Tuesday, June 19, 2012

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.
-They will likely be NO alcohol, as the decay and fermenting processes that exist now will have vanished forever.
-There will probably be no different races. All will be white. (2 Nephi 5:21).

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.

Pre-Block Time Recollections

Block time" meeting schedules in the LDS Church began more than 32 years ago on March 2, 1980.
Many are too young to even recall that, or weren't even born then …. But this was one of the most significant changes ever in the LDS Church.
Consider this: By my recollection, you spent 4 1/2 to 5 hours in church meetings each Sunday BEFORE the block time schedule came along.
Priesthood was 8 a.m.-9:30 in many wards and Sunday School went from 10-11:30-ish.
(I recall you rushing home as a teenager to grab some breakfast and help get the rest of the family ready for Sunday School.)
Then, you came back at 6 p.m., or so, for a sacrament meeting the routinely went 90 minutes or more -- there was little direction on when the meeting should end.
Today you spend 3 hours only in regular meetings under the block time, or about 40 percent less.
--As I was researching block time I realized my wife's stake, Ogden East, was one of the pilot program stakes and so it actually began block time almost a year earlier in 1979.
--Two significant church milestones were November 1989, when the church discontinued its budget donations from members; and November 1990, when it equalized the costs of full-time missionary service for ALL missions (except senior missions).

(Note: The photo above shows the old wooden junior Sunday School pulpit (cira 1950) that existed in my home ward as I grew up in the pre-block time era. This pulpit has since been donated to a city museum.)

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.

My Ward's Best Example

The then oldest member of my ward, Elizabeth Hess, died Jan. 3, 2010 at the age of 84.
"Beth" was always a great example — upbeat, faithful and always doing what she should.
When she died, she was praying and kneeling along the side of her bed. So, even in death, she set a great example.
The next time I'm too lazy to kneel and say my prayers, I need to recall Sister Hess, who never felt too tired to do so.

Fascinating LDS Trivia

OK, let's get this straight -- this isn't a gripe session, or an anti-Mormon article on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It is simply a collection of some unusual trivia, if you will, of things I have discovered over the years about what has to rate from the most unusual church on the planet:
Fascinating LDS Church trivia -- (some of it unique content to this article):

-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.

-Joseph Smith didn't go down without fighting at Carthage jail, despite what some movies or accounts depict. Clearly, he had a gun and shot some of his assailants before he died. Just read the footnotes to official church history for the complete story.

-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.

-There was no "lone tree" standing in the Salt Lake Valley when the Mormons arrived. There were many other trees standing along creek banks. However, there may have been a single cedar tree standing not far from the center of Salt Lake City. The lone cedar tree has a special monument to its honor, located at about 600 E. and 300 South in Salt Lake City.

-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.

-What are "Blue Cards"? They were reports that mission presidents completed on every LDS missionary until sometime in the late 1970s. They were a subjective report on the missionary's attitudes and work. They were accessed later, if the missionary applied for employment with the church, or the church needed to provide a reference on a particular former missionary. A former LDS Seventy told me the Blue Cards were discontinued, because they were too subjective. What he didn't tell me was if all the old cards were kept and are still referred to at all.

-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.

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.

The Simple Truth About the Creation of Man

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.
I say 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, I'm sure.)
I believe what 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.

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.

27 Myths Held by Some Church Members

Here are 27 gospel myths some LDS Church members commonly believe erroneously:
(If more church members would read more than just the Book of Mormon over and over each year, they would not keep repeating most of these and other myths!)
1. Cain is bigfoot. He is simply not bigfoot, unless God is a liar. God said in Moses 5:40 that Cain could be killed. So he wasn't made immortal or translated. Thus, he could not have survived old age or the Great Flood and furthermore, Moses 5:47-48 said Lamech killed someone and it could likely have been Cain.
2. Adam and Eve were placed on earth during sixth day of the creation. D&C 77:12 clearly states it was on the SEVENTH DAY for their arrival.
3. The day-by-day sequence of events relating to the creation of the world in the Temple endowment account and the accounts of it found in the standard works are identical. No, the sequence of days in the creation are different in the temple than the scriptures. Elder Bruce R. McConkie noted that in the Ensign magazine, June 1982, P. 11 and said those who attend the temple frequently will know the "why" for these differences.
4. Jesus Christ did not baptize anyone while he was in mortality. 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.
5. Jesus Christ forgave universally while he hung on the cross. No, he only referred to the soldiers who crucified him in the reference -- Joseph Smith's Inspired Version, Luke 23:35. He's yet to forgive the Jews who killed him.
6. 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.
7. 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).
8. This is NOT the wickedest of all earths. It is, see Moses 7:36.
9. There is progression from kingdom to kingdom in the eternities and/or the 3 kingdoms just proceed at different speeds/locations on the same track of progress. False. Joseph Fielding Smith said the three degrees of glory are on separate tracks. You cannot progress from kingdom to kingdom in the eternities. See Doctrines of Salvation 2:73, 288; D&C 131:1-4.
10. If "thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." (Mark 9:23). No, Joseph Smith restored that scripture to its correct meaning in his Inspired Version -- "If thou wilt believe all things I say unto you, this is possible to him that believeth." This means everything God says you can or should do is possible, not simply everything in the universe is possible, if you believe.
11. "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?
12. Kolob is where God dwells. That's incorrect. Kolob is only said in the scriptures (Book of Abraham Facsimile explanation No. 1) to be nearest to the residence of God.
13. 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).
14. The Journal of Discourses and Mormon Doctrine are unreliable gospel sources. False. Both works have now been quoted in recent priesthood lesson manuals in the 21st Century. They do contain opinions and are not standard works, though. The Journal of Discourses is essentially the sermons from the church's early brethren in Salt Lake reprinted from the Deseret News, their original source.
15. 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.)
16. 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 version I prefer is 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.
17. Three wisemen visited the baby Jesus in the manager. Three is just the traditional belief. The scriptures do NOT mention an exact number.
18. 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.)
19. "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.
20. 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.
21. We should be wise as serpents. (Matthew 10:16). 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.)
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. 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.
26. Christ will be dressed in white at the Second Coming. False, he will be wearing red. See D&C 133:45-51.

27. 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.

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.

Are Ghosts Real?

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 call's 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.

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.

Do UFOs Really Exist?

       "Aliens" and UFOs in Legoland California's "Miniland," almost hidden in a Las Vegas Representation.

UNIDENTIFIED Flying Objects ("UFOs") have received lots of notice in recent decades. Anything that's a mystery to man catches the fancy of many people.
For the atheists, the "God is an astronaut" approach fits the bill, with UFOs used to explain away deity.
For others, it may simply be a quest to try and find evidence of UFOs.
Aside from errant, high altitude weather balloons or top secret government aircraft (as the Stealth bomber certainly might have appeared as a UFO to many before it was publicly unveiled), can UFOs really exist?
There's something out there flying around that people keeping seeing — it's not all from their imagination.

 The  first "Enterprise" ship in Vulcan, Alberta, Canada, a small town themed after "Star Trek."

For the Latter-day Saints, what might a UFO be? There are some possible answers that fit into the gospel framework.
Scripturally, "there are no angels who minister to this earth but those who do belong or have belonged to it." (D&C 130:5)
This seems to me to totally preclude any "aliens" from being angels.
However, God has created other earths and all "inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God." (D&C 76:24).
Humans are his standard, made in his likeness (Genesis 1:17). So, non-human aliens as intelligent beings would NOT exist then, except in science fiction.
These worlds were also created by Jesus Christ and are saved by his same redeeming power. But, Christ died on this earth, the wickedest of all God's creations (Moses 7:36) and even many non-Christians accept that Christ was at least a historical figure in earth's history.
Yet, what about these other earths? Christ's atonement still redeems the people there and so what do they know of him? Their scriptures must at least mention another planet, our earth, where he died for the sins of all. They know of us.
Since ours is the wickedest earth and focused on weapons and warfare, we might have the best weapons, but what about other technology?
Could one of these other earths be very far advanced in say space travel, because they are more righteous and haven't wasted all their time and efforts on war?
If so, that would be the first possibility to UFOs. Are they resident humans of other earths come as a pilgrimage to see the wickedest earth, the one planet where Christ, who is also their Savior was born in mortality, died and was resurrected? Perhaps.
These people seem to simply be observers, who don't harm or threaten people. Crop circle markings and occasional, unexplained animal mutilations are among the only physical traces attributed to UFOs (and those evil twists could be more like Satan's power manifested than that of aliens).
Actual abductions of people are more likely fabricated tales, or the unreal experience of mentally ill people.
Another possibility of UFOs fitting into the gospel is if angels and exalted beings do travel in such vehicles and they are occasionally glimpsed.
Do celestial beings need vehicles to travel in?
There are references in the Old Testament to celestial "chariots" (Isaiah 66:15, Jeremiah 4:13).
In 2 Kings 2:11, "a chariot of fire and horses of fire" were used to take Elijah to heaven (translate him). Unless that is pure symbolism, it does imply a vehicle was used. How might a person in ancient times describe a flying vehicle? They knew chariots, but they did not know space vehicles.
When God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith, they didn't need a vehicle of any sorts, at least for short range travel. Neither did the Angel Moroni.
Another possibility for UFOs in the gospel sense is that they could be coming from the City of Enoch or the Lost 10 Tribes. Both these are to return to the earth in the last days. Would they have scout ships here first?
Neither of those two lost groups of people are likely on earth, at least not in this dimension. So, them being off planet, it does make some sense that they are scouting around.
If they physically live on another planet, they may have vehicles and those could be far advanced of anything the earth has.
Otherwise — without explaining UFOs away as "other earth" visitors, UFOs could be some sort of tool by Satan to lead us away.
Some people do spend much of their life seeking UFOs, a distraction from the gospel and serving others.
Is the rise of UFOs somehow related to the world's increasing wickedness and that Satan and his hosts can somehow grandstand some physical signs in the sky because of that?
The Scriptures do talk of signs and wonders in the heavens before Christ returns. (D&C 45:40).
Could UFOs be some part of that prophecy? Perhaps.
Of course if you believe in UFOs abducting people, then that's certainly a sinister side to UFOs, but why the Lord would allow Satan and his demons to do that kind of kidnapping is not logical.
So, unless UFOs are pure apparitions, there are humans piloting them and they could be connected with another earth, the lost 10 tribes, or City of Enoch.
And, it is only the unwise person who simply believes UFOs don't exist at all.

Eight Improper Things to Do in Sacrament Meetings

OK, some courtesies and guidelines of conduct for use in church meetings just aren't taught today, like they should be.
Here are 8 guidelines I have for Sacrament meeting conduct:
1. Don't let your children keep and play with the sacrament cups. Besides the noise, there's the principle of sacred usage.
2. If you walk out of the chapel during the sacrament services, don't return while it is still going on. Likewise, don't try to enter a chapel while the actual passing of the sacrament is underway. It is distracting to others and is simply common sense not to intrude on such a sacred rite.
3. Don't let the door slam, if you do leave the chapel. Help it slowly shut, quietly.
4. Don't go in and out multiple times in a sacrament meeting, or let your children do that. Again, it is distracting and disturbs reverence. Better to stay in the foyer, if you have to leave/return more than twice. (I counted one man and his child leave and come back in the chapel 11 different times during one recent sacrament meeting.)
5. Do not, I repeat do not, ask the congregation to turn to a scripture during your sacrament meeting talk! The brethren have often said not to do that and yet some must think they are an exception to that, despite that it is a noisy and disrupting practice.
6. Take care not to let your young children mangle the hymn books.
7. Strive to teach your children to take the sacrament with their right hand. Parents should be the ones to ideally teach that, not others.
8. Don't let children play with nor eat out of noisy paper or plastic wrapped containers -- and clean up after your kids after they eat in the chapel. (I've seen too many bishops in a ward, or the ward that meets afterward, who have to vacuum the chapel after a service, with a little hand vac...)

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 Living By the Spirit Really Means ...

The Gospel teaches man needs to ideally live by the spirit, but what does that mean?
To me, it means this:
"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."
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 256.)
So, there are not as many absolutes of right and wrong that we might imagine there are.
It all depends on the circumstances. If we live by the spirit, few of the commandments may be absolutes ... we simply need continual revelation to know the exceptions when they come
And, Christ will likely judge us by the intent of our hearts, as well as the circumstances, more than by the absolute letter of the law.
But we can't take things too far and bend this "adapted to the circumstances" doctrine to try and vainly justify sin or vain ambition either.

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.

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.
"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.
Apparently, there are NO wards or stakes in the spirit world, Church members are organized by families instead ....

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.
-AND, since God the Father and Jesus Christ DO NOT dwell in, or likely visit the Spirit World, prayer is probably an important spiritual exercise in that realm too, as on the mortal Earth.

I certainly don't profess to know everything about the spirit world, I only know what has been revealed to church leaders and is in the scriptures.

-Regarding attire in the Spirit World, some accounts from people who have temporarily died and then returned to life have presented some startling ideas, true or not ...
One is that the more righteous a Spirit World resident is, the whiter his or her attire is. So, some have more gray colored clothing there and anyone in the "Spirit Prison" is dressed in black.
Could this be true? Perhaps, though it does seem a bit too obvious there to all residents there of, if true.
This isn't necessarily doctrine, but it does kind of make sense that there could be some sort of partial judgment -- visible or not --  like this in the Spirit world. 

NOTE 1: 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.

NOTE 2: 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.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bigfoot Isn't Cain,Yet He Is Supernatural

"Bigfoot," the term at least, has been around since October of 1958, when the Associated Press ran a story out of Eureka, California, that is believed to be the first official usage of the term.
The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, founded in 1995, has given the quest for evidence even greater hope. However, after some 17 years of them taking a scientific approach, even they have come up short of conclusive evidence.
I'm not faulting anyone, or any particular group here. Even with infrared equipment, night vision and automatic sensors and cameras, there is still no solid evidence of Bigfoot.
And, I don't expect any such evidence to ever come either and there's a good reason why. Bigfoot is simply not "real."
Now I don't mean he doesn't exist, I'm purporting that Bigfoot just isn't "real" in the sense that he isn't a regular animal. He's supernatural and that alone and nothing else on the planet (outside the theory Bigfoot can dimension shift at will) truly explains his elusive nature. Nothing else answers why with all this 21st Century electronic technology and searching, man is yet to capture undeniable evidence of him.
People regularly see Bigfoot and so there is something out there. I've talked to many people who have seen him and I don't think they are making anything up.
It's simply impossible that man has yet to confirm Bigfoot, unless he is supernatural. That's the only explanation left.
With just all the cell phones that have build-in cameras around, you'd think someone would come up with a good picture of the creature, but no.
Is "supernatural" that hard of a concept to believe in? It is no harder than believing in God and angels. You know it is a package deal — if you believe in God and his angels, then you also believe in Satan and his devils — supernatural forces that are counter to God.
(The only people who could legitimately claim to not believe in Bigfoot by this argument are atheists.)
The key problem here is man won't generally admit there are things on Earth beyond his grasp or comprehension. This is perhaps simply a lack of humility and man's arrogance.
But, am I saying Bigfoot is evil? Yes, that is what I am claiming. He is certainly not a good or pure thing. A significant number of accounts by people who sighted the creature mention glowing red eyes, their deep fear and just plain bad and even evil feelings.
Dogs often cower and tremble when a Bigfoot is near.
Bigfoot has a terrible odor, is mostly spotted at night and no sightings of the creature foster benevolent feelings or actions.
Angels are commonly thought to be pure — clean, white, bright and inspiring beings.
Isn't Bigfoot the exact opposite of angels? He being (usually) dark in color, smelly, found in dark places and not inspirational. He fosters fear and mystery. I can't think of anyone I've talked to about a purported Bigfoot experience, who wasn't fearful or apprehensive of the creature.
Now to be accurate, the Bible does state that Satan can appear as an angel of light (1 Corinthians 11:13-15) and so maybe only more lowly devils appear as a Bigfoot. I don't know…
Physically, a Bigfoot may not harm a person, but seeing one may "maul" you mentally or spiritually.
If God has angels out and about to aid his mission and benefit man, should not Satan also be given a measure to counter that, with his own creatures, seen and unseen?
In that sense, if you believe in God and angels, you have to believe in Satan and Bigfoot, because they are a package deal of consistent belief.
If I'm in any way correct on this supernatural aspect of Bigfoot, it must re-define the way man searches for the creature, if he dares.
Anyone wanting better evidence of Bigfoot has got to think outside the box and perhaps use more techniques that employed by ghost hunters, another realm dominated by the supernatural.
You can take all the cameras and all the people you want into the mountains to search Bigfoot and I say you may find some marginal evidence, but that will be all. That's because Bigfoot is outside the normal experience or knowledge of man.
Bigfoot is certainly visible at times and can make tracks at times, but not always. Neither are angels always visible.
I've never seen a Bigfoot, but I've searched for them periodically. For example, in the mid-1990s I was scouring Coldwater Canyon in North Ogden, Ut., where the creature was said to have frightening some children a few weeks earlier.
Soon, my two sons and their friends told me they had looked long enough and were simply not hiking any farther up the canyon. I left them at a spring and forged on alone, as the canyon got darker, narrower and more thick with brush and trees.
About 15 minutes later, the firm thought came into my mind that searching for Bigfoot is not a good thing — that you really don't want to find one, because they are evil.
Two years later, I interviewed a man who claimed he had seen Bigfoot nine different times between 1968 and 1990. Ron Mower, then living in Orangeville, Ut.
I've never heard of anyone claiming so many encounters. He told me he believes there is a supernatural aspect to Bigfoot, that he finds you, more than you him.
“They choose the time for when you can see them. I’ve never really hunted for one," he told me.
In 2002, a Layton, Ut. man was scouring the mountain side with a scope for wildlife. He spots a strange creature roaming in the foothills above the Highway 193/U.S. 89 junction. He gets his camcorder and films the creature for about five minutes from about 500 yards away. A few hours later, he goes into that same area and despite snow on the ground, cannot find a single footprint or aftermath of the creature's walk across an open space. His video footage is intriguing, but inconclusive from such a great distance away.
How could someone film something walking across an area and then soon after find no tracks? It is simply not scientifically possible for that to happen. But it did and that leaves my supernatural reason as the best answer out there.
The Layton man captured the creature on film from a great distance, but found no footprints. Many others find strange footprints, but no creature.
A Box Elder County, Ut. sheriff in the 1990s was following some strange footprints in a farmer's field one winter. The footprints fit the usually Bigfoot parameters — large and naked toed. However, the footprints simply stopped in the middle of the field, with no turnaround visible.
Incidents like this tend to bring up the "UFO connection" at times. That is, that Bigfoot is part of advanced scientific race and can "beam away" or change dimensions at will.
That belief might be OK for atheists to latch onto, but I'm not buying it, nor should anyone else who believes in a God. Bigfoots are naked, smelly and do nothing that denotes extreme intelligence — unless you count avoiding capture.
Why are Bigfoots roaming around? Christians believe God has translated various mortals over time, like John the apostle (John Chapter 21) and if they roam around earth and foster good, why are there not some evil things roaming around to balance the scales?
Another key question to ponder is why are there a dozen or more Bigfoot sightings reported each month in the U.S. vs. few reports, if any, of sightings of angels. What does that say about us? Is the evil state of the world somehow creating more Bigfoot sightings?
Yet, shouldn't we seek angels before devils?
However, note that Bigfoot is also NOT Cain, from the Book of Genesis. Anyone reading Genesis 4:15 should be able to realize that God did not make Cain immortal. Cain could be killed (since God warned to not kill Cain or be cursed worse) and there's also no way he survived the centuries. Notwithstanding, Cain was evil and other wicked beings would try to imitate him.
(Photos are a campground and city park sign in British Columbia, Canada,)

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.

14th Article of Faith: Long Meetings?

Do you like long church meetings?
"We believe in meetings — especially long meetings. If there is a meeting, we seek after it."
Is this the 14th Article of Faith in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? It very well could be ...  unofficially.
I commonly envision that gatherings, like Stake General Priesthood meetings, should be approximately one hour (though some go 90-minutes or more).
The worst case of a long meeting I've even seen was in one of my Stake's Saturday stake conference sessions in the mid-1990s. It was a general authority there and he got me all excited about missionary work and inviting neighbors to the Sunday meetings the next day.
However, the problem was the meeting didn't end until 9:50 p.m., after a 7 p.m. start.
I had lost all my enthusiasm by 9:30 p.m. and will never forget how this leader just would not stop talking.
(I still think Saturday night Stake Conference meetings are the most over-rated of church meetings, as well as almost always the most poorly planned and executed of meetings.)
The root cause of long meetings is that too many leaders become overzealous -- don’t watch the clock (or ignore it) and feel a meeting has to be long to do any good.
Another cause is that leaders line up too many speakers for a meeting and these speakers have little clue how long their talk really is -- because they haven't timed them.
As a one-time stake executive secretary in my stake, a newly installed stake president first thought it a wise idea to have me stand up 5 minutes before each meeting we were in was supposed to end. I was to stay standing until the stake president acknowledged me.
That worked well for a few months and then I guess the reality of wanting to teach too much meant that practice went out the window and meetings simply got longer and not necessarily always better.
One stake also used to excel at half-day priesthood preparation seminars, if you were being ordained an elder or high priest. Although these 4 hour meetings had a half-time with some food and drink, they were simply too long. I maintain that 90 minutes of more concise, engaging meeting would do better than this 4 hour meeting ever would.
A recent stake relief society leadership meeting was advertised in an official flyer that it would last 90 minutes. Then, it ended up going more than 3 1/2 hours! (And, that was ALL lecture).
Another stake bishopric meeting went so long one Sunday morning that all 9 a.m. sacrament meetings in the stake started 5 minutes or more late, because of the too long leadership meeting.
Some stakes excel at having 90-100 minutes General Priesthood meetings -- that's far too long for a secondary meeting to be -- and having such at 7 a.m. on Sunday interferes with 9 a.m. block times, let alone it bores the Aaronic Priesthood holders severely.
It's not just long meetings either. Some meetings do not need to be held, or as often.
For example. one former bishop of mine didn’t always strictly follow the stake's advice to always hold priesthood executive meeting (PEC) every single week. On some holiday weekends, when many ward leaders were out of town, he'd say, it simply wasn't worth holding. "What are they going to do fire us?" he would say.
-The Relief Society is no better at times. A few years ago I saw a flyer for a Saturday morning relief society meeting in my stake. It stated lunch served after a 90 meeting meeting, that went from 10-11:30 a.m. -- or so the flyer stated.
In reality, my wife came home from the meeting at 2 p.m. and never even stayed for the lunch. Almost 4 hours was far too long of a meeting.

-A friend of mine, who hasn't been active for 40-plus years, believes ours is the church of meetings and he hates meetings. He's right to some degree, though would it not be better if we were more the church of service?
So, there you have it. Don't hold a side meeting (outside block time) unless there is a need and have a firm agenda.
And, keeping meetings short is always better than having longer ones.

The true mission should be better organized and more spiritual meetings, not just more or longer meetings.
Granted, you have to have some meetings, or chaos would rule. But too long of meetings can take away from family time and also lessen how much actual time is left to do service to others.
Less and shorter meetings and more service would be the worthy goal here.

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.

The Celestial Sport is ...

By Lynn Arave

WHAT is the celestial sport? If there is one, it would probably be basketball. Yes, hoops.
Why? Because almost every chapel in North America and even some outside contain basketball courts. There are some meetinghouse facilities with softball/baseball fields, but these are minimal, compared to basketball court numbers.
Go to any LDS Sacrament meeting where an overflow into the gymnasium area is being used, look up and you will likely see a retracted basketball hoop. They are standard and they are everywhere.
First-time visitors to ward chapels, who notice the hoops, might be somewhat bewildered.
According to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. Basketball was originally a women's sport. In 1900 at Brigham Young Academy, the Y's women's team had won a championship and there was no men's team.
Perhaps men of that era thought basketball wasn't rugged enough. (Too bad they couldn't forsee how rough church basketball would become by the late 20th Century!)
Basketball as a men's sport in Utah didn't begin until 1906, when the Salt Lake 20th Ward formed two teams of young men, according to a Deseret News article on Oct. 4, 2008.
A city basketball league in S.L. began in 1908 and that's when all the Ensign Stake also fielded boys basketball teams. A 1908 article in the Improvement Era emphasized basketball participation and having ward facilities to do so.
However, a 1911 Church conference for activity leaders focused on volleyball, wrestling, fencing, swimming. Gymnastics, running, jumping, vaulting and baseball, — but no basketball.
From 1929 to 1971 an all-church basketball competition brought the best church-wide to a tournament. Church growth world-wide made it impractical to continue the tourney any longer.
Some regional church events continued and virtually all young men have a chance to play basketball in wards today.
Fred A. Baker, who was in charge of LDS Church Physical Facilities from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, said his recollections of church basketball were that it really took off in the mid-1930s, at least in the Ogden area, though facilities were still limited.
Gymnasiums were often built then in stand-alone buildings, next to chapels.
He said by the 1970s, such separate buildings had become too expensive and chapels began including gymnasiums — complete with basketball courts — at the rear of their chapels.
A few stand-alone gymnasiums still exist. There's at in the Ogden East Stake and also the Hooper Utah Stake, still in use.
Why did the church so completely adopt basketball? It was a good, compact indoor sport for the Mountain West, where winter and cool weather can preclude the regularity of many sports.
Basketball also wasn't as rough as football or rugby and was also a good spectator sport.
The sport of basketball is popular, in and outside the church.
There are a few perennial problems with church basketball.
First problem involves a lack of proper sportsmanship by some players.
For example, some years ago, one of my brothers suffered a broken wrist while playing basketball in a Clinton, Ut. Ward. He said he was karate chopped on purpose while taking a shot in a church game. When I asked if he had told his stake sports direction about the incident, he said it was he who broke his wrist.
Another problem: Some players are simply not in proper physical condition to play it all out, without a high risk of injury. I can't count how many times I've seem a man limping to church and been right in guessing it came from a church basketball game.
Next, is a lack of physical conditioning. You can't play the game all-out if you only play it once or twice a week. Men age 30-plus are particularly prone to such hoop injuries.
I can't count how many times I've seen a man limp to church and been correct in guessing he got injured in a church basketball game. You have to be in shape to play the game.
-If you are not a church member, the carpeted floor on some Ward gymnasiums must seem like a pretty strange surface to play a basketball game on ....

Lastly, young men still sneak into the chapel at times to play basketball without any adults or leaders around to supervise them.

In conclusion: Mormons don't worship basketball, but it certainly is their sport of choice.

(Note: the accompanying photo shows a typical basketball hoop in a typical Utah ward chapel cultural hall, in the retracted to the ceiling position.)

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.

Clarifying Strict Doctrine vs. The Purpose Of ...

Too often members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints think in narrow terms.
For example, doctrine is strictly correct or it isn't. Right?
May be not!
Take the accompanying photograph of what appears to be the most popular, official LDS Church drawing for the early 21st Century.
Drawn by a world-renowned artist, who also happened to be a Seventh-Day Adventist, this drawing is now a key fixture in many LDS Temples, like Bountiful. Church leaders comissioned the painting and apparently lengthened Christ's hair in it, as well as down-played  angel wings.
However, this drawing is still strictly NOT doctrinally correct. Is that a problem?
 In recent years, I'm realizing that correct relates to purpose in the church and church leaders seem to think this painting can so evoke the spirit of the Lord, that the fact that it isn't absolutely doctrinally correct doesn't matter in that context.
D&C 133:48 clearly states that Christ's apparel will be red in color at his Second Coming. Several Biblical scriptures, like Isaiah 63:2 concur.

So, an image can not be fully doctrinal correct and still promote the spirit? Yes. (However, I still chose to color Christ in red in the above drawing that's in my house.)
And, this is only the tip of the iceberg of such purpose vs. doctrinal corrrectness in the church.
For example, the creative days in the church's Endowment temple ceremony do NOT correspond to any of the Standard Works. So, is the Temple Ceremony wrong? No, again it relates to the purpose of.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie said back in the mid-1970s that if members go to the temple often and study and are worthy, they will understand why the temple's creative day sequence is different.
Also, the Book of Mormon is said to be the most correct book on the earth. (not said to be perfect, though). So, why are some of the incorrectly translated verses of Isaiah in the Old Testament still repeated in the Book of Mormon, though some were corrected by Joseph Smith in his "Inspired Version" of the Bible?
Again, I believe it has to do with purpose. The Book of Mormon is correct for its purpose, to be a familiar voice like the Bible -- a solid missionary tool -- but not so different it turns away investigators to the Gospel.
"Correct" doctrine  simply isn't always black and white, at least in a telestial world.
As long as a church member lives worthy, studies and keeps the spirit, these inconsistencies in doctrine won't be stumbling blocks, but will be harmonious, though probably not to the outside world itself.

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.

Best Mormon License Plate?

Here's a photograph of the best Mormon-oriented license plate I've ever seen.
Kind of puts all those BYU-ish license plates, a dime a dozen, to shame!
Noticed in the Jordan River Temple Parking Lot:

Rainbows and the Second Coming of Christ

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.
Note that I have spotted a rainbow in the spring of 2013 and so don't panic yet ....

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

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.

The Huge Danger of Living in Coastal Areas!

                      Some Southern California homes are mere feet above sea level.

THE world's greatest ever Earthquake is coming!
Are you prepared for the greatest earthquake of all time — a planet-wide shaking event?
The Bible predicts such a tremendous cataclysm. Revelation 16:18 states: "And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great."
Two verses later, Revelation 16:20, it reads: "And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found."
The recently Tsunami-hit Samoas highlights this great danger of living along a coastal area. Church members and even just Bible-believing people you would think might consider otherwise.
Earthquakes are bad enough inland, but you can have the delayed danger of tsunamis on coastlines, besides the initial shaking damage and dangers.

                         Just a cement wall protects some S. California homes.

Like anyone, I'm drawn to a coastline. I love the Oregon Coast, for example. but, knowing the Gospel and prophecy, I wouldn't consider living there.I feel I tread on thin safety just visiting there and staying overnight a single night there in a motel.
I've been aware of tsunami dangers since the late 1980s, when I first visited Crescent City, northern California, near the Oregon border.
You can visit Crescent city and see what the Alaskan Quake sof the early 1960s did there ...
Zechariah 14:4 also mentions changes in Jerusalem, probably because of quakes.
God has used earthquakes in the past to denote important events. Matthew 27:50-54 illustrates there were quakes during Christ's crucifixion. And a quake heralded Christ's resurrection (Matthew 28:2).
An earthquake also broke prison doors down for Paul and led to the conversion of the prison keeper (Acts 16:25-26).
For centuries, earthquakes have been hot topics.
The largest ever recorded was an 8.5 Richter scale event in Chile on May 12, 1960. Given the gigantic quakes prophesied in the Bible and knowing what tsunamis they could spawn would likely put those residents along coastlines or on small islands in double jeopardy.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes that "the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man" (Doctrine and Covenants 88:87) in the last days.
"There are voices, thunders, lightnings and the greatest earthquake in earth's history; cities of nations fall; islands flee, and mountains are leveled; a great plague of hail," as stated in the Ensign, Oct. 1993, of the last days in a "Book of Revelation Overview" article.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie said in his Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, that he believed that the greatest ever earthquake is part of the earth's return to like it was before it was divided in the days of Peleg (Genesis 10:25). Meaning all the earth's land masses shall unite into one island.
In Mormon doctrine, Elder McConkie explained that by earthquakes God "delivers his servants from perils, destroys the wicked, and leaves a sign that his hand has been in transcendent events."
Brigham Young also stated that when the elders are called home, the Lord will teach his own sermons with fire and earthquakes (Journal of Discourses 8:123 and D&C 88:88-92).
So, church members can choose to live where they want, but knowing all the above, why would they remain along an ocean coastline? It is Gospel common sense not to!
"We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming," Elder Dallin H. Oaks said in a May 2004 Liahona address.
"And the preparation most likely to be neglected is the one less visible and more difficult — the spiritual. A 72-hour kit of temporal supplies may prove valuable for earthly challenges, but, as the foolish virgins learned to their sorrow, a 24-hour kit of spiritual preparation is of greater and more enduring value," he said.
In addition to dangers in coastal areas, a huge earthquake would also burst open many dams and so living in the flood plane of a large body of held back water would not be a wise place to live.
Also, living below a mountain side where it could rain boulders of landslides from a giant quake would not be a Biblically wise place to live either.

You obviously can't guard against all last day disasters, but the above three are perhaps the most obvious and avoidable ones of all.
UPDATE: Even without earthquakes and tidal waves, hurricanes, as Hurricane Sandy proved in 2012, can be another incredible danger along coastlines and even inland for many miles.

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.