Kingdoms of Glory

I recently watched a video of an evangelical minister preaching alone to a large crowd and taking questions from individuals in the audience. One man stepped to the microphone and introduced himself as a Catholic with a life long question about the salvation of non-Christians like Hindu’s, Muslims, Jews and Mormons. He wanted to know if all these peoples were destined to be sent to hell.

In answer the preacher quoted the Apostle John who says that we have eternal life only through the name of Jesus (John 4:14; 5:11; 5:24) and thus his conclusion was that anyone who doesn’t know about and accept Jesus are doomed to be sent to hell. The audience applauded.

I was astonished on several levels:

  1. Who is this man who has elevated himself to be a judge and to abrogate the judgement which belongs to God?
  2. Who is He to say that I do not believe in Jesus? – and that somehow I need His approval to label myself a Christian?
  3. Does this preacher really believe that Gods plan is to condemn 99% of his children? He apparently doesn’t believe in a loving, merciful God who gives righteous judgement.
  4. Personally I trust in God’s judgement but not the blasphemy of this man.

I was reminded of the story in the Book of Mormon about those preaching at the Rameumptom. Here is the story with a few of my own words added in brackets:

Alma 31:8-26

8 Now the Zoramites were dissenters from the Nephites; therefore they had had the word of God preached unto them.
9 But they had fallen into great errors, for they would not observe to keep the commandments of God [e.g. to unreservedly love all mankind and to leave judgment to God], and his statutes, according to the law of Moses.
10 Neither would they observe the performances [covenant ordinances] of the church [like baptism], to continue in prayer and supplication to God daily [and not just the Sabbath only], that they might not enter into temptation.
11 Yea, in fine, they did pervert the ways of the Lord in very many instances; therefore, for this cause, Alma and his brethren went into the land to preach the word unto them.
12 Now, when they had come into the land, behold, to their astonishment they found that the Zoramites had built synagogues, and that they did gather themselves together on one day of the week, which day they did call the day of the Lord; and they did worship after a manner which Alma and his brethren had never beheld;
13 For they had a place built up in the center of their synagogue, a place for standing, which was high above the head; and the top thereof would only admit one person.
14 Therefore, whosoever desired to worship must go forth and stand upon the top thereof, and stretch forth his hands towards heaven, and cry with a loud voice, saying:hat thou art a spirit, and that thou wilt be a spirit forever.
16 Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our [fellow Christian and pagan] brethren; and we do not believe in the tradition of our [Mormon] brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast elected us [completely arbitrarily by grace] to be thy holy children [whether we repent or not]; and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ [who is a merciful judge of all].
17 But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever; and thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell; for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren, which doth bind them down to a belief of Christ [with an inclusive salvation], which doth lead their hearts to wander far from thee, our God.
18 And again we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people [and the only ones who are saved]. Amen.
19 Now it came to pass that after Alma and his brethren and his sons had heard these prayers, they were astonished beyond all measure.
20 For behold, every man did go forth and offer up these same prayers.
21 Now the place was called by them Rameumptom, which, being interpreted, is the holy stand.
22 Now, from this stand they did offer up, every man, the selfsame prayer unto God, thanking their God that they were chosen of him [randomly], and that he did not lead them away after the tradition of their brethren, and that their hearts were not stolen away to believe in things to come [by contemporary prophets], which they knew nothing about.
23 Now, after the people had all offered up thanks after this manner, they returned to their homes, never speaking of their God again until they had assembled themselves together again to the holy stand, to offer up thanks after their [self righteous and elitist] manner.
24 Now when Alma saw this his heart was grieved; for he saw that they were a wicked and a perverse people; yea, he saw that their hearts were set upon gold, and upon silver, and upon all manner of fine goods.
25 Yea, and he also saw that their hearts were lifted up unto great boasting, in their pride.
26 And he lifted up his voice to heaven, and cried, saying: O, how long, O Lord, wilt thou suffer that thy servants shall dwell here below in the flesh, to behold such gross wickedness among the children of men?

Of course members of the Church of Jesus Christ totally and fully believe in Jesus Christ and also that salvation comes only in and through His name. In the latter-days God has revealed many details of the Plan of Salvation wherein we are informed that everyone, prior to God’s judgement day, will have a complete and unfiltered opportunity to accept Jesus Christ and His atonement for sins. Thus, do Latter-day Saints believe in the Merciful and Righteous Judgment that Christ shall render to each person.

Certainly the Apostle John would not be pleased to have his teaching of hope perverted into a doctrine of condemnation to hell for all eternity for the innocent ans willing who are waiting to hear about Jesus.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a true apostle of Jesus Christ, has often been my favorite speaker in LDS General Conference when it comes to explaining doctrine (exegesis). He is so clear, complete and precise about it. So when it comes to the Plan of Salvation, rather than explaining the judgement and mercy of Christ myself I refer you to an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. See Kingdoms of Glory.

The New Millennial Science

… the Standard Works of the Church are the measuring rods the Lord has given us by which we are to measure every doctrine, every theory and teaching, and if there is anything that does not conform to that which is given to us in the revelations, we do not have to accept it. Whether I say it or anyone else says it, whether it comes through the philosophy of men, or whenever a statement is made, that is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, you know what course to take. So far as I am concerned, I will just put it aside. And I don’t care how many men may believe it. I don’t care how much backing it has in the world of so-called science or philosophy. If it does not harmonize with what the Lord has revealed, to me it is not worth anything. (Joseph Fielding Smith, 1942, The Signs of the Times, A Series of Discussions, pp 21-22)

Joseph Fielding Smith

There is a LOT of pseudo-science that conflicts with holy scripture that I do not believe in. I feel exactly the same way as Joseph Fielding Smith. To most that will seem incredulous, however much more scripture truth can now be backed up with empirical evidence than ever before. Joseph Fielding Smith was just ahead of his time. So, for example:
I don’t believe in macro-evolution (speciation). and I don’t believe in anthropogenic climate change. Actually I don’t believe really in any theory of man that has solidified by into a “fact” just because it has been repeated as such so many times. What I strive for is empirical data. Some proof. I always expect to begin by faith both in religion and in science, but each principle must eventually, via experiment, be put to the test. Each-and-every-one. This concept in and of itself is scriptural, as shown below:

Book of Mormon, Alma 32:27-36
27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves–It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.
31 And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness.
32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.
34 And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.
35 O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?
36 Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.

One of my great disappointments in life is seeing Brigham Young University failing to promote and support the teaching of the scriptures and the prophets. For example, BYU could have and should have led the way for the concept of Intelligent Design over Macro-Evolution. But instead, more intelligent scientists like David Galernter, Phillip Johnson, Stephen Meyer and others lead the revolution in evolution — while stodgy BYU still embraces the pseudo theories. Apparently there are way too many BYU academics with both feet in Babylon. Fools.

Hominid Evolution display at Brigham Young University, Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum

Fortunately there are some really good dedicated truth seekers. I recently met Dean Sessions, the author of the Universal Model. I had read just a very little about the Universal Model beforehand and what I read was negative. However I was intrigued and I like to be an open minded and a seeker of truth, so I pursued a discussion with him. I found he had what sounded like solid answers. I was quickly persuaded to read the books.

Dean W Sessions

Volume 1 and 2 of the Universal Model are big and heavy. Too heavy to hold comfortably for reading and too large for my book stand as well. I solved the weight problem by reading on my iPad instead. It turns out that’s the book size was the only problem I ever had with these books — because the content is amazing.

Dean Sessions calls the Universal Model the start of a New Millennial Science. I believe that is true. The Universal Model introduces a new scientific paradigm of thinking about our physical world that is revolutionary and that finally provides great answers to long time unanswered questions, especially in the field of geology.

Based on empirical evidence and reproducible experiments, some of which Dean Sessions shares in the books. I found the Universal Model geology to be consistent with physical evidence, holy scripture, and the historical records of many cultures around the world. Below are just a few examples which contrast Pseudo Science vs Millennial Science vs Scripture.

Pseudo ScienceMillennial ScienceScripture
The creation of our earth was based on a series of fortunate accidents.

We are running out of natural resources that took millions of years to create and is very limited, so we need to halt consumption. Peak oil, etc.

The use of theses resources is causing catastrophic warming of the planet via anthropogenic climate change.

Humans are ruining the planet and it would be better if we were not here at all.
The universal flood created vast oil, coal, gas, rock, mineral and sand deposits we have today and we still have much to discover. These were globally created by tremendous heat and pressure, up to 850F at 15,000 psi.

The creation of all the earths natural resources has been duplicated in the laboratory under conditions that existed during the global flood and they do not take millions of years to form.

Earth was created intentionally by God for the use of mankind.
DC 104
17 For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.

Genesis 7:6-7
6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7 And God made the firmament [earth crust], and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

Genesis 1
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
The earth was first formed by the slow accretion of hard materials that smashed into each other until they melted into liquid and then combined into a molten liquid the size of earth.Star forming clouds in space are primarily liquid water which is the most plentiful substance in the universe. Water in the vacuum of space is in liquid form at a few degrees above absolute zero — because of the lack of pressure. Water droplets naturally congeal into perfect spheres which combine to grow larger and larger due to gravitational attraction. Like our bodies the earth is also mostly water.Genesis 1
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, … and it was so.
10 … and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
Under the thin crust of the earth is molten magma where radioactivity keeps the rock melted. It has been like this for 4.5 billion years. Below the mantle is a layer of hot liquid iron and finally solid iron at the center. The iron is the source of the magnetic field that surrounds the earth.The ocean floor/crust is crystalline basalt and the continental crust is crystalline granite plus other crystalline rocks which grow in saturated mineral water under heat and pressure (hyprethermic conditions which have been duplicated in the lab). There is no magma and it has never been demonstrated that it exists at all. All melted rock is glass and not crystal. The mantle below the earths crust is both rock and water. Then there is a layer of liquid water is below the mantle and with a stable crystalline form of ice (not ordinary ice) at the core. Few rocks have any radioactivity and those that do are not hot because of it. Heat within the earth comes from tidal friction and the friction from plate tectonics. This friction is the source of the heat creating lava from volcanoes. The electrical magnetic field around the earth is not a permanent magnet but is generated by the tidal flexing (earth tides) of piezoelectric rock.Genesis 1
9 And God said, .. let the dry land appear [hypretherm processes]: and it was so.
10 And God called the dry land Earth; … and God saw that it was good.
A universal flood is impossible because there is not enough water in the oceans, skies, and glaciers for that to ever happen.

The present processes are the key to the past (uniformitarianism pseudo-theory) so nothing as catastrophic as a universal flood ever happened.

Everything takes millions of years to happen, including the Pangaea continental break up.

The only water on the earth is in the ocean, sky, glaciers and within the crust of the earth.
The earth is a hydroplanet composed mostly of water and also with piezoelectric crystalline rock. It is not a magma planet made out of liquid rock.

The mantle beneath the earths crust contains many times the total water of all the surface oceans.

In 2345 BC the continents and seafloor cracked with fissures releasing huge amount of water and heat and covering the earth about 30,000 feet deep. This led to hyprethermal (rock making) conditions responsible for many of the rock and sand formations seen today.

A universal flood was also was the beginning of continents separating from the original Pangaea super-continent which occurred in only a 100 or so years.
Genesis 7
10 And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. …
19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. …
24 And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.
A universal flood is impossible because there could not have been room for all the animals to fit.

The animals on the earth come from the macro-evolutionary processes over the course of millions of years as evidenced by fossils found in layers of rock.
Because of micro evolution (adaptation within a species) only one type of each species was required in the ark. For example, all types of dog originate from the original wolf.

The ark was quite large at 450 feet in length but not all animal species entered the ark.

Evolution is not supported by the fossil record. Petrified wood and bone changing into rock are not happening today and were only created during the universal flood hyprethermic conditions involving intense heat and pressure.
Genesis 6:15, Jasher 5:27
15/27 And thus shalt thou make it; three hundred cubits its length, fifty cubits broad and thirty cubits high.

Jasher 6
2 And thou shalt go and seat thyself by the doors of the ark, and all the beasts, the animals, and the fowls, shall assemble and place themselves before thee, and such of them as shall come and crouch before thee, shalt thou take and deliver into the hands of thy sons, who shall bring them to the ark, and all that will stand before thee thou shalt leave.
A universal flood is just a myth and belief in God is a myth too.

The flood never happened according to accepted scientific theory.
Pseudo-Theories are not facts. The flood is recorded in the annals of many cultures and the majority of people on the planet believe their own history.

It is true than nearly 100% of modern scientists do not believe in God or the universal flood — but scientific evidence for the flood is overwhelming for those who know what to look for. It requires a paradigm shift to the hydroplanet reality.

Atheism is untenable given the scientific evidence available. The universal flood occurred in part because of atheism. History is repeating itself.
Jasher 6
18 And they called to Noah, saying, Open for us that we may come to thee in the ark–and wherefore shall we die?
19 And Noah, with a loud voice, answered them from the ark, saying, Have you not all rebelled against the Lord, and said that he does not exist? and therefore the Lord brought upon you this evil, to destroy and cut you off from the face of the earth.
20 Is not this the thing that I spoke to you of one hundred and twenty years back, and you would not hearken to the voice of the Lord, and now do you desire to live upon earth?
21 And they said to Noah, We are ready to return to the Lord; only open for us that we may live and not die.
22 And Noah answered them, saying, Behold now that you see the trouble of your souls, you wish to return to the Lord; why did you not return during these hundred and twenty years, which the Lord granted you as the determined period?
23 But now you come and tell me this on account of the troubles of your souls, now also the Lord will not listen to you, neither will he give ear to you on this day, so that you will not now succeed in your wishes.
The age of the earth is millions and billions of years old. This is a fact that contradicts the universal flood timeline.

Macro-evolution, petrified fossils and radiometric dating prove the age of the earth to be billions of years old and that a universal flood never happened.

So-called geological flood evidence are really the result of glaciers of the ice ages.
The universal flood happened 2345 BC and Adam at 4000 BC.

There is no macroevolution (speciation) and no millions of years.

Radiometric dating assumes melted glass type rocks which is a false premise and is therefore totally unreliable. Carbon 14 dating is also unreliable without Dendrochronology and especially to pre-historic timelines.

Most Dinosaurs were not on the Ark and died in the universal flood as evidenced by large numbers of petrified rock fossil remains which could only have been made during the flood hyperthermal conditions which includes intense heat.

The universal flood with accompanying earthquakes and multiple inundations of ever higher surging water account for geological conditions are now falsely attributed to ice ages but it all happened during the universal flood in a matter of months and not billions, millions or even thousands of years. The only truly reliable dating methods are:

1) Historical records attested from multiple sources;
2) Events in historical records that can be correlated astronomically;
3) Dendrochronology which can go back 10,000 years with overlapping tree ring patterns.

Observation of natural processes that occurred during the universal flood can be duplicated in a laboratory so we know the processes do not take millions of years.
Genesis 7
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

Jasher 6
26 And the rain was still descending upon the earth, and it descended forty days and forty nights, and the waters prevailed greatly upon the earth; and all flesh that was upon the earth or in the waters died, whether men, animals, beasts, creeping things or birds of the air, and there only remained Noah and those that were with him in the ark.
27 And the waters prevailed and they greatly increased upon the earth, and they lifted up the ark and it was raised from the earth.
28 And the ark floated upon the face of the waters, and it was tossed upon the waters so that all the living creatures within were turned about like pottage in a cauldron.
29 And great anxiety seized all the living creatures that were in the ark, and the ark was like to be broken.
30 And all the living creatures that were in the ark were terrified, and the lions roared, and the oxen lowed, and the wolves howled, and every living creature in the ark spoke and lamented in its own language, so that their voices reached to a great distance, and Noah and his sons cried and wept in their troubles; they were greatly afraid that they had reached the gates of death.
31 And Noah prayed unto the Lord, and cried unto him on account of this, and he said, O Lord help us, for we have no strength to bear this evil that has encompassed us, for the waves of the waters have surrounded us, mischievous torrents have terrified us, the snares of death have come before us; answer us, O Lord, answer us, light up thy countenance toward us and be gracious to us, redeem us and deliver us.
32 And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Noah, and the Lord remembered him.

The Heartland Research Group

In the title page of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Mormon wrote that the book is for: “the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST”.

One of my serious goals in life is to help present evidence showing the Book of Mormon to be a true and accurate historical account. Real places, real events, real people, real history. Convincing of the physical evidence opens doors to the convincing of the spiritual evidence.

The Heartland Research Group and my affiliation with it began about a year ago.

The purpose of the HRG is to support the historicity of the Book of Mormon through research. In this sense it is much different from private LDS organizations like the “Latter-Day Network” and the “Firm Foundation” which provide seminars/conferences featuring a wide variety of speakers but eschew original research. The HRG is much, much more focused: it is boots-on-the-ground Book-of-Mormon research.

The HRG is not exclusionary. Anyone offering to help is welcomed. Although many who assist in HRG expeditions and seminars are members of the Church of Jesus Christ, there are also many who are not members. Typical of HRG supporters is to have a firm conviction that the narrative of the Book of Mormon took place in North America.

The HRG has a goal of finding the lost city of Zarahemla and we are actively looking in the area of Montrose, Iowa. This is done with efforts in the field: magnetic and electrical ground scanning, sonar scanning, core sampling, high resolution LiDAR, and carbon-14 dating. See and also for information on past and current activities.

The HRG is funded through large donors and also smaller donors via FaceBook. It turns out there are a lot of people who want to see this research go forward. We haven’t reached all of our goals yet but the results and growth of the HRG have been impressive over it’s short history.

Access to the land of course is paramount for research and one of the initial concerns was the reception of the local farmers. It turns out the reception was enthusiastic – beyond our expectations. Many of the land owners in the Montrose Iowa area go back 100+ years and are well aware that their land has ancient history. Some locals have extensive collections of arrow heads, axe heads, pottery, jewelry, effigy pipes, stone tools, and other relics that have surfaced in the fields over many decades. In fact, the local enthusiasm and encouragement has been much higher in Montrose than in Utah — and we would have thought it would be the opposite.

The HRG has done so much already and it is just getting started.

The Translation Process of the Book of Mormon

The Zarahemla Centric Heartland Model (ZCHM) of Book of Mormon geography is based first and foremost directly upon the text of the Book of Mormon — and as close to the original text as possible for technical accuracy. This is made possible by Royal Skousen’s study of the original manuscripts which has resulted in the publication of The Book of Mormon – The Earliest Text. Understanding the Book of Mormon translation process reveals that it was a “tight” translation, which is technically important to know when analyzing the text for geography. A “tight” translation means there should be great respect for the accuracy and the sacred nature of each and every word of the Book of Mormon.

There is much of controversy and conflicting testimony when it comes to the actual translation process. Most of the conflicting information comes from disaffected former members of the Church with a personal agenda to push (like Emma Smith) and with accounts that vary widely from one telling to the next, depending on the audience (like David Whitmer). In truth, only Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had direct experience with the translation process. Fortunately their testimony is consistent, clear and concise, as in the Wentworth letter5 and other authoritative statements1. Therefore the testimony of Joseph and Oliver must be paramount. They testified the translation was: 1) Done by the power of God; 2) Included reading the golden plates; and 3) Involved the use of the Urim and Thummim — also called the Holy Interpreters. The only real question in my mind is the role of the Urim and Thummim had in the translation process.

One fact we do know based on testimony and examination of the original manuscripts is that the translation was a one-time dictation1a,1b,1c. Some have argued that a young Joseph Smith had the necessary biblical vocabulary to dictate the Book of Mormon. However, I don’t believe this is correct — and almost no one does.

It is also argued, for good reason, that the young Joseph Smith studied2a the language2b of the plates for at least three months2c, was tutored by angelic messengers3 and could actually understand the language on the plates2b based on his own study2d. I do believe this is true based on the historical record and also Section 9 of the Doctrine and Covenants4. However, the idea that Joseph Smith could understand the Reformed Egyptian characters on the plates does not explain a one-time dictation into a complex Biblical style English with no revisions. This is where, in my opinion, the role of the Urim and Thummim5 comes in. I believe that Joseph Smith had a gift of translating the written meaning from the plates into his own mind and then the role of the Urim and Thummim (also called “Interpreters”6) was to interpret (consecutive interpreting) those thoughts into the precise Hebrew-like language constructs and Bible-like vocabulary that is now found in the Book of Mormon.

This concept also explains why it was a one-time dictation instead of the normal multiple attempts required “to get the words right”. Multiple attempts and revisions would be needed (double interpretation) for interpreting such a complex text without the aid of the Urim and Thummim. Nobody but nobody, on their own, would get the wording exactly right the very first time with no revision. Only God could do that7 and I believe God did do this via the Urim and Thummim. This was a blessing not only to Joseph Smith but also fulfilled prophecy given by the Lord to the ancient Nephite prophets8.

Thus, I believe the original text of the Book of Mormon to be the ultimate “tight” translation. Every word and every spelling is significant and precise as it came from the lips of Joseph Smith. That is also my experience and testimony as I have studied the text in regard to the geography of the Book of Mormon.

1 See the Wentworth Letter, also Doctrine and Covenants 3:19, 5:4, 10:38-45

1a The work of translation proceeded haltingly through 1828. Joseph’s wife, Emma, and others served as scribes until the spring of 1829, when Oliver Cowdery took over, recording the bulk of the 275,000-word text from Joseph’s dictation, concluding near the end of June 1829, a period of about 60 to 90 days. (see Church History,

1b These were days never to be forgotten-to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom! Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth as he translated” (Messenger and Advocate 1 [Oct. 1834]:14)

1c All witnesses of the translation stated that Joseph Smith dictated the text of the Book of Mormon. This claim is supported by certain errors in the original manuscript which clearly resulted from the scribe mishearing what Joseph had dictated. … Evidence from the original manuscript supports the traditional belief that Joseph Smith received a revealed text by means of the interpreters. … In fact, the occurrence of non-English Hebraisms such as the if-and construction strongly suggests that the text was tightly controlled down to the level of the word at least. This tight control is also supported by the consistent phraseology in the original text. And the spelling of names such as Coriantumr suggests that control could be imposed down to the very letter. (How Joseph Smith Translated the Book of Mormon, Royal Skousen, pp 25,30)

2a …Joseph began to make arrangements to accomplish the translation of the Record; And the first step which he was instructed to take in regard to this matter, was, to take a Fac-Simile of the characters composing the alphabet: which characters were called reformed Egyptian… (Lucy Mack Smith History, 1845, pp 117,122, Joseph Smith Papers)

2b for truth is a matter of fact — and the fact is, by the power of God I translated the book of Mormon from hieroglyphics; the knowledge of which was lost to the world. In which wonderful event, I stood alone, an unlearned youth, to combat the worldly wisdom and multiplied ignorance of eighteen centuries. (James Arlington Bennet letter, Joseph Smith Papers)

2c I commenced copying the characters of all the plates. I copyed a considerable number of them and by means of the Urim and Thummin I translated some of them which I did between the time I arrived at the house of my wife’s father in the month of December, and the February following. (Lucy Mack Smith History, 1845, pp 117,122, Joseph Smith Papers)

2d With “true alphabet” languages, like English, one needs to generally speak the language in order to read it. However, for Pictographic and Logographic writing systems, this is not the case. See below. The “Reformed Egyptian” (Mormon 9:32) of the plates was likely a altered/customized form of the Egyptian Hieratic. The beautiful Egyptian Hieroglyphic’s was used for monuments and Hieratic was the everyday “cursive” form, much simpler to write – and designed for parchment. Mormon explains that he used “Reformed Eyptian” that had been altered by the Nephites. One reason it had to be altered is that it was designed to be engraven on metal plates rather than parchment. That it also had to be logographic is clear when Mormon explains it was shorter than the Hebrew (Mormon 9:33).

In context of the Book of Mormon it is useful to understand the basics of the following writing systems

Pictographic/ideographic writing systems:

    • There is no single way to read them, because there is no one-to-one correspondence between symbol and language.
    • Only the author of a text can read it with any certainty, and it may be said that they are interpreted rather than read.
    • Such scripts often work best as mnemonic aids for oral texts, or as outlines that will be fleshed out in speech.
    • – Examples: Aztec, Mixtec, other Mesoamerican writing systems with the exception of Maya Hieroglyphs.

Logographic writing systems

    • Glyphs (A symbol, such as a stylized figure or arrow on a public sign, that imparts information nonverbally) represent words or morphemes (meaningful components of words, as in mean-ing-ful), rather than phonetic elements.
    • No logographic script is composed solely of logograms (A written symbol representing an entire spoken word without expressing its pronunciation; for example, for 4 read “four” in English, “quattro” in Italian.). All contain graphemes that represent phonetic (sound-based) elements as well.
    • Many glyphs are purely phonetic, whereas others function as either logograms or phonetic elements, depending on context.
    • Consonant-based logographies
    • – Examples: Hieroglyphic, Hieratic, and Demotic – the writing systems of Ancient Egypt.
    • Syllable-based logographies
    • – Examples: Cuneiform, Chinese, Japanese, Mayan.

Abjad writing systems

    • Script containing symbols for consonants only, or where vowels are optionally written with diacritics.
    • – Examples: Arabian, Aramaic, Hebrew.

True Alphabets writing systems

    • A true alphabet contains separate letters (not diacritic marks) for both consonants and vowels..
    • – Examples: Coptic Egyptian, Cyrillic – Eastern Slavic languages, Greek, Latin-Roman (current western and central European languages).

3 And when Joseph Smith was raised up a a Prophet of God, Mormon, Moroni, Nephi and others of the ancient Prophets who formerly lived on this Continent, and Peter and John and others who lived on the Asiatic Continent, came to him and communicated to him certain principles pertaining to the Gospel of the Son of God. (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, April 8 1875, Vol 17, p 374)

4 (revelation given through Joseph Smith to Oliver Cowdery)
Doctrine and Covenants 9
7 Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.
8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.
9 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.
10 Now, if you had known this you could have translated; nevertheless, it is not expedient that you should translate now. (Doctrine and Covenants, 9:7-10).

5 “With the records was found a curious instrument, which the ancients called ‘Urim and Thummim’, which consisted of two transparent stones set in the rim of a bow fastened to a breast plate. Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the record by the gift and power of God” (Joseph Smith, Wentworth Letter, History of the Church, 4:537).

6 5 Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them. And he commanded me that I should seal them up; and he also hath commanded that I should seal up the interpretation thereof; wherefore I have sealed up the interpreters, according to the commandment of the Lord. (Book of Mormon, Ether 4:5).

7 2 And also, that I may remember the promises which I have made unto thee, Nephi, and also unto thy father, that I would remember your seed; and that the words of your seed should proceed forth out of my mouth unto your seed; and my words shall hiss forth unto the ends of the earth, for a standard unto my people, which are of the house of Israel; (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 29:2).

8 Ether 12:
23 And I said unto him: Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing; for Lord thou hast made us mighty in word by faith, but thou hast not made us mighty in writing; for thou hast made all this people that they could speak much, because of the Holy Ghost which thou hast given them;
24 And thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands. Behold, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them.
25 Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them; wherefore, when we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words.
26 And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness; (Book of Mormon, Ether 12:23-26).

N1C vs M2C

NOTE: I haven’t written much here lately, and not too much brand new since March of 2015 when I commenced my research into the Book of Mormon geography (see Book of Mormon Covenant Lands).

I have recently completed enough online to invite others to review Book of Mormon Covenant Lands. Two published authors in this subject graciously agreed to take a look. One was Jonathan Neville. Jonathan has written many books on the Book of Mormon (my two favorites are The Lost City of Zarahemla and Letter VII) and authors a popular Book of Mormon blog. The second person, Brant Gardner, is also a Book of Mormon book author and author at FairMormon, an LDS apologetics site.

There is in the church now a great divide between those who: A) believe the narrative history of the Book of Mormon occurred in North America, USA/Canada (I call it N1C); and B) those who believe it occurred in Mesoamerica (called M2C). The M2C position is that there must be two hill Cumorah’s and that the hill Cumorah of the Book of Mormon is really located somewhere in Mesoamerica.

To deflect criticism or controversy it is sometimes argued that “geography doesn’t really make any difference” regarding the Book of Mormon. However, the Book of Mormon contains prophecies, warnings, and special covenants that apply to the land of the Book of Mormon and the people who inhabit it.

The question of N1C vs M2C is now a litmus test between Book of Mormon researchers (BTW, Jonathan Neville is N1C and Brant Gardner is M2C). If you are N1C then you are immediately suspect by M2C proponents in anything you write or propose about the Book of Mormon. Also vice-versa. Most M2C groups, when challenged, will claim to be neutral on the question of Book of Mormon geography. However, while M2C models are documented, they avoid presenting information on N1C geographic models, archaeological discoveries, or writings.

I find that FairMormon makes a claim to be neutral, but fails. They are N1C hostile, sometimes openly, but more often by just ignoring and suppressing N1C information.

Book of Mormon Central claims to be neutral, but in practice they are not. For example, their logo still contains a Mayan glyph. They exclude N1C information and perspectives and argue against anything N1C. Book of Mormon Central is owned by Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum ( whose mission statement is to promote the Book of Mormon as an “ancient Mayan codex“.

BYU Studies once led the charge for M2C. Now they privately say they are neutral on all Book of Mormon geography. However for now their online curriculum materials (e.g. charts 140-160) continues to point exclusively to Central America for Book of Mormon geography.

My Book of Mormon Logical Model and Map declares that I am definitely of the N1C persuasion. The reason is not primarily because of geography or maps. It’s doctrinal. The scriptures declare it. The prophets declare it. The M2C people will say “the scriptures are not definitive” and the prophets only did “the best they could with what they knew” but just weren’t privy “to the additional information that scholars have since determined”. They say “it’s the science of archaeology that counts” and trumps all other considerations, and “not everything the prophets say is doctrine so I am not obligated to accept it”. It is not hyperbole for me to say that all of this is the consensus opinion of the M2C folks from my own personal experience. I disagree with it totally.

I have been alive long enough to see that “the sciences” are a moving target, always shifting and changing by definition. Not a foundation to build upon when the rains come and the winds blow. The M2C position is, in my opinion, untenable. By the standard of following only the sciences, the M2C boosters should abandon M2C because the overwhelming consensus of non-LDS archaeologists, the leading experts in Mesoamerican archaeology, is negative. They think it is a joke. They say the written language doesn’t match, the evidence on the ground doesn’t match, the animals don’t match, and the timelines don’t match up either. They say the decline of Classic Maya civilization and the abandonment of Maya cities in the southern Maya lowlands of Mesoamerica is between the 8th and 9th centuries at the end of the Classic Maya Period, and that pre-classic Maya experienced a similar collapse in the 2nd century. None of this matches up with Book of Mormon time-lines. Not. Even. Close.

Most of the membership of the Church doesn’t buy into M2C, with it’s 2-Cumorah requirement, either. They trend to believing the prophets and the scriptures and Joseph Smith (e.g. the Wentworth letter) and they don’t read “academic” books and papers, especially those members who live outside the US. So now the M2C folks are arrayed against the scientific establishment, the lay members of the church, the Prophets, and the Scriptures. It’s what I mean by being “untenable”.

One of the most serious issues is the censoring and altering the words of the prophets in church publications and manuals. This is caused, I believe, by M2C tainted editors who are promoting their M2C worldview. It is not a systemic policy but it happens. What follows below is an egregious example. Simply deplorable.

Teachings of the Presidents, Brigham Young Manual,
Chapter 47: President Brigham Young’s Witness of the Prophet Joseph Smith
Original talk by Brigham Young, delivered June 21 1874,
Journal of Discourses Vol. 18  p. 239
When Joseph first received the knowledge of the plates that were in the hill Cumorah, he did not then receive the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood, he merely received the knowledge that the plates were there, and that the Lord would bring them forth. He received the knowledge that [early inhabitants of the Americas] were once in possession of the Gospel, and from that time he went on, step by step, until he obtained the plates, and the Urim and Thummim and had power to translate them. When Joseph first received the knowledge of the plates that were in the hill Cumorah, he did not then receive the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood, he merely received the knowledge that the plates were there, and that the Lord would bring them forth, and that they contained the history of the aborigines of this country. He received the knowledge that they were once in possession of the Gospel, and from that time he went on, step by step, until he obtained the plates, and the Urim and Thummim and had power to translate them.

When Joseph Smith wrote the Wentworth Letter, he made this request:

At the request of Mr. John Wentworth, Editor and Proprietor of the Chicago Democrat, I have written the following sketch of the rise, progress, persecution, and faith of the Latter-day Saints, of which I have the honor, under God, of being the founder. Mr. Wentworth says that he wishes to furnish Mr. Barstow, a friend of his, who is writing the history of New Hampshire, with this document. As Mr. Barstow has taken the proper steps to obtain correct information, all that I shall ask at his hands, is, that he publish the account entire, ungarnished, and without misrepresentation.

Unfortunately, some church publications do not honor Joseph’s request by publishing the entire account, but instead use a censored version the Wentworth letter removes the following lines to hide Joseph Smith’s statement about Jaredites and Nephites being from America, “this country”:

The Teachings of Joseph Smith, Priesthood Manual, p 441 The Encylopedia of Mormonism, 1992, Wentworth Letter, Appx. 12.
Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the record by the gift and power of God.

This book tells us that our Savior made His appearance upon this continent after His resurrection; that He planted the Gospel here in all its fulness, and richness, and power, and blessing; that they had Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers, and Evangelists, the same order, the same priesthood, the same ordinances, gifts, powers, and blessings, as were enjoyed on the eastern continent; that the people were cut off in consequence of their transgressions; that the last of their prophets who existed among them was commanded to write an abridgment of their prophecies, history, etc., and to hide it up in the earth, and that it should come forth and be united with the Bible for the accomplishment of the purposes of God in the last days.

Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the record by the gift and power of God.

In this important and interesting book the history of ancient America is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that came from the Tower of Babel, at the confusion of languages to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian era. We are informed by these records that America in ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites, and came directly from the tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem, about six hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites, of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country.

This book also tells us that our Savior made His appearance upon this continent after His resurrection; that He planted the Gospel here in all its fulness, and richness, and power, and blessing; that they had Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers, and Evangelists, the same order, the same priesthood, the same ordinances, gifts, powers, and blessings, as were enjoyed on the eastern continent; that the people were cut off in consequence of their transgressions; that the last of their prophets who existed among them was commanded to write an abridgment of their prophecies, history, etc., and to hide it up in the earth, and that it should come forth and be united with the Bible for the accomplishment of the purposes of God in the last days.

Because of surreptitious M2C editing and M2C stealth promotion, many members are unaware of the teachings of the prophets, and so the M2C position can seem okay to those who buy the books etc. — but I maintain that to contradict the clear pattern of what the of prophets and the scriptures have taught is out of step, doctrinally, with what the Book of Mormon teaches:

2 Nephi 9:28-29,4
28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
29 But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.
42 And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches–yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.

The above scripture is harsher than I would dare to be, so I just quote it. I don’t think it would be right to do less. Also, consider that Jesus “upbraided” some of His Apostles for their initial unbelief of the testimonies of his resurrection. Upbraided means “chastised” and “severely criticized”. So, in fairness to the dedicated M2C people they are in good company, but if they are wise they will repent their ways as the ancient Apostles did.

Mark 1
14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

“Stiff neckedness and unbelief” also held back the early Apostles from understanding about the “other sheep”:

3 Nephi 15
11 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words, he said unto those twelve whom he had chosen:
12 Ye are my disciples; and ye are a light unto this people, who are a remnant of the house of Joseph.
13 And behold, this is the land of your inheritance; and the Father hath given it unto you.
14 And not at any time hath the Father given me commandment that I should tell it unto your brethren at Jerusalem.
15 Neither at any time hath the Father given me commandment that I should tell unto them concerning the other tribes of the house of Israel, whom the Father hath led away out of the land.
16 This much did the Father command me, that I should tell unto them:
17 That other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
18 And now, because of
stiffneckedness and unbelief they understood not my word; therefore I was commanded to say no more of the Father concerning this thing unto them.

In support of my position I quote President Oaks below. The complete talk is available here.

I maintain that the issue of the historicity of the Book of Mormon is basically a difference between those who rely exclusively on scholarship and those who rely on a combination of scholarship, faith, and revelation. Those who rely exclusively on scholarship reject revelation and fulfill Nephi’s prophecy that in the last days men “shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance” (2 Ne. 28:4).

— Dallin H. Oaks, 29 October 1993, The Historicity of the Book of Mormon

Now that I have quoted President Oaks, I could probably end this post and be done. However, I also want to document just how strong the case for N1C really is. It is far stronger than most realize, and is definitely not limited to any one “opinion” but is backed up by many prophets, many scriptures, authoritative accounts, and word of the LORD himself. Below are significant testimonies that I have chosen to share because they transcend “opinion”.

The scriptures below indicate missionaries being sent to the “Lamanites” in Missouri. In the Doctrine and Covenants, the city of the future New Jerusalem mentioned by the prophet Ether is also identified as being in Missouri. These are canonized scriptures, with the Lord speaking in the first person and should not be construed by faithful members of the church as “just” the opinion of Joseph Smith. Because of the taint of M2C some LDS visitors centers have labeled the mission as “missionaries sent to the Indians” to hide the reference to Lamanites in Missouri. Some visitors centers have also employed Mayan glyphs in their portrayals.

For more information on these first missionaries of the church, I recommend Lamanites in North America.

Doctrine and Covenants  10
45 Behold, there are many things engraven upon the plates of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my gospel; therefore, it is wisdom in me that you should translate this first part of the engravings of Nephi, and send forth in this work.
46 And, behold, all the remainder of this work does contain all those parts of my gospel which my holy prophets, yea, and also my disciples, desired in their prayers should come forth unto this people.
47 And I said unto them, that it should be granted unto them according to their faith in their prayers;
48 Yea, and this was their faith–that my gospel, which I gave unto them that they might preach in their days, might come unto their brethren
the Lamanites, and also all that had become Lamanites because of their dissensions.
49 Now, this is not all–their faith in their prayers was that this gospel should be made known also, if it were possible that other nations should possess this land;
50 And thus
they did leave a blessing upon this land in their prayers, that whosoever should believe in this gospel in this land might have eternal life;
51 Yea, that it might be free unto all of whatsoever nation, kindred, tongue, or people they may be.
52 And now, behold, according to their faith in their prayers will I bring this part of my gospel to the knowledge of my people. Behold, I do not bring it to destroy that which they have received, but to build it up.

Doctrine and Covenants 28:9
9 And now, behold, I say unto you that it is not revealed, and no man knoweth where the city Zion shall be built, but it shall be given hereafter. Behold, I say unto you that it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites.

Doctrine and Covenants 28:14
14 And thou shalt assist to settle all these things, according to the covenants of the church, before
thou shalt take thy journey among the Lamanites.

Doctrine and Covenants 54:8
8 And thus you shall take your journey into the regions westward,
unto the land of Missouri, unto the borders of the Lamanites.

Doctrine and Covenants 84
2 Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.
3 Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the
western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.

Doctrine and Covenants 128
20 And again, what do we hear? Glad tidings from Cumorah! Moroni, an angel from heaven, declaring the fulfilment of the prophets–the book to be revealed.

Ether 13
3 And that it was the place of the
New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, and the holy sanctuary of the Lord.
4 Behold, Ether saw the days of Christ, and he spake concerning
a New Jerusalem upon this land.

The scriptures above may seem conclusive however M2C proponents say that some church leaders have occasionally referred to Mesoamericans, South Americans and Pacific Islanders as being of Lamanite descent (and I don’t doubt that) so therefore, they say, “Lamanites can be anywhere” and therefore the scriptures cited “don’t mean anything specific”.

However, these first missionaries carried the message that the Book of Mormon was all about the forefathers of the “aboriginal inhabitants” of “this country” (Wentworth letter). When the missionaries took the Book of Mormon to the Lamanites the message from the Lord was that its history applied to this land (DC 10:49,50). This country or this land means whatever the land or country the hearer is from and not the “entire hemisphere” — despite M2C related sophistry.

Oliver Cowdery’s Speech to the Delaware Indians about the Book of Mormon

Thousands of moons ago, when the red men’s forefathers dwelt in peace and possessed this whole land, the Great Spirit talked with them, and revealed His law and His will, and much knowledge to their wise men and prophets. This they wrote in a Book; together with their history, and the things which should befall their children in the latter days. “This Book was written on plates of gold, and handed down from father to son for many ages and generations. “It was then that the people prospered, and were strong and mighty; they cultivated the earth; built buildings and cities, and abounded in all good things, as the pale faces now do. “But they became wicked: they killed one another and shed much blood; they killed their prophets and wise men, and sought to destroy the Book. The great Spirit became angry, and would speak to them no more; they had no more good and wise dreams ; no more visions ; no more angels sent among them by the Great Spirit; and the Lord commanded Mormon and Moroni, their last wise men and prophets, to hide the Book in the earth, that it might be preserved in safety, and be found and made known in the latter day to the pale faces who should possess the land; that they might again make it known to the red man; in order to restore them to the knowledge of the will of the Great Spirit and to His favor.

Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, Chapter VIII, pp 58-60

I include a quote from Joseph Fielding Smith below because he speaks directly to the N1C vs M2C issue. Of course the M2C folks won’t accept Joseph Fielding Smith on this issue. They gainsay his teachings.

This modernistic theory of necessity, in order to be consistent, must place the waters of Ripliancum and the Hill Cumorah some place within the restricted territory of Central America, notwithstanding the teachings of the Church to the contrary for upwards of 100 years. Because of this theory some members of the Church have become confused and greatly disturbed in their faith in the Book of Mormon. It is for this reason that evidence is here presented to show that it is not only possible that these places could be located as the Church has held during the past century, but that in very deed such is the case.

Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Volume3, Chapter 12, pp 592-597

I include Mark E. Peterson, Marion G. Romney, and Gordon B. Hinckley below because their statements were made publicly in General Conference while teaching in their official capacity as Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Mark E Petersen, “The Last Words of Moroni“, October 1978
Quotes from General Conference talk

Moroni came back from the dead, a resurrected man! He had lived in America some fifteen hundred years ago and was the sole survivor of his people in a series of tragic battles which took many lives.

As the fighting neared its end, Mormon gathered the remnant of his forces about a hill which they called Cumorah, located in what is now the western part of the state of New York. Their enemies, known as Lamanites, came against them on this hill.

When finished with the record, Moroni was to hide it up in that same Hill Cumorah which was their battlefield. It would come forth in modern times as the Book of Mormon, named after Moroni’s father, the historian who compiled it.

Mormon then wrote directly to us as modern Americans who now occupy this promised land and said: “How can ye stand before the power of God, except ye shall repent and turn from your evil ways?

Marion G Romney, “America’s Destiny“, October 1975
Quotes from General Conference talk

Millennia ago he [Jesus] declared: “There shall none come into this land, he was speaking of America, save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.

It is my purpose in making these remarks to point out from the record of ancient inhabitants of America that the foregoing decrees have been carried out.

In the western part of the state of New York near Palmyra is a prominent hill known as the “hill Cumorah.” (Mormon 6:6) On July twenty-fifth of this year, as I stood on the crest of that hill admiring with awe the breathtaking panorama which stretched out before me on every hand, my mind reverted to the events which occurred in that vicinity some twenty-five centuries ago—events which brought to an end the great Jaredite nation.

“For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God.” (Ether 2:7–10)

Pursuant to this decree concerning the land of America, the Jaredites were swept off in the manner we have reviewed, because, rebelling against the laws of Jesus Christ—the God of the land—they “ripened in iniquity.”

This second civilization to which I refer, the Nephites, flourished in America between 600 B.C. and A.D. 400. Their civilization came to an end for the same reason, at the same place, and in the same manner as did the Jaredites’.

Gordon B Hinckley,
An Angel from on High, the Long, Long Silence Broke, October 1979
Quotes from General Conference talk

We in this good land of America are now hearing much debate concerning the treaty designed to reduce the likelihood of nuclear attack on this continent. There is much talk of a balance of power and of a balance of terror. In the context of this current discussion I should like to read to you what the God of heaven said long ago concerning this land as recorded in the book of which we are speaking: “Behold, this is a choice land , and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ” (Ether 2:12).

Gordon B Hinckley, October Conference, 1979

I include a letter in response to an inquiry regarding the location of the hill Cumorah. The letter was sent by the Secretary to the First Presidency with instructions from the First Presidency.

Letter from the Office of the First Presidency,
written by Secretary F. Michael Watson, October 16, 1990

Dear Bishop Brooks:

I have been asked to forward to you for acknowledgment and handling the enclosed copy of a letter to President Gordon B. Hinckley from Ronnie Sparks of your ward. Brother Sparks inquired about the location of the Hill Cumorah mentioned in the Book of Mormon, where the last battle between the Nephites and Lamanites took place.

The Church has long maintained, as attested to by references in the writings of General Authorities, that the Hill Cumorah in western New York state is the same as referenced in the Book of Mormon.

The Brethren appreciate your assistance in responding to this inquiry, and asked that you convey to Brother Sparks their commendation for his gospel study.

Sincerely yours,
F. Michael Watson
Secretary to the First Presidency

The following quote from L. Tom Perry shows that N1C is still relevant. The church leaders give the “academics” all the rope and latitude they ask for and demand – while still themselves teaching the scriptures, the Prophets, and the N1C perspective.

The Tradition of Light and Testimony

The United States is the promised land foretold in the Book of Mormon—a place where divine guidance directed inspired men to create the conditions necessary for the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was the birth of the United States of America that ushered out the Great Apostasy, when the earth was darkened by the absence of prophets and revealed light. It was no coincidence that the lovely morning of the First Vision occurred just a few decades after the establishment of the United States.

From a devotional address delivered on January 24, 2012, at Brigham Young University–Idaho.

And there is more of evidence for N1C.

In contrast, zero prophets and zero scriptures testify in behalf of M2C.

A disingenuous M2C argument is “there is no archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon in North America”. What this often means is “we don’t see any ancient stone temples in North America”. I don’t understand this because it is a fact that the Book of Mormon does not mention any such thing.

However, when early settlers came to America they found hundreds of thousands of mounds, massive earthworks, and old fortifications long ago abandoned. A number of these were carefully documented in Smithsonian field surveys and published in 1848 as Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley. Personal histories and newspaper accounts are common that describe the artifacts, earthworks, and mass burials that were found by the early settlers.

For information on Book of Mormon archaeology in North America a good place to start is LDS Archaeology.

Below is Heber C Kimball’s experience near the hill Cumorah. It is not atypical.

“In the towns of Bloomfield, Victor, Manchester, and in the regions round about, there were hills upon the tops of which were entrenchments and fortifications, and in them were human bones, axes, tomahawks, points of arrows, beads and pipes, which were frequently found; and it was a common occurrence in the country to plow up axes, which I have done many times myself. I have visited the fortifications on the tops of these hills frequently… The hill Cumorah is a high hill for that country and had the appearance of a fortification or entrenchment around it. In the State of New York, probably there are hundreds of these fortifications which are now visible, and I have seen them in many other parts of the United States.”

Life of Heber C. Kimball, p. 49

Brigham Young University

One of the great joys in my life was attending and graduating from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. My BYU education was interrupted by a two year proselyting mission for the Church and then I came back to finish. I loved the whole experience. Of course BYU wasn’t perfect then any more than it is now but the negatives were inconsequential, especially compared to the positives.

Frequently I read of the really silly, foolish, wrong headed, and stupid stuff that goes on at major schools in our country, and, realizing it would not happen at BYU, I then feel a sense of renewed satisfaction, and yes, pride in what BYU stands for and in its alumni – if that word, pride, can be used in the good sense.

Below are some standout positive features of a BYU education.

Interestingly, the national average is 69% of students graduate WITH student debt, so this is very good indeed by comparison.

It helps that BYU is frequently ranked #1 as “most affordable”. BYU also actively makes an effort to provide part time employment to as many students who want it. That really helps reduce the financial burden even further.

I graduated with some debt, a small amount, but it was all from my freshman year when I was foolish and didn’t work with the system.

Yep, if you are a BYU grad you’re almost twice as likely to be married. Religion and focus on family and family values are a big part of it. A stable marriage is foundational for happiness. This factors into the next subject …
By contrast, the percent of Americans reporting that they are happy is 31% for 2016. I dare say that most of these 31% are following the same basic path BYU students are following in order to end up with that result. A commitment to high moral standards yields the ultimate result of self-respect.

However, it appears that the majority believes there are shortcuts to happiness. People usually believe what they want to believe, even if to their own detriment.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
author unknown

Once again, BYU bucks the trend in a major way. Nationally, the gender ratio among college graduates was 57:43, women to men. That’s four women for every three men.
Educated BYU women are about 5 times more likely to be a stay-at-home mom with a working husband. This is due to more stable marriages and a greater value placed on families.
This might have something to do with the other stats on this page being the way they are. Do ya think? Latter-day Saints believe in eternity. They take the long view. That which will last the longest has the most value. Having goals, and planning for the future yields short term stability and long term success.
I love these stats. I would go it alone if I had too. It’s just nice to know I am not alone in my convictions and habits.
These graphics and references come from BYU Magazine.

Why I Believe

My religious “conversion” started when I was young. I was blessed to have dedicated LDS parents who were faithful to the gospel and faithful to their family. Their sacrifices for God and family were real and heartfelt. I am their oldest child and have 10 siblings, 9 living.

I hate hypocrisy. Always have. Growing up I noted hypocrisy in school, politics, social leaders, everywhere. In Church, not so much. I could easily see no one was getting rich or famous off of Church service. In fact quite the opposite. Sacrifice for love or for principle indicates to me a true sincerity — the opposite of hypocrisy. So that’s where I wanted to be and still do.

My belief in the doctrines of the Church called “The Gospel” began by observing, contrasting, and comparing. Pretty simple. I was happy to be baptized. I had answers to the basic questions of life and I found that satisfying. My family and my gospel knowledge made me feel special, not different.

It continued that way until I reached the age of 15. I had just finished reading a book my mother provided called “Book of Mormon Stories FOR YOUNG LATTER-DAY SAINTS”. Just stories really but I knew it was based on the history from the real Book of Mormon.

So one day I saw a Book of Mormon sitting on the table and I thought “Why not just read the real thing?”. Yes, I know it’s a cliché (because it happens to a lot of people) but, because I was prepared, the Book of Mormon really did change my life. Forever.

That was 47 years ago. Since then, well, I have had my faith confirmed by “miracles”, direct answers to prayers, and new knowledge granted from the heavens. I think a testimony of God is based on two complimentary experiences: 1) Receiving personal revelation, via prayer and study of sacred subjects; and 2) Miracles. I have had miracles in my life, as has everyone who has sought the truth of God. My failures and disappointments have already worked out in my favor or are in process of doing so. I am a great believer in being patient, and playing “the long game”.

Before my experience with the Book of Mormon, my belief was observational and based on actions and results. Afterwards, it was based on an active relationship and trust in God. I was introduced to Him on a more personal level because of the Book of Mormon. Only those who have let God mold their heart know what I am talking about. There are no words to describe the experience — the feeling, the understanding, the epiphany of sacred moments. I remember reading the part in the Book of Mormon when Jesus appeared to the Nephites. I was on the edge of my seat.

So, I love the Book of Mormon, or I should say, I love what is in the Book of Mormon.

When feeling successful in my relationship with God, it gives me confidence in other aspects of my life — like I am going in the right direction. And how many people can really say that? I have many goals and aspirations fulfilled and also unfulfilled but I try to be patient. It will all happen according to the Word of God. I trust Him.

I have found that the following instruction from the Book of Mormon is the key to having a relationship with God.

And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches–yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.

2 Nephi 9:42

I recently encountered this quote and am fond of it:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated fools. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Calvin Coolidge

My determination is to be persistent in following God. He can go His way and I’ll go mine — and it will be the same way.

The doctrines of the “restored Gospel” are glorious to comprehend and I love God and His precepts with all my heart. They are to be found complete and intact only within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Praise To The Man


I first wrote this post over 2 years ago about the Prophet Joseph Smith17. It is my perspective. Other people, for various reasons, have opposite perspectives widely published. In his first encounter with an angel, Joseph Smith was told that it would so:

33 He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people. (PGP, JS History 1)

That has come to pass. I have added Chapter 2 to address it. But first, Chapter 1.

Chapter 1

I have always loved to hear and read about the Prophet Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith death mask

Because of his writings and teachings, I feel I know something of his heart and character. My first reading of The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (TPJS) had a serious positive impact on me. My favorite hymn as a child (because I just liked the tune) was “Praise to the Man” and I can still remember the page number from the old edition hymn book – page 149. Below is the music and lyrics: One of the most beautiful and sublime renditions the Tabernacle Choir has ever done (IMO).

Continue reading "Praise To The Man"

Departing the Faith

Hover mouse over links for quotations
Jesus Himself saw many fall away1 from his teachings. So also, the Latter-day Saints see the same in the last days2. It’s sad, but not unexpected. The Kingdom of Heaven is obtained by few. The way is narrow3. Jesus gave a key to this situation in the Parable of the Sower4.
It’s been said that participation in sports does not build character — it reveals character. So true! It’s exactly the same thing with participation in warfare, be it physical or spiritual warfare. It reveals character. The point is that our pre-mortal life5 determines our mortal experience. The simple truth is that our earth time is not our prep time, it’s our test time6 — and it’s a grand mistake to ever think otherwise. Character prep time was in the many years prior to earth life, when we forged our own unique personalities7 AND spiritual capacities8. All that parents and teachers can really do now, at this late point, is provide a comfortable chair, a sharp pencil, and good lighting — but each person must take their own tests and take personal responsibility for the outcomes. It’s important to remember that it’s an open book test9 and that it ain’t over ’till it’s over — that is, until God himself says it’s over10. So don’t give up on anyone or yourself. Remember your own mistakes and that God doesn’t give up on you.
To those who have “strayed” and lost their faith …
A little suggestion: for the sake of your own dignity, do not encourage or engage in the mockery of what others consider sacred. Remember that any religion or belief system can easily be made fun of, but it will do you no credit to engage in that kind of activity. It will just make you look small.
If you honestly follow after truth and righteousness in the best way you know how, we are probably both in agreement that you will find Gods mercy come judgement day, if not sooner.
To the parents, siblings, friends, and teachers of those who have departed the faith, either officially or unofficially, through their actions …
It is totally appropriate to feel sorrow, but not remorse. Don’t play the self blame game because that is not healthy, or scriptural. The Lord lays upon us a responsibility for teaching11 but not for outcomes12. Respect the free agency of everyone, shun no one, and remember that once you have taught repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ – another’s sins and errors and “poor decisions” are not yours. Remember that there were many who rejected Jesus to His face, despite His being the best teacher who ever lived and a sinless, perfect man. Are you then better than Jesus? Consider also all the great men and women in scripture who had to deal with loved ones gone astray. Here are a few examples:
  1. Adam and Eve had a son who made a personal pact with Satan and then killed his own innocent brother for material gain. The scripture says that Adam and Eve “mourned before the Lord13“. I’ll bet they did.
  2. Abraham’s father rejected the Holy Priesthood14 and was allied with those who tried to have Abraham killed on a pagan alter.
  3. To the sorrow of Isaac and Rebekah, their oldest son Esau sold his inheritance birthright for cheap — a bowl of soup — and then married outside the covenant15.
  4. Jacob’s sons were disrespectful and disobedient and they nearly killed Joseph16 simply because his good character made them look bad. Then then they sold him as a slave for 20 pieces of silver.
  5. Laman and Lemuel beat up on their younger brother17 multiple times, even in front of his family and parents, because he was too preachy in their mind.
  6. Contrary to their fathers wish, the sons of Eli the high priest18 exploited their position in the Holy Temple to commit fornication and make a mockery of that which is sacred.
  7. To the great disappointment of their fathers, Alma and the sons of Mosiah rebelled and left the Church19 totally — and later banded together in an effort to destroy it.
  8. The Lord himself had a wayward nation of Israel, who was constantly unfaithful and disloyal, despite the Lord’s great love and patience.
I could continue with many other scriptural examples of disappointing behavior. In none of the listed cases were parents, siblings, or friends held responsible by God, except for Eli, and that is because his sons were working under his direct supervision in the Temple and he failed to take corrective action. In every other case listed there was great sorrow – even in Heaven20. However, we are promised that this kind of sorrow is temporary21. God makes it all up to us22 eventually — and then some23.
Finally, to those who would take personal credit for the good choices of others, it can be embarrassing to watch. You are in serious error! You should to give credit where credit is due. Much of what we perceive as outcomes is premature, or pure luck, at least from our earthly perspective. It’s not unlike coming up heads or tails a few times in a row. If your close relations, students, children, spouse, or friends are walking a path of righteousness with God and have faith in Him, just be extremely humble and thankful – never proud of yourself.




1John 6

59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? …
66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

2JST Matthew 24

22 For in those days there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant…
26 For as the light of the morning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, and covereth the whole earth, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.
27 And now I show unto you a parable. Behold, wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together; so likewise shall mine elect be gathered from the four quarters of the earth…
37 And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived, for the Son of Man shall come, and he shall send his angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

3Matthew 7

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

4Matthew 13

3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. …
18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit,and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

5Jeremiah 1

4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

6Abraham 3

22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.
24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

7Jeremiah 1

4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

8Abraham 1

3 It [the Holy Priesthood] was conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me.

9Mosiah 26

29 Therefore I say unto you, Go; and whosoever transgresseth against me, him shall ye judge according to the sins which he has committed; and if he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also.

10Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:540

The truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.

11DC 68

25 And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.

12Genesis 4, Ezekial 33

5 … And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door…

2 Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, …
7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.
8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

13Moses 5

26 And Cain was wroth, and listened not any more to the voice of the Lord, neither to Abel, his brother, who walked in holiness before the Lord.
27 And Adam and his wife mourned before the Lord, because of Cain and his brethren.
28 And it came to pass that Cain took one of his brothers’ daughters to wife, and they loved Satan more than God.
29 And Satan said unto Cain: Swear unto me by thy throat, and if thou tell it thou shalt die; and swear thy brethren by their heads, and by the living God, that they tell it not; for if they tell it, they shall surely die; and this that thy father may not know it; and this day I will deliver thy brother Abel into thine hands.
30 And Satan sware unto Cain that he would do according to his commands. And all these things were done in secret.
31 And Cain said: Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain. Wherefore Cain was called Master Mahan, and he gloried in his wickedness.
32 And Cain went into the field, and Cain talked with Abel, his brother. And it came to pass that while they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and slew him.
33 And Cain gloried in that which he had done, saying: I am free; surely the flocks of my brother falleth into my hands.

14Abraham 1,2

6 For their hearts were set to do evil, and were wholly turned to the god of Elkenah, and the god of Libnah, and the god of Mahmackrah, and the god of Korash, and the god of Pharaoh, king of Egypt;
7 Therefore they turned their hearts to the sacrifice of the heathen in offering up their children unto these dumb idols …
5 My fathers having turned from their righteousness, and from the holy commandments which the Lord their God had given unto them, unto the worshiping of the gods of the heathen, utterly refused to hearken to my voice;
12 And it came to pass that the priests laid violence upon me, that they might slay me also

1 NOW the Lord God caused the famine to wax sore in the land of Ur, insomuch that Haran, my brother, died; but Terah, my father, yet lived in the land of Ur, of the Chaldees.
5 And the famine abated; and my father tarried in Haran and dwelt there, as there were many flocks in Haran; and my father turned again unto his idolatry, …

15Genesis 25,26

29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:
30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

34 And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite:
35 Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah..

16Genesis 37

18 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. name
19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh
20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams …
24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it …
26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?
27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, …
28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: …

171 Nephi 18

11 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness; …
15 … And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly; and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof.
17 Now my father, Lehi, had said many things unto them, and also unto the sons of Ishmael; but, behold, they did breathe out much threatenings against anyone that should speak for me; and my parents being stricken in years, and having suffered much grief because of their children, they were brought down, yea, even upon their sick-beds.
19 And Jacob and Joseph also, being young, having need of much nourishment, were grieved because of the afflictions of their mother; and also my wife with her tears and prayers, and also my children, did not soften the hearts of my brethren that they would loose me.

181 Samuel 2, 1 Samuel 4

22 Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
23 And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.
24 Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress.
25 … Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father …
27 And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, …
29 Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?
30 … but now the Lord saith, … for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. …
34 And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them.
35 And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.

10 And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen.
11 And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.
12 And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head.
13 And when he came, lo, Eli sat upon a seat by the wayside watching: for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city, and told it, all the city cried out.
14 And when Eli heard the noise of the crying, he said, What meaneth the noise of this tumult? And the man came in hastily, and told Eli.
15 Now Eli was ninety and eight years old; and his eyes were dim, that he could not see.
16 And the man said unto Eli, I am he that came out of the army, and I fled to day out of the army. And he said, What is there done, my son?
17 And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken.
18 And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.

19Mosiah 27

8 Now the sons of Mosiah were numbered among the unbelievers; and also one of the sons of Alma was numbered among them, he being called Alma, after his father; nevertheless, he became a very wicked and an idolatrous man. And he was a man of many words, and did speak much flattery to the people; therefore he led many of the people to do after the manner of his iniquities.
9 And he became a great hinderment to the prosperity of the church of God; stealing away the hearts of the people; causing much dissension among the people; giving a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over them.
10 And now it came to pass that while he was going about to destroy the church of God, for he did go about secretly with the sons of Mosiah seeking to destroy the church, and to lead astray the people of the Lord, contrary to the commandments of God, or even the king–

20DC 38

11 For all flesh is corrupted before me; and the powers of darkness prevail upon the earth, among the children of men, in the presence of all the hosts of heaven–
12 Which causeth silence to reign, and all eternity is pained, and the angels are waiting the great command to reap down the earth, to gather the tares that they may be burned; …

21Revelations 7

12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

22Matthew 19

29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

23DC 137, DC 76

1 THE heavens were opened upon us, and I beheld the celestial kingdom of God, and the glory thereof, whether in the body or out I cannot tell.
2 I saw the transcendent beauty of the gate through which the heirs of that kingdom will enter, which was like unto circling flames of fire;
3 Also the blazing throne of God, whereon was seated the Father and the Son.
4 I saw the beautiful streets of that kingdom, which had the appearance of being paved with gold.

51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given–
52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;
53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.
54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.
55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things–
56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;
57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.
58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God–
59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
60 And they shall overcome all things.
61 Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.
62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.
63 These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.
64 These are they who shall have part in the first resurrection.
65 These are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just.
66 These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all.
67 These are they who have come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn.
68 These are they whose names are written in heaven, where God and Christ are the judge of all.
69 These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.
70 These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.

The Articles of Faith

The Articles of Faith originated from the contents of an 1842 letter written by the Prophet Joseph Smith35 in response to an inquiry by John Wentworth. John Wentworth was the editor and proprietor of the Chicago Democrat, the first newspaper in Chicago, Illinois.

Regarding the Articles of Faith, B.H. Roberts said:

These Articles of Faith were not produced by the labored efforts and harmonized contentions of scholastics, but were struck off by one inspired mind at a single effort to make a declaration of that which is most assuredly believed by the church, for one making earnest inquiry about the truth.
The combined directness, perspicuity, simplicity and comprehensiveness of this statement of the principles of our religion may be relied upon as strong evidence of a divine inspiration resting upon the Prophet, Joseph Smith. (B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol.2, Ch.47, p.131)

The Articles of Faith are listed below, with commentary:

Continue reading “The Articles of Faith”

Zion The New Jerusalem

I confess to interpreting Holy Scripture literally. A literal interpretation is my first assumption. When the scriptural intention is be be allegorical, it is usually pretty obvious and stated as such. Some things in scripture are symbolic yet real. Like baptism. It is an ordinance full of symbolism, but you really do get wet.

Joseph Smith had a question and answer session10 with the Lord about the biblical Book of Revelations and he found out that much of what John describes in his vision was real and not only symbolism. The beasts1 in chapter 4 were real. The four and twenty elders2 are real. The angels mentioned are real angels3. The throne of God4 is real.

John describes the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven in chapter 21. It is real. Of particular interest is the shape and dimensions of the city: Continue reading “Zion The New Jerusalem”

The Kingdom Of Heaven

Throughout recorded history, mankind has repeatedly sought the perfect political-social system1 – where everyone prospers, has freedom, and is truly happy – a utopia. Wars have been fought and millions killed over the political systems which govern mankind but all of these systems have been far from perfect. However, according to Holy Scripture a “perfect” system really does exists and it is called the “Kingdom of Heaven”.  The Kingdom of Heaven is where the laws of God prevail2 100% according to the free will of the people. In our pre-mortal state3 we resided in the Kingdom of Heaven before and during the creation of the earth (according to scripture) for millions of years (according to science), although few of us have any idea of what that means now. I imagine that our concept of time was different then, but still, that is a very long time. What were we doing all that time while the earth was being prepared for our visitation?

According to the Scriptures the earth was created by Jesus4, at the direction of God the Father, and that Jesus had others5 under His direct leadership6. Apparently at least some of us had a hand in planning and development7 for the plants, animals and physical environment that would exist in our future world. Afterward we then eagerly looked forward8 to taking our own personal step into mortality9. We had that grand idea of exercising full independance10, with a fully physical existance11. In the Kingdom of God we learned, grew and thrived under God’s benevolent tutelage12. Our Heavenly Father told us that we, as His children, had a potential to achieve all that He had achieved and that He wanted that for us. We knew about Gods plan for us in the “Sunday School” lessons in heaven over and over again and ours was not a superficial understanding, especially since at that time our minds were not yet constrained with the limits of mortality13. We were positively sure we were ready — maybe a little scared but we could hardly wait14. The goal was that we would graduate to our next class in Godhood15, and meet again on earth.

Of course, there’s always those with different ideas. Too risky, they said. Too much pain and suffering they said. There’s got to be an easier way16 they said. The pro’s and con’s were vigorously debated17. A vote was taken. In political terms it was a landslide: 67% in favor of the official plan18, 33% opposed19. The losers would not concede20. They refused to go along. They rebelled21. So they were expelled22. Where did the losers go? To the earth23 of course, but without the experience of physical mortality — just like they wanted it. They wanted to prove themselves right, smarter than God24, our Father in Heaven. In all of recorded history, every personal philosophy and every conceivable type of governing system has been tried. Most have been dismal failures, and others have only partially succeeded but never close to perfectly except for one case in the past: The City of Enoch25. And one prophesied case for the future is destined to succeed: The City of Zion26.

Continue reading “The Kingdom Of Heaven”

The Kingdom of God

In Scripture, “The Kingdom of God” is a different entity from “The Kingdom of Heaven”. This is clear1 and Jesus was explicit2 in noting the difference.

The Kingdom of God is His Gospel3 — the spiritual4 kingdom comprised of his followers who believe and act5 on his teachings, repent6 of sins, and make sacred covenant7 to live His law8.

The Kingdom of Heaven is His physical9 kingdom, something to “inherit10” in the future11, and to be established as ZION12 when He comes to rule on the earth after His second coming13. It includes both the spiritual and the physical aspects of administration. Jesus himself establishes14 the Kingdom of Heaven because He is the King15.

Some critics actually believe the Latter-day Saints are plotting to take over the world for Jesus and are therefore dangerous. Well, there will never be enough Latter-day Saints for that and we are not trained for it. We have enough to worry about in doing our part to establish the spiritually based Kingdom of God and it’s all we can handle, if that. No, Jesus Himself and His celestial legions16 of angels17 are going to establish His Kingdom18 of Heaven when He comes. After all, Jesus created19 this earth and God, the Father, has given20 it to Him. Meanwhile, we are just temporary visitors, unless He says otherwise21. Jesus says he’ll “bare His arm22” in the eyes of all the nations. Watch out23.
Continue reading “The Kingdom of God”

Delbert Jay Mackley

[Preface: This is the eulogy of my father, given September 3, 2011 – Jay Mackley]

My father, Delbert Jay Mackley, was born July 18, 1933 in the midst of the great depression.

Delbert with parents, 1937
Delbert Mackley w/parents Alice and Albert, 1938
Delbert Mackley siblings, 1938
Albert/Alice Mackley family, 1944 or ’45: Oldest to youngest, 1938: Franklin Oliver (Frank), Wilbert Blaine (Blaine), Thomas James (Tom), Charles William (Chuck), Delbert Jay (Del), Kathleen Dalby (Kathy)
Albert/Alice Mackley family, 1944 or ’45: Oldest to youngest, 1944-5: Albert, Alice, Frank, Merle (Franks wife), Blaine, Tom, Charles, Del, Kathy, Stanley (Butch), George (not yet born)

He was the fifth son of Albert Charles Mackley and Pearl Alice Dalby and the fifth of eight children. He had four older brothers and later two younger brothers and a sister. His father, Albert Charles, repaired shoes for a living and his sons, including Delbert, were his assistants. I suppose there was a good demand for shoe repair, especially during the Depression. We have a picture of Albert Charles in his shop with writing in the background that says “We’re not a bank, but we can save you money.” Speaking of his youth, he wrote:

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The Marvelous Book of Mormon

[Note: hover over links for text references]

When I was 14, my mother gave me a book called “Book of Mormon Stories for Young People” that retold all the historical narratives of the Book of Mormon. I read it and thought it “interesting” and that was all. Then one day I glanced at the real Book of Mormon, thinking “Hey, I am old enough to read the real thing”. So I began reading and unexpectedly had a profound spiritual experience1. Although I had been taught in religious concepts as a child and accepted Christ in faith, I had just a rudimentary understanding of Jesus, His atonement, and my relationship to God through Christ. Through the Book of Mormon, God opened my eyes. He expanded my vision, showed me that He really cared, gave me to understand my purpose in life, and helped me to set worthy goals with a spiritual foundation. Continue reading “The Marvelous Book of Mormon”

Benjamin Franklin: The Rest of the Story.

Benjamin Franklin (Jean-Antoine Houdon)
I REALLY do admire Benjamin Franklin. I admire his life, his beliefs, his accomplishments, and his genius. He was the father of his country before George Washington became that. He has also been called the father of American humor with “Poor Richards Almanac” being America’s first joke book. He was loved by his countrymen and was the only man other than Washington who could have been our first President. Were it not for Franklin’s advanced age, George Washington would gladly have had Franklin be President instead. He was the premier scientist of his day: inventing many things including the lightening rod, bi-focal glasses, and the free standing (Franklin) stove.  He founded the first public library, fire department, police department and helped found the first Masonic lodge in America. He also started the American Philosophical Society, what we would call a scientific organization. He discovered the gulf stream in the Atlantic. He made many discoveries about electricity including the concept of positive and negative polarity. By his adroit diplomacy he brought about the treaty with France and the military aid which made Washington’s victory over Cornwallis at Yorktown possible. He made significant contributions to the content of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. He had a love of freedom and as a articulate writer and publisher made popular the concepts of liberty and freedom. He wrote the following at the age of only 16: Continue reading “Benjamin Franklin: The Rest of the Story.”

Sexual Purity, Part 2

As reviewed in Sexual Purity, Part 117, the divine standard for sexual purity is a high one, especially when compared to the current so-called “modern” standards. Sexual purity is not unique to the Latter-days, of course and it is encouraging that other faiths share these values – it’s just needs to be shared more. This video makes the point.

For the married, the self control required for sexual purity remains extremely important. In a loving relationship, Latter-day Saint doctrine specifies that sex is good, and right, expected, and approved of by God1. This is in contrast to some Christian traditions where physical relationships are considered inherently sinful and marriage viewed as a concession granted to fallen man. Many Christian faiths believe that the fall of Man was occasioned by an act of fornication on the part of Adam and Eve, and that we as their descendants, are therefore punished for this unexpected fiasco. This whole concept of the Fall of Man is simply and totally wrong2. Continue reading “Sexual Purity, Part 2”

The Mighty Sword of Truth

And truth is knowledge of things
as they are,
and as they were,
and as they are to come.

(Doctrine and Covenants 93:24)

It’s always been amazing to me just how much an understanding of the pre and post mortal life is unique to the Latter-day Saints. It is truth! Your average Methodist, Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, etc. — doesn’t think about it, doesn’t know about it, isn’t taught about it, doesn’t have a clue! Really. Continue reading “The Mighty Sword of Truth”