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)

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Discernment: False Spirits

"The battle we are all called upon to fight is not external.  Some people spend their time stirring people up to alarm them about carnal security.  They are usually trying to sell something. There are fortunes being made by proponents of fear.  But the audience for such things are only being distracted from a much greater, more immediate, and more personal battle.  Until the internal condition of the individual has been conquered and brought into alignment with heaven, there is no amount of political, social, economic, or military security which will matter in the long run. 
It’s more advisable to seek for and listen to the Lord—and secondarily, those teachers who will convert you to the Lord—rather than any other advice or movement advocated by those promoting causes.  Teachers ought always to point to Him. Never to themselves. No one but the Lord is coming to rescue you; and no group will be able to overcome error apart from Him. Ultimately, the battle we each face is the Lord’s.  We must cooperate with Him for Him to be able to win it, in us. When He does, however, the victory is ours, for we are the ones that He redeems. 
The path back to the Lord’s presence is an individual one.  It is not likely to be accomplished while in an audience. There is no “support group” needed.  It is you—what goes on inside you; what you love most. He will one day associate with a group in a city, but that group will be comprised of individuals who have previously met Him. 
It surprises me how little discernment there is among those claiming to seek truth.  Many of them will take in ideas from foolish, vain, and proud sources with as much enthusiasm as from a true one.  How is it that people cannot tell the difference between them? Does not a true message sound much different from a false one?  Is merely associating some lesser virtue with a cause enough to have it have persuasive power and distract you? What is more plain than the admonishment to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? Whenever there is an increase in spiritual manifestations, there is always an increase in both true and false spiritual phenomena. You do not get one without the other. 
In Kirtland, new converts (who were overzealous to participate in the new heavenly manifestations coming as a result of Joseph Smith’s claims) opened themselves up to receiving influences they could not understand and did not test for truthfulness. They were so delighted to have any kind of experience, they trusted anything “spiritual” was from God. As a result, there were many undignified things, degrading conduct, foolish behavior, and evil influences which crept in among the saints. Joseph received a revelation in May 1831 concerning this troubling development. In it the Lord cautioned there were “many false spirits deceiving the world” (D&C 50:2); that Satan wanted to overthrow what the Lord was doing (D&C 50:3). The presence of hypocrites and of people harboring secret sins and abominations caused false claims to be accepted (D&C 50:4,6-7). It is required for all people to proceed in truth and in righteousness (D&C 50:9) if they are going to avoid deception, meaning that unrepentant and unforgiven men will not be able to distinguish between a true and a false spirit.All spiritual gifts, including distinguishing between true and false spirits, requires the Holy Ghost, given through obedience to the truth, which allows a person to distinguish between truth and error—or truth being light, and error being darkness (D&C 50:17-23). The truth is like light, and when you follow the light of truth it grows inside you until you have a “perfect day” in which there is no more darkness, but everything is illuminated by the light of the spirit within you (D&C 50:24). In that light you are able to see clearly the difference between light and darkness, the shadows, and the pitch black. 
The revelation clarifies that a preacher of truth will become only a servant. He will not claim greatness but will seek only to give truth, as a result of which false spirits will be subject to him (D&C 50:26-27). But this only comes as a result of repenting of all sin, because the light of a perfect day cannot arise when men harbor evil desires and inappropriate ambitions within their hearts (D&C 50:28-29). Truth will not leave you confused but will enlighten your understanding (D&C 50:31). 
From this you can see how necessary it is for each one of us to continually repent, conduct our lives in conformity with such truth as you presently understand, and avoid deliberate wrongdoing in order to be able to distinguish between a true and a false spirit. You must attract light into yourself. It is attracted by obedience to such light as you already have. When you proceed forward using the light you already possess to attract more light, it will grow in one consistent and truthful manner from a lesser to a greater light, all of it conforming to the teachings of Jesus Christ. 
Ambition in spiritual gifts leads to acceptance of evil influences. As part of the same problem in Kirtland, in September of the previous year, Hiram Page wanted to be like Joseph and was able to attract a deceiving spirit to communicate with him through a seer stone. But the commandments he received were designed to lead him into error (D&C 28:11). 
Truth will always testify of Christ and lead to repentance. It will lead you to do good, not evil; to serve God and to not seek and obtain ambition to have men follow you, to have men praise you;  to repent and forsake darkness which appeals to the carnal mind is the effect that truth has (see Moroni 7:12-19).Just because you have a “spiritual experience,” you cannot trust it will invariably be from God. 
True spirits will: 
  • Testify of Christ.
  • Lead to repentance.
  • Be consistent with existing scripture.
  • Lead you to be submissive to authority that comes from God—and God alone.
  • Edify and enlighten your mind.
  • Be understandable and not cause confusion.
  • Cause light to grow within you.
  • Turn you toward Christ, not toward men.
  • It will never cause pride.
  • It will make you a better servant. You will be able to bless the lives of others.
  • It will increase your love of your fellow man.
  • It will clothe you with charity for the failings of others, instead of making you judgmental and proud.
  • It will conform to the true whisperings of the Holy Ghost you previously have received.
  • It will leave you humble and grateful for God’s condescension.
  • It will make you want to bring others to that same light.
  • It will be grounded in love toward God and all mankind.
  • It will lead you to rejoice.  
Contrariwise, false spirits will lead you to: 
  • Deny Chris or to diminish his importance; or to relegate him to a status other than the Redeemer, the Savior.
  • False spirits will give you messages that bring about your pride.
  • They will make you believe you are better because of the experience.
  • They will contradict the scriptures.
  • They will appeal to carnality and self-indulgence, tending to have you violate the ten commandments and to make your violation of the ten commandments something that is viewed as excusable or justified, reasonable, or that God approves it, when He does not.
  • It will lead you to rebel against those who preach the truth.
  • It will cause you confusion.
  • It will lead to ambition to try to control others.
  • It will make you intolerant of other people’s failings, and you’ll judge and dismiss them.
  • False spirits cause people to seek self fulfillment rather than service to their fellow man.
  • False spirits appeal to your vanity and assure you that you are a great person. In fact, part of the message that succeeds comes about from false spirits precisely because it reassures people that they are great, that they are better than others. This brings about darkness in your mind; it repulses the Holy Ghost; it prevents you from understanding your sins repenting and forsaking them. It interferes with your ability to serve others.  It makes you focus on yourself rather than the needs of others.
You should never think that all spiritual experiences can be trusted. There is no difference between the activities of deceiving spirits today and those in Kirtland (as well as those in the New Testament times). If you follow the Lord, you must still test the spirits and only follow those which point to Christ (see 1 John 4:1). Even Joseph Smith had to ask God about some of the phenomena going on in Kirtland before he knew which were of God and which were deceiving. 
There are those today who are enjoying some success, and they target, specifically, people that have accepted the new covenant. They tell you that you are great, you are chosen; and they can assure you and confer upon you even greater blessings. What follows in the wake of their ministry though is pride, self indulgence, disobedience, and in turn, their minds become darkened, and they wind up committing serious sins. I’ve had a number of them come and talk to me, confessing serious sins. But they were misled at the beginning because they thought that these phenomenal spiritual experiences that people boast of could be trusted. 
I hardly mention the spiritual experiences that I have had. That’s for a purpose. I do not want people pointing to me and saying, “There is a great man.”  I want people looking at the message, evaluating the content of the message; testing it against scripture, seeing whether it brings them closer to Christ; seeing whether their faith in Christ is increased, whether their trust in our Lord grows.  It doesn’t matter that a weak and flawed instrument gets used.  And I consider myself only that. What matters is the truth to be found through Christ.  The people who are most vocal about their great spiritual enlightenment almost invariably quickly begin to teach things that are anti-Christ, that are opposed to Him and opposed to His teachings, opposed to the commandments that He has given. 
There is no higher order of things that justifies disobedience to the ten commandments.  There is no higher order of things that allows you to disregard the teachings to be found by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount, in which He elaborates on and extends what it requires in the heart to obey the ten commandments.  If you find yourself following someone whose preaching and teaching and visionary experiences suggest to you that there is no need to obey the Lord, that there is no need to follow Christ, that you needn’t look to the commandments given in the ten commandments (which Christ elaborated upon and made personal, as our individual challenges within our own hearts, in the Sermon on the Mount), then rest assured that message—if they are preaching against that—they are misled by a false spirit.  I don’t care how elaborate and how wonderful their message may be cloaked.
I’ve tried to preach from the scriptures and rarely mention anything of a personal experience. I only do so when I am constrained or commanded to do so.  If people knew all that I had experienced— Well, they never will. At least not while I’m living. It just doesn’t edify; it distracts. God has made His will known. God does appear to men today. The heavens are open for business. But hell is eager to jump into that same track. When you’ve opened up a conduit for spiritual communication, that conduit can be just as compromised by the evil as it can be used by the good, the pure, and the true.  Therefore, try the spirits. Test them. Examine them and their message against the criteria I’ve just discussed."(Podcast, Episode 53, Discernment - Part 3)

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Eve Under Adams Rule

Marriage was, in the beginning, between one man and one woman, and was intended to remain so for the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve, that they may multiply and replenish the earth. (TC 157)
I would like to bring up another point that's been on my mind. Why was "Eve" put under "Adams" rule.

There was another condition required to enable Christ to lawfully redeem the daughters of Eve as well as the sons of Adam. The parable of the creation includes this step to put Eve under Adam’s responsibility. The account explains that Eve (and by extension her daughters) was put under Adam’s rule. Adam was handed responsibility and accountability for Eve. These are the words in the parable: "Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." (See Genesis) Adam was made accountable to “rule” in the fallen world. All the mistakes, mismanagements, failings, wars, and difficulties of mortality are the responsibility of the appointed “ruler.” Adam would not have been accountable for Eve unless she was made subject to his “rule.” Once under Adam’s rule, the redemption of Adam became also the redemption of Eve. Therefore Adam and the sons of Adam, and Eve and the daughters of Eve, were all rescued through Christ’s atonement for mankind. (See TC Glossary Terms "Ruler")

It is my belief that most of our turmoils and problems come from not understanding the character of God and His plan in trying to redeem mankind. There are reasons He does what he does, and by ignoring those symbols all we are doing is forgetting what he was trying to teach us. Misunderstandings lead to assumptions. Assumptions lead to confusion.

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Character of God: The light by Which Ye Shall Judge

Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the Devil. ... For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil. ... And the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge as the daylight is from the dark night. ... And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge, yeshall also be judged. ... Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil. (NC Moroni 7:3)
Walking in the Lords Path:
What is the way that light operates in regards to the darkness? If you look at the night verus the day, the light reveals darkness. It brings all things into view. It allows you to see. Darkness on the other hand still has different levels of "light". Pitch black is the absence of light. But as you grow in light the path becomes more visible in front of you. After gaining light it begins to reveal things you never have before may have seen or understood. But still it may look like the day time in regards to what you were previously exposed to and in comparison is bright. Yet It could still only be the light that is comparable to the stars. Or the moon which is yet brighter but not as bright as the sun. 

What is light?:
Mormonism is truth, in other words the doctrine of the Latter-day Saints, is truth (Joseph Smith)
The lord tells us "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. ...How can you say, You shall be made free? (NC TofJ 6:14)". In another place the Lord defines light and how He uses that light versus the "wicked one"
"The glory of God is intelligence, or in other words, Light and Truth. ...Light and Truth forsake that evil one. ... And that wicked one comes and takes away light and truth through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers. ... But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth." (TC 93:11)
The light that exposed the darkness is light and truth or intelligence. Whereas the wicked one that brings darkness does so by taking "away light and truth". By the "tradition of their fathers" he brings that about or men failing to give heed to that light when it enters the world. Because the lord only invites with persuasion he will never force us to receive what he offers always willing to allow us to continue in our own way.

How to Judge the Light?
To avoid deception we must have light. Light comes to us by keeping His commandments (TC 93:9). The defect Moses perceived in Lucifer tempting him (as stated in Genesis 1:3) was not merely in his presence. Satan was (and is) an angel. Section 69 of Teachings & Commandments, verse 6 describes him as “an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God” and was cast down. Such a being does not look vile. Visually, he may appear to have light and glory. Although a liar, he uses his appearance as a pretense to be an angel of light.

Moses was able to discern between Satan and an actual messenger from God, but that had nothing to do with the appearance of Satan. It was because of the content of the message. Moses distinguished between his message and the Lord’s. The Lord’s was a message of glory, which is intelligence, or in other words, light and truth. Satan’s message takes you into a dark and dreary waste (See TC Glossary "Angel of Light")

The Holy Ghost:
When the Lord works among the children of men he does so by giving us light and truth that we may know how to judge correctly. Joseph Smith said this of the Holy Ghost, "The Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence. It is more powerful in expanding the mind, enlightening the understanding, and storing the intellect with present knowledge..." (The Words of Joseph Smith, page 4)

Holy Ghost is always accompanied by intelligence. It brings understanding. It expands the mind. Whereas when Satan speaks what he offers may appear at first as light to those who sit in darkness, those with understanding will see it for what it is, it only brings condemnation and confusion. That is why it's also called a "revelator" to reveal things hidden or reveal intelligence, light and truth. 

When Joseph received the Holy Ghost he said this regarding the scriptures,
Our minds being now enlightened, we began to have the scriptures laid open to our understandings, and the true meaning and intention of their more mysterious passages revealed unto us in a manner which we never could attain to previously, nor ever before had thought of. (TC JS-H 14:4)
When the Lord works among the children of men that is how He communicates for He is "light and truth" for "the glory of god is intelligence" (TC 93:11). The Holy Ghost is the source of renewed light that always enlightens when it comes. Its witness to us that we are on the right path and is the only way to wage the necessary war against entropy which seeks to take you into darkness.

The Destroyer or Wicked One:
When a people are "cursed" is another way of saying the people have been put under "condemnation". Its the absence of light. Darkness. Its the inability to accept that light which the lord freely offers as mentioned earlier. In 1832 the Lord put the entire gentile church under condemnation for rejecting that light given. I use this to illustrate  what it "looks" like when we are condemned so that we may see, the patterns in our own lives and not come under condemnation.
And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received, which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. ... And this condemnation rests upon the children of Zion, even all, and they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon, and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do, according to that which I have written, that they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s Kingdom. (TC 82:20)  
Revelation is defined as "an act of revealing or communicating divine truth" or "something that is revealed by God to humans" (Websters Dictionary). To reveal or make known things you may have never before considered or thought of. Revelation is largely based upon expanding your understanding of scripture. The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion but also the keystone to revelation itself. Intended to open our eyes to things we have not seen before. Its a giant Urim & Thummin for our benefit.

The Scriptures: The Book of Mormon is a Covenant:
The Book of Mormon was given for a purpose. It was given as a covenant to guide our daily lives.
The Lord always sought to reestablish people of covenant among the living, and therefore have desired that man should love one another, not begrudgingly, but as brothers and sisters indeed, that He may establish His covenant and provide us with light and truth.

The Book of Mormon was given as a standard to govern ourselves in our daily walk in life, to receive the obligations established by the Book of Mormon, and to use the scriptures to correct ourselves and to guide our words, thoughts and deeds. Also the Book of Mormon is to convince the gentiles, and a remnant of Lehi, and the Jews that Jesus Christ Savior of the world. All must come unto Him or they cannot be saved. And how do men come unto Him? It is by faith, repentance, and baptism, which bring the Holy Ghost, to then show you all things you must know. If the gentiles, unto whom the Book of Mormon was given, had hearkened unto the Holy Ghost, they would have come unto me in Hyrum and Joseph’s day. But they did not hearken, and would not allow Him to abide with them in word, and in power, and in very deed.

Causing us to Forget: The Veil of Unbelief:
All that is required for Satan to get the children of men to fall away and reject light and truth is to cause us all to forget. Forget truth, forget light, an absence of light and darkness. The opposite of the character or attributes of God. A symbol used by god of this is the Veil, as Ether called it the Veil of Unbelief. Unbelief being the opposite of belief. Incorrect idea of God or absence of truth and light. (false ideas or traditions)

For example, Woman are veiled to show that in a fallen world, trapped by decay and death, creation continues through her. Life springs anew and what is sacred and pure is born into mortal life. It would not be proper to remove the ceremonial veiling from the woman unless the intention was to abort the symbol of new life and creation. It destroys the symbol of the sacred power given to woman. The destroyer, of course, seeks to end life and impose misrule and death.

Unbelief veils us from the other side of the veil. If we had belief, the veil could be rent even now,
For behold, I am the Father. I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world. Come unto me, O ye gentiles, and I will shew unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief. Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you because of unbelief. Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you — yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name with a broken heart and a contrite spirit — then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel. And then shall my revelations which I have caused to be written by my servant John be unfolded in the eyes of all the people. (NC Ether 1:19)
The Character of God:
When it comes to the character of God, that is one of the biggest unbelief's the children of men have. They have an incorrect idea of the characters, attributes and perfections of God. In the lectures on Faith Joseph said,
Let us here observe that three things are necessary in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation.
  1. First, the idea that he actually exists. 
  2. Secondly, a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes.
  3. Thirdly, an actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing is according to His will. (TC LOF 3:2-5)
And so "that without correct ideas of his character, men could not have power to exercise faith in him unto life and salvation" (TC LOF 4:20).

God is Love: God is unchangeable: God cannot lie:
These three things are just three of the characters that were defined in the LOF. If you believed god was a changeable god than you could never exercise faith in him because you would never know what at any given time was required for salvation. It would change. Who he was would change. You could never truly understand God so that you may become like Him. But the requirement for salvation is the same for every person who walks on this earth. The commandments never change.

God cannot lie. If could lie, than we could never trust what he was saying to us. He won't lie. There is often a doctrine known among some called "lying for the lord". These ideas are false. It is never acceptable to lie to some publicly than do something different in secret. That is what is called "works in darkness" or "secret works". Doing something while proclaiming something entirely different. I know some like to claim that Abraham lied about his wife so in some cases its acceptable. But in some writings they say that Abraham had told the truth.

Another example is proclaiming that polygamy is adultery, excommunicating people for it, than having that person do it in "secret" when everything publicly proclaimed on the matter contradicts those proclaimed "secret meetings". That is what Joseph did publicly regarding polygamy but others try to claim he practiced it in secret. That's a different post.