Wisdom Through the Ages


I wish I could attend this upcoming conference. I’m grateful to those making the effort to broadcast portions of the conference live. Years ago, it was easier for me to get to the various lectures, symposia, conferences and fellowship gatherings. Life has become much more complicated. Click on the image on the left if you are interested in learning more about the conference to be held in Mesa 24-25 March 2018.

Another upcoming event that may be of interest to some, especially those in the Southern Utah area is a regional fellowship gathering to be convened 20-21 of January 2018 in Parowan. The invitation is posted publicly on Facebook and I’m sure you will be welcomed. Living in Southern California all my life, I’ve treasured the times I have been able to get to events like these. I’ve come to appreciate the value of fellowship among those who hold the same beliefs.

Fellowship in the Last Days

Two friends have asked me to answer a few questions publicly and share some thoughts on a difficult subject. This last day of the year seems like an opportune moment to do so. They have to do with why I continue to identify with or associate with the remnant movement and how this has affected my marriage. The question on marriage was, “How can I make my marriage work when my wife and I no longer believe the same things about the LDS Church?”

I made a very public statement a few years ago that got a lot of attention, at least among the LDS blogging community. I decided to get rebaptized after reading Denver’s books and attending a series of lectures on the gospel. In the early days of the LDS Church, it was a common thing to get rebaptized. Today, if you do so, you open yourself up to discipline from those who preside over your local congregation.

In my case, having served in numerous local leadership councils and not wanting to go through that process, I simply resigned my membership in the LDS Church. I don’t mean to imply I did so without much soul-searching and prayer. I spent many a night on my knees envisioning the ramifications of what I was about to do. My greatest concern was how this would affect my marriage. At times I was certain my wife would divorce me because of my decision.

The Rest of the Story

I was baptized over three years ago. Before I tell you how I think it’s going, let me add some background in response to my other friend’s questions. He asked me to record my thoughts in video format to post on the blog, Zion’s Return. I’m pondering that request. I did a video interview with KUTV a few years back about the LDS Church cracking down on bloggers. It’s funny how news organizations can ask enough questions to record a half hour of footage but only use two or three five-second snippets. I invite you to visit Zion’s Return.

Question One: “How did you come to find out about what the Lord is doing today and about this movement?” That’s an easy one to answer. I was standing in the Celestial room of the Los Angeles temple about six years ago when a friend asked me what I thought about Denver Snuffer’s latest book, Passing the Heavenly Gift. I said, “Denver who?” He repeated the name. “Never heard of him,” I said. End of conversation.

But the name stuck with me. Over the next few weeks, often while praying, that name would pop into my mind. I love to read about LDS Church History. Carol and I have a large library. I inherited many books from my parents who at one time had an LDS book store. I was in the habit of adding new books about the LDS Church to my library on a regular basis. Finally, after about three weeks, I bought the book on Amazon.

A Book that Changed my Life

Question Two: “What brought you to the point of feeling like something was missing in your spiritual life/journey?” I suppose I always had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that something wasn’t quite right with what I was being taught in the official curriculum and what I was reading in the books in our family library. My mother loved biography. She was a public school teacher and read voraciously. I’m fairly certain we had every biography published about the prophet.

Even after forty-five years I can still remember raising my hand in response to a question in seminary, responding with what I had read in one those biographies and receiving a blank stare from the teacher. She seemed a little uncomfortable. Finally, she said, “no, that’s not right,” and proceeded to read the official response from the approved curriculum. I asked my mother about it when I got home. Wisely, she asked me, “Well, what do you think?” I said I thought the teacher was wrong. “I’m just glad you’re reading, son.”

Living With Cognitive Dissonance

I learned to keep my thoughts to myself, or more accurately, I learned what the expected responses were to the typical questions and what the sources were for those questions that always come up when studying church history. I kept thinking if I just study harder I’ll understand things the way they were explained in the Sunday School manuals I taught from and the Institute manuals from which I later studied. I went on a mission, got married in the temple and began thirty-five years of service in Elder’s Quorum Presidencies, Bishoprics, High Councils, High Priest Group Leaderships and finally as the Stake Financial Clerk.

I saw the book had arrived when I came home from work a day or two after ordering PtHG, started my usual quick perusal of the book and ending up reading it until two o’clock in the morning. I simply could not put it down. Here was someone who had done the research, presented the evidence and let the reader draw their own conclusions. My prayer that night was one of the most memorable of my life. I knew my life was going to change forever. I finally had my answers. The cognitive dissonance lifted from my mind. I literally felt encompassed in light. This was not the first time I had experienced such a thing, but never this powerful.

Standing on Top of the Wall

Question Three: “What is the greatest blessing you have received since going [into] this movement and / or hearing the message the Lord is delivering in our day?” Again, another easy question. I have received a baptism that will be recognized when the angels begin to sweep the earth with the foretold destruction and, just as important, I have received a covenant that allows me to join with the Saints when they gather to Zion for protection from the events of the great and terrible day we read about in Matthew 24.

Because these answers may seem so out there, I sometimes feel like Samuel the Lamanite standing on the wall of Zarahemla. Let me be clear: The baptism to which I refer and the covenant I mentioned are not administered in the LDS Church today. Another blessing I hope to receive in time, if I live long enough, is to enter a temple to receive instruction directly from the Lord about walking in the paths of heaven. “But Tim,” I can hear you say, “You’ve already had those blessings since you were endowed in the LA Temple over forty years ago.”

The Process of Readmission

Question Four: “What insight/understanding do you now enjoy that you didn’t have before and how has that impacted your life?” I’ve been labeled crazy, deluded, deceived and possessed of a devil. My bishop at the time of my resignation wrote in his formal letter of response that went to my file in Salt Lake: “I fear your blindness has come from looking beyond the mark (Jacob 4:14).” He also noted that because I was under discipline for apostasy, approval from the First Presidency would be required for readmission.

I think the greatest insight or understanding I have received and now enjoy is the confidence of knowing my path is pleasing to the Lord. That is one of the things Joseph taught we must know to exercise faith in God. Carol and I have talked several times about starting that process of readmission to the LDS Church. While I enjoy attending sacrament meeting with Carol each Sunday and especially enjoy singing in the choir, I have felt there is no way I could write that letter to the First Presidency. There are still too many things taught in the LDS Church that I consider doctrinally damning, such as the concept of keys and authority.

The Reality of Baptism of Fire

Question Five: “Have you had any significant personal experience or witness that you can share that may benefit someone else who is seeking truth? * A witness that God answers prayer? *Baptism by fire? * Pivotal experience that shaped your spiritual journey?” This is a tough one, mainly because relating events from your life you consider sacred can be and are easily misunderstood. I still like President Packer’s analogy of explaining spiritual experiences to someone who has never had one: “My friend, spiritually speaking, I have tasted salt and you have not. I am [not] able to convey to you in words how this knowledge has come…” If you want some fascinating responses to this anecdote, Google “Packer Salt Story.” Especially read the Reddit post.

However, unless two people share the same spiritual experience such as Joseph and Sydney, there can never be a complete unity or common understanding of what just happened. I know. I have tried on many occasions and in many posts on my blog. One is the baptism of fire I experienced when I was just seventeen. You can read it but may come away with only a cursory understanding that I had a nice long prayer and felt good when I was done. Yet, to me, it was a baptism of fire, pure and simple. I knew I had been in the presence of the Lord. I heard the voice of the Lord declaring I was His son, begotten of Him that day. I make no claim to having received the Second Comforter at that time nor any other promises or blessings besides forgiveness.

The Power of The Covenant of Christ

Question Six: How has your worship and relationship with God, your family and/or others changed because of the added truth you’ve received? Hmmm…while Carol and I have always read, studied and taught from the scriptures (we both taught seminary), we have implemented a practice of reading aloud and teaching each other from the scriptures every single night. Up until a few years ago it was hit and miss. We’d go for a few months then peter off. I treasure these nightly sessions of reading and teaching each other as the highlight of my day. Of course, I slip in insights gained from reading Denver’s commentaries. We’ve had some especially interesting discussions lately about what it really meant for the Savior to lay aside his glory, his exalted status.

There are some subjects we don’t discuss because they are too painful. For example, imagine how Carol feels as a fifth generation Mormon believing all her life that the highest LDS goal is to marry in the temple. She felt terribly betrayed when I resigned from the LDS Church. There are still bitter tears when the subject comes up in Sacrament meeting or especially when we read something about marriage in the scriptures. My relationships with others have changed. I am much more interested in people I work with every day, and how I can serve them. I attribute this directly to rebaptism and acceptance of the covenant of Christ at the September conference. Once again, let me express how grateful I am to those who arranged for me to participate from home.

Time to Fish or Cut Bait

Question Seven: “Is there a particular book or talk that impacted you profoundly (of Denver’s) that you can tell us about?” Well, I’ve already related my experience in reading Passing the Heavenly Gift. I suppose lecture ten in Phoenix / Mesa was profound for two reasons. It was the conference where Carol and I parted ways in our response to Denver’s message. Denver had gone out of his way to invite us to have dinner with him and his family before one of the lectures. Carol attended several of the lectures with me, but could not handle what she heard in lecture ten. So, it was a bittersweet experience for me. Here’s why:

On the drive home from the lecture, as Carol napped through the California desert, I had a long talk with the Lord about what had just happened. Lecture ten was not like the others. It was time to take action. I heard it clearly. I think Carol also felt it but was not prepared, and still isn’t, to make the kind of changes that were brought up at that last lecture. I knew I needed to show the Lord I believed his servant by an outward sign, the ordinance of baptism. This was a deep, profound, and thoroughly life-changing talk. By responding as I did, I knew I’d be laying everything on the line, all because I heard the voice of the Lord tell me the words of his servant Denver were pleasing to him, and required action if I wanted to continue to grow and progress spiritually.

The Lord of the Vineyard

Question Eight: “How [have] your family, friends and other relations been impacted by this, and how do you deal with that?  Why are you willing to risk everything for what you are learning?” Interestingly, my siblings have said nothing of my leaving the LDS Church. We still communicate regularly, get together occasionally and express our love for one another. My sister closest in age to me will be leaving to serve a mission in England in a few months. I recently had an interesting conversation with my niece about how millennials perceive the church. She sees so many of her friends who have left and attributes it to the stuff they find on the Internet. On the other hand, some members of Carol’s family are not happy with me and have told me so very clearly.

I knew this would happen. The Lord showed it clearly to me all those nights I was praying about it before I resigned. I am grateful to our local ward and stake leaders who continue to reach out to me with love, kindness and respect. I am still invited to and attend ward socials. I still sing in the ward and stake choirs and generally enjoy Sacrament meeting. The biggest impact this change has had on me is obviously on my marriage. Carol does not like it when I write in my blog, which is a major reason I stopped for so long and rarely write here anymore. You asked about risk. The greatest risk I face is in not doing as the Lord asks. He has asked me very plainly to do all I can to reassure Carol of my love for her and yes, be willing to apply for readmission if it is the only thing that will save my marriage. The Lord takes marriage seriously and so do I. Marriage is the fruit He labors to lay up in store.

The Gospel Brings Hope

Question Nine: “Why does all this matter so much to you?” I don’t think I’m any different from anyone else when it comes to the gospel of Christ. It should be important to everyone. What’s surprising to me is how many people can’t separate the gospel from the LDS Church. Even the thought is abhorrent to so many who have opposed what I have shared on my blog. I can truly understand why Denver turned off comments on his blog years ago. I can only imagine the awful individual emails he receives from those who feel and express he has ruined their families. What a burden he must carry. I know a little about doing what the Lord asks, meaning, I have felt the displeasure of the Lord when I have been slow to hearken after I’ve asked for His direction.

This matters because it gives me hope. I have a goal in my old age to see Zion established, and that’s not going to come about through a large institution. The signs are becoming more and more evident that we are living in the generation that will see the return of the Lord. I rejoiced when I heard that a temple is to be a part of this effort to establish Zion. I want to contribute to the building of that temple. I want my name to be in the book that will be presented to the Lord when the temple is completed. I am grateful to know there literally is a book being kept and that my name is in it today. That baptism is so essential. Oh, how I wish more people understood this. I am saddened by but understand why so many can’t separate the gospel from the LDS Church.

Receiving the Higher Priesthood

Question Ten: “Anything of your background, briefly, that may have been worth noting at the beginning that would enhance what is shared.” There’s no way I can condense ten years of blogging into ten questions. I started my blog with the intention of providing sensible answers to all the misinformation about the LDS Church that was popping up on the Internet. Along the way I kept finding more and more legitimate questions being asked by young people who had real concerns about what they were reading in newly-available historical records and what they were being taught in the official curriculum of the LDS Church.

There’s a lot to love about what this great institution has accomplished, but it became obvious, at least to me, that something very basic was missing. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it so, like so many others, I put my concerns on the shelf. If I had not read PtHG I would probably still be serving somewhere in the Stake as a clerk, which for some reason I seem to do well, probably because I manage computer networks for a living. Two fundamental things changed. I realized open revelation had ceased with Joseph Smith. I also came to understand the priesthood very, very differently. The Higher Priesthood is not received the way it is taught in the LDS Church. It must come by hearing the voice of God declare it unto you.

Concluding Thoughts on Marriage

To my friend who asked for advice on how to make his marriage work when he no longer believed as his wife, I can only offer the following: Put yourself in her shoes for a minute. Don’t forget that a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated. Being right is not as important as being kind. I’ve referred to it earlier and I’ll reiterate it here. If the Lord were to ask me to apply for readmission to the LDS Church. I would do it in a heartbeat, especially if it would bring happiness to another, in this case, to Carol. I have received baptism in the way I believe the Lord has asked and have accepted the covenant of Christ as it was offered.

I can’t imagine the LDS Church asking me to deny or retract the covenant I have made with Christ, can you? It seems to me one should be able to worship and fellowship in the LDS Church or the Baptist Church or the Presbyterian Church or any fellowship that acknowledges Christ. A man can believe what he wants in the LDS Church. I’ve heard some pretty crazy things over the years from someone everyone would consider an orthodox member. Knowing what I know now about keys, I can sustain the Brethren. In fact, I do so every time we have a stake conference. I can pay tithing to the LDS Church but I would pay it differently than I have all my life because I understand it differently now. But who am I to give advice on marriage? Go talk to the Lord.

Update: The Video is up on YouTube. It’s about thirty minutes: https://youtu.be/_MD6wlP4LAA

As an alternative, I’ve also posted it on my domain site here: http://3tcm.net/TimMaloneStory01012018.mp4

 

As In The Days Of Noah


The focus of this blog has always been the last days. Even the name suggests the topics will address events of the latter days. We are witnessing those events, both the good and the bad. With all the bad in the news lately, it’s sometimes hard to focus on the good. With this post, I hope to bring some good things to our attention.

In the news and especially through the online and social media, we have become armchair witnesses to the great destructions of the last days. We see terrible loss of life through natural disasters such as hurricanes, flooding, tornados, earthquakes, tsunamis and fires of epic proportions. At the same time we have seen, or at least it has been my observation that evil has increased lately through world-wide events of terror, mass murder and the threat of nuclear holocaust.

The Pace of the Signs are Quickening

It’s easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom prophecies that are rampant with each new sign from heaven. We are inundated every time some catastrophic calamity cascades through our news feeds or on the walls of the social media pages of our friends. Such incidents have become a swelling tide that can overwhelm even the most positive and faithful among us.

One doesn’t have to look far to find a myriad of voices proclaiming they have some special insight to what all these things mean. They want us to know they can help us prepare by following some sage piece of advice that has been revealed to them. Their interpretations of solar eclipses and stellar configurations are especially fascinating. They fill us with wonder and amazement. We ask ourselves why we didn’t see all these clues earlier in our own observations.

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

I’m confident most who are reading this post are familiar with the parable of the wheat and the tares. The master of the harvest forbade his servants from gathering the tares to be burned until the wheat was fully ripe and had brought forth fruit. He made it clear an enemy had placed the tares among the wheat. He then focused the attention of his servants, and us, upon the upcoming harvest.

…the world shall be burned with fire. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father.” Perhaps that is how it will be easy for the angels to determine the wheat from the tares. The angels will gather the righteous because they shine forth as brightly as the sun. At our core, we are beings of light and must be connected to the source of all light. Otherwise, our imagination and thoughts of our heart, or desires, will only be evil continually.

The Destruction of the Wicked

The prophecies of great destruction at the end of the world are perhaps some of the best known among all peoples of the earth. It is in our collective consciousness and immortalized in our myths. Armageddon may be the most overused name in our day to describe the overwhelming nature of impeding disaster feared by so many.

And rightly so, for great and terrible are the descriptions used by the Lord in Mathew 24. “The sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” Christ foretold his return and gave us clear direction all the world will see it together: “…then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn. And they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.”

He Shall Send His Angels Before Him

“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.” I’ve often thought about this passage in reference to the identity of the angels. An angel is a messenger sent from God, with a message from God. Thus they can be mortal or immortal.

And that’s the good news upon which I’d like to focus in this post. We live in the days similar to the days of Noah with all the terrible wickedness and imminent destruction. The wickedness is reaching unimaginable horror with mass murders that defy all logic and reasoning. In my view, what happened in Las Vegas last week is a clear example of an enemy sowing tares among the wheat. The wheat is still young and tender. As it matures, the insensible attacks of the wicked will increase to shock and terrorize.

500th Anniversary of The Christian Reformation

2017 marks 500 years since the beginning of the Christian Reformation when Martin Luther nailed a copy of his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church. If you aren’t familiar with the story, I recommend you click on the above image, which links to a site containing highly instructive videos and essays describing this and many other important events of the Christian Reformation.

The good news of living in the days of tribulation is that, as in the days of Noah, there will be another Noah, a servant sent to warn the people of the need to turn from the ever-increasing wickedness of the world. He will also teach us how to be ready for when the Lord sends his angels to gather the wheat before the burning of the field, where the tares remain in bundles. In fact, there are many who are being visited by angels in our generation, which shall not pass before the Lord returns.

Oh Babylon, We Bid Thee Farewell


linkedin-timmalone

One of the disadvantages of putting so much of one’s energy into a worldly career is the drain on both time and energy to focus on the true purpose of life – finding ways to bless one’s fellow man. Being at the epitome or last days of this worldly career seems to have sapped from me what I once felt in abundance – a desire to write and share about my experiences with the spirit world.

I have a friend who uses in jest the phrase “independently wealthy” when he describes me. Nothing could be further from the truth. While not in debt to my eyeballs like some I know, I anticipate another seven to ten years of continuous employment before I can retire comfortably. I enjoy my work, but there is a high price to be paid for devotion given to this world in Babylon.

I constantly ask myself, “What does the Lord think of these many hours I put into making sure my work tasks are completed successfully and the projects I’ve been assigned move smoothly?” Because of the distance I live from my place of employment, I spend several hours a day on the commute. Such is life in Los Angeles. It can be difficult to keep feelings of resentment at bay.

Living in a War-Torn World 

eisenhower-farewell-warningFor those who don’t know, I now work for one of the largest warmongers in the world. I don’t know how I feel about this. One of my long-time readers shared his feelings and eventually left employment with the military at a great reduction in salary along with a high price to his family happiness. Security seems high, what with the prophecy of continual wars of the last days, but…

It is a matter of constant prayer. I value peace. I abhor war. I am especially distraught to earn a living from a company that makes bombs and missiles. It seems war can be waged these days without putting oneself in harm’s way, at least not in the sense we have done throughout history. Those with remote control skills are rewarded for their many years of video game expertise.

President Eisenhower warned us over fifty years ago about the military-industrial complex. It only works when there is war somewhere, one that is often promoted by the United States. Please don’t think me a traitor or that I am not patriotic. I love my country, but do not care for the evil that this nation can and does promulgate upon the rest of the world, so often in abject secrecy.

Building the Lord’s Temple 

zion-city-of-enochRegular readers know I continue to pay my tithing, but because of a stalemate between my wife and me, the money sits in a bank account. I have asked her to not give it to the LDS Church and yet I don’t feel it would go over well if I used any form of compulsion or force to ensure the money goes to the poor as I feel in my heart it should. So there it sits, awaiting its future destiny.

I have a dream of being able to contribute to the building of the Lord’s temple someday. The LDS Church has clearly stated they cannot or will not guarantee the money we pay in tithing will go to the sources we designate. Thus it grows, held in bay by a lack of unity. “If ye are not one, ye are not mine…” I leave this matter up to the Lord and trust in His infinite wisdom to resolve.

You may think I am wandering in my writing thus far. True, there does not seem to be a central theme, so perhaps I can introduce one: “How does one live exact to what the Lord has revealed when a spouse is diametrically opposed to such a plan of action?” We compromise. For example, on our family vacation next month, I will slip away for a few hours to attend a Sunstone session.

Guidelines to Perform a Wedding

keith-on-marriageI will also next month, by invitation, perform a wedding ceremony for a dear friend using the guidelines shared by Keith on his blog. I am honored to have been asked to conduct such a ceremony and feel intense impressions from the Lord each time I pray about the occasion and visualize it in my mind. I cherish such events along with our occasional fellowship gatherings.

We are so few in California. I hope you in Utah who have regular large gatherings appreciate that blessing. I’ve probably mentioned before how we in California have met in groups of various sizes, always small, maybe a dozen times in the last two years. Perhaps it is for the best, as I continue to attend Sacrament meeting with Carol each Sunday. I enjoy singing in the choir.

My point is this: We can be true to what the Lord has revealed to us because it is filled with the spirit of love. In other words, sacrifice allows me to forego things I desire because I know the time is not right in my marriage for such things. I know the Lord has some things in mind that will change our world dramatically over the next few years. He needs stalwart, faithful disciples.

Fellowships and Friendships 

stake-reorganizationI miss writing on my blog more frequently but know what I write irritates at least a few of the men whose association I enjoyed when I served in leadership positions in the LDS Church. I did my best to remove them from the mailing list, but somehow, something I write always seems to get into the hands of the bishop or stake president, whose good feelings I desire to offend not.

Our stake was reorganized recently, so I have yet another new bishop. Having served almost five years, he will undoubtedly be released before the end of the year. Why do I bring this up? There is in my heart a desire to offend no man, especially those who lead the local wards and stakes. Each time I get a new home teacher, it seems I am required to tell my story yet one more time.

How do you avoid offense without stating clearly the differences in doctrine and history taught in the LDS Church today from what I have discovered in my studies and prayers? It is difficult. Thus I rarely speak up, especially since it hurts my dear wife to hear of such things. Oh, how I enjoy getting together with those who believe as I do and discussing the gospel of Christ.

Judgement Belongs to the Lord 

captain-moroni1Like Paul, I want to be able to say I love all men. I want to take no offense, no matter what is said or done. I continue to walk away when pornographic stories are shared. I strive to be tolerant of those who use foul language, especially those I supervise. I’m not so sure these are the “big things” the Lord is referring to when he counsels us to make friends with mammon.

Obviously this is more of a personal journal entry. I desire to be a righteous influence but to me, that means, “Do not judge.” I leave all judgment up to the Lord. I try to take no offense nor give any. I am grateful I have time yet in which to associate with those who are dedicated or even consumed with the building up of the worldly companies of this day and age. Yet I love them.

I feel like Moroni. He despaired for the salvation of the people or the troops he lead, yet he wet his pillow by night for their welfare (or was that Nephi…perhaps both?) Their focus is on the building if wealth. We know that such wealth is fleeting, momentary, and only for this world. We are commanded to give to him that asketh of us. How literally do we take this command?

If Ye Are Not One… 

i-see-ariseI am saddened to read of friends whose marriages are dissolving because of their acceptance of the idea of revelation coming through channels other than the “Brethren.” This is such a strident and contentious subject. On the one hand are those who feel the Lord would never do any work outside the “authorized” priesthood channels. What do we do if the Lord says to us otherwise?

“You are deceived,” they cry. If what you claim to have heard does not fall in line with what we have heard from the pulpit of the General Authorities, you can be sure it is of the devil. Really? I have always felt and been taught that salvation is a personal thing. We are born alone and naked and will enter the spirit world in the same manner upon our mortal death. How confident are we?

I recently purchased Doug Mendenhall’s latest book, “I See…Arise.” I look forward to reading it next week. Doug’s previous books have not disappointed. He writes from experience. There are those who cannot accept even the idea of the adversary working upon us and concepts such as portals or devices attached to us. I know otherwise. I have felt their influence. They are real.

The Importance of Unity in Marriage 

keiths-personal-writingsI also recently discovered…silly me for not paying attention…that Keith has personal entries on his blog that are well worth reading. For example, the wedding ceremony I will be following when I conduct the ritual in a couple of weeks. It is sacred, and from my contemplation, is very much approved of the Lord. Let’s just say the Lord showed me exactly how it would be done.

Someday, I still hope to construct an altar in my back yard where I can pray unto the Lord with outstretched arms in prayer. For now, I use a temporary altar in my home when I seek to open a portal to the heavens and commune with those on the other side of the veil. There is so much to learn and so much to do. It is hard to not resent the time I spend on my daily worldly pursuits.

In any event, I think as time goes by, it will become obvious to more and more people how the Lord is moving among the regular people of the world who seek Him. One does not need to be a leader in the LDS Church to commune with the Lord and receive revelation for himself, his family, or to know what the Lord has in mind as he works his marvelous works in these days.

The Spirit of Revelation 

last-days-imageI am convinced the last days are upon us as never before. The days of the Gentiles are coming to an end if they have not already done so. There is no reason to fear, but there is reason to be prepared for change and catastrophe. We often talk of economic disaster as being one of the most prominent signs of the last days. I feel otherwise. Look to the skies, to the stars and the planets.

Most of my readers know I don’t participate much in the discussion that follows my posts. It’s not a matter of not wanting to do so, it’s a matter of lack of time. My commitments are elsewhere as I strive to provide for my family and fulfil my temporal responsibilities. Man shall work by the sweat of his brow. It my case, ensuring the flow of electrons in networks I build and maintain.

God bless you all as these the last days become more and more obvious. Perhaps I am wrong. The spirit of prophecy is like the gift of the Holy Ghost. It listeth where it will. In other words, even I am not always able to clearly explain what I mean when I feel inspired to describe what I see in my mind’s eye or pronounce what I hear as I listen for the voice of the Lord. Be cheerful.

 

Speaking With The Lord About Joseph


The Prophet Joseph SmithNearly forty years ago I spent six months preparing to serve a mission for the LDS Church. I had graduated from High School, attended Ricks College for a year, worked for six months and was now engaged in extensive preparations to understand the doctrines of Mormonism I would soon be teaching. I was blessed with the time and financial ability to do nothing but study the gospel.

What I wouldn’t give to have that blessing in my life again. My years since have been consumed ensuring the computing needs of my employer are met on a daily basis. On days I make the time and effort to study the gospel I think back on that long-ago year when I did nothing but ponder, read, study, fast and pray about what the Lord is going to do before He returns in the last days.

d-and-c-commentaryIn the spirit of Oliver Cowdery, those were days never to be forgotten. My tutor was the Holy Ghost. My texts were scriptures and commentaries I had obtained from a local book store that carried LDS books. I especially enjoyed studying the Doctrine and Covenants Commentary from Hyrum M Smith and Janne M Sjodahl, the 1972 reprint edition. It’s a lengthy book at 864 pages.

A Promise From the Lord

I lived with two of my unmarried siblings who worked or attended college, my parents having sold their home and sent us out in the world to fend for ourselves. The summer before I attended Ricks College was a spiritual awaking for me, filled with sacred moments in prayerful revelation to my mind’s eye. Asking in faith, the Lord opened my mind to visions of personal future events.

RicksDevotionalIt was at Ricks, after many hours of heart-wrenching prayer, I obtained a promise from the Lord which remains with me to this day. He has not left me, even in my darkest hours. He can and will walk with us through our life’s journey. He will speak to our minds. We can hear His voice. As part of that meeting, detecting the voice of the adversary and his emissaries also became clearer.

I have shared this story before, but have visited it again with a different understanding. Having resigned my membership in the LDS Church, I wanted to know if anything had changed about the revelations I received in my youth. Were they still valid? Had I been deceived? I asked the Lord recently. He answered, assuring me it was He that spoke to my mind that long-ago night.

Always Knew the Book was Scripture

The Book of MormonAfter a few difficult retirement years in Utah my mother moved back to California and stopped attending the LDS Church. I have shared her story previously, including her disappointments with what she found in the Utah LDS culture. Upon returning, she gave me many of her church books along with her journals and papers, asking only that I not share them before her death.

In the ten years since her passing I have reviewed most of her papers. Recently, I have felt the desire to make one of her papers available online. It is entitled “How I gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon.” Mother was a teacher and scholar, well-read, endowed with a keen intellect and a profound ability to teach. She loved preparing lessons, passing her love of learning to me.

If you can, take a moment to review mother’s story. She and I were very close in the years just before and after my mission. She wrote this paper while taking Institute classes. We had many deep discussions about the gospel and church history. She knew so much about Joseph Smith. I was amazed to discover her difficulties with the Book of Mormon and why it troubled her so.

Didn’t Always Know About Joseph

I prefaced what I am about to share with reference to my mother because it was she who gave me the intellectual curiosity to ask the Lord about things which she herself did not know. Her habit was to refer me to a book, then encourage me to take my questions to the Lord. I have her papers on Joseph, the Savior, temple ordinances, celestial marriage and more on the Book of Mormon.

ProphetJosephSmithI learned to read at my mother’s knee. We read the Book of Mormon together when I was young. I experienced first-hand her lining out all the instances of “and it came to pass,” as she shared in her paper. She had a hard time with the Book of Mormon. I loved it from the first time I read it with her. I knew it was the word of God. Always have. But I didn’t always know about Joseph.

That’s what I really want to share in this post. From my notes in front of the D&C Commentary, I’ve recorded the dates I consumed the book. Fifteen pages a day is not much. I also noted a few choice observations the Lord shared with me as I read, one of them being, “No amount of study can take the place of obedience,” and “When ignorance is removed, obedience is expected.”

Some Things Not Lawful to Share

When I finished the book, I felt inspired to take it to the Lord in prayer. I wanted to know if the revelations recorded from Joseph were from the Lord. It was an interesting experience. I did not expect it to take three days. I expected it would take a few hours at most, similar to what I had experienced at Ricks College. I think this was the only time in my life I fasted for three days.

JosephSmithInLibertyJailI would study during the day and pray for hours at night. I took literally the admonition to enter into my closet and pray in secret. Sometimes, after a few hours of study during the day, I would continue my quest in prayer. I wanted an answer. I needed to know. I burned with the desire to receive a response. I had talked to the Lord previously. I had heard his voice at Rick’s College.

As I recorded in my journal and in a previous post, I was surprised at the answer. I want to be very clear about this. We can hear the voice of the Lord. He told me the commentary was written with the intent to encourage faith. But He was more emphatic when He said to me, “Joseph did not tell everything he knew and neither can you. Some things can only be experienced in prayer.”

Joseph Was No Fallen Prophet

At the time I was satisfied with the answer. I should not have been. I should have pressed for more. But it was apparently sufficient for that season of my life. Now I want more. In fact, I have wanted more for many years and have been pressing the Lord to share. Each time He tells me the day will come but is not yet. He and I both know I have not yet met the requirements. So I wait.

JesusRedRobeI want to keep this post short. There are only two things I wanted to share. I hope I have been clear. The first is that we can speak with the Lord, we can hear His voice. We can enter into His presence. He is willing to reveal Himself unto us. The second is that the Lord does call men to speak for him as prophets today. Joseph was the Lord’s prophet and still holds keys given him.

The restoration of the Lord’s work with men on the earth commenced with Joseph Smith. He performed his mission admirably, as did Hyrum. I have been studying the Book of Mormon for over fifty years and have never felt any doubts of the authenticity of Joseph’s claims. The Lord will bless those who speak up for Joseph. I do so with this post. Joseph was no fallen prophet.

O Babylon, We Bid Thee Farewell


a-modern-day-caliphateSome of you may know I have definite ideas when it comes to the end times, specifically about what the Lord is going to do in regards to the destruction of the wicked. I am a catastrophist, which means I take literally the word of the Lord in which He says He will fight our battles for us. You can read more about what I believe and the scriptures that support that in this PDF link.

However, there is one event prophesied in scripture I have always wondered might very well be a man-made catastrophe, or in other words, a nuclear holocaust. You can read about it in chapter thirteen of Isaiah. Symbolism in the latter verses of the chapter is rich with images representing a piece of earth that will not be inhabited for generations because of the deadly effects of radiation.

Empty For Generation After Generation

I like this version sent to me by a friend in a recent email, along with his own commentary.

“Look, I will stir up the Medes against Babylon.
They cannot be tempted by silver
or bribed with gold.

The attacking armies will shoot down the young men with arrows.
They will have no mercy on helpless babies
and will show no compassion for children.”

Babylon, the most glorious of kingdoms,
the flower of Chaldean pride,
will be devastated like Sodom and Gomorrah
when God destroyed them.

Babylon will never be inhabited again.
It will remain empty for generation after generation.
Nomads will refuse to camp there,
and shepherds will not bed down their sheep.

Desert animals will move into the ruined city,
and the houses will be haunted by howling creatures.
Owls will live among the ruins,
and wild goats will go there to dance.

Hyenas will howl in its fortresses,
and jackals will make dens in its luxurious palaces.
Babylon’s days are numbered;
its time of destruction will soon arrive.

Religious Significance Of The Middle East

isis-influence-mapBabylon, of course, no longer exists, as least not as a place inhabited today. The ruins of Babylon lie some fifty miles south of Baghdad. When we speak of Babylon now we usually refer to the influence of worldliness. Perhaps this 20-minute video from the Isaiah Institute will give you a better feel for how the Lord uses Babylon as a type or shadow of things to come in the last days.

Often when Westerners hear news of atrocities in the middle-east they dismiss them as simply the way things are over there, never believing such things could happen in the United States. For those who understand the scriptures, especially Isaiah, they know there is great significance to the idea of Babylon rising again as a political power. It signifies the beginning of the end times.

A Caliphate Has Been Declared

Rather than get into all the background of Babylon, I’ll refer you to Adrian Larsen’s post on the subject over on his blog, To The Remnant. Adrian provides an excellent explanation as to why all the whole world should pray that Baghdad does not fall. Of course Baghdad is not Babylon, at least not yet. If the Islamic state captures Baghdad, then Babylon will once again be among us.

isis-united-statesA Caliphate has been declared once again, something Islam has not had in over five hundred years. That means millions of Muslims are preparing to take jihad to a whole new level. You can’t have a real Caliphate without territory and lots of it. The publically stated goal of this Caliphate is to capture Baghdad from which to conduct massive war, specifically upon Israel.

The Use of Nuclear Weapons

In order to defend itself, Israel will be forced to use nuclear weapons. The caliph, a person considered a political and religious successor to the prophet Muhammad and a leader of the entire Muslim community, expects and desires this. They have prophecies about Armageddon just as we do in the bible. They believe their role is to bring about this all-out war of nations.

You read Isaiah chapter thirteen again and tell me if it doesn’t describe a land made desolate by nuclear attack. I hope and pray that Baghdad doesn’t fall to ISIL (see footnote), because that would be the beginning of the end. The Islamic State will quickly amass an army of millions, who will come from many nations with one objective – to destroy Israel, which they will almost accomplish.

Pray That Baghdad Does Not Fall

isis-territoryIf Israel nukes Babylon / Baghdad, the whole world, including the United States will turn against the tiny nation. Then nothing will be able to save Jerusalem except divine intervention. We will all be surprised by how fast this escalates if Baghdad falls. Yet so few seem to be aware of what is happening in Syria and Iraq. But the God of Heaven has asked us to turn our attention there.

Along with many others, I am fasting and praying today, specifically that Baghdad will not fall. There are thousands of Christians and Muslims in the city who do not espouse the extreme ways of ISIL. Abraham interceded with “The God of Heaven” when Jehovah contemplated destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. Perhaps our united faith and prayers today will do the same for Baghdad.


For a more in-depth analysis of the perilous situation in Baghdad read Graeme Wood’s article in the Atlantic. The map illustrating this post is taken from that publication.

Footnote: ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. ISIL is the acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The differentiation between the word ‘Syria’ and the word ‘Levant’ is actually quite significant. It makes a big difference because of this: ISIL includes Levant, which includes the area we like to call Israel. The Islamic State has designs that go from Iran through Egypt. There is no Israel in their plans.

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