October 21, 2018

"Into the Gates of Hell"

“Into the Gates of Hell”


Our nation is under attack
from within by the money
hatred and feeding frenzy
caring not for citizens
life has no value at all
collateral damage expressed
subjection of the masses
led by the nose of chaos
into the gates of hell
satan’s minions leading
our nation is under attack!

Copyright © 2018 – cji

"Ministering: Bondage of our Peers - Lamentations of Jeremiah: Beware of Bondage"

Lamentations of Jeremiah: Beware of Bondage

Early in our marriage my wife, Mary, and I decided that to the extent possible we would choose activities that we could attend together. We also wanted to be prudent with our budget. Mary loves music and was undoubtedly concerned that I might overemphasize sporting events, so she negotiated that for all paid events, there would be two musicals, operas, or cultural activities for each paid ball game.
Initially I was resistant to the opera component, but over time I changed my view. I particularly came to enjoy the operas by Giuseppe Verdi.1 This week will be the 200th anniversary of his birth.
In his youth Verdi was intrigued with the prophet Jeremiah, and in 1842, at the age of 28, he achieved fame with the opera Nabucco, a shortened Italian form of the name Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. This opera contains concepts drawn from the books of Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Psalms in the Old Testament. The opera includes the conquest of Jerusalem and the captivity and bondage of the Jews. Psalm 137 is the inspiration for Verdi’s moving and inspiring “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves.” The heading of this psalm in our scriptures is very dramatic: “While in captivity, the Jews wept by the rivers of Babylon—Because of sorrow, they could not bear to sing the songs of Zion.”
My purpose is to review many forms of bondage and subjugation. I will compare some circumstances of our day with those in the days of Jeremiah before the downfall of Jerusalem. In presenting this voice of warning, I am grateful that most Church members are righteously avoiding the conduct that was so offensive to the Lord in Jeremiah’s time.
The prophecies and lamentations of Jeremiah are important to Latter-day Saints. Jeremiah and the Jerusalem of his day are the backdrop to the beginning chapters in the Book of Mormon. Jeremiah was a contemporary of the prophet Lehi.2 The Lord dramatically informed Jeremiah of his foreordination: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”3
Lehi had a different calling, mission, and assignment from the Lord. He was not called in his youth but in his maturity. Initially his was a voice of warning, but after faithfully declaring the same message as Jeremiah, Lehi was commanded by the Lord to take his family and depart into the wilderness.4 In doing so, Lehi blessed not only his family but also all people.
During the years before the destruction of Jerusalem,5 the messages the Lord gave to Jeremiah are haunting. He said:
“My people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. …
“… They have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed … out … broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”6
Speaking of the calamities to come upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Lord lamented, “[For them] the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and [they] are not saved.”7
God intended that men and women would be free to make choices between good and evil. When evil choices become the dominant characteristic of a culture or nation, there are serious consequences both in this life and the life to come. People can become enslaved or put themselves in bondage not only to harmful, addictive substances but also to harmful, addictive philosophies that detract from righteous living.
Turning from the worship of the true and living God and worshipping false gods like wealth and fame and engaging in immoral and unrighteous conduct result in bondage in all its insidious manifestations. These include spiritual, physical, and intellectual bondage and sometimes bring destruction. Jeremiah and Lehi also taught that those who are righteous must help the Lord establish His Church and kingdom and gather scattered Israel.8
These messages have echoed and been reinforced across the centuries in all dispensations. They are at the heart of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in this, the final dispensation.
The captivity of the Jews and the scattering of the tribes of Israel, including the ten tribes, are prominent doctrinal factors in the Restoration of the gospel. The ten lost tribes made up the Northern Kingdom of Israel and were carried away captive into Assyria in 721 B.C. They went to the north countries.9 Our tenth article of faith states, “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes.”10 We also believe that as part of the covenant the Lord made with Abraham, not only the lineage of Abraham would be blessed but also all the people of the earth would be blessed. As Elder Russell M. Nelson has stated, the gathering “is not a matter of physical location; it is a matter of individual commitment. People can be ‘brought to the knowledge of the Lord’ [3 Nephi 20:13] without leaving their homelands.”11
Our doctrine is clear: “The Lord scattered and afflicted the twelve tribes of Israel because of their unrighteousness and rebellion. However, the Lord also [utilized] this scattering of his chosen people among the nations of the world to bless those nations.”12
We learn valuable lessons from this tragic period. We should do everything within our power to avoid the sin and rebellion that lead to bondage.13 We also recognize that righteous living is a prerequisite for assisting the Lord in gathering His elect and in the literal gathering of Israel.
Bondage, subjugation, addictions, and servitude come in many forms. They can be literal physical enslavement but can also be loss or impairment of moral agency that can impede our progress. Jeremiah is clear that unrighteousness and rebellion were the main reasons for the destruction of Jerusalem and captivity in Babylon.14
Other kinds of bondage are equally destructive of the human spirit. Moral agency can be abused in many ways.15 I will mention four that are particularly pernicious in today’s culture.
First, addictions that impair agency, contradict moral beliefs, and destroy good health cause bondage. The impact of drugs and alcohol, immorality, pornography, gambling, financial subjugation, and other afflictions imposes on those in bondage and on society a burden of such magnitude that it is almost impossible to quantify.
Second, some addictions or predilections, while not inherently evil, can use up our precious allotment of time which could otherwise be used to accomplish virtuous objectives. These can include excessive use of social media, video and digital games, sports, recreation, and many others.16
How we preserve time for family is one of the most significant issues we face in most cultures. At a time when I was the only member of the Church in our law firm, one woman lawyer explained to me how she always felt like a juggler trying to keep three balls in the air at the same time. One ball was her law practice, one was her marriage, and one was her children. She had almost given up on time for herself. She was greatly concerned that one of the balls was always on the ground. I suggested we meet as a group and discuss our priorities. We determined that the primary reason we were working was to support our families. We agreed that making more money wasn’t nearly as important as our families, but we recognized that serving our clients to the best of our abilities was essential. The discussion then moved to what we did at work that was not necessary and was inconsistent with leaving time for family. Was there pressure to spend time in the workplace that was not essential?17 We decided that our goal would be a family-friendly environment for both women and men. Let us be at the forefront in protecting time for family.
Third, the most universal subjugation in our day, as it has been throughout history, is ideology or political beliefs that are inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Substituting the philosophies of men for gospel truth can lead us away from the simplicity of the Savior’s message. When the Apostle Paul visited Athens, he tried to teach of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Of this effort we read in Acts, “For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.18 When the crowd realized the simple religious nature of Paul’s message, which was not new, they rejected it.
This is emblematic of our own day, where gospel truths are often rejected or distorted to make them intellectually more appealing or compatible with current cultural trends and intellectual philosophies. If we are not careful, we can be captured by these trends and place ourselves in intellectual bondage. There are many voices now telling women how to live.19 They often contradict each other. Of particular concern are philosophies that criticize or diminish respect for women who choose to make the sacrifices necessary to be mothers, teachers, nurturers, or friends to children.
A few months ago our two youngest granddaughters visited us—one each week. I was at home and answered the door. My wife, Mary, was in another room. In both cases, after a hug, they said almost the same thing. They looked around and then said, “I love to be in Grandma’s house. Where is Grandma?” I didn’t say it to them, but I was thinking, “Isn’t this Grandpa’s house too?” But I realized that when I was a boy, our family went to Grandma’s house. The words of a familiar song came into my mind: “Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go.”
Now, let me say unequivocally that I am thrilled with the educational and other opportunities that are available to women. I treasure the fact that the backbreaking work and domestic drudgery required of women has been reduced in much of the world because of modern conveniences and that women are making such magnificent contributions in every field of endeavor. But if we allow our culture to reduce the special relationship that children have with mothers and grandmothers and others who nurture them, we will come to regret it.
Fourth, forces that violate sincerely held religious principles can result in bondage. One of the most invidious forms is when righteous people who feel accountable to God for their conduct are forced into activities that violate their conscience—for example, health providers forced to choose between assisting with abortions against their consciences or losing their jobs.
The Church is a relatively small minority even when linked with people who are like-minded. It will be hard to change society at large, but we must work to improve the moral culture that surrounds us. Latter-day Saints in every country should be good citizens, participate in civic affairs, educate themselves on the issues, and vote.
Our primary emphasis, however, should always be to make any necessary sacrifices to protect our own family and the rising generation.20 The vast majority of them are not yet in bondage to serious addictions or false ideologies. We must help inoculate them from a world that sounds a lot like the Jerusalem that Lehi and Jeremiah experienced. In addition, we need to prepare them to make and keep sacred covenants and to be the principal emissaries to help the Lord establish His Church and gather scattered Israel and the Lord’s elect everywhere.21 As the Doctrine and Covenants beautifully reads, “The righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy.”22
Our challenge is to avoid bondage of any kind, help the Lord gather His elect, and sacrifice for the rising generation. We must always remember that we do not save ourselves. We are liberated by the love, grace, and atoning sacrifice of the Savior. When Lehi’s family fled, they were led by the Lord’s light. If we are true to His light, follow His commandments, and rely on His merits, we will avoid spiritual, physical, and intellectual bondage as well as the lamentation of wandering in our own wilderness, for He is mighty to save.
Let us avoid the despair and sorrow of those who fall into captivity and can no longer bear to sing the songs of Zion. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
“Bondage of Peer Pressure”


Lo comes an election cycle
driving through the streets
we see peer pressures
whether right or wrong
candidates’ names on lawns
like the Burma Shave of old
some known criminals
others proclaiming Satan
bondage, socialism worse
others proclaiming freedoms
some giving away freedoms
some inviting responsibility
which are our peers pushing
unlike drugs in the street
which will we be addicted
in our call to be the same
bondage to our peers!

Copyright © 2018 – cji

October 20, 2018

"Thunder in the Skies"

“Thunder in the Skies”


Given to the unhearing
shaking and shock
thunder in the skies
touching the unbelieving
even on the Sabbath Day
so many playing in rain
lightning and high winds
ignoring common sense
which are we found
in the rain or in service
doing our Father’s will
or ignoring any feelings!

Copyright © 2018 – cji

October 19, 2018

"Born to be a Planet"

(note: you can't see me way out in space)

“Born to be a Planet”


There I was in space
at the outer edge far
minding my own business
happy being a small planet
my name was Pluto
then they changed rules
striped of my role
didn’t offend anyone
apparently not PC
my name linked to male
therefore no recourse
born to be a planet
place for some to escape
now what – nothing at all
they may not call me one
but I’m still a planet
a very small one sure
where people can come
to ponder and to think
away from the worldly!

Copyright © 2018 – cji

October 18, 2018

"I Was ..."

“I Was …”


Standing watching lightning
streets running by insane
gangs without controls
old people young beaten
police watching standing
chaos and havoc about
as figures in real time
1930’s in Russia here
cheering from others
encouraging violence
protecting the elite fools
destroying their nation
killing the people’s will
I was there once more
only here today seeing
dreams no longer felt
history repeating in color
elderly thrown in mud
women trashed by same
insanity on the edge
political deceptions
destroying freedoms
destroying our nation
defecating on our laws
all for power of pelf
walking free in sight
immune to prosecution
encouraging insanity
to regain power always
knowing once is all needed
I was here in history
long ago returned today!

Copyright © 2018 – cji

October 17, 2018

"Computer Havoc"

(Note: seven hours to load one upgrade grrrrr)

“Computer Havoc”


Too expensive to shoot
sudden death too easy
mind of its own lost
upload – upgrade – gone
all supposed to be easy
over and over rejection
what absolute havoc
once it runs right
next out of the light
computer havoc
striking as the flu
frustration beyond
sudden death too easy
too expensive to shoot!

Copyright © 2018 – cji

October 16, 2018

"Hidden Rains"

“Hidden Rains”


Withheld from the lands
disrespect of their Lord
shamed and to put away
once promised eternal
nourishing the grounds
bringing forth fruits
wonderous flowers
herbs and spices
now hidden rains
from the unworthy!

Copyright © 2018 – cji

October 15, 2018

"Only a Bluebird"

“Only a Bluebird”


With a sweet song
solemn and afar
unsure of happiness
at least uplifting
catching attention
little children like me
only a bluebird
here in the tree!

Copyright © 2018 – cji

October 14, 2018

"Snowflake 999999.9" (last mission)

“Snowflake 999999.9”
(Last Mission)


You could see the awe
silence all around me
name called ‘999999.9’
coming to the head of line
‘okay you got your wish*-
going to see Redford’
your landing area Black
just off the top of Mt.
‘wow he’s going to Sundance’
a whisper was heard
then it was heard aloud
‘last trip Snowflake’
‘you’ve served well/true
you’ve a 10,000 year off’
‘okay all you cadets-
arise and snow salute!’

(*Note: each snowflake gets 1M missions. Their last mission they
get to choose their location and can take 10K years off.)

Copyright © 2018 – cji

October 13, 2018

"To Your Joy"

“To Your Joy”


How often Father calls
sending His Son to us
pleading with us to hear
each Sabbath Day always
for it to be to your joy
that we might endure
trials and tribulation all
found worthy for joy
when others ashamed!

Copyright © 2018 – cji

Isaiah 66:5 ¶ Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word;
Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said,
Let the Lord be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.

October 12, 2018

"Hear a Prophet"

“Hear a Prophet”
(writing to our time)


Mark well your paths
understand your choices
believe only the truth
reason common sense
able to save your life
for life can be eternal
with body parts passion
families together always
generations eternal
hear a Prophet past
speaking to us today!

Copyright © 2018 – cji

Mormon Chapter 9
Moroni calls upon those who do not believe in Christ to repent—He proclaims a God of miracles, who gives revelations and pours out gifts and signs upon the faithful—Miracles cease because of unbelief—Signs follow those who believe—Men are exhorted to be wise and keep the commandments. About A.D. 401–421.
 And now, I speak also concerning those who do not believe in Christ.
 Behold, will ye believe in the day of your visitation—behold, when the Lord shall come, yea, even that great day when the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, yea, in that great day when ye shall be brought to stand before the Lamb of God—then will ye say that there is no God?
 Then will ye longer deny the Christ, or can ye behold the Lamb of God? Do ye suppose that ye shall dwell with him under a consciousness of your guilt? Do ye suppose that ye could be happy to dwell with that holy Being, when your souls are racked with a consciousness of guilt that ye have ever abused his laws?
 Behold, I say unto you that ye would be more miserable to dwell with a holy and just God, under a consciousness of your filthiness before him, than ye would to dwell with the damned souls in hell.
 For behold, when ye shall be brought to see your nakedness before God, and also the glory of God, and the holiness of Jesus Christ, it will kindle a flame of unquenchable fire upon you.
 O then ye unbelieving, turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day.
 And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues;
 Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them.
 For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?
 10 And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.
 11 But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.
 12 Behold, he created Adam, and by Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, even the Father and the Son; and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man.
 13 And because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, they are brought back into the presence of the Lord; yea, this is wherein all men are redeemed, because the death of Christ bringeth to pass the resurrection, which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep, from which sleep all men shall be awakened by the power of God when the trump shall sound; and they shall come forth, both small and great, and all shall stand before his bar, being redeemed and loosed from this eternal band of death, which death is a temporal death.
 14 And then cometh the judgment of the Holy One upon them; and then cometh the time that he that is filthy shall be filthy still; and he that is righteous shall be righteous still; he that is happy shall be happy still; and he that is unhappy shall be unhappy still.
 15 And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.
 16 Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works of God?
 17 Who shall say that it was not a miracle that by his word the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created of the dust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought?
 18 And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles.
 19 And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
 20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.
 21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.
 22 For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;
 23 And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned;
 24 And these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover;
 25 And whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth.
 26 And now, behold, who can stand against the works of the Lord? Who can deny his sayings? Who will rise up against the almighty power of the Lord? Who will despise the works of the Lord? Who will despise the children of Christ? Behold, all ye who are despisers of the works of the Lord, for ye shall wonder and perish.
 27 O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things so ever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.
 28 Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.
 29 See that ye are not baptized unworthily; see that ye partake not of the sacrament of Christ unworthily; but see that ye do all things in worthiness, and do it in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God; and if ye do this, and endure to the end, ye will in nowise be cast out.
 30 Behold, I speak unto you as though I spake from the dead; for I know that ye shall have my words.
 31 Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.
 32 And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.
 33 And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.
 34 But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; and because that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof.
 35 And these things are written that we may rid our garments of the blood of our brethren, who have dwindled in unbelief.
 36 And behold, these things which we have desired concerning our brethren, yea, even their restoration to the knowledge of Christ, are according to the prayers of all the saints who have dwelt in the land.
 37 And may the Lord Jesus Christ grant that their prayers may be answered according to their faith; and may God the Father remember the covenant which he hath made with the house of Israel; and may he bless them forever, through faith on the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.