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)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Response to FairMormon: A Message to Gnostics - A spiritual threat

Creeds of Catholism 
Todays Miracles: Turning Wine To Water

There is an article making the rounds issued by FairMormon as seen here.

I wanted to discuss a few of the points. She identified a threat among Mormons as those who believe “the Church has lost its way, Church leaders are not inspired or in favor with God, so God has raised up new leaders outside the Church hierarchy whose visions and teachings are important for us to follow,”. She identifies one select group of these people as the "remnant".

She makes the claims that these people think they are more righteous and that they are elitist. This is far from the truth. When you begin to read the Book of Mormon and realize its a message not just about everyone else rather its about YOU (including me), and specifically the Latter Day Saints, YOU begin to NOT see yourself as a righteous soul. Singing songs of your righteous ancestors who failed to build Zion, despite the great sacrifices they made that preserved so much that we take for granted today, or hearing praises of flattery that you are a choosen generation begins to repulse you. When YOU begin to realize you are not actually as choosen as you first thought, YOU are not as righteous as you first thought, and YOU, just because you may have received the ordinances found in the Temple are still in jeopardy because YOU have not conversed with the Lord through the veil and redeemed your soul. When you accept the peril that is placed before you for your own soul this becomes the state of that soul. This is the reaction of the people to the message that King Benjamin delivered who sprang forth after 3-4 generations of no revelations (See Omni 1:11).
...behold they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them.
And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men. (Mosiah 4:1-2)
This is how I view myself. I am nothing, I am fully inadequate to do anything the Lord has placed before me. And until you acknowledge this, you will never be able to do what great things the Lord  asks of those who Love Him. It is at this point you can finally declare like Moroni that you must "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him" (Mormon 9:27, 2 Corinthians 7:15)

Instead of complacency and receiving flattery that you have done all that you need to do, you realize we are ALL sinners and God is no respecter of religion, even those who do not belong with the "one and only true" church. In fact YOU begin to realize God does not view the righteous as those who belong to and those who don't to some "church" EVEN if they contained the authority to baptize. Because God cares much more about the Heart than he ever does about the outward appearance. It is not the pharisee who prays every day and fasts twice a week that attends his weekly meetings that ends up saved by God but the broken hearted that accepts he is not righteous and will never do enough through his own works to warrant his grace. (Luke 18:9-14) Because in the end their hearts are humble enough, being stripped of pride and their self righteousness to accept Gods word to gain the spirit and do what He asks. Even if at first he appears to be a murderer like Alma the Younger.

In the end, all the church has, until Zion is formed, is an invitation and most will never accept that invitation. It will not be those first invited that are accepting it as the Lord said "The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy". So who does the Lord invites next? "Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast. Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guest" (Matthew 22:8-10) Who are those first invited? Was that invitation given to us through Joseph Smith? Is that not what he did exactly like Moses? (D&C 84:23-25, 3 Nephi 16:10)

In the end both good and bad will be invited and are the ones that accept the invitation to the wedding feast. All that is required is to be clothed in a wedding garment. (Matthew 22 11-13) I do not view others as those who are more righteous for that is not the requirement to be accepted to the wedding feast. My goal is to see them as they really are which all will do that receive the "heavenly gift" (See  Hebrew 6, Ether 12), a requirement for Zion.

It is Satan that gives us a "false sense of security" and telleth us "all is well".
"others will he[the devil] pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell." (2 Nephi 28:21)
"Jesus replied, "The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed,"(Like 17:20)
The kingdom of God comes not with observation! Look at all the chaptels, temples, and other things being built! That is something that is observed.
We know for certain that if or when everything else in the latter days is down or dying: if governments, economies, industries, and institutions crumble; if societies and cultures become a quagmire of chaos and insecurity, nevertheless through it all the gospel of Jesus Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that bears that gospel to the world will stand triumphant, and we will stand undefiled in God’s hand until the very Son of God Himself comes to rule and reign as Lord of lords and King of kings,” he said. “Nothing is more certain in this world. Nothing is more sure. Nothing could be more of an antidote to anxiety.” (Elder Holland, Feb 6 2015, General Conference, Be Not Afraid Only Believe)
The only sure thing is what's in the scriptures..

It is only in the state, working out our salvation with fear and trembling, that one is ever meek and humble enough to approach the Lord, being stripped of their pride of their own righteousness. Which fear caused King Lamoni people to fall upon the ground in fear and torment in the presence of his servants and others. He did not flatter them. He did not tell them how good they were and how righteous they were.

Message of The Book of Mormon
Both these groups believe in the claims of the Book of Mormon. So the question comes down to one issue. What does the Book of Mormon, the most correct book really say? There have been many articles on this including one that was used as a reason for belief written as a rebuttal to the CES letter as seen here: The Acutal Message of the Book of Mormon.

So it comes down to who is the Book of Mormon speaking to with the following verses (picking just a few)?

2 Nephi 28:
"Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted," (vs 12)  
"they rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries" (vs 13)  Who's fine santuaries rob the poor? What churches build fine sanctuaries?
they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; (vs 13) What churches wear fine clothing? What churches mimic the clothing as seen in Holywood and movies as the book of Mormon terms "fine twine linen" clothes (See 1 Nephi 14)?
they have all gone astray save it be a few (vs 14)
Mormon 8:
  "For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted." (vs 37) 
But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing...and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts. (vs 35-36) 
What churches are the people adorning in this verse? Why do they love that more than the poor? What way? Why does the Lord include this? Does he care more for buildings or the poor?

Ezekial 34:
8 As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock;
Isaiah 24:
"The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant." (vs 5 See also D&C 1:14-15) 
This is a prophecy of the state of the world before His return. Can a group who has not received the everlasting covenant break it? Or can it only be broken once it has been received? What does it mean to break the everlasting covenant and to change the ordinances? What ordinances could have been changed? If they have will the Lord still accept them even if we are unaware of them being changed?

Isaiah 28:
...The priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean. (vs 7-8)
Isaiah 56:
His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand. (vs 10-11)
3 Nephi 16 :
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. (vs 10)
Joseph Smith Last Dream on the Barn:
...I told [some men] the farm was given me by the church, and although I had not had any use of it for some time back, still I had not sold it, and according to righteous principles it belonged to me or the church."He then grew furious and began to rail upon me, and threaten me, and said it never did belong to me nor to the church."I then told him that I did not think it worth contending about, that I had no desire to live upon it in its present state...
Even if the statements are true, it is not important to follow these said "new" leaders. The entire message is to follow Christ not man. That the doctrine "follow the prophet" or leader is anti-scriptural. All we are ever required to do is follow the Doctrine of Christ which points exclusively to Christ, which doctrine includes "the holy ghost shall show unto you all things ye must do" (paraphrasing). Not man. Not a leader. Not a prophet. The Holy Ghost is our guide (D&C 45:57). If we trust a leader over that guide we will eventually be deceived. 

Reoccurring Theme: Pride
In all these verses the root cause is tied back to "because of pride". Pride is according to the dictionary "a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc." The proud, on the other hand, are so blinded by their pride that they think they have no need of God or, worse, that God should accept them as they are because they deserve His acceptance. Pride is taking the glory that belongs to God alone and keeping it for ourselves. Pride is essentially self-worship.

Second Comforter:
She states they have an, "An inordinate interest in the Second Comforter." We need to be careful when we state such things are foolish and should not be sought after.
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no man that hath seen God. Because he showeth himself not unto us, therefore there is no God.Behold, they are corrupt; they have done abominable works, and none of them doeth good. (JST Psalms 1:1)
We need to be careful when we say the first vison was only for Joseph and not for us.
When God offers a blessing or knowledge to a man, and he refuses to receive it, he will be damned. The Israelites prayed that God would speak to Moses and not to them; in consequence of which he cursed them with a carnal law." (Words of Joseph Smith, pg 244) Or (History of the Church, 5:554-556)
Sign of a True Messenger:
A true messenger always teaches the saints to enter the presence of the Lord while 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; (D&C 84:23-25), See also Alma 13)
If the people will do as they are told, I will tell you what to do. Get the visions of heaven, and seek not what you shall eat or what you shall drink, but seek the will of God. Get into the presence of God (Sidney Rigdon, General Conference Minutes of the Church, April, 1844.)
Hard Heart and No Faith:
55 Let us here observe, that after any portion of the human family are made acquainted with the important fact that there is a God who has created and does uphold all things, the extent of their knowledge, respecting his character and glory, will depend upon their diligence and faithfulness in seeking after him, until like Enoch the brother of Jared, and Moses, they shall obtain faith in God, and power with him to. behold him face to face. (Lectures on Faith)
Saving Knowledge
She defined Mormon gnosticism as “the belief that esoteric knowledge — hidden, deep doctrine — is necessary for fulfilling our spiritual potential, and that seeking for it is more spiritually advanced.”

If any man wants to go find out about some "hidden, deep doctrine" be my guest. This is not what is being taught. The scriptures are clear about the subject. You cannot be saved without knowledge. But we are not talking about trivial knowledge but Knowledge of GOD. Knowledge only gained by nourishing the "seed" using the phrase in Alma 32.
“It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance" (D&C 131:6)
A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge.” (Joseph Smith)
“… Mormonism is truth, in other words the doctrine of the Latter-day Saints, is truth. … The first and fundamental principle of our holy religion is, that we believe that we have a right to embrace all, and every item of truth, without limitation or without being circumscribed or prohibited by the creeds or superstitious notions of men, or by the dominations of one another, when that truth is clearly demonstrated to our minds, and we have the highest degree of evidence of the same.”5
“As far as we degenerate from God, we descend to the devil and lose knowledge, and without knowledge we cannot be saved, and while our hearts are filled with evil, and we are studying evil, there is no room in our hearts for good, or studying good. Is not God good? Then you be good; if He is faithful, then you be faithful. Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, and seek for every good thing [see 2 Peter 1:5].

“… 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, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. Hence it needs revelation to assist us, and give us knowledge of the things of God.”15
Is the knowledge you currently have sufficient? How do you know what this knowledge IS if you have not received it? Are you content letting a leader give you this knowledge instead of seeking for it yourself? Are you content having your eternal salvation at bay and in peril while trusting this knowledge will be given? What if this knowledge that is required for you to be saved is not lawful to utter? Do you not trust in the Lords promise that he will bestow this knowledge upon ALL those who love him?
... great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us...[that] "are not lawful for man to utter; 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; To whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves;" (D&C 76:114-117)
What if this knowledge puts you at odds with those who lead you? Will you abandon it to conform to the current rules and regulations of your church that is still presently under condemnation? (D&C 84:55-57) Is not being condemned the same thing as not having truth and light or the fullness of the gospel? Just because you have the record in front of you that contains the fulness, will that save you in the great and dreadful day of the Lord? How do you know you sufficiently understand the message contained therein? Where can I get this assurance? What if the Lord has told you that you have been forgiven like Enos yet your bishop or priesthood leader still believes you are unable to hold a recommend? Will the Lord deny you of the blessings even though you are not allowed to enter? Does this also mean that your revelation is wrong because its not inline with the Leader?

Is it possible for the Lord to tell  a leader to withhold truth or give a false precept? Did he do just this with Moses? If he did than why not today? How do you know if the people today have a hardened heart against the truth? Why will our day be even as the day of Noah? Why will our day be even as Sodom and Gumorah? Why are we a wicked and perverse generation? Why do you believe these scriptures refer to everyone but the saints? Here is what the Lord said regarding Moses.
And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.(Mark 10:4-5)
How certain are you this time in history will be different than ALL the scriptures before us? What purpose did the Lord serve by giving us the Book of Mormon which tells of the constant struggle to preserve truth, not fall into apostasy, and a story of men who fought to preserve the truth when at all odds against those who thought they were already "righteous."

Must Worship Inside the Church:
"I say unto you, do ye suppose that ye cannot worship God save it be in your synagogues only? "(Alma 32:10)

The majority of these people did not leave the church but rather were excommunicated because you cannot remain in good standing if you do any of these three things.
  1. Do not believe in follow the prophet doctrine (though you believe you should heed them when acting as a prophet) or have doubts the current prophet has finished his ordination because you don't believe just being called into the office means you are actually a seer, revelator or prophet.
  2. Partake the sacrament in your own home being the patriarch of your own family. 
  3. Practicing the doctrine of rebaptism either for offering up a recomittment unto God like Brigham Young did or even for healing purposes that Joseph practiced many times. Because the current handbook of instructions forbids this and is grounds for excommunication.
Everything Is As It Seems
The majority of the claims in this article assumes the churches claims TODAY are 100% correct. This also means that, if they are true, that the claims of the earlier leaders are false. Doctrine has changed. What is taught today denounces much of what was taught by the earlier leaders.

What was once proclaimed to be required for salvation is no longer required. What was once not required for salvation is now today required (ie. Word of Wisdom required for temple attendance which was given "not by commandment or restraint"). The same judgments issued against those living today, are not the same as those living in an earlier time. Yet God is unchangeable? God is the same yesterday, today and forever? Noah became drunk yet he was trusted to repopulate an entire world and retained the fulness of God. (Genesis 9:21)

Here are just some of the changes.
  1. Tithing was meant for the poor but is no longer used to help the poor.
  2. The office of Church Patriarch has now been abandoned with its accompanying authority with the passing of Eldred G Smith which the Lord said should be held in "“honorable remembrance from generation to generation.” There was no revelation to remove the office.
  3. The claim that Elijah has restored all ordinances and power per D&C 110 (1835) when Joseph said in 6 different lectures between 1841 and 1844 that He had yet to come to restore the power of Elijah. I've cited all 6 lectures as found in the Joseph Smith Papers elsewhere.
  4. The stakes of Zion were not supposed to be governed by the Apostles.
  5. “Now as the Twelve have no power with regard to the government of the Church in the Stakes of Zion, but the High Council have all power, so it follows that on removal of the first President, the office would devolve upon the President of the High Council in Zion …the Twelve… were aware of these facts but acted differently.” (Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, Doubleday, (New York, 1984), pp. 206-207.)
  6. Meant to have full transparency of all church resources especially tithing.
  7. Today require tithing even if you can't afford food from the original revelation of surplus ( as said by Lorenzo Snow "who has means" which church manuals removed.)
  8. The congregation no longer kneels with the priests for the sacrament per D&C 20 and Moroni 4-5 commanding the congregation to do so. ("they did kneel down with the church" vs 2)
  9. Changing of the word "wine" to "water".
  10. Apostles were once required to have seen the ressurected Lord but now are only required to have a testimony via the Holy Ghost that He lives. "Never cease striving until you have seen God face to face.... Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid His hand upon you. We require as much to qualify us as did those who have gone before us; God is the same." (Joseph Smith Papers, Minute Book 1, 12 Feb. 1834, 27–29., here) Also "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us"(1 John 1:3) This is confirmed in the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood.
Rob Smith, a blogger, has outlined a few others here including:
  • For decades, the church actively misrepresented Joseph's practice of polygamy.
  • For decades, the church lied about plural marriage after the 1890 manifesto, claiming either that there were no church sanctioned plural marriages after 1890 or that the only sanctioned ones took place in Mexico where it was legal. Both were lies, as polygamy was just as illegal in Mexico and Michael Quinn documented very many sanctioned marriages post 1890 (authorized by the first presidency, and not just in Mexico).
  • For decades, the church said that Brigham Young's policy of not ordaining blacks to the priesthood and banning them from temple ordinances was a commandment from God. THIRTEEN subsequent presidents of the church maintained that position, calling the priesthood ban "not a matter of the declaration of policy but of direct commandment from the Lord." (Aug 17,1951 - Official First Presidency Statement). Of course, President Monson's administration has said that Brigham was wrong, and that it wasn't a commandment.
  • The church continues to misrepresent the history of the Nauvoo temple, which I have detailed elsewhere on this blog.
God will Seek Another People:
Just because the priesthood will not be taken from the Earth does not guarantee it will be the Latter Day Saints that retain it. 
His work will go forward in these last days in purity, for if Zion will not purify herself so as to be approved in all things in His sight, He will seek another people. For His work will go on until Israel is gathered. And they who will not hear His voice must expect to feel His wrath. (TPJS p. 18.)
 To the same effect, during the Mormon Reformation Heber C. Kimball said:
“We received this priesthood in power and authority. If we make a bad use of the priesthood do you not see that the day will come when God will reckon with us and he will take it from us and give it to those who will make better use of it?” (JD 6:125.)
 George Albert Smith said essentially the same thing:
“God has set his hand at the present time to establish his kingdom. But unless the Saints will so live and so exert themselves that they can preserve the purity of the holy Priesthood among them, the work will be left to other people.” (JD 6:161.)
 Brigham Young said essentially the same thing.
“God will preserve a portion of the meek and the humble of this people to bear off the Kingdom to the inhabitants of the earth, and will defend His Priesthood; for it is the last time, the last gathering time; and He will not suffer the Priesthood to be again driven from the earth. ” (JD2:184.)
If we are today in a state of Apostasy, than those who are found within it are not going to teach it. Therefore we must rely upon the scriptures and specially the Book of Mormon along with much "prayer and fasting" yielding our hearts "unto understanding".
“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. How much more dignified and noble are the thoughts of God, than the vain imaginations of the human heart! … (Teachings: Joseph Smith, Chapter 22, Gaining Knowledge of Eternal Truths)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Testing Truth: Two Prophets Among Us

Any test we use to test truth is only valid when that test does not reject Christ. 

What if there were two men... one of the men never claimed that he was a prophet, never claimed that he had received a message from the Lord to deliver to the people, and never claimed that the words he delivered were from God.  What if people assumed he were a prophet because of his administrative position in an organization and assumed that what he spoke was God's will for them and was God's message to them?  Would he be responsible for people assuming things about him and his message that he never claimed himself?  Would the people who assumed those things be justified in doing so?

What if the second man did claim that he had spoken with God and what if he did claim that God had given him a message to deliver to the people?  What if the message was consistent with the scriptures and brought light and truth?  But what if that man did not hold an administrative position in the organization?  Would the people be justified to ignore the message because the second man did not have the required credentials they expected him to have?  Would God be wrong to allow something like this to happen or to work in this way?
What if the first man in this hypothetical example were Caiphas, the High Priest of the Jewish people during the time of Christ?  What if the second man were John the Bapist?  Looking back at these men through the lens of what has been passed down through history and the scriptures, do we find it upsetting to think that John was a prophet and Caiphas was not?  How about the Jewish people in that day?  What would they think of John's claims when they believed Caiphas to be the high priest?  What if the Jewish people had been taught that God would only deliver his words through the high priest? 

Do we find it upsetting or incorrect to believe that God used John to deliver his message rather than Caiphas?  What if God did that in order to test the people?

What if God chose to do this same type of thing again in our day?  Is He (God) allowed to work like this in our day? or would He be constrained by the teachings of modern day leaders that have taught us that if God is going to send a message, it will only come through the leader at the top of the administrative hierarchy of an organization?

We have seen that people were offended by Christ Teachings. The Jewish leaders asked him where his authority came from.  Why wasn't Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, made the high priest of the religious organization of the day? Why did he instead choose to avoid all earthly priestly authority and serve the weakest and mingle with the poor and diseased?

In the story of David who was exalted upon an earthly throne, he lost his exaltation and fell. (d&c 132) perhaps the Lord learned from the mistakes of this man who went before him and learned from sad experience that almost all men use their priestly authority to control others. Perhaps this is why he instead served instead of reigning. The Jewish leaders expected the Messiah to be a great king. But what manner of men was He? A man of Galilee? Is He not the example?