This page describes the purpose of this site, and includes sections on:
- This web site purpose
- Comment and question policy
- Converted blog material provenance, for things converted to this site
- Possible future contents
- A statement of my beliefs about religious matters, written in 2017 on my GooglePlus site in response to a comment from an antagonist.
Web Site Purpose
This site has been developed to:
- Share my ideas about the power of virtues with those interested
- Support my families study of what Covey has called the world’s “wisdom literature.” Our family’s specific tradition is as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and thus a great deal of the content focuses on the inherited wisdom within this community.
- That notwithstanding, I wish to “prove all things” and learn from other wisdom traditions and perspectives. Thus there is some content from other ways of thinking.
Because this site is meant to support my family, I intend for it to be a safe site. Questions are welcome, but they should be questions of real intent, which means one intends to take some action based upon the answer. As one person said in response to a popular late 1960’s slogan, “Question authority,” “If authority answered, would you listen?”
Thus comments from those outside my family are welcome, but schools are intended to be safe for the weakest member of the class. I want my grandchildren to be able read this site safely in the future. So please don’t be offended if your question or comment is not publicly posted.
Converted Blog Material Provenance
When started in November 2018, blog entries on this site have come from six major sources, discussed chronologically:
- The Virtue Wheel: Although the early desire to study virtues began perhaps in high school or in college, it started more fully in 1998 when I began writing letters to individuals about special skills or abilities I had noted within them. It accelerated in late 2010 when I conceived of a way of expressing the interdependencies of various virtues in a form like a color wheel, titled the virtue wheel. This work inspires the name of this site, Kip on Character. These materials can be located here. Letters about individual virtues are categorized as Virtue Letters.
- Topical Guide Compendium: On August 18, 2002, I created a document called my Topical Guide Compendium, taking the name from the Topical Guide index to the scriptures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in which I have written insights on religious and moral topics. Some material copied into this document predates the document itself, including a study of Isaiah in 1990. You can read more about this document here. These entries are categorized as Topical Guide Compendium entries, here.
- Harmony of the Gospels: On February 17, 2003 I started a companion document much like the Topical Guide Compendium dedicated to studying the Gospels specifically. A short description of this document is included here. These entries are categorized as Harmony of the Gospels, here.
- Articles of Faith Study: As described in my Topical Guide Compendium, I began a study of the Pearl of Great Price and the Articles of Faith. I later decided that instead of writing so many words, to instead attempt to condense all the relevant materials into single image slides, one for each Article and one introduction. You can see them here. I produced the first one in February 2012, another in March, and a third in March 2016. These entries are categorized as both Articles of Faith, and Pearl of Great Price.
- Kari’s Ding Bat’s Blog: From September 2008 to February 2013, Kari kept a periodic blog. One purpose was to allow family members to know what was happening with us while they were far away, including our first child going to college. I love the content; it shows a busy but very effective mother in the midst of all her activities blessing her family and community. I have converted them as this site is intended primarily for my family. You can find these entries under the Ding Bats Category, here.
- Kip’s Google Plus Posts: Six months after Kari’s last blog post in 2013, I responded to encouragement to be more visible in posting positive messages on the Internet, and improving search results by linking to others, by using a GooglePlus account. Although not systematic, I posted public thoughts frequently through 2014, and less frequently until April 2018 (using Facebook for other quotes more frequently). GooglePlus was never completely successful, and will soon be demised. I have therefore converted those posts to this site as well. You can find them under the GooglePlus Category here.
Anticipated Future Contents
History is the best predictor of the future. Based upon the above, I suspect my site might contains the following kinds of contents and emphases in the future.
- Journaling and Personal Revelation: I keep an extensive journal; thinking through writing has helped me develop analytical and creative skills throughout my life. I suspect there will be continued insights about the value of these efforts.
- Character Traits and the Virtue Wheel: I suspect I will continue to build content and new insights in this space.
- Joseph Smith’s Mission: I have a deep conviction of the sacred nature of Joseph Smith’s work during his life. I expect there will be more content on this topic.
- Wisdom Literature: I have undertaken significant studies of each of the books considered scripture by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I expect to continue these on this blog. They include:
- Book of Mormon’s revelation of Jesus Christ: I believe no one can fully understand the mission and importance of Jesus Christ without understand the greatest revelation of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon.
- Harmony of the Gospels for the New Testament: To understand the Savior’s life I have undertaken a detailed study of the Harmony of the Gospels, specifically with the objective to improve the version published within the church’s edition of the Bible.
- Isaiah Study for the Old Testament: My major work in the Old Testament will likely be my study of the words of Isaiah.
- Article of Faith and the Pearl of Great Price: I would like to produce additional slides about these declarations and book. I believe the structure and contents of this book are under-appreciated by members of the church.
- Zion and Work for the Doctrine and Covenants: I have attempted to find meaning in my work beyond simply providing my daily bread. This has lead to considering what the Doctrine and Covenants has to say about work, and building up Zion.
- Time: I have developed some perhaps peculiar views of our experiences of time, and the implications for life after death. These are likely found within the contents of this blog.
- My Family History: I expect to develop a deeper understanding of my family history, particularly my direct ancestors. Although not a particular strength to date in my life, I expect to develop this contents in years to come.
[The full exchange can be found on this blog entry; this statement is a good description of my fundamental religious convictions–a testimony of the fact that I am certain to the point of knowledge are true.]
All materials copyrighted, Kip M. Twitchell 2005. All rights reserved.
I’m not going to change your opinion of the Book of Mormon, and you’re not going to change mine. My question started from a basis of faith in the book, your answer from the opposite. It seems you have a deep belief in God, as do I. Given the title you’ve chosen [Jesus Defender], it seems we also have a deep belief in Jesus Christ. Of course our definition of both of those “people” if you will is likely very different; one evidence of that is my belief in the Book of Mormon, recently subtitled “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” And so I suspect you, clearly having researched many things about the book, can point out all of those differences as well.
But you’re not going to convince me that the Savior described by the New Testament is very different than the one described by the Book of Mormon, and I’m not going to convince you they are the same.
I could engage you in long winded arguments, perhaps simply to waste your time so you can’t attempt to destroy the faith of others who believe now, perhaps less surely, as I do. But then you would also be wasting my time as well. As I noted in my first Google+ entry: ” I am interested in what others really think, but at times may not be interested in debating it. I only have so much time for my study, and as the farmer responded as he held up a pig to eat apples off a tree and was asked if that doesn’t take a lot of time, ‘What’s time to a pig?””
But others may see our exchange here, and be interested in my position, even if you aren’t really. And in matters of faith, which cannot be proven (proof follows faith, just as evidence gathering follows a hypothesis in science), it helps to start conversations from a shared belief, which for us is in Jesus Christ. Let me start there.
I believe Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten son of God, the Eternal Father, a God come among us, Emmanuel, to provide us a way to return to God. He first provided a perfect, sinless life as an example of how we should live in every aspect of our lives, family life, worship, service, employment, public and political life; He followed the perfect plan of His Father and His example to us is perfect.
More than that, he provided a free gift to every living soul; that of the universal resurrection, wherein all will at a future day stand in their body once again after death, and have the universally sought for gift of immortality.
But immortality is not the same as Eternal Life, a life with God [, a life like God]. Jesus Christ also made this possible. Those who confess His name, which if done with sincerity of heart and real intent, will cause them to also attempt to do the same kinds of works He has done, to confess their weaknesses and short-comings and consistently repent and strive to do better; to serve God through service to His children; those who covenant to do this by taking His name upon them and do this throughout their lives; who are sanctified by the Holy Spirit and endure to the end of their lives, will have the chance to stand before Him, and have a hope that through His infinite grace and mercy, He will wash them clean and allow them to humbly stand on His right hand.
These very high standards will challenge every human to their utmost. Because God loves us so deeply, he has provided more help. Before Christ he provided prophets that pointed the way to His life. In our day He has restored knowledge lost about Jesus Christ. One way He has done this is through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I recognize I am now departing, surely, from any shared belief, but this point is important to explain why I believe in the Book of Mormon.
God loves us, in this day, near the “end” of this world’s temporal existence, as deeply as He loved Adam and Eve at its beginning. And so He condescended with his Son Jesus Christ in the Spring of 1820 to visit an obscure boy, Joseph Smith, in upstate New York, and begin the process of revealing lost truths about Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith’s primary mission in the world is a revelator of Jesus Christ. It is primarily through his teachings and works that I have come to understand what I have written about Jesus Christ above. But Joseph Smith’s teaching of Jesus Christ go well beyond that contained in the New Testament.
Surely his [Joseph Smith’s] work expands Jesus’s role backwards from his miraculous birth to deeply connect it with the Old Testament in a way completely lost in the world; the Book of Mormon is the primary means of doing this, showing that people 600 years before Christ’s birth had a much deeper belief in and knowledge of him than anything shown in the Old Testament.
It does not stop there: Joseph Smith revealed that the early prophets, including Moses, Abraham, Enoch and even Adam understood that Jesus Christ’s role predated the creation of the world. [It also makes clear that Jesus is the creator of this world, and was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world by establishing in council with His Father the Plan of Salvation before the world was even formed.] Joseph restored the words spoken and written by those prophets in the Pearl of Great Price.
And Joseph Smith expanded our understand of Christ forward from what is recorded in the New Testament, starting again with the Book of Mormon showing an engaged Savior for hundreds of years after his crucifixion. Through the restoration of his Church and the revelations recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, Joseph Smith revealed Christ’s continuing influence today in authoritative ways through His restored church for the salvation of man today, and through sacred ordinances he expanded Christ’s ability to provide salvation to every living soul who has ever lived, whether or not they ever heard his name in their time upon the earth.
Joseph Smith the prophet also restored truths about Christ’s role in the future, that He will come again upon the earth, and reign personally; the He will judge every mortal who has ever lived. And He will do so as the loving, caring, all wise, all knowing Son of Most High that He is.
This response is getting too long; in conclusion let me say I love Pascal’s Wager. It will not prove anything to anyone, but Christ’s gift of the universal resurrection means that you and I are eternal beings; we will live forever. The answer to the question if there is life after death will ultimately be known by everyone, a few moments after death. And you and I will, I suspect, come to a deeper knowledge of the issues we have discussed here. As eternal beings, I believe we will have the chance to ask Joseph Smith about some questions we may have; and Abraham as well. I believe we will be able to do so with Nephi and Mormon as well. You obviously do not believe we will. But surely we will both know, at some point, which of us is right and which of us is mistaken.
It seems to me you spend a great deal of time working to convince people to believe in Christ. That is a great work. I do as well. We are brothers in that respect, and I suspect Christ is pleased with our efforts to do so.
May you be successful in doing that Good work. And wouldn’t it be strange if He called us up together before Him to jointly explain to Him the good work we have done in that way, in brotherhood. “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:13)