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)

Friday, August 15, 2014

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)

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