Saturday, April 4, 2020

The End, Part 8: Sword of Justice

And it came to pass that they would not suffer that he should enter into the city, therefore he went and got upon the wall thereof, and stretched forth his hand, and cried with a loud voice, and prophesied unto the people whatsoever things the Lord put into his heart. And he said unto them, Behold, I, Samuel, a Lamanite, do speak the words of the Lord which he doth put into my heart. And behold, he hath put it into my heart to say unto this people that the sword of justice hangeth over this people. 
—Helaman 5:2



Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8


The term “sword of justice” is unique in scripture. It only appears in the Book of Mormon/Stick of Joseph, and in no other scriptural source, and it appears there, in some form, 8 times. Interestingly, it always appears as a warning to the wicked, though it is used to warn various groups at various times.

We first encounter this term in 1 Nephi 3:17, where a great and terrible gulf that divides the children of men is defined as “even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God and Messiah who is the Lamb of God…” The justice of God, which divides the wicked from the righteous is associated with the large and spacious building of Lehi’s dream—which is something I’ve written about before. Justice divides those in the building from those at the tree of life. (1 Nephi 4:5) This is a general warning to all humanity.

In Helaman 5:2, Samuel the Lamanite warns that the sword of justice would fall on the Nephites if they did not repent and believe in Christ. He associates his warning with the glad tidings declared to him by an angel, but rejected by those to whom he preached. This is a warning to the Nephites specifically, regarding their acceptance or rejection of the Messiah.

In 3 Nephi 9:7, the Savior takes up the same warning, this time directing it to the Gentiles of the latter days:
And it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that the sword of my justice shall hang over them at that day; and except they repent, it shall fall upon them, saith the Father, yea, even upon all the nations of the gentiles.
In 3 Nephi 13:7, Mormon takes up the same warning to the latter-day Gentiles:
And when ye shall see these sayings coming forth among you, then ye need not any longer spurn at the doings of the Lord, for the sword of his justice is in his right hand. And behold, at that day, if ye shall spurn at his doings, he will cause it that it shall soon overtake you.
Mormon continues the line of thought by discussing those who oppose the Lord’s work and specifically his efforts to recover the lost sheep remnants of Israel:
Yea, and ye need not any longer hiss, nor spurn, nor make game of the Jews, nor of any of the remnant of the house of Israel, for behold, the Lord remembereth his covenant unto them, and he will do unto them according to that which he hath sworn. Therefore, ye need not suppose that ye can turn the right hand of the Lord unto the left, that he may not execute judgment unto the fulfilling of the covenant which he hath made unto the house of Israel. (3 Nephi 13:8)
This is something about which I’ve written before as well. Notice that the sword in the Lord’s right hand is associated with justice, destruction, and separating the wicked from the righteous. Also, notice the specific time when the sword of justice will hang over the Gentiles. It is in the latter days, when the gospel has come to the Gentiles, when they have the Book of Mormon, and when its message is directed to the scattered remnants of Israel. In fact, the entire passage deals with the restoration of scattered Israel, and the warning is to those who interfere with or oppose that work.

If the Book of Mormon is any indication, you DO NOT want the Sword of Justice to fall on you. It is associated with “almighty wrath” (Alma 25:2), “heavy destruction” (Helaman 5:2), “utter destruction” (Alma 27:10), and “eternal despair” (Alma 14:18). These are not idle words.


This brings us, of course, to Moroni’s mic drop. As you’re no doubt aware, on March 18, 2020, an earthquake occurred near Salt Lake City, which caused the angel Moroni on top of the Salt Lake LDS Temple to drop his trumpet. Much has been made of this event, and the rather obvious symbolism of the angel now being unable to sound his trump, lacking a message to share, and so forth. In my opinion, these are all very valid interpretations.

But I’d like to discuss yet another take on this event. First, consider the following information, which was shared with me by my friend Marv Bateman:

Moroni’s trumpet on all versions of the temple statue is generally angled upward quite sharply. In the picture, you can see a replica of the Salt Lake statue, which shows the trumpet angle is approximately 30% above horizontal. Therefore, to lose the trumpet, either Moroni’s hand would have to break, or the trumpet would have to slide upward, against gravity, through Moroni’s hand to finally fall out. 





This appears to be exactly what happened, as Moroni’s hand is still clearly intact, including his thumb, as you can see from the overhead picture. In other words, this was a very precise strike that caused exactly the right vibrational frequency and direction to pull the trumpet from Moroni’s grasp and cast it down upon the temple.








Last June, the day after the LDS church ignored the 175th anniversary of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum smith, lightning struck the Moroni statue on top of the Nauvoo temple. Moroni’s eyes were darkened and his trumpet was broken. The watchman on the tower was symbolically rendered blind and mute—unable to sound the alarm. That event was associated with very particular calendar alignments that take place only once in 10,000 years. It was also associated with the coming forth of the Stick of Joseph in the Hand of Ephraim, which makes the prophesied record uniquely available to the scattered remnants of Israel and the Jewish people. I previously wrote at length about these events.

When the earthquake struck Salt Lake City, it was again associated with a calendar alignment (Spring Equinox) and with The Stick of Joseph in the Hand of Ephraim. Whereas the Nauvoo strike aligned with the pre-registration of the copyright, the Salt Lake earthquake aligned with the final registration. The watchman on the LDS tower is not only symbolically blind and mute, but now has no shofar at all to blow.

The blowing of the shofar is the traditional signal for the gathering of Israel. The LDS church, having opposed and spurned the Father’s work, has now lost that opportunity completely. Moroni’s casting down of the trumpet upon their temple makes that point emphatically.

And it also frees up his right hand.

Some have suggested it appears Moroni is now checking his watch, as if to say the Lord delays his coming. It’s a fun meme and all, but has serious notes.
And now behold, I say unto you that when the Lord shall see fit in his wisdom that these sayings shall come unto the gentiles according to his word, then ye may know that the covenant which the Father hath made with the children of Israel concerning their restoration to the lands of their inheritance is already beginning to be fulfilled. And ye may know that the words of the Lord which have been spoken by the holy prophets shall all be fulfilled. And ye need not say that the Lord delays his coming unto the children of Israel. (3 Nephi 13:7, emphasis mine)
Notice that this passage only mentions the Gentiles as a sign of what the Lord is doing. The coming of the Lord is to the children of Israel, NOT to the Gentiles. And no, he is not delaying his coming; his work is proceeding according to schedule. The book and the gospel came to the Gentiles, the time was fulfilled, and the opportunity passed. It now reverts to the house of Israel, as prophesied.

And likewise, as prophesied, the sword of justice is now in the Lord’s right hand, ready to fall upon the Gentiles, as demonstrated by Moroni, standing upon the decommissioned temple with his right hand outstretched. If earthquakes, viral plagues and locust swarms don’t convince us of our own powerlessness and bring us to repentance, all that remains is the falling of the sword on the Gentiles, starting with those who still claim to be the Lord’s only true church and bearer of the legacy of Joseph Smith.

The LDS church announced a couple of days ago that Moroni will be taken down, and that portions of the temple spires will be removed and rebuilt to repair the damage from the earthquake. This coming just before the April General Conference, held as a broadcast-only event due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Six months of marketing hype from the church have built up this conference to be like no other in history. I’ve noticed a huge emphasis on “The Prophet” (meaning Russel Nelson), Joseph Smith’s First Vision, women, and priesthood. I heard this morning there are plans to call a solemn assembly and hold a Hosannah shout in the Sunday session, in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s First Vision. This is curious because in January 2017, the LDS First Presidency wrote the following letter to local and general church leaders throughout the world:
Dear Brothers and Sisters: 
During the next few years, the Church will enter a period of significant anniversaries of major Church history events. The Church will not be commemorating these anniversaries at the general level. However, stake and ward leaders may choose to commemorate some of them at the local level. 
We ask that any local commemorations not place undue burdens on leaders and members. 
Sincerely yours,
/s/The First Presidency

The current celebration of the First Vision is altogether appropriate and warranted for those who believe in the importance of that event. But it also represents a 180 degree reversal in official church policy. They specifically said they would not do this—and now they are doing it—which adds a great deal of importance to this conference. Therefore, at this extra-important conference, I expect President Nelson to make some sort of big policy change, declaration, or the like. I also wouldn’t be surprised if he claims a vision or revelation on a par with Joseph Smith, whom he asked all members to study in preparation for this conference. Perhaps this won’t be the case, and this conference will come and go with the usual platitudes; but it does seem like an awful lot of hype for a standard conference commemorating something they said they would not commemorate. Time will tell.

Unfortunately, regardless of what may be said, done, claimed, or announced at this conference, Moroni still stands there, inconveniently, high overhead, with his right arm outstretched, figuratively holding the sword of justice, that soon will fall. And though a crane will pluck the damaged statue off the damaged temple, the prophecy yet remains and WILL be fulfilled. God help us.

And now I say unto you that well doth the Lord judge of your iniquities; well doth he cry unto this people by the voice of his angels, Repent ye, repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Yea, well doth he cry by the voice of his angels that I will come down among my people with equity and justice in my hands. Yea, and I say unto you that if it were not for the prayers of the righteous who are now in the land, that ye would even now be visited with utter destruction. Yet it would not be by flood, as were the people in the days of Noah, but it would be by famine, and by pestilence, and the sword. But it is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared. Now therefore, if ye will cast out the righteous from among you, then will not the Lord stay his hand, but in his fierce anger he will come out against you; then ye shall be smitten by famine, and by pestilence, and by the sword. And the time is soon at hand except ye repent.
—Alma 8:5

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Remnant Missionary Pal: 2020 Edition!

In 2018, I wrote a brief announcement here regarding a new book called the Remnant Missionary Pal. This book is modeled on a prior work called the Missionary Pal, which provided scriptural references organized by topic. It's a neat—and very handy—reference tool.

I'm pleased to announce that an updated version is now available. This new 2020 version is updated with final RE scripture numbering and references, plus an expanded introduction and new sections on the responsibility to the lost sheep remnants of Israel. 

You can download a free version at www.RemnantMissionaryPal.com, or purchase a hard copy at publisher's cost on Amazon. 

This is an excellent reference tool, is very inexpensive (or Free!) and highly recommended for scripture study. Enjoy!

NOTE: I've been told the Amazon listing still says it's the 2018 Edition, but I've been assured by the publishers that what is actually shipping is the 2020 Edition. They are working on updating the listing with Amazon.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Bicentennial of the First Vision

I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me...When the light rested upon me, I saw two personages (whose brightness and glory defy all description) standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said (pointing to the other), This is my beloved Son; hear him.
—JSH 2:4


By Tausha Larsen


Today is a special day—Not because commerce has all but stopped and many of us have been forced to stay home from work and school, but because something miraculous happened on this day—something that would forever change the world—on March 26—two hundred years ago, when a young boy walked into the woods to ask God a question, and to this young boy’s surprise, God appeared to him and answered him.

Please read this very well done article on the actual date of the First Vision:

https://latterdaysaintmag.com/oh-how-lovely-was-the-morning-sun-26-mar-1820/

Or consider this documentary, which is also very compelling:

https://youtu.be/H6MsQ6QBMMY

I know that many of us have read Joseph Smith’s History many times, but as I reread his account today, some things stood out to me in a way that they never have before. I’d like to share a few insights regarding Joseph’s early life.

Joseph Smith’s life did not start out easy. At age 5 he was “attacked” with typhus fever, it becoming so severe that his father feared for his life. The doctors broke the fever, but then it 
“settled” under his shoulder.

In Joseph’s words, “Dr. Parker called it a sprained shoulder and anointed it with bone ointment, and freely applied the hot shovel when it proved to be a swelling under the arm, which was opened and discharged freely, after which the disease removed and descended into my left leg and ankle, and terminated in a fever sore of the worst kind, and I endured the most acute suffering for a long time under the care of Doctors Smith, Stone, and Perkins of Hanover.” (T&C Joseph Smith History, Part 1:3)

Many doctors came from the nearby medical college with the intent to amputate Joseph’s leg, which Joseph refused, but gave permission for them to try a new procedure to remove a large section of bone from his left leg. After removing even another fourteen pieces of bone, his leg finally began to heal.

Joseph used crutches to move around as his leg continued to heal until his father moved to New York to prepare a new homestead for his family. Joseph’s father hired a man named Caleb Howard and paid him to bring his family to New York. On the journey, Mr. Howard squandered the money given him to move the Smith family on drinking, gambling, etc. leaving the Smith family quite destitute as they continued their journey. Along the way, another family named Gates, joined the company traveling toward New York.

Mr. Howard decided he would rather have the company of the Gates daughters with him in the wagon than Joseph, and thereby forced Joseph to walk in his weakened state and “through the snow for 40 miles per day, for several days, during which time he suffered the most excruciating weariness and pain.” Joseph goes on to relate “and thus he continued to do day after day through the journey, and when my brothers remonstrated with Mr. Howard for his treatment to me, he would knock them down with the butt of his whip.” (T&C Joseph Smith History, Part 1:5)

When the Smith family arrived in Utica, New York, Mr. Howard threw their belongings out of the wagon onto the street, and tried to run off with the horses and wagon. Luckily, Joseph’s mother, seized the horses reigns and cried out to nearby witnesses that the horses and wagon belonged to them.

Because Mr. Howard had squandered the funds to safely escort the Smith family to Palmyra, Joseph’s mother had to come up with more money to make the journey from Utica to Palmyra. She did this by selling small pieces of cloth and some of the families clothing until they had the funds to travel. On the way from Utica to Palmyra, the entire way being covered with snow, Joseph was left to ride in the last sleigh in the company, but when it was time for him to board, he was knocked down by the driver, one of the Gates sons, and left to “wallow” in his blood until a kind soul came and picked him up and carried him to Palmyra.

Later as Joseph recounted his history he stated: “It seems as though the adversary was aware at a very early period of my life that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom, or else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the oppression and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?” (T&C Joseph Smith History Part 2:7)

As I read the history of Joseph’s earlier years, I was shocked at the difficulties he faced as a young child. I had read and heard the story about his leg operation many times, but I had not really thought about and contemplated the absolutely terrible hardship it caused him in the following years. I had not realized the difficulty his family went through in moving from Vermont to New York. The adversary was most assuredly aware of Joseph and his soon to be involvement with God’s Kingdom, and caused him much oppression and persecution even at the very young age of five.

Joseph did prove to be a “disturber and an annoyer” to the adversary’s kingdom. When he entered the woods to ask God his question about “which church to join,” the world which had been enveloped in darkness, was suddenly encompassed by light. The heavens which had been closed, were unanticipatedly opened, and God once again spoke to man. This is exactly what the adversary was trying to prevent.

What is our status today? Is the earth still filled with the the light brought forth by the Restoration? Are we moving toward greater light, or has the light dimmed? If light cannot remain static or stationary, then the amount of light we possess must be either increasing or diminishing.

I like Denver Snuffer’s description of light. “Light grows or dims; it never stays static. It is in constant motion just as we see in the moon, either waxing or waning, always either growing or receding in light. So also with the sun. From solstice to equinox, to solstice to equinox, it grows, then dims. It is impossible to freeze the light. It will grow or it will fade.”

I find it interesting that Joseph’s birthday, December 23, was the day after the winter solstice, when light began to overtake the darkness, The First Vision, March 26, occurred at the time of the spring equinox, when light and darkness are perfectly balanced. Joseph’s martyrdom and death, June 27, happened to be close to the summer solstice when darkness once again overtakes the light, and Joseph’s four visits by the angel Nephi occurred on the fall equinox, where light and darkness again find perfect balance.

As Alma states: “All things denote there is a God. Yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form doth witness that there is a supreme creator.” (Alma 16:9) And so it was, nature testified of the most important events of Joseph’s life because God was witnessing to us, that He was working in and through Joseph to teach us. Joseph was God’s mouthpiece.

Today, I remember Joseph’s First Vision. I remember the very difficult hardships he endured in early life that helped bring him to the point of retiring to the woods to pray and seek an answer from God. I remember the straight out miracle that occurred when God appeared to Joseph and answered his prayer. I praise God that because of Joseph’s example, we know how to approach the Lord ourselves and receive answers in the same manner.

Today, I believe heaven will smile upon us if we take a moment to remember the glorious miracle of this world-changing event.

Him have I inspired to move the cause of Zion in mighty power for good, and his diligence I know and his prayers I have heard, yea, his weeping for Zion I have seen and I will cause that he shall mourn for her no longer, for his days of rejoicing are come unto the remission of his sins and the manifestations of my blessings upon his works. 
—JSH 18:4

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Stick of Joseph Website

And it shall come to pass that the Y’hudim shall have the words of the Nefites, and the Nefites shall have the words of the Y’hudim, and the Nefites and the Y’hudim shall have the words of the lost tribes of Isra’el, and the lost tribes of Isra’el shall have the words of the Nefites and the Y’hudim. And it shall come to pass that my people which are of the house of Isra’el shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions, and my word also shall be gathered in one. 
—2 Nefi 12:10


Every now and then, someone asks why I haven’t been writing blog posts as often as I used to. Part of the answer is that I’ve been busy with other work, including The Stick of Joseph in the Hand of Ephraim.

I’m pleased to announce that a new website, www.stickofjoseph.org is now live. This is the beginning of an effort to bring the message of God’s marvelous work to the remnants of the House of Israel. There are currently some blog posts and other resources there, and more will be coming. Please feel free to share the website with those who may be interested.



Friday, February 21, 2020

Temple Fund Update

I was asked by the Temple Fund Committee to post the following statement:



STATEMENT ABOUT FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY 
FOR DONATED TEMPLE FUNDS

All funds donated to the Temple Fund Committee have been and are held in their entirety without any disbursal for any reason, by the committee.  Not one cent has been spent, or is expected to be spent, until construction commences.

Each person or party who has donated has received an acknowledgement from a member of the committee giving thanks for their contribution.  Every donation is carefully recorded in two separate records maintained by two members of the committee.

We plan to provide full transparency of all gifts (with donor names withheld for privacy) as well as an accounting for all expenditures when the temple is complete.

The fund at this point has earned over $11,000.00 in interest, which also has not been spent, and which will continue to accumulate as part of the temple funds, until construction begins.


The Temple Fund Committee

Karen Strong
Janette VanLeer
Elaine Henderson

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Website for Christian Outreach

A website designed to broadly share the message of the restoration with fellow Christians has recently been updated. As a resource for missionary work, LearnOfChrist.org includes all the information from the website that commemorated the 500th anniversary of the Christian Reformation, yet in a format that makes that information easier to find, share, and discuss with others. 

The site designers hope that LearnOfChrist.org will assist fellow Christians in recognizing and understanding the larger work of God amid the confusion, corruption, and error woven into the historical and modern tapestry of Christianity. There is also an accompanying Instagram page to help facilitate the sharing of this information.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Children's Conference in March

The organizers of the upcoming general conference in Hurricane, Utah, asked me to point out the portion of the conference designed for children. Here's the link where you can read all about it:

https://theheavensareopen.org/childrens-conference/

If you have children who are planning to attend the conference, it's very important that you register with the conference organizers so they will have an accurate count of children, and have adequate supplies and supervision. You can register at the bottom of the page I linked above.