Welcome, to the Understanding and Application of Plain Precious Truths

The Glory of God

I glory in plainness, in the glory of the Lord, and keeping his commandments and my commitment covenants. It is He who has set upon me the love of knowledge, wisdom and favor.

May we all find the Lord in His true church upon the earth, and enter in, through faith, repentance, baptism by immersion by one holding the proper priesthood authority, and then being confirmed a member of His church upon the receipt of the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

I love being a son of God with full access to the atonement of His Son Jesus Christ. I love the church and kingdom of God here on earth. It is burning with the glory of the redeemer of the world in darkest night.

We can all be a light to the world around us. May these insights help you find your way, and better your walk with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Shane

Featured post

The Traveler

A Daughter’s Journey

From Before to Beyond

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Beautiful Life, Ashes and Strife
Chapter Two: Returning to Separate
Chapter Three: Invasion, Persuasion – Casting Out Casts
Chapter Four: Fruitful Beginnings
Chapter Five: A Penitent Offering, A Great Divide Crossing

Chapter One

Beautiful Life, Ashes and Strife

We all lived in heaven, with everyone there, Father, Mother, brothers and sisters. We loved it there. So many friendly faces, so much to do.

I loved spending time with Father. He would hold me in His arms and say, “Sharloma, you are one of my special children, my precious daughter. One day you will be like me.”

“Be like you?” I would ask.

“Yes.” He would always say. This always gave me great comfort and joy. I wanted so much to be like my Father. He had a body that was so fascinating. He could feel, and generate warmth. Father also knew anything I would ask Him.

Then, one day, Father called a meeting for all to attend. Everyone came, to hear Father’s words, feel His love, and learn of His plan, the plan that everyone had begun talking about.

“Please listen everyone.” He began, “I have thought long and hard about how I might help you my children experience greater happiness. As you know, I have had the experience to have a body, and raise you my children. This has brought me much great joy. I so much want this for each of you, but there is only one way to do this, and the way is very hard.

“I will, however, give you your choice. You do not have to accept my plan for your happiness, but if you do not, you will find no other way to receive these great blessings.”

After telling us many things about the plan, its test, and our bodies, among other things, Father closed the meeting with sharing His beautiful personal testimony, and we all went back to our homes, praising His name.

It wasn’t long however, before I could hear some voices out on the street. Not knowing what was going on, I looked out my window and saw my brother Lucifer, talking with some of his friends. He was talking something about a better way. This bothered me.

“What better way could Lucifer know than Father?” I thought to myself.

Then, along came my closest friend of all my siblings, Jehovah.

“Let us not be confused.” He stated, “Our Father, is only giving us the only possible way, to obtain all the happiness and blessings He desires to give us.” He then looked at Lucifer and stated, “Brother, I hope we can work this out. I love you, and l want you to be happy. Please be more obedient to Father. He only wants what’s best for you.” Then He walked on.

The next day, we were all talking excitedly about the plan from last night, and we didn’t notice those from the street last night, go into the Gallery Social Hall, and begin their own meeting.

Later that day, Father called everyone back in, for more instruction on the plan, and to reveal important assignments. Everyone was there, including Lucifer, and those that had been with him.

As the meeting went on, some of us didn’t seem to be happy with what was being said. Some even appeared to be angry. Even a boy from my language class looked irritated.

I began to cry. “Why won’t they understand?”

Then I looked up, and saw my brother Jopana there, raising his hand to be permitted to speak.

Father called upon him and said, “Let us here from our musician, Jopana.”

Jopana then spoke, “Father, I just wanted to know, will we still have our families on this earth, as we have here?”

“Yes Jopana, you will have a family. I have given you the chance to pick who you want to be with, along with my guidelines for who will be best, and you can rest assured, that I will send you to where you need to go. Anything else Jopana?”

“No Father. Thank you.”

Then Lucifer stood up and spoke. “Friends and family,” he began, “I have discovered, that the plan of our Father, won’t bring everyone back home, in the way He promises. I have been thinking, and I believe that I have found a better way.”

Some of the others began to applaud. He continued, “I have come up with a plan, that will save all of us, but I must be the one who makes it all happen. What do you think Father?”

Father paused compassionately, and then stated to him, “Dearest Lucifer, I know that you are only trying to help, but this way is not in harmony with the laws of our eternal government. My plan, is one that will allow my children to appropriately choose their path. That is the only way to freedom, the freedom to choose the right.”

Then defeated, Lucifer sat down.

When the meeting was almost over, Jehovah stood up and spoke, and said, “I am in favor of our Father’s plan, and I will support Him in it, and do whatever He requires of me.”

Then we sang a song, and departed.

That night, and a little worried, I went over to visit my brother Jopana, who lived in the school housing at the music school. When he opened the door he looked very weary, but when he saw me, he lit up.

“Come in Sharloma! What’s going on?” he asked.

“Well, I’m sort of scared Jopana.”

“Scared Sharloma?”

“Yes. I don’t know what’s going on with everyone. Some people don’t like our Father’s plan.”

“I know how you feel.” said Jopana, “It’s kind of gotten me down a little too. I’ll tell you what, why don’t we go tomorrow, and ask Father what we should do, OK?”

“OK.”

“Now, how about we both go for a quick walk, as I take you home my sister?”

“OK Jopana, that sounds good.”

Chapter Two

Returning to Separate

My first thoughts as to what my stand in my plan was, that I be the chosen recipient of all the glory therein. I knew that many had already given me allegiance, and would support me in it, but I feared that I was not chosen.

Father’s plan was one that I could not accept, and so I then settled on the declaration, that I must be the first man in Father’s plan, to inhabit a physical body.

This of course, was denied, perhaps because of my own personal agenda in mind. I knew that Father knew all my intents, but I thought that maybe, if I could gather in enough support, that even He would support my plan as well. Well, I was wrong. He was completely against it, and commanded me to let go of all such ideas, but by then, it was too late. The state of my heart, and that of my followers, was one that would not back down, and so, we began the war, with me at the head, of one third of all heavenly beings.

Back in the quiet quarters of the Father’s room, He privately interviewed His son Jehovah, for the plan’s perpetuation.

“My dearly Beloved son, Thou who art most precious and sacred above all, this plan of Mine, is one that We have both known from the beginning. We have both worked together from the beginning of Your birth as my Son, to prepare You for this plan to come about. I have foreseen the end from the beginning, and I know all. I also know, that You are the very greatest of all, being my First Born, and birth right Son, and so Your love like Mine, is also endless.

“But the sacrifice of Yourself, for Your brothers and sisters, is above all that which You can comprehend, even until You have actually experienced it. You will be pained to the very center, from all eternity to all eternity. You must be completely innocent of all sin. Your sacrifice will include the pains of every kind, of all creations and their spirits, and all of My holy justice, with its punishments for sin.

“All of this will try You even to your very limit. You understand that this sacrifice will leave You with nothing left to give, for you must sacrifice all you have and are to complete it.

“Because of this, You are the only One set apart as My Lamb, and the example of My worthy will. With this experience, You will be enabled to truly redeem all mankind through their repentance and our grace.

“It is because of your begotten birth, and sinless life, that you will have the power to not die, but to voluntarily leave your body, commending yourself to Me. And because of this, you will then also be able to heal, and re-enter your body, through the resurrection ordinance. My power over life and death is given to You, that you may draw all mankind unto me, through the power of the resurrection, to be judged.

“Through your sacrifice, you will bring all to me to be judged, and for all who will repent and submit to Me, they must bring their own sacrifice of themselves and will, to become even as Me, as a God, thus fulfilling our plan, and My work and glory, to bring to pass the immortality, and eternal life of man.”

“Yes Father, I understand.”

“Now go my son, and encourage Michael and his forces to fight against the dragon of perdition. All will be well. I Love You.”

Chapter Three

Invasion, Persuasion – Casting Out Casts

“Now! Let’s go!” cries Lucifer, “We will destroy them all, and they will all bow to me!”

“Yes my prince!” Screamed Mohakim, Lucifer’s next in line of command, and most evil beside himself.

Lucifer and his captains, with all their forces, go forth in rage to destroy the Father, and all His glory.

“We are going to destroy all of them now!” shouts Lucifer, with his bitter hatred as the two forces meet.

“Not so evil one.” cries Michael, with his valiant forces, “We will banish you, and your plans will be no more!”

“Never!” retorts Lucifer.

Then, with prophetic foreknowledge, Michael gives before all to hear. “Even you, with all the strength given you through deceit and wicked perdition, cannot destroy us. You can only harm us, but all those you injure, will be healed and be born whole and innocent.”

Then Lucifer cries out from the depths of hell, “We will see who the real ruler is! ATTACK! NOW!!”

And they go. The battle between good and evil commences, while the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, knowingly watch on.

The troops of Michael are led by many strong, valiant, and noble spirits of the Father’s choicest sons and daughters, including Jopana, and Haslom, a family brother of Sharloma and Jopana, and Marlbro, a friend. These are all well prepared for the battle, but the fierceness of the dragon is so strong, that it takes all, and the very best, for Michael’s forces and the Father to win.

Haslom and Jopana had always been the best of brothers, consistently depending on each other for support, friendship and love. Haslom would love spending time with Jopana, always thrilling in what was going on in his life. In turn, Jopana relished and loved the time and attention spent with Haslom. The two would work together to bless and inspire the lives of many of their other brothers and sisters.

At times however, Haslom would feel lost in all the crowd, with so many others. He loved them all, but he sometimes felt, like he didn’t know them well enough. It was in these times, that he would begin to doubt himself, and would then go to Jopana to help work things out.

Jopana saw in Haslom, many great gifts and strengths, which he seemed not to recognize or understand. Jopana tried to help him see this, and with time, Haslom nourished these strengths, and his confidence grew.  

Jopana told him, that in some ways he felt Haslom was stronger then he was.

Haslom began to go out, and develop his own life, knowing that he could do it. Haslom had never been shy, but he was just unsure of himself.

Jopana was so pleased with Haslom, for he went out and did it all, having so many friends, who all depended on him for strength.

Truly Haslom was a brave and valiant warrior for Elohim.

Jopana eagerly acknowledged this, and helped to build him up.

One day, Haslom came to see Jopana, with exciting and happy news.

“Jopana! I just met this awesome girl today! I think that she is the one I want to be my eternal companion on earth!”

“This is wonderful Haslom! What is her name?” Jopana excitedly inquired.

“Mingadro.”

“Mingadro?” questioned Jopana.

“Yes!”

“I know her! She is awesome! I hope she knows the great man she is getting, and the wonderful care you will take of her.” Relates Jopana, “She deserves a special man like yourself. I am so proud of you Haslom.”

Then, with tears in his eyes, Jopana reveals something to his faithful brother, which had been weighing down on his heart and mind for some time.

“Haslom.” he begins.

“Yes Jopana?”

“Father has told me something that is very scary to me.”

“What is it?” asks Haslom with great concernment.

“Father wants me to be a prophet on the earth.”

“Really?”

“Yes…but not just any prophet, he wants me to be the final prophet of the last days.”

“Oh my!” responded Haslom.

“Yes Haslom, and I am afraid. He has told me some things about our earthly family that are very unnerving to me.”

“Like what?” asked Haslom, somewhat disturbed.

He said that our immediate family, would not be prepared for earth life, the way you and I will be. He said that it was up to us, to help them prepare down on earth, to face their lives. He also spoke to me about the immense pain that I must endure.

This is a calling however, that is more than I can now bare, but our Father Elohim, has promised that before I go, He will personally prepare me for it, so I must trust in Him.”

“Yes Jopana! You are going to make it! I will help you, the way you helped me! Remember, we are going to the same family.”

“Life isn’t just care free anymore.” Lamented Jopana, “I don’t know what to do.”

“Everything will be fine. I will help you.”

“Thank you for your support Haslom.”

Then the two brothers lovingly and warmly embraced, and said, “I love you.”

“Yes, I love you both too.” Said a near by voice, one oh so familiar.

“Father, You’re here!” Cried Jopana.

“Yes Jopana. I knew that you were hurting, so I came to comfort you. Remember, you will never be left alone. Even in your darkest times.” Said the Father.

“I have a great work in store for you to do, some of which will even be through your music.”

Then the three of them privately spent the rest of their evening, bonding and consoling one another.

“I love you Father.” said Jopana, to which the Father replied, “I love you too Jopana.”

Chapter Four

Fruitful Beginnings

And now life on earth begins. We all watched on with grand interest, as our hero and friend, Michael, or Adam, along with his valiant, noble, and special companion, Guadra, or Eve, now inhabited their bodies.

They were innocent and full of all life and love, fresh and new. Father had breathed into them life, and instructed them relative to their commandments and duties. Then he opened the gate for them, to enter into the Garden of Eden, and they went inside.

Once inside the magnificent garden, which was prepared for them, Adam and Eve were filled with wonder.

“Adam, everything is so beautiful!” proclaimed Eve.

“Yes!” Adam responded. “Let’s go exploring, and see all that our Father has created for us!”

Adam and Eve didn’t remember their lives before coming to the earth, but as a blessing, our Father allowed them to partly retain an open channel, to remember the language they had learned before this life, that they would speak once born in the flesh. Thus they could learn about the world around them, and converse with the Father and Son.

Father called it the Adamic language, and it was clean and pure.

Adam and Eve immersed themselves in their surroundings, like little children in a peaceful dream. Then, much later, Father told Adam that it was time to start naming all the creatures and plant life, to which Adam was given dominion over.

Father called forth all the creatures unto Adam for him to name. Only now, did Adam struggle for the words, as he sought out the predestined names of each creation, and his memory of them, calling spiritually upon the Father for help, and to Eve’s surprise, he did remarkably well.

Eve listened intently, trying to remember all of their names, as their new language unfolded, and soon, every creature was satisfied with its name.

Then it came time for Adam to name all the vegetation and plant life, to which Eve came along and accompanied him. They traveled deeper and deeper into the garden, and when finished, Eve was so pleased with Adam’s faithfulness in finishing our Fathers instructions, that she told him, “I love you Adam.” To which he replied, “I love you too Eve.” And they were one.

Back in heaven, I Sharloma, had mostly learned English, which was to be the first language I would speak, when my turn on earth came.

My brother Jopana was so very good with this language, that he used it everywhere he went, in writings, and in publications, in heaven, and on earth.

Jopana started his life on earth very modestly. Not at all like his life was in heaven, but Father said this was the best way for him.

Father also told me, that one day I would understand why this was, when Jopana would bear his testimony on earth, about our Father’s plan for him.

Father had warned Adam and Eve of what would happen to them, if they were to eat from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He said that they could eat from every tree of the garden, but that one. Adam and Eve both understood what Father meant, and were agreed.

Then one day, Eve went off exploring on her own, promising Adam that she would rejoin him soon.

“OK Eve.” said Adam, “I’ll be somewhere around this river Euphrates.” He innocently stated.

Having just started out as a curiosity, Eve now wanted to go and examine the forbidden tree.

As she drew closer, she felt a stronger desire to see it but still knew that she was forbidden to even touch it. When she arrived however, she was not at all fearful, but was at ease in its presence.

“It looks just like any other tree in our garden.” She said to herself.

“Yessssss.” said a voice, somewhat near her.

Startled, Eve turned around to see who was there.

“Who are you?” She questioned this strange serpent which just spoke to her.

“I am a creature of knowledge.” He replied.

“Oh!” gasped Eve.

“Yes. You see, I know all the secrets that eating this fruit will give you.”

“But I am not to partake of this tree.” Defended Eve.

“Then are you to never know the things that your Father knows?”

“Well no, but He told me not to eat it. I’ll die!” She said to him.

“You will not die,” lied the serpent, “but you shall gain knowledge. Father wants you to be more like Him, doesn’t He? And this is the only way. Look,” said the serpent as it slithered down from the forbidden tree, and closer to her, “this fruit is very delicious and sweet, and it is your only chance. You must partake of it, to know the difference between good and evil, the way your Father knows it. You won’t die Eve.” Said the serpent, sure that he’s got her more and more convinced.

Then, wanting to be wiser, and believing the serpent, Eve finally succumbed.

“Now go,” the serpent advised her, and give to Adam of the same.” He said, sure he’d set his plan into action.

Eve immediately began to feel different inside, not sure what was taking place, but as she traveled to Adam, her mind began to expand, and things that she had never before experienced, now came to her mind, and she knew that this is in consequence of her action.

“Adam,” Eve said, “I want you to have some of this fruit.”

“But Eve, isn’t that the forbidden fruit?” Adam said.

“Yes, it is, and I have already had a taste. It is delicious, and I am beginning to know more because of it. You need some too, so we can both know the difference between good and evil, Adam.” Eve tells him.

“No Eve, I will not eat that.”

“But it is the only way to be more like our Father.” Eve replied.

“Who told you that?” asked Adam, still afraid of what had taken place.

“One of the creatures of the garden.” She told him. “Father said that we would die and look, I’m still alive.”

“Eve, our Father is not a liar. Surely you know this?”

“Yes, but surely this is the only way Adam. I am now enlightened, and I’m beginning to understand the difference between right and wrong. Surely Father wants this for us, doesn’t He?”

“Yes, but I don’t know all His plans for us.”

Then enters the serpent and says, “Adam, I know the Father’s plan, and this is very well a part of it. Why would Father plant this tree in the garden, if he did not want you to eat of it? Surely it is for his own purposes.”

“Yes Adam, you must partake of it. We must follow our course,” said Eve.

After much pondering, Adam also partook of the fruit.

Chapter Five

A Penitent Offering, A Great Divide Crossing

Because they had disobeyed Father, Adam and Eve were driven out of His presence, and the earth they lived on was changed. Now, instead of their fruit trees springing up on their own, by the hand of our Father, Adam had to plant their seeds to make them grow. This is what Father had told them they must do from now on, until they died, adding more sorrow to them, which was brought into the world through their transgression.

Eve was Adam’s helpmeet, which meant that she strengthened him, and helped him in their labors as equals, to sustain the life of their bodies, which had also changed.

Both knowing that they would die, and losing their Father, the two of them were very sad, and would often cry out to Him in disparity.

Then, one day, three angels visited Adam, and asked him of his sadness.

“I have lost my Father, and I am going to die! I will never be happy anymore!”

“Oh, but I bring you good news.” Said the first angel.

“What is it?” asked Adam, still not very cheery.

“You and Eve will live again.”

“But how?” asked Adam, not sure who these are, or what he meant.

“We are angels, sent from the presence of God, and He has sent us here, and He has given us the earthly charge, to help you make it back home to Him.”

“But I am a sinner, and I cannot dwell in the presence of a perfect God.” Replied Adam.

“But do you not know of our Father’s love for you, Adam?”

“Yes, I know that He loves me, but I have shamed Him, and have brought sin and death into the world.”

“Yes Adam, but this is still all part of our Father’s plan. He is in control, and He has already made a way for this fall to be reconciled. You are given this very time, to prove yourself worthy and ready, to become even like your great Father in Heaven, and live with Him again.”

“Really!?”

“Yes.”

“But how?” Adam asked, hopeful, but very unsure, for a new chance and purpose.

“Your Elder brother Jehovah is the way. He is the truth, the light, and the life. He will give you the strength to do what you need.

“Do as we ask, as guided by angels and the Holy Ghost, and you will be blessed and receive instruction.

“For now, just know that our Lord, commands you to offer up unto Him, sacrifices of burnt offerings, and call on our Father in His name. This is what you must do, in order to begin your journey back home.”

“Yes, I will do it!” Cried Adam, very happy and grateful for this wonderful and exciting news, and a greater prospect of his life and its meaning.

Adam then rushed back to Eve to share these glorious tidings.

The Compilation of Scriptures for the World

There Is An Established Pattern

The highly esteemed prophet of the Lord Moses, gathered together, and compiled from all the holy writings, the records from the beginning of the prophets to his time. Then, from the time of Abraham to the Jews, all of what we received, is as the writings from Moses, to the time of Christ. These are all what is known as The Old Testament.

The Apostles then compiled their accounts of the Savior, forming the New Testament. These were then combined with the prophets of old, which now form the Holy Bible.

Mormon and Moroni, compiled the approximately 1,000 year period of sacred records, which came from a branch of Israel led out from Jerusalem to the Americas, before King Zedekiah of the kingdom of Judah, was conquered by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

These people were known as the Nephites and Lamanites. Along with these records, were those found by these Nephites, of a people who came out from Babylon, at the time the Lord confounded the languages of the people, taking away from them the universal language given to Adam. All these abridged records herein, make up The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

Third, the Lord, through His prophet Joseph Smith, revealed His word through scripture, in the organization and running of His church, once again established. This book of scripture is called The Doctrine and Covenants.

We also have another book of scripture known as The Pearl of Great Price. This scripture contains, among other things, inspired and edited portions of selections from The Book of Genesis.

Another portion contains The Book of Abraham, an inspired translation of writings from Abraham, which Joseph Smith began the translation of in 1835, after obtaining some Egyptian papyri in New York, written by Abraham himself.

Also in this book of scripture is found, Joseph Smith—Matthew, an extract from the testimony of Matthew in the New Testament, in Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible. And also Joseph Smith—History, excerpts from Joseph Smith’s official testimony and history, which he and his scribes prepared in 1838–39.

Finally, The Articles of Faith, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A statement by Joseph Smith about some core doctrines of the Lord’s true church.

Shane

The Economy of the Garden: Part One

Learning As You Grow

Originally written by Jon Foreman – supplemented by Shane Brown

My wife and I planted a garden this year. This tiny patch of dirt has become a space where small miracles occur daily. The slow and steady growth of the garden contradicts almost everything about our fast-paced world. The constant rush of the freeway traffic nearby, seems to grumble in disagreement with the slow and almost imperceptible growth of the garden. The trucks roll through, the beamers and minivans fly past, all the while the green leafy fingers reach quietly for the sun.

Slower than a speeding bullet, slower than the internet, slower than a snail, the progress these plants achieve has no advertisement, and no solicited personal recognition. In fact, if I put my cell phone down long enough to examine the growth, it appears as though nothing is happening. Gradually and imperceptibly, a transformation has taken place. Over the course of a few months, the ground has become thick with plants.

Lately I’ve been thinking that maybe human souls grow best at the pace of a plant, and not a combustion engine. Maybe humans have much more in common with this greenery than I had previously thought. These “silent” life-forms really have a lot to say.

These days, I’ve been trying to listen to the slow growth methods of the garden, this incredible place of new beginnings. The genesis stories of many religions and mythologies begin in a garden. According to the Judeo / Christian account of things, humanity’s first occupation was gardening.

I’m pretty sure that things were all organic back then, no GMO’s or steroids. I don’t know what Eden may have looked like, but when I look at our little freeway garden, I can feel a connection with the earth, even in California’s stucco suburbia.

It’s been a truly liberating experience for me to eat a strawberry in the same place that it was born, only seconds after it was plucked. The fruit has no bar code, no USFDA information. It is not shrink-wrapped with thousands of others. No, it’s a very specific strawberry from a very specific plant.

Yes, it may look and taste like thousands of others, but it has a history and a connection unlike all the rest. For me, this berry is a distinct piece of fruit. I have watched her for days, waiting, until she’s perfectly ripe, trying to get to her before the caterpillars do.
And when I pick the strawberry up from her earthy beginnings, it feels like a sacred moment, where earth, wind, sun and water have come together to give me a piece of themselves. This tiny, miss-shaped berry becomes a celebration of life.

Consumption becomes tied to holy specifics, with sincere meaning. This little suburban freeway garden of mine, begins to feel like holy ground. Yes, even against the backdrop of a land where things are not generally held sacred.

Speaking of anthropology, I grew up in a world with very shallow roots. California has only been a state for about 150 years. Our nation has only been around for a few hundred more. We live in the land of new opportunities, yet generally, with a very short-term memory for what has gone on before us.

The American dream is one of growth, progress and change, yet sometimes even at the expense of the stability of communities. This is not unique to our own country. All around the world, humanity has seen more changes in the past couple hundred years than at any other period of time. Every subsequent generation watches the world evolve dramatically.

Electricity, air travel, cell phones, computers, cars, these represent comprehensive changes to our lifestyles that are radically new. And yet, these amazing developments are now, in a sense, held as unremarkable. Their availability and convenience is expected in our society. If you’ve got the cash, you can demand almost anything you want when you want it! Fast food, fast cars, fast Internet, even fast money from fast ATMs, yet, this nearly universal availability is relatively a new reality.

Year round, thousands of strawberries are down the street for most of us, at a relatively affordable price. This is amazing! The average American consumes groceries that kings and queens of the past could only dream of. A veritable cornucopia of fresh vegetables and fruits always at our fingertips. Any cut of meat, any beverage, any dairy product, food from China, France, Australia, South Africa, all within the reach of the average American salary. How incredible! Everything is available!

Everything is for sale, and yet, we have become divorced from the creation of these provisions. Without the garden, I eat my strawberries out of a plastic container at the sink, devoid of any connection with the earth. My consumption has no personal dedication. There is no individual connection with this unique offering that the earth has given to me.

Yes, my money spent at the grocery store represents hours of labor, but my work has no connection with the fields where these berries were grown. I know nothing of the berries’ origins, the hands that picked them, or how they arrived in my hometown. There could be a separation from the sacrifice, gift, and amiable acknowledgment of sun and rain. Now instead, there is a simple, unceremonious exchange. A few anonymous bills for a few impersonal berries. Yes, our stomach and our throats receive these berries, but are we not more than throats, not more than empty stomachs?

Yes! Everything matters, everything has meaning! The specifics are crucial. Ask your wife if any man will do. Ask a music fan why the Beatles are different than the Stones. Did our gas come from a BP source in the Gulf of Mexico? It matters. Are we buying our electricity or paper products from Enron? It matters. Is your bank using bailout money to pay executives their bonuses? It matters. These are important details. The children’s fingers that make our shoes, the migrant hands that pick our strawberries, the repressed souls that mine the diamonds of Sierra Leone.

These are not footnotes! No, these are the stories of our brothers and sisters on the journey with us! This is part of the fabric of the garden that binds us all together in this universal ecosystem. We are all connected, and increasingly so with the global reach of communications, markets and technology.

Our individual plot lines correspond and cross. Yes, capitalism may have brought the world within our reach, but when these products are stripped of context, we begin to lose a piece of our own soul’s individuality as well. The fast-food pace of our daily lives cannot replace the slow growth of the garden. When a product is stripped of its narrative, and we overlook its significance, we lose a portion of our own story as well. We can be slowly, but eventually, reduced to an appetite with nothing more.

Every anonymous bar code has an intricate connection with the “capital system,” which can rob us of our own upward, ongoing beautiful and divine human experience.
I’m not trying to speak against the tides of capitalism, and I’m not against grocery stores. I’m just stating that even as we profess progression with a world driven by money, that in the race for an unfounded entity of such a numerically acquired abduction, we lose a piece of our identity. We reduce our lives to an anonymous pocketbook, with a consuming mouth at the other end.

The unique identity of each one of us, is as a literal child of God, each possessing an infinite and eternal value and worth. We should not tie ourselves to the way we spend our time earning money. It’s certainly hard to call faceless consumerism progress.
In the face of capitalism and professionalism, my backyard garden reminds me that my plot is part of the broader narrative, which opens my eyes to the stories that don’t fit into sales tags. That even with the accelerating digital network and virtual reality, these are not the best soil for the human soul.

With the accelerated detachment of face to face interaction, I’m pretty sure we could all use a little more cordial kindness, and a little more dirt underneath our fingernails.
The economy of the garden reminds me that yes, money may not be the best model for our human experience, and yet the day will come, when all the politics, pretensions, preys and tyranny, will all be done away, and Jesus Christ will reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

I want to live with deeper roots, even if it means a slower means of travel. Maybe I could spend a little more time in the life of the garden as Adam and Eve, and a little less time in the fast lane.

-Jon

Shane

To Be One, In Heart & Mind

To Become Zion

Consider this quote from Elder Dieter F. Uchdorf, of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As you do, keep in mind that another name for the Holy Ghost is, the Comforter.

“The Latin source of the word COMFORTER— com fortis—means “TOGETHER STRONG.” As the Holy Ghost visits your own spirit, you become stronger than you are by yourself. When you receive the Holy Ghost, you receive strength, power, peace, and comfort.” Elder Dieter F. Uchdorf.

I would also add that the Gift of the Holy Ghost, as an added enhancement to the lives of Latter-Day Saints, would, as we live up to these privileges together, make us even stronger as a collective whole, even as the body of Christ. In other words, of one heart, and one mind. An added sealing upon our heads, in and of the covenant of the First Born: together strong.

Shiftless Core

One heart, one mind,
Making music, divine.
One battle, one beat,
All gather in one to defeat!

It’s time to be bold,
And not overbearing,
To help bring forth light,
And healing to the world.

Remember the One,
With the shiftless core,
Our reminder,
Of who we always need to be.

Where ever we go,
And whoever we see,
We share love,
For His glory!

United in beat, and thought,
We’re not going to stop,
Because we are of one heart, one mind,
Making sweet music divine.

It won’t be enough,
To just believe, we must fight,
To overcome the foe,
With power from the Holy Ghost.

Come now, let’s win,
As we are unified in,
One heart, one mind,
Worthy of the divine.

It’s about how we live,
That we love and give,
Unified in one beat, and thought,
Now let’s spread the rock!

We are of one heart, one mind,
With one beat, divine, united in,
One purpose, and mission,
With a shiftless core, let’s give all to Him!

Shane

The Birth of Jesus Christ

Peace on Earth

All things are orchestrated by our Heavenly Father. Not with a worldly control, but with a godly power and influence. Deep down inside everyone knows this. This is why the first thing they do is blame God for things, but all things have their purpose, and everything has meaning.

Speaking of the birth of Christ, for Christ to be given a body that could withstand death, allowing Him to purposely and voluntarily commend His Spirit unto God, passing from this life, He could then voluntarily heal, bless and re-enter His body as a then perfected, resurrected being, wherein His body would be a reflection of His Righteous Spirit. Our resurrected bodies will only be as glorious to the extent that we have repented.

Concerning our Lord’s birth, which much is yet to be revealed, Heavenly Father had to send down His capsule of insemination with the Holy Ghost, unto Mary to give Jesus a body specific to deity and mortality.

Before this life, Heavenly Farther and Jesus’ Heavenly Mother, gave birth to Him in the pre-mortal life, calling Him through to His role as Savior as the First Born.

Mary was called and chosen to house and tabernacle the Christ with an earthen body, wherein He could perform all the function and will of His Father’s design, concerning His children.

Shane

Praying Without Ceasing

By Being Perfect In Christ,
We Can Obey All God’s Commandments

In the Lord’s church we are told to pray without ceasing. How? By living with the constant companionship of The Gift of the Holy Ghost. To be in continual communion with the Father, through His Son Jesus Christ, and The Holy Ghost. 

As the Holy Ghost is a revelator, and revelation is communication, our communication with our Father, is as we commune with Him our thoughts, feelings and prayers.

To have a continual flow of revelation from Him, through His Son, who is the only true source and light of the world, we must have The Gift of the Holy Ghost to always be with us. This is only found and acquired in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, for it is different than just having the influence of the Holy Spirit, as all can have.

There are only two sources, as is discussed in my post Ones and Zeros: Part One, in which there can be good, better and best for example, or bad worse and worst. Having this great revelatory power from God, we can learn great things about Him and His kingdom, and receive guidance, promptings and the understanding of His will. We can also avoid all deceptions and pitfalls.

To have such a gift always, we must first have the sacred priesthood ordinances of baptism and confirmation of The Gift of the Holy Ghost performed upon us. This is to be done through those who hold the proper priesthood power and authority. These gifts are then bestowed upon us, true and efficacious. It is an extra and added power of the Holy Ghost, wherein we can always “have His Spirit to be with us,” and speak with “the tongue of angels, ” provided we live worthily of Him.

To be partakers of this, we must understand the promises we make, obey the Lord, and live to the very best of our knowledge and ability. We can then be truly guided, thus fulfilling the commandment to truly pray without ceasing.

Shane

Calming the Storm: Part Two

Blessed Are The Peacemakers

Is there peace on earth? We can have peace in Christ. Now that peace has been taken from the earth as was written, how do we play our parts as peacemakers, to help calm the storms surrounding us? Yes, the tempests all around.

We have power through the power of faith, acting within the power of Christ, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, to calm every storm in our personal lives, and aid those around us causing, or caught up in these storms.

Let’s discuss the Holy Ghost’s role in this for a moment, for everyone has access to the Holy Ghost, in which He teaches truth, comforts and bears witnesses of Jesus Christ. There is however, something far greater and more powerful found in the difference of having the influence of the Holy Ghost, which everyone has access to, and having what is called the Gift of the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit).

The Gift of the Holy Ghost is a beautiful, sealing, binding power, given to mankind through sacred priesthood ordinances and covenants, whose authority is found only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

When these ordinances are performed, namely baptism, and the confirmation of the Gift of the Holy Ghost, by the power and authority of the Holy Priesthood, we are then fully enabled to keep these our higher sacred covenant commitments, with full access to the atonement.

With this gift, we can access all the gifts of the Spirit, which bless us unto the perfecting of our souls and the Saints, provided we live worthy of it.

In this way, the Gift of The Holy Ghost is a far greater influence in us, and we can more fully develop, and help others add to the peace within and around us, in which we can all have peace in Christ.

Shane

The Fruits of the Atonement: Part One

Everything Is A Miracle

This includes a short report of 10 Scriptural References of gospel principles, as they relate to the Atonement.

The First Reference under atonement, as taken from the Bible Dictionary, a general overview:

Note: I have altered and supplemented the definition of atonement, as found in The Bible Dictionary, to more fully and accurately define the aspects found therein.

The word atonement, describes the setting “at one,” of those who have been estranged, and denotes the reconciliation of man to God. Sin is the cause of the estrangement, and therefore the purpose of atonement is to correct or overcome the consequences of sin. From the time of Adam to the death of Jesus Christ, true believers were instructed to offer animal sacrifices to the Lord. These sacrifices were symbolic of the forthcoming death of Jesus Christ, and were done by faith in Him (Moses 5:5–8).

Jesus Christ, as the anointed One, and Only Begotten Son of God, and the only sinless person to live on this earth, was the only one capable of making an atonement for mankind. By His selection and foreordination in the Grand Council before the world was formed, His divine Sonship, His sinless life, the shedding of His blood in the garden of Gethsemane, His death on the cross and subsequent bodily resurrection from the grave, He made a perfect atonement for all mankind. All are covered as pertaining to the resurrection, for all shall rise from the dead with immortal bodies because of Jesus’ Atonement. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22)

All little children are innocent at birth, and will automatically be covered by the atonement, until developmentally accountable. For this reason little children need no baptism until age eight, or until deemed accountable by the Lord. The forgiveness of sins is conditional however, on repentance. Each person’s individual forgiveness touches them to the degree that they have faith in Jesus Christ, repent of their sins, and obey the gospel.

The services of the Day of Atonement, foreshadowed the atoning work of Christ (Lev. 4; 23:26–32; Heb. 9). The scriptures point out that no law, ordinance or sacrifice would be satisfactory, if it were not for the Atonement of Jesus Christ (Heb. 10:1–9; 2 Ne. 9:5–24; Mosiah 13:27–32).

Sin is rebellion. (1 Jn. 3:4) It is a refusal on men’s part to submit to the laws of God (Rom. 8:7). By Adam’s transgression, man loses control over his own will, and becomes the slave of sin. (Rom. 7:14) So incurs the penalty of spiritual death, which is separation from God (Rom. 6:23). The Atonement of Jesus Christ, brings all mankind before the bar of God, to be answerable for their own manner of life. The means of atonement, is provided by the Father (John 3:16–17), and is offered in the life and person of His Son, Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:19).

Second Reference under Atonement: Grace, as it relates to the atonement.

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.” (2 Nephi 10:24)

In other words, pray unto the Father for forgiveness, repent, and know that it is not your penitence alone, or even the good works you do through the enabling atonement and grace in the first place, but that even after all this, we fall short, and need Him and His grace. We can do no good thing without Him.

As a further note, consider that Adam and Eve would not exist after partaking of the forbidden fruit without the promised atonement in place, for even their spirits would die, as would their bodies, except for this atonement. This is why God’s statement is true and correct. “Ye shall surely die (as a result thereby). As scriptures state, we would die spiritually and temporally (temporally meaning physically), except for our Father providing a Savior.

This staying alive spiritually was also extended to the adversary as their only grace, given by the glory of God. It was the Lord’s pre-instated act of atonement, of both before and beyond, which made providence to even give us all life in the first place, and the opportunity to have this probationary state and test here on earth. Jesus is the Life of the world, and all God’s children. With the act of transgression, Adam and Eve could then have children, and we could then be given bodies, and live here on earth away from our Heavenly Parents.

Think of the signifigance of this, why else would the adversary be purposely sent here, but to be a part of God’s plan for our test? The second great secret then, is that even the adversary will at one point, come to himself, and make his long, arduous way back home, as the ultimate prodigal son.

This will take place after his complete burning and purging clean in outer darkness, where he will finally realize, after having given his all to win, and having lost, suffering all the consequences he has to face, will penitently acknowledge all his faults, and be given the long, hard road home.

This will be at the end of his Third Estate, Estate referring to a period of life, separated by other periods of life, for example: The First Estate referring to a pre-earth life, The Second Estate as our earth life, and The Third Estate as post-earth life. At the end of Lucifer’s third Estate, he and his followers will then begin again, having learned in their best way possible, not to rebel.

Because Satan and his followers forfeit their agency in the pre-earth life, meaning that they placed themselves in a position where they cannot, and will not do anything good, and can only choose how to carry out their evil purposes, they will have a fair judgement, in the which situation they will be given the ability to repent, and begin again, in their next eternal life, with another First, Second and Third Estate, having served their purposes of helping to exalt us.

We too being called up to our next eternal life, having already enjoyed exaltation and eternal life, holy glory, joy and peace, will then also begin again, with another First, Second and Third Estate. Already having experienced the full healing and forgiveness from and for Lucifer and his followers, they also being changed, and gruelingly repented of all of their innumerous sins on their long road home, we will then in our next eternal life, finally welcome him and them back into the Father’s house, and will all be at peace, with a prefect understanding of the plan of our Father, for He is a prefect God, and will not lose any of His children. All having fulfilled their missions in the exalting of all of us. Satan, through being opposition for us to repent, learn and grow, and Jesus, providing the only way back home for us all. For it’s not just that we repent to become like our Savior, but it is in the repentance process we experience, that we become like Him.

As another note, all of us are, in body and spirit, collectively and individually held together and organized in perfection, through the atonement, under the sublime honor of God, and all his creations, unto the utmost high, holy, infinite, majestic and glorified creation of our spirits and bodies, even the highest and most sacred stewardships of all. We are to foster the good, and “bleed” out the bad through Christ Jesus.

Even Lucifer and his devils are held together, and not disorganized as dark matter unto their non-existence, for the atonement covers all of God’s children, even unto the sparing the children of darkness, who followed Satan and the benighted kingdom of Sheol. For the Lord controls and subjects them all.

Another truth, evil cannot get worse, unless good gets better. Their bounds are set, they cannot cross.

Third Reference under Atonement: Mercy, as a fruit of the atonement.

Isaiah 54:7
For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.

A poem I wrote which helps explain and substantiate this scripture.

Mercy

Mercy is the substance,
Which stops our downward fall,
And gives place for grace,
To then lift us to our potential.

It is the sure steady rock,
Which we can all rely upon.
It’s essence and founder,
Is Christ our Savior.

He gained this victory and power,
As He lived and sacrificed His life,
With charity as the oath and standard held,
And champion which prevailed.

Christ is the Word, possessing
Every perfect godly attribute,
Which were poured forth,
From the garden, cross, and tomb.

He bought our way to freedom,
Living and giving His life in perfect light,
Shewing us mercy in loving submission,
And giving all the power to rise.

Mercy and grace work side by side,
And hand in hand, for without them,
We could not comprehend,
Or be lifted out of the power of Satan.

Mercy is God’s gracious gift,
Our great loving rescuer.
Grace is shared by Christ,
His gifts of perfecting power.

Forth Reference under Atonement: Charity, the pure love of Jesus Christ.

2 Nephi 33:7
I have charity for my people, and great faith in Christ that I shall meet many souls spotless at his judgment seat. Nephi had developed great charity for all his people, and knew that he would be greeted with such a wonderful reunion on the other side when he passed.

Fifth Reference, under Atonement: Hope, as a gift of the Spirit from the atonement.

Listen to the powerful words of Joel, as he relates the word of the Lord unto his people.

Joel 3:16
The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

This refers to the Zion of the New Jerusalem, and also the Jerusalem of old in Judea. The New Jerusalem shall be in Jackson County Missouri in North America, where His power shall be manifest, and the nations fear, for the fear of the Lord shall be there. And from the Old Jerusalem, the Zion of old, shall come forth His word.

For the salvation of the Old Jerusalem, two prophets from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, primarily the prophet of the last days, and his first councilor in the first presidency, shall go forth there, and fight off the armies of gog and magog. This will take place until the prophet allows himself to be killed, and then his first councilor, thus becoming martyrs for their own testimony of our Lord.

These two governing bodies of Zion will be as one, even His law and power coming forth from the New Jerusalem, and His word from the Old Jerusalem, renewed, for we need them both.

Sixth Reference under atonement: Faith, as is a gift of the Spirit from the atonement.

Matthew 9:29
Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And they were healed.

Seventh Reference under Atonement: Repentance, as a gift of the atonement.

Acts 3:19
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;…

The refreshing spoken of for us is the second coming, when the presence of the Lord will be here, and refresh the earth, and all that be from the time since the beginning of the earth.

Eighth Reference under the Atonement: Perfection, a fruit of conversion through the atonement.

Moses 8:27
And thus Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord; for Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generation; and he walked with God, as did also his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

To me being a perfect man or woman in this life, means nothing more than to know the Lord, to be like Him, being born again and converted, walking in the love and light of His soul, having the constant companionship of the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

Knowing to whom you belong, and living according to all that you know, to the very best of your ability. To be yoked with the savior, in that you and He pull the load together, and with Him by your side, He makes up for that which we lack.

Ninth Reference under the Atonement: Humility, as is a gift of the Spirit.

James 4:10
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Humility is a strength.

Tenth Reference under the Atonement: Patience, as a parent virtue of many other attributes of Christ.

Revelations 14:12
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

Shane

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