Inspire without trying to get people to do something using your strengths. What do you want? Is this a deal breaker? Agree on the standard to be reached.

How does one base their ethics on science and logic?

A friend of mine asked, "How does one base their ethics on science and logic?"

I answered,

I haven't read any of the comments yet. I am attending trainings at Landmark. I have been surprised by the transformation or in LDS terms the mighty changes of heart I have witnessed from people of other faiths and of no faith.

We are humans which means we assign right and wrong meanings to things. The agreements we have as groups, and communities are ethics. It is what we agree is right or wrong to do in general.

That is how I think science, logic and the human condition creates ethics in or outside religion.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Messengers of God

As Latter-Day Saints, we believe that God uses anyone who is willing to bring about his work.

"We owe much to the many brave martyrs and reformers like Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Huss who demanded freedom to worship and common access to the holy books." ("The Miracle of the Holy Bible" M. Russell Ballard, Apr 2007)

Where the Baha'i and LDS Agree

I have a new friend that is Baha'i. Last night she gave me a little card that had this on it.

Tell Me About Baha'u'llah

The inside reads:
Bahá'u'lláh explains that: 
The purpose of life is to know and love God, and acquire heavenly virtues such as faith, wisdom and compassion.
We learn about God and divine virtues by studying the lives and teachings of His Messengers such as Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna and Bahá'u'lláh.
The religions that these spiritual Teachers brought are all connected – like chapters in a single book of revelation.
As humanity matures, we become ready to hear deeper spiritual truths and practice greater levels of unity.
We are ready to recognize the oneness of humanity, the equality of women and men, the harmony of science and religion, the value of education, the spiritual nature of families, and the promise of world peace.
We are ready to accept ourselves as noble creations and develop our untapped potential as spiritual beings.
Bahá'u'lláh’s teachings connect the personal with the global and the practical with the mystical in ways that open us to new ways of living with one another in unity.
When you are ready, type “Bahai” in any search engine. 
The back reads:
Like all Prophets, Baha'u'llah lived a life of sacrifice and service. Like Buddha, He was a nobleman who gave up His wealth and power to teach the Word of God. Like Abraham, He was exiled from His native land. Like Moses, He guided His followers to new understandings for forty years. Like Jesus, He was persecuted and tortured by the leaders of His time. Despite this oppression, He founded a community which is established in more countries than Judaism or Islam and is still growing. His teachings, once considered dangerous, are now recognized as visionary prescriptions for humanity's survival.
For these reasons, and so many more, the life and teachings of Baha’u’llah deserve your serious consideration.

There is nothing I disagree with here. Below I match up these belief with what Mormons teach.

The purpose of life is to know and love God
"God wants all of His children to progress and become more like Him." (From
To become more like him we must know Him and love him. We must aquire the heavenly virtues God has.

We learn about God and divine virtues by studying the lives and teachings of His Messengers.
This is why we study the scriptures and modern day prophets. The only difference here is who we consider true messengers from God to be. We believe that prophets are called of God yet fallible. We also believe that God uses women and men of all ages and time to bring about his work, whether or not they are given the authority to perform ordinances.

...More to come

Prophets of God are Fallible

"It has always been hard to recognize in fallible human beings the authorized servants of God." ("Faith and Keys" Henry B. Eyring, Oct 2004)


In scrupulosity, a person's obsessions focus on moral or religious fears, such as the fear of being an evil person or the fear of divine retribution for sin. Although it can affect nonreligious people, it is usually related to religious beliefs. In the strict sense, not all obsessive–compulsive behaviors related to religion are instances of scrupulosity: strictly speaking, for example, scrupulosity is not present in people who repeat religious requirements merely to be sure that they were done properly. ("Scrupulosity", Wikipedia, Accessed 29 Aug 2015)

Friday, August 28, 2015

The power of soup and a listening ear

This blog is pro conjugal marriage. What I love about it is how much compassion and empathy I see in her for others.
on this site we talk about holding tightly to truth and love. This blog is a great forum for the “truth” side of things. But the “love” part is something that has to be lived out off the page. I know that many of you are already doing this kind of real-life-love-in-action. I’ve seen it. But I’ve had a couple recent conversations with believers who want to love radically, but don’t know what it looks like. They fear that their involvement will translate as implied approval. My advice: don’t worry about that. Just be the most generous, supportive, inviting person that they come in contact with. By no means do I live this out perfectly, but I learn best by example. So I thought I’d give you one up-close-and-personal example of my own. ("The power of soup and a listening ear", Katy Faust, 27 Oct 2014)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Armageddon and Adam-ondi-Ahman

(starting at 11:19)
Yes, there will be wrenching polarization on this planet, but also the remarkable reunion with our colleagues in Christ from the City of Enoch. Yes, nation after nation will become a house divided, but more and more unifying Houses of the Lord will grace this planet. Yes, Armageddon lies ahead. But so does Adam-ondi-Ahman!
(“O, Divine Redeemer”, Neal A. Maxwell, Oct 1981)
This is his first address after being called as an apostle.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Utopia in the Book of Mormon

the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land ... and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.
And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.
the people ... did wax strong, and did multiply exceedingly fast, and became an exceedingly fair and delightsome people. 
And they were married, and given in marriage, and were blessed according to the multitude of the promises which the Lord had made unto them.
And there was no contention among all the people and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God... they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. (4 Ne 1:2-17)
I wonder how close we can get to this ideal now? If just a few more of us were completely inspired by the vision of society built upon these principles.

If a large enough core of people of any faith (or of none at all) or any nationality, could be sufficiently inspiring in their generosity to spread their hope to an exponentially larger and larger group.

We might even spark the conditions necessary to hasten the second coming.

It would be what I see as the viral change that will happen when a critical mass of people remain in the world of possibility and begin to enroll others in such a way that they also remain in this, collectively created world of infinite possibility.

Monday, August 17, 2015

It will all work out

Latter-day Counsel,” Gordon Hinckley, Ensign, Oct. 2000, 73. see also "Put Your Trust in God" Ensign Feb 2006, From the funeral program for Marjorie Pay Hinckley, April 10, 2004;

Quick to Restore Integrity

"True religion is to make mistakes, restore integrity through repentance and rise to make another mistake. As long as we are rising to greater heights each time we use repentance then we are already enough." -Janine

"[Jesus] received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness" (D&C 93:13)

Recently I read grace being equated with power. Christ grew from grace to grace. Power to power yes, through the strength he always asked for and always received. We can follow a similar pattern if we quickly restore our integrity. And stay out of the world of the ordinary. Or in other words a world lacking faith.

Ego in Perspective

Ego is just a set of the always, already listening. It may be useful or not. To resist or bow to it gives it undue power. To observe it and then choose, after considering it and anything else, is extraordinary.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Mormons and Landmark

I took the Landmark Forum course in May 2015. I am still doing the 10 seminar follow up sessions they offer to help retain it. I took the advanced course in July 2015. What I offer here is from my perspective and how I have gotten my training from Landmark and in context with my understanding of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Landmark does not advocate or belittle religion or faith. They do not address it at all except when brought up by a participant. I will say that there certainly were a few things that challenged my perspective. I feel mostly resolved with that. One of the best things I heard was from my forum leader. At the end of the 3 days, she said that anything she had said that did not work for us, she takes it back.

I have felt free from shame I have felt for years. Shame is different from guilt. Guilt is "I did something wrong". Shame is "I am something wrong". I have learned that I have been bringing along my past and basing my future on it. I have not been allowing the atonement to free me from the bonds of sin. I accept the sacrifice of Jesus and seek to continue to remember him according to the covenants I take every week at my ward.

What I discovered is that the shame I feel is what I have told myself. It is possible that there are temptations from other sources as well, I just am not confident that I can tell what comes from my own mind and what might be coming from below. Either way, many of the things I have heard from the conversation from my head are not real.

The past is not real. I cannot touch it. The only way that it affects my now is if I remember it and believe it. I can choose to keep things from my past that work well for me. Among the best is my testimony of Jesus Christ that was fed from my study of the scriptures in seminary. This includes the many other distinct teachings of the LDS church, the benefit of the fall, the several degrees of glory, bonds of love in family made effective by sealing. All administered by the actual authority from God given to men on earth from actual, physical angelic visits to earth.

The things I can let go are those that do not work for me. Do not help me live a healthy life unfettered to do the good I feel inspired to do. I do not have to believe what I told myself as a 6 year old boy that keeps me from being open emotionally to those closest to me. I do not have to believe what I told myself as a 12 year old boy that in order to compensate for not fitting in, I can be smart. I can be any number of things that include being smart. I could go on.

In my advanced course, I learned that I was working against our marriage. I had not been willing to be open with my wife. I took the courage to break through that. I said I was for a united marriage and I went ahead with plans I had not discussed with my sweet wife. I am shifting in this. I am committed to creating the marriage that the sealer created in word when we were sealed.

I am for removing the barriers between my Mormon and Landmark communities. I am not sure what will happen as they drop. I am confident that as I continue in this work, that my trusted friends and family and the whisperings of the Spirit will open my eyes to any blind spots out of sight. I have asked them to do so. I ask you to as well.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Four Pillars of Staying in the World of Faith

In my Landmark training seminar on Tues I learned about 4 principles of being that keep me in a world of possibility. That is in comparison of the world of the ordinary or the way humans usually operate (including me).

In another context, they are principles that keep me in the world of faith where there  are no limits to doing what God wants me to.

Integrity - A chair has integrity when it has four legs that are solid. If it does not, it really is not working as a chair. When I do not keep my word, if I do not do what I say I will do when I will do it. I am out of integrity. I cannot trust myself as a human and others cannot either. The good news is that the past does not exist in the present and I can create a new reality as often as I choose to. To clean up the messes I have made and get back into integrity.

Relationship - There is a huge difference between seeing other people as obstacles, or pawns in my aim to have what I want. Once I can see them as a human and am willing to relate to them as a person and not an object. My world transforms.

Existence - means my intention, my stand is in reality. It is not just my words that evaporate after they are said, or a mere thought or wish. It is on a calendar, etc

Enrollment - Communication with another that leaves the two (or more) "moved, touched, and inspired."

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Never Teaching the Same Course Twice

We are creators. We need not do the same wrote stuff over and over. We can create what we want instead of staying in a rut.
In my ten years on the faculty at Stanford, I was blessed never to teach the same course twice. I moved from field to field and changed every course I taught, every time. I remember the nights when I was still working when the dawn came. I remember the adrenaline pumping when I stood to face students with material as new to me as it was to them. I know that I got help from the Holy Ghost. If that help came to me there, it will surely come in greater power here. So, while I appreciate the challenge the faculty and staff face in this university, I await the future with happy anticipation.  (“Raise the Bar". Elder Henry B. Eyring. BYU-I Devotional. Jan 25, 2005.)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Mormon Gnostics

"Mormon Gnostics emphasize personal spiritual effort and de-emphasize the role of the church in spiritual progression." A pattern Cassandra Hedelius has noticed with Mormon Gnostics:
1. I’m a loyal church member and I follow church leaders. I read about others’ prophecies because I long to hear more of God’s word and prepare for the future. 
2. I assume church leaders have visions and prophecies just like these others I’m reading about, since they all come from God. It’s a shame church leaders can’t talk openly about them; it must be because most church members are too faithless to handle it. I’m glad I’ve found these other sources for learning these things. 
3. Maybe church leaders don’t have these visions and prophecies. Perhaps because they’re too wrapped up in managing the church’s assets and employees. It’s a shame the church has become so corporate and uninspired. There is no prophecy or revelation from God to the church anymore. 
4. The church is apostate. I have found the replacement. 
("A house of order, a house of God: Recycled challenges to the legitimacy of the church", Cassandra Hedelius, Aug 7, 2015, FairMormon Conference)

Hat tip to Geoff B. at

For the First Time in Their Lifelong Membership

...questions that confronted me in the Liverpool Library, which were the same as those raised in Joseph Smith’s day: the veracity of the Book of Mormon, the witnesses, the translation process, the nature of revelation, the personal history of Joseph Smith. Perhaps it shouldn’t have, but it mildly surprised me, in the wake of publication on of a series of in-depth essays on various topics, that so many faithful members expressed surprise at discovering some things like multiple accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision for the first time in their lifelong membership. Since I was reading that readily available stuff in 1967 before I was even a member of the Church, I had erroneously imagined that most members read the same things. For example, the Improvement Era — the forerunner to the Ensign — carried a detailed article on eight contemporary accounts of the First Vision in its April 1970 edition. (Michael Otterson addresses FairMormon Conference, Aug 7, 2015, Starting at 6:09 in Youtube video.)

Sunday, August 09, 2015

I Am A Pioneer

I am navigating my faith in the Internet age. I am seeing the history of my church through the eyes of imperfect humans dedicated to following the revealed word of God. Prophets of God lead my church. Even though they are fallible, they will continue to lead the church until the bitter branches are fully pruned. Until the organization the Lord re-established is perfected and whole (Jacob 5:65)


Wednesday, August 05, 2015

What Needs to Change

Same gender attraction presents many issues and questions in society at large. These include what causes it, whether it is subject to change in kind or degree, and whether, or the extent of which, laws like marriage should accommodate it. Our discussion is limited to two related questions we sometimes hear in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What does our doctrine teach us about how family members and church members should treat one another when one of their members is struggling with some of these issues, and how can we help members of the church who struggle with same-gender attractions, but want to remain active and fully engaged in the church? 
This same topic was discussed with all of the general authorities of the church in April of 2012. We will not discuss any of the multitude of other issues and questions. There is so much we don’t understand about this subject, that we’d do well to stay close to what we know from the revealed word of God. What we do know is that the doctrine of the church, that sexual activity should only occur between a man and a woman who are married, has not changed and is not changing. But what is changing and what needs to change is to help our own members and families understand how to deal with same gender attraction. (Dallin Oaks,