Tuesday, June 30, 2020


"Now behold, this Lachoneus, the governor, was a just man, and could not be frightened by the demands and the threatenings of a robber; therefore he did not hearken to the epistle of Giddianhi, the governor of the robbers, but he did cause that his people should cry unto the Lord for strength against the time that the robbers should come down against them. Yea, he sent a proclamation among all the people, that they should gather together their women, and their children, their flocks and their herds, and all their substance, save it were their land, unto one place...And they did fortify themselves against their enemies; and they did dwell in one land, and in one body, and they did fear the words which had been spoken by Lachoneus, insomuch that they did repent of all their sins; and they did put up their prayers unto the Lord their God, that he would deliver them in the time that their enemies should come down against them to battle." (3 Nephi 3:12-13,25)

When people come across the warfare chapters in the Book of Mormon they often read these chapters with a glazed look followed by their eyes rolling back in their heads.  At that point, their fingers subtly skip over the pages until they find other parts of the Book of Mormon that they find more interesting. Yet in passing over these accounts of ancient warfare we are passing over strategic information given to us-information that I call "The Nephite Art of War". 

Most people are unaware that in the Israelite Mind and conflict can fall under the category of warfare whether it be a conflict of nations, communities, economics, families, siblings, etc. In these Latter days, we are also engaged in a modern warfare against modern Gadianton Robbers who seek to subvert the liberty and freedom that exist in this country. While the word war often carries with it images of swords, arrows, guns, tanks, and missiles there are other types of warfare that should be considered. 

In modern business schools around the country, Sun Tzu's Art of War is often translated into tactics for the modern warfare of Business.  Yes, Business and Economics can also be considered a form of warfare. While the world is engaged in their "Gadianton Robbery" believers in the Book of Mormon and The Followers of Christ have been given an art of war to protect themselves and their families in their modern war with the modern Gadianton Robbers. One such tactic in the Book of Mormon's art of war is the tactic of communities designed to not only be beacons of light but fortified communities of safety and security.

As believers in The Book of Mormon, we should be anxiously engaged in studying and translating The Nephite Art of War into principles of Spiritual, Economic, and Physical Warfare to uphold the principles of liberty and freedom given by God.


Like their ancient counterparts modern Gadianton Robbers survive by politically and economically pillaging we the people.  In reality, they produce nothing but they consume everything while giving you the illusion that their works are noble and their intentions are just.  They are like the leader of robbers who wrote a letter to Lachoneus saying, "I write this epistle unto you, and do give unto you exceedingly great praise because of your firmness, and also the firmness of your people, in maintaining that which ye suppose to be your right and liberty; yea, ye do stand well, as if ye were supported by the hand of a god, in the defence of your liberty, and your property, and your country, or that which ye do call so...Therefore I write unto you, desiring that ye would yield up unto this my people, your cities, your lands, and your possessions, rather than that they should visit you with the sword and that destruction should come upon you." (3 Nephi  3:2,6)

By cutting off the robbers from their substance, the Nephites created  places of refuge for themselves.  In doing so they created micro-economies that provided their people protection from the greater threat of those robbers who could only survive by taking their substance and ultimately enslaving them to a system of secret works and thievery.  

Many people feel the need to belong to communities that stand as pillars of strength and sanctuaries of light.  People come together and create communities out of concern for the welfare of their families and the welfare of the neighbors.   This concern has the potential to blossom into the kind of love which fulfills the adage-Love One Another. As those of like desires join the community this ember of love turns into a flame that will provide light and heat to those who engaged in the community.  As things progress, the light then beckons others to join our community because it fulfills the physiological needs, the safety needs, the need to love and belong, the need for esteem, and the realization of true Joy.  In fact, this desire to receive from God to bestow upon others and to bless God is the epitome of a Zion Community. 

The fire of love we are discussing is not just an emotional feeling but is a love that provides opportunities of growth (physical, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional).  It is a love that causes members to experience an environment of belonging and deep connection. It is a love that provides the members of the community the mechanism to make real differences in the world.  It is a love whose ultimate goal is a fulfillment of Mankind’s purpose- Man is that he might have joy.

Communities represent groups of people who share common values whether they are centrally located or in different locations.  Sometimes these values me be spiritual values, shared interests, commercial values or endeavors, or the decision to manifest a shared vision or desire in the material world.  In the end, despite the varying paths and experiences that bring us to the common ground, the ultimate desire is to feel connection and oneness. People want to know that they are valued and understood.  They want to know that they are physically safe. They want to know that they are secure in their surroundings. They want to know, experience, and give love.  They want to feel valued and respected. They want to realize their full potential as children of God. 

Some communities may be small while others may be larger and more diverse. There are conditions where a smaller group may thrive where larger ones dwindle.  Sometimes the larger group thrives in conditions where a smaller group cannot take root.  Whatever the case may be, communities exist to fulfill our need for relationship-relationship with family, with our friends, and with God. 

While many feel the strong desire for community, they also feel at a loss on how to build a thriving community with strong and clear vision. Sometimes they do not understand the cultural identity and elements needed to cement real community. They face the challenges of getting the younger generation involved and to create a legacy of faith that can be perpetuated from generation to generation. 
There are many kinds of communities in this world, but if you are reading this then you are seeking the foundation of establishing a community based on the pattern given by God.  This pattern is very ancient, but despite its age its pattern holds the keys to a power that will provide safety and security from the onslaught of the modern warfare we face.

Washing The Feet of Your Brother’s and Sisters

To create a thriving community that will stand as a beacon of light it is important to keep in mind that the heart’s core of any city of light is the principle of service:

“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.’ (Mosiah 2: 17)

If we aspire to a Zion, then we must never forget this one principle. The wisdom (chokmah) of Heaven is unleashed in the direct proportion to our desires and actions of service to our fellow beings.  In other words, if we as individual and community vessels seek to receive from God to bless and bestow upon others then the living waters poured out from Heaven pour forth to the same degree.  If we seek to receive from God to covet, the life-giving waters of heaven cease and our ground dries up.

Many have experienced or been part of various groups or communities.  They have experienced the mistreatment and abuses of ego-based leadership versus servant-based leadership.  They have had to endure those who promote themselves and exalt themselves above their brothers.  They have had to endure mistreatment and cliques.  The tendency of the natural man and woman to exalt themselves while disrespecting and diminishing others is all too common. If the community is self-serving it will only result in the creation of secret combinations, cults, and other destructive behavior. 

In the beginning many communities start out with high energy and what seems to be a promising future. Reality soon sets in along with the real concerns of everyday life and everyday personalities.  Without viable form and function, community dies.  Without every member being a leader and a servant community becomes scattered and chaotic. 

When people see that their brothers and sisters are at least as concerned about their welfare as they are about their own, then people become motivated to physically, emotionally, and spiritually invest in the building of a community composed of people of this caliber.  This is not to say that predators such as wolves in sheep’s clothing do not come into a community, but by establishing “the hedge” given by God their influence and damage can be minimized and if necessary expelled. Remember, “Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:3)

For a community to grow in the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood it is necessary for the community to clearly state the ideology and common principles that represent the purposes and goals of the community. If common values are not clearly stated, then the community can become easily manipulated and taken down a path very different than the path they originally desired. If members are asked or persuaded to disregard their ideology and common principles, then the community can be destroyed by opportunists and predators. Many communities have been destroyed by activities that are not in alignment with their ideology and common principles. 

The Building Blocks of Communities of Light (to be continued)

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Behold the Tree- America's Ultimate Roadmap

"I will liken the United States of America like unto a tame olive tree
which a man took and nourished in his vineyard
And it grew and waxed old and began to decay" (Jacob 5:3)

This article is a serious case of likening the scriptures to ourselves. The words of the Prophet Zenos have multi-dimensional application. It might seem strange to some that I would replace the word House of Israel in Jacob 5:3 with the United States of America.  But in reality, the insertion of our nation into this allegory is just as applicable today as it was to the Nephites in the days Jacob.  If we examine this allegory from an Israelite perspective then it would also make sense to apply this parable to America today as in reality the whole of North America and specifically the United States of America contains one of the largest populations of both Jews, Ephraimites, and the The Ten tribes (not to mention the mixed multitude) in the world. 

To understand the words of Zenos we have to approach it from and Israelite perspective. In Israelite symbolism a “Tame Olive Tree”  is the ruling house or nation.  The branches are servants and those people connected with them.  The servants are those men and women who are the ruling political persons or entities, the spiritual persons or entities, and the social persons or entities that rule that nation. The parable/allegory is designed to explain how a kingdom (specifically a ruling covenant house) can be raised up again so that Messiah can be its Chief or Capstone once it has rejected him and the covenant relationship he offers. 


The covenant kingdom is the structure built below the capstone and to which it is laid once the structure is in place. Like Israel the United States of America fits this allegory on the eschatological (prophetic or last days) level of Israelite interpretation.  The prophet Jacob lays out the reason and they mystery of why he is including the words of Zenos in his record:

"And now I, Jacob, am led on by the Spirit unto prophesying; for I perceive by the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that by the stumbling of the Americans they will reject the stone upon which they might build and have safe foundation.

But behold, according to the scriptures, this stone shall become the great, and the last, and the only sure foundation, upon which the Americans can build.

And now, my beloved, how is it possible that these, after having rejected the sure foundation, can ever build upon it, that it may become the head of their corner? (i.e. their capstone)

Behold, my beloved brethren, I will unfold this mystery unto you; if I do not, by any means, get shaken from my firmness in the Spirit, and stumble because of my over anxiety for you."  (Jacob 4: 15-17-insertions added)

Let's begin by examining the word stone or eben (אֶבֶן).  While the word for stone is eben it can also be mechanically broken down to mean "son (ben) of the father"  in addition using another interpretive key we would reverse the word to navi (נָבָא) or  to prophesy which is the base root for prophet.  The Messiah as The Son of the Father and as The Prophet is the chief and cornerstone- or capstone of the kingdom.

In Israelite thought a tree can represent both a King and a Kingdom.  The idea of being "tame" is related to the concept of ruling, birthright, and covenant keeping.  A "tame olive tree" being likened to a ruling covenant house or kingdom. The roots of the tree represent the Fathers -not only the Patriarchs but also the Fathers of This Nation who entered into covenant with God.  The trunk of the tree is the covenant  that God Made with the Fathers and extends as the source of nourishment from which those branches receive their strength (gevurah/power). In the case of the United States of America the covenant is the Constitution which is a derivative of the Sinai Covenant. 

The natural branches are those natural born citizens of the Kingdom who are the natural heirs to the covenant.  In drawing their nourishment from the covenant established with God they are able to produce the natural or covenant fruit.  After a period of time, the natural branches began to take the strength to themselves (i.e. instead of drawing their strength from the covenant/constitution the branches began to believe they were the trunk and became lofty).  In other words, the natural born sons of the republic in the process of time began to believe they were the source and the secret in the sauce.  Their introduction of non-covenantal principles produced bad or non-covenantal fruit.   The process is still going on today.

To rectify the situation God grafted in wild branches (servants and people from other nations born outside the US Covenant).  By grafting in the people or branches from non-covenant or foreign nations, God was able to save the trees at first and as they took their nourishment (i.e. abided in the terms and blessings of the covenant) the tree (nation) began to produce good or covenant fruit.  Time passed, and those wild branches also took strength (power) to themselves.  In other words those branches/servants/people began to disregard the covenant. They failed to uphold the terms of the covenant.  They became a law or covenant unto themselves and once again the top of the tree became too lofty and the tree became weighed down.

The Tree Is In Danger of Dying:

“But behold, the wild branches (non-covenant keeping servants) have grown and have overrun the roots (the Fathers and the covenant that proceeds forth from them) thereof; and because that the wild branches have overcome the roots thereof it hath brought forth much evil fruit (non-covenantal works); and because that it hath brought forth so much evil fruit thou behold that it begins to perish; and it will soon become ripened, that it may be cast into the fire, except we should do something for it to preserve it.” (Jacob 5:37 (insertions added))

In Hebraic thought that which is evil are those principles, policies, and actions which lead us away from fulfilling God’s commandments. Because the servants and people have legislated iniquity or lawlessness, the tree begins to perish.  When the tree becomes fully corrupted -branches, tree, and roots) the tree is become ripened with no possibility of salvaging the tree or kingdom.  At that point, the tree or nation is good for nothing but to be case into the fire. 

Preserving The Tree:

“And behold, there are all kinds of bad fruit; and it profiteth me nothing, notwithstanding all our labor; and now it grieveth me that I should lose this tree.” (Jacob 5:32)

God does not desire to lose his governing house/nation/ or Olive Tree.  His intent in establishing The Olive Tree is to produce good olives.  From Olives Israel of old produced the oil of anointing-the healing oil that was to heal and sustain not only his covenant people, but all the peoples of the world.  To save the tree he and his servants must take action.

“And the Lord of the vineyard said unto the servant: What shall we do unto the tree, that I may preserve again good fruit thereof unto mine own self?

And the servant said unto his master: Behold, because thou didst graft in the branches of the wild olive tree they have nourished the roots, that they are alive and they have not perished; wherefore thou beholdest that they are yet good.

And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant: The tree profiteth me nothing, and the roots thereof profit me nothing so long as it shall bring forth evil fruit. Nevertheless, I know that the roots are good, and for mine own purpose I have preserved them; and because of their much strength they have hitherto brought forth, from the wild branches, good fruit.” (Jacob 5:33-26)

When those wild branches or servants took upon themselves to sustain and uphold the terms of the covenant/constitution they were able to draw from the nourishment of the trunk and roots to bring forth the covenant fruit (all men created equal…life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness…One nations under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all, etc. etc and all the principles of justice and mercy we associate with our constitution/covenant/ and covenant land grant. When they took the strength (gevurah or power) to themselves they like the natural branches began to produce evil or non-covenant fruit.

To preserve the tree or nation, God must prune the tree.  He must pluck off the non-covenant keeping servants and people and replace them with natural or covenant keeping branches again. In the case of the United States, the natural branches are those servants and people who will sustain and uphold the terms of the covenant/constitution associated with this covenant land grant.  The wild branches are those who want to destroy the covenant/constitution and become a law unto themselves (the epitome of priest craft and king craft).

“For it grieveth me that I should lose the trees of my vineyard; wherefore ye shall clear away the bad according as the good shall grow, that the root and the top may be equal in strength, until the good shall overcome the bad, and the bad be hewn down and cast into the fire, that they cumber not the ground of my vineyard; and thus will I sweep away the bad out of my vineyard. And the branches of the natural tree will I graft in again into the natural tree; And the branches of the natural tree will I graft into the natural branches of the tree; and thus will I bring them together again, that they shall bring forth the natural fruit, and they shall be one. And the bad shall be cast away, yea, even out of all the land of my vineyard; for behold, only this once will I prune my vineyard.” (Jacob 5:66-69)

Pruning the tree involves plucking off the most bitter (non-covenantal) branches/servants/states/communities/individuals even as covenant keeping branches/servants/state/ communities/ individuals who connect in and uphold the terms of the covenant are nourished.  

The American Tree is overgrown with non-covenant keeping branches.  We are producing all manner of evil fruit .  The United States of America as we have known it is experiencing its’ death throes. Like all nations who have experienced The Day of the Lord (YHVH) the cycles of judgment are being poured out.  The purpose of these judgments is to cut off that which is most bitter so that the tree can have the chance to survive and thrive. The question remains-what will the tree look like once the top branches are leveled and the most bitter branches that weigh down the tree are pruned off.

Usually the top branches (ie. political leaders/governmental leaders/ top religious institutions/ and ruling families) get lopped off. The overgrowth is trimmed away and what we have is a much smaller but also much healthier tree in the long run.  By plucking off the branches whose fruit is most bitter he can then nourish those leaders and people who want to establish the covenant in their land to once again produce the fruits of Zion- even life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all who will keep covenant with God.