September 30, 2013

Visiting Teaching Message: (October 2013) The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Creator

Visiting Teaching Message: The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Creator
This is the first in a series of Visiting Teaching Messages featuring aspects of the mission of the Savior.
Jesus Christ “created the heavens and the earth” (3 Nephi 9:15). He did so through the power of the priesthood, under the direction of our Heavenly Father (see Moses 1:33).
“How grateful we should be that a wise Creator fashioned an earth and placed us here,” said President Thomas S. Monson, “… that we might experience a time of testing, an opportunity to prove ourselves in order to qualify for all that God has prepared for us to receive.”1 When we use our agency to obey God’s commandments and repent, we become worthy to return to live with Him.
Of the Creation, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said:
“We are the reason He created the universe! …
“This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God.”2 Knowing that Jesus Christ created the earth for us because we mean everything to Heavenly Father can help us increase our love for Them.

From the Scriptures

From Our History

We have been created in God’s image (see Moses 2:26–27), and we have divine potential. The Prophet Joseph Smith admonished the sisters in Relief Society to “live up to [their] privilege.”3 With that encouragement as a foundation, sisters in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been taught to live up to their divine potential by fulfilling God’s purposes for them. “As they come to understand who they really are—God’s daughters, with an innate capacity to love and nurture—they reach their potential as holy women.”4
“You are now placed in a situation where you can act according to those sympathies which God has planted in your bosoms,” said the Prophet Joseph Smith. “If you live up to these principles how great and glorious!—if you live up to your privilege, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates.”5

What Can I Do?

1.   How does seeking to understand our divine nature increase our love for the Savior?
2.   How can we show our gratitude for God’s creations?
“A Child of God”
As man/woman we are nothing
yet of royal birth we are known
of great worth unto the Father
willing to sacrifice his own Son
our own Savior – Jesus Christ
our elder brother who we love
and thus in obedience to be
for if we love our Lord in toto’
then we should never murmur
giving of all we have in life
in his service now and forever!
Copyright © 2013 – cji

Home Teaching Message October 2013

Our Responsibility to Rescue

By President Thomas S. Monson, President and Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

For Latter-day Saints, the need to rescue our brothers and sisters who have, for one reason or another, strayed from the path of Church activity is of eternal significance. Do we know of such people who once embraced the gospel? If so, what is our responsibility to rescue them?

Consider the lost among the aged, the widowed, and the sick. All too often they are found in the parched and desolate wilderness of isolation called loneliness. When youth departs, when health declines, when vigor wanes, when the light of hope flickers ever so dimly, they can be succored and sustained by the hand that helps and the heart that knows compassion.

There are, of course, others who need rescue. Some struggle with sin while others wander in fear or apathy or ignorance. For whatever reason, they have isolated themselves from activity in the Church. And they will almost certainly remain lost unless there awakens in us—the active members of the Church—a desire to rescue and to save.

Someone to Show the Way

Some time ago I received a letter written by a man who had strayed from the Church. It typifies too many of our members. After describing how he had become inactive, he wrote:

“I had so much and now have so little. I am unhappy and feel as though I am failing in everything. The gospel has never left my heart, even though it has left my life. I ask for your prayers.

“Please don’t forget those of us who are out here—the lost Latter-day Saints. I know where the Church is, but sometimes I think I need someone else to show me the way, encourage me, take away my fear, and bear testimony to me.”

While I was reading this letter, my thoughts turned to a visit I made to one of the great art galleries of the world—the famed Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England. There, exquisitely framed, is a masterpiece painted in 1831 by Joseph Mallord William Turner. The painting features heavy-laden black clouds and the fury of a turbulent sea portending danger and death. A light from a stranded vessel gleams far off. In the foreground, tossed high by incoming waves of foaming water, is a large lifeboat. The men pull mightily on the oars as the lifeboat plunges into the tempest. On the shore stand a wife and two children, wet with rain and whipped by wind. They gaze anxiously seaward. In my mind I abbreviated the name of the painting. To me it became To the Rescue.1

Amid the storms of life, danger lurks. Men and women, boys and girls find themselves stranded and facing destruction. Who will guide the lifeboats, leaving behind the comforts of home and family, and go to the rescue?

Our task is not insurmountable. We are on the Lord’s errand; we are entitled to His help.

During the Master’s ministry, He called fishermen at Galilee to leave their nets and follow Him, declaring, “I will make you fishers of men.”2 May we join the ranks of the fishers of men and women, that we might provide whatever help we can.

Ours is the duty to reach out to rescue those who have left the safety of activity, that such might be brought to the table of the Lord to feast on His word, to enjoy the companionship of His Spirit, and to be “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.”3

The Principle of Love

I have found that two fundamental reasons largely account for a return to activity and for changes of attitudes, habits, and actions. First, individuals return because someone has shown them their eternal possibilities and has helped them decide to achieve them. The less active can’t long rest content with mediocrity once they see that excellence is within their reach.

Second, others return because loved ones or “fellow citizens with the saints” have followed the admonition of the Savior, have loved their neighbors as themselves,4 and have helped others to bring their dreams to fulfillment and their ambitions to realization.

The catalyst in this process has been—and will continue to be—the principle of love.

In a very real sense, those persons stranded in the storm-tossed sea of Turner’s painting are like many of our less-active members who await rescue by those who guide the lifeboats. Their hearts yearn for help. Mothers and fathers pray for their sons and daughters. Wives plead to heaven that their husbands may be reached. Sometimes children pray for their parents.

It is my prayer that we might have a desire to rescue the less active and to bring them back to the joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that they might partake with us of all that full fellowship has to offer.

May we reach out to rescue the lost who surround us: the aged, the widowed, the sick, those with disabilities, the less active, and those who are not keeping the commandments. May we extend to them the hand that helps and the heart that knows compassion. By doing so, we will bring joy into their hearts, and we will experience the rich satisfaction that comes to us when we help another along the pathway to eternal life.

Teaching from This Message

Consider asking the people you visit if they know anyone who has been struggling to attend church. You could choose one person and discuss ways to show love, such as inviting him or her to participate in a family home evening or to come over for a meal.


The Gift of Jen

By Josi S. Kilpack

The author lives in Utah, USA.


I made a series of wrong choices my sophomore year of high school. Those choices led to serious consequences and unhappiness, and I decided to use my summer break to begin making changes. When school started again, I ate lunch in a bathroom stall or empty hallway to avoid the bad relationships waiting to welcome me back.

I had never felt so alone.

Then God gave me a gift: He sent me Jen. She never judged me for my mistakes but instead encouraged me to keep moving in the right direction. Knowing she would be at school helped me continue to read my scriptures and nurture my testimony. By the time graduation came, I had proven to myself that I was committed to change.

I wonder sometimes where I would be today if Jen hadn’t reached out to me. Could I have stuck to my principles without her? Luckily, I will never know because she was there with her whole heart, ready and willing to help me.


Ways to Rescue

President Thomas S. Monson teaches that we should reach out to others, including the elderly, widowed, sick, less active, and those who need extra help. Look at the pictures below and circle the ones that show something you could do to help others.

On the lines below, write some ways you can help others. You can use the pictures for ideas.


1.       The painting’s full title is Life-Boat and Manby Apparatus Going Off to a Stranded Vessel Making Signal (Blue Lights) of Distress.


“The Ability to Rescue”






Can we be found worthy/able

stretching forth our hand in love

not asking anything for our self

just to be willing to help another;


There is no heroics to help another

just the love of doing oft service

thus having the ability to rescue

being in the Lord’s hand today!


Copyright © 2013 – cji

September 29, 2013

“Root Hog; or Die” (essay)

“Root Hog; or Die”
If one goes to Wikipedia – one can get an idea of what this means – but let’s go back further than this source – which only goes to prior to 1834. We’ll instead go back to the 1st half of the 17th Century to the year, c.1622. After the failure of King directed Communism (which had failed in Jamestown) also had failed in Plymouth by their second year. Governor Bradford said, “At length, after much debate … the governor, gave way that they should set corn every man for his own purpose, and in every regard trust to themselves … and so assigned to every family a parcel of land according to the proportion of their number, (History of Plymouth, 1606-1642, pp.160-162.)” Thus going from the common sharing – with the hard working and those who were unwilling to work because they didn’t have to one were everyone had to ‘root hog – cultivate – plant and tend; or die – of starvation.’ 
Root; hog or die is the polar to communism (or in today’s world socialism or sharing the wealth of those who work and/or earned – with those who do nothing) and this was learned very early in all of the colonies on the Eastern Seaboard of the new world. Again to quote William Bradford – governor of the Plymouth Colony, “The experience that was had in this common cause and condition, tried sundry years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince (demonstrate) the vanity of that conceit of Plato and other ancients – applauded by some in later times – that taking away of property, and bringing it into a commonwealth, would make them happy and flourishing as if they were wiser than God, ibid,”
In the above I’ve mentioned the Jamestown Colony. This was established at the beginning of the 1600’s – and had issued a charter which mandated ‘voluntary communism’ which by 1611 had failed terribly. The company which had mandated this mistake (the London Company) revoked this mandate and established the rule of each person to survive on their own. Soon after the colony did much better!
If a people or nation want to encourage anthesis they must allow for growth separate from another – each person is to be able to rise to their level of goals set and accomplished. Nowhere in the Bible is the idea of communal life – communism – socialism found in the Scriptures! Indeed, communal life is nothing more or less than the plan which Lucifer offered in the pre-existence. One must remember his plan would provide for all – none would be lost – all would be saved and none would have to do anything. There were two plans – first, one which would require each individual to use their agency to survive the tests of mortality! The second, plan did not require agency or personal choice – all would be saved in mortality – however, there would be Celestial reward – only that to be an administering servant to Satan – for the glory would be his. Now many in the world while having voted for the first plan – have instead in mortality adopted the second plan. However, this choice is far more dangerous – because being evicted from the heavens with one-third of the host of heaven – have absolutely nothing to offer – zero – a void – darkness – zilch – and come of naught in their test of mortality.
It must be remembered that those who’ve adopted the second plan – believe they’re in control of their lives and also have the right to control everyone else’s life. Sadly, because of this they’re called; kings, queens, dictators, rulers, and other such names – but maybe the best is Mongol. In many aspects in the United States today we’ve a government – made up of Senators, Judges, Congresspersons, and even the office of President who feel that Plato was correct and they are the chosen one’s to make all of our decision – to distribute wealth – violate the laws of God – and void his divine instrument of the Constitution. This government has enlisted the aid of the media industry, television, movies and most importantly the music or entertainment industry. (Note: let’s understand not all of the Senators, Congresspersons or Judges have adopted the second plan – yet for some reason they have not the ability to stop this wave of insanity to violate the freedoms of the working class Americans who are legal citizens.) It is in part – a large part due to three reasons of those who’ve adopted Plato – Socialism and the denial of freedom. The first is the overwhelming influence of the immoral flood of the entertainment world. The first way to counteract the ‘still small voice of the Spirit’ is to create a distraction – the music, games, and distractions of the entertainment world have accomplished this goal – without any restrictions as to content – value – or virtue. The second is the acts of those who have claimed leadership in this nation. Their behavior is selfish, wanton and without regard to the laws of the land. The third – the media who continue day and night to promote the ideas of Plato and Augustine, Calvin and many others – in their support of lies, socialism, defamation of any good, repetitively repeating rhetoric until many accept what is without merit as having merit and even is true!
In previous essays I’ve mentioned ‘strange slips’ and ‘lees’ and in this one the saying, ‘root hog or die.’ Each has to till the earth (of their inner soul) and plants and tend to their Spiritual wellbeing. It is actually quite easy – but the worldly make it seem impossible. We must remember that the Father and the Son have never asked us to do anything which was impossible. Thus we’ve to prepare – do – and eventually find the solutions to our problems or obstacles to be overcome. We must truly remember that each person’s obstacles will be different (maybe similar) but each person is their own individual. Those tools we have are our ability to pray – to call upon Heavenly Father – (James 1:5) – and if we are prepared – clean – worthy – will gain the knowledge to do what we need to do – and answer our questions or obstacles. Now these answers may not come in the way we expect but they will come!

Yet if we have not done the tilling of the field – planted seeds – tended and cared for our harvest – there will be no harvest and there will be no answers forth coming! We’re the ones who have to be obedient to the laws, statutes and Commandments of Heavenly Father and the Son! Anyone who believes one only needs to be saved – and there is no need for works – does not believe literally the Scriptures. Repeatedly James, Paul, Peter, John, Isaiah, Job, Moses, Ezra, Malachi, and indeed all of the Prophets of the Old and New Testaments – the Book of Mormon – the Pearl of Great Price – and those Prophets alive today – have always taught the principle that ‘faith without works is dead!’ It is thoroughly understood that none of us could make without the ‘grace of God.’ What is not understood is what is this ‘grace?’ Grace is the power of God which allows us to keep going, to endure to the end, when we’ve done everything we can do to the best of our ability. Grace does not take away – either ‘faith’ or ‘works’ but adds to both of them. Grace

(This is taken from the Bible Dictionary: A word that occurs frequently in the New Testament, especially in the writings of Paul. The main idea of the word is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.
It is through the grace of the Lord Jesus, made possible by His atoning sacrifice, that mankind will be raised in immortality, every person receiving his body from the grave in a condition of everlasting life. It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.
Divine grace is needed by every soul in consequence of the Fall of Adam and also because of man’s weaknesses and shortcomings. However, grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient. Hence the explanation, “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23). It is truly the grace of Jesus Christ that makes salvation possible. This principle is expressed in Jesus’ parable of the vine and the branches (John 15:1–11). See also John 1:12–17; Eph. 2:8–9; Philip. 4:13; D&C 93:11–14.)
Therefore if we extend the saying, ‘root hog or die’ to be ‘root mankind or die’ and perceive the teachings of the Savior – we’ll know that there is one way to return to the Father and the Son – and that is by what we do with what we’ve given in this mortal test. Yes, of course one has to have faith – but one must also repent – be baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost (which only one Church has this authority on this earth at this time – as in all of the dispensations of the Gospel of Jesus Christ being on this earth have had.
Let me be quite clear each of you who read this most likely belong to a church of your choice and this is as it should be – but in the belief of the literalness of the Scriptures – then one must believe as I do that their church is the only true church on this earth at this time. Why? Because we know God is not a God of confusion, contention – but a God of order in all things. He would not have contradicting beliefs taught and call it His church! Paul addressed this when he appealed to the congregation, 1 Cor. 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?”
The most important aspect of the saying, ‘root hog or die’ is that we must not be dependent upon government or socialism/communism to provide for our needs. Yes there are government programs which we’ve paid into to help us in disability and or injury and retirement; but these were earned through our efforts in working and providing. However, if there are those who are gathering in these social benefits having not contributed – having not become a legal citizen – but instead are entitled by a government which has exceeded its Constitutional restraints – then there is something seriously wrong on the tangible side of the equation. Yet, let us remember that, ‘root mankind or die’ in a Spiritual context deals with our eternal salivation – i.e. returning to our Heavenly Father and our Savior in the highest degree of glory of the Celestial Kingdom – with our families – (both our progenitors and our posterity) which is something no government (except a Theocracy under the Father and the Son) can provide. If one is indolent, wicked, evil, and immoral, doesn’t abide the Commandments, doesn’t make covenants with the Father and the Son and other understandings found in the Scriptures – then they have no promise other than that of the Atonement that they will be resurrected. As found in Paul there are three kingdoms for those who are resurrected – The Celestial: The highest of the three degrees of glory that a person can attain after this life. Here the righteous will dwell in the presence of God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. The glory of the celestial is one:1 Cor. 15:40; ( D&C 76:96;) The second of the three degrees of glory in which people will dwell after the final judgment. Paul saw a terrestrial glory, likened to the glory of the moon:1 Cor. 15:40–41; The lowest of the three degrees of glory in which people will dwell after the final judgment. Paul saw a glory of the stars:1 Cor. 15:40–41. There is one more – but this is called ‘outer darkness’ for those who cannot abide any of the three mentioned. Each individual will inherit that which they’re able to abide!
How are we doing in our intangible lives? Most can tell how we are doing in our tangible lives by the way we live – what we have stewardship (for no one truly owns anything material but have them for a while until no longer useful, rust or moth corrupts, or we die) over while living. Are we found digging into the Scriptures – are we planting seeds of good value – and do we harvest for both ourselves and others? Please carefully remember James 1:27, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” In the Book of Mormon – King Benjamin added to this, “Mosiah 4:16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
 17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
 18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
 19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
 20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
 21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.
 22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.
 23 I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.
 24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.
 25 And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.”
Thus we’ve much to be doing! Hopefully we’ll each be found anxiously engaged in both learning, discerning and doing the Will of our Father in Heaven – seeking to be worthy servants in the vineyards and gardens during our mortal probation – in the name of Jesus Christ – amen – c/ork
Are we cultivating the soil
tending and weeding daily
carefully planting the seeds
each in their proper place
mindful of the eternal goals
we covenanted to once obey
when in our pre-mortal estate;
Thus do we tenderly seek
discerning wisdom and truth
prayerfully considering all
learning our stewardships
able to do all we can do
worthy of the Atonement
and thus the Grace of God;
Do we help all to blossom
our time wisely engaged
doing Father’s will today
being obedient to His laws
His Commandments all
and His statutes written
is anthesis found within?
Copyright © 2013 – cji

September 28, 2013


(one just has to go on)
Each day to begin anew
prayers of gratitude said
the Scriptures to be read
opening a new grand view;
Especially the Sabbath Day
feeling the freshness alive
gaining an eternal drive
on Zion’s road to stay;
Sometimes it seems simple
one has to go on forward
in humble service to the Lord
letting world cares to dwindle!
Copyright © 2013 – cji

“The Lees Under the Wine” (an essay)

“The Lees Under the Wine”
Are we happy or are we bitter? Do we improve with age or do we destroy? Are we obedient to the laws, statutes and commandments of Father or not? What kind of ‘lees’ are we found to be? It would be my guess few in the world even know what ‘lees’ are – and therefore if one is lacking in this understanding it becomes more difficult to comprehend the Scriptures.
Terry Ball and Nathan Winn in their book, “Making Sense of Isaiah” describes it this way: “Lees are the sediments of yeast and pulp that settle to the bottom of the wine vat during processing, after the grapes have been trampled.”  They go on to state that the ‘lees’ then either add to the aging and quality of some wine – while being left in other wine causes bitterness and ruins the wine.  Thus the question, ‘What kind of lees are we individually?’
Isaiah is speaking not only to the people of his day – but also to those of our day. Whenever a Temple of the Lord is established on earth by the proper Priesthood Authority under the direction of God – then covenants which are eternal are made by individuals and married couples. Indeed, even in the performance of baptism by one having authority certain eternal covenants are made with God and the individual. When one has made these covenants and they keep them – their quality increases; if one has made these covenants and then they do not keep they ruin the validity of their person.  (Note: remember we’re talking of eternal principles and not worldly principles or understandings.)
When speaking only of those who’ve gone to the Temple (with authority) of the Lord – can they understand the covenants made therein. For the rest of the world they’ve neither taken these covenants – for no one without Priesthood Authority from God through his living Prophet and those called can administer in any ordinances or covenants with the Lord. (Note: always throughout the history of men and women since the time of Adam and Eve has there ever been but one Church which holds these keys and authority.)
Thus all of the churches of Christendom may claim these keys and authority – and even portend to administer them – they’ve only authority from governments and not God – and can only exercise earthly things and not eternal things.  Thus most are led in confusing and the misinterpretation of the Scriptures – and in fact much of the known Scriptures are ignored completely by the churches of Christendom.
Why is this so – and how can I make such a blatant statement as to the churches of Christendom? First and foremost is common sense! Anyone who can read the Scriptures (in their many and revised context over the past fifty years – maybe even the last 1700 years) and accept them literally as for the most part no many how many changes men and women have made to them certain unalienable truths stand out! However, once more most will just go along with their various creeds and those whom they pay to preach to them.
We’ll start with the Gnostics who followed in the footsteps of the Apostles of Jesus Christ during the meridian of time – and changed even what Peter had taught or spoken. In a letter from Peter to James he states (paraphrased), “If they change what I’ve said while I’m alive what will they do after I’m dead?” And he was indeed correct as almost all of the original teachings during Christ’s ministry – and those teachings of the Old Testament have either been changed, deleted (over 3400 books/letters are missing – including many Prophets), revised or simply misrepresented. Sadly the lay person has no interest or knowledge of this – while all of it is there for those who earnestly seek the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Next we’ll look at the new fathers of the Catholic/Greek Orthodox churches – i.e. Augustine and Origen ( . Both were raised and taught in the schools of rhetoric – and both taught in these schools. (Note: it is highly recommended that everyone understands the definition and actual meaning of this word. One reason for this is that it is being bantered about in the daily news.) King Alfred the Great (of England – then Anglo-Saxton) said this one simple and clarifying statement about the teachings of Augustine, “God had appointed freedom to be given to men … If they sin in anything through this freedom, they shall, by penitence, compensate for it., to recover that freedom: and if any of them will be so hard-hearted that he will do no repentance … he shall then have a just punishment.” (Turner, The History of the Anglo-Saxons, p.2:66-67. What he was referring to was the teaching by Augustine of ‘original sin’ which is still taught today and requires infant baptism. And as to the teaching of ‘predestination’ by Augustine he had this to say, “He seeth all our works, both good and evil, before they are done … But he compels us not to … necessarily do the good; nor prevents us from doing evil; because he has given us freedom,” (ibid. p.69). (Note: this ‘freedom’ is easily inter-changeable with ‘agency.’)
Quickly and not slightingly to address Origen – his teachings were out of line with Augustine with one caveat that he declared what he knew to be true, what he didn’t know – and what he had no clue about. However, one must remember he was basically ‘post excommunicated’ from the church in 553AD for his teachings which were too controversial and thus rejected. While he taught many truths – much of his teachings were confusing (even to him). He tried to use the reasoning of his time and place to put in order how things occurred in regards to God and men/women. The Greek Orthodox rejected much of his teachings.
One must remember religion after the 2nd Century was mostly based on the sword and not the truth as found literally in the Bible or Scriptures. This continued well into the 17th and
18th Centuries. This is one of reasons the east coast of North America was so quickly populated. Those seeking religious ‘freedoms’ were some of the first to leave. (Note: the religious ‘freedoms’ of many of the early colonies were no freer than what they had in England – however, it was to practice their own form of religion freely. Many were burned at the stake – or thrown out of their communities for teaching doctrines deviant from the church leaders in the colonies.)
Next we’ll take a look at the Age of Reformation – which was the period where many started to question the political/church relationship as it pertained to ‘doctrine.’ Again, almost everyone today who’s thought of as a reformer never said they were starting another church – but only they were seeking to get closer to what was taught in the Scriptures. Yet each of these reformers were already the heads of the churches in their communities – therefore – men/women being what they are – high jacked their thoughts and teachings to form a new church. This in turn led to the new paid clergy of these churches teaching the doctrines of those who paid their salaries. Indeed even further to develop schools to train the pastors/ministers to have the correct doctrines to teach as dictated by the one’s footing the bills.
This period of reformation had some very definite plus’ toward the bringing forth of what is commonly known as the Holy Bible today. One of the biggest reasons to be burned at the stake was to have any of the writings of the reformers on your person or in your home. Hundreds of thousands were murdered throughout mainland Europe (to include Denmark, Great Britain and other nations).  Yet as early at the 15th Century translations of the Bible began to appear in printed form. (Note: as early as the 9th Century forms of printing using movable metal type had occurred in China; in Korea in the early 13th Century and in Germany 1450 – we have the Gutenberg Press.) Thus the earliest printed materials in the European area were the Bible. (Note: we must remember also much of the population of Europe at this time were illiterate due to the fact that there was nothing available to read except manuscripts which were limited to nobility or the most wealthy.)
By the 16th Century multiple editions of the Bible began to appear throughout Europe – and thus those who could read – would read to their communities at great risk. William Tyndale (Tynsdale sometimes spelled) brought forth the most accurate translation as he could read and write in multiple languages including; Greek and Hebrew. He spent time first on the New Testament – and then on the Old Testament. Today over 80% of the KJV (to about 1769 – when other revisions started to occur) comes from his efforts in the Bible. For his efforts he was strangled (while at the stake and then burned at the stake, where he revived from the strangulation, and said, “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.” Tyndale was able to accomplish the translation from the Greek and the Hebrew because when moving to Germany – he learned Hebrew (this was forbidden in England – and all Jews had been expelled) and that another great scholar – Desiderius Erasmus had translated and edited the Greek Scriptures and these were available to Tyndale in Germany. One of the concluding statements of Tyndale was, “…that the common laborer, the plowboy in England could read and understand the Bible.” 
Above I mentioned Desiderius Erasmus as both a translator and editor in the Greek and other languages. He, in and of himself, was quite a person! His most famous writing was one entitled, “In Praise of Folly,” which while written in jest and in a very quick window of time – stated as had Alfred the Great – some very important truths about the teachings of religion and the literal truths of the Bible and their conflicting presentations. The ‘Praise of Folly’ was written as a letter to his friend, Thomas More (latter beheaded by Henry VIII). In this essay or letter – he addresses many of the teachings of the churches of the day and their utter foolishness when looked at with common sense. Erasmus was considered one of the earliest of the ‘humanist’s’ but to me this would be stretching the point to the extreme. He did nothing more than what Alfred had already done in the 10th Century – look at what was being preached or taught – with the literalness of the Scriptures.
Thus even through the Age of Reformation – we find confusion, misdirection, political correctness involvement, and otherwise a lack of common sense which comes from one reading the Scriptures on their own (which was the purpose for Tyndale doing his translations). One must also remember the Age of Reformation referred to by historians is of their own make-up in that ever since the death of the Apostles and Disciples of the Savior – reformation had been taking place within the world of religion.
Thus, in providing wine for the table what do we find when departing from the Scriptures but bad wine! The ‘lees’ instead of increasing the quality of the wine have ruined it or caused it to be bitter. Think of it this way, the contention found in all of the various churches – either against each other or against one collectively is not of the Savior! Contention only comes from the adversary or better known as Satan (see 3rd Nephi 11:29)! When anyone departs from the Scriptures they are treading on bitter wine – and thus to partake of this wine – leads one to become even the same as the wine – bitter – ruined in their path to eternal salvation – and unable to comprehend truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
However, when partakes of the Scriptures literally – they partake of good wine – where the ‘lees’ have done their proper function – finding peace in the covenants and ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This leads and is the only path or road to Zion – in returning with our family – past and present into the presence of the Father and the Son! We then as the Savior taught, (see Matthew 5:48) – for why would the Savior teach something if it were not possible? (Note: some call this blasphemy – in that one can never become like God – however there are multiple Scriptures which refer to this being possible by the Savior.) Granted most of us being mortal know we will have great difficulty in becoming perfect – but none the less we should be striving to become as we’ve been commanded to become. (Note: in my life I’ve learned you can do this one thing at a time – and it will take a very long time to accomplish all things. Yet if one does not start on the path one will never reach Zion.)
Being on the path or road to Zion requires one to be of the good ‘lees’ – for anything else is to be on the path or road to Babylon. Two things to remember here regardless of which road you’re on – you will act accordingly. However – one can repent, turn-around and start towards Zion. And one who’s on the road to Zion can reject the truth and find themselves in Babylon. Babylon’s road is much easier – because once one is on it – they are already there! While Zion’s road is a journey – with the trials and tribulations, the scorn of the world, and other persecutions found coming from those who’ve chosen Babylon.
It all comes down to the ‘freedom’ addressed above from King Alfred – we’ve the agency (or the ‘lees’) to make our own choices. Once we allow others to make our choices – we become part and parcel of the decision-making which they discern for us. There is a limit on our ‘freedom’ or ‘agency’ while it can never be taken away from us – we can give it away! We do this by the commission of sin, breaking the law, not being obedient to the Commandments – and otherwise in rejecting truth and accepting rhetoric or outright lies in truth’s place. Remember if you break a law – you can go to jail or prison – while in jail or prison what freedom’s do you have?
Are we found to be bitter or happy – this is our choice – to be good ‘lees’ or bad ‘lees’ – one helping and the other destroying. Only each individual can answer this question – and they must do it for themselves. One can be as Peggy Lee sang in her torch song, ‘Is That All There Is?’ – and find themselves spiritually empty at the end of the day – looking around – and wondering why am I here, where am I going and where did I come from – with no answers gained from the ‘lees’ of the worldly. Or one can be like the children’s song, “I Am A Child of God” and know the answer with a surety of where you came from – what you must be doing – and if you do what you’re supposed to be doing and learn what you need to learn where you will be going someday.
We are the ‘lees’ to our family and to our friends and neighbors. Indeed we are the ‘lees’ to all we meet and whoever look at us for an example. There is no exclusion to our being ‘lees’ in every aspect of our lives – and the effect we have on both ourselves and others. As King Alfred we have the freedom to decide – to be obedient to the Gospel of Jesus Christ or not!
In the name of Jesus Christ – amen – c/ork
“The Lees Under Ourselves”
Going through the refiners fire
each day addressing growth
knowing through adversity
we can grow and be blessed
trials and tribulations needed
much as heat to strengthen
seeking the vanadium of life
bonding our mortal to immortal
the lees under ourselves found
increasing our quality for good
or destroying our value or virtue
cladding us to the adversary
much as heat which destroys
lacking trials and tribulations
becoming as simply a peer
shrinking from all responsibility
each day remaining the same
grasping falsehoods in Babylon!
Copyright © 2013 – cji