At a prison worship service today, I heard an inmate sing “What Child Is This?” Not a performance by a trained artist but sung from the heart, if not from an even deeper place. And yes, it was on key too. An act of pure worship by one of the most serene men I know.
This inmate spent nearly 20 years “in the hole” (solitary confinement), but now he’s a man of presence and peace. He’s redeemed. An expert of the soul. And he’s about to be released prison. I cherish the performance I witnessed today.
Here’s another beautiful performance of the song, followed by lyrics.
What Child is this, who, laid to rest On Mary’s lap, is sleeping? Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, While shepherds watch are keeping? This, this is Christ the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing: Haste, haste to bring him laud, The Babe, the Son of Mary!
Why lies He in such mean estate, Where ox and ass are feeding? Good Christians, fear, for sinners here The silent Word is pleading. Nails, spear shall pierce Him through, The cross be borne for me, for you. Hail, hail the Word made flesh, The Babe, the Son of Mary.
So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh, Come peasant king to own Him, The King of kings, salvation brings, Let loving hearts enthrone Him. Raise, raise the song on high, The Virgin sings her lullaby: Joy, joy, for Christ is born, The Babe, the Son of Mary!
In the Last Days is a basic guide for newcomers to the topic of the Second Coming of Christ, those who want to look at a wide variety of scriptural passages that also cast light on the Last Days, the Millennium, and the end of the world. Students of the Second Coming won’t find anything sensational, highly speculative, or particularly new or groundbreaking in this book, but rather a simple, scriptural foundation for the doctrine surrounding this sacred season.
If you’ve been wondering if the law of attraction is real, or if the ideas presented by secular teachers of this law have any relevance or foundation in the scriptures, The Law of Attraction and the Scriptures is for you. The book takes a simple approach of the law of attraction (also called the law of the harvest or the Royal Law), relying on the standard works accepted by Latter-day Saints—The Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price—to illuminate its meaning.
From the book description: “This book provides step-by-step instructions on how to write, edit, publish, and promote your book—from overcoming writer’s block to sharing your book on social media. (This book does not assert that you can create and publish a book in 24 contiguous hours, but rather in 24 elapsed hours.)”
If you’re watching the signs of the times, here’s one that’s pretty evident:
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (Matthew 24:12.)
There’s little more iniquity as cold hearted than what I am about to share, a signal that modern civilization is in jeopardy.
This isn’t a topic I want to talk about. It’s so perverse and sickening that I get physically and mentally messed up just thinking about it. It’s hard to imagine crimes worse than these, but in the near future, they will be spoken from the housetops, and we’ll likely be very surprised when we discover the perpetrators.
I am talking about human trafficking, especially child sex trafficking. Although illegal, human slavery is the worst it has ever been in terms of numbers of victims. It’s one of the great blights on our nation and the world.
According to a recent report by Time, human trafficking brings in $150 billion worldwide annually, two-thirds of which is tied to sex trafficking, with profits of $21,800 per victim sold into sex slavery, the highest of any form of exploitation.
The worst states in the US for human trafficking are California, Texas, and Florida—two of which are border states.
The statistics are staggering. It’s hard to think about the unbearable human suffering they represent, especially the suffering of innocents. It’s time to face it. This horrible crime is growing.
Okay, now for the hard part. I’ll do this in the form of questions. I’ll let you do your own research. The answers are very controversial which will distract from the message. You may be surprised by what you find with a few Google searches.
Given the profit per victim ($21,800), who can actually afford to “purchase” a sex slave?
Why are more and more sex crimes in the entertainment industry coming to light?
Why do California and Texas account for the largest arrests for trafficking in the United States? Think logically.
How could trafficking reach such an astounding rate? Who in the higher spheres of influence has the power to change this? Who has been turning a blind eye to it?
Why are the numbers of human trafficking arrests rising in the United States over the last two years?
What bill was signed into law in late 2017 that helps bring down human trafficking perpetrators?
There are those who would like to make this go away. Some media outlets don’t give it fair airtime because, well, you decide.
How can you help? You can get involved with or consider a monthly contribution to organizations like Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) or India-based Prajwala. We can all take action, with a simple, daily prayer, or dedicating time to learning more about it, or making others aware of what is going on in our communities. It’s time to wake from the sleep of hell. We can all find ways to speak up and make a difference.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. — Declaration of Independence
Every time I read the Declaration of Independence, I am amazed at how inspiring it feels to read it. To think the principal author, Thomas Jefferson, was only 33 years old at the time! I can’t help but believe that there was a Force greater than human intelligence at work on this almost sacred text. Few documents have had a greater impact on the destiny of this world than this one that was pounded out in the summer swelter of 1776.
It only takes about 10 minutes to read the Declaration of Independence. You can read it online here on the National Archives site, or you can get a copy on Kindle by clicking here ($0.99). The paperback price is set so low that I don’t get royalties for it. (If you buy the paperback, you’ll also get the Kindle version for free.) You can also watch, read, or listen for free here:
(By the way, you can also sign the Declaration of Independence yourself, here.)
I believe in the agency of man, in the independence and sovereignty of nations, in freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of action. I believe America is a choice land to those who reverence the God of this land who is Jesus Christ. If we worship false gods—and there are many, many opportunities for us to do so—we cannot long enjoy the freedom and independence that we have come to take for granted.
There are many political voices in America now, hailing from the right and left. There are those who cry against “hate” with hate in their hearts. There are conspiracies and rumors of conspiracies, crimes of reason and rumors of treason, rumors of betrayal on a an unbelievable scale that is difficult to grasp or accept.
Instead of looking to the right or left, may I suggest that we look up, look up to that God who created us, that God who knows the hearts and designs of all women and men? He knows the way. He will show you the way if you ask Him and really mean it. He can deliver us from the turmoil and the confusion, but only if we look up and reach up to Him who is our Eternal God, our Deliverer, and our Savior.
So, rise up, patriot! Look to God and live. Through faith in Him we can conquer all enemies, within and without. We can even conquer our first and most notorious enemy, ourselves. When we do that with His help, no other enemy can stand before us.
In his April 1973 conference talk, he shared a quote from the French historian Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859), a contemporary of the Prophet Joseph Smith. After a visit to America, de Tocqueville wrote in his multi-volume work Democracy in America:
I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. (As quoted in Prophets, Principles and National Survival, compiled by Jerreld L. Newquist [Salt Lake City, Publishers Press, 1964], 60; emphasis added.)
I believe many modern Americans are still good in the sense that they uphold moral values as given in the word of God, but we are witnessing the near culmination of a decades-long erosion of these values. Such views are not held up as they once were; in fact, they are shouted down by a growing intolerance that is teetering on the edge of fascism.
Elder Benson then went on to highlight some points from another famous book:
In 1787 Edward Gibbon completed his noble work The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Here is the way he accounted for the fall:
The undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.
Higher and higher taxes and the spending of public monies for free bread and circuses for the populace.
The mad craze for pleasure, sports becoming every year more and more exciting and brutal.
The building of gigantic armaments when the real enemy was within the decadence of the people.
The decay of religion—faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life, and becoming impotent to warn and guide the people.
Is there a parallel for us in America today? Could the same reasons that destroyed Rome destroy America and possibly other countries of the free world? (Emphasis added.)
Consider also this quote from Ramsay MacMullen’s Corruption and the Decline of Rome
([Yale University Press, 1988], 281) found on the History Today website. Anything ringing a bell for you here?
Bribery and abuses always occurred, of course. But by the fourth and fifth centuries they had become the norm: no longer abuses of a system, but an alternative system in itself. The cash nexus overrode[d] all other ties. Everything was bought and sold: public office including army commands and bishoprics, judges’ verdicts, tax assessments, access to authority on every level, and particularly the emperor. The traditional web of obligations became a marketplace of power, ruled only by naked self-interest. (Emphasis added.)
Growing corruption in governments, including the possibility of treason, is often sidestepped or ignored by today’s mainstream media, which may be complicit. This is a strong indicator that we’re approaching a season of unmatched economic and political turmoil, not unlike the last years of the Roman empire. Stay tuned.
The prophets never panic and neither should we. Now is the time, however, to prayerfully prepare our families and homes for the winds of adversity. But be assured, as sure as there are tribulations ahead, guidance, protection, and peace are also readily available to those who take the Holy Spirit as their guide and treasure up the words of life (see D&C 45:57 and Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37). Such will not be deceived.
In the Last Days, a book that originated on this blog, will be free on Amazon Kindle on Sunday and Monday, April 22 and 23, 2018, in honor of World Book Day. The paperback is now $3.86. I made a commitment several years ago to keep this book very low priced.
I also recently upgraded the format of the book.
Here’s a brief description:
This guide is for newcomers to the topic who wish to examine a wide variety of scriptural passages that cast light on the Last Days, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the Millennium, and the end of the world. Students of the Second Coming won’t find anything sensational, highly speculative, or particularly new or groundbreaking in this book.
Though not exhaustive, the guide walks through many of the major events surrounding the Second Coming of Christ, mainly through the Standard Works of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price—but also through some archaeological, historical, and statistical sources. (It’s a compilation of posts from the blog “Put on the Armor of Light,” written between September 2014 and November 2015.)
In the Last Days has sold thousands of copies and has hit #1 on Amazon in several categories. It was written from the heart. Get is free here.