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, August 21, 2014

Faith Hope and Charity

"Faith" is more than belief [and] involves heavenly visitations. It is a principle of action, and requires you to do something about your belief before you can have faith.

"Hope” is something far greater, more profound, more strongly felt, more firmly based than just expectancy from vague desire. It is more than a wish as it requires you to secure a promise from God. It requires you to be at rest - secure in the knowledge the Lord has promised you a glorious resurrection. It is waiting for the time of the Lord’s promise to be fulfilled. It describes the state of mind of the recipient during the time interval after the promise, but before its realization. It involves unshakable faith or confidence. It is a concrete assurance, based upon a promise or covenant. It comes from knowing the Lord has promised a person something. As sure as God’s word cannot fail, your hope is secure in Him. But you must obtain that hope from Him, by getting him to make a promise to you.

"Charityis a gift from God, which allows you to love others unconditionally. When resting secure in your own future state, you can love and hope for others in a way you could not if you still worry about your own eternal welfare. Happiness comes from having charity for others. "Charity" comes as those holding real faith and receiving real hope seek to have all others share in the same promises. Concern for the salvation of others lies at the foundation of "charity". The greatest gift you can give to another is eternal life. All those who have such a promise from God want everyone else to have a similar promise for themselves. They teach, preach, exhort and write to share with everyone else that same opportunity. They understand how rare a thing it is to bring a soul to salvation.

"Fear" is always negative. It is the absence of faith and is one of the emotions of hell. For those who are unprepared, "fear" will be their primary emotion on the Day of Judgment. Fear haunts the conscience of those who know they have sinned. Fear keeps one from finding and searching for truth. 

True Messengers: False Prophets

Traits Of False Prophets
1. They preach that which they term to be the word of God. (Alma 1:3)
2. They teach that every priest and teacher ought to become popular. (Alma 1:3)
3. They teach they ought not to labor with their hands. (Alma 1:3)
4. They teach they ought to be supported by the people. (Alma 1:3)
5. They accept support and money from the people. (Alma 1:5)
6. They wear very costly apparel. (Alma 1:5)
7. They enforce their priestcraft and destroy those who threaten it. (Alma 1:12)
8. They follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! (Ezekiel 13:3, Jacob 7:4-7)
9. All their works they do for to be seen of men (Matt 23:5)
10. They love the uppermost rooms at feasts. (Matt 23:6)
11. They love the chief seats in the synagogues. (Matt 23:6)
12. They love receiving greetings in the markets. (Matt 23:7)
13. They love to be called of men, Prophet, Prophet. (Matt 23:7)
14. They prevent others from entering the kingdom of heaven (Matt 23:13)
15. They will not enter into the kingdom of heaven themselves. (Matt 23:13)
16. They neglect the widows, the poor, and the orphans. (Matt 23:14)
17. They are deeply concerned with seniority and hierarchy. (John 8:9)
18. They are blind seers. (2 Nephi 27:5)
19. They teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 28:4)
20. They deny the power of God, and teach that he hath given his power unto men. (2 Nephi 28:5)
21. A false prophet will build up a church, but not unto the Lord. (2 Nephi 28: 3)
22. A false prophet will contend with others and teach with his learning, instead of with the Holy Ghost. (2 Nephi 28:4)
23. A false prophet will discredit miracles. (2 Nephi 28: 6)
24. A false prophet will teach us to not worry about a little sin. (2 Nephi 28:7-8)
25. A false prophet will teach false, vain, and foolish doctrines. He will have a big ego. He will seek to hide his counsels from God and hide his works from the people (no transparency). (2 Nephi 28:9)
26. A false prophet will be popular. The people will support him. (Luke 6:26, Helaman 13:27-28)
27. A false prophet will not tell people of their sins. (Lamentations 2:14, Helaman 13:27)
28. A false prophet will cause people to build up many churches. (Mosiah 11:5-13, 4 Nephi 1:34)
29. A false prophet will teach for doctrine the commandments of men (Isaiah 29:13-14, Mark 7:5-9)
30. A false prophet sets himself up as a light to the world, to get gain and the praise of the world, but seeks not Zion. (2 Nephi 26:29)
31. A false prophets will be known by his fruits (Matthew 7:16-20)
32. A false prophet may prophesy, cast out devils, and do many wonderful works (Matthew 7:21-23)33. The power of God shall be denied (Mormon 8:28)
34. They will be prideful (Mormon 8:28)
35. They will envy others with higher positions - even their own churches (Mormon 8:28)
36. They will lie, deceive, etc. (Mormon 8:31)
37. They will require money from the people to be in good standing with the Lord (Mormon 8:32)
38. They will use their church to produce a profit (Mormon 8:33)
39. They will wear fine apparel (and/or have personal handlers that drive them around in a brand new Audi that is rotated yearly) (Mormon 8:36)
40. They will adorn their churches (Mormon 8:37)
41. They will not openly testify of having received Christ (Mormon 8:38)
42. They will be hyper-concerned with the outward appearance of themselves and other people (Matthew 23:27-28)
43. They will cast out/"stone" those who are prophets (Matthew 23:37)
44 They (who are not witnesses) will persecute true prophets (defined here as God's "witness")
45 They, like true prophets, command men to obey their teachings
46 They always arise to oppose true prophets
47 They prophesy so very near the truth that they will deceive almost the very chosen ones.
48 They are worse off than a fallen true prophet (at least Joseph would rather be the latter) (See Joseph Smith Jr., May 12 1844)
They teach they ought to be supported by the people. (Alma 1:3)(Mosiah 11:6)
They speak vain and flattering words. (Mosiah 11:7)
Their followers idolize them. (Mosiah 11:7)
They build elegant and spacious buildings; and ornament them with fine work of all manner of precious things. (Mosiah 11:8-9)
They cause all manner of fine work within the walls of the temple. (Mosiah 11:10)
They build seats set apart for the high priests, which are above all the other seats. (Mosiah 11:11)
They build pulpits that they might rest their bodies and their arms upon while they should speak lying and vain words. (Mosiah 11:11)
They build large buildings near the temple to overlook the land (Mosiah 11:12)

Prophets Role
The "prophet's role" is always to cry repentance. Priests may preside, and kings may rule, but the "prophet's voice" is always crying repentance. "Prophets" have almost never presided over a congregation (other than occasionally a small inner-circle). They always speak from the sidelines crying for a return to God's ways. (1 Nephi 10:8) Even when there were cities who repented in response to the message of repentance, the "prophets" who gathered them taught repentance and left it to the assembly to govern themselves. As the gospel was originally preached to Adam, every "prophet" from that day until now has simply been restoring what was once here. "Prophets" fight the law of entropy. Mankind keep losing truths and "prophets" keep bringing them back. When Christ states that "all the 'prophets' from Samuel and those that followed after" had "testified of Christ" this is more than rhetoric. They became "prophets" by reason of the Lord having appeared and spoken to them; having testified of Himself to them. Therefore their status as "prophets" and their witness of Him were coequal. They knew Him. They could testify of what they knew, heard and saw, rather than what they believed to be true from what others had said. (Nephi 20: 24)

True Messengers
A "True Messenger" instructs on how to reconnect with God. Although Joseph Smith revealed many previously unknown things, his ministry was devoted primarily to bringing others into fellowship with God. "True Messengers" bring others into harmony with God.The ordinances, scriptures, revelations, and teachings restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith were not intended to titillate, but to instruct on how to reconnect with God. A "True Messenger" shares everything about how you can "come and see" the LORD. (John 1: 46.) It is His "voice" whenever He sends a true messenger, empowered with a message from Him. It is not His "voice" when the messenger has not been sent or empowered with a message from Him. (Isaiah 53:6.) We should refuse all the imitations, all the deceptions, all those who pretend to speak truth, and instead demand that "true messengers" be sent from whom we can be taught further light and knowledge. (1 Nephi 14: 10.) However, it is unlikely you will entertain a "true messenger" when you are deliberately in a state of rebellion against God. 

False Prophets
"False prophets" will point you to themselves, to their great works, wonderful accomplishments, and the pride you should take in following them. "False prophets" are those who will speak of riches here, and suggest God's favor can be measured by success in this world. The enemy of your soul does not create a new religion, but immitates the true one. The Lord's messenger will be mirrored bythe adversary's, but the reflected image will be reversed. Those who follow the image will find themselves descending, while they think they are ascending to God. Hence the name: "the Deceiver." He deceives, and even mirrors God's angels by the claim to be an "angel of light" while spreading darkness. The difference between truth and error does not lie in the difference between religion and irreligion, but instead between true religion which will save, and false religion which cannot save. If it were any less a test, the very elect would not be deceived in the last days. Unless there are "false prophets" claiming they are authorized by God to preach false and idle messages, God cannot send true ones to declare the truth. The opposition of the one is required for the other. The test is given so you may identify both true and "false prophets". You must choose. (3 Nephi 14: 15-20.)

The Deceiver
The "Deceiver"deceives, and mirrors God's image and angels by the claim to be an "angel of light" while spreading darkness.The Lord's messenger will be mirrored by the adversary's, but the reflected image will be reversed. Those who follow the image will find themselves descending, while they think they are ascending to God. The Deceiver's false prophets will point you to themselves, to their great works, wonderful accomplishments, and the pride you should take in following them. The Lord's will point you to Him and preach repentance. The false prophets will speak of riches here, and suggest God's favor can be measured by success in this world. The Lord will speak only of riches in another world which are only obtained through the sacrifice of all things here. Eternal life is to know Him. (John 17: 3.) This means to come into His presence again. (Ether 3: 19.) These things are the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Anyone who teaches otherwise is in error and a deceiver.

 False Doctrines
"False doctrines" include omission of important truths. (2 Nephi 28: 10-12) A person can be sincere, honest and devout, but if they preach "false doctrine", Nephi condemns them. There is simply no excuse to justify preaching what is untrue or incomplete. Those doctrines will lead others to hell. Therefore, they are false ministers in the service of darkness. The preacher of false doctrine is condemned because they are leading others away from God. Those, who in their pride, use the precepts of men as the basis for their "preaching false doctrines," are not just wrong, they are damned for this perversion of the religion entrusted to them to preach in purity and truth. (See 2 Nephi 28: 15.)

"Priestcraft" is whenever someone delivers a new message that does not include knowledge about how the audience may come to God themselves, especially if the message makes others dependent on the messenger. It is foolishness to separate information about the Lord's doings from instruction on how to become redeemed. It is vanity to spread new, and personal revelation about theafterlife, God, man, prophecy, visionary encounters, and spiritual experiences if the primary reason does not focus on instructing howthe audience can come to God themselves. It is also dangerous to trust teachings which fail to give you guidance on how you can find God for yourself. If all that is delivered is a message about some great experience, the experience was not intended for you. It isthe way to find God that will save you. Not someone else's new, and exciting spiritual manifestation. Still people will go to great trouble, and spare no effort to find someone who will only give a titillating peek behind the veil, but who will do nothing to instruct you on how you can meet God here, be redeemed from the fall of man, and come back into God's presence.

Pandering for popularity is at the heart of "priestcraft". (3 Nephi 21: 26.) "Priestcrafts" are where people seek approval of the world but not the best interest of Zion. (2 Ne. 26: 29; 3 Nephi 21: 19-20.) Any man who tries to put himself between you and heaven, claiming that he alone should be the source of your religious beliefs and education, is practicing "priestcraft" and will inthe end lead both himself and you to damnation. (The process is everything - the answer is nothing.) Our church, if the Book of Mormon is true, is filled with corruption and "priestcraft". The obligation to hold up a light is circumscribed by His direction that He "is the light which ye shall hold up." Nothing and no one else. He is the lifeline. Therefore, when you offer, preach, teach, exhort and expound, He must be at the center of this prophesying, or you are engaging in "priestcraft". (2 Nephi 26: 29; 3 Nephi 18: 24-25.)

"Soothsayers" are those involved in "Soothsaying", which typically involves predictions made using means other than true prophecy.You should apply the definition to all modern applications: in business, government, economics, weather--especially long-term weather, politics, etc. (3 Nephi 21: 15-18.)

Destroyed Vs Swept Away
A people are "destroyed" when they lose control over their government. Their ability to preserve their own values, and choose theway they are governed is taken over by others. Most often it is from a different ethnic group, though not always. Once people are "destroyed" they are oppressed and suffer. Often they are oppressed with grievous taxes, and have religious liberties removed. Then they face a choice: Either repent, in which case they come through the period of oppression with another chance. Or, if they are angry and rebellious, they will then be "swept away." Being "destroyed" is not at all the same as being "swept away." It is possible for people to have been "destroyed" and not even realize it. But when "swept away" they face extinction, and cannot help but notice it.

Committing "whoredoms" and teaching false doctrines are an equivalent in some Book of Mormon passages. That is, you are "whoring" after other false gods, and betraying the true Lord God Almighty, when you preach false doctrines which assure you, in your pride, that you are safe, elect, chosen and better than others. All those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit "whoredoms" commit similar offenses. Because to leave the Lord and follow after another false source for salvation - a false god - is often described as committing "whoredoms". The Lord chose and established Israel. He would remain committed to them, although they went "whoring" after other gods. (See 3 Nephi 20: 24.)

2nd Definition for "Whoredoms". You do NOT need to hire a prostitute to be practicing "whoredoms" Utah is one of the largest consumers of pornography in the US. (See 3 Nephi 16:10.) Even the improper taking of an additional wife is called "whoredoms and an abomination" by the Lord. (Jacob 2: 28.) Those who proceed in our dispensation in the absence of the Lord's direct command to them are included among those the Lord described as gentiles filled with "whoredoms, and of secret abominations." (3 Ne. 16: 10.) If you guess wrong by taking multiple wives, your mistake is called "whoredoms" and "an abomination" and will condemn you. Adultery is the top reason for temple marriages breaking up in many LDS stakes.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Holy Ghost Witness - Greater than an Angel?

"The witness of the Holy Ghost is greater than angels." 
I believe this to be false and I will show why I think that from the scriptures. I have heard this teaching from many including recent Elders Quorum lessons. It stems from this.
“When a man has the manifestation from the Holy Ghost, it leaves an indelible impression on his soul, one that is not easily erased. It is Spirit speaking to spirit, and it comes with convincing force. A manifestation of an angel, or even of the Son of God himself, would impress the eye and mind, and eventually become dimmed, but the impressions of the Holy Ghost sink deeper into the soul and are more difficult to erase” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66], 2:151).
Keep in mind this was a man who had not seen Christ nor angels when he made that statement. Its in our church manuals:
I did not live in the days of our Savior; he has not come to me in person. I have not beheld him. His Father and he have not felt it necessary to grant me such a great blessing as this. But it is not necessary. I have felt his presence. (Teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith, Chapter 2, Our Savior, Jesus Christ, 1972)
Others support this belief by using the example of laman and lemuel seeing an angel. That story has nothing to do with angels, it was due to their haddened hearts. They had no place for the Holy Ghost or the Word of God in them therefore they would not hear it. They had no interest in the mysteries of godliness thus they were taken captive by the chains of the adversary until they knew nothing concerning the mysteries of godliness (Alma 12:10-11) I have several friends who I know who have had super strong HG experiences and have still given up the gospel.

The scriptures inform us the following:
..yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away. (Alma 23:6)
Therefore there is something that caused these people to be converted to such a degree they never did fall away. This does not say they couldn't fall away (become perdition) because even the sanctified can fall from heaven and should take heed. (D&C 20:30-34) What it says they never did fall away. And what was it they had that gave this level of conversion?
5 And thousands were brought to the knowledge of the Lord, (vs 5)
Not belief, not faith, but knowledge (cannot be saved in ignorance). Unbelief to belief which turns into faith, faith turns into knowledge. (See my post The Doctrine of Christ: A Different Perspective)

Or as Paul put it.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: (2 Peter 1:10)
Ether gained this knowledge from this experience.
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. (Ether 3:13)
Joseph associated knowledge with knowing God. To know God you must be like Him. (Moroni 7:48) The Brother of Jared was like Him. (See Ether Chapter 3 and examine Bro. of Jared's characteristics) You cannot be saved in ignorance therefore we have a more sure word of prophecy (D&C 131:5-62 Peter 1:19)

Angels Speak by what power?
Lets look at why angels witnesses are not less than the Holy Ghost. The doctrine of Christ by Nephi states:
Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. (2 Nephi 32:3)
Do you see it? Angels speak BY the power of the HOLY GHOST. Or in other-wards when they speak they are speaking the same voice as the Holy Ghost speaks to you right now except you have an additional witness of the angel delivering unto you in plainness so you cannot error. When an angel delivers it unto you, YOU do not have to parse through it and guess "was that the spirit" or "is that exactly what it said to me"? Instead you are left to ponder its message. At least for those unlearned in the manner of the spirit. It is spoken as one man speaketh to another. A message sent by God to you by the Holy Ghost through ministering spirits. Therefore when an angel delivers a message to you to expound the scriptures it is a greater witness than that of the Holy Ghost especially when they come in their glory. If you look at the accounts of angels relating information its always to expound the scriptures. (See what Moroni told Joseph for example) The scripture tells us to FEAST upon the words of Christ, which Angels speak to us.

It was sufficient to convert Alma the younger, a murderer, in one visit because of the prayers of his father. (Mosiah 27) If he had a hardened heart he would have denied that witness but he softened his heart and accepted the message sent by the power of the holy ghost which are the Words of Christ. Nephi ends by saying.
4 Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark. (2 Nephi 32:4)
Nephi explains why we do not understand the doctrine of Christ. It is sobering words. Further relates why in verse 7.

Angels are those who do belong or have belonged to [this earth]. (D&C 130:5; Also see Alma 13:24.) The angels will be the ones responsible for the final gathering. (See D&C 77:11Mark 13:27.) This presents an apparent impediment to those who either don’t believe angels minister to mankind, or who believe they only minister to church leaders, or who think them possible, but have never been administered personally by them. Angels will gather those who follow Christ rather than trust the arm of  flesh,  and  ultimately  Christ will return and the world will be wasted at His coming. Though there will be some fragment, like the days of Noah, there will be those who have been gathered by the angels. Those few will be preserved. Ministering angels are an indispensable part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is why those keys were restored so early on in this dispensation, and are so widely disseminated into the Church membership. (See D&C 13; and D&C 107:20.) They will continue to minister as long as there is one man yet to be saved. (Moroni 7:36)

Holy Ghost is the First Comforter.
Oliver Cowdery wrote,
“It is necessary that you receive a testimony from heaven for yourselves; so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that you have seen the face of God.” Then he continued, “That is more than the testimony of an angel….Never cease striving until you have seen God face to face.”(Joseph Smith Papers, Pp. 195–96 in Roberts, B.H., ed. 1976. History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Vol. II. 2nd ed. rev. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Company.)
It is also taught that the Holy Ghost is the greatest gift we can have in this life. While its a great gift to be had that will show us all things we must to do return to God's presence (2 Nephi 32:5) there is yet a greater gift. (2 Peter 1:10,19) That is the Second Comforter, the Lord himself, which will come to you and minister to you when YOU love Him. (D&C 76:117-1182 Nephi 32:6-7). As there is a more sure word of prophecy, which is received by a "voice which came from heaven" (2 Peter 1:18) the same wording of those who receive true priesthood. (See D&C 84:42JST Genesis 14:29, or my post Priesthood Absent from the Church: The Church and Priesthood along with Fulness of the Priesthood) Where the Father and the Son will take up their abode with you while in the flesh, which is the promise of eternal life. (D&C 88:1-5) In the due time of the Lord to those who knock (D&C 88:63,68).

But first "“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." (Teachings of Joseph Smith Chapter 22, or History of the Church, 5:554)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Power of Godliness

The "Power of Godliness" is tied to opening the heavens and receiving assignments, confirming revelation, or blessings from God. All power is tied to heaven. When the powers of heaven are withdrawn from someone, then their authority comes to an end and they have no power. If you want to have the power of godliness in your life, it must be gained through Jesus Christ; access to whom is available to all men on equal terms. Godliness is different from virtue. It is even different from righteousness. Godliness requires you to become godlike in your sentiments and in your meekness before Him. Whether men understand you or attribute motives to you, the relationship is between you and the Lord. Godliness is when your walk here is along the path He has chosen for you. The "power of godliness" (D&C 84: 20) is in-separably connected with the ordinances. (D&C 121: 36.) Without the "power of godliness" our rites are much like the apostate world Christ condemned in His initial visit with Joseph. (JS-H 1: 19.) "The power of godliness" and "the authority of the priesthood," are connected with "seeing the face of God, even the Father" (D&C 84: 22).

The Doctrine of Christ Defined: A Different Perspective

Here is a different perspective for the basic words we are familiar with.

Unbelief means you do not understand and have not accepted true doctrine (1 Nephi 14:5)We go from unbelief to belief when we learn truth. Not every source, including institutional sources, can be trusted to tell you the truth. Only the light of Christ, followed by the Holy Ghost is a reliable guide to distinguish between unbelief and belief. Alma connects losing knowledge of God’s mysteries directly to being “taken captive by the devil” and being “led by his will down to destruction.” (Alma 12:10-11) Tradition and community error will not bring you to Christ. We always see the temporary defeat of truth followed by persistent success of error so the Lord can try the souls of men. (3 Nephi 27:11) Truth returns, within a sea of error, and the humble followers of Christ recognize it. (See Mosiah 3:9)

Belief means you understand and accept true doctrine. If you have correct understanding of Him then you have belief. Belief does not become “faith” as used in the Book Mormon until an angel has ministered to you. Your belief in Christ is belief. We go from belief to faith as we take action consistent with belief in truth. Faith is a principle of power. It will lead you to receive angels who still minister to those of a sound mind, not given to flights of fantasy or unstable behavior. (Moroni 7:30) Truth is intended to save us. We should welcome corrections. Too often, however, we are offended and think the truth is a hard thing to endure. (1 Ne. 16:1‐3)

Faith means you have been visited by an angel. (See 1 Nephi 14:5) Belief does not become “faith” as used in the Book of Mormon until an angel has ministered to you. Your belief in Christ is belief. There are different definitions of “faith” and I’m not saying that is the only definition ever given. In the Lectures on Faith Joseph Smith gives a different meaning. He defines faith as a principle of power through action, in which you put your beliefs into action and thereby acquire power; because Joseph related faith to having power. Faith was always intended to grow into knowledge. (See Alma 32) We are brought from faith to knowledge as angels prepare us through their ministry. It will only be when the gentiles begin to have faith like the Brother of Jared that the Lord will make the fullness known again. (Ether 4:6‐7) The terms for obtaining real faith are the same for every man or woman who has ever lived. Without making the sacrifice it is not possible to obtain the faith. When there is faith, there are miracles. (Moroni 7:37) When there is faith, then angels minister to the faithful. (Moroni 7:37) If there comes a time when there are no more miracles and there are no more angels ministering to mankind, then it is because of “unbelief, and all is lost.” (Moroni 7:37) “For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made.” (Moroni 7:38)

Lectures on Faith, Lecture 6 is a prototype of how to gain faith. It should be read in its entirety but "7 Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things: it was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life" Without this sacrifice, without a religion that allows this sacrifice you cannot gain eternal life. The sacrifice must even include your own life.

Knowledge means you have been visited by the Lord. Faith was always intended to grow into knowledge. Knowledge comes from contact with Jesus Christ. (Ether 3:19.) This is the knowledge that saves, and nothing else. (John 17:3) The idea that knowledge of Christ through His personal appearance to you is now unavailable is an old sectarian no on and is false.(D&C 130:3) This is what the Gospel of Christ was intended to confer. Not just belief, or faith, but knowledge and understanding. The journey back to God’s presence was always the outcome intended by the Gospel. The Gospel message is and always has been that
you should receive further light and knowledge by conversing with the Lord through the veil. Not through an intermediary, but in your own behalf, face to face. (See 2 Nephi 31:14-21; 32:1-7)

Angels are those who do belong or have belonged to this earth. (D&C 130:5; See Alma 13:24.) The angels will be the ones responsible for that gathering. (See D&C 77:11; Mark 13:27.) This presents an apparent impediment to those who either don’t believe angels minister to mankind, or who believe they only minister to church leaders, or who think them possible, but have never been administered personally by them. Angels will gather those who follow Christ rather than trust the arm of flesh, and ultimately Christ will return and the world will be wasted at His coming. Though there will be some fragment, like the days of Noah, there will be those who have been gathered by the angels (See Matthew 22, 3 Nephi 16). Those few will be preserved. Ministering angels are an indispensable part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is why those keys were restored so early on in this dispensation, and are so widely disseminated into the Church membership. (See D&C 13; and D&C 107:20)

Second Comforter
Second Comforter is “no more or less than the Lord Jesus Christ himself.... [W]hen 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.” (The Words of Joseph Smith) The ministry of the Second Comforter is to bring those to whom He ministers to the Father, and have them accepted by Him. This means that the Father accepts them as a member of the Heavenly Family, or in other words, promises them exaltation. The end of the LORD’s ministry is to have the person accepted by the Father as a son or daughter of God.When, however, a person rises up through the merits of Jesus Christ to receive Him as a minister, they are living in a Terrestrial law and inherit Terrestrial blessings. (D&C 76:77.) When [the Savior] has finished His preparatitions with the person, and can bring them to the Father, the person is brought to a point where the Father can accept and acknowledge them as a son. (See D&C 76:54‐59, 92.) They are then begotten of the Father. (Psalms 2:7; See also 3 Nephi 11:24‐25)

Fire is a description of quickening, purging sin, and receiving the love of God. The “baptism by fire” is where glory is seen and is accompanied by ‘marvelous’ gifts. Without the “fire” to purge the sacrifice upon the altar, it is not cleansed. It cannot become holy unless exposed to that fire. (See 2 Nephi 31:17) “And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words.” (Hel. 5:45.)

In the Lamanite experience and in the Nephite group who Christ visited in the 3 Nephi account, there came a point at which the heavens opened, a pillar of fire descended, and angels came and ministered to them all. Each were endowed with knowledge of mysteries belonging to God.There was a connection forged between them and those on the other side of the veil. These others are the “general assembly and Church of the Firstborn." (D&C 76:67)

Baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost (BFHG)
Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost is given without man’s involvement, comes from heaven, is promised by both the Father and the Son. It is a signal of redemption, purification and holiness. It is included in the “gate” for entering into God’s presence. (See 2 Nephi 31:17-24) It begins a progression of blessings conferred through the fire and Holy Ghost. Even if there is a mere beginning, there is a glorious ending. As with the Lamanites, it leads to an open vision into heaven, ministering of angels, and an endowment of unspeakable learning. It brings to the initiated the knowledge of the mysteries of God. The revelations are clear in connecting baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost with knowledge of God’s mysteries. One of the immediate effects of baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is to have the scriptures come alive; to have them overwhelm you with revelation, light and truth.

One proof of baptism of fire is the gift of prophecy. The gift follows as a sign to confirm baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. (D&C 63:9) The BFHG confers revelation and opens the scriptures to your mind. It requires the ministering of angels. The entirety of the process may be reduced to just a few words: You are intended to receive baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, which purges you from all sin. After being made clean, every whit, which is suggested by “fire” then through the instrumentality of the “Holy Ghost” which dwells within you you may be brought into remembrance of all things. (2 Nephi 32:1-7)

Tongue of Angels
Speak with the tongue of angels means you are elevated, your knowledge and your inspiration reckons from heaven itself. You have been elevated by “fire” which purges sins and purifies. In effect, you receive holiness through the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. This in turn makes your own spirit holy. Your spirit or your ghost is within you, connected to heaven to such a degree through this process that you are in possession of a “holy spirit” or a “holy ghost” within you. To speak with a new tongue is to speak worthily of sacred things. It is to correctly weigh the truth of a matter, know by the power of the Spirit that what is said is true and in conformity with God’s will and then to speak it. To speak with a new tongue is to be able to speak with the tongue of an angel because you have become an angel; or a companion of angels anyway. It is to have the Word of God within you.You cannot speak with the tongue of angels without having knowledge of certain things given you. The clarity with which you can declare truth is distinct from what others say or claim to know. (See 2 Nephi 32:1-6)

Holy Spirit of Promise
The "Holy Spirit of Promise" must confirm or ratify a sealing for it to become eternal, as described in D&C 132: 26. All our ordinances contemplate a further ratification from heaven. If you do not obtain this promise sealed to you by God, through His word, sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, then you have no promise as pertaining to the ordinance (D&C 132:7). The only thing which will endure is that which is established by God. Or, more completely, by God, through His word, which is then sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.
  • That term "Holy Spirit of Promise" we use without adequate appreciation that it can be an office held by Divine appointment.Joseph became the Holy Spirit of Promise through operation of the Divine appointment to hold the right. The office is held by more than just a single mortal man at one time, and includes others who minister here as well. These, at a minimum, are the Lord, John the Beloved, the Three Nephite Disciples, Elijah, other angelic ministers, as well as potentially others about whom we know nothing. (D&C 49: 8)
  • "Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the "Holy Spirit of promise"; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John. This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom; Which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son— ." (D&C 88: 3-5.) In a modern revelation the word of the Lord was given to a group of Latter-day Saints in which the promise of their exaltation was extended to them, and the Lord made this the equivalent to "another Comforter."
The "Ordinances" are helps, symbols and requirements. "Helps" in that they establish milestones that memorialize passage from one stage of development to the next. "Symbols" in that they point to a deeper meaning or spiritual reality almost always grounded in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. "Requirements" in that they mark the defined route taken by Christ as a mortal to fulfill all righteousness.The ordinances as symbols point to the real thing. The real thing is Jesus Christ and His Gospel. The rites are a symbol. Treat them as such. The confirmation of the Lord's intention to preserve you as His will come from Him, not some ordinance worker practicing rites. It is to inform you of the Lord's ways. Walk in those ways. The Temple ordinances are an elaborate test of ones trustworthiness. The material then revealed is to be kept as "most sacred," though in truth, it is a test where symbolic information is imparted to allow the spiritually mature to learn by symbol some hidden meaning and mystery about God. To the immature, the material is worthless and meaningless. Nothing of value is gained. It is a symbol without an interpretation. It can only be an idol to them as they mistake the symbol for underlying meaning. (See 3 Nephi 14: 6)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Zion -The Redeemed: Know ye the Lord?

In Kirtland, Ohio the saints were too proud, foolish and vain for Zion to be established.

In Nauvoo, Illinois the saints were too proud, foolish and vain for Zion to be established.

In Salt Lake City, Utah the saints are too proud, foolish and vain for Zion to be established.

Deceiving Spirits
Just like in Kirtland, there are many unclean spirits who will deceive you. Unless you anchor what you are taught in the scriptures, and require all truth to measure up, you can be deceived. That is as true now as then.

Celestial Glory
Read D&C 76:5-70 on the requirements. First half of the verses use this phrase, "These ARE they" otherwards ones who have achieved this state, they have BECOME the outlined blessing. The next half uses "they shall overcome all things. (vs 60)", things that will be blessed later on, beyond this life. I want to pick out two phrases.

Celestial State

66 These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all.
71 And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial, whose glory differs from that of the church of the Firstborn who have received the fulness of the Father

These are they that have received the fulness of the Father.

Terrestial State
77 These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father.
These are they that have received the presence of the Son but not the Father.

Zion makes up the redeemed. Those who have become redeemed make up Zion. They are the pure in heart. Those who are come unto Mount Zion (D&C 76:66)
Behold, I say unto you, were it not for the transgressions of my people, speaking concerning the church and not individuals, they might have been redeemed even now. (D&C 105:2)
Generations can come and go and remain un-redeemed. Yet we will proclaim our righteousness before the Lord and think we are being saved.
And now I give unto you a word concerning Zion. Zion shall be redeemed, although she is chastened for a little season. (D&C 100:13)
When the Lord redeems his people, only those who Know him will remain. For he comes in judgment and who shall abide the day of his coming? Who is without spot? Who has washed their garments in his Blood and made them clean? Who has a pure heart and clean hands? Who can say "I know the Lord"?
97 And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness—
98 Until all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together sing this new song, saying:
99 The Lord hath brought again Zion;The Lord hath redeemed his people, Israel,According to the election of grace,Which was brought to pass by the faith And covenant of their fathers.
Do we even know what the covenant of our fathers are? The covenants that the Book of Mormon is meant to bring us a knowledge to? You can read the title page of the Book of Mormon it states "Which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever"(Paragraph 2)What does it mean to Know the Lord?
I want to ask this congregation, every man, woman and child, to answer the question in their own hearts, what kind of a being God is? Ask yourselves; turn your thoughts into your hearts, and say if any of you have seen, heard, or communed with Him? This is a question that may occupy your attention for a long time. I again repeat the question—What kind of being is God? Does any man or woman know? Have any of you seen Him, heard Him, or communed with Him? Here is the question that will, peradventure, from this time henceforth occupy your attention. The scriptures inform us that “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3.) 
If any man does not know God, and inquires what kind of a being He is—if he will search diligently his own heart—if the declaration of Jesus and the apostles be true, he will realize that he has not eternal life; for there can be eternal life on no other principle. (Joseph Smith, King Follet Discourse)
Why does he ask us to turn our thoughts into our hearts? Why is it the Holy Ghost is within us? Why is it that the Kingdom of God is within us? Why is it that if we Know Him we shall have eternal life? And if we don't Know him we do not have eternal life? Why did Joseph associate knowing him with "seeing, hearing and communing" with God? Why is Zion called the redeemption of Gods people or the redeemed? Why is Zion not here because of Transgression?

Ether tells us what it means to be redeemed from the Fall.
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. (Ether 3:13)
What did he KNOW? To be redeemed requires us to "handle something" as Joseph put it or to "know" something. To be saved requires us to BE something.
" And what constitutes the real difference between a saved person and one not saved, is the difference in the degree of their faith: one's faith has become perfect enough to lay hold upon eternal life, and the other's has not."...."And if we should continue our interogation, and ask how it is that he is saved, the answer would be, because he is a just and holy being; and if he were any thing different from what he is he would not be saved; for his salvation depends on his being precisely what he is and nothing else" (Lectures on Faith 6: 9)
And anything that is not precisely like Him, differs in their degree of faith and is unlike Him. "When he shall appear we shall be like him" (Moroni 7:48). And not till than unless we procrastinate the day of our probation. I will illustrate this with a quote from a christian site. As I have already laid out the scriptures in prior posts.

What does it mean to know God, rather than to know about God?
The fundamental difference between knowing about God and knowing God is about personal relationships. Because God is a person, you can know ‘about’ him but you don’t really ‘know’ him until you have a personal relationship with him. For instance I can know about the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, but I wouldn’t say that I know him. To know him I have to meet him and get to know him. We have to reveal things to each other and be willing to share in each others lives. The staggering promise of the Bible is that we can know God like this and that He wants us to know him and share in his eternal life! 
I think one of the fundamental differences between Christianity and other religions is that we can know God as a person. (here)
Whats necessary for savation?
Lecture 7 states.
 For where faith is, there will the knowledge of God be also, with all things which pertain thereto revelations, visions, and dreams, as well as every other necessary thing in order that the possessors of faith may be perfected and obtain salvation; for God must change, otherwise faith will prevail with him. And he who possesses it will, through it, obtain all necessary knowledge and wisdom until he shall know God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, whom he has sent: whom to know is eternal life: Amen. 
Through what? Through revelations, visions, dreams. Through angels which are sent to declare His Word. Through his Son who is sent to do the Fathers work, until we can have the Father abide with us when we can abide the fulness thereof. These are the fruits of His servants. These are the fruits for them that have faith. Spiritual manifestations of the spirit or the power of godliness is manifest therein.
"A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world." (TPJS p. 217.)
 And what kind of knowledge?
18 Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
19 And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.(D&C 130:19)
Intelligence or "light and truth". Nothing but Truth. Truth of the divine. Not trivial pursuit of the Book of Mormon but divine knowledge, revelation, visions, dreams, and every other necessary thing.
“Reading the experience of others, or the revelation given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God. Knowledge of these things can only be obtained by experience through the ordinances of God set forth for that purpose. Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 324. Also quoted here)
Your OWN connection to Heaven. No wonder why no man can save YOU except Christ and He is the one that bestows these things upon those who diligently seek after them. He will bestow them grace for grace. Become obedient to the grace he has sufficiently provided you here and now, than you can have that much of an advantage in the world to come. Grace for Grace, or as another parable put it, you can double your talents here and now. And receive more in the world to come.

Orson Hyde put it this way.
The most eminent and distinguished prophets who have laid down their lives for their testimony (Jesus among the rest), will be crowned at the head of the largest kingdoms under the Father, and will be one with Christ as Christ is one with his Father; for their kingdoms are all joined together, and such as do the will of the Father, the same are his mothers, sisters, and brothers. He that has been faithful over a few things, will be made ruler over many things; he that has been faithful over ten talents, shall have dominion over ten cities, and he that has been faithful over five talents, shall have dominion over five cities, and to every man will be given a kingdom and a dominion, according to his merit, powers, and abilities to govern and control. It will be seen by the above diagram that there are kingdoms of all sizes, an infinite variety to suit all grades of merit and ability. The chosen vessels unto God are the kings and priests that are placed at the head of these kingdoms. These have received their washings and anointings in the temple of God on this earth; they have been chosen, ordained, and anointed kings and priests, to reign as such in the resurrection of the just. Such as have not received the fulness of the priesthood, (for the fulness of the priesthood includes the authority of both king and priest) and have not been anointed and ordained in the temple of the Most High, may obtain salvation in the celestial kingdom, but not a celestial crown. (Orson Hyde Diagram, here) (Orson Hyde, “A Diagram of the Kingdom of God,” Millennial Star 9 [15 January 1847]: 23-24).
And only those who have been "caught up" and "anointed kings and priests" will attain to this level of grace. No longer is the promise conditional " if you are true and faithful to all things". But you will know things that are not lawful to utter.
116 Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him;
117 To whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves;
118 That through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory. (D&C 76:116-118)
The day of THIS life is to prepare to MEET God. The day of this life is the day of YOUR salvation. Know ye not that same spirit which posses your bodies now will depart this world? Can you say if you are unable to bear his presence now that you will be clean enough to bear his presence when you pass this mortal life? There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven, and when you obey that law God will bestow the blessings mentioned in D&C 76:116-118 or Ether 3:13 or 2 Nephi 32:6, on those who LOVE HIM. But they receive it not because of unbelief. (2 Nephi 32:7). Which includes believing things that are NOT true as truth. No wonder why Joseph said we must have a "correct idea" of his character attributes and perfections. Else we are no different than the creeds that went before us that voted on bible. We will continue to debate among men what we believe the truth is.
A fanciful and flowery and heated imagination beware of; because the things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity—thou must commune with God. (Joseph Fielding Smith (editor), Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 137)
How do we do this?
I won't talks about this in this post but Ether 3 is a great place to read. Read what kind of person the Brother of Jared WAS or what he had become. Lectures on Faith is a great place to learn.
19 I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness. (D&C 93:19)
We must relearn everything false we have been taught and replace it with truth. I will point out one common way that is NOT HOW YOU worship that is not found in scripture anywhere. Do NOT fold your arms when you pray. Do NOT look down when you pray. Do NOT close your eyes when you pray. This is not how the Son prayed to the Father. This is not how Adam prayed when he offered sacrifices unto the Lord. They prayed with uplifted lights, with their eyes towards heaven.

We are told to talk to him as one man talks to another. Do THAT. How would you feel if another talked to you with their arms folded, head bowed, and eyes closed? That would be rude. Read 3 Nephi when Christ prayed to the Father. Here is the New Testament version.
1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said (John 17:1)
That your incomings may be in the name of the Lord; that your outgoings may be in the name of the Lord; that all your salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with uplifted hands unto the Most High. (D&C 88:120)
You may believe it does not matter. But I testify it does. I testify how you worship is very important and until we learn HOW to worship we will not be able to come unto God. There are dozens of examples I have shown two.  This is how Joseph repeatedly prayed. They prayed with uplifted hands towards heaven.

But most importantly
Its your heart that matters most. Is it humble? In Mosiah 12, the king didn't know how to pray yet, but it was enough to receive an answer from God and be ministered to, as he prostrated himself on the ground he "cryed" unto the Lord. Notice that word "cry" not pray. Its a state of one that is humble that seeks Him. Its the same phrase The brother of Jared uses 10 times in Ether. He "cryed unto the Lord". Nowhere does it use the word "pray" until it gets to the record recorded by Moroni. (becomes the summary by Moroni instead of the Brother of Jared). Be willing. Be humble. Be willing to act, to receive, to cast off anything that is not Godlike.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Priesthood Absent from the Church: The Church and Priesthood

Josephs October 5, 1840 discourse on priesthood: "the Keys of this priesthood consisted in obtaining the voice of Jehovah that he talked with him in a familiar and friendly manner". (Joseph Smith Papers, here)

The "greater" and "lesser" priesthoods spoken of in section 84 are not necessarily the same as the "melchizedek" and "aaronic" priesthoods in the LDS church today. We can tell because of the scriptural description of the authority and power of these priesthoods.

A class member asked about the authority held by the President of the Church. "Doesn't he hold all the priesthood authority?" The President of the Church doesn't necessarily hold the priesthood described in D&C 84. I know that sounds strange, but bear with me and it will make sense.

The scriptural (and Temple) priesthoods are best understood to be "fellowships". There is a fellowship among men and men (aaronic1), a fellowship between men and angels (aaronic2), a fellowship between men and Christ (melchizedek1), and a fellowship between men and the Father (fulness of the melchizedek). Which priesthood can only be received by conversing through the veil by the keeper of the Gate, which is the Holy One of Israel (2 Nephi 9:41)

The scriptural "greater" or "melchizedek" priesthood actually opens the heavens (Read DC 107:18-19 to add to the definition given in DC 84:19-22) and allows one to bear His Eternal Glory while in the flesh and be in his Presence (D&C 76:117-118), which is a power absent from the institution since Joseph Smith died (D&C 124:28, D&C 84:23-25). Since that is the entire function of that priesthood (enter into God's presence and have an association with Him), the heavens should be open to anyone who actually holds that authority. It is this "required authority" that is needed to build Zion. When its here, an offer is extended, when the offer is rejected and the people are unable to bear his presence it is taken away until a later group is given another offer to build Zion. If they reject it, the cycle continues. Very few are ever cable of doing what it takes to build Zion.

This is why the President of the Church doesn't necessarily hold the priesthood described in D&C 84. There have been apostles, and even presidents of the church, who testified that they had not received these fellowships. They hold all the authority that can be given by the laying on of men's hands, and are sustained by common consent, so they can function in their callings, but they don't necessarily hold the "priesthood" after the Holy Order described in the scriptures.

To support this, I quoted this passage from Josephs October 5, 1840 discourse on priesthood: "the Keys of this priesthood consisted in obtaining the voice of Jehovah that he talked with him in a familiar and friendly manner".

The church generally, including our "melchizedek priesthood", functions only with the Aaronic priesthood ( a fellowship between men and men) because that is the level that administers outward ordinances and teaches the letter of the gospel or prepartory Gospel. Again see Section 107.

I referenced  the passage with Moses and Israel (DC 84:23-25, quoted below). I have discussed the idea that God wants us in his presence right now "in the flesh". He didn't call moses to lead the children of israel to become devoted "mosesites". Adam and his children three years before Adam's death had a meeting, where the Lord appeared.  Adam-ondi-Ahman, or another name would be Adam in the presence of God (again the temple teaches us to portray ourselves as Adam or Eve). If you want to be a part of this meeting you must also enter into His presence. Obtain an assignment from Him (D&C 128:21). The scriptures teach us how to do this. (2 Nephi 32:6-7, 4 Nephi 1:12)

Read D&C 107:53-55 and read about that event. Read the teachings of Joseph Smith: A Discourse on Priesthood (Instructions delivered sometime in July 1839), where he said that Adam blessed his posterity because he wanted to bring them into the presence of the Lord.

If Adam wanted to bring his children into God's presence, and Moses wanted to bring Israel into God's presence, then that is also what Joseph Smith wanted, and D&C 84 (including the "oath and covenant" passage) should be read in that context.

Back to D&C 84: 23. Why, in the middle of a revelation about Zion in "this generation" would the Lord digress to talk about this specific incident with Moses and Israel (DC 84:23-25)?  We should draw parallels between that story and us. If you read that passage and replaced "Moses" with "Joseph Smith", you would get a much truer (complete) version of our history than anything in our manuals. If you do this study D&C 124:28.

Joseph Fielding Smith was raised from birth to believe that the institution was perfect, and the embodiment of everything God describes in the scriptures. Thus he reads the scriptures, and expounds them, in a way that conforms to his expectation. I don't share that belief, so I recognize that my interpretation of these scriptures is different than President Smith. JFS said in the year 1972, the same year he died.
I did not live in the days of our Savior; he has not come to me in person. I have not beheld him. His Father and he have not felt it necessary to grant me such a great blessing as this. But it is not necessary. I have felt his presence. (Teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith, Chapter 2, Our Savior, Jesus Christ)
I have shown how his definition of God differed from Joseph Smiths. I have shown we do NEED to enter into his presence (D&C 88:1-5, D&C 76:117-118, Ether 3:13) at least if we want to be anything like Abraham, Jacob, and Issac and their degree of Faith in God. I have shown how JFS disagreed with the definition of God revealed through Joseph Smith in my Post "Changing the commandments of God: Lectures on Faith". Not to discredit the man as he did receive revelation (D&C 138) in response to his questions, as he was about to die and was pondering the welfare of his own soul. He used the scriptures as they were intended, a Urim and Thummin, and they were opened up to his view. However, he like Brigham young were not like unto moses. As Brigham said, 11 years as president, "that perhaps I then may hold communion with the Lord, as did Moses. I am not now in that position" so that "If I am faithful until I am eighty years of age, perhaps the Lord will appear to me and personally dictate me in the management of his Church and people. " (Journal of Discourses, 7:243. Brigham Young, September 1, 1859, here). He made a similar statement 17 years as president.

 It is the ‘duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses’ (D&C 107:91). "92 Behold, here is wisdom..."

Read D&C 84:19. The priesthood contains "the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom",  so, is the Temple Endowment a key? YES, as I have referenced this in prior quotes by Joseph smith the "keys of the kingdom" are certain "signs" one must know to "prevent imposition". "Elders must know them all, to be endowed with power, to finish their work and prevent imposition"(Joseph Smith, History of The Church, 7 vols. [1976], 4:608 or Joseph Smith Papers). Read Joseph's description of the endowment in D&C 124:94-96, where Hyrum, a "priesthood holder" already, had to use "the keys whereby he may ask and receive" in order to receive "priesthood, and gifts of the priesthood". That's because there was something greater to be had, a fellowship with the divine. D&C 84 and the temple endowment are both describing this same process, of being "chosen, called up, and anointed a king and priest".

As the Oath states "I now confirm upon you who are present this day, by mine own voice out of the heavens" (D&C 84:42) or as Joseph put it ""the Keys of this priesthood consisted in obtaining the voice of Jehovah that he talked with him in a familiar and friendly manner". (Joseph Smith Papers, here)" No man has these keys until they obtain this voice out of the heavens. Also seen in the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 14. "And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice" (JST Genesis 14:29) Notice its His voice not mans. By His calling not mans. No man can bestow this power except God. Thus "All the prophets had the Melchizedek Priesthood and were ordained by God himself" (TPJS, pp. 180-81)

Think of the "Plan of salvation" diagram and think if you have ever heard it explained that "we need to do certain things here (earth), in order to return and live with heavenly father in the Celestial Kingdom". It is so common to change the true religion of God, where the whole point is to return to his presence "in the flesh," into a religion of man that requires subservience here with the promise of some afterlife reward. If you are going to understand the scriptures, including D&C 84, you first need to understand the difference between those two religions.

Its almost as if the Lord saw our day when he made this statement.
20 ¶And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:20-21)
So when I hear class members in Sunday school tell me the kingdom of God goes onward and talks about all the buildings, all the temples, all the tithing, all the great things being built up. I just smile.  "And others will [Satan] pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well" (2 Nephi 28:21)

Purpose of the Priesthood
So that the power of godliness can be manifest in the flesh.
"Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God; But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory. Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also." (D&C 84:17-26.) What a calamity! Because they did not use the priesthood for the purpose for which it was given--and it was given that they might sanctify themselves so as to "behold the face of God"--the Lord withdrew the very priesthood itself. Israel, as a people, was left with the preparatory gospel only, with the law of Moses. Her people were denied what they might have had because they did not magnify their callings in the priesthood. A little thoughtful reflection will cause us to conclude that there are those in latter-day Israel who are not striving to use the Melchizedek Priesthood for the purpose for which it was given any more than did our ancient ancestors. Again -- what a calamity! (Priesthood Prepares (Wo)Men to See God, Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah, 578-595)
Women and the Priesthood
Where there is a fellowship with the divine there is the priesthood. Both male and female. Joseph said if you could gaze into heaven for 5 minutes you would know more than all the books written on the subject. Anything that distracts us from what devolves upon YOU to connect with heaven is a distraction from the course back to God. The ascent back into God's presence while in the flesh, which is the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Redemption of Man
As I mentioned the two very different religions read this verse.
114 But great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion;
115 Which he commanded us we should not write while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not lawful for man to utter;
116 Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him;
117 To whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves;
118 That through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory.
I care only for the revelations from heaven. Men who have never gazed into heaven simply do not know the truth. Good men, honest men, and men of the highest intent who know nothing about the heavens cannot help anyone to find their way to God. The reason "the professors [of traditional Christianity] are all corrupt" is not because they are bad people. (JS-H 1: 19.) It is because their doctrine is wrong. They do not have the truth. They entertain ideas which are not informed by heaven, and rely upon men to speculate about meaning, without knowing a thing about heaven. So they introduce the philosophies of men mingled with scriptures while the true doctrines fades away with time. They resort to meetings, surveys, a gathering of the elite and most knowledgeable scholars to decide on what is truth when compiling their own Bible's.

And men teach to stay others hands, teaching to leave the mysteries alone because they are dangerous, which Alma relates having such beliefs as one that has an hardened heart and being led captive by the chains of the devil. (Alma 12:10-11).  They have no interest in the mysteries so they lure others away from them. They do not comprehend the things of God so they interpolate their own meanings, opinions, and creeds upon them. Thus the children of men are bogged down by the precepts of men and tossed to and fro not knowing where to turn while others cry lo here and lo here.
Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity—thou must commune with God. (Joseph Fielding Smith (editor), Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 137)
My heart aches for the precepts of men that cause us to error (2 Nephi 28:14). My heart grieves for the sins that continuously beset me. For the falsehoods that I have been led captive by that I must continually cast off if I ever wish to be redeemed in the kingdom of God. But I know God descended below all these things suffering greater contradictions than any man can and he can show me the way back if I will not harden my heart and remain sufficiently humble calling upon Him. But first we must be willing to cast off the false traditions handed down to us. We must have interest in these things or else God will be everlastingly patient with long-suffering until we realize His ways are better than our ways. Worlds without end his work continues with the children of men. His work is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

Newel Knight
Here is the experience of Newel Knight. Compare to Joseph's experience in D&C 76:20
He saw heaven opened and beheld the Lord Jesus Christ, sitting [at] the right hand of the Majesty on high, and had it made plain to his understanding that the time would come when he should be admitted into his presence to enjoy his society for ever and ever. (Joseph Smith Papers: Histories Vol. 1, p. 388, Draft 1)
Times of the Gentiles
28 And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel;
29 But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men.
30 And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
31 And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land. (D&C 45:28-31)