Thursday, December 8, 2016

If Ye Had Known Me

In the most recent (October 2016) General Conference, under the topic of Following Him, Elder David A. Bednar had this to say, "Following the Savior also enables us to receive “an actual knowledge that the course of life [we are] pursuing” is in accordance with God’s will. Such knowledge is not an unknowable mystery and is not focused primarily upon our temporal pursuits or ordinary mortal concerns. Rather, steady and sustained progress along the covenant pathway is the course of life that is pleasing to Him."

The scripture that Elder Bednar is quoting here is from the 1835 version of the Doctrine and Covenants.  That portion that he quotes from has also come to be known as 'The Lectures on Faith.'  The promulgated title change was an effort made to mask the reality that a committee removed scripture from the Latter-Day Saint canon without a revelation and without a vote by the church.  To this day, that decision has never been ratified by a vote by the church, and therefore this document remains scripture -even if it is little known.

From that same source of scripture, I quote a part of Lecture 6th in the 2nd verse, "An actual knowledge to any person that the course of life which he pursues is according to the will of God, is essentially necessary to enable him to have that confidence in God, without which no person can obtain eternal life."

And in the same lecture verse 5, "For a man to lay down his all, his character and reputation, his honor and applause, his good name among men, his houses, his lands, his brothers and sisters, his wife and children, and even his own life also, counting all things but filth and dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, requires more than mere belief, or supposition that he is doing the will of God, but actual knowledge..."

Sacrificing your character, reputation, honor, applause and good name all could happen in a steady and sustained progress.  I do not believe that sacrificing your house, lands, brothers and sisters, wife and children and your own life could ever be described as steady or sustained by you.  And yet that is exactly what Joseph Smith taught would be necessary.

Would Abraham have considered God asking him, to sacrifice Isaac a steady or sustained progression?  If so, how come we don't hear of more people building sacrificial altars to sacrifice their children on?

From verse 4, "Such was and always will be the situation of the saints of God, that unless they have an actual knowledge that the course that they are pursuing is according to the will of God, they will grow weary in their minds and faint..."  
And then verse 8,"It is vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him."

Do not be misled to fancy to yourself that you are or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, when you have not.  Elder Bednar's prescribed notion is for you to suppose that you have received a knowledge of things that you have not, simply because you are steadily going down a sustained road.  Joseph Smith's testimony is that doing so will only result in your growing weary in your minds and fainting under the pressure that will come upon you.  

Elder Bednar is correct in asserting however, that such knowledge is not an unknowable mystery.  Rather you have the promise of all the authors of scripture that you can obtain this knowledge.  However, you have the word of one who has been in the presence of God, and recorded in scripture no less, that such knowledge comes by your sacrifice of all things.

God bless you in your endeavor to do just that!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Response To: Baptism Will Not Save You

I recently read a blog post by Rob Smith, in which he denounced the idea that preaching repentance through baptism by water would be very effective in holding off a prophesied coming destruction.  Now, I don't want to come off as being against Rob Smith's overarching point.  I actually think that Rob makes a very valid point in his post that our focus should be on Heaven ratifying our faith rather than pridefully proclaiming something that we have little evidence of.   However, due to principles advanced in his post and also in response to conversations that I have had with others recently, I felt the importance of giving a -hopefully- persuasive different view of this very important topic.

To parse these ideas it is going to be necessary to differentiate between different terms being used.  In this example I want to point out that there is a difference between 'Saved' eternally and being 'Spared' of some destruction that God wants to pour out at a certain time.

After the death of our Lord, God saw fit to inflict mass destruction upon those who lived among the descendants of Lehi.  Not only were many lives lost, but whole cities suffered incredible destruction.  So much so, that those who remained after, marveled at the extreme changes that had occurred at the time of the destruction. (see 3rd Nephi 11:1)  Yet through this incredible destruction that involved whole cities being buried in water, earth and fire, there were a remarkable number of people who did survive.

After the destruction had ended the Lord, decided to speak to those who had been spared.  In doing so, He disclosed to those who remained that they had been spared not because they were righteous but rather just more righteous than the others who had been destroyed.  (see 3 Nephi 9:13)

Now to anyone who has desires for their own well-being, the question should be asked, "What is the definition of 'More Righteous'?  Is the Lord referring to people who swore, but didn't say the REALLY bad words?  Perhaps these were people who over-ate, but didn't ever let alcohol touch their lips?  Or perhaps those who would ogle the women in the red-light district of Zarahemla, but never allowed themselves to go in unto them?

The good thing is that within the account the Lord provides the answer: And it was the more righteous part of the people who were saved, and it was they who received the prophets and stoned them not; and it was they who had not shed the blood of the saints, who were spared— (see 3 Nephi 10:12)

The definition of being 'More Righteous' seems to then be: receiving the true messengers that have come from the presence of the Lord with a message of repentance.  But then that brings up the question of what does it mean to 'Receive' these prophets of the Lord?

In the Book of Ezekiel there is a recorded conversation between the Lord and Ezekiel wherein the Lord informs Ezekiel about the people of his day saying,

"Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, "Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord."

And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.
And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.  And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them."  (See Ezekiel 33: 30-33)

In this excerpt the Lord demonstrates that neither hearing the words of a true messenger, nor even believing that the message originates from the Lord, is sufficient to escape His condemnation of having not 'received' one of His servants.  The Lord points out that the hearers -in addition to believing the message- must DO the words of the servant.

Now previously in the Book of Ezekiel the Lord condemns as idolatrous, the Elders of Israel for looking unto a man -even if that man is a worthy, true servant of God- and treating the counsel of that man as higher than the revelation that should be had in a personal connection with God.  (see Ezekiel 14)  So on one hand the Lord hands out condemnation to people for not respecting enough the words of His servant, and on the other He condemns people for only respecting the words of that same, true servant.

This line is fine, but in order to understand the difference between why the Lord sometimes spares and why sometimes He destroys, it should be parsed.

A true messenger from God will always come to draw you closer to Him.  If anyone teaching you does not bring you closer to Christ, you can know that they are not a dully authorized teacher from God.  The verification of whether a man is a true messenger from God, is found in his message.  When a messenger sent by Christ to testify speaks, you will hear/feel/resonate with the voice of Christ that is contained therein.  This can not be duplicated by another source.  An attempt can and always will be made to copy it, but it is not nor can not accurately/precisely be duplicated.  

Now a true messenger almost always, will be commanded to ask you to be baptized as a sign to Christ that you have heard/felt/resonated with His voice in the message of the true messenger.  This is a wise purpose in the Lord that baptism is the sign chosen to demonstrate a persons willingness that he/she has not only heard the voice of Christ but is willing to follow it by following Him in to the water.  Of course the mechanics of this ordinance can be duplicated as well.  However the requisite first part of hearing the Voice of Christ can not be and we should trust that.  When hearing it, we should receive baptism when it is offered to us.

Now to demonstrate this principle I will use several examples from the Book of Mormon.  The first example that I will use is that of Alma the Younger when he begins his ministry as a traveling minister to the people in and around Zarahemla.  He gives a great sermon of repentance to the listeners which included both members and non-members of the church in his day.  What is REALLY interesting is that he concludes by commanding the members of the church and only inviting the non-members to repent and BE BAPTIZED!  (see Alma 5:62)

This indicates that even though the members of the church had received baptism by Alma's father, who was the founder of their church (see Mosiah 29:47); because of the message of repentance obtained by Alma the Younger, they would need to be re-baptized purely because Alma the Younger came with another message from God for the people to repent!

Next lets point out that Joseph Smith revealed that prior to the ministry of John the Baptist, the jews had already been practicing baptism.  (see JST-Matthew 9:18-21)  However, notice that the Savior rejected their baptism.  Why?  If it was because of their lacking the keys, the problem with that idea is that Joseph Smith taught that, "[John the Baptist] wrested the keys, the kingdom, the power, the glory from the jews, by the Holy anointing and decree of heaven,"  What was the 'holy anointing' by which John wrested the keys?

In Section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants, Joseph revealed that John was ordained at 8 days old to that work!  The question is then, does that mean that the jews had no choice about losing the keys?  Were the keys lost the minute that John was ordained/anointed at 8 days old?  Could they have not repented and retained the mandate/keys the Lord had directed them with?  Of course they could, but by the time that John came, they needed to receive his message of repentance, following it by being baptized, in order to retain what the Lord had initiated with them.

This is what is meant in the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew Chapter 9 when the Savior said that He rejected the baptism offered by the Pharisees.  He explained that it was because they did not keep the law.  And what was the part of the law that most largely kept them from being accepted?  "if ye had kept the law, ye would have received me, for I am he who gave the law."

This does not only mean that because He is God that we have to receive Him, but this statement was made while He was a mortal man acting in the capacity of a True Servant, delivering a message of repentance from His Father.  The Pharisees did not receive Him, because if they would have, they would have been baptized by Him!  (see John 3:22)

So John baptized, and it was recognized by Heaven because he was anointed and by obedience to the mandate given to him, pointed the people to Christ.  (See Matthew 3:11-12)  The Lord baptized and it was accepted by Heaven for the same reasons.  But the Pharisees baptized, and our Lord rejected it, because they did not receive Him as a messenger from Heaven.

So if receiving true prophets means to do what they teach, and if they teach that we must be baptized; then using the Book of Mormon as a case scenario, the precedent exists that there were people who despite not having their faith adequately ratified by heaven in order to be made clean/righteous, they were spared because they received true messengers from heaven!  And this means they received the baptism of water that the messengers are always commanded to give.

Now this does not mean that at that point they received anything greater than temporal salvation to be spared for a time until they could receive greater truth which would enlighten their path back into the presence of Christ.

Furthermore, this does not mean that after being baptized by an authorized servant of God, we should lose focus of all else which the messengers of God have taught us about the importance of seeking the face of God.  It does not mean that we are authorized to teach that after baptism of water, all is well, anymore than we are authorized in teaching that receiving ones Calling and Election is anything other than a first rung on a ladder.

So although it doesn't mean those things, nobody should take the liberty of definitely and absolutely pre-claiming, 'Baptism by water is useless without baptism by fire.'  
I realize that that statement was made in reliance of the accuracy of the notes taken by Willard Richards for a talk that Joseph Smith gave.  The context of that talk is that it was given by Joseph in defense of the question on the necessity of authorized ordinances.  Willard's notes record Joseph as having stated that 'the sects' taught that they do not believe that baptism by immersion is necessary.  Then the record states that Joseph quoted a theoretical sectarian as saying 'I believe in being converted.'  Joseph then is quoted as saying, ' I believe in this tenaciously.'  And then, 'But I further believe in the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.  Evidence by Peter's preaching on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:38.'  
It is at that point that we find Joseph saying, 'You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost.  Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half-that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost.'  There are multiple problems with this record and the jumpiness of the account is not a minor one among them.

One thing that I believe firmly is that details matter.  And contemporary note takers are not very good at recording a lot of details; let alone all of the necessary details.  Because Joseph had gazed into heaven -and because Willard Richards never proclaimed the same- I trust that Joseph understood more than Willard did.  Therefore for me to trust that in this jumpy account, Willard correctly recorded Joseph as having meant and said that baptism by water is good for nothing to anyone, anywhere unless it is accompanied by an event that isn't definitively defined anywhere in scripture requires more than I can give: when I consider the weight of scripture against that idea.

Now I am not saying that any unrepentant, person can receive baptism by water, even from an authorized servant and control the outcome of prophecies given by God.  However, I would suggest that at a minimum the Baptism of Fire starts out as hearing the Voice of Christ.  I suggest to you that this can happen even in the form of a mortal minister.

Therefore, if God sends a messenger to preach, and if you hear the voice of Christ in the message of that messenger, and if you DO what the Lord asks of you in the message of that authorized messenger, then when that messenger informs you that God has said that those who do so, will be those whom He protects during some period of coming destruction: you can be assured that God is a God of truth and does not lie.

But remember, Joseph also taught that not all of the Saints of God will live through the coming destruction and in fact there may be many righteous people who perish.  Also, just because God has shown that He will protect those who receive His prophets, you should also suppose that there may be many who never did receive those prophets whom God decides for one reason or another that He wants to spare.

Friday, June 24, 2016

What Is Good About Us?

Luke 18:18-19 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.

This rebuke by the Master may seem off putting to some well-wishers, who just was searching (albeit with less thought than the situated merited) for some amiable way to find entrance into a conversation with the Lord. However, Christ found it the perfect time to teach a valuable lesson.
We should not expect to find ourselves very good disciples of His, if we are not willing to walk the path He followed.
Why do we look for the good things that we do and like to praise ourselves for them when that is not what He sought?

Anything good (culturally speaking) that the church (as defined in D&C 10:67) produces derives from trying to apply the teachings of Jesus. All of the negative aspects produced by the church come from our inability to live the teachings that Jesus gave. These include but are not limited to the side effects of depression, issues surrounding human sexuality, unrighteous judgement, oppressive government in LDS areas, etc.

I have heard some people say not to blame the rank and file of the church (same definition as before) for these issues, because they are caused by the Shepherds of Israel. (see Ezekiel 33:23-34:31) To this I reply, the segregated perception of leaders and rank-and-file is a fallacy. It is similar to how I often hear people refer to 'The Church' (i.e. 'The Church doesn't like -fill in the blank-' or 'The Church teaches...' and 'That's not what The Church teaches') as if it were some real person or tangible thing that they were referring to. The Church is -as Christ, Himself explained it- everyone who repents and comes unto Christ. (see again D&C 10:67) In my belief that includes Jerald Tanner and Thomas Monson. Therefore anything that is produced within a culture in which 'The Church' exists, is negative only because some group of people, who have identified themselves with the church, have failed to live some part of the teachings of Christ. If we have anything good about us, it is purely because Christ's teachings are being lived (whether cognitively or merely as an automatic reaction stimulated by our social conditioning, the reward is the same.)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Double, Double Toil And Trouble

428 years ago, The (presumed undefeatable) Spanish Armada sailed from Spain to the coasts of Kent to land and deploy a devastating blow to English defiance against the Vatican, that had become so prevalent under the reign of Queen Elizabeth.  With the promise of blessing from the Vatican and the assurance of pillaging whatever riches might remain in merry ol' (albeit nearly bankrupt) England.

For 9 days, the navy of the Queen engaged the Armada in much futility.  Everyone predicted complete and utter destruction, not only of the Tudor line, but of all English prominence in the world at large.

Only 6 Spanish ships had been destroyed, in those 9 days, as a result of directly engaged battle.  Decades of English financial improvidence had depleted their navy and left them directly exposed the one type of battle that would always need be waged, should anyone ever choose to do so.

Most of the English militiamen could -financially speaking- only be equipped with bows and arrows instead of guns (which had nearly 50 years previously begun to be used as a deciding factor in war.)

These are just a few of the elements of the battle that were going to go VERY badly for England.  However, there are many more that should be detailed.  My point is that in no way should England have militarily won that war.

Rumor Has It

On the fatal 10th day of battle, the tides had turned (figuratively and literally) against Spain in a way that previously no body had thought possible.  There are rumors that Queen Elizabeth's consultant John Dee (a subject with whom that I believe many readers of this blog should familiarize themselves) gathered a quorum of consultants and were able to convince nature to fight England's battle.

In any case, the weather changed and forced the Spanish Armada to retreat.  Over 50 ships were lost in the weather driven return and over 13,500 sailors went down with them.  

June 23rd, 2016: A Day Of Change

Today, Briton's did what hardly anybody (including myself) thought possible.  I know there will be those who decry that a conspiracy was behind this because they are achieving some end result in this thing...and they may be right.  However, this day is still absolutely astonishing: It appears, at least by the time of this writing, that that majority of Briton's have voted to leave the European Union, for financial sovereignty.

Now I am not so naive as to believe that any man, let alone any country is a completely isolated island (pun intended.)  Especially financially.  I fully believe that the repercussions of this act will bring about greater widespread instability than anything else that any mortal on this earth has seen.

However, truth is truth, and kicking a can down the road can only go so far, before you have to give up kicking it down the road or face the realty that you can't kick it forever.  What Briton's have voted to do today, is to at least take the first step away from kicking the stupid, banged-up can down the road.

In the wake of that decision, we and they will now receive the incipient repercussions of bad monetary policy.  If you thought the financial recession of 8 years ago was bad, you better hang onto your hat, because you ain't seen nothin' yet!

The Point Of This Post

What intrigued me most about this story was the news, that one of the biggest reasons that those who voted to 'leave' the European Union won, was because of absolutely crazy weather systems that flooded (to the point, that some polling stations were forced to close) most of the bastions of supporters to 'stay' resided.

Depending on your point of view, one could make the argument that twice England has been saved by weather.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Types And Shadows: Children Of Esau Or Of Israel?

Esau and Jacob were twin brothers (see Genesis 25:25-26.)  They grew up together.  The scriptures inform us that Esau was a cunning hunter and because of this trait had favor with his father.  The scriptures also inform us that Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents (see Genesis 25:27)
Esau was born first and therefore merited the Birthright.  However, seeing little to no value in the Birthright, the scriptures tell us that Esau despised the Birthright and traded it for a pottage of lentils, but it might better be understood that he despised it in that he treated it lightly (see Genesis 25: 34.)
Thereafter, Jacob received not only the Birthright, but also the Blessing of the Firstborn (see Genesis 27:45-46).  This not only came to him by ordinance from his father however, but also by covenant from God (see Genesis 27:26-30; and also Genesis 28:10-15.)

In the commission that the Lord gave unto Joseph Smith, the covenant blessings reserved for the children of Abraham were once again offered to mankind by covenant from God (see D&C 124:58.)  However, the Lord warned those who would become the seed of Abraham through the Prophet Joseph, that they should not treat lightly (or in other words despise) the covenant He had given (see D&C 84:54-58.)

The idea then needs to be expounded: how are we the seed of Joseph Smith the Prophet or even the seed of Abraham? (see D&C 124:58)  You can argue that by process of multiplying out generations, essentially everyone on the face of the earth is more likely than not, somehow descended from Abraham at this point.  However, you can not make that same assertion about Joseph Smith.

Joseph Smith taught about this concept when he said, "Acceptance of the gospel brings into an individual’s life the Holy Ghost: and “as the Holy Ghost falls upon one of the literal seeds of Abraham, it is calm and serene; and his whole soul and body are only exercised by the pure spirit of intelligence; while the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually the seed of Abraham.” 

The idea then is that by accepting the teachings of Christ (The Gospel) which come from one of the messengers that Christ personally selects, makes you of the seed of that person.  The messenger -who proclaims to teach in the name of Christ- that you select to believe, (providing that he has actually been commissioned by Jesus, to do so) affords you the opportunity to come into the family of Abraham, and thereby the Family of God (see Romans 10:13-17).
However, invariably it is the case that when God has chosen to send a messenger in His name, the adversary to us all works in corrupting the message of that messenger by influencing both those who oppose and those who believe the teachings that come through that chosen servant of the Lord.  This is what is called 'apostasy.'
Thereby it becomes necessary as truth is lost with each new case of apostasy, a new messenger is sent to clarify and teach again the system of repentance which must be enacted by that generation, in order to come into the family of God.
That does not mean that God will always send a chosen messenger whenever one is not present, but rather that when apostasy has occurred and even one has presented himself to repent the Lord will work through him to try once again to reestablish the necessary truths that will be the foundational principles of the family of God.

The opposite is true.  If anyone, even -as in the case of Esau- one who is the firstborn, of the chosen, ordained and anointed family of God, treats lightly the truths that they receive: they apostatize from the truth, they rebel against God and His family and will not receive the blessings that could/should/would have been theirs had they proven faithful to the truth that the Lord had declared.
To us in the latter days, the Lord has not only pointed out the importance of the Book of Mormon as 'The Covenant' but that all of the teachings spoken by Joseph Smith, as he received them from the Lord, should be received as if from the Lord's own mouth, and that only by doing so, the gates of hell would not prevail against us (see D&C 21: 4-6.)
The Lord originally informed us of our condemnation that came by way of treating lightly the Book of Mormon.  (see again D&C 84:54-58)
Ask yourself, how do I treat the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith?  Do I treat them as a treasure that will defend me from the gates of hell?  Do I treat them lightly?  Do I trust someone else to search through the REALLY important parts and filter them to me?  Remember it is not so much that it was Joseph Smith who gave them, but rather the voice that gave them to Joseph.  It was Jesus Christ who spoke them to Joseph, so that when you receive them as a treasure, He then will also be speaking to you.  If or possibly when, we receive them as a light thing, to be borne as a burden, or despise them because they refuse to allow us to be accepted/popular in the eyes of the world; then we, like Esau, despise our birthright.
Both Jacob and Esau received a blessing by the power of the priesthood, through an ordinance.  However, it was only Jacob that received a confirmation of the Birthright Blessing by the will of Heaven.  Therefore it stands to reason that anyone can be the seed of Esau; but who then will be the seed of Israel but those who not only receive the blessing by ordinance but also by Heaven.
We, like the Jews in the days of Christ, can proclaim the blessings passed down to us in ordinances performed by the power of a key-holder but proclaiming such does not make it so (see Luke 3:7-9.)

Like Abraham, mathematically speaking pretty much anyone can prove to be of the seed of Esau at this point.  However, in order to be the seed of Israel (through whom the family of God will come) it takes more than genealogy or proclamations of men; but rather, like Israel, it will take the pronouncement of Heaven.  And that will come when we finally remove our condemnation.

A book by one who has been authorized by God to once again teach in the name of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 7:20
You can begin reading the contents of this book for free at:

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Thought Provoked By The French Revolution

People die; their ideas live on.
Few today are familiar with the names of Robespierre, Rousseau or Barruel; but nearly everyone is familiar with at least some small semblance of the ideas that they taught.

How better to impede the restoration of truth -which God had intended for a people to receive, grow and be blessed by-, than to keep the recipients of the seeds of that restoration unthinking or distracted?  By doing so, our adversary is permitted to continue to sow ignorance and we leave no truth behind to outlive us.
Effectively any truth that was passed onto us in the ideas we posses, die with us, because we refuse to learn, think and share.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Experiences Rich In Meaning

Recently, here in Utah, we have been having a good round of wet weather.  With this has come strong wind as high pressure systems get pushed around by the cooler low pressure systems.
I love nature.  I love it in all of its variety.  I love sunny days and I love the chaos inherently brought on in dark clouds and the accompanying ominous imagery.
As I sat at work the other day, I watched as a strong rain storm marched North from the South-West, over the Great Salt Lake.  From where I sat, I could watch in peace out at the dust and salt that had been kicked up by the power of the storm.  However within a few moments a circulating pattern emerged over the lake just due west of my location and the storm started heading directly my way.
Within 5 minutes a light breeze was felt.  Followed within a few seconds by stronger and stronger gusts, until the point came when the front of the storm was just mere minutes away.  The wind was so strong and frantic that the plum trees around my work, were all shaken violently at the presence and power of the storm.  They seemed absolutely terrified.
As I sat and watched all of the trees around me shaken in what seemed to me to be pure terror I began to notice something else.  The seeds from a nearby Elm tree had begun to float through the air.  First as a trickle but as the wind picked up, the seeds made it began to look more like a snow storm had come instead of a Spring rainstorm.
Elm seeds
 Flying through the air with incredible velocity, I watched as they just covered everything in front of them.  Within seconds of their passing, the rain began to fall.  This was no ordinary rain for Utah, though.  This was torrential!  It was conjoined by hail.  Big hail!  A couple of the blocks that I found were approaching marble size.  This all lasted for at least 5 minutes.  Yet in those few minutes, the road in front of my work began to look more like a river.
At the passing of the quick but strong storm, I noticed that the recently white colored elm, now had nearly no white on it.  It was all green.  Granted many of the leaves had been cut, sliced and sheared off, but many others were still remaining.  The ground below the tree was partly white from the seeds, but the still strong wind that remained after the rain and the hail had passed was making light work for the neighboring landowner to have to clean.
I wondered at what this tree had felt about the menacing storm. As I was pondering I sat and watched the still blowing wind carry the seeds around my work, spread over the ground, up in the air, across the road out into the field across the street and beyond my view.  To myself, I queried, "out of these many hundreds or even thousands of seeds, how many would ever be planted?  How many would ever get the chance to grow beyond a seed, into a sapling and perhaps even into a tree?"
Due to the age of the tree (very mature), and the low number of existing Elm trees around this locale, I surmised that less than 1% of these seeds would ever be trees, or even grow into saplings.  Yet in spite of these great odds, I couldn't help but think that this mother tree was pleased to have such a strong storm to come along and facilitate her in getting her seeds out to areas where they might have a better chance to grow to their fullest potential.
Where all of the trees had seemed to have shaken in terror of the storm, during the violent blowing this tree didn't seem much bothered at all.  In fact as I had watched, instead of being forced dramatically lower, this trees height seemed hardly moved.  Moreover, the branches of this tree were almost being blown in an upward motion.  It almost seemed -if nothing else, than in my mind's eye- as if this tree was welcoming the presence of the power of the storm.
I could see her raising her branches up to the heavens in what seemed to me to be an attitude of thanks and praise.  For in this wind, the seeds that she had produced and nurtured, now had the best chance of being carried wide and far to fertile places; where, when they landed, they would meet soft, moist dirt, and possibly even pushed down into the dirt, by the falling hail.
No.  Unlike the other trees that surround my work, which had not taken sufficient strength to their roots (See Jacob 5:48) as this big Elm had over many years of toil; this tree was not terrified by the storm, but rather found it to be a day of praise.
Depending on which tree I evaluated, I would say that this day was either a Great or a Dreadful Day.  (See Joseph Smith-History 1:38-39) 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Op-Ed By Harry S. Truman

30 days after President John F. Kennedy was shot, former President Harry S. Truman wrote an Op-Ed article for the Washington Post.
I want you to read this.  I want you to keep in mind the context of who wrote this; when he wrote it; and then consider why HE would write this THEN.
I am including the full text of the article as well as a digital image of the majority of the article as it appeared in that periodical for a limited time before it was removed from future prints.  Enjoy.

The Washington PostDecember 22, 1963 - page A11
Harry Truman Writes:
Limit CIA Role
To Intelligence
By Harry S TrumanCopyright, 1963, by Harry S Truman

    INDEPENDENCE, MO., Dec. 21 — I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA. At least, I would like to submit here the original reason why I thought it necessary to organize this Agency during my Administration, what I expected it to do and how it was to operate as an arm of the President.
    I think it is fairly obvious that by and large a President's performance in office is as effective as the information he has and the information he gets. That is to say, that assuming the President himself possesses a knowledge of our history, a sensitive understanding of our institutions, and an insight into the needs and aspirations of the people, he needs to have available to him the most accurate and up-to-the-minute information on what is going on everywhere in the world, and particularly of the trends and developments in all the danger spots in the contest between East and West. This is an immense task and requires a special kind of an intelligence facility.
    Of course, every President has available to him all the information gathered by the many intelligence agencies already in existence. The Departments of State, Defense, Commerce, Interior and others are constantly engaged in extensive information gathering and have done excellent work.
    But their collective information reached the President all too frequently in conflicting conclusions. At times, the intelligence reports tended to be slanted to conform to established positions of a given department. This becomes confusing and what's worse, such intelligence is of little use to a President in reaching the right decisions.
    Therefore, I decided to set up a special organization charged with the collection of all intelligence reports from every available source, and to have those reports reach me as President without department "treatment" or interpretations.
    I wanted and needed the information in its "natural raw" state and in as comprehensive a volume as it was practical for me to make full use of it. But the most important thing about this move was to guard against the chance of intelligence being used to influence or to lead the President into unwise decisions—and I thought it was necessary that the President do his own thinking and evaluating.
    Since the responsibility for decision making was his—then he had to be sure that no information is kept from him for whatever reason at the discretion of any one department or agency, or that unpleasant facts be kept from him. There are always those who would want to shield a President from bad news or misjudgments to spare him from being "upset."
    For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.
    I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue—and a subject for cold war enemy propaganda.
    With all the nonsense put out by Communist propaganda about "Yankee imperialism," "exploitive capitalism," "war-mongering," "monopolists," in their name-calling assault on the West, the last thing we needed was for the CIA to be seized upon as something akin to a subverting influence in the affairs of other people.
    I well knew the first temporary director of the CIA, Adm. Souers, and the later permanent directors of the CIA, Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg and Allen Dulles. These were men of the highest character, patriotism and integrity—and I assume this is true of all those who continue in charge.
    But there are now some searching questions that need to be answered. I, therefore, would like to see the CIA be restored to its original assignment as the intelligence arm of the President, and that whatever else it can properly perform in that special field—and that its operational duties be terminated or properly used elsewhere.
    We have grown up as a nation, respected for our free institutions and for our ability to maintain a free and open society. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dwight D. EisenHower

I recently watched a documentary on Dwight D. EisenHower.  As a Millennial I found myself fairly uninformed about the man and so thought it would be appropriate to spend some time trying to get a grasp for him.  
I do not believe that everything he did was good.  I believe that he had chosen to let those who ran the CIA be his marionettists.  I believe this single choice brought an evil into America unsurpassed by anything done previous to his administration since the establishment of the Federal Reserve.
I believe his choice to allow the CIA to engage in subversive wars was terribly wrong for American Foreign policy and has created much of the foreign policy issues that America has had to deal with ever since.  
I believe that he empowered some of the most wicked men to ever have governing influence over American politics.  This includes but is not limited to Richard Nixon and the Bush Family.
He turned his back on his good friend and mentor in order to score some political points.
Although at times useful, I believe that his subversive style of governing -through his hidden hand policies- was a wicked thing.
I think his executive orders were often inappropriate -as they usually are whenever they are employed.
I do not know, but fear that he might have played the part of an adulterer while leading the allied forces in Europe.  I believe that Providence was extremely kind to him.  

Yet in spite of all that, I am quite amazed at the good that he strove to cling to in his life.  
He was adept at down playing his own ego in order to soothe the ego's of both Patton and Montgomery.  
He seemed to desperately want to avoid war and sued for peace whenever possible.  His administration was marked by prosperity and his refusal to send American Soldiers to war.  Sensing no business in our being there- upon assuming the office of President, he immediately took action to put an end to the Korean War and get American Soldiers home.  
When faced with the option of throwing some subordinates under the bus (a la Reagan style with the Iran-Contra affair) he instead chose to take responsibility for the spying of Gary Powers over the USSR.  This choice ended his administration on a low note; but he knew that would be the case and chose to do it anyway, despite having the option -given to him by Nikita Khrushchev- to cast the blame elsewhere.  To him his personal integrity was worth more than the name given to him by historians.
He chose to stand up for what were the then hallmark American Principles of charity and pacifism.  Even though having been a soldier and earned his living in that profession he instead spoke up about the absurdity in costs incurred to build a single Destroyer when the same amount of money could build 5 hospitals, schools or shelters!  
He stood up against the war-mongering democrats (funny how things flip-flop back and forth isn't it) who cried for a build up in armaments -largely in their effort to pacify the Military Industrial Complex.  
Despite being members of the same party he chose to stand up against the absurd communist-witch hunts led by Senator Joseph McCarthy.
All in all, in comparison to many of the politicians that I have seen in my life, I have to say: I like Ike.

Here are a few quotes from him that I found worthy of some thought. 

-A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.
-I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.
-Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
-In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.
-Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field.
-May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.
-We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.
-History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.
-If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom.
-Don't join the book burners. Do not think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Utah: A Flourishing Oligarchy

One of the things that get me riled up is when I see a process set up that takes power that was originally in the hands of the people and transfers it into the hands of the wealthy and powerful. Yesterday, a part in that process was ruled constitutional in the State of Utah.
Maybe I'm a sucker, but I always would like to believe that Utah with it's majority LDS population, (and the corollary effect that such a population seems to have in making those who are not LDS, more faithful in their own chosen religions) should have an additional tempering effect against elements that corrode the power of the people.  This because on top of being American's, with specific rights guaranteed to us by the constitution, Latter-Day Saints have it codified in scripture that God has given them the Constitution, through wise men, that He raised up for that purpose. (see D&C 101:80)
Yet on Friday, April 15th, that erosion; that corruption of the power intended for the people is exactly what got held up as being constitutional by a District Judge (Read the KSL article here) instead of the rights of the people.
Heretofore, Utah has always had a lively, functional caucus system.  If you don't know much about the caucus system, here is a general breakdown:
-Every county in the State of Utah, is broken down into a number of smaller areas, called precincts.  (The area of your precinct is generally going to be your neighborhood.)
-Each registered political party will, once every other year, hold caucus meetings in those varying precincts (as long as someone from that political party actually exists within that precinct.)
-Those caucus meetings are participated by only those who live within the precinct.
-From among those who attend any of those caucus meetings, leaders and representatives (of that local area precinct) will be nominated and elected.
-Generally there will be positions of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, County Delegates and State Delegates.
-The first 4 positions fulfill a function of committing time and assistance to the Party and its representatives in that local area.
-The remaining 2 positions fulfill the function of being informed on and then carrying the voice of that precinct (into either the county delegate meeting or the state delegate meeting) regarding those people whom that precinct would like to elect.
-In those respective two delegate meetings, (county and state) men and women who would like to be nominated for public office will be heard, nominated and elected by the delegates, to represent the party in the general election.
-If one of those nominees gathers 60% or more of the delegate votes in their corresponding county or state positions, then they become the candidate for that party, in the general election for the respective office in which they have been nominated.
-If a candidate fails to gather 60% but is able to gather 40%, then their name is put on a primary against the other candidates who were also able to attain the 40%.
-If none of the candidates are able to gather the 40% then all go onto a primary election.
I submit that this process -although not perfect- is hard to beat, in the effect of establishing the will of those who are willing to take the time to educate themselves and perform their civic duty to the benefit of themselves, their communities, their counties, their state and their country; as a force in and of itself.

An alternative has been opened up, however.  That alternative is by way of a bill, that when as a initiative was titled, Count My Vote.  This bill has allowed politicians to circumvent the caucus system by gathering a large number of people, who are registered members of the party in which they belong, to sign a petition to put them on a primary ticket.
I submit that those who passed this bill (read: incumbent politicians already existing in office) did so in order to retain power in their hands and out of the hands of the people and especially to keep the elections away from those who would like to run for office, but who may not have the same financial means as the incumbent.
Let me explain how this works for the incumbent:
-The number of necessary signatures is placed at a high number (2% of the number of registered VOTERS [Not party members] in the respective voting district.  So for example in a district with 50,000 registered voters, a candidate would need to gather 1000 signatures of people who are registered members of their respective political party.)
-The incumbent can use their tax-payer-based salary to pay a company to gather the necessary signatures for them.
-This includes paying even more money to the party to find out the contact information of the registered party members inside the voting district.
-Anyone who can't afford to pay for these services, must go house-by-house seeking out registered members and petitioning them to sign.  (The difficulty of this really gets exacerbated in rural districts: of which 90% of Utah's area is composed.)
-All who gather the signatures are then automatically placed on a ticket in a primary party election; thus circumventing the will of any who participated in the political caucuses.

Now I want you to ask yourself: what do you personally do in the voting booth, when you are presented names of people with whom you are generally unfamiliar?  What do you think most people do in that voting booth situation?
If you are like most people, you will vote for the person with whom you feel 'most' familiar.  Now an old trick of the political trade, is that the voters don't REALLY need to be familiar with you.  They just need to have the idea that they are familiar with you.  This trick isn't only applied in the political realm.
For those who currently live, have lived or perhaps have even traveled through Utah, will be familiar with the name Larry H. Miller.  Larry H. Miller was the president of the LHM group.  That corporate amalgamation included companies across several industries.  It created an advertising scheme that was employed, wherein those who were subjected to the scheme would be shown a picture of an smiling, balding man with his arms folded.  Then they would be told that this picture was Larry H. Miller, and 'You KNOW this guy.'
This scheme was used to reinforce to the public that if you know the name of someone and a picture of what he looked like, then he (and vicariously the corporation of which he was president) would be worthy of your financial trust in a variety of ways.
The same idea follows in all of those signs that you see posted everywhere with a politicians name on it, billboard signs, TV and radio advertisements, etc., etc.  All of these are advertising schemes used to convey the idea that because you are seeing someones name, a picture of them and possibly even hearing their voice in a purported sincere tone, that you are now familiar with them and thus they are worthy of your political trust.
All of these schemes are employed because the fact of the matter is, that most people are not able to or perhaps do not want to care about anything beyond what they absolutely HAVE to: food, love, sleep and definitely entertainment.  The fact of the matter is that politicians, especially local politicians get very little scrutiny about the accountability of the ideas that drive them.  Rather than try to educate an uncaring mass of people about what they (the candidate) believes is important, it is far more easy to pay to have their name plastered everywhere in front of their neighbors and fellow countrymen and rely on the fact that when in the voting booth, most people lack a real familiarity with any of the candidates and therefore are going to vote for the name that they have they have seen the most.  This means that the person who pays the most amount of money -to put their name in front of the public- wins the election.

This is why those who were already in office wanted the signature gathering option guaranteed to them.  Because they know they will only have to rely on the power their money brings their name in a voting booth with a majority of people who will not take the time to educate themselves in a primary election.
With the signature gathering option, they know that they don't have to really be held accountable to the people who care to make themselves knowledgeable about the various political issues and candidates.  Those who will spend their precious time in caucuses and delegate meetings hearing the candidates and the issues being discussed.
They know that with it, all they have to do is have money (or at least be willing to sell themselves to someone else who does have money.)  Have money to pay someone else to gather signatures for them.  Have money to pay for an absurd amount of advertising.  Have money to shove their 'free' trinkets, buttons, shirts, pens, signs and fake handshakes in front of enough peoples faces: and they will win.
(I put 'free' in quotation, because their salaries -from which they are paying for everything- is coming from the taxes they collect from us.  Therefore it is, WE who are paying for all of this crap that appropriately ends up filling landfills.
Or perhaps if they can get some lobby interest to pay then they can pay even more money than the next guy.  But then it all comes down to those who are willing to sell themselves for filthy lucre, will be the only ones in office.)

If as citizens of Utah, we allow this bill to stand, I believe we are assisting in establishing Utah as a de facto Oligarchy.  The Count My Vote bill, on a generality will not assist any outsider.  If you are a Democrat -or a member of any other political party- (I'm looking at you Libertarians and Constitutional Party members) then understand your ability (or one from your party) to gather 2% of the registered voters (who are also members of your party) in your voting district is greatly diminished if not extremely unrealistic.  Therefore this bill does not help you.
It does not help anyone with good ideas who may desire to fulfill their civic duty, but find themselves unable to compete on a financial level of those who are the super wealthy among us.  Simply put, the only ones who this bill helps are those who see themselves as possessing a right within an oligarchy!  Is it any wonder why those who sponsored this initiative include names like Mike Leavitt and Gail Miller (the wife of the guy that employed the advertising scheme referred to above.)
If you care about politics in Utah at all, then please let your State Representatives know that you are not willing to support such a dishonest and disenfranchising system.
I ask those of you who read this to please either respond in the comments with a statement to the contrary or at least pass this around.  The political environment in Utah needs to change.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Commentary on: The Secret Origins of the American Tea Party

In the 1960's the anti-war movement was originally membered by mothers and fathers who didn't want their sons going to war. The Military Industrial Complex, had no interest in having their golden war shot down; and so they infiltrated the anti-war movement with 'hippies' and communist backed-ideologues who were willing to shout louder and act more bizarre in order to grab headlines. This had the effect of forcing out the early protesters who wanted nothing to do with being affiliated with hippies and commies.

To say the Tea-Party was some Golem creation of the Koch brothers, denies the fact that the Average American has long been trampled on and robbed. The obvious fact is that neither political party is really interested in helping the Average American as they are in robbing them. At first this looting was wearily tolerated because, no one wanted to throw a baby out with some dirty bathwater.

However, the tipping of the economic scale -that was a result from all of this robbery- occurred in 2007-2008, and by 2009 the average American needed something to let up. Some Americans bought into Obama's bullshit message of 'change' and the other half realized that they had been left out in the cold by the late winter of 2008 on into Spring 2009.

I firmly believe that the Koch brothers and other billionaires saw this as an opportunity and seized to control and drive all of this hatred into their own interests. I believe that those who were motivated by the ideology that became labeled as 'The Tea Party' got suckered into this crap the same way that the anti-war protesters got overtaken by activist shills.

But unfortunately I believe that this piece by Jeff Nesbit denies the truth behind the anti-tax movement and instead continues the pantomimed drama between the left and the right. Read for yourself, and let me know your thoughts:

Friday, March 4, 2016

Donald Trump As An Omen

I believe there is a coming political shift. Perhaps it has already arrived, and we just don't know it yet.
The conservative faction of American politics hasn't always been populated by those who were more religious. Case in point: up until the early 20th Century, the Republican Party was seen as a very progressive party, and largely the more religious populations of America were members of the Democratic Party.
Particularly after the Civil war and for a period of about 50 years thereafter, the Republican party came into disfavor with the religious majority of Americans due to the prevalent greed demonstrated by the party leaders.
So in the early 20th Century a push was exerted to court religious Americans, largely because the majority of Americans were very religious.
As the current generational swing continues to transition a majority of Americans from the Baby Boomer's to the Gen X's/Y's/and Millennials, there is an overwhelming swell of anti-religion rhetoric that comes with that swing and is growing more popular by the day.
With that anti-religious rhetoric has come also a more tolerant view on social issues, that currently tend to be opposed by the institutionalized religions of our day.
The Republican Party, being a secular organization, is unconsciously, slowly, quietly releasing its religious moorings due to the unfavorability of religion among the generations that are arriving/arrived to the age of voting accountability, and their social preferences.
This is most readily seen in the popularity of Donald Trump, as a candidate. Although the Republican Party Leaders, largely oppose Donald Trump, his popularity brings to the table a need for a very frank discussion regarding the identity of the Republican Party going forward.
Although Donald Trump has given a token lip service to court those who tend to be more religious, his focus has largely been to the Joe-Six-Pack/Bar-going-Americans; who in their own personal lives give mainly lip service to religion and that only as a label and not as a way of life.
Whether those who are religious recognize it or not, the day is coming when they will find themselves disenfranchised as a unified force. I believe this has largely come/will come because of our refusal to be a unified force. (see D&C 38:27)
As a result of this all being an involuntary/unconscious act, I predict that the Republican Party has arrived at a point where for a unspecified time they are going to become largely irrelevant in American Politics. This will continue until the party leaders wake-up and decide to reinvent the party after the image of Donald Trump's candidacy.
Another alternative (and in my opinion, the only good alternative) would be to repent and be one. However, I don't get the feeling that we (those who feel more religious inclinations in our personal lives) have many who are interested in that notion. It is apparent if to no one else but myself, that we are much more interested in hearing how we are chosen, noble and righteous. Therefore, it is my opinion that politicians -like Ted Cruz- would be wise to listen to and confer with those who are willing to extend any assistance they can give, from those whom they have traditionally opposed: such as Caitlyn Jenner. That is, if they insist on continuing to refuse to repent, and if they want to stay relevant in the political realm.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Where has the idea that the 12 Apostles have SEEN Christ come from?

I recently saw a really good question on Facebook and decided that I would answer. My answer turned out to be quite lengthy, and so instead of leaving it on Facebook, I decided to turn it into my most recent blog post.  
Let me first state the question: "From listening to "The Boise Rescue", Elder Oaks mentioned D&C 107:23 that gave the definition of the 12 Apostles (emphasis added):
107:23:the twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the NAME of Christ in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling."
I found this scripture interesting...has this been misrepresented in the Church throughout the years?...has leadership over the years wanted the membership to believe that they have actually SEEN Christ? (perhaps to further supplant their authority)...where has the idea that the 12 Apostles have SEEN Christ come from?"

My best answer: Oliver Cowdery gave a Charge to the first 12 men called to the office in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints known as 'apostle' exclusively within the quorum of the 12. (There were men before that time who were called and ordained as apostles, but they were WAY more than 12 and it wasn't really an official organized group.) That charge instructed those men that their ordination to become apostles was not complete until after they had received a visitation with Christ while in the flesh. The foremost Mormon historian, Michael Quinn had this to say on the matter in his second book in the Mormon Hierarchy series,"Cowdrey told the new apostles: 'It is necessary that you receive a testimony from heaven for yourselves; so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that you have seen the face of God.'  Then he continued: 'That is more than the testimony of an angel ... Never cease striving until you have seen God, face to face.'  Cowdrey acknowledged that most of the new apostles had depended on visions of others for their faith and suggested that some might even be skeptical of visions.  Thus it was not necessary to see Jesus to be chosen as an apostle.  However, once ordained each man had a lifelong obligation to seek this charismatic experience: a vision of deity.  Some apostles from 1835 onward reported having had such visions before their ordination.  Apostles in the nineteenth century referred publicly to their visionary witness."

This was a well known and documented statement and idea maintained even outside of those who had been called into that quorum. Therefore the mainstream of the church had the expectation that, personal messianic ministrations were still occurring at least among that body of leaders.

That charge was recorded and subsequently given to each new member of that quorum -as they were called- until the early 20th century. At that time, due to feelings of inadequacy by an overwhelming majority of those who had been called to be apostles and yet never received any such audience with the Savior- that charge was dropped and new members of the 12 were from that point on referred to the scripture that you quoted in your OP.

However, publicly the dropping of that charge was never officially declared -in fact it has only been private journals from that time which have since been reproduced that revealed that this change even occurred.
What I have found is that little claim was made to that type of experience by the leaders of the church from Brigham Young down until the 1960's and 70's. In fact during the administration of Heber J. Grant, he was quite vocal that not only had he not received any such experience, he actually prayed not to have it, as he believed it would more than likely lead to deception and apostasy. (For a more in depth discussion on this matter, I would suggest reading Passing The Heavenly Gift, by Denver Snuffer, a local Utah attorney that has written quite extensively on both LDS church doctrine and history.)

What drummed the notion -that leaders were chatting with the Savior every Thursday- back into the mainstream thoughts of the church was, in my estimation something that is ultimately two fold:

#1-) The power grab by the David O. McKay administration, to not only be called the president of the church, but to be called "The Prophet." Before David O. McKay, the latter title was used only for Joseph Smith -but because Heber J. Grant was such an unpopular president, with whom many lay members (and even local leaders) disagreed and contended with, the McKay administration sought to subdue any resistance by laying hold on the title 'Prophet.' (The idea behind this addition is that one can argue and disagree with a president, but if you disagree with a prophet, then damnation is at stake! You can read more about this in David O. McKay And The Rise Of Modern Mormonism)
This obviously lead to the missionary propaganda that was spread forth wherein we boasted of having a 'Living Prophet' and it is pretty hard to assume that title without having the associated idea that a prophet receives messages from God. Thus leading to the idea that the president/prophet is speaking with God, and if speaking with Him, then of course at least occasionally He might drop in for tea and crumpets.

#2-) During the 60's and 70's the work that Jerald and Sandra Tanner (among others) stirred up began to really hit hard. A lot of stuff that had been partially buried for decades regarding a range of topics were brought out in order to try and combat much of what became labeled as 'anti-Mormon' information. That effort by the leaders of the church (specifically Bruce R. McConkie and his father-in-law Joseph Fielding Smith, who attempted to correlate church doctrine according to their own, personal views) to combat this 'anti' material, drug to light many teachings that had for quite some time been discarded. That is not to say that these teachings I am referring to had not been known, but just not in a uniformly digestible way that could be made to accommodate a religious organization as spectrally wide theologically as where the church had originated from. Among those were the teachings of Joseph Smith, that included having ones calling and election made sure, second anointing's and having a personal visitation with Christ.

At first, these teachings were paraded as a jewel from the King's closet, that once again could set us apart (read:above) from everyone else. Once the general membership got hold of such ideas there was a very positive reception that buoyed up the notion to further research and promulgate these ideas even further.

The love fest didn't last long however for these backward ideas, as leaders began to be barraged with questions every time an occasion presented itself of whether they had their calling and election made sure; what is that like; insight into how one could personally go about accomplishing that; what Jesus looked like; etc. In addition to those problems also came others (non-leaders) who began teaching regarding these ideas, and really made it seem like they (the non-leaders) were having these experiences. Which offended the leaders sensibilities because if a non-leader was speaking with Jesus, and the leader was not...what would that mean? (Which this is a whole other discussion.)

So in reaction to these new problems, the leaders attempted to slam the door on anyone speaking of these 'deep doctrines' and chastised any who did as being truer than true; looking beyond the mark; and even apostate.

However the damage had already been done, the teachings had spread wide enough that they couldn't be denied (which was heretofore the tactic employed anytime the administrators didn't want to address an issue.)
So they stopped talking about it hoping that it would go away...and largely it did. Except for the modern perception that General Authorities all have received their second anointings; thus they have had their callings and elections made sure and therefore regularly chatted with Jesus....or at least played in the annual Celestial Fall Equinox Golf For-Florida-Real-Estate-Charity Tournament that He sponsors each year...however this year, I have it on good word that He cancelled it due to the Shemitah. The only addition to those ideas is that, they are all to 'sacred' to even be acknowledged and so don't ask because they can't tell.