Why I am opposed to organized Religion

I mentioned in a previous post that I have problems with organized religion.

Some people may know this, but not others. I was actually involved in the organization of a Restoration church. It began as a group of in-home fellowships, but we received commandments and authority from the Lord to organize the Priesthood. We had apostles, prophets, patriarchs, evangelists, bishops, and all the offices of the Priesthood. We dedicated a small structure like unto Moses’ tabernacle, dedicated it, and administered temple ordinances. We were doing things and having spiritual experiences, and gifts of the Spirit like the early church under Joseph Smith.

There were two things that soured me on the idea of ANY institutional church.

(1) As Priesthood holders, we had visions, revelations, and other gifts of the Spirit that the LDS church could only talk about. Our apostles had true power and authority from Christ.

(2) Some of the members sought after positions of authority, and as soon as they got it, they wanted to organize an institutional church patterned after the LDS church. We slipped into apostasy, almost immediately. They drove the true servants of God out of the church.

I pondered for years what we did wrong. What was the exact moment when we went astray? I finally identified it as the time we officially organized and incorporated under the State of California. We even received a revelation the warned us that we were “following the arm of flesh”, but we ignored it.

But, through it all, I learned to depend on personal revelation. My journals are full of it.

I support the Lord’s definition of His church.

“Those who repent and come to me.” D&C 10:67

This could be an individual, a family, a small group of people holding regular cottage meetings.

This is such an accurate description of the history of our little group, the Lord could have said this of us, not the Nephites.

3 Nephi 27:3 And they said unto him: Lord, we will that thou wouldst tell us the name whereby we shall call this church; for there are disputations among the people concerning this matter.

3 Nephi 27:4 And the Lord said unto them: Verily, verily, I say unto you, why is it that the people should murmur and dispute because of this thing?

3 Nephi 27:5 Have they not read the scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day;

3 Nephi 27:6 And whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day.

3 Nephi 27:7 Therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name; and ye shall call upon the Father in my name that he will bless the church for my sake.

3 Nephi 27:8 And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses’ name then it be Moses’ church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel.

3 Nephi 27:9 Verily I say unto you, that ye are built upon my gospel; therefore ye shall call whatsoever things ye do call, in my name; therefore if ye call upon the Father, for the church, if it be in my name the Father will hear you;

3 Nephi 27:10 And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it.

3 Nephi 27:11 But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return.

Are Mormons Christians?

Many Mormons have put their church and its leaders ahead of Christ, and as such are idolators. But, as a commentator pointed out, to say that all Mormons put the church ahead of Christ is taking a generalization too far. Many LDS people are today waking up to the fact that, as a group, we have had a tendency to do worship the church and not Christ, and to trust the church not the Lord to save us, and I will stand by my position that many top church leaders put the organization ahead of Christ. But many ordinary members are grateful for other members who showed us that we were doing this, and we realized our mistake. I think some of the best teachers in the church, are not the leaders, or the official teachers, but fellow members, who by their example, and a word or two, get us thinking.

I am grateful for the church for bringing us together under a common umbrella and for preserving the scriptures so that we can study they for ourselves. I hope, in this blog, I can attract and retain people who want to put the Lord first in their lives, and I promise that I will try harder not to overly generalize. This is a tendency we get into online. This trend actually started when all people had was email, when we lost that personal connection and could hide behind words. And now it’s carried over into blogs and Facebook. We all really need to watch ourselves in this.

“Christianity”, as a belief system, is nothing to be admired as its adherents place their creeds ahead of Christ, and are just as much idolators. Their idea of “faith”, for example, is not seeking revelation and acting it, but instead, their idea of faith is a set of beliefs that you must follow.

I will admit to one of my pet peeves. I really, really, really don’t like organized religion, and I tend to go overboard in condemning it. It’s just because I have seen what it can do to people who would otherwise be great friends. However, many people see great value in large organizations, and I will try to be more tolerant. To me, the most spiritual times I ever had with people was in private discussions, or in small meetings held in peoples’ homes. I grew up in small branches of the church all my life, and on my mission, and that was all I knew until I attended college in Utah.

The definition of the church of Christ and a true disciple of Christ is very simple. It’s in the D&C.

10:67. Behold, this is my doctrine–whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.
10:68. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.
10:69. And now, behold, whosoever is of my church, and endureth of my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
10:70. And now, remember the words of him who is the life and light of the world, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Amen.

Imitating Christ

Somebody posted to Facebook the other day about a talk given last conference. The speaker said that in order to follow Jesus, we had to “imitate Jesus”. The poster did a great job of debunking this notion, and the entire “gospel of works” by actually teaching the correct doctrine of Christ from the Scriptures.

I just wanted to a brief comment.

Eternal life is not to imitate God, but to know God. Satan imitates God. That’s why he’s able to deceive.

The Gift of Charity – Moroni 7:1-48

I am taking a post from Pure Revelation Book of Mormon Thoughts https://purerevelations.wordpress.com/2019/12/09/the-gift-of-charity-moroni-71-48/, adding some of my own thoughts and reposting. Plain text is the original Book of Mormon Text. Bracketed text is comments by PR or JRC. Important comments are in boldface.

The Gift of Charity – Moroni 7:1-48

Posted on December 9, 2019 by Pure Revelations

1 And now I, Moroni, write a few of the words of my father Mormon, which he spake concerning faith, hope, and charity; for after this manner did he speak unto the people, as he taught them in the synagogue which they had built for the place of worship. [There were few who were willing to worship in the synagogue in the later years of Mormon’s life. This sermon so impressed Moroni that he kept it and was inspired to include it in the final text of the record.]

2 And now I, Mormon, speak unto you, my beloved brethren; and it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and his holy will, because of the gift of his calling unto me, that I am permitted to speak unto you [in this manner] at this time.

3 Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ [always repenting], and that have obtained a sufficient hope [through baptism] by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord [the gift of the Holy Ghost], from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.

4 And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men. [How you conduct yourself with other people.]

5 For I remember the word of God which saith by their works [fruit] ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.

6 For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing. [What are the results of an evil man praying to God? Where is the fruit?]

[If we don’t pray with real intent we are being deceitful. Ask what you should pray for and it will be given. Intention is everything. JRC]

7 For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.

8 For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift [blessing or offering], he doeth it grudgingly [Regretting the act, for his heart is not there, and wonders how it will help him.]; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God. [Evil is a strong word, meaning it is by the power of the Adversary to do his will. Such a person is a hypocrite who pretends to pray to God, but there is no fruit.]

9 And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such.

10 Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift. [Mormon’s words encourage each of us to focus upon the results of the acts of one professing to be from God.]

[We all get in this state at one time or another. How do we get back to having real intent? This might seem to be a dilemma, because if we pray in order to have real intent, we are not praying with real intent. A couple of ways to get around this is to just praise God, or just express your gratitude. The Spirit of the Lord teaches a man that he must pray. Indeed, it drives him to pray. The spirit of the enemy teaches a man that he must not pray. So, if you don’t feel like praying, so the above. Also, you don’t just say your prayers. You ENTER into prayer. It’s a whole state of being. JRC]

11 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. [This all makes sense, but how do you judge this in real life? Imagine if your church leader appeared in every way to be righteous: he looks like a saint, he speaks of Jesus, he prays eloquently of the Gospel, he councils kindly, but something is missing. How can you discern they are not of God?]

12 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.

Satan is not stupid, even though many would like to think so. How could he fall after knowing the Lord to the degree he did? Satan has chosen the path he walks and knows exactly what he is doing. He knows that the righteous will not follow him at first. They must be seduced, one small sin at a time. Give them a hundred truths, and inject a single lie. Lure them carefully away from the light. Evil is that one lie, enough to canker the heart and lead away. What will that lie be for you? Here, we must judge righteously.

13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, everything which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. [We are told that “every thing” that leads to goodness, to love God, and serve him is inspired of God. What if a person is teaching these good things, but there is a lie injected? We must exercise discernment.]

[John Pontius wrote about the three voices are always talking to us. Satan, God, our own voice. Discern the difference. JRC]

14 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.

One of the slippery slopes of our time is the preacher that sets themselves up as a light as they preach the platitudes of righteousness. Words of truth that the people agree are of God. But, then they demand their followers to look to them for their light, to live by their words, and not to truly know the Lord. The only thing that a servant of God truly preaches is repentance. This includes the why’s, what’s, how’s, and when’s of the process. There should be no question of how to come unto Christ. Mormon is about to explain this in detail.

[D&C 50 Does he teach by the Spirit or some other way? JRC]

15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night. [Easy as one, two, three.]

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. [What is it that persuades a person to believe in Christ? Is it the warm hearted stories from the pulpit? Is it the reading of essays by scriptural scholars, or those who have high standing of leadership? No, it is the participation in the “power of the gift of Christ,” which are the gifts of the Spirit.]

[This is a good guide for preparing a talk. Are you persuading people to believe in Christ? I am really feeling the Spirit as I write this. People get carried away reading these posts because the word in the Book of Mormon, and the spirit they carry is so powerful. In fact, you could give a talk in church, expounding on a chapter in the Book of Mormon, using PR’s comments, supplemented with your own ideas to enhance your talk. JRC]

17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

[Is there any other place in scripture where we are promised that our knowledge is perfect, or can be perfect right now, with very little thought of effort on our part? JRC]

The only way to “do good” is to follow the doctrine of Christ and participate in the gifts of the Spirit, which are many and will be touched upon in this chapter and chapter ten.

18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge [divide the good from the evil], which light is the light of Christ [The Spirit], see that ye do not judge [choose JRC] wrongfully [without discernment JRC]; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged. [You will follow that which you judge. If you judge evil to be good (which is what evil does), you will choose darkness.]

[To judge is to separate and organize. To discern is to know the standard by which you should judge. JRC]

[It’s not just what the person says. It’s the Spirit that comes along and amplifies or illuminates what he says. The scripture is inviting us to do what God does: divide light from darkness. JRC]

19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently [It is a process and great work to do this.] in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ. [As you earnestly seek every good thing, judging between the good and evil, you will find the Lord.]

[This is a place where you not only can judge, you MUST judge. JRC]

20 And now, my brethren, how is it possible that ye can lay hold upon every good thing? [He is about to explain further the process.]

Faith

21 And now I come to that faith [the foundation], of which I said I would speak; and I will tell you the way whereby ye may lay hold on every good thing.

22 For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold, he sent angels to minister unto the children of men, to make manifest concerning the coming of Christ; and in Christ there should come every good thing.

[It always starts with angels. JRC]

23 And God also declared unto prophets, by his own mouth, that Christ should come. [Believe in Christ and the words taught by the prophets. This is the foundation of your faith.]

24 And behold, there were divers [many different] ways that he did manifest things unto the children of men, which were good; and all things which are good cometh of Christ; otherwise men were fallen, and there could no good thing come unto them.

25 Wherefore, by the ministering of angels, and by every word which proceeded forth out of the mouth of God [by revelation, scripture, and hearing the voice of others], men [all people] began to exercise faith in Christ; and thus by faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing; and thus it was until the coming of Christ.

[This harmonizes exactly with the Lectures on Faith. JRC]

26 And after that he came men also were saved by faith in his name [receieved the Holy Ghost]; and by faith, they become the sons of God. And as surely as Christ liveth he spake these words unto our fathers, saying: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good [according to God’s will], in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you. [The “believing” part is critical, for the Lord requires that we take action and if we do not believe our faith is dormant.]

27 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles [the gifts of the Spirit] ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men?

28 For he hath answered the ends of the law [Atonement], and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave [grab hold] unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwelleth eternally in the heavens. 

[There is a difference between having “faith in him” and having faith of him, or about him, or like him. We are saved as He becomes a part of us. This is charity, the pure love of Christ. After we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost we exercise, “The pure love in Christ.” For as we become one with him we are claimed as His Son or Daughter under the Atonement.]

[In this there is a mystery. I in you and you in me. This happens when the Lord bestows His glory upon us, as the Father bestowed His glory upon Christ.  (John 17:22) JRC]

29 And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men. [Miracles will follow them that believe “in Christ.”]

30 For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves [the angels] unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.

This is a key scripture to opening a particular gift of the Spirit which includes the ministering of angels and the beholding of angels. Angels only come to those who exercise faith. These individuals are seeking truth, they believe in the gifts, and do not block the reception of them because of false traditions (unbelief). How will an angel come to you? There are divers ways [various methods] this can occur. If one has “strong faith” [seeking the Lord’s revelation and acting upon it], and they have a “firm mind in every form of godliness”[mind is filled with virtue and belief in the Lord’s power in them], they will not be inhibited from conversing with the angelic host.

31 And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance [bring them to Christ], and to fulfil and to do the work of the covenants of the Father [in regards to the Everlasting Covenant], which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord [3rd and 4th estate], that they may bear testimony of him.

32 And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men [second estate] may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.

33 And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me. [You will be given the gifts of the Spirit as they are needed.]

34 And he hath said: Repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved. [First step of the Doctrine of Christ, repent and come unto Him.]

35 And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?

36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved? [Are there no miracles? Will angels cease to visit the followers of Christ? No way!]

37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo [sad and cursed] be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief [false traditions], and all is vain. [There is no hope.]

[Now I know how true this really is. If you are not having miracles in your life; if life is not ‘magical’, then something needs to change. JRC]

38 For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name [seek Jesus and act upon His words]; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made. [They will continue as a second estate forever.]

39 But behold, my beloved brethren, I judge better things of you, for I judge that ye have faith in Christ because of your meekness [seeking His will above all things]; for if ye have not faith in him then ye are not fit to be numbered among the people of his church.

Hope

40 And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope? [The second step of the Doctrine of Christ.]

41 And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise. [This promise is made to the Father when we are baptized in water, a reminder of the resurrection of the soul unto Christ and life eternal.]

42 Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.

43 And again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart. [You must have a broken heart and contrite spirit to accomplish this.]

Charity

44 If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart [full repentance, and full submission to the Lord]; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity. [Charity is the power of God that opens the door to baptism of fire and the gift of the Holy Ghost. This is the “pure love in Christ.”]

Mormon now gives us a list of attributes that are obtained by those who acquire charity. These are some of the “fruits” of charity:

45

  • And charity suffereth long [patient in afflictions],
  • and is kind, and envieth not [does not compare their possessions to others],
  • and is not puffed up [humble],
  • seeketh not her own [focused on other’s needs],
  • is not easily provoked [slow to anger],
  • thinketh no evil [virtuous thoughts],
  • and rejoiceth not in iniquity
  • but rejoiceth in the truth [thoughts filled with the joy of the Lord] ,
  • beareth all things [that the Lord gives them],
  • believeth all things [that the Lord gives them],
  • hopeth all things [are possible through the Lord],
  • endureth all things. [every sacrifice the Lord requires]

[Don’t confuse charity with the fruits of charity. JRC]

46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail— 

[To receive charity is to receive the promise of the Father that you are worthy of receiving the gift of Christ. This is the turnkey moment in your judgment, where you are found worthy to approach the Lord. Shortly thereafter the baptism of fire is given and the gift of the Holy Ghost is bestowed, as you are made holy and worthy to enter the presence of the Lord. Without this cleansing and holy sanctification, your attempt to ascend the hill of the Lord will fail.]

47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

[Me: Pure love of Christ for you. See him as he is. See him as he sees you. See others as God sees them. This is what makes a marriage holy.]

There are seven virtues of godliness that lead to charity. Once we are fully tested, the Father opens our heart and the light pours into us. We are ready to receive the Son.

[This is clearly outlined in the following verse. Charity isn’t something we learn. It is bestowed upon us, and as us result of all of the above. JRC]

[Charity is seeing ourselves and others the way God sees us.” PR https://purerevelations.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/the-seven-most-important-words-to-ask-the-lord/]

48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart [full submission, contrite heart], that ye may be filled with this love [light of Christ], which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons [and daughters] of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

[Our spirits are made pure and holy when we receive the third part of the Doctrine of Christ, the baptism of fire and the gift of the Holy Ghost. By this, we are able to stand in His presence, filled with light and glory, and be like Him in that we will not wither in His presence.]

This truly is a beautiful sermon given of Moroni’s father Mormon. He lays out the Gospel in its simplicity and the pitfalls that prevent many from receiving a fullness.

4 Responses to The Gift of Charity – Moroni 7:1-48

December 10, 2019 at 1:56 am

Vs 37: If faith is asking, can the word “asking” be used in place of the word “faith” in this verse?
“for it is by (asking) that miracles are wrought; and it is by (asking) that angels appear and minister unto men…” 

[Yes, and asking comes at different levels.

  • The first question, “Are you there?
  • Do you love me?
  • And, then later you ask more questions with increased faith.
  • Also, true faith requires us to act upon what is received. PR]

December 10, 2019 at 2:28 pm

I am still having a hard time understanding these core concepts of the Doctrine of Christ. I will try to ask my main question as clear as I can.

How and when we may hope to receive the gift of charity, and partake of this “fruit”? [It comes at the very moment we have reached a fullness of the requirements of a broken heart and contrite spirit. I have referred to these before as the seven virtues of godliness. PR] I have often thought that charity is the main gift bestowed upon those who receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost. But you often describe it as a preliminary gift prior to receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Isn’t receiving the gift of charity synonymous to being spiritually begotten/mighty change of heart/receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost? [It does come at the same time. Charity is the Father’s declaration of your worthiness. It brings the baptism of fire followed by the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is the state of being one with the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost. “Without charity you are nothing.”]

[Preparing to receive charity. JRC]

Likewise, I have a hard time understanding how to fit Moroni’s imagery in with Nephi’s. I often believe that we “enter the gate” to the strait and narrow path by being spiritually begotten/mighty change of heart/receiving a full baptism (of water AND the Holy Ghost)… and that not until then can we fully cling to “the iron rod” (words of Christ given through personal revelation)… However, how does charity (the love of God) fit in with this, because Nephi/Lehi seem to separate these by saying we don’t partake of the fruit of the tree of life (the love of God) until after following the iron rod (words of Christ given through personal revelation) along the path for some time…. [The angel called the Tree of Life the “love of God.” Mormon called charity the “pure love of Christ.” They are closely connected, but not the same as I will explain in a moment. PR]

Is charity “the fruit of the tree of life” we are to partake of (after the baptism of the Holy Ghost)? If so, why does Nephi/Lehi seem to separate the concept of partaking of the fruit (charity) and following the iron rod (the words of Christ given through revelation)?

Don’t we need to be doing both (partaking of the fruit AND clinging to the rod) upon being begotten spiritually / entering the gate / receiving the mighty change of heart / receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost? [Yes. PR]

Thank you dear Brother!!!

[The following lays out and clarifies the whole process. There is a difference between “the pure love of Christ” and “the love of God”. JRC]

  • Cling to the iron rod
  • Virtues
  • Charity
  • Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost – now you entered the gateway and are on the path
  • Cling to the iron rod even more
  • Partake of the love of God (Tree of Life, Jesus Christ, fruit is eternal life)

[I was shown that charity is the gift that opens everything. It is the promise of the Father that we are worthy to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. It comes in its fullness just before we have our baptism of fire and Holy Ghost experience. When I had my vision of the Tree of Life I saw something interesting regarding those who grabbed hold of the rod of iron – their bodies lit up. This was symbolic of them receiving charity and the Holy Ghost. The Tree of Life is Jesus Christ, and the fruit is Eternal Life. As we grab hold of the word of God and push forward we will come unto Christ (literally) and partake of Eternal Life. This is my understanding from my experience, but you can seek your own confirmation. PR]

The Beasts of John’s Revelation

[I am going to present one of Joseph Smith’s sermons, together with some commentary. There is a lot we can learn from this sermon. I will put my comments in brackets and boldface. I will also boldface the portions of Joseph’s speech that I really want to emphasize. He was speaking at a funeral, and the references are given at the end.]

The subject I intend to speak upon this morning is one that I have seldom touched upon since I commenced my ministry in the Church. It is a subject of great speculation, as well amongst the elders of this Church, as among the divines of the day: it is in relation to the beasts spoken of by John the Revelator. I have seldom spoken from the revelations; but as my subject is a constant source of speculation amongst the elders, causing a division of sentiment and opinion in relation to it, I now do it in order that division and differences of opinion may be done away with, and not that correct knowledge on the subject is so much needed at the present time.

[This material is interesting to some people even though it has nothing to do with our salvation. Joseph’s main object in presenting this was to clear up some misconceptions, put down contentions, emphasize teaching the basics, and discuss how to handle people who teach false doctrine. It also illustrates how visions and revelations work.]

It is not essential for the elders [who are sent to preach nothing but repentance to this generation] to have knowledge in relation to the meaning of beasts, and heads and horns, and other figures made use of in the revelations; still, it may be necessary, to prevent contention and division and do away with suspense. If we get puffed up by thinking that we have much knowledge, we are apt to get a contentious spirit, and correct knowledge is necessary to cast out that spirit. [Pretended knowledge and lack of humility and teachableness are causes of contention.]

[We need to learn to discern between facts and principles, and focus on those principles which will save us. There is nothing wrong with seeking to know the mysteries of heaven for our own, but we should not be teaching the details to others. We should not think ourselves more worthy because we have certain bits of knowledge. God is willing to make this knowledge available to all who seek it. But, the first things we seek should be the mysteries which pertain to eternal life. I am going to paraphrase a couple of verses from the Book of Mormon.

Jacob 2:18 But before ye seek [after the mysteries], seek ye for the kingdom of God.

Jacob 2:19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain [a knowledge of the mysteries], if ye seek them [as the Lord directs your interest to seek]; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good— [even though you don’t teach them directly to people, they will add depth to your testimony, and enable you to adapt your message to the special needs of your audience.]]

The Punishment of Suspense

The evil of being puffed up with correct (though useless) knowledge is not so great as the evil of contention. Knowledge does away with darkness, suspense and doubt; for these cannot exist where knowledge is. [Right out of the Lectures on Faith. If Joseph never wrote them, he certainly endorsed the principles taught in them. There are even echoes of them in the Book of Mormon.]

There is no pain so awful as that of suspense. This is the punishment of the wicked; their doubt, anxiety and suspense cause weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

In knowledge there is power. God has more power than all other beings, because he has greater knowledge; and hence he knows how to subject all other beings to Him. He has power over all. [This is key. We are saved to the degree that we are like God, or in other words a man is saved no faster than he gains knowledge.]

Elder Pelatiah Brown – How to deal with those who teach false doctrine

I will endeavor to instruct you in relation to the meaning of the beasts and figures spoken of. I should not have called up the subject had it not been for this circumstance. Elder Pelatiah Brown, one of the wisest old heads we have among us, and whom I now see before me, has been preaching concerning the beast which was full of eyes before and behind; and for this he was hauled up for trial before the High Council.

The High Council undertook to censure and correct Elder Brown, because of his teachings in relation to the beasts. Whether they actually corrected him or not, I am a little doubtful, but don’t care. Father Brown came to me to know what he should do about it. The subject particularly referred to was the four beasts and four-and-twenty elders mentioned in Rev. 5:8 — “And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four-and-twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints.”

I never thought it was right to call up a man and try him because he erred in doctrine. It looks too much like Methodism and not like Latter-day-Saintism. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be kicked out of their church. I want the liberty of believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled. It doesn’t prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine.

Father Brown has been to work and confounded all Christendom by making out that the four beasts represented the different kingdoms of God on the earth. The wise men of the day could not do anything with him, and why should we find fault? Anything to whip sectarianism, to put down priestcraft, and bring the human family to a knowledge of the truth. A club is better than no weapon for a poor man to fight with.

Father Brown did whip sectarianism, and so far, so good; but I could not help laughing at the idea of God making use of the figure of a beast to represent His kingdom on the earth, consisting of men, when He could as well have used a far more noble and consistent figure. What! the Lord made use of the figure of a creature of the brute creation to represent that which is much more noble, glorious, and important–the glories and majesty of His kingdom? By taking a lesser figure to represent a greater, you missed it that time, old gentleman; but the sectarians did not know enough to detect you.

When God made use of the figure of a beast in visions to the prophets, He did it to represent those kingdoms which had degenerated and become corrupt, savage and beast-like in their dispositions, even the degenerate kingdoms of the wicked world; but He never made use of the figure of a beast nor any of the brute kind to represent His kingdom.

Daniel’s Vision of Beasts

Daniel says (chap. 7, v. 16) when he saw the vision of the four beasts, “I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this, ” the angel interpreted the vision to Daniel; but we find, by the interpretation that the figures of beasts had no allusion to the kingdom of God. You there see that the beasts are spoken of to represent the kingdoms of the world, the inhabitants whereof were beastly and abominable characters; they were murderers, corrupt, carnivorous, and brutal in their dispositions. The lion, the bear, the leopard, and the ten-horned beast represented the kingdoms of the world, says Daniel; for I refer to the prophets to qualify my observations which I make, so that the young elders who know so much, may not rise up like a flock of hornets and sting me. I want to keep out of such a wasp-nest.

John’s Vision of Futurity

There is a grand difference and distinction between the visions and figures spoken of by the ancient prophets, and those spoken of in the revelations of John. The things which John saw had no allusion to the scenes of the days of Adam, Enoch, Abraham or Jesus, only so far as is plainly represented by John, and clearly set forth by him. John saw that only which was lying in futurity and which was shortly subject:

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. [John was not speaking symbolically. He reported exactly what he saw. If he saw symbols, he reported symbols, but he did not himself cloak anything he saw in his own symbolism.] Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of his prophecy and keep those things that are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Also Rev. 4:1.

After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven; and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter. [John temporarily ascended to heaven, just like Moses in the Pearl of Great Price, or Christ when he communed with His Father in the wilderness.]

The four beasts and twenty-four elders were out of every nation; for they sang a new song, saying,

Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seal thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by the blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. (See Rev. 5:9.)

It would be great stuffing to crowd all nations into four beasts and twenty-four elders.

Now, I make this declaration, that those things which John saw in heaven had no allusion to anything that had been on the earth previous to that time, because they were the representation of “things which must shortly come to pass,” and not of what has already transpired. John saw beasts that had to do with things on the earth, but not in past ages. The beasts which John saw had to devour the inhabitants of the earth in days to come.

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, come and see. And I saw, and beheld a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another; and there was given unto him a great sword. (Rev. 6:1, 2, 3, 4.)

The book of Revelation is one of the plainest books God ever caused to be written.

[Remember, the Book of Revelation was written as a stand-alone document. It was not bound up into the Holy Bible until centuries later. What Joseph Smith is saying by calling Revelation “plain” is not that it is easy to understand, but we should take the book literally, as it stands. John warns us not to add anything to the book. We usually think of “adding to this book of prophecy” as adding any additional written scripture, but Joseph suggests we ought not to add any external interpretation of any kind to the meaning that is already in the book.]

[In summary:] The revelations do not give us to understand anything of the past in relation to the kingdom of God. What John saw and speaks of were things which he saw in heaven; those which Daniel saw were on and pertaining to the earth.

Exceptions to Bible Translations

I am now going to take exceptions to the present translation of the Bible in relation to these matters. Our latitude and longitude can be determined in the original Hebrew with far greater accuracy than in the English version. There is a grand distinction between the actual meaning of the prophets and the present translation. The prophets do not declare that they saw a beast or beasts, but that they saw the image or figure of a beast. Daniel did not see an actual bear or a lion, but the images or figures of those beasts. The translation should have been rendered “image” instead of “beast,” in every instance where beasts are mentioned by the prophets. But John saw the actual beast in heaven, showing to John that beasts did actually exist there, and not to represent figures of things on the earth. When the prophets speak of seeing beasts in their visions, they mean that they saw the images, they being types to represent certain things. At the same time they received the interpretation as to what those images or types were designed to represent.

I make this broad declaration, that whenever God gives a vision of an image, or beast, or figure of any kind, He always holds Himself responsible to give a revelation or interpretation of the meaning thereof, otherwise we are not responsible or accountable for our belief in it. Don’t be afraid of being damned for not knowing the meaning of a vision or figure, if God has not given a revelation or interpretation of the subject.

John saw curious looking beasts in heaven; he saw every creature that was in heaven, — all the beasts, fowls and fish in heaven, — actually there, giving glory to God. How do you prove it?

And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. (See Rev. 5:13.)

[Think about it! To witness every creature in heaven, on the earth, under the earth, and in the sea — all praising God. No other prophet that I know of has witness of this. I wrote earlier, quoting Joseph Smith, that God has the knowledge to subject all things to Himself.

If you are thinking that this is dictatorial control, then you are thinking the wrong thing. D&C 121:46.: “The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.” It is done by invitation, not compulsion.

In order to invite, you have to be able to communicate. You also have to love every creature and every element of creation. God will then invite them to listen to you, as they listen to God. And because they trust God, they will trust you. This is the Sealing Power.

Mos 1:25: “And calling upon the name of God, he beheld his glory again, for it was upon him; and he heard a voice, saying: Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God.”]

Varied Creatures in Heaven

I suppose John saw beings there of a thousand forms, that had been saved from ten thousand times ten thousand earths like this, — strange beasts of which we have no conception: all might be seen in heaven. The grand secret was to show John what there was in heaven. John learned that God glorified Himself by saving all that His hands had made, whether beasts, fowls, fishes or men; and He will glorify Himself with them [and in them].

3 Nephi 9:15 Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God.  I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.  I was with the Father from the beginning.  I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name. [Just as the Father is glorified in Christ, so is Christ glorified in us. In this is a mystery.]

3 Nephi 19:23 And now Father, I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one.

3 Nephi 19:29 Father, I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me out of the world, because of their faith, that they may be purified in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one, that I may be glorified in them.

3 Nephi 27:31 Behold, I would that ye should understand; for I mean them who are now alive of this generation; and none of them are lost; and in them I have fulness of joy.

Says one, “I cannot believe in the salvation of beasts.” Any man who would tell you that this could not be, would tell you that the revelations are not true. John heard the words of the beasts giving glory to God, and understood them. God who made the beasts could understand every language spoken by them. The four beasts were four of the most noble animals that had filled the measure of their creation, and had been saved from other worlds, because they were perfect: they were like angels in their sphere. We are not told where they came from, and I do not know; but they were seen and heard by John praising and glorifying God.

The popular religionists of the day tell us, forsooth, that the beasts spoken of in the Revelation represent kingdoms. Very well, on the same principle we can say that the twenty-four elders spoken of represent beasts; for they are all spoken of at the same time, and are represented as all uniting in the same acts of praise and devotion. [Sarcasm.]

This learned interpretation is all as flat as a pancake! “What do you use such vulgar expressions for, being a prophet?” Because the old women understand it — they make pancakes. Deacon Homespun said the earth was flat as a pancake, and ridiculed the science which proved to the contrary. The whole argument is flat, and I don’t know of anything better to represent it. The world is full of technicalities and misrepresentation, which I calculate to overthrow, and speak of things as they actually exist.

Again, there is no revelation to prove that things do not exist in heaven as I have set forth, nor yet to show that the beasts meant anything but beasts; and we never can comprehend the things of God and of heaven, but by revelation. We may spiritualize and express opinions to all eternity; but that is no authority.

Elders to Preach Repentance and Let Mysteries Alone

Oh, ye elders of Israel, hearken to my voice; and when you are sent into the world to preach, tell those things you are sent to tell; preach and cry aloud, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand; repent and believe the Gospel.” Declare the first principles, and let mysteries alone, lest ye be overthrown. Never meddle with the visions of beasts and subjects you do not understand. Elder Brown, when you go to Palmyra, say nothing about the four beasts, but preach those things the Lord has told you to preach about — repentance and baptism for the remission of sins.

[This is not to say that we should not seek to understand the mysteries of God. God will reveal them to you as fast as you are able to receive them, according to your faith, heed, and diligence. But here is a clue: before you ask God to explain a certain desired mystery to you, ask Him what He would have you know. Let your learning proceed on the Lord’s timetable, not yours. One reason for this is you may need to understand another more basic principle before you are ready to understand the principle you desire to know. Another reason is the Lord knows what you need to learn, and the best ways to teach you. Be patient. Be believing. And trust His judgment and timing. Believe me, you will not be disappointed.]

He then read Rev. 13:1-8. John says, “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed; and all the world wondered after the beast.” Some spiritualizers say the beast that received the wound was Nebuchadnezzar, some Constantine, some Mohammed, and others the Roman Catholic Church; but we will look at what John saw in relation to this beast. Now for the wasp’s nest. The translators have used the term “dragon” for devil. Now it was a beast that John saw could not be Nebuchadnezzar. The beast John saw was an actual beast, and an actual intelligent being gives him his power, and his seat, and great authority. It was not to represent a beast in heaven: it was an angel in heaven [Satan] who has power in the last days to do a work. [See Rev. 12:9.]

“All the world wondered after the beast,” Nebuchadnezzar and Constantine the Great not excepted. And if the beast was all the world, how could the world wonder after the beast? It must have been a wonderful beast to cause all human beings to wonder after it; and I will venture to say that when God allows the old devil to give power to the beast to destroy the inhabitants of the earth, all will wonder. Verse 4 reads, “And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying. Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”

Some say it means the kingdom of the world. One thing is sure, it does not mean the kingdom of the Saints. Suppose we admit that it means the kingdoms of the world, what propriety would there be in saying, Who is able to make war with my great big self? If these spiritualized interpretations are true, the book contradicts itself in almost every verse. But they are not true.

There is a mistranslation of the word dragon in the second verse. The original word signifies the devil, and not dragon, as translated. In chapter 12, verse 9, it reads, “That old serpent, called the devil,” and it ought to be translated devil in this case, and not dragon. It is sometimes translated Apollyon. Everything that we have not a keyword to, we will take it as it reads. The beasts which John saw and speaks of being in heaven, were actually living in heaven, and were actually to have power given to them over the inhabitants of the earth, precisely according to the plain reading of the revelations. I give this as a key to the elders of Israel. The independent beast is a beast that dwells in heaven, abstract [apart] from the human family. The beast that rose up out of the sea should be translated the image of a beast, as I have referred to it in Daniel’s vision.

I have said more than I ever did before, except once at Ramus, and then up starts the little fellow (Charles Thompson) and stuffed me like a cock-turkey with the prophecies of Daniel, and crammed it down my throat with his finger.

(April 8, 1843.) DHC 5:339-345. TPJS p 287-294 Remarks of the Prophet on the Death of Lorenzo D. Barnes)

The Days of Our Lives

Perhaps the reason why we don’t read much about multiple lifetimes in the scriptures is that given the Hebrew concept of time, to them, it was a given, and doesn’t need to be mentioned. The Hebrew concept of time is circular, not linear.

For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round. (1 Nephi 10:19)

For a discussion of the Hebrew concept of time, see: https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/emails/concepts-in-time.htm I strongly recommend you read this before continuing. It is a short article, well-illustrated with diagrams and example. It was written by Jeff Benner, a man who teaches the elements and principles of the Hebrew language to westerners. I strongly recommend all of his articles because understanding the concepts behind the Hebrew language gives you a better idea of the Gospel, and uncovers many mysteries for you.

Samuel the Lamanite:

Helaman 13:38 But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head.

Other scriptures:

Alma 42:6 But behold, it was appointed unto man to die [to keep on dying] –therefore, as they were cut off from the tree of life they should be cut off from the face of the earth–and man became lost forever, yea, they became fallen man.

Alma 40:8 Now whether there is more than one time appointed for men to rise it mattereth not; for all do not die at once, and this mattereth not; all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men.

2 Nephi 30:8 And it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall commence his work among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, to bring about the restoration of his people upon the earth.

Joseph Smith:

I want to reason more on the spirit of man; for I am dwelling on the body and spirit of man—on the subject of the dead. I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man—the immortal part, because it had no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; then it has a beginning and an end; but join it again, and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man. As the Lord liveth, if it had a beginning, it will have an end. All the fools and learned and wise men from the beginning of creation, who say that the spirit of man had a beginning, prove that it must have an end; and if that doctrine is true, then the doctrine of annihilation would be true. But if I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the house-tops that God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself.  (King Follett Address)

This is a key principle to keep in mind. If something had a beginning, it will have an end. If something has no beginning, it will have no end. In order to understand the circular notion of time in terms of our linear notion of time, we would have to do what Joseph Smith did: take a ring and cut it: i.e., to pick some arbitrary point and call it the beginning. Genesis 1:1 says “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” But the word beginning means “main” or “chief” and derives from the word for “head”. Moses asked God to show him how all these things came to be. Moses, though a Hebrew, was raised as an Egyptian and likely was raised to view time in linear fashion.

Mos 1:35 But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.

Mos 1:38 And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come, and there is no end to my works, neither to my words.

[The work of God is endless, and proceeds in cycles of creation, sustainment, and destruction. I heard some general authority say in conference that, as a god, we will experience “endless creation”. I’m not so sure God and Moses agree with this.]

Mos 1:40 And now, Moses, my son, I will speak unto thee concerning this earth upon which thou standest; and thou shalt write the things which I shall speak. [God cut the ring for Moses. In giving an account only of this earth, He began with “in the beginning”, or, in other words, “Moses, this is the first and most important thing to know”.]

More of My Word

Are you as excited as I am about obtaining and reading the additional records which are promised to come out in the last days? If you are, then you are probably a Book of Mormon reader, and a believer that additional records will be forthcoming:

  • The fullness of the re-translation of the Bible, including the contents of the plates of brass (Old Testament).
  • The fullness of the record of the Twelve Apostles (New Testament).
  • The Sealed Portion of the Book of Mormon.

People are going to approach you, if they haven’t already, claiming to have translated these records. They will make sensational and tantalizing claims. These records will surely come forth, but only under certain conditions, and possibly only to certain people. What are those conditions and who are these people?

Here they are:

3 Nephi 26:8 And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken.

3 Nephi 26:9 And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them.

3 Nephi 26:10 And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation.

Ether 4:5 Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them.  And he commanded me that I should seal them up; and he also hath commanded that I should seal up the interpretation thereof; wherefore I have sealed up the interpreters, according to the commandment of the Lord.

Ether 4:6 For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.

Ether 4:7 And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.

These records will not come forth until there are enough people with faith sufficient to receive them. To receive them means more than to possess them, or lightly read them in order to satisfy your curiosity. To receive them means to read them, embrace them, search them, receive revelation concerning them, and teach them.

These additional scriptures aren’t given to people who either want to satisfy their lusts with them, or debate against them.

Ether 4:8 And he that will contend against the word of the Lord, let him be accursed; and he that shall deny these things, let him be accursed; for unto them will I show no greater things, saith Jesus Christ; for I am he who speaketh.

But the main condition pertaining to the coming forth of these records is FAITH. By now, you should realize that faith is more than just belief or assent. More than following some “abominable” [the Lord’s word, not mine] creed. More than obedience to some man claiming to act for God. Faith means to seek revelation from God, receive it, and act on it.

How do you receive the word of God? From the scriptures, from inspired teachers, from true servants of the Lord, and ultimately personal revelation from God to you. In order to receive and appreciate new revelation, you must have also received some personal revelation yourself and be familiar with the revelatory process. You will probably have received at least your baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. The scriptures (above) say you must be sanctified: the definition and the result of having been “born again”. Your journals will contain sacred experiences and insights that you know came from God. You will understand how God teaches us, and specifically how God teaches you, and you will be hungry to learn more. You may probably have had revealed to you some of the contents of these records, so they will come as no great surprise. But, even if God has revealed every word of them to you, already, they must still come forth as a witness to the world that God faithfully honors His covenants and promises.

So, this is a call to prepare for coming events by knowing the true definition of faith, and by developing your own personal faith. As enough of us do this, and enough of us cry out to the Lord for additional light and truth, in order to bear up under the trials yet to come, the heavens will be moved with compassion, and the Lord will send His servants to you with these records in their hands. In His name, Amen. So let it be.

Baptisms of Fire and the Holy Ghost

First Experience – 1982

It was Seattle in the early 1980’s. I had just been excommunicated from the Church for a serious sexual sin. The trial had just concluded, and I was still in the high council room when I received a vision of a whole bunch of people on the other side watching me with concern, wondering what I was going to do next. I don’t know whether they were my ancestors, my future descendants, and just a bunch of people. I knew they were watching me and counting on me to do something for them. I resolved there and then that I was going to “make it back”, even though I didn’t exactly know what “back” meant.

A few weeks later, I was riding on a city bus in downtown Seattle, and the Spirit told me to pray and ask our Heavenly Father for something very specific. I asked the Lord if he would grant me the ability to see people the way He sees them. I didn’t even know why I was supposed to do this or what it even meant. He granted my request immediately. People changed around me. A homeless black man became in my eyes a king, and a little old lady in a wheelchair, a queen. Everywhere I looked, all I could see was the goodness and potential in people, and a bright light inside each person. I wanted to fall down and worship them. Whatever this gift was, I thought it would eventually go away, but in over 30 years, it has never gone away. I didn’t know what it was, but I was grateful to have it. I just found out about a week (This was written in Winter 2019.) ago that what the Lord blessed me with was charity. And, that’s why I am reading Lectures on Charity in order to find out more about it. I wondered how I could go so long without knowing it was charity, but I remembered the scripture that says “Charity does not vaunt itself.” I believe it is possible for a person to receive the gift of charity, and never know what they received. They just see people in a different light, and they act accordingly. And that may be OK.

Then, a few weeks after this, after I had finished my evening prayers and was sitting on the bed when this intense burning came over my entire body and lasted a good 5-10 minutes. I knew my sins were being burned out of me, and that this was the Baptism of Fire. When, it was done, I heard a voice tell me: “You are Abraham.” I don’t know if that meant I was literally Abraham, like unto Abraham, or adopted into Abraham’s family. I do know this. Ever since I was little and read a children’s Bible story book about Abraham being the friend of God, I wanted to be like Abraham and be a friend of God.

A few weeks ago, I read a Witness of Christ urge his readers to seek the Baptism of Fire, and if you think you have already received it, think about what happened, and ask the Lord to confirm it to you. I asked the Lord, and he confirmed that it was the Baptism of Fire, that happened over 30 years go. I feel to say, along with Abraham in one of my favorite lines in passages in all of scripture: “Thy servant has sought thee, now I have found thee.” 

Sometime, about this same time, I was sitting in church, in our local ward, in Sacrament Meeting, when I saw a vision of the Father and Son, sitting in heaven, sitting our thrones. I had forgotten this event happened in the same time frame as these other events. So, there was the gift of charity, baptism of fire and the holy ghost, and the vision of the Father and the Son.

After I had been excommunicated, I attended a Sacrament Meeting where a young Aaronic Priesthood holder was giving a talk about the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. He was taking is far too lightly, and making a mockery of the whole thing. I was so angry, I wanted to jump up to the front, rip him off the stand and give a proper talk that the subject deserved. I didn’t do anything except leave before I did started tipping over tables.

Second Experience – 2020

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