Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Feeling the Spirit

by Christopher R. Greenwood
and Spiritual Atrophy


Many years ago, when I was a Deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood, I had the privilege of going home teaching with my father as my companion.  One particular month, my dad had been given a new Sister on his list who he promptly called and set an appointment.  With the appointment set, my dad approached me and told me when I would be needed.  On the designated day, my dad and I went to the home of this very elderly sister.  All my Dad and I knew about her was that she had been a member all her life, her husband had passed, she lived on a farm outside of town and had been the recipient of much assistance from others in the Ward when it came to mowing her lawn, going shopping, etc.


I remember how cordially she greeted us and brought us inside her home.  After some initial conversation, Dad began his lesson.  I remember vividly that during that lesson, this sister, who had been a member of the Church her entire life, stopped my father and in the middle of his lesson, she confessed to him that she had never felt the Spirit of the Lord or ever recalled a single experience in her life where she had felt the Spirit.  I remember how surprised my dad was at hearing that.  I also remember how silent I was, grateful that my Dad would answer this question.  I did not feel prepared to answer her question.  What did I know?  I do not remember what my Dad told her, but I do remember thinking to myself that I did not want to have that happen to me.

I have never forgotten this experience.  As time has gone on, and as I have matured in the Gospel, I often reflect on how I would respond if somebody asked me that question.  “What would I tell her now” if I was given the chance.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Using Publicity to Criticize the Church: Some Perspective for Viewing Recent Events


“This is an insult, especially, to women who have gone
through something like that [sexual assault] and really have been hurt.”
—McKenna Denson’s ex-husband (Arizona Republic)

            When accusations and denials of sexual assault are flying around in reporter’s stories, when sex and religion (especially Mormonism) are mentioned together, a media frenzy can result. The international “Me-too” movement has inadvertently created the perfect storm, offering an irresistible opening for various individuals with manipulative and unscrupulous motives, to take advantage of it and milk it for all it is worth.

            It is during episodes like these that journalistic ethics are often bent or broken, and biases exposed. Items akin to genuine fake news (there’s an oxymoron), non-news, and yellow journalism are published by some media outlets and fill (very untrustworthy) social media. It has happened many times to the Mormons in the past, it is happening now, and it will again in the future. For this reason, I hope to provide some perspective; to pull back the veil and expose the adversary’s deceptions.

Some Historical Perspective

            As I ponder various events from Mormon history in my mind, a number of instances occur to me that give me an improved over-all perspective from which to view recent events and current public clamor.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #12 - Missing the Mark/Point, as Usual


            We just concluded a truly historic general conference of the Church. The newly sustained president, Russell M. Nelson, announced some major game-changers meant to improve the lives and lift the souls of millions of members as the Lord hastens His work. President Nelson and other leaders quietly ignored the clamor of obsessed and misled activists promoted by the Tribune, As God’s prophet, President Nelson effectively (though figuratively) kicked Satan hard where it hurts. The devil has been responding by creating opposition to the church through both his spirit angels (evil spirits) and through his mortal followers (those anti-Mormon activists obsessed with the church, and disloyal, false members). The Salt Lake Tribune continues to be one of their main outlets to voice their displeasure. I think it worth pointing out, that in this latest instance, the Tribune has also missed the point over and over in their attempt to cover conference.

            Let me draw a comparison. In 1899, Bishop Orson F. Whitney’s eldest son, Race Whitney, was a talented young man who had followed in his father’s footsteps, exhibiting abundant literary talent. Recognizing his gifts, Bishop Whitney used his connections to get Race a job working as a reporter for the Salt Lake Herald. Bishop Whitney also used his personal friendship with the recently (6 mo.) sustained church president, Lorenzo Snow, to get Race included as a member of the large traveling party of church leaders and press going to St. George in mid-May for stake conference.

Along with Race, others accompanying the group were LeRoi C. Snow (Pres. Snow’s son who acted as a private secretary/assistant to his father and Deseret News reporter), Arthur Winter (official church stenographer/sermon reporter), and one or two more. Race’s job was to cover discourse content and major events that would be of interest to readers. He was fairly green at the time and so the experience was challenging, especially when Pres. Snow called on him, with no notice, to speak in one of the meetings during their journey.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #11 - Being Used as a Tool


            With general conference just hours from starting, dissident activists are working themselves into a frenzy to use the timing to get out their message. And the Salt Lake Tribune is more than willing to give them the prime-time pulpit they desire (though most faithful Mormons don’t read or like the Tribune). I would suppose that Tribune editors know they are being used by these people and are more than willing to participate. After all, people are reading their paper/website and that is what it’s all about.

            In a few days general conference will be over. Two new apostles will have been sustained; perhaps other items of noteworthy/newsworthy adjustment and change may occur. It won’t be long now until we know. But these activists will still have to live with the consequences of their actions. Those who used the Tribune as a tool to rail against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will find they have no trust or standing in the church they claim membership in. Even if they are not excommunicated for their open public opposition and slander, they have still excommunicated themselves figuratively. If they have already left the church, which is likely, their words carry even less meaning than otherwise. They have lost their integrity and sold their birthright for a mess of pottage. I am so, so, very grad I am not them; that I didn’t march against the prophets and apostles that I love; that I didn’t write a shameful public letter. Shame on them and the Tribune for printing this tripe.

Relevant Counsel from Boyd K. Packer

Some of President Boyd K. Packer’s counsel on
church leader’s weaknesses, bishop’s interviews,
and teaching about procreation and the law of Chastity

            [Compilers note: With certain issues attracting attention in various media venues today, right before General Conference, I took a few minutes and copied and pasted some relevant comments made by President Boyd K. Packer during his ministry. These are found at gospelink.com (subscription required) and are from one or two of his books. I have not bothered to provide further sourcing than that. Though spoken in decades past, these excerpts are so on-point today they could have been written this morning—a sign of prophetic inspiration during their preparation/delivery. I assembled them for any wishing to gain insight into the principles and doctrines of the gospel that keep a member steady, faithful, and unconcerned, while the world is in commotion around us. -Dennis B. Horne]

I speak to that member of the Church who struggles with a test of faith that could touch any one of us.

If I can take the arm of that one and steady him when his faith is tottering, I do not hesitate to impose upon the rest of you for just a few minutes.

At times someone has come to me, their faith shaken by alleged wrongdoings of some leader in the Church.

For instance, one young man was being constantly ridiculed by his co-workers for his activity in the Church. They claimed to know of a bishop who had cheated someone in business; or a stake president who had misrepresented something on a contract; or a mission president who had borrowed money, giving false information.

Or, they told of a bishop who had discriminated against one member, refusing to give a temple recommend, but had shown favoritism by signing a recommend for another whose unworthiness was widely known.

Such incidents as these, which supposedly involve Church leaders, are described as evidence that the gospel is not true, that the Church is not divinely inspired, or that it is being misled.

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #10 - “The Doctrines of Men and the Devil”


            Peggy Stack just won’t let it alone. She has her teeth in something most people don’t worry about and feel is being done correctly, but she has to chew on it and ruin it as a feminist activist. Her latest piece of fake Tribune news tripe: “While applauding latest changes, Mormons concede they are no cure-all. Some even ask: Why have these ‘worthiness’ interviews?” She admits as much: “Activists heralded the move [of allowing a second adult in interviews]. . . .” she wrote. But for myself, and I imagine most of my fellow regular latter-day saints, we don’t want our doctrine and practice in the church influenced by activists. Why? Because they are actively pushing their own worldly causes. And I don’t want my worship or doctrinal views dictated by someone’s mistaken personal cause; especially when they are adopted from our badly mixed up modern society. The whole concept behind being a so-called Mormon activist is that you think the church isn’t doing something it should be, according to your own set of beliefs or opinions.

We now broach an important question that all who read or agree with Stack’s tripe would do well to consider. Where do activists get their opinions when they differ from scripture?—we are told that there are only two other places: from men/women or from the devil: “that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils” (D&C 46:7). Hypothetically, even if Peggy’s doctrines were of men, and not the devil, would we rather get our doctrine from men/her, or from prophets speaking for God? This is not a hard question!—“I say unto you, that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world” (D&C 50:2). And “if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire” (3 Nephi 27:11). These truths should make the question a little easier to answer.

These activists Peggy quotes in her fake news pieces may have some joy or success in their false and deceptive causes, inspired in them by false spirits, but what does the Lord say will be their end? Again, this is just not that hard to figure out.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #9 - “Be Careful Who You Choose to Rally Around”


            Today, just before General Conference, we get another helping of tripe from the Salt Lake Tribune, in the form of righteous wrath from an obvious feminist activist. Michelle Quist uses the setting and prominence of General Conference and Easter as a prop, hoping to increase the decibels of her complaint. Her hope is to convince people to believe women when they claim they have been sexually assaulted—and her standard bearer and shining example is the (as yet unidentified) woman from Colorado who is at the center of recent publicity over a thirty plus year old assault accusation against her MTC president.

            This piece of tripe is provocatively titled: “Easter has come just in time for the Mormon church’s sex scandal.” The fact is, the Mormon Church—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—has no sex scandal. A former MTC president who made a serious mistake/sin has to deal with a scandal, and the church is appropriately investigating it in order to determine how to proceed with disciplinary measures against the offender, but there is no scandal except in the minds of many dissenters and activists, like Michelle, who are trying to pin it on the church while saying they aren’t. We should recognize all of this for what it really is and not be swayed by activist rhetoric making a mountain out of a molehill, or one individuals bad actions the entire church’s.

            If anyone wonders whether the church and its leaders take these matters gravely seriously and do all in their power to prevent them from happening, they have but to read over the recent letter and revised policies issued to priesthood leaders regarding policy changes meant to further reduce chances for problems to arise. But there is nothing they can do now to prevent something that occurred over thirty years ago.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #8


            Still using the present prominence of General Conference as a tool to increase visibility, in this latest piece of Salt Lake Tribune tripe, Peggy Stack seems to think her opinion of what should be talked about is desired by others: “With a new president and new apostles, Mormon General Conference is sure to make history, but will speakers touch on timely topics?” Well, no, we don’t care what topics Peggy thinks should be covered.

            She also quotes a couple of self-appointed spokespeople, eager to bring greater attention to their own opinions. Most of the people Stack quotes are unorthodox liberals or activists, often extremist feminists or academics looking to push for (undesired) change.

            In this case, most of the article is fairly innocuous, simply being Stack’s review of what SHE thinks will or should occur during Conference. And her quotations of the academic are not that troubling, but another of her (obviously activist feminist) sources of opinion seemed eager to criticize, and is what has earned this piece the genuine label of utter tripe:

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #7


            This time the (less blatant) tripe comes from Ann Cannon, a Dear Abby-type columnist for the Tribune, instead of from Peggy Stack. From what I have seen over the years, Cannon is much less of an activist than Stack, and is not so blatantly biased against the Church. She has become more liberal since she moved from the Deseret News to the Tribune several years ago, but still seems to avoid the unashamed false statements we get from Peggy.

            Having said that however, Ann misses the mark here, and allowed others to speak ignorance and negative activism through her column. So perhaps we might describe this particular Salt Lake Tribune Tripe as Ann Cannon’s multiple friend’s tripe, proclaimed by the Salt Lake Tribune.

            First we get comments from people wanting to hear messages of love, tolerance, and inclusion. And all of that sounds like wonderful requests, and they actually are wonderful and each have been talked about already many times. The problem is when people turn these virtues into vices by using them as code words for extreme behavior (see President Oaks explanation of this problem here).

Monday, March 26, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #6



I had hoped that my series of refutations of false and misleading Salt Lake Tribune fake news stories would not need to be written so often lately, but then I remembered it is the week before general conference, when anyone and everyone with a reason to exploit the semi-annual occurrence of the large-scale conference for their own ends will be doing just that. 

Peggy Stack is no exception, and has now written an opinion piece, masquerading as news, with just this idea in mind: use the conference timing to get more notice and create more disturbance. We find that the title is as silly as ever, even asking a question instead of stating a fact like most legitimate news stories do. More fake news from the Tribune: “Does tithing requirement for entry into LDS temples amount to Mormons buying their way into heaven?” This question could come from any one of countless posts on anti-Mormon forums, where bitter apostates, atheists, and other assorted enemies of the Church rant about all kinds of nonsensical and fictional things they have made up and want to rail against.

But this time it is Peggy carrying their torch, with no reason whatsoever to ask the headlined question. Tithing payment has been taught in the Church since the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation commanding it in 1838 (see D&C 119). Then, in the 1880s and 1890s, as a result of federal government confiscation of Church property as part of their anti-polygamy legislation, church members saw their free-will offerings being stolen from the Church, and many became lax and deficient in full payment. Between the federal government’s legalized theft, several other financial factors, and the decrease in tithing payment, the Church soon found itself in severe debt. This was resolved when the Lord gave President Lorenzo Snow a marvelous manifestation in 1899, commanding faithful members of His Church to again pay a full and honest tithing. The members did and the debt problem was solved relatively quickly. It was in the succeeding months that President Snow began teaching that members would not be allowed to enter the holy temples unless they fully complied with the Lord’s revelation. The requirement to be a full tithe payer eventually became cemented into temple recommend interviews, with members needing to comply to be fully worthy. All of this was done by inspired church leadership; prophets and apostles of God.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #5


            Peggy Stack has a new story out, titled: “Some Mormons say their church needs a culture change, after watching the sex abuse scandal at the Missionary Training Center unfold.” As I write this sentence, I have not yet read the story, but only the headline.

I hope other readers can catch the subtle sophistry at work here. What is wrong with this headline sentence? 1) There are “some Mormons” especially among the dissidents, gay activists, and extremist feminists, that you can contact, that will say anything you want your story to say. All you have to do is shop for your biased quotes in the right places—Peggy’s email list and inbox. “Some” (rebellions and contrary) Mormons is a far cry from most Mormons, which have a much different opinion. They are not caught up in her liberal and worldly causes. 2) There is NO sex abuse scandal unfolding at the MTC. The publicized events (the scandal) took place 35 years ago; the investigations 8 years ago, and several months ago, and some more now—but none of it is taking place at the MTC. The former mission president lives elsewhere, out of state. The woman accusing him is not at the MTC and lives in Colorado. There is no scandal at the MTC. This headline is a lie. Whether Peggy wrote it or someone else on the Tribune’s staff, it is the purest falsehood and tripe.

            I have now read the story. Peggy immediately starts with innuendo, gossip, and bad opinion. “Some read the statement from the LDS Church” negatively, she proclaims. Who are the “some”? Again, you can easily search dissident online forums to find a few some’s to help get your piece cooking with juice, but it is bad journalism. Then we learn who some of the “some” are: a couple of apostate therapists, using the publicity of the story to stir the pot and push their private agenda’s. They are tapped into groups of people who want to use this situation for their own ends and they are doing so for all they are worth. A quotation from the piece: “Hanks, who is Mormon, .. . .” The problem is that Hanks is a disaffected Mormon that hasn’t been excommunicated yet and so Peggy can still categorize her among the “some” Mormons. But what help or meaningful representation of Mormons is that?—it’s useless.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #4


            This time we find a different reporter (besides Peggy Stack) headlining a Salt Lake Tribune story promoting illicit sexual experience for Mormons and Utahns. People who are alleged “professionals” are now holding conventions in which they promote adultery, fornication, homosexual relations, and other types of sexual deviancy as not only normal, but good and healthy. In this particular case, being a “professional” has little meaning, and no legitimacy.

            I suppose a case could be made in which we said that strictly speaking, the Tribune itself is not promoting the sex convention, but is only reporting about it. Yet after review, it is obvious this reporter has a bias in favor of the convention and against the teachings of the LDS Church on sexual morality. While several proponents of free sex are quoted, only vague references to the overly strict and repressive (their opinion) Mormon Church and Utah State Legislature are given. This is poor reporting; any freshman in Journalism 101 could tell you a reporter needs to get both sides of a story while striving for fairness and balance.

In this case, some subtle sophistry is incorporated, since it is mentioned that some of the  alleged professionals evidently have a “background” in the Church. Translated, what this means is that they are former or inactive members who no longer believe in scriptural and prophetic teachings about sexual immorality. They are apostates and excommunicants and critics pushing philosophies contrary to the plain teachings of the Church they say they grew up in. Well, we get that resistance from all the prominent apostates that the Tribune gives a voice to; that is nothing new. Part of being a Latter-day Saint is to endure opposition from the spokespeople of a telestial world—but we can still point it out with a neon sign.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #3


            The Tribune and Peggy Stack are at it again, as we have come to expect, this time with more extremist feminism rubbish. In an article titled, “Mormon church has taken ‘baby steps’ toward greater gender equity, but LDS feminists say it’s time to lengthen that stride,” she again rashly uses her public platform to seek to push extremist feminism on the Church.

The first question that immediately arises is this: is this actually, really, news? True it is that what often passes as news today has changed over the last few decades. Legitimate news used to be just the facts of the story—no making things up to suit a reporter’s fancy or pushing personal ideologies. Now news has become filled with opinion and viewpoints. Even in that broad and generalized sense, this piece still struggles to resemble any kind of news. It is really what today is often labelled “fake news.” (I have found that pretty much any story the Tribune prints/posts about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has elements of fake news in it.) This Stack article is really trumped-up (pun intended) extremist feminist propaganda, meant to act as both a rallying cry for feminists and to criticize the Church for not heeding the suggestions of its dissident feminist members.

The larger secondary question is, should a newspaper that bills itself as legitimate be running opinion propaganda disguised as real news? And because they do run such items, they forfeit any pretext to solid accurate journalism in their Mormon-related coverage. Hence my occasional efforts to do some watchdogging on an alleged news outlet that calls itself a watchdog. Peggy Stack is a glowing example of a yellow journalist—negative and personal bias, criticism, lack of balance, inaccurate facts and statements, sophistry, and manipulation abound in her work. The Tribune needs to clean their own house before they show others how to. Why can’t they get rid of the propagandist and hire a reporter without a liberal social agenda? Someone that won’t use their position and pulpit to push their personal causes. But the Tribune has a long and infamous history of using its pages for nefarious purposes on matters Mormon.

Who are the 144,000 elect?

by Christopher R. Greenwood
and Spiritual Atrophy

Who are the 144,000 elect who will accompany the Savior when He returns to the earth as discussed in Revelations?  There has been much speculation discussed about it, but I have tried to limit my answers to recognized authorities, prophets and apostles.  I have tried faithfully to assemble answers that address who, what, where, and why.  For obvious reasons, it is impossible to answer when.  Each of these has been addressed, by section, from recognized sources:

A.    Who are the 144,000?:
(The 144,000 are) a select group of individuals. John foretells of 144,000 righteous high priests, all of whom have honored the law of chastity, who will receive a special ordinance. (See Rev. 7:3-4; 14:3-4; D&C 77:11.) These 144,000 will be organized into groups or quorums of twelve thousand each according to the twelve tribes of Israel. (See Rev. 7:4-8.) As of the middle of 1992, there were over two hundred and fifty thousand ordained high priests within the Melchizedek Priesthood. It is uncertain, however, how many of them would spiritually qualify for this ordinance and be physically able to fulfill the tasks and callings that await this group when they are called to administer the everlasting gospel throughout the earth. (See D&C 77:11.)  Also, it appears that these 144,000 might be gathered from the actual scattered Israelite tribes. (See D&C 77:9.)

        B.  How will they administer to the people of the Earth?:
Depending upon the earth's population when the Millennium is established, each of these 144,000 high priests could have responsibility for many thousands of people. For example, if the earth population were only three billion, there would be over twenty thousand people for each of the 144,000.  In other words, they could be like Regional Representatives (or Area Authority Seventies) today, with responsibility over a number of stakes and the nonmembers living in that region. With the dramatic change of political and social events in eastern Europe and Asia, perhaps great numbers of converts and priesthood holders in these areas will help supply this body of leaders needed to help the Messiah govern his kingdom on earth. (See D&C 133:18.) (emphasis added)
Excerpts from:  Principles and Practices of the Restored Gospel
Victor L. Ludlow  Chapter 37, The Signs of the Times

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #2


            It looks like if I can keep up the energy to do it, these exposés of the Salt Lake Tribune’s long-standing miserable reporting record on things Mormon could well become a series. Sometimes it simply comes down to how aggravated I get at the false or misleading information contained in one of their sorry stories. Most long-time Utah LDS residents are aware of the Tribune’s critical bias against the Church, and many others besides me have noted and been annoyed by it.

In doing a little online surfing I came across this fine piece on another website: “Of 'MormonLeaks,' intellectual property and The Salt Lake Tribune – recipe for bias?” by a former Deseret News reporter that keeps an eye on things and evidently knows what he is talking about. The blog reviews a little history of the two Salt Lake City newspapers, then names some of its more prominent current reporters (such as Peggy Stack), and rightly concludes that “This newspaper has often run pieces critical of, if not hostile to, the LDS Church, mostly in the opinion pages, but occasionally elsewhere.” “Elsewhere” is, of course, the religion section or the front page, where Stack runs amuck with her activist agenda critical of the Church she purports to be a member of.

In the case of the commentary found in the linked blog about the Tribune’s bias against the Church, a different Tribune reporter is rightly taken to task for bungling and slanting the story he covered—strongly favoring an anti-Mormon copyright-infringing organization to the detriment of the LDS Church. A fine example of the Tribune’s recipe for bias coming through load and clear. “The journalistic issue is balance – the latest Trib story is heavily weighted towards [the anti-Mormon’s] perspective and downplays the church's viewpoint….”

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe


             The Salt Lake Tribune calls itself Utah’s “Independent Voice”. Correctly translated, what that means is “criticize the LDS Church continually, especially regarding so-called social issues.” It has been disappointing and sad to me to see it continue bashing the Church under its new Huntsman family ownership. If the Huntsman family wants to retain an honorable name and reputation, some firings need to take place.

            The Tribune’s main religion reporter, Peggy Stack, obviously has an agenda of extremist liberal social activism. Whether it is extremist feminism (ordaining women to the priesthood), or LGBT issues (gay marriage/sex), or some other false or wrong-headed liberal cause, she uses her considerably-sized pulpit to push her activist propaganda. The fact that she constantly misinterprets and misunderstands LDS doctrine while doing so doesn’t seem to bother her. And I am informed she is a member of the Church! Well…if you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ and your employment causes you to write things that are not honest and honorable and accurate, perhaps that person should rethink their method of earning a living. But in this case, Stack seems to feel it is better to try to change the doctrine than to report it accurately—extremist activism at work, doing great harm instead of helping. She has the pulpit and by darn she is going to use it to seek to affect public sympathy for liberal change in the Church, and, it would seem, if she has to criticize and distort and misinterpret and so forth, so be it.

            A recent example. A pro-evolution story covering a pro-evolution biologist’s pro-evolution speech at a symposium, where the biologist incorrectly stated that church members should believe in evolution—a blatant falsehood. Peggy falsely states: “The Utah-based faith takes no official stand on the question.” This is utter nonsense and I bet Peggy knows it. An apostle directly addressed her false statement three decades ago:

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Veil of Forgetfulness

by Christopher R. Greenwood
and Spiritual Atrophy


So... When We Will Remember Everything?

Sometime ago, my Dad asked me the question, “When we die, will we remember our pre-mortal existence?  If not, when will that happen?”.  The following quotes and narrative is to provide insight into that wonderful topic.  I would encourage you, however, that like all doctrine, we need to study this out, pray about it, and determine for ourselves what we believe and what we need to do additional research on.  The following paragraphs encapsulate what I have been able to find on the subject copied from a variety of resources.

We are told that we are to function in this life by faith.  If the gospel is preached in the spirit world as it is here and one remembers everything there, they could not very well exercise faith because when one has sure knowledge, it excludes the need for faith.

There is sometimes an expectation that the veil is removed when we die, an assumption that may have originated some decades ago with the landmark film, Man’s Search for Happiness. Near its conclusion, the grandfather in the film dies and his spirit is depicted emerging into a circle of loved ones who pre-deceased him. Juxtaposed over this scene the commentary mentions that the veil over our memories will be removed and that we will recall our pre-mortal existence. While it is true that we will eventually have the veil of forgetfulness removed, that does not take place when we leave mortality. Not until the day of our resurrection, when our physical and spirit bodies are inseparably joined, will our pre-existent memories be restored. And that agency seems to be necessary after death if those in spirit prison are to freely choose and accept their proxy temple work.

On October 25, 1831, during a general conference, Joseph Smith taught,

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Repost: Mormon Book Bits #1: Russell M. Nelson, From Heart to Heart: An Autobiography

Editor's note: With Russell M. Nelson becoming the new president of the Church, it seems appropriate to repost the first installment of "Mormon Book Bits" by Dennis Horne.

Mormon Book Bits

#1

 Russell M. Nelson, From Heart to Heart: An Autobiography


            One of the most desirable Mormon books today is this autobiography of Russell M. Nelson (not to be confused with his biography, published years later). No one seems to know how many were printed, but the prevailing notion is around 2-300, though that number could be high. In 1989, in reply to a letter from a collector that had read a copy and found it highly enjoyable, Elder Nelson wrote the following: “I am amazed you were able to acquire a copy of From Heart to Heart. This book I prepared for the family. There are a few extra copies about, but it has been out of print for quite some time.”

It should be realized that this book was written before Russell Nelson became Elder (now President) Russel M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (1979), and therefore contains no information about his service as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Without his call to this position in the Church, the book would likely have remained a wonderful but obscure personal biography of a prominent heart surgeon and mid-level church leader, but would not have attained the status and desirability it now carries, especially for collectors of LDS biography. The lack of apostolic status at the time of publication seems to have been both a positive and a negative. Positive because the book did not have to be censored and therefore contains marvelous information only meant for family and friends. Negative because his unquestionably many edifying apostolic experiences are absent.

            One need only peruse the following sample of highlights to realize the quality of the gems found within its pages:

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Gift of the Holy Ghost

by Christopher R. Greenwood

The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter and unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever (D&C 121: 46).
    
     During the summer of 2005, my two oldest sons, Conrad and Caleb, were on a Young Men’s white-water river trip adventure in Moab, Utah.  While they were going down the fast currents of the Colorado River, a strong storm stopped them from continuing on.  As many people know, the weather in southern Utah can become very extreme and dangerous at times.  The party soon became separated.  The leaders were further up the river and out of sight, but Conrad and Caleb, as some of the oldest of the young men, “felt” that they needed to take it upon themselves at that time to bring up the tail end of the group and to ensure all were okay.  The boys made the decision to beach the rafts and take cover from the hail under a tree nearby, close to shore.  While they were under this tree, the sky got darker, the hail got worse, and the wind significantly increased.  The young men that were with Conrad and Caleb in this adventure were getting a little frightened at this awesome display of nature and began to question if they were safe or not.  At this exact point, Caleb “felt” that a prayer would be appropriate and Conrad volunteered to say it on behalf of all present.  According to Conrad, during the prayer, the memory of our most recent Family Home Evening came to his mind with the added thought to put into practice what they had been taught during that particular Family Home Evening.  As a result, Conrad “felt” to voice in his prayer that they “would be able to adapt to their individual circumstances”. Shortly afterwards, the storm was over, and they were able to rejoin their group further up river with no injuries or trauma, but only an interesting memory.