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He Hears Them

Last Sunday was Easter, the most significant Holy Day of the year, as far as I am concerned. Because Easter has always been front and center for me, I have not paid much attention to the 40 days leading up to it. That all changed this year with my participation in an amazing, awe-inspiring event called 40 Days For Life. For those who don’t know, 40 Days For Life is a 40-day campaign that aims to end abortion through prayer, fasting, and peaceful hourly vigils held in front of abortion clinics locally and across the world.

Why 40 Days?

Noah was transformed by 40 days of rain.

Moses was transformed by 40 days on Mount Sinai.

David was transformed by Goliath’s 40-day challenge.

The 40 Days For Life campaign kicks off every year on Ash Wednesday and ends 40 days later on Good Friday. This year, it began on February 14, ended on March 28, and coincided with Lent, as it does every year.

Why Lent?

Lent, also known as the Lenten Season, is a time of preparation for the liturgical celebration of Jesus Christ’s suffering, Death, and Resurrection. Those who observe this sacred season focus on the three practices of Lent: prayer, fasting, and giving during the 40 days that lead up to and culminate with Easter.

The forty-day length of Lent is rooted in the biblical usage of the number forty. Forty typically indicates a time of testing, trial, penance, purification, and renewal. In the New Testament, forty days is the length of Jesus’ time of trial in the desert in preparation for his public ministry, proclaiming the Gospel.

In a word, Lent is about sacrifice. Those who participate sacrifice time, comfort, appetites, or anything else they feel to be placed on the proverbial altar of sacrifice for the 40 days leading up to Good Friday. That is the day Christians the world over memorialize the ultimate sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross.

Behold The Power of Fasting and Prayer

Since it began in 2004, the 40 Days For Life Campaign has grown to more than 850 cities in 60 countries, where more than 1,000,000 participants have prayed outside abortion clinics during peaceful prayer vigils. And the miracles that have resulted are nothing short of mighty:

Nearly 20,000 babies have been saved from abortion!

 Nearly 200 abortion workers quit!

 More than 100 abortion facilities closed!

 In some places where the 40 Days for Life Participants are praying in front of abortion facilities, the no-show rate for abortion appointments can spike as high as 75%!

This year’s kickoff meeting was held Tuesday, February 13, in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Salt Lake City.  When we pulled up on that brisk, overcast afternoon, a dozen or so people had already arrived and were milling around discussing the 6-foot-tall, heavy-duty fence that had just been erected around the front of the clinic. This newly installed fence/wall prevents anyone from seeing into the clinic, which was located on the first floor of the two-story building. But even more strategically, it prevents those inside the clinic from seeing anyone on the sidewalk outside. Hmm, that was not a coincidence. The clinic’s operators are, no doubt, aware of the fact that business takes a hit when the pregnant mamas see people praying for them and their unborn children outside.

Shortly after arriving, Barbara, the director of the SLC For Life campaign, greeted us with her cheery smile and upbeat demeanor and invited us to circle up for the kickoff devotional. After handing us a program with the script, we began reciting scripture, praying, and singing together. Though we were not great in number, I got the sense that perhaps some from the other side were joining us in this most sacred and worthy cause.

Afterward, we gathered around Barbara’s lifted hatchback, where she handed out “Pray to End Abortion” signs for us to display in our yards and then hold up while praying in front of the clinic. Armed with two signs, a couple of buttons to wear on my sweaters, and a whole lot of passion for the fight for Life, I headed home bubbling over with excitement and wonder about what the next 40 days would hold. And oh, my goodness, it did not disappoint.

Starting that night (and each morning and night since), my husband and I prayed that all those mamas out there who believed abortion was their best (or only) option would experience a miraculous change of heart and instead choose life. To go along with our daily prayers, we also scheduled times to pray in front of the clinic.

When our turn came, we plucked the signs from our front yard, bundled up against the cold, and headed up to Planned Parenthood in Salt Lake City to plead with God to change the hearts and minds of all those mamas going in and out of the clinic that day.

I didn’t know what to expect our first time and was anxious to see what we’d be met with.  Would people be angry with us? Or join us in prayer? I was a bit surprised at how quiet and almost
eerily peaceful things were each time we went. As cars pulled into the narrow driveway to park around the back of the facility (and out of our view), we stood on the sidewalk that intersects it and stoically held up our signs. We didn’t speak. We just stood there, praying silently for them and the life-or-death choices they were about to make.

We ended our session each time by huddling close together and praying aloud. Though our voices were soft, our pleading was fervent as we begged the Lord God to intervene on behalf of these unborn children and change their mama’s hearts. As we were preparing to leave after our last session, I was struck by the profound irony of the situation. Our voices were crying up to God on the very same plot of land where the blood of thousands upon thousands of innocents had been spilled and, thus, was also crying up to Him. Though mortal ears cannot hear their audible cries, the God of Heaven does.

 “[I] did send down fire and destroy them,

that their wickedness and abominations

might be hid from before my face,

that the blood of the prophets and the saints…

might not cry unto me from the ground against them.”

3Nephi 9:11

After saying amen, tears began spilling down my cold cheeks as I wondered for the thousandth time what the plaintive wail of the holy and pure ones whose hopes and dreams are dashed when their precious lives are brutally snuffed out in the most savage and cruel way possible sounds like to God?

Weighed down by a profound sense of melancholy at the knowing that we were standing on what amounts to a mass grave site in Salt Lake City, I pictured in my mind’s eye a chorus of mournful cries swelling up from the blood-soaked ground beneath me and reverberating through my soul as they ascended heavenward. Though I did not actually hear anything with my ears, I shall never forget how that “sound” felt in my heart.

In that moment of deep despair, the words of the great prophet, Moroni, came forcefully into my mind as the gravity of standing as a witness to what was and is occurring at this hellish (secret) murder scene gripped my pierced and wounded heart:

 “Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you;

and the time soon cometh that

he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you,

for he will not suffer their cries any longer.”

Mormon 8:41

Oddly enough, those damning words brought me some semblance of peace; knowing that the pernicious evil that is abortion will not always be allowed to desecrate our lands and destroy the peace of our people, as Mother Teresa so eloquently declared about abortion in 1994,

“The greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”

When Moroni’s prophecy is fulfilled, and His sword of vengeance falls upon this once Promised Land, a Great and Terrible day will commence such as we have never known and cannot now comprehend. But if that’s what it takes to end Satan’s reign of blood and horror on this earth, then I say, bring it on.

Amberli Peterson

 

DRUNK ON THE BLOOD OF THE SAINTS

In my book, #RIPENED Why The Book of Mormon Damns America for Abortion, I make a case for the term secret murder being a veiled reference to abortion in The Book of Mormon. One of the biggest clues that led me to that conclusion was the words of Jesus Christ in 3 Nephi 9. After destroying most of the Nephite nation in 34 AD, Jesus explained to the survivors that the wicked or “fallen” Nephites were destroyed for “shedding the blood of the Saints”. And that blood was crying up to Him against those who had slain “their own fair sons and daughters” through the act of secret murder. After piecing these and other textual clues together it became clear to me that the Nephites were practicing abortion on a massive scale. Thus, it follows that a (large) portion of this group of saints whose blood had been shed would necessarily be babies. (More on that below)

So, when I received an email from a friend recently that included a video discussing those very same ideas as found in the New Testament,  I was very intrigued. Her email read, “Dana Ashlie, who had only been a Christian for 1 year when she made this 3-part series, came to the same exact realization that you have about babies being Saints,” Attached to her email was Ms. Ashlie’s three-part series on YouTube called “America is Mystery Babylon —parts 1-3”.

Because I had not previously heard of Dana Ashlie nor seen any of her videos, I was very eager to find out how she had come to “the same exact realization about babies being saints” as I had. So, I clicked on the YouTube link and was transfixed by the compelling case she makes in this 3-part series (released in 2017) that “Mystery Babylon” (of Revelations 17 & 18) is not Rome, nor a variety of other places that many Christians and biblical scholars have believed it to be over the centuries. Instead, according to Ashlie, “Mystery Babylon” is America.

To lay out her case that America is in fact “Babylon the Great Whore, the mother of harlots and abominations”, she begins Part 1 by showing a series of clips from Super Bowl halftime shows featuring the likes of Katy Perry and Madonna in shocking and grotesque displays of hedonism and idol worship while she reads verses from Revelations 17 and 18 about the “great whore who rides the beast.” And that, as the great whore, “all inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality and fornication” (Rev 17:2). And “all nations were deceived by her sorcery.” (Rev 18:23). Then she goes on to document how the modern music industry uses sorcery and black magic to cast spells over the listeners and consumers of the music they produce through satanic rituals held in auditorium-sized rooms located in the studios.

As evidence for this, she plays clips of an interview with a former Hollywood music executive who describes satanic rituals that take place in what he called “Temple Rooms,” which he claims are on the top floor of every major music studio and have pentagrams and stars painted on the floor.  His first-hand account of the satanic rituals and witchcraft validate the claim that sorcery plays a major role in the American music industry, thus bolstering her case that America is “Mystery Babylon,” whose sorcery deceives the world, just as John describes. The video continues with her piling up evidence upon evidence of the immorality and sorcery of modern America.

The next installment is called “Part 2: America (Babylon) Falls, She is Drunk w/ the Blood of the Saints”. This is where she dives into abortion. To introduce the subject matter, she starts part 2 with a clip from a television interview where a woman is asking questions to a girl named “Rebekah” who is a former member of the church of Satan.

Rebekah:

“I was the fifth bride of Satan…and you couldn’t get any higher than I was. I was really involved.” (She went on to describe how the high priest would take her from her house to the church and violate her every day and then they would take communion). “I was made to believe that Satan was God and God was not real. Satan was God for me.”

Interviewer:

“What is the primary goal or purpose of Satanism?”

 Rebekah:

“To rule the world.”

Interviewer:

“You have told us that human sacrifice goes on inside the satanic church and inside satanic rituals. Tell us how this was done.”

 Rebekah:

“How do they murder people?” Rebekah answers the question by describing how they performed the sacrifices and then collected the blood and drank it. Then added this, “…in mid-September through mid-November they sacrifice babies and nothing but babies because they need the pure blood of the untainted children.”

Interviewer:

“Where did they get these babies?”

Rebekah:

“They have mothers that are expecting.”

A slide then appeared on the screen with this scripture verse from Psalms 106: 37-38 describing the iniquitous acts of the Israelites:

Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.

Next up on the screen is a video clip from an Oprah episode from the early 90’s. In this clip, Oprah is addressing a girl on the stage who was part of a panel discussion about multigenerational satanic worship and ritual abuse. This unnamed girl says that she was born into a family that has been involved in satanic ritual abuse going all the way back to the 17th century.

Oprah:

“From the outside, you appear to be a nice Jewish girl.”

Girl:

“Definitely.”

Oprah:

“And y’all were worshipping the devil inside the home.

Girl:

“Yes. There are many Jewish families [doing it] across the country.

It’s not just my family.”

Oprah then asked her to describe some of what kinds of things she witnessed or was made to participate in.

Girl:

“There would be rituals in which babies would be sacrificed.”

Oprah:

“Whose babies?”

Girl:

“There were people who bred babies in our family. No one would know about it because a lot of people were overweight so you couldn’t tell if they were pregnant or not.”

Oprah:

“So you witnessed the sacrifice?”

Girl:

“Right. When I was very young I was forced to participate in that [ritual], in which I had to sacrifice an infant.”

Oprah:

“And the purpose of sacrifice is to what? To bring you what? What are you sacrificing for?”

Girl:

“For power.”

Oprah:

“Power.”

There is much to be gleaned from these two videos that have a striking correspondence with what we learn in The Book of Mormon about the motive and purpose of secret murder. First and foremost, as we heard from each of the girls’ accounts, sacrificing babies was done for the singular purpose of gaining power. And that power they desired was granted to them by Satan, their God, when they would sacrifice babies to him.

Second, the babies that were sacrificed were provided by their own mothers, called “breeders”, who intentionally became pregnant for the purpose of providing infants for the group to sacrifice.

And third, the reason babies are used for sacrifices is that they are pure and innocent. In fact, Rebekah was explicit in this regard when she explained that babies were used because they (those committing the secret murders) “need the pure blood of the untainted…”

Power

Both girls being interviewed stated that the reason their group of Satan worshipers sacrificed babies was for power. But what does that mean? How does that work? Neither girl (at least in the clips) expounded on what they meant, specifically, just that they sacrificed innocent babies to gain power from Satan.

In Chapter 11 of #RIPENED, I unpack the sinister act of making a quid pro quo deal with Satan and what the terms are (hint: blood for power). The best exposition of this is found in what we learn from the daughter of Jared in Ether 8:9-15 when she and her father conspired with Akish to form a secret combination—and why. In The Book of Mormon, it always starts with a person seeking power. So they obtain an ancient book or script called “the secret plans” which contains the ancient oaths and covenants authored by Satan. Upon forswearing themselves to Satan with the oaths and covenants, they bind themselves for life to Satan, who promises them power. In exchange for the power he gives, Satan demands blood in return. But not just any blood. He wants innocent blood. To supply the innocent blood he demands, those who have taken the ancient oaths begin the odious practice of secret murder/abortion as a sacrifice to him. This is how they satisfy their end of the bargain with him.

This quid pro quo deal that is struck between Satan and somebody seeking power can be seen in multiple places in the Book of Mormon and explains why in Helaman 6:17, Mormon directly links the act of “seeking to get gain” to the act of “committing secret murder”:

“For behold, the Lord had blessed them so long with the riches of the world that they had not been stirred up to anger, to wars, nor to bloodshed; therefore they began to set their hearts upon their riches; yea, they began to seek to get gain that they might be lifted up one above another; therefore they began to commit secret murders, and to rob and to plunder, that they might get gain.”

In this and other instances, Mormon (and Moroni in Ether) makes a clear and compelling connection between the desire to gain power and the act of shedding innocent blood, which is precisely what the girls described in the video clips. That gaining power was the object of the satanic rituals they participated in for many years.

When asked by the interviewers where the babies came from, the girls explained that the babies came from “expecting” mothers within the group who were intentionally becoming pregnant to provide the sacrificial babies. The Jewish girl on Oprah’s stage invoked the term, “breeders” when referring to the mothers. The tragic and shocking point here is that it was the mothers (and fathers) of these babies-for-sacrifice who were among the active and willing participants in the savage murders of their own children.

As I mentioned above, what these girls described in the modern-day Satanic rituals has some striking commonalities with what Jesus indicts the wicked “fallen ones” for after He destroyed them in 34 AD. To see it more clearly, let’s dive a little deeper into the text of 3 Nephi 9. He starts off his malediction in 3 Nephi with this:

Wo, wo, wo unto this people; wo unto the inhabitants of the whole earth except they shall repent; for the devil laugheth, and his angels rejoice, because of the slain of the fair sons and daughters of my people; and it is because of their iniquity and abominations that they are fallen! (3 Ne 9:2)

Like the modern Satan worshippers that we met in the video clips, the ancient Nephites also killed their own sons and daughters through the act of secret murder as abortion, which is why Jesus expressly calls them out for it. To do this He repeats a phrase five times in the next seven consecutive verses of chapter 9. What is the phrase He uses? The blood of the saints. In other words, because they had shed the blood of the saints, it was crying up to Him against them for vengeance. Hence the cataclysmic destruction they all just witnessed. Then, to ensure total clarity, Jesus, in verse 9 of that same chapter, drills down into the specific reason that the blood of the saints and the prophets was shed: secret murder.

And behold, that great city Jacobugath, which was inhabited by the people of king Jacob, have I caused to be burned with fire because of their sins and their wickedness, which was above all the wickedness of the whole earth, because of their secret murders and combinations; for it was they that did destroy the peace of my people and the government of the land; therefore I did cause them to be burned, to destroy them from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up unto me any more against them.

There you have it, in the plainest terms possible. The ancient Nephites were destroyed for shedding the blood of the saints, who, as it turns out were their own children. And it was their blood that “polluted” the Nephite lands, provoking the wrath of God to cleanse it. This same “polluted land” effect occurred in ancient Israel, too, for the same reason. According to Psalms 106, the people were “sacrificing their sons and daughters unto devils…and to the idols of Canaan, [thus leaving] the land polluted with blood.” (Psalm 106:37-38)

Additionally, as part of her discussion about ancient child sacrifice, Ms. Ashlie included a slide that read, “Phoenicians in Canaan worshipped their “god” Moloch by sacrificing their own babies for financial prosperity.” Which is another way of saying POWER. As in, purchasing power.

This is yet another (and very powerful) witness and validation of what Moroni and Mormon document in the Book of Helaman about the Nephites committing secret murder to gain power. All these seemingly disparate threads are actually one and the same thread weaving through the Old Testament, the New Testament, and The Book of Mormon.

 Mystery Babylon

From there, she pivots back to the premise of her presentation that modern America is the “Mystery Babylon” of Revelations 17 and 18. To do that, she brings up a slide with these two verses from Revelations 17:5-6

And on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON

 THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE

ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus.

When I saw her, I wondered greatly.”

Saints

She then explains that upon reading that verse for the first time, the phrase “blood of the saints” piqued her interest. Wanting to understand it better, she pulled out her favorite version of the Bible (NASB, with Strong’s Concordance included), looked up the word “saints,” and was astounded by what she read. Below is a portion of her next slide documenting what she found in both the NAS Exhaustive Concordance and the NASB with Strong’s:

NAS Exhaustive Concordance (40)

         Word Origin:

         From the same as “hagios”

         Definition:

         Free from ceremonial defilement, holy, sacred.

NASB Translation:

Chaste (1), free from sin (1), innocent (1), pure (5)

With the slide up on the screen, she continues to read aloud additional content she found connected to the word “saint” in Strong’s Concordance,

“It says pure, innocent, chaste…properly pure to the core, virginal chaste and unadulterated. Pure inside and out. Holy because of being uncontaminated or undefiled by sin.”

“And then,” she continues, “it hit me. You know what

I am going to say. We have the blood of a lot of pure, innocent humans on our hands.”

Voile! That is how she arrived at the shocking conclusion that the blood of the saints that Mystery Babylon s drunk on is the blood of babies. Pure, innocent, holy, uncontaminated, and undefiled-by-sin babies. To the tune of 65,000,000 and counting. This is Exhibit A in her case for America being  Mystery Babylon.

As I listened to her recount this experience of when it hit her that “the blood of the saints” was the blood of aborted babies, I was amazed at how similar her experience was to the one I had in January 2020. During a late-night Book of Mormon study session, the phrase secret murder (in the Book of Helaman) practically leaped off the page and grabbed my attention as never before. When it wouldn’t let go, I started to suspect there was more to that idea/concept lurking just below the surface.

After grappling with some possible, deeper meanings, and praying about it, a word dropped into my head totally unexpectedly. That word was “Abortion”. After working through my shock and awe at the implications of what this all pointed to, I came to believe that secret murder is the code phrase that Mormon and Moroni used to reference abortion. And that it is deeply connected to secret combinations and the satanic oaths and covenants they are built on.

As a result, I felt compelled to dig into the meaning of the word “saint” (like Ms. Ashlie did) to get a clearer picture of who Jesus was talking about in 3 Nephi 9. However, He was not the only one to use the word “saints” in that context. Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni also invoked the phrase “blood of the saints” in prophecies connected to the event in 34 AD as well as the coming destruction of America.

My search led me to Webster’s Dictionary, 1828 Edition. There I found a similar definition as the one Ms. Ashlie cited from Strong’s Concordance:

A person sanctified; a holy or godly person; one eminent for piety and virtue.”

Although not nearly as comprehensive (or revealing) as Strong’s entry, Webster’s definition played a big part in opening my eyes to the sordid and shocking truth about who these “saints” were that Mormon, Moroni, and Nephi refer to in their prophecies, and whom Jesus referred to when He called out the 16 wicked cities He destroyed. I do not make the case (here or in my book)  that the term’s usage is limited to babies only, just that the term “saints’ is one that can be used to describe them.

Armed with that understanding, I came to the tragic realization that Satan’s devotees have been shedding the innocent blood of their own children to obtain financial prosperity and gain power for many millennia. And that they still do, right here in modern America. In our neighborhoods, church groups, and government offices.

Despite abortion’s shameful prevalence in our modern world, most people are not aware that this form of iniquity (aka “shedding the blood of the Saints”) is called out and condemned in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and The Book of Mormon. Until 2020, I was not either. But all three books of scripture warn of dire consequences to come for those who participate in this great and abominable wickedness.

Murder

However, the one substantive difference worth noting between the Old and New Testaments and The Book of Mormon (regarding this subject) is that only in The Book of Mormon is abortion called murder. In fact, as I have noted here and have written about extensively in #RIPENED, the act of abortion is literally described as a secret murder. That is a remarkable and important distinction that sets it, The Book of Mormon, apart from the other records and, in my estimation, is another proof that The Book of Mormon contains the true word of God, just as it professes to. Additionally, unlike the other two books, The Book of Mormon is written for and about the modern-day (American) Gentiles. And therefore, it expressly calls out abortion as America’s national iniquity.

Additionally, Moroni foretells the coming cataclysmic consequences to America for said national iniquity in Mormon 8:41.

Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer. 

How does this prophecy about modern America line up with the fate of Mystery Babylon, the great whore, in the Book of Revelation? Of her swift and sudden destruction foretold by John, we read this in Revelation 18: 8 & 19

Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

And why did she meet this cataclysmic fate? The very last verse of Chapter 18 tells us why:

And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. Rev 18:24

The correspondences between the description of Mystery Babylon in the New Testament and the modern-day Gentiles of America in The Book of Mormon are simply too clear to miss. And, like Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni, John the Revelator also saw America’s national iniquity— abortion—and that it would be the precipitating cause of her demise.

Thank you, Ms. Dana Ashlie, for pointing out this tragic and inconvenient truth about Mystery Babylon and the saints whose blood she is drunk on. I’ll be sending you a copy of my book as a second witness to the deep, dark ugly truth you dragged into the light in your very informative series.

Watch part two of her three-part series here:

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Part three is here::

Part one is here:

https://youtu.be/vwE2wCl1zJo?feature=shared

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        

 

        

 

 

 

Mapping Iniquity, The Ripening Continues

This past Tuesday morning, October 24, 2023, America awoke to some alarming news. But it had nothing to do with the vitriolic war now underway between Israel and Hamas. Nor did it have to do with rising inflation, the war in Ukraine, the grim housing market, or any other global crises grabbing all the headlines. I would bet very few people even gave this story a second look. And if they did, they probably missed the perilous implications it portends for this nation. Spoiler alert: The shedding of innocent blood in America has increased since Roe v. Wade was reversed, NOT decreased. What the what?

Yep, according to this article published on Tuesday,  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/oct/24/us-abortion-rates-post-roe-v-wade, abortion rates in the US have risen since the reversal of Roe v. Wade. And not just a little. The numbers tell the story: “States that still allow the procedure performed 116,790 more abortions than expected, newly released data shows.” So, let me get this straight: those of us who value the sanctity of human life get our prayers answered with the miraculous reversal of Roe after 49 + years of judicial overreach, and abortion rates go up? Say it isn’t so, America!

All the Usual Suspects

According to the article, just three states accounted for almost half of the 116,000 + increase in abortions. Not surprisingly, they were California, Florida, and Illinois. The only silver lining in this new data is that in states where abortion bans went into effect, such as Texas, the rates decreased. Good on you, Texas! Y’all had a net decrease of 36,970 abortions in your state; that is commendable. Oh, that every state would be like you, Texas. Take heart in the knowing that God is taking note of where innocent blood is being shed on this great land—and by whom.

 Divine Preservation vs. Divine Destruction

That God knows precisely where the blood of His saints is being shed and by whom is the premise of my book, #RIPENED. Chapter 18, titled “Location, Location, Location and The Wicked Sixteen” discusses the phenomena of “divine preservation” and “divine destruction” and how they often occur simultaneously in the same geographical area, leaving one city in ruins while another is left intact. This phenomenon is displayed in 3 Nephi chapters 9 and 10 and validated by Jesus Christ in 3 Nephi 9. After calling out each of the sixteen cities by name on that “great and terrible day” of 34 AD, He described how He destroyed them along with the very specific reason, which was that they had shed the blood of the saints and the prophets. And of those who were spared, He explained that they had not shed the blood of the saints and the prophets. (see 3 Nephi 9 and 10) God is surgical when it comes to deciding which people, cities, and or states to destroy—or not. Judging by how things went down in 34 AD, it is primarily (if not entirely) based on how ripened in iniquity the inhabitants of those places are. (To read about iniquity and the critical differences between sin and iniquity, please see my previous post, “Sin vs. Iniquity – Is There a Difference?”)

A Harbinger of Another Great and Terrible Day to Come

Now jump to 2023 and this map. Notice which states (California, Colorado, New Mexico, and many others) have exploited their newfound power in post-Roe America to increase the shedding of innocent blood—thus becoming more iniquitous. Then, compare them to those states that have seized this seismic power shift back to the states (where it belongs) and used their voices and ballots to decrease the shedding of blood (such as Texas, Idaho, Georgia, and Tennessee). Perhaps this map is a harbinger of the coming destruction, indicating which of America’s cities, states, or regions will be hardest hit when Moroni’s prophecy is fulfilled and the next “great and terrible day” arrives.  Will these modern American cities be just as surprised on that day as the people of Nephi were almost two thousand years ago? Remember, when that spring morning dawned, it appeared to be just another regular day in their lives—until it wasn’t. Suddenly and unexpectedly, all hell broke loose in the most violent show of divine force imaginable and decimated almost the entire nation (see 3 Nephi 8 and 9). And why? Because the blood of the saints, which they had shed, was crying up to God, and He could take it no longer. So, I ask you, how much longer will the blood on our land cry up to Him before He comes to avenge it? And where will you not want to be when that happens?

 

 

Sin vs. Iniquity — Is There a Difference?

Sin vs. Iniquity — Is There a Difference?

There are a handful of words in The Book of Mormon that are so ubiquitous that over time, we can stop seeing them. Prior to January 2020, the word iniquity had been one of those words for me. It appears in the text of The Book of Mormon 109 times. For context, that is triple the number of times it shows up in the New Testament, the Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price combined. Only the Old Testament has more mentions at 186. Despite being used over 100 times in The Book of Mormon, I had never previously considered the specific meaning of that word and the myriad of dire implications it held for the people and its precipitous role in their demise as a nation. 

Etymologically, the word “iniquity” derives from the Latin combining the prefix in-, meaning “not,” and aequus, which means “equal” or “just.” Hence, the literal meaning of iniquity is “not equal” or “not just.” 

Therefore, in a broader context, the term iniquity characterizes any situation where a person (or group) acts in a way that is contrary to the Golden Rule, which is stated as: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” In short, the iniquitous party elevates their own needs, rights, and/or desires above another’s needs, rights, and/or desires.

Sin vs. Iniquity

To understand the concept of iniquity in a scriptural context, it is essential to distinguish between iniquity and sin.

Though the term iniquity can seem synonymous with sin, it is not. Biblical and religious scholars assert that, though they are used correspondently and even interchangeably at times, there is a difference between the two, and understanding the difference is essential. 

Sin = To Miss the Mark

According to Hebrew scholars, the Hebrew word chattah is most often translated as sin and signifies “to miss the mark.” It can indicate doing something against God or against a person in contrast to what is right, or doing something that will have adverse effects, or neglecting to do something you know is right. In essence, “sin” is the common word used to describe that which “falls short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Iniquity = Intentional Twisting of a Given Standard

Iniquity, on the other hand, as translated from the word awon, relates more to the inner character and points to an intentional twisting of a given standard. In other words, iniquity indicates a conscious decision; to commit iniquity is to proceed without repentance. Micah 2:1 declares, 

“Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil at their beds! At morning’s light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it.” 

An instructive example of how iniquity carries with it a component of intentionality coupled with the power to do it is found in the story of King David’s fall from grace. In his Psalm of repentance (after being called out by the prophet, Nathan), David cries out to God, saying, 

“Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalms 51:2)

This verse demonstrates two things. First, sin and iniquity are two separate and distinct terms that have different implications. And second, David was guilty of both at the same time. He sinned with Bathsheba by engaging in a consensual adulterous affair, but he committed iniquity when he used his position of power (as both the King and Commander-in-Chief of the army) to intentionally place Uriah in a position to be killed.  Thus, when it comes to iniquity, intentionality, and power must be present for an act to be iniquitous. The Book of Mormon prophet Abinadi refers to the connection between intentionality, power, and iniquity in his confrontation with King Noah and his priests. Using his prophetic gift to perceive the thoughts and intents of his accusers, Abinadi calls out the intentionality behind their riotous way of life, “. . .ye have studied and taught iniquity the most part of your lives.” (Mosiah 13:11) Thus, with those words, Abinadi confirms that iniquity is an evil act committed on purpose by those with the power to do it.

Therefore, we can surmise that the use of the word iniquity in both a Bible and a Book of Mormon context relies on the presence of the following two aspects or components: 

First, iniquity involves a dynamic of power that is “not equal” or is “unjust” (the literal meaning of the word), whereby the offending or iniquitous party leverages their position of power (physical, political, or financial) to commit an evil act, which produces an adverse result or condition. A few prime examples include rape, incest, physical assault, and of course, murder.

Second, iniquity involves intentionality. The offender commits the evil act on purpose and then shows little or no remorse for their actions.

How does iniquity take hold? It starts when seeds of desire (for power) are planted, nurtured, and then eventually take root in the heart of an individual. In time, the seeds produce poisonous fruits that have devastating consequences for all those who suffer abuse at the hands of the iniquitous individual who yields their power to gratify their own desires. After a while, these poisonous “fruits” multiply and ripple outward from the individual and begin to infect marriages, families, and communities.  From there, if continued to be unchecked, iniquity ripples through entire nations, eventually engulfing a vast majority of the people until they become “ripened in iniquity.” This is what happened to the Jaredites and to the Nephites (not once, but twice). 

As was the case with King David, God can and does forgive iniquity when the guilty party genuinely repents. However, when iniquity goes unchecked, it quickly becomes a shameless and intentional sin with no remorse or fear of God. When that happens in biblical contexts, it is often referred to as a “cup of iniquity” being “filled to the brim.” This typically pertains to nations who have forsaken God entirely. Continued iniquity leads to irregular desires, which leads to a degenerate mind. Romans 1:28-32 describes this deviation in graphic detail. The sons of Eli are biblical examples of sinners whom God judged for their iniquities. Rather than repent, Eli’s sons continued in their evils until remorse was no longer possible.

As mentioned, the word iniquity appears 109 times in The Book of Mormon. It is interesting to note that the first time it is used in the narrative is in 1 Nephi chapter 3. While smiting Nephi and Sam with a rod, Laman and Lemuel are rebuked by an angel who declares that it was due to their iniquity that the Lord had chosen Nephi to be a ruler over them. 

And it came to pass as they smote us with a rod, behold, an angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them, saying: Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod? Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities? (1 Nephi 3:29)

In that revealing incident, we see the two components of iniquity in play: Laman and Lemuel, as the older brothers, were leveraging their physical power (with rods) to intentionally commit an unjust act of violence against their younger brothers with seemingly no remorse or sign of stopping until an angel is sent to intervene. 

After that incident, the word is mentioned another ten times throughout the narrative in 1 and 2 Nephi in a handful of different incidences which grew progressively more violent over time, such as when Nephi was tied up on the boat and left to die until the whole crew was about to be drowned in the depths of the sea.  From there, the word iniquity shows up quite often in subsequent books, such as in Mosiah and Alma, mainly to rebuke those committing great iniquities, such as King Noah and Alma the Younger.

But when we get to the book of Helaman, a new strain of iniquity bursts onto the scene; one that had not been mentioned previously: secret murder.

In viewing murder through the lens of iniquity, not only is murder terribly unjust, but it’s done with intentionality by the murderer who leverages power (physical or otherwise) over the victim to take his or her life against their will.  The act of murder results in a permanent and irreversible condition, leaving the murderer no way to make adequate restitution and, therefore, is the most egregious form of iniquity. 

But when murder is committed in the womb, in the act of abortion, which is characterized as “secret murder” by Jesus, Mormon, and Moroni (as discussed in my book #Ripened), it becomes readily apparent why secret murder is the very most egregious form of iniquity for several reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that the power dynamic involved in the act of abortion is drastically skewed towards the offender. Honestly, is there any more unjust or unequal balance of power than in that scenario—an abortion? Where an adult brutally takes the life of a tiny little infant who is helpless, defenseless, and has no way to avoid or escape the intentional and unconscionable violence being inflicted upon them by one who holds all the power to do it.

Ergo, it is no wonder that after 85 years of the Nephites engaging in the iniquitous practice of secret murder as abortion (once introduced to them by Gadianton), they became “ripened in iniquity” and were destroyed in the most violent ways imaginable on that great and terrible day in 34 AD (see 3 Nephi chapters 8 and 9).

And what about America? At 65,000,000 murders and counting, abortion is irrefutably America’s most egregious national iniquity. Is there any chance we won’t suffer the same cataclysmic consequences as the Nephites and the Jaredites for engaging in the same iniquity on a massive scale? Nope. That strains all credulity. God is a God of order and patterns. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Therefore, we can and must assume that His justice will come sooner or later–just as Nephi and Moroni prophesied it would. Their prophecies about what awaits us, the modern-day Gentiles, for this most egregious form of iniquity serve as the central premise of my book and are the reason I wrote it.

In confronting what lies ahead for America, according to the prophetic word of God, I suggest we deeply consider the timeless wisdom of Thomas Jefferson, who once said, “. . .God is just [and] His justice cannot sleep forever.” Hence, the time is now to stop shedding the innocent blood of our precious and holy ones, our babies, before it is too late.