A Primer on Just Judgment


Nephi-Laban1It’s midnight during a full moon on the streets of Jerusalem. There has been a celebration in which the generals and the elders toasted a recent economic treaty with Egypt. The garrison officers were invited, too, and unlimited prosperity seemed on the horizon. Having drunk their fill while congratulating each other on their farsighted cunning, the elite begin filtering out of the taverns towards their homes. One such elite, a well-dressed and armed commander of the local policing garrison, and field legion general, stumbles out of the pub, stretches, and begins to shuffle down the labyrinthine alleys back towards his neighborhood. He dodders three furlongs in a wavering path and collapses. Snoring ensues.

About ten minutes later, a burly youth wearing the robes of a desert trader strides with purpose into the alley. He sees the passed-out man splayed before him, and comes up to him with caution. His brow furrows in recognition. The snoring continues, and the youth notices the glint of gold in the moonlight. He draws the noble’s sword by the gold hilt and glances in apparent appreciation at the metallurgical skill displayed in the steel which glints with razor’s edge in the pale light. He looks down at the unconscious man in apparent concern, eyebrows drawing together in concentration. Then he relaxes, bends down, angles the man’s body so that the head is pointed towards the nearby rainway, and pulls up the man’s head by the hair, exposing his throat above his breastplate. The youth then proceeds to behead the drunk with the razor-sharp blade.

Pop quiz: is this murder?

nephi_laban3aOf course, the astute reader of the Book of Mormon recognizes this as an embellished recounting of Nephi slaying Laban.  Normally, when setting up this question, I would put it in a modern context, but the laws of ancient Israel were different than the laws of modern America. The question as to whether this would be murder is answered in the affirmative in the US, but not necessarily so in Israel.

Indeed, we know Nephi’s intent because Nephi told us. That is how we know what was in his heart, and how we know, based on the law of Moses, that his slaying of Laban was not murder.

To accuse, as I use the word, is to assert someone’s intentions are such-and-such. After all, a man may slay another man, but it is evil intent that makes it murder. To say Nephi murdered Laban is an accusation. (As an aside, there is no such thing as conspiracy to commit murder in the law of Moses as we have it – a man is responsible for his own deeds, and not the deeds of another.)

The problem is, of course, that without a mind-reading device, the only public evidence of motivations can be the words of the accused. God may reveal someone’s intents to you, but that is not admissible publicly in charging them in a legal hearing, for the obvious reason that “there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world,” and confusion would reign.

Since it is intent that distinguishes good works from evil, by the golden rule we had not ought to accuse. Words, however, are properly used to judge – after all, if a person tells you what they intend(ed), one of two possibilities must be true. They’re either telling the truth, or they are lying.

Hence these sayings of Jesus.

JST Matt 12:25-32
25 He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

26 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men who receive me and repent; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven unto men.

27 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him; neither in this world; neither in the world to come.

28 Either make the tree good and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by the fruit.

29 And Jesus said, O ye generation of vipers! how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

30 A good man, out of the good treasure of the heart, bringeth forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth evil things.

31 And again I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

32 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

This is the key by which we may discern false prophets – teachers falsely claiming to speak for God, or to have inspiration of the Holy Ghost – who wear sheep’s clothing – are upright members of the faith community – but are inwardly ravening wolves – meaning that they are yet carnal and fallen, prideful, malicious, having enmity.  Their words reveal their intent to be abusive.

JST Matt 7:24-29
24 And, again, beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing; but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

25 Ye shall know them by their fruits; for do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

26 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

27 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

28 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

29 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

The process of judgement is that we put ourselves into the place of others and map their actions onto our intents and thereby judge them.  Thereby we see that when we judge another, we only judge ourselves.

Hence these sayings of Jesus.

3 Nephi 14:1-5
1 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he turned again to the multitude, and did open his mouth unto them again, saying: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Judge not, that ye be not judged.

2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother: Let me pull the mote out of thine eye—and behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

5 Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

The same judgements we apply against others shall be applied to us again, and how we deal with those we judge shall be how we are dealt with.

The eye is a metaphor for the mind, with the mote being some viewpoint the beholder disagrees with and the beam being the lack of the Spirit and pure knowledge on the part of the beholder.

Hypocrites – the word means “actors” – are those who pretend to the faith of Christ but don’t have it; they pretend to inspiration but have not the Spirit; these are the false prophets, the wolves in sheep’s clothing, the self-righteous busybodies who meddle in the affairs of others, who seek to advance their positions by sophistry or power.  Yet they may not know this about themselves.  They may indeed think they do God a service in what they do, and are doing what they’ve been taught by their traditions and creeds.

Even if we identify hypocrites, we ought to be merciful to them, and if we cannot be, we had ought to leave them alone.

JST Luke 6: 35-37
35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great; and ye shall be the children of the Highest; for he is kind unto the unthankful, and to the evil.

36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned; forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.

JST Matt 15:13 Let [the Pharisees, hypocrites,] alone; they be blind leaders of the blind; and if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Righteous judgement of words, teachings, and ideas, however, is enjoined.

Moroni 7:2-18
2 And now I, Mormon, speak unto you, my beloved brethren; and it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and his holy will, because of the gift of his calling unto me, that I am permitted to speak unto you at this time.

3 Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.

4 And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men.

5 For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.

6 For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.

7 For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.

8 For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.

9 And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such.

10 Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift.

11 For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil.

12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.

13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.

Judge wisely.

32 Responses

  1. Indeed, we know Nephi’s intent because Nephi told us. That is how we know what was in his heart, and how we know, based on the law of Moses, that his slaying of Laban was not murder.

    Some time ago I read an interesting article about how nephi murdered Laban. The author was very persuasive, using evidence of a supposed curse that was placed upon nephi and how he saw the destruction of his people. He claimed nephi was deceived by a false spirit.
    I read this and thought to myself that God had never given me revelation on the subject and better learn the truth. So I prayed for a while and admitted to God I didn’t know and couldn’t know unless He told me. When my heart was open to the the truth no matter which answer came the Spirit rested upon me and taught me.
    I believe it is crucial to admit when we don’t know something for ourselves by revelation. God’s law is the only law that matters. I don’t care if nephi was justified legally in what he did or not. Many evils have been justified by the laws of men.
    Nephi was no murderer. I know this by revelation. He was not deceived and followed God’s spirit in doing what he did.

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  2. Log, I see you needed to respond in a less contentious forum than Waterman’s recent blog. I appreciate your use of the scriptures to make your points. I disagree with Rock’s belief that some scriptures are for our general use and others are not. This makes the Lord arbitrary.
    Keep up your work. I found you to be the opposite of self-righteous as many were claiming you to be. In fact, the spirit I took from their diatribes was anger towards the church focused on you for that particular time and in that particular place. It is so much safer to not judge and, if we really need to find the Lord’s intent, to ask Him who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not…in His own due time, of course.

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    • While I will admit that the recent exchanges at Rock’s blog gave me extra incentive to finish this post, it’s actually been on the back-burner for a week or two.

      Now, it’s true that the Lord’s admonition to Martin Harris is, strictly speaking, to Martin Harris – but the principle is sound and is established as a general rule elsewhere.

      Mosiah 25:22
      22 And thus, notwithstanding there being many churches they were all one church, yea, even the church of God; for there was nothing preached in all the churches except it were repentance and faith in God.

      Repentance and faith in God is the signature teaching of the church of God, and nothing else is taught therein. As seen throughout the Book of Mormon, repentance is both repenting from all one’s sins and calling upon the Lord until one shall have faith in Christ, at which point one is worthy of baptism.

      2 Nephi 26:27
      27 Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.

      3 Nephi 11:31-41
      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.

      I could go on. Nevertheless, the Lord has need of iconoclasts at times.

      It’s actually very hard not to judge. The urge to leap to conclusions is very powerful, because it is hard to imagine others might not feel how we feel about things.

      That’s why Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael always got Nephi wrong. Nephi, having ascended into the presence of God, did not feel what they felt. Since they had never been born of God, it never entered their wildest imaginations that Nephi could be motivated by anything other than what they experienced – distrust, desire to dominate, enmity, and the like. Yet Nephi was not like them.

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  3. To Log,
    Thank you for your post.

    I love the scripture Moroni 7:4 – 5

    4 And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men.

    5 For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.

    Everything the Savior showed and taught us was with a act of love. Is it love to judge or condemn? Is it love to try to out do one another in order to feed some void in our lives? Is it love to be angry with our brother or sister?

    I noticed that you used the word enmity. This made me think of President Benson’s Classic talk on Pride. Isn’t judging and condemning an act of pride?

    In Mosiah and Alma, we read of pride and hardheartedness, and also that it is necessary to repent of envy, pride, and mocking our brother.

    Mocking our brother can take on many forms…..Making fun of, being critical of, being negative about …etc…

    I notice that on some blogs, many bloggers use the time and space to mock others, especially leaders and members of the church.

    In the business world there are all kinds of people. In many work environments, there are those who criticize and complain about nearly every subject. But are they solutions or adding to the problems?

    The best workers are those who quietly go about their duties doing what they are supposed to and not wasting everyone’s time complaining and criticizing. I have never seen one of these criticizers go far or be a profitable servant endearing themselves to their fellow workers. Yet there are those out there saying right now:
    Yes but that is not my mission, to get along, but my mission is to call people out and make known their sins.
    I guess then, that way of thinking will have it’s own reward.

    Thank you again for that timely post.
    MC[]rd

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  4. Love this one:
    Bruises and Contusions come from jumping to conclusions and then falling short….

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  5. Log and mcd22

    This is not a loaded question and I am just hoping to get your opinion.

    If God has given you a perfect knowledge concerning certain truths, and you see people continually preaching the exact opposite, and God has told you that what they are teaching is idolatrous and damning, what is the right course of action.

    Especially if your heart is filled with love for those being lead to destruction…
    What is the proper course? How do we feed God’s sheep in that predicament?

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    • D&C 10:67 Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.

      Context for what comes next.

      D&C 42:11 Again I say unto you, that it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church.

      12 And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel.

      13 And they shall observe the covenants and church articles to do them, and these shall be their teachings, as they shall be directed by the Spirit.

      14 And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.

      15 And all this ye shall observe to do as I have commanded concerning your teaching, until the fulness of my scriptures is given.

      16 And as ye shall lift up your voices by the Comforter, ye shall speak and prophesy as seemeth me good;

      17 For, behold, the Comforter knoweth all things, and beareth record of the Father and of the Son.

      D&C 43:15 Again I say, hearken ye elders of my church, whom I have appointed: Ye are not sent forth to be taught, but to teach the children of men the things which I have put into your hands by the power of my Spirit;

      16 And ye are to be taught from on high. Sanctify yourselves and ye shall be endowed with power, that ye may give even as I have spoken.

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      • 2 Nephi 33:3
        3 But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.

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    • Mino
      I am a simple man, can you simplify your question? Can you provide me with an example of what you are asking? Are you saying you are as Alma the Younger or the Sons of Mosiah and have to go to a place like Ammonihah and cry repentance? Or is it something a little closer to home, like Utah County? That is a joke by the way.
      And what is the reason for your question? Why I am so honored to merit you wanting my opinion especially if it not a loaded question as you claim?

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  6. Nate: Although the question was not directed at me, I would like to respond. The answer seems clear and straightforward.

    The key phrase is “perfect knowledge.” If your heart is filled with the love of God and a love of others, you will share what God invites you to share at the time He prompts you to share it. There is no other logical choice.

    We are commanded to feed God’s sheep – or at least his disciples were so commanded. Even if and when others question your knowledge, you should continue your untiring efforts to share when enticed by the Lord to do so.

    Do not expect the world to love you, for the world does not love truth. Be determined in your efforts. Pray for ways to make your arguments persuasive. God will bless you and increase your gifts and talents to serve Him if you ask.

    Perfect knowledge is a powerful thing, one that can only be revealed from heaven. It is that perfect knowledge that gives drive, desire and yes, ambition to share and to teach, because in the end, perfect knowledge saves souls.

    What do you think?

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    • Also, the Lord puts things in our hands to see what we will do with them.

      Remember this scene in The Lord of the Rings.

      Once in Caras Galadhon, Galadriel allowed Frodo and Sam to peer into the Mirror of Galadriel, enabling them to glimpse possible events of the future. She, in turn, was tested when Frodo Baggins later offered to place the One Ring in her keeping. To illustrate what would happen if she accepted, she presented an image of herself corrupted by the ring, declaring, “In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!” In the movie, what she says is different, which is: “In place of a Dark Lord, you would have a queen! Not dark, but beautiful and terrible as the dawn! Treacherous as the sea! Stronger than the foundations of the earth! All shall love me, and despair!”

      Then swiftly she returned to her original form, seemingly smaller and frailer than before, declaring, “I pass the test,” refusing the Ring and accepting the fate of diminishing (as the time of the Dominion of Men had come), and returning at last to Valinor.

      Or, to put it in scriptural terms…

      D&C 121:39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little [knowledge], as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

      40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.

      How we use what little knowledge God gives us determines when, or even whether, we will be entrusted with more.

      Alma 12:9
      9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.

      Of course, Tim pretty much restated what I had said.

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  7. I think your responses are good ones.
    It is difficult because even if someone does have a perfect knowledge of many things, that does not mean they have a perfect knowledge of how to share those things.
    We see in the scriptures phrases about prophets who’s “hearts were depressed”, and those with great anxiety. How many times were prophets leaving a city upset when God would step in and say to go back?
    The times where God gives is specific direction on when to teach and what to teach are wonderful. Those times are simple.
    I can think of countless other times that I am put in a situation where people ask a question or where the situation seems right and I teach without a direct revelation to do so, and then sometime after I already had the faith to open my mouth God began to pour His spirit into me and on occasion there has been beautiful edification and all were blessed.
    So I have to admit that many times even speaking the truth that has been given to us by pure revelation without being commanded to do so is exactly what God has planned for us to do.
    As I am sure you can relate, all I think about is the gospel and what I have experienced. All that is in my heart has to do with the Savior and His plan.
    I love Nephi’s words;
    “My heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard”.

    Part of me thinks I ought to wait until commanded but the other part thinks, well, I have not been commanded to not preach…

    Logs scriptural reference was interesting about it being known to the church. Are we talking the Church of the firstborn, or a different church?

    Either way I know God’s plan is perfect and He knows everything each of is will do and has planned so that every action will be part of the great symphony of redemption.

    Each personality, each weakness, each strength, is part of God’s plan and we each work out our own salvation.

    Perhaps we ought to be ourselves while we continually pray for grace and higher learning. If we receive revelation daily and learn from God that would be a good indication we are in harmony with God’s will in my opinion.
    God can do His own work but of course we rejoice when He is willing to use us. Does action show that we are seeking for Him to use us? Would He give us truths if not to be shared? (Assuming He has not commanded us not to share). I often ponder on these things.

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    • The church is whichever one the Spirit says matters to you in your life’s context.

      As for action showing that we are seeking for him to use us, here’s a preview of one of my upcoming posts.

      Doctrine and Covenants 124:95
      95 …[Hyrum] shall receive counsel from my servant Joseph, who shall show unto him the keys whereby he may ask and receive….

      Isaiah 58, Gileadi translation
      Proclaim it aloud without restraint;
      raise your voice like a trumpet!
      Declare to my people their transgressions,
      to the house of Jacob its sins.

      2 Yet they importune me daily,
      eager to learn my ways,
      like a nation practicing righteousness
      and not forsaking the precepts of its God.
      They inquire of me concerning correct ordinances,
      desiring to draw nearer to God:

      3 Why, when we fast, do you not notice?
      We afflict our bodies and you remain indifferent!
      It is because on your fast day you pursue your own ends
      and constrain all who toil for you.

      4 You fast amid strife and contention,
      striking out savagely with the fist.
      Your present fasts are not such
      as to make your voice heard on high.

      5 Is this the manner of fasting I have required,
      just a time for men to torment themselves?
      Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
      and making one’s bed of sackcloth and ashes?
      Do you call that a fast,
      a day of Jehovah’s good graces?

      6 Is not this the fast I require:
      To release from wrongful bondage,
      to untie the harness of the yoke,
      to set the oppressed at liberty
      and abolish all forms of subjection?

      7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry,
      to bring home the wretchedly poor,
      and when you see men underclad to clothe them,
      and not to neglect your own kin?

      8 Then shall your light break through like the dawn
      and your healing speedily appear;
      your righteousness will go before you,
      and the glory of Jehovah will be your rearguard.

      9 Then, should you call, Jehovah will respond;
      should you cry, he will say, I am here.
      Indeed, if you will banish servitude from among you,
      and the pointing finger and offensive speech,

      10 if you will give of your own to the hungry
      and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
      then shall your light dawn amid darkness
      and your twilight become as the noonday.

      11 Jehovah will direct you continually;
      he will satisfy your needs in the dearth
      and bring vigor to your limbs.
      And you will become like a well-watered garden,
      like a spring of unfailing waters.

      12 They who came out of you will rebuild the ancient ruins;
      you will restore the foundations of generations ago.
      You shall be called a rebuilder of fallen walls,
      a restorer of streets for resettlement.

      13 If you will keep your feet from trampling the Sabbath—
      from achieving your own ends on my holy day—
      and consider the Sabbath a delight,
      the holy day of Jehovah venerable,
      and if you will honor it
      by refraining from your everyday pursuits—
      from occupying yourselves with your own affairs
      and speaking of business matters—

      14 then shall you delight in Jehovah,
      and I will make you traverse the heights of the earth
      and nourish you with the heritage of Jacob your father.
      By his mouth Jehovah has spoken it.

      It seems to me the knowledge of how to ask and be answered is there, in Isaiah 58.

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      • I think we spend way too much pontificating online. We’d be much better off going and doing what Jesus said to do and did than to spend so much time online talking about it or splitting hairs, straining at gnats, or swallowing camels, like the scribes and pharisees. Let’s roll up our sleeves (right now, today) and go relieve someone’s suffering, feed and give drink to the hungry and thirsty, clothe the naked, take in the stranger, visit the fatherless, widows, downtrodden, and the prisoners. Let’s do good to the least and truly love all as our neighbors as we love ourselves. This will shine light and glorify God and land us on His right hand, blessed forever. I’m speaking to myself as well. His law is love and His gospel is peace.

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        • Amen and amen

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    • Mino,
      I sense that you have a bit of the “Born Again Christian Movement in You”
      I sense that you have been born again and have entered tin the way and have experienced many wonderful spiritual experiences. I also perceive that there is a heavy leaning on grace in your belief based on your line of questioning. So the argument “Are we saved by Grace or by Works” rears again. How can people not see the need for both in our lives? Let me just say that I as a father have many children and they live and come and go freely, often never concerned of where their next meal is coming from or how the utilities and house is being paid for. They just assume that they will always have the comforts and love and shelter they have had from the moment each one arrived in our little family. Now as they have started growing older, it is important to me that they learn through experiences and efforts as well as by their parents examples. Can our little household world keep going without them pitching in to do chores or paying for the bills or buying food? Yes indeed. Their mother and I don’t NEED them to do their chores and serve one another but we know that they need to in order to grow up self reliant and able to learn to serve and give to others. In D&C 4:3 it says: 3 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;….I read in your bio and postings that you were LDS and then left or resigned but not your wife. Is it your belief that you and your family have no need or desire to serve or participate in the church? Are you disenchanted with the church leaders or teachings or were you offended in some way? What is it that has given you a kind of edgy defensiveness towards it? It might be justified, Something must have happened. I am just curious when these things happen to those good people who claim they were and now are faithful followers of Christ. Every one has their free agency and God loves each of us and is intimately involved in the details of our lives. Each of us has separate paths to take as well as a time appointed that we must leave this life and go to the next. We are Heavenly Father’s Children and are all alike unto him and he loves us each dearly. So we can not esteem ourselves one above another.

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  8. Mc2dd

    It is impossible to be obedient and do the works of God without grace. Do I heavily lean on the grace of Christ? Yes with every ounce of my soul I lean upon the grace of Christ.
    I have nothing against the LDS church more than any other false church it just happens to be the one everyone brings up in this area of the internet. If I was talking to Catholics or born agains there would be the same kind of conversation.
    I am guessing you are a member of the church and yet you are reading material here. Why? Why in the world would a member of the church be reading on Tim’s website and commenting if they didn’t know something was very wrong in the church?
    Every one of the members who go to these websites would be told not to by their “priesthood leaders”. (assuming their leaders were not doing the same things).
    My wife resigned with me by the way. We did it because God told us to. We both sent our letters in together. We were not offended by anyone and we have nothing but love for everyone in the church.
    I couldn’t tell in your comment if you were talking about the church as if it were your household and the children doing chores as members of the church serving in callings etc. I think that was what you were getting at. If it is not God’s church, which I know it isn’t, then what are they actually building up? I already know the answers to these things by revelation and yet people say I am being judgmental and accusing when I simply state what God has told me. The LDS temples, buildings, corporation, and many of it’s members are soon going to be wiped off the face of the earth. So I spend my days trying to warn and exhort and follow the spirit in bringing people to Christ, which happens to also bring them out of an idolatrous system of worship.
    You can think I am wrong or deceived but there is not a possible way for you to know I am wrong or deceived because I am not. People keep talking about how we need to do works, and do service, and I don’t discourage that, and yet Isaiah prophesied directly against this people and said their works will not cover them. “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren”. To feed and clothe the sheep in God’s way one cannot be serving mammon at the same time, or their works are filthy, and they spread mammon with the food and clothing they give. Do we elevate the Oprah Winfreys of the world with all of the “charity” she does? Has she done an ounce of good? We could argue all these things all day but the only thing that will truly liberate the captives is the Truth. The Truth will clothe and feed the sheep. The Living Waters and Bread of Life will feed and water the sheep.

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    • Mino,
      If you were to see or find the right “church” of Christ, how would you recognize it? What would be the characteristics of it? I didn’t think my analogy of raising a family would be that hard to interpret. Nor did I think you would miss my rhetorical question : “How can people not see the need for both in our lives? ” What does it mean when the Savior said?: The Kingdom of God is in you. I visit many web sites and am not dissuaded from the truth. Why should I fear what any man has to say when I reverence that which Heavenly Father pours out liberally through His Son. Why do you think I am a sheep in the LDS Church? Was not Alma and the Sons of Mosiah sent out one at a time to minister to the Lamanites through out the land? Was not Ammon Chief among them as he served and ministered unto his brethren as they gathered together before they split up and went off alone to do the work?
      Again I would ask you and any of those reading, How would you recognize the church if it was right in front of you ? And would the members be perfect enough to not be judged or mocked or ridiculed by those thinking they are special and blessed of God through spiritual experiences. What mighty change in us must happen for us to recognize our relationship one with another? Brother, I can tell you have been deeply hurt and disappointed and say you say God has justified your resigning from a group of people whom you claim belong to a false church with false evil prophets. You probably claim Joseph Smith was a false and evil prophet and that recent LDS Prophets are false and evil. You claim they have no priesthood power and that they can do no miracles. You probably claim that the LDS church is a behemoth corporation out to get gain and is of the devil. You claim all churches are of the devil. You like to teach about cellular spirituality and metaphysical matter and lofty things that might indeed be meaty, but are over looking the weightier things of the Savior’s teachings. I must ask you , brother, when you try to teach others of the revelations you have had and it confounds them and weakens their faith in their spiritual infancy, what do you replace it with? When you take something from someone, what do you replace it with? You seem to think that I among so many others, and yes even those on this blog are blindly led by corporate men and false prophets and do not have a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father and His Son. You seem to condescend in a judgmental way amongst us with proprietary knowledge and a privileged position of select elite power. I can discern plainly that there is no charity, no kindness, no edifying, no lowliness nor meekness in your comments and peacockian behavior. Your comments and questions tend to elicit and provoke revilings and contention and not a reconciliation with Christ and the Children of God. You have read over LOGS and My Postings about not judging and totally missed the spirit of the messages and now it has lead down a path to this.

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      • Please – what a man believes is of no import; what he does and the intent with which he does it is everything. Paraphrasing Joseph, it is not right to try a man for erring in “doctrine,” which is a good reason to avoid discussing it – in my judgement, anyways. (“Doctrine” being anything other than the doctrine of Christ.)

        If a man intends to serve God and acts upon that intent, he is not rejected by God, even if he errs. Let us have mercy upon one another and build each other up.

        Motes, in the end, are just motes.

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        • Of Course it is important what a man believes….

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        • Let me put it this way. The dividing line between the wicked and the righteous is not what creeds they adopt, what church they belonged to, or any other matter of belief.

          It comes down to this.

          Besides, I don’t like it when someone messes with my beliefs.

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        • Log, Beautifully Said below: “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief”

          Matthew – Sheep – Goats

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      • Mc2dd

        It is all a matter of where we stand I suppose. If your perception is of God then you are justified.
        I love and forgive you. Many find edification with me very often and many hate me and fear the things I have to say. I have never called any individual evil that I recall anywhere on this website. I love everyone you mentioned. I exhort people to replace idolatry with faith and grace.
        I rejoice in Jesus Christ and all truths that I find from Him, even if those truths happen to condemn whole churches at a time.

        Log,
        What a man or woman believes defines every choice they make in this life. Whosoever believes in Christ shall have everlasting life. Christ is the Truth! Whatever portion of the Truth people deny is a portion of God they reject! You and I both love God and I consider you a friend and respect you. Others can look at many of your actions and say they cause contention. (Ha ha I went over to waterman’s site to see) Many people look at my actions and say they cause contention. What can we do but follow God the best we know how, and allow all others the same privilege?

        For the record I know joseph smith was a prophet of God and know there have been many prophets in the LDS church. Being baptized by fire and being a prophet does not redeem anyone, nor does it mean the kingdom of God or Zion is on the earth.
        And it sure doesn’t mean they won’t teach falsehoods and make mistakes.

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      • mc2dd: As a new commenter here, I hope you will take the time to become familiar with the guidelines. This is not a forum. It is my personal blog. Your comments are welcome. Ad hominem attacks are not.

        https://latterdaycommentary.com/guidelines/

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        • Tim , you are right, and it is your personal blog site. For this I apologize in not observing the guidelines.
          As a matter of record, I was commenting peacefully regarding Logs article and then Minority used his comments as a forum and was ad hominem attacking Log and myself. Look at the responses he has had to the comments of others in other articles where he has intruded in as well. You will find set others up with lines of questioning that are lying in wait while his pits where dug well in advance.

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        • I think we’re just suffering a failure in communication. You’ll find that MoO (Nate) means well, but he doesn’t share a lot of common assumptions with others.

          Incidentally, I believe that it would help avoid such failures to communicate if we stick to the scriptures – specifically, the standard works – and measure teachings against them, without pronouncing binding interpretations – creeds – to which men must assent lest we persecute them and cast them out. Wouldn’t you agree, Nate?

          I would encourage everyone, rather than assuming we know where someone is coming from, to simply ask someone what they mean, what they believe – and ask not with intent to trap a man in his words, but rather to understand where he is coming from so that we may help build each other up. We’re not really here to change beliefs so much as to invite to try doing things the Lord’s way. At least, that’s my intent.

          So, let’s not try to change minds with respect to this or that belief we may disagree with. Remember – motes vs. beams.

          It really doesn’t matter what we individually believe concerning the Church – what really matters is that we each press forward with a firm determination to yield to no temptation but to serve the true and living God.

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        • Mc2dd

          I am sorry if you felt I was attacking you. I hope you will forgive me.
          I do need to do better with my responses to others.

          Log I appreciate your post and I am sorry to detract from the message in the comments.
          God bless.

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    • Paul and Mormon say that we need to have charity in our hearts, and James says that we need to have works. Of course, the “works” that James commands us to have is to give charity and relief to the poor and the needy, (and also by his example of Abraham and Isaac), to obey the commands that God gives to each of us personally. It’s my understanding in trying to take what all of these prophets have said in context that we need to have charity both in our hearts, and in our actions.

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  9. Alma 30
    7 Now there was no law against a man’s belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds.

    8 For thus saith the scripture: Choose ye this day, whom ye will serve.

    9 Now if a man desired to serve God, it was his privilege; or rather, if he believed in God it was his privilege to serve him; but if he did not believe in him there was no law to punish him.

    10 But if he murdered he was punished unto death; and if he robbed he was also punished; and if he stole he was also punished; and if he committed adultery he was also punished; yea, for all this wickedness they were punished.

    11 For there was a law that men should be judged according to their crimes. Nevertheless, there was no law against a man’s belief; therefore, a man was punished only for the crimes which he had done; therefore all men were on equal grounds.

    Thought and expression policing under the guise of preventing or punishing offense is an evil principle.

    As one Sixth Circuit decision put it, “In essence, while [harassment law] does not require an employer to fire all ‘Archie Bunkers’ in its employ, the law does require that an employer take prompt action to prevent such bigots from expressing their opinions in a way that abuses or offends their co-workers. By informing people that the expression of racist or sexist attitudes in public is unacceptable, people may eventually learn that such views are undesirable in private, as well. Thus, Title VII may advance the goal of eliminating prejudices and biases in our society.” When some judges (not all, fortunately, but some) take such a view, smart workers ought to be careful about any speech that some might perceive as “expression of racist … attitudes” at work; and even someone who is trying hard to be “truthful and mature and responsible” in discussing race might certainly say things that some offended listeners view as racist. – cite

    This is an abusive principle – that I’m at fault for your negative reaction to my words. Your offense at my words is not my problem, neither are my words the cause of your offense, but your offense rather signifies a moral, spiritual, mental, or emotional weakness on your part. If you are offended, you are an offender.

    Moreover, it seems to me this principle is what motivates casting out those who, for whatever reason, at some point in time express unorthodox views, or express orthodox views in a manner insufficiently obsequious to malicious ears.

    And this principle leads to ultimate, and utter, destruction. This principle was active among the Nephites at the end.

    Moroni 9
    3 And now behold, my son, I fear lest the Lamanites shall destroy this people; for they do not repent, and Satan stirreth them up continually to anger one with another.

    4 Behold, I am laboring with them continually; and when I speak the word of God with sharpness they tremble and anger against me; and when I use no sharpness they harden their hearts against it; wherefore, I fear lest the Spirit of the Lord hath ceased striving with them.

    5 For so exceedingly do they anger that it seemeth me that they have no fear of death; and they have lost their love, one towards another; and they thirst after blood and revenge continually.

    Sharpness is nothing but the truth, plainly stated.

    This erroneous and abusive principle is why the gay marriage fight was a big deal. And we’ve lost.

    As it was with the Nephites, so it is now.

    All week, Becky and Maria have been talking about their opposition to same-sex marriage….

    Their coworker Hans is offended ….

    Even though Becky and Maria were only expressing their opinions and didn’t mean to offend, they could still be engaging in harassment. The complainant does not need to be involved in the conversation to be offended….

    Liability Avoidance Tip[:] Although employees have free speech rights under the United States Constitution, in academic and other workplaces those rights are limited when they infringe upon another person’s right to work in an environment free of unlawful harassment….

    Practical Points[:] Having good intentions does not necessarily prevent liability for unlawful harassment. – cite

    Let them with ears to hear, hear.

    2 Nephi 28
    16 Wo unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught and revile against that which is good, and say that it is of no worth! For the day shall come that the Lord God will speedily visit the inhabitants of the earth; and in that day that they are fully ripe in iniquity they shall perish.

    17 But behold, if the inhabitants of the earth shall repent of their wickedness and abominations they shall not be destroyed, saith the Lord of Hosts.

    18 But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof.

    19 For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish;

    20 For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.

    28 And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall.

    The only way to defeat this principle in oneself is to rigorously apply the principles of just judgement. If you cannot restate your “opponent”‘s position to his satisfaction, you don’t understand it and are not being fair to it. In fact, if you cannot restate your opponent’s position in the strongest possible terms – that is, putting it the way they should have put it, and NOT in a weakened form so as to defeat it – then you are vulnerable to his argument.

    1 Nephi 16:2
    2 [T]he guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.

    So it is.

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    • And I suppose it ought to go without saying that a teacher of righteousness has not got a responsibility to put the truth to you in such a way as to tickle your ears, or please your ego, or to ensure you are not offended. If a person has cause to repent, they are by definition not founded upon the rock of Christ and will more than likely anger at being told they need to repent.

      Alma 21:6
      6 Thou also sayest, except we repent we shall perish. How knowest thou the thought and intent of our hearts? How knowest thou that we have cause to repent? How knowest thou that we are not a righteous people? Behold, we have built sanctuaries, and we do assemble ourselves together to worship God. We do believe that God will save all men.

      That’s a typical response. The offended don’t understand that by taking offense they demonstrate the accuracy of the charge.

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      • “But, Log, doesn’t being sharp with people lose rapport?”

        Yes, but the teacher of righteousness is not opening his mouth on the subject of the gospel to show off or make friends – at least, not to make friends directly.

        “Yeah, but they won’t listen to that teacher anymore, will they?”

        Depends. The hope is they will. That is why after the teacher of righteousness deploys sharpness, he afterward shows forth greater love towards his pupils, so that they understand he’s not their enemy, looking to abuse them or put himself over them and gratify his ego.

        “Then what?”

        Well, that’s where long-suffering comes in. After all, we’re all in the ride together, and we just gotta take the blows and the reviling and whatever is dished out, without returning evil for evil, but rather returning good for evil.

        “To what end?”

        Maybe eventually they’ll change their minds about whether the teacher of righteousness is an abuser and begin to trust when they see his consistently good example.

        “How does that work online?”

        Not very well. Unfortunately, the distinction between angry contention and righteous contention goes unperceived among them who are themselves offenders and the medium of communication is not vocal but in writing. It’s too easy to read one’s own sins into the words of others (almost inevitable, really). The finer details go unnoticed, and the fact that the teacher of righteousness does not avenge slights to his own dignity or honor is easily missed.

        “So you said the teacher of righteousness is not looking to make friends directly – is he then looking to make friends indirectly?”

        Yes, he is. The reason the teacher of righteousness opens his mouth to preach the gospel is to give the hearers the keys and help motivate them to press forward in righteousness until they are in their turn brought to God and anointed as his children, sealed to him, and thus part of the divine family, that all may be one. Thus, he is trying to make friends of all who hear.

        “But aren’t we all children of God?”

        We are the children of him whom we list to obey.

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  10. Mino

    Above you wrote:

    Mc2dd

    I am sorry if you felt I was attacking you. I hope you will forgive me.
    I do need to do better with my responses to others.

    Log I appreciate your post and I am sorry to detract from the message in the comments.
    God bless.

    Why do people say: “I am sorry if you felt……this or that…

    When we say we are sorry, it should be for something we as an individual did ,and not for the way we assume someone else feels..

    That line of communication does not lean towards reconciliation.

    It is like the verse in the Book of Mormon..when they prayed saying…” Oh God we thank you – that we are not like “those” …

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