Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Joseph Smith's Not So Secret Focus

I have been reading and reflecting on Rock Waterman's latest post, "Joseph Smith and Polygamy" from January 12th. As usual his writing is awesome, and I would like to thank Rock for all of his efforts to teach me and everyone else lucky enough to read his blog.

Rock's work inspired me to come up with the following basic list of some of Joseph Smith's activities from his teens until his tragic death.

1. Joseph's first recital of his first vision (1820) included only JESUS. I believe all other versions to have been changed after Joseph's death to create a false narrative where only one church is true. The theme of his original story is "I asked GOD to forgive my sins, and JESUS showed up, and there was no mention of a church, so JESUS is the only way out of this mess." That message was too simple for modern scribes, Pharisees. and priests.

2. Joseph then used the power of GOD to write a book that has more references to JESUS per verse than even the New Testament.
Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon by Susan Easton Black is a study of The Book of Mormon's extremely high level of Christology. Even apostate modern Mormons came up with a good subtitle for the book, "Another Testament of Jesus Christ." An even better subtitle would have been "The Best Testament of Jesus Christ So Far", but no one asked me.

3. Joseph then started a church originally called "The Church of Christ" in April of 1830. Later we get the arrogant addition of "Latter Day Saints" which GOD may have allowed, but I doubt He approves. 

4. Joseph undertook an inspired version of the Bible, where he focuses mainly on Genesis and the New Testament, in order to help people better guessed it, JESUS.

5. Joseph attempted to publish the Book of Commandments in 1833 with revelations he received from JESUS.

6. Joseph succeeded in having the Doctrine and Covenants published in 1835 with even more revelations from JESUS.

7. Joseph writes the Lectures on Faith to demonstrate primarily that the prototype of a saved being is...JESUS. These Lectures where the "Doctrine' part of the Doctrine and Covenants until 1921.

8. Joseph corrects the Book of Mormon twice, once in 1837, and again in 1840.  He was trying make it clear that JESUS is the son of GOD, but also GOD the Son. 

9. Joseph gives his 2 greatest talks in the spring of 1844, "The King Follett Discourse" and the "Sermon in the Grove." Without using a great and spacious conference center or a teleprompter, Joseph explains that JESUS was following in the footsteps of GOD the FATHER. 

Translation: If you want to be a God, you get to suffer for all of your children's sins.

10. Joseph is unjustly killed with his older brother Hyrum in 1844, dying to seal his testimony of JESUS with his own blood.

Regardless of what you think about Joseph Smith, there is no denying his unrelenting emphasis of JESUS CHRIST. 

Here is my paraphrase of his well-known quote about his new religion's central role of CHRIST and its "appendages".

"JESUS is 99.99 percent of this faith, and the rest isn't important."

Since the summer of 1844 the Utah version of Mormonism has been focused on power, sex, and money. Up until roughly 1900 it was hyper-focused on illicit sex. Since then it has done a complete 180 and now discourages any kind of sex that was not preceded by a temple wedding between two naive heterosexuals. The money and control goals have always been there.

Makes me long for the good old days of 1820-1844 and the flood of information that Joseph Smith added to the world. Information that unmistakably points to the One Being that can save all the other beings...JESUS.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Julie Smith and the Gospel of Mark

I have been enjoying Julie Smith's Commentary on the Gospel of Mark. I do not know her personally, but her writing resonates with me. Let me give you one example from Mark 10.

Bartimaeus is begging near Jericho because he is blind. He figures out the JESUS and a crowd of people are passing nearby. He cries out for JESUS, and continues to call on the Savior despite members of the crowd trying to silence him. JESUS knowing that his best male disciple is nearby asks for him.

(verses 49-52)

And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called.

And they call the blind man, saying unto him,

Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

And he, casting away his garment

rose, and came to Jesus.

And Jesus answered and said unto him,

What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?

The blind man said unto him,

Lord, that I might receive my sight.

And Jesus said unto him,

Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.

And immediately he received his sight,

and followed Jesus in the way.

I have read this passage more than once, but less times than I should have.

It has never occurred to me the importance of Bartimaeus casting away his garment.

My focus is always on JESUS and the miracle.

Julie Smith points out in her outstanding book that Bartimaeus is the only named recipient of a miracle in Mark.

Why? She first presents the fact that the only thing in the only world Bartimaeus owns besides his clothing is his garment. That garment was used to sit upon and beg. It is his only possession. Why does he cast it aside? 

Because he knows that if JESUS is calling for him, he will get to petition for his sight. He knows that JESUS has to power to grant his request and the love to do so. He knows all of this about CHRIST without ever having literally seen Him. 

Bartimaeus knows before ever even speaking to JESUS that he is not going to need his garment anymore!

JESUS is using Bartimaeus as an example for everyone to follow. Most of us have not seen JESUS yet, but that should not change our ability to trust in Him. 

I believe that when each of us is ready to cast aside our proverbial garments, JESUS will come to us. That garment can be religion, or sin, or false traditions, or selfishness, or money, or fame, or any number of things. Whatever we show by our actions is more important than JESUS is making us blind. Physical blindness is temporary, but spiritual blindness can last forever.

Let us be like Bartimaeus and cast all the truly trivial things aside. We will not need them after JESUS makes us whole.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Twice-inspired scripture: The JST as the Bible 2.0

I am using some quotes from Blake Ostler this week. He is the Utah attorney/theologian/faithful Mormon who gave us at least 2 great ideas:

1. The Compassion Theory of the Atonement. JESUS suffers for us so that we have no excuse for not trusting Him and loving Him back. HE is not suffering to balance the cosmic books of mercy and justice. What JESUS is doing is buying us time to repent before the final judgment. 

Blake's theory is the best one I have read dealing with the central event in world history. Go to and read all about it, because my brief summary is sorely lacking.

2. The Modern Expansion theory of the Book of Mormon. This is the concept of Joseph Smith cooperating with GOD on the text of the book, and not just GOD revealing an English version of an ancient document to him word for word.

I take the following quote from Blake's article in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought page 114. The article is available for free on Ostler's awesome website.

Blake believes that the Book of Mormon was edited by Mormon, but then interpreted by Joseph Smith into a context that people of his day and our day would understand. The helps to account for the modern ideas in the text that people feel are anachronistic. It also accounts for the litany of non-modern ideas in the text.

Here is the quote:

"Such scripture is twice-inspired: once by the original prophet-author and again to the prophet who restores meaning and explains, or who gives new meaning and insight into the ancient records by reinterpreting them."

I take that idea, and I think Blake does too, to apply to Joseph Smith's work on the Bible.

I find it perfectly appropriate that the Community of Christ (formerly the RLDS) called Joseph's work The Inspired Version.

It is also telling that the so-called correct version of Mormonism in Utah never published Joseph's version of the Bible.

All of this leads to the following question.

Why would you want to read a Bible that is less inspired than the JST?

Monday, December 23, 2019

What Tree are You eating from?

In Matthew chapter 7, JESUS tells us how to determine if someone or something is good or corrupt.

Here are His words starting with verse 15:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, 
but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

You will know them by their fruits. 

Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?

Even so, every good tree bears good fruit,

but every bad tree bears bad fruit.

A good tree cannot bear bad fruit...

Therefore by their fruits shall you know them.

New King James Version Matthew 7:15-20

First, Joseph Smith made no changes to these 6 verses in Matthew 7.

Second, A good thing cannot produce bad things.

Third, a bad thing cannot produce good things.

Let us look at the bad fruit of Mormonism descended from Brigham Young.

1. Mountain Meadows Massacre
2. Polygamy
3. "Lying for the Lord" the dumbest slogan in history. Apparently early church leaders never got through all 10 commandments.
4. Denying priesthood based on skin color.
5. Suppresion of women from 1844-2020 and beyond.
6. Allowing choices of parents to effect a child's ability to be baptized.
7. Having men other than the child's father ask questions about the child's sexual conduct. 
8. Covering up numerous misdeeds in church history.
9. Excommunicating true followers of Christ.
10. Creating a false hierarchy to stand between members and GOD.
11. Stealing from members by saying "increase" is income instead of income beyond what is needed to pay for family expenses.
12. Taking the money stolen from members and hoarding it to the tune of 100 Billion dollars in just one church investment fund. The total wealth of the church is probably around 200 Billion dollars.

I could go on, but that is 12 examples of bad fruit.

The LDS church cannot be "good" by CHRIST's own test for goodness, because again and again it produces bad fruit. LDS church history is one long saga of evil deeds. 

How many different examples of bad fruit is it going to take until the remaining 4 million or so active Mormons become ex- Mormons?

Friday, December 20, 2019

Blake Ostler Explains Grace and Works

I have referenced LDS lawyer-theologian Blake Ostler here before. He understands and explains the gospel better than any modern writer I know.

I was re-reading Blake's seminal 3 volume work, Exploring Mormon Thought, last night. He writes solely on what he believes Joseph Smith was trying to restore to the world.

Volume 2 has the best explanation of Grace and Works I have ever encountered.

We are saved by the Grace of GOD.
We are rewarded by our Works.

Simple as that.

Protestants are half right that we are saved by grace. Even Hitler after spending an immensely long time in Hell could eventually escape further servitude to Satan. He could do this by bowing the knee and confessing that JESUS is the CHRIST. His time in Hell will be long and horrific but it can end after he suffers for his attempts to wipe out the Jewish race.

Protestants are wrong that Hitler could somehow avoid Hell by making this confession prior to justly suffering. I know this is an extreme example. Any sinner who confesses CHRIST does not get to avoid what is coming to them if they are spending their days here hurting people.

Mormons who want to focus on works are also half right. After being saved we are rewarded based on our efforts after that point.

Mormons are wrong because they think Grace is not part of the equation. Without Grace the journey back to GOD cannot begin.

Blake Ostler's earns his living as an attorney. His writing is done is his limited free time. His ideas, based directly from the scriptures are filled with light. Blake will be rewarded for having his efforts to make the gospel of JESUS CHRIST comprehensible to all. I like Blake's chances of joining GOD, because Blake is trying to help others understand what is actually required to do so.

Now for a couple of caveats.

1. Being saved only guarantees you a spot in the Telestial Kingdom. It literally beats the hell out of spending forever in Hell, but we should be aiming higher. JESUS warned us how painful it is to suffer for sin in D&C 19:

Verse 15 ... how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not."

2. Doing good works in the service of humankind will earn a reward in a higher kingdom. Even if you end up in the Terrestial (middle) kingdom, you avoid Hell altogether. 

CHRIST had Joseph Smith change John 5:28-29. Those verses refer to the 2 possible resurrections of evil and life. The text should read the "resurrection of the just" (Celestial and Terrestrial) and the "resurrection of the unjust" (Telestial and Outer Darkness).

I add only the following italicized words to the conversation knowing that I fall somewhere between Hitler and Eric Liddell. Most days I serve myself, but some few days I try and serve others.

If we are trying to do the minimum required to merit the Celestial Kingdom, we will most likely fail. The rich young ruler was such a person in the New Testament. He kept the ten commandments at a basic level, but he was not willing to serve his fellow Jews by giving away his riches. I do not judge him, because I am not worthy on any great reward either.

We need to just focus on doing as much good as we can today, and let the future take care of itself. 

I would hate to be someone who was banking solely on Grace and ended up in Hell for a time anyway. 

I would equally regret trusting so much in my own "supposed" good works... only to end up in Hell. Why? Because I never gave the proper worship and reverence to CHRIST for making it even possible.

What is the moral of the story?

Get saved by JESUS, 
and then start emulating CHRIST, 
and do not stop.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The Tale of the Faithful Nephite

There was once a man named Stan Jensen. He lived his whole life in Juab County Utah. He was born into the lds church, baptized at 8, served a mission at 19, married in the Provo temple at 22, and was buried in the Juab cemetery at 87 in 2022. He was a good man, and always treated his wife and 3 children well as long as they did what he asked. He spent his last 7 years working in the Payson temple.

When Stan died he was taken to the World of Spirits. He had a glorious reunion with family members who had preceded him in death. He finally asked specifically where they were. He was shocked to find out that he was not in Paradise. He was also not in Hell. He asked his grandfather William about this. "I learned from Primary on up that there were 2 possible places to wait before the final judgment. We seem to be in a kind of middle area?" His grandfather replied "Our former church liked to alter GOD's plan to fit their own needs. We are in Spirit Prison, which is not the same thing as Hell." Stan then asked, "I thought our membership in the mormon church would guarantee a spot in Paradise on the way to highest heaven, the Celestial Kingdom?" William responded soberly, "If you are not like CHRIST, it does not matter what religion you belonged to."

Stan took a few weeks to adjust to the tolerable conditions of Spirit Prison. One day Stan remarked to his Astronomy teacher visiting from Paradise, "If I had known the lds church was not going to facilitate my journey back to GOD, I would left that organization years before my passing." The teacher told Stan to wait until his first visit from a missionary from Paradise. Two weeks later a representative of JESUS CHRIST came to visit with Stan. His name was Mark. Mark started to slowly correct the unbelief Stan had about the actual Gospel. Stan began to learn about the real plan of salvation. At the end of the lesson Stan asked Mark where he had gone wrong. The missionary promised to return as soon as he had conferred with the LORD.

One week later Mark returned. Stan was eager to hear how he gone astray. All his life he was simply trying to remain faithful to the religion and traditions of his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. 

The missionary told Stan that the LORD wanted Mark to ask Stan a series of questions. Mark would then impart his message. 

Mark began by asking Stan, "Do you remember in the 1960s and 1970s all the uproar about the children of Africa not being worthy of the Priesthood?" Stan responded, "Of course, and the church gave them that right in 1978." 

Mark then asked, "Do you remember your church working tirelessly to block passage of the Equal Rights Amendment?" Stan replied, "Yes, but women do not need equal protection under the law, they just need to raise children and support their husbands." 

The messenger then queried, "Do you recall a time when your church would not allow the children of same sex couples to be baptized?" Stan said "Yeah, but the church changed that back after just a couple of years." 

Mark then asked, "Do you have any recollection of the scandal your church went through in 2019 involving 100 billion dollars of unspent tithing money?" Stan replied, "Certainly, but the church said it was saving that money for the second coming."

Mark then stated, "The LORD has asked me to convey this message to you...

...Stan, you are like the man who attempted to survive a flood by praying and asking for GOD's intervention. He ignored the warning to flee before the flood.  He then rejected offers from a man in a boat, and a woman in a helicopter to take him to safety. The man arrogantly believed GOD would save him by some supernatural means. The fool finally drowned."

Stan was stunned. He had told that story a few times when relating the frustration he had experienced on his mission to Japan. Stan like to tell the class or quorum he was teaching that the Japanese had had their last chance at salvation.

Mark continued, "Your church committed increasing levels of evil acts acts against the children of the MOST HIGH. Some people left your church because of obvious racism. Others left because of rampant misogyny. Many resigned because of the inequities your church imposed on people based on sexual orientation. Your last chance to repent was the financial scandal." 

"Rather than see these events as obvious signs from GOD, you chose to do nothing. You remained faithful to a church that hated the majority of its members. Your church hated non-members even more. Your church saved its greatest wrath for former members."

"The only things your church loved were money, power, and fame."

"GOD is not a God of Hate."

Stan spent his first 87 years in Spirit Prison learning what he should have learned in his 87 years living in Juab County. You need to understand that Stan lived in the town of Nephi. That technically makes him a Nephite, and you know what happened to the vast majority of them.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

100 Billion with a B as in Bullshit

Many of you have probably seen the Washington Post article from whistle blower, David Nielsen. David used to work at Ensign Peak Investments which controls the church's charitable fund. The problem is this fund is not used for charity. Not used, as in never used! 

The fund had 12 billion dollars in the late 1990s. 

Why does a church need 12 billion dollars? Because faith in CHRIST has been replaced by faith in the Almighty Dollar.
It only gets worse. Much, much worse.

Nielsen states that the Church's present holdings in this one fund alone are around 100 Billion dollars. That money is supposed to be used to help the poor and needy. It has only been dipped into twice in the last 15 years. Once to bail out the Church-owned insurance company Beneficial Life. That company is aptly named as it Benefits the families of general authorities.

The other time the assets meant for charity were touched was to prop up the world's most foolish real estate venture, City Creek Mall. That is not charity, that is stealing from the LORD.  It is also robbing the people who believe that tithing is a way to show devotion to Him. It is the grandest larceny of all-time. I am waiting for a blockbuster movie possibly titled The Utah Job or the The Mormon Cartel.

If you live in the Salt Lake area you may want to move ASAP. Why? Because the GOD of this planet, JESUS CHRIST, is not going to stand for this monumental fraud much longer. The money changers will be turned out. It is a question of when and how. It is not a question of if. I personally think the Great Basin will be refilled. GOD is infinitely smarter than I am, and HE will come up with the most unexpected and efficient first strike in history. It will probably make us forget Sodom and Gomorrah. Hopefully the honest people of Utah will be spared, while the 15 Pharisees and their fine sanctuaries are justifiably removed.

By the way, Sodom was not destroyed because of rampant immorality. It was removed from the face of earth because it would not help the poor. Check out Ezekiel 16:49 (of any Bible version) if you think I am making this up.

Here are the words of the New Living Translation:

Sodom's sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness,
while the poor and the needy suffered outside her door.

(Joseph Smith changed NOTHING about this verse in his inspired version because it was already correct.)

Let's look at the 3 abstract nouns from verse 49.

1. Pride- Nothing beats "we are the only true church on the earth" for pride. Hubris is rampant in Mormonism, especially among leaders who think GOD picked them to lead because they are so above the rest of us mere sinners. The last guy GOD picked was named Joseph Smith. 

2. Gluttony- Refusal to spend the member's hard-earned money in order to make the world better is the perfect example of gluttony. 12 billion was not enough of a rainy day fund, so now it is 100 billion. Textbook gluttony. If you look up "gluttony" in the dictionary do not be surprised to find a picture of Russell Nelson cross-referenced to "false prophet."

3. Laziness- Working a few weekends a year (and the odd Thursday) and collecting in excess of 120,000 dollars for your "modest stipend" is patently dishonest. It is also brazenly lazy. Mormon leaders are not actually earning the money, they are being paid and worshiped by those still blinded by the false light of Mormonism. The idle blind are leading the hard-working blind. Sadly, both groups already find themselves in the proverbial ditch.

Finally, the phrase "the needy suffering outside her door" is exemplified every day by the beggars around the Salt Lake temple. They are routinely ignored by members who have no money to give them, because they already gave too much of their income to a corporation masquerading as a church. 

How many homeless shelters could be built with 100 billion dollars?

How many food banks?

How many free health clinics could they fund?

How many of the world's poor could they feed?

A. The LDS church does not care about poor people. 

B. The LDS church cares primarily about money.

C. JESUS cared a great deal for the poor, and cared nothing for money.

A + B + C = The LDS church is not CHRIST's church.

Unless those funds are released immediately to the needy of this world, the leaders of the LDS church will discover the next life is one of crushing regret. They will have a huge surplus of time to wish they had not taken the temporary reward here of power, fame and money. The return on their investment in the economy of Satan is to lose the greater reward in the world to come. That reward that has an infinite return goes to those who kneel and serve.