Sunday, September 29, 2013

Nature's Monument to The Prophet Joseph Smith?



                      A statue of Joseph and Emma Smith in downtown SLC.


By Lynn Arave

Does a likeness of Joseph Smith Jr., first president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, exist in the vast Millard County deseret, southwest of Delta?
Some believe so.
On a remote hillside in Utah's Sevier Desert, about four miles southwest of Deseret and some 17 miles southwest of Delta, rises a craggy volcanic outcrop. For almost seven decades, area residents and visitors have been attracted to the formation.
In it, they can discern the outlines of a man's features: head, brow, nose, mouth and even perhaps a high collar.
Welcome to the "Great Stone Face," or the "Guardian of Deseret," or "Keeper of the Desert." From a certain angle, notes the book "A History of Millard County," a 1999 entry in the Utah Centennial County History Series, "some see a resemblance to LDS Church founder Joseph Smith."
This remains a still seldom visited outdoor treasure for Mormons.
The Great Stone Face was originally called "Guardian of the Deseret" by Millard County newspapers during the 1920s, the era when it first claimed local fame as a tourist destination.
(Part of that reference is for the nearby town of Deseret.)
"Many Mormons see an uncanny resemblance of this naturally carved formation to profile pictures of church founder Joseph Smith," Millard County's official tourism site www.millardcounty.com reads.
Whether or not it is partly the power of suggestion, there definitely is a face to be spotted here in the rocks, though some may argue whose face.
Visitors have to decide that for themselves at the site, about 150 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.
The rock pillar sits some 150 feet above the Sevier Desert floor amid a field of lava rock and sagebrush, with a view to Notch Peak to the west.
A steep scramble along a 400-yard-long trail takes hikers to the base of the monument over loose rock. A rugged path, outlined by lava rocks, marks the way.
Indian petroglyphs dating back about 1,000 years are found in the general area just north of the Great Stone Face. These markings are now highlighted by a new sign.
--To reach this natural wonder, travel to Delta and then go southwest on U.S. 6/50 about five miles and turn south on state Route 257.
Then travel about six miles south on S.R. 257 to a signed turnoff to the west (right).
Go west on the gravel road and travel for almost six miles to the north edge of the black lava beds. The gravel road — passable by cars in dry weather, though there are washboard ruts in the road in places and three cattleguards to cross — loops around the west side of the hill and ends at a small parking area. There is no admission fee. 
The petroglyphs are located just a few hundred yards before the parking lot and feature their own sign.
These inscriptions were jokingly called the first edition of the Deseret News back in the 1920s and 1930s by Millard County newspapers.
Hike south up the hillside, looking for the dominant rock. Those who can't or don't want to hike can still see the Great Stone Face from a distance, best viewed with binoculars.
This is a moderately strenuous hike up the hill side.



(The accompanying photos show the Great Stone Face, as well as the petyroglyphs sign.)




The Great Stone Face formation was reported as early as Nov. 18, 1927, when the Millard County Chronicle reported a visit there by local Boy Scouts.
Even then, the connection to being a likeness of Joseph Smith was reported.
The Chronicle newspaper reported on April 7, 1938 that sunrise Easter Services were held at the Great Stone Face that year by the Hinckley and Deseret Wards of the LDS Church.


For more information on the Great Stone Face, go to:
http://www.millardcounty.com/places-to-see/great-stone-face.html
(Modified/expanded, but originally presented in the Deseret News,  May 13, 2010, by Lynn Arave.)

NOTE: This article and all of the NighUntoKolob blog are NOT an official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

'Nigh Unto Kolob' Book: LDS Doctrinal Clarifications



                   One of the best LDS Doctrinal Books ever.



By Lynn Arave
September 2013.

This is an A-Z Book, aimed at clarifying doctrines, that some members understand incorrectly in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that he didn't like to see a man called up for a mistake in doctrine. He stressed that it does not prove that a man is not a good man, if he makes a doctrinal mistake. (History of the Church 5:340).
Brigham Young taught a similar lesson and said an elder who corrects a speaker in public has "the sinking principle" -- attempting to push others down and make themselves appear better than they are.
Still, President Young also said you should pray that no one will remember the incorrect doctrine. (History of the Church 6:321).
The author of this on-line book does not profess to have a perfect knowledge of doctrine, or to be a party to any new revelation. He simply has done extensive research and this is what he found, that corrects what he has heard other church members teach, or believe in over the years.
All of us make doctrinal errors, being mortal and subject to imperfection.

(NOTE: This article and all of the NighUntoKolob blog are NOT an official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.They are the author's conclusions and opinions only.)


                            Another excellent LDS book for doctrine, with 3 volumes.



--A--
Animals can't sin, or repent

Although sometimes church members may believe in evil animals, Joseph Fielding Smith said animals cannot sin or repent because they have no conscience. ("Man His Origin and Destiny," Deseret Book, 1954/1973, pages 204-205.)
Logically, animals would require belief and baptism, if they were under the same obligations at man is.



Scriptural references of corruptible things being destroyed at the Second Coming of Christ (D&C 101:24) likely refer to changes from a telestial world to a terrestrial state.
Animals will be resurrected, though (D&C 77:3).


--B--

Bigfoot:
Sasquatch is Not Cain From the Bible



Whatever “Bigfoot” may be, and real or not, one thing is a clear scriptural fact – he is not Cain from the Biblical Book of Genesis. 
The scriptures simply prove Cain died thousands of years ago.
Anyone reading Genesis 4:15 should be able to realize that God did not make Cain immortal. Cain could be killed (since God warned  everyone not to kill Cain, or be cursed worse).
“And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.” (Genesis 4:15).
Unless God is a liar, Cain, though a son of perdition, could be killed and was therefore not translated, or given any special longevity.
Therefore, there’s no way then Cain could have survived old age or the flood.
And, Genesis 4:23-24 tells of Lamech, who killed an unidentified man.
“If Cain shall be avenged seven fold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.” (Genesis 4:24).
So, it is possible that Lamech may have actually killed Cain some time later, because first Lamech referenced the penalty for killing Cain and then said he felt his own death should carry a higher penalty than killing Cain did.
Any way you look at it, Cain is long since dead.
Some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints starting believing Cain to be Bigfoot (also called Sasquatch), in the winter of 1980, after there was a flurry of Bigfoot sightings in South Weber, Utah.
Those many, and high publicized sightings of Bigfoot, referenced with pages 127-128 of Spencer W. Kimball’s book, “Miracle of Forgiveness,” seemed to support Cain as Bigfoot.






“Miracle” states an account by Elder David W. Patten (one of the 

early apostles in Joseph Smith’s time) and his strange experience, 

where he met "a very remarkable person who had represented 

himself as being Cain"

Patten’s account states:
“As I was riding along the road on my mule I suddenly noticed a very strange personage walking beside me. … His head was about even with my shoulders as I sat in my saddle. He wore no clothing, but was covered with hair. His skin was very dark. I asked him where he dwelt and he replied that he had no home, that he was a wanderer in the earth and traveled to and fro. He said he was a very miserable creature, that he had earnestly sought death during his sojourn upon the earth, but that he could not die, and his mission was to destroy the souls of men. About the time he expressed himself thus, I rebuked him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, and commanded him to go hence, and he immediately departed out of my sight. …"
Elder Kimball offered no insight on the Elder Patten incident – he just threw it in his book, as a sort of odd tidbit.
Church members who have at best only done a casual reading of Genesis, could logically, yet erroneously conclude that Bigfoot must be Cain, once they know of Elder Patten’s incident.
And, no area of the world has more church members residing in it, than the populous Wasatch Front, where the 1980 Bigfoot sightings took place.
Plus, Cain as Bigfoot makes Bigfoot supernatural and conveniently explains why no one has been able to document or capture Bigfoot.
This Elder Patten tale is also not the only LDS tale of a possible encounter with Cain either. In the 1920s, E. Wesley Smith, mission president in Hawaii, described (in the "Papers of E. Wesley Smith" in the LDS Church Archives) being attacked by a large, hairy creature. He drove it off by the power of the priesthood. Later, when he described the attack to his brother, Joseph Fielding Smith, he was told it was Cain and was given a copy of the Patten encounter.

Since Cain died, he would have ended up in the spirit world, where 

all dead people go. Even Jesus Christ, the Son of God, himself 

went  there when he died. Christ left the spirit world after three 

days, being resurrected.

That’s the only way to exit the spirit world -- be resurrected too, so Cain would still be there – likely in the prison section of the Spirit World.
Why did David W. Patten’s visitor claim to be Cain?
Even the devils, the one-third of the host of heaven cast out for rebellion, recognize that Cain will be the supreme evil being one day. Having a body of flesh and bone one day through eventual resurrection will mean that Cain will rule over a body-less Satan. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 169.)
That’s because anyone with a body has power over a spirit. A spirit, like a devil, only has power over us as we permit it.
 Anyway, if a devil is going to impersonate the big shot of evil, that’s Cain.
Why did Joseph Fielding Smith tell his brother Cain had attacked him?
The then Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith knew of the Elder Patten account, but did not study the Cain situation through – he just assumed incorrectly it was Cain in both cases, as that’s such an easy, convenient answer.

Book of Mormon:

Joseph Smith Did Not Translate the Isaiah Portions of The Book of Mormon From Scratch

The Book of Mormon's Isaiah portions were translated differently than the rest of the sacred book.
In other words, Joseph Smith directly and divinely translated most of the Book of Mormon from the Gold Plates exactly as it was written by its ancient prophets.
However, the Biblical Isaiah portions were NOT translated in that manner.
Generally, the Prophet Joseph Smith used the King James portions of Isaiah, already in the Old Testament, to convey the original Book of Mormon message.  Exceptions were when the Prophet felt the existing Isaiah verses didn't accurately convey original meaning. (Source: Richard Lloyd Anderson, "By the God and Power of God," Ensign Magazine, September 1977, pages 84-85; and also "Mormon Doctrine," page 423).
However, that being said, the Book of Mormon is to be a "familiar voice" to its investigating readers (Isaiah 29:4/2 Nephi 26:16-17).
It thus can't be too overwhelming doctrinally explicit.\
So, some more drastic changes in the Isaiah texts were not made by Joseph Smith in the Book of Mormon, but were later made in the Inspired Version of the Bible (Compare I.V. Isaiah 50:5-7 with 2 Nephi 7:5-9; and also compare I.V. Isaiah 52:15 with 3 Nephi 20:45).
This does not make the Book of Mormon any less "true," as it is correct for its purpose to be a "familiar voice" and keystone of the LDS Faith.




The Book of Mormon Doesn't Really Begin with "I Nephi ..."

No, there were earlier books,  in the portions Martin Harris lost.The missing first book was "The Book of Lehi" and Mormon made abridgments from that book, as the Lord knew what would be lost in the future. ("Voice from Cumorah," The New Era Magazine, November 1974, page 17/"Book of Mormon Compendium," by Sidney B. Sperry, Bookcraft, 1968, page 44.)
 
--C--

Calling and Election
A Person Can Fall After having a Calling and Election Made Sure

Church members who incorrectly believe exaltation is absolutely guaranteed after a "Calling Election is Made Sure" rely on the common title of such an event, rather than doctrine.
The more correct term would be "Calling and Election Made More Sure," in line with "A more sure word of prophecy." (2 Peter 1:19, History of the Church, 5:389).
Joseph Smith taught (History of the Church 6:252-253) that a man can fall from grace after having a calling and election made -- if he commits unpardonable sins (denying the Holy Ghost or committing murder or adultery).
Further such doctrine is taught in History of the Church 5:291-292 and 6:81, 253.
Some lesser sins mean a judgment in the flesh will happen, followed by be turned over to the buffeting of Satan (D&C 20:32-33, 132:26-27).

Changes in the Church:

Some Church Programs Have Evolved Over the 

Years:

Changes in programs and policies for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have occurred periodically during its 180-plus -year history, as conditions, circumstances, technologies, membership numbers and needs changed. 
For example, meetings weren't always in a three-hour block; "fast day" wasn't always on Sunday; teachers and priests weren't always ordained at ages 14 and 16 respectively; missionaries didn't begin full-time service at age 19; and chapels didn't always include cultural halls.
Some of the changes are announced at general conferences such as the one taking place this weekend.
Among the many changes over the years:
Buildings — LDS chapels and classrooms, previously separate structures, were joined beginning in 1920 through the use of a cultural hall and foyer. During President David O. McKay's tenure in the 1950s, cultural halls were linked to chapels by sliding curtains.
Also, basketball courts were standard in new LDS Ward buildings by the mid 1940s.
Family Home Evening — This program was first announced in 1915 by the First Presidency. Monday became the designated night church-wide in 1970.
Fast Day — Starting in 1896, Fast Day was set on the first Sunday of the month, instead of the first Thursday.
Genealogy — Local wards and stakes begin to establish on-site genealogical facilities in 1964. The Genealogical Department was renamed the Family History Department in 1987. FamilySearch software was released by the church in 1990.
General authorities — The First Presidency announced a new leadership position, assistant to the Twelve, in 1941. Emeritus status came along in 1978. The Second Quorum of the Seventy was created in 1989. General authorities stopped serving on boards of directors for businesses starting in 1996. Area authority seventies were called beginning in 1995.
General conference — The twice-yearly meetings were shortened from three days to two days in 1977. Until then, conferences were planned to include April 6, the anniversary of the founding of the church. Conferences were sometimes held on non-consecutive days.
Home teaching — "Ward teaching" was replaced by home teaching starting in 1964.
Institute — The church's first Institute began in 1926, not at Brigham Young University, but at the University of Idaho.
MIA — The Mutual Improvement Association was revised and renamed Young Men and Young Women starting in 1974. (Young Women's Mutual program was originally called "The Young Ladies' Retrenchment Association.") "M-Men and Gleaners" groups started in 1921 to serve young people ages 17-23, and continued until 1974.
Meetings — The "block time" began in 1980, replacing separate priesthood/Sunday school meetings and separate sacrament meetings with a single section of continuous meetings. (Before the block time, priesthood and Sunday School meetings were held in the morning and church members came back in the evening for an approximately 90-minute sacrament service.) Semi-annual stake conferences replaced quarterly gatherings in 1979. A network of satellite dishes at stake centers was announced in 1981.
Missionaries — Married men were serving full-time missions as recently as the early 1950s. The first standard missionary discussions were issued in 1952. Returned missionaries stopped reporting to general authorities in 1953 and only reported thereafter to their home stake presidency and high council. In 1961, a language training mission was established at BYU. The age for young men to serve a full-time mission was lowered from 20 to 19 starting in the early 1960s. The Missionary Training Center in Provo, previously the Language Training Mission, started training all missionaries in 1978. Missionary service was reduced from two years to 18 months for a two-year period, 1982-1984. Costs for full-time missionary service were equalized in all missions starting in 1990.
In 2013, the missionary age for young men was dropped by one year to age 18 and it was also lowered for young women to age 19. Also, the social media began being used in some areas for missionary contacts, more so than the old traditional tracting, door-to-door approach.
Plural marriage — The "Manifesto" was adopted by the church in 1890, declaring that the church would obey the constitutional law of the land and cease plural marriage. In 1904, President Joseph F. Smith reaffirmed the 1890 Manifesto.
Priesthood — Worthy men of all races could receive the priesthood starting in 1978.
Priesthood advancement — The First Presidency formally adopted the ages of 12, 15, 18 and 21 as ages for deacon, teacher, priest and elder advancement starting in 1908. The age was reduced for teachers and priests to 14 and 16, respectively, beginning in 1954, and the age for elders was lowered to 19 at about the same time. Seventies quorums in stakes throughout the church were discontinued in 1986.
Primary — Presiding officers of the Primary were called presidents, rather than "superintendents," starting in 1942.
Records — The presiding bishopric began keeping master membership records in 1941, eliminating the need for personal membership certificates. A computerized system for recording contributions went into effect in 1970. All membership records were computerized worldwide by 1991.
Relief Society — All women were automatically enrolled in the program and dues were eliminated as of 1971.
Sacrament service — The tradition of passing the sacrament to the presiding authority first began in 1946. Drip-proof sacrament trays first appeared in the late 1950s.
Student wards — The first appeared at BYU in 1956 and the practice expanded to other universities. By the 2010s, some "Mid Singles" wards were also operating.
Tithing/contributions — This practice of paying a 10th of one's increase was re-emphasized by President Lorenzo Snow in 1899. In 1908, the church discontinued "tithing script" and moved to an all-cash system. Meetinghouse construction costs were shifted to general church funds in 1982, ending local building fund campaigns. Stakes and wards no longer have budget assessments, starting in 1989.
Welfare — The church began its first formal welfare program to help the needy in 1936.

(Sources: Deseret Morning News Church Almanac, Mormon Encyclopedia, Desert Morning News archives.)

(-Updated, but originally published in the Deseret News, Oct. 3, 2006.)


Some Church Titles/Names Changed Over Time:

 The organization, magazine and business names within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have changed over the years.
For example, today there is the Young Women organization. But it wasn't always so. The group started as the Young Ladies' Relief Society. It was also referred to as the Young Ladies' Retrenchment Association, the Young Ladies' National Mutual Improvement Association, the Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Association and the Aaronic Priesthood MIA Young Women — all before today's title.
Today's Primary groups — nursery, Sunbeams, CTRs and Valiants — used to have a variety of nicknames.
Here's a partial list of some of the names and abbreviations previously used in the church:
A.C.M.I. — The Arizona Co-operative Mercantile Institution, the title for a short-lived Arizona version of ZCMI.
Beacons — This was a short-lived title for 8-year-olds in the primary, starting in 1953.
Bluebirds — These were 10- and 11-year-old girls, starting in the 1926 Primary organization. Later, they were just the 10-year-olds.
Children's Friend — Original name of The Friend, a church magazine for young children, from 1902 to 1970.
Co—Pilots — This was the title for Primary 7-year-olds in 1952.
Deseret Sunday School Union — Original name of the church's Sunday School program.
Firelights — In 1960, this was the 10-year-old Primary girls.
Gaynotes — The 9-year-old Primary girls in 1959 used this title, as part of the revised Liahonas (Little Homemakers) girls program.
Junior Sunday School — A standard church program for about 50 years, starting in 1933.
Juvenile Instructor
— The official publication of the church's Sunday School, from 1866 to 1930. The name was simplified to Instructor, until it ceased publication in 1970.
Improvement Era — The original name of today's Ensign magazine, from 1897 to 1970. There was also a Relief Society Magazine, from 1914 to 1970.
Larks — Primary girls, age 9, used this name in 1929.
Lihomas— This was an umbrella title for all older Primary girls in 1940.
M-Men and Gleaners — Young men and young women departments in the church's MIA program, for ages 17-23, that began in 1921.
Merrihands — Eleven-year-old girls in 1959 were called Merrihands.
Merry Misses — What 9-year-old Primary girls were once called.
Mi-kan—wees — Starting in 1929, this was the name for 12- and 13-year-old girls
Moonbeams —A past nickname for Sunbeams, the youngest Primary class.
Rainbows
— A former name for 6-year-old Primary children.
Stars — What 4- and 5-year-old primary children were nicknamed.
Seagulls — Use of the name began in 1922 for 12-and 13-year-old girls. Later, the Seagulls were 11-year-old girls.
Targeteers — A past nickname for 8-year-olds in the Primary.
Trekkers — Previous name for 10-year-old Primary boys.
Vanguards —
Part of the YMMIA program for boys, ages 15-16, from 1928 to 1933, until the Boy Scouts began an Explorers program and the church adopted that.
Ward teaching —
Original title for today's home teaching, until 1964.
Zion's Boys
and Zion's Girls — These were the 7- and 8-year-olds starting in 1928. They were also known as Zeebees and Zeegees for some 20 years.
SOURCES: www.lds.org/churchhistory; Deseret News Archives; 2008 Church Almanac; and Wikipedia.

(-Originally published in the Deseret News, Jan. 24, 2008, By Lynn Arave.)




Christ:

Jesus Christ is Also the Savior of Other Earths

Jesus Christ was born in mortality on our Earth and also died here, but he is also the Savior of other Earths as well.
Joseph Smith talked about other Earths and of  their inhabitants being savcd by the same truths and saving powers as we are (Millennial Star 4:49-55; Times and Seasons 4:82-83).
D&C 76:23-24 explains that Christ created other worlds and all the inhabitants are brothers and sisters unto God.
In addition, Elder Bruce R. McConkie stated that the Atonement of Christ is infinite and that it applies to an infinite number of earths ("Mormon Doctrine," page 65).
However, ours is the wickedest earth of them all (see Moses 7:36) and the Jews were the only people who would crucify Christ (see 2 Nephi 10:3).


Creation:
Life Was Simply Transplanted Here

Sometimes man loves to complicate things.
Take the creation of the Earth for example. You've got all those evolution theories and even so-called scientific principles out there, claiming humans only came about after millions of years of natural evolution on this planet.
Baloney. If you believe in God and the Gospel, why accept such ideas?
Science at one time wrongly believed the earth was flat and the center of the universe. One day, all mankind will see how simple it was that life came to be on earth….
(Now creating the planet and preparing the earth to receive life is another matter and a much more complicated process.)
If you believe Brigham Young (Deseret News April 30,1856, Journal of Discourses 3:319; 7:285) and Joseph Fielding Smith (Answers of Gospel Questions 5:170-171; "Man, His Origin and Destiny," Deseret Book, pages 276-277) ) said -- man (Adam) came to Earth directly out of Heavenly Father's presence.


The "dust of the earth" references are purely symbolic.
Thus, essentially mankind was transplanted, as was all life. No need for evolution. All creatures on earth already existed elsewhere.
Brigham Young once taught that God the Father created Adam and Eve by births in the pre-mortal realm. They were his direct off spring (Deseret News May 7, 1862; J.D. 11:122; 9:282).
At another time, President Young said God the Father has a dual capacity for procreation (Deseret News Sept. 4, 1872; J.D. 15:137, 9:283).
This means that God the Father can produce spirit children (like we were) when he desires and that seems to be mostly what he does.
However, when he wants to start a new earth, he creates a man that is more like him -- flesh and bone.
This means these children are not immortal or resurrected, but rather "unmortal," (as President J.F.S. said in the Church Section of the Deseret News on March 2, 1935). Adam and Eve would have lived forever, if they had not partaken of the forbidden fruit.
But they made themselves mortal and that's how we eventually came to be.
Simple isn't it?
We are literally God's children on two levels. The only "evolution" required was for Adam and Eve to choose to make themselves mortal.

The Temple's Endowment Ceremony Account of the Creation is Not the Same as Accounts in the Standard Works 

Anyone who has received their own endowment and studied the Standard Works will know this is true.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie at one time acknowledged that there were differences and said the reasons why will be apparent to regular temple attenders. (Ensign Magazine June 1982, p. 11).

Eve was Not Actually Created From Adam's Rib

All statements to the contrary are purely symbolic and figurative, according to Elder Bruce R. McConkie. ("Mormon Doctrine," page 242.)


Crosses:

When Crosses Were OK Among Latter-day Saints

The photograph below, dated 1946, is of the entire Ray and Lida Rigby Family from Grace, Idaho.
Maurine Rigby in the lower right of the picture, is wearing a large cross.
This supports the idea that Mormons wearing crosses before the 1950s was OK and not frowned upon.
It was the 1950s when apparently both wearing crosses and having facial hair began to be shunned in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
(We're talking church policy here, not necessarily doctrine, in both practices.)
Wearing a cross in the LDS Church today is practically viewed as evil. Church leaders, and in some stakes even just an ordinary church member, having facial hair today is frowned on.
However, realize that it wasn't always that way for both practices.
Realize that a cross symbol is NOT evil. It is mentioned a lot in the Bible as a symbol of the Saints back then.
Now, this article is not recommending that Mormons wear crosses. Ideally, the ideal symbol to wear might be an empty sepulchure (tomb), instead of a cross, to celebrate the resurrection and an empty grave, instead of just the death of Jesus Christ.


It is doubtful Joseph Smith ever saw a cross on a church in his day, as Protestant churches didn't adopt the cross as a symbol until the decades after his death. Initially, Protestant churches viewed the cross as purely Catholic, something they wanted to stay away from.
-There's also some "lip" service to the cross in the LDS Church. For example, the Christian song in the LDS Hymn book, page, 250, "We are all Enlisted," states in its second verse: "Rally round the standard of the cross."

--E--

Earth:
This Is The Wickedest Earth

Read Moses chapter 7 and you realize there are other earths out there, maybe even some in a similar existence of mortal probation like our earth right now.
Our earth is the wickedest of all earths (Moses 7:36), but what would these other, less wicked earths be like?
Intriguing possibilities for thought and perhaps the basis for a good LDS novel some day.
Likely these other earths are much more boring in many respects than ours.
They may have never had a world war, invented nuclear weapons or have a preoccupation with TV shows and movies either.
If our earth really contains both the wickedest and the most righteous souls of all, as a balance, then are these other earths more average?
Our earth is certainly a low end telestial world these days and yet these other earths are more terrestrial level status.
They may have had more scientific development than we have in some areas, not opting to go weapons development crazy. Murder might be rare on these other earths.
Also, church members might be the norm there, at least as widespread as Catholicism is on our earth. That could perhaps foster a kind of Utah "zion curtain" kind of atmosphere globally on these other earths.
How would it feel as Saints, to be the majority and not minority?
Here are some other thoughts on what these other earths might be like:
1. It is doubtful there would be a Las Vegas on other earths, or much gambling.
2. There are probably no X-rated movies or much porn on the Internet.
3. There's likely a continual prohibition of alcohol drinking and to consume it there is probably in the league of cocaine usage on our earth.
4. Men likely far out number women in the workforce. Many more women are housewives, and as such, there is less unemployment.
5. Travel may be powered by something other than fossil fuel. People on other earths are likely far more proactive in regards to pollution and have less accent on economic gain. Homes are generally smaller and more modest.
Jesus Christ was crucified on our earth and these other earths logically must know that and of our existence, because only here were there wicked enough people to kill him.



In all, they probably lack some of the extremes our earth has. These other earths aren't perfect, but a full step up from our earth. Something to ponder ....

Eternal Progreession:

Male and Females Will Not Exist in All the Degrees of Glory

Male and females will only exist in the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom.
Joseph Fielding Smith said all the powers of procreation will only exist in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom, meaning only males and females exist there.
Everywhere else, there will be sexless beings. ("Doctrines of Salvation," Bookcraft, 1955, 2:73, 288.).
This correlates with D&C 131:1-4 that states only residents in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom can be married and procreate.

There is No Progression from Kingdom to Kingdom in the Eternities.

Some church members falsely believe that eternal progression in the three degrees of glory is along the same tracks.
So, if if start in the Telestial Kingdom, eons later, you will be where the Celestial Kingdom dwellers started, though they have now moved further ahead proportionally.
However, Joseph Fielding Smith said this concept is false, because Celestial progression is unlimited and progression is limited in the other two kingdoms. ("Doctrines of Salvation, Bookcraft, 1955, 2:31-32.) Progression in the kingdoms is along different tracks.
Furthermore, D&C 76:109, 112 states that Telestial kingdom dwellers can never go where God and Christ dwell.
In addition, Spencer W. Kimball stated also that there is no advancement from kingdom to kingdom ("Miracle of Forgiveness," Bookcraft, 1969, 243-244.)


--F--
Forgiveness:
Christ Has Yet To Forgive All

Erroneous doctrine is still taught at times in LDS church meetings.
Here is perhaps the No. 1, that just doesn't seem to go away:
  "Father, forgive them: for they know not what they do .. (Luke 23:34).
I couldn't count how many times I have heard this scripture erroneously used in Sacrament talks and lessons on forgiveness, to support always forgiving everyone unconditionally.
Doctrinal fact: Jesus Christ wasn't forgiving everyone at the crucifixion by saying this.
Joseph Smith added to the verse through the Inspired Version of the Bible: "(Meaning the soldiers who crucified him)".
Christ has yet to forgive all. He only forgave the soldiers who were acting under military orders ...
And, yes we are required to forgive everyone D&C 64:8-11), but Luke 23:34 is NOT a scripture for universal forgiveness.

--G--
Genealogy:

No one can currently trace their ancestry back to Adam and Eve

According to Robert C. Gunderson of the LDS Genealogical Department, tracing one's ancestry back to Adam is currently impossible.
In fact, he stated that anything back to 450 A.D. is also not 
verifiable. (Ensign Magazine, Feb. 1984, page 31.)
The scriptures teach that we should not give heed to endless genealogies (1 Timothy 1:4).
Also, the "myth" that a church member can trace their ancestry back to Adam likely comes from an incorrect report in the Nov. 21, 1931 LDS Church News section, page 4, that talked about President Heber J. Grant's genealogy going all the way back to Adam.


Ghosts:
Ghosts Are Real -- They are Just Not The Dead

Like the Bigfoot and UFO phenomenon, there is certainly something out there that could be characterized as ghosts or spirits.
However, in LDS doctrine, these can't possibly be deceased people. Ghosts as the world calls them, are simply demons, the hosts of Satan, looking to deceive man.
These demons have spent since the time of Adam watching the earth and its mortal residents. Some could easily impersonate a dead person, since they might have observed/tempted that person throughout much of their life.



Elder Bruce R. McConkie agrees in his book "Mormon Doctrine," that ghost appearances are probably of devils, not former mortal residents of earth. These devils have never had a body.
When any person dies, they do not linger around us. They go straight to the spirit world, a separate dimension from us. The spirit world is divided into a paradise for the righteous and a hell for the wicked.
Some righteous people might temporarily and for a good purpose be able to show up in an earthly person's dream or vision, but the plan of salvation would be flawed to let either good or evil people linger around earth after their death.
Worse yet is if they could haunt a place for years or come back whenever they felt like it, but they can't.
What do these devils have to gain by impersonating deceased persons? By so doing, they can draw people away from divine sources and make them think that séances and spirit contacting can lead to revelation. They may even tell people some true things, but their true objective is to lead us away from God.
Why pray to God for guidance, if you can contact the dead and take their more exacting and enticing advice?
The Bible calls contacting the dead "spiritualism" and that it is an offense to God (Leviticus 19:31 and 1 Samuel 28). It is a form of sorcery and has no basis in the gospel.
The dead cannot be contacted by any means from this earth. They are separate from the world. Rare and brief dreams/visions by worthy family members are the only cases where the dead would return and then only briefly and one-time.
If some people would spend as much effort trying to gain true revelation as they do contact the so-called dead, they would likely exalt themselves.
And, the only ones who can really contact the dead are other dead people. Church members and believers in the spirit do missionary work the majority of the time there. The good are busy with that, while others are too busy repenting or being in torment to return to earth, even if they could, which they can't.
As a sidelight, no one except God or inspired persons can read a person's thoughts (D&C 6:16). Devils can't read our thoughts. They can put thoughts or temptations in our minds, though.


Guns Are Not Evil




How about guns and the Gospel, or guns and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
Of course, there is no official church policy, or stand on guns. That is left to the individual member. Gun control, or not, the church itself isn’t likely to take a stand on this controversial, yet timely  issue.
You can read the advice from some church leaders and the scriptures below and decide more on the issue for yourself ….
 Like most things though, guns themselves are not evil. They are tools and can be used for good, or for evil.
“Show me one principle that has originated by the power of the devil. You cannot do it.  I call evil inverted good, or a correct principle made an evil use of,” Brigham Young stated on May 6, 1855 (Journal of Discourses 3:157).
So, the Lord probably doesn’t care if we have guns or not, simply that we use them for good purposes -- and wisely.
Joseph Smith’s general inclination was that carrying a gun was not necessary.
Still, what follows are some of the Prophet’s thoughts on the guns – in context – (as many only quote  a line or two from this discourse and thus miss its overall message ):

“The Ancient Prophets declared that in the last days 

the God of heaven should set up a Kingdom which 

should never be destroyed, nor left to other people; 

and the very time that was calculated on,  this people 

were struggling to bring it out. He that arms himself 

with gun, sword, or pistol except in the defense of 

truth, will sometimes be sorry for it. I never carry any 

weapon with me bigger than my penknife. When I 

was dragged before the cannon and muskets in 

Missouri, I was unarmed. God will always protect me 

until my mission is fulfilled.


“I calculate to be one of the instruments of setting up 

the kingdom of Daniel, by the word of the Lord, and I 

intend to lay a foundation that will revolutionize the 

whole world.  I once offered my life to the Missouri 

Mob as a sacrifice for my people, and here I am.  It 

will not be by sword or gun that this kingdom will roll 

on: the power of truth is such that all nations will be 

under the necessity of obeying the Gospel. The 

prediction is that army will be against army; it may be 

that the Saints will have to beat their ploughs into 

swords, for it will not do for men to sit down patiently 

and see their children destroyed.”(History of the 

Church 6:364-365, May 12, 1844. Also quoted in 

“Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith 365-366).





We have to remember too, that Joseph Smith had 

armed bodyguards around him often. He also started 

the Nauvoo Legion – a group of armed men.


On November 29, 1843, Joseph Smith confessed that 

he had softened his earlier stance on self- defense 

with guns:


“Said he (Joseph Smith) rose to make a confession, 

that he used all his influence to prevent the brethren 

from fighting when mobbed in Missouri. If I did 

wrong, I will not do so any more. It was a suggestion 

of the head. He would never do so again; but when 

the mobs come upon you, kill them. I never will 

restrain you again, will go and help you.” (History of 

the Church 6:93-94).


In addition, the Prophet was offered a smuggled-in 

gun in Carthage jail on June 27, 1844 by Cyrus H. 

Wheelock (who also wrote the words to the hymn, 

"Ye Elders of Israel")

the Prophet reiterated again his distaste for guns, yet 

took it and tried to protect himself and others from 

the mob. (History of the Church 6:607-608).


In fact, one account in History of the Church states 

that Joseph Smith fired that gun six times, although it 

misfired several times. (History of the Church 6:617-

618).

An account cited by historian B.H. Roberts in History 

of Church (who prepared six volumes of that series), 

indicates that Joseph Smith fired four shots and 

brought down an attacking man every time during his 

final stand at Carthage. (History of the Church 6:XLI).


Brigham Young later said the Joseph Smith wounded 

three of his assailants in that attack on Carthage Jail, 

where he died. (History of the Church 7:31).



Almost a century after Joseph Smith’s martyrdom and 

just before the outbreak of World War II, J. Reuben 

Clark, Jr., First Counselor, First Presidency, stated in 

General Conference, April 1941:


“We believe in peace. We are the devoted followers of the 

Prince of Peace. We abhor war, save in the actual defense 

of our homes, our families, our liberties. For we remember 

that when Peter struck off with his sword the ear of Malchus, 

the servant of the High Priest, the Lord said: ‘All they that 

take the sword shall perish with the sword.’ (Matthew 26:52) 

The Lord made no exceptions to his law. History has made 

none.”

The Nephites in the Book of Mormon often had to defend 

themselves from the Lamanites. They used swords and 

arrows, but that’s that era’s equivalent of guns.


The church has also encouraged young men in the past to 

support the draft, enter the military and defend their country 

and their freedom with guns and other weapons.


So, the Lord appears to condone guns for self-defense only. 

And. like anything, owning guns can be taken to an 

unhealthy, fanatical level, where a person may lose balance 

and elevate guns above most everything else in life.


What about hunting with guns (or hunting animals period)?


An official statement released from the Church Public 

Communications office in 1979, and approved by President 

Spencer W. Kimball, said the decision to fish or hunt is left 

to the discretion of the individual. It stated that the church is 

only against the unnecessary and wasteful slaughter of 

animals, not against hunting itself.

“And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth 

flesh and has no need.” (Doctrine and Covenants 49:21).


“And surely, blood shall not be shed, only for meat, to save 

your lives; and the blood of every beast will I require at your 

hands.” (Joseph Smith’s Inspired Translation, Genesis 9:11).


In the long term perspective, all guns and weapons of war 

will be destroyed, or converted to useful tools during the 

Millennium and Jesus Christ’s 1,000-year reign of peace 

(Isaiah 2:3-4). But the earth has to become a Terrestrial 

world first, for that to be the directive.

As long as the earth is in its Telestial state, it would appear 
that guns and other weapons are necessary to protect lives and freedom.

--H--

Hymns:

It's 'Nigh," Not 'Hie' Unto Kolob




OK, my eyebrows raise when I see the title of a song in the LDS Hymn book, "Hie unto Kolob." (page 284).
Its title is simply NOT doctrinally correct.
(Some LDS artwork is not doctrinally correct either, so this should come as no real surprise.)
Based on the Book of Abraham 3:1-4, 9, the song takes an incorrect title.
"Hie" is not "Nigh."
"Hie" in Old English means "to quickly, hasten, hurry," according to Webster's Dictionary. "Hie" is NOT found in the Book of Abraham.
"Nigh" means "nearly, almost," according to Webster. "Nigh" is found in the Book of Abraham.
"And thus there shall be the reckoning of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob, which Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord's time; which Kolob is set nigh unto the throne of God, to govern all those planets which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest."  (Abraham 3:9).
That's what the scriptures states, "nigh" twice.

Brother Phelps may have aided the Prophet Joseph Smith in the translation of the Book of Abraham, but he indirectly helps to perpetuate an incorrect belief among LDS Church members today.
Phelp's song essentially says to hurry to Kolob, as if Kolob is the eternal goal of church members.
The problem is that I feel that most church members incorrectly believe Kolob is WHERE God actually dwells.
In fact, Kolob is simply the name of a great star that is NEAREST where God dwells (Abraham 3:3) and not actually the place where God dwells.
(We are given no specific name as to God's residence, except perhaps highest level of the Celestial Kingdom.)
I feel Abraham chapter 3 is more than an astronomy lesson.
The Lord is saying to draw near unto him, like Kolob is.
And, anyone who strives for eternal perfection -- required for becoming like God -- knows you can't hurry, or hasten that process. It take time and goes precept by precept.
Also, a man CAN'T be perfect in this life. (Jesus Christ was the only perfect person to have ever lived on Earth.) So, the Lord may also be implying to become as "nearly, almost" as perfect as you can in this life -- thus coming nigh unto Kolob.
That's my two cents on that subject.

--In another beef about an LDS hymn, a second song is "Come,Come, Ye Saints" (LDS Hymns Pages 30 and 326.)
A key phrase in that rousing Mormon pioneer rendition is "All is well, all is well."
Why is that particular phrase in that song?
Had the hymn's writer, William Clayton, not read the Book of Mormon enough or what?
"Wo be unto him that crieth All is well!" (2 Nephi 28:25).
Was Clayton oblivious to that verse or what?
Why did he have to use the phrase exactly as mentioned in the Book of Mormon in the hymn?
Clayton's original name for the hymn was actually "All is Well," later changed to "Come, Come, Ye Saints." So, at least that's one improvement in the song over the years and likely evidence that I'm NOT the only church member to have a problem with the "all is well" phrase.
Now I'm not saying for things NOT to well with the Mormon Pioneers, early church members,or even today's Saints.
Clayton COULD HAVE used a different word, instead of "well" in the song.
"All is clear"; "all is serene"; "all is great"; or "all is best" could have been possible substitutes.
Normally, as in "nigh unto Kolob," it may be best to quote scripture, but not when it is clearly a negative, as with 2 Nephi 28:25.
--There is already a precedent for doctrinal changes in LDS Hymns. "I am a Child of God" had a one word change from "know" to "do," after a suggestion by then Apostle Spencer W. Kimball.
--I discussed doctrinal problems with the two hymns talked about above with a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He figures it was all in the smoother kind of wording as to why the songs came out the way they did. 
NOTE: The LDS realm of arts, music and artwork, isn't always strictly doctrinally correct and may not have to be.
There's a "correct for its purpose" doctrine in the LDS Church and the arts probably fall under that umbrella of liberty.
While some hymns may not be strictly doctrinally correct, they can still elevate a congregation spiritually.
In the art realm, the Statues of the Angel Moroni commonly found may or may not be accurate likenesses of Moroni himself, but they still stand for much truth and are powerful symbols of the restoration of the Gospel.
The world of arts often takes certain liberties, it has to, to even be created.
Songs aren't necessarily written to be doctrinal essays and probably should not be analyzed as such. They are rousing musical renditions to honor God and evoke his Spirit. That is their purpose. Absolute correct doctrine in a hymn is a priority much further down the line of importance ... but it is still always good to know correct doctrine.


--I--

Infinity
Clarifying The Infinite and The Impossible

There are two myths commonly believed among LDS Church members regard infinity and impossible.
God can do anything and he has infinite creations, right?
Yes and no.
God's creations are infinite to us, but they are numbered to him!
God can do anything that's possible and right, but not just anything.
"For behold there are many worlds that has passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them." (Moses 1:35).
This likely means that man could not count God's creations during a lifetime, they have a set number still and are not infinite in the true sense, though they will continue to expand forever.
God can do the impossible to us, heal, restore life, etc. However, despite what Mark 9:23 says about all things being possible to God, or he who believes, that verse was not translated correctly.
Joseph Smith's Inspired Version restored that verse in Mark to say that we can do anything God says we can do. Not that God or we can do anything and everything.
God doesn't and can't create something from nothing. He reorganizes existing material; works within his perfect understanding of natural law -- but can't break those laws himself.
God also won't force us to obey his laws or do anything contrary to the Gospel principles.
This isn't an attempt bring God down to our level. He certainly can do things we consider impossible. He's light years advanced of man, but God himself was once a man like we are now and therein lies our hope of slowly advancing, precept by precept to be more like him.

No 'Big Bang' ever happened: God, Man and the Universe has no beginning, no end.

Eternity is forever and we, as mortals, cannot grasp that endless concept.
Whenever I try to ponder eternity, my mind rebels and lets me know it can't comprehend that idea.



However, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught: "That which has a beginning will surely have an end, take a ring, it is without beginning or end -- cut it for a beginning place and at the same time you have made an ending place ... so it is with God." ("Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 181.)
Thus, there has always been a God.
Our God, the Father, has his own Father and so forth backward into eternity. There is a plurality of endless Gods.
There's no "Big bang" needed here -- that's man's cop out for understanding.
Somehow, a "God" has always existed. If not, there will be an end.
The universe has always been here in some degree.
Joseph Smith also stated that "God himself could not create himself." And, he stated that the spirit of man has always existed.
(Joseph Smith Teachings, page 354.)
Somehow God can stop light and create matter. Since he can likely also produce endless light, there's endless matter around. He just adds "intelligences," when needed to the mix, to create life, though there may be life to some degree in all matter.

--J--

Journal of Discourses: Accurately Under-rated




The Journal of Discourses is not some shady, unreliable source of doctrine.
Put in context with an early, doctrinally evolving church, the "J.D." is not something to be shunned, or ignored, but rather embraced.
Sure, there are some speculative and opinion kinds of doctrines found within its 26 volumes, but then there was no Correlation Committee back then either!
Talks were often impromptu in the 1800s.
The Journal of Discourses are generally under-rated and yet offer glimpses of pioneer life in Utah and reveal what doctrines the church leaders and members at the time of the mid-19th Century were wrestling with.




In recent years, occasionally, an official church manual has quoted from the Journal of Discourses.
Now to be accurate, all the J.D. is are re-prints of talks by church leaders as originally published in the Deseret News.
(A game played in many past church manuals would be that instead of listing the more easily found Journal of Discourses as a reference, the actual Deseret News reference would be cited instead, as if that was more accurate ... when it was the same thing.)
Scribes, or clerks, (like George D. Watt), tried to write down the talks of leaders, like Brigham Young, and they were printed in the Deseret News for a wider, regional church audience to read.
The 26 volumes of Journal of Discourses compiled many of those talks. It was Brother Watt who received clearance from the First Presidency to publish the Journals, mainly as a way to provide him income, but also to send these talks overseas, to church members in Great Britain.



A comparison of many of the key Journal of Discourse talks, particularly those by Brigham Young, with the Deseret News and found no disagreement between the two.
However, once in a while noticed that Brigham Young would come back a week later in the Deseret News and state he thought he was misquoted, or didn't make a point clear the talk prior and then he would briefly try to clarify or correct it.
 Those "corrections/clarifications" are NOT included in the Journal of Discourses, however.



Today's church leaders have found it wise to not speculate like their 19th Century counterparts did in the Deseret News/Journal of Discourses.
But anyone who takes a shot at the accuracy of the Journal of Discourses is also taking a swing at the accuracy of the Deseret News.
No newspaper, even today, is free from errors, but even the opinion pages in newspapers spur thought and reflection.
So, keep reading the Ensign and General Conference Ensigns, today's counterpart for the old Journal of Discourses.
Yet, if you have the time, you will not regret reading the Journal of Discourses, for the doctrinal rewards they offer.



--M--

Millennium:

What Will the Millennium Be Like?

The Millennium is the promised 1,000 years of peace, where wickedness will vanish and Christ will reign upon the Earth.
The Earth returns to Garden of Eden conditions and guns, for one thing, won't exist for long in the Millennium!
Scripture/doctrinal searching and extrapolating, here are some probable changes I suggest MAY COME in life and the earth during that 10 century period:
--Farming will be the universal trade. Families will ONLY eat what they grow (Isaiah 65:18-23), but then with Garden of Eden conditions (no weeds, perfect weather), that shouldn't be a problem, as everyone will be green thumbed!
But this also means that there may be no urban areas anymore. People will live on small farms or have gardens very nearby.
Sprinklers and irrigation may cease to exist. Weeding and fertilizers will not exist either. There will be no deserts (D&C 133:29).
--Temple work will be the other predominant profession. Only those still mortal can do temple work, but resurrected beings will return to provide exact family ancestries. Errors in past temple work will be corrected. Adjustments in the eternal marriages of some will undoubtedly be done.
--Pornography, risqué paintings, movies, videos and the like will all be destroyed. (Every corruptible thing will be consumed, D&C 101:24). How much of your video/book collection will survive? The Las Vegas Strip will likely go up in flames, but there will be new scripture to read from the Lost 10 Tribes. Weapons of war will be made into tools (Micah 4:3).
--Meat eating will not exist. Fast food will be gone. Animals, like lions and tigers, will presumably become vegetarians and will lay down with sheep in peace. Isaiah 11:7 states that the lion shall eat straw, like the ox. There is some sort of physical change here, where everything from bears to man will no longer need or have a desire to be carnivorous. Hunting will no longer be a sport or allowed and guns will be unnecessary. What purpose lions, tigers and the like will have then is unknown .. Will they become large pets? Cows can give milk; sheep wool, but snakes? Death will be in the twinkling of an eye, followed by a resurrection of likely all people and animals.


--There will be no disease. People will live to 100 years old and then die and be resurrected in the twinkling of an eye (Isaiah 65:20, D&C 101:29-31). No CDC will be needed. No immunizations will be needed and the common cold will be "cured."
--Boat travel may no be necessary. All land will be brought together to one single mass, even islands cease to stand alone. (D&C 133:23). The City of Enoch will return and may rest in the Gulf of Mexico, if you believe some theories.
--There may not be any mountains or valleys (Isaiah 40:14, Doctrines of Salvation 2:316). That means skiing or snowboarding or snow may cease to exist. There may just be a continual summer season, no winter or fall for sure.
--The skies will change. The very earth, or maybe solar system, will move nearer the Kolob realm, thus changing most constellations in the sky. But you may not see stars anyway, because it may be light 24 hours a day (Zechariah 14:6-7).
--Professions that will likely cease to exist: butchers, cattle ranchers; zookeepers; fishermen; gunsmiths; policemen; soldier; attorney; reporter (at least investigative); dentist; many doctors; psychologist; loan officer, lobbyists, spy, king/queen/dictator; mortician; grave digger; salesman; weatherman, English or Spanish teacher; plumber.
--The government will be a theocracy, with Christ as the head. No more democracy.
--Animals may be able to communicate with man. After all, the serpent spoke in the Garden of Eden.
--People will really rest on the Sabbath.
--There will be no Aaronic Priesthood. (D&C 13).
--There will initially be those of other, non-LDS faiths on the earth, though all must accept the truth by the Millennium's end (History of the Church 5:212).
--There will only be one language spoken — the Adam Language (Zeph 3:9). Perhaps the veil will be lifted enough for everyone's original language to return.
--A continual resurrection will take place, where those in the spirit world who accept the truth and are worthy are brought forth. (D&C 88:99).
--Prayers will be answered quickly (D&C 101:27).
--I'm unclear on transportation and what will exist. There's no way polluting gasoline-powered vehicles will remain, but what?
--How many homes, buildings will there? With security and perfect climate and no darkness, some may be unnecessary. (There were apparently no structures in the Garden of Eden!) Will there be bathrooms? The usual bodily waste may not be part of a terrestrial body. Fat and baldness may vanish as well.
--It is also very likely that alcohol will NOT exist in the millennium, after Jesus Christ returns to the Earth and the planet is transformed to Terrestrial ("Garden of Eden")conditions.
alcohol is currently the world's most used, abused and dangerous drug and it is sad for the so many people who all but center their lives around its use -- at least socially.
So, those who rely on alcohol had better be prepared for a total lack of the drug after the Second Coming.
(The consumpion of alcohol is against the Mormon Church's Word of Wisdom doctrine.)
In the Garden of Eden, there appeared to be no decay and so it is really doubtful that the fermenting process will exist then in a Terrestrial type of world.
Alcohol is simply a telestial world substance.
So, the ultimate and eternal prohibition is coming!
Remember too: The Second Coming is NOT the end of the world. It is the end of the wicked and the end of wicked practices.

Christ and Other Resurrected Beings will Not 'Live' on the Earth During the Millennium

The Earth will only be a Terrestrial world during the Millennium.
As such, Jesus Christ and other resurrected beings -- Celestial Dwellers -- will only visit the Earth, as needed, to govern and administer to it. They will not reside here.
Joseph Smith taught this in History of Church 5:212.


Missionaries:

Full-time Missionaries and NO Swimming

 WHY are full-time missionaries in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints NOT allowed to go swimming?
 The myth is that it is because "Satan has power over the water."
I asked an 18-year-old young man in the church, who was soon leaving on a full-time mission, about the "why" and the Satan reason is what he had been taught.
  Who is teaching young people this incorrect doctrinal reason? Seminary teachers? Sunday School instructors? Both?
While it is true that ALL missionaries cannot go swimming, I have different reasons why and I believe they hold up far better than the Satan reason.
  The Satan reason is based on Doctrine and Covenants section 61, particularly verse 19, where Satan (the Destroyer) is seen in a vision riding with power upon the waters.
(Joseph Smith and 10 Elders of the church were traveling in canoes down the Missouri River when this revelation was received.)
  This D&C section also addresses missionaries for the church, that they are to go two-by-two and prepare for the Second Coming.
  Nowhere does it say that missionaries should not go swimming.
In fact, verse 6 states that "all flesh is in mine hand, and he that is faithful among you shall not perish by the waters."
  If anything, verse 5 states that the Lord has decreed in anger many destructions upon the waters -- especially "these waters"  (the Missouri River).
  Verse 16 is the key verse in Section 61: "And it shall be said in days to come that none is able to go up to the land of Zion upon the waters, but he that is upright in heart."
  That's clearly a prophecy for the future.
--Anyway, I have a copy of the official "Missionary's Hand Book" of the LDS Church from 1946, by President Heber J. Grant.
  On page 27 it states, "Mixed swimming should be avoided."
 That's all it states about swimming. Swimming was allowed by missionaries in 1946, just not with females.
  The prohibition against missionaries and swimming came about later, probably in the 1950s.
In some missions today, like the Hawaii Mission, mission rules clearly state that the mission's boundaries end where the sand of a beach begins.
However, in other missions, like Oregon, I've met full-time missionaries proselyting at the beach and so all mission rules regarding that must not be the same.
So, it is policy, not doctrine why full-time missionaries are not supposed to go swimming.


-Notwithstanding, the 1946 Missionary Handbook also quoted the late President Joseph F. Smith (who died in 1918): "It is not a good thing, neither is it at all wise, for our elders to go out on excursions on dangerous lakes, or streams, or bodies of water, just for fun. They had better stay away. The Lord will protect them in the discharge of their duties."
Thus, missionaries by an early 20th Century admonition, were advised to not run rivers or take any pleasure boating excursions on any "dangerous" bodies of water.

 I believe the true reasons why missionaries can't swim today are two-fold:
1. A rise in immodest bathing suits, starting in the 1950s. (So, it may really be about "Satan having power over the swimsuit designers!")
If missionaries can't swim, they generally won't go near the beaches and see the immodest sunbathers.
2. An increase in missionaries drownings -- particularly in foreign lands. Elders preach in far away nations and on time off, may spot a neat little island at the edge of the ocean, and think they should try and swim there.
Not knowing local dangers or currents, a significant number of missionaries have drowned in such situations of ignorance.
 (I've attended several funerals over the years of Elders from Utah who drowned in foreign lands in accidents, caused by ignorance of local water dangers.)
  
 If Satan truly had all power over water, he could control our bodies (mostly water), or drown a new member during a baptism.
 Now Satan does (or will have in the Last Days) have some special power over rivers and oceans, as D&C 61 states.
  However, swimming pools are safe (though immodest apparel can be there too), but again a blanket rule against ALL swimming was applied decades ago to all missionaries, certainly because of immodest apparel concerns and accident dangers more than anything about Satan's power over water.
 In conclusion: The context of D&C 61 focuses on TRAVEL upon the water, by boat (not swimming or water recreation). So, until there's a travel advisory for missionaries, or church members, about boat travel, I'm not buying the "Satan has power over the water" myth as to why missionaries can't swim.
Some Church members need to question such prevalent myths, rather than instantly buy into them, or perpetuate them further.
-Pure obedience-wise, ALL full-time missionaries may not go swimming because that's been the inspired rule for many decades.

Myths:

Correcting 28 Different Gospel Myths

Here are more than two dozen gospel myths some LDS Church members commonly believe erroneously:


1. Adam and Eve were placed on earth during sixth day of the creation. 
False. D&C 77:12 clearly states it was on the SEVENTH DAY for their arrival.

2. Jesus Christ did not baptize anyone while he was in mortality. 
False. According to John 4:3 in Joseph Smith's Inspired Version of the Bible, Christ did baptize some converts, though not as many as his disciples did.

3. Joseph Smith never ordained a successor to himself. 
He did. He ordained Hyrum Smith, though Hyrum would not leave his side and was also killed. See History of the Church 6:546.

4. Joseph Smith did NOT defend himself at his last stand in Carthage Jail.
He did do so. He had a pistol and one account said he shot 4 times and brought a man down every time. See History of the Church 6:607-608 and 6:617-618. Brigham Young later said Joseph Smith wounded 3 of his assailants (HC 7:31).

5. "They were called home." That's a common LDS funeral statement.
However, how can you go home to where you've never been before and to where it is only a temporary residence -- the spirit world?

6. Hypnotism for entertainment is OK.
No, the official church policy states: "The use of hypnosis under professional supervision for the treatment of diseases or mental disorders is a question to be determined by competent medical authorities. Church members should not participate in hypnosis for the purposes of demonstrations for entertainment." (See Deseret News Nov. 6, 1999).


                                              Salt Lake City.

7. Salt Lake City will be the wickedest city in the world in the last days.
 False. Heber C. Kimball said it would "classed among the wicked cities of the world." (Deseret News May 23, 1931.)

8. The U.S. Constitution will hang by a thread in the last days and church will save it.
 There is no first hand account of how Joseph Smith said this -- it is all recollections only. The best version is perhaps by Elder Orson Hyde, who said if it is to be saved at all, the Elders of the church will save it. Not that it has to be saved necessarily. See Deseret News Jan. 13, 1858, or Journal of Discourses 6:152.

9. Three wisemen visited the baby Jesus in the manger. 
False. Three is just the traditional belief. The scriptures do NOT mention an exact number.

10. John the Baptist is the "least" in the kingdom of God. 
False. Even though it states that in Matthew 11:11. Joseph Smith taught that what the Savior was really teaching here was: "He that is considered the least among you is greater than John the Baptist and that is I myself." (See "Teachings of Joseph Smith," pages 275-276.)

11. "Talents" mentioned in the New Testament are abilities.
False, they are money. Just see any Biblical footnote and D&C 60:2-3 and D&C 82:18.

12. Simon Peter only wanted to cut off a high priest's ear trying to defend Jesus Christ. 
No, according to Heber C. Kimball, Peter tried to kill the priest, but missed and only took off his ear. (See Deseret News, Dec. 2, 1857.

13. We should be wise as serpents. (Matthew 10:16). 
Fasle. Joseph Smith's Inspired Version of the Bible corrected this reference to say "wise servants." Makes more sense, since the serpent was the ONLY creature Satan could control in the Garden of Eden. (But D&C 111:11 still uses the term "wise as serpents" and so that must still be correct in certain usages.)

14. Christ taught that some wicked men at the judgment bar he won't know, even though they prophesied and cast out devils in his name (Matthew 7:21-23.)

 False, Joseph Smith's Inspired Version rewrote the verse to clarify that it is such men who didn't ever really know Christ.

15. Women were not to speak in churches in Christ's time (1 Corinthians 14:33).
 False. Joseph Smith's Inspired of the Bible states that women were not to RULE in the church. Thus, they could speak, but not hold the priesthood.

16. The Book of Abraham, Book of Moses and Genesis comprise THREE different versions of the creation of the world. Technically false. The Book of Moses is simply an extraction from the Genesis in Joseph Smith's Inspired Version. It supercedes that source.

17. Joseph Smith saw his late brother, father. Mother and Abraham and Adam already in the Celestial Kingdom.
False, this was a vision of the future. See "Answers to Gospel Questions 1:48 or Church News Jan. 5, 1937, p. 7.


                                            Corrected painting

18. Christ will be dressed in white at the Second Coming.
 False, he will be wearing red. See D&C 133:45-51.



19. You can't repent in the spirit world.
False, you can, but it is more difficult. See D&C 45:17 and "The Vision," where Elder Melvin J. Ballard said in a talk in the Ogden Tabernacle on Sept. 22, 1922, that it is 10 times harder to repent in the spirit world.

20. Cain and Abel were Adam and Eve's first children.
 False. The world's first earthly parents had earlier children who did not obey the Commandments of God ("God's Greatest Goft," by Elder Theodore M. Tuttle, Deseret Book, 1976, page 62/Also see Moses 5:12-16).

21. Noah and his family were the only righteous people saved from the Great Flood. 
False. Other righteous people were saved and taken away with the City of Enoch. Noah and his family remained to perpetuate the human race on Earth ("The Signs of the Times," by Joseph Fielding Smith, Deseret Book, 1952, pages 6-7.)

22. The Law of Moses stated that witches should be put to death. 
False. The Inspired Version, by Joseph Smith, stated the correct verse in the Law of Moses, stating that murderers should not be permitted to live. (I.V. Exodus 22:18).

23. All books in the Bible are Inspired Scripture.
False. Joseph Smith stated that the Songs of Solomon book is not inspired scripture, in his Inspired Version of the Bible.

24. The New Testament contains the "Gospels" of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
False. Joseph Smith's Inspired version of the Bible replaced "Gospel" with "Testimony." Hence, it is the "Testimony" of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

25. When Satan tempted Jesus Christ, he lifted him up to a high mountain top.
False. According to the Inspired Version, "The Spirit" lifted Christ up, not Satan (I.V. Luke 4:1-2).

26. Christ spoke in parables so the simple, common person could understand gospel teachings.
False. Christ spoke in parables in order to hide the true meaning of teachings from the unworthy. Parables meant only the spiritually enlightened listener could understand his sermons. (I.V. Matthew 13:12, 21:35/"Mormon Doctrine," by Bruce R. McConkie, Bookcraft, 1966, page 553.)

27. Jesus didn't want Mary to touch him, shortly after his resurrection.
False. He didn't want Mary to "hold" (or detain him), according to the Inspired Version, John 20:17.

28. The New Testament mentions a "Holy Kiss."
False. The Inspired Version changed it to the correct meaning, a "Holy Salutation" (gesture or utterance as a greeting). I.V. Romans 16:16.


-=-P--

Priesthood:

--It is a 'shame' if women Seek to Hold the 


Priesthood:


There's a very small, but vocal group of women in the LDS 

Church who seek to actually hold the priesthood of God, 

like men do.

These priesthood seeking women are simply in the wrong 

church. 

This isn't about the rights of women.

This is about eternal roles of gender and church doctrine.

There's a reason why Mother in Heaven does not interact 

directly in the affairs of her children on Earth. She does not 

give revelation to her children either, at least on Earth.

Faithful women will hold power in the eternities, but that's 

not in their Earthly roles. 

There is church policy and there is doctrine. It was only 

policy that Black men did not hold the priesthood until 1978. 

It is doctrine that women do not hold the priesthood. Policy 

can change. Doctrine cannot. 

Joseph Smith revised 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 in his Inspired 

Translation to state that women are not permitted to rule in 

the church (revised from speak in the church). 

Verse 35 also states it would be a shame if  women were to 

rule in the church. That's what these priesthood seeking 

women are in Biblical terms, a shame.

Some of these women have apparently received their 

temple endowments, though they did not learn what 

was really taught there, nor what they agreed to in 

accepting their endowment.

These women may claim to be faithful and active, but their 

actions speak otherwise.


These women seem to think that because other churches 

have given women their "priesthood," that the LDS Church 

would and should do the same.

The LDS Church is different -- and the only true and 

living church on the planet --  and that's why this will 

NEVER happen.


--R--


Rainbows: Still A Modern Sign From 


Heaven


Spot a rainbow after a rainstorm or by a waterfall and you will usually simply be amazed by its simple beauty.
Scientifically speaking, a rainbow is an optical/meteorological phenomenon, where a spectrum of light appears in the air when the sun shines into droplets of moisture in the atmosphere.
No mystery here. It is a cause and effect event.
But rainbows are one of the greatest earthly signs that God has ever used to convey his promises.
After the Biblical Great Flood, God declared the rainbow to be a sign that he would never flood the Earth again (Genesis 9:11-17).
Now whether the rainbow made its first appearance then, or if God simply said the rainbow, an existing phenomenon, would be his sign, I don't know.
Anyway, the rainbow is one of the simplest and easiest to spot signs of the impending end of the world ("end of the wicked") in the last days.
Joseph Smith taught:
"The inhabitants of the earth are asleep; they know not the day of their visitation. The Lord hath set the bow in the cloud for a sign that while it shall be seen, seed time and harvest, summer and winter shall not fail; but when it shall disappear, woe to that generation, for behold the end cometh quickly." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith," page 305.)
Also by Joseph Smith:
"I have asked of the Lord concerning His coming; and while asking the Lord, He gave a sign and said, "In the days of Noah I set a bow in the heavens as a sign and token that in any year that the bow should be seen the Lord would not come; but there should be seed time and harvest during that year: but whenever you see the bow withdrawn, it shall be a token that there shall be famine, pestilence, and great distress among the nations, and that the coming of the Messiah is not far distant." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith," page 340.)
So, the year you do not see the rainbow, the end of the world is not far away.
How could rainbows disappear? God withdrew all light for three days following the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (3 Nephi 8:21) and while that seems scientifically impossible, it happened.
Perhaps, there's some scientific law he will use to prohibit rainbows.
Otherwise, if there was enough fog, smoke, and/or haze around, that might prevent rainbows from being seen.
Still, it is not a matter of how God is going to withhold the rainbows, simply that he will do it.


(The photograph above is Arches National Park, a picture by Elizabeth Arave Hafen.)




Revelation:

What Personal Revelation Isn't:



Too many LDS Church members don't understand the 

Gospel, or what personal revelation is.

It is "personal" -- for you and your family only -- kind of 

revelation, not usually to be shared with the world at large, 

or you are casting your pearls before swine.

(Matthew 7:6)

Case in point is a church member wrote a 

book centered around when he claimed he saw God.

I argue the man didn't really see God or he wouldn't be 

sharing this experience all over the place.


Joseph Smith was a lone exception in this dispensation to 

seeing God and going full scale public.

Do you hear today's Apostles telling of such visits by God? 

No, you don't and I say God isn't going to show 

himself to someone if they are going to make it full scale 

public.

Furthermore, ALL these people making such claims of divine 

visits have a personal agenda.

Take another church member. He was visited by an angel of 

light on a California beach, who told him to go tell President 

David O. McKay that he was wrong.

The man did exactly that.

This other man who wrote the recent book about seeing 

God had an agenda too -- he believes the church's leaders 

have gone astray. If that isn't apostasy, then what is?

Too many active church members read only the Book of 

Mormon over and over again and don't really understand 

the Gospel, or they would know you don't cast your pearls 

before swine and how to tell apostasy -- by their fruits ye 

shall know them.

Only the prophet receives revelation for the entire church.

-And, there are some others in the church who also 

currently claim personal revelations of the last days to come 

and claim to have seen "visions."


Again, the fact that these members post personal 

revelations all over the Internet -- again casting pearls 

before swine at the least -- prove their claims carry no 

validity.

Brigham Young said God does not reveal any secrets to 

those who cannot keep a secret. (Journal of Discourses 

4:287-288.)




JUDGE Not and here's why ...

We should not judge others and here’s the TRUE reason why ….
Matthew 7:1-5 states:
“Judge not, that ye be not judged.
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
The TRUE reason is not only do we not know ALL the circumstances and intent of why someone did, or didn’t do something apparently what we may see as wrong or a sin – but ALL of God’s commandments are much less rigid than most believe.
Right and wrong depend on circumstances, usually ones man can't see.

Consider this blockbuster teaching from Joseph Smith: 
 “That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another. God said, 'Thou shalt not kill'; at another time He said, 'Thou shalt utterly destroy.' This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted—by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire.” (From “Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 256, Deseret Book,  1979.)

                            Statue of Joseph and Emma Smith.
This is clearly one of Joseph Smith’s greatest ever teachings.
I think there is not one single one of the Ten Commandments that doesn’t have EXCEPTIONS to be righteously transgressed, either from events of Saints in the Standards Works, or in LDS Church History.
Of course, the key is having divine revelation to ever break them righteously! Joseph Smith’s teaching are NOT an excuse to break commandments, but clearly outline that we must have revelation if we are to always try and do right.
Right and wrong are not black and white and are more shaded than we imagine. That's the ultimate reason why we should not judge others ....
Personal revelation is one of the keys to a righteous life.







--S--

Science:




Don't Rely on Science to Support Your Testimony:

Any members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint who look to man's "science" to support, or foster their faith is looking at the wrong source.
The same goes for history and historical evidence.
The Lord didn't make it easy.
 If man's science, or history, proved every thing, or even most Gospel teachings as correct, where would we be showing our faith? Why, there would be no need for faith at all then.
 Science and faith, as well as history and faith, will always be at odds in a Telestial world. That's how it is. That's how the Lord crafted his mortal testing ground.
You've got to have faith to foster your testimony.
 So what if DNA evidence doesn't support the Lamanites' existence; or if supposedly the Spanish brought horses to the New World, etc., etc.
(Also, regarding DNA -- man has made great strides with DNA, but he CANNOT see spiritual DNA. Man's is half spirit and half physical body and so half his DNA is actually spiritual, something not factored into any scientific process and meaning the whole DNA concept is partially flawed.)
Science today is NOT nearly advanced as man in general believes it to be.
There are likely loads of so-called scientific "facts" man has that will go out the window in a nano-second once the Millennium reveals hidden truths.
 Man DOESN'T find out ANYTHING unless God lets him.
 Some of the entire thinking of science is based on incorrect principles -- such as leaving out the existence of God in virtually ever scientific fact.
 Also, the Standard Works teach that the entire Planet Earth is one huge living thing on its own.  (D&C 88:25-26, Journal of Discourses 1:281-282, Doctrines of Salvation 1:72.)
Know any scientist who will support that Gospel truth?
Yet, that one universal Gospel truth that the entire planet is one gigantic singular being is enough to shatter the foundations of a multitude of so-called scientific facts man has.
Man is still in the stone age in science, as far as true science is concerned ...
There ultimately is no conflict between true science and true religion, but that conflict is essential to the test of a Telestial World.
Historical conflicts with the church fall into the same category.
How many wives did Joseph Smith have and why? That's between him and the Lord. If his number of wives and/or the why of it ruins your testimony, then your so-called testimony is based on facts and the world, and not on faith and spiritual power.Anyone who goes inactive, or leaves the LDS Church over some seemingly scientific or historical conflict is going to be so embarrassed one day about such silly behavior that they will want to hide under a rock from God -- and will feel like they are in a personal "hell." 

Sin:
All Tragedy and Suffering Is Not Caused by Man's Sins

As in the case of Job is the Old Testament, it is perhaps too easy to connect all tragedy and suffering with sin.
However, President Boyd K. Packer said that we attach all tragedy and suffering to sin, then how do we explain the suffering of Jesus Christ? (Ensign Magazine, August 1976, page 70).



GLOBAL WARMING IS MORE ABOUT GLOBAL SINNING THAN GREENHOUSE EMISSIONS 

WHILE I do not doubt that the planet is getting warming and that climate change is increasing, my reasons why are not the usual, standard scientific answers -- mine go far beyond pollution and gas emissions by mankind.

I believe that increasing sin and permissiveness are the main reasons behind strange weather, warmer temperatures and even perhaps more earthquake activity.

Doctrine in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints portrays the entire planet Earth as one giant living entity. (D&C 88:25-26). The Earth even has a spirit and at least some intelligence.
LDS Church Scriptures state that the Earth is groaning under the weight of sin by mankind.
Doctrine and Covenants section 123, verse 7 states:
"The whole earth groans under the weight of its (mankind's) iniquity."

The Doctrine and Covenants Section 88, verse 25 states:
"The earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law—."

(Find me one scientist who incorporates these Scriptures into any scientific understanding of the Earth itself!)

It is mankind who is imperfect and sins and there is more sin on Earth now than ever before -- even in the days of Noah before the Great Flood.
Yes, man's pollution is partially contributing to warmer temperatures and weather problems, but sin is the primary factor as the Earth itself is obviously not happy with man's lack of obedience to a Celestial Law -- likely even being physically sickened by this iniquity that is at an all-time high.
Most of mankind fails to see or even recognize the spiritual side to his own existence (and that of the Earth itself) and as such is not privy to the true secrets of the universe and science.
The Earth itself is destined to be the Celestial Kingdom in the future and so it is sacred ground, to be treated with respect. 

Spirit World:
A Look At The Spirit World

What comes after death is perhaps man's greatest mystery.
What does happen immediately after death?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is blessed with a wealth of revelations on that subject, whereas most of the world must rely on the near death experiences of various people for their sketchy information.
First of all, ALL people who die end up immediately in the spirit world. That's an absolute, unless someone is instantly resurrected in the twinkling of an eye.
Second, where is the spirit world?
According to Brigham Young (Deseret News Aug. 27, 1856) and Parley P. Pratt, is it simply on earth.
Elder Pratt said it is in the inward, spiritual realm, invisible to mortals. He said the veil exisits to separate the two (From his "Key of the Science of Theology" book).
Today, we would probably envision the spirit world as occupying the same space, but being in a different dimension from the physical world.
Notwithstanding, it is often stated by church members in obituary notices or funeral talks that he or she "was called home."
Why is the spirit world "home"? It is not anyone's permanent realm and no one who has not died has ever been there before.
(Saying someone has "transferred" or "graduated" from life would be more accurate terms.)




"The Vision," compiled by N.B. Lundwall in 1945 is probably the best overall source for information on the spirit world, outside the standard works.
D&C 138 is another must read to grasp the spirit world.
There is an instant judgment once you arrive in the spirit world. If you are wicked, you will be in misery and separated from the good people.
Joy and gladness dominates the attitudes of the faithful, while the opposite engulfs the evil.
The righteous church members are very soon after arrival called to preach the gospel. They meet with immediate family briefly first.
Righteous inhabitants there are organized into families.
The spirit world is also organized into two parts, paradise, for the righteous and hell for the wicked (Alma 40:11-14).
There is some intermingling going on but it is sin and false traditions that imprison people there, according to Elder Bruce R. McConkie in Mormon Doctrine.
There could easily be one billion plus inhabitants of the spirit world and that's a lot of people to teach. An increasing number of people are being added now as the world has more residents and thus more daily deaths.
Proportionally, church members who can teach the gospel there is likely very small compared to total residents.
Now that teaching concept brings up the issue of one of the most common myths about the spirit world -- that our knowledge of life before birth is instantly restored after death.
That is simply not true. Think about this, if it were true, why would people in the spirit world need to be taught the basics of the gospel, for they knew all this in the pre-earth life and even chose to come to earth to be tested?
Elder Melvin J. Ballard, an apostle from 1919-1939 taught that the dead don't know any more when they die then they did alive, except that they have now passed through the process of death.
A popular church video production, "Man's Search for Happiness," contains the error that knowledge of life before birth will be restored after death. Yes, it will eventually be restored, but not immediately. Such restoration is probably based on worthiness.
He said there is no shortcut to hearing the gospel -- you hear it from the elders in this life or the next, or not at all.
If you refused to hear the message on earth, it is likely you will not want to hear it there either.
Elder McConkie also said that the same attitudes, knowledge, habits, etc. a person has are all carried to the spirit world.
Joseph Fielding Smith also taught that residents of the spirit world can exercise both faith and repentance. (Church News section of the Deseret News, Jan. 5, 1935, p. 7.)
Indeed, Elder Ballard said it is 10 times harder to repent in the spirit world, because we lack our body, a more moldable element.
That's the limiting atmosphere of the spirit world, the "bondage" and absence of not having a physical body (see D&C 45:15, 138:50). We came to earth to receive a body and without it, we are not a complete soul (D&C 88:15).
We likely speak the same language in the spirit world and so perhaps the same language skills we had in the pre-earth life are restored to us.
What about age in the spirit world?
All spirit world residents are adults (Joseph Fielding Smith, "Answers to Gospel Questions," 1:60). Even those who died as babes are adult in appearance, though visions of deceased persons may make them appear as about the age when a person last saw them on earth.
Can spirit world residents see us? Brigham Young said so, but I can't believe that's always true or they would be too distracted, concerned or entertained over what we do to do much else in the spirit world.
Certainly when a person's temple work is being done, or perhaps even during a person's funeral, they may tarry nearby and see our world, but a regular and anytime-I-want-to-see-the-earth option seems far too distracting for the work to continue there.
The patriarchal blessing of a few mentions some church members having a gift to see through the veil at times.
What does the spirit world look like? An account in "The Vision" of near death experience by a church member describes it as much more beautiful than our current earth.
It contains incredible looking gardens/flowers and very well-constructed buildings.
If it does cover the entire earth space, it would be huge in size.




(The above photograph is of a unusual sculpture in a St. George, Utah funeral home. One of my uncles, Harold Rigby, took the picture. Although it is NOT totally correct in LDS doctrine -- since Christ does not meet a deceased person in the spirit world -- it does show the age transformation of going through the veil.)

The Evil dead cannot return to Earth:

There's mention of "unclean spirits" in the New Testament (Mark chapter 5, Luke 11:24 are two examples).
How are these different from "evil spirits"? I'm not sure of that.
However, I am certain that "unclean spirits" are NOT any of the evil dead who have returned to earth.
Yes, the spirit world may also be on earth, but it is in a different dimension.
Also, when an evil (or unclean) person dies, they are in spirit PRISON.
A prison denotes confinement, being bound. So, how does an evil person die and return to haunt their house, or possess the body of a living person? They don't. 
(Yes, men may sometimes escape from the prisons of men, but I'm sure God's prison is escape-proof ...)
Repentance is the only possible means of escape from spirit prison.
On the other hand, the one-third of the host of heaven who were cast out in the pre-earth life for rebellion are loose all over earth, tempting us and are eager to possess even in a swine's body for a brief time.
These evil spirits have watched the lives of people, so they can impersonate them, perhaps even mimic their appearance.
If the righteous dead can only interact with mortals on very special occasions, then why can the evil dead run loose on earth? No, that's not consistent with an orderly plan of God.
(Such a scenario also unbalances the "temptation equation," if the evil dead have such power ... and the righteous dead do not.)
When Ted Bundy or Hitler died, they went to spirit prison and are confined there, tormented by their own heavy weight of sins. They are NOT roaming about the planet tempting, impersonating or possessing anyone.
Yet, I don't doubt that those 1/3rd of the host of Heaven cast out are eager to impersonate Hitler or Bundy to fool, confuse and further torment, afflict and lead mortals away from the truth of the Gospel.
So, it is looking more as if "unclean spirits" and "evil spirits" are pretty much the same -- both of the 1/3rd of the host of heaven who were cast out. The Biblical translation is confusing at the least in that regard.

--T--

Temple Work:

Resurrected Beings Will Not Return in the Millennium to Do Their Own Temple Work

According to Joseph Fielding Smith, resurrected beings cannot do their own temple work. 
Temple work is something only worthy mortals can do.
If it were not so, why are we trying so hard now to do our ancestors' temple work?
However, resurrected beings may return to the Earth with new information on ancestry, to assist in the work indirectly ("Doctrines of Salvation," Bookcraft 1955, 2:178).


                                                                    Original pencil drawing by Steve Arave.



Children Are Not Actually Sealed To Their Parents, But Rather Through Them

Many church members appear to incorrectly believe that they will have their children in the eternities -- that their children are sealed to them.
In the ultimate sense, according to Joseph Fielding Smith, (Doctrines of Salvation," Bookcraft, 1955, 2:173-176) a child is sealed into the "Family of God," into one unbroken chain that will stretch back to Adam.
Children are more sealed through their parents, not to them.
Only husband and wife are sealed together.
Just like in this life, our children eventually have their own spouse and move away to create their own new family.
Surely our earthly children will enjoy an extra special connection and relationship with us, but only husband and wife are sealed together for eternity. 

Ten Tribes:
The Lost Ten Tribes Are an Unknown, but Separate and Distinct Group of People

Some church members incorrectly believe that the Lost Ten Tribes are Russians, or some other group of Earth-bound people.
However, Elder James E. Talmage taught they the Lost Ten Tibes are hidden away and an unknown body of people ("Articles of Faith," Deseret News Press, 1968, page 340).
Joseph Smith taught that these tribes reside in some unknown region of the north (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith," Deseret Book, 1976, Page 85).



Time:
Time, Relativity and The Gospel

Albert Einstein's created a "theory" of relativity, but to God much of it is not a theory, it is practical way God does important things.
For example, the time and space inversion component of the theory of relativity, that component clearly in God's realm.
For example, look at Facsimile No. 2, the Figure one explanation from the Book of Abraham and you find this startling material: "Kolob, signifying the first creation, nearest to the Celestial, or the residence of God. First in government, the last pertaining to the measurement of time.The measurement according to celestial time, which CELESTIAL TIME SIGNIFIES ONE DAY TO A CUBIT. One day in Kolob is equal to a thousand years, according to the measurement of this earth ..."
Interchanging a day (time) with a cubit (physical measurement)  is time/space inversion. (And this scripture was written long before Einstein came along.)
To God then, does time becomes a short physical measurement -- one step or less?
Perhaps.
Also, the above verse states one day in Kolob equals a thousand years on earth.
Does that mean that the theory of relativity's time dilation effect is used by God to better serve his purposes? Does it mean that no one in the Pre-Earth life waits more more than a week to be born, because time is moving faster on Earth?
If so, Some may have waited perhaps waited just 30 minutes in the Celestial realm to be born after their mother was born.



If Kolob is traveling near the speed of light, time moves much more slowly there than on Earth. Thus, our earthly test can be done in a fraction of time and it is not just h
--Now this isn't the first to touch on this subject - the book, "Science and Mormonism" did.
Also, the church's last general patriarch, Emeritus Patriarch Eldred G. Smith, talked about time dilation and and our time in mortality in his April 1966 General Conference talk, "Can You Abide Two Hours?" (Improvement Era, June 1966, pp. 512-513.
-If you would like to read Patriarch Smith's talk, go to:
http://scriptures.byu.edu/gettalk.php?ID=1461

Tithing: A Church Member Can't Be A 'Part-Tithe' Payer

Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a part-tithe payer. 
On the financial reports of the church, there are full-tithe payers and then all others make a donation to the church.
A member is either a full tithe payer, or they are "non-tithe" payers and make a donation to the church.
D&C 85:3-5 states that the true membership roll of the church only includes full tithe payers.
Tithing is so important, in fact, that according to D&C 64:23, it is a principle than alone can elevate a member to Terrestial status enough so to avoid being burned at the Second Coming.



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LDS TRIVIA:

Fascinating LDS Church trivia -- 

-The LDS Church Office Building in downtown SLC, was originally proposed to have 38 floors, that number to honor Joseph Smith's total years of life. However, heating and design, plus cost, lowered the total floors to 28 only.


-There is ANOTHER Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The small, "Strangite" church, mainly in the Wisconsin area, is a breakoff from the original LDS Church, but has legal rights to the title written in this paragraph. Note there is no dash in Latter Day in their title or a beginning "The."
I dare you to go to Google and search for "Strangite" and click on their Web Site to see that almost identical church title pop up.

-Check out the copyright on most LDS printed materials or other media and you will see the name Intellectual Reserve Inc. To some, that name may be shades of Sunstone, but it is a name the church started using early in the 21st Century as a legal requirement and no, the church leaders didn't choose the name, some church attorneys did.






-Ensign Peak, located just north of downtown Salt Lake City, is probably the LDS Church's most sacred mountain, a Mormon version of Mount Sinai.




-Not one of the original and first group of Mormon Pioneers who entered the Salt Lake Valley on Juny 24, 1847, died en route.

-The Seagulls and the cricket event in Utah not only happened when Brigham Young had traveled east and was not around, but this happening was apparently not considered a miracle until weeks or months afterwards.

-The Mormon Pioneers came through Emigration Canyon and into the Salt Lake Valley. Why that route? Because of Devil's Gate, a rugged and narrow geographical feature only a few miles east of the mouth of Weber Canyon. Advance scouts for the pioneers were considering coming through Weber Canyon, but Devil's Gate halted that idea and caused the detour to East Canyon and then Emigration. A wagon train had actually made it through Devil's Gate a year or so earlier, but was bogged down a lot.

-Do you subscribe to the Salt Lake Tribune, or read it on-line? Back in the 1890s, just having a subscription to the Salt Lake Tribune was grounds to hold an excommunication hearing on a church member, as the newspaper was that anti-Mormon in its early years.



 -The original plans for the Salt Lake Temple called for 2 Angel Moroni statues, one on each end. However, only the east Angel became a reality. In the "Brigham Young" room at Cove Fort is a drawing by Truman Angell that clearly shows angel statues on each end.

-If someone is excommunicated from the LDS Church today, only the main ward and stake leaders usually know about it. In the 1940s and into the early 1950s, it was standard practice for the church to publish excommunication lists (and full names) in the LDS Church News section of the Deseret News. So, it has gone from too public to perhaps a much too private knowledge policy today.

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Correcting Some Other Mormon Pioneer Myths:


The Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Despite the fact this is one of the most epic events in regional history, there are a lot of myths and fallacies circulating regarding the pioneers and their trek and arrival in the valley.
For example, the travel of the pioneers to Utah — excepting the handcart companies — was likely not as difficult as many perceive it to have been.
"Contrary to myth and popular belief, this 1847 trek of approximately 1,032 miles and 111 days was not one long and unending trail of tears or a trial by fire," The National Park Service's "Mormon Pioneer: Historic Resource Study"(www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/mopi/hrs5.htm) states.
"It was actually a great adventure," the NPS report continued. "Over the decades, Mormons have emphasized the tragedies of the trail, and tragedies there were, but generally after 1847. Between 1847 and the building of the railroad in 1869, at least 6,000 died along the trail from exhaustion, exposure, disease and lack of food. Few were killed by Indians. To the vast majority, however, the experience was positive — a difficult and rewarding struggle. Nobody knows how many Mormons migrated west during those years, but 70,000 people in 10,000 vehicles is a close estimate.
"To the 143 men, three women and two children who left Winter Quarters, the 111-day pioneer trek of 1847 was mostly a great adventure, with a dramatic ending."
Also, a second myth is that handcart travel was both common and typical for numerous pioneers. Given all the attention LDS stakes have given their own personal mock handcart adventures in Wyoming, this exaggerated belief is logical, but incorrect.
Using the most commonly accepted estimate of 70,000 total pioneers coming to Utah between 1847 and the coming of the railroad in 1869, plus the handcart estimate total of 2,962 people, the total percentage of pioneers who were in handcart companies is only 4.23 percent.
Bashore said handcart companies have evolved to be the "iconic symbol of pioneer Mormonism."
"We're focused on what a lesser number of people did," he said.
Following are some other pioneer myths:
Death was a common occurrence on all pioneer treks. Not true, as most who started for Utah arrived. For example, no one died in the original 1847 pioneer company to Salt Lake.
The average death rate in all Mormon companies was less than 3 percent; a third of the companies (more than 80) did not have any deaths at all; only 18 of the more than 250 companies experienced more than 20 deaths en route (so only 7 percent of the total companies accounted for 43 percent of the total deaths); and at least seven people were bitten by rattlesnakes, none of whom died.
Pioneers all traveled basically the same route. False. For example, variants in trails were established in southern Iowa, or via Mitchell Pass in Nebraska or in not crossing the Platte River at Fort Laramie in Wyoming.
Also, many pioneers from 1850 on used the "Golden Pass Road" (Parleys Canyon) to enter the Salt Lake Valley instead of Emigration Canyon, making some 42 miles of trail different at the end of the trek.
The John G. Smith pioneer company of 1851 was counseled by Elder Orson Hyde to head for the Elk Horn River in Nebraska before reaching the usually traveled road. That meant several hundred miles of different route.
There were many other variations too, especially on the later treks. Some came from California, others from Texas.
"We tend to think all trail travel started in the Midwest," Bashore said.
• The pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. Not quite accurate. The lead company and the main company of pioneers actually entered the valley on July 22 and camped there that night. Meanwhile, Brigham Young and the rear company had not yet climbed Big Mountain, and it didn't enter the valley until July 24 — the celebrated day.
In addition, two advance scouts, Orson Pratt and Erastus Snow, had even entered the Salt Lake Valley a day earlier on July 21.
• Brigham Young declared "This is the place." Not a complete statement. "It is enough. This is the right place, drive on" is the full declaration President Young may have made. However, there is still doubt.
Jeffrey Carlstrom and Cynthia Furse, in their book "A History of Emigration Canyon," note there is "considerable room for doubt that Young ever made this famous pronouncement." That's because no firsthand accounts of it exist.
Wilford Woodruff is credited with recounting what President Young said, but that was in 1880, 33 years after it happened and about three years after President Young had died.


              The original This is the Place monument, northeast and above the modern monument.

This Is the Place Monument is located exactly where Brigham Young made his famous statement. Unfortunately, history didn't leave us with an exact location. However, when the original monument on the site was dedicated on July 25, 1921, Elder B.H. Roberts, a member of the Seventy and a church historian, cited a journal of President Woodruff that "proved conclusively that there can be doubt that the spot now marked by this concrete monument is very near to the actual place."
• There was a "lone tree" in the barren Salt Lake Valley when the Pioneers arrived in 1847. It is simply pioneer legend that paints such a grim picture of the Salt Lake Valley — barren, harsh and a desert, save a lone cedar tree. In reality, say historians, the valley was well-watered, with tall grasses and trees along the many stream banks.
"One of the greatest myths of the church is that the valley was total desolation," said the late Dr. Stanley Kimball, a Utah historian. No pioneer diary accounts he ever found supported the desolate valley idea.
Most of the paintings depicting the valley when the Mormon pioneers arrived look more like the west desert area than the Wasatch Front.
Richard Jackson, professor of geography at Brigham Young University, did extensive research in the 1970s on what the Salt Lake Valley was really like when the pioneers arrived.
"Briefly, there was not a lot of timber in the valley according to pioneer diarists, but there was clearly some, especially along the creeks," he said.
But regardless, the pioneers did not have an easy time in Utah, and some people still feel the desert of Salt Lake did "blossom like a rose."
"Settling the Utah area in the 1840s and '50s was a challenge," Glen Leonard, director of the LDS Museum of Church History and Art, states on the church Web site, lds.org.
"They had left a lush farm area and came to an arid region. The soil was good, but the water was scarce. The seasons were short. So, Brigham Young wisely scattered the people out into small communities so that they had the natural resources — the water and the soil — and the community resources, the well-organized communities with different skills and talents, and then he just challenged them to make the desert blossom like a rose. And they did."
• Other handcart myths. Chad M. Orton, an archivist with the LDS Church's family history department, has researched various handcart pioneer legends. A recent newspaper obituary that made reference to one of the deceased's ancestors as deceased ancestor's as having been a handcart pioneer in 1847 best illustrates the wide misconceptions about of handcart pioneers. There were none in 1847.
• Missionaries at Martin's Cove in Wyoming occasionally mention to visitors that several tree stumps in the C cove offer evidence to prove the handcart pioneers were situated there. Neither Both Orton nor and Bashore has found have found no historical evidence to support that belief.
• Sometimes it is said that none of the survivors of the Willie and Martin handcart companies ever left the church. Orton said that's false because there were some who apostatized.
• There's also no evidence that handcart wheels were made out of green wood.
• Handcarts didn't carry everything these pioneers had. All handcart companies traveled with supply wagons that carried tents, extra food and other provisions too, according to Orton. One wagon was allocated for about every 100 members of a handcart company.
•The Mormon Pioneers universally were unique in one other way — no Mormon Pioneer parties hired guides to take them west. Mormon Pioneers did all the advance research they could and then relied in the church leaders with them for guidance.
(Adapted from a July 24, 2008 story in the Deseret News, by Lynn Arave.)

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Not Everything Along The Mormon Pioneer Trail Was Unpleasant:

The traditional depiction of life on the Mormon Pioneer Trail is a dismal one of tragedy and suffering — almost like one long funeral procession.
But Melvin L. Bashore, a senior librarian in the history library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also promotes "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Utah: Laughable Incidences on the Mormon Trail."
He says even if some of these happenings weren't funny to the pioneers, they seem to be today.
For example, one his favorite stories concerns a very old Danish man who had completely lost his sense of smell and was part of an 1857 pioneer group headed for Utah. After some men killed buffalo and other major game for the group's food, he thought he should make a contribution, too.
He came back to camp with a skunk to cook for soup.
"This made the rest of us leave," C.C.A. Christensen, a member of that Danish company, wrote in a diary. "He had killed it with his cane and knew nothing about its peculiar means of defense."
Some other stories involve mosquitoes, which seemed to particularly like attending Mormon meetings on the Plains.
An 1861 diary records: "In the evening a meeting was held in camp, but the mosquitoes were there first and stay there they would. They sang at the opening song during service, at the closing and finally sung all night. Tried to sleep, but they pulled me out of bed."
An 1853 diary reported: "I saw Indians by the hundreds, buffalo by the thousands and mosquitoes by the billions."
In still another tale, a young pioneer man had to separate from his fiancee and travel with a separate wagon group because he didn't have enough money so they could travel together. His diary on the first night of separation states:
"My mind was rambling over many things, especially as to when I should meet my dear girl again. After a while we began to turn in. I had occasion to go to my bag for some clothes and in taking out what I expected to be white duck sailor overalls and holding them up an examining them they turned out to be some sort of ladies' unmentionables trimmed and adorned with lace. The eyes of the crowd caught onto it. I had made a mistake and got my sweetheart's bag instead of my own."
In his research, Bashore found the vast majority of the pioneers didn't die along the way but safely made the journey to the Salt Lake Valley.
Bashore said that although hardships did occur on the trail, Utahns today falsely often skew our perception and understanding of the entire history of what happened on the Mormon Trail by dwelling on the sufferings of a few.
• Bashore's overview of the Mormon trail experience is available online at: overlandtrails.lib.byu.edu.
(Adapted from a July 24, 2004 story in the Deseret News by Lynn Arave.)