Archive for April, 2010

“And it came to pass on the other hand, that the Nephites did build them up and support them, beginning at the more wicked part of them, until they had overspread all the land of the Nephites, and had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils, and to join with them in their secret murders and combinations.”

Helaman 6:38

I recently had a discussion with my dad.  As we were driving to a small dairy farm in rural Wisconsin to pick up some raw milk for our personal consumption (personal aside:  I LOVE raw milk), he asked me my thoughts on the tea party movement.  If any of you were to ask me the same question, I’d give you the same answer I gave him:  “It’s not my cup of tea.”

Okay, that’s not really what I told him, but that was what my response meant.  I don’t usually think that fast on my feet, as my wife would readily admit.  While I mostly agree with the foundational ideals of the tea party movement, I’m hesitant to join or support any group because of the general ignorance of the politics which trouble our nation and the ability to easily co-opt the group for ulterior motives.  For instance, I firmly believe – and ample evidence suggests – that the tea party has been co-opted by republican operatives (Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc.) to redirect the efforts toward and underneath the umbrella of the official establishment.  Their goal:  to ensure that the “official” republican opinion makers – the false priests if you will – will continue to corral the general public and keep them from really connecting the dots to what is going on in society.

You see, most people will never admit, and I will give an example shortly, is that it’s neither a Republican nor a Democrat issue.  It’s an entire failed system, a systemic issue.  Whether or not our nation will ever wake up and realize the false dichotomy that plagues our political system remains to be seen.  I have my doubts, but do hope that eventually mainstream Americans will reject the two party system.  I recently posted an interview of Thomas Barnett of the band Strike Anywhere and would redirect readers there to see how I view our current political system.  It is an interview that is more than worthwhile given the breadth of understanding Barnett portrays and how well spoken he is about the issues which trouble us.  The reason I bring up that interview is because (a) I agree with what he said, but also because (b) he speaks of the corporate interests which influence our political environment, an ominously similar issue as the “spoils” the Nephites dealt with.

This all serves as a mere preface to my earlier conversation.  During this conversation, my father related a discussion he had with one of his acquaintances in the LDS temple he works in on a weekly basis.  One of his fellow workers is known for his penchant for amassing and storing supplies (guns, ammunition, etc).  My father approached him one day in the temple and asked him what he thought we needed to do to get out of the economic problems we’re facing.  This person’s response surprised my father at the time, to say nothing of the reaction I had when my father related the story to me.  This man’s response highlights the utter lack of understanding prevalent in both the tea party and the general populous.  I readily admit that this man’s response is likely not indicative of what most people would say, ceteris paribus, but, to me, it highlights the general ignorance one sees regarding the political system.

How would you fix the economic situation we find the nation and world in?  Well, let me tell you that this man’s belief is so utterly ignorant of the current situation, utterly ignorant of the political processes, utterly ignorant of our “awful situation” that I don’t know where to begin, but begin I shall.

His response?  In a much more concise and direct manner, he stated: get r.1.d of Obama.  You’d do well to ponder other ways to say “get rid,” because that’s what this man said.  In the temple, presumably in temple garb, awaiting “further light and knowledge.”  Though I’m tempted to throw an ill-advised joke here, I’ll just state that the “further light and knowledge” must have been going in one ear and out the other, but I digress.  I won’t relate the precise words he used, because this is a “family friendly” site, but you can use your God-given intellect to divine what this man stated.  To say that I was surprised or shock was an understatement.  Dumbfounded more like it.  I guess I knew that somewhere, in the recesses of this nation and society, some harbored such feelings.  What I did not guess, however, was that these feelings were shared by some who should know better, someone presumably willing to spend all day working in the temple, and yet come out with no clue as to what we’re facing.  Wasn’t even on my radar screen, to be honest.

How, you ask, does this relate to Helaman 6, the tea party movement and the “spoils”?  First, we must realize that it really doesn’t matter which president is in office.  For the last 100 years (dating back to at least 1913), if not much, much longer (look for the quote from Andrew Jackson and connect a few dots), all presidents have been doing their bidding at the direction of others.  Be it corporate interests, Wall Street, international power brokers or others, president’s act at the behest of others.  They rarely make a decision without consulting with special “advisors,” most of which hail from either Wall Street or extremely influential international power brokers who dictate and lead policy.  Whether it’s the Bilderberg Group, the CFR, the Trilateral Commission or any number of similarly nefarious groups, it really doesn’t matter who is in office, be they Republican, Democrat, or Stupicancrat.  It is all the same. If someone really took a step back at the last 20-30 years, they’d see similar policies, a similar direction and similar actions all in spite of the letter (‘R’ or ‘D’) following someone’s name.  Be it Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II or Obama, it’s been one continual march in the same degraditive process.  Obama is a mere continuation of Bush II.  That’s the game of this whole thing.  Pitting two parties against each other, when they are merely two wings of the same bird heading in the same direction, is nothing more than classic dialectics aimed at confusing those who think they are doing the electing.  The false priests of the main stream media spin fantastic stories dripping with enough convincing rhetoric that we buy into their spin and believe the party line, especially as it relates to violence and the false gods we worship.

Mayer Amschel Rothschild once stated, “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes her laws.”  It doesn’t matter who makes the laws because the money supply will be controlled.  Give someone control of the money supply, and the ability to create upheaval via depressions, phony wars/conflicts, economic disasters or inflation, and politicians will soon be beholden to these same powers.  G. Edward Griffen has spoken and written extensively on this topic, and any reader would do well to understand or at least give cursory attention to what he’s talking about.  Mayer Amschel’s wife once infamously stated – or perhaps not, as most of the general populous pays little attention to such things as they prefer to regale in American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, or whatever the popular show du jour is –that, “If my sons did not want wars, there would be none.” All we need to do is look at the (not really) Federal Reserve to see where this process takes us, as Americans.  John Hylan, former mayor of New York City in the early 1920s, once stated that, “The real menace of our Republic is the invisible government which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy legs over our cities, states and nation”  Whether it’s control of the government, a “giant” octopus, the “military industrial complex,” a “monolithic and ruthless conspiracy,” or some “secret societies,” we’ve been both warned and forewarned again and again.  Though history suggests the masses will not listen, we as individuals can and should find ways to undo the chains that bind us down.

The person with whom my father was talking, like most of America, has yet to make that connection.  Anyone who suggests that it’s Obama on whom the blame should be placed neither understands the history of our nation, nor the real process behind electing a president.  I don’t suggest that I do understand either issue fully, but I can see the mechanics behind them both and am frankly not confident in the electoral process as it is presently constituted to bring about anything remotely resembling a positive change toward the system God would give us if we were willing.  Where many of those hailing from the tea party movement, or any party for that matter, miss the boat is in assuming that replacing Obama with a Republican will solve the problems.  Forget that this man has lost sight of the political process which follows when a President is removed from office (i.e., laws on the succession of the President due to poor health or death or whatever it may be), a new election will neither yield better results (absent a true 3rd party candidate), nor yield real change.  The powers that be are simply too deeply entrenched in the system to hope for anything different.

I don’t mean to sound like a pessimist, but in regards to our political system that’s exactly what I am.  Like the Nephites, our entire culture has generously shared in the spoils to such an extent that we simply do not understand the machinations going on behind the scenes, and most evidence suggests that we have no desire to understand these machinations.  Why?  Because we enjoy the spoils too much and because a “true” change away from Babylon would be too problematic and scary for all of us.  Be it money, wealth, benefits, favors, luxuries, ease of life or the false paradigms presented to us (i.e., the two party system, the main stream media as purveyors of truth, etc.), the spoils simply smell and taste too good to give away.  Like the Nephites, we’ve been seduced to such an extent that even when we think we’re “awake,” we’re confronted with more and more layers to the onion that is our screwed up society.  Like the Nephites, we’ve joined in the secret murders and combinations to such an extent that I wouldn’t be surprised if we all have blood on our hands in one way or another through our direct support of the whore that is Babylon.  Like the Nephites, we both believe in and thoroughly support the works of Babylon.  We drive her cars, watch her TV, listen to her false priests on the radio, buy her food, drink her milk, live in her houses, dress in her clothes and use her computers…to say nothing of the myriad of other things we do every day to support this Godless system.

Though I’d love to see a true 3rd or 4th or 5th party emerge from the ashes or our fallen nation, I simply don’t see it happening absent some cataclysmic event which is long overdue.  It’s not that I don’t want it, far from it, it’s that there are so many skewed and faulty beliefs, programs, policies, federal organizations and structures that need to be entirely swept away before any new candidate can hope to mold or re-shape the nation.  Then again, perhaps the American public will continue to believe that our elected officials and powers-that-be would never knowingly mislead us.

“The least you can do is investigate.  The minimum that is expected of you as a sentient being is to question your reality.  The minimum is that you realize that you are in a box, you are being controlled.  You are being fed.  You are having buttons in your mind pushed, and controlled… .”  – Alex Jones

Question everything.  Question your reality.  Question authority.  Question leadership.  Question the main stream media.  Question your existence.  Stop buying, serving and proliferating the lies you read, watch and listen to every day.  Stop being a pawn in someone’s sick and twisted game.  Stop the idolatry at the feet of Babylon.  Question.

I recently drove cross-country and had the pleasure of listening to a couple of audiobooks.  In fact, I have logged nearly 3,000 miles in less than 4 days of traveling, the sort of stuff that leaves your head in a fog and your derriere sore from doing nothing more than navigating a small steering wheel.  I listened to a total of 5 audiobooks…each of them more or less good, some more so than others, but nevertheless thought provoking and challenging.

In one of these books – not sure which one – a comment was made by a Christian writer (one whom I enjoyed listening to very much, I might add) regarding the gifts of God.  In scripture we find numerous recommendations to seek after various gifts or all gifts.  Here are a few of those scriptures:

D&C 46:8 reads:  “Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived aseek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given…”

1 Corinthians 14:12 reads:  “Even so ye, aforasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual bgifts, seek that ye may excel to the cedifying of the church…”

1 Corinthians 12:31 reads:  “But acovet earnestly the best bgifts…”

These are perhaps three of the most well known verses which discuss this subject, but there are more.  The question I ask is why are we to seek these gifts?  Is it to avoid deception, as D&C 46 suggests?  Is it to edify the church, as 1 Corinthians 14 describes?  Or, is it something entirely different?

An answer to these questions (but, undoubtedly not the only answer) came to me in listening to one of these audiobooks.  For all the utility I find in audiobooks, they are devoid of one thing:  easily obtainable references.  It’s one thing to have a book in front of you and be able to mark passages which you want to go back over later and it’s another thing entirely to have an audiobook which keeps rolling on as you drive through mile after mile of desert and open land.  That is an unfortunate thing when you’re trying to convey a message, to journalize a thought that has come to you.

I have occasionally lamented the noticeable lack of spiritual gifts in today’s LDS church.    Be it the gift of prophesy, the gift of healing, the gift of tongues, the gift of raising someone for the dead, the ministration of angels or whatever it may be, we simply do not have those gifts present today.  Some may argue they are still present, just kept secret from the world.  Some may argue they are still present, but with a membership numbering over 13,000,000, those instances are bound to get lost and restricted to local wards and branches.  That may be the case in some selective instances, but there’s simply no scriptural injunction that I can find which would parallel these explanations.

Even that being said, our definition of “church” is so skewed as to count “members” and “membership totals.”  Calling off these numbers like it’s something to be proud of, something to be recognized for.  I remember serving a mission for this church and proudly claiming just how many members we had, like it was a badge of honor of sorts to be a member of a church which had millions of members across the world.  It’s like those lovely home teaching reports at month’s end where someone in the Elders Quorum or High Priests group will inevitably say it’s not about stats, but we need to report the statistics nevertheless.  So, how many families did you visit this month?  Perhaps next time they ask me, I’ll tally up all the conversations I had that month which had to do with spiritual things, tally up all the people I talked to and lay it on them.  They’ll probably say, “You only have 3 families you need to visit each month, why are you saying you visited 75 families (or whatever the figure I give them is).”  Even then, though, the focus would be on statistics and not relationships.  It sort of reminds me of a quote from The Little Prince.  In that book – a wonderful diatribe about the insane beliefs we adults cling to – we read this insightful question about numbers:

“Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: “What does his voice sound like?” “What games does he like best?” “Does he collect butterflies?”. They ask: “How old is he?” “How many brothers does he have?” “How much does he weigh?” “How much money does his father make?” Only then do they think they know him.”

It’s an amazing paradigm, to be sure, and one which has replaced a relationship driven system with a programs – a tithing driven program, a missionary program, a youth program, a young adults program, a primary program, an activities program, a high priests program, a relief society program, a scouting program, a home teaching program, etc.  Programs, programs, programs.  But, I digress.

The lack of gifts in people (especially myself) is indicative of a much larger issue, which was highlighted in one of these books I was fortunate enough to listen to.  That larger issue is this:  we can seek for the gifts (whatever they be) all we want and with all our heart.  But if we seek for the gifts, covet them, go all out to find them, they’ll never come UNLESS we realize one thing.  That one thing is the giver of the gifts.

D&C 88:33 emphasizes this point well by saying:

“For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.”

In other words, “What’s the point of giving a gift to an ungrateful person, one who doesn’t recognize the gift I just gave him?  He’s ungrateful for that gift and doesn’t even realize from whom the gift comes from!”

The audiobook stated it more along the lines of this (I’m paraphrasing):  Christ is the giver of all gifts.  How can we obtain any gift – no matter how well intentioned – if we don’t come to Christ first?

As simple as that sounds, it’s something I’ve never thought of.  I always thought I could pray for the gift of dreams, visions, healing, etc.; always thought I could seek after them and covet them all without really seeking Christ, without even thinking about Christ and realizing where the gifts were truly coming from.

In thinking of casualness, I’m struck by the all too frequent labels members put on others.  We all have (a) either done the labeling ourselves, or (b) been a label to others.  Whether it’s being labeled for being a slacker or casual in church attendance (i.e. not wearing the normal Sunday attire), or being an apostate (i.e. for not buying the hype the corporation is selling), it’s very prevalent.  Indeed, it’s ubiquitous.  It’s everywhere, it happens every week, and we all chime in to say this-or-that person isn’t meeting our standards of devotion (mostly, though, because they don’t dress the part.

I found myself going back to a blog I visited towards the end of 2009.  The discussion was on the “Church of Casual Saints.”  The blog post was fairly benign, by itself, but the comments were not.  If you meander on over there, you’ll find comments lambasting the attire of some, examples of Stake President’s withholding temple recommends from some members who didn’t dress up for their recommend “interview,” and other “unholy and impure practices.”  Pardon the reference to the temple, but that’s the first thought that came to mind as I wrote that sentence and, unfortunately, it fits the bill all too well.  There’s even the mandatory reference to “work[ing] harder.”  As if our effort will do anything in and of itself.  There are a few more rational and even headed comments (at least in my skewed interpretation), but the vast majority reflect the general malaise which afflicts us all:  judging others by their outward appearances and ascribing that to a measurement of one’s spirituality.

I’m in the process of drafting a fairly lengthy post on Polygamy, Wilford Woodruff and some of the events surrounding the Manifesto and, though that’s a post that’s still a couple of weeks away, I thought this discussion on our flawed paradigms was worth exploring.  What follows is my comment – the last one, unfortunately – to that blog entry.  I wish some discussion would have followed, in hopes of coming to a better understanding of the topic, but it appears it only repelled people from the discussion.

Speaking of introspection, are we really any different as individuals and as a church than the Jews at the time of Christ? Comments critiquing people because of their clothing, what they wear, how they dress and implying (if not worse) that somehow this is indicative of a casual relationship with Christ. Can someone please show me where Jesus ever rebuked someone because they weren’t wearing what we’d consider proper Sunday attire (i.e. a business suit, cufflinks, a nice tie and shoes that were shined that morning)? Does anyone really think that the Lord cares if I wear, for example, a tie to church? All clothing, in essence, is little more than an attempt to satisfy our vanity. To have a stake presidency turn someone away from a temple recommend because they didn’t meet their standards of dress is a shame – an act that, in essence, is barring someone from access to the temple NOT because they were unworthy, but because they didn’t dress-up to someone’s standards of Sunday attire.

Matthew 23:27–28 – Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees [Latter Day Saints], hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

In my opinion, the place where we’ve become the most casual is in our acceptance of all that is Babylon. Cars, clothing, houses, electronics of all shapes and sizes (Christmas anyone?)…materialism at its finest. We go to college to become learned in the ways of the world. We then work to pay for this schooling and these material things every day of our lives (not to mention raising another generation fully steeped in increasing materialism), doing our very best to uphold the very society and secret combinations we’ve been told to flee from post haste. Unfortunately, we’ve even been told to uphold this makeshift world and society, despite its apparent disconnect from teachings in our very own standard works:

“You are moving into the most competitive age the world has ever known. All around you is competition. You need all the education you can get. … Sacrifice anything that is needed to be sacrificed to qualify yourselves to do the work of the world. That world will in large measure pay you what it thinks you are worth, and your worth will increase as you gain education and proficiency in your chosen field.” – Gordon B. Hinckley, April 2009 New Era, p. 17

Really? Sacrifice “anything that is needed” to do the “work of the [Babylon]?”  Can there be a clearer example of preaching for commandments the “doctrines of men”?  It’s almost unbelievable…

In the end, though, and in spite of our waywardness and general casualness with spiritual things, it’s only our relationship with Christ that matters – the only true way to the Tree of Life. If we’re close to Him and hold to Him, it matters not what others say and tell us to do because we’ll be following our Lord and Master. If we were closer to Him, whatever casualness we felt in our lives would become apparent and quickly changed. That casualness, however, would be an inward casualness…a cleansing from within.

Sorry if I sound preachy…just some things I myself am working on and to suggest that casualness is related to outward appearances is to do a disservice to this discussion when the changes we ALL need come from the inside.

The Hebrew word for “appearance” in the following verse is ‘ayin. This word relates directly to the eye and that which we see with our physical eyes, or, as one Hebrew dictionary states it: “as many passions of the mind, such as envy, pride, pity, desire, are manifest in the eyes…”

1 Sam. 16:7 – But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

Just my $0.04 (adjusted for inflation)

The question really does become one of individuality and how we seek Christ in our own lives.  Expecting others to live up to our skewed expectations is rife with disappointment and will only further promote our Babylonian system of relying on the “outward appearance” as a judge and meter for spirituality.  A meter of spirituality which is dire need of recalibration.

Awakening from Our Cocoon – Part II

This is the 2nd portion of the Awakening from Our Cocoon article I wrote a little while back.  In that article I discussed some possible interpretations that I’d give Isaiah, chapter 58.  Mostly, I felt that Isaiah 58 was talking about our emerging from a cocoon of shallow worship, self-serving thoughts, actions and an otherwise hollow existence.

Much could be written about our individual and collective shallowness as a church and as church members, given to platitudes and clichés about how special, chosen and peculiar we are, when all we are really trying to be is “mainstream.”  Much could be written about how ritualized our worship has become, how meaningless our fasts, prayers and service truly are.  We do things for the praise of men, highlighting how much we give (both at an individual and collective level) to the fast offering fund, to humanitarian assistance worldwide (both at an individual and collective level), how “our” church is the first on the ground when disaster strikes, and how “we will always strive to be the first on the scene of disasters.”[1] In other words, “All Is Well.”  The Deseret News even opened their Sunday paper, following this past Saturday’s general conference, with an all-too-humble headline that read and described the previous day’s talks as a mere “Tapestry of Wisdom: LDS officials offer Mormon Faithful Instruction and Encouragement.”  Really?  Apparently the addictions to sweetness are, and will always be, very, very tasty.

This article is neither to discuss this shallowness or our half-hearted attempts at self-salvation, as we misread and misunderstand Nephi’s words on grace.  Either you see the shallowness for what it is, or you see it for what it isn’t.  It doesn’t really matter at the end of the day if you can or cannot see it.  It is, after all, a very individual journey.

The Monarchs

With that in mind, as the title of this series of articles suggest, there is something I’d like to discuss in regards to cocoons.  My interest in cocoons is likely ephemeral, fleeting at best.  It began a couple of weeks back as I read a couple of interesting articles on Monarch butterflies and their migration patterns.  Many of these articles noted, and are still noting, some of the changes currently affecting the Monarch butterflies.  Extreme winter conditions are wreaking havoc on their migration to/from Mexico to other parts in North America (all the way up to Canada).  It is not my attempt to discuss the devastation they are currently experiencing, as apparently suffering is no respecter of creatures either, and mostly because I have no information I can offer towards that end.  If you have the patience, and can stomach my ineptness at synthesizing information, I think there is something we can learn from these butterflies.


In starting this discussion, I found enlightenment in reading a discussion on two central, and simple, questions:  (1) how long does a monarch live?, and (2) Why do monarchs migrate?  The answer to the first is much shorter than I thought.  The Monarchs typically live anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 weeks.  The total lifecycle is between 6 to 8 weeks (from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly).  The details of the second question are much more interesting, at least to me.  Below we find a brief pattern we can relate to our spiritual predicament, in relation to the lifecycle of Monarch butterflies:

(1)    February/March:  hibernating Monarchs (in Mexico and southern California) reawaken, become active, find a mate, and begin their flight northward and lay their eggs.  Eventually they die.  These monarchs are what I call the “seeding” or “foundational” generation.  They have lived, in totality, 4 to 5 months through the long winter.  They awaken from the long winter and are the catalysts for a “new” society of Monarchs.  They give their all for the new generation.

(2)    March/April:  the 1st generation, the eggs of the “foundational” Monarchs, are born and continue the migration northward, away from the home of the “foundational” generation.  They migrate as far as they can, lay eggs, then die.

(3)    May/June:  the 2nd generation is born.  They continue the journey northward, getting as far as they can until they, too, lay eggs and die.  They continue the migration further northward.

(4)    July/August:  the 3rd generation is born.  They continue the journey northward, getting as far as they can until they, too, lay eggs and die.  Further still away from where the “foundational” generation started, and all other generations.

(5)    September/October:  the 4th generation is born.  Here is where the difference occurs.  This generation does not die in the same way the previous generations have – along the way of their migration northward.  They turn the migration pattern around and head south, for reasons wholly related to the changing seasons.  They live, in totality, for 6 to 8 months, migrating southward and returning to the place where the “foundational” generation commenced the journey, or near thereto.  They then hibernate through the winter and begin awakening and mating in March/April of the next spring, where they then lay their eggs.  Withered and tattered from their migration and hibernation, they finally die.  Theirs was the work of a restoration, only to have the migration pattern return the following spring.  [2]


How does this apply to us, today?  Well, the application is likely going to be individual to everyone.  I will choose one such application, as I see it apply to us, in this the 4th generation.  How, you may ask, are we the 4th generation?  One article on suggests generations can be measured in approximately 33 years for males, and 29 years for females.[3] This doesn’t really work for my 4th generational model, but let’s run with it. J  Using a slightly different model, if we run with strict generational lines (i.e. me, my father, my grandfather, my great-grandfather) then you may see what I’m working towards

Paternal Line:

Me:  born in 1978

My father:  born in 1949

My grandfather:  born in 1917

My great-grandfather:  born in 1893

My great-great-grandfather:  born in 1864

Maternal Line:

Me:  born in 1978

My father:  born in 1949

My grandfather:  born in 1909

My great-grandfather:  born in 1873

My great-great-grandfather:  born in 1849

I struggle with the definition of a “generation,” but it would seem that this generational line method yields some favorable results.  What I mostly see, though, is that I, personally, am slightly removed from the fourth generation.  If we go all the way back to the restoration, in 1830, then I’m likely the 5th generation by the above lines.  If we go back to 1844, then I’m a lot closer to this integral 4th generation.  Not that I think there’s anything special in that, other than to note the wording the scriptures use to describe the 3rd and 4th generations – a lynchpin of sorts is how I would look at it.

The term “fourth generation” in the scriptures is often used in a negative sense, as in the fourth generation being when apostasy is running full speed ahead with no hope of turning it around absent divine intervention (and a new restoration).  The term “fourth generation” is mentioned twenty-one times throughout the scriptures.  Without exception, it is used either in connection with a warning or a blessing and is usually phrased in terms as follows:  “if thou wilt spare him, thou shalt be rewarded for thy arighteousness; and also thy children and thy children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.”[4] After the third and fourth generations’ pass, either the blessings or cursings end, but most definitely the cup is full of something.

These scriptures, coupled with the lessons of the Monarch butterfly, have led me to come up with a different view of the 4th Generation.  Most often, at least it has been my experience, the 4th generation is typically linked linguistically with negative connotations.  This view is largely supported by various scriptural examples, such as 4th Nephi’s account of a time and people where a peace and a Zion-like society reigned into the 4th generation.  The 4th generation was the turning point…some held on to the good, while some sought for an upper hand and re-introduced wickedness into the world.

Turning back to the scriptures, twenty one verses speak of the “third” and “fourth” generations.  Of these twenty one verses, seven speak positively of the fourth generation (i.e., blessings flowing to the 4th generation because of a righteous foundation) whereas fourteen verses speak negatively (i.e., cursings carrying forth through the fourth generation).  Even with these examples, very little of what is spoken of has to do with the 4th generation itself, but rather the 4th generation being the product of something.  The 4th generation, it would seem, is stuck knee deep in a position where change is either difficult, or nearly impossible – picture turning around a cruise ship with a row boat.  Those wanting to change the course they see the cruise ship on are merely kicking against unnecessary pricks.

Though the course may indeed need divine intervention in order to save it from imminent disaster, I wonder what of the row boats sitting in the sea?  Are they destined for the same imminent disaster?  Or, like the 4th generation of butterflies – the “remnant” generation – are they destined for a restoration of sorts?


What we have before us, then, is a real-life example of one a 4th generation taking the positive road, seeking to inject goodness back into the decay that highlights its past.  Looking back on 3+ generations of degenerate behavior, the 4th generation seeks to go back to its roots, to sacrifice everything it can to restore the foundational teachings of the foundational generation.  The question remains, are we, as a people, ready to do that?  Are we going to be the 4th generation which restores lost truths, or are we going to be the 4th generation which propels the degenerate behavior we witness in looking back over our brief history?

True, we may indeed be mere pilots of individual lifeboats in an ocean full of cruise ships heading for the same waterfall, but with lifeboats comes a small remnant which can change the course of history.  Even with all that being said, the very lifeboats seeking out a different destination, far away from the waterfall, even they are in need of divine intervention.  For, without divine intervention, are we not all cruise ships destined for a waterfall?

Will we, as Isaiah implores, rid ourselves of shallow worship, shallow service, shallow self-serving attitudes, or will we end the daily, ritual hypocrisy which currently defines us?  Will we “draw [out] our souls to the hungry,” those who need the light of a restorative generation?  Or, will we draw inward and continue the degenerate behavior?

As always…the application is individual.  Make it consciously.

[1] Monson, Thomas.  April 2010, LDS General Conference.  Opening Address.  04/03/2010.

[2]  Retrieved 04/06/2010.

[3] Devine, Don.  “How Long is a Generation?”  Retrieved 04/06/2010.

[4] See D&C 98:28,29,30,37, 46; among many others.