Monday, January 30, 2006

New Domain: www.LDSPatriot.com

http://www.ldspatriot.com/

LDS Patriot has four blogs and one forum message board.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Non-LDS accusatory tirade, "LDS are not Christians?"

What is the motive behind the non-LDS accusatory tirade, "LDS are not Christians?"

Is it to inform and educate? No, because all Christians churches are "cults" and that cannot be denied, but they conveniently leave that out of the equation. So from the start it's an intellectually dishonest, specious argument.

It's a marketing initiative, period. If they put fear and doubt into the minds of consumers of religion, they may be able to cash in on a bigger share of the pie. It's priestcraft pure and simple.

It's as phony as "LDS worship a different Jesus." Of course it is the same Jesus. So it’s got nothing at all to do with anything remotely resembling a “different Jesus”, rather, it is just a different understanding.

President Hinckley undergoes surgery

President Hinckley, I love you and my prayer’s are with you. May God grant you a speedy recovering and may he bless us with your continued divine leadership for years to come.

- Hinckley's cancer removedChurch predicts speedy recovery
http://www.sltrib.com/ci_3435143?source=rss

- President Hinckley undergoes surgery
Cancerous growth is removed from intestine after routine screening
By
Wendy Leonard
Deseret Morning News

LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley was hospitalized Tuesday after doctors discovered and removed a cancerous growth in his large intestine.

After a routine medical screening, church officials said the 95-year-old President Hinckley was admitted to LDS Hospital Tuesday afternoon, where he underwent a successful laparoscopic surgery to remove the diseased portion of his intestine.
http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,635179047,00.html

Spyware is Computer Rape

Oh happy days!

It is great news that Harvard, Oxford, Google, Lenovo Group and Sun Microsystems have created a new consumer advocacy group, The Stop Badware Coalition, to target and shame spyware makers.

I hate spyware with a passion. It’s computer rape as far as I am concerned.

http://www.stopbadware.org/

By Eric Auchard
Internet brain trust aims to shame spyware makers
REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Internet researchers at Harvard and Oxford universities said on Tuesday they are seeking to enlist Web users in a program to name and shame suppliers of spyware and other malicious software programs.

The Stop Badware Coalition will seek to spotlight companies that make millions of dollars by tricking Web users into putting spyware, adware or other deceptive software on their machines, organizers from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard and the Oxford Internet Institute said.

The multi-year project is financially backed by Google Inc. and computer makers Lenovo Group and Sun Microsystems Inc. It is advised by U.S. consumer advocacy group Consumer Reports WebWatch, its backers said.
http://go.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=internetNews&storyID=10962618&pageNumber=0

Study: Omega-3 fats offer no cancer protection

I take Omega-3 supplements daily. I have noticed increased memory recall and do hope it helps combat heart disease.

Omega-3 fats offer no cancer protection: study
REUTERS
CHICAGO (Reuters) - The fatty acids found in some fish may help combat heart disease but there is no strong evidence they prevent cancer as some research has suggested, a study said on Tuesday
http://go.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=healthNews&storyID=10957375&src=eDialog/GetContent

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

God is the First Scientist

I'm no scientist and the topic of evolution has never interested me per se. My only beef is when people use evolution to claim God does not exist, or that somehow evolution proves the scriptures are not true.

My take is that earth has many phases and different purposes at different times. Just because there was Homo erectus does not mean Homo sapiens must have evolved from them.

Perhaps God allowed these creations to live on earth for a period of time. Then, when it was time to being the phase of mankind as we know it, then the old phase ended and a new one began.

Creation is a continuum, not a single event. This is true temporally as well as spiritually. Consider all the changes the earth has already undergone, i.e., creation, fall, flood, etc. And then consider earths future, e.g., the mighty earthquakes, and the God will bring earths land mass into one before the days it was separated, and the burning and re-creation to a paradisiacal glory only be to go through yet another burning re-creation to its final celestial glory.

Do evolutionists factor in these sudden and mighty changes in earths future? No. And they most certainly do not factor in sudden and mighty changes in earths past either.

Science isn't nearly as useful in determining truth as is revelation.

For example, who knew more about creation, Darwin or Moses? Darwin only used science to aid his understanding. Moses saw every step and particle in earth's creation, as well as the universe as a whole.

When there is an apparent conflict between the two, I side with God, believing it the more prudent path

God is the First Scientist. I'll take his word over the evolutionists any day of the week.


Right v. Rights

I believe that many American’s are obsessed with rights (legal claim), and could care less about doing what is right (moral truth).

Bush’s position of abortion is more right (moral truth) than those who demand status quo or expanded abortion rights (legal claim). This is one of many reasons I would call myself a Bush supporter. Like Bush, I believe that “every human life has value, that the strong have a duty to protect the weak and that the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence apply to everyone, not just to those considered healthy or wanted or convenient.”

Well said, Bush!

Bush to anti-abortion activists: 'We will prevail'
REUTERS
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush on Monday told opponents of abortion their views would eventually prevail and urged them to work to convince more Americans of "the rightness of our cause."
…"We, of course, seek common ground where possible," he said. "We're working to persuade more of our fellow Americans of the rightness of our cause, and this is a cause that appeals to the conscience of our citizens and is rooted in America's deepest principles -- history tells us that with such a cause, we will prevail."
…"You believe as I do that every human life has value, that the strong have a duty to protect the weak and that the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence apply to everyone, not just to those considered healthy or wanted or convenient," Bush told the anti-abortion marchers.

Elder Russell M. Nelson, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, LDS Church, on abortion:
“It is a war on the defenseless—and the voiceless. It is a war on the unborn… What sense of inconsistency can allow people to grieve for their dead, yet be calloused to this baleful war being waged on life at the time of its silent development? What logic would encourage efforts to preserve the life of a critically ill twelve-week-old infant, but countenance the termination of another life twelve weeks after inception? More attention is seemingly focused on the fate of a life at some penitentiary’s death row than on the millions totally deprived of life’s opportunity through such odious carnage before birth… But what impropriety could now legalize that which has been forbidden by the laws of God from the dawn of time? What twisted reasoning has transformed mythical concepts into contorted slogans assenting to a practice which is consummately wrong… Another contention raised is that a woman is free to choose what she does with her own body. To a certain extent this is true for all of us. We are free to think. We are free to plan. And then we are free to do. But once an action has been taken, we are never free from its consequences. Those considering abortion have already exercised certain choices…To clarify this concept, we can learn from the astronaut. Any time during the selection process, planning, and preparation, he is free to withdraw. But once the powerful rocket fuel is ignited, he is no longer free to choose. Now he is bound by the consequences of his choice. Even if difficulties develop and he might wish otherwise, the choice made was sealed by action…So it is with those who would tamper with the God-given power of procreation. They are free to think and plan otherwise, but their choice is sealed by action…The woman’s choice for her own body does not validate choice for the body of another. The expression “terminate the pregnancy” applies literally only to the woman. The consequence of terminating the fetus therein involves the body and very life of another. These two individuals have separate brains, separate hearts, and separate circulatory systems. To pretend that there is no child and no life there is to deny reality… It is not a question of when “meaningful life” begins or when the spirit “quickens” the body. In the biological sciences, it is known that life begins when two germ cells unite to become one cell, bringing together twenty-three chromosomes from both the father and from the mother. These chromosomes contain thousands of genes. In a marvelous process involving a combination of genetic coding by which all the basic human characteristics of the unborn person are established, a new DNA complex is formed. A continuum of growth results in a new human being. The onset of life is not a debatable issue, but a fact of science… Scripture declares that the “life of the flesh is in the blood.” (Lev. 17:11.) Abortion sheds that innocent blood.”
http://www.lds.org/newsroom/issues/answer/0,19491,6056-1-201-10-201,00.html





Monday, January 23, 2006

America, land of religious freedom, but not free from bigotry.

Will Americans put a Mormon in the White House?

“Why, I can’t tolerate the thought of a Mormon being a US president,” so think 17% surveyed.

Whatever!

Mitt Romney on the Issues
http://www.issues2000.org/Mitt_Romney.htm

-Mitt Romney Confronts Mormon Issue
With Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney being discussed as a potential candidate for the 2008 Republican nomination for president, observers have raised a crucial question: Will Americans put a Mormon in the White House?

Writing for the Wall Street Journal’s OpinionJournal.com this past weekend, James Taranto points out that the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is indigenous to America, but many Americans view it with suspicion. In a 1999 Gallup poll, 17 percent of those surveyed said they would not vote for a Mormon for president, far more than said the same of a Jew (6 percent) or a Catholic (4 percent).”

...But Taranto observes: "The trouble is that much of today’s anti-Mormon sentiment is found on the religious right, a constituency that looms much larger in the GOP now than it did in 1968, or than it ever has in Massachusetts. Ask a conservative Christian what he thinks of Mormonism, and there’s a good chance he’ll call it a ‘cult’ or say Mormons ‘aren’t Christian.’”

However, Romney – who has announced that he won’t run for re-election in Massachusetts next year – is in step with the Christian right on the issues, Taranto concedes.

He is pro-life, but believes the individual states should decide their own abortion policy, and he vehemently opposed the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s 2003 decision to allow same-sex marriage.

http://www.newsmax.com/scripts/printer_friendly.pl?s=pf&page=http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2006/1/23/162340.shtml?s=et

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I Stand for Israel

While I do not agree with every decision Israel has made since its birth, I do stand for Israel for many reasons.

--

Stand for Israel News and Views

Thursday, January 19, 2006

by George Mamo, Executive Director, Stand for Israel

A few weeks ago, we sent you a survey asking you to give us your reasons for supporting Israel. Here’s just a bit of what we found out:

  1. Of the thousands of responses, a great majority -- over 93 percent -- included “God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people” among their reasons for supporting the Jewish state

  1. Many cited other biblical considerations, including God’s covenant with Abraham (90 percent) and New Testament scripture that refers to Judaism as the “root” of Christianity (79.2 percent)

  1. Political and strategic factors were important to you as well, including “Israel is the United States’ strongest ally” (43 percent), “Israel is the Middle East’s only democracy” (41.7 percent) and “Israel is the frontline of the war on terror” (41 percent)

http://www.ifcj.org/site/PageServer?pagename=SFI_homepage

--

Comment at LDS Patriot Forum Message Board:

http://www.ldspatriot.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14


Prelude to Armageddon? Iran's Money Leaves Europe.

I am no alarmist. I am a realist who believes in the prophetic writings and statements of God’s prophets. As well, I have a keen interest in all things religious and political.

Notwithstanding the many events which must prelude the Battle of Armageddon, certain actions catch my eye from time.

For instance, Iran is withdrawing money from European banks. Is this permanent or only temporary? I think the former, especially in light of Iran’s incessant need to become build nuclear weapons. The West isn’t going to warm up to Iran anytime soon. Iran certainly doesn’t care one iota what the West thinks regarding its nuclear program(s).

Ezekiel and Joel have named the countries which will seek to destroy Israel in the Battle of Armageddon, namely, Persia (Iran), Russia, Turkey, Ethiopia, Libya. Joel 3:1-4, Rev. 16:9-14. Ezek. 38:2-12. Gen 10:1-3.

REUTERS
Iran says moving assets
By Parinoosh Arami

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Embroiled in a nuclear standoff with the West, Iran said on Friday it was moving its foreign assets to shield them from possible U.N. sanctions and flexed its oil muscles with a proposal to cut OPEC output.

"Yes, Iran has started withdrawing money from European banks and transferring it to other banks abroad," said a senior Iranian official, who asked not to be named.
http://go.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=10918464&pageNumber=0

William Shatner’s Body Estimated Value = $1,234,569,000

If William Shatner’s kidney stone commands $25,000, let’s estimate how much his whole body would sell for.

Kidney stones vary in size from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball. One of the largest recorded stones weight in at 1.36 kilograms or 2.992 pounds!

A Golf ball does not exceed 1.62 ounces, and a grain of sand weighs very little indeed.

If Shatner’s stone weight 1/20 of a golf ball, that would be 0.081 ounces. It probably was much smaller, which means my estimate is too low. No worries, you can do the rest of the math based on your estimates.

If Shatner’s weighs 250 lbs, that would be 4000 ounces.

At $25,000 per 0.081 ounces, Shatner's whole body would be worth an estimated $1,234,569,000.

Trekkers, save your money.

Auctioneers, you are going to have a field day.

Charities, you are going to be swimming in cash!

And Shatner, you truly have gone where no man (or stone) has gone before!

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Going maybe where no other actor has gone before, "Star Trek" star William Shatner has sold a piece of his body for charity.

Shatner, famed for playing Captain James T. Kirk, commander of the starship U.S.S. Enterprise in the original "Star Trek" TV series, sold his kidney stone to online casino GoldenPalace.Com for $25,000. The money will be donated by Shatner to Habitat for Humanity to build houses for the poor.

But Shatner said it wasn't easy parting with a kidney stone, even if it had already left his body. He also said he would never sell unless he had visitation rights.
http://go.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=oddlyEnoughNews&storyID=10904655&src=eDialog/GetContent

Kidney Stone Photographs
http://www.herringlab.com/photos/

urologychannel Kidney stones
http://www.urologychannel.com/kidneystones/index.shtml

Neuroscientific Evidence of Schadenfreude

We all know women are more empathic than men. Science can now explain biologically why this is so. Imagine if the world had been ruled by women instead of men? How different would history read?

REUTERS
By Patricia Reaney

LONDON (Reuters) - Germans have a word for it -- schadenfreude -- and when it comes to getting pleasure from someone else's misfortune, men seem to enjoy it more than women.

Such is the conclusion reached by scientists at University College London in what they say is the first neuroscientific evidence of schadenfreude.

Using brain-imaging techniques, they compared how men and women reacted when watching other people suffer pain.

If the sufferer was someone they liked, areas of the brain linked to empathy and pain were activated in both sexes.

Women had a similar response if they disliked the person experiencing the pain but men showed a surge in the reward areas of the brain.
http://go.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=oddlyEnoughNews&storyID=10904684&src=eDialog/GetContent

The Most Correct Book: Why the Book of Mormon Is the Keystone Scripture

I like the way Brian M. Hauglid summarizes the meaning behind Joseph Smith’s declaration that Book of Mormon is the "most correct of any book."

Brain states, “He states that the Prophet "no doubt had reference to the contents the doctrines and teachings of the Book of Mormon rather than to its grammatical construction, punctuation, and spelling."2 Somehow this concept is never developed, nor even introduced, in Nyman's volume. The author is trying to make a neat little package using the verses from D&C 20, but in limiting his analysis to the points contained in those verses, he cannot discuss the many significant doctrines and teachings (the contents) of the Book of Mormon with the same emphasis given those teachings in the Book of Mormon itself.

I suggest that the statement of Joseph Smith can only be understood and appreciated in light of the doctrines and teachings of the Book of Mormon. According to Elder Boyd K. Packer, "true doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior."3 President Ezra Taft Benson has said "the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion, . . . the keystone of our testimony, the keystone of our doctrine, and the keystone in the witness of our Lord and Savior."4 To emphasize the Savior's power, President Benson has also stated that "the Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. . . . The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature."5

Joseph Smith's statement, therefore, is a concise declaration that the Book of Mormon is the "most correct of any book" because it has the power to change individuals into more correct (Christlike) people. This change can only come because of better understanding Christ as the "keystone" figure of the Book of Mormon, and by applying the atonement, which em-braces all of the "precepts" that bring one nearer to God.”

http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=review&id=98&mp=T

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Seven Deadly Sins of Sacrament Meeting Talks

Meridian magazine (www.ldsmag.com) published an excellent article by Christian Johnson is a professor at Loyola School of Law in Chicago and former bishop entitled “The Seven Deadly Sins of Sacrament Meeting Talks.”
The stats he mentions are staggering, “Every Sunday, millions of Latter-day Saints attend sacrament meetings to receive the sacrament and be spiritually nourished by the sacrament meeting talks.  Assuming that each of the 26,670 LDS congregations listened to 40 minutes of sacrament talks, speakers present more than 17,780 hours of messages each Sunday.  Chances are that some of those speakers commit at least one of the “seven deadly sins of sacrament talks.”   Thankfully, however, these sins can be easily avoided upon becoming aware of the pitfalls.”
The Seven Deadly Sins of Sacrament Meeting Talks:
  1. The Sin of Unpreparedness

  2. The Sin of Time Encroachment

  3. The Sin of Out-and-Out Time Theft

  4. The Sin of Repeating Urban Legends

  5. The Sin of Drawing Upon Inappropriate Material

  6. The Sin of Giving “Too Much Information

  7. The Sin of Casting Blame on Others for Your Speaking Assignment
http://www.ldsmag.com/articles/060119sins.html

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Summary of Avraham Gileadi, PhD., Old Testament Lesson 4

Summary of Avraham Gileadi, PhD., Old Testament Lesson 4.

Thoughts, comments?

Summary of lesson 4:

Avraham Gileadi, PhD., Old Testament Lesson 4:
http://ldspatriot.blogspot.com/2006/01/avraham-gileadi-phd-old-testament_18.html

Avraham Gileadi, PhD., Old Testament Lesson 4

Posted by permission from the editors of www.latterdaylight.com. Its appearance is independent of this blog, and should not be construed to either agree or disagree with the opinions expressed on this blog, or on any other website.

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OLD TESTAMENT GOSPEL DOCTRINE SUPPLEMENTS by Avraham Gileadi
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Please share this email with someone you feel would enjoy the gospel insights from Dr. Avraham Gileadi, PhD.    To subscribe to this newsletter, visit www.latterdaylight.com.
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ISAIAH DECODED: ASCENDING THE LADDER TO HEAVEN by Avraham Gileadi

LDS scholar Avraham Gileadi shares Isaiah's "good news" and how the book of Isaiah teaches us God's higher law and how God enables us to ascend to heaven. By living God's law, we are reborn on ever higher levels of a spiritual "ladder" until we are privileged to pass through heaven's gate.  Special $1 shipping! http://www.latterdaylightbooks.com/catalog.php?Iit=78&Ict=21

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Lesson 4 - The Fall -- Descent before Ascent

Some people view the fall of Adam and Eve from an exalted state--from dwelling in the presence of God to being cut off from his presence--as a huge blunder, without which we would all be better off. Without the Fall, however, we wouldn’t be able to progress beyond the most basic level, beyond our “first estate.” In other words, we wouldn’t be here. Although it affected Adam and Eve differently than it did their children, in each case the Fall constituted a descent from a higher plane to a lower one. As primordial spirits, we too dwelt in holier spheres than this earthly habitation. Because God’s plan is based on individual agency, mortality was no doubt something we chose not just with enthusiasm but also with some degree of trepidation because of the hazards inherent in the journey.

Fortunately, Isaiah’s paradigm of “descent before ascent” makes immediate sense of the whole matter, providing a model of spiritual progression all can understand. While salvation and exaltation are as much a part of Isaiah’s theology as they are of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, in the book of Isaiah they appear within a holistic context that provides a clear perspective of how these goals are attained. Thus, key antithetical themes, built into the structure of the book, reveal that ruin comes before rebirth, disinheritance before inheritance, punishment before deliverance, suffering before salvation, and humiliation before exaltation. Just as night precedes day, and chaos precedes creation, so each ascent to a higher plane is preceded by a temporary descent into turmoil during which God puts a person’s loyalties to the test (see Avraham Gileadi, Isaiah Decoded: Ascending the Ladder to Heaven, Hebraeus Press, 2002).

For Adam and Eve and their children, the cauldron of mortality would be a refiner’s fire from which they would emerge either as gold tried and proven or, alternatively, as dross or alloy. When God said to Adam, “Cursed shall be the ground for thy sake” (Moses 4:23; cf. Genesis 3:17), the words, “for thy sake,” let us know there was something to be gained from this telestial experience. The curse of being “made partakers of misery and woe” (Moses 6:48) could turn into a blessing. Although “sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter,” their purpose was to teach God’s children to “prize the good” (Moses 6:55). Descent into mortality, with all its vicissitudes--ruin, disinheritance, punishment, suffering, and humiliation--could serve as the prelude to ascent to something more glorious than we had experienced before. Earth life would provide the optimum conditions under which we could undergo rebirth to a new life, receive a noble inheritance, find deliverance from
damnation, gain salvation from an endless disembodiment, and, ultimately, attain exaltation in the kingdom of God.

Although in mortality both the man and the woman experience “sorrow” (Moses 4:22–23; cf. Genesis 3:16–17)--the Lord’s words to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the midst of his afflictions apply here as well: “Thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high” (D&C 121:7–8). A passage from Isaiah is likewise relevant: “For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee” (Isaiah 54:7–8). It is not so important, then, from whence sorrows come--how we got into this mortal mess, why things are so flawed, whose fault something is, who has offended us, etc.--but how we respond. Ultimately, all afflictions are a test from God we volunteered for.

Not only do death and sorrow come into people’s lives with the Fall, so does another enemy: “Satan hath come among the children of men, and tempteth them to worship him; and men have become carnal, sensual, and devilish, and are shut out from the presence of God” (Moses 6:49).  A notable angel, who once dwelt in God’s presence (2 Nephi 9:8), has now become “Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice” (Moses 4:4). As a result of Satan’s influence, henceforth “works of darkness began to prevail among all the sons of men” (Moses 5:55), until men’s “hearts have waxed hard, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes cannot see afar off” (Moses 6:27).

Satan and his followers adopt the opposite paradigm of that which leads to salvation and exaltation. Instead of experiencing “descent before ascent,” they undergo “ascent before descent.” By proposing an alternative plan that would exalt himself, for example, Satan ends up humiliated. By being unwilling to pay the price of humanity’s salvation--but rather compelling people to behave--he nevertheless ends up suffering. Although Satan didn’t get his chance to “save” anyone by using his methods, he nevertheless still implements controlling tendencies in world religions. Moreover, his “desire” being directed towards Cain--as Eve’s desire is towards Adam (Genesis 3:16; 4:7; Moses 4:22: 5:23)--foreshadows the alternative lifestyle he advocates in a morally corrupt world. No wonder God calls his latter-day people “Sodom and Gomorrah” (Isaiah 1:10; 3:9), alluding to sexual depravity among many of them and to their ultimate demise (Isaiah 13:1–19).

The cursed condition caused by the Fall--in which all manner of evils and falsehoods are permitted to prevail--is nonetheless the perfect environment in which spiritual growth can occur.  As Lehi teaches in his masterful discourse to his son Jacob, “It must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11). In this mortal probationary state, people are “free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil” (2 Nephi 2:27). On the one hand, “redemption cometh in and through the holy Messiah,” who “offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (2 Nephi 2:6–7). On the other, “the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein...giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom” (2 Nephi 2:29).     

The redeeming factor of the Fall is the opportunity to rise to new heights by availing ourselves of Christ’s atonement for transgression. To that end--in the midst of and in spite of our disadvantaged state--we must follow the commandments of God and “turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men” (Moses 6:52). In the process, we “must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory” (Moses 6:59).

When Adam, in fulfilling these commandments, “was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man,” God declared, “Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons” (Moses 6:65, 68). Although Adam’s and Eve’s descent from a celestial to a telestial sphere for the sake of their posterity was greater than ours (and consequently their ascent to glory also), nevertheless all follow the same pattern in becoming “sons” of God. Without undergoing a descent into mortality--without experiencing the perils of the Fall--we cannot be called God’s “sons” in the scriptural definition of the term. The sacrifice Adam and Eve made in their descent was nonetheless eclipsed by one even greater. When making the Atonement, Christ “descended below them all” (D&C 88:6; 122:8), thereafter ascending above them all to sit on his Father’s throne (Revelation 3:21; cf. Moroni 9:26) .

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Gospel Doctrine Supplements by Avraham Gileadi is a service of the Hebreaus Foundation and Latter Day Light—www.latterdaylight.com, and distributed by email via the Latter Day Light–Gospel Doctrine Supplement mailing list.  This message may be forwarded to individuals if this copyright notice is included.  Posting, printing, or any other form of reproduction of this material without the permission of the owner is prohibited.  Copyright 2006 The Hebreaus Foundation.
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DNA & the Book of Mormon: Summary of Scientific Facts To Date

It is scientifically unsound to claim "DNA science has disproved the Latter-day Saint assertion that the Book of Mormon is historical reality." Before you buy into that specious argument, get the facts first. Facts are our friends and shouldn't be shunned.

Here is a summary of the scientific facts to date:

Those who make this claim have not done actual DNA studies that had the premise of being a litmus test the Book of Mormons historical claims. Rather, they have sloppily borrowed other research and cast out unwarranted accusations against the Book of Mormon. Clearly this hardly is a "scientific" approach, as I'm sure you would agree (if you know anything about science in the least, that is).

DNA has supported New World immigrations from Asiatic populace, and to that we say, "So what?" This falls short of disproving the Book of Mormon for several reasons.

1) The Book of Mormon doesn't deal with all ancient New World peoples. Meaning, the geography and group in the Book of Mormon is very limited, and other peoples were present in the New World before Lehi's family came over. Take this into account and that means "scientific" conclusions are impossible.

2) We don't know what Israelite DNA from Lehi's time looks like. Therefore, without a base line, without knowing what to look for, "scientific" conclusions are impossible.

3) DNA markers can and do disappear. Take into account the combined effects of Genetic Bottleneck, the Founder Effect and Genetic Drift, and that means "scientific" conclusions are impossible.

DNA evidence is not incompatible with a belief that the Book of Mormon is an authentic ancient document. That is the only "scientific" conclusion that can be confirmed at the moment.

Is An Historical Book of Mormon Compatible With DNA Science?
http://www.fairlds.org/apol/brochures/BoMDNA.pdf

DNA and the Book of Mormon
http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai195.html

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Isaiah Decoded: Ascending the Ladder to Heaven by Avraham Gileadi

Gileadi's background makes him uniquely qualified to bring to light Isaiah as never before or as know one else can. His contribution to Isaiah is second to none; both in the LDS community and outside the LDS community.

As Nibley is to Book of Mormon research, Gileadi is to Isaiah. He has advanced the keys to unlocking, or decoding Isaiah, in a way hitherto unknown. If McConkie is king of Mormon doctrine, Gileadi is king of Isaiah.

In fact, unless one reads Gileadi's books on Isaiah, Isaiah will (and the OT and the Plan of Salvation) simply will not be fully appreciated.

Again, it is my opinion, that until on learns about what Gileadi has to say about Isaiah, Isaiah will remain a sealed book.

IMHO, the best book to begin with in taking on his work is "Isaiah Decoded: Ascending the Ladder to Heaven by Avraham Gileadi."

"The Literary Message of Isaiah" was his doctorate thesis. Some have criticized is as being too technical, and as a result the message was getting buried. So the audience for "The Literary Message of Isaiah" is fulltime scholars.

"Isaiah Decoded: Ascending the Ladder to Heaven" is the layman’s book of "The Literary Message of Isaiah." It was written to summaries the salient points in "The Literary Message of Isaiah" minus all the details and with language the average LDS in mind; it’s an easier and more enjoyable read.

BYU BOOK STORE:
Isaiah Decoded: Ascending the Ladder to Heaven by Avraham Gileadi
Item #0-910511-07-1
For the first time, a Bible scholar fully integrates the Old and New Testaments. Dr. Avraham Gileadi reveals the Book of Isaiah as the key to these two seemingly incompatible books of scripture, taking both to an unprecedented level of understanding. Hitherto unseen literary features change the rules for interpreting the prophecy of Isaiah, showing it to be an allegory of the end of the world. Isaiah's "good news" teaches us God's higher law and how God enables us to ascend to heaven. By living God's law, we are reborn on even higher levels of a spiritual "ladder" until we are privileged to pass through heaven's gate. For centuries, people have tried to make sense of Isaiah's writings, not realizing that sophisticated literary structures both conceal and reveal a major prophecy about our time. Now, decades of scriptural analysis by Avraham Gileadi, a leading Bible scholar, are simplified for the lay reader in Isaiah Decoded. Hardback.

http://www.byubookstore.com/ePOS/this_category=253&store=439&item_number=0-910511-07-1&form=shared3/gm/detail.html&design=439

Friday, January 13, 2006

Reflections on Avraham Gileadi, PhD., Old Testament Lesson 3

Reflections on Avraham Gileadi, PhD., Old Testament Lesson 3

What do you think of Gileadi’s assertion that a knowledge of the words of Isaiah is key to comprehending the Old Testament itself and, indeed, all scriptures.”

Given Nephi’s intense love for Isaiah & Jesus’ commandment to diligently search Isaiah, Gileadi’s viewpoint may provide a key reason why Isaiah should be central to our scripture studies.

Jesus said in, 3 Ne. 20: 11 Ye remember that I spake unto you, and said that when the words of Isaiah should be fulfilled—behold they are written, ye have them before you, therefore search them—


Jesus commanded 3 Ne. 23: 1, AND now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.

Lesson 3 is full of deep theological insights and I look forward to your feedback and opinions about this lesson.

Some Lesson 3 points in summary:

Avraham Gileadi, PhD., Old Testament Lesson 3
http://ldspatriot.blogspot.com/2006/01/avraham-gileadi-phd-old-testament_13.html

Avraham Gileadi, PhD., Old Testament Lesson 3

Posted by permission from the editors of www.latterdaylight.com. Its appearance is independent of this blog, and should not be construed to either agree or disagree with the opinions expressed on this blog, or on any other website.

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Please share this email with someone you feel would enjoy the gospel insights from Dr. Avraham Gileadi, PhD.    To subscribe to this newsletter, visit www.latterdaylight.com.
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This book provides wonderful insights for your study the Book of Mormon. Brother Gileadi's background brings fascinating understanding to the language and teachings found the Book of Mormon.  http://www.latterdaylightbooks.com/catalog.php?Iit=77&Ict=23

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Lesson 3 - In the Image and Likeness of God

The story of how God made the heavens and the earth and created Adam and Eve often remains at the kindergarten level in our minds when in actuality the Bible is replete with data that fills out the sparse account of the creation narrative. This is particularly true of the theology of Isaiah, who identifies a series of spiritual levels that greatly impacts our understanding of Adam and Eve and of anyone else in his or her relationship to God. Just as a knowledge of the Old Testament is key to understanding the New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, etc., so a knowledge of the words of Isaiah is key to comprehending the Old Testament itself and, indeed, all scriptures.

Isaiah informs us, for example, who it is that qualifies for Paradise and that God hasn’t stopped creating. God continues to create, or rather re-create, the heavens and the earth, his covenant people, and all who keep his commandments. According to Isaiah, the earth itself, God’s people Israel, and righteous individuals are all in the process of pursuing a well-defined pattern of ascent by following the steps God has formulated that will exalt them, in which each ascent or rebirth involves a divine act of creation that brings his children ever closer to his image and likeness.  Outside of this arrangement there is but spiritual stagnation, which, in actuality, constitutes descent or regression, entailing a de-creation of what a person once was, because time itself moves forward.

In the light of Isaiah’s theology of spiritual ascent, the creation of the heavens and the earth and of Adam and Eve is seen as part of a much broader, ongoing process; in other words, as part of a continuum of creation, not as a one-time event. Although God shows Moses only concerning this earth and its inhabitants (Moses 1:35, 40), God has nevertheless created “worlds without number,” many of which have “passed away,” many of which “now stand,” and others of which, very evidently, are in the process of creation (Moses 1:33, 35). Of course, these worlds too have “Adams” and “Eves” to populate them, so that their children, in turn, may likewise qualify for Paradise if they progress to that point. This process has been going on long before we arrived on the scene, and it will continue long after we exit mortality.

As a case in point, a pinhead view of deep space, now possible with the Hubble Telescope circling the earth, reveals endless galaxies stretching into the distance as far as the eye can see, each galaxy with its billions of stars. Multiply that with similar scans in every possible direction and we can conclude that the numbers of Adams and Eves populating planets--the “worlds without number” God has created--must be in the trillions upon trillions! What Isaiah teaches us, however, is that we ourselves may become Adams and Eves, and as we grasp that fact we will understand the Bible’s creation story in an entirely new light.

First of all, we should know that the word “God,” in Hebrew, is a plural term. This explains why Abraham 4–5 speaks of “the Gods” creating the heavens and the earth rather than “God.” The Book of Abraham simply renders another translation of the same word in the language of the Old Testament. The plurality of the term “Gods” throws into perspective the vastness of the cosmos and who was involved in the creation of our particular earth and its “heavens,” which to the naked eye consist of our own galaxy.

Secondly, we should keep in mind that if God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and is no respecter of persons (see Acts 10:34; 1 Nephi 10:18; Mormon 9:9; D&C 1:35; 35:1; 38:16), then he will not do for Adam and Eve something he will not do for us. In other words, the creation of our first parents wasn’t something unique that has not or will not repeat itself elsewhere. If we too may become Adams and Eves--by passing through the steps God has outlined in his plan of salvation and exaltation--then we can reason backwards and conclude that Adam and Eve, our ancestors, must have passed through these very same steps in order for them to become Adam and Eve.

As Isaiah informs us, those steps involve ascending through several spiritual levels until one’s election is made sure, corresponding with a theology of progression through telestial, terrestrial, and celestial degrees of glory. In his inspired writings, Isaiah identifies a telestial category of people as Jacob/Israel, which consists of generic believers in God in an unsaved state. Second, he designates a terrestrial category as Zion/Jerusalem, comprising God’s covenant people or those who obtain a remission of their sins. A third, celestial category of people, God’s Sons/Servants, is composed of individuals who see God, thus making sure their calling and election.

As with Adam and Eve, only on this celestial level does the idea of male and female become prominent in the book of Isaiah. This is important because, as the Genesis account informs us, being created in the image and likeness of God is itself defined as male and female: “God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:26–27; cf. Moses 2:26–27; Abraham 4:26–27); “In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created” (Genesis 5:1–2; cf. Moses 6:8–9). The alternate pronouns, “him/them,” show that Adam and Eve were inseparable.

This male–female identity means that anything less than that is expressly not in the image and likeness of God because God himself is male and female; that is, God consists of both a divine Father and a divine Mother. It also means that on the celestial level the marriage covenant is an integral part of one’s covenant with God and that male–female relationships below this level have no permanency. One cannot claim, therefore, that all of God’s children are created in the image and likeness of God, at least not physically in the literal, scriptural sense, not until they becomes celestial beings. Only as one makes sure his calling and election--possible only as male and female on the Son/Servant (celestial) level--is one truly created, or rather re-created, in the image and likeness of God to dwell in his presence as did Adam and Eve.

The fact that “Adam...begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth” (Genesis 5:3; cf. Moses 6:10), implies that Seth followed Adam’s example of covenantal loyalty to God (cf. Moses 6:3) and that Adam was a son of God through the same natural process by which Seth was a son of Adam (cf. Moses 6:22). That idea is implicit in the use of the identical terms, “likeness” and “image,” that describe both Adam’s and Seth’s origins, apart from any human resemblance that was apparent. Although Adam was physically “formed from the dust” (Genesis 2:7; 3:19; Moses 3:7; Abraham 5:7), that doesn’t imply he was made from a lump of clay. It simply means his body was organized from earthly (telestial) elements (cf. Moses 6:59), the words “dust” and “waters” used in the creation narrative being chaos motifs that represent matter in a disorganized state.

The word “dust” also alludes to a rebirth or resurrection from the dust, as in “Awake, arise; clothe yourself with power, O Zion! Put on your robes of glory, O Jerusalem, holy city...Shake yourself free, rise from the dust; sit enthroned, O Jerusalem” (Isaiah 52:1–2, GT; cf. Moroni 10:31). That idea coincides with the “deep sleep” that fell upon Adam (Genesis 2:21; Moses 3:21; Abraham 5:15), from which God awakens him. The words, “Awake” and “arise” are resurrection motifs, as in “Yet shall thy dead live when their bodies arise. Awake, and sing for joy, you who abide in the dust: your dew is the dew of sunrise! For the earth shall cast up its dead” (Isaiah 26:19, GT). They also suggest rebirth from a lower to a higher spiritual level, as in “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14; cf. 2 Nephi 1:14, 23).

In the millennial age that Isaiah predicts, when the Lord comes to reign on the earth, all the righteous who remain--that is, Zion/Jerusalem and above--will enjoy the earth’s paradisaical glory. However, only those on the Son/Servant level or higher will inherit Paradise by right of possession (see Avraham Gileadi, Isaiah Decoded: Ascending the Ladder to Heaven, Hebraeus Press, 2002, 169–219). This implies that, as God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and is no respecter of persons, those who inherit Paradise on this earth by right of possession also qualify as Adams and Eves who at some point may populate worlds. To receive Paradise as a birthright, in other words, puts a couple on the level of Adam and Eve, ready, in the due time of the Lord, to begin a new cycle of creation.

The fact that Adam and Eve chose to partake of the forbidden fruit and temporarily leave Paradise was a calculated act that provided their sons and daughters with the kind of (telestial) environment in which they too, by overcoming evil, could ascend to their parents’ level. Through their selfless sacrifice, Adam and Eve, in turn, would ascend even further.

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Gospel Doctrine Supplements by Avraham Gileadi is a service of the Hebreaus Foundation and Latter Day Light—www.latterdaylight.com, and distributed by email via the Latter Day Light–Gospel Doctrine Supplement mailing list.  This message may be forwarded to individuals if this copyright notice is included.  Posting, printing, or any other form of reproduction of this material without the permission of the owner is prohibited.  Copyright 2006 The Hebreaus Foundation.
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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Do LDS Idolize Joseph Smith?

Selah on FAIR Message Board wrote, “That to me always seemed like idol worship when the first name out of a person's mouth was almost ALWAYS Joseph Smith and not Jesus.” http://www.fairboards.org/index.php?showtopic=12688&st=15&#entry347234

I hear what you are saying and there maybe merit to what you say. I do not dismiss outright your opinion.

I do, however, want to provide my personal observations that speaks to this issue. I'm a talk show radio-holic; I'd listen to talk radio 24/7/365 if I could. I listen to everything, including Christian talk radio. I've witnessed like parallels amongst some Christian leaders who praise and nearly worship the ground Paul walked on. They drone on and on and on and on incessantly about Paul.

To your point, do these Christian leaders idolize Paul? Given your view point we must conclude that to be the case.

But I do not think so; I do not believe these Christian leaders idolize Paul anymore than LDS idolize Joseph Smith. Why so much emphasis upon these Prophets then? When such emphasis is evident what is the motive in the heart of those who would hold such high regard for these Prophets that it requires such much emphasis?

I'm sure you can answer the question yourself. It is not these Prophets per se that is being held up, but rather the miracle that God wrought through them. In my mind and in my heart, there is no possible way for be to speak about Paul & Joseph without thinking about the God and all that in his mercy and grace he has done for us.

We witness through these great Prophets God's proximity to us. God isn't some spirit essence which fills the universe and I've no contact with him. Rather Paul and Joseph demonstrate that God is close, and better yet, because God was close to Paul & Joseph, I too can be close to God in like manner.

I see Christ in Paul, so I love to talk about Paul. Likewise, I see Christ in Joseph, so I love to talk about Joseph. It's all about the miracle of God speaking to man, God speaking to Propehts, God speaking to you and me. That isn't idolatry, it's faith and gratitude towards God that we honor His servants the way we do. And that, I'm certain, warms God's heart to no end.

Deification

SeattleGhostWriter wrote on the FAIR Message Board, “Thus, if the Judaic, Christian and Islamic religious theophany and doctrine of Man and God are more in the minority than that of the Ancient religious theosophies that are separated by lands, oceans and times - but are parallel and similar in that man has a divine destiny that is just not ultimately reaching heaven and ending there.” http://www.fairboards.org/index.php?act=ST&f=13&t=12642&st=0#entry347183

My explanation for these parallel teachings is that it stems from two sources, 1) man's innate spiritual intelligence; the veil is not so complete as to conceal all truth and intelligence gained in the pre-earth life, and 2) the Spirit of Christ, better known as the conscience, is the Light of Christ, which Light is divine intelligence or truth, and it would not surprise me one bit that God would plant into the hearts of men truths which uplift man towards his potential.

Deification is as old as man because it is as old as God. When God declared that his work was to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, it should be implicitly understood that his work and glory was to "remove the distinctions and barriers between us and to make us what God is." (Stephen E. Robinson) Because eternal life is the quality of life enjoyed by God and the exalted only, what kind of life God lives is the kind of live man may also enjoy and partake in.

Robinson further states, "The official doctrine of the Church on deification does not extend in essentials beyond what is said in the Bible, with its Doctrines and Covenants parallels, and in Doctrine and Covenants 132: 19-20...Those who are exalted by [God's] grace will always be 'gods'...by grace, by an extension of his power, and will always be subordinate to the Godhead. Any teaching beyond this involves speculation without support from either the Bible or other LDS Scriptures."

Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Dionysius, Athanasius, Maximus the Confessor, and Augustine writings all contain references to deification.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Avraham Gileadi, PhD., Old Testament Lesson 2

Posted by permission from the editors of www.latterdaylight.com. Its appearance is independent of this blog, and should not be construed to either agree or disagree with the opinions expressed on this blog, or on any other website.

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Lesson 2 - An Order of Stars/Planets/Intelligences

Abraham 3 contains several parallel statements postulating that if "two facts" (or things) exist, one being above (or greater than) another, then this suggests that a third exists above them (3:6, 8, 16-19). With this comparative model the Lord describes stars or planets and intelligences alike (see, respectively, 3:2-18 and 3:18-23), thus implying that stars and planets are a type of intelligences. The indissoluble connection of stars and intelligences is confirmed in Abraham's seeing the stars multiply before his eyes, until "I could not see the end thereof" (3:12), and God then telling him, "I will multiply thee, and thy seed after thee, like unto these" (3:14). That episode echoes the Genesis account, in which the Lord says, "Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be" (Genesis 15:5; cf. 26:4).

A further intrinsic link between stars and intelligences appears in the Lord's description of stars as "lights," which are "set to give light" (3:10, 13), whereas we know from another source that intelligence is synonymous with the light of truth: "He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things. Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence" (D&C 93:28-30). In short, a person's intelligence increases in proportion to his assimilating light and truth, which, in turn, depends on his choosing to keep the commandments of God.

A later revelation adds, "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come" (D&C 130:18-19). The word "knowledge," in this scripture, is not to be confused with information, which anyone can accumulate but not act upon. Rather, it refers to the knowledge of God, without which we cannot relate to or comprehend him (cf. Ether 3:20; D&C 84:19; 121:26; Abraham 1:2). This growing in intelligence, too, resembles cosmic phenomena, as when heavenly bodies accumulate sufficient mass to become stars and planets. Stars form when larger agglomerations of matter are compressed by intense gravity and commence fusion, at which point they begin to shine. Planets form from leftover cosmic debris surrounding the stars.

Additional scriptures directly identify persons with stars, and vice versa, as in "The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" (Job 38:7). These parallel phrases practically equate "morning stars" with the "sons of God," although the term "sons," by definition, identifies an exalted category among God's children, not all of them (see Avraham Gileadi, Isaiah Decoded: Ascending the Ladder to Heaven, Hebraeus Press, 2002, 169-219). Just as God numbers and "names" his sons, signifying their calling and election, so he does the stars: "He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names" (Psalms 147:4); "Lift your eyes heavenward and see: Who formed these? He who brings forth their hosts by number, calling each one by name. Because he is almighty and all powerful, not one is unaccounted for" (Isaiah 40:26, GT).

Ultimately, God's children go one of two ways, as in "[The great dragon's] tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth" (Revelation 12:4), representing the spirits who rebelled with Lucifer, who did not keep their first estate but were cast down, as well as possible further latter-day phenomena. Others of God's children keep both their first and second estates, as in "They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever" (Daniel 12:3), representing the celestial exaltation of those who shone as exemplars to others during their tenure in mortality .

The Lord himself, too, is depicted as a star: "There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel" (Numbers 24:17); "Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him" (Matthew 2:2); "I, Jesus, have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star" (Revelation 22:16). Rhetorically, Job's equating "morning stars" with the "sons of God," as mentioned earlier, nuances Christ's identity as a morning star, precluding any confusion, for example, with the planet Venus. Rather, the terms "bright and morning star" identify Christ as the brightest morning star, he being the firstborn Son of God and a God in his own right.

In fact, Christ's identity with Kolob appears evident, which we also glean from Abraham 3. The order of the stars and planets God has made parallels the order of the intelligences that are organized. The chiastic form of the first part of the chapter highlights the cosmic order:

a. Abraham sees the stars as far as those nearest the throne of God (3:2)
b. Kolob governs all heavenly bodies of the same order as the earth (3:3)
c. Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord's time (3:4)
d. The planet of the lesser light is slower than the earth (3:5)

e. Abraham sees how the greater and lesser lights relate to the earth (3:6)

d. The time of the lesser light is longer than the earth's (3:5)
c. Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord's time (3:9)
b. Kolob governs all heavenly bodies of the same order as the earth (3:9)
a. Abraham sees the stars as far as those near the throne of God (3:10)

From this first part of the chapter, we identify 1. Kolob as the "greatest of all" the stars, being nearest the throne of God (cf. 3:16) and governing "all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest" (3:3, 9); 2. other "very great" governing stars near the throne of God (3:3); and 3. our immediate universe, consisting of the earth, sun, and moon (3:6). This order parallels, in the same chapter, the order of "the intelligences that were organized before the world was" (3:22), namely, 1. one "like unto God" (3:24); 2. certain "noble and great...souls" foreordained to be rulers (3:22-23); and 3. other "spirits" whom God will "prove...to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them" (3:23-24). Just as those who keep their first estate are "added upon" (3:26), so those who keep their second estate are "added upon" (ibid.), presumably the "glory" they inherit being proportional to their increase in intelligence in mortal
ity.

From these scriptures, we observe that the scriptural definition of "intelligence" is not identical with the idea of possessing smarts or being savvy in a worldly sense but rather in a spiritual sense. In effect, true intelligence consists of doing "all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them," through which persons increase in light and truth or the knowledge of God. In Isaiah's paradigm of ascending spiritual levels, moreover, obedience to the law or terms of God's covenant and compliance with God's will form a grand key to successive rebirths or re-creations of the person who ascends. Thus, ultimately, all of God's children are given the opportunity to attain celestial exaltation, as have others before them. In that respect, the cosmos surrounding us has much to teach us, as we note from the following:

"Isaiah's use of celestial imagery as a type of persons who ascend leads to interesting parallels with a ladder to heaven. When we think of smaller heavenly bodies that orbit larger ones in terms of the smaller keeping the 'law' of the larger, then the cosmos alludes to a series of ascending levels. Moons orbiting planets, planets orbiting stars, and stars orbiting centers of galaxies parallel persons observing ever higher laws as they ascend. The movement in unison of larger heavenly bodies and the lower nature of 'rogue' entities, such as comets, asteroids, meteors, and dust, parallel the oneness of higher spiritual levels and the chaotic character of lower ones." (Isaiah Decoded, 281-82.)

====================================================
STUDIES IN THE BOOK OF MORMON by Avraham Gileadi

This book provides wonderful insights for your study the Book of Mormon. Brother Gileadi's background as a rabbinical student in Israel brings fascinating understanding to the language and teachings found the Book of Mormon. http://www.latterdaylightbooks.com/catalog.php?Iit=77&Ict=23

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Gospel Doctrine Supplements by Avraham Gileadi is a service of the Hebreaus Foundation and Latter Day Light--www.latterdaylight.com, and distributed by email via the Latter Day Light-Gospel Doctrine Supplement mailing list. This message may be forwarded to individuals if this copyright notice is included. Posting, printing, or any other form of reproduction of this material without the permission of the owner is prohibited. Copyright 2006 The Hebreaus Foundation.
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Avraham Gileadi, Ph.D, Old Testament Lesson 1

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Lesson 1 - In the Similitude of the Only-Begotten

Because the Old Testament is the foundation of all other scriptures, unless a person has a firm grounding in this book, he can never "put it all together"--he cannot integrate all the scriptures into one. As we near the period in the history of humanity to which the ancient prophets looked forward--the time of the coming of our Lord and Savior--we may no longer have the luxury of biding our time to "catch up" on our understanding of this enigmatic book. And that could bring unfortunate results for those who may misread unfolding events--as unprepared generations did before us--in a time of upheaval and uncertainty mistaking the things that are of God to be of the devil and the things that are of the devil to be of God. If God has given us "a pattern in all things" (D&C 52:14), then shouldn't we become familiar with that pattern? If not so, the awful consequences that were predicted--when, if it were possible, even the elect will be deceived (Matthew 24:24)--will be on our own
heads.

How appropriate, then, to commence study of the Old Testament with the book of Moses, the prophet who wrote Genesis through Deuteronomy! In Moses 1, we gain some background into how Moses--who appeared with Jesus and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration--came to be called of God to deliver Israel from bondage in Egypt. The approximate chiastic structure of Moses 1, as follows, highlights important elements in God's empowerment of Moses:

a. God speaks to Moses on an exceedingly high mountain (1:1)
b. God speaks with Moses face to face (1:2-3)
c. God's works are without end (1:4-5)
d. God has a work to do for Moses (1:4-7)
e. God calls Moses his "son" (1:4-7)
f. Moses sees the ends of the world and all men (1:8)
g. The presence of God withdraws from Moses (1:9)
h. Moses loses and regains his natural strength (1:9-10)
i. God's glory is upon Moses (1:11)
j. Satan commands Moses to worship him (1:12)
k. Moses is in the similitude of the Only Begotten (1:13)

l. Moses discerns between God and Satan (1:14-15)

k. Moses is in the similitude of the Only Begotten (1:16)
j. God commands Moses to worship him (1:17)
i. God's glory is upon Moses (1:18)
h. Moses loses and regains his natural strength (1:20-21)
g. Satan departs from the presence of Moses (1:22-24)
f. Moses sees the earth and all its inhabitants (1:25-30)
e. God "chooses" Moses and empowers him (1:25)
d. God appoints Moses to deliver Israel (1:25-26)
c. God has created worlds without number (1:33)
b. Moses speaks with God face to face (1:31-41)
a. God speaks to Moses on an unidentified mountain (1:42)

We may sometimes wonder--and perhaps feel ourselves inadequate by comparison--why God appears to some of his children in mortality and not to others. One response is that such privileged persons have been chosen from before the foundation of the world for the tasks they are to perform on the earth (Isaiah 49:1; Jeremiah 1:5; Ephesians 1:4), and that God appears to them, as in Moses' case, to commission them to fulfill his work. However, the question is, Why does God choose them? Alma provides an answer when he says, "This is the manner after which they were ordained--being called and prepared from [before] the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption
for such" (Alma 13:3).

Another explanation comes from the prophet Isaiah, who distinguishes people by the different spiritual levels they are on, each characterized by the observance (or lack of observance) of the law or terms of the covenant pertaining to that level. The only way a person can attain a higher spiritual level, such as that of Moses, is to "ascend" or progress from the lowest, starting level like everyone else. No one is created in a high spiritual category all at once, though--as Isaiah teaches--God "creates," or rather recreates, the person each time he or she ascends a level. Every such rebirth or ascent into a higher category, however, is characterized by the person first experiencing a kind of trial or descent, during which God tests his or her loyalties to the terms of the covenant. (See Avraham Gileadi, Isaiah Decoded: Ascending the Ladder to Heaven, Hebraeus Press, 2002.)

Isaiah identifies the spiritual level on which one sees God face to face, has a cosmic vision, is given power over the elements, and is appointed a prophet to the nations as the level of "seraphim." Moses, who experienced these very things, thus belongs in this category. Other distinguishing characteristics of this level include the sealing power, a translated state (though not all individuals are translated), the ability to perform mighty miracles, and the power to convince others of the truth of their words (Ibid.). The Prophet Joseph Smith identified this spiritual level with "the power of Elijah and the fulness of the [Melchizedek] Priesthood" (TPJS, 337-40), which is a stage beyond making sure one's calling and election. Persons who fall into this category include Enoch, Moses, Elijah, John the Revelator, Nephi the son of Helaman, and the Three Nephites. Like John and the Three Nephites, such persons are "beloved" of God (3 Nephi 28:6; Mormon 1:13).

There exists no indication that anyone ascends to this spiritual level in this one earthly mortality. Like Abraham, "noble and great" souls had experiences before this life that advanced them to their starting level here on earth (Abraham 3:22-23; D&C 138:55-56), having hitherto undergone a "preparatory redemption" (Alma 13:3). This explain why God appears to some even in their youth, to others in later years as they progress, and to yet others not in this life. In effect, to dwell in the presence of God is an earned blessing or privilege that pertains to each spiritual level or category. Persons may experience the presence of the Holy Ghost, our Savior Jesus Christ, or the Father, depending on which spiritual level they are on. The fact that both the Father and the Son visited the Prophet Joseph Smith in his early years, for example, indicates that he had attained the seraph category even before this mortality.

What Moses 1 adds to our knowledge of this spiritual level is that Moses rejected Satan and worshiped God--a central idea of the chapter--and that he was "in the similitude of [God's] Only Begotten" Son (Moses 1:6, 13, 16). This doesn't mean, however, that all God's children are in this similitude. It does mean that Moses, by rejecting Satan and worshiping God in his life, ultimately came to resemble God's Only Begotten Son in a particular sense, and that all who attain this spiritual level go through this process and grow into the same similitude. The only other scriptural instances of the above expression appear in a context of sacrifice: Adam's offering the firstlings of his flock was "a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father" (Moses 5:7); and Abraham's offering up his son Isaac was "a similitude of God and his Only Begotten Son" (Jacob 4:5).

These rhetorical connections suggest that persons who are in the similitude of the Only Begotten have fulfilled what the Prophet Joseph Smith counseled those who would attain such an exaltation to do, namely to "covenant with God by sacrifice," laying our all upon the altar (Psalms 50:5; "Lecture Sixth," Lectures on Faith), with the sure knowledge that this constitutes true worship of God and that anything less than this puts a person in Satan's power. This, Moses did, upon which God empowered him to command Satan himself to depart. By the law of sacrifice they kept, and by means of sacred ordinances under the terms of the covenant, ancients such as Adam, Melchizedek, Abraham, and Moses established "a type of his order [of the Only Begotten of the Father], that [their people] might look forward to him for a remission of their sins, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord" (Alma 13:16), "which rest is the fulness of his glory" (D&C 84:24). Moses was thus well qualified
to "sanctify his people that they [like him] might behold the face of God" (D&C 84:23) and similarly grow into the similitude of his Only Begotten.

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ISAIAH DECODED: ASCENDING THE LADDER TO HEAVEN by Avraham Gileadi

LDS scholar Avraham Gileadi shares Isaiah's "good news" and how the book of Isaiah teaches us God's higher law and how God enables us to ascend to heaven. By living God's law, we are reborn on ever higher levels of a spiritual "ladder" until we are privileged to pass through heaven's gate.
http://www.latterdaylightbooks.com/catalog.php?Iit=78&Ict=21

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Gospel Doctrine Supplements by Avraham Gileadi is a service of the Hebreaus Foundation and Latter Day Light--www.latterdaylight.com, and distributed by email via the Latter Day Light-Gospel Doctrine Supplement mailing list. This message may be forwarded to individuals if this copyright notice is included. Posting, printing, or any other form of reproduction of this material without the permission of the owner is prohibited. Copyright 2006 The Hebreaus Foundation.
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LDS Church Growth Facts & Stats

Question: What do you think…should I bother to print out his book and hand out to my good friends in the Elder's Quorum?

Last Sunday in priesthood there was a discussion regarding the growth of our Church? With the greatest respect, most of what was said was pure myth. It is commonly purported among LDS that "the growth in the LDS Church is phenomenal…that it is the fastest growing Church…or…according to reports by 2080 membership will be 265 million!..."

All these common sentiments just are not true. Those who make such claims mean no harm, and of course, love the Church and are excited about its growth naturally.

The reality, however, is that Church growth has significantly slowed from 5% to 3%. What is more, other Churches vastly out grew the LDS Church by significant, if not breathtaking, numbers.

However, I did not have the heart to dispel the illusion held by all members of my LDS Elders Quorum. No one likes to be corrected, especially in front of others, more especially if the illusion is something commonly held in belief by many others, even more especially if somehow the illusion is tied to faith, love, loyalty and a type of sign which buttresses their faith in the Church they so love and know beyond doubt to be true. Sometimes it's just better to keep things to ones self until a better opportunity presents itself.

The URLs below contain a book written by Dr. David Stewart, 32 year old physician who served a mission in Russia. He is an exceedingly faithful LDS who loves missionary work, statistics, and facts; he is not afraid of facts & stats & reality when it comes to Church growth. His work is extremely insightful and very valuable to the LDS community.

I'm thinking of printing out his book and distributing it. Facts are our friends and ought not to offend us!

HTML online book:
The Law of the Harvest
Practical Principles of Effective Missionary Work
By David G. Stewart, Jr.
Email: dgstewart@yahoo.com
Copyright 2005
Version of August 21, 2005
http://www.cumorah.com/harvest.html#introduction

MS Word version of the book
http://www.cumorah.com/report.html

Home page:
http://www.cumorah.com/

About David Stewart & cumorah
http://www.cumorah.com/about.html

Will 2012 be the start of a 7 year famine?

WhisperFox of another forum posted the following insight regarding President Hinckley’s 7 years of plenty and 7 years of famine and the year 2012. He alludes that the year 2012 will be the year the famine begins. For a variety of reasons I agree with his conclusion.

What are your thoughts about the possibility of the year 2012 as the beginning year of a famine?

WhisperFox
The answer is 7 and 2012, now if we just knew the right question.
http://p198.ezboard.com/fzionscampfrm13.sh...picID=316.topic

7 years ago ...

1998, October conference, President Hinckley gave a talk in general priesthood meeting warning priesthood holders to get their houses in order, focusing mainly on financial matters, using the biblical story of Pharoahs dream of 7 years of plenty and 7 years of famne.

7 years later ...

2005, October conference, President Hinckley gave a talk in general priesthood meeting warning priesthood holders to get their houses in order, focusing mainly of food storage and emergency prepardness, referencing in his talk his comments before about Pharoah's dream of 7 years of plenty and 7 years of famine.

7 years from now two interesting things occur....

2012, December 23rd, the Mayan calendar ends (or better ends it's major cycle) This calendar was begun in about 3114 BC and can still predict all the eclipes' of this solar system to the day. It ends Dec. 23rd, 2012.

2012, the Great Pyramid of Cheop's, thought by many to be a giant stone calendar of the history of the world. The great corridor calendar has managed to show each major event in the history of the world, even though it was built before 2,000 BC. It ends in 2012.

The answer for today's Jeopardy daily double is "7" and "2012"

What is the question?

As we all know, President Hinckley is very educated and is very adept at the use of the English language. In the talk in 1998 and in 2005 he used the word "portent". Lets take a look at the definitions of "portent".

Quote:Dictionary.com
Main Entry: por•tent

1 : something that foreshadows a coming event : OMEN
2 : prophetic indication or significance
3 : MARVEL, PRODIGY


Quote:Meriam Websters
por•tent n.

1. An indication of something important or calamitous about to occur; an omen.
2. Prophetic or threatening significance: signs full of portent.
3. Something amazing or marvelous; a prodigy.

From 1998

Quote:Now, brethren, I want to make it very clear that I am not prophesying, that I am not predicting years of famine in the future. But I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order.

So many of our people are living on the very edge of their incomes. In fact, some are living on borrowings.

We have witnessed in recent weeks wide and fearsome swings in the markets of the world. The economy is a fragile thing. A stumble in the economy in Jakarta or Moscow can immediately affect the entire world. It can eventually reach down to each of us as individuals. There is a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed.

In 2005 he said;

Quote:How portentous are the words of revelation found in the 88th section of the Doctrine and Covenants concerning the calamities that should befall after the testimonies of the elders. The Lord says:

"For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.

"And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.

"And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men's hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people" (D&C 88:89–91).

I believe he was trying to warn us with the use of the word "portent". Those with ears to hear, hear.

"Learn the Parable of Figtree"

Learn the Parable of the Figtree, Prophetic End Time Parable of LDS Church

The #1 prophecy relating to the last days that I keep pondering and coming back to is the parable of the figtree (LDS Church) is:

D&C 45: 37 Ye look and behold the figtrees, and ye see them with your eyes, and ye say when they begin to shoot forth, and their leaves are yet tender, that summer is now nigh at hand;

D&C 35:16 And they shall learn the parable of the figtree, for even now already summer is nigh. 17 And I have sent forth the fulness of my gospel by the hand of my servant Joseph; and in weakness have I blessed him;

Today is the day when this prophetic parable is being fulfilled in the fullest sense of the prophecy.

The figtree is the LDS Church. Its leaves are the Stakes/Wards/Branches spreading its influence amongst the world. The Stakes et al have shoot forth, not quite a worldwide body, still tender (young and vulnerable).

What is also significant to note is that the figtree (LDS Church) is not going to be fully mature in age or stature. Meaning, it will not be THE major tree in a big forest of figtrees, rather, a youngling.

This is important to note because far too many LDS are uninformed regarding end time prophecies and their sequence of fulfillment. Case in point, last Sunday in priesthood several Elders discussed how the LDS Church was growing (they are unware that its growth has slowed down significantly). These Elders projected erroneously that the LDS Church's growth would be such that the LDS Church will take overtake all other religions and become the majority BEFORE the end cometh. That simply isn't the case as the parable above clearly indicates.

Given such preconceived notions, it is possible for such like minded saints to be caught off guard per se as events unfold in a manner far different than their current level of understanding affords them.

Be that as it may, I am fully convinced "that summer is now nigh at hand" and LDS "shall learn the parable of the figtree."

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