Monday, August 29, 2011

Thoughts on the Sacrament

Restored post
Monday, August 29, 2011

This has been a very frustrating day. Luckily, I wrote the blog on paper before that: these are thoughts I had on Sunday.

This morning, I prayed for each person who would speak in each meeting I attended, and I prayed that the Sacrament (bread and water, for LDS people) would be a power to me.

Today, after the sacrament hymn was complete, the priests were still breaking bread. At this time, a feeling of being in the temple came over me. I was given an understanding that this ordinance is every bit as holy as any temple ordinances. The feeling repeated itself with the water.

We are taught that the sacrament is to remind us of our baptismal covenants, but I don't think this is a true doctrine.

#1 – We let unbaptized children take the sacrament. We don't forbid nonmembers either. Neither has had an LDS baptism to be reminded of.

#2 – When Jesus gave the Nephites, including the leaders He called, the sacrament they were baptized later. They had had an earlier baptism. Theories abound as to why they had to be baptized again. I've never seen someone bring up the idea that perhaps the ordinance had changed, that it was incorrectly done by the time the resurrected Jesus got there. People do have a tendency to change ordinances over time. Even the LDS church has done that. (The whys and wherefores are not for me to judge.)

Anyway, back to the subject at hand.

Baptism signifies dying and being reborn – a new creature in Christ. This is the adoption rite wherein Christ becomes our Father. It washes away our sins because we are born anew and people just born have no sins, according the the Atonement of Christ.

Sacramental bread represents Jesus' flesh that was torn during Gethsemane, torn during the beating and mocking, and pierced on the cross. The bread is torn, not cut or sliced. Resurrection? I don't know. We don't put pieces of bread back together and eat them. I think baptism might be more symbolic of the resurrection. Torn bread is not a symbol of resurrection, but of suffering.

The water represents Christ's blood. It was shed in Gethsemane. It was shed during the beating and mockery. It was shed on the cross through the seven piercings. If new wine is truly bitter, it would more effectively connote the suffering of Christ, especially if it is red wine. This cannot represent the resurrection. There is no blood in the resurrection. We don't have blood in our veins as resurrected beings.

In the sacrament, we do not remember Christ's resurrection.

In the sacrament, we remember Christ's suffering, but we don't in baptism. According to the scriptures (both about the sacrament and about Christ), we should eat and drink until we are filled (not the teensy tiny snack we get) to remind us that Jesus filled the measure of His creation, that he fulfilled His Father's will, He drank the bitter cup and it was filled to the brim. Jesus was filled with pain and suffering that included both body and blood. He was overwhelmed by it. There was nothing else in His soul – body and mind – except this terrible suffering. We more fully identify with Him if we can partake of the sacrament as the scriptures direct: bread and wive until we are filled.

I am not suggesting a change in church policy. The Spirit has let me know that Jesus' church is in His hands. If it needs to be fixed, He will do it, and He will do it when He chooses and how He chooses. Argue if you must, about D&C 107:81-84, but I don't think changes like this (water instead of wine) fall under my jurisdiction. God is in control of His church. I am content to let Him guide it, and to let Him deal with it. If the ordinance of the sacrament, for example, was irreparably damaged by the change, I don't think the Spirit would have told me that this ordinance is as holy as a temple ordinance – and I have several witnesses of the holiness of the temples.

As far as church leaders go, these men were called of God. There is no infallibility among them. They are men, not gods. It is our responsibility to listen to them and to so live that we are worthy of hearing and feeling the Holy Spirit. It is our responsibility to discern, via the Spirit, whether the leaders are teaching by the Spirit or from their own understanding. Don't underestimate the importance of your own worthiness, humility, and intentions in this undertaking. The leaders have a tough job. They need and deserve our mighty prayers in their behalf. They do not need our censure and our condemnation. I do believe God will hold us accountable if we condemn them and complain about them, yet have never prayed in their behalf.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

On Witches, Wizards, and Other Myths

Restored post
Thursday, August 18, 2011

John Pontius, I believe it was, mentioned that our stories and myths about witches and wizards could very well be based in truth.

Think about what one does when one reaches the stature of Enoch. One has one’s calling and election made sure, one has seen Christ face to face, and one has been given great power by Him. Search the scriptures for examples, e.g., Ether 12, Moroni 7, and Moses 7. What would this look like? Would one stretch out one's hands while doing this? What would it look like to ones who were not in the Church of the Firstborn? What about the stories handed down through time, by those whose ancestors had this power?

Would one think incantations? Would one think magic? If a person, male or female, had the power by faith to control the elements, what would be the stories handed down about them? What would be the embellishments added? The scriptures never specify that moving mountains, turning rivers out of their course, etc. come by the priesthood that has authority to pass the sacrament, baptize, organize churches, etc. I read only "faith". Both men and women have faith. Instead of authority to administer ordinances, it seems that the scriptures are talking about the power given to priests and priestesses in the temples of God - something a bit different from what we usually think of. In other words, women are not exempt from this power that comes with receiving the second comforter.

I would recommend that you sit down, discarding all preconceived notions (in other words, you have no previous inner commands that this must mean a certain thing). Ask God to open your mind and heart. Then read Alma 12:27 through Alma 13:31. Cross reference it with JST Genesis 14:17-40. JST Hebrews 7:1 & 4. D&C 107:2, 18, 19. D&C 84:21-25. Ether 12. (And you thought temple ordinances were not mentioned in the Book of Mormon. A holy ordinance, so holy that Alma refused to expound on what it is.)

On the other hand, Satan is the great imitator. He brings forth his own "magic" and his own priests and priestesses. I don't know how far he can go. I do know that the magicians in pharaoh's court were not as strong as the power Moses had. Still, they imitated him. It reminds me of "the force" in the Star Wars movies. Good and bad.

Still, I am prone to think that the power to move the elements of the earth come only through the power of God.

On Calling and Election

Restored post
Thursday, August 18, 2011

I got this idea from unblogmysoul. It was mentioned there that one could possibly have one’s calling and election made sure, and not realize it. That's the idea I got there.

Joseph Smith said that once God had proven a person, proven that s/he would serve God at all costs, then that person would have his/her calling and election made sure. What I am beginning to understand is that this does not mean the person needs to have rocks in his/her pockets to keep him/her from disappearing from the earth. 1

An interesting insight comes from Nephi. He saw Christ. His calling and election were made sure. Yet read what he says in 2 Nephi 4. In verses 17 through 19, he is lamenting his wickedness, his weakness of the flesh. To have one’s calling and election made sure is not to become perfect. It is simply to prove to God (and perhaps to one’s self) that one is willing to serve God no matter the cost.

Let’s take these three things: calling and election, translation, the second comforter. They are not the same thing. They are three separate things, and they may happen years apart. They also do not necessarily happen in an LDS temple. 2

Calling and election. I knew someone who had a crisis of faith larger that s/he had ever had. This person was at a crossroads. “Shall I leave the church? Shall I stop believing in God?” This crisis of faith was so large, that it seemed like all was futile, all was false. Personal revelation, God, the church’s teachings about God and revelation. It was all a big joke. After much thinking, this person came to the conclusion that no other organization had as much truth as the LDS church. This person also came to the conclusion that the only alternative to God was the devil, and s/he would never willingly go that way. S/he decided that, even if God was all of the negative things that s/he felt at the moment, there was no one else. S/he would be on His side, no matter the cost, even if s/he ended up in hell, s/he would go there kicking and screaming, determined to hold onto God as hard as s/he could. The crisis was huge. The decision was huge. It fits the description of being willing to serve God at all costs. Yet, this person is in no way perfect, is in no way in danger of being lifted off this earth because of being too perfect. I believe that this person passed the test.

Then there’s the second comforter. I don’t really know if that should be capitalized or not. Is it really a proper noun? Or a descriptive noun?

The unblog site mentions another test before one receives the second comforter. One is more likely to recognize this for what it is. I had always thought there was only one test - to see if one would serve God at all costs. Apparently, there is another. This one is where God asks you to do something that doesn’t make sense to you. Scriptural examples would be Abraham’s test, Joseph Smith being told to take another wife (and his wife another husband), Nephi killing Laban. I can’t think of any others, but I am sure there are many examples; we may not have them written in our histories/scriptures, though.

I seriously doubt that God would tell us to kill anyone today. I actually have no idea what kind of test this would be. It seems to me that it’s another “will you do anything I command?” which, I suppose it could be argued, is a bit different from, “will you serve me at any cost?”.

Anyway, receiving the second comforter is apparently not only to see Jesus Christ, but to touch him. This is the fulfillment, the reality of what one does in the temple. The temple is the practice. Seeing Christ is the reality. There are people who have gone into the temples, and shared sacred things, things they promised God they would not share. The result of this is that God will not share anything else with them. The real thing is kept hidden from them, because they have shown God that they cannot be trusted with sacred things, hence, they have disqualified themselves from having a personal audience with Christ in this life. And they probably won’t be very comfortable being around him when they finally do get the chance to see him. They’ll want to hide, according to the scriptures. They’ll want to cease existing.

According to my studies, when one sees Christ, he offers them a gift. See an example of this in the scriptures: the twelve apostles in the old world, the twelve disciples in the new world. Solomon was offered a gift (he chose wisdom). The word “endowment” means “gift”. At this point, Christ is offering you anything you want, so I understand. Some people choose to be translated (Moses, Elijah, John, three unnamed Nephites, Alma, etc.) and some choose something else.

To be translated, is to have one’s body changed: 3 Ne 28:37-40 – “But behold, since I wrote, I have inquired of the Lord, and he hath made it manifest unto me that there must needs be a change wrought upon their bodies, or else it needs be that they must taste of death; Therefore, that they might not taste of death there was a change wrought upon their bodies, that they might not suffer pain nor sorrow save it were for the sins of the world. Now this change was not equal to that which shall take place at the last day; but there was a change wrought upon them, insomuch that Satan could have no power over them, that he could not tempt them; and they were sanctified in the flesh, that they were holy, and that the powers of the earth could not hold them. And in this state they were to remain until the judgment day of Christ; and at that day they were to receive a greater change, and to be received into the kingdom of the Father to go no more out, but to dwell with God eternally in the heavens.”

My understanding is that, next, Christ requests that the person do something for him, some work. Having never experienced this, I do not know. It is my opinion, though, that if one chooses translation it is because one wants to continue serving God.

The unblog site connects seeing Jesus with becoming a Zion person, someone able to live in a Zion society. It seems that the DS blog says the same thing, just not as plainly. We cannot build Zion unless our hearts are changed to the point that we are able to receive the second comforter, the proper noun of which is Jesus Christ.

I cannot do this subject justice. You’ll need to go to the two websites I mention below, in footnote 2. They have references galore. They are not teaching some new and strange doctrine.

1 This has reference to a false belief among latter-day saints, that if one reaches a point of translation/guarantee of eternal life, one is automatically removed from the earth, being too perfect to stay here. Those who believe this conveniently ignore the fact that John the Beloved/Revelator stayed, and so did the three Nephite disciples. I don’t think they ignore this on purpose. I am finding out that, just like Denver Snuffer and others point out, the truth hides in plain sight.

2 If you want “proofs”, I would recommend you go to Denver Snuffer's blog and do a search for these three things. At this time, he has a list of labels on the left side that you can peruse. On the right, is a list of dates that can be clicked on (click on the little arrows), to see the title of the entries in each month. Also go to unblog my soul and do a search for these things. These two men have not only spent years researching these things, but they have some personal experiences to give credence to their words.