Category Archives: Podcast

Fair Issues 101: Types of evidence and the Book of Mormon

Posted on by

Ash (newer) PictureIn this installment brother Ash discusses the basic techniques used to establish different types of evidence and the Book of Mormon.

The full text of this article can be found at Deseret News online.

Brother Ash is author of the book Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt, as well as the book, of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith. Both books are available for purchase online through the FairMormon Bookstore. Tell your friends about the Mormon Fair-Cast. Share a link on your Facebook page and help increase the popularity of the Mormon Fair-Cast by subscribing to this podcast in iTunes, and by rating it and writing a review.

The views and opinions expressed in the podcast may not reflect those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or that of FairMormon

Faith and Reason 70: The Restoration

Posted on by

temple-square-joseph-smith-768187-gallery

From the book: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith

by: Michael R. Ash

During the Great Apostasy, the Lord withdrew His divine priesthood authority from the earth. Existing churches did not have the power to lead people to the true knowledge of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Parts of the scriptures went missing or were corrupted, and no one had the authority to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost or perform necessary priesthood ordinances.

The gospel of Jesus Christ was restored by administering angels in 1820 through Joseph Smith. However unlike the Church in times past, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will not be overcome by general apostasy. The scriptures teach that the Church will never again be destroyed (D&C 138:44; Daniel 2:44).

Michael R. Ash is the author of: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting The Prophet Joseph Smith. He is the owner and operator of MormonFortress.com and is on the management team for FairMormon. He has been published in Sunstone, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, the Maxwell Institute’s FARMS Review, and is the author of Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt. He and his wife live in Ogden, Utah, and have three daughters.

Julianne Dehlin Hatton has worked as a News Director at an NPR affiliate, Television Host, News Anchor, and Airborne Traffic Reporter. She graduated with an MSSc from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 2008. Julianne and her husband Thomas are the parents of four children.

Music for Faith and Reason is provided by Arthur Hatton.

Fair Issues 100: Evidence versus proof

Posted on by

Ash (newer) PictureIn this installment brother Ash explains the differences between what we consider as evidence versus proof in religious matters.

The full text of this article can be found at Deseret News online.

Brother Ash is author of the book Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt, as well as the book, of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith. Both books are available for purchase online through the FairMormon Bookstore. Tell your friends about the Mormon Fair-Cast. Share a link on your Facebook page and help increase the popularity of the Mormon Fair-Cast by subscribing to this podcast in iTunes, and by rating it and writing a review.

The views and opinions expressed in the podcast may not reflect those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or that of FairMormon

 

Fair Issues 99: Emotion is part of testimony and decision making

Posted on by

Ash (newer) PictureIn this article brother Ash discusses how emotions play an integral part in our decision making process.

The full text of this article can be found at Deseret News online.

Brother Ash is author of the book Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt, as well as the book, of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith. Both books are available for purchase online through the FairMormon Bookstore. Tell your friends about the Mormon Fair-Cast. Share a link on your Facebook page and help increase the popularity of the Mormon Fair-Cast by subscribing to this podcast in iTunes, and by rating it and writing a review.

The views and opinions expressed in the podcast may not reflect those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or that of FairMormon

Faith and Reason 69: Plain and Precious Parts

Posted on by

bib

From the book: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith

by: Michael R. Ash

Most Christians today and in Joseph Smith’s day believe that the Bible is complete –that it contains everything that God intended, and that no new scriptures should be added. From Joseph’s translation of the Book of Mormon, however, we learn that the Bible is not complete and that many important parts are missing. Today’s scholarship sides with Joseph Smith. The scriptures we have today are the result of actions taken in the second century AD by those who had a different Bible than those at the end of that same century.

Michael R. Ash is the author of: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting The Prophet Joseph Smith. He is the owner and operator of MormonFortress.com and is on the management team for FairMormon. He has been published in Sunstone, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, the Maxwell Institute’s FARMS Review, and is the author of Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt. He and his wife live in Ogden, Utah, and have three daughters.

Julianne Dehlin Hatton has worked as a News Director at an NPR affiliate, Television Host, News Anchor, and Airborne Traffic Reporter. She graduated with an MSSc from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 2008. Julianne and her husband Thomas are the parents of four children.

Music for Faith and Reason is provided by Arthur Hatton.

Fair Issues 98: What critics don’t understand about testimony

Posted on by

Ash (newer) PictureIn this weeks issue brother Ash talks about how testimonies are balanced with reason and spiritual confirmation.

The full text of this article can be found at Deseret News online.

Brother Ash is author of the book Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt, as well as the book, of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith. Both books are available for purchase online through the FairMormon Bookstore. Tell your friends about the Mormon Fair-Cast. Share a link on your Facebook page and help increase the popularity of the Mormon Fair-Cast by subscribing to this podcast in iTunes, and by rating it and writing a review.

The views and opinions expressed in the podcast may not reflect those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or that of FairMormon

4th Watch 23: The challenge of discipleship

Posted on by

4thWatch SmallBack in the day, late 60’s and the early 70’s just across the border in Rosarito Beach, Baja California the big “X” XERB was one of the flamethrower am radio stations of its day. The big “X” was the brainchild of Robert Weston Smith.  Bob Smith?  So who is Bob Smith?  If you don’t recognize the name you just might remember the voice.

It’s the “Wolfman.”  He was one of the most successful disk jockeys of his day.  You might remember him in the movie “American Graffiti” done by George Lucas in 1973.  The Wolfman made a considerable amount of money on the big “X” and most of it came from the late night programs that came to be known as the prayer shawl preachers or PSP’s as I call them.

At one point Wolfman Jack was said to be making over $50,000.00 a month from the revenue generated by these programs.  A considerable amount of cash back then which did NOT go unnoticed by the Mexican authorities. Kind of like when Han Solo said to Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars movie, “ancient weapons and hokey religions are no match for a good blaster at your side kid.” The blaster of the PSP’s made the bucks.  I’m not sure how the radio station changed hands but the Wolfman got pushed out and things changed.

Running at 250,000 watts XERB could be heard from border to border.  American stations could only broadcast at 50,000 watts of power due to FCC regulations so the big “X” was quite an adventure for am radio.

If we go back further in time the most powerful commercial radio station in the ever in the USA was WLW in the (700KHz AM) in Cincinnati Ohio, which during certain times in the 1930’s broadcast 500,000 watts of radiated power.  At night, it covered half the globe.  Neighbors within the vicinity of the transmitter heard the audio in their pots, pans and mattresses, literally.  I’m providing a link in the show notes for those who may be interested in the history of WLW.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/wlw

Today we have the new and improved border blasters and you’re listening to one of them now.  The internet podcast.  Just about anyone with a computer and microphone can produce and air podcasts.  For that matter you can effectively have your own TV station.  It’s called YouTube.  All without the need for mass quantities of money.

Bob Dylan sang the lyrics of our day thinking he was just talking about the days in which he lived.  That was in 1964.  Over fifty years ago. Truly the times are a changing and I would suspect that in another fifty years our todays might seem as foolish to those who look upon us from their enlightened era with mild if not outright amusement.

Some things don’t change and for good reason.  Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is one of those things that doesn’t change.  The way we show our discipleship does and should change to adapt to the environment and culture in which we live.  What may be welcomed in Mormon Central aka Salt Lake City Utah may not be well received in another part of the world but our intent should always be the same. To represent our Lord and Savior and his loving and kindness by using our hands as His hands and the tone of our voice as He would talk to those in need of His care.

In October of 2006 brother James A. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offered this view of discipleship.

Our responsibility is clear for those who have received the testimony of Jesus Christ.  To become His disciples.

In doing so I try hard not to denigrate another’s testimony or their faith tradition.  In the opening of this podcast I referred to the “prayer shawl preachers” in a manner that some may see or in this case hear as unacceptable . Truth is often in the ear of the beholder because our intent is interpreted by the distance from our heads to our hearts and that takes time.  Oh, I know what you think I meant but I’m not sure what you heard is what was in my heart. Yes yes, I know. Ain’t it the truth?  Does this happen to you?  Happens to me.

When such events take place I try really hard to apologize and not defend what I said or did.  It is not about being right but building a bridge of understanding.  Brother Ned, you need to build a bridge to get over yourself!  Sorry if my style offends you.  I meant no disrespect.  I’m sorry.  Well, you’re still a jerk!  I sorry you feel that way.  It’s just my amateur attempt at humor.  Amateur?  You got that right! Now Brother Ned,…

So you got a spiritual wound did you?  Here, let me have a look under that bandaged dressing. Oh, you’ll be fine just take some Life-N-All and call me in the morning.  By the way, Life-N-All is available online at Brother Ned’s Discount Warehouse of Worship right here in Boise Idaho, say hallelujah! Life-N-All is the only supplement that contains the three essential elements to get you up to speed and keep your there.  Vitamins R, P and M.

What’s next?

Do what you can do not what someone else can do.  They may need just what you have.  Your hands may what they see and feel.  It may be your voice that offers what they need to hear.  Perhaps your smile is the one they can understand better than anyone else’s.  Make sense?

I would like to offer two extreme views of how we can experience the gospel as a disciple of Jesus.  The first one I call the “Mormon-Gnostics” or as   Cassandra Hedelius would say Mormon Gnosticism.   She gave a presentation at the August 7, 2015 annual conference of the FairMormon group about this subject which you can read with the link I’m providing in the show notes…

http://www.fairmormon.org/perspectives/fair-conferences/2015-fairmormon-conference/a-house-of-order-a-house-of-god

They go too far.  There is little if any need of a Church structure.  The only relationship that counts is the one with the Lord.

Going to the other extreme are those whom I call the Corporate Mormons.  They have turned the gospel into a company.  By what they say and do they wind up worshipping the structure instead of He who created them.  They go too far.  If you find yourself going too far in one of these directions start asking yourself questions.  Both directions can lead to dangerous forms of discipleship.

In a Zoom conversation with Scott Gordon a few of us on the FairMormon volunteer blog list had a conversation about the direction our podcasts and written blog articles should be going.  A decision was made to focus our efforts toward your standard and average member who sit in the pews week after week.  So my podcasts are designed to fit that mold.  Mold?  Did I say mold?  Who’s mold?  Standard and average?  So the enlightened or the ultra-ignorant need not read or listen? Ultra-ignorant their talking about you Brother Ned. I’m going to take care of this right now.  Where’s the forget me stick? An effective piece of equipment to be sure.  You decide what’s best for you.  In my view there are no “molds” we are relegated to fit into.  Make up your own mind and choose for yourself.  You are a child of the ever living God. Don’t let me or anyone else tell you what or who you are.

Continuing on…

It is rather easy to see those who are becoming more Gnostic in their form of worship.  They start distancing themselves for Church activity because “they” have received the true light of the gospel.  It might be more difficult for those who are going toward the corporate world view to see that they are becoming administrators of the bureaucracy instead of a minister of the gospel.  Numbers, percentages and ratios may have value for a general overview of how a Ward or congregation is moving but if that becomes our defining attention perhaps our discipleship is moving in the wrong direction.

Next segmento…

You may have seen the movie Mars Attacks or not.  It was done is 1996 and is probably the best spoof of the fifty’s and sixty’s science fiction “B” movies ever made.  If you done seen it you know what I mean if you haven’t you might want to give it try. Extra campy and lots of great performances by well-known actors.

Peirce Brosnan who was great in the 007 movies plays a scientist in this flick who portrays great wisdom and superior knowledge to whom all most bow with awe and reverence.

In one part of the movie some engineer type comes up with a translation device of the Martian language.  All the Martians say in the movie is, ak, ak ak, ak, so we never know what they are really saying until we can hear the translation.  In the clip I’m going to let you hear tell me if it makes sense to you.

Peirce Brosnan is sitting at a table with a pipe in his hand and looking upward as if he has just heard some great new cosmic wisdom.  Also in the room is an Army general.  Both hear the same thing and the general has a different reaction to the translation than that of the great super genius professor.  Being as I’m your basic simple person and not a super genius my reaction to the translation is pretty close to the generals response.

If you are part of a group, congregation, study club or other religious / spiritual path and what you are hearing doesn’t line up with the “four points on the eternal line of wisdom” you might want consider moving away from such an affiliation.

Some of the Mormon-Gnostics may fall into this classification.  For dark is the suede that mows like a harvest is just a bunch of baloney sauce.  Don’t go in that direction.

Next…

The four points of truth? This is part of the brother Ned value system and not to be considered official doctrine but probably should be.  First point.  Our heads.  Second point.  Our hearts.  Third point. Our gut.  Point number four.  The Holy Scriptures.

You ever get that “gut” feeling you know something is just wrong or right?  What does our out gut have to do with feelings?  The Savior told us that His bowels were full of compassion.

Mosiah 15:9, “Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and satisfied the demands of justice.”

What does mercy have to do with our bowels?  A figurative representation I would think even though back in the day they thought feelings generated in our bowels.  The Savior knew better of course but He was relating in terms they could understand without going into the science of how feelings are created.  Ever heard the saying, “go with your gut?” So, if you’re gut, heart and head line up with God’s revealed word I would say your discipleship is moving in the right direction.

Last segment…

In listening to all these colorful illustrations you may recall something the Lord has pressed upon your “four lines of truth.”   You may remember something you did or said back in your day.  Could have been in ’69 or ’89 or even in ’09 that you considered the best days of your life. A mission perhaps?  You just laid in down and forgot to pick it up again. So, how about we pick it back up and keep moving forward in our discipleship to the glory of Him who is our Lord and Savior.

President Faust offers us a good guideline…

How about if we go about doing good?  We may not need the loud voice that the border blasters used but then again we may need it to get someone’s attencion then the quit voice of love could move in to replace the giant noise of the world’s value system.

In closing what I’m about to offer as a question that just might be the most important part of this podcast.

If you’re listening say Amen…

What if the disappearance of a sense of responsibility is the most far-reaching consequence of submission to authority?

As always the views expressed in this podcast are those of the presenter and may not represent, reflect or even remotely resemble those of anyone who is lives in the real world about anything at any time but they should and are soon be canonized by the Church.  Or not… J

 

 

 

 

Fair Issues 97: Proof is in the eye of the Beholder

Posted on by

Ash (newer) PictureIn this instalment brother Ash sets for forth evidences, proofs and faith concerning the Book of Mormon archaeology.

The full text of this article can be found at Deseret News online.

Brother Ash is author of the book Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt, as well as the book, of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith. Both books are available for purchase online through the FairMormon Bookstore. Tell your friends about the Mormon Fair-Cast. Share a link on your Facebook page and help increase the popularity of the Mormon Fair-Cast by subscribing to this podcast in iTunes, and by rating it and writing a review.

The views and opinions expressed in the podcast may not reflect those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or that of FairMormon

 

Faith and Reason 68: The Apostasy

Posted on by

burn

From the book: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith

by Michael R. Ash

The apostasy was already under way while some of the apostles still lived and they warned that worse times would come after they were gone. As long as they were around, they could correct erroneous doctrines and confound false teachers, but they knew and prophesied of times to come when the church would go astray. Through the prophet Joseph Smith, our Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ restored the fulness of the gospel. The true Church of Jesus Christ is on the earth again today. Because of the Restoration, the teachings and ordinances necessary for salvation are available to all people.

Michael R. Ash is the author of: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting The Prophet Joseph Smith. He is the owner and operator of MormonFortress.com and is on the management team for FairMormon. He has been published in Sunstone, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, the Maxwell Institute’s FARMS Review, and is the author of Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt. He and his wife live in Ogden, Utah, and have three daughters.

Julianne Dehlin Hatton has worked as a News Director at an NPR affiliate, Television Host, News Anchor, and Airborne Traffic Reporter. She graduated with an MSSc from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 2008. Julianne and her husband Thomas are the parents of four children.

Music for Faith and Reason is provided by Arthur Hatton.

4th Watch 22: The High Cost of Resentment

Posted on by

4thWatch Small

4th Watch 22: The High Cost of Resentment

This podcast is a follow up to my previous one on the “false dichotomy of Truth.”  If you haven’t listened to it I suggest you do so because this will make more sense if you do.

Real truth or false truth…false truth?  How can a truth be false?  Well, that’s why you need to listen to my previous podcast.  It explains how “truth” can be manipulated to put forth an agenda that can distort and even completely misrepresent the original intent or understanding of just about anything.  Think, Dihydrogen Monoxide!

As always in my podcasts I tend to add many colorful alliterations that do not appear in the text of this blog.  Therefore one’s listening experience may differ from just reading the printed words.  J

What does this have to do with resentment?  Good question.  Resentments can arise from what we perceive to be the truth but then learn that we were deceived, cheated or betrayed in trusting whatever it is at the time. Now, when it comes to religion trust is paramount.  We’re talking about God here and not some misleading advertising for a new and improved product.

I saw a gas station sign that listed three types of gas.  Regular, Plus and “V” Power.  Plus?  What’s plus.  This is gasoline.  What are you going to put in it?  Dynamite?  V Power?  What the heck is V Power?  Is it better than H Power?  What about X Power?

Worse than gas grades that are less than clear I witnessed a car that had a really strange placard on its side that said “Blue Drive.”  Blue Drive?  What the [email protected] is Blue Drive?  Is it better than Red Drive or Green Drive?  Wouldn’t White Drive be more clean and wholesome? What’s worse is what kind of gas do you put in a Blue Drive car? Plus or “V” Power?  The cloud of nebulous advertisements boggle the mind.

There are things in life more important than what kind of car you drive and what type of gas you fuel it with.  Resentments over such trivial illustrations are useless.  Someone’s always going to have the next deluxe XB-134 super thing.  So, let’s move on to something more important in life like religion and God.

Like I said before, trust is paramount and when we feel that trust has been violated, resentment can set in.  Bishop so and so did this or that.  Stake president “X” who my brother works for was caught doing…fill in the blank…I heard that Joseph Smith had lots of wives and some as young as fourteen.  Brigham Young said that…another fill in the blank from one of his un-prophet like utterances…the list is extensive for what we thought we knew but latter learn was not the “whole” truth.

At this point I would like to illustrate this concept with a personal experience.  A long time ago, in a Mormon colony far, far away I learned that Joseph Smith had in his possession several what we call today “Seer Stones.”  They were used by the prophet on various occasions to translate the word of God that would become the cannon of the Church or as we would say today.  The “Holy Scriptures.”  I saw these devices as some kind of mystical connection with God that allowed the one who was authorized to use the stones to come somehow into Gods presence and commune with the divine.  Some super engineered and crafted substance beyond our earthly experience and understood only by God himself.   Anybody else held this view of the “seer Stones?” Well, just recently the Church published an article in the Ensign magazine about the seer stone.  I’m providing this link if you would like to read it.  Yeah, so what?  Well, when I first looked at the picture I viewed it through the lens of my God created “super” stone.  As I continued looking at it I realized that it was just a rock.  It only took about fifteen to twenty seconds for my mind to adjust.  It took much longer for my heart and soul to adjust.  It’s a rock!

Sometimes our perceptions create our reality and my reality had to change when faced with this new information.   It can be painful.  Much like the stages of grief.  First is denial and were not talking about the river in Egypt.  Second, anger and this is where a lot of people stay when it comes to having their existing world view injured.  Next, bargaining.  Let’s make a deal here! Then depression.  How can I go on knowing that my previous view of “whatever” was a lie?  Lastly, acceptance.  Many people never get to acceptance because the past can’t be wrong.  It was cast in stone.  If it was cast in sand then how can we trust anything?  Ahhhhh…It’s this the all or nothing, black and white world view that can destroy you.

Let’ get back to the rock seer stone.  I still don’t like the fact that the seer stone is just a rock.  I want it to be something like the stone mentioned in the Book of Revelation 2:17

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

A heavenly secret stone?  Cool…but what if this is just a representation of a principle and not a “real” stone?  Not so cool.  My perception of heavenly things might need an adjustment in this case.  The little kid inside of me wants the super power stone to be real but the adult inside says, “It’s time to grow up and move beyond magic rocks.”

It’s been the worst day sense yesterday.  Doesn’t have to be though.  We can choose to let go of our past pre-conceived notions of how the world works and move forward.  Now, how do we do that?

Let’s look at an example from the scriptures.  Jacob in the Old Testament had twelve sons and his favorite was Joseph.  See Genesis chapter 37 for all the details.  In this account we learn that family issues can lead to serious resentment.  Joseph’s brothers conspired to kill him. Sounds like serious resentment to me.  What caused it?  Could be that they knew that their father favored Joseph over them.  Perhaps Joseph had an attitude about that and kept throwing it in their faces on a regular basis.  Well, it got to the point of “we need to kill him” for whatever reason.  They couldn’t go through with so they sold him into slavery and smeared blood all over this “special coat of many colors” and told their father that some beast/s had killed him and I presume carried off his body so there were no remains to morn and bury.

Time passed.  Joseph was sold in Egypt and put into the house of Potiphar who was said to the captain of the palace guard.  If you’re going to be a slave this might have not been a bad job.  He could have been sold to some garment maker who treated him, well…like a slave.

He did so well in Potiphar’s house that he put Joseph in charge of everything except of course Potiphar’s wife.  She had other ideas though.  She wanted him but he was not going to indulge her.  Guess what the consequences were for sleeping with the master’s wife?  DEATH!   Just like most things for a slave who did not behave properly.

When Joseph refused her things got ugly.  Remember the phrase? Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.  That was Potiphar’s wife.  She accused Joseph of trying to force himself on her.  Potiphar knew better.  He wasn’t a stupid man.  You think this was the first time something like this happened?  I don’t think so.  He also knew the character of Joseph.  You think he would jeopardize his standing by doing something so foolish?  I don’t think so.  So, Brother Ned what makes you say this?  There is nothing in the text about this.  Your right but he was sent to jail instead of being executed which means to me that Potiphar knew the real story.  I also think he had a conversation with the head jailer about what kind of man Joseph was and to treat him accordingly.

Did they have different levels of jail back in the day? I would think so because Joseph was sent to the incarceration facility where the kings prisoners like the cupbearer and the baker were residing at the time.  The cupbearer and the baker had dreams they couldn’t understand.  Joseph inquired of the Lord and received interpretations for both of them.    The butler or cupbearer got his job back.  The baker?  Didn’t work out so well for him.  Standard penalty.  Death.

Joseph ask the cupbearer to remember him when he got his job back but he forgot Joseph.  Day after day.  Month after month.  No word from the palace.  At this point in Joseph’s life I wonder what his resentment level was.  His brothers tried to kill him but sold him into slavery instead.  Sent to jail for unjust reasons.  Another day.  Another month.  Another “year.”

Bricks of bitterness could have been built into walls of resentment so thick that nothing could break them down.  Didn’t happen that way though.  The Lord was with him.  Day after day. Month after month.  Year after year.  Then one day Pharaoh had a dream that no one could interpret.  The cupbearer then remembered Joseph and his ability to interpret dreams and mentioned it to his master.  Pharaoh had him cleaned up and brought before the court of Pharaoh’s judgment.  Pharaoh explained his dream and ask for the interpretation thereof.  Penalty for wrong interpretation?  Death.  No stress here.  What if he had allowed his resentment to cloud or interfere with his relationship with the Lord?  Didn’t happen though.

Interpretation of said dream? Seven years of plenty for Egypt and then seven years of drought / famine.  Save during the good years for the bad years to come.  Pharaoh was so impressed with this interpretation that he made Joseph second in command in all of Egypt.  Second only to Pharaoh himself.  Gave him the big house and a wife.  Things were looking up for this former slave.

During the good years under Joseph’s command stockpiles are created and then the famines hit.  The whole region is effected including Jacob’s family.  Jacob sends out some of his sons to go and buy some gain in Egypt.  What do you think Joseph’s first thoughts were when he saw his brothers?  I know what my first thoughts would have been.  Well, well, well, look who’s here.  If it isn’t my traitorous brothers groveling for food.  It’s payback time!  This could have been his first thoughts but if they were they didn’t last that long.  Long story short.  The whole family was brought to Egypt and they lived happily ever after.  Maybe.  The part I would like to focus on is not told in the scriptures.  Are you listening?  Say Amen…what was Jacob’s reaction when he learned the truth of how Joseph wound up in Egypt?  We don’t know that story.  How would you react?  I don’t think it’s possible to heal that level of pain without the Lord.  I would venture to say that the healing process did not happen overnight.  Like most things in life serious injuries to both body and spirit takes time to heal.

Some time ago I worked at a Christian radio station and was “forced” to listen to the programing.  Day after day.  Week after week and month after month.  It was a great hobby job were I learned much about the differences in protestant theological teachings.  I also had Christian music implanted into my system as part of this broadcasting experience.  Yeah, so what?  We’re not interested in Brother Ned’s history with apostate associates. Well, you just might be after listening to this song.  It was done in 1984 by a group known as “White Heart.”  The title of the song is seventy times seven.  Its message has never gone away.  It has lasted for over two thousand years.  Tell me if its fits.

What about today and our injuries? Proverbs 18:19, A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.  It is easy to become offended.  Personal experience.  Been there.  Done that.  Got lots of T-shirts to prove it.  In some circumstances frustration, anger and throwing a fit are standard and average responses but we don’t have to hold on to them.  Over time we can let go.  Do you really want to carry around bricks of bitterness?  Rhetorical question of course but how many bricks do you have in your backpack right now?  What would happen if you made the choice to lay them down? A lighter load in life perhaps.  Better health?

Forgiveness is the key.  We can choose to let go.  The more you practice it the easier it becomes just like most things in life.  When you first start to let go you will be surprised how fast those bricks jumps right back into your bag.  Just lay it down again and walk away.  This time it will run after you and start complaining because of abandonment.  Again, you have the right to choose what you will hold onto in life.  The more you let it go the longer it takes to wind its way back until it no longer catches up with you.

Now, most things in life are NOT deliberate attempts to get you like the story of Joseph in Egypt.  His brothers were out to get him and they almost succeeded. It appears that they repented of the evil they had done and Joseph forgave them.  Probably didn’t happen as an event but took place over time.  We can do the same “if” we want to.  This is something you really have to want to do because Satan wants you to hold on to every brick of resentment you can carry.   Put those bricks back!  They deserve your bitterness…whoever they or it is at the time.  How much do you want to suffer and for how long?  Less suffering and shorter time is good for me.  How about you?

In the Church this brick holding resentment can become real painful.  Again, personal experience.  I was deceived!  I was…fill in the blank.  I don’t doubt the experience or your pain.  What I want to do is help you let go of the pain.  This may even require the help of professional counselors but let me be extremely clear here.  It can be done, over time.

I keep going back to the story of how much time it took for Jacob to get over his resentment concerning his own sons.  What if his sons had not repented?  Oh, that would been a bad day or a lifetime for Jacob.  Still the choice would have still been there for him.  Hold on to the resentment or let it go.  I would think that if they had not repented his resentment would have turned into sadness and that sadness would have given rise to the possibility of his son’s future repentance.  That would have given him hope.  Isn’t that what we want?  Hope for the future.

The day will come when all things will be made right.  That day is not here yet but we are on the way to it “if” we choose.   Romans 8:28, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.  So what is His purpose?  The gospel message is clear on this one.  To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.  Moses 1:39.  But how does resentment fit into this purpose?  It is our choice.  The moral choice to forgive.  I think sometimes what we want in life is mercy for ourselves and justice for just about everyone else.  That sound about right? But I just can’t let go! (forget me stick clip).  Perhaps you could use the “forget me stick” to break up the bricks of bitterness that build the walls of resentment. You could turn you back on them.  Walk away.  Whatever imagery works best for you. This moral choice to give up our resentment can and will free us from continued suffering in this life and the life to come.  Hold on to it and it will follow us into the next life where the suffering will continue until we choose to give it up and receive God’s grace.

I would like to close with the words of brother Dieter F. Uchtdorf.  Second counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Each of us is under a divinely spoken obligation to reach out with pardon and mercy and to forgive one another. There is a great need for this Christ like attribute in our families, in our marriages, in our wards and stakes, in our communities, and in our nations.  We will receive the joy of forgiveness in our own lives when we are willing to extend that joy freely to others. Lip service is not enough. We need to purge our hearts and minds of feelings and thoughts of bitterness and let the light and the love of Christ enter in. As a result, the Spirit of the Lord will fill our souls with the joy accompanying divine peace of conscience.”  ― Dieter F. Uchtdorf

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are the sole responsibility of the speaker and may not represent those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or that of FairMormon.