This "hands-on" is in the form of what we call a personal testimony.

My personal ideas and interpretations.

I hope it's useful. If not, I hope you'll forgive me for wasting your time.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Line upon Line

I have a friend, of the Evangelicals, who questions me on the validity of 2nd Nephi 28: 30:

I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, ...; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; ....

His thesis was that 2nd Timothy 3: 7, in describing the unrighteousness among men in the last days, includes this trait:

... Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

which would seem to foreclose the concept of learning by degrees.

Now this good man knows Isaiah 55: 8, 9:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

He is not asserting that the principles of godliness can be suddenly comprehended so completely that a mortal man would have no further need to learn. His contention is that Mormons, comforting themselves in 2nd Nephi 28: 30, have in general cut themselves off from the confession of faith and the knowledge of salvation.

And I must acknowledge that sometimes we behave as if his accusation is true.

We sometimes forget our first four Articles of Faith:

1 We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
2 We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
3 We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
4 We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The fourth Article of Faith is especially important: Faith in Jesus Christ and repentance are specified by the Lord in 3rd Nephi 27 , among many other places, as the fundamental principles upon which to build:

13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—
15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.
16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.

You may need to read the whole chapter to see why I say this, but these are the ones we should return to if we get lost.

If we understand these correctly, then we can also understand the love which Jesus has for us, which is the love He commands us to have for our fellow man, as in Mark 12:

30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

When we build on the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can learn from God what we can understand and then proceed forward from grace to grace, to the full knowledge of God. We can understand truths that are eternal.

When we build on something other than the gospel, it does not lead us to the important truths, no matter how much we learn.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Mosiah on Freedom

Reading in the hospital, I felt unusually impressed about the last three chapters of Mosiah.

These are among the parts of the book of Mormon where I began, as a teenager, to recognize my heart and my brain telling me, there is serious truth here. This book is not just about some egomaniac immortal claiming control over my life.

Bacground: In Mosiah 23, we see Alma strongly advising his little congregation not to seek to have a king. In v. 7, it is not expedient to have a king. In v.8, just kings are okay, but it doesn't last. Vs. 9-12, how bad things are under an unjust king, and how hard it is to get rid of an unjust king. 

In v. 13, "... stand fast in this liberty wherewith ye have been made free, and ... trust no man to be a king over you."

And not just government: in v. 14, "... trust no one to be you teacher nor your minister unless he be a man of God, walking in his [God's] ways and keeping his [God's] commandments.

How does this work? V. 15, love neighbor as self, for starters.

Some might complain that v. 17 is a loop-hole for an autocrat, but we must remember that the people had been asking him to be their king. Also, Alma does not behave as an autocrat.

On the other hand, if we have read this before, we might wonder whether such doubts about such things were part of the cause of Alma's namesake son's later rebellions.

A side note from ch. 24, we see that it becomes the effective duty of the dead wicked king's wicked priests to teach the Lamanites enough language skills that, when the four sons of the last Nephite king come preaching, some of the Lamanites can hear and understand.

Now we come to ch. 27.

Alma's people have had to escape from those wicked priests again and have rejoined the main body of Nephites. Alma has set up a church organization that is recognized by Mosiah, the last Nephite king.

Alma's namesake son has joined with Mosiah's four sons in trying to undo their fathers' work in teaching the people, by persecuting and trying to destroy the Church, when he and his buddies see an angel. This angel helps them to see that they have been working against themselves, and they begin to repent and try to undo their work.

One particular thing he says to Alma, "... remember the captivity of your fathers in the land of Helam and in the land of Nephi; ... for they were in bondage, and [the Lord] has delivered them." (This may provide a clue as to which group Alma's mother came back with. Maybe not.) The argument is that the Lord's purpose is to save his people from bondage -- including, from the high taxes and forced immoral behavior of a corrupt and society-corrupting government.

(The younger Alma's being snatched, etc., are important in a separate but not unrelated context, so I'll mention Alma 38: 8, that he had to decide he wanted to be saved before the Lord could rescue him. The Lord gives us opportunities to be saved, but does not force us, unless you insist that His failure to force is force, in which case, how could we ever be free?)

In ch. 28, the four sons of the king decide to go preach to the Lamanites. If you wonder where Ammon gets his skill with a sword, here you have it. He's been thoroughly trained as a prince. Mosiah knows he will not live for their return, but is inspired to let them go.

But Mosiah now no longer has a successor. So he cleans up some of his affairs.

Then we have ch. 29.

Mosiah knows he must be the last king, but the people in general do not. He knows the form of government has to change, but he must get his people to see that it is so. He begins by taking some surveys. Then he sends around an explanation of the problem, using pretty much the same arguments the elder Alma used.

Then he adds some interesting bits.

It is not the usual case that the voice of the people should choose evil. And when the larger part of the people choose evil, destruction awaits that society. These twin principles completely undo all elitist arguments.

And he doesn't stop there.

He lays out some rules of structure that provide accountability, including a failsafe of making the higher judges ultimately accountable to the lower. Rough checks and balances.

Then he lays out another important principle showing the fallacy of elitism. To lay the moral burden of a people on their king is an inequality, and not right. All the people should bear the moral burden of their own decisions and behavior, and the combined social burden should come on all equally.

Flat political structure.

Democracy may have been something of an invention of the Greeks, but the underlying principles have been known to God's people for a long time. Those principles are real and true.

The gospel is not just a feel-good warm-fuzzies philosophy.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Church Japanese/English -- Article of Faith/信仰箇条

The Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

article(s) of faith

Other notes: 注釈
Jesus => God is our help.
イエス => 神(かみ)は助け(たすけ)なり。
Christ => anointed, chosen
キリスト => 油(あぶら)を注がれた(そそがれた)、選ばれた(えらばれた)
article (of faith, law, etc.)
Our Articles of Faith are statements of things that we believe.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Books of the New Testament -- 新約聖書の各書

For my personal notes, 
[personal notes => 個人用の覚書]
[eventual => いつかの、結局の(しばらくして投稿する)]

The Books of the New Testament (in the Bible) with some Japanese annotation:
[testament => 誓約、特に遺言の誓約]
[bible (Bible, Holy Bible) => book (聖書)]
  1. Matthew [・シュー] -- The Gospel according to Matthew
    Or, Saint Matthew's account of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
    [=> マタイによる福音書]
    [gospel (good news) => 福音(良き知らせ)]
    [saint => 聖者、聖なる]
    [account => 記述、報告、談話、説明など]
  2. Mark [マーク] -- The Gospel according to Mark
    [=> マルコによる福音書]
  3. Luke [ルーク] -- The Gospel according to Luke
    [=> ルカによる福音書]
  4. John [ジョン] -- The Gospel according to John
    [=> ヨハネによる福音書]
  5. Acts [アックツ] -- The Acts of the Apostles
    [=> 使徒行伝]
    [act => 行動(修業?)]
    [apostle => 使徒(特に、イエス・キリストの証人の役目)]
  6. Romans [ロー・マンズ] -- The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans
    [=> ローマ人への手紙]
    [epistle (letter) => 手紙、指示を含む書簡]
  7. Corinthians [コ・リン・シ・アンズ]
    [=> コリント人への手紙]
    1. The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians
    2. The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians
  8. Galatians [ガ・レー・シャンズ] -- The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians
    [=> ガラテヤ人への手紙]
  9. Ephesians [エ・フィー・ジャンズ] -- The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians
    [=> エペソ人への手紙]
  10. Philippians [フィ・・ピ・アンズ] -- The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians
    [=> ピリピ人への手紙]
  11. Colossians [コ・ロー・ジ・アンズ] -- The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Colossians
    [=> コロサイ人への手紙]
  12. Thessalonians [・セ・ロー・ニ・アンズ]
    [=> テサロニケ人への手紙]
    1. The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians
    2. The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians
  13. Timothy [ティ・モ・シー]
    [=> テモテへの手紙]
    1. The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy
    2. The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy
  14. Titus [タイ・タス] -- The Epistle of Paul to Titus
    [=> テトスへの手紙]
  15. Philemon [フィ・レ・モン] -- The Epistle of Paul to Philemon
    [=> ピレモンへの手紙]
  16. Hebrews [ヒー・ブルーズ] -- The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews
    [=> ヘブル人への手紙]
  17. James [ジェームズ] -- The General Epistle of James
    [=> ヤコブの手紙(書簡)]
  18. Peter [ピー・ター]
    [=> ペテロの手紙]
    1. The First Epistle General of Peter
    2. The Second Epistle General of Peter
  19. John [ジョン]
    [=> ヨハネの手紙]
    1. The First Epistle General of John
    2. The Second Epistle General of John
    3. The Third Epistle General of John
  20. Jude [ジュード] -- The General Epistle of Jude
    [=> ユダの手紙]
  21. Revelation [・ヴェ・レー・ション] -- The Revelation of Saint John the Divine
    [=> ヨハネの黙示録]
    [revelation => 啓示、霊感]
    [divine => 神の、天来の、神授の]

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Godhead and Us -- 神会と私たち

We are all God's children.
私(わたし)たちは 皆(みな)、 神(かみ)さまの 子供(こども)たち です。

Every human being is a child of Heavenly Father.
人間(にんげん) 一人(ひとり)ひとりは 皆、 天のお父様(てんのおとうさま)の 子供の 一人 です。

We all have a big brother.
私たち皆には お兄(にい)さまが います。

This is Jesus Christ.
これは イエス・キリスト です。

He is God's First Son.
イエス・キリストは 神さまの 長男(ちょうなん) です。

His name has a special meaning.
その お名前(なまえ)は 特別(とくべつ)な 意味(いみ)が ございます。

"Jesus" means "God is help".
「イエス」とは 「神は 助(たす)け である」と いう 意味 です。

"Christ" means "chosen".
「キリスト」とは、「選(えら)ばれた」と いう 意味 です。

Jesus Christ is our Savior.
イエス・キリストは 私たちの 救い主(すくいぬし) です。

We chose Him before we came to this world.
私たちは この世界に 来る前に イエス様を 選びました。

If we had not chosen truth, we could not have been born here.
たとえ、 私たちが 真理(しんり)を 選(えら)ばなかった とすると、 この世界(せかい)に 性(せい)を 受(う)けることは できなかったのです。

Jesus lived a perfect life to be our example.
私たちの 手本(てほん)と なるように イエスさまが 完全(かんぜん)な 人生(じんせい)を 送(おく)りました。

He suffered and died for us.
私たちのために 苦(くる)しんで 死(し)なれました。

Then He was resurrected for us.
その後、 私たちのために 復活(ふっかつ)されました。

Because He was resurrected, we will also be resurrected.
イエスさまが 復活されましたので 私たちも 復活されます。

Death is not the end.
死は 終(お)わりでは ありません。

Sin is also not the end.
罪(つみ)も 終わりでは ないのです。

We can change for the better.
私たちは 良(よ)い 方法(ほうほう)に 変(か)わる ことが できます。

Heavenly Father teaches us the better way.
天のお父様は もっと 良い方法を 教(おし)えて くださいます。

We feel it in our heart.
心(こころ)に 感(かん)じます。

It is our conscience.
良き心(よきこころ)の 良心(りょうしん)です。

This is the influence of the Holy Spirit of God.
これは 神様の 神聖(しんせい)な 御霊(みたま)の 影響(えいきょう) です。

If we believe in Jesus, we believe in our Father in Heaven.
もし私たちは イエスさまを 信(しん)じる ならば、 天のお父様をも 信じることでしょう。

And we can be taught by the Holy Spirit.
そして その御霊によって 教えを いただける でしょう。

Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Ghost are the Godhead.
この 三人のお方、 天のお父様と、 御子(おんこ) イエス・キリストと、 神の御霊と、 これは 神会(しんかい)というものを なすのです。

They are perfectly united in purpose and mind.
その目的(もくてき)と 心は 完全(かんぜん)に 一致(いっち)しておられます。

As Christians, we worship God the Father in the Name of Jesus Christ, and receive our witness through the Holy Ghost.
キリスト教徒(きょうと)として、 父(ちち)なる神を イエス・キリストの御名(みな)によって 拝(おが)め、その証(あかし)を 御霊(みたま)によって 受(う)けるのです。

Sunday, August 7, 2016

God is -- 神はおられる

Posting some Gospel principles in Japanese and English:
イエス様(いえすさま)の 福音(ふくいん)の 原則(げんそく)の 一部(いちぶ)を 日本語(にほんご)と 英語(えいご)にして 投稿(とうこう) いたします。

There is a God.
神様(かみさま)が おられます。

He exists.
存在(そんざい)して おられます。

He created our spirits.
私達(わたしたち)の 魂(たましい)を 創造(そうぞう)なさいました。

He is our Heavenly Father.
その神様が 私達の 天(てん)の お父様(おとうさま)で ございます。

We are His spirit children.
私達は その霊(れい)の 子供(こども)たちに なります。

He loves us.
私達を 愛(あい)して おられます。

He wants us to be happy.
私達の 幸(しあわ)せを 願(ねが)って おられます。
つまり、私達が 幸せに なって 欲(ほ)しいと 望(のぞ)んで いらしゃいます。

Our Heavenly Father has a body of flesh and bone.

His body is perfected and glorified.

He knows our hearts.
私達の 心(こころ)を ご存知(ぞんじ)です。ご理解(りかい)してくださいます。

He knows our suffering and sorrow.
私達の 苦(くる)しみと 悲(かな)しみを ご存知 です。

He weeps with us.
私達と 一緒(いっしょ)に 泣(な)かれます。

He rejoices with us.
私達と 一緒(いっしょ)に お喜(よろこ)びに なって くださいます。

He especially rejoices with us when we do what is right.
特(とく)に、 私達が 正(ただ)しいことを 行(おこな)うとき、 一緒に 喜んで くださいます。

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sort of Uniquely Mormon -- Lectures on Faith

I've been re-reading the work called Lectures on Faith (, because I think I want to use it in the novel I'm currently writing: 
and I don't want to get my references too much confused.

It occurs to me that the contents of the Lectures is very much available elsewhere in scripture and in the Church's current teaching materials.

Much of the work is simply listing other scriptures, with commentary tying the lists together and pointing out what seems to me to be obvious.

Well, it seems obvious to me now, after a lifetime of study. :-/

There are a few points where the wording reflects the multiple authorship.

The explanation of the Godhead as three independent "personages" as we call them now, is introduced with the word "personage" used in a different sense, I think, from the sense we now use in the Church. In that sense, the text describes the Godhead as consisting of two personages. And, yet, later on in the same lecture, it says, "... these three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost" (Quoting from memory, look it up for yourself.)

The same lecture also seems to make a difference between the Father and the Son in its description of the Son as a personage of tabernacle. But the Son is the express image of the Father, and scripture given later describes both as beings of flesh and bone (see D&C 130: 22).

So some cry, "Confusion!"

The Lecture in which this apparent confusion is found never says the Father is without a body. It only emphasizes that the Son is a being of tabernacle. And then it says that the Son is essentially just like the Father. Where is the argument?

This same lecture talks about the "mind of God" and calls it the Holy Spirit. I think this is a specific use of the term "spirit", and should not be confused with the third member of the Godhead, even though the third member of the Godhead is essentially the spiritual embodiment of the mind of God.

I do believe the understanding of the Godhead did evolve, especially among those who helped Joseph Smith prepare and teach these lectures. That Joseph Smith did not micro-manage these lectures seems to me more an indication of what he understood to be the management style of God than a fault in his own comprehension of things. 

If your purpose is to find fault with a work, that is easy. Even the Bible is easy to find fault with. If that is what you want to do.

Finding fault does not lead to faith. (This seems very ironic, here.)

If you have a scales, and find fault with it, you will likely refuse to use it.

If you prefer, you can see the problems with a particular scales and still use it to weigh things to a certain degree of accuracy.

If, say, you have a scales that gives eccentric readings in the range from 50 Kg. to 60 Kg., you can still use it below 50 and above 60, and with some clever usage (using extra, known weights, say) you can even weigh things between 50 and 60 Kg.

Why bother if you have another scales that gives more consistent readings?

Consistency is not always a virtue.

(Yes, I am saying that there are a lot of intellectual devices applied to evaluating religion that simply do not evaluate religion well, even though they seem to sometimes produce consistent results. Your mileage will vary, eventually.)

I've attempted to talk about faith here:
But maybe I ended up talking around it, instead.

Faith is belief that motivates.

If you don't have faith in the scientific method, you generally will not be able to obtain meaningful results with it.

If you don't have some degree of faith in your school, you will find it much harder to get good grades there, and, more importantly, much harder to get the sort of education the school advertises, or attempts to present.

If you don't have faith in the company you work for, you are far more likely to call in sick, to ignore the established procedures, to fail to do the required work, and so forth.

If you refuse to have faith in your country, why would you pay taxes? Why would you bother defending your country? Especially, why would you bother trying to find candidates worth voting for?

Faith is constructive.

Refusing to exercise faith is destructive.

(In which case, sure, if you can't exercise faith in something, maybe you should move on to something you are willing to exercise faith in. I'm not saying, here's the door, goodbye. I'm saying, please do something that helps you instead of something that doesn't.)

Faith is a belief that motivates. That is the first message of the Lectures on Faith.