The Traveler

A certain man was walking down a road, enjoying the beautiful scenery. After a while, he stopped to rest.

Before long, a man in a suit came along and approached him where he sat. Some brief introductions ensued before the suited man declared: “Do you see that mountain in the distance? That is where you should be walking. The climb is difficult, but the views are the most sublime in the world. I should know, because I am the world’s best mountaineer.” The first man eyed the suit, the well-polished loafers, and the hands free of calluses, before thanking the man for his advice. The suited man continued on.

After a while, a woman came to the man and sat with him. Together they talked for a while, and the subject turned to food, and the man’s wish for a meal. “You should come with me!” the woman declared. “I am heading to a distant restaurant where I am the head chef and will make for you a feast, for I am the best chef in the world!” The man observed the woman’s poor satchel, with its small piece of moldy bread and a bottle of brackish water. He thanked her for the offer, and she continued on without him.

As the man sat on his rock, he thought to himself: “Two people have come to me, offering to help and claiming to be the best at what they do. But from my observations I do not see how this could be. They offered me no evidence other than their words.”

These thoughts consumed him. As the day waned, a third traveler approached, and sat with him. “What is your story, friend?” the man asked. The weary traveler said “As I have walked this road, many have come to me offering help. They see my bent back and shuffling gait and claim that just over yonder is something that will help me. Every time I have followed them, I have been disappointed. The inn is always too distant, the food already eaten, the wine already drunk. But I am still a long way from my journey’s end, so I must continue on.”

The man considered this for a moment and said, “I, too, have been disappointed by those who have approached me. Their words taste sweet, but are bitter in my belly. But I am glad for your company. Come, let us walk together so that we will not be alone, and perhaps we may find rest together.”

They stood, the man took the travelers pack, and they departed with quick steps and light hearts.

The Philosophies of Men

A couple of days ago I was driving in my car, and a thought very forcefully came to my mind:

There are many willing to teach you the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture.

Together with this thought came the realization that anything on this page (or in the corresponding printed books) is filled with man’s philosophies: teachings, ideas, and claims that are not backed up by scripture (and often in direct conflict with it), but that are supposedly supported by tossing in the odd scriptural reference. It is the fulfillment of the prophecy: the LDS Church manuals are the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture.

When you go to Sunday School and you sit and listen to the lesson, how much of what is being taught comes from the scriptures? Or is it just the teacher talking and repeating the same thing he (or she) has been taught, all with no basis in the words of God?

There are many who are willing to teach you the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture. Just walk in to your local chapel.

But I am looking for messengers from my Father and Mother.


I had a breakthrough recently.

As is hopefully apparent from some previous entries on this blog, I have serious issues with many of the claims made by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I believe that, on the whole, the church has lost its way. I do not believe it is led by someone who enjoys the prophetic gifts. I believe that the administrators of the church have become distracted by the trappings of Babylon and now plunder the widow’s mite to serve their own interests.

However, I still attend my local ward. I have struggled with the question of Why? for a while, and recently I had a breakthrough that helped me understand a bit better.

One of the things I believe in is the hope of Zion. I believe that we can, through the grace of God, transcend our petty differences and establish a city of peace, hope, learning, and majesty; a city where God would be willing to come dwell with us.

In Zion, we are not all the same. We may be of “one heart and one mind”, but this does not mean we may all get along. We still have differences. We still have our unique peculiarities, likes, and dislikes.

We also do not always get along, especially at first. As we struggle to leave behind the notions of what a “city” actually is, we find our differences thrown in to sharp relief. And we have to figure out how to deal with these differences, even though we may believe that others are totally “not getting it”.

This is why I stay. I stay because the others in my ward are not like me. I stay because as I associate with them, I learn to see them as human beings with their own frailties, struggles, compassions, and hopes, and not mindless automatons who simply follow the orders of their superiors. As I learn who they are, I have compassion for them and I humble myself. I see how they handle their own struggles, and this helps me believe that I can handle mine as well.

Zion means loving those who are explicitly not like me.

The Glory of God

If we truly believe in the idea of exaltation and that we will inherit God’s throne and become like Him, then we are explicitly saying that we believe that we must learn orbital mechanics, cellular biology, theories of computation, and advanced mathematics. For these are among all the tools that God uses to ordain His kingdoms. And if we are to be like Him, then we must understand and use these tools as well. 

Limiting God

A couple of weeks ago, I had an interesting conversation with a man named Jonathan. We got talking about religion, and I proclaimed myself a believer of the Book of Mormon. He was happy for me, but proceeded to say that all we need is the Bible, and quoted Revelation 22:18:

… If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

To him, this was proof that all we need is this Bible, because no one can “add” unto “this book”, and he interpreted “this book” to mean “the Bible”.

(Never mind the fact that the Bible didn’t exist until a couple hundred of years after that was written, but whatever.)

But this got me thinking. In our conversation, we had talked about how true religion was the love of God, and that all religions are trying to experience that love. People tend to leave those religions when they realize that the love of God is larger than the limitations imposed on it by their church. The God they believe in is “too big” to fit in the box their church prescribes.

I absolutely believe this. But after we ended our amicable conversation, a thought struck me:

We had just talked about the infinite love of God, and how God places no limitations on that love. If we accept that premise as true, then wouldn’t it follow that the manifestations of His Love are also infinite? Why then would we limit ourselves to only experiencing His Love by means of a single compilation of books?

To take this even further, why are we saddened when our friends, family, and colleagues decide to leave their church? If they truly believe that they have found another (and perhaps for them, better) way to experience God’s love, ought we not to rejoice with them?

Why do we place limitations on what God can and cannot do? He is an infinite being. Is it not conceivable that He might know what’s better for us than we do? We should trust in Him, and not in the short-sighted policies of man.

Not a prophet

Here is a simplification of a previous post:

Joseph Smith was not a prophet, but he said and did prophetic things.
Brigham Young was not a prophet. He may have said or done prophetic things.
Denver Snuffer is not a prophet. But, he says and does prophetic things.
Thomas S. Monson is not a prophet. If you have evidence of any prophetic things he has said or done, please let me know.

Not the real house

A beautiful summation of the false illusion of the eternality of the LDS Church from the Exploring Sainthood blog:

But just like the fort made of couch cushions and blankets that has provided safety and comfort for my children from time to time in our playroom, your house was designed to come down. It was always temporary. Because it’s not the real house.