Therefore Shall a Man Cleave Unto His Wife


sealing-room-altarOn September 13 2014, I submitted a letter of resignation from the LDS Church to my local leader. I had thought long and hard about my decision and confirmed it in prayer several times. What I did not do was to tell my wife in advance of my action, but I think she saw it coming. If you understand what the LDS Church teaches about temple marriages, you will agree with me Carol is indeed a wonderful woman.

For those who don’t know, the LDS Church teaches the most important thing a man and woman can do in this life is to marry in an LDS Temple and remain married throughout their mortal lives. Carol has the advantage in this situation. She did not resign from the LDS Church, therefore, it is believed and taught she will be given to or allowed to choose any worthy man who remains faithful in the kingdom of Heaven.

I, on the other hand, am damned forever, according to LDS doctrine, unless I repent, renounce what I have done, subscribe again to the baptismal requirements, am baptized again as a member of the LDS Church, and eventually, after a long period of probation, have my temple blessings restored, a process which requires authorization from the First Presidency or the highest leadership of the LDS Church.

Traditions of Their Fathers

SaltLakeTempleNightI have detailed this previously, but to summarize, Carol is a fifth-generation member of the LDS Church. On the other hand, my family are converts from the 1960’s, with only two out of the eight considered active today, my parents having passed on in the last decade. They had informally left the church earlier. Tradition is a powerful influence in Carol’s spiritual life, which I believe I understand and deeply respect.

Sometimes I am simply amazed at the depth of Carol’s love of the Lord and tolerance for me. If you can put yourself in her shoes for a moment, I’m sure you can understand the loss she has suffered. On ward temple night, she goes alone. She knows I partake of the sacrament using wine. The very idea of wine in her home has deep personal repugnance, her grandfather having lost his legs and died as an alcoholic.

She often comments, wondering aloud really, why those who leave the church are so vocal in their comments about how anyone could belong to such a deluded organization. It hurts her to hear or read such material. She has seen it firsthand from some of the people I have chosen to associate with in various fellowship groups. I feel similarly about some things said by LDS members and Church leaders.

Study, Ponder, Pray

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I still attend our main church meeting with Carol each Sunday. She asked this of me and I still dearly love so many of our friends we have associated with over the years. It is difficult at times to hear what I now consider subtle innuendos and even outright lies from the pulpit (I don’t attend classroom activities), from good people who have NOT studied things out and are simply repeating what others have said.

I considered myself an orthodox Mormon for all my life. I served an LDS mission at age nineteen. I met my wife through the LDS Church Young Single Adult program and married in the temple shortly after. As is fairly normal, I served for over twenty-five years in various teaching and leadership positions and did my best to make my private worship practice something that would give me spiritual strength each day.

I am a computer professional and spend almost all day every day on the Internet. It is a part of my job. When I take breaks I would go read what others were writing about the LDS Church and participate in the ongoing dialog on many of the blogs and chat groups. I like to consider myself well-read, or at least I can say I have contributed a lot of money to Deseret Book over the years in building my well-stocked library.

Hearing the Voice of the Lord

ezekial-chariotThe subjects of my blog were almost always on my mind for eight years. I thought about, studied about and wrote about the basic history and doctrines in a manner I hoped would be helpful to those who were serious about learning more about the LDS faith. Of course, as anyone can tell you who has done a serious study of Mormon history, the LDS Church white-washed, covered up and lied about much of it.

I have been pondering the idea of seeking re-admittance to the LDS Church. Why would I do such a thing? Mainly to strengthen my marriage. “Don’t do it for me,” Carol says. She is right. So I continue to ponder, pray and study. My greatest desire is to do the will of the Lord. We each have spiritual gifts. I like to think I have at least some sensitivity to the voice of the Lord. In other words, I hear His voice.

This is not a unique claim, one that has certain requirements of course, but is highly sought after by most members of the LDS Church I know. If a Mormon says to you, “I don’t want to hear the voice of the Lord,” I would translate that to mean, “I don’t want to do what I’m afraid I might hear,” Likewise, it is, or was, a long-time aspiration of faithful Mormons to come into the presence of the resurrected Lord.

Receive the Second Comforter

carl_bloch_the_christThis idea – embracing the Lord as a mortal – is a hot topic of debate today, at least among those who think it has significance. Some have told me, “It doesn’t matter. Just endure to the end and all will be well.” Did we not at one time teach it is worth any sacrifice to embrace the Lord while yet in this life? That’s the debate: Should we seek to come into the presence of the Lord? Or simply endure to the end?

Those who quote Joseph (and I’m certain I’ve shared this quote a dozen times on this blog), are looked upon by most as being quacks. The correlated material found in the LDS manuals today does not include this doctrine of seeking an audience with the Lord. This is the main doctrine I studied for two years before I decided I didn’t want to be part of an organization that almost NEVER brought this up.

“Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him,

“Potshots at the Brethren”

quorum-twelve-april-2016“and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions–Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn.”  TPJS, 149-151

Well, actually, there was much more to my decision that this. I met with my Bishop for a year to discuss my concerns. I was serving in the Stake Presidency at the time. He didn’t seem to have any problems with my questions. I figure he just accepted such things as part of my private gospel study. One time I quoted a General Authority saying we needn’t be concerned with this specific doctrine. My bishop reacted.

I won’t say he was upset. He’s a good man in control of his emotions. His statement, as I recall and recorded it, is that I was “taking potshots at the Brethren.” That got me thinking. Why is this doctrine so divisive? Is it not desirable? Does it not motivate? I will say, without a doubt, the idea of coming into the presence of the Lord is a thousand times more motivating to me than the idea of regular temple service.

Teaching the Word of the Lord

LDSChurchOfficeBuildingI want to have the Lord abide with me. That is the promise of the Second Comforter. I will do anything asked of the Lord to obtain this goal. It befuddles and amazes me when good brethren in my High Priest group told me I was wrong to bring this subject up, that enduring to the end is ALL that is required. That was the last time I attended a High Priest Group meeting. It seems their minds are made up forever.

I am saddened by the reports I read of husbands writing they will no longer be participating in some of the online groups that are out there – the ones Elder Ballard said in which we should be involved. I have also made that decision. I do not comment on the blogs anymore and I rarely write one. The reason given? The wife holds the upper hand. Divorce is threatened. “You teach correlated stuff or you’re out of here.” * See my comment below. This is NOT quoting Carol but was shared by an online friend in sorrow.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and cleave unto his wife. He has a responsibility to lead his family in righteousness. It is a sad thing we have relegated that responsibility as to what we believe to those who write the correlated doctrinal manuals that are used in the LDS Church today. The word of the Lord should come from God and the head of the family, not from some committee writings.

 

The Snuffer Interview – Part Two


We Must Remember the Restoration

calling-and-electionEach day I receive additional evidence members and leaders of the LDS Church have forgotten what was once commonly taught at the commencement of the restoration through Joseph Smith. For example, today I received an email from a man who shared his highest aspiration is to have his calling and election made sure. He is seeking it diligently. Sadly, his own family mocks him.

His wife says such a doctrine is false, unnecessary and if it were, the LDS leaders would tell us so from the pulpit each General Conference. She tells their children to ignore their father, that he is mentally unstable. The man serves in a bishopric, doing all within his power to help the Saints remember the teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith. Sadly, even his ward members rebuff him.

How could this have happened? Joseph clearly taught, “I would exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until you make your calling and election sure for yourselves, by obtaining this more sure word of prophecy, and wait patiently for the promise until you obtain it.” (Teachings, p. 299.) Why are so many Saints either unaware of this admonition or believe it is impossible?

Teach From a Position of Knowledge

JosephSmithIt is because we have changed the focus from what we were originally taught to a much watered-down version that is more palatable in an effort to be popular. Having one’s calling and election made sure was at one time a basic teaching in the church. It did not seem strange to the members of Joseph’s day. They delighted to hear him teach this doctrine and encourage them to obtain it.

It is because the leaders of the LDS Church either do not have this knowledge or this belief for themselves. The idea that is commonly circulated among the members that it is wrong to talk about one’s experiences in coming to know the Lord is in itself so very wrong. It is covering up a lack, a deficiency in knowledge of the Lord from the top of the hierarchy to the local leadership.

I thank God He has sent a witness in our day to proclaim this doctrine is true. Yet because the LDS Church has cast him out, the message is being rejected by the lay members as well. Oh, ye foolish people. How can you be so closed-minded and so trusting of your eternal salvation to those who sit in the chief seats instead of trusting in God? Why do they not teach this doctrine?

We Can See His Face in This Life

see-my-faceThe idea that such a teaching is only to be considered or taught in private is foolish. It was taught openly by Joseph. The idea that this knowledge is not milk for the sheep is also foolish and false. Joseph taught this to the newest converts. He taught it to unbaptized, unwashed, and unendowed people in his day. It is a basic part of the restoration and it has been lost because men have erred.

Nephi taught clearly, “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. Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.” (2 Ne 32:5-6) The Holy Ghost brings us to Christ.

The Lord added this witness in D&C 93:1 – “Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am.” The objective is to see the face of the Lord in this life. Why is this so hard to understand, accept and to seek?

Focus on the Message, Not the Messenger

doctrine-of-christ1In my interview with Denver, I asked him directly to confirm he had been taught in the same manner as Joseph Smith. He did so. He has openly declared, as did Joseph, his witness of the Savior. He affirmed he has been taught by angels, ancient prophets and by the Lord. Note his answer below in which he deflects these facts and asks us to focus on the message being delivered.

And what is that message? It is that we have forgotten the very basics of the doctrine of Christ. We must remember. Denver spent a year giving a series of ten lectures which he and his wife have been striving to put together in an expanded, detailed and comprehensive book. I wish there was something I could do to help them in their task. But mainly I pray that people will pay attention.

I know Denver’s declarations seem astounding and astonishing. They should not be so. We should be hearing similar declarations from the men who sit in the chief seats of this great church. Alas, it is not so. The Lord can do his own work. When I ask the Lord in prayer what is to be next, the answer comes to wait patiently for the completion of the book to come from the lecture series.

Comments from the Interview

Question Two: In the lecture on Christ, the Prototype of the Saved Man given in Ephraim (6-28-14), you said, “…either I am a liar, and you ought to forget everything I’ve said, or I have been sent by someone greater than I am. If I have been sent and you reject and quibble over the things I declare to you, it is at your peril! It ought to be that way. I ought to be damned if I’m a pretender, and I ought to be damned and rejected by God if I’m saying things about which I know nothing! But I bear witness to you I know what I’m talking about. I have no reason to lie to you. I have no reason to pay to reserve a place to speak to you, and ask nothing of you but to listen. It requires a sacrifice to do what I am doing. I have no other reason to do this than to tell you the truth. Joseph Smith testified to these things and I am come as a second witness. Therefore you now have two proclaiming the same doctrine.”

You bring up Joseph Smith. Joseph testified the heavens are open. He bore witness of God the Father and His Son as two separate and distinct personages possessing glorified and perfected bodies. He also testified he was an instrument in the hands of Christ to bring about a restoration of things hidden since before the foundation of the world. You say you know what you are talking about. Do you mean this in the same sense Joseph Smith declared his knowledge, that it was received through revelation, vision and the visits of angels?

ANSWER (Denver): The answer to that question is “yes.” If that were not the case, I would not be doing anything. What I do, teach and write is a product of contact with heaven. I’ve not elaborated on all the contacts, messengers, and visitations I’ve received because that would be, in my view, very counterproductive. It would suggest I’m more important than I am. God matters and men do not. God can save you and I cannot. The most important issue involves the substance of what I have taught. The most important individual is whoever hears what is taught.

road-to-emmausWhen Christ appeared on the Road to Emmaus to announce His first lengthy post-resurrection message, He did not bother announcing who He was. All He did was announce His message, which was to expound the scriptures beginning with Moses and all the prophets, in order to show how in all things, it was testified that He needed to suffer and He needed to die. All I’m doing is modeling the One I serve. That is by taking Joseph and all the revelations of the Restoration, and showing how in all things, it is necessary for exactly what has, and is happening, to occur in order to fulfill the word of the Lord.

If I started talking about all the visits and visitations, immediately what people would say is, “This is a great man! He has stood in the presence of various angelic personalities! He’s had various interviews and instructions. O my! Isn’t he wonderful?” And the fact of the matter is, I’m not wonderful. I labor for my support, I have a hard time making all of my ends meet. I have a very difficult time meeting all of the responsibilities my wife and I have.  She and I work together on a lot of problems dealing with family, dealing with money, dealing with limited means and a budget, and dealing with just life’s challenges. I am no better than the next man and feel keenly my own inadequacies.

For me to say something other than the content of the message is to inspire either adoration or envy. It’s foolish. It is unnecessary. It would be regarded as boasting by some, nuttiness by many others. It would not advance anything and may well set things back.

But the answer to your question is “yes.” If it were not so, I would keep my mouth shut.

Question Two (part two): As a second witness then, which you claimed you are, how is the Savior working through you to continue the restoration He began through Joseph Smith?

ANSWER (Denver): God could, does, and will work through anyone who awakens and then pays attention. There’s an army of witnesses and awakened individuals that are being assembled by God. It’s required to know Him. I know Him. I have taught, and I know and understand His gospel. The first task is to assure people that He lives and His gospel exists as an authentic method for saving souls.

The second task is to remember the Restoration that Joseph gave his life to commence. We are ungrateful when we fail to remember and practice it. At the moment, there is almost no clear understanding of that gospel. I’m working to set that out in a comprehensive way.

The Restoration has never been completed. There is a great deal prophesied to roll out as part of the Restoration that is not even commenced:

brass-plates-Do we have Zion?

-What about the lost teachings of the brass plates?

-Do we have the rest of the Book of Mormon?

-Do we have the testimony of John?

-Do we have restored knowledge of the Jaradites?

The list could be very long. But the fact that there is a list tells us that the Restoration must resume at some point in order to be completed. We don’t have the Restoration on the table yet. Remarkably we have forgotten what we once had. So the first job is to show that we are grateful enough to remember, and to remember it in a fulsome comprehensive way before God is going to say, “Now I will permit it to move forward.” We haven’t gotten to the point of remembering yet, which is why we ought to be studying a lot more diligently the material that we got in the Restoration. We ignore it at our peril.

Source Material:

Transcript One: http://3tcm.net/a-visit-with-denver-snuffer-transcript.pdf
Note: This version has been reviewed by Denver, missing material added

Transcript Two: http://3tcm.net/tim-malone-Q&A-with-denver-snuffer.pdf

Link to the MP3: http://3tcm.net/Denver_Snuffer_QA_13May2015.mp3
Note: The file is 60MB. It’s best to right-click on the link to download it.

Link to a PDF of answer to question two: http://3tcm.net/question-two.pdf

By Study and Also By Faith


ssalem-thoughtsWhen the Interwebz first began to crawl (1993 – See history of Mosaic), browsers didn’t have “Favorites.” Instead, we created lists of links in raw HTML code and made it our home page. The tradition continues today with blogrolls. I update my list about once a year, sorting it by Alexa rankings. Number 150 on my current list is Russell Anderson’s Thoughts from Salem.

When I first started blogging, I would link to articles on Russell’s previous site, Lightplanet.com because it had a wealth of LDS information I was unable to find elsewhere. Russell sold that site a while back, contacted me about his current site and we began a correspondence. Knowing I was going to be in his neck of the woods this week, we made arrangements to meet for lunch.

I was delighted to discover a kindred spirit with much in common. We are both computer guys, love to study the gospel, have a strong desire to share our research and have a similar journey in what we have concluded. We both started our online efforts with the intent of defending the LDS Church, then came to realize there was something not quite right with the official LDS narrative.

The Church was Rejected

nauvoo-temple-daguerreotypeFor example, in D&C 124 the Lord said the church would be rejected if it did not complete the Nauvoo temple in a timely manner. The Lord desired to restore the fullness of the priesthood which He had taken away. The official church narrative is that the temple was completed. On his website, Russell provides a detailed chronology of the Nauvoo temple showing it was otherwise.

This is a big deal. You’ve really got to think about the implications of what happened in Nauvoo. If the fullness of the priesthood was taken away, and the Lord said it was, then how is it possible the LDS Church can claim to have that priesthood today? The church has gone to great lengths to show the temple was completed, thus the fullness of the priesthood had to have been restored.

Anybody who considers the list of cursings the Lord promised in that section will realize they were each realized. The Lord did not reveal any new ordinances in the Nauvoo temple. He did not reveal things hid from before the foundation of the world. Instead, the saints were moved out of their place by their enemies. They received cursings, wrath, indignations and judgments.

Prophets and the Heavenly Council

The standard LDS interpretation of Amos 3:7 is that God will speak to his people through the prophets, specifically the fifteen men who carry the title of “prophet, seer and revelator.” The current mantra of the church, “follow the prophet” uses this verse as the foundation to support the idea of centralized hierarchical leadership, control and direction for the true people of God.

the-divine-councilNowhere else have I found what I consider to be the more correct interpretation of that verse than on Russell’s site. He presents a logical construction of the elements found in this scripture in such a way that, for me, brought a paradigm shift about how I can recognize a true prophet. He will be introduced to the Heavenly Council by God and will testify of having been so included.

The purpose of the Heavenly Council is not something you are taught about in the standard LDS curriculum. Of course it is referenced in Moses and especially Abraham (the Gods), but nowhere does the church teach that mortals can participate in such a council. Amos teaches us how God calls a prophet – He brings him into the Heavenly Council – then that man receives assignments.

The Doctrine of Christ

One of the purposes of the Book of Mormon is to testify of Christ and to bring us unto Christ. The doctrine of Christ is taught plainly by Nephi in 2 Nephi 32. He plainly teaches repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and coming unto Christ. The church used to understand and correctly teach that coming unto Christ meant to receive him in the flesh. They no longer do.

carl_bloch_the_christIn verse six we read, “Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.”  Nephi is clearly saying Christ shall manifest himself unto you and teach you much more in person.

The church discounts that claim and instead teaches Nephi’s words were fulfilled when Christ came to the Americas after his resurrection. On his website, Russell presents us with a logical deconstruction of Nephi’s instructions about receiving Christ in the flesh. The purpose of the gospel is to prepare us to receive Christ in the flesh while yet mortal. It can’t be any clearer.

Hearing the Voice of God

The church teaches the higher priesthood can be passed from one man to another. This is not so. The higher priesthood is only received directly from God, by hearing his voice declare it. This is taught plainly in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, especially in Section 84. Others have also explained this fact, but Russell’s page on the subject presents a sound exegesis.

PassingHeavenlyGiftWe tend to overlook the fact that the ordination is simply an invitation to go and get the power. We do NOT receive the higher power of God by ordination. We MUST have the Lord declare it unto us by His own voice out the heavens. No earthly organization controls the power of God. He alone decides who receives it. President Packer understood and taught this a few years back.

In order to have the higher priesthood, we must receive Christ – literally, physically. There is an ordinance involved. Note I said ordinance, not ordination. The ordination invites the man to do all the Holy Ghost teaches him he must do to come into the presence of Christ. The Savior then confers power upon the man. That’s why the penalty for turning from the priesthood is so severe.

A Useful Website for Research

I could go on and on with great examples from Thoughts from Salem but it’s late and my intent was to simply introduce you to the site, express my opinion that it is a valuable resource and invite you to peruse it for some wonderful instructive content. This man has done his research and has provided some unique insights expressed in a logical, methodical and organized manner.

His page on Denver Snuffer is a great source for links that you may not have seen previously. His page containing links to those excommunicated from the LDS church for teaching contrary to the official doctrinal interpretation is noteworthy. Take a look at the Topics page for details on a few Mormon myths, the idea of multiple mortal probations before resurrection and quite a few more.

There is also a valuable page of links to LDS reference material such as older conference talks, periodicals and publications, books, scriptures, Joseph Smith sermons, papers and teachings. See also his page on succession in the presidency for evidence of historical inaccuracies. His post on D&C 136, Brigham’s only canonized revelation is especially revealing.

 

Kings of Righteousness


Isaac-Morley-FarmI propose that we ought to begin thinking of “Melchizedek” less as a name and more of a title that any of us can obtain. Though much of this may seem to refer only to males this also applies in every way to females. Melchizedek is from two words that can be spelled a lot of different ways (like just about every Hebrew word). The first word is Malki or Malkei, which means King or Kings, and the second is Tzedek, meaning justice or righteousness. It is my understanding that to become a Melchizedek, or a “High Priest,” is much more than most consider.

Tim recently made a comment that stuck with me wherein he said, “…we don’t pass this way but once. The course of the Lord is one eternal round. We have got to learn to become Gods ourselves. It is the doctrine of Eternal Lives. The only way off this merry-go-round is, in the immortal words of Jim Morrison, to “break on through to the other side.”

If we have to break away from this cycle I guess it might be of utmost importance that we learn HOW we actually do it. We must begin with the end in mind. The goal is redemption, and the means is faith in Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. To have a goal of redemption, it might help us to understand exactly what redemption is. Before the fall, the bodies of our first parents were immune to death and disease, they were pure and spiritual and filled with light. The fall caused death and disease, sin and pain, and many other crappy conditions that come with a body of corruption. All of this must be overcome in order for redemption to occur.

MY TAKE ON WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE OUR CALLING AND ELECTION MADE SURE

I wanted to define more clearly what I feel the Spirit has taught me concerning having one’s calling and election MADE SURE. When one receives the promise to his/her spirit by revelation that they will be exalted, this is SPIRITUALLY receiving a truth that is binding upon that individual. That person at some point will be exalted. I submit that many people have received this promise in mortality, but did not receive redemption IN THAT PARTICULAR LIFE, and had to (or have to still) come back to mortality to be redeemed. I believe some individuals who have overcome still continue to return for the sake of others and for faster progression. One reference in the scriptures I can think of is found in Hebrews 11:33 “and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.” In Buddhism these would be called “Bodhisattvas.” My understanding by the spirit is these people are real. They willingly come back to this hell-hole over and over again and will until the earth itself is redeemed. Take a look again at Peter’s words about having one’s calling and election made sure.

2 Peter 1:17-19

17 For he received from God the Father honour 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.

18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

LITERALLY HEARING GOD’S VOICE

When they heard the voice from heaven they heard an audible voice in the physical realm. As I pointed out in a previous post if Jesus spoke to our elements physically THEY WOULD OBEY. If Jesus commanded you to be perfect in your physical presence, it would be done. Of course this would never happen if we did not desire it. My testimony is that this experience must happen to all of us in the flesh in order to “break free.” When Jesus appeared to the brother of Jared in the flesh He said this in Ether 3;

13 And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.

My understanding was that it was at this moment that the brother of Jared became a Melchizedek, he became a holy man and a high priest unto God. Let me share a verse that I asked many people about and the understanding of it eluded me until recently. Alma 13-

1 And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people.

2 And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.

3 And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.

4 And thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren

Preparatory redemption means our bodies are sanctified by the Spirit of the Lord

This whole chapter is full of beautiful doctrine but I wanted to focus on what this “preparatory redemption” is all about. If we become high priests after the order of Melchizedek our bodies are redeemed from the fall. They are baptized, glorified, filled with (however you want to say it) the Spirit of the Lord or the Spirit of God. They become holy. This is having the word of prophecy and our calling and election MADE SURE. It is no longer just a promise by revelation, it is done. That is when we reach the stature of Christ. We receive His name and we are His, worlds without end. I propose this hasn’t happened in a long time. I believe Joseph and others had the promise that the higher priesthood would come, but they tried to jump the gun a bit in June 1831 in the Morley home. Let me share a little bit about what was recorded…

“Joseph put his hands on Harvey Whitlock and Ordained him to the high Priesthood he turned as black as Lyman was white his fingers was set like Claws he went round the Room and showed his hands and tried to speak his eyes was in the shape of Ovil Oes. [Spelling?] Hyrum Smith said Joseph that is not of God Joseph said do not speak against this I will not believe said Hyrum unless you inquire if God owns it Joseph bowed his head a short time got up and Commanded Satan to leave Harvey laying his hands upon his head at the same time.

At that very instant an Old man said to way two hundread and fourteen pounds sitting in the window turned a complete summersett in the house and came his back across a bench and lay helpless Joseph told Lyman to cast Satan out he did. The man’s name was Leman Copley formaly a Shaker The evil spirit left him and as quick as lightning Harvey Green fell bound and screamed like a Panther. Satan was cast out of him but imediately entered so I heared it continued all day and the greater part of the knight“. (Levi Handcock)

From Ezra Booth; “Another Elder, who had been ordained to the same office as Wight, at the bidding of Smith, stepped upon the floor. Then ensued a scene, of which you can form no adequate conception; and which, I would forbear relating, did not the truth require it.The Elder moved upon the floor, his legs inclining to a bend; one shoulder elevated above the other, upon which the head seemed disposed to recline, his arms partly extended; his hands partly clenched; his mouth partly open, and contracted in the shape of an italic O;

his eyes assumed a wild ferocious cast, and his whole appearance presented a frightful object to the view of the beholder.— “Speak, Brother Harvey” said Smith. But Harvey intimated by signs, that his power of articulation was in a state of suspense, and that he was unable to speak. Some conjectured that Harvey was possessed of the devil, but Smith said, “the Lord binds in order to set at liberty. “After different opinions had been given, and there had been much confusion, Smith learnt by the spirit, that Harvey was under a diabolical influence, and that Satan had bound him; and he commanded the unclean spirit to come out of him.

VERY ODD HAPPENINGS IN THE MORLEY HOME

There were some good things that were said to have happened. Lyman Wight (who by all accounts seemed to have the best experience) was said to have a vision of the Father and Son. Please consider though the account from Ezra Booth of Lyman’s experience which matches up with other accounts…

“Wight arose, and presented a pale countenance, a fierce look, with his arms extended, and his hands cramped back, the whole system agitated, and a very unpleasant object to look upon. He exhibited himself as an instance of the great power of God, and called upon those around him “if you want to see a sign, look at me.”

He then [189] stepped upon a bench, and declared with a loud voice, he saw the Savior: and thereby, for the time being, rescued Smith’s prophecy from merited contempt.—It, however, procured Wight the authority to ordain the rest. So said the spirit, and so said Smith. The spirit in Smith selected those to be ordained, and the spirit in Wight ordained them. But the spirit in Wight proved an erring dictator; so much so, that some of the candidates felt the weight of hands thrice, before the work was rightly done…”

I have shared a little bit about the evils of the flesh and casting them out of us so we can be filled with the Spirit of the Lord.  THESE PEOPLE WERE NOT READY!!! Please consider this. There is huge discrepancy in the accounts of when the Melchizedek Priesthood supposedly was restored. People consider the idea of Peter, James, and John restoring it but there are many inconsistencies with that tale, and the closest thing we truly have to God ordaining men to high priests by His own voice was in the Morley farm in 1831. The church has tried hard to cover up the records of this experience, not because they believe that was when the high priesthood was actually restored, but because the whole experience was quite frightening and disturbing. It was obvious Joseph Smith was confused at the spectacle just like everyone else.

FULNESS OF THE PRIESTHOOD YET TO BE RESTORED

The evils of the flesh reacted in these men and proved that their bodies were not sanctified to the necessary degree to become kings of righteousness at that time. Recently Denver has shared that Joseph Smith was ordained under the spirit of Elias. We learn from some of what Joseph Smith supposedly shared that John the Baptist conferred Joseph Smith with the Aaronic Priesthood and with the “spirit of Elias.” The Spirit has witnessed to me that this is true. I also have a witness that Elijah did not come to the Kirtland temple just as Denver has suggested, but think of what this means! Doctrine and Covenants 2

1 Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

2 And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.

3 If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.

I would go on but I want to finish a post without getting too lengthy for once. My understanding is the fullness of the priesthood has yet to be revealed to people of our time but that it will be very soon. Kings and Queens of Righteousness will obtain the name of Christ and walk the earth again. People will be blessed with the state of transfiguration just as the 12 disciples in 3rd Nephi were. Remember they all reached that state of a “preparatory redemption,” but only the three remained as translated beings. Please consider reading some of Moroni’s words in a new light. I absolutely loved Denver’s most recent blog post and agree wholeheartedly. I need to improve on some things he suggested.  I would recommend reading it if you haven’t. To Moroni’s words…

32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny ourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

Interesting notes from Wikipedia relating to the root word “tzedek;”

According to the Hasidic Tanya (based on passages in Tanach and the Talmud, and the tradition in Kabbalah), the true title of tzadik denotes a spiritual description of the soul. Its true meaning can only be applied to one who has completely sublimated their natural “animal” or “vital” soul inclinations into holiness, so that they experience only love and awe of God, without material temptations. Hence, a tzadik serves a “vehicle” or “merkavah” [מרכבה] {Tanya ch.23} to God and has no ego or self-consciousness. Note, that a person cannot attain such a level, rather it is granted from on High (or born with, etc.)tanya ch.27. This select level elevates the “Intermediate” person (“Benoni“) into one who never sins in thought, speech or action.

Tzadik/Zadik/Sadiq [tsaˈdik] (Hebrewצדיק‎, “righteous one”, pl. tzadikim [tsadiˈkim] צדיקים ṣadiqim) is a title given to personalities in Jewish tradition considered righteous, such as Biblical figures and later spiritual masters. The root of the word ṣadiq, is ṣ-d-q (צדק tzedek), which means “justice” or “righteousness“, also the root of tzedakah (‘charity’, literally ‘righteousness’). The feminine term for a righteous person istzadeikas.

Calling and Election Made Sure


SpeakingWithTheLordI have been enjoying the dialog on Nate’s post, “The More Sure Word of Prophecy.” It has caused me to ponder the title phrase we often use to describe the sure feeling of knowing we have been sealed up unto eternal life, of knowing God’s love for us and His promise we shall come into His presence to dwell with Him forever. It is a sweet, peaceful, wonderful feeling.

Read Nate’s post for his comments on hearing the voice of God, and the importance of names, both of God and our own. Nate shares a personal experience in which he was called of the Lord, by his name. What a wonderful thing it is to realize the Lord knows you and knows your name. The idea of hearing the voice of God is found in Peter’s teachings, quoted here for reference:

2 Pet 1:16-21

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour 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. And 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; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

The Promises are Available to All

As I pondered that other phrase, the Lord reminded me of a recent request from another reader to provide feedback on a chapter of his forthcoming book – no name yet – that deals with this very subject of having one’s calling and election made sure. This is not a phrase that we use much in or out of the LDS Church these days, but it was once understood more clearly than we do now.

Peter clearly understood. He used it in 2 Pet 1:10 – “…give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall…” Who wouldn’t want that kind of promise, to never fall? Obviously, we would want to desire and understand the requirements to receive such a promise, for how many of us have experienced the opposite feeling of failure?

It’s best to read the preceding verses to understand what Peter meant by “these things.” It’s a nice checklist, for those who like such things, of what we must do or to which we must give diligence in order to make our calling and election sure. These verses tell us what the calling is that we have been given, and helps us understand what it is that we elect to do to receive glory.

2 Pet 1:2-8

“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We Have Strayed From the Doctrine

We are called to glory and virtue. We elect to accept the calling when we do those things listed in these verses. This doctrine has been expounded by some of the great theologians of our day, such as Bruce R. McConkie, Marion G. Romney, LeGrand Richards and Joseph Fielding Smith. Actually, those were some of the theologians of my day. This doctrine isn’t taught much in the LDS Church any more. In fact, many LDS members consider it one of those mysteries to avoid.

Joseph Smith said the following about this doctrine in DHC 5:388-389: “Oh! I beseech you to go forward, go forward and make your calling and your election sure,”  and “After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins, and receives the Holy Ghost, which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted.

“When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints,” and finally, “…I would exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until you make your calling and election sure for yourselves, by obtaining this more sure word of prophecy.”

This Doctrine is Intended for All

One of the difficulties of those who advocate “Follow the Prophet,” is they may not believe they can obtain this blessing for themselves. I have heard them say such a blessing is reserved only for the fifteen men who lead the LDS Church. This is false. I’m not saying it is a simple thing to obtain this promise, but I am saying it can be done, even by the least of the Saints, of which I am one. Even though I have left the LDS Church, I am a follower of Jesus Christ, a Latter-day Saint.

Having one’s calling and election made sure is not the same as receiving the Second Comforter. It is also not the same as the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost. It is not the same as accepting and taking advantage of the Atonement through repentance. It is actively seeking to do the will of the Lord, accepting every test, no matter how strange or unusual it may seem, and doing what the Lord asks. I have often shared my example of being asked by the Lord to quit my good job.

The Fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Sometime between that test in February of this year and what I consider the most difficult test, being asked by the Lord to resign my membership in the LDS Church, I received the promise of having my calling and election made sure. I did not even realize it until recently. You may think it is some grand and glorious event, and for some, it may be. But for me, it was a simply a quiet whispering of the spirit, in a moment of prayer, confirming I had received the promised blessing.

A few years ago, I purchased a book entitled, “The Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” The author wished to remain anonymous and so used the name of Elliaison. You can still purchase the book at the website, www.elliaison.org. On page 60 and 61 is a very simple test one can use to determine if they have had their calling and election made sure. When I first took the test a few years ago, it was made clear to me I had not yet obtained the desired promise I sought.

Sacrifice Brings Forth the Blessings of Heaven

As I was reviewing my friend’s chapter on the subject for his forthcoming book, he referred to a post in LDSFF entitled, “The Fastest Way to Make Your Calling and Election Sure.” It was then I remembered the booklet I had purchased that includes the same instructions. As I picked it up, a voice whispered to me, “Tim, you don’t even need to do the test. You already know.” I did it anyway. I knew. I just didn’t know I knew until I confirmed it with the Lord through this test.

I thought back, seeking greater detail on when it had occurred so I could pinpoint what I had done to obtain the blessing. I concluded, both through pondering and by asking the Lord for confirmation that it was sometime after the last meeting with my Bishop on August 24th and the day I resigned from the LDS Church on September 13th. Those four days between the Mesa lecture on September 9th and the day I resigned on September 13th were agonizing for me.

Then Shall Thy Confidence Wax Strong…

One part of me was screaming out, “How can you possibly resign your membership in this church to which you have given so much over so many years?” On the other hand, the spirit of the Lord was rehearsing that scene over and over in my mind, “This day is this commandment renewed in your ears.” I knew the Lord wanted me to be baptized. I wasn’t going to try to hide it from anyone. If it was the right thing to do, then I intended to tell the world about it on my blog.

Once I realized I had obtained the promised blessing, my prayers took on greater confidence and meaning. The feeling of being a partner with God became stronger. My desire to counsel with Him in all my doings became more profound. I found His interest in my activities, my concerns and my desires to be more acute. Perhaps it was that I had become more sensitive to His feelings, which had always been there, just beyond my level of appreciation. Life became more fulfilling.

Let No Man Come Between You and God

When I was a member of the LDS Church I would have thought to myself, “You had better go and check this with the Bishop or some other person of authority in the Church.” I pondered why I had that desire and had lived with it for so many years. It is wrong. I realize that now. It kept me from trusting the Lord. It was offensive to the Lord. It kept Him from revealing more things to me. The Lord has given me a great blessing. No man can ever take that away from me now.

I was born of the spirit when I was seventeen. I received visions from the Lord at that same young age in which I saw my life unfold before me. I have witnessed the fulfillment of part of those visions. I do not doubt the other parts will come to pass in the near future. I have now obtained the promise of Eternal Life in which I rejoice. My calling and election is made sure. I am now engaged in obtaining the promise of receiving the Second Comforter. It can be done.

I am a Witness It Can be Done

Why am I sharing this? I share this because I searched for many years in my youth and early service in the LDS Church for others who had obtained the fulfillment of the Lord’s promises. Perhaps I didn’t know anybody who had received such blessings, they weren’t sharing them, or they weren’t happening. It could have been a combination of all three. I’m now aware of dozens who have made their calling and election sure. They have shared their stories with me in private.

I share my witness in public because that it what I have offered to the Lord – my blog – and He accepted. I hope if you read this and wonder if such a blessing can be obtained that you will think deeply and carefully about what the Lord requires. The whole process is one of proving trust. Can the Lord trust you? If He asks you to so something that goes against all you think is logical or reasonable and yet you KNOW it is from the Lord, how will you respond? Ponder it.

There is Always More to Obtain

I know I have hardly begun to scratch the surface of sealing my connection to Heaven. I know there is much more required of me. I desire to see the face of the Lord. I desire to enter into His presence in this life. I desire to embrace Him, to converse with Him face to face as one man converses with another. I know I have much to do to repent, to change and to do before I can obtain that blessing and other spiritual gifts the Lord has promised me. Promises motivate me.

I know the Lord cannot lie. I have heard His voice. It is real. He has declared His love for me. I have been consumed with His love on occasion. He has asked things of me I cannot share. Not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t have the words to explain. Any attempt would be meaningless. As a wise man has said on several occasions, “You can’t claim to be anybody until you have accomplished the work the Lord sent you here to do.” I am nobody. Follow Christ.

The more sure WORD of prophecy


SchoolOfProphetsIn my first post I wrote about being called of the Lord. We must hear Him calling us in spirit and answer the call. When we hear those whisperings of the Spirit we can respond, “Here am I, send me!” as Isaiah did, or “speak, for thy servant heareth”, as Samuel did. At any rate acknowledge the voice of God, and nourish the word that He speaks to you through faith, so that you can receive more. We are told in the scriptures to “feast upon the WORDS of Christ,” His words are the living waters, continually flowing unto us if we will continually thirst, and not damn ourselves by unbelief.

I would suggest to really begin paying attention to words and names. The scriptures are a good place to begin, but truly the important names are given through the Spirit. What names has God called you by in the Spirit? Have you been called “Israel”? Have you been called a “son” or “daughter” by revelation? How about “clean” or “blessed”…? Israel blessed Ephraim and Manasseh, and said “let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac…” Think of the power of the names of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob among the Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

People of such faith have been called fathers to many nations, and still strengthen the faith of millions, but we have been given a greater name, even Jesus Christ, and we are willing to take His name upon us.

Phil 2:9-11

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

John 5:43

I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.

John 17:25-26

O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Hopefully some of you will begin to catch on to what is going on here. Some mysteries are so plainly written and yet no one will see or understand. Suffice it to say that no name is given under heaven, whereby men can be saved, besides the name of Jesus Christ.

We should learn the other names and titles of God by the Spirit. That is how we come to know Him. Call Him by His names as they come to you in prayer. Doctrine and Covenants 19 gives a couple of important names, and we can learn their meaning by revelation. Notice the Lord says “it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles…”

D&C 19:8-12

Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles. I speak unto you this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest. For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore- Eternal punishment is God’s punishment. Endless punishment is God’s punishment.

Learn the names and attributes of God by revelation! Remember the scroll that Ezekiel ate in vision, and the book that John ate as well, these symbolize the words of God becoming part of us and one with us. Ok I could write a whole post on this but I want to get into the more sure word of prophecy. The Spirit this morning told me to share an experience I had years ago. I was in a sacrament meeting during church, pondering upon the Savior when I was filled with fire to the point that it felt like I was raised from my chair five feet. As I bowed my head the voice of God came to my spirit with great power and called me by name, “Nathaniel my son, thou art blessed, for thou shalt be exalted!” Every particle of me was illuminated and filled with the power of the Holy Ghost.

Ok I know that most people say this is an experience that we shouldn’t share. I know that this experience has happened to countless people, and many readers have probably obtained a similar promise by revelation. Well, the Spirit rested upon me heavily the rest of that day, and I had obtained a high promise from the Lord in revelation. In fact, I was pretty sure I had had my calling and election made sure, and maybe I did in spirit. The Lord cannot lie, and His promises are sure, but in this post I want to talk about the “more sure word of prophecy,” which I now know means quite a bit more than most people have previously taught, and maybe expound on the idea of having something MADE SURE.

Before moving on I want to reiterate that faith is the key to all things offered of God. We must humble ourselves and admit our nothingness. None of us are any better than anyone else here in mortality because sin has damned us all until Christ redeems us. He is the Redeemer, He is the Savior, and we can do nothing of ourselves.

Hel 12:7-15

O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth. For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God. Yea, behold at his voice do the hills and the mountains tremble and quake. And by the power of his voice they are broken up, and become smooth, yea, even like unto a valley. Yea, by the power of his voice doth the whole earth shake; Yea, by the power of his voice, do the foundations rock, even to the very center. Yea, and if he say unto the earth—Move—it is moved. Yea, if he say unto the earth—Thou shalt go back, that it lengthen out the day for many hours—it is done; And thus, according to his word the earth goeth back, and it appeareth unto man that the sun standeth still; yea, and behold, this is so; for surely it is the earth that moveth and not the sun.

There is a mystery here. Are we hearkening to the words spoken to us by the Holy Ghost? Do we know the voice of the Lord and how He speaks to our spirits? Has he spoken to you? We must learn His voice and hearken to NO OTHER VOICE. WE must be sure to KNOW the difference between our own voice, the voice of the adversary, and the voice of God. The Holy Ghost speaks to our “mind,” and our “heart.” There must be a power that we “feel,” as well as an “understanding” given. That is beside the point of this discussion I guess, but how many people are really understanding God’s voice?

Back to the more sure word, Hebrews 4:8-12

For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

We are encouraged to enter into the rest of the Lord, and Paul says at this point the man (or woman) who has done this has “ceased from his own works”, then goes right into talking about the “word of God”.

When Nephi says “when He shall manifest Himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do,” he is actually saying a lot more than we might observe at first glance. He is saying that when the Lord commands in the flesh, power is given that the command WILL happen. When it was mentioned above that the dust moves hither and thither at the command of God, a mystery was being unveiled for those who have ears to hear. How often in scriptures does it say that WE are made from the dust of the earth?

Paul said at this point we are in the Lord’s rest and then God works through us, not only in spirit, but also in body. Our very elements are His to command, to go forth and change the world to whatever degree He would have us do. The thing is that we know the Lord never works by compulsion. All things are given unto us according to the desires of our hearts, and so our spirits must be in complete harmony with God through His grace and the power of the atonement, so that our ONLY desire is truly to do the works of God and be one with Him. If this is not the case, we will never be brought back into the physical presence of Jesus Christ, unless it is to our peril.

Also from Helaman 12:19-22

And if the Lord shall say—Be thou accursed, that no man shall find thee from this time henceforth and forever—behold, no man getteth it henceforth and forever. And behold, if the Lord shall say unto a man—Because of thine iniquities, thou shalt be accursed forever—it shall be done. And if the Lord shall say—Because of thine iniquities thou shalt be cut off from my presence—he will cause that it shall be so. And wo unto him to whom he shall say this, for it shall be unto him that will do iniquity, and he cannot be saved; therefore, for this cause, that men might be saved, hath repentance been declared.

Such is the power of the voice of God! He has been speaking to us in spirit and drawing us to Him. We have been under the watchful care of the Shepherd and soon He will dispense His name to His sheep, not only in spirit, but also physically! How beautiful it will be for those who have hearkened to the Holy Ghost and love to follow God, but those who have trusted in any other voice and have said “we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough..”, only damnation can await until they develop more faith and repent. They do not want any more! God will not take away our agency. What a perfect plan to sift us. Who will obtain the word and follow God and trust in no one else?

Ex 34:5

And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord.

When He comes in the flesh He will proclaim His name and then it will spread to all of His sheep in the last gathering and final dispensation before the millennium. After there has been war and destruction and calamity, it has been prophesied that many men will die. Isaiah makes some marvelous prophecies,

Isa 4:1-2

And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.

Lovers of polygamy smile at this verse, but they have wrested the scriptures. Isaiah is clearly prophesying of the name of the Lord that will be given from person to person until “All shall know the Lord!” Compare to some other verses from Isaiah.

Isa 56:5-6

Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant

Also Isa 62:2-4

And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.

Yes, many of us have been told many things by revelation. We have been given promises that WILL BE FULFILLED. Well wonderful, I for one would like them made sure in this life. Fortunately I have learned for myself that the Lord is going to begin to manifest Himself to many people soon in the flesh. The earth is about to change. It doesn’t matter which one of us it happens to first. We must prepare ourselves, and always be hungering and thirsting for MORE!

Alma 26:22

Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance.

Matt 13:52

Then said He unto them, “Therefore every scribe who is instructed unto the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a man that is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.”

Where is the faith? Where are those who have been instructed unto the Kingdom of Heaven? IT IS PROMISED that such people will bring to light truths of the gospel that have been hidden. Many are being blessed with greater faith and the strange act is about to commence. Will we be among those who are willing to receive more, or have we said in one way or another that “we have enough”?

Those who are blessed with the sanctification of their bodies and become “holy”, as people were in days past, can also be given a gift that their words will be spoken with the power of God. Right now NO ONE has this gift in the flesh. Yes there is edification, but when speeches are given there might be half of the audience receiving things by the spirit, because their own spirits are in harmony with what was given, and the other half could have felt nothing and walked away wondering why all the nut-jobs loved the speech so much.

3 Ne 7:17-18

And he did minister many things unto them; and all of them cannot be written, and a part of them would not suffice, therefore they are not written in this book. And Nephi did minister with power and with great authority. And it came to pass that they were angry with him, even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words, for so great was his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ that angels did minister unto him daily.

This is the power to confound anyone, the “power of God unto the convincing of men,” that was promised in the Doctrine and Covenants when one would “obtain MY WORD…” King Benjamin was not trembling during His speech because of his old age. He was a “holy man.” The spirit of the Lord was flowing from him to those who had gathered and was so powerful that they all were converted! They all were given the name of Christ! Read it! It’s all there.

Such will be the power of those called and sent. The time is upon us. Think on D&C 85:7 where Joseph was told of the one mighty and strong who will “utter words, ETERNAL words,” also that prophet who will be called who will be like Moses. The Lord said in Deut 18:19-20:

“I ….will put MY WORDS in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him, But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die….”

Remember the promise that “the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save He shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which He commandeth them.” (1 Ne 3:7) Then take into account the great commandment to “Be ye therefore perfect…” or to be “Even as I am…” If Christ speaks these words to us in the flesh it will be done.

This post has been lengthy and many of you probably didn’t read the whole thing, I don’t blame you… Please read the other posts I have written to better understand this if you haven’t already. Also read the posts by Tim and others who have been inspired. The work of God continues. What will He reveal through you? What words have you received or have you yet to receive that the Lord is willing to impart? God bless us all with a greater portion of His Spirit.

Eph 3:14-19

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

This is my prayer also in the name of Jesus Christ, amen

Looking Beyond the Mark


HebrewTav1It the LDS Church today, we often hear the phrase, “Looking Beyond the Mark.” Those who read the scriptures know this comes from the book of Jacob in the Book of Mormon. This is a uniquely LDS phrase, not found in the Bible. Jacob was teaching the people about Christ, who, of course, is the mark in question. Keep that in mind. Christ is the mark, not the LDS Church.

Anything that causes you to look past Christ for salvation is looking beyond the mark. Anything that takes you away from coming unto Christ is looking beyond the mark. Anyone who stands in between you and your Savior can cause you to look beyond the mark. Anything, any system, any person or any church that purports to be able to save you is deflecting your view from the mark.

From this verse, sermons have been preached, lessons have been written, actions have been justified and individuals have been condemned. Ironically, when someone focuses on coming unto Christ, and doing all within their power to respond to the promptings of the spirit, others may perceive them as engaging in a gospel hobby, accusing them of looking beyond the mark.

Here is the verse in question:

“But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.” (Jacob 4:14)

Elder Cook spoke about this subject. He said, “Today there is a tendency among some of us to ‘look beyond the mark’ rather than to maintain a testimony of gospel basics. We do this when we substitute the philosophies of men for gospel truths, engage in gospel extremism, seek heroic gestures at the expense of daily consecration, or elevate rules over doctrine. Avoiding these behaviors will help us avoid the theological blindness and stumbling that Jacob described.”

Most Apostles Understand the Doctrine

Elder Cook got it … sort of. I like the phrase “maintain a testimony of gospel basics,” but I’m fairly certain he would not discount these words from Joseph when he said, “I would exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until you make your calling and election sure for yourselves, by obtaining this more sure word of prophecy, and wait patiently for the promise until you obtain it.” (TPJS, p 299)

Roy Doxy, when he was dean emeritus of Religious Instruction at Brigham Young University taught this important doctrine in the July 1976 Ensign. This one article alone answered so many questions for me back when I preparing for my mission. I have treasured it and wondered why we have not had more articles, talks or lessons like this in our correlated instructional material.

https://www.lds.org/ensign/1976/07/accepted-of-the-lord-the-doctrine-of-making-your-calling-and-election-sure?lang=eng

The reason I think Elder Cook understands this doctrine is because he clearly points out the mark is Christ. It is only the gospel of Christ, the doctrine of Christ that saves. Elder Cook concluded, “One of the great challenges of this life is to accept Christ for who He is: the resurrected Savior of the world, our Redeemer, our Lord and Master, our Advocate with the Father.

“When He is the foundation for all that we do and are, we avoid the theological blindness that results from looking beyond the mark, and we reap the glorious blessings He has promised us. ‘Come unto me, ye blessed,’ He tells those who follow Him; ‘there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father’ (Enos 1:27).”

Source: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2003/03/looking-beyond-the-mark?lang=eng

The Doctrine Has Been Watered Down

Elder Dean Larson spoke on the same subject back in 1987. He used a sports analogy to describe the importance of staying within the circle, which he called the mark. Although He noted the importance of faith in the redeeming role of the Messiah, he said the mark was wisdom and prudence, equating it to a circle of fundamental gospel truths, providing a basis for that faith. I wish he had been as plain as Elder Cook in stating Christ is the mark to whom we should look.

Source: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1987/10/looking-beyond-the-mark?lang=eng

For a good, although lengthy analysis of the phrase, Paul Y. Hoskisson, professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, published an essay in 2007 that includes the classic symbolic themes and metaphors of gospel hobbies, sin, pride, wealth, and strengths that become weakness (see Elder Oaks, “Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall,” BYU, June 1992). In other words, anything that distracts from the target, or the mark of Christ, is to be avoided.

Source: http://rsc.byu.edu/archived/selected-articles/looking-beyond-mark

From Matthew Faulconer’s blog, “Feast Upon the Word,” we read:

“…looking beyond Christ could mean a number of things. It could imply that one is looking to be saved by actions, ordinances, or even associations with other people, rather than looking to the atonement of Jesus Christ for salvation. One reason it may be easy to look beyond the mark in this sense is that it is easier to gain an assurance of our salvation through a tangible feeling or action rather than a quiet voice or a small feeling that takes time to understand.”

Source: http://feastupontheword.org/Jacob_4:1-18

Some Doctrines Take More Study and Thought

Elder Oaks offered the following in a BYU Idaho devotional 7 Nov 2006:

“My second subject of wisdom concerns looking beyond the mark. In the Book of Mormon the Prophet Jacob described a people who ‘despised the words of plainness, . . . and sought for things . . . they could not understand’ (Jacob 4:14).  He said this caused them to fall because when persons are ‘looking beyond the mark,’ God takes away plainness and gives them what they sought–things they cannot understand.

“We see this today. For example, some persons write General Authorities asking when we will be returning to Missouri or how we should plan to build up the New Jerusalem.  Others want to know details about the Celestial Kingdom, such as the position of a person who lives a good life but never ever marries.

“I don’t know the answers to any of these questions. What I do know is that persons worrying about such things are probably neglecting to seek a firmer understanding and a better practice of the basic principles of the gospel that have been given to them with words of plainness by the scriptures and by the servants of the Lord

“If we neglect the words of plainness and look beyond the mark, we are starting down a path that often leads to a loss of commitment and sometimes to a loss of faith. There is enough difficulty in following the words of plainness, without reaching out for things we have not been given and probably cannot understand.”

Source: http://www2.byui.edu/Presentations/Transcripts/Devotionals/2006_11_07_Oaks.htm

Seeking the Second Comforter IS the Mark

I think that’s enough detail from words of prophets, apostles, general authorities and scriptural commentary to make a point. I won’t get into the other common definition of the mark, as found in Ezekiel 9:4-6. It is the mark or anointing placed in the forehead of suffering saints who sigh and cry for the sins of those in their cities. The mark is placed there by their attending angels.

The point is this: Seeking to enter into the presence of the Lord in this mortal life is NOT looking beyond the mark. It is NOT a gospel hobby. It is NOT gospel extremism. Seeking to receive the Second Comforter is NOT something of which we need to repent. It is something we need to do. It is not spiritual blindness. It is having one’s eyes opened. The Lord is not saddened by our efforts in this area, even when they are misunderstood and result in being disciplined by others.

I suspect when scriptures or doctrines are understood differently by individuals, the tendency is to say the other person is suffering from “blindness [that] came from looking beyond the mark.” It’s a polite way of throwing one’s hands up in the air, saying, “You don’t get it, do you? Why can’t you see it the same way I do? Oh, I get it. You’re blinded. You refuse to see the truth.” With such thinking, they go on their way, feeling secure and justified in their own conclusions.

Discussion versus Contention

That’s a sad way of relating to others. Wouldn’t it be a better idea to try to understand the other’s point of view? I confess I have been guilty of impatience in relating to others, both in person and here on my blog. For that I apologize. I love discussion, but abhor contention. I am a witness that contention causes the spirit to withdraw. So does taking offense. I’m preaching to myself here.

Most of my readers know I have withdrawn my membership from the LDS Church. I’ve tried to share my reasons why. I’ve had my share of public and private dialogs and conversations about my decision. Most have tried to be understanding and kind. I appreciate that. I don’t endorse my path for anyone unless God tells you. I received that confirmation as the best for my situation.

If I come to regret my decision, feel I’ve made a mistake and desire to be readmitted by baptism to the LDS Church, I must receive approval of a representative of the First Presidency, this even though I was not placed under formal probation before I resigned. This is understandable. In my blog, I have been clear I felt the Lord sent a servant with a message from outside the hierarchy.

Concluding Thoughts Going Forward

I seek to come unto Christ. I made a decision to be baptized in a manner that is slightly different from the way it is done in the LDS Church today. I also decided to participate in the sacrament in a slightly different manner from the way it is administered in the LDS Church today. Finally, I practice an order of prayer learned in a sacred place that I feel brings more power into my life.

I like to think I have kept all the good things I had in the LDS Church. I have disagreements with the manner in which the church is trying to control those who blog as a way of learning things. I am certain of the path I have chosen. Much like Brigham Young, I studied it for years before I acted. I take that back. I acted the first night I read the message. I prayed and asked God about it.

I recognize what I have done is unusual, different, unorthodox and certainly not the path that is accepted by the LDS Church. Thus, I resigned, knowing I would eventually be excommunicated. Why? Because I will not, I cannot deny what I have learned through study and prayer. Many claim I have been deceived. Perhaps. We shall see. I thank you for your prayers in my behalf.

 

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