Why I began this in the first placeThe purpose of this blog was ever to express truth that leads to Christ. This was a calling to teach I accepted after inquiring of God, fasting, and praying about what He would have me do, though I admit I am bad at it. This blog was the format I chose for doing that, which I asked God for permission in doing, and which I received. I was given the name for this blog through prayer as well.
Alma 4:19 And this he did that he himself might go forth among his people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in Pure Testimony against them.It has been suggested to me that this blog is damaging to the church’s reputation. I would argue that the church has nothing to fear from me. I am nothing. I am small, insignificant, and a woman no less. If “all is well” (Spencer W. Kimball, or similar wording by Thomas S. Monson April 2009) in this church then nothing I have to say about it should matter. If everything our leadership does is divinely directed, then nothing I say otherwise matters.
But if there is any truth to what I have said and what others’ have said, then there is a real and pressing need for change. If things are really wrong, then we have a need to get back on track. If God’s chosen people and God’s chosen, one true church has lost its focus, isn’t it worth mentioning? Isn’t it worth looking into? Or is it a requirement to shut up and ignore the signs? Are we forbidden to mention it? Or are we too afraid, like the people in the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes? Are we labeled apostate if we point out that the emperor is naked?
Why is the church now, eager to attribute fault in our earlier leaders (Lds.org Race and the Priesthood)? But not willing to admit fault now? If we couldn’t trust the doctrine of the early leaders, why should that instill trust in our current ones?
Another PeopleWe can fail as a whole.
In Kirtland, January 14, 1833 Joseph Smith wrote a letter to William W. Phelps concerning the early saints in Jackson, Mississippi, who were attempting to establish Zion. This is what he said:
“I send you the ‘olive leaf’ which we have plucked from the Tree of Paradise, the Lord’s message of peace to us; for though our brethren in Zion indulge in feelings towards us, which are not according to the requirements of the new covenant, yet, we have the satisfaction of knowing that the Lord approves of us, and has accepted us, and established His name in Kirtland for the salvation of the nations; for the Lord will have a place whence His word will go forth, in these last days, in purity; for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved of 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. Let me say unto you, seek to purify yourselves, and also the inhabitants of Zion, lest the Lord’s anger be kindled to fierceness.”In this context, the saints in Missouri were failing to establish Zion, and the saints in Kirtland were taking on that responsibility by building a temple there instead. But this statement has wider applications.
The whole reason we have the gospel is because the Jews before us, in Jesus’ time, rejected it as a whole. Then the gentiles were given that privilege. When one chosen people rejects His message, God gives it to a people who will accept it. And His work will continue whether or not the first group invited to do it, actually does it.
I will mention that we, as a church, identify with Ephraim and with the tribes of Israel. However, in the dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple, our founder, Joseph Smith, labeled the identity of the church this way:
D&C 109:60 Now these words, O Lord, we have spoken before thee, concerning the revelations and commandments which thou hast given unto us, who are identified with the Gentiles.Granted the church has grown exponentially since then, but is predominantly run by descendants of the families Joseph then identified as gentiles.
In light of that, do these scriptures then also apply to us?
3 Nephi 16:4 And I command you that ye shall write these sayings after I am gone, that if it so be that my people at Jerusalem, they who have seen me and been with me in my ministry, do not ask the Father in my name, that they may receive a knowledge of you by the Holy Ghost, and also of the other tribes whom they know not of, that these sayings which ye shall write shall be kept and shall be manifested unto the Gentiles, that through the fullness of the Gentiles, the remnant of their seed, who shall be scattered forth upon the face of the earth because of their unbelief, may be brought in, or may be brought to a knowledge of me, their Redeemer.
3 Nephi 16:6-9 And blessed are the Gentiles, because of their belief in me, in and of the Holy Ghost, which witnesses unto them of me and of the Father. Behold, because of their belief in me, saith the Father, and because of the unbelief of you, O house of Israel, in the latter day shall the truth come unto the Gentiles, that the fullness of these things shall be made known unto them. But wo, saith the Father, unto the unbelieving of the Gentiles—for notwithstanding they have come forth upon the face of this land, and have scattered my people who are of the house of Israel; and my people who are of the house of Israel have been cast out from among them, and have been trodden under feet by them; And because of the mercies of the Father unto the Gentiles, and also the judgments of the Father upon my people who are of the house of Israel, verily, verily, I say unto you, that after all his, and I have caused my people who are of the house of Israel to be smitten, and to be afflicted, and to be slain, and to be cast out from among them, and to become hated by them, and to become a hiss and a byword among them—“
3 Nephi 16:10-12 And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fullness 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 fullness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father I will bring the fullness of my gospel from among them. And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them. And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fullness of my gospel.”In these scriptures, Jesus was prophesying to the Nephites. He tells about how the Book of Mormon will be manifest unto the Gentiles. And it further identifies who these Gentiles are by explaining that they are the ones that come to this land and scatter the people here who are of the house of Israel. He then further predicts, that although these Gentiles will have received the Book of Mormon and the fullness with it, that, “at that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fullness of my gospel…” There is no question whether that will happen or not. He has made it clear that it would. (All of this chapter is worth the read and worth the contemplation, 3 Nephi 16)
In His own words, when that occurs He will take what was offered and give it to another people, a promised people, a people that have been scattered in this land, and have been smitten by the ones through whom the gospel was offered.
A scripture discussing more about the rejection of the fullness of the gospel by the Gentiles:
D&C 45:28-21 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 fullness of my gospel; But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men. And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. 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.This was a revelation given to Joseph Smith in 1831, notice that at that time, the fullfillment of the times of the gentiles (who he identified the church with) was still a future event. That means it was not talking about the Great Apostasy, but about us.
The Fullness of the GospelSo what is this all important “fullness of the gospel?”
D&C 76:13-14 Even those things which were from the beginning before the world was, which were ordained of the Father, through his Only Begotten Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, even from the beginning; of whom we bear record; and the record which we bear is the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the Son, whom we saw and with whom we conversed in the heavenly vision.
D&C 76:19-20 And while we meditated upon these things, the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings and they were opened, and the glory of the Lord shone round about. And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fullness;
D&C 20:8-9 And gave him power from on high, by the means which were before prepared, to translate the Book of Mormon; which contains a record of a fallen people, and the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles and to the Jews also;
D&C 84:19-25 And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness if manifest. And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father and live. 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 fullness of his glory. Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;In the last scripture a greater priesthood is discussed. This priesthood is required to perform ordinances where the power of godliness is manifest in the flesh, without which no man can see the face of God the Father and live. The fullness of the gospel would require us to have this greater priesthood along with its ordinances, which we commonly understand in the church to be Melchizedek priesthood and our temple ordinances. Continuing on with the next verse…
D&C 84:26 And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel. Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.From this scripture we can glean, that since they were left with a lesser priesthood and a preparatory gospel, that the fullness of the gospel is described in the earlier verses, the ones that discuss the mysteries of the kingdom, the key of the knowledge of God, and seeing the face of God.
…Something of which Moses did. Something of which, Joseph Smith did. And since this fullness of the gospel is contained in the Book of Mormon, if this is truly the fullness of the gospel, we will be able to see proof of this within the Book of Mormon as well.
2 Nephi 11:2-3 And now I, Nephi, write more of the words of Isaiah, for my soul delighteth in his words. For I will liken his words unto my people, and I will send them forth unto all my children, for he verily saw my Redeemer, even as I have seen him. And my brother, Jacob, also has seen him as I have seen him; wherefore, I will send their words forth unto my children to prove unto them that my words are true. Wherefore, by the words of three, God hath said, I will establish my word. Nevertheless, God sendeth more witnesses, and he proveth all his words.
2 Nephi 31:15 And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.
2 Nephi 32:2-7 Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost? 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. Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand then 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.
For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do. Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.
And now I, Nephi cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.Now in case you’re thinking that this manifestation of Christ was the one accomplished when He appeared before the Nephites, and not a personal manifestation as with Nephi, Jacob, the brother of Jared (Ether 3:13), and Moroni (Ether 12:39), this is what He said to the Nephites he came to, who He had allowed to feel of His wounds.
3 Nephi 18:25 And ye see that I have commanded that none of you should go away, but rather have commanded that ye come unto me, that ye might feel and see; even so shall ye do unto the world; and whosoever breaketh this commandment suffereth himself to be led into temptation.The Nephites were commanded to come, to “feel and see” the Lord, and this was what they were told to do with the world, command them to come unto Christ, that they also could feel and see.
Looking at these examples in the Book of Mormon of individuals seeing the face of God or His Son (which Son is the way to the Father: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6), while they are still alive, the similarities of our own temple ordinances should come to mind. This is what they point to as well, this power of godliness. And here we have examples of the fullness of the gospel that the Gentiles will reject.
How could the fullness be rejected?First we could lose the higher priesthood that was introduced by Joseph Smith.
D&C 124:28-35 For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fullness of the priesthood.
For a baptismal font there is not upon the earth, that they, my saints may be baptized for those who are dead—For this ordinance belongeth to my house, and cannot be acceptable to me, only in the days of your poverty, wherein ye are not able to build a house unto me. But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me; and during this time your baptisms shall be acceptable unto me.
But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God.
For verily I say unto you, that after you have had sufficient time to build a house to me, wherein the ordinance of baptizing for the dead belongeth, and for which the same was instituted from before the foundation of the world, your baptisms for your dead cannot be acceptable unto me; For therein are the keys of the holy priesthood ordained, that you may receive honor and glory. And after this time, your baptisms for the dead, by those who are scattered abroad, are not acceptable unto me, saith the Lord.
D&C 124:44-48 If ye labor with all your might, I will consecrate that spot that it shall be made holy. And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people behold verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.
But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them.
And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfill the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord.
For instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practice before me, saith the Lord.This was revelation concerning the building of the Nauvoo Temple. You’ll notice at this point that the fullness of the priesthood had been taken from the saints and that God required a temple built in order to restore it.
And as we know they did build the temple. But it wasn’t completed until after Joseph and Hyrum were killed. And the saints were moved out of their place, despite the Lord’s promise that if they were obedient that they would “not be moved out of their place.” They began a long, heartbreaking and difficult trek out west.
So what do you think that means?
Were they able to have the greater priesthood restored to them, and God didn’t keep His promise?
Or did they squander their allotted time, and, like with the Israelites when Moses and the Holy Priesthood were taken from them, did the saints have Joseph and the Holy Priesthood taken from them as well?
Furthermore, Joseph encouraged the saints to receive more through the fullness of the gospel:
“The other Comforter spoken of is a subject of great interest, and perhaps understood by few of this generation. After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted.
“When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th verses.“Note the 16,17,18,21,23 verses:“‘16. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;“'17. Even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.“'18. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you…“'21. He that hath my commandment, and keepeth them he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.“'23. If a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.’“Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when 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, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions--Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn.” Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pgs.150-151
“Now, there is some grand secret here, and keys to unlock the subject. Notwithstanding the apostle exhorts them to add to their faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, etc., yet he exhorts them to make their calling and election sure. And though they had heard an audible voice from heaven bearing testimony that Jesus was the Son of God [Mt 17:5], yet he says we have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed as unto a light shining in a dark place. Now, wherein could they have a more sure word of prophecy than to hear the voice of God saying, This is my beloved Son?“Now for the secret and grand key. Though they might hear the voice of God and know that Jesus was the Son of God, this would be no evidence that their calling and election was made sure, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God. Then, having this promise sealed unto them, it was an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. Though the thunders might roll and lightnings flash, and earthquakes bellow, and war gather thick around, yet this hope and knowledge would support the soul in every hour of trial, trouble and tribulation. Then knowledge through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.“Compare this principle once with Christendom at the present day, and where are they, with all their boasted religion, piety and sacredness while at the same time they are crying out against prophets, apostles, angels, revelations, prophesying and visions, etc. Why, they are just ripening for the damnation of hell. They will be damned, for they reject the most glorious principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and treat with disdain and trample under foot the key that unlocks the heavens and puts in our possession the glories of the celestial world. Yes, I say, such will be damned, with all their professed godliness. Then I would exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until you make your calling and election sure for yourselves, by obtaining this more sure word of prophecy, and wait patiently for the promise until you obtain it.” Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pgs. 298-299
The founder of this church, and prophet of the restoration taught more about this fuller part of the gospel than what we teach now.“We have no claim in our eternal compact, in relation to eternal things, unless our actions and contracts and all things tend to this. But after all this, you have got to make your calling and election sure. If this injunction would lie largely on those to whom it was spoken, how much more those of the present generation!“1st key: Knowledge is the power of salvation. 2nd key: Make your calling and election sure. 3rd key: It is one thing to be on the mount and hear the excellent voice, etc., and another to hear to voice declare to you, You have a part and lot in that kingdom.” Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg.306
Are these things Joseph taught openly to his congregations still accepted within this church? Are they still taught openly? Or are they kept for only a few? If so, that is not in keeping with D&C 93, verse 1: “Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am…”
Or with 2 Nephi 26:33:
For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.Do we no longer teach that these blessings are ones we should seek for in this life?
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon had something to say about that after the vision they experienced and recorded in D&C 76.
D&C 76:116-118 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; 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.Could we reject the fullness in another way?
D&C 1:15 For they have strayed from my ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;Many of our ordinances (if not all) have been altered, and continue to be altered today. As I pointed out in Aligning our definition of doctrine with the doctrine of Christ, even the original revelation on baptism is different that what we now use, it’s different than what Christ gave to us to say in His visit with the Nephites. Our endowment ceremonies have undergone endless alterations. Our washing and anointings are different. Our sealings and our understanding of them are different. Our sacraments are different. If these ordinances that Joseph Smith left for us, really hold the key to the mysteries of godliness (and the fullness of the gospel), why do we keep messing with them? Is it really that far fetched that God is calling for baptisms now (and again) according to the way He established it in the Book of Mormon, considering that?
The Key Ingredient to Forming ZionIf we no longer accept and teach the things that we ought to, our ability to form/be a part of Zion is also gone.
For example, Hebrews 8:10-11:
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
Moses 7:18 And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.If we no longer accept the fullness of the gospel that involves knowing the Lord in this life (as the Nephites did both before, at, and after his coming) as an essential part of the gospel, how can we expect to know the Lord ourselves, or expect our neighbor or brother to know Him?
If we do not know how to become one with God, how can we learn to be one with each other?
D&C 35:2 I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on my name, that they may become the sons of God, even one in me as I am one in the Father, as the Father is one in me, that we may be one.How can we become one with God, if we are taught and expect a representative to know God for us and tell us what He says, so that we can be led to Zion? Is this really knowing the Lord for ourselves? I've discussed more about this topic here.
Another way the fullness could be rejectedIf the scriptures I have mentioned previously are true, and apply to us, today, and we have been guilty of unknowingly rejecting the fullness as it was offered to us, then true to patterns in the scripture, there would have to be a reminder. God always warns His people, and gives them a chance to correct their errors before leaving them to their own way. So there would be a message somewhere to us, if this were true.
There is such a message to us today.
If you are satisfied with what you already have and know, and do not wish to know more about the fullness of the gospel and how you can partake of it personally, being taught through scripture and trial and error, then don’t read this book: The Second Comforter: Conversing with the Lord Through the Veil.
If you are content with the story of the church's history we learn in our manuals, the lds website and Sunday School, and do not wish to know how we might have erred and forfeited our privileges and how this fulfills scripture (more than I have described up until this point), then don’t read this book: Passing the Heavenly Gift. You also won’t want to know that the author of this book was excommunicated from the church for writing it, and his appeal was denied by the first presidency, making the message of all these materials rejected by the church.
If you don’t want to know what God’s message is to us now...
... then definitely don’t read or listen to any of these ten lectures.
You should also probably not consider that since Elder Nelson’s declaration about the sustaining vote in October 2014, that whatever decisions they make whether right or wrong, and while we sustain them in their callings, makes us complicit in that decision. Therefore anything they might accept or reject, we also accept or reject by sustaining them in their calling. (Note these scriptures: Matthew 5:33-34, Ether 8:13-15 and see if they apply here)
Here is the quote:
“Our sustaining of prophets is a personal commitment that we will do our utmost to uphold their prophetic priorities. Our sustaining is an oath-like indication that we recognize their calling as a prophet to be legitimate and binding upon us,” Elder NelsonYou might wonder, why wouldn’t the message about returning to the fullness be coming from our leaders? I have wondered that myself. By all accounts, it should have been coming from them. The fact that it is not is something you will have to consider, and pray about (or not, since you aren’t interested in any of this). If the message for some reason wasn’t being delivered by them, God would find another way to do it. It’s His way, and His pattern (think of Old Testament Samuel, BoM Samuel the Lamanite, and Abinidi).
On a personal note: I came across the material linked above to disprove it, believing that this man had to be a charlatan, and knowing the Spirit would testify of the truth. I was right about the Spirit, but wrong about everything else. Instead of telling me the material was false, the Spirit humbled me and convinced me of my own folly. If this is not something you’re interested in, then I’m definitely not suggesting you do likewise.
“One of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism’ is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.” Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 199
Articles of Faith:13 We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.I will say, that as far as the test in Moroni 7, these materials, to my eyes, pass with flying colors. Judge (or don’t) the matter for yourself.
Moroni 7:10-14 Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift.
For behold a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil.
Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.
But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.
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.These are some scriptures on the matter of receiving messages from God that you won’t want to read:
3 Nephi 28:34-35 And wo be unto him that will not hearken unto the words of Jesus, and also to them whom he hath chosen and sent among them; for whoso receiveth not the words of Jesus and the words of those whom he hath sent receiveth not him; and therefore he will not receive them at the last day; and it would be better for them if they had not been born…
Alma 10:23 But it is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared; now therefore, if ye will cast out the righteous from among you then will not the Lord stay his hand; but in his fierce anger he will come out against you; then ye shall be smitten by famine, and by pestilence, and by the sword; and the time is soon at hand except ye repent.
Helaman 13:14 But behold, it is for the righteous’ sake that it is spared. But behold, the time cometh, saith the Lord, that when ye shall cast out the righteous from among you, then shall ye be ripe for destruction; yea wo be unto this great city, because of the wickedness and abominations which are in her.The ramifications for rejecting a message from Jesus by not receiving it are very bad, as are the ramifications for rejecting those who do believe it. And what happens when a church that bears His name and claims to be His church, rejects something He’s offering to them is something like this, I would think:
2 Nephi 27:25 Forasmuch as this people draw near unto me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their hearts far from me, and their fear towards me is taught by the precepts of men—We will go on honoring Him with our lips, but ignoring what He is trying to do and to tell us, in favor of the precepts of men.
And this is how the fullness is rejected, in favor of something less, and the greater will move on to the promised people who have been scattered and forgotten in this land, just as their ancestor, Lehi was promised it would.
The pride of this peopleThe more I study the scriptures, the more I see they condemn us rather than vindicate us. The more I study the scriptures, the more I see our need to repent of the vanity, pride, and traditions that are holding us back. The more I look at the scriptures the more they seem to tell us that we are wrong, though our leaders keep telling us we are right.
No matter what we do, God will find a way to accomplish His work. That does not make us incapable of failure as a whole in the last days, it just makes Him incapable of failure.
Our pride and vanity tell us we are better than the Israelites who failed time and again. Our pride and vanity tell us we are better than the Jews who did not recognize their Lord in the midst of them. Our pride and vanity tell us we are more righteous because we have a continual line of prophets and apostles, all prophets, seers, and revelators (who by their fruits do not produce these things), and we attribute to this proof of our belief in continual revelation while we neglect and reject the greater things offered to us.
The scriptures speak of this pride. Nephi, after seeing the last days and being forbidden to write about what he saw, used the words of Isaiah which he had available to him, to describe our day, and described us with some of his own words as well.
2 Nephi 26:20 And the Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block, that they have built up many churches; nevertheless, they put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor.
2 Nephi 26:29, 31 He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion. But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.Should we consider that the brethren’s income is paid by our tithes? Should we consider that many of them, by virtue of the position they hold, have their own book deals with Deseret book, and receive royalties from this? Should we consider City Creek, and various other enterprises the leadership dabbles in? Is all of it laboring for Zion? Or is it laboring for money?
Is it priestcraft to require testimony of these men in order to get baptized and enter into membership of this church, even though it goes against the doctrine of Christ that we are commanded not to add to? Is it priestcraft to require testimony of these men in order to enter God's temple? Or is it setting themselves up as a light unto the church, and unto the world?
Drunk but not with wine
2 Nephi 27:4 For behold, all ye that doeth iniquity, stay yourselves and wonder, for ye shall cry out, and cry; yea, ye shall be drunken but not with wine, ye shall stagger but not with strong drink.I feel like I have seen and experienced this. I attended a musical program of sorts at BYU probably two years ago, which coincidentally was also attended by the recently passed Elder Tom Perry. The music was grand, the theme was grand and beautiful and moving, but the whole idea behind it, and the stories presented in person, through music, and in video was that the Lord will help us accomplish our dreams. The dreams of the individuals that were presented were success, money, and fame. We shouldn’t be so concerned with these things. Instead, we should know the Lord helps us to accomplish His will. However the excitement and emotion in the audience was tangible, and it filled the air and conversations of people was we filtered out after it was over. And I felt sick over it. I felt like we had all become drunk on this excitement.
Similarly, there are times when I feel we confuse the Holy Ghost with similar excitement and emotions, moving stories, even fear.
This is what the Prophet Joseph Smith said the Holy Ghost is:
“There are two Comforters spoken of. One is the Holy Ghost, the same as given on the day of Pentecost, and that all Saints receive after faith, repentance, and baptism. This first Comforter or Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence.” Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 149So when we are “feeling the Spirit” we should be receiving pure intelligence, not just a good feeling. We are learning about things, not just getting emotional.
Passing the philosophies of man mingled with scripture as truth relies on these tricks. Flattery, to bring a good feeling. Emotional stories to make us emotional. Fear to keep us in line and complacent with what we have. These are substitutes for the Holy Ghost that mislead us. The truth doesn’t need this. The Holy Ghost testifies of it as it is. If the Holy Ghost always made us feel good, there wouldn’t be people rejecting truth in the scriptures because it was “hard to hear.” Hearing that you are wrong and need to repent doesn’t feel good, but the Holy Ghost does tells us this. It humbles, instead of flatters. It teaches.
2 Nephi 27:5 For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep. For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets; and your rulers, and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquity.We favor the words of prophets who do not prophecy over the prophets’ words in scripture, calling the former’s words scripture all the while. Our seers do not see, as though they are covered. We are asleep to the fullness of the gospel, and to the awfulness of our situation.
Likewise is Jesus’ prophecy in Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:21:
Behold, these things I have spoken unto you concerning the Jews; and again, after the tribulations of those days which shall come upon Jerusalem, if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe him not;Lo, is Christ in the Salt Lake Temple’s Holy of Holies, where He converses daily with the brethren? Have you ever hear anyone say that? No? By the way, when the presence of God dwells in a temple or tabernacle that has been accepted by Him, there are clear signs that this is the case. This can be studied well in the Old Testament, as well as in prophecies of the last days. Moving on then…
Matthew 1:22 For in those days there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant.Does Jesus only visit people with special callings? Which they then can’t share with the rest of us? That’s not what Jesus has said anywhere. That must be a false Christ. Again, this is what Christ says, “Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;”
False prophets are interesting, because so few churches have people they revere as prophets, like we do. Fewer still have elect according to any covenant. But we certainly do. We have signs and wonders too, associated with hastening the work, temple construction, celebrity members and members that are politicians that draw the attention of the world. We have a movie about us. And conferences that we can attend in the comfort of our homes. And all the while praising these successes.
As a covenant people, because of the prophecy in this scripture, we all should be asking whether or not we are deceived. We can’t be unwilling to consider and pray about the possibility. We can’t accuse others of being deceived without having prayed about the same for ourselves, and taking a frank look at why we believe what we believe.
2 Nephi 28:3-6 For it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other: Behold, I, I am the Lord’s; and the others shall say: I, I am the Lord’s; and thus shall every one say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord—
And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance.
And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men.
Behold, and hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.Does this sound familiar? The work of God is now performed by all the ordained priesthood holders, he doesn’t need to do anything until he comes again, right? This denies the power of Christ. This denies the miracle He performs on every man who has ever experienced the true Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost which I have written about here and here. It neglects the connection with heaven every ordained individual must gain in order to have power in the priesthood. It denies the ministration of angels and the second comforter that our temple endowment testifies of.
2 Nephi 28:26 Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!The Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost is something more than just the laying on of hands.
2 Nephi 28:11-12 Yea, they have all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted. Because of pride, and because of false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up.That’s referring to all the other churches, isn’t it? We are chosen. We are the saints of the one true church that can never be led astray. We are so lucky and blessed to have been born (or joined) to this church where everything has already been figured out. The thinking has been done for us, and all we need to do is obey those who are in authority over us. We just have to follow the prophet, and receive all our ordinances. Then he’ll put in a good word to Jesus for us and steer us in the good ship Zion to our eternal rest.
Except no one can make intercession for us except Christ. He stands at the gate and He employs no servant there.
The “follow the prophet” doctrine is probably the worst, most pervasive of the false doctrine we teach. I’ve discussed this elsewhere, but I’ll summarize some here.
We slap a title and sustaining vote on a man and assume that entitles him to everything he needs to fulfill that role (along with any real or perceived keys), forgetting that he, like us, must do the required things in order to be a recipient of those things. We cannot judge whether or not that man does this, but we can see whether he bears any of the fruits of prophet (by prophesying), seer (by seeing), and revelator (by revealing things before unknown). Thus, we can have a gauge of whether they are what they claim.
But even then…
Those who take the prophets as their determined guide rather than Christ himself are those described in D&C 76 who inherit Telestial glory. Joseph Smith said that the people were darkened in their minds because they were depending on him too much and quoted Ezekiel 14. The Israelites were too frightened to meet God face to face for themselves, and required Moses to be an intercessor for them, and were cursed for it (D&C 84). True messengers do not invite reverence, adoration, or worship. They direct it to God.
1 Nephi 17:55 And now, they said: We know of a surety that the Lord is with thee, for we know that it is the power of the Lord that has shaken us. And they fell down before me, and were about to worship me, but I would not suffer them, saying: I am thy brother, yea, even thy younger brother; wherefore, worship the Lord thy God, and honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord the God shall give thee.
Revelation 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.We are to receive the prophets and the word of God, but follow Jesus Christ. He is the way.
2 Nephi 28:31 Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.
2 Nephi 4:34-35 O lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.
Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yeah, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.When we follow a man, prophet or not, we take some or all of that obedience, trust, reliance, and faith that is meant for God and misplace it, and it is not for our good. We may come to rely on that person to do the thinking for us, to tell us what we should do and believe, and this is not faith. This does not strengthen us, but weakens us and them. We are cursed if/when we do that.
2 Nephi 28:13 They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up.We have many fine sanctuaries and they are paid for by the tithing of the wealthy and poor alike, and perhaps excess fast offerings, since any left over balance for fast offerings gets sent to church headquarters to use for what they see fit. There are some claims that our current teachings on tithing are wrong and rob the poor, that according to scripture we’re supposed to pay 10% of our interest, instead of on our income. But… I won’t weigh in on that. Frankly, that doesn’t concern me much. What does concern me is the church’s focus on fine buildings, fine condos, fine high-end malls, Florida land, etc. For some of these it appears the purpose is to get gain.
Also our fine clothing we wear to please God when we attend church, I think He would rather see us humble than looking good in our Sunday finest. I worry that this feeds our vanity, and gives us more reason to judge and look down on others that come in something not as fine or modest. But those are just my thoughts on the matter.
2 Nephi 28:14 They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.
2 Nephi 28:29-30 Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough! For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.I have heard this before. I have heard that the reason that we hear the same things at general conference over and over again, is because we are not ready for more. We have enough, and we don’t need more, so the repetition and lack of more is justified. The utter lack of the fullness of the gospel is completely missed and excused.
Lulled into Carnal Security
2 Nephi 28: 21-22 And others will he 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.
And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.We do not teach of the same hell the scriptures describe. We say there is an outer darkness for a very few who know Christ well enough that denying them lands them there. We teach the lowest kingdom is heaven compared to this earth. Where then is the hell described in scriptures (2 Nephi 28:23)?
And going back to the verse above it, the scriptures seem to be screaming our own folly at us (a voice from the dust, indeed), and yet what we hear from the pulpit lulls us into this “all is well” mentality, flattering us this church cannot be lead astray. And we flatter ourselves that these scriptures are not about us, and we do not liken them to us.
2 Nephi 28:24-25 Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion! Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!All is NOT well.
I do not want to be overly critical. I only fear that if we don’t point out the errors, then we cannot fix them.
There is a lot of vanity, pride, and fear in the church today. And I am saying, this is not right. This is not the way to God. This is not the way to salvation.
There is such a fear of looking at anything that may say we’re wrong. Do you know what this means? We’re more afraid of being wrong, than we are of being wrong before God.
I'm going to say it again another way: We'd rather be right, than be right with God.
Personally, I’d rather be right before God.
If we have faith in God, and trust Him to reveal the truth of any matter to us, we don’t need to fear any message. And by doing that, we learn new truth, rather than being afraid that it might destroy what we already have and are clinging to.
2 Nephi 28:16, 28 Wo unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught and revile against that which is good, and say that it is of no worth! For the day shall come that the Lord God will speedily visit the inhabitants of the earth; and in that day that they are fully ripe in iniquity they shall perish.
And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall.There is no reason to be afraid or angry at the truth of God, though it may be hard to hear. Build yourself upon the rock, so that you can receive it with gladness.
If we are afraid of hearing something that might say we’re wrong, it’s a sign that there is more sand in our foundation then there should be, and that we need to rebuild on the rock instead.
In conclusionThe emperor is naked. It’s time we stop ignoring it.
Jesus Christ, our Savior is the way. I’m saying it again because I think it needs to be said. He is the way, and He invites all to come unto Him. He is full of love, full of forgiveness. He is patient and gentle. He is kind. He will hold you by your right hand, and say, Fear not; I will help you. And He will help you. He will fulfill His word and His promises that he has made to the righteous, and He will fulfill His promises to the wicked. We mustn’t forget that as many as He loves, he rebukes and chastens, so that we can repent.
The most important thing for us now, is to kneel in prayer and cry unto Him, that we may learn where we stand before Him, and find out where we need to go from there.
Though long, this is an incomplete summary of what could be said. I have used the word of God in the form of scriptures, and quotes from our founder to write this, and have based my conclusions on what these say. I write this, knowing I am answerable for it. I write this in the earnest hope that it can lead some to be more focused on Christ and His personal counsel for us, that we can go on and know Him for ourselves. I pray that the Spirit will testify of truth read here.
I have been praying about whether I should take this blog or certain posts down as I have been asked to do. I have done this more than once the past few days to be sure I am in the right frame of mind to hear the answer He would give, and I understand now, that insignificant as this blog is, it should remain as a testimony. And so it will stay.