Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Latin Mystery on page 203 in the LDS Hymn Book

THERE is a popular hymn sung during December in many LDS Church Sacrament meetings that the majority of Church members DO NOT fully understand.
It is: “Angels We Have Heard on High” (Hymn book page No. 203).

This French carol contains an untranslated Latin phrase that the vast majority of Church members who sing it, do not understand what they are singing – unless they know Latin, or they go out of their way to look up the meaning.
(I’m personally not much of a singer, but I do like to know what the meaning of what I’m singing is, or listening to is….)

“Gloria in excelsis Deo is the key Latin phrase in the hymn that members sing six total times in three verses.

Surprisingly, the current LDS Hymn book contains no footnote or side reference to what this 4-word French phrase means either.
I just consider it odd – especially for adults – to sing something if the full meaning is not clear, as in “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
Now this hymn isn't strictly a Mormon tune, it is also sung in many other Christian churches too, having been around since 1862.

-For the record, “Gloria in excelsis Deo" means “Glory to God in the Highest.”

Obviously music and other artistic endeavors sometimes take certain liberties to seem more paramount, smoother and/or striking and this foreign verse in this song is likely one of these …

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.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The first sermon ever delivered in Utah territory wasn't by Brigham Young

WHAT was the first sermon ever delivered in Utah territory?

According to the Salt Lake Telegram newspaper of July 24, 1921, it was delivered by a Mormon Apostle, Orson Pratt, on July 24, 1847, soon after the first group of pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley.

                                             Elder Orson Pratt

Elder Pratt based his talk on two verses from the Book of Isaiah in the Old Testament, Chapter 52, verses 7-8:

7. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publishethpeace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
8. Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion."
(Note that LDS Church President Brigham Young was too ill that day to give a discourse and only made a few comments after Elder Pratt's sermon.)

Elder Pratt's discourse was an inspiration to the pioneers, since they had all safely made the trek to the Salt Lake Valley.
-And, on July 24, 1921, some LDS Church members met in Parley's Canyon (named after Elder Pratt's older brother, Parley), and held a campfire reunion to honor Orson Pratt and other pioneers. Many of this group were descendants of Pratt himself.

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.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Sunday shopping reaches all-time high?

BEING immersed in the retail world for about five years now, I've noticed a significant increase in shopping on Sunday.
Before 2015, shopper numbers were low and I wondered why some stores were even open on Sunday.
However, then almost suddenly in the same year, traffic increased and now Sunday shopping looks to be about the third busiest shopping day and that is in Utah -- where members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints still dominate the population.
But, nationally it is likely even more so that the Sabbath Day has become very popular for shopping -- perhaps even ranking second.
Before the surge in Sunday shopping, a few significant factors nationally happened -- the Hollywood awards shows left Monday night for Sunday night and some collegiate sports began to be played on the Sabbath. Also, "10 Commandments" monuments were banned from many public sectors.
A  coincidence? I think not.
There is simply a belief today that the Fourth of the Ten Commandments, to keep the Sabbath Day holy, is no longer applicable today -- we're too modern to be hindered by such an old-time restriction, many likely believe.
Even among LDS Church members, as Utah shopping on Sunday proves, the Fourth Commandment doesn't seem to rank as important as in past years.
Personally, there are 7 days in a week and I believe just about anyone can find time for shopping on six of the days, to keep Sunday "holy." Yet, I have to work more Sundays now, than in the past, because it is both a national and Utah trend of increased shopping on the Sabbath now.
God's commandment has NOT changed, but an increasingly wicked world continues on .... Sad, but true.

(-Brigham Young, in one of his early speeches in Utah territory, urged Church members not to work on the Sabbath Day, or do any buying of selling. He said to do so would mean ultimately  losing 5 times what you gain.)

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.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Fanciful tales from Layton, Utah wards in the early days ...

                                      A 1931 poster in Layton.

“The members of second ward of Kaysville last Sunday decided to change the name to Layton Ward to so as to conform with the precinct and post office And hereafter it will be known by that name.” (-Davis County Clipper, Aug. 31, 1892.)

-Layton lines: -- "The stake presidency was with us Sunday and spoke in meeting and 'Aunt Browett' spoke in tongues; Henry Morrison interpreted the same." (Davis County Clipper, June 5, 1896.)

"'Many are called but few are chosen is the way a familiar saying goes and something after this sort has been the fate of some of our Layton boys. Almost two months ago seven were called to be added to the Elder's Quorum but only one succeeded in passing the entrance exam after being given two trials. The boys were the pick of the town and alright but could not promise that they would in the future never use any strong drink or tobacco or say any swear words. The real cause, it is said, of their fear that they could not keep these requirements, was a number of missionaries are to drafted from the quorum in the future." (Davis County Clipper, May 24, 1896.)

 Water was needed for more than drinking, bathing and irrigation during Layton’s early days. Some baptisms in West Layton were performed during the summers of the late 19th Century in a stock watering trough at the south end of Angel Street, on the A.K. Green Farm.

The trough would be washed and then refilled with clean water, which was allowed to warm in the sun all day. After the baptisms, confirmations took place in a nearby “buggy shed.” (From the “West Layton/Layton 2nd Wards 1985-1995” history book.)

A report on the West Layton LDS Ward Sunday School indicated that the Sunday, Nov. 3, 1901 meeting began 25 minutes late. The delay was cause because there were no deacons present to build a fire in the church building. (From the Davis County Clipper.)

The Bishop of the Layton Utah Second Ward, Wayne H. Flint, thought it so important for all Aaronic Priesthood holders to be a full-tithe payer in the Church, that he paid their tithing for them, if they were unable to do so.
From about 1959-1966 this took place.

However, the young men were charged with responsibility of paying the Bishop back. And, according to the book, "West Layton/Layton 2nd Wards, 1895-1995," "All loans were repaid."

                          A historical marker in West Layton,

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.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Sun shall be Darkened and the Moon be turned into Blood .....

ONE of the most striking and dramatic of scriptural prophecies regarding the last days, before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, is this:

"And before the day of the Lord shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood, and the stars fall from heaven," Doctrine and Covenants 45:42.

(The same basic scripture also appears in other places, like the New Testament, Matthew 24:29: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:")

This prophecy very likely has multiple meanings.

A total eclipse of the sun on Aug. 21, 2017, seems to fulfill a portion of it -- especially given how much media and public attention that this rare event received ...

Plus, the string of events -- a darkened sun, a bloody moon and stars falling could reference a future rogue and sudden series of events that catch the world unaware, like a thief in the night ... In other worlds, not a predictable eclipse of the sun, but more dangerous things.

In addition, through symbolism, the prophecy is surely already being fulfilled in a different sense:

Consider Genesis of the Old Testament, Chapter 37, verses 9-10, where it mentions one of the dreams that Joseph (who was eventually sold into Egypt) had -- and the three symbols used are the sun, the moon and the stars.
The sun is Joseph's earthly father; the moon is his mortal mother and the stars are his brothers.
-Here are the two verses:

 "And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
"And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?"

Surely many fathers today have become blackened with sin and have gone "dark," as far as rearing their children -- given all the divorces today and the births out of wedlock, the single parent situations, etc.
Also, mothers today more frequently favor and indulge in abortions, which terminate life.
Finally, many brothers (and sisters) fall from the glory that Heavenly Father has promised and intended for them, given their rebellion and lack of both faith and morality.

All of the above and perhaps more are things to consider in this important prophecy of the last days.

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.

What the 'Only True Church' declaration does and doesn't mean ....

MEMBERS of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and in particular, its full-time Missionaries, likely need a deeper understanding of what the "Only True Church" declaration does mean and does not mean.
A masterful discourse given in 2007 by Robert L Millet, then a professor of ancient scripture and emeritus Dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University, offers many insightful dimensions on other Christian Faiths and how LDS members should view and deal with them.
Some of the teachings of this long discourse, now contained on the Religious Studies Center Website at BYU, are indeed deep. However, those who take the time to read and study it will never think about Christians of other faiths in quite the same way again.
At least the first half of this discourse should be required study for outgoing missionaries from the MTC. 

-Cut and paste the Web address below to access Robert L. Millet's discourse on "Joseph Smith and the 'Only True and Living Church'":

Saturday, August 19, 2017

By far, the most often used incorrect scripture in Sacrament Meetings?

JOSEPH Smith stressed that erring in doctrine DOES NOT prove that someone is not a good person.... and we ALL error at times in doctrine. (Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5:340.)

Notwithstanding, there is one single scripture that is misused far, far more often than any other, possibly church-wide.
One Utah ward averages about two Sacrament meetings a month where this certain scripture is totally used incorrectly.
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).
This New Testament scripture is used frequently, yet erroneously in Sacrament talks and lessons on forgiveness, to support always forgiving everyone unconditionally. (Although that is what the rest of the Christian world believes.)
LDS 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 ... The Jews he has yet for forgive.
And, yes we are required to forgive everyone.
D&C 64:8-11 is the best scripture to support universal forgiveness.

The key problem?
Far too many church members only read the Book of Mormon over and over again. They have never read the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, or the Old Testament and have no clue about the Prophet Joseph Smith's teachings.
As such, they find this popular New Testament scripture on forgiveness and have no clue what it is really stating.

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.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The first call for a Logan Temple: 1873

THE first time it was likely suggested that a temple be built in Logan, Utah was on June 29, 1873.
President Brigham Young, speaking at meetings in Logan, "suggested the erection of a fine Temple to be built on the bench crowning the eastern part of this city," according to the Salt Lake Herald Newspaper of June 29, 1873.
(At the same time, President Young suggested a road be built beyond Franklin to lessen the grade to Soda Springs and Rich County.)
According to, the Logan Temple was not officially announced to be built for another three plus years, until Oct. 6, 1876. Its groundbreaking was on May 18, 1877 and its dedication took place on May 17, 1884.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Salt Lake Temple: Most Expensive LDS Temple Ever?

THE next time you enjoy the gothic and symbolic features  of the one and only Salt Lake LDS Temple, consider it’s dollar price to build -- $3,469,118.
That was the price given by Elder George Reynolds, a member of the Quorum of the Seventy, back in 1895, to a Philadelphia newspaper, as quoted in the Deseret Weekly News of March 23, 1895.

Factor in the inflation and even in 1916 dollars (the furthest back an on-line government inflation calculator goes), that price equals at least $86,559,450 in 2017 dollars.
(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hasn’t revealed the actual costs of any temples for many decades now.)
However, in contrast the San Diego Temple, which opened in 1993, was reported by the Los Angeles Times to have cost an estimated $24 million. (That’s $40.6 million in 2017 dollars.)

                                                             San Diego Temple.

And, the original Ogden Temple, that opened in 1972, cost $4.29 million (or some $25 million in today’s dollars.)
Note that the Salt Lake Temple required some 40 years to build – far more than any other temple. Also, some volunteer, unpaid labor was used back then, or the price over four decades likely would have been much more, likely $100 millon plus.
Furthermore, Elder Reynolds in that 1895 article stated that exact costs of the temple were impossible. Still, he said about the Salt Lake Temple’s construction:

“In the early stages the progress was slow and very expensive, for it took four yoke of oxen four days to bring a single stone from the quarry twenty miles distant.”
He said some estimated it cost $100 for every stone cut, moved by oxen to the temple site and then laid in place. He also stressed that metal and other materials were very expensive to obtain, especially until the railroad came along.

                                                        Pencil drawing by Steve Arave

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Did the Gadianton Robbers live in the Wasatch Mountains?

                       The High Uintas, with the Wasatch Mountains in the far background.

DID the infamous Gadianton Robbers of the Book of Mormon (Helaman 6:18-29) inhabit western U.S. mountains?
Yes, they did and even the Wasatch Mountains, according to Brigham Young:
"There are scores of evil spirits here -- spirits of the old Gadianton robbers, some of whom inhabited these mountains, and used to go into the south and afflict the Nephites. There are millions of those spirits in these mountains, and they are ready to make us covetous, if they can; they are ready to lead astray every man and woman that wishes to be a Latter-day Saint." (Journal of Discourses, 8:344, from a discourse by President Young on January 20, 1861, in the Tabernacle of Salt Lake City.

-On a trip to southeast Deseret territory by W.D. Huntington and with 11 other men and one Indian in 1854 by a request from Brigham Young, is another Gadianton Robber tale:

This group of explorers found some extensive Indian ruins which the current Native Americans said they didn't build and which were very old. The estimates were the group was about 500 miles southeast of Salt Lake City. Here was the men's conclusion:

"We very readily came to a conclusion drawn from  the Book
Of Mormon In second Chapter of  the  book  of
Nephi that the ancient possessors of these strong holds
were robbers of the Gadianton band and we considered this locality as one of their strongholds." (-From the Deseret News Dec. 28, 1854.)

              Navajo Mountain in S.E. Utah.                                   Photo by Ravell Call

-EXTRAPOLATING on these comments is more proof that NORTH AMERICA was where the Nephites and Lamanites primarily lived, NOT Central or South America ....

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.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Full-Time Missionary Rules and Guidelines from 1946

FULL-TIME missionary regulations and guidelines for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were somewhat different in the 1940s than they are today.
For example, back then swimming WAS allowed (just not with the opposite sex); Saturday was pretty much the universal preparation day back then; missionaries often wore hats; no tracting was recommended on Sunday; and sample door approaches didn’t say “Mr. Smith,” or “Mr. Jones,” but rather “Mr. A,” or “Mr. X.”
Membership in YMCA’s and similar organizations for missionaries was not only legal in 1946, it was encouraged, since not only is recreation necessary, but “may be turned to preaching the gospel.”
If there were enough elders in one area, a team for basketball or baseball was suggested to be formed – and to face local competition.
“The Missionary’s Hand Book,” 1946 edition (and first printed in 1937) is 164 pages long. It was published by the Church Radio, Publicity, and Missionary Literature Committee, of which future President Gordon B. Hinckley, was a key member of.
The Hand Book did not mention going without purse or scrip (not having money, food, nor a place to reside and having to live off the generosity of those you meet). That's probably because that practice stopped in about 1941, at the start of World War II. (Yet, into the 1950s, some mission presidents still sent some of their elders to the country for several weeks each summer to get a taste of what living without means and by such great faith really felt like.)
Some of the Hand Book’s advice is certainly relevant today. However, since sister missionaries were very rare in that era, the entire Hand Book only talks about rules and guidelines for elders.

Other interesting excerpts from the Hand Book are:
-“Never call a woman by her first name … Do not touch a woman except to shake hands with her.”
-“Bless, but do not curse.”
-“The missionaries greatest reward from tracting is the humility it never fails to bring.”
-Tracting door-to-door was not to be done on Sunday; and often also NOT on Saturday, if there were other missionary duties.
-“Do not engage in undignified games, sports or pastimes.”
-An occasional good picture show or better still, a fine artistic production, is stimulating.”
-“Remember that you are sent out to preach the first principles of the gospel and to call men to repentance; not to pose as expounders of mysteries …”
-Dress – The Latter-day Saint ministry wears no distinguishing costume, but missionaries should always dress with respect to the the dignity of their work … dark shoes, dark suit, quiet hat …”
-“Sacrament meetings – “…Ushers should always be posted at the door to greet the Saints and welcome strangers.”
-“It is important that missionaries keep up appearances and maintain physical fitness.”
-Notwithstanding a prohibition against swimming with the opposite sex, 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 not to run rivers or take any pleasure boating excursions on  any “dangerous” bodies of water.

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.