A woman, as the judgments of God are loosed upon men, stands in the breach between the innocent and hell, defying the devil, with her life, from spreading his filth upon them. A woman who is not their mother, but in who's breast is aroused the purest instinct and noblest role; that of mother to those, with her life, she claims as her own. Those innocent ones who were left to another. (December 15, 2012 after Sandy Hook Elementary Massacre.)
Men, proud of their wisdom, have for many decades, declared that Ark steadying means you should not attempt to change or find fault the church, or question its priesthood leaders.
What was Uzzah steadying? The throne of a man? The programs of the synagogue? What did the Ark contain and what was it a symbol of but that Law, written by the finger of Jehovah himself amidst the earthquake, fire and smoke of Sinai.
The scriptures in many places declare that the members are to judge those that are higher and they are liable and even likely to fall. For instance D&C 121:34-46, Mark 9 Inspired Version, D&C 107: 82-84, D&C 28:13, D&C 104:71. The Lord built church steadying, and priesthood steadying into his church. For men are imperfect and need steadying no matter their station. Men's knees often quiver, buckle and bend when it comes to keeping the commandments of God. "Its too dangerous!", "Its too offensive!", "Its not practical!" or "It does not apply to our day!" Instead we have turned the infallibility of God on it's head, declaring that man is infallible and God needs correcting!
King David, in his folly, instructed that the Ark should be transported via cart pulled by oxen. Uzzah, being of the priestly class, should have known better for the Lord specifically commanded that the Ark was to be transported, via poles, upon the shoulders of the priests. However, preferring the instruction of his priesthood leader to God, Uzzah was struck dead when it went wrong. And what do we read but that David felt personally responsible when he heard what happened and admitted his error.
Ark steadying refers to any man, especially one called of God, who trifles with His laws.
"While that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning." (D&C 85:8)
"I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives. The principle is as correct as the one that Jesus put forth in saying that he who seeketh a sign is an adulterous person; and that principle is eternal, undeviating, and firm as the pillars of heaven; for whenever you see a man seeking after a sign, you may set it down that he is an adulterous man." (Joseph Smith, HC, ch 26, p. 385.)
So the man is to be the priesthood head over the wife and the wife is only expected to follow him as he follows God. If the man goes off course, would not he want, and would it not be appropriate to have the persuasion of his wife? In this case, I don't think it's correct to label the wife as being an apostate. However, if she were to accuse, not truly seeking her husband's welfare then it would seem this is what Joseph was referring to. What if the man would not hear? It would then be the duty of the wife to either continue in her humble course, or get a writing of divorcement, but in no case would it be following the Law of Christ for her to manipulate, nag, verbally abuse, or lay-in-wait for her husband. Did not Jethro find fault with Moses; not for fault's sake, but to be of service to him? Was Jethro on the high-road to apostasy? John the Baptist rose up to condemn his priesthood leaders and found fault with them saying they were out of the way, indeed a generation of vipers. The only difference I can detect between John and Joseph's statement, is that John said Christ was righteous, not himself, he not even being worthy to loose His shoes; though, he was a righteous man of whom Christ said "Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist." Even the Savior himself who denounced the priesthood leaders, deferred and said, "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God."
"Let not any man publish his own righteousness, for others can see that for him; sooner let him confess his sins, and then he will be forgiven, and he will bring forth more fruit." (Joseph Smith, HC 4:28)
What prophet in the time of the Levites was there, that did not rise up finding fault and condemn the leaders of the church? These prophets whom we are informed had the Melchizedek priesthood and the Second Comforter, could not have gotten their authority to condemn the church from the Aaronic church.
If the head cannot go wrong, then why are we commanded to pluck out the eye which is appointed to see for us; and how could we pluck him out, save we had the privilege of laying out his crimes, or in other words, finding fault and condemning him? (Mark 9:46-48, Inspired Version)
I think the conclusion we must draw from this, is that man who sees faults, must work for the welfare of Zion and not exercise priestcraft and attempt to set himself up for a light, but instead points men to the Savior.
What do you think?
The veil of the temple is a symbol of what separates us from God here and now; it is ever before us, waiting; not something we must die first to encounter. We can pass through the veil as soon as we are prepared in all things as described by the symbolism of the endowment.
Any time the church of Christ was formed on the earth, it is accompanied by powerful, frequent spiritual manifestations among members known as spiritual gifts. Usually a strong leader leads out in faith and the faith of others are bolstered by their example.
Satan in efforts to mislead, mimics, as close as he can, these gifts only when the authentic ones appear. He appears, for example, as an angel of light.
People in all ages tend to think themselves as superior and think they have all that their forbearers had and begin to rationalize that this little coincidence, or that little coincidence must be a spiritual gifts because these gifts must still be with us, when a simple historical exercise shows otherwise.
Others, known as cessationists, see the difference and recognize the absence, and rationalize that these were important for the founding era, but we don't need them for whatever reason suits their conscience best.
However these rationalizations, that I have entertained as well, do not square with the plain teaching in the Book of Mormon that if these things cease, then faith has ceased also and all is vain. The scriptures also teach this is how the faithful identify the truth and know they are not led by the sophistry or commandments of men, and, they exist to help gain converts and ratify the faith of those exercising them.
Today Satan doesn't seem to bother. He is much more comfortable and effective if people do not know he even exists.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." (John 14:12)
If it's God's will that a person be healed, then someone with faith, should seek for someone with the gift to heal. Otherwise, if it isn't God's will, no skill of a doctor can change that, and if they could, isn't that the definition of evil?
Jesus preached the word of wisdom by the power of the Spirit, said "follow me," and went about performing miracles. We should do the same in His name.
Jesus sends the twelve saying: "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." (Matthew 10:8)
Benjamin Abbott, 1772
“I…saw by faith the Lord Jesus Christ standing by me with his arms extended wide saying to me I died for you I then looked up and by faith I saw the Ancient of Days and he said to me I freely forgive thee for what Christ has done At this I burst into a flood of tears and with joy in my heart cried and praised God and said O that there were a minister to give me the Lord's Supper Then by faith I saw the Lord Jesus come to me as with a cup in his hand and he gave it to me and I took it and drank thereof it was like unto honey for sweetness…”
[Speaking to his wife’s minister,] He...told me he understood that God had done great things for me whereupon I related my conviction and my conversion he paid a strict attention until I had done and then told me that I was under strong delusions of the devil He got a book out of his library for me to read as he handed it to me the Lord showed me by the voice of his Spirit that the book was not fit for me However I disobeyed the Divine impression and took it at the minister's request…
“At length when in prayer under sore temptation in despair a new thought was impressed my mind that I must not trust in the arm of for Cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh* I then saw that my salvation did not depend on his standing or falling I had to stand for myself** and to give diligence through grace to save my own soul that my soul must answer at the bar of God for my own deeds.” (Experience And Gospel Labors Of The Rev. Benjamin Abbott. Emphasis Added)
* This language is not found in the Bible, but it is almost identical to the teaching of Nephi: "O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm." (2 Nephi 4:34)
** This language and teaching is nearly identical to Joseph's teaching: “President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel--said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church--that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls--applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall--that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves…” (TPJS, Section Five 1842-43, p.237)
"Therefore, let every man stand or fall, by himself, and not for another; or not trusting another." (Mark 9:44, Inspired Version)
Those who deny revelations or tongues or prophesying or say they are ceased know not the Gospel. Often Latter-Day Saints will say similarly, "These were needed at the founding but they are not needed today."
"And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues; Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them." (Mormon 9:7-8)
"And behold, the Lord hath reserved their blessings, which they might have received in the land, for the Gentiles who shall possess the land. But behold, it shall come to pass that they shall be driven and scattered by the Gentiles; and after they have been driven and scattered by the Gentiles, behold, then will the Lord remember the covenant which he made unto Abraham and unto all the house of Israel. And also the Lord will remember the prayers of the righteous, which have been put up unto him for them.
"And then, O ye Gentiles, how can ye stand before the power of God, except ye shall repent and turn from your evil ways? Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God? Know ye not that he hath all power, and at his great command the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll? Therefore, repent ye, and humble yourselves before him, lest he shall come out in justice against you—lest a remnant of the seed of Jacob shall go forth among you as a lion, and tear you in pieces, and there is none to deliver." (Mormon 5:19-24)
Nothing but the truth is needed to rend the kingdom of the Gentiles in pieces.
When Joseph and Oliver commissioned and ordained twelve Apostles, there were told they were not actually Apostles until they had obtained their own knowledge of Christ. When one is baptized by water, they are not baptized by fire until a time of God's choosing. When one goes through the veil of the temple, the person does not enter heaven on the other side until they actually fulfill the blessings offered to them in the temple. When one is ordained to the Melchizedek priesthood, he does not actually have that most Holy Priesthood until he proves himself acceptable and God Himself gives it to him.
The Difference Between Knowing and Believing
When Joseph and Oliver commissioned the twelve, they said they were indebted to others for the evidence on which they acted, and they would be until they spoke with God face-to-face.
These twelve, until they obtained this knowledge, only had the Gift of the Spirit to believe on the words of those who knew. We would also have eternal life if we knew Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
"To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful." (D&C 46:13-14)
"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3)
"And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well...wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion! Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!" (2 Nephi 28:21, 24-25)
Look, we have a hundred temples, we multiply ward, stake buildings and members, all is well! We are the mightiest, most free, most righteous nation on earth; none dare to molest or make afraid!
"And behold, we are strong, we shall not come into bondage, or be taken captive by our enemies; yea, and thou hast prospered in the land, and thou shalt also prosper." (The wicked priests of King Noah justify themselves with the same arguments we hear today, Mosiah 12:15)
No authority, except virtue
D&C Section 121 is a greater and more far reaching statement on authority than many know. It reveals essentially, what any person already intrinsically knows -- there is no authority, except virtue. It agrees with the Thomas Jefferson's statement on Natural Aristocracy. No man is required to follow another. The righteous will seek virtue at the hands of those on whom they discern have value to offer.
Part of the greatness of the beginning of America, was the abandonment of Gentile forms of church government and the great Democratization of Christianity wherein men realized they had access to God himself and were accountable to none but Him.
Nephi's great thesis on the Fulness of the Gospel relates how men are cursed for relying on other men, but they must rely on God alone. Other men may assist only as they are influenced directly by God himself, otherwise they have no authority, despite what office they may hold.
America started the democratization of worship.
The Book of Mormon affirms it.
D&C 121 affirms the democratization of authority.
Truly God is no respecter of persons.
“The way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the Keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived [as an authority can], for the Lord God is his name. And whoso knocketh to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches - yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, He will not open unto them.” (2 Nephi 9:41-42)
If you already know everything, how can you ask questions?
The Lord has given helps to the faint and markers to the blind that they might see, if they will, and unstop their ears and peer into the light. Those who love His word and hear his voice regarding the Constitution, who see the robbers of Gadianton who spoil the whole earth. Who despise oppression and cries and blood -- these who hear discover more, those who don't have become thirsty and cannot know not whither to begin. Yet if the Lord will, they shall see by the fruits.
Do angels minister to those who have already received the Second Comforter. Does the Second Comforter come first?
"Yea, he has undertaken a greater work; therefore I will make him [John] as flaming fire and a ministering angel; he shall minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation who dwell on the earth." (D&C 7:6)
"Are they [angles] not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Heb 1:14)
Here an heir of salvation is defined as one who will inherit any degree of glory.
"And also the telestial receive it of the administering of angels who are appointed to minister for them, or who are appointed to be ministering spirits for them; for they shall be heirs of salvation." (D&C 76:88)
"The doctrine or sealing power of Elijah is as follows:—If you have power to seal on earth and in heaven, then we should be wise. The first thing you do, go and seal on earth your sons and daughters unto yourself, and yourself unto your fathers in eternal glory, and go ahead, and not go back, but use a little wisdom, and seal all you can, and when you get to heaven tell your Father that what you seal on earth should be sealed in heaven, according to his promise. I will walk through the gate of heaven and claim what I seal, and those that follow me and my counsel." (Joseph Smith, TPJS Section 6, p. 340)
Notice Joseph refers to others holding the sealing power, and gives himself as an example of one who holds it and seals.
"Joseph understood when the authority is given to any couple who's calling and election is sure, they were expected to use it to secure for themselves their kingdom." (Denver Snuffer, Beloved Enos, ch. 11, p. 147)
What were Laman and Lemuel's sins?
They did not believe their Father or Nephi could be a prophet. (1)
They did not believe they could receive revelation as Nephi claimed. (2)
They believed all was well in Zion, that the people of the church were a righteous people.(3)
They were slothful because they had no vision. Who among us would put forth a great effort when the propriety of the course of action was in doubt?
They reject the testimony of Nephi; he was not a bona fide source of truth because he held no office, position or rank. (4)
Anger caused by pride and, no doubt, a feeling of righteous indignation led them to believe they were justified in killing Nephi and Lehi.
To Laman and Lemuel, Nephi was a wild man.
1. "Now, he says that the Lord has talked with him, and also that angels have ministered unto him. But behold, we know that he lies unto us; and he tells us these things, and he worketh many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes..." (1 Nephi 16:38)
2. "And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord? And they said unto me: We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us. Behold, I said unto them: How is it that ye do not keep the commandments of the Lord? How is it that ye will perish, because of the hardness of your hearts?" (1 Nephi 15:8-10)
3. "And we know that the people who were in the land of Jerusalem were a righteous people; for they kept the statutes and judgments of the Lord, and all his commandments, according to the law of Moses; wherefore, we know that they are a righteous people; and our father hath judged them, and hath led us away because we would hearken unto his words; yea, and our brother is like unto him." (1 Nephi 2:12)
4. "And Laman said unto Lemuel and also unto the sons of Ishmael: Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi, who has taken it upon him to be our ruler and our teacher, who are his elder brethren."
We live, we search and struggle, we seek to improve;
we hold up candles and rejoice in their lights,
but by-and-by something nags, all is not right.
Our candles seem dim as we exert them with our might;
these candles are good, but are darkness compared,
to the object of the soul and the emptiness there.
Some bask in their light, satisfied therewith;
but this will not be my end, all these depart;
their goodness pales with what I know is in store,
to those who will seek for more.
Kingdoms of Glory
We are each now living in a kingdom of glory. Those who live a Telestial life live by the light of Christ, or ignore it, but a fulness of the Telestial is to have the First Comforter, or the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost prompts us to seek the Savior and qualify for a portion of the Terrestrial glory. A fulness is to have the Second Comforter, or the personal appearance of the Savior from time to time. The Savior teaches us how to obtain the Celestial glory until thus saith the Father: Ye shall have Eternal Life.
As members of the church, we have become compulsively obsessed with appearances and give little attention to substance. We fixate on these gnats leaving no time in our minds for contemplating how to rescue the fallen soul and the oppressed. The fallen soul, in our mind, becomes the man who does not conform to the image or our ideal that has been handed down by our traditions. We see these things and they disturb us, when what should be disturbing is a lack of revelation, prophecy, visions, ministration of angels, speaking in tongues.
We deserve the Savior's rebuke today of the whited sepulcher.
Brigham hopes to be able to converse with Christ and angels.
1859 (age 62)
"I have flattered myself, if I am as faithful as I know how to be to my God, and my brethren, and to all my covenants, and faithful in the discharge of my duty, when I have lived to be as old as was Moses when the Lord appeared to him, that perhaps I then may hold communion with the Lord, as did Moses. I am not now in that position, though I know much more than I did twenty, ten, or five years ago. But have I yet lived to the state of perfection that I can commune in person with the Father and the Son at my will and pleasure? No, though I hold myself in readiness that he can wield me at his will and pleasure. If I am faithful until I am eighty years of age, perhaps the Lord will appear to me and personally dictate me in the management of his Church and people. A little over twenty years, and if I am faithful, perhaps I will obtain that favour with my Father and God." (Brigham Young, JD v. 7, no. 37, p. 243, September 1, 1859)
1862 (age 65)
"I think it likely that after a while I may be able to so humble myself and become like a little child, as to be taught more fully by the Heavens. Perhaps, when I am eighty years of age, I may be able to talk with some Being of a higher sphere than this. Moses saw the glory of God at that age, and held converse with better beings than he had formerly conversed with. I hope and trust that by the time I am that age I shall also be counted worthy to enjoy the same privilege." (Brigham Young, JD v. 10 no. 4, p. 23)
Brigham dies at age 77.
In writing this, I do not desire to accuse Brigham, indeed, it causes me to tremble more. I do not know what his thoughts and intents were, or if he received what he desired before he died, but I hope the best for him. But I include this because it is important to understand the history of the church.
"...whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." (D&C 1:38)
In the days of Christ, can anyone believe it would have been accurate to say "whether by mine own voice or by the voice of the Pharisees, it is the same?" Surely a statement such as this causes revulsion in the senses of anyone familiar with the New Testament. Jesus affirmed they sat in Moses seat, and were thus the authorized representatives of the church. So the question must naturally be asked, what qualifies as "my servant"?
The word of God is never as simple as one statement, otherwise we would all be guilty of murder, or of condoning it, as the commandment "thou shalt not kill" should not be taken in isolation of other scripture; and the twelfth article of faith would condemn many righteous and holy men.
If the common interpretation is correct, then this scripture would contradict Nephi's declaration when he said "Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost." (2 Ne 28:31) If all that church authorities say is the same as God's own voice, then there is no need for Nephi's teaching, for we can then suspend all judgement. We are to judge who is and who is not God's servant, and the Lord places the responsibility for this judgement squarely on the shoulders of each individual.
If a man speaks by the power of the Holy Ghost, then he is God's servant, God the Testator being the willing witness to the words of that person. If he speaks by some other spirit, by his own learning, wisdom or wit, then no matter his position or church calling, his words cannot be recognized as the voice of God.
Baptism without receiving the Holy Ghost is not valid. It's the whole point of baptism.
"You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half--that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost." (Joseph Smith, TPJS section 6, p. 314)
If the person receiving baptism's heart is not right, or those who they trusted as their teachers did not teach faith in God, but trust in the arm of flesh for example, their baptism will be fruitless; for God cannot be deceived.
"Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name." (Jacob, 2 Nephi 9:41)
"For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost." (2 Nephi 31:17)
Catholic Papal infallibility doctrine:
The Pope cannot err 'when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church'" (First Vatican Council, "First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church", chapter 4, 9)
Mormon president infallibility doctrine after Joseph Smith:
"The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme." (Wilford Woodruff, General Conference, October 6, 1890)
It appears that the new Mormon infallibility doctrine is more comprehensive than Catholic infallibility, since Pope's are only infallible when defining doctrine or morals.
"And it came to pass that many of the Lamanites did come down into the land of Zarahemla, and did declare unto the people of the Nephites the manner of their conversion, and did exhort them to faith and repentance. Yea, and many did preach with exceedingly great power and authority, unto the bringing down many of them into the depths of humility, to be the humble followers of God and the Lamb." (Heleman 6:4-5)
What was their "great power and authority"? The power of God himself; their words were rejoiced over in the heavens and the Holy Ghost testified with them.
I heard in Elder's Quorum that it was not revealed how succession should take place.
D&C 43:1-7 and D&C 124:91-96 tell a different story. A reasonable reading of these verses state that Joseph would appoint a successor, and he did, it was Hyrum. Hyrum was taken also.
Even Brigham Young admits this: "Did Joseph Smith ordain any man to take his place? He did. Who was it? It was Hyrum..." (Brigham Young, Times & Seasons, October 15, 1844, Vol. 5, p. 683.)
Is it possible the saints did not complete the Nauvoo temple in the Lord's appointed "sufficient time" and thereby reap the consequences?
Before 1990, there was only one mortal man in the temple endowment besides Adam and Eve. This man was a preacher. His teachings were not the point. They were not pointed to tell us which religions to avoid. They were an illustration that when man builds his own foundation, he creates confusion, stupidity, mind-numbing dullness, or in other words, darkness.
The point is as Nephi said, we are not to trust any man but on one condition. Adam demonstrated that he would only recieve messengers from his Father. Only those who bore the signs and tokens was Adam willing to recieve.
These signs and tokens are not merely what everyone who goes through the temple recieves, for we are the same people when we enter as when we leave. We have not been proven "true and faithful in all things" by the end of the endowment.
But rather the tokens are proven in those who fulfill their endowment, have the real tokens, and not merely ceremonially bestowed. Those who bear the Sign of the Son of Man, whether they be God Himself, true angels, or mortals bearing an authorized message, only these was Adam willing to listen to.
The Hiram Page revelation
Section 28 of the Doctrine and Covenants has been frequently mis-used to smother the faith and privileges of members. This revelation given to Oliver in reality affirms we all have the right to revelations, visions, etc, and that we should use these to influence our fellow man.
"But, behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses." (v. 2)
This was not an unqualified statement regarding anyone who should follow, but an endorsement of Joseph himself.
What is meant by "no one" is clarified later in the revelation. Joseph by his faith, works and righteousness has been appointed to his rightful place, however this does not preclude others from receiving revelations.
"And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church;" (v. 6)
Christ is always the head of the church, but this revelation seems to make clear he's talking about Joseph as the head.
"For I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead." (v. 7)
We all are to seek the mysteries, all have equal privilege. This is thoroughly proved in other places of scripture. There is a question as to whether another besides Hyrum Smith was appointed in Joseph's stead, and whether the church was rejected by the Lord "with our dead". Do we still await that appointment?
"But thou shalt not write by way of commandment, but by wisdom... And now, behold, I say unto you that you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them; and inasmuch as they receive thy teachings thou shalt cause my church to be established among them; and thou shalt have revelations, but write them not by way of commandment." (v. 5, 8)
Oliver was to receive more revelations, to have more great and glorious visions than he already had, and was commanded to teach and write them, influencing the church, even enlightening the head, for the only stipulation the Lord made, was to not command others including the head, to obey them. When any man speaks by the power of the Holy Ghost, that is the ultimate authority, and if men refuse to obey what it dictates, they do so at their own peril.
"...these things [the revelation on Zion] have not been appointed unto him [Hiram Page], neither shall anything [revelations, policies, etc] be appointed unto any of this church contrary to the church covenants. For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith." (v. 12-13)
The Lord clarifies that the church covenants He's talking about, is the previous commandment given to have all things done by common consent. Joseph many times showed the example of humbly submitting to the will of the church when he asked if they still desired to have him lead or if they would have another, the members at the conference unanimously approved of Joseph, but had another been appointed, it would have been according to church covenants.
(v. 1) Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!
The fat valley upon which Ephraim resides refers to the modern church. The head of the valley refers to church headquarters, or the leadership of the church.
Christs prophecy to the Nephites predicts the same for the latter-day church, that they would be lifted up in pride above the whole earth.
And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.
And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them. And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel.
But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel. And I will not suffer my people, who are of the house of Israel, to go through among them, and tread them down, saith the Father.
But if they will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel. (Christ, 3 Nephi 16:10-15, Emphasis added)
The salt which has lost its savor refers to a people who were once favored of God, but have lost faith and the Gifts that go along with it. The savor of the people of God is always the works of faith: Prophecy, visions, revelations, dreams, speaking in tongues, conversing with angels, etc.
The glorious beauty refers to receiving the fullness of Gospel. Joseph was trying, as did Moses, to prepare a people to receive a fullness of the Gospel as he had. It was his meat and drink to get the saints to comprehend and know God and to bring them into the presence of the Father and the Son, not only to behold them, as some did, but to minister unto them. For as Christ said, if we would receive and follow the First Comforter, we would receive the Second, which having the person of Christ to personally minister and further lead that individual to the fulness of all that the Father hath.
The children of Israel would not receive what was offered through Moses, and seems likely, contrary to all protestations, that the modern saints did not receive what was offered either. The children of Israel followed Moses, just as the saints sacrificed and followed Joseph, but they would not come all the way up to the mark.
When a man is drunk, he stumbles and is foolish. Pride is the intoxication which causes this loss, which leads to other poor decisions Isaiah describes later on as a "covenant with death". Pride is the opposite of dependence on God and instead relies on the arm of flesh. This results in the attitude that did not begin with Wilford Woodruff when he stated, "follow me; I and my successors will never lead you astray."
The Lord commanded us through Nephi that we were not to rely on man at all. We could listen, but unless God sanctioned what those men had to say we were cursed for heeding them.
"Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost." (2 Ne 28:31)
The Lord reveled in his preface to the Doctrine and Covenants that the purpose of those revelations were that the day may come when "that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets—The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh" (D&C 1:18-19)
The fading flower is the loss of this glorious beauty which began.
(v. 2-3) Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet:
This language is identical to the revelation given to Joseph about one who would yet come and be filled with truth and light and would put God's house in order:
Yea, thus saith the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things, and often times it maketh my bones to quake while it maketh manifest, saying: And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God; While that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning.
And all they who are not found written in the book of remembrance shall find none inheritance in that day, but they shall be cut asunder, and their portion shall be appointed them among unbelievers, where are wailing and gnashing of teeth. These things I say not of myself; therefore, as the Lord speaketh, he will also fulfil. (D&C 85:6-10)
It is important to note regarding Ark Steadying, that men, including kings, presidents, bishops, etc, need steadying. The Ark of the Covenant does not represent church leadership, it represents the Law of God; specifically the one given to Moses, but more generally, any revelation of God. When men's knees buckle and quake, they need to be steadied, and the revelations outline the way to deal with leadership who have gone out of the way or who have become offenders.
The tempest, hail, destroying storm and flood of mighty waters most likely represents the truth of God, and that anyone who rejects or fights against truth, whether it is because they are inspired by the devil, or because the devil deceives them by their traditions, which the Lord tells us is the very mainspring of corruption. The flood of truth will lift some, it will cut off others.
Hands in scripture usually represent authority. When the children of Israel failed to receive the fulness that was offered, they often had prophets who did have the fulness or higher priesthood. These prophets, Joseph informs us, received the fulness of the priesthood at the hand of God himself. Joseph taught that if a man has the priesthood on the earth, that God will not interfere with ordinations, however, when a man does not have sufficient authority, God himself ordains those who come to Him. This is how a fulness of the priesthood is always transmitted. Moses described Melchizedek and how he obtained this power:
"Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire. And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch, It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God; And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.
"For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course; To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.
"And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven. And now, Melchizedek was a priest of this order; therefore he obtained peace in Salem, and was called the Prince of peace.
"And his people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken, separating it from the earth, having reserved it unto the latter days, or the end of the world; And hath said, and sworn with an oath, that the heavens and the earth should come together; and the sons of God should be tried so as by fire.
"And this Melchizedek, having thus established righteousness, was called the king of heaven by his people, or, in other words, the King of peace." (Genesis 14:26-36, Inspired Version)
If the fulness is not here, then one with authority will come whose bowels are a fountain of truth and has light for a covering.
(v. 4) And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.
The fading flower is paralleled with early fruit. These both burn brightly, but have been quickly consumed and no new fruit comes forth. Fruit is meant to be consumed by those who find and eat it, the works of faith are meant for those who have faith, but cannot be transmitted or saved or stored up. Joseph was the first fruit in the spring of 1820. He ministered until his death at the beginning of the summer solstice 1844.
(v. 5-6) ¶ In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people, And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.
In future day, Lord's beauty will be a crown instead of pride. While the proud are cut off, they will likely remain on the earth, and continue laboring under the same delusions they are under. "Unto the residue of his people..." a residue denotes a very small amount that are left after the main contents are poured out.
The battle, is the ongoing war for the souls of men. The Lord will give each person the greatest degree of salvation they were willing to receive, just as the devil is working to deceive us to the greatest degree we will allow him. Joseph warned us that "False prophets always arise to oppose the true prophets and they will prophesy so very near the truth that they will deceive almost the very chosen ones." (Joseph Smith, HC 6:17, p. 364). The devil will always oppose true prophets, whether living or dead until the truth becomes of no effect. There must not always be a true prophet in the world for false prophets to rise and oppose him.
There is a reason that these two statements are together; first that the Lord will be the crown of men's glory, and second that they will turn the battle to the gate. It is the gate at which men receive the glory of God. This gate is manned by the Lord himself and he employs no servant there. This is the gate that the Brother of Jared went through and was redeemed from the fall and brought back into the presence of God. It is the same gate we must all go though if we desire anything from the Lord. It is a shame that this teaching must be dug out, rather than taught as the only aim of every church member.
“The way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the Keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name. And whoso knocketh to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches - yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, He will not open unto them.” (2 Nephi 9:41-42)
Those that turn the battle to the gate are not the leadership of Ephraim. Isaiah declares that it is the leaders, the priest and the prophet who err. Isaiah later declares "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." (Isaiah 30:21) The juxtaposition of the voice may add significance to these verses.
(v. 7-8) ¶But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.
Isaiah is affirming again, in different poetic language through his use of "the priest and the prophet" that he is speaking of the leadership of the Lord's church.
Nephi, who had a penchant for quoting Isaiah, also used his words to describe the vision he saw of the last days. He specified that it was the leaders who caused the errors:
"O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths." (2 Nephi 13:12, quoting Isaiah 3:12)
"...they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men." (2 Nephi 28:14)
Tables are where you eat. The table of the Lord is where you feast on the word of God. What happens when there is no new revelation is that the food must be regurgitated and eaten again. The scriptures, including the inspired words if Joseph are of no private interpretation. Joseph was only able to understand scripture in its true meaning as he had the power and gift of the Holy Ghost with him. It was a matter between a man and his God. The scriptures and Joseph's words can be understood in no other way today. No matter how many times they are regurgitated. The problem with continuing to feast on regurgitation, is that the nutrients once in abundance gradually diminish to nothing and become unhealthy, and only the strong fetters and chains of tradition can keep people from seeing the obvious and keep the fraud going.
(v. 9) ¶Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
Spiritual attainment in this state of the church, and arguably in any state, is the responsibility of the individual. When Joseph began teaching the Book of Mormon and the fulness of the gospel, it was not easier for those early followers to believe, even though they had a great prophet in their midst, and his words were affirmed by the power of the Holy Ghost. These early members were tried probably harder than anyone else because they had to abandon their false traditions to even believe that Joseph was God's servant. They did not have hundreds of years of precedents to believe his teachings, and they did not have thirteen million members who believed him. In every age, men must seek God and sacrifice everything to obtain the faith necessary to please him. These who are weaned and drawn rely upon the Lord and his strong reasoning.
(v. 10-13) For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
It is true, that truth is given line upon line, precept on precept, but notice here the repetition: Line upon line, Line upon line, precept on precept, precept on precept, and then to make the point clearer, Isaiah says "with stammering lips" the people are taught. Then the word-play is repeated again with the same monotonous repetition. They are taught the same things over and over and over, and all this that they might fall, be broken, snared and taken in their idolatry, or their worship of men and authority. We will see this same principal later with a different analogy of a farmer plowing his field.
The cry of the day to the unlearned lawyers is "follow the prophet!" The problem is that this statement makes a big assumption, that we have a prophet on earth speaking by the power of God. The second problem is that God speaks through prophets but says follow me, not man. This may seem like splitting hairs, but it is very important. Joseph had this same problem with the early saints.
"President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel--said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church--that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls--applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall--that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves...." (Joseph Smith, TPJS, Section Five 1842-43, p.237)
He says the attitude of "follow the prophet," even a true prophet is mistaken, and will lead to a darkened mind.
Ezekiel 14 is worth a careful reading. It talks about how people who come to the prophets will receive deceptions from the Lord according to their idols. It also talks about how the prophets who think they are speaking the word of the Lord, yet are deceived they will be cut off the same as those who seek from that prophet.
On another occasion Joseph said those who follow their leaders even if they knew they were wrong did not deserve a place among intelligent beings.
These verses are entirely an echo of Ezekiel 14.
Because the saints were not willing to receive the Lord's offered rest and refreshing at the gate, they stumble around in their own foolishness.
(v. 14-15) ¶Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:
Mormon describes the process the Nephites went through in building up the Gadianton robbers and murderers.
"And it came to pass on the other hand, that the Nephites did build them up and support them, beginning at the more wicked part of them, until they had overspread all the land of the Nephites, and had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils, and to join with them in their secret murders and combinations." (Helaman 6:38)
Seduce means to employ the arts of flattery, falsehood and deception. The "righteous" were "seduced" or to some degree tricked into supporting these combinations and as a result partaking in their spoils. It is like the buyer who wonders somewhere within himself if the seller is selling stolen goods, but just doesn't ask detailed enough questions to find out because the price benefits him
Satan has many methods to thwart the work of God. One of the primary methods he does this is through fear. Mortals, not willing to sacrifice their lives, capitulate to the beast who makes war upon the saints, thinking these inroads from Babylon are worth the price to spread the teachings of a chosen people. It was done with Rome, it is done now. This is the "covenant with death" made by the priest and prophet who "rule", and supported by the flock.
The cry of the fearful is "who can make war with the beast" because the beast is fearful and has terrifying, horrifying, and sickening means of compulsion at its disposal. Nothing but faith in the power of God and obedience to His revelations, commandments and ordinances can protect us from the beast as young David knew. For all the planned ways of escape will come to nothing as the desolation is first poured out upon the Lord's house (D&C 112:23-26).
"'In time of war or stress, we have no hesitancy in following the flag,' he added in an interview. 'You won't find any more patriotic group.'--
"'Once the United Nations took its action and President Bush took his stand, we were behind our leader,' President Monson said, noting that Congress also ratified the U.N. action. 'That's all that was needed.'
"'Interestingly, in our church, it is assumed and understood that when the leadership of our nation lines up behind a particular policy in a crisis, we support and sustain it,' he said.
"'You rarely find any Latter-day Saints in the role of conscientious objector,' President Monson said. 'We don't believe in marches and protests and carrying placards.'
"'You have to be careful what you ask a Mormon to do, he'll do it,' President Monson chuckled." (President Monson, Deseret News, While Others Flagged, Mormons Backed Gulf War from Outset, 3/10/1991, George W. Cornell, Associated Press)
See also President Hinckley's talk War and Peace where he walked both sides of the line, yet strongly on the side of going to, what turned out to be a pre-planned war of aggression against the people of Iraq, which has resulted in the killing of over a million Iraqi soldiers and civilians, not to mention the untold, yet future horror caused by the use of massive amounts of depleted uranium in the conflict.
Others he bribes with the possessions of others like Cain and others with apathy. All of these he lulls carefully into a state of carnal security and apathy who then cry "All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well!" (2 Nephi 28:21)
(v. 16) ¶Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
"For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:28-33)
(v. 17) Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.
A line and plummet, or plumb bob, along with other tools such as a level and square are used to ensure correctness in building a structure. Here the Lord is saying he will set his house in order, truth will be re-enthroned and falsehoods, false traditions and misinterpretation will be able to be corrected. This can only be done as individuals reconnect with God.
Here again we see a reference to hail, and this time more directly tied to the symbology of truth. Lies are told because they provide a refuge, a hiding place, but the truth will remove out all such coverings.
(v. 18) ¶And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.
See comments on v. 14-15
(v. 20) For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.
Doctrines, such as the doctrines of keys, the Holy Ghost, understanding mysteries and other Gifts of the Spirit, achieving salvation taught today are not correct. When a man hears these castrated doctrines they provide him no incentive, no goal, no where to go. When it is taught that the Temple and Temple Marriage is the goal instead of the beginning and after achieving this beginning the rest of our work is to the end, enduring in such a miserable set of conditions is unbearable and is all the rest of the Christian world has to offer. It is not a bed or covering a man can be comfortable in, but always finds wanting.
The Peacemaker (Udney Hay Jacob), who's authorship has been disputed goes into a very detailed explanation this verse.
(v. 21) For the Lord shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act.
In Mount Perazim (2 Samuel 5, 1 Chronicles 14) the Lord gave power to David to smite the Philistines as a "breach of waters" and he routed them and burnt their idols. When the Philistines came again the Lord told David to surround his enemies and the Lord fought himself with his army as the sound went forth above the mulberry trees. In Gibeon (Joshua 10), five nations with mighty men rose up to fight against God's people. The Lord told Joshua to fear not and delivered them into his hands. Many were killed by mighty hailstones. Joshua commanded the sun and moon to stand still until his enemies were slain.
What the Lord showed in these lessons is that he is able to do his own work, able to fight his own battles. The question is will we have faith like Joshua and David to trust the Lord?
The world viewed Enoch with curiosity, they said of him "we go yonder to behold the seer, for he prophesieth, and there is a strange thing in the land; a wild man hath come among us." Strange is something out off the ordinary; something to which people are unaccustomed. Wild refers to the seeming absence of structure and established authority. When the Lord has cleansed his people and washed the filth from the daughters of Zion he will have a residue prepared to accept him.
(v. 22) Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord God of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth.
(v. 23-28) ¶Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech. Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground? When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place? For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him. For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod. Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen.
At first these verses appear disjointed and out of place, they fit very well into the theme Isaiah is pursuing. I will leave the explanation of these verses to another man:
"Isaiah continues, 'For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod. Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen.'
"We are told that the fitches (probably fennel) are not threshed with a threshing (Hebrew: CHARUTS, which means a heavy sledge-like) instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin. If this type of crop were harvested in this pulverizing manner, it would be destroyed; instead "the fitches are beaten out with a staff (Hebrew: MATTEH, which is a stick), and the cummin with a rod (Hebrew: SHEBET, which is a whip-like stick).
"By comparison, today we do not need the same old precepts that we should have mastered years ago hammered into us over and over with a sledge hammer. A light threshing of the simple doctrines is all we need to prepare us for the heavier.
"Verse 28 is not a very clear translation and I would like to render it a bit plainer. 'Bread corn' is undoubtedly wheat; and the word bruised comes from the Hebrew DAQAQ, which means to crush to powder. The word 'because' is from KIY, which is more appropriately rendered 'nevertheless'. Taking this into consideration, we will render the passage thus: 'Wheat used for bread is ground to powder; nevertheless, he will not ever be threshing it, nor crush it with the wheel of his cart, nor grind it with his horsemen.'
"In other words, Isaiah here admits that wheat is threshed, broken and ground, but this process is not 'stammered' or repeated over and over for it would be a waste of time and damage the grain in the process.
"The message in these obscure words of Isaiah is this. The major problem of the church in the latter days will be that the teachers will be like a plower who just plows his field over and over and never plants or harvests his wheat. The authorities are also like the wheat miller who merely grinds the product over and over and never makes any bread. Teachers will go through the motions of beginning the creative process, but never produce fruit or bread. No food for the soul will be grown or given. Only the illusion that they are headed in that direction is projected. They do busy work by plowing and grinding, but no fruit or bread is ever produced - no real progress made. This illusion will create a trap for the teachers so when true food for the soul is offered the contrast between plowing and grinding and a finished spiritual food will be stark and embarrassing."
(v. 29) This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.
When one works for the Lord, there is joy, rejoicing, trust in the process. When one labors under the commandments of men there is emptiness, hollowness and drudgery.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face. Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord. And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord; First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord." (D&C 112:23-26)
This verse very likely coincides with the problems Isaiah describes among the leaders of Ephraim. The desolation will first be poured out upon the Lord's house. There will be some who profess to know the Lord, His "special witnesses" but "have not known me". It will be these blasphemers who will receive the front of the storm. These false prophets who teach false doctrine, who agree with the beast and offer him little or no opposition and drink in with the tradition of Gadianton robbers. But the day will come when "They who are not apostles and prophets shall be known." (D&C 64:39) That day can be at any time when a man rises up, dusts himself off and takes the Holy Spirit for his guide.
"Say nothing but repentance unto this generation" (D&C 6:9, 11:9)
"In Biblical Hebrew, the idea of repentance is represented by two verbs: shuv (to return) and nicham (to feel sorrow)." (Wikipedia 7/28/2013)
What are we to say to this generation? Recognize that by your works you can do nothing. In your sorrow from His absence, turn towards God and face Him. Seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written and begin to exercise faith.
The man who is inspired by the devil cannot help but preach his apostate doctrines and persecute the followers of Christ. Those inspired by the Holy Ghost cannot help but preach the doctrines of Eternity. Those who are not inspired have no desire to preach but quitely follow established traditions. These are those lukewarm souls who God promised to spew out of his mouth.
Should we have laws regarding marriage? Who is responsible for the success or failure of a marriage, the state? Does a marriage license ensure, or help in any way to increase the chances of success? Is it just so we can be taxed more efficiently?
Also, what makes a marriage valid? Does a religious ceremony? If so, what religion? Does the state? If so what state? What about states that have no marriage laws? Isn't marriage simply a covenant between a man, woman and God and the only party responsible for the success, failure or propriety of that marriage are the people entering into the agreement?
On Self-Righteousness, Controversy and Unity
People naturally think everything they believe is good and right. When we avoid controversey, we avoid those things which challenge our beliefs and we then unite on this principle of "self-righteousness".
Example: when an investigator picks up the Book of Mormon for the first time, it's going to challenge his previously held beliefs. Should he put it back down when it at once causes controversy? If his wife or friends object and take offense and he has given no cause, should he put it back down? Of course not, and the same should apply to us now, we should not avoid truth because it might challenge our beliefs or cause those around us to become angry. If this is how the true gospel was preached, Joseph would have never taught the King Follett discourse, never have attempted to settle in Missouri and Christ would have never said blessed are he when men revile and persecute you for my sake.
Christ taught contention was of the devil and that we should be united, but God allows us to become angry at the instigation if the devil, and because of the thick fog of tradition.
The scriptures do hide truths from the blind, and Christ taught in parables for the same reason, but truth is still taught, and it did not stop the church leaders from becoming enraged when they perceived they were being chastised.
When Christ prayed that we be united as He and the Father are, he did not contemplate uniting on compromise and falsehoods. On no other principle can there be unity with the Father than on principles of truth and obedience and He prayed earnestly that this would become the case.
Today I prayed, cleared my mind, and did some thoughtful and honest introspection. My question was should we be going to church? I realized that what's kept me going to church is fear. Fear that:
If we do things out of the confusion and veil of fear and obligation, then how can we ever expect to pierce the veil that keeps us from our Father in Heaven? When there is a good reason, other than fear, then it is a good reason.
Others may go because they:
When the Holy Ghost attends the administration of the sacrament, or when the speakers speak by the power of the Holy Ghost and not by their own learning, or when the Gifts of the Spirit are enjoyed or even tolerated, that would be an excellent, most wonderful and joyful reason to return.
On any typical Sunday the question is asked, "what is Zion" and the inevitable answer is "the pure in heart" and that we are Zion; we are a stake of Zion. We are Zion scattered throughout the land, this is the new plan.
Whether it's the Lords plan to establish a scattered Zion or not, I can't say; but I can say, that we are not Zion, and it does a disservice to ourselves for us to say so. Reading about our history from a manual, or from the scriptures every week, does not make us Zion. Let me give you an example of a vision of Zion: One sister rises, she speaks in tongues. A brother arises and interprets. One brother rises and prophesies what another brother needs to do in his job that week and that brother arises and testifies he knows it's true by the witness of the Holy Ghost. Beautiful songs, never before heard are sung in perfect harmony by the power of the Holy Ghost. A brother rises and knows he is supposed to heal a man in the congregation and does so. A woman rises an beholds a vision, sees the Savior and testifies that he is here among us and several others can see him.
Blessed are all the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
"And their meetings were conducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost [read in Gifts here, e.g. tongues, prophecy, visions, healing]; for as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done." (Moroni 6:9)
This is Zion.
This is not us. We should recognize it, because if we continue to insist that we are Zion, we will never find it.
"For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith." (Ether 12:12)
"[Jesus] he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief." (Mark 6:5-6)
We pray in the name of him who received not a fulness at first, but the Prototype who showed us how to gain salvation. In His name we pray because it is the path that he took that we must follow to the father. When we pray in His name, our aim is to follow the path to salvation that was followed by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and our prayers in His name should tend toward those goals. When we ask or act contrary to those goals, we are not really praying or acting in His name.
1 Nephi 1
[v. 1, 4]. Nephi knew his father already made a record. Why would he take the trouble to include his fathers account, or why would he choose what he did to repeat? Nephi carefully selected what he wrote for two reasons. First engraving was not an easy medium with which to write. Second the plates are small and necessitate including only those things that are most important. We can see how small they are when the record ends at Words of Mormon. Third, he commands those that will come after him to not occupy the plates except that which is of worth to men's souls.
As prophet, Nephi was not jealous. He wanted to show us types. He wanted to show us how to receive the things of God. He showed us an overview of how Lehi came to know what he did, and later gives a more detailed account of how he came to know. Verse 16 shows that there is a lot Nephi could have included about his father's revelations, but what he did choose to write should inform us.
What Nephi did not write is also important. He did not write "My father, being a chief priest..." or "My father having no position of authority..." None of that was important. Position or lack thereof was not important to include, though we place great importance upon it, even so much to as to force our own faulty understanding into the reading. What was important, and what was included is how Lehi responded to the Spirit of God speaking through "many prophets" which came. They came because they were not there before. The Jews did not hold the Melchizedek Priesthood3 and Joseph taught that "All the prophets had the Melchizedek Priesthood and were ordained by God himself."1 Thus in order for these prophets to "come" among the people, they must have been ordained by heaven itself, just as Lehi would be, and would naturally be out of the established religious order and hierarchy.
[v 2]. I think it is worth asking what influence the Egyptians had on the Jews. If they used thier writing, then they must have been more than a little familiar with their culture.
[v 3]. Why does Nephi have to qualify his record? Why is writing it in his own hand supplement that qualification?
When he says he makes it according to his knowledge, he is stating more than his eyewitness accounts of historical events, but he is speaking of "faith no longer" (see Ether 3:19). In other words he knows that which he first beheld with an eye of faith.
[v. 4]. begins Lehi's type.
[v. 5]. what type of prayer did Lehi offer? Self? Own family? His people, though he auspected they were wicked. Lehi seemingly not already aware of wickedness. prays because of what is revealed by prophets.
[v. 6]. Moses, know man is nothing. JSH 1:20 Joseph had no strength.
[v. 9]. Why are accounts similar? Repetable.
[v. 10-11]. Joseph saw many angels.
[v. 4]. Many prophets. many had the kind of vision as Lehi. the way is open, though everyone around us are wicked.
[v. 13]. Abominations are hidden.
[v. 14]. great mercy over all: knows us, puts us in circumstances so we can gain knowledge (JS). even though Jerusalem would still be destroyed. How can this show mercy over all? job: didn't value it until I lost it.
[v. 19]. Who is Lehi? Who is Lehi to tell us we are wicked? Who is Lehi to have received a vision? This exact same attitude would become evident in Laman and Lemuel. The Jews had an established order. mocking and shame come from saying or doing things different from our socialization, tradition or established order. surely the Jews had phony religious leaders that believed all was well. Jews mocked Moses, religionists mocked Joseph, leaders mocked Jesus, had a devil.
[v. 20]. mocking turned to anger as it always does. anger has as it's root, pride of self, fear of a faulty foundation and us the seed of murder. Nephi calls his brothers murderers in their hearts because, for one, they could not believe Lehi to be a prophet, and especially not their younger, unaccredited brother Nephi. their pride of self-righteousness was too much to overcome, so the truly righteous must either be cast out, exiled, or they must be killed. this is the course of all prophets, Joseph said we easily uphold pretenders as prophets, yet cast out those who really are. those who say all is not well in Zion and go contrary to Satan's carefully laid plan to deceive those who believe themselves to be righteous.
The Lord protects those whom he calls "promise of God for it"
Joseph's exp not unique. what is unique is his charges, keys.
"...whom he hath chosen, because of their faith..."
"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44)
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you." (John 15:16)
Though the scriptures make it clear God chooses us, yet we self-select or qualify by our exercize of faith. "Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!" (Numbers 11:29)
Faith is not something that just feels good, it is something that has evidence. Faith begins by hearing the word of God, it is evidenced by the fruit of faith produced, that fruit are the miraculous.
"Verily, I say unto you, there are those among you who seek signs, and there have been such even from the beginning; But, behold, faith cometh not by signs, but signs follow those that believe." (D&C 63:8-9) This scripture refers to the many who will not believe until they see a sign. There are many examples, a prototypical one is shown in Korihor who said "I do not deny the existence of a God, but I do not believe that there is a God; and I say also, that ye do not know that there is a God; and except ye show me a sign, I will not believe." This does not talk about those who already believe and who are "seeking earnestly the best gifts." We focus on the first half of that verse but ignore the second at our peril.
"Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain." (Moroni, Moroni 7:37)
Without faith it is impossible to please God, yet he that dilligently seeketh will find himelf chosen.2 This is the untold story of the prophets who "came", but it is the told story of Lehi and Nephi.
1. TPJS Section Four 1839-42, p.180
2. "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Hebrews 11:6)
3. Moses sought to bring the children of Jacob into the actual presence of God. This they refused, but wanted instead a strong-man leader. As a result they were cursed and received not the higher priesthood, but a lesser version endured. See D&C 84:21-28 for a fuller discussion. Joseph sought the same for the Saints in Kirtland, Missouri and finally in Nauvoo (see D&C 124:28, 31, 44-48 esp.) until the saints were once again driven out.
The blood moon on April 2014 was in the hips of the virgin. The woman travailed to bring forth the kingdom of God. In October 2014 the blood moon, or the kingdom will be in the fish net which gathers all kinds. One fish points to the throne of God, the other points elsewhere. In April 2015, the blood moon will again be in the hips of the Virgin as a second sign.
The virgin, of course is Virgo, the fish, Pisces.
Some have speculated these moons have to do with Israel in Jerusalem and they may, but I suspect they have more to do with where God is currently at work with the Gentiles.
I have been a accused by those who love me of sign seeking. Because I see a defect in those that claim to be His, in that they have not Gifts of the Spirit, I am the one at fault. As if we would have considered the more thoughtful among Constatine's followers as sign seekers if they asked "Where are the Gifts? Are we really doing God's will killing all these Muslims?"
Adam was left to determine between true and false messengers. He was not content with a false religion but he looked for a sign that distinguished them as true messengers.
Adam, I'm am sorry, but you must be an adulterous man because you do not accept just anyone with claims to authority to teach you.
There are three priesthoods: Aaronic, Melchizedek and Patriarchal. To be rightly called a priesthood, they must include associations with the powers of heaven.
This priesthood was given for condemnation; to seal up the children of men to the hardness of their hearts, or to lift them. When the children of Israel refused to come into the presence of God they were cursed with this lesser priesthood. This priesthood includes the association of angels which include true messengers that have authorized messages. Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jacob, King Benjamin and Joseph Smith are examples of these. The office of the calling of angel is to call men to repentance, to declare the conditions of repentance such that they may enjoy a greater priesthood if they are true and faithful.
Melchizedek (The Holy Order after the Order of the Son of God)
This priesthood is an association with the Savior or Second Comforter. It is not obtained by father or mother or by the will of men, but comes directly from God himself who employeth no servant there. The purpose of this priesthood is to help those who are true and faithful to enjoy a greater priesthood.
This priesthood brings us into association with the Great Patriarch, God the Father. We see an example of this priesthood when Nephi is having a dialogue with both the Father and the Son.
Joseph sought for the saints to obtain these last two priesthoods, which they had previously forfeited. The Lord set the conditions, and Joseph delivered the conditions of repentance to the saints. Those conditions were never fulfilled. (D&C 124)
These associations, or priesthoods are not limited to men, and indeed cannot be obtained by men without a woman.
We can continue to assert that the Nauvoo saints were faithful and that we have a fulness now, but by doing so we damn ourselves because we do not seek for what we could obtain, by the means appointed to obtain them.
As far as I know, an LDS President has never said "follow me by virtue of my authority," however nearly all of the lower ranking authorities unceasingly teach us this. This has implications because by the authority of the president, they have their callings and expect men to follow them by virtue of the authority they claim for someone else, otherwise, these authorities teach, we are "out if harmony." If this be the case, then have they not forfeited their authority? And have we any further obligation to follow?
"No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood...[otherwise] Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man." (D&C 121:41, 37)
The Parable of the Facade
Our religion is a facade. A facade has substance, it is beautiful, it is intended to entice. But the real meat is found inside. Whether we go in to have a meal or to dance or see a play, the substance of which we came to partake is inside, past the facade. An elder brother, not content to stand staring at the exterior went inside. From inside the beautiful building he beckoned us: "It is all right, you can come in too! It is even more beautiful in here! Nothing prevents you, you are authorized just as I was. Don't listen to those who say you need credentials, they were wrong, it is open to all!" But those outside couldn't believe. It was too good to be true, they let the naysayers shame them into standing outside. But they revered the man who went in. They rejoiced in his courage and knowledge and wisdom and wrote songs in his honor. Eventually shanties and then buildings were erected. They all entertained themselves as they congratulated each other in their wise course not to embarrass themselves by attempting to go inside the building! Three generations later another, tired of this went inside the building. He embraced the first in a joyful embrace. He also turned and beckoned to those outside and told them how well they had done so far and how he enjoyed his stay with them. He persuaded them patiently in their own language saying "Remember that man whom ye revere? He who went in, before you constructed these other buildings? He was right, it is free, you must come in, it is wonderful! Will you not? I love you." The builders however laughed him to scorn, but some others heard a familiar voice and left their various occupations and followed the man into the building. Eventually an earthquake shook the earth, and all the poorly constructed buildings of those builders and their inhabitants fell and turned to dust for they had rejected the chief cornerstone and the sure foundation.
See also: Pantomime
He always spoke well of his people, for how could he speak ill of those he loved and whose burden he bore? Those who stumbled out of the way like myself, for whom he prayed with love unfeigned and received as he desired. His keys he holds and has no other object, but has set his face like a flint to perform the good pleasure of his Lord. To reclaim that which is lost, to open the prison gate, to make known the covenants of the Lord, though he was despised of men and rejected by those he loved. I hope I can become, through the grace of God, a worthy beneficiary of his labor.
I heard a disturbing testimony today which laid the kind of praise and adulation you normally only hear given to a being you worship.
"He knows my needs, he knows your needs. He knows each of us. I hope I can follow the prophet."
There was no ambiguity as to who he was referring, and this was no "crazy" member. This was the Bishop.
This feeling among members in their worship is known, but to hear it actually voiced like this was shocking.
I struggle to understand the point of attending church. I currently go for one main specific reason. The only time being at church is beneficial, is the point just after someone asks that a scripture be read, and just before anyone gives their opinion on it.
I never enjoy hearing a talk or a lesson when scriptures are used, because they are used to back up a false doctrine, like "follow the prophet". This wouldn't be such a problem if this wasn't the God of modern Mormonism. The religion IS "follow the prophet", thus every lesson, every talk, every connotation of everything that is said, and every historical rendering is painted with this brush. The saving doctrines become bereft of power. We think we still believe in Christ, but really, what we believe in, is the prophet and we have rejected Christ.
I stopped reading Denver Snuffer because I didn't want to feel aggravated with the church more than I already was. "It'll get better," or "it's not so bad" I continue to tell myself. But there really is no point. The relationships are phony, the assignments to be a friend or home teacher sets real personal relationship up on a phony ground.
I am kept from the temple because I cannot answer the test of loyalty affirmatively.
I liked what Elisha said as we read today, that he had been jealous for the Lord, and for it, he was despised, rejected by his fellow men and he was ready to be taken.
I came home today and saw this post by Denver: Only One Doctrine Left
The LDS church is not a friend of religious freedom, notwithstanding they have come out with a few videos about it. Take for example all the concessions the Church willingly makes in oppressive countries in order to gain a foothold there. Why is the church allowed in China? Because it makes good, obedient citizens. Take the encouragement the church gave to Utah lawmakers to force businesses to hire homosexual workers against conscience, yet make an exemption for themselves. Count the number of times you hear the Twelfth Article of Faith misused in General Conference to cause members to submit to anti-religious tyranny. Count the number of sincere members who want to have an open dialog and publish material about the real or their perceived history of the church who are excommunicated. Take the violation of their own scriptural commands that excommunication be handled locally and not directed from the top by the anti-religious-freedom "Strengthening Church Members Committee" and then tell me the LDS church is for religious freedom.
Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-a are the actual supporters of religious freedom.
"Apostasy is...persisting...in teaching false doctrine."
Does this definition apply to leadership? By the law of restoration, if a leader judges that a member is worthy of excommunication for persisting in teaching false doctrine, will that leader himself be judged unworthy of the association of the Savior in eternity? For the those that wrote this statement are surely guilty of what they accuse others.
We have had generations of yes-men leadership in the church who defer and suspend all of their own judgement to the authority just higher than themselves, up to the president, that we now have presidents who really have no idea what's going on who were groomed in those ranks. Alma 12:9-11 is fulfilled in them.
What measure ye mete
“And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.” (Moroni 7:18)
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Matt 7:1-2, Nephi 14:1-2)
“O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful…. For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored.” (Alma 41:13, 15)
“…all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Matthew 26:52) He that lives by the sword has judged his fellow men worthy of death by the sword. I have no doubt that such a man shall die by the sword as the Savior proclaimed, otherwise he is a liar. Let's make this more personal: “In whatsoever conditions ye deem a people or nation worthy of death, ye shall as a people likewise be deemed worthy.” “If you hold life so valueless that you will be persuaded by falsehoods to kill, you too will have to learn what it is like as an innocent person or young family in a weaker nation to be killed.” Do not find comfort in the fact that some people escape this judgment now, for, for the word of God to be fulfilled, they too must experience what they inflict. Their judgment will return to them.
If you believe it is just through your vote to force a family to conform to your ideas of education, religion or social ideas, though they may find those ideas reprehensible, you must learn in eternity, what it is like to be forced contrary to your conscious and beliefs and face the confiscation of your children and the tears to which anonymous others are oblivious.
The balance of eternity is perfect, it is merciful, it is educational.
Joseph said: “A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge.” (TPJS p. 217) We must and will know what it is like to inflict evil upon our fellow man until we shudder and shrink from the thought of offending, until it becomes contrary to our nature to do evil.
Eternity is a summary; a word for many things. Brigham Young said we are living in eternity right now. We are living in a spiritual kingdom and under a certain law right now.
An adulterer, as Joseph stated, cannot inherit the celestial kingdom, but must inherit another, why? Because he must learn what it is like to have a man seduce and violate that which is most precious to him, her loyalty dissipate and his family broken up, until he finds it reprehensible. An adulterer cannot be saved until he gains knowledge.
“Why will not man learn wisdom by precept and example at this late age of the world and not be obliged to learn everything we know by sad experience?” (Joseph Smith, HC 3:26)
Our experiences in life are limited, we cannot experience all things, but they are perfectly suited for us, to bring us the knowledge we need to be saved.
If you feel like the meat of the gospel has disappeared, and even the milk is turning to water, there is a reason.
"Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough! ...and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have." (2 Nephi 28:29-30)
It is no coincidence that this verse comes right after:
"Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost." (2 Nephi 28:31)
As a consequence of neglecting the duty devolving upon ourselves and looking to a "Strong-man" for light and wisdom, we are bound by the chains of hell.
"It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God....And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell." (Alma 12:9-11)
What can be comprehended, taught, understood about the Gospel is truly endless. If we are struggling to find something to teach or preach and be inspired about then we have only barely scratched the surface of just what Joseph taught. Should we arrive at the point where we have open vision, there will be yet more that will give context to what we say and give us yet more to preach, even if we are forbidden from revealing what was revealed to us. So difficult is it for the purity of the Gospel, the mysteries and the knowledge of the blessings that await, to penetrate our clouded mortal minds and overcome our traditions, that we should never be wanting for truth, and if so, then our own performance is wanting.
"And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world; For these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas. These are they who say they are some of one and some of another--some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch; But received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant." (D&C 76:98-101)
"All those named (Paul, Apollos, Cephas, Christ, John, Moses, Ellas, Esaias, Isaiah and Enoch) were true messengers or authorized prophets of God. In the list is the Son of God Himself. These claims are not being made by those who were following Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, Zarathustra, Vishnu or Krishna. They are being made by Saints, who thought themselves justified because of their belief in authorized messengers sent from God." (Denver Snuffer)
Receiving the testimony of Jesus is more than believing in Jesus. "Eternal life", Jesus said was to "know God", and knowing God is more than knowing about him. Receiving the testimony of Joseph Smith, without going on do that which Joseph taught, that is having our own face-to-face visitation, which is a fulness of the Gospel, wherein we receive the actual Everlasting Covenant, and not just it's symbolic version which we receive in the temple.
Joseph said stop this "Follow the Prophet" nonsense, it will lead to your destruction. What do we do? We make it the single most defining characteristic of our religion.
Someone commented on a blog post that they started programming because they loved to write code. He said it took him ten years and four kids later to learn that the purpose of programming is to solve customer's problems, not because it was fun.
I believe this is more the result of mortal conditioning, rather than learning a higher purpose in something.
Let's analyze what he's saying here. He's saying that for the longest time, this man took joy in discovery and creation, but that through many years and several additional children later, he's now learned that the *real* value is in solving customer's problems, or in other words, doing whatever it takes to make money to feed and cloth his family.
This is realism at its core. Having to deal with problems in a mortal world and then accepting these solutions as the higher objective.
I assert that the higher purpose in any sort of effort *is* the creative process, the joy in learning and discovery -- those things that infants do when they come here. Those things we gradually stop doing because our bellies demand otherwise. *Ten years* he said it to took him, to make that transition. This suggests to me that it is unnatural to his core spiritual instincts.
We joke about translation, how, if we were *that* righteous we would be translated, however translation is a very real thing, and it solves this problem of mortality and our "adulthood". When we are translated, our bodies no longer need, or in much less quantity, what we consider necessities: Food, water, clothing, shelter, heating, cooling, waste collection and removal, sleep, sword and shield.
We are born idealists, we devolve into realists.
The purpose of true religion is to regenerate both body and soul and reverse the problem of mortality -- not after we die, but anytime that soul is ready.
A man stands proud, having conquered one problem of a telestial world, but he should be learning how live in a celestial.
Joseph stated that in the last days only latter-day saint women would be willing to bear children. Truman Madsen said "bear" may mean both the delivery and care of children, or "bearing with" them which I believe.
I wonder though, if this prophecy was not necessarily intended to characterize the women who hold membership in the church, but as a way to identify those women who could truly be called "latter-day saint" whether in or out of the church.
I don't understand why women would want the church to ordain them to the priesthood and have the same positions in the church as men. Why would men? I know many men aspire for callings and see them as validation from God when they receive them, or rejection when they don't. Despite the rhetoric that we should be as happy being a janitor as a president, human nature wants position and titles and the honors of men.
Do men and women think they're entitled to further light and knowledge as they ascend higher in the church?
To know God, to receive blessings directly under his hand, to have Him unfold the mysteries of the Gospel to us, this is what we should strive for. Leave the rest to administrators.
If what they're seeking is leadership authority over others, I really don't think its worth it, who wants that but self-important fools? If what your seeking is spiritual priesthood power I think they're seeking it from the wrong place. I still haven't heard a clear distinction between the power of priesthood and the power of faith to which all women are entitled, and without which priesthood is powerless.
Genesis (JST) equates Melchizedek Priesthood with the sealing power, and this is not obtained by passing from one person to another, but by the voice and calling of God.
Would you rather have the calm and eternal assurance of your worth, spiritual gifts and powers, knowledge like the Brother of Jared, or just some guy decide to let you hold an office which has nothing to do with eternity?
Joseph Smith, a true prophet said he wished he had 40 days and nights, uninterrupted by poverty and worldly concerns to explain the gospel and unfold the mysteries of heaven, that rolled before him like an overflowing surge.
The men today we are supposed to sustain today as prophets can't come up with 30 minutes or less of material without repeating what each other has said and not only that, but repeating what's been said by themselves in previous conferences over and over ad-infinitum.
Well did Isaiah prophecy that our tables would be full of regurgitated, malnourishing food.
Our country is falling apart, we're in the middle of World War III murdering millions for gain, destroying the widow and fatherless, converting their lives to money through inflation drinking in with the traditions and partaking of the spoils of Gadiantons and countless other horrors, and the topic? Somehow I don't think Isaiah would be talking about Home Teaching.
I've found more genuine spiritual revelation, knowledge and insight in a small book than I have in decades of General Conference.
They make broad their titles of prophet, seers and revelators and enlarge the borders of their authority.
"They have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof; from such turn away."
The doctrines of the restoration sprang upon us because one man was in contact with heaven.
This one man said we should all have the same connection, our bowels overflowing with truth.
That all that was revealed should be revealed to each individual, such that they would know the mysteries in full.
Have we accomplished this?
Is there more that we could teach than the time we had to teach it, or do we repeat the same memorized doctrine over and over, struggling to find anything new or interesting for minds of men who crave the knowledge of heaven?
"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call." (Joel 2:28-31)
"...there have been 62 tetrads since the first century AD and eight of them have coincided with both the feasts. Thus, the event is not as unusual as Hagee and Biltz imply. Additionally, three of the four eclipses in the tetrad will not even be visible in the biblical homeland of Israel, casting further doubt on Hagee and Biltz's interpretation." (EarthSky, Blood Moons)
"[The angel] also quoted the second chapter of Joel, from the twenty-eighth verse to the last. He also said that this was not yet fulfilled, but was soon to be. And he further stated that the fulness of the Gentiles was soon to come in." (Joseph Smith, History, 1:41)
The blood moon on April 2014 was in the hips of the virgin. The woman travailed to bring forth the kingdom of God. In October 2014 the blood moon, or the kingdom will be in the fish net which gathers all kinds. One fish points to the throne of God, the other points elsewhere. In April 2015, the blood moon will again be in the hips of the Virgin.
The virgin, of course is Virgo, the fish, Pisces.
Some have speculated these moons have to do with Israel in Jerusalem and they may, but I suspect they have more to do with what God is doing among a remnant of the Gentiles.
In a talk that should be titled "I testify of ourselves, never worry or fear, you can place your faith in us." (October 5, 2014) Dominican Elder Nelson proclaimed the following views:
"We thank you for your faith and devotion." This was said in relation to sustaining the authorities of the church.
"...We thank the O God for a Prophet. Do you and I really understand what that means? ...Imagine the privilege... His counsel will be untainted, unvarnished, unmotivated by any person aspiration, and utterly true."
I waited for a qualification, a clarification, that we cannot expect this, that he is a man and fallible. It never came. Truly he has thanked us for our "faith" and "devotion" to themselves.
"...we sustain [the prophet] in deed and in truth." This is a description in the scriptures of how we worship God.
"Prophets in every sense of the word" I still await any prophecy, seeing or revelation.
"no prophet has ever been elected" (5:30) Gerontocracy is how God manifests his chosen servant in our day. And yes, Brigham Young was elected.
"Perhaps it may make some of you stumble, were I to ask you a question—Does a man's being a Prophet in this Church prove that he shall be the President of it? I answer, no! A man may be a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and it may have nothing to do with his being the President of the Church. Suffice it to say, that Joseph was the President of the Church, as long as he lived: the people chose to have it so. He always filled that responsible station, by the voice of the people. Can you find any revelation appointing him the President of the Church? The keys of the Priesthood were committed to Joseph, to build up the Kingdom of God on the earth, and were not to be taken from him in time or in eternity; but when he was called to preside over the Church, it was by the voice of the people; though he held the keys of the Priesthood, independent of their voice." (Brigham Young, JD 1:133)
"Our sustaining is an oath-like indication that we recognize their calling as a prophet to be legitimate and binding upon us."
"we know what the will of the Lord is when unanimity is reached" In other words when we agree, that's how we know it's the Lord's will. (9:00)
"'We serve to the best of our ability, I assure you the church is in good hands. The system setup...assures us that it will always be in good hands, and come what may, there is no need to worry or fear.' (P. Hinckley)" (13:37)
"O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him." (Mormon 9:27)
"And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell." (2 Nephi 28:21)
"President Monson we thank you for those truths. And we thank you for your lifetime of exemplary and dedicated service. May I presume to speak for the members of the church throughout the world in our united an sincere expression of grattitude for you. We honor you, we love you, we sustain you; not only with uplifted hands, but with all our hearts and consecrated effors, humbly and fervently." (14:30)
Unbelieveable. Its no wonder our bishop had such devotional and omnicient things to say about the prophet: "He knows my needs, he knows your needs. He knows each of us. I hope I can follow the prophet."
And this from Seventy William Walker: "As we follow President Monson and try to be more like him, we will inevitably succeed in being more faithful disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ." (CES Devotional, Ensign, April 2014.)
The talk warrants church discipline for an act of apostasy and openly teaching others his pernicious views. It will never come, because apostasy is not defined by the church as apostasizing from Christ and his gospel, but from the established church leaders.
"And if thine eye which seeth for thee, him that is appointed to watch over thee to show thee light, become a transgressor and offend thee, pluck him out. It is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God, with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire." (Mark 9:46-47, Inspired Version)
Seventy Lynn Robbins (10/4/2014)
He opened his talk telling this story where Boyd K. Packer asked him "Which way do you face?" Elder Packer explained; "A seventy does not represent the people to the prophet, but the prophet to the people. Never forget which way you face."
"Between 3 Nephi chapter 11 and 28 the Savior used the title Father at least 163 times. Making it very clear to the Nephites that he was there representing his Father. And from John chapters 14 thru 17 the Savior refers the the father at least 50 times. In every way possible he was His Father's perfect disciple...He flawlessly knew which way he faced."
Elder Robbins turns this on its head, he turns it into name dropping. He turns the humility of Christ into pride. The Savior testified of the Father, because in humility, he testified of someone greater than himself. He wanted all glory for the Father. He set his face like a flint not doing his own will, but suffered greatly the will of the Father in all things. He was not some representative telling the Nephites they better listen to him becuase "hey, I'm next in line to the Father!"
It's such a self serving line. We are all supposed to be facing the Savior and supporting each other in that, not mirroring a Gentile corporation. He that is greatest is the servant of all. The church is supposed to be run by common consent, not by "shit flows down stream."
From Anonymous Bishop:
I remember in a leadership training meeting where Elder Bednar told the story of how he was asked the following question: “How are you guys (referring to the brethren) so in tune with the Lord?” Elder Bednar’s response was interesting. “First of all,” he said “we are not ‘guys’. We are prophets, seers, and revelators. We are special witnesses. Don’t refer to us as guys.”
"Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up." (2 Nephi 28:12)
Revolutionary Faith: My Faith Experience
I thought this was an excellent series on April's struggle to find truth in a strife of words and a contest about opinions, her struggle against Satan who prevented her from praying, her experience with angels, the Holy Ghost, not trusting in the arm of flesh, and becoming free from addictive sin and receives a prophecy.
"After admitting to God that I didn’t know what to do anymore, He spoke to me very clearly: 'Stop listening to everybody else. Get off the roller coaster and just follow ME!'"
She had a broken heart and contrite spirit, she was pure before the Lord in similitude of the parable of the two men who went to the temple to pray.
This is why people like her will not be burned at His coming. It will be tolerable for her. She will inherit Terrestrial glory, and then as she learns more truth and light she can inherit everlasting burnings.
This is why the crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephriam who follow men (some of Thomas, some of Gordon) will look up, being in torment and plead for April to drop some cool water on their tongue. This Christian sinner who in utter humility knew more about God and his power than those who claim they are sealed by keys.
M: "We had another sacrament yesterday and it was great. Nothing spectacular happened during, but it was the first time I asked the Lord for permission to proceed before I did, and I felt like it was the first time it didn't feel a little "weird" to do it ourselves. Afterwards we had about a 45m discussion on the Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit from two verses 2 Nephi 33:1-2 and it was an uncommonly really good discussion."
L: "When i was in Arizona I attended two sacraments and they were just like that. We sang a hymn, partook, and just talked about the doctrine of Christ and other principles. It made me realize how sterile/impotent our current practice is in the church. The way we practice it is actually a great representation of what we really have. A small crust of store-bought bread to symbolize the small portion of His spirit we receive and the little sustenance we'll bear to receive from Him. The sip of chlorinated tap water represents the sanitized, corporatized Jesus we worship and vainly claim redemption from. I left Arizona astounded at the contrast between the true ordinance and the shadow we now embrace instead."
"And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall." (2 Nephi 28:21)
To have your eyes opened to an unpleasant truth, to which you don't have all the answers is a difficult thing. Something you once took for granted is suddenly in question. The sandy foundation that one stands on won't support such truths. The hearer has two options. 1. Ignore and continue where you are, returning to those things that are comfortable. 2. Go through a long and painful process, the dark night of the soul and toil to find that sure foundation, that rod of iron.
I don't fault anyone who chooses the first, nor envy anyone who chooses the second. I have gone through, what seemed like hell, to find that foundation. I know it's not over and I'll have many more trials to go. How can I recommend that to anyone? To me however, it has been worth it.
When the Savior faced His trials, he set His face like a flint, he did not fear man's judgements, but pressed forward, knowing he would not be ashamed if he would prove faithful.
We can stay where we are, but a wo is pronounced up on all those who will not come; who will not make the sacrifice in the similitude of the Only Begotten, who was counted as no one and worthy of death.
Taking the Name of God in Vain
"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." (Exodus 20:1)
"Wherefore, let all men beware how they take my name in their lips—For behold, verily I say, that many there be who are under this condemnation, who use the name of the Lord, and use it in vain, having not authority." (D&C 63:61-62)
"And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach." (D&C 42:14)
"...has the day of miracles ceased? Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved? Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain." (Moroni 7:35-37)
"...when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man. No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile..." (D&C 121:37, 40-42)
"Joseph, at this time, rebuked the Elders for administering the form without the power. Said he, 'Let the Elders either obtain the power of God to heal the sick, or let them cease to administer the form without the power.'" (Autobiography of Joseph Bates Noble)
“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 (Lectures on Faith, Lecture 6)
Note also whoredoms are a form without power. It is a false form of marriage, no fruit is borne.
From The Second Comforter, Chapter 5
Christ touched upon the subject of getting answers to inquiries. He taught us to “ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matt. 7: 7–8.) Just before these promises about getting answers, He taught in the same sermon: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Id., 5: 6.) There is a direct relationship between “hunger and thirsting” for an answer, and the required “desire” to receive an answer.
Once again, the Book of Mormon’s plain superiority in explaining these connections comes through. Alma the High Priest taught: “Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.” (Alma 5: 46.) Here “fasting and praying for many days” is related to “the spirit of revelation which is in me.” The concept of “hungering and thirsting”72 and receiving answers to prayers are tied together here in a plain explanation of the path. When Alma the Younger met the Sons of Mosiah after years of separation, he observed: “They had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God. But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught they taught with power and authority of God.” (Id., 17:2–3.) This principle of asking and receiving on the one hand, and the spirit of prophecy and revelation on the other are directly related. Without an inquiry, you are not able to receive.
One brief comment on fasting: You may not be able to hunger and fast for many consecutive days. Not all of us are Gandhi. But if you reduce your caloric intake, live with “fasting” while still eating enough to subsist, you can subordinate the flesh to the spirit while still eating and maintaining health. And, most of all, you can do so without calling attention to yourself since fasting should always be a private matter. Sometimes it does take days to receive an answer. Do not abandon the powerful tool fasting can provide to you because you cannot fast for many consecutive days. Instead, “fast” while eating enough for subsistence, and you will find you can accomplish the same things without jeopardy to health. Many of us eat too much anyway, and reducing food may be a boon to physical as well as spiritual health. (Emphasis Added)
I wonder if this has anything to do with the revelation to Hyrum “he shall receive counsel from my servant Joseph, who shall show unto him the keys whereby he may ask and receive” (D&C 124:95)
The Spirit of God (#2)
"Ephraim be crowned with his blessing in Zion and Jesus descends with his chariot of fire."
"The visions and blessings of old are returning and angels are coming to visit the earth"
"The Lord is extending the Saints understanding"
"The knowledge and power of God are expanding"
We identify with Ephraim and these great blessings.
Now Let Us Rejoice (#3)
"Now let us rejoice in the day of salvation. No longer as strangers on earth need we roam."
"Shortly the hour of redemption will come"
"When all that was promised the Saints will be given"
"Christ and his people will ever be one"
We identify as "Saints", and "Christ's people".
Truth Eternal (#4)
"Truth eternal, truth divine, In thine ancient fulness shine! Burst the fetters of the mind From the millions of mankind!"
We understand that we have truth and prophets and its those other people that the missionaries need to convert so they can be in our position.
High on the Mountain Top (#5)
"High on the mountain top A banner is unfurled. Ye nations, now look up; It waves to all the world. In Deseret's sweet, peaceful land, On Zion's mount behold it stand!"
We are in possession of Zion and the kingdom of God! Come and get it with us!
Redeemer of Israel (#6)
"As children of Zion, Good tidings for us. The tokens already appear. Fear not, and be just,For the kingdom is ours. The hour of redemption is near."
Israel, Israel, God is Calling (#7)
"Israel, Israel, God is speaking. Hear your great Deliv'rer's voice! Now a glorious morn is breaking For the people of his choice."
"Come to Zion, come to Zion!"
We are his chosen people. We are peculiar. We are Zion. Come get what we have!
Awake and Arise (#8)
"Oh, lift up your voices in song and in story. Let banners of peace in all lands be unfurled, For truth, heaven-born, in its beauty and glory Is marching triumphantly over the world."
We have the truth, temples, coventants prophets! The beauty of the blessedness which we posess is marching triumphantly! We have Mitt Romney, he has what we've got too! You should elect him!
Come, Sing to the Lord (#10)
"The keys of the priesthood of our Lord To us in fulness are restored, Their blessings to bestow, And pow'rs divine are manifest. Come, sing to the Lord, his name be blessed!"
We have all the keys! The Lord has given his power to men, and we pass down even sealing power to each other!
We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet (#19)
Our minds are darkened so save us O man we designate as "prophet"! Joseph warned us not to depend on thee, but we will depend on thee for everything! Tell us charming stories! Tell us how choice we are! Tell us how broad and safe the way is! For all we have to do is sing to thee! We are Zion, we are your chosen people! If anyone fights against us they will be destroyed! No one can know happiness like us!
They the Builders of the Nation (#36)
"Blessed, honored Pioneer!"
The pioneers are blessed! They did not experience "cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments!" We have everything the Lord wanted to give us through Joseph! We didn't lose one drop!
Jeffery R. Holland:
What a terrific time to be alive!
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the most certain, the most secure, the most reliable, and the most rewarding truth on earth and in heaven, in time and in eternity. Nothing—not anything, not anyone, not any influence—will keep this Church from fulfilling its mission and realizing its destiny declared from before the foundation of the world. Ours is that fail-safe, inexorable, indestructible dispensation of the fulness of the gospel. There is no need to be afraid or tentative about the future.
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 or turn a deaf ear to heaven, but never again will the dispensation collectively do so. What a secure thought! What a day in which to live!
If there are some bumps along the way while waiting to see every promise kept and every prophecy fulfilled, so be it. If you haven’t noticed, I am bullish about the latter days. In nothing could I have more faith than I have in God the Eternal Father, in Jesus Christ His Son, in Their redeeming gospel, and in their divinely-guided Church. Believe. Rise up. Be faithful. And make the most of the remarkable day in which we live!
The wild exuberance of our position and state before God knows no bound.
Compare this to these scriptural statements:
"Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed." (Moses 1:10)
"And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth." (Mosiah 4:2)
"I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants." (Mosiah 2:17)
"For behold, if the knowledge of the goodness of God at this time has awakened you to a sense of your nothingness, and your worthless and fallen state—" (Mosiah 4:5)
"And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel. And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true." (Mosiah 4:11-12)
"O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth." (Helaman 12:7)
"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:5)
"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." (Alma 26:12)
The pit and the mountain:
Imagine a deep and dangerous pit in the center of your community. Your community has been given the commandment to stay out of the pit. Assuming no other commandment is given, it is the nature of almost all mankind that this one commandment would result in almost everyone falling into the pit sooner or later. Curiosity, rebellion, peer pressure, pride or some other vanity would lead to risk-taking around the pit and inevitable falling in. That is the nature of most of us during the teenage years, and many of us right into adulthood.
Those disposed to being “protectors of virtue” (i.e., busybodies) would post signs nearby to try to prevent people from falling into the pit. Yet while posting signs, such “protectors of virtue” oftentimes fall into temptation themselves, and many of them would fall, too. Of course, later, the “protectors” would add a handrail. Other precautions would follow. But these would do no good, for if the only commandment is a “thou shalt not,” then the failings would follow, while the precautions taken would invite further curiosity by the unconvinced, or rebellious, or curious. Precautions at one end invite further risks at the other, since it appears safer to take the risk.
The only sure way to prevent you from falling into the pit would be to give you something positive to do that will take you in another direction. Climbing a mountain would keep you so far from the pit there is no danger of falling. If you are headed away from the pit, you can never fall into it.
This basic notion underlies many of the commandments. The “thou-shalt-nots” get accompanied by positive commandments, as well. The Sermon on the Mount/Sermon at Bountiful is filled with positive injunctions to action. This positive approach toward what the Lord wants of you is not only more satisfying to the soul, it is also the only way to avoid the “thou-shalt-nots.” Trying merely by force of will to avoid some particular weakness or transgression will generally result in failure. Ask any addict how they overcame addiction. None of them will tell you they just managed to stop. They had to get involved in some wholesome, replacement activity. That is how the commandments work. Go away and do something good somewhere distant from the temptation, and you will find you can overcome every weakness. (The Second Comforter, Chapter 15, Doing and Being)
Joseph prayed about sins, state; standing and angel comes and "shows him a mountain," or rather expounds the scriptures and reveals some of the work God has for him to do. Joseph also noted that the light in room grew brighter and brighter.
"People struggle with some very difficult, very challenging things. You need to try and overcome that by the light within you." (Lecture 3, Repentance)
Little children (2-3 yrs old):
When children "play" adult they:
There has been discussion, by myself included wondering if eight may be too young to be baptized. Too young to have a convicted conciousness and feel a need for reprieve. When we think of our mistakes, they primarily have to do with whatever it is we are doing with our genitles But in light of this, perhaps age eight is also an object lesson for us, and what it is we ought to be concerned with. Little children are living as a holy spirit in heaven, their little feet being sweet and precious, and it's not until they believe what adults tell them, that they begin to cease being a little child, and begin the descent into hell with the rest of us, where they are welcomed. Yet we perceive something in them has been lost.
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." (James 1:5)
We are so busy judging and condemning ourselves that this could be a key to understanding the voices we hear.