Pentecost and Patterns


LastSupperLargeSunday, May 24 marked fifty days since the Feast of the Passover. The early Christian disciples, gathered together in Jerusalem, experienced an outpouring of the Spirit and attending gifts following prayer and supplication. Joseph adds that Peter officiated in ordinances: “God obtained a house where Peter washed and anointed on the Day of Pentecost.” (WJS, p. 211)

pentecost_whitsunThe Savior had just completed his 40-day ministry and “commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father … for John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” (Acts 1:4-5)

“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:2-4)

ENDOWED WITH POWER FROM ON HIGH

joseph_preaching_grove“I preached in the grove on the keys of the kingdom … the keys are certain signs and words by which false spirits and personages may be detected from true, which cannot be revealed to the elders till the temple is completed. The rich can only get them in the temple-the poor may get them on the mountain top as did Moses … There are signs in heaven, earth, and hell, the elders must know them all to be endowed with power, to finish their work and prevent imposition…No one can truly say he knows God until he has handled something, and this can only be in the Holiest of Holies.” (WJS, p. 119-120)

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues …” (Mark 16:17)

Nephi’s description connects the baptism of fire with speaking in a new tongue-the tongue of angels, and shouting “praises unto the Holy One of Israel.” (2 Nephi 31:13-14; 32:2-3)

lehi-pillar-of-fireLehi’s theophany also included praise: “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 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 …” (1 Nephi 1:14-15)

Praise and singing were witnessed by John as he was shown those who are redeemed of the Lord, standing upon the sea of glass: “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” (Rev 15:3)

Alma describes this praise as “singing the song of redeeming love” and experiencing “a mighty change … wrought in their hearts … having been spiritually born of God … having the image of God engraven upon your countenances.” (Alma 5:7-26; Rev 9:4, 13:16, 14:1,9; D&C 133:18)

“That Christ, the Lord Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven …” (Mosiah 5:15).

kirtland-temple-teaching“How is this to be done? It is to be done by this sealing power and the other comforter spoken of, which will be manifest by revelation … the Holy Ghost, the same as given on the day of Pentecost … has no other effect than pure intelligence. It is more powerful in expanding the mind, enlightening the understanding, and storing the intellect with present knowledge of a man who is of the literal seed of Abraham … his whole soul and body are only exercised by the pure spirit of intelligence; while the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a gentile is to purge out the old blood and make him actually of the seed of Abraham. That man that has none of the blood of Abraham must … have a new creation by the Holy Ghost …” (WJS, p. 4).

This promised endowment includes spiritual gifts, knowledge, and being baptized with fire. Where are these manifestations in the church today? Remember the early Christian Pentecost and the Kirtland Pentecost included those that held no high church position or calling (In case you’re inclined to argue that it only happens to leaders).

slc-temple-dedication-ticketI attended a temple dedication broadcast last year and felt something amiss in the proceedings. Conspicuously missing was the power of the Spirit. How far have we drifted away from what Joseph first established, opting instead for a diluted and powerless substitute? In contrast, so powerful was the outpouring of the Spirit at the Kirtland Pentecost that many were convinced the Millennium had begun. I suspect that if Joseph lived long enough to dedicate the Nauvoo temple, there would have been similar, if not greater outpourings of the Spirit.

PROBLEMATIC PATTERNS

Our meetings are confined by a rigid block schedule that leaves little room for the spontaneity of the Spirit to work upon us, giving us in the hour, in the very moment, what is needed. (D&C 100:5-8; Mark 13:11)

What is edifying and spiritually instructive about a correlation program that ensures that members receive the very same lesson from a manual on the same Sunday everywhere in the world? How much more powerful and edifying would our meetings be if they were directed and guided by the Holy Spirit. (D&C 42:2; 68:3-4)

general-authoritiesWorshipping (idolizing) local leaders and general authorities is an abomination. The Israelites did the same with Moses. This theme is present with us to this day: They were content with a middleman, and declined the blessings God was offering to them. A comment was made in a priesthood meeting recently that helps to illustrate the severity of the situation: He said, “Why do I need to seek the face of God? We have bishops, isn’t that the same thing?” (If it is, then you must be reading from a different set of scriptures). This is essentially the same spiritual malady that the Israelites had: We need not awake and arise because we have a prophet that speaks to God for us. (D&C 84:23-25)

I remember well as a missionary that when we taught investigators about modern day prophets and continuing revelation, we first established how God is unchanging, and therefore, acts according to divine patterns. Can we continue teaching about patterns, gifts, and manifestations that are not reflected in the church today? Do we experience personally or in the church the blessings shown plainly in the scriptures? Has the Ensign replaced your study of the scriptures? Do we see the spirit of prophecy and revelation in the church?

Do we know more about and lend more of our time and attention to Facebook and other distractions instead of the Book of Mormon? If so, we have great need to repent and come out from under the condemnation of taking lightly what God is offering to us. (D&C 84:54-58)

THE KIRTLAND PENTECOST

June 1831 Conference

kirtland-temple-old-photoA revelation received in January 1831 commanded the elders to gather in Ohio to receive the Lord’s law, and to be endowed with power from on high. (D&C 38:32) Many who were in attendance recorded the events that transpired, including, the heavens being opened and seeing the Father and the Son, the spirit of prophecy and revelation, and the man of sin was revealed, detected, and cast out.

The fact that Satan was present in attempting to thwart the work is interesting to consider. To be endowed with light, one must encounter the opposite to understand the difference between God’s administrations and the devil’s deceitfulness. When Moses received his endowment, he was temporarily left unto himself, and Satan stepped in to tempt him. (Moses 1:9-24)

12 November 1835

“The endowment you are so anxious about you cannot comprehend now, nor could Gabriel explain it to your dark minds, but strive to be prepared in your hearts, and be faithful in all things … be watchful and prayerful, and you shall have a prelude of those joys that God will pour out on that day … you need an endowment brethren in order that you may be prepared and able to overcome all things … the sick will be healed, the lame made to walk, the deaf to hear, and the blind to see through your instrumentality … all who are prepared and sufficiently pure to abide the presence of the Savior will see him in the solemn assembly.” (JSP, Journal, Vol 1, p. 98-99)

27 March 1836 – Dedicatory Prayer

KirtlandTemple2“That thy glory may rest down upon thy people, and upon this house, which we now dedicate to thee, that it may be sanctified and consecrated to be holy, and that thy holy presence may be continually in this house. And that they may grow up in thee, and receive a fulness of the Holy Ghost. And that all their salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with holy hands, uplifted to the Most High … That thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and thy name be upon them, and thy glory round about them, and thine angels have charge over them. (See also D&C 84:42)

Let the anointing of thy ministers be sealed upon them with power from on high. Let it be fulfilled upon them, as upon the day of Pentecost; let the gift of tongues be poured out upon thy people, even cloven tongues as of fire, and the interpretation thereof. And let thy house be filled, as with a rushing mighty wind, with thy glory. Put upon thy servants the testimony of the covenant…” (D&C 109:12, 15, 19, 22, 35-38)

30 March 1836

“While waiting, I made the following remarks: That the time that we were required to tarry in Kirtland to be endued would be fulfilled in a few days … the brethren continued exhorting, prophesying, and speaking in tongues until 5 o’clock in the morning-the Savior made his appearance to some, while angels ministered unto others, and it was a Pentecost and enduement indeed, long to be remembered, for the sound shall go forth from this place into all the world, and the occurrences of this day shall be handed down upon the pages of sacred history to all generations, as the day of Pentecost, so shall this day be numbered and celebrated as a year of Jubilee, and time of rejoicing to the saints of the Most High God.” (JSP, Journal, Vol 1, p. 214-216)

3 April 1836 – Acceptance of the temple

“For behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here, and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house.” (D&C 110:7)

MOUNT OF TRANSFIGURATION

transfiguration-carl-bloch“Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John who asked him many questions about his sayings, and Jesus leadeth them up unto a high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.” (JST Mark 9:2)

“On the Mount transfigured before Peter, [James], and John, there receiving the fulness of the priesthood, or [last] law of God.” (WJS, p. 246)

MORE SURE WORD OF PROPHECY

“1st Key: Knowledge is the power of salvation.
2nd Key: Make [your] calling and election made sure.
3rd Key: It is one thing to be on the mount and hear the Excellent voice, and another to hear the voice declare … you have a part and lot in the kingdom.

We were eyewitnesses of his Majesty, we have also a more sure word of prophecy…who can explain this? No man, but he that has obtained these things in the same way that Peter did … there are things in the bosom of the Father that have been hid from the foundation of the world that are not known, neither can be except by direct revelation.” (WJS, p. 206)

This direct revelation includes instruction by the Father, who personally teaches the covenant. (D&C 84:47-48)

“He received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the Excellent Glory: This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. This voice which came from heaven we heard when we were with him in the holy Mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy … it is one thing to receive knowledge by the voice of God, and another to know that you yourself will be saved, to have a positive promise of your own salvation is making your calling and election sure … the voice of Jesus saying, my Beloved, thou shalt have eternal life … never cease struggling until you get this evidence..” (WJS, p. 208)

6 Responses

  1. I believe that all of these things, save for the appearance of Jesus in the flesh, are happening to individuals in the LDS church. They happened for me as a member of the LDS church and now I know the church had nothing to do with it. I know a few people today who are members of the LDS church enjoying a lot of these gifts.

    Here is a crazy thought, if you as an individual are not receiving these gifts as a member of the LDS church, or as a Protestant, or whatever, what if that means you would not be receiving these things in any church or movement? A little known fact is that there were over one hundred reports of people seeing God in the palmyra area around the time of Joseph’s first vision supposedly happened. His account of seeing God was not unique at all like the church makes it out to be. Many many people from all of the different movements were making the same claims. I don’t doubt that many of them are true. Today in the Middle East and Africa who are being converted to Christianity in droves have seen Jesus appear to them in vision. I read an account of the Savior appearing before a small congregation and the Spirit bore witness it was true.
    It is all about individual faith, no matter what religion one belongs to. I do agree though that if you play follow the leader (any mortal on earth) spiritual experiences will be far less frequent and many gifts will be withheld, so yes the LDS church teachings often are not very conducive at times to spiritual outpourings.

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    • I remember an account of the Savior appearing to a group of Native Americans during the time of the Ghost Dance movement, as reported and witnessed by a “white person” who was a guest of the Natives, and wrote a description of what he saw. I believe it happened somewhere in the Wyoming area. If anyone knows a specific reference, I would be interested in finding it.

      Also, I recently read of an account of many followers of Christ in Russia and the Ukraine being led out into a remote, but safe (for a season) area of China around 1932-1933, just before Stalin’s campaign of terror and starvation, followed by the devastation of Germany’s invasion. There were some of these Christians that chose not to be led out, because they loved their fertile farms and comfortable homes that seemed so safe, not being aware of the evil plans being laid for them by both Stalin and Hitler. Those that ended up in China totally missed the holodomor and the war, and eventually ended up in Australia, Canada, and the US when China became untenable due to Mao’s Communists.

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      • I read the account of the Christians who left Ukrain in the 30’s just days before the purge started by Stalin killed millions there. I remember reading how they were led by the spirit and endured many years of tribulation as they journeyed in the wilderness towards China. They arrived in China through miraculous means and lived there safely through the years of WW2. Then they were miraculously brought to the North West US. The account that I read related how this Christian community of saints that had endured so much by relying daily on the spirit to guide them, fell apart when they were confronted with the prosperity they enjoyed in the United States. They could not withstand the temptation of working for gain and they lost the spirit that brought them to America.

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  2. Thank you for your post. I love to read truth witnessed by the Spirit.

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  3. Beautiful things occur and happen for those that believe in Christ… I am a faithful member. My prism of understanding is largely set within the realm of what has been shown me through forging ahead– striving to obtain a personal relationship with Christ. I have been very much edified and benefited by what the Brethren have offered from Joseph to Thomas S… I am not so quick to criticism, I acknowledge faults and errors in the Church. I feel to let the Lord’s light shine through me, as flawed as I am, through faithfulness in the Restored Gospel. I long for the time of Zion and being more fully emblazoned in the richness of Christ.

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  4. Gnolaum….. This was a beautifully written post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and was prompted to comment. I want to thank you for sharing light and truth. The scriptures and quotes from Joseph Smith were especially enlightening. I am attending a small pentecostal church and I have had my heart and eyes opened quite a bit by the pure worship of God and Jesus Christ. I have a new found love and respect for other faiths. “let them worship how, who, and what they may” is good doctrine. I am hopeful that my path will lead to epiphany, and the assurance from heaven that I am truly “a son of God”. Thanks again for your work here.

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