Tuesday, August 11, 2015
[A FUTURE LDS ESSAY TOPIC ON 21ST CENTURY USE OF THE SEER STONE]
In mid 2015, LDS archivists found the original printer's Book of Mormon manuscript and the brown striated seer stone used by prophet Joseph Smith in the early 19th century to translate the divine record inscribed on the gold plates delivered to him by the angel Moroni. Members prior to this commonly believed the Urim and Thummim which came directly from God and have an aura of divinity about them were the only instruments used in the translation process. However, the brown striated seer stone which came from a well Joseph dug before receiving the gold plates, was documented quite readily to have been used for various non-spiritual activities before he employed it to translate the Book of Mormon.
LDS Historian at the time, Richman Bushard, had stated that the seer stone "hadn't been taught in church curriculum, institute or Sunday lesson material--only found in scholarly references…Just as with the general membership, LDS general authorities knew little or nothing about the seer stone before its rediscovery."
President Yuma S.B. Kidden, the 18th LDS prophet used the seer stone to receive many revelations, including sections of the New Book of Laws, which outlines celestial sealing equality for heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual and polysexual couples, and several sections on new investment strategies for the Zion wetlands in the state of Deserwet (formerly Florida). Until the 21st century rediscovery of the seer stone, there is no historical evidence that any prophet, since Joseph Smith, used it or any other instrument to receive revelation. The seer stone’s last known location prior to this was on the altar of the Manti temple at its dedication, and where allegedly President Woodruff used it as a paperweight to hold down drafts of his Manifesto.
Once revealed again in 2015 (found in the Granite Mountain in a long lost well that was covered by the patch blanket woven by Sisters Sheri Dew and Wendy Watson, the first sealed LDS gay couple), the seer stone caused many members to ask whether or not it would be used to infuse the prophets with new revelation. Rediscovered, the stone led to the Second Latter-day Restoration and a plethora of new revelations, starting with President Kidden in the 21st century, and is the first indication of using the seer stone since Smith's martyrdom.
President Kidden has said, "The Lord took away the Urim and Thummim, in order that the saints have faith, while giving them the actual seer stone used for nearly all revelations, in order that they might have blessings both then and now."
Much controversy surrounds the early use of the seer stone by founder Joseph Smith. Many members, including leaders felt embarrassed and shocked by it due to its connection to the early 19th century supernatural and magical culture of up-state New York surrounding Smith, and Joseph's use of stones as an instrument of picking up polygamous wives in LDS taverns. Despite its mortal foundation and common practices by Smith who used his large stones for treasure and wife hunting, God never repudiated the use of the seer stone and its employment in translating. This shows that by natural methods, and by small and simple means does the Lord bring about his great work and purpose.
Hence the great Second Latter-day Restoration catalyzed by its rediscovery allowed reformation of the LDS Church. In the process of revelation, divinity is mixed and melded with humanity. The culture of the prophet is as much a part of the revelatory word as is the divine message sent directly from God to his prophet. Since it was re-revealed, knowledge of the seer stone was absorbed in the standard lessons and curricula of church education.
That the seer stone has been installed in Church History museums within a year of its rediscovery has led some to question the Second Latter-day Restoration since the prophet did not actually hold the seer stone during the revelatory process. However, just as Joseph Smith did not hold the gold plates or use the Urim and Thummim, but rather placed the seer stone in a hat and put his head into its brim--proximity to the plates or other instruments are unneeded. Furthermore, with the advancement in technology of modern culture, the Lord may use new devices and methods that far exceed a 19th century stone to reveal modern revelation to the most recent prophets.
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
"The dangers I speak of come from the gay-lesbian movement, the feminist movement (both of which are relatively new), and the ever-present challenge from the so-called scholars or intellectuals." (BKP. Talk to the All-Church Coordinating Council, May 18, 1993).
"That young man with gender disorientation needs to know that gender was not assigned at mortal birth, that we were sons and daughters of God in the premortal state.' ” (BKP, Case Reports of the Mormon Alliance. Volume 3, 1997. Salt Lake City, Utah: Mormon Alliance, 1997, chapter 9.)
“We've always counseled in the Church for our Mexican members to marry Mexicans, our Japanese members to marry Japanese, our Caucasians to marry Caucasians, our Polynesian members to marry Polynesians. The counsel has been wise. You may say again, ‘Well, I know of exceptions.’ I do, too, and they've been very successful marriages. I know some of them. You might even say, ‘I can show you local Church leaders or perhaps even general leaders who have married out of their race.’ I say, ‘Yes--exceptions.’ Then I would remind you of that Relief Society woman's near-scriptural statement, 'We'd like to follow the rule first, and then we'll take care of the exceptions.' " (BKP, 1977 BYU campus speech)
Today, however, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that homosexuality is a sign of divine disfavor or sin, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that gender disorientation or same-sex marriages are a sin; or that gays and lesbian unions are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all prejudice, past and present, in any form.
Monday, May 18, 2015
Paul wrote in an epistle that you could be a world-class general conference speaker. You could prophesy the Higgs Boson, God Particle and end-of-days calamities. That you could unlock secrets of immortal life. You could be a billionaire philanthropist. You could build bombs that destroy evil nations that usher in the millennium...
But if you don't have the love of Christ, called charity, you really suck at Christianity.
Here's the actual KJV quote from Corinthians:
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." (1 Corinthians 13: 1-3)
You heard it at my blog in 2013, based on personal communications I've had with other developers in my area. The LDS church truly wants money. They want to take their so-called charity ranch in central Florida and turn it into a hundred billion dollar development for their future benefit.
My hometown paper, the Orlando Sentinel, is reporting what I essentially said two years ago.
"[LDS Owned] Deseret Ranches and Osceola County's vision for accommodating a half-million residents on an enormous piece of ranch east of Orlando has triggered an environmental dispute that could be tough for even the state to solve.
The development plan for the 133,000 acres..."
See this Sentinel pay-per-view link.
But don't worry, no animals were harmed in the making of this money, nor direct tithing used to make a fortune.
Really? So let's think about the cycle of LDS monies investment.
When they receive donations--whether tithing, fast offering, missionary, humanitarian or whatever--they explicitly say they have a right to use your donation however they want.
This is written into their incorporation documents and bylaws. The second article says: "This corporation shall have power, without any authority or authorization from the members of said Church or religious society, to grant, sell, convey, rent, mortgage, exchange, or otherwise dispose of any part or all of such property."
They take your donation, invest it into interest or investment bearing accounts. Scoop the excess interest or investment cash and put that into for-profit ventures. They pay themselves from that so they can tell members the GAs do not steal tithing money, and then they use the excess for other investments which yield profits that are "donated" to LDS charity so the for-profit venture has little tax burden. The laundry cycle begins again.
What to do with all that excess, tax-free investment cash?
Put it down on huge developments that will rape the environment and yield a boatload of surplus they can use when the members wise up and stop donating.
Yes, the move to a for-profit venture per the "winding up" and "dissolution" clause of the LDS corporation article on incorporation is in full swing.
I began telling you this in 2013. The Orlando Sentinel is now telling you again.
Stay tuned to see if the Mormon lawyers can force FL counties to let them bankroll a hundred billion dollar development. Of course, this is because they're such a charitable church.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
In my previous blog post, I described a very personal experience while photographing cypress knees that could be called spiritual or transcendent. At the outset, I will admit, I do not have the answers, but I feel the same needs that others—believers or unbelievers—have felt. I ache just like you. Some accuse atheists and agnostics of being hard-hearted and unfeeling on what others call the spiritual. It’s not true. We feel it too, but perhaps we humbly accept that the answer is not yet in focus.
The diversity of human individual experience leads to a diversity of belief. I find in the cypress knees vast iconic representations of the spectrum of belief. I wrote before that the uniqueness of these is like the uniqueness of experience each of us has that lead us to where we stand today. No knee is truly the same, but they are all of the same genus, and in groups they sprout from a common tree. Each knee representing distinct experiences of the one--some growing large, some remaining small.
One common element humans have is a yearning for an answer to a question we haven’t yet completely formalized. I really wish I knew the answer, if there is even an answer. But what am I questioning? It seems we all ask, generally—is there meaning in our chaotic and seemingly random life?
I've studied the various forms of answers. I found so many and really no answers. At times I feel beaten by life; at others I find awareness raised as I look across the various forms and shadows we sculpt into meaning.
Some find meaning in family. I dedicated my former life to this view. These build up a philosophy about a blessed mother and perfect child who became the deliverer of meaning through expiation, binding the family together. It drives at the most essential connection every person has—the desire for comfort and familiarity in the embrace of loved ones. However, for some, family hurts when human weakness injures their bonds. They look for self-reliance and abandon the pain.
Some find meaning in pondering. In my post-Mormon exploration I have pursued a solitary search. Seclusion allows an inner-focused practice of contemplating the meaning of self, and sometimes finding the eradication of ego. Meditation has even found support in factual neuroscience, but by digging deeply into the psyche, it vanishes and meaning evaporates along with it. For some it is a truth they accept humbly; for many the yearning remains unsatisfied.
Some find meaning in pleasure. Each of us has punctuated moments of self-indulgence. If there is no meaning, then the import is gratification. Life is short enough to waste, they say, and squander time on meaningless pursuits of elusive meaning. Hedonism promises instant rewards, and ancient religions and fertility gods such as Min have been devoted to its pursuit.
Some find meaning in life after life after life. The impoverished find themselves unable to devote time to philosophical searches or hedonistic paths. This life has starved them of rewards and peace. Facts are useless to the hungry. They hold to the promise of life after life, where we live many different versions to gain a broader and more complete perspective.
Some find meaning in facts and science—the field in which I work. My art is based on my own scientific pursuits in technology to sense unseen light. I have patents in detection of unseen light. Science delivers, as seen in the exponential burst of technology that even promises to save us from universal hunger, from pain to deliver prime fulfillment, and perhaps even reward future generations with immortality. Facts, however, yield no meaning to the yearning about deeper purpose.
And even some find peace in ignoring all meaning, and relaxing like my cat along the lazy river a quiet life provides. He doesn't need meaning; just a good scratch behind his ears. Carefree, whimsical, happy, unburdened and able to just ignore the yearn that irritates the rest. These happy-go-lucky souls supply an embrace of solace on our journey to wherever this quest takes us.
Not one school of study, not a single philosophy, nor a particular creed actually has the full gamut of satisfying promises, fact and peace. Some have peace, but lack extraordinary promises of treasure beyond the earthly. Some have fact and study, but lack the peaceful answer to the hunger of meaning. Some have promise of splendor hereafter, but lack facts to support their claim. Many interesting narratives exist. Diversity of individuals find different narratives satisfying.
I ache for answers like you. Why must some claim they have the answer, when they lack some component of the full triangle of human yearning? Even my preferential bias toward science has left me incomplete. While I don’t subscribe to any religion, I still feel that science has its biases based on the foundation of incomplete, evolved human sensory organs. We may have expanded our detection well beyond biology through instrumentation, but we have not come close to the boundary on defining reality. Our ego tunnel—that narrow cone of what we perceive is real—is still primitive.
Religions have just as much bias and narrow-minded ego tunnels, when they claim to have a connection to "otherly plains" and "ethereal beings", but their predictions and factual answers are shown time and time again at odds with well-established measurements. While they have imagination, they lack grounded facts. Despite this, they call “hard-hearted” those of us who unpretentiously hold to the limited facts we do have.
None of us has the answers. All of us yearn with questions. Most of us are a combination of all the above approaches. The terrain tread by humanity is vast. Each of us needs respect for the sole-wandering, awe-inspiring thirst of others. My journey of capturing unseen light represents to me the search for unanswered questions. In promoting this blog, and moving toward an art show (which I call, "On Bended Knees") centered on these topics, I continue building the examples of surreal lit cypress knees that exemplify diversity of thought, uniqueness of individual experience and iconic human narration.
There are times in one's life when we are enormously connected with the world, the universe or whatever higher power to which you ascribe, that the simplest thing reveals enormous detail. You find the weave of a sweater or the glistening light from a plastic water bottle just amazing. Something as simple and humble as a muddy root can teach us much about beauty, love and tolerance. We can touch the hand that reaches for us from deep within ourselves, even if just in form of Plato's shadow.
Sunday, May 3, 2015
Meaning took hold without being defined. I knew there was a meaning to all of this and while I couldn’t verbalize any of that meaning, it felt logical and real for a transient breath of thought. Maybe, I questioned for the first time in almost a decade, just maybe there is purpose and something beyond, or perhaps higher, than us. Instinct from many years ago almost took me over—to fall to my knees and call upon something—as I was overcome by this lost or perhaps tossed-away feeling, now returned as an older friend with new wisdoms and insights learned during our separation.
At that moment I felt this grandeur and expansive connection to the world, gathering even a hope of something larger out there, I also felt saddened by so many losses: My former life in a black and white delusion that gave comfort without actual fact and truth; the loss of relationship with my children’s mother; the time lost with them as they grew. I felt the loss of other relationships since then, and the burden of knowing that my youthful dreams hadn’t quite fulfilled the way I wanted. Then I realized what an amazing journey it was. I couldn’t have planned any of it, but it has brought me to so many places in life that I wouldn’t trade away.
“You know that moment when you learn something profound for the first time? Reading a well written blog or novel that fires off all kinds of new thoughts? ... The Newness of the Everlasting Curiosity is exciting... Tired of your boring friends at church? Find new ones. Seeing the limitation of your inherited, family philosophy? Search for a new one.
“Leaving the LDS [church] is like becoming a child who is merging into adulthood again. All the fascination of a whole world opens to your exploration, of choosing new directions, of seeking new friends, learning new insights—it’s the candy store that continues to give when you remove the abundant limits placed on you by [religion].”
“I had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn't a second at all, it stretches on forever, like an ocean of time... I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me... but it's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst... And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life... You have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure. But don't worry... you will someday.”
While I do not know what the future will bring--death dark as empty space, or an afterlife of surreal unseen light--I am glad to be alive and having the experiences I have. May you have new and everlasting curiosity.
Monday, September 15, 2014
I have obtained scans of the LDS Articles of Incorporation. For more information about these, see this blog post and this blog post.
Interestingly, there are several new amendments made by Monson, about ten in all from 2009 - 2014. These amendments are the first ones since the 1973 amendment made by Harold Lee. The 2014 amendment, given below, is essentially the same as most of them, with the exception of the June 2013 amendment (shown also below).
To wit, here are the scans for posterity. Click on any image to get the large view.
November 1923 original articles of incorporation:
"The object of this corporation shall be to acquire, hold and dispose of such real and personal property as may be conveyed to or acquired by said corporation for the benefit of the members ...this corporation shall have power, without any authority or authorization from the members of said Church or religious society, to grant, sell, convey, rent, mortgage, exchange, or otherwise dispose of any part or all of such property."
"Upon the winding up and dissolution of this corporation, after paying or adequately providing for the debts and obligations of the corporation, the remaining assets shall be distributed to a nonprofit fund, foundation or corporation, which is organized and operated exclusively for charitable, educational, or religious and/or scientific purposes and which has established its tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code."
July 2014, amendment giving deisgnees Robert Cantwell, Douglas Martin and Steven Penrose powers to execute stock and establish trading accounts:
There's a possible big red flag here. Robert Cantwell, now CFO for the LDS Church, has been the church auditor for years. I'm investigating it. Although, according to Cantwell's linked in bio, he stopped acting as the managing director of auditing in June 2013. Then again, the IRS might find it interesting too that a former auditor goes to managing the funds he formerly audited. (IRS Whistleblower page)
For more info on the other two, see Doug Martin the treasurer at LDS Church and Steve Penrose, the Global Financial Reporting Manager at LDS Church. (Kevin Jergensen is the new managing auditor.)
See these images:
What is interesting here is how many (10) amendments have been made recently. It could reflect a change in Utah law, requiring designees assigned each year and a change in the presidency (Hinckley to Monson in 2009). However, I wonder if there isn't something strange afoot with regard to the significant change in designees in 2014.
Could it be Monson's health is failing? Could it be the LDS corporations are about to exercise the fifth article of the dissolution and are preparing all necessary powers and accounts? Or it just could be standard operating principles. However, there hasn't been an amendment filed like these for previous administrations. Before Monson, there hasn't been an amendment filed since 1973, that I can find. I can't understand why, if it is just standard operation to name your designees and officers.
Now all that said, a little tongue-n-cheek bit: The IRS Warned us about "Corporate Soles" being a tax evasion shelter.
These corporate vehicles are used by individuals to get exemption from federal income taxes as an organization described in Section 501(c)(3).
"This scheme shamelessly tries to take advantage of special tax benefits available to legitimate religious groups and church leaders," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. The IRS also warned that "the scam could be starting to spread with multiple cases seen recently in states such as Utah and Washington."
Of course, the LDS Church was there first. The LDS Church holds 501(c)(3) status AND owns a big chunk of the fashionable City Creek Center (even if it is paying taxes on its profits) I think its legitimacy as a church and "charity" are questionable. But again, it was there first! UTAH!!! This is the most prophetic thing to come out of Mormonism ever.
Monday, September 1, 2014
All Mormon children one time or another get this lesson. As you read the Book of Mormon, ask yourself: How could an uneducated young man, practically a boy, have written the Book of Mormon?
- 1. Could an uneducated boy come up with 531 pages in a few short months?
- 2. Could that boy understand ancient Hebrew literary writing styles?
- 3. Could that boy know so much about the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula?
- 4. Could that boy come up with about 180 new names in the Book of Mormon?
- 5. Could a boy be deceived by the Devil to write a volume that inspires morality?
- 6. Could that boy have accounted for the “Lost Sheep” mentioned in the bible?
- 7. How could that boy know decades before that non-LDS scholars would agree that Christ visited America?
- 8. Could that boy have accounted for the “sticks” referenced in Ezekiel 37:15-20?
- 9. Why would the other 12 witnesses of the gold plates lie or be part of an uncovered conspiracy?
- 10. Could that boy write a complex volume that doesn’t ever contradict itself?
- 11. Could a boy have conceived of the marvelous Moroni 10 promise?
- 12. Would tens of thousands of learned intellectuals follow the book written by that boy?
- 13. Could that boy have convinced an older man to finance the printing of that book?
- 14. Why would that boy, as a man, suffer persecution and eventually die for the book?
These questions give the illusion that Joseph Smith couldn't have written the Book of Mormon by himself without inspiration or God's help, therefore you are constrained to accept that it is a miracle and given by God.
- 1. Would God have inspired ancient writers to waste so many engravings of 1,381 “it came to pass” phrases and other wordy words on gold plates swelling the book well past 500 pages when the main part of the story would actually fit in about 60-70% that space if edited by skilled or thoughtful editors, redactors and writers?
- 2. Would God have inspired ancient writers to include Shakespeare, and 15-19th century American style English idioms, including many errors of the KJV bible (1769 A.D. version) in a text purported to be written by ancient Hebrews in America?
- 3. Would God have inspired ancient writers to confuse United States history (including The Book of Napoleon (1809) and The Late War (1816)) and Calvinist doctrines in a supposed 2000 year old Amerindian text allegedly written by ancient Hebrews?
- 4. Would God have inspired ancient writers to use in their ancient America geography the modified names of cities surrounding 19th century Northeast America, confuse the actual location of the hill Cumorah, and lose location on the remains of tens of thousands of dead ancient warriors?
- 5. Would God have inspired ancient writers of 3 Nephi to contradict so much archaeology yet to be discovered (but known by God), leaving no evidence of the 3-day darkness, and the deaths of so many with the destruction of dozens of cities that God angrily smashed, drowned or burned when his son Jesus was crucified an ocean away?
- 6. Would God have inspired ancient writers to confuse the meaning of ‘horse’, ‘sheep’, ‘wheat’, ‘barely’, ‘elephants’, ‘cow/cattle’, ‘goats’, ‘honey bees’, ‘steel’, ‘coins’, the ‘wheel’, ‘silk’, ‘chariots’, ‘cimeters’, ‘bellows’, and more from 2000 years ago in America?
- 7. Would God have inspired ancient writers to claim Jesus appeared in ancient America and transformed the culture so much that it spread across the land into a vast 200-year long Christian, industrious, peaceful society that eliminated sacrifice and racism, yet left not even a single smidgen of evidence of such unheard peaceful expansion?
- 8. Would God have inspired ancient writers to prophesy many times about the coming forth of the record to the indigenous descendants (Lamanites) of the book, and yet in modern times not a single tribe, clan or even DNA strand can be found from those descendants?
- 9. Would God have inspired ancient writers to put so many erroneous claims, anachronistic mistakes, and miscalculations about ancient America that dozens of Mesoamerican and Amerindian scholars come forward to witness that it is just imaginative fiction with no basis in real science?
- 10. Would God have inspired ancient writers to be so mistaken on ancient American populations of ‘Hebrews’, on technology like ‘submarines’ traveling to ancient America, on mistakes about Hebrew temples, on Shiz's headless body and more impossible events?
- 11. Would God have inspired ancient writers to introduce so many linguistic issues into an ancient America text, including adding Deutero and Trito Isaiah texts into plates purported to be about 2600 years old, when the Deutero and Trito Isaiah texts weren’t actually written until 100-200 years later (2400y.a. (trito) or 2500y.a. (deutero))?
- 12. Would God have inspired ancient writers to create an ancient American work so dull that one of modern America’s foremost writers (Mark Twain) would call it “chloroform in print”?
- 13. Would God have inspired the “translator” of the ancient record to endeavor to sell its copyright and all rights to the book in Canada, yet fail to get anyone truly interested in the book because it was fraught with grammar issues and boring stories?
- 14. Would God have inspired the ‘translator’ of this ancient record to rarely quote from the book in his many hundreds of lectures, and when he was imprisoned over charges of polygamy or of treason against the state, instead of using the ancient text to convince his imprisoners, he stealthily snuck in a gun and fired shots at his enemies?
Anyone giving me their list of "Could a boy have written it" needs to explain away my list.
You can also ask, how could an educated person have made so many mistakes writing the Book of Mormon and attempt to pass it off as a true history?