The Miracle of Life

Life is a glorious journey! Our Heavenly Father’s Plan of Happiness allows us, His precious sons and daughters, the chance to come into mortality, receive a physical body, learn and grow, gain experience, unite in families, and exercise our agency. We’re here to work out our own individual salvation and to learn obedience to the laws of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This earth was created for us as a testing ground. We’re in a divine tutorial to see whether or not we will follow our Savior and, by so doing, return to our Heavenly home from whence we came.

Long before our life on this earth began, we existed in our Father’s presence. We are His children. He is the Father of our spirits. We are literally the offspring and family of the God of all creation! “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16).

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We were there “from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, [we were] brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills [were we] brought forth . . . When [God] prepared the heavens, [we were] there . . . Then [were we] by him, as one brought up with him: and [we were] daily his delight, rejoicing always before him” (Proverbs 8:23-30). Yes, when our Father revealed His Plan of Salvation and, through His Firstborn Son Jesus Christ, created this beautiful earth, “all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7).

Our first lessons were given by our Father and remain locked away in our special spirits, waiting to be unlocked piece by piece when we faithfully follow the spiritual promptings He is always attempting to give us. As we grow in spiritual stature, the veil that separates us from our Father, and the veil that conceals our precious pre-earth memories from us for this brief testing season, begins to thin. We begin to realize who we are, that we are of a royal lineage, and that we’re here for the specific purpose of gaining a body, learning by our own experience, and proving ourselves worthy of external exaltation by showing we are obedient children.

While in the pre-mortal sphere, a clash of ideas took place. The Apostle John says there was “was in heaven” (Revelation 12:3-9) when Lucifer rebelled against our Father’s perfect Plan and sought to claim His throne (Isaiah 14:12-14). We were there for those momentous events. Each of us participated – the Dragon (Lucifer) and his followers and Michael (Adam) and his angels (you and I).

We who are privileged to come to earth are those who chose to follow Jesus Christ and reject Lucifer’s scheme to control our lives – a counterfeit plan that would have led to the destruction of our agency and free will. The Gospel Plan, by contrast, is one of Freedom. Our Father’s program exalts the principle of individual choice and accountability. We are each given a stewardship through which we can demonstrate how well we understand and can apply correct principles of charity, thrift, honesty, industry, self-control, Liberty, and so forth. We supported these ideas and pledged ourselves to uphold them when it was our turn to dive in mortality, though we don’t now remember those sacred vows.

For their rebellion, Lucifer and a third part of our brothers and sisters lost their chance to come to earth, receive bodies, and realize their place in the Kingdom of God. Instead, they were cast out; or, perhaps more accurately, they marched into self-slavery. In their miserable condition, they spend their time tempting us and trying to make us miserable like they are. Those who give themselves over to their venomous influence have introduced the horrors of global communism, tyranny, child abuse, abortion, murder, plunder, drug use, infidelity, profanity, lying, and false religion into the world. It is the challenge of life to reject these agency-destroying, faith-corrupting, society-annihilating ideas and practices and instead cleave to the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When it’s our appointed time to come to earth, we receive a physical body to house our immortal spirit. Our bodies have been compared to temples (1 Corinthians 6:9). They are sacred. They are essential to God’s eternal Plan. Learning to properly use and master our bodies and their appetites is one of the key challenges in life.

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When our mortal body dies, “the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7). Until the day of judgment, our spirits reside in the spirit world where they will continue to grow and learn and teach and enjoy associations in much the same way earthly beings do now. Those who died without a knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will have an opportunity to be taught and accept the Gospel. Essential saving ordinances like baptism can then be vicariously performed on earth for them by those holding the correct Priesthood authority given by the Savior (1 Corinthians 15:29; 1 Peter 4:6).

When the day of the great Resurrection comes, our immortal spirits will be reunited with our physical bodies which will become perfected and incorruptible. In this, as in all things, the Lord is our Exemplar. When He was resurrected from the grave three days after suffering and dying for the sins of the world, He received again His physical body. It was perfected and glorified, yet contained flesh and bones. The resurrected Redeemer stated: “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39). Perhaps to emphasize the point, the Lord then ate “a piece of broiled fish . . . and an honeycomb” with His awestruck disciples. All who come into mortality qualify to receive a similarly perfected physical body in the eternities.

More incredible than receiving a perfected body that will not feel pain or sickness or fatigue, will be the happy state of our souls if we have followed the Gospel Plan. Central to that Plan is the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the person of our Savior. Because mankind figuratively fell into a pit and beyond the ability to save ourselves, we needed one to come along and let down a ladder so that we could climb out to safety. Jesus Christ is that One. He was the only One who could do it, being the “Only Begotten” Son, in the flesh, of our Father in Heaven.

Because of His Parentage, Jesus inherited power over death (John 10:17-18). He was the only One who could voluntarily lay down His life as an offering for sin and then take it up again. This He did because He loved His brothers and sisters – you and I – and because our Father’s Plan required it in order to blot out the sins of all humanity (John 3:16-17). Thus, Jesus allowed His blood to be spilled, first in the Garden of Gethsemane, and then on the cross, to atone for you and for me; to ransom us from the power of death and hell (Isaiah 44:22; Ephesians 1:7; Matthew 20:28).

During His ministry, the Savior taught what we must do to have His sinless atoning blood apply in our lives:

If ye love me, keep my commandments. . . .

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. . . .

. . . If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:15, 22-23).

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Those who love God, adore His Son, and follow Their laws to the best of their ability and in full sincerity of heart, are loved and received by Them. If they have entered into the covenants and ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and remained faithful, they will be exalted with their own families in what the Apostle Paul called the “third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2). They will enjoy a state of never-ending happiness, having inherited all that the Father has to give to His precious sons and daughters as Christ, our Elder Brother, did before us (Romans 8:16-17).

We can have faith and confidence in the Atonement of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. He fulfilled His word. He completed our Father’s Plan. He burst the bands of death. He secured for us an unimaginably glorious future if only we reach out and grasp it. With childlike trust, we can walk in Jesus’ footsteps. We all must “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16). When we do so, the Savior clasps us in His arms, the Father surrounds us with His love, and we begin our ascent back to God and glory.

This life is not the genesis of our journey, but it is the deciding moment. This life is the time for us to choose God. This life is the time to show that we really do love the Lord and want to serve Him and be like Him. This is the time for us to put into action those things we spiritually learned before mortality and that we’ve gradually relearned here. This life is the time, dear reader, for you and I to remember who we are and to rise to the stature of the sons and daughters of the Most High God, our literal Father in Heaven.

In a wonderful sermon entitled “Decisions for Eternity,” Russell M. Nelson spoke of this all-important moment of time that we have here in mortality to choose our Savior and prepare for eternity. Speaking both as a chosen man of God and as a former heart surgeon of international renown, President Nelson outlined the grandeur of God’s Plan, the beauty of earth life, the magnificence of the human body, and the superlative opportunity we have to undergo this mortal testing period and potential exaltation with our Savior. He explained:

We are eternal beingsspirit children of heavenly parents. The Bible records that “God created man in his own image, … male and female created he them.” Recently I heard a chorus of children sing the beloved song “I Am a Child of God.” I wondered, “Why haven’t I heard that song rendered more often by singing mothers or faithful fathers?” Are we not all children of God? In truth, not one of us can ever stop being a child of God!

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As children of God, we should love Him with all our heart and soul, even more than we love our earthly parents. We should love our neighbors as brothers and sisters. No other commandments are greater than these. And we should ever revere the worth of human life, through each of its many stages.

Scripture teaches that the body and the spirit are the soul of man. As a dual being, each of you can thank God for His priceless gifts of your body and your spirit.

My professional years as a medical doctor gave me a profound respect for the human body. Created by God as a gift to you, it is absolutely amazing! Think of your eyes that see, ears that hear, and fingers that feel all the wondrous things around you. Your brain lets you learn, think, and reason. Your heart pumps tirelessly day and night, almost without your awareness. . . .

With your body being such a vital part of God’s eternal plan, it is little wonder that the Apostle Paul described it as a “temple of God.” Each time you look in the mirror, see your body as your temple. That truthrefreshed gratefully each daycan positively influence your decisions about how you will care for your body and how you will use it. And those decisions will determine your destiny. How could this be? Because your body is the temple for your spirit. And how you use your body affects your spirit. . . .

Your spirit is an eternal entity. The Lord said to His prophet Abraham: “Thou wast chosen before thou wast born.” The Lord said something similar about Jeremiah and many others. He even said it about you.

Your Heavenly Father has known you for a very long time. You, as His son or daughter, were chosen by Him to come to earth at this precise time, to be a leader in His great work on earth. You were chosen not for your bodily characteristics but for your spiritual attributes, such as bravery, courage, integrity of heart, a thirst for truth, a hunger for wisdom, and a desire to serve others. . . .

A strong human spirit with control over appetites of the flesh is master over emotions and passions and not a slave to them. That kind of freedom is as vital to the spirit as oxygen is to the body! Freedom from self-slavery is true liberation! . . . .

The Savior’s way of life is good. . . .

My dear brothers and sisters, each day is a day of decision, and our decisions determine our destiny. One day each of us will stand before the Lord in judgment. We will each have a personal interview with Jesus Christ. We will account for decisions that we made about our bodies, our spiritual attributes, and how we honored God’s pattern for marriage and family. That we may choose wisely each day’s decisions for eternity is my earnest prayer in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

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Yes, the Savior’s way of life is good! It’s excellent! It’s true liberation – Freedom from death, sin, and hopelessness. It’s the fire that fuels our spirits and propels us to greatness. Life is a miracle!

We have so many opportunities here in mortality for which we ought to thank our Father in Heaven. He is our Father. We are His children. We were selected to be held back until this specific time in earth’s history. This is our time to shine.

We have unprecedented opportunities to help people, influence others, lift the downtrodden, share the Gospel, and learn about our Lord. When we use these opportunities, and keep our focus on Christ, we become masters of our souls. As children of God, our potential is limitless. As sons and daughters of the great Elohim, we have the chance to use this miracle of mortality, this miracle of a physical body, this miracle of the modern age with its outpouring of Heavenly power upon the heads of the humble, to boldly approach the throne of grace and advance the Kingdom of God. In our hearts, our homes, and communities, we can create Zion!

When we stop and think about it, we’re compelled to acknowledge that our Father’s Plan is perfect. And one of the things that makes it so amazing is that it accommodates so many billions of people who are so unique and different. Though many of us look similar and like some of the same things, we are each unique. We are each eternally different from every other person on earth. There is only one of me and only one of you. We each have a part to play in the Plan. We each have something to contribute that only we can contribute at this time and in our way. We – individual human beings – are the truest miracle of life!

An inspired man once wrote:

[A]lthough there are millions and millions of people in the world, no two are exactly alike in appearance, in personality, in intelligence, or in the way they think or respond. How true this is, though we are all humans and spirit children of God. When we realize who we are, where we came from, why we are here, and what our future can be, surely we must agree that the greatest miracle in all the world is YOU, the individual. It is YOU and what YOU do that will affect YOU eternally. . . .

Emerson once made this meaningful statement: “Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is to you.” How true! What wise counsel! We cannot get away from ourselves. We must continue to live with ourselves, and what we do every day and how we respond to life determines the kind of YOU we are going to be and live with and how successful and happy we will be with the YOU we are. . . .

The importance of manYOUcannot be more greatly emphasized than it is in Genesis when God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” . . .

This means that manYOUis the greatest of all God’s creations, and everything was created for him, over which he will have full dominion. He is blessed with the ability to think, to know good from evil; and a spirit by which he can communicate with God, and a physical body with which he is able to do the daily things he wants to do.”

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Dear reader, we are miracles! Each individual that comes to this earth is a Heaven-sent miracle. We each have the right to decide our own place in eternity, whether we will return to our Father in honor or not. We each can decide whether we will live up to our heritage and lineage as children of God or whether we will live far below our privileges. We each have been placed here by a loving Father who not only wants the best for us and who is always by our side even when we don’t realize it, but who has sent His Son Jesus Christ to complete His Plan for our salvation and happiness.

It would be well to remember the words of Ezra Taft Benson and to allow gratitude to swell our hearts for all that which our Father has done for us:

We once knew well our Elder Brother and His and our Father in Heaven. We rejoiced at the prospects of earth life that could make it possible for us to have a fulness of joy. We could hardly wait to demonstrate to our Father and our Brother, the Lord, how much we loved them and how we would be obedient to them in spite of the earthly opposition of the evil one.

Now we are here. Our memories are veiled. We are showing God and ourselves what we can do. Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father and how familiar His face is to us.

God loves us. He is watching us. He wants us to succeed. We will know some day that He has not left one thing undone for the eternal welfare of each of us. If we only knew it, heavenly hosts are pulling for usfriends in heaven that we cannot now remember who yearn for our victory. This is our day to show what we can dowhat life and sacrifice we can daily, hourly, instantly make for God. If we give our all, we will get His all from the greatest of all.”

No, He has not left one single thing undone in our lives. He has arranged everything so that our lives can be the miracle they were intended to be. He has not sent us here to fail, but to conquer and rise above all challenges. He and numerous friends we do not now know both here and in the world beyond are “pulling for us.” If you take nothing else away from this article, please be assured that your Eternal Father loves you, as any good father loves his children.

I’ve recently learned something of a father’s love. In fact, that’s the reason for this article – this testimony. Three days ago, my first child, a lovely little girl, was born to my wife and I. My little Emma Viktoria is a gorgeous, sweet, and special soul! Her smile makes me smile. Her eyes make mine water. Her sweetness soothes my spirit. I’ve felt a love in my heart that is different from any I’ve ever felt before. It’s a pure, total, flowing love; a Christ-like love. I love you, little Emma!

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Though I am only at the very beginning of my parenting journey, I can at least honestly say that I understand my Heavenly Father’s love a little better than I did just days ago. Holding my own little girl in my hands and seeing her with my own eyes and feeling love and joy like I’ve never felt before, has bolstered my sure witness that my Father in Heaven also loves me with a pristine and powerful love, that He is truly interested in every moment of my life, and that He will do everything in His power to effect my happiness and success in this miraculous mortal journey.

I know that my Heavenly Father lives. I know that my Savior, Jesus Christ, died for me and lives for me, too. I know that They care so deeply about me and about you. This earth is Theirs. And we are Their greatest joy, work, and glory. If we unflinchingly put ourselves in Their hands as children trust their welfare so freely to their earthly parents, we will be led right and our life will be, in every sense of the word, a miracle. As a son of my Father, and now as a father of my own precious little one fresh from His presence, I thank my God for the majestic miracle of life!

Zack Strong,

August 4, 2020

Our Heavenly Father

Last Fathers’ Day, I wrote a tribute to my Dad. This Fathers’ Day, I pen a tribute to my Heavenly Father. I love my Father in Heaven and long for the day that I will return to Him and feel His arms around me. This brief piece is meant to honor Him – the Supreme Power in the universe, the God of Creation, the very personal, involved, and loving Father of us all.

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The resurrected Lord Jesus Christ told Mary Magdalene, as she embraced Him outside of the empty tomb, that He needed to ascend to “my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17). Jesus had a Father – a literal Father. This Being begat Jesus with Mary and was His literal, physical Father from whom He inherited the power of God, the power to break the bands of death, the power to redeem all mankind.

During His mortal ministry, Jesus frequently referred to God as “Father.” He taught: “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). He explained: “[M]y father hath taught me. . . . I speak that which I have seen with my Father” (John 8:38). Jesus admonished that whoever hates Him, “hateth my Father also” (John 15:23). On the other hand, He promised: “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). Jesus prayed for His disciples in these words: “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are” (John 17:11). Finally, when He was in anguish of soul as He began working out the awesome Atonement, the Lord pleaded: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).

In all things, Jesus gave honor and glory to His Father. Even the title which Jesus used to refer to Himself more than 80 times, “Son of Man,” is a reference to the Father. “Man of Holiness” is a title attributed to the Father. When Jesus called Himself the “Son of a Man,” it really meant the “Son of the Man of Holiness,” highlighting the fact that He was the Son of a holy and exalted Man, the Man, the very Eternal Father. Jesus loved His Father, deferred to His Father, taught us the things His Father wanted us to know, and, most importantly, showed us that His Father was also our Father.

It is one of the most misunderstood, yet superlative, of all doctrines that God is our literal Father and that we lived in His presence before our time on earth. My book The Lineage of the Gods is devoted to explaining our Parent-child relationship with our Eternal Father. Our Father in Heaven is the literal Father of our spirits. We are His literal children! His spiritual DNA is intertwined in our souls. We hail from His lineage. Our pedigree runs directly back to God our Father. His home is our true home – our first home.

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As His actual children, we are loved by our Father more than we can comprehend. He has been with us, quite literally, from the beginning. He has watched over our first steps – spiritual and physical. We are created in His image just like every child is created in the image of his or her earthly parents. It opens the Heavens to us and makes our prayers more meaningful when realize our true relationship with our Father.

To understand ourselves, it is helpful to understand more about the Personage we call Father. In fact, it is essential to know both the Father and the Son. Jesus taught: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). We often hear that God is “unknowable” and “indefinable.” As the scripture just cited demonstrates, this is false doctrine. Not only can we know God, we must know Him!

Our Father is separate from the Son and from the Holy Spirit. They are three individual Beings. The Father and Son have glorified bodies of flesh and bone; the Holy Ghost is a Personage of spirit Who will one day receive a body. Together, these three divine Individuals comprise the “Godhead.” They are “One” in the sense that they share the same purpose and mission – to save and exalt mankind.

Furthermore, the members of the Godhead are not devoid of bodies, parts, and passions. As noted, the Father is a Man of Holiness. He is a Man, albeit a glorified and exalted Man. Jesus, clearly, was a Man – though He was also God. Recognizing the humanity of our Father and our Redeemer is essential to knowing them.

We can learn more about the Father by looking at the Son. We are told by Luke that the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ has a perfected body of flesh and bone. He could be seen by mortal eyes and felt by human hands. He could even eat food. You and I can relate to all of these activities and attributes because they are so very human. And as the Son is and does, so is and does the Father. When we recognize this, we can relate better to Him and say that we know something of Him.

Every trait of goodness, compassion, and love that we rightly attribute to Jesus the Christ is equally attributable to our Eternal Father. In fact, the Lord once said that “none is good, save one, that is, God” (Luke 18:19). Our Father is the galactic epitome of greatness, goodness, light, justice, truth, charity, mercy, and love. It’s no wonder that Jesus said: “[T]he true worshippers shall worship the Father” (John 4:23).

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The Christian firebrand, Brigham Young, made this intriguing remark about how we can know God. He said:

This intelligence which is within you and me is from heaven. In gazing upon the intelligence reflected in the countenances of my fellow beings, I gaze upon the image of Him whom I worship—the God I serve. I see His image and a certain amount of His intelligence there. I feel it within myself. My nature shrinks at the divinity we see in others” (President Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, 171, May 29, 1870).

We all have a portion of our Father’s divinity inside of us. Our Father’s spiritual DNA is wound tightly into our souls. We are from His lineage and, like any children, we have the potential to become like Him. The honorable Ezra Taft Benson made this remark:

As God’s offspring, we have His attributes in us. We are gods in embryo, and thus have an unlimited potential for progress and attainment” (President Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 21).

This is a controversial point in Christendom, nevertheless it is substantiated in numerous places throughout the Bible. I cite only three. The Lord Himself, referring to ancient revelation He had given as Jehovah, stated: “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods” (John 10:34). And again, the Apostle Paul plainly stated: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17). Finally, John said: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

It is a glorious truth that we are the children of our Father and that we may, through the redemption of Christ, become like Him and dwell eternally in His Kingdom. What kind of a Kingdom will it be? It will be a Kingdom of light, love, and joy because our Father is a Being of light, love, and joy. Many years ago, a Christian leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave this wonderful description of our Holy Father:

I am perfectly satisfied that my Father and my God is a cheerful, pleasant, lively, and good-natured Being. Why? Because I am cheerful, pleasant, lively, and good-natured when I have His Spirit. That is one reason why I know; and another is – the Lord said, through Joseph Smith, “I delight in a glad heart and a cheerful countenance.” That arises from the perfection of His attributes; He is a jovial, lively person, and a beautiful man” (President Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, February 8, 1857).

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It warms my heart to think of my Father as “a jovial, lively person, and a beautiful man.” I want to be like Him and to eventually grow into His attributes. Since I know that I’m a son, I also know that I can become like my Father. These truths have been pressed into my soul by the witness of the Holy Spirit. They’ve also been in my mind since childhood when I sang the hymn “I Am a Child of God.” The verses teach:

“I am a child of God,

And he has sent me here,

Has given me an earthly home

With parents kind and dear.

“I am a child of God,

And so my needs are great;

Help me to understand his words

Before it grows too late.

“I am a child of God.

Rich blessings are in store;

If I but learn to do his will

I’ll live with him once more.”

We are children of God. He is our Father. And we will return to His Heavenly Home one day if we understand His words, follow His Son, and really come to know Them.

This Fathers’ Day, I encourage everyone to get on their knees and pray to their Father in Heaven. Express gratitude to Him that He is your Father and that you are His child. Thank Him from the depth of your soul for sending His Son – our Elder Brother – Jesus Christ to redeem us from death and hell. Pour out your gratitude to your Father for watching over you throughout your life, providing a beautiful world to live on, giving you the necessities of food, water, and a home, and answering your prayers.

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The best gift you can give your Eternal Father this holiday is to acknowledge Him, speak with Him, and follow His Son so that the Lord may bring us back to Him one day. Always remember the words of our Savior:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).

Zack Strong,

June 21, 2020

Past Feeling

Civilization is in crisis. Our moral compass is haywire and we have wandered far off the correct path. Few acts exemplify this confusion of ethics better than elective abortion – the willful murder of one’s offspring. Abortion is the ultimate sign that society has become past feeling.

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Past feeling” is a phrase used in scripture to describe those whose hearts have hardened and who have left the Gospel path. In his letter to the Ephesian Saints, the Apostle Paul gave this encouragement:

[W]alk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,

Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Ephesians 4:17-19).

Paul reminded his fellow Christians that disciples of the Master cannot walk as others do. We are meant to be a “peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9). When we embrace the Savior’s covenant path, we embrace a new and higher way of life and forever leave behind old habits and corrupt ways of thought and behavior. Those who reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ alienate themselves “from the life of God.” This self-alienation comes because of ignorance, blindness of heart, and sin. A symbol of this alienation is that people become “past feeling.”

Those who are “past feeling” are those who have “their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:2). They have willfully rebelled against God and His laws to such an extent that they become numb to the Holy Spirit and can no longer properly hear or understand His quiet and subtle promptings. They are those who “are without God in the world” and who “have gone contrary to the nature of God” (Alma 41:11). All of us can slip into this state of unfeeling if we are not careful and if we do not guard ourselves against enemy interference.

A person who is “past feeling” sees the world differently and abnormally. Up is down. Black is white. Evil is good. This tragic state of affairs is a direct fulfillment of Isaiah’s ancient prophecy that people would call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)

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Because their consciences are seared, they cannot reliably make moral judgment calls. They are not in tune with the Holy Spirit of God. A wise man gave an analogy about hearing the voice of the Holy Ghost. He first compared the process to using an old radio set to hone in on the proper signal and then observed:

In terms of modern communication, crystal radio sets helped us emerge from the dark ages of communication. With advanced technology, cellular phones are used for much of the communication in our time. Occasionally, however, we find dead spots where the signal coming to a cell phone fails. This can happen when the cell phone user is in a tunnel or a canyon or when there is other interference.

So it is with divine communication. The still, small voice, though still and small, is very powerful. It “whispereth through and pierceth all things.” But like my old crystal set, the message may be there but we fail to pick it up. Perhaps something in our lives prevents us from hearing the message because we are “past feeling.” We often put ourselves in spiritual dead spotsplaces and situations that block out divine messages. Some of these dead spots include anger, pornography, transgression, selfishness, and other situations that offend the Spirit” (President James E. Faust, “Did You Get the Right Message?” General Conference, April, 2004).

Using a similar analogy, Boyd K. Packer, who was a fearless defender of the faith against the forces of cultural depravity, warned:

The world grows increasingly noisy. . . .

This trend to more noise, more excitement, more contention, less restraint, less dignity, less formality is not coincidental nor innocent nor harmless.

The first order issued by a commander mounting a military invasion is the jamming of the channels of communication of those he intends to conquer” (President Boyd K. Packer, “Reverence Invites Revelation,” General Conference, October, 1991).

Satan is the arch-enemy of mankind. He is the commanding general of the forces of wickedness. He is father of all lies. In order to get us to believe his harmful deceptions, he first has to jam our communication lines. He has to disrupt the flow of subtle messages from the Holy Spirit to our individual spirits. He does this through at least three methods: 1) Luring us into sin; 2) encouraging our neglect; and 3), convincing us of false ideas.

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Sin is the most obvious way we disrupt our channels of communication. Whether through indulgence in pornography, substance abuse, dishonesty, pride, greed, adultery, or unwarranted violence, sin causes the Holy Spirit to flee. The Holy Spirit is, as the title suggests, holy. A holy being cannot and will not remain in a filthy environment. If you pollute and stain your soul, you drive the Holy Spirit out. The moment you begin to clean up the figurative mess, however, He rushes back in and helps you take out the trash.

Next, I use an analogy to talk about how neglect weakens our communication lines. If we do not charge our phone’s battery and it dies, we cannot use it to make or receive calls. It doesn’t matter if it is the latest and greatest version of the iPhone or an old flip-phone. Without a charged batter, you simply can’t make or receive calls or texts. Through neglect, we figuratively allow our spiritual batteries to die. Our spiritual muscles become atrophied overtime unless we stretch and use them. Rusty spiritual communication lines are certainly a factor in people becoming past feeling.

Thirdly, adopting false notions such as the anti-Christ concept of organic evolution, the Devilish dogmas of communism, or the idea that killing one’s children is acceptable extinguishes the influence of the Holy Ghost in your life. You cannot simultaneously harbor contradictory worldviews. As the Lord taught:

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).

We might be sincere. We might really believe an idea. But ultimately we cannot believe two contradictory principles. They cancel each other out. We cannot stand on both sides of the dividing line between good and evil. We either believe the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ or we don’t.

For example, we simply cannot believe that man evolved from a lower species because it has been revealed: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). To believe the idea of organic evolution is to believe either that the Genesis account of creation is fraudulent or that God is something lesser than man. Both suppositions are false and would nullify the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ. They undercut the profound reality that we are the literal children of our Father in Heaven.

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By the same token, we cannot believe in the command “thou shalt not kill” and also think elective abortion – the unnecessary and voluntary killing of a child – is fine and dandy. Either we believe that we have no right to kill another unless in self-defense or to punish one who has forfeited his right to life through the malicious violation of another’s rights, or we believe that we have a right to kill. There is no middle ground. There is no third position. Either humans have a right to destroy the lives of their children or they do not. Since the Gospel of our Redeemer teaches quite clearly in multiple places “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13), it stands that to advocate killing – for any illegitimate reason – is contrary to the Gospel.

When we wander in sin, neglect our duties relative to God and our fellow men, or adopt false philosophies, we sear our conscience and jam our crucial lines of communication with God. As such, we become “past feeling” and we “quench” the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). In this darkened state, we often gravitate towards greater darkness. It is the nature of things to be attracted to things that are similar. As a revelation states:

For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:40).

When we become past feeling, we embrace those things that are devoid of spirit, life, and light because they are comfortable and familiar. Once we successfully silence the voice of our conscience and disrupt the communications from the Holy Ghost, we are led into hedonism. We live for ourselves and don’t care about others. Our creed in life becomes, “How does this benefit me?”

To carnal individuals, the responsibilities and self-sacrifice required in marriage and parenthood are burdensome. Self-centered women who value sex and carefree living over all other things naturally embrace abortion as a means of continuing their hedonistic lifestyles while avoiding the “inconvenience” of motherhood. Lustful men, too, encourage abortion so that they can avoid the duties of fatherhood and continue sleeping around and not thinking of anyone but themselves.

In my article “Abortionism – Cult of Death,” I quoted a LifeSiteNews piece that hits the nail on the head. It explains the perverse rationale behind abortion:

““Abortionism” is essentially a philosophy that raises abortion to a sacred status, above all other democratic principles.

. . . Abortion’s now-sacred status is symptomatic of something far more sinister: the sweeping success of the Sexual Revolution. So-called “sexual rights” are now considered to be the most important “rights” our society has, and take precedence over all other rights, regardless of how fundamental they are.”

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A hedonistic and selfish society is one that almost has to adopt abortion. Unless they have carte blanche on removing any impediment to their libidinous lifestyle, even if that “impediment” is another human life, they will be forced to be responsible individuals who do what dutiful individuals have always done – find a mate, marry, and create a family. When a person’s conscience is seared and they have become numb and past feeling, however, they stop thinking straight. Their only consideration becomes how they can find pleasure and feed their ravenous animal desires.

People who are so past feeling that they only think about self-gratification are those who invent emotion-driven slogans like “pro-choice,” “women’s rights,” and “my body, my choice” to justify snuffing out the lives of unborn human beings – human beings with arms and legs, fingers and toes, skin and eyes, functioning organs and a heart beat. A pregnant woman’s choices do not involve her body alone – they involve the body of another developing, growing human being. Through sexual intercourse, they have voluntarily created this life. Once that decision is made, they have no right to cancel it out because doing so terminates the life of a separate, unique human being – a son or daughter of Almighty God.

Think of how ghastly abortion really is. The very idea of a mother willfully killing her children is repugnant and disgusting to anyone who is not past feeling. Anyone with a functioning moral compass knows that elective abortion – that is, the unnecessary and wholly voluntary termination of the life of another human being for selfish purposes – is not only wrong, but evil.

We are frequently told that women are much more emotionally prescient than men. I suppose that a well-grounded woman has better motherly instincts than a man. Why shouldn’t she? She’s a woman and women were appointed to the holy and high calling of motherhood. However, I question the popular notion that women are more in tune than men when I see thousands of women in the streets marching for their alleged “right” to mutilate and kill their babies. When I see thousands of feminist women demanding, sometimes violently, the “right” to commit infanticide, it disgusts me.

No one has a “right” to kill babies. That is not a “right;” that is murder. It is heartless and evil. And simply because a human being has not yet developed as completely as another does not give anyone the right to kill him. If we use that perverse and flawed logic, we could say that children one, two, three, or four years old who have not matured yet – either physically or mentally – can be killed, too. Don’t think I’m being facetious. After-birth abortion – that is, the murder of already born children – has been advocated by abortion extremists throughout the world.

A rationale for after-birth abortion (i.e. murder) was given by two people clearly past feeling:

[W]hen circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible. . . . [W]e propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide,’ to emphasize that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus . . . rather than to that of a child. Therefore, we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk” (Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, in William Saletan, “After-Birth Abortion: The pro-choice case for infanticide,” Slate, March 12, 2012).

What Giubilini, Minerva, and all those who think like them, want is society to allow them to murder children for their own convenience. To disguise the fact that this is murder, they try to use medical terminology. But infanticide by any other name is still infanticide. It is human sacrifice on the altar of the Evil One.

Let me be clear: I am not referring to the less than 1% of abortion cases involving rape, incest, or severe medical issues. I’m speaking of elective, voluntary, willful abortion. Elective abortion is, by definition, never necessary. It is an unnecessary medical procedure whose purpose is not to save but to destroy. It is the deliberate execution of another human being. It is the intentional taking of life.

I repeat: You do not have a “right” to take another person’s life – even if their body happens to be temporarily inside of you. To reason that you have a “right” to kill is to admit that you are past feeling. And for a mother of all people to flippantly say, “My body, my choice” (i.e. “I can kill my children and there’s nothing you can do about it), is not only delusional, but reprehensible in the extreme.

Don’t be fooled by the deceptive Marxian language about “rights,” “equality,” and “choice.” These emotion-laden words are meant to get you to lower your guard and accept things which your sensitive spirit knows are wrong. If you let your guard down long enough, you can adopt so much of that which is evil that you become past feeling and join those who are openly rebelling against God.

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The great Christian leader, Boyd K. Packer, once said:

World leaders and court judges agree that the family must endure if we are to survive. At the same time, they use the words freedom and choice as tools to pry apart the safeguards of the past and loosen up the laws on marriage, abortion, and gender. In so doing, they promote the very things which threaten the family. . . .

When we speak plainly of divorce, abuse, gender identity, contraception, abortion, parental neglect, we are thought by some to be way out of touch or to be uncaring. Some ask if we know how many we hurt when we speak plainly. Do we know of marriages in trouble, of the many who remain single, of single-parent families, of couples unable to have children, of parents with wayward children, or of those confused about gender? Do we know? Do we care?

Those who ask have no idea how much we care; you know little of the sleepless nights, of the endless hours of work, of prayer, of study, of travelall for the happiness and redemption of mankind.

Because we do know and because we do care, we must teach the rules of happiness without dilution, apology, or avoidance. That is our calling” (President Boyd K. Packer, “The Father and the Family,” General Conference, April, 1994).

Every soul is precious to God – and none more than those of innocent children who are pure and sinless, having come straight from His presence. He is the literal Father of all who come into mortality. We are His special sons and daughters. He surely weeps as He watches His children misuse their agency to literally butcher and kill each other – and then to justify it by saying it’s their “right.”

As Christians, we have a duty to denounce evil and promote goodness. We have a duty to follow the commandments and to use our influence, great or small, to thwart Satan’s plan – a plan which involves persuading people to kill their own children. We must not allow words like “choice” to disarm us or dissuade us from doing what is right.

Thou shalt not kill.” This is the command. A woman’s voluntary decision to sleep with a man and risk becoming pregnant does not negate the Lord’s command, nor does it negate a human being’s right to live. It is not an assault on Freedom of choice to prohibit elective abortion. Rather, it is a protection of our God-given rights, chief among which is the right of life. Those who cannot yet defend themselves enjoy the same right to live and breathe as you do. If not, then we live in a savage, might-makes-right, Darwinistic mire.

Our civilization can hardly be considered civilized when we take into account the 70+ million innocent babies whose lives we’ve destroyed in a brutal and merciless holocaust. The millions of babies who have died in horrible agony as their little bodies were literally torn apart and then vacuumed out of their mother’s womb would tell you, if they could, that they wanted to live; that they had a right to live; that it was their body and their choice to live, grow, experience earth life, and be held by a loving mother. Is that too much too ask?

To those who are past feeling, anything that prevents their full hedonistic self-gratification is too much to ask. The anguish of butchered babies means nothing to the self-absorbed who reject eternal law. Those whose hearts have been hardened and minds darkened to such an extent that they ruthlessly champion their so-called “right” to murder human beings have marked themselves as enemies to humanity, to our God-given rights, and to the Liberty vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States.

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It is therefore the duty of every right-thinking individual – especially every Christian – who is not past feeling and who can still recognize the sweet influence of the Holy Spirit, to stand up in defense of the defenseless. It is our sacred responsibility not only to “be fruitful, and multiply” (Genesis 1:28), but to ensure that the right of life is extended to all those spirits whom our Father in Heaven desires to send into mortality. We must, as our Master did, go about doing good (Acts 10:38). And what cause is of more worth than defending the right of life of the most needy, innocent, and worthy among us?

Dear reader, abortion is evil. It is little more than coldblooded murder. It is a symptom of a spiritual sickness far worse than the hyped Coronavirus or smallpox. One thing is certain: An individual, group, or society that tolerates the slaughter of their infants is past feeling. God help us to repent. God help us to properly value life. And God help us to feel again!

Zack Strong,

February 9, 2020

“The Lineage of the Gods” Book Release

Unlike most of my articles, this one is not political; it is strictly religious and personal.

I am incredibly pleased to announce that my third book, The Lineage of the Gods, is now available in paperback and ebook through Kindle Direct Publishing. If you have ever pondered man’s true origin, wondered what our real relationship with God is, or mused about your personal spiritual potential, you will find this book fascinating and beneficial.

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Cover art by the talented Jessica Malchus. Thank you, Jess!

The Lineage of the Gods reveals man’s true origin and explains his Parent-child relationship with Heavenly Father. It also tackles some of the biggest challenges to a correct understanding of who we are, where we come from, and where we are going; namely, godless Darwinism and the pagan conception of self-deification. The goal of this book is to convince you that you are a son or daughter of God – one of His literal offspring. Or as I wrote in the introduction:

“This book is designed to peel back the layers to give you a taste of your true identity, God’s real nature and Plan for your life, and a sense of your awesome potential as a son or daughter of the Eternal Father. It is also my aim to bear fervent testimony of Jesus Christ. He is our Savior and Redeemer, the King of kings and Lord of lords. I love Him and the Father who sent Him to atone for the sins of the world. I love my Eternal Father and Mother, and my Brother and Savior Jesus Christ. I offer this book, however imperfect it may be, as a witness to the truth that I know in my heart and which I have learned through the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.”

This work relies upon three sources: 1) The words, teachings, and declarations of modern prophets and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; 2) the holy scriptures; and 3) my own personal testimony. I bear witness that I know for myself, independent of any other person, that man is the offspring of God, that God is the literal Father of our spirits, that we lived with Him before coming to this earth, and that, if we obey the laws established by Him and taught by Jesus Christ, we can one day return to our Heavenly Home and progress to become like our Eternal Father.

Though most modern Christians sadly reject this glorious idea, the Bible copiously teaches the doctrine that we are the children of God. The Psalmist wrote: “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High” (Psalms 82:6). This verse plainly testifies that we are the “children” of God and that, as such, we have the potential to become like Him as any child has the potential to become like his father. The Messiah confirmed the truth of this statement when He repeated this ancient teaching during His mortal ministry (John 10:30-36).

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“I am a Child of God” by Howard Lyon

Additionally, John testified that we are “the sons of God” and that when we eventually see God, we will realize we are “like him” (1 John 3:1-2). The Apostle Paul testified to the Greeks who were struggling to come to terms with an “Unknown God” that:

“For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

“Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device” (Acts 17:28-29).

Paul was not speaking in jest. He meant it when he said that we are the “offspring of God.” Because we are His children, he instructs, we must not image vain things about God such as the idea that He is made of gold or that He is a cosmic essence or that He is undefinable and unknowable. Rather, He is our Father and to know Him and our Savior constitutes eternal life (John 17:3). My book teaches ways that we can better know God.

Another time, Paul wrote: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16). This apostle wanted us to realize that through obedience to Gospel law, we can, as children of God, become heirs of Him alongside our Elder Brother Jesus Christ. “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).

Additional scriptural references to our familial relationship with God could be cited, but these are enough to give you a taste of the truth that has been hid for so long. The fact is that we are the literal children of God. What an incredible truth! Is anything more invigorating and inspiring to know that we are sons and daughters of the Being who rules the cosmos and that we can become like Him through the redemption of Jesus Christ? I submit that this is the most powerful and transformative knowledge in the universe.

I take the title of my book, The Lineage of the Gods, from a profound quotation made by an apostle of the Lord named Elder Delbert Stapley. Elder Stapley once witnessed:

“Regardless of man’s claims to the contrary, God is still God; Christ is His son – His Only Begotten Son in the flesh. He is in the express image of His Father’s person, and is our Redeemer, Savior, Lord, and King. The scriptures teach us that we are descended from the lineage of the Gods; therefore, we are created in their likeness and image, in both spirit and body, and we are endowed with like character traits, qualities, and powers. We are not the product of evolution from some lower organism of life as man speculates and would have us believe.”

We did not slowly evolve from scum and slime; we descended from our Heavenly Home above! We have a royal pedigree. We carry God’s DNA in the molecules of our souls. We are members of His family and lineage. Can you comprehend the power of this idea? No idea is more capable of producing spiritual courage, moral fortitude, and zeal for righteousness than to know that the God we worship is none other than our Father and that He has provided a way, through our Brother Jesus Christ, to return to Him and become like Him.

Another great man of God, President Ezra Taft Benson, taught us of our pre-earth origin and testified of how intimately acquainted we really are with God. He stated:

“We once knew well our Elder Brother and His and our Father in Heaven. We rejoiced at the prospects of earth life that could make it possible for us to have a fulness of joy. We could hardly wait to demonstrate to our Father and our Brother, the Lord, how much we loved them and how we would be obedient to them in spite of the earthly opposition of the evil one.

“Now we are here. Our memories are veiled. We are showing God and ourselves what we can do. Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father and how familiar His face is to us.

“God loves us. He is watching us. He wants us to succeed. We will know some day that He has not left one thing undone for the eternal welfare of each of us. If we only knew it, heavenly hosts are pulling for us—friends in heaven that we cannot now remember who yearn for our victory. This is our day to show what we can do—what life and sacrifice we can daily, hourly, instantly make for God. If we give our all, we will get His all from the greatest of all.”

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“Grand Council in Heaven” by Robert Barrett

Though for wise reasons we do not remember our past existence in God’s presence, we have been given glimpses through the holy prophets. Jeremiah, for instance, was told that before he was born, God foreordained him as a prophet (Jeremiah 1:5). John testified that we were present during the War in Heaven before Lucifer was cast down to this earth and that we all sided with Michael in that struggle (Revelation 12:3-9). Job recalled that the sons of God shouted for joy in Heaven when they were informed that they would be given the privilege of coming to earth to be tested (Job 38:7).

In addition to canonized scripture, modern prophets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have showered us with additional insights into our pre-mortal origin, the purpose in mortality, and the glorious homecoming that waits us when we walk into the afterlife. As President Benson said, nothing will surprise us more than how familiar we are with God and how well we know Him. Yet, if we believe the Bible’s witness that we are His children, we should have the anticipation of this joyous homecoming burning in our souls without anyone else needing to tell us what to feel.

Satan, that being who was cast out of the Father’s presence for rebellion against His Plan of Salvation, is attempting to destroy mankind. He does this through blinding us to the truth of our Heavenly heritage. He muddies the waters and clouds our understanding with falsehoods. He desperately does not want us to realize the fact that we are the offspring of God and, as such, have greater power than he does. He wants us to be miserable like him and therefore lies to us and says our ancestors were apes or some lower species rather than the very God of the universe!

Lucifer knows that this knowledge – the knowledge of man’s true origin and relationship with Deity – would revolutionize the world if it were widely known and taught in its purity. Consequently, he has spent millennia suppressing this idea and spreading demeaning lies about our true nature and God’s true nature as a Holy Man.

In this book, I have tried my best to bear witness of the truth that we are sons and daughters of God. I want everyone to feel as inspired as I feel to know my true origin and potential. I have attempted to shine a light through the hazy darkness to help illuminate the understanding of my fellow brothers and sisters. All people can benefit from this rich knowledge. The truth of man’s origin really is the great secret to living a fulfilling, contented, inspired life as a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I urge everyone who has ever wondered where he or she came from, why they are here on earth, and why they should bother to turn their hearts to God, to get a copy of my book and study its contents prayerfully. The Lineage of the Gods will answer numerous questions and clarify many points in the scriptures. In 100,000 words spread over 6 chapters, I have diligently attempted to synthesize the truth into an accessible, edifying format for learning. Those who love the word of God will appreciate my attempt to instruct and teach these principles of power that have meant so much to me.

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I end by sharing my testimony that Heavenly Father knows you and loves you because you are His unique son or daughter. Though you do not remember it now, you once lived with Him in paradise before coming to earth to be tested. If you remember your thrilling lineage and rely upon the grace of your Elder Brother Jesus Christ, you can return to God and continue to progress for eternity. I know that Jesus is the Savior of mankind and that His Gospel helps us live the abundant life. It is my goal to spread the truth – and in this case, the truth is that you are descended from the lineage of God!

To purchase The Lineage of the Gods in paperback, click this link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1728937884/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1539910606&sr=1-1&keywords=zack+strong+the+lineage+of+the+gods

To purchase the book in ebook format, click here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JWL86CR/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1539910606&sr=1-2&keywords=zack+strong+the+lineage+of+the+gods

Zack Strong,

October 18, 2018.