A “Special Witness” of the “Name of Christ”

There has been some discussion on social media about some church officer, having the title of “apostle”, declaring himself a “special witness of the name of Christ”. People were outraged, whether it was feigned or real, at the thought of somebody not only declaring himself to be an apostle, but calling himself a “special witness of the name of Christ”, rather than a “special witness of Christ”, as if this were something new, and a demotion in calling.

The man is correct. He was called to a church office, originally held by twelve men, who were called as “traveling councilors” and called to become “apostles”. They were to become “special witnesses of the Name of Christ” – special because this calling differs from all others in the church, and of the name of Christ, because this, too, is a special designation and the topic of this post.

My goal in posting this was to educate people about this calling by calling upon the scriptures to do so. To illustrate the low level of knowledge in the church, by presenting this information, I was accused of “gaslighting” by somebody who didn’t have the grounding to tell the difference. This, in itself, is sad.

My purpose is this is not to judge the man, whether he is in fact a true apostle, or not. My purpose is to explain and defend the designation “the Name of Christ”. It does not belong in the gutter of unbelief. It deserves the highest honor, recognition, and worship of which we are capable.

This designation has not changed since this revelation was given in 1835:

D&C 107:23 The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world–thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.

The Lord never designates the “twelve traveling councilors” AS “Apostles”, but they are called TO BE “Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ”. They never rose up to fulfill this calling because they never followed Oliver Cowdery’s (who was an Apostle) charge to seek their ordination at the hand of the Lord.

If you understand the full meaning of the word “Name” in Hebrew. It is more than just a label. It DESCRIBES the nature, mission, office, calling, and role of a person, among other things.

The Name of Christ is not the same as the name “Christ”.

It is a Name above all other names. It is the only name under which we may be saved. It is the Name by which we may ask and receive. It is the Name by which we gather so that the Lord may be in our midst.

It is the Name which we witness that we are willing to take upon ourselves. But the Name is actually placed upon us by the Lord, himself. A true Apostle is a witness that he has actually stood in the Presence of Christ and received that Name from the Lord.

How do I know this? To receive this Witness and to take upon me this Name was the desire of my heart, and in response, the Lord sought me out and found me

D&C 18:27 Yea, even twelve; and the Twelve shall be my disciples, and they shall take upon them my name; and the Twelve are they who shall desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart.

D&C 18:28 And if they desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart, they are called to go into all the world to preach my gospel unto every creature.

D&C 18:37 And now, behold, I give unto you, Oliver Cowdery, and also unto David Whitmer, that you shall search out the Twelve, who shall have the desires of which I have spoken;

D&C 18:38 And by their desires and their works you shall know them.

Here are a few scriptures illustrating the purpose and nature of that Name:

2 Nephi 31:13 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism–yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.

2 Nephi 32:9 But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.

2 Nephi 33:12 And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day.

Enos 1:15 Wherefore, I knowing that the Lord God was able to preserve our records, I cried unto him continually, for he had said unto me: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it.

Mosiah 3:17 And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.

Mosiah 5:8 And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.

Mosiah 5:9 And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ.

Mosiah 5:10 And now it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall not take upon him the name of Christ must be called by some other name; therefore, he findeth himself on the left hand of God.

Alma 5:38 Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.

3 Nephi 27:5 Have they not read the scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day;

Mormon 8:38 O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies–because of the praise of the world?

Mormon 9:21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

D&C 46:31 And again, I say unto you, all things must be done in the name of Christ, whatsoever you do in the Spirit;

Book of Commandments 15:23 Take upon you the name of Christ, and speak the truth in soberness, and as many as repent, and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved.

Book of Commandments 24:30 Behold whosoever humbleth himself before God and desireth to be baptized, and comes forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnesseth unto the church, that they have truly repented of all their sins and are willing to take upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him unto the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, then shall they be received unto baptism into the church of Christ.

To be a witness of the Name of Christ is not only to testify of the reality of Christ, having seen Him and having receive authority from Him, but is to be a living example of Christ in every way.

Speaking to the 12 disciples to the Nephites, the Lord said:

3 Nephi 27:27 And know ye that ye shall be judges of this people, according to the judgment which I shall give unto you, which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.

Keys of Knowledge to be Learned from the Endowment

The first thing that you should know about the endowment is that everything is not a literal, but a symbolic representation. The endowment is not a saving ordinance, but it is a symbolic depiction of a saving ordinance which should take place throughout your life as you come to Christ. I pray that as I present some of those symbols and what the Lord has taught me about them that you will see these representations, not as beliefs, but as ways of understanding the symbols. You can understand them on many levels, and there are many ways to interpret them. Use these ideas as suggestions that the Lord can show you the true principles behind them, that you may use them in your life.

We are forced to labor under very difficult circumstances. We are taught by fallible men. We have poorly translated and incomplete scriptures. We have to contend with the vagaries of our language. And, last of all, we are bound by false traditions promoted by false, apostate religions. And yet, the Lord tells us that we have sufficient to enable us to lay hold of the iron rod and walk the path back to Him. Given all this, why should we expect our temple ordinances to be pure and uncorrupted? It’s a measure of our faith that even when given insufficient information, we can still step forward and act boldly and valiantly. None of this is a barrier to the Lord. By His grace, He will compensate for our lack of pure knowledge by giving us pure revelation. The Endowment

A “Spiritual translation of Isaiah, Chapter 28”

“These are all major blessings and gifts that the Lord bestows upon His servants for the purpose of building the Kingdom; but this gift has a personal application in a lesser form. The gift of Translation is helpful when studying scripture. For instance, many have struggled with Isaiah. Using this gift, asking the Lord in faith for permission to understand the intent of the words, can lead to your personal spiritual translation of these books. Put away your study manuals and lean upon the Lord for revelation. This gift, used for personal use is appropriate when the Lord has given express permission and not for the purpose of simply sharing your opinions. In this case, it would be taking the Lord’s name in vain. As with all gifts of the Spirit we must seek permission from the Lord.” –

PR, A Witness to the Gifts of the Spirit

This is one of the chapters of Isaiah that PR did not translate. I have often made “spiritual translations” scripture before. It really helps you to understand it, and it is really useful, even if you are the only one who reads it. I love the words of Isaiah. Just putting his words into modern English puts a vivid picture in your mind. My favorite lines in this are:

  • “to perform his act, his unusual act, and do his work, his awesome work.”  – Awesome is a popular, but over-used word, but it really fits here
  • “This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.” – This also describes the Lord at work. He plans, he counsels, and his work is excellent. So is the work of Isaiah. I hope I can measure up to it in some tiny way.
  • The first verse was fun. It talks about the shiny gold decorations that the “drunkards of Ephraim” like to decorate the tops of their buildings with. The ones that get struck by lightning or toppled by earthquakes

1 Woe to the crowns of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim! Their crowning splendor is now the foolish [nabel meaning ‘foolish’ or ‘drooping’] gold decorations [tsiyts From a Hebrew word meaning to ‘blossom’ or ‘sparkle’. A metaphor for shining thing (of gold plate on high priest’s mitre). Isaiah was simply describing what he saw in vision. Wonder what he saw?] so cherished by the fat proud ones [drunkards drunk on their own wine]. [2 Nephi 28:14 They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms …]

2 My Lord has held back in reserve to come forth one mighty and strong [a servant, sent from God to deliver a message by the power of God]: like a tempest of hail of a destroying storm, like a flood of mighty waters, he will bring their false traditions of men down to the ground by his hand [the power of his words, which are the words of Christ]. [D&C 85:7. And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God …] [teach and administer the ordinances of adoption into the family of God]

3 The traditions of men that the drunkards of Ephraim are so proud of shall be trampled underfoot.

4 And the foolish gold decorations [see above], like crowns of pride, their idols, shall be like the first-ripe fruit before summer harvest: he who sees it devours it the moment he has hold of it.

5 In that day the Lord of Hosts, alone, shall be as a crown of honor and the object of praise to the remnant of his people:

6 and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle [persuade others to a knowledge of the truth] in their gathering places.

7 Nevertheless, even they [the remnant] have indulged in wine [false traditions] and are giddy with strong drink: priests and prophets have gone astray through liquor. They are intoxicated with wine and stagger because of strong drink; they err as seers; they blunder in their decisions. [2 Nephi 28:14 … they 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.]

8 For all tables are filled with vomit [traditions and teachings passed on from the learning of men, not taught through the Spirit]; no spot is without excrement.

9 To whom shall he give instruction? To whom shall he enlighten with revelation? Weanlings weaned from milk, those just taken from the breast? [Young men and young women who have been taught the basics of the true Gospel and who hunger and thirst for more.]

10 For it is but line upon line, line upon line [teach the Doctrine of Christ], precept upon precept, [build precept upon precept] precept upon precept [then, teach the Everlasting Covenant]; a trifle here, a trifle there [He will teach from the revelations of God, taught so that people can receive them but not run faster than they have strength].

11 Therefore, by incomprehensible speech [His servants will teach the truth in all plainness, teaching principles, not clichés.] and a strange tongue [They will teach in a language which the people have not heard before, but will sound familiar to them.] must he speak to these people,

12 to whom he said, this is rest; let the weary rest! This is a respite! But they would not listen. [But they hardened their hearts, taking too lightly that which they had received, i.e. the fullness of the Gospel and the Everlasting Covenant, therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest, which rest is the fulness of his glory.]

13 Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough! For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

14 Therefore hear the word of Jehovah, you scoffers who preside over these people in Jerusalem. [The leaders of the church]

15 You have supposed, by taking refuge in deception and hiding behind falsehoods, to have covenanted with Death [Any covenant not made through the Holy Spirit of Promise is a covenant with death.], or reached an agreement with Sheol [the world], that, should a flooding scourge sweep through the earth, it shall not reach you. [You think you will be safe.]

16 Therefore, thus says my Lord Jehovah: I establish in Zion a stone, a tried and tested stone, a glorious cornerstone, a sure foundation. Whoever is faithful to it will not act hastily.

17 I will make justice the standard of measure, righteousness the standard of weight; a hail shall sweep away your shelter of lies and the judgments of God shall overflow your hiding place.

18 Your covenant with Death shall prove null and void, your agreements with Sheol [the world] have no effect: when the flooding scourge sweeps through, you shall be overrun by it.

19 As often as it sweeps through, you shall be seized by it: morning after morning it shall sweep through, by day and by night it shall seize you; it shall cause terror merely to hear news of it.

20 Then shall come to pass the proverb: The couch is too short to stretch out on, the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in. [The doctrine that is offered is not enough to cover the spiritual needs of the seeker. The fullness of the Gospel is not taught. People are leaving the church and going elsewhere because they “want more”.]

21 For Jehovah will rise up as he did on Mount Perazim [A battle where the Lord led King David into battle where he defeated the Philistines and burned their idols.], and be stirred to anger, as in the Valley of Gibeon [Another battle where the Lord and his hidden army of heaven assisted King David to defeat the Philistines.] — to perform his act, his unusual act, and do his work, his awesome work.

22 Now therefore do not scoff, lest your bonds be made stronger, for I have heard utter destruction decreed by my Lord, the Lord of Hosts, upon the whole earth.

23 Give heed, and hear my voice! Be attentive, and listen to what I say!

24 Will the plowman be forever plowing to sow seed, disking and harrowing the same ground? [Does the farmer do nothing except plow all day and yet expect a harvest?]

25 When he has smoothed its surface, does he not sprinkle fennel and scatter cumin? Does he not demarcate wheat from barley and plant buckwheat in its own plot? [Rightly dividing the word of God with discernment.]

26 His God instructs him, directing him in the proper procedure. [God is giving a simple lesson of a farmer.]

27 Fennel is not threshed with a sharp-toothed sledge, nor is a cartwheel rolled over cumin: fennel is beaten out with a stick and cumin with a rod.

28 Domestic grain is ground; one does not go on endlessly threshing it. It cannot be ground by driving horse and threshing cart over it. [Teach all of the Gospel, so that people learn the complete path to salvation. Do not damn them by just repeating the same basic lessons over and over again. Precept must be added upon precept.]

29 This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.

Update to “The Scripture Chaser”

This is version 1.0.3.0. Here is a list of changes

  • Included Book of Commandments
  • Access Strong’s words without having to generate a web page
  • Ability to back up and restore comments and history
  • “Word Tools” – including Soundex (Words that sound alike.)

Here is a link to my original blog with all the links to download the program, help PDF, and a link to how-to-use videos on You Tube.

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.