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.


“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.


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.

Gathering Chicks

There a lot of parables about gathering that Christ could have used when he stated: “Israel, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings but you would not.” (Matt.  23:37)

He could have spoken of gathering a flock of sheep, or gathering an army as Caesar would have done, or gathering stones as Solomon stated, or gathering the wheat from the tares, as he also spoke of.

But why chickens?

My house mate is an old farm boy and he explained to me that this parable was given in terms people familiar with raising chickens would have understood. When does a hen gather her chickens? When danger is near. Why does she gather them? For safety and protection to ensure their survival, such as when a hawk is circling overhead, or a fox is at the hen house door.

Do the chickens stay gathered under their mother’s wing? No. It is important for the chicks to go about their business of finding food and doing other things that chickens do. If they constantly stayed under their mother’s wing, they would not be free to develop in other ways in which they need to develop. Once the chicks are fully developed many of them will grow up to be hens just like their mother, with chicks of their own to protect. Others will grow up to be roosters, who just go around crowing a lot. But that’s another story.

In what other ways would Christ be like a mother hen to her chicks if only Israel (us) would allow him? The mother hen not only protects her brood, but she loves them and teaches them. The chicks stay near mother, but they are not constantly under her wing.

Christ says “How often would I have gathered your children”. There were many opportunities to gather, not just one. Christ wanted to be their teacher, their protector, and to nurture them as a mother would, but they would not.

Christ is not about to force us to gather unto him. It must be an act of our own free will. It must happen with our full knowledge and agreement and without force or fear. Some political and religious philosophies believe that the end justifies the means. With true followers of Christ, the means is just as important as the end. He said: “I am the WAY.” and “No one comes unto the Father except BY me.”

If we are indeed gathered in the Name of the Lord, He will truly be in our midst. Even now. Even today. Not to discount the evils taking place in the world today, but this is an unconditional promise, and even before the actual appearance of the Christ, we will witness the arising of the Christ Consciousness, and the overshadowing of many disciples.

Collectively, the disciples pray that the door where evil dwells may be sealed. Perhaps they do not realize that they have a hand in accomplishing this. As this Great Invocation states: “From the kingdom known as the race of men, let the Plan of Love and Light work out. And may it seal the door where evil dwells.” That’s us. That’s our part of the plan to work out. And it starts out with letting the Plan work out in our own lives, and sealing our own door where evil dwells.

Moses attempted to gather Israel unto Christ, and he received the following promise:

“For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.” Deut 23:14

However, after the people built the golden calf, Moses was instructed to move the tabernacle OUTSIDE of the camp, so that any time Moses needed to commune with God he was forced to leave the congregation of Israel, and go outside of the camp, and attend to his duties in the tabernacle. Every day the children of Israel watched Moses leave them because the Spirit of God could not abide in the midst of their wickedness.

Christ was still available to all, but he was outside the gathering because of the unrighteousness within.

Simply being a member of a group which professes to honor the name of Christ but does not honer the name of Christ in deed will not be privileged, as a group, to enjoy the benefit of being gathered into his Presence which they might otherwise have enjoyed, and those seeking Him will still find him, according to his promise, even if they must seek Him without the camp.

“For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.

“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

“Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.”

Hebrews 13:11-13

Every church that God has ever suffered to exist has had one true purpose in mind, in the mind of God at least, and that was to provide a place for the gathering of the true followers of Christ. Whenever we consider gathering or joining in to Church, we should ask ourselves whether the Christ is there. And as we are reminded in Hebrews, Christ will not always be in the biggest or most popular organization, or what is considered the “camp”. Look for Christ where he is; do not look for him where he is not. Don’t be afraid to look for Him “without the camp”.

Question for contemplation: Why does a chicken coop only have two doors? If it had four, it would be a chicken sedan.

Have you had your “Peter Moment”?

I was on a mission to Sweden in 1966-68. We had an investigator that we had met in a public sauna in Stockholm. In Scandinavia everybody goes to the baths. May people do not have showers or bath tubs in their older apartments. We once stayed in an apartment with only one cold water tap, no fridge, and an outhouse for a toilet. So, when you are sitting in the sauna with a bunch of men, you talk. If you are a missionary, you talk about religion. This man was very interested, and we taught him and eventually baptized him. However, the mission president was concerned that he might be Gay because we met him in the sauna.

The mission president made a preposterous statement, which I am sure most modern Mormons (even 2011) would have no problem with, but which runs completely against the teachings of the New Testament. He said to us: “You have to make sure the man isn’t gay, because if he is gay, we can’t teach him. Gays are attracted to us and they feel the Spirit, but they can’t be baptized.” In the Acts of the Apostles, when Peter saw that the Holy Ghost fell upon the Gentiles, and he realized that was a sign from God that the Gospel was not meant for the Jews only, but also for the Gentiles. These authorities today, claim to hold the same authority as Peter, but apparently do not share the same inspiration that Peter had.

You can read the entire story in Acts, Chapter 10, but the main principle that Peter realized is summed up in these words:

“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34.

This was a perception that came to Peter through the Spirit. The perception came to him in a flash when he could not deny what he say before his very eyes. Please note that there was much preparation leading up to this moment. You can read all about that in this chapter of Acts.

These general authorities need to have their “Peter moment”. But, I am afraid it will never happen because they are so invested in their current ways of thinking that the only way to “reform” Mormonism is to do it from without. But this Gay issue or women issue, is only symptoms of a far greater problem. I, for one, would not return to the church, even if they accepted Gays with open arms. There are many other issues that are far greater on which they have made some wrong turns. The documents that I have been reading in connection with Reform Mormonism document some of these changes, and these aren’t just theological niceties. These are basic fundamental issues.

I have had my “Peter moment”, and I know several others who have also had their “Peter moments”. I know a man who was a gay, former LDS bishop. Once a member of the RLDS church was sick, and he and an elder from the RLDS church together laid their hands on the person, blessed him, and the person got better. He took this as a sign that God recognizes Priesthood, whether it was in the LDS or RLDS church. I was a co-founder of a group that eventually was considered on offshoot Gay Mormon church. I’ll post more about this later, but in that church, which many people would consider to have no authority, or no valid reason to exist, I saw and felt spiritual manifestations in my own life and in the lives of members that far surpassed what I had even experienced in the LDS church. The Lord show us, in a very powerful way, that we were doing the right thing.

Relationships and Doughnuts

How many of you have seen the statue of Joseph and Emma outside the Visitor’s Center at the LA Temple? How many have seen the statue in the LDS Church Museum in Salt Lake City, of Joseph and Oliver being ordained by Peter, James, and John?

Go see either statue next time you get the chance. Try to notice the looks that pass between “Joseph” and “Emma” in Los Angeles and “Joseph” and “John” in Salt Lake City. Then try to imagine one figure without the other. You can’t.

In both statues the sculptor has shown a special chemistry passing between the two figures. The chemistry is not present with either figure standing alone, but can only been seen when both figures are present.

Another word for this “chemistry” is “relationship”. The essence of this relationship is not something inherent in either figure but is a certain something which passes between them. Therefore, to fully appreciate the full statue, you must not only look at each figure, but also at the air between them. In other words, sometimes we are so busy looking at the doughnut that we forget about the hole, which in reality, is what makes an ordinary bun into a doughnut.

So it is with us as people. When two or more persons are joined together in any kind of relationship (loving relationship, priesthood quorum, Church membership, teacher/student, or business partner), a third entity is created; and that entity is called a relationship.

If you stop and think about it, the Gospel of the Kingdom is really concerned with establishing relationships. We are taught that the “fullness of the Gospel” in contained in the ordinances, which embrace and further the “new and everlasting covenant”. What is a covenant if it is not an agreement or form of relationship between two or more people? For example, there is the “new and everlasting covenant of marriage” mentioned in D&C 132, and the covenant entered into by members of the School of the Prophets (D&C 88:133).

If seen in its proper perspective, the Gospel is nothing more than a system designed to develop and further eternal relationships: between man and God, between man and man, and between gods. This is something we need to teach in this Church. Think about this: the Godhead is composed of three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. If we understand the Gospel correctly, we should not only worship the three Beings and become like Them, but we should also worship the relationship that they have between them and seek to become one with one another even as They are One.

Authority in the Church – How is it Obtained?

Brigham Young said: “Whoever is ordained to the office of an elder in the Holy Priesthood possesses the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood to a certain degree and, if only one elder should be somehow left on the earth, he could go and set in order the Kingdom of God through revelation.”

Elder John A. Widstoe in his book A Rational Theology on page 103 wrote of this proposition: “As an illustration of the great power, authority, and duty carried by the Priesthood, it may be recalled that, if by any chance every man holding the Priesthood in the Church should be destroyed, save one elder, it would be the duty and right of that one elder, UNDER DIVINE REVELATION, to reorganize the whole church with all the grades of the Priesthood and its offices.”

Mixing Church and State

I fail to see how a church has any right to enforce its religious beliefs on the general populace, either directly or hiding and working in the shadows behind a government, particularly when it comes to abridging the rights of others. A church has a right to discipline its own members as it sees fit, but what the Mormon Church tried to do with Proposition 8 in California was evil in my view, and I see nothing in D&C 134 to justify it.

We believe that all religious societies have a right to deal with their members for disorderly conduct, according to the rules and regulations of such societies; provided that such dealings be for fellowship and good standing; but we do not believe that any religious society has authority to try men on the right of property or life, to take from them this world’s goods, or to put them in jeopardy of either life or limb, or to inflict any physical punishment upon them. They can only excommunicate them from their society, and withdraw from them their fellowship. D&C 134:10.

But if the Church is more interested in regulating public morality according to their doctrines, why not fight with equal fervor against divorce, child abuse, and abortion? These are clearly labeled as sins, so why not lobby to deprive all who commit these offenses of their civil liberties? The reason why is because these things are now politically acceptable to the religious right.

And the idea that the leaders of the LDS church “hold” certain keys and pretend to certain eternal privileges is not provable. Read the D&C carefully and see exactly which keys were actually COMMITTED (not given) to him and which are still committed to Elijah and to Peter, James, and John. (See my post about “Eternal Lives” for exact references.) Also, keep in mind that the gold plates were also COMMITTED to Joseph Smith, and he was required to render an accounting for his use of them; he lost them on one occasion, and eventually had to return them. Then there are many questions concerning succession of authority.

A better way would be to foster and uphold the good rather than fighting against evil. Satan really doesn’t care what side you are on an issue. His plan is to entice you into hatred and contention. This is the clearest sign to me that the leadership of the LDS Church has lost its vision: that it is spending more time and effort fighting the petty political values of the day and ignoring what Joseph Smith called “its greatest object”: building up ZION, which by the way, will be made up of ALL nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples.

Thoughts About the Endowment

Thoughts about the Endowment – by John R. Crane

“This is why you are required to be sober, to be honest, that you could ask and receive, knock and it should be opened, and that when you sought for things you would find them. It [the endowment] is putting you in possession of those keys by which you can ask for things you need and obtain them. This is the Key by which to obtain all the glory and felicity of eternal life. It is the key by which you approach God. No impression which you receive here should be lost. It was to rivet the recollection of the tokens and covenants in your memory like a nail in a sure place, never to be forgotten…You have, by being faithful been brought to this point, by maintaining the things which have been entrusted to you…You have now learned how to pray. You have been taught how to approach God and be recognized…Those who have learned to approach God and receive these blessings, are they better than you? The difference is, they have been permitted to have these things revealed unto them. The principles which have been opened to you are the things which ought to occupy your attention all your lives. They are not second to any thing. You have the key by which if you are faithful, you will claim on you and on your posterity, all the blessings of the Priesthood.” (Amasa Lyman, 21 December 1845, JD, 225-26).

Six Principles – Two Interlocking Triangles

I would like to explain the Endowment in terms of six principles. These principles work together in two groups of three, so we could think of them as two interlocking triangles. Each principle exists in a gradient scale or various levels. The reason they form triangles is because each of the principles enlarge and enhance the other, and when we raise the level in one principle, we raise in the other principles as well. Similarly, when we lower the level in one principle, we lower the level in the other principles as well. The overall effect is an upward or downward spiral. The first three principles which underlie all material existence are Affinity, Reality, and Communication (ARC).

  • A = Affinity is the desire of two beings or objects to be near one another. It is love, charity, emotions, mercy, desire, appetites, and passions, the mark of the compass.
  • R = Reality is agreement, faith, uprightness, loyalty, justice, unity, honor, exactness, the mark of the square.
  • C = Communication speaking and listening, duplication, viewpoint, cause, distance, effect, constant nourishment of both body and spirit navel mark. While not specifically used in the temple service we take the cross or letter X as a symbol here – cross communication horizontally and vertically – symbol of victory of spirit over flesh

A + R + C = Understanding.

We can explain all human behavior through these principles. We can explain all of physical creation through these principles. We can explain how to come to God through these principles.

There is another triad of principles: Knowledge, Responsibility, and Control. The KRC triangle is like the ARC triangle in that as we increase in one attribute, we increase in the other attributes as well, and conversely. So we have an increasing spiral and a decreasing spiral. These three principles work together in the temple endowment. We are given knowledge, then we are put under covenant (responsibility) to obey the knowledge we received. Then, we are given additional power (control) in the Priesthood. Then we receive additional knowledge, etc.

  • R = Responsibility – Lehi spoke of things which act (cause) and things which are acted upon (effect). Responsibility is ability and willingness to be at cause. Full responsibility is not fault; it is recognition of being cause. One is as much like God as one can take responsibility. Volumes could be written on this concept alone.
  • C = Control – Willingness to start, change, stop or in other words, create, uphold, and destroy.

We could look at these two triangles as two equilateral triangles: one pointed up and one pointed down. The triangle pointed upward could symbolize manifestation on the material plane or mankind focusing their thoughts on God. It could also symbolize the pyramid or temple, or the earthly Zion looking up toward heaven. The triangle, which is pointed down could be seen to represent manifestation of the spiritual, God’s focused attention upon mankind, the heavenly Zion looking earthward.

Actually, the idea of the earthly temple being a pyramid is not too far-fetched. Joseph Smith taught that the mission of Elijah was to build to temple of God up to the capstone, which is the Messiah. Also in Eph. 2:19-22 we read the following:

“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

When we combine the upper triangle and the lower triangle, we have the six-pointed Star of David: symbol of the union of the physical and the spiritual, of the joining of God and man, of the merging of the heavenly Zion and the earthly Zion. This calls to mind the following scripture, which outlines the first covenant God made with Enoch. The Restoration will not be fully complete until this covenant is fulfilled. To me, this is one of the most beautiful and meaningful scripture in all our body of literature.

“And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant, which I made unto thy father Enoch; that, when men should keep all my commandments, Zion should again come on the earth, the city of Enoch which I have caught up unto myself.

“And this is mine everlasting covenant, then when thy posterity shall embrace the truth, and look upward, then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness, and the earth shall tremble with joy;

“And the general assembly of the church of the first-born shall come down out of heaven, and possess the earth, and shall have place until the end come. And this is mine everlasting covenant which I made unto thy father Enoch.” (JS Inspired Version Gen. 9:21-23).

This is further echoed by Paul in the same letter to the Ephesians: (1:10).

“That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.”

Initiatory Ordinances

Just as the KRC theme is woven throughout the Endowment, so is the theme of ARC.

Affinity – What we popularly think of being functions of the heart, the Lord ascribes to the bowels. In the D&C are multiple references to the bowels being the seat or source of charity and compassion (love, Affinity). In the initiatory ordinances, the bowels are washed and anointed that they might perform their “proper function”. Perhaps this proper function has to do with love.

Reality – What we popularly think of as being functions of the mind, the Lord ascribes to the heart. In the D&C, the Lord often speaks of the heart in these terms: “heart is sincere”, “harden hearts”, “thoughts and intents of the heart”, “the honest of heart”, “singleness of heart”, “treasure these words up in your hearts”, “united in their hearts”. In the initiatory ordinances, the breast (not the mind) is washed and anointed that it might “be the receptacle of pure and virtuous principles”.

Communication – In the initiatory ordinances, the various sense organs and mouth are washed and anointed that they might perform their functions of seeing and hearing, and the lips “that they may never speak guile”. The ears are anointed that we may “hear the word of the Lord”. In this mortal sphere listening is the primary means of contact with God, through the Holy Ghost. We are to listen to the promptings which we receive and to “live by every word which proceedeth forth from the mouth of God”. We should also listen to and be attuned to the word of God as He speaks to us through our fellow man. We should learn to recognize God in everything. Speaking “guile” is to communicate with deceit and subtlety. The original Greek word used meant a bait or a snare. To “speak guile” is to speak with a double meaning with the intent of ensnaring or avoiding being taken in a snare, or being “caught with guile”. To “speak guile” is to lie. The opposite of guile is to say what you mean and mean what you say. Romans 10:9 states that if we believe in our heart (the heart again) and confess with our mouth that Jesus is the Christ we will be saved. However, the word “confess” in the original Greek means to speak openly based on deep conviction based on knowledge. If we are speaking of things which we know not, of pretended knowledge, we are speaking with guile. But if we are speaking from a deep conviction based on personal knowledge and experience, we are bearing a true testimony or witness.

Signs and Tokens, Marks in the Garment

When we are given the signs and tokens of the Priesthood throughout the course of the Endowment we are instructed never to reveal them except at a certain place which will be shown. What I am talking about here is that “certain place”: in the prayer circle and at the veil.

Joseph Smith taught that these signs and tokens are means by which we can detect impostors. Brigham Young taught that these signs and tokens are a series of challenges and responses, which we must use to pass by the sentinels who guard the way back to the Presence of God. I view them in a more positive sense: as signs of greeting and recognition among equals, and as living symbols which we perform with our bodies on the physical level which should reflect (if our heart is pure) corresponding changes or attitudes on the mental and spiritual levels.

When we make the signs, there is an unseen person on the other sign making a mirror image of the same sign. Try this: have another person stand opposite you across a holy altar and make the signs of the Priesthood together. This is easier to demonstrate than describe, but your hands should interlock. When you have made the sign, just stand there and hold it for awhile. Notice how you feel. Notice the energy flowing between the two bodies. This is particularly noticeable in the First Sign of the Melchizedek Priesthood. You hold out your right hand, palm upward, hand in cupping shape as if you were about to receive something. Your partner’s left hand, palm downward, above your right hand, as if he were giving you something, and vice versa for the other hands.

The marks in the garment and the signs and tokens also correspond to ARC. The mark of the square and raising the arm to the square signify Reality; the shape corresponds to the letter “L”.

The mark of the compass and raising the hands high above the head corresponds to Affinity; the shape corresponds to the letter “V”.

The mark over the navel is a reminder of the need for constant nourishment of body and spirit. Spiritually, this nourishment is accomplished through Communication. The mark is shaped like a straight line, but if we were to draw lines connecting all the sacred marks, this mark would be at the center of a large “X”. This letter is one form of the ancient symbol of the cross. This symbol was known and revered long before the time of Christ. The vertical bar superimposed over the horizontal bar symbolizes the victory of spirit over the flesh. It also symbolizes communication between us and our fellow man (horizontal), and between us and God (vertical).

Together these letters L-V-X spell LVX, which is Latin for light.

Where do we see the symbol “X” or the imagery of the cross represented in the Endowment? In the names of the two tokens: “The Sign of the Nail”, and “The Sure Sign of the Nail”. Also the interlocking of the little fingers suggests to the mind the letter “X”.

The Sure Sign of the Nail

In the Tarot deck is a card called The Hierophant. This card represents communication or revelation from God, primarily through the medium of sound. The Hebrew letter corresponding to this card is “vav”, the Hebrew word for “and” – a conjunction which joins other words and sentences together. “Vav” also means “the nail”. Here is a meditation on vav written by Paul Foster Case, an expert on the Tarot and the ancient Jewish teachings called the Kaballah:

As that which uniteth all things
In the world of the manifest
I am rightly known by VAV, the nail.
Because I am all, and in all,
Therefore am I the link or bond
Which joineth together
The parts of the fabric of existence.
In all the universe there is no break.
By bonds indissoluble
Each point is fastened to every other.

This has interesting implications for the Sealing Power of Elijah, doesn’t it? Think about when a couple is sealed for time and eternity and they take one another hand in hand over the alter in the grip which is also known as The Sure Sign of the Nail. This interlocking of the little fingers has a very beautiful symbolism representing the intertwining of two bodies. When bodies interlock, it always implies a degree of control or ownership. But when only the little fingers interlock, it symbolizes only the slightest possible degree of mutual control or compulsion, and only the slightest possible degree of submission. This symbol represents the couple intertwined in affectionate embrace, yet granting to each their individuality and the realization that in a true eternal union, couples are together only “because of their desire”.

The Second Sign of the Melchizedek Priesthood

“He [Joseph] also spoke concerning key words. The g[reat] key word was the first word Adam spoke and is a word of supplication. He [Joseph] found the word by the Urim and Thummim. It is that key word to which the heavens [are] opened.” (Joseph Smith, 15 June 1843, J of WC, 133-34).

The first word Adam uttered is “Pey” or “Pay”. This is a word and also a Hebrew letter which means “the mouth as the organ of speech” In the Kaballah, the mode of intelligence assigned to this path is called the “activating intelligence”. It stirs up activity, sets things going, produces changes, effects transformations. It implies drawing power down from above, it is a flash of lightning, a sudden momentary glimpse of the truth, a flash of inspiration which breaks down the structures of ignorance and false reasoning.

The words “Pay Lay Ale” are actually “O God, Hear the words of my mouth.” Spoken backwards. I’m not sure of the significance of this. This could be the proper use of the Hebrew language, or perhaps it signifies that this world is a mirror image (hence backwards) from the other side. The words are repeated three times while the hands are positioned at three levels, perhaps signifying a supplication to the God of the Celestial Kingdom (the Father), the God of the Terrestrial Kingdom (the Son), and the true God of the Telestial Kingdom (the Holy Ghost).

The Prayer Circle

The ARC theme is repeated again in the prayer circle. First in the instructions, then in the actual function of the circle. The instructions are that there only the best of feelings (Affinity or Love) should exist in the circle, and the participants are requested to join together in exercising their faith on behalf of the persons whose names lie upon the alter (Reality or agreement). Finally the participants are asked to listen to the words of the prayer and repeat them in unison (Communication).

Following the instructions, the participants reenact all the signs of the Priesthood. We are told never to divulge these signs “except at a place which will be shown [us] hereafter”. This is the place. The ARC theme is repeated in these signs. Then the participants pair off into couples. Normally, in the LDS Endowment service, each couple consists of a man and a woman. However, the Twelve meet regularly in the Salt Lake Temple and conduct prayer circles. Here are twelve men pairing off into couples consisting of two men, so a couple does not necessarily need to be a male and a female.

Each couple is joined by the Patriarchal Grip (Affinity or Love). All around the circle each person raises his or her left arm to the square and rests it on the shoulder of the person to their left. Each member of the circle bears an active and a passive role in executing this sign, which signifies unity (Reality or agreement), upholding one each other’s faith. Note that previously in the endowment, the shoulders are washed and anointed that they may bear the burdens that will be placed thereon. This sign symbolizes “bearing one another’s burdens”. Note also that within each couple, the signs of love and unity are made, and all around the circle the sign of unity is made.

On the night of the Last Supper, it is believed that Christ also taught His Apostles the True Order of Prayer and further stated that “wherever two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I in your midst”. Everything in the Prayer Circle suggests to the mind a gathering in the Name of Jesus Christ, from the manner of gathering, to the signs made, right down to the very marks worn in the clothing of all participants. Therefore, if the members of the circle have “the best of feelings” and are united in their faith, and have the pure desire to communicate with God, there is no reason why the Lord should not be pleased to appear in their midst. (I can testify from personal experience that this is indeed the case). At the center of the circle, John acting as voice and making the Second Sign of the Aaronic Priesthood stands at the edge between this world and the next, and he might well be reaching for something on the other side of the veil.

The prayer, while not following a prepared text, does follow a general formula. John first acknowledges the occasion and setting for the prayer, mentioning the temple, the robes, and the order of prayer. He then proceeds to thank the Lord for the blessings received, always going from the general to the specific: i.e. from the Gospel, to the Restoration, to this particular occasion. He then proceeds to ask the Lord for specific blessings, again ranging from the general to the specific. He usually invokes blessings upon the leadership of the Church and the presidency and workers of the temple. He especially asks for a blessing for the persons whose names lie upon the altar. To properly conduct a prayer circle, John must possess the Sealing Power, and when he invokes that power in the course of the prayer, rather then invoke it directly by name, he uses the phrase “we ask thee in a special way.”

Joseph Smith told the people that they do not know how to pray and get their prayers answered. However, he taught these keys to many individuals including Hyrum Smith and William Law.

“Let my servant William Law also receive the keys by which he may ask and receive blessings; let him be humble before me, and be without guile, and he shall receive of my Spirit, even the Comforter, which shall manifest unto him the truth of all things, and shall give him, in the very hour, what he shall say”. (D&C 124:97).

I want to bring up one point, which is often neglected in this discussion. We do not bring our agenda to the altar and tick off a list of requests to the Lord. We are to follow the Spirit, even the Comforter, which shall give us what we shall ask for. We have to be careful what we ask for, and we should always make sure that what we ask for is in accordance to the Will of God.

Other Interesting Notes about the Prayer Circle

When I conducted prayer circles, I was especially impressed to have six couples present in the circle if possible. This would make a total of 13, including the person acting as voice. Many people have been conditioned to believe the number 13 to be unlucky, but this is simply superstition. In the Hebrew language; each letter of the alphabet is also a number, and each word has a number assigned to it; and different words which map to the same number are often related to one another is surprising ways. In this particular case, the number for the Hebrew word for “unity” is 13, and the number for the Hebrew word for “love” is 13. I don’t know if there is a Hebrew word for communication or communion, and I don’t know if the word (if it exists) maps to 13, but I would like to believe that such is the case.

The number 13 was sacred to the Mayans. I also understand that the Zodiac really consists of 13 constellations instead of the usual 12, but one constellation is omitted to fit some preconceived notion about the number 12 and trying to make everything “fit”.

One of the New Testament Apocrypha books contains an account of Jesus teaching His Apostles at the Last Supper how to perform a “dance”. During the course of this “dance”, he was to offer a prayer and the Apostles were to repeat back the words of the prayer. This symbolism is repeated in art above my fireplace I have a Picasso print showing 13 persons dancing around in a circle with a dove flying through their midst having an olive branch in its mouth.

Few of us have been to England to see Stonehenge. Those to do will find a partially ruined pile of stones which is now off-limits to visitors. However, in Washington State, on the Columbia River, in Maryhill, not far from my birthplace is a fully-reconstructed replica of Stonehenge. Nobody knows why the original monument was constructed, but railroad magnate Sam Hill built his replica as a memorial to the soldiers who were sacrificed on the altar of World War I. I once toured the site and indeed found a large stone alter in the center of a circle of twelve stones. These twelve stones were arranged in groups of two with each pair of stones joined at the top by a lintel. This immediately suggested to my mind a prayer circle. There seems to be something powerful in just these lifeless stones arrayed in this order. I sensed that there is something greater behind this ancient pattern, but what that is remains unknown for now.

The Five Points of Fellowship

In the New Testament the Greek word “koinonia” is translated as “fellowship”. It means communion, sharing, partnership, to partake of. In the ARC formula, it represents Communication on the deepest possible level. The five points are physical points of bodily contact, but as is so often the case, there is a deeper spiritual meaning. They are called “The Five Points of Fellowship”, but if you also consider the points of contact in the Patriarchal Grip, there are really seven points of physical contact.

Here is another way to look at the Five Points of Fellowship. This calls for a practical demonstration. Pretend that there is a world called flatland where everything is two-dimensional. The whole world exists on the surface on your desk, or on the floor. Then let’s say you are a three-dimensional being trying to explain yourself and your existence to the inhabitants of flatland. Wouldn’t you be as a god to them? They would find you incomprehensible and your claims unbelievable. But supposing you found a way to introduce them into your world of three dimensions. Here, we need two volunteers from the audience. One person needs to lie flat on the floor as if he were a flatlander. The other volunteer needs to stand up above him in three-dimensional space. Now, let’s have the person standing up reach down and grab the person lying down and try to pull him up. Hint: try using the Five Points of Fellowship. Brace your foot against his so he doesn’t slip. Place your knee against his for further stability. Etc. Your feet and knees will help steady you while you support each other and with pull with your arms.

You could liken this to God at the veil pulling us up from the limited world of three dimensions into His world of 4 dimensions (or more).

You could also view this in light of one person helping resurrect another from a grave.

You could also view this at an intimate embrace between two brethren, signifying greeting, welcome, or mutual recognition.

I think many of these points are illustrated in this beautiful poem written by a Mason, on order which also practices this particular ordinance of fellowship. To me, the sentiments expressed in this poem are very beautiful and could well extend to the sisters as well as to the brethren.

The Five Points of Fellowship

Foot to Foot, that we should go
When sickness brings a brother woe,
To cheer him on his bed of pain,
And nurse him back to health again.

Knee to Knee, whene’er we pray,
At early morn, or close of day,
A brother’s name should claim a share
In every thought and every prayer.

Breast to Breast, thee still to keep
A brother’s secrets hidden deep,
To all the world but us unknown,
And to hold them sacred as our own.

Hand to Back, with firmest grasp,
Encircling arms and friendly clasp,
We should be found at duty’s call,
To stay a brother’s tottering fall.

Mouth to Ear, whene’er we find
To err a brother is inclined,
We’ll counsel give in gentlest tone
And breathe it to his ear alone.

Then Foot to Foot and Knee to Knee,
True brothers we should ever be;
With Hand to Back and Breast to Breast,
Each striving still to do his best,
We’ll whisper words of hope and cheer,
With Clasp to Clasp and Mouth to Ear.

Robert Turney

This is the type of fellowship or communion (ARC) we enter into when we are introduced into the Presence of God and into the Holy Order of God. This is the same type of fellowship that was to prevail in the School of the Prophets as evidenced by this greeting which was to be given:

“And this shall be the order of the house of the presidency of the school: He that is appointed to be president, or teacher, shall be found standing in his place, in the house which shall be prepared for him.

“Therefore, he shall be first in the house of God, in a place that the congregation in the house may hear his words carefully and distinctly, not with loud speech.

“And when any shall come in after him, let the teacher arise, and, with uplifted hands to heaven, yea, even directly, salute his brother or brethren with these words:

“Art thou a brother or brethren? I salute you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, in token or remembrance of the everlasting covenant, in which covenant I receive you to fellowship, in a determination that is fixed, immovable, and unchangeable, to be your friend and brother through the grace of God in the bonds of love, to walk in all the commandments of God blameless, in thanksgiving, forever and ever. Amen.

“And he that is found unworthy of this salutation shall not have place among you; for ye shall not suffer that mine house shall be polluted by him.

“And he that cometh in and is faithful before me, and is a brother, or if they be brethren, they shall salute the president or teacher with uplifted hands to heaven, with this same prayer and covenant, or by saying Amen, in token of the same.

“Behold, verily, I say unto you, this is an ensample unto you for a salutation to one another in the house of God, in the school of the prophets.” (D&C 88:127-130).

Peter, James, and John and The Holy Order of God

The Holy Order of God is the heavenly component of the earthly School of the Prophets.

Following is both sides of a discussion I had over the Internet with a man named Allyn Rigby a couple of years ago. He lives in Utah and I live in Washington, so I have not met him personally, but we used to correspond by Email for a number of months. My impression of him is that he is a very humble spiritual man. His faith is simple, but very strong. One night we started discussing this concept and I was amazed that two people who came from such different backgrounds could have almost the same beliefs, differing only in terminology. This is further testimony to me that the Spirit of the Lord will teach us all the mysteries of the Kingdom, if we have ears to listen.

The Holy Order of God is also called “The Fathers” or Elohim. From among the Elohim, there are individuals who serve various offices necessary for the administration of the plan of salvation: Adam, Eve, Redeemer, Holy Spirit, Elias, Elijah, Messiah, etc. You can look at this two ways: It is God’s Holy Order, or the Holy Order of Gods, but since God is one (and if the members of the order are like God: are one) it is the Holy Order of God.

“There are 144,000 Fathers, and Jesus’s Father is the spokesperson for the quorum. All have the same power and authority. Yes some have office of Elohim, others Joseph etc. There are many offices, and they go by the office in which they work in. Just like you would call Bishop, Bishop or President, President. But the Father and Mother are different and Mother is Mother. As far as the Holy Ghost it to is an office, and many usually family members that have died get to fill this office. It is the only way they can grow on the other side. But there is one who is head of this office. The Holy Ghost is the mind and will of God. (See Lectures on Faith).” (Allyn Rigby).

I think we are talking about the same thing. Let me share a few insights I have received on this subject. First I agree with everything you have said.

In addition, when we receive “the more sure word of prophecy” or in other words “when our calling and election is made sure,” we are introduced into this Order or quorum, or perhaps we might say, reassured or reminded of the place we have held in this quorum. (I say this because this quorum has existed as long as God has existed. Does not the word “redeemed” mean to bring a person or thing back to the point at which they were originally?) At that point we become members of this quorum in equal standing, and the Father can truly say to us “all that I have is yours.” This not only applies to the riches of eternity (not necessarily material wealth, but much more), not just the power of God, but the fellowship and support of this quorum, and also the knowledge, concerns, thoughts, insights, and responsibilities which this quorum shares. At this point we are granted eternal life.

Joseph Smith spoke truly when he said we had to consecrate our all and be willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of the Kingdom of God. But, remember all the other members of this quorum have done the same and are willing to give their all for you and to love you with all their heart, might, mind, and strength, just at they ask that you give your all to them and love God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength.

This induction into the quorum takes two forms: public and private. The private part which may come before or after the public part is when the Father comes to us individually and says, as Joseph Smith taught, “son, thou shalt be exalted.” We receive something called the Voice of Jehovah. Which means we can speak in the Name of Jesus Christ (not the name “Jesus Christ,” but the unutterable name which is revealed to us individually), and to all creation it is the same as if Jesus Christ Himself spoke. Now, this doesn’t happen all at once. It probably occurs in stages, like the writings of David A. Whitmer describe, although, I don’t believe all the steps and identical for every person. The “public” or outward part of this induction is the Second Anointing ordinance. However, this part is secondary to the first part, and if the Church is not in a position to bestow this ordinance for whatever reason, the Lord will make His own provisions.

At this point the learning really begins. We have to grow in our priesthood and learn our powers and duties, just like in any other priesthood calling. Of course this is to be expected since we have only come this far by listening to every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God, through the medium of the Holy Ghost, then through the ministration of the Lord Jesus Christ.

What does this quorum do? One major function is to extend itself out to its full compliment of membership. Another function is to establish the Kingdom of God on Earth so that the will of God will be done on earth as it is in heaven. As you can see, this quorum functions on both sides of the veil, and in all three degrees of glory. While all members of the quorum are worthy of exceeding great glory, many elect to sojourn in lesser kingdoms where they may seek out other souls and bring them to Christ, and seek out members of the quorum who have become separated, and bring them back into the main body.

As a member of this quorum, we are entitled to all the benefits of membership in the quorum including participation in the councils of the quorum and the privilege of having regular visitations from members of this quorum.

How does this quorum work? It works the way God works. This world is the Telestial World, and this quorum is doing the work of the Holy Ghost on this level. God is working with all peoples on all levels in this world, according to their level of understanding. Because we are not all at the same place in life, there is no “one size fits all” church. This doctrine was taught by Brigham Young and by Alma in the Book of Mormon (Alma 29:8) However, we must keep in mind that all truth comes from the same Source and leads to the same goal.

This is not a power or ego trip, and people seeking status or station do not generally reach this point. In addition, God has proven them in all things. Truly, everything the fathers do, they do in love. They exercise their priesthood in accordance with Section 121, “without control or compulsion,” and as a result their “dominions flow unto them forever and ever.”

This quorum may be called “the Fathers,” or “the Elohim.” I believe the group contains women as well. The word “elohim” is always translated “god” in the Old Testament, but it is actually a plural word. So it actually means “gods.” Somebody once asked a Rabbi why the first words of the Bible “In the beginning, God …” was not more correctly translated “In the beginning, the Gods, …” The rabbi said, “Because if we did that, the rest of the Bible wouldn’t make any sense.” Note also that the word “eloh” is a feminine word and the suffix “-im” is a macsuline plural ending. So the word is not only plural, but also refers to both the masculine and feminine at the same time. Of course in the King Follett Address Joseph Smith rendered the translation “In the beginning, the head god of all the other gods, ….” I have seen this same rendering in some Jewish interpretations of the Bible, so he is not alone in this view.

“The power to seal is the mind and will of God. But love is the only thing that will hold this seal together. Yet there is the Holy Spirit of Promise and that is Joseph Smith Jr. He is the only one on this earth that holds this power and office. Everything else is to become such, but he seals Husbands and Wives and families. There may be more to this, but this is what I know at this time. I learn so much that it changes fast. The more light and knowledge that I receive, the faster things change. I move into a greater area. If this makes sense.” (Allyn Rigby).

I agree with most of this. One of the members of our group had a revelation from Father and Mother in which they said: “We are together because of our desire.” That says a lot to me. They have a love which is eternal and which goes beyond all bounds of time and space. This is the love which makes a sealing eternal. This is the love which all the Fathers have for one another.

The Holy Spirit of Promise

Personally, I don’t know about Joseph Smith being the Holy Spirit of Promise. I won’t say he is, and I won’t say he isn’t. I just don’t know. I agree that we have to be open and keep learning. Let me explain my hesitance: I think Peter, James, and John and Moses, Elias, and Elijah are not totally out of the picture. Neither are Adam and Noah. I have read some writing which say they out and out gave their keys to Joseph Smith, and other writers say they simply committed their keys to Joseph Smith, but hold him and the church accountable for their use, and they could come and take them back and give them to others. We know these keys will never again be taken from the earth, but we don’t necessarily know (at least I don’t) that they couldn’t be taken away from Joseph Smith and given to another or others, or exercised personally by these specific individuals should they choose to return to the earth.

In the following, I am not trying to detract from the mission or ministry of Joseph Smith, Jr. I am just trying to point out and elucidate the mission and roles of Peter, James, and John.

In D&C 7:1-8 the Savior told Peter that John had a greater work to perform among men than the work he has done before: namely to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation. And unto Peter, James, and John the Lord gave this power and the keys of this ministry until the Second Coming. In D&C 27:12-13, the Lord talks about Peter, James, and John ordaining Joseph Smith to the apostleship and also mentions that He has committed to them (these three) “the key of my kingdom and a dispensation of the gospel for the last times, and for the fullness of times.” See also D&C 128:20-21.

In D&C 77:8-15 we read an explanation of portions of the book of Revelations. We read about the four angels who have the “everlasting gospel” to commit to the nations. They have the power to seal unto life, etc. The “everlasting gospel” is not the Telestial gospel; it is the Celestial gospel. The angel ascending from the East (ascending not descending, because he is already on the earth) possesses the seal of the living God and instructs the angels not to destroy the earth until “we have sealed the servants of God in their foreheads.” We are told in verse 9 that this is Elias who was to gather together the tribes of Israel and restore all things. Those thusly sealed are the 144,000. They are to administer the everlasting gospel. They are to be ordained by the angels. (Not by the officials of some church). Those saved will not be limited to these 144,000, but the book of Revelations teaches that these will be the first fruits of God unto Salvation. Verse 14 discusses the future mission which John received. He was the Elias who was to come and restore all things. D&C 133:36-38 talks about the angel flying through heaven having the everlasting gospel and “who shall appear unto MANY that dwell on the earth.”

From Section 77, verses 9 and 14 we see that none other than John the Beloved was to be that Elias, the angel flying through the heavens, to whom was given the Seal of the living God over the twelve tribes of Israel. This was his future mission: to lead this company of angels as they go about ministering to those who shall be heirs of salvation, sparing the earth of certain destruction, until they are able to seal the servants of God in their foreheads. Behold, is not this the Holy Spirit of Promise?

Elias and Elijah

One of the biggest sources of confusion in Restoration doctrine is the distinction between Elias and Elijah. An “Elias” is an office (a forerunner) and is also the Greek name for Elijah. “Elijah” was the name of an Old Testament prophet, mighty in faith and power who was taken up to heaven without tasting death. And we also refer to “the spirit and power of Elijah”.

Before Messiah comes, God promised the return of the prophet Elijah. In this preparatory role, Elijah was to perform the role of an “Elias”. The source of much of this confusion is Joseph Smith, himself. Section 77, revealed in 1832 reveals the future mission of the coming Elias (John the Beloved). However, in later writings and revelations, Joseph Smith ascribes all the functions of the mission of the above-mentioned Elias to Elijah. Perhaps in Section 77, he was using the Greek version of the name of Elijah, or perhaps he was referring to the office on an “Elias”, or perhaps Joseph Smith’s knowledge of this subject was incomplete in 1832, and he later grew to a greater understanding as witnessed by the following 1844 quotations, which seem to suggest that John the Beloved is to perform his mission in the latter days as the long-awaited prophet Elijah, and that they are in fact, one in the same person.

Joseph Smith explains the differences between the two offices as follows:

“This power of Elijah is to that of Elias what in the architecture of the temple of God those who seal or cement the stones to their places are to those who cut or hew the stones preparing the way for the other to accomplish the work. By this we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise, i.e. Elijah. To obtain this sealing is to make our calling and election sure which we ought to give all diligence to accomplish.” (The Words of Joseph Smith, 10 March 1844, p. 335).

Another illustration of the differences of these two offices and further evidence that the latter-day missions of John the Beloved and the Prophet Elijah are one in the same is that the book eaten by John in the 10th chapter of Revelation “was a mission, and an ordinance, for him to gather the tribes of Israel; behold, this is Elias, who, as it is written, must come and restore all things.” (D&C 77:14).

“And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” (Rev. 10:10-11).

This indicates he had a future work to perform, a work greater than the work he had previously done. (D&C 7) At the time Christ gave him this promise what work had he previously done, or any of the Apostles for that matter. They had not yet been fully converted. The Savior on this same occasion asked Peter if he loved Him and told him to feed his sheep. If John had previously lived and served as the prophet Elijah, he would indeed have done a previous work, but up to this point, in his current lifetime as the Beloved Disciple, he had done little except learn at the feet of the Master and carefully observe the life and ministry of Christ so he could later record it in his Gospel.

Continuing in the Book of Revelation:

From this we understand that to John was given a rod with the instruction to measure the temple, the altar, and those who worshipped in the temple. To measure is to hold up to a standard, to judge, and if all it not in order, to adjust, or to purify. Would not this be suggestive of the work of the spirit and power of Elijah? To another it was given to the outer court of the temple, known as the court of the Gentiles, and to measure the city. Would this not be more suggestive of the more temporal aspects of the Priesthood and be suggestive of the work of the spirit and power of Elias? Or Moses?

“He shall send Elijah the prophet and he shall reveal the covenants of the fathers in relation to the children, and the covenants of the children in relation to the fathers that they may have the privilege of entering into the same in order to effect their mutual salvation. And I saw another angel ascending from the east having the Seal of the living God and he cried etc. Hurt not the earth nor sea nor trees till we have sealed the servants of our God in our foreheads. Now I would ask who knows what is the Seal of the living God, Behold the ignorance of the world. A measure of this sealing is to confirm upon their head in common with Elijah the doctrine of election or the covenant with Abraham. “ (Words of JS p. 239-42).

D&C 77 refers explicitly to John and Elias as being one and the same. However, in the above quotation, Joseph Smith seems to tie John and Elijah together.

And another quotation from Joseph Smith,

“It means to seal the blessing on their heads, meaning the everlasting covenant thereby making their calling and election sure. When a seal is put upon the father and mother, it secures their posterity so that they cannot be lost, but will be saved by virtue of the covenant of their father.” (page 242) This speech by Joseph Smith was recorded by three separate eyewitnesses.

In Malachi we read:

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: (and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple), even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. But who may abide the day of his (the messenger’s) coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. (Mal. 3:1-3). (Parenthesis and comments mine).

Who is the Lord’s messenger who shall prepare the way before Him? Who is the messenger of the covenant whom the Jews delighted in? Who shall be like a refiner’s fire and fullers’ soap? Who shall sit as a refiner and a purifer of silver to prepare the sons of Levi that they may offer a righteous offering unto the LORD? Could this be the messenger who comes in the spirit and power of Moses (or Elias?

In chapter 4, Malachi then refers to another messenger with a different mission: Elijah. The messenger of the covenant, not the LORD, is going to be like a refiner’s fire, preparing the sons of Levi, (or in other words, those who have been prepared by the spirit and power of Elias), building the Temple up to the capstone (Elijah), for the greater revelation of the Messiah, who will suddenly come to his Temple.

Among the sons of Levi, there is to be a refining and a sifting or a sorting process. Under the spirit and power of Elias there has been a calling, but under the spirit and power of Elijah, there will be a choosing. Hence the scriptural adage: “Many are called but few are chosen.” Another word for “choosing” is “election”. Those thus called through the spirit and power of Elias and chosen through the spirit and power of Elijah are in effect “the Church and Kingdom and the Elect of God”.

Making Your Calling and Election Sure

The early-day brethren taught and understood this principle. I will now quote their words without comment.

“Make your calling and election sure. Go on from grace to grace until you obtain a promise from God for yourselves that you shall have eternal life. This is eternal life, to know God and his son, Jesus Christ; it is to be sealed up unto eternal life and obtain a promise for our posterity. Whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. This is the power of Elijah, to seal or bind or turn the hearts of the fathers to their children sealed against all sin but the sin of shedding innocent blood, and the sin against the Holy Ghost.” (The Words of Joseph Smith, 10 March 1844, p. 334).

“‘You have come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn.’ And for what were they brought thus far? I answer that they came to these person ages to learn of the things of God and to hear revealed through them the order and glory of the kingdoms of God. I would ask again, Is there a word on record that was revealed by those angels and spirits? If there is, where is it to be found? Again I inquire, what is the order and organization of the spirits of the just made perfect? Let me tell you, brethren. That which is to be revealed which was kept his from the foundation of the world will be revealed to sucklings and babes.” (The Words of Joseph Smith, 13 August 1843, p. 240). (This will occur one person at a time).

“Reading the experience of others, or the revelations given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God. Knowledge of these things can only be obtained by experience in these things, through the ordinances of God set forth for that purpose. Truth in reference to these matters can, and may be known, through the revelations of God in the way of his ordinances, and in answer to prayer. The Hebrew church ‘came unto the spirits of just men made perfect, and unto an innumerable company of angels, unto God the Father of all, and to Jesus Christ the Mediator of the new covenant;’ but what they learned has not been, and could not have been written. What object was gained by this communication with the spirits of the just, etc.? It was the established order of the kingdom of God, the keys of power and knowledge were with them to communicate to the saints, hence the importance of understanding the distinction between the spirits of the just, and angels. Spirits can only be revealed in flaming fire, or glory. Angels have advanced farther, their light and glory being tabernacled, and hence appear in bodily shape…The spirits of the just are exalted to a greater and more glorious work, hence they are blessed in departing hence. Enveloped in flaming fire, they are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings and emotions, and are often pained therewith.” (The Words of Joseph Smith, 9 October 1843, p. 253-54).

“What did they learn by coming to the spirits of just men made perfect? Is it written? No! The spirits of just men are made ministering servants to those who are sealed unto life eternal, and it is through them that the sealing power comes down. “ (The Words of Joseph Smith, 9 October 1843, p. 254).

“Now, if there be any heirs of salvation in the 19th century, why not those ministering spirits be sent forth to minister for them? And if sent forth, why should they withhold their glory and their personal presence from those to whom they administer? Why not reveal themselves as they did in ancient times, personally and bodily, so that the eye of the individual to whom they administer may behold them? We can see nothing whatsoever that indicates, to the least degree, that these privileges are to be withheld from the children of men.” (Orson Pratt, 28 September 1873, J.D. 16:212-13).

“It is the privilege of the children of God to come to God and get revelation…The Father could not be glorified in the Son on any other principle than we coming to God, asking, receiving, heavens open, visions, etc. They are done away because of unbelief. ‘I will pray the Father and he shall send you another comforter.’ There is one comforter, and another comforter to abide with you forever, reach to things within the veil, know that you are sealed. If you get it, it will stand by you forever… We may come to the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn, spirits of just men made perfect, unto Christ. The innumerable company of angels are those that have been resurrected from the dead. The spirits of just men made perfect are those without bodies. It is our privilege to pray for and obtain these things…God is not a respecter of persons; we all have the same privilege. Come to God; weary him until he blesses you, etc. We are entitled to the same blessings: Jesus, revelations, just men and angels, etc., etc. Not laying again the doctrine of Christ go on unto perfection. Obtain that holy spirit of promise. Then you can be sealed to eternal life.” (The Words of Joseph Smith, Before 8 August 1839, pp. 13-14).

“I know that everyone who, following the whisperings of the Spirit, develops faith, is baptized, and receives the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands by those having authority, may, by compliance with the teachings of the gospel, receive the gifts and power of the Holy Ghost. And I bear further witness that every such person who, having come this far, will follow the Prophet’s admonition to ‘continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God,’ may obtain the more sure word of prophecy.” (Marion G. Romney, April 1977 General Conference, in Ensign, May 1977, p. 45).

The Work of Restoration to Continue: The Coming of Future Messengers

The work of John the Beloved (the Elias or Elijah who was to come and restore all things) and his fellow angels is just as necessary in the Restoration as was the work of Joseph Smith. In an address to the Quorum of the Twelve, Joseph Smith taught the following concerning the return of these angels to assist in this great latter-day work.

“Let us seek the glory of Abraham, Noah, Adam, the Apostles, who have communion with these things, and then we shall be among that number when Christ comes.” (July 2, 1839). DHC 3:383-392. (See Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 159, 162). (Words of Joseph Smith, pp. 10, 12).

Brigham Young once stated that “strangers” from both sides of the veil would appear among men to aid and direct this work, and that their appearance would be no different from that of ordinary men. Annalee Skarin saw all of this in a vision which she had in the 1950’s:

The Mission of Peter, James, and John

To sum it all up we have the team of Peter and James working on the other side, and John working on this side in connection with the 4 other angels mentioned ministering the everlasting Gospel to those who shall be heirs of salvation. These angels are ordaining these heirs into the Holy Order of God. Think about the temple ceremony. Peter, James, and John work among the children of men first without revealing who they are, then in their true character. They work with those who would be heirs of salvation, preparing and teaching them in all things, even up to the point where they approach the veil and converse with the Lord, Himself.

As I have shown, all this is clearly taught in the D&C and by the prophet Joseph Smith. It is no secret doctrine, but it is certainly not taught by the LDS church. I first reviewed these scriptures years ago, and I just reviewed them the last couple of days in preparing this writing. What I have read rings just as true for me today as it did then.

However, there are some passages which, on the surface, seem to contradict what I have just stated. The first passage is D&C 110:11-16 where Moses, Elias, and Elijah appear to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland temple and commit to them the keys of various dispensations. Reading further in Section 112 seems to clear up the confusion. D&C 112:15-17 states that the keys given to Joseph Smith and Thomas B. Marsh shall not be taken from Joseph Smith until the Lord comes, but these keys are the apostolic keys.

D&C 112:30-33 clarifies this whole issue so well, I am quoting from it in full:

“For unto you, the Twelve, and those, the First Presidency, who are appointed with you to be your counselors and your leaders, is the power of this priesthood given, for the last days and for the last time, in the which is the dispensation of the fullness of times. Which power you hold, IN CONNECTION WITH ALL THOSE WHO HAVE RECEIVED A DISPENSATION AT ANY TIME FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE CREATION; [emphasis mine]; For verily I say unto you, the keys of the dispensation, which ye have received, have come down from the fathers, and last of all, being sent down from heaven unto you. Verily I say unto you, behold how great is your calling. Cleanse your hearts and your garments, lest the blood of this generation be required at your hands.”

D&C 132:7 and 132:45 mention specific priesthood powers and keys which were given to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. However, nowhere can I find that the keys which Peter, James, and John possess were ever handed off to Joseph Smith.

In addition, in D&C 63:21 the Lord explains that he showed Peter, James, and John the pattern by which the earth would be transfigured, and that Joseph had not yet received the fullness of this account. To my knowledge, neither he nor any of his successors in the presidency have yet received this fullness, nor have they received the fullness of the record of John as promised in D&C 93:6.

The Redemption of Zion

Would you like to know how this all knowledge and understanding started for me? I had a bishop in a ward at BYU that taught some very important things to me. He also said that you don’t have to wait for Zion to start consecrating your all to the Lord. You can basically sit down right now and dedicate your life, your time, your talents, and everything you have been blessed with or will be blessed with for the building up of Zion and for the establishment of the Kingdom of God here upon the earth. I did just that, and the most wonderful things started happening in my life. That’s when the heavens started opening up for me. I have developed a real passion for establishing Zion. It’s like patriotism, only it goes a lot further. I continually pray that the will of the Lord will be done on earth as it is in heaven, so that someday the heavenly Zion will be pleased to join Zion on earth.

“He is right, but Zion is in your heart. That is the Holy of Holies, this is where you will learn to vibrate and move like the wind. This is how you will see the city of Enoch, and become a member of the Church of the First Born. This is how you translate and resurrect your self. The I AM of you will do all of this, all we need to do is listen to the spirit and obey.” (Allyn Rigby).

Going along with what Brother Rigby says above, I once was praying about Zion and I asked the Lord: “Where is Zion”? His reply was: “Wherever you are.”

“Now I believe that before the redemption of Zion, there will be a voluntary feeling to carry out the celestial law. I found my belief on the prophecies that are given in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants”. (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 16:158).

Observations about the Three Degrees of Glory:

Celestial: Those who are valiant. To be valiant means to be faithful and true despite all temptations and indications to do otherwise. This sometimes may mean defying constituted human authority such as churches. Peter said: “We ought to obey God rather than obey man.” Celestial individuals radiate the light of God in their beings. They receive the light of God and it passes through them like light passing through a pure crystal and the light shines on and on. This is what is meant by glorifying God.

Terrestrial: These are honorable men and women who were not valiant. They fell into the trap and allowed themselves to be blinded by the craftiness of men. These possess no light of their own, neither to they allow the light of God to pass through them, but they are happy to live on borrowed light, and reflect the light they have received.

Telestial: These are the crafty men who lie in wait to deceive honorable men and women. They set themselves up as their own light and thus do not glorify God in any way. Because of this, their light is darkness.

Our present world is of the Telestial order. In it are individuals of potentially all three degrees of glory. Individuals of this degree of glory radiate or reflect light to a much lesser degree. They are like crystals of varying degrees of purity. Some on this level are so impure that they neither radiate nor reflect light.

Holiness to the Lord

This document has barely scratched the surface as to what could be learned from the Temple Endowment. As human beings we learn best when we can be taught on multiple levels simultaneously. The temple Endowment combines learning of the spiritual, mental, emotional, symbolic, and physical levels. It is truly “the Lord’s university”. Over the east entrance to every temple reads the words “Holiness to the Lord”. This should be our attitude as we partake of the Endowment. Every level of our being (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) should be in tune and focused on a single goal: that of loving and worshipping God and seeking to be one with Him. This is what is meant by holiness. Ask yourself: if Jesus were to suddenly come to what we call “The House of the Lord”, would He find holiness there? If Jesus were to suddenly come to you, would He find holiness there?

This discussion has focused on the meaning of the symbols presented in the temple Endowment. Indeed, we have introduced additional symbols as an aid to further understanding. Please understand that these symbols are only aids in understanding. We do not worship the temple, we do not worship the ordinances presented there, neither do we worship the workers performing the ordinances, nor the priesthood with which they perform the ordinances. We worship God. We acknowledge His authority and we seek to further add to His glory by obeying the Everlasting Gospel, so that we may develop our own, innate, god-like attributes, so that we may become even as He is.

© 2010 John R. Crane