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Amber Dubois

The body of missing 14-year old Amber Dubois was found and positively identified Saturday.  Her body was placed in a shallow grave.  The morning she disappeared she went to school with a check to pay for a young lamb she intended to raise as part of her membership in the Future Farmer’s of America.  Her remains were identified using dental records.
 
During law school we studied sociopathic behavior as part of criminal law.  Sociopaths are incapable of empathizing with others and are not at all affected by the harm or pain they cause to others.  When you combine sociopathic personalities with sexual disorientation and violence, the lethal combination produced is simply beyond reformation.  I do not think it wise to ever release a violent sexual predator back into society.  It is still too soon to know, but it appears Amber was the victim of the same sexual offender who was charged with another young woman’s murder about a week ago.  Amber’s body was found by searching the same area as his last known victim.  He was out on parole from earlier violent sexual offenses.
 
I not only mourn Amber’s death, but also the incapacity of the criminal system to have protected her and perhaps many other unknown victims yet to be discovered.  Release of sociopathic sexual predators from prison should never occur.

With respect to the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

I balance my deep respect for these men, and profound awareness that no-one is really equal to the burden which WE impose upon them, with the knowledge that I alone am responsible for confirming through revelation all truth.  Now, I say “the burden which WE impose upon them” to distinguish between what the Lord and scriptures says are their duties on the one hand, and the mythological duties which we have put upon them.  The scriptures and the Lord do NOT make them omniscient.  As a group the Saints do.  That is the first great error, and it is not the leader’s error but the saints’.

 
I’ve seen many, many mistakes made by the Brethren.  But I loved them and sustained them and have refrained from being overtly critical of them. 

It is not an institution which will be saved.  Indeed, the institution is doomed to be confined to this world, and not pass into the next.  But, it is the individual who will be saved.  Individuals, however, must receive what the institution offers to obtain salvation.  Therefore respect for the church is necessary.  It’s role is essential.  It’s authority from the Lord.

My Scriptures

I have several sets of scriptures.  The one I prize the most used to be my every-day set.  Into this copy I have added only additional cross-references and footnotes.  There are no other marks.  I suspect that I have added between 11,000 and 15,000 additional cross references and footnotes in red pencil to this set.  It has become so valuable a study set that I do not take it out of my home.

I have a “retired” set which is literally falling apart.  I used that set to teach from 1980 to 2000.  It is tattered, and has very little, if anything, marked or added to it.  I keep that set in my desk drawer at work.

Then I have a new set which has become my every-day set.  I take it to Church with me.

None of these sets have thumb-indexing on the pages.  I HATE that stuff.  It distracts me when I use the scriptures.  Both of the first two sets were “Type A” sets which Deseret Book used to publish without thumb-indexing.  You can’t get a “Type A” set like that anymore.  I tried.  Even talked with the management at Deseret Book.  Can’t be done.

So I bought a “Type B” set, which is the same paper as a “Type A” but just not genuine leather bound.  Much cheaper set.  Then I took that set to Schafer Bindery in Salt Lake and had them bind it with a real leather cover.  So I have a “Type A” set, without thumb indexing, and it only cost in total about $20 more than if Deseret Book made a proper set and sold them.

Alma 41:15

Alma 41: 15 includes this thought:  “For that which you do send out shall return unto you again.”  Profound thought.  I do not believe you have to await the afterlife or Judgment Day to realize the truth of this statement.
Therefore, I try to take care what I “send out” for fear of how it may return unto me again.

IMO (in my opinion)

I think that Alma 41: 8 should be cross referenced with D&C 130: 7.
 
The footnote at Alma 41: 10b should also include Deuteronomy 32: 8-9.

Wo, wo, wo

Enoch’s powerful testimony to his condemned contemporaries included this question:  “why counsel ye yourselves , and deny the God of heaven.”  (Moses 6: 43.)  Men in that day preferred to have the counsel of men instead of the word of God, from God.
 
Nephi spoke of the “Zion” of our time and said: “Wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost.”  (2 Ne. 28: 26.)
 
Now having one “wo” pronounced upon a people is a warning of condemnation in this life.  Their ways do not prosper and they suffer setbacks because they listen to the precepts of men.  They fall back.  More concerning is when three “wo’s” are pronounced upon a people.  The connotation being a  condemnation which will last beyond this life and into eternity.  So I take the following statement with some considerable seriousness:
 
“[T]hey have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.  O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell.”  (2 Ne. 28: 14-15.)  Three “wo’s” pronounced and three names of God used to make that warning.  False doctrines and whoredoms are an equivalent in this passage.  That is, you are “whoring” after other false gods, and betraying the true Lord God Almighty, when you preach false doctrines which assure you, in your pride, that you are safe, elect, chosen and better than others.  Such teachers are condemned three-fold. 
 
What an interesting problem we have in front of us.  No-one can trust in any man or men.  All of us are required to hear God’s voice, and follow Him.

Angels

There is a system by which men learn the mysteries of heaven and are saved.  That system is set out in Alma 12: 29-30
 
-First, angels are sent to prepare men/women.
-Second, they are allowed to behold the Lord’s glory.
-Then they converse with the Lord, at which point they are taught the things which have been prepared from the foundation of the earth for their salvation.
-All of which is driven by the man/woman’s faith, repentance and holy works.
This is in keeping with Joseph Smith’s revelation about those chosen to become a member of the Church of the Firstborn.  They are chosen by the holy angels to whom the keys of this power belong.  (D&C 77: 11.)
 
If this isn’t happening, then faith does not exist on the earth any longer.  (Moroni 7: 37.)
 
Ministering angels are an indispensable part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  That is why those keys were restored so early on in this dispensation, and are so widely disseminated into the Church membership. (See D&C 13 and D&C 107: 20.)

You just never know

Went to baseball practice this morning.  My youngest daughter plays on a boy’s team (she’s the only girl).  Today in a scrimmage she was the only one to hit a double. 

Institutional charisma

There was an article in the Church News about a symposium at BYU dealing with the “Organization and Administration of the LDS Church.”  The article can be found here: http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/58903/Symposium-deals-with-the-institution-of-the-Church.html. The article mentions a paper delivered by Professor Bushman titled “Joseph Smith and the Routinization of Charisma.”  Among other things, Professor Bushman asserts the church’s “genius can be largely explained in the fact that the expectation of divine revelation has been built into the very administrative structure and offices of the Church, an expectation attributable to the Prophet himself.”  This is what he asserted also in Rough Stone Rolling.

From the two thousand year example of the Roman Catholic Church, I fear presumptions like these.  There is a profound difference between actual revelation and an “expectation of divine revelation … built into the very administrative structure and offices of the Church.”  He uses comments from Joseph Smith to support the assertion, while ignoring the revelation in Section 121 cautioning that while many may be called, few are chosen.  He ignores the revelation that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority as they suppose they begin to immediately exercise unrighteous dominion.  Without confirming revelation given to every member of the Church, as a constant check on abuse, the destiny of Mormonism will be a repeat of the history of Catholicism.  A Holy American Empire will replace the Holy Roman Empire, both of which have or will resort to blood and horror as the means to reign over mankind.  The bedrock of the Gospel is the testimony of Jesus.  The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Rev. 19:10.)   That is the charisma the scriptures tell us to trust.

There is absolutely no historical precedent we can point to which confirms that charisma can be safely institutionalized.  There are an abundance of examples, however, of men abusing religion to gain control over others to satisfy their pride, to exercise control and dominion over others, and to gratify their vain ambition.  The only check against this are the individual testimonies of the few, humble followers of Christ.  Nevertheless, we are told that in our day even they are going to be led into error oftentimes by those who teach them the precepts of men.  (2 Ne. 28: 14.)