Repentance

Time Required to Repent

"Repentance does not require a time period. Look at Alma the Younger, the sons of Mosiah, and the Apostle Paul. Now these were encounters with God, but so were the conversions of many of the Lamanites. (Alma 18: 40-42; 22: 18, among others.)

"The Lord tells you to repent. If you do, He remembers your sins no longer. Confess and forsake them, and you will be forgiven. (D&C 58: 42-43.) Or, in other words, change. Turn away from your sins and face God instead.

"All those labors performed by Alma the Younger, the sons of Mosiah, and the Apostle Paul, after repentance, were not to obtain forgiveness. They were the "fruit" of repentance, or the result of the new direction that they were heading. (See Matt. 3: 8; Luke 3: 8; Alma 5: 62; 13: 13; Moroni 8: 24-26.)

"God alone forgives. His forgiveness is not dependent on your good works; your good works are proof of His forgiveness. (Helaman 12: 24; Gal. 5: 22-25.)" (Denver Snuffer)

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"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.

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"Christ captured the essence of repentance in the Sermon on the Mount. He said: "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." (Matt. 5: 6.) Repentance begins by wantng to be more in harmony with God. It involves hungering and thirstng for something better. Done correctly, there is an eager willingness about repentance. Too often we associate it with guilt and being shamed into changing. The Gospel is more positive than that. It presumes the repentant soul is intrigued by what Christ offers. Those who most fit the model are they who drop their nets, abandon their fishing ships, and follow Christ as He strolls along the shoreline asking for followers. There is an ease and alacrity to repentance which we should not miss. It is not dreadful. It is not guilt. In fact, it is unlikely guilt alone could ever get anyone to repent in the way the Gospel requires. Inexperienced teachers often resort to guilt and shame as a substitute for preaching the Gospel in a way that invites interest. Their inexperience should not leave you feeling guilty or shamed. See the Gospel for what it was meant to be: an exciting, even thrilling invitation to reconnect with the Living God. Reconnecting in this way requires repentance. Or, in other words, it requires you to change and leave some things
behind.

"The Adversary is probably delighted with our traditional, narrow view of repentance. We associate it almost exclusively with stopping something. ' need to repent' most often is an expression for 'I need to stop doing that.' In that sense repentance is exclusively 'deduction' or 'subtraction.' In the real sense of the word, however, repentance is 'addidve' and 'positive.' It is the process of growing and receiving new information, new oudooks, and new positive behavior into your life. It is discovery filled with wonderment and joy. If you view repentance only as 'stopping' then you need to repent and begin 'startng.'" (Denver Snuffer, Eighteen Verses, p. 197-198)

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"In another place Joseph said: "A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. Hence it needs revelation to assist us, and give us knowledge of the things of God."  (TPJS, p. 217)

"We equate in large measure, repentance, with whatever it is you're doing with your genitals. Joseph equates redemption and repentance with whatever it is you're doing with your heart and with your mind. The problem we must overcome to obtain salvation is our profound ignorance. And what the gospel offers defies ignorance, subdues it, challenges it, destroys it, and leaves it in the dark. So let's try and search into, and obtain some illumination." (Denver Snuffer, Be of Good Cheer, Be of Good Courage, Talk given on 9/10/2013)

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"And by the way, the answer to the question you ask from God will always be "yes." However, if you are not ready for the "yes" then you will go through a period of renovation and repair. How long you need to be renovated and repaired, depends upon just how much of the toxic nonsense of this Telestial Kingdom you've drunk in and how much of it you continue to drink in as the Lord works to answer your inquiry. Everything you take in which opposes the ability of God to speak to you will hinder Him answering you. So as soon as you will lay down that nonsense and in faith become believing, so soon will God be able to plug the leaks, repair the hinge and fix the broken window. He really does have a house of order, or better put He will only enter a temple that is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Cor. 3: 17) It's not built by human hands. It was built by God in the womb of your mother. And you were endowed with it when you took your first breath. That, and you are wearing it now, is His temple. The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple. (Mal. 3: 1) But it must not be defiled. Clean yourselves up. If you want to know what your state and standing is, because you are uncertain, then ask God. Expect Him to answer." (Denver Snuffer, Be of Good Cheer Be of Good Courage)

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"Take a look at Doctrine and Covenants 93: 36: “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. Light and truth forsake that evil one.” What if, instead of repentance being related to your misdeeds, which are so plentiful and persistent, and will continue; instead it is related to the acquisition of light of truth - that is intelligence? What if repentance requires you to take whatever it is you have that is a foolish error, a vain tradition, or a false notion and replace it with truth?

"My suspicion is, that whatever it is that is troubling you, will trouble you considerably less if you begin to fill yourself with light and truth. Until at last you arrive at a point you look back upon your sins and you say. “I have no more disposition for that. Now I know enough not to do that anymore because I prefer the light. I prefer God's intelligence and glory over that which I used to trade, or substitute for it.” You see repentance may have a whole lot more to do with your own feeble education in the things of God than it has to do with the time you spend wasted, looking at some vile picture or other. We have these Victorian sexual mores that everyone in Wall Street tacks against. Like when you're in a sailboat and there's a head
wind you "tack" against it. By using this cultural background they get instant attention by showing something sexually suggestive to sell you beer, or fast food, shoes, ships, sealing wax and cabbages.

"Quite frankly, I find most of the marketing exploitation of sex to be boring, not titillating. Some of the more graphic use of sex is somewhat medical, but it's not enticing. From a certain perspective, if you will acquire enough light and truth, you're not going to be contaminated by exposure to the things that are degrading.

"The Book of Mormon was abridged by a man who lived in an environment filled with sex and violence. He was untouched by it. He was a man of righteousness. Why is it that he could preserve himself in such an abhorrent environment? Because he was filled with light and truth. He educated himself, and had learned the things that are true. When you minister to someone who is suffering, their sins ought not to shock you. They should cause compassion to well up in you. People struggle with some very difficult, very challenging things. You need to try and overcome that by the light within you. The glory of God is intelligence. Be intelligent.

"At one point Christ talking to Abraham said He was more intelligent than them all. (Abr. 3: 19.) One will be more intelligent than another. These two things exist, that if there be two beings, one will be more intelligent than the other. I am more intelligent than them all! That's what Christ said. And Joseph Smith talking about the Holy Ghost says, “I am learned, and know more than all the world put together. The Holy Ghost does, anyhow, and He is within me, and comprehends more than all the world: and I will associate myself with Him .” (TPJS p. 350.)

"The fact of the matter is that you can fill yourself with the mind of God. If you fill yourself with the mind of God, you are going to find yourself in a position where you, like the scriptures recite, have no more disposition to do evil, but only to do good continually. (Mos. 5: 2.) That kind of repentance is as a consequence of the things of you know. That repentance comes as a consequence of the light and truth within you. That repentance doesn't require you to spend time saying, ‘I'm not, I'm not, I'm not going to watch porn on the Internet anymore.’ The temptation just disappears.

"There was a big announcement from Google on April 17, 2013 about the fiber internet upgrade coming to Provo, Utah. They are bringing the Internet upgrade to Provo, Utah to really speed up the access of the Internet. That was based on a lot of statistical studies about consumption of on-line pornography in Utah County. (See Utah is No. 1 –for online pornography consumption, Salt Lake Tribune study Mar 2, 2009.) So it is a great target audience. And we say well, shame on them. Why are they watching so much of that in Provo? Well, it is because there is a bigger population attending Brigham Young University than attending Utah State University here in Logan. So numerically there are more of them down south.

"But the problem is not that God has built within you the desires, appetites and passions which He does not intend to have you filled. He intends for you to eat. He intends for you to sleep. He intends for you to reproduce. He intends for all of the appetites and passions put within you to be intelligently organized and gratified in a sacred manner, in which the purposes of God are advanced; so that you may find within yourself holiness in everything that you do. Love and understanding in everything you do. Repentance is the process of figuring out exactly how and why God made all the things available to you that he made available to you. Each of the things provided to us is to be used with prudence and with skill, including what we eat. (See, e.g., Section 89: 7-11.)" (Denver Snuffer, Repentance, Talk given on 9/29/2013)

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"You break yourself against the laws that have been ordained. (D&C 130: 20-21) You condemn yourself by the things that you bring upon yourself. God just is. And He gives you opportunity. He opens opportunity to allow you to enter in if you are willing to enter in. (Rev. 3: 20) Whether you are willing to enter in or not, is predicated upon your own conduct, your own desires. The best way to determine what your desires are is based upon what it is you do.

"We are so situated that we have the inability to do two things at once. No matter who you are, you are only doing one thing at a time. Your entire life you are either focusing on one thing, or on something else. Whatever thing it is upon which you dwell that's what you've chosen. Hence the saying we read a little bit ago: "Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly then shall the confidence wax strong in the presence of God." Is the power of godliness related to that? Is the power of godliness related to the presence of God?" (Denver Snuffer, 40 Years Series, "Be of Good Cheer")

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"Folks, in general, have your skulls so junked up with the crap of the Internet that you don't even have the capacity to labor (the way it needs to be labored) in order to solve the questions that need to be solved. It is labor for anyone seeking to know God. It is labor over the Scriptures. It is labor always under the extreme difficulties caused by these parties of religionists who will speak in opposition to one another always contending, always claiming “Lo, there” when there is nothing “there” to offer." (Denver Snuffer, 40 Years Series, "Be of Good Cheer")

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"And they said unto me: What meaneth the river of water which our father saw? And I said unto them that the water which my father saw was filthiness; and so much was his mind swallowed up in other things that he beheld not the filthiness of the water." (1 Nephi 15:26-27)

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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.

http://revolfaith.com/2012/10/05/my-faith-experience-part-1/
http://revolfaith.com/2012/10/06/my-faith-experience-part-2/

http://revolfaith.com/2012/10/06/my-faith-experience-part-3/
http://revolfaith.com/2012/10/07/my-faith-experience-part-4/

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"And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

"And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

"I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." (Luke 18:9-14)

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"But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering." (Alma 13:28)

Note that we can be tempted more than we can bear, and there are conditions to being able to bear or escape them.

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"During his message on the Holy Spirit, the hunger in my soul became palpable. I could hardly stay in my seat. “Yes!” I thought. “This is what my life is missing. This is what I need!” (After all, I had already tried everything else). I had been filled with the Spirit once before, had spoken in tongues, but probably not in 10 years. When the evangelist gave the altar call for those wishing to receive the Holy Spirit, I went forward, despite some of the curious stares I got.

"Again, I didn’t shout. I didn’t dance around. I didn’t shake or lose control of my body. I didn’t fall out in the floor. In fact, the evangelist had all of the respondents sit down on the first row. He didn’t yell, spit, blow on anyone or try to push them down. He just prayed very simply for people to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Before he even reached where I was sitting, I began (quietly) praying in tongues.

"That night, a great sense of peace flooded my heart. I found myself singing in tongues while driving down the road a couple of days later. The relief I felt was so sweet.

"It was about two weeks later, after I had returned home to my husband, that I realized something incredible: there was no pain or anger in my heart anymore! All the dark memories I had of abuse and ridicule no longer hurt me. I had forgiven all of my abusers 100%, including the man who had molested me! The same-sex attraction I had been struggling with was gone, too. I no longer had any desire to look at porn or entertain fantasies about anyone other than my husband. I decided to start attending church more regularly–every week if I could. (April Kelsey. My Faith Experience, part 4)

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Article

Teresa Carey was a lesbian porn star until she had a shared vision with her husband Scott shook her to the core and led her to evangelical christianity.

 

Article

Former-pornographic film star Teresa Carey spent most of her adult life appearing in X-rated films but after having an encounter with Jesus himself the Glamour girl turned pornography star gave it all up and is now a Christian author and speaker.

The British-born "model" made a fortune posing for Playboy magazine but now Carey spends her days sharing her testimony with universities and studying the bible. Wherever she speaks she hangs signs that read "Porn Again Christian" or "50 Shades of Grace."

Carey tells Vice.com that she is happy she turned her back on the sex industry.

"No little girl wants to be a porn star. No little girl grows up saying, 'I want to be used in that way.' Girls are enticed by the modeling side of it," she said.

In an older interview with SWNS Carey expounded on her life style from then until now. "At the time it felt like I was living the dream. It was the kind of lifestyle that girls today dream about." She said, Adding, "Men loved me and I had legions of fans but every time I was at work I just kept thinking, 'I'm not happy with myself for doing this'. I was battling in my mind for so long."

Carey entered the porn industry when she was 17 after she flew to America because of a beauty pageant she won. Several years later In December of 2009 after years of feeling the tug from God an experience with Jesus himself help her give up the life of pornography for good.

"I was face to face with Jesus. He had fire in his eyes that burnt straight through my soul. But it was a fire of love, of burning love, not of condemnation," she told Vice.

In another interview she said, "I was meditating and suddenly a voice called out 'If you bring your life in line with what I have in store for you I will lead you down the garden path.'" she told SWNA, going on to say, "I knew there and then that my life had to take a different direction, I never stripped off again after that day."

Adding, "After that I felt instant joy. I contacted everyone that I worked with to say that I wasn't working anymore and explained why. They all wished me luck and they probably thought I was a mad woman. Then I deleted the numbers and decided I didn't ever want to go back."

Today she is a successful Christian author and has released two books, 'God's Plan for My Life - What is it?' and a book of hymns called 'Rhapsody! In The Name Of Jesus!'

The successful author tells Vice the message God wants her to tell people is, "you are not condemned, no matter how bad you think you have lived your life, he is able to take you out of it and lead you into better things."

After years of making lesbian films Carey's view on homosexuality drastically changed. "For years, I thought there was nothing wrong with homosexuality. God gives us free will, so he loves a gay person as much as he loves a straight person. But he puts guidelines in for our own protection. He puts them there because, if the whole world became gay, it would be detrimental to life," she told Vice.

She continued, "God doesn't want his children to feel condemned or pressured. Gay people are going to have a hard time, and God doesn't want that. I'm not for homosexuality; I'm certainly not for it."

Blogs:

http://teresacareychristian.blogspot.com/

http://teresacarey78.tumblr.com/

Books:

Rhapsody! In the Name of Jesus
God's Plan For My Life - What Is It?

Videos:

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As a leftist lesbian professor, I despised Christians. Then I somehow became one. (Article)

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The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. Light and truth forsake that evil one. Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God.

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Lecture 8, A Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit

What did Joseph say about all the prophets of the Old Testament? He said they all held Melchizedek priesthood, and were all ordained by God Himself.  They ministered in a society that was deficient, limited, excluded from the presence of God. But those who received and entertained angels were brought up to where they needed to be for redemption. God Himself ordained them. Should you not likewise have this same hope? Should you not rise up above the level of those who are content to have less? Should you not be willing to mount up on that fiery mountain? Despite the thunderings and lightnings, despite the earthquake; despite the fact you may not believe yourself to be worthy, you're still capable of coming aboard.

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"Wherefore, all things which have been revealed unto the children of men shall at that day be revealed; and Satan shall have power over the hearts of the children of men no more, for a long time. And now, my beloved brethren, I make an end of my sayings." (2 Nephi 30:18)

"The truth will be revealed. But truth of this nature will involve something else. Satan will have no power. When we gather enough light and truth, Satan's influence and power ends. We find that Satan is "cast out" because he can no longer deceive.

"His primary tool is the lie. When there is enough truth, there is no longer any reason to believe or teach a lie. Therefore, he has lost power.

"His secondary tool is the lusts and appetites of the flesh. When these are controlled, he is rendered completely ineffective. He is bound.

"Once the lies are exposed and the appetites of the flesh are subdued, the hearts of men are freed from captivity. Nephi is describing a future day when this will be the the common situation for mankind.

"Of course, this doesn't have to be a future day. It is possible to gain enough light and truth today so the lies are exposed to your view. It is also possible to subdue the appetites of the flesh. In any event, the desires, appetites and passions ought to be kept within the bounds which the Lord prescribes. We say that, but we don't often do that. Most people are not willing to actually subdue their desires, passions and appetites. It seems weird to suppress the desire for revenge, to actually turn the other cheek, and to return good for evil. In short, it would appear the Savior's conduct in willingly going to His death without accepting Peter's offer to use the sword in His defense was a bit nutty. At least from the perspective of the damned. (They can't even stop watching pornography. Latter-day "Saint" indeed. What's saintly about the vengeful, lustful, and gluttonous? But that's an aside...)" (Denver Snuffer, 2 Nephi 30:18)

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3 Nephi 12: 30:

"For it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein ye will take up your cross, than that ye should be cast into hell."

Each person's cross is individual. Carrying "your cross" is not the same as carrying mine. Therefore, when you "deny yourself of these things" what you surrender and what you take up will be "your cross" and never mine.

It is odd how we are able to spot from a distance the weaknesses of others. We have highly acute sensitivities about others' flaws. But we rarely appreciate the crosses they bear.

How hard a burden a man carries when he disciplines himself to rise daily, and work to sacrifice for his family, is not at all the same across the economic scale. Nor, for that matter, is the daily service carried on by mothers who have deprived themselves of other pursuits to raise sometimes ungrateful children.

But "hell" is where we are cast when we are pained by the regrets of having lived without discipline, having lived selfishly. (Mormon 9: 4-5.)  We will stand "naked" before God. All of what we want hidden will be before us, revealed and exposed to view.

The "hell" of it all will be our regret, for we are our own tormentor. The torment of a disappointed mind will be like fire and brimstone to the regretful. (TPJS p. 357.)

Christ is advising us in a kindly way how to prevent that moment of fear, regret and torment. He is telling us how to escape it. These teachings are not a threat addressed at us, but a caution about the future moment when these teachings apply to us all.

It is as if the Lord wants us to know clearly beforehand what we are going to wish we had done instead. Now, in mortality, while we can still change how things will turn out, He is telling us how to accomplish that. In an understatement, He advises: "it is better to deny yourself" than it will be to indulge. You may find it a "cross" as you do, but if you deny yourself now it will let you escape "hell" in the future. It is kindly advice, without a threat. It is a warning about the road you have taken, and guidance on how you can avoid the collision that is coming.

Whatever the "cross" is you take up in your daily effort to live inside the bounds prescribed by the Lord, it will be worth it. By heeding His counsel, you will become someone better and avoid becoming devilish.

The temptations each of us face are unique to the individual. What is universal, however, is the limit placed upon temptations. They are never too great to resist. There is always an escape provided by the Lord. (1 Cor. 10: 13.) Nor are you given any commandment you cannot obey. (1 Nephi 3: 7.) However, that is not to say temptation is easily overcome. Weakness is our lot. (Ether 12: 27.)

What then are you to make of your cross? If you've tried to deny yourself and failed, does it mean you are hopeless? Is the persistent failure to lift the cross you have been called to bear proof that you are just unable to merit salvation? Does the relentless return to temptation mean you are lost? Are you necessarily doomed because you have not found the escape promised by Paul's writing to the Corinthians?

Life is filled with cycles. When we battle and fail one day, then join the battle again, but fail again; then another, and another and another, what is the use? What do we make of such persistent failure, such continuing weakness? Is the lesson that we are lost? Or is it that we are weak? Weaker than we had ever imagined. Weaker than you could ever suppose man to be. (Moses 1: 10.) Is this evidence that you are doomed? Or is it merely a patient God proving to your utter satisfaction that you are indeed in need of saving grace to rescue you from where you find yourself? Is this the moment when, while filling your belly with husks along with the swine you've descended to accompany, you wake up? (Luke 15: 11-17.) If you will finally surrender your pride, come forward with a broken heart and real intent, returning to your Father, He will joyfully receive you still. (Luke 15: 18-24.) There is joy in heaven over you when you awaken.

Weakness is nothing, for all are weak. It is a gift, given to break your heart. Your broken heart will qualify you for His company. Whether a leper, an adulteress, a tax collector or a blind man, He can heal it all.  But what He cannot do, and you must alone bring to Him, is that broken heart required for salvation.

 

William Ernest Henley wrote Invictus:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

 

Orson F. Whitney penned the response in The Soul's Captain:

Art thou in truth? Then what of him
Who bought thee with his blood?
Who plunged into devouring seas
And snatched thee from the flood?
Who bore for all our fallen race
What none but him could bear. –
The God who died that man might live,
And endless glory share?
Of what avail thy vaunted strength,
Apart from his vast might?
Pray that his Light may pierce the gloom,
That thou mayest see aright.
Men are as bubbles on the wave,
As leaves upon the tree.
Thou, captain of thy soul, forsooth
Who gave that place to thee?
Free will is thine -- free agency
To wield for right or wrong;
But thou must answer unto him
To whom all souls belong.
Bend to the dust that head "unbowed,"
Small part of Life's great whole!
And see in him, and him alone,
The Captain of thy soul.

 

We choose. We live with our choices. It is better to deny ourselves and take up our individual crosses.

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A friend reminded me of something this week. I coined a term, he suggested the idea. It’s important that you don’t think that before you wind up in the presence of the Lord you have the responsibility of making yourself absolutely spic and span. In terms of connecting with the Lord, it is essentially a "come as you are party." You are never going to be able to do the heavy lifting required to be clean in his presence. He does that, you don't. He extends the invitation, you accept it. It's a come as you are party. There are two parables that the Lord told, and I want to put them together to help illustrate the point. One is in Matthew chapter 22. It's a parable about a wedding feast. The Lord in that parable talks about how the folks who were invited wouldn't show up. Because the folks who were invited wouldn't show up, in invitation was extended to essentially whoever was out on the streets. The folks who were out on the streets were brought in. Let's begin at verse 8 of chapter 22, “Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.” He is telling a story, largely about a condition that persists whenever you find a functioning religious organization. Institutions have a way of having their own cares. Joseph Smith was a disastrous businessman. He created financial debacle after financial debacle. The notorious one was the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-banking Association. Anti, because they couldn't get the bank charter. If you file for bankruptcy in the state of Utah, one of the things that one of the local bankruptcy judges has done at the discharge hearings, in order to help people feel better about themselves, is to remind people that at the time of his death Joseph Smith had a pending petition in bankruptcy. That is supposed to salve the conscience of those who find themselves in that extremity.

The fact is Joseph was not a particularly good businessman because he didn't care for business. He wound up giving away his inventory to needy folks, rather than trying to profit off the needs of the Saints. There was some exasperation about that in his family, among his peers, and among LDS historians. Well, we fixed that. We have managing the church, and attending to the financial interests of the kingdom (as we call it now), those that are more than qualified financially. I suspect a profligate like Joseph Smith would be unsuitable for church management today.

In any event, the parable starts with the Lord trying to get people to come to the wedding, telling the servants that it's ready, but the ones that I've asked are not worthy. “Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways,…” [It's always the servants, always angels who do this work. They do the gathering.] “…and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 22:8-13.

So I want to put that on the table. In this part of this parable you have anyone who will come being invited, because the people who were targeted for attendance simply aren't worthy to come. So anyone gets to come. But you have among them one who doesn't have on a wedding garment. For that I want to refer you to Luke chapter 15. In Luke chapter 15, we run into the Lord talking about a robe being supplied. This about the son who found himself having been in a far-off land, filling his belly “with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” [Look at what happens in Luke 15:22 when he goes back to his father.] “But the father said to his servants, [Again it's the angels who do this.] Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:”

You see, this has to be kept in mind whenever you're looking at someone who has arrived at the feast, bidden from the highway, and doesn't have on the robe. The Master is the one who wants you to wear it. The Master is one who will furnish it. Don't think the purpose of the Lord is to judge. The purpose of the Lord is to redeem, and for that purpose, he is infinitely patient and willing, if you will respond with forgiveness of your sins, as He does consistently throughout the Book Mormon.

The formal invitation (through His church) is not accepted. The members just aren’t interested. Therefore He invites everyone else, even the stranger. These people are unprepared, having not anticipated they were going to a wedding. Therefore one of them was unsuited. This is a powerful lesson about the Lord’s intentions when it comes to His great day of judgment. It ought to help us put into perspective how little an organized invitation (through His church) will matter in the end. It is His presence that matters, after all.

(40 Years in Mormonism, Faith)

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3 Nephi 12: 27-29:

"Behold, it is written by them of old time, that thou shalt not commit adultery;  But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart.  Behold, I give unto you a commandment, that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart;"

Here it is again - the heart. It is the intent and not just the act. It is not enough that you stop short of doing the thing commanded in the Law of Moses. Christ is attacking the root cause, the internal trouble which causes the mistakes.

The Law of Moses is not being replaced with a new era of easy grace triggered by confession for salvation. The Head of the new Dispensation, Christ, is instead providing a much higher standard for mankind to adopt in place of  carnal commandments.

You must raise your thoughts to a higher level. Sexual appetites and passions must be kept within the bounds the Lord has prescribed. For this new, higher standard, it is not enough to just refrain from immoral acts, but you must purge thoughts. Neither lust of a woman, nor any of "these things" should "enter into your heart." This uniform standard applies to all: male and female, married or single, without regard to who or what causes your lusts. It is universal.

The raging controversy going on at present over President Packer's last General Conference address entirely misses the point. Whether your sexual attraction is male or female, it is to be confined in thought and deed to the bounds prescribed by the Lord, and the Lord has rather clearly identified the bounds in this sermon.

The heart is where sin begins. So it is the heart which Christ would have us cleanse. All else will follow.

No one knows how formidable an obstacle this is until they have confronted it themselves. Nor can a person who confronts this challenge succeed at the first attempt. C.S. Lewis made such a profound observation on this subject it is worth quoting here:

"No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because he was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means--the only complete realist." (CS Lewis, Mere Christianity, Chapter 11.)

Those who would rather settle into a comfortable enjoyment of their sins find discomfort in being reminded they are wrong. So when President Packer reminds them of this, it is painful, and they want him to retract his words. It would be better to consider them, for whether he retracts them or not, it will not change the underlying problem of sin. Only by confronting and overcoming sins within us will we ever become people who will be preserved in the coming harvest.

Imagine, if you can, the idea of impurity being a compound which exists within you. A compound that could be identified by the Lord and burned away. Think of it like the fuller's soap or the refiner's fire, where impurity is removed and something pure and clean is left behind. (Mal. 3: 2-3.) To survive that burning purge there must be so little to burn away that the injury from the burn will not threaten life. It is a useful way to examine what is inside you. And a useful way to reconsider your thoughts.

This leads to the final question: What is the difference between the mind and the "heart?" This commandment addresses the "heart" in you. What is the "heart?"

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3 Nephi 13: 22-23

"The light of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If, therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!"

The "eye" is better put "your mind's eye." It is what you meditate on, what fills you. You choose what you fill yourself with by what you give attention. What you notice is what you care to notice.

Christ's admonition is troubling because the cares of this world distract us all. They impose upon us all.  But Christ advises us to search endlessly for light.

The difference between filling yourself with light and filling yourself with darkness is what thoughts you entertain.

Everything begins in the mind. Words and works flow from thoughts. (Alma 12: 14.) While all three will be judged, it is in the mind where all else begins.

It is not enough to attempt to avoid evil by memorizing hymns. You can spend as many wasted hours humming hymns as singing rock songs.  Neither one will particularly elevate you. Meditating on doctrine, pressing understanding, pondering deeply and engaging the mysteries of God are what will fill the mind with light.

There is so much in our faith that distracts and substitutes for light and truth. Think about these verses and filling your mind with light and truth:  "And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness. That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that lightgroweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you;" (D&C 50: 23-25.)

http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2010/10/3-nephi-13-22-23.html

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"'Such was, and always will be, the situation of the saints of God, that unless they have an actual knowledge that the course they are pursuing is according to the will of God they will grow weary in their minds, and faint;' That's the problem with many of us. We grow weary in our minds and faint because we don't know that the course we are pursuing is according to God. Don't grow weary. Stay on that course. I have the absolute conviction that the much of the stuff that we plague ourselves with, and think is such a heavy burden of sin is because our minds are occupied with the wrong stuff. Study the things of God and fill yourself with light and see how quickly it is that all the rest of that stuff will simply dissolve away and evaporate. President Boyd Packer said that you can fix behavior a lot more quickly by studying doctrine then you can by studying behavior.

"You know, it's really that first parable where the busy young man who was on his way winds up braiding rope. (Referring to Ten Parables.) He was doing that for years on end - braiding rope, occupying his hands. Then he’s tying the net with the Master. And during the course of that apprenticeship, he came to know who the Master was. When finally the Master asks him whether he knows who He is, he did. Then the Master then asks of him, “What do you want of me?” The response comes, “Well, there was a time when I would've asked a lot. But now, I'm just content.” It's enough. It's enough and to spare. Having an actual knowledge that the course that you are pursuing is according to the will of God, is enough and to spare." (Denver Snuffer, 40 Years, Faith)

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The reaction of the hearers to the message delivered by King Benjamin, which he was comissioned to give by an angel: "And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually." (Mosiah 5:2)

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"As the missionaries interviewed me for baptism, I acknowledged having a testimony. However I told them I didn’t think I would make a very good Mormon. The lifestyle they expected me to lead seemed beyond my capability. It was only because I had received what I believed was an answer to prayer that I felt the need to be baptized. But I had no confidence in my ability to live the Gospel.

"As I was interviewed for baptism, I told the missionaries there was perhaps no sin I had not either committed or contemplated committing. I had not been what I regarded as a very good person, and there was no precedent in my life which would lead me to believe I could live a 'Mormon' life. They told me that was exactly what Christ was looking for, and I would be forgiven and cleansed through the baptismal ordinance as long as I was willing to repent and follow Him. I was, of course, willing to attempt that, but believed I would ultimately fail.

"On September 10, 1973, I was baptized in the Atlantic Ocean at Kittery Point, on the southern coast of Maine. It was a cool, sunny day. I was confirmed a member while kneeling on the beach, with a small gathering of local Saints who had come to the service.

"Kneeling on the beach, as I was given the Gift of the Holy Ghost, I felt a presence from head to toe unlike anything before. I was electrified by this presence and felt a joy unlike anything before. It was palpable. Cold from the water of the North Atlantic, wet and kneeling in the cool Atlantic sand, I felt warmth which transformed me.

"Life began anew that day on the beach in the south of Maine as I was 'born again.'

...

"Before baptism, although I had an answer to prayer, I was not confident I would make a very good Mormon. There was no power within me which could overcome the temptations to which I had always succumbed in the past.

"But everything changed at baptism. The apparent 'heavy lifting' I thought I would be in for turned out to be a light yoke, just as Christ had promised. And I found within me a new power of goodness which came as the Elders laid hands on my head and gave me the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I hadn’t reckoned on that.

"Despite those pre-baptismal doubts over my own weaknesses, I have found the Lord has provided a constant companion, a Comforter, ever since baptism. He supplies what I have lacked, and living as a Mormon has become comfortable and preferable. I could never go back.

"Through the decades that followed I have remained an active member in good standing, through seasons of triumph and success as well as seasons of failure and difficulty. There have been times when I thought I would prefer death to continued life, the despair of some trials has been so great to bear. And there have been times when the joy and happiness has also been overwhelming. Through it all the Holy Ghost, given as a gift at my rebirth, has been a guide and companion.

"And now, over thirty-two years later, I have found 'rest' with the Lord, and know the peace of an untroubled conscious. Miraculously I have avoided serious, though certainly not all, sin. Though troubled by seasons of doubt born from disobedience, I have found persistent faith."

(Denver Snuffer, The Second Comforter, Chapter 5)

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From Lecture 8, A Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit:

This text in Ether chapter 3 is probably the best single text in existence to study about gaining the knowledge of God, and the process by which it is gained. Most importantly, it exposes the attitude possessed by the person who comes back to be redeemed. It tells you, not directly, it tells you indirectly by telling you what the brother of Jared did. Go thou and do likewise.

Everything that you have been put through, and every challenge that you have been given, and every weakness that you possess, have all been given to you in a studied way to bring you, hopefully, to your knees. To bring you, hopefully, to feel the chastening hand of God, so that you, in your day, in your circumstance, can look upon it all as a gift, because it surely is.

"I give unto men weakness that they may come unto me, and if they humble themselves and come unto me, I'll make weak things strong." That is also in the book of Ether. It is an aside in which Moroni was complaining that the Gentiles were not going to believe his book. Moroni feared the Gentiles were not going to believe this record but would notice its weaknesses.

Ether chapter 12 verse 26: "And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness; And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness." [That's unavoidable. That's an inevitability. You stand in the presence of a just and holy being, you will realize your weaknesses. You are going to recognize what you lack.]

"I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

How do weak things become strong? Not by fighting a battle you are going to lose. It is by appreciating as the brother of Jared did, the fact that none of us can come into the presence of God without feeling keenly this scripture. "Fools mock, but they shall mourn." This is Christ speaking. "I give unto men weakness, [for one purpose], I give unto them weakness that they may be strong."

That anvil you are dragging around was given to you by God as a gift. Don't curse it. Pray for God to come and lift it. You are never going to be able to get far carrying it anyway. You may not even be able to lift it, but in the economy of God, that is a gift. A gift! Not for you to act upon, nor to surrender to, but for you to fight against in humility and meekness and to say, "I'm not winning. I haven't won. It goes on and on, and yet still I fight against it."

When will you finally come to Him and cry out? When, in the bitter anguish of your soul, like Joseph Smith in Liberty jail, will you cry out, "How long must I endure this? How long do I have to suffer from the abuse of the guards? How long do I have to sit inside a gated room, in a dungeon, to hear stories about the rape of the people who followed me? And the murder of the people that believed what I was teaching?"

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From blog post: God is no respecter of persons

I am surprised by how people regard me as something special.  I have been blessed by the Lord to be able to write some books and put some information on this blog. However, if you were raised LDS and put forth some nominal effort to living your religion, you have lived a better life than I have. I wasn't raised LDS and had no understanding of the Gospel, or the underlying reasons for the commandments.  Therefore, I never obeyed even a fraction of the commandments that you have grown up following.

I am absolutely convinced that any one of you is a better candidate than I was to receive an audience with the Lord.  The wonder of this process is not that someone has done it, but that so few have.  Given that I am probably the least qualified, the point should not be lost on you.  If it has happened to me, then it absolutely can and should happen to you.

God is no respecter of persons.  All are alike to Him.  Qualifications are based upon the behavior and faith of the person, not on their status or past mistakes.

You probably think your errors are more serious an impediment to God accepting you than He ever has.  He doesn't want to judge you, He wants to heal you. He wants to give you what you lack, teach you to be better and to bless you.  He doesn't want to belittle, demean or punish you.  Ask Him to forgive and He forgives.  Even very serious sins.  He does not want you burdened with them.  He wants you to leave them behind.

His willingness to leave those errors in the past and remember them no more is greater than you can imagine.  It is a guiding principle for the Atonement. Asking for forgiveness is almost all that is required to be forgiven.

What alienates us from Him is not our sins.  He will forgive them.  What we lack is the confidence to ask in faith, nothing doubting, for His help.  He can and will help when you do so.

The sins that offend Him are not the errors, weaknesses and foolishness of the past.  He is offended when we are forgiven by Him, and then return to the same sin. That shows a lack of gratitude for His forgiveness.  Even then, however, there are addictions, compulsions and weaknesses that we sometimes struggle with for years, even decades.  When the sin is due to some difficulty based on biology, physiology or  an inherent weakness that we fight for years to overcome, then His patience with us is far greater than our own.  He will help in the fight.  He will walk along side you as you fight.  He does not expect you to run faster than you have strength.  When, at last, because of age or infirmity, a troubling weakness is at last overcome, He will readily accept your repentance and let you move forward clean, whole and forgiven.  That is His ministry - to forgive and make whole.

I know all my mistakes.  They are greater than most of yours. I am in awe of His mercy and forgiveness.  I am not at all impressed by my worthiness.  It is nothing.  It consists of borrowed finery from Him who has let me use His great worthiness to cover my own failings.  To the extent that I have any merit, it comes from Him.  I remain astonished that He would condescend for someone like me.

It is a wonder some think I have an advantage.  I assure you that the promised blessings are available to ALL.  If that were not true then someone as weak, simple and flawed as I am would never have had the hope that I now have in Christ.

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From Lecture 2, Faith:

A friend reminded me of something this week. I coined a term, he suggested the idea. It’s important that you don’t think that before you wind up in the presence of the Lord you have the responsibility of making yourself absolutely spic and span. In terms of connecting with the Lord, it is essentially a "come as you are party." You are never going to be able to do the heavy lifting required to be clean in his presence. He does that, you don't. He extends the invitation, you accept it. It's a come as you are party. There are two parables that the Lord told, and I want to put them together to help illustrate the point. One is in Matthew chapter 22. It's a parable about a wedding feast. The Lord in that parable talks about how the folks who were invited wouldn't show up. Because the folks who were invited wouldn't show up, in invitation was extended to essentially whoever was out on the streets. The folks who were out on the streets were brought in. Let's begin at verse 8 of chapter 22, “Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.” He is telling a story, largely about a condition that persists whenever you find a functioning religious organization. Institutions have a way of having their own cares. Joseph Smith was a disastrous businessman. He created financial debacle after financial debacle. The notorious one was the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-banking Association. Anti, because they couldn't get the bank charter. If you file for bankruptcy in the state of Utah, one of the things that one of the local bankruptcy judges has done at the discharge hearings, in order to help people feel better about themselves, is to remind people that at the time of his death Joseph Smith had a pending petition in bankruptcy. That is supposed to salve the conscience of those who find themselves in that extremity.

The fact is Joseph was not a particularly good businessman because he didn't care for business. He wound up giving away his inventory to needy folks, rather than trying to profit off the needs of the Saints. There was some exasperation about that in his family, among his peers, and among LDS historians. Well, we fixed that. We have managing the church, and attending to the financial interests of the kingdom (as we call it now), those that are more than qualified financially. I suspect a profligate like Joseph Smith would be unsuitable for church management today.

In any event, the parable starts with the Lord trying to get people to come to the wedding, telling the servants that it's ready, but the ones that I've asked are not worthy. “Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways,…” [It's always the servants, always angels who do this work. They do the gathering.] “…and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 22:8-13.

So I want to put that on the table. In this part of this parable you have anyone who will come being invited, because the people who were targeted for attendance simply aren't worthy to come. So anyone gets to come. But you have among them one who doesn't have on a wedding garment. For that I want to refer you to Luke chapter 15. In Luke chapter 15, we run into the Lord talking about a robe being supplied. This about the son who found himself having been in a far-off land, filling his belly “with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” [Look at what happens in Luke 15:22 when he goes back to his father.] “But the father said to his servants, [Again it's the angels who do this.] Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:”

You see, this has to be kept in mind whenever you're looking at someone who has arrived at the feast, bidden from the highway, and doesn't have on the robe. The Master is the one who wants you to wear it. The Master is one who will furnish it. Don't think the purpose of the Lord is to judge. The purpose of the Lord is to redeem, and for that purpose, he is infinitely patient and willing, if you will respond with forgiveness of your sins, as He does consistently throughout the Book Mormon. The formal invitation (through His church) is not accepted. The members just aren’t interested. Therefore He invites everyone else, even the stranger. These people are unprepared, having not anticipated they were going to a wedding. Therefore one of them was unsuited. This is a powerful lesson about the Lord’s intentions when it comes to His great day of judgment. It ought to help us put into perspective how little an organized invitation (through His church) will matter in the end. It is His presence that matters, after all.

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From Lecture 6, Zion

Here is a description given through the Joseph Smith translation of Exodus 33 :20. And since it's the Joseph Smith translation, you are going to have to look there to find it. "And he said unto Moses,? [this is the Lord speaking] "thou canst not see my face at this time lest mine anger be kindled against thee also, and I destroy thee and thy people. For there shall no man among them see me at this time and live, for they are exceedingly sinful. And no sinful man hath at any time, neither shall there be any sinful man at any time, that shall see my face and live." You might catch a glimpse just before you ignite: "I think I saw Him!"

That's not Zion. In D&C 1: 31 the Lord says it again to us in this dispensation: "For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance." Contrast that with, "I cannot look at myself without the enormous latitude of allowance because I'm very forgiving of myself." You'd be better off saying, "I will recognize, I will admit, and I will hold myself to every failing I am prone to make. But as for all the rest of you, I don't see anything wrong with any of you. I cannot detect a flaw in the least, because I'm going to judge you by the standard with which I would like to be measured; which is, I take no offense, I freely forgive."

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"Forsaketh his sins"

Lecture 3, Repentance

Doctrine and Covenants section 93:1: “VERILY, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;” Every soul who “forsaketh his sins.” You are not going to get past your sins until God forgives you. But you need to awaken to the fact that you possess them and turn from them. Because turning from them is repentance, it's turning to face Him. You can still have a load that needs to be dropped because we are all heavy laden with sin. But forsaking your sins means that you would prefer Him over everything else that there is. So turn and face him.

“…cometh unto him…” [Well, the only way you can leave that load behind, is to get down in prayer, seeking Him, and asking Him to free you from the load; to allow you, as Alma recounts in his 36th chapter of the book of Alma, the terrible agony that he felt, and calling upon God to be redeemed. Then when God answered, the pain and distress that he had, was equal to the joy and the exhilaration he felt on the other side of being cleansed.] “…calleth upon my name….” [You have to do that.] “…and obeyeth my voice…” [That would include not merely the things that were given to us by Joseph Smith that you may be neglecting, but obeying His voice in what He tells you here and now. The agenda for you is different than the agenda for me. Your needs are different than mine. Your responsibilities are different than mine. You have your own family, you have your own ward, you have your own neighbors and you have your own issues. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters – you are part of a community somewhere. And inside of that, all of you need to listen to the voice of God because he loves everyone. He loves that eccentric aunt that you just dread having come around. You can't for the life of you, understand why she thinks cloves should be poked into a turkey on Thanksgiving. You wonder if maybe there should be a procedure that more easily confines her to someplace where they administer psychotropic drugs. God loves her as much as He loves you. God loves all of us. Your agenda, and the people you can affect, and the relief that you can administer, and the needs that are in front of your eyes day by day, are uniquely yours. And the relief that you can grant to those around you, that's yours. It was given to you by God as a gift. Don't harden your heart.]

I was reading about the problems that the early saints experienced in that 1856 - 1858 timeframe. I was reading from the diaries, not the official history, not from the stuff that is made public; these are the private diaries and journals. I was reading from that material in sacrament meeting earlier today. We went home and we attended our church meetings this morning, and I literally cried as I read what they were called upon to go through. I am disinclined to be critical and non-appreciative of the fact that those who went before us suffered as they did in order to preserve and make possible for us today the programs and the scriptures. They would not allow the restoration, through Joseph, to lapse into silence and neglect. It doesn't matter to me that they made mistakes. We make mistakes too, every one of us. If you've lived a perfect life you wouldn't be here. The fact is we all are broken, and we are all in need of repair. There was valiance among the early saints and I am appreciative of all the struggles and hard lessons they were taught. I have learned so much from studying them. Those who believe I dismiss them are utterly wrong. Trying to understand God’s hand sometimes requires us to look troubling events squarely and to realize how failure is not only part of our past, but it is an important part of it. We can and will fail too, and their struggles will be in vain, if we are so arrogant as to not deal with these events truthfully.

 

The Second Comforter

"forsaketh his sins" "i.e. through repentance and baptism, which is the only means God has ordained to forsake your sins." (Chapter 14, p. 291)

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Lecture 7, Christ: The Prototype of the Saved Man

In most cases it is our disrespect for ourselves that impedes coming to Him. We tend to think we aren't good enough. However, because He is quick to forgive sins, it really doesn't matter if you are not good enough. One of the first orders of business when you come into His presence is that He forgives you. He cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, but He has the capacity and the ability to forgive sin. Therefore although your sins may be as scarlet, He can, He will and He does, make you white as snow, no longer accountable for your limitations. Therefore you needn't fear, but you can approach boldly, our Lord.

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Lecture 7, Christ: The Prototype of the Saved Man

The people who survived the destruction preceding His appearance to the Nephites were more righteous. We must be likewise. The Book of Mormon is the great prophecy for our day. We should look at is as warning us, not merely as history of a fallen people. It was intended as a warning to us based on their history, and not merely as history. The “more righteous” survived then, and will likewise survive His Second Coming. The “more righteous” were not sin free. They were more righteous because they hearkened to what the Lord told them.

This did not mean they weren't a work-in-process with weaknesses and frailties. They were willing to hear His voice in the messengers He sent, and to respond to Him. These were the few people spared. They were “more righteous” because they received His message from an authorized messenger. They had faith in the word declared to them. Go to chapter 10 and read verse 12: "And it was the more righteous part of the people who were saved, and it was they who received the prophets and stoned them not; and it was they who had not shed the blood of the saints, who were spared." Please notice the criteria. This is the definition of “more righteous.” That was how they, and in turn you, get spared from destruction. This is how you become “His seed” (to use Abinadi’s description): "They who received the prophets and stoned them not." Please understand this is Christ speaking.

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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)

 

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"You think you are just struggling with a problem or weakness."

There is an opposition to getting there. You must face an adversary who is committed to keeping you from receiving light and truth. He knows very well how this process works. Unlike you, he has no doubts about this process. So the adversary directs his efforts to keep you from closing the distance between you and God. Interestingly his role in this process is described with perfect clarity in the scriptures as well: “And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.” (D&C 93: 39, emphasis added.) The Adversary is trying to keep you from gaining light and truth. He understands how to do that: Get you to disobey the commandments.

You think you are just struggling with a problem or weakness. You think you are having some temptation that drives you to distraction. The criticism, complaint or weakness you have that challenges your faith is not that at all. It is your enemy working on taking light and truth away from you. This is the balance in which you find yourself. Choose the light. (The Second Comforter, Chapter 14, Keeping the Commandments (Reprised))

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See the entirety of chapters 14 (Keeping the Commandments (Reprised)) and 15 (Doing and Being) in The Second Comforter.

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Target Fixation

When teaching someone to ride a motorcycle, the best way is to let them ride as a passenger behind an experienced rider. The experienced rider will tell them to lean when the rider leans, and keep their bodies aligned behind the driver. After enough miles in the seat, the rider will instinctively begin to “feel” the way to turn, how to lean, how to accelerate, how to shift, how to stop, and then will be ready to try it themselves. The experience of riding behind an accomplished rider imprints on the learners. After first learning the mechanical rules for riding, the learner eventually will duplicate the ‘feel’ of what was learned. When the feel is right, they are comfortable in riding. This method of teaching motorcycling produces not only a better rider, it produces them much more quickly than any other teaching method. An experienced motorcyclist does not recognize where the bike begins and where they leave off. They become one. The motorcycle becomes an extension of the body. You “do” and then you “become.” When making a turn on a motorcycle, the experienced rider looks where she wants to go. The bike follows her sight as a natural extension of her thought. You drive down the road where you look. If there is an obstruction on the road you want to avoid, you mustn’t fix your eyes on the obstacle or you will hit it. You look where you want the bike to go. To avoid the obstruction you look to the right or the left, and the bike will follow. Staring at a road obstruction is called “target fixation” and is a common problem with new riders. If you fixate on a target, even one you want to avoid, you will hit it. You go where you look. (The Second Comforter, Chapter 15, Doing and Being)

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From Lecture 10

Now, it is clear when it comes to the Gospel, there are absolute standards. Doctrine And Covenants 1:31 says: "For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance." And if that is not a troubling enough idea, then remember King Benjamin’s warning in Mosiah 4: 29: "And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them." So there is an infinite supply of opportunities to commit sin, and God cannot look upon that with any degree of allowance.

This is a formidable challenge for us to consider. But there is a Divine purpose underlying it all. The Divine purpose is to bring us in humility to God, while recognizing there is a gulf between who and what we are, and what is expected of us in order to be truly holy.

Think about all the ways that there are to err. Consider the warnings given in Section 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants concerning priesthood: "That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but 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," And by the way, "in any degree of unrighteousness," is a serious warning. We are told in verse 41 how power or influence is to be affected, and it is not “by virtue of the priesthood,” it is rather "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."

This presents an opportunity for everyone involved, every time, to fail. In addition to all this, as to priesthood if you go to 2 Nephi chapter 26, verse 29 there is another warning: "He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion."

Zion can only come about as a consequence of consecration and sacrifice, and not as a result of seeking to get gain. In fact, when you are in the employ of the Lord you ought to be sacrificing, it should not be gainful; it should cost you in order to serve.

To accomplish purity, there are absolutes that are necessary. Sacrifice is absolutely necessary, and equality is necessary as well. Or at least, there be no poor among us. My guess is, sitting among us in this room here today, there are those who have significant issues with financial needs, and there are some sitting here today who could help in solving those.

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"It is a trick of the devil to get people to close their minds and close their hearts, because they fear what they may be learning will do damage to them. When Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, and then Satan called their attention to the fact that they were naked, that is the beginning of the mischief visited on humanity by the adversary who seeks to bind, control and limit the freedom of all mankind in order to imprison them. He pointed out to them that they ought to be ashamed. Therefore, when they heard the voice of God speaking, they withdrew because of what the shame triggered within them—fear. They were ashamed to come into the presence of that being who they knew to be just and holy, because now they were naked and afraid. Their "nakedness" before God came as a consequence of understanding the difference between what they were compared to the perfection of God. That knowledge came as a result of partaking of the fruit out of season and out of sequence. They were not going to receive a command to partake of the fruit until after the day of rest had been observed. They were not only naked before God, but they were also violating the Sabbath. They were beginning the labor of mortal existence out of time, sequence and season. That is the way a great number of errors are made in mortality.

"You see, we are commanded not to partake of some things out of season. Then we are commanded to partake within season. When we get the timing wrong, we wind up with difficulties and problems we should not have encountered. When we make that mistake, we are forced to repent. Repentance is a critical thing. It is the message of the Book of Mormon. It is the greatest message contained in the book of Isaiah and it is the message of all true prophets. There are two things that generally stir you up to repentance. The first thing is to awaken to your awful situation. The second is to arise, and connect with the source that will cure what is wrong with you. We are not self-curing. We are filled with that same shame that came in the beginning as a consequence of doing what we were not suppose to be doing. The greatest way the adversary keeps us in a state of slumber is to prevent us from looking about and awakening to the awful situation we find ourselves. Hugh Nibley commented on more than one occasion that there is nothing quite as annoying as being awakened out of a deep sleep. No one really likes that. When it comes right down to it, unconsciousness is a very pleasurable thing; particularly when what you awaken to what we face here." (Denver Snuffer: The Mission of Elijah Reconsidered)

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"Don‘t trouble yourself, unless it motivates you to change. Repentance means change.  Repentance actually means you turn from the direction you are facing. Whatever direction you are facing, turn from that direction, and face God. When you turn to God and face Him and let Him be the object of your focus and your attention, then you have  repented." (The Mission of Elijah Reconsidered)

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