Search This Blog

Friday, October 23, 2015

340: CHANGING THE ORDINANCE, REMOVING THE SYMBOLS and MODIFYING THE WORDS


The trick to successfully pulling off an apostasy is to distract people into thinking there hasn't been one and that all is well in Zion. When apostasy is noticed, acknowledged and exposed, then it is possible to repent and return. Until then, we remain blind and most likely will continue to discard and reject the things of the Lord.

 Elder Jeffery R Holland declared in February of this year that the Church is immune to error and will not fall into apostasy.

“Ours is that fail-safe, inexorable, indestructible dispensation of the fulness of the gospel… Unlike every other era before us, this dispensation will not experience an institutional apostasy; it will not see a loss of priesthood keys; it will not suffer a cessation of revelation from the voice of Almighty God. Individuals will apostatize, they may turn a deaf ear to heaven, but never again will this dispensation collectively do so. What a secure thought that is! What a day in which to live! What a way to cut through fear or faintheartedness”


However, Christ’s own words in the Book of Mormon predicted that at some point the latter-day gentiles would reject the fullness. (3 Nephi 16:10) We also read that we also fall into apostasy when we change or alter the ordinances that the Lord has given us.

The adversary succeeds when he manages to get us to not reject ordinances, but to change them. As soon as they are changed, they are broken. (D&C 1: 15.) "For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant." That is an important step towards apostasy, because then religious people can continue to claim they follow a true religion, while practicing one that has been broken. These practitioners become like the ancient Jews, who mocked Lehi because they knew they were still righteous. They knew Lehi was foolish, even fraudulent. They thought it was humorous when Lehi preached the idea. Because they were so very religious, so devout, so unassailably active in following God, the idea was absolutely laughable that they were apostate. They still had the truth, the ordinances, the temple, and the priesthood. (excerpts from a blog post entitled The Trick to Apostasy)

Here is just one example of an ordinance that we have changed: The sacrament.  Not only have we changed the words, the symbols, but also in the manner in which the sacrament is administered. In my opinion, it has lost its sacred qualities. That is a perfect example of changing an ordinance. While it maintains the appearance, it is hollow without the sacred symbols. (It should be noted that these changes are minor compared the changes made to the Temple Ordinances after I took out my endowments prior to 1990's)
 
LDS Sacrament Emblems:


The Emblems of the Sacrament in Scriptures:


 

 Here is a quick example of what happens when you remove something as simple as the symbolic color red. Below is an illustration of a familiar symbol. However, it is missing just one thing: the color red. Is a stop sign still a stop sign without the color red? Would you know to stop if you saw the below white stop sign on the street corner? Does it have the same effect? So, how about using clear, chlorinated water as the symbol for blood for the sacrament?  Does that have the same effect?
 
 

Here are a few important things that we have changed and altered from the Sacrament ordinance:
 
CONGREGATIONAL KNEELING:

Everyone should knee out of respect to the Lord and the sacred nature of the ordinance. We read that the elder or priest knelt down along with the congregation to bless the sacrament. 
  • "And they did kneel down with the church, and pray to the Father in the name of Christ." Moroni 4:2

  • "And the elder or priest shall administer it; and after this manner shall he administer it—he shall kneel with the church and call upon the Father in solemn prayer." D&C 20:76
SACRAMENT EMBLEMS:
Wine should be used (alcoholic or not). Scriptures mandate that. The purpose of the wine is to not only symbolized the blood with the color red, but also to reflect the bitterness of the shedding of the blood of the Savior. It is designed to be unpleasant and not necessarily “taste good”.
  • "It is expedient that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in the remembrance of the Lord Jesus." D&C 20:75-

  • "And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make."D&C 89: 5-6
 
SACRAMENT PRAYERS:
 
Exact wording of the Sacrament Prayer either from the chapters 4 and 5 in Moroni or section 20 in the Doctrine and Covenants. Unfortunately we have changed the word wine and we say water instead. (interesting to note: there is a word difference between the two scriptural versions. In the Book of Mormon, Moroni uses the word “hath” and in the D&C it uses the word “has” in the blessing of the bread. See below).

Moroni 4
  • O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
 
D&C 20: 77
 
  • O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen

TAKING UPON US AN OATH/SACRED COVENANT:
 
The Sacrament is a sacred ordinance. Quite literally, the sacrament is like taking an oath. Under oath we promise to “always remember Him.”
 In the legal system, you would not be allowed to testify in a courtroom under oath unless you raise your arm to the square. It is a signal that you are being square about this, you are being truthful about this, you are being honest about this. You are holding yourself up to the sharp corners of truth and squareness.
 
The Lord not only wants us to recite in the Sacrament Prayers our obligations that we are giving, but also recite the Lords' obligation to us... to have his Spirit to be with us. The language of the ordinance is not merely us reciting what we commit to do, but the Lord’s commitment to us.. That is the thing about covenants. He is saying in this ordinance that if we commit to our obligation, He will commit to deliver to us His Spirit.
 
In fact, raising your arm to the square (either one or both) was used in the Church up until the 1930’s. Like the baptismal prayer, you don’t see an ordinance performed without an arm raised to the square. After World War II it was brought to an end. The priest blessing the sacrament and the congregation are testifying of the same thing. All of them are testifying of this sacred obligation to always remember Him. (Anciently, another reason for extending your hands in the air was to show that your hands were clean.)
 
The picture above was taken about 1894. It shows that the Melchizedek Priesthood holder is raising both hands as he offers the Sacrament Prayer. Many living LDS members recall that when a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood offered the prayer, he raised his right hand only. The practice was discontinued in the LDS Church in the 1930s.
 
 
 
SIDENOTE:
 
I wrote this blog post because I just returned from visiting the new Church History Museum. I was stunned to see in the art exhibit showing the Sacrament representing the Lord's Supper with the 12 apostles. The chair at the head of the table on the right is suppose to represent Christ seat where the large picture of water is. On the table, there are 12 glasses for each of the disciples. The glasses are only filled with water. To compensate for the lack of tthe symbolic red color,  they have used a red tablecloth and seat covering.. Personally when I saw the clear glasses with water it felt empty and lacked the Spirit of what the Lord intended.
  

 
 

This is what the Sacrament table display would look like if you didn't have the red tablecloth and only had the water to symbolize the blood of Christ.
 
So the question to ask yourself: Have we changed this sacred ordinance? If so, lets repent and return back to what the Lord intended.
 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

339: UNBELIEVABLE - "Compromise" and "submit"


Mormon apostle Oaks: Kentucky clerk wrong not to issue same-sex marriage licenses

Elder Oaks: "Compromise should be the goal."

Elder Oaks: "Believers should ... acknowledge the validity of constitutional laws. Even where they have challenged laws or practices on constitutional grounds, once those laws or practices have been sustained by the highest available authority believers should acknowledge their validity and submit to them."

Seriously? Compromise? Submit? No longer should we stand up for what is right? Here is a quote from President Monson that I appreciate:  "Do we have the moral courage to stand firm for our beliefs, even if by so doing we must stand alone?"

Here is the full article:
http://www.sltrib.com/lifestyle/faith/3082891-155/mormon-apostle-oaks-kentucky-clerk-wrong


Sidenote:
I long to feel "free" and fly like this.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

338: MOONRISE AND THEN SUNRISE (with alot of planets and constellations in between)


 And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth,
 which comprehend the earth and all the planets.

 
Here are some photos from early this morning. 
 
Photo One: Taken about 6:20 AM this morning as the moon ascended above the horizon.
Starting with the top star in descending order is Regulus (which is the brightest star in the constellation Leo and one of the brightest stars in the night sky). The planet Venus which appeared to be exceptionally bright this morning. Then the planets Mars, Jupiter, and then Mercury which is just above the moon.
 
 
 
Photo Two: The planet Mercury just above the Crescent Moon.
 
 
 Photos 3 and 4: Facing East looking at the rising Sun.
 




"Abraham is the father of all the righteous because he was the first to succeed when born to an apostate father. Abraham represents coming back to the light despite being raised in idolatry. We face this same challenge. We must overcome idolatry by rejecting false ministers and searching for the truth. Just like the fathers at Adam-ondi-Ahman, Jehovah revealed Himself to Abraham. Abraham's religion is intended to return at the end. Abraham was the first to rediscover, " a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers," after generations of darkness."  [PTR pg 124]


For more information about the planet alignments:
http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/visible-planets-tonight-mars-jupiter-venus-saturn-mercury

Friday, October 9, 2015

337: DEGREES OF LIGHT

 
Below is the best quote from last week's General Conference.

"If spiritual growth is not a priority in our lives, if we are not on a course of steady improvement, we will miss out on the important experiences that God wants to give us. Years ago I read these words of President Spencer W. Kimball, which had a lasting impact on me. He said: “I have learned that where there is a prayerful heart, a hungering after righteousness, a forsaking of sins, and obedience to the commandments of God, the Lord pours out more and more light until there is finally power to pierce the heavenly veil. ... A person of such righteousness has the priceless promise that one day he shall see the Lord’s face and know that he is.” see footnote (1)

The reason why this quote is so important is that it is referring to those who have received a testimony of Jesus in the flesh. This is the fulness of the Gospel. This beautiful priceless promise  is contained is scriptural (D&C 93:1)  We don't hear much about this anymore from the pulpit, especially since Joseph Smith (with the exception of a few talks given by Bruce R McConkie.)  

We read in the Doctrine and Covenants 76 about the varying degress of "light" or glory that we are able to receive. The brightest light or "celestial" glory is obtained by those who "received the testimony of Jesus, (in the flesh) and believed on his name." The next glory is given to those who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it. (after they had died. President Eyring talks alot about this) .These are they who are honorable men of the earth, but who were blinded by the craftiness of men. The lowest glory is given to those who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus.

Yesterday, I took a few photos on an early morning hike. I looked up and noticed an alignment of three heavenly lights in the early morning sky before the sunrise. The lowest star has the least amount of light. The middle light was a little brighter. The highest light was the brightest. The equal spacing between these three lights was beautiful.




Here are a few more photos I took that morning:

 

This is a photograph of the water reflection of the mountains in Lake Katherine. I have inverted the photograph to show that water was so still that the reflection actually looked real.




This photo is also flipped upside down as an example. It hard to tell what is the reflection and what is the real thing.





Footnote 1:
From the General Conference talk given by Larry Lawrence  who is one of the "least" of the General Authorities. He had previously served as a member of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy but is now in the second quorum of the Seventy. I hope Bishops around the world will choose this talk as one of the assigned "rehashed" conference talks for Sacrament speakers to regive during the next 6 months.

BTW:  Elder L. Whitney Clayton was just called to be the President of the Quorum of Seventy, the next highest calling in the heirarchy. Many thought he would be one of the newly called apostles. Once another apostle dies (or even President Monson), he likely will be the next one in line.

Also here is an interesting  Media Blitz for the Church/MoTab Choir that will air tomorrow on ESPN at the Utah Football Game.


Monday, October 5, 2015

336: "I TESTIFY TO YOU THAT I KNOW"

Much has already been said from the bloggernacle regarding General Conference. So, I won't mention the Pondergate scandal, the Utah-centric eliteness of the newly called Lord's servants, the man-worshipping in the prayers and the talks, the emphasis on keeping the Sabbath Day holy but advertising their for-profit companies on the day of rest. However, I did want to mention one thing: President Eyring's talk in the Sunday Morning session. I am grateful for his honesty and clarity about how the Lord guides and directs His Church. He testified to us that he knows, that it is through the Holy Ghost (and not personally by the Lord himself) that the
Church is guided and directed.

Even though Eyring makes strong claims that this is the Lord's Church and they are the Lord's Servants, like

        "My Dear Brother and Sisters, I am grateful to be with you on this Sabbath Day in this General Conference of the Lord’s Church."

         "We can for instance be warned by the Spirit to resist the temptation to do evil. For that reason alone it is easy to see why the Lord’s servants have tried to increase our desire to worship God in our Sacrament Meetings."

...Eyring states that  the Lord  does not direct His Church through His personal ministering to them in the flesh but through  revelation that comes from the promptings of the Holy Ghost. This is Elder Eyring's testimony:

          "I bear you my testimony, that God the Father lives, that the Resurrected Jesus Christ leads His Church. That President Thomas S Monson holds all the keys of the Priesthood and that revelation through the Holy Ghost guides and sustains the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I further testify to you that these wonderful men who were called and today who have been speaking to us as witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ and as members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I testify to you, that I know that the Spirit led President Monson to call them and that they are called of God. I so testify. And as you listen to them in their testimonies the Holy Spirit will confirm to you what I now say to you that they are called of God. I sustain them and love them, and know the Lord will love them and sustain them in their service and I do it in the name of Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen."

Let me reiterate President Eyring's exact words (that he read from the teleprompter:

  • Revelation through the Holy Ghost guides and sustains the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  • I testify to you, that I know that the Spirit led President Monson to call them (the apostles).


Instead: I think most members are led to believe that the Lord Himself ministers to His servants to guide the Church (not just through the Holy Ghost). Also, I think most members believe that the new apostles were called by the Lord himself and appeared to them personally to be His "special witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ. The truth is that President Monson was just being led by the Spirit to call them.

It is my opinion, based on the testimony of President Eyring, that the current Lord's servants have not seen the resurrected Christ in the flesh (unlike the prophet Joseph Smith and other true prophets in the scriptures.)  While the current living apostles were compared to Nephi and other prophets who actually have seen the Lord in the flesh, I don't think they feel it is important as long as they are directed by the Spirit.  President Eyring in his talk said the following:

"The Lord taught His apostle Thomas who wanted physical evidence of the Saviors resurrection by touching His wounds. He taught that revelation is safer. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, Because though has seen me, thou has believed, Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet who believed. The truths that mark the way back to God are verified by the Holy Ghost. We cannot go to the grove and see the Father and Son speak to the young Joseph Smith. No physical evidence nor any logical argument can establish that Elijah came as promised to confer the priesthood keys now held and exercised by a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson."


If someone outside their hierarchy claims to have seen the Lord and preaches repentance, expounds scripture and testifies of the reality of Jesus Christ because he has been personally ministered to and seen Him.. the Church hierarchy thinks they are false prophets.. In the mind of the Church Hierarchy, if they personally have not seen the Lord, there is no way anyone else could.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

335: A POWERFUL SACRAMENT TALK (that I wish could be given at General Conference)

A friend of mind recently spoke in his ward's Sacrament Meeting. He sent me a copy of his talk and I appreciated the things he shared. I asked him for permission to post it here. I wish a talk like this could be given at General Conference:
 
 
Photo taken at sunrise on the shore of the Sea of Galilee on May 11, 2010
 
........................................................................... 
 
There is a parable in Matthew 13 that I think about often. Jesus said:

"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." vs 47-50

Jesus gave many parables on this topic, and there are many statements about it in scripture.  The story is consistent – There are good fish and bad fish, wheat and tares, caught in the net of the Church. They are all going to receive the ministry of angels. The good fish will be gathered by the angels into vessels to be preserved. The bad will meet the angels when they return with Christ at his second coming (as Moroni said to Joseph Smith in 1823, “They that come shall burn them”).

The missionary work that brings people to baptism and confirmation is just a preliminary gathering. All kinds of fish are gathered in the net. 

What is conversion in the context of this parable?  Is it getting in the net through baptism? Staying in the net at all costs?  Studying the net? We talk about being “converted to the church,” and when people become estranged from the gospel of Christ we say they “left the Church.” Is it a good thing for the fish to be “converted to the net?” The net isn't permanent and it's very prone to wearing out and breaking up, so don't get too attached. God is willing and able to cast a new net whenever he sees fit[1]. Conversion here means following the voice of the spirit so that you are fit to be gathered by the angels and preserved.

To better understand what this kind of conversion, we can discuss its opposite. Let’s listen to Joseph Smith describe the fish who aren’t gathered out of the net:

" the servants of God go forth warning the nations, both priests and people, and as they harden their hearts and reject the light of truth, these first being delivered over to the buffetings of Satan, and the law and the testimony being closed up, as it was in the case of the Jews, they are left in darkness, and delivered over unto the day of burning; thus being bound up by their creeds, and their bands being made strong by their priests, are prepared for the fulfilment of the saying of the Savior--"The Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire, there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."" [2]
The greatest condemnation here falls not on the unchurched or godless, but on the devoutly religious. Joseph says that in the last days it will be with the gentiles as it was with the Jews two thousand years ago, specifically among those with the right to claim that they are God’s covenant people, those of the holy city.  This group is to be severed from the righteous and bound to prepare for burning, but they are not bound physically. Joseph said they were bound mentally and religiously, “bound up by their creeds, and their bands being made strong by their priests.”
Webster’s 1828 dictionary gives us the use of the term “Creed” in Joseph’s time:

  • 1. A brief summary of the articles of Christian faith;
  • 2. That which is believed; any system of principles which are believed or professed;

A creed isn’t just a formal summary of belief, like the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, or our Articles of Faith. The creeds binding these people are the whole system of belief comprising the religion, containing truth mixed with error.

The scriptures have a lot to say about these people.  They tend to be:

  • Very well-studied in their system of religion (Lawyers, business people, priesthood leaders)
  • A key element in Joseph's description, seen all over the scriptures, is their trust in religious leaders, taking the current gospel creed defined by their leaders, the currently correlated system, as gospel truth
  • They use those creeds to measure and interpret scripture, rather than measuring their system of religion against the scripture. They assume the religion described in the scriptures must be their religion, so they read that meaning into the scriptures. In textual studies this is called “eisegesis”, and in the study of History it’s called “presentism.”
  • Like Laman and Lemuel, they will bear fervent testimony that they know their religion is true, and that their leaders are righteous and inerrant.  The scriptures have a term for their certainty that they are already right, and their unwillingness to be persuaded by reason – that term is “a hard heart”
  • Like the Zoramites on their rameumptom, they tend to speak in trite cliches when expressing religious conviction, dwelling on the feelings of joy and peace they get from membership in the group. The thought of believing differently scares them because they fear alienation. Since they tend to alienate those who believe differently, their fears are probably justified.
  • Like the Pharisees they become obsessed with appearances, dress codes, dietary choices and other patterns of behavior that signify membership in the group. This thick overlay of expectations becomes a meta-gospel, a hedge about the law, an unwritten order of things that they can use to police the boundaries of their group.  Culture becomes guidelines, guidelines become policies, and policies become a new set of commandments, as they teach for doctrines the commandments of men.
  • Like the Nazarenes, Sadducees, Pharisees, Nephites, Zoramites, Palmyrans, and almost every other conceivable group, they become aggressive when people question or contradict their traditions, They even expel people from their town, village, synagogue or church who publicly question their creeds.
  • Since actual conversion is impossible for institutions to measure, these people tend to focus on measurable outcomes as the fruit of their religion, including membership numbers, construction of a large quantity or high quality of buildings, religious rituals, and other data. Their logic seems to be “how could our beliefs be wrong when we built these awe-inspiring and lovely buildings?” If the kingdom of God is a tree, these are just leaves and branches, being labeled fruit. No matter how many magic markers you wear out in that process, you’re still just re-labeling leaves.
  • They tend to enforce a system of priestcraft, where religious leaders become popular among and beloved by their followers, cease laboring with their hands for their own livelihood, and are instead supported by the people.
  • As Alma 12 says, their certainty that they are already right allows them to be led by Satan, fully convinced they are God’s chosen people. They are in what Lehi calls “the sleep of hell,” and waking up is very very hard.

We shouldn’t get the idea that these scriptural examples were preserved by God only to condemn other Christian churches. After all, some of the strongest critiques of religious people come from the Book of Mormon, which primarily addresses those who will bother to read it: the Latter-day Saints[3].

Shortly before his death, Joseph said

“[There] has been a great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation it has been like splitting hemlock knots with a Corn doger for a wedge & a pumpkin for a beetle, [That’s like trying to split a really stubborn log, but instead of an iron wedge and a heavy hammer you have a pancake and a pumpkin to smash it with].  Even the Saints are slow to understand. I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God, but we frequently see some of them after suffering all they have for the work of God will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions, they cannot stand the fire at all, How mnay will be able to abide a Celestial law and go through and recieve their exaltation. I am unable to say but many are called and few are chosen. [4]
Keep in mind these are the Latter-day Saints he’s talking about. These are the people that transmitted the religion we've inherited. They, like us, served diligently and met their religious obligations. They had to suffer for their religion, at the worst we have to clean toilets. Yet all that work doesn’t save them, nor does meeting our religious obligations save us. Their salvation and ours has to begin with true beliefs.

What about the fish who are gathered out of the net?  They are best defined in two ways:

      1. What they do differently, and
      2. How God responds to them

Here are some of their characteristics:

They are willing to be persuaded. They don’t become entrenched in their assumptions of what "must be so" and what “couldn’t possibly be”.   They do as Christ directs, and become like little children. Joseph said:

All those who are disposed to set up stakes for the almighty--will come short of the glory of god. To becom a joint heir of the heirship of the son he must put away all his traditions.[5]

Tradition has never been a good measure for truth. Some false ideas have been around since Adam and Eve, yet they are just as false today as then.  A false idea cannot save you, no matter how old or popular.

They study the scriptures diligently looking to get rid of their false religious traditions.  As Mosiah said to his sons:

I say unto you, my sons, were it not for [the scriptures] which have been kept and preserved by the hand of God, that we might read and understand of his mysteries, and have his commandments always before our eyes, that even our fathers would have dwindled in unbelief, and we should have been like unto our brethren, the Lamanites, who know nothing concerning these things, or even do not believe them when they are taught them, because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct.[6]

Notice the use of the word “unbelief” to describe false religious traditions. If we don’t bother studying the scriptures, or if we treat them as second fiddle to our traditions, then we may as well not have them.  Treated properly, they can be a urim and thummim, giving us a view of God and his mysteries. Correct beliefs are the foundation for faith. The good fish understand that they don’t have a guarantee that anything taught over any pulpit (Sacrament Meeting or General Conference) will be true, and they need to know the scriptures well enough to discern truth from error.   

Having studied diligently to understand, they DO what the scriptures invite them to do, letting the revelations of God create their religion. Shortly after the organization of the Church, the Lord said this about the Latter-day Saints:

“And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—Which vanity and unbelief [There’s that word again] have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written— That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion. Vs 54-58

This condemnation continues, according to Ezra Taft Benson. It endures as long as we rely on creeds more than scripture, To the degree that we have done so, we have inherited scourges and judgment, and there remains more to be poured out.

In all of this seeking, what they want most is further instructions from God.  They look to him directly as their primary source of light and knowledge. They read the scriptures enough to know that when Nephi says “feast upon the words of Christ”, he isn’t referencing the written word of scripture, but the living word coming to your heart through personal revelation. They understand that they are only reading accounts of others revelations to teach them how to obtain their own.  

The scriptural term for this mix of attributes is “Repentance”

So what is God’s response to these people who approach him seeking further light and knowledge?  If they bring forth fruit meet for the Father’s kingdom, he opens his kingdom to their view.  Since this is sacred ground I will let Joseph Smith’s words teach the doctrine:

June 1839 commentary Willard Richards Pocket Companion

After a person hath faith in Christ, repents of his sins & is Baptized for the remission of his sins & received the Holy Ghost, which is the first Comforter then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering & thirsting after Righteousness. & living by every word of God

 [Jesus says] “I will pray the father& he shall send you another Comforter to abide with you forever, reach to things within the vail, know that you are Sealed. I will not have you comfortless, I will come to you, abide with you forever, Seal you up to Eternal life. If a man love me he will keep my words,& my father will love him, & We both me & my father will take our abode with him.” when any man obtains this last Comforter he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him or appear unto him from time to time.  & even he will manifest the Father unto him & they will take up their abode with him,  & the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him & the Lord will teach him face to face & he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God,  The Father could not be glorified in the Son on any other principle than we coming to God, asking, receiving, heavens open, visions& c.--They are done away because of unbelief—… [There’s that word, “unbelief”, again!]

Lecture on Faith 6:8 It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him.

 It is the nature of our lives that we all must be offered systems of religion that allow us to fancy ourselves that we will be heirs with those past saints who offered their all in sacrifice, when we have neither offered the same sacrifice, nor received the same manifestation from God promising us salvation with and oath and covenant. We have to choose between that system, and the religion that redeemed Adam, Enoch, Noah, the Brother of Jared, Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, Alma and his son and grandsons, and Joseph Smith.  If we wish to be gathered out of the net and preserved with them, we need to do what they did. If you want the blessings of Abraham, do the works of Abraham.

False religious beliefs do their damage by convincing you that you don’t have the same access to God; that you he will not respond to you as readily as he did to Joseph Smith; that you don’t need to know God to be saved; that your receiving these blessings depends on the unknowable will of God rather than your own repentance, or that you can delay that repentance until after your death and still be exalted. Any and all of those ideas will damn you.[7] 

In all of this, the thing that is most sure, most certain, is that God will respond to you as surely as he did them, with the same visions, blessings, manifestations, and promises, because he is not capricious. He is not arbitrary. He is no respecter of persons.[8] He operates according to law and his laws are eternal. You have the same privileges they had. 





[1] “If Zion [meaning the gentile Latter-day Saints] will not purify herself, so as to be approved of in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people;” – TPJS p. 18;  D&C 124:32; D&C 101:43-62; JST Matthew 21; 3 Nephi 16:10-11
[2] JS, Letter, Kirtland, OH, to the elders of the church, Dec. 1835; Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, Dec. 1835, pp. 225–230.
[3] We have always been busy defining creeds and imposing them on one another. The explicit purpose of the Correlation efforts of the Church was to define the system of beliefs that a model Latter-day Saint must have. Our whole curriculum is dedicated to that.
[4] JS, Sermon, 21 January 1844. Wilford Woodruff recorder
[5] JS, Sermon, 27 August 1843. Smith Journal
[6] Mosiah 1:5
[7] These are the false ideas that primarily concerned Joseph Smith as he observed them in the minds of the Latter-day Saints.  The revelations given to Joseph in the early 1830s promise great spiritual outpourings, visions, and visitations to the saints. The School of the Prophets was established in Kirtland to teach the Saints to receive these great blessings, thereby becoming prophets. The Lectures on Faith were the curriculum carefully composed for that school, and put forth robust arguments against each of these falsehoods. 
[8] Lecture on Faith 3:23  But it is also necessary that men should have an idea that he is no respecter of persons; for with the idea of all the other excellencies in his character, and this one wanting, men could not exercise faith in him, because if he were a respecter of persons, they could not tell what their privileges were, nor how far they were authorized to exercise faith in him, or whether they were authorized to do it at all, but all must be confusion; but no sooner are the minds of men made acquainted with the truth on this point, that he is no respecter of persons, than they see that they have authority by faith to lay hold on eternal life the richest boon of heaven, because God is no respecter of persons, and that every man in every nation has an equal privilege.”

334: PRIDE: THE APPEARANCE OF GREATNESS


new world's record was set in Salt Lake City for the most people dressed up in costume in a single location. No it wasn't at LDS General Conference, it was the fans of super heroes and comic books who enjoyed parading around in costume as they attended the wildly popular Comic Convention (ComicCon) last week.

During my lunch break I snapped a few photos of some of the people entering the convention.

Photo taken on September 25, 2015 of Comic Con attendee dressed up as Superman.
 
 
It is human nature to want to appear to be somebody more important than we really are. Many have a need for attention, some want validation, and others desire to be liked and popular. Most of us want to be accepted and needed.
 
It is not always necessary to "dress up" to look important, some use their verbal or written skills to use words in such a way as to impress others. People claim to be something more than they really are using their words. They exaggerate and inflate reality. Especially in this age of social media,  how we speak and what we write can have a profound impact on others. We can use words to influence and persuade others. We can easily deceive others if we want. Those who do so usually desire a following. They want to be "super" in the eyes of others.
 
I am currently reading a book and come across the following sentence, "When a man declares God's truth, immediately two others will imitate it, four will contradict it and dozens will deny it."   When one is asked to preserve the truth, few will hijack the effort and want imitate that truth and in doing so they set themselves up as a light. Others will counter the truth and teach their own doctrine. However, most will just deny the truth.
 
In the Garden of Eden, Lucifer used words to influence Adam and Eve. In the traditional narrative, Lucifer told Eve that she must partake of the fruit in order to become as the Gods knowing Good and Evil. He said there was no other way. In my opinion, Lucifer spoke truth, but he was hijacking God's timeline.  God told Adam and Eve that He would give them further instructions on how to proceed while in the Garden. However, Adam and Eve did not wait. Satan caused Eve to partake prematurely (i.e. enter into the "pass" too soon).  People who prematurely do things out of season usually experience "bitterness" or hardship.  Fruit is bitter when it is not ripe yet. If only we can be patient and wait upon the Lord. This is His Work and His Glory. If we do things out of order or before it is time, (even if we have good intentions) we might be doing things contrary to the Lord will and His timetable.
 
We need to remember and preserve all the light and knowledge we have received through the Restoration from the hands of the Prophet Joseph Smith. We need to live a life of faith and repentance that conforms to what Joseph was trying to restore so that the Lord can move forward the unfinished work of the Restoration. This is important so angels may take notice of us so that we may receive what we never actually got from Joseph since he was taken before it could all be given. Until we have first remembered and straightened out what it was that came to us through Joseph, we have no business going out in zeal. It is arrogant to reclaim things that have never been given to us personally yet. We need patience. If we act in haste, we will be muddying the water. Religious enthusiasm or religious fanaticism will never catch fish. A fisherman patiently waits on the shore to catch a fish. If the zealous and eager jump into the water prematurely with their nets, they will only cause the fish to flee and stir up the water.

Heaven help us to be patient, to wait upon the Lord and not try to appear greater than we are. It is His work and His Glory, not ours.