Saturday, December 31, 2005

Latter-day Connection To The Solomon Key

The London Sunday Times reports an LDS connection to The Da Vinci Code sequel, The Solomon Key:

Those who cannot wait to read the novel claim it will link freemasons to both the founding of America and the Mormon church and will involve a search for treasure across the United States.

Brown, who says he is fascinated by secret societies, left a series of clues on the dust jacket of the American version of The Da Vinci Code.

Of course, this is not the first link between the freemasons and the Church; however, it is certainly one to get quite a bit of publicity if sales of the sequel are anything compared to the first novel. The Church connection continues:

A magnifying glass is needed to read another clue on the jacket of The Da Vinci Code. Some of the lettering on the cover flap describing the plot is in bolder type than the rest. When read separately from the other words it says: “Is there no help for the widow’s son?”

The codebreakers have linked these words to a 1974 speech of the same name about Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormons.

Smith was shot and fatally wounded by a mob who stormed his prison cell in Carthage, Illinois, in 1844. He started to say the words — a masonic call for help — before falling to his death from a first-floor window.

The Mormons believe Smith had a vision in which gold plates containing the mysteries of God were buried in a hillside. Some believe that these were similar to the treasures found by the masons building King Solomon’s temple at Mount Moriah in Jerusalem.

The Church's response:

A spokeswoman for the Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City said: “We are aware the church may be included in the new book but we know nothing of buried treasure.”

I'll confess I've never read the Da Vinci Code. So, I'm not sure whether the sequel will make any sense without reading the first; however, that is going to have to wait till I finish the large stack of non-fiction awaiting me.

New Year's Resolutions

The Book of Mormon's secret to New Year's resolutions:

Mosiah 5:2; Alma 5:12-14. A mighty change of heart!

Happy New Year and God's Blessings to all throughout the New Year.

Mitt Romney--The Candidate to Watch in 06

"Latter-day President": So reads the title of today's featured article, by James Taranto in The Weekend Interview in The Wall Street Journal. Mitt is getting some serious press, since announcing his retirement as Massachusetts' governor, and the speculation that means he is on the fast track to the White House:

Mitt Romney had a successful career in management consulting and capital management, culminating with a stint as CEO of Bain & Co. In 1994 he made his first political run, challenging Sen. Ted Kennedy. Even that year's Republican tide was not enough to drown Mr. Kennedy, who won 58% to 41%. Yet Mr. Romney's showing remains the best of any challenger Mr. Kennedy has faced. Mr. Romney got high marks for turning around the debt- and scandal-plagued organizing committee for Salt Lake City's 2002 Winter Olympics, and in 2002 he defeated Democrat Shannon O'Brien to become the Bay State's fourth consecutive GOP governor.
Taranto also heralds Mitt's conservative credentials given that he governs the most Blue state in the country:

Not Mr. Romney, whose views put him well within the mainstream of GOP conservatism. A self-described "fiscal hawk," he takes credit for staving off tax increases, no mean feat given that the Democrats have a veto-proof legislative majority. When he took office, the state had a $3 billion budget deficit. "We held the line on taxes, we did not borrow more money, and instead we cut back on state programs," closing the gap. He hopes next year to persuade the Legislature to cut the top income tax rate to 5% from 5.3%.
On the Mormon issue, Taranto notes:

A crucial question will be whether Mr. Romney's religion is a handicap. 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% of those surveyed said they would not vote for a Mormon for president, far more than said the same of a Jew (6%) or a Catholic (4%).

In 1994 Sen. Kennedy made an issue of the LDS Church's tardy embrace of racial equality (it did not allow the ordination of blacks until 1978). "I don't think that's the reason I lost to Ted Kennedy," says Mr. Romney, and he's surely right. In any case, Mr. Kennedy doesn't seem to have any problem today answering to a Mormon Senate leader, Harry Reid.

Mr. Romney also says religion wasn't a problem for his father: "When he was running for president . . . he was the front-runner. His faith just didn't factor in. . . . His statement on Vietnam--that put him under, but certainly not his faith."

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."

Yet on the issues, Mr. Romney is largely in tune with the Christian right. "I am pro-life," he says, though he's not an absolutist. He favors a return to the status quo ante Roe v. Wade, when states decided abortion policy. In 2002, recognizing that Massachusetts is an "overwhelmingly pro-choice state," he campaigned only on a promise to veto any legislation changing the state's abortion laws, including a proposal, which Ms. O'Brien endorsed, to reduce the age of parental consent to 16 from 18. The Legislature never passed that measure . . .

How would he overcome anti-Mormon prejudice if he seeks the presidency? He doesn't answer directly, but cites his experience in Massachusetts: "As people got to know me . . . they accepted me for who I am, and religious doctrines didn't make much difference to them."

In the end, there's probably not much Mr. Romney can do about the "Mormon problem" other than put his faith in the American tradition of religious pluralism. "I think our nation needs people of faith in public service," he says. "My policies in the public sector are not a mirror image of any church's doctrines. But of course the respect I have for American values flows from the faith that I have." If Mr. Romney runs for president, it may test the proposition that the religious right is an issues-based movement as opposed to a sectarian one.
Mitt presents as an interesting, and attractive candidate. So far the press coverage has by and large been positive. The Church, I think, also benefits from this coverage. My feeling is still that if he doesn't win the nomination outright in '08, look for Mitt to play an important role in a Republican administration assuming they re-caputre the White House in the next election.

Another blog viewpoint worth reading on Mitt is here at Outside the Beltway. Still another very pro Mitt Romney blog is here, The Elect Mitt Romney Blog.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I thought that it was about time to write my first post, so that's exactly what I thought I would write about--time. We all hear expressions such as, "when I have time, I don't have time, when I get time, if I had more time",etc...None of us has any extra time, do we? Or, do we? I seem to have time to watch reruns of "The Practice" on TV, but not to do more meaningful activities. (I tell myself that watching some TV is OK because I need some relaxing time. I'm too tired to do any real thinking, anyway). I've told myself that I'm too tired to do any posts here, yet the truth is I'm scared that everyone will read them and then say, "that was a waste of time." (If so, I'll go back to reading someone else's posts and watching The Practice.) I suppose that fear might hold us back from doing things, and not always the availability of time. A while back I decided to face the old "set my priorities" battle once and for all. However, I learned that my discretionary time is, in fact, in flux and my priorities are easier to set than to carry out. My schedule, energy level, family needs, etc...are constantly changing, so my ability to stick to a strict schedule based on priorities is difficult--and that's OK. I believe that there are small changes that we can make (or uses of time in this case) that can pay big dividends. For instance, my 13 minute communute to work everyday used to be wasted time. I'd listen to talk radio or music. By simply using that time to listen to General Conference CDs instead, I've been amazed at how much more peaceful and spirtual my days (and thus, my life) has become. I wonder how many more small changes in the use of my time could greatly improve my life?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Son of God . . . Love's Pure Light

Radiant Beams from Thy Holy Face
With the dawn of Redeeming Grace
Jesus Lord at Thy Birth

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Merry CHRISTmas

Saturday, December 24, 2005

In Hoc Anno Domini

Each Christmas Eve, the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page actually gets one right--its Truth is Timeless.

In Hoc Anno Domini

December 24, 2005; Page A8

When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.

Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so.

But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression -- for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impressor to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the Emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?

There was the persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.

And the voice from Galilee, which would defy Caesar, offered a new Kingdom in which each man could walk upright and bow to none but his God. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. And he sent this gospel of the Kingdom of Man into the uttermost ends of the earth.

So the light came into the world and the men who lived in darkness were afraid, and they tried to lower a curtain so that man would still believe salvation lay with the leaders.

But it came to pass for a while in divers places that the truth did set man free, although the men of darkness were offended and they tried to put out the light. The voice said, Haste ye. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

Along the road to Damascus the light shone brightly. But afterward Paul of Tarsus, too, was sore afraid. He feared that other Caesars, other prophets, might one day persuade men that man was nothing save a servant unto them, that men might yield up their birthright from God for pottage and walk no more in freedom.

Then might it come to pass that darkness would settle again over the lands and there would be a burning of books and men would think only of what they should eat and what they should wear, and would give heed only to new Caesars and to false prophets. Then might it come to pass that men would not look upward to see even a winter's star in the East, and once more, there would be no light at all in the darkness.

And so Paul, the apostle of the Son of Man, spoke to his brethren, the Galatians, the words he would have us remember afterward in each of the years of his Lord:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

This editorial was written in 1949 by the late Vermont Royster and has been published annually since.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Millions Shall Know Brother Joseph Again

"Joseph Smith, America’s preeminent visionary and prophet, rose from a modest background to found the largest indigenous Christian church in American history. Without the benefit of wealth, education or social position, he published the 584-page Book of Mormon, when he was twenty-three; organized a church when he was twenty-four; and founded cities, built temples, and attracted thousands of followers before his violent death at age thirty-eight. Rather than perishing with him, Mormonism migrated to the Rocky Mountains, flourished there, and now claims millions of followers worldwide."

Rough Stone Rolling (Front Inside Jacket)

Today marks the 200th anniversary of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s birth. As the LDS Hymn Praise to The Man proclaims, “Millions shall know Brother Joseph again.” This year alone, untold millions have come to know Brother Joseph, for the first time, or again. From the hallowed halls of the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. millions learned about Brother Joseph at an international academic conference about the Worlds of Joseph Smith. Tonight, millions more shall know Brother Joseph again as the Church hosts a special world wide Joseph Smith Commemorative Broadcast to celebrate the anniversary of his birth.

From his earliest youth, Brother Joseph has been scorned, ridiculed, and persecuted for daring to proclaim the revealed Truth of Jesus Christ and His Gospel Restored in contrast to the corrupt theology and philosophies of men. The ridicule, scorn and hubris continues to this very day---see here, here, and here. If history is any guide, the persecution will continue this evening outside the LDS conference center as the faithful worldwide attend to worship according to the dictates of their own conscience, and as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. A fitting response:

THE ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and fools shall have thee in derision, and hell shall rage against thee;

2 While the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous, shall seek counsel, and authority, and blessings constantly from under thy hand.

Brother Joseph paid dearly his entire life for his religious views, and the further light and knowledge he was commanded to teach a world wallowing in religious darkness, confusion and error. In early 1832, opposition to Joseph Smith turned very violent, and nearly cost The Prophet his life:

On Saturday March 24, 1832 Joseph was dragged from his bedroom in the dead of night. His attackers strangled him until he blacked out, tore off his shirt and drawers, beat and scratched him, and jammed a vial of poison against his teeth until it broke. After tarring and feathering his body, they left him for dead . . . Through the night, his friends scraped off the tar until his flesh was raw . . .

[D]uring the attack, Joseph was 'stretched on a board, and tantalized in the most insulting and brutal manner; they tore off the few night clothes that he had on, for the purpose of emasculating him, and had Dr. Dennison there to perform the operation; but when the Dr. saw the Prophet stripped and stretched on the plank, his heart failed him, and he refused to operate.' The mob apparently meant to castrate Joseph.
See Rough Stone Rolling pp. 178-79.

Why? Because he had seen visions, and had deigned to share further religious light and knowledge with a failed and fallen world.

Yet, despite the persecution, mobs, violence, and death, Christ's Kingdom continues its quest:

The akeys of the bkingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the cgospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the dstone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has efilled the whole earth.
And fill the earth it will with revealed Light and Knowledge from on High--Dispelling rumor, myth, and the lying tongues of centuries of religious and theological darkness. As my small part in the commemoration of Brother Joseph's birthday I want to leave just a few of my favorite Truths Christ has seen fit to reveal to man in these latter-days through His chosen Prophet of the Restoration. If you have others, (and I know there are many more) I invite you to leave them in the comments section.

Physicality of God the Father and Jesus Christ:

The aFather has a bbody of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of cSpirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not ddwell in us.

Opposition and Agency:

11 For it must needs be, that there is an aopposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no apurpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the bjustice of God.

13 And if ye shall say there is ano law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not bthere is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.

14 And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and alearning; for there is a God, and he hath bcreated all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be cacted upon.

15 And to bring about his eternal apurposes in the end of man, after he had bcreated our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the cfowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the dforbidden efruit in fopposition to the gtree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.

16 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should aact for himself. Wherefore, man could not bact for himself save it should be that he was centiced by the one or the other.

Adam's Fall:

21 And the days of the children of amen were prolonged, according to the bwill of God, that they might crepent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of dprobation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were elost, because of the transgression of their parents.

22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

23 And they would have had no achildren; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no bjoy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no csin.

24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who aknoweth all things.

25 aAdam bfell that men might be; and men care, that they might have djoy.

26 And the aMessiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may bredeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are credeemed from the fall they have become dfree forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the elaw at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.

27 Wherefore, men are afree according to the bflesh; and call things are dgiven them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to echoose fliberty and eternal glife, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be hmiserable like unto himself.

Light, Truth and Intelligence:

21 And now, verily I say unto you, I was in the abeginning with the Father, and am the bFirstborn;

22 And all those who are begotten through me are apartakers of the bglory of the same, and are the cchurch of the Firstborn.

23 Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is aSpirit, even the Spirit of truth;

24 And atruth is bknowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;

25 And whatsoever is amore or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a bliar from the beginning.

26 The Spirit of atruth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying: He breceived a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth;

27 And no man receiveth a afulness unless he keepeth his commandments.

28 He that akeepeth his commandments receiveth btruth and clight, until he is glorified in truth and dknoweth all things.

29 Man was also in the abeginning with God. bIntelligence, or the clight of dtruth, was not ecreated or made, neither indeed can be.

30 All truth is independent in that asphere in which God has placed it, to bact for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.

31 Behold, here is the aagency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is bplainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.

32 And every man whose spirit receiveth not the alight is under condemnation.

33 For man is aspirit. The elements are beternal, and cspirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy;

34 And when aseparated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.

35 The aelements are the btabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even ctemples; and whatsoever temple is ddefiled, God shall destroy that temple.

36 The aglory of God is bintelligence, or, in other words, clight and truth.

37 Light and truth forsake that aevil one.

Exercise of Power:

34 Behold, there are many acalled, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?

35 Because their ahearts are set so much upon the things of this bworld, and caspire to the dhonors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—

36 That the arights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be bcontrolled nor handled only upon the cprinciples of righteousness.

37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to acover our bsins, or to gratify our cpride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or ddominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens ewithdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to akick against the pricks, to bpersecute the saints, and to cfight against God.

39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the anature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little bauthority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise cunrighteous dominion.

40 Hence many are called, but afew are chosen.

All Things To Be Revealed:

25 For there is a atime bappointed for every man, according as his cworks shall be.

26 God shall give unto you aknowledge by his Holy bSpirit, yea, by the unspeakable cgift of the Holy Ghost, that has not been drevealed since the world was until now;

27 Which our forefathers have awaited with aanxious expectation to be revealed in the last times, which their minds were pointed to by the angels, as held in reserve for the fulness of their glory;

28 A time to come in the which anothing shall be withheld, whether there be bone God or many cgods, they shall be manifest.

29 All thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be arevealed and set forth upon all who have endured bvaliantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

30 And also, if there be abounds set to the heavens or to the seas, or to the dry land, or to the sun, moon, or stars—

31 All the times of their revolutions, all the appointed days, months, and years, and all the days of their days, months, and years, and all their aglories, laws, and set times, shall be revealed in the days of the bdispensation of the fulness of times—

32 According to that which was aordained in the midst of the bCouncil of the Eternal cGod of all other gods before this dworld was, that should be reserved unto the finishing and the end thereof, when every man shall enter into his eternal epresence and into his immortal frest.

33 How long can rolling waters remain impure? What apower shall stay the heavens? As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to bhinder the cAlmighty from pouring down dknowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints.

I could go on, and on, and on . . .but that would take up more space than Blogger would allow for any one post. So Brother Joseph . . .millions world wide celebrate this 200th anniversary of your birth, life, teachings and mission:

He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own eblood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not fseparated!

So . . . WAKE UP WORLD . . . for the conflict of Justice. Indeed . . . .Millions Shall Know Brother Joseph Again!