Thursday, November 26, 2020

Wabbling Back to the Fire

And when you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. For truly I say unto you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, enter into your closet. And when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly.

—Matthew 3:28 NC

Recently, the LDS church launched a much-touted video of Russel M. Nelson reminding the world to show gratitude. I suppose it was a timely message and all, since we’re literally hearing the same reminders from nearly every quarter, almost as if it’s Thanksgiving. Some have called the message “timely” and “prophetic,” which I suppose it is, much like my wall calendar that bears the same reminder this time of year.

Nelson stated he was awakened in the dark of night with the impression that he needed to lead the world in a prayer of gratitude. Obviously, with massive A/V Production and PR resources at his disposal, designing an event around this public prayer was easy enough.

The “event” was orchestrated to draw maximum attention, including a week-long run-up to the release of the pre-recorded message. The video had background music, still images, close-up video, and a well-read script. The official press releases and PR pieces included memes, announcements, and social media offerings calling Nelson a “Global Faith Leader” and “The Prophet.” In his video, he reminded us all he was a successful and important heart surgeon, though now he’s more into “heart-sell.” 

He asked the faithful members of his church to post messages of gratitude on social media daily for a week, which many have done, using the hashtag he specified. 

And that’s all just fine. Gratitude is a wonderful and important principle, and certainly one we should remember every day, and not just at Thanksgiving time. Nothing eases the blisters and bruises of the march to Hell quite like a dose of gratitude that the road is, at least, inclined downhill.

We’ll return to Nelson’s message in a minute, but first we need to discuss a MORE prophetic message, delivered a hundred years ago by poet Rudyard Kipling. Perhaps you’re familiar with “The Gods of the Copybook Headings.” For those who may not know, “copybook headings” were proverbs or maxims printed at the top of 19th century British school copybook pages. The students had to write the statements by hand repeatedly down the page to practice penmanship, which had the side benefit of reinforcing the maxims taught. Kipling’s poem is built around a series of sayings that would have been familiar to readers in 1919, when the poem was published.

In this poem, Kipling uses the “Gods of the Copybook Headings” to represent universal truths that remain unchanged, in contrast to “Social Progress,” the “March of Mankind,” and the ephemeral, ever-changing “Gods of the Market Place” that represent mankind’s ill-conceived attempts to pretend universal truths don’t matter. Give it a read below, or a listen at this link:

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

By Rudard Kipling, 1919


AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,  

I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.

Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn

That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:

But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,

So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,

Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,

But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come

That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,

They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;

They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;

So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.

They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.

But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know." 

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life

(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)

Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death." 

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all, 

By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul; 

But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy, 

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die." 

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew

And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true

That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man

There are only four things certain since Social Progress began. 

That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire, 

And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins

When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins, 

As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn, 

The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

We live in menacing times. Perhaps at no point in history have more of Kipling’s lines been more applicable than they are today. 

Nightly riots rock our cities while “law enforcement,” at the direction of corrupt politicians, refuses to enforce the rule of law, instead supporting mob rule, theft, arson, violence, destruction and anarchy. Cries of “de-fund the police” reinforce the false idea that crippling law enforcement will bring an end to lawlessness. As Kipling predicted, they swear if we give them our weapons, the wars of the tribes will cease.

Popular culture insists that “love is love” in whatever form it takes, and that there’s no sin in loving your neighbor’s wife (or husband, or both, for that matter) so long as all are consenting adults. 

Our women have fewer children than ever before, while America has killed 50 million of its unborn young since the Supreme Court invented a “right” to abortion on demand. 

Mankind has indeed lost reason and faith. Current events demonstrate humanity’s ability to think critically, reason logically, and consider opposing ideas has dwindled to the point of near-universal stupidity. Patently ridiculous, untrue ideas are promoted with such insistence that any who challenge them face public ruin and private persecution from nearly every quarter. The largest corporations openly and proudly exercise thought control over hundreds of millions of willing dupes, who believe what they are told to believe and ignore what they are told to ignore—regardless of what is true. 

Faith is openly mocked—considered backward, dangerous, and indicative of a weak mind. Serious people now advocate that religion should be publicly outlawed and the faithful should be forcibly re-educated, as takes place in totalitarian communist countries. Opposing ideas may NOT be discussed or considered. They are simply to be eliminated, and those who promote them are to be “cancelled” which is a not-veiled-at-all code word for “destroyed.” 

Many politicians now run on platforms that consist almost entirely of promises to use the power of the state to rob the productive of what they’ve rightfully earned and give it to those who claim they are entitled to take what others have labored to receive. All men should be paid for existing, and no man should pay for his sins, indeed. (And you shouldn’t have to pay back your student loans, either!)

Many Americans now openly advocate the toxic, false notions that our country is dreadfully evil, hopelessly racist, unfair, hateful, and irredeemable. The proposed solution is to burn it all to the ground and start over with a new foundation, modeled after ideas that have failed spectacularly every time they’ve ever been tried, ultimately at the cost of untold human misery, suffering and death. Those who publicly advocate the destruction of our country, our freedoms, and our God-given rights, rather than being called traitors and enemies of us all, are rather promoted, honored, and feared. 

The fact of the matter is that America has demonstrably produced more freedom, economic opportunity, health, invention, happiness, equality and stability for more people than any other nation in history, bar none. America has indeed been the shining city on a hill, showing the world that freedom and self-government are not only possible, but the best possible aspiration for earthly government. Those who hate this nation that has cradled, nurtured, blessed and provided for them better than 99% of the historical population of this planet simply do not understand history, humanity, or themselves. 

They are profoundly ungrateful. But gratitude is not the cure, because lack of gratitude is not the cause. *Evil* is the cause—not only of the current destruction that stares us in the face, but of all destructions of all civilizations in history. Like a dog to his vomit, or a sow to her mire, mankind continually returns to evil, under the influence of the father of lies. 

The behaviors and ideas that now threaten our republic are neither new nor creative. Kipling could predict them because they represent the universal faults of fallen human nature. Railing against freedom and opportunity in favor of control and dominion started before this world began. Within the first generations of mankind, the basest instincts of humanity created a continual scene of excessive wickedness and ultimate disaster. 

As surely as water will wet us, and as surely as fire will burn, there is only one solution to our present predicament. The only possible prevention for the looming horror and slaughter galloping toward us is not gratitude. It is repentance. Period. 

A loving God, who wants—and knows—what’s best for us, has set the pattern. When humanity labors in excessive wickedness, prophets raise the warning. They cry repentance before the sword of justice falls. They leave clear records of their failed civilizations for us to read, in hopes we will be more wise than they were. We ignore those records at our peril.

I don’t suppose I have to go into all the examples from the scriptures; they are so plentiful that if you’re not aware of them, you need to stop reading this blog and spend some serious time in God’s word. The bottom line is this: True prophets cry repentance. False prophets preach platitudes, claiming they will bring “healing.” 

News flash: You don’t “heal” wickedness. You turn from it by repenting, fight it, and embrace truth and righteousness. 

You don’t make “safe space” to protect the fragile feelings of those who believe the moon is made of cheese, pigs fly, or that wishing for something makes it a “right.” You expose these false ideas for what they are: False and destructive.

The Book of Mormon is more applicable today than ever. It specifically, explicitly warns us of the situation we now face. 

And now I, Moroni, do not write the manner of their oaths and combinations, for it hath been made known unto me that they are had among all people; and they are had among the Lamanites. And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking, and also the destruction of the people of Nephi. And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints which shall be shed by them shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avengeth them not. 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. Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you, that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or woe be unto it because of the blood of them who have been slain, for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who build it up. (Ether 3:18 NC)

We have just completed an extraordinarily contentious election. An aged, fragile former vice president (and likely dementia patient) with a rather embarrassing record, who barely left his basement and spent many days with a complete press black out—and his socialist running mate who was so unpopular that she had to drop her presidential campaign before the first primary—are reported to have beaten the current president, who ran on an extremely strong record in many areas, and who ran a very active, vibrant campaign. The “popularity gap” between the candidates was massive and palpable as thousands and tens of thousands came to Trump rallies and spontaneous demonstrations, while the few Biden events were sparsely attended. 

On election night, all appearances showed Trump had an insurmountable lead in the states still in play, and would easily beat Biden. But overnight, things changed radically, and by the next morning, Biden appeared to have overcome nearly impossible deficits in multiple states for the win. The circumstances of the alleged win have been called into question due to an increasingly volume of evidence demonstrating widespread fraud and election tampering. 

The massive cabal of large news organizations, social media companies, and web search operators that exert a near strangle hold over the information we receive, has doubled down on the idea that the Biden win is a fait accompli, even calling him the “President Elect” when he is, by very definition, no such thing. The cabal uniformly and resolutely denies there is any evidence whatsoever of widespread fraud, which is an outright lie. They de-platform, de-emphasize, and slap warning labels on anyone who dares present a different opinion, including on those who actually do present evidence. 

In other words, if there actually WAS fraud involved in this election, they most certainly don’t want you or me to know about it. They are NOT interested in presenting the truth, whatever it may be. This concerns me greatly. This secret combination has taken such hold, they don’t even need to operate in secret any more. They proudly and openly proclaim their intent and bias. They know that if they control information, they can control the minds and hearts of the masses, thereby enslaving you and me to ignorance and submission. The secret combinations have indeed gotten above us. 

Believe it or not, my concern is NOT about a preference of Trump over Biden. That’s merely the stage upon which the disaster is playing out. No, the real concern is that in our republic, we elect representatives to represent our interests and preferences in law and governance. Voting is THE only meaningful way in which we can make our voices heard and affect our government. It is a sacred expression of our will and our freedom to govern ourselves. It is the way in which we tell the government what to do, and not the other way around. It is how the government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. It is why we are not (in theory, at least) governed by a permanent ruling class of elites who control us. Voting is our final, sacred bulwark against tyranny. Voting is what makes us citizens, not subjects or slaves.

Every American, in every situation, and with every political point of view should be alarmed, to say the least, at the evidence of fraud that continues to pour out. Whether your guy won or lost doesn’t matter. What matters is that if a cabal of crooks can change election results to their will, we have lost our Republic. America is over, and this grand experiment in self-government that has produced so much prosperity, beauty, liberty, and opportunity—the envy of the world—has come to an end. 

If the vote was tampered with, this is an attack against our nation, our values, our government, and our people. It is an attack against YOU. It is treason, and those who engaged in it should be tried for the crime of treason. 

The Book of Mormon anticipated such times as these. The venue has changed, but the issue remains the same. From the foundation of the world, the battle has raged over the cause of agency, and it continues to rage. If your freedom has been taken, or worse, willfully surrendered, the adversary of your soul has already won. 

Gratitude isn’t going to fix this. If we don’t awaken to a sense of our awful situation, destruction awaits. Repentance is our only hope. As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn, The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return.

And now behold, I say unto you, I fear exceedingly that the judgments of God will come upon this people because of their exceeding slothfulness, yea, even the slothfulness of our government and their exceeding great neglect towards their brethren, yea, towards those who have been slain. For were it not for the wickedness which first commenced at our head, we could have withstood our enemies, that they could have gained no power over us. Yea, had it not been for the war which broke out among ourselves, yea, were it not for those Kingmen who caused so much bloodshed among ourselves, yea, at the time we were contending among ourselves — if we had united our strength as we hitherto have done, yea, had it not been for the desire of power and authority which those Kingmen had over us, had they been true to the cause of our freedom and united with us, and gone forth against our enemies instead of taking up their swords against us, which was the cause of so much bloodshed among ourselves — yea, if we had gone forth against them in the strength of the Lord, we should have dispersed our enemies, for it would have been done according to the fulfilling of his word.

—Captain Moroni, Alma 27:7 NC

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Introductory Chapter

Rock Waterman, proprietor of the excellent Pure Mormonism blog, recently participated in an interview with Radio Free Mormon. In that interview, he spoke of a writing project he undertook with Brian Hales, which jogged my memory about the events, and also reminded me of the rest of the story. It turns out I was involved as well, and the outcome of it all may yet be useful. Here’s what I can add to the conversation:

Brian Hales contacted me through this blog in October 2017, looking for someone who could write a history of what he termed, “the Denver Snuffer movement,” together with an anthology looking at Denver’s teachings. His intent was to use the history as an opening chapter in an anthology of works by various authors critically addressing the movement. He felt that having an “insider” write the introduction would give the rest of the critical work credibility and appeal, as well as accuracy. He offered payment for the writing effort.

I didn’t have the time to take on the project, so I suggested he contact Rock Waterman, and I put the two of them in touch. Rock took on the project, and wrote several drafts, but in the end could not provide what Brian wanted, so in January 2018, Brian reached out to me again and asked if I would consider writing the chapter. I agreed to do so and finished my first draft in April of that year. After we had some back and forth about the content of the chapter, it turned out that like Rock, I was not able to provide what Brian wanted, so I withdrew from the project in May 2018. As far as I know the proposed anthology never got off the ground, but Brian predicted it would not be particularly relevant in a few years because he expected the movement would fizzle out on its own anyway.

I should stress that through it all, Brian was a gentleman and though we fundamentally disagree on a number of topics, most notably his treatment of Joseph Smith, our exchange was positive and professional.

So in the end, I was left with the unused fruits of my labor, consisting of a 17,500-word introduction to the Remnant Movement, written as the introductory chapter for a book. 

When I heard Rock’s interview, I thought the chapter might yet be useful, and since I’ve never done anything else with it, I’m posting it here. I believe that with some slight changes and updates, it may serve as a decent introduction to the Remnant movement for those who are curious, and perhaps also as somewhat of an abbreviated history. I’m open to ideas, so let me know what you think.

By way of context, keep in mind this was written in early 2018, so it is about two and a half years behind current history, and it was written as the introduction to a book that would otherwise be critical of the movement. Enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2020

Fundraiser for Chris Chandler's Life-saving Surgery

 My good friend Chris Chandler has a miraculous opportunity to receive a life-saving surgery for his very rare condition. A fundraiser has been organized to raise the money for the surgery. Please check out his GoFundMe page and help if you can. 

GoFundMe Page

Monday, October 12, 2020

Living Waters Retreat, Fall 2021

 I was asked by my fellowship to post the following announcement:


The Remnant Living Waters Retreat, Fall 2021

Save the date! The Boise Fellowship would like to announce that, back by popular demand, the Remnant Living Waters Retreat 2021 will take place again at Living Waters Ranch in Challis, Idaho from Sept 3-6, 2021 (Labor Day weekend). 

Though the official retreat activities will be scheduled beginning Friday evening and go through Monday morning, you are welcome to come any day before the 3rd and stay for however long you would like after the 6th. 

Please visit to see the various lodging options and call John at Living Waters Ranch at (208) 879-2888 to reserve your accommodations. There are also various RV, hotel and bed and breakfast options in Challis for those who would like to stay in town. 

Please email the Boise Fellowship with any retreat questions at:

More details to come!

Friday, October 9, 2020

Women's Retreat October 23-25

 I was asked to post the following announcement for the upcoming Women's retreat:

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Asia Regional Conference This Weekend!

I received the following note from the organizer of the Asia Regional Conference. For the record, this conference was originally planned for the spring, but had to be postponed due to Covid concerns. I was particularly disappointed because I had planned to attend in person. 

The conference is now virtual and slated for this weekend. It will be an amazing event and I'm looking forward to watching and learning. Remember, when it comes to conferences this weekend, you have a choice. 

Here's the link where you can learn about and watch the conference:

And here's the note I received:

Hello all-

As you know, we are planning for an Online Event this weekend to replace what should have been a live, Asia Regional Conference. 

At this point, I have received, edited, and subtitled each and every talk other than the several that will be given live. As I have done so, I have had the chance to listen to all of them a number of times. This has resulted in seeing the hand of God in the selection of topic, speakers, and in their messages. I only gave a brief overview of topic and purpose of the conference, and let them all go with what they wanted to deliver. It is amazing!

Thus, I have written the following, which I posted on the various sites and forums I am in:

Good morning, everyone...

Just a last minute reminder that the Asia Regional Conference Online Event will stream live from Japan this weekend. I'm sorry, I didn't realize it is LDS general conference weekend. We actually planned the conference as a live event, back in April, and timed it to start on the same day as Sukkot. As we converted to an online event, we left the date in place. So, if there is conflict, I apologize.

Also, although I know this will sound simply like a self-serving plug for the event, please read and understand the following very carefully.

I have now got all the talks and recordings edited, captioned and ready to go, except for those that will be live. As I have done this, it has become clear that the messages that will appear this weekend, if you will watch with an open mind and open heart, have the potential to literally change the world. It is my conviction that these messages contain everything we need to know to knit together as a people, and evolve into a community that might be invited to join the Lord's efforts to build Zion. I know there are those among us that would love to participate in a Zion community, and so, to all of you, I humbly ask, please clear your schedule, clear your hearts, clear your minds, and listen carefully to the 13 people that will speak to you this weekend (I don't include myself in that number, inasmuch as I have not yet had time to write my own message!). Also, as the sessions progress, please keep an eye out for the startling similarities amongst the various religions and beliefs that are discussed. It’s kind of amazing.

I hope you'll join us.


Monday, August 17, 2020

Fall Retreat Important Reminders

The Fall Retreat at Living Waters Ranch is only a few weeks away! The organizers have asked me to post several important reminders for all attendees. Please read through them below.

  1. Check-in begins at 1:00 PM on Friday, September 4th. If you have not booked or paid for your lodging yet, please do so immediately. Accommodations at the Ranch are almost full, but there are some bunkbeds and dry tent and RV camping sites left. Please go to to identify your lodging options.
  2. If you are planning to attend the Retreat, the organizers from the Boise Fellowship urge you to contact them before August 20th to let them know if you will be eating meals at the Ranch. The Ranch cooks have to travel many hours away to purchase the groceries necessary to prepare our meals for us, so if you have not made sure your party’s name is on the list, there will likely not be food for you. Please contact Lori Larsen at or 801-503-4747 to add your name to the list. Remember that payment for meals must be made IN CASH at the time of the meal. Exact change will be appreciated but not necessary. Meal times, menus, and purchase prices can be found on the Retreat website.
  3. There will be a Retreat Kickoff Meeting and Welcome Party on Friday night beginning at 7:00 PM. Important details about the weekend will be given at the meeting, so please attend if you can. If you are able, please bring an appetizer and/or drinks to the Welcome Party. We will have coolers available for drinks. (Please bring your own small coolers for alcoholic drinks you may wish to bring. There will not be a community cooler for alcohol since there will be many minors attending this event. Please drink responsibly, and share your drinks responsibly.)
  4. No pets are allowed at Living Waters Ranch. Please arrange care for your pets and do not bring them (even dogs) to the Retreat.
  5. Because Idaho law prohibits minors from partaking of alcohol, even for religious reasons, we are asking each family/group to bring their own wine and grape juice and administer it to their family members according to their age. Bread and cups will be provided.
  6. The average weather in Challis, Idaho in September is a high of 74 and a low of 41, so the weather will likely be variable. Plan to bring warm clothing, as it will always get cold as the evening progresses, but also bring t-shirts and shorts. Depending on where you are staying and in what type of accommodation, you will need to make sure you’re aware of what things you need to bring. Please note that if you’re staying in a bunkhouse or tent/RV, you will need to bring your own bedding and towels (shower houses are available). If you’re staying in a Living Waters Mini-Lodge, Chalet, Motel, or School of Ministry room, bedding and towels are provided. 
Here are other important items to bring with you:

  • Cash for Meals (meals MUST be reserved by August 20th with Lori Larsen)
  • Appetizer and/or drinks for the Friday Night Welcome Party
  • Wine and/or grape juice for your family/group for Sacrament on Sunday
  • Camp Chairs
  • Swimming Suits (hot springs nearby)
  • Hiking Boots/Tennis Shoes
  • Warm Clothing
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses/Hats
  • Bug Repellant
  • Snacks (remember, there are only 2 planned meals per day)
  • Pillows, Bedding, and Towels (if not provided in your lodging)
  • Camping Gear (if you’re staying in a tent)
  • Roasting Sticks
  • Games
  • Sports Equipment/Balls (baseballs, kickballs, etc)
  • Scriptures/Journals/Books
  • Guitars, Harmonicas, etc.

We look forward to seeing you soon! If you have additional questions, please visit the Retreat website at If you cannot find answers to your questions on the website, please fill out the form on the website, and the organizers will get back to you promptly.

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 

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