And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same (Abraham, vs 2)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Changing The Commandments of God: Lectures on Faith

We are so prone to alter the commandments of God. As soon as they are revealed, we add to them. Its in the human nature to. Than we go on believing these additions or changes are revelations of God.

Look how quickly Eve changed the commandments given to her from God.
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2: 17)
Eve immediately adds to the commandments of God.
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said , Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die . (Genesis 3:2-3)
Eve added the declaration "neither shall ye touch it". Which were never part of the commandments given from God. While it may seem harmless in this instance, it was these additions that allowed her to be deceived. Altering the commandments of God keeps us in ignorance, lacking knowledge, and allows us to be beguiled by the serpent. Also it brings guilt from "transgressing" those things that were not commandments in the first place which guilt is from the snares of the adversary.

When Abel and Cain offered sacrifices up to the Lord, Abel gave a proper sacrifice of his flocks, while cain changed the ordinance and offered of his food thinking it would be acceptable unto the Lord. But the Lord rejected his sacrifice but gave him a chance to repent which he rejected. (See Lectures on Faith)

The Lord has seen the beginning from the End (Isaiah 46:10). He warned as early as 1830 of possible change of ordinances. Read the following verses about a FUTURE date.
12 Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh;
13 And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth.
14 And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;
15 For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;(D&C 1)
Isaiah tells us the same thing, again remember these are end-time types and symbols before the Lord return again (second coming).
The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. (Isaiah 24:5.)
I also enjoy Avraham Gileadi's commentary on this verse here.

Changing the Ordinances
“The Priesthood is everlasting. The Savior, Moses, and Elias [Elijah], gave the keys to Peter, James, and John, on the mount, when they were transfigured before him. The Priesthood is everlasting—without beginning of days or end of years; without father, mother, etc. If there is no change of ordinances, there is no change of Priesthood. Wherever the ordinances of the Gospel are administered, there is the Priesthood.  (Teachings of Joseph Smith, Chapter 8)
Whenever there is a change of ordinances there is a change of priesthood. Or if there is a change of priesthood, than there was a change of ordinances.

To quickly remind us about the fulness of the priesthood. What is the everlasting covenant?
“The power of the Melchizedek Priesthood is to have the power of ‘endless lives;’ for the everlasting covenant cannot be broken. … What was the power of Melchizedek? ‘Twas not the Priesthood of Aaron which administers in outward ordinances, and the offering of sacrifices. Those holding the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood are kings and priests of the Most High God, holding the keys of power and blessings. In fact, that priesthood is a perfect law of theocracy, and stands as God to give laws to the people, administering endless lives to the sons and daughters of Adam. …(ibid)
 Can this priesthood be passed by descent of man?
“‘Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually.’ [Hebrews 7:3.] The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right from the eternal God, and not by descent from father and mother; and that priesthood is as eternal as God Himself, having neither beginning of days nor end of life. …(ibid)
This priesthood cannot be passed from Father and mother. This priesthood is received, by the "voice of God" (JST Gen 14). It is no wonder why Oliver Cowdery told the early saints their ordinations were not completed "until God had laid their hands on their head" (paraphrasing, quoted in "Declare These Things" post). Because this power, could not be passed by descent but only given with God's voice. "Which I now confirm upon you who are present this day, by mine own voice out of the heavens"(D&C 84.42). Also seen in the story of Elisha and Elijah. Elisha asked for the mantle" I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me." or he wanted the power in the priesthood and Elijah responded "Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so." knowing that it was only God that could bestow it.

I bring this up to show (again and again), it is not evidenced that it exists among a people because one person had it. This priesthood is NOT passed by descent (from Father to Son) by mortals. Also if there is a change of priesthood there is a change of ordinance. Was the priesthood ever lost?

There are four associations with heaven ,also shown in the temple endowment. Aaronic1: men with men, Aaronic2: men with Angels, Melchezidek1: men with Christ, Melchezidek2, men with the Father (fulness of the priesthood). The purest and exalting form being that which is with the Father. When He will take his abode with you allowing you to endure his presence in eternal glory while in the flesh and the world to come  (D&C 88:1-4, D&C 76:117-118) So by their fruits you will know. 

Loss of the Fulness of the Priesthood.
Nauvoo period, the Lord gave the following revelation.
28 For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood. (D&C 124:28)
They (The saints, not Joseph) lost the fulness of the priesthood. The Lord had to "come to" the temple to restore it. This is why they were trying to build the Nauvoo temple. If they lost this priesthood, than there was a change of ordinances. Think about the differences between kirtland and nauvoo. Kirtland, angels were present, the Son was present, the Father was present, people were experiencing the "manifestations of the spirit" in great abundance. Are these same experiences happening in abundance today? Also how did they loose it when we are told the priesthood would never be taken off the earth again? Doesn't this constitute loosing the priesthood for a time? Why are we taught the preisthood can never be taken off the earth when our very own history says otherwise? Perhaps the prophecies referring to the Aaronic Priesthood,the same which the Children of Israel were cursed with? Or something else altogether like Zion?

The Lord told them all about what would happen in the Parable of the Watchtower. (D&C 101:43-70, discussed in a later post)

Church would be Rejected
The Lord told them they had a certain amount of time to restore it.
32 But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God. (D&C 124:32)
The Lord Gives Us A Chance to Repent: Arms Outstretched Still
Discussed in a later post. 3 Nephi 16:10 -15
10 And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them. [First rejection]
13 But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel. [Second chance, Last opportunity to repent before they are destroyed in verses 14-15](3 Nephi 16:10,13)
Changing of Ordinances
I have shown how quickly Eve changed the commandments given to her. I have shown how quickly cain changed the ordinances. We must learn what they are with "exactness". We must observe them with exactness. Could it be considered a change of ordinances when penalties and the "preacher" are removed from the endowment in 1990? Are we still under covenant to suffer those penalties if we know nothing about them? What about other laws? Has the law of tithing changed since first revealed to Joseph Smith? Does changing the commandment from surplus which the early saints paid on to net/gross constitute changing the law? Word of Wisdom (not by commandment to a commandment? Polygamy which was believed by Brigham Young to be required for exaltation and many others like John Taylor? What about the sacrament which we are commanded to always do even as He has done "no more or less" (3 Nephi 18:6,13)? At one time they blessed the sacrament with outstretched arms palms down. Has other things been added? Even if 90% of it is given to us correctly, could we be in error in just a small portion of the commandments of God?

Just a few thoughts I have been thinking about. I certainly don't have the all the answers.
If any man writes to you, or preaches to you, doctrines contrary to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, set him down as an imposter.
(Joseph Smith, Times & Seasons, April 1, 1844)
Are the servants of the Lord allowed to reveal something that contradicts the Book of Mormon? Doctrine and Covenants? Even if they do it out of ignorance and are trying their best?

Contradicting a Former Revelation: Satan Deceives
There have also been ministering angels in the Church which were of Satan appearing as an angel of light. A sister in the state of New York had a vision, who said it was told her that if she would go to a certain place in the woods, an angel would appear to her. She went at the appointed time, and saw a glorious personage descending, arrayed in white, with sandy colored hair; he commenced and told her to fear God, and said that her husband was called to do great things, but that he must not go more than one hundred miles from home, or he would not return; whereas God had called him to go to the ends of the earth, and he has since been more than one thousand miles from home, and is yet alive. Many true things were spoken by this personage, and many things that were false. How, it may be asked, was this known to be a bad angel? By the color of his hair; that is one of the signs that he can be known by, and by his contradicting a former revelation. (Joseph Smith, HC vol 4, ch. 33)
Doctrine & Covenants
As I have searched and compared some of the original documents in our D&C with today's edition, I have noticed many changes. These changes were not made by Joseph Smith but other men such as Oliver Cowdery (who's calling it was to do so). I will leave it to the reader to take this challenge and compare the originals to later editions and determine which parts are part of the revelations of Joseph Smith and which parts were added later. The question arises, what purpose were they added? Were they part of the original revelations or another mans interpretation of those revelations (precept of men)? (2 Nephi 28:14)

Lectures on Faith
One of the most significant changes in church history is the removal of doctrine from our cannon.

Sustained as Doctrine: LOF
If you read the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants it gives this summary of it being sustained as doctrine for the Church. This edition included the Lectures on Faith which were also voted upon, through common consent, to be Doctrine for the Church.
“President Cowdery arose and introduced the ‘book of doctrine and covenants of the Church of the Latter Day Saints,’ in behalf of the committee: he was followed by President Rigdon, who explained the manner by which they intended to obtain the voice of the assembly for or against said book: the other two committee, named above, were absent. According to said arrangement W.W. Phelps bore record that the book presented to the assembly, was true. President John Whitmer, also arose, and testified that it was true. Elder John Smith, taking the lead of the high council in Kirtland, bore record that the revelations in the said book were true President Cowdery arose and introduced the ‘book of doctrine and covenants of the Church of the Latter Day Saints,’ in behalf of the committee: he was followed by President Rigdon, who explained the manner by which they intended to obtain the voice of the assembly for or against said book: the other two committee, named above, were absent. According to said arrangement W.W. Phelps bore record that the book presented to the assembly, was true. President John Whitmer, also arose, and testified that it was true. Elder John Smith, taking the lead of the high council in Kirtland, bore record that the revelations in the said book were true… Elder Levi Jackman, taking the lead of the high council of the church in Missouri bore testimony that the revelations in the said book were true, and that the said High Council in Missouri, bore testimony that the revelations in said book were true, and the said high council of Missouri accepted  and  acknowledged  them  as  the  doctrine  and  covenants  of  their  faith,  by  a  unanimous  vote. President W.W. Phelps then read the written testimony of 12 as follows. ‘The testimony of the witnesses of the book of the Lord's commandments, which he gave to his church through Joseph Smith, jr. who was appointed by the voice of the church for this purpose: we therefore feel willing to bear testimony to all the world of mankind, to every creature upon the face of the earth, and upon the islands of the sea, that the Lord  has  borne  record  to  our  souls,  through  the  Holy  Ghost,  shed  forth  upon  us,  that  these  commandments were given by inspiration of God, and are profitable for all men, and are verily true... (Revelations and Translations, Joseph Smith Papers, 1835 Doctrine and Covenants)
And it continues on. This is in the back of the book, you can read it online here.

McConkie also taught it to be eternally true.
"In my judgment ... It is, in effect, eternal scripture; it is true (239)"7 
"It is without question the most excellent summary of revealed and eternal truth relative to the Godhead that is now extant in mortal language. . . . To spiritually illiterate persons, it may seem hard and confusing; to those whose souls are aflame with heavenly light, it is a nearly perfect summary of those things which must be believed to gain salvation" (221).4 (Both quotes take from byustudies: The Lectures on Faith in Historical Perspective)
A Committee Removes Doctrine
The Lectures on Faith were removed from the scriptures in 1921 by a committee.

The following were in that committee: George Richards, Anthony Ivins, Melvin J. Ballard, James E. Talmage, John A.Widstoe and Joseph Fielding Smith.

There was no vote to remove these doctrines.

Reason For Removal
The committee gave this reason along with saying it had an incorrect understanding of God's character and attributes..
“they were never presented nor accepted by the Church as being otherwise than theological lectures or lessons.“ 

Which I have shown to be false.

Commanded to Receive Revelations Given through Joseph
Ye have received a commandment for a law unto my church through him who I have appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations from my hand (D&C 43:2)

Yet the children of men are so inclined to change the ways of God as soon as they are revealed.

A Correct Idea of God To Gain Salvation
The Prophet said that three things were necessary for any rational and intelligent being to obtain life unto salvation
First, the idea that he [God] actually exists. Secondly, a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes. Thirdly, an actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing is according to his will.(Lectures on Faith 3:2–5)
What does this mean?
Either Joseph Smith did not, indeed could not, have faith. Or alternatively George F. Richards, Anthony W. Ivins, Melvin J. Ballard, James E. Talmage, John A. Widstoe, and Joseph Fielding Smith did not, indeed could not, have faith. One or the other is true because they disagree on the definition of God. And you must have a correct idea of His character, perfection and attributes in order to exercise faith in Him. And so now we find ourselves having to choose. It's a healthy thing. You ought to have to choose. You ought to have your salvation at peril on how you choose. You ought to have to decide between whether you believe a man who stood in the presence of God, and bore testimony of what he saw, and what he felt, and what he heard, and others who constitute a committee that disagree with him. You should have to choose. And your eternal peril should hang in the balance as you make that choice. That is a perfect conundrum, in my view. Grow up. Accept the burden. Find out. Learn about God. Or be damned by your carelessness, by your indifference, by your refusal to go forward. It ought to be so. And it ought to be put to you plainly. And you ought to have to choose. And you ought to have to choose every time you hear someone get up and offer something to you and conclude in the name of Jesus Christ. Because they are either offering you something from Him that will save you, or they are offering something that they hope will damn you, because they're signing you up on the wrong team. It ought to be so. Everlastingly, it ought to be so.

Be careful about how you interpret the scriptures. Be careful about how flexible you think an unchanging God can be made into Shifting Sands a changeable Being who has given His power unto men. (2 Ne. 28: 5.) Be careful about believing that the God who is the same today, yesterday, and forever is now so whimsical that on one day one thing can be asked of you, and on another day something altogether different can be asked of you. And to the extent that you detect the varying shifting sand beneath your feet, ask yourself why that is so. And ask yourself, where might I go to find the rock upon which to establish my feet, so that the winds and the rains might not mow me down. Because God vouched for Joseph Smith, and God vouched for those things committed to you, through him.

Worth our Study
I agree with McConkie and would advise all of us to take the lectures on faith seriously. It is eternally binding on all of us.

Monday, June 9, 2014

President Tells you to Do Something Wrong, You will Be Blessed.

This is part of a bigger post (which is yet to be published). I wanted to get it out there after my day at church.

Willingly Degrade Himself: Should we do something that is wrong?
The following statement highlighted in red was brought up in Sunday School and stated to be true. The teacher nodded, acknolwedged it and others in the class all agreed. While I felt constrained to remain quiet I felt to post it here.

“I remember years ago when I was a bishop I had President Heber J. Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting I drove him home … Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: ‘My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.’ Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, ‘But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray.’” (Conference Report, October 1960, p. 78.)

This is a common teaching in the LDS Church, as shown being taught in General Conference. Its this same original quote (not cited or referenced here) that the doctrine "the prophet will never lead you astray" was canonized into the manifesto.

Joseph was known to say the following,
“I say to all those who are disposed to set up stakes for the Almighty, You will come short of the glory of God. To become a joint heir of the heirship of the Son, one must put away all his false traditions.”8
This doctrine is one of those precepts of men.

I copied the following from Its another quote by Brigham Young to illustrate this principle.

Because of...the apparent imperfections of men on whom God confers authority, the question is sometimes asked,—to what extent is obedience to those who hold the priesthood required? This is a very important question, and one which should be understood by all Saints. In attempting to answer this question, we would repeat, in short, what we have already written, that willing obedience to the laws of God, administered by the Priesthood, is indispensable to salvation; but we would further add, that a proper conservative to this power exists for the benefit of all, and none are required to tamely and blindly submit to a man because he has a portion of the Priesthood. We have heard men who hold the Priesthood remark, that they would do any thing they were told to do by those who presided over them, if they knew it was wrong: but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God, who seeks for the redemption of his fellows, would despise the idea of seeing another become his slave, who had an equal right with himself to the favour of God; he would rather see him stand by his side, a sworn enemy to wrong, so long as there was place found for it among men. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty (!) authority, have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the Saints were told to do by their Presidents, they should do it without asking any questions. 
When the Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience, as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves, and wish to pave the way to accomplish that wrong; or else because they have done wrong, and wish to use the cloak of their authority to cover it with, lest it should be discovered by their superiors, who would require an atonement at their hands.
—"Priesthood," Millennial Star 14/38 (13 November 1852), 594–95; italics in the original. off-site
The person in the class stated if we do it and its wrong we will still be blessed (other-wards be obedient no matter what). Who cares if its wrong, because God will bless you for it!. Thus we can blindly follow those who lead us and receive exaltation with  no fear for our souls, because they won't lead us astray.

Joseph said,
Saints of God should Despise the idea.
The person should "not claim a rank among intelligent beings" 

nor can he.
And also in the reign of Shule there came prophets among the people, who were sent from the Lord, prophesying that the wickedness and idolatry of the people was bringing a curse upon the land, and they should be destroyed if they did not repent. (Ether 7:23)
My heart continuously grieves for the precepts of men that pacify us, binding us by the chains of hell, while we exclaim all is well in Zion (2 Nephi 28:21) that will carefully bring us down to hell if we do not awake and arise to our awful situation. My eyes water my pillow by night but I must exclaim.
7 O the pain, and the anguish of my soul for the loss of the slain of my people! For I, Nephi, have seen it, and it well nigh consumeth me before the presence of the Lord; but I must cry unto my God: Thy ways are just. (2 Nephi 26:7)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Declare These Things Part 3: Angels: Temple

I grouped this thread into three parts. .

In the temple ceremony as originally performed, the man Adam and the woman Eve were promised they would receive, from time to time, true messengers. It is clear to those who participated that there were no mortal sources who could claim they were “true messengers.” The original ceremony universally depicted mortal men as false ministers. The only source of true messengers is God or angels sent by Him. The true messengers He sent came directly from God and delivered only His instruction. They were depicted as angels. Even so, any angel claiming to have such a message was not be accepted until they were first tested to determine they bore correct signs of truth and light (see D&C 129:4-8). We have scriptures that warn us Satan can transform himself to seem as an angel of light. (2 Cor. 11:14). It took Michael to come and detect the false angel of light that appeared to Joseph Smith. (JSH) The full meaning of that warning has been lost by almost everyone. False messengers always imitate the true ones, claiming to be what they are not. They seek, of course, to deceive the very elect if it is possible. (Matt 24:22-28). The temple ceremony confirmed angles were intended as God’s authorized means to minister to men, women and children. (Alma 32:23). The temple tells us to look for true messengers sent by Him, bearing signs and tokens, have hidden knowledge, who will inform us in the way of truth and light. As originally portrayed, these angelic ministers would become the exclusive conduit through which the Lord would give us guidance and instruction. Angels are sent to declare the conditions of repentance to you if you seek redemption. Then when you repent, you are brought to the presence of the Son. It is only through Christ, not men, that you obtain forgiveness of sin, and the promise of eternal glory. (Hel. 5:10-11)
Elder Bednar, "Patterns of Light" beginning at 2:40 , on the youtube video (Just search google for it).
"You may have an occasion where you fail to say your morning prayers, and you all of a sudden hear the voice of your mother, who when you were a small boy would say, 'say your morning prayers, remember to say your evening prayers'.  
Why would God send an Angel to deliver that message to you?, when the HG can bring back to you the recollection or remembrance of your angel mother reminding you to pray- the effect is the same. Everything that invites and entices to do good comes from God." 
 "Why would God send an Angel to deliver that message to you?" It seems out of place to me, like its forced. He could make the same point without minimizing the appearance of angels.
If you read the scriptures or the book of Mormon, the purpose of angels have nothing to do with reminding someone of anything. But what is the importance of angels? Why not teach us what their purpose is? If angels are important to our salvation why ignore their true purpose? I have learned from sad experience to not teach anything unless its first taught in the book of Mormon which can draw you closer to God than ANY other book. I try anyways.

There is a specific verse that gives us a different lesson than illustrated. I don't feel to comment on it but relate it here to ponder on.
For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray. (2 Nephi 32:8, emphasis added)
Mormon's sermon on faith, included in Moroni 7, enters the topic of the ministry of angels (Moro. 7:22).  Angels were sent to minister "unto the children of men" to teach them about Christ.  This statement about angels ministering unto men is general, not limited to a small group of leaders.  All men and women may and should receive angels, or true messengers.  These messengers are sent from the presence of God to teach them how to "begin" to exercise faith in Christ (Moro. 7:25).  This is the beginning of revealed religion.

If faith ceases, than angels also cease. If there is faith, than angels are sent to minister to the children of Men. (Moroni 10:19, 24). While there is one man to be saved they will continue to minister. (Moroni 7:36)

To Minister to Heirs of Salvation
I have touched on how angels minister to those who will be heirs of salvation. Lets re-quote the lectures on faith.
4 It surely will not be required of us to prove, that this is the principle upon which all eternity has acted and will act; for every reflecting mind must know, that it is by reason of this power that all the hosts of heaven perform their works of wonder, majesty and glory: Angels move from place to place by virtue of this power--it is by reason of it that they are enabled to descend from heaven to earth; and were it not for the power of faith they never could be ministering spirits to them who should be heirs of salvation, neither could they act as heavenly messengers; for they would be destitute of the power necessary to enable them to do the will of God... 
...what is the difference between a saved man and one who is not saved? We answer from what we have before seen of the heavenly worlds, they must be persons who can work by faith, and who are able, by faith to be ministering spirits to them who shall be heirs of salvation. (Lecture 7)
See also Hebrews 1:14. If angels, or heavenly messengers, (another name for angels) are required to minister to those who will be heirs of salvation than can you be saved without having an angel minister to you? Will angels cease to minister if there is one man to be saved upon the earth?
36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved? 37 Behold I say unto you, Nay;(Moro. 7:36)
This is part of the "Doctrine of Christ".
Angels and Spirits
He explained a difference between an angel and a ministering spirit; the one a resurrected or translated body, with its spirit, ministering to embodied spirits-- the other a disembodied spirit, visiting and ministering to disembodied spirits. (Boap, October 3 1841,Sermon delivered at General Conference of the Church in Nauvoo, (Sunday Morning))
Alma on Faith,
23 And now, he imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also. Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned. (Alma 32:23)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

History Repeats

Perhaps one of the reasons why Isaiah is able to tell the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10) is that history repeats. Perhaps just like many many patters in the book of Mormon known as chiasmus, also plays into the history of the World?

One of the many witnesses of the truthfulness of the book of mormon is the chiasmus structures.

We are also told the following in Moses 6:7.
 Now this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also.
This is the ancient order or the ancient religion that Adam lived. It was in the beginning and will be in the end when the Lord returns.

Old Testament Church - New Testament Church ( Great Apostasy ) Church of Jesus Christ of LDS - Zion
First shall be last, last shall be first.

We are also told as in the days of noah shall it be in the end. Joseph was known to say noah came before the flood, I (Joseph) came before the fire. Also see Matthew 24.

The ancient order of Enoch still needs to be restored or the ancient religion. If these types are true, than it brings up many more interesting questions. Perhaps this is why the Lord himself has commanded us to search Isaiah because his history is our history. Perhaps this is why Nephi included over a dozen chapters from Isaiah, telling us its expedient for us to know the words of Isaiah.
this is a new and an everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning. (D&C 22: 1.)
The Book of Mormon history was placed at an end of an era, now it seems their history will be ours as the first of a new era.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hugh Nibley On Priesthood

By Hugh W. Nibley 
(Sunstone Magazine, December 1990, p. 10) 
EDITOR’S NOTE: Several weeks ago, a friend gave us a copy of this piece, purportedly written by Hugh Nibley. When we read it, it had the feel of Nibley’s classic social commentaries but not the look.  For one thing, Nibley doesn’t use multiple exclamation points. Obviously, ours was an uncorrected transcription from a clandestine recording. After a second person gave us a copy which was given to him by his BYU religion teacher, we contacted Brother Nibley. He corrected our copy and allowed us to publish an "authorized version" of what was originally part of a Sunday School lesson. 
THE PRIESTHOOD CEASES to be effective when exercised "in any degree of unrighteousness" (D&C 131:37), but it operates by the spirit, and the spirit is not deceived but is exquisitely sensitive to the slightest color of fraud, pretention, self-will, ambition, cruelty, etc. "When we undertake.., to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold the heavens withdraw themselves; and the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or authority of that man" (D&C 121:37). But what about the righteous dominion of the priesthood? That can be easily recognized, for it operates "only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the souls without hypocrisy, and without guile… with "bowels full of charity towards all men..." (121:41ff). Even in the eternities the power of the priesthood flows "without compulsory means.., forever and ever" (121:46). 
Who can deny such a power to another? No man. Who can bestow it on another? No man. We like to think that the Church is divided into those who have it and those who don’t have it; but it is the purest folly to assume that we can tell who has it and who does not. God alone knows who is righteous and how righteous; yet "the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven," and those "cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principle of righteousness" (D&C 121:35). The result is that if there is anyone who really holds the priesthood, no one is in a position to say who it is--only by the power to command the spirits and the elements is such a gift apparent. But as far as commanding or directing other people, there every man must decide for himself. 
One valuable hint the Lord has given us, however, namely the assurance that of all those who "hold" the priesthood almost none really possess it. "That the rights of the priesthood.., may be conferred upon us, it is true," making us formally priesthood holders, "but when we undertake to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness" the priesthood is void. And this is how it is in "almost all" cases in the Church: "We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as, they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. Hence many are called but few are chosen" (D&C 121:39-40). 
What does one have to do to be chosen? First, one may not set one’s heart upon the things of this world (121:35)--so much for the priesthood as something to show off; then, one may not aspire to the honors of men--so much for the priesthood as something for prestige. One cannot exercise any power of the priesthood in any degree of unrighteousness--this in full recognition of the fact that "it is the nature of almost all men" to do that very thing as soon as they think they have power and authority. This leaves a few humble, unpretentious, and unworldly people as the sole holders of a valid priesthood. It is the "few humble followers of Christ" who are the strength of the Church throughout much of the Book of Mormon history. 
What irony. As far as the ’whole world is concerned, the priesthood is a thing of value which is cruel to withhold from anyone, because it enhances one’s status and dignity among his fellows, whether inside the Church or outside. And yet the one thing that renders that priesthood completely null and void is to treat it as something to aspire to among one’s fellows. Priesthood is strictly an arrangement between the individual priesthood holder and his brethren in the eternal worlds, as personal and private as anything can be. 
We might as well recognize the fact that whatever we say and do in righteousness is going to be misinterpreted. The only way we can make things easier for ourselves in the world is to go the way of the world. It would be hard to deny that the peace and prosperity of the Church in the past years has been largely the fruit of willingness; to go the way the world goes. 
Where all truth is encompassed in one great whole to raise one question is to raise many others, and any issue relevant to the gospel inevitably leads to a discussion of the whole thing. 
Is not the priesthood everything? Not on this earth. On this earth it is nothing, and as soon as we try to use it for any kind of status, power, rule, or authority, it automatically cancels out. 
TO repeat, as we are prone to do for lack of wit, for those who hold the priesthood on this earth, it is, the Prophet Joseph said, "an onerous burden," not a prize. One cannot give orders to another by the priesthood. One cannot use it to acquire prestige, fame or wealth. Far from impressing one’s fellow men, it is held in derision by them. The moment one tries to make honor or glory or exercise dominion by the priesthood "amen to the priesthood of that man"--it automatically becomes null and void. What good is it then? Over whom does it exercise dominion? Over the spirits and over the elements--but not over one’s fellow-men, who cannot under any circumstances be deprived of their complete free agency. 
Though some may find it hard to believe, I find no cause for boasting in my priesthood--nothing is easier than conferring it upon one, but that is only the beginning; for it to be a real power requires a degree of concentration, dedication, and self-discipline which few ever attain to, and for the rest priesthood is not a blessing but a terrible risk. The priesthood is not a badge of office to be worn as; a feather in a cap. Do we really believe the First Vision? Thousands of Latter-day Saints attest to it every Fast Sunday; but when the earliest, fullest, and best account of the First Vision, dictated by the Prophet at the age of 26 to Frederick G. Williams, was discovered and published in 1968 it caused not the slightest ripple of interest in the Church. It is enough, apparently; to know that God has spoken again from the heavens--never mind what he said. 
The most useful lesson is the silence of heaven on this particular issue in the light of our own woeful ignorance. There is a connection between the two. Where the people do not seek for wisdom and knowledge, God will not give it to them, and so they remain in ignorance, and may not ask for help from above. 
Nothing pleases God more than to have his children "seek greater light and knowledge"--it was for that that Adam, Abraham, Enoch, Moses, and Joseph Smith were rewarded with the richest blessings. Nothing displeases him more than to have them "seek for power, and authority, and riches" (3 Nephi 6:15). Through the years the Latter-day Saints have consistently sought not for the former but for the latter. It is only right and proper that we should stew in our own juice for a while. 
"I sought for the blessings of the fathers, desiring also to be one who possessed greater knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess greater knowledge . . ."(Abraham 1:2). 
Twice he repeats it--he wants knowledge.  Up to the last, even after he had learned all the doctrines of salvation, Adam still "seeks for greater light and knowledge" and for such knowledge we should seek eternally. But what do we hear? A former president of the BYU pompously announced at a convention of educators that we: at the BYU are not seeking for truth, because we have the truth! This is where we stand today. It is common at the BYU for students to protest against being taught anything they did not know before: "Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? . . . And because that I have spoken one word he need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be unto the end of man . . . (2 Nephi 29:8-9). 
The fact is that the Latter-day Saints "will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be" (2 Nephi 32:7). They simply are just not interested. 
How little we know about things. How little we want to know. The information is there, far more abundant than we have been willing to realize, if we will only reach out for it. To wait for a revelation on the subject is foolish until we have exhausted all the resources already placed at our disposal. The strong prejudice has long been extended to the Indians by many Mormons in high position, yet the Mormons alone of all the people in the world believe the Indians to be the true blood of Israel, no less.
Such attitudes are strengthened by the snobbery of American suburbia; the Mormons like to think of themselves as WASPS--yet it was the rural, white, Christian, Protestant Americans upon whom the Lord with his own lips excoriated to the youthful prophet; they are all hypocrites, said he: "They were all wrong . . . all their creeds were an abomination in his sight... those professors were all corrupt: ’They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me...having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.’ " (Joseph Smith-History 1:19). 
There are those in the Church who would identify Zion with "Executive Meadows, the Exclusive Condominium for the Right People." 
REPEAT of repeat: Over whom does it exercise power, then? Over the spirits and over the elements--never over one’s fellow men, whose free agency is absolute and inalienable. 
Christ commanded the spirits, and they obeyed him; he commanded the elements and they obeyed him, but men he would not command, and rebuked the apostles at Capernaum for suggesting it. "How often would I have gathered you together.., and ye would not!" 
What then is the priesthood on this earth? It is what Brigham Young and the Twelve wrote in the Times and Seasons in 1839, they called the priesthood an "onerous duty," a load to be borne. Very few men on earth, including those in the Church are really qualified. In terms of prestige, status, power, influence, pleasure, privilege, "power, and authority, and riches" (3 Nephi 6:37), the priesthood has absolutely nothing to offer. The world laughs at it, the Latter-day Saints abuse or ignore it, and those who take it seriously do so in "fear and trembling."