Additional Information on Upcoming Talks

Those who are recording the upcoming talks have invested in new recording equipment to be able to produce the CD’s. They are also bearing their own costs to attend and record. I receive nothing from their efforts and have instructed that anything that would be earned should be donated to the LDS missionary effort. Those recording the talks allow preorders through their site,

www.publishinghope.infohttp://www.publishinghope.info/.

Tuesday in Boise I’d like to remind those who will attend: 1. Please bring and plan to use your scriptures during the talk. 2. It is a Tuesday evening, and therefore informal dress is expected.

I understand the distinction between attraction and lust, and acknowledge the criticism I’ve received by failing to allow for it.

Compliance (So Far As Possible)

The problem with Passing the Heavenly Gift has not been its accuracy. The issue raised in the notice I received from the stake president does not say the book is false, contains errors or makes mistakes in history. Rather, it “contains content which must be withdrawn.” That is not an indictment of the book’s accuracy. It is considered subversive by those who want to control history to perpetuate a view of events that do not follow the pattern described by the Book of Mormon prophets, Joseph Smith’s prophecies, and Christ’s description of the conduct of the latter-day gentiles to whom the Book of Mormon would be given.

The first demand is that I cease publication; a task that would involve violation of agreements between me and others. To compensate me for that potential liability and permit me to violate the agreement, I was offered money to cease publication. Offering money to help me violate agreements is not a satisfactory course of conduct. Therefore, I declined; but not before asking those with whom I have contracts if I could be let out of the publishing agreement.

The second demand is that I tell blog readers that the book “contains content that needs to be withdrawn.” I will say this: The church believes very much the content of the book needs to be withdrawn. They think this because the book brings to light the babylonian methods church leadership uses to make rapid and dramatic changes. We are not now the same church restored by Joseph Smith. Passing the Heavenly Gift shows how that happened. There are social, political and legal forces pulling on the church which the leadership intends to accommodate. They’ve already made a step in that direction with the renewed support for the Boy Scouts of America.

The church introduced a web page on same sex attraction. Two of the twelve contributed to the page. One of them asserted that same sex attraction is not a sin, but only acting on the impulse would be. This is an interesting accommodation which contradicts the Lord’s statement that “whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultery in his heart.” Or, adds to it: “but if you burn in lust for the same sex that isn’t adultery in your heart.”

The church advocated, and obtained from the Salt Lake City Council, an ordinance prohibiting discrimination against homosexuals in housing and employment. This ordinance was considered a great breakthrough by the gay community in Utah. The Utah Legislature has been influenced by the church to consider a statewide ban on discrimination against homosexuals in housing and employment.

In saying this I’m only focusing on the trends within the church. Nothing else. The trend is toward open acceptance of socially progressive mormonism. This is the product of social, political and legal pressure.

This accounts for the difference between the reaction of the church to socially progressive Mormons (who are tolerated) and me. Those who advocate for the place the church has already decided to go are not a threat to their plans. What I write can create a good deal of difficultly in arriving there.

The issue is therefore how the church is to accomplish these changes in its doctrine and teaching. To get from one position to another without destroying the believers is a challenge that can only be accomplished by having a foundation which includes the absolute confidence that the church leadership cannot be led astray. Church leadership inerrancy is necessary.

The church needs not only to “teach for doctrine the commandments of men,” the church must be able to teach AS doctrine the commandments of men. Meaning that the church must have those aboard who will do, believe and accept whatever the leaders tell the members. Unquestionably. Unhesitatingly.

When I pointed out to the stake president in one meeting that there are dozens, even hundreds of readers whose faith was restored and whose activity in the church was renewed or resumed from reading Passing the Heavenly Gift the stake president had no response. After he received further “training,” he asked me “what makes you think the church wants that kind of member?” I understood that to mean that once someone has read the book and come to realize what changes and how changes have come to our church, they are disinclined to continue sleepwalking along with the herd. They understand that all is not well, and view with some healthy skepticism many losses we’ve suffered in the restoration since Joseph’s death. Such people will be difficult to bring along with the current social, political and legal trends if they base their view on scripture and history, as I advocate.

Therefore, to make what concessions I can, I will state for all you blog readers: Passing the Heavenly Gift contains content that will make your appreciation and acceptance of the efforts of the institution now and in the future to bend its teachings to conform to social, political and legal trends much more difficult to achieve. You will be happier if you don’t read the book. You will be more inclined to sleepwalk along with what is progressively distant from the original restoration. You will not detect that these changes mark the downfall predicted in the prophecies of the Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants. While I cannot withdraw the content, you should not read it if it will upset your worldview.

Which then leads to the final demand: I never intended to speak or promote Passing the Heavenly Gift. The stake president knows that. I don’t promote books. Don’t do book signings, have never advertised any book I’ve written and don’t make appearances to push sales. Never have and never will. The upcoming tour has nothing to do with that, or any other book. Well, it has to do with the scriptures and promoting them. But since the church publishes them and Deseret Book profits from their sales, I’m actually promoting Deseret Book, owned by Deseret Management Corporation, owned by The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which consists of one person, the senior member of the twelve. Therefore, I am promoting the interests of the church president. But not my own.

The letter demands I do three things: Breach a contract (I won’t do). Tell you that the “content needs to be withdrawn.” Not promote the book in the upcoming tour. To the extent that I can, I’m complying.

I’m not sure if that meets the requirement for “repentance” in this current predicament, but that’s what I can do. If the church wants to make me another offer, then let the stake president know and I’m sure he’ll pass it along. Given how little time remains I thought I’d skip the middleman and put this up here because you guys downtown read this blog (as we can tell from the blogmeter).

Finally, I want to be clear I am not addressing homosexuality in this post. I am merely using the subject to make an illustration. I need to add that the advocates of socially progressive Mormonism have been far more tolerate of my views than the church has. They (social progressives) are willing to be tolerant precisely because they’ve had their own view so marginalized in the past. For their kindness toward me I am appreciative. Disagreement does not require warfare, and sometimes makes for very healthy and interesting conversation between those holding different views. We all need to push beyond rhetoric into the substance of the disagreements. Once we do that we can find the ability to love one another even as we disagree.

We Don’t Need A New Church

We don’t need another church. We don’t need and shouldn’t want another hierarchy. The very idea is repulsing. Zion won’t be a project managed by a control group.

Zion is to have “one heart” and “one mind.” It is the idea itself that creates it.

If you create an organization, it can be compromised. It can be regulated. It can be overtaken by ambitious and cunning men; or by stupid, well-meaning, but misguided men. Organizations are a threat to Zion. Zion is an idea. Only an idea. It cannot be overtaken or controlled.

Conformance to the laws of man will ensnare you. Threats of litigation, loss of tax benefits or coercive power will work against you. You cannot sue an idea. You cannot tax an idea.

Zion will be free from the control of this world because, despite all man can do, threaten, oppose it, when it assumes the existence of merely an idea even dictators cannot touch it, cannot defeat it, cannot overcome it.

Zion will gather people around an idea. There will be no leader and no one greater than another.

How then are the people of Zion able to be of “one heart” and “one mind?” It will be because they agree on an idea which brings them together, and then they act in conformity with that idea.

Zion may have its ordinances and covenants, but they are between the individual who believes and God who ordains it.

Organizations fiddle with the notion of Zion and believe they have some “power” or “control” or “dominion” that allows them to compel others to be uniform (D&C 121: 37). They use “compulsory means” to achieve this end. But this is not and can never be Zion (D&C 121: 46).

Be patient. Over the next year the idea of Zion will become more clear than it has since the restoration ended. There are only two opposing forces at work. One creates, the other destroys. One causes life, the other controls and ends life. Birth and death. Restoration and apostasy. Growth and decay. We are either in one phase or the other. There are no moments when things are motionless .

Zion, as an idea whose time will only come when her ideas are understood, must be plainly taught again. The time wherein this is possible has arrived. Our time here comes and goes, generation after generation, and the Lord can regard it all as “one generation” because He reckons from a different time frame than we do.

And so the idea needs to begin unfranchised, uncontrolled, unfettered by the laws of man, and unpolluted by the ambitions of men. It is an idea which will make, without fear and compulsory means, all mankind equal.

This next year I will be trying to discuss as much of this idea as can be tolerated. It is up to you what you decide to make of it. It is ironic that the trigger for the church discipline and the condition for avoiding discipline involves this very speaking tour on this very subject. It is a small thing to be cast aside when the only thing that matters now is – can we accept the idea and then live to be of one heart and one mind. I have no ambition to lead. No desire to control or preside. But I have an obligation to teach, which I am willing to do.

Current Events

There have been quite a few emails and comments about the notice I put up on the blog regarding a disciplinary council. Let me respond to some of the questions by clarifying a few things.

There are laws ordained before the foundation of the world. The church must act in accordance with one law, and I must act in accordance with another for the purposes of the Lord to be fulfilled. Don’t think you can foresee what the Lord has already ordained. It will follow His pattern, and there will be consequences. Be of good cheer. I am.

Second, I put the notice up so no one is misled about my status. I do not want anyone to think one thing of me when the truth is contrariwise. If someone would be disinclined to attend one of the talks had they known what the church was up to, I do not want them to attend thinking all is well between me and the powers in control of the church. There were two choices. Be criticized for hiding it because I’m not being forthright with people. Be criticized for putting it up because I’m divulging a private matter. I chose to err on the side of disclosure. Either way it is inevitable — those who want to criticize will do so.

Third, my former Stake President defended me against complaints from the Strengthening the Members Committee. His last Sunday as Stake President eighteen months ago he called me in and we talked for several hours about the events that began years before his release. He had defended me continually during his presidency, but he explained there was going to be a new Pharaoh in Egypt who would not know Joseph (so to speak) and he couldn’t vouch for what was coming. The new Stake President has investigated, delayed, discussed this with me, pushed back against downtown, been called in for “training,” and received input from the top leadership in the church. He told me a great deal at the start about what was going on behind the scenes, which matched what the former Stake President had been telling me during his tenure. Those details are unimportant, and I have no intention of making them public. Right now, I don’t think President Hunt thinks he has any other choice. He probably doesn’t. That is fine. I bear no ill will toward him or any other member of my stake. No one gets ahead in the institution by disregarding instruction from above. Actually, I do the same. However, for me, “above” has little to do with 47 East South Temple and the institution is not where I expect any future. I try to help the church regardless of its opinion of me. I simply have no axe to grind no matter the outcome on September 8th.

Fourth, I have no intention of complaining, or becoming an opponent to anyone. I will leave that to the Lord, and would recommend you do that also. There is so much that needs to happen in these last days that our time must be spent anxiously engaged in things that matter. There’s just no time to waste on trivial matters. Hopefully, the upcoming talks will allow you to see what the Lord would like done, and provide a framework and understanding for you to do something about it. Let’s look forward and up, not backward and down. There is sufficient evil to overcome every day. Let’s not waste time bickering or complaining.

Fifth, I wrote Passing the Heavenly Gift as a reconstruction of the events of this dispensation. The framework was primarily the description in the Book of Mormon of the latter-day Gentile behavior. This includes specifically, the prophecies of Christ in Third Nephi. I also used Joseph Smith’s prophecies in the Doctrine and Covenants, his sermons and history. Taking this scriptural framework, (not as an historian but as a believer in the prophetic insight about us) I then tracked through our history. I used a lot of primary sources, including journals and diaries of church leaders. What I found was that the events in our history could be viewed as an exact match for the prophetic warnings given us in scripture (Book of Mormon/D&C). The result was not history, but truth. If the book is true (and I am persuaded it is the most correct account of our dispensation written so far) then we need to awaken to our present peril and repent. If it is not true then we have nothing to worry about. The church is entirely intact, has the fullness, and all is entirely well in Zion. It would be very exciting if Passing the Heavenly Gift is wrong. The trouble is that I don’t believe it’s wrong. We have very serious issues confronting us, and a great deal of work to complete before we attain unto what the Lord expects of us. Joseph Smith was betrayed and killed as a result of steps taken by church members. True enough it was a mob of Carthage Greys who shot him. But he would not have been in a position to be shot if it had not been for the betrayal by church members. When we (meaning church members) caused or contributed to his death, we offended heaven in a way that required three and four generations to pass before we receive another opportunity from the Lord. With the recent passing of Eldred G. Smith, we have a milestone representing the end of those required generational passings. Now is the first time it is possible for the Lord to recommence the restoration. But it won’t commence again without us knowing what we lack. Conceit and arrogance will never redeem us from our fallen state. But contrition and repentance might. Passing the Heavenly Gift is intended to inspire those who are downfallen in their faith, and to help those who are prepared to hear it, that we (all of us, including me) are in a fallen state from which we must awake and arise.

Sixth, we can always repent.

Seventh, I have no concerns of my standing before the Lord. My situation allows me to do only one thing. I can try and persuade. I can compel no one. Therefore, I use the only tool allowed for someone who holds the Priesthood. I try to use knowledge and persuasion to bring others to understanding. The effort to control, exercise dominion and compulsion to force others to surrender to some pretended authority does not involve me as a perpetrator, because I preside over no one. I can’t abuse authority over anyone, because I haven’t any. If there is any coercion, compulsion, dominion or control involved it is not by me. No one need have any concerns for my standing before the Lord. I will be fine.

Eighth, the content of the talks was set long before the letter from the church threatening discipline. They won’t change. These talks do not involve either Passing the Heavenly Gift, nor any discussion about church discipline. There’s too much to be covered to take on new topics.

Finally, all of this is nothing so far as I am concerned. What matters is this dispensation and how great things remain to be accomplished. God has a work to complete. We are living now and must cooperate with His will to bring about His purposes. Forget about me. Look to the Lord, His scriptures, and this moment you have here in mortality. Learn more about the prophecies. Stop hoping someone “presiding” somewhere is going to lift you to heaven. No one can do that. There is only One who matters and “He employeth no servant” at His gate. (2 Ne. 9: 41.) When you focus on me, or some man as a leader, you are an idolater. (D&C 76: 98-105.) Put an end to your idolatry and look to Christ. Read James 1: 5-6 and Moroni 10: 5. That is where you should invest your time. Not in trivia involving me or some other man. The time is upon us. The heavens are open. Not for someone other than you. Not for some “special” leader. They are open for YOU. Stop looking around – look up. That is where you fill find not only a testimony of God, but God’s handiwork on display. (D&C 88: 42-47.) 

Correction on Boise Venue Size

I made a mistake on the size of the Boise venue. It will hold 400, not 200. I’ve updated that post and make a note of that here.

I did not want anyone to attend any of the talks, including the first in Boise, without making them aware they were listening to someone who has church discipline pending (or accomplished). Therefore, I posted the letter to make sure no one was misled about my status.

No one needs to defend me. I am concerned that expressions of support will do no good, and may result in the church taking notice of those who step forward. I don’t want that to happen to anyone else. No matter your own sentiments, it would be best to just let this run its course without involving anyone other than me.

Attendance

For the Boise venue I discussed with some of the local residents an estimate of how many would attend. The estimates ran from 65 to 150. As a result the venue chosen was for 400, anticipating there would be plenty, even some empty seating. I’ve now been told there may be a number of non-local attendees, which may exceed the seating.

All seating is first-come, first-seated. If it turns out there are not enough seats, the recording is going to be available in near real-time. The people doing the recording plan to have the first hour (75 minutes) put on CD’s at the location and made available at about 90 minutes into the talk. The concluding portion will similarly be released about 15 minutes after it concludes. Therefore, assuming the equipment works as hoped, recordings will be available before the talk ends. I’m not involved in any of that, but this is what is planned by those who are doing the work of providing the recordings.

This is the plan for releasing recordings at all locations, but I hope there will always be enough seating for anyone who takes the time to attend.

Idaho Falls & Logan Locations

The final arrangements for Idaho Falls and Logan are as follows:

Idaho Falls will be at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 28th at the Skyline Activity Center, located at 1575 North Skyline Drive in Idaho Falls. It will hold approximately 200 people.

Logan will be at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 29th at the Coppermill Emporium, 2nd floor, located at 55 North Main Street in Logan. Parking and entry are in the rear of the building. It will hold approximately 500 people.

Agenda

Each talk will be a “stand alone” event. No talk will be repeated. If you go to Boise, you will hear a different talk on a different topic, using different scriptural references than will be addressed in Idaho Falls. In turn Idaho Falls will discuss a different topic than Logan. Each will be a complete discussion in a self-contained presentation.

At the end, if you were to listen to all of the lectures, you will find they fit together. They will be akin to essays on the common theme of the religion being restored through Joseph Smith. There will be a “whole” to the entire material. But each part is self-sustaining as a discussion.

It would be helpful to hear all of them, but should be beneficial to hear any given one. I do not expect anyone to attend all of them. I’m hoping it will be interesting enough that, for anyone hearing one of them, they will want to listen to the others.

If you hear them all, you should have a much better idea of what the religion Joseph was restoring was beginning to look like. Some of it remains recognizable still today. But it requires some effort to reclaim what we were once offered. I will try and motivate you to make that required effort.

I guess I need to say it again . . .

Got some more interesting emails, and I’m not sure what goes on in the Internet. I don’t have time to read everything out there. Based on email, once again I need to remind readers I have said this and this regarding people speaking on my behalf. It is still true. No one is authorized to speak for me. If you want to know what I think read what I write.

There are no private conversations, personal interpretations, or personal descriptions given or retold by “friend” or “foe” that can be honestly or accurately attributed to me. I don’t have spokesmen, agents, and do not want disciples. I willingly accept responsibility for everything I write and whatever I have or will say in a public talk. However, the interpretations, misunderstandings, selective memories and assumptions others make are not my responsibility. Oftentimes I choose what I say carefully, only to learn the care is not preserved in the re-telling. I’m not responsible for that.

Idaho Falls and Logan

A few weeks after Boise, the next two talks will be given in Idaho Falls on a Saturday evening and then Sunday, in Logan. Locations and times are being arranged. I will post those as soon as they are finalized.

Following Logan, the next talk is tentatively planned for Centerville, Utah, but no time has been set for that one.

The only venue confirmed is Boise. However, there will be some Utah locations including Provo, then I’m considering Grand Junction, Colorado, St. George, Utah and Las Vegas, Nevada before concluding next year on September 9, 2014 Phoenix, Arizona. I mention this in advance because there have been those who have offered venues for planned locations. Giving advance notice may assist in getting things finalized.

Boise will help in estimating a number of things, including the size of a facility needed, the time discussions will take and the difficulties of getting the recordings completed and available. The hope is to see new people, let them listen to something about the religion Joseph Smith was restoring, and have both understanding of and faith in that religion rebound from the rather moribund state we currently find Mormonism.

If you have read what I’ve written and plan to attend, I would ask you bring someone who is struggling with their faith, or alternatively someone who isn’t, but who thinks poorly of me. Either will do. I would like to speak to those who haven’t heard me, or who dislike me, or whose faith in the Restoration is failing.

Boise will be on a Tuesday night. It will be “come as you are.” Bring your scriptures. For Idaho Falls and Logan, bring your scriptures and a copy of the Lectures On Faith. Idaho Falls will be casual dress and for Logan, I will be in Sunday dress.
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Finally, to respond to an inquiry about the upcoming talks and the cost of buying recorded copies:

I have great empathy for the poor. They are generally the most generous people on earth. They have the Lord’s greatest concern and respect. What is said in the Psalms about the poor should make us all sober about their plight.

With respect to the work I am doing (and make no mistake about it being work) understand:
-I pay my for my wife, myself and whatever family members come to attend.
-I am not paid anything for the recordings of any of my talks (never have been and never will be). Anything left over after costs of production are entirely donated by me and I receive nothing.
-I pay for the costs of renting the facility where I speak, requiring from me a greater price than for anyone who attends, for they pay nothing for the facility.
-I pay for the cd’s of my talks. My wife has purchased many copies from Benchmark Books and Confetti Books which we subsequently gave away.
-I will drive ten hours to get to Boise and home on the day of the first talk.
-I am inconveniencing myself so that others living in Boise or nearby are not inconvenienced. This will be true of all the locations.

If you feel you ought not to suffer any inconvenience, and should always be given for free what takes the time and money of others to make available, then you can entertain your view, but please allow me to have a different one. As for warning me that “critics” will find fault with paying for recordings, I grant critics the right to fault me for that, and anything else they feel inclined to criticize. When time permits, I will put the transcripts on this blog. If you will wait, then you can have for free what others pay a dear price in time, money and effort to make available for you.

Having said that, let me be clear: I fully expect criticism of anything and everything I do. I do not need to be defended by friend or foe. No one needs to explain my motives, take offense at criticism directed at me, or praise my efforts. I’m irrelevant and energy spent on such things is entirely wasted. This is about faith in the Lord and the religion He was working with Joseph to return to the earth. That matters. I don’t. Rather than take a moment’s notice of me, look to the Lord and His purposes.

When I hear criticism about me, my first thought is “they’re probably right.” So if you feel inclined to defend me, instead why don’t you reflect that “they’re probably right.”

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On an unrelated topic, here is an old story set at the time of the Babylonian captivity:

There were two men, one a scribe the other a zealot. Both were poor. Both sought favor with God. At the first, the zealot was the poorer. The scribe was named Ezra whose living came from the work he performed transcribing scrolls. As circumstances permitted, he used his means to buy the leather scroll from the priests, made from the skins of the sacrificed lambs. He then spent his days transcribing the work of Jeremiah from a scroll he borrowed, thinking them of worth to study and of value to others who might purchase the scroll and be benefited from his labor. When he finished his labor, the scroll was placed for sale by Ezra. The scroll, however, was stolen by the poor zealot because he could not pay and he believed it was important to have the words of Jeremiah, believing they came from God. For Ezra, the loss cost him the year’s labor. The zealot took not only the scroll, but also Ezra’s savings to buy the leather, and the year of labor spent upon it. Nevertheless, Ezra forgave the theft and did not trouble himself over it, commending to God the good which his labor might bring and hoping the means would be provided that he might make another. But the zealot excused himself of his own theft and thought himself greatly blessed, even favored by God, because he had God’s prophecies before him. At the end which of these two were the poorer?

Detail for Upcoming Boise Talk

The planned talks will be an effort show gratitude to the Lord for the faith I found and to return something of what I have learned back to my fellow saints. I’d welcome anyone and everyone. I encourage you to invite skeptics, the faithful or the disaffected, those who dislike me or fear me, those who question my motives, and those curious about Mormonism. I’m hoping the audience will include local leaders and those who are inactive and everyone in between. Mormonism is one of the most interesting, compelling and inspiring subjects we can spend time considering.

The Boise venue will be the Boise Hotel and Convention Center on Vista Avenue. I will begin at 6:30 p.m and speak for approximately 2 hours.

Because of family commitments (school will have started), my wife and I will drive up immediately prior to speaking and return home immediately after.

The tentative plan for the next two talks will be Idaho Falls on a Saturday evening and Logan the following, Sunday evening. Dates, venues and times are not yet set, but we hope to do them this Fall.

We have received a generous, anonymous donation from a family and a handful of verbal offers from people wanting to contribute to the cost of this venture. We had not anticipated that, but we want to clarify: We do not expect nor want financial contributions for this effort. We aren’t set up to receive them. The offers are appreciated, but if you want to donate, then contribute to a local homeless shelter, or a family in need, or a stranger who needs food, shelter or clothing. Bless the lives of those less fortunate. When you do good to the stranger you are doing good to your Lord.

There have also been people who have offered to find or provide local venues for the lectures. Inasmuch as we do not have locations lined up for all of them, we may take people up on that offer.

Finally, there will be a professional recorder who has agreed to come (at his own expense) to every one of the discussions. He will record and edit the lecture into easily accessible tracks and afterwards make it available for purchase. I appreciate very much the work and donated time he and others behind the scenes are making.

Upcoming Talks

For anyone who intends to come to one of the talks I have a couple of requests and a bit more information:

First, unless the talk is scheduled on Sunday, please come in casual dress. There is no reason for you to be uncomfortable. Come relaxed so your minds can focus on the information. If I do schedule one on a Sunday, it may be more convenient for some who attend to remain in Sunday dress. I leave it to each to decide for themselves, but as a matter of courtesy to those who will come on their way to or from a church meeting, I will be wearing something appropriate for a Sacrament meeting.

Second, please bring your scriptures. You will want them. They will help you follow the discussion. (You will be encouraged to use them.)

Third, no one can be expected to accept the religion restored through Joseph Smith unless it has been preached to them. That hasn’t been something we’ve focused on for many years now. Therefore, we will be trying to recover it. Your presuppositions and present understanding can be more a hindrance than help. So if you attend, please come open-minded, capable of being taught from the scriptures about something you may not have noticed before. This is called “humility” and it requires us all to approach with some respect and a little awe what God was trying to accomplish by sending Joseph on His errand. The topic awes me, and leaves me thinking of my own inadequacy and foolishness. The subject is greater than I will ever be. But the attempt to address this is important enough that even the inadequate can provide a little insight if the heart is right.

Fourth, these will all be recorded. The last time I did this there was a question and answer exchange at the end. The questions could not be heard, and as a result the recording was incomplete. Therefore, I’d like any questions to be in writing so, if I choose to address questions at all, I can read and then answer them. I’ve not worked out any mechanics for this, but if you think you will have a question, please bring a pen and paper and plan to write it and pass it forward. Then, if I choose to address inquiries, the recording will include both the question and answer.

Fifth, these series of discussions will really be one long exposition of the religion restored through Joseph Smith. I do not expect anyone will attend more than one of them, but everyone can listen to the recordings of all of them. There will be some deliberate continuity in the total of the recordings.

The first talk will focus on the big picture of what Joseph Smith represents in the context of prophecies about the last days, and how that should influence our understanding of the religion he was sent to begin restoring. You should read the JS-History in the Pearl of Great Price to remind yourself of how Joseph explained the beginnings as he wrote in 1838.

Finally, since I am paying for this, the venues will be chosen in an effort to reduce my costs. Since everything will be recorded, I do not think it matters much whether the place holds 400 or 40. There will be no charge for attendees, but it will be first-come first-served, so to speak. I will let you know beforehand how many seats will be available.