Two Kinds of Peace

There are at least two different kinds of peace. There is the peace that the world offers, and there is the peace Christ offers (“not as the world giveth”). The Hebrew word Shalom implies not only peace for wholeness.

What is the true meaning of shalom?

According to Strong’s Concordance (7965), shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, and the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full.


You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You. Isa 26:3


If you look up the Hebrew for “perfect peace”, this is the translation for “shalom shalom”.

“The Scripture Chaser”

  • Have you ever competed in a “Scripture Chase”? And won? Or Lost?
  • Have you ever been assigned to teach a lesson or give a talk on a given subject and wanted to quote some relevant scriptures?
  • Have you ever been curious, or even desperate, to find an answer in the scriptures? To study a principle in-depth?
  • Have you ever wondered what a particular word in the scriptures meant, or how the verse read in other translations?
  • Have you ever used the church’s Scripture Library, tried to find a link to other scriptural passages, but gave up in frustration because all you could find were links to Conference talks?

If you said “yes” to any of the above questions, “The Scripture Chaser ” may be your answer. If you said “no” to all of the above questions, “The Scripture Chaser” may still have the answer to a question you haven’t yet asked.

Do you believe in personal revelation, but aren’t very good at it, but you do believe that the Lord could prompt you with a one-word answer? Then, pray for that word, and search for that word here. Let us do the “chasing”, while you read, think, and pray. Spend some time with the Lord and His words. Have an interactive experience linking one word to another. The Gospel writer, John wrote that “In the beginning was the Word.” Maybe that one word is all you need.

The purpose of this program is to search a set of documents and serve as a concordance, search tool, and document reader. While this program has the ability to search and display any documents which can be prepared and added to a database, “The Scripture Chaser” includes the LDS Standard Works and the Lectures on Faith.

The best way to experience this software is to start using it. It’s like searching the Internet, only you’re not online. Everything is local. No spying. No collecting your personal data. Nothing to get in the way between you and the words of the Lord. Nobody needed to show you how to use Google, and you can’t break the Internet just by searching. The worst that can happen is you don’t find what you are looking for, so you try searching again. This software is designed to draw you into an interactive experience, so just read a couple of introductory paragraphs and then start searching.

I found a better website to host the helpfile and the setup. Let me know if you have any problems.

If you want to get a preview, here is a link to the Helpfile.

Here is a link to the software.

Links to You Tube Instructional Videos

The Scripture Chaser Playlist on You Tube

I have been testing this software for a month. If you run into any problems, please respond with a comment and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Sorry, but this program only runs on Windows, not on Apple, the Internet, or your phone. The software is free. I tried to make it as simple as possible. The setup is not fancy, but it will install and uninstall OK.

Here are the various pieces of the software:

  • Software – 20 MB – Family members can each have their own copy or share the same copy. 
  • Database (Concordance.db) – 65 MB – The database is the same for everybody, but it does keep a record of your individual searches, so you may want a separate copy of the database for each person. To do this, make a separate copy of the database and create a different profile that points to the new database. I do not recommend editing the database manually, unless you know what you are doing, because you could cause the program to stop working. If this happens, you will need to uninstall and reinstall the program. If you do this, the only thing you lose will be your history and any comments you have made.
  • Results – A folder that contains a collection of web pages, where you save all the results from your searches.
  • Profile – Each person has their own profile, stored on an .ini file. This file controls where each person’s database and results may be found.

Help.pdf

My Take on the Atonement

How the Atonement Works

Here is an explanation of the atonement that works, even if you don’t believe in God or Christ, and if you do, it still works as an explanation.

Why do we think we need a savior? We need to have the ideal of somebody so big and powerful enough and smart enough who has earned the right, through His sacrifice, to forgive us of our sins. The biggest problem we have is forgiving ourselves, but if a being like I just described can forgive us, then we can forgive ourselves.

Christ suffered and died terribly that He might draw all men unto Himself, or in other words, to get our attention.

It is literally our faith in such a being that saves us.

Here’s the extra added part for people who do believe in God. Each of us is part of God. Even atheists have a conscience and a sense of right and wrong. That’s a part of God living in you, whether you choose to call it God, the universe, or whatever. Sin separates us from the rest of God, or from your conscience. If you can’t forgive yourself, then God can’t forgive you. As you judge others, so you will be judged.

Gender may not be what we think it is.

Who says that a god family consists of one male and one or more females, and that spirits are procreated the same way we conceive babies? Adam was first made in the image of God: male AND female and told to multiply. How does that happen? If he (they) were in the image of God, then God is also both male AND female. If true, we can’t make any assumptions about “eternal procreation”.

This is difficult to talk about because our language can’t avoid gender-based references, but I’ll try. This is all according to the Bible, which fundamentalists love to interpret literally, but they love to interpret this part figuratively. I am going to use the same words as the Bible, but try to get you to see them in a different way. It is supposed to be all symbolic, but let’s interpret the symbols a bit more literally. The first human person on the earth, according to the Bible, was called “man”. The Hebrew word is “adam”, which means something like “red clay” or “formed from the dust of the earth”. It was also be a male proper noun, but forget the proper name “Adam” for the time being and just think “adam” as any generic human. God, (“elohim”, again not a proper name, but the Hebrew word for “god”, and a plural word and a combination of male AND female), formed “adam” in his/her/their own image, male AND female. Then “elohim” breathed (a symbolic word) into “adam”, the spirit of “adam”. If the body of “adam” was male AND female, and if the body is formed in the likeness of God, and in the likeness of its spirit, then would not the spirit of “adam”, likewise be male AND female?

So, we have two compound beings, each of them both male AND female, standing and facing one another. The creator and the created. The created being is sentient and able to receive, understand, and fulfill commands. The first command given is: “Multiply and replenish the earth.” Remember this was one compound being saying this to another compound being. I hate the word “queer”, but this would be one way to describe each of the two beings.

It is important to understand where this was said, who said it, and to whom it was said. This was not in the garden, and “adam” was not yet split into separate male and female beings. So, how could this “multiply and replenish” be accomplished? 1 Nephi 3:7 says that God will give no commandment save “he” provide a way to accomplish that commandment. A little “mind-bending” suggests that it was not to be done the same way as heterosexual human procreation. To “multiply” is to make more of yourself, and somehow this was possible even in a body which is both male AND female. And if this applies to “adam”, then it seems logical that it also applies to the male-female unit “elohim”. And what if it’s not really “procreation”? What if it’s simply scooping up or attracting other intelligences and somehow stimulating them to acquire the characteristics of what we might call “a spirit”, and this action being a step in becoming like the newly-organized “adam”, and his/her/its progenitor/creator “elohim”? This could be done without billions of years of pregnancy and gestation.

We don’t know how long before “adam” was placed in the garden, and is now “alone”. Was he/she/it truly “alone” or were there similar companions? This is a new world, and a new situation. Personally, I believe it was a step down. “adam” condescended or fell from a celestial world to a terrestial world, and sensed the aloneness, and in order to fulfill the “prime directive” and cure the “aloneness”, Adam was divided into two separate beings: one male (Adam) and the other one female (Eve).

I suppose just the companionship of “elohim” was not sufficient, so “elohim” split “adam” into separate male and female elements and took away their memory of ever having been together, in the bargain. But, even after losing his memory, Adam looked at Eve and recognized her as having come from him, and spoke about the two becoming “one flesh” again.

If you are going to interpret the symbolism literally, you have to be consistent, but this is where some of the symbolism falls away and we begin to pick up the story in a more relatable form: one man and one woman, yeah, we finally understand that, but in our ignorance, we suppose that this is the way that it always was.

All of creation is a series of divisions: light from dark, heavens from earth, day from night, dry land from seas, etc. So, why not also a division of woman from man? This is to me the first “fall”. The second was when the couple got kicked out of the garden, and began the heterosexual procreation process we are familiar with. But my point is we can’t compare procreation of human bodies on a telestial level with “procreation” of spirits on a celestial level. Brigham Young said it was the same, but how did he know? Sometimes he claimed to have revelation, and sometimes he admitted to not even being a prophet.

But, where, lacking revelation, did Brigham get the idea that God was nothing more than an exalted man? Maybe from King Follett. But, the Lectures on Faith say that the Father is a personage of spirit, and the Son is a personage of tabernacle. People justify this discrepancy by saying Joseph “evolved”. But maybe it is God who evolved and not Joseph. Joseph and Brigham both taught that there are generations of gods. The endowment even teaches it. But maybe there is some point at which one of these gods, at a certain higher level, of which we know nothing about, is able to evolve into something even higher than just a glorified man, and becomes some different kind of being that we would only understand as a spirit, but is really merged in his/her consciousness with many other gods, also at that same level. Deuteronomy teaches that the Lord God (Elohim Jehovah) is “one”. The Hebrew word used here and translated “one” is echad meaning “unity”, and Christ said they we are to be one with Him, even as He is one with the Father. So, maybe there is something more to all of this than we think or imagine.

Joseph Smith taught that if the Father could make himself visible, and if we could see him, we would see Him as a man, like us. This kind of begs the question. If He didn’t appear to us, in a form like us, would we even recognize Him? And another question: What does God look like when we don’t see him?

Let’s face it, God the Father, doesn’t show up too often on the earth, and when He does, He appears in a vision, a waking dream, which means He’s not physically present, but projecting an image. This is called a theophany. In other times, such as the baptism of Jesus, or on the Mount of Transfiguration, or speaking from the heavens when Christ made His triumphant ride back into Jerusalem, or in speaking to the Nephites before Christ descended, we just hear a disembodied voice speaking out of a cloud. When people see Christ, they see a flesh and blood being who touches stones, eats and drinks, and lets people touch Him. We never see the Father doing any of this.

Response to John Dehlin and John Larsen on the Mormon “Plan of Salvation”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEtCMHkpG-M

No apologetics. I’m not going to preach to you or quote a lot of scripture because that’s not the point. I’m not trying to justify, rationalize, or apologize for Mormon doctrine because it is a mess. John Larsen is right. All I want to do is suggest that with a correct understanding of the scriptures and a little “mind-bending”, there is a possible way out. I wouldn’t be saying this to a traditional Mormon audience because they would freak out. I’m only saying this to you because you probably won’t believe it anyway, but hopefully are open to a new perspective.

What do atheists have to offer that’s any better? Before death: war after bloody war. After death: oblivion.

Do you think Satan’s plan is any better? Force people to be good. Reign with blood and horror on the earth. What do you think religion is doing if not forcing people to be good? What’s behind the bloodshed and horror on this earth if not religion’s desire to control and manipulate?

At least the Mormon plan offers something better. At least it offers a glimmer of hope for a few. But read on, there’s more.

Facing reality. John Larsen, I believe, accurately described the Mormon interpretation of the plan of salvation as currently taught and understood. He carried it out to its logical conclusion, thus “illustrating the absurd by the absurd”. As it is taught and understood, it is clearly not feasible, not sustainable, and ultimately as damning as the Mormon description of Satan’s plan. Einstein said in order to solve a problem we have to solve it from a higher level of thinking than what created the problem in the first place. Einstein could have called it “mind-bending”.

Why the Mormon plan is unworkable and unsustainable. The Mormon plan is based on several flawed assumptions, misunderstanding of scripture, and some false religious traditions.

Flawed understanding of God. God is not mean, jealous, petty, or vengeful. God is not arbitrary. He doesn’t get to just make up stuff. He is also subject to eternal law, otherwise He would cease to be God.

The gods do not just endlessly create. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matt. 24:35). “There will be a new heaven and a new earth and the first earth were passed away.” (Rev. 21:1-3). The course of God is one eternal round (cycle). And there are cycles of creation, change, and destruction. This is a fundamental principle of Eastern religions. Eastern religions believe that the universe is one great consciousness, and we as individuals are living under the illusion that we are separate consciousnesses, and that eventually, we will all merge back into a single consciousness, then the grand cycle will begin again.

Spirits are made from intelligences, which already exist. We are already co-eternal with God. So, the multiple billions of spirits, Gods, “breeders”, and “servants” that John Larsen discussed already exist.

You can’t assume that everything in heaven or eternity is just like earth. To Brigham, God is just a great big powerful man in the sky with the same abilities and goals that men have, only carried to a super level. He builds kingdoms and adds to his glory by acquiring more wives and ruling over his posterity with an iron fist. This may not be true at all.

Gender may not be what we think it is. Who says that a god family consists of one male and one or more females, and that spirits are procreated the same way we conceive babies? Adam was first made in the image of God: male AND female and told to multiply. How does that happen? If he (they) were in the image of God, then God is also both male AND female. If true, we can’t make any assumptions about “eternal procreation”.

It doesn’t say “1/3 of the hosts of heaven”. It says “a 3rd part”. So, these numbers could be all off.

Don’t rule out “eternal lives”. Speaking of numbers being off, you could make a good case for MMP (multiple mortal probations) using the scriptures. This point freaks people out who claim it denies the atonement, but I think it actually affirms the atonement. To be like God, you actually have to BE like God. There is no magic short cut, but we get lots of chances to make the grade. The atonement allows it. But, MMP could cut down on the billions of people you are talking about. It’s all just us – over and over again.

Not all of God’s judgments are given to man. (D&C 29) So, there is a lot more that we don’t know. For example, perhaps there is a way to come back from outer darkness. We don’t know anything about the two lower sections of the celestial kingdom. Maybe Dallin H. Oaks can explain them to us, but chances are he doesn’t have a clue.

The descriptions of hell and outer darkness are from God’s celestial perspective, not ours. This earth we live in is hell, and probably is, looking from God’s perspective. Samuel the Lamanite describes earthly mortality, outside of God’s Presence as “death”, and inside God’s Presence as “life”.

“Families are forever”. There are many more types of relationships in heaven besides the nuclear family. I can’t remember what John Larsen called it. “Patriarchal something”. I’d call it a multi-level Ponzi scheme. “… All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, …” (D&C 132:7) Just this covers a lot of ground, and according to this section, these various types of relationships between people be sealed in order to endure through eternity. There is a lot more going on up there that the church isn’t telling people about. Why not? Even if they knew, which they don’t, doing so wouldn’t fit their goals of controlling people and keeping them in the dark. (See Satan’s plan, above.)

God communicating with everybody at the same time. How about prayer? Billions of people talking to God at the same time, and he hears them all. This is not a unique Mormon concept. God speaking from heaven to crowds of people on the earth as in the Book of Mormon. It could happen. In heaven, people communicate telepathically. Communication is instantaneous across vast distances with the speed of thought. Travel is instantaneous. The speed of light doesn’t apply there.

Celestial “body parts”. I have often asked myself this question, and I don’t know, but I have a couple of ideas: (1) The body is formed in the image of the spirit, which serves as the blueprint for the body. (2) When angels appear to men, they have to look like men so they are relatable to men.

His Grace is Sufficient

I uploaded an 11-page document about the often-misunderstood principle of Grace. I added links to a classic talk from Brad Wilcox on You Tube, and to another podcast from Mark Curtis of Doctrine of Christ. I took notes during all of these videos and includes them in this document.

https://john144restoration.files.wordpress.com/2022/05/notes-on-grace.pdf

Revelation

I would like to share this post from Robert Smith in its entirety. It contains links to a couple of You Tube videos, which describe how we may come to the Lord and experience Him, heaven, and the angels for ourselves. This knowledge is by no means unique to latter-day saints. This is information that Rob has been using in his own life and is planning to write up in one of the many books he has been working on, and he knows whereof he speaks. The information is simple, practical, Biblically-based, and available to everybody.

While on his blog, check out the many books which he has written, based on information he has received from the Lord. I have read all of them and recommend every one of them. This information must have come from the Lord. It is so clear and succinct, and every paragraph is packed with information. There are no idle words, no feel-good platitudes. Every word in his books is quotable.

Faith and Repentance – Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit

Many people, when they talk about the Doctrine of Christ, rattle of a list of steps from the scriptures. It’s dry and lifeless. This is what you do, but there is no desire or reason to do any of it, but at least you know “correct doctrine”.
I like this passage a lot because it builds up a desire to want to come to Christ. In addition to repentance, it incorporates faith — faith that the Lord will receive you, just as you are, warts and all. You have nothing to hide. Childlike. No pretense.

By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins–behold, he will confess them and forsake them.

(D&C 58:43.)


The following quote says “at this very moment”, now, “no matter what your spiritual condition is”. This means everybody. I think it’s worth planting the seed and conducting an experiment in faith, as Alma suggests.

Thanks to Julia Wentzell for sharing the following on Facebook today. It comes from Todd McLaughlin. Julia Writes: “These are the words a friend shared today. I absolutely loved what he had to say. They feel like truth.”

Consider with me the following process of repentance. I would like to know how you think it would impact you.

What if at this very moment, no matter what condition of life you are in, you turned to the Lord with all that you are, all that you have been, and all of the desires for your future – and present it to him straightforwardly and in plainness?

What if instead of hiding from the Lord because of your pain, and your weakness, and your sins, and your depression, and your shame, and your fear – you came to him and presented all of it to him.
In other words, you don’t wait until you conquer a bad habit, or “make yourself better”, or overcome something that is weighing you down. You come to him, as is, and fully present everything to him?
If you have sin, bring them to him and show him. If you have weakness, show him those weaknesses. Bring all of them with you and present them. If you have a difficult past. What if you brought it all to him and shared it with him?

If you have fear and desires that you are ashamed of. Why not just bring them to him? Hide nothing from him.

Give everything to him “as is”. Show him everything in its present condition. Do not wait for anything to change. Do not wait to do better first. Do not hold back anything and do all of it right now.
And expose them to the full light of truth. Allow his love and truth and light teach you about each of those things. Allow him to redeem every aspect about you. Every bad experience, every sin, every fear. Allow them all to be exposed to the full light and allow the Lord to do a redemptive work. Allow him to teach you about each thing…Tell him all about it. Ask him to teach you about it and to redeem the experience.

Do you fear the judgments of others? Describe all of it to him and expose it to light.

Do you desire wealth and a kingdom of this world? Tell him all about it and ask that his light and truth may flow through those desires and ambitions and transform into something Holy.
This process of repentance is no small thing. It takes every ounce of energy and attention we have. It takes all of us. Nothing can be hidden nor withheld.

Ultimately, and soon, we ourselves must lay on that alter. Everything about us must be given to the Lord. There is no other way.

And if we do it, the Lord can redeem the darkest and distorted parts of us. He can in a moment heal the most broken parts of us.
But he can’t unless we hold nothing back. No works of darkness. Nothing can be held from his awareness and his light.

This process of repentance will bring the full gift of the Holy Ghost to us. The Gift of the Holy Ghost is that our spirits and nature are transformed to be in complete unity with Christ. Possessing the Gift of the Holy Ghost means we are completely one with Christ. There is no greater gift.

Adam-God

This paper presents an analysis of Adam-God, sometimes called “doctrine”, sometimes called a “mystery”, sometimes called “a theory”, sometimes renounced or condemned as “false doctrine”. Strictly speaking, the Hebrew word Adam means “man”, and we know from the teachings of Joseph Smith, and if we could search deeply within ourselves, we would know that we (as “man” or humankind) have our roots in God, will eventually return to God, and we are manifestation of God in this world. The problem is if we try to do what Brigham did: whenever we find the word “God” anywhere in the Gospel, substitute “Adam”, the name for that specific personality, the husband of Eve, the first flesh upon the earth, in place of the God we worship, and the God which we are trying to become like, we run into a lot of difficulties reconciling the two. Brigham Young saw some of those difficulties and fabricated unsupported, unscriptural, and downright false doctrine on the fly in order to justify his conclusions. The result was a doctrinal disaster and an embarrassment to the church. The church gradually retreated from this doctrine, but the core implications of this doctrine remain and continue to haunt the church today. https://john144restoration.files.wordpress.com/2022/04/adam-god-theory-or-doctrine.pdf