Monday, February 15, 2016

Where is the Fruit?

Apostasy is always marked by a change of ordinances and breaking of the covenant. Then everything can continue to mimic the truth, but there can be no fruit. The apostates can keep the vocabulary, claim to have the truth and worship the God of Israel, use the same scriptures as were written by those who were in and kept the covenant, and assume they are either in or headed toward Zion and that "all is well" even as they are covered in chains and bound for hell. (2 Ne. 28: 23-25.) Then the apostasy can rule from the rivers to the ends of the earth, but no-one is capable of telling them to be afraid. While in Satan's power, they think themselves blessed.

The "fruit" to be "laid up against the season" (see Jacob 5) is highly specific. It is God's own family. Those who are bound to Him directly, in an unbroken covenant of adoption, where He recognizes them as His "sons and daughters" and has told them so in an unbreakable bond. (Mosiah 27: 25.) Those who receive Him receive this oath from Him. And through it, He covenants with them, in a bond which He cannot break, that they are His sons and His daughters and heirs to all the Father has. (D&C 84: 35-40.) It will not be an imitation, which does not create "fruit" but it will be Him and His covenant. For "all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord." (D&C 84:35.) He will come to and "comfort" those with this covenant. (John 14: 18.) This is not by proxy, or through an appearance "in the heart" through some feeling, but is an actual appearance leading to an actual bond that cannot be broken, and therefore comforts the sojourner in this lone and dreary world. (John 14: 23; D&C 130: 3.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Teaching for Doctrine the Commandments of Men

I chose to leave the LDS Church after being “awakened” to our “awful situation”.  I am striving to repent, arise and return to God.  This includes “shaking off the dust” by abandoning false beliefs and traditions, which are “stumbling blocks”.

Church leadership believes and teaches, “all is well”.  They require obedience and submission, regardless of obvious false teachings, mistakes and errors.  Anyone who does not sustain them is not considered “worthy” of Temple admission.

We LDS are the Gentiles spoken of in the Book of Mormon.  Many BOM prophecies condemn current teachings, precepts, creeds and practices.  Putting it bluntly, the LDS Church is in a state of Apostasy and has been since the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum.  It is now more obvious than ever and will continue to be so.

Here is a link to a book entitled Teaching for Doctrine the Commandments of Men.  It provides the most complete summary and documentation of changes to the religion juxtaposed with what God commands in scripture.

Monday, December 7, 2015

What kind of Gentile are you?

The interplay between the latter-day gentiles and the remnant has been illustrated repeatedly in the Book of Mormon prophecies. Nephi prophesied of the event, and Christ affirmed and expanded on it.

The Gentiles would be offered the fullness and would reject it. Then the gentiles would take the gospel to the remnant who would receive it.  The remnant would then blossom with the gospel, ultimately establishing the New Jerusalem. When the New Jerusalem is built by the remnant, a few gentiles who had received the fullness would be able to “assist” in bringing again Zion. (3 Nephi 21: 23-24.)

How and when the LDS gentiles rejected the fullness is unclear (D&C 124:28).  We have no record of the Lord restoring it.  If we assume the worst, and the fullness was taken by failures earlier in this dispensation, what then? Do the gentiles have no further use? Are the gentiles without a role in the latter-day events? That is hardly the case. The gentiles continue to occupy a central role in the latter-days, despite their failures.

The gentiles will bring the Gospel to the remnant. (1 Nephi 15: 13-14.)  The gentiles will be commissioned to preach, teach, baptize, lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, carry the Book of Mormon forward throughout the world, and preserve truths which will enable others to be saved. The gentiles will shoulder a prophetic burden they alone will be able to bear off in the last days.

When Moses was taken, along with the higher priesthood he possessed, the Lord did not cease to recognize ancient Israel as His people. They were indeed His people, and the ones with whom He worked. He cared for, and watched over them, although we know in hindsight they were a hard hearted and foolish people who rejected something far greater than what they kept. If we rejected a fullness by our own failures, that does not mean we are cut off. We are the Lord’s people. We have a form of priesthood, and the right to organize and preach the Gospel throughout the world. We are being watched over. We are the means through which the Lord will bring to pass all of His latter-day plans.

You should also not worry that our collective limitations apply to individuals. That has never been the case. There have always been those who have risen up, shed their sins, repented and come to the Lord individually and been redeemed. That pattern appears throughout scriptures. The Book of Mormon is a product of one family, led by one man who repented in a generation scheduled for destruction. He led his family, preached the Gospel, had sons who accepted the invitation to receive from the fruit of the tree of life, and established a righteous branch of Israel. The Book of Mormon at its foundation is a testimony that the Lord is ever willing to receive any who will come to Him.

The gentiles are integral to the Lord’s work. We should never fear that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is meaningless, irrelevant or without God’s watchful care. It is the means by which people are invited to come to Christ today.

However, we should be watchful of a trend towards a new, false religion designed to interfere with the Gospel and enshrine worship or adoration of a priestly class instead of the worship of Christ.  The Correlation Department’s effort to correlate teaching has created a new ambition to correlate power and control over everything. Part of that involves the adoration of a person, or as defined in Catholic terms – the cult of personality. This is a tried and true pattern for compromising the Gospel and rendering it a means for controlling and dominating socially, politically, religiously, and ultimately dictatorially.

The way the adversary works is always the same. It is not to destroy the work of God by annihilation, but to co-opt it and make it his. Satan wants to supplant God as the god of this earth. Therefore, anytime God has a work underway, Satan is eager to rush in and become the one the Lord’s work follows. The “arm of flesh” as opposed to the “Holy Ghost” is the difference between following in the single, strait, narrow path which alone will bring people back to God, and the altered and compromised path that will take you elsewhere.

President Uchtdorf’s analogy about the airplane being only one degree off would become 500 miles separated from its target at the equator was particularly apt. (A Matter of a Few Degrees, May, 2008 Ensign.) This is how men and institutions fail. How can mortal man be vulnerable to err, and committees of mortal men are not? It is an almost universal truth that committees multiply errors, not decrease them. And who of you have ever sustained the Correlation Department?

We are fools to believe that the same pattern of compromising the truth that resulted in the apostasy of the church established by Christ will not relentlessly press against the restoration of our day. I know there are quotes saying otherwise–that the church cannot be led astray– but I cannot believe them, try as I might. Joseph, Brigham, John Taylor, President George Cannon all said the exact opposite. Even when Wilford Woodruff was claiming he would “not lead the church astray” he did not mean what we have attributed to his words. He was saying, in effect: “Don’t worry, the Manifesto is a lie. We’re not really abandoning plural marriage.” The Manifesto did NOT stop plural marriage and it was not a revelation. He referred to it as “beating the Devil at his own game.” Meaning it was intended to mislead the public. It was a press release designed to stop the persecution of the church and the threatened legislation to dis-incorporate and confiscate the Temples. Criticism by the eastern press resulted in it becoming part of the Doctrine & Covenants. Plural marriages continued from then until after President Joseph F. Smith testified before the Senate in the seating of Senator Smoot in 1905. When the excommunications of the Apostles Taylor and Cowley in 1911 happened, it was not based on the Manifesto, but on the letter of President Joseph F. Smith actually ending the practice. The fundamentalist groups know this history and use it to persuade others that their current practices are justified. Their practices today are wrong. But their use of history to trouble the unaware has been effective in many cases.

So ask yourself, which is better:
1.  Presume that no man can err who becomes a President of the LDS Church in direct contradiction to what Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor and George Q. Cannon taught?
2.  Presume that without the ratification of the Holy Ghost bearing testimony to you that a matter is true, no man can be trusted and your salvation is based on what God alone tells you to be true?

If you believe the first, your religion is new, post-Correlation and will damn you. I will gladly let you practice your faith if you will permit me to practice mine.

If you believe the second, you are a someone who accepts accountability for what you believe and will work out your salvation with fear and trembling before God. You believe as I do, that Joseph was the means through which the Lord initiated a work for the salvation of mankind, and that work continues today. You believe in revelation and in God’s continuing hand with us still today. You accept such good things as come through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and rejoice in them and what things the church continues to preserve and practice. However, you are not deluded into worship of men.

The gentiles include both. The gentiles will be instrumental to the Lord’s work in the last days, whether they are Saints or Brethrenites. The remnant will come to the faith, receive the Gospel and become acquainted with their fathers through the Book of Mormon delivered by gentile hands. (2 Nephi 30: 3-5.) Without faithful gentile Saints, the work of the Father will not happen. Therefore, no matter the condition we find ourselves, we have an obligation to the Lord and to the prophets who went before, to so live as to bring these things to pass.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Hedging the Law

Sharing one of my favorite blog posts from a blogger named Log.

Hedging the Law: Two Variations on a Theme
The Problem with the Precepts of Men
The Jews taught for doctrines the commandments of men and built a hedge around the commandments of God. The reasoning is understandable – if you have to keep the commandments of God to be saved, and if the commandment says not to labor on the Sabbath, then if you forbid your congregation from doing even so much as separating toilet paper on the Sabbath, there’s no way they can drive close to enough to the edge of the cliff to be in danger of falling off.
The problem is, this is like sheathing the sword of God. You may suffer guilt by tearing up toilet paper on the Sabbath, because of the creeds and traditions you’ve been raised with, but you will not be convicted of your sins by the Spirit of God, because this isn’t one of the commandments of God, therefore you will not feel to cry mightily to be forgiven and cleansed from your sins, that you may experience the mighty change of heart and the joy of God at your return to him. And being ignorant of the actual laws, when you do break a commandment, you do so ignorantly, and again, aren’t convicted by the Spirit – ignorance is an excuse with God. Thus the purpose of the commandments gets blunted, and the law no longer serves the function it was designed to.
And then the commandments of men are what get taught, and not the commandments of God. Thus, some leaders become hypocrites, and not saints – guilt-ridden perfectionistic pretenders. That was the state of the Jews when John began his preaching. This was symbolized by the fig tree that Jesus cursed.
This impulse – to sheath the sword of God, building a hedge around the law, for the safety and protection of the flock – is common in every age.
A hypocrite is one who is playing a role he has been taught. The word simply means “actor.” We’ve seen fake love. That’s hypocrisy. We’ve seen “friendships” which are struck for the purpose of conversion. That’s hypocrisy.
These are the wolves, the goats, the older brethren, the wild olives, the tares.
A saint is one who has cried mightily unto God from the depths of their soul and been cleansed from their sins by fire from heaven.
These are the sheep, the prodigals, the tame olives, the wheat.
That is why priests are to teach the commandments of God that the children of men may likewise enter into his rest, rather than the precepts and commandments of men.
That’s why Abinadi had some harsh words to say about Noah and his priests.
Teaching Vs. Hedging
There are eternal worlds of difference between these two sentiments:
“Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat; nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee. But remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
“Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

In modern LDS terms, we might liken this last unto ourselves as: “Not even once.”
The first affords opportunity for obtaining wisdom and knowledge through experience, while the other damns people quite literally.
Here’s how.
Moses 5
10 And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.
11 And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.
Those who do not partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil are yet children. Sometimes, they are adult children, who have even borne children, whose children themselves have borne children, but spiritually they are yet children, or less (Isaiah calls them miscarriages). In eternal worlds, they do not have seed, they are not exalted. Because children in adult bodies are actually kind of unpleasant to be around. They lack self-control and must be dictated to in every trifle, being belligerent and aggressive, or passive and apathetic. They can’t keep God’s law, neither are they his friends.
That’s the reason the prodigal got the ring, the robe, the shoes, and the party – here is one who knows by experience the good from the evil and has chosen the good and returned to God; the depths of his depravity convinced him of his fallen and sinful state and motivated his return. In the eternities, he will have seed. The elder brother is one who “not even once” transgressed the commandment of his father. He doesn’t know the good from the evil, doesn’t understand the way the outside world actually is, and resents his brother. He’s unpleasant to be around, and hostile – he doesn’t even bother going to the house to find out why there’s a party going on (since it wasn’t his and he wasn’t invited – it indicates his stand-offishness and sullen pride), but instead asks a servant the meaning of things. He gets to rule the house and property, but the prodigal gets the love and unity.
These are two types in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Until the Elder Brothers realize that everyone is fallen, and all are under sin, they cannot repent and call upon God for deliverance from their sins and fallen state, for they will perceive themselves as just and righteous, even while they mouth the common platitudes that “nobody’s perfect” and “everyone sins.” They don’t really believe that. That’s why they take anti-depressants; their guilt doesn’t make sense to them, since they never transgress.
It’s still not too late to pray mightily to God to be cleansed from all stain and have one’s guilt wiped from one’s soul. But if you don’t believe he’ll answer, or if you don’t believe you have sinned, you won’t even try. And thus you have been damned by those who taught you “not even once,” who built a hedge around the law lest you should at any time transgress.
Hence, the role of a priest is to teach the commandments of God unto the children of men, that they may likewise enter into his rest, and it is not to build a hedge around the commandments of God for safety, lest they damn the children of men.
Bonus questions:
  1. What do you suppose will happen between the Prodigal and the Elder Brother once the Father has passed away and sole control of the house and property falls to the Elder Brother?
  2. What was the inheritance the Prodigal spent?
The Parables of Jesus and the Interpretation of the Scriptures, TPJS pp. 276-277
In reference to the prodigal son, I said it was a subject I had never dwelt upon; that it was understood by many to be one of the intricate subjects of the scriptures; and even the Elders of this Church have preached largely upon it, without having any rule of interpretation. What is the rule of interpretation? Just no interpretation at all. Understand it precisely as it reads. I have a key by which I understand the scriptures. I enquire, what was the question which drew out the answer, or caused Jesus to utter the parable? It is not national; it does not refer to Abraham, Israel or the Gentiles, in a national capacity, as some suppose. To ascertain its meaning, we must dig up the root and ascertain what it was that drew the saying out of Jesus.
While Jesus was teaching the people, all the publicans and sinners drew near to hear Him; “and the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying: This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.” This is the keyword which unlocks the parable of the prodigal son. It was given to answer the murmurings and questions of the Sadducees and Pharisees, who were querying, finding fault, and saying, “How is it that this man as great as He pretends to be, eats with publicans and sinners?” Jesus was not put to it so, but He could have found something to illustrate His subject, if He had designed if for nation or nations; but He did not. It was for men in an individual capacity; and all straining on this point is a bubble. “This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them.”
And he spake this parable unto them–“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them doth not leave the ninety-and-nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety-and-nine just persons which need no repentance.” The hundred sheep represent one hundred Sadducees and Pharisees are in the sheepfold, I have no mission for you; I am sent to look up sheep that are lost; and when I have found them, I will back them up and make joy in heaven.” This represents hunting after a few individuals, or one poor publican, which the Pharisees and Sadducees despised.

He also gave them the parable of the woman and her ten pieces of silver, and how she lost one, and searching diligently, found it again, which gave more joy among the friends and neighbors than the nine which were not lost; like I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety-and-nine just persons that are so righteous; they will be damned anyhow; you cannot save them. (Jan. 29, 1843.) DHC 5:260-262.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Nourishing the seed to produce fruit

Here's an excellent essay from Robert Sonntag, originally posted elsewhere. I thought it was too good not to share here:

The 2,000-year-old seed that grew this date palm was found at Masada. This kind of tree was a staple of the diets and economies up and down the Jordan river valley for thousands of years. It went extinct shortly after the Romans' brutal conquest of Judea and scattering of the Jews.

The DNA inside of the cells of the seed was written thousands of years ago by a healthy tree. It stayed protected in the ground while the world changed and the species went extinct. It waited while empire after empire rose and fell. It waited through wars and famine. Some curious people dug it up and decided to experiment with it by planting it. It sprouted a tree that produces the pollen needed to grow fruit.

The DNA isn't the fruit, or even the tree. It is just a code telling the plant how to assemble raw material to make a tree, just information recorded in molecular form. The DNA can only construct a fruitful tree if it is carefully preserved and accurately interpreted. Even small aberrations can be disastrous.

So many things could have gone wrong in this process.

The seed could have been exposed to the elements - to frost, heat wind, or pests. Either the DNA or the enzymes and ribosomes that decode the DNA could have been damaged in a thousand different ways.

Aside from simply destroying the seed, that damage could have caused the seed to grow a plant that was sterile, deformed, cancerous, and prone to pests.

When people write, they imprint their thoughts and narratives in symbols on paper, wood, metal, stone, or animal hides. The symbols aren't the thoughts, just the instructions for how to think them. If you can read the symbols, you can get an echo of the thoughts of the writer, and experience their narrative by proxy. Even if the record stays hidden in a cave for thousands of years, the thoughts and narratives can come to life as long as soon as they are properly interpreted. You can feel the sorrow of Achilles for Patroclus, laugh at Diogenes telling Alexander to take two steps right, and your jaw can drop in horror at the descriptions of the Mongol horde.

If you misinterpret the words, syntax, or grammar, you won't have access to the thoughts (even if they were produced yesterday). Your understanding of the narrative will be flawed. Projecting a faulty preexisting assumption onto the text can warp your view and cause you to willfully misunderstand.

The scriptures are the DNA of God's religion. They contain the thoughts and narratives of people who knew God and had access to the light and truth of God's personal instruction. "Whenever Salvation has been administered it has been by Testimony" (Joseph Smith, 1839). The writers recorded their testimony, the things they saw and heard, and scattered that testimony like seeds. Some went into the ground, and some were passed around exposed to the elements.

When Abraham, raised in a degenerate religion, studied the carefully preserved records of the fathers (Abr. 1:31), it led him here:
And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers. (Abraham 1:2)

From the records of the fathers, Abraham knew there was a God; that the fathers knew this God, who blessed the fathers; that these blessings included instructions, great knowledge, fatherhood, peace, eternal life, and the ability to administer these blessings to others. The records taught him not only that these blessings existed, but how to seek them. They taught him well enough that, by following the path they laid out, he became a rightful heir to the blessings of the fathers.

Lecture on Faith 2 comments on this process:
“Let us here observe, that after any portion of the human family are made acquainted with the important fact that there is a God who has created and does uphold all things, the extent of their knowledge, respecting his character and glory, will depend upon their diligence and faithfulness in seeking after him, until like Enoch, the brother of Jared, and Moses, they shall obtain faith in God, and power with him to behold him face to face. 
We have now clearly set forth how it is, and how it was, that God became an object of faith for rational beings; and also, upon what foundation the testimony was based, which excited the enquiry and diligent search of the ancient saints, to seek after and obtain a knowledge of the glory of God: and we have seen that it was human testimony, and human testimony only, that excited this enquiry, in the first instance in their minds—it was the credence they gave to the testimony of their fathers—this testimony having aroused their minds to enquire after the knowledge of God, the enquiry frequently terminated, indeed, always terminated, when rightly pursued, in the most glorious discoveries, and eternal certainty.” (Lecture 2:55-56)

This is the situation we are in now, which is one reason why Abraham is such an important figure. We were not raised in Zion. We were not brought up being properly instructed in how to seek God by people who knew him. The good instruction we did receive was often mixed with false traditions, the corrupted DNA code mixed in with the pure, that cause us to stumble (2 Nephi 28:14). In addition, we were not given the proper enzymes and ribosomes to decode the scriptures and construct Zion; we read them through a heavy filter, forcing them to match our ideas rather than the other way around. Our ribosomes misinterpret words like "redeemed", "rest of the Lord", "ordinances", "priesthood", "gentiles", "power of godliness", and "zion". The improperly decoded DNA is reproduced, labeled "continuing revelation," and forcefully injected into new cells.

Joseph Smith constantly fought against the ribosomes and enzymes of the Latter-day Saints. They insisted on continuing to use what they brought with them, while he begged them to accept what he was offering. The Lord himself got involved quite early, condemning the members for neglecting to use the correct DNA as they grew the Church.
And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. 
And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. 
And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written— 
Using the correct DNA, the Book of Mormon and the other scriptures God went through so much trouble to bring forth, will yield fruit:
That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion. (D&C 84:54-58)
The condemnation remains in force because the fruit remains absent.

The tree that has sprouted from the impure DNA and malfunctioning ribosomes is a quite a sight: a flourishing growth of branches, leaves, and burls. It is excellent at reproducing itself by spreading roots and suckers. It has a massive bureaucracy dedicated to spreading branches and leaves, carefully pruning and propping. The fruit (the whole reason for the tree in the first place) has proved elusive since Joseph's death.

As a result, we've begun using our magic markers to label leaves and branches "fruit," and claiming that the tree is fruitful above all other trees.  Buildings are not fruit. Members being decent people are not fruit. When we finally produce fruit meet for the Father's kingdom, we will find the kingdom open to our view and we will be promised an inheritance there. Until then, we should put away our magic markers.

In spite of this silliness, we, like Abraham, have access to the pure DNA, the pure testimony of those who knew God. It's even easier for us than for Abraham, with scripture so widely published and accessible. Joseph Smith's scriptures and teachings—carefully recorded by his contemporaries—also provide us with the ribosomes and enzymes needed to understand them, since much of that material is simply commenting on and interpreting scripture.

How will Zion come? It will happen when some people finally "embrace the truth [not the traditions masquerading as truth], and look upward, then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness, and the earth shall tremble with joy;"(JST Gen 9:22). This is remarkably similar to the promise given to those who receive and accept Joseph Smith's teachings:
...the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory. (D&C 21:6)

The truth is waiting to be embraced. First we need to study it enough to understand it, and enough to disentangle the good DNA from the bad that has been mixed in.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Remembering Joseph

1838 was a very difficult year for the Prophet Joseph and the Saints.  Those difficulties exposed the true character of those who had at one time professed their love and support for him.  It was during this time and in response to traitors within the Church that Joseph gave this opening statement to his history:

“Owing to the many reports which have been put in circulation by evil-disposed and designing persons, in relation to the rise and progress of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, all of which have been designed by the authors thereof to militate against its character as a Church and its progress in the world—I have been induced to write this history, to disabuse the public mind, and put all inquirers after truth in possession of the facts, as they have transpired, in relation both to myself and the Church, so far as I have such facts in my possession.” (JS History 1:1)

It seems there is no end to the prophetic statement by the Angel Moroni that the name of Joseph “should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.”

Even today, official publications attribute immoral behavior to Joseph.  These LDS publications have caused many to lose confidence in Joseph and his calling.  These “historical” accounts cannot be verified or substantiated, and Joseph is not here to defend himself against them.  Despite the direct conflict and contradictions to Joseph and Emma’s teachings and testimonies, they are published as being “true”.  It is in response to these things I offer the following in the hopes that “traitors and tyrants” will suspend judgement and leave it to the Lord who honors him still today.

The 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants was officially canonized and approved by the church as scripture on August 17, 1835.  It DID NOT include Section 132, but DID include section 101 on Marriage, which states in part: "Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again."

Joseph's doctrines, teachings, revelations, and counsel were supposed to be kept and hearkened to by the church. In the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants section 14 [today Section 43] it says, “Ye have received a commandment for a law unto my church through him who I have appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations from my hand.” [Making it clear that when we get something from Joseph, we as a church were directed by the Lord, to respect what it was that came through him.] 

In section 32: 2 [today Section 5] it says: “I have entrusted unto you, my servant Joseph, for a wise purpose in me; and it shall be made known unto future generations, but this generation shall have my word through you.” [Don't read the word "generation" in that context narrowly, because the word "generation" sometimes has varying meanings and the safe meaning in that context, of that statement to Joseph, includes all those who live after the day that Joseph came and bore testimony. Therefore, it would include you.]

In section 46:1-3 [today Section 21] it says: “Behold there shall be a record kept among you, and in it thou [meaning Joseph] shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ…Wherefore, meaning the church, thou [the church, you folks] shall give heed unto all his [singular personal pronoun, meaning Joseph's] words, and commandments, which he [singular personal pronoun] shall give unto you, as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me: for his word ye shall receive, as if from my own mouth, in all patience and faith; for by doing these things, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you” (emphasis added) [The “gates of hell” will not prevail provided we give heed to Joseph’s words. Not mine. Not another man's. The bastion that is established by the Lord that is the rock upon which the winds and rains can beat without causing any harm to the foundation, is the rock of revelation given to us in this generation through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Everything else turns to sand.] 

“For thus saith the Lord God, him” [a singular personal pronoun, referring to the individual man, the Prophet Joseph Smith. Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah, indeed!] “have I inspired to move the cause of Zion in mighty power for good: and his diligence I know, and his prayers I have hear; yea, his weeping for Zion I have seen, and I will cause that he shall mourn for her no longer, for his days of rejoicing are come unto the remission of his sins, and the manifestation of my blessing upon his works” (emphasis added). [It doesn't promise Joseph, Zion. It doesn't promise him anything of the sort. It promises him rejoicing because his sins are remitted. His sins, of course, are not ours. At this point in 1835, you will remember that by 1832 the church was already under condemnation, but Joseph was not. His sins are remitted, and that will cause Joseph to rejoice.] “…they shall believe on his words, which are given him through me, by the Comforter, which manifesteth that Jesus that was crucified by sinful men for the sins of the world;” (emphasis added).

So as I read the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, sections 14, 32, 46 of that volume, it becomes abundantly apparent that, to the extent that the church was a true and living church at that moment, it was a true and living church because God owned the words that came through Joseph and God was then speaking through him. God vouched for the words that came through Joseph, and God cautioned them, and us, about ignoring the words that come through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Section 51: 2 (today Section 28): “No one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church, excepting my servant Joseph Smith, jr. for he received with them as Moses; and thou shalt be obedient unto the things which I shall give unto him.” (Emphasis added.)

Section 84: 1-4 (today Section 90) Again this is the 1835 edition. This is a revelation given in March 1833 in which Joseph Smith was called by the Lord with the words: “My son... Verily I say unto you” [Again a personal individual pronoun, identifying an individual by the name of Joseph Smith.] “the keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from you, while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come: nevertheless, through you shall the oracles be given to another; yea, even unto the church. And all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them, lest they are accounted as a light thing, and they are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall.”

What is the definition of “oracles” to be given by Joseph to the church? Is the definition of “oracles” the transient, changing with every whim program, shifting from day-to-day and person-to-person future alterations made by men? Is it something which allows doctrine vouched for by Joseph to be discarded? Or are the oracles instead the doctrines, the commandments, the revelations, the words contained in what Joseph Smith handed to us in the Book Mormon, the Lectures on Faith and the revelations given through him?

Be careful about how you interpret the scriptures. Be careful about how flexible you think an unchanging God can be made into a changeable Being who has given His power unto men. (2 Ne. 28: 5.)

Be careful about believing that the God who is the same today, yesterday, and forever is now so whimsical that on one day one thing can be asked of you, and on another day something altogether different can be asked of you. And to the extent that you detect the varying shifting sand beneath your feet, ask yourself why that is so.

And ask yourself, where might I go to find the rock upon which to establish my feet, so that the winds and the rains might not mow me down. Because God vouched for Joseph Smith, and God vouched for those things committed to you, through him.

I wish we could recognize that if there is a Prophet whose words we need to heed it begins with the primacy of Joseph Smith. All other things, all the revelations, all your attitudes, all your notions - everything ought to be measured against what we received through him. God vouched for his words. I believe his words. I believe he was a prophet of God. I believe that man has stood in the presence of God. And that God has, and does, vouch for him today.

So, let us regard what Joseph vouched for as the important doctrine of salvation, which is what he called The Lectures on Faith, as if it were a law unto the church. God's word through Joseph. Words and commandments from God to us, given by the Comforter, to which we must be obedient, so we may avoid condemnation, stumbling, and falling. All those things are in fact, the things which the Lord said about Joseph in revelation that we still find in our scriptures.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Remnant of Jacob (Indians vs. Gentiles)

3 Nephi 20:16:

"Then shall ye, who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, go forth among them; and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver."

The descendants of Christ's audience remaining after the holocaust of gentile destruction (i.e., the "remnant of the house of Jacob") would be used by God to deliver judgment upon the gentiles. First the descendants are to be reduced to a remnant by the gentiles, but then the fortunes would be reversed. Initially the gentiles would be the very embodiment of the "wrath of God" to "scatter" and "smite" the descendants. (1 Ne. 13: 14.)  Following that, the gentiles are favored of God and "prosper." This land becomes the temporary land of inheritance for the gentiles, as well. (1 Ne. 13: 15.)

But the gentiles would occupy the land on condition. They would need to serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ. (Ether 2: 12.) 
Ultimately, they will need to repent, or they will fill the measure of their own cup of wrath by rejecting the fullness of the Gospel. The gentiles would not continue in their humility, but would be offered the fullness of the Gospel, reject it, then turn to their own pride, even more proud of themselves than any comparable people upon the earth. As Christ describes the latter-day gentiles, they will be full of mischief, lyings, deceits, hypocrisy and priestcrafts. Indeed, they will be full of all this and will also reject the fullness of the Gospel offered them by the Lord. (3 Nephi 16: 10.)

When they do, Christ will "bring the fullness of my Gospel from among them." (3 Nephi 16: 10.) Upon removing the fullness, and the gentiles being filled with their pride, priestcrafts, deceits and hypocrisy, the Lord will use the remnant who remain to return judgment upon the gentiles in the same manner the gentiles had earlier returned judgment upon the remnant. (3 Nephi 16: 15.)

As Christ states above, using the words of Isaiah, "a remnant of the house of Jacob" will "go forth among them; and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver."

There is an interesting distinction between the "beasts of the forest" and the "flocks of sheep". Both categories of gentiles will be swept away. None can deliver them from this coming judgment. The remnant will be the Lord's instrument of judgment upon the gentiles, and the gentile pride, priestcrafts, lyings, deceits will all come crashing down upon them in judgment. Their idols will be trodden down and torn in pieces, for they are their own idols imagining in their own hearts themselves to be greater than any other people. Their image of themselves as high and lifted up will be brought down low, into the dust. (Compare Isaiah 14: 12-17.) How like their master Mahon these gentiles have become. But then rejecting the fullness of the Gospel when it has been offered to a people always carries a heavy price.

The remnant will be doing the work of the Father in that day. For the judgment is the Lord's and not the remnant's. The remnant are only the means by which the judgment is delivered.

Cleansing precedes the blessing. And this blessed land will be Zion. But not while occupied by filthy people who idolize themselves, reject the fullness, support priestcrafts, lyings, deceit and hypocrisy calling it righteousness, truth and beauty. They cannot see their own condition, and will not trust the Lord to reveal it to them. They will say the Lord does not speak any more, and we have enough of the revelations of God. (2 Nephi 28: 27-29.) They will say God has finished His work of restoring truth, given His power to men, and now we must follow men to be saved. (2 Nephi 28: 5.)

But the Lord will prove that He had more to say when the gentiles learn, too late, they trusted in the arm of flesh rather than in the Spirit which saves. (2 Nephi 28: 31.) At that day, despite all the gentile petitions for relief from that God whose fullness they rejected, none will deliver.

The interplay between the gentiles and the remnant is a fascinating subject, with prophetic details given so as to allow us to appreciate the peril we find ourselves as gentiles in these last days. It is good we Latter-day Saints know we are safe and are part of a great, saved and favored community to be preserved against the coming judgments, isn't it? It is good we do not need to repent much if at all to be saved, because as we hear so very often: All is well. All is well.

"And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.  Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed." (Isa. 6: 9-10.)