Plan of Salvation

Here is a very brief summary what I have learned on this subject. I can back all of this up from the D&C, the temple endowment, the Bible, and church history.

Some of this stuff might sound new to you because it is not taught in Sunday School. But it is a lot simpler and much more fair that than is being taught. The main difference is it is not calculated to install fear, but freedom and personal responsibility.

The reason for this is it comes from the revelations of God, not the teachings of an institution who is only interested in self-preservation and maintaining control over its members.

When Christ established his church, he said the gates of hell would not prevail against it. The gates of hell are meant to keep people IN, not keep people OUT.

Terrestial are the honorable people who were deceived by the craftiness of men.

Telestial are those crafty men who lie in wait to deceive.

Celestial are the people who are honorable who neither deceive, nor are deceived.

It is important to remember that not all the judgments of God are revealed. Also, God wills that all mankind will be saved. Also, Christ saves all the work of the Father’s hands. Also, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ.

The vast majority of Mormons is not good enough for the Celestial Kingdom, and nowhere near bad enough for outer darkness. Read D&C 76, 130, 131.

The bracketed comment in 131:2 was not revealed through Joseph Smith, but was added later by Orson Pratt, under the direction of Brigham Young, in order to support plural marriage.

Even outer darkness is not a final state, but the folks there will have to wait billions of years for another chance.

There are kingdoms above the Celestial Kingdom.

The Telestial Kingdom is hell. It is also the world in which we live. This is a kingdom composed of people of many degrees of glory, as the stars differ in glory. You will run across Celestial, Telestial, and Terrestrial people here. The deceivers, the deceived, and those who are not deceived.

The reason why we have so many different churches and philosophies here is because God is trying to reach out to everyone and speak to them in terms of their own time, culture, language, and understanding.

We progress from kingdom to kingdom as we progress and obey the laws pertaining to that kingdom. Otherwise, we keep returning to the same kingdom until we learn and obey those laws and show that we are ready to move on.

The words damnation, condemnation, and judgment all refer to the state where we are “dammed in our progress”. We are stuck in one place, where we “suffer the wrath of God”, which really means we stay here and face the trials and lessons of mortality until we learn all the lessons we are supposed to learn and prove ourselves ready to move on.

“Eternal punishment” does not refer to the length of the punishment, but to the quality and intensity of the punishment.

By the same token “eternal life” means the kind of life that God lives. We can obtain and enjoy eternal life, even in this life. We not only can, but we must.

“… and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead…”

We can also volunteer to remain behind and help other struggling souls climb higher. This is why the sacrifice of Christ was so important and significant. Christ said “come follow me”. It is important to understand the full import of what that means, and always be ready to follow Christ, wherever he leads us, or asks us to go.

We are constantly taught, take a covenant at baptism, and renew that covenant every week to take upon ourselves the “name of Christ”. This principle is demonstrated quite literally and visually in the temple. The name of Christ means something and is not just a euphemism.

I don’t believe in being confined to a static destination for all eternity, no matter what that destination is. THAT is the definition of damnation. I expect to keep growing, learning, and progressing, as in the words of the hymn:

The works of God continue,
And worlds and lives abound;
Improvement and progression
Have one eternal round.

So, keeping an eternal perspective i’m focused on the HERE AND NOW, and making the most out of this life, and assisting others to do the same. There is no reason why we can’t create heaven on earth. It will come when we are ready for it.

As the Lord said through the prophet of the Community of Christ:

“Zionic conditions are no further away nor any closer than the spiritual condition of my people justifies.” [D&C 140:5c – Israel A. Smith – April 7, 1947]

Zion is just the start. After Enoch built

Don’t be waiting for God. It’s up to us.

Mysteries

This is the whole crux of the church’s incorrect doctrine enshrined in “The Proclamation on the Family”. It is that in the Celestial Kingdom, exalted males and females produce spirit offspring, and thereby bring new beings into existence.

Joseph Smith NEVER taught this doctrine. He taught that man was in the beginning with God and is co-eternal with God. The idea of producing “spirit children” originated with Brigham Young and Orson Pratt in order to promote and legitimize polygamy, and is false.

Joseph Smith, in one of his final speeches on the resurrection, said that the saints should be constantly be seeking to find out the mysteries. This is in stark contrast to those who would tell us to avoid the mysteries and, thus, remain in darkness.

Here are a few mysteries from the D&C that bear looking into. It is said that the best place to hide a mystery is to put it out in plain sight. These “mysteries” are all out in plain sight in the D&C, for anyone to read.

It may be that when these mysteries are finally “revealed” (and I am providing an “out” for the church), they may well prove that same-sex marriages are not only welcome, but necessary, for the fulfillment of God’s plan, which is the eternal joy, happiness, and progression of ALL of his children.

1. We are told that God has not revealed all his judgments.
2. We are not told the purpose of the lower two degrees of the Celestial Kingdom.
3. There are kingdoms of a higher order than the Celestial Kingdom.
4. Polygamy is not the only new doctrine taught in D&C 132.

These principles are all found in the D&C. Go look for them, and when you find them, go ask the church leaders to explain them to you, if they can.

I must know a couple of dozen people who left the Church, but without the drama, the soul-searching, the gut-wrenching, the torchlight vigils, the parades through the park, whining to the press.

However, did they do it? Answer: they just did it. They followed the best that they knew and just did it.

I did it so I could have the type of relationship I yearned for and believed I could have. I walked through that door and found that the Lord was on the other side of the door waiting for me.

My son did it because he sincerely believes that no other success can compensate for failure in the home. Here’s one parent who put his kids above the church.

I know another man who left because of freedom of conscience and because he felt he had a calling to teach the truth.

I know another man who was being groomed for high positions in the church because of his family connections, but he just didn’t believe it, and had to beg and plead to be excommunicated. He left it all behind.

Why is it so hard for some some people to just leave it all behind. If you really think you are now on the right course, then don’t look back? No man, having put his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom.

Or, on the other hand, do you really know what you want? You just know what you DON’T want? Blind, indecisive, and regretful. That’s no way to go through life.

Too Much Tolerance?

There are many virtues that at times seem contradictory to each other, but in fact, enhance and define one another. What we need to do is to BALANCE one virtue with another virtual, instead of balancing one virtue with its opposite. For example: Justice vs Mercy, Love vs Wisdom, Freedom vs Discipline.

Balance Tolerance with what? IN-tolerance? Would a self-proclaimed “apostle of Jesus Christ”, actually advocate intolerance? This seems to be the message we take away from Boyd K Packer’s recent rantings (http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56116400-78/church-women-lds-mormon.html.csp) given both the context of his previous talks and writings and in the vagueness of his current pronouncements.

We should balance tolerance with discernment and judgment, but not with intolerance.

With apologies to FDR, the only thing worthy of intolerance is intolerance, itself.

Legalized Immorality

Recently, Boyd K Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints, in a Conference talk April 2013, warned of the “tolerance trap”. Tolerance is a virtue, but like all virtues, we must not carry it to extremes. I believe this is a fair and correct paraphrase of his remarks. Then he went on to imply that in the context of the pending U.S. Supreme Court’s pending ruling on marriage equality, too much tolerance leads to “serious spiritual consequences” and amounts to “legalizing immorality”

Let’s take a deeper look at whether marriage between two partners of the same gender or sex equals “legalized immorality”. And let’s use the words and doctrines of the LDS Church to do this.

Spoiler alert:

I am going to quote something to you from the LDS Temple Endowment. If this offends you, stop reading now.

However, these are words from a covenant which many of us have taken and are expected to covenant to live by. This is not any big secret, nor should it be. If you have not received your endowments, you have a right to know the nature of the covenants and obligations you will take upon yourself.
The church publicly teaches the Law of Chastity, and most of us understand what this entails. We are also told by church authorities that legalizing same-sex marriage is tantamount to “legalizing immorality”, because it violates the Law of Chastity. However, the true Law of Chastity is taught and explained in the temple endowment, and the specific wording of that Law is what we covenant to obey “before God, angels, and witnesses”.

So, is legalizing same-sex marriage, and thus making it possible for a man or a woman to be faithful to their “legally and lawfully wedded husband (wife)”, in reality legalizing immorality or, in fact, providing a way for people to obey this Law? Let’s examine the wording of the Endowment Ceremony:

Pre 1990
We are instructed to give unto you the law of chastity. This I will explain. To the sisters, it is that no one of you will have sexual intercourse except with your husband to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded. To the brethren it is that no one of you will have sexual intercourse except with your wife to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded.

Post 1990
Footnote: The 1990 revision does not have women and men covenant separately to keep the law of chastity. Instead, women and men simultaneously covenant to have no sexual relations except with their “husband or wife” to whom they are legally and lawfully wedded. This revision was no doubt made to streamline the ceremony. However, the new wording has the presumably unintended consequence of bringing same-sex marriages–if legalized–within the pale of the law of chastity.

Source: http://www.ldsendowment.org/terrestrial.html

Therefore, a person could be legally and lawfully married to a person of the opposite gender, under the laws of New York, Washington, California, or any other jurisdiction that recognizes marriage equality, and live a monogamous and chaste lifestyle with his or her companion, and according to church doctrine, NOT be living in legalized immortality, Boyd K Packer’s absurd rantings notwithstanding.

And what about those who are in such marriages, but were previously prevented from doing so, and were forced out of necessity to live an immoral lifestyle?

For them, there is the principle of repentance. A person can recognize that he has sinned, make restitution, and promise to himself and God, not to repeat the offense. Or, in other words, stop being promiscuous, find a worthy companion, settle down, getting married and be monogamous.

There is also the principle that God has applied to His people in the past, where He commanded His people to do a thing, but were prevented by the legal authorities from doing so. Moses wanted to take the children of Israel out into the wilderness to offer sacrifice and serve God, but the pharaoh of Egypt would not prevent it. A little closer to the modern day was when the Mormons believed that God commanded them to practice polygamy, which they believed was a requirement for entering the highest degree of heaven, but were prevented from doing so by the U.S. government. Now, whether you believe in the story of Moses or that polygamy was divinely inspired, members of the LDS church, and most importantly, its leaders do.

These leaders should be versed enough in the Bible and in their own history and fair-minded enough to recognize the same principle here. But in this particular case, we have uninspired church leaders siding with the extremists in our government to prevent people from fulfilling his commandments.

D&C 121:16 Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they have sinned when they have not sinned before me, saith the Lord, but have done that which was meet in mine eyes, and which I commanded them.

The Book of Mormon repeatedly references a people having “ripened in iniquity”, but what are the signs that a nation, a people, or a church has “ripened in iniquity”.

We hear these terms a lot in the Book of Mormon, but how do we know what a people or a church is “ripe for destruction”?

What has to happen before the Lord allows destructive forces to come in and effect a long-overdue cleaning?

Samuel the Lamanite has the answer in Helaman 13:14:

“But behold, it is for the righteous’ sake that it is spared.  But behold, the time cometh, saith the Lord, that when ye shall cast out the righteous from among you, then shall ye be ripe for destruction; yea, wo be unto this great city, because of the wickedness and abominations which are in her.”

This defines the point at which a city, a nation, or a church is ripe for destruction — when they cast out the righteous from among them. Could we say that the LDS Church has reached this point where they cast out the righteous from among them – good and faithful members whose only sin is thinking for themselves and questioning the established authorities?

New major writing available

The Foundation of Zion Volume 2

I haven’t been active with this blog because I have been busy for months getting this ready for publication. This is the result. This document gathers together in one place all that I am about. If you don’t read anything else on this website, you should download and read this.

Desire for God

“There is a human desire for God; but there is also a Divine desire for man. God is the supreme idea, the supreme concern and the supreme desire of man. Man is the supreme idea, the supreme concern and the supreme desire of God. The problem of God is a human problem. The problem of man is a Divine problem… Man is the counterpart of God and His beloved from whom He expects the return of love. Man is the other person of the Divine mystery. God needs man. It is God’s will not only that He should Himself exist, but man also, the Lover and beloved.”

– Wrestlers with Christ, by Karl Pfleger, p. 236.