Discernment

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“And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.

But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die…

Heed the Lord’s counsel to the Saints of this dispensation:

Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord. [D&C 133:10]

This preparation must consist of more than just casual membership in the Church. You must learn to be guided by personal revelation and the counsel of the living prophet so you will not be deceived. Our Lord has indicated who, among Church members, will stand when he appears:

And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins.

For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.

And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation.

For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver. [D&C 45:56–59; emphasis added]–Ezra Taft Benson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young University fireside, 14 April 1981. (Click for full talk).

It is important to carefully listen to the counsel of those who preside over us who receive revelation for the entire church. More important, however, is to take the Holy Spirit for our guide because those who preside over the church are not infallible.

“You must work through the Spirit. If that leads you into conflict with the program of the Church, you follow the voice of the Spirit.” (Elder S. Dilworth Young, First Council of the Seventy, 1945; quoted here, p. 17)

“President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel–said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church–that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls–applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall–that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves…” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 237-38).

Perhaps the most compelling words come to us from ancient scripture:

“Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (2 Nephi 28:31)

Nephi cried unto the Lord before his heart was softened sufficiently to believe his father’s revelations, but Nephi went to the Lord to receive his own revelation directly from God that his father’s revelations were, in fact, from the Lord. Laman and Lemuel, unlike Nephi, did not bother to seek the Lord and became lost.

It is incumbent upon us to seek the Lord ourselves to verify revelations from those who preside over us, even when their counsel is to trust in the expertise of secular or worldly men. Nephi warned about this.

“O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.” (2 Nephi 9:28-29)

Are the learned men who are being trusted in their areas of expertise hearkening to the counsel of God or do these experts think they are wise? Who is trusting who? It is imperative to take the Holy Ghost for our guide above all else when seeking God’s own counsel.

“Because when we seek to hear—truly hear—His Son, we will be guided to know what to do in any circumstance.

The very first word in the Doctrine and Covenants is hearken. It means “to listen with the intent to obey.” To hearken means to “hear Him”—to hear what the Savior says and then to heed His counsel. In those two words—“Hear Him”—God gives us the pattern for success, happiness, and joy in this life. We are to hear the words of the Lord, hearken to them, and heed what He has told us!

As we seek to be disciples of Jesus Christ, our efforts to hear Him need to be ever more intentional. It takes conscious and consistent effort to fill our daily lives with His words, His teachings, His truths…

We also hear Him more clearly as we refine our ability to recognize the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. It has never been more imperative to know how the Spirit speaks to you than right now. In the Godhead, the Holy Ghost is the messenger. He will bring thoughts to your mind which the Father and Son want you to receive. He is the Comforter. He will bring a feeling of peace to your heart. He testifies of truth and will confirm what is true as you hear and read the word of the Lord.

I renew my plea for you to do whatever it takes to increase your spiritual capacity to receive personal revelation.

Doing so will help you know how to move ahead with your life, what to do during times of crisis, and how to discern and avoid the temptations and the deceptions of the adversary.”–President Russell M. Nelson, Sunday morning session of general conference, April 2020.

Even when a prophet speaks truth, you may fall. Lehi was a true prophet, yet Laman and Lemuel fell because they did not “inquire of the Lord” as Nephi did. Nephi did not take for granted that his father was truthful. Nephi went and inquired of the Lord and received greater revelations.

In the final analysis, we should hearken to all counsel given to us by those who preside over us and then inquire of the Lord, as Nephi admonished, in order to know whether the counsels given to us align with God’s will in each of our individual lives. If you do not take the Holy Ghost for your guide, you will stumble and fall. “For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.” (D&C 45:57).

As A Whirlwind

D&C 112:23 Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face.

24 Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.

25 And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;

26 First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.

By A Thread, Kindle Edition

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The Kindle Edition of my paperback book is now available for purchase to download to your digital device. I have set the price at $0.99 cents. I had hoped to make it available free of charge, but it was not possible. On December 24, 2020, I felt deeply inspired to begin writing a series of essays, which I knew I would have to convert into a published book. It was a very daunting task to organize all my thoughts onto paper, or rather, into my computer. After I had finished and began the process of formatting it, I was prompted to write an additional two chapters. After I finished publishing it, I awoke about 3 am and I heard “well done” spoken to me. I believe with all my heart that the Lord wants people, especially elders in the church to begin to rise up and prepare to redeem Zion. Now that this digital edition is also finished, I can move on to other things. Please click the link to order your copy:

By A Thread

This is an excerpt from Chapter Eight: What’s The Big Deal?

Is liberty really essential? Maybe the Constitution is outdated and obsolete! What’s wrong with a government that wants to keep us safe? We should just trust our leaders, right? From George Orwell’s book, 1984, we read the following excerpt where the main character Winston is being tortured and questioned by O’brien, a member in INGSOC’s inner party. Winston had been caught in the act of independent thought and behavior:

“I don’t know—I don’t care. Somehow you will fail. Something will defeat you. Life will defeat you.”

“We control life, Winston, at all its levels. You are imagining that there is something called human nature which will be outraged by what we do and will turn against us. But we create human nature. Men are infinitely malleable. Or perhaps you have returned to your old idea that the proletarians or the slaves will arise and overthrow us. Put it out of your mind. They are helpless, like the animals. Humanity is the Party. The others are outside—irrelevant.”

“I don’t care. In the end they will beat you. Sooner or later they will see you for what you are, and then they will tear you to pieces.”

“Do you see any evidence that this is happening? Or any reason why it should?”

“No. I believe it. I know that you will fail. There is something in the universe—I don’t know, some spirit, some principle—that you will never overcome.”

“Do you believe in God, Winston?”

“No.”

“Then what is it, this principle that will defeat us?”

“I don’t know. The spirit of Man.”

“And do you consider yourself a man?”

“Yes.”

“If you are a man, Winston, you are the last man. Your kind is extinct; we are the inheritors. Do you understand that you are alone? You are outside history, you are non-existent.”1

O’brien then ordered Winston to remove all his clothing and look at himself in a three sided mirror across the room. To his horror, Winston sees someone that he does not recognize: a figure of a man reduced to skin and bones, whose hair can be removed by a simple grasp of a tuft, and who is so emaciated that O’brien’s thumb and forefinger can meet around his frail bicep. He was grimy, filthy, and smelled so awful that he had to wonder how long he had been held captive. One can summarize this story in a single phrase, one which O’brien had succinctly explained to Winston during his torture, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever…and remember that it is for ever. The face will always be there to be stamped upon.”

While O’brien was well educated and knew about God, whatever he believed about God was irrelevant. INGSOC was God for all intents and purposes. That is all that mattered. The fact that Winston did not believe in God in the story is noteworthy. Oceania, where the story is set, may as well be a Godless society. But what was their atheistic moral compass? They had none. The spirit of man without God in the story proved to be self destructive.

Karl Marx considered religion to be nothing more than the opium of the masses. The communist hatred of faith is a feature, not a fault. Since the days of Marx, the communist goal has been the creation of a “new man.” The communist Chinese re-education camps in Xinjiang have employed political brainwashing of millions of Uyghur Muslims with the goal of making them suitable for the Chinese socialist system. Tibetan monks regularly face arrest, imprisonment, or death. Christians are being detained and forced to renounce their faith or be tortured. Falun Gong practitioners have their organs forcibly harvested for the benefit of party leaders. But what exactly is communism? Or better yet, what is the communism of Mao Tse-tung? What is the communism of Ho Chi Minh? Or Fidel Castro or Marshal Tito?

In keeping with the fact that almost everybody seems to have his own definition of Communism, we are going to give you ours, and then we will attempt to prove to you that it is the only valid one. Communism: AN INTERNATIONAL, CONSPIRATORIAL DRIVE FOR POWER ON THE PART OF MEN IN HIGH PLACES WILLING TO USE ANY MEANS TO BRING ABOUT THEIR DESIRED AIM—GLOBAL CONQUEST.2

Why does it matter whether the term is communism, socialism, fascism, or even capitalism when the desired result of the conspiring few is totalitarianism? Why does it matter whether it originates from the far left or the far right when the conspiring few use both sides to obtain their desired result of absolute control? In Orwell’s 1984, it can be argued that all the proletarians were atheists because all the practitioners of faith had already been slaughtered wholesale. The rest were easy pickings. But we are operating on the premise and understanding that there is a God and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came to Earth on a rescue mission, and whose unimpeachable character and attributes offer us a clear view of what a heavenly being looks like. For any believer to be saved as a heavenly being requires that he or she becomes exactly like Him, nothing less, and nothing more. But to become like Him requires that we freely surrender ourselves. It means voluntarily giving up all our worldly ways—all our materialistic, covetous, lustful, greedy, oppressive, despotic, carnal, devilish attributes—and take upon ourselves His godly attributes and His character.

To be like Jesus Christ is to be someone who exercises no control over anyone else’s freedom to act and to make choices. Instead of forcing us to do good or to be good, He says, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). He is persuading us to love Him by becoming like Him. This is because all heavenly people are also like Him. Thus keeping His commandments teaches us to be like He is, which is a being who does not lie, steal, covet, lust, murder, etc. There is a vast difference between simply doing something and becoming someone whose character motivates him or her to do it. His two greatest commandments cover all others, for if we love someone as Jesus does, we would forever pose no threat of harm whatsoever to another person in any way, shape, or form because we are motivated purely by Christlike love. Furthermore, if we love as Jesus loves, we would be willing to sacrifice as He did, even to the laying down of our lives for another. What good parent would not lay down his or her life for a dying child? So if we, who are fallen creatures, are willing to sacrifice ourselves for the betterment of our children, even for the preservation of their lives, how much greater is the love of our God in heaven?

The Talent

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Matthew 21:33 ¶ Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.

3 Nephi 26:1 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had told these things he expounded them unto the multitude; and he did expound all things unto them, both great and small.
And he saith: These scriptures, which ye had not with you, the Father commanded that I should give unto you; for it was wisdom in him that they should be given unto future generations.
And he did expound all things, even from the beginning until the time that he should come in his glory—yea, even all things which should come upon the face of the earth, even until the elements should melt with fervent heat, and the earth should be wrapt together as a scroll, and the heavens and the earth should pass away;
And even unto the great and last day, when all people, and all kindreds, and all nations and tongues shall stand before God, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—
If they be good, to the resurrection of everlasting life; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of damnation; being on a parallel, the one on the one hand and the other on the other hand, according to the mercy, and the justice, and the holiness which is in Christ, who was before the world began.
And now there cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people;
But behold the plates of Nephi do contain the more part of the things which he taught the people.
And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken.
And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them.
10 And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation.
11 Behold, I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying: I will try the faith of my people.
12 Therefore I, Mormon, do write the things which have been commanded me of the Lord. And now I, Mormon, make an end of my sayings, and proceed to write the things which have been commanded me.

D&C 84:54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received
55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—
58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.

“Wherefore, it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites—Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile—Written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation—Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed—To come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof—Sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile—The interpretation thereof by the gift of God.”–Title page of the Book of Mormon, the last leaf of the plates which is an account written by the hand of Mormon upon plates taken from plates of Nephi.

Ether 12:35 Wherefore, I know by this thing which thou hast said, that if the Gentiles have not charity, because of our weakness, that thou wilt prove them, and take away their talent, yea, even that which they have received, and give unto them who shall have more abundantly.
36 And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity.
37 And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.

“For the Lord will have a place whence His word will go forth, in these last days, in purity; for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved of in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people; for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must expect to feel His wrath. Let me say unto you, seek to purify yourselves, and also all the inhabitants of Zion, lest the Lord’s anger be kindled to fierceness. Repent, repent, is the voice of God to Zion; and strange as it may appear, yet it is true, mankind will persist in self-justification until all their iniquity is exposed, and their character past being redeemed, and that which is treasured up in their hearts be exposed to the gaze of mankind, I say to you (and what I say to you I say to all), hear the warning voice of God lest Zion fall, and the Lord sware in His wrath the inhabitants of Zion shall not enter into His rest.“–Joseph Smith, (B. H. Roberts, History of the Church, vol. 1, p. 316).

Jacob 5:72 And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.
73 And there began to be the natural fruit again in the vineyard; and the natural branches began to grow and thrive exceedingly; and the wild branches began to be plucked off and to be cast away; and they did keep the root and the top thereof equal, according to the strength thereof.
74 And thus they labored, with all diligence, according to the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard, even until the bad had been cast away out of the vineyard, and the Lord had preserved unto himself that the trees had become again the natural fruit; and they became like unto one body; and the fruits were equal; and the Lord of the vineyard had preserved unto himself the natural fruit, which was most precious unto him from the beginning.
75 And it came to pass that when the Lord of the vineyard saw that his fruit was good, and that his vineyard was no more corrupt, he called up his servants, and said unto them: Behold, for this last time have we nourished my vineyard; and thou beholdest that I have done according to my will; and I have preserved the natural fruit, that it is good, even like as it was in the beginning. And blessed art thou; for because ye have been diligent in laboring with me in my vineyard, and have kept my commandments, and have brought unto me again the natural fruit, that my vineyard is no more corrupted, and the bad is cast away, behold ye shall have joy with me because of the fruit of my vineyard.

70 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard sent his servant; and the servant went and did as the Lord had commanded him, and brought other servants; and they were few.

By A Thread

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I have published my second book. Because of the nature of its contents and approval from the Lord, it is for sale at cost; no royalties are made. Although writing this was a very daunting task, it was a labor of love and is my gift to the world. It is primarily written for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but also for all disciples of Jesus Christ from all Christian religions or paths, particularly in the United States. To order a copy, please click the link:

By A Thread

This is a brief excerpt from one of the chapters titled, “Why Zion?”:

First we must ask what is Zion? Zion is the antithesis—the direct opposite—of Babylon, which is this fallen world we all currently occupy, ruled by Satan and all who love the material and vain things of this world, and also who seek to rule and control others and to be ruled and controlled by others. It’s more than any fictional Utopian society. It is where people live in perfect harmony with one another and who have the love of God in them and His law written in their hearts. Where Babylon is darkness, Zion is light. But most importantly, Zion is where all people know the Lord intimately and walk with Him as Enoch and his people walked with Him (Genesis 5:22-24). They are called Zion because they possess three characteristics or qualities devoid of those people who love Babylon and serve Mammon. As mentioned in the previous chapter, those three qualities are:

1. They are of one heart and one mind.
2. They dwell in righteousness (they deal justly with one another).
3. There are no poor among them.

“What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That the Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in it.” (Isaiah 14:32, emphasis added.)

Zion is also mentioned throughout the Bible by many prophets as a sanctuary. The Hebrew word for Zion means refuge. Zion, which many people today anticipate with the second coming of Jesus Christ, will also be a place of refuge for those who seek shelter from an increasingly wicked world and from those corrupt despots and dictators who seek absolute control of it. So Zion is both a place and a people.

“Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” (Isaiah 66:8.)…

…It is imperative that all believers in Jesus Christ, whatever religion we profess, learn to gather and purify ourselves of all ungodliness and to forsake all worldliness, covetousness, and to abandon all our lusts for material wealth. We must learn to seek to elevate the poor and make ourselves all equal in earthly things that there might be no more poor, so that the Lord might make us all equal in heavenly things (D&C 78:3-7) if we are of but one heart and one mind, dealing justly with one another.

“Let every one labor to prepare himself for the vineyard, sparing a little time to comfort the mourners; to bind up the broken-hearted; to reclaim the backslider; to bring back the wanderer; to reinvite into the kingdom such as have been cut off, by encouraging them to lay to while the day lasts, and work righteousness, and, with one heart and one mind, prepare to help redeem Zion, that goodly land of promise, where the willing and the obedient shall be blessed. Souls are as precious in the sight of God as they ever were; and the Elders were never called to drive any down to hell, but to persuade and invite all men everywhere to repent, that they may become the heirs of salvation.” (Joseph Smith, Messenger and Advocate, vol. 1, No. 8, pp. 137-8.)

To all Elders of Israel: we must stop our vain and worldly pursuits and stop procrastinating the day of our repentance, and rise up now to save the Constitution of the United States and preserve our liberty. We must heed God’s admonitions and warnings and educate ourselves and teach one another that we might all be edified, and in the Lord’s strength, prepare for the work necessary to redeem Zion and to welcome the Great and Dreadful Day of His Second Coming.

“For the Lord will have a place whence His word will go forth, in these last days, in purity; for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved of in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people; for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must expect to feel His wrath. Let me say unto you, seek to purify yourselves, and also all the inhabitants of Zion, lest the Lord’s anger be kindled to fierceness. Repent, repent, is the voice of God to Zion; and strange as it may appear, yet it is true, mankind will persist in self-justification until all their iniquity is exposed, and their character past being redeemed, and that which is treasured up in their hearts be exposed to the gaze of mankind, I say to you (and what I say to you I say to all), hear the warning voice of God lest Zion fall, and the Lord sware in His wrath the inhabitants of Zion shall not enter into His rest.” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol. 1, p. 316, emphasis added.)