What Does it Really Mean to Keep the Commandments

The Father gave only one commandment: “Ye shall therefore be holy, for I [am] holy.” (Lev 11:45) Christ said: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt 5:48)

Holiness and perfection are really the same thing: completeness, wholeness, single-mindedness, dedication. When a person is holy, his heart, might, mind, and strength are all aligned and focused on a single object. The opposite of holiness is hypocrisy. The Greek word for a hypocrite is “play actor”. Simply put, a hypocrite says one thing and does another. Hypocrites were the one class of sinners whom Jesus totally condemned.

Christ later expanded this single commandment into the Two Great Commandments. These commandments simply elaborate on the first commandment and describe how to apply it.

When the people were unable to live these simple, all-encompassing commandments God, gave them more commandments and multiplied their laws. These were added because of disobedience. The so-called Restoration didn’t change any of this. In the D&C, there are over 300 additional commandments and injunctions on top of what was already given in the Bible. Then we have the so-called “living prophets” in the Mormon Church adding commandment upon commandment, law upon law. And once in a while somebody outside the Church will come along saying that they have discovered a “higher law”, which is in reality some other practice that is yet more restrictive, even more bizarre, or more ritualistic.

If we are really going to live a “higher law”, if we are really going to have a Restoration, and if we are really had a “living prophet” in our midst we would be taught how to fully live the basic law of holiness. This is the highest law because it encompasses all the other laws. When we are holy, even as God is holy and when we love God and our neighbor with all our heart, might, mind, and strength we won’t be committing adultery, we won’t be bearing false witness, we will be taking care of our families, taking drugs, playing the lottery, etc. etc.

Of course, this is a tall order, and you can’t get to this high plateau all at once, but what laughingly passes for “teachers of wisdom” in this day and age aren’t even pretending to prepare us for the truly higher laws. As Christ aptly put it, they will not enter the Kingdom themselves, and they stand at the door and block others from entering. I believe the word He used to describe them was “hypocrites”,tying in to my original premise.

These little laws don’t really lead to fulfilling the higher laws any more than barking like a dog, or digging up the yard, or doing it doggie style makes you a dog. You become a dog first, then all the rest will follow. Slavishly obeying all the minutia doesn’t make you holy.

Holiness is something you are, not something you do. The definition of holiness and perfection describe the state of holiness, but not how to achieve it. Moroni teaches that we have to pray for an endowment of the Holy Spirit to achieve perfect (whole, complete) love. Then as we approach the state which God commands us to achieve, we find ourselves the little commandments.

Now, here’s a personal reference. Up until the time I was 36 hears of age, I tried diligently and strived (Oh, how Mormons love to strive!) to do everything I was told and to obey all these little laws. I finally realized that I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t being blessed, and I wasn’t getting closer to God. Then I broke away and just rebelled for a number of years. Then at that point I had really hit bottom, I realized that my life was still a mess. It was at that point that I began to pray as En os had and put my life totally in the hands of the Lord. I committed to study His word and listen to His Spirit, and do as I was directed to do.

As I continued to pray with a sincere heart and with real intent, I found that the promises given in D&C 88:67-68 were literally fulfilled in my life, and as directed in the Lectures on Faith, I have learned for myself that the course I am taking in my life is pleasing to God. This didn’t happen all at once, but it did happen a lot faster than I thought it would.

So, when somebody comes along telling me that they have discovered a new “higher law”, or tells me I am going to Hell because I don’t follow some Mormon doctrine or other that they think is so important, I listen to them, because everybody has something to teach. Then I look at what they are trying to get me to do and see if it lends greater light and glory to God, or it only builds up somebody’s personal ego and dominion.

Christ’s yoke is easy and His burden is light. All it really takes is to be honest with ourselves, understand and strictly follow a set of simple instructions, and to listen.

The Essential Gospel of Christ

The Gospel


Many of our religious beliefs are often passed off as being “the Gospel”. However, upon closer examination and prayerful study of the scriptures, we find that they are often the religious teachings, practices, and traditions specifically related to a particular people, place, time, or culture. The following is an attempt to cull from the scriptures in the words of the Lord and His apostles and prophets, the essential elements of the Preparatory Gospel and the Everlasting Gospel and Plan of Salvation and Exaltation that are applicable to all ages, peoples, and cultures.

For purposes of this discussion, I define the Gospel as: The Good News about the Plan whereby all mankind may be redeemed from the effects of sin and death and, following the example of Jesus Christ, receive again the position and glory we once held in the Presence of the Father, before the world was.

Man is Co-eternal with God


Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth; …

Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made THAT WAS MADE. (John 1:3)

The Agency of Man is sacred unto God.


All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. (D & C 93:23-30)

Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light. (D & C 93:31.)

That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment. (D & C 101:78)

Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great mediation of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. (2 Nephi 2:27)

Mortality, the Fall, and the Atonement: The Possibility to Regain our Position with God


Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. (2 Nephi 2:25)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. … And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 3:16, John 17:3)

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:37-40)

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. (John 1:12)

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. (John 7:16-18)

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; (D & C 93:1)

The Doctrine of Christ: Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Reception of the Holy Ghost, Living by Every Word that Cometh from the Mouth of God

Wherefore, the things which I have written sufficeth me, save it be a few words which I must speak concerning the doctrine of Christ; wherefore, I shall speak unto you plainly, according to the plainness of my prophesying.

For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding.

Wherefore, I would that ye should remember that I have spoken unto you concerning that prophet which the Lord showed unto me, that should baptize the Lamb of God, which should take away the sins of the world.

And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfill all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!

And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfill all righteousness in being baptized by water?

Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments.

Wherefore, after he was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove.

And again, it showeth unto the children of men the straightness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them.

And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?

And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.

And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.

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

But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me.

And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.

And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.

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

And then are ye in this straight and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way, ye should receive.

And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this straight and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen. (2 Nephi 31:2-21)

And now, behold, my beloved brethren, I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do after ye have entered in by the way. But, behold, why do ye ponder these things in your hearts?

Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?

Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.

Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.

For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.

Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall be observe to do.

And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be. (2 Nephi 32:1-7)

And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.

For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.

Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.

And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.

And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.

And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.

And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.

And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.

And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.

Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth. (3 Nephi 11:28-40)

And this is my gospel–repentance and baptism by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom. (D & C 39:6)

But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils.

Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given; (D & C 46:7-8)

And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fullness of the gospel. (D & C 42:12)

The Church of Christ


Behold, this is my doctrine–whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.

Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.

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. (D & C 10:67-68)

The Priesthood of God and It’s Relationship with the Church of God

There are, in the church, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic, including the Levitical Priesthood.

The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church–

To have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.

The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel, the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments. (D & C 107:1, 18-20)

Correct Use of the Priesthood of God


We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

Hence many are called, but few are chosen.

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile–

Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.

Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

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. (D & C 121:39-46)

God’s One Great Commandment: Be Ye Holy (or whole or perfect). This is Possible Because of our Agency

And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy… (Lev. 20:26)

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matt 5:48)

And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free.

He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you. (Helaman 14:30-31)

And the Messiah cometh in the fullness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from; fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given. (2Nephi 2:26)

God’s Two Great Commandments: Love God and Love Thy Neighbor

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matt 22:36-40)

Characteristics and Promises Pertaining to those who are Candidates for Entrance into the Celestial Kingdom (Returning the Presence of God)

And this is the gospel, the glad tidings, which the voice out of the heavens bore record unto us–

That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness;

That through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him;

Who glorifies the Father, and saves ALL the works of his hands, EXCEPT those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him. …

And again we bear record–for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just–

They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given–

That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;

And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true. (D & C 76:40-53)

First, I give unto you Hyrum Smith to be a patriarch unto you, to hold the sealing blessings of my church, even the Holy Spirit of promise, whereby ye are sealed up unto the day of redemption, that ye may not fall notwithstanding the hour of temptation that may come upon you. (D & C 124:124)

They are they who ARE the church of the Firstborn.

They ARE they into whose hands the Father has given all things–

They ARE they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fullness, and of his glory;

And ARE priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.

Wherefore, as it is written, they ARE gods, even the sons of God–

Wherefore, all things ARE theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

And they SHALL overcome all things.

Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.

These SHALL dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.

These are they whom he SHALL bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.

These are they who SHALL have part in the first resurrection.

These are they who SHALL come forth in the resurrection of the just.

These are they who ARE come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all.

These are they who HAVE COME to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn.

These are they whose names ARE written in heaven, where God and Christ are the judge of all.

These are they who ARE just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.

These are they whose bodies ARE celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical. (D & C 76:54:70)

Thought for the day

God is our source. No human power can deflect our good or create it. We are all conduits for a higher self that would work through us. We are all equally connected to a spiritual source. We do not always know which among us will teach us best. We are all meant to cherish and serve one another. The spirit of service yields us the right path we dream of following in our best and most fulfilled moments of faith.

Experience

“It is perhaps wise to remember here that, as a general rule, no one believes what others may tell him – no matter how apparent the truth or how much the person may protest that he accepts that truth. Only those truths which are wrought out individually in the crucible of experience really penetrate into the living consciousness and bear fruit.”  Djwal Khul

Not all lessons must be experienced with pain, because it is obvious that clever people can learn from the mistakes of others. This arises from the concept that, in truth, we are all “one” on a fundamental soul level, and learning from the mistakes of others is an action that illustrates one’s correct understanding of this principle. Always having to experience something negative for oneself is a sign that one is separate, alone, and more individuated than one truly is. The price of that ignorance is having to suffer through a painful experience. Experience is a means to an end of learning a lesson. Those who make experience the end goal are going down the negative path.

Montalk