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As JR pointed out in a comment to the last blog, the question keeps coming back to the definition of the second baptism – the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. Here are his words:

“Each time, there is a debate about the “slow, steady increase in testimony” versus the one-time-oh-my-gosh-spiritual-electrocution-of-the-BAPTISM OF FIRE AND THE HOLY GHOST version.

If God is no respector of persons, and I believe HE is not, then why would HE favor some of HIS children with a spectacular display of Spiritual fireworks while others HE would only dribble a testimony on like drizzling chocolate syrup on a hot fudge sundae?”

I have asked myself this same question many times in the past. In a response to this question, I decided to retrace the path I took to the answer I found. Certainly your mileage will vary.

On one side, you have the statements from recent general authorities such as these. This is Packer’s explanation regarding his becoming a general authority.

That puzzled me greatly, for I had supposed that someone called to such an office would have an unusual, different, and greatly enlarged testimony and spiritual power.

It puzzled me for a long time until finally I could see that I already had what was required: an abiding testimony in my heart of the Restoration of the fulness of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith, that we have a Heavenly Father, and that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. I may not have known all about it, but I did have a testimony, and I was willing to learn.

I was perhaps no different from those spoken of in the Book of Mormon: “And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not” (3 Nephi 9:20; emphasis added).

Over the years, I have come to see how powerfully important that simple testimony is. I have come to understand that our Heavenly Father is the Father of our spirits (see Numbers 16:22; Hebrews 12:9; D&C 93:29). He is a father with all the tender love of a father. Jesus said, “For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God” (John 16:27). (2007 October General Conference, The Weak and the Simple of the Church, Sat. Morning Session – Boyd K. Packer)

Bednar also clarified an earlier reference to the idea of being baptized by fire in April of the same year.

The spiritual rebirth described in this verse typically does not occur quickly or all at once; it is an ongoing process—not a single event. Line upon line and precept upon precept, gradually and almost imperceptibly, our motives, our thoughts, our words, and our deeds become aligned with the will of God. This phase of the transformation process requires time, persistence, and patience.

A cucumber only becomes a pickle through steady, sustained, and complete immersion in salt brine. Significantly, salt is the key ingredient in the recipe. Salt frequently is used in the scriptures as a symbol both of a covenant and of a covenant people. And just as salt is essential in transforming a cucumber into a pickle, so covenants are central to our spiritual rebirth.

We begin the process of being born again through exercising faith in Christ, repenting of our sins, and being baptized by immersion for the remission of sins by one having priesthood authority.

“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

And after we come out of the waters of baptism, our souls need to be continuously immersed in and saturated with the truth and the light of the Savior’s gospel. Sporadic and shallow dipping in the doctrine of Christ and partial participation in His restored Church cannot produce the spiritual transformation that enables us to walk in a newness of life. Rather, fidelity to covenants, constancy of commitment, and offering our whole soul unto God are required if we are to receive the blessings of eternity.

“I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved” (Omni 1:26).

Total immersion in and saturation with the Savior’s gospel are essential steps in the process of being born again. (2007 April General Conference, Ye Must Be Born Again, Sat. Morning Session – David A. Bednar)

And finally, Cristofferson added to the following to the discussion.

You may ask, Why doesn’t this mighty change happen more quickly with me? You should remember that the remarkable examples of King Benjamin’s people, Alma, and some others in scripture are just that—remarkable and not typical.  For most of us, the changes are more gradual and occur over time. Being born again, unlike our physical birth, is more a process than an event. And engaging in that process is the central purpose of mortality. (2008 April General Conference, Born Again, Sun. Morning Session – D. Todd Christofferson)

Packer takes the approach that the referenced quote from the Book of Mormon supports his idea that this ‘conversion’ or baptism of fire can be found in the strength of a simple testimony and the long life of service that proceeds. That we can be ‘baptized with fire and ‘know it not.’

Here is what I have found relative to that Idea. In the editions of the triple play before the 1981 edition, there is a footnote linked to the phrase “their conversion”  in 3 Nephi 9:20 that points back to Helaman 5:45. This is a reference to the time when Nephi and Lehi are in the Lamanite prison and are miraculously saved. There were 300 Lamanites who were present at that time and experienced the following.

44  And Nephi and Lehi were in the midst of them; yea, they were encircled about; yea, they were as if in the midst of a flaming fire, yet it did harm them not, neither did it take hold upon the walls of the prison; and they were filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory.

45  And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words.

By reading the entire chapter, you will find that Aminadab, a man who had dissented from the Nephites, was there to instruct the Lamanites as to how what was happening.

37  And it came to pass that this man did cry unto the multitude, that they might turn and look.  And behold, there was power given unto them that they did turn and look; and they did behold the faces of Nephi and Lehi.

38  And they said unto the man: Behold, what do all these things mean, and who is it with whom these men do converse?

39  Now the man’s name was Aminadab.  And Aminadab said unto them: They do converse with the angels of God.

40  And it came to pass that the Lamanites said unto him: What shall we do, that this cloud of darkness may be removed from overshadowing us?

41  And Aminadab said unto them: You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ, who was taught unto you by Alma, and Amulek, and Zeezrom; and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you.

42  And it came to pass that they all did begin to cry unto the voice of him who had shaken the earth; yea, they did cry even until the cloud of darkness was dispersed.

43  And it came to pass that when they cast their eyes about, and saw that the cloud of darkness was dispersed from overshadowing them, behold, they saw that they were encircled about, yea every soul, by a pillar of fire.

In my mind, this is a narrative that is not describing the baptism of fire as a long process, rather it is describing an event where the people involved did not understand what was happening. They were then coached by a former Nephite church member as to how to apply what they  were seeing. They were then caught up in a marvelous dispensation of the spirit which turned the three hundred into missionaries.

I might add that while the reference to 3 Nephi 9:20 was removed from the current 1981 version of the scriptures, there is a companion footnote reference from Helaman 5:45 that points back to, you guessed it, 3 Nephi 9:20. I would suspect that this footnote will not survive that next editorial effort on the LDS scriptures

I would suggest that the use of the scripture in 3 Nephi, chapter 9 where the Lamanites “were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not” means that they did not understand what was happening to them, not that it wasn’t noticeable.

Why, though, is this story in the scriptures? Here we have a group of Lamanites that had likely come to the prison to kill Nephi and Lehi yet left profoundly changed by the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. Why is it that people like this can receive such a momentous spiritual experience while the rest of us struggle?

I would suggest that they came to a moment that significantly changed their entire being. They were in fear of their lives, they had no way out other than to turn their attention to God and plead with him.  For some, the process to come unto God “with a broken heart and a contrite spirit” takes a long time of divesting ourselves of our pride and selfishness. For others,  there is a turning event that comes in a desperate moment, where there is no other way out except to remove all of our reliance on the arm of flesh and seek God.

For Alma, the younger, it was the same situation. Alma, was the wayward son of the high priest, who was confronted by an angel, as described in Mosah 27.

14  And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith.

15  And now behold, can ye dispute the power of God?  For behold, doth not my voice shake the earth?  And can ye not also behold me before you?  And I am sent from God.

16  Now I say unto thee: Go, and remember the captivity of thy fathers in the land of Helam, and in the land of Nephi; and remember how great things he has done for them; for they were in bondage, and he has delivered them.  And now I say unto thee, Alma, go thy way, and seek to destroy the church no more, that their prayers may be answered, and this even if thou wilt of thyself be cast off.

Alma was struck dumb and could not move for several days. During this time, his ‘soul was racked with eternal torment.’ He was in the ‘darkest abyss.’

He describes the event to his son Shiblon in Alma, chapter 38

7  But behold, the Lord in his great mercy sent his angel to declare unto me that I must stop the work of destruction among his people; yea, and I have seen an angel face to face, and he spake with me, and his voice was as thunder, and it shook the whole earth.

8  And it came to pass that I was three days and three nights in the most bitter pain and anguish of soul; and never, until I did cry out unto the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy, did I receive a remission of my sins.  But behold, I did cry unto him and I did find peace to my soul.

It was not until he sought out Christ that he was relieved of his pain and anguish. Is this not some clarification the requirement, again, that we must approach him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit? I know that it is very difficult to do so. Each individual is different but we each have that point where we can no longer rely on our own strength and have no recourse but to turn to God. Alma did it.

The people of King Benjamin had to reach a similar place where they had nowhere else to go but to look to God

2  And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth.  And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.

I believe that the baptism of fire is not the long process, rather, it may be our long process to reach the point where we have cast away all of our pride, all of our reliance on the flesh, to be able to call upon God with that broken heart and with that contrite spirit. It is that point where we have to, as the father of King Lamoni expressed, be willing to ‘give away all our sins’ to be given that profound experience.

In Alma’s time, there were many who had received the same experience as he had, as he recites in Alma, chapter 36.

26  For because of the word which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been born of God, and have tasted as I have tasted, and have seen eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they do know of these things of which I have spoken, as I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God.

Why are there not more people who have been ‘born of God’ in today’s church? Why do some get a spritz while others get the whole enchilada? This is the question that JR asked. I do believe that God is not a respector of persons. We are all able to receive the prize if we follow the rules.

I would suggest it is because we, generally, are not willing to pay the price. We are not willing to view ourselves as ‘the dust of the earth.’ That we are not inclined to leave ourselves vulnerable with a ‘broken heart and a contrite spirit.’ The experience does not come because we are not prepared and we do not ask. We are not willing to give away our sins and our safety to achieve a remission of our sins. For some it may take a lifetime, for others it come in an instant. For many today, it never comes at all and they are placated with the idea that a simple testimony is sufficient.

There are plenty of scriptures that tell us we must be born again just as the Lord told Alma

24  For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit.

25  And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;

26  And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.

We can only, as described in Mosiah, become his sons and his daughters by retaining a remission of our sins received through the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost and by making the covenant with God that we shall be obedient to His commandments in all things (Mosiah 5:5-7).

I must reiterate, the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost is the beginning of our sojourn on the strait and narrow path the eternal life.

17  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.

18  And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; 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.

It is not until we have crossed through the gate, the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, that we are able to tread upon the path to eternal life. Is a gate symbolic of an event or a long process?

It is also the beginning of our journey where we learn line upon line, and precept upon precept. Do you think that Alma was done once he had been born again? Here is what he stated several years after his conversion.

45  And this is not all.  Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself?  Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true.  And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?

46  Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God.  Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself.  And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.

Even after his incredible experience, Alma was still learning item by item. Here he tells us that he fasted and prayed many day to understand the words of eternal life.

So, what must one do to be born again? as Nicodemus asked. I can only speak of my experience. I had to reach such a low point that the only way out was to reach out to God. I didn’t have it easy as Enos did. I didn’t spend days in fasting and prayer. It came to me because it became my entire focus, just as the Lamanites found themselves in impenetrable darkness, to seek God in fervent prayer to release us from the abyss.

As the scriptures indicate, though, there is no single path to being born again. Some will strive, as did the people of King Benjamin, to receive the blessing after some period of attempted righteous living. Some will, as Enos did, pray until it is given. Others will find themselves in a very dark and miserable condition and finally reach out to Him who has the power to sanctify them.

If being born again is a process more often than an event, why aren’t the scriptures replete with descriptions of this gradual change. It is one thing to talk about learning and receiving a witness of the truth of all things. It is quite another to lump the conversion experience into it. The two are separate and distinct items.

I can only say that it is worth striving every moment of every day of our lives to receive it. I fear that many will simply adopt the idea that ‘the changes are more gradual and occur over time. Being born again, unlike our physical birth, is more a process than an event’ as Christofferson proposes and miss out on what, in my experience, was the most profound and elevating experience of my entire mortal existence.

What think ye?

219 Responses to “Being Born Again – Process or Event?”

  • G-man:

    Maybe more of us don’t receive this gift because we have it so easy. It’s hard to be so humble when we have so much. It’s been a struggle for me. I’ve prayed for humility and received glimpses of how I should feel and then it goes away. I have had struggles where I thing god is trying to compel me to be humble but I don’t learn the lesson. I have come to understand that a purely academic understanding of humility and the power of god isn’t enough. But how to get there is the issue. Thanks for your blog. It has created a huge desire in my heart to receive the gift of the baptism of fire.

    • Spektator:

      G-man,
      I wish there was a clear formula. I haven’t found it outside of the guidance of the scriptures in stripping ourselves of pride and understanding how miniscule man really is.

      I wish you success in your desire.

      Spek

  • JR:

    A week ago, as I attended Gospel Doctrine class, I watched the following false doctrine unfold in class (and I believe this is representative of why few are receiving the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost):

    The class discussion briefly touched upon D&C 50:41-41, “Fear not little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me; And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost.”

    My ears immediately perked up, hoping this would turn into a discussion of what the Savior meant by the phrases, “you are mine” and “you are of them that my Father hath given me”, but alas, the only comment by the teacher, before quickly moving on to another topic was, “We know that Christ was speaking to the church here. Doesn’t that give you great comfort?”

    In reading the footnote to those verses in my 1973 edition of the BoM, there is a reference to John 10:27-29, which says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
    And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

    That phrase, “My Father…gave them me” led me to recall the words of the Savior in D&C 84:63-64, “And as I said unto mine apostles, even so I say unto you, for you are mine apostles, even God’s high priests; ye are they whom my Father hath given me; ye are my friends; Therefore, as I said unto mine apostles I say unto you again, that every soul who believeth on your words, and is baptized by water for the remission of sins, shall receive the Holy Ghost.”

    “They whom my Father hath given me” does not seem to refer to all members of the church here, but rather to those who are “my friends”, including the apostles and all those who are “baptized with water for the remission of sins, shall receive the Holy Ghost”.

    What does it mean to receive the Holy Ghost? Mosiah 5:7-8 says, “And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, His sons and daughters; for behold this day He hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on His name; therefore, ye are born of Him and have become His sons and His daughters.

    If being Born of God is synonymous with the Mighty Change of Heart and synonymous with the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost and synonymous with receiving the Holy Ghost, as I believe Mormon was telling us here, then receiving the Holy Ghost brings one to become a “son or daughter” of Christ (God).

    Would those souls then be the ones Christ was referring to when He said, “You are of them that my Father hath given me”?

    Was the Savior referring to all members of the church, as the Gospel Doctrine instructor told our class? Isn’t that what we have been led to believe in the church, that we all are saved by virtue of our baptism and by enduring to the end, and “chances are you will be exalted” as our church president recently stated?

    Are we selling ourselves short and believing in false doctrine (which is a form of unbelief) that we have already received the fullness and we just need to “keep on keepin’ on”?

    How often the chance to really understand the words of the Savior is glossed over in class in the interests of plowing through an entire volume of scripture in one year, and we blindly go on assuming that “All is well in Zion, yea, Zion prospereth, all is well.”
    JR

    • Spektator:

      JR,
      I do also consider being born again, the baptism of fire, and sanctification as the same experience. I am reinded often of the steps spelled out in Moroni 6 regarding the steps necessary to be numbered with the Church of Christ, the last of which is to be sanctified by the Holy Ghost. This is also the core of the gospel as taught by the Savior in 2 Nephi 27.

      Amen to your comments.

      Spek

  • Jack:

    So the guy who endures a process of conversion to the end, doing good works — loving his family, giving to the poor, being honest with his fellows, ect. — is less favored than the pedifile who receives the baptism of fire on his deathbed.

  • Spektator:

    So the guy that goes through life doing good and helping others and thereby assumes that this is sufficient for the kingdom of God is imperiled by the doctrines of man mingled with scripture while the man who humbly seeks and receives this gift is allowed in???

    We learn in 3 Nephi, chapter 12, that Christ himself baptized the Nephites with fire and the Holy Ghost. Should the same be true for us? What did Christ tell tell those who were not prepared for the wedding feast? He said, I know you not.

    To me, that is the true pearl of great price, to be known by Jesus Christ as His son or daughter.

    Chafe at this all you want, Jack, if I am speaking the truth regarding the baptism of fire, would it not be worth giving away all your sins to acquire it?

  • Jack:

    “Jack, if I am speaking the truth regarding the baptism of fire, would it not be worth giving away all your sins to acquire it?”

    Yeah, I tried that and fell into a deathly depression. The truth is, I didn’t have any serious sins to give away. I had already done that. Sure, I still sin and I still need to repent–and I’m sure you do too. We just need to keep pressing forward with faith hope and charity until the perfect day.

    That said, I’m sure if I were to experience all the workings of the spirit in my life to date in one fell-swoop it would be absolutely overwhelming. But that has not been my lot. I’ve received it by degrees.

    • Rob:

      “Truth is I didn’t have any serious sins to give away”

      Therein lies your problem. Press on, friend, and keep learning of Christ. If you are open to the promptings of the Spirit you will, sooner or later, realize that you are, in fact, festered with serious sins, as we (including those who have been baptized by fire) all are. There is a big difference between being baptized by fire and being clothed with the garments of righteousness. Baptism by fire is a forgiveness of past sins. It is not sanctification in the sense of making oneself acceptably pure before God. That process takes time (though it need not take a lifetime). Baptism by fire is a point event, not a process, as the people here are saying.

      Don’t get discouraged. If you keep seeking God and feasting on the scriptures and praying aloud in secret with real intent, you will see the truth of what I’m saying.

      This might help as a starting point for a study on what “sins” God finds serious: http://upwardthought.blogspot.com/2012/06/our-favorite-sins.html

      A hint: ALL sin is repugnant to him, especially sins believed to be minor and unimportant by the sinner. Another scripture to reference is Luke 18:9-14. Note especially the subject of the Lord’s teaching: “he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others”

      Best wishes.

    • Spektator:

      Jack,
      I am reminded of the young man who asked Christ what he had to do to have eternal life. Christ responded that he needed to keep the commandments, which he said he had done since his youth. Christ then told him to go sell all he had and give it to the poor. “he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.”

      I was using sin for anything that draws our attention away from God. What is it that keeps us from God? Pride, being rebellious, chafing at authority, bearing an addiction, wearing a pony tail…

      I have to say that I was in a deep depression when I sought God in prayer and received my experience. All I can say is to look deep within yourself and see if there are any roadblocks that block your view.

  • JLC:

    This is a great post. I know it to be true. I have experienced this change. It came after 4 years of living Hell and it came after I completely surrendered every thing to Jesus. I did it through 3 days of fasting and isolation. As was mentioned in the post, we may surrender in different ways…fasting, praying, crying, laying on the floor but when it comes you know it. There is no more guessing. It is so profound to me that I think about it every day.

    One other reference about the Lamanites being baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost as found in Helaman 5 is found in either 12:14

    Behold , it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

    Your comment about there being no stories in the Book of Mormon about the gradual change that makes a person baptized by fire is spot on. If these one time events are the exception and not the rule then why is the rule never mentioned? The Book of Mormon is trying to tell us something. Become born again as Alma, King Lamoni, King Lamoni’s father, the people of King Benjamin, the Lamanites, the people of Ammond and others.
    This idea that these are the exceptions is bull-crap in my opinion.

    • Spektator:

      JLC,
      The message I am so feebly trying to deliver is that God will answer if we knock. It is heartening to hear the there are others who are willing to do what it takes to receive a remission of their sins. What is even more extraordinary is one who is able to retain a remission of theirs sins. Joseph Smish and fell back. He had to repent mightily and then received the visitation of Moroni. All mankind must be born again… I never thought I would have ever written those words a few years ago.

  • JR:

    JLC, et al,
    We do not often discuss the Mighty Change of Heart as experienced by Alma the Younger. Was his experience a rarity, not the typical experience of being Born of the Spirit, i.e., receiving the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost?

    Mosiah 27:24-27, “For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit.
    And the Lord said unto me; Marvel not that all mankind, yea men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming His sons and daughters.
    And thus, they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
    I say unto you, unless this be the case, they must be cast off; and this I know, because I was like to be cast off.”

    Some 10+ years later, that same Alma, speaking to the church at large, had this to say to them:

    Alma 5:26-31, “And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?
    Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God?
    Have ye been sufficiently humble?
    Are ye stripped of pride?
    Is there one among you who is not stripped of envy?
    Is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother?
    That heapeth upon him persecutions?
    Wo unto such an one, for he is not prepared, and the time is at hand that he must repent or he cannot be saved!”

    These are PROFOUND statements of truth by one who knew what it meant to be Born of God!

    Do we ignore Alma’s counsel and go on presuming that the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost is some mystical, gradual, process that slides upon us unbeknownst even to ourselves?

    Getting this wrong is a dreadful and dire prospect!

    Failing to receive the Baptism of Fire, the Mighty Change of Heart, being Born of God, or Born of the Spirit will leave unsaved and mean that we have failed in our mortal mission. We will not have become the sons and daughters of Christ (God) that was our potential. We will be among those to whom Christ will speak those fateful words, “I never knew you” at the judgment.

    This truly is a serious matter and not one that we should take lightly or make unwarrented assumptions about or contend about! Rather, I believe it is a matter that should be the subject of mighty prayer, fasting and pondering, and much study until we ARE CERTAIN we have it right!
    JR

    • Spektator:

      JR,
      I have come to beleive that the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost is the same as ‘sanctification.’ It is how we are cleansed of sins, how we are made clean by the blood of Christ. This is exactly what defines the gospel of Jesus Christ as defined in 3 Nephi, chapter 27. I would add that to the list of phrases addressing the topic.

      Spek

      • Rob:

        Cleansing/forgiveness of sins is not sanctification, it is justification. The most succinct description of sanctification comes from Helaman 3:35: “Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.” Justification is a point process, and comes with the baptism by fire. Sanctification is not a point process. It occurs as the participant increases in their ability to seek and heed the word of God. It ends not when the participant receives all there is to receive, but when they become unshakable in their faith, or their love for and confidence and trust in God become so great that they no longer doubt him by disobeying him.

      • EvenTheLeastSaint:

        I agree with Rob that sanctification is a process that is entered into after the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, remission of sins, and the mighty change of heart; or the entering the strait gate. The strait gate puts you on the strait and narrow path. The strait and narrow path is the process of sanctification. The strait and narrow path (sanctification) leads to a greater rebirth experience which is partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is Christ, or receiving the Second Comforter. This (recieving the Second Comforter) is the second rebirth; it occurs when one is completely sanctified, but first one must enter by the strait gate which is baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.

      • Log:

        Spektator, you are correct –

        3 Nephi 27:20 Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.

        And that is all there is to it.

        Except for this: the word “saint” means “one who is sanctified”. Let them who have ears to hear, hear.

  • Jack:

    They both can be a process of sorts — indeed they need not be completely linear either. They can overlap each other. And inasmuch as sanctification subsumes justification they can happen simultaneously — as on those rare occasions (as with the Lamanites) when one is converted almost instantaneously. Now I don’t mean to suggest that those rare occasions (quick conversions) will always produce 100% sanctification. But there must be some degree of purification as it seems that in most recorded instances the convert has no more disposition to do evil.

  • Spektator:

    Rob,
    You are correct. I am not sure what I was thinking when I wrote that. I should not post at night when my brain is mush. The best scripture in support of that idea, in my opinion, is found in Moses, chapter 6:

    60 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;

    The justification is achieved through the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghst when we receive a remission of our sins. We are cleansed at that point as described in Moroni, chapter 6:

    “4 And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith”

    I find it very interesting that Moroni considers this ‘cleansing’ as a prerequisite to being numbered with the church of Christ.

    Christ defined his gospel in 3 Nephi, chapter 27, and included this information:

    16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.
    17 And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father.
    18 And this is the word which he hath given unto the children of men. And for this cause he fulfilleth the words which he hath given, and he lieth not, but fulfilleth all his words.
    19 And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.
    20 Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.

    As I read it, the first promise in verse 16 is that, upon repentence and baptism, we will be ‘fllled by the Holy Ghost.’ If we then endure to the end, we will be found ‘guiltless.’ That has reference to the sanctification. In verse 19, there is a concise definition of the requirements for this ‘sanctifiction.’ including faith, repentence and faithfulness to the end. In verse 20, we are told that we will be sanctified in order to stand ‘spotless’ in the last day.

    Sanctifieciton is accomplished by the blood of Christ. It is the result of repenting, and being baptized, both by water and fire. We then must endure to the end where we will be sanctified, our garments washed in th blood of Christ.

    With that understanding, the verse in Helaman makes a lot of sense in describing the step by step proess we go through, from our entry onto the strait and narrow path to eternal life from being the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. We then are to fast and pray often, gain humility, and proceed, day by day, enduring to the end in study and faith. We are then to have our garments washed such that we can be presented as clean and as a true ‘saint’ enter the kingdom of our Father.

    I think that is really beautiful.

  • Adam:

    As has been mentioned, and rightly so, there is no mention in the scriptures of a “process” of the baptism of fire. In every case it is an event. It is flat out false doctrine that it’s a process. Those that say it’s a process have not experienced it.

    I have testified of my experience in this blog and it is an event. For me a very powerful event.

    Sanctification of the body, however, can be a process. It is true that the body is sanctified, and changed during the baptism of fire, but it’s the start. The Holy Ghost will not dwell in an unclean temple. The temple must be cleansed first.

    Receiving the Holy Ghost is only the first step in the sanctification of the body. After I received the baptism of fire I had other experiences where my body was further sanctified. Powerful experiences that made it possible for more of the spirit to reside in my body.

    This process of sanctification will continue throughout our life as we submit ourselves to God and do as He commands. But it is important to understand that He sanctifies us, He makes us holy. It is not something we can do to ourselves.

    If we are willing and humble, God will continue to sanctify us until we can see his face and stand in His presence.

  • Jack:

    Adam, et al,

    Should children of eight — those who are brought up in the gospel — expect to have an amazing experience with the spirit after they’re baptized? Or could it be that they’re already prepared enough to simply have the spirit bear witness to them in a sweet, quiet way that what they’re doing is right? And if they continue faithful there after why would it ever be necessary for the spirit to purge their hearts in one “fell swoop?”

    I side with the brethren on this issue. Those experiences that we read about in the Book of Mormon tend to be exceptional. And they tend to be about those who are in need of dramatic change. e.g., the Lamanites, apostates, etc. We don’t hear about too many of those experiences happening among the Nephites as they were, generally, trained in the gospel from an early age. Yes, there’s the amazing account of the people of King Benjamin. But that appears to be a unique “temple” experience of sorts. And therefore we shouldn’t assume that none of them were converted prior to that specific event.

  • JR:

    I concur that the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost is a one time, point event.
    It happened in my life that way and I find nothing in the scriptures to justify teaching it to be a process. I concur with the scriptures, and when there seems to be a conflict between scripture and the words of church leaders, I side with the scriptures, knowing that all men are subject to err.
    Sanctification is, however, a process. The scriptures previously mentioned point that out, and 2 Neph 31:17-21 makes it crystal clear that repentance, baptism by water, and a remission of sins by fire and the Holy Ghost only bring one into the straight and narrow path which leads to eternal life. Beyond that “gate” lies a long period of pressing forward on that path with steadfastness in Christ. As Nephi counsels in vs. 21, “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”
    Thank you all for this enlightening discussion!
    JR

  • Spektator:

    Jack said that “…those experiences that we read about in the Book of Mormon tend to be exceptional. And they tend to be about those who are in need of dramatic change…”

    Let me ask a few questions.

    Are we not told that the Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the Gospel? Yes, see D&C 20:9.

    Are we not told that the Book of Mormon was given to us to restore the plain and precious truths that were lost? Yes, see 1Nephi 13:26-35.

    Here are two places in modern scripture that provide the definition of the gospel.

    “Yea, repent and be baptized, every one of you, for a remission of your sins; yea, be baptized even by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.
    Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and remember that they shall have faith in me or they can in nowise be saved;
    And upon this rock I will build my church; yea, upon this rock ye are built, and if ye continue, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.” D&C 33:11-13

    “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

    These two references show that the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is a critical element of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness. Would a book, such as the Book of Mormon, which was given to restore the fulness of the gospel, only provide examples that are the exceptions and not the true path?

    Jack, you have a choice here. You can either accept the scriptures cited in this discussion or you can ‘side with the brethren’ and accept the doctrines of men. I choose scripture over the arm of flesh.

    Are you a member who desires a richer experience? Read of Enos and the people of King Benjamin. Read of the father of King Limhi, Read the words of Nephi and Lehi.

    Are you rebellious and may be fighting against what you may consider error? Read of Paul the Apostle and Alma. Read of the experience of the 300 Lamanites. Read of Peter and the apostles on the day of Pentecost.

    Unfortunately, for many, it is easier to assume that this great and marvelous gift from God is the exception rather than the rule. It is easier to live our lives checking off the boxes rather than really seeking communion with the spirit. I have no qualms with those who, day after day, live righteously and help others. But the true message of the gospel is to prepare us to return to the Father. The gospel is the vehicle. If we do not get our ticket punched by the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, then we are not on the strait and narrow path to eternal life. There is no other way.

    Jack, you have told us that your attempt at being born again was a depressive failure. I can only ask you or anyone else who is in a similar situation to fast and pray mightily for spiritual guidance and then follow it.

  • MelissaM:

    Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost is an event. There are examples in the scriptures everywhere. One that has not yet been brought up is Moses 5:4-10 Regarding the event that Adam experienced. The Brethren are men and can and do err. 1 Nephi 19:6. 2 Nephi 28:14. The pushing forth of the idea that is is a process and not an event shows that they have not yet received it or do not recognize it as such, and the members of the Church accepting this as fact, show how scripturally ignorant they are and how willing to adopt the commandments of men -Matthew 15:9. It’s so easily correctable. Seriously. Just read the books and do what they say to do.

    Lorenzo Snow had an event occur. http://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-of-presidents-of-the-church-lorenzo-snow/the-life-and-ministry-of-lorenzo-snow?lang=eng Rising above Youthful Ambitions- last 3 paragraphs.

    I think a key point is looking at the concept of Divine Nature as a philosophy of men. We are fallen, lost and all have gone astray. We have no merit of ourselves and are wholely dependent upon God. See Mosiah 2-4, Mosiah 13-15 Alma 34, Helaman 13- I’m sure there are many more.

    If we would just quit telling everyone how great they are and ask people to go ask the Lord to show unto them their weakness, we could get a lot further. Ether 12.

    I hope this helps someone.
    MelissaM- I believe in the Scriptures and in the words of those who have experienced Christ in the flesh. 1 Nephi 1:5-7, 1 Nephi 2:15-17, 2 Nephi 11:2-3, Alma 26:23-27 -Second Comforter referring to Alma 17:10, Mormon 1:15, Ether 3, Ether 12:38-41, Moses 1:34, etc.

  • Spektator:

    Melissa,
    I did a post on Adam’s baptism of fire last month. We are all Adam, we should all go through the baptism of fire just as he did.

    One of my old missionary companions is now a GA. I was surprised how quickly the ‘humbleness’ wore off and the ‘adoration’ complex set in. In some way, the members are at fault for putting these men on a pedestal where they are expected to be perfect. These men must surely think that if I haven’t received this marvelous gift, then it must not be available to even the most stalwart members. Therefore it must be rare. As such we are not taught to seek it.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  • MelissaM:

    LOL! I only read the first post and I just saw the Adam’s baptism of fired post without seeing your response and had a “DUH!” moment.

    The unbelief runs so deep. It can be core and is mine field laden to try to come to terms with all of it.

    I am so glad you are here Spek. It’s always a grounding time on your site.

    Loves,
    MelissaM

  • Spektator:

    Melissa,
    Thanks, sometimes it gets a little lonely out there when you aren’t correllated. Glad to hear from you again.

    Spek.

  • Jack:

    Spektator,

    I agree with those verses wholeheartedly. But, they do not declare that the baptism of fire must be an event. They merely indicate that it follows repentance and baptism by water.

  • Spektator:

    Jack,
    On one side you have Enos, the people of King Benjamin, Alma, the 300 Lamanites, and King Limhi. Who do you call as your witness thet the baptism of fire is a long imperceptible process?

    The purpose of those scriptures were to identify that the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost as a critical component of the gospel. If this is true, why would the Book of Mormon only show exceptions? If it is as you claim, wouldn’t you think there would be a multiplicity of examples of the slow, silent, lifelong process that you could use as guidance. It makes no sense to me that all these examples can be written off as the exception rather then the rule when there are absolutely no counter examples.

    Incredulous spek…

  • Jack:

    No where does it say that Enos’ experience was the baptism of fire. Now certainly it has some of the “earmarks” we typically associate it — and I would suppose that he experienced the cleansing power of the spirit in some measure. But I think it would be wrong to assume that he had not experienced any preparation by the spirit before hand, or that he would not need any further preparation afterward in order to be completely converted. The same would apply to Limhi and his people.

    I had a similar experience — except that I learned that my sins were forgiven via a priesthood blessing. I new it was true; it was wonderful. But I didn’t necessarily receive a larger measure of the spirit than I was already used to.

    As for what Mormon chose to include in the record: I can only say that there are a lot of untold stories. Remember, he says that not even a hundredth part of their history was possible to share. So he chose carefully what he thought would be most valuable to his readers. As per what he included regarding the baptism of fire we can have no doubt of its importance to Mormon — especially as one who was a stranger in a land of contentious, bloodthirsty unbelievers.

    So that’s the take-away message for me: We must all be born of the spirit — period. But even so, we should be grateful to have the counsel of living prophets on the subject. Otherwise we’re left to our own devices to make sense of gospel precepts as understood by the ancients without a full understanding of their circumstances and challenges.

    • Spektator:

      Jack,
      With reference to Enos, according to the scriptures, how does one receive a remission of their sins?

      “Yea, blessed are they who shall believe in your words, and come down into the depths of humility and be baptized, for they shall be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and shall receive a remission of their sins.” 3 Nephi 12:2

      “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 strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life;” 2 Nephi 31:17-18

      Can it be any more clear as to how one receives a remission of their sins? Isn’t that exactly what Enos claimed to have received?

      So Jack, if Mormon and Nephi had to choose very carefully what they included in the book, why would they waste time on the exceptions to the rule? It makes no sense unless you want to vacate the gospel as contained in the Book of Mormon.

      You have chosen to ignore the repeated message in the Book of Mormon regarding the necessity of the event of being born again. I will ask you again, according to the above scripture, what is the gate to the strait and narrow path to eternal life? What is the symbolism of a gate? Can the scriptures be any more clear on the circumstances of the baptism of water and spirit?

  • MelissaM:

    “Left to our own devices” Way to deny the plainess of the Book of Mormon and to deny the Spirit. Beautifully done.

    Jack, you trust men who do not claim to have seen God face to face and conversed with him as one man speaks to another to lead you to God and in doing so you deny the gifts of the Spirit.

    Unbelief. That’s what it is. Believing what you have been told by men over what is personally revealed by the Spirit as witness of truth.

    Good luck with that.

    Peace. Out.
    MelissaM

  • Jack:

    As I’ve said before, I find it strangely odd that folks on this blog will reject further revelation through the Lord’s anointed on the subject of — revelation. Indeed, they will uphold the written word on the subject while rejecting the living oracles. Strange.

    MelissaM, the two are not mutually exclusive. The spirit directs me in my own life on a personal basis. And I also have a witness that the current leadership is comprised of prophets, seers, and revelators. It’s the same spirit all in all.

    • Spektator:

      Jack,
      Please point me to this further revelation. Are you sayaing that the above talks carry the weight of scripture and that the so-called Lord’s anointed can overrule the doctrine of Christ?

  • Jack:

    I’m saying that their counsel can clarify things for us — help us in our peculiar circumstances to more fully understand and live the gospel.

  • Jack:

    Sorry, Spektator, I didn’t see your comment above about the remission of sins.

    Let me answer with this question: Can individuals who feel the spirit pretty-much on a regular basis be laden with sin? If not, then the fact that the spirit is striving with them on a regular basis may be an indicator that they have “enetered in by the way” — that they’re in a state of justification or well on they’re way to it.

    That said, there are many folks out there who can testify of the workings of the spirit in their lives who have not had that one indelible experience that the Lamanites had. So how do we make sense of this? How is it that these folks have the spirit with them on a regular basis without being able to locate that particular marker — the baptism of fire — in their own spiritual journey?

  • I think this is a fantastic discussion.

    Very important things to ponder

    I am going to depart from tradition and keep my opinionated ideas to myself, however, I do want to ask a question for those who are interested in pondering it.

    In section 98 the Lord gives his latter day servants the following commandment

    11 And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, that ye shall live by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God.
    12 For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith.

    Was this commandment given to

    a- those who had been spiritually born again and in the strait gate

    b- those who had not yet been spiritually born again and were not in the strait gate

    c- those who had been spiritually born again but had not retained a remission of their sins and were not in the strait gate

    Just something to ponder.

    No need for a response, just something to ponder.

    • Spektator:

      Watcher,
      I would only add that Alma, after having been born again, did not stop seeking wisdon and knowledge. Can one say when we are not to be progressing in knowledge?

      As for your choices, can one be born again and not reeeive a remission of their sins?

      • “As for your choices, can one be born again and not receive a remission of their sins?”

        In my opinion, it is categorically impossible to be born again without receiving a remission of sins.

        HOWEVER

        One sometimes gets the impression from reading some of the comments on threads like this, that receiving the spiritual rebirth constitutes the finish line rather than the starting gate.

        The BofM has several profound passages asking those who have been previously born again if they have RETAINED a remission of their sins.

        Those who fail to retain a remission of their sins in the ultimate sense, will one day realize that their rebirth will ultimately condemn them.

        The D&C, in my opinion, teaches that we don’t repent of individual sins, one at a time, rather, we are ether totally justified, or all of our previous sins have returned.

        Justification is an all or nothing proposition.

        Hence, walking in the spirit is a daily endeavor that needs to be our main focus, rather than the one time event that we memorialize as the time we had our spiritual epiphany.

        Some Christians speak of the time, place, and event pertaining to when they got saved. End of story. That is a little bit what we sometimes sound like as we speak of past spiritual experiences.

      • Spektator:

        Watcher,
        I hope I have stressed in my posts and comments that the baptism of fire is the beginning not the end. It is the gate to the strait and narrow path to eternal life.

        As far as those who have failed to retain a remission of their sins after the baptism of fire, I am one of them. I didn’t fully appreciate what happened and did indeed, after a short time lose it. I am now trying to work my way back.

        I do take comfort in saying that there is hope for my kind if they recognize their plight. Here is what is found in D&C 20 describing the circumstances around Joseph Smith:
        5 After it was truly manifested unto this first elder that he had received a remission of his sins, he was entangled again in the vanities of the world;
        6 But after repenting, and humbling himself sincerely, through faith, God ministered unto him by an holy angel, whose countenance was as lightning, and whose garments were pure and white above all other whiteness;

        I take this to mean that faith, repentance, and sincere humility, one can regain the remission of sins.

  • JR:

    I hope I may be forgiven if I take a much different direction in this discussion.
    Over on Mormonmatters, there is a discussion of Near Death Experiences (NDE) which I find fascinating.

    My fascination is in the great similarity between the aftermath of the NDE, as described by those who have had one, and the aftermath of the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost, as described by those who have experienced that event.

    Here is the intro to the Mormonmatters discussion and my comments to Dan Wotherspoon:
    Dan,
    I have yet to listen to the tapes. I plan to do so asap.
    However, reading the intro to the topic of NDE on Mormonmatters, I was struck by this statement:

    Those who have experienced a NDE also often undergo changes in worldview and personality traits, including a greater sense of compassion, less desire to judge others harshly, a sense of one’s own importance (even divinity), and peace amid life’s chaos that stems from a feeling that no matter what, everything has purpose and all will work out in the end. Some even claim that afterward they are more intuitive and/or have a different energy about them that affects electronic devices, etc. Others claim and exhibit a lack of interest in the mundane world anymore, with many of them failing to ever successfully re-integrate into the purely mortal realm—as it seems to be far less “real” as the other, a mere shadow of true Reality.

    This describes, almost precisely, my long-term reactions to the experience of receiving the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost.

    Just an interesting “coincidence” perhaps? I think not. To me, there is a definite tie-in between the NDE and the experience of the Baptism of Fire.
    JR

    Here is the website: http://mormonmatters.org/2013/01/29/149-150-near-death-experiences/

    Anyone care to comment?
    JR

    • Spektator:

      JR,
      I have read many accounts of NDEs so you pose a very interesting question. Does on out of body experience constitute a baptism of fire? If I consider the experience of Alma, could that have been similar to a NDE? As he described his experience, it was as if he were conscious in another realm. The father of King Lamoni also seemed to have been taught in this ‘other’ realm.

      You bring up an interesting point that I need to think about.

  • Jack:

    Sorry for beating this dead horse, er, to death, but–

    When I compare myself today (50yrs old) to what I was 25yrs ago the difference is about the same as what JR describes above. The only thing I would/change is that my insight into the things of the spirit has become more refined.

    • Spektator:

      Jack,
      As I see it, we are to seek and receive the baptism of fire. This is the gate to the strait and narrow path to eternal live. Once on the path we are to progress in knowledge and understanding and endure to the end where we are sanctified. Everyone who seeks heavenly things matures in their perspective. I would guess this happens regardless of what phase we are in.

  • Jack:

    And I mean *change* in the descriptive paragraph that JR imported from mormonmatters to suit my own experience.

  • Adam:

    I don’t think this has been mentioned, and it’s a critical part of the event/process discussion. There is a reason it is called a “baptism” of fire. When baptisms are performed in the church there are two witnesses that make sure that the one baptized is completely immersed in the water. If even their toe or their hair isn’t completely immersed the baptism is done over. This ordinance is symbolic of the real thing, the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. The baptism of fire is an immersion in the spirit, for me my whole body was immersed in the spirit.

    Calling the baptism of fire a process is denying the very element that makes it a baptism, the immersion of the body in the spirit. Just as the water baptism is an event, so is the fire baptism. Just as we must be immersed in water with the ordinance, with the baptism of fire we must be immersed in the spirit.

  • For me, the baptism of fire occurred sometime after I had learned to let go of my dependence on the institutional Church. I’m inclined to think that is key, that as long as we are wrapped up in this false worship of an earthly institution, the spirit cannot get through to us because of our pride and arrogance in belonging to “the only true church.” God and Christ and the Holy Ghost are so far past all that. But we need to catch up.

    • Spektator:

      Rock,
      For me, I didn’t really discover what my experience meant until I had to redefine my spiritual worldview. I would suggest that for some, it means letting go of whatever ‘crutch’ we can rationalize. For some it may be the institutional church, for others it may be the need to do good works continually. I would think that there are many other sets of ‘blinders’ that need to be removed before the spirit can be open to this type of experience.

  • Log:

    God is no respecter of persons, and whenever we receive a blessing it is by faithfulness to the law upon which it is predicated.

    That some have not been “filled as if with fire” and “that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory” is not evidence that the gift is experienced differently – or perhaps not experienced at all – but is evidence that the individuals concerned have not fully complied with the law upon which the bestowal of the gift is predicated, or else God would be a respecter of persons.

    The two areas where people fail are 1. repentance, and 2. calling upon the name of the Lord.

    Repentance is more than simply ceasing from ALL sin, but is also making one’s eye single to the glory of God.

    Calling upon the name of the Lord is humbling oneself into the dust and begging for, among other possibilities, the gift of the Holy Ghost, or the remission of sins, or to be reborn, or to be given charity, or to discover the will of God towards you, and to continue begging until you receive.

  • Jack:

    I’d be careful about applying tight comparisons in gospel symbolism. Things can get really crazy — really fast. For me, the symbolic correlation between the two baptisms is that one must be cleansed every wit. And if it takes longer for some than others — so be it.

    And that brings me to the point about God being no respecter of persons. Those who believe that the baptism of fire can only be an event and, as such, is a sign of God’s beneficence are bordering upon the Zoramites’ approach to religion. The real test of one’s acceptability to God is not whether one has experienced the baptism of the spirit as a singular event. But, rather, it is whether or not one bears the fruits of the spirit. If one is increasing in charity, kindness, gentleness, meekness; if one has greater peace, joy, temperance, etc., these are signs that the spirit is active in one’s life. And if the spirit is active in one’s life than that person has entered in by the way; that person is on the path that leads to eternal life!

    There are so, so many sweet people who are full of empathy and compassion who serve in the kingdom the best they know how who have been converted quietly — by degrees. And some here believe that God — who is not a respecter of persons — would favor them less than others because their conversion comes quietly like dews of heaven rather than a devouring fire.

    • Spektator:

      I call that the doctrines of man mingled with scripture. If the baptism of fire is indeed the gate to the strait and narrow path to eternal life, then these people could end up with this situation:

      “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
      Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
      And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matt 7:21-23

      I would suggest that the scriptures are clear on what we must do to be known by the Lord. I agree that that are many fine people in the world who are striving to do good according the the definition they hold. That does not absolve them of being obedient to the commandment:

      “…if it so be that ye believe in Christ, and are baptized, first with water, then with fire and with the Holy Ghost, following the example of our Savior, according to that which he hath commanded us, it shall be well with you in the day of judgment.” Mormon 7:10

      This brings us full circle back to the definition of the second baptism, event or process. I submit that to follow the example of our Savior, the baptism of the Holy Ghost is, indeed, an event.

  • Log:

    Jack,

    I invite you to peruse my blog, wherein I spell out the point a little more precisely. Remember, unless a man is born of water AND of the spirit, he shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    http://crymightily.blogspot.com/

    • Spektator:

      Log,
      I edited your comment to link to the blog. If you don’t mind, I will put a link on this site to your blog.

      Thanks, for addiing your perspective.

      • Log:

        That is perfectly acceptable. I also would appreciate feedback on any of my posts, should any feel I have either omitted information which should have been included, or have included things which should have been omitted.

  • Log:

    I would also like to point out the real test of one’s acceptability to God is whether or not one has been accepted by God, which is demonstrated by God when one is baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost. Otherwise, none are acceptable to him.

    It does nobody any good to arise and shout “Thou also sayest, except we repent we shall perish. How knowest thou the thought and intent of our hearts? How knowest thou that we have cause to repent? How knowest thou that we are not a righteous people? Behold, we have built sanctuaries, and we do assemble ourselves together to worship God. We do believe that God will save all [nice, empathetic, compassionate] men.”

    If you have not been baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, thus receiving a remission of your sins, you have not entered in by the way, no matter how nice, empathetic, or compassionate a person you are.

    • Spektator:

      Is there any other way? one may ask. No… there is no other way. Sonething I heard a long time ago. God is not respector of persons, He espects the same from each of us.

  • Jack:

    Spektator, just so you know — that was the adversary who said that.

    But just to clarify: You are right that there is no other way to be saved than through Christ. And I agree that one must be born of the spirit in order to move in that direction. But I flatly disagree that it must always be a singular event.

    Yes, we have come full circle.

    • Log:

      The adversary also said “If they do not walk up to every covenant they make at these altars in this temple this day, they will be in MY power.”

      Should we disbelieve that?

    • Log:

      I suppose I will be brash and ask outright: have you been baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, and, if so, can you detail your experience?

      If not, why not seek it? Why not bow yourself unto the earth and call upon the Lord with all your might, mind, and strength to be made clean, and not cease until he answers?

      What have you got to lose? Rise up and claim the gift that has been promised you!

  • Jack:

    Log, doesn’t charity count for anything? Or are you presuming that only those who have had the aforementioned singular experience have access to God’s love? And those who experience it by degrees can never truly obtain it? Because, in the end, it is the Love of God that is the great sifter. It will be those who didn’t even know they were serving God by loving their fellow beings who enter the Kingdom before those who were sure of their status with God but failed to love enough.

    And your quoting the Zoramites is a nice bit of proof-texting. The last sentence would be right — albeit, “caught with guile” — if it truly read that way. But the fact of the matter is they — those men — were wicked because they esteemed themselves above all others, supposing that God favored them for reasons of their own fabrication. And surely they were able to read into whatever documents they believed to be foundational to their society the proper interpretation that would uphold their self-righteousness.

    And how does Alma propose to rectify this evil? He preaches a sermon about planting the word — as a seed. He talks about nourishing it with patience and diligence, implying that over time the word will grow within us as we are faithful — and that the end product will be the Love of God. (he makes direct allusions to Lehi’s dream).

    Why did he not teach them in that particular situation that they must be born again through one singular spiritual event?

    • Log:

      “Log, doesn’t charity count for anything? Or are you presuming that only those who have had the aforementioned singular experience have access to God’s love?”

      Charity counts for EVERYTHING, and it is received through the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost (Moroni 8:25-26).

      “And those who experience it by degrees can never truly obtain it?”

      I do not believe any experience baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost by degrees, and the scriptures nowhere speak of such.

      “It will be those who didn’t even know they were serving God by loving their fellow beings who enter the Kingdom before those who were sure of their status with God but failed to love enough.”

      Man cannot be saved in ignorance. And I note the subtle accusation.

      “And your quoting the Zoramites…”

      I was actually quoting the Amalekites, who were after the order of the Nehors. Nehor’s doctrine was “The Lord had created all men, and had also redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life.” Your doctrine, while to me identical in essence, matches this more in form: “Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.”

      I note throughout your posts a subtext of mockery and accusation of self-righteousness towards me and others.

      The baptism by fire is given by believing in the word of God, repenting from all one’s sins, and crying mightily unto the Lord to be redeemed. To suggest that one who has done these things and then been visited with fire and the Holy Ghost, having one’s sins burned from one’s soul, receiving the light of God, charity, and that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory is self-righteous rather than made righteous by God through their faithfulness to his commandments is a very interesting position to take. Why do you make those accusations?

      And your question about Alma is answered thusly:

      ” 41 But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.

      42 And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.

      43 Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.”

      Partaking of the fruit of the tree of life is the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, the fruit itself representing the love of God, or charity. It is the greatest of the gifts of God in this life, and if the recipient endures to the end, they shall receive eternal life in the world to come.

      • Joshua:

        When Alma, in reference to the fruit, says that it, “is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white”(Alma 32:42), he is certainly quoting Lehi when he described the fruit of the tree of life in his dream, “I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen”

        The tree of life (with its fruit), at least according to Lehi’s teaching, is at the end of the strait and narrow path (1 Nephi 8:24). Now you say, “Partaking of the fruit of the tree of life is the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, the fruit itself representing the love of God, or charity. It is the greatest of the gifts of God in this life, and if the recipient endures to the end, they shall receive eternal life in the world to come.”

        And yet, much of the discussion has been that the baptism of fire is at the opposite end (the beginning) of the path. Does the narrow path end where it began?

      • Log:

        The tree of life (with its fruit), at least according to Lehi’s teaching, is at the end of the strait and narrow path (1 Nephi 8:24). Now you say, “Partaking of the fruit of the tree of life is the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, the fruit itself representing the love of God, or charity. It is the greatest of the gifts of God in this life, and if the recipient endures to the end, they shall receive eternal life in the world to come.”

        And yet, much of the discussion has been that the baptism of fire is at the opposite end (the beginning) of the path. Does the narrow path end where it began?

        Nephi employed two separate images to illustrate the course we take through life. The gate imagery is not the same as the tree of life imagery.

        In the tree of life imagery, to partake of the fruit is the baptism by fire. This can be seen because some, having partaken of the fruit, fell away because of the mockery of them in the great and spacious building, whereas Nephi tells us the fruit is the greatest of the gifts of God. Thereby we may know it is charity, which is greatest of all gifts, the possession of which renders one a fit subject for the Celestial Kingdom, whereas to lack it ensures damnation. Once having received this gift, the trial of life (using the tree of life imagery) is to stay by the tree, feasting on the fruit, or, as Nephi says elsewhere, “feasting upon the words of Christ”; Nephi in 2 Nephi 32 explains that “the words of Christ” is the Holy Ghost, the Comforter which gives us charity, as Mormon explains.

        The vision of the tree of life lacked the gate, whereas the gate imagery lacks the tree and the iron rod but features a path which ends at the judgement and exaltation.

  • Jack:

    You’re right about the Amalekites — my bad.

    Re: Alma’s sermon — I think you’re reading too much into it. He’s talking about a tree in an allegorical sense. And trees don’t grow over night.

    You’ve stated that in my posts there’s a subtext of mockery and accusations of self-righteousness. I don’t mean to mock — I can get a little bulldog-ish, though. Sorry about that. But I am concerned about a bent toward self-righteousness. When a few claim that they’ve got it right while everyone else has got it wrong, including the apostles, I tend to chafe a little. Remember the Book of Mormon is quite plain about those who pit themselves against the apostles of the Lamb.

    And just to round out things a bit, I have been accused of being unbelieving, relying on the arm of the flesh, denying the plainness of the BoM, not being born of the spirit (strongly implied on multiple occasions), etc.

    I just think you guys are too fundamentlist in your approach. There have been prophets in every age, let’s not be among those who reject them in our age.

    • Log:

      Jack,

      “There have been prophets in every age, let’s not be among those who reject them in our age.”

      Which of the prophets, or scriptures, have ever spoken against repenting of all one’s sins and calling upon God with all one’s might to receive a remission of them through the merits of Jesus Christ?

      Now, if your issue is that we disagree with some of the Apostles, I have two things to say.

      1. “I never thought it was right to call up a man and try him because he erred in doctrine, it looks too much like methodism and not like Latter day Saintism. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be kicked out of their church. I want the liberty of believing as I please, it feels so good not to be tramelled. It dont prove that a man is not a good man, because he errs in doctrine.” – Joseph Smith

      2. A man’s position, or lack thereof, in the Church is never a sign or guarantee of doctrinal purity, personal righteousness, or spiritual attainments. Judas, who betrayed Christ, is an example of one extreme, while John the Baptist is an example of the other extreme – there was no greater prophet born to woman than he, yet he had no position whatsoever in the Church.

      As for me, I see it as my duty to not publicize my differences with the Brethren, lest I undermine the authority of those who are called by God to lead, and thus bring the blood of my brethren upon my garments. I have no problem, however, in elucidating the contents of the scriptures, which we as a church entire have agreed by common consent are binding upon the membership. While we jettison the magazines, including the conference addresses, when they are 10 years old, the standard works have been, by the wisdom of God, sent forth to all His children everywhere alike.

      “Be careful that you teach not for the word of God the commandments of men, nor the doctrines of men, nor the ordinances of men, inasmuch as you are God’s messengers. Study the word of God, and preach it and not your opinions, for no man’s opinion is worth a straw. Advance no principle but what you can prove, for one scriptural proof is worth ten thousand opinions. We would moreover say, abide by that revelation which says ‘Preach nothing but repentance to this generation,’ and leave the further mysteries of the kingdom till God shall tell you to preach them, which is not now.” (History of the Church, 3:395–96.)

      Elder Bruce R. McConkie bore the following testimony: “The truth of all things is measured by the scriptures. That which harmonizes with them should be accepted; that which is contrary to their teachings, however plausible it may seem for the moment, will not endure and should be rejected.” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 765.)

      Therefore this is my message: D&C 19:31 And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost.

  • Jack:

    But you ARE talking about tenets if you insist that the baptism of fire must come in one singular experience. The doctrine of Christ is that we must receive the baptism of fire, yes. But nowhere does He (or his prophets) declare that it must happen as one event. In fact, I find it interesting that the Lord (when he visits the Nephites) is very explicit about how the outward ordinance of baptism by water must be performed but mentions nothing about the mechanics of spiritual baptism.

  • Log:

    “But you ARE talking about tenets if you insist that the baptism of fire must come in one singular experience.”

    “TEN’ET, n. [L. tenet, he holds.] Any opinion, principle, dogma or doctrine which a person believes or maintains as true; as the tenets of Plato or of Cicero. The tenets of christians are adopted from the Scriptures; but different interpretations give rise to a great diversity of tenets.”

    I am a witness, not one who is holding forth an opinion.

    “The doctrine of Christ is that we must receive the baptism of fire, yes. But nowhere does He (or his prophets) declare that it must happen as one event.”

    Every scriptural example is unambiguous, and we who have fully repented and received the promised gift speak with one voice about it.

    But let us accept, for the sake of argument, your opinion that the baptism by fire can be imperceptible and gradual, perhaps even lasting throughout one’s life. It follows immediately that any such individual undergoing this gradual, imperceptible baptism by fire is NEVER in the strait and narrow path which leadeth unto life.

    2 Nephi 31:17 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.

    18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; 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.

    Such an one as you postulate exists, since the Holy Ghost does not dwell in them, would be unholy (Alma 34:36), and they cannot shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel, for that is the promise (2 Nephi 31:13). What’s more, such an one as you postulate exists does not have charity until their baptism is complete, since they do not receive the visitation of the first comforter which would be the complete baptism by fire (Moroni 8:26), which means such an one cannot inherit the Kingdom of God (Ether 12:34).

    In fine, such an one as you postulate exists is in danger of dying in their sins, for unless and until they are fully cleansed, they are unclean.

    “In fact, I find it interesting that the Lord (when he visits the Nephites) is very explicit about how the outward ordinance of baptism by water must be performed but mentions nothing about the mechanics of spiritual baptism.”

    That is because either He (3 Nephi 9:20, 3 Nephi 12:1), or Father (3 Nephi 28:11, 3 Nephi 19:20, 22), administers it, or their directly authorized servants who receive this power directly from the Lord (Moroni 2, D&C 76:52).

  • Log:

    I feel to say more.

    What is the promise? And how do we obtain it?

    2 Nephi 31:6 And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfil all righteousness in being baptized by water?

    7 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.

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

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

    10 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?

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

    12 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.

    13 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.

    17 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.

    18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; 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.

    The promise is that if you repent and are baptized in the name of Christ, you shall receive the Holy Ghost, like unto Jesus Christ.

    Let me repeat that: you shall receive the Holy Ghost exactly like Jesus Christ did. That is what “like unto” means.

    Did Christ receive the Holy Ghost through some imperceptible, lifelong, undramatic process? What saith the scripture? It says the Holy Ghost descended upon Him like a dove. Did the dove take a lifetime to land on Him? Of course not.

    More pertinently, though, is the thought that maybe we get the Holy Ghost in degrees. But the scripture does not allow that, either: JST John 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him, for God giveth him not the Spirit by measure, for he dwelleth in him, even the fulness.

    So, metaphorically speaking, we don’t get a lifelong descent of the dove until, hopefully, perhaps sometime just shy of death, it lands on one, planting us finally in that straight and narrow path (what has one been doing one’s entire life, one wonders?), neither do we receive a portion of the Spirit – the promise is the fullness thereof, exactly what the Lord had, to receive which the Lord calls the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, and which is unambiguously portrayed throughout the scriptures as a single compact experience, in metaphor as a dove alighting upon one.

  • Log:

    Mis-typed JST John 3:34 – it should read “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth him not the Spirit by measure, for he dwelleth in him, even the fulness.”

    Again, the promise is that we are to receive like unto Christ. Just that swiftly, and just that completely.

  • Log:

    And, just to forestall a potential rejoinder, the dove was a visible sign so that the outside observer could see and know the Holy Ghost had descended upon Christ; otherwise, none could have known.

    http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Dove,_Sign_of_the

  • JR:

    Log,
    You made this statement: “Partaking of the fruit of the tree of life is the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, the fruit itself representing the love of God, or charity. It is the greatest of the gifts of God in this life”
    Yes, just so! Indeed you have captured the essence of the experience here.
    I was immediately filled with Charity. First I felt it burning within myself, then came an intense longing to share what I had found with “my brethren”, then it was extended to all mankind and I wanted to rush out and grab whosoever I encountered by the front of the shirt and yell at them to look, listen and learn of what I had found!
    Very, very intense feelings of love!
    You put it quite well.
    JR

  • JR:

    Log,
    I relish this discussion because for many years I had no one with whom to discuss what had happened. I was like the Lamanites and did not know what had happened to me, only that something profoundly intense had occurred. It was only in recent years, in discussions with others who have had a similar experience, that I came to begin to understand the experience. However, in discussions such as this one, I continue to find new facets of the experience coming into focus.
    This happened when I was 21 years old. That was 45 years ago. Only in the past 4-5 years have I come to understand what it was about.
    I express my appreciation to all who contribute to this and similar discussions because in each person’s experience I find bits of understanding of my own experience. As I said at the beginning of this blog, I do not believe GOD is a partial Being. If HE was willing to give me this experience, HE is willing to do so for any of HIS children when they are ready.
    Thank you again (and again and again!) for all who are willing to share their thoughts and discuss their experiences.
    JR

    • Log:

      I was baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost in my early 20s. It was the culmination of my repenting of all my sins, having been humbled by the power of God because of them (D&C 19:17-20 [particularly 20]). You don’t want to be humbled by the almighty power of God if you don’t have to be (Alma 32:16). Nevertheless, I was so humbled, and I repented with all my heart and begged to receive the Holy Ghost again, which to that point I never knew I had any part or portion of, and I pursued forgiveness and the Spirit with single-minded dedication in praying day in, day out for it over the course of a month, while at the same time obeying every word of command and every prompting that I received. At the end of the month, I was received, and cleansed.

      Father said to me, in the midst of the glory and joy and light, “All things taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, pertaining to the salvation of men, are true.”

      I went to church seeking them who could speak to what I had just experienced, for I did not understand what had happened. Nobody knew what I was talking about. I learned for myself through studying the scriptures what that experience was. I found the essays I linked to in my first blog post to be of inestimable help in understanding these things: http://crymightily.blogspot.com/2012/12/inaugural-post.html

      I have learned for myself over the years most members of the Church have not received. I learned through revelation there may not be two to a city who have received these things. I have learned for myself how one who has so received can fall away into darkness and despair and self-righteousness.

      We who have received are under an obligation to teach others to so receive, to teach repentance and faith in the Savior, to teach of humbling oneself unto the dust and begging to receive until we do receive, with an eye single to the glory of the Lord. We need to teach that the light remains in us as long as we are diligent unto prayer and good works, following strictly every word of command and prompting received, and honoring all of our covenants with exactness, that we may always be filled with the light, love, and joy of the Lord – for this is how we bear fruit unto God, doing his will, and bringing forth his works.

      We need to teach those who were once enlightened that “he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad” (Matt 12:30), that our teachings need to be restricted to that which the Lord has commanded, and to leave the Church alone, for it is His (D&C 85:8) and the leaders whom he has called are accountable to Him and Him alone for the execution of their stewardships and their personal acquisition of the gifts and powers of God.

    • Log:

      About not understanding what happened – this seems very common, actually, if not universal. Consider Adam – the Lord had to tell him what had happened (Moses 6:66)!

  • Jack:

    “And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.”

    Aside from his implication that not all dogs go to heaven, Moroni equates the remission of sins with becoming sanctified. Now it is agreed upon by all here that sanctification is a process. But it is held by those who believe that the baptism of fire must be an event that a remission of sins occurs during that event. How do we resolve this conflict? I think the answer lies in not having too strict an interpretation of the scriptures — to allow our interpretation to be informed by living oracles and the manifestations of the spirit.

    Re:”Like unto me.” When the Savior says that we may receive that Holy Ghost as he did does that mean we should expect a dove to land on our shoulder? Of course not. Neither should we make the assumption that the baptism of fire must always occur in a jiffy. Now for some, that gift will come as a singular event. But for others it will come quietly. And because it comes quietly to some we should not assume that the spirit is not being received by them. Sorry for the redundancy, but if the spirit is working in our lives then that is a signal that we are receiving the Holy Ghost.

  • Spektator:

    Considering justificaiton or the baptism of fire and sanctification where we are washed clean by the blood of Christ, I would suggest that both are events and both have prerequisites.

    For the baptism of fire, one must first exhibit faith in Jesus Christ and repent.

    Once one has passed through the gate to the strait and narrow path, one ‘press forward in faith, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, then one is sanctified by the blood of Christ.

    I don’t understand how either can be a process. Baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is the GATE to the strait and narrow path to eternal life. Sanctification is granted by God when we have endured to the end. I would say that sanctification could require more preparation but, in the end, it is the application of the atonement that sanctifies us.

    What other symbolixm could a gate suggest? How can sanctification be a process> Do we not have to reach the point where we can say we have endured to the end?

  • Log:

    Jack,

    “Now it is agreed upon by all here that sanctification is a process.”

    I do not agree.

    “Re:”Like unto me.” When the Savior says that we may receive that Holy Ghost as he did does that mean we should expect a dove to land on our shoulder? Of course not.”

    That would be why I threw up the link to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism entry on the Sign of the Dove, just to forestall this response.

    “Neither should we make the assumption that the baptism of fire must always occur in a jiffy.”

    “Like unto me” means “like unto me.” Was it a singular event for the Savior? Then it shall be a singular event for you, when you shall choose to receive.

    “If the spirit is working in our lives then that is a signal that we are receiving the Holy Ghost.”

    The spirit works in the lives of all God’s children, whether they hearken or not, until they are fully ripe in iniquity – therefore the spirit working in our lives is unrelated to receiving the Holy Ghost.

  • Log:

    A better way to say what I am trying to say is the Spirit working in our lives just means we haven’t become fully ripened in iniquity, which means only that it is possible for such as are not fully ripe to repent and receive the Holy Ghost, and says nothing about whether the individual in fact is repenting and praying in faith to receive the Holy Ghost.

    http://www.lds.org/scriptures/search?lang=eng&type=verse&query=spirit+strive+with+men

  • Jack:

    I’m not talking about the spirit merely striving with us. I’m talking about the saints following the spirit they list to obey — namely the Holy Ghost — and by so doing increasing in charity and all other fruits of the spirit. Remember the Savior said that it is by their fruits that we will know who his disciples are. Not by whether they proclaim that they’ve been converted.

    Re: Sanctification. I guess I misread some of the earlier comments. But even so, it is difficult for me to read Alma 12, Alma 32, Moroni 10, D&C 93, etc., and not see some kind of process at work.

    Re: The sign of the dove. Sorry, I missed your additional comment on that.

    Re: “Like unto me.” Well I guess we all tend to read our own biases into the scriptures. For me, that statement could mean that we need to receive the Holy Ghost as he did — the controlling idea being *receiving it* with zero commentary on the administration of it.

  • JR:

    For Adam, the first man, this was a point event. For the Savior, the exemplar for all men, this was a point event. For multiple prophets and for multiple common men in the scriptures, this was a point event. For multiple witnesses who have posted on this blog, this was a point event.
    I am so profoundly grateful for the Lord looking down and for whatever HIS Holy reasons, deciding to bless me with a point event. Without this anchor to my soul, I would undoubtedly have drifted off and been lost long ago. Mine has been a very rocky and sinful course over the years. The road to the point event of sanctification is marked with the absolute necessity of continual repentance of personal sin. None is perfect, no not one. There has only been ONE perfect man. All the rest of us must continually repent and call upon our GOD, who is JESUS CHRIST.
    HOW GRATEFUL I am to my GOD, my KING, my MASTER, my JESUS for HIS great mercy and love.
    I can only say to those who have not yet experienced this marvelous point event in their lives, press forward! Fast often! Pray continually! Ask! Seek! Knock! This point event is available to all who will prepare themselves. DO NOT SETTLE for the comtemporary false doctrine that the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost comes to some as a long term process. I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT IS TRUE, regardless of what man may say it is so. Do not cheat your own soul! Believe the words of the scriptures, believe the words of the Savior: for all men must be baptized of water and of the spirit or they CANNOT enter into the Kingdom of God!
    JR

  • Jack:

    JR: I’m glad that experience has been an anchor for you. And I agree with everything you say, except, of course, that spiritual rebirth must be a “point event” for everyone.

  • Log:

    Jack,

    “I’m not talking about the spirit merely striving with us. I’m talking about the saints following the spirit they list to obey — namely the Holy Ghost — and by so doing increasing in charity and all other fruits of the spirit. Remember the Savior said that it is by their fruits that we will know who his disciples are. Not by whether they proclaim that they’ve been converted.”

    Charity is an all-or-nothing thing. You either have it from God (Moroni 7:48) and are perfect (D&C 88:125), or you don’t and aren’t. You don’t develop it, you only maintain it, once you receive it, by good works and prayer (Moroni 8:26).

    Nobody who follows the Spirit rejects truth when they hear it (1 John 4:6).

    You are unable to ascertain our fruits by this blog.

    “Re: Sanctification. I guess I misread some of the earlier comments. But even so, it is difficult for me to read Alma 12, Alma 32, Moroni 10, D&C 93, etc., and not see some kind of process at work.”

    Baptism by water is also a process, if we must be pedantic.

    Alma 12: repentance may well be a process – and if you don’t finish it by the time you die, you die in your sins and are cast off. The process of repentance is as short as you want it to be.

    Alma 32: Has been addressed already.

    Moroni 10: the process of denying yourself of all ungodliness is, again, just as short as you are willing to make it. That is, of course, repentance again.

    D&C 93: going from grace to grace is as simple as accepting all truth you come across. Then you, too, shall receive the baptism of fire as symbolized in verse 15. Again, this process can be as quick as you want it to be (Helaman 5).

    And so forth.

    “Re: “Like unto me.” Well I guess we all tend to read our own biases into the scriptures. For me, that statement could mean that we need to receive the Holy Ghost as he did — the controlling idea being *receiving it* with zero commentary on the administration of it.”

    Do you possess the fullness of the Holy Ghost, as the Savior did? If so, then why do you dispute these things? If not, why aren’t you asking God for it?

  • Log:

    In fact, now that I think more deeply on it, let’s look at Moroni 10 again.

    Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

    1. Come unto Christ.
    2. Deny yourself of all ungodliness.
    3. Love God with all your might, mind, and strength.
    4. You are then allowed to be perfect in Christ by the grace of God.
    5. Deny not the power of God.
    6. Then you are baptized by fire and are made clean, holy, without spot.

    The “process” part comes in steps 1 through 3. The rest is up to God, as long as you don’t deny His power.

    Again, if you are holy, without spot, why do you dispute these things? And if you are not, why aren’t you denying yourself of all ungodliness and loving God with all your might, mind, and strength?

  • Jack:

    Log, I’m not trying to ascertain your fruits. I’m trying to say that the measure of one’s discipleship does not rest in his witness of the baptism of fire as an event. But rather, it is manifest in the fruits of the spirit that he bears. AND the reason I say this is not to challenge anyone’s conversion experience here on this blog, but to make more salient the conflict between what they do and what you imply about their spiritual condition. They do the works of the converted.

    Even the Savior had to progress from grace to grace before he received a fulness. So, frankly, no, I do not have a fulness of the spirit yet.

  • Jack:

    OK, I’m trying to love God — but yes I can do better. However, I’d like to challenge your logic. When we love God with all our being is this the love of God as spoken of in the Book of Mormon? Because if it is then you’ve just made it a prerequisite to conversion. And I’m not sure that anyone can get to that point without receiving the spirit. In fact, I don’t think anyone can deny all ungodliness without a little help from above. When Moroni says that at a certain point God’s grace becomes sufficient this doesn’t mean that his grace is not operative prior to that point. It just means that we have to be better positioned to receive more grace. And the only way we can get there is by being prepared by the spirit. That sounds like a process of sorts to me.

  • Log:

    Jack,

    “So, frankly, no, I do not have a fulness of the spirit yet.”

    It is a sign of your humility that you both recognize this and are willing to say it.

    I created my blog in the hopes that I might give someone else the knowledge to know how to come unto Christ and be perfected in him without having to go through what I went through to gain that knowledge.

    And the way is through denying oneself ALL ungodliness (and you feel and know when you are engaged in ungodliness – your conscience pricks you), and pouring out your whole soul in mighty prayer continually, asking for the fullness of the Holy Spirit, while following all of the commandments (particularly those pertaining to charitable behavior towards the poor and the sick and the afflicted) and every prompting, studying the scriptures (particularly the Book of Mormon at this point) all the while, and continuing in that course of mighty prayer and well-doing until you are received by God; at that point, He will instruct you further (2 Nephi 32).

    This is how the sanctified live, and if you would be as they are, you must do as they do.

  • Log:

    “When we love God with all our being is this the love of God as spoken of in the Book of Mormon? Because if it is then you’ve just made it a prerequisite to conversion. And I’m not sure that anyone can get to that point without receiving the spirit. In fact, I don’t think anyone can deny all ungodliness without a little help from above. When Moroni says that at a certain point God’s grace becomes sufficient this doesn’t mean that his grace is not operative prior to that point. It just means that we have to be better positioned to receive more grace. And the only way we can get there is by being prepared by the spirit. That sounds like a process of sorts to me.”

    Thou art not far from the Kingdom of Heaven. I can find no fault in what you have said. At the beginning of the process, loving God with all your might, mind, and strength means to keep His commandments (and honor your covenants) with all your might, mind, and strength (skipping the scriptural citations for now). Your capacity to obey will increase until you are perfected. Just know that the process ends in the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, and you will be filled with light, perfect love, and the glory of God, and will be enabled thereby to keep the whole law.

  • Log:

    I have to specify – this has to be the sole focus of your mind and heart. This is what it means to have one’s eye single to the glory of God (D&C 88:67 and others). Without pursuing these things with all single-mindedness, obeying in every particular those things we have power to obey, we don’t receive.

  • Log:

    Jack,

    I very much appreciated what you said, by the way. It put me in mind of this verse.

    D&C 50:24 That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

    You’re aiming for the perfect day.

  • Spektator:

    The significant discussion on the topic of this post should present a challenge to the reader who is desirous of a deeper relationship with God. What has been presented here is an argument, based on scriptural examples, that the baptism of fire is an event. The alternative view, suggested by Jack, is that this type of event is rare and the majority of seekers discover that they have received this ‘baptism’ over time as a gradual and imperceptible change. That they one day realize that they have arrived.

    As a reader, which path would you follow? Should I accept Jack’s position and quietly live a life of service and devotion, acknowledging that I shouldn’t try because it is unlikely I would receive a brilliant manifestation as characterized in the Book of Mormon?

    Or, should I strive to reach the humility demonstrated by the people of King Benjamin, move to give away all my sins as proffered by the father of King Lamoni, feel deeply the scourge of my sins and desperately reach for Christ as did Alma, and pray unceasingly as did Enos for the remission of my sins?

    Which is the better course?

    If I truly believe in personal revelation, would not the best path be to continue to petition the Lord for this marvelous blessing called the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost? If the experience is not delivered, should I not pray that the Spirit would guide me to understand what I must do to successfully prepare myself for this event? What must I understand in order to have sufficient humility? What sins need repentance? What obedience is needed?

    If, in the end, I am not able to achieve an experience such as that demonstrated by people of King Benjamin, what have I lost? I would have lived a life founded on prayer, humility and service.

    To me, there should be no alternative. The scriptures show me examples of people who have received this marvelous, life changing experience. Following his experience of being born again, Alma told us that all mankind must be spiritually born of God. If I am one of those who need this second baptism, I should make it my life’s objective.

    Shouldn’t the profound testimonies as expressed by several people on this blog be enough to elicit a desire in any seeker for this spiritual baptism? Why wouldn’t this be the desire of anyone who desires to be just and true?

    To all who read these words, there is no experience, in my opinion, that is more profound and life changing than the baptism of fire. There should be no reason why anyone should not make this the prime objective of their lives. I firmly believe that God will respond once their preparation is complete.

  • boo:

    This has been and i hope will continue to be a remarkably helpful and enlightening discussion on a topic with which I have struggled for sometime. While i would like to subscribe to the process approach ( I am 67, have served in multiple bishoprics , served as bishop for 8 years,served as a high councilor in multiple stakes, am presently a temple worker and have been an instrument in working miracles through the priesthood, and have enjoyed the visitation of angels) since that would be the most comforting given my present circumstances ( ie a good and reasonably faithful servant though see Matt 7: 32.33) I am lead to believe that i haven’t been baptized by fire and the holy ghost . I cannot identify a discrete experience in my life that is similar to the scriptural accounts. I look to the experience of Joseph . JSH !:73,74. He had been visited by the Father and the Son 9 years before his BOFHG experience , and received multiple angelic visitations ,translated a good part of the Book of Mormon, etc all before his experience but he knew something happen and he felt things and understood things that he “never could attain to previously”. I am earnestly seeking for these blessings through fasting and prayer but have not yet been so blessed so far as I can tell. Thus while I would like to agree with Jack i can not. Thanks for all your thoughts and insights and I want to especially thank Jack for his help to me in connection with this issue

    • Spektator:

      boo,
      I can only say that the experience is worth whatever effort and diligence necessary to achieve it. I would be interested in how the question and concern developed in your mind and heart. Given your wealth of experience in the church, how did you come to consider that your were missing something?

      I regret that there isn’t a venue where things spiritual can be discussed without judgement. Perhaps we will simply have to wait until Zion comes…

  • Jack:

    boo,

    You need to ask yourself if the fruits of the spirit are manifest in your life — and it sounds like they are according to what you’ve posted above. And if they are — if you live the gospel, have faith, repent, are guided by the spirit in your own affairs and in your callings; if you have increased in love, kindness, patience, etc., over time then these are indications that the Holy Ghost is with you. And if the spirit is with you then you are justified or well on your way to it.

    Sounds like your doing great to me. Just keep on keepin’ on!

  • Jarom:

    I can’t tell you how refreshing this post has been. It surely does seem to be two of a city in my experience. You simply do not find people to discuss this with. It’s really interesting that those that don’t know, though they seem to want to know, will go to all ends to prove that the baptism of fire as an event is unnecessary. You can’t blame them though, for as the saying goes, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Similarly, you can’t describe the taste of salt to those who have never tasted it. Had I not experienced this for myself I’m sure I would be just as vociferous against it, though I have to say Jack is very tame compared to most.

    I must here add my testimony to the rest: this extraordinary experience, this complete immersion in spirit as flames of fire, instantly altering your very nature towards God and others, has no compare anywhere or with anything else in this world; all other things I can even try to imagine this world could have to offer is but filth and dross by comparison. Paul’s reference to the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ takes on a whole new level of meaning.

    I’ve had essentially two of these experiences, one over thirty-five years ago just before my mission, and the other over a decade later, in the LA temple after a session, in the dressing room of all places. But the second helped explain the first, as I never met anyone else that seemed to understand, and just as Joseph and many others have said, the scriptures opened up to me, as after the LA experience, I stayed up night after night with my wife excitedly explaining the amazing new insights I was receiving from the same scriptures I had already read dozens of times before. Nothing can compare with the joy, the wonder, the gratitude, the love for God and fellowman, even the intelligence, that then goes with you for as long as you retain that state.

    So the purpose of Alma 5 then becomes abundantly clear: though the advice is compelling on its own, the real purpose is as a guide for those who have had this baptism from the Father. Because, and as I so appreciate Spektator’s humble admission of his losing some essence of the effects of his spirit baptism, I too must confess I have lost that too, twice now. Or so it seems. But here I think is the enduring difference: I suspect Spektator, that like me, you’ll never become lackadaisical in your religion, or in your passion to know God, and you’ll probably always know, like I do, how pathetically short I fall, especially given the excellency of the blessing I have received (I changed tense on purpose).

    This brings up what I think is the salient point, that I would say to the sweet, humble temple worker commenting above, and to Jack and all who think that way, as I would too I’m sure, that this Mighty Change comes not from good works, but by the admission of its opposite. Both of mine came in time of crisis, hell actually, as someone above mentioned, but more to the point, when I became aware of how crummy I was. It’s the total, complete casting of yourself on the mercy of divine providence once becoming aware of a (in my case) much less than desirable nature. For me it was the giving of my whole soul with the absolute understanding that I merited none of it. The good works actually come AFTER the Mighty Change, because they naturally follow, and they are then done for all the right reasons.

    To this day I am profoundly grateful, and though I usually feel I have lost about all of the positive effects, still the scriptures open up to me, and the signs promised to those who believe follow me despite my best efforts to kill the spirit. The Lord said that He came not to the whole but they that are sick, the whole needing no physician. I think therein lies the key. Great post everyone!

    Sorry for the PS, but I have to add one thing: A comparison of 3Nephi11 with Alma 12 and other places tells me that this baptism of fire and the holy ghost is the culminating experience of “the doctrine of Christ”, which lays the foundation, the knowledge of which is to go to all the world, as opposed to the “mysteries of Godliness”, the house then built on the foundation, which are not to be discussed openly generally, and are disseminated directly from God to man, individually via the spirit (Alma 12). In my opinion, If we are not teaching the baptism of fire then, as we are here interpreting it, as an event, we’re not even teaching the doctrine of Christ, and we are sorely remiss as a people. What also follows from this comparison, and is the real test of who does or who does not have this baptism comes when the wind blows and the flood descends and beat upon our house. If it falls, we didn’t have the baptism of fire. Heber C Kimble said “there is a test, a TEST, a TEST! coming”. I don’t believe anyone escapes this, whether here or hereafter. At least anyone who is an heir of salvation. I could be wrong, but it makes sense to me.

    • Spektator:

      Jaron,
      I am truly grateful for your testimony of these matters. I can only hope that discussion as has occurred here will cause a few to seek a better understanding of the incredible, unexplainable, gift called the baptism of fire.

      If was before my mission also that I had my baptism of fire experience. I didn’t really figure out what happened to me for 35 years, when, in a midst of a crisis of faith, the sole ‘known’ I had to cling to was my early experience. I began in earnest searching the scriptures to try to understand what had happened. Just as you described, the words began to provide new meaning and I marvelled in the new knowledge that seemed to cascade down upon me. I too was fortunate to have a wife who shared many of these experiences with me, someone who has bee spiritually ahead of me for a long time.

      Anyway thanks for your insights.

  • JR:

    Jarom,
    Thank you so very much for sharing your insights. I have to mention that my understanding of the Doctrine of Christ is that ultimately we are to come to know the Lord on a personal basis, face to face (2 Nephi 32:6). That does come for those who fully repent, who ask, who seek, who knock, who persist. There is more beyond the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost which is only the gate into the strait and narrow way.
    Much love to all here who truly LOVE the LORD, for HE is merciful and gracious to those who truly LOVE HIM.
    JR

  • QB:

    Interestingly the New Era this month (Feb 2013) starts off with a full page spread stating..

    Conversion is NOT a one time event it is a lifetime process. link below
    http://www.lds.org/new-era/2013/02/conference-poster?lang=eng

    To me this is very disturbing considering the effect it will have on the mind of the target audience and is in my opinion a strong indicator of an attack on all who have experience the event
    Alma the younger
    Saul who became Paul
    Joseph Smith
    Alma the Elder
    Pretty much anyone of any note had the event not the lifetime thing as they in many cases didn’t get much of a lifetime. The persecution of the church of the lamb has with this poster just started this is a shot across the bow… and now the gulf will widen and we with our families will have to either comply or be cast out…

    • QB,
      Every time I start to think the Hierarchy is incapable of surprising me by twisting the doctrine, they come up with something like this that just blows my mind.

    • Spektator:

      I will have to delve into this more deeply, does Oglethorpe put being born agian, the baptism of fire, etc. in the same bucket at conversion?

      If so, he has taken it beyond even where Jack is in telling us that the one time event does not exist… This seems to be a rejection of the fulness of the gospel.

  • Jack:

    In every generation there’s someone out there who fears the church has finally gone over the edge — for whatever reason that is peculiar to that individual’s concerns.

    • Spektator:

      Yeah, it is just that silly Moroni claiming we are polluting the holy Church of God. Move along, he is obviously talking about someone else. Oh, and then there is that misguided Nephi telling us to be careful about saying ‘all is well in Zion.’ He must be over reacting to the progress we are making at being accepted of the world.

      There is no need to fear because this church is going to roll forward and fill the whole earth. God wouldn’t have restored the gospel if He thought we couldn’t take care of business.

      There is no harder place to spot apostasy than from the middle of the movement.

    • EvenTheLeastSaint:

      I’m beginning to suspect that Jack might be a paid flak catcher for the Church. Who else could be so impervious to the evidence and testimony that has been presented. Maybe he’s just doing his job.

  • Log:

    Pickles must first be boiled. Just a thought.

  • Jack:

    Nope. No undercover agent am I. ‘Just very interested in this subject — though I take a slightly different tack on it.

    I don’t hear the hue and cry of “all is well in Zion.” What I hear most is something more like “keep moving forward.” Sure there are times when the leadership offers praise and thanks. Not unlike when Alma visited the people of the land of Gideon and was so delighted when he found they were doing well in the gospel.

    Spektator, I’d be careful about applying Moroni’s words too narrowly — or limiting it just to what we see in the LDS church today. That smacks of the “clinician’s fallacy” wherein declarative pronouncements are made on a given subject when only the “tip of the iceberg” has been studied.

    • Spektator:

      Jack,
      Would you explain your perspective on how a $3 billion investment in a shopping mall contributes to the mission of the Church of Jesus Christ?

      Would you explain how Hinckley’s statements regarding the condition of the church (we are in wonderful condition) based on buildings and tithing?

      Would you care to comment on the efficacy of providing a multi-million dollar condo to the presidenet of the church while beggars are hustled off of temple square?

      I could go on…

  • Log:

    After the Restoration, there is but one Holy Church of God.

    O ye pollutions, (impurities; the wicked who do not depart from their iniquities, nor do they repent)
    ye hypocrites, (people who say things they do not believe, or pretend to a belief they do not have)
    ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, (those who write doctrinal commentaries, self-help or “how to get rich” books, or give firesides for money, and the like)
    why have ye polluted the holy church of God? (why are you in the Church?)
    Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? (receive the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, which is how we receive the Holy Ghost [D&C 20:41], which is wherein we take upon ourselves the name of Christ [Alma 34:38]; the shame is because they would lose status among their peers if they repented.)
    Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world? (They are choosing the praise of their peers and those whose stations they aspire to rather than the praise of God which comes to them who repent and work righteousness).

    And so forth.

    • EvenTheLeastSaint:

      Log wrote:
      [QUOTE]Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? (receive the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, which is how we receive the Holy Ghost [/QUOTE]

      I believe that receiving the baptism of fire is a form of taking upon you the name of Christ, but, in addition to this, I see this line of scripture differently. The Church seldom publicly refers to itself as “The Church of Jesus Christ”. It instead sponsors public relations campaigns like “I’m a Mormon”, or web sites like mormon.org, or lds.org. In public statements they most often refer to the Church as the LDS Church. Only at the beginning announcement of General Conference do I ever hear the Church referred to as The Church of Jesus Christ. The members seem to have no problem calling themselves Mormons or LDS but do they ever say, “I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ”; and that is after they make a covenant every Sunday to “that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son” (Moroni 4:3). After all we are a covenant make people. It’s just being sentient enough to know that we are making a covenant that we have a problem with.

      Some might say that “taking on the name of Christ” has metaphorical (deeper) meanings. I agree but first and most directly it has the literal meaning of calling oneself by the name of Jesus Christ.

      Apologists like Jack might say, “Well the church uses the “I am a Mormon” slogan because people recognize the name “Mormons” but wouldn’t recognize “The Church of Jesus Christ”. Well fine, I guess Moroni has an answer to his question, “Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ?” He says we will have an opportunity explain things like that to him at the judgment bar.

      I look at this simple little oversight of not willingly taking upon us the name of Christ as a sign (a flashing neon sign) that the balance of these verses apply to the current Church in the current day.

      • Log:

        If you read the scriptures I referred to, you’ll find that taking upon oneself the name of Christ is defined as receiving the Holy Ghost. I agree you can take it metaphorically and allegorically, but, as Joseph taught, they ought to be taken literally – even if that earns one the label “narrow”.

  • Log:

    Incidentally, this proves that mere baptism by water and the outward ordinance of confirmation is insufficient to take upon oneself the name of Christ. If it were not so, there could not be anyone in the Church ashamed to take upon them the name of Christ, and Mormon would be talking to nobody.

  • Log:

    Honestly, I covered ALL of this on my blog.

  • Log:

    Incidentally again, while I agree the word “conversion” or “converted” in the scriptures denotes the mighty change of heart, I do not necessarily agree that that is how the word is being used by the leaders who say conversion is a lifelong process. In fact, it rather seems contraindicated by the Lorenzo Snow manual, chapter 3, despite the chapter title.

    I think people who use scriptural language but do not use the scriptural meanings owe it to their audience to clarify their definitions or use a different, more appropriate word to cover the concept they are speaking of. Otherwise, they sow confusion.

  • Log:

    In fact, more germane to this conversation, has anyone got a leader on record as saying conversion = being born again = lifelong process?

    • EvenTheLeastSaint:

      I attended a regional conference where Elder Bednar said that conversion was the same thing as the mighty change of heart, but he never said that it was a life long process in that particular talk.

  • Jack:

    Log,

    You’re approach is a little too narrow for me. Moroni says his words will come forth in a day when those things are in full sway, implying that those “pollutions” are already making a mess of things. And, therefore, the church of God is already in a state of apostasy when Joseph Smith comes on the scene. Furthermore, if you look at what Nephi (in his vision) has to say about these things you get a better timeline. What Moroni sees is far more “macro” than your interpretation — IMO. Indeed, one could make a case for a far more “eschatological” interpretation.

  • Log:

    Moroni (not Mormon, my bad) places it squarely after “these things shall come forth,” and describes their translation and their reception (Mormon 8:10-34). Again, there is but one Holy Church of God after the Restoration. If you have an substantive alternative case – that the Holy Church of God, once the Book of Mormon has come forth, is not to be identified solely as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I would like to see it. Just saying my “interpretation” is “too narrow” does not answer the charge.

    The day of pollutions is now. And it is going to get so bad that the Church will be burned at the coming of the Lord (D&C 112:24-26, JST Matthew 21:55-56) and for cause (Isaiah 24:1-6, especially verse 5). Besides, we already rejected the fullness (3 Nephi 16:10) which is why the New Jerusalem was not built up, and will not be built up by the Church (3 Nephi 21:23).

    But this is according to the plan and foreknowledge of the Lord (Matthew 13:47-50).

    Seriously, look the scriptures up. There is more, besides. When the Book of Mormon speaks of the Gentiles, they are speaking of us, the modern Church (D&C 109:60). Therefore, when we read the Gentiles will not have charity (Ether 12:23-41, especially verse 37) that is extremely bad news (Moroni 10:21).

    I’m sure it will get progressively worse than it is now, but yeah, when over 66% of active Melchizedek priesthood holders are using pornography, the writing is on the wall. It reminds me, more and more strongly as time goes on, of the state of the Nephites towards their very end where there were no gifts of the Spirit, including the baptism by fire, because of wickedness and unbelief (Mormon 1:13-14).

    Anyways, Jack, I’m not really trying to convince you. There is always – *always* – going to be a counterargument. But it’s there, if you seek it. I honestly don’t know why all of us are not striving with all our might, mind, and strength to put on charity as a mantle, and to be brought to converse with the Lord through the veil, and be taken in to behold our Father upon his throne, surrounded by numberless concourses of angles, to be anointed a king and a priest as we have been promised.

  • Log:

    And charity, be it known, comes by praying with all the energy of heart (Moroni 7:47-48), which kind of prayer is synonymous with repentance, which brings forth the visitation of the Spirit, the first Comforter, or baptism by fire (Moroni 8:24-26).

    Oh how I wish I could convince even one person to cry mightily unto the Lord to receive these things! But I know it shall be unto them according to their desires (Ether 3:2).

  • Log:

    And if something whispers in your ear and hardens your heart that you should not pray for these things, just remember: “If ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.”

  • JR:

    Log,
    Reading 3 Nephi 16:10 carefully should be enough to convince anyone that there is only one church that can qualify as the Holy Church of God. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are indeed the Gentiles spoken of. Joseph Smith, in the Kirtland Temple dedicatory prayer, clarified who the Gentiles are (D&C 109:60), which in turn clarifies who Christ was speaking of in 3 Nephi 16:10. True Prophets are always consistant with the Lord.

    There should be no doubt about who the Lord was speaking of in this phrase: “At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel” (3 Nephi 16:10) Who else has ever been offered the fulness of HIS Gospel in this dispensation? What other church besides the one offered “the fulness of my gospel” would qualify as the Holy Church of God?

    On another note, I would add that we take upon ourselves the name of Christ through the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost. King Benjamin’s people, through their collective experience of the Mighty Change of Heart (Mosiah 5:2) became “the children of Christ, his sons and his daughters” Mosiah 5:7). Don’t children bear the name of their father, even adopted children? In this case they took upon them the name of Christ through the Baptism of Fire and thru a covenant which sounds very much like they partook of the Sacrament (Mosiah 5:5) .

    King Benjamin’s people were “willing to take upon them the name of thy Son and always remember Him and keep His commandments which He hath given them, that they may always have His spirit to be with them” (Mosiah 5:5 & Moroni 4:3) This is the same covenant we make every Sunday when we partake of the Sacrament. However, it requires something more than just partaking of the Sacrament to take upon us the name of Christ. We must be “willing” and that implies something more than just taking a morsel of bread and a sip of water.

    Great discussion!
    JR

  • Log:

    Another interesting thing: in Mormon 8:33, one of the sins of the churches at the time the Book of Mormon should come forth is “tranfiguring the holy word of God”. This means to make the scripture appear like something it is not, even so much that people can’t read it without misinterpreting it according to their traditions. You don’t do this by actually altering the text, but by intentionally misinterpreting it and teaching the misinterpretation. The Church even today is not free from this practice (D&C 49:18, footnote a, for a crystal clear example).

    The teachers who sell themselves for that which will canker also are those in leadership positions, who are supposed to be the shepherds of the flock, who either have never qualified themselves by being baptized by fire or have fallen from the right way once having done so, whose first priority is their career and status, either in the world or before their peers in the Church. Because of their sins, they preach, for justification in their course, the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture, and thus they justify others in their sins as well.

    “And also trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments.”

  • Log:

    Went at looked up my source – it’s actually 60% of active adult males in the Church are regularly viewing pornography. The source, and thus the stat, are not scientific. But from something my bishop said, I think there’s something to it.

  • JR:

    Yes, Mormon 8 (along with at least 2 Nephi 26-32 and 3 Nephi 16) all reference the falling away or apostasy of the Holy Church of God in the last days. It references our time. As Log said in an earlier post, there are perhaps only 1 or 2 of a city (ward) who have experienced the Baptism of Fire, the Mighty Change of Heart. Of that number, how many will be prepared for Zion when the Lord sees fit to bring again Zion?
    It seems that people either do not listen, or completely misunderstand, what is said in the Temple at the beginning of the presentation of the Endowment. “Brothers and sisters, if you are true and faithful, the time will come when you will be called up and anointed Kings and Priests, Queens and Priestesses, whereas you are now only anointed to become such, the realization of these blessings depends upon your faithfulness”.
    How many fail to understand the Lord’s words in D&C 132:4-7 about the absolute necessity of having EVERY covenant, vow, connection, expectation, contract, etc. “sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise” or they “are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.”
    What do people think “the Holy Spirit of Promise” is? What do people think it means to be “sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise”? Ask this question in your next Gospel Doctrine class and see what answers you receive!
    Yes, the leadership of the Church is guilty of misleading and failing to teach the members at large many of the plain and simple truths of the Gospel of the Son.
    Ezekiel 34 refers to our time when it says, “Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherd feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed; but ye feed not the flock (vs 2), and “Thus saith the Lord God; Behold I am the shepherd; and I will require my flock at their hands, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves anymore; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth” (vs 10) and “For thus saith the Lord God; Behold I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out” (vs 11) and “I will seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of the places where they have been scattered” (vs 12) and “I will bring them out from among the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers” (vs 13) and “upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be”(vs 14). This all has reference to our day, to the establishment of Zion which is imminent.
    I have found great joy in this lively discussion of the Baptism of Fire. It strengthens me to hear from others who KNOW what that term means. I love you my dear brothers and sisters in Christ!
    Thank you.
    JR

  • Jack:

    Log, et al,

    Moroni is very clear. He says (repeatedly) “it shall come in a day when…” there’ll be pollutions, etc. And then he goes on to condemn them for various evils including polluting the holy church of God. This is the state of things when the Book of Mormon emerges.

    Also, 3rd Nephi 16 references the “unbelieving of the gentiles.” Now, certainly there could be unbelievers in the modern church. But, more generally, it specifies those who sin against/reject the gospel.

  • Log:

    “Moroni is very clear. He says (repeatedly) “it shall come in a day when…” there’ll be pollutions, etc. And then he goes on to condemn them for various evils including polluting the holy church of God. This is the state of things when the Book of Mormon emerges.”

    Jack, in your opinion, the churches referred to in the plural in v. 28 are, collectively, referred to in the singular in v. 38?

    Can you please be more explicit in your exegesis? What changed between verse 28 and verse 38, timewise? How did those multiple defiled churches become the singular Holy Church of God? Remember, the polluting of the Holy Church of God comes forth shortly after the Book of Mormon comes forth – v. 34.

    Are there other commentators who have taken your interpretation? What is their justification? I scanned the Church’s site, and it seems my take is the one taken by the Apostles: http://www.lds.org/search?lang=eng&query=%22holy+church+of+god%22

    “Also, 3rd Nephi 16 references the “unbelieving of the gentiles.” Now, certainly there could be unbelievers in the modern church. But, more generally, it specifies those who sin against/reject the gospel.”

    Yes, but it also specifically says THE gentiles SHALL reject the fullness, and the Lord would take the fullness away – and it happened (D&C 124:28).

    In any event, lest anyone get the wrong idea: I view consecration and sacrifice as dictating my actions towards the Brethren and towards the Church. I shall not point out their errors, if such I perceive, but cover them with a cloak of charity. After all, I do not wish to reap the reward of the accuser of the brethren. I also shall not scatter abroad.

  • Jack:

    Log, I think it’s plain that those folks whose churches are polluted are the same folks who have polluted the holy church — that’s what I get from verses 36 through 38. And so what we have is a drama that touches on a very large chunk of western history — an eschatological view of the apostasy. The great “pollutions” that Moroni sees are really the out come of polluting the holy church — as is the case in every age. It seems as if by lamenting that particular action (polluting the church) he’s implying, rhetorically, that the outcome might have been different.

    Re: “THE gentiles SHALL reject the fullness” That’s happened and continues to happen. But I don’t think that that rejection is indicative only of Mormons not receiving the spirit as they might. It’s obvious that the western world, in general, is rejecting not only the church but it’s basic roots and turning to atheism or a hardened agnosticism.

    • Spektator:

      Jack,
      If would read the whole chapter, you might notice that the reference to rejecting the gospel occurs after the remnant of the house of Israel is scattered in this land. That would suggest to me that the rejection by the same group that received the truth validated by the Holy Ghost, the Gentiles, would occur after the remnant was scattered.

      To really know what is entailed by what is called the ‘rejection’ of tho gospel, one must first clearly understand what the gospel is. I think the scriptures are able to clearl lay out what the gospel is and then it is up to each of us to assess if the same gospel resides among us today.

  • Log:

    Jack,

    In the clearest possible language, Moroni is describing our time.

    34 Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.

    Moroni is speaking of that which happens AFTER the Book of Mormon comes forth.

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

    He is talking to us, the readers of the Book of Mormon, and is claiming to know how we conduct ourselves.

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

    The reader walks in the pride of their hearts – we have enmity in our hearts towards others, a desire to rule, to excel over others, to dominate. We wear snazzy threads, we envy others (property, status, popularity, power); we argue, quarrel, and fight; we have malice – a desire to see others harmed; we persecute others; and we perform every kind of wickedness. Only a few do not. All of our churches, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is polluted by professing members being possessed of this pride, from whence all iniquity springs.

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

    We, the readers of the Book of Mormon, do not love our fellow human beings who are suffering, and we prefer to decorate our churches and ourselves rather than help others.

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

    This is shortly after the Book of Mormon has come forth: already the Holy Church of God (and there is but one Holy Church of God since the Book of Mormon has come forth) is polluted by workers of iniquity, hypocrites, and teachers who labor for money at whatever level they occur in the church, from GAs to home teachers. They are ashamed to repent and receive the Holy Ghost for that would diminish their status among their peers, whom they envy and from whom they hope for praise – this is the praise of the world spoken of.

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

    We, the readers of the Book of Mormon, care an awful lot about our snazzy threads, but not at all for the poor, the sick, and the afflicted.

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

    Secret abominations could be as simple as your questionable business practices such as pyramid marketing schemes, where you lure husbands and fathers to sin through your own bad conduct before them in enticing them to pursue lucre, thus murdering them (Alma 36:14) and breaking the hearts of their unhappy or newly divorced families, or, if you are involved in promoting or profiting from war, the murders are literal (D&C 98:33-38).

    41 Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the ablood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer.

    You’re in trouble.

    Re: “That’s happened and continues to happen.” You did not read D&C 124:28.

  • Log:

    And about D&C 124:28, we have no record of the Lord restoring the fullness; neither was the temple completed. George Q. Cannon declared in Conference that the enemies of the Church did not permit us to complete it entirely ( http://en.fairmormon.org/Journal_of_Discourses/14/18 ) which means it was never completed; however, the Church had time while in Nauvoo to build quite a few other buildings to completion, and the Lord did say he would give a sufficient time to build it (D&C 124:31), which, if we did so, we would not be moved out of our place (D&C 124:45), after which allotted time even if they did finish the Nauvoo temple, or another temple, he would not honor his oath to restore the fullness of the Priesthood (D&C 124:47) and we would reap wrath instead (D&C 124:48). Which, I might add, is exactly what happened. We were most definitely moved out of our place. That’s Church history in a nutshell.

  • JR:

    If this thread is not closed down, I would add one last thought.
    The “Holy Church of God” did not exist before the Book of Mormon came forth through Joseph Smith, else why would the Lord counsel Joseph to “join none of them, for they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me”? Once the Book of Mormon came forth, as of April 6, 1830, there was ONE Holy Church of God to be found upon the earth. How else can the Savior’s words in 3 Nephi 16:10 be construed? The Gentiles, the “believing” Gentiles are going to REJECT the fulness of the Gospel (as offered thru Joseph Smith if they would complete the Nauvoo Temple). There is no other correct interpretation of 3 Nephi 16:10.
    JR

    • Spektator:

      JR,
      I don’t close down discussion on any of the posts here. I thought I would add a new post to allow the discussion to continue on the topic of latter day apostasy to continue while the conversion discussion happens one this post.

  • Log:

    To be clear, even if the fullness has been taken away – and that is a legitimate point of controversy – it does not change where we should be, nor does it change how we should conduct ourselves. The Gospel is true, and there is no other church to belong to. We had ought to be saying nothing but repentance, and that NOT to the institutional Church save the Lord God himself calls us up into his presence and gives us that commission, but rather to each individual we see burdened under sin and despair. Just because we may see flaws in the Church or the leadership does not give us call to correct them or even publicize them. Our true course is to repent, obtain the fullness of the Spirit, and walk strictly by every word that proceeds forth from the mouth of God.

    Remember: “he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” If we should undermine the Church, which is the sole authorized source of the ordinances, why should any believe, repent, and submit to those ordinances? Therefore, we had ought to be very cautious in how we speak about the Church and the leaders.

    Sacrifice and consecration are tests of loyalty, too.

    • Spektator:

      Log,
      If the Lord foresaw that the church would fall into apostasy, why would we ‘tiptoe’ around that fact. If the leadership of the church are not carrying forth the true message of the gospel, then they are not the Lord’s annointed. Any concise reading of the fragility of the priesthood would suggest that they no longer have any more power and authority than the lowliest elder. Each has an opportunity to bring in the gifts of the spirit, but neither can speak with authority unless they are truly prompted by the spirit. Hinckley made it clear that the church was bening governed by feelings. Good luck with that one.

      • Log:

        Spektator,

        We would not mention the flaws we see because:

        1. There is no place else to go. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the sole authorized administrator of the ordinances of the Gospel, in particular, baptism by water, without which a man cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

        2. The Lord is in charge. This is His Church, as He has repeatedly said. That the Church, and some leaders, would err in places was indeed foreseen, or else how could we read it in the prophecies of the scriptures? He has already said he will send one mighty and strong to set his house in order, and he will not spare even the leaders who put forth their hands to steady the ark (D&C 85:7-8), therefore we need only concern ourselves with obtaining the will of the Lord and obeying it in every particular, including honoring the covenants we have made, with exactness. The Lord calls them who are sent to change things by his own voice through visions and visitations, remembering always the order of the Lord’s house. Unless we are chosen and called up and receive the commission under His hand or by His authorized servants, it is NOT our calling, and we would therefore be ark-steadiers.

        As for the leaders (all? some? none?) being the Lord’s anointed – they have been called, and that is sufficient. Let us cover their flaws with a cloak of charity, for they do not justify wickedness nor lead men into evil-doing. They are accountable to the Lord for their errors – and if they do lead men astray, then they shall also be accountable for the blood on their garments. The Lord has not called me to be a judge over President Monson, and so I will not judge him, neither will I undermine him and his fellow-servants, for in so doing I would be breaking the covenants of consecration and sacrifice: such does not build up the Kingdom of God on the earth. I will, however, teach the truth as prompted by the Spirit within the stewardship the Lord has given me. But I will not do it by saying “look at how this apostle or seventy has erred concerning this doctrine; receive ye MY teaching.”

        Do they have power in the priesthood? Well, if they do, they got it by the voice of God himself, and must needs be holy, for the Lord God requireth of His priests that they be holy. And if they are holy, they are indeed the Lord’s anointed, for it is through the anointing of the Lord – the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost – that men become holy, without spot, and filled with charity. I do not know the spiritual state of the leaders; the Lord has not revealed it to me. The Lord has given me to know I should leave the leaders alone, and leave the Church alone: it is not my business. My business is teaching men how to repent and humble themselves before God, that they may cry mightily to receive the remission of sins by water and by fire, yea even the Holy Ghost, and become saints in spirit and in truth. Anything beyond this the Lord will instruct men in (2 Nephi 32).

        The Church may indeed be governed by feelings currently – I really don’t know – but let us be perfectly loyal and execute our duties as we have actually received them and covenanted to do, not just as we feel they are, that we may in our turn be able to do much good among the children of men when the Lord shall see we are true and faithful in all things and choose us for greater things.

        Because if we proclaim that the leaders are lost and the Church is in apostasy, then I leave to you to explain to the outsider why anyone should obey its teachings which pertain to the salvation of men or submit to its ordinances – because if they do not both of these things, they cannot be saved. Therefore, be very, very careful in how you handle the Church and its leaders.

      • Spektator:

        There is no place else to go? When Noah became king described in Mosiah 11, he put down all the priests that his father had installed and placed his own men in those positions. Alma was among them. You know the story Abinadi. When Alma fled into the wilderness and began to preach and baptize, by what authority did he do these things? Was he an authorized administrator of the ordinances?

        According to Mosiah 18:18, he got his authority from God. This he stated after he baptized Helam in the water and the ordinance was confirmed by the spirit. If God could give Alma the right to baptize, what would constrain him from any other alternative?

        Yes, I agree the Lord is in charge. This is what Joseph Smith had to say about this:

        “…for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people; for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must espect to feel His wrath.” TPJS, p. 18

        Was Joseph Smith speaking the will of the Lord in this statement?

        When was the last time the Lord said that this was his church? Try 1831, If it is indeed the Lords church, where are the works of God as required in 3 Nephi 27:10… ‘if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it.’ If the church doesn’t meet the criteria that Christ laid out, can it be considered His church? The answer is in the next verse, ‘they will have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh.’

        The current leaders were called based on what criteria? Were they called because of their humility? Or were they called because of their administrative success in the world. I cannot support a leader supposedly called by God if the spirit does not confirm. Consider further, many are called, but few are chosen. One reading of D&C 121 will clearly define how any priesthood holder must act to have any hope at representing the priesthood or authority of God.

        It is our duty and responsibility to follow the word of God and not rely on the arm of flesh. We each need to take these questions to the Lord and act on the guidance each receives.

      • Spektator:

        Log,
        One more thought. What do you think the Lord meant when He said the following found in Doctrine and Covenants, section 10:

        67 Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.
        68 Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.

        Are you declaring more than this in your need to sustain those who are in charge of the corporate church? Do you really think God will give his blessing on a people who spend sacred funds on a shopping mall? By their fruitts yea shall know them.

      • Log:

        Spektator,

        I actually anticipated a conversation like this a few days ago, and I think I have responded fully here: http://crymightily.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-practical-meaning-of-consecration.html

        Here’s the meat of it.

        “Consecration means all of our decisions should tend towards building up the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is not done by withholding one’s time, talents, tithes, and offerings, nor by backbiting or evil speaking, nor by undermining the authority of its teachings or leaders.

        Scripturally speaking, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not coextensive with the Kingdom of God, which is, collectively, the saints and prophets of God – those who are sanctified, having received the Holy Ghost, and thereby qualify to have place in the mansions of the Father. However, as the Lord said to Joseph, “you cannot always tell the wicked from the righteous”, or, in other words, sinners from saints, therefore we do well to treat the Church as though it were the Kingdom of God on the earth – both institutionally and individually – for the Church is the visible superset of the Kingdom of God.”

      • Log:

        Spektator,

        Your example of Abinadi is instructive.

        Alma was duly ordained a priest by Noah. Abinadi submitted to the authority of the priests. Each ordained priest needs to have his power and authority from God or he has none.

        With respect to Joseph saying that the Lord may choose another people if the present lot does not purify themselves, I completely agree – and that shall happen by the hand of God. Now, if you, like Lehi, have stood in the presence of God where you have received your commission under his hand to lead people from the Church and baptize and confirm them, and this day are holy, without spot, a high priest after the order of Enoch and Melchizedek, then we ought to be having a different conversation.

        I have it from God, as recently as October 1998: “All things taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, pertaining to the salvation of men, are true.” Of course, you don’t know I’m telling the truth, save it be by the Spirit. But that is a limited statement open to interpretation. For example, what are those things that pertain to the salvation of men? What about teachings not pertaining to the salvation of men: are they true?

        The criterion upon which God calls the leadership is not my concern. Honoring my covenants is; doing well to all men is; crying repentance is.

        “It is our duty and responsibility to follow the word of God and not rely on the arm of flesh. We each need to take these questions to the Lord and act on the guidance each receives.”

        I completely agree.

      • Log:

        But here’s another question – do we all agree the quorum of the twelve apostles was duly ordained from the days of Joseph onward?

        What implications does that fact, if it is agreed upon, have upon the authority of the current quorum, and the Church?

      • Spektator:

        Log,
        I think it is very simple. The Lord laid out specifically what criteria the church has to meet to be His church. It is found in 3 Nephi, chapter 27. It has to be called by His name, it needs to be build upon His gospel, and it needs to demonstrate the works of the Father, not the works of man.

        Does today’s LDS church meet those criteria?

        One out of three may be sufficient in baseball but not in this case.

  • Jack:

    All,

    I guess I just disagree with your reading of these verses. It seems plain to me that Moroni is talking about conditions as they will be when the BoM is brought forth — and that those conditions are a result of polluting the holy church.

    That said, I may be wrong — I’ve wrong many times before.

  • Log:

    There is one other scripture which I think appropriate to this discussion.

    Romans 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

  • Log:

    Spektator,

    Have we each taken upon us His name: does the Spirit dwell in us as we know it ought, that we are holy, without spot?

    Are we built upon His Gospel: are we pressing forward steadfastly in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope and a love of God and all mankind?

    Do we bring forth the works of the Father: do we do good works by the power and gifts of God?

    As you said, if we fail to do these things, neither are we His church. Is there another church in which more people do all three of these things than in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Is there another church in which anyone does all three at all?

  • Spektator:

    Log,
    The story is different for individual gentiles who can repent and return. We can be numbered with the house of Israel.

    We, you and I, are not who claim to be THE Church of Jesus Christ, inc.

    Is the CHURCH built upon His gospel?

    Does the CHURCH demonstrate the works of God or the works of man?

    Are there others meet the criteria? No, that’s why it is called an apostasy.

  • Log:

    Spektator,

    Incidentally, you motivated me to see when the latest time the Lord referred to the Church as “my church” was, and it was January 1847 (D&C 136) through Brigham Young; through Joseph, it was January 1841 (D&C 124).

    Suppose the Church is in a state of apostasy, generally speaking. Suppose there may not be two to a city that are members of the Kingdom of God on the earth, having received the Holy Ghost and walking in strait and narrow path. Are we not obligated to defend, sustain, and build up the Church, through the covenants we have made, on our honor and integrity?

  • Spektator:

    Log,
    My apologies, I was off by ten years… It is not a comforting circumstance I am in when it comes to the church. I put much of my life into the program. It does not bring me any joy to see the prophecies in the scriptures relative to the church and then to witness the change that has taken place.

    As far as covenants, I think the best description of the covenant we should be making is found in Mosiah 5:5-15. In my opinion, the only covenants that are important are the ones we make to God, not to a corporation.

  • Log:

    Spektator,

    I am an odd duck. I hold to the one doctrine universally rejected both inside and outside of the Church. Towards that end, I see it this way – when through the grace of God, the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, I was redeemed from the bands of death and the chains of hell I covenanted by the Spirit to obey the teachings of the prophets. When I went to the temple, I covenanted to sacrifice all that I have, even my own life, in sustaining and defending the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I pledged all that I am and have to the Church, withholding nothing.

    I know God heard me and I know that he has blessed me for honoring those things exactly. Because God is no respecter of persons, I know he will similarly bless anyone who does likewise. I know in time to come I will be chosen and called up, to see that which I have desired.

    I don’t know about you, but I have not got anything better going on than to support, sustain, and defend the Church that the Gospel, in form the scriptures at least, gets sent forth throughout the world. But I know from today’s EQ lesson that His work continues in spirit through the missionaries also, for many join the Church because of the witness of God to their heart and mind, even if these people are not yet converted. I cannot fault them in their flaws, for the whole reason they come to church is because they are trying to follow the path to God as best as they know how. Therefore, I bear them up, and speak a word in season as they are ready to receive, that they may know how to humble themselves before God and be made clean through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

    Please believe me – and I think you do – when I say I know the flaws of the Church. But the thing is, I don’t know that it could have been any different. So we make the best of what we have, and do all the good we can, and sanctify the name of the Lord in our hearts, that we may be pure as he is pure, and be filled with his love, that as he is, so are we in this world.

  • JR:

    worthy discussion!
    For me, I take a somewhat middle ground. I go to church as Log discusses, because there is nowhere else to go. Where else would I turn? I know some who have left the church to strike out on their own. I wish them well and hope they will find the Lord in their quest.
    On the other hand, as I think I hear Spek saying, I cannot gloss over the glaring failings I see in the church. My bad perhaps, but I cannot just forget about the questionable use of tithing money, or money derived off of tithing money, to build a billion dollar, high end mall right across the street from the LDS church’s most sacred Temple. I cannot gloss over the distortions and half truthes in the lesson manuals, leading people astray, or at least leading people to a quite watered down view of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that causes many, perhaps the huge majority, to believe that “all is well in Zion, yea, Zion prospereth, all is well”.
    So, what to do? I seek to hear the Spirit tell me on a daily basis how to proceed.
    If I have covenanted with the church to perform certain things in the Temple and the church has then changed the terms of that covenant, in my belief, the covenant is broken. To wit, my covenant was to consecrate all I have, all I am, all I may ever possess to the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS “FOR THE BUILDING UP OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD UPON THE EARTH AND FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ZION.” I do not subscribe to the idea that building billion dollar malls is within either of those parameters. One of the surest ways to run afoul of church authorities is to say outloud in church that you are seeking to build up Zion, or seeking for Zion in your personal religious observances.
    I do agree with you Log that criticizing the church or its leaders is pointless and damaging, moreso to the individual himself than to the church.
    I suppose that my course is to do much as you do Log. I attend church, seek to partake of all the good to be found there and I seek to hear from the Spirit how I should conduct myself during that time. I often sit quietly, but sometimes the Spirit does prompt a comment or a question or an action. Often, I find that after such promptings I feel more marginalized than ever.
    This is not an easy time to be a member of the church and have received the Holy Ghost. That alone says a great deal!
    Thank you for the valuable and thought provoking discussion.
    JR

  • Log:

    About marginalization – it may be easier for me. We seek not for the praise or acceptance of our peers, but the praise and acceptance of God. Towards that end, we testify boldly when moved upon or called, because it becometh every man who has been warned to warn his neighbor, and we should not care what man can do.

    I look to the future, where the promise is the Church shall be destroyed at the coming of the Lord, and I don’t know about you, but when I look around my ward, at people I have known since childhood, I don’t want them to be burned! I want them to be saved! I want them to see eye-to-eye with me, to know as I know, to be filled with fire, light, love, and the joy of the Lord, that we may be one in God! Yes, I get frustrated with them who will not listen unless it comes from the Apostles or the President, and, even if it were to be said plainly by them, they still wouldn’t hear – for they are blind; yet they are trying. But if I do not expend my time, energy, and effort, in accordance with the knowledge and promptings of the Spirit, even at the cost of my reputation and friendships, with all diligence in taking every last opportunity to sound the message of repentance in their ears, then I am condemned, and their blood will be upon my garments, because I knew and did not tell them (Moroni 9:6).

    My covenant did not have an escape clause – “only insofar as the Church’s actions meet with my approval”. So let us pray for them whom we know, our friends, our families, our ward members, our leaders, both local and global. Let us ignore the shafts of the adversary, wherein he accuses the brethren in our ears that our hearts may be hardened against them. Let us be as little children again, full of love and trust. What do we lose? What can we possibly lose by honoring our covenants as literally and completely as possible?

    Get used to loneliness among men, but if we have the approval of God, then we will never be alone, for we “do always that which pleases him” (John 8:29). We will always have his light in us, and it will grow brighter, unto the perfect day (D&C 50:24), when we shall stand in his presence while yet in the flesh (D&C 76:114-119). What else is there to be doing?

  • Jack:

    You know, you can take life TOO seriously. Lighten up. God is able to do his own work.

  • Log:

    Jack, I kinda thought we were to avoid light-mindedness, and be sober, and alla dat jazz?

  • QB:

    this link goes to the event of pres Snows baptism of Fire https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-of-presidents-of-the-church-lorenzo-snow/chapter-3-lifelong-conversion-continuing-to-advance-in-the-principles-of-truth?lang=eng

    interestingly the title of the chapter is “Lifelong Conversion: Continuing to Advance in the Principles of Truth” perhaps conversion is being used in both links I’ve highlighted as a synonym for perfection.. which is incorrect and misleading…

  • Log:

    I use it as a synonym for perfection – for perfection, scripturally speaking, simply means having charity, which none but the converted have.

  • QB:

    There are so many “born agains” here, you are so lucky to be in close proximity to each other. You people ARE ZION! The Lord is so Sneaky none of you seemed to have realised or verbalised this fact that by your very existence Zion is once more upon the earth. You all seem to be in “furious agreement” if you have been born again you might have the following traits,

    a) no desire to do evil and seek to do good continually
    b) while there have been a few circular aguements in the comments you’re actually all of one heart and mind (language and expression aside)
    c) you have all borne powerful witness of the reality of the fulness of the gospel
    d) you have received the gospel and not rejected it, it is you who holds and lays claim for the church and await as I do the Servant
    e) this entire post bears witness of the reality of the Lord Jesus and his gospel

    you all like me will receive you calling and election
    you have no idea where this it all going but you will its funny
    as born agains you are ready for the hardest test of all and it will go down like this think of the thing you most treasure, the Lord will use that against you and you will have to be good with it afterwards comes the C&E

  • Spektator:

    I don’t think we are Zion yet, but I do feel a spiritual bond with anyone who has felt the same inredible joy and peace as I was given. Will we be able to see eye to eye in Zion? I hope so. I would like to think that I am striving for the same thing that Ammon found as described in Alma 27 when he was reunited with his brethren.

    “17 Now the joy of Ammon was so great even that he was full; yea, he was swallowed up in the joy of his God, even to the exhausting of his strength; and he fell again to the earth.
    18 Now was not this exceeding joy? Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness.”

    To be a truly penitent and humber seeker of happiness…

  • JR:

    QB,
    It really is a great thing to be able to discuss the BoF with others who have experienced it! Never have I encountered anyone else in person who has experience this blessing. It amazes me to hear how similar and yet how different is each person’s experience. Even the scriptural experiences have many similarities but differences to each of them. How truly humbling it is to consider that this ordinance is administered by Christ HIMSELF, and also by the Father. How near THEY must be to us, and yet we remain mostly oblivious to that fact!
    It is my understanding that those who will make up Zion will have received their C&EMS, and also the Second Comforter, as discussed in 2 Nephi 32:6, since Christ will literally walk the streets of Zion. I think we still have a lot to pass through to get there.
    Not to change the direction of this thread, but 3 Nephi 21:1-7 talks about the future mission of the Gentiles to the Remnant of the House of Israel. So beautiful to contemplate! I believe it will be those who have received the BoF who will be in that group. I hope to be among them.
    Much love to all here who are truly brothers and sisters in Christ (Mosiah 5:7)
    JR

  • Log:

    JR,

    The entrance requirements are a little easier – but once there, I’m sure all those things will be given.

    Moses 7:27 And Enoch beheld angels descending out of heaven, bearing testimony of the Father and Son; and the Holy Ghost fell on many, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion.

  • Jack:

    Log,

    I think that was the order of the day because the earth was about to be flooded. Abraham hoped that he would have the same experience but was called a different way — to be a stranger in a strange land. And those of us today are called to build up the kingdom on the earth.

  • Spektator:

    There is another aspect to the question of process versus event that I would like those who have read this post to consider. There are two mindsets that I have encountered in the church. I have met those who think that they can work their way to heaven. They are certain that, if they can do enough, they can be worthy of the glory of God. They are the ones to strive daily working through their assignments. They see the world as a long series of checklists. They read the scriptures about salvation coming ‘after all we can do’ not realizing that the preceding words are ‘for we know that it is by grace that we are saved.’

    The ‘I have to do everything’ mentality contributes substantially to the broad use of anti-depressants. I would even say that this perspective is found in a significant majority of the devout in the church.

    I would suggest that there is a correlation between those who believe they can work their way to heaven and those who believe that the baptism of fire is a process. There are some I have met who have taken this to an extreme and teach that we can save ourselves if we just work hard enough.

    As I see it, the is an attempt to nullify the atonement. We are told repeatedly that humility is a necessary component to our progress toward salvation. There is but one way and only one name under which we can be saved – Jesus Christ.

    We are to humble ourselves as the dust of the earth in order to gain entry to the strait and narrow way to eternal life. Many of the burdens we carry are self generated. We are sometimes so possessive of our sins and follies that we are not willing to let them go. But such is required of us. We are to come unto Christ, we are to be drawn to Him. We are to lay our burdens on Him and He is to justify and sanctify us. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • QB:

    I felt impressed to share something that hopefully doesn’t spawn a new discussion until this one is fully extracted.

    Telestial mind = spiritually dead mind
    Terrestial mind = Baptism of Fire = (received Gospel)Spiritual death is first death, BOF is first resurrection endure this level of mind until he End
    Celestial Mind = The END aka the C&E
    I have been given permission to share this here I received my C&E under the vey physical hands of the Lord 9 year after my BOF in my home in Australia Jan 2011.

    I have also been instructed to make this promise all those who have received their (BOF) will as they endure and obey the commands of the Lord whose voice you are now all familiar with that you will receive you C&E this is why the BOF is such a vital and important Doctrine it is far more important than the C&E I was further instructed at my C&E that I and you were only to teach he Gospel as per (D&C39:5-6)

    Since my BOF (baptism of Fire in 1992) I have taught it to a number of people as impressed who were obviously prepared starting with my children of whom 5 have recieved the Gospel 1 has had the second comforter but not the C&E, I noted an earlier comment implying that it seemed unfair that some of the Lords children get this “special” experience while other do not. I would suggest a couple reasons this might be the case, the biggest is never heard of it, next unbelief. Whats interesting is that all of this is intrinsically linked to the temple.Another hindrance is iniquity = False Traditions we have so many false tradition that its nearly impossible to see the forest for the trees, for example some people still believe the false notion that Satan will teach 9 truths to get you to believe 1 lie, this is rubbish a false tradition there are a tonne more just like it believing the wrong stuff will seriously impeded effort. Another example are the religious picture we have plastered all over our chapels and temples, while they may elicit feelings of soberness or reverence, they give you a false visual of how things work.I am no scriptorian nor historian I am merely an experimenter, I push all the buttons to see which ones don’t blow up in my face.If i doesn’t kill me I keep going and usually stumble onto stuff. I used the true order of prayer since my BOF at home, I like to push until something either breaks (usually me) or a door of understanding opens (not for the faint heart nor faint knee)

    Thank you all for your teaching and witnesses, and for the provision of a safe place to bear witness of such things apologies in advance for the hand-grenade I may have inadvertently just tossed in here. I hope when you people start obtaining your C&E’s that you will then see yourselves as Zion, and If you will believe it then I suggest you believe it NOW ;)

    Your C&E is a free gift (by grace)and it is guaranteed all the work is done for the BOF, after that if you can do what you told by the Lord until the END its all if I seem a bit flippant its because nothing which I have experience was anything like he videos or the paintings or what is described in the general Conferences which is why it is so laughable to me now..only those who have experience it can teach it and none other save those who take the scriptures literally ,also Chapter 3 of he Teaching of Lorenzo Snow is probably the best description of what I experienced.

  • Log:

    Not having received the Second Comforter at this point in time, neither my having had my calling and election made sure, I cannot know for sure that you are what you say you are, QB; neither can I tell whether Snuffer is what he says he is; nevertheless, what you say is consistent with what I have received, and what I get from the testimony of Joseph and the prophets in the scriptures: with a mind dedicated wholly to God, obey every prompting and every word of command, and preach nothing but repentance, faith in the Savior, and remission of sins by water and by fire.

  • JR:

    QB,
    Thank you for sharing with permission of the Spirit.
    There is much in your experiences that is consistent with what I have experienced.
    While there is much in the church that is valuable, praiseworthy and of good report; there is also much that is the doctrines of men mingled with scripture.
    A thought just came to mind as I wrote that, a reminder of where I first heard the phrase, “doctrines of men, mingled with scripture” it was a phrase used by Satan in the old Endowment. How appropriate!

    I will mention, since this is an anonymous blog, the Spirit has told me that there is something important I must do before I can receive my C&EMS. I have been lax in the performance of that assignment, but I am actively trying to repent lately.

    Those who have received the BoF should be able to hear the Lord’s voice. It takes some getting used to but it is actually there almost all the time if we just learn to listen and feel it.

    I believe the biggest reason for so many in the church not being able to progress, or progressing so slowly, is the one you mentioned as second, “unbelief”. Denver Snuffer defines unbelief as “promoting faith in errors, not understanding correct doctrine, accepting false notions, or having an understanding so incomplete as to make it wrong”. That certainly rings true to me!

    This thought you expressed gives great comfort: “I hope when you people start obtaining your C&E’s that you will then see yourselves as Zion, and If you will believe it then I suggest you believe it NOW”.
    Thank you for that. I have hoped for a long time that I might be a part of Zion (and bring my “roots and branches” with me) but feared that because of serious sins I have committed in the past I might be left behind. Not long ago, the Lord showed me that my sins were remitted, so I have become hopeful.
    Thank you for the comfort you have given.
    JR

  • Spektator:

    QB,
    Let me join JR in thanking you for sharing your thoughts and experience. I was hoping to post on this topic and hopefully allow all of us to bask in the spirit. I believe that our spirits yearn for this. I believe that the Lord is willing to give us this blessing if we are steadfast in our faith and ungending in our determination to reach this summit.

    Spek

  • JR:

    Two posts by Joshua and Log from today got set back into the middle of the thread.

    Their topic was the Tree of Life, the fruit thereof, and the rod of iron. When I read of the description of the fruit of the Tree it sounds like a description of what I had exerienced in the Baptism of Fire. As Lehi described, “as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceeding great joy” (1 Nephi 8:12)

    How does the rod of iron, which is suggestive of the “straight and narrow path” upon which one embarks AFTER the BoF, tie into this? If the Tree of Life is the BoF, and the BoF is the gate into the straight and narrow way (2 Nephi 31;17-19) what about the rod of iron LEADING TO the Tree of Life?

    One possible explanation would be that the Tree of Life and the fruit thereof is representative of ANY encounter with the Lord. It might also describe the experience of receiving ones Calling & Election, or receiving the Second Comforter.

    We do know that Lehi had seen a vision (1 Nephi 1:6) which is described, “And it came to pass as he prayed unto the Lord, there came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him; and he saw and heard much”. This occurred BEFORE his vision of the Tree of Life. Perhaps the Tree of Life vision was something other than the BoF?

    Interesting question which I have wondered about in the past.
    JR

  • Log:

    The iron rod is the word of God, which one must lay hold of in order to reach the tree of life. The word of God is the Holy Ghost, whereby we receive the words of God. We therefore hearken unto the Spirit, taking it for our guide, and lay hold upon every good thing until we reach the tree of life, partake of the fruit and be baptized by fire, and become the children of Christ. Once at the tree, we must feast upon the love of God until we are filled that we neither hunger nor thirst for righteousness anymore.

    The gate imagery is a different imagery altogether. The features of that imagery are simply a wall, or fence, with a narrow gate and a strait path beyond the gate leading unto eternal life. The gate represents repentance and baptism (not mentioned is faith, but is required as well); one may know they have entered in through the gate because they shall be baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost. Then they are in the path which leads to eternal life, and this path represents the path of your life.

    Nephi is not operating within the “tree of life” imagery in 2 Nephi 31 – 32.

  • Log:

    The account of Lehi’s baptism by fire is not in the scriptures. As it stands, it appears to me Lehi had been long since converted unto the Lord at the opening of the Book of Mormon. I believe in 1 Nephi 2:16 we are reading of Nephi’s baptism by fire.

  • Log:

    You lose! The footnote survived.

  • EvenTheLeastSaint:

    You lose! The footnote survived.

    Log, Just curious, who lost?

    What footnote?

    • Log:

      I might add that while the reference to 3 Nephi 9:20 was removed from the current 1981 version of the scriptures, there is a companion footnote reference from Helaman 5:45 that points back to, you guessed it, 3 Nephi 9:20. I would suspect that this footnote will not survive that next editorial effort on the LDS scriptures

      That one. Spek’s prediction turned out to not have happened. The new edition of the scriptures is up, and the verse in question is here, footnote A: http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/hel/5.45?lang=eng#44

      • Log:

        And I was not like saying anything derogatory… just noting. ;)

      • EvenTheLeastSaint:

        I attribute it to sloppy editing :)

      • Spektator:

        Under the constraint of keeping the page numbering and content per page the same, it would be difficult to make significant changes. I am gratified, in this case, to have my suspicions invalidated.

  • MelissaM:

    I believe that the core problem is that we as a people have allowed the meanings of words to become changed such that they do not match the Word of God. I believe that this is because we are not reading the Book of Mormon and our minds are darkened. D&C 84:54-58

    Indeed, if we were reading the Book of Mormon we would know that the word “conversion” means a change of heart and is represented as an event. Conversion is to be changed from one thing to another, but it does not scripturally indicate doneness (someone give me a better word here). See Isaiah 6:10/2 Nephi 16:10 and 3 Nephi 9:13.

    Except for 2 Nephi 16:10/Isaiah 6:10, the word conversion is not used in the Book of Mormon to denote specific individuals turning to God until Alma 19. Alma 19 is a crucial chapter. Verses 16-17 speaks of the conversion of Abish as a past event.
    Verses 29-36 is the change of Lamoni and his household and uses both words reflecting back on eachother converted and changed. In chapters 22-25, the word “conversion” is used to denote the change wrought upon the people of Ammon and the result. This is so remarkable because of how they are described in Alma 17:13-16 and in Alma 26:9,15, 24.

    From that point on in the book, the words change and conversion are used quite interchangably to denote an event that change a heart from a state of wickedness to a heart turned to God.

    With the key of Alma 19 we can go back and forth through the book, and see all of the places where the word “conversion” can substitute for the words”change” and “changed.” Mosiah 4-5, Mosiah 27, Alma 5, Helaman 15, Ether 12:14,

    The other use of the word “change” in people is found in 3 Nephi 28 regarding the physical change of the 3 Nephite Diciples of Christ who were to tarry, but that discussion is for another day.

    Please do not be blinded by that adoption of unbeliefs due to changing our word definitions. The words of the book are good, sweet, and our beliefs should be based in it’s truths. We should be defining our view by the word of God.

  • JR:

    AMEN SISTER!

    Unbelief: 1. Promoting faith in errors 2. To not understand correct doctrine and accept false notions or having an understanding so incomplete as to make it wrong.

    Dwindle in Unbelief: They do not know and will not accept correct doctrine or the truth. They do not believe in HIM. They accept for doctrines the commandments of men. Their hearts are far from HIM. They teach false and vain things. They prize their errors and hold them as true, when they are not true.

    Unbelief is often linked with Abomination.

    Abomination: Religious justification of wrong doing.
    JR

  • Jack:

    Again, I challenge anyone to show me an account of a righteous Nephite — one who was brought up in the truth and did not depart from it — who was “changed” in a jiffy.

    • Log:

      Enos. Again.

      The people of King Benjamin, again.

      If you know what it means to taste of the goodness of Jesus, Mormon. If you know what it means to be visited of the Lord, Nephi.

      I seek out people who have been changed in a jiffy. I know several who never transgressed, but are at this day filled with light and love and have retained the remission of their sins since they were baptized by fire.

      On the other hand, it was the Pharisees who saw themselves as righteous, never having departed from the right way in adherence to the law, was it not? Was that not a point covered in the parable of the prodigal son?

  • Jack:

    Again, Enos, heard the voice of the Lord in his mind — a wonderful manifestation. But that doesn’t mean he experienced a complete spiritual rebirth in that instance — he may have, but the record is not clear on that point. The people of King Benjamin — Again, I’m not convinced that none of them were converted prior to that experience. They were righteous prior to that event.

    I’m not saying that a mighty change cannot happen to those who have never fallen into serious sin. But I *am* saying that there are many who experience the reception of the Holy Ghost quietly — many who are brought up in the faith. And it pains me that folks here cannot accept that little gem of counsel from modern prophets — that conversion, for most, comes as a process.

    Log, it was the Pharisees who parsed the scriptures to justify themselves and condemn others. And their fiercest condemnation was reserved for those who were trying to usher in something new — the living gospel. May I suggest that some of that is happening here on this blog. Ironically, the words of living prophets are refuted by the written word — or by those who parse the written word for their own purposes.

  • Log:

    But I *am* saying that there are many who experience the reception of the Holy Ghost quietly — many who are brought up in the faith.

    We have already established that this is only your opinion.

    And it pains me that folks here cannot accept that little gem of counsel from modern prophets — that conversion, for most, comes as a process.

    It is not counsel, it is a doctrinal claim.

    If you wish to see what I think on it, you are free to peruse my blog: http://crymightily.blogspot.com/2013/03/and-they-knew-it-not.html

    But I see no value in interacting with you on the subject.

  • Log:

    And the reason I don’t see the value in interacting with you on the subject, Jack, is because you are not, at this time, seeking truth.

  • Log:

    Log, it was the Pharisees who parsed the scriptures to justify themselves and condemn others. And their fiercest condemnation was reserved for those who were trying to usher in something new — the living gospel. May I suggest that some of that is happening here on this blog. Ironically, the words of living prophets are refuted by the written word — or by those who parse the written word for their own purposes.

    Ironically, the scriptures are those things which the Lord has sent forth unto all alike, whereas our conference addresses are jettisoned after 10 years. I would invite you to explain the discrepancy if, as you imply, the doctrinal teachings of the current Apostles and Presidency are to be received above that of the scriptures.

    D&C 18:2-4.
    2 Behold, I have manifested unto you, by my Spirit in many instances, that the things which you have written are true; wherefore you know that they are true.
    3 And if you know that they are true, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that you rely upon the things which are written;
    4 For in them are all things written concerning the foundation of my church, my gospel, and my rock.

    D&C 52:9.
    9 And let them journey from thence preaching the word by the way, saying none other things than that which the prophets and apostles have written, and that which is taught them by the Comforter through the prayer of faith.

    Here are some more readings on the subject, and I again invite you, Jack, to tell me which of these brethren were incorrect in their teachings while they were alive, or how their teachings became false when they died.

    J. Reuben Clark, Jr., “When Are the Writings or Sermons of Church Leaders Entitled to the Claim of Scripture?” [Quoting Brigham Young in Journal of Discourses 9:150.] “I am more afraid that his people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not.”
    There have been rare occasions when even the President of the Church in his teaching and preaching has not been “moved upon by the Holy Ghost.” You will recall the Prophet Joseph declared that a prophet is not always a prophet. [Teachings, p. 278.]

    To this point runs a simple story my father told me as a boy, I do not know on what authority, but it illustrates the point. His story was that during the excitement incident to the coming of Johnston’s Army, Brother Brigham preached to the people in a morning meeting a sermon vibrant with defiance to the approaching army, and declaring an intention to oppose and drive them back. In the afternoon meeting he arose and said the Brigham Young had been talking in the morning, but the Lord was going to talk now. He then delivered an address, the tempo of which was the opposite from the morning talk.

    I do not know if this ever happened, but I say it illustrates a principle — that even the President of the Church, himself, may not always be “moved upon by the Holy Ghost,” when he addresses the people. This has happened about matters of doctrine (usually of highly speculative character) where subsequent Presidents of the Church and the people themselves have felt that in declaring the doctrine, the announcer was not “moved upon by the Holy Ghost.”

    Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 3:203-204. (Italics in original.) It makes no difference what is written or what anyone has said, if what has been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, we can set it aside. My words, and the teachings of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them. Let us have this matter clear. We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man’s doctrine.

    You cannot accept the books written by the authorities of the Church as standards in doctrine, only in so far as they accord with the revealed word in the standard works.
    Every man who writes is responsible, not the Church, for what he writes. If Joseph Fielding Smith writes something which is out of harmony with the revelations, then every member of the Church is duty bound to reject it. If he writes that which is in perfect harmony with the revealed word of the Lord, then it should be accepted.

    Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 765. (Quoted in the Teachings of the Living Prophets manual, p. 18.) The books, writings, explanations, expositions, views, and theories of even the wisest and greatest men, either in or out of the Church, do not rank with the standard works. Even the writings, teachings, and opinions of the prophets of God are acceptable only to the extent they are in harmony with what God has revealed and what is recorded in the standard works. When the living oracles speak in the name of the Lord or as moved upon by the Holy Ghost, however, their utterances are then binding upon all who hear, and whatever is said will without any exception be found to be in harmony with the standard works. The Lord’s house is a house of order, and one truth never contradicts another.

    Harold B. Lee, Improvement Era, Jan. 1969, p. 13; Living Prophets for a Living Church, p. 60. All that we teach in this Church ought to be couched in the scriptures. It ought to be found in the scriptures. We ought to choose our texts from the scriptures. If we want to measure truth, we should measure it by the four standard works, regardless of who writes it. If it is not in the standard works, we may well assume that it is speculative, man’s own personal opinion; and if it contradicts what is in the scriptures, it is not true. This is the standard by which we measure all truth.

    Harold B. Lee, “Viewpoint of a Giant,” address to religious educators, BYU, 18 July 1968, p. 6. How do we measure whether or not one’s teachings are true or false? If anyone teaches beyond what the scriptures teach, we may put it down as speculation except one man who has the right to bring forth any new doctrine — that is the one man who holds the keys — the prophet, seer, and revelator who presides in that high place. And no one else. If anyone presumes to bring forth what he claims to be new doctrine you may know that it is purely his own opinion and you label it as such regardless of his position in the Church. If it contradicts something that is in the scriptures, you may label it immediately that it is false. That is why we call the scriptures, our four Standard Church Works. They are the standards by which we measure all doctrine and if anything is taught which is contrary to that which is in the scriptures, it is false. It is just that simple.

    Harold B. Lee, “The Place of the Living Prophet, Seer, and Revelator,” The Charge to Religious Educators, p. 141. It is not to be thought that every word spoken by the General Authorities is inspired, or that they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost in everything they speak and write. Now you keep that in mind. I don’t care what his position is, if he writes something or speaks something that goes beyond anything that you can find in the standard church works, unless that one be the prophet, seer and revelator — please note that one exception [when he is speaking as the prophet, from earlier in the paragraph] — you may immediately say, “Well, that is his own idea.” And if he says something that contradicts what is found in the standard works (I think that is why we call them “standard” — it is the standard measure of all that men teach), you may know by that same token that it is false, regardless of the position of the man who says it.

    Harold B. Lee, First Presidency Message, Ensign, December 1972, p. 2. … Some time ago the secretary of a well-known philosophical society, deploring the lack of inspiration in our day, described the present age as “an age of the government of the uninspired.” There is on all sides much evidence to support his contention. In the realm of art, generally speaking, as he explained, the bizarre tendencies in modern painting, the grotesque figures of modern sculpture, the cacophonies of modern music, and the eccentricities of modern poetry witness the fact that this is an age lacking inspiration. One might add that modern religion, with its readiness either “to be carried about with every wind of doctrine” or to content itself with ritualism in place of spirituality, is another symptom of the same fact.

    The man, as nearly as I recall, went on to explain that the trouble undoubtedly lies in the fact that today the source of the needed inspiration, the Bible, is no longer considered by much of the world as reliable, with the result that the Christ of the Bible has become to many a vague, shadowy personality who may or may not have spoken the words attributed to him.

    It is only as we forsake the traditions of men and recover faith in the Bible, the truth of which has been fully established by recent discovery and fulfillment of prophecy, that we shall once again receive that inspiration which is needed by rulers and people alike.

    The Lord has said to us, “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.” (D&C 46:7.)

    I say that we need to teach our people to find their answers in the scriptures. If only each of us would be wise enough to say that we aren’t able to answer any question unless we can find a doctrinal answer in the scriptures! And if we hear someone teaching something that is contrary to what is in the scriptures, each of us may know whether the things spoken are false — it is as simple as that. But the unfortunate thing is that so many of us are not reading the scriptures. We do not know what is in them, and therefore we speculate about the things that we ought to have found in the scriptures themselves. I think that therein is one of our biggest dangers today….

    The Lord has given us in the standard works the means by which we should measure truth and untruth. May we all heed his word: “Thou shalt take the things which thou hast received, which have been given unto thee in my scriptures for a law, to be my law to govern my church.” (D&C 42 :59.)

  • Jack:

    I agree with all of those quotes.

    Log: “Ironically, the scriptures are those things which the Lord has sent forth unto all alike, whereas our conference addresses are jettisoned after 10 years. I would invite you to explain the discrepancy if, as you imply, the doctrinal teachings of the current Apostles and Presidency are to be received above that of the scriptures.”

    I don’t believe the scriptures to be less important than the words of living prophets. But I do believe the words of living prophets can inform us in how we can better apply the scriptures to ourselves in our current circumstances.

    Log: “And the reason I don’t see the value in interacting with you on the subject, Jack, is because you are not, at this time, seeking truth.”

    Because I may not agree with you does not mean I’m not seeking truth.

  • Log:

    When someone argues against the truth rather than applying it, it means they either cannot recognize truth, or it means they are not seeking truth, or both.

  • Log:

    By those quotations above, if a person’s teachings can be refuted by the Scripture, it means that that person’s teachings are false, no matter their calling or lack thereof. You say you agree with those quotations.

    Therefore, since you also say some of the leaders’ teachings have been refuted by scripture, which teachings do you have in mind?

  • Jack:

    Log: “When someone argues against the truth rather than applying it, it means they either cannot recognize truth, or it means they are not seeking truth, or both.”

    Well that ends the debate. I guess I’m just going to have to side with fifteen apostles on our points of disagreement.

    Also, I don’t remember saying any of the leader’s teachings have been refuted by scripture — not that that can’t happen. But even so, I don’t think you have successfully refuted (by the scriptures) the teaching of incremental change.

  • Log:

    That is, of course, your choice, and merely confirms what I said. You are not seeking truth.

  • Jack:

    What? Because I disagree with you? C’mon, dude.

    • EvenTheLeastSaint:

      Jack, This discussion is different than a debate. It envolves a true principle of the gospel, and with any true principle, the spirit bares witness to it’s truth. It is as though you were teaching an investigator the principle of baptism by immersion by one having authority, and he insists that all of his friends are good people and they were baptized by sprinkling. And even though you show him scriptural evidence and bare witness by the spirit, he kicks against the pricks of the spirit preferring his false traditions.

      Now suppose that Log and others here have testified of the truth regarding the baptism of fire. Wouldn’t it become incumbent upon any listener to heed the spirit and pray to God to know the truth rather than to endlessly debate the issue in an effort to defend false dogma? Why don’t you do as Log has advised several times. Turn to God in prayer (and fasting if needed) until you get an answer.

  • Jack:

    ETLS, I don’t think that’s a good comparison. Nowhere in scripture or in any of the missionary discussions are we given explicit instructions as to how the baptism of fire ought to occur. We are only told that it will follow baptism by water. And then we are given a few extreme examples of how it might occur (none of which, BTW, are identical). And, IMO, we are given those extreme examples that we might have a witness of its veracity.

    Re: Praying about it — I already have a witness of spiritual baptism. I know it’s real. I might just as well say that you should pray to know whether or not the counsel of the brethren is true on this matter.

    Rather than “kicking against the pricks” I think what’s really happening is that I’m running up against the stubbornness of some who are looking beyond the mark.

  • Log:

    Counsel is an advised course of action. Doctrines are statements of fact. Of all of the people on this planet, Jack, you are the only one, whom I am aware of, who has advanced the doctrine that the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is a process and not an event. That you are unable to cite even one acknowledged authority or one verse of canonized scripture to support your doctrine ought to give you pause.

    “The mark”, scripturally, is faith in the Savior, repentance, and the Atonement, which is applied to our souls through the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, wherein we receive a remission of our sins and are made holy, without spot, saints in spirit and in truth as opposed to in name only via church affiliation. And your perception that you are debating tells anyone with ears to hear which side you’re on (Romans 1:29, 32).

    ETLS’s analogy was apt.

  • Log:

    I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine (D&C 38:27).

    Thus it is.

  • Jack:

    Log,

    At the top of this thread there are two very clear statements from two different apostles stating that spiritual rebirth is more typically a process than an event.

    Elder Christofferson: “Being born again, unlike our physical birth, is more a process than an event. And engaging in that process is the central purpose of mortality.”

    Elder Bednar: “The spiritual rebirth described in this verse typically does not occur quickly or all at once; it is an ongoing process—not a single event.”

    And just to be clear, I have never said that spiritual rebirth can *only* be a process. To some, yes, it will come as a singular event–but for must of us it will come about more as a process.

    “…saints in spirit and in truth as opposed to in name only via church affiliation.”

    That’s a false dichotomy with respect to this conversation. Sure, that chasm can exist, but I think the real problem with looking beyond the mark has to do with teasing too much out of the doctrine–not too little. The strait and narrow way doesn’t mean walking a “tightrope” of strict doctrinal interpretation so much as it means looking to the one means of salvation: Christ, the Way.

    • MelissaM:

      Jack,

      I add my voice of witness that Baptism of Fire and The Holy Chost is an event. It was a very singular event nearly 13 years ago in the which I was burned clean and made a new creature in Christ. Unfortunately, I had no idea what had happened. I blame my being fully correlated = unbelief. Only when I began to scripturally study the topic in January of this year, did I come to realization of what I had received. Now, I know I am on a path- hopefully an undeviating one.

      Quote the opinions of 2 men all you want, but at the end of the day it is your solemn responsibility – nay obligation to receive the Holy Ghost or to continue to be led by the counsel of men instead of by the words and voice of God. How hard is it to shake off your unbelief and then to ask to receive I say to you, it is as hard as reading a plain book for truth’s sake instead of using it against all intended purposes in supporting the ashes of man’s words?

      Why will ye not do this thing? Why will ye persist in substituting the counsel of men for the word of God? These men are called Apostles and I sustain then in that calling. The assumption of that calling does not mean that their words are just and true. You have to make a decision to sort it all out in fear and trembling before God instead of defending an untenable position of unbelief. Alma 34:30-41

      I stand as a witness because I have received and it is so sweet and I want with all my heart for you to receive, and believe absolutely that you can and should and encourage you to do so but when ye do persist in your unbelief and rail against those witnessess who would help you understand the plainness of the scriptures that are laid out before you, then there is nothing we can do but stand and sorrow as you walk away because of your unbelief and the hardness of your heart. Jacob 6.
      ~~~~
      Mormon 9:35

      • Adam:

        Thank you for your strong testimony. Only those that have partaken of the fruit know it’s taste. It is indeed an event.

    • Spektator:

      Melissa,
      Thank you for your willingness to share your experience. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t recall the bliss and profound love from God as I felt that day of being born again. It has been my anchor throughout my life. Without it, I would very likely be wandering in the desert of faithlessness.

      I believe I know why the pioneers and early church memebers were able to exhibit such faith. It was because they had been strengthened by the baptism of fire. It is so saddening to me that these types are experiences generally avoided by members of the church who have been indoctrinated as to the way we save ourselves through the checklist items of correlation.

  • Log:

    Jack,

    Not a single soul, save yourself, of all God’s children on the planet, that I am aware of, have ever claimed the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost – please note the words I am using – is, or even can be, a process and not an event.

    Do you understand that you stand utterly alone in this claim, to the best of my knowledge? Do you understand that the quotes by Bednar and Christofferson are not talking about the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost?

    • Spektator:

      Log,
      Your statement is only correct if you assume that the baptism of fire is different than being born again. The recent quotes from the brethren on the topic of the ‘process’ of being born again should equally be applied to the baptism of fire. Otherwise, you need to explain what the difference is betweem the two.

      • Log:

        Actually, I don’t have to explain it. The two brethren in question have departed from the scriptural meanings of the words and it really is incumbent upon them to explain their meaning.

        Incidentally, I thought you might find my latest post amusing.

  • Log:

    And let me be also perfectly blunt, Jack.

    If you claim that Bednar and Christofferson are speaking of the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost when they speak of spiritual rebirth then you are also claiming them to be in error, for then they would be contradicting the scriptures, as I have shown. Aside from yourself, everyone agrees that the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost is an event and not a process. Apostles do not have the authority to propound new doctrine to be received as scripture, as they would have to be if you accept that when they speak of “spiritual rebirth” they mean “the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost”. Only the President of the Church has the authority to propound new doctrine, and then only if it is sustained in General Conference by common consent of the whole Church.

    “If I say anything that is contrary to the scriptures, the scriptures prevail,” said President Joseph Fielding Smith, and you claimed to agree with him; this principle applies to all.

    There is nothing more to be said.

  • Jack:

    Melissa,

    Why must your personal experience constitute proof that the baptism of fire can *only* come as an event? Or am I misreading your comment?

    Log,

    Your interpretation of the scriptures on this point is, IMO, completely subjective.

  • Log:

    MelissaM (and to whomever else this applies),

    If you don’t mind, I love to hear the details of others’ experiences wherein they were born again, which ofttimes has the effect of reminding me of details I’ve forgotten. If you get a chance, can you read this: http://crymightily.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-baptism-by-fire.html and let me know if you remember any additional details which I ought to include?

  • Log:

    QB,

    If you would be so kind as to indulge me a single question, can you send me a comment at my blog?

    • QB:

      Hi Log, happy to comment, went there but because you didnt enable anonymous, no comment sorry, My family is in enough trouble just having me around, didnt need to make it easy for the strengthing of the church committee, because of my testimony I have found a lot of people have made me their personal project and are trying to save me so sorry for delay but I didnt feel like making yet another fake id, you realise of course that it is not safe for anyone to express the sorts of things being expressed here as you have already experienced those who are born again, are the church of the lamb and the rock cut without hands which is a major problem for anyone not in the CotL because of the story making nature of carnal man he will immediately make up some stupid story and be intimidated by the humble followers of christ,

      • Log:

        QB:

        I feel that keeping it to registered addresses cuts down on noise. I can only give you my word that I have nothing whatever to do with the Strengthening Church Members Committee, and I wasn’t planning on posting your comment – the question I had (beyond do you have any criticisms of any of my posts) was this: in having your sanctification made permanent, does it change the strength and intensity of the light within?

        I apologize for not being able to phrase this any differently; these are matters spiritual and can only be understood by them who have experienced the light of the Holy Ghost in their heart. I was hoping to discover that in comparison with what it was before, it is now as the light of the sun. Can you throw any light on this, so to speak?

  • Spektator:

    This entire discussion has been valuable to me as I search for the true path. As I was pondering this dialog of whether the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost is a process or an event, I was reminded of a long conversation I had with a friend who I hold as a truly spiritual giant. The conversation was around whether we can work ourselves into heaven or whether the ability to cleanse us resides solely with our God.

    I wonder if there is not a high correlation between those who believe being born again is a process to those who believe that our works can save us. If we work hard enough and long enough, we can be sanctified. As the alternative, do those who believe that the change of heart is an event also hold that we are not capable of becoming a new creature without the intervention of the Holy Spirit?

    I used to believe that I had the huge checklist of items that must be completed in order for me to be approved of the Lord – attending all my meetings, fulfilling my callings, making sure my kids were where they should be, reading the scriptures, etc. This long checklist never seemed to get shorter. As I battled to keep my position in the world, I found that I could easily suffer from frustration and depression when confronted with the things I was not able to accomplish from my list.

    I have changed… Today, the list isn’t as important as the ability to hear the voice of the Spirit and seek to be in tune with God. It is more important for me this day to humbly seek my path through communion with heaven than it is to manage a list of to-dos. That is not to say that I have nothing to do any more. Rather, my intent is to make the Lord’s agenda my agenda; to make my life spirit driven, not list driven.
    I have come to believe that there is harm being played out in today’s checklist mentality. The Lord has told us that if we come to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, He will baptize us with fire and with the Holy Ghost. There is no unending list of items we must do; there is no set of outward activities that will pass muster. It entirely comes from within our heart and spirit as to whether we are ready to be born again.

    I have also discovered that my previous motivation of being driven to complete the list for the sake of the list has been replaced with a desire in my heart to spread the joy I feel to those around me.

    We have become entirely to regimented and structured in the church today. I see this as an insidious attack on the spirit. The more we become like the Pharisees, the more items on our list, the farther we move from that simple request to come to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. That is why I feat that being born again is an event rather than a process.

  • Log:

    Spek,

    This, in my view, accurately captures the way the gospel is taught and believed by many within the church: http://www.newcoolthang.com/index.php/2005/11/parable-of-the-pianist/170/

    As the alternative, do those who believe that the change of heart is an event also hold that we are not capable of becoming a new creature without the intervention of the Holy Spirit?

    That is the point specifically denied by the parable above. But it happens to be the orthodox doctrine of Christ as contained in the scriptures.

    Let them with ears to hear, hear.

  • Log:

    “But it happens to be…” means “But that point happens to be…”

    • QB:

      Brother Log,

      In terms of increased luminosity, the answer is a resounding YES an hundred fold, unfortunately its blinding and an eternal burning, when you get this, the burden so great, so terrifying, the truths turn everything you think you know upside down and utterly destroys any grip you had on reality, thus you are placed in a place that I can liken to hell, and you’re expected to just handle it, as we say in New Zealand you gotta just handle the jandel (flipflop) bro, which is why I say constantly to my closest associates (some of whom have betrayed me), death would come as a relief, but I have been commanded that I am not allowed even the relief of death but have bear all things and am responsible for keeping myself alive being shown by the Lord how this is to be done, believe me when I say I long for brothers who can suffer with me, I have read your articles and the messages are filled with hope, but who cares what I say,be warned I am a man and a weak one at that and not a good example, I’m one of those “if he can do it anyone can!” the only things that stops people is the obvious tribulations I have had to go through, everyone backs away on that one, I am in a new place, and am acquainted with both the Father and the Son, imagine what if feels like to suffer and not be allowed to let you spirit leave the Body but instead be commanded to get up and keep going, Now after that rant/warning I love the Lord, I now comperhend and accept the role of the church and the berthren and recognise their function in this the EPIC closing of the curtain, and say with a Loud Voice GOD IS GOOD, GOD IS LOVE, going to church every sunday, completing the list Spektator wrote so well about, having a peive of paper which give you access to a temple, none of these do not get you into the celestial kingdom, what will get you into the kingdom is how you treat other period. As cliche as it is Love IS the preisthood,LOVE IS the sealing power, LOVE IS the power of the universe. I would not change a thing in my life, not a thing its all been a wonderful wonderful, experience,We often talk about mortality as a test, I prefer to call it a training because you can fail a test but you cant fail a training ;D

      • Log:

        Thanks, QB. I know what it is to desire to die and so to go dwell with Father enveloped in the arms of his love eternally. I was told I had work to do.

        I have yet to receive those things of which you are a partaker, but they are the desire of my heart.

      • Log:

        I would respect your opinion and statements and consider them very carefully, because you are consistent with what I would expect of one who had received what you say you have received.

        Which doesn’t mean I would let even the least error slide. I have found some even Joseph committed (sigh!). And probably few people on the earth have a higher regard for Joseph than I, for I know him to have been a true prophet of the Lord, as the Lord has testified to me: “Joseph was a true prophet.”

      • Log:

        Charity is the name of Christ, the name the Father gave him, which is the name of the Father, and it is the name we must all take upon ourselves by water, fire, and blood (Alma 34:38, Moroni 8:25-26) by mighty prayer (Moroni 7:48), for God is charity (1 John 4:8), and if we have charity, we are in this world as God is (1 John 4:17).

      • boo:

        QB, while I understand the very personal nature of your BFHG experience I wonder if I might impose upon you and ask you to elaborate on how it occurred and what the most important factors were in permitting you to receive this blessing. As you know some of us are still seeking to receive the same blessing and while we recognize that we need to follow the Spirit and let it guide us would appreciate others insights into the process. thanks.

  • Log:

    QB’s stuff is here:
    http://justandtrue.com/?p=386#comment-4867
    http://justandtrue.com/?p=401#comment-5006

    But here are the most important things: you must have an eye single to the glory of God – it must be the sole focus of your mind, to the exclusion of your family, your career, your friends, your reputation, your property, your life – and you must pray for the Holy Ghost until you receive it, with all your power, with all your energy, with every fiber of your being, casting away all your sins and fears. Cry mightily until you are received.

  • kenh:

    I am new to this blog but I have enjoyed immensely the discussion that has ensued on this wonderful topic. I would like to share some observations of my own.
    Elder Bednar spoke in last general conference about the difference between testimony and conversion. Allow me to illustrate below.

    The lesser portion of the word and the greater portion of the word together constitute the fulness of the gospel.

    The Lesser portion of the word
    —————————————-Testimony
    Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
    Repentance
    Baptism
    Gift of the Holy Ghost
    Melchizedek Priesthood
    Washing and Anointing
    Endowment
    Temple Marriage

    The Greater portion of the word
    —————————————Conversion
    Sanctification
    Purification
    Baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost
    (This cleanses us of all sin and we become spiritually begotten of Christ (Mosiah 27:25,26)
    Born Again (No longer struggling to overcome the natural man. No desire to sin at all)
    Fulness of the Priesthood By God’s own voice (Helaman 10 D&C 50:26-30 JST Gen:14:28-31)
    Personally know Christ face to face (D&C 93:1)
    Sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise (The Father tells you that you are going to be exalted)
    Calling and election made sure
    Church of the Firstborn
    Possible translation

    These events can happen in any order the Lord so chooses. Those who have had the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost KNOW tha it is an Event like no other. Do we still make mistakes? Yes. Do we still seek to apply fully the Atonement of Jesus Christ? Absolutely! Testimony alone will get you the Terrestrial Kingdom. Only true conversion will bring about Exaltation. Great and marvelous spiritual events must be part of our lives or greater repentance is needed. These wonderful blessings are available to everyone but those who believe that these events can and will happen to them will have them. We are all under condemnation according to section 84 of the D&C because we DON’T believe that the events and spiritual blessings such as being baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost spoken of in the Book of Mormon can really happen to us.. We must first belief that these converting events can and will happen to us in order for them to happen and by so doing cast off our unbelief and receive them in this life. It does not take a lifetime to receive them.

  • QB:

    For me Snuffers work is a joy to read because I at least know I am not alone anymore but have brothers in the field working to the same objective. To bear witness that its is worthy goal but not for the faint hearted nor the weak kneed No one who receive either the second comforter or the calling and election desire to become employed it part of the deal, what no-one here would realize is that if you knew what you were getting yourself into I think most would hesitate and flee in the opposite direction, Denver show courage does not and will not desire followers who would be fools to become such. Enter this path and you will have the glories of heaven revealed to you but be warned for you open the gates of Hell at the same time, you will have to save your own life over and over again. I had my calling and election made sure last February2011 shortly after suffering a major stroke which almost claimed my life I have had to endure much at the hand of well-meaning Local leaders and been betrayed by my closest “friends” and even my own children. I have met with Saviour on numerous occasion at his behest am I often called to a temple to receive instruction and council for my enemies and have had my paradigm severely altered which at times has been extremely painful, again there is no glory in this no leadership powers, no riches, only heartache and continuous suffering, and a powerful testimony of the only one who can save to who members of the of the firstborn point Jesus Christ! You must know him you will know him, choose it or be compelled , I receive my real new name only four months ago I use this name in all blessings it last month I was ordered to the temple to meet with the Lord, as with all these things you go not knowing beforehand what you should do, after preparing to officiate in things of the Melchizedek the saviour appeared in the endowment and introduced me to his father who appeared above the alter . It matter not one whit to me whether this testimony is believe it is freely shared as I was impressed.
    http://latterdaycommentary.com/2012/04/08/conversing-with-the-lord-through-the-veil/

    First let me apologise for the length…
    I’m grateful for your testimonies of the Baptism of Fire. And would like to add my own experience. Like most of us I thought that the confirmation and Baptism of Fire (BoF) was the same thing. It wasn’t until my mission that I ran into those missionary who loved to talk about the mysteries it was the first time I had ever heard of the baptism of fire or the calling and election. I was really excited about the calling and election and made that my focus which is why I was super surprised by my baptism of fire experience. I was shooting for the calling and election and got Baptism of Fire. I now know more and like James in the first commend it everyone to gain their baptism of fire. Since my own experience I have been able to coach 4 of my seven children to obtain their own BoF experience. Its not that hard 1-2 days max. James has all the references above. Enos is a great template to follow. Keep on those knees until its done. that’s the hard part. Now I have a recently my wife confirmed that she had also received her 12 months before we met (a lot fell into place when I found that out). I have studied the baptism of fire and calling and calling and election continually for 27 years. I was 29yo when I had the BoF. Anyone who things I’m boasting is wrong yet I know with a perfect knowledge that I can trust those of you who have had this experience will not take what am saying that way. More than anyone I trust those that have received the fulness of the gospel and been born again.
    My Experience: It started with me noticing a pattern in my life. I realized that there was a direct corollary between the oscillations’ (ups and downs) I was experience in my ability to reliably provide for my families and the oscillations’ in my religious behavior (premeditated sining) for most that would be a no-brainer but not for me. So I decided one day that I was sick of the up and downs and wanted to have a more stable (temperate) life. Now I had been breaking commandments all over the place and couldn’t remember where I left off so I thought “lets just knock em all out”, not sure if you can do that but I’m gonna have a go…. I read Jacobs account of his unshakable confidence and said “yep” I’ll take some of that. And straight after him I read Enos’ account and thought that looked like the HOW to Jacobs WHAT . So I decided I would experiment. I would get up early and go to my garage and offer up a prayer vocally asking for forgiveness until I knew it was given (I didn’t know how I would know) I had arranged that my wife keep the children away until I was done, outlining to her my objective. I had planned to get up at 5am but got up at 7am and retire to the garage to pray.
    When I started my prayer felt like it was going up to the roof hitting and flopping to the ground, I tried using fancy words, glorying God and so forth, it was starting to feel like work. I kept going and this time I heard a voice saying taken from my journal, “Thy sins are forgiven thee I am an angel stretch forth you hand and I will lift you up “ I put my hand forward, felt nothing, opened my eyes and saw nothing but suddenly I got scared and used the temple example to cast satan out.
    I got back on my knees and started again (about an hour had passed), I started praying using big words again (in vain) when another voice came to me and said “thy words are vain, speak the words of your heart!” When I looked what was in my heart I saw only the words “Father , I’m sorry” at that moment there was an explosion of Joy which filled my entire body flowing from the top of my head down until I was almost overwhelmed with joy (which is a bit odd when you think about it), a vision opened up and I could see right up into the heavens and saw angles and heard a heavenly course, I can still feel and see everything as I write this. At that moment I knew everything was true, every painful thing my parents had tried to instil in their stubborn son was true and that my sins had been completely washed away. This was the gift of the Holy Ghost and the continual companionship of the Holy Ghost was that as I continued to sin, (not wanting too but did anyway), I could repent immediately and know in that moment I was completely washed clean. This is a great gift!
    Thank you again for your testimonies. In regards to the process vs. Event? Isnt it both? Doesn’t every event start with a process every process ends with an event?
    I felt impressed to share something that hopefully doesn’t spawn a new discussion until this one is fully extracted.
    Telestial mind = spiritually dead mind
    Terrestial mind = Baptism of Fire = (received Gospel)Spiritual death is first death, BOF is first resurrection endure this level of mind until he End
    Celestial Mind = The END aka the C&E
    I have been given permission to share this here I received my C&E under the vey physical hands of the Lord 9 year after my BOF in my home in Australia Jan 2011.
    I have also been instructed to make this promise all those who have received their (BOF) will as they endure and obey the commands of the Lord whose voice you are now all familiar with that you will receive you C&E this is why the BOF is such a vital and important Doctrine it is far more important than the C&E I was further instructed at my C&E that I and you were only to teach he Gospel as per (D&C39:5-6)
    Since my BOF (baptism of Fire in 1992) I have taught it to a number of people as impressed who were obviously prepared starting with my children of whom 5 have recieved the Gospel 1 has had the second comforter but not the C&E, I noted an earlier comment implying that it seemed unfair that some of the Lords children get this “special” experience while other do not. I would suggest a couple reasons this might be the case, the biggest is never heard of it, next unbelief. Whats interesting is that all of this is intrinsically linked to the temple.Another hindrance is iniquity = False Traditions we have so many false tradition that its nearly impossible to see the forest for the trees, for example some people still believe the false notion that Satan will teach 9 truths to get you to believe 1 lie, this is rubbish a false tradition there are a tonne more just like it believing the wrong stuff will seriously impeded effort. Another example are the religious picture we have plastered all over our chapels and temples, while they may elicit feelings of soberness or reverence, they give you a false visual of how things work.I am no scriptorian nor historian I am merely an experimenter, I push all the buttons to see which ones don’t blow up in my face.If i doesn’t kill me I keep going and usually stumble onto stuff. I used the true order of prayer since my BOF at home, I like to push until something either breaks (usually me) or a door of understanding opens (not for the faint heart nor faint knee)
    Thank you all for your teaching and witnesses, and for the provision of a safe place to bear witness of such things apologies in advance for the hand-grenade I may have inadvertently just tossed in here. I hope when you people start obtaining your C&E’s that you will then see yourselves as Zion, and If you will believe it then I suggest you believe it NOW 
    Your C&E is a free gift (by grace)and it is guaranteed all the work is done for the BOF, after that if you can do what you told by the Lord until the END its all if I seem a bit flippant its because nothing which I have experience was anything like he videos or the paintings or what is described in the general Conferences which is why it is so laughable to me now..only those who have experience it can teach it and none other save those who take the scriptures literally ,also Chapter 3 of he Teaching of Lorenzo Snow is probably the best description of what I experienced.
    http://justandtrue.com/?p=386
    rother Log,
    In terms of increased luminosity, the answer is a resounding YES an hundred fold, unfortunately its blinding and an eternal burning, when you get this, the burden so great, so terrifying, the truths turn everything you think you know upside down and utterly destroys any grip you had on reality, thus you are placed in a place that I can liken to hell, and you’re expected to just handle it, as we say in New Zealand you gotta just handle the jandel (flipflop) bro, which is why I say constantly to my closest associates (some of whom have betrayed me), death would come as a relief, but I have been commanded that I am not allowed even the relief of death but have bear all things and am responsible for keeping myself alive being shown by the Lord how this is to be done, believe me when I say I long for brothers who can suffer with me, I have read your articles and the messages are filled with hope, but who cares what I say,be warned I am a man and a weak one at that and not a good example, I’m one of those “if he can do it anyone can!” the only things that stops people is the obvious tribulations I have had to go through, everyone backs away on that one, I am in a new place, and am acquainted with both the Father and the Son, imagine what if feels like to suffer and not be allowed to let you spirit leave the Body but instead be commanded to get up and keep going, Now after that rant/warning I love the Lord, I now comperhend and accept the role of the church and the berthren and recognise their function in this the EPIC closing of the curtain, and say with a Loud Voice GOD IS GOOD, GOD IS LOVE, going to church every sunday, completing the list Spektator wrote so well about, having a peive of paper which give you access to a temple, none of these do not get you into the celestial kingdom, what will get you into the kingdom is how you treat other period. As cliche as it is Love IS the preisthood,LOVE IS the sealing power, LOVE IS the power of the universe. I would not change a thing in my life, not a thing its all been a wonderful wonderful, experience,We often talk about mortality as a test, I prefer to call it a training because you can fail a test but you cant fail a training ;D

    It has been a while since I have shared here, I apologies a lot is going on there is great work going on brothers an sisters and you are each a participant, what caused me to comment are bro kenh’s summary of Elder Bedners words regarding the lessor and greater portions of the and the “Fullness of the Gospel”
    regarding the lessor and greater portion remember that the greater portion is in the mysteries which means that the lesser portion are all those things that are profane or common,or in other words PUBLIC
    Those things of the greater portion are in the mysteries or hidden not public or generally available this includes the temple as everything in the temple is public, those things hidden from public are the things you have born witness to continually and individually here, they are hidden they are mysteries of godliness designed to bring you to god, remember Alma’s warning to those who have only the lessor portion
    “And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell”, those of you who have had your baptisms of Fire, and the Holy Ghost, have mysteries you are eligible for further mysteries a few of which I will unfold for you benefit now. Regarding the “fullness of the Gospel”, “the new and everlasting covenant” they are synonyms for a great mystery thing they Jesus Christ himself He is the “fullness of the Gospel” which the Gentiles will reject! He IS the new and everlasting Covenant, this is a great mystery, the spirit will bear witness of this to you add these scriptures for greater knowledge and the greatest mystery of all (Alma 11:38&39, Ether 3:14, Mosiah 15:1&4, I will bear this testimony one last time, you who have obtained the BOFHG are zion you like me believe in and follow the one mind, the one heart as did Christ himself. it is his light you follow and his light you trust in with these scriptures you will see who it is in fact you follow and how zion is cut without hands, These are the doctrine and words of the servant whom I serve and bare witness of I am a humble follower of the servant you each belong to the son for his sheep know his voice the work of the Father is that you beleive on him and his son, you have from the moment you started listening to that voice, the light is about to burst forth, you are the first resurrection I say this boldy now for I know it is true, being once dead are at once alive in Christ!

  • Spektator:

    QB,
    I thank you with all my heart for your willingness to bear record of the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost and the availability of having our Calling and Election made sure. While each individual may not be able to apply the formula in the same way, it is something we all should strive for.

    You are correct, I believe that most people are unaware of what the scriptures teach on the subject. Are we the leaven? Have we not been given a great opportunity to ‘warn’ our neighbor? Your words certainly give me the confidence to do so.

    Spek

  • Spektator:

    No good deed will go unpunished. Denver Snuffer has posted on his website, a copy of the letter from his stake president regarding a disciplinary council for apostasy. Yet another indication of the latter-day church ‘rejecting the fulness of the gospel.’

    So goes another who speaks out regarding the fact that the correlated message of the church is inconsistent with latter-day scripture.

  • Log:

    Here’s the thing – if Denver is what he claims he is, then he did not act of himself, but was acting under direction of Jesus Christ Himself; his salvation cannot therefore be affected by the actions of the Church authorities, if his claim is true.

    It is important to underscore this, though – something I have learned a thing about directly – if he is what he claims he is, a prophet of God, who has stood in the divine council, and if it is the case, as he says it is, that he was instructed from on high in what to say and do regarding the Church and its authorities, then ought not we be similarly careful in our approach? Ought we not simply preach faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by water, and baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, save the Lord Himself shall direct us otherwise by the word of His own mouth?

    The stumblingblock to obtaining the baptism by fire is, and always has been, repentance and faith through calling upon the name of the Lord in mighty prayer, relying wholly upon the merits of Jesus Christ. Is there not enough in preaching repentance and faith to occupy all our time, until the Lord Himself shall give us other direction by the word of His own mouth? After all, the Lord promises to take those who have been baptized by fire into His own hands for instruction (2 Nephi 32:3). Therefore, all our teaching should tend towards that result, which means teaching nothing but repentance and faith, leaving the Church and the leadership alone.

  • Spektator:

    Log,
    Yes, I agree that we should be teaching the path to salvation. If the Church is impeding the process, there will likely be people like Samuel the Lamanite who will preach from the wall despite the slings and arrows. If, upon hearing the message, they cannot find anyone within the church that can point the way, they may need to look elsewhere.

    If a person is truly following the spirit, their blessings and covenants will be honored. It is incumbent upon each one of us to be willing to ask for direction and follow the answer the spirit dictates.

    Don’t forget, for all intents and purposes, Lehi and his family left Jerusalem as ‘apostates.’

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