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While most research scientists, and medical doctors; including a vast majority of Nobel Laureates are people of faith, a few vocal and visible scientists like to argue that science somehow fails to measure the existence of God or life after death. However, I think these science communicators are overlooking a fascinating branch of legitimate science into near-death experiences (NDEs) that has been going on for over 40 years. 

Dr. Bruce Greyson is an international expert into near-death experience research at the University of Virginia, Division of Perceptual Studies. Dr. Greyson has personally collected over 1000 NDE accounts from all over the world.  Dr. Greyson and other researchers have collected a mountain of profound scientific evidence in support of human consciousness beyond death. 



IANDS is an educational nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) focuses resources into providing information and promoting research into NDE-related subjects.  

A great example of an NDE is Steve Gardipee:

While NDE's are all a little bit different, there is a common thread that runs through them all.  Most experiencers of positive NDE's consider them to be a divine gift or endowment of 1. divine perspective, 2. divine identity, and 3. divine purpose.  Also, many NDE's support the reality of eternal family relationships involving deceased family members as spirit guides. 

Like Paul's conversion, nearly all these NDE's are transformative.  The experiencer never comes away from the experience the same. Like Joseph Smith following his First Vision, experiencers report having their hearts filled with love for days afterward and oftentimes for the rest of their remaining lives. 

So, if these NDE's are so profound, and wonderful, then why does God only gift this endowment to a select few? Often, the experiences report being athiests, agnostics, a casual believer or even rebellious. Does God bestow a similar endowment on His believing children? 

The key to this is that the blessing of divine perspective, identity, and purpose can be given by alternate means than by almost killing you. In the Book of Mormon, Lehi and Nephi's vision of the Tree of Life served as such an endowment. Likewise, King Bejamin's speech transmitted this same divine knowledge to those gathered at the temple. The Pearl of Great Price-Moses records his vision of God that empowered his ability to later resist Satan's temptations. 

In our day, Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ serve to transmit this same divine message of perspective, identify, and purpose.  Temples also reveal and secure the eternal reality of family relationships. 

Think about it.  When God chooses to reveal Himself to mankind, the message of divine perspective, identity, and purpose is the message God chooses to communicate again and again.  And this is precisely the same message the LDS temple transmits to God's people and why the latter-day temple is true and why the Bible in Isaiah 2, Mica 2, Ezechiel 37, Malachi 3,  Revelations 7, etc. foretold the restoration of the temple would preceded Jesus Christ's second coming.  This latter-day temple would ultimately be Christ's divine mechanism and institution (house built without hands) to bring about world peace and a paradise on Earth. 


It is sad that evil is never far away from good.  It is apparent that the Theosophical Society of America is very interested in influencing the narrative surrounding these NDE's. These TSA members seem to favor interpretation of these NDE's that promote false doctrines of 1. unconditional blessing (God loves all but blessings are conditioned on accepting Christ and repentance) 2. reincarnation 3. medium/spiritism 4. astrology 5. energy healing 6. meditation instead of prayer and 7. minimizes importance of the physical body. 


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Spencer,

I feel your frustrations.  I'm not sure how to motivate people to follow the Spirit to make big changes in their lives either.  If you figure it out, let the rest of us know. I know that we must love people into stuff, but also use reason (head and heart).  Love and reason is is the Spirit of God. Motivating by fear, coersion, embarrassment or any other way is not of God. 

Investigators learn pretty quickly that joining the true church will change their life.  In addition to all the "thou shalt nots", Gods kingdom involves a number of "thou shalts".  People don't like "thou shalts".  People are scared of the "thou shalts." False religion pacifies people into thinking God doesn't have very many expectations of them.  So, its easy for people to talk themselves out of keeping commitment and progessing. 

It is true that all you have to do to be saved and go to heaven is accept Christ as your Savior.  But, as you know, heaven is made up of different kingdoms, mansions, rewards, responsibilities, callings. 

The kingdoms of glory may not actually involve a physical separations. (Higher can visit or do all the responsibilities of the lower) More likely we all work together but like the ER (doctor, nurse, tech), or any work place their are different levels of responsibility. The doctor can do all the tasks of the lower positions, but the lower (nurses, techs) are not trained to do the responsibilities of the doctor.  

If we want to enjoy the highest responsibility, we need to learn to take responsibility, to give our lives to God and like Christ,  have the attitude of Christ where he said again and again, "I came not to do my own will, but to do the will of the Father who sent me".  If we wish to not only be saved, but merit exaltation and the highest reward of heaven, we must be willing to not only accept Christ, but receive/accept/adopt the love and faith of Christ for doing His Father's will. (Charity = pure love of Christ for His Father and towards always proactively doing the will of God the Father in all things). 

Christ was the greatest of all, not for imposing His own will on the Earth and mankind, but because He, completely subordinated His will to the that of His Father in all things. Magic (white or black) involves the natural and supernatural imposition of our own will on the universe for good or evil.  But since magic involves our own will, even white magic is wrong. Priesthood involves the natural and supernatural imposition of the will of God on the universe. 

I have some kids who are picky eaters.  All they seem to want to eat is Raman and Mac n' cheese. We are kinda guilty of giving into that and let the kids always have what they want for breakfast or meal time.  This is called "short-order cooking" as opposed to expecting that our children "eat the well balanced meal that mom or dad has made".  We sometimes give into letting our kids "short-order" other aspects of their life. 

We should respect children and all people and validate our children's feelings, wants and needs. But there are consequences to always letting kids and adults "short-order" breakfast as well as other aspects of their temporal and spiritual lives. 

1. People will tend to limit themselves only to what they are comfortable with and not try new things. 

Just as parents understand the nutrition of food, God understands the spiritual  nutrition of all things and ofttimes puts things on our plates (like spiritual spinach) that we are expected to develop a taste for. 

With abundant screens, and choices, we tend to always let our kids pick what they want to watch or listen to instead of parents controlling the remote control and imposing a nature or history show on them or some classical music. 

2.  Short-order cooking our lives can make people less resilant and adaptible . We kinda understand this when we talk about "helicopter parents" raising "snowflake children", "micro-aggressions" and "safe spaces". 

If we approach situations only thinking in terms of what we want, or how to make the experience perfect for us, inevitatably we will be disappointed. Nothing in life goes as planned or comes out perfectly. When life fails to meet with our exact expectations or something doesn't go exactly as planned, we might feel more anxiety, and stress about it and then become overly focused on those negative details. We can then begin to become avoidant of new situations or situations that are out of our control. In some cases, we can short-order cook ourselves out of living life. 

All things in life (relationships, marriage, career, activities, ourselves) can be likened to a rose bush.  The thorns come along with the flowers.  If things don't go exactly as planned, we can get focused on the thorns and even begin to believe that our whole life is nothing but thorns.  Or we can keep our focus on the beautiful flowers.  Then when we look back at an event or marriage or life, we may not completely forget the thorns, but we also see and remember all the beautiful blooms. 


{We should beware not to genetically short-order cook our offspring with designer baby technology.  There are other dire consequences also.}

Mosiah 3:19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

Elder Maxwell said: 

“our relationship to living prophets (God) is not one in which their sayings are a smorgasbord from which we may take only that which pleases us. We are to partake of all that is placed before us, including the spinach, and to leave a clean plate!” Elder Maxwell, Things As They Really Are, P.74

When some people complain about all the various things that are expected of LDS people. I understand were they are coming from. It can seem like a lot. I appreciate the recent attempts to consolidate and simplify. Also, I appreciate reminders that we are never expected to "run faster than we have strength" and to just "lift where we stand". But, God has a marvelous work that He is bringing about in these latter days. Tragically, there is a lot of work and the laborors are few.  God can defineately do all His own work, but blesses us to participate in it with Him. 


Love and Warmest Regards, 
David Brosnahan
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2 Cor 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together

Men and women (in general)  have different temperaments.  Our children come with different temperaments as well.  Men tend to be a little on the disagreeable side and if the children are a bit disagreeable as well, Father's may be a bit avoidant to participate in certain routines. Disagreeableness or assertiveness help men leave the home and deal with workplace tasks.  Women tend to be on the more agreeable side, which can help with dealing with children without losing it. That said, it's still tough. 

Husbands and wives need to appreciate each other's temperaments and their pluses and minuses.   If both mom and dad are on the disagreeable side, it may be that having a bunch of disagreeable children to care for will be too much.  For agreeable parents with agreeable children, having 10+ may be a dream. The Church attracts agreeable people, but should be open an accepting to the disagreeable/assertive as well. Assertiveness has its value too. Also, agreeableness and assertiveness can be trained to a degree. 

In today's more equaltible culture, wives and husband might enjoy a more ideal and equal relationship.  Instead of dividing up the home tasks and waiting for Mom to tell Dad what needs to happen, Dad can be more involved and more cooperative in the family tasks.  Instead of looking at the efficiency of a division of labor, consider the synergy and and intimacy of working together.  Nurses in the hospital really come together as a team when they tackle the hard tasks together.  When there is a code brown, a great working team will all gather to make quick work of a dirty task. Also, working together is more fun.

If you can be a full partner and lift the household loads together, you might be surprised at how you and your spouse grow together.

Gen 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
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In my opinion, exaltation involves the work of preparing spirits for their mortality. This could be considered giving spirits their "first lessons", eternal parenting, or teaching "morality prep'.

There are 3 lessons that must be learned during mortality and can only be learned now. 1. love God 2. control the body 3. submit to God's priesthood authority. 

If you never learn these lessons here and now, you can never learn them and consequently, you can never teach what you have never learned. 

In my view, the 3 degrees of heaven are not physical separations but more of a division of responsibility. It's kinda like the hospital with techs, nurses, and doctors. We all work together, but there is a hierarchy of responsibility. God is the Great Physician, The Physician of physicians, who desires all His children to become doctors, but some will settle to be nurses and techs-- worlds without end. 

If you desire to become like, and do the work of our Heavenly Father, the time to decide is now. There is no going back to medical school later.
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The Book of Mormon tells the story of Korihor who preached against the existence of God, against Christ and that religion was just another form of oppression. 

Alma 30:17 And many more such things did he say unto them, telling them that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men, but every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime.

Korihor had a lot of success convincing people that all rules were arbitrary.  Korihor argued that there is no right and wrong; there is only what a person wants, what a person can do, and what a person can get away with. 

Sadly, in this lawless, "do as you will" world, there can be no place for humor. Humor absolutely depends on the harmless violation of rules.  Without rules, there can be no humor. The reality of universal truth is proven by the universality of humor. 

If there is something we don't find humorous, it is either because, we don't understand the rule the joke is based upon (premise), or we consider the rule too important and sacred to be harmlessly violated.  Sadly, in Korihor's world, if there is no law, there is no humor. 

2 Nephi 2:13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.

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I am doing a reading program with my daughter that my mother created called "My Neighborhood".  This program involves taking a picture of something in my daughter's world (bed, kitchen, computer).  We print it out on top half of page, and then my daughter crafts a sentence about the picture.  I write out the sentence with a Sharpie, cut out the words and scramble them. I then have my daughter unscramble the words and we paste them on the bottom of the page under the picture.  We do 1-2 pages daily and put all the pages together in a book. 


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Galen,  [129 - c. 199]  (Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus, Galen of Pergamon) was a great Greek physician and philosopher, member of the Roman Imperial court and friend to Marcus Aurelius. Galen admired Christians for their faith, virtue, sexual purity, and justice. Christians should be similar examples of virtue today. 'Virtue signaling' is not a bad thing.  There are a variety of worldviews in the world.  Despite what some would claim, not all worldviews are created equal.  Some are better than others.  A good example demonstrates the supperiority and practicality of one worldview over the others. Even those who claim all worldviews (religions) are equal, are evangelizing their own worldview.  However, l would invite them to demonstrate the fruits of their religion reminding them that some worldviews endorse bacha bazi and female circumcision, etc. 

From Galen, Πλατωνικῶν διαλογων συνόψεις(=Summary of Platonic dialogues), in 8 books; from part 3.  The work is listed in De libris propriis c. 14.17

This work is lost, but a quotation is found in Arabic authors in somewhat different forms.  Hunain ibn Ishaq records that he translated a work in four parts, written by Galen in eight parts, containing summaries of works by Plato.18

The first version is found in Abu Ali Isa ibn Ishaq ibn Zura 19 (known as Ibn Zura, d. 1008 AD), On the main questions discussed between Christians and Jews20Walzer translation:21

Galen ... says at the end of his summary of Plato's Republic: "In the religious community of the followers of Christ there are most admirable people who frequently act according to perfect virtue; and this is to be seen not only in their men but in their women as well." And I see that he admires them for their virtue, and although he is a man whose position is known and whose opposition to Judaism and Christianity is manifest and clear to everybody who has studied his books and knows what he states in them, he nevertheless cannot deny the excellent qualities which the Christians display in their virtuous activities.

Ibn Abi Usaibiah (d.1270) quoting an earlier writer, `Ubayd Allāh ibn Jibrā`īl:22

"...Evidence that Christ lived quite some time before Galen is contained in the following passage of Galen's commentary on Plato's "Republic." 'From this we may infer that the people called Christians derive their faith from signs and miracles. Also, sometimes, they show such behavior as is adopted by philosophers; for fearlessness of death and the hereafter is something we witness in them every day. The same is true of abstention from sexual intercourse. Some of them, both men and women, go their whole life without sexual intercourse. There are among them those who possess such a measure of self-control with regard to food and drink and who are so bent on justice, that they do not fall short of those who profess philosophy in truth.'

The last version is Abu'l Fida', Universal Chronicle, book 3, chapter 3.  This covers history down to 1329 AD.  Latin translation:27

Secundum El-Camil, regnante illo vixit Galenus, quamquam prima vita ejus pars in extremam Ptolemaei aetatem incidit.  Galeni tempore religion Christianorum magna jam incrementa ceperat, eorumque mentionem fecit in libro de sententiis Politiae Platonicae, his verbis: Hominem perique orationem demonstrativam continuam mente assequi nequeunt; quare indigent, ut instituantur, parabolis (narrationes dicit de praemiis et poenis in vita futura exspectandis).  Veluti nostro tempore videmus, homines illos, qui Christiani vocantur, fidem suam e parabolis petiisse.  Hi tamen interdum talia faciunt, qualia qui vere philosophantur.  Nam quod mortem contemnunt, id quidem omnes ante oculos habemus; item quod verecundia quadam ducti ab usu rerum venerearum abhorrent.  Sunt enum inter eos, et foeminae et viri, qui per totam vitam a concubitu abstinuerint; sunt etiam, qui in animis regendis coercendisque et in acerrimo honestatis studio eo progressi sint, ut nihil cedant vere philosophantibus.  Haec Galenus.

Walzer's translation:16

Most people are unable to follow any demonstrative argument consecutively; hence they need parables, and benefit from them and he (Galen) understands by parables tales of rewards and punishments in a future life -- just as now we see the people called Christians drawing their faith from parables [and miracles], and yet sometimes acting in the same way [as those who philosophize]. For their contempt of death [and of its sequel] is patent to us every day, and likewise their restraint in cohabitation. For they include not only men but also women who refrain from cohabiting all through their lives; and they also number individuals who, in self-discipline and self-control in matters of food and drink, and in their keen pursuit of justice, have attained a pitch not inferior to that of genuine philosophers.

Sprengling's translation:28

According to the Kâmil [of Ibn Athîr] Galen lived in the days of this Commodus, having been born before the death of Ptolemy [literally: "and Galen lived to the time of Ptolemy"].  In his [i.e. Galen's] time the religion of the Christians had become manifest, and Galen mentions them [i.e. the Christians] in his book Remarks on the book of Plato on the Republic, where he says: "The mass of the people are not able to follow the thread of an apodictic discourse, wherefore they need allusive (enigmatic) sayings, so that they may enjoy instruction thereby (by allusive sayings he means the tales concerning rewards and punishments in the world to come). Of this sort we now see the people who are called Christians deriving their faith from such allusive sayings. Yet on their part deeds have been produced equal to the deeds of
those who are in truth philosophers. For example, that they are free from the fear of death is a fact which we all have observed; likewise their abstinence from the unlawful practice of sexual intercourse. And, indeed, there are some among them, men, and women, also, who during the whole of their natural life refrain altogether from such intercourse. And some of them have attained to such a degree of severe self-control and to such earnestness in their desire for righteousness, that they do not fall short of those who are in truth philosophers. Thus far the words of Galen.


Galen expresses criticism, of the God of Judaism and Christianity sometimes giving commandments without explainations. But according to Moses 5:6, we see that this can be an accurate observation. The angel of God does give an explainations, but we see that Adam's faith was tested first before the explaination was given.  Sometimes you have to first do things and see that they work, before the explaination will even make sense. Unfortunately, sometimes Christianity gets intself into trouble by speculating (with faithful intention) why an unpopular commandment is true.  But, ofttimes the speculation ends up being more damaging to faith than the unpopular practice itself ever was. 

Moses 5:6 And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.

Galen also seems critical of Christian teaching method of "needing parables," miracles strengthing faith, or relying on promised future blessings.  However, Galen recognized that the common man was common and likely not educated in Greek philosophy and reasoning like His students.  But what Galen couldn't argue with was the results.  Galen acknowledges that God's way of teaching the common man, while inferior to his Greek methods, while inferior in his opinion, was nonetheless very effective. 

From Galen, Εἰς τὸ πρῶτον κινοῦν ἀκίνητον (=On the prime mover). The work is listed in De libris propriis14, so must have been composed before that work was written in 192 A.D.14

The work is lost, but it was translated into Arabic by Hunain ibn Ishaq.15  The Arabic translation is not known to us today, but material from it is quoted by Ibn Abi Usaibia (d. 1270 AD), in chapter 5 of his work The History of Physicians.4

Walzer's translation:16

If I had in mind people who taught their pupils in the same way as the followers of Moses and Christ teach theirs — for they order them to accept everything on faith — I should not have given you a definition.

Kopf's translation:

Galen further mentions Moses and Christ in his treatise on "The Primum Movens," where he says: "If I had seen people who taught their disciples in the same way as the disciples of Moses and Christ were taught — that is, who ordered them to accept everything on trust — would not have given you any definitions."


http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/galen_on_jews_and_christians.htm

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Some critics who question the existence of God, point to the adversity and suffering of God's people.  If God exists, then why do His people suffer?  The truth is that God has not called His people to have an easy life.  God's people are continually called to suffer, and be an example of patience and faith in our adversity. How can we be an example of faith unless our faith is challenged?  How can we be an example of patience unless our patience is challenged? 

The suffering of Job is a type of the suffering of the Messiah Jesus Christ and God's people. Where was God in Jobs life?, In the life of Jesus, or in the Holocaust of the Jews? Jesus Himself cried out on the cross, "O God, O God, why hast thou forsaken me".  Joseph Smith in Liberty jail wrote, "O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?" 

Yet, in all these examples, God has proven faithful to redeem His people and make up to them all their losses, even to exceed 100 fold. Job was restored to family and riches beyond what he had a first. Jesus Christ was gloriously resurrected and the Kingdom of God was birthed out of His death.  The nation of Israel was originally brought out of Egyptian bondage.  The Jewish people have been preserved through two thousand years of persecution, and the modern state of Israel was resurrected out of the Holocaust.  

Simillarly, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the New Jerusalem, arose from the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and the persecution of the Saints beginning in Kirkland, Missouri, Nauvoo and following them to the Rocky Mountains. Today, this great Latter-day kingdom reaches across all people's and continents. 

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Lev 15:13 And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean.

The germ-theory of medicine was only recently appreciated in the mid 1800's.  Doctors routinely went from patient to patient without washing hands at all or washed in a basin of still water.  Consequently, women giving birth under the care of a doctor suffered a near 30% morality.  This high mortality vs midwives generated distrust of the medical profession which exists to the present day. 

Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis 1 July 1818 – 13 August 1865) was a Hungarian physician of ethnic-German ancestry, now known as an early pioneer of antiseptic procedures. Described as the "saviour of mothers", Semmelweis discovered that the incidence of puerperal or childbed fever (endometritis) could be drastically cut by the use of hand disinfection. Semmelweis proposed the practice of washing hands with chlorinated lime solutions in 1847 while working in Vienna General Hospital's First Obstetrical Clinic, where doctors' wards had three times the mortality of midwives'wards.

Despite other publications of results where hand washing reduced mortality to below 1%, Semmelweis's observations conflicted with the established scientific and medical opinions of the time and his ideas were rejected by the medical community. Semmelweis could offer no acceptable scientific explanation for his findings, and some doctors were offended at the suggestion that they should wash their hands and mocked him for it. 

In 1865, Semmelweis supposedly suffered a nervous breakdown and was treacherously committed to a asylum by his colleague.  Semmelwies died 14 days after at age 47 from gangrene.  Semmelweis developed gangrene after his wounds became infected which he recieved after being beaten by asylum guards. (Wiki)

Sammelweis's practice earned widespread acceptance only years after his death, when Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister confirmed the germ theory.  Lister, acting on the French microbiologist research, practiced and operated using hygenic methods with great success. 

This tragic history of medicine is the fruit of the paternalistic hierarchy of science and medicine that resists change, matrys many of it's revolutionaries, and has harmed and killed millions of people.  So, beware if you are losing your faith in religion, and giving up to worship the gods of science and medicine.  The Church of Jesus Christ is administered by imperfect people.  But if you are going to judge the LDS Church, then it's unfair to not use the same criteria for science and medicine. What I see is a massive double standard. 

Do we reject modern medicine because of it's past history of bloodletting and murcury poisoning?   Do we reject modern science for recently switching from string theory and a multiverse (many world's) to simulation/information/emergence theory  (zero world's)?  Critics of religion will demonize the LDS Church for its limited mistakes but hold up science and naturalism as the source of universal truth.  

Critics may contend that their double standard is justified because religion claims to talk with God while science has to work things out based on evidence and mistakes. Critics may claim that science admits it's faults. Does it? In reality,  this king-of-the-mountain system only admits fault after a mountain of evidence has finally broken the massive dam of resistance and denials.  Then, under the new paradigm, science talks like no scientist in their right mind ever believed anything different. 

The truth with religion is that God doesn't reveal every little detail to man.  And when God does reveal something, He rarely gives reasons or a plan of implementation.  Consequently, while the revealed word of God has proven trustworthy, varous attempts by man to understand, or explain God's word and implement it have been failible. 

I am trained as a scientist and a physician.  I have a masters in biochemistry and a doctorate in medicine with several peer-reviewed publications. I recognize the limitations and faults of both science, medicine, and religion, and despite their mistakes, the benefits far outweigh the risks. We can always work to make things better; even in religion.  But there is no logical justification to outright reject the institutions (hierarchy) of science, medicine or religion. Critics of religion need to learn how to work within the system to bring about change without harming the faith of the innocent. 

There has been a concerted movement in the West to errode our faith in our institutions. While we should tirelessly labor for improvement, we should be wise to recognize this trend and not be found guilty of supporting its aims. 

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I have an Evangelical Christian friend who believes the ordinances and covenants of the temple are an addition to the all-sufficient gospel of Jesus Christ. Although, Isaiah 2 says the Latter-day temple will bring the long-anticipated millennial peace on Earth, he interprets the temple to mean Christ alone. He believes all covenants and ordinances including baptism and the Lords Supper are unnecessary. 

I know some atheists who believe similarly about covenants and ordinances. Many atheists believe anything religious is dangerous. However, I think this view may be due to a misunderstanding about what religion actually is. Pure religion, according to James 1:27, is about helping those in need, and living purified (in Christ). If our definition of religion involves anything else that these two things, it isn't religion. 

I ask my Evangelical and atheist friends what they think about other covenants we make in our lives. Is reciting the Pledge of Allegiance silly? What about our politician oath of office or a new citicizens oath of naturalization? Are these purely pagan practices? What about a doctor's Hippocratic oath to 'do no harm'? And what about the marriage vows we make with our spouses. Atheists argue that religious people are dangerous. Maybe people that deny the foundation principles and covenants that make up the fabric of our society pose more of a danger. 

Understanding the importance of covenant to society and our relationship with God, we should begin to understand why baptism for the dead is necesssry. If all people must be baptized by water and the spirit, then a just God would make heavenly citizenship available to both the living and the dead. Baptism for the dead are performed in temples, which are embassies of heaven. Those who serve in these heavenly embassies are its ambassadors- ambassadors of heaven. 

Nicholas T. Wright, a preeminent New Testament scholar,  wrote that modern Christianity misunderstands Paul's justification by grace thru faith and the gospel by interpreting Paul according to the 16th century protestant-catholic debate and not his first century jewish-christian context. Jews observed many commandments that did not involve right and wrong.  When Paul taught that men were not saved by works of the Law, Paul was referring to the Law of Moses and not the moral Noahide Laws. 


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