Saturday, October 8, 2016


For the purposes of this discussion "belief in Christ"=following the doctrine of Christ as explained in the Book of Mormon.

Have you received "church discipline" for your belief in Christ? Have you been excommunicated or pressured to resign for your belief in Christ? Has your spouse reported you to a bishop or stake president because of your belief in Christ? Has your spouse divorced you (spurred on by the advice of a bishop to do so, or on their own) because of your belief in Christ? Do neighbors shun you? Do former friends ignore you, avoid you, bear testimony of men to you, or talk about your "apostasy" to each other - because of your belief in Christ? Has your family essentially disowned you because of your belief in Christ?


As written in both the Book of Mormon and the New Testament:
And blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake; For ye shall have great joy and be exceedingly glad, for great shall be your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you.
3 Nephi 12:11-12

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Matthew 5:11-12

Also notice this in verse 8 of both chapters:
And blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Note that there is no caveat declaring that this experience has to happen in some other life, after death, at judgment day.

. . . 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. [emphasis added]
Doctrine and Covenants (LDS version) 93:1

 And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things. Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.
Doctrine and Covenants (LDS version) 88:68

And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual. For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God. Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind.
Doctrine and Covenants (LDS version) 67:10-12

Question: Is this promise only to those men "ordained to the ministry"? Is it only for those men Joseph was preaching the word of the Lord to? Or is this promise to everyone?

Was Nephi speaking only to those "ordained to the ministry" when he said these things:
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.

Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter.  For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and 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.

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.

You. You plural? You singular? Nephi wasn't talking to us, right? Only to his descendants, referring to Jesus' future visit to some tiny portion of Nephi's descendants. That's why he saw us, right? So that he would not keep a record addressing us, right? Nephi's not plain. No way does he speak in plainness - because, then, he just might be saying something like this:

Follow Christ with full purpose of heart. Repent. Be baptized. Then you'll have a remission of sins, and baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost (in other words, they are two different things). Then Christ will tell you what to do. These words of Christ come by the power of the Holy Ghost. To you. Not through some man, some priest, some bishop, someone "in authority." Then, at some point after you have received this doctrine, Christ will manifest himself in the flesh - to you. Flesh. You (singular).

If only those "ordained to the ministry" can see Christ in this life, then I submit that only those "ordained to the ministry" are allowed to repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and receive the baptism of fire. Sounds silly to me.

Blessed are you when you are persecuted for Christ's sake, when you are disbelieved, mocked, cast out, lose your marriage and/or your family, lose your job, are shunned, and/or treated as though you had leprosy because you recognized the Lord's voice through a true messenger, recognized a true prophet of God, and were baptized as a result of your belief in Christ, your faith in Christ. Not faith in the messenger, but in the Son of God.

Rejoice! For so persecuted they those who believed in Christ and his doctrine for centuries upon centuries. For so persecuted they who were cast out from formally organized churches. For so persecuted they who chose to follow the Lord instead of some man or some woman or some "sighted" person.

This earth is waxing old. Destructions are happening and I suspect they will continue to happen. Praise God and stand firm in faith in HIM and only him. He is more important than your job, than your family*, than your ecclesiastical leaders. More important than anything else in this life.


*This is not a license to cast away your spouse, children, or other relatives. Be an example of a true follower of Christ. Make it difficult for them to cast you off because of your love and patience and genuine long-suffering toward them. Seek not only Christ, but also seek the pure love of Christ.

Friday, October 7, 2016


November begins NaNoWriMo, the month of novel writing frenzy. It's a writing marathon! 50k words in one month. If you don't want to write a novel, but want to write something else, that's fine (check the forums here, here, and here). I've done it every year, beginning in 2009. Anyone with any interest in writing, come check it out! We'd love to have you join us!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

On Serpents and Trust

I've been thinking of the story about the Israelites today. It's the one where many of them got bitten, and God told Moses to make a brazen (is that brass?) serpent. All the people had to do was look at it and they would be healed. Many did not look, and they died.

Dang Israelites didn't have faith. Or was that really it? Was faith the root of the lesson God was trying to teach? What if He was trying to teach them to trust Him? Trust Him for food, for protection, for everything.

For these last 2 1/2 years, God has been in the process of teaching me to trust Him. I thought He was trying to teach me to trust Him for food, shelter, transportation, and so forth. Today, it occurred to me that it was so, so much more. I caught a glimpse. Not enough to really explain well, but enough that I would like to share it.

He wants me (and all of us, I'm sure) to trust Him not only for food, shelter, clothing, transportation, but also for the direction our lives go, as well as salvation. In other words, I screw up. I don't understand. I'm going to continue to screw up. I'm going to continue to not understand what God is doing in my life. I really don't know where I should live, what I should do, how to be "good" (whatever that really is). I don't know enough to be someone worth the time the Lord invests in me. If I can trust Him with everything, trust Him to the point that He wishes I would, then I can rest assured of my salvation because I have turned it over to Him. Submission to Him is trusting Him.

This is in no way "resting on my laurels" (I don't have any, anyway). This is trusting the Lord Jesus Christ for my salvation, for my protection, and that everything is going to work together for my good.

A while back, I had a convo with my good friend, Meili. She has a tendency to charge forward, doing what she thinks she should, with the idea that God will correct her if she's wrong. He has. It may have taken longer than would have suited other people, but her life is between her and God, not between her and onlookers. And, in my view, she has learned wisdom in the process, wisdom she probably could not have learned in any other way. I'm not exactly sure what this has to do with the topic at hand, except-perhaps-that trusting that God will correct us if need be is a part of trusting God as a whole. Perhaps we needn't be so afraid that we'll screw up that we make no decisions at all (that's pretty much where I stand/sit a lot of the time). Perhaps, after we have learned the lessons, God will correct us and set us straight - as long as we remain trusting, humble, and teachable. Rather like that child God keeps telling us to be like to inherit His kingdom.