Saturday, July 18, 2020

Church History and Smoking Guns. Who is More Believable?

The ends of the earth shall inquire after your name, and fools shall have you in derision, and hell shall rage against you, while the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous shall seek counsel, and authority, and blessings constantly from under your hand. And your people shall never be turned against you by the testimony of traitors, and although their influence shall cast you into trouble, and into bars and walls, you shall be had in honor.
—T&C 139:7

I just watched this video, and felt it important enough to share here. All Latter-day Saints, and everyone with an interest in the Restoration through Joseph Smith needs to see the actual, documented evidence showing how the official history is now the opposite of the truth.

If your loyalty lies with Brigham Young or his legacy, you join the litany of fools who hold Joseph Smith in derision. The revelation says Joseph’s people would never be turned against him by the testimony of traitors. Therefore, it stands to reason, that if you believe the testimony of traitors, you are not counted among “Joseph’s people.”  

Seriously, watch the video. It will be worth your time.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

The Lives and Deaths of the Prophets

Today marks the 176th anniversary of the deaths of Hyrum and Joseph Smith. Every June 27th, I feel a sense of loss and sadness, not only at the deaths of the prophets, but also at what has become of their legacy. 

Their deaths were brought about by those who at one time had been their friends. Today, many who claim to believe their teachings also accuse them of gross wickedness. When the angel told Joseph his name would be had for good and evil, it foreshadowed something so bizarre and ironic that it's almost unimaginable. 

Our Lord said: “A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” (Mark 3:6, NC)

Those who claim to be the country, kin, and house of Joseph lavishly expect to fulfill prophecy. They have, unfortunately, fulfilled this one. An ignominious distinction, to say the least. 

A week ago, there was a conference held in honor of the 200th anniversary of the First Vision and the beginning of the restoration. All the branches of the restoration were invited to participate. It was a wonderful, uplifting, positive event, and I’m very grateful to have been there and participated. 

Here’s a link to the website where the conference recordings can be viewed:

And here’s a video of the talk I gave at the conference:

When God begins a work among men, he sends those who are ordinary, unremarkable, and un-notable. Those he calls are universally uncomfortable with the responsibilities he gives them. They are crippled by doubts about their own abilities and faith, and left to conclude the only way anything good can come of their efforts is through the might of the one who sent them. This is as it should be, and as it always is. The farm boy from New York, the Carpenter from Galilee, the fisherman from Bethsaida, the Pharisee from Tarsus, the Lamanite on Zarahemla’s wall, the Nephite on his garden tower, the brothers in prison surrounded by fire, and the brothers in prison surrounded by gunfire. All found themselves in situations and with responsibilities they did not seek, and would have gladly relinquished if it were possible. All were hated and threatened and many paid with their lives.

Few ever recognize those who God sends. Strait is the gate and narrow is the way, and few there be that find it. I would add, many there be that reject it, even while sure they are right. 

200 years ago, an unremarkable and uneducated farm boy met God face to face as the ancient patriarchs did. Ten years later, he published what may be the most remarkable book in the history of the world. Fourteen years after that, he was murdered by the conspiracy of traitors. Those who knew, and who know Brother Joseph are left to mourn. 

One of the most important things we can learn from his life is that God’s pattern yet remains unchanged. He calls upon the weak, makes himself known to them, empowers and sends them with his message, and they are generally rejected and cast out by fools who think they know better. 

If it happened again, how would you recognize it? 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Joseph’s Marvelous Experience: Lessons Learned from the First Vision

“The gospel of Jesus Christ has always been meant to teach mankind the correct character, perfections, and attributes of God in order that they might have the faith necessary to part the veil for themselves and enter back into His presence. Restoring ascension theology was Joseph’s greatest gift to mankind. In order to make the fiery ascent back into the presence of the Lord, we must seek further light and knowledge from those who are sent from the presence of God to teach us.”

—Whitney Horning

Last weekend’s Restoration Conference was a great success. A particularly important paper was presented by Whitney Horning, who considered and expounded the message of the First Vision, as reflected by the various written accounts of that event. I’ve attached a PDF of that excellent paper here for those who wish to read it.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Joseph Smith Restoration Conference 2020

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.
—Joseph Smith, Jr. 

2020 marks the 200th anniversary of the encounter that has come to be known as Joseph Smith's First Vision. Two hundred years ago, in the early spring of 1820, a young boy took the message found in scripture to heart and sought an answer from God. The event that followed would forever change the history of the world. The heavens were opened and God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph in answer to his humble prayer. This event marked the beginning of a new era of restoration, in which God once again speaks to man. 

We are excited to celebrate this world-changing event by inviting the various branches of the Restoration to come together in remembrance of the First Vision. We look forward to hearing from a variety of speakers speaking on the First Vision and other topics related to the Restoration. 

Please join us this year for the third annual Restoration Conference held on Saturday June 20, 2020 in Meridian, Idaho!

You can find complete information, as well as recordings of previous conferences at the official site: 

We welcome live participants! Please RSVP at the site above to let us know you are coming. 

We also plan to livestream the conference this year. Check back here, or on the site above, for the broadcast link on the day of the conference. 

Monday, May 11, 2020

COVID-19 and Repentance

Here are some thoughts Ive been mulling over recently, regarding repentance.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Sacrament Prayers

And the church did meet together oft to fast, and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls. And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine in remembrance of the Lord Jesus. 
—Moroni 6:2

Our scriptures teach that we should “meet together oft to partake of bread and wine in remembrance of the Lord Jesus.” Though many of us currently can’t meet together, we should still avail ourselves of the opportunity to take the sacrament often. 

To assist those who, like my own mother, currently can’t gather with others to take the sacrament, and who don’t have someone available to perform the ordinance for them, I’ve linked to recordings of the blessings on the bread and wine below. 

Blessing on the Bread:

Blessing on the Wine:

I sincerely hope we will all be able to meet together again soon in our fellowships and families. But until then, at least we can observe our Lord’s command in this way. 

Blessed are ye for this thing which ye have done, for this is fulfilling my commandments, and this doth witness unto the Father that ye are willing to do that which I have commanded you. And this shall ye always do unto those who repent and are baptized in my name; and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood which I have shed for you, that ye may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me, ye shall have my spirit to be with you. And I give unto you a commandment that ye shall do these things, and if ye shall always do these things, blessed are ye, for ye are built upon my rock. 
—3 Nephi 8:7

Sunday, April 12, 2020

First Fruits

Wherefore, beloved, be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Mashiach, his only begotten Son, that you may obtain a resurrection according to the power of the resurrection which is in Mashiach, and be presented as the firstfruits of Mashiach unto Elohim, having faith and obtained a good hope of glory in him before he manifests himself in the flesh.
—Ya’akov 3:3

Today, the Christian world celebrates the resurrection of the Messiah. This event is steeped in Christian traditions and gentile understanding, and in recent history has become mostly secular. I think it’s important to consider the actual events of the resurrection in the context in which they happened, and without the gentile baggage we overlay upon these events. In this post, we’ll use the Stick of Joseph to shed light on the events surrounding the resurrection of Yeshua.

Good Thursday

Christian tradition holds that Yeshua was crucified on a Friday, now called “Good Friday” in commemoration. This tradition is born of a misunderstanding regarding the sabbath. The New testament informs us he was crucified on the day of preparation before the sabbath, and that his body was removed from the cross and hastily placed in the sepulcher before sundown when the sabbath began (see Mark 7:29, Luke 13:25-26, John 10:15-16 NC edition). Because the sabbath begins at sundown on Friday, the Christian tradition selected Friday as the crucifixion day. 

This is problematic, of course, because scripture also makes it clear he arose on the first day of the week, which is Sunday on the Hebrew calendar (Luke 14:1 NC) and that it was the “third day” since the crucifixion (Luke 14:2 NC). Attempting to make the period from Friday to Sunday into three days has resulted in some rather strained interpretations and odd explanations. Common sense tells us if the crucifixion happened on Friday, then Saturday was the first day since the crucifixion and Sunday was the second day, not the third. 

The key to solving this mystery lies in the various sabbaths (plural) recognized by the Jews. The weekly sabbath is always Saturday, which begins at sundown on Friday. But there are also sabbaths that happen only once per year. These are annual holy days, also called sabbaths, but are tied to the Hebrew lunar calendar, and therefore may fall on any day of the week. One such day is the 15th of Nisan, which is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, also known as Passover. The 15th can fall on any day of the week, but it is a sabbath because it is a holy day.

It so happened in the year of Yeshua’s crucifixion that the 15th of Nisan fell on the 6th day of the week, Friday, and the regular weekly sabbath followed the next day, Saturday. Therefore, there were two sabbaths, back-to-back, that week. Thus, we see that Yeshua was crucified on the 14th day of Nisan, a Thursday, and laid in the tomb before sundown. Friday—the first day of Passover—was the first day since the crucifixion, and Saturday—the weekly sabbath—was the second day since the crucifixion. Sunday then followed as the third day, and the day of the resurrection. If Easter Sunday is to recognize the resurrection, then it should be “Good Thursday,” rather than Good Friday, when the crucifixion is commemorated. 

Indeed, when properly aligned with the events of those days, we find breathtaking correlation and perfect fulfillment of every type, shadow, and prophecy concerning the Messiah’s role. His death during the preparation and killing of lambs was exquisitely timed, as was his resurrection.

The Stick of Joseph also teaches concerning this three-day period: 
And it came to pass that when the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the storm, and the tempest, and the quakings of the earth did cease — for behold, they did last for about the space of three hours; and it was said by some that the time was greater, nevertheless, all these great and terrible things were done in about the space of three hours — and then, behold, there was darkness upon the face of the land…. And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen; and there was great mourning, and howling, and weeping among all the people continually,… (3 Nefi 4:3, 5)
Then at the end of that time:
And it came to pass that thus did the three days pass away. And it was in the morning and the darkness dispersed from off the face of the land, and the earth did cease to tremble, and the rocks did cease to split, and the dreadful groanings did cease,… (3 Nefi 4:10)

The Stick of Joseph agrees with the New Testament scriptural record in recording that Messiah arose the third day.
And he shall be called Yeshua HaMashiach, the Son of Elohim the Father of Heaven and of earth, the creator of all things from the beginning; and his Mother shall be called Miryam. And lo, he comes unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men, even through faith on his name. And even after all this, they shall consider him as a man and say that he has a demon, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him. And he shall rise the third day from the dead. (Moshiyah 1:14)
First Fruits

At the time of Yeshua, the first offering of the first fruits occurred after the sabbath of the Passover. On this occasion, the priests took the first barley from the field and offered it before the Lord as an offering of the first harvest of spring: 
And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel and say unto them, When you have come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest. And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord to be accepted for you. On the next day after the Sabbath, the priest shall wave it. (Lev. 11:4 OC edition)

This offering took place on Sunday in the year of Yeshua’s crucifixion, after the back-to-back sabbaths had passed. This was necessary because the act of harvesting barley constituted work, which was forbidden on the sabbath (Ex. 18:10 OC). Therefore, the priests harvested and offered the first fruits on Sunday that year, on the day of the resurrection. Yeshua was the first fruits, or the first resurrected soul, presented before God as an acceptable offering. 

This is amply attested to in the Stick of Joseph, where we read the following: 
Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of Elohim, except it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Mashiach, who lays down his life according to the flesh and takes it again by the power of the spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise. Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto Elohim, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men, and they that believe in him shall be saved. And because of the intercession for all, all men come unto Elohim. Wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him. (2 Nefi 1:6)

The above table lays out the days, the count, and the events associated with the timing of the resurrection. 

In Zenos’s allegory of the Olive Trees, the Lord of the vineyard seeks to preserve his tame olive tree specifically so that he “may preserve the fruit thereof unto myself” and “lay up fruit thereof against the season unto myself” that he “may yet have glory in the fruit of my vineyard.” The fruit in this allegory represents redeemed souls, rescued from sin and from death by the power of the resurrection of Messiah. Thus we see that he—Yeshua—was the first fruits unto God, and that he presents to his Father all those whom he redeems. 

Thus, First Fruits Sunday, or Easter Sunday as Christianity calls it, is not merely a celebration of  Messiah’s resurrection. It is an expansive invitation for all to come unto him through his doctrine, become cleansed and redeemed, and become his first fruits, worthy to be presented to the Father. His victory over death would be hollow indeed if it did not bear any fruit other than his own resurrection and return. His work and his glory are to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of all who are willing to receive. (Gen. 1:7 OC)

As we ponder the life-altering meaning of Messiah’s victory over death and hell, may we remember that victory was always meant to be expressed in us. WE are to be the fruit in which he can rejoice. 

And the firstfruits of repentance is washing by immersion. And immersion comes by faith unto the fulfilling the mitzvot, and the fulfilling the mitzvot brings remission of sins, and the remission of sins brings meekness and humility of heart. And because of meekness and humility of heart comes the visitation of the Ruach HaKodesh, which Comforter fills with hope and perfect love, which love endures by diligence unto prayer until the end shall come, when all the k’doshim shall dwell with Elohim.
—M’roni 8:5