Date written: 5/2012

The Problem With:

--- Christianity (Catholic and Reformed, i.e., Protestant):  
I was raised Episcopal. When I was 20 and started to think about these things, I found that a Catholic and Most Protestant Christians had to believe at least three things:
1) God is a spirit being - without Body, Parts or Passion;
2) God the Father and God the Son (and the Holy Ghost) are the same personage - The Holy Trinity, is a mystery that cannot be understood, and,
3)  God the Son (Jesus) was resurrected on the third day and He made sure that everyone (especially Thomas) knew he had a resurrected body.

The obvious issue is: if God and Jesus are one - a purely spiritual being without a body, what did Jesus do with His hard won resurrected body when He joined His Father as one? For an attempt at an explanation of the Trinity, follow this link to the Athanasian on Trinity Sunday in many Christian churches.

In spite of that explanation, that double Mystery was too much for my limited faith to bare. I became an anti-Christian zealot until I met the LDS missionaries. There, I found that God the Father has a body, He is a separate personage from Jesus, and He (the Father) is also resurrected being. That makes more sense.

7/2-17/12: For believing Christians and LDS, there is a more sinister issue. In Luke 4:6 and Mathew 4:9, Satan claims to own this world and claims the ability to give it to whomever he wishes. When asked to worship Satan, Jesus refused. Had He accepted, there would have been no Atonement, no Temples, and no Baptism for the Dead.

That reference also explains why the world is in such a mess: it is Satan's world. This world tests us just as it tested Jesus (of course, on a much smaller scale, since we are only responsible for our own souls)

Latter Day Saints are taught that Jesus and Satan are brothers of each other and of all of us. The LDS also believe that Jesus has a physical body while Satan is a pure spirit being (since Satan rebelled against The Father and was sent to earth without a body). Jesus and Satan are, respectively,  the leaders of the armies of Good and Evil.

So we, the Children of God, are also being asked to choose whom we shall worship - just as Jesus was asked. One potential choice as leader has a physical body; the other does not. Those sects of Christianity believing God is a spirit being without body, parts, or passion etc.,... (basically all of Christianity) could be in Satan's church without knowing it. That great deception by Satan would explain the numerous references to "The Great and Abominable Church" in LDS literature and "the Whore of Babylon" in Revelation. See

Let me emphasize again, the Theory of God holds that many in non LDS (and non Christian, agnostic, or even atheistic) faiths are good people and not necessarily damned. However, they are not contributing to the Plan of Salvation, i.e., the procedures or ordinances required wherein all mankind may be saved by the Priesthood of Abraham (Melchizedek, Adam. etc.). The Atonement was one of these procedures required of Jesus just as Baptism is required for individuals. Since the people in churches without the True Priesthood cannot contribute to the Plan, they are rendered useless and sterile for the purpose of Salvation. Thus, all churches or beliefs without the True Priesthood may be considered to be the "Whore of Babylon" since they entertain, comfort and divert attention but they are without a spiritually useful purpose. Of course, in many cases, churches without the Priesthood and various other organizations do aid in the development of a good individual character. However, the Great and Abominable Church is available as an organization to destroy the LDS Temples and the LDS faith.

And yet, they call LDS a polytheistic cult - and not even a Christian cult! Perhaps we are. Perhaps we are the Cult of Jesus Christ in the world of the Great and Abominable Church.

I find it interesting that the LDS are the only Christian Church that teaches that God (the Father) has a body and maintains Temples for Baptism of the Dead. If "By their fruit you shall know them.", precludes counterfeit doctrine by those with the genuine Priesthood, (as was noted in Acts: Ch 19), then the logical difficulties and Mystery" of the Trinity Doctrine is a validation of the LDS claim to the Priesthood and the True Faith.

--- Islam:
Both Islam and Christianity were especially ruthless against their respective non-believers. (See "The End of Faith").

But, Islam is the only faith that today poses a threat to modern civilization, western thought, and modern science.

1) Modern Civilization is threatened by terrorism from Islamic Radicals - those few intensely spiritual and faithful people who unquestionably believe what they are told. Such terrorism can (and probably will) place our society in extreme danger via Weapons of Mass Destruction. What is rational to "infidels" is not necessarily rational to those who follow The Prophet.

 2) Non-Islamic thought is a threat to Islam because of the freedom and equality inherent in our free (or even communistic) societies. Believing Muslims must destroy it since what the rest of the world does is of our own volition and is not always the will of Allah. Since Islam is also a form of government, Islam is well equipped to do so.

3) Modern Science is affected by the Islamic belief that all actions occur because of the Will of God and not rational cause and effect. Naturally, the Will of God is defined by individual imams. Science requires freedom of thought and discussion.

4) The Prophet allows marriage between first cousins (this is forbidden by Mosaic Law). This, and the practice of arranged marriages between related families, has resulted in 1400 years of inbreeding. (Google Muslim Inbreeding.)

-- Judaism: (2/14)

13 Principles of Faith

The closest that anyone has ever come to creating a widely-accepted list of Jewish beliefs is Rambam's thirteen principles of faith. These principles, which Rambam thought were the minimum requirements of Jewish belief, are:

G-d exists
G-d is one and unique
G-d is incorporeal
G-d is eternal
Prayer is to be directed to G-d alone and to no other
The words of the prophets are true
Moses' prophecies are true, and Moses was the greatest of the prophets
The Written Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) and Oral Torah (teachings now contained in the Talmud and other writings) were given to Moses
There will be no other Torah
G-d knows the thoughts and deeds of men
G-d will reward the good and punish the wicked
The Messiah will come
The dead will be resurrected

--- Christianity (Restored: i.e., LDS or Mormonism).

Date: 6/8/11

          Of LDS Christianity

The Logic and Physics

Theory of God

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Using selected scriptural verses and logical inferences relating to the God of Abraham, I propose a method of interpreting scriptures and world events. From these, I hypothesize that Humans are the children of God and His heirs in every sense. He has given them free agency, a physical body and a bountiful earth to test each of them in their society without memory of a pre-existence. Within the free agency constraint, Jesus and an activist Satan are in an ongoing battle for their allegiance. No matter the goodness of the soul, the atonement by Jesus and baptism by and of those born of woman are voluntary rites required for entry into heaven. This interpretation is consistent with an assumption that God is loving and merciful but not omnipotent. The additional assumption that God is just requires Baptism for the Dead. These concepts are similar to the Teachings of Arius and the Mormon Church. I claim no spiritual authority or special insights. My purpose here is to provide a logical approach for People of the Book to interpret their scriptures - not to change any belief systems.

Preface and Introduction

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Arthur C. Clarke.
8/15/12:As predicted in Revelation, 13:16-18, It has happened; An RFID chip has been inserted into the right hand to facilitate personal ID. It is a start but since it is so easy to remove, it will not be usable as a tamper proof ID.
“One of Satan’s best tricks in the Twentieth Century, is to make people believe he doesn’t exist”.  C.S.Lewis Screwtape Letter

Although raised in an inactive Christian family, I have always wanted to be a Christian. Faith seemed good and deserving of respect. History and current events demonstrated to me that the human spirit is capable of great good or evil. There was no question that I loved God and wanted to serve Him, but how? He did not speak to me - at least not clearly - and I saw no reason to trust those that claimed He spoke to them.

When I became a scientist, I noted the differences and contradictions between the scientific and religious approaches. Science has demonstrated its power over the physical world; religion has demonstrated its power over the human spirit; but they seemed contradictory – evolution being one example. I began to wonder if there was a way to interpret the scriptures so that I could be a scientist with faith. My attempt follows.My subject is heaven and the God of the Children of Abraham – a personal God and the Father in the “Kingdom of God” that we are told we may enter after death. I am not discussing reincarnation, or aliens or superior beings that affect only this life. I am not interested in enlightenment only in this world unless it applies to a life after death. Although I may refer to analogies between scientific and spiritual laws, these are unnecessary speculations. This is a search for logical clues in the scriptures, history, and current events about the nature of God and heaven. Assuming that there is a conscious life for the spirit after death, I ask what is its purpose, its dangers, its goals, etc. Assuming that God and Satan exist, I ask what are their motives, goals, and method

The scriptures considered are the Old and New Testament, the Koran, and the Book of Mormon with associated LDS scriptures. I am familiar with these but only on a first or second reading level. Instead, I rely on the The Axiom: “by their fruit, you shall know them” as an evaluation tool. I assume that good teachings eventually produce good results: bad produces bad. Rather than argue about the historical pedigree or consistency of a document, if it has survived through the ages, I consider it worthy of consideration. Whether the doctrine is actually good or evil can be seen by its effect on its followers.

For example, I am a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS or Mormon) because of their unique doctrine of Baptism for the Dead which I consider to be a logical requirement of the teachings of Jesus. Joseph Smith claimed visions of God and Jesus and that an angel revealed some golden plates to him that he translated into the Book of Mormon. Three witnesses to the angel and plates and eight other witnesses to the plates alone confirmed his story. But when I read about Joseph Smith from other sources. I found testimony that he was a dishonest con man, etc.. How can anyone know with certainty? But the effect of his teachings and the success, significance and longevity of his church could not be denied. I also had first hand experience of life in a Mormon family and saw no reason why they should have been hounded out of three states and forced to migrate to Utah. Additionally, I noted LDS spinoff religions did not flourish and did not preserve the baptism doctrine. Without resorting to blind faith, which I could not do, there was no way of really “knowing” the historical facts, so I resorted to The Axiom .

My observations from scripture are intended to form the basis of a scientific hypothesis of what is reality. However, this is not really possible because once we assume that a Superior Being has created mankind, angels, the Earth, and everything on it, we can no more establish the true (rather than our observed) reality than can pet fish in a globe of water. This world we live in may be just a stage. Add an independent Satan and his demons, give humanity free agency, and even an otherwise omnipotent God might have trouble communicating with us. All we can use to guess at true reality is logic, our instinct, and whatever other clues we are given - assuming there are any. While I might hope that my conjectures are consistent with the known and unknown laws of science, any conclusions I reach will be improvable, debatable, and pure conjecture - as expected - given the free agency constraint on God.

From world history and discussions with friends, I have noticed hostility when ideas presented conflict with their deeply held beliefs. Therefore, to achieve the sufficient detachment appropriate to science, it may be useful to treat these ideas as the scenario for a TV series. I write this for my family and friends so they might understand why, during graduate school, I converted from agnosticism to the LDS or Mormon Church. The LDS beliefs are consistent with most of what follows primarily because of their folklore, temples and doctrine of “Baptism for the Dead”. However, no religion will be “happy” with my hypotheses. I am not attempting to convert anyone.

In summary, this is my attempt to place Christianity on a logical basis and answer questions like: Why does God care whether we worship him? Why is there a need for Scriptures? What motivates God and Satan? Why are we here us on earth? What is our purpose in this life? What happens after death? To answer these, I have used scriptural excerpts and common religious assumptions. Additional interesting reading includes: “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis - about how mankind may be influenced by God and Satan; “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins – an excellent attempt to promote atheism by ridicule of a false, straw man God; and “the Singularity is Near” by Raymond Kurzweil – showing convincingly that these are the last days of mankind.

The concepts I present seem original to me. However, I am not particularly expert about the scriptures – nor should I be since the clues I cite should be available to all the souls that struggle through life – not just to the expert researchers.

The vehicle for our discussion is a sermon to an LDS ward. I call this:  

The God Solution

Nothing focuses the mind like news of your upcoming execution or your church talk assignment. I want to thank the Bishopric for this opportunity to speak to you. I claim no spiritual authority for these things I shall say save the Bishopric’s request that I speak and the thoughts I have collected as I lay awake at 3 am. Nevertheless, the Bishopric has given you to me for 20 minutes and I hope not to disappoint them. I write this down so that my family might know why I worship here.

The topic given is based on Mark 16:16. Jesus is speaking to His disciples just before He ascends to heaven. These are among His last words on Earth. He said: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned”.

These are not His only words on the subject of baptism. Again before His ascension in Mathew: 28; 19, He taught “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name …” Obviously, you do not baptize nations; you baptize individuals. What he is saying is to teach all nations the doctrine of baptism.

In Luke, the advice is “repentance and remission of sins” code words for baptism.

And again, in John: 3: 3, 5, with Nicodemus at another time and place,: “Except a man be born again …”,  that is  “be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God”.

Jesus said it: He had it done to Him: He did it. He said it again and again. He said it in various ways in all the Gospels. Perhaps, those who call themselves Christians and believe that Jesus is the Son of God would do well to take his words seriously. Why should God care if we are baptized? The good in our souls is unchanged. Perhaps, for reasons we do not understand, the simple rite of baptism is important in and of itself.

Jesus may have meant exactly what he said when he said: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned”.

Wait a minute, Jesus!  Damnation?? Them’s fighting words. Take them back. I’ll pretend you didn’t say that. Well, Jesus did not take those words back. But all of Christianity pretended that He did: all except The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I want to step back a bit. I must tell you that I am a scientist – a physicist - both by inclination and by training. So, I am trained in the scientific method of thinking - an approach of demonstrated accomplishment in bringing the benefits of laws of nature to all mankind. Briefly stated, the scientific method is:

1)      Objective and perceptive observation of the physical world to notice patterns in events;
2)      Formation of hypotheses to explain these patterns
3)      Predictions of other events as yet unseen but which would happen if the hypotheses are correct.
4)      Performance of experiments to confirm or refute these hypotheses.

Summarizing: Observe, Hypothesize, Predict, Experiment, and Confirm. With that, and a little math to aid your logic, you are all scientists now.  Some comments:

1)      No faith is required: all experiments can be repeated by anyone any time with the same results. Mother Nature has no free agency.
2)      You cannot “know” that your theory is correct. There are always other hypotheses that would explain the experiments.
3)      God, a free agent, is never mentioned in a science venue.
4)      Guessing is allowed and encouraged: it is called intuition.
5)      Lying and doublethink are not permitted: they are the heresies of science.
6)      The properties of a force can be determined by observation of its effects on things or people. For example, extensive irrationality may indicate outside interference.

In this church venue, I can mention God and form hypotheses about Him, but I cannot confirm them since direct experiments on spiritual beings with free agency are unreliable and dangerous, especially if you may be their food (See C. S. Lewis: Screwtape’s Toast).

Why bother with this exercise? How can we even tell if God exists? God seems to cover his tracks. This is reasonable since this world may a test showing how we will behave on our own. For example, He might have disguised Adam’s creation with extensive evidence for evolution and earth’s history.

We also believe that Satan exists. Satan doesn’t seem to care much at all if we spot him. But he must be constrained by some rule or else he would consume us. Perhaps, as with God and werewolves, we have to invite him in. I imagine that this is to preserve the only thing we have that does not belong to God: our free agency. Let me mention some further inconclusive evidence for the existence of God.

First, all human groups have a strong, instinctive faith in things beyond this world: superstitions about afterlife, ancestors, witches, voodoo etc. We cannot deny the existence of faith. Faith is strong and universal, but it leads in many directions - some good, some evil. Birds instinctively fly: All societies instinctively believe in something.

As an example of misguided faith, consider the Communist maxim by Karl Marx: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”. This is very similar to the Law of Consecration in which your worldly goods are dedicated to the bishop who then redistributes them. Applied according to precepts of the priesthood - selflessness and wisdom, it can work: but slightly twisted as the policy of an atheistic regime, it has produced genocide on a grand scale. Power corrupts. Communists Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, all systematically starved and executed large parts of the best and brightest of their own population without mercy and without any apparent reason. This false faith was real enough to motivate their followers to enforce the starvation policies of their leaders. Eventually, Marx’s international approach using central control overreached and failed. Men do not like to live under those rules. They become non-productive and fail to thrive. Could these leaders and their agents have been externally influenced by Satan? Although that possibility is never mentioned, it is entirely consistent with current Christian beliefs.

The atheistic approach having failed, misguided faith has now taken a more religious turn. What else but belief in the hereafter could motivate a suicide bomber? We seem to be in a continuous and escalating religious war that may actually be a war between Jesus and Satan. According to Revelations, it will probably end badly. Watch the Middle East where the three Judeo-Christian religions are held together like scorpions in a bottle. Isn’t this a remarkable coincidence? To judge between them, note the differences between the Jewish and Christian societies and the surrounding Muslim societies. Watch for irrational hatred, class warfare, and pervasive discrimination. “By their fruits you shall know them.”

The second evidence for God is the Bible. It is the oldest, most widely read book, and has had the most effect on world events. Why is the Bible so important? The Bible is only the history of a small tribe claiming to be chosen of God, and subject to rulers that were neither particularly righteous nor successful. Yet this tribe of Abraham has survived and been reviled throughout history like no other. Many know about Hitler’s genocide of 6M European Jews, but who knows of Stalin’s worse genocide of 7M Ukrainian Kulaks?

Why are the Jews so special? Could it be that they are actually God’s Chosen People and are protected in some fashion. God said: “I will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you”. The U.S. has usually sided with the Jews; this country is blessed with wealth and power and stands for freedom. The Arab states have usually opposed the Jews; they are impoverished, and, except for their oil, are weak dictatorial states. Why does God need a chosen people at all? Why choose them?

The Bible, the Koran, and now, the Book of Mormon, seem capable of bringing out the best and worst in Humans. It is not too much of an exaggeration to say that if these books were to be given to ten people, three would not be interested, three would not believe, and four would form their own religions and try to kill each other. The fact that these scriptures and the four religions of the God of Abraham are at the center of most of today’s wars merits some scientific examination. Simply because of their persistence and influence and the strange events enabling them, we might hypothesize that somewhere in these books are actually messages from God. Otherwise, why would their influence persist? Since Satan has been cast down among us and has power over all the kingdoms of the world (Luke: 4:6 [Satan speaking to Jesus] “All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.”), he could have perverted and confused these messages. The trick is to find Jesus’ wheat among Satan’s tares.

One grain of wheat might be in Genesis 1; 27. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

Addressing the second part first: God evidently created two types of spirits in the pre-existence: male, with the priesthood and a propensity to create and destroy; and female, with a talent to nourish and nurture. I hypothesize that these spirits are different and co-equal: not superior or inferior in any way (see the movie “Dark Crystal”). Subjugation of the woman is therefore one of Satan’s tares – a perversion of the true teaching. Most of the time, the actual physical body on earth matches the type of spirit; sometimes, it does not. Perhaps the mismatch is just due to chemicals, bad luck, or simply quantum uncertainty – not due to the action of a loving God. Hopefully, that mismatch will be corrected in the resurrected body. “Judge not; be not judged.”

As to the image part, standing here, especially in this ward, I don’t think God meant to say that we look like Him. More probably, He meant we are like Him in more fundamental ways. Perhaps, we think like Him. We may understand his type of society because it is similar to our own. It may be that things are “on earth as they are in heaven” in more ways than we imagine.

For example, humans are social beings. Isolation can drive us mad. Furthermore, human achievements are not a result of our greater intelligence alone: we have achieved them because we work together, communicate, write books, etc. We can form cooperative societies and take direction. Thus, I would hypothesize that God the Father is also a social being with His own society – not just a solitary judge of man. Just like us, God would honor His parents and love his family. Just like us, God would love His children and would value them much more than servants and slaves. In addition, we are set apart from animals, since:

[12/11] "Humans are different from other creatures, and every human is basically identical in this respect.If a child from the Amazonian hunter-gatherer tribe comes to Boston, is raised in Boston, that child will be indistinguishable in language capabilities from my children growing up here, and vice versa. This unigue human possession, which we hold in common is at the core of a large part of our culture and our imaginative cultural life. That's how we form plans, do creative art, and develop complex societies." [Noam Chomsky; Discover Magazine 11/11] Would the above statement apply to humans 10,000 years ago circa the invention of Agriculture and Adam. There is cave/bone/stone  evidence of "humans" 20 to 100,000 years ago. Am I to believe that humans like us would take 50,000 years to invent agriculture and in the next 10,000 years develop capability to destroy the world? What took us so long? Perhaps agriculture happened as soon as Adam left the Eden. (6/13: Perhaps, God gave Adam a bag of seeds in addition to the coat of animal skins.)

Of course, God is whatever He is regardless of what I wish him to be. Paul said that we are Children of God (“heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ”). As His child, I would imagine God would be the best, most ideal Father. He would be loving (because we are His children), merciful (because He is loving), and just (because He is merciful). I am attracted to God by love; not driven to Him by fear or guilt. Ask yourselves, if you saw your own child immersed in sin, confusion, and lies, would you torment him further with an eternal fire? Would you bend him to your will? No, that would take away his free agency – his only real and unique possession. Wouldn’t you wish him to be the best he could be and hope for the best, just like you do now? But would you entrust him with authority over other worlds? Never! Neither would God. Perhaps hellfire is Satan’s tare.

Something in my soul and observations of good, evil, faith and human love in this world tells me that God exists. If God were in reality jealous or angry, I would be disappointed. If, in the Bible, God seems cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust, I would first distrust the Biblical writers. These writers live in political times: their leaders are politicians. It is hard to be objective about the feeding habits of aquatic reptiles when you are wading in water up to your ass in alligators. Time, translation, and Satan could have distorted and confused the message. Nevertheless, the killing of innocent women and children should be wrong whether it is done by Moses or Mohamed. Otherwise, how can we condemn the present terrorists? Moses, Mohamed, and Joseph Smith (Charter for Nauvoo from Illinois in 1840) all had armies. Jesus had no armies. He killed no innocents. He is unique.

I will assume that there a line of quasi- scientific reasoning that makes sense out of God’s purpose, the Scriptures, religion, and faith? Why did God institute Religion? What is the Priesthood? Why does He care what we do or whom we worship? What does He want from us? What follows is my attempt to provide some answers.

I start with the passages in the LDS Pearl of Great Price (PGP) relating to the council with God and His spirit children in the pre-existence. There were two beings making their proposals to God the Father (Moses 4:1):

“…. Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.”

2. “But, behold, My Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning said unto me – Father, thy will be done and the glory be thine forever.

3. Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down:

4. And he became Satan, yea even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not harken unto my voice.”

I note the irony that “…one soul shall not be lost…” is different from “…not one soul shall be lost…” and that English is Brother Joseph’s mother tongue. So, this might mean that only Satan’s soul would be saved for the purposes of God – which would have been the truth. However, this scripture is generally taken to mean that all the spirit children would be saved because no sin would be allowed on earth. We are taught that the Council selected free agency over compulsion prior to their trip to earth to gain a physical body.

One third of these spirits disagreed with the Council. They followed Lucifer to earth without a physical body. Perhaps, they were deceived or afraid of the pain of this next dimension of development. No matter, they freely and irrevocably chose their fate. Now they know the truth and irrevocable consequences of their decision. The rest of us chose to come to this “veil of tears” to be born of woman, to gain a body, to acquire free agency, to suffer pain and joy and to be tested and judged.

Suppose the council had selected compulsion. Let us imagine Lehi’s Rod of Iron – the Book of Mormon guide through the minefield of life that, if followed exactly, violates no laws. Imagine if Lucifer’s path had been chosen. He would have handcuffed us to the rod. No choices; no testing; no failing. Equality of result: not equality of opportunity. No sin: no atonement required. Brother Lucifer would have our souls and his glory. In that universe, the compulsions of the Taliban we see today would be mild by comparison to attempting to disobey Brother Lucifer.

But, instead, we here today chose free agency. We are told Lucifer and his souls are also here among us in full knowledge of their choice. If this life is just a short test to see what we will do on our own with our free agency – a Celestial Aptitude Test (CAT?) - neither Satan nor God nor angels nor demons can interfere uninvited. With our agency, if we wish, we can figuratively take our hands off of the iron rod. There is risk in doing that. For example, strong drink may or may not affect us. But, drink combined with a genetic tendency for addiction, bad luck, and depression, we may become dependent on alcohol. Whatever we do, whatever risk we take, we must accept the consequences as did Lucifer and his followers. Unwanted pregnancy? Too Bad: So Sad: Your choice. Is that too harsh? Consider those spirits that chose to come down with Satan. Now they know the truth but it is too late. Their Choice!

For a valid test of our free agency, there must always be an alternate explanation for all observations (e.g. evolution or creation). Hence, according to the hypothesis that this is a test of free agency, science will never be able to prove or disprove the existence of God or Satan, celestial blessings or punishments. Happenings and miracles by God cannot never be scientifically discernable, pervasive or obvious (by statistics, for example) but must always be explainable by other assumptions. The Theory of Evolution, bones, shells and strange rock strata could all be God’s cover stories hiding His existence.

A corollary to this hypothesis is that religions have no need to dispute evolution or find any scientific explanation for creation. They will be foolish and unsuccessful if they try. If miracles are part of your belief system, then believe. Don’t appeal to science to justify what you believe. The Star of Bethlehem may have been a bright star that God put there eons ago with great foresight. But perhaps, it was just a very bright angel.

To allow the test of free agency on earth, many (including LDS) believe a veil prevents us from remembering our pre-existence with God, our spiritual father. After death, the veil would be unnecessary and would prevent us from remembering who we were. It seems likely that we and everyone else will remember everything we did in the pre-existence and on earth. The moral is: don’t ever do anything you will be ashamed of within your society. The Golden rule is the logical extension of this hypothesis. Free agency is the only thing that all humans in all societies have in common. It seems logical and reasonable that how we behave on our own is what is being tested. Since “Birds of a feather flock together”, perhaps, after death we will group ourselves according to our “goodness” in our society thereby making God’s separation of the wheat from the tares easier. Perhaps, like a variation on Maxwell’s Demons, use of our individual free agency will reduce spiritual entropy.

Examples of the exercise of free agency abound in the Scriptures suggesting that exercise of free agency is a requirement of some spiritual laws. Consider the case of Adam who had to choose between disobeying two commandments of God:

1) Don’t eat forbidden fruit;
2) leave his father (which was God, see Luke 3:38) and mother and cleave to his wife.

From PGP: Moses 4:18. And the man said: “the woman thou gavest me, and commandest that she should remain with me, she gave me the fruit of the tree and I did eat.”

Amazingly, the commandest phrase is not in Geneses 3:12. That extra insight is in the Pearl of Great Price: thank you Brother Joseph. Eve’s deception was not enough to make us mortal. God’s creation itself, Adam with his Priesthood, had to consciously make this momentous spiritual decision. Here is a classic case of “damned if you do; damned if you don’t”. Importantly, Adam was not compelled either way: he chose of his own free will to stay with the now mortal Eve. He could easily have chosen to remain in paradise. On behalf of all of us, he chose struggle rather than paradise. He knew the Plan of Salvation. 1/12: Perhaps, he did not. Perhaps the veil had hidden the preexistence.

Consider Jesus at the Mount of Olives. Luke 22:42: saying, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Jesus could have had all the comforts and praise of this world. Jesus was not compelled either: The scriptures make a point that Jesus subordinated his free will to His Father’s. Perhaps, a compelled atonement would not have sufficed.

In these two examples, a free, irrevocable choice in full knowledge of the consequences was made between comfort and pain. Perhaps, another such choice lies ahead for all of us. I shall return to this point later.

So we have asked for and received Free Agency. Big Whoops! My cat has free agency to lie in the sun or the shade. But free agency granted to the immature, untested, unproven heirs of God is a recipe for disaster.   

Incidentally, with simplification using Occam’s razor (in layman’s terms: “if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck!”), this passage and the rest of the New Testament show The Father and the Son are not the same person. Their wills are different: they are each free agents. During the temptation of Jesus just after his baptism (Luke 4:3-13), isn’t it more likely that Satan was tempting his more or less equal brother Jesus rather than his much more powerful Father and creator who had already said no? Satan is not the enemy of God, his creator: he is the enemy of man. Jesus and Satan were as two generals negotiating before a battle between good and evil. Satan was asking Jesus to surrender: Jesus refused and chose the difficult path.

After that choice, Satan “departed from him for a season”. Perhaps Satan can still win by convincing the Children of God (aka mankind) to choose him. Being clever and rational, if he exists, he must think has a chance to succeed. I hypothesize that if baptism is important and if he convinces the world to end the practice of Baptism for the Dead, (i.e., destroy or desecrate the LDS temples), Satan will have, in fact, won.

That brings me back to baptism – the reason I joined this church many years ago. Deceptively, the world calls it baptism rather than immersion which is its original Greek meaning. Language evolution is one way to rewrite history. Witness the recent evolution of “marriage” to “gay marriage” and very soon back to “marriage” again. Words mean things. History can also be rewritten by omission and addition of facts by, for example, the media, as I will show later on.

In John 3:3; Jesus answered and said unto him [Nicodemus], verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (6/13: The Catholic Bible translates "again" as "from above". Nicodemus believed that Jesus meant "again" - not "from above" - since he wondered about entering the womb twice.)

In John 3:5; except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

To me, this has always meant that anyone born of a woman (including Jesus) had to be actually baptized to enter the Kingdom of God. It is obvious that much of the conversation with Nicodemus in John 3:1-13 has been lost – but the essence remains; the logic is clear: without baptism, humans cannot enter into the Kingdom of God (i.e., be “saved”).

And there is always Mark 16:16. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned”.

Perhaps Jesus actually meant these words. As Christians, can we ignore them? His actions gave them importance. Being born of woman, He was baptized. His disciples (but not Jesus himself – a fascinating fact) baptized others. Just before He ascended to heaven, he reaffirmed his words. He could have said “believe and be good to your fellow man”, but He did not. Furthermore, the fact that all of Christianity baptizes and believes it to be important gives His words further importance. Where the other churches cannot baptize, they sprinkle with Holy Water. Until recently, the rest of Christianity taught that without baptism on this earth, you were damned. Maybe, they were right.

As Christian believers, we have to make a choice: If Jesus actually meant by His words that each person has to be immersed by one with authority from above (“born again” is translated as “born from above” in the Catholic bible), then all those who have been born and already died without baptism by the proper authority cannot be saved without Baptism for the Dead. That doctrine is logically required assuming that Jesus died for the sins of [all] the world. If God is just, using water of this world for a proxy baptism is a logical requirement in its own right, even if it seems to be an ancient or “pagan” ritual. Perhaps it was started by Adam.

For me, Baptism for the Dead was a crucial point of doctrine because of logic alone - not because it was an ancient teaching. Years ago, I left Christianity because I believed Jesus meant what He said about baptism. When the LDS missionaries told me the church performs “Baptism for the Dead” in their temples, I had to listen. Since I wanted to believe in Christianity and I perceived the logic I mentioned, I had no choice: I was baptized in a leap of faith. If not then, when?

If, on the other hand, Jesus meant baptism to be a symbolic initiatory ritual for those lucky enough to meet a missionary or otherwise convert, then Jesus has either spoken lightly or, in practice, rejected most of the souls who chose to be born here. And, because the privilege of baptism is dispensed by the chosen few (the Christians), Jesus has let this proud group select those of the “heathen” to be saved. The rest (usually the world’s unfortunate) are to be damned. If baptism is only symbolic of joining the Christian community, the symbolism is lost on those already dead.

Of late, Christendom will protest: “all good souls can go to heaven if they believe, would have believed, or will believe. Baptism by desire or intent will suffice.”  Perhaps, but that is new Christian doctrine and Jesus could also argue that Atonement by desire or intent would suffice. There is no logical reason why a free agency sacrifice such as atonement by one person should have any effect on the sins of another. But once we accept the principle that a spiritual law is not necessarily logical or reasonable to us, requiring an actual baptism with water by authority from above is just an example of a different spiritual law – more of the same kind. Could it be that the Atonement unlocks the door to the (Celestial) Kingdom of God from the inside and being born again by Baptism through the Free Agency of each individual unlocks it from the outside? In the language of the internet, this dual action between two communicating agents is called a “handshake”. {6/13: a better explanation is found in ("Atonement and Baptism?".)}

2/12: A scenario more consistent with scriptures is that the Atonement unlocks all levels of Heaven (Correction 6/13: the Telestial, the Terrestrial, and the Celestial Kingdom) rather than just the third level of the (Exultation) Celestial Kingdom only. It may be that:
1) God (the Son) created the immortal terrestrial paradise of Eden and all in it;
2) Adam chose knowledge of good and evil thereby changing earth to a mortal Telestial state forever separated from God;
3) Jesus' atonement allowed the resurrection of all mortal bodies back into immortal bodies. This is called God's Grace and applies to all that chose to come to earth in the Preexistence;
4) After resurrection, the status of the reunited body and spirit is determined by the worth of the soul and acceptance into the various societies (Kingdoms) of Heaven;
5) Proper baptism is required to enter the Celestial Kingdom where God lives.
Addition 6/13: Marriage is required to enter the Third Level of the Celestial Kingdom. See also
                                          Why do we need Baptism and the Atonement?
Deleted 6/13:(3/3/12: Perhaps the Atonement serves both purposes.)

Scriptures indicate that only those with God’s proper authority are authorized to baptize and that those with that authority should know the correct doctrine. In fact, possession of the correct doctrine is one way to know whether baptizers have the proper authority.

In Acts 19, Paul meets 12 men. 2 ”He said unto them: “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 4Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Paul did not just tell them of the correct doctrine about the Holy Ghost. After all, they had already been “baptized”; they had already been symbolically inducted into Christianity; they already thought themselves to be Christians. He baptized them again since he knew by their statements of doctrine that their baptism was invalid. Jesus tells us: by their fruit you shall know them. Not only does this mean that you can tell the good by their good works. Apparently, it also means no counterfeits. Apparently, without the proper authority from above, the correct doctrine also disappears.

I also believed that Jesus and the Father are separate beings from reading the Bible. If three cases where a separate voice from God the Father saying “this is my beloved son, hear him” do not show this, then why bother to read scriptures? It took the actual visible appearance of two heavenly beings to Joseph Smith to confirm their separateness. God must be wondering what He has to do to convince us that He is not His Son. Even His actual appearance to man was not enough. Do they have to appear together at the UN?

Even though the two beliefs of a three person godhood and Baptism for the Dead were accepted in the early church as taught by Arius, they now make Mormons a heretical cult to all the other Christians. They will say we have multiple gods and perform strange rites in mysterious temples. By their Christian God, Mormons should expect to burn in eternal hellfire for worshipping false gods. The Taliban desire to kill the infidels (unbelievers) is a mild punishment by comparison. One wonders if God fearing church members really believe in eternal torment and wish it on us. If not, they are hypocrites. Their belief in hellfire also provides great talking points for atheists in their attempt to discredit all religions. Hellfire serves no religious purpose except to frighten the innocent and gullible. In turbulent times those false beliefs will harden their hearts. Perhaps hellfire is a tare.

Deification (the belief that, being the children of God, we can become like a god through effort by “Eternal Progression”) is another LDS belief that is considered a heresy by our fellow Christians. Other Christians will claim this makes us a polytheistic religion, forgetting that the actual forbidden pagan religions referred to are the worship of animals and objects such as calves, the sun, and the earth. The recent upsurge of secular humanism and worship of the earth above all human concerns seems more like the forbidden pagan religion than does LDS deification.

God, by hypothesis, loves us all: perhaps He also still loves Lucifer, one of His better creations – an example of free agency gone wrong.

The hypothesis that Baptism for the Dead is a requirement for a just God is not new to Christian philosophy. What is new here (I believe) is requiring that the baptism be accepted by each spirit’s free agency in the full knowledge of consequences. Eternal Progression to Godhood is not necessarily an easy way. Many souls may prefer to choose a lesser kingdom instead. Latter Day Saints believe there is a Terrestrial Kingdom wherein reside all those good spirits that will not accept Jesus’ Atonement (possibly by not accepting the proxy baptism done for them on earth in the LDS temples). This could well be the Paradise of the rest of Christianity. These souls need no baptism. They are only “damned” in the sense they chose not proceed to be Gods. The road to the “Kingdom of God” could be strewed with obstacles that make the Paradise of the Terrestrial Kingdom an attractive option. Choosing to accept or reject baptism in full knowledge of the consequences may be the choice each of us will have to make. For each of us, it would be comparable to the painful choices already made by Adam and Jesus.

If baptism is a requirement for heaven, all Satan has to do is close the 133 LDS temples to prevent 99% of mankind from being “saved”. Consider what is happening in the world today. Islam and anti-Semitism are ascendant. Christianity is apathetic. It does not help Christianity when the History channel teaches that Rome crucified Jesus because he was a subversive and that a Roman centurion (not Caiaphas) bribed Judas with 30 pieces of silver. It does not help the truth when a six hour long series on PBS entitled “God in America” devotes a total of 12 words to the LDS faith (of which eight words are the name of the church). Logically, the LDS faith deserved at least 15 minutes. The PBS series completely ignored the vision and the gospel restoration to Joseph Smith, the LDS expulsion from three states, Joseph Smith’s legal army, the extermination order against Mormons by a sitting governor, the founding of Utah, the world wide network of temples, and the Supreme Court decision limiting LDS religious practice. If you believe the hypothesis that Satan is influencing us now on earth, look at world events for his techniques. Satan changes word definitions, rewrites and ignores history, perverts historical teachings, preaches hatred, etc. If and when we need support from our non-LDS brothers to protect the LDS temples, we may well have none. Since holders of the Priesthood (the twelve tribes and now LDS) have always been ~ 0.2% of the world’s population, our existence depends on the forbearance of mankind.

If you believe the hypothesis that Satan is working among us, then he has method, motive and opportunity to close the temples. It has happened before. It can easily happen again. There are many believable scenarios. Suppose terrorists vaporize a small city. In the ensuing worldwide panic, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam could reach an agreement that all monotheistic religions really believe in the same God. Their leaders would issue a joint decree against interfaith fighting. Mormons (being “polytheistic”) and other non-Christian religions would be excluded. A few threats against LDS temples should suffice to panic a misinformed population afraid of collateral damage. Politics would do the rest. Without the temples, apparently, all would be well. Mankind would hardly notice the lack of our saving rite. I think it is time to try to make friends rather than enemies. It is time to explain our faith.

I have argued that this world is a test of our attitude to be Gods by own free agency and shown that a logical, straight forward argument can be made for baptism of the dead. Certainly that is heretical to Christianity, but is it worth the hatred that the LDS received and receives now on the internet? Our doctrine tells us that baptism is required of all souls and that only we (who hold the recently restored priesthood) are authorized to baptize. Our temples are the only infrastructure on earth capable of such an undertaking and none seems to be planned by other religions. As LDS, we have extended our offer to baptize everyone from George Washington to Adolf Hitler without judgment and without ever considering them to be Mormons. Given what LDS believe (and I hypothesize), we would be incredibly selfish and worthy of condemnation if we did not offer this service. If churches choose to reject our offer (as Judaism, Islam, and the Catholic Church have: and LDS will not perform this rite without explicit permission), that is their free choice. If my hypotheses are incorrect, nothing is lost. If my hypothesis that an actual proxy baptism is required is correct and the temples are closed, heaven will be closed also.

Of course, the triumphal return of Jesus would mean that all will be baptized (if that is what is required) and the wicked would be condemned and punished. Christians have long been waiting for His return with His avenging army of angels. This “Big Bang” theory of salvation is totally out of character for Jesus. Further, when He returns in that way, the hypothesized test of free agency will end. Compulsion by Jesus and his angels, aka Satan’s plan of salvation, will be the order of the day. To preserve the free agency test, it is possible that Jesus will let mankind choose whether or not to close the temples. This “Steady State” approach would be completely compatible with the free agency, risk, and consequences hypotheses. In effect, mankind would have chosen damnation by apathy and deception. A small number baptisms could still occur “under the radar”, but not on the massive scale required to give the opportunity for salvation to everyone ever born. I agree that it is ridiculous to believe that lack of a simple physical rite like baptism could damn otherwise worthy souls. But all Christians believe that lack of the rite of Atonement would damn all of mankind. Are not both Atonement and Baptism physical rites of a similar class: both are required, both must be voluntary, and both are seemingly unconnected to the goodness of our individual souls?

Why do I hypothesize we are the spirit Children of God and descended from a real, physical Adam? That belief is a main scriptural teaching: it seems far too fundamental to be Satan’s tare. Some think humans are unremarkable parasites. We have nearly all of the genes of apes, our brains are not particularly large, our muscles are defective, our chemistry is the same as other animals, etc. Yet, somehow we are as different as though created separately to be a different class of being. Let me list four observable powers or skills that set us apart from animals. The 12,000 years or so it took to develop them is very short time on a Darwinian evolutionary time scale. Is it not strange that we have come such a long way in such a short time?

Fire is the first entry level skill. If we forget how to make a fire, there is always lightning to remind us. I have heard that KoKo the Gorilla hugs a kitten, but I have never heard that she has started a campfire. Perhaps I missed that. Fire is just a skill – neither good nor bad. With fire, we can cook meat, keep warm or destroy villages. Our choice!

Steel is the second skill. You don’t mine steel: you make steel with fire, observation, and tradition. Father to son, the skill is handed down. We have understood the underlying principles of alloys only recently. With steel, we can build structures far higher than any Tower of Babel. The first steel structure, the Eiffel Tower (Google it), at 1063 ft is nearly double the 555 ft of the tallest stone structure, the Washington Monument. The largest pyramid at Giza is a mere 480 ft. The tallest building now is in Dubai at 1715 feet. If you want to convince me that an old advanced culture ever existed before us, show me stones with rusted I-beams inside. With steel, we have progressed far beyond the capability of animals no matter how sympathetic the TV script writer is. With steel we can build large cities or destroy them. Our choice!

Nuclear energy is the third skill. For this skill you need intelligence and a full understanding of the laws of Mother Nature. This is far beyond our capability of even 200 years ago. In 1895, Madam Curie (Google her – especially those young ladies that want to see how women were treated just recently) took some glowing rocks and with amazing intelligence and attention to detail developed the science required. Too bad she did not follow all the rules of Mother Nature. She was a good person. She died of radiation poisoning - the penalty of not obeying a natural law.

Line upon line, precept upon precept: nuclear technology and the bomb soon followed. Thankfully, this skill was far beyond the capability of the most powerful dictator of antiquity. Thankfully, this third skill waited for the event of the only nation that would have permitted the restoration of the Gospel. This exceptional, unlikely nation, America, was founded on the principle of free agency (for are not freedom and liberty synonyms for free agency), and is the nation most responsible for the defeat of the Satanic philosophies of Communism and National Socialism. Given the hypotheses of this talk, it is not unreasonable to say this nation was established expressly for that purpose and that Jesus gave us a 911 call when the agents of Satan flew a plane into the Freedom (i.e., Free agency) Tower in 2001. Jesus and Satan hide nothing from mankind.

Nuclear power could provide safe, limitless energy if developed according to the Precepts of the Priesthood. Or, as almost happened in 1962, it could destroy humanity. Still, it is only a skill. It is our choice of how to use it. In that case, two not particularly spiritual men made that choice for us. Since they were our leaders, their choice would have been binding on us. There is a moral here: select good leaders. As an individual, you may be saved by your personal choices, but the condition of the world and your unborn children is determined by the leaders chosen by you and all of mankind. Our choice!

So from nothing, in ten or so millennia (an eye blink in our presumably long evolutionary history), we have learned to destroy the world and have so far chosen not to. That observable fact provides some justification for the claim that we may actually be Children of God, and, more recently, the Sons of Adam.

The fourth skill is even more terrible or wonderful than nuclear holocaust. It is the cell phone. Actually, the cell phone is only the tip of the tip of the iceberg. The tip of the iceberg is the world wide net of communication and its associated hardware and software. Through the cooperative efforts of all groups and societies of mankind, for the first time, all of humanity can be connected together. Knowledge and authority, whether good or evil, has become universal with the internet and its worldwide communication. There is no longer a place to hide. Everything is traceable. Nothing goes unnoticed. How will we use our power? Our choice!

Mankind is the iceberg. While each technology is limited to that which it can accomplish, the cleverness of mankind has no limits. With this fourth skill, we can become telepathic with all the knowledge of the world at our call. We can become powerful free agents. Or, with my hypotheses that Satan is among us, we can become slaves of a world wide government headed by Satan’ agents augmented by computers. Historically, freedom and democracy has been the exception – not the rule. Democracy is an unstable state. One election and it can vanish. Next time, because of the web, that choice may be irrevocable.

Fifty years ago, I built a transistor radio for my physics class. Then, our transistors had names: now cell phones contain millions of them. I had also read about electrical stimulation of the pleasure and pain centers of the brains of animals. So, for a short story assignment for English class, I imagined a world with radio controlled brain stimulators implanted at birth in each brain for society’s good. One day, a transistor shorted out in my hero’s head. Lacking the accustomed stimulation, he did not know how to act. The authorities collected him, repaired his chip, and sent him back to work. All ended happily with his obedient return society. I had to read that story before my class - much to my embarrassment.

What will happen in fifty years? This depends on the scenario realized. If it is the Big Bang or Armageddon Scenario as seen in the Bible, current world trends will continue pitting free agency (democracy, freedom, capitalism) against compulsion (totalitarianism, class immobility, socialism). The Mideast uprisings (Gaddafi’s son will be important) will eventually fail (for lack of western support) and the region will continue the cursing of Israel to their own detriment. Terrorism will increase. If the Steady State scenario prevails, democratic forces of free agency will succeed. Gradually, hatred of Israel will diminish and the welfare of the region will improve. Terrorism will eventually fade away.

Either way, a city will be lost to a terrorist bomb. After that, we will become much more security conscious and less defensive of our liberties. We now have ID chips in our pets. I predict that a chip will be inserted in everyone’s hand for homeland ID security and credit card transactional convenience. For convenience and competitive business advantage, some people will have their cell phones interfaced to the ample nerve systems in the head. We already have cochlear implants allowing the deaf to hear electrical signals without actual ears. We already have computers that can beat us at chess and Jeopardy. These talents will be available for cloud ware lease via the then ubiquitous wireless internet. With Rent-A Watson, each of us will be telepathic and all wise. However, how we use this power is our choice.

But this is not a new prediction. In Revelation: 13:16 – 17, “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, bond and free, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads. And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” So we see that prediction has been made before. Perhaps the beast is the internet – a beast of burden - not of destruction. Of course, how we use it is our choice. (Revelation also teaches twice that the angel guide tells John that he is John’s fellow servant and forbids John to worship him: Rev 19:10 & 22:9. Are we equal to the angels but at another stage in our development?)

I think this prediction is probable - even without the hypothesis of the active involvement of Satan. Let me repeat my scenario. In the uproar shortly after a bomb destroys a city and to prevent further such tragedies, The Grand Imam of Belgium (now a Muslim country) issues a fatwa to forbid terror bombings, to set aside the doctrine of dhimmitude and to accept equality and peace between the three great monotheistic peoples: Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The Pope and other Christian leaders rush to welcome such an ecumenical gesture. Mormons, being polytheistic, will not be included in this amnesty. Terrorists then will vow to destroy the Mormon temples (which, it will be noted, do not allow equal access to all people and conduct certain mysterious rites). Fear of collateral damage, an apathetic Christian population, an ascendant Muslim population, and political correctness will provide the excuse for politicians worldwide to close the Mormon temples. For all practical purposes, Baptism for the Dead will cease. (Scenario movie rights reserved.)

9/6/11: The revolt of the Arab Mideast seems to be succeeding. Libya has been liberated: Gadhafi defeated. The present US government is only worried about al-Qaeda which has a special hatred for the US. TOG is more worried about the establishment of Sharia law and an Islamic State via The Muslim Brotherhood. In a decade, that (another Iran in Libya) might pose the bigger threat to Free Agency. Check out this link The Shah of Iran fell ~ 1978 and we are just starting to see the effects of that.

Could this happen? Mormons are recognized as good, hard working, god fearing people. Surely, the people of the world will stand beside them in support of the temples. Not so! Already, the world views us with suspicion and knows little of our doctrines. We should remember back 160 years ago when Mormons were driven out of three states for no apparent reason except that they lived in a close knit society and had strange religious beliefs. They were even about to be exterminated by order of a sitting governor and were saved only by insubordination by the general in charge of the militia. And all this happened in this land of religious freedom, America. Besides, people will say, the closing of temple buildings is for the safety of the surrounding areas; not for the elimination of a religion and a saving rite. The only difference between the anti-Semitism now rampant and anti-Mormonism is that we are not as well known to the world as are the Jews.

We must imagine how the world sees us: When we say, as is common in our testimonies, “I know this church is true”, other Christians hear, “I know your church is not true".
When we say we do ordinances in temples and only our faithful may enter into the temples, other Christians wonder what ordinances and think we are saying they are not good enough to enter our temples.
When we say we are baptizing our ancestors, they wonder why we are not baptizing theirs (even though their own religions forbid it).
We make enemies unnecessarily (e.g., gays and lesbians).
We never tell them we are not polytheists in the sense of the First Commandment.
We never tell them of Arianism and how those ancient beliefs were similar to ours.
We never tell them why we believe what we believe.
We will have to do better to survive in the upcoming turbulent times.

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Standard Christian time line assumed: Pre-existence; Existence; Post-existence.

God the Father is assumed to be loving, merciful and just.
God’s purpose is to raise His children to be Gods like Himself and His family.
God creates Jesus, Lucifer, and all His children’s spirits in the Pre-existence.
Jesus proposes free agency: Lucifer proposes compulsion; God chooses Jesus.
Lucifer (now Satan) and 1/3 of spirits rebel and are sent to earth without bodies.
The rest are born of woman, die, and resurrected into one of three kingdoms.
All those born of woman must be baptized to enter the Kingdom of God.
If God is just, logic requires Baptism for all the Dead in Temples by the Priesthood.
If the Temples are closed, the Kingdom of God is also closed to most of the dead.
Jesus’ Atonement is also required for God’s children to enter the Kingdom of God.
Both rites require a free (possibly more painful) choice by participants to be valid.
Adam existed and freely chose mankind’s loss of innocence to allow Godhood.
The Priesthood is God’s authority; without authority, correct doctrine disappears.
Abraham and his descendants are God’s chosen Priesthood holders.
This life is one test our use of free agency without memory of the Pre-existence.
In Post-existence, all memory returns and we judge ourselves by the Golden Rule.
Jesus and Satan influence mankind and are engaged in a war for our souls.
Jesus wants mankind to reach its full potential as Gods using free agency.
Free agency requires scientific and religious uncertainty regarding our purpose.
Satan uses compulsion and feeds off of mankind’s frustration with its bonds.
The Scriptures contain messages from both Jesus and Satan (wheat and tares).
Realization of full Godhood requires union of male and female spirits.
Evidence of the struggle between good and evil is seen now & throughout history.
God obeys His laws: analogies exist between certain physical and spiritual