Do We Still Believe Anything Joseph Taught?

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The Second Comforter

The other Comforter spoken of is a subject of great interest, and perhaps understood by few of this generation. 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, (by the laying on of hands), 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, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th verses.

Note the 16, 17, 18, 21, 23 verses: [Quoted.]

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, 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.

Calling and Election

Now, there is some grand secret here, and keys to unlock the subject. Notwithstanding the apostle exhorts them to add to their faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, etc., yet he exhorts them to make their calling and election sure. And though they had heard an audible voice from heaven bearing testimony that Jesus was the Son of God [Mt 17:5], yet he says we have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed as unto a light shining in a dark place. Now, wherein could they have a more sure word of prophecy than to hear the voice of God saying, This is my beloved Son?

Now for the secret and grand key. Though they might hear the voice of God and know that Jesus was the Son of God, this would be no evidence that their calling and election was made sure, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God. Then, having this promised sealed unto them, it was an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. Though the thunders might roll and lightnings flash, and earthquakes bellow, and war gather thick around, yet this hope and knowledge would support the soul in every hour of trial, trouble and tribulation. Then knowledge through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.

Salvation through Knowledge

It is not wisdom that we should have all knowledge at once presented before us; but that we should have a little at a time; then we can comprehend it. President Smith then read the 2nd Epistle of Peter, 1st chapter, 16th to last verses, and dwelt upon the 19th verse with some remarks.

Add to you faith knowledge, etc. The principle of knowledge is the principle of salvation. This principle can be comprehended by the faithful and diligent; and every one that does not obtain knowledge sufficient to be saved will be condemned. The principle of salvation is given us through the knowledge of Jesus Christ.  (TPJS)

Why are we so quick to assume that we are saved or will be saved merely because we have joined the Church, participated in ordinances, and are enduring to the end through home teaching, church service and temple work?

Why does the Church now openly condemn those who prefer Joseph’s admonitions over today’s Church leaders’?

Why would the Lord allow all the prophets of scripture including Joseph Smith to openly testify they have seen Angels and the Lord, only to then instruct all of Joseph’s successors to never testify of the same?

Is it possible today’s Church leaders have never entertained Angels or been in the Lord’s presence?  If they have not, what would this change?  If they have not, why would they lead people to believe they are special witnesses?  And have a “sure knowledge”?  Why would we still call them Prophets, Seers, and Revelators?

Is it possible that Joseph’s words below apply to our Church today?:

Compare this principle once with Christendom (the LDS Church)? at the present day, and where are they, with all their boasted religion, piety and sacredness while at the same time they are crying out against prophets, apostles, angels, revelations, prophesying and visions, etc. Why, they are just ripening for the damnation of hell. They will be damned, for they reject the most glorious principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and treat with disdain and trample under foot the key that unlocks the heavens and puts in our possession the glories of the celestial world. Yes, I say, such will be damned, with all their professed godliness. Then 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)

Are we “crying out against prophets, apostles, angels, revelations, prophesying and visions, etc.”?  Is that what today’s leaders are doing when they warn us that making calling and election a focal point is a “tactic of the adversary?”  (Dallin Oaks)  Are they crying against Joseph Smith and his revelations?

Why do we assume that God is not just IF only a few are saved?

And it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings he said unto his disciples: Enter ye in at the strait gate; for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad the way which leads to death, and many there be that travel therein, until the night cometh, wherein no man can work (3 Nephi 27:33).

Is it because we assume that God cannot damn most of His children and still be just, merciful, and loving?  Do we ignore the scriptures at our own peril?  Do we not understand eternity and eternal progression?

One of my dear friend’s keeps reminding me, “Joseph taught a fundamentally different gospel than the one we teach today.”  I think he’s right.

What Is Truth?

I recently watched the Passion of the Christ with my wife and older kids.  My wife and I had watched it before.  Anyone holding off on watching it because of its rating may want to reconsider.  It’s a very powerful movie, that for me, shows the toughness, love, determination, grit, and passion of our Lord that is so often not captured or expressed in media.

I wish we spoke more of this magnificent Man and of His sacrifice.  He is worthy of our worship and adulation.  Too vain are our meetings, too trite are the things we discuss and contemplate.  Endless genealogies and endless fables and all manner of false doctrine.  When possible, we should focus every talk, every lesson, every meeting, and every discussion upon Him and upon obtaining faith in Him.  I fall short of this ideal and pray for God’s mercy and help.

In the above clip (which I highly recommend you click on) is the following exchange between Pontius Pilate and his wife Claudia that although embellished, I think captures her likely perceptiveness to truth.  She was the one who had a dream that revealed Jesus’ innocence shortly before his trial (Matthew 27:19).

Pontius Pilate: What is truth, Claudia? Do you hear it, recognize it when it is spoken?
Claudia Procles: Yes, I do. Don’t you?
Pontius Pilate: How? Can you tell me?
Claudia Procles: If you will not hear the truth, no one can tell you.
Pontius Pilate: Truth… do you want to know what my truth is, Claudia? I’ve been putting down rebellions in this rotten outpost for eleven years. If I don’t condemn this man I know Caiphas will start a rebellion. If I do condemn him, then his followers may. Either way, there will be bloodshed. Caeser has warned me, Claudia. Warned me twice. He swore that the next time the blood would be mine. That is my truth!

I feel for Pilate and so many others whose “truth” is steeped in tradition or social and political pressure.  All of us can relate to that, can we not?  I cannot say that I would be any different than Pilate or than Thomas or Dieter, if I were in their seats.  They deserve our prayers and our compassion.  I admit that at times I’m frustrated or saddened by what I see and experience in the Church.  But, my anger is not directed towards them individually.  I know a couple of these men on a first name basis.  They have “their truth,” as we all do and have a lot of pressure to keep the peace in their outpost.

Amidst so much worldly pressure and so many distractions, how can we hear and know Truth?  And how can people share it (assuming they even have it) when the receiver’s mind and heart are often so incapable of recognizing it?

Young Joseph sought the truth.  He had become discouraged and possibly angered by the “lo here’s and lo there’s” of his day.  So many differing and contradicting voices even within his own family.  I’m sure he felt the pressure to join a Church, to be baptized, to comply with his societal norms.  There were several different religions being practiced in Joseph’s own family!  Somehow Joseph knew how to hear Truth, and among the various sects, he wasn’t getting the full Truth he sought.

I cannot tell you, whether my truth is truer than yours.  Or if you or I are able to hear truth or not.  But I can tell you what I believe is the process whereby we discern truth.  And I can tell you by what process I feel my heart is being changed.

I believe that God sends angels to certain men, women, and children (Alma 12:28,29).  They minister to them and prepare them for a great work (Moroni 7:22).  These chosen messengers have proven to be firm minded in every form of Godliness (Moroni 7:30).  They become trusted by God and become His friends (James 2:23).  They enter His presence and thus obtain a message from Heaven (D&C 84:23).  Their message from heaven shared by the power of the Holy Ghost with us non-servants, has the power to change our very hearts (2 Nephi 33:1).

The true messenger, even when it was the disguised Savior on the road to Emmaus, is always to be a question of faith.  And the burning of our hearts and its subsequent change of disposition away from evil is the only way we can know whether his message is from God or not.

I now see the Church and the gospel in a new light.  I have come to see things differently than I once had.  This new viewpoint has awakened me and startled me.  There have been times where I have been angry along the way.  Like many of you, my very identity has been entangled in a powerful and deeply rooted tradition.  To untangle it all and to consider so many new possibilities and truths is indeed a painful and humbling process akin to passing through a dark birth canal or the eye of a needle.

So to you my fellow truth seekers LDS, exLDS, nonLDS, and everyone somewhere in between, may we rejoice in our love of Christ and unite in our love of finding Truth.  May we each pray in humility to be led to the Truth, that we may be freed by Him of our darkness and sin.  I pray you will forgive me of my weaknesses.  I seek mercy for me and for all.  May God bless the men who lead this Church that they too may receive mercy and light.  That they may not be cast off for their false traditions, but that they and we may all learn to hear Truth.  May we remember as we challenge each others views and ideas that we are on the same team — we are all children of God, souls in need of light and love and truth.

For now, this is my truth.  God bless.

Profits, Sewers, and Elevators

elevators

Words matter.  When today’s 15 Apostles of the Church use words to describe themselves such as “true messengers, special witnesses, sure witnesses, certain witnesses, prophets, seers, revelators, and apostles” it becomes our sacred duty to determine if they are being misleading or telling the truth.  Especially given that we pay for undisclosed salaries and benefits packages and give them 1/10th of all we possess.  The duty to discern their words falls upon us members.

They call themselves prophets, seers, and revelators.  But whether they prophesy, see, or reveal remains to be seen.  In fact, the opposite appears to be true.

Did Brigham prophesy correctly when he said the Church would no longer be true if it abandoned polygamy or gave priesthood to the blacks?

Did Thomas receive a true revelation to not baptize children whose parents have made lifestyle choices we disagree with?

Did Gary receive a revelation to allow for gay leaders in Boy Scouts?

Did Spencer receive a revelation to give blacks the priesthood or was the Church worried it would lose its non-profit status with the IRS?

Where are the additional sections of the Doctrine and Covenants formalizing all the revelations they receive?  Where are the prophesies of these men we adulate?  Which of them possesses stones through which they see?  Why will none of them declare as do prophets of old that they have seen Him even on the right hand of God?  Why do they continue to speak in parables using vain and ambiguous language because some things are simply “too sacred” to share?

We have allowed time and tradition to warp and distort the true meaning of words.

I am curious by show of hands (comments) which of you who consider yourselves to be True Blue Mormons, believe that these men see God.  Or at least Angels.  I have heard the Brethren say that they are sure witnesses of Christ and that they know Him as well as the ancient Apostles.  What do you think these words mean?  Elder Anderson said at a funeral this last week that his witness was “certain.”  What does he mean by this?

Can we at least agree that some of these men lead us to believe, by their words, that they have seen Him?  That they converse with Him face to face?  And that it would be a grave and tragic issue, if in fact they have not?

I think there is no greater question that can be asked of these men than, “Have you or have you not seen the Lord?”  If you have not, then shame on you for leading us to believe that you have!  If you have, then where are your revelations?  Your expounding of scripture?  Your bold testimonies that carry to the hearts of the children of men?  Why do you take surveys when you have the keys to revelation?  Why are you using our sacred funds to build malls and cities rather than help the poor?

If we have 15 prophets among us, why have we not created Zion?  Where are the signs that follow after you?  Where are the tongues, the Angels, the miracles, the prophesies, the additional scriptures, or even the doctrinal dissertations?

I do not look forward to the teleprompter talks this next week, written by paid speech writers and assistants who worship them.  Parables of pickles and talks about following the Brethren even when they are wrong and of the Old Ship Zion.  Same old Ship, different day.  To me it has all become noise.  Words no longer have meaning.  And messages from these men do not have the power to change hearts.  They only seek to control and to keep others from entering in.

I invite you to contrast their words to the words of scripture.  If ye lack wisdom, ask God, not men.  Follow Christ, not the Brethren.  He is a real Man.  Sadly “they” are all effeminate impostors.  Might as well be Profits, Sewers, and Elevators, for they have corrupted the Holy Church of God, and their titles no longer mean anything.

God bless you as you seek Him, not them.

AB

Hanging By A Thread

Romney does it again

Well, I’m quite surprised to report that LDS Living has scooped every major news outlet in the country in having predicted months ago that Mitt Romney would eventually enter the 2016 presidential race.  All credit surely will be traced back to some obscure Relief Society Teacher, somewhere – or maybe to Mitt’s bishop.  All kidding aside, in case you’ve not heard, the latest news in this year’s election saga is that GOP billionaires and millionaires have recently met and raised $100M to stop Donald Trump and to stage a coup to make sure an establishment candidate wins the Republican nomination, no matter the cost.  They’ve told Marco Rubio that if he loses Florida, he’s OUT and Mitt Romney is coming IN to save the Republican Party.

This would indeed be historic!  I’m left wondering if Romney and the Church believe this is the “Save the Constitution moment.”  Part Deux of the Mormon Moment.  I’m inclined to think they believe that it is.  Don’t get me wrong, I too agree that our Constitution hangs by a thread and that our freedoms have been undermined by both parties as well as by corrupt lawyers and judges who have laid the foundation for our destruction.  But I think Mitt Romney entering this race against an unprecedented populist tide would be a potential disaster for the Church.

What Mitt and possibly the Church do not understand is that a large percentage of the American people are completely disillusioned with ALL POLITICIANS!  I.e. the Establishment.  They are tired of people like Orrin Hatch going to Washington young and full of promise and principles, only to become soul-less 80-year-old politicians who never retire and who have long forgotten their base.  Our trust in them has waned and/or is gone.  We have learned by sad experience that when a man gets a little power and authority as he supposes, he becomes a part of the establishment in Washington and is given a leadership position on some Congressional Committee… or something like that.

If Mitt enters the race, I think several things are likely to happen.  Americans are likely to further reject the Establishment and will bitterly oppose and resent Mitt the Mormon who thinks himself above the fray.  An unsullied savior to rescue us poor naves from ourselves, will be the perception.  He will force out Rubio and Cruz (maybe) and the others, all except for Trump.  Trump supporters will become more zealous in their anti-establishment push for a Trump-like figure to win.  Mitt will be seen as a self-righteous spoiler who is fighting against the voice of the people which is far less inspired by Trump, the person, than by Trump “the idea.”  This energetic mob-like force is more interested in throwing out the establishment bums, like Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, John McCain, and 535 or so others, give or take a few.

Mitt would also not have a chance of winning, in my opinion.  If 5 million voters stayed home when he ran the last time, 10 million more would stay home this time.  Romney could end up actually ruining the Republicans’ chance to regain the White House and he would be hated by 50% or more of America.  The same 50% the Church likes to target in their proselyting efforts. The name Romney will become a verb like “Borked” and the Church will wish he wasn’t their poster boy.  Oh and by the way, if you think Trump will pull any punches against Romney and his faith as he is attacked by Romney (happening as we speak), and that Romney will do better than 15 other opponents have done, then you underestimate Trump and the “mad as hell” supporters backing him.

The other likely outcome of Mitt entering the race is that Trump could decide to run as an independent which is more likely to end in a Ross Perot – Bob Dole outcome than in a victory for Trump or Romney.  Again, Romney and the Establishment will be more hated than ever before and in my view, the Constitution will hang by a thread more so than ever, with the Mormon Elders having done more damage than good.  Once again proving the Church’s political ineptitude (see Prop8, LGBT, immigration, Boy Scouts, etc).

In many ways the LDS Church Establishment and the current Political Establishment have the same problem.  They’ve lost the confidence of many of their constituents.  This has happened as a result of NOT listening to their base with whom they have lost touch and whose support they’ve taken for granted.  This is a big mistake and may prove to be devastating for both institutions.  Despite obvious institutional differences, neither can long survive without the vote of confidence from the people they are called or elected to serve.

For Republicans, they elected people they believed would overturn Obama Care, de-fund the CFPB and Planned Parenthood, and who would fight harder against abortion and same sex marriage.

For Church members, we have sustained Church leaders most believed would pull out of Boy Scouts if they allowed gay leaders; oppose LGBT legislation rather than enact it; oppose illegal immigration; protect, not punish children of same sex couples, etc…  The list goes on and on and on.

In short, this is the era of insurgency and the Church would do well to get back to its foundational roots.  Where votes mattered and where people were not thrown out for merely disagreeing with their leaders.  People of faith and people around the country are tired of being taken for granted.

This is not the year for a Mormon or for the Church to play politics.  Perhaps there should never be another year for them to do so.  Never that is, until men and women can again be trusted by God to do His will and to seek inspiration rather than adulation.  Such a trust only comes one way and from One Source.

In times past, both Church and State have enjoyed a bully pulpit and favorable rules that have allowed them to more easily control the people and the process.  They controlled the media and they controlled the historical narrative.  Today, with greater access to truth and information than ever before, people are waking up.  And they’re upset.  They want to throw away the so-called rules.  They want to send a message that they will not be overlooked – that WE have the power to destroy the craft by de-funding them and by voting them out of office even if it means leaving them to their own devices and voting with our feet.

Let me just add that this is not meant to become a political discussion of which candidate would be best or worst for our country.  Some of us may have our preferences.  I think most of us can simply agree that this is a year in which choosing the lesser of evils will never be such a difficult task AND that our political system becomes more fragile each and every day.  May we unite in the Doctrine of Christ and not be divided by the passion of this moment.

God bless and thank you by the way for your love and prayers.

Mormon Spotlight

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Meme borrowed from Bare Record

There’s been a lot of Bloggernacle discussion of late about the Church’s “accidental” news re-release, that touts itself as “the gold standard” when it comes to how the Church handles sexual and child abuse cases.  Apparently the Church had already published this article in 2010 and then republished it again last week as a current news release.  The Church claims there was a “glitch” in their system and that it did not intend to re-publish the article.

Some are suspicious, however, that this release was no accident at all and that the Church has some news agenda it’s trying to push or a news story it wants to get ahead of.  Utah has the highest rate of child sex abuse in the nation after all, as one blogger reminded us this weekIn my experience with how the Church PR machine operates, I can almost guarantee the Church is feeling vulnerable on this issue and wants to paint a different picture to the world than the awful reality.

On one occasion years ago I spoke with a Church PR representative by phone at Church Headquarters.  I was working on a research paper and was very surprised when this brother stated that the Church often intentionally leaks news stories in order to provide context for a message it wants to get out.  The leak is made to seem to be a mistake.  The Church then conveniently responds to the leaked story with its canned message and/or simply relishes that it got its story out when it wanted to.  I don’t know if this is a common practice throughout the PR industry, but as a young grad student not living in Utah and not from Utah, my initial reaction was how dishonest this seemed and I was surprised that the Church would employ such underhanded tactics.  I thought my church would be straight-forward and without guile.

Perhaps the Church’s most recent leak or re-release, as it’s been called, was in hopes to get ahead of this very troubling story that just came out about emeritus GA, Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen.  The video below is about 14 minutes long and if nothing else it demonstrates the influence the Church has on Utah lawyers, judges, law enforcement and LDS clergy.  The story is unnervingly credible.  I highly recommend you take the time to watch it.

As a bishop, I saw firsthand how the Church actually handles child and sexual abuse.  I was required to call the LDS Hotline on several occasions.  In one such instance I was transferred directly to Kirton & McConkie, the law firm that represents the Church.  The advice I received was actually outstanding — aligning with doctrine and scripture.  I was shocked, however, when the counsel that I was given was not followed by the Church.  It quickly became obvious to me in this instance that the Church was only looking to avoid embarrassment and cared nothing about helping victims or reforming perpetrators.

These types of experiences have helped me trust less in the arm of the flesh and have caused me to turn towards God and His Son for comfort.  May good people everywhere stand as witnesses of Their Names, especially in defense of those too weak and tender to defend themselves.

Zion Postponed

city_of_zion_platThis last year has been a very difficult and yet enlightening one for me personally.  Most of you don’t know me and so I will spare you from much of the personal information.  But suffice it to say, this has been a year where I have learned much.  Like many in the world, I have seen sickness, death and destruction all around me.  I have looked into the skies at the signs that prophets foresaw millennia ago.  I have witnessed miracles and have seen love grow in some of my most important relationships.  I have experienced forgiveness in damaged or destroyed relationships and feel as though I’ve received added light.  And yet, I am reminded of what a fool I am.  So quick to anger, vanity, fear, retaliation, judgment, greed, and laziness.  The more I study and ponder, the more I recognize my awful state before God as well as the awful state of our church.

When I first began to allow myself to consider that the church might not be what I had always defended it to be, my world began to fall apart.  I was a bishop at the time.  To some I was the poster child of Mormonism.  Son of converts, valiant in my youth, from a large active family, son of a father who had many important church callings, of a mother known for her kindness and zeal; an eagle scout, returned missionary, temple married, BYU educated, a leader in the church at a young age.  I served in my first bishopric in my early twenties.  My second bishopric in my late twenties.  On the high council in my mid twenties.  I was interviewed as a potential stake president in my early forties and was told by the outgoing stake president that they almost selected me.

I share none of this to gloat or to brag.  I merely share it to demonstrate that when it came to commitment to the church, I was all in.  I loved the church with all my energy and served it and defended it for my entire life.

But, as I have noted here in this blog, there have been times along the way where my faith in the church has been challenged.  In times past, I most often erred on the side of defending the church and the brethren.  For much of my life, I had assumed the gospel and the church were mostly the same thing.   That began to change however, as I was met with further contradictions.  Separating the two became a required spiritual survival technique for me.

The last stand for me with the church was that I had held onto the Brethren being True Witnesses of Jesus Christ.  I believed they stood where I hoped to one day stand — even in His presence.  I believed in this doctrine since first gaining my testimony as a very young man.  In reality it was my testimony.   I read of Calling and Election Made Sure and I knew that this was man’s very purpose and I believed with all my heart that these particular men, the leaders of the church, HAD achieved this end!  After all, they had always reassured me that they “knew” Him and were special witnesses of Him.  Call me naive, but I believed them until only a few years ago.

Now, lest you think me apostate, let me remind my readers that I believe in God the Father, in His Son Jesus, in His servant Joseph and in the Restoration and in the Book of Mormon.  I am not a whacko.  I’m not a wannabe polygamist.  I consider myself a very normal “LDS” person.  BUT I do not and can no longer believe that the leaders of this church are anywhere near the equivalency of Joseph Smith.  To say so is to mock God!  Additionally, my spiritual journey has led me to believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is in a state of apostasy and has been since the early days of the Church when its members refused to accept the fulness of the Gospel.  This is further evidenced by the fact that LDS prophets today do not prophesy!  They do not see!  They do not reveal!  Ironically, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men.  They worship Handbooks and consult the learned and rely upon their attorneys.  Their lips draw nigh unto Him, but their hearts are so far from Him!  They preach the precepts of men and lead souls to Hell, yea even the very elect.  Because they do not KNOW Him!  They cannot have the testimony of Jesus nor have they received the Gospel.  If they had, there would be an abundance of signs that follow after them.  They would be healing the sick, they would be obsessed with expounding Scripture especially Isaiah, they would be focused on the poor and in building up Zion.  When’s the last time you even heard an LDS prophet speak of building Zion?  Thus we are of Paul and of Thomas and of Gordon and even of Jesus, but we do not have His testimony before the Father and thus we are damned!

I read this week in the Joseph Smith Papers that in June 1834, Joseph announced that the Lord had revealed to him that the redemption of Zion was being postponed “for a little season” (page 44, JS Papers, Volume 1, Journals also see D&C 105).  The reason for this postponement, despite that Joseph had just rallied an armed expedition of righteous and zealous volunteers to “restore and redeem Zion” was because the church refused to live by the laws of the Celestial Kingdom AND because the “leading elders of the church were not yet endowed with power from on high.”

I ask you my friends, are we any closer to the establishment of Zion today?  Have our leaders now truly been endowed from on High?  More so than the original 12?  Have they been in His presence?  Can we trust them as true messengers?  Are we living by the law of the Celestial Kingdom?   Joseph once taught, “Without a Zion and a place of deliverance, we must fall, because the time is near when the sun will be darkened, the moon turn to blood, the stars fall from heaven and the earth reel to and fro.”  Have we fallen?  Will we fall?  Are the signs and prophesies being fulfilled while Zion is yet postponed?

Do you trust these men with your salvation?  I do not!  Do you trust them to save your children?  I DO NOT!  Do they teach the words of eternal life?  Or are they just nice, good men, trying to do the best they can with what they’ve been given?  How are you receiving their teachings!?  Very well?  If so, then you will be damned for they teach the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture.

We must needs repent and be born again before it is everlastingly too late.  We must awaken and learn to discern between true and false messengers or we will die when Christ comes AND shall never be a part of Zion.  If we remain lulled and contented by these current teachings we will never recognize true messengers when and if they ever come to us.

I no longer see things as I did as a child.  I now judge of their works and am no longer fooled.  I have been in their secrets councils.  I witness that they would rather cover up the truth than expose their own hypocrisy!  They make exceptions and play favorites.  The rules do not apply to their own!  I witness that they know not God and stand not in His presence.  I add my witness that only the broken hearted and the contrite in spirit will be filled with light and be saved in Zion.  I believe that a servant has come among us who has the words of eternal life, if we will be but humble enough to read, to learn, and to hear.

The Spirit of Prophecy

IsaiahThe scriptures warn us that in the last days there will be prophets who do not prophesy and seers who do not see (Isaiah 30:10).  Jesus also warned that there would be false prophets and an abundance of men teaching their own precepts to get gain, so that even the very elect will be deceived (2 Nephi 26:29; JS Matthew 1:22).

As Latter-day Saints we must learn what a true prophet is and we must learn to discern between true and false prophets lest we also be deceived.

The scriptures provide a standard by which we can all judge.  Simply put, a prophet must have the spirit of prophecy in order to be a true prophet.  This is the sign.

As we watch General Conference we should look for the spirit of prophecy.  We should measure carefully what is being said.  We should pray that those who we sustain as prophets will prophesy and speak prophetically because when prophets and seers, prophesy and see, they become a great benefit to their fellow man (Mosiah 8:18).  This is the means whereby we can receive salvation.

If men who are called prophets do not have the spirit of prophecy we can know they are false prophets.  Nephi gives us an important bar by which we can measure:

Wherefore, hearken, O my people, which are of the house of Israel, and give ear unto my words; for because the words of Isaiah are not plain unto you, nevertheless they are plain unto all those that are filled with the spirit of prophecy (2 Nephi 25:4).

All prophets will understand the words of Isaiah.  They will also share the testimony of the Savior and of Nephi and others that the words of Isaiah are great!  (3 Nephi 23:1).

When’s the last time you heard an LDS prophet give a talk on the words of Isaiah in General Conference?  When Jesus came to the Nephites, He gave them the “commandment to search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.”  Do the servants of the Lord today emphasize this same commandment?

Deseret Book

In a cursory search on DeseretBook.com, I found 21 books on the topic of Isaiah:

Perfection

jesus_cross_taken123

Jesus taught “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).   After His resurrection He added, “even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Nephi 12:48).  I find it interesting that while mortal – even as “Jesus, the Son of God” – He seemed reluctant or often unwilling to point to Himself as perfect.

Is this commandment to be perfect just lip service?  Some sort of trite, meaningless idea?  How would we even become perfect in this life if we wanted to?

LDS teaching might lead us to believe that “perfect” doesn’t actually mean perfect and that we only need to be made “complete,” “whole” or in death become “just men made perfect.”  But if this was the case why would Jesus not say “Be ye therefore perfect as just men made perfect are perfect.”  Or “as Abraham or Job became perfect.”  He said as “I and my Father are perfect!”

It is my understanding that in order to even begin to exercise faith in God we must know His true character (Lectures on Faith).  If we suppose we are nearly like God, or will shortly become perfect as He is after we die, perhaps we are fools who greatly and grossly underestimate the power and greatness of our Father.

Joseph taught:

When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave.

Will we attain unto perfection in this life simply by being “good people”?  It is a great accomplishment to be good and more importantly to be made whole and to be redeemed.  In fact this is the only requirement for us now I believe, to be redeemed.  But Christ commands us to be perfect even as He now is, and as His Father, for innumerable eternities, has been.  Would He give us a commandment that could not be fulfilled?  Or is His commandment to continue beyond this life also?

Jesus taught that for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle (Luke 18:25).  Surely to become like God, it will be much harder than to pass through the eye of a needle.  It will surely be just as Christ had to do — to drink from a cup, which even for Him seemed at the time impossible.

I will not likely be crucified in this life.  I will definitely not suffer for sins of others in Gethsemane.  I am not to be a Savior as He was.  Yet He invites us all to pick up our crosses and follow Him, to be like Him, to be like God.

Surely it is not all to be comprehended in this world and will be a great work beyond the grave.  In the meantime, being healed is the goal.  Passing through the veil in this life is the invitation.  I believe He will teach us and lead us to Him if we will let Him.  Help Thou mine unbelief Lord.

This is what I believe.  He is amazing.  He is to be worshiped.  Only He and His Father are truly perfect in our sphere.  Only They can save us.

“Drop in Friends of Scouting donations: Layoffs Imminent”

D'OH

This is exactly what the Church and Boy Scouts of America were hoping to avoid by allowing gay scouts and gay leaders to participate in Scouting.  Hopefully this will serve as a reminder that when we compromise our beliefs to come halfway with those who oppose us, we often lose much more than we ever gain.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865641286/Scouting-council-says-layoffs-imminent-cites-drop-in-Friends-of-Scouting-donations.html

A Call to Action – An Anonymous Letter on Bare Record

I invite everyone to read this excellent post on Bare Record and to print off a copy of the letter contained in it, to send to the First Presidency if you agree with it.  It would send a strong message if President Monson received thousands of letters from active Latter-day Saints this week, encouraging our leaders to reconsider their decision to punish children for their parents’ choices, among other grave missteps in handling the LGBT issue.  You’d think they’d prefer our honest feedback, rather than to receive letters of resignation, but I guess ya’ never know.

http://barerecord.blogspot.com/2015/11/341-mass-exodus.html?showComment=1447602919246#c892455877214461285

Office of the First Presidency, 47 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City, UT, 84150-1200