A Great Division In The Latter-Days

Nephi made several prophecies about the last days and what will happen after the Gospel has been restored to the Earth and when Israel and the Jews will be Gathered once again. In one of these prophecies he states:

For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy; and he will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire. – 2 Nephi 30:10

“The Lord God shall cause a great division among the people” is something we are seeing on a daily basis nowadays. We as a nation and world are becoming divisive on pretty much every topic and it can be frustrating and a little depressing. I don’t think it matters which “side” you are on, you should be able to see it by now.

And I don’t believe Nephi is saying that after this division, one side is wicked and one side is righteous. There are good people on both sides of the divisions I am seeing, as well as wicked people on both sides. I believe Nephi is saying that the wicked on both sides of this great division will be destroyed.

I believe this division that is being created by the Lord is a way to test us and see how we react to others who have different viewpoints than we do. I believe that he wants to see if we are we going to still follow the greatest commandment and the second which is like unto it, to love God first and to love your fellow man/woman.  I think this is the purpose of the great division and that this secondary division between the wicked and righteous will be a result of the first division.

We, as human beings and children of God, need to learn how to love our fellow brothers and sisters in this mortal life even though we disagree with them. We loved them in the Pre-Mortal Life and now need to again learn in this Mortal existence how to love them in the earthly setting. I believe that there are times that we can still disagree with others and still both be living within the boundaries of the Gospel.

Now I’m not talking about the obvious things like, “I think it’s ok to kill innocent people” vs. ” I think it’s wrong to kill innocent people”, as these commandments are set in stone and should be obeyed. I’m talking about these differences of opinion and lack of understanding of the “other side” that permeate our discussions and statements that we make. And even if the other side is struggling to understand the Gospel and perhaps is in the wrong, we still need to forgive them and be an example to them. Otherwise, if we don’t forgive them, ultimately we are just as much in the wrong. (Matthew 6:12-15)

The prophecies of Nephi are telling and pertinent to our day and age and will continue to be of the utmost importance. These prophecies are also comforting and give me hope as I am able to see that our Father in Heaven does have a plan for us and that if we are obedient, ultimately we will be brought back into His presence.

 

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I’m Back!

I’ve been on hiatus for awhile, aka – I’ve been ignoring this site, but I’m back and will start adding content again.

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Superman and Mormonism

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Superman was sent to Earth by a celestial father and mother, Jor-El and Lara, who lived on a far away planet having the appearance of white crystal. Jor-El sent his son to Earth to live and be raised by earthly parents. These earthly parents taught their son, Clark Kent, the ways of truth and honor and helped him develop a strong moral compass. In his early years, Clark was taught that he was special and that he had to use his gifts for the good of mankind.

As time passed and Clark was ready to embrace his destiny, he traveled to the Arctic region and threw a remnant of his home planet, Krypton, into the icy landscape. A Fortress of crystal filled with light appeared. Clark entered this Fortress and was faced with a personage resembling his father, Jor-El. This personage taught Clark about his true heritage and how he was a descendant of the House of El. Clark was given his true name, Kal-El, and was taught further knowledge from his father. He was given a new outfit to wear with a symbol to inspire those around him.

These story elements are based primarily on the 1978 theatrical release of Superman: The Movie. I recently watched this again on Blu Ray and was struck by the strong similarities of these story elements with what Mormons believe and practice. When the movie was initially released in theaters, there were similar comparisons made with Jor-El and God, and Kal-El as Christ. While these comparisons are still valid, I would go further to compare the temple attending Latter-Day Saint with Superman. While I won’t go into detail here as to what those similarities are, they were obvious enough that I made the connections right away. I don’t believe Siegel and Shuster, Richard Donner, the Salkinds, Mario Puzo and Tom Mankiewicz were secretly Mormons, I do believe that their own religious upbringings and traditions heavily influenced the story. (A 2007 Time article claims Superman is a “non-Aryan Protestant”,  and that while his origin story is influenced by Jewish religion, he is a Protestant.)

I think that these Superman story elements can resonate strongly with people because of the eternal truths they mirror.  As children of a Heavenly Father, we know we were sent to Earth to be born of earthly parents and that they would teach us right from wrong.  We knew that we would have to look out for and encourage our fellow man, our brothers and sisters. The majority of people want to be a person that others can look up to and seek help from. This “goodness” is something everyone can relate to and aspire to obtain.  While it would be cool to wear a cape and fly, we all realize that we don’t need that to be a positive influence to those around us.

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Snowy Moroni at Draper

I took this picture on a snowy Saturday (Nov 10) morning on my way in to the Draper Temple to do a session.

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The Mormon Moment keeps on going

Here’s a positive article on the ‘Mormon Moment’ and how it will be more than just a moment, but that it is a lifestyle that will endure hardships.

The Mormonizing of America by Stephen Mansfield

Give it a read, it is a positive article amidst the sea of negativity, especially since Mitt Romney recently lost the Presidency. I’m glad to see that there are impartial members of the media out there who can report on both sides of a subject matter.

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The Doctrine of Exaltation

I recently read this article by Daniel Peterson regarding the Doctrine of Exaltation and how it has been taught by Joseph Smith via revelation, even before the founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Starting with a passage from The Book of Mormon translated by Joseph Smith in the late 1820’s, The Book of Mormon describes the Savior’s visit to the America’s. This scripture is Jesus speaking to the Three Nephites in 3 Nephi:

Ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand. And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one.” (3 Nephi 28:9-10)

He teaches his disciples that they will become as He and The Father are, and that they will become one.

Later on, Joseph Smith recieved a revelation in 1832 regarding exaltation:

They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things — They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory; 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. Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God — 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. And they shall overcome all things.” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:55-60)

Then just prior to his martyrdom, Joseph Smith expanded on the doctrine of exaltation even more in the 1844 King Follet Discourse:

“Here then is eternal life — to know the only wise and true God. You have got to learn how to make yourselves Gods in order to save yourselves and be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done — by going from a small capacity to a great capacity, from a small degree to another, from grace to grace, until the resurrection of the dead, from exaltation to exaltation — till you are able to sit in everlasting burnings and everlasting power and glory as those who have gone before.”

Kudos to Daniel Peterson in putting this all together to demonstrate this evolving principle as Joseph Smith himself learned it “line upon line, precept upon precept”.

Check out more of Daniel Peterson’s writings every Thursday at the Deseret News website, as well as on his personal blog – Sic et Non on Patheos.com.

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Righteous Men and Women Needed

Regardless of who is the President, the Lord will bring to pass His designs through righteous men and women. The Lord will provide a way and will work through righteous men and women who want to serve Him.

A great example of this is when Joseph Smith was translating the Book of Mormon and Martin Harris convinced Joseph to let him take the manuscript to show his family “proof” of the Book of Mormon. Martin lost this manuscript and it was never found. At this moment in time, Joseph was sure that he was damned and thought that he had failed the Lord.

However, the Lord had a backup plan. After a period of time and repentance by Joseph, the Lord again called Joseph to translate.

“I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.” (D&C 10:43)

My point being that the Lord’s work is not man’s work and His purposes will always be carried out. We just have to be in tune to listen and obey and it won’t matter who is President.

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