Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Seek the Face of Christ - Literally

The restoration through Joseph Smith was not to create a New Testament church. It was to prepare a people to see the face of Christ, no matter what religion they professed. It was not to bring people into a legal corporation, to follow a myriad of regulations or be cast out.

This is what the Lord was attempting to do:

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

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 93:1)

19  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.

20  Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.

21  And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;

22  For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.

23  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;

24  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 fulness of his glory.

25  Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;

26  And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel;
Doctrine and Covenants 84

63  Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

64  Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you;

65  And if ye ask anything that is not expedient for you, it shall turn unto your condemnation.

66  Behold, that which you hear is as the voice of one crying in the wilderness—in the wilderness, because you cannot see him—my voice, because my voice is Spirit; my Spirit is truth; truth abideth and hath no end; and if it be in you it shall abound.

67  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.

68  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 88
10  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.

11  For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God.

12  Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind.
Doctrine and Covenants 67

Know. Not merely believe. An actual knowledge. It is possible. We should be seeing angels (and for a whole lot more than genealogy). We should be seeing the Lord. We should be allowing Him to prepare us to see the Father, then seeing Him, also.

Where are our fruits? Where are our secret acts of kindness? We should not be patting ourselves on the backs, telling each other in our publications and meetings how wonderful we are. We should be helping those who need our help, those we have the means to help. All of us can give something, even if it is just a listening ear and fervent prayers in behalf of the suffering.

Let us seek after our Lord, not letting anything come between us and Him. There need be no obstacles. Someone once said that obstacles are what one sees when one takes one's eyes off the goal. Let us keep our eyes on the goal and move forward, firmly, not looking back. Let us count the cost and move forward with the faith that if God asks us to sacrifice all (see Lectures on Faith), it will be worth it.

Nothing is more important than fidelity to our Lord and seeking His face. Not money, fame, power, belongings, friends, relatives, nor any organization we may align ourselves with. Let us cast aside our fears and pride. Let us face the enemy of all righteousness courageously. We are already in the battle.Don't let them shoot you in the back. Go forward fearlessly, seeking only truth no matter how much it may contradict what we currently believe.

Then, we shall begin to see the fruits. Then we shall see the miracles and gifts of the Spirit that don't need acrobatic techniques to convince us and others that they are genuine, bona fide miracles and gifts.

Critiquing the words of a true servant of God

The Lord Jesus Christ has asked one of His servants to preach via the written word and by mouth. As a result, the man has written several books. His most controversial work, Passing the Heavenly Gift, got him cast out of the church that professes to not only honor and worship the Man who gave him the words to speak, but this church professes to be His own true and living church. I do agree that the Lord Jesus Christ is still working with this church; what I cannot fathom is how those who profess to "know" Christ cannot recognize His words. How can one not hear the voice of the Master in so many of the words spoken and written by the servant?

Yes, PTHG is a painful, even horrid, book to read at times - but the conclusion reached at the end of the book is that the LDS church is still Jesus' church. He is still working with it. And the fact that it has been fulfilling scripture does not make the author who points that out apostate, nor a devil, nor a demon - nor misguided.

Recently, someone said this:

I have noticed numerous instances of problems related to logic, consistency of argument, rhetorical manipulations and other devices that I found troubling. When read with charity and a sincere desire for light and truth, these earlier works can be thrillingly inspiring, albeit flawed. No book is perfect, and we have the Holy Ghost to aid us in discerning light and truth.

The above problems I have noticed in DS's earlier works seem to have multiplied considerably in PTHG.
This person is a person who I believe is attempting to bring us poor "apostates" back to the fold. To some degree the person seems to be sincere, yet they do not "feel" right. My gift of discernment tells me this person is one to be wary of. My reply is below:

I can see this point of view if one does not recognize Denver as a biblical-type prophet of God. Much of what he says is colored by the fact that he has seen "the vision of all," that he has seen and spoken with both the Father and the Son, and that he has conversed with Joseph Smith jr.

We, lacking those experiences, view all that Denver has written from a carnal, Babylonic mindset. We believe we see flaws. We believe ourselves not only justified, but saintly when we point out what we believe to be errors based upon our mere pittance of experience and understanding. Surely Christ is tempted to laugh heartily at our vain and self-serving justifications of what He attempts to teach us through the servants He has called by His own voice. Surely we are puffed up and wise in our own sight. Surely we are so stiff-necked and high minded that we think we know more than God, thus considering ourselves virtuous when we reject truth in whole or in part.
My point in bringing this up is not to diss the person who wrote his/her feelings. My point is this: We humans think we know so much. If we view ourselves as learned, then we think we are wise. I see this all over. The person above is simply the most recent example I have come across.

We think ourselves wiser than God. We think we can parse His words, critique the manner in which His servants speak, find fault and flaws because what is said does not match our reasoning nor our understanding. Rather than being humble, rather than recognizing the voice of the Master, we would prefer to debate, criticize, and do anything that does not entail the possibility that we are in need of repentance, that we are - indeed - less than the dust of the earth, unworthy of salvation, unworthy of the time and effort that Christ puts into us again and again in the hopes that we will at last turn and face Him.

As for me, I am a sinner. I am less than the dust of the earth. I am unworthy of the incredible love and patience my Lord extends to me. I am overawed by the fact that He has deigned to speak through a servant who fears no man, no institution, no government. I am humbled by the fact that I had never supposed before: that the Lord often speaks through those who are not part of the accepted hierarchy. Yet, there it is in scriptures. Even Jesus had no ecclesiastical authority. He and the general authorities of His time would often butt heads.

We are just like the ancient Jews - whether in Jesus' time or in Jeremiah's or Isaiah's time. "If our days had been in those days," we opine, "we/I would have listened to the prophets. We/I would not have cast them out, nor persecuted them, nor killed them."

And what does Jesus have to say to our opining? This:

23  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

24  Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

25  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.

26  Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

27  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.

28  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

29  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,

30  And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.

31  Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.

32  Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.

33  Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

34  ¶ Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:

35  That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

36  Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
Matthew 23

 This scathing rebuke belongs to us, folks. It belongs to our self-satisfied generation, we who think it is impossible for us to go astray as long as we stay with the humans who lead a corporation even if they contradict the words of Christ as given through his prophet (Joseph Smith) who we are taught didn't really understand things like we do today - and that "new prophets supersede old prophets" and can even contradict the scriptures with impunity.

If we are the holy church of God we are, according to the scriptures, under condemnation. If we are not under condemnation we are not the holy church of God. This is according to Moroni who saw US.

35  Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not.  But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.

36  And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.

37  For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.

38  O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God?  Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ?  Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?

39  Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?

40  Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads?

41  Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer.
Let us awake to our awful situation. The times of the gentiles is nearly fulfilled. We are about to lose what we think we have, and it will be given to the righteous descendants of Lehi, as promised by Jesus when He came and preached to them after His resurrection. Let us humble ourselves even to the dust of the earth. Let us view ourselves in our polluted state, with our tables covered with vomit (regurgitated, predigested food instead of the meat of the gospel).

Let us repent of our unbelief and turn to Christ, searching in humility and patience with our whole souls to see his His face in this life, for if we cannot stand in His presence now, what makes us think we can stand in His presence when He returns again with the hosts (Fathers) of heaven?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

14 Points of Heeding a Prophet

On a discussion board, someone brought up the list that is 14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet. I wrote a different list, using the original as a pattern, as did a dear friend who I love as a daughter. I'm putting hers second because it was so good that I want that one in your brain as you finish reading this post.

1. The prophet is one of the men who speaks for the Lord, crying repentance unto the people.
2. The living prophet does not contradict scriptures.
3. The living prophet's intent is to work himself out of a job as we all become prophets.
4. The prophet will always retain his freedom to choose his own path.
5. The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time, yet what he preaches is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. He never presupposes he knows so much that he micromanages the lives of anyone.
6. The prophet does not have to say "Thus Saith the Lord," to give us scripture.
7. The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know, thus causing religious people in all walks of life to cry, "Apostate! Sinner! Devil! Away with him!"
8. The prophet is not limited by men's reasoning, paradigms, or religious traditions.
9. The prophet's job is not to receive revelation on every matter, temporal or spiritual. It is to cry repentance and faith on Jesus Christ.
10. (See above)
11. The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the religious in power and the devout who hold those in power as nearly equal with God.
12. The prophet will not be popular with the self-identified religious, devout, and "righteous."
13. The president and his counselors make up the First Presidency, but may or may not be genuine prophets who have seen Jesus Christ face to face.
14. The prophet and the presidency - the living prophet and First Presidency  - follow them and be damned, for following even a true prophet leads to hell (see D&C 76) - reject true prophets and suffer. Follow only Jesus Christ.

1. You are the only man/woman who can receive revelation from the Lord in everything pertaining to your life.
2. Your personal revelation is more vital to you than the standard works.
3. Your personal revelation is more important than a dead prophet.
4. Your personal revelation will never lead the church astray.  :D 
5. You are not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.
6. You do not have to say "Thus Saith the Lord," to receive personal scripture.
7. Your personal revelation tell you what you need to know, not always what you want to know.
8. Your personal revelation is not limited by men's reasoning.
9. You can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.
10. You may advise yourself on civic matters.
11. The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in receiving personal revelation are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.
12. You will not necessarily be popular with the world or worldly.
13. You make up the highest quorum in your personal life.
14. Your personal revelation - follow it and be blessed - reject it and suffer.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hymn - The Spirit of God

A prophet has said it is our duty, as members of the LDS church, to preach and teach. He also said we should “push the envelope.” I decided to take up that charge and resurrect my blog. The idea for today's post came during the closing song in Relief Society.

The Spirit of God

1. The Spirit of God like a fire is burning!
The latter-day glory begins to come forth;
The visions and blessings of old are returning,
And angels are coming to visit the earth.

We'll sing and we'll shout with the armies of heaven,
Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb!
Let glory to them in the highest be given,
Henceforth and forever, Amen and amen!

2. The Lord is extending the Saints' understanding,
Restoring their judges and all as at first.
The knowledge and power of God are expanding;
The veil o'er the earth is beginning to burst.

3. We'll call in our solemn assemblies in spirit,
To spread forth the kingdom of heaven abroad,
That we through our faith may begin to inherit
The visions and blessings and glories of God.

4. How blessed the day when the lamb and the lion
Shall lie down together without any ire,
And Ephraim be crowned with his blessing in Zion,
As Jesus descends with his chariot of fire!

I love this song. I always have.

I have learned so many things since I last attended a church meeting a month ago, plus I'm in a ward I moved out of over three years ago. I suppose it was a combination of both that brought me to the perspective I had as I attended the block.

The visions and blessings of old are returning,
And angels are coming to visit the earth.

What do we think of when we sing those words? I used to think of Joseph Smith and his era, yet are these not things we should be experiencing today? In the last several months, I have met people who have seen visions, including angels and even the Lord, Himself (their fruits bear record that this is so). I have seen the Lord and angels in dreams, but not in waking visions nor personally. I have met many people who, like myself, have gifts of the Spirit. These gifts are varied and assorted.

The Lord is extending the Saints' understanding

Has our understanding been extended, or do we know less than did those in Joseph's day, though we may tell ourselves that we know more and that there are some things that Joseph just did not understand (even though he gazed into heaven a whole lot more than 5 minutes, and most people since his time have not gazed into heaven at all, especially those who write our lesson manuals)? How is it that we understand more than he? How can that be so if we have not entertained Gods and angels?

Restoring their judges and all as at first.

Judges? Did Christ intend to restore judges? Or was He shooting for an ancient societal order, such as was found in Enoch's day? Was He shooting for leaders we were to obey at the peril of our souls or was He shooting for a patriarchal order, and a society in which each person would literally know the Lord as we know our siblings and best friends?

The knowledge and power of God are expanding;

I put forth that the knowledge and power of God are expanding, but not necessarily in our meetings. Christ, knowledge (actual knowledge, not Mormonese “knowledge” which is, “I really, really believe” at the most) of Him, and the powers of heaven are there seeking us, begging us to put our minds and lives in order, to turn and face Christ and only Christ.

Knowledge: I know my Savior lives because I saw Him. I touched Him. He spoke to me as one person speaks to another, in my own language, using my own name.

Power: That which heals both body and soul; that which enlightens and enlarges; that which literally moves mountains and trees, changes the course of rivers, and calls down fire from heaven.

The veil o'er the earth is beginning to burst.

Truly, it was beginning in Joseph's time. Have we shut the heavens? Do we believe they are open to only an elite few? Or do we understand Joseph's teachings that the heavens must open to all who hope to stand in Christ's presence when He comes? If we cannot stand in His presence now, what makes us think we can stand in His presence when He comes in the glory of His kingdom with the Fathers?

We'll call in our solemn assemblies in spirit,
To spread forth the kingdom of heaven abroad,

I have no idea what this couplet is even attempting to say. Do we honestly know what a “solemn assembly” is? Is it the meetings we have today when we dedicate a temple or sustain church leaders by quorum in a general conference? I'm not so sure that's what one really is. And how do we call these things “in spirit”? What does that even mean? And how is this to spread for the kingdom of heaven abroad? If anyone understands what the author of the lyrics meant when he wrote this, please enlighten me.

Also, the “kingdom” is not the “church” which, today, is a legal corporation consisting of only one person. Everyone else is “collateral” so to speak, but even in this abstract portion that comprise the people who have been baptized into said organization, the church is not really synonymous with the kingdom. The kingdom of God pulls “fish” out of the church, but not all in the church will go to the kingdom and not all outside of the church will be denied the kingdom which is coming. (How can one be baptized into an organization that is comprised of only one person is beyond me. It must be the abstract portion, the portion that has a membership number assigned, that pays tithes and such. Where these people fit in the legal entity of the corporation is totally beyond me.)

That we through our faith may begin to inherit
The visions and blessings and glories of God.

Have we done this? Have many since the time of Joseph Smith? I have begun to know some who claim these experiences (I mentioned this above). Have they really had those experiences or do they just think they have? Well, that's the kicker, you know. It is impossible for us to actually know what another has seen or experienced, especially if we have not also experienced and seen that thing.

Instead of arguing whether Denver Snuffer or this person or that person has actually seen the Savior, perhaps it behooves each of us to search after the Lord ourselves, asking Him what we lack. Studying the scriptures as if we have no clue what they mean (relying on the Holy Spirit to teach us the meaning). Shedding the notion that the Holy Ghost speaks to us through causing us to “feel good.” It is entirely possible for the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit to speak to us through “pure knowledge that enlightens the mind” - it is entirely possible that the warm fuzzies and tears of HeartSell (TM) has nothing to do with the Holy Ghost.

Perhaps we should study the Lectures on Faith which were considered scripture, and which were removed arbitrarily. The people had no choice. They were informed that the lectures were not scripture, and that lie has been perpetuated.

Perhaps we should be willing to sacrifice all to the Lord: our reputations, our “safety,” our time, our preconceived ideas, our false traditions, our money, our friends, our family, our physical belongings, our membership in any and all organizations, our lives (whether by living or dying), our hobbies, our lusts, the sins which easily beset us (it may also be a good idea to discover which things are actually sins and which are not), and our idols (the men that we slavishly follow as if they were God, ignoring D&C 76 which points out that followers of men, even if the men be true prophets, are cast into hell).

Then, verse 4 can come about. By the way, I looked up the words “Ephraim be crowned” and found only three references:

1 WOE to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine

(Old Testament | Isaiah 28:1)

3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet

(Old Testament | Isaiah 28:3)

32 And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 133:32)

I hope I am not coming off harsh. I deleted my previous blog for two reasons: I did not esteem myself righteous enough to preach and teach, and I did not wish to harm anyone's testimony. I bring it back because I was told that it was a member's duty to preach and teach, and it was advised to “push the envelope” as I mentioned at the beginning of this post. May God bless you – and may God bless me to only preach and teach as I feel directed by the Spirit and not by my pride.