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This button is a resource to link those desiring baptism with those having authority to baptize. More information can be found here.

 

Ephriam Transcript – Christ: The Prototype of the Saved Man

The Ephriam transcript is now posted to Scribd. It is an expanded version and will read differently than the recording.

It is linked on the blog under DS Talks.

Las Vegas and St. George

Las Vegas Lecture

Date:  Friday, July 25, 2014
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Place: Fiesta Henderson Hotel & Casino
          777 West Lake Mead Parkway
          Henderson, NV 89015
Seats: Cancun Room A/B, seats 150

St. George Lecture

Date:  Saturday, July 26, 2014
Time:  9:30 a.m.
Place:  Lexington Hotel and Conference Center
           850 Bluff Street
           St. George, UT 84770
Seats:  Ballroom, seats 275

One Talk

The series of lectures that began in Boise and will end in Phoenix are one talk. There are three left. Each one of the talks builds on earlier material.

If you are interested in understanding, then it would be beneficial to rehear or reread the previous ones. The later talks will connect things that were raised in the earlier ones. It is not possible to state everything at once. Pieces must be put together systematically.

Remember

“For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.” (D&C 88: 33.)

From the moment Joseph Smith died, we have lost our memory of what God revealed through him. By forgetting we refuse the gift given by God.

First we must remember.

Until we remember what we were given, there is no reason for God to give more. Today we are being tested to see if we can be stirred to remember what came to light through Joseph.

It is up to God to decide whether the test is being passed. If we fail, there will be nothing further given this generation. We are on trial.

Will we remember? Will we finally rejoice in the gift and its giver?

Or will we cower in fear and look for every reason we can summon to ignore, oppose, dismiss and reject what we were offered? As Christ put it: “O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” (Luke 24: 25.) Nothing has changed. Mankind is the same now as ever.

Sunstone August 2 @ 2:00

The preliminary program has set my Sunstone paper (Cutting Down the Tree of Life to Build a Wooden Bridge) for Saturday, August 2nd at 2:00. The session will last until 3:30 and include my paper, a response, and Q&A from the audience.

Today Joseph and Hyrum Died

This is the day Joseph and his brother Hyrum were killed. To be more accurate, it is the day Hyrum first, then Joseph momentarily afterwards, were killed.

I spent some time speaking yesterday with a friend I baptized shortly after my own baptism just over 40 years ago. He was a member of the LDS Church for thirty years, and was then excommunicated. I was a member for 40 years, and was then excommunicated. Neither of us intend to ever return to LDS Church membership, and therefore have no reason to curry favor.

The truth is, however, that both of our lives have been fundamentally blessed by the time we were members of the LDS Church. Both of us have experienced the “fruits” of converting. The results include reforming how we lived, what we did with our time, how we pursued education and employment, who we associated with, even how we look at the world now in contrast to how we did before.

I am grateful for every moment I belonged to the LDS Church. I hold no resentments toward it and believe that struggling to remain a member of the organization is worth the effort. It saddens me that there will be a mass resignation to protest the LDS Church’s policies this coming Pioneer Day. That is not the way to leave.

Both my friend and I were excommunicated. I didn’t quit. I would never have quit voluntarily. I would have stayed and tried to work within the organization to persuade by example, by precept, and by my testimony. Inside my own ward and stake I was very quiet. When asked to teach, I taught. When asked to speak, I spoke. But I didn’t force my views on anyone.

It is true I wrote a book. But the book is overpriced to discourage its purchase. It is not easily available, not advertised, not promoted and I’ve never handed it out to anyone. I think it is true. But it was written to help, not hurt. I think it does help.

I believe Joseph and Hyrum died in a worthy cause. I think the energy and light that exploded onto the world through Joseph Smith’s ministry has powered the LDS Church since his passing. Joseph’s profound effect was so great that, even in the absence of any leader even a fraction of Joseph’s stature, the LDS Church has been able to amass followers and do some considerable good. The absence of another leader like Joseph has slowed the momentum, and now the energy is almost entirely gone. But that does not change the goodness yet to be found inside the LDS Church still.

The forces who are in control of the organization are working harder to stifle what little light that still remains. But those who see this should not desert the battlefield. Stay and testify to what you know to be right. Fight against the darkness. You can be holy even if those around you are not. Read the circumstances in which Mormon and his son Moroni lived. We have not yet fallen to that state.

There are problems to be sure. Why run from them? Why not confront them by your quiet example, your goodness and firm testimony of truth? Why not bring to the attention of others what they have not yet noticed on their own? If they cast you out, then it is their doing, not yours. Let them be the aggressor, and you stay true to the Lord and His path. It is better to offend them by your example of righteousness than to take offense at their example of unrighteousness. Christ is your example.

Saturday June 28, 2014 Ephriam, Utah

This coming Saturday, June 28th at 9:30 a.m., I will speak at Snow College in Ephriam, Utah. The talk will take place at:

Eccles Performing Arts Center
Concert Hall (seats 700)
Center Street and 300 East
Parking is available across the street

Like the previous six talks in this series, admission is free.

The talk will be on the topic of Christ. It will be between 2 1/2 and 3 hours in length.

Sunstone Registration

Sunstone is an organization that sponsors symposiums and publishes a magazine.  They charge for admission to their events.

Here are a few more details about their upcoming 2014 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium:

For all three days, all workshops, and an MP3 recording of the talks the cost is $225.

For all three days without workshops, the cost is $90.

For a first time attendee, the cost for three days is $75.

For a student with a valid current student ID the cost is $35.

For a single day’s admission, it is $40.

The registration is available on the Sunstone site linked here.

I do not know what day or what time I will be speaking.

Women Witnesses

At the time of Christ, culturally women were inferior to men. It was not that way from the beginning. Adam and Eve shared the labor equally. (Moses 5: 1.)

In many ways the Lord deliberately challenged cultural and religious norms of His day. On the day of His resurrection, He made it a point to show His regard for women by appearing first to Mary. (Mark 16: 9; John 20: 14-17.) There were others who also saw Him before His apostles did. The Twelve rejected the testimony of both women and the others to whom He first appeared. This offended the Lord. (Mark 16: 14.)

In Joseph Smith’s day, women were likewise thought to be inferior. Women were not considered “competent” to manage their own legal affairs, and when they married, any property belonging to them became their husband’s. When Joseph was required to have three witnesses (2 Ne. 27: 12) to the plates, Urim & Thummim, directors, breastplate and sword of Laban (D&C 17: 1), it only made sense to have three men be the witnesses.

The Lord, however, clearly showed His high regard for women. Before the three witnesses were shown the plates of the Book of Mormon, an angel showed them to a woman. In June 1829, just prior to when the plates were shown to Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris, Joseph moved from Harmony to Fayette. During the move the plates were given to an angel for transport. Here is how the events then unfolded:

“Whitmer later recounted that during their journey to Fayette, he, Cowdery, and JS  briefly encountered a ‘pleasant, nice looking old man’ whom JS identified by revelation as a heavenly messenger transporting the plates. Whitmer also recalled that soon after their arrival in Fayette, his mother, Mary Mussleman Whitmer, was met ‘by the same old man, ‘who showed her the plates.'” (Joseph Smith Papers, Documents Vol. 1: July 1828-June1831, p. 67.)

This same volume published by the LDS Church Historian’s Press goes on to report: “Though he did not become a witness of the plates for weeks, he [David Whitmer] reported years later that soon after their arrival, his mother was shown the plates by a heavenly messenger.” (Id. at p. 83.)

At that time, as in Christ’s, culture had little regard for a woman’s testimony. But in both of these cases, the Lord chose to first give a witness to women.

We should overcome whatever reluctance we have to listen to women’s voices. Women have been able to vote since 1869. The state legislatures have allowed them to own property post-marriage since the 1840’s. More importantly than those milestones, however, is the Lord’s clear preference to have women as witnesses of His great work. We should take note of this.

Since the days of Adam, the greatest single event was the Lord’s resurrection. And a woman was the first to witness the risen Lord. From the close of the New Testament, the greatest event has been the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Again a woman was chosen to be the first (after Joseph) to witness the plates in the hands of an angel.

The Lord trusts women and wishes we would do likewise.

On the other hand, when women focus on church office they may forfeit something a great deal more valuable. Given a choice, I’d trade away all church positions for a visit with the risen Lord. I would gladly exchange membership for a meeting with the heavenly messenger bearing the gold plates. Perhaps such an exchange is required. Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris all left the church, afterall. Granted two of them were rebaptized shortly before their deaths. President Heber J. Grant valued his church membership more than heaven itself, and wanted no angelic appearance to come to him if it compromised his church affiliation.

The Lord has a “strange act” indeed. (D&C 101: 95.)