Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Part Two: A Mormon Look at Bigfoot – He Is Supernatural.

By Lynn Arave

"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 more than 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 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 dozens of people who have seen him and I don't think most 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 built-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 the Three Nephites, or angels? He being (usually) dark in color, smelly, found in dark places and not inspirational. He fosters fear and mystery.
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. That’s not clear.
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 are employed by ghost hunters, another realm dominated by the supernatural.
(However, again I maintain that so-called “Ghosts” only involve part of the one-third of the host of Heaven cast out and they only impersonate previously living people. I fail to see why any ghost, outside rare, special, rare revelations, would actually be a deceased person.)

                                  An out of focus picture, like most all "Bigfoot" photographs.

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 any church member who believes in God. Bigfoots are naked, smelly and do nothing that denotes extreme intelligence — unless you count avoiding capture.
A Layton, Ut. man I met in the summer of 2011 told me he had spotted Bigfoot around his home several times. As a former military tracking expert, he said he had no clue for how these creatures can disappear and avoid capture. When I mentioned a possible supernatural aspect for Bigfoot, he said he was somewhat open to that, but that he’d probably have to actually see one disappear before his eyes first.
Why are Bigfoots roaming around? Latter-day Saints  believe God has translated various mortals over time, like John the apostle (John Chapter 21) and the Three Nephites. 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, than sightings of the Three Nephites, or angels, because of its extreme overall wickedness? So, it would appear.
Yet, shouldn't we seek angels before devils?
Meet a Bigfoot and a gun will do you no good. Prayer or the power of the priesthood would be your only defense.
Why didn’t Elder David W. Patten use the “spirit test” (Doctrine and Covenants section 129) on his co-called strange visitor, “Cain” (recounted in the previous part one of “Mormons and Bigfoot” article)?
 Joseph Smith didn’t receive D&C 129 until 1843 – that’s years after Elder Patten’s encounter. (Elder Patten died in 1838, almost five years before D&C 121 was given as a revelation, so he definitely didn’t know about the spirit test.)
In conclusion, for LDS Church members to believe in Bigfoot isn’t a stretch at all and Bigfoot’s existence in no way seems to contradict the Gospel. But he is evil and supernatural and not something to trifle with.
 (NOTE: The photographs above are from British Columbia, Canada, where a provincial park is named after Bigfoot and various towns highlight the creature; and from near Mt. St. Helen's, Washington State.)

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.

Part 1: A Mormon Look at Bigfoot – He’s Not Cain

By Lynn Arave

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 (Not Temple President, as some accounts wrongly state), 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.
According to the Ogden Standard-Examiner of Oct. 18, 2015, there was also an account of LDS Missionaries in Mexico during the 1920s meeting a large, dark, hairy creature who claimed to be Cain. 
Decades later, missionaries in Georgia were attacked by a huge dark black man who their mission president later told them was Cain.
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 I’m aware of – 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?
I believe 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?
I think 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.

--Look for Part two of a Mormon Look at Bigfoot ...
(Note: Photograph above is from 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.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Why The 'Intellectual Reserve' Copyright'?

Why does the LDS Church have an "Intellectual Reserve, Inc." copyright on its manuals and other publications?
This name replaced "Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" at the beginning of the 21st Century, likely around 2001 or 2002.
Nothing to worry about here.
A bunch of church attorneys chose the name and  purely for  legal reasons to keep up with the times.
Despite the "Sunstone-ish" sounding copyright, there's nothing to read into 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. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Can You Resign From a Church Calling?

Can you actually resign from an LDS Church calling or position?
Most members might say no, but there is a historical precedent for a resignation taking place.
On Oct. 6, 1946, Joseph Fielding Smith (the less well-known leader with that name, that was not the president of the church), submitted his resignation as patriarch to the church.
Although some more contemporary sources state that he was "released," he did submit his resignation for the calling to the First Presidency.
The newer Church News Almanacs state he was released, but the older almanacs confirm his resignation.
So, there you have it, for whatever it may mean, at least one church member did resign from a major calling and his resignation was accepted.
(Eldred G. Smith, the seventh and last patriarch of the church, replaced Joseph Fielding Smith. Eldred was put on emeritus status eventually.)

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.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Why LDS Church Members Go Inactive ...

Why do some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints go inactive?
It boils down to a lack of testimony and conviction, but often the spark to stop going to church is some negative experience -- usually with a church leader.
A bishop offended or embarrassed the member somehow.
In the case of one of my grandfathers, he traded his two prize plow horses to a friend, who was also his bishop, for a tractor. The machine broke down almost immediately and was no good. So, he took offense and stopped attending church. This continued for decades and he sadly passed away, being inactive.
In the case of one teenager, his bishop stopped him from attending his seminary graduation for a minor sell-confessed moral problem. He took offense that he missed a once-in-a-lifetime event. He was also upset that the prior year, two older boys in the ward did graduate from seminary, even though they stole yearbooks from the local high school and were prevented from attending their own high school graduation. He stopped going to church. His circle of friends even switched to less active members or even non-members.
In another case, a man in his mid-30s went inactive in the late 1970s for something his bishop did. It seemed like the man could not even recall exactly what the bishop did, but he was still mad about it and hadn't been to church since then. That former bishop has long since passed away and about a dozen bishops have served in the ward since then.
For still another case, a man in his late 50s, a smoker and inactive for many years, tried to come to church regularly five years ago. However, he could not stop smoking and said felt like an outcast at church, because of his smoking habit and within a few months he stopped coming again.
These tales are sad.
I'm not saying things that what church leaders do is the only cause of inactivity, but it is certainly one of the key causes. I'm also certain no church leaders plan to drive any members inactive, it just happens with human failings. Yet, I'm also certain church leaders probably work on missionary opportunities a lot and probably mostly ignore the negative -- that things they do could drive someone way from the church.
Obviously in many cases, members are perhaps looking for things to take offense at.
Someone once said that Sampson killed a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass. Sadly, the testimony of some members today is killed the same way.
Once a person stops attending church and doing what they should, their testimony decreases.
Still, this illustrates the grave consequences -- good or bad -- that church leaders can have on members' lives.
Church leaders could strive to be more sensitive to avoid doing things that members could take offense at. There is no way to avoid all such offenses, as some are silly and overblown, but bishops who are too strict and on a letter of the law crusade -- may do some serious damage -- especially to young adults.
I feel that some people, who are inactive, may not be forthcoming and also don't want to seem so shallow by revealing their true reason for going inactive -- that someone offended them.
So, they hide behind some so-called church history inconsistency, or similar things as their stated reasons.
They want to appear intellectual, but in reality are nothing of the sort ...
In 30 years of meeting inactive members in my stake, when I get people to really open up, the spark or cause of their inactivity can more often than ANY OTHER reason be traced to taking offense at what some leader or member did or said.
That's a sad reason for a substantial amount of inactivity, but still true.

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.

World's Toughest LDS Mission (For Converts)?

What is the toughest mission to serve in for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
A lot depends on how you define "tough."
However, if you define it as how many average converts a missionary baptizes during his/her mission, then I'd peg my mission, England-Bristol, as thee toughest, and at the least one of the toughest of all.
In fact, I'd put ALL of Europe in the toughest in the world category.
I'd estimate the average missionary in the U.K. or Europe only baptizes a few or a handful of converts in two years of service.
Furthermore, England Bristol doesn't even exist as a mission anymore.
Whereas in Central and South America in particular, missions have been divided and multiplied many times over the decades, there are actually LESS missions in the United Kingdom today than in the 1970s.
Missionaries were also "chewed out" in the early 1990s by a regional leader for their low baptism numbers. Eleven years later, in 2002, the mission was disbanded and merged with two adjoining missions.
(In addition to being tough for converts, this mission is also among the most expensive in all the world -- though costs missionaries pay are equalized world-wide, except for couples.)

--ALL of Europe is in a steep religious decline overall.
In fact, the England Bristol Mission ceased to exist on July 1, 2002, after some 40 years of existence. The England London mission gained part of the former Bristol mission and the England Birmingham mission received the rest.
Where else in the world are you going to find LESS missions in existence and likely less full-time missionaries serving, except in the United Kingdom and Europe?
The "why" this may be so is another story.

               (Above photograph is from Bradford, England, a circa year 1300 A.D.  building.)

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.