Sunday, May 1, 2022

Two Great Upcoming Events

There are two great events coming up and I want to do my part to spread the word. Both look like they're going to be phenomenally well done and worth attending. 

First, the Remnant Youth Conference:

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Second, the Stand Independent Conference:

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Please visit the conference website here:

Or, here are some specific links:

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Destruction, Part 6: Four Passovers

It is the Lord’s Passover, for I will pass through the land of Egypt this night and will smite all the first born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast, and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment; I am the Lord. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt.

—Exodus 8:2, RE

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

The annual celebration of Passover commemorates the deliverance of Israel from bondage and slavery in Egypt. The seven-day celebration begins with the Seder meal held after sunset on the first day of the festival. This meal includes many traditions and rich symbolism, including the drinking of four cups of wine throughout the meal. 

Tradition tells us the four cups commemorate the four-fold promise of deliverance found in Exodus 6:6-7 (Ex. 4:1 RE):

Wherefore, say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will remove you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm and with great judgments. And I will take you to me for a people and I will be to you a God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 

Each of the bolded statements is a promise given by God, and each is symbolized by a cup of wine, as follows:

Though Jewish tradition ascribes meaning to each of the statements and cups in the context of the Israelite liberation from Egypt and entry into the Promised Land, I choose to take a more expansive view of the meanings of the statements and the cups, beginning with the Israelite Exodus, and continuing through three more Passovers that constitute the four pivotal moments in Israel’s redemption.

All the passovers have elements they share in common; watch for these elements as we discuss the four Passovers.

  • Three days journey
  • Sacrifice
  • Blood
  • Death
  • Destruction and suffering
  • Negotiation for release
  • Miracles
  • A ceremonial meal
  • Wine
  • A nighttime escape
  • A final deliverance
  • Freedom under a new government

The First Passover

The first of the four Passovers is the Passover with which we are all familiar, associated with the Exodus from Egypt. It began with Moses and Aaron asking Pharaoh to allow the people to travel three days journey into the wilderness to sacrifice. Upon Pharaoh’s refusal, the Lord sent plagues of destruction and suffering, beginning with turning the waters to blood, and culminating with the death of all the firstborn in Egypt. The “Passover” refers to the angel of death passing over the Israelite homes marked with the blood of the sacrificed lamb, while the Israelites ate a ceremonial meal inside. They were instructed to eat the meal “in haste” with “your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand” to be ready to depart immediately on their journey. They departed by night and escaped the Egyptians, only to be followed by Pharaoh’s armies. Their final deliverance occurred when the Lord parted the Red Sea through which they escaped on dry ground, and then returned the sea and drowned Pharaoh’s armies. 

All the events I mentioned in the above bullet list occurred in this passover and  prefigure similar events in the subsequent Passovers. You may want to consult the bullet list and see if you can find them all. 

One other item to note—the first cup in the Seder, the Cup of Sanctification and Separation, linked to the statement, “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” symbolizes this exodus.

The Second Passover

Having delivered the House of Israel from physical bondage through the initial Passover and exodus, the next item on the Lord’s agenda was their spiritual deliverance from the bondage of ignorance and false religion. Like the first Passover exodus, this second occurred at a time when Israel labored under burdens. The Northern kingdom had already turned apostate, been conquered and carried away captive by the Assyrians. The Southern kingdom had been preliminarily conquered by Babylon with Zedekiah sitting on the throne of David as Babylon’s puppet king. The reforms instituted by Josiah had gone to great lengths to destroy scripture and alter the Israelite religion, including erasure of the divine feminine, removal of the Messiah from scripture, elimination of entire books that were too Messianic, and centralization of all worship at the temple in Jerusalem. The people labored in great wickedness and prophets foretold their doom.

Into this desperate situation, the Lord sent Lehi who preached of both the coming destruction and the future Messiah. This proved too much for the religious authorities, who sought to have Lehi killed. 

At the Lord’s command, Lehi took his family and fled three days’ journey into the wilderness where they made camp and offered sacrifice. The Lord then instructed Lehi that his sons must return to Jerusalem to rescue the “record of the Jews” that was written on brass plates and safeguarded in a treasury. This record contained:

…the five books of Moses, which gave an account of the creation of the world and also of Adam and Eve, who were our first parents, and also a record of the Jews from the beginning, even down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, and also the prophecies of the holy prophets from the beginning, even down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah, and also many prophecies which have been spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah. (1 Nephi 1:22 RE)

Even more important, this record, preserved on metal plates, had not been altered by revisionists. It was likely the last remaining unadulterated record of the original religion God gave to Adam, and the original words of all the prophets. It testified of the Messiah in full and rich detail, and as such was undoubtedly targeted for destruction by those bent on obliterating this sacred knowledge.

Lehi’s sons tried negotiating with Laban for the record’s release, making multiple attempts to convince Laban to relinquish it. They sacrificed all their worldly wealth in an attempt to purchase the record. But ultimately, it was Nephi who secured the record when he found Laban inebriated in the street, killed him, stole his armor, and impersonated his way into the treasury to retrieve the record. 

This all likely happened at Passover. Indeed, evidence suggests Laban’s death took place on the last day of Passover, just after the final festival celebrating the death of the Egyptians in the Red Sea. Laban’s drunkenness was the natural result of the final celebration, and Nephi’s ability to creep through the city by night undetected, kill Laban, impersonate him, and retrieve the record were all likely facilitated by the fact that most of the city was passed out drunk that night. 

Like the first Passover, this one contained all the same representative elements. But rather than concluding with the physical deliverance of Israel, this Passover exodus brought about the eventual spiritual salvation of the covenant people. The Brass Plates were the direct precursor to the Book of Mormon. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say the Book of Mormon was a direct continuation of the Brass Plates record. Without the retrieval of the Brass Plates, the Book of Mormon likely would never have existed, and therefore its ultimate purpose and destiny in the Marvelous Work that will gather and spiritually restore Israel in these last days would not be possible. This was truly a pivotal Passover.

It is symbolized by the second cup of wine in the Seder, the Cup of Deliverance and Judgment, associated with the Lord’s statement, “I will remove you out of their bondage.” All Israel was delivered from the spiritual bondage of false religion through this Passover and exodus, while Judgment rained down in the form of Babylon’s final conquest of Jerusalem.

For more information on the Passover exodus of Lehi, I recommend this blog post over at Stick of Joseph.

The Third Passover

Jesus Christ’s suffering, sacrificial death and resurrection all occurred at Passover. He embodied the Paschal lamb without blemish that would be inspected, judged, sacrificed, and eaten in the Seder meal. Prior to Christ’s death, Pilate negotiated with the crowd to determine who would be released. Our Lord escaped his suffering as evening fell, and took his three day journey in the spirit world. Then final deliverance came at the resurrection when he broke the bands of death and returned to life. Every Passover element and symbol was fulfilled in these events, and this Passover delivered Israel from sin and death. 

For interesting information about the timing of this Passover, check out this post at Stick of Joseph.

This Passover is symbolized by the third cup in the Seder meal, the Cup of Redemption, reflecting the Lord’s statement, “I will redeem you with a stretched out arm and with great judgments.” Christ’s arms were stretched out on the cross, as great judgments fell on the world. On the American continent, fierce and unprecedented destructions took place by storm, fire, earthquake, tsunami, electrical storm and volcano. The wicked were destroyed as entire cities were erased. This was the greatest Passover yet, and it resulted in the redemption of all creation. 

The Fourth Passover

The fourth and final Passover has not yet taken place, but it is prophesied and expected. This Passover is the topic of Malachi’s prophecy:

Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard. And a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels. And I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

But unto you that fear my name shall the Son of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings. And ye shall go forth and grow up as calves in the stall; and ye shall tread down the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of Hosts. (3 Nephi 11:4-5 RE) 

As I’m sure you’re aware, this prophecy makes appearance in every volume of our scripture, and was the first scripture quoted by Nephi when he appeared to Joseph Smith in September 1823. It is one of the major themes of the restoration and the ultimate conclusion of this era, including its promise of protection for the righteous, who will be “passed over” in the day of burning.

Specifically for this final Passover, the Lord has made all the following promises to those who will receive and faithfully keep his Covenant:

And I, the Lord your God, will be with you and will never forsake you, and I will lead you in the path which will bring peace to you in the troubling season now fast approaching.

I will raise you up and protect you, abide with you, and gather you in due time, and this shall be a land of promise to you as your inheritance from me. 

The earth will yield its increase, and you will flourish upon the mountains and upon the hills, and the wicked will not come against you because the fear of the Lord will be with you.

I will visit my house, which the remnant of my people shall build, and I will dwell therein, to be among you, and no one will need to say, Know ye the Lord, for you all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

I will teach you things that have been hidden from the foundation of the world and your understanding will reach unto Heaven.

And you shall be called the children of the Most High God, and I will preserve you against the harvest.

And the angels sent to harvest the world will gather the wicked into bundles to be burned, but will pass over you as my peculiar treasure. (T&C 158:12-18)

These robust promises of separation, deliverance, protection, prosperity, knowledge, spiritual growth, and adoption reflect but also surpass all the promises of deliverance in the prior three Passovers. The final promise that the covenant people will be passed over refers to the final, triumphant return of the Lord when the wicked will be destroyed and the righteous will be blessed. 

This final Passover reflects the fourth cup of the Seder meal, the Cup of Acceptance, associated with the promise, “I will take you to me for a people and I will be to you a God.” In language of the Covenant, the Lord phrases it thus:

All you who have turned from your wicked ways and repented of your evil doings, of lying and deceiving, and of all whoredoms, and of secret abominations, idolatries, murders, priestcrafts, envying, and strife, and from all wickedness and abominations, and have come unto me, and been baptized in my name, and have received a remission of your sins, and received the holy ghost, are now numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel. (T&C 158:10)

And you shall be called the children of the Most High God, and I will preserve you against the harvest. (T&C 158:17)

In 1831, the Lord spoke through Joseph Smith about an initial attempt to establish Zion in Missouri. Regarding the ultimate triumph, he spoke the following:

Behold, verily I say unto you, for this cause I have sent you — that you might be obedient, and that your hearts might be prepared to bear testimony of the things which are to come, and also that you might be honored of laying the foundation and of bearing record of the land upon which the Zion of God shall stand. And also, that a feast of fat things might be prepared for the poor, yea, a feast of fat things, of wine on the lees well refined, that the earth may know that the mouths of the prophets shall not fail; yea, a supper of the House of the Lord, well prepared, unto which all nations shall be invited: firstly, the rich and the learned, the wise and the noble, and after that comes the day of my power. Then shall the poor, the lame, and the blind, and the deaf come in unto the marriage of the Lamb, and partake of the supper of the Lord prepared for the great day to come. Behold, I, the Lord, have spoken it. (T&C 45:2)

This “supper of the House of the Lord,” featuring “fat things” and “wine on the lees well refined” is the marriage supper of the Lamb, prefigured in the parable of the 10 Virgins, and also mentioned other places. “Wine on the lees” refers to wine that has been left to age on its “lees” or residue of the grape juice that has settled to the bottom of the barrel. Aging wine in this way produces a richer, creamier, more complex wine than would otherwise be achieved. Describing the wine in this way implies careful preparation and exceptional quality. 

Jewish tradition speaks of this wine in specific detail, calling it the Yayin HaMeshumar, or “wine of the keeping” including the tradition that this wine was actually prepared in the Garden of Eden, prior to the fall, and that it has been “kept in its grapes” (or aging on its lees) from the six days of creation, in preparation for this Passover feast. I expect wine from the grapes found in the Garden of Eden will be excellent beyond all other earthly wine. I also theorize that it will cause actual physical changes in the bodies of those who drink it.

Behold, this is wisdom in me; wherefore, marvel not, for the hour comes that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with all those whom my Father has given me out of the world. Wherefore, lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and be faithful until I come. Even so, Amen. (T&C 8:2)

Regarding this final Passover, I won’t pretend to know the details of how it will all take place, but given the well-established elements of the other three Passovers, I expect the events of this final Passover will, at a minimum, include the following:

  • Three days journey
  • Sacrifice
  • Blood
  • Death
  • Destruction and suffering
  • Negotiation for release
  • Miracles
  • A ceremonial meal
  • Wine
  • A nighttime initial escape
  • A final deliverance
  • Freedom under a new government

I hesitate to even assert inclusion of these elements, and I wouldn’t do it at all except for the undeniable pattern that tells us the Lord works in patterns. These elements are so pervasive in the first three Passovers that I would be very surprised if they are not all present in the fourth. 

Four Angels

In this post we’ve looked at the pattern concerning four promises given at the initial Exodus, featuring four distinct types of deliverance, as commemorated by four cups of wine in the Seder, and referring specifically to four specific Passover events featuring significantly in the deliverance of the House of Israel. 

These four Passovers are also associated with the Four Great Angels or Four Archangels associated with the four corners of the earth. As you know, each of these four angels is associated with a specific element, and these four elements play important roles in the Passovers. They are as follows:

  1. Gabriel, who is the angel over water. He is associated with the first Passover as Israel’s final deliverance came through the waters of the Red Sea:

    And the children of Israel went into the middle of the sea upon the dry ground, and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand and on their left…And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared, and the Egyptians fled against it, and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the middle of the sea. (Ex. 9:4 RE)

  2. Michael, who is the angel over air. He is associated with the second Passover as Lehi’s family was driven by the wind to their final deliverance in the Land of Promise:

    And it came to pass, after we had all gone down into the ship, and had taken with us our provisions and things which had been commanded us, we did put forth into the sea and were driven forth before the wind towards the promised land. (1 Nephi 5:28 RE)

  3. Uriel, who is the angel over earth. Christ’s triumph over sin occurred when he spilled his blood on the earth, and his triumph over death occurred when he came forth alive, out of the earth:

    Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from you. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and there shall be no sign given to it but the sign of the prophet Jonah; for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matt 6:15 RE)

  4. Raphael, who is the angel over fire. Christ’s return is spoken of as the day that will burn as an oven, wherein the wicked will finally be vanquished and the righteous will live in peace:

    For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea and all that do wickedly, shall burn as stubble; for they that cometh shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. (JSH 3:4 RE)

    Raphael, who is Enoch, will return at that day with his people and his city. They are “they that cometh.” 

In each case, the Angel and his associated element represent the final deliverance of Israel from their enemies. 

What Matters Now? 

As you know the general topic of this series is destruction. As we’ve taken a hard look at our precarious situation, and the destruction already upon us, I thought it would be worthwhile to also consider the patterns in scripture that teach us not only of destruction, but also of salvation from destruction. The Passovers teach us of deliverance, redemption, protection, acceptance, and triumph available in our day through the Lord’s Covenant. They are the Lord’s object lessons, given to teach us the way of peace.

By recognizing the patterns of what has happened in the past and what is now upon us, we see the Lord’s wisdom, power and foreknowledge manifest. It is all happening according to a divine plan—which plan puts before us a Covenant if we will receive it. And this is what matters now.

The Covenant is the blood on the doorposts; it is the uncorrupted scripture hidden in the treasury; it is the fulfillment of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection; it is how the Lord will make up his Jewels; it is the great secret of the Passover and the wine of the keeping at the feast of the House of the Lord.

Receiving and keeping the covenant is the only way to receive the Lord’s promise of protection from the destruction that is already upon us. The pattern is solid; the prophecies are sure, the evidence is overwhelming. The day soon cometh that shall burn as an oven.

Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord. Awake as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Are you not it that has cut Rahab and wounded the dragon? Are you not it which has dried the sea, the waters of the great deep, that has made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over? Therefore, the redeemed of the Lord shall return and come with singing unto Zion, and everlasting joy and holiness shall be upon their head. They shall obtain gladness and joy; sorrow and mourning shall flee away. I am he, yea, I am he that comforts you.

—Isaiah 18:3 RE

Friday, March 25, 2022

Destruction, Part 5: Destroyed

And now we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God or they shall be swept off when the fullness of his wrath shall come upon them. ... Wherefore, he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off, for it is the everlasting decree of God. ... And it is not until the fullness of iniquity among the children of the land that they are swept off. 

—Ether 1:7 RE

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

The Book of Mormon text contains around 400 occurrences of some form of the word “destroy” or “destruction.” It’s an incredibly common theme, and not surprisingly so, given that the text recounts the destruction of two entire civilizations as well as countless occasions of their partial destruction. So prevalent is the notion that by the second paragraph in the book, weve already encountered a warning of destruction:

For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah — my father Lehi having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days — and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed. (1 Nephi 1:2 RE)

Lehi learned for himself of Jerusalem’s coming destruction in a vision when he read the following words from a book handed to him by one whose “luster was above that of the sun at noonday”:

Woe, woe unto Jerusalem, for I have seen thine abominations. Yea, and many things did my father read concerning Jerusalem: that it should be destroyed and the inhabitants thereof; many should perish by the sword and many should be carried away captive into Babylon. (1 Nephi 1:3 RE)

So it’s safe to say the prophetic theme of the whole Book of Mormon is that of a warning sent before a coming destruction. The Book of Commandments (original precursor to the Doctrine and Covenants) begins with the same theme, given in the preface to the book, which was received by revelation:

And again, verily I say unto you, O inhabitants of the earth, for I, the Lord, am willing to make these things known unto all flesh, for I am no respecter to persons and will that all men shall know that the day speedily comes; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth and the Devil shall have power over his own dominion; and also, the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst, and shall come down in judgment upon Idumea, or the world. (T&C 54:6)

Both of these prophetic scriptural prefaces intersect at the loss of peace: 

“Jerusalem must be destroyed.” Jerusalem was originally known as Salem, which is the anglicized version of “shalom,” the Hebrew word for peace. The metaphoric warning, therefore, is that peace is about to be destroyed.

“Peace shall be taken from the earth” is the warning in the Book of Commandments, “and the Devil shall have power over his own dominion.” A sober warning indeed, reinforced by a sign from heaven when the “Great American Eclipse” of 2017 crossed over 7 American cities named Salem. 

It shouldn’t escape our attention that Melchizedek’s city Salem was indeed “taken from the earth” anciently to join the City of Enoch, and will return when the Prince of Peace returns:

Melchizedek’s city of peace came because those who heard him repented. They were taken into Heaven by their repentance. They, like Enoch’s city, will return in the last days. The wicked will not survive their return. The next time there is a place where people of righteousness are taught and gathered, it will no longer be taken up to Heaven. Instead, it will allow Enoch’s and Melchizedek’s people to return. A holy city must be prepared to welcome that return. (T&C Glossary of Gospel Terms: Melchizedek)

In Post 3, we noted the Book of Mormon’s publication occurred in year 200 of the Roger Williams timeline, which is by the Book of Mormon pattern the Zenith year, when righteousness and prosperity reach their pinnacle, take a turn and begin to decline. Such is indeed a fortuitous time for a prophetic warning to be given in the form of a new book of scripture. That warning tells us of coming destruction:

Wherefore, O ye gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shewn unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you — which are built up to get power and gain — and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the eternal God shall fall upon you to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be. (Ether 3:18)

With this in mind, let’s take another look at that opening theme from the Book of Mormon. Prophets warned that “the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed.” Yet, though Jerusalem was indeed destroyed, it didn’t cease to exist. The walls were breached, important buildings were burned, the temple was looted and burned, and the nobles were carried away captive. Many were killed. But Jerusalem continued to exist, greatly diminished, populated by the poor and insignificant, scratching out their living in and around the ruined city, aware of its former glory, weeping for its desolation. “Destruction” as it relates to a city does not mean the city disappears. It remains, though fundamentally altered and weakened.

The record tells us that Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah sought to “destroy” the church of God:

And now it came to pass that while he was going about to destroy the church of God — for he did go about secretly with the sons of Mosiah, seeking to destroy the church and to lead astray the people of the Lord contrary to the commandments of God, or even the king (Mosiah 11:26 RE)

Their method consisted of leading people astray contrary to the commandments of God by teaching falsehoods. And that’s all it takes to “destroy” true religion. If the truth can be polluted, if the doctrine can be compromised, if scripture can be altered, misinterpreted or ignored, any of these actions will compromise true religion to the point that it cannot save. It may still be called a religion, a church, a corporation or whatnot, much as salt that has lost its savor may still be called “salt” even though it is good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under the foot of men (3 Nephi 5:20 RE). In this regard, and if history is any indication, religion is among the easiest of institutions to destroy, and its adherents will continue to ignorantly practice the destroyed religion, sometimes for millennia.

The ultimate goal of destroying religion is, of course, not simply to destroy the religion, but to destroy souls. 

And the angel spake unto me, saying, Behold, the gold, and the silver, and the silks, and the scarlets, and the fine twined linen, and the precious clothing, and the harlots are the desires of this great and abominable church. And also for the praise of the world do they destroy the saints of God and bring them down into captivity. (1 Nephi 3:19 RE)

As with cities and churches, the “destruction” of a soul does not mean its complete annihilation; rather it means that soul must suffer the judgments of God. Said Jacob to his proud brethren:

And now my brethren, do ye suppose that God justifies you in this thing? Behold, I say unto you, nay, but he condemneth you; and if ye persist in these things, his judgments must speedily come unto you. Oh that he would shew you that he can pierce you, and with one glance of his eye he can smite you to the dust. Oh that he would rid you from this iniquity and abomination. And, oh that ye would listen unto the word of his commands, and let not this pride of your hearts destroy your souls. (Jacob 2:5)

In each of these cases, we’ve seen that “destruction” does not require complete annihilation, and that what is “destroyed” can continue to exist, albeit in an altered and diminished state, for quite some time. This brings us back to the example of Rochester Castle from Post 4, which was destroyed the moment the miners removed the foundation from the corner of the Southeast tower. Oh sure, the castle was still standing, the walls still shielding the garrison from stones and arrows, but the destruction was already a fait accompli, with the timing of the actual fall left as the only remaining question. 

And so we encounter the chilling notion that a people and even a nation can be destroyed and not know it. Yes, that seems odd, and yet the Book of Mormon text bears it out. Let’s consider some instructive examples. 

The prophet Ether warned Coriantumr of coming destruction:

And in the second year, the word of the Lord came to Ether that he should go and prophesy unto Coriantumr that if he would repent, and all his household, the Lord would give unto him his kingdom and spare the people. Otherwise, they should be destroyed, and all his household, save it were himself. And he should only live to see the fulfilling of the prophecies which had been spoken concerning another people receiving the land for their inheritance, and Coriantumr should receive a burial by them, and every soul should be destroyed save it were Coriantumr. And it came to pass that Coriantumr repented not, neither his household, neither the people; and the wars ceased not. And they sought to kill Ether, but he fled from before them and hid again in the cavity of the rock. (Ether 6:5 RE)

The moment Coriantumr rejected Ether’s message, he sealed the destruction of himself and his people. They were, at that moment destroyed and all that remained was the blood and carnage to complete the deed. Every word of Ether’s amazing prophecy was precisely fulfilled. And that’s just the point: once the destruction has been decreed and the conditions met for its completion, it will proceed to completion, and nothing can stop it. When the foundation has been removed, the castle will fall. There is no other way.

Let’s look at another example:

Therefore, they did combine against the people of the Lord and enter into a covenant to destroy them and to deliver those who were guilty of murder from the grasp of justice which was about to be administered according to the law. And they did set at defiance the law and the rights of their country. And they did covenant one with another to destroy the governor and to establish a king over the land, that the land should no more be at liberty, but should be subject unto kings.

Now behold, I will shew unto you that they did not establish a king over the land, but in this same year, yea, the thirtieth year, they did destroy upon the judgment seat, yea, did murder the chief judge of the land. And the people were divided one against another and they did separate one from another into tribes, every man according to his family, and his kindred, and friends; and thus they did destroy the government of the land. And every tribe did appoint a chief or a leader over them; and thus they became tribes and leaders of tribes. Now behold, there was no man among them save he had much family and many kindreds and friends, therefore their tribes became exceeding great. Now all this was done, and there were no wars as yet among them. And all this iniquity had come upon the people because they did yield themselves unto the power of Satan. (3 Nephi 3:5-6 RE)

In this example the government and the rule of law were destroyed by the murder of the chief judge. Notice there was not complete social breakdown or mass chaos, nor was there war. The people divided into tribes, and lived in some degree of peace as they rebelled against God and murdered the prophets he sent. They had already been destroyed but didn’t realize it until their annihilation in the upheavals during Christ’s crucifixion three years later.

And thus we see there is a space of time between destruction and what the Book of Mormon calls “sweeping off” or “utter destruction.” During that time, the course of destruction can be changed, but only by repentance. If the repentance is widespread and sincere, the decreed destruction is rescinded, as was the case with Ninevah when Jonah warned them. If the repentance is sparse and individual, some remnant may be led away to safety before the sweeping off, as happened with Lehi, Nephi and Mosiah, but the remaining population will be swept off.

God sends prophets and signs to warn of destruction, though they are seldom widely heeded. I believe the blood moon tetrad of 2014-2015 was God’s general warning, culminating in the final super moon sign of Jonah calling us to repent as did Ninevah. Sadly, the signs overhead were largely viewed as little more than curiosities. 

Naturally, much has changed since 2015 and our society has become alarmingly more angry, divided, ignorant, confused, fearful, and dark. I could write essay upon essay citing the absolute insanity of what we’ve become. When the way to defeat racism is by becoming hyper racist, when the way to empower women is by cheering while men in makeup defeat them in competition, when the most important qualification for a Supreme Court Justice of the United States is skin color and genitalia, and the woman nominated for that position says she cannot define the word “woman,” when an alarming majority of people are afraid to express their thoughts for fear of very real consequences, when it becomes criminal to even question mathematically impossible election results, when parents are told they have no say in, and no right to even know what their children are being taught at school regarding race and sexuality, when government and tech companies can monitor all facets of private lives without cause or warrant, when free citizens can be arrested and imprisoned without trial for simply being in a certain city on a certain day, and when religions have become the greatest champions of control instead of truth, when the government causes massive inflation by creating prodigious amounts of fiat money without creating any value, when government bureaucrats intentionally destroy huge swaths of the economy in the name of pretended climate salvation, and when choruses of billions demand war, we simply must be blind not to notice the path we’re on and the doom to which it leads. 

Wow, that was a tough paragraph to write, but theres still more, which brings us back to Roger Williams and the first amendment. 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

In very recent times whether we realize it or not, we’ve witnessed the loss of our constitution, the rule of law, and the notion of God-given Natural Rights. Each guarantee listed in the first amendment above, though still ostensibly existing as the law of the land, has been undermined to the point of destruction. 

Freedom to Assemble and Petition

After what happened on January 6 2021, including the disturbing evidence of intentional rejection of National Guard troops, undercover FBI agents agitating the crowd, video of officers opening doors and letting people into the capitol, the unjustified shooting of a woman in the crowd by an incompetent officer, the massive, coordinated misrepresentation of this event as an “armed insurrection,” and the resulting incarceration of many citizens for over a year and counting, without a trial on the horizon, I think it’s safe to say people will be extremely hesitant to “peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” 

Evidently, violent riots, arson, theft, looting, and war on law enforcement are all ok though, as long as you espouse the cause of those in charge.

Freedom of the Press

Nearly every major press outlet is now owned or controlled by a small handful of related corporations. Overwhelming evidence demonstrates the various press outlets collude to control information, shape public opinion, and promote stories in a certain way. They don’t even attempt to hide it at this point. Smaller, independent news outlets who attempt to present an alternative viewpoint find they have no ability to reach any sort of audience because the internet and all other communication channels are controlled by the same corporations that control the news. Alternative viewpoints are de-platformed and silenced.

Every major news outlet took money from the Federal Government to suppress certain information and promote other information regarding Covid, regardless of science or reliable evidence. It was so effective that the majority of our citizens, even most healthcare workers, are utterly unaware of the overwhelming science that contradicts the approved narrative, simply dismissing it all as “anti-vax.” When the government pays to disseminate overwhelming and untrue information, we call that propaganda. Freedom of the press is a thing of the past, even without the government making any specific law to abridge it. It doesn't require aberrant laws to utterly control the press. It only requires consolidation and collusion.

Freedom of Speech

A recent survey showed a strong majority of Americans are afraid to speak their minds on a variety of topics for fear that their personal opinions may bring reprisal, punishment, loss of opportunity, loss of employment, or worse. This is a significant change from just 5 years ago. Self-censorship is now the approach of the majority of Americans. Oh sure, youre free to speak your mind, but God help you if you do. 

Likewise, as I alluded to above, every major social media platform, news outlet, and even internet service providers and mobile phone providers engage in overt censorship of opinions with which they disagree. It’s gotten to the point that even private text messages are censored. It wasn’t too long ago that “censorship” was a dirty, evil word, expressing what was done by totalitarians and dictators to exercise control, dominion and compulsion on the masses. Now it’s just another Tuesday, and few notice or care. The powerful platforms openly censor and remove anyone who departs too far from the approved messaging, regardless of truth.

Freedom of speech ostensibly exists of course, as a legal right. But free speech rights are irrelevant if nobody else can hear what you have to say, and you can’t speak without reprisal.

Freedom of Religion

In Post 2 we discussed how the freedom of religion is the foundation of all other freedoms we enjoy. This is because it inherently enshrines two important truths:

  1. The relationship between the individual and God supersedes the relationship between the individual and the state. Therefore in the realm of religion, the state has no power to dictate, demand, or deny; it must yield.
  2. All Natural Rights come to humans from God and not from the state. Therefore, because the state does not bestow Natural Rights, the state likewise cannot revoke them. The state’s sole intended function is to protect the Rights we receive from God.

Upon these two truths hangs all else. 

During the ongoing Covid issue, the war engines of big government, big business, big tech, and big pharma hurled volley after volley against the Keep of Natural Rights. Numerous laws were ignored, science was polluted, free speakers were threatened, canceled, and all but destroyed, money, politics, corporate interests and above all, control made mighty gains in the name of “the common good.” Lies were spun with wild abandon, and willing minions repeated them with foam and screeches. Definitions were rewritten. Truth was blatantly denied. But against the sturdy walls of Natural Rights, all these stones and arrows had limited effect. 

As long as the freedom of religion remained as the foundation of all Natural Rights, any who objected to the forced administration of an experimental medical treatment for a disease that represented almost no threat, yet had safe harbor. 

And now behold, I say unto you that the foundation of the destruction of this people is beginning to be laid by the unrighteousness of your lawyers and your judges. (Alma 8:6 RE)

But that all changed in the face of an unproven, experimental gene therapy, relabeled a “vaccine,” though it neither prevents people from contracting nor from spreading the disease in question (and wasnt designed to), in the name of an imaginary “greater good” that has no definition, no evidence, and no basis in reality, simply because unelected bureaucrats in positions of power decreed it to be so. The final disaster then ensued:

  • In August 2021, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett denied a bid by students at Indiana University to block the school’s mandatory vaccine requirement over issues of bodily integrity.
  • In October 2021, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor refused to block New York City’s mandatory vaccination requirement for all public employees. 
  • October 29, 2021: The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a case brought by Maine healthcare workers seeking religious exemption to mandatory Covid vaccination.
  • November 29, 2021: Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer refused to hear an emergency petition brought by Massachusetts healthcare workers seeking religious exemption to vaccination.
  • Dec. 13, 2021: The Supreme Court rejected challenges brought by healthcare workers over New York’s refusal to allow religious exemptions to Covid vaccinations.
  • Feb 22, 2022: The Supreme Court rejected an emergency appeal by 15 New York City teachers seeking religious exemption to mandatory vaccination requirements.

The highest court in the land—the court of last resort—has now resoundingly and repeatedly declared, and therefore set precedent for all other courts, that the individual’s relationship with God NO LONGER supersedes the power of the state so long as the state makes any claim of “greater good,” no matter how specious. In practical terms, this means the following:

  • Regardless of your religious objections, the state can compel you to undergo experimental medical treatment for a disease you do not have, or face loss of your livelihood, freedom of movement, freedom of association, access to commerce, and access to medical care, among other penalties.  
  • There is no requirement that the experimental medical procedure be proven safe or effective. (In the case of covid gene therapies, it is utterly impossible to have proven such a thing because the therapies have not existed long enough to establish such a track record.) Indeed, valid science is NOT REQUIRED AT ALL, and to the extent “science” is wanted, it can be manufactured or ignored at will. Executive orders alone appear to be all that is required to strip you of your rights and take control of your body.
  • Therefore, the state has asserted, and gained, final control over your body. Since “the spirit and the body is the soul of man” the state now claims control over your soul, even in matters of personal religious observance. 
  • Therefore, the state now claims to be God, and any other god you worship is subservient to it. Please don’t fail to note the significance of this statement. There’s a new god in town, and the True and Living God has a challenger. (Ask Elijah how that ends.) 
  • This means there is effectively NO matter of conscience in which the whims of some unelected bureaucrat cannot overthrow your deepest commitments to God. Remarkably, religious leaders have led the charge into this flaming abyss! Moloch is most pleased. (I would add as an aside that following any such religious leader who promoted and assisted this catastrophe is beyond foolish; it is suicide.)
  • This is such a fundamental tectonic shift in political and religious understanding, belief and practice that nothing will ever be the same again. Normal is not coming back. Jesus is.

In practical terms, as I write this, I have lights and heat, gas in my car, food in my kitchen, and I’ll get up and go to work tomorrow. My day-to-day life continues much as it has for years, minus a few inconveniences and annoyances. The walls look solid, the roof is holding, and the Keep is well provisioned. And yet, as we’ve been distracted with lockdowns, travel restrictions, mask mandates, and an unending diet of fear porn in the media, the miners have been hard at work, sapping the strength of the final bulwark against tyranny. They have now succeeded in undermining the foundation of it all, and a single spark is all that’s required to ignite the brush, boards and bacon grease that have replaced the foundation. IT HAS CHANGED. It will ignite, it will burn, and it will fall. Great will be the fall thereof.

Our society, our rights, our government, and we as a people have been destroyed. 

Roger Williams, the “man among the gentiles” was the beginning. He laid the foundation that supported the structure for nearly 400 years. But true to the Nephite pattern, it has been destroyed in the expected time period. All that remains is the sweeping off soon to come. We may yet have a few years of relative stability in which to build a temple, but even that is in terrible jeopardy at this moment. God help us.

For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction. ... For the laws had become corrupted, yea, and this was not all; they were a stiffnecked people, insomuch that they could not be governed by the law nor justice, save it were to their destruction.

—Helaman 2:15 RE

And he had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and for ever should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fullness of his wrath should come upon them.

—Ether 1:6 RE

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Destruction, Part 4: Keep Failing

Thus we see how quick the children of men do forget the Lord their God, yea, how quick to do iniquity and to be led away by the Evil One. Yea, and we also see the great wickedness one very wicked man can cause to take place among the children of men. Yea, we see that Amalickiah, because he was a man of cunning devices and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly, yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous’ sake. 

—Alma 21:6 RE

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

A properly constructed castle is a formidable advantage in medieval warfare. With massive stone walls up to 12 feet thick at the base, towers, ramparts, moat, drawbridge, embattlements and protections for numerous defenders, the strongest of castles were so impenetrable that few were daring—or foolish—enough to attempt an attack.

England’s King John was one such daring fool. The brother of the popular King Richard I, John was by all accounts a terrible king, unfit for the business of ruling. Under his reign, rampant inflation sent prices soaring, while he taxed his subjects frequently and lavishly to support his wars. His awful political instincts, terrible personality, mistreatment of nobles, and habit of sleeping with the wives of his barons ultimately led to a revolt of the nobility against the king, which was only resolved when John was forced to sign the Magna Carta. 

No, actually, that didn’t really resolve anything at all, as John immediately ran to the Pope to have the Magna Carta condemned and both sides quickly broke the terms of the truce. As rebellion grew in London, rebel baron William d'Aubigny gathered knights and other nobles and took possession of the strategically important Rochester Castle, which controlled access between the European continent and London from the Southeast of England. 

King John, who had been preparing for war, assembled a powerful, mostly non-English army several thousand strong, ample supplies and weapons, five massive siege engines, and support of both the church and certain nobles. After first taking the precaution of having the rebels excommunicated, he then brought his army to Rochester on October 13, 1215 and laid siege to the mighty castle. 

The rebels, on the other hand, had at most a couple hundred men, and likely some local villagers who sought shelter in the castle walls. They were not well supplied and provisioned and apparently hadn’t thought things through very well for the long term. Pinning their hopes on a successful rebellion, they intended to hold out in the castle until King John was deposed or killed. Naturally, they refused to surrender to King John, placing their faith in the protection of the mighty castle. 

Most medieval castles consisted of an outer wall, called a curtain wall, enclosing the castle grounds, then an inner fortress called the keep, where defenders could remain protected as long as their food and weapons held out. The town of Rochester was also enclosed by a city wall, which was naturally the first to fall. 

Well “fall” might not be the correct word, because the city gates were left practically undefended. John’s army easily entered the city and set up their siege of the castle, using the adjacent cathedral as a base of operations (and also as a horse stable, which won John no points with the church.)

The initial attack consisted of the typical bombardment of the outer “curtain” wall with massive stones hurled by the siege engines, together with arrows, crossbow bolts, and flaming projectiles launched over the walls to kill as many defenders as possible. John’s army was large enough that the attackers could work in shifts, keeping up the attack around the clock. But the mighty walls easily withstood the stones, and the projectiles were random and limited in effect. So John called in his secret weapon: miners. 

Along with knights, archers, crossbowmen, infantry, engineers, and support personnel, John’s army also included 13 miners, or “sappers” from the Forest of Dean, specifically recruited and well paid for their unique skills. The miners set to work digging tunnels (called “saps”) under the wall, and in short order the wall was breached and the attackers gained access to the castle courtyard, or “bailey” while the defenders retreated to the keep. 

The imposing keep rose over 100 feet high, with 3 stories and a basement, mighty towers at all four corners, and ample locations for defenders to fire arrows, crossbows, hurl stones, pour burning oil, and otherwise repel attackers. As before, continual bombardment by the siege engines had no effect on the walls, so John turned again to his miners. They set to work and dug a sap under the Southeast corner of the keep, removing the foundations of the tower and setting wooden supports in place of the stones they removed. John then famously sent the following order to London: “Send to us with all speed by day and night forty of the fattest pigs of the sort least good for eating to bring fire beneath the tower.” Upon arrival, the pigs were immediately slaughtered for their fat.

The miners filled the tunnel with timbers, brush, kindling and pig fat, then set it all on fire. The wooden supports under the tower burned away, and the massive tower fell in a mighty crash. Thousands of tons of rock tumbled to the earth, creating a gaping breach through which the attackers stormed into the keep. The defenders held out a few more days in the other half of the keep, which was protected from invaders by a massive stone wall, but ultimately surrendered when their food ran out and they had eaten all their horses. 

It took King John’s mighty army nearly two months to breach the castle keep, and even then they only won by starving out the rebels. Of the siege, the Barnwell chronicler wrote “No one alive can remember a siege so fiercely pressed and so manfully resisted” and that, after it, “There were few who would put their trust in castles.”

From this vignette we can learn the origins and uses of a couple of words we ought to consider. 

First, the process of mining under the foundations of a wall or tower is known as “undermining,” meaning quite literally what it says. It doesn’t matter how mighty the wall or how tall the tower. Once the foundation has been undermined, height and mass become liabilities rather than assets. Without a foundation, even the mightiest fortress will fall. 

Second, the older term for this process, originating from old French and still in use during John’s siege of Rochester is “sapping.” The sappers dug a sap under the foundation to cause its fall. As any architect can tell you, the strength of any building starts with its foundation, and if that foundation is compromised, the structure’s strength has been “sapped” and it will fall. 

Finally, we should note that when undermined, the wall, tower, turret or building is entirely intact up until the moment it falls. Its compromised and failing foundation is not visible, so to all appearances the defenses are intact, the walls are invincible, and the stones and arrows will have no effect. Though the castle has already been destroyed, its occupants don’t know it. The garrison inside the keep can hurl insults, mock the attackers, even taunt them a second time, with misplaced faith in their walls of stone and false security that harm cannot reach them. Then, at some point, a single spark will change everything and the structure will fall with amazing speed.

As for King John—still regarded to this day as the worst king England ever knew, and that’s really saying something—he died of dysentery the following year at age 49, having never regained his ancestral lands, solidified his rule or put down the rebellion. Though he defeated one of the mightiest stone fortresses in England, his own life ultimately ended in defeat. 

On the topic of fortresses, I defer to Martin Luther:

A mighty fortress is our God,

A bulwark never failing:
Our helper He, amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work his woe;
His craft and power are great,
And armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth is his name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

(Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, 1527, as translated by Frederic Henry Hedge)

Now, having laid this—ahem—foundation, we’ll shortly return to Roger Williams, Nephite Signposts and Destruction. More to come. 

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation, that when the Devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless woe because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build, they cannot fall. 

—Helaman 2:17 RE