Investigating Alternative Viewpoints


Solomon_Temple_PrayerMy bishop asked to visit with me again on Sunday afternoon. We spent an hour discussing my health – both mental and physical – my career, my financial condition and my blogging activities. Although he doesn’t read my blog, others in the ward do and have shared misgivings about me. I thanked him for the concern, reassured him all was well. He then offered a few pieces of advice.

Tone it down, Get it off Facebook

He suggested I tone it down on the headlines and not link my blog to Facebook. I agreed with his counsel. Here’s why. A large number of my Facebook friends are members of the Church. These are people from my present stake and former stake with whom I have grown up and with whom I have served side-by-side in various callings, including multiple bishoprics and one High Council.

I’m no longer a Correlated Mormon

If you read my bio, you’ll note I have characterized myself as an orthodox, conservative, toe-the-line or correlated kind of member. However, if you have read my blog over the years, you’ll see my content has changed, especially over the last two years. Yes, that coincides with reading the works of Denver Snuffer, Doug Mendenhall, Mel Fish and other writers with unorthodox views.

Don’t Fit the Mold of Orthodox Conservative

I’ve changed. It’s my observation that some people are uncomfortable with my change. For the most part, they attribute that to what I read. I no longer fit the mold of orthodox, conservative or correlated member. Some are a little shocked by what I read but more especially by what I write. I confess I have chosen some headlines with the specific purpose of grabbing people’s attention.

Headlines and the Ways of the World

The Bishop and I discussed this very idea of controversial headlines. He said I was using “the ways of the world” to get readers. He said as long as I’m writing about truth, there was no need to use headlines that evoked emotion or shock. Knowing he doesn’t read my blog, I didn’t want to argue the point my blog is not an official publication of the church. That should be obvious.

Downplaying our Unique History

I also didn’t want to argue my blog is my way of finding like-minded people with whom I can discuss the unique aspects of our theology. By that I mean ideas from our past on which we no longer focus. It seems the mission of the church today is to play down anything about our history that makes us unique or different. Church PR efforts paint us as just another Christian Church.

Concern for the Welfare of my Soul

This is the third time in as many months the Bishop has asked to see me. I am convinced these interviews are motivated by genuine love and concern. Yes, they may have been precipitated by a comment or two from other members of the ward or stake, but I genuinely appreciate the visits. I know he’s a busy man. I’m sure he would rather spend Sunday afternoon home with his family.

Uncomfortable With What I Share

The visits are directly related to what I write on my blog. Obviously someone is troubled about what I share enough to express it to the Bishop. They are troubled about my testimony, about my understanding of the gospel, about my mental and emotional health and about my salvation. I’m honored and grateful but disturbed what I write about makes some people feel uncomfortable.

Keeping Covenants Most Important Thing

I’d like to investigate that idea with you in this post. When asked to give counsel in a Bishopric, I decided long ago I was not so anxious about what someone believed, read, thought or wrote. I was much more worried if they didn’t keep their covenants. I was glad I was not in a position to judge someone’s worthiness, only to provide an opinion to a priesthood leader when I was asked.

Covenants Entered Into Early in Life

Like most of you, I made sacred covenants with the Lord when I was younger. It’s interesting to note the covenants made upon receipt of the Melchizedek priesthood and when endowed are both entered into when so young, at least when I look back from the view of many intervening years. Those are some fairly serious covenants to take upon ourselves at ages eighteen and nineteen.

Covenants Associated with Ordinances

My family members were recent converts when I was baptized. My parents had been members for only a few years when I turned eight years old. I remember my Primary teachers discussing baptismal covenants more than my parents. I’m not sure my parents understood the significance of the covenants. I know I didn’t appreciate the seriousness of my actions at the age of eight.

Instructed by the Stake President

I’m grateful the final worthiness interview for receiving the Melchizedek priesthood is with the Stake President. I will always remember the hour I spent with the Stake President as he taught me from the scriptures, especially section 121, about the differences between the authority and power in the priesthood. I had the same experience when I was later interviewed to be endowed.

Opposition, Temptation and Blessings

I received my patriarchal blessing at age fifteen. A barrage of temptation came upon me shortly after receiving that blessing, just like it did right after I was baptized. When it was time to go on a mission, the adversary stirred up trouble in my family in an effort to prevent me from receiving my own endowment. I have noted this pattern of opposition around sacred ordinances all my life.

What is the Next Ordinance?

It was the same when I was married to my sweetheart in the temple and when I was ordained a High Priest at age 38. I know there must be opposition in all things. Many of my readers know about the recent struggles with health and opposition from the adversary I have encountered in the past year. Based on my life’s pattern of opposition, I should be receiving an ordinance soon.

Receive Further Light and Knowledge

But wait. There are no more ordinances to receive, or are there? Upon being ordained a High Priest I felt impressed to speak with the Temple President about what we could and could not do with knowledge obtained in the temple. This was about the time Jim Harmston was circulating a document surreptitiously on the Internet entitled, “Receiving Further Light and Knowledge.”

Prayer Circles Outside the Temple

I was especially intrigued by the idea of prayer circles outside the temple. Please don’t think I’m revealing anything sacred here that I shouldn’t. It’s a matter of record that prayer circles were held outside the temple until the First Presidency asked us to discontinue the practice sometime within the last fifty years. In addition, I wanted to ask about the wording used to describe prayer.

Can’t Even Ask in the Temple

Even though it was nearly twenty years ago, I remember the temple president’s reaction as if it were yesterday. He wanted to know why I was asking about such things and seemed to be upset that I would “dare” to ask such a question. He did his best to play down the importance of what I had asked, stood up and escorted me out of his office. This interview was now over, thank you.

Proper Place for True Order of Prayer

I thought the question was innocent enough. If we were taught the true order of prayer in the temple, then any other kind of prayer would be less than true. That seemed a logical conclusion in my mind. I simply wanted to know if it was appropriate to use it in the privacy of our own homes either alone or with our spouses and if the robes of the priesthood could be used at home.Yom_Kippur_Prayer

Deceived by an Angel of Light

Doesn’t it seem kind of ironic we are taught sacred things about communicating with heaven and then told to never use those tools on our own? I know the Brethren are concerned we’ll be deceived by an angel of light, but Joseph has given us the keys by which we can identify our visitors from the spirit world. The scriptures and the temple are replete with detailed instruction.

Church of the Firstborn

Joseph was zealous in trying to teach the saints to “go on and make your calling and election sure.” His last few public sermons were dedicated to this subject and the idea that each of us needs to become prophets, seers and revelators for our own families. He spoke of the Patriarchal order and the importance of being prepared by the angels to enter the Church of the Firstborn.

Joseph Encouraged us to Seek Knowledge

These are all subjects I have been studying for years. Isn’t this the sort of thing we are supposed to seek after in our individualized study? I’m concerned to learn someone objects when we even mention such subjects and phrases in writing. It’s as if I’ve violated some secret unwritten code to not discuss such things on a blog. Correct me if I’m wrong. I’m not breaking any covenants here.

Sacred Doesn’t Always Mean Secret

If what I write about makes you uncomfortable, write me directly and tell me so. You can remain anonymous if you desire. My email address is prominently displayed up there in the right-hand corner of this blog. I am of the opinion that if writing about these things causes discomfort then we are not talking about them enough. I know they’re sacred. That doesn’t mean they’re secret.

I Seek Your Viewpoint on Prayer

I was going to entitle this post, “Proper Place for True Order of Prayer” but I’m trying to follow the bishop’s counsel to tone my headlines down. You can Google “True Order of Prayer” and get all kinds of stuff, including the actual temple ceremony with the associated instruction. I know I’m not the only person to ask the Temple President my question. What’s the correct answer?

61 Responses

  1. Tim,

    Yours are the same questions I’ve had over and over again. I think these are proper questions. But I don’t know the answers. I am looking for messengers from my Father to teach me. They have the answers.

    Jared

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The temple ceremony brings us to the veil and then shows us how to rend it to receive specific blessings. The true order of prayer is a part of that. Have you considered what the other parts are? Why do we learn all those things taught within the ceremony? All things taught therein culminate in the exercising of them at the veil. This is a very private spiritual matter that need not be confined to practice in public only within the temple, but also does not need to be rehearsed physically as we are taught. Remember, the things we are taught are symbols. The spirit can communicate with no physical words or actions being muttered.

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  3. Temple ordinance by First Presidency special invitation ONLY;
    Washing of the Feet Ordinance OR Second Annointing.
    If received, it is believed one can not be excommunicated, however good luck with that. LOL
    The door to this sacred/holy room is one of those unnoticeable doors one might see/be oblivious to within the Celestial Rooms.
    I’m not sure where, but there is scriptural evidence of this in the D&C.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Oogly Boogly (love that :-) I am familiar with the Second Anointing, not from personal experience but from reading about it in numerous sources over the years – some good, some not so good. As Denver points out, like all other ordinances, it is symbolic and represents an invitation to go before the Lord to receive the real thing. He also points out it is not required to receive the Second Comforter. In other words, no man holds the keys to receiving the Lord. “He employeth no servant there.” We are to petition the Lord at the veil in sacred and holy prayer.

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      • Thank you. Yep my name came by mistake as I misremembered the name of Larry the Cable Guy’s adopted New Guinean brother. LOL

        I haven’t read any of Denver’s works other than through your blog.

        I was put through a railroad excommunication court in 1996. I was given probation without end. I moved and finally got it over but once my eyes were opened I have gradually let much go. There were no valid charges I now can let the church go even though my heart will always be there.

        Of course, I could say so much more. I do cringe as you relate what’s going on with your situation. I’m at the point where if my bishop were to bother me I’d just have my name removed I haven’t done so yet because I just hold out for certain prophecies to occur so that the humbling can begin.

        It matters not to me if I see Heavenly Father or not. I figure if He wants to see me that is His choice. Why waste energy wondering if I will get to see someone who doesn’t want to see me ? Forcing some issues just don’t work at times. I don’t know if any of this relates to your previous post, but it is what was stirred within me at the moment. Thank you for providing me a venue to express this. It might be that you are destined for a church court because try as you may, you just might not be able to avoid it.

        Once a brother stood up for me in my court and they all began to argue, it is then that the veil dropped from my eyes and I saw the Savior walk by me and just before He reached the wall, the veil closed Him from my view.

        To this day I am not sure as to why I saw Him. One thing is certain, I definitely don’t fit in the church since then and gradually I am perfectly fine with it.

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      • This is for Oogly Boogly. Hope it shows up in the right place. It should come after his second comment. Thanks for sharing your experience. What an awesome thing. I think I’ve shared this before, but having sat on multiple disciplinary councils over the years, I never felt entirely comfortable with the whole concept of casting members out, especially if their only “sin” was not understanding the “orthodox and correlated” doctrine. They enjoyed sharing their ideas in public and got too many people upset with them for teaching something unorthodox. No matter that it was helpful or brought healing or peace to those who heard and believed it. I understand discipline for breaking the law of chastity but not for apostasy. I would hate to be on a council convened for apostasy.

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      • Oh I have so much more to say about disciplinary councils and the pride of the members and leaders of the church but most are beyond listening so it is best to just keep quiet about it since the wolves are always preying/praying. (That last bit was more for humor but sadly true on many levels.)

        I do thank my Father In Heaven that membership to any church on earth is not a prerequisite for being His Child. There is strength in having a sure knowledge about that. Now as for being a participant of the organization of Christ upon His organization of that, if I’m alive, that might be interesting to see for a soul such as I. The same could be said about things on the other side of the veil when I am “investigating” The Organization Of The Family Of God In Heaven. Well, I read that was what Joseph had told Brigham as to the name of the church beyond the veil. I can’t help but wonder what, if any, of its laws of chastity are? Kind of ridiculous to have such a law over there that parallels the one on this side of the veil especially when all things are to be in common and people there are supposedly so much more loving and are not inundated in pride. Just thinking aloud…..

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  4. Hello Tim. I appreciate your thoughts. You are sincere and thought provoking.
    I would not be so worried about making people feel uncomfortable. You are speaking truth in your paradigm. The uncomfort is a necessary thing to help others see outside their own paradigm or box they have constructed for themselves. Every true prophet speaks extremely uncomfortable things.
    Ramp it up a notch, and pull out some that Samuel the Lamanite I know is in you! :)

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    • Would I be prepared to declare the word without “having first obtained mine errand from the Lord?” And once I know what the Lord wants me to say, would I have the courage to say it? If someone were to come before the people claiming to have a message from the Lord, all heads would turn to the fifteen men we sustain as prophets in this church to get their permission to listen. We know what their answer will be. They have made it clear when they excommunicated Denver Snuffer. “You are being deceived”, they would say. “Do not listen to that man. Listen only to us. All is well in Zion. That man is a troublemaker. Cast him out.”

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      • I’m not sure if I am getting what you mean. Are you saying that if a person outside the leadership of the LDS church came with a legitimate message from God, the fifteen apostles who lead the LDS church would deny it. Is that correct? Are you saying these fifteen men are the ones the Book of Mormon says are being led carefully down to hell who say all is well in Zion?

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      • Not sure if this will show up in the right place. This is a reply to D. In my critical thinking course, we would call this particular fallacy “Hypothesis Contrary to Fact.” You’re asking for confirmation of a hypothetical future event based on a factual past event. That’s a logical fallacy but I’ll play the silly game anyway.

        What I’m saying is that a man came before the people, presented a message he claimed to have received from God, then supplemented it with scriptural analysis and commentary to backup his claim. For this he was excommunicated with his Stake Presidency confirming they were directed to do so by members of the Quorum of the Twelve.

        In your hypothetical scenario, you are asking if these men would act the same way given the same set of circumstances – a man claiming to have a message from God and declaring it to the people in the form of written books and recorded lectures. The answer is yes. In fact, they will even see to it that anyone who reads those books or attends said lectures are disciplined, apparently according to how vocal they are.

        You can read more about that here:

        http://latterdaycommentary.com/2014/02/04/snuffer-reader-excommunicated-for-apostasy/

        Please don’t put words in my mouth. I did NOT say these fifteen men are the ones the Book of Mormon says are being led carefully down to hell as they say, “all is well in Zion.” However, if you want to present that as your interpretation of 2 Nephi 28:21, perhaps you should view what the man we sustain as prophet, seer and revelator said about that:

        https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2012-08-1490-all-is-well-in-zion?lang=eng

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      • I sincerely did not mean to put words in your mouth or accuse you in any way. I wanted to phrase my question in a way asking for clarification of the actual meaning you intended to convey. I apologize that it came across as a logical fallacy and a silly game. It was not intended as such. I see that I worded it very poorly – in re-reading what I wrote, it looks too harsh. Please accept my apologies.

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      • And now ’tis I that must apologize. I had assumed – something one should never do – that your comment was meant as bait. My response was overbearing and unwarranted. I can only attribute that to years of fighting trolls, mostly in personal emails.

        Because I am so public with my blog, I am a target for scammers who claim to have secrets about the building of Zion in the mountains, and wouldn’t I like to be in on the ground floor?

        Sorry, D. I express my apologies. You have class. I have erred in the patronizing attitude I put on display to one of my readers and the whole world. Let’s start over. I obviously feel strongly about what Denver Snuffer has done and how he has been received.

        I’ll answer your question directly and honestly. Yes, I am saying that if the Lord sent a true messenger from outside the leadership of the LDS Church, the fifteen men I sustain as prophets, seers and revelators would not accept him as such. They would cast him out, and have done so.

        I am saddened and disappointed to the point where if am truly honest in July when my temple recommend expires, I would have to say I do indeed agree with an individual (Denver) whose teachings oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

        The only problem is, in this case, the church is wrong. I still sustain these men as having authority to exercise keys to the earthly kingdom, but they do not have the keys to seal us to Christ. The Savior employs no servant at the gate. Only He can part the veil and let us enter.

        He has sent His servant to teach us and the church has rejected him. I would be honored if you would like to continue this dialog. I have been honest with you and laid all my cards on the table, so to speak. I would like to know how you feel about the question you asked me.

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  5. There is no covenant in the ordinance of baptism. Review the words and you’ll see there isn’t one there.

    Neither is there a covenant in being ordained to the Melchizedek priesthood. Again, review the words, and you’ll see there isn’t one there.

    Baptism is the first outward sign of an inward covenant of obedience which one should have entered into with God, by the power of the Spirit, before one was baptized, through repenting of all one’s sins and calling upon God in the name of the Son until one was received. This covenant differs from person to person; the scriptures only contain descriptions of the covenant, and cannot, because of its individualized nature, contain the covenant itself. The gist of the covenant is that we will be obedient to the commandments.

    D&C 84 is a reference to, and a description of, an actual oath and covenant one enters into with the Father, and is not itself the oath and covenant being referred to, just as Alma 12:9 is a reference to a commandment those who know the mysteries of God are laid under by God, but this reference itself is not the commandment.

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    • Once again, after teaching this concept all my adult life, I realize you are correct. We often refer to Mosiah 18 when we teach of the “covenants we make at baptism.”

      8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

      9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

      10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

      And so when we refer to renewing our baptismal covenants when we partake of the sacrament each Sunday, that is technically not correct.

      And of course, we always refer to the oath and covenant of the priesthood as found in section 84, verses 33-41:

      33 For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies.

      34 They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God.

      35 And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord;

      36 For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;

      37 And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;

      38 And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.

      39 And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.

      40 Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved.

      41 But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come.

      So these verses do not constitute the covenant of the priesthood. I see you are correct. They refer to the oath and covenant, including the promised blessing, but the words are not the actual oath or covenant.

      Traditions of the fathers, indeed. Passed on through multiple generations…but never really understood by any who teach it. Amazing.

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  6. Courage my friend. Be brave in defending truth and light.
    I truly appreciate your blog. I had a similar experience with the Temple President recently when he gave my son his correlated endowment lecture. At the end when asked if we had questions I asked about the promises at the veil and the second comforter being a blessing to be claimed in this lifetime. He quickly ended the conversation and uncomfortably escorted me out of the room with my son. Dwindling in unbelief comes to mind…because others dwindle, do I? This is the question and answer that may bring the next thing to be laid upon the alter. love and peace

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  7. I love your blog. I love how thought provoking it is. You have never said anything that hits me the wrong way. In fact, we think very much alike. There will always be people who can’t think outside the box. Thinking outside the box isn’t bad or wrong, just difficult for some. Jesus was VERY outside the box to the people in the church at his time. Lehi was too far out of the box. And John the Baptist? Don’t even get me started. So many prophets through history were ostracized, ridiculed and rejected. Not saying you are a prophet per se, but you have a loud voice. Have courage and don’t let others who are more afraid hold you back. People like me NEED you and your blog. You give the rest of us courage.

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  8. It’s a matter of record that prayer circles were held outside the temple until the First Presidency asked us to discontinue the practice sometime within the last fifty years.

    It was actually one month prior to Official Declaration 2.

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  9. Hi Tim,

    I just wanted to encourage you that if you get a chance to talk with your bishop, ask him about D&C 42:88 & 93. If your ward or stake members are concerned about what you’re writing about, they need to be talking to you, not your bishop. If someone takes exception to the things you write, it’s an “offense” in their own hearts, and God laid out that’s something that’s handled directly between members. If a person doesn’t feel like talking to you, then they keep it to themselves. No gossip, no tattling to leaders. It’s only when two members have communicated about a private offense (which I read as outright sin, not just a difference of opinion) and reconciliation cannot be reached that leadership should be called upon.

    I love that your bishop is loving and concerned. It makes me sad that he feels obligated to play the yard duty teacher in situations like these, because this kind of stuff isn’t his problem. You’re not sinning. People have a difference of opinion. Even if the opinions don’t ever match up, it’s not an issue for leadership.

    We’re dealing with this very issue in our ward right now, and it’s just ridiculous. It has turned into a cancer, dividing the ward, “this clique” against “those types”, the clique wearying the bishop with their “concerns”, and nobody ever talking to anyone else, because the complainers stay anonymous, and the complained about catch snatches of gossip, and get interviewed for their choice of Sunday attire or the way they educate their children. If it wasn’t so destructive it would be funny.

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    • Hi Annalea. I love my bishop. He has a difficult job to preside over the largest ward in our stake. I once served as both second counselor and then first counselor in this ward. We’ve been in the same ward for thirteen years. He is in a difficult position. How do you counsel someone who is obviously going through spiritual changes yet documenting that process in a public forum? It’s unprecedented, especially for someone who serves closely with stake leaders.

      People know me. They know how I preach and how I teach. I served as the High Priest group Leader here. I taught their children in Primary. I love to teach. I always appreciate being called upon to substitute teach in Gospel Doctrine or in the High Priest group. For me, it is a spiritual experience as I seek to deliver what the Lord would have me say yet at the same time, stick to the correlated material of the Church.

      The change between what I write and what I teach is now dramatic, meaning, I feel empowered and blessed as I teach but wish I could say so much more. I feel constrained even held back by the correlated material, but it is the safe thing to do and people are comfortable with it even if they have heard it hundreds of times before. My blog is not correlated. Too many people are asking why I’m quoting and sharing from non “authorized” sources on my blog. This would not be an issue if I had not previously served in priesthood leadership positions.

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      • Tim, this is a complete rumor, but I’ve heard that the Church will soon begin teaching adult classes more as the youth do now with the “Come Follow Me” program. By the Spirit, teaching as the Savior would. I hope and pray it is true, because I think we need it desperately!!

        Besides, what would be the point to bring up our youth in such a manner, provide them with a companion program (Preach My Gospel) while on their missions, only upon their return to turn them over to the current correlated curriculum?

        I have been particularly impressed with their program. Especially the bullet points 3 and 5 in this section:

        https://www.lds.org/youth/learn/guidebook/uniformity?lang=eng

        I wonder, were this rumored and hypothetical situation to occur, (how) would that change your teaching?

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      • Hope this appears in the right spot. This is for Shyloh. Here you go. Sorry I couldn’t say anything earlier.

        http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865600384/LDS-adults-to-get-new-course-outlines-for-Sunday-classes-new-Sunday-School-president-says.html

        How would I change my teaching? Hmmm…I’m not sure I would. I would still pray to teach what the Lord wanted taught. My objective is always, Always, ALWAYS to bring the spirit into the classroom and have it teach.

        I am amazed at what happens when I lead a discussion as opposed to doing a brain dump in front of everybody. I stopped doing that years ago because it caused ME to lose the spirit. And if the teacher doesn’t have the spirit, nobody learns anything.

        For those who didn’t look up the link, here are points three and five from the youth guidebook:

        3. Advisers and teachers earnestly try to teach as the Savior taught—engaging the youth in discovering the gospel through participation in learning experiences. These may include searching the scriptures together, discussing ideas, sharing personal experiences and insights, and bearing testimony.

        5. All learning at Church should encourage, build upon, and lead to private spiritual experiences in personal prayer, scripture study, pondering, living the gospel in daily life, and serving others. Ultimately, this personal effort is the key to conversion.

        Some twenty years ago, I was in an EQ Presidency. It was my Sunday to teach (we rotated the assignment among the presidency). The lesson was on testimonies. I felt impressed to leave the last ten or fifteen minutes for a testimony meeting, after teaching what a testimony is and how it should be borne.

        The testimony meeting didn’t go well. I wondered why. Later, in presidency meeting I was castigated by the EQ President because he said I put the brethren on the spot. I was startled as I had prayed about it and knew it was what the Lord wanted me to do.

        As I prayed about it again, basically apologizing to the Lord for doing a poor job, the spirit whispered to me I had done the right thing. I asked why it went poorly. He said it was because I didn’t get the EQ President’s blessing / approval in advance. He felt left out and because of that was upset when I asked the brethren to share.

        If ye are not one, ye are not mine. My mistake. I learned to defer to authority in spite of the fact that the Lord had approved what I had proposed. In fact, the inspiration came from the Lord. I knew it did. One man, even a man in a position of authority, can bring a bad spirit into a classroom. If ye have not the spirit, ye shall not teach.

        Sorry for the trip down memory lane. You got me thinking. God bless.

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  10. Prayer: hand Positions and how you word them matters for a true order. (not talking about temple either as you don’t have to do whats shown in the temple to worship correctly, I don’t believe but I am willing got be taught!) I definitely lack knowledge here myself. Lots of it.

    The scriptures gives reference to both types of positions for the arms, outstretched, and uplifted.

    “Once Joseph gave notice to the school for all to get up before sunrise, then wash themselves and put on clean clothing and be at the school by sunrise, as it would be a day of revelation and vision. They opened with prayer. Joseph then gave instruction to prepare their minds. He told them to kneel and pray with uplifted hands. Brother Coltrin then gave an account of the appearance of the Father and Son as given in the Minutes of the 3rd inst. Jesus was clothed in modern clothing, apparently of grey cloth.” (Minutes of the Salt Lake School of the Prophets; Oct. 11, 1883, p. 69.)”

    Uplifted hands… hmmmm I have seen this somewhere before and not only did the Savior appear but also the father.

    “At one of these meetings after the organization of the school, the school being organized on the 23rd of January, 1833, when we were all together, Joseph having given instructions, and while engaged in silent prayer, kneeling, with our hands uplifted each one praying in silence, no one whispered above his breath, a personage walked through the room from East to West, and Joseph asked if we saw him. I saw him and suppose the others did, and Joseph answered that is Jesus, the Son of God, our elder brother. Afterward Joseph told us to resume our former position in prayer, which we did. Another person came through; He was surrounded as with a flame of fire. He (Brother Coltrin) experienced a sensation that it might destroy the tabernacle as it was of consuming fire of great brightness. The Prophet Joseph said this was the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. I saw him.” (Ibid, pp. 58-60.)”

    Look at the purpose of d&C 93. Someone just showed me this last night. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-VTq7S4gNY (The book of the Lamb by Daymon Smith)

    19 I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know HOW to worship, and know WHAT you worship, that you MAY come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness.

    The How, What is important here. Worship is associated with prayer (Alma 31). Some things I don’t feel disclosed to publish on this blog but look at examples in the book of mormon. Look at what they say.

    Lehi

    1 Nephi 1:14 And it came to pass that when my father had read and seen many great and marvelous things, he did exclaim many things unto the Lord; such as: Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty! Thy throne is high in the heavens, and thy power, and goodness, and mercy are over all the inhabitants of the earth; and, because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish!

    15 And after this manner was the language of my father in the praising of his God; for his soul did rejoice, and his whole heart was filled, because of the things which he had seen, yea, which the Lord had shown unto him.

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    • Prayer is indeed worship. Some of the most sacred prayers I can recall were filled with praise, adoration and worship, and yes, with uplifted arms or hands and arms placed in certain positions as taught in the temple. It just seemed natural. There is something about asking the Lord three different times or in three different ways that brings answers. I know this is sacred ground. I’ll leave it to your contemplation to ponder and visualize in your mind’s eye. It is an invitation to open the heavens. Sometimes the beings that respond are not from God.

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  11. Upon finding himself in the lone and dreary world Adam built an altar and offered prayer. We then see him kneeling before an EMPTY altar attempting to connect with heaven. He is unsuccessful.

    Throughout the endowment we make covenants that require us to turn our agency (the only thing that is truly ours) over to God in various degrees. We are also given a sign that corresponds with each covenant.

    When we engage in the true order of prayer we symbolically turn our back on the world and face the altar, which symbolizes Christ. Then we make the individual signs, which essentially lay the corresponding “offerings” on altar. This symbolizes giving ourselves (in increasing degrees) to Christ until we develop the faith necessary to part the veil.

    The endowment teaches us what we need to lay on the altar in order to turn our prayers from vain repetitions into a faith-filled exercise that will actually connect with heaven. It seems to me that me that the physical signs are purely symbolic.

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    • Thank you Brian. I cannot add to this comment. It is perfect. I know of individuals who have built altars in their homes, usually in the library or a room specially built for this purpose. My altar is my bed. I would that I could offer a more sacred setting to the Lord in private prayer.

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      • Tim – I struggle with finding setting that feels sacred also. 3 Nephi 19 shows the actual thing happening outside in front of a multitude of people, so maybe the “where” is less important than the reverence with which we approach it.

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      • Since no physical altar is necessary, the most important location for the altar is within our souls, built right at our (spiritual) heart. We are tabernacles, mobile temples, and can have a prayer in our hearts no matter what kinds of things are going on around us. Spiritual equanimity — the kingdom of God within.

        One thing I’ve tried at times (I should probably do this more frequently) to get myself in the right frame of mind for prayer is mentally move myself through the Endowment (see myself going from room to room, etc.), and then finally at the end, symbolically in the Lord’s presence, then I can converse with the Lord.

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  12. Tim,

    You are patient and long suffering with your bishop and fellow ward members. I’m not sure if I would be as patient as you are.

    I’m sure you recognize that deciding whether to follow the counsel of those who preside should be done by virtue of the Holy Spirit. Everyone has a different path.

    I think it is very unfortunate that we have become a church where leaders are often quick to use compulsion or manipulation in order to obtain results. We learn from D&C 121 that those who have priesthood should only use persuasion, long-suffering, meekness, and love unfeigned to achieve results.

    I’m disappointed that your blog is not linked to Facebook anymore. I guess the rest of us will have to be sure and share your posts on our own Facebook pages. ;-)

    Thanks Tim. Keep up the good work.

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    • I clearly felt love, compassion and consideration from my bishop. I know this was difficult for him. He said he knew he needed to talk to me but wasn’t quite sure what he was going to say. He clearly said what he had to say was shared in a spirit of love and concern both from his heart and as expressed by others. I don’t want to be the cause of any grief or trouble to the bishop. He has enough on his plate with counseling members who struggle with forgiving themselves or controlling some habit that keeps them from feeling close to the Lord. Would that I didn’t feel almost compelled by the Lord to share my journey, warts and all, as I attempt to come unto the Lord and do as I feel he wants me to do. And to think this all started with book reviews.

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  13. I like Brian B’s comments.

    “The characters depicted, the physical setting, the clothing worn, the signs given, and all the events covered in the temple are symbolic” (Endowed from on High: Temple Preparation Seminar Teacher’s Manual). ALL the events!

    I’ve probably mentioned this before, but to me, there are at least 3 steps of understanding symbolism:

    1. Learning what the symbol is

    2. Understanding what the symbol means (on one or more levels)

    3. Experiencing / incorporating / embodying what the symbol represents

    Simply emulating the outward appearances of things would be in the realm of the first (lowest) of the 3 steps. Focusing too much on outward appearances could even be a potential distraction from attaining the other steps.

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    • Indeed. My desire is simply to commune with the heavens. If that means visions, dreams or inspiration, I want to make sure I recognize it and give the Lord credit for reaching out to me. I know many if not most of the answers I seek are in the scriptures. I often read the scriptures out loud before prayer to get the language of the Lord into my mind. It then becomes of extension of what I was reading.

      Yet I know the Lord is anxious to reveal to us thing that have been hidden since before the world was. He wants us to receive what our spirit craves. We desire to be reunited with our Father and with our Savior. Prayer is the key and, as taught in the temple, there is a true order to prayer. I read in early pioneer journals the account of brethren who “offered up the signs and tokens of the priesthood in prayer” and then had the heavens opened. Was it so common back then?

      What’s different about their faith and ours? Do we subtly discourage revelation in our church today? We quote early accounts of Brigham teaching he did not desire to see angels or the Lord because he knew too many brethren who fell away after having received open vision. We teach that the Lord answers prayers mainly through inspiration or by what someone else shares with us. I am not satisfied with that. I may be overzealous but remain convinced the Lord wants us to rend the veil. My patriarchal blessing promises the heaven will be opened if I do my part in study and prayer. It’s work to open the heavens. I know this.

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      • As much as I love to learn from Brigham, the quote from him above is proof to me that he was prone to make prideful remarks when speaking from his own opinion.
        As the leader of the church he even was known to have quoted that he wasn’t a prophet. Oh well. Huh?

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      • he knew too many brethren who fell away after having received open vision

        Bayes rule should be used here. What’s the probability of falling away conditional on having seen angels compared to the probability of falling away conditional on having not seen angels?

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      • One might first consider if falling away from a church is equal to falling away from being a Child of God. At best, the current LDS church is only the most “correct” of the churches on earth. Its self perceived monopoly of being God on earth only supplies evidence of pride and not necessarily God himself. Thus falling away leaves so much to be desired especially if those falling away are trying to love God and others with all their hearts and minds.

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      • It wasn’t Brigham, but Grant who said that, unless I am mistaken.

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  14. I don’t think that the use of signs or tokens makes any difference without the Holy Ghost and/or without power in the priesthood. We mainly experience spiritual gifts right now, but we attribute it to priesthood. I don’t see anything wrong with using these instruments in the privacy of our homes, as we feel inclined or inspired to do so. Personally, the use of these tactics hasn’t helped me any in receiving any visions or manifestations. Faith matters. Charity matters. Hope matters. Heavenly ordinances under the hands of heavenly messengers matters. It’s just a matter of getting to that point.

    10 And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual.
    11 For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God.
    12 Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind.
    13 Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected.
    14 Let not your minds turn back; and when ye are worthy, in mine own due time, ye shall see and know that which was conferred upon you by the hands of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun. Amen.

    (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 67:10 – 14)

    Don’t turn back!

    I cannot stress enough the importance of humility and meekness before the Lord. I see so many individuals these days, (not you Tim) who are so condemning of the church and it’s leaders; they may be right about a lot of things, but their attitudes destroy their humility and and their chances for rending the veil. The rending must be done with complete humility, love, forgiveness, and mighty faith.

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  15. Something we forget about is what happened when the Lord visited the Nephites/Lamanites in Bountiful. On at least 3 occasions He said that the Law of Moses was done away, and He would no longer accept sacrifices, ordinances, performances and the like. But in Joseph’s day, the Restorationists wanted to mimic the New Testament church, but also throw in elements of the Law of Moses.

    What was a Seer to do? Joseph gave them exactly what they asked for, so that the Lord could teach the people “through the multitude of their idols.” Which leaves us pondering what we’ve inherited today: a hierarchical corporation that leads us in circles with ordinances proclaimed as “dead” and “rejected” by the Lord. We are so caught up in the symbol (which means everything and nothing) that we forget about the real thing… what the symbol represents. Thus, we draw near to God with our lips, but our hearts are far from him.

    What about baptism? one might ask. As Log pointed out, it is an outward manifestation of our desire to be at one with God. The Book of Mormon does not say that baptism is an ordinance; yet, we made it one, along with a list of a bunch of other performances which are supposed to “save” us. No wonder we see no fruit in our works.

    My suspicion is that we needn’t worry about the “true order of prayer” at this juncture. What we have has been turned into a ritual and bears fruit with no resemblance to that of Bountiful (the people turned “white” and were literally sanctified when they did their prayer circles). What would be more useful, it seems, would for us to be “born again,” becoming as little children, and showing “fruit meet for repentance,” that we are “worthy” of being immersed in Christ’s name.

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    • The Book of Mormon does not say that baptism is an ordinance; yet, we made it one

      3 Nephi 11:38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.

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      • So where does that say baptism is an ordinance in the above passage?

        Instruction? Yes. “Commandment?” Probably. Performance/ritual? I don’t see it. It could be that when “baptism” was recorded by the B of M folks, the definition was more like “enveloped” or “immersed,” thus taking the emphasis off the ritualistic aspect of it and onto the heart of the matter. Most of the time they talk about baptism, it is followed by “in the name of Christ.”

        I believe other ways of saying “be baptized in the name of Christ” would be: “let virtue garnish your thoughts unceasingly” or “always remember him” or “pray for those who spitefully use you.” Yes, there is an outward manifestation of one’s desire to be at one with Jesus, which is going down into the water, but I think we have it all backwards. We make it a rite of passage (for “young children,” even… which Moroni declared as an abomination), rather than an indication of something which has already taken place (ie, repentance).

        Apparently, this was a problem for the Nephites as well, because the first thing the Lord did was instruct them on the “proper” way to baptize, emphasizing that our contentions should be done away (which He called “my doctrine.”)

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      • It’s as simple as going to the dictionary.

        ordinance

        OR’DINANCE, n.

        1. A rule established by authority; a permanent rule of action. An ordinance may be a law or statute of sovereign power. In this sense it is often used in the Scriptures. Ex. 15. Num. 10. Ezra 3. It may also signify a decree, edict or rescript, and the word has sometimes been applied to the statutes of Parliament, but these are usually called acts or laws. In the United States, it is never applied to the acts of Congress, or of a state legislature.
        2. Observance commanded.
        3. Appointment.
        4. Established rite or ceremony. Heb. 9. In this sense, baptism and the Lord’s supper are denominated ordinances.

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      • My point is if you are defining ordinance as a ritual or performance (the way we do it now), then such things have been done away according to the words of Christ. If it is an “edict,” then I have no problem with calling baptism an “ordinance.” But I think it comes down to where the heart of the individual is as opposed to just reciting some words and moving in a defined way. Sounds like we agree on that much.

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  16. Great article & comments here. I appreciate the thoughts–lots to ponder.

    It occurred to me, too, that in the temple endowment there comes a point in Adam & Eve’s progression (i.e., yours and mine) where the Elohim direct, through Jehovah, that angels be sent to instruct us in the True Order of Prayer. I imagine that, were that to happen for someone, these True Messengers would certainly communicate to the person the actual & correct manner for this type of prayer–which the endowment’s actions at the prayer circle only represent & symbolize. I believe it is worth seriously pondering & seeking to understand, but if the pattern holds, I also suppose that it must therefore be the role & function of True Messengers from the Father to prepare us in all things to be introduced at the veil–including teaching us individually this order of prayer. That is to say, Jared’s comments are key. We need to repent & exercise faith, & focus on the “weightier matters”, so as to qualify to be instructed as we desire. “It’s just a matter of getting to that point.”

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  17. What about baptism? one might ask. As Log pointed out, it is an outward manifestation of our desire to be at one with God. The Book of Mormon does not say that baptism is an ordinance; yet, we made it one, along with a list of a bunch of other performances which are supposed to “save” us. No wonder we see no fruit in our works.

    That’s not quite what I said. Once one enters the covenant of obedience, the first commandment delivered is to be baptized. As a commandment, it is therefore an ordinance, or, that which is ordained.

    3 Nephi 11
    18 And it came to pass that he spake unto Nephi (for Nephi was among the multitude) and he commanded him that he should come forth.

    19 And Nephi arose and went forth, and bowed himself before the Lord and did kiss his feet.

    20 And the Lord commanded him that he should arise. And he arose and stood before him.

    21 And the Lord said unto him: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven.

    22 And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize. And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you.

    23 Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them—Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them.

    24 And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying:

    25 Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

    26 And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water.

    27 And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.

    28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.

    29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

    30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.

    31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.

    32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.

    33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.

    35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

    36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.

    37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.

    38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.

    39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.

    40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.

    41 Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.

    Who then is worthy of baptism?

    Moroni 8
    24 [R]epentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law.

    25 And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins;

    26 And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.

    Being born again, as a general rule, comes after baptism, as shown here – for it is to be visited with fire, and with the Holy Ghost, which visitation brings the mighty change of heart and charity.

    Moroni 6
    1 And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it.

    2 Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.

    3 And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end. [That's the precondition for worthiness to be baptized - entering into the covenant, wherein we take upon us the name of Christ by receiving of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of our sins.]

    4 And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.

    The worthiness requirement for baptism is the same today.

    D&C 20
    37 And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end [ie, have entered into the covenant], and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins [wherein we take upon us the name of Christ], shall be received by baptism into his church.

    Hence, this.

    Alma 34:38
    38 [C]ontend no more against the Holy Ghost, but … receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ…

    And how do we do that?

    Alma 22
    12 And it came to pass that when Aaron saw that the king would believe his words, he began from the creation of Adam, reading the scriptures unto the king—how God created man after his own image, and that God gave him commandments, and that because of transgression, man had fallen.

    13 And Aaron did expound unto him the scriptures from the creation of Adam, laying the fall of man before him, and their carnal state and also the plan of redemption, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, through Christ, for all whosoever would believe on his name.

    14 And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king.

    15 And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded these things unto him, the king said: What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy.

    16 But Aaron said unto him: If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest.

    17 And it came to pass that when Aaron had said these words, the king did bow down before the Lord, upon his knees; yea, even he did prostrate himself upon the earth, and cried mightily, saying:

    18 O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day. And now when the king had said these words, he was struck as if he were dead.

    22 …Aaron … put forth his hand and raised the king from the earth, and said unto him: Stand. And he stood upon his feet, receiving his strength.

    23 Now this was done in the presence of the queen and many of the servants. And when they saw it they greatly marveled, and began to fear. And the king stood forth, and began to minister unto them. And he did minister unto them, insomuch that his whole household were converted unto the Lord.

    This is merely one of many examples of what to do to come unto Christ that can be found in the Book of Mormon: call upon the name of the Lord with all your might, repenting of all your sins, that he may pour out his Spirit upon you.

    2 Nephi 25
    29 And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.

    It is just that simple.

    If you believe the Book of Mormon, then do these things, and be free from the condemnation the Church labors under.

    D&C 84
    43 And I now give unto you a commandment to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life.

    44 For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.

    45 For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

    46 And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.

    47 And every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father.

    48 And the Father teacheth him of the covenant which he has renewed and confirmed upon you, which is confirmed upon you for your sakes, and not for your sakes only, but for the sake of the whole world.

    49 And the whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin.

    50 And by this you may know they are under the bondage of sin, because they come not unto me.

    51 For whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin.

    52 And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me.

    53 And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now.

    54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—

    55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.

    56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.

    57 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

    58 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.

    59 For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay.

    Let today be the day you stop merely believing in the Book of Mormon, but let it be the day you start believing the Book of Mormon, and doing what it says to do.

    Cast off your sins (every vain lust, every worldly ambition), bow down upon the earth, and cry mightily unto God in the name of Christ that you might be forgiven and cleansed, and continue in this prayer until you are received, like Enos did (that’s why it’s in the book!).

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    • Thank you for your gift, good brother.

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    • Yes, thank you Log. I greatly appreciate the time and effort you take to teach from the scriptures. It’s been a long time since I had that born again experience while I was a student at Rick’s College (now BYU-I). I knew I had been forgiven of my youthful sins. Alas, the feeling of being cleansed did not last. Worldly temptations of the natural man being what they are – constant and relentless – I became strict with myself. In so doing I quenched the spirit, not on purpose, but as a consequence of trying to watch every thought, word and deed.

      I failed, just as every one of us is destined to fail. We cannot be perfect even though we are commanded to do so. All we can do is turn to Christ, again and again, pleading for his grace to go before us as we draw closer to coming into the presence of the Father once again. We cannot abide His presence without the Savior there to advocate our petitions with his love. I know Him. I know His love, but I cannot endure His presence in this mortal state. Even though I bow down before Him morning and night, it’s hard for this Gentile to feel His presence.

      It has taken a lifetime of repenting, and I surely have not completed that work, to feel worthy of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. How grateful I am for that commandment – to receive the Holy Ghost. That’s one commandment I am grateful was given as such. I strive to obey it every day. It is that gift that drives me, urges me on in a constant manner that is stronger than the constant urges of the natural man. I am driven to my knees each night seeking for the confirmation I desire – not of His love, for I already have that, but that the path I am following by my own election or agency is in accordance with His will.

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    • Wow! Incredibly beutiful stuff. Thanks Log.

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  18. It is possible to be perfect – if we understand what perfection is.

    Doctrine and Covenants 88:125
    125 And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.

    Because charity is the entire purpose of all the commandments.

    1 Timothy 1:5
    5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.

    Which is why this statement is true.

    3 Nephi 14:12
    12 Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets.

    Those who have charity are even as God is, for God is charity.

    1 John 4
    16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

    17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

    18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

    And how do we get charity, or perfect love?

    Moroni 8
    24 [R]epentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law.

    25 And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins;

    26 And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.

    We receive it when we are born again – baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost – through repentance and mighty prayer unto faith on the Savior. And note that charity endureth by diligence unto prayer until the end shall come.

    Hence the saying of the Savior.

    John 8:29
    29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

    If we do always those things which please God, praying always, so also shall we be filled with this love.

    Doctrine and Covenants 88:67
    67 And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.

    If you have been born again, then you know how to pray to be filled with light, love, and the glorious joy of the Lord. You have been perfect, even if you did not endure.

    Ignore your feelings of unworthiness, and pour out your whole soul in faith for that which you most desire.

    Ehter 3
    2 Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee; for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires.

    Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven. Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. If you withhold nothing, nothing will be withheld.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Log … I called you “brother” … shall I call thee “Abba?” Thank you for teaching us. Shalom. Ben-Roy

      Liked by 1 person

    • I forgot to include the most relevant citation.

      Moroni 7
      48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

      2 Nephi 32
      5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.

      Ether 12:28
      28 Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness.

      Liked by 1 person

      • In regards to being perfect, I find it interesting to note that as the Savior gives the Sermon on the Mount Matthew 5:48 ,

        “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

        It differs from the very similar Sermon He delivered to the Nephites in 3 Nephi 12:48:

        “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.”

        What is the difference between the two? The first address was given whilst Jesus was still mortal. His mission not yet completed. The second address is given after Jesus is resurrected. While Jesus is alive, He does not refer to himself as perfect, only the Father. However, once He has done all the Father had commanded Him, then he could say that He also was perfect.

        I think that if the Savior (who led a perfect life) could not refer to himself as being perfect while in mortality, it stands to reason that we also cannot be expected to be perfect until much later in our progression.

        Like

      • That’s not the only difference – the major one being the audience. That the Savior did not refer to himself as perfect in this one recorded discourse is hardly evidence that he could not, since, as I have pointed out, perfection consists of having charity. It is a commandment to have charity, and it is a commandment to be perfect. The person who asserts Christ was not perfect in mortality seems to be convicting him of sin – in particular, the sin of lacking charity.

        After all, “the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”

        30 [T]he Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing.

        I am also not so sure that we have every word Jesus spoke.

        9 And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.

        10 Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.

        And we know he did quite a bit more, too.

        25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.

        The lack of information is on purpose.

        6 And now there cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people;

        7 But behold the plates of Nephi do contain the more part of the things which he taught the people.

        8 And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken.

        9 And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them.

        10 And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation.

        11 Behold, I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying: I will try the faith of my people.

        And there is no reason to dispute that the commandment to be perfect is impossible.

        JST Matt 9:26 With men this is impossible; but if they will forsake all things for my sake, with God whatsoever I speak is possible.

        Like

      • Matthew 5:48 & 3 Nephi 12:48 are not all-inclusive lists of perfect beings.

        What about Heavenly Mother? What about Heavenly Father’s Father?

        Seth, Noah, & Job were described as being “perfect.” (“Perfect” is not the same as “sinless.”)

        Just because someone’s name is not listed doesn’t mean they couldn’t be on the list. (Sorry for the double negative.)

        Like

  19. Well Tim, the rubber is finally hitting the road, so to speak :)

    Words, metaphors are definitely going to get in the way trying to share this. But let’s try. Which came first, man or the temple (endowment)? We are taught in the scriptures that we are the temple of God. And so, first, we must cast out this nonsense that certain things only belong “in” the temple, and not outside. We are each the walking, living, breathing endowment; the endowment being an external projection of a deeply internal, spiritual path…with very physical, tangible, manifested, earthly consequences or fruit. The endowment is only to do one thing, and that is to reflect back to us the very invitations (keys), or road map that is coming to Father, here in mortality.

    There is no part of the endowment that you are not currently living, experiencing or that you do not have access to (I agree, many are asleep!). So, yes, not only is it very important to seek, learn about, even experiment upon these endowment practices; in essence they are displaced keys. There is a process though which the typical LDS member will go through as we start this journey.

    First and foremost, know with an absolute surety that the minute one truly turns and faces Christ, consciously steps and chooses to leave Babylon and seek Heaven, that all of Hell takes notice. I have heard it many times, the veil parts both ways. One does not experience Christ (not just seeing, but experiencing the path that I’m referring to) without encountering a number of other jolly acquaintances. Anytime Heaven and Earth truly (attempt to) connect, or that the Celestial actually appears or manifests here in the Telestial … all of Hell takes notice. And it takes a seasoned traveler to understand what I mean by “Hell”.

    As one reclaims the “education” that is the endowment, there is all the “taboo,” to face, experience and overcome. As one does this they overcome, and can dig deeper. As an example, one might choose to experiment on the true order of prayer, in their home, in their “sacred grove”. One might choose to create the metaphor, that is “the veil” in their home, and daily stand and meet the Savior, meet true messengers. Just doing this alone opens or allows for a number of things to occur.

    I can tell you, as mentioned in some of the other comments above, that you will find yourself self far from arriving, by simply offering up the behavioral motions of these spiritual experiences. The manifested, projected “endowment” as we have it (even in its completely broken, incomplete state) offers such an invitation, but there are many, many levels of understanding, interpretation, teaching and application.

    One of the greatest challenges along the way is simply our unbelief. We are so stubborn, and can read a scripture for decades only garnering the same interpretation or meaning with little or no variation. Sure we may grow tired of “following the prophet” only to switch it up and follow DS? Follow a blog? Internally, have we really experienced a mighty change? In process, have we really changed? Internally, has a “true order” actually been established?

    I’ve mentioned before that it is interesting that Adam, after building the altar and beginning his prayer is answered by … who? Interesting. If prayer isn’t requisite for Father to do His work and His glory, then what is? You mean His love allows Him to do His work regardless of my efforts? Wait a minute, that’s starting to sound a lot like mercy, like grace … like charity? You mean I should just expect true messengers; that they are automatically built into this process, this experience? It sounds almost like I am my own barrier, that this process or experience is almost self selecting, and that Father stands waiting to offer bread to a seeking Son … Hmm…

    Father absolutely sends true messengers in many forms. Sure there are the home-teaching cookie baking, lawn mowing messengers; but there are also those who come without disclosing their true identity (homeless, bums … or for the “poor” possibly the broken down BMW, 3-piece suit wearing business man on the side of the road), as well as those who come fully revealed. There are those who come in dreams, visions or even those who come spiritually (during waking hours), parting the veil, and although they are discerned spiritually (they are “felt”) as they will fulfill the covenants of the Father and prepare you to enter His presence.

    It is such a deep process, even difficult, because we are so fallen here, we seek validation and emotional comfort … we want to be “lull”-a-bied away. Few are seeking to be stripped. I know that each person’s path is so individual. Father has had me experience things I never thought I would have to experience, almost all but scratching my eyes out, and even then, it can feel that way. I have made mistakes, if you want to call it that. They were mistakes, but they are mine and have now been counted for my good. I have been taught all along the way.

    Christ, Abraham, those in the Book of Mormon, Joseph (and others) … they are the prototype, and we just don’t get it! In essence we must stand in their shoes. And someone can type those words, but it almost does not convey the conviction or meaning. I see so many on blogs interpreting scripture, rehashing history this or that, Gentile them, Gentile us, tithing this or that … we are barely a step up from the academics and philosophies of men.

    Are we parting the veil? Are we experiencing true Messengers? Experiencing Christ? Is Heaven truly endowing us with mystery, knowledge and ordinances? Is the priesthood of God, of Heaven truly manifesting in the world? And are you a holy purveyor (source) of that? Do we know it, and are aware of it? And are we then seeking to establish what is there, here? No, it is not time for a collective experience, but the individual invitation stands!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I am almost afraid to ask this question, but here goes. Is it really necessary to go through the temple ceremonies/ordinances? I was converted to the church years ago and had very spiritual experiences with my baptism and confirmation, but I have never been moved by the concept of going to the temple and receiving endowments, sealings, etc. I have handicaps that render it difficult to attend, but I have kept the rules (law of chastity, word of wisdom and the rest except regular sacrament attendance which wasn’t my fault anyway). Once I went through an interview for a recommend but didn,t pass because of the erratic sacrament meeting attendance and also because my moods weren’t good enough (I guess problems with depression were taboo). I never again tried for a recommend because I felt the process was to nit-picky. To tell the truth I never was converted to the necessity of the temple. What happened to real faith and genuine works, living as good a Christian life as you can. I have been told that you have to memorize passwords and know the proper handshakes to get into the Celestial kingdom. Whatever happened to the type of person you are inside? Also, I have abusive relatives/ancestors that I do not want to be sealed to. I truly feel the desire to simply go to the Savior directly with my prayers, and understand the scriptures more deeply. Yet Church members judge me as automatically “unworthy” because I have never been to the temple and don’t hold a recommend.

    Like

    • Baptism and confirmation are for the first degree of Celestial glory.

      Temple marriage is for the third degree of Celestial glory.

      Since ordinances are related to the first and third degrees, some have speculated that the Endowment is for the second degree.

      You are right — it IS all about who you are inside. Who you are determines what you see, in the temple, or anywhere.

      Elder Widtsoe wrote, “No man or woman can come out of the temple endowed as he should be, unless he has seen, beyond the symbol, the mighty realities for which the symbols stand.”

      Whoever told you that “memorizing passwords and knowing handshakes” are what’s important does NOT understand the Endowment. They are at the very lowest level of symbolic understanding.

      For me, the Endowment is a mental-spiritual map to God’s presence.

      Our spiritual understanding of the symbols shows us where we are, how close we are to God’s presence.

      Someone who starts to see behind the symbols will enjoy the temple.

      Someone who cannot see beyond the outward appearances of things can potentially become bored with the temple.

      If we are truly Celestial people, we will be able to forgive other people of their abusive past behaviors.

      If the abusive people do not fully repent, they won’t be worthy to be in the Celestial Kingdom to be sealed to us anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Eric. I wanted to reply to SK, but thought I would ponder it for awhile since it is a sensitive question. You answered it for me in a much better way than I could have done. I appreciate your comments. I always learn from you every time you contribute something here.

        Like

    • I used to think knowing the right “passwords” was necessary; now, I know I was missing the point when I thought that. Think of the temple as an additional book of scripture–you will be missing out if you never open it. It is absolutely worth it to jump through the hoops to attend, because of what you can learn there. I believe the temple is a training for how to approach God, not symbolically, not just in our prayers, but in reality, here and now. If we don’t succeed in becoming worthy to greet Him during our earthly lives, what makes us think we will really be ready to greet Him on judgment day? The temple is the greatest tool He has given us to help us know how to come to Him. I live in a part of the world where I can’t attend the temple more than once a year, if that, but despite my sparse attendance, the temple colors my entire understanding of the Gospel and the scriptures, and I think about the temple almost every day. I see new meanings in the scriptures I never would have understood without the temple. The ordinances are not the point–the point is to internalize and put into action what the ordinances represent. Granted, it took ten years after first visiting the temple for me to get to this point of clarity, but it has been worth the journey. Please go to the temple; you may find yourself spiritually handicapped if you deny yourself that experience.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I may succeed in getting a recommend soon, but my disabilities would render it very difficult to attend anyway. One of the reasons I didn’t try that hard to get a recommend.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Thank you to so many who sent me private emails. I have been truly enlightened by some of the things you shared.

    I’ve asked one of my readers for permission to share his research. It’s not private but I can’t believe I had never been to his website before. I hope you’ll find this as amazing as I did:

    http://home.comcast.net/~mevans41/greaterthings/

    Note: This is NOT from the same author as the “other” Greater Things website: http://www.greaterthings.com/

    I have learned so much from Matt’s links. He says he likes to keep a low profile, but I just couldn’t help sharing and telling him publically thanks for the work you have done. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    Like

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