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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.

Forty Years in Mormonism

The first talk planned for Boise, Idaho will be the first in a series of lectures. September 10, 2013 will be the first, and the last will be in Phoenix, Arizona on September 9, 2014. They will all be recorded and made available for those interested.

The lectures will be free to those who attend. I want to show my gratitude to The Lord by expounding on the religion Joseph restored. Each talk will build on that subject, but any single one will be self-contained.

After Boise, the next engagements will be in Idaho Falls and then Logan, Utah. Some locations will be close enough that I intend to schedule them on Saturday and Sunday of the same weekend. No dates are set for any other than September 10th, and no locations are arranged. As further information becomes available it will be posted here.

Boise, Idaho September 10, 2013

On September 10th I will have been a Mormon for 40 years. To mark the occasion I am going to give a talk. I was in New Hampshire when I joined the church, but I grew up in Idaho and would like to give the talk there.

September 10th is a Tuesday this year; so I don’t expect many people will attend. However, if you are in or near Boise and have that evening available, you can come and listen. As always, it will be free.

The tentative talk title is: “Forty Years in Mormonism.” It will probably start around 6:30 p.m.

It will be recorded and the the recording will be available for any who want it. Specific details will follow.

Remembering The Covenant 5 Vols.

For years now I have received requests to put this blog into print. Part of it is already in print titled Removing the Condemnation. It is available through Amazon. Now that I have finished what I had to say using this medium, the entire content of this blog is now available in print titled Remembering the Covenant. It is a 5 volume reprint of this blog from its beginning to the end post titled “A Sign.” It contains only what I have written, and none of the comments.

Before you decide to purchase a copy, I would remind you everything in these 5 volumes is already on the blog for free. You needn’t buy one to have the information. The blog will remain up. However, interruptions in the Internet, as well as planned regulation of the Internet may affect whether this blog remains.

I don’t plan to post on the blog any longer; though I do plan to write.

The 5 volumes does not include any of the essays that are linked on this blog. There will eventually be a separate volume of essays which will contain those, and some additional material. No date is planned for completing that volume.

If you decide to purchase the books then you should know the 5 volumes are comprehensive, and therefore include what has already been printed in Removing the Condemnation. The material from that book takes two volumes (volumes 2 and 3) of the new set. If you already have Removing the Condemnation and decide you would like the rest of the material, then you needn’t purchase volumes 2 and 3. In Removing the Condemnation, the material is compressed into a single volume with smaller print size and more pages. In this new set, the type is larger, so it required two volumes.

For those considering purchasing, the books make some few improvements. First, some subjects were interrupted by some added posts and then continued. In the printed version, the subjects are gathered together and the interrupting blog posts moved to follow, rather than intrude into the discussion of a certain subject. There are a minimal clarifications of what may have been ambiguous. There are no hyperlinks, therefore all the scriptures referenced are now footnotes on the same page as the scripture reference. There are over 2,400 pages of materials. Each book contains approximately 400 pages. There are over 2,700 footnotes in the volumes. Pages are numbered in sequence, from page 1 in volume 1 to page 2,400+ in volume 5.

Below are the Table of Contents from each of the 5 volumes:

Vol. 1:    [ISBN: 978-0989150309]
CHAPTER                                                           PAGE
Peculiar Indeed…………………………………………………. 1
Grow in Light………………………………………………….. 19
Angels and Mysteries………………………………………… 43
What Guarantee Do We Have?…………………………… 63
Truth Is Independent……………………………………….. 105
My Glasses Aren’t Rose Colored………………………. 147
D&C 132……………………………………………………….155
Grow Where You Are Planted……………………………173
Humor Requires Underlying Truth……………………… 187
The Traditions of Men…………………………………….. 229
Awake and Arise…………………………………………….253
Philosophies of Men……………………………………….. 301
Isaiah 53………………………………………………………..335
The Scriptures Have Answers…………………………… 353
Speaking Plainly………………………………………………363
A Message of Warning……………………………………. 393

Vol. 2:  [ISBN: 978-0989150316]
Alma 13………………………………………………………… 437
3 Nephi 16…………………………………………………….. 499
1 Nephi 13…………………………………………………….. 527
1 Nephi 14…………………………………………………….. 557
3 Nephi 21…………………………………………………….. 599
2 Nephi 28…………………………………………………….. 641
2 Nephi 29…………………………………………………….. 729
2 Nephi 30…………………………………………………….. 759
2 Nephi 31…………………………………………………….. 789

Vol. 3:  [ISBN: 978-0989150323]

2 Nephi 32…………………………………………………….. 843
2 Nephi 33…………………………………………………….. 863
The Remnant………………………………………………….  891
3 Nephi 20…………………………………………………….. 921
The Remnant Continued………………………………….   956
3 Nephi 11…………………………………………………….. 966
3 Nephi 12…………………………………………………… 1013
3 Nephi 13…………………………………………………… 1099
3 Nephi 14…………………………………………………… 1131
3 Nephi 15…………………………………………………… 1157
3 Nephi 18…………………………………………………… 1173
Summary ……………………………………………………. 1217

Vol. 4:  [ISBN: 978-0989150330]
Restoration and Apostasy……………………………….. 1221
Passing the Heavenly Gift……………………………….  1279
Turns and Returns…………………………………………. 1347
Priesthood…………………………………………………….1369
Let’s Just Vote on It……………………………………….1397
Interpreting History……………………………………….. 1427
It Was Already Like This When We Found It……. 1463
Nephi’s Brother Jacob……………………………………1531
Jacob 5………………………………………………………. 1553
Themes from Jacob 5……………………………………..1619
Criticism of the Church………………………………….. 1631
Joseph Smith History ……………………………………. 1649

Vol. 5:   [ISBN: 978-0989150347]
Unity or Hierarchy………………………………………… 1677

I Am a Mormon……………………………………………. 1689
Power in the Priesthood…………………………………..1727
Mosiah…………………………………………………………1749
Tattoos and Plural Wives………………………………… 1807
Received of His Fulness…………………………………. 1849
Hyrum Smith………………………………………………… 1889
Sorting Things Out…………………………………………. 1907
Forgiving and Charity……………………………………..  1933
God’s Many Works………………………………………..1953
Baptism of Fire & the Holy Ghost…………………….. 1973
Role of Women…………………………………………….. 2005
The Battle Is Within You…………………………………  2025
Churches Built by Men…………………………………… 2067
Scriptures……………………………………………………. 2081
144,000………………………………………………………..2089
Index………………………………………………………….. 2123


These are now available directly from Createspace.com as well as at Amazon.com. A link has now been put to the Amazon site by clicking on the Volume numbers above. Remember though, that the content will remain available here for free.

A Sign

When the Seed of the Woman was born, a new star appeared in the heavens. In like manner, when the Lion of Judah returns, as with his first coming, there will be a new star seen. All the world will note its appearance and shall be troubled at its meaning. When it makes its appearance, you may know His return is soon upon the world. You may also know by that sign that He has given to me the words I have faithfully taught as His servant.

Christ Clarifies His Role

I’ve been reading the 1830 Book of Commandments as reprinted in The Joseph Smith Papers: Revelations and Translations, Vol. 2. I’ve been struck by how many clarifications Christ made of His role to the early saints. It is apparent there were a number of false notions in circulation about who Christ was and what His future role would include.

The Lord clarifies that the saints should: “look not for a Messiah to come which has already come.” (Chapter XVI, verse 27.)

He later adds that when He does return: “they shall see me in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory, with all the holy angels.” (Chapter XLVIII, verse 37.)

If that were not enough to remove the question about His return, He further explains: “the Son of Man cometh not in the form of a woman, neither of a man travelling on the earth.” (Chapter LII, verse 21.)

He mentions Enoch, telling us that Enoch and his brethren “were separated from the earth, and were reserved unto [God], a city reserved until a day of righteouensss shall come, a day which was sought for by all holy men, and they found it not because of wickedness and abominations.” (Chapter XLVIII, verse 14.) Since “all holy men” sought for this city, but found it not, it is apparent that the rule is failure because holy men cannot teach righteousness to the wicked who prefer their abominations, pride, vanity and errors. The exception is success.

The Lord clarifies there will be success before the world will see Him. He will have a holy city built, which He will call “the New Jerusalem.” There, His glory will rest upon these few inhabitants: “it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the most high God. And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it: And it shall be called Zion.” (Chapter XLVIII, verses 59-61.)

When He does show Himself to the world again, it will be in judgment: “I the Lord …will come down in heaven from the presence of God, and consume the wicked with unquenchable fire.” (Chapter LXIV, verse 36.)

I’ve heard some of the same errors discussed among Latter-day Saints who would know better if they read the scriptures. As early as 1830 the Lord explained He was the Messiah, and had already come. He will not return as a man walking on the earth, but will come in glory and judgment when He returns, and that we need not look for another to come in that way.

I am surprised at how difficult it is to hold on to doctrine. It evaporates almost before our eyes. Perhaps the greatest miracle of the ages will be this latter day New Jerusalem. For, despite all the wickedness and abominable beliefs of mankind urging them to vanity and faithless pride, there will be some small group willing to learn and walk in the way of God. That will be a miracle indeed among the people living in this generation.

Questions From This Week

Since mentioning it, I’ve gotten a number of questions about President Eyring’s General Conference talk: Families Under Covenant. Part of his remarks are particularly insightful. After talking about the church’s ordinance, he elaborated:

The way to do that is clear. The Holy Spirit of Promise, through our obedience and sacrifice, must seal our temple covenants in order to be realized in the world to come. President Harold B. Lee explained what it means to be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise by quoting Elder Melvin J. Ballard: “We may deceive men but we cannot deceive the Holy Ghost, and our blessings will not be eternal unless they are also sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise. The Holy Ghost is one who reads the thoughts and hearts of men, and gives his sealing approval to the blessings pronounced upon their heads. Then it is binding, efficacious, and of full force.”


When Sister Eyring and I were sealed in the Logan Utah Temple, I did not understand then the full significance of that promise. I am still trying to understand all that it means, but my wife and I decided at the start of our nearly 50 years of marriage to invite the Holy Ghost as much as we could into our lives and into our family.

I agree that men may be and often are deceived about who is worthy and who is not. But the Lord alone will judge righteously. Therefore, He decides who will be sealed and who will not. President Eyring is teaching true doctrine.
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The portion of the scroll (which was quite long and included different segments) Joseph translated the Book of Abraham from is described in church history. There are three critical features to this text:

The record of Abraham and Joseph, found with the mummies, is (1) beautifully written on papyrus, with black, and (2) a small part red, ink or paint, (3) in perfect preservation. (DHC Vol. 2; 348.)

Color Plates of the Hor Book of Breathings are available in Appendix A, starting on page 33 of The Hor Book of Breathings: A Translation and Commentary, Studies in the Book of Abraham, Vol 2; (FARMS/BYU Press 2002). The contrast between Joseph’s description in church history and the photographs of the recovered papyrus requires nothing more than looking at it.
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The description “a strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness” (Moroni 7:30) involves at a minimum the following:
-Strong faith is obtained by obedience and sacrifice, as explained in the Lectures on Faith. It requries the sacrifice of all things to obtain favor with God. No one attains to this by cowardice or respecting the views of men above the commandments of God.
-Every form includes not merely passing acquaintance with the Lord’s will, but an earnest search into the things God wants from you. And, as you find His will, then to obey it. Everything must be put on the altar. Whether it be friends, property, or life itself, it must be every form.
-Godliness is different from virtue. It is even different from righteousness. I’ve explained both previously and won’t repeat it. Godliness requires you to become godlike in your sentiments and in your meekness before Him. Whether men understand you or attribute motives to you, the relationship is between you and the Lord. Godliness is when your walk here is along the path He has chosen for you.
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Prophecy requires someone to fulfill it before you can know who was being identified. Until the work is done I think it is a foolish thing to speculate about identities. There’s probably been hundreds of potential individuals, living and dead, who might have done a greater work than they accomplished here. However, they are blinded by the craftiness of other men, or they fall victim to those who deceive, or they allow traditions to control their understanding and fall short of the glory they might have obtained. Hence the saying that many are called, but few are chosen. 

Ignorance Enshrined

A purported group of “over 260 active and disaffected Mormons” claims responsibility for a “95 Theses” document released recently. (The quotes in the preceding sentence are theirs. This is how they self-describe.)

Unlike Martin Luther, they choose to categorize themselves rather than to expose themselves by using their identities. There are only a few who identified themselves. For the most part, they remain unidentified. That betrays a weakness of character and leads to the conclusion they want to complain, but they do not want to be responsible for complaining. A “reform” movement must be made of sterner stuff. They appear only willing to whine; not to do the work or take the risk Martin Luther took when he wrote the document they mimic.

I’ve looked at the 95 Theses. They are largely based on upset stemming from astounding ignorance of our history, scriptures, doctrine and teachings. However, this is a relatively common condition we find ourselves.  As a community of believers in the restoration through Joseph Smith, we’ve neglected to teach and/or learn the very things that would benefit these “260 active and disaffected Mormons.” These people may well be of good faith and honest intent. I’ll assume that of them. But they are unable to reconcile some of the things from our past with the things they thought they knew about Mormonism. The problem is that what they thought they knew about Mormonism is not at all what I know and what they should have known about Mormonism. That may not be entirely their fault, but they must shoulder part of the blame.

I understand it from a different perspective because I’ve paid a price in study, prayer, practice and devotion. In The Second Comforter I said: “The truth will scratch your eyes out, and then scratch them in again.” I’ve been through both. These “260” have been only through the first.

They have 11 troubling points about the Book of Mormon. I’ve discovered many more. I’ve reconciled them all in my mind.

They have 5 troubling points on the Book of Abraham. I’ve discovered many, many more. This is a vital topic for study. I’ve gathered a library of materials on this text. When I was teaching the Priests’ Quorum in my ward, I took 4 weeks with them teaching on the Book of Abraham. I wasn’t going to let any of them get “poached” by critics because they didn’t have enough background information to understand the issues and history. Using the Documentary History of the Church, they were shown what Joseph described he translated as the Book of Abraham. They were shown the photographic reproductions of the papyri returned from the Metropolitan Museum of New York to the church. The difference between these scroll documents and Joseph’s description did not require a commentary. They saw with their own eyes the difference between the two. No one is ever going to convince them using an argument based on misinformation.

These “260 active and disaffected Mormons” have 11 troubling points about Polygamy and Polyandry. Again, it betrays a shallow understanding of our history and comprises only a fraction of what we should all know about this issue. Until we face this, discuss it openly, and put history and context together in a forthright and honest way, we are vulnerable to upset and distress anytime someone who knows a little more than we know comes along with a “fact” from our history we can’t put into context.

This raises enough to make the point:

We’re losing the battle with many of these souls. The more honest and intellectually open of our members are being taken in traps precisely because their greatest strengths (confidence and openness) allow the critics to show them our weaknesses. This should not be allowed to happen. Narrow-mindedness and dogmatism, as a result of fierce and unrelenting loyalty to an institution, should not rule the day. The winnowing out, if allowed to continue, will produce a frightening form of Mormonism akin to the more radical political movements currently underway in the world.

When Joseph Smith was alive, Mormonism embraced all truth. “The first and fundamental principle of our holy religion is, that we believe that we have a right to embrace all, and every item of truth, without limitation or without being circumscribed or prohibited by the creeds or superstitious notions of men, or by the dominations of one another, when that truth is clearly demonstrated to our minds.” (Letter from Joseph Smith to Isaac Galland, March 22, 1839; The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, Dean C. Jesse, editor; Deseret Book, p. 421-22.) I’d like to see that be the case once again.

I’ve never found a problem in the faith for which I could not ultimately find a solution or answer. The faith is quite resilient. But, oddly, some of the actual answers are thought to be so fearful that they must be ignored, suppressed or denounced. Fear is not only the opposite of faith, but it contains within it the bitterness of hell. (Moses 1: 20.) We have become too fearful.